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!

Question is, was it a carefree dart?

Ffolkes,
One of the items of import that was left out of the information and instruction manual we all got at birth relates to the aging process. Nowhere in that manual is any mention of the joy and adventure that awaits one as the years go by (though, admittedly, my battered old copy was missing pages when it was handed down to me. But, they were out of the adolescence section, anyway, and wouldn’t have much relevance for me at this stage of life….)

One of the most consistent adventures at my age has shown itself to be sleep. Or rather, the amusing lack of sleep one may expect on any given day. Getting to sleep, staying asleep, sleeping deeply, all have become a hit and miss proposition, completely lacking in any sort of regularity….. As might be surmised, this presents one with some fascinating and essential adjustments to make in relation to said altered sleep patterns, and how to fit that into one’s life, without going BLOODY FUCKING NUTS from persistent fatigue…..

I wrote the above paragraphs last night, right before toddling off to bed, ever hopeful for a swift journey to the arms of Morpheus. As it was one o’clock AM by that time, and I was very heavy-lidded, I figured I had a decent chance at success. And, as it turns out, I did fall out fairly quickly….. only to have my eyes pop open at 0535, not wide awake after 4.5 hours of rest, but not going back down easily, either. Thus, I find myself once again typing in the dark morning, wondering what the hell I’m doing up so damn early, and putting all my angst and resentment over not sleeping into this morning blurb. SIGH…… Woe is me, alas, alas! Woe is me!

Okay, there, that’s done….. having reached the point of no return, also called “losing one’s cool”, I will now turn a 180, and head off down an alternate path for today, provided I can find one through all this bullshit angst. Woe is me, indeed! I’ll woe is me…. I’ll woe me so much woe, that the house next door will rattle, I will…..

I must apologize, I don’t know how that little snipe got away from me, and got to the typewriter before I woke up all the way. But, I’ve collared the little shit, and we’ll have no more nonsense today from the likes of him. Woe is me…. I’m appalled! I can’t believe he thought that would fly! Such silly, old-fashioned words haven’t seen my typewriter for simply ages, and with good reason, as you can see. That particular phrase is one he KNEW would get to me, as it was placed on the banned usage list some years ago (I had used them for an elegy of a friend, and his wife just cried harder at the funeral when I read it, so I took it off the list…. way too sappy anyway…)

Well, really, this has gotten completely out of hand….. I suppose the only thing left for us to do is to Pearl….. let’s get to it, shall we?…..
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“Don’t SAY things. What you ARE stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson — Social Aims

It’s Spring! And the air is full of….. activism and outrage!  Shortly after completing yesterday’s Pearl, and sending it out, I received a response from one of my friends who has been getting these gems in their email for over 10 years. The email was actually from his wife, who had seen the pictures that are at the other end of the link below, and whose sense of outrage and anger over them prompted her to request that I show the link on this blog.

Since I happen to agree with her on this one, as the subjects of the pictures are the children of one of the biggest WOS’s on the face of the planet, I am happy to comply. (Yes, I know, WOS seems to be my latest favorite insulting title….. and in this case falls well short of being too harsh. More like not mean enough, by a long shot…. we’re talking about some MAJOR assholes here…)

And who, you might ask, would that be? That would be that all-too-familiar, and all-too-real, fat, greedy-eyed face of Donald, the Trump, and his spawn. The pictures are of his spoiled, elitist, never worked-a-day-in-their-lives sons, in a display of arrogance and sheer ballsy indifference to any normal set of behavioral standards heretofore unseen in public, even by a Trump. And, if the pictures are any indication, these assholes are not merely monumentally indifferent, but are proud of their lack of moral standards, and even revel in flaunting their complete disregard for any other life form on Earth.

The pictures, no doubt intended as fond memories to take home to their doting, terrified spouses or more likely, mistresses, show us the utter lack of humanity in these two ditto heads,  which clearly indicates that they are perfect clones of their infamous pater familias, sharing his hatred of women, Americans, and anyone else who doesn’t worship at the Altar of the Almighty Dollar…… caution, these images may produce the urge to fire shotguns…. at idiots…..

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2114122/Donald-Eric-Trump-pictured-posing-trophy-carcasses-big-African-hunt.html

Please add these names to your twit lists….. and should you see any of the persons pictured here, please feel free to publicly humiliate them to your heart’s content. Hell, you can spit on them, if you like. Being who they are,  they’re used to it. I’m sure it’s happened before…..
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“Education is a weapon.” — Josef Stalin

“Sleep is a weapon.” — Phillipe D’Anjou, to Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum.

You see where this is going, right? C’mon, it’s plain as the rain in Spain…. “Therefore, Education while Asleep is the ultimate weapon.” — gigoid, Sunday, 2012…. Damn skippy it is…. 

Well, it always worked for me, anyway… my teachers, it seems, were unaware of the untapped power of the subconscious, and the  advantages to be found in sleep learning, and tried to insist on my staying awake in classes, other than just at test time, (when I would wake up, dopey smile in place, pencil in hand, seemingly delighted to be there). I didn’t care, I just slept away, soaking in everything said around me, and remembering it perfectly. It was always such a shock to them when I would ace the tests, when I apparently had ignored every word they said; quite fun, actually, to see their faces go purple…. awesome colors! Must have something to do with diet….. or repetitive exposure to smart alecks such as myself….   🙂
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I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain
There’s more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in a crooked line.
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.
— the Indigo Girls, Closer to Fine

Even though I am performing my duties as Emperor of the Entire World clandestinely, using puppet figures, and liberal application of the Imperious Charm, trying to balance writing, quietly assassinating my list of PTWWBBOW’s, (People The World Would Be Better Off Without…) and getting enough sleep, has all become too taxing for someone who just wants to fully retire and enjoy seeing all of the world I can before my allotted time has elapsed. 

Plus, I figure, if I abdicate now, I will have more time to work on my new list of WOSTBSFE’s (Wastes Of Sperm To Be Scheduled For Elimination….), and still be able to have the time to consume unlimited numbers of brightly colored adult beverages, served by indentured ex-CEO’s in oddly-shaped plastic glasses with bamboo umbrellas, while basking on a semi-tropical nude beach with my entourage of sycophants…..

To be honest, I’m sick of being Emperor OTEW (by now you should have figured out how this works….); even staying in the background is time-consuming and tedious in the extreme (what is it about bureaucracies and their love of forms in triplicate?). And since I had already consented to turn over the reigns of power to Lizzie Cracked and Ginger Snaap when I am done with the job I came to do, I have decided that the time is right for the process of transition to begin.

Therefore, within the next few days, you should see announcements of the power shift, hereinafter to be referred to as The Ascension of the Ambitious and Totally Gorgeous Princesses in all published news releases, and your new Empresses of The Entire World will begin their reign of terror, er, benevolent generosity, months in advance of initial estimates. (Riiiiight…)

I believe it has been agreed that The Indigo Girls will be hired to perform at the Transition Ball, hence I have included my favorite line from one of their best songs above, to give you a taste of what is to come. I think you all will enjoy having the Cracked/Snaap sisters at the head of your beloved ruling class; if nothing else, it should prove to be a unique period in human history…..
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“There is in us a tendency to locate the shaping forces of our existence outside ourselves.  Success and failure are unavoidably related in our minds with the state of things around us. Hence it is that people with a sense of fulfillment think it is a good world and would like to preserve it as it is, while the frustrated favor radical change. The tendency to look for all causes outside ourselves persists even when it is clear that our state of being is the product of personal qualities such as ability, character, appearance, health and so on.” — Eric Hoffer

Whoa! Eric took some mental steroids, or something, when he came up with this. This is as deeply insightful a glimpse into true human nature as I think I’ve ever seen, and I thought I’d seen some pretty good examples of that particular kind of vision. Truly, this is a truth that explains so much of what is giving humanity such a problem, in terms of achieving any real progress of an ethical, moral, or spiritual nature. The kind of progress that would give some new hope to those who would like to continue to live to enjoy what beauty the universe has to give us, as opposed to enduring the lack of connection to reality and truth that most of humanity engages in, to our common regret.

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Following are a number of “Jokes” that perpetuate the lies and propaganda regarding the subjugation of women so ubiquitous in society…… (My comments will appear in parentheses….)

I looked up executrix. It has nothing to do w/ leather and high heels. (Obviously, he wishes it did….)

“Women: You can’t live with them, and you can’t get them to dress up in a skimpy Nazi costume and beat you with a warm squash.” — Emo Phillips  (Do I need to even say how wrong this is?…..)

How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb? None. It’s not the light bulb that needs changing. (Reverse psychology; making the feminist the unreasonable party….)

Man who lifts stones off woman get rocks off. — Confucius say  (Nothing of making an object of a woman here, move along, nothing to see…) (Let’s not get into the racist element here…though no less ubiquitous or egregious, one thing at a time…. as if Confucius would actually have said this…)

“Breast feeding is popular now. It wasn’t when I was growing up. In high school, my mom caught me with an inflatable sex doll. I told her, “Hey, you’re the one who got me hooked with those plastic baby bottles.” — Xavier Skinner  (Linking sex objects with addictive nature… and blaming Mom for it…. what a nice guy!)

(Note: as a comment on the ubiquitous nature of these “jokes” in the fabric of society, finding these first six examples took less than three minutes in my database of quotes, which contains a very wide cross section of the diverse segments of our society’s tastes in humor. The numerous others hereafter were found in random database searches for pearls, in only one day)

(This one isn’t a joke, in any sense…. ) “As blushing will sometimes make a whore pass for a virtuous woman, so modesty may make a fool seem a man of sense.” — Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)**

( **Just at first sight, without going into societal norms at all, it seems to me that the fallacy herein is rooted in the deliberately false assumptions that are glaringly apparent in the statement; first, that only a virtuous woman could blush innocently, out of virtue, and second, that a “whore” could not be a virtuous woman….. and a modest fool IS a man of sense, to my way of thinking. At least such a fool knows he is a fool, a condition which seems to have escaped Jonathan’s notice. Sorry Mr. Swift, you win the ignorant button today….)

“There’s no such thing, you know, as picking out the best woman: it’s only a question of comparative badness, brother.” — Titus Maccius Plautus   (Apparently, misogyny is not a new concept in human society……)

What do you call a prostitute with a runny nose? Full!   (I have to say, there are some real sick people out there! Not even very funny by sick standards….)

A woman can never be too rich or too thin.  (Really? I’d wager good money this was first said by a man, not a woman; if not, it was surely a thoroughly indoctrinated woman…..)

That’s enough for now. I think the point is clear….. there is still a long way to go to overcome thousands of years of social propaganda, and there’s no more time to waste…. Free our Sisters, Free Ourselves!  And don’t forget to stand up and point to the things you see that maintain and support these abominable practices; good intentions are useless if not acted upon…..
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You may note that there is no mention herein of the significance of today’s date; no April Fools party here, thank you. Though I can admire a good prank as much as anyone, provided it does no harm to anyone’s pride or self-respect, in general I avoid the day altogether.

This probably is due to bad memories connected to this date; yesterday, March 31, would have been my 33rd wedding anniversary, had my ex-wife not chosen to abandon the family we created some 13 years ago, just prior to both our anniversary, and our daughter’s high school graduation. Great timing, eh? (I’ve never asked her, but I’d guess she blames me for her departure, as having “made her want to leave.” SIGH…..) 

Any who, I’d rather not spend any time thinking along those lines, so I don’t…. I don’t miss it at all, at all….. April Fool’s Day, that is…. I’ll miss my the woman I loved, and still love, and the family we worked so long to make and keep, for the rest of my life…..

We have again reached the end of another day’s work, or whatever one might call this process, and now I must hie off to my Inbox, delete button close to hand, to start the process of eliminating about 200 emails that have piled up over the last two days. It promises to be a long, involved process, so I’d best be about it. Y’all take care out there……


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!

Just putt the damn thing, Rollo….

Ffolkes,
Oddly enough, I woke up today feeling odd.  That is to say, not quite wrong, but not quite right, know what I mean?  No? Well, hmm…. okay, how’s this?  As I look around my humble abode this dark morning (well, it IS only 4:30 AM or so…..), and I rest my gaze upon some random item (such as my guitar, rescued at last from the clutches of the pawn shop…. I swear, it’s never going back there again….), out of the corner of my eye, a shadow moves, just enough to catch my attention. Of course,  I look over quickly, but nothing is there, of course.

It’s not really disturbing, or scary…. just odd. Well, having had that word applied to me often enough in my life, beginning at a very early age (four year-olds tend toward confusion when one of their peers, me, of course, prefers to stay inside and reading to being outside torturing insects….. they’re not confronted with that attitude a lot….) (actually, I loved it outside, I just hated the pulling wings off flies part…. sickos, even back then….), I’m not going to spend a lot of time worrying about it…. unless the shadow gets a lot more solid, and makes a threatening move toward me……  “Worriers spend a lot of their time chasing smoke.”– Claude McDonald

Well, I don’t see how I could have come up with an introductory section with any less gripping interest than this one, and that’s for sure and for certain…. quite the yawner, isn’t it?  Ah well, I suppose I can’t hit the sweet spot EVERY day……. I guess we’ll just go Pearl, and consider this a wash….. after you, just down those stairs and through the dimensional portal at the bottom…… I’ll meet you there in just a moment…..

If God goes to sleep will the universe dream? Just wondered…. even if there is no answer, pondering the question has value, I’d say…..
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“The no-mind not-thinks no-thoughts about no-things.” — Buddha

When I came across this today, I sat and thought about it for a few moments, trying to absorb the meaning, which is unaccustomedly obscure for something Buddha said; his homilies and koans are usually quite clear. After some time following the twisting path this sentence takes one down, I had to start chuckling, for I had realized the truth. I think the Buddha was misquoted on this one (hey, it happens….); whoever was on transcription duty that day was tired, or forgot his ink brushes, or some other little peccadillo that caused this particular statement to get garbled.

I think Gautama was just working out a new homily, and the student took what he was muttering as a serious quote, meant to be added to the teachings. Look at it…. he could have said, with different punctuation, something entirely different than this seems to be.  I mean, think about it…. would one of history’s greatest teachers, known for the elegant reasoning and beautifully worded form of his lessons, allow a statement of quadruple negatives to be put out with his name on it? I think not…. I wouldn’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out how this one can help you in your search for truth and enlightenment; you’re liable to get stuck in the same position for a long time, trying to find your way out of the endless loop this koan produces in the mind…. while the boat leaving for Nirvana leaves without you…..
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Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to victory!
Now ‘s the day and now ‘s the hour;
See the front o’ battle lour.
— Robert Burns (1759-1796)  — Bannockburn

One word.  Bagpipes. Okay, okay then, two words; try not to be so shrill, if you please….  Skirling bagpipes. There, that says it all… Maybe it’s the wee bit of Scots blood I have in me that makes me hear the skirling of the pipes whenever I read this from Robert (which is pronounced “Rrrrawberrrrt Burrrrrns!”, with the “r’s” rolled like they hoops fleeing a small boy with a stick. The exclamation point indicates the volume at which it is spoken, or shouted, whichever term you wish to choose….).

Then again, hearing the pipes at all can be considered a hallucination, or a delusion, or at minimum, a perversion, at least in the eyes and ears of the English.  The English still do not have a comfortable time thinking of the Scots; probably something to do with their long history of periodically having to confront large, angry, naked, madly capering, blue men with large, sharp weapons, who were about to do their best to kill them, dancing about insanely to the tune, for lack of a better word, of the pipers.

Fortunately for the rest of England, the English monarchs figured out how to pacify the Scots.  They just began granting public house licenses to every little hamlet in the Highlands, and made sure the ‘pubs’ were amply supplied with Scotch whiskey and stout. They also encouraged Scottish involvement in their own pacification, by also granting licenses to manufacture even more & better varieties and brands of single malt, double malt, blended,  and other exotic Scotch whiskeys.

Finally, to put the cap to the issue, the English cleverly taught the Scots how to angle for trout in the Highland streams, to keep them fed, fit, and healthy (and not occupied with revolt against the king), as well as convincing them they were all fantastic painters of their homeland, so they would stay there trying to paint….. pretty clever, eh? No wonder the Scots still refer to the English as Sassenach, which is, I doubt, a term of endearment….. Google only says it means ‘English, or a lowlander’. (I would say, to a Highlander, there IS no greater insult than to be called either English, OR a lowlander….)  Ain’t history grand?…..

Bagpipe: Stuff cat under arm. Pull legs and chew tail. — found scrawled on the bathroom wall at The Duke’s Wanker, a pub in the back alleys of London….. honest, I’ve seen it!….
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“When you slithered out of your hole that day, and you spewed your venom all over this defenseless 12-year-old girl, you made this court’s top 10 hit list. In a way, the best sentence this court could give would be no sentence at all, because if you left this courtroom I don’t think you would be alive 10 minutes. You are nothing but a weed, a weed among wheat…And when we have a weed, it’s my job to eradicate the weed, because if you don’t you will choke the wheat. Therefore, I’m going to take you off the streets for just as long as I possibly can. It means you aren’t even eligible for parole until you’re 92. That leaves only one more count, aggravated robbery. ..You stole this little girl’s bra as a souvenir, probably to brag about it to your friends later on. Well, I’m going to give you a souvenir of Trumbull County justice. And that is, you will receive a maximum sentence of 10 to 25 on the aggravated robbery for the stealing of that bra. And I hope that if you last 25 years in prison that you remember that souvenir.  Get this scum out of here!” — A sentence passed by Judge W. Wyatt McKay of Trumbull County, Ohio

One down, several million to go…. I wonder if this judge is still sitting on the bench; we could refer all the cases of human traffickers, rapists, abusers of women or children, and others of that ilk to his courtroom, and trust they will receive the maximum legal punishment of which the law is capable…. then, once they are inside, we just leak to the other prisoners what they are in for; I imagine they’ll take care of the rest…..

A fella has to have his dreams….. and in my dreams, I can hear them, sisters, daughters, children, all crying out for help, waiting in anguish for someone to care….. who else, then, will stand up with me?….. During the 1960’s, in times of social changes gone ‘viral’, there was a poster I saw all over Berkeley…. It pictured men and women marching together, united in purpose…. the only caption said, “Free our sisters, free ourselves!”  This is a sentiment we all need to embrace, as valid now as it was over 40 years ago; if not now, when?…..
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Okay, let’s try this….. I’ll lump all these together, and get them all out of the way (translate: out of my head….) all in one swell foop.  See, perfect timing, again….

A new Sports Stadium was completed in Warsaw, Poland, recently. There have  been a large number of complaints about the design, since no matter where  you are seated, you are seated behind a Pole. (Sorry about that, really, terribly so, awful much!)

“I love to go down to the schoolyard and watch all the little children jump up  and down and run around yelling and screaming…They don’t know I’m only using blanks.” — Emo Phillips

Catastrophe: An award for the cat with the nicest buns.

“Hanging is too good for a man who makes puns; he should be drawn and quoted.” — Fred Allen (Sarcasm is the sour cream of wit.)

“A poet who reads their work in public may have other nasty habits” — Lazarus Long (Robert Heinlein)

Elvis Presley had a twin brother named Jesse who died at birth. (Did I HAVE to know this?….)

Yeah, I love cats too…want to trade recipes?

Okay, that’s probably enough of that…. I wouldn’t want to cause any nausea before breakfast….. I feel lighter and cleaner now, with all that stuff out of my head. Hopefully, so do you…. of course, this is not to say that dark and dirty doesn’t have its place…. I’ve always loved mud football at night…..   🙂
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Ode on a Grecian Urn

by John Keats

Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? what maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal–yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy’d,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e’er return.

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty’–that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Obviously, no critical or extensive comment from me is required…. saw a snippet of this yesterday while diving for today’s pearls, and thought it would be nice to show the entire Ode, as evidence, should you choose to agree, of why this poem is considered by many to be the best of the best, the most influential poem in modern English literature in the time since it was first published….. ’nuff said. Just read and enjoy…. or not. To each his or her own…. gotta say, though, I can see why folks would say so….   ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty’–that is all, Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know…..  Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness, Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time…. Whew! Good stuff….. and I am a connoisseur of Good Stuff, having read every copy of Mad Magazine cover to cover since the first one hit the stands……
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As I look back over what I’ve written this morning, I am struck, as I often am, by the diverse subject matter included. I suppose it is a direct reflection of how my mind works, not stream of consciousness, exactly, but sort of.  I’m not certain most of the time how it will fly out there, but once I hit Publish, there’s little sense in fretting over it. I’ll just do as I always do, which is to deal with whatever responses I get, one by one, and settle for that. Not a bad way to spend time; I’ve had worse gigs in my day, that is for sure and for certain…… Y’all take care out there……


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!

Apocalyptic seashell fire sale blues….

Ffolkes,
A gloomy mass of clouds lined the horizon, promising rain in the near future. Beneath them, a line of rolling dunes stretched eastward, leading to a high wall of mountains in the far distance. Closer, perhaps only two miles distant, sat the caravansary where the night would be passed, safe behind the walls separating the trees and water from the desert all around. The camels lining the trail, impatient to get to the water they could smell, shifted and groaned, wanting to be off. But Ahmed waited, continuing to scan the distance to the oasis with a sharp gaze.

Rumors of vicious Tuareg raiders attacking caravans had circled the bazaar in Alexandria before their departure, three days past, and Ahmed had no intention of allowing his group of merchants and their wares to become loot for the Tuareg campfires to celebrate that night. His complement of mercenary guards, well-paid to assure loyalty, were spread evenly through the caravan, disguised as merchants, but with weapons close at hand in case of trouble. As his keen eyes continued to watch for any movement or disturbed birds that would betray hidden groups of raiders, he smiled, congratulating himself for his foresight. “Let them attack,” he thought to himself, “we shall give them a swift journey to Hell’s Gate!”  Turning to his second, he nodded once, and the command to move passed swiftly down the well-dressed line of burdened camels, until the entire caravan once more trod slowly toward the caravansary in the near distance.

Well…. that was different. This passage was brought to you by the fine folks at Imagine, the fantasy and fiction marketplace down on Highway 29. gratis, as an example of what may be found in their immense catalog of storied beginnings and exciting endings. They’re reasonably priced too; I got this one for free, just because it was more than three days old….not a bad deal, considering the short story I’ll get out of it should bring in some decent change, provided, of course, I can find a buyer for it in today’s competitive market. Until I get that finished though, let’s get on with today’s Pearl, or Pearls, as the case may be…..
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In our society, the Republicans set out to prove that the Democrats can not be trusted to run the government. And the Democrats set out to prove that the Republicans can not be trusted to run our government. The real problem here is that both the Democrats and the Republicans have come up with something which is absolutely true and perfectly correct. This means that the people get to pull some sort of horrible trick on themselves and live with their choice for four years.–No attribution given…

I’m sorry there is no attribution for this, because I’d have liked to shake that person’s hand. The truth of this proposition should be obvious to even the hard to convince, for it has been proven time after time, in every election in my lifetime, and if things don’t change, will be true for as long as it takes to finish the end-game scenario we have been hurtling toward for a long time. It’s kind of like the weather….everybody talks about it, but nobody ever does anything to change, or control it.

Our society has, by all the information available, effectively sealed the fate of our species, by refusing to acknowledge our true place in the ecosphere, instead choosing to assume that the elitist attitudes fostered by Christian mores is fact, and that the rest of creation is ours to do with as we please. This blindness to the truth has brought us to the brink of species extinction, and it won’t be much longer before what we have done so far cannot be reversed. In fact, there is ample evidence that we reached that point in the latter decades of the 20th century, and the final solution is not far off now.

It’s too bad, too….. we had such promise as a species. Poetry, philosophy, art, all of our most creative characteristics have not been sufficient to keep the assholes among us from fouling our own nest, and it is now too late to do much about it, other than continue to fiddle while Rome burns around us…….

” [W]e shall continue to have a worsening ecologic crisis until we reject the Christian axiom that nature has no reason for existence save to serve man.” — Lynn White, Jr., “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis”, Science V. 155 No. 3767 (10 March 1967), pp. 1203-1207.
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“Mother Theresa epitomizes for me the blinkered charitableness upon which we pride ourselves and for which we expect reward in this world and the next.   There is very little on earth that I hate more than that.” — Feminist Germaine Greer

I’m not sure why Ms. Greer is identified as a feminist; it seems rather superfluous in this context. Her sentiment, though most likely very unpopular with the average run of folks, makes me want to say, “YES! At last, someone says it out loud!” That will no doubt bring me some flak as well, but, so be it. 

I’ve always thought that it takes a very condescending nature to be as falsely selfless as Mother Theresa. She must be one of the most horrible people to be around that I can imagine. Can you imagine having to listen to her endless judgments and smarmy, self-serving, overweening pride in how pious she believes herself to be, on a regular basis? I’m afraid I’d become rather homicidal in short order; I don’t deal well with self-satisfied, judgmental folks, who have nothing better to do than tell everyone else how uncharitable they are in comparison to themselves. Makes me want to bite them, hard.

I’ll bet the Popes love the fact that she buries herself in various poor ghettos around the world; it keeps them from having to talk to her very often.  Call me uncharitable if you like; you’d be wrong, but hey, it’s your dime. I just don’t want the world to think that she is the best example of selflessness; it’s more like selfishness to me……a perfect example of why those who receive charity tend to violently dislike those who try to lift them up ‘in service to God’; what a crock! It’s just another way for those giving the help to feel superior and self-satisfied with their own piety…….a fancy, long winded way to say they are barefaced liars, too cowardly to admit their own selfishness…..

“All of us necessarily hold many casual opinions that are ludicrously wrong simply because life is far too short for us to think through even a small fraction of the topics that we come across.” — Julian Simon  (And some, like Mother Theresa, never bother to question their dogmatic beliefs, to test their validity against reality…..)

One final thought on this subject…..and, sorry, but my karma just ran over your dogma.

A form of open-mindedness is the pathway to wisdom. Close your mind and you  open the way for ignorance to flourish, but you will never even know it. — our old friend Anonymous
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“Those who really deserve praise are the people who, while human enough to enjoy power, nevertheless pay more attention to justice than they are compelled to do by their situation.” — Thucydides

It’s been quite a while since I last saw, or used, a quote from Thucydides; I’ve always liked his take on things. This is a very astute observation, and a good yardstick to measure the relative worth of a politician.  Politicians, dealing as they do with power every day, are the most susceptible to its degrading qualities, so we need some way to decide whether or not we want them to continue to hold such power in their sweaty little hands. Without going through the entire list of the current crop of bozoids in office, I can still say with some confidence that I cannot think of a single example of a person such as described who has been elected in the past 60 years. The only reason I don’t include politicians before that time in this list is that I wasn’t there, and therefore am not qualified to judge that; one can’t rely on written history to give an accurate picture.

So, in the interest of fairness, I am challenging my readers…… give me a name of someone in the public eye in the last 60 years who meets the standard laid down by Thucydides above, and provide some evidence, and I will change my tune to include that information. If anyone can come up with one, I’ll be very surprised; encouraged as well, because the existence of one would imply the possible existence of others who share this attribute. We’ll see if I get any names……
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“I have witnessed and greatly enjoyed the first act of everything which Wagner created, but the effect on me has always been so powerful that one act was quite sufficient; whenever I have witnessed two acts I have gone away physically exhausted; and whenever I have ventured an entire opera the result has been the next thing to suicide.” — Mark Twain, 1891

I can relate to this very well. I pretty much like just about any kind of music there is, but as far as I’m concerned, 90% of the operas I’ve heard or seen were so thrilling I could barely stay awake. In fact, I might have slept through much of the one’s I’ve been to, had not those women on stage been caterwauling in notes so high, my whiskey glass trembled in fear.

Now, I will admit, there are some operatic pieces that are just as advertised; soaring melodies filled exquisitely by powerful, painfully beautiful voices (a couple of the female lead’s pieces in Aida, and the one from an opera I forget; it’s the one the protagonist in the Shawshank Redemption played on the warden’s record machine, broadcasting it for all the prisoners to hear…..incredible voice, whoever it was..). But mostly, it’s just singing in gibberish to boring music, surrounding a hard-to believe, sort-of-like a plot.

I thinks it is so popular because almost everyone is afraid to challenge the widely held belief of it’s superior qualities; they think folks will laugh at them for swimming against the tide of opinion. Me, I couldn’t care less what anybody thinks….as far as I’m concerned, it’s all a pile of doodoo, not worth a fraction of the time some folks spend on it……
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“I love to go down to the schoolyard and watch all the little children jump up and down and run around yelling and screaming…They don’t know I’m only using blanks.” — Emo Phillips

Now, THAT’S funny!  Admit it, you smiled or chuckled, before you could stop yourself. Ghetto humor can be pretty grisly, or shocking, and requires a certain degree of callousness to fully appreciate the point of it. But, it also is very human, dealing as it does with a side of life that only one who has been there can really understand. Most folks wouldn’t be able to think that there was anything funny about somebody shooting, or even pretending to shoot, at kids in a schoolyard; it goes against all their most long-held beliefs about what makes something funny. But to anyone who has spent any time at all on the street, it is hilarious……and that is part of human nature, no matter who might disagree…..

“Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.” — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
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So ends another foray into the wilds of the fringes of thought…. I think it went well today. I have a feeling that some of what I’ve written will bother some folks, a lot. Well, sorry ’bout that, but that is a personal problem, and not my fault. I am perfectly willing to discuss and or argue over any points I have written about, and given enough pertinent evidence, am able to adjust my belief system accordingly. I write my beliefs in pencil, always; it makes it easier to erase and start over than writing them in stone. But, don’t try to come at me with dogma, or with something someone else has indoctrinated you to believe; I will eat your beliefs like M&M’s, and enjoy every one of them. In any case, I hope that y’all have enjoyed today’s little slice of gigoid….. y’all take care out there…..


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!