Use all the teflon you can find….

Ffolkes,

“A man is not aware of his virtues (if any).

Nevertheless, one hopes that they exist.”

~~ Edward Abbey ~~

superearth1-800x456

Artist rendition of possible Superearth planet found in far reaches of Sol System

Image from:

 http://nerdreactor.com/2015/12/11/scientists-discover-a-new-planet-theyve-deemed-as-a-super-earth-in-our-solar-system/



Hajime…. At 0500 this morning, I was given a reminder of the newest duty I’ve chosen. I was awakened at that time by whiskers tickling my nose, followed by a loud purring, as Leelu sniffed at my face to wake me. The purr began when I opened my eyes to see what tickled me…. Thus notified she was ready to be up, and training. Heaving a great SIGH, I arose, & stumbled to the coffee maker to switch it on, as she mewled madly for the morning play time, dropping her crumpled paper at my feet, and looking at me expectantly…. What can one do?….

She got hungry after a few tosses & returns, and is eating, so, I’m going to cut this short, so we can, maybe, get this posted before she requires further attention…. Trust me, it’s not easy being at the beck and call of a 7 lb. princess…. But, she picked me, out of seven billion people, so, whattayagonnado, eh?….. Let’s go to the oyster beds, while we can….

Shall we Pearl?….

“We’re not talking about the same thing,” he said. “For you the world is weird because if you’re not bored with it you’re at odds with it. For me the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable; my interest has been to convince you that you must accept responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in this marvelous desert, in this marvelous time. I wanted to convince you that you must learn to make every act count, since you are going to be here for only a short while, in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it.” — Don Juan

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Crosby_Stills_Nash_and_Young_1970

Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young in 1970

Image from en.wikipedia.com via Google Images


Probably, nobody alive hasn’t heard of this group…. Four of the best singer-songwriters alive who got together for a time, to make music still unequaled in quality and impact by any one of them individually…. Their innate harmonic blend of voices created songs no one who heard them will ever forget…. Let’s enjoy some of it, live from Golden Gate Park, their old stomping grounds in SF…. Abondanza, ffolkes!….

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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young 11/03/91 – Golden Gate Park

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Dont keep calm

SOCIALISM:
   You have two cows.
 Give one to your neighbour.

COMMUNISM:
   You have two cows.
   Give both to the government.
The government gives you milk.

CAPITALISM:

   You sell one cow and buy a bull.

FASCISM:
   You have two cows. 
Give milk to the government.
   The government sells it.

NAZISM:
   The government shoots you and takes the cows.

NEW DEALISM:
   The government shoots one cow,
   milks the other,
and pours the milk down the sink.

ANARCHISM:
   Keep the cows.
Steal another one.
Shoot the government.

CONSERVATISM:
   Freeze the milk.
Embalm the cows.

~~ Polly Sye Bee ~~


This was yesterday’s third offering from Smart Bee, and by the time I finished reading the list, and could catch my breath from laughing uproariously, I knew I’d found today’s opening lines for this section…. Since laughing so hard put me in too good a mood to rant, we’ll go with the following two most excellent pieces from an archived Pearl, suggested a day or two ago, at the bottom of the page on ECR…. They go together, as it happened to occur that day…I think you’ll enjoy them; I know I did…. It isn’t exactly about the quoted subject, but, rather about those who must deal with the governments as described…. We do lead off with a statement from a politician, though….

Both pearls from 12/1/2012:

From Section the First:

“I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics but for our contributions to the human spirit.” — former US President John F. Kennedy

At last! A worthy pearl! JFK, like the current President, was a superb public speaker, “Ich bin ein Berliner” notwithstanding, and whether he wrote his own words, or relied on his speech writers, he delivered, arguably, some of the most memorable, and insightful, aphorisms in US political and social history. The above statement is a perfect example, as he expresses a sentiment that can only be applauded, if not verified. I say verified because  there is not a lot of verification from the past that history remembers anything BUT the battles. But, one can hope….

Actually, I believe what Jack said here very strongly, in the sense that there are different histories that are remembered, most of which become altered in some way over time, as does all memory. The great teachers and philosophers who have lived have left their mark on the world in more ways than always show, in spite of the records of their deeds not always surviving intact. But, throughout history, there have been men, and women, who have done much to advance the human condition, whose words and deeds were never seen, and never recorded, but, nonetheless. whose effects still ripple down the river of time.

Some of the great minds in history, such as Lao Tzu, Zoroaster, Genghis Khan, Gautama Buddha, Jesus of Nazareth, Mohammed, Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, and many others, all made such advances in the human spirit, and their ideas keep proving their worth every day by their relativity to modern society. Men like Leonardo da Vinci, whose genius was so bright it shines even today, and modern philosopher/scientists such as Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking, have advanced that human spirit as much as anyone.

I’m not being as eloquent as I’d wish for such a deep subject…. What I’m trying to get to here is that we all, each and every one of us, have the power and opportunity to do the same as these historical figures, to advance the human spirit, just by the way we live our lives. What the philosophers say, and write, and the wisdom they pass on, is all very good, and a lesson to the rest of us…. But, what the average person does every day in their lives is just as important to the future as any scientific breakthrough, because what they do will determine what their children learn, and THAT is where the advancement really takes place, in the moments of teaching that happens every moment for children, and their adult teachers.

Living a life of integrity, with honesty and duty as the watchwords for action, is the best teaching method there is; to provide a good example for a child holds no less promise for mankind than all the work of all the genius’ of all time. How each one of us approaches life will, in the end, determine what happens to our species as a whole. It isn’t easy, especially given all of the people in society who do NOT wish to have any part of advancing anything but their own interests…. and especially when so many of those kinds of people are in positions of authority. But, it can be done, and is done, every day, by millions of men and women of good spirit…. They are truly the future of mankind, and, if there is any hope for survival, it lies in their honest hands….

“So live that you can look any man in the eye and tell him to go to hell.”

~~ Smart Bee ~~


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From Section the Third:

“The sage wears clothes of coarse cloth but carries jewels in his bosom; He knows himself but does not display himself; He loves himself but does not hold himself in high esteem. Thus he rejects the latter and takes the former.” — Lao-Tzu

In spite of how it must appear, there is a small degree of organization to this blog’s contents. Most days I try to make sure that the first and third sections, while possibly related, are essentially about different concepts. The second section is, of course, reserved for whatever poetry strikes my fancy that day, whether classic, humorous, or original (Though it does seem that my recent outpouring of original poems has run dry, I don’t think I’m done with that, yet…..).  It seems to work for me…. well enough, at least, to keep my internal critics quiet most of the time.

Today, it seems that most of what I’m seeing for pearls are related somehow to what I spoke of peripherally in today’s first section, to wit: the importance of integrity in human life. Integrity…. hmm…. not the precise word, or the characteristic I am thinking of, actually; it’s more than merely integrity. I suppose one could say the concept to which I’m referring is too mystical an idea to be presented clearly, and not be too far off the mark….

However, not being one to ignore a challenge to my vocabulary, I’ll take a few unseen moments here and find the correct word to facilitate further discussion, because, hey, if I can’t, no discussion, right? Right…. Be right back…. instantly, by all you will know and see…..  Well, the challenge is a strong one, and I think best answered with more than one word to describe what I’m trying to say. Those words are all contained in Axiom #7 of Peruaosophy, to wit:

“Do your Duty. Honor the Truth. Respect Life. Share your Love. “


I know that it is my own philosophy, and some may think that is cheating, but, not so. All that I hold to be true is in that axiom, and it represents the four cornerstones of my personal foundation. I find that when I am able to live up to all of these concepts,  able to use their direction in guiding my actions, my life is much smoother, and my moments of joy are plentiful, to balance the pain that life brings all of us in turn. This, to me, is the best way to advance the human condition, little by little, with the efforts of each man and woman adding its weight to the forward momentum.

Yes, the actions and discoveries that the best of history’s minds bring to us are wonderful, and work to make the lives of every human better…. It is the everyday efforts of each man, though, that takes that wisdom and turns it into reality, by using ideas, and integrity, to add their experience to that of the rest of society. Since there is a large number of folks who do NOT subscribe to this kind of ethical behavior, choosing to make their own self-interest their primary concern, it is the duty of those who do believe in these ideas to carry them out as best they may, so that the world can retain some semblance of harmony. It doesn’t always work, and, in fact, is in constant jeopardy of not working at all, but, it is the only way that will make the changes our society needs to survive…. which is another discussion for another time…..

“And now there is merely silence, silence, silence, saying all we did not know.”

~~ William Rose Benet ~~


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~~ Haiku ~~

Often I don’t see
any reason to exist.
Still, I’m glad I do.

~~ gigoid ~~

12/12/15

Comedy_Tragedy

Blithely Untitled

A poem came to me today, willy, nilly,
along with a sharp blow to the head.
Since it left me feeling just a bit silly,
anything that rhymes should lessen the dread.

Manifesting destiny into a small, insidious group
we push on toward sanity, concentrating hard.
Full engaging moments spent navigating the loop
shall ever make a difference to victims found in the yard.

Still corpses of creatures, straight out of nightmare
fill up the corners of our tortured minds.
While ever saddened, the iconic male, most debonair,
gazes softly, ironically, at all the mutual interest he finds.

Moronic public statutes compel outbreaks of sanity,
responding to momentary impulses toward inducing peace.
Still, the motions get completed, in fertile stages of inanity
while the bulk of our inmates can find no surcease.

Reluctant motivation to continue is unbound,
striving to ascertain how far there yet remains to go.
No precognitive guesswork will make any less of a sound
to soften the final strains, or teach us to truly know.


~~ gigoid ~~


2/7/2014


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Glasgow-Greenock Port 041

Sunrise ~~ Sunset


Just as with the photo (my own, taken somewhere off the coast of Scotland), I don’t really know, nor can I tell from what I see, exactly what is happening here…. I do know when the photo was taken, since I was the only one there at the time, but, unless one is enough of a polymath to have already totaled up the available clues to know, it can’t be known for sure which time of day it was taken…. The same issue applies to today’s final, old-school pearl, as I don’t have a single clue as to what it all means…. The process of choosing them was rather unconscious; I just clicked on each as it appeared, and fitted it into whatever weird shape my mind was creating…. It works, and I still don’t know why; though beginning and ending with some elegance, most of them are just weird, if as true as the day is long enough…. If y’all have any ideas, feel free to tell me, as it can only help….

“There is a certain majesty in simplicity which is far above all the quaintness of wit.”

~~ Alexander Pope ~~


“If you take something apart and put it back together often enough, you will eventually have two of them.” — Rap’s Law of Inanimate Reproduction

“Feeling good about government is like looking on the bright side of any catastrophe. When you quit looking on the bright side, the catastrophe is still there.” — P. J. O’Rourke, Parliament of Whores (1991)

“Being a politician is like being a football coach: you have to be smart enough to understand the game, but dumb enough to think it’s important.” — Eugene McCarthy ( I get this one; he WAS a politician….)

“Money, it turned out, was exactly like sex. You thought of nothing else if you didn’t have it and thought of other things if you did.” — James Baldwin (1924-1987)

“The whole problem can be stated quite simply by asking, ‘Is there a  meaning to music?’ My answer would be, ‘Yes.’ And ‘Can you state in so many words what the meaning is?”  My answer to that would be, ‘No.’ — Aaron Copland

:FUBAR: n.  The Failed UniBus Address Register in a VAX.  A good example of how jargon can occasionally be snuck past the {suit}s; see {foobar}, and {foo} for a fuller etymology.” — from The on-line Hacker Jargon File V423 (For those with access to the File, the original FUBAR was a military term, probably originally from the Army Corps of Engineers, meaning, precisely, “fucked up beyond all repair”….)

“Gentleman: A man who knows how to play bagpipes — and refrains.” — Fred Tart

“Dum vivimus, vivamus.”

While we live, let us live.

~~ Latin, originally from the coat of arms of one Philip Doddering, D.D ~~

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dum_vivimus_vivamus),

with other instances noted in literature.


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Hmm…. Later than usual, but, not bad, given the extra duties I must now perform while trying to get posted…. No complaints, because, hey, chosen duty, right?  Besides, it’s done. So, I’ll follow the example set in the intro, and get us out of here in an efficient manner. That works like this: See ya, tomorrow, ffolkes, rain or shine….

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

Featured Image -- 5012


À bientôt, mon cherí….


			

Paleontological exhibits of ancient rigatoni….

Ffolkes,

“Ah said, pay attention, boy!”

~~ Foghorn Leghorn ~~

same

Curiosity on Mars

Image from http://gizmodo.com/a-fan-stitched-together-the-best-selfie-of-curiosity-ye-1723085310


Good morning…. Or, so it says here on the label. Personally, I’d hesitate to wager on that, as the hour does tend to take away some of the shine; that’s going to happen at 1 AM, especially when arising at such an ungodly hour was NOT on the agenda for the night…. Ah, well, rather than piss & moan about it, I’ll just start today’s mess…. It’s always a cleaner mess when I have this much time to spend on it…. Let us hope the gods of Entropy will cooperate to some degree…. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll be nice enough to keep the Murph off my back ’til I can get it done….

More likely it’ll just piss him off, and tomorrow morning will, no doubt, manifest as one we will all regret having experienced…. unless I can figure out a way to buy him off…. Yeah, that’s the ticket! Now, all I have to do is figure out what the hell I can give an iconic force of nature to make it go away…. Piece o’cake…

Now we’ve indulged in a morning descent into fantasy, why don’t we stop fussing around, and be off to the oyster beds, to gather enough pearls to complete today’s effort? I think that would be SWELL!…. But, then, it’s 1:13 AM and I’m about half-way to insane, with a one-way ticket clutched in my hot little hand…. what the hell do I know?….

Shall we Pearl?….

“Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets and then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again.” — TV listing for the movie, The Wizard of Oz, in the Marin Paper

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beatles

Image from allexpress.com via Google Images


It’s been a long time since I listened to ‘The Boys’, and I thought I’d try to find some live cuts for us to enjoy. What I found is over an hour of live music, all Beatles music…. but, it’s a bit strange. It was supposedly a concert in Russia, in 2014! There are a number of different songs, each with its own costumes. The players LOOK very much like them, and the music is very close, but, I can’t tell yet if it’s real, or computer magic…. You tell me, if you figure it out, okay? Otherwise, there are a lot of other REAL Beatles live cuts on the page the link will take you to…. Enjoy!….


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Bootleg Beatles ~ Live

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Dont keep calm

    I’m working on an epic rant, that isn’t quite ready for posting. To sublimate the (quite strong) urge to rant which so often occurs at this hour, (must have something to do with the resentment at my doctors for causing the conditions which cause me to be up… thank you very much, you assholes…), here is a discussion of human nature from early in 2013…. Enjoy!….

“Custom does often reason overrule and only serves for reason to the fool.” — John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

This aphorism is one that I think most people would accept as true, at least part of the time. It also points up what I see as a basic flaw in human nature, a characteristic that everyone possesses, and few overmaster. It has to do with our core beliefs, and the attitude we assume as our method of perception, the orientation of our world-view, as it were. We all perceive what is out there in the universe, but we are not capable, at this time, of understanding, or even noting, all that is there to be perceived, as we are limited to what we can see, hear, feel, touch, taste, or deduce, in our immediate vicinity…. We don’t yet know how to include the input of anything not in our physical presence, other than vicariously (via TV, radio, books, etc…..).

We do, however perceive what we are near, and what we do with those perceptions is what determines how the events of our lives will proceed. What is more, each one of us perceives all of this IN A DIFFERENT WAY…..  Two people can look at the same article, or event, and see two entirely different things; just ask them….. We use the same senses, the same KIND of brains to process the data, at the same time to observe the same event, yet the interpretation of those events will vary, by as many degrees as there are people perceiving them. This unique ability, to process data in a completely new and different way from anyone else’s method, is, as might be guessed, both a blessing, and a curse….. It is the latter that concerns me today…..

In order to coexist in the same place and time, people have learned to accept certain perceptions as being identical, for the purposes of communication, e.g., everyone knows what “fire” is, and knows not to touch it barehanded…. (Note: in a way, this blog is all about the process of such communications…. we explore the reality that is consensual, that we all agree to deal with as being the same for all of us…..) This is the blessing it gives, the opportunity to increase understanding, to allow people to work in tandem, making both much more capable, making two more than just one plus one….. This is a very useful tool in the real world, and has helped our species achieve the degree of civilization we now enjoy….

But, the other side of this characteristic has an equal part in our destiny, and may in fact be the more important of the two, in the ultimate sense….. You see, we are all herd animals, and desire the approval and company of our peers; without it, we suffer, much more than we even know. It is not “human” to remain alone too long…. Oh, there is nothing wrong with solitude, and much great thought is achieved when one is not distracted by others….. On the other hand, a human who is alone for too long becomes a pale imitation of his/her true self, without the presence of other minds to test his/her theories, to discuss and share their feelings and accomplishments, to vent their frustrations, to experience love….. Without these things, our spirits become small, and lose their moral compass, leaving us adrift in a reality that seems dark, and dangerous….

This dependence on custom (which I define as the total construct of human society, the set of rules and regulations, all unwritten, by which all of us shape our behavior in respect to each other…..) is so strong that, as the aphorism states, one becomes willing to set reason aside, in order to keep and maintain our feeling of having a place in society. We will assume whatever mask that society demands, at times, in order to not have to wear a mask of our own devising, one that we do not find comfortable…. This is the curse of which I spoke….

You see, there are a number of people who have no compunctions whatsoever in using this human characteristic to their own ends….. They don’t believe in any of the crap they spew, but will say or do anything to make sure that others do, because this is how they control the general populace… They spread their lies, fast and often, until they are believed…. these lies promulgate fear amongst the uneducated and timid, who then demand that “something be done!” by those in charge…. which is exactly what those people wanted, for they can now proceed to further fan the flames of fear, while surreptitiously looting the public treasury to make it seem as if they are doing something constructive…. “Hey, they’re stealing our oil! Let’s spend a few billion to bomb the crap out of them so we can keep driving SUV’s, with great cup holders!”

Oh well, I guess that’s all the rant I’ve got in me today…. It’s kind of mild I know, but I was trying to be scholarly, rather than controversial and accusatory…. I think I’ve succeeded in that, but, it doesn’t quite give the same thrill and/or release as a good, nasty rant, with some great name-calling… Well, I can always call them assholes, because, hey, it fits, and it’s easy to type…. Any who, I’ll stop now, right on the edge of illumination, and allow the Gentle Reader to follow the train of my thought to its obvious conclusion…. For those too busy, or too lazy to do so, I’ll summarize….

Don’t listen to what anyone else says, not about YOUR perceptions. And, for sure, kick the asses of anyone who tries to convince you of their integrity in an elected capacity, or any position of authority…. A lot of people, on every level of society, are just trying to control you for their own purposes, and deserve any ass-kicking that comes their way….

Be like a cat…. cats don’t give a SHIT what anybody thinks, they just are….. No apologies, no fuss, just leave me alone, because I’m busy being a cat….. This is good advice, so, listen up, I’m trying to do you a favor…..         😆

“We need very strong ears to hear ourselves judged frankly, and because there are few who can endure frank criticism without being stung by it, those who venture to criticize us perform a remarkable act of friendship, for to undertake to wound or offend a man for his own good is to have a healthy love for him.” — Michel Eyquem de Montaigne _Essays_, bk. III, ch. 11 [1595]

Written 4/13/2013.

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Comedy_Tragedy

Honorable Request

Days, filled to a brim with fluff and time, pass
dimly into memory, bit by combative bit,
ever mournful, yet loud with life and sass,
only in dream do we meet, and dance, and flit.

Souls, spinning ’round in gleeful wonder, comply
as they must, nev
er given a reason,
somberly proper, yet limber and quite spry,
dancing on to greet each bright new season.

Storms, angered by apathetic care, rage
proceeding into ministerial glare, unknown,
clothed in colors, purified solely with sage,
past an infinite future, already flown.

Life, plumbed to its depths and secrets, keeps
flowing with currents, strong and fairly found,
love stands, asking release, as it slowly weeps,
seeking refuge unasked, to stay honor bound.

~~ gigoid ~~


Written 10/13/2012.

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lao

He only earns his freedom and his life

Who takes them every day by storm.
 
~~ Goethe, from Faust ~~


“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh”, said Piglet at last, what’s the first thing you say to yourself?” “What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?” “I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet. Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing, he said.” — A. A. Milne, “Winnie the Pooh”

“Don’t forget that compared to a grownup person every baby is a genius. Think of the capacity to learn! The freshness, the temperament, the will of a baby a few months old!” — May Sarton

“A man who carries a cat by the tail is getting experience that will always be helpful.  He isn’t likely to grow dim or doubtful. Chances are, he isn’t likely to carry the cat that way again, either.  But if he wants to, I say let him!” — Mark Twain

“Do not confuse ‘duty’ with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.” — Lazarus Long

“The reward of one duty is the power to fulfill another.” — George Eliot

“The moment in which you confront your own death is the moment in which you are most totally alive.” — Solomon Short

“Let honor be as strong to us an obligation as necessity is to others.” — Pliny the Elder

My guard stood hard when abstract threats too noble to neglect
 deceived me into thinking I had something to protect.
 Good and bad I defined these terms, quite clear, no doubt, somehow
 Ah, but I was so much older then; I’m younger than that now.

~~ Bob Dylan ~~


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“I must go seek some dew-drops here, And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.” — William Shakespeare

So goes another late-night/early morning Pearl…. I’m thinking of making a new category, for Insomnia Pearls. Probably won’t, though; that’s just giving in to the assholes, the way I see it. Fuck ’em. I’m tired. I want to sleep, for more than two hours in a row. Now I’ll quit the whining, and take us out of here, as is my last duty…. It’s been real, ffolkes, that’s for sure. See y’all tomorrow…. I won’t bother with anything like , ‘same place, same time’ as that would just tempt Murphy AND the gods of chance. As long as no charges get filed beforehand, I’ll see y’all in the mornin’…..

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….


We’ve got two words for you, mister…. Puff Paste….

Ffolkes,

I find myself immediately in White Rabbit mode this morning, having slept over eight hours again, not arising until AFTER the coffee machine had gone off at its pre-set time, a time I generally beat by a good hour each day. This morning, I find myself just beginning this process after 5 AM, which is VERY late, for me….

Ah well, such is life, at least, as we know it…. consistency is only present in Nature in predictable ways. The sun comes up pretty consistently, and there are a few other universal factors of existence, (Death, taxes, etc.), we can count on to happen on a regular basis like that. Otherwise, it’s a crap shoot, ffolkes, so most of us get used to not finding things exactly as we left them the last time we dealt with them….

We humans even have a word for that, to wit: entropy, which, loosely defined tells us, “Things fall apart”…. which phrase, by the way, is the title of a very good little book, by a young African author, named Chinua Achebe…. It is considered one of the best English language books about Africa, used in many colleges to exemplify the genre…

The story, about an Igbo tribesman in central Africa, is one that gives us a very good understanding of this principle, (entropy), and how it affects our lives, and our relationships with others in society, as we all try to cope with this basic flaw in the design of our universe…

Of course, it is only a flaw to our way of thinking…. None of the other inhabitants of this plane of existence seem to have a lot of trouble dealing with this particular aspect of reality; they just shrug their equivalent of shoulders, and soldier on, going on to whatever the next thing the universe presents to them for their perception, and their experience….

Not that the universe cares or anything, but, it does make it pretty well impossible to avoid dealing with the iconic forces of chaos, with glaring examples at every turn to remind us of how fragile is our perceptive model, and how often it must be amended with codicils or changes to our attitudes.

All of which, of course, has nothing at all to do with this Pearl…. it’s simply another attempt to draw your attention away from what we are doing here behind the curtain, and to give y’all good reason to come on in, settle down in one of our comfortable seats, order up an adult beverage, and say goodbye to irrationality, as we take off on another exploration of this planet and all its wonders…. I don’t think it would be wise to tell you how the plane runs, or where, exactly, it will take us…. all of that is subject to change at an instant’s notice, anyway…. This is CONSENSUAL REALITY, you know, not some cheap imitation…

That having been said, for what is is worth, (and no snickering from the back rows….), we’ll get on with this, to settle down the nerves of our White Rabbit, so he, too, may enjoy the ride….

Shall we Pearl?…..

“Assess the advantages of taking advice, then structure your forces accordingly, to supplement extraordinary tactics. Forces are to be structured strategically, based on what is advantageous.” — Sun Tzu

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Following this instructive, ethically stimulating quote by Lazarus, which immediately follows this paragraph, you will find a discussion of ethics and/or morality, with a short little foray into religious philosophy, from the standpoint of my own personal philosophy, much of which is based on the concept(s) involved in understanding, and, equally importantly, accepting the principle whereof Lazarus speaks, to wit: “duty”. 

Making one’s chosen “duty” a part of one’s life demands a certain degree of honesty, as well as the courage to apply that honesty to one’s own actions, thereby accepting responsibility for them; this attitude is not one I have found to be common to the philosophies of any the religions I have studied….. When the discussion was first posted, no pearls were associated, until the end, but, this one is the perfect lead to what follows….

“Do not confuse ‘duty’ with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.” — Lazarus Long

From 2/12/13:

I am an asshole. A jerk. A prick. A foul-mouthed, misbegotten excuse for a human being…. I, as is true of virtually all seven billion of my peers on this planet, am nothing more than a hypocrite, deserving of eternal residence in the lowest pits of hell for my perfidy….. What, you might ask, prompted this viciously personal outburst of self-denigration? Well, let me tell you….

Most of us, at some point or another, sit down from time to time to think about our actions, those we are considering, and those we have acted out in the past, to get some perspective on how those actions have conformed to our ethical and moral beliefs. In other words, we sit in self-judgment; whether we do so to praise or to chastise doesn’t matter, ultimately, as long as it is an honest appraisal, and we do not flinch from owning up to our baseness where it is found…..

This is why I am forced to curse myself…. Because I’m not a Catholic,  or any other faith that espouses such mummery, (I don’t mean to pick on Catholics…. some of my best friends, etc…..  😆  ….. They’re just an example everyone recognizes, and can relate to as similar to their own….)….  Any who, because I’m not of that Tribe, I don’t have the luxury of confessing to a priest, who would then reassure me that I am still one of the Chosen Ones, and send me on my way having learned nothing but a false sense of entitlement.

I can’t just pass off what I may have done in my life to some faceless butthead in a dress, who, no doubt, has a great laugh at the expense of the penitent, when he and the other priests get together in the rectory for a few drinks, passing around all the latest tall tales and outtakes from the confessional booth…..

I consider myself to be a morally upright person, and hope that my actions reflect that. But, I know for certain that, like every other human being who ever lived, I don’t always live up to those moral beliefs, and fall from grace on occasion…. If I were a less honest man, I’d say that there were mitigating, or at least explanatory reasons for my failures to hold to my own standards, but, if I tried that, my Dad would kick my ass from now until Thursday the next time I see him, so I’m not going to take that chance…. I take full responsibility for my actions, base and cruel as they were, and no one can hold me in lower regard than I do….

I had considered using this venue as a confessional, to air out my transgressions on the stage of reality, but, I don’t think that would be any more ethical than confessing to a priest…. Confession may make a difference to the penitent, by absolving him/her from any lingering guilt that could adversely affect them (i.e., they feel better about themselves after receiving absolution…), but, in truth, it doesn’t mean a damn thing, as nothing is done to balance the scale, in a karmic sense, especially for whatever creature or person that was the victim of the cruelty. The only act that would mean anything would be for the perpetrator to use the experience to motivate them to two things….

One, to try to repair whatever hurt or pain they have caused another creature…. man, animal, doesn’t matter…. They don’t deserve to be victimized, no matter their form, and ALL one can do, to fix any harm they have caused, is the least they should do….

Second, use the experience as motivation to make a change in themselves, to act with greater understanding, greater compassion, and greater control over themselves and their feelings…. which is what guilt is all about, right?….

The difference is that, when one confesses to a priest, and receives absolution, there is no motivation to make any changes in their actions…. They know none is necessary, since they can relieve themselves of any guilt they may feel by confessing…. so, why bother?

On the other hand, when one assumes the responsibility for their own actions, the guilt doesn’t go away…. I will never forgive myself for some of the things that I’ve done in my life (nor will I share them in any attempt to gain forgiveness from anyone else…. it’s none of their fucking business….)

(Besides, that whole confessional thing just sounds too much like a blackmail scheme…. the people who confess are sure putting their fate trustingly into the hands of those priests, aren’t they?). That simple fact is what keeps me from falling into the same ethical trap I did when I lost my cool, and acted without thinking,  or took my feelings out on innocent bystanders….. Not going to happen again, a sentiment which, I’m sure, is NOT what you can expect from any religicos after confession….

You will note that there are no pearls associated with this discussion…. That’s because I am such an asshole, none were needed to stimulate me into spilling my guts, so to speak…. Besides, I couldn’t find a proper pearl for the beginning of such a somber subject by the time I was ready to write about it…. But, Murphy must have liked the way I dissed myself, because, hunting for an appropriate closer, afterward, I found these two, which, together, make a grand finishing touch for this subject…. Think of them as bookends….

“Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.” — J. C. Watts

Boy, that hits the nail on the head, doesn’t it?…..    I’ve got these two quotes reversed in the order in which they make the most sense, but, given the state of things here, that isn’t surprising, is it?…. This is the one that probably should go at the front of this piece, so, just put it there in your mind, okay? Thanks….. (Note from 2014: Actually, you may, or even should, ignore all of these final comments on the care and placement of pearls, as they are currently out of context, all because the pearl that now graces the front of this discussion is so perfectly suitable….)

“We tell lies when we are afraid, . . . afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.” — Tad Williams, Spoken by Dr. Morgenes, To Green Angel Tower (part of — Memory, Sorrow and Thorn)

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Again, to save others from embarrassment or guilt by association, here is another of my old poems, which, sort of, fits in with today’s elusive theme….

Fine and Good, Good and Fine

A pig in a poke’s got nothing on me,
cuz I’m as confused as a man can be.
This ol’ world’s got me spinnin’ around
cussin’ and spittin’, a penny for a pound.

Forty ‘leven times since I was a kid, well,
I’ve fallen in love, ‘least too close to tell.
Every damn time, it all went to crap,
Forty ‘leven times I’ve felt like a sap.

‘Course, each time it happens, I forget the last;
why not? I’m havin’ such a blast….
Livin’ in each moment, filled with joie de vivre,
’til it’s all gone away again, nothin’ left up my sleeve.

Don’t want y’all to think I’m sad or blue,
life’s full of sorrow, lots for me, and/or you..
T’other side of that coin, we can be glad,
is joyful love, and that ain’t at all bad.

My road’s been littered with parts o’my heart,
each one colored with trust, which ain’t always smart.
Yet, long as I don’t lose my connection to joy,
I’ll find my own true love, and be a happy boy.

It’s been some kinda fun, even when I’d take a fall,
and doin’ it over makes no sense at all, at all
Day after day, I keep on keepin’ on, as it’s said;
Guess I’ll keep on doin’ that ’til I’m dead.

‘Nuff said….

~~ gigoid ~~

….with tongue lodged firmly in cheek….


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

Most days, even if running this late, I would put an old-school pearl here, just to maintain the structure for these Pearls that I think works the best…. Today, though, I just happen to have an archived pearl, somewhat old school, lifted from a Pearl posted back in ‘Aught Twelve’…. I think it’s pretty good, and so do you….

From 10/21/12:

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

— Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) — Just So Stories (1902) “The Elephant’s Child”

I first read the phrase “feeding the Elephant’s Child” in a Robert Heinlein novel, many years ago, and enjoyed it as a metaphor for reading/learning, before I knew from whence it originally came. Once I did know (a moment of illumination whose exact placement in time is hazy….), I liked it even more, from an aesthetic standpoint.

The above little ditty, from our old friend Rudyard, is brilliant doggerel, astute observation, and deep insight, all presented in a simple, straightforward style, with a powerful, basic lesson for any would-be philosopher, or any one who wishes to encompass reason as their modus operandi, so to speak. Besides which, I find that another piece of Bob’s advice fits well with this one, to wit: “Life tastes better in big bites….”

“Never wear anything that panics the cat.” — P. J. O’Rourke

I like this, a lot. It summarizes perhaps one of the most elemental rules of getting along in the Universe, in essence saying, “You can learn a lot by watching what happens around you…” It is the perfect companion to the concept of learning as presented above, as it contrives to speak to both sides of Reality, i.e., how you approach reality (the clothing you choose to show to the cat….) and how reality will change to react to your approach (the cat’s opinion of your clothing….)

It also gives one a subtle warning about how the wrong clothing can produce unwanted consequences, and we all know how an offended cat is likely to respond…. as Mark Twain once remarked…. “A man who carries a cat by the tail is learning valuable things. He will never again be dim or doubtful. Chances are he’ll not carry the cat that way again, but, I say, if he wants to, let him!”  You can’t say fairer than that….

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” — Buddha

One can always trust the Buddha to state the most profound thoughts in the simplest way…. I often wonder how he came to such a complete understanding of Murphy, whose presence is acknowledged in all of what the Buddha stated, but whose ministrations seem to have passed by the Buddha’s existence…. either that, or Murphy shows him a lot more respect than he does anyone else alive.

At times, it seems that what the Buddha states, such as in this statement, is, in at least one respect, an answer to a question that is raised when Murphy intervenes in our lives…. in simpler words, he explains why Murphy is able to affect us as he does, by cutting through the bullshite we perceive, to the truth of what is real….. SIGH…. one of these days, enlightenment will slap me upside the head, and I’ll be able to see Murphy coming…. I hope…

There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke.” — Bob Dylan

Often I feel as if not only is life a joke, but it is our duty and purpose on this plane of existence to codify that joke, to put it down on paper, or on screen/disc, to free ourselves from the prison of sobriety, achieving an understanding that everything in this silly universe is here for our amusement, and we have been taking it, and ourselves, seriously for entirely too long…..

So seriously, we have begun to offend those parts of the universe that just want us to relax and enjoy ourselves, and the time is growing nearer when we will have to admit that the joke is on us, for not being able to change our inner selves enough to be able to handle the humor of our situation…. See, the universe thinks death is funny…. not because it is cruel, but because death is just another part of life, and it doesn’t care about one more than the other…. See, now, isn’t it funny how you never noticed that?…..

I once read a science fiction novel, whose title and author escape me completely; in all it was very poorly written, with prose that did not live up to the good ideas contained in the plot line. However, it was a great plot line, in all….Specifically, there was one chapter I liked, which had a super-genius taking on the task of finding the solution to a mathematical treatise, an equation so complex and advanced that no civilization in the galaxy had ever been able to completely solve it.

The genius/hero of the book shut himself up in his room for three weeks, working on the problem. At the end, he was thinking so hard he entered a trance-like state, computing while nearly dead…. after a week of this, he suddenly opened his eyes, gave a look of astonishment, and burst into uncontrollable laughter for approximately 25 minutes. When he could finally control himself, he simply said, “It’s a joke….” and would never discuss it again….

In a pearl such as this one has grown to be, there comes a time when I have to decide whether to continue on, to try to reach the conclusion that was nebulously hovering somewhere in my mind as I began, or to admit that I have once again wandered into uncharted territory, and might find it a bit tricky to find my way back to clarity.

This is that time…. and I’m leaving it up to Smart Bee, as always…. If I don’t find a proper pearl to carry on the tenuous chain of thought I’ve created, then we’ll take the first one that will appropriately wrap it up as a lost cause….. all within a specified number of attempts…. so, here we go… You’ll know in a moment what will happen….

“In a word, neither death, nor exile, nor pain, nor anything of this kind is the real cause of our doing or not doing any action, but our inward opinions and principles.” — Epictetus (c. 60 AD) — Discourses, Book i, Chap xi

There, see?…. That didn’t take long at all…. and I managed to find the perfect pearl to cover both bases…. In this case, we will use it as an ending quote, since it sort of summarizes a lot of the discussion, after a fashion. It could conceivably also be used as a springboard for further discussion, but this has gone on long enough, and I wouldn’t want to lose anybody due to an injudicious application of excess verbiage, culminating in tedium…. Of course, we may have reached that point some time ago, but, hey, who’s counting?…. Any who, I hope you enjoyed this little foray into not very much….

🙂

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

I have no excuses, nor apologies, at all…. I have succumbed to the dictates of chosen duty, and done the best I can do to make this an acceptable member of a long line of decently written outbursts of personal angst.

Personally, I think it’s not bad, but, I’m probably not the most appropriate judge of that…. and since nobody has suggested I cease and desist, I’ll keep on keepin’ on, for as long as the impulse to write remains strong and fresh….

Y’all can take that any way you like, as either a promise, or a threat…. either way, it’s true, and I’m outta here for another day…. See ya, 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

dozer3

In a clearing, like a box….

 

Ffolkes,
The human mind is a flexible thing….. mine has been hovering around the edge of depression for days now, and nothing that reality provided for consumption had the proper impact to cause it to want to change. Then the mail came yesterday….. Social Security has decided, for some unknown reason, to get at least part way off its duff, and get a move on… I received the package from them that I’ve been awaiting since May 11 of this year, when my lawyer filed the appeal of their initial negative decision.

What I received is, of course, another demand for information, to be coughed up by me in the shortest amount of time they can give…. get this….. after delaying the assignment of my case to an analyst for close to five months (!!!) they now demand I supply them with three complicated forms full of information on my condition, (from myself and up to three other people….) in ten days! Actually, only seven days are given, because the letter was dated three days before I got it…..  typical federal bureaucratic behavior…..

But, it’s here! This means that one period of waiting is done, and once these forms are submitted, I’m into the (hopefully) last period, up to three months, of waiting for a decision…. If it’s negative, well, off to court…. but, if positive, then I’ll be all fixed by Christmas, or New Year’s at the latest….. so I’m trying to control myself from dancing a jig, and shouting off the roof tops, as one might imagine…. Don’t want to get my hopes up too far…. it can be long fall if Murphy takes a hand, and he’s well-known around these parts. Instead, I’m trying to pretend it is just another delay; not working, though, because I’m still giddy…,

So, I’m going to distract myself with writing for a time….. Shall we Pearl?……

I can’t be humble — it’s just not honest. — Smart Bee  {Calm down, calm down…. it’s a joke, right?….. Sheesh, and people wonder why we are so shy about sharing?…..}
__________________________________

Possunt quia posse videntur. (They can because they think they can.) — Virgil (70-19 BC), Aeneid, v

On the fictional planet of Pern, there be dragons. These dragons, the creation of Anne McCaffrey, are fire-breathing, and adept fliers, as all dragons should be, coming in a variety of colors, each of which has to do with its social status in dragon society. At birth, the dragons are bonded with a human, who lives with them, rides them into battle, and sees to the health and welfare of their bond-mate. The dragons of Pern have two characteristics which are special to them on their planet…. First, they can teleport, moving from one point in space to another in virtually no time. Second, they are capable of lifting “whatever they believe they can lift” even though it may not be reasonable to assume, given the size of the dragon, and the size of the load to be lifted. If the dragon believes it can, it can…..

This characteristic is only important to them as part of a plot design by the author, in which this talent is used to help solve a technical problem that faces the planet, placing it at extreme risk. But, in reality, the same characteristic may be shown to be present in humans, in this respect…. what we believe we can do, we can do. It has always been thus, throughout history, (as noted in the above statement from Virgil in the Aeneid….) and remains one of mankind’s most powerfully useful characteristics, for those who learn to utilize this elusive talent.

“A man can do all things if he but wills them.” — Leon Battista Alberti

Sound familiar? It should; it is virtually identical in meaning to the first quote.  Alberti sounds like a more modern name than Virgil, so it seems that the concept has been a common theme throughout history, and remains so now. Everyone has heard the amazing stories of human accomplishments that seem outrageously unreal. People lifting cars off of loved ones. People climbing the sheer face of a cliff a half-mile high, with no ropes or tools. Soldiers carrying a wounded comrade miles and miles while wounded themselves. A man in the mid-1800’s is documented to have survived a bear attack, and crawled hundreds of miles through wilderness to reach his home, alive.

     Many more stories are included in the complete lexicon of human experience. Some of the feats are planned, or trained for; some are the result of instinctive reaction to extreme danger, or need. But, in each story, the common element that remains when the separate circumstances are removed from consideration, is that of the depth and strength of human will…..

The will is not a simple tool; it is not like other talents humans possess. To be its most effective, it must not only be practiced and strengthened by use, but it must be nourished, by experience and motivation, that can only come with life and learning. Those who have chosen their Duty are much more likely to have used it as motivation to strengthen and harden their will to act, than are those who try to act from disorganized, or motivations ignorant of any moral or ethical direction. Like any strength, it can be abused by humans; fanatics have a very strong will, sometimes, at least in their intent to hold on to their delusional beliefs. It has been said that a fanatic is one who redoubles their efforts when they cannot recall or justify their original intent, and that takes a lot of will. But then, karma usually takes care of that particular problem, as they end up reaping the whirlwind that their ignorance gains them…..

This is a subject that needs, nay, is worthy of, further discussion, but reality calls (you know, stuff that CAN’T wait…. stupid Murphy…. bloody feds….), and it will have to wait for another day…. I’ll put it on my calendar for a couple days from now…. please feel free to come on back and see where this takes us, as I meander through whatever occurs to me between now and then…. until then… onward….
__________________________________

Considering what I’ve been through this morning, this seemed just the right poem, and I had an urge for Emily, anyway…. enjoy! (Not you, Shawna…. you may go on to the next section, if you wish….  🙂   )

A narrow fellow in the grass
Occasionally rides;
You may have met him,–did you not,
His notice sudden is.

The grass divides as with a comb,
A spotted shaft is seen;
And then it closes at your feet
And opens further on.

He likes a boggy acre,
A floor too cool for corn.
Yet when a child, and barefoot,
I more than once, at morn,

Have passed, I thought, a whip-lash
Unbraiding in the sun,–
When, stooping to secure it,
It wrinkled, and was gone.

Several of nature’s people
I know, and they know me;
I feel for them a transport
Of cordiality;

But never met this fellow,
Attended or alone,
Without a tighter breathing,
And zero at the bone.

~~ Emily Dickinson
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“Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle. Some things are within your control. And some things are not. — Epictetus

This statement, and its reappearance in front of me at this exact moment in time, reminded me of why I do this. Making Pearls. Reading, and serendipitously finding a piece of wisdom from a sage of past age that speaks directly to me and my current status in re: dealing with reality without biting myself or anyone else….. Since the start of the morning, to this point, my thoughts and emotions were unreasonably and unexpectedly dragged along on a roller-coaster ride of some proportions, courtesy of, well, let’s just say, a party that I had not expected to be forced to consider as a liability. In fact, I had every expectation of the opposite.

Then, Eureka! On seeing this quote pop up, I realized that my morning’s distress was exactly what I deserved for expecting…. anything. My expectation of how reality would behave is the only problem; without it, I would not be upset… As I’m accustomed to regular adjustment and deletion of expectations, I have now done so….

So, thank you, Epictetus, for saving me from my own folly….. now, I can get on with the day…..
__________________________________

All things considered, this didn’t come out so badly…. and it will have to do. So be 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!

 

Old~new dogs~tricks…..

Ffolkes,
Good morning, I hope…. let’s jump right in….

“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly.  It should be thrown with great force.” — Dorothy Parker

Fortunately for all concerned at this point, I haven’t. Yet. Written a novel. I’ve written enough in the past 10 months to fill the pages of at least three of them, all about 400 pages, but, it’s not a novel, nor, as I think of it now, is it very novel…. sorry….. But, that right there, that pun, even though it wasn’t deliberate, is a good indicator of what I feel right now, in re: what Ms. Parker said above, if applied to my novel of Pearls over the last near-year. In looking over the previous efforts this month, I note a distinct decline in quality. You may not have noticed it, but it is there, to my eye….

Said decline may or may not be connected to the concomitant increase in the personal nature of what I’ve chosen to write; it’s hard to tell without a full introspective overhaul. Sometimes though, going with what is felt, without too much close examination, doesn’t seem such a bad choice upon which to base bending to change….

I mean, change will happen, no matter what choice I make, so it seems a good idea to be proactive, in a sense, and make some changes in myself, or in my approach to certain matters. After all, I’m the only one who can change me, and I am also the only thing in the universe I can change. May as well take advantage of those immutable principles….

Hence, I’m changing the face of the Pearls of Virtual Wisdom. Again. It isn’t the first time; over the 12 or 13 years I’ve been putting them together on a pretty much daily basis, first while at work,then from home, I’ve gone through several procedural and structural morphs.

It all started with one pearl, and one short comment a day, and has grown to an average of 1800 words a day, with five pearls as base material. I think I’ve reached the maximum benefit I can derive by making them so long each day, so I’m cutting back a bit, starting today, and will present only three pearls a day, and give them my best shot, whatever form that may take, prose or verse….

In addition, pearls will be expanded to include more pictures, some with text, some with, well, other stuff…. about which I will either say “Aww!”, or write a haiku, or a short essay, or a rant, or whatever strikes me (not a change, but a change in stimuli….)…. No harm in trying to add some color to my day, and yours…. So, Gentle Reader, settle back, and gird your grid for a new experience…. at least, new to this blog… Shall we explore consensual reality together?…. A’Pearling we shall go….
___________________________________    Friendship is a wonderful thing; saying so is pretty obvious and trite, but nonetheless true for that. And we all know that to have a friend, one must BE a friend. This attitude, of being open to the kind of things that friends do, is especially important when one is in a place far away from those friends, when they are not there to lean on, or to help…. In life we travel, we drift apart, we follow our own paths, but our friends are always with us, even if only in our hearts… And in those times we are alone, being open to friendship can save not only your sanity, but your life….    I have friends who would do all of the things listed under the real friends category; not just would do, but have…. It’s been a while since I was in a dog pile with them, and doing so now would probably put us all in traction, but the rest of it is all true and has happened in the not so distant past. It feels good to know that I am still in touch with at least five people who used to call my folks Mom and Dad…. Mitt Romney can keep his $250 million net worth; of the two of us, I am the truly wealthy one…..
___________________________________

“…it still remains true that as a set of cognitive beliefs about the existence of God in any recognizable sense continuous with the great systems of the past, religious doctrines constitute a speculative hypothesis of an extremely low order of probability.” — Sidney Hook

Mr. Hook gives us here a long-winded, Shakespearean statement about the existence of God that probably would better have been left at “Not bloody likely!”…. Both get the same point across, but the latter has more punch, as the listener doesn’t have to spend all that time trying to first figure out what the hell he said….

It is a very good statement, in its way; accurate, logical, and with a proper reservation of judgment, proclaiming the idiocy of buying into such an implausible story without being snide about it. But, as mentioned, it reminds me of a certain author, who shall now remain unnamed, who had the same habit when he wrote, to wit: “HEY! Lets cover up what this means with a bunch of extra words that will make the reader’s head spin with admiration….”.

Now, as one who writes (or types, anyway…. who’s to say whether it is writing?….), I tend to agree with Twain’s method of prose, which is spare, and attempts to pare down what is written to its barest bones, leaving nothing but meaning and style; as with golf, one is trying for the lowest score. Twain, Hemingway, Steinbeck, all believed that good writing should be accessible, and clear, without having to be translated, or put into simpler terms, and Mr. Hook would have done better, I think, to keep that in mind. The idea he is promulgating is one that does need to be spread around, and should stimulate discussion. In its present form, it will only do that amongst the few readers and folks who can easily make out what he is talking about in this over-blown statement….

The idea he is expressing here is one that is generally discouraged by those in leadership positions in modern religions. Discussing the veracity of the claims that religion makes is not encouraged by any of the sects I know of; in fact, doing so tends to produce some rather volatile reactions, to put it mildly. Most folks have a hard time maintaining their cool when their religious beliefs are challenged, due, I think, to the strong emotional connection they add to those beliefs.

Their feelings are so tied into those beliefs that, in their minds, questioning one is the same as attacking the other….. Not logical, but true nonetheless, and not a good thing to leave out of one’s calculations; I never discuss religion without being rather heavily armed…. and not only with knowledge….

Here’s the thing that bothers me about the whole concept of an omnipotent entity…. How can we, who are not omnipotent, claim to understand either the actual form of a God, or the motivation of such a being? How can we claim to be certain that this omnipotent entity, capable of creating an entire universe, not only looks just like us, but actually wants us to bow down and worship Him, or Her, or It? Even when I was five years old, nobody could, or would, answer that question, other than to say, “because it’s in the Bible.” Even then, I recognized when I was being put off, and it just made me wonder more….

Certainty is only a symptom of lack of imagination. — Smart Bee

Over time, as my knowledge of the world grew, I came to realize that the entire system is just another man-made institution, with the whole purpose of taking advantage of, and controlling, the general run of folks who are just trying to get by in life. I learned that the louder a person proclaims himself to be a Christian, the less like Christ they act. Being “safe in the arms of Jesus” is the perfect excuse to deny any responsibility for one’s own acts of immorality; Jesus forgives everything, right? Well, he does…. it says so right here in the New Testament, so it must be true….

“Our father who art in heaven..  I sincerely pray that SOMEBODY at this table will PAY for my SHREDDED WHAT and ENGLISH MUFFIN.. and also leave a GENEROUS TIP…” — Zippy the Pinhead

I don’t claim to know God. I don’t know how God looks. I don’t know what God thinks, or even if what that entity does can be called thinking at all. I’m not omnipotent, so I have no frame of reference from which to approach such a question. I do know this, though…. whatever anyone says about God is bound to be wrong. It has to be; there is no way for us to understand anything about such a creature, not if we are to assume they are truly gods. If they are gods, or God, then I refuse to believe that what is important to me as a human is important to them; it just doesn’t make any logical sense. None….

ZEUS, n.  The chief of Grecian gods, adored by the Romans as Jupiter and by the modern Americans as God, Gold, Mob and Dog.  Some explorers who have touched upon the shores of America, and one who professes to have penetrated a considerable distance to the interior, have thought that these four names stand for as many distinct deities, but in his monumental work on Surviving Faiths, Frump insists that the natives are monotheists, each having no other god than himself, whom he worships under many sacred names. — Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary”

Looking at a Universe without God doesn’t scare me…. I think it is quite beautiful, no matter how it came to exist. Knowing one way or another how it was created, or happened, or evolved, or whatever, isn’t important to me, in either the short, or the long run. Learning about it, experiencing its joys and trials, appreciating both its gifts and its penalties, these are much more important. Do your Duty. Honor the Truth. Respect Life. Share your Love. I don’t think that God needs my approval, or my worship in order for the universe to carry on…. it’s just fine the way it is…..

“There are no physicists in the hottest parts of hell, because the existence of a hottest part implies a temperature difference, and any marginally competent physicist would immediately use this to run a heat engine and make some other part of hell comfortably cool. This is obviously impossible.” — Richard Davidson
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Okay, enough of being serious…. here we have another find from Facebook, where all of today’s images were found…. it needs no explanation….___________________________________

There you have it… the freshest Pearl you can find, just for you…. I love it when a plan comes together…. Well, sort of together…. it’s still over 1800 words….SIGH….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!


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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~~~//\\_~~//\\_~       ~(\_\_\_\)
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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!

The Allure of Fuddy Duddy……

Ffolkes,
As life passes,
dressed in illusions of grace,
we sit upon our thrones of offal,
ignoring the smell in favor of delusion,
twisted souls blighted by ignorance, laughing,
oblivious to impending doom, until the end………

Perhaps it isn’t great poetry, but it works for me…..up early today, a natural result of going to bed early, & thought I’d try my hand at a line or two….no rhyming going on, but not a bad data compression ratio. Who knows, maybe one day all I learned sophomore year of high school about iambic pentameter will come back to me, and I’ll become a famous poet. Stranger things have happened, for sure….meantime, lets discuss some heavy s__t…..

“Yes, evil comes in many forms, whether it be a man-eating cow or Joseph Stalin, but you can’t let the package hide the pudding! Evil is just plain bad! You don’t cotton to it. You gotta smack it in the nose with the rolled-up newspaper of goodness! Bad dog. Bad dog.” — The Tick

Throughout history, literature, and the people who create it, have been the gadflies of society. Teaching morals and customs through humorous stories and fables goes back to the time even before the Greeks began producing theater, bringing us stories and plays that were both humorous and dramatic, passing on to later generations the public mindset that was prevalent at the time. Prior to theaters and formalized acting out of plays, minstrels and bards, often nomadic, were responsible for the passing on of knowledge to the next generation, teaching nursery rhymes to children, and singing the news to the adults.

     In the 19th century, the advancement in technology for the writing down of history, law, culture, etc. had gotten to the point that books could be produced fairly cheaply. Newspapers were even cheaper, and were able to carry the news from far away even more efficiently. It was about this era when political cartoons made their way into the consciousness of society at large, and cartoons became one more very powerful method for transmitting vitally important information to large numbers of people all at once. This has had some good effects, and some not so good…..


The primary effect, of course, is the ability of cartoon media to spread information to large numbers of people. People have learned to use the information presented there since childhood, from reading comics in the newspaper to watching Saturday morning cartoons all their lives, and have become accustomed to processing the information given in that format with no difficulty. In fact, I have observed that people will often trust a cartoon figure more than a live one, having a greater degree of confidence that they will get a straight answer from the cartoon, while the live person may lie. But the trust that people feel for cartoons carries over as well, and a great deal of information is now given using a “talking head” format. This format is what you see almost everywhere on TV, where a person’s head and shoulders are shown as they deliver some piece of news, or concept, or documentary; it has been refined over the years until today, we very seldom even think about it.


And that is the bad effect…..people have come to trust the talking heads, to believe that what they tell us is the truth, when in fact, probably more than 50% of what you see presented is a lie, always presented in such a fashion as to have us believe it is true, when it is not. Everything you see on TV, especially commercials, is intended to make you think a certain way, to believe certain things are true. There is even a name for the process, called putting the ‘spin’ on truth, meaning to twist and turn the truth into such a shape that it looks true, but is not. This misplaced trust is one of Evil’s most powerful tools, for it gives those who would do us harm a clear path into the control center of public consciousness, where they can adjust belief at their whim. It allows the PTB (Powers That Be) to control what the public hears, and how they hear it. “True power is control of the routes of perception.” — gigoid.


What is the answer to fighting this usurpation of the truth by our beloved ruling class? It lies in the same information media in which it is secured, with a small twist to the other direction. Parody and caricature, when applied by an artist of wit and style, can prick the balloon of lies we are given, and watch them shrivel, their demise hastened by our laughter. The Tick, whose philosophy is summarized above, is a good example of how the literati in society may fight back against the forces of darkness. Sheathed in apparent idiocy, the Tick blunders through the universe righting wrongs, because his heart is pure, and his writers are genius. Fortunately, though the percentage of humanity that sees the truth and brings it to light is small indeed, it has the advantage of the use of the same tool used by those whose self-interest is of primary importance. Used properly, we can laugh those nasty suckers right out of power……

When I’m not thank’d at all, I’m thank’d enough;
I’ve done my duty, and I’ve done no more.
— Henry Fielding (1707-1754)
— Tom Thumb the Great, Act i, Sc. 3

Duty is a word whose meaning has been somewhat obscured in this last century. Before about 1950 or 60, people in this country understood the word, and it’s true meaning. That understanding is what drove the millions of men who volunteered to go to war in WWII and Korea. These men assumed their duty to protect their home and families, and had no expectation of any reward beyond staying alive (the possibility of death is trivial to any man whose life is based on honor). Those men CHOSE to go to war; no threat was needed to obtain recruits. An army of volunteers is much more powerful and dangerous than one comprised of conscripts, a point proven by the war’s outcome.


But somewhere along the line, the concept of duty got perverted, and people apparently came to accept that government had the right to determine what our duty is, without consultation or consent from us. Duty is defined in most dictionaries as “moral obligation”, and as such is an obligation we must decide for ourselves whether or not to assume. No government is either responsible for, nor entitled to dictate, my morals, or anyone else’s.

     Morals are based on our personal beliefs, and as such is not subject to governmental authority. Hell, I don’t even give a religion that power; my morals are mine, and are not the business of anyone else, unless I choose to share them. You can rest assured, I will never allow any government, or church, or any other person to determine my duty for me. Only I make that choice, and any who would try to take that decision away from me should beware…..I get testy…..

“Noise proves nothing.  Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid.” — Mark Twain

I included this one as a light-hearted attempt at describing the current political scene here in the good ol’ USA, After a few moments though, what I thought about it looked as if it would be good for a couple thousand words all by itself, and though I got an early start on the day, that may be a bit much. So, we’ll just let it speak for itself, and I will merely point out the tendency of Ms. Bachmann, Mr. Cain, Mr. Perry, Mr. Hunt, Mr. Romney, et al, to insist on giving us a daily report on how many asteroids they have laid in the past week…..

On that note, I will bid thee adieu. I hope my verbosity didn’t put anyone off, but hey, if you think it’s too much, just let me know, ‘kay? In the meantime, y’all take care out there……


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!