Softer explosions seem to be our only option….

Ffolkes,

It’s odd, getting enough sleep….. It is, sadly, an event that has been mostly absent from my life for years, and I thought I’d learned to do without it…. which is what we humans do when we give up fighting against our fate, becoming resigned to whatever it is we have in life that brings us our own brand of pain and/or misery….. We reach a point where the effort to mitigate our lot, becomes more painful than simply enduring, whatever it may be that troubles us…. It isn’t particularly the most logical, or most effective method we have of dealing with life, but, it certainly can be described as typically human….

Since my humanity is no longer in question, I suppose I’d best turn my hand to putting some pizazz into this introduction…. Yesterday, as you know if you stopped by, I went with a fictional opening comprised of a series of nonsense statements tenuously connected to each other by dubious associations and/or completely oppositional connective linguistic methodology…. You know….  gibberish, as it used to be called back in the day, on the streets…. You know me, I’m not afraid to stuff conventional English in the dumpster, and set off into the wilds of illogic and/or irreverence…. As long as what I’m saying comes across with the correct message, I’m good with however it looks, or sounds, for that matter….

That being said, it still doesn’t get this one done…. Of course, I’ve now blathered for going on three paragraphs, which is NEARLY enough to call complete, but, I don’t believe that’s going to quite fill the bill, even with the prior dispensation certificate I managed to score from the last Inspector who came by….. The whole lobby was torn apart, and we had to operate all day without any bladder-relief facilities closer than two blocks away, at the neighborhood gas station/mini-mart, so I think he felt sorry for us…. I don’t care, I’ve got the certificate in hand, and I think we might have to use it today, if I can’t think of anything else to do….

Oh, wait, I don’t have to do that…. I can use Emergency Technique #4, I forgot…. Okay, we’ll go with that for now…. I know, it’s not my favorite either, but, it ALWAYS works to get the intro section done in a timely fashion…. Therefore….

Shall we Pearl?…..

“To stay young requires unceasing cultivation of the ability to unlearn old falsehoods.” — Lazarus Long, from Robert A. Heinlein’s “Time Enough For Love”
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“If Patrick Henry thought that taxation without representation was bad, he should see how bad it is WITH representation.” — Smart Bee

http://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/Obama-to-propose-ending-NSA-s-phone-call-sweep-5345715.php

So…. I’m feeling GOOD! (Odd, but true….) Shall we rant?…..

If I’m to believe this article’s headline, Barry says he wants the NSA to stop being bad boys, and play nice with the rest of us….. I believe I’ll wait to see if any of this really happens before I break out the champagne…. This president, I’m sorry to say, has developed a particularly nasty habit, over the course of his time in office, of playing fast and loose with the truth, a tendency which, when observed in the past, in EVERY other psychopathic resident of his position, only becomes worse the longer the perpetrators believe they’re getting away with it…. When action is overdue, talk is cheap…

Due to my intense disappointment in his actions thus far during his administration, I’ll save my trust for later, when… no, IF I see ANY of his statements come to pass, in truth…. If, as I suspect, all goes according to historical example, we’ll see some superficial posturing by the White House pundits, that might eventually get around to SUGGESTING some changes that should be made….. But, none will actually occur in reality, and any real discussion will get bogged down in committee…. Meantime, the media will find some other outrageous issue to distract them from ever following up to see if anything happens along the lines of actual reform…

Now I’ll finish reading the article, & see how my prediction fared…. Ah, I see now…. Upon reading it through to the end, I came across the key phrase, the one indicating the real strategy behind the White House announcement…. to wit: “The president’s plan, however, relies on Congress to pass legislation — something that has so far seemed unlikely.”

Immediately upon reading this, my crap detector went off, with a loud “AHA!”, (inadvertently sending the cat flying across the room to hide in the plants, thinking I was about to come after her for something she did, no doubt…. she has a guilty conscience, I’m sure…. Right….. I’d believe that…. if I believed she had one at all….), when I realized I knew, now, just WHY Barry is adopting this stance, at least, if you believe what he says here…. which, understandably, I’m  now having a hard time doing….

If he just leaves it up to Congress, it’s a foregone conclusion nothing will be done ….. Not by THIS one…. The current Congress has been, for the last three years, at least, the absolute worst one, EVER, for getting anything actually DONE…. This includes ALL of the past elections of congress we’ve seen in our history… I shit you not, this Congress has passed fewer laws, and had fewer bills presented at all, than ANY previous sitting of that august body, by a factor of about 8….. They’re determined to be known as the newest holder of the title of “Do-Nothing Congress”, formerly held by one in the early, or late, 20th century, I believe….

(Side note: This, of course, can be attributed to the Republican majority in the House of Representatives…. The party’s pundits, all older, white, Christian conservatives, determined, and stated in public, soon after Obama was elected, that their entire focus for the time he is in office would be to ensure that NONE of his legislative reforms ever took place, or made it into law…. It didn’t matter to them whether or not any of his programs would actually HELP the citizenry they represent; they were determined to undermine every reform he attempted….

For the most part, they’ve been successful in allowing NOTHING, or, nothing much, anyway, to get done…. all because of their unstated, but obvious, bigoted fear of the black man in the White House, an affront to their sense of Caucasian entitlement, not to mention the severe blow to their sense of reality…. They hadn’t even noticed when they ceased to be the majority in the real world….)

After reading the entire article, I find my prediction confirmed…. This announcement is just another stall tactic, one designed to give the impression to the public that something is happening, when nothing actually IS happening, or GOING to happen, other than business as usual for the spy agencies, who have continued ALL of the activities of espionage they are accused of carrying out…. The government has absolutely no intention of giving up their new toys, and they will continue to lie their little faces off to keep that from becoming public knowledge….

The NSA is STILL spying on the citizens of every nation of the whole world, including their own citizens, without ever having actually slowed down, or ceased ANY of the programs they’ve begun…. If you actually believe it when they tell you they have, well, then, you deserve to have them in your face…. Sorry, ffolkes, but, it’s just plain STUPID to believe these people are going to tell us ANYTHING they don’t WANT us to know….

Oh, every once in a while, we’ll see in the news they’ve sent one of their lackeys chiefs to Congress to discuss issues, or make statements, none of which actually address anything relevant…. they’re just making more smoke….. In the process, nothing is actually being done to stop them at all, not by Congress, not by the Courts, and certainly not by the White House…. No, it’s all just smoke, ffolkes, sent up to get in your eyes, trying to make you think they’re listening to your concerns…..

Right…. sure they are….. I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you, but, to these myrmidons of the shadowy corporate masters, your concerns are something to be used against you, to fan your fears of the “unknown other”, while simultaneously listening to your every spoken word over the airwaves…. Whatever they tell you they aren’t doing, or can’t do…. well, ffolkes, the smart money says they are not only capable of everything we suspect of them, but are already beyond that level, and are capable of far worse…. Count on it…. Not only are they lying about what they are doing, they are lying about what they CAN do…. which we will ONLY find out when we find the police at our door…..

Think about it, ffolkes!….. When you break down the walls between yourself and the truth, and really THINK about their purpose, the bottom line concept of their given task as spies, LYING, especially about what they are doing in the dark, away from the public eye, is an important part of their JOB!…. And, guess what? They’re good at it….

I hate to be such a curmudgeon about all of this, but, the evidence just keeps pushing me back into that mode, pissed off and ready to start picking off real targets, instead of merely suggesting them…. If you couldn’t tell, I think I pissed myself off…. I’d better go now, before I get REALLY worked up, and can’t find my way out of this rant…..

“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.” — Eisenhower, First Inaugural Address January 20, 1953

“I don’t mind being in touch with reality, as long as I don’t have to live there.” — Smart Bee, channeling gigoid again
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This poem is a new one to me, though I’ve heard of this poet…. I like it, if for no other reason than it rhymes well…. Since my pleasure is the only real requirement necessary for inclusion…. Enjoy!…..

A Grain Of Sand

If starry space no limit knows
And sun succeeds to sun,
There is no reason to suppose
Our earth the only one.
‘Mid countless constellations cast
A million worlds may be,
With each a God to bless or blast
And steer to destiny.

Just think! A million gods or so
To guide each vital stream,
With over all to boss the show
A Deity supreme.
Such magnitudes oppress my mind;
From cosmic space it swings;
So ultimately glad to find
Relief in little things.

For look! Within my hollow hand,
While round the earth careens,
I hold a single grain of sand
And wonder what it means.
Ah! If I had the eyes to see,
And brain to understand,
I think Life’s mystery might be
Solved in this grain of sand.

~~ Robert William Service ~~

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Many mornings around here I try to vary our usual routine, as much as possible, lest it become stale, or begin to decay, thus becoming difficult to use due to the smell…. Today, I’ve stuck to the norm, so far as there is one, so it becomes obvious that here will be an old-school pearl, because that’s the way we do it…. No other reason would do as well, so it’s fortunate we have it, now, isn’t it? You bet….

I can’t yet say that I know what the parameters might be…. I’ve managed to get this far into this Pearl without really waking up fully, or achieving anything resembling a normal train of thought…. Much of the above rant was composed yesterday, when I first found the article; this morning all I had to do was punch it up, and add my newer thoughts and comments…. Of course, we NEVER DO board any train of thought without first having gone well beyond the boundaries of decency, so, what the hell…. I’m going for it….. Wish me luck, I think I might need it more than I’d hoped….

“I’m a GENIUS!  I want to dispute sentence structure with SUSAN SONTAG!!” — Zippy the Pinhead

“The materials of action are variable, but the use we make of them should be constant.” — Epictetus (c. 60 AD) — How Nobleness of Mind may be consistent with Prudence, — Discourses, Book ii, Chap. v

“A man with a watch knows what time it is.  A man with two watches is never sure.” — Segall’s Law

“The voice of protest, of warning, of appeal is never more needed than when the clamor of fife and drum, echoed by the press and too often by the pulpit, is bidding all men fall in step and obey in silence the tyrannous word of command. Then, more than ever, it is the duty of the good citizen not to be silent.” — Charles Eliot Norton, True Patriotism, 1898

” When two tigers fight, one is certain to be maimed, and one to die.” — Master Funakoshi

“The wise man learns more from his enemies than a fool does from his friends.” — Chinese Proverb

“He that plants thorns must never expect to gather roses.” — Pilpay (or Bidpai) — The Ignorant Physician, Chap. iii, Fable viii

Hmm…. parameters or not, this came out rather well, I think…. Time will tell, I suppose, as it always does….
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Having thus disposed of another day’s worth of built up mental dross, thus lending strength to the street definition of “mental”, I shall bring this to a graceful, elegant close, with the sincere hope that nobody received any injuries that need treatment, or undue, excessive blotches on their clothing…. sarcasm can be hard to wash out….

I trust anyone who DOES have a complaint will take it up with the local authorities…. Tell them, this time, send a bigger constable…. my garden needs fertilizer…. See ya tomorrow, ffolkes, provided I haven’t offended anyone official….

In my defense, I do try to stick to the verifiable truth, so, if they wish to see themselves in what I write, well…. so be it… gigoid has spoken, again… Ta then….

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

Use the lug nuts we softened yesterday….

Ffolkes,
Celebration is called for, if not demanded…. I woke up, again (an event that becomes more significant each day….), but this time, I looked over at the clock to find that I had actually slept longer than I had thought, not less. It was actually past five in the morning, by a goodly number of minutes, and even my making it past 9:30 pm last night for the first time in ages doesn’t account for it…. But, I don’t care why, it just feels good, so I’m going to spend the day celebrating my return to near-normalcy, and try to figure out how it happened, so I can make it happen again tonight, and from now on….

Probably wishful thinking, but everyone needs a goal, right? For the nonce, it will have to do, as it also presents me with a blank page again, and no idea what to do about it, other than my usual blather. That seems to be working just fine, but, I can’t depend on it to produce an entire pearl, not if I still want any readers at the end of it. Of course, the number of readers I’m attracting is again on the decline, so I’m not sure if anything will work, other than sheer nonsense and/or sheer brilliance…. This morning, I’m pretty certain the former is within reach; the latter may be too much to expect right now….

Not that I’d necessarily even recognize brilliance, even if it walked up and slapped me, but it would be nice to see some of it around here now and again, just to give me a reason to come back and do it again. Writing this way seems to be a bit like the game of golf…. It’s harder than it looks, it takes more time than one would expect to learn how to do it right, and the payoff isn’t very exciting. Still, like golf, one good poem, or one good rant, or one great group of pearls is enough to get me back out here again each day, just like one good fairway drive, or, one long putt that drops in for a birdie, will bring us back out to the links next week….. It doesn’t take much….

There is an old piece of wisdom somewhere that talks about how the longest journey begins with one step (it’s actually from the Tao Teh Ching, by Lao Tzu….), and it applies about as universally as anything can…. so, naturally, it applies here. This Pearl isn’t going to get done until I quit screwing around, and start writing, or at least cruising for pearls to include, or to stimulate, so I once again have to put aside my fantasies and get down to the actual work involved with creating a Daily Pearl of Virtual Wisdom, such as it is….. which isn’t going to happen, until now….. Shall we Pearl?…..
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“I believe and I say it is true Democratic feeling, that all the measures of the Government are directed to the purpose of making the rich richer and the poor poorer.” — William Henry Harrison

Well, duh….. As I get older, this principle, or, this observation of a principle, becomes more obvious, and less surprising. I first began to question government back around 1957 or so, the first time I ever got a look at Dicky Nixon, when he was running for VP behind Eisenhower. Even at that tender age, I couldn’t figure out why this man was so famous and admired; he looked like he wore too much Brylcream (a brand name hair grease in 1957…) in his hair, and he smiled way too much…. Any kid under 10 is leery of adults who smile like that; they know it’s false bonhomie (though generally without knowing the word ‘bonhomie’ itself….), and generally avoid such adults at any cost, even to the point of speaking out, to say something like “Don’t touch me with that!”, when asked to shake their hand….. because we saw them run it over their slicked back hair, and didn’t want the grease all over our own hands….

It’s been a while since I wrote a politirant… This isn’t because the politicians have been idle, far from it. They are busily carrying on the agendas of their corporate masters and the BRC, weakening social programs, giving money to the rich and powerful, distracting the public with miscellaneous bullshit while they transfer more money to their own pockets, and go about their true business of making money off the rest of humanity. No, I’ve just been too satisfied with my own lot to work up sufficient outrage, since my own actions right now are feeding into that whole trained consumer scenario, while I make up for the poverty of my existence over the last three years….

I know, it’s a little hypocritical of me, but, I don’t really care much what others think about it. All my life I’ve worked hard to get to where I am today, even if I’m a bit less capable, physically, than I had planned to be at this stage, and I don’t really give a shit if other folks don’t approve of how I’m living my life. I’m doing just exactly what I want to do, much as I always have done, and will continue to do so as long as I can. Some of what I want to do requires that I engage in dealings with the BRC, politicians, and corporate slaves, and do so without biting off their appendages, because they are such gits….. Sociopathic gits, but gits nonetheless….

“Finding the occasional straw of truth awash in a great ocean of confusion and bamboozle requires intelligence, vigilance, dedication and courage.  But if we don’t practice these tough habits of thought, we cannot hope to solve the truly serious problems that face us — and we risk becoming a nation of suckers, up for grabs by the next charlatan who comes along.” — Carl Sagan, “The Fine Art of Baloney Detection,” Parade, February 1, 1987

In another sense, I’ve about given up…. Over the last three years or so, or just over two years of writing daily in this blog, I’ve ranted and raged against the machine on a regular basis, sometimes with a lot of vitriol and energy, which is completely justified, when one considers just how much the ruling classes act like vicious animals more than people…..

But, no matter how often, or how much, or how well I write, none of it makes a dent in the facade of respectability that cloaks those in positions of elected authority in this country. These politicians have been getting away with criminal acts for so long, by the old “make the laws ourselves” method, which makes their thievery legal, that they now believe it is their God-given right to plunder the public treasury, looking upon the structure of income in government like their own bank….

I’ve managed to acquire a comfortable retirement income, between my almost 30 years working for the State of California, and putting money into their retirement system, and by putting money into Social Security for over 50 years. Together, it gives me enough room to breathe, financially, for one of the first times in my life, and to be honest, I’m enjoying it, little as I like money, or its demands on our psyches.

Or, I guess it would be more accurate to say, I’m enjoying what money can do, when one has enough of it to be able to think beyond necessity. Unfortunately for my angst, or perhaps, fortunately, this leaves me without the depth of feeling needed to rant successfully… It’s like Voldemort told Harry, in HP 5:TOOTP, “You’ve got to MEAN it, Harry!”, referring to using the Cruciatus Curse correctly…..

So, I’ll just say this…. Politics is poopadoodle, and politicians are all assholes…. I can’t put it more simply, or more effectively than that. Anyone who WANTS to be in an elected position of authority in this world is, in my mind, insane, by definition. It takes a strong degree of insanity to WANT that kind of power over others, and it takes a sociopathic, rationalizing sort of mind to be able to steal from the rest of mankind without suffering a single pang of conscience… The same goes for the bankers, and the preachers, and the police, mostly, and for anyone else who makes a habit of fucking over other people….

Sadly, that’s a large percentage of mankind that preys on the rest, and they’ve been practicing for oh, about twenty-thousand years now, ever since people started to hang together in groups, and came up with the concept of barter, and/or money…. Ever since then, people have been trying to figure out new and improved methods of getting an advantage over their peers, using these concepts….. the rest we call History…..

“You have the right to remain an idiot.” — Smart Bee
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I suppose that a mild rant such as the above is sufficient reason to feel as befuddled and bemused as I do…. Enough so I am picking today’s poem from that position, going with what appeals to that sense of bemusement….. and this is perfect for that…. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did….

I dreaded that first robin so,
But he is mastered now,
And I’m accustomed to him grown,–
He hurts a little, though.

I thought if I could only live
Till that first shout got by,
Not all pianos in the woods
Had power to mangle me.

I dared not meet the daffodils,
For fear their yellow gown
Would pierce me with a fashion
So foreign to my own.

I wished the grass would hurry,
So when ‘t was time to see,
He’d be too tall, the tallest one
Could stretch to look at me.

I could not bear the bees should come,
I wished they’d stay away
In those dim countries where they go:
What word had they for me?

They’re here, though; not a creature failed,
No blossom stayed away
In gentle deference to me,
The Queen of Calvary.

Each one salutes me as he goes,
And I my childish plumes
Lift, in bereaved acknowledgment
Of their unthinking drums.

~~ Emily Dickinson ~~

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Well, here’s the deal…. One last old-school pearl to finish out the day, and we’ll call it a draw, okay? I know I’ve been a bit scattered and discombobulated, but, just getting to use that word is enough of a reward for me, so, back off…. I’m kidding, of course….. But, not about this group…. They picked themselves again, so the underlying message, whatever it may be, can be blamed on my subconscious…. I’m pretty sure there is a message, which, of course, is left as an exercise for the Gentle Reader…. besides, I’m on a deadline here, so, again, back off…..     😉

“Death tugs at my ear and says: “Live, I am coming.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

“It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth — and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up–that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it were the only one we had.” — Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.” — Blaise Pascal

“Ask a toad what is beauty?…a female with two great round eyes coming out of her little head, a large flat mouth, a yellow belly and a brown back.” — Voltaire (1694-1778)

“To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one’s own in the midst of abundance.” — Buddha

He ‘s gone, and who knows how he may report
Thy words by adding fuel to the flame?

— John Milton (1608-1674) — Samson Agonistes, Line 1350

“Do I have a lifestyle yet?” — Zippy the Pinhead
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“That he is mad, ‘t is true: ‘t is true ‘t is pity; And pity ‘t is ‘t is true.” — William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Hamlet — Act ii, Sc. 2

Hmm… even Will gets one right now and then…. and this shoe sure fits well!  Let’s see if it floats…..  Okay, it will have to do…. It’s really not too shabby, all in all, so, since I’ve posted worse, we’ll fly with it……  Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..

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

Which is Why….


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

gigoid

dozer3

Betwixt perilous ideological sideboards….

Ffolkes,
Asleep, I lay dreaming I was awake. Now, awake, I sit dreaming I am asleep. Which is true? Am I awake, and dreaming, or am I asleep, dreaming of being awake? How does one tell, when there are no external sources of evidence to check against reality? If awake, am I really asleep, dreaming? And if I am dreaming, what is real? I confess to being confused….. at this hour, with no one about to whom I can appeal for a different view, the edge between reality and dream becomes somewhat indistinct….. It is most likely a good thing that I don’t weird out at weird stuff, or I would definitely be feeling thoroughly weirded out….. but, since I start from weird, it’s all good. I’ll just sip a bit more of this fine coffee, and wait until reality adjusts itself to a bit more clarified state….. no worries!

There are times when I do wish I wasn’t so strange, in relation to the rest of humanity. (No, no, don’t bother to argue…. I know I’m strange, and there’s no need to try to keep from hurting my feelings about it… I accepted it long ago, and now it’s just another part of me that other folks need to deal with…. at their own risk….) Not that I don’t like being strange; there are distinct advantages to having other people think twice about approaching, much less about asking for favors, or “just a moment of your time”.

No, it’s just that it can make it really hard sometimes to write anything people will look at twice. My words, as indicated by the first paragraph, can touch up against weirdness at the drop of a cliche, and it is getting to be an onerous task to edit such weirdness when I’m already feeling strange, such as this morning.

I’m guessing it’s just another little memo gram from reality, reminding me that any perks I may enjoy, due to my inner oddness, are always going to be counterbalanced by an appropriate kick in the ass, and there is no sense or benefit in either trying to avoid any such boots, or in complaining about them. Hence, I’ll just shrug my shoulders, offer a sheepish grin, and move on…..

One section of yesterday’s Pearl was a discussion on the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. I don’t need to go over that again (not after approximately 800 fairly passionate words….), but did wish to note the usual Murphy effect that accompanies much of what I write…. some time after publishing, I found the following pearl, which, as is obvious, is a perfect summary of the concluding portion of my thoughts yesterday. To keep Murphy happy, (always a good policy with that particular force of Nature), I include it now…..

“I believe everybody in the world should have guns. Citizens should have bazookas and rocket launchers too. I believe that all citizens should have their weapons of choice. However, I also believe that only I should have the ammunition. Because frankly, I wouldn’t trust the rest of the goobers with anything more dangerous than string.” — Scott Adams

That seems to cover it…. let’s go Pearling, ‘kay? ‘Kay!….. Kowabunga!…..
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During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Adlai E. Stevenson “Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!” Stevenson called back “That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority!”

Obviously proving he was part of the minority…. Mr. Stevenson was perhaps the last truly rational man to ran for the highest office our country offers. I’ve seen a number of articles about that campaign, and it’s clear in my mind that his very rationality is what gave the election to the other candidate. He made every attempt he could to try to engage the minds of Americans, naively, as it turns out. His opponent, Eisenhower, just mostly kept his mouth shut and let his slogans speak for him, such as “I like Ike!”, and other such intellectual standards, that appealed directly to the American public’s misplaced sense of national pride.

After four years of post-Korean war economic boom, it wasn’t hard for the Republicans to rest on their laurels, firmly attached to the coattails of a war hero…. There was, and still is, no place on the political scene in this country for rationality, obviously, as Ike and his ilk won in a landslide….

So much for the opportunity to see what a “thinking man’s president” might be able to accomplish…. The chances of such a man being elected today are even slimmer, considering that those candidates who can be the most sly, underhanded, and completely dishonest are those who catch the eye, and the votes, of the great unwashed, uneducated masses that now comprise the voting public…..

“It has been said that man is a rational animal.  All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.” — Bertrand Russell
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FOLLY, n.  That “gift and faculty divine” whose creative and controlling energy inspires Man’s mind, guides his actions and adorns his life.

Folly! although Erasmus praised thee once
In a thick volume, and all authors known,
If not thy glory yet thy power have shown,
Deign to take homage from thy son who hunts
Through all thy maze his brothers, fool and dunce,
To mend their lives and to sustain his own,
However feebly be his arrows thrown,

Howe’er each hide the flying weapons blunts.
All-Father Folly! be it mine to raise,
With lusty lung, here on his western strand
With all thine offspring thronged from every land,
Thyself inspiring me, the song of praise.
And if too weak, I’ll hire, to help me bawl,
Dick Watson Gilder, gravest of us all.

— Aramis Loto Frope — Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary”

Perhaps it is a result of having learned to see around corners at an early age, or that silly prophecy made by that supposed witch who scared my mother a week after I was born.  Perhaps it has to do with spending so many hours and days of my intellectual formative years with my nose buried in a book, generally one that made me a familiar inhabitant of the sleaziest, most disreputable spacer’s dives in every far corner of our Galaxy, surrounded by grizzled old first mates from a dilapidated freighter out of the Pleiades, and a motley group of aliens of all descriptions.

I could probably blame it on being the middle child of five, with a neurotic, if perfectly lovable mother, balanced by a perfectly stable father, and four siblings who had no clue how to deal with me.  Or, it could have been the daily ingestion of frozen, processed vegetables so common on our dinner table during the 50’s and 60’s; as it turns out, the benefits of the vegetables were pretty much nullified by the process of preserving and preparing them for consumption. Who knew?

Whatever the root cause may have been, Folly has long been a fascinating area of study for me, and its influence on my life at large has been extensive. My first attempts at blogging, via email since 1998, then via SFGATE since 2011, were known as “Gigoid’s Folly”, and that was almost used as the title for this blog, as well. But, not wishing to tread, even peripherally, on the estate privileges of Robert Heinlein, even out of respect, I left it at “gigoid” with the subtitle, “Exploring consensual reality” as a tip of the cap to Murphy, and Mother Nature’s fondness for him…..

Folly remains a big part of the process of pearling, and Pearling; if that isn’t obvious, I’m doing something wrong. It has been for me a boon companion throughout my life, ever a contrast and strong defense against the powers of darkness and ignorance, always to be trusted to coax a smile out of me, often in the deepest moments of my despair. If it were not for my Folly, and the humor it infuses into my daily existence, I most likely would have bitten somebody, hard, long before now….  I can only be grateful, and proclaim, “May I and my Folly never part ways, throughout all of my days!”……

“A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.” — Willie Wonka (Roald Dahl)
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If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour!
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Twelfth Night
— Act i, Sc. 1

I’ve been pretty clear in past posts in expressing my lack of enthusiasm for most of Will Shakespeare’s work. To my mind, the greatest part of what he wrote is overblown, heavy with excess imagery and verbiage, and even in the time in which it was first written and performed, must have been a pain to follow just by listening…. sorry, but that’s what I think.

But, at the same time, I can acknowledge, as well, that he was an excellent word smith, and did occasionally write material that is far beyond anything else of its time, or of any time. His sonnets hit that nail squarely more often than his plays, in my opinion, but there are exceptions…. this is one of them.

These few lines of verse possess that timeless beauty that is the hallmark of genius, beauty so great that one can not merely see it in these lines, but is surrounded by beauty that floods every sense. Far be it from me to fail to acknowledge such genius…. I’m no Shakespeare, nor do I consider myself either infallible, nor a critic, but I know what I like, and I like this, a lot…..
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“I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off.  so I ran over and said “stop! don’t do it!”  “Why shouldn’t I?” he said.  I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!”  He said, “Like what?”  I said, “Well…are you religious or atheist?”  He said, “Religious.” I said, “Me too!  Are you Christian or Buddhist?”  He said, “Christian.”  I said, “Me too!  Are you Catholic or Protestant?”  He said, “Protestant.”  I said, “Me too!  Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?”  He said, “Baptist!”  I said, “Wow!  Me too!  Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?” He said, “Baptist Church of God!”  I said, “Me too!  Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?”  He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God!”  I said, “Me too!  Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?”  He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!”  I said, “Die, heretic scum”, and pushed him off.” — Emo Phillips

(Whew! Whoever transcribed this for the database where I found it was really lazy. They didn’t bother to capitalize the “I’s” or any of the Church names, so I had to go through and put them all in; it’s much clearer to read now, and looks a bit more refined…. but I didn’t change any words, just added capitals, just so you know…..)

Although I had a feeling as to where this would end up, I read it through to the end, and sure enough, it’s worth a full read, just to get to the punch line. My immediate thought was, “What a perfect statement of modern religious philosophy in America!”   🙂

Not trusting my original reaction, I put it down here, then prepared some breakfast, and consumed said comestibles, before coming back to look it over after some inner percolation. It’s still valid, and it still makes me smile, so it stays. No need to embellish any further, either, as I think it pretty well says it all…. Ignorance and bigotry are alive and well, and living in the Mid-West….. in a house, together…..
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Visions of Absolute Truth and Beauty; The Tragedy of Severus Snape

The character of Severus Snape, as revealed in the seven novels that comprise the epic creation by J. K. Rowling, (which I choose to entitle Harry Potter, and The Chronicles of The Infinite Magic of  Love, hopefully with her approval and blessing) is, in my less than humble opinion, destined to become, if not synonymous, at least analogous, with those of Cryano de Bergerac, John Smith the Puritan, or the man from Tale of Two Cities, whose name escapes me (suffering functional disparity as I am from early onset Alzheimer’s, and the subsequent prophylactic application of sour mash bourbon), who said, “It is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” Sounds a little sappy for gigoid, doesn’t it? Well, you know what? I am completely and utterly serious…..

As I do not know Ms. Rowling, other than through her writing, and her public persona, which is carefully controlled, relatively speaking, I cannot say if it was her intent to create a character of such power that he would be forever enshrined amid the most famous of the heroic willing victims of tragedy in literary history. It is moot, anyway, because she has done so….

Here is a man who spent his entire life enduring unrequited love, love that, in his mind, could have been his, had he chosen differently. Yet, knowing that he could never have his deepest desire without destroying that which he loved, he still acted with honor to do all he could to keep the object of his obsession safe, to honor her and the love he felt, even after her death, and in defiance of the threat of his own death. 

He braved the wrath of the most terrifying of villains for almost 20 years, betraying that master of evil at every turn, to do what he could only hold as his Duty; he did this, knowing full well that in the end, he would have to kill the only man in the world who trusted him, and that he would die because of it. And, he knew as well, that his sacrifice would never be known to anyone but the son of the man he most envied in life, the son that might have been his…..

I’ve read a lot of what may be termed as classical literature, and in all that I’ve read, I have never found a character who fit the mold of the tragic hero any better, or more deserved the title of nobility it implies. Though flawed and miserable, Snape makes the hard choices, correctly, at the most critical junctures of his life, all for love of his Lily.

As Dumbledore exclaims when he sees the Patronus that Snape produces, a doe, identical to that of Lily, the only other human being he has ever loved,  “Lily! After all this time?”  Snape merely replies, “Always….”   Now, that is a hero, flawed and unlikeable as he is….. a hero that will go down in history, along with many of the characters from this series of books that will one day certainly be called “classics”……
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Not a bad lineup…. personal foibles made light of to begin, with a bit of housekeeping, a taste of political irony, a touch of whimsy, Shakespeare, a dip into religious humor and more irony, and a discussion of literary archetypes in modern and classical writing. I think we’ve approached the demarcation between reality and esoterica quite adeptly, without completely crossing over where the border guards might hassle us about returning to our regularly scheduled activities here in Reality…… that should definitely make an impression. On whom, I couldn’t say, but, hey, I’ll take it…. Y’all take care out there…..


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!