Broken vicars fixed while you wait….

We don’t really fix the vicars, we just use a lot of duct tape to hold them together until they can get back up to the pulpit. The only real fix for them is a complete change of heart, and that is beyond my powers. Knowing my predilection for dissing preachers, you might wonder why I set up shop to fix them….Simple…. it’s easy money….

They break all the damn time, and the congregations will pay well to keep their blinders in place. I figured, since they give me such a pain all the time, I ought to get something out of having to deal with them. And duct tape is relatively cheap, compared to the time & energy it would take to perform any really effective brainwash, whether that wash is to clean it up & free it, or to increase control over it. Either way is harder than applying a layer of DT, and my travel fund gets fatter this way….  Our motto is, “If it’s not broke, let me take a crack at it”…..

So, if you know of any broken vicars, just have them sent over…. we’ll take care of them, and give them exactly what they need….. honest!….  Okay, silliness over….. The title line today kind of tickled me, and I thought I’d expand the idea a bit…. It’s a bit less pointedly cruel than I had hoped, but we need to get on with finding some pearls, so the duct tape treatment will have to suffice.

Perhaps a bit of water-boarding next time, just to assuage that blood thirst I know I get whenever I get a real live vicar in my shop…. Yeah, that’s the ticket, give them a taste of what they say is coming for us if we don’t toe the dogmatic line…. I like it, it is justice incarnate…. Mankind has a lot of sorrow and pain to pay them back for, to my way of thinking….

Well, before this turns into a rant instead of an intro, perhaps we’d best get our gear on and hit the water…. Shall we Pearl?….

“Hateful to me as are the gates of hell, is he who, hiding one thing in his heart, utters another.” — Homer (c. 700 B.C.)

I was reminded of this line yesterday when I read how Mitt Romney had responded to President Obama’s announcement regarding the change in immigration policy, to stop deporting a certain class of people working to become citizens. His response, or more accurately, his lack of expected response, points out one of his secondary lines of defense against telling the truth, to wit, saying nothing when there is something that should be said….

The new policy means that young people who were brought to the US, and now are law-abiding, hard-working people who are merely unnaturalized legally, will NOT be deported, but instead will be assisted to achieve their naturalization as citizens. It is the only real humane way to deal with the situation, and is a good step in the direction of humane immigration policies.

In the past, Mr. Romney has repeatedly expressed his views on this issue, stating clearly that he disagreed with it, and would not approve of such changes…. he wants them all to be deported, and has said so in the past, in speaking to conservative groups of voters…..

“People who don’t Think probably don’t have Brains; rather, they have grey fluff that’s blown into their heads by mistake.” — Pooh’s Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne

Now that the POTUS has instituted this policy, which is strongly supported by a large percentage of the voting populace, Mitt has nothing to say against it. He merely stated he doesn’t agree, but would not commit himself so far as to say he would stop the program if he were elected…. In other words, he lied his bloody head off…..

“I’d like to ram a hunk of fried goat cheese straight up his ass.” — A wonderful line from MYSTIC PIZZA

Now that he has confirmed his position as the likely Republican candidate in November, to run against the POTUS, his handlers have instructed him to shut his flapping lips, not wanting to take the chance that any of his actual thoughts or opinions would get found out by the voters he is desperately trying to convince of his qualifications.

They don’t want him to prove the old saw about proving himself to be a fool by opening his mouth & removing all doubt….. Like any political entity, their response is to have him lie by omission, rather than his usual method, which consists generally of just making something up, no matter how unreal or absurdly false it may be…..

It’s going to be an interesting campaign, I think…. the trick will be to figure out which side is telling the lies that will help us the most, or more accurately, hurt us the least…. These days, that is about the best we can hope for, given the field of compulsive liars we have from which to choose….. After all,

It is difficult to legislate morality in the absence of moral legislators. — Smart Bee

“Humanity has in the course of time had to endure from the hands of science two great outrages upon its naive self-love.  The first was when it realized that our earth was not the center of the universe, but only a speck in a world-system of a magnitude hardly conceivable…  The second was when biological research robbed man of his particular privilege of having been specially created, and relegated him to a descent from the animal world.” — Sigmund Freud

Dr. Freud was not always the most accurate of thinkers, as evidenced by the large number of practices and theories of psychiatry he developed that have been proven to be either completely false, or merely misguided. Modern psychiatry does owe him a large debt; not necessarily for the details of his theories, but for the scientific approach he took to the research into human behavior, and its motivations and workings. He helped psychiatry evolve from the level of shamanism to science.

This statement, however, is perfectly accurate, and a very insightful deduction as well. It goes far to explain a large number of the fringe elements of society, and the reaction they have given to the absolute verity of these two concepts. A very large percentage of mankind has never really gotten over the shock of discovering just how large the universe is, and in general, deal with that knowledge by ignoring it, never paying any attention to anything but their immediate surroundings. Even more of humanity resented learning that there is no evidence to support the idea of creationism, and the most common response to that has been, and in far too many cases continues to be, one of complete denial….

What is funny to me is that these folks who would deny evolution are the ones who benefit the most from its effects. Only the advances that mankind has made make it possible for them to survive at all. We are so far removed from living in caves, with no medical science, and all the other advances civilization has brought, that our intelligence level is no longer a factor in surviving. Thus, the ones who would normally not have lived long enough to reproduce, instead have large numbers of offspring, all just as lacking in reasoning ability as the next, continuing the legacy of ignorance that such denial indicates.

The irony of this is invisible to them; their very existence depends on what they deny, but they cannot see it…. and this lack of vision is what is killing them, and unfortunately, the rest of us as well….. It’s enough to make a person feel fatalistic….

“The flesh surrenders itself. Eternity takes back its own. Our bodies stirred these waters briefly, danced with a certain intoxication before the love of life and self, dealt with a few strange ideas, then submitted to the instruments of Time. What can we say of this? I occurred. I am not… yet I occurred.” — Frank Herbert, Dune Messiah

There’s a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.

Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings, are.

None may teach it anything,
‘T is the seal, despair, —
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.

When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, ‘t is like the distance
On the look of death.

— Emily Dickinson

If you can’t tell, I’m feeling a bit dark today. This little piece of genius from Emily fits right in…. enjoy!

It’s a Monday. I can tell, even without looking. Must be the 45 years of disciplining myself to go to work; a few unconscious habitual emotional states would naturally build up, enough to recognize a Monday anyway…. Fortunately, it only affects me, now, in that everybody else are the ones who have to be at work, and my only connection to that is if I need something from them…. another retirement perk they don’t tell you about. Gotta find your fun somewhere, eh? ……  Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..

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




Unraveling the Celtic knot….

T’is morning again, and as the castle awoke, I strode down the chancel steps, thoughts focused on breaking my fast.
Years ago, none were so bold as to tell me, but all looked at me askance, with questions and fear in their eyes. Aye, none would tell me, but all knew. They all knew that I, Raxom, heir to the throne of Saxony, had been abducted by a wizard when very small, and no amount of raging and blustering, and charging around the kingdom searching had brought me home.

At the end of a month, I was found, asleep in a basket, left on the steps of the scullery door. No marks, and no evidence of foul play were found on me, and being too young to talk, I could not tell them. I could not tell them that the old wizard who had taken me had changed me somehow. No longer a babe, I looked around me with bright, interested eyes; the scullery maids tittered and fluttered, as I peered at them from my basket, for I looked at them with eyes older than the sun. Pay heed now, as I tell the rest of my tale, a tale of power, and magic, and matters of highest import…….

There…. that feels better. Sorry, that’s been stuck in there for awhile; I’m glad it finally worked its way out into the light. They tend to fester if they stay in my head too long….. and now we can go on to something a bit more constructive, and more fun…..though, I have to say, this one was a delight to process; no stumbles or blockages noted…. a very polite little pair of paragraphs, if I do say so myself…..

“Let us go forth not as defenders of the status quo, but as crusaders with a revolutionary idea – that government should be the servant and not the master of the people; that its purpose is to protect, not deny, each man’s freedom; that the purpose of a free press is to liberate, not enslave the human spirit.” — From the speech made by A. S. Hills upon taking office as President of the Inter-American Press Association

This noble aim seems to have fallen out of favor with modern media professionals. The Internet now acts as the limitless source of otherwise hidden information that accumulates around government activities, while the newspaper, radio , and TV reporters spend their time endlessly dissecting and discussing the details of the same shared stories. The unfortunate side effect that needs to be taken into account in using information from the ‘Net is the frequent and obvious slant to the information put out by some sites; these slants can be as misleading as the nonsense the “major networks” are spouting, influenced as they are by folks who, though not of the powerful elite, very much have their own agenda, one that has little to do with what is best for you and me…

Thus, finding sources of information that can be trusted becomes a critical element in the fight to keep up with the events that shape reality; it can be a time consuming effort, culminating in thorough testing of the information gathered against what we know to be real, before deciding whether to utilize it or not. Even when we have made such a decision, we have to regularly run the same test over all the sources we use, for safety’s sake…. annoying, but necessary. Using the old 50/25/0% ratio (one should only believe 50% of what is seen, 25% of what is read, and nothing of what is heard) it doesn’t take long to wean out the sources that are unfit for data consumption. This is important to know in a world where having accurate data is essential to solving the equation of life; starting with false assumptions, or false data, can only lead to erroneous outcomes…… and there are enough folks out there filling that evolutionary niche already….

They say that a dog never steps on a cursed object.

I would say this is probably true; as well, one might include cats in this category of creature, i.e., one who perceives more than what a mere human is capable of seeing. How often have you seen a cat sitting, perfectly still, staring with intense concentration at a point on the floor, or wall? I see them do that often; I figure they are using their mental power of telekinesis to hold shut a door between universes where bad/evil uglies are just waiting to cross over to our universe to steal our Kiss albums and recipes for homemade dumplings. It’s either that, or they are messing with our heads, a habit any cat owner will tell you is common in the species.

Dogs never do that, not purposely; they’re too nice, too innocent for such games. Cats can be nice, too, when it is in their self interests to be so; they can also be as disapproving and cold as your Great Aunt Minnie’s oatmeal. All in all, though, I’d say the collaboration between man, dog, and cat, a pact entered into many generations ago around a campfire, has, for the most part, worked out well for all three parties. I know for certain that I mostly prefer the company of dogs and cats over that of my fellow man; they’ve given me much more reason to trust them than 99% of the people I’ve met in my life….. and they’re mostly better company, to boot….

“Evolution is as much a fact as the earth turning on its axis and going around the sun.  At one time this was called the Copernican theory; but, when evidence for a theory becomes so overwhelming that no informed person can doubt it, it is customary for scientists to call it a fact.  That all present life descended from earlier forms, over vast stretches of geologic time, is as firmly established as Copernican cosmology.  Biologists differ only with respect to theories about how the process operates.” — Martin Gardner, “Irving Kristol and the Facts of Life”, — The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. XII No. 2, ppg. 128-131

This is one of the clearest statements I’ve seen regarding this subject, and I was going to use it to poke more fun at the politicians in the news, but decided instead to just examine the concept for relevance. Evolution seems such common sense to me that I have a hard time believing that adult, presumably educated people can truthfully express their doubt as to it’s veracity. But, as a matter of fact, the two leading Republican presidential contenders currently hogging the headlines have both called evolution an “unproven theory”, though they are not able or willing to supply any physical, or even logical, evidence supporting that contention; it’s just their opinion, smirk, smirk, wiggle eyebrows…. My simple question for you is this….. are you willing to allow these people to have the power to launch nuclear weapons? To speak for us before the world? To have a mandate to force the rest of us to adopt their insanity? I didn’t think so……. neither do I…..

“The correct way to punctuate a sentence that starts: “Of course it is none of my business, but –” is to place a period after the word “but.” Don’t use excessive force in supplying such a moron with a period. Cutting his throat is only a momentary pleasure and is bound to get you talked about.” — Lazarus Long, from Robert A. Heinlein’s “Time Enough For Love”

I tend to use quotes from this book a lot; it’s a tour de force of much of Heinlein’s body of work, and includes a segment called “The Notebooks of Lazarus Long”. The Notebooks are a compendium of quotations on life that come from the wisdom of a man who, by the beginning of the central story in the book, had already lived through 2300 years of human history.  That’s a pretty long time to hang around this old place, and in order to survive that long, some basic patterns of thought and attitude are revealed as being valuable for their usefulness in the Art of Survival.

As a matter of fact, ‘useful’ may be one of the defining characteristics of all the quotations, and attitudes, that are included in the Notebooks. There are too many to cover in a short piece of work like this one (though  long/short is debatable when talking of P.O.V.W….), but I will leave you with one of the deepest and most useful of all the fabulous entries…..

“Always store beer in a dark place.”– Lazarus Long  (Think about it awhile; it will grow as you think…..)

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea,
Yet never in extremity
It asked a crumb of me.
— Emily Dickenson

As is often the case with one of Emily’s poems, there is nothing I can add that will make it better, or better understood. I have a hard time saying why I like her works, anyway; I’m not sure the reason is available to my conscious mind. But it’s okay, because just reading it is enough for me……

Putting this morning’s Pearl together was an interesting start to the day; I’m not certain just what it says about how the rest of it should go. I thought much of the time this morning I was struggling, mostly to find subject matter. But, the process is now over, and it seemed to go by very quickly, which is usually a sign of good things to come later in the day.  Now I don’t know what to think…. oh well, I guess I’ll use the old retired person gambit, and go back to bed for awhile….. meantime, y’all take care out there….

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




Captain Kangaroo, Spiderman, and Tricky Dicky walk into a bar…..

What was that? Just spent 10 minutes composing three lines of absolute crap. It was so bad, and was getting so nowhere quickly, that I just deleted the whole damn thing. So, we will start anew….good morning. It is now just past 4 AM, and I am up, fully awake, anxiously awaiting the two little beeps from the coffee machine that it is ready. Yes! And there they are….I’ll be back….

I’ll say it again….the first sip of coffee in the morning may be my favorite moment of any day. There is just something so bracing, so uplifting, about how everything in one’s system responds positively to the first sip. The next few sips approach the same parameter, but never get there. And, of course, the whole rest of the day is then a downhill run, unless I come up with some new and astounding kind of entertainment or pleasure producing activity, like writing a good poem, or getting an award from another blogger who likes my work, or you know, like an orgasm, which these days are few and far between.

Well, that covers that, probably more thoroughly than it required, or wanted. But that is how I get sometimes when I wake up early. That part of my mind that acts as a governor, attempting to keep my thoughts in a channel that can be focused, probably refuses to get up this early, so the more undisciplined, and prolific, side of my angst-ridden soul takes over and goes amok, until the governor wakes up in disgust and starts putting on the brakes. Sounds as if he’s up now so we’ll dive into the deep end of the pool……

“I wanted only to try to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self.  Why was that so very difficult?” — Hermann Hesse

Robert Heinlein has, in fact, answered this question quite directly, in a number of his novels, wherein the main character or narrative voice talks about the Pink Monkey Effect. This is the theorem (actually, more like an axiom, as it has been demonstrated in real life many, many times), that states that in a group of Brown Monkeys, the order of prominence will put a monkey who is Pink, or merely not-Brown, at the bottom of the social scale, every time. Thus it can be surmised that discrimination according to the color of skin is bestial in nature, and is not a valid characteristic of a creature who reasons.

How does that relate to humans? Simple. In society, most people live by the rules they are taught as children, and never behave very far outside the parameters set forth by their parents. These people have a difficult time dealing with change, or anything that falls outside their experience, and this includes how people act when they are acting in accord with their true nature. It is well outside their experience when others use reason, rather than rote, to determine how to act. Thus, anyone in society who challenges the norm becomes a Pink Monkey, and is discriminated against by the Brown Monkeys, and all because the Browns don’t want to grow up and be human; they would rather act like apes…..and never even realize it…….

“Nature, whose sweet rains fall on just and unjust alike, will have clefts in the rocks where I may hide, and secret valleys in whose silence I may weep undetected. She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole.” — Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) — “De Profundis”

It is hard not to love Oscar Wilde, and this particular passage gives an inkling of why. He had such a beautiful command of language that so catches the imagination of the reader, that one becomes almost lost in wonder, at the sheer melody of the words and how they are placed together. The first sentence is possibly one of the most beautiful, and deepest, passages ever written. What imagery and emotion is packed into that one sentence.  “……..secret valleys in whose silence I may weep undetected.” “…..whose sweet rains fall on just and just alike”.

I can only hope that someday I will be able to write a passage such as this; in a way, a passage like this one acts as a goad, or a stimulus to my imagination and creativity. I have come close a few times, but have a far piece to go before I can claim anything close to the beauty of this paragraph by Oscar. It makes me wonder sometimes how Oscar would describe today’s world; I’d be willing to give a lot (say, a finger, or a toe, or even cash money) to hear what he could say on that subject……

If God had meant for us to take life seriously, He wouldn’t have given us a sense of humor.

I would say this is true, as far as it goes. I would feel compelled to add that, to listen to some of the folks who consider themselves tight with God, they don’t figure He has one; at least they won’t cop to it. They live and act as if they never did anything bozoid, or made a mistake, or for goodness sake, looked at a platypus. If that creature isn’t proof that God has a sense of humor, I couldn’t say what is.

Since I don’t honestly believe in the tenets put forth by any of the organized religions I’ve studied (damn near all of them now), I would have to say that our sense of humor is a survival characteristic, a buffer for our minds, to protect it from all the crap and nonsense that floats free in the universe, especially in what we see and hear from our cohabitants on this little mudball we call home.

Such a device is essential to retaining one’s sanity in the face of the kind of complicated, emotionally charged, irrational, and illogical BS we constantly have to deal with when trying to deal with the great unwashed masses. It certainly has aided me in my campaign to bring some light to the dark-headed among us (I refer here to the old saw: the lights are on, but nobody’s home), both by acting as a favored method of teaching for me, and a favored method of learning for them. So, for me, it is a two-edged sword, giving me both protection from the assaults on my mind from the ignorant, and allowing me to share some helpful information in people who can’t learn any other way.

And in the final analysis, it’s always good to remember that humor is best applied in looking at ourselves. I can’t tell you how often I break out in sheer delight over something stupid I’ve done, something I have told myself time and again to not do, but that I end up doing anyway. Just goes to show that even us smart guys are not immune to bozoid tendencies…..thank God….. 🙂

“I have a feeling that at any time about three million Americans can be had for any militant reaction against law, decency, the Constitution, the Supreme Court, compassion and the rule of reason.” — John Kenneth Galbraith

Mr. Galbraith makes a valid point here, but I think his estimate is low, considering there are over 310 million of us now. I’d wager it’s closer to 30 million, of which 95% would be fundamentalist Christians and/or Mormons. The entrance qualifications for acceptance into one of those organizations are pretty low, and since the principal characteristic of all of them is sheer mental laziness (they refuse to think for themselves, instead of blindly accepting what their leaders, or their interpretation of their scriptures, tell them), and the ranks of the great unwashed masses have swollen in the last decade. If you need proof, look at the Tea Party, which I consider one of the more apt descriptions for that entity. I would, however, prefer to add some words to it, to wit: the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

For the sake of argument, let us look at just one subject, say evolution vs. creationism. As recently as November of last year, several of the Republican candidates for the nomination to run for President expressed their doubts about evolution, trying no doubt to appeal to that 30 or more million folks who believe in creationism. Below, you will find just one argument on the subject; there are literally millions more scientists who would say the same…..

“Evolution is as much a fact as the earth turning on its axis and going around the sun.  At one time this was called the Copernican theory; but, when evidence for a theory becomes so overwhelming that no informed person can doubt it, it is customary for scientists to call it a fact.  That all present life descended from earlier forms, over vast stretches of geologic time, is as firmly established as Copernican cosmology.  Biologists differ only with respect to theories about how the process operates.”– Martin Gardner, “Irving Kristol & the Facts of Life”– The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. XII No. 2, ppg. 128-131

In reality, I am aware that I’m preaching to the choir here; most of the folks I know don’t much hold with nonsense. But, a lot of other folks may eventually read this, and if I can offend them enough, maybe I can get them to think for a moment or two, much as it pains them to do so……if not, well, it’s fun for me, and leaves them feeling confused, so that’s all good…..

William Shakespeare doesn’t need my approval, but he has it nonetheless. Though I don’t consider him to be as good as he is touted to be, he is still one of the most prolific of writers, and obviously had a firm grasp of human nature and how to write about it. Where other folks go past my preferences are those passages that become too complex and wordy; to me, this makes it less entertaining, and I’m not impressed merely by verbiage. I myself can write some pretty impenetrable stuff, so I realize that much of what he wrote was written that way to impress the yokels, who were his main source of income.

But, though I’m not his hugest fan, I still can acknowledge that there are very few at all who can compare to the beauty and depth of some of his work. Below I have included three of his best, in my opinion. These passages show skill, emotion, human nature, and humor, all with great style and wit. It doesn’t get much better than this…….

“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” — William Shakespeare, As You Like It — Act v, Sc. 1

And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke
That my youth suffer’d. My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs;
She swore, in faith, ‘t was strange, ‘t was passing strange,
‘T was pitiful, ‘t was wondrous pitiful;
She wish’d she had not heard it, yet she wish’d
That Heaven had made her such a man; she thank’d me,
And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story,
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake:
She loved me for the dangers I had pass’d,
And I loved her that she did pity them.
This only is the witchcraft I have used.
— William Shakespeare, Othello — Act i, Sc. 3

“What! canst thou say all this and never blush?” — William Shakespeare

I probably should have known that getting up so early would be problematic. Here I am, finished with this, and now I have to wait about three hours for the rest of the world to arise and get moving, before I can accomplish anything worthwhile, since today’s schedule has to do with interactions outside home.

Oh wait, company coming today….okay, that’s cool. No worries….. sorry, got distracted inside my head. I guess this is enough for one day (and no remarks about it being too much for any day), so maybe I’ll go take a long shower & go back to bed….. I sure like being retired, and making up my own schedule, without any outside influence; it’s a very powerful feeling. Any who, y’all take care out there….

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