It is gratifying, and a little bit scary, at how quickly this blog has become the focus of my entire day. I’m now following about 75 or 80 blogs that have piqued my interest, and keeping up with them involves a significant period of time each day now, else I get buried in email notifications. It’s time-consuming, but also a lot of fun for me, as I get to read all-new original material from a variety of talented folks to my heart’s content. Then there is the 1.5 to 3 hours it takes most days to create these Pearls of Virtual Wisdom, insisting as I do on a certain level of quality. I’m busy as a one-armed paper hanger, and loving every minute!
In addition, I have met and now have 70+ people whose blogs I follow, or who follow mine, and whom I consider to be new friends, with whom I have the opportunity to share experiences, thoughts, dreams, and troubles, knowing that there are folks who are empathetic, supportive, honestly and tactfully critical when appropriate (I hope), and most importantly, interested in what I create.
Also, I have met, and now communicate with, a large number of folks with whom communication is not a chore, but a recurrent pleasure; I don’t feel I have to explain every other reference I make, and people get my jokes (such as they are…..). Perhaps best of all, I have been introduced to the work of several people whose poetry simply astounds me, with its power and sheer talent. At least two of the poetesses write with such clarity and power, or with such abundant love, I get shivers on a regular basis…. sublime is the best way to describe the feeling their work brings.
One of the ways I am determined to show my appreciation for the serendipitous pleasure I get from all this new stimulation is to make what I create the very best I can. I have to…. it’s the only way I can think of to maintain a feeling of parity with all the talented folks I’ve come across. And I hope that what I write continues to give other folks as much pleasure to read as it does for me to bring it to life….. what goes around, comes around, and that’s just fine with me….. let’s go Pearling, shall we?……
“A “practical joker” (substitute ‘busybody’ here) deserves applause for his wit according to its quality. Bastinado is about right. For exceptional wit one might grant keelhauling. But staking him out on an anthill should be reserved for the very wittiest.” — Lazarus Long, from Robert A. Heinlein’s, “Time Enough For Love”
I substituted for Mr. Heinlein’s subject bozoid, replacing the not-so-prevalent ‘practical joker’ (most of whom were stifled, or driven into hiding, in the last wave of occupational health & safety purges, when they trained all workers to avoid such behavior as being unsafe) with the more ubiquitous ‘busybody’, of which there are legion, generally at least one for each neighborhood. Lazarus Long calls such folks “Mrs. Grundy”, which I always thought was unfair to the Mrs. Grundy in Archie Comics, who was kind of the American ideal of every student’s favorite teacher, the one who was always on the side of the students…… but I digress…..
Today’s Mrs. Grundy’s have even more reasons in their tiny little minds to justify their just plain nosiness about other folk’s business; for example, they are the ones who will call Animal Control because your cat pooped in their garden once, three weeks ago. (Even cats won’t go into yards where they don’t feel welcome) Or they’ll call and complain about party noise, at about 7 PM on a Saturday night, even though you took the time to deliver them an invitation personally, and nicely requested they call you if disturbed. Or they’ll watch all your visitors like a hawk, and then spread rumors about them to all your neighbors.
I have noted, in my own observations of this odd bird, that Mrs. Grundy (who is sometimes a querulous old man with no teeth, and a belly that precedes him through a door by 2 full seconds) is usually the same person who “just loves” that young man, Ron Santo, or Santini, I think his name is; you know, the guy who obviously hates women and would like to see all of them barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen, ala 1882, or whatever far right zealot has the public eye this election cycle. She (or he) attends one of those churches where the pastor makes periodic predictions as to the imminence of the Rapture (a particularly paranoid apocalypse fantasy common to a lot of “Born Again” or evangelical denominations) (I always wonder, what was wrong with the first time they were Born? I told my mom I wanted to be “Born Again” and she said, “NO WAY!”…..) (I wish that was an original joke, but I heard it somewhere….) 🙂
At any rate, these folks, who really don’t like themselves, or anyone else, continue to be the sand in the wheel joints of society, using their highly developed sense of intolerance and ignorance to bother and befuddle everyone they live around, complicating their life, and that of everyone with whom they come into contact.
As far as I can tell from history, this has been true since people started living in groups, in caves, teepees, or igloos; all of them had at least one Mrs. Grundy around the fire, complaining about the stones on the communal path, the noisy kids in the next cave, or having to share their firewood….. I guess they’ll always be with us, until such a time as humanity learns how to stamp out the inherent pettiness and cowardice that mark these folks; until everyone, including Mrs. Grundy, learns to be happy with what they have, and people stop trying to make everyone else over into their own distorted and fearful image……
“Why waste time learning when ignorance is instantaneous?” — Calvin and Hobbes
“Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite.” — Lazarus Long
I noticed, in looking back over recent offerings, that I have been somewhat short on poetry, a serious lack that I shall now correct, at least temporarily. While on a recent dive, these four short but sweet jewels popped up in front of my gratified gaze, one after the other, boom, boom, boom, boom, so I knew they should all be presented together, as a little snack for the soul before getting into something a bit meatier….. enjoy!….
But, oh! fell death’s untimely frost
That nipt my flower sae early.
— Robert Burns (1759-1796) — Highland Mary
It may be glorious to write
Thoughts that shall glad the two or three
High souls, like those far stars that come in sight
Once in a century.
— James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) — An Incident in a Railroad Car
He pass’d the flaming bounds of place and time:
The living throne, the sapphire blaze,
Where angels tremble while they gaze,
He saw; but blasted with excess of light,
Closed his eyes in endless night.
— Thomas Gray (1716-1771) — The Progress of Poesy, III, 2, Line 4
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
— M. Arnold, “Dover Beach”
Ahhhh……. that’s nice! I am compelled to Haiku…..
Flashing, bright words create
It is the nature of mankind to confuse genius with insanity. — Anonymous (possibly the history’s greatest philosopher; the most prolific, at any rate…..)
Aha! That explains that!….. Now I understand why I always get those funny looks!…. 🙂 Besides, what are ya gonna do with someone who thinks the following is like, massively funny?…..
What goes siss boom bah?
An exploding sheep.
I’d best go on to something a bit less…. silly….. I could get stuck in this mode….
“I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.” — Will Rogers
I was going to use this as a springboard for another rant on our beloved ruling class….. But, the more I thought about it, the longer it percolated in my brain, the sadder I grew….
I used to feel a lot of love for my country, if for nothing else, because of the dream of liberty and human empowerment that our system of government was designed, and intended, to create and maintain. The founding fathers had a vision, of a country where every man had the same opportunities to live their live as they chose as every other man, without censure, and without the fear of being persecuted for their beliefs, no matter how different they were from everyone else’s. A dream of a place where children could grow up without the fear of hunger, or abuse, or death from the skies, or the water they drink. A place where a man, or a woman, was respected for just being human, without having to prove their worth to some ignorant asshole who is afraid of any color skin but their own, or for how big and holy their imaginary friend is……
Instead, we live in a society whose diverse segments have an extreme, deep, and sadly justified, mistrust of each other, where the rich and powerful, instead of uplifting their fellow man, use their influence and wealth to divide and discriminate, and to keep the less fortunate powerless to even hope for better. A society that ignores its elderly, and abuses its children, where people are starving in the midst of mountains of food. A culture that glorifies war, and sees peaceful coexistence as weakness; a culture where it is a crime for a man to kill another for honor, but is praised for being part of an army of professional killers. A country where the twin concepts of honor and duty have been supplanted as the basis of our national character by avarice and expediency.
Yes, I am saddened by Will’s joke, because it is all too real, and all too accurate……
“It’s hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning.” — Calvin, Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes
Jimmy Swaggert, and that other 5 or 6 televangelists who regularly get caught literally with their pants down come immediately to mind for inclusion in this group……. Newt Gingrich, obviously, for congenital lying, and excessive sliminess…. Rick Santorum, because I can’t imagine an entity as smart as God is reputed to be allowing this ….. person…. speak in His Name for very long without exacting some price….. Twitt Romney, that elitist asshole…..and as Yul Brynner so beautifully stated: “Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera…..” to which I would add, “and a cast of thousands, ad nauseam infinitum…..”
I suppose it also says something less than admirable about the media, and those who are its rapt audience, to note that a lot of what we are exposed to by the members of the (supposed) fifth column consists of the “least” admirable denizens of our species, who unfortunately are the ones who make for salable news, the material that will pay for the advertising costs, so we can be sure to hear about the latest, greatest new product that fills some previously unknown manufactured need.
The stuff that sells papers, or TV shows, as it turns out, is endless reports about the stupidest, most egregious examples of a seemingly limitless number of fanatic religious zealots, unprosecuted criminals wearing power suits and ties, and a parade of sports and entertainment figures with an average IQ of 77 who are the current examples of “famous celebrities” we are supposed to fawn over, and use as our idols for emulation.
I often feel a sense of despair after reading the news…. fortunately, I have WordPress to alleviate any dangerous build-up of bile….. but, all-too-often, it sure makes me wish for a few well-placed bolts of lightning to provide some comic relief, at least…..
We come reluctantly to the end of another…… hmmm… sometimes I just don’t know what to call this… let’s use ‘another day’s output’… that’s generic enough to fit in just about any set of parameters…. it feels like a good one, but only time, and my Gentle Readers, can make the final judgment on that…. Y’all take care out there……
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.