Have the mango smoothies been certified yet?….

Dark, out-of-focus images of lava filled volcanoes, steaming rivers flowing down their sides, against a backdrop of a smoky sunset of unimaginable color and beauty, float around in my mind’s eye, with no concomitant tales of interest attached, making me wonder yet again just what it is that makes me want to do this again. Each morning, I stare at the blank page before me, and let my mind assume a trance-like state, while it searches through the inner realm for yet another fresh way to begin, only to find mere remnants of ideas once fully formed, or abandoned phrases that have no connection to anything real.

Somewhere inside me is a lake of material, waiting to be written; I can feel it, and often catch glimpses out of the corner of my eye, before it flashes off into the vast, unknown reaches of my mind, where I never willingly go, knowing it will be safe there until ready to flow out onto a page…. A lot of what I write is spontaneous, at least in the sense that I don’t decide beforehand what subject is to be explored. Instead, I let Smart Bee, or some random thought, dictate the choice of material, having found long ago that I am more likely to come up with something interesting that way. When I decide beforehand, I feel like I’m back in school, writing a paper on a given subject, with the length and style pretty well fixed, and not amenable to alteration. It’s probably not a particularly efficient method, but it works for me, most of the time….

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.” — The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, 1951

But, it does make it hard each day to come up with an intro, (especially when J.D. has already written the ultimate version of this kind of opening, one that denies normalcy)…. and it just occurred to me that y’all are probably getting tired of hearing that. I wish I didn’t whine about it so often…. a statement that occurs to me to be just about as dumb as anything I’ve ever come up with…. If I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t have to whine about it… If I didn’t whine about it, I probably wouldn’t do it as often… Any way one looks at it, whining about it just exacerbates the issue, and makes it into something significant, instead of the minor issue it ought to be…..

Hmm…. it also occurs to me that I am approaching this in a manner that guarantees the issue won’t die, an event which is anathema to me…. Why am I doing this to myself? I am forced to admit, I believe my sub-, or un-, conscious mind seems to have set up a situation here where I am continually set up to fail, at least in my own eyes, and THAT is unacceptable! The world, and the assholes who have set themselves up as the BRC, fuck me in the ass on a daily basis, just like they do everyone, and doing it to myself is NOT what I’d call intelligent…. So, it stops here….

No more whining about intros… no more angst about blank pages…. no more bullshit cop-outs relating how hard it is to come up with ideas on a daily basis, and make them interesting, to boot. It’s the same issue every day, and all this repetitive fooferaw is getting on my nerves, so, I’m done with it…. I know it doesn’t help this particular Pearl, but, in the future, you can look forward to an intro section that doesn’t complain, that doesn’t serve cheese, with or without whine, one that doesn’t drag on forever before getting on with the show…. In deference to that glorious future…. Shall we Pearl?…..

“The character of human life, like the character of the human condition, like the character of all life, is “ambiguity”: the inseparable mixture of good and evil, the true and false, the creative and destructive forces — both individual and social.” — Paul Tillich

Having discovered within myself exactly how much such ambiguity can affect our lives, I feel compelled to add that one must learn to use that ambiguity, to balance its overall effect on us, with competence, confidence, and steadfast aplomb, else it will use us, instead….

“Truth needs no flowers of speech.” — Alexander Pope

What immediately comes to mind when I look at this, is an image of a politician, mouth open, spewing out lie after lie, couched in flowery terms designed to draw in the listener with sweet, colorful little statements of intent, that have no relation at all to what is real, or what they will actually do. The more flowery a speech one hears from one of these pundits, the more you can be assured that all of it is lies. It is a time tested method of fooling the public…. tell them what they WANT to hear, and they will fall right into line…. Tell them what they don’t wish to hear, and they will mill around in confusion, and go through immense contortions to keep from using their minds, or making their own decisions, and, most importantly to them, it will make them uncomfortable, and fractious…..

My mind is almost automatically inclined to rant when I see a line such as this, and I’m always willing to take a few shots at the BRC, politicians, AND/OR any of their myrmidons and/or supporters, comprised of the mass of humanity that prefers to NOT use their brains for anything other than figuring out how to use the remote control, or sitting on. But, I slept a bit late today, and I’m feeling a bit lazy, at the moment, anyway, so I’m going to depend on SB to come up with an old-school pearl that will poke a stick or two into the eyes of the assholes who most deserve it….. SB is usually pretty good at that, so, let’s see what’s what….

“Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism — how passionately I hate them!” — Albert Einstein

“History is always written wrong, and so always needs to be rewritten. …What is interesting is brought forward as if it had been central and efficacious in the march of events, and harmonies are turned into causes. Kings and generals are endowed with motives appropriate to what the historian values in their actions; plans are imputed to them prophetic of their actual achievements, while the thoughts that really preoccupied them remain buried in absolute oblivion.” — George Santayana, The Life of Reason:  Reason in Science, 1918

BIBLE  A bible is a book which one or more religions consider to be holy, and to be something that they should follow. It is of course generally rather impractical to follow books, not just because they don’t often go anywhere, but also because they are not very good at public speaking, decision making, problem solving, or any of the other qualities recognized as being an advantage for leadership. A religion based around the teachings of any compilation of Toxic Custard would be very strange indeed. To subscribe to this new cult following, send $15 now. — Daniel Bowen’s TOXIC CUSTARPEDIA

“A tough lesson in life that one has to learn is that not everybody wishes you well.” — Dan Rather

“Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?” — James Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance

“And unextinguish’d laughter shakes the skies.” — Alexander Pope (1688-1744) — The Iliad of Homer, Book i, Line 771

Ffolkes, I just can’t make it any plainer than that…..

This is a reprint of a poem I used some time ago…. It’s being reused because, a) it’s bloody brilliant, and b) it kind of fits in with the mood for today…. and those are all I need to justify it to myself, as I know the poetry buffs out there will enjoy it, for the genius it is….

Witch Burning

In the marketplace they are piling the dry sticks.
A thicket of shadows is a poor coat. I inhabit
The wax image of myself, a doll’s body.
Sickness begins here: I am the dartboard for witches.
Only the devil can eat the devil out.
In the month of red leaves I climb to a bed of fire.

It is easy to blame the dark: the mouth of a door,
The cellar’s belly. They’ve blown my sparkler out.
A black-sharded lady keeps me in parrot cage.
What large eyes the dead have!
I am intimate with a hairy spirit.
Smoke wheels from the beak of this empty jar.

If I am a little one, I can do no harm.
If I don’t move about, I’ll knock nothing over. So I said,
Sitting under a potlid, tiny and inert as a rice grain.
They are turning the burners up, ring after ring.
We are full of starch, my small white fellows. We grow.
It hurts at first. The red tongues will teach the truth.

Mother of beetles, only unclench your hand:
I’ll fly through the candle’s mouth like a singeless moth.
Give me back my shape. I am ready to construe the days
I coupled with dust in the shadow of a stone.
My ankles brighten. Brightness ascends my thighs.
I am lost, I am lost, in the robes of all this light.

~~ Sylvia Plath ~~


In keeping with today’s themes, which are, respectively, Truth, and Madness…. (what else?), I submit the following, an excerpt from the archives, from early 2012, comprised of two short pearls, one a short indictment re: the spread of religious dogma, and one short but telling list of woes currently present in Reality…. If nothing else, they’re in color…. Oh, right, that’s only if you have the correct software… never mind, just read on, you’ll understand….

“God is more interested in your future and your relationships than you are.” — Billy Graham

Now, if that isn’t a scary thought, I know nothing of fear; I assure you, however, fear is an old friend, with whom I am quite familiar, in all its guises. Now, to give credit where it is due, I suppose it must be noted that, from the standpoint of someone of Mr. Graham’s ilk, this is a very powerful statement of belief; it has all the proper elements for that particular delusional thought process (if one may stretch the definition of ‘thought process’ just a bit).

It is based purely on assumption, with no hint of anything resembling direct evidence. It implies omnipotence, displays deified arrogance, identifies a source for guilt, and encourages a fear of death. It vagueness allows the moral ambiguity necessary for the complete abrogation of personal responsibility for one’s actions. And, like all such proclamations of this nature, its very words indicate a complete and utter dislike for humans, both individually, and as a species.

My immediate and forceful response to this was “Then you, and God, need to get a Life! If y’all have nothing better to do in your copious free time than to try to shove this kind of crap into people’s minds, then you need to find a new activities director for the imaginary cruise you are on…. or find some better drugs.”  But, that’s just me…..

(Oops…. I think I just heresied on several important religions…..)

Conscious is when you are aware of something and conscience is when you wish you weren’t. — Smart Bee (Anonymous, by any other name, smells as sweet…)

Insane politicians (is there another kind?). Human trafficking. Racism. Bigotry. Child abuse. Spousal abuse. Slavery. Crack cocaine, heroin, morphine, or other drug abuse. War on crime. War on women. Televangelists. Fundamentalist zealots. National Security Agency. FBI. CIA. Untold trillions of dollars of national debt.  Genetically modified food. Military Industrial Complex. The 1%/99% Society. Taxes. Global warming. Air pollution. The oceans are dying. Terrorism. Nuclear accidents. Massive global weather changes. Ozone depletion. Overpopulation. AIDS. Mutating viruses. The Bohemian Club. Reaganomics. Nationalism. Elitism. Illuminati Conspiracy. Women’s reproductive rights. Bill of Rights (or rather, loss of same). War on the US Constitution.  Rampant ignorance. Lawyers. Priests. Rabbis. Imams.  Puppy mills. Wall Street. Corporate personhood. The IRS. Insane politicians. (Did I say that already? Well, it deserves mentioning twice….)  Rising incidence of halitosis.

Except for the last, which is more of a personal foible, I’d say that’s a fairly extensive, and mostly complete, list of stuff I am aware of that I wish I weren’t; and it all came right off the top of my head, no research.  It certainly keeps my sense of outrage in good shape….. which is why we all need to practice the following sentiment at every opportunity…. otherwise, we are all going to be up Shit Creek without a paddle, proverbial or otherwise…..

“Speak out. You’ve got to speak out against the madness.” — Steven Stills

Well there you go…. This is what happens when I’m allowed to dress myself, I guess…. Let’s see how it looks in the mirror….  Wow… it’s like a vampire, nothing shows at all…. I suppose that’s my usual morning alteration of consciousness kicking in, but, just in case it isn’t, try to ignore any parts that are showing signs of infection, okay…. And that’s all I’m required to say, according to public health regulations, so I’d best draw this to a rapid close, and catch that last train out of town, before the authorities show up for a late breakfast interrogation….  Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..

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.



Isn’t he just the bee’s knees?….

What we have here, is a failure…. to cogitate. A scary one, too, since I can’t seem to get a handle on how to fire up the ol’ neurons this morning…. Dendrite, schmendrite, send me your nerve impulses…. Nope, not working, and the mojo I found yesterday has rolled into a corner again…. Okay, hang on, I’ll see if one of the fuses went out….  Oh, yeah, I don’t have the upgrade installed yet; I’m still on the old tube and knob wiring, so, no fuses….

Damn! Now I’m going to have to resort to emergency procedure # 4, which I haven’t employed since setting it up…. Since at least three of the stages it passes through on the way to getting my brain functioning are only marginally legal, please stand back, and put on the blindfolds that are conveniently located in your seat’s pocket, on the left side there…. got them? Okay, let ‘er rip, Biff!…. Oooh! That’s impressive!…..

Good morning….. Emergency procedure # 4 was apparently successful, though I will have to rely on you all to supply me with any evidence of that…. From this side of the procedure, there is a degree of amnesia produced, that lasts a few days, then passes away, leaving no scars or memories of the less than pleasant process involved in using #4…. Rather handy, all in all, as it gets things moving, but doesn’t waste any time on congratulations or other extraneous activities, but allows me to get right to work…. Of course, it can take several weeks to get all my memory back, but, hey, I don’t use it all at once anyway…. Some sacrifices must be made to pursue one’s art, you know…

Now that I have once again provided y’all with ample proof of my insanity, or at least enough to make it worth wagering on, I should, no doubt, move on to the main portion of today’s virtual circus. It’s getting more and more chancy here in the intro section, what with the weird hours I’ve been keeping in the mornings…. Again, today, I was up at 0430;  it is now 0522, and all I’ve been able to come up with is this detritus, even WITH coffee on board….. Hence my use of the word ‘scary’ above….. The fertile fields of my mind are becoming a trifle depleted, methinks, which, given my output, shouldn’t be a surprise….

Well, no matter how scary it is, the rest of today’s effort calls to me, so I suppose I’d best start diving. In the interests of full disclosure, shut your eyes…. I had to use my old dive suit today, and the pattern has been known to cause seizures if one gazes at it too long…. Shall we Pearl?…..

“The essence of Christianity is told us in the Garden of Eden history. The fruit that was forbidden was on the tree of knowledge. The subtext is, All the suffering you have is because you wanted to find out what was going on. You could be in the Garden of Eden if you had just keep your fucking mouth shut and hadn’t asked any questions.” — Frank Zappa Playboy Interview, April 1993

Hmm…. Frank’s take on matters are such that I generally find myself in complete agreement with what he says. Here, he has again put his finger on one of the more obvious facets of Christianity, one that defies all logical explanation in lieu of subservient belief, to wit: faith vs. knowledge, and the Christian’s unfortunate tendency to embrace the former, without any appeal to the latter….. To my way of thinking, that is not only foolish, but cowardly….. but, perhaps, that’s just me….

The fruit of the tree of knowledge gives mankind the go-ahead, to use the brain with which we were furnished at birth; the preachers would have us abrogate that use, having us, instead, give over all our power of belief into the hands of the faithful, who, naturally, have only our best interests at heart….. Sure they do…. NOT….. I’m sorry, but, no matter how many times these folks say so, I am not going to accept that they know better than I what is best for me…. Nope, not even if there were twenty Bibles out there, all proclaiming how true they are…. Oh wait, there are twenty of them, aren’t there?…. Oh, well, you know what I meant….

Why do people fall for this? I cannot understand how people, who are normally reasonably intelligent, will, by conscious choice, bury their heads in the sand to buy into this, without ever taking even one moment to examine any of it for truth, or even logical assumption. Is there some kind of mind-control drug in that incense? Maybe in the sacramental wine…. Whatever it is, it turns normally competent, intelligent people into mindless slaves, and does so with their complete agreement and approval….. To my mind, it is one of history’s saddest, most incomprehensible features, when I look at just how easily people fall for such egregious, and so obviously self-serving propaganda, as most of the dogmatic proclamations of the major religions tend to offer up.

“I hope I never get so old I get religious.” — Ingmar Bergman

I am compelled to add, “Me, too!” to this sentiment…. In the recent past, I’ve been taking a lot of shots at religions, and need to make clear that I do not hate Christians, or Buddhists, or Muslims, or the followers of any religion. I think they are being silly, deliberately and evilly so, at worst, or at best, misguided, but I don’t hate, or fear them, as is the case on their part whenever they consider me, or my criticisms of their beliefs. I don’t hold that against them, either, as it is logically consistent for them to do so, given the limitations of their dogmatic position. Since, however, the fervor with which they will often defend their position can reach a rather fevered pitch, I tend to treat many of them like a stinging insect; I move, and speak, slowly and carefully, so as not to frighten them more than they already are….

Ethical and moral behavior is not confined to those who follow the precepts of one religion or another, despite what any of the proponents of those religions will try to tell you.  In fact, if you look closely, the number of folks who are believers have a much higher percentage of failure in that area than do the non-believers, which only makes sense…. The believers all have a sense of entitlement that gives them the idea that the rules of behavior don’t always apply to them, in terms of how they treat people who are not of the same faith, so, to those who are not of their own sect, they don’t bother being truthful, or honest, or ethical, as those people don’t count, in their eyes. People who make their own moral codes tend to follow them, and are much more tolerant of those who do not share their beliefs.

Basic human nature dictates these responses in people, so one can see how dangerous it is to remain ignorant, in the Biblical sense. Those who choose to buy into the myth of the Garden of Eden, giving up all their personal independence of mind for the comfort and safety of dogma, will fail to act according to their own morality much of the time, out of their sense of entitlement, and the belief that all of their sins will be forgiven, merely by the act of confessing them. Only those who consciously choose their moral code have the courage to act it out, it seems, except for those few people who actually try to live according to the morality that is espoused, but seldom embraced, by their less ethical peers.

Having the strength of mind to make one’s own moral code implies the courage to act it out…. This is why I choose to deny the dogma I’ve been exposed to all my life, as being illogical, and, ultimately, immoral…. It makes more sense to me to make my own decisions on such matters, and tell the busybodies who assume they know best for all to go jump in a lake…. Even better, just shut the hell up, and get out of the way, so the rest of us can get something relevant done, without having to put up with all the nonsense from that quarter….

“What is a church? Our honest sexton tells, ‘Tis a tall building, with a tower and bells.” — Crabbe

Sometimes, I just gotta go with a classic…. if only for the patina of age that gives it such a shine…. Even reflected beauty is better than none, yes?….

Bright Star

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art–
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors–
No–yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever–or else swoon to death.

John Keats

The following is a piece that I wrote just before the recent Presidential election, as section 1 of a Pearl I cannot find without more effort than I care to spend right now, even though it is still only 0633…. Tracking it down would mean scrolling through at least a month’s worth of old Pearls, from last year, and I’m not ready for that today…. However, I’ve re-read it, and consider it worth a second posting, as it covers a lot of things that remain relevant after the election, in spite of the fortunate outcome we saw…. Any who, without further ado, here is a pearl I entitled, “Considering the Etiquette of Ignorance”…….

SIGH…. the only reason I did not write this in 1988 is that I did not see it until today….. it is never a good policy to suffer a fool gladly, so my code of honor demands a response…. This begins the tale, but by no means ends it….. be warned, and be nervous, if not afraid…..

“I don’t know that atheists should be considered citizens, nor should they  be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.” — George Bush in Free Inquiry magazine, Fall 1988

Actually, George, the Pledge of Allegiance has no legal standing, in relation to the Constitution of this country, or for that matter, in relation to what our forefathers were thinking when they founded the nation. In fact, what was said here by such an upstanding Constitutional scholarly type, is, in reality, completely contrary to everything that makes a true patriot, or an American citizen.

The part in the pledge, (which no one at all is legally required to take, or state…), that says “under God” was only added in the middle of the twentieth century, by the same Congressional idiots who perpetrated McCarthyism, and the Red Scare, on the American public. It has nothing to do with the Constitution, and in fact, could be construed as a Constitutionally illegal statement, considering the intended separation of church and state that is the backbone of what our forefathers wished us to have as our legacy…. True freedom, not Christian usurpation of freedom….. A person’s religious belief, or lack thereof, is protected by the Constitution, and a patriot is one who supports the Constitution, not a church, or a corporation…..

And if his name be George, I ‘ll call him Peter;
For new-made honour doth forget men’s names.
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), King John — Act i, Sc. 1

This kind of thinking from the Shrub, whichever one it was, Junior or Senior, is the same kind of narrow-minded fundamentalism that the colonists were escaping from in England back in the 16-1700’s when they came to the New World. The churches and corporations, both of which were singled out as dangerous to the republic by Jefferson, Franklin, Paine, Adams, Hamilton, and many of the other founding fathers, have tried to usurp the Constitution ever since it was ratified. Their writings, to each other, and in public venues, were filled with precautionary admonitions about allowing corporations and preachers to have access to, or influence over, members of government.

Ultimately, their fears were justified, as we now are facing just the situations they predicted….. corporations are manipulating our “professional thieves”, otherwise known as politicians, to vote for laws that favor them (really, “corporations are people?”… I don’t think so…), and the ranks of our leaders are rife with fundamentalists and religious nuts of all varieties.

“Men tend to have the beliefs that suit their passions. Cruel men believe in a cruel God and use their belief to excuse their cruelty.  Only kindly men believe in a kindly God, and they would be kindly in any case.” — Bertrand Russell (1872-1967)

It’s difficult sometimes to tell which ones are more dangerous, or more disgusting: the corporations who buy votes from those who fit the definition of “good politicians” (…. a good politician is one who stays bought…..), or the religious demagogues who want to oppress everyone who doesn’t believe the same set of dogmatic constraints as they do. Neither one is particularly hard to spot, but they are protected by their tame dogs in Congress, who will do and say anything to make sure the cash keeps flowing…. right into their pockets.

As may be extrapolated, if one is exceedingly clairvoyant, one may infer from the above that the 2012 Republican  Romney/Ryan ticket disturbs me; I have no problem ranting without end right off the top of my head about the lies and distortions of reality that continuously fall from their lips. As I mentioned in a separate post, a lot of people are catching on to this, as Ryan was roundly booed offstage at the AARP meeting he attended to try to sell their admitted intention to rape Social Security and Medicare (Smart? No. Arrogant? Completely.).

In retrospect, even this negative reception is disturbing to me, as it shows just how little they care, that they are showing themselves to be only interested in lining their own pockets, and the pockets of those who own them, without apparent shame or embarrassment. They aren’t even trying to hide their lies anymore; they just keep repeating them, even after having been shown to be false, believing that if they repeat the lies enough, people will buy them….

“Men are most apt to believe what they least understand.” — Michael de Montaigne (1533-1592) — Essays, Book iii, Chap. xi

Unfortunately, they are right, to a large extent. Millions of people in this country, who have hung on to their prejudices and bigotry with desperation as the minorities have become majorities, are supporting these assholes, merely because they are white. They don’t realize, or seemingly care, that these are the same assholes who will be screwing them over completely as soon as they get sworn in, preferring to trust in the lies, because it soothes their fears of having a black President.

Beware of the half truth.  You may have gotten hold of the wrong half. — Smart Bee

This is why I have been repeatedly reiterating that this election is bringing this country to a crossroads. The outcome will show whether we intend, as a nation, to continue to fight all attempts to curtail the freedoms that were bought and paid for by our forefathers, with blood, sweat, and tears, or will become just another religious, corporate-controlled entity, in a nation consisting of slaves and their masters.

I don’t know about y’all, but I’ll be at the polls as soon as they open, and will urge everyone I know to do the same…. vote early, and vote often (just joking…), but vote. We need to send a message to these fools, that there are still patriots and citizens of this country who believe in the vision embraced and established by the men and women who began this noble experiment in self-government…..

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” — Aldous Huxley

As I said above, the election came out okay…. but, the rest of what is said here remains relevant, and always in need of being heard….

Well…. Getting up early seems to be working for me, Pearl-wise….. Even though part of this was already written, it all holds together well, and will stand in the future as one of my most complete Pearls, if nothing else…. A bit of nonsense to begin, some pointed sticks thrown around at demagoguery, a bit of classicism in the center, for balance, and a long dissertation haranguing the BRC and PTB, as well as most of the religious institutions in the world…. I’m a happy camper, you betcha….

Not just that, but, it’s DONE!  Yay!….. I think…… Hmm… it’s now 0650…… Now what the hell am I going to do? Ah, perfect!…… I’m going back to bed now, ffolkes, & see if I can fall back asleep…. I’ll be back later to see how many people I’ve managed to offend, or better yet, how many found a good laugh….  Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..

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



Emerald green tofu makes better ballast…..

All attempts to establish routine are now considered futile; only random acts that resist routine will be allowed. And damn! I wish I could find a comfortable chair in which to sit…. Yes, I know that sounds stilted and pompous, but grammar is grammar, so whattya gonna do?

Any who, back to routine, or lack thereof….. Waking in the middle of the night, sobbing over a dream, is not what I’d call conducive to making a routine. It took me an hour, and two or four solid shots to get back to a state where I could fall asleep again, and consequently gave me a late start this morning…..SIGH…. (That’s a west-county Irish sigh, a long full breath, and slow exhale, accompanied by a sorrowful expression and a sad shake of the head….)

I should probably be getting used to this randomness in my life; not having to work, or to spend any significant time worrying about what other folks need or want, is both the greatest perk, and the most stinging curse of retirement. The outer world no longer has a say in when I do something, or even what I do. I make my own schedule, and thus have no one to blame if it doesn’t suit me…. which, I’m sure you can see, is a reflection of that blessing/curse relationship. Ah well, such is life….

Since I’m late, and will be later, given the upcoming events this morning, we should get to the searching portion of the process, as it is the most time-consuming part. So…. shall we Pearl? Anything has got to be better than what has been happening thus far…..

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” — Lao-Tzu, Tao Teh Ching

The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. — Old Testament — Job i, 21

I don’t know if it actually was Job who first said this particular phrase, but, given what God eventually did to him, all on a bet with Satan, it could have been…. If so, it goes to show, one shouldn’t go too long in the desert sun without finding some shade….

Here we have a statement that purports to provide reason for worship, a justification of why we should bow our heads in prayer to the heavens…. in short it says, “God is unpredictable, and omnipotent; it makes good sense to kowtow to Him…. he likes appeasement.” Well, maybe not, but you get the idea. We are theoretically in the power of a mad God, one who will fuck with his creation at the drop of a hat, just to entertain himself and the Devil over a wager.

He put Job through some outrageous times…. boils, plagues, genocide, hordes of locusts, deformity, God really did a number on Job, trying to see if his mind-conditioning would hold…. Since, according to the story, Job did hold out, and suffered all he did at God’s hand, and still wouldn’t curse him, we see that it did hold fast. What a dolt he must have been! No, I meant Job, but you may be right…. God surely acted like a dickhead in this one….

Sorry, but along about the third time God took everything away from me (had I been his chosen target instead of that stubborn boob, Job…), I would have started trying to figure out some way to fire back a few warning rounds, just to let Him know I’d had enough of that kind of treatment. A certain amount of leeway should be given, of course, but nobody gets more than three, I don’t care who they think they are…. By the act of persecution of Job, in my mind, He gave up any rights to worship, or even belief…. and He ought to know that, as he made me the way I am (according to the theory as given in Genesis).

I’d make this piece longer, but I think I’ve probably offended the Christians out there enough for one day…. also, the next section is a great poem, by my favorite poet, and I’d as soon you read it all, long as it is…. onward…..

This poem is rather long…. but I hope you read it all; it’s a great follow to the previous pearl, and well worth the time it takes….. enjoy!

A Tale Of The Thirteenth Floor

The hands of the clock were reaching high
In an old midtown hotel;
I name no name, but its sordid fame
Is table talk in hell.
I name no name, but hell’s own flame
Illumes the lobby garish,
A gilded snare just off Times Square
For the maidens of the parish.

The revolving door swept the grimy floor
Like a crinoline grotesque,
And a lowly bum from an ancient slum
Crept furtively past the desk.
His footsteps sift into the lift
As a knife in the sheath is slipped,
Stealthy and swift into the lift
As a vampire into a crypt.

Old Maxie, the elevator boy,
Was reading an ode by Shelley,
But he dropped the ode as it were a toad
When the gun jammed into his belly.
There came a whisper as soft as mud
In the bed of an old canal:
“Take me up to the suite of Pinball Pete,
The rat who betrayed my gal.”

The lift doth rise with groans and sighs
Like a duchess for the waltz,
Then in middle shaft, like a duchess daft,
It changes its mind and halts.
The bum bites lip as the landlocked ship
Doth neither fall nor rise,
But Maxie the elevator boy
Regards him with burning eyes.
“First, to explore the thirteenth floor,”
Says Maxie, “would be wise.”

Quoth the bum, “There is moss on your double cross,
I have been this way before,
I have cased the joint at every point,
And there is no thirteenth floor.
The architect he skipped direct
From twelve unto fourteen,
There is twelve below and fourteen above,
And nothing in between,
For the vermin who dwell in this hotel
Could never abide thirteen.”

Said Max, “Thirteen, that floor obscene,
Is hidden from human sight;
But once a year it doth appear,
On this Walpurgis Night.
Ere you peril your soul in murderer’s role,
Heed those who sinned of yore;
The path they trod led away from God,
And onto the thirteenth floor,
Where those they slew, a grisly crew,
Reproach them forevermore.

“We are higher than twelve and below fourteen,”
Said Maxie to the bum,
“And the sickening draft that taints the shaft
Is a whiff of kingdom come.
The sickening draft that taints the shaft
Blows through the devil’s door!”
And he squashed the latch like a fungus patch,
And revealed the thirteenth floor.

It was cheap cigars like lurid scars
That glowed in the rancid gloom,
The murk was a-boil with fusel oil
And the reek of stale perfume.
And round and round there dragged and wound
A loathsome conga chain,
The square and the hep in slow lock step,
The slayer and the slain.
(For the souls of the victims ascend on high,
But their bodies below remain.)

The clean souls fly to their home in the sky,
But their bodies remain below
To pursue the Cain who each has slain
And harry him to and fro.
When life is extinct each corpse is linked
To its gibbering murderer,
As a chicken is bound with wire around
The neck of a killer cur.

Handcuffed to Hate come Doctor Waite
(He tastes the poison now),
And Ruth and Judd and a head of blood
With horns upon its brow.
Up sashays Nan with her feathery fan
From Floradora bright;
She never hung for Caesar Young
But she’s dancing with him tonight.

Here’s the bulging hip and the foam-flecked lip
Of the mad dog, Vincent Coll,
And over there that ill-met pair,
Becker and Rosenthal,
Here’s Legs and Dutch and a dozen such
Of braggart bullies and brutes,
And each one bends ‘neath the weight of friends
Who are wearing concrete suits.

Now the damned make way for the double-damned
Who emerge with shuffling pace
From the nightmare zone of persons unknown,
With neither name nor face.
And poor Dot King to one doth cling,
Joined in a ghastly jig,
While Elwell doth jape at a goblin shape
And tickle it with his wig.

See Rothstein pass like breath on a glass,
The original Black Sox kid;
He riffles the pack, riding piggyback
On the killer whose name he hid.
And smeared like brine on a slavering swine,
Starr Faithful, once so fair,
Drawn from the sea to her debauchee,
With the salt sand in her hair.

And still they come, and from the bum
The icy sweat doth spray;
His white lips scream as in a dream,
“For God’s sake, let’s away!
If ever I meet with Pinball Pete
I will not seek his gore,
Lest a treadmill grim I must trudge with him
On the hideous thirteenth floor.”

“For you I rejoice,” said Maxie’s voice,
“And I bid you go in peace,
But I am late for a dancing date
That nevermore will cease.
So remember, friend, as your way you wend,
That it would have happened to you,
But I turned the heat on Pinball Pete;
You see – I had a daughter, too!”

The bum reached out and he tried to shout,
But the door in his face was slammed,
And silent as stone he rode down alone
From the floor of the double-damned.

Ogden Nash

The following is an old-school pearl, with a specific thought in mind for you to deduce….. for the sake of everyone’s blood pressure, that specific thought will be revealed at the end…. I don’t usually, but thought I’d give a treat, just ’cause I’m a nice guy…. really, I am……

Child:  “Supreme Being, why is there evil in the world?”
Supreme Being (Sir John Gielgud in a Savile Row suit): “Oh, dear, I can’t remember, exactly. . . something to do with free will, I believe.”
— Terry Gilliam, _The Time Bandits_

“The character of human life, like the character of the human condition, like the character of all life, is “ambiguity”: the inseparable mixture of good and evil, the true and false, the creative and destructive forces — both individual and social.” — Paul Tillich

Halfway down the stairs
Is a stair
Where I sit.
There isn’t any
Other stair
Quite like
I’m not at the bottom,
I’m not at the top;
So this is the stair
I always
— A.A. Milne

“Belief gets in the way of learning.” — Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

“Truth, in the matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived.” — Oscar Wilde

“SANTA CLAUS comes down a FIRE ESCAPE wearing bright  blue LEG WARMERS.  He scrubs the POPE with a mild soap or detergent for 15 minutes, starring JANE FONDA!!” — Zippy the Pinhead

You may be asking yourself at this point, just what have I gotten myself into? Well, relax, it’s no big deal….. all of the foregoing is intended to lead you to the following….. which WILL be on the quiz…..

An it harms none, do what thou will. — Wiccan Credo

Alternate answer, also correct:

There’s little in taking or giving,
There’s little in water or wine:
This living, this living, this living,
Was never a project of mine.
Oh, hard is the struggle, and sparse is
The gain of the one at the top,
For art is a form of catharsis,
And love is a permanent flop,
And work is the province of cattle,
And rest’s for a clam in a shell,
So I’m thinking of throwing the battle —
Would you kindly direct me to hell?

— Dorothy Parker

“Birth, school, work, death.  About sums it up, I think.” — Smart Bee

For a rush job, this didn’t come out too badly…. it will have to do, anyway, so let’s get on with it….. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you……

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




Hordes of unqualified gowns….

Yesterday morning’s fiasco, although handled adroitly, apparently has had repercussions. I’ve received notice from some lawyer that my Inspiration is suing me for abduction, kidnapping, cruel and unusual abuse, and calumny, whatever that is…. The little shit decided to call a lawyer on me! What nerve!

First, he fails to live up to the agreement we made when we first started working together, as he spent more time at the local bars than giving me ideas. When he did work with me, he was surly, uncommunicative, and generally a pain in the ass. Then, just because I needed him to work yesterday, and wouldn’t let him leave, the little asshole sues me…. typical, I’d say. He must have been listening to Murphy….I’ve seen them huddled together several times, pointing at me and laughing….

Ah well, I think I’m going to fire him anyway; he just wasn’t very good at his job. Now I can do it without any guilt… I’m not worried about the law suit; I had him on contract, and it’s all documented. Still, I hate to fail at anything…. but, he never would invest anything into his work, and motivation for Inspiration isn’t my expertise, or my job, once they’ve agreed to sign the contract.

So, I’m not worried; more disappointed. He wasn’t a bad person, and occasionally gave me some good stuff, but I can’t deal with deliberate laziness. I’d rather beat my head against a wall (my usual form of finding inspiration…) than try to get a lazy person to work.

So, having made that decision, we can now move on to the business at hand, that being the composition of pearls of virtual wisdom (remember, VIRTUAL wisdom; don’t try this at home, kids…)  Shall we Pearl?…..

Life! we ‘ve been long together
Through pleasant and through cloudy weather;
‘T is hard to part when friends are dear,–
Perhaps ‘t will cost a sigh, a tear;
Then steal away, give little warning,
Choose thine own time;
Say not “Good night,” but in some brighter clime
Bid me “Good morning.”

— Mrs. Barbauld (1743-1825) — Life

I’m not sure why I put this here, except that I like it. I’m not sure, either, why I like it. It’s simple, and with a nice cadence, but the content is merely average. I guess I just like the sentiment, which is, to my eye, pretty positive in its outlook. Being cynical and rather curmudgeonly by nature, I admire those who can maintain a positive outlook on Life, and for some reason, this poem gives that to me. You can’t ask more of a poem….

We continue today with an old school pearl…. here are six quotes, all on the same general subject. They lead one on a short, meandering path to a very valuable lesson. That lesson is left, for the nonce, as an exercise for the Gentle Reader…..

“There is nothing which cannot be answered by means of my doctrine,” said a monk, coming into a teahouse where Nasrudin sat.  “And yet just a short time ago, I was challenged by a scholar with an unanswerable question,” said Nasrudin. “I could have answered it if I had been there.” “Very well.  He asked, ‘Why are you breaking into my house in the middle of the night?’ — Smart Bee

It would be nice to be sure of anything the way some people are of everything. — Smart Bee

“The impression somehow prevails that the true believer, particularly the religious individual, is a humble person. The truth is that the surrendering and humbling of the self breeds pride and arrogance.” — Eric Hoffer

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness — II Timothy 3:16

If the Bible proves that God exists then comic books prove the existence of Superman. — Smart Bee

“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his Father, in the womb of a virgin will be classified with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated Reformer of human errors.” — Thomas Jefferson

There you go….. I think the lesson here is a valuable one, so I’m hoping that everyone picked up on it. It may just help the status of society at large; the more people who know this concept, and actually live it, the better of we will be, and the longer we can put off our imminent extinction….

The Suicide’s Argument

Ere the birth of my life, if I wished it or no
No question was asked me–it could not be so !
If the life was the question, a thing sent to try
And to live on be YES; what can NO be ? to die.


Is’t returned, as ’twas sent ? Is’t no worse for the wear ?
Think first, what you ARE ! Call to mind what you WERE !
I gave you innocence, I gave you hope,
Gave health, and genius, and an ample scope,
Return you me guilt, lethargy, despair ?
Make out the invent’ry ; inspect, compare !
Then die–if die you dare !

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Suicide among teens in this country has reached pandemic proportions in the first decade of this century. It seems to be connected to the apparent rise in “bullying” in schools, and online; many of the teens who kill themselves reported having been abused and bullied, usually for being gay, or obese, or just for being different in some way.

I can acknowledge from my own teenage years that the kids who get the best grades are often bullied and/or discriminated against by the other kids for just that reason (I wore glasses, too, and can’t count how many times somebody called me “egghead”…). I was fortunate, in having a strong ego that could stand up to the bullying, and push back, and by also being a good athlete, which gave me an acceptable ticket into the society of my peers. Many people don’t have those advantages, and they must internalize their pain and anguish, which eventually leads to their demise.

It is a very difficult problem to address, as the root cause lies in human nature. People acting in groups are not as predictable, or as reasonable, as a single person. And they often turn to action based upon the lowest common denominator of the group, which generally is fear…. fear of the unknown, which a person who is different represents in their eyes.

It’s sad, it’s pathetic, and it’s all too true; humans in groups tend to pick on those who are viewed as a threat to the group, whether the threat is real or not (usually not). And all too often it is the young gay person, or the artist, or the one with weight problems who is viewed as a threat, even though there is no rational basis for believing that.

I don’t know the exact answer. I know that being able to stand up to a bully will usually get them to stop, but not everyone has that kind of strength; their uniqueness may be in another aspect of human nature. I think most likely, the change, if it is to come, will have to start the same place that society needs to start to change, to wit: human nature, or at the very least, human morality. When parents teach their children to appreciate the diversity of life, instead of fearing all that is not the same as them, then this type of behavior will become irrelevant. It won’t be an issue, because the bullying won’t happen in the first place….

All of us know about the experiment with the rats, and how, when placed in conditions of extreme over-population, the rats behavior deteriorated, and became counter-productive in a survival sense. They began to be irritable, even violent with each other, and eventually got to a point where they were killing and eating one another.

Guess what folks? We are rats, we are in a cage, and we have begun showing the symptoms of severe over-population. And it isn’t going to change, unless we can find a way to change our inner lives, and begin to look at the world as something we are a part of, not its master….. and in essence, if we don’t change, we will end up dead, having committed suicide, because of our own nature’s predilection for irrational behaviors in the face of fear of the unknown…..

In retrospect, this didn’t turn out too badly. What with the situation with my Inspiration, and the amount of pain I woke up with today, I was a bit concerned I might not be able to write well enough to satisfy my inner critic. But, it’s good enough…. it’s way better than government work, for sure….. Y’all take care out there, and may the Metaphorse be with you…..

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




Dignity is not guaranteed by law nor custom….

Serendipity is perhaps my favorite word in English, as it is only applicable when something good happens. If one stops to consider, it is exactly the opposite concept of Murphy’s Law, and balances the work done by that most unwelcome of visitors, showing us the nuggets of gold hidden in the pile of crap that Murphy often leaves us with. As a bonus, the appearance of Serendipity always comes as a surprise, by definition….

So, you may ask, what prompted that? A moment of fright, as it turns out…. When I sat down to begin this morning, the following is the first thing that showed up in my quote database….

“Hi there!  This is just a note from me, to you, to tell you, the person  reading this note, that I can’t think up any more famous quotes, jokes, nor bizarre stories, so you may as well go home.” — Smart Bee

Well! A bit scary, for me, since quotes, jokes, and bizarre stories are the meat and bones of this blog, and not having any more would put a serious curse on my ability to write. It only took me a moment to realize that Smart Bee was kidding, but it was a moment spent in panic, for sure…. I’m convinced that Murphy is the one who placed it there for me to find right away, but Serendipity saved my ass again, by popping up into my awareness just when I was starting to pull out what’s left of my hair….

So, armed with the love of Serendipity, we will now Pearl….. Secure your masks and breathing apparatus, and let’s dive in…..

In lazy apathy let stoics boast
Their virtue fix’d: ‘t is fix’d as in a frost;
Contracted all, retiring to the breast;
But strength of mind is exercise, not rest.
— Alexander Pope (1688-1744) — Essay on Man, Epistle ii, Line 101

Once again, a poem makes a point that, if written in prose, would tend to put the reader to sleep. In modern society, strength of mind is a virtue that has fallen out of favor. Moreover, it is so out of favor that it isn’t even missed; the general population has no idea what true virtue consists of anymore, for the most part. In fact, the major forms of entertainment…. TV, movies, music, sports, religions… all are designed to keep people from using their minds, encouraging sloth, and never, ever challenging the citizen to think beyond how to obtain the next beer….

This tendency is not merely encouraged by the beloved ruling class, it is one of their primary functions to keep the citizenry from ever becoming educated enough to see what they are up to. Cuts to education are a part of every politician’s budget proposals, from both ends of the political scale…. Democrats, Republicans, they all know that an educated populace is much harder to manipulate, and much harder to fool, so they are constantly limiting the ability of the education process to function at a level that would make any difference. The worst nightmare of a man like Mitt Romney is a voter with the facts….

I’m going to limit this rant somewhat today…. This is a subject on which I can spew for a long time, without really trying very hard, but I’m having a lot of pain this morning, so sitting is hard. But, the point is made, I think…. Use your heads, for goodness sake…. don’t let the powers that be have it ALL their way.

Get the facts, and throw them up in their faces… if they are going to manipulate us, at least make them work for it…. Besides, exercising your mind may have other effects you were not aware of, effects that can have a profound influence on your life…. Like being able to make an informed choice, instead of settling for the apparent lesser of two evils…. which, if you will remember, still leaves you with an evil choice, lesser thought it may be…..

“Things true and evident must of necessity be recognized by those who would contradict them.” — Epictetus (c. 60 AD) — Concerning the Epicureans, — Discourses, Book ii, Chap. xx

BIBLE:  A bible is a book which one or more religions consider to be holy, and to be something that they should follow. It is, of course, generally rather impractical to follow books, not just because they don’t often go anywhere, but also because they are not very good at public speaking, decision making, problem solving, or any of the other qualities recognized as being an advantage for leadership. A religion based around the teachings of any compilation of Toxic Custard would be very strange indeed. To subscribe to this new cult following, send $15 now. — Daniel Bowen’s TOXIC CUSTARPEDIA

“Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on “I am not too sure.”  — H.L. Mencken

“So as this only point among the rest remaineth sure and certain, namely, that nothing is certain. . .” — Pliny The Elder

Philosophy, means, first, doubt; and afterwards the consciousness of what knowledge means, the consciousness of uncertainty and of ignorance, the consciousness of limit, shade, degree, possibility. The ordinary man doubts nothing and suspects nothing.” — Henri Frederick Amiel

This is an old school pearl…. or group of pearls, I should say….. Taken alone, each of them states a good point of information, or view of reality, or way of looking at life. Taken together, they make a statement that teaches a lesson…. and in the old school style, the lesson is left as an exercise for the Gentle Reader to find…. It’s not hidden very deep, and shouldn’t afford too difficult a task to uncover…. and it is well worth considering….. Just in case it is too obscure, I give you the following, to drive you right up to the take out window, where you can pick up your pearl….

“Creation science” has not entered the curriculum for a reason so simple and so basic that we often forget to mention it: because it is false, and because good teachers understand exactly why it is false.  What could be more destructive of that most fragile yet most precious commodity in our entire intellectually heritage — good teaching — than a bill forcing honorable teachers to sully their sacred trust by granting equal treatment to a doctrine not only known to be false, but calculated to undermine any general understanding of science as an enterprise?” — Stephen Jay Gould


by: W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)

Dance there upon the shore;
What need have you to care
For wind or water’s roar?
And tumble out your hair
That the salt drops have wet;
Being young you have not known
The fool’s triumph, nor yet
Love lost as soon as won,
Nor the best labourer dead
And all the sheaves to bind.
What need have you to dread
The monstrous crying of wind?

A bit of classic to finish the morning with…. I don’t know about you, but it sure makes my day go better if I read something like this before going out to deal with reality…. It probably works to keep the blues away the same way garlic works on vampires….   🙂

I feel like I just went through the motions this morning; it all went too smoothly to have been real. It’s been such a struggle lately that if it doesn’t fight back, I start to think something is wrong…. ah well, the hell with it. It’s going out the way it is…. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you….

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



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…..so, 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.




Certain shades of truth….

Down the stairs, across the lobby to the heavy door, and through into the night air, with not a word nor a glance toward the slight figure beside him. The street is alive with the denizens of night, crowds of young women and men, laughing, dancing over the concrete, and crowing their defiance against life and its crushing paranoia. The two silent figures walk calmly through the chaos, a little ripple of quiet spreading in their wake. As they approach the corner, a long black limousine pulls to the curb in front of them. The driver, a nondescript little man in black uniform pops out of the door and rushes around to open the door for his passengers. “Good evening, your grace,” he murmurs as they climb in, and shutting the door, slips back into the driver’s seat, and pulls smoothly away into the traffic.

One of these days, I’ll sit down and finish one of these little stories, but today isn’t that day. For a Sunday, got way too much to accomplish, and I’m getting a late start, thanks to my payday treat. This morning’s group of Pearls has no ulterior meaning; it has no interior meaning either, as far as I know. I had no plan or agenda when plucking them up today, just liked what they say, or how they said it. So, you can approach them without fear, as I will not be including these in the final examination…..

“Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly.  Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate, or despise, serves to defeat us in the end.  What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind.  Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.” — Henry Miller

Green be the turf above thee,
Friend of my better days!
None knew thee but to love thee,
Nor named thee but to praise.
— Fitz-Greene Halleck (1790-1867)
— On the Death of Joseph Rodman Drake

Those who won’t think will have it done for them.

And if I laugh at any mortal thing,
‘T is that I may not weep.
— Lord Byron (1788-1824)
— Don Juan, Canto iv, Stanza 4

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so. — Proverbs 3:27

You will please take note of the line from Proverbs. I don’t usually find much quotable material in the Bible, as it usually has too much faith-based language to plow through in order to get to the real meaning. But this one is straightforward, and damn good advice. A lot of people we see every day in the news could take this one to heart; they might begin to make sense…….NOT! Couldn’t hurt though, could it?…Y’all take care out there…..

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