Until Bob returns, no cha-cha, & no rhumba….

Ffolkes,
As I sit here, laughing at myself, I have to admit, my Bozoid tendencies are in full swing this morning…. I’ve been steadily plugging along, filling in the blanks as I go through the morning routine, for about 35 minutes now. Got a lot done too, on starting a Pearl. I even had the intro section completely done, and was dutifully searching for pearls, when I was confronted by my own silliness and failure to be a Lert….. or, if you insist, alert…..

I started to paste a poem below, and realized I was posting it into tomorrow’s Pearl template. This is also where I had already composed and written an intro section leading into the Pearl….. see my problem?  Complete time distortion ensues…. Now I’m dazed again, much like the first 5 minutes of being up, before the first sip of coffee kicks in enough to raise the eyelids a fraction, and will need to take a minute here to regroup…… I’ll be back in a few, when I have caught up to reality again….. mumble, grumble, phtt….

I have re-established contact with reality, and we can now move on to bigger and better things…. if that particular phrase can be considered to apply to this process…. as the old Dead song says, “head’s all empty, and I don’t care….”   No worries, we’ll just go now and find something with which we can fill it up…. shall we Pearl?……
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C:\> erase c:\reality.sys; copy a:\pern\*.* c:

This pearl is a bit of a test…. What I’ve written here is, of course, a DOS command line. (I wrote ‘of course’ before I fully realized that it is ‘of course’ only to those who are familiar with DOS, which may not include the more modern users among us. For those ffolkes, just think of it as double clicking on a program you want to use…..) The test is to tell me, in the comment section, if you know what the command tells the computer to do….

It’s quite a simple command, though the .exe installation file it points to is VERY complex…. and that is your only clue….  Let’s see who’s paying attention, as well as who is well grounded in both computers and literature….. luck won’t be needed, and wouldn’t help in any case, but, good luck!  If no one figures it out before tomorrow morning’s Pearl gets written, I’ll reveal the answer then….
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The only point in the following entry is to preserve my sanity. In looking over the last few Pearls, I found a disturbing lack of poetry. Oh, there was some there, but not enough to suit my needs…. if I don’t get enough of the grace and beauty that good poetry provides, I get testy, to say the least. That probably accounts for the 800-1000 word rants in the last couple of posts. That has actually worked out well; I was able to publish two of those rants to another site as solitary articles. But, in the process, I’ve built up a need for the serenity that a good poem gives me…. so, here are three of them, all capable of filling my need, and, hopefully, yours….. enjoy!

Weep no more, nor sigh, nor groan,
Sorrow calls no time that ‘s gone;
Violets plucked, the sweetest rain
Makes not fresh nor grow again.
— John Fletcher (1576-1625)  — The Queen of Corinth, Act iii, Sc. 2

How fading are the joys we dote upon!
Like apparitions seen and gone.
But those which soonest take their flight
Are the most exquisite and strong,–
Like angels’ visits, short and bright;
Mortality ‘s too weak to bear them long.
— John Norris (1657-1711) — The Parting

But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.
— Lord Byron (1788-1824) — Don Juan, Canto iii, Stanza 88

I don’t know about you, but I feel better…..

Oft in the stilly night,
Ere slumber’s chain has bound me,
Fond memory brings the light
Of other days around me;
The smiles, the tears,
Of boyhood’s years,
The words of love then spoken;
The eyes that shone
Now dimmed and gone,
The cheerful hearts now broken.
— Thomas Moore (1779-1852) — Oft in the Stilly Night

I know, I know, I said three… but this one popped up in front of me, glommed onto my leg before I could dodge, and insisted that I include it with the others. Then I looked at it, and was sunk…. It’s not like I jabbed you in the eye with a stick, now, is it?…… Don’t worry, it won’t hurt you to have another; they’re calorie free……
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“The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower.  To think otherwise is to demean the Buddha — which is to demean oneself.” — Robert Pirsig, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”

I like this. I liked it when I first read the book, more years ago than I care to think about, and it still clicks with my way of looking at things, as if Buddha himself was talking directly to me…. I admire it so much, that’s all I’m going to say on the subject. This can speak for itself……
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“If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.” — Bertrand Russell

We are now experiencing first hand the beginning effects of the proof of this proposition. Our world-wide society has succumbed to the truth in this statement, and are actively, and obliviously, pursuing foolishness en masse. One need only look through the daily news to see this demonstrated; article after article explores concepts and events that illustrate the full and complete absence of critical thought that is rampant in our culture. No matter how outrageous the statement, no matter how silly the proposal, no matter how egregious the lie, if a talking head on TV says it, fifty million people will jump right up and cheer its arguable (to any minds but theirs…) merit, and give it their unquestioning belief.

Do I really need to point out examples? Oh, right, evidence is good…. Okay. Easy money. How about….. Mitt Romney?  Here is a man who has spent the last 10 months or so running around the US to various political electoral farces, er, functions, and has repeatedly lied, or pandered to special interests in the face of another, or alienated entire segments of the voting public (such as women, and the poor), or changed a position one day after claiming it as his own, so many times there are a number of web sites that are devoted just to keeping track of his contradictory and/or fictional statements, of what he has the temerity to call facts.  I’m not picking on him; it’s all out there in black and white for anyone to see.

Yet this man is the apparent next candidate for the Presidency of this country as the Republican choice. If we are to believe it, he has the support not only of numerous officials and “important public figures” in his party, but of millions upon millions of folks who seem unable or unwilling to examine any of his public statements for truth or accuracy. It’s almost as if he were a talking fundamentalist Bible…. He said it, they believe it, and that’s that…… possessing, as they apparently do, steel traps instead of minds. Anything that gets in, isn’t getting out alive, that’s for sure and for certain… As a bonus prize in the foolishness category, the folks who generally fall for this kind of chicanery have the following attitude as well…

“When you are sure you’re right, you have a moral duty to impose your will upon anyone who disagrees with you.” — Robert W. Mayer

And people wonder why I’m cynical…… here is a short verse that laments the absence of the kind of men I wish were running this country…. and I am saddened by the fact that I can think of no man, or woman, in office or out, who fits this mold…..

Statesman, yet friend to truth! of soul sincere,
In action faithful, and in honour clear;
Who broke no promise, serv’d no private end,
Who gain’d no title, and who lost no friend.
— Alexander Pope (1688-1744) — Moral Essays, Epistle to Mr. Addison
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But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell!
Did ye not hear it?–No! ‘t was but the wind,
Or the car rattling o’er the stony street.
On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet.
— Lord Byron (1788-1824) — Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Canto iii, Stanza 22

So, I needed another hit of exquisite….. so sue me… I’ll add an extra pearl, okay?….
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Wedding March:  19th Century, England

“The traditional church wedding features two bridal marches, by two different classical composers. The bride walks down the aisle to the majestic, moderately paced music of the “Bridal Chorus” from Richard Wagner’s 1848 opera “Lohengrin”.  The newlyweds exit to the more jubilant, upbeat strains of the “Wedding March” from Felix Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The custom dates back to the royal marriage, in 1858, of Victoria, princess of Great Britain, and Empress of Germany, to Prince Frederick William of Prussia.  Victoria, eldest daughter of Britain’s Queen Victoria, selected the music herself.  A patron of the arts, she valued the works of Mendelssohn and practically venerated those of Wagner. Given the British penchant for copying the monarchy, soon brides throughout the Isles, nobility and commoners alike, were marching to Victoria’s drummer, establishing a Western wedding tradition.”

It seems at first glance that this entry has little significance in relation to what usually passes here for subject matter. Admittedly, it is less of an issue than my usual pick of stuff upon which to rant. Calm yourselves, I’m not going to rant about this…. I have included it for one reason only, and that is to demonstrate that the power of celebrity has its roots further back in our cultural history than might at first be apparent. This short historical note on weddings clearly shows how the famous in society influence the culture as a whole, and have done so since well before the advent of radio, news delivery over international distances, TV, and the internet.

The actions of one woman, the most visible public figure of her time, were sufficiently of interest to the rest of society as to institute a new custom, which persists to this day, and not just in the British Isles. Public opinion can thus be seen to be manipulable by the simplest of means, to wit: if the public likes it, they’ll buy it…. simple, yet effective, and obviously well-known to those who manipulate others as a rule of policy….. funny, sometimes where one can find evidence of humanity’s vulnerabilities, isn’t it?…..

“It is easier to perceive error than to find truth, for the former lies on the surface and is easily seen, while the latter lies in the depth, where few are willing to search for it.” — Goethe
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As another morning’s musings draw to a close, I find myself a trifle melancholy. I’m sure it is temporary, and merely the result of finishing what has been fun to create. Since I’m happy with it as it is, we’ll get on with the rest of the procedure, and speed this on its way to cyberspace, and your perusal….. enjoy!  Y’all take care out there…..


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!

Awash in hours of unnamed dreams….

Ffolkes,
Starts with S, ends with T, says howdy in between….. sorry, no, I don’t know where that came from. I know what it says (C’mon, it’s easy…. s_ _t, in between is hi (howdy) = well, you know… )  But, I have no clue as to why it was on the screen when I sat down; I did have a nightcap last night, and I was pretty wiped out tired when I poured it. Maybe I got a burst of inspiration from the whiskey, and put that thought down just before falling into bed; I can see that happening.

But, in my morning state of consciousness, unaffected by the questionable creative urges that the Beast often brings, I haven’t a clue why my mind thought it was either cute enough, or clever enough, to start out the day with. I suppose it will just have to get filed in that folder of things in this universe to which I will never know the answers…..

Now that the initial nonsense is out of the way, REAL panic can set in; my mind is currently a vast, empty plain, without even the saving grace of shiny objects off in the far distance to draw the eye and attention away from the absolutely deafening silence and lack of…. well, anything, to either see, or to write about…..

I may have to resort to an old writer’s trick, of writing about not writing, or writing about the fact that there is nothing to write about….. which confuses me already, and I haven’t even gone there yet…. I’ll keep scouring my brain, something will come up, it always does…. I’ll just go diving, and it’ll be waiting for me when I get back…. that’s the ticket….. see ya in a while….

Practice good mirth control — use a conundrum.

Sorry, an early pearl here…. I’m not going to use it for a discussion, but I like it, a lot, so I’m putting it here, out of the way, where you and I can enjoy its sharp wit, excellent vocabulary, and finely turned phraseology without the distraction of my chatter…. well, we could have, had I not proceeded to chatter anyway…. oh well, onward….

Okay, I’m  done…. let’s go Pearl, before it all gets away from me…. again….
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“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.” — Alan Watts

Alan Watts may be one of the least known major influences on modern thought in society today. I first encountered his writings in the late 1960’s when I left home for college at UC Berkeley. It would be hard in one of these short discussions to fully describe the effect of his work on my as yet inexperienced philosophical education. Now, though, many years later, having read the work of many different philosophers, and explored extensively the written tomes of the religions of the world, I can still say that his ideas, and his manner of expressing those ideas, remains high on my list of preferred systems of thought. It is also clear to me after all this time that the content of his work has the highest percentage of concepts that I agree with, unreservedly…..

The statement included above is one of those statements. This is deep, so deep t’is impossible to entirely plumb its depths, without first learning to “breathe water”.  And yet, it is so simple, and so clear, that the most naive and simple man can easily absorb the lesson, and use it in life to his advantage. It is typical, in my mind, of the type of philosophical statement to which Alan was prone, and why he has been a major influence on society, though only a few people can tell you who he is. His knowledge is so penetrating, and his words so simple, and so apt, that one learns lessons while completely unaware of being taught. He knew the secrets of the ancient sages, and lived a life in harmony with the earth, as few in today’s world are capable of living…..
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“A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.” — Matz’s Maxim

Upon reflection, although this is a fine pearl, I’m not going to discuss it now. I’m already tired, so here is my conclusion on this: he’s got a good point. Now, let’s start this section over…..

“A life directed chiefly toward the fulfillment of personal desires sooner or later always leads to bitter disappointment.” — Albert Einstein

Now, there’s a pearl! Albert Einstein is generally regarded as one of mankind’s most brilliant members, but most people do not have the capability to see how or why this is so, other than knowing that he was responsible for E = MC².  But if one takes the time to look past this bit of common knowledge, and look at some of the statements of philosophy and life he is reported to have uttered, it becomes clearer that the key to his genius lay in the simplicity of his thought processes, not in their complexity.

Albert looked at the world, and the universe at large, through eyes that refused to look away from the simple elegance of the underlying nature of reality, instead focusing on the small, basic thoughts, ideas, or physical properties that best described what is real and true.  He also did not add superfluous judgments or unseen factors to what he perceived, instead again focusing on that part of the concept that is important, not those parts that are extraneous to the purpose of increasing understanding of the world around us.  He thus was able to see further into the nature of reality than is common to the rest of us, who are prone to complicate our perceptions with our prejudices and or misconceptions.

The above statement is a perfect example of this quality; it looks directly at human nature, and shows us how our own attitudes and desires can potentially be the cause of our own difficulties in life, thus giving us the opportunity to turn our efforts in a direction that will ultimately be more beneficial. The statement clearly lays the responsibility for the tenor of our lives right in our own laps, where it belongs, but does so without condemnation or insult, merely dispassionate truth. He was truly one of humanity’s greatest treasures, and his words will, hopefully, continue to help guide people through life far into to the future…. provided there is one….. but that’s a different subject altogether…..

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” — Albert Schweitzer

(I know, I know….. not the right Albert. But, it was deliberate, and I’m just doing what Murphy wants….. as is sometimes common, as soon as I finished the above section, the absolute perfect ending pearl popped up. I think Herr Schweitzer was thinking of Herr Einstein when he related this thought…..  Albert Einstein was a happy guy; I have pictorial proof, which I have shared below…..so there…..)

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When all else fails, blame it on the guy next to you!

Fix the problem, not the blame.

Serendipity…. always a surprise when encountered, yet why should it be? Ah well, just one of those things we’ll never know, thank goodness… Any who…. these two diametrically opposed statements bring to light a particularly egregious, and, sadly, effective method of counter-strategy used extensively by those members of society whose primary goal is power over others. For each and every statement such as the latter, there are probably a hundred like the former, all perpetrated with the single intent of discrediting the value of the attitude expressed therein, for if people begin to handle life’s problematic issues by the second method, it makes it much more difficult to manipulate events to the advantage of the manipulators.

The ubiquitous presence of these lies among the body of common speech is astounding, if for no other reason that most folks never even realize that a) people, especially those in positions of authority, are lying to them consistently, or b) they are being easily manipulated by their willingness to accept these lies as truth. The sociopaths who take advantage of this are perfectly aware of this natural tendency among the human herd to accept what they hear from those in authority, and count on it heavily to assist them in maintaining the facade of their benevolence and good intentions.

Well, if no other way, perhaps it would help if a lot of folks came to realize that these assholes do express good intentions, and we all know where good intentions will lead us, don’t we?….. One may hope…..

“A thing worth having is a thing worth cheating for.” — W. C. Fields (1880-1946)

See what I mean? How despicable is this? (Very. It will be on the quiz.)  Even the humorists fall into the traps set for them…… and humorists influence society very heavily, reflecting as the do the common mores and attitudes of those they are trying to get to laugh, i.e. all of society….. but, the manipulators are laughing the hardest….
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Data:  “Felus catus.

Is your taxonomic nomenclature
An endothermic quadruped, carnivorous by nature?
Your visual, olfactory, and auditory senses
Control your hunting skills and natural defenses.

A bit of whimsy is always appropriate, especially before breakfast. I think my only reason for including this little ditty is to point out that poetry can take many guises, but is nonetheless recognizable in whatever clothing it assumes…. even android clothing, or fur….

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!
A farewell, and then forever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee.
Who shall say that Fortune grieves him,
While the star of hope she leaves him?
Me, nae cheerful twinkle lights me,
Dark despair around benights me.
— Robert Burns, Ae Fond Kiss

And then, again, there is the clothing of old masters…..
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“I am rich beyond the dreams of avarice.” — Edward Moore (1712-1757) — The Gamester, Act ii, Sc. 2

In the movie Star Trek IV, The Voyage Home, during a scene in which Dr. McCoy and Mr. Scott are trying to convince a plastics engineer to produce the needed walls for their whale aquarium, Bones uses a small paraphrase of the above line, to inflame the imagination of the engineer by appealing to his innate sense of greed. It was a brilliant piece of movie making, and a brilliant line. (Pretty well acted too; the light that came into the engineer’s eyes when he thought of all that money was priceless, along with the perfectly faux innocent sly look on his face….)  It’s one of my favorite scenes from the movie, a cult classic for true Trekkies, but I had never heard, or seen, the line before, and thus did not know who the author might be.

This morning, when I came across this while searching for the last pearl of the day, a huge smile, and feeling of completion, stole across my face and being, and I knew that all would be right with the world today…. well, maybe that’s a bit optimistic, but I sure feel better, knowing the name of the person responsible for such a beautiful phrase. I’m not sure in which philosophical direction it points, not having the context of the rest of the play to study (though I now may do so, at my leisure). But, if I choose to believe it comes from the concept of being rich because of how well loved and filled with joy is my life, and not from the concept of actually amassing monetary wealth, then it is absolutely a piece of literature for the ages….in the category of Truth and Beauty…..
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Well, that went better than I had expected, but I guess that is a natural outcome of having expectations; the percentage chances of being right diminish the more we entertain them ahead of the due process of reality. In short, it’s what I get for being a git…..  Nonetheless, how this has turned out is fine with me, so I’m going to send it off to cyberspace with my blessings. Y’all take care out there….


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!