“Brevis esse laboro, obscurus fio.”
(It is when I struggle to be brief that I become obscure.)
~~ Horace ~~
from Ars Poetica
The above picture is from NASA, the US Space agency; it’s a self-portrait of the Mars Rover, Curiosity, taken in 2014, after a year of exploring Mars. I have included it today, simply because it makes me proud to be human. We have a robot on Mars, dammit! Not only were we able to send it there, let it touch down without crashing itself into small pieces, with computers, and all its delicate equipment intact, using an incredibly complex method of landing from orbit, once it had traversed the hundreds of millions of miles just to get to where it could orbit the planet….
Not only did we get it there, safely down to the surface, it is advanced enough it can communicate with us, here on Earth, well enough for us to be capable of receiving high resolution, LIVE pictures, such as this self-portrait, composed of a panoramic collage of photos taken by the robot’s camera arm…. I cannot express, loudly, or long enough, the importance of the simple fact that WE HAVE REACHED ANOTHER PLANET!
Perhaps we are not yet there in person, but, to have a representative there, a functioning explorer/ambassador of our culture, in constant touch with the home planet, is enough of a wonder to give me the shivers when I consider it…. It’s not a big step, in terms of the total distances involved in space, but it is one more significant step on the only path I can see saving us form our own foolishness, to wit; the path to the stars….
When I was a child, I read a lot of Science Fiction, along with all I was learning in school; over the years, up to high school, and into college, I became convinced that exploring the stars is the only purpose I can think of worthy of Mankind’s ultimate attention, as a goal for the entire species to reach… There is so much out there to learn, and we’ve had so little time, compared to all there is, or will be; we can never, individually, learn all there is to learn, see all there is to see, for what we know now tells us, without doubt, there is no end in sight to the sheer variety and diversity of the Universe, in all its ancient glory, all the way to the ends of the visible space, over a BILLION light years away, in space, and, in time for it takes that long, a billion years, just for the light of those distant galaxies to reach our eyes….
At my tender age, I didn’t know how foolish most men are, or how stupidity, and the cupidity of men with no honor, would place all of us, every single human alive, in the direst of jeopardy, before the end of my life here on Earth…. but, that is what has happened…. The cumulative effects of the actions of just a few dishonorable, selfish, violently insane men, who, unfortunately, are in control of most of society’s resources, have reached a critical point, where the choice of the wrong path, in the next few years, may well determine whether we live long enough, as a species, to have the chance to even reach the limits of our own solar system, much less travel to the nearest stars, a bit over 4 light years distant…
What I didn’t realize when I was young, is that the path to Alpha Centauri, or it’s twin, the closest star system to ours, and beyond, would be the ONLY path upon which we humans will have any real chance to survive. If we do NOT leave our planet soon, the internal pressures in society are going to explode, and the damage we have caused to our own planet is going to reach a point from which there is no retreat…. We need to start a solid, self-supporting colony on another planet, or three, or four, or we are not going survive past the end of the current century…. It’s harsh, but, I don’t see any way around this…. it’s simple math, and simple logic….
If we, as a species, cannot get our act together, stop killing each other, and quit fucking with the environment through our ignorance and avarice, then, for sure and for certain, we are ALL going to die, along with most of the other mammalian life on this planet…. The insects, and some of the lower orders of plants and microbes (lichen, fungus, viruses, etc…) may last a while, but, not in the form they are in now…. Life, as we know it on this planet, will cease, and never be missed by an indifferent Universe…. This, ffolkes, I’m sorry to say, is NOT speculation, and NOT a guess. If we don’t quit our bullshit, NOW, it will be too late….
I’m sure you’ve heard of, or seen, the reports from various points around the globe about sinkholes that are showing up where none were ever seen before, both in remote areas, and in settled ones… These holes are not completely understood, but one thing is clear; they are most likely a result of the melting of the permafrost, which exists under the first layers of ice in the poles, and, under the ground, all over the world… In this permafrost is a chemical substance, a gas, which, though natural to nature, is toxic in large amounts, and acts as one of the most powerful catalysts to climate and environmental changes ever discovered….
Introducing large amounts of the gas trapped in the permafrost is scientifically certain to cause changes in the chemical balance of the atmosphere, and can be shown to happen at a hyperbolic rate once begun, increasingly faster with each molecule added to the air…. This gas, once reaching a certain percentage amount in the air, will alter the percentages of gases in the air we breathe, making it toxic, poisonous for us to breathe…. AND, there are two things to note about the process we are seeing in the formation of the sinkholes….
First, once begun, there is no known way to stop the catalytic changes from continuing…. we haven’t a clue how to stop what it will do. The second item of note is this…. all these sinkholes show an intense concentration of the pertinent substance to which I referred, inside, as well as coming out, of the air in the holes, mixing with the general atmosphere, meaning the permafrost below the hole is melting, at a rate we cannot halt….
We may already be dead, and not even know it…. How ’bout them apples, eh?
I am unsure of how to view this news…. It’s all true; everything I wrote in the above paragraphs can be found in the daily news, with a bit of minor digging…. Hell, I’m not entirely cognizant of either how I got started on this, or why I didn’t stop myself…. I started off with a positive outlook, but, reality set in, I suppose, and the rest just flowed from there…. I guess this is one way to get my ranting out of the way….
I’ll leave this here, since I’ve said all that can be said on the matter; at this point, it all boils down to one question, to wit: Will we have time to find our way out of the damn near insoluble situation in which we’ve placed ourselves, live up to our promise, and beat a path to the stars? or, will we continue to allow our own worst qualities determine our fate, thus putting the first, and most likely, the last nail in our own coffin?
Sadly, your guess is as good as mine, and, I don’t have a clue; all I have left is a little bit of hope, and it has a hard time manifesting at all….. SIGH… I guess we should get on with the rest of this; I’ve made it hard on myself today, by insisting on dealing with such a depressing subject, first thing…. Perhaps it will have a good effect on the rest of this one… One can never tell, can one?…. I can’t, and, here, that’s all that matters, in the final analysis…. On that singularly obvious note, let’s be off….
Shall we Pearl?…..
While I pondered on this dangerous pastime…
I took a heavenly ride through our silence…
I knew at that the moment had arrived…
For killing the past and coming back to life.
~~ Pink Floyd ~~
Coming Back To Life
I really don’t know what came over me up there…. I’m getting pretty unpredictable when it comes to this ranting stuff; I might have to just give it a rest for a time, though I don’t know what I’d do with all the build-up of internal pressure liable to happen if I do that; it’s been known to cause problems for NASA when it gets to be too much….. not that I really know how that works, but, when you get Federal Marshals at your door enough times, it gets old fast….
Now I’m falling into silly mode, and it’s still a bit early for that….. Well, perhaps not. Why don’t I see if Smart Bee can help out a bit? I’ll put together an old-school pearl, with random parameters set to silly, & see what happens, okay? Okay…. Let’s dive into the world wide web, & find us some oysters…. the metaphorical kind….
“Cthulhu! You’ve been SPOKEN to about biting the readers!” — Smart Bee
“First prepare the soup of your choice and pour it into a bowl. Then, take the bowl and quickly turn it upside down on the cookie tray. Lift the bowl ever so gently so that the soup retains the shape of the bowl. Gently is the key word here. Then, with the knife cut the soup down the middle into halves, then quarters, and gently reassemble the soup into a cube. Some of the soup will run off onto the cookie tray. Lift this soup up by the corners and fold slowly into a cylindrical soup staff. Square off the cube by stuffing the cracks with this cylindrical soup staff. Place the packet in your purse or inside coat pocket, and pack off to work.” — Steve Martin
“A detective story generally describes six living men discussing how it is that a man is dead. A modern philosophic story generally describes six dead men discussing how any man can possible be alive.” — G. K. Chesterton, A Miscellany of Men
“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” — Smart Bee
“Courtroom: A place where Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot would be equals, with the betting odds in favor of Judas.” — H.L. Mencken
“I find more and more, as I grow older, that I prefer women to men, children to adults, animals to humans… And rocks to living things? No, I’m not that old yet.” — Edward Abbey
“Now that I have my “APPLE,” I comprehend COST ACCOUNTING!!” — Zippy the Pinhead
As is usual when we go random, it ended up a bit eclectic…. Silly, but, eclectic…. Hmm, not a bad combination, for a throw-together concept… Well, onward…..
I’m in the mood for Keats, so, that’s what you get today…. So be it, gigoid has spoken….
Ode To A Nightingale
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thy happiness,—
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
O for a draught of vintage, that hath been
Cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Provencal song, and sun-burnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim:
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs;
Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new love pine at them beyond tomorrow.
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Clustered around by all her starry fays;
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast-fading violets covered up in leaves;
And mid-May’s eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
Darkling I listen; and for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Called him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain—
To thy high requiem become a sod
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now ’tis buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:—do I wake or sleep?
~~ John Keats ~~
For this section, since I ranted already, and created a pearl above (a strange one, admittedly, but, fresh as can be….), I’m going to dip into the archives for this section…. This is not a rant, per se, but, more of a discussion, with rant-like qualities…. I enjoyed it, so, I suggest you do to….
Just kidding, it’s worth a look, if only to check out how little things have changed in the last eight months of history on this sad old ball of mud…. At least, little about humanity has changed; the universe is rolling merrily along, as always….
Perception is, perhaps, the most elementally intricate quality we possess as living creatures. Through the five-plus senses we bring to the process, we receive information from the universe that gives us what we require, in order to be able to interact with Reality, (another term for the Universe… for the purposes of this discussion, anyway….) in some sort of way that is meaningful to us.
This information comes to us in a variety of forms, and our minds must utilize the complex, yet subtle qualities of imagination, reason, logic, and all those mental functions that our minds have discovered to organize the information, functions whose etiology are basically unknown to us, as part of our basic nature. We don’t think about, or feel in any way, the process of seeing, or smelling, or touching, except in the context of the sense itself…. We just DO it….
Yet each sense is such that it works WITH all the others, in ways we don’t really understand, to give us the pictures in our heads that show us how our minds perceive the world outside us…. We, being the imaginative creatures we are, have evolved all sorts of ways to organize and utilize our perceptions, all of which are again connected (remember that complexity part…) to another facet of Reality, which is our motivation for what we do, an outgrowth of our judgments of what we perceive…. We perceive, we judge, we act on that judgment, all according to our basic outlook on life, and how we choose to accept, and use, what we perceive….
This subject, I know, is a bit esoteric for such a venue, but, I’m leading up to a point, which is this…. We all perceive the world differently, but, that doesn’t mean the world takes that into any account…. It’s one of our hardest lessons to accept when we are forced to admit that the Universe, in all its majestic glory, couldn’t give a tiny little crap for us, or for what we think of the way things are…. If we choose to interact with it in such a way that we are breaking the basic rules that everything works by, then we will have to pay the price, in the only way that the Universe uses to exact payment, to wit: extinction….
Now, given that, it seems to me that my ranting about all of this*** is a bit like that ant crawling up the elephant’s leg, with belligerent intentions…. In short, it’s not really a productive way to achieve whatever it is I’m trying to do, as I can see only one possible outcome, which, the odds, and logic, would tend to dictate doesn’t include any need for any worry on the part of the elephant…. All that is a long winded, pedantic way of saying that my rants, while satisfying on a personal level for the release they provide, are mostly a waste of breath, in a practical sense…. Nothing will change because I rant, in spite of the need for change being the whole purpose behind the rant…
The major part of that reason, I think, lies in the fact that I’m preaching to the choir…. None of the ffolkes, or folks, who read my blog, (with the possible exception of any bored NSA drones who may be assigned to do so merely because of my anti-government stance, shown by the use of key phrases indicating my opposition….), are in any position to make any of the changes themselves, even though many of them would be willing to do so, I think…. But, the people who inhabit the halls of our government in Washington, and in other capitols around the world, DON’T read my blog, nor do they agree with most of the things about which I rant….
Why is that, do you think? Why don’t the people who govern us agree with any of what I say in my rants? It’s all stuff that can be proven, and is certainly important enough to all of us to warrant discussion… But, they don’t agree… They have their own agendas, which don’t look like anything that anyone in the great unwashed masses could come up with, even though they supposedly represent US…. These are our representatives, ffolkes…. I found this short comment in an old Pearl, which I think sums up most of my point pretty well…..
(From May 12, 2012):
“Such bickerings to recount, met often in these our writers, what more worth is it than to chronicle the wars of kites or crows flocking and fighting in the air?” — John Milton (1608-1674) — The History of England, Book iv
Did you ever wonder why a group of crows is called a congress? I didn’t. It makes perfect sense to me…. Dark, sinister looking creatures who act in odd ways, even for birds. Their behaviors tend to lean toward stealing shiny objects from wherever, or stealing the food of people or other animals and birds. When they speak, it is in a voice that grates on the ear like fingernails on a slate. In groups, they mill around, cackling and grumbling and jostling each other, until they all fly off to different areas to carry out whatever nefarious schemes they have hatched among themselves.
No, I have no problem envisioning a congress of crows; in fact, I believe they are in session, now, in Washington, D.C. …. Why, look! Here’s a list of them now!…..
Them’s some affluent crows, ain’t they?…. That’s what happens when any politician is given the keys to the treasury….. One last query…. Who gets to say how much money members of Congress get paid? Answer: They are authorized to set that themselves…. Okay, one more… Who authorized them? Why, they authorized that themselves, of course….
I’m tired now…. I’ve managed to spout off now about the Asininnies, or, at least, about the 545 of them who inhabit the top levels of OUR democratic bureaucracy, for a good, oh, thousand words or so, and once again, it will end up being read by those who mostly agree… (I’m making the assumption, reluctantly, but, with confidence, that if they DIDN’T agree, they’d leave a comment to say so…. I know MY Gentle Readers would do so….), so, I’m perfectly aware that no changes will happen because of what I’ve written….
I don’t feel any better, either, damn it!….. 😦
*** It must be noted that “all of this” should be understood to include: global warming, and the impending ecological disaster, overpopulation, criminality of the Asininnies, most especially the egregiously selfish actions of the Beloved Ruling Class, the Shadowy Corporate Masters, Snakeheads in general, (human predators…. pimps, slavers, pedophiles, and the ilk…), and the Priestly Hierarchies….. Oh, yes, and, on the rare occasion, exposing Pooh’s evil twin….
It definitely feels good to be able to get back to my routine, I must say…. Dealing with changes has me feeling rather cattish; cats get pretty upset when their routines get altered. Guess I must need to get out & about more, so I don’t get so crusty…. And, since I’ve probably rambled & blathered enough for 3 blogs already today, I should no doubt hit the road for the day…. I’ll be nice, and do that…. I will, however, give you fair warning…. I’ll be back tomorrow, ffolkes, so, set your watches, so you can be elsewhere at that time….. Hah!….. 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.
gigoid, the dubious
PLEASE STOP READING THIS MESSAGE NOW.