Lofty goals, impudent desires….

Ffolkes,

“…life is long enough if it is well-spent.”

~~ Erasmus ~~

Magic 004

How to relax….

Hajime…. Today, along with the rest of this week, (and, the rest of the month, the way it is developing), is busy, with events taking place out in the BBR. It will take up most of the day, so, I have worked hard to complete this Pearl, as I am unsure when I’ll be able to get another fresh one done. The good news, for me, is, I finished the discussion/rant on which I’ve spent a week or more. It isn’t quite as planned, but, it’s definitely a feast for the mind, so, it will do. The rest is pretty much a throw-together, with another of my old poems, and an archived pearl of pearls for the last section. Since it all flowed together smoothly, I’ll take it, and be content. So, then, must you…. I mean, that’s what blogging is, right? Right….

All that being said, to our regular lack of defined purpose, I’ll make this intro a short one; they seem to work best for days such as the one in which we currently find ourselves. I shan’t apologize; I shall, however, issue a warning. To make it through this one, you’ll need to put on your thinking caps, if you have one; the following is NOT for the weak-minded, or, anyone who is afraid to challenge their own beliefs. It’s all about doubt, which remains our most relevant tool for finding our way in life…. a statement we’ll defend another time, if necessary. Today, we’re going elsewhere, with gusto….

That’ enough; we/I have a lot to do today. Let’s begin, while we are still fresh….

Shall we Pearl?

There is nothing like death. To it, everything is a metaphor.

~~ Subtle Bee ~~

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“You’re not ready for what I think.”

~~ Fox Mulder ~~

Plato-Aristotle

“History does not record anywhere at any time
a religion that has any rational basis.
Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough
to stand up to the unknown without help.
But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion
and spend time and money on it
and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it.”

~~ Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love (1972) ~~

The above passage from Mr. Heinlein happens to be one of my favorites, in all I have read, in more than 60 years of pursuing the truth in books. In that sixty years, I’ve read an average of a book every other day; I no longer claim one per day, though I managed that average for the first 45 years or so; I’ve slowed some, trading quality for quantity in these latter years. In all that time, I have found this to be the most tactful, sardonic, and accurate statement summarizing my own thoughts, and my own opinion on the matter of religion.

I know such a statement meets with knitted brow, (I can hear the needles clacking together…), showing obvious disapproval from the majority of humankind; I noticed that at age four, the first time I asked my Sunday School teacher to explain the nonsense I was hearing there. I have noted no lesser degree of disbelief from almost everyone in the ensuing years, though not so frequently as if I had not learned to avoid discussions of religion, at least without some observable indications of an open mind. Since turning 60, or so, I’ve given up caring if people get offended, as I simply no longer care what they think about it, and am prepared to discuss it with anyone who cares to risk it.

Moreover, I’m not alone in my distrust of religions, especially the one in which I was made the subject of attempted indoctrination, almost from birth. Quite a number of the men who led the struggle to formulate this country, whom we were raised to call our “Founding Fathers”, also shared this mistrust. For example, here are some of their thoughts on the matter, followed by a closing thought from a modern poet….

“But a short time elapsed after the death
of the great reformer of the Jewish religion,
before his principles were departed
from by those who professed to be his special servants,
and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind,
and aggrandizing t heir oppressors in Church and State.”

~~ Thomas Jefferson, [letter?] To S. Kercheval, 1810 ~~

*******

“What is it the Bible teaches us? – rapine, cruelty, and murder.
What is it the Testament teaches us?
– to believe that the Almighty committed debauchery
with a woman engaged to be married,
and the belief of this debauchery is called faith.”

~~ Thomas Paine — The Age of Reason ~~

*******

“All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish,
appear to me no other than human inventions,
set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”

~~ Thomas Paine ~~

*******

“The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.
Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept
for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines,
and whole carloads of other foolish trumpery
that we find in Christianity.”

~~ John Adams ~~

*******

“…this would be the best of all possible worlds,
if there were no religion in it.”

~~ John Adams, Letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1816 ~~

*******

For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered.
But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula,
the big answers don’t remain stone-written.
We adjust to new conditions and discoveries.
We are pliable.
Love need not be a command or faith a dictum.
I am my own God.
We are here to unlearn the teachings
of the church, state, and our educational system.
We are here to drink beer.
We are here to kill war.
We are here to laugh at the odds
and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”

~~ Charles Bukowski ~~

Let’s finish this part…. For just a moment, wrap your head around the following statement, without attaching any emotional or even intellectual importance to whether it is true, or, not: “There is no God, or gods. No Allah, no Jehovah/Yahweh, no Jesus, no Krishna, nor any supernatural force which created/controls the universe.”

Got that idea? Is it comprehensible, simply as a statement of alternative possibility? I contend this statement is the Truth of Reality; in fact, I contend there is no rational reason to suspect otherwise.

Further, the belief there is such an entity has caused more harm to our species than any other single idea. It has caused people to be divided from each other, over something that merely plays upon their fears of the unknown to manipulate them into serving purposes that have no benefit for them, beyond an ignoble death, at the hands of another person suffering from the same manipulation, by another name.

Even worse, this ‘belief’ predisposes humans to then transfer their ‘belief’ to other ideas that are not in their self-interest, such as believing one is better, or worse than any other human, simply because of where they were born, or the amount of pigment in their skin, or that money implies worth. Humans are not naturally hierarchal; we all die, so what is to make one ‘better’ than another? Yet we find it easy to believe in such hierarchal fantasies, to the point of offering up our lives for an idea we never thought ourselves, but, had planted in our head before we knew enough to be able to tell for ourselves….

You see, the idea that humans NEED a government to solve their issues between each other is yet another silly notion, not supported by reality. The concept of money as a part of reality necessary to our success is also a false idea; there is nothing hierarchal about Nature, of which money is NOT a part. Yet, because humans are easily convinced, by their training to believe ideas are real, people set themselves up to fail, to be manipulated to expend their efforts and their attention on matters which serve no useful (to them) purpose….

“Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.”

~~ Bertrand Russell ~~

*******

“Some writers have so confounded society with government,
as to leave little or no distinction between them;
whereas they are not only different, but have different origins.
Society is produced by our wants,
and government by our wickedness;
the former promotes our happiness *positively*,
by uniting our affections,
the latter *negatively*, by restraining our vices.
The one encourages intercourse,
the other creates distinctions.
The first is a patron, the last is a punisher.
Society in every state is a blessing,
but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil;
in its worst state an intolerable one….”

~~ Thomas Paine, opening lines of _Common Sense_ 1776 ~

~~ *asterisks denote Paine’s use of italics* ~~

*******

“Money made a vow to itself, that no one who didn’t love it, would ever have it.”

Irish Proverb

As can be easily seen, merely by reading the history of our species, this trio of delusions, i.e., religion, government, and money, has caused more strife, conflict, and needless death, than any other single idea, for all the time since we began to gather in cities. It has been shown that humans lose their ability to function as a truly human animal when there are more than 200 or so sets of eyes; as we gather in towns, & cities, this number grows beyond our personal need for community, and the rules of engagement between people begin to fray, and those who have the need to control others, due to their own inner fears & perversions of spirit, begin manipulating the weak minded, and we see the development of rules and hierarchies to manipulate people into losing their own self-control of what serves their interests, in the mistaken belief it is necessary, when, in truth, what is necessary is increased personal responsibility, and self-reliance.

“The races of the Galaxy look towards mankind as the essential lunatic element.”

~~ Terry Pratchett, “Strata”, pg. 60 ~~

In sixty years of observing and studying human history, and humanity itself, both individually, and, as a species, I’ve come to two conclusions. First, our most compelling talent, as proven by any historical tome anyone has written, or read, is the ability to think of endless, inventive ways to kill each other, or anything else we come across in our wandering about the face of the earth. Second, almost everything we have invented, as weapons, is simply a more complicated method of throwing rocks, both sharp, and dull; most everything we have created as tools & systems/skills for use as non-weapons, is a response to this talent, in that it is designed to keep ourselves, in one way or another, from getting killed, mostly by each other….

Both sides of this talent, of course, stem from our imagination, which, in the most pure analysis, has been shown to be little more than an anomaly of our consciousness; neither can be quantified, or touched, or in any way seen to be a part of the reality we perceive through our physical senses. In short, it may be, as some speculate, merely a local phenomenon, in this small corner of the universe we perceive elsewhere, all around us, but too far to reach physically. This paradoxical sense, I think, is what gives most humans the tendency to ‘imagine’ themselves to be more than they actually are, denying completely the simple truth of reality as it exists, to assume that reality is what we imagine it to be. In short, we are able to deny our own nature….

Perhaps this is why so many are willing to believe in the lies and untruths on which our entire culture has been based for so long. In truth, we may never know; I probably won’t; if I haven’t been able to figure it out by now, I don’t think I have enough time left on this particular plane of existence to do so. Perhaps, after I have gone on to the next great adventure, the answers will be made clear; then again, anything, at all, can be no more than speculation, thus, exercising again that imagination… I’ve figured out enough to not believe anything that comes from that source; it tends to be less than real, at least as often as it is more so….

Enough, he cried, enough…. ‘Tis a feast, no more is needed.

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playing-for-change

Finishing the rant/discussion above took up all the spare time I had, so, we go with default, as is our wont. This is the original video, which started the whole idea of the organization. All of it is great music, by street musicians, along with the occasional music star to add their talent to the mix. I hope you enjoy it, and take the time to support the organization, which spreads love, and joy, and human kindness in all its branches, now located around the world at their music schools… Check our their website, it’s worth the time….

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Playing For Change

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Comedy_Tragedy

In case it isn’t clear, this poem, written over four years ago, is a rather complex version of the rant/discussion above, though, at the time, I didn’t know that…. *grin*…. I hope you enjoy it anyway….

Fatal Supplication

But what becomes of our deepest dangerous dreams?
Does fantasy rescue any part of life’s imperiled favor?
Reality becomes but silvery pairs of mismatched teams,
Dining with affable elegance, such diffident waste to savor.

Who decides what sorrows to carry bravely to term?
Will fragrant moments of sanity make hasty manifestation?
Only Time’s patient mutability sends messages so firm,
Yet salient impersonal vexation lends credence to ripe imagination.

Can folly bring out sadness and rampant visions of beauty?
What kindness can be found in distant open relations?
With countless faces the dead disturb with dire impunity,
From separate caches of wisdom come simple stylish privations.

Shall shallow emotion serve to provide such explanations?
When does avaricious intensity assume primary focus?
Plain answers slide softly through with multiple mitigations,
While conceptually indignant concepts engage a fatally personal locus.

~~ gigoid ~~

9/20/2012

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pearls_3

I’m in a bit of a hurry, for reasons I explained above, so, we’re filling in the final section with a group of pearls from an archived Pearl, which, oddly enough, fits right in with today’s post…. Go figure, eh? At any rate, it’s a good way to finish this off with some aplomb, if not complete dignity…. Enjoy!….

From 9/7/2012:

Having just spent three hours (okay, I exaggerated…. only two….) searching in vain for a pearl to finish with, I became incensed with frustration, and rather than scare my new neighbors with a verbal outburst, I calmly set a parameter, and collected the following pearls on one subject, to wit: human nature…. As far as I can tell, all of them rate a solid 10 on the truth scale….. As always, just follow the bouncing thought as it explores your own inner self….

“The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of truth–that the error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it is cured on one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one.” — H. L. Mencken

“The ultimate evil is the weakness, cowardice, that is one of the constituents of so much human nature. When, rarely, unalloyed nobility does occur, its chances of prevailing are slim. Yet it exists, and its mere existence is reason enough for not wiping the name of mankind off the slate.” — John Simon

“We are all terrible little creatures.” — Martin Amis

“The tragedy and the magnificence of Homo sapiens together rise from the same smoky truth that we alone among the animal species refuse to acknowledge natural law.” — Robert Ardrey, _The Social Contract_

“Man, were he not corrupted by Governments, is naturally the friend of Man, and that human nature is not of itself vicious.” — Thomas Paine

“I think we’re all Bozos on this Bus!” — Firesign Theater

Now I feel better….. and I hope you do, as well….

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Okay!…. That went well, for a change. This is one I put a lot into; in a certain sense, it might be considered an iconic Pearl, a representative of all Pearls, with an example of all of what I do. Of course, I don’t see it addressing any of the ‘why’ I do it, but, hey, we can’t have everything. At least, not all at once; that’s a bit much to expect…. At this point, you may expect your day to continue, and, in that, you’d be right. You see, this one is at an end; at least, as far as I can make it so. Since I can feel it slipping away from me, I’ll just say this…. See ya, ffolkes. I’ll be back, in a day, or possibly two, depending on how efficiently I can deal with the demands upon me set by what is happening out in the Big Blue Room. Should be an interesting week; lets get started on it, ‘kay? ‘Kay! Be cool, be strange, be alert, and most of all, keep those thinking caps close at hand….

Y’all take care out there,
and May the Metaphorse be with you;
Blessed Be, dearest Carole, Mark,Theresa, & Richy
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,
and sometimes,
I just sits.

gigoid, the dubious

The *only* duly authorized Computer Curmudgeon.

PLEASE STOP READING THIS MESSAGE NOW.

“SCRAM!!!!!!!!!!”- Oscar the Grouch

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À bientôt, mon cherí….

His reality check was returned for insufficient funds….

Ffolkes,

There are times, such as today, when I just don’t have the chutzpah for this…. On those days, fortunately, I can dip into a very large repository of my older work, since, over the last three years, I’ve written over 3 million words, equal to more than 4000 pages of material. I know, it’s more than it seems like I could have done, but, hey, at about 2000 words a day, it adds up quickly….

Not to say all of it is Pulitzer-candidate-worthy, by any means, although, in my estimation, a few pages of it could make the grade, if it was all in one piece…. But, that isn’t why I wrote it; the main thrust of my efforts were taken to prevent overt insanity taking over my life, sending me into a depression I would no doubt have wallowed in for a long time…. For a while there, it looked as if my retirement wasn’t going to go well, but, everything has worked out for the best, and I am content….

I am not, however, quite ready for this today, so, I’ll be dipping into the past again, to find something suitable for today’s “look and feel”, and screw Steve Jobs, even if he IS dead…. In fact, let’s start right now, with a bit of a fictional opening from the past….

From 7/13/2012:

“What we have heah, is a failyuh to obfuscate.” On that hopelessly obscure note, the tiny little alien, which looked suspiciously, not to mention confusingly, like an orange bulldog in a green jumpsuit, wobbled what was apparently his head weakly from side to side, formed what seemed to be a smile with what seemed to be a mouth, closed what appeared to be his eyes (I think it’s a he…), and fell backwards into the lap of the fat dignitary seated in  back of the podium…. the mayor, I believe….

Everything would have been okay, but the mayor apparently thought the alien was going to throw up on him, and proceeded to dump the poor wee beastie off the stage, into the crowd, which started using him for a soccer ball (the alien’s personal defense system caused him to roll up into an impenetrable ball…. cute, but confusing fir the crowd, I suppose….)…. A real mess…. While it wasn’t the most dignified ending to a press conference I’d seen in my days in the mayor’s office, it was better than the one we tried to hold after the sewers all exploded at once…. No matter how hard we blew the fans, the smell wouldn’t disperse….

Ever since the entropy bomb went off last year, it’s been pretty crazy around here, what with the Anti-Alien groups fighting it out with the End of Timers, while the remnants of the churches are busy dealing with the twelve disciples of Jesus, who ALL rose from the dead, and are now recanting their stories on the talk show circuit, with franchised copies of the shows running even on Al-Jazeera….. When the Chief of the World Police issued his proclamation of insanity, and said his officers would now be found patrolling the subways, because it was too dangerous for them on the streets, well, things really began to deteriorate….

End of fictional opening…. I don’t know about y’all, but, I like it…. In fact, it’s entirely possible I may just make this the first of these fictional openings I’ve done to be chosen for completion…. It’s a good start, so I may see where it takes me for a while…. It’s just so weird, it just might make a good story…… provided I can find the proper middle, and ending to fit the beginning…. Time will tell, I suppose….. For now, this intro is, again, getting out of hand, so, we’ll just bail…. right here, right now….

Shall we Pearl?…..

“Practice yourself, for heaven’s sake, in little things; and thence proceed to greater.” — Epictetus (c. 60 AD) — Discourses, Book i, Chap. xviii

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As mentioned above, today’s Pearl will contain a lot of archived material…. Let’s begin with a fine rant from last year, in the spring….. or, in the words of Willy-boy from Avon, from the Ides of March….

From 3/17/2013:

“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever.  Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time–a tremendous whack.” — Sir Winston Churchill

I have used this quote previously, usually as part of a group of pearls leading to some point or another; it’s a very good quote, strong, positive, with a solid essence of meaning. It’s also damn good advice, which I try to heed at every opportunity I give myself to rant…. Winnie had a very good point here, mainly because he had the task of getting an entire island full of asses who believe themselves to be independent minded to work together to save those selfsame asses from the Germans, who were themselves displaying their own form of assholiness…. A bloody disgusting task, if you ask me, but, he was obviously the man for the job, as he seldom gave a shit about what anyone else thought, about much of anything….

The insight shown in this statement, however, is much deeper than is at first apparent…. Winnie understood that the average Englishman, as is true for the whole planet, as a rule of thumb, is pretty stupid, and stubborn to boot, being mostly unwilling to listen to anything they don’t wish to hear, whether smart or dumb, much less see any need to act on it. This, as might be clear to others, as it is to me, is NOT a particularly valuable frame of mind if one wishes to survive, and Winnie, knowing his people, was quite willing to use a two-by-four as his primary teaching tool to get his points across to the idiots he was forced to deal with during WWII….

Sad to say, this stupidity on the part of the larger part of humanity continues to this day…. Witness, if you will, the current crop of movies, if you wish to get a clue as to where the mind of humanity is focused…. It may amaze you, and will most likely depress you, to see that there is not a single movie about anything more serious than adolescent acne anywhere to be seen… Oh, there are what are termed psychological thrillers, but, they are mostly just shock literature, designed to make a good screenplay more than to explore the human psyche…. Nothing out there is remotely intelligent, because there just isn’t a market for it…..

I’m not proposing any solutions here; this is strictly a gripe session, for my benefit only. I get so tired of watching the parade of human events, because it so often turns sad, and depressing, to see how stupid and ignorant people can be…. and how cowardly most people are in asserting morality in public…. You know a society is going downhill when the police drive around acting as if they are under siege, and the people do not trust them at all to show either fairness, or restraint. In the town where I live, the worst traffic offenders I see on a daily basis are the police, who set the worst possible example for other drivers, even, and especially, when they are NOT responding to calls….

And the government wonders why nobody trusts them? Our society is sick, ffolkes, and I’m out here with my pile driver to hit that point again. That last paragraph was my second hit, and now, the tremendous whack of which Winnie spoke….

We are all responsible for the sorry state of the world, equally…. Those of us who are not actively engaged in actions which are destructive, are guilty of not speaking up often enough to get the attention of those who are, nor are we engaged in doing anything which will stop their deliberate depredations. They are guilty of being assholes, yes…. but we are all guilty of complicity in that, and can claim no less responsibility for when we fall down the hole we’ve been digging for ourselves…. And, that is the TRUTH….

“I’m amoral, and it’s been bothering my conscience.” — Smart Bee

“To escape criticism — do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” — Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915)

“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” — Romans 2:1

(I’ve always maintained there is a lot of good advice in the Bible, as long as one doesn’t go all fanatic about its origin…. this is a perfect example of the veracity and relevance of that contention….)

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This poet needs no adorning phrases from me, or anyone else; his work has stood on its own, very well, for a long time…. All you have to do is enjoy it….

SWEENEY AMONG THE NIGHTINGALES

APENECK SWEENEY spreads his knees
Letting his arms hang down to laugh,
The zebra stripes along his jaw
Swelling to maculate giraffe.
 
The circles of the stormy moon
Slide westward toward the River Plate,
Death and the Raven drift above
And Sweeney guards the horned gate.
 
Gloomy Orion and the Dog
Are veiled; and hushed the shrunken seas;
The person in the Spanish cape
Tries to sit on Sweeney’s knees
 
Slips and pulls the table cloth
Overturns a coffee-cup,
Reorganized upon the floor
She yawns and draws a stocking up;
 
The silent man in mocha brown
Sprawls at the window-sill and gapes;
The waiter brings in oranges
Bananas figs and hothouse grapes;
 
The silent vertebrate in brown
Contracts and concentrates, withdraws;
Rachel née Rabinovitch
Tears at the grapes with murderous paws;
 
She and the lady in the cape
Are suspect, thought to be in league;
Therefore the man with heavy eyes
Declines the gambit, shows fatigue,
 
Leaves the room and reappears
Outside the window, leaning in,
Branches of wisteria
Circumscribe a golden grin;
 
The host with someone indistinct
Converses at the door apart,
The nightingales are singing near
The Convent of the Sacred Heart,
 
And sang within the bloody wood
When Agamemnon cried aloud,
And let their liquid droppings fall
To stain the stiff dishonored shroud.

~~ T.S. Eliot ~~

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This section will, as usual, hold an old-school pearl, in order to soothe my guilt, by producing at least this much of today’s post fresh…. such as it is…. This one has parameters of its own; I let SB figure out what might work, and can only hope for the best…. Let’s see what’s out there, besides the Truth…. Fox and Mulder told us, so we can be sure, the Truth is Out There…..

Freedom has a thousand charms to show,
That slaves, howe’er contented, never know.

— William Cowper (1731-1800) — Table Talk, Line 260

“Thou art the man.” — Old Testament — 2 Samuel xii, 7

A monk said to Joshu, “Your stone bridge is widely  renowned, but coming here I find only a heap of rocks.”
Joshu said, “You see only the stones and not the bridge.”
The monk said, “What is the bridge?”
Joshu said, “What do you think we are walking on?”

“Conquer your fear and you need fear no more.” — Smart Bee

“He said that men ought to remember those friends who were absent as well as those who were present.” — Diogenes Laertius (c. 200 AD) — Thales, ix

Of all that writ, he was the wisest bard, who spoke this mighty truth
He that knew all that ever learning writ,
Knew only this  that he knew nothing yet.

— MRS. APHRA BEHN

“The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.” — Chinese proverb

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Here we are…. finally…. I’m a bit confused, but, that’s normal; my confusion arose when I ask myself why the last pearl took twice as long to complete as the first two… If the intro hadn’t taken so long, I’d still be there, would never have gotten here, and thus, would have been even later…. It’s as if this morning’s supply of entropy exceeds the serenity of spirit I’ve built up, so much so, it started affecting reality more than its presence would normally warrant…. or something…. Well, it’s that, or I’m a bozo, and we all know what that implies, don’t we? Yep, and since we are proscribed from discussing that in public, lest we singe our eyebrows, we’ll just ignore the whole issue, and do our best to bring this to a close…. Since doing so with any degree of dignity is long gone, we’ll just do this….

See ya, ffolkes, it’s been real…. Tomorrow, maybe I will have found some of my sanity, or, at least, a semblance of same sufficient to produce a more elegant submission…. Choppy and strange as it is, this will have to do….. Ta then, luvs…..

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,
and sometimes,
I just sits.

gigoid the dubious

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To sell it, you MUST believe it…

Ffolkes,

In the world in which we live today, it can be hard to find sources of joy, the kind of all-encompassing passion that fills us, when the Universe presents us with an event that stimulates our sense of wonder…. This joy should be courted with great enthusiasm, to bring it into our lives, with the intent to make it a permanent part of our existence…. Such wonder brings with it the knowledge of beauty, that can inspire us, lift us until we feel as if we can touch the stars….

Tonight is one of these gifts from the Universe…. A few minutes ago, the first 2014 Eclipse of the Blood Moon began, when the ancient Monster in the Sky began devouring the cookie that is our Moon, threatening to eat it all, while we watch, until spitting it back out, piece by piece, as we pass out of the shadow of the Earth, which falls upon the face of the Old Man who lives in the Moon….

If you couldn’t guess by now, I’m just a little jazzed about the eclipse, and, in fact, am now in the process of watching it happen, only breaking to write a minute, because a) I forgot to charge the camera, and had to plug it in, and b) some clouds are passing by, so I have to wait a few minutes to see better….

Now, I’m going back out for a bit to watch…. I’ll be back, hopefully less motivated to get so flipping New Age on you…. It happens a lot to me when I get a chance to indulge my passion for astronomy….. It’s one of my best held secrets, you know…. I wanted to be an astronomer, and for the longest time, had every intention of becoming a science geek, who would have been completely content to have lived his entire life on top of some isolated mountain, peering through a telescope, taking pictures of galaxies and nebulae, playing with computers, & staying up all night….

Plans change, though, for all of us, so, I just keep in touch with what is going on in space, watch the occasional eclipse like this, and try to be happy with that…. Such is life…. But, it still gives me a big thrill to experience the wonder we can feel when we watch such an inspiring event, so, I tend to get a bit excited…. at least, for me…. Most of the time I shoot more for “phlegmatic”, rather than “enthusiastic”….. It fits my self-image a bit more closely….

Okay, so, I’m going out again, to see if the clouds will part for a few minutes to let me see what’s happening up in lunar orbit…. I’ll be back shortly…. Besides, you’ll never even notice I was gone….

See? What did I tell you? When will y’all learn to trust me?…. SIGH…. Oh well, at least the Eclipse gave me an intro…. I guess, given the number of clouds that keep getting in my way, Murphy is going to play his games with me for the duration of the time I’m up here in the middle of the night…. too attractive a chance for him to mess with me, I suppose… I just hope he relents long enough for me to get a picture or two before it’s done…. In the meantime….

Shall we Pearl?…..

“Enjoy what you can, endure what you must.”  — Friedrich Wolfgang von Goethe

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s going on 2 AM here in California, where I’m up trying to see the full eclipse that is taking place outside as I type; clouds still in the way…. I did find a pretty good rant, though, while searching the archives yesterday or the day before (it all runs together a lot these days, so I’m often not sure just when I did most anything…. Good thing for me we have time, or everything would have to happen all at once…. Enjoy, if you please….

From 6/7/13:

“All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.” — Leonardo da Vinci

I knew when I included this above that I would be using it another time in the future. It is such a succinct observation,  one that parallels my own thoughts about what happens in our minds, and in truth, about what our minds are…. “What is the mind?” Where is the proof, the hard evidence that our minds, our conscious self-awareness, actually exist in a real sense? We know, because we are inside it, that it exists; but is that existence really a part of the real world? If so, how do we know it, if not only by our own perception? I’m not entirely sure, myself, that this can be answered in any way other than by acknowledging those perceptions as having validity because we perceive them, which is, seemingly, a tautological impossibility….

Of course, we can use the definition of Reality as proposed by Philip K. Dick, which says that reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away. This accounts for the inconsistency, but does so by transferring the validity from the perception, to the absence of the perception. I know, that’s a bit of a tenuous connection, but, it points out the difficulty of trying to validate reality with perception; first one must validate the perceptions, and to do that, we must assume the mind to be part of reality, and consciousness to be the connecting tissue.

“A reverence for life does not require one to respect nature’s obvious mistakes.” — Robert A. Heinlein

I realize this subject is not one common to most folks, especially early in the morning. (Note from the future: nor, it seems, is it a common theme for late at night….. )…. I also will admit to knowing that much of what I’m saying is not particularly of interest to many people, but, I don’t write for many people. I write for me, to get out of my head all the stuff that otherwise would sit in there and cause havoc to my own equilibrium… It’s sort of an aftereffect of the course of my earlier life, admittedly a bit cumbersome, but, with the help of my trusty laptop, and a willingness to use time, given by my situation, to keep from building up so much angst and/or mental frustration that it starts to affect me adversely…. which is a polite, discrete way to say, it keeps me sane….

I think about stuff like this because, to me, it is important to know our own place in the scheme of things, and we can’t do that without a clear understanding of both ourselves, and the way we perceive, and react to, the universe at large; in other words, our response to our perceptions, and, ultimately, our response to Life. We determine our own happiness according to what we do with what we perceive, and I believe it is critical to stay aware of that process, and how we are utilizing what we perceive.

It’s good to take out our attitudes now and again, to examine them for necessary updating, dusting off any acquired prejudices, and giving them a good shake to let them fall into the proper shape to pick up the clearest perceptions, in order to use them efficiently, and compassionately…..

“‘T is strange, but true; for truth is always strange,– Stranger than fiction.” — Lord Byron (1788-1824) — Don Juan, Canto xiv, Stanza 101

And so am I, for I live for the truth. I accept that (strangeness) as the proper price for the understanding I have of reality, and for my own ever-increasing ability to deal with it on my own terms. It does make me a bit conspicuous at times; that is probably why I don’t go out in public all that often. It gets chancy sometimes, trying to maintain a cloak of normalcy when I’m out in the Big Blue Room, so I tend to avoid most public venues, just to avoid controversy…. I’m social, but not sociable, if you catch my drift…..

Well, I see I’ve blathered on about this until it petered out…. Not much left to say, really, about Reality, and our perceptions, that I haven’t said before….

In life, “True power is control of the routes of perception.” — gigoid

This is a universal truth, my own deduction, based on observation and historical fact. The BRC and the churches know this, and do everything they can to control what people perceive, and what they are allowed to believe. I have no illusions about the degree of their control over society… This knowledge gives me a certain degree of defense against such control, as knowing it is there is the first step to resisting its influence, or to making it appear as if I am allowing it to control me, while maintaining my own reality….

And THAT is quite enough of that…. I don’t wish to pull ALL my covers, not at once anyway, and it makes little sense to give away my best defense… I don’t think I’ve gone too far today; after all, it’s just a little bit of truth…. What harm can that cause?….

“I don’t think they could put him in a mental hospital.   On the other hand, if he were already in, I don’t think they’d let him out.” — Smart Bee

More notes from the future…. Oops…. By the tone of the last line from Smart Bee, it probably wasn’t the best idea to tell it so much…. now it’s spilling my secrets for all to hear…. Ah well, I’ll just go back now, into the grip of real-time, where at least I know I’m anonymous, mostly….

“Sometimes the need to mess with their heads outweighs the millstone of humiliation.” — Fox Mulder, X-Files “Squeeze”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m not sure right now just what poem will suit tonight…. I’ll get back to you on this… Okay, I’m ready to pick one now…. Let’s see…. Oh, I remember…. Here, here’s a good one, from a modern genius, one whose work stands as the voice of the American people in the twentieth century…. at least, for those all-too-numerous Americans who spend much of their lives struggling to survive on the streets…. as this poet did….. If you haven’t ever heard of him, he’s an interesting man, well worth reading about, as is his poetry; this one is a particularly strong piece, a poem I believe will affect everyone who reads it in a powerful way …. Enjoy!…..

A Smile To Remember

we had goldfish and they circled around and around
in the bowl on the table near the heavy drapes
covering the picture window and
my mother, always smiling, wanting us all
to be happy, told me, ‘be happy Henry!’
and she was right: it’s better to be happy if you can
but my father continued to beat her and me several times a week while
raging inside his 6-foot-two frame because he couldn’t
understand what was attacking him from within.

my mother, poor fish,
wanting to be happy, beaten two or three times a
week, telling me to be happy: ‘Henry, smile!
why don’t you ever smile?’

and then she would smile, to show me how, and it was the
saddest smile I ever saw

one day the goldfish died, all five of them,
they floated on the water, on their sides, their
eyes still open,
and when my father got home he threw them to the cat
there on the kitchen floor and we watched as my mother
smiled

~~ Charles Bukowski ~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Relationships are tough…. we all know this, if not instinctively, we learn it before long in our lives, or suffer the consequences on a regular basis. It’s way too early, now, (or late, depending on where one stands to view it….) to get into a deep discussion of the ins and outs of Love, or how people deal with all the complexities inherent in interacting with another human on that level…. Good grief, it’s probably ALWAYS too early/late for THAT discussion; we all have a tendency to get a bit worked up over our triumphs and/or our defeats along these lines…. and I’m not what might be called stupid, so I’m not going to get caught writing about the opposite sex…. I’m old enough to know better….

But, what I CAN do, and SHALL, is to put together an old school pearl that deals with that issue, subject, material, whatever it may be…. Love, and all its ramifications, is obviously a part of life none of us can avoid altogether, though it makes us nervous at the thought of the pain we experience when it doesn’t go well…. Most of us would rather put up with that, though, to get to the rewards, which are beaudacious, to say the least. With that in mind, let’s see what Smart Bee can find to say on the matter…..

“If you don’t like yourself, you can’t like other people.” — Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

“Women are the only realists; their whole object in life is to pit their realism against the extravagant, excessive, and occasionally drunken idealism of men.” — G. K. Chesterton, A Handful of Authors

All human history attests
That happiness for man,–the hungry sinner!–
Since Eve ate apples, much depends on dinner.

— Lord Byron (1788-1824) — Don Juan, Canto xiii, Stanza 99

“No woman ever falls in love with a man unless she has a better opinion of him than he deserves.” — Ed Howe

Parting day
Dies like the dolphin, whom each pang imbues
With a new colour as it gasps away,
The last still loveliest, till–‘t is gone, and all is gray.

— Lord Byron (1788-1824) — Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Canto iv, Stanza 29

“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” — Albert Einstein (1879-1955), when asked what his Theory of Relativity was by William Randolph Hearst’s mistress during a visit to Xanadu, the Hearst mansion

“The more you love, the more you can love — and the more intensely you love. Nor is there any limit on how many you can love. If a person had time enough, he could love all of that majority who are decent and just. ” — Lazarus Long, Time Enough For Love, by Robert Heinlein

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Approximately five minutes after the eclipse’s beginning, clouds began to cover the sky overhead here, giving me mere glimpses of the moon periodically, and all too randomly…. so much so I’ve managed to finish today’s Pearl, at the ungodly hour of 0322….. I did manage to get the camera charged up, just in time to take some lovely photos of the unrelieved gray sky…. Oh, well, there are supposed to be three more eclipses this year; maybe I’ll get some pictures of one of those, if they are visible here…. One may only hope….

I’m going to press my luck here, and go ahead & post this, then go back to bed, to see if I can make up for the lost three or four hours here in the middle of the night, futilely waiting for a glimpse of the Blood Moon being eaten…. To do so, however, I have to stop writing, so…. 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,
and sometimes,
I just sits.

gigoid the dubious

dozer3

Moments of regrettable histrionics…..

Ffolkes,
Morning again brings itself to the forefront of consciousness, as it tends to do about this time every day. Not that I have a problem with that, but I wasn’t quite done sawing logs when the phone rang, and reality came rushing back in…. Hence, I am now up, staring once again at the keyboard, with an empty head…. I should most likely sit and let the coffee work its magic for a bit……

“A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that balances are correct.” — from “Manual of Maud’Dib” by the Princess Irulan

I can testify that delicacy is hard when one’s blood sugar is out of balance; my own reaction to being bothered before having consumed sufficient quantities of caffeine and sugar is to bite, or at least bark loudly, at whomever has the audacity to approach before I’m fully charged. Even though I know it isn’t their fault, they pay the price, if only to allow them to learn the correct lesson. Survival of the fittest, right? Right…..

“I don’t think you’re ready for what I think.” — Fox Mulder

Maybe that’s why I live alone now…. though I try to make an effort to accommodate anyone I live with to a degree, it probably gets old after a while; I know I certainly did. Get old, that is…. I can feel it now, as I sit here, struggling to remain fairly straight upright, as typing is tough when one has to lean on one elbow. Someday, I’d really like to speak to the person responsible for printing and distributing the manual we are issued at birth. You know, our Life Manual, that tells us how to do stuff with our bodies, and gives maintenance directions for upkeep. Most folks lose theirs, before they ever get to an age where they would pay attention, but I can say for sure that there isn’t a word in it that gives any warning about how to deal with the aging process, and all of the challenges that getting old provides…. if it did, folks might even keep track of it better….

“Age does not make us childish, as some say; it finds us true children.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Ah well, pain is life, for some of us, and our days are measured by how much we can keep it from getting to the point of needing to whine about it. Suffering is supposed to teach character, and strength in the face of adversity; somehow, one who suffers is supposed to be noble…. but, I say, piss on it, I’m in pain, so stand back, while I try to drug myself insensible…. I take enough medication to knock most folks right out, and still manage to keep my head in the game, so, I figure I’m doing okay…. If nothing else, it keeps me off the streets….  after a fashion…..

Ah, the hell with it…. let’s go dive in and look around a while, eh? Shall we Pearl?…..
__________________________________

It is popularly supposed that between those who use the word “God” and those who do not there is some great gulf.  But the gulf lies elsewhere.  It lies between those who dogmatize, either positively or negatively, and those who recognize in great humility that something within them bears witness to realities which may be momentous in our lives, but which lie beyond the grasping net of our categories of thought. — Smart Bee

Yet more proof of Murphy’s presence in Life…. or, in my life, anyway….. Yesterday I wrote about this subject, expounding as I am wont to do, with no little enthusiasm, trying to bring some clarity to a naturally murky subject (it’s hard to pin down anything solidly when the subject under discussion is a matter of conjecture, not physically present to be examined….). Then, later in the day, I come across this one short paragraph, that summarizes my 3-400 words succinctly in three lines, and very clearly, for all its brevity. SIGH….. So much for originality, eh? Though I don’t know who said it, I salute them….

“In answer to the question of why it happened, I offer the modest proposal that our Universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time.” — Edward P. Tryon

Once more, I have to agree with the author, especially as it gives a sort of pat on the shoulder to the paragraph above, as if sharing an obvious point. Serendipity, I say, and well met….

“When they discover the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to discover they are not it.” — Bernard Bailey

This one, when viewed in light of the previous two quotes, made me smile, big….. now, why is that? Because when he says a lot, he means, A LOT OF PEOPLE!…..

“And don’t tell me God works in mysterious ways, Yossarian continued There’s nothing mysterious about it, He’s not working at all. He’s playing. Or else He’s forgotten all about us. That’s the kind of God you people talk about, a country bumpkin, a clumsy, bungling, brainless, conceited, uncouth hayseed. Good God, how much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of Creation? What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatological mind of His when He robbed old people of the power to control their bowel movements? Why in the world did He ever create pain?” — Joseph Heller, Catch 22

Funny how people under stress always get so close to the truth; it makes the one who hears it more nervous and upset than he who said it…. or it that just me? Of course it is…. Why shouldn’t it be me? What’s the matter with me? Don’t you like me?….. Sorry…. any who, let’s see what else the magic can find….

“Every sensible man, every honest man, must hold the Christian sect in horror. But what shall we substitute in its place? you say. What? A ferocious animal has sucked the blood of my relatives. I tell you to rid yourselves of this beast and you ask me what you shall put in its place?” — Voltaire

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

— T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

I’m not sure why, but this excerpt from T.S. Eliot seems to be the perfect finishing line for the above meandering treatise…. and it is as close to a verifiable point as we’re going to get today, I can tell…. so, best leave it be for now, and go on to something else…. Or, in this case, to something the same….
__________________________________

Portrait of a Lady

Among the smoke and fog of a December afternoon
You have the scene arrange itself–as it will seem to do–
With “I have saved this afternoon for you”;
And four wax candles in the darkened room,
Four rings of light upon the ceiling overhead,
An atmosphere of Juliet’s tomb
Prepared for all the things to be said, or left unsaid.
We have been, let us say, to hear the latest Pole
Transmit the Preludes, though his hair and fingertips.
“So intimate, this Chopin, that I think his soul
Should be resurrected only among friends
Some two or three, who will not touch the bloom
That is rubbed and questioned in the concert room.”
–And so the conversation slips
Among velleities and carefully caught regrets
Through attenuated tones of violins
Mingled with remote cornets
And begins.
“You do not know how much they mean to me, my friends,
And how, how rare and strange it is, to find
In a life composed so much, so much of odds and ends,
[For indeed I do not love it . . . you knew? you are not blind!
How keen you are!]
To find a friend who has these qualities,
Who has, and gives
Those qualities upon which friendship lives.
How much it means that I say this to you–
Without these friendships–life, what cauchemar!”

Among the windings of the violins
And the ariettes
Of cracked cornets
Inside my brain a dull tom-tom begins
Absurdly hammering a prelude of its own,
Capricious monotone
That is at least one definite “false note.”
–Let us take the air, in a tobacco trance,
Admire the monuments,
Discuss the late events,
Correct our watches by the public clocks.
Then sit for half and hour and drink our bocks.

T. S. Eliot

I don’t care what anyone says…. this is some good stuff….. a worthy goal to shoot for, wouldn’t you agree?…… Not in hope of exceeding, but merely to equal the power of this man’s work is worthy of any effort…..
__________________________________

A candidate is a person who gets money from the rich and votes from the poor to protect them from each other. — Smart Bee

I guess the political scene is taking a short break, gathering its momentum for the big two-month push to the election… Both parties have officially branded their candidates, and the Party Platforms have been printed up and sent out…. It is significant to me that, of the two major parties, one’s platform talks of reform, and rebuilding, and celebrating diversity, whereas the other talks about defensiveness, and divisiveness, about negatives, and the return to old values that have already proven themselves as destructive. I don’t even have to say which is which, and you will know; that is how clearly divided the two are this time….

I don’t fully trust any of them, but at least the Dems are trying to help out the little man, rather than aggrandizing the rich. Every Republican platform plank serves to secure the strangle-hold the rich have over the poor; it amazes me how many poor folks are following him, just because he promises to bring Whiteness back to government, even though it means stepping all over the weak and vulnerable. As long as the scary Black man isn’t elected, they think they’ll be happy, not realizing that the scary Black man has already improved their lot, and will make it even better if allowed to actually pass some legislation designed to aid the middle class instead of the 1%.

These closet racists are so incensed that they have to listen to, and even admire, a black family in the Presidency, they are willing to cut off their own noses to get a white man back in the White House. They grab onto the most egregious lies, and repeat them endlessly, as if the repetition will make it true. When they are corrected, with irrefutable proof of the lies, they switch to attack mode, and call the fact-checkers communists, or socialists, or bring up the tired old “birther” conspiracy. One Republican actually said, after being corrected about a lie told during the Republican convention, “We aren’t going to let ‘fact checkers’ dictate our candidacy!” Honest, it’s on video….

“The fantasy which serves as a support for the figure of the Stalinist Communist (sub: Republican Party Platform for 2012….) is therefore exactly the same as the fantasy which is at work in the Tom and Jerry cartoons.” — Slavoj Zizek

At this point, I actually am feeling somewhat lucky not to have a TV, since that will prevent me from having to watch all the loaded political ads, from both sides of the election process. I won’t have to experience the repeated disgust at the nasty, underhanded tactics being used by the conservatives, or worry about over-dosing on sugar from the ads from the Dems. I still get to see the public’s reaction to the ads, by reading about them online; if I really WANT to see one (for some unknown, and unfathomable reason….) I can check it out on You Tube, where everything ends up anyway…. it’s the best way I’ve found yet to get through an election without all the emotional drama that plays out over the mainstream TV airways….

The internet is also playing a new part in this election, one that has so far been under-reported, or just ignored… The stories one reads on the Net are a good way to measure the reaction of the public to the various claims by both sides of the contest; in addition, it serves as a dispassionate fact-checking service, as many, many sites now publish the truth or lies that each side is stating, usually within minutes of the first report. This has turned out to be a thorn in the side of the Republicans, as they are relying almost totally on lies and made up statements for their rhetoric. They don’t really have anything they can show as being an improvement in the way things are going; only their wild claims of, ‘feed the rich’ and wait for the money and jobs to trickle down from heaven, like manna….

Very few folks are buying that, as the economic policies they espouse have been refuted repeatedly by independent researchers and experts, and the results of eight years of that sort of policy are painfully obvious. I imagine that by the time the election actually takes place, there will be very few actual voters left who haven’t been driven away by one of their lies and/or fables….. and a landslide election will be the result…. I certainly hope so, as then maybe we can actually make some headway at dealing with the issues that are important to people, instead of focusing on the conservative right’s need to soothe their racism…. instead of having to deal with their unfounded, and cowardly, fears…..

The sage manages affairs without action
And spreads doctrines without words.
All things arise, and he does not turn away from them.
He produces them, but does not take possession of them.
He acts, but does not rely on his own ability.
He accomplishes his task, but does not claim credit for it.
It is precisely because he does not claim credit, that his accomplishment remains with him.
— Lao-Tzu
__________________________________

All things considered, this hasn’t gone too badly…. a bit of old/new school meandering, some mild ranting, and a good poem. What better way to start one’s day? I’ll take it…. please wrap it to go, and I’ll be on my way….. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!