Negotiating terns with aplomb….

Round and round and round it goes…. and what we find here we’ll never know. Thankfully, too…. It goes to show that one can never tell just exactly what the universe might be up to when we aren’t paying attention, because it sure is always a surprise to me.  And that is just the way I like it, for the most part.

Oh, there is that part of me that enjoys, and even craves, routine and known limits. Life is much safer, and less dangerous when well organized and maintained on a schedule. But, it can also get boring, which is not allowed in this version of reality. I decided long ago that to admit boredom is to admit being tired of my own head, and what is going on in there, and I will not permit that to take place. Not going to happen on my watch, nope, no sirree….

“The chain of habit coils itself around the heart like a serpent, to gnaw and stifle it.” — Hazlitt

Thus having banished all boredom and ennui (figured while I was at it, I’d make it a useful decision, and get rid of some other crap I don’t need….), we come to this. Why, you may ask, would I wish to punish others like this? And that, I say to you, is just plain cruel, not to mention judgmental. You may not have seen it, but in my disclaimer, published many moons ago, I told everyone that all criticisms would be cheerfully ignored, and so they shall be. I’ll let it go this time…. but don’t let it happen again, or you won’t be allowed in the pool, much less on a dive…. sheesh, interrupting my spiel with critical remarks…. some gall….

Where was I? Oh, right, no ennui…. so, we end up with Pearls, rather than just sitting around staring at walls and complaining. I figure that alone has to be worth something, even if it is only self-congratulations.

But, worthy, or worthless, this is the name of the game, and for the moment, it is the only game in town (that’s why I start at 5 AM in my time zone….).  All that being said, necessary or not, it does clear the way down to the water’s edge, and the bags are all ready to collect some pearls…. shall we dive in then, and seek the makings of a Pearl?……We shall….

“Happiness follows sorrow, sorrow follows happiness, but when one no longer discriminates between happiness and sorrow, a good deed and a bad deed, one is able to realize freedom.” — Buddha

“It’s a good rule to follow the first law of holes: if you are in one, stop digging.” — Denis Healey

I’ve put these two pearls together to form two sides of an idea, sort of (“sort of” is a very precise term from the social sciences, referring to the dubious practice of making things up to try to explain something beyond explanation….)… The first part of the idea, from the Buddha, is very subtle, and is most likely not well understood by the layman theologian. This is why I’ve inserted the second line; it helps the reasoning process to start in a simpler place, and it can’t get much simpler than the first law of holes….. Of course, it is a law that, in spite of its simplicity, its wide distribution, and its commonly-agreed usefulness, there are still folks who end up breaking it…. go figure…..

But, once someone has conquered the intricacies of thought that are involved in figuring out how to keep themselves out of holes, it becomes desirable to move on to greater thoughts…. or at least possible. It must be admitted that the Buddha’s statement here is one of the most basic, and most subtle, concepts in Buddhist thought, and is quite possibly the most difficult for Westerners to grasp in its fullness.

The Western mind is very attached to things; we are trained consumers from our first exposure to TV at a very young age, and the pressure to acquire goods and services, to spend, spend, spend continues throughout our lives. Accepting the valuelessness of all we buy and sell is a hard step for us to take. It’s not easy being green….

But, we must learn to be green, if we really want to be free…. free from the emotional morass, free from the eternal fire sale, free from the need to even pay slight attention to all the nonsense that is thrown at us to convince us to partake of the material world’s offerings…. but, once we realize that all of that is no more substantial than cotton candy, that all of what we are being asked to buy is just an illusion, having nothing to do with happiness or freedom at all, then we become truly free to think and do what our minds tell us is right, instead of just going along with whatever is on TV…. and that is a start toward being truly free….Free of influence, and free to think…. the truest and most basic of freedoms….

“A friend once asked if it was true that no politician ever failed by  underestimating the intelligence of the peasants and livestock. I told him we  would never know, because their intelligence was something that was impossible to underestimate.” — President Weishaupt, “Church & State” by Dave Sim

I’m pretty sure that this is another of those observations that the beloved ruling class would rather didn’t get too well known. It is obvious to the most casual observer that those in power have no respect for those they rule…. if they did, they wouldn’t feel it necessary to lie to us at all, much less all the damn time. But the fact is, they don’t respect the public’s intelligence, and rightly so, for the public hides any intelligence it might have even from itself.

Acts of rebellion, or challenges to authority, are not only against the law, they are against custom, which is much stronger than law in controlling behavior. It is a strong, free man indeed who can act against what society holds as customary, for he will certainly be reviled for doing so. People don’t like to be told they are stupid, especially if they are….

SIGH…. This is a subject upon which I could rant all morning, but it is also one I recognize as being relatively useless to rant about. Nobody wants to hear it. Nobody who needs to hear it, wants to hear it, for sure. Sometimes I think that most people actually enjoy being led around by the nose, told what to do, what to buy, what to think. I guess it is a very simple, easy way to live, precluding as it does any need to think or do for one’s self….

I suppose if that is what one wants out of life, then it is a form of justice that that is what they get… All I know is that I hate to be included in that segment of the population, and will fight to the end to keep from having to put up with that sort of control over my life…. even if they won’t respect me in the morning…..

“The national budget must be balanced.  The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced, if the nation doesn’t want to go bankrupt.  People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.), 55 BC

Once again, I will proceed to shout into the wind, knowing ahead of time that what I say here will cause no particularly large ripples of effect upon society’s pool of serene, calm water. But, it has to be said…. Mankind has to be considered to be a biological failure, by all the available evidence, such as the above statement. Though uttered about 2100 years ago, this might have been stated by Rush Limbaugh, quoting the Great Communicator (known in my world as the Great Fabricator….), and could be considered as the platform for the current Republican party, minus, of course, the little complaint about moderating and controlling authority.

2100 years, and we are still arguing over this sort of nonsense! Whether or not the stated ideas are necessary to the health of society is completely unimportant; the mere fact that we are dealing with the same class of concepts is what is disheartening. If we are to accept this, we must admit that we have made no progress whatsoever in dealing with human nature as it applies to society; we still find the same idiotic dances being danced, and the same idiotic processes keeping us from getting anywhere in a real sense.

Nor will we ever see any progress in this area, because this points out another fact that is not widely known or accepted, to wit: not only are we no smarter than we ever were, but we have actually lost ground over time, as the general intelligence of the average man continues to drop.

My cynicism is, unfortunately, justified, and I am not happy about it…. Ah well, at least it’s never a dull moment here in the real world; there is always something to keep us from getting bored…. too bad one has to wear a hazmat suit to watch TV these days….

“Faith lives in the same apartment building as Doubt. When Faith was out of town visiting her uncle in the hospital, Doubt fed the cat and watered the asparagus fern. Faith is comfortable with Doubt because she grew up with him. Their mothers are cousins. Faith is not dogmatic about her beliefs like some of her relatives. Her friends fear that faith is a bit stupid. They whisper that she is naive and she depends on Doubt to protect her from the meanness of life. In fact, it is the other way around. It is Faith who protects Doubt from Cynicism.” — J. Ruth Gendler, The Book of Qualities

Awww…. isn’t this so cute? Isn’t it just the sweetest little thing you’ve ever read? And isn’t it just the biggest pack of BS you’ve ever seen?  Yes, to all three…. This is a perfect example of how far someone whose faith-based beliefs will go to convince people of the value of their delusions. If one follows the logic that is apparently here, it all seems quite valid.

But a closer examination shows that there is NO logic here at all. It is all an emotionally based argument. “Their mothers are cousins.”  What tripe! This is logic? I don’t think so…. What is worst here is that they make Cynicism sound like something to be avoided, rather than something anyone with a logical mind uses as a tool of great versatility….

But, it is quite attractive, don’t you think? It’s a very pleasant little trip into fantasy, and as such, lulls the reader into acquiescence with its precepts. It is a very dangerous form of lying, as it doesn’t claim to be truth. It even admits to a bit of Doubt (“They whisper she is naive…”), just so one will think it is even-handed, and respectful of truth.

But, in truth, it is a vicious lie, intended to trick the reader into believing what is obviously not so by appealing to the cuteness gene we all hide from each other until a picture of a puppy is produced, whereupon we all go, Awwww, and agree that there is nothing quite like a puppy picture.

Guess what? This isn’t a puppy picture…. it is a picture of a dead puppy, disguised as a cat and a fern….

“Someone’s got to raise some hell, it might as well be me.” — Jimmy Buffet

God’s Problem Now: His wife’s graveside service was just barely finished, when there was a massive clap of thunder, followed by a tremendous bolt of lightning, accompanied by even more thunder rumbling in the distance.  The little, old man looked at the pastor and calmly said, “Well, she’s there.”

Okay, okay, I know…. I’m not a Christian, and I’ve used it before, but it’s funny as hell, so it stays…. Besides, I’m done fighting with Smart Bee for the day…. I won’t go into it heavily, but I will say that finding pearls today was a real fight. I’m hoping to spend some time later today searching out new sources of pearls, so hopefully this won’t happen again…. In the meantime, it’s not a bad ending; gotta be worth a chuckle, at least….   🙂

What an ordeal! I must have rebooted Smart Bee 25 times, trying to find a different set of pearls to choose from, without any success to speak of at all. Either it needs updating, or I’ve run through all 111,111 quotes in there. Hard to believe, even as long as I’ve been using it. Ah well, I’ll just have to resort to Google tomorrow, and more often…. which is fine, just a bit more time consuming than depending on what I have on disk. So be it…

One of these days, well, it will be another of these days…. but we’ll deal with that bridge as we cross it. In the meantime, y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you….

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



Tomato rice soup again?

I took yesterday off. After writing the morning Pearl, and answering comments made overnight, I went to the library. When I got home, I read an entire book, and watched two Harry Potter movies (#2 & #4, if you’re curious…). That constituted my entire day. Not terribly exciting, but it kept my head busy, not thinking about choosing targets among the many from which I could pick. It may not have been productive, in at least two senses, but it was certainly safer than following impulse.

With that said, we come to today. I am once again in the mood to go hunting, and I don’t mean to hunt Horcruxes. But once again I will sublimate all my anger and angst into this morning’s Pearl, and those who have engendered my ire can walk around for another day or two before I figure out how to go about fulfilling my impulses rather than blocking them…. It’s not a complex strategy to formulate, but there are a lot of details that need to be addressed, if I am to succeed without unwanted attention….. the latter point is the most delicate, of course, as it is always a hard decision to decide whether witnesses should be avoided, kept away, encouraged, intimidated, or eliminated. SIGH, it’s always something!

Ah well, that will wait…. for now, I want to get this done, and catch up a bit to WordPress, which I neglected all day yesterday, in favor of burying my head in books and movies. T’was fun, but not as productive as I am used to, so I need to make it up somewhat today. In that spirit, let’s be off, shall we?  Kowabunga!…..

“Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality the cost becomes prohibitive.” — William F. Buckley

Will Buckley imagined himself to be the poster boy for the conservative right in Amerika (I only spell it this way when I am referring to someone whose ideology most closely resembles that of 1939 Germany), and had the vocabulary to prove it. As a matter of fact, he was so impressed with himself and his intelligence, he was alleged in his own mind.  🙂 

I don’t listen much to his tripe anymore, but in my youth I found him to be an amusing way to spend some time, first to decipher his overblown language to find his intended context (the words he employs tend to obscure his meaning a LOT of the time; it is just TOO erudite for its own good….), then in chuckling over his use of logic to take his preposterous assumptions to their logically absurd conclusions….

Even in talking about him, other literary sources would become more convoluted in their word usage. When I Googled Bill’s name to research a bit (it’s been a long time since I paid him any attention) I found, as I remembered, that he had passed on in 2008. In the New York Times, the initial line reads: “Mr. Buckley marshaled a refined, perspicacious mind to elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse.”  They couldn’t have just said, “Mr. Buckley was an educated man, and a vocal proponent of conservatism in this country.” Either is arguably true, but the second is a more accurate in a realistic sense, and still gets the same information across, but much less condescendingly.

Now, to be sure, I am not the most appropriate person to chide anyone for using too many words…. Goodness knows I have a hard enough time keeping myself under some small bit of control in that arena… I’m wordy, I know it…. But, I’m wordy in the attempt to clarify what is real, and what is true, not to obscure it, so that its meaning is clear, rather than placing the blame on the reader, for not understanding the oh-so-superior intelligence of the speaker….

I’m a fairly smart guy, but I don’t have to try to prove it by making my listeners or readers feel like I’m talking down to them. Unfortunately for all of us, Mr. Buckley made a habit of doing just that…. and sadly, he convinced a lot of people that his erroneous assumptions were in fact a true reflection of reality, when, in reality, they were mere reflections of his self-aggrandizement, displayed in the mirror of his words….

As to what he says above, well, it just ain’t so…. As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite of what is real, for the more people who are enthused with the ideal of something, the more talent is focused on it, and the benefits to society always far outweigh any costs of implementing the components of the idealistic concepts at issue. Simple logic, but from a different assumption…. Poor Bill….. He spent so much of his time lamenting what could never be, he missed out on what is….. He never could find the peace found as described in Buddha’s words….

“Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well.” — Buddha

“Every man’s life, liberty, and property are in danger when the Legislature is in session.” — Gideon J. Tucker

“A society that lacks the patience to read, and loses the ability to do so, is rendered defenseless against its most profound stupidities.  As an example, consider the ease with which Americans came to regard a president known for his inaccuracy and imprecision as the great communicator, and by the tendency of American elections to give victory to the candidate who can afford the greatest number of 30-second TV spots.” — Mike Schmoker

“George Washington said to his father, “If I never tell a lie, how can I get  to be President?” — Red Buttons

“War is the last refuge of incompetent statesmen.” — Smart Bee

“A lot of people voting for Pat Buchanan (or random name from this election) say they are doing so to send a message. Apparently that message is, Hey, look at me, I’m an idiot.” — Dennis Miller

It has been said that what a culture finds to be humorous says a lot about that culture. In today’s society, and for most of my life, political humor has been much like what I have posted above. What this says about society is clear…. we do not have any respect for the politicians who are the same people we keep electing. None. We EXPECT them to lie to us. We EXPECT them to cheat, to completely ignore what is best for society in favor of what is best for them and their rich friends. It is a form of stupidity that is so firmly entrenched in society that our only relief from the pain of knowing it is to laugh at jokes that vilify those people we revere in practice.

Ultimately, we are laughing at them because we do not wish to cry over our own failure to change anything…  My reaction to this, when I can bear to look at it at all, is to experience Rage. I want to kill, or maim, or somehow strike back physically at those assholes who have no connection to the humanity of which they are a part…. and I hate them all the more for that, for making me want to do that to any creature….

O’Brien: “The only people left alive were in an outlying district of the  settlement.  I was sent there with a squad to reinforce them.  Cardassians  were advancing on us.  Moving through the streets,  destroying, killing.  I was  with a group of women and children, and two Cardassian soldiers burst in.  I  stunned one of them…the other one jumped me.  We struggled.  One of the  women threw me a phaser, and I fired.  The phaser was set at maximum.  The man  just…just incinerated there before my eyes.  I’d never killed anything  before.  When I was a kid I’d, I’d worry about swatting a mosquito.  It’s not  you I hate, Cardassian.  I hate what I became because of you.” — “The Wounded”, Stardate 44429.6

“Faith is much better than belief. Belief is when someone ELSE does the thinking.” — R. Buckminster Fuller

When I saw this I had to laugh…. loud….. and then I wondered what in the world was he thinking? Bucky Fuller normally had a very clear view of reality; this is made obvious by his invention of the triangular support design that allows us to build domes the size of small cities without fear of its collapse, unless by improper construction, or use of faulty materials. He also had a number of other ideas that were revolutionary in their approach to the way people think about reality, and many of his ideas have pushed the frontiers of human thought to new plateaus.

But with this statement, he misses a very important distinction when he fails to point out that, yes, believing what someone else had told us is a risky proposition at best, but, relying on faith is letting NOBODY do the thinking. … What someone else tells us is, at minimum, subject to some kind of fact checking, some verification. But faith disallows any such process, asking us to accept its premises without evidence.

Not a good idea….. at least, not in my experience. When others wish for us to believe them, solely upon their say-so, my experience is that they want me to allow them some sort of control over me. It’s not a pretty view to take of humanity, but, hey, the numbers don’t lie. How far, then, can I expect faith to provide me with some sort of defense against that sort of chicanery?

Not far, I can assure you, for I have never found that what I’ve been told by preachers, priests, or politicians to be remotely helpful to me; only they benefit from my acceptance of their information. I’m not expressing opinion here; this is what has actually occurred over the time I’ve been around on this planet.

So, let’s just give Bucky the benefit of the doubt, and say he just had a bad day when he said this…. I suppose it goes to show that everybody has off days…. just don’t forget to check what you hear against what you know, and all will turn out the way it should…. in that I have faith….  🙂

“Doubt is the beginning, not the end, of wisdom.” — Smart Bee

Behold the child, by Nature’s kindly law,
Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw;
Some livelier plaything gives his youth delight,
A little louder, but as empty quite;
Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse his riper stage,
And beads and prayer-books are the toys of age.
Pleased with this bauble still, as that before,
Till tired he sleeps, and life’s poor play is o’er.
— Alexander Pope (1688-1744) — Essay on Man, Epistle ii, Line 274

Ah, metaphor! How quaint and sharp thy wit, to give us a whole life of a man, in one graceful portion of language that supplies images in the mind’s eye to fill the gap of years. I imagine this poem has been the subject of term papers and essays by students of literature on more than one occasion, supplying the premises for hundreds of random interpretations from the various young minds that were tasked to examine its depths as part of their literary education. If not, well, a lot of teachers were missing out on a good lesson, for certain.

Have no fear, I’m not going to give you my take on this, beyond what I’ve already written above; I’m only auditing this course, and it won’t affect my GPA at all, so I won’t subject you to that. Besides, then you would have no reason to do so yourself, should you ever find yourself with a spare hour or two that needs to be filled up with something more constructive than painting your toenails again. Not that I don’t like painted toenails…. but more than once a day is overkill, isn’t it? I think so…. so, just enjoy it, and keep it for later if you wish…. it’s only a few bytes of memory…..

    As a public service, and to provide some relief from the ongoing seriousness that is the common state of affairs here, I offer this delightful young pup in the throes of joie de vivre; I found the picture on Facebook, posted on my wall….. Would that we all could be as carefree as this!…. Just enjoy, ffolkes, that’s all it’s here for….   🙂

It’s been a long road to this point this morning, but well worth it, to my mind. I hope y’all enjoyed the previous post, “Music Passion”, as well as this meander through my morning’s mindful muddle…. I’m going to stop pressing my luck, and end this here… it seems an appropriate place, sitting here at the end as it does, eh?  Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you……

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