Relative, but, not related….

Ffolkes,

“Look to the essence of a thing,

whether it be a point of doctrine, of practice,or of interpretation.”

~~ Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180 AD) — Meditations, viii, 22 ~~

sf goodbye

Typical foggy/hazy day in SF….

Hajime…. For two days now, I’ve been engaged in pursuing my lifelong quest for truth; unfortunately, my search often leads me to places where, not only have I previously been there, but, left for good reason, even if those places were deep in my own soul. In truth, it is becoming increasingly clear that the truth resides there, as it does for each of us, though our culture and its demands upon us tends to attempt to deny this simple truth. We all have a tendency to play fast and loose with our connection to what is real, believing, deep in our innermost ego, we can alter Reality itself by the power of our imagination.

 
Reality, of course, is not so inclined, which leaves us living, much of the time, in a state of conflict with the world around us, and, as a reflection of this tension, in conflict with ourselves. As might be surmised, this often leaves us in a confused state of mind, which is not the most efficacious method for dealing with what is real. In my own case, this has led me to a point in life where the motivation to continue to struggle becomes difficult to find, much less employ to any advantage. In short, I just can’t find it in me to give much of a crap about what is happening in the world; there just doesn’t seem to be any good reason to do so. As you might imagine, this is not a particularly comfortable, or comforting, state of mind in which to dwell….

 
Over the past two days, since falling into the well of depression, I’ve managed to cobble together the elements of a Pearl for today; if I can continue a bit longer, I’ll even manage to post it. I’ve done this, not for any logical or identifiable reason, but, simply because, for my own sanity, it’s what I do. This is how I organize & codify my thoughts, and carry out the process of evaluating my thoughts in the light of reality; the process helps me to stay in a relatively stable frame of mind. Without it, I get even more depressed; expression of what we feel is critical for us humans. We get blocked up, mentally, when we try to shut ourselves off from such expression. So, I write, not to share, but, to vent….

 
Now I’ve shared my inner conflict, to little advantage, I’m sure, I’m going to go post this, knowing full well it won’t mean anything much to anyone but me. I can’t seem to get on with any other business until I do, so, that’s what I’m gonna do. So be it. There will be no tricks, no ups, & no extras today; all there is are these pearls, and my own sense of angst, set free….. Let’s quit fooling around, then, shall we, & get on with it….

 
Shall we Pearl?

 

“What embitters the world is not excess of criticism,but an absence of self-criticism.”
~~ G. K. Chesterton, Sidelights on New London and Newer New York ~~

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hot tuna

Yep. The original Hot Tuna…. Enjoy! In case you’d forgotten, or never knew, these guys can PLAY!…..

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Hot Tuna Live, 3/4/88Fillmore Auditorium

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Comedy_Tragedy

Banishing demons….

Endless nights lead inexorably into endless days
while the battle for peace rages.
Lost arts find new meaning used in new ways;
to burn, yearn, and turn all the new pages.

Darkness falls heavily on bowed shoulders, contrite;
fireworks travel fast in nervous tissue.
The pace is kept, clean, but, never erudite;
such a pale tale of ancient issue.

Peering in terror down long, long halls of night
brings only confusion, destitute in sorrow.
Cannot time become our enemy, eager to fight
on the side which may never see tomorrow?

The longing gaze of passion, for reason to live,
must fall ever more faithfully into sedition,
else the clinging visions we claim to give,
shall not prevent reaching inevitable perdition.

Rising up, clarity of purpose shines the light of day
upon such a desolate landscape of absent release.
There is no escape, no furthering of the way.
Time never knows how to grant peace.

~~ gigoid ~~

11/23/2015

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pearls_3

Naked Pearls

Notes on Life at Large….

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“To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.”

~~ Emily Dickinson ~~

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“It is important to do what you don’t know how to do.
It is important to see your skills
as keeping you from learning what is deepest and most mysterious.
If you know how to focus, unfocus.
If your tendency is to make sense out of chaos, start chaos.”

~~ Carlos Casteneda ~~

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“If you want to build a ship,
don’t drum up people together to collect wood
and don’t assign them tasks and work,
but rather teach them
to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

~~ Antoine de Saint Exupery ~~

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“There’s no reality except the one contained within us.
That’s why so many people live an unreal life.
They take images outside them for reality
and never allow the world within them to assert itself.”

~~ Hermann Hesse ~~

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“Do not the spirits who dwell in the ether envy man his pain?”

~~ Kahlil Gibran ~~

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“One does what one is;
one becomes what one does.”

~~ Robert Musil, c. 1930 ~~

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Let us endeavour to live that when we come to die
even the undertaker will be sorry.”

~~ Mark Twain, from Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar (1894)~~

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There you have it, such as it is. I’ve got nothing else to say, so, I won’t say it. I’ll see y’all in a day, or maybe two. Be well, be safe, & be real. That’s all you can really do, ultimately, & that is something we all have to live with. Ta, then, luvs….

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

The *only* duly authorized Computer Curmudgeon.

PLEASE STOP READING THIS MESSAGE NOW.

“SCRAM!!!!!!!!!!”- Oscar the Grouch

dozer3

À bientôt, mon cherí….

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Reason to be aloof….

Ffolkes,

“Everything in excess!
To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites.
Moderation is for monks.”

~~ Lazarus Long, from Robert A. Heinlein’s “Time Enough For Love” ~~

ketchikan early

Ketchikan, Alaska, before the invasion….

Hajime…. In my experience, the most difficult part of the continued presence of PTSD in my life is what occurred yesterday. I call it SOD, or, sudden onset depression, a euphemistic acronym, which makes it sound all official and clean, when, in truth, it’s a dirty fucking mess. I’ll be cruising along, & will see, or hear, or experience some sort of stimulus, the nature of which is always unclear before it shows itself. This time, I saw a picture/story on FB, about an abused animal, & before I knew it, tears were flowing down my cheeks, and my mood plummeted into the depths….

Not a happy time, especially since it coincided with the onset of some pretty heavy pain. Go figure, eh? Murphy had a field day with me yesterday; he’ll be gloating for months. And I? I have spent the last 24 or so hours in a deep funk, fighting my way toward some light, only to find myself still grumpy and feeling mean today. Leelu and I are at odds, and I can’t find it in me to bring myself to any sort of quiet, safe harbor, where I could at least look for my center, with some hope of finding it. I tell ya, ffolkes; this ain’t no fun….

I did write a poem while in the throes of misery; I can’t say how it will seem, but, it sure is an accurate description of how I felt at the time, so, we’ll let it stay, & call it confession, which, they say, is good for the soul. I’ll have to take their word for it, as confession has always seemed like a cop-out to me, a way to avoid taking responsibility. But, that’s just me, and, if it helps get this done today, I’ll take it.

I’ll help myself, too, I guess, by ceasing this litany of woe, in favor of getting on with today’s mess. It’s a typical Pearl, but, with some rather ‘different’ material with which to contend; I’d suggest an adult beverage, or good strong coffee, preferably Irish, at minimum. The rest of y’all should think about insurance. Me, I’m going to just get on with this, so, I can go to my room and pout…. Let’s get it done….

Shall we Pearl?….

He said, “Dance for me” and he said,
“You are too beautiful for the wind
To pick at, or the sun to burn.” He said,
“I’m a poor tattered thing, but not unkind
To the sad dancer and the dancing dead.”

~~ Sidney Keyes, “Four Postures of Death” ~~

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PHOTO-Asleep_At_The_Wheel-WEB

Damn! That’s one big cowboy!

Image from http://www.midstatefair.com via Google Images

After my dad retired from the US Army, we moved to a small town in central California, where raising cattle, and/or, growing alfalfa to feed cattle, were the primary industries. As might be imagined, they listened to a lot of country & western music. I spent much of my teen years at dances where the mix of music ran from the Doors, to the Stones, to the Beatles, and, to this band, who have long been an iconic western swing band. It’s straight out, down-home Texas style swing, ffolkes. Lots of twang, but some of the best dancing music to be found… The picture sucks, but the sound’s pretty good….. Enjoy!….

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Asleep At The Wheel

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https://youtu.be/CziPAbs3ROY

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“Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.”

~~ Cicero ~~

We the People...

“A power has risen up in the government greater than the people themselves, consisting of many and various and powerful interests, combined into one mass, and held together by the cohesive power of the vast surplus in the banks.” — Johann L. Uhland (1787-1862) — Speech, May 27, 1836

For several days now, I’ve been saving this quote for a rant. Naturally, the intended targets are those assholes who have managed to establish a world-wide oligarchy, which is busy destroying the world as we know it, in complete ignorance of anything that doesn’t serve their narcissism. While pondering the issue, I was brought down, down to the ground, by the sudden onset of depression. This, as you may imagine, rather killed whatever rant was brewing. To sublimate for today, here is an old school pearl, which covers most of what I might have said. I hope you enjoy this ‘savior’ pearl, which has saved you from yet another rant by gigoid…. I’ll even add an extra pearl at the end, from one of the first philosophers to take shots at the concept of government…. Enjoy!….

From 8/9/2012:

Since I have already ranted, I’ll save you from another right away by giving this old school pearl…. These quotations all point in the same direction, and will lead eventually to yet another fine reason to mistrust the beloved ruling class…..

Then came the churches,
then came the schools,
then came the lawyers,
then came the rules.

~~ Mark Knopfler ~~

“A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.” — Oscar Wilde, “The Picture of Dorian Grey”, 1891

“People are always talking about tradition, but they forget we have a tradition of a few hundred years of nonsense and stupidity, that
there is a tradition of idiocy, incompetence and crudity.” — Hugo Demartini, in “Contemporary Artists”, 1977

“People are very open-minded about new things — as long as they’re exactly like the old ones.” — Charles F. Kettering

The Government is my shepherd, I shall not work. It maketh me to lie down on good jobs. It leadeth me beside the still factories. It destroyeth my initiative; It leadeth me in the paths of the parasite for politics sake; Yea, though I walk in the valley of Deficit Spending, I will fear no evil, For the Government is with me; its doles and its vote-getters they comfort me. It prepareth an Economic Utopia for me by appropriating the earnings of my grandchildren. It filleth my head with baloney, my inefficiency runneth over; Surely the Government shall care for me all the days of my life And I shall live in a Fool’s Paradise forever. — The Government’s 23rd Psalm

“By definition, a government has no conscience. Sometimes it has a policy, but nothing more.” — Albert Camus

“No matter how you vote, a government still gets elected.” — Smart Bee

That should about do it, I think….. if nothing else, one may get a clear picture of how I feel about government…..

Note from the future; here’s your bonus round, to finish off our indictment of the BRC….

“… But when he [the people’s champion] has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.” — Plato (428-348? B.C.), “The Republic”

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Comedy_Tragedy

What the fuck is this?

Insanity waits patiently for me, sitting
in the corner, quietly knitting a psyche knot,
for my throat.

Depression is sitting on the couch, close
by the window, sulking over a broken pot;
he broke it.

Loneliness dogs my solitude, madly barking
into my left ear, while I trot,
half-heartedly, at best.

All my old friends have come to visit today;
a party, at which I was not
wanted, nor invited, .

What if I just ignore them all, I think;
even if it never worked before.
Oh, well.

The darkness fills the day, then carries into night,
until time has passed, until it feels just right.
No peace, no common dreams of light,
no escape, nor safety in flight.

Even poetry hurts.

~~ gigoid ~~

6/1/2016

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pearls_3

Naked Pearls

Obscurely Subtle

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“He took his vorpal sword in hand
Long time the manxom foe he sought
Till rested he by the tumtum tree
And stood awhile in thought”

~~ Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll ~~

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“You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”

~~ The Little Prince, chapter XXI ~~

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“The supreme triumph of reason is to cast doubt upon its own validity.”

~~ Miguel de Unamuno ~~

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“When you drink the water, remember the spring.”

~~ Chinese Proverb ~~

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“If you are distressed by anything external,
the pain is not due to the thing itself,
but to your own estimate of it;
and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

~~ Marcus Aurelius ~~

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“Entropy requires no maintenance.”

~~ Amanda Walker ~~

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“It is in the shelter of each other that people live.”

~~ Irish proverb ~~

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“When friends ask, there is no tomorrow.”

~~ Ancient Human Proverb ~~

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“What happens to your fist when you open your hand?”

~~ Zen Buddhism ~~

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I’m a crazy old fart, I guess. (The fact I am sitting here, weeping as if my dog died yesterday seems like rather conclusive proof to me….) But, I’m happy-go-lucky, too, so, that’s something. I’ll be back tomorrow, ffolkes. I’ll offer no opinions of how that might look, nor any assurances of any sort of quality literature. But, I’ll be here, with a Pearl for your perusal. You see, THIS is what brings me back from the edge. This is what saves my sorry ass from ending up in jail, or dead…..What you have seen today is what keeps me from taking the bit between my remaining teeth, hoisting Henry’s black flag, and slitting the nearest throats. Believe it. So, I’ll see y’all tomorrow; it’s more important than you know…. to me…..

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

The *only* duly authorized Computer Curmudgeon.

PLEASE STOP READING THIS MESSAGE NOW.

“SCRAM!!!!!!!!!!”- Oscar the Grouch

À bientôt, mon cherí….

….. and then he lightly touched down….

Ffolkes,

“Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?

Can you remain unmoving till the right actions arises by itself?”

~~  Lao Tzu ~~

August 7 2014 003

 

    I would like to think that one of these two pieces of introductory material would be enough; reality seems to indicate otherwise, as neither the picture (mine, of some rather beautiful little flowers), nor the most excellent quote from Lao Tzu, seem to be stimulating much in my mind… In fact, I can feel a rather disturbing loss of function there, of about 30% or more, even after a few sips of coffee…. Normally, I’d be able to type…. oh, wait, I AM typing…. Okay, see, I’m not even fully cognizant of what all the various parts are up to yet; I had no idea I was already a paragraph in….. imagine that!

    All levity aside, (and no snickers or snide comments about not having to put aside what never was there….), I’m having a bit of trouble today with the old grey cells, as Hercule was so fond of calling the mind…. or should I say “Agatha”?….. Whomever said it first, my brain is feeling a bit resembles a fricassee this morning, more than it does an organic computer, and, it’s been almost 40 years, since I was at the Culinary Academy back in 1987, the last time I made a fricassee…. so, I’m a little unclear in my memory as to how that looks…. I remember a lot of blank white, or boring light colors…. much like this page looks….

    Of course, it’s not completely blank, it’s got all these markings all over it…. I suppose I should just forget about achieving any sort of normalcy, or actual literary coherency today; if the results so far give any hint, I’d say just tossing it in might be for the best…. I’m feeling as if I can be funny, but, I’m not sure I can be factually clear, or organized enough to present any rantable material…. Hey, there’s no need to be cruel; stop all the cheering already…. Sheesh! Okay, so, I won’t rant, at least not a fresh one…. In fact, that’s a fine idea…. I’ll use archived material, for the most part, and avoid the whole nine yards of trouble and pain that creating anything would naturally bring….

    Okay, now I have to go on a quest, to find the right stuff…. See what you’ve done? Oh, right, I did it…. Never mind, then, I’ll just go over here and start my search, while y’all get yourselves settled into your seats…. and, if I were y’all, I’d fasten them belts up real right & tight…. The pilot is a bit flaky today (that’s me, if you hadn’t clued in yet….), and it could get a bit bumpy out there….

Shall we Pearl?…..

“It matters not how long you live, but how well.”  — Publius Syrus (42 BC) — Maxim 829

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    Okay…. I found a good religirant for this section, which you will find below…. I had to go back a couple of years, but, it’s still pretty relevant…. I hope you enjoy it….

From 7/2/2012:

“Since I’ve seen this *several* times in this group, the actual context of the God is dead quotation of Nietzsche: The Madman. — Have you ever heard of the madman who on a bright morning lighted a lantern and ran to the market-place calling out unceasingly: I seek God! I seek God! — As there were many people standing about who did not believe in God, he caused a great deal of amusement.   Why! is he lost? said one.  Has he strayed away like a child?  said another.  Or does he keep himself hidden?  Is he afraid of us?  Has he taken a sea-voyage?  has he emigrated? — the people cried out laughingly, all in a hubbub.  The insane man jumped into their midst and transfixed them with his glances.  Where is God gone? he called out. I mean to tell you! *We have killed him*, you and I!   We are all his murderers!….” — from THE JOYFUL WISDOM

    I have no doubt whatsoever that Nietzsche was not a popular character with the clergy of his time, given the rather high degree of blasphemy this quote entails. But, I think that what the theists are upset about is not so much the claim that God is dead, but rather that people are shown as the creators of God, not the other way around, as they would have us believe…. It is anathema to their existence to have people even consider such a proposition; they spend most of their time convincing their parishioners to NOT think about the nature of God, or theology in general, at all. If they could figure out how to keep people from thinking about anything, they would gladly do it….

“However, on religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs.  There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being.  But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly.  The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent.  If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both.  I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in “A,” “B,” “C,” and “D.”  Just who do they think they are?  And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?  And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate.  I am warning them today:  I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of “conservatism.” — Senator Barry Goldwater, from the Congressional Record, September 16, 1981

    I spend a lot of time and effort here working toward the opposite end; I want people to think all the time, rather than seldom, or never. If I can get people to question some of the dogmatic principles upon which they base their lives, I consider it a good day. If even one person’s faith is disturbed by what I write, then I have achieved, at least partially, what I set out to do. I see this as the single greatest barrier to our survival, to wit: people just don’t want to think. They’re lazy, thinking takes effort, and they’ve been taught all their lives to avoid putting any effort into that practice. It’s not encouraged in our society, unless the thinking one does is done within the narrow guidelines set out for them by the clergy and the beloved ruling class.

“All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.” — Thomas Paine

    So, vilify me if you must, discourage me at every turn if it makes you feel better. But, none of what is said to me, or done to me, will ever keep me from thinking, or from trying to get others to do the same. Our beloved ruling class, and the clergy of ALL religions, would have us believe that what they tell us is Truth, when in fact it is anything but that. They know that the less the people think, the less they are educated, the easier they will be to manipulate, and they will expend every effort to see that the practice of thinking is discouraged. So, I have chosen to dispute that at every chance, and care not how they feel about it. So far, they’ve had things their way, and it’s time we took back some of our independence from them…..

“I count religion but a childish toy … there is no sin but ignorance.”– Thomas Jefferson, paraphrased.

gigoid has spoken. So be it….. Here is a bit of Art to go with the above discussion

    Note from the future…. Unfortunately, I have no idea what Art I was supposed to have here…. It didn’t come through in the cut and paste into the backup, so, I would have to go back & find it online, and, sorry, just too much, so, it will have to make do without today…. maybe next time….

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    I had originally intended to have only one poem, but, the first one came up in front of me while I was searching the archives, and it HAS to be included today, just because…. It’s from a poetess on WordPress, Mari Sanchez Cayuso, and she is incredible…. I first posted this in July of 2012….

    I have previously brought you poems from este poeta, but this one is special. She amazes me time after time with the passion, the power, and the beauty of what she writes….. which is only matched by her own luminous eyes…. there is only one thing to do with pieces such as this, and that is…. Enjoy!

Obligating Hums

surely we’ve met in midair
sometime ago
your stubborn neck disregarded my smile
apologetically you stirred these mediums
the melancholic instruments attached to my head
on a solid oaken table we wrote
the aloofness of a spell
critiquing the crafty shapes
with your index finger you pointed at me
and shivered
i waited
and thickened your space very slowly
my voice reached your core
i knew then how bitter your loneliness was
tempting these souls to write
and with your little murmur
a flame in my chest i saw
i slowly began to weep
you stroke my head listening to me pray
softening my thoughts
the names that inhabit my soles
the steady pure familiar calm
the wind the golden faces inside this life of mine
designed for staying here
urging trumpets to melodically banner my heart tonight . . .

~~ Mari Sanchez Cayuso ~~

 

    In the interests of both levity, and brevity, here is a master of both types of poetry; by the evidence of this poem, he used both, effortlessly….

The panther is like a leopard,
Except it hasn’t been peppered.
Should you behold a panther crouch,
Prepare to say Ouch.
Better yet, if called by a panther,
Don’t anther.

~~ Ogden Nash ~~

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    One of the brightest lights of our world took his own life a few days ago….. By now, everyone has heard of how Robin Williams passed, a victim of his own inner demons…. When I heard of it, my sadness grew almost too much to bear; he was one of the great comic geniuses of our time, or any other, a brilliant improvisational artist…. I can only wish my own rants approached the level of insight and humor he displayed in all he gave us….

    I don’t feel up to writing much more of a tribute, and the spotlight being focused by the media on the depression that killed him doesn’t appeal to me right now…. I’m too depressed, and if the irony of that doesn’t register, you need to find yourself another irony bone…. I’m going to just do this…. Below, you’ll see a picture, found years ago on Facebook, or somewhere on the Net, that gives us all a perfect idea of just what Robin felt like much of the time, as well as the actual solution to the issue itself…. but, that’s another story…. This, though, describes the process of fighting inner demons quite well, as it identifies them as what they are…. our own hearts and minds….

 

Lao Tzu sez

 

    Now, here is a retrospective, and comments, upon Robin’s demise, from a writer I respect a lot; his insight helped me to gain some perspective, so I hope it can do the same for y’all….

http://blog.sfgate.com/morford/2014/08/12/a-little-spark-of-madness/

    I guess, all that’s left now, is to say this:

    Goodbye Robin, you will be missed, and not just by Mork’s Mindy…. The entire world grieves at your loss…. Thank you for all you gave us of yourself; any debt that any of us owe for our lives, you repaid in full, with interest, with laughter, and love….

(He opens a tome, and begins.)

 It says: “In the beginning was the Word.”
 Already I am stopped.  It seems absurd.

 The Word does not deserve the highest prize,
 I must translate it otherwise.
 If I am well inspired and not blind.
 It says: “In the beginning was the Mind.”

 Ponder that first line, wait and see,
 Lest you should write too hastily.
 Is the Mind the all-creating source?
 It ought to say: “In the beginning there was Force.”

 Yet something warns me as I grasp the pen,
 That my translation must be changed again.
 The spirit helps me.  Now it is exact.
 I write: “In the beginning was the Act.”

~~ Goethe’s Faust ~~

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    It’s going to have to do; I don’t have it today. I believe I’ve gotten it done, to the point it can be posted…. but, it wasn’t easy, and almost didn’t make it at all, (a story for another time….). For now, it’s done, and I’m going to take it, and run…. See y’all later, ffolkes….

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

Plain, old-fashioned articles of modern design….

Ffolkes,
Malaise. An innocuous word, wouldn’t you say? Almost sounds like one of those drinks you get on a cruise ship, in a colorful plastic cup with a bamboo umbrella sticking up from the top….. Makes me thirsty just thinking about it, until I think about what the drink inside those cups usually taste like, to wit: six fruits, sugar, and a bunch of cheap rum, with bubbles. This is also only until I remember what the word actually means, and its relevance this morning…..

In the psychiatric healthcare industry, malaise refers to a certain set of symptoms experienced by people who suffer a wide range of mental issues; it is common in depression, neurosis of several types, schizophrenia, and a number of other diagnoses. Malaise is generally reported as a vague, unsettled feeling, centered in the abdomen, much like a low-grade fear, but without any specific cause or stimulus that the sufferer is aware of. All that unfortunately afflicted individual knows is that they are accompanied by a constant sense of impending doom, of dread at what may happen; they cannot tell you why they feel that way, they just do so.

I am here to tell you, it isn’t fun. As a man who has in the past suffered from the deleterious effects of long-term exposure to violence, i.e., post traumatic stress disorder/syndrome, I experience this on an irregular, unwelcome basis. This morning is one of those unwelcome times. I awoke, no earlier or later than usual, and from sleep not troubled by uncomfortable dreams, or excessive pain, either of which are common.

But, as I sat up to begin the morning routine, I was washed over completely, like an unexpected wave at the beach, by a feeling of trepidation and mild fear; sort of anticipation of disaster, much akin to the first moments before wading in to physically control a raging psychopath bent on ripping my head from my shoulders, an event with which I am all-too-familiar.

As a result of all the years I spent doing just that, it is a feeling I know well, and recognize easily. What isn’t so easy is convincing my conscious mind that all that fear does not require any action on its part; the fear is accompanied, you see, by a good strong jolt of adrenaline, which kind of takes over the metabolism, preparing the body for fight or flight. No fight, no flight, just the adrenaline coursing through my system, looking for a convenient asshole, or a plane ticket….

So, here I sit, vibrating lightly in every muscle, determined to ignore this feeling that I should be up searching for the danger so obviously present, according to the feelings of malaise I’m trying to ignore.  It will pass, after a time; it always does. It resembles Murphy in that respect; you never know or expect it when he might show up, and can never be sure he’s really gone, just because you don’t see him anymore. Patience, and will power, are the keys to handling this without ill effects, and needless to say, I’ve had lots of practice at this particular process.

So, we’ll just gather up our belongings, and get back on the bus, which will take us directly to the jumping off point for the day….. Shall we go Pearling? I say we must….. or I’m doomed to spend the rest of the day in a medicated haze, in order to keep from running around naked, throwing rocks at the seagulls, and scaring the neighbors….. Shall we be off, then? Let’s do………
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Virtue, the strength and beauty of the soul,
Is the best gift of Heaven: a happiness
That even above the smiles and frowns of fate
Exalts great Nature’s favourites: a wealth
That never encumbers, nor can be transferred.
— John Armstrong (1709-1779)

Virtue is the subject of this poem, and justly so, as it is a key element in the make-up of an evolved Man, by my definition of such. In my mind, one of the most important of these virtues is Duty, which could also be said to possess the same qualities as ascribed to virtue in this beautiful piece, in that it “never encumbers, nor can be transferred.”  In fact, Duty is unique among the most important virtues, as it is completely a matter of choice. One must choose Duty; it cannot be thrust upon us by others, unless we consent. It may not be our first, or best choice to assume a Duty, but it is OUR choice, not that of society, or of other people, or of Fate, whatever that means to you.

For the first ten years of my life, my family spent most of those years living on US Army bases. Fort Lewis, Fort Ord, off-base housing in San Pedro, all were what we called home until my father mustered out in 1961. As a result, my upbringing was a bit different from that of most of my civilian classmates. By the time I started school at age 4.8 (November birthday), I had already been to Japan with the family, was well able to perform such tasks as making a bed on which you could bounce a quarter, sweeping and vacuuming, mowing lawns, raking leaves, minding my younger siblings, and a bunch of other stuff that a family with five kids tends to outsource to the young’uns for completion.  And, most significantly, I could perfectly address my seniors with well-rehearsed protocols of politeness, as well as give a pretty fair definition of what the term Duty meant……

Duty has remained as one of the most important elements of my life; to this day there are certain things I must do before I can go to sleep at night, all related to a chosen duty of some sort. And that is the point of this little discussion (at last, they cried!)….. Duty is chosen, not given. It may be accepted if offered, but the choice still remains. If we do not choose a Duty, then we will not be invested in fulfilling it, other than for how we wish others to see us, a very poor way to structure one’s actions. Only by choosing our Duty do we feel the responsibility for completing it; only the choice determines our investment. But, the reward for making that choice, and for meeting the demands Duty places upon us, is being able to sleep at night, with a clear conscience, and an easy heart…..

Self-respect . . . is a question of recognizing that anything worth having has its price. — Anonymous, but true nonetheless….
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“I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.” — Thomas Paine

The Founding Fathers had a strong, and justifiable, lack of trust in organized religion, and that mistrust is exemplified in this statement from Thomas Paine. It is a sentiment shared by a significant number of those men who left us our legacy of freedom, as evidenced by similar statements seen in correspondence written by, and/or to, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin, among others. All these men had direct experience with how organized faiths fall into corruption and oppression, and how those organizations attempt to force non-believers into submission to their dogmatic influence. This corruption and oppression was, after all, the driving force behind their journey to the New World in the first place…..

If we look around society today, the picture that organized religions present is very similar to what was seen back then, only on a much grander scale. The leaders of those religions continue to pervert the teachings of Christ, changing them around to suit their own agenda and purposes, until what they say is completely unrecognizable by any true Christian, and would most likely have Jesus blushing down to his toes at the thought of them using his name to justify their perversions. The only difference in today’s world is in how many different sects of Christianity have surfaced over the intervening 240 years. When the US Constitution was signed, there were maybe eight or ten sects among the populace; now there are literally thousands of different interpretations of what the Bible, and the New Testament, say about life. This doesn’t even address or count the presence of at least five other major religions that the American populace embraces. And each one is thoroughly convinced of their own rightness, that all the others are wrong, and will go straight to hell when they die…..

SIGH…. all I can say at this point is, a) I am VERY, VERY glad that our forefathers had the good sense to build a solid wall between church and state, and b) I am equally as happy that I have not bought into the lies, perversions, or dogma that ANY of these charlatans in priestly robes are handing out, even when they make the offer with candy, or cakes, or sacramental wine, not even a nice Chianti, with some fava beans….. otherwise, I’d feel worse about it all than I already do…..

“If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.” — Bertrand Russell
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Truckin’, like the do-dah man
Once told me “Gotta play your hand.
Sometimes your cards ain’t worth a damn
If you don’t lay’em down.”
Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me;
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me
What a long, strange trip it’s been.
— Truckin’ by Garcia, Weir, Lesh, Hunter

I’m pulling my covers again, though I’ve never really worn them very tightly. I’m a hippie. I became a hippie in 1968, when I decided to attend the University of California at Berkeley, and entered into a world so different from that I had heretofore experienced that I am still seeing, and feeling, the effects, both good and ill. This verse from an iconic tune from those halcyon days is a very good expression of how I feel today, some 44 years later…..

I’ve met the do-dah man, even played a few gigs with him back in the day. I’ve played enough poker to know he was giving me the straight skinny on that; it’s good advice, as evidenced by my lifetime record of breaking even at the game that isn’t a game. I’ve been in the light, and found my way out of the darkness on more than one occasion. And I am completely convinced that my long, strange trip is not yet done, and that there are strangeness’s and wondrous beauty still to be seen and experienced before I pass into the great unknown that awaits us all.

I’m not ashamed of being a hippie. We, as a group of American citizens, were directly and indirectly responsible for a great many societal changes, and the activism we espoused back in the day has not mellowed with age. I’d guess that a significant number of us are active in such organizations as MoveOn.org, the Occupy Protests, the push for equality between the sexes, and those that seek justice for the victimized and oppressed, that are active today, as has been true since the 60’s. Just because I’m getting older doesn’t mean I’m going to cut my hair, stop playing poker, or reduce my sense of outrage at the atrocities I see in our society.

In fact, just the opposite is true. Though much thinner these days, my hair still reaches half-way down my back, and there has been no less outrage in my responses to the news, not that I can see. (I do play less poker, but that is due to lack of available playing partners and a stake, not lack of want-to….)  I can only hope now to provide an example for the youth of this time, to continue to show that honor, duty, and and the journey toward justice for all (Free our sisters, free ourselves!) are not out of favor, but continue to be key elements of right behavior, and right action, for a large number of citizens, past their prime or not…. hell, it just makes us meaner and tougher, not weaker. The PTB and the beloved ruling class might do well to remember that…..

“Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.” — little known, but apt, advice from Merlin the Wise, the most influential wizard in the history of Mankind….
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This beautiful example of ASCII art will hopefully translate from where I found it to this post and still retain its clarity. To be certain, and to segue into the discussion I’m planning, allow me to say that you SHOULD see here a picture of a magnificently plumed Tom Turkey, as envisioned in the mind of J. Random Hacker.

Now, when I saw this, after my initial response (“Perfect!”, I thought….), a second, slightly more wicked thought struck me, and I thought I should share it. I have a proposed change to suggest for both, or hell, all of the political parties in the US today. Republicans,Democrats, Libertarians, Independents, Whackos (the Santorum/Romney/Gingrich contingent….    …. sometimes called the Tea Party), they all need to consider taking this image as one to replace the elephant, the donkey, the cartoon characters, etc. that they now use to represent their party line, and how they wish to be viewed. A turkey is very American, much more native here than the majority of political hacks on parade.

Turkeys are survivors, and are considered to be one of the toughest birds to hunt and kill, as they are fast fliers, hyper-alert, and smart as hell in their own environment. Of course, none of these characteristics are common to these political groups as they exist now, but hey, maybe by changing their icons, they can take on some of these virtues…. it couldn’t hurt, and just might make them more palatable to the rest of us……. What do you think? Think they’ll go for it?…. They might just earn my vote, if they should all of a sudden show some common sense, and go along with this novel idea…. Probably not going to happen, but I can dream, can’t I?……
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Limericks are art forms complex,
Their topics run chiefly to sex.
They usually have virgins,
And masculine urgin’s,
And other erotic effects.
— Anonymous

Haiku are always
calmly directing our eyes
pointing to the way.
–gigoid

So, it occurred to me, after writing the above haiku, to ask myself, “Self, which came first, the limerick or the haiku?”  At first, I thought I was just being silly. Then I realized I really wanted to know, but I’m too lazy to Google right now. So, here is the deal…..

I’d appreciate a response from anyone who has any ideas or reactions on this, either by commenting, or by posting a reply; if I follow your blog, I’ll be notified of either method of response, and be able to reply in turn. No prizes will be awarded, though I will mention your name, and your answer to this time-honored query, in a future Pearl. (Well, it’s been honored for the two or three minutes since I asked it, and by the time you answer, it will be more, so….) So, join in the fun, and the challenge, and send me a response today! You won’t regret it, much…..

It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,
So don’t be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit, it’s so easy to quit:
It’s the keeping-your-chin-up that’s hard.
It’s easy to cry that you’re beaten–and die;
It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight–
Why, that’s the best game of them all!
And though you come out of each grueling bout,
All broken and beaten and scarred,
Just have one more try–it’s dead easy to die,
It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.
— Robert W. Service — The Quitter
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Got ahead of myself there for a moment. I was so excited at being done, I started to copy and paste to the appropriate destination files, and only then noticed I had not quite finished. So, here I am, to compose one more witty ending to another meandering journey through the labyrinth I call my mind…. easy money, as they say.

Well, the meandering and the ending parts are easy; the witty part is, as always, a notably arguable characteristic of what I write for publication. Ah well, I suppose it is well to remember that the journey is the lesson, not the destination…. Y’all take care out there……


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!

In the shelter of the 39th Parallel….

Part IV….

Reality Considered As A Slippery Slope

“Yes! Living in today’s complex world of the future IS much like having a hive of bees live  in your head. But…..there they are!” – Firesign Theater. Sometimes, in my more lucid moments of reflection, I wonder if everyone else ever feels like that. If they did, then maybe it wouldn’t bother me so much when I do, because a burden shared is a burden eased.

In the immediate aftermath of the events described in detail in Part III, I continued to work, and for some strange reason, not a single psychiatrist or psychologist, nor any other therapist or administrative staff, suggested that perhaps the staff members who were involved might wish to talk about those events. It didn’t occur to me that maybe I should take some time off; I thought keeping busy was best, and when staff take time off, the ones who remain have to cover the time one would be off, thus making the job even harder. So I came to work, but I had changed, both my attitude, and my approach to the job.

Holding group therapy, and other normal, mundane functions of the job became low priority in my sphere of perceptions, while being alert to the possibility of small situations that could conceivably worsen became my focus. In retrospect, I firmly believe that my adrenal gland was regularly and periodically giving me doses of our natural defense system’s ‘pick-me-up’ in response to how I perceived the events around me. My hearing became extremely acute; I distinctly remember, on more than one occasion, hearing a small noise while standing in an office doorway, and when I had tracked it to its’ source, I found that I had to go around three concrete walls, and through two metal doors to find what turned out to be two young men arguing, but not in particularly loud voices. No one else had heard anything.

Instead of a mental health therapist, I became a ‘brain cop’, ever alert to the slightest quirk in even the most delusional of individuals, often being able to intuit what they would do before they acted, magically appearing just as they would start to move. Even these agitated individuals can be fairly easily redirected, or at least distracted from their initial violent impulses, with the correct timing. And if the timing wasn’t quite right, well, I became even faster at assuming physical control, with the intent of entirely removing violence as one of their behavioral options, no matter what the situation.

As became obvious later, I was becoming somewhat grandiose myself, trying to assume the sole responsibility for the safety of ‘everyone’ in my space. I had forgotten, or refused to remember, a very old saying in the field of mental health, which cautions, “You will know that a nervous breakdown is imminent when you begin to believe that what you are doing is very important.” In my narrowed field of perceptions, what I was doing assumed a HUGE importance.

After a year of this, I wish I could say that I’d had enough, and asked for help. Perhaps my feet would have found the path I needed to follow sooner than I did. But, I didn’t; another friend at work finally worked up the nerve to point out to me some of the things I was doing, and how they weren’t in my best interests, or in the best interests of the folks I was there to help. She was very compassionate and supportive, and despite what I wanted to believe, I’m not deliberately stupid, and had to admit the veracity of what she was telling me. I was broken inside, and no matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t going to be able to fix what was broken by myself…..fortunately for me, I didn’t have to.

I asked to see the on-duty physician the night my friend spoke to me, and after some discussion, often somewhat heated on my part, I decided to leave work, due to a temporary disability caused by repeated exposure to extreme stress. In the next days, I began seeing a psychiatrist, at the suggestion of a lawyer I had been advised to see, who would ensure that my claim for disability got me the help I needed.

For the next two years, I saw the good Doctor K, and my time with him became a weekly hour of calm in the midst of the intermittent storms in my mind. My last year of work had been marked by sleeping problems, periods of anxiety & depression, and the advent of the beginning symptoms of a physical disorder that wouldn’t fully manifest for another five years, but caused, in the present, a constant feeling of lethargy and general malaise.

With time away from work, and compassionate care from my psychiatrist, my anxiety and depression became less pronounced, and eventually I processed my feelings about what had occurred to the point where I was no longer troubled by daytime flashbacks and nightly dreams of the horrible events. I found my way back to my center, but as a changed person. I am much more in touch now with my emotions, and have learned not to block them out as much when they are too strong. It has taught me that it is okay to break down, and even to cry, as long as you remember to believe that you can always get back up…..but, it’s a struggle that continues each day, and won’t ever be completely gone…..

Well, there you have it. I don’t know if this is interesting to others or not, nor do I wish to concern myself with that. I wrote this as a form of  therapy, and re-reading it continues that process; I’m still somewhat emotionally fragile, compared to my former self, but life goes on, and we all do the best we can. All you can do is all you can do…..

Tomorrow, this space will once again hold a Daily Pearl of Virtual Wisdom…..y’all take care out there…..


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

gigoid