A gloomy mass of clouds lined the horizon, promising rain in the near future. Beneath them, a line of rolling dunes stretched eastward, leading to a high wall of mountains in the far distance. Closer, perhaps only two miles distant, sat the caravansary where the night would be passed, safe behind the walls separating the trees and water from the desert all around. The camels lining the trail, impatient to get to the water they could smell, shifted and groaned, wanting to be off. But Ahmed waited, continuing to scan the distance to the oasis with a sharp gaze.
Rumors of vicious Tuareg raiders attacking caravans had circled the bazaar in Alexandria before their departure, three days past, and Ahmed had no intention of allowing his group of merchants and their wares to become loot for the Tuareg campfires to celebrate that night. His complement of mercenary guards, well-paid to assure loyalty, were spread evenly through the caravan, disguised as merchants, but with weapons close at hand in case of trouble. As his keen eyes continued to watch for any movement or disturbed birds that would betray hidden groups of raiders, he smiled, congratulating himself for his foresight. “Let them attack,” he thought to himself, “we shall give them a swift journey to Hell’s Gate!” Turning to his second, he nodded once, and the command to move passed swiftly down the well-dressed line of burdened camels, until the entire caravan once more trod slowly toward the caravansary in the near distance.
Well…. that was different. This passage was brought to you by the fine folks at Imagine, the fantasy and fiction marketplace down on Highway 29. gratis, as an example of what may be found in their immense catalog of storied beginnings and exciting endings. They’re reasonably priced too; I got this one for free, just because it was more than three days old….not a bad deal, considering the short story I’ll get out of it should bring in some decent change, provided, of course, I can find a buyer for it in today’s competitive market. Until I get that finished though, let’s get on with today’s Pearl, or Pearls, as the case may be…..
In our society, the Republicans set out to prove that the Democrats can not be trusted to run the government. And the Democrats set out to prove that the Republicans can not be trusted to run our government. The real problem here is that both the Democrats and the Republicans have come up with something which is absolutely true and perfectly correct. This means that the people get to pull some sort of horrible trick on themselves and live with their choice for four years.–No attribution given…
I’m sorry there is no attribution for this, because I’d have liked to shake that person’s hand. The truth of this proposition should be obvious to even the hard to convince, for it has been proven time after time, in every election in my lifetime, and if things don’t change, will be true for as long as it takes to finish the end-game scenario we have been hurtling toward for a long time. It’s kind of like the weather….everybody talks about it, but nobody ever does anything to change, or control it.
Our society has, by all the information available, effectively sealed the fate of our species, by refusing to acknowledge our true place in the ecosphere, instead choosing to assume that the elitist attitudes fostered by Christian mores is fact, and that the rest of creation is ours to do with as we please. This blindness to the truth has brought us to the brink of species extinction, and it won’t be much longer before what we have done so far cannot be reversed. In fact, there is ample evidence that we reached that point in the latter decades of the 20th century, and the final solution is not far off now.
It’s too bad, too….. we had such promise as a species. Poetry, philosophy, art, all of our most creative characteristics have not been sufficient to keep the assholes among us from fouling our own nest, and it is now too late to do much about it, other than continue to fiddle while Rome burns around us…….
” [W]e shall continue to have a worsening ecologic crisis until we reject the Christian axiom that nature has no reason for existence save to serve man.” — Lynn White, Jr., “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis”, Science V. 155 No. 3767 (10 March 1967), pp. 1203-1207.
“Mother Theresa epitomizes for me the blinkered charitableness upon which we pride ourselves and for which we expect reward in this world and the next. There is very little on earth that I hate more than that.” — Feminist Germaine Greer
I’m not sure why Ms. Greer is identified as a feminist; it seems rather superfluous in this context. Her sentiment, though most likely very unpopular with the average run of folks, makes me want to say, “YES! At last, someone says it out loud!” That will no doubt bring me some flak as well, but, so be it.
I’ve always thought that it takes a very condescending nature to be as falsely selfless as Mother Theresa. She must be one of the most horrible people to be around that I can imagine. Can you imagine having to listen to her endless judgments and smarmy, self-serving, overweening pride in how pious she believes herself to be, on a regular basis? I’m afraid I’d become rather homicidal in short order; I don’t deal well with self-satisfied, judgmental folks, who have nothing better to do than tell everyone else how uncharitable they are in comparison to themselves. Makes me want to bite them, hard.
I’ll bet the Popes love the fact that she buries herself in various poor ghettos around the world; it keeps them from having to talk to her very often. Call me uncharitable if you like; you’d be wrong, but hey, it’s your dime. I just don’t want the world to think that she is the best example of selflessness; it’s more like selfishness to me……a perfect example of why those who receive charity tend to violently dislike those who try to lift them up ‘in service to God’; what a crock! It’s just another way for those giving the help to feel superior and self-satisfied with their own piety…….a fancy, long winded way to say they are barefaced liars, too cowardly to admit their own selfishness…..
“All of us necessarily hold many casual opinions that are ludicrously wrong simply because life is far too short for us to think through even a small fraction of the topics that we come across.” — Julian Simon (And some, like Mother Theresa, never bother to question their dogmatic beliefs, to test their validity against reality…..)
One final thought on this subject…..and, sorry, but my karma just ran over your dogma.
A form of open-mindedness is the pathway to wisdom. Close your mind and you open the way for ignorance to flourish, but you will never even know it. — our old friend Anonymous
“Those who really deserve praise are the people who, while human enough to enjoy power, nevertheless pay more attention to justice than they are compelled to do by their situation.” — Thucydides
It’s been quite a while since I last saw, or used, a quote from Thucydides; I’ve always liked his take on things. This is a very astute observation, and a good yardstick to measure the relative worth of a politician. Politicians, dealing as they do with power every day, are the most susceptible to its degrading qualities, so we need some way to decide whether or not we want them to continue to hold such power in their sweaty little hands. Without going through the entire list of the current crop of bozoids in office, I can still say with some confidence that I cannot think of a single example of a person such as described who has been elected in the past 60 years. The only reason I don’t include politicians before that time in this list is that I wasn’t there, and therefore am not qualified to judge that; one can’t rely on written history to give an accurate picture.
So, in the interest of fairness, I am challenging my readers…… give me a name of someone in the public eye in the last 60 years who meets the standard laid down by Thucydides above, and provide some evidence, and I will change my tune to include that information. If anyone can come up with one, I’ll be very surprised; encouraged as well, because the existence of one would imply the possible existence of others who share this attribute. We’ll see if I get any names……
“I have witnessed and greatly enjoyed the first act of everything which Wagner created, but the effect on me has always been so powerful that one act was quite sufficient; whenever I have witnessed two acts I have gone away physically exhausted; and whenever I have ventured an entire opera the result has been the next thing to suicide.” — Mark Twain, 1891
I can relate to this very well. I pretty much like just about any kind of music there is, but as far as I’m concerned, 90% of the operas I’ve heard or seen were so thrilling I could barely stay awake. In fact, I might have slept through much of the one’s I’ve been to, had not those women on stage been caterwauling in notes so high, my whiskey glass trembled in fear.
Now, I will admit, there are some operatic pieces that are just as advertised; soaring melodies filled exquisitely by powerful, painfully beautiful voices (a couple of the female lead’s pieces in Aida, and the one from an opera I forget; it’s the one the protagonist in the Shawshank Redemption played on the warden’s record machine, broadcasting it for all the prisoners to hear…..incredible voice, whoever it was..). But mostly, it’s just singing in gibberish to boring music, surrounding a hard-to believe, sort-of-like a plot.
I thinks it is so popular because almost everyone is afraid to challenge the widely held belief of it’s superior qualities; they think folks will laugh at them for swimming against the tide of opinion. Me, I couldn’t care less what anybody thinks….as far as I’m concerned, it’s all a pile of doodoo, not worth a fraction of the time some folks spend on it……
“I love to go down to the schoolyard and watch all the little children jump up and down and run around yelling and screaming…They don’t know I’m only using blanks.” — Emo Phillips
Now, THAT’S funny! Admit it, you smiled or chuckled, before you could stop yourself. Ghetto humor can be pretty grisly, or shocking, and requires a certain degree of callousness to fully appreciate the point of it. But, it also is very human, dealing as it does with a side of life that only one who has been there can really understand. Most folks wouldn’t be able to think that there was anything funny about somebody shooting, or even pretending to shoot, at kids in a schoolyard; it goes against all their most long-held beliefs about what makes something funny. But to anyone who has spent any time at all on the street, it is hilarious……and that is part of human nature, no matter who might disagree…..
“Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.” — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
So ends another foray into the wilds of the fringes of thought…. I think it went well today. I have a feeling that some of what I’ve written will bother some folks, a lot. Well, sorry ’bout that, but that is a personal problem, and not my fault. I am perfectly willing to discuss and or argue over any points I have written about, and given enough pertinent evidence, am able to adjust my belief system accordingly. I write my beliefs in pencil, always; it makes it easier to erase and start over than writing them in stone. But, don’t try to come at me with dogma, or with something someone else has indoctrinated you to believe; I will eat your beliefs like M&M’s, and enjoy every one of them. In any case, I hope that y’all have enjoyed today’s little slice of gigoid….. y’all take care out there…..
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.