One of our nuclear clothespins is missing….

Ffolkes,

Don’t tell the monitors, but I think we’re going to have to cut back on the number of virgins we are sacrificing to the gods so they’ll smile upon this blog…. It’s not for any other reason than the fact we are beginning to run into the old Roman firewood conundrum, from back in the days when wood, wind, and water were the only energy sources we had as humans….

Rome, that ancient city, in time grew so large that it became problematic for the Romans to find firewood in the hills above and around the city. After several centuries of population growth, trees became scarce near the city, and the men who worked to gather it, who were called ‘carbonara’, eventually had to make week-long, or longer, forays into the mountains, and further into the countryside, in order to find a source of wood sizable enough to suit their needs.

During these trips, the men would take with them the food and supplies they needed to live for the time they were gone…. As Italians, their foods ran to the simple, but savory, with pasta, bread, and wine as the staples…. all of which travels well, meaning they could take the ingredients with them to use while on the trip…. Dried pasta, dried vegetables (peas, mushrooms, etc.), onions, garlic, pancetta, bread, wine, and cream, for example, in the form of a cow that they herded along the road with them as they went to look for their wood….

Any chefs in the audience may have noted that ingredients listed are those needed to produce the classic Italian dish, Pasta Carbonara, named after the men who kept the fireplaces of ancient Rome supplied with wood during the winter…. I can testify as to its deliciousness, and, in fact, it is my favorite of all the Italian dishes I make, save perhaps Pasta Vongolé, which is made with fresh clams, garlic, white wine, and cream, if desired…. I do both dishes superbly, if I do say so myself….

How does this silly but interesting history relate to this pearl? Well, I’ll tell ya, if you’ll hang on a moment…. Remember what I said about cutting back on our virginal sacrifices? Well, we’re having the same issue finding virgins as the Romans had with their firewood…. It’s taking longer and longer to FIND one that is willing to be sacrificed; last week I had to go all the way to hills above Bakersfield, to harvest one from a junior high school up near Yosemite, which is a good four or five hour drive…. This meant I had to listen to the babble of a 13 year old virgin all the way home, unless I felt like being mean, & sedating him….

Now, I’ll bet y’all are wondering what we do with our virgins after we use them…. which is something you’ll just have to wonder about for a long time, because I have neither the time, the inclination, nor the legal requirement to tell you….. Suffice it to say they are NOT killed, but are placed into an environment where their virginity will not cause them any further harm, and allowed to live out their lives in ignorance of the service they perform for society…. It would only confuse them, and make them less valuable as a trained consumer for the corporate masters..

Okay, I’m done now…. That was quite a mouthful for a relatively poor joke…. If it was a scam, we’d have to call it a long-con, and wait up to a year for the punchline to hit home….. But, since this is a daily blog, we can just call it what it is, which is, of course, nonsense and drivel, fresh from my fevered brain, all for the purpose of filling up space in this section, solely designed to bring us to the point where I can say, without any fear of retribution or heckling beyond the norm….

Shall we Pearl?….

“There is nothing so awkward as courting a woman whilst she is making sausages.” — Laurence Sterne

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today’s first section will be a Newsy Pearl, with articles ripped from the world’s news, and comments on those articles by gigoid the dubious at his angst-filled sarcastic best (hopefully…)…. Abondanza!….

First, a public service announcement…. A Swedish cyber-security group has found a flaw in the secure internet protocol that two-thirds of the servers on the Internet use, a flaw which provides a route for hackers to exploit, enabling them to obtain data and information from many different commercial and non-commercial sources on the web…. They also found that this flaw has been present, unknown to any but a few, for over two years, and MAY already have been exploited by hackers to steal millions upon millions of passwords and information about people…. It’s called Heartbleed, and, apparently, there is no way to tell how much data has already been compromised….

The authorities have decided to finally let the public know about this, and suggest that ALL users who use the internet change ALL their passwords, advising all those users to also take other steps to further protect and secure their data…. Nice of them to let us know, eh?…. Any who, pass it on, because we ALL need to pay attention to this one…. They’ve been to the barn, but left the door open…. you may want to close it, as best you can….

http://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/Online-security-flaw-exposes-millions-of-passwords-5386933.php

Now we’ll go on to the “Cuban Twitter” issue, that brilliantly programed distraction from Barry’s house, wherein the administration is working like mad to keep us from paying too close attention to what they are NOT doing to reform the NDAA and the NSA’s rabid, out-of-control spying…. While all the hullabaloo about this latest piece of stupidity plays itself out on the public stage, discussing the ins and outs of A PROGRAM THAT NOT ONLY FAILED BUT IS NO LONGER IN PLACE, the NSA quietly continues to mine the metadata on phones and computers all over the world, including right here in the USA…..

Yep, this issue, along with the loud, idiotic feud currently being played out between the Senate and the CIA, is the perfect subject to pull attention away from the NSA, as it gives the media, and their dupes, the general public, something on which to focus their ire, instead of having it focused solely on the Department of Cybersecurity, or whatever it’s called…. 

You know, that well-known organization that coordinates all of our spying with the NSA, (Homeland Security now includes the NSA, CIA, FBI, and whatever clandestine organizations in other departments, such as the branches of the military, all sharing information to keep their paranoia fresh), in their avowed search for terrorists, which includes their continuing joint abuse of the American people’s personal meta data….

Go ahead, read the following, and I’ll see you on the other side…. The initial comments you will see were written yesterday, prior to writing this, and may repeat certain portions, for effect….. sort of a reverse time warp, you see…..

“Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side?  And hain’t that a big enough majority in any town?” — Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn

http://www.sfgate.com/news/politics/article/Angry-exchange-on-Capitol-Hill-over-Cuban-Twitter-5387870.php

http://www.sfgate.com/news/politics/article/US-penned-political-satire-in-secret-Cuban-Twitter-5387849.php

Here’s the latest on the Cuban Twitter smoke screen… which is obscuring the other smoke screen, the Saga of DiFi and the CIA, both of which are distracting the public’s attention from what is actually happening NOW…. which is the same old shit/stuff these stories are blathering over, to wit: the out-of-control spying and lying that is going on in Washington, and all over the world, all of which gives me the distinct impression the BRC  seems to be  is waging a war of attrition against its own citizens.

The techniques of information manipulation, to misdirect the attention of the enemy to where it cannot see the actual events that transpire behind the scenes; the lies told bare-faced, claiming innocence with bloody hands…. Well, you get the picture…. The people who are in charge of our nation, ffolkes, are NOT very nice people, and are waging a war against YOU, ME, and everyone who doesn’t fall in line with their insane view of the world….

If you think I’m judging them harshly, well, you may be correct…. But, guess what? They are supposed to be MY public servants, not the other way around, and I’m not going to act as if they have any right to do any of what they are up to, not as long as that is true….. I don’t buy into the sense of entitlement they assume, and happen to believe that they are not only NOT the best of us, rising to the top like cream in milk, but, in fact, I see them as more like the scum that rises to the top of any polluted stream…. It fits them much better, in terms of both visual aspect, as well as their, shall we say, less than flowery odor….

This whole issue, making a big fuss over something that is over and done, and was a mistake to begin with, is just another way to distract the public, keeping them from thinking about the stuff that Edward Snowden revealed, all of which IS STILL GOING ON.

That is what they don’t want us to know, ffolkes, and they’ll do anything to keep us focused somewhere else, even if that means giving up some poor bureaucrats who were only doing what they were told, serving them up as scapegoats to hide their own actions, allowing the press and public to judge these poor fools, to let Congress crucify THEM for having stupidly done a poor job, at what was never anything but a stupid idea…. If it keeps us from looking at what the NSA is doing, all the better, in their view….

I said above that I see our own government perpetrating what I see as acts of war against the American people; I consider that to be gospel truth…. The Beloved Ruling Class, at least, the one I’VE been watching, has been using Sun Tzu’s Art of War to carry on a campaign of disinformation and manipulation of attitudes for many years now….. If you’ve ever read it, it is very clear how the government’s actions and statements are designed to use the principles outlined therein to confuse and misdirect the public’s minds….

With this latest administration, that campaign has reached new levels of intrusion into people’s lives, stealing from them not only their money, with outrageous tax structures and an economic system designed to steal even more of what they earn, but, has also made serious inroads into eliminating the Bill of Rights, taking away liberty after liberty, all in the name of “Homeland Security”, an oxymoron if I ever heard one… Now, they aren’t even waiting for us to spend the money, but are using our own computers and phones to increase their level of control over our fates….

Bah, humbug…. I’m pissed again, and it’s still early…. I’m going to stop now, and go on to the next section, where I hope the poem I’ll choose will have a calming effect on me…. I am not looking forward to carrying this around all day….. and, I’m sure y’all are as tired of hearing about all this, as I am about having to write about it…. Believe me, I wish there wasn’t so damn much wrong in today’s world…. Maybe if there was a bit less, I’d feel as if I could afford to turn my head toward a subject somewhat less critical, but much more amiable to my spirit….

SIGH…. Such is life, and we have to take it the way it comes…. In doing so, however, it would be wise to remember…..  despite any desires or wishes YOU may have, you are at war, ffolkes….. and the enemy lives very close at hand….

I’m gonna go Pearl now….

“Most essential qualification for a politician: The ability to foretell what will happen tomorrow, next month, and next year- and to explain afterward why it did not happen.” — Sir Winston Churchill

“Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth.” — Nero Wolfe, Rex Stout (1866-1975)

“He whose pride oppresses the humble may, perhaps, be humbled, but will never be humble.” — Lavater

“Diplomats are just as essential to starting a war as soldiers are for finishing it … You take diplomacy out of war, and the thing would fall flat in a week.” — Will Rogers

“Firmness in politics is called obstinacy anywhere else.” — Smart Bee

“No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.” — Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

“If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past.” — Spinoza (1632-1677)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Maybe it’s just me, but I think this poem is beautiful…. so much so it is one of the best ever written, in my somewhat less than humble opinion….

Part of its charm, for me, comes from the sheer symmetry of the rhyming pattern Wordsworth used… Four lines with alternating ending rhymes, followed by a couplet that also rhymed perfectly…. Twenty-four lines, four stanzas, and a visual aspect as sharp as a photograph, in describing the flowers, and in the way it appears on screen, or paper…. Just look at it…. centered, balanced, complete within itself….

Carrying the pattern through to the ending verse, for me, creates a visual aspect that matches the sheer beauty of the experience he is sharing with the reader…. It assumes an almost mathematically precise symmetry for me, displaying the sheer beauty of nature in all its undisciplined magnificence….. One of my all-time favorite poems, for sure…. and always guaranteed to soothe the spirit…. I defy ANYONE to say they don’t feel better after reading this…..

Daffodils

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

~~ William Wordsworth ~~


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Having completed the obligatory ranting for the day…. (hell, given what I wrote yesterday, I could consider myself done for the week….) I don’t feel compelled to do so any further, and in fact, plan to finish up as quickly as I can, & go take a nap….. As a retired dilettante,  I have that right, and I exercise it frequently, to keep it supple…. Moreover, I like it, so, there…..

I think, given the apparent direction my mood is taking, on the evidence of that last sentence, it intends to go somewhere none of us particularly want to go, so, I’m going to go pearling again, with no particular parameters to guide my hand, only a vague sense of nonsense…. whatever THAT might be….

Pluralitas non ponenda est sine necessitate.  (Multiplicity is not to be asserted when it is unnecessary.) — William of Occam [Occam's Razor]

“There is a time for thinking and a time for NOT thinking.  And THIS isn’t one of them.” — Paul the Samurai

“A gleekzorp without a tornpee is like a quop without a fertsneet (sort of).” — Smart Bee

“Real glory springs from the silent conquest of ourselves.” — Joseph P. Thompson

“I put aside my copy of “BOWLING WORLD” and think about GUN CONTROL legislation..” — Zippy the Pinhead

“As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” — Albert Einstein

“Trouble rather the tiger in his lair than the sage amongst his books. For to you Kingdoms and their armies are things mighty and enduring, but to him they are but toys of the moment, to be overturned by the flicking of a finger.” — Chinese proverb

Hmm…. an eclectic little group, eh? In looking at the whole pearl, I think I would suggest shuffling them around a bit, to see if a different configuration will shake it down to a point where it’s a bit more transparent, or at least organized into a sequential thought pattern…. Or, not….

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Having dutifully proofed, edited, and polished, I consider this done…. Moreover, after carefully performing the appropriate calculations, I am convinced there really isn’t any more damage I can do…. That means it would be a good idea to end this now, and get on with the rest of the day….

Oh…. Okay, that means me…. Very well…. See y’all tomorrow, ffolkes, provided the BRC hasn’t found me yet….

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

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

Which is Why….


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

gigoid the dubious

dozer3

Statistical universes encourage the use of pets….

Ffolkes,

You can expect no desperate whining, nor any trepidation at the blank screen this morning; the date, in all its glorious singularity, is subject enough for anyone to latch onto, providing all of us would-be authors and columnists with ample fodder for our grist, or grist for our mill, or more simply, lots to write about…..

The end of another year, for some reason, seems to put society into nostalgia mode, with year-end sales, year-end parties, year-end lists, and all sorts of activities designed to bring more attention to what just happened, thus avoiding both living in the moment, and preparing for the future, both of which would doubtlessly serve us better than gazing into our checkered past….

In this sense, we can see that all of the end of the year contortions people go through every damn year are just another method of avoiding anything that MIGHT resemble intelligent or productive living. Society would rather spend all their time going over the past year, with all of its problems and triumphs, than it would discussing what may be wrong now, or trying to prepare for a potentially fatally grim future, one very much likely to be less than a stable, peaceful path, but, rather, a short, violent one that leads to, shall we say, a less than desirable outcome, in a very short time…..

Last year, I wrote the following, as the beginning to the last Pearl of 2012…. I think it’s pretty good, so let’s see how it reads today….
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From 12/31/2012:

Exploring consensual reality means more than just talking about what people see as real; it means being real, and learning to accept the reality of others, while at the same time rejecting all those realities that are harmful in some way. It means speaking up against all the cruelty and evil that we see, refusing to join the masses who try to ignore what they cannot understand, and therefore, fear. It means exposing those who live their lives without regard for anyone else. It means taking responsibility for one’s own actions, and insisting that others do the same. It means, to me, that even though there is little hope of changing human nature at this late date, a small chance exists that we can survive, provided we learn to embrace ALL of life with honest regard, and can find a way to bring out the best in human nature, rather than allowing the worst to run rampant….

And that, pompous as it is, is ALL we will say about the future, or the past year, for the time being. Everyone else will, I’m sure, cover that adequately, and it would be a waste of my time to add to what is already a massive outpouring of material to read. I’d much rather provide something a bit different, and shall endeavor to do so, post haste…. Sorry, once pomposity sets in, it’s hard to put down….
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Not too bad, and certainly worth using again this year….. Now, if I could only figure out what the hell to write about today, I could fulfill my given task here at ECR with no fuss or muss…. But, as per normal around here, it looks like it will take some effort to get anything worthwhile to come out of this messy process….. This intro, as can be seen, is yet another experiment, this one thrown together and applied on short notice, as the day snuck up on me, so to speak… Well, actually, the idea snuck up on me, and…. oh, never mind….

Shall we Pearl?…..

“The answer to the question “why was I born trans?” is not in the past, but in the future. When we move beyond asking how we got here and ask what we should do with what we have we answer why we are here.” — Callan Williams

Believe me, this is a much more appropriate pearl than you may think upon first read….. and is much, much deeper than it may first appear….. Just think on it, and it will become clear why this is here, and what it means to all of us, not just the “trans”…..
_____________________________

Not only was the opening of the Pearl from last year on this date a good one, but there was a religirant in there that is well worth reprinting today…. It is still completely valid, in all respects, remaining both an indictment of those who would foist this nonsense upon an unsuspecting society, and as a call to think about the dogma that is impressed upon the believers of what I consider to be delusional material… i.e. strong beliefs held in the absence of evidence or tangible proof….. In short, an indictment of preachers and priests, imams and sadhus, and all the other religious pundits who try to manipulate mankind by the application of massive guilt, and the concept of original sin…. the greatest scam of all time….
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Also from 12/31/2012:

Forgiveness. How does a person without faith in a higher power obtain this boon? Certainly not from themselves…. I know, if I have done something for which I feel the need, or desire, to be forgiven, then I most likely don’t deserve it, and refuse to give in to self-indulgence. According to the preachers, God forgives all, but damn me if I can see any reason to do so, no matter how ‘merciful’ he/she/it might be. How can anyone expect moral behavior, if even our most grievous sins are forgiven? Because of the promise of reward for compliance, or threat of punishment for refusal to conform? I agree with Albert Einstein, that any such philosophy is not realistic, and certainly not moral,,..

“In his private heart no man much respects himself.” — Mark Twain

All of us, without exception, have things we hide inside ourselves, secrets that nobody else will ever be told. Whether it is a memory of an act one is not proud of, or a bit of severe foolishness, or something so shameful that to share it would be to become a pariah, all of us humans have secrets. I would guess that almost all of them are akin to what is described in the first paragraph, to wit: acts that need forgiveness, but do not deserve it. I believe that this may be a method by which one can tell another person’s outlook on religion, for almost all religions are based on this principle, of divine forgiveness. Even though we may do things in life that are unforgivable, the gods, or God, for the monotheistic among us, are so merciful, that they will do so, if you but acknowledge their divinity, and admit they are your higher power….

It’s a good deal, all in all, if one buys it. Myself, I’m a bit sanguine about it, since I only have the word of the preachers that it is so; there is no real evidence to be found that supports the theory, and the scientist in me wants at least a little bit of proof before accepting something as truth. I’m not going to buy anything just on someone else’s word, or assertion of truth; I’ve been alive long enough to know that doing things like that can only lead to losing something, if only the advantage of self-respect.

“His ignorance covers the world like a blanket, and there’s scarcely a hole in it anywhere.” — Mark Twain

Wait, I thought we were talking about religion, not the last Republican President…. Sorry, couldn’t resist…. Any who, it all comes back to the basic idea of how we view reality, in terms of the concept of God, or a power greater than ourselves, that is responsible somehow for everything that exists, and thus, for us. By giving away that responsibility, I think, we are showing our own cowardice; I’m not willing to do that, not without more compelling evidence than hearsay.

I’m not blind to the other evidence that many religionists claim as being proof of God and his will; I’ve burst into tears myself at the sight of a particularly vivid sunrise, without knowing why, other than the beauty of it was so arrestingly powerful. I’ve seen good things happen everywhere, in human interaction, and in Nature. I’ve witnessed what priests like to call “grace”, and will admit that such events are not explainable by ordinary means.

I’ve also witnessed the other side of existence, where human nature turns dark and cruel, while Nature reveals its own complete indifference for human suffering; I cannot accept that the same entity would dare to assume, or want responsibility for such a wicked universe, even if the balance of good and evil is maintained by the presence of the other.

That assumption is purely human, and thus does not qualify, in my mind, as evidence of divinity in the form of God, by any of the visions held by any of the churches of Mankind. Unless, of course, one goes beyond doctrine, into philosophy, where the above contradictions do not apply, or can be explained by one further assumption. That assumption is a hard one for most humans, as it involves taking responsibility for EVERYTHING that they do, and for everything that happens to them. (Yep, that’s a paraphrase of the basic principle of Karma…)

In other words, as Robert Heinlein put it so aptly, in his epic statement of philosophy, Stranger In a Strange Land, “Thou art God.”  I know, it’s blasphemous, but, hey, been there, done that, let’s get past it…. It is the only explanation that fits ALL the facts in evidence, and even if a bit grandiose, really isn’t, because we are, after all, just a bunch of bozos on the bus.

Being God, though, would be a really boring job, the way the job descriptions in all the churches read, and I don’t think I want to take that on, particularly. It may be the only way I can find any forgiveness for those things I’ve done in my long life of which I am not proud, but, since I don’t feel that I SHOULD be forgiven for them, I think I’ll just accept the responsibility, along with the consequence, a certain lessening of my self-esteem, and try to act in the future in ways that won’t make me feel that way….

It really isn’t hard to be good, in reality, as long as you care…. The problem is, not enough people care, or even think about stuff like this…. Me, I can’t help myself…. Caring, to me, is what being human is about; those who don’t care aren’t fully human, and won’t be until they do….

“I am covered with pure vegetable oil and I am writing a best seller!”  — Zippy the Pinhead
_____________________________

Once again, I’m forced to resort to my own poetry, for honor’s sake…. It’s one of my strongest held beliefs, that no one else should ever get any of the blame for what happens here, so, there are times when I must use my own, to protect the names of the innocent….. I hope you enjoy it, as it was picked out to match today’s mood….

Stray Cats

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

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

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

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

~~gigoid~~

_____________________________

Since it IS the last day of the year, I will condescend to create one fresh section of today’s Pearl, even if it is only an old-school variety pearl, which I can throw together in my sleep…. No comments from the peanut gallery on that one, please…. In truth, Smart Bee has been really, really good at what it does of late, so I’m kind of trusting it to pull my fat from the fire, in a manner of speaking, as I have yet to really do much today, beyond blather, a form of literature at which I am gaining some expertise….. So, let’s see if SB can pull off another serendipitous grouping of wisdom in small pieces, eh?….

“A people who expect to be ignorant and free expect what never will,  and never can, be.” — Thomas Jefferson

“Politics is for people who have a passion for changing life but lack a passion for living it.” — Tom Robbins

“For insurance purposes, an act of God is defined as something which no reasonable person could possibly have anticipated. In this same sense, Catholic theologians speak of the creation of humanity as an act of God! If carried to the logical conclusion, we might even find some sort of reason for your ordinary parking meter.” — Smart Bee

“We’re not afraid, its just that we have this thing about death.” — Smart Bee

Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.  (Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity.) — William of Occam, Occam’s Razor

“I feel like a fugitive from the law of averages.” — William H. Mauldin, “Up Front” 1944 *

“My face is new, my license is expired, and I’m under a doctor’s care!!!!” — Zippy the Pinhead

A bit obscure, but, you wouldn’t want it to be easy, now, would you? I think not…. You’ll take it the way it is, and like it….
_____________________________

* “Up Front” 1944, by William H. “Bill” Mauldin This is a GREAT book…. I read it as a young child, because it was in my parent’s library, and we were always encouraged to look at the books. It was a series of cartoons, with two ordinary US Army joes as the ‘heroes’. It pictured the life of an average soldier, on the front lines during WWII in Europe, from the standpoint or these two typical Americans, Willie and Joe, following them with extremely realistic cartoon-like sketches, more portraiture than cartoons, like a comic book, in black and white for publishing in the newspapers of the time….

The sketches/cartoons took the reader with Willie and Joe through battles, life on post, life in the field, encounters with the locals overseas, fear, homesickness, illness, and all the trials and joys that are found in such times…. The text, which I read later, in my early teens, was simple and compelling, written by the author, a political cartoonist/journalist, who traveled around with the soldiers all over during the war years…. A great read…. It educated me at a young age about war, and how average people behaved at those times in history…. very enlightening re: human nature, as I recall…. and funny as hell, even to a five or six year old….

Well, for a final go, this certainly has some bulk to it…. Not a bad way to roll over into a new year, artificial as that distinction may be (What calendar do YOU follow? Gregorian? Orthodox? Mayan? Aztec? Chinese? It makes a difference, you know….). I suppose most of the ffolkes who would be reading this, as English speakers, even if not native, (NOT a handicap, I assure you….) are following the one that celebrates tonight as the crossing from one year to the next in line…..

Thus, as the Universe encourages us all to embrace Change, as acknowledged by Axiom #1 of Peruaosophy, I can say “Happy New Year” without any sense of embarrassment or guilt for being politically incorrect…. not that I give a shit, of course, but, hey, I try to be nice some of the time…. See ya next year, ffolkes… It’s been Real…. Now, if only we all could agree on how that Reality should proceed….

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

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

Which is Why….


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

gigoid

dozer3

Remnants of patent leather madrigals….

Ffolkes,
I’ve started to write several times this morning, but each time was forced to begin again, having spewed pure garbage onto the page. Even this honest statement of dismay seems to me to be stilted and stupid; it seems doubtful, at this point, that anything worthwhile is going to be coming forth from the depths of my mind to grace our presence with wit and style. I’d give up, but, I’m stubborn….

Having thus disposed of at least the first paragraph, perhaps I can distract Murphy with my fuzzy brain….. If he thinks I’m already in a state of confusion, he will, sometimes, let me be, allowing me to fuck with myself, which, though no less destructive, is often less bloody, and takes less clean-up….. Funny, isn’t it, what we can learn to live with?…. Besides, even Murphy will have a hard time putting me in a depressed state today…. In a bit under eight hours, I’ll be getting into a limo, which will deliver me, and milady Patricia, to the cruise terminal to embark on our ten day trip to Alaska…. Very little in the universe could make me unhappy at this point….

The only hard part now is getting through these eight hours…. creating this Pearl will eat up some of it, and I’ve got some ideas of how to pass the time quickly…. but, nothing will make the clock move fast enough to suit us. Everything is done, and all we need to do is carry our bags to the curb to be on our way….. I’m so jazzed and excited, even coming up with the BS I can normally spew out on demand is a bit more than I feel easy with….. Oh well, such is life, as they say….

Shall we Pearl?…..
_____________________________

You knew it would happen today…. and, if you didn’t, you should have…. I had intended to make this a fresh pearl, old-school variety, and rant in the third section, provided I can find a rantable subject….. However, Smart Bee has gone over to Murphy’s side for the time being, and won’t cooperate with the plan…. so, I’m retreating to the archives for a short, pithy rant on religion, or religious philosophy, whatever that might mean…. This was originally posted in December of 2011…

“That which leads us to the performance of duty by offering pleasure as its reward, is not virtue, but a deceptive copy and imitation of virtue.” — Cicero (B.C. 106-43)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ffolkes,

Just so it’s clear…..I’m not an atheist, per se, at least, not in the classical sense of the word.  I do hold beliefs regarding the subject of divinity and spirituality, but they bear no great resemblance to those espoused by any organized faith, and I don’t discuss them with anyone. It just causes arguments.  I am not a Christian, or a Muslim, or a Unitarian, or a Buddhist, or any other of the virtually countless ‘isms’ people have come up with to try to understand those parts of the universe that we do not comprehend.

I’ve read the holy books of most of the major faiths; Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, the Bibles of several different Christian sects , the Tao Teh Ching, the I Ching, and any other related material I could find. Not that I made a complete heavy study of each, but I learned enough to be able to draw comparisons, and judge the validity of each (which I admit, is purely subjective. But then, isn’t any religious belief purely subjective? Why yes, I do believe it is…..).

It occurred to me, just now, that, maybe, for all these centuries we (that’s the human “we”…. meaning all of us as a group….) have sought to explain what we do not understand, we have been looking at things from the wrong perspective, at least in terms of intelligence, with its defined value to us being such that man considers himself greater than “lower” forms of life. The attitude that we are the pinnacle of creation is a given in almost every approach taken by philosophers and scientists in any explanation of why things are as they are. Since we have not the ability to create worlds (yet), or stars (yet), or universes (yet?), we attribute the state of things as we know them to creatures of vast wisdom and power, as “far above us as we are above bacteria or amoeba.” How often have you heard the last part? Isn’t that part of any definition of a god, or even God, by whatever name one calls him/her/them/it?

But what if the amoeba IS God? Amoeba are the most ancient form of life we know of, utilizing the simplest means of reproduction available (as far as WE know anyway…), and are an essential step in the formation of other life. Perhaps the entire bacterial level is God’s nervous system, and the amoeba are the thoughts of God. And as other forms of life evolved, maybe each entered another part of the symbiotic whole that is life, non-life, energy, matter, and non-matter, all of which must be present in order for our universe to manifest itself.

All of which makes our viewpoint completely backwards; we are the bottom of creation, not the top. Every other part of the universe, and almost every animal and creature on our planet we know of, except ourselves and our vaunted intelligence, are functioning, and functioning well, according to their place in Nature because they have no need to do anything else.  Our intelligence is generally accepted to be that which makes us ‘better’ than the rest of creation, a convenient word to describe something that may not have been created at all, but might just happen to be the way it is, because it wants to be…..at least most of it does….so far we haven’t done too well at learning how to be at one with the rest of creation; quite the opposite, as a general rule…..

Hmmm…..well, I guess that’s one way to look at it…… at least with this credo, there’s no guilt, no shame, no incentives, and no rewards….. other than self-respect……

– How many amoebas does it take to change a light bulb?  One. No, 2. No, 4. No, 8. No, 16. No, 32……. — Smart Bee
_____________________________

Some years ago, on the occasion of her mother’s passing, Patricia, my lady love, wrote a memorial tribute, in which she put a poem that she wrote for her mother…. I think it is very touching, as well as quite beautiful, and include it here, not to depress anyone, but to celebrate the life of her mother by sharing what Patricia felt when she wrote the poem….. Enjoy!….

She sits quietly,
Eyes in a wrinkled face,
Watching nothing,
Seeing everything.
A kaleidoscope of memories
flickers past.

Laughter mingles with tears,
Fear and sorrow melt into contentment.
A lifetime of joy and passion,
sorrow and doubt pass by.
Don’t hurry so, take your time.
Stop and listen
and she will tell you tales.

Tales of far away lands, great adventures,
great passion and greater trials.

She takes out the memories, one at a time,
Views them re-lives them,
brings them to life for her listeners.

Then tenderly, reverently, she wraps them again,
and places them, one at a time,
into fragile bubbles.

If you look closely, you can see them.

Tiny little flashes in her eyes……
Look close,
See them?

Individual memories encased in fragile bubbles.

In loving memory of June. T. Miller
1919-1998
by
Patricia Miller Larsen

_____________________________

Okay, it’s time to drop any pretense I have assumed…. Smart Bee isn’t cooperating, and my head just isn’t ready to be creative…. so, once again, I’ll have to dip into the past for the material to complete this Pearl…. So be it…. Here is a rather long, involved pearl from late in 2012… I think it’s one of my best, so, it will do for the moment’s need….. Enjoy!….
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What is the mind? Where is it, exactly? And how does it work?….. These are questions that have been asked throughout time, without ever finding answers on which all can agree…. Oh, there are many ideas, and every sage and his brother’s cousin’s friend’s uncle has a theory about it…. Finding pearls that discuss the matter was pretty simple, actually, as they just kept popping up in front of me…. for example, here are four that I found, all of which have an important part of the idea to discuss…..

“Whether time is long or short, and whether space is broad or narrow, depend upon the mind. Those whose minds are at leisure can feel one day as a millennium, and those whose thoughts are expansive can perceive a small house to be as spacious as the universe.” — Hung Tzu-ch’eng (1593-1665)

“An intelligent mind is a mind which is not satisfied with explanations, with  conclusions; nor is it a mind that believes, because belief is again another  form of conclusion. An intelligent mind is an inquiring mind, a mind that is  watching, learning, studying.” — J. Krishnamurti

“Hypotheses are not to be multiplied without necessity.” — Occam’s Razor (aka, the K.I.S.S. axiom….) (see Hanlon’s Razor, aka Heinlein’s Corollary to Occam’s Razor) (See logic) (See Dick and Jane run….) (Just wanted to make sure you’re paying attention….)

“To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. It is to solve the problems of life not only theoretically, but practically.” — Henry David Thoreau, American Philosopher (1817-1862) in Walden

You probably noted that one of these four was not like the others (Sesame Street teaches critical thinking well, does it not?….). Occam’s Razor has done more to advance science and philosophy than any unified field theorem, or any other wide ranging thought that mankind has come up with over the years. It cuts through the bullshit, and reminds us to concentrate on what is important, to not to go off on tangents that detract from the final outcome. It’s a way of approaching science and the fields of knowledge, and even Life, that offers the superiority of having been proven true over and over, in every experiment, in every field of science since it’s publication, sometime around the Renaissance period. William of Occam was, reportedly, a mathematician, and no doubt a very good one, as his assertion regarding hypotheses implies a certain impatience with bullshit; he likely wasn’t one to put up with foolishness for long….

Of course, there are always a few who don’t have the intelligence, or the courage, to stand up to Life, and they too have had their two cents worth put in for consideration….

“Do not learn more than you absolutely need to get through life.” — Karl Kraus  (Seconded, I’m sure, by Homer Simpson….)

An obvious proponent of the entitlement crowd, this guy has expressed clearly the lack of courage that it takes to really retreat from life as can be done. These are the Republicans, the non-thinkers, the men and women who prefer to hide their heads in sand rather than meet reality with any dignity or bravery. Ignorance is their status of choice, as they don’t have to bother themselves to ever check things for truth, or even make up their own thoughts…. they just accept whatever the pundits, religious or political, tell them, because those pundits are the ones who are immoral and unethical enough to take advantage of their ignorance, and will tell them anything they want to hear, in order to soothe their bigoted fears, and, as a happy side effect, take all their money…. which they willingly give away, proving the old saw about fools and money…

I didn’t mean to get into a political rant, but I suppose it isn’t an ill-conceived idea at this point. Tonight will be the first of the Presidential debates between Obama and Romney, and a discussion of mind vs. no-mind seems appropriate somehow. We will get a pretty good picture drawn for us tonight, as one of the greatest speakers of our time, the POTUS, faces off in debate with one of the worst speakers I’ve ever seen, Mitt the Twitt, who has a proclivity for dropping bombs, and speaking without evidence of giving any thought at all to what he has just said to some group. This is an occupational hazard for someone who relies on lies and misrepresentations for the major portion of their message; it’s hard to sound true when one is obviously false…. No matter how much it gets dressed up and taught to sing and dance, a pig isn’t going to win any music contests with its squealing…..

“I’m not imaginary–I’m ontologically challenged” — Smart Bee

As might be guessed, the above is a joke, intended to poke fun at those who choose to live their lives without the benefit of using their minds…. to live one’s life in ignorance to me would seem to be the actions of a fool, by definition as well as practice. One may as well BE imaginary, if one is going to retreat from reality to the extent of turning off all curiosity, all doubt, and never using the mind for that which it was designed (if one believes in design….), or happened to evolve into…. The mind is our best, and possibly our only, ally against the harshness of reality, and it would behoove all of us to keep it in good working order, as befits a tool of such high quality…… T’is marginally better than treating it as a red-headed step-child, leaving it out to starve in the cold, harsh light of reality…..
_____________________________

Without even looking this over, I know it will do…. but, I’m anal about typos, so let’s see how it reads….. Given the handicaps under which I am operating today, it isn’t at all bad…. not terribly fresh, but still stimulating… and, it’s done…. Yay!  Now I can get ready to rumble….. Next time I post will be from the road, so I can’t predict exactly when, but, it will be soon…. count on it…..  Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..

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

Save that lanolin, we’ll use it on the new busboy….

Ffolkes,
I know, now, how the White Rabbit felt, as he hurried down the rabbit hole to Wonderland, “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date…”  Even though the only thing I’m late for is posting this Pearl, I feel the same sense of panic and hurry as did he….. No reason, really. I did sleep a bit late, and had to spend the first twenty minutes repairing and reloading Smart Bee…. it pulled its bi-monthly corrupted file trick, which requires a quick delete and re-load of the entire program, plus a re-start of the computer…. No big deal, but time consuming…. which brings us to the present moment….

Egad, what a mess…. I’ve managed to completely screw up my transaction record, so I have no idea of exactly how much is in my account, and it’s time to pay bills for the month. I’m going to have to pay everything, then stop using the cards at all until it all catches up, and I can reconcile the record with reality…. SIGH…. I never was very good with money; it comes from never having much of it to deal with, along with a hearty disregard for the concept itself… “If you want a life of trouble, fill your house with treasures.”  I first heard this, and took it to heart, when I was about 11 years old, and made a conscious decision at that time to never try to get rich…. I’ve done that, quite well, actually…..

That’s all Big Blue Room stuff, though, and has no place here in ECR…. though it IS reality, I question the relevance for anyone reading this missive, so we’ll leave that behind, and find some other way to lead into today’s post…. That will be quite a trick, as I haven’t a clue as to what will happen today. I left the entire template blank, other than the usual suspects, intending to let myself go into an artistic trance, just typing away until my fingers wore out, and then seeing what was worth keeping…. much like I write a poem, in truth. But, my left wrist hurts from too much typing anyway, and I can’t seem to find a trance-state anywhere, in my head, or out. So much for that idea….

But, look, we’ve got three paragraphs again, just chock full of irrelevant BS, about rabbits, corrupted files, checkbooks, and mysticism colored by whimsy. Perhaps it isn’t exactly Hemingway-esque, but it’s certainly better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, and it does allow us to move on to something that MIGHT be instructive, if not entertaining. We often blur the two around here, so it’s best not to ask which it is supposed to be…. we don’t always know, and hate to be embarrassed…… Shall we Pearl?…..
__________________________________

“I can’t keep from fooling around with our irrefutable certainties.  It is, for example, a pleasure knowingly to mix up two and three dimensionalities, flat and spatial, and to make fun of gravity.” — M. C. Escher

If you’ve seen Escher’s work, you’ll know that what he says here is truth, a truth graphically demonstrated by the visions he transfers to each  canvas. Though I doubt I’ll ever be hailed as such a genius as he, I like to think that what I write attempts to do the same, but rather than with dimensions of space, I play with the elements of belief that we humans hold, regarding certain aspects of society. In other words, it is a pleasure to knowingly point out the lies and the truths that people hold as certainties, and to make fun of how seriously the lies are taken, which we can equate to the force of gravity…. believing these lies is what holds us back from our potential, just as gravity holds us bound to the surface of the Earth…..

Just as Escher’s paintings release us from the laws of space and time, and of how to perceive them, our imaginations can release us from the repression heaped on us by the BRC and the 1%. When we stop believing the lies we are told, we can stop being puppets of the power of custom. Just because a lot of people believe something doesn’t make it true; only the facts of the matter can do that. In the act of accepting the lies we are told by those in authority, we become party to their chicanery, accessories, before and after the fact, to the crimes being perpetrated on society, and on the Earth as a whole….

“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater.  The clown came out to inform the public.  They thought it was just a jest and applauded.  He repeated his warning, they shouted even louder.  So I think the world will come to an end amid general applause from all the wits, who believe that it is a joke.” — Smart Bee

I think Smart Bee might have a point here….. Most people don’t look past the surface of what they perceive; they accept whatever they are told, as long as the one delivering the message is in the appropriate costume, or setting. Put a moderately good looking man in a suit, have him sit at a desk looking studious and concerned, and people will pretty much take whatever he says as gospel, even if it has absolutely no truth in it, or any connection to reality whatsoever….. The public’s reaction to the possibility of global warming resembles the above statement quite a lot. Same with the question of overpopulation, either of which issue will certainly lead to war and misery, as a minimum, or extinction as a species, eventually, as a maximum result….

Whenever I bring this up, though, I am met with a silence that is deafening, and which serves as proof of exactly what I am saying…. This is the kind of message that no one wants, to hear, or to believe is real…. So, they don’t. Or, they just ignore it, thinking it will go away if they look at it again in a few days…. Guess what, ffolkes….. It”s real, it’s not going away, and that is a FACT, not a supposition, or speculation, or misread data, or conspiracy, or anything else…. it’s a fact…. And the only way to change it, is for EVERYONE to decide to turn 180 degrees from the path we are on, even if it means getting rid of those among us who don’t want to go that way… because that way means DEATH…. for all of us, without exception…. Deal with it…..

“I used to be an idealist, but I got mugged by reality.” — Smart Bee
__________________________________

Okay, no cheating today…. It’s the last day of the National Poetry Writing Month, so I’m going to do my best to come up with a fresh haiku, and a fresh poem…. We’ll see how it goes, eh?….. As every day this month, these are being included as part of the April National Poetry Writing Month Challenge, with the updates to be found here:  http://www.napowrimo.net/    I hope you enjoy them…..

Haiku XVIII

More beautiful days,
the weather is amazing.
Soaking up the sun.

Off the proverbial cuff…

I never meant to kill that period of time,
it didn’t give me any choice.
It tried to hem me in without reason, or rhyme,
refused me any vote, or any voice.

You have to admit, I buried it deep and fast,
just as if I cared.
I knew, though, it would never last,
or ever be fully repaired.

No news, no pictures can bring it back,
once is all we get.
No pleas of public good, or even public lack;
in stone the past is set.

Futuristic visions now occupy my dreams,
I’m ready to go on.
Look! It fills up the screen, and it gleams!
Where’s the moment I’m sitting on?

Now, I remembered, at long, long last,
is all we really can hold.
Every moment goes by so bloody fast,
we’d best fill them all with beauty, warm and bold.

~~ gigoid ~~

__________________________________

Though today’s first section cannot be strictly considered as a rant, it was an indictment, so we’ll count it as one…. That gives me the excuse to go with an old-school pearl. Today we’ll go completely random, with Smart Bee as the only one deciding what should be included…. Let’s see what comes up from the depths today, shall we?…..

“The earth hath skin, and the skin hath diseases.  One of these…is called man.” — Nietzsche

“Labour to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire,–conscience.” — George Washington (1732-1799) — Rule from the Copy-book of Washington when a schoolboy

When asked, “If you find so much that is unworthy of reverence in the United States, then why do you live here?” Mencken replied, “Why do men go to zoos?”

“Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem. (Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity.)”  — William of Occam, Occam’s Razor

“It is impossible for a man to be cheated by anyone but himself.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You know, of course, that the Tasmanians, who never committed adultery, are now extinct.” — W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)

“UH-OH!!  We’re out of AUTOMOBILE PARTS and RUBBER GOODS!” — Zippy the Pinhead

Perhaps going TOTALLY random was a mistake; this is pretty inscrutable. So inscrutable, even I am not sure what the point is, other than to point a finger at Man, for….. something…. Maybe the finger should go up the nose, to remove any foreign bodies that may have been inadvertently ingested through the proboscis….. Oh, well, it isn’t bad, so just enjoy them individually, and I’ll leave them off the Quiz….
__________________________________

Aye, very late indeed…. let’s see how it proofs….. Hmm…. it’s not responding; it may be dead…. Oh well, it’s done, so I’m not going to fuss with it any further…. Besides, I’m hungry….  Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..

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

Soon, my child, this will all be toast….

Ffolkes,
I hardly know where to begin…. It isn’t every day one rejoins the mainstream, after struggling for about six months to keep posting, busting buns to keep in touch with the Internet world at large, and the blogging world in particular. Not enough time to do either one to my satisfaction, given an average of about 55 minutes of time to get done what is necessary to post, check email, answer email, do any research, banking, etc. Today, provided Murphy doesn’t, or hasn’t stepped in to take a hand, I’ll be connected to the Net at home, by 8 PM latest, again, given no technical glitches are thrown up last minute.

I really am speechless, almost. I don’t know whether to spit, grin, or scratch first, and since it is still, at the time of this writing, speculative fiction, I’ll just leave it alone, and let it all hang loose in that respect…. there will be plenty of options, so I’ll procrastinate later about it….. For now, it will be useful to point out… I didn’t post yesterday, the 10th, because I was too busy with real world activities that couldn’t be put off (more later on that stuff….), and today, same thing again. But, one of the productive things that got done today was the arrival and set up of the new modem, so that all will be in readiness tomorrow when the service is activated…..

What this all boils down to is that the intro, at least these first three paragraphs, are, were, written on the 11th…. after this paragraph is the intro from the 10th, with the material I wrote that day after that….. All of it is being posted either very late on the 11th, or on the 12th early, whenever I can get it done after activation. So, some of it is a bit fresher than the rest, but it is all part of a tough week, and you know what they say about authors and tough weeks… No? I thought you did…. Well, I don’t…. Any who…. onward, or in this case, backward…..

From 1/10/12

Ffolkes,
Far from being inflexible, I like to think I am pretty fluid in my attitudes about change. Any other approach to the matter is useless, as change is going to happen regardless of our take on it, so I’ve always tried to use that to my advantage, rather than spending a lot of time and energy trying to slow it down, or stop it altogether, a pastime certain to be filled with disappointment. This is why we are trying out a new technique today, or, rather, a new schedule for writing this blog when matters in the Big Blue Room require attention during the time set aside for pearling…..

I don’t know if it will work well, or not at all, so it should be a new experience, if nothing else, to find out. I can’t say I’m really enthused about having to go out into the BB Room so early, (gotta catch the 0700 bus, the first one that runs each morn….), as the weather has been nasty, cold, and wet all night, by the sounds of it, and I am feeling wimpy. But, one must do what one must, so I’ll bundle up and trundle off to the hospital to get these x-rays done for the state, so they can quit stalling around with my disability case. I swear, they’re finding every possible way they can to slow the process down, and wait until the last moment to spring them on me, for the most frustrating effect….. Apparently, Murphy works for them as a consultant on time management….

Now that the experiment has begun, I guess we’ll see how well I can write under deadline, which is sort of what I’ve done today, adjusting the schedule to accommodate this trip to Sutter-Solano this morning, and a trip to Kaiser this afternoon…. Hopefully, a trip to the library to post will fit in there between them…. that’s the plan, anyway. Plans, as we know around here, are for other people to depend on, not us…. Here at gigoid-ECR we know better than to tempt Murphy by making them, or, if we do, we don’t tend to get too worked up about having to alter them to suit reality, since we know already we will be suffering the kind attention of that particular icon, no matter what else may happen….

So, I would suggest that today, everyone take advantage of the seat belts that are attached to your seats…. Though we have never had to use them, it’s always a good thing to be prepared, right? Today’s blog could conceivably turn on us, and could conceivably necessitate some rather circuitous flying to get us past any turbulence, which may upset one’s tummy, if nothing else. Just close your eyes….. wait, no, that won’t work…. you can’t read your way out if you do that…. Well, just buckle up, hang on, and hope for the best, I suppose…. all you can do is all you can do, as you know…. Shall we Pearl?…..

P.S. to the intro: I’m rather confusing at times, I know…. it’s a gift. I don’t mean to be, actually, but, in trying to make things clear, I get carried away by details, and, it goes downhill from there…. At this particular point in time, I have no idea where this Pearl fits into real time…. I don’t know when it will be posted, the 11th, or the 12th, so any further attempts to provide any time markers seems futile. Thankfully for all of us, this means there is nothing left now but to go on…. this time it’s for real, no matter what day it is outside…. Shall we Pearl?……
__________________________________

I don’t think anyone would argue if I said the world needs some work, in order to be the kind of place where everyone has an equal shot at a good life. On the bottom line, that seems to me to be the basic desire of everyone I know of who has any degree of what I’d call common sense, and it really doesn’t seem like a lot to hope for…. until one looks around at the way things are, and realizes that most folks aren’t going to have a chance in hell of spending a lot of time in a contented state….. That is, I’m certain, as confusing as I can put it, but, nonetheless, is perfectly accurate, if a bit pedantic…. The following old school pearl kind of created itself, as the best do, so you’ll need to keep an open mind to catch the point…. but, it’s a good point….

“Brains first and then Hard Work.” — Eeyore, Pooh’s Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne

“Boys become men by watching men, by standing close to men. Manhood is a ritual passed from generation to generation with precious few spoken instructions. Passing the torch of manhood is a fragile, tedious task. If the rite of passage is successfully completed, the boy-become-man is like an oak of hardwood character. His shade and influence will bless all those who are fortunate enough to lean on him and rest under his canopy.” — Preston Gilham

“People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“At least I thought I was dancing, ’til somebody stepped on my hand.” — J. B. White

“Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.” — Rainer Maria Rilke

“I gained nothing at all from Supreme Enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called Supreme Enlightenment.” — Gautama Buddha

There you go…. Not to worry about grading; this is only on the pass/fail schedule, and won’t be on any quizzes…. But, you should pay attention, anyway, if for no other reason than is given by the Buddha….
__________________________________

Is It Alive?

Fighting into the light, words push hard to exist
each step closer to real brings another unique twist.
Shedding meaning for meaning, until bright, alone, and right
sculpting useless shapes, yet undefined, in pale morning’s light.

Never knowing the face is part of the lasting charm
bringing elegant focus, before sounding the alarm.
Advantageous time sends out messages, fears finding voice,
mulling options for flexibility, virtually without choice.

Fortunate man, who embraces the power of change;
’tis magical knowledge, bonding common to strange.
Weaving words of wonder, made strong by love and duty,
into a tapestry of life, and everlasting beauty.

~~ gigoid
__________________________________

“Pluralitas non ponenda est sine necessitate.” (Multiplicity is not to be asserted when it is unnecessary.) — William of Occam [Occam's Razor]

Sometimes it’s a good thing to look at the original idea, when one is often found to use it in its various historical incarnations. (Huh? What did he say? I’ve gotta tone down the syntax complexity a bit…..) We all use some form of this in our lives; the concept has been common knowledge for many, many years. (William of Occam lived in the 12th century (?)…..) It’s really too bad that in all that time, the idea has never taken root in the general population’s mind, such as it may be. People don’t commonly use this priceless logical rule in their daily lives, and never know they have the opportunity to go through life with much less difficulty than they do in fact…..

The absence of the Razor in the everyday affairs of society is never more heavily felt than in the political arena, as year after year, and century after century, mankind continues to blunder around like a wounded rhinoceros, experimenting with various forms of government designed to keep the people happy and content to NOT kill the ruling class, (and vice versa…), and failing miserably. I can’t think of a single period from our relatively short but busy past that would indicate that we were choosing the most logical or effective forms of getting along as a culture, can you? Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems to me that if even a small amount of logic were applied to any of our governmental formats, they might just work better…. Maybe not, but, since it’s never actually been tried, why not?….

“It is difficult to legislate morality in the absence of moral legislators.” — Smart Bee

This, being absolutely true, shows just how using Occam’s Razor could be of value. The Razor implies that if legislators are not moral, then remove them, with prejudice if necessary (Razors are, after all, for cutting things off, or out, whichever works best….). Allowing them to pursue their immorality in creating laws has already cost our society many steps toward improving the human condition, and there is no room for sentimentality in such instances, not when it affects the entire world, which includes us, and every other living thing. The inanimate world doesn’t need our help at all, protected as it is by natural law from any such attempts by us to make changes to those laws. It has its own way of enforcing those laws, strong enough that compliance on our part is mandatory…..

One of the more useful characteristics of Occam’s Razor is that it can tell us when we are losing our way, so to speak. If we eliminate all the dross, and what is left isn’t working, then we are, culturally speaking, ‘in the weeds’ philosophically, and the ground is bound to get even muddier. I have, unfortunately, reached that point in this discussion…. In other words, I’m lost. When I started it, I had an idea of where to go, and started to go that way… it wandered a bit, then I got interrupted by my morning jaunt to the X-ray department. Now that I’m back, and a poem forced its way onto the screen, I’m lost, and can’t find a way back…. SIGH…. One of the risks of multi-tasking, I guess….


Oh well, just think about Occam’s Razor now and again ffolkes, and see if we can’t figure out how to put it to more use on a societal level…. it couldn’t hurt, right? No worse than what has been going on so far…..

“Th’ MIND is the Pizza Palace of th’ SOUL” — Zippy the Pinhead
__________________________________

Okay, it will do…. It hasn’t been the most comfortable of Pearls to create, but it seldom is when a poem is involved. Add in the other extras today, and it goes off scale. So be it. I don’t have the time or energy to worry about it now, not if I’m going to get done all I need to do today. I hereby declare this Pearl to be finished…. Gotta go, so….   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!

Without shame, Queen Sally proclaimed her sanity….

Ffolkes,
On what is supposed to be a brisk fall morning, the sun also rose, sans foggy accompaniment, thus promising us another sweltering day here in the ever-pleasant confines of Northern California. The last two days, October 1 and 2, the temperature has exceeded 90 degrees here by the Bay, thus putting the lie to those idiots who insist that pumping millions of tons of carbon monoxide into the air on an hourly basis, isn’t having any effect on climate. Such bullshit…. and too early in the day to have to start whining, whether justified or not…. so, I’ll desist…..

Whining aside, it still promises to be another hot one, so I’ll be spending another day in front of a fan, and balancing air conditioning with how well I can tolerate heat, so the cost of it doesn’t eat into the food budget….. always a joy to find, if one is looking…. and one has had the training I’ve had, in curmudgeonry and its techniques for finding fault, in whatever situation one finds oneself. Like the school motto says, “Even the best of beds has bugs…..” right? Besides, complaining gives me something to do, other than sit around and brood, which, as we all know, is bad for both the state of one’s mind, and for one’s karma, leading as it does to negativity, and sloth, and probably lust, or other bad things….

In spite of how it might seem around here at times, bad things are NOT what we do…. not for fun, anyway. So, we’ll put all that incipient curmudgeonry aside for the nonce, and get on with the proper morning’s affair, to wit, the search for pearls, and the subsequent composition of a Pearl of Virtual Wisdom…. not to be confused with the real thing, of course. Wouldn’t want anyone getting hurt or anything like that….. Who knows? Maybe there’s another poem floating around in there somewhere….. we can hope….. Shall we Pearl?…..

“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the  experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” — Douglas Adams, Last Chance to See
__________________________________

What is the mind? Where is it, exactly? And how does it work?….. These are questions that have been asked throughout time, without ever finding answers on which all can agree…. Oh, there are many ideas, and every sage and his brother’s cousin’s friend’s uncle has a theory about it…. Finding pearls that discuss the matter was pretty simple, actually, as they just kept popping up in front of me…. for example, here are four that I found, all of which have an important part of the idea to discuss…..

“Whether time is long or short, and whether space is broad or narrow, depend upon the mind. Those whose minds are at leisure can feel one day as a millennium, and those whose thoughts are expansive can perceive a small house to be as spacious as the universe.” — Hung Tzu-ch’eng (1593-1665)

“An intelligent mind is a mind which is not satisfied with explanations, with  conclusions; nor is it a mind that believes, because belief is again another  form of conclusion. An intelligent mind is an inquiring mind, a mind that is  watching, learning, studying.” — J. Krishnamurti

“Hypotheses are not to be multiplied without necessity.” — Occam’s Razor (aka, the K.I.S.S. axiom….) (see Hanlon’s Razor, aka Heinlein’s Corollary to Occam’s Razor) (See logic) (See Dick and Jane run….) (Just wanted to make sure you’re paying attention….)

“To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. It is to solve the problems of life not only theoretically, but practically.” — Henry David Thoreau, American Philosopher (1817-1862) in Walden

You probably noted that one of these four was not like the others (Sesame Street teaches critical thinking well, does it not?….). Occam’s Razor has done more to advance science and philosophy than any unified field theorem, or any other wide ranging thought that mankind has come up with over the years. It cuts through the bullshit, and reminds us to concentrate on what is important, to not to go off on tangents that detract from the final outcome.

It’s a way of approaching science and the fields of knowledge, and even Life, that offers the superiority of having been proven true over and over, in every experiment, in every field of science since it’s publication, sometime around the Renaissance period. William of Occam was, reportedly, a mathematician, and no doubt a very good one, as his assertion regarding hypotheses implies a certain impatience with bullshit; he likely wasn’t one to put up with foolishness for long….

Of course, there are always a few who don’t have the intelligence, or the courage, to stand up to Life, and they too have had their two cents worth put in for consideration….

“Do not learn more than you absolutely need to get through life.” — Karl Kraus  (Seconded, I’m sure, by Homer Simpson….)

An obvious proponent of the entitlement crowd, this guy has expressed clearly the lack of courage that it takes to really retreat from life as can be done. These are the Republicans, the non-thinkers, the men and women who prefer to hide their heads in sand rather than meet reality with any dignity or bravery. Ignorance is their status of choice, as they don’t have to bother themselves to ever check things for truth, or even make up their own thoughts….

They just accept whatever the pundits, religious or political, tell them, because those pundits are the ones who are immoral and unethical enough to take advantage of their ignorance, and will tell them anything they want to hear, in order to soothe their bigoted fears, and, as a happy side effect, take all their money…. which they willingly give away, proving the old saw about fools and money…

I didn’t mean to get into a political rant, but I suppose it isn’t an ill-conceived idea at this point. Tonight will be the first of the Presidential debates between Obama and Romney, and a discussion of mind vs. no-mind seems appropriate somehow. We will get a pretty good picture drawn for us tonight, as one of the greatest speakers of our time, the POTUS, faces off in debate with one of the worst speakers I’ve ever seen, Mitt the Twitt, who has a proclivity for dropping bombs on himself, and speaking without evidence of giving any thought at all to what he has just said to some group. This is an occupational hazard for someone who relies on lies and misrepresentations for the major portion of their message; it’s hard to sound true when one is obviously false…. No matter how much it gets dressed up and taught to sing and dance, a pig isn’t going to win any music contests with its squealing…..

“I’m not imaginary–I’m ontologically challenged” — Smart Bee

As might be guessed, the above is a joke, intended to poke fun at those who choose to live their lives without the benefit of using their minds…. to live one’s life in ignorance to me would seem to be the actions of a fool, by definition as well as practice. One may as well BE imaginary, if one is going to retreat from reality to the extent of turning off all curiosity, all doubt, and never using the mind for that which it was designed (if one believes in design….), or happened to evolve into…. The mind is our best, and possibly our only, ally against the harshness of reality, and it would behoove all of us to keep it in good working order, as befits a tool of such high quality…… T’is marginally better than treating it as a red-headed step-child, leaving it out to starve in the cold, harsh light of reality…..
__________________________________

A Seasonal Approach

Absolute stillness grips a frozen field,
anticipating dawn with such patient yield
morning burgeoning in dark winter’s hold
brings promise of tales yet to be told.

Lengthening days of pale sun unto night
slowly tell of time’s subversive flight
bringing such original songs of natural fire
with melodies complex in casual attire.

The months are certain they will always win
it is just the way it has always been.
None may argue, nor yet slow life down
Nor dim the eternal beauty of nature’s gown.

Winter evolves from fall into spring,
sending flocks and hearts ever awing.
Summer follows suit, t’other way ’round
Spring into fall, often without a sound.

Life is meant to be lived, beginning to end
choices abound, and change can be a friend.
Yielding with grace to reality’s compelling ploy
fills our plain existence with honest, clean joy.

~~ gigoid

As I sat sweltering in yesterday’s heat wave, I got to thinking about winter, and how I’d really like to see it about now…. hence this little paean to the seasons, and living with them as a touchstone for inner serenity and maintaining a connection with life and nature….. I hope you enjoy it….
__________________________________

In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don’t try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.

– Tao Te Ching

I had originally intended to use this excerpt from this most excellent book as the springboard for a discussion on life in general…. but I noticed just how simply and beautifully the concepts had already been expressed. So, I’ve decided to let this one go as a stand alone pearl; it really has no need of embellishment or explanation from me, so I would feel like I was gilding a lily, so to speak. Taken all by itself, this passage will give one the tools and concepts needed to live life with dignity, and honor, and all the joy that living right brings….. so, enjoy!…..
__________________________________

Some day’s the process works, and other days it is less efficient…. this one seems to have hit the middle ground fairly well, so we are going to let it fly, as is….. So be it….. It may not be Ibsen, but it’s Art…. not Harry, Art….  I’m done for the day….. deal with it…… I am…….  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!

Frantic memories of split infinitives….

Ffolkes,
Certain that I left it here somewhere, I didn’t worry a bit; I figured I’d come out this morning, pick it up, and dive right in. But it’s not here. I distinctly remember setting it down right next to the computer, then….. nothing. No memories are clear after that point. It might have something to do with the bourbon…. nah! Can’t be that; it’s never f___ed with me like that before. But, since it’s the only factor not accounted for, I suppose we’ll have to please all the teetotalers out there, and blame it on Demon Rum, or in this case Satan’s Sour Mash. It’s okay, though, it’s not really a panic…. I’ve lived a long time in my life without any at all, so the loss of this one is no big deal.

What’s that? What am I talking about? Haven’t I said? Oh, sorry…. I am, of course, referring to that classic commodity so important to the creative process, a box of crayons. What else?…. Nothing in nature can achieve quite the same shade of irony that a copper colored crayon imparts, nor does Mother Nature come in shades of sarcasm, or angst. Only the genius’ at the Crayon Factory have perfected the range of colors that are uniquely literary, and can elevate even the humblest of tracts with pale pink sincerity, or darken the mood of star-crossed lovers with a deep green envy…. I don’t know about other authors, but I’d be lost without some crayons to lend that air of elegance and style only a box of crayons can achieve….. shall we then Pearl?….. color me amazed (bright silver), at my own chutzpah…..
___________________________________

A customer was bothering the waiter in a restaurant. First he asked that the air-conditioning be turned up because he was too hot, then he asked it be turned down cause he was too cold and so on for about half an hour.  Surprisingly, the waiter was very patient; he walked back and forth and never once got angry.  So finally a second customer asked him why he didn’t throw out the pest. “Oh I don’t care,” said the waiter with a smile, “we don’t even have an air conditioner.”

Smart waiter….. I am reminded of 1973, when my friend and I took a vacation to Mazatlan, Mexico. We went the first night to a famous restaurant called Señor Frog. While there, a party of four senior tourists came to the door, laughing and carrying on. A waiter approached them and said, “Follow me, please, and I will take you to the best table in the house.” Turning his back to them, he proceeded to lead the increasingly bemused group in a boisterous parade, through a winding path around every table in the place, finally ending up standing before a table right next to where the party had come in. Laughing, they sat down, as my friend and I just grinned in appreciation of his talent.

This guy was a real pro, very sharp. When the first course of soup was served, one of the women, seated on the aisle, looked down at her bowl, and said, “Oh my, it’s so hot my glasses have steamed up!” The waiter instantly whipped out his serviette, placed it dramatically over his hand, and carefully wiped off the glasses, still on her face, to the accompanying hilarity at both their table, and ours…… Truly, a waiter who knew the basic desire of every restaurant customer, to have a good time…..

Observing this interchange served me well in later years, when I spent my own time in the front of the house. One night, the perfect opportunity occurred and I was lucky enough to have the following exchange: Woman customer: (near the end of the meal, ordering dessert…) “Ned, do you know what I’d really like?” Inspiration struck, and I immediately fell to one knee, crossed my hand over my heart, and cried, “My life and honor would be complete, if only you were to tell me this!”  It took her and her companion almost five minutes to stop laughing (along with the rest of the room’s occupants) and complete her order.  I was glad we had what she wanted on the menu; it would have been somewhat anti-climatic to have to disappoint her after that interaction….. good tips that night, too…
___________________________________

“Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on “I am not too sure.” — H.L. Mencken

Hence the full user name that I took when I first got involved in cyberspace, to wit: “gigoid the dubious”, no caps….. to my mind, that says it all, and humbly (hence no caps). Every time I affix my sig to another file, or piece of work on a computer, I am reminded of what is most important to the continued success of the journey on the path toward excellence upon which I travel. (Whew! Sometimes, though, it forgets to remind me to be less complex in my sentences; no sense in losing the audience while wandering around one of the initial points….)  In short, my user name reminds me of two principles essential to efficient computer use…. GIGO, and doubt.

GIGO, of course, refers to Garbage In, Garbage Out…. this is an expression of how like humans computers really are. If we base our actions or beliefs on erroneous ideas, then what happens to us is no prettier than a pile of garbage; confusion, anger, resentment, all become our constant companions, preventing us from achieving any success, or peace in our lives.

With computers, same same…. if you give it a bad command, or stinky (erroneous) data, it just sits there and hums, or will cheerfully perform its designed operation on the erroneous data, providing you with a nearly instantaneous WRONG answer…..  so, knowing this keeps me alert to the integrity of my data, both personal and digital…. and cuts down on wrong answers….

Doubt, of course, is one of mankind’s most useful, and sadly, lesser known tools. It’s always been around, even though a lot of religious and political pundits regularly try to get rid of it, as it is deathly dangerous to the goals of those particular segments of society. Can’t have the supporters, or the “marks” or “rubes” as they are more honestly referred to at carnivals, having doubts about the infallibility of the God figure, or of their leaders; people just aren’t properly manipulable if they are entertaining Doubt, and are more difficult to persuade to empty their wallets.

But, despite constant attacks from the Doubtless (also known as Conservatives, or Fundamentalists), Doubt remains, and continues its fine work as the leading component of success in the quest for Sanity and Tolerance in Society at large…. without Doubt, people would be in a world of hurt…..

“Well,” said Programmer, “the customary procedure in such cases is as follows.”
“What does Crustimoney Proseedcake mean?” said End-user. “For I am an End-user of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me.”
“It means the Thing to Do.”
“As long as it means that, I don’t mind,” said End-user humbly. — Chris Mathes, uunet@metter.chris, with apologies to C. Robin And W. T. Pooh
___________________________________

“When you have shot and killed a man you have in some measure clarified your attitude toward him.  You have given a definite answer to a definite problem.For better or worse you have acted decisively. In a way, the next move is up to him.” — Raphael Aloysius Lafferty

What a wonderfully curmudgeonly re-statement of the old saw about making the best of a bad situation, and about keeping a positive outlook in the midst of conflict!…. Maybe also, one could say that every problem is an opportunity to do good in the world….. I am reminded of the Mark Twain quote: “It must be noted that (blank memory for the name) aimed and shot at an editor, but missed and killed a publisher. But we recall with charity that his intentions were good.”…… But, then, what can one expect from a man whose three names were obviously the mark of a long-standing dispute between his parents…. which was resolved with an obvious compromise…. much to Raphael’s chagrin, I’m sure, until he learned to pronounce Aloysius without stuttering…..
___________________________________

Some primal termite knocked on wood.
And tasted it, and found it good.
And that is why your Cousin May
Fell through the parlor floor today.
– Odgen Nash (1902-1971)

Admit it…. you smiled, at least for an instant…. it’s hard not to smile when under the influence of Ogden’s unique style. Many people, whose noses are typically set higher than their common sense, or their morals, tend to pooh-pooh his poetry, calling it “common” and “too simple”….To them I say, with relish (sweet pickle, it’s the best…) “You have pooh for brains…”  To my mind, perhaps the most telling mark of good poetry is how accessible it is to the “common man”; if only a few, over-educated snobs read a poet’s work, I can’t call it “good”, for it ignores, or even sneers at, the common man. Without appeal to the entire gamut of human types, it fails the test of universality.

Ogden Nash’s work could never be seen as derisive, or even mildly ironic, toward the commonality of human experience; instead he reveled in that baseness, that closeness to his fellow men, and wrote for them about that experience, in simple words and rhymes they could appreciate, without ever becoming smarmy about it. In the process, he thumbs his nose (with a polite smile) at all those foolish pseudo-intellectuals who are missing out on the joy of life in the streets, in the homes, and in the hearts of the common people……
___________________________________

“He probably just wants to take over my CELLS and then EXPLODE inside me like a BARREL of runny CHOPPED LIVER!  Or maybe he’d like to PSYCHOLOGICALLY TERRORIZE ME until I have no objection to a RIGHT-WING MILITARY TAKEOVER of my apartment!!  I guess I should call AL PACINO!” — Zippy the Pinhead

Much of what Zippy is quoted as saying approaches the pinnacles of sheer nonsense. But, sometimes, such as with this short statement of paranoid ideation, he is eerily accurate in placing a finger on nightmares common to everyone in society who has more than two active neurons operating in their brain. When I read this, I immediately conjure an image in my inner eye of Rick Santorum, or Newt Gingrich…. and it’s terrifying!

The possibility that one of these flaming idiots will ever get to the White House, though very slim at best, is just enough to have me seriously contemplating arming myself with what some might call an over-abundance of powerful weaponry, like maybe a bazooka to go along with the rifles, handguns, and explosive and incendiary devices of varying destructiveness I already ordered. (Don’t want to cause collateral damage to my fellow citizens, just the ones who want to increase their own freedom by trying to take mine…..)

This being the U.S. of A., that is still my right, and I will be sufficiently well-armed to competently protect that right before they can get organized enough to come for me… We only have those rights we can defend… If not, well, I don’t plan on going quietly, and I have a long history of learning to deal with violence, especially in ways to turn it’s own energy back upon itself. Zippy can rest easy…. Al Pacino is in the house…..
___________________________________

I think, all things considered, that it is a good thing that I don’t sit down each morning with a defined plan of what I will write about. If I did, I’d probably miss out on a lot of the cool stuff that pops up during my morning dives for pearls, and would most likely end up talking about economics, or fashion, or some such sleep-inducing topic….. since I can’t say “God forbid” with a straight face, I’ll just say, “may William of Occam forfend”, and light a candle for the saving grace of a mind resistant to external influences and dogma…  Y’all take care out there….


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!

A real live subject…..humility….

Ffolkes,
    Today’s posting(s) will be a bit odd….of course, there’s nothing new in that. But, for the first time, I will be writing for a defined purpose, and composing for two audiences….a bit of history is in order, I think….

    In 1997, as re-training after an industrial injury, I attended a school for the relatively new computer technician sciences; shortly after entering, I got my first home computer (a dinosaur by today’s standards–a 386 running Windows 3.0). Only a few of my friends owned one, so most of my email buddies were people I met at school. This was when I chose my user name…gigoid the dubious…. and started sending out Pearls of Virtual Wisdom. Through the intervening years the list of folks who received their daily Pearls grew to about 150 folks, mostly from where I worked, at a state mental hospital, mostly. This makes the Pearls about 15 years old now, as a process. When I retired, at the beginning of 2011 (long story there, too, for another time), I was without a computer for a couple of months before I got my current box, which, being state of the art, has more available memory that was present in the entire world when I first got my 386, and with a Gigabyte of RAM, is faster than well….it’s fast, believe me…..

    When I got back on the Net, in February of 2011, I started up the Pearls immediately, and have been sending them via email since then. I started posting them on my first blog site, as a user of SFGATE, a San Francisco Chronicle website, in March. Later that year, in August of 2011, I found WordPress, and have posted the Pearls here every day since then. Here at WordPress I have found a veritable treasure chest of new friends and writers, of poetry and prose, as well as other types of artists who post here. Every one has been very encouraging, and I’ve been exposed to a whole new world of writers; I have yet to find one I don’t like. People from all over the world I now consider to be my friends, and they enrich my life every day with their own vision of the reality we all share.

    Yesterday, and one day last week, three of those new friends surprised me, one by “Tagging” me, (Linda Vernon at lindavernonhumor.wordpress.com) one by nominating me for a Sunshine Award (by gr8listener.wordpress.com….that one’s a big surprise to me! I always thought I was a curmudgeon…..) and an Inspirational Blogger Award nomination (another surprise, from one of my favorites, Dolly, at allaboutlemon.wordpress.com). There are some rules that go along with these awards, and I’m cheating a bit, but will hit them all. First, thank the one who nominated you: Linda, Dolly, and gr8listener…..thank you, thank you, thank you. I am humbled, and very, very grateful, not only for these awards, but for all the encouragement and friendship you have offered me. All of your blogs amaze me, for what you write, for the technical expertise shown by your site, and your posts, all of which inspire me to learn more about how to use WordPress more effectively.

    Now this is where the cheating begins. The other part of the rules are to share some things about me that let folks know who I am and what I’m about, to show links back to my nominators, and to nominate a number of other bloggers to receive the awards, or tag, making them It…… I’m uncertain of just how to accomplish some of that, from a technical standpoint; since coming here to WP, I’ve concentrated mostly on writing, and have not figured out a lot of the tricks and functions available to bloggers; I have a hard time just getting a picture where I want it to go, and adding a bunch of links is going to take me a while. So, the cheat is this…..this intro to today’s Pearl serves as my Thank You to Linda, Dolly, and Gr8listener (though I will say it again, read on>>>), but the award logos, the revelations about me, and the nominations with the links, will all go into a post I’ll create later today. I know, it’s not kosher, but then, I’m not in the Tribe, and it’s my blog right? So I can change the rules if I want to (see yesterday’s blog, “Hidden behind a glass partition”….).

    So, I will post twice today, and the other will be the fulfillment of the rules of engagement here on WP. A big thank you, and another virtual hug to all three ladies who were so kind as to nominate me for these awards. In the meantime, we will now return to today’s regularly scheduled Pearl of Virtual Wisdom…….
___________________________________

“There is no sin except stupidity.” — Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), “The Critic as Artist”, 1891

    This is a sentiment that has been expressed by a great number of philosophers throughout history, each of which provides more evidence of its truth. It’s so true that it may be considered as a natural law, one that applies to every creature that exists. For millenia, the truth of this proposition was enforced with the death penalty; if you were stupid enough to ignore this law, you died. It was that simple. In today’s world, unfortunately, this has become less dangerous. Now, the world is much more tolerant of the less well endowed of society, and folks who are dirt dumb can survive to pass on their stupid genes to future generations. SIGH….. it’s too bad, really, for I doubt that all of humanity’s advances were not made with this intent, but they nonetheless have done so, to the everlasting chagrin of those who can see beyond the end of their own noses. But, I suppose that is part of our charm; we act from the highest principles, but end up face-down in the mud all too frequently. It’s all so frustrating…..so much so, I’m gonna go have a beer….. or at least another cup of coffee…..

“Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other “sins” are invented nonsense. (Hurting yourself is not sinful — just stupid.)” –Lazarus Long, from Time Enough for Love, by Robert A. Heinlein 
___________________________________

       JABBERWOCKY

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
   The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
   And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
   The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
   He went galumphing back.

“And thou hast slain the Jabberwock?
   Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
   He chortled in his joy.
 – Lewis Carroll, “Through the Looking-Glass”

    No comments here, none needed. Just a daily dose of whimsy……enjoy!…..
___________________________________

    I’m running out of taglines….I just spent 40 fruitless minutes searching my database for an appropriate subject to discuss. This is just a place marker….I’m going diving, and it will help me find my place when I get back with something to write about…..see you soon…..

This sentance has threee errors. — Unknown, the brother of Anonymous

    If you can identify all three errors above, then you have some experience with publishing posts. Nothing ticks me off at myself like reading through a post I’ve already posted, only to find typos I missed in my proofing. I’m sure it bothers all of us who post; I’ve heard the same complaint from others. Without outsourcing, I’m not sure there is a viable solution to the problem, and who has the time or money to hire someone to do what you can do yourself? I guess it comes down to this: “I think we’re all Bozos on this Bus!” –Firesign Theater from the album of the same name. That’s right, we all have big red noses, that often are so distracting, we cannot see over it to the errors in our work. But, it like it says later in the album, “Yes! Living in today’s complex world of the future IS much like having a hive of bees living in your head. But, there they are!”  Indeed, there they are….. this is where that vaunted patience and tolerance for our own frailties comes in. All you can do is all you can do, so relax and enjoy the ride. Nobody’s counting our mistakes except ourselves, and there will be no quiz…..
___________________________________

Pluralitas non ponenda est sine necessitate.  (Multiplicity is not to be asserted when it is unnecessary.) — William of Occam [Occam's Razor]

    I first encountered Occam’s Razor in my early teens, as a paraphrase of the accepted logical law seen here. It was in a Robert Heinlein book, which one I haven’t a clue, as that was oh, 48 or so years ago. The paraphrase, known as Hanlon’s Razor, is “Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity,” and is widely known and quoted in the computer world, especially by hacker culture. It is a logical tool whose relevance has been tested out many, many times, and is considered to be proven truth. It is a very useful tool for picking apart those lovely statements of nonsense we hear from talking heads every day (talking heads being defined as those fools who make pronouncements on the political stage, as if they were commandments sent down from Mount Olympus). And it also is a valuable everyday tool for discovering the truth of any proposition, when used correctly. It’s fairly obvious that this is not well-known outside the hard sciences; otherwise, we wouldn’t be burdened by all that nonsense. If it wasn’t so funny, it would be sad, and vice versa…..

Flee at once, all is discovered.
___________________________________

“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given the the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory is a benediction.” — Bessie A. Stanley (b.1879), in Notes and Queries July 1976

    In my not so humble opinion, this is just about perfect. Ms. Stanley has hit upon virtually every good quality one can find in any human being, and hit upon them with a hard and precise blow. Love, humor, Duty, respect, humility, trust, inspiration, all are covered in her description of a live well-lived. One can only hope to come close to achieving all this in one lifetime; most of us would settle for half of it. But, as such, it provides us with a pretty good list of goals to add to our personal lives, goals that will not only make us better people, but will enrich all those with whom we come in contact throughout our lives….. better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, or even a dull one…..
___________________________________

    Whew! Quite a struggle today, as I figured. Only one more posting to go, then I can start in on the 40 some emails this morning, letting me know that the 60-some blogs I follow have posted. It’s beginning to take a significant portion of my day, just to deal with emails and stay current with everyone’s blogs. I like staying busy though, it’s a good method of not dwelling too much on the negatives in my life, and I get to see and read a lot of good stuff. Any who, I’d best be about it, so until later today, y’all take care out there…..


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

gigoid

 

Image

Acres and acres of obsolete dreams….

Ffolkes,
Patterns of light, both bright and fearful chase each other madly ’round and ’round, mad peals of laughter shrieking through the cool night air. Ghostly figures of unheralded regrets vie for position closer to the oddly shaped harpsichord in the foyer, while the thief of lost hope and his cohorts silently steal away. As the outer walls grow nearer, madness fades, and the silent myrmidons forge ahead, further into the day, further from the night’s insanity, until reality assumes a more familiar form and face, and faded regrets hold no more power over the hearts of the unmindful……

As is often obvious, reality can be pretty fluid in my world. I don’t insist that it stay in familiar patterns just to make me more comfortable; that never works in any case. Also, I find that reality becomes more palatable, more amenable the less one tries to have any influence over it; it seems to resent, and resist, any such foolery, and has been known to revolt altogether when attempts are made to make it conform to any preconceived notions. And to be honest, I don’t blame it at all….. let’s see what’s in the hopper for us today, shall we?…..

“Some people write to please, to soothe, to console. Others to provoke, to challenge, to exasperate and infuriate. I’ve always found the second approach the more pleasing.” — Edward Abbey   (Me too! Obviously….)
___________________________________

Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;
He who would search for pearls must dive below.
– John Dryden (1631-1700)
– All for Love, Prologue

When I first thought about what to call the results of this process that I put myself through to create the email Pearls, and now the blog posts, I had a hard time finding an appropriately accurate yet whimsically irreverent name. Letting my subconscious mind loose on the problem finally produced the title I have kept now for over 12 years, to wit: Pearls of Virtual Wisdom, considered as a subset of the ongoing experience of Exploring Consensual Reality in which I engage. Now I can see where the inspiration for that had at least part of its roots; it is entirely possible I must have come across this sometime in my wanderings through the Unending Forest of Books. No matter, really, I just got a charge out of finding it again, as it’s one of those wonderful little nuggets of truth that make such an addictive snack for the ever-voracious mind I call home. Short, sweet, and deep as the deep blue sea…

Since I’m in the mood for whimsy, here is some, attached to a nugget of truth…..

“A person is not given integrity. It results from the relentless pursuit of honesty at all times.” — Anonymous, aka Unknown

Anonymous was a Greek philosopher extraordinaire, often confused with Aristotle, who lived during the same period of history. This was written, according to the crumbling document upon which it was transcribed, in the year 89 B.C., Thursday about supper time, in the early spring… or so it says. Honest…. that’s what it says. What do you mean? Why would I make it up?….. Trust me…..

Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.  (Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity.) — William of Occam, Occam’s Razor

Just in case you ever wondered where it came from…… okay, end of this segment of silliness in the guise of wit. Back to the serious stuff….
___________________________________

“Agnosticism simply means that a man shall not say he knows or believes that for which he has no grounds for professing to believe.” — Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895)

I wish fundamentalists and proselytizing sects could, or would, understand this point, and not take it so damn personally when their faith based platforms are not accorded privileged status in someone else’s world view. I mean, it’s not as if hordes of agnostics are going door to door, trying to destroy anyone’s faith, or convert anyone to their own beliefs. Nor are they taking out ads espousing agnosticism, or actively recruiting anyone to join them in their interpretation of reality.

But for some reason (not unknown, merely not pertinent here), they cannot do that; it is beyond their capability to entertain two separate concepts at the same time, without making a judgment on both; yer either fer us, or yer agin us….. there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground between their reality and that of anyone else. I’ll confess, I’ve never been able to understand, or get on board with, this particular brand of denial. I’ve found that reality is much more predictable and pleasant when taken as is, and not as we would like it to be. Fewer headaches, and no ulcers, ever…..
___________________________________

Good-nature and good sense are usually companions.

I like that. It makes perfect sense, on the planet I inhabit. (Sorry, couldn’t resist…)  If one takes a moment to think about what makes this statement true, and how it applies to reality, one comes to the illuminating notion that “balance is everything”. Knowing where one’s center is, and allowing that knowledge to direct one’s responses to the unpredictable nature of reality, is a valuable tool, one that is essential to a healthy approach to life.

By healthy, I mean it is a natural and sustainable condition, which fosters a continuous state of growth in one’s strength, integrity, and compassion, improves the chances of survival, and teaches eloquently the importance of choice, of not letting fate have everything its own way.  In other words, our world is what we make of it, and that kind of freedom allows good sense and good nature to co-exist in harmony, makes food taste better, can sometimes get you free tickets to Disneyland, and is guaranteed to turn you into a chick magnet…. well, maybe not the last two…… Sure would be cool, though, huh?…..
___________________________________

If thou are rich, thou art poor;
For, like an ass whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear’st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee.
– Shakespeare (1564-1616) — Measure for Measure, Act III

As I’ve said before, Shakespeare isn’t one of my favorites; though I acknowledge without shame that he was a sheer genius at what he did. As such, he occasionally comes up with something that meets all my standards, and compels me to include it in a post. This is one of those that jumps out and administers a ringing blow to the side of one’s head, as reality is wont to do. It’s a simple concept, but one not designed to create any feelings of empathy for the trials of the rich, or sympathy for the suffering of the poor; it merely reminds us of how our own mortality makes all our stature and posturing irrelevant.

I’m reminded of an aphorism related by Alan Watts in one of his books, which says: “If you wish to have a lifetime of trouble, fill your house with treasure.” Young as I was when I first read it, the clarity and truth in the saying was obvious, and it has stayed with me through all my life, allowing me to enrich my life with love, compassion, and good memories, rather than gold, silver, or precious gems….
___________________________________

God’s   Problem Now:


His wife’s graveside service was just barely finished, when there was a massive clap of thunder, followed by a tremendous bolt of lightning,  accompanied by even more thunder rumbling in the distance.  The little old man  looked at the pastor and calmly said, “Well, she’s there.”

Priceless….. any man who has been married for more than say, 10 years or so, can relate perfectly, on at least one level…..as can many wives married the same amount of time….. at least, the ones with a sense of humor can; humor is a characteristic of wives that is not consistently present; a significant number of them end up without one, or lose it in the hustle and bustle of modern existence.  According to a friend, and fellow WordPress blogger, Linda Vernon, those women all tend to work at Pottery Barn.

That might be true, I don’t do either gardening (completely black thumb), or knick-knacks, so I can’t hold an opinion about that; I do know that I can always spot the ones who didn’t get one, or have lost the one they were issued, by the unique expression they wear in public, sort of a demonic, red-eyed, clenched jaw sort of look. Dead giveaway, if you know what to look for…. and trust me, 23 years of marriage to a woman with a powerful personality left me with a very keen eye for the signs of developing trouble in the female face.

And they all share that face; I’ve seen it elsewhere as well, on the faces of other women in a relationship. It’s hard when people lose their sense of humor; they tend to lose connection with the positives, and concentrate on the negatives that are part and parcel of any human interaction, ultimately driving away the very person they formerly wanted to stay…..
___________________________________

So much for that….took a lot of effort today, but, hey, I had nothing else to do this morning. Funny, I’m in a semi-fugue state, mere millimeters from complete unconsciousness, yet the visual world is bright and clear in my eyes, the refrigerator noise is as loud as ever, and the chair hurts my butt as usual. Odd feeling, to be sure….. I’ll go feel my way into the day now….. y’all take care out there….


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!