Vague flutters, as tiny wings not seen, but heard on the very edge of awareness, fall obscurely upon the dark shadows, soullessly inhabiting these empty halls. A terrible, heavy silence grips the night by the throat, quelling any thought of outcry, any hope of warning, as minute by minute, the hour of fate approaches unbidden, unwanted, unknown…. Baleful denizens of darkness cower, shivering in the cold of a terror so great, so powerfully evil, all hope died, screaming, before it was ever born…..
Then, of course, I woke up, and all was well…. or, as well as things can be, all things considered…. At least we’re not in the evil grip of some kind of Steven King-like novel, like the poor sap in the first paragraph, eh? I’d hate to go there every day, even if only in my head…. Having been blessed once more by 10 solid hours of sleep, I feel GREAT! Well, I feel pretty good, anyway; I don’t think I’ll be climbing any mountains anytime soon, but, I may be able to make it past 2 PM without a nap, if I’m lucky, so, that’s a good thing, right? Right….
In the last week, other than two trips out of the house to take care of some business out in the BBR, we’ve been stuck in the house ever since getting back from the cruise from hell, me with bronchitis, and my lady with a cold she managed to pick up inadvertently upon arriving home…. For the past five days, we have been alternating sitting, taking meds, and sleeping, pretty much, with some minor writing on my part in the early mornings, while my brain is actually functioning at a relatively normal level…. Part of what has kept us in the house, aside from illness, is the weather here in California, which has been reminiscent of Alaska in the early winter…. seriously…
It has been well below freezing point for five nights running, with temps here last night down to 21 degrees F…. For a town right on the water of a bay, on the Pacific Ocean, at around the 37th parallel, that is COLD!…. Especially here in this part of the state, where ‘mild’ is the word we use most often to describe our weather patterns…. This year, 2013, the area has had approximately five to six inches of rain, with only twenty-one days left in the year, whereas, the annual average is close to 24 inches…. But, there’s no such thing as global warming, so, hey, not to worry, eh?….
Okay, that’s enough… Some fictional musings, some personal patter, a bit of weather, a mini-mini-environmental rant…. It will suffice for our purposes here…. I think we’re good to go for a dive… If things turn out to make that an erroneous decision, well, hey, we’ve been wrong before, haven’t we? Yes, yes, we have….
Shall we Pearl?…..
That ‘s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture.
— Robert Browning (1812-1890) — Home-Thoughts from Abroad, ii
“Whenever, therefore, the profession of arms becomes a distinct order in the state….the end of the social compact is defeated… No free government was ever founded, or ever preserved its liberty without uniting the characters of the citizen and soldier in those destined for the defense of the state…Such are a well regulated militia, composed of the freeholders, citizen and husbandman, who take up arms to preserve their property, as individuals, and their rights as freemen.” — Richard Henry Lee
I mentioned a few days ago that I’d found a good quote for the beginning of a rant, and I was right, wasn’t I?….. Specifically, for a politirant, concerning gun control, and the misguided attempts to alter the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, if not wholly, at least by abridging its intent. This, I believe, is a HUGE mistake, even though it was fully expected by those who first made the law, to wit: Jefferson, Franklin, Mason, Paine, Hamilton, etc…. our founding fathers, in short. All of them believed very strongly that this amendment was the very backbone of what made our freedoms possible, and were leery of ANY changes to this law….
“Liberty cannot be guaranteed by law. Nor by any thing else except the resolution of free citizens to defend their liberties.” — Edward Abbey
Those fears were expressed, verbally and in writing, many times, before and after the Constitution’s approval, and all the available evidence shows how little these men trusted the monied, or titled, elite in society… More than once, in correspondence with each other, they discussed their mistrust, of the bankers, the corporations, the aristocrats, the professional politicians, the professional soldiers, and all who support those categories of society. They knew that, as soon as the laws were passed, these special influences would begin using their money, and their influence, to try to abrogate the intent of the laws, limiting them, altering them until they no longer were capable of protecting our rights….
“Freedom isn’t cheap and it never goes on sale.” — Smart Bee
That assault on the Bill of Rights, especially those of the First and Second Amendments, has been continuous since 1786, as can be seen by the Congressional logs of bills that were brought forth at one time or another throughout our history, bills attempting to limit the power of the amendments; some were successful, some were not….. and the assault is not over; it continues to this day, as the special interest groups all clamor to fill the public’s attention with unreasoning fears, by making a huge hullabaloo over EVERY shooting that occurs in this country….
Well, as long as it suits them, of course…. They don’t make a big deal out of one of their police or paramilitary types blowing away some ‘perp’, (…. kind of a demeaning term, don’t you think?…. As well as prejudicial… A ‘perpetrator’ is one who is considered guilty of an act, by connotation, if not denotation….), who is robbing a store because he needs food, or drugs…. Even the shooting of some little kid playing with a toy gun brings no particular outrage from the governors, or even the media, in response to that lack…. No, those types of shootings get little attention past the first report; the only investigations into THOSE incidents are internal, and never find any blame, or file any charges….
No, it is the incidents where some crazy asshole, most likely some private citizen with a long time internal struggle to be normal, gets hold of a gun, goes to some public area, and proceeds to blow away a bunch of other innocents…. These events, relatively isolated in comparison with other types of shootings, of any kind, are the incidents that are brought into the limelight, so that every detail of the agony of the victims is expressed, fanning the public’s outrage, making them afraid for their own safety…. This makes them much more malleable when the talking heads propose their newest limits to the guns that the people can have…. Don’t worry, they’ll get them all, it will just take them more time…
As I’ve stated before, I’m a warrior, raised by a man of honor, and have studied the Art of War, (both the book by Sun Tzu, and the actual Art itself….), for almost my entire life…. and though I don’t, as a rule, use guns (They’re too loud, too complicated to maintain in the field, & hard to use with stealth…. heavy, too….. Knives, and sticks, of many shapes, are quieter, simple to use, & much easier to conceal…. Ropes are pretty useful, too….), I do know how to use them….
If I should ever need one, why, then, I’ll acquire one, from someone who has more than they need, to use as I so require. Then I’ll put it away again, or give it back to the owner, if that individual happened to loan it to me…. If the gun I end up using was pointed at me, well, they won’t be needing it back, anyway….. So far in life, I’ve been smart enough to avoid the necessity of dealing with that, and have had no need for one, so, I’m content with that, for the time being….
But, no matter what the talking heads may do, or say, or how they may change the laws, our founding fathers already GAVE me the rights I have, and I won’t be giving them up, no matter how many legal sounding words they may send through their lips…. It will all be just noise, as far as I am concerned…. There is no rationalization that is, to my mind, conceivable, that could persuade me to give up those rights, because I’ve already heard them all…. After all, in addition to my book/day from 1961 onward, I HAVE been watching TV since the early 1950’s, (I remember the Republican convention in 1954 that nominated Eisenhower, watching it on a small B&W console TV…. “I LIKE IKE!”….), so, I’ve seen or heard just about every political lie there is to perceive…. They just recycle the same old BS every time, anyway….
I’m tired of ranting about this, because, to me, it’s already a settled issue in my mind…. so, let’s see if I can find some pearls to lighten up the tone, and still deliver a few shots to the midsection of the pundits and preachers out there, who deserve as many shots as we can give them….
“War is a matter of vital importance to the State; the province of life or death; the road to survival or ruin. It is mandatory that it be thoroughly studied.” — Sun Tzu
(Which is why I sincerely urge each and every one of you to PAY ATTENTION!….)
“The devil can quote Shakespeare for his own purpose.” — George Bernard Shaw
(And, too often, does so, right on TV, wearing a dark blue suit with a power red tie and a flag pin….)
“The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone expects to live at the expense of everyone else.” — Frederic Bastiat
“To use power is to make yourself infinitely vulnerable to greater powers.” — Bene Gesserit
“A promise must never be broken.” — Alexander Hamilton
(Wait! How did THAT get in here?…. Oh, okay, it’s alright, he’s not a pundit, just a founding father…. If a bit of a prude in some ways…. Smart, but a bit anal, y’know?….)
“The Bill of Rights goes too far–it should have stopped at “Congress shall make no law” — Smart Bee
“The man who finds a truth lights a torch.” — Robert G. Ingersoll, _The Truth_
“In the midst of this sublime and terrible storm [at Sidmouth], Dame Partington, who lived upon the beach, was seen at the door of her house with mop and pattens, trundling her mop, squeezing out the sea-water, and vigorously pushing away the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic was roused; Mrs. Partington’s spirit was up. But I need not tell you that the contest was unequal; the Atlantic Ocean beat Mrs. Partington.” — Sydney Smith (1769-1845) — Speech at Taunton, 1813
I like this, not merely because it is beautiful in its execution, but for what it says, as well…. Exquisitely romantic, and powerfully emotional, it is indeed what I consider the BEST kind of poetry…. to wit: it affects the reader, engaging and enlightening at once…. Enjoy!
Sonnet 14 – If thou must love me, let it be for nought
If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love’s sake only. Do not say
‘I love her for her smile — her look — her way
Of speaking gently, — for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day’—
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee,— and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry,—
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou mayst love on, through love’s eternity.
~~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning ~~
“One of the most difficult of the philosopher’s tasks is to find out where the shoe pinches.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein
But, other times, the fools make it easy to show just where the pinch is biting…. such as when this fool opens his mouth…. You MUST read this, please… I know it is a hard one to believe, but, it was reported with a straight face by the news outlet, just as if it were real news, so we owe it the respect of doing the same, no matter how egregiously insane it may be…..
Can you believe the sheer, blind selfishness of this man? No matter what his issues, he was asked to comment on the life of someone who died, and regardless of his own position, he could not put aside his own personal foibles long enough to make a statement of compassion for the family, or the loss to the world…. No, he attempted to equate the works of one of the last century’s most well-loved, and universally respected figures, trying to turn the moment to his own political advantage, with possibly the weakest, most illogical, most ill-informed argument I have heard outside a second-grade classroom, when the teacher asked the little boy why he ate his neighbor’s cookie….
“People become educated, as against trained, insofar as they achieve a grasp of certain critical principles, and the passion to choose, organize and shape their own ideas by means of them. Education is not a mere piling up of more and more bits and pieces of information. It is a process of deciding for ourselves what we believe. It implies a self-motivated action upon our own mental nature and a process in which we learn to open our mind, to correct and refine it, to enable it rationally to learn; thus to empower it to analyze and digest its own knowledge, to gain command over its own faculties, to achieve flexibility, fair-mindedness, and critical exactness. More and more students should have assignments that challenge their minds to think for themselves.
This requires, of course, that they are encouraged to question what is presented to them for belief, not only in the various subject areas, but on TV programs and movies, in news broadcasts, in the talk of their peers and others, in political speeches and personal discussions, in everyday decisions and ways of living. And they should do this not to discover that everything is relative and arbitrary or a matter of opinion, but that all beliefs and points of view are subject to rational analysis and assessment. Ideally the process will come to pervade the school climate and be reflected in the deepest structures of school life. By this means, schools can perhaps become, as they should be, leading institutions in society, paradigms of rationality, helping an irrational society to become what itself has said is its own highest goal: a free society of free and autonomous persons.” — Richard Paul
Rick Santorum is a perfect example of the kind of first type of education described in this quote, with a lot of well-memorized factoids running around in his head, which he is able to regurgitate in various formats on demand, all without ever having to apply a single moment’s actual thought, or use them to reason with for any purpose…. When one reasons, one might come up with a conclusion, which is a risk for a pundit….. He is a well-programmed autobot for the Republican right, which, for me, is a continual delight, as he also has an almost Romney-esque ability to keep his foot planted firmly between his teeth for long periods of time, and still talk around it…. This was a perfect example of that skill, along with a display of callous ignorance and lack of compassion that is merely astounding, rather than particularly surprising.
In a way, though, he is also a frightening phenomenon, for there are actually people in this country who take what he says as gospel, who dote on his unpopular opinions, mostly because they tend to fall into misogynistic, racist, bigoted, fundamentalist Christian guidelines,…. a group of characteristics, you will note, that purportedly have NOTHING to do with government, other than as things to fight against inclusion in that process…. Yet, there he is, the darling of the fascistic fundies, just like that hive of bees in my head that, in spite of telling them of all the flowers that are in other locations, remains ensconced in the eaves under the roof of my mind…. and, well, there they are, so what do I do with them?….
“Annoy a Fundamentalist: Tell him the truth!” — Smart Bee
Hmm, that’s good advice…. To get back to Rick’s case, at least there are times like this one, when he provides me with at least a few moments of hilarity, at the breadth and depth of his stupidity, until, saddened by the same sheer ignorance in one in a position to do so much harm, I become depressed again, when I think of how many idiots are out there taking him seriously….. SIGH….. That thought is SO depressing, I’m going to quit this rant, and go find something fun to do, just so I don’t have to think about him any more….. Wish me luck, and I’ll wish it back at ya…. And remember, ffolkes, I may not be right, but I make up for it by being sure…..
“For the love of God, folks, don’t do this at home.” — David Letterman, CBS Late Show, demonstrating the Donut-o-pult, 1995
I’m not entirely certain just how it happened, but, I think I’ve done it…. Let’s go see…. Well…. I’m still not sure, but, now, at least, I know it did happen, so…. I guess I’m outta here for today…. See ya….
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,
I just sits.