Soft visions, of viscous pale faces, at dawn….

Ffolkes,

I’m afraid I’m going to have to make an executive decision today; given the number of typing errors I made to get that partial sentence done, it’s a good thing, too! I’m on the road, and I’m exhausted. I’ve got stuff I NEED to do while I’m here, or I take the risk of making the trip a waste of time. I have to go meet people, and make nice, neither of which is currently on my list of stuff that excites me. Actually, though, seeing old friends doesn’t really fall into the same category as with other people I have to make nice for ; with old friends, it is NOT an obligation, but rather, an opportunity….one I enjoy…

But, given my levels of pain, the cold I’m still fighting, and my exhaustion from the effort to stand upright, to function while fighting gravity long enough to get where I’m going, it’s getting hard to pretend I do want to meet and speak to anyone, or to otherwise act as if I wouldn’t actually rather be in bed, moaning piteously, and feeling sorry for myself…. I’ve gotten pretty good at that part…. The upshot of all this self-indulgence is that I will be cheating again today, pulling stuff from the archives to fill in what I don’t have the wherewithal to produce…. Well, maybe I’ll have enough in me to create one pearl, for section one, but it will have to be a fully automated sort, or it won’t get done today…

Any who, in the interests of saving my energy for the stuff I have to do, I’ll also cut this intro short, and NOT subject y’all to an interminable meander through the empty halls of my mind….

Shall we Pearl?….

“Any idiot can face a crisis.  It’s this day-to-day living that wears you out.” — Anton Chekhov
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Okay, so we’ll try to put together one pearl, to see if it can be done without bloodshed…. Hopefully, Smart Bee is in a good mood, and willing to help….

“After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” — J.K. Rowling, The Man with Two Faces,  — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 1997, — spoken by the character Albus Dumbledore

“A man is not aware of his virtues (if any). Nevertheless, one hopes that they exist.” — Edward Abbey

“Don’t get hit.” — First rule of fighting

“Be careless in your dress if you will, but keep a tidy soul.” — Mark Twain

“Anything you do can get you shot, including nothing.” — Murphy’s Military Laws, #15

Hmm… not bad, but, it needs a two-fer, to round it off…

“The years teach much which the days never know.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), “Experience”

“Nothing endures but change.” — Heraclitus (540?-480? B.C.)

Well, points ought to be awarded for the effort, even if SB faded on me a bit at the end…. The two-fer is a trifle weak, but, it will do…. I can say for sure this isn’t the worst pearl to ever come down the pike, while still admitting it won’t win any Pulitzer Prizes….
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To avoid sullying the reputation of any others in today’s post, I’m including a poem of my own, so nobody else gets any of the no doubt well-deserved blame for any of this….

After the odyssey….

Portraits of iconic symbols, crashing, singing, forgotten;
evolving into mature innovation, as yet pale, and rotten.
Still water justly breeds, impenetrable primal verses resound;
unholy moments tarry, emotion swirls in passion unbound

Spiritual ovulation precedes each pregnant pause;
gravid, time moves on, following destiny’s cause.
Cast adrift on waves of confusion, to a final, damp landing;
salvation beckons sweetly, fed well on understanding.

Dreams directly fall, in night’s grey bower, unbidden;
lingering flavors in simple taste, lovingly, cleverly hidden.
Childish laughter sounds, joyful, bright, and clear;
no need ever to hide, no more monsters to fear.

Temper most foul arrives under unregistered mail;
forgotten taunts live on, lashed by an ancient flail.
Plain dealing delivers such lasting specks of honest hate;
savage in retrospect, never hasty, always running late.

Forever, cries an ambient lover of the pending night;
his pale, weak issue forms its own failing light.
Still, fortune favors such as those who apprehend;
Sweet love of Gaia, let it never end.

~~ gigoid ~~

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I found the quote below while perusing SB a couple days ago, saving it for a future rant… I’m not sure now when that might happen, so I’m putting it here, then following up with an appropriate related discussion, from a Pearl first posted in April of 2012…. enjoy!

The truth is that Christian theology, like every other theology, is not only opposed to the scientific spirit; it is also opposed to all other attempts at rational thinking. Not by accident does Genesis 3 make the father of knowledge a serpent- slimy, sneaking and abominable. Since the earliest days the church as an organization has thrown itself violently against every effort to liberate the body and mind of man. It has been, at all times and everywhere, the habitual and incorrigible defender of bad governments, bad laws, bad social theories, bad institutions. It was, for centuries, an apologist for slavery, as it was the apologist for the divine right of kings.” — H. L. Mencken

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“Hurting other people unnecessarily is the only “sin”. All the others are made up nonsense. Hurting one’s self isn’t a sin, it’s just stupid.” — Robert Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

Original sin…. who said it was? And why does anyone believe it?

I saw Robert Heinlein’s quote, as related above, about sins the other day, and it got me to thinking about the concept upon which much of Christianity is based,  to wit: Original Sin. Supposedly, as a metaphor, God made a snake, which talked Eve (whom God had refused to warn about snakes, merely saying “do as I say”) into talking Adam into taking a bite of the apple, which oddly enough (it’s hard to indicate a raised eyebrow in prose), was the metaphor for the knowledge of Good and Evil…..

Then, when they had done so, this merciful god proceeded to punish them, with a most severe sentence for a first offense, for disobeying his decree (thereby blaming them for what he, being omnipotent, already knew would happen…. He set it up that way, in a lose-lose scenario; you can’t claim omnipotence and say he didn’t know it was likely…..). What a cruel, hateful set-up! It all sounds so….. human, doesn’t it?

To my way of thinking, this always seemed like a petty, small-spirited, even vicious thing for God to do…. very childish, in most ways that count.  And don’t give me all that crap about free will and choosing God’s love…. it’s not free if one is punished for using it. You also can’t tell me that God loves Man, not if he goes around setting him up to lose like that.

Please also note, the knowledge that this merciful, loving God didn’t want us to have was the knowledge of Good and Evil… knowledge which, if we did not have it, we could not judge whether what God did to us was good, or evil, now could we?  In other words, God did not want us to know that He was playing us for fools…. another scenario that, according to the creationists, was completely his idea….

I remember distinctly when I first heard the story of the Garden of Eden, when I was about four years old, or so… and I remember thinking, at the end, why did God put the apple tree in Eden, if he didn’t want Adam or Eve to eat from it?  I didn’t know anything about the metaphorical nature of the story then… even I wasn’t that precocious, smart as I am. But I do remember thinking that it didn’t seem quite fair to put it there, and then tell them not to eat it. (Fairness is an important quality to a child, especially to a child from a large family….)

Even at age four, the question “Why?” was at the forefront of my thoughts when I heard the story, but nobody would ever answer me when I asked, other than to parrot the eternal evasion, “God works in mysterious ways….” The whole charade left me with the distinct impression that, not only was God not all he was cracked up to be, but, the adults who were telling me the stories seemed to be playing the same game with me, that God was playing with Adam and Eve, trying to get me to buy “a pig in a poke”, in a manner of speaking…

Even a four year old knows a crock of crap when he hears it….. I didn’t fall for it then, and I still can’t seem to find anyone who can give me an answer that doesn’t make God look like a cranky five-year old who needs a nap….

“God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. It says so right here on the label. If you have the kind of mind that can believe all three of those things at once, then I have a wonderful deal in a bridge for you! Cash only, no checks….” — Robert Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long
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Well, I knew from the start this would be a tough one, and I was write…. oops… I was right, wasn’t I? Any who, it’s done, and I’ll try to get it out to the usual suspects, the get it posted online, so I can just go on to the next thing, followed closely by the next…. See ya…..

Y’all take care out there,
and May the Metaphorse be with you;
Blessed Be, dearest Carole,
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

dozer3

Maintaining a plethora of peregrines….

Ffolkes,
Gosh…. I actually don’t have anything to complain about! What a novel concept! I think I like it…. The sun is shining, I’m not in pain, the birds are singing, and all is well in the world…. Perhaps this is an omen, of good things to come today. Sure, that’s it….

Now that we have dispensed with the shallow lies and dubious wishes, we can get on with the true business for which we are gathered…. and it has nothing at all to do with shallow lies….  🙂   Heh, heh, heh….

Sorry… sometimes I just can’t seem to help myself….. I start typing and this stuff just dribbles out, like the saliva that pools up on one side of your cheek when you lay on one side for awhile, and doze off…..  It’s probably just as hard to wipe off, I’m sure. Well, we’ll all just have to put up with it, because it obviously isn’t going to stop until I’ve driven you all completely batty, waiting for me to get around to something a bit more rational. Or at least funnier….

Funny, isn’t it? How funny is so relative…. and so personal. See, I thought the saliva piece was pretty good, but I also thought it was kind of tacky, y’know? Too much Benny Hill-style buffoonery, when I was really hoping for more of a George Carlineseque-style, an expansively witty, pretension-killing patter…… Maybe I should have used a locker room joke?….. Ah well, we’ll never know now….

Odds are, the way it’s going so far, nothing is going to happen unless I just seize control, and dive in. Y’all can join in, if’n y’wanta…. If nothing else, it should prove interesting….. and I mean that in a good way, really….
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“I show a clear pattern of unpredictability.” — Smart Bee

This made me grin. I can’t help it, it just did. Since its uncanny resemblance to me is not quite enough to make it a pearl, as much as it may be a true and complete picture of me in today’s state of mind, I’ll play fair, and go on, without any further (intentional)  instances of unpredictable behavior….. Really, I will try…. But don’t blame me for what we end up with…. it could be more drivel relating to Mitt the Twitt, and you know what that means…. blood, & gore, & guts, & veins in my teeth!

It is alleged that when Einstein and his wife visited the Mount Wilson Observatory in California, Mrs. Einstein pointed to a particularly complex piece of equipment and asked its purpose. Their guide said that it was used to determine the shape of the universe. “Oh,” she said, not at all impressed, “my husband uses the back of an old envelope to work that out.” — Also Smart Bee

Now THAT is a story worthy of pearl status, and if I am not mistaken, has been utilized as one in the past. Not that I’m going to go check or anything like that, but I’m pretty sure I’ve already used this up, so we’ll try again….

“The people who say you are not facing reality actually mean that you are not facing their idea of reality. Reality is above all else a variable. With a firm enough commitment, you can sometimes create a reality which did not exist before.” — Margaret Halsey, No Laughing Matter (1977)

Bingo! This is the clear winner here, as we all are, provided we can take this idea in, and use it in a constructive fashion. It’s the finest kind of pearl, one that stimulates, and tickles, and surprises, and inspires, all at once. This brings into focus my entire purpose in exploring the boundaries, or lack thereof, of Consensual Reality, the one we all agree on….

We agree to acknowledge the perceptions we share, yet, even in our agreement, we are unique, because our vision, our perception of that reality, is one that only we can see, and our interpretation of that set of perceptions is one only we can make…. Ensuring and magnifying that uniqueness, it joins with all the other unique visions to make a reality that is whatever we wish it to be…..

“Reality is the leading cause of stress for those in touch with it.” — Jack Wagner

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” — Philip K. Dick

Stay real, my friends!…..
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I Speak Not

I speak not, I trace not, I breathe not thy name;
There is grief in the sound, there is guilt in the fame;
But the tear that now burns on my cheek may impart
The deep thoughts that dwell in that silence of heart.
Too brief for our passion, too long for our peace,
Were those hours – can their joy or their bitterness cease?
We repent, we abjure, we will break from our chain, –
We will part, we will fly to – unite it again!
Oh! thine be the gladness, and mine be the guilt!
Forgive me, adored one! – forsake if thou wilt;
But the heart which is thine shall expire undebased,
And man shall not break it – whatever thou may’st.
And stern to the haughty, but humble to thee,
This soul in its bitterest blackness shall be;
And our days seem as swift, and our moments more sweet,
With thee at my side, than with worlds at our feet.
One sigh of thy sorrow, one look of thy love,
Shall turn me or fix, shall reward or reprove.
And the heartless may wonder at all I resign –
Thy lips shall reply, not to them, but to mine.

George Gordon, Lord Byron

I can only say, “Incredible!”  And, in spite of my usual habit of running off at the mouth, that is enough…. simply, incredible…
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Here then is an old-school pearl…. Strung together, each of these distinct ideas blends with the others to become one scathing exposé of society today…. Just what that exposé consists of is, of course, left as an exercise for the Gentle Reader…..

“And it came to pass that in the hands of the ignorant, the words of the bible were used to beat plowshares into swords…” — Alan Watts

“Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think.” — Arthur Schopenhauer

“What do you mean, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch?” *YOU* are the free lunch!” — Solomon Short

On a sidewalk near Portland State University someone wrote `Trust Jesus’, and, someone else wrote `But Cut the Cards’. — Smart Bee

Those Jesus Freaks
Well, they’re friendly but
The shit they believe
Has got their minds all shut.
— Frank Zappa, “The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing”

“Honesty isn’t any policy at all; it’s a state of mind or it isn’t honesty.” — Eugene L’Hote

and last, but certainly not least….

“Apes evolved from Creationists!” — Smart Bee

Well, there you have it…. perhaps a bit less scathing than sardonic, but attractively presented, if nothing else, eh? Don’t forget to offer a cut to the player on your right before you deal the cards ….   🙂
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It is said that one day, a seeker will come, bringing the staff of power to the Monkey King…. oh, wait…. that’s another story, and the beginning at that. This is supposed to be an ending….

Since that is the case, I suppose there is nothing left to do but end it…. 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!

Arrogance as garnish for contention…

Ffolkes,
Okay, so here’s the deal…..we’re going old school again today. After this brief but brilliant opening paragraph, you will find a series of Pearls, all selected for inclusion with the others because they all speak, mostly, to the same points, and ultimately, taken together, they make a complete jigsaw picture of the actual meaning of the menage. Don’t worry, it’s not fatal, or even particularly dangerous, as long as you keep an open mind. I will say this in warning: do not attempt to make sense of this if you have any intention of approaching these nuggets of knowledge with less than an open mind. They could easily cause brain malfunction of a major sort, and you’ll find yourself at Macy’s, looking at the latest arrivals to the women’s lingerie sector. If you are not one of our female readers, this could cause serious damage to your self-esteem, as well as your reputation……


If, however, you can take all of this in and apply a bit of mental elbow grease to finding the hidden meaning, you will find yourself uplifted, with your mind keenly honed to a perfect edge of inquiry, a song in your heart, and a smile of accomplishment on your face. Add this to the bonus karma points, and it’s a grand start to the day. With no further drivel, we now take you to the regularly scheduled program, and hope you enjoy today’s effort……..

“I like the mind to be a dustbin of scraps of brilliant fabric, odd gems, worthless but fascinating curiosities, tinsel, quaint bits of carving, and a reasonable amount of healthy dirt. Shake the machine and it goes out of order; shake the dustbin and it adjusts itself beautifully to its new position.” — Robertson Davies

Please be aware, the following notes have been edited for the ironically impaired…….

A serious public debate about the validity of astrology?  A serious believer in the White House?  Two of them?  Give me a break.  What stifled my laughter is that the image fits.  Reagan has always exhibited a fey indifference toward science.  Facts, like numbers, roll off his back.  And we’ve all come to accept it.  This time it was stargazing that became a serious issue….Not that long ago, it was Reagan’s support of Creationism….Creationists actually got equal time with evolutionists. 

The public was supposed to be open-minded to the claims of paleontologists and fundamentalists, as if the two were scientific colleagues….It has been clear for a long time that the president is averse to science…In general, these attitudes fall onto friendly American turf….But at the outer edges, this skepticism about science easily turns into a kind of naive acceptance of non-science, or even nonsense.  The same people who doubt experts can also believe any quackery, from the benefits of laetrile to eye of newt to the movement of planets.  We lose the capacity to make rational — scientific — judgments.  It’s all the same.” — Ellen Goodman, The Boston Globe Newspaper — Company-Washington Post Writers Group

Even if we put all these nagging thoughts [four embarrassing questions about astrology] aside for a moment, one overriding question remains to be asked. Why would the positions of celestial objects at the moment of birth have an effect on our characters, lives, or destinies?  What force or influence, what sort of energy would travel from the planets and stars to all human beings and affect our development or fate?  No amount of scientific-sounding jargon or computerized calculations by astrologers can disguise this central problem with astrology — we can find no evidence of a mechanism by which celestial objects can influence us in so specific and personal a way. . . .

Some astrologers argue that there may be a still unknown force that represents the astrological influence. . . .If so, astrological predictions — like those of any scientific field — should be easily tested. . . . Astrologers always claim to be just a little too busy to carry out such careful tests of their efficacy, so in the last two decades scientists and statisticians have generously done such testing for them.  There have been dozens of well-designed tests all around the world, and astrology has failed every one of them.

I propose that we let those beckoning lights in the sky awaken our interest in the real (and fascinating) universe beyond our planet, and not let them keep us tied to an ancient fantasy left over from a time when we huddled by the firelight, afraid of the night.” — Andrew Fraknoi, Executive Officer, Astronomical Society of the Pacific,  — “Why Astrology Believers Should Feel Embarrassed,” — San Jose Mercury News, May 8, 1988

“A society that lacks the patience to read, and loses the ability to do so, is rendered defenseless against its most profound stupidities.  As an example, consider the ease with which Americans came to regard a president known for his inaccuracy and imprecision as the great communicator, and by the tendency of American elections to give victory to the candidate who can afford the greatest number of
30-second TV spots.” — Mike Schmoker

“In spite of the recent progress in science, the depths of human imbecility have not yet been plumbed.” — H. Ellis

“Intellect annuls fate.  So far as a man thinks, he is free.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion.” — Edward Abbey

Well, if that isn’t clear by now, it won’t ever be so…..hopefully I didn’t come close to boring y’all today; it was a fairly lengthy & a  heavy load of information to process. If so, well, better luck next time, big fella….. y’all take care out there…..


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!

Can I get some diffuse anxiety with that?….

Ffolkes,
I decided yesterday not to go see the doc about my dizziness unless it gets worse. It’s not worse, but it’s also not gone. I’ll have to spend another day just taking it easy, to see if it gets worse or better. Not bad enough yet to put myself in the hands of the medical community; let some really sick folks go first. But meantime, it’s making it hard to write, especially if I have to think about it (which is a foregone conclusion when composing). So today you will be treated to another fairly large strand of Pearls, picked out with my usual sense of non-purpose, wrapped in bright, shiny paper, (bows not included; budget cuts, y’know?), presented here for your edification, and hopefully, your pleasure…..

“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 fact of 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, “The Skeptical Inquirer”, Vol. 12, page 186

Fanatic: Someone who, having lost sight of his goal, redoubles his efforts.  (When I saw this, I got an immediate mental image of the current crop of candidates for the Republican nomination for next year. In my image, they were standing in a group, arms around each other, big smiles, and a huge cloud of ignorance over their heads. All of them seem to fit this definition…..)

And if we do but watch the hour,
There never yet was human power
Which could evade, if unforgiven,
The patient search and vigil long
Of him who treasures up a wrong.
— Lord Byron (1788-1824)
— Mazeppa, Stanza 10

If you cheat, you’ll eventually punish yourself.

“True friendship is like sound health, the value of it is seldom known until it be lost.” — Charles Caleb Colton

And this the burden of his song
Forever used to be,–
I care for nobody, No. not I,
If no one cares for me.
— Isaac Bickerstaff (1735-1787)
— Love in a Village, Act i, Sc. 2

IMMORAL, adj.  Inexpedient.  “Whatever in the long run and with regard to the greater number of instances men find to be generally
inexpedient comes to be considered wrong, wicked, immoral.  If man’s notions of right and wrong have any other basis than this of
expediency; if they originated, or could have originated, in any other way; if actions have in themselves a moral character apart from, and nowise dependent on, their consequences — then all philosophy is a lie and reason a disorder of the mind.” — Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary”

This last Pearl presented me with a tough decision regarding its inclusion. The attraction of many of the entries in “The Devil’s Dictionary”  depend on witty sarcasm, and sometimes outrageously honest descriptions of human nature, to make their point sharply. This one, however, is much more profound, and much less tongue-in-cheek than is customary for Mr. Bierce. It took me three readings to see the hidden depths, and to find that the underlying concept has that valued characteristic of raising as many questions as it answers. More serendipity, yay!….. I have pushed the limits a bit; this kept growing on me. But all in all, I think it works, and I managed to keep from tossing my cookies, which is good for all of us…… Y’all take care out there…..

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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!