I hear the death bell tolling…. it tolls not just for thee….

Ffolkes,

Yesterday I wrote the most important of all the rants I’ve written here on ECR, and, true to form, very few people came by to read it; only the ffolkes who make it by very regularly show up on Sundays…. Normally, I wouldn’t much care, but the message I was delivering with that post is one of a critical nature to the whole species…..

In my mind, and in my opinion, this is not hyperbole, or a dramatization, or an attempt to catch your attention, or any other plot or literary device. It’s a fact. A fact. Not a factoid, not a speculation, no longer even a matter of having special knowledge…. The evidence is right out there now, for anyone to see, and it doesn’t take a degree in climatology or climate sciences to predict the future any longer…..

Naturally, it isn’t widely known, or accepted, at this moment, which is why nobody is panicking yet, though we all SHOULD be about ready to do so by now…. It is, perhaps, true, that my ability to foresee future events is somewhat advanced over that of others, due to my scientific background, and my skill at assimilating large amounts of data and coming to the correct conclusions from that information. But, the evidence is pretty plain now, and doesn’t require much background training to interpret…..

They (the scientists who study the changes in the environment due to global warming) (which your beloved rulers would have us believe isn’t yet a problem….) have discovered that the permafrost in the environment is melting, releasing massive quantities of methane gas into the atmosphere….

Simple, undeniable, this is a fact, not speculation…. the stuff is melting all over the Arctic, the Antarctic, and on the seabeds all over the world near the poles,  where a LOT of it exists, and the methane gas trapped in that permafrost is now being added to the carbon particulates that we humans are pumping into the air, at a rate of hundreds of millions of pounds per HOUR…. ( See the World Clock, at Poodwaddle.com   http://www.poodwaddle.com/clocks/worldclock/ )

What needs to be understood is that methane is a much more potent polluting material than carbon…. It is known as an “environmental catalyst”, because even small portions of the substance, added to the mix we have, can, and will cause changes to occur in the climate, changes that will rapidly escalate as more of it is absorbed into the air….. AND…. as it melts, it will go faster, until it is a growing at a parabolic rate, meaning faster every moment, increasing without limit, until there is enough methane, plus carbon monoxide, plus carbon dioxide, plus the other particulate matter that clings to them all, now in the air to affect the balance of chemicals, whereupon the (unwelcome) changes begin….

At a certain point, the changes will become two things important to us…. First, they will become IRREVERSIBLE changes…. we won’t be able to go back to the way it was, at least, not by any process we have knowledge of….. Second, at about the same point in time, or possibly sooner, the atmosphere will become too poisonous for us to breathe, causing widespread panic and death worldwide, until, eventually, we are all just a memory to the planet…..

The MOST conservative estimate as to how much time we have until those points are reached is less than one hundred years…. the game has changed, ffolkes, and not in our favor….. The less conservative estimates give us far less time, some as little as THIRTY YEARS, or less, and, sadly, THEY are more likely right than the others….

When the permafrost began to melt, it became a whole new ballgame, ffolkes, and this game is one NOBODY is going to want to play…. Unfortunately, thanks to the assholes who run the planet, none of us have any choice in the matter….. We are going to have to deal with the consequences of our actions…. or, on the part of the public, our lack of action, for not having removed the assholes who are killing us a long time ago…. Regardless of whether or not we like it, we are going to have to deal with this, and it won’t wait for us to make up our minds whether or not it is real….. It is real, and it isn’t waiting for us to accept that….

Oh, gosh, look what I’ve done…. the entire intro got turned into a rant, the same rant as yesterday…. Given, however, the present situation in the world, it is a rant you are likely to see EVERY DAY on this blog, from now on, until the public gets off its collective ass and starts to actually DO something about all of this….

That’s the thing I do know about all of this…. Once it becomes too obvious to ignore any longer, there is going to be SUCH AN UPHEAVAL in society, all past wars and revolutions will pale in comparison… The war that is coming, ffolkes, will be, literally, a war for survival as a species, and if we lose, we ALL lose, even the powerful elite….. for even THEY cannot make the air breathable, once it is not….. As for us…..

Shall we Pearl?…..

“I know that our bodies were made to thrive only in pure air, and the scenes in which pure air is found.” — John Muir, American Naturalist (1838-1914)
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We’ll be going old-school here in the first section today, simply because I am now far too emotional to rant…. I tend to get too many salty tears dripping onto the keyboard, and, worse, into my coffee…. Hopefully, the process itself will provide some serenity, as it is, when pursued in a properly mindful/mindless manner, quite a soothing task…. Who knows? Serendipity could strike while I’m searching the dB, and I’ll come up with a brilliant solution to the methane issue…. If not, well, we’ll have a couple chuckles to look back on….

“Only through hard work and perseverance can one truly suffer.” — Smart Bee

“Adversity reveals genius, prosperity conceals it.” — Horace (65-8 B.C.)

“To overcome evil with good is good, to resist evil by evil is evil.” — Mohammed

“All the secrets we may be able to keep from any and every god and human being do not in the least absolve us from the obligation to refrain from whatever actions are greedy, unjust, sensual, or otherwise immoderate.” — Cicero, On Duties

“The privilege of absurdity; to which no living creature is subject but man only.” — Thomas Hobbes

“Wisdom, understood as a new kind of strength, is a paramount necessity for Man. Now, even more than before, it is required as a basis for fitness to maintain life itself on the face of this planet and as an alternative to paths toward alienation or despair.” — Jonas Salk, The Survival Of The Wisest

“I don’t CARE if you’re on fire!  Stop SCREAMING like that!” — gigoid, on waking from a dream…..

Okay, so most of it turned away from funny, toward entries for Aunt Millie’s Life Advice column, but, they’re all true as they stand, so, just deal with them with a bit of salt, or soy sauce….. Please note also, it did go wonky there at the end, and, by golly, ended up where it needed to be…. As for me, well…. all I can say is….

“Ah, the vastness of space and time… and I end up here..” — Smart Bee
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I’m feeling a bit of angst, from whence I’ve not a clue…. it could be left over from the rant, or it could just be the background anxiety that seems to have parked itself in the far corner of the parking lot of my mind, sitting there in a dimly lit, lonely space, just hanging about in case its needed, ever since I read the article on climate change in The Nation….

It could also be my over-active imagination, but, that’s moot, as such manifestations are as real as reality…… whatever THAT may be today…. Any who, on occasions such as these, I like to use my own poetry, just so no body else can be blamed for whatever takes place today….. In that spirit, here is one from, well, I don’t know, but, it was a while ago….

Stray Cats

The veils that billow and fold
between dreams and reality
 may sometimes part,
showing the visions of one to the other,
blending, bleeding as one,
only to bring us up short,
closely jammed against immovable fate.

Still, we keep our watch,
seeking to find the vision
 that brings with it the mark of reality’s regard,
a humble mind, and a compassionate heart.

Events of broad impact draw us away again,
distracting with shiny glitter and tinny music,
leaving our feelings raw and bruised,
the victim of universal disregard.

Now, in the twilight of years, the music is fading,
and the glitter has all gone….
yet the memory of visions remains sharp and clear,
melancholy reminders of reality’s promises,
unkept….

~~ gigoid ~~

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I’m deliberately retreating somewhat today…. I have to admit, I haven’t EVER been this terrified of the future, nor so saddened by its prognosis. The sadness, of course, comes from knowing my children, and my grandson, may never have any chance at all to achieve any of their own life goals…. and there won’t be any more to come after that….

I think, if it is true, this is NOT an inappropriate reason for sadness…. even if only a possibility, it is worth a bit of depressive emotion, at the minimum, and sadness is better, at any point, than despair…. which would be the next logical choice, if one were to give in, to the seduction of that path….

Instead, I’m going to do another search through my database, for something that can LIFT spirits, or UPLIFT them, as it were, rather than give in to the darkness that threatens…. I guess it’s just not in me to give up completely, no matter what the apparent odds… Let’s see if a random, harlequin approach to Smart Bee will garner the results I’m looking for….. I NEED a good pearl….

“In walking, just walk. In sitting, just sit. Above all, don’t wobble.” — Yun-Men

From ignorance our comfort flows.
The only wretched are the wise.

– Matthew Prior (1664-1721) — To the Hon. Charles Montague

“Half of the American people have never read a newspaper.  Half never voted for President.  One hopes it is the same half.” — Gore Vidal

“Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.” — Buddha

“The chief aim of wisdom is to enable one to bear with the stupidity of the ignorant.” — Xystus I

“Neither will the wave which has passed be called back; nor can the hour which has gone by return.” — Ovid (B.C. 43-18 A.D.)

“The sages put great stock in saying that every ending is truly a beginning, or every beginning an ending, or insisting that there are no endings or beginnings, or remarking that there is nothing new, and we are doomed to endlessly repeat ourselves. Or have I said all this before?” — The Teachings of Ebenezum, Vol. LXXXVII

Hmm…. I think it’s possible I MIGHT have said all this before….
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Before finishing today’s effort, I want to say this…. Zackary. That one word, my grandson’s name, is the reason for all the pain I’m feeling about the news I read in The Nation, regarding the climate change status this year. If the worst scenario is even nearly true, then by the time he is my own son’s age, he will have lived most of his life in a state unimaginable to me, fighting every moment to stave off extinction, while the majority of the species, (the word “race” no longer matters, as all the races of Man have lungs….), goes through the contortions involved in social upheaval of a magnitude never before experienced on this planet…. not by our species, anyway…. Bob Dylan said it well, ffolkes, when he wrote, “It’s a hard rain, a gonna fall….”

I took a short break before finishing the last section, and prior to starting this closing piece; I found myself sitting in the morning air, breathing, and crying, as each breath reminded me that it won’t be long before I, and everyone else alive, will be fighting to draw the next breath, and the next, and the next, if we wish to merely survive…. It’s a hard picture to live with, and I don’t like it…. but, there it is, and it won’t go away….. As of this moment, I don’t yet know exactly what I will DO about this pain, or about any of this issue…. so, we’ll see about all that…. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with two last pearls, both of which speak eloquently to just what I am talking about…..

“There is an immeasurable distance between late and too late.” — Anne Swetchine

“Mankind are an incorrigible race. Give them but bugbears and idols — it is all that they ask; the distinctions of right and wrong, of truth and falsehood, of good and evil, are worse than indifferent to them.” — William Hazlitt

The saddest part is that the exact opposite of Mr. Hazlitt’s description of mankind’s nature is ALSO true…. There is, in us, the greatest potential imaginable for virtue, for honor, and for compassion, in the souls of MOST people…. It is those few who have turned away from those finer qualities we all possess who, with the cruelty of their indifference to the benefit, or the pain of others, have caused all the trouble…. Ah well…. that’s a subject we talk about a lot around here…. See ya….

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

When I works, I works hard.
When I sits, I sits loose.
When I thinks, I falls asleep.

Which is Why….


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

gigoid

dozer3

Dancing away our cares in muffin colored shoes….

Ffolkes,

Foul!  Foul! The convicted creatures of the night cried out in fear and hope, bleeding from a thousand wounds… Drifting, without pace, or price, no vector described, filling out the spaces between with animated visions of bright, colorful clouds, all with familiar faces. Barely alive, hovering over the warmth, of five distinct sources of valiant bravery, of arguable finality, those arguments fail in basic logical structure, thereby pinning their hopes on the last bus from town. We don’t know if they’ll have exact change, so the extensively fashionable wiper blades were turned on for a while to compensate. All will be copacetic, as long as no one tries to comprehend…

If you have, well, good luck with the headache you probably have by now…. Hell, I’ve got one, so, you should, too; it’s only fair…. Sorry for that one, folks….. The above paragraph is a leftover bad habit from my teens and early twenties, a form of what I like to call jabberwock, nonsense that makes sense, almost, just like the bandersnatch, a manner of wielding the vorpal blade of intellect and wit with style and elegance. It consists of words, phrases, and concepts in language that tends to confuse rather than illuminate. It is intended to stimulate cogitation of some form, as well as emotional disturbance of some degree, preferably up to the level of aggravation, without spilling over into violent objection of a physical nature (the latter has been threatened a time or two, when we got a little out of hand with it in public….)….

During my college years, a few friends and I would go into late-night diners to have coffee, and begin to talk in jabberwock, improvising as we went along… sort of improvisational philosophy for the mildly insane. We, of course, thought it hilarious that other people, the “normals” who were in the diner, listening to this, would often get up and leave, obviously in a huff, because they didn’t understand what they were hearing, and were too embarrassed, or perhaps too angry, to ask us to stop, or even ask what we were doing….

At our age, we didn’t care, and the more who left, the better…. until the owner objected because of losing customers…. Usually we went to those diners that catered to college kids, and understood the hi-jinx they perpetrate in the throes of their intellectual growth, but, sometimes, the local Denny’s was our targeted spot, to see how many folks we could get to leave quickly, jamming their food down as fast as possible, in order to get away from the crazies in the next booth…. SIGH…. those were the days!…..

There, now, don’t y’all feel better? I’ve managed to introduce today’s Pearl of Virtual Wisdom without resorting to any tricks…. This was pretty straightforward, with a flash of jabberwock to start, with a polite, if specious and of little real value, explanation of the opening, using some rather poignant memories from my youth…. I’d say this one is quite the little foray into normalcy for me, so, I hope you hate it, because it just about drove me crazy, trying to be that way…. Normal, I mean…

Ah hell, you know what I mean…. Shall we Pearl?…..

“Trouble rather the tiger in his lair than the sage amongst his books.  For to you Kingdoms and their armies are things mighty and enduring, but to him they are but toys of the moment, to be overturned by the flicking of a finger.” — Chinese proverb
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This section has been growing on me, so I’ve decided to leave all previous formats behind, to engage in some sheer mental indulgence…. I’ll stop writing when I see a chance to do so gracefully, how’s that?….. First significant change to note is that this section has a title,  which indicates the precise subject under discussion, to wit:

“A prosperous fool is a grievous burden.” — Aeschylus (525-456 BC) — Frag. 383

Yes, ffolkes, I’ve had time to peruse the news, (Hey, a rhyme! A good sign this early on…), and have seen a bit of what transpired while I was off ignoring the world at large, in favor of the world at hand. At this juncture, I can only say that it’s hard to be right so often…. That’s a joke, by the way…. What I mean is, I expected SOME sort of further evidence of how the Beloved Ruling Class continues to screw the public at every opportunity to present itself, at one point or another while I wasn’t watching…. and, I was right…. Sometime yesterday afternoon, after reading some stuff on the internet, I started this section, collecting the information I’ll discuss…. The collection of that information prompted the following, thanks to SB, and the FIRST beginning of this epic pearl-to-be….

“Just because you’re STUPID ain’t no excuse.” — Smart Bee

“Progress doesn’t enlighten people – it just makes them stupid in new ways.”– Smart Bee

“You’ve little to fear, brave knight…unless the dragon stops purring.” — Smart Bee

I’ve begun this section with a three-star pearl, an obvious set of matching earrings, with a ponderous pendant, which seemed to put just the right tone to the subject we are about to cover… Well, I’ll cover it, and you can read, or not, as suits you…. It’d be cool if y’all stuck around & hung in with it… I worked hard on this one, with research, quotes, extra time in SB, and the whole nine yards, not to mention the ranting that should ensue as a part of it….

I hope y’all enjoy today’s journey into the madness of Reality, as I fight my way back from the illusionary world of luxury travel…. As is obvious, it didn’t take long for me to catch up to what’s been going on while I ignored the rest of the world, so let’s get to it…. For starters, please peruse this article from yesterdays news on SFGATE…. several quotes, from the article will follow, with my comments, surrounded by nothing… ( quotes from the article are surrounded by this indicator: “~~” , two squiggly lines together,, then quotation marks around the text… I chose it because I like to write the word “squiggly”, thus making people think more squiggly, always a good thing….)

http://www.sfgate.com/news/politics/article/NSA-spying-threatens-to-hamper-US-foreign-policy-4928089.php

~~ “To Henry Farrell and Martha Finnemore at George Washington University, damage from the NSA disclosures could “undermine Washington’s ability to act hypocritically and get away with it.” ~~

My immediate reaction to this was, “Oh, those poor babies!”…..  :lol: To think that a government official would have to go through a day without being able to resort to a lie…. boy, what cruelty!  It amazes me that this line didn’t faze the public’s credibility,  as I haven’t heard of very much backlash about what is essentially old news… By that I refer to the “acting hypocritically” by the government… It’s almost as if the public EXPECTS to be treated that way, and, like a horse that has been beaten too long, no longer flinches at the feel of the whip…

~~ “Madeleine Albright, secretary of state during the Clinton administration, recalled being at the United Nations and having the French ambassador ask her why she said something in a private conversation apparently intercepted by the French.

Albright says Snowden’s disclosures have hurt U.S. policymakers. “A lot of the things that have come out, I think are specifically damaging because they are negotiating positions and a variety of ways that we have to go about business,” Albright said at a conference hosted by the Center for American Progress in Washington. “I think it has made life very difficult for Secretary Kerry. … There has to be a set of private talks that, in fact, precede negotiations and I think it makes it very, very hard. The broad nature of NSA surveillance goes against the Obama administration’s claim that much of U.S. espionage is carried out to combat terrorism, she said.

The administration asserts that the U.S. is amassing intelligence of the type gathered by all nations and that it’s necessary to protect the U.S. and its allies against security threats.” ~~

Again, oh my goodness! These poor, abused diplomats and former pundits! To think that being responsible for their lies makes their job harder is the height of arrogance, for it assumes that the lies are not the issue, but rather, being caught in the lies…. The issue of most primary significance is, and always has been, the simple FACT that they lie to begin with….. They do this because, hey, we were elected, weren’t we?…. Thus, they believe they have the right to do so, no matter what the public may think…. After all, the public doesn’t know what’s good for them, do they?…. That’s why they elected us, isn’t it?…. So, see, nothing to see here, never mind, just go put the whistleblower in jail for the rest of his life for having the bad grace to tell the truth….

“The true, unacknowledged purpose of capital punishment (or life imprisonment for telling the truth — gigoid) is to inspire fear and awe–fear and awe of the State.” — Edward Abbey

~~ “The French government protested revelations this past week that the NSA had collected 70.3 million French-based telephone and electronic message records in a 30-day period.

Germany and France are demanding that the administration agree by year’s end to new rules that could mean an end to reported American eavesdropping on foreign leaders, companies and innocent citizens.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff canceled her official state visit to the White House. She ordered measures aimed at greater Brazilian online independence and security after learning that the NSA intercepted her communications, hacked into the state-owned Petrobras oil company’s network and spied on Brazilians.

Brazil says it is working with other countries to draft a U.N. General Assembly resolution that would guarantee people’s privacy in electronic communications.

A European Parliament committee approved rules that would strengthen online privacy and outlaw the kind of data transfers the U.S. is using for its spying program.

European lawmakers have called for the suspension of an agreement that grants U.S. authorities access to bank data needed for terrorism-related investigations.

“We need trust among allies and partners,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose cellphone was allegedly tapped by the NSA. “Such trust now has to be built anew.” ~~

Aha! Somebody says the key word, at last…. Trust…. A simple word, yet one of the most powerful concepts in the human lexicon of ideas that affect reality most strongly. This one is a basic part of ANY and ALL human interactions, with other humans, with animals, with the universe, wherever… As humans, we rely on certain concepts to be true, and when they are not, our ability to retain our honor, and our sanity, are affected strongly…. Whether we are affected in a way that strengthens, or weakens, is immaterial…. It makes each interaction more stressful, because the trust must be there to deal with it efficiently, without precautions, extra effort, or rejection….

I know, that’s a bit esoteric for morning conversation…. But, it all affects what is happening in the world, and the BRC still refuses to acknowledge their own responsibility in making trust a scarce commodity…. They believe the problem is that the secrets were told, when the real problem is that the secrets exist, and are expected to be hidden without consequence…. The government does not EVER question the rightness of their own actions; it is a foregone conclusion, proven throughout our history, that to act on ANY assumption of that nature is a sure path to self-destruction… In this case, that path will not merely lead them, but will pull all of us with them…. Apparently, with our full permission…

Thomas Jefferson, along with others of the Founding Fathers of this country warned future generations to be mindful of corporate special interests, i.e. “bankers”…. Money, and more importantly, the desire for it, and for the power over others it brings, has long been recognized as the root of most of our problems as a society, and as individuals in that society…. It affects human behavior in a personal way, creating avarice, hatred, and mistrust between the best of friends; it also affects human behavior on a societal level, as those same characteristics come to play on the public stage….

The following article, by one of my favorite voices of reason, Jon Carroll, is an excellent discussion, and an excellent indictment of those people among us who act as wolves, viewing others as prey, in the pursuit of their own ambitions….

http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/carroll/article/An-upright-salute-to-government-today-4920756.php

As any sage knows, enough is enough…. I may not be a sage, but, I know that…. Besides, if you haven’t gotten the picture by this time, it’s probably not working, anyway, so, ‘twould be best to exit now, with what grace can be summoned…. They’re not good people, ffolkes, though they would have you believe they are…. and, I don’t think I need to explain, at this point, who “they” are…. Take care of each other, as best you can, and try not to harm anyone without good reason…. At this point in the game, that’s about the best we can do….

“To date, there is only one animal in the Galaxy dangerous to man- man himself. He must supply his own indispensable competition. He has no enemy to help him.” — Lazarus Long
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I’ve never been able to completely explain why I enjoy the poetry of this woman…. Though she is acknowledged as one of the most creative and powerful poets in history, her work is an acquired taste…. But, with her, as with little girls and butterflies, no explanation is really needed… I speak, of course, of Miss Emily D….

Perhaps the most significant thing I like about her work is that she left the title of each poem up to the reader…. They may supply one, in their own mind, or not…. She doesn’t seem to care, or perhaps didn’t want to influence them with pre-conceived notions of the meaning of the poem to follow…. I like that, for some perverse reason….

Death sets a thing significant
The eye had hurried by,
Except a perished creature
Entreat us tenderly

To ponder little workmanships
In crayon or in wool,
With “This was last her fingers did,”
Industrious until

The thimble weighed too heavy,
The stitches stopped themselves,
And then ‘t was put among the dust
Upon the closet shelves.

A book I have, a friend gave,
Whose pencil, here and there,
Had notched the place that pleased him,–
At rest his fingers are.

Now, when I read, I read not,
For interrupting tears
Obliterate the etchings
Too costly for repairs.

~~ Emily Dickinson ~~

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Without even having to look, I know this is already nearing the point of the largest Pearl ever created on this blog; I must have buried more material in my brain while I was off cruising than I had imagined, because it’s all spilling out now… Ah well, it’s all been quite cathartic, so I’ll just make a last, quick, old-school group of pearls to make up the last pearl for today…. Enjoy, as we see what comes up on the Wheel of Philosophy, as interpreted by gigoid’s complex set of non-rules….

“No man is happy who does not think himself so.” — Publius Syrus (42 BC) — Maxim 584

“Humans hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn – when they do, which isn’t often – on their own, the hard way.” — Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

“Heisenberg may have slept here.” — Smart Bee

“War loves to seek its victims in the young.” — Sophocles (496-406 BC) — Scyrii, Frag. 507

“Beginnings and endings are, for the most part, artificial constructs. You say you begin when you are born, but what of those months spent growing in the womb? Endings are hazier still, for further things may occur that extend and enlarge the earlier story. And that is my final sentence on the subject. Or perhaps this one is the final sentence. No, most assuredly what I write now is the final word on the matter. But now that I think upon it, perhaps this….” — The Teachings of Ebenezum, Vol. LVII (Abridged)

20. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it. — Instructions for life

“I know things about TROY DONAHUE that can’t even be PRINTED!!” — Zippy the Pinhead
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As noted above, this turned into a REAL epic Pearl…. Let’s go see just how epic…. If there ever was a more appropriate time to say, “Whew!”, I can’t imagine when it might occur…. So much so, I’m done, I’m gone, I’m outta here…. Whew!….

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

When I works, I works hard.
When I sits, I sits loose.
When I thinks, I falls asleep.

Which is Why….


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

gigoid

dozer3

 

Paltry measures yield no benefits, milord….

Ffolkes,

As far as I can see, the only effect the shutdown of the government seems to have produced, is a reduction in the overall amount of noise we must endure, noises normally supplied by the busy lips and tongues of politicians…. Oh, they’re all running around, having meetings, giving interviews to whomever will listen, whereupon new articles appear, to explore the latest load of bilge that has come down the pike, shouting how this one dissed the other one, or what that one said about this, that, or, even the other…. It all gets a bit loud, for my taste, so, I’m glad the shutdown has caused a bit less of it to assault my/our tender ears….

I went to look for something to rant about this morning, but all the news writers are apparently avoiding the budget mess, in favor of other stuff clamoring for attention, such as the BART strike being threatened for this week, or Jerry Brown’s baldness, or the baseball playoffs… All of which is  important stuff, I’m sure, but, not very rantable for those of us who require a bit more actual drama, rather than mere vicarious curiosity, while having no actual need to engage in celebrity worship.

I guess it goes to show that we really DON’T need the government; all of those things that we get from it are actually not essential to our existence on an everyday basis, and NOT having it around, constantly creating issues and problems, seems, to me, to be rather peaceful…. I find it rather heartening, as well as comforting, to have heard not a single stupid remark by a politician yet today, even though I’ve already gone over the headlines once, to see if there was anything worthwhile to pick at…. I suppose you could call that serendipity, as it is certainly a boon, and certainly unexpected…

Actually, the fact that there is NOT any real news to pick at is NOT a good thing…. I know, as does everyone else, that the nation is rushing headlong into another financial crisis, spurred on by a small group of self-styled martyrs, who don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves, and, who have no clue that they have signaled their own demise as a political force in the future, by their intransigent insistence on pursuing this farce…. The American public is well aware of who is responsible for this mess, and they WILL make their anger clear in a month, when a number of elections will bring home to the Republicans just how stupid this has been, and just how far their alienation of voters has progressed…. They’ll be lucky to still have a functioning organization by the next national election….

The lack of news articles right now, though, points out to me an even more disappointing aspect of the matter, which has been, and continues to be, the absolutely piss-poor job done by the print media in covering all of this…. They have avoided taking shots at the people responsible, and have studiously ignored much of the public’s reaction to what is taking place. They also haven’t looked very hard at any of the stuff the whole budget mess is designed to cover up, like what is happening in Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Iran, or Guantanamo Bay, or any of the other areas of the world where our political presence has led us into immoral, illegal acts of war, against people who are NOT the responsible parties for the events, far in the past now, for which we are allegedly seeking vengeance. But, hey, what’re a few deaths in the third world, if it means the politicos get the breathing room to plan their next great theft from the public?….

Okay, I guess I’ve ranted enough for one day…. I’m pretty disgusted with the entire BRC right now, and though that is nothing new, the degree of outrage I’m experiencing this go-around is much greater than usual…. Obama, Boehner, Mitchell, Pelosi, Biden, McCain, Bachman, all of them are assholes, and there isn’t a damn thing to do about it, other than be glad that, for the moment at least, they’re not making as much noise in their posturing, meaning there is less for us to have to endure…. They haven’t ceased their lies, or their delusional beliefs, or trying to fulfill any of their private agendas, which have NOTHING to do with what is good for the public….. They’re just not making as much noise at it, as they are supposed to be SHUT DOWN….. which we are supposed to believe is a big deal….

Me? I’d rather go do something worthwhile…. Shall we Pearl?…..

“It is no disgrace not to be able to do everything; but to undertake, or pretend to do, what you are not made for, is not only shameful, but extremely troublesome.” — Plutarch
_____________________________

Having ranted above, before I was really ready, I’ll avoid the same mistake here, and go directly to an old-school format, saving us all time, and energy that can best be used later, for something actually productive in the real world….. Well, a man can dream, can’t he?….

“Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.” — Samuel Johnson

“It is a good thing to be rich and strong, but it is a better thing to be loved.” — Euripides

“The contest for ages has been to rescue liberty from the grasp of executive power.” — Daniel Webster

“If 150,000 people do something really stupid………it’s still stupid.” — Smart Bee: gigoid agrees….

“Reason obeys itself; and ignorance does whatever is dictated to it.” — Thomas Paine

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” — Norman Cousins

“All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to be free.” — Lennon & McCartney
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I picked this poem out yesterday, when it happened to jump up in front of me, while searching for pearls for the Pearl posted then…. It just seemed appropriate, given the current issues being played out in the public arena, and Shel Silverstein’s poems are always welcome here…. Enjoy!….

Hug O’ War

I will not play at tug o’ war.
I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.

~~ Shel Silverstein ~~

_____________________________

I could rant. There is enough going on right now in the public venue to provide more than enough angst for me to get started again, though, this time, I think I’d switch over to picking on the priestly hierarchies rather than the talking heads; I’ve been neglecting them of late, and they must be getting lonely for some of my charming accusations and deliberate taunting. I know I would…. be getting lonely, that is….

Any who, I’m choosing, instead, to be a nice guy today, and NOT rant any more…. Though it doesn’t necessarily make any difference in the long run, I’m feeling a bit mellow this morning, so I’ll let you, and the preachers, off the hook for today… We’ll go with a random, harlequin pearl, with little or no direction for SB on how to pick the entries…. It usually comes out well when we go that route, so…. enjoy!….

“Logic: an instrument used for bolstering a prejudice.” — Elbert Hubbard

“If we attend continually and promptly to the little that we can do, we shall ere long be surprised to find how little remains that we cannot do.” — Samuel Butler

“If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?” — Lily Tomlin

“The sages put great stock in saying that every ending is truly a beginning, or every beginning an ending, or insisting that there are no endings or beginnings, or remarking that there is nothing new, and we are doomed to endlessly repeat ourselves. Or have I said all this before?” — The Teachings of Ebenezum, Vol. LXXXVII

“A man who dares waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” — Charles Dickens

I slept, and dreamed that life was Beauty;
I woke, and found that life was Duty.
Was thy dream then a shadowy lie?
Toil on, poor heart, unceasingly;
And thou shalt find thy dream to be
A truth and noonday light to thee.

– Ellen Sturgis Hooper (1816-1841) — Life a Duty

“And so it was, later,
as the miller told his tale,
that her face, at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale.”

– Procol Harum
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One of the best parts about creating these Pearls for me is that each one is a surprise…. I have no plan, or direction when I sit down to write, only to write as long as I can before taking a break to ease the pain… The resulting lack of consistency, while not hobbling my imagination or ability to find words, does make each day’s output as new to me as it is to y’all (a hopeful, friendly word, y’all….). I kind of like it, as it is always fresh, in that sense, if in no other…. Let’s see how this one came out…

I find myself to be unable to make a coherent decision about the quality of this Pearl; it’s much more complex than I imagined it to be, especially given the fact that I wrote it…. Since I’m unsure, I’ll do what comes naturally, which is to post it, and hope for the best….. I don’t think it will cause any significant damage, to my reputation, or anyone else’s, (more’s the pity….), so I can ask the lawyer for my retainer back in a few days, if no further lawsuits are threatened…. If nothing else, we’ve struck a blow or two against the oppressors in the name of revolution, which, after all, merely means “change”…. and, if you hadn’t noticed, change is how the Universe works…. For better, or for worse, change will happen…. see ya….

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

When I works, I works hard.
When I sits, I sits loose.
When I thinks, I falls asleep.

Which is Why….


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

gigoid

dozer3

Calculated responses to common queries…..

Ffolkes,
Today begins the real waiting, and my patience is at its end already. After 17 months of virtually nothing happening, my latest batch of information will now be sent to the person who will be responsible for assessing it, and making a decision on my disability eligibility. If he’s got half a brain, then good things should follow…. if not, then I’ll be back in the crapper for another unknown amount of time, until a court date can get set, and all the rest of the rigmarole that goes with that process would then take place. Joy, eh? It is always SUCH a pleasure to leave my fate in the hands of a stranger, and not just a stranger, but one who has been trained to a fever-pitch by cadres of federal bureaucrats, who, as the world knows, are less than familiar with the word “efficient”, or the word “logic”. Something about their pay-scale, or something, that penalizes them for using either one, in word or practice….

Now that we’ve taken our daily shot at the bureaucrats, we can move on to more amenable activities of daily living, as defined by our oh-so-beloved selves. In my case, that means it’s time to hunt for pearls, shiny and perfect, to cast before my eager readers. Well, I say ‘eager’ advisedly…. that is merely an assumption, a hope, as it were, for reality to crack and fall apart, which would have to be the case for any eagerness to be deposited in the minds of readers of this blog; generally, they have defenses against that…… but, there are times when I can fool them into reading anyway….. it’s a gift….

All that being said, for what it’s worth (very little on the open market, I assure you…. And, the Black Market wont’ carry my stuff any more… I’ve been warned against trying by some quite large individuals, with shotguns and nasty attitudes…) I think it’s probably for the best to get on with the regular affairs we pursue here each day…. like it or not, everybody’s got a limit…. so, Shall we Pearl?…..
__________________________________

Anything you can conceive and believe, you can achieve. — Smart Bee

The power of the human will is, as far as I can tell, is incalculable. A subject that has been explored, considered, and discussed by every philosopher worthy of the title throughout history, it continues to pull at our attention still today. Even that great old Greek philosopher, Anonymous, who left us so much wisdom, has left us many examples of what humans have come up with to help understand this most subtle and yet simple of human characteristics…. Another I found in my dataBase, unattributed, and therefore claimed by Smart Bee as its own, is this one, which echoes the basic premise of the first quote….

“Volenti nihil difficile.” [Nothing is difficult to him who wills] — Smart Bee

Other, more well-documented sages have also considered the power of the human will….. in his typically simple way, Gautama Buddha summarizes…..

“He is able who thinks he is able.” — Buddha

Trust the Buddha to bring a concept down to its most basic level of understanding. Yet, though the will is a simple thing, that everyone acknowledges, not all can focus that will to their intent beyond what is necessary to survive. They never learn how to trust their own power, or feel unsure of their ability to maintain the effort…. and in that assessment, they are right, as far as it goes. If they do not feel they can, they will not be able to…. which is, obviously the converse side of the issue, proving its reality by the very nature of its innate dichotomy of meaning….. and if that isn’t complex enough to confuse you, then I’ve stated it poorly…..  :-)   It is a delicate point, and I really just brought it up as comic relief…. so, where was I?…. Oh, yes…. how to control the will, and not be controlled by it…. For true expertise, one must use it or lose it, so to speak, or, as it has been said…..

“The power to guess the unseen from the seen, to trace the implications of things, to judge the whole piece by the pattern, the condition of feeling life in general so completely that you are well on your way to knowing any particular corner of it – this cluster of gifts may almost be said to constitute experience.” — Henry James

Life can be viewed as a series of opportunities to exercise one’s will, whether for good or ill, for self or others, is immaterial, from a Universal viewpoint; reality doesn’t care about motivation. But it is important to us, and is intricately tied into our whole approach, and reaction, to Life. Thus the virtuous exercise of will reflects the best parts of a person, when the motivation is oriented toward others, and giving of self. When motivation is self-oriented, it becomes a corruption of major proportion, and everything the person does is designed to serve their own self-interest first, and that of others only when it serves that self-interest.

Naturally, these people are quite annoying, and discouraging, to those of us who would prefer to have the world more amicable in the larger sense….. and I am tempted often to label them with nasty titles that may suggest improbable sexual acts they should suffer unwillingly…. but, I digress…  Sorry, I am not one to suffer a fool gladly, and they just keep popping up into my awareness… Here I am, trying to be inspirational and uplifting, when some image or memory of the opposite nature occurs to me, and I just lose it….. Let me try to get back to our discussion of human will, and its importance in our lives…. or at least, its impact, which can be controlled to a certain extent, by our own attitudes, if nothing else…..

I see, however, that this discussion has grown, beyond the boundaries of where I had intended it to go, and will, of necessity, need to be postponed yet again…. We shall come back to this discussion again, as it is one that will need to be brought to a conclusion of no little import, and with no little effort, I think. This isn’t rocket science, but the truly ignorant have defenses against such logical and beneficial thinking, and I must devise a trick, in order to fool them into believing they have escaped using their the tiny little organs that pass for their minds, while surreptitiously inserting answers unsuspected into the corners of those unwilling receptacles, that only resemble what the rest of us call our minds… It can be quite fun, actually….. meantime, use your own head for something constructive, won’t you?…..

“To lead people, you must follow behind.” — Lao Tzu
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Qualifications of Passion

Sweetly and soft, her vision comes insistently stealing,
waking gently welcome strength of safely intimate feeling.
No mundane distractions even feebly compare,
to celestial musics that fill such welcoming air.

Joyous celebration is each minute’s lot
whenever I’m near her, and when I am not.
Just knowing she is real and relatively near
provides a glad and final solution to fear.

Trust can heal, and live up to the test,
and even the worst of us become best;
Love, when given, is a type of realistic example
of how life can be simple, yet more than just a sample.

Memory is forgiving, in the face of the Now,
our lessons of necessity will always show how;
Our future is but illusion, until fully grown,
the only option for survival is to call it our own.

Feathered with hopeful dreams of acquisition,
live the passions that have defined my position.
Universal justice demands satisfaction
love is ever my choice, and my only reaction.

~~ gigoid

Well, this one bled profusely, but there was very little pain….. hope you enjoy this little change of direction……
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Life can be a confusing time, especially for those unequipped for its sense of whimsy; life may make us look foolish a lot, but think of how amusing that is for other people, eh? There are small benefits hidden in the most egregious tasks, if undertaken cheerfully…. Today, I find myself out of ranting mode, and into Pearling mode…. Thus, I present for your amusement and edification, the following group of pearls, and though all are of the stand-alone variety, they can be, and have been, woven together into an monumental idea of great stature, one that could conceivably make great changes happen in the life of anyone who takes it to heart….

It could also be ignored completely, and your life will not suffer at all for its loss…. That’s the magic of true pearls of virtual wisdom…. they are only good for what you use them for, and nothing else…. not exactly an efficient process, but one that satisfies…. so, enjoy this short trip through logic, past deduction, around wild fantasy, and on into relative meaning, with bells and whistles absent their usual places of honor…..

“Even for a wizard there will often come times when someone close to you, perhaps even your spouse, criticizes your habits by comparing them to those of animals. This is distinctly unfair to the animals, who have far better habits than we in many areas. When, for example, have you seen a frog collecting taxes or a squirrel running for electoral office? Present arguments like these to those people who criticize you. If they still do not see the wisdom of your ways, you may then feel free to bite them.” — The Teachings of Ebenezum, Vol. IX

“The interval between the decay of the old and the formation and establishment of the new constitutes a period of transition which must always necessarily be one of uncertainty, confusion, error, and wild and fierce fanaticism.” — John C. Calhoun (Careful, this one is real, and should not be treated without the care and respect due any stinging insect…..)

DUMBO- sucked into the engine of a 747. — The TRUE fates of your favorite Disney characters (Sad, but true…..)

“The universe has fascinated mankind for many, many years, dating back to the very earliest episodes of Star Trek, when the brave crew of the Enterprise set out, wearing pajamas, to explore the boundless voids of space, which turned out to be as densely populated as Queens, New York. Virtually every planet they found was inhabited, usually by evil beings with cheap costumes and Russian accents, so finally the brave crew of the Enterprise returned to Earth to gain weight and make movies.” — Dave Barry

Anything free is worth what you pay for it. — Smart Bee (Caution: this one is also real…. ignore at your peril…..)

Death is only a state of mind.  Only it doesn’t leave you much time to think about anything else. — Smart Bee

and finally, as the perfect finish to such an entropically enhanced pearl…..

“You were s’posed to laugh!” — Zippy the Pinhead
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Life is good…. my lawyer’s office has all the needed material, and it will all get filed with the federal analyst today, or early tomorrow….. I am now officially in waiting mode, ever hopeful of a decision in a timely fashion….. but, as I mentioned to the associate, it IS a federal bureaucracy, and common sense has nothing to do with the process….. Given the alternatives, I’ll take it….. and you, sadly, will have to take this Pearl, as is, with no ups, and no extras…. but, that is probably for the best, as any alterations can cause an explosion…..  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!

Critical differences of filigree….

Ffolkes,
Perspective…. one of our most valuable perceptive qualities. The perspective from which one views any piece of information can determine not only the importance of the data, but how one processes it. Now that I have some degree of perspective on the events of yesterday, during my adventures out in the Big Blue Room, I can see why yesterday’s Pearl seemed to flow so smoothly onto the page….. Murphy was once again at work, lulling me into complacency, and setting me up for the roller-coaster ride to come….

As a matter of fact, no, I don’t have a life. — Smart Bee

Without going into details, which were hard enough to consider as they occurred, let’s just say that Mr. Irish Fatalist spent much of the afternoon hanging about my vicinity, directing traffic, so to speak, making sure that only the most frustrating and annoying people approached me, and only the laziest, most indifferent office drones weren’t getting their work done because they were gossiping too long. He also made sure that the bureaucracy I was dealing with followed its insane regulations to the letter, thereby bringing the entire system to a crashing halt every few minutes…. The net result was a no-doubt entertaining four hours for Murphy, and the same amount of sheer frustration and mounting pain for me…. quite a party…..

It’s your right to be stupid, but it doesn’t mean you should be. — Smart Bee

With the perspective that today brings, I can slough off the emotional detritus that resulted from the day’s events, though it’s a bit harder to throw off the stiffness that being up on my feet for so many hours brings. With that perspective, I can look back and assign a whole different value to what took place yesterday. I did accomplish all I set out to do when I left the house, so all in all, the day can be considered a win….and that’s a good thing. So, I’ll just leave yesterday where it belongs… in the past, and we will proceed into another day, a bit late (like about four hours late… I was tired….), but relatively unbowed. I think, given the state of current affairs, I should go Pearl now….. it’s the only thing that can save me at this point…

“There is no comfort without pain; thus we define salvation through suffering.” — Cato
___________________________________

The Laboratory-Ancien Régime

I.
Now that I, tying thy glass mask tightly,
May gaze thro’ these faint smokes curling whitely,
As thou pliest thy trade in this devil’s-smithy—
Which is the poison to poison her, prithee?

II.
He is with her, and they know that I know
Where they are, what they do: they believe my tears flow
While they laugh, laugh at me, at me fled to the drear
Empty church, to pray God in, for them!—I am here.

III
Grind away, moisten and mash up thy paste,
Pound at thy powder,—I am not in haste!
Better sit thus, and observe thy strange things,
Than go where men wait me and dance at the King’s.

IV
That in the mortar—you call it a gum?
Ah, the brave tree whence such gold oozings come!
And yonder soft phial, the exquisite blue,
Sure to taste sweetly,—is that poison too?

V
Had I but all of them, thee and thy treasures,
What a wild crowd of invisible pleasures!
To carry pure death in an earring, a casket,
A signet, a fan-mount, a filigree basket!

VI
Soon, at the King’s, a mere lozenge to give,
And Pauline should have just thirty minutes to live!
But to light a pastile, and Elise, with her head
And her breast and her arms and her hands, should drop dead!

VII
Quick—is it finished? The colour’s too grim!
Why not soft like the phial’s, enticing and dim?
Let it brighten her drink, let her turn it and stir,
And try it and taste, ere she fix and prefer!

VIII
What a drop! She’s not little, no minion like me!
That’s why she ensnared him: this never will free
The soul from those masculine eyes,—Say, “no!”
To that pulse’s magnificent come-and-go.

IX
For only last night, as they whispered, I brought
My own eyes to bear on her so, that I thought
Could I keep them one half minute fixed, she would fall
Shriveled; she fell not; yet this does it all!

X
Not that I bid you spare her the pain;
Let death be felt and the proof remain:
Brand, burn up, bite into its grace—
He is sure to remember her dying face!

XI
Is it done? Take my mask off! Nay, be not morose;
It kills her, and this prevents seeing it close;
The delicate droplet, my whole fortune’s fee!
If it hurts her, beside, can it ever hurt me?

XII
Now, take all my jewels, gorge gold to your fill,
You may kiss me, old man, on my mouth if you will!
But brush this dust off me, lest horror it brings
Ere I know it—next moment I dance at the King’s!

Robert Browning

Riding other people’s roller coasters through their heads can be fun!…..
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There are those who claim that magic is like the tide; that it swells  and fades over the surface of the earth, collecting in concentrated pools here and there, almost disappearing from other spots, leaving them parched for wonder. There are also those who believe that if you stick your fingers up your nose and blow, it will increase your  intelligence. — “The Teachings of Ebenezum, Volume VII”

Whether we are atheist, agnostic, faithful, or dogmatic, the one idea that all can agree on is that the ONLY real power that a person has in this Universe is the power of choice. Religionists will admit that “free will” is the property of mankind; it makes them nervous, but it’s right there in the Bible, so they have to accept it, by their own rules. Those of us who prefer to decide for ourselves about such matters still must yield to natural law, to which the concept of choice is certainly subject. Thus it can be used as a point of reference upon which to base discussion between the differing parties…. Not that it ever does, since, being people, they’re all stubborn as a wood post, and generally find some other reason to get miffed about, thereby avoiding having their assumptions tested….

“Whatever we cannot easily understand we call God; this saves much wear and tear on the brain tissues.” — Edward Abbey

It is this tendency, this stubborn refusal to change, that is the bane of my existence. I have no real prejudice against stupid people; stupidity itself is incurable, and, in its own way, can be charming. But, its concomitant companion, ignorance, is a matter of choice, and is  therefore unforgivable. One cannot help not being able to learn quickly or well, but one can still learn. To my way of looking at the world, between two sins, that of pre-marital sex, (labeled so by virtually every Christian sect….), and that of choosing to be ignorant, the latter is by far of greater harm, morally, ethically, and culturally.

“It’s your right to be stupid, but it doesn’t mean you should be, or have to be.” — Smart Bee

“My momma says stupid is as stupid does.” — Forrest Gump

This is where choice is so important…. In order to NOT concede the illogic of refusing to learn from new sources of information (rather than trusting only one source that never changes), one must choose. In order to NOT see the harm being caused by that refusal, one must choose. In order to NOT admit to hatred, prejudice, bigotry, and elitism, one must choose. And all those choices are, at their core, selfish, vain, ethically and morally bankrupt, and, ultimately, cowardly. To choose to be ignorant is to choose self over others, to choose avarice over compassion, and to choose hatred over tolerance. The most zealous believers even believe that their ignorance is what makes them special…. It does, actually… especially stupid…

“No man is an Island, entire of it self; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” — John Donne  — Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1624)

We all have heard the above line “No man is an island”…. if you haven’t, well, I really can’t say much other than “what planet have you been visiting?”…  :-)   It’s been discussed to death, and I’m not going to do so here…. I’m just going to use it to finish out this thought re: stupidity vs. ignorance…. Essentially, each of us is a part of the tapestry that is Life…. a thread, if you will, in the complex, colorful, agonizingly beautiful, and painfully ugly picture of the world that hangs on the wall of the Universe.

My purpose in Life is to learn enough to make my part of the picture all it can possibly be; it seems to me my duty, as well as my pleasure (or pain, in turns…). I can’t see the point in making the picture look all the same, or all one color, or all one kind of building…. that is too limited for me. Choosing to limit what one sees in Life is, to me, ignorant…. not stupid, because stupid can learn…. but deliberately ignorant, which goes beyond stupid, into the land of the insane….

“If you live your life out of memory, you live out of your history. That’s what once was. If you live out of your imagination, you live out of your potential. That’s what can be.” — Smart Bee
___________________________________    As promised in an earlier Pearl, more pictures! This one was found on Facebook, posted by my friend Patrick, who posts a LOT of really cool stuff he finds on the Net. I especially like this one, aside from the obvious cute factor, for the absolute accuracy it displays regarding the nature of the adolescent feline. He’s just doing his thing….

How is that relevant today? It’s like this…. this blog, it seems, is now my thing….. It’s what I do, to be who and what I am now. Part of that, in fact, a large part, has been to write about my thoughts on religion, politics, and other subjects that I won’t discuss with people as a general rule, at least not face to face. This is, of course, a result of having learned, like most ffolkes, that discussing those first two subjects often leads to conflict, and isn’t worth the effort on a risk vs. gain basis. One can easily lose friends and alienate people in short order by making (unpopular or oppositional ) opinions known. This reluctance to talk about preachers & pundits in conversation, I’ve found, though a good policy for interpersonal relationships in general, has a deleterious effect on my sense of honesty…. Hence, Pearls of Virtual Wisdom….

I’d like to make something clear here… I write a lot of stuff that is critical of the Christian churches, and don’t always take the time to make clear that I am speaking of the institutions, not necessarily the people who are part of those institutions. Or more specifically, I am speaking about those who administrate, or operate, the institutions, and not about the people who attend the church itself. The difference between those two sets of people is significant, and large. Those who run the churches do so out of motives vastly different from those who attend the services; their intent resembles more that of a politician than a supplicant. Many who come to church do so out of their own need for meaning in their lives, hoping to find compassion and support. Those who run the church do so because the money is good, and the work is easy; and many come to find escape from having to think for themselves….

I would estimate that of the total number of people in the world who consider themselves to be Christians, about 35% are people who actually try to live their lives as would Christ have done, with compassion and service to others. I find that these ffolkes are embarrassed by the other 65%, who are in it for whatever they can get from it, or for the solace they find in being sheep, part of a group that is special, because they are the only ones going to heaven….

Religions have done some good in history, but even the good they do is ill-advised, as it usually serves the purposes of the beloved ruling class, more than it serves to provide succor and relief to the poor. The ignorance and prejudices that most religions foster have caused far more damage, in producing cultural mistrust, in advocating wars, than any of the good they have done. It is this against which I rail, not against the people who try to live up to the most excellent, if not universally flexible, teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. The people who become preachers, priests, imams, or any other title for a religious leader, come from the same group of people who produce politicians, corporate magnates, and the others in the human herd that prey on the rest of us…..

Personally, I don’t consider myself to be omniscient, so I can’t claim to be qualified to define an entity who is so by definition; neither do I consider any other human being qualified to do so. I have my opinions, of course, and others are welcome to theirs; but they are just opinions, and have no other bearing on reality. I so wish that people could understand that delicate, subtle, difference. But, as long as there are folks who insist on having their opinion “rule the roost”, I guess I’ll have stuff to write about…. good for me, not so much for them….   :-)
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There you have it. The straight word, straight from the somewhat feverish mind of gigoid on a Saturday morning…. Such as it is, so shall it be…. I have spoken. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you….


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!

As the plan developed, Murphy laughed….

Ffolkes,
Lost again in reverie, I gaze blankly into space, imagining beautiful words parading across the screen, words so poignant, so powerful, they bring tears. The words speak to the part of each reader that is within me, that common ground of fellow-feeling, that spark of humanity that connects us all.  The tears are not always sad; often they are (in my mind’s eye) full of such joy that the tears fall of their own accord, as if the morning sun had arisen in our very souls. Whether sad or joyous, beauty remains, always there for us to reach out and touch, and be touched. And when the words have worked their benign magic, the world turns again, and a new day begins…….
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“Life is cruel? Compared to what?” — Edward Abbey

One of the better methods for identifying wisdom is to learn that it is generally close by the person who asks the questions that occur to no one else. I’ve noticed this a lot with Edward Abbey’s writings; he has a pretty powerful grip on what is important to know, and a very deft touch in putting it into a palatable form.

This, as it turns out in reality, is a valuable characteristic, and one of the ways society passes knowledge from one person to the next. Not everyone is curious, even if they should be. All too many folks spend the greater portion of their mental energy just coping with everyday life, with little left over at the end of the day to put into “frivolous” activities. Sad, but true.

But, fortunately for society, not everyone can curb their curiosity; some of us just HAVE to know what is out there to be found, or seen, or learned. It’s like breathing; you can stop if you like, but you won’t enjoy the outcome at all. By learning to put questions to the universe in perspective, they are shared with others, thus sharing the product of their curiosity with their fellows, who don’t have the time or inclination to use their mind for anything other than mundane pursuits. I’m awfully glad that those folks are out there; the world would be a lonely, and confusing place to live if they were not……

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” — Voltaire
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“There is the truth, and there are lies, and there is nothing on Earth or in the Netherhells that does not fall under one of these two headings, with the exception of politics.” — The Teachings of Ebenezum, Vol. LXXXVIII

Watching the political scene in this country unfold over the last few months has been enough to place the impulse to make political commentary on a par with repeatedly banging one’s head against a brick wall. Hell, there are times when the brick wall looks like a better way to spend time than trying to either make sense of the circus, or waste time criticizing it.

I don’t yet have enough of a reading audience to spread my particular brand of ideology to the great unwashed masses, and I often feel like a blind man in a dark room, trying to hit a piñata with a wiffle bat while listening to bad mariachi music (which is, come to think of it, an oxymoron). I think, in fact that I will have to take a sabbatical from political discourse; it’s beginning to have a deleterious effect on my sleep patterns, and I’m certainly not going to allow such nonsense to affect my health.

Have no fear though; I am sure that the antics of the talking heads leading up to the election in November will pull and push me into commenting before too long. But, it’s so depressing….. makes me wanna go take a nap, and hope it goes away while I’m dozing……fat chance of that, though…..
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Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp! cries she
With silent lips.  Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me…
— Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus”

As most know, this is the poem that was written for the Statue of Liberty, to show the rest of the world how tolerant and free American had become; it espouses the (supposedly) American ideal of society. Today, I’d wager a significant amount of money to bet that 75% of the Americans not only couldn’t tell you the source of the poem, but would tell you they disagree with it. Our leaders, and much of the populace, no longer believe in the melting pot; they would rather seal the borders, and keep the rest of the world out.

Diversity, while already fully ensconced in the structure of society, is being systematically attacked by the forces of ignorance and intolerance, who would rather keep freedom to themselves. They don’t even realize that they have already lost; there are too many outlooks and cultures assimilated into this society to be removed without destroying themselves along with those members of society of whom they disapprove. The pot has already melted the disparate parts into a homogeneous whole; the folks who want to make this a “one-book” society are already in the minority. They just refuse to admit it, which creates a lot of hassle for the rest of us.

Sometimes I am unsure whether to be optimistic, or pessimistic; both have their uses.  Optimism feels better, but pessimism is right more often. Oh, well, I guess I’ll go take a nap…..
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“You can always tell an old soldier from the inside of his holsters and cartridge boxes.  The young ones carry pistols and cartridges: the old ones, grub.” — George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), “Arms and the Man”

Though I managed to avoid that whole mess in Vietnam, I was raised as an army brat, living mostly on bases where my father was stationed until he retired from the Army, when I was ten years old. Having been raised on army bases, I was made fully conversant with how the army works, by the process of osmosis; you can’t help but pick up a lot of abstruse knowledge living around soldiers all the time. Thus, I can say with some degree of confidence that although Mr. Shaw’s statement is true, it is only true as far as his knowledge goes. And, it is clear that he himself never served in an army, or he would never have made such a simple mistake.

Yes, an old soldier will carry food, but even more important to him (and his mates) would be to make sure he was carrying toilet paper and clean, dry socks. THOSE are the most highly prized items for a soldier in the field. Bullets and guns are never in short supply, unless a troop has an inept company clerk, and food will eventually show up (or you can commandeer it from the citizenry), but once the TP is gone, it’s gone, and there is no good replacement in nature. And, to an infantryman, dry socks are better by far than gold or jewels, for foot soldiers live only as long as they can still walk…..comfortably……
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These in the days when Heaven is falling
The hour when Earth’s foundations fled
Followed their mercenary calling
And took their wages and are dead.
Their shoulders held the sky suspended
They stood and Earth’s foundations stay
What God abandoned these defended
And took the sum of things for pay.
–A.E. Houseman–Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

It is said of people that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In the case of my daughter, that is both true and not true; but mostly it is true. She followed my example and learned to read by age four. By the second grade, she was devouring books at an alarming rate, books well beyond her grade level (she read the Hobbit at age six). I say alarming only because she was reading so far above her grade level that I was worried it would cause problems in relating to her peers. But, she indeed didn’t fall far, because instead she learned to use, and still uses, what she has read to help her in dealing with the surprises that life brings.

The above is a a poem that she wrote down for me, from memory, one day when we were on a high-flying discussion of some of what we had read in common. She feels the same as I do about poetry, and for much the same reasons, in that she appreciates the poet’s ability to use the language in such a powerful way.

Both she, and her older brother, learned to read at four years, although he is of a personality type that, while he enjoys books and literature, and reads well beyond the average, he prefers to partake of the bulk of his learning from experience. Both of them make me proud, and glad that they will always have the comfort of books to ease their path through the mazes of life. And I am content that, if no other way, I gave them tools that will always serve them well……
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Thus ends another morning’s musings. Hopefully, you have found some food for thought, or at least a humorous snack. I have been up since 5 AM again, so I may just take my own advice, and go back to bed until a more reasonable hour. Hmm….sounds attractive. Unless something pops up before I can get comfy, I can’t see any reason to deny myself that little indulgence. There ARE advantages to this retirement stuff, besides having a lot more time to write….good thing, too, as there are other parts that aren’t as pleasurable, like aging…..y’all take care out there…..


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!