Forty-eleven different things COULD go here…. in fact, at one point or another, they all have…. gone there, I mean. All forty-eleven of them were more appropriate than this sort of faux-intimate chatter, but, since retiring, I seem to find a lot of things I like to do that aren’t appropriate…. Too bad, so sad, but, what’re ya gonna do? I don’t seem to be able to find a spot in me anywhere that gives a shit, so, the world is just going to have to deal with this one on those terms, and, again, too bad, so sad if it doesn’t like it, because, hey, this may be a world controlled by faceless, shadowy psychopaths, but, it’s still MY head, and nobody gets to tell it what it can do, or think, but me…. So there….
Okay, take a breath, self….
Now that we have the disclaimer out of the way, I suppose there’s another chance here for me to come up with something elegant and stylish to start off today’s Pearl…. Y’know what, though? Elegant and stylish, somehow, just doesn’t seem to fit my mood today, a mood which, if I HAD to describe it in one word, that word would be “unforgiving”….. Yep, more than merely curmudgeonly, more than just a bit grumpy, today I’m feeling like, if anyone, at all, gives me any trouble, or even hints at wanting to do so, they’re going to find themselves in a world of hurt, much akin to how they might feel after having a rugby team use them for a tackling dummy….
Oh, don’t fret, no Gentle Reader has ever been permanently harmed during the creation of these Pearls, and I have no intention of allowing that record to be broken, not today, not ever…. In spite of how it may sound, my bark is much less harmful than my bite…. wait, is that backwards? Okay, well, it’s probably more accurate that way, anyway, so we’ll let it go, and just remind you that pain can be our friend…..
What the hell am I saying? Pain is NEVER our friend; it may be a valuable part of our perception, laying down boundaries that tell us how close to actual damage we are getting, but, actually calling it friendly can lead to corruption of those senses, skewing our view of reality…. It can make us afraid to take risks, if we allow it to decide for us how close we can come to the edge of physical endeavor without falling over….. WE are the ones with a mind, and we need to make those decisions by using more than just one set of parameters, which is what pain is limited to providing….
I know, that’s all a bit esoteric, especially with only one cup of coffee in me…. We’ll let it lie there, as it is, and pretend it isn’t really part of this at all…. It shouldn’t be hard, as there isn’t really much there to chew on; it’s all pretty low-cal brain-food…. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, with this paragraph, we’ve reached the point for which we’ve been slogging…. We’re at the legal limit for intros, and, considering the lack of ANY worthwhile material that, thus far, has been included today, it’s for certain we should immediately employ emergency method #4, and make our escape while we may….
Shall we Pearl?…..
“The options described above interact with each other in strange and as yet to be defined ways.” — Unix Manual, pr(1)
“I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round.” — John Lennon
Rather than rant, I’m reprinting a Pearl from 2011, near the very beginning of this blog…. The format was different then; all completed Pearls were in the style you see here, with an intro, and an old-school group of pearls to make the point for the day…. This discussion can lend some validity and perspective to the recent public dialogue regarding the growing gap between the rich and the poor….
At the time this was written, I was a member of that part of society that exists on about HALF of the income that would make life even remotely comfortable; in fact, it was just enough to survive, with NO real quality of life to be found…. Quality costs money, as the BRC is well-aware…. Before I begin to rant, I give you the Daily Pearl of Virtual Wisdom from from 9/10/2011, the day BEFORE the 10th anniversary of a date everyone knows:
In all the literature I’ve read over the years, a lot of different authors have painted a picture of the life of those living in poverty. These intent of these pictures is to create in the reader an empathy for the plight of the economically challenged (this phrase, while politically correct, bears no real resemblance to the actuality of being poor, and as such, is inherently evil. It doesn’t describe the reality; it puts another barrier between the real world and the meaning of the written word.This makes it easy to deny the reality, removing any true connection to the feelings involved….). But the empathy created is tempered by what is not painted into the picture. For the last nine months or so, I’ve been introduced to the life of the under-funded, and can state unequivocally that two important pieces of the experience of being poor in this country are missing from the usual descriptions.
It has been said that a hungry man is never bored; I can tell you from first-hand knowledge that this is true. Not knowing where the next meal is coming from keeps the mind focused the search for food/money, and creates a state wherein one cannot afford to spend time on the luxury of boredom. What is missing here are the feelings that accompany that focused state, to wit: a constant, low-grade fear, always present in the background, causing the stomach to jump, the heart to beat faster, and the mind to spend precious energy to keep the fear at bay.
This fear increases the urgency of everything; having to constantly turn the mind to finding money/food adds a flavor of desperation to everything act, and every perception. Former activities that brought relaxation are no longer sought out, there’s no time for them. Never relaxing has a cumulative effect, and the cycle spins faster and faster, contributing even more anxiety to the system. I often feel as if I’m one of those little hamsters on a spinning wheel, a wheel that has no way to stop, and no way to get off…..
The other part that most descriptions of the state of poverty seldom mention is the sense of bone-deep humiliation that goes along with having to ask for help or charity. I can say without hesitation that this is perhaps the worst part of having to struggle to get by, probably because all my life I have been fairly successful, at least to the extent that money and food were not primary issues. Having to ask for a loan from a friend or relative is possibly the most embarrassing and humiliating experience that I have ever had.
Just sitting here writing about it has me tearing up; one of the more unwelcome side effects of post-traumatic stress syndrome is how powerful emotions can surface at the slightest provocation, causing even more embarrassment, and making competent, effective action even more difficult to carry out. Self-confidence is not abetted by feeling humiliated, and self-respect becomes non-existent.
The only way I have found to lessen the despair and fear is to try to remember that things could be worse. Difficult as it may be, and I assure you it is, finding positive notes in the song of life currently being played always helps lessen the sense of dread that is my constant companion. Diving for, and reading, pearls of virtual wisdom helps too; contact with better minds than my own is uplifting, if only for the sense of hope that can be kindled by reading something inspirational, or an idea beautifully expressed. True beauty heals merely by its touch…..
I went diving for pearls yesterday, and found a lot of good quality stuff; here are a few of them……
“Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst.” — Thomas Paine
All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
All chance, direction, which thou canst not see;
All discord, harmony not understood;
All partial evil, universal good;
And spite of pride, in erring reason’s spite,
One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.
— Alexander Pope (1688-1744) — Essay on Man, Epistle i, Line 289
“The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.” — General Omar N. Bradley (1893-1981)
(And he ought to know….)
“Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers.” — Socrates (470?-399 B.C.)
“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” — Frederick Douglass
Never be boastful; someone may come along who knew you as a child. — Chinese Proverb
An odd group, but mine own…..y’all take care out there….
Some days, it’s got to be a classic…..
A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child?. . . .I do not know what it is any more than he.
I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven.
Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropped,
Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we
may see and remark, and say Whose?
Or I guess the grass is itself a child. . . .the produced babe of the vegetation.
Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones,
Growing among black folks as among white,
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same.
And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.
Tenderly will I use you curling grass,
It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men,
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them;
It may be you are from old people and from women, and
from offspring taken soon out of their mother’s laps,
And here you are the mother’s laps.
This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old mothers,
Darker than the colorless beards of old men,
Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths.
O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues!
And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for nothing.
I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and women,
And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps.
What do you think has become of the young and old men?
What do you think has become of the women and children?
They are alive and well somewhere;
The smallest sprouts show there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceased the moment life appeared.
All goes onward and outward. . . .and nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.
~~ Walt Whitman ~~
Today’s picture pearl will be a bit special… While walking the other day, I found a Wise Old Pine Cone…. You got a glimpse of him the other day, as I took a picture of him, while telling you he would be the featured guest in future picture pearls…. True to my word, here is the first series of pictures detailing the adventures of the Wise Old Pine Cone, as he accompanies me on my journeys around the Big Blue Room, on one of my camera safaris….. Enjoy!…..
Today, we are taking the envelope to the shredder…. Above are seven photos, displaying the Wise Old Pine Cone on our rounds… Below are seven pearls, all lustrously elegant, ineffably stylish; in short, everything I’ve been looking for since we began today, but could never find, until now…. The part that takes the envelope out of the picture (so to speak…) is that you have to decide for yourselves which aphorism matches up with which picture…. Let me know if you figure it out, and we’ll see if we can’t come up with a prize of some sort, okay?…. Or, just read, and enjoy….
I ‘d be a butterfly born in a bower,
Where roses and lilies and violets meet.
— Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797-1839) — I ‘d be a Butterfly
“Some people confuse boredom with security.” — Smart Bee
“That life is worth living is the most necessary of assumptions, and were it not assumed, the most impossible of conclusions.” — George Santayana
“No man ever wetted clay and then left it, as if there would be bricks by chance and fortune.” — Plutarch (46-120 AD) — Of Fortune
“If you stand straight, do not fear a crooked shadow.’ — Chinese Proverb
“Truth needs no flowers of speech.” — Alexander Pope
“Life without learning is death.” — Cicero
I think I built a new neruonic pathway or three today, ffolkes…. Sheer laziness strikes again! In trying to figure out how to get this done, without expending any more mental energy than absolutely necessary, I think I had to forge new paths in my brain, for all the new, strange algorithms, showy yet meaningless philosophical distractions, and tricky instructions for achieving some user interaction, or at least, confusion, which I came up with in producing today’s outburst…. If nothing else, though, it IS done. Or, I think it’s done… I’d better check….
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,
I just sits.
gigoid the dubious