Being alone can be a gift….

Ffolkes,

“Being intelligent is not a felony.  But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.” — Lazarus Long

cats_14

  Deipnosophist: a person adept at conversation at table. From Greek, deipnosophistai,  title of a Greek work by Athenaeus (3rd century), describing learned discussions at a banquet, from deipnon  meal + sophistai  wise men (from Dictionary.com)

Yesterday’s post began with a quote from Athenaeus, the author of the book described in the above definition; at the time, I didn’t know what the word deipnosophist meant, which is why I looked it up…. Being one who considers himself a deipnosophist, it was the only thing to do…. Besides, I always enjoy learning new words, ideas, or just about any old thing at all, so, it was a no-brainer for me to seek out the meaning…. I can’t help it, it’s the way I am; if I don’t know, I want to find out….

This morning, I find myself very, very late, having indulged myself in an extra hour and a half of sleep…. In order to soothe my guilt, and the slight emotional edginess I get when my reality refuses to respect my plans, I’m going to have to go old school a lot, and will dip into the archives heavily to fill out the three sections below…. The first section should be okay; it’s a short mini-rant, or two, I started on yesterday, so I can just finish them with an old school target practice session…. I’ll pick from the archives for two and three, so, be prepared, if you please, and don’t forget to update your log sheets….

That’s it, that’s all I’ve got today…. Just some minor housekeeping, a short bit of self-aggrandizement, disguised as self-deprecation, and a touch of honesty; it’s not Ibsen, but it’s Art…. or, at least, it’s imitating Art…. Oh, that’s right, I’m trying to work on Art’s fraternal twin, Rufus, so, maybe today’s material will resemble him, in the eyes, or maybe the chin…. Ah, the hell with it, I’m jumping in, ffolkes; y’all can come along if you like….

Oh, almost forgot…. the picture again came from a feature on the London Daily Telegraph, but, I forget when…. just google the picture itself, if you really want to know who took it….

Shall we Pearl?…..

“Again, our observations of the stars make it evident, not only that the earth is circular, but also that it is a circle of no great size.  For quite a small change of position to south or north causes a manifest alteration of the horizon.  There is much change, I mean, in the stars which are overhead, and the stars seen are different, as one moves northward or southward.  …All of which goes to show not only that the earth is circular in shape, but that it is a sphere of no great size:  for otherwise the effect of so slight a change of place would not be so quickly apparent.  Hence, one should not be too sure of the incredibility of the view of those who conceive that there is a continuity between the parts about the pillars of Hercules [the strait of Gibraltar] and the parts about India, and that in this way the ocean is one.” — Aristotle, De Caelo, Fourth Century B.C.

In case there are any among you who do not understand why this quote is here, I refer you to the opening quote from Bob Heinlein. Together, the two make the statement I’m hoping to share with you…. Remember what they did to Galileo, when he told the exact same argument that Aristotle gives here, to the prelates of the church, a thousand years later, and was found to be a heretic….

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Okay, so, here are two short mini-rants, whose point lies in the articles to which the link will take you. Please read, and then call your congressional delegates to tell them to stop giving in to the corporate interests, and give people the right to their own property….

http://www.sfgate.com/news/politics/article/Law-changed-to-allow-unlocking-cellphones-5663147.php

“CTIA-The Wireless Association, which represents major wireless providers including AT&T, Sprint Corporation, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless, said in a statement: “Even though the vast majority of Americans enjoy upgrading to new devices once their contract terms are fulfilled, we recognize that some consumers may want to unlock their devices to move to another carrier.” It noted, however, that even though the phone is unlocked it might not work on other carriers because platforms and spectrum holdings vary,”

    “….which is quite deliberate,to ensure we make a massive profit on those millions of useless pieces of toxic waste, as well as to ensure nobody else can make anything from them, once they are no longer on our network.”   …. as the statement didn’t continue, even though it is true….

Point made, I think, so, onward, to a discussion of the Plague of Evil that continues to shame our culture…. Read the article, and think about all the other ways our culture brainwashes its citizens into keeping women in the unenviable position of subjugation…. It’s not just prejudice ffolkes, it’s oppression in its worst incarnation….

This issue, by the way, is one I’ve been harping on for years; to begin this segment of the rant, here is a short diatribe on the same subject from the archives…..

From 3/31/2012:

“When you slithered out of your hole that day, and you spewed your venom all over this defenseless 12-year-old girl, you made this court’s top 10 hit list. In a way, the best sentence this court could give would be no sentence at all, because if you left this courtroom I don’t think you would be alive 10 minutes. You are nothing but a weed, a weed among wheat…. And when we have a weed, it’s my job to eradicate the weed, because if you don’t you will choke the wheat. Therefore, I’m going to take you off the streets for just as long as I possibly can. It means you aren’t even eligible for parole until you’re 92. That leaves only one more count, aggravated robbery…. You stole this little girl’s bra as a souvenir, probably to brag about it to your friends later on. Well, I’m going to give you a souvenir of Trumbull County justice. And that is, you will receive a maximum sentence of 10 to 25 on the aggravated robbery for the stealing of that bra. And I hope that if you last 25 years in prison that you remember that souvenir.  Get this scum out of here!” — A sentence passed by Judge W. Wyatt McKay of Trumbull County, Ohio

One down, several million to go…. I wonder if this judge is still sitting on the bench; we could refer all the cases of human traffickers, rapists, abusers of women or children, and others of that ilk to his courtroom, and trust they will receive the maximum legal punishment of which the law is capable…. then, once they are inside, we just leak to the other prisoners what they are in for; I imagine they’ll take care of the rest….

A fella has to have his dreams…. and in my dreams, I can hear them, sisters, daughters, children, all crying out for help, waiting in anguish for someone to care…. who else, then, will stand up with me?….. During the 1960’s, in times of social changes gone ‘viral’, there was a poster I saw all over Berkeley…. It pictured men and women marching together, united in purpose…. the only caption said, “Free our sisters, free ourselves!”  This is a sentiment we all need to embrace, as valid now as it was over 40 years ago; if not now, when?…

Now, here is proof the problem not only still exists, but has worsened, if possible….

http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/carroll/article/Whaddya-gonna-do-These-things-just-happen-5660879.php

“But wait: Here’s what the NFL did. It suspended Rice for two games. Two games! Most first-time drug users get suspended for four games; as we have seen, the penalty for the third time is one year. The NFL sent a clear message: Domestic violence is not that big a deal. It’s just, you know, women. They were probably asking for it….”

This one disgusts me, for it is all-too-typical in this society for women to be placed in this kind of situation, then, having nothing happen to the asshole who punched her out…. For me, the worst part is how the whole issue was played down by every level of reporting….. None of the men involved took any real responsibility, and that lack of integrity was echoed by the police, the hotel, the team he plays for, the press who covered it, and every other male individual who had any connection to the incident…. They all made it seem like the man had done nothing particularly bad, and, if he did, he was probably provoked into it by the woman

What a crock of shit!…. It’s probably a good thing I’m not going to rant on this any further, as my blood pressure is already spiking, from writing the above paragraph…. I swear, I am going to buy a gun, and I’m going to start using it on people in society who prey on the weak, the innocent, and the oppressed…. because society itself refuses to even acknowledge there is any problem. Fuck that, I’m sick of these assholes getting away with it, and never having to pay for their insanity and ignorance….

Fuck it, I’m gonna pearl now….

“Rumor has it that former Senator John Tower cheats at solitaire. Lengthy congressional investigation to discover source of dishonesty to follow.” — Smart Bee

“Although war is cruel and brutal, it is also dangerous and stupid.” — Yakko Warner

“Bury me on my face,” said Diogenes; and when he was asked why, he replied, “Because in a little while everything will be turned upside down.” — Diogenes Laertius (c. 200 AD) — Diogenes, vi

“I have little doubt that when St. George had killed the dragon he was heartily afraid of the princess.” — G. K. Chesterton, The Victorian Age in Literature

(Note: It is little prejudices like this that perpetuate the lies and misconceptions that so litter the battle fields of the war between the sexes…. Plus, did you ever notice that it is only MEN who think of the issue as a war?…. The whole problem lies in the FACT that men are afraid of women; this fear causes them to react by making sure that women fear them, by using their physical attributes to oppress them…. thus, unknowingly, forsaking all honor….)

“I disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to tell such LIES, LIES!  ALL LIES!” — Voltaire’s Evil Twin

“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than on the opinions of others.” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

” — How many NBC news producers does it take to change a light bulb? Three, one to drill a hole in the light bulb so it blows up when he turns it on, one to film it, and one to insist on the truth of the report despite the manipulation.” — Smart Bee

There…. I think I managed to find one shot for just about every one of the Asininnies in that pearl; not bad for someone not working very hard at it…. But, I think you can count on it to be effective; Smart Bee is bracketing the other quotes, which legitimizes and enhances each one…. I hope you enjoyed it, at least as much as the mini-rants….

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This needs no introduction; it does, however, demand your attention, as is its due, as a classical piece of our history…. and, an example of one of the few saving graces displayed by our species….

Ode on a Grecian Urn

Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? what maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal–yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy’d,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e’er return.

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty’–that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

~~ John Keats ~~

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Okay, so here’s the deal…. Below is another diatribe/discussion, but, not really a rant; it’s a bit more eclectic than the usual choice of subject matter…. I enjoyed it, both writing it, and re-reading it; I hope you enjoy it as well… It does make today’s Pearl a bit hefty, but, hey, I’m a hefty guy….

From 3/3/2013:

“As a draft-animal is yoked in a wagon, even so the spirit is yoked in this body.” — Upanishads (c. B.C. 800)

Each of us is faced at times with the consciousness of our own approaching encounter with Death, the moment in time when our yoke is removed, and our spirit is freed, to once more join the rest of the conscious minds in the universe in roaming through realms of Reality we cannot see in this form. This Reality we cannot see is much larger, in one sense, than the one we can now perceive; it has to be, to be able to accommodate all the souls that have gone before, and all that are now present on Earth, that will someday join the rest of them, when they die…..

Every human being alive must face their own Death (I am capitalizing the word to give it the proper respect as one of the most important concepts we have as humans….); this is a truism no one can deny, or refute. Many people have banded together, to assume the belief that our universe was created this way by a supernatural being, who, for some unknown, and unknowable (self-explanatory, I think….) reason, decided that we are “special”, and gave us, and only us, the knowledge we have, and our very lives. This, of course, is rather hard to believe, as it doesn’t really account for much of what is observable truth in Reality, being, as it is, complete speculation, devoid of any concrete evidence to support it…..

“There is no conclusive evidence that there is life after death. There is also no real evidence to the contrary. Soon enough, you will know. So, why fret about it?” — Lazarus Long, aka Robert A. Heinlein

I first read this aphorism when I was in my early teens; it codified, and made succinct, what I had already concluded about the major religions of the world, i.e., they’re a collection of unwarranted, and unproven, assumptions. What’s more, they are all highly unlikely, given the observable parameters of the real world. It became obvious to me, as it is to many, that what the religious folks were trying to get me to believe was intended merely to soften my mind, making it more amenable to suggestion, of which they have an endless supply. Preachers, priests, imams, nuns, all are quite willing to give other people advice and suggestions on how they should live, in exhaustive detail, for as long as they are allowed to do so….

Since I had very little desire to have other people decide for me how I should think, or live my life, I rejected the dogma they tried to force into my head, turning instead to other sources of thought about Life, Death, and Reality. I found an endless supply of folks who had thought long and deeply about all of these ideas, and gladly did I read all I could of everything I could find on the subject. In addition, I read science fiction, during the years when its popularity had just begun to climb to the heights it now occupies; sci-fi has always been literature that explored, and continues to explore, the very limits of thought, both in the real world, and the world of the mind.

As is seen by the first pearl above, these thoughts and ideas are not new with me; mankind has been thinking about these concepts since we first sat around the campfires, wondering at the beauty of the heavens we saw above our heads, and all around us. In all that time, no conclusions have been reached that seem to cover ALL of the questions we have about the universe. We still don’t have a clue as to “what is the mind”, or “what is thought”…. and if we cannot understand ourselves, what chance do we have of unraveling the secrets of the universe around us? Not much, would be my guess…

That, fortunately, does not mean it is impossible to know the truth, nor does it mean we are condemned to die in ignorance and fear…. I know this because I have learned in my time that our fear is a direct outgrowth of our ignorance; we fear what we do not understand. Now, if I were a God, why would I make people that way, unless for some ulterior motive, having to do with motivations that are human, not divine? No, it just doesn’t make sense to me to assume that we were put here with a deliberate handicap, just to see how we dealt with it; that seems more like an evil scientist at work than a compassionate deity.

“One must marry one’s feelings to one’s beliefs and ideas.  That is probably the only way to achieve a measure of harmony in one’s life.” — Etty Hilsum

Since I believe firmly in the Law of Conservation of Energy (proven true in this universe, to all our knowledge), and, I believe that our minds/souls are a form of energy we currently don’t fully understand, and cannot perceive directly, then the concept of Death is nothing to fear, as it merely means that my current state of energy will be replaced with another state, one I don’t currently have the ability to perceive. What that state may be like may be unknown, but that doesn’t mean it is something of which I should be afraid…. I prefer to look at it as the next great adventure….

So, when my father died, I asked him to leave me some trail-sign, to let me know how to find him in the next reality; he smiled at me, and said he would do that… and I was much comforted by that, knowing that our connection as family can never be severed, and that, someday, I would once more have the pleasure, and comfort, of his presence…. Now that’s something to look forward to, don’t you think?…. Much better than worrying that what I do now is going to determine what happens to me after I die, a silly proposition, at best……

“Do not think that man is but flesh, skin, bones and veins; far from it! What really makes man is his soul; and the things we call skin, flesh, bones and veins are but a garment, a cloak; they do not constitute man. When man departs this earth, he divests himself of all the veils that conceal him.” — Zohar

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I’d feel a bit of guilt, but, I gave it up years and years ago, and really wouldn’t know where to start looking for it… Besides, I told you up front there would be a lot from the archives…. I just wasn’t aware as to HOW MUCH there would ultimately be…. Oh well, it’s not like I’m charging extra, right? I’m outta here, ffolkes, and not all that late, either…. See y’all tomorrow….

Y’all take care out there,
and May the Metaphorse be with you;
Blessed Be, dearest  Carole, Mark, and Theresa…
and everyone else, too…

When I works, I works hard.
When I sits, I sits loose.
When I thinks, I falls asleep.

Which is Why….


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

gigoid the dubious

Featured Image -- 2780

Oliver twisted reality until it screamed….

Ffolkes,

As I approach the creation of yet another day’s Pearl of Virtual Wisdom, I find myself, once again, torn completely into mental shreds, by my self-inflected, arguably insane adherence to this chosen duty…. I’ve been sitting here in front of the computer screen, staring blankly at the vast whiteness, hoping beyond hope to find some small bit of inspiration, or some fantastic, interesting direction to take that will possibly stimulate what little creative talent I possess, for close to 55 minutes now, and this bit of whiny confession is the best I’ve been able to come up with…. Pathetic….

It almost makes me want to go back to bed, and try again later…. That would probably be a mistake, though, as I find myself reluctant to get any further away from the routine I’ve established in the past three years or so; my experience is, if I don’t get this done as my first task of the day, the rest of it is all broken up, confused, and susceptible to all sorts of Murphyish intervention….. more so even than the customary number of pokes he takes at me. Since I don’t feel like dealing with any of his shenanigans just now, we’ll keep plugging away at this, and hope for the best…..

That being said, it might be best to jump into the rest of today’s effort right away; that might throw Murphy off, and certainly couldn’t hurt what is happening here, as there’s NOTHING happening in this section, at least, not so far. Other than a bit of minor whining, and some off-the-wall discussion of mundane matters of routine, with some, no doubt, shaky speculation about reality thrown in, we haven’t managed to create anything at all…. well, three paragraphs of inanity, but, that, I believe, won’t even register on any sensors, much less count toward any available prizes….

Thus, therefore, and hence, we’ll just abandon ship again, to head off into the hinterlands of the pearl beds with our usual panache; the pearl beds are to be found, of course, somewhere out there in the massive ocean of knowledge that is the world wide web…. which I’m trying to enjoy, as the deadline approaches for the takeover of the Net by corporate interests, who want to use it as their own cash cow….. Face it, ffolkes, AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and the other communication giants aren’t going to rest until they have us all under the gun, with the internet as their hostage…. Have you called or emailed the FCC yet to register your opposition to that?…. If not, please do so…. and call your Congressman, too….

There, you’ve also been treated to an impromptu mini-rant; that makes this intro more than merely complete. It makes it legal, as you well know, freeing us to get on with the rest of this mess…. By mess, of course, I refer to the entire process, AND the end result, which, as always, remains somewhat amorphously unpredictable to either describe or contain in one small area…. That’s why we have three sections, after all…. Bet that one slipped by you, didn’t it? I knew it…. This isn’t as easy, or as disorganized as it may seem to the casual observer, so, take heed, and remember to stand back when I throw this switch, right here….

Shall we Pearl?….

“I drank WHAT???????” — Socrates (470?-399 B.C.)

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“A group of the unwilling, composed of the unfit, to do the unnecessary for the unaware in an untidy manner at an untimely moment employing unseemly tactics for the uninformed. Ah, give me a chance at that committee and we can really go nowhere fast and get there before most people even know that we left. This is nothing more than the formula for good government, or it seems that way from what I have been able to observe so far in this life.” — Smart bee

I tried to find out who first said this, but, the one place Google found it listed it several times as a related quote to others, with no attribution given on any of those occasions…. so, Smart Bee gets the credit, for the time being…. It’s here, as you can probably guess, to act as a prelude to a rant….. a phrase which sounds like a fairly good title for a book, or an essay, or, I’ve got it!…. a movie…. ( See Ava Gardner and Cary Grant, starring in the classic epic, “Prelude to a Rant”….) Well, okay, maybe not…. but, it certainly works for one of our protracted discussions about our Beloved Ruling Class, and all they do to, er, for us….

However, I’m not in the mood for one of MY rants; what I’m in the mood for is a Carlinesque rant, a stand-up routine like the ones George used to go through on stage, when he would spend about five minutes straight, talking really fast, New York style, poking sharp, pointed concepts at the leaders of society, barbs so sharp, you could see the fat cats, politicians, preachers, and pundits of every variety, blushing, wincing and bleeding…. Now, if I only had his talent, I’d be set…. I can be funny, on occasion, when I stumble into it; sadly, my skill at that is still a bit underdeveloped for my standards. But, approaching Carlin’s level of genius is out of the question, at least, at this point….

So, we’ll go old-school, using parameters for choosing our pearls that show some teeth, and have the distinct possibility of causing blood loss…. Don’t fret, they can afford to bleed off some; they’re all vampires anyway, and don’t really NEED the blood…. Oh wait, that’s backwards, isn’t it? Okay, so fuck it, I don’t care anyway…. let ’em bleed out, I say, the assholes…. Let’s see if I can make my disgust with government, and those who engage in any form of it, any plainer than that….

“Artificial hearts are nothing new. Politicians have had them for years.” — Mack McGinnis

Voter’s Block: The attempt, however futile, to register dissent with the current political system by simply not voting. — Douglas Coupland, Generation X

“I feel like I am sharing a “CORN-DOG” with NIKITA KHRUSCHEV..” — Zippy the Pinhead

“Every actual State is corrupt.  Good men must not obey laws too well.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), “Politics”

“What would this country be without this great land of ours?” — Ronald W. Reagan, philosopher

“If an ass goes traveling he will not come home a horse.” — Thomas Fuller

This is the way the world ends,
This is the way the world ends,
This is the way the world ends,
Not with a bang but with a whimper.

 — T. S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men”


Okay, so, it’s a bit esoteric, if not completely abstract, but, I like the way it chortles, gleefully, in anticipation of causing offense to some poor sap in elected office….

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Here is a poem I wrote in September of 2012, when I was in the throes of depression, engendered in major part by the grinding of the wheels of bureaucracy…. I’m not entirely sure why, but, it seems to feel like the right poem for today…. I hope you enjoy it….

A Failure to Germinate

Marking the days in elements of sad disarray
only holds me thrall, as I laugh while I may.
With cold, hard hands so impatient and cruel
pulling me to this vale of tears, a pathetic old fool.

Feelings sit silent, cast in shadows and light
breaking forth to implicate such vengeful might.
Just below the surface they patiently hide
to sally forth bravely, colors bright as they ride.

Tears and pain transform valued assets in hand
while comfort and serenity retreat to a far land.
Bold, bright patterns of hope garnish my ruinous state
until reality enters, full of disdainful portions of hate.

I sort out the illustrious measures of vision gone mild
only to find them transformed, now vicious and wild.
In my deepest desires I find myself calloused and cold
with faithless advocates whose souls have been sold.

My search finds little to support any hope of relief
far too much time has passed to bolster such belief.
The sad becomes real, and real becomes unfounded
until flights of such fancy are all dead, and grounded.

Nature has informed me of the newly hatched crime
that reality has boasted of proudly, time after time.
The last answer we think of is always the best
as we come to terms with fate, our hope at rest.

~~ gigoid ~~

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“Waste not the remnant of thy life in those imaginations touching other folk, whereby thou contributest not to the common weal.” — Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180 AD) — Meditations, iii, 4

I end up using a lot of quotes from Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, all of which seem, to me, to be pretty well-reasoned, as well as insightful re: human nature, and ethical/moral behavior….. In fact, I find there are as many, or more, insightful, reasoned philosophers who lived before Christ was born, (not that I care that much, but, it’s the point in time our society has agreed upon to use as the basis for our calendar, thus making it the obvious, most convenient, and expedient, choice as a marker, in order to organize people into their time periods for reference and identification), as there are who have lived in the time since then…. Mathematics says there HAS to be more of them in modern society, because there are more people alive, but, somehow, the percentages don’t seem to fit that preconception….

Marcus Aurelius, Socrates, Plato, Plutarch, Aristotle, Cato, the Elder and the Younger, Gautama Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius, and a  veritable host of others, from all cultures in the world, passed their wisdom to us throughout the ages, and have always seemed to me to be superior in their reasoning to any of the more modern philosophers to whom I’ve been exposed….. an opinion you will see reflected in the quotes you see here…. I have no apology for that, and don’t plan to change it, so, I hope y’all enjoy them, because they’re not going away…. In fact, I’m going to put together a pearl with parameters limiting it to quotes over 1500 years old…. I would suggest you enjoy it, but, it’s not necessary with such classical wisdom to offer….

“Before enlightenment, one carries water and chops wood. After enlightenment, one carries water and chops wood.” — Zen Proverb

“Whatever you can lose, you should reckon of no account.” — Publius Syrus (42 BC) — Maxim 191

“…for the most part happiness consists in being willing to be what you are.” — Erasmus

“As surgeons keep their instruments and knives always at hand for cases requiring immediate treatment, so shouldst thou have thy thoughts ready to understand things divine and human, remembering in thy every act, even the smallest, how close is the bond that unites the two.” — Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180 AD) — Meditations, iii, 13

“Nothing made the horse so fat as the king’s eye.” — Plutarch (46-120 AD) — Of the Training of Children

“He is a fool who lets slip a bird in the hand for a bird in the bush.” — Plutarch (46-120 AD) — Of Garrulity

“The trouble with Nixon is that he’s a serious politics junkie. He’s totally hooked… and like any other junkie, he’s a bummer to have around: especially as President.” — Hunter S. Thompson (b. 1939), journalist — The Great Shark Hunt, Jacket Copy for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1979)

(Oops! Sorry, that slipped in there due to appending to the clipboard, rather than overwriting…. but, it’s kinda cool, I think, so, it can stay…. just ignore it after reading, and go on to the final pearl, which you see in its designated place, right down there on the line below this….)

“It behooves a prudent person to make trial of everything before arms.” — Terence (185-159 BC) — Act iv, Sc. 7, 19, (789.)

Since we were so rudely interrupted by Hunter’s oh-so-poignant observation of reality, I’ll add one more, to show that the ancients possessed as subtle a sense of humor as any modern pundit, for sure and for certain….

“Anaximander used to assert that the primary cause of all things was the Infinite,–not defining exactly whether he meant air or water or anything else.” — Diogenes Laertius (c. 200 AD) — Anaximander, ii

Well, a bit disjointed, but, it works for me…. So be it…. gigoid has spoken

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, I don’t know about y’all, but, I needed that…. or, more accurately, I needed to get that out of my head…. Since it is, I think it would be prudent of me to just take my leave now, to avoid any potential unpleasantness from Murphy, or folks out there who might take offense at one of my little shots at politics, or, more commonly, religion, such as it is…. Nevertheless, I will be back tomorrow, unless the Sun goes dark…. See ya, ffolkes…. Oh, and, I promise, the Wise Old Pine Cone will return soon….

Y’all take care out there,
and May the Metaphorse be with you;
Blessed Be, dearest  Carole, Mark, and Theresa…
and everyone else, too…

When I works, I works hard.
When I sits, I sits loose.
When I thinks, I falls asleep.

Which is Why….


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

gigoid the dubious

Featured Image -- 2780

The cashews don’t usually complain….

Ffolkes,
So, the weather here is showing signs of the effects of global warming, by altering the normal pattern for this time of year. Yesterday was sweltering, relative to the past few weeks… not too hot, only around 90 or so, but it felt like descending to the upper levels of hell after all the mild weather of late. I still had the fan on when I went to bed last night. This morning, I had to get up & shut the windows, and turn on the heat for a bit to warm it up, as it was freezing inside and out. I looked outside and found a completely overcast sky, & chilly temperatures.

Now, that in itself is not unusual for Northern California’s SF Bay Area;  nightly fog acts as a sort of air conditioner most days, lasting until about 1100 before burning off for a normally warm summer day. But, prior to global warming, the switch from spring weather to summer generally took more than one day…..

“I’ve developed a new philosophy… I only dread one day at a time.” — Charlie Brown

Ah well, the intro is too early to rant about global warming, or anything else. I’m kind of getting a bit discouraged anyway; my ranting, while cathartic for me, and possibly enjoyable for those few who read it, isn’t having much of an effect.

It would be nice to wake up one day, and see that things have changed….. the government issued emission control guidelines strict enough to work, or a Republican came out for gay marriage, or General Motors announces it is converting to all electric vehicles running on solar power. You know, just some small token, to let me know that my rants are not just shouting into the wind.

“Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do.” — Bertrand Russell (1872-1967)

Alas, I’m afraid that will never happen, unless by some fantastic turn of chance my blog goes viral, and the ranting I carry on reaches the ears of a significant number of people, a number large enough to be able to have a real effect on reality. I’m still waiting…..

Ah well, since that probably is out of the question as well, I suppose I’ll just get on with today’s effort…. shall we Pearl?…..
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“Control of the dissemination of information (or misinformation) is one of the principal sources of political power. Political power is what the discussion of the Internet is really about, not home-made bombs or pornography.” — Michael Goldsby — Letter to Communications of the ACM, Nov 95

Mr. Goldsby has hit upon a very significant piece of information here, one that is completely accurate, and is sure to be the target of the beloved ruling class, as something to deny, and/or distract away from the attention of the public. The people who seek to hold political power have a lot of practice at hiding what they are doing from the public, and the Internet, because of its currently unregulated nature, is a distinct threat to that policy.

Numerous political talking heads have been introducing legislation to Congress in attempts to curtail the free flow of information on the Internet, seeking to prohibit all sorts of exchanges of files and information between people over which they have no control. They do, of course, hide their true intentions behind some other reason for wanting to control that flow….

The bills they will introduce will say that they want to protect intellectual property rights, they want to protect the rights of corporations to make a profit, they want to keep kids from having access to pornography, they want to protect National Security…. all these are the reasons they will give for the legislation, but the true purpose remains there, behind all the distracting BS…. They want to control ALL the information that is sent out; only then can they be sure that the public will only see what they want us to see….

Silence is the language of complicity. — Smart Bee

They won’t stop trying to establish their own controls on the flow of information; it is against their nature to allow the “sheep” to determine where they will go to pasture. If we are to continue to enjoy the Internet as it is, with no restrictions to the flow of information, we will need to be alert to the attempts by the beloved ruling class to take it away.

Recent attempts have been defeated, partly due to the power of the Internet itself, as millions of users emailed their legislators, or signed online petitions, urging them to vote against the legislated attempt at shackling the Net…. and it worked! The response was so strong that even the legislators who supported the bill were forced to vote against it, or face the wrath of their constituency….. It was a beautiful example of how the public can fight back….

The Internet is now the best tool the public has to maintain awareness of those threats to our liberty that are being carried out on a daily basis by those who would have us believe they are acting in our interests. It is also the best tool we have to make sure that those same narcissistic power-mongers can’t hide from us; when the information is flowing freely, there is no place for them to hide. They know this, and that is why they are working so hard to neutralize the Internet, to pull its fangs, so they will be free to continue their program of lying, cheating, and stealing from the public….. and I say FUCK ‘EM!…….
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“Is this the region, this the soil, the clime,”
Said then the lost Archangel, “this the seat
That we must change for Heaven, this mournful gloom
For that celestial light? Be it so, since he
Who is now sovereign can dispose and bid
What shall be right: farthest from him is best,
Whom reason hath equaled, force hath made supreme
Above his equals. Farewell, happy fields,
Where joy forever dwells! Hail, horrors! hail,
Infernal World! and thou, profoundest Hell,
Receive thy new possessor – one who brings
A mind not to be changed by place or time.
A mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what should I be, all but less than he
Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free; the Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence;
Here we may reign secure, and, in my choice,
To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.”
— John Milton, “Paradise Lost”

Ironic, is it not? This is merely a piece of the epic poem by Milton, with its most famous line. The entire poem is one of the most revered pieces of literature in all of Mankind’s history, and the last line is indubitably one of the most well-known, and most often repeated, lines of all.

The irony, to me, is to note that, almost any priest/preacher would find the last line to be extreme heresy, yet it remains the favorite of all man’s works to date. This indicates to me that the inner spirit of most people knows crap when it hears it, and the dogma that most religions embrace most certainly falls into that category. Our innermost selves can see this, in spite of all the indoctrination into the dogma it may have endured, and can only agree with the sentiment, “Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven…..

SIGH…. I know that pieces such as this one tend to disappoint certain members of my family, on those rare occasions they actually read this many words at once; many of them are firmly ensnared in the dogmatic trap of born-again cultism. (I always have to wonder what was wrong with the first time they were born?….. I mean, it’s kind of disrespectful of our Mom to regret one’s birth…..)   But, that’s okay, they never understood me very well anyway, but they are family, so they make an attempt to love me, heretic that I am….they have to, they’re family…. But they don’t have to like it, and they don’t…. Así es la vida loca, si?
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All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

I like to think (and
the sooner the better!)
of a cybernetic meadow
where mammals and computers
live together in mutually
programming harmony
like pure water
touching clear sky.

Richard Brautigan

Richard Brautigan wrote much of his poetry about, and during, the time when he, and I, lived in Berkeley, in the Sixties. (I know, but I’m atypical…. I was there, and I remember all of it, even though I partook of EVERY activity that characterized the time…..) He was a few years older, but what he wrote destroyed any differences that might have existed between our spirits; I recognized him at first read.

The title line of this poem produces an image in my mind that offers me a lot of solace, for it is an image that could only become real if Mankind manages to keep from devolving into extinction, as we seem hell-bent on doing. A lot of his poems are the same, with a very strong, real connection to the current world, to reality, colored by the mind of a genius….
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Well, that was satisfying…. I remembered Richard at the last moment, just when I was getting discouraged at the lack of pearls to be found…. Serendipity strikes again….. I’m hoping the fog burns off this morning, as that will ensure a nice, comfortable afternoon; I’ve been trying to get a walk in each day in the afternoon, in hopes of conditioning myself well enough to stand up to the traveling I want to do…. Having to take a nap each day like a four-year old is fun, and feels good, but, as the Scots say, it’s time to be living, for I’ll be a long time dead…. I’ll have plenty of time then for naps…..  Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!

She left the argyle socks again….

Ffolkes,
The difficulty I face today in creating this introductory section is to be able to choose from among the available subjects. The last couple of days has provided me with a plethora of material, thanks to the usual suspects; politics, taxes, corporate greed, and Murphy’s ubiquitous presence. Suffice it to say that the world has once again taken a dump on me, financially, and my immediate prospects of any travel to other parts of the world have disappeared from sight. Hell, with the way things have been left, I can’t afford to go downtown, much less overseas…. I’ll be lucky to have more than rice to eat the last week of this month, so Ireland is out of the picture, for the time-being….

Of course, the corporate mavens will say it’s my own fault, for not being able to pay what they are insisting I owe them. It matters not at all to them that I have already paid them more than originally agreed to on purchase, or that I no longer even have the item for which they want me to pay (it long ago having died from built-in obsolescence…).

All they care about is that they have a piece of paper that gives them the legal right to dun me for money they don’t deserve, or need. Though corporations have all the legal rights of individuals under our legal system, they have NONE of the actual human characteristics common to an individual; no compassion, no judgment, no flexibility, just adherence to law…..

Ah well, trying to get them to show any human characteristics is a futile pastime, so I don’t. They don’t much like when I ignore them, but I see no sense in telling them, once again, that I cannot pay them, no matter how much they threaten to ruin my now non-existent credit. Ruining my credit isn’t going to make it any easier to pay them, but that’s another of those things they don’t care about, so there isn’t any point in discussing it with them.

Plus, not talking to them is the only way I have to annoy them at all, and I’m not giving up that small power for anything…. they can simmer in their own juices….

So, having thus furnished me with a short rant to begin the day, we will nod them our minimal thanks, and get on with the show…. shall we Pearl?….
___________________________________

“To confess a fault freely is the next thing to being innocent of it.” — Publius Syrus

“Danger, danger, Will Robinson!”  Take heed!  The above statement has been around for a long time, obviously. And it is as dangerous a concept today as it was back when ol’ Publius mouthed this particular lie. Yes, I said lie…. this is a vicious, vindictive lie, one that I’m sure is in almost constant use in the Vatican, in Congress, and in the White House.

I’m sorry, but I cannot just let this go; the frank admission of a vice does NOT turn that vice into a virtue… Nope, it doesn’t, no matter how many times you say it, it just isn’t going to be the truth…. though, in reality, it has been said so often, and for so long, that most people accept it as such….

To my way of thinking, which is admittedly dissimilar to the average Joe’s, this is the root cause of a lot of what is wrong in society today. This idea was adopted by the Christian churches within moments of the death of Jesus Christ, seemingly, and has been the justification for war, oppression, and violence by the minions of that religion for thousands of years now. You see, they can kill, or hate, or enslave the proponents of other religions without fear of consequence, because they know that all will be forgiven, and Heaven will not deny them, if only they confess to their sins…. Nice work, if you can get it…

It has been noted before that to kill another human is against religious law…. that is, it is against that law if one man kills another. But, if many men are killed, in the name of the state, or of the church, then those who kill are rewarded as heroes. This hypocrisy has been true of every government since the beginning of society, aided and abetted by the churches, who reap the benefits of favoritism from the government (Boy, wouldn’t it be nice if WE were free from being taxed?….). If I wasn’t such an adult, with a sense of decorum and dignity, why, I’d spit right in their faces!

Which is why I do so, figuratively speaking, on such a regular basis…. believe me, if any of these corporate or religious honchos were to ever appear before me, I would be spitting as fast as I could work up the saliva…. and I wouldn’t be offering tissues, either….

Remember this ffolkes, at the next election…. just because they admit to lying, doesn’t mean the lie didn’t happen… in fact, it makes it worse, as it insults my intelligence for them to believe for a second that I would buy into that…. But, then, they don’t care how much they insult people, as long as they keep getting elected… and forgiven….
___________________________________

“Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind.” — Smart Bee

I think this is obvious to the point of becoming natural law. It’s a very close insight into human nature, and I don’t know about y’all, but it sure is true for me. Today is a perfect example of this….

I feel trapped a lot of the time. Hemmed in by the very society who is supposedly there to support me in my efforts to pursue my life’s goals and aspirations. Of course, anybody over the age of 10 realizes that that support often resembles a slap to the head, but the point is that society’s purpose for existing is to aid it’s citizens in maximizing their experiences for their benefit.

I mean, that is what its purpose is MEANT to be; I don’t think it would be very beneficial if this isn’t the case. Society is supposed to work in such a way that all of its members have an equal chance to succeed in whatever they undertake in life… that is its ostensible reason for existing at all….

In reality, it doesn’t work that way, for the simple reason that some of the folks in the game have changed the rules, simply to suit themselves, and what they want. And what they want is total control of everyone else…. They’re pretty good at it, too.

For close to 10,000 years now, the beloved ruling class has set things up in our culture to favor themselves. They have lied, cheated, stolen, killed, repressed, oppressed, and generally acted in a manner that the rest of humanity considers immoral, unethical, and inhuman, at the core. They have done this right in front of our eyes. The rules and laws that are agreed to by all were written to favor those in power, not those who serve.

Though every church shouts out how moral and ethical it is, and spouts off about the virtue of faith and obedience, they do so not from spiritual surety, but from avarice and ambition. Though every government claims to have the welfare of the people as its purported goal, the only people who gain are those who are already wealthy. The rest get welfare alright, but not the kind they should be able to expect….

And that is why it pisses me off so badly…. as humans, all we really want to do is be happy. It isn’t so much to ask. Most folks are happy when they have enough to eat, a place to sleep, and someone they love to be around. It soothes our nature to be able to share such feelings, hence the accuracy of the quote from Smart Bee above. We just feel better when we can share good feelings with others…. But, we are constantly blocked from doing so, by the society we live in.

In today’s culture, we are put in a situation where it takes all of our time and effort just to obtain the things we need; food, shelter, clothing. Gathering enough resources to ensure an ample supply of all three takes more than one person can make, thanks to the economic picture in a world where 1% of the population controls 99% of the money and resources.

Unless one throws aside all of one’s humanity, becoming one of the ruthless ones, indifferent to the suffering of others, as are those who inhabit the 1%, making enough to get by in today’s society just isn’t possible… I know, I’ve spent the last 50 years trying, and I’m a pretty talented guy….

Now, I don’t care about being rich. “If you want a life of trouble, fill your house with treasures…”, a Chinese proverb so old I don’t know who said it. But, I’ve believed it all my life, and worked only to get enough to live comfortably, and to provide stability and opportunities to succeed for my family. I’ve never given in to the urge to take advantage of others, or to cheat, or steal, or lie in order to get ahead; if I didn’t get ahead on merit, I stayed where I was.

It didn’t seem to matter much, anyway. The system is set up so that, at each step up the ladder of financial gain, the rules become more complicated, and are still set up to deny advancement. (I.E., as you make more money, they take more taxes…. In order to borrow money, you must already have money…. etc…)

Lately, the government has been less creative in their lies as to why they are taking money from the average Joe…. for all three of the last raises I got when working, the money was taken away by furloughs, reducing my hours. Each time I expected to make a bit more, they would take away another day’s work, thus eliminating the advancement in pay…. The justification was that state employees made too much anyway, and taking away their money was going to balance the budget… funny how that didn’t work out that way….

Being retired from working has had two effects for me, neither of which is particularly helpful…. It gives me way too much time to be able to look at reality, and find the flaws and kinks that are causing all the friction and conflict in the world. Unfortunately, it has also made the task of obtaining the three necessary items for survival more difficult, by reducing my income drastically, to the poverty line, and at the same time, making it more physically difficult to accomplish what I need to do. SIGH…. Murphy is such an ASSHOLE!

Okay, I’m done. I could go on most of the day, but it’s starting to sound whiny to me. I’m not a victim. I will be alright, eventually. I will be more than alright. But, it pisses me off royally that I can’t spend more time sharing my heart with others, rather than sharing my thoughts….

My heart is much more fun to be around, mostly…. at least I’d like to think so. Now, if I can only get it to climb out of the hole of depression it has crawled into so much lately, perhaps I can find a way to cheer it up…. as long as Murphy will give me a breather now and again….
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“A lawyer and a pope died on the same day, and both went to heaven. When the pope noticed that the lawyer had a larger mansion, he questioned Saint Peter about the allocation of rewards.  The  justification was “Well, we’ve had 265 popes up here, but this is the FIRST lawyer!” — Smart Bee

A couple of years ago, I made a poor decision, trying to help my son out of his own foolishness. I hired a lawyer for him, not knowing that the lawyer was one of those who are in the business of law for their own benefit, not that of their clients. Within four days of hiring him, I had been charged over $2500, and nothing had even been done, other than starting a file, making a five minute court appearance, where nothing was changed or reduced, and making two phone calls.

The bill I received noted that the charge for the two phone calls was for $68.75 EACH! (15 minutes of time at $275/hour). The charge for the five minute court appearance was for four hours at that rate. With the $1200 he charged me just for accepting the case, he had, in less than one week, charged me the equivalent of an entire month’s pay, at the rate I was then making.

I was astounded, and said so in a letter firing him. I have been struggling ever since to get that paid, and will sometimes offer my feelings about it when I send them a check. The secretary recently had the nerve to suggest to me that I shouldn’t include jokes about lawyers going to Hell if I was asking for patience…. Again, I was astounded, but managed to not bite her (it is fortunate her office is in another town, and my ability to get there is hampered…), but simply commented that the joke was about how I felt, not about the lawyer…. which was perfectly true…. Here is what I sent….

A lawyer shows up at the pearly gates. St. Peter says, “Normally we don’t let you people in here but you’re in luck, we have a special this week. You go to hell for the length of time you were alive, then you get to come back up here for eternity.” The lawyer says, “I’ll take the deal.” St. Peter says, “Good, I’ll put you down for 212 years in hell …” The lawyer says, “What are you talking about? I’m 65 years old!”  St. Peter says, “Up here we go by billing hours.” — Orson Bean

Now, I ask you, is that cruel? Of course not, it’s merely accurate. It certainly shows as much consideration for the lawyer’s feelings as he showed for mine. And, hey, this is MY blog, isn’t it? Why, yes, I do believe it is, and I believe that I’ll just keep on humiliating lawyers of his ilk whenever I feel like it…. so there….
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Ah, it always feels good to get out those particular nasty feelings and thoughts. Of course, after such a piece, I must needs spend the next few minutes thoroughly washing up, as it tends to get all over when I spew like that….. Bloody assholes…. Any who, it’s been nothing if not real today…. hopefully I haven’t pulled anyone into my nightmare. I’ll say this, though… I feel better for having vented, and I’ll settle for that…. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you….


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!