Custom platitudes built while you wait….

Shadows followed, dark and fluid, as the band of silent intruders picked its way up the narrow path to the castle. Not a whisper of sound could be heard; only a slight background hiss, as the wind blew softly, rustling the leaves of trees bordering the path. No weapons clattered, no feet scraped, no harsh breath drawn; only the silent shadows slipping through the night. As the wall looms above the group, a cloud passes, and the troop is revealed as eight men with darkened face and skin, clothed all in black, bearing strangely shaped weapons that softly gleamed in the pale light cast by the half-moon, high above the eastern horizon.

Still no sound is heard, as the men spread themselves evenly across the base of the wall, facing the bricks. Each man laid the palms of his hands on the wall, and began to mutter soft incantations; power now crackles through the night air, almost a sizzle along the nerve endings. As the chanting continues, the men’s bodies begin to become indistinct, translucent, fading and merging with the wall. In mere seconds, all eight forms are gone, as if they had never been, and the night’s silence covers the now empty space of wall where they stood…..

One of these fine mornings, I’ll sit down and write a paragraph like the above, but I won’t stop writing until something actually happens to the people in the story. It may be this one; it came out pretty well, and could very easily be a good opening for a science-fantasy tale, set on some fantastic planet peopled by a race of beautiful women who need….. some kind of help…. see, there’s the problem. I get so far into a story, and it peters out on me. Oh well, this is mostly a form of self-therapy anyway; it doesn’t HAVE to mean anything, or go anywhere other than where I feel like wandering in my head. And, honestly, I kinda like it this way; I never know from one day to the next what is going to tickle my fancy, and get written about today. And that’s okay, too….. let’s get on with it, shall we?…..

Buzz off, Banana Nose; Relieve mine eyes
Of hateful soreness, purge mine ears of corn;
Less dear than army ants in apple pies
Art thou, old prune-face, with thy chestnuts worn,
Dropt from thy peeling lips like lousy fruit;
Like honeybees upon the perfum’d rose
They suck, and like the double-breasted suit
Are out of date; therefore, Banana Nose,
Go fly a kite, thy welcome’s overstayed;
And stem the produce of thy waspish wits:
Thy logick, like thy locks, is disarrayed;
Thy cheer, like thy complexion, is the pits.
Be off, I say; go bug somebody new,
Scram, beat it, get thee hence, and nuts to you.

I’m sorry, but once more, there was no attribution for this. It’s too bad; I’d have enjoyed looking for more of this author’s work. It’s delightfully silly, yet strongly written. And that’s why it’s here, simply because I like it. You don’t have to, but if you find you don’t, there’s no shame…. it’s also pretty bad, when viewed from certain viewpoints. Hey, it’s free, right? What else have you done today where you can say that?…..

“Waiting is.” — Robert A. Heinlein, ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’

Taken by itself, in this format, without the supportive structure of the book from which it was taken, this seems a bit obtuse, too inscrutable. But when one adds in the philosophical background from which this statement springs, a direction is given to the path one’s thoughts must take to find and absorb the meaning, and the lesson, that these two words hold. Even without the book’s help, using the phrase as a focus of meditation is very soothing, almost healing. It may be the shortest koan known to man; I can’t think of any I’ve seen that are simpler or deeper than this. And using it is so simple! Merely close the eyes, relax, and say the words, inflecting them as a question, and follow the march of your thoughts and images as they lead you further inward, toward the center, where balance lives…..

“You can’t have a light without a dark to stick it in.” — Arlo Guthrie

Serendipity, by its very nature, is always a surprise; knowing that, one shouldn’t be surprised when it happens. But we always are; it’s just the way we’re built, I guess. This little tasty bite of truth becomes all the more savory for knowing it came from the same guy who wrote “Alice’s Restaurant”. In at least one respect, though, it’s not surprising at all; Arlo grew up under the influence of one of the century’s most talented artists, Woody Guthrie, a very perceptive social historian himself, so I’m certain his education and personal paradigms show the effect of that on his intellectual abilities. No matter how one looks at it though, it’s still a great quote, very perceptive and insightful…. may contemplating it bring you illumination….

‘God says in the Bible’ carries as much moral imperative to me as saying ‘Dr. Seuss says in Green Eggs and Ham.’  Both are interesting books with some good messages, nothing more. — Anonymous

Thank goodness this quote came from such a distinguished, well-respected source; some folks might take it wrong coming from someone of less renown, such as, say, …me? No, I didn’t say it, I just found it, but I can’t dispute it either, as it has a valid point. I’ve read both books, and each is composed of a very large amount of nonsense surrounding some nuggets of truth; at least, that’s what my crap detector tells me. I’m sure Green Eggs and Ham would be just as popular as the Bible, if it also had dozens of chapters obviously written by biased people, who had their own agenda, conveniently disguised as sacred, ‘divinely inspired’ gospel.

That agenda generally includes the unwritten but inherent assumption of entitlement that humans have over the rest of ‘creation’, otherwise known as the Universe. I’m afraid that the Biblical divine mandate that theoretically allows humans to ‘have dominion’ over everything they see, just isn’t supported by the facts in evidence. In fact, the evidence points to humanity being more of a pimple on the face of Mother Nature, and once the build-up of crud we’ve created with our foolishness comes to a head, it will burst, be drained, washed away, and the earth will continue on as though we were never here….. and in truth, were we ever really here, or did we just imagine ourselves?…..

“…to emphasize the afterlife is to deny life. To concentrate on Heaven is to create hell. In their desperate longing to transcend the disorderliness, friction, and unpredictability that pesters life; in their desire for a fresh start in a tidy habitat, germ-free and secured by angels, religious multitudes are gambling the only life they may ever have on a dark horse in a race that has no finish line.” — Tom Robbins, _Skinny Legs and All_, 1990, p. 305.

“If science were explained to the average person in a way that is accessible and exciting, there would be no room for pseudoscience.  But there is a kind of Gresham’s Law by which in popular culture the bad science drives out the good.  And for this I think we have to blame, first, the scientific community ourselves for not doing a better job of popularizing science, and second, the media, which are in this respect almost uniformly dreadful.  Every newspaper in America has a daily astrology column.  How many have even a weekly astronomy column?  And I believe it is also the fault of the educational system.  We do not teach how to think.  This is a very serious failure that may even, in a world rigged with 60,000 nuclear weapons, compromise the human future.” — Carl Sagan, The Burden Of Skepticism, The Skeptical Inquirer, — Vol. 12, Fall 87

This is the kind of statement that can be used to demonstrate the difference between a reasoned, rational response, with evidence included, to a concrete, relevant question, and an answer formulated by someone with a belief system based on matters of faith. The attraction of such belief is rooted in the ease of living with it; when faith provides all answers, no thought is required to find them. Nor is evidence required…. only faith.

It’s a very safe feeling, to exist with the knowledge that no matter what one does, personal responsibility never has to be assumed. Just confess, and accept Jesus, and forgiveness is yours….. and if someone gets hurt along the way, well, they’re probably heathens, anyway, and not like us…, treating them like animals is okay…. these are the same folks who don’t see what is wrong with Americans soldiers overseas burning Muslim holy books, or torturing and humiliating helpless prisoners, and yet want to pass an amendment to the Constitution to make it illegal to burn a US flag. What is wrong with this picture?….

I’ll tell ya what’s wrong with it…. but it will have to be another time. I don’t think I have enough left in me now to begin a whole new rant.  Probably just as well, considering my mood; I’m already wound up, and letting it out now could easily cause a rift in the space-time continuum; we certainly wouldn’t want that. Consider yourselves lucky, this time….. I’ll just leave you with this…..

“The mistake began when God was created in a male image. Of course, women would see Him that way, but men should have been gentlemen enough, remembering their mothers, to make God a woman! But the God of Gods–the Boss–has always been a man. That makes life so perverted, and death so unnatural. We should have imagined life as created in the birth-pain of God the Mother. Then we would understand why we, Her children, have inherited pain, for we would know that our life’s rhythm beats from Her great heart, torn with the agony of love and birth. And we would feel that death meant reunion with Her, a passing back into Her substance, blood of Her blood again, peace of Her peace! Now wouldn’t that be more logical and satisfying than having God a male whose chest thunders with egotism and is too hard for tired heads and thoroughly comfortless?” — Eugene O’Neill, “Strange Interlude” [1928], Act II

I have a feeling this one may cause some flak; I see that I’ve gone a bit overboard this morning in my discussion on belief systems; it’s certainly long enough. If it helps, no offense is intended; everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. I write what is in my head at the time; some of it is not acceptable for public consumption, and I don’t bring that stuff out for review. But, I also don’t shy away from giving my take on just about any subject that concerns society at large, so those who disagree or actively dislike what I say are free to either stop reading and go elsewhere, or write back with a response. I’m happy to engage in dialogue, it’s a great way to check the validity of one’s arguments, comparing them to someone else’s take on the matter at hand.

I’ve reached the end, finally. Happy days….. now I shall sally forth and carpe that old diem! Y’all take care out there…..


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




3 thoughts on “Custom platitudes built while you wait….

  1. Always interesting reading Ned! I love the way you move it along one idea morphing into another. And thank you so much for leaving the time space continuum intact at least for today anyway!

  2. Hi there! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog looks weird when browsing from my apple iphone. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to correct this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share. Cheers!

    • Personally, I haven’t a clue…I don’t do the Internet via phone at all..but I’m pretty sure the technical guys & gals at WordPress have an app for that…they have apps to help virtually every platform, and love to create new ones, so contact the support folks…

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