North flew East, East turned West; South became irrelevant….


Normally, my travelogues feature more artwork, in the sense that I generally post pictures that I’ve taken myself, of the places and people I’ve seen in my ramblings for the day. Since it will be eight or so hours until I actually embark on the ship, which then sets sail at about 4 PM, I am as yet without my camera, which is packed away for the ordeal of getting through the security checkpoint….

I suppose I could have taken a few pix of me and my lady, or my son, who will be driving us today in his limo, but, none of us particularly care for fame, or photos of ourselves, (in my case, there is the danger to the camera itself; my visage has been known to freeze digital cameras instantly….), and who wants to see pix of a street corner, with no people in it?…. So, y’all will have to wait until tomorrow, when I’ll have some shots from the first night on board….

In past travelogues, I concentrated a lot on pictures of where I was visiting, and neglected to show off the ships I’ve been on, which are part of the attraction for me in traveling. It makes perfect sense to my hedonistic side to travel in luxury if possible; I’ve traveled the cheap way, staying in hostels or cheap motels, eating out of the markets and fast food joints, and taking trains and buses to where I wished to go. Often, before I was married, I’d even resort to hitchhiking for my travel mode…. cheap, and you meet some great ffolkes, but it can be a bit inconsistent if traffic is slow, and can take a LONG time to get anywhere…

That sort of travel is great fun, but requires a lot of energy and physical stamina that I no longer possess, so, having a place to take a nap when I get tired, in a five star hotel, with three gourmet meals a day (or more….), along with staff eager to provide service, is a better choice for someone of my age and condition…. Plus, on those voyages on which my luck holds, the casino can help reduce the overall cost of the trip….. I came out about $500 ahead of the game on my Alaska cruise, with my winnings exceeding my bar bills by about that much…. Of course, I went a bit crazy on souvenirs for everyone, but, hey, I tried….

This trip, I’ll try to remember to take more shots on board, to let y’all see what it’s like to cruise with a crazy old long-haired, long-winded blogger…. or, at least to give you a better idea of what it looks like on board…. Plus, it keeps me from having to think too hard about what to include in the Pearls, which will give me more time to just screw around and do nothing…. which is, after all, the whole point of cruising, to have all the time one wishes to just do nothing….

Doing nothing, in our culture, tends to be looked down upon severely, especially by those who suffer from Christian guilt, and the whole concept of “the near-occasion of sin”, wherein the church assumes that everyone WILL give in to temptation, and everyone WILL act on their worst impulses to (GASP!….) sit around and do nothing, thus becoming undisciplined, immoral, and worst-case for the dogmatists, reduce their guilt, making them less amenable, and more resistive, to behavioral control…. They HATE that!….

So, I encourage hedonism at every turn, as should every other person of a like mind; it’s the best method I’ve found for providing almost immediate relief from the constipated, bloated feeling of constriction that goes along with allowing the dogmatists to draw the patterns of your life. A good, meal, with just a little too much wine and conviviality, is the perfect antidote to the most stringent attitudes…. Why, a prime rib, and a bottle of good Cabernet, has been known to destroy six years of Catholic denial in one sitting, given the proper company, and perhaps some after dinner brandy…. And, even if it doesn’t completely eradicate ALL one’s prior conditioning, the process of removing it, meal by wonderful meal, is one that appeals to even the most hardened ascetic…

Hmm…. I seem to have strayed a bit afield from the concept of an intro…. not unusual, I suppose, and possibly much better than the typical rant I’ve been saddling y’all with of late. I can see that, no matter what I’ve been babbling about, it’s certainly long enough to meet the legal standards for which we shoot, so, I’m opting to go with my usual technique, to just go with it, without worrying at all about what the hell it means, or what it may or may not do in terms of stimulation of cogitation…. That, of course, is, ultimately, the personal responsibility of each gentle reader, at least for the cogitation part…. I’ll try to supply the stimulation, but, no promises, eh?…..

Shall we Pearl?…..

“If any man asks for greatness, let him forget greatness and ask for truth, and he will find both.” — Horace Mann

“Anger is a tool, not a master. Anger is meant to be tapped into and drawn upon. Used properly, anger is useful. Sloth, apathy, and despair are the enemy. Anger is not. Anger is our friend. Not a nice friend, not a gentle friend, but a very loyal friend.  It will always tell us when we have been betrayed. It will always tell us when we have betrayed ourselves. It will always tell us that it is time to act in our own best interests. Anger is not the action itself. It is action’s invitation.” — Julia Cameron  “The Artist’s Way”

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

Lao Tzu sez    I had originally intended to write a piece to accompany these three statements, the latter of which are from two of the most revered philosophers in history…. but, there really isn’t any need to expand on this idea…. It’s pretty perfect, as wisdom goes, so, I’m going to do the unusual, for me, and leave it alone, to allow you the space to consider the concept in your own way, and in your own time….

Just know this…. if there is a single key to being happy in life, this is it…. This is the key to ALL wisdom, ffolkes, so just let it become part of your inner self, and you’ll find your life has fallen into a pattern of serenity, and an inner peace that you have never known….. Oh, didn’t I say what that key is? Hmm, imagine that…. I guess I forgot…. Well, it’s probably best if you articulate it yourself; it seems to work better that way…. Okay, if you insist, one last hint….

“A person never so beautifully shows his own strength, as when he respects another’s weakness.” — Smart Bee

If that doesn’t do it, well, then, we’ll just have to try again another time, won’t we?….   😆

“I have thought many times since that if poets when they get discouraged would blow their brains out, they could write very much better when they got well.” — Mark Twain

Hmm…. I’m not sure, but, perhaps Mark was feeling a bit curmudgeonly toward poets that day…. If not, well, we all know his fondness for sardonicism, don’t we?…. Here’s one I think you’ll enjoy, from a poet I’ve only recently begun to explore….


A rowan like a lipsticked girl.
Between the by-road and the main road
Alder trees at a wet and dripping distance
Stand off among the rushes.

There are the mud-flowers of dialect
And the immortelles of perfect pitch
And that moment when the bird sings very close
To the music of what happens

~~ Seamus Heaney ~~


As might be guessed from what has gone before, I’m a bit anxious to be on the road… It will take all of my patience and fortitude to wait until 1 PM, when we leave for the embarkation pier in SF….. especially as leaving dead bodies behind me could conceivably cause problems upon my return…. SIGH…. People get SO upset when I do that!….

Any who, I’ll try to not kill anyone today, so I can have a worry free cruise…. In hopes of getting to that point sometime in the near future, I’m going for an old-school, random, harlequin pearl, to finish off this very skimpy Pearl….. Don’t worry, I’ll make up for it with art work tomorrow…. the camera’s all charged up and ready to shoot…. Until then, here are some thoughts from SB to help y’all get through the day…. or not….

ICONOCLAST, n.  A breaker of idols, the worshipers whereof are imperfectly gratified by the performance, and most strenuously protest that he unbuildeth but doth not reedify, that he pulleth down but pileth not up.  For the poor things would have other idols in place of those he thwacketh upon the mazzard and dispelleth.  But the iconoclast saith:  “Ye shall have none at all, for ye need them not; and if the rebuilder fooleth round hereabout, behold I will depress the head of him and sit thereon till he squawk it.” — Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary”

(Oh! Oh! So, THAT’S what I’ve been doing all this time!! I love it, and now feel very justified in my work here…. I am just loving the idea of putting the OCI after my name, to signify my identity of a member of the Order of Curmudgeonly Iconoclasts…. My sig. line is starting to look impressive, with all my initials after it…. as in, gigoid, MCA, BS,  OCI…. [which, BTW, is the correct way to write ‘gigoid’, with no capitals…. it’s a user-name, and caps aren’t required, nor, in this case, desired….].  If I’m not careful, all these titles will start to go to my head, or something equally inane… Okay, I’m done fooling around now…. We’ll get on with the rest of this pearl….sorry, got distracted…)

“Make your enemies by choice, not by accident. The same applies to friends.” — Xavier R. Quinton

“When the way comes to an end, then change – having changed, you pass through.” — I Ching

“In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to Liberty.” — Thomas Jefferson

:interesting: adj.  In hacker parlance, this word has strong connotations of `annoying’, or `difficult’, or both.  Hackers relish a challenge, and enjoy wringing all the irony possible out of the ancient Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times”.  Oppose {trivial}, {uninteresting}. — from The on-line Hacker Jargon File V423

(Note: This definition of the word “interesting” is the most frequently applied here at ECR, in terms of meaning and connotation, used almost exclusively; just so’s you know….)

“It seems, in fact, as though the second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has accumulated during the first half.” — Feodor Dostoyevski, “The Possessed”

“The zoo is not an exhibition
I view with much enjoyment,
when I notice beasts in a position
To learn the weaknesses of men.”

— John Brunner

I’ve done it again, I suppose, and I’ll just have to deal with it…. I’ll be back shortly, I hope….

As I suspected, that took a while, but, it’s done now, and I can get on with my day…. which, as might be imagined, promises to be one of greater than usual import, and all around fun… or, as has been intimated, more interesting…. hopefully without the negative connotation that generally applies…. See y’all tomorrow, even if there are technical issues… I’ll figure out a workaround of some kind….

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.



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