Don’t fret, it’s only a faux-artichoke impression…..

Ffolkes,

Today is, of course, a day of infamy in this country, and though I’ve never really explored the events of that day in depth, I have expressed my thoughts to a small degree in previous posts on this blog. I suppose one could say that my view of the events is rather different than the normal run of reactions, since I firmly believe that, though it may or may not have been ordered by one of the shrubs (probably the senior, in defense of the junior, who was in serious trouble at the time of the attack, belabored by accusations of election fixing and general political malfeasance), was certainly used by them and their cronies to not only cement junior’s position, but to fan the flames of paranoid fear among the populace, in order to continue the assault on the Bill or Rights that has been raging for years….

I realize the intro section is not the place to rant, on ANY subject, but, the day’s significance to the public cannot be denied, and who am I to refrain from using it just like any other journalist or writer, to fuel my own production with emotionally charged material, taking advantage of the hullabaloo to add my voice to the cacophony that will assail our ears today? No, indeed, I’m as unprincipled as the best of them when it comes to using whatever is at hand to write about; I’m not so sanguine as to think what I have to say will sway any opinions, or cause any new conniptions amongst the elite, but, it does keep me off the streets, for the most part….

However, I have to say this…. Most folks, and even ffolkes, in this country, see the attacks that took place on 9/11/11 as military, or at minimum, terrorist attacks on the US, aimed at the people who live here, and seen as a battle in a war that is going on between us and much of the Muslim world….. I, however, see it as merely another example of the extremity of the human spirit, wherein insane, religious fanatics were manipulated by members of the BRC, (specifically one who was formerly head of the world’s most infamous spy agency), into performing what was actually a brilliant tactical maneuver (when viewed dispassionately, the attacks MUST be considered brilliant strategy, as the military objectives were reached with minimal expenditure of effort on the part of the executing team, utilizing materials at hand to cause major property damage, and significant casualties, even if those casualties were civilian, and not military….), all of which was carried out on the world’s stage for maximum effect.

Most of the people who reacted so strongly in the wake of the events of 9/11 did so without ever considering the larger picture. They only looked at what happened from the standpoint of being victimized, and, in the final analysis, are even more ignorant, and more easily manipulated now, than they were on that day. I am speaking of the public’s reaction; I don’t think that much of what we heard from the BRC has any real meaning, as any surprise they showed was pure method acting, and all of their rote responses were straight from the script they were provided when they became working members of the cultural elite.

Yes, ffolkes, I believe the whole thing was a conspiracy, and though I cannot point any fingers at specific culprits, I can certainly identify the main group of them…. Since everything I write here is being scrutinized by the myrmidons employed by the NSA to protect the BRC’s investment in political and societal manipulation, I hesitate to actually name names; once I do that, they have ample reason to come and take me away, to see whether I am holding any real, solid, on-paper evidence, or if I am only relating the ideas my intelligence and reasoning have deduced from the visible evidence. If the latter, I’m no real danger to them; they pretty much have complete control of the routes of perception for most of society, and can shut me down anytime, should they wish to do so.

If, however, I have real evidence, such as that made public by Eric Snowden, the first patriotic martyr of the twenty-first century, who has essentially given up on ever having a life, for telling the truth about the NSA, and providing solid, provable evidence for the public to see, then I am, as he is, a real danger to them, and they WILL do all they can to shut me down, as they have attempted to do to him…. He MAY still be alive (I have no evidence of that one way or another, and don’t exactly trust the news to tell the whole tale….), but, his life is all-but-over, for the political beast never forgets, and never forgives, especially when guilty of what they are accused of doing.

So, if the Pearls of Daily Wisdom ever fail to get posted, and there is no word from me as to why not, y’all will know they’ve come to “discuss” my theories with me, with the full intent of convincing me to shut the hell up…. If they continue to ignore me, you will continue to hear my ideas about the Beloved Ruling Class, and their campaign to take away all the liberties, to which we are presumably entitled, by the sacrifices made by the founders of this country.

Now that I’ve completely screwed up the order of events here, we’ll go on to the rest of today’s effort, little as it may turn out to be…. Shall we Pearl?….

Be what you is, ’cause if you is what you ain’t, then you ain’t what you is.” — Satchel Paige

“We would like to apologize for the way in which politicians are represented in this programme.  It was never our intention to imply that politicians are weak-kneed, political time-servers who are more concerned with their personal vendettas and private power struggles than the problems of government, nor to suggest at any point that they sacrifice their credibility by denying free debate on vital matters in the mistaken impression that party unity comes before the well-being of the people they supposedly represent, nor to imply at any stage that they are squabbling little toadies without an ounce of concern for the vital social problems of today.  Nor indeed do we intend that viewers should consider them as crabby ulcerous little self-seeking vermin with furry legs and an excessive addiction to a alcohol and certain explicit sexual practices which some people might find offensive.  We are sorry if this impression has come across.” — Monty Python
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When I began to gather the pearls for this old-school version, I intended for it to point out more about the subjects discussed in the introductory rant…. During that process, it turned on me, into the shape and style you see below…. Though it doesn’t exactly match what I’ve said above, it does have a lot to say about the society in which we live, and some of the ideas that can help us to better understand it, and our own position within that structure….. I think….

No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.” — Taoist Proverb

“He who has a WHY to live for can bear with almost any HOW.” — F. Nietzsche

“You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity, and in as many ways as possible, that you were a worthless human being. You were not expected to aspire to excellence;you were expected to make peace with mediocrity. Wherever you have turned, you have been told where you could go and what you could do ( and _how_  you could do it) and where you could live and whom you could marry. I know your countrymen do not agree with me about this, and I hear them saying, “You exaggerate.” — James Baldwin,_The Fire Next Time_, 1964

“For himself doth a man work evil in working evils for another.” — Hesiod (c. 700 BC) — Works and Days, Line 265

“All history shows that every man who has authority is led to abuse it; he does not stop until he comes up against limitations…Things must be so arranged that one authority checks another.” — Montesquieu

“Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. All through history, mankind has been bullied by scum. Those who lord it over their fellows and toss commands in every direction and would boss the grass in the meadow about which way to bend in the wind are the most depraved kind of prostitutes. They will submit to any indignity, perform any vile act, do anything to achieve power. The worst off-sloughings of the planet are the ingredients of sovereignty. Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us.” — P.J. O’Rourke, _Parliament of Whores_

“Muddy water let stand becomes clear.” — Lao Tzu
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For most of us, this poem needs no introduction…. It also fits in very nicely with today’s apparent theme….

The Hollow Men

Mistah Kurtz-he dead
            A penny for the Old Guy

I

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

II

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer-

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom

III

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

IV

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.

V

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
 Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
    Life is
    For Thine is the
   
    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.

~~ T.S. Eliot ~~
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“If you can see a thing whole… it seems that it’s always beautiful. Planets, lives…But close up, a world’s all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life’s a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. You need distance, interval. The way to see how beautiful the earth is, is to see it as the moon. The way to see how beautiful a life is, is to see it from the vantage point of death.” — Ursula K. Le Guin, Dispossessed

Ursula LeGuin is indubitably one of the world’s greatest living writers, of ANY kind of literature…. That may be my opinion, but, it is shared by many in the Science Fiction genre, and anyone else who has read her work. This is such a beautiful sentiment that I’m not going to degrade it with any of my own thoughts on the same subject…. There is nothing I could possibly write to make this better, or to enhance it in any way…. it stands alone….
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Well, it’s certainly a Pearl, so let’s see if it holds up to initial scrutiny….. Wow…. It’s nothing, if not epic, to be sure…. Hopefully, it isn’t so much it will drive ffolkes away when they see what they’re getting into….. Hope springs eternal, does it not? In any case, it’s done, and it ain’t bad, so, it will now suffer the fate of each of the last 810+ Pearls, and get posted forthwith…. See ya tomorrow….. Well, if I’m still free and able to type, anyway…. Ta then…..

Y’all take care out there,
and May the Metaphorse be with you;
Blessed Be, dearest Carole,
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

Secrets to becoming an Adept….

Ffolkes,
Caution–I was not hired for my disposition…. I’ve always known, it seems, that anger is what we use to cover up our fear, so it is really no surprise to me to feel the depths of anger I am currently feeling. I know exactly why I’m angry, and of what I am afraid; they (the ubiquitous ‘they’…) never tell us whether or not it is ever justified to feel this way, though, so I do have some slight guilt, for feeling anger at any who may not deserve it…. That guilt, however, is very small, and won’t affect my letting that anger out on somebody, should the right circumstances arise; I’m feeling very justified in my anger, and I don’t much care if it spills onto someone…. folks will just have to take the risk today, if they wish to deal with me…. because I am one pissed off puppy…. thanks to the power of bureaucracy….

“Bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible.” — Javier Pascual Salcedo

My anger is so strong right now, it is almost a palpable thing, and it is probably fortunate that I don’t plan on actually seeing anyone face to face today. I have no money, so it will be off the library later to post and check email, where I don’t have to talk to anyone unless I choose. I’m also so out of money that I’m still out of cigarettes to smoke, and the 96 plus  hours of doing without is doing wonders for the anger…. fanning it nicely into a very respectable rage… I kind of hope a creditor calls this morning, so I could let some of this out on someone who deserves it….. Plus, since I haven’t smoked a cigarette in that long, my cough is actively trying to turn my lungs inside out, to get rid of the crap in there, so I can, if I’m lucky, cough right in some asshole’s ear….

You know, one of the things I’ve noticed about creditor companies, you know the ones who call up to harass you about a bill you never made, or one you’ve paid off, or one you are late on by a day or two…. it is always a male who calls…. Apparently they can’t get women to do that sort of dunning on the phone, because I’ve never had a woman’s voice call me about any of those kinds of things…. Interesting, eh? Sorry, little side-track…. but, it really doesn’t surprise me that men are the only people with enough asshole in their system to do the job….

Well, that certainly covers enough ground to be considered an introduction, though it doesn’t introduce much of anything….. I suppose one might say it fits right into the uncategorizeable  nature of most of what goes into these sections of the Pearls. “Typical” is a word that seldom applies around here, by design…. so, we’ll just pass over that like it isn’t there, and get on with the standard activities for which we are gathered…. Shall we Pearl?….

“And sometimes the bear eats you.” — Smart Bee
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So, I’m cruising, looking for a pearl, and this picture pops up on my desktop…. it is one I found on Facebook months ago, and may have used previously, once, as part of another pearl…. I’m not sure. But, since it has been almost an hour since anything interesting either came up on the dB screen, or in my head ( writing poetry does that to my head for a while…. just a dial-tone sounding buzz in there….), I figure this will do. It is one of those pictures that stimulate inner dialogue in the viewer…. Well, it does in me, anyway…. My first thought when I saw it was, “Oh, poor baby!”, in reaction to her terrified expression and posture, and the second was, “What a perfect caption!”, because, if I were caught in this position, those would be my exact words….

    Onward….
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Penance, Made Simple

After all the dross is sent away
a celebration can begin,
time will face up to space, to stay
willing, to shine from within.

Anger and confusion come in to share
brushing reason aside,
eager to welcome all that is fair,
alert to danger, eyes wide.

Re-gift the wicked with their own pain
stand with the just;
fail to partake of the ill-gotten gain,
living in honor, the only must.

Standing fast in the face of wrong
is its own prize and reward.
Holding on to truth makes us strong,
well worth working toward.

Little is left to chance by fate
our lessons are never free of cost.
Seldom does reality make us wait
only when alone, are we lost.

~~ gigoid
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I am too angry to rant…. I know, that sounds silly, but it really isn’t….. I am so incensed at the disregard for human needs that is shown by our federal government, I am too distracted to focus down and use my mind to write about it. I know, I hear, or read, about it, and write about it frequently, in one or another of my political or religious (I reckon that should more accurately be, anti-political and anti-religious….) rants, but this is different. It is too close to home, and affects me too directly; I start to write about it, and get all tensed up, and then the uncontrollable weeping to which I am subject under stress starts, my head fills up with fluids, and it’s a big mess….

So, rather than get into that whole ball of wax, I’m going to gather together some appropriate pearls to take my shots at the talking heads today…. If you don’t know at whom these are directed, just pick a government agency, or a candidate for election, or a local/national religious pundit, and apply it to them. It will probably fit just fine…. Any who, here are a bunch of comments on the asininity of government, and those who engage in it…..

“…I am opposed to all attempts to license or restrict the arming of individuals…I consider such laws a violation of civil liberty, subversive of democratic political institutions, and self-defeating in their purpose.” — Robert A. Heinlein, in a 1949 letter concerning “Red Planet”

“Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.” — Lazarus Long

“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.” — Smart Bee
(See Italian Proverb, below, for further wisdom on this subject….)

Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. — United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
— adopted Dec.10, 1948. — This article is frequently violated in both spirit and letter — by most UN member governments, including that of the United States.

“Many politicians … are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition, that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim.” — Thomas Babington Macaulay

“He who knows nothing, doubts nothing.” — Italian Proverb
(Rather a precise definition of the members of the Westwood Baptist Church, wouldn’t you say?…. It is also pretty scary-correct if applied to just about any Congressional committee, or even Congressional member…. Hmm… come to think of it, it DOES apply, to virtually ANY Congressional member, House or Senate….)

It took a while, but I found a fitting final pearl for this spot. The above paints a complex picture of life, even though focused only on one or two aspects of public behavior, to wit: politics and religion, as affected by and related to, human stupidity, or cupidity, take your choice…. Hmph, sorry, I get wound up…. any who, this is so elemental, I’m leaving it alone, to stand alone….

“Grain grows best in shit.” — Ursula K. LeGuin
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“Don’t hold to anger, hurt or pain.  They steal your energy and keep you from love.” — Leo F. Buscaglia

“Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans; it’s lovely to be silly at the right moment.” — Horace (65-8 B.C.)

In looking back over today’s effort, I see that once again, fate intervened to direct my hand (or, my unconscious mind knows me better than my conscious mind does….). These two pearls were collected during my search this morning, even though they didn’t fit right in with what I was seeking, and I didn’t know why I kept them, for sure. But, now I see, they were needed…. by me. Well, and maybe by you, as well, after getting through my drivel this morning…. In any case, they are quite acceptable as final thoughts, so, they stay…. and we can now get on with the rest of our day, such as it may turn out to be….  Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..

So much for formatting….


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!

Ultimately, the scorpion went away…..

Ffolkes,
Sadly, I haven’t finished moving, though it is progressing fairly well. To save time and energy, both of which are currently in short supply, today’s Pearl will consist entirely of quotes, sans my usual commentary…. regular readers may fill in what they believe I might have commented, or discussed, or ranted about…. newcomers will enjoy the poem, if naught else makes sense…. hope y’all are doing well out there… things should be back to normal in a day or two…. or as close to normal as I am capable of getting…. Shall we Pearl?…..
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“True myth may serve for thousands of years as an inexhaustible source of intellectual speculation, religious joy, ethical inquiry, and artistic renewal.  The real mystery is not destroyed by reason.  The fake one is.  You look at it and it vanishes.  You look at the Blonde Hero–really look–and he turns into a gerbil.  But you look at Apollo, and he looks back at you.  The poet Rilke looked at a statue of Apollo about fifty years ago, and Apollo spoke to him.  ‘You must change your life,’ he said.  When the true myth rises into consciousness, that is always its message.  You must change your life.” — Ursula K. LeGuin

A man can’t get rich if he takes proper care of his family. — Navajo Proverb

Here is a little bit of humor to start the day right…..

**  Hello and Welcome to the Psychiatric Hotline **

If you are obsessive-compulsive, please press 1 repeatedly.
If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2.
If you have multiple personalities, please press 3, 4, 5 and 6.
If you are paranoid-delusional, we know who you are and what you want – just stay on the line so we can trace the call.
If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a little voice will tell you which number to press next.
If you are manic-depressive, it doesn’t matter which number you press – no one will answer.
If you suffer from panic attacks, push every button you can find.
If you are sane, please hold on – we have the rest of humanity on the other line and they desperately want to ask you a few questions.
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Black Cat

A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
will be absorbed and utterly disappear:

just as a raving madman, when nothing else
can ease him, charges into his dark night
howling, pounds on the padded wall, and feels
the rage being taken in and pacified.

She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
into her, so that, like an audience,
she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
and curl to sleep with them. But all at once

as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
suspended, like a prehistoric fly.

Rainer Maria Rilke
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“The world holds two classes of men – intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence.” — Abu’l-Ala-Al-Ma’arri (973-1057)

“Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and, above all, love of the truth.” — H.L. Mencken

“Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism.” — Einstein (1879-1955)

These quotes are from three pretty smart fellas…. the first one is an Islamic philosopher and poet, whose philosophy argued that religion is inferior to reason, and only useful to those who seek power over others……. I’d say that’s pretty smart….. You can find more on him in Wikipedia, at this link….   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Ma%CA%BFarri
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This will go down as the shortest Pearl in a very long time….. but, it’s pretty tasty, all in all…. 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!

Table hopping at Godot’s public house….

Ffolkes,
Guilt is a powerful motivator for us humans. Whether we approve of it as an emotion, or fight to eradicate it from our emotional pantheon, it remains as effective at 61 as it was at 16. We cannot help our response to it; we may be able to control that response, and deny guilt what it wishes us to do. Denying the feeling, however, has a price, as it causes the guilt to deepen, and cause even more distress to the organism than initially felt, which is part of why it is such an effective motivator.

Guilt trips:  The nuclear weapon of relationships… — Smart Bee

Why have I woken up feeling guilty? Well, it has to do with this blog, and the wonderful ffolkes who stop by regularly to read it. In the last week or so, I’ve been in a struggle to maintain equilibrium, one of the nice little gifts that having PTSD brings me. One of the side effects of this struggle is a lack of concentration, in this case taking the form of not being able to sit for long, or to concentrate for long on tasks such as reading, as the problems my mind is chewing on keep intruding into the activity I’m trying to carry on.

This makes it really hard to get to all the blog sites I want to, to read what other folks are writing, or see the pictures they’ve taken. It especially bothers me that I can’t see the work of my favorite poets (and poetesses) to keep up my quota of absorption of beauty….. (It also affects the process of creating Pearls, but we won’t get into that right now, as it just feeds the alligator, if you get my drift….)

Hence, the guilt, as I feel I am not fulfilling my duty to them. For that guilt I do not apologize; I do so, however, for not being able to get to their sites, and hope that they will understand. I’m a fast reader, and once I’m able to concentrate long enough to do so, I will get caught up to what has been done in my absence; that is without doubt.

So, to those of my friends who haven’t seen me on their site of late, please forgive me, and rest assured I will be back. It has taken ALL of my considerable mental effort to produce these Pearls each day, but soon I’ll have some extra to spread around, and will be heading over to the sites of those ffolkes who regularly check out mine first thing….and thanks for being patient with my broken brain….

There…. now that I have assuaged at least a portion of the guilt I’ve been making myself suffer from, we can get on with the day’s more important business. Shall we Pearl? I think we shall….
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“Be careless in your dress if you will, but keep a tidy soul.” — Mark Twain

“If you have a particular faith or religion, that is good. But you can survive without it if you have love, compassion, and tolerance. The clear truth of a person’s love of God is if that person genuinely shows love to fellow human beings.” — Dalai Lama

Same idea, as far as I can tell, just expressed differently. In the case of the Dalai Lama, clear, complete, and precise, naming the key elements. In the case of Mr. Twain, deceptively simple and humorous, yet equally broad in scope. One can often see the value of an idea by how well it combines with another, and in this case I think that works quite well, as we may then summarize the two to say, “Love, compassion, and tolerance make for a tidy soul,” which I think is an excellent lesson, and would make a very good koan for meditation. In practice, it holds up just as well, as I have yet to see any display of love, compassion, or tolerance that had a negative effect on reality.

Every religion, or religious philosophy, that I have studied over the years has these three ideas at their core; it is the one area where they all agree. Yet, the application of any of them remains limited to those times when expediency allows it, and very few others. In spite of the centuries of teaching these traits to their devotees, I can see very little evidence that the majority of mankind pays any attention to them outside church, unless it is somehow to their advantage to do so.

This makes what the Dalai Lama said even more relevant, when he noted that one does not NEED a religion to act with love, because it is plain that just having the religious bent does not guarantee such behavior. In fact, it seems to make it easier for people to ignore it, as they know that any transgressions or failures on their part will be forgiven….

It would do very little good for me to further chastise us as a species for our lack of moral behavior, so I’ll not. But I will say that I would wish to see more love, compassion, and tolerance at play in the world at large before I will ever recommend religion, or religious philosophy, to anyone as a cure for immorality, at least, not as one to use outside of the confines of their particular sect. The real world wouldn’t know what to do if it were ever faced with a general outbreak of morality from mankind…. it could shatter the very bonds that hold Reality together, destroying the universe, and life as we know it, for all time…. Is it worth the risk?….. Well, no matter, I don’t see much chance of a huge outpouring of love, compassion, and tolerance happening in the near future, so the risk is small…..

“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. you only need a heart full of grace. a soul generated by love.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
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“I think trash is the most important manifestation of culture we have in my lifetime.”  — Johnny Legend

When I was in my 30’s, I worked a couple of years as a trash collector in Oxnard, CA. In many ways, it was my favorite among all the jobs I’ve had in my life, even more so than being a chef, which was otherwise the most challenging and fulfilling of my chosen professions. But, working outdoors, doing hard physical work, turned out to be very fulfilling, in more ways than just the physical.

I was performing a valuable service to society, even discounting the flaws in the entire system that causes society to produce so much trash that the service is essential to the continued functioning of that culture. Without getting the trash out of the way, society would not just grind to a halt, it would create an environment much more dangerous, from a health standpoint.

This society, world-wide, produces more trash than you can imagine. The sheer bulk of what was moved in one day, in one city, continuously astounded me. Let me crunch a couple of numbers here, to give you a small idea…. I worked for a time on what is called an industrial pickup route, in a truck designed to pick up the trash contained in those large dumpsters all over in the alley ways behind businesses. This truck would hold anywhere from 7 to 10 tons of trash before needing to go to the dump site to unload. Our route usually produced enough to load up twice in one 8 hour shift, so I will average our daily load to 10 tons, for the sake of accuracy in estimation. That is 20,000 lbs. of garbage per day… remember that number.

The city where I worked had 9 of these trucks for industrial pickup, plus three others that were designed to pick up the railroad car sized dumpsters used at construction or demolition sites. Call that an average of 10 trucks a day in use, considering breakdowns and usage patterns. So, 10 trucks, each delivering 20,000 lbs./day to the dump. 200,000 lbs., or a thousand TONS per day, just from the industrial trucks.

There were also 30 household trash trucks, which added another 8 tons/day each to the total. That’s about 240 more TONS per day going into the landfill sites. This is for one average sized city, for one day, remember. 1240 tons/day. My estimates are probably a bit low, as I tried to be careful not to overestimate.

I will leave it as an exercise for the Gentle Reader to determine what these numbers say about our society, and how well we are doing at husbanding the resources of this finite planet upon which we are living. If your calculations, and ruminations, parallel my own, you’ll be depressed for a time…..
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“It’s men who make laws, and enforce them, and break them, and think the whole performance is wonderful.  Most women would rather just ignore them.” — Ursula K. Le Guin

I would say that we may accept this as being true; it has points that support that assumption well. First, a woman said it, so it is most likely to be accurate in describing the woman’s view on laws. Second, a mature, well-educated woman said it, so the observation it makes about men has the advantage of long-term study of a large sample of men by a reasonably objective observer. Third, it matches my own experience, and I would guess that anyone who took the time to think about it will be forced to agree that it makes perfect sense….

This in no way is meant to provide fuel to the fire of the idea of a war between the sexes. I’ve never really bought into that, as it is counter-productive in the most basic sense, i.e., survival as a species. A war between male and female is just a term some lazy guy used because he were ashamed of not being able to understand women….

“Men are more sentimental then women. It blurs their thinking.” — Lazarus Long, from Robert A. Heinlein’s “Time Enough For Love”

As much as men like to think they are more scientific minded than women, they also lack the objectivity that women have regarding certain aspects of life. Lazarus points out the reason behind that, while at the same time giving a clue to how to deal with it in one’s self. Learning to acknowledge one’s vulnerabilities makes it much simpler to account for them, and to provide them with defensive measures, or to set them aside temporarily.

Of course, this also means that they must learn to set aside their sense of pride, which is probably misplaced in any case. Pride should only be entertained in cases of having earned it for some extraordinary effort, not for a mere state of being. (I never understood how a lot of men, and women, say they are proud to be American, when they had nothing to do with becoming one. Their parents might be entitled to some pride for having made their children good Americans, but the child has no right to pride before earning it…..)

I have been of the opinion for a long time that we need to devise a different method for choosing the leaders of society. The system as it exists is just about as worthless as it can be, as it is designed to give the power to make decisions for society to those people who are the worst at it, as they look at the task from a completely self-serving, avaricious standpoint, and tend to use it for no one’s benefit but their own.

I usually will vote for any woman candidate on a ballot that I see, just to see if any changes can be encouraged, but, unfortunately, most of the women on the ballots are there for the same reason as the men, having become convinced that assuming male characteristics is the key to success in that world.

“If men can run the world, why can’t they stop wearing neckties? How intelligent is it to start the day by tying a little noose around your neck?” — Linda Ellerbee

I’d best bring this to a close, if I am to get anything else done today, as this is an issue that can never be resolved. It can’t be resolved because it is not a problem…. it is the state of reality, and it will change all on its own. No, the problems that men and women have between them are not resolvable by thinking about the issue as a war (though Sun Tzu’s principles CAN be useful in inter-gender relations…), because as one species, that makes no sense, from any perspective.

Instead, we can try to look at the issue as one of education and communication, and try to increase our understanding of one another by honest talk…. Hey, it’s worth a try, especially as it hasn’t been tried very often before, on a large scale…. couldn’t hurt, could it?….Well, a bit of pain goes along with growth….
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Dance and Provencal song and sunburnt mirth!
Oh for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene!
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth.
— John Keats (1795-1821) — Ode to a Nightingale

Ah, Keats! In his 26 short years on this planet, he wrote poetry that changed the genre, for the better in my opinion, for all time. He wrote prolifically, thank goodness, over the few years his life allowed him the freedom to do so. It is painful to think of how much the world lost when he died so young, the victim of the ignorance of medicine of his time. I can never decide if immortality is worth the price that often must be paid to achieve it…. I need another poem….

A long, long sleep, a famous sleep
That makes no show for dawn
By stretch of limb or stir of lid, –
An independent one.

Was ever idleness like this?
Within a hut of stone
To bask the centuries away
Nor once look up for noon?
— Emily Dickinson

Okay, I’m good now…. let’s go on….
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“I always have a quotation for everything — it saves original thinking.” — Dorothy L. Sayers

If one is unfamiliar with Dorothy Sayers, this may seem a bit sarcastic, or sardonic, take your pick. But, in reality, she must have said this with a perfectly straight face, in the complete and serene knowledge that it is nonsensical, at least in its conclusion; the first part is perfectly true. I don’t know when in her life she said or wrote this, but her originality, as far as I am concerned, is not a matter of debate, having been proven beyond any such consideration by the advent of her oh, fourth or fifth novel.

Her scholarly achievements were obvious from her time at University, and though I am not familiar with her work from then, I’m sure there are indications of the vast pool of her imagination, and the untested, unknown waters that flowed through it, promising visions of completely new areas of thought and experience. These indications were later fulfilled in her writings over the following decades of the mid-twentieth century.

Her mystery novels were so rich in detail, so perfectly reflective of the culture of her age, and the society in which she lived, they  provided a completely new direction to the entire field of writing mysteries, prompting changes reflected in every story by every author whose work she influenced, which conceivably includes all of them that came after.

The Lord Peter Whimsey novels, in and of themselves, would be considered a lifetime’s worth of output for any author, an output that deserved great pride of accomplishment. But, that was not the limit of her imagination, nor of the range of her interests. She also produced a complete translation of Dante’s works, considered to be the definitive standard for such books, among other scholarly and fictional works . She was an amazing woman, a truly gifted author, and one of the finest examples of what a human being can be…. in my humble opinion….
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That was fun. It’s nice to be able to finish up with a positive piece; it puts a nice cap to the effort. So nice, I’m going to let it go at that…. 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!

Several handsome acolytes boarded the Pequod….

Ffolkes,
The gloves are coming off today; I can feel it already…. My curmudgeonly side is awake and eager to dive into today’s Pearl with a vengeance, and my radical side is right behind, goading him on.  Throw in my current lack of anything to lose, other than my life and dignity, and a dash of outrage, and it makes for a quite volatile package.  It promises to get interesting, for sure….

That being said, in fair warning, let us warm up with a bit of phantasm, eh?…..

As he moved up the steps from the street to the door of home, Samuel Beck could only feel relief and fatigue. Visions of a warm fire, a comfortable chair, and a bracing snifter of Napoleon’s finest merged happily in the forefront of his mind as he fit his key into the lock. Comforting visions vanished away, instantly, as the door slowly swung open before he turned the key, revealing a scene of such horror, of such vicious terror, that it would never fade completely from his memory.

A body, of a mid-sized man in all-over black clothing, lay about 10 feet from the door, obviously dead as a result of the neat bullet hole in his forehead. Whoever he was, he had not died easily, for furniture lay all around the foyer, and into the visible parlor, smashed and strewn about, just as if two or more men had fought a pitched battle in the rooms, destroying many of the less sturdy pieces. In the parlor, there was evidence of further mayhem, as blood was visible in several areas on the floor, enough to show that more than one person had been bleeding there.  Reddish-brown stains also showed in several places on the walls. Though apparent that more than one person had been there, only the one body remained…..

Not as shocked as might have been assumed, Samuel gazed at the destruction, both of his house, and of his daydreams of a comforting welcome home from what had been a very difficult journey. With a sigh of resignation, he stepped into the foyer, and remarked to himself, “Well, it looks as though they didn’t break the brandy bottle, anyway. I wonder if any of the glasses have survived.” On that note, he closed the door behind him, and prepared to deal with whatever had taken place while he was gone…. He was beginning to regret ever becoming an assassin…..

Aha! So, that’s where the assassin came from! Now we know his name, and that he likes Napoleon brandy…. I wonder where he stashed the little girl?  Ah well, no matter, we have other fish to fry, so to speak…. let us Pearl, shall we?….
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“It is the final proof of God’s omnipotence that he need not exist in order to save us.” — Peter De Vries

“It is certain because it is impossible.” — Tertullias

The above two statements, each of which reflects the other, are commonly used as arguments in favor of the existence of God. Though tautological by nature, people seem to accept this type of argument readily, and clasp it tightly to their mental bosom, never to let go. I suppose this is a factor of that part of human nature that prefers to be lazy, and not have to think overmuch about anything, much less about such subtle, convoluted treatises on the existence of their chosen deity.

It has always seemed to me, since the age of 14 or so, when I first began to examine what I had been taught in a critical light, that the religious beliefs of most people are based on this factor. I noted as well, when one has accepted the premise of God’s omnipotence, then one’s own sense of responsibility becomes a moot point. No matter how egregiously immoral, no matter how unethical one’s actions may be, these folks have the ultimate get out of Hell card; divine forgiveness by the Son of God….  It is a quite convenient way to justify even the most insane, cruel, and viciously antisocial acts, when committed in the name of the Lord, or for the glory of the State.

Even the most immoral of acts of a personal nature, such as theft, infidelity, or casual cruelty to those weaker, are forgiven. Though all the Christian sects have some form of forgiveness in place, Catholics seem to have the most efficient system for relieving any possible guilt over such acts. They are given the opportunity each week, or even daily, to confess these “sins” and receive absolution that guarantees there will be no lasting or important consequences for their acts, other than having to recite some canonical platitudes they were made to memorize as a child, to help speed the process along…..

Ah, but I forget! Religion, along with almost every other subject of a complex nature that requires an expenditure of mental energy to comprehend, is not based on logical reason, or even structured thought of any kind… it is based on fear. Fear of the great unknown, Death. The folks who become preachers & priests are those who, in different circumstances, would be salesmen and shop clerks, selling their goods for the greatest amount of profit they could squeeze from an unsuspecting public, while maintaining that their shoddily made goods are of the finest cloth.

Instead, they offer relief from the ever present fear of Death, with a poorly constructed, but flashily dressed system of beliefs that offers not only (illogical) proof of victory over Death, but takes away all responsibility for one’s actions here on Earth. With an attractive hook like that, how else could people choose?….. They make it very easy to jump on the wagon, and only those who can think, and prefer to do so, can see the fallacies in what they are offering, and that the wheels of the wagon are about to fall off….

“It is possible to pray hard enough that water will run uphill. How hard? Why, hard enough to make water run uphill, of course!” — Lazarus Long (Robert Heinlein)
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“…I am opposed to all attempts to license or restrict the arming of individuals…I consider such laws a violation of civil liberty, subversive of democratic political institutions, and self-defeating in their purpose.” — Robert A. Heinlein, in a 1949 letter concerning “Red Planet”

“You cannot conquer a free man, the most you can do is kill him.” — Lazarus Long (Robert Heinlein)

“An armed society is a polite society.” — Robert A. Heinlein, ‘The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress’ (Think about it….)

“An hour’s perusal of our national charter makes it hard to understand what the argle-bargle is about. The First Amendment forbids infringements of the freedom of speech “except for commercials on children’s television” or “unless somebody says ‘****’ in a rap song or ‘chick’ on a college campus.”  The Second Amendment states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be  infringed,” period. There is no mention of magazine size, rate of fire, or to what extent those arms may resemble assault rifles.” — P. J. O’Rourke

“Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” — James Madison

I’m sensing a theme here… I’m sure I could find and include a great many more such quotes from famous historical Americans, but there seems to be a consensus, so we’ll leave it at five for now. I’m also not going to discuss this further, at this time, as I believe I’ve already made my feelings and thoughts on this matter quite clear. These folks have all said it at least as well as I can, and in most cases, better. So, I will only ask you to consider what they say, and think about it….. if you have any thoughts to contribute, well, I am a firm believer in the power of dialogue, so please feel free to comment where appropriate….
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“An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought.” — Simon Cameron (1799-1889)

The mere presence of this quote in the literature of Man is disheartening, to say the least, for it implies that the condition it describes is so prevalent that it requires statement, and acknowledgment of its truth. It is sort of like all those strange laws one finds in the old archives of some of the states, like “There will be no sheep allowed to wear makeup”, or other such nonsense. The scary part is that one knows that the law was written because somebody was actually DOING that….. so we know, by deduction, that the statement about politicians exists only because it is already true…..

It is not only the mere existence of this concept that is annoying to me, and to all of society; it is the truth it proclaims that is so hard to accept. We, as a society, know this to be true, yet we continue to act as if it were not. We vote for the fools who parade their ignorance in front of the crowds who, for some reason unfathomable to me, flock to hear and see these sociopathic liars in person, to hear their outrageous claims and idiotic platforms straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

I sometimes wonder if they expect that the pundits and talking heads will tell the truth, if what they say is uttered right in front of them. Of course, there is no evidence that will support such belief, but, people believe all sorts of things that aren’t true, that is for sure…. As a matter of fact, I often feel as if people don’t WANT to hear the truth, because they never, ever make any attempt to ascertain whether or not they have. In fact, the more outrageous and false the claim, the quicker and more deeply it is believed, so it seems. I guess we should chalk that up to human perversity…. nothing else explains it, as it is a completely useless state of mind, from a survival standpoint….

I’m not sure that a solution to this issue is possible. There doesn’t seem to be any way to convince the general public to make any effort to rein in their elected officials.  Hell, sometimes the American people act as if they are enjoying their increasing slavery…. they certainly are making very little effort to stop any of its advances upon their rights and privileges as a free society.

But, that, I suppose, is just desserts, in a way…. and they will deserve whatever happens to them…. Unfortunately, it will happen to the rest of us as well, and that is unacceptable to me…. so I’ll just keep my powder dry, my head down, and my ears wide open to hear the sound of approaching tyranny…..

“The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.” — Bertrand Russell, Marriage and Morals

“The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught.” — Henry L. Mencken
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“It was a saying of the ancients, “Truth lies in a well;” and to carry on this metaphor, we may justly say that logic does supply us with steps, whereby we may go down to reach the water.” — Dr. I. Watts

That is to say, logic does do so, if it is used by a competent mind. In the hands of someone less perceptive, logic can be a WMD, in the vernacular of the 1990’s.  ‘Tis also unfortunate that the folks who fit the latter category tend to use it all too often, and having done so, look about them at the destruction they have wrought with a smug, self-satisfied air, totally ignorant of the increase in entropy they have engendered with their blundering about…..

On the other hand, when used well, logic can be a very powerful tool for finding Truth, even if buried at the bottom of a well. The trick is to use logic like a scalpel, to cut away extraneous facts to reveal Truth, not as a cudgel, to beat Truth into submission. If more of mankind were competent in the use of logic, and not of its abuse, perhaps we would not be facing quite so many difficulties as now exist…. It’s worth a try, in my opinion…. unfortunately, it is also my opinion that it’s never going to happen, because using logic takes mental effort, something the average American will avoid to the best of their ability…..

“Do not speak of what men deserve.   For we each of us deserve everything, every luxury that was ever piled in the tombs of the dead Kings, and we each  of us deserve nothing, not a mouthful of bread in hunger.   Have we not eaten while another starved?  Will you punish us for that?  Will you reward us for the virtue of starving while others ate?  No man earns punishment, no man earns reward.  Free your mind of the idea of *deserving*, of *earning*, and you will begin to be able to think.” — Odo, The Prison Letters (Ursula LeGuin, _The Dispossessed_)
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Look back on time with kindly eyes,
He doubtless did his best;
How softly sinks his trembling son
In human nature’s west!
— Emily Dickinson

Emily is included here for the intellectual version of comic relief. Compared to religion, politics, the Second Amendment, and the search for Truth, a discussion of time, or poetry, could be considered a bit tame. But, the power of Emily’s mad little rhymes can, in my estimation, stand up next to any subject and look them right in the eye.

This particular verse is one I’ve never seen before, and completely lives up to my expressed opinion. In four lines she expresses ideas and concepts that an hour-long lesson in a university classroom would be needed to cover if discussed in prose. Time, human nature, even compassion, all in such a compact little vessel; it makes one wonder what Emily would have done, had she ever applied her hand to Haiku…. Sheer beauty, incredible power, and deeply meaningful thoughts given in 17 syllables, would be my guess as to results. Ah well, what she did leave us is more than could be hoped for anyway….

And, if nothing else, reading this will banish most of the darkness that may have covered our eyes after reading and considering the previous sections…. so, enjoy!…..
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Well….. though serious enough, I suppose the gloves never came all the way off… My knuckles aren’t bloody and scraped up, so the blows I threw struck soft tissue, for the most part. But, a shot is a shot, and I got a few good licks in, so I am content for the nonce….. and I always enjoy having a chance to use the word “nonce” in a sentence… Such a fine word, and so seldom used I like to give it as much exposure as possible, lest it pass completely out of usage…. Now that you are completely convinced of my oddity, if not insanity, I will bring this to a close…. 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!

May we cauterize now, milady?

Ffolkes,
No time for fooling around this morning. Up a bit late, thanks to an extra hour of sleep my body insisted on taking (thanks for small favors!….), and stuff to do. I’m starting the day exhausted, with a sore right forearm and wrist. This is because of the unnatural activity I forced the arm into yesterday, when I went through over 300 emails that had exploded in my inbox, like some kind of replicating virus. I almost wore out my delete button, and read about 150 blogs (very, very quickly, I might add), at least 30% of which demanded a comment. It was a monumental task, and I’m glad it’s done; so is my mouse, I believe…..

That said, I will now proceed to head out into the hinterlands, to dive for pearls, which, for expediency’s sake I hope are not going to hide or be difficult to harvest today. Oysters can be hard to intimidate, and are not known for their quick thinking or pleasant dispositions, so if they’re not in a good place, it can turn on me quickly. In that case, I usually settle for those on the outer perimeter of the oyster beds, and call it a day. We’ll see, I guess, when I get down a few fathoms…. see ya in a while….

Ooh, ooh, here’s my first find; couldn’t wait to share it, trekkie that I am….  

— SMILEY   =-O~~~   The Enterprise firing phasers…

Is that genius, or what?  Well, I like it…..  Okay, the dive is going slowly…. currents are a bit tricky today.  Hang in there….

Still diving, but it’s moving along…. we’ll save a bit of time here, and bring this intro to a close, so we can get on with the regular business of pearling…. Shall we dance, then?….. Perhaps not…. well, let’s go Pearling then, if that is what you really want…..
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” … for these truths hold good for everything that is, and not for some special genus apart from others.  And all men use them, because they are true of being qua being …  For a principle which everyone must have to understand anything that is, is not a hypothesis …  Evidently then, such a principle is the most certain of all; which principle this is, let us proceed to say. It is, that the same attribute cannot at the same time belong and not belong to the subject in the same respect.” — Aristotle

I’ve run this through the filters in my head, and thought about it, studied it from all angles, even rinsed it off, shook it out, and let it air-dry…. I still can’t figure out what the FUCK Ari is talking about here….. The most reasonable idea I could come up with is that, while he was out walking through his garden, contemplating some esoteric line of reasoning, somebody came up and asked him where the nearest toilet could be found….. otherwise, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever…. especially the last line. A true tautology, to my mind, that is both proof and disproof of its own, well, silliness…. and I wonder how in hell it got included with the rest of his work that has come down to us through the intervening years…. if it were mine, I’d have deleted it long before it reached the printer, er, scribe for transcription….
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“As great scientists have said and as all children know, it is above all by the imagination that we achieve perception, and compassion, and hope.” — Ursula K. LeGuin

I think that everyone can agree with the above statement; it would be hard to think of an argument that would have any kind of negative effect on this concept, as it is about as true as true can be. Arguing with this would be akin to trying to describe the contents of a room with no lights or windows, from outside the room, with the door and your eyes closed, and no moving around or touching allowed…. Having thus identified the importance of imagination in human existence, we can move on to a discussion of how powerful a tool it can be when applied to the mechanics of living.

As humans, we use imagination in every aspect of life; whenever we encounter a new situation, whether problematic or merely interesting, it is our imagination that we use to inspect the characteristics of the event, and to judge its relative size, shape, and degree of difficulty. It is our imagination we use to discover a course of action that will enable us to deal with the situation to our best advantage, or not, depending on our own skill at using it. And in those situations where a clear course of action is unclear, our imagination can provide us with entirely new ways to approach and cope with what we have encountered.

Of late, I have been reading a lot of articles written by women who have survived and exited, by their own efforts, the atrociously cruel life of those trapped in the human sex-trafficking industry. These articles are perfect examples of the power of imagination, from women who have experienced, and survived, the most degrading, debilitating, indifferently cruel treatment known to humanity.

That life, or living death, more like, was the lot of these enslaved women, and children, until they were able, by virtue of their strength of will and imagination, to free themselves.  For every single one of them, their imagination was both friend and foe, first as fuel to the fire of their very real fears for their lives, but ultimately, the force that enabled them to see the path they would need to walk to take back their life. Without it, they would be doomed to death, ultimately, for the insane, perverted misogynists who control this deadly trade have no compassion, and no compunctions about silencing those who would defy their will…..

But, happily, for these as yet all-too-few amazingly strong, imaginative women, a path to freedom was found, and now, they are all determined not only to live out their own lives according to their own standards, but to support each other, and to speak out against those who would continue the madness from which they fled, to do whatever is needed to give aid to the women and children who are still enslaved by these indifferently cruel masters of evil…. and one of the forms that aid can take, is to stimulate imagination in the victims, so they to may come to an understanding of how it can help even the most despairing soul to fight for freedom….. understanding like this…..

After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning and company doesn’t mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes open, with the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans.
After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure… that you really are strong,
And you really do have worth.
— Unknown, but brilliant….

And that is what it is all about, to me. Once these unfortunates realize that they do indeed have worth in the eyes of the Universe, a whole new vista of possibility opens for them, each one with the promise of freedom shining brightly, to show the way…..

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
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A poet is someone who is astonished by everything. — Smart Bee (Anonymous’ new user name…..)

O Music! sphere-descended maid,
Friend of Pleasure, Wisdom’s aid!
— William Collins (1720-1756) — The Passions, Line 95

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that ‘s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.
— Lord Byron (1788-1824) — Hebrew Melodies, She walks in Beauty

Jove lifts the golden balances that show
The fates of mortal men, and things below.
— Alexander Pope (1688-1744) — The Iliad of Homer, Book xxii, Line 271

I have touched the highest point of all my greatness;
And from that full meridian of my glory
I haste now to my setting: I shall fall
Like a bright exhalation in the evening,
And no man see me more.
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), King Henry VIII — Act iii, Sc. 2

Life let us cherish, while yet the taper glows,
And the fresh flow’ret pluck ere it close;
Why are we fond of toil and care?
Why choose the rankling thorn to wear?
— J. M. Usteri (1763-1827) — Life let us cherish

Knowledgeable waitrons, maitres d’hotel, chefs, etc., all know that in presentation of food as visual art, odd numbers, 3, 5, 7, etc., make a more compelling and, oddly enough, more balanced, more artful picture than do even numbers. Go figure…. but in this case, exhibition of classical poetry, I think 5 is just right, even if one cannot chew it. No lessons here, unless it is a lesson on how to enjoy beauty…..
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“God is more interested in your future and your relationships than you are.” — Billy Graham

Now, if that isn’t a scary thought, I know nothing of fear; however, I assure you, fear is an old friend, with whom I am quite familiar, in all its guises. Now, to give credit where it is due, I suppose it must be noted that, from the standpoint of someone of Mr. Graham’s ilk, this is a very powerful statement of belief; it has all the proper elements for that particular delusional thought process (if one may stretch the definition of ‘thought process’ just a bit).

It is based purely on assumption, with no hint of anything resembling direct, tangible evidence. It implies omnipotence, displays immeasurable deified arrogance, identifies a source for guilt, and encourages a fear of death. Its vagueness allows the moral ambiguity necessary for the complete abrogation of personal responsibility for one’s actions. And, like all such proclamations of this nature, its very words indicate a complete and utter dislike for humans, both individually and as a species.

My immediate and forceful response to this was “If you truly believe that, then you, and God, seriously need to get a Life! If y’all have nothing better to do in your copious free time than to try to shove this kind of crap into people’s minds, then you need to find a new activities director for the imaginary cruise you are on…. or find some better drugs.”  But, that’s just me…..
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Conscious is when you are aware of something and conscience is when you wish you weren’t. — Smart Bee (Anonymous, by any other name, smells as sweet…)

Insane politicians (is there another kind?). Human trafficking of various kinds. Rampant racism. Ubiquitous bigotry. Child abuse. Spousal abuse. Slavery. Crack cocaine, heroin, morphine, or other drug abuse. War on crime. War on women. Televangelists. Fundamentalist zealots. National Security Agency. FBI. CIA. Untold trillions of dollars of national debt. Threat of world-wide economic collapse. Genetically modified food. Military Industrial Complex (yep, it hasn’t gone anywhere). The 1%/99% Society. Taxes. Global warming. Air pollution. The oceans are dying. Terrorism. Nuclear accidents. Massive global weather changes. Ozone depletion. Ice caps shrinking. Overpopulation. AIDS. SARS. Mutating viruses. The Bohemian Club. The Tri-Lateral Society. Reaganomics. Nationalism. Elitism. Illuminati Conspiracy. Women’s reproductive rights. Bill of Rights (or rather, loss of same). War on the US Constitution.  Rampant ignorance. Lawyers. Priests. Rabbis. Imams. Pastors. Popes.  Puppy mills. Wall Street. Corporate personhood. The IRS. Insane politicians. (Did I say that already? Well, it deserves mentioning twice….)  Rising incidence of halitosis.

Except for the last, which is more of a personal foible, I’d say that’s a fairly extensive, and reasonably complete, list of stuff I am aware of that I wish I weren’t; and it all came right off the top of my head, no research.  It certainly keeps my sense of outrage in good shape….. which is why we all need to practice the following sentiment at every opportunity…. otherwise, we are all going to be up Shit Creek without a paddle, proverbial or otherwise…..

“Speak out. You’ve got to speak out against the madness.” — Steven Stills
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Having thus spoken my share, and possibly a bit more, against the madness, I reach the end of another day’s Pearl of Virtual Wisdom. This one took some effort; late start, reluctant oysters, tricky currents, my own intra-cranial  oddity, all have served to increase the difficulty points to overcome to get to this point in the game. Thanks to a good pot of strong coffee,  with real half and half, and a bit of perseverance (no telling where that came from), what we have here is a “fait acompli”, and boy, am I glad for that!

Thus, I can enter the portal leading to the remainder of the day with a reasonable degree of contentment, if nothing else. Y’all take care out there…. and Blessed Be…..


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!

Sneaking in, under the radar…..

Ffolkes,
An epic battle is raging just now at my house. My old nemesis, depression, is trying to sink its claws into my psyche, and drag me down into the pit of my personal hell. I’m strong, but my opponent has several advantages in the current light. A number of things in my life right now are at less than optimum value, and though there is hope, there seems to be little progress toward fulfilling that hope. Finances are the sorest subject; it is becoming increasingly difficult to cover everything on what I’m currently bringing home, and I can see another 3 to 4 months before I’ll start bringing in more. From where I’m sitting now, that is looking like a very long time.

Stress like this from the financial world adds to my other store of little complaints (we all have some….stuff that bothers us, but which we cannot change at present) such as back, hip, and joint pain, aching teeth, and the distinct possibility of having to move in the near future. This stress doesn’t sit well with me; I’ve had my fill of it, and just can’t deal with it as well as I used to. I’m fine in the middle of a crisis, such as a fight or loud argument; I’ve had too much practice at that to let it get to me.

But, with everyday stresses like money, food, shelter, transportation, etc., I have a hard time not breaking into tears, and dissolving rapidly into severe depression; when that happens, I’m useless, to myself or anyone else. All I want to do is sleep, or wander around my space, mind racing to find some solace somewhere.

I’m hoping that putting together today’s Pearl will give me some space, and maybe some ammunition to use to beat back the darkness; a good quote, or a beautiful piece of poetry, can stimulate that part of my mind that is still free of the bonds that being depressed forces one to wear. If I work this right, by the time I’ve finished, I’ll be stable again, and able to avoid the pit of hell I’m looking at now…. let’s get to it, shall we?….. Ah, see, it’s working already….. first dive, a nice pearl jumps up and throws itself into the bag….and it’s a good one, just the right tone to neutralize the two paragraphs above….

“When the situation is hopeless, there’s nothing to worry about.” — Edward Abbey

Now I feel better…..
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“There was only one catch and that was Catch22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask, and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to.” — Joseph Heller, Catch22

Sound familiar? It should; it’s getting close to Tax Time, and if ever there was a physical representation of Catch 22, the IRS definitely fits the description, sort of. If one pays taxes, then one feels stupid and violated; if one doesn’t pay them, then the IRS calls them stupid, and violates them in a very real sense. I hate it. And I especially hate the way the 1% gets away with not paying their fair share of those taxes. Just one more thing that makes me want to go buy a gun…..but then, I would guess that today, given my attitude upon awakening, almost anything is going to elicit the same response….
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“As long as I am mayor of this city [Jersey City, New Jersey] the great industries are secure.  We hear about constitutional rights, free speech and the free press.  Every time I hear these words I say to myself, “That man is a Red, that man is a Communist”.  You never hear a real American talk like that.” — Mayor Frank Hague (1896-1956)

Sad, isn’t it? This statement, from a mayor who obviously hadn’t a clue, is one I haven’t seen before. And I should have. This is such a vile distortion of the values this country was founded on that it should be taught in schools as an example of a treasonous statement. How a person that stupid was elected in the first place was a mystery, until I saw what state it was. Isn’t New Jersey the home state of Spiro Agnew? I think so, but if not, it could have been. Boy, now there was a prime example of how even the stupid and charmless can fool the people sometimes. I understand that the political climate in the time when he was a burgeoning political hack was rather fanatic in its campaign against Communism, but Agnew set new standards of stupid, clueless bigotry for others to hold up as an example.

SIGH….. it’s a shame really…. they (the political bozos who make these outrageous comments) make such good teaching tools, I don’t see why they couldn’t be utilized. It’s not as if the other side is going to refrain from cheating or lying, because they won’t…. they will say and do whatever is necessary to secure the votes they need. So maybe if we lowered our own standards a bit….. nah, too dangerous. I’d rather keep my own integrity intact, and fight fair; cheating a cheater doesn’t turn the cheat into a virtue……
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I stared into the abyss. The abyss stared into me. Neither of us liked what we saw.

Damn skippy it didn’t. It was a foregone conclusion that my view of the abyss today would be somewhat grim; sometimes the abyss is scarier than it needs to be. Today, it was no contest; it took one look at me and ran back into the void, moaning and crying for its mama…. I suppose that is the one advantage to a grim mood; even the bad asses walk to the other side of the street when they get a look at my face. I’m not saying its scary or anything, but I have been known to make babies cry at one glimpse, and there are a few cracked mirrors and camera lenses that give mute testimony to the depths of my rage when I’m feeling like this.

Sometimes I feel like walking down dark alleys in the dead of night in the baddest part of town, dollar bills hanging out of my pockets, not just asking, but demanding that some fool take me on. I guess it’s  fortunate for me, and them, that no one has ever challenged me in that state; I guess the vibes I put out are strong enough to make even the stupidest thief smart enough to walk away, and live…..
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“It’s men who make laws, and enforce them, and break them, and think the whole performance is wonderful.  Most women would rather just ignore them.” — Ursula K. Le Guin

When I stop to think about it, this makes perfect sense. I’ve often felt that politics, and society in general, would benefit from having more women in positions of power; their attitudes are enough different from men’s that the overall effect most likely would improve. But, unfortunately, women who get into positions of power seem to forget the above statement, and act more like men than men themselves. They probably feel like they have to, in order to succeed in a man’s world.

But they are wrong in that, and we would all benefit if they would stop that nonsense, and instead act as a counterbalance to the overly aggressive, testosterone-filled actions their male counterparts generally come up with. Hell, it couldn’t work any worse, and it could very well be that it is just what the world needs to regain some of the common sense that seems to have disappeared from modern life……
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“One who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.” — Lao-tzu, _Tao Te Ching_

And there you have it. The solution to the threat of imminent depression is right there. Enough is enough. That’s for sure and for certain, but I had, in the grip of my fears, left that out of my calculations. I have enough. Enough food to get through the month. Enough friends to help me if necessary. And more than enough love, from friends and family, to hold me for a long time. If I were to compare, I probably am better off than over 50% of the world.

Sometimes, it’s just a matter of getting a reminder like this; that’s all it takes to get back on track. This is one reason why I do this; not for my readers, or for the joy of writing, though those are factors. It’s mostly for me…. it gives me the outlet my brain needs to stay within shouting distance of sanity, both in the process of finding the pearls, and in writing my reaction to them. Yay for me!…..
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Well, it’s been real, for sure. Real hard, real frustrating, real rage. Real relief, too, at finally finding a worthy koan to lead me away from the precipice I was near when I awoke. I just hope that my weird state didn’t affect the Pearl too much. Wouldn’t want to let too much reality spoil a nice day….. and it will be, now. Y’all take care out there…..


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!

The laughter of the gods is bitter….

Ffolkes,
Yes, I can feel it…..the gods are laughing at us, and it is bitter indeed. We fight, we learn, we struggle to live well, and in the end, Time kill us all. It can be a hard row to hoe, most of the time, with short periods of intense joy. The cost is high, and the rewards are few, but choice. And in the end, we are all the same…..dinner for the worms.
I know exactly why I am sitting here with tears rolling down my face; it’s private and personal, so I won’t share it. But, once again, mortality has reared its ugly head to remind me that the time we have is ephemeral, and destined to end. The only redeeming factor I am aware of right now is the need in me to live well, with honor, and with dignity. In the end, that is all we have; if we have been loved, then it all seems worthwhile….. living without it must be the loneliest existence I can imagine….

“Love is all we have, the only way that each can help the other.” — Euripides, Orestes (408 BC)
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“If you can see a thing whole… it seems that it’s always beautiful. Planets, lives…But close up, a world’s all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life’s a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. You need distance, interval. The way to see how beautiful the earth is, is to see it as the moon. The way to see how beautiful a life is, is to see it from the vantage point of death.” — Ursula K. Le Guin, Dispossessed

It’s funny how when I am thinking about a certain idea or event, quotes on that subject seem to throw themselves in front of me. This one, from one of my favorite authors, from perhaps her best book, is completely apropos, and offers a good piece of advice. Often we forget to look around us to see the beauty in everything; our heads are usually spinning too fast from dealing with life today. So it is good once in a while to step back, and get a look at the bigger picture, in order to regain the proper perspective. When we forget to do this, we become rather surly creatures, always barking and snapping at people who are only trying to help. Getting back in touch with the beauty there is in living well becomes a welcome change….
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The Moving Finger writes; and having writ,
Moves on; nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.
— Omar Khayyam (died c.1133) — Rubaiyat, Stanza lxxi

What I said above is still operating; I must be subconsciously directing my software to give me what I need….. that’s some deep magic! Whenever I read this gem from Omar Khayyam, I am reminded of a quote by a woman, little known to many, who was most likely the greatest woman athlete of her time, possibly of the entire 20th century; her name was Babe Didrickson Zaharias.

From Wikepedia: “Didrikson gained world fame in track and field and All-American status in basketball. She played organized baseball and softball and was an expert diver, roller-skater and bowler. She won two gold medals and one silver medal for track and field in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.”Any who…..the quote, which I must admit to paraphrasing, as I couldn’t find it online in my hasty search, goes thus: “After you have hit the ball toward the cup, there’s no bringing it back….”

And that’s the truth…..so deal with it…..
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— How many Reaganists does it take to change a light bulb?

Ten: One to deny that the bulb is burned out, one to clarify the denial (“The bulb is really just dim”), one to blame the bulb burning out on the Carter administration, one to blame the bulb burning out on Congress, one to ask for a Constitutional amendment that will prohibit bulbs from burning out, one to replace the bulb with a kerosene lamp, one to borrow money from the Japanese to pay for the kerosene, one former Reaganist to lobby his old colleagues for a special favour for the kerosene importer, one to cash the cheque for investing in the kerosene importer, one to send the bill to the next generation.

I’m in the dark as to who created this, although I know he/she was most likely British; note the spelling of ‘favor’, and ‘check’. But, regardless of its origin, it is perfect, as far as I can tell, and it saves me a lot of time having to go through the entire litany of his crimes against nature and his fellow man. In my opinion, Ronnie was a fascist war-monger, who didn’t give a rat’s ass for anyone else, especially if they weren’t white, Christian, and preferably from Orange County, or Hollywood.

His entire political career, to me, is a perfect demonstration of how the general public doesn’t want to hear the truth; they would rather hear lies that make them feel good about themselves, delivered by a charming, handsome, trustworthy ACTOR!  A bad actor, too; I’ve seen some of his movies; he, and you may quote me, well, he stunk. His acting had the emotional range of a teaspoon, and his features resemble a wooden board; hard and static. It isn’t surprising to me that his most successful film was the one where his co-star was a chimpanzee, who had way more acting chops than Ronnie did.


The saddest part is that those folks are still out there. Why, just a few years ago, here in California, they all got together and forced a recall of the governor (wholly unjustified, I might add; he got caught trying to balance the budget), electing in his place one of Ron’s admirers, another actor, known far and wide now as “The Governator”, Arnie the Austrian import. Courtesy of this brand of ignorance, the California economy is still attempting to regain its balance after 5 additional years or so of inept Republican Reaganomics. I’ll tell ya…..sometimes I despair for the human race……

“I don’t believe a tree is a tree, and if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all.” — Ronald Reagan, Sacramento Bee, 9/14/66 (huh? what does that mean?)

“I’ve never killed a man, but I’ve read many obituaries with great pleasure.” — Clarence Darrow (1857-1938)  Hear, hear!
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Tyger! Tyger! burning bright          What the hammer?  What the chain?
In the forests of the night,          In what furnace was thy brain?
What immortal hand or eye             What the anvil?  What dread grasp
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?      Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

In what distant deeps or skies        When the stars threw down their spears,
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?         And water’d heaven with their tears,
On what wings dare he aspire?         Dare he laugh his work to see?
What the hand dare seize the fire?    Dare he who made the lamb make thee?

And what shoulder & what art,         Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
Could twist the sinews of they heart? In the forests of the night,
And when thy heart began to beat      What immortal hand or eye,
What dread hand & what dread feet?    Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

– William H. Blake (1757-1827), “The Tyger”

What could I possibly add to this?  It’s incredible. Three poems in one, all excellent…. enjoy!….
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“It’s OBVIOUS..  The FURS never reached ISTANBUL..  You were  an EXTRA in the REMAKE of “TOPKAPI”..  Go home to your  WIFE..  She’s making FRENCH TOAST!” — Zippy the Pinhead

Ahhh….datsa nice! Sometimes Zippy is the perfect antidote to imminent depression; just reading one of his quotes is like a wild roller coaster ride through the outskirts of insanity, but better, since you can’t fall out of the car. Like coming home to an orgy. Or driving your car with your James Dean on….. it just feels good. And what could be a better recommendation? It’s good to engage in nonsense once in a while; it makes it easier to keep track of Reality, which, if left to its own devices, becomes dark and dreary. Better to spew now and again……
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I’m almost afraid to go back over this one; it might bite. But, it’s done for another day, so we’ll let if fly, along with the trained pigs I have in the barn…. Y’all take care out there…..


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!

Whiskey for breakfast, misery for lunch….

Ffolkes,
Hoy, yo soy una tabula raza. Y cuando you escribo, es muy dificil. Pero, tambien soy un brujo, y la realidad es mi amigo. Andalé! Vamanos!……. Pop! Okay, whew! Thought I’d be stuck in Spanish all day; it’s all because last night I had a dream about my first real trip to Mexico, many years ago, when my partner in crime and I rode the train from Mexicali to Mazatlan, a brutal 30 hour ride. We found out an important piece of information on that trip.

Mexican beer won’t get you drunk, no matter how fast you consume it. It’s a decent way to stay hydrated, but that’s all. If not kept cool, it starts to taste somewhat like badger piss, though I’m only familiar with that on a hearsay level. Sure won’t give a buzz, though; it’s only about 1% alcohol. We forgot, it’s a Catholic country, and still rooted in the last century, minus one, in a cultural sense. Ah well, ’twas alright; we just spent the entire week with whiskey instead of beer. Jack is Jack, no matter where he travels……. Oh, I was wrong yesterday…..I didn’t lose my mind; it’s here somewhere. It’s just that due to intense mind fog all thoughts have been grounded.

Okay, I’m ready…..let’s rock…..
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“The common folk have many sayings, all about it being darkest before the dawn and clouds with silver linings and suchlike. We in the magical trade like to express our opinions of these matters somewhat differently. A lifetime of experience will have taught the average sorcerer that no matter how hopeless the situation seems, no matter how painful and fraught with danger his options may be, no matter how close he may be to an indescribably hideous death and perhaps even eternal damnation, still, the good wizard knows, it can always get worse.” — The Teachings of Ebenezum, Vol. XLVI (General Introduction)

Yesterday, one of the outstanding readers who have stumbled upon this blog sent me a comment. It was somewhat long and involved, but perhaps the best part was when he oh-so-gently chastised me for lacking faith in the goodness of human nature, and rightly so. My recent rantings have been somewhat critical of our beloved ruling class, and others, and he noted that it is entirely possible that they are merely living up to the expectations placed on them by virtue of being in the public eye, rather than exhibiting any malice aforethought.

I am compelled to agree with him, at least to an extent. It is easy to become TOO negative, and I probably stepped a couple paces over that line lately. But I also have to point out that, regardless of how tongue-in-cheek the above statements may be, they are accurate as to the basic message given in the final line. It can always get worse, and if Murphy is anywhere about, you can count on it…..I suppose all we can do is what we’ve always done, throughout history, and that is to keep your clothes, spell books, and weapons where you can find them in the dark…..
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You could say I’d lost my faith in our politicians.

But it was a small loss, considering there wasn’t much there to begin with…..I’d be willing to have a bit more faith in them, if even one of them would stop consistently lying to me. Note I said consistently; I’m adult enough to realize that, being what they are, they have to lie. If they could just learn to not lie EVERY time they open their mouths, we could reach some kind of compromise agreement. But they don’t seem to want, or seem not to be able, to do that, so I’ll just have to go on wallowing in my disbelief. That way, I’m not disappointed so often……. My mind ain’t so open that just anything can crawl right in.

“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” — Paulo Freire
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‘You can’t go home again if home is a place you’ve never been.”– Ursula K Leguin

Sad it is that too many people in our society, of all ages, know exactly what this means, from cruel experience. Society has always had its poor and homeless, and repeated explorations into the reasons for it have all been inconclusive, for they all get to the same point and lose coherent credibility. When the vagaries and complexities of human nature are brought into the equation, the sheer number of variables makes the equation unsolvable.

In other words, nobody knows for sure why society arranges itself as it does. We just don’t know enough for certain to be able to say with any high degree of confidence, “THIS is why this is so”. Thus, any and all attempts at solution to the problem have been ineffective at best. We live in a nation with more natural resources than all but a handful of countries around the world, but we still have a small but significant percentage of our population who don’t know whether they will eat today, or whether they will sleep indoors tonight. I can’t say I’m any smarter than anyone else who has looked at this issue; I don’t claim to have any magic bullets. But I can feel compassion, and I can wish……..
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“I once wanted to save the world. Now I just want to leave the room with dignity.” — Lotus Weinstock

Boy if this ain’t the truth! I can’t really add anything to this; it’s a relatively perfect observation of how our attitudes change over time. I’m just glad that dignity is still the goal. I should probably be glad that my self-expectations haven’t devolved any further, to where all I want is for it all to end. It will take a lot more pain and anguish before I even look in that direction, much less consider going there…….I’m glad to be obstinate, in this instance at least…… besides, if I aim any lower, I risk being hit myself, by a ricochet…..
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“If you have a particular faith or religion, that is good. But you can survive without it if you have love, compassion, and tolerance. The clear truth of a person’s love of God is if that person genuinely shows love to fellow human beings.” — Dalai Lama

Here we have some plain common sense, in the guise of eternal wisdom. I like to think that even the most dogmatic religious devotee, of any religion, would agree with this concept. It’s difficult to object when it matches so closely the most basic beliefs of almost every sect. Though proponents of each world-view may differ greatly on the shape and nature of what they worship, none would deny that love, compassion, and tolerance are lessons taught by all of them in their study and contemplation of human nature and its niche in the scheme of things. In every face with which God is seen by Man, one may see these three attributes written clearly on their visage. If we have any redeeming feature written on the slate of our souls, love for one’s fellow man would be that characteristic…..

“[…] For all our conceits about being the center of the universe, we live in a routine planet of a humdrum star stuck away in an obscure corner […] on an unexceptional galaxy which is one of about 100 billion galaxies. […] That is the fundamental fact of the universe we inhabit, and it is very good for us to understand that.” — Carl Sagan
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The only thing that makes a democracy work is the force of morality. If all that is in place is the force of law, you have a police state. The force of morality always comes from a deep belief that you are accountable for all your own choices — even those that aren’t discovered or punished by law. It is the force of morality that lets us focus on what we share working together to make a better society.” — Callan Williams

I don’t think I need to add anything to this statement either. It pretty well matches my own take on the subject, which is rooted in the concept of taking personal responsibility for one’s actions. Too many people in today’s society have never even been exposed to this concept, and to expect them to be able to live up to it is unrealistic at best. Moral action requires more than simply having an impulse toward right action; it requires that one find the courage to then act upon those impulses. Not everyone has that moral courage, as it is hard work to get to the point of understanding it and making it a part of one’s set of behavioral guidelines. Very hard work, and most folks honestly don’t have it in them to make the effort. That is a shame, to be sure; modern life would be a lot different if this morality was more common, and I can’t help but think those kinds of changes would be a good thing…..
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Well, I’d better stop here. I’ve already said more than I intended when I sat down; I guess that’s par for this course. Time now to go out and see what the day holds……y’all take care out there…..


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!

Clandestine morality….

Ffolkes,
When I was young I held the ideals of the young; I was sure I would make my mark on the world, to make it a better place. And like all who hold those lofty, cherished ideals, the reality of living has left them tarnished and weary, weakened by repeated beatings by the thugs of time.  Very few of my high expectations have been left intact, and basic requirements for survival dictated that ideals be sacrificed on the altar of mundane practicality.


There used to be a cartoon called “Pinky and the Brain”, about a self-proclaimed genius mouse and his idiot giant mouse friend, Pinky. The premise of the show was the Brain’s obsession with “taking over the world!”, and each episode would find him with a new Rube Goldberg plan or construction that would presumably start his campaign of world domination. But the device or plan never worked quite right, and he’d end up having to be rescued again by Pinky, who would proceed to ask Brain a very Zen-like question that identified the fatal mistake that defeated the Brain. He (the Brain) would give his Homer-like “Doh! I can’t believe I missed that!” expression, and then twist around the answer into his next brilliant plan to become the world’s dictator.


This reminiscence does have a point, that point being I enjoyed the Brain’s weekly descent into foolishness, and could relate very well to his obsession, as I had the same hobby for a short while. During my college years, when my idealism was at its peak, I actually wrote down three or four scenarios for world domination, and semi-seriously considered putting one of them into action. Fortunately for the world, I became distracted from my purpose by, yes, you guessed it, a woman. I say fortunately because I can be certain of only one thing about my plans; they might have worked. Had I decided to bend my efforts toward that end, current reality would certainly be different. Whether to say it would be better would, naturally, have to be determined by value judgments I’m not prepared to make now. It would have been better for me, but as for other folks, well, they might not fully agree……


So, we can all be glad that love, or at least lust, turned my path from plans of world domination toward more realizable goals like getting intimate with members of the opposite sex. SIGH, I do miss the grandiosity of that particular delusional dream, but I suppose we must admit that it was all for the best. Of course, since I didn’t take over the world, we now have to put up with the idiots who manipulate their way into public office. At least I was motivated by altruism, not avarice……Enjoy!…..

“As great scientists have said and as all children know, it is above all by the imagination that we achieve perception, and compassion, and hope.”
— Ursula K. LeGuin

“He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior.” — Confucius

And of course, No soap, radio.

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.

The bustle in a house
The morning after death
Is solemnest of industries
Enacted upon earth,
The sweeping up the heart,
And putting love away
We shall not want to use again
Until eternity.
— Emily Dickinson

“Cursed is he that does not know when to shut his mind. An open mind is all very well in its way, but it ought not to be so open that there is no keeping anything in or out of it. It should be capable of shutting its doors sometimes, or may be found a little draughty.” — Samuel Butler

A finer collection of food for thought is not available in today’s market at any cost, much less for free…..y’all take care out there…..


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!