Jumping straight up, I twisted in air, spinning around in a full aerial circle, hands out, like an ice-skater imitating a top…. As the Frisbee flew toward me, I caught it, behind my back, while still in the air, spinning…. Hitting the ground, continuing the spin, I flung the Frisbee back to my cohort, in a backhand toss, to where he stood, a bit over 75 yards away, with two equally placed skips, before hitting him in his hand, in exactly the spot from where he had thrown to me, in which he had frozen in position, to receive the return throw…..
Across Sproul Plaza, applause and shouts rang out, as the other members of our group of hippie Frisbee hounds showed their appreciation, of a difficult, flawlessly executed trick catch and throw…. For a young hippie such as myself, it was a watershed moment, exceeded in emotional impact only by the day when the official UC Berkeley Frisbee Team invited me to go with them, as part of the team, to the 1970 National Frisbee Championships, being held in Chicago, during summer of the next year…. Sadly, circumstances precluded my inclusion on the team that year, but, being invited to go was, for many years, the favorite of all of the honors I’d received in my life….
You’re no doubt asking yourself, (because you’re too polite to interrupt me…), what does this have to do with anything? It’s not exactly a politically charged blurb, is it? That is, unless you realize we are talking about hippies, at UC Berkeley, in the early summer of 1969, the year after I matriculated as a freshman…. That venue, at that time, was, perhaps, the most politically charged place in the entire world at that time, as the students at the University carried on the time-honored hobby of all students, to wit: political unrest and criticism of whatever regime was currently in power, just about anywhere in the world….
Today, of course, that hobby is being honorably pursued, in Colombia, in Bolivia, in Venezuela, and numerous other countries where students are the vanguard of revolution; it has been so for hundreds of years, since universities began to teach young minds, filling them with new ideas, which, naturally, in the flush of youthful passion, leads to political protest…. The politicians will always lie, cheat, and steal; it is their nature; it is the nature of the university student to object to that, loudly and with great passion, until some sort of change is made, even if only superficial, as is generally the case…. The BRC doesn’t really like to make ANY changes, so whatever they do agree to is usually pretty shallow….
Oops, I’m ranting, aren’t I? SIGH…. I keep telling myself not to do that, but, it seems that almost anything I write about these days will remind me, somehow, of how our beloved leaders are screwing with us on a daily basis…. I suppose I can chalk that habit up to the hippie in me….
I can’t jump, run, and throw like I used to, but my political chops have gotten much bigger, and much more pointed than when I was suffused with so much energy, back in the day…. Of course, I no longer need to develop my immunity to pepper spray, so, that’s something, I’d say…. Maybe if I cut my hair…..
No fucking way…. It’s taken me nearly ten years to get it to the point it’s at, halfway down my back, and, at my age, I don’t think I’d ever get it this long again…. I have to admit, the growth rate has definitely slowed down, and there is NOT as much of it as there used to be…. In fact, my hairline now resembles that of an ancient Druid priest, from the age when they wore their hair in what was called a “tonsure”, I believe, with the front half of the head shaved, and the back half grown as long as it would grow….. Distinctive, and it gave even young men the appearance of being an aged holder of wisdom, handy in their line of work….
In my case, however, we are merely talking the results of advancing years, and there isn’t much I can do, other than leave it be, to grow the best it may…. It still makes me feel better when I wear it down, and get the “look” from all the local yokels; I’ve always loved to make an impression, and create in other people some sort of reaction, or at minimum, some thought…. even if it is obviously painful for them to use those muscles that never get much exercise…. I’m a natural gadfly, I suppose, having learned of that word when very young, a word Socrates used to apply to describe himself, and his relation to society…..
Since that is true, we can add it to the seven, no eight, solid paragraphs I just spewed, which obviously indicate that my writing chops have been sufficiently warmed up, making it the right time to get on with this, before it gets away from me, as it so often does in the mornings…. In fact, we’ll go with method #4, & end this right here….
Shall we Pearl?…..
The time is out of joint: O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Hamlet — Act i, Sc. 5
“If you would know a man, observe how your cat treats him.” — Smart Bee
“A House member who has been indicted does not lose any rights or privileges under federal law or the chamber’s rules, according to a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.”
In the normal course of events, a small piece of information such as this would stimulate my ire in a heartbeat…. and it hurts me no end to have to admit that this is a normal course…. All of which is a long-winded way to say, yes, this DOES piss me off, a lot…. I suppose it’s a natural hazard in a democracy, when the legislators begin to realize they can write the laws to suit themselves, and to their advantage, all without ever informing those who elected them of what they’re doing…. This is how the treasury is looted, on a consistent, ongoing basis, as the elected officials in this country pass laws that set them up for life, just for being elected….
I’m too angry to even rant about this right now; it’s very early yet, but, if I start in on a subject like this one, that gets me going so easily, I’ll be down and out by 9 AM, recovering from a massive adrenaline jolt….. As a retiree, there’s nothing essentially wrong about going back down for the day, but, I’ve got some other stuff to get done….
So, I’ll put together an old-school pearl, with parameters that should soothe my anger, at least for the time being…. I’m sure it will return again, tomorrow, with another headline…. It never fails, and I don’t see why it should do so now…. For the nonce, enjoy this group of sharp, pointed pearls of great beauty and grace….. (How does he do that? It can’t be easy to make a round, lustrous pearl come out sharp and pointed…. Just watch, you’ll see…)
“They are voting whether to keep a governor two years or four. I think a good, honest governor should get four years, and the others life.” — Will Rogers
“I LOVE my country, but I FEAR my government.” — Smart Bee
“No creo en Dios, pero le tengo miedo.’ [I don’t believe in God, but I’m afraid of Him.] — Gabriel Garcia Marquez, — “El Amor en los Tiempos de Colera”, 1985
“A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.” — Albert Einstein
“In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile-and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: not necessarily to win, but mainly to keep from losing completely. We owe that to ourselves and our crippled self-image as something better than a nation of panicked sheep.” — Hunter S. Thompson (b. 1939), journalist — The Great Shark Hunt, Jacket Copy for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1979)
“If you make any money, the government shoves you in the creek once a year with it in your pockets, and all that don’t get wet you can keep.” — Will Rogers
HISTORY Look, there’s no point dwelling on the past, okay? What’s done is done. It’s much better left forgotten. No-one wants to know about adolescent foolishness these days, do they? Just leads to embarrassment in later life. After all, the damage wasn’t all that bad, and the RSPCA said they wouldn’t press charges. So just forget it. (And actually, I reckon the hippopotamus kinda liked it.) — Daniel Bowen’s TOXIC CUSTARPEDIA
I started to use Will Rogers’ quotes as bookends for this pearl, but the HISTORY entry was just too perfect an ending to move it elsewhere…. All in all, a pretty good set of barbs, firmly planted in the place they’ll do the most good….
I keep telling y’all, it’s in the wrist…. Onward, eh? (I’m feeling a bit Canadian today, eh?.)
No ups, no extras…. just a good poem, from a good, no, a master poet….
Goading the Muse
this man used to be an
he was able to say brisk and
at the time
I suggested to the editors and
the critics that he was one to
and also that he had hardly yet been
and that he certainly should now be
this writer used some of my
remarks as blurbs for his
books, which I didn’t
all of his publications were little
chapbooks, 16 to 32
they came out at a
perhaps three or four a
the problem was that each
chapbook seemed a little weaker
than the one that preceded
but he continued to use my old
my wife noticed the change
in his writing
‘what’s happened to his
writing?’ she asked me.
‘he’s doing too much of it, he’s
pushing it out, forcing it.’
‘this stuff is bad, you ought to
tell him to stop using your
‘I can’t do that, I just wish he
wouldn’t publish so much.’
‘well, you publish all the
‘with me,’ I told her, ‘it’s
yesterday I received another of his
with his delicate dedication scrawled
on the title page.
this latest effort was totally
the words just fell off the
where had he gone?
too much ambition?
too much just doing it for the sake
of doing it?
just not waiting for the words to
pile up inside and then
explode of their own
I decided then I should take a whole week
be on the safe side,
just shut the computer down,
forget the whole damned silly
as I said, that was
~ Charles Bukowski ~~
Earlier, I avoided ranting, for reasons sufficient unto the day; I also used up the old-school option, though it isn’t exactly illegal to employ it as needed…. it merely risks stimulating boredom or resentment rather than cogitation, never a good trade. So, I’ll do what I always do in such cases; I’ll give in to the urge to be an American, emulating my Congressional leaders, thus making it okay to cheat…. When I do it, though, it won’t cost you any money…. or, any dignity, either….
Here is a relatively short, but nonetheless clear discussion of at least part of the principles of Taoism, which comes closest to what I believe about the Universe, more so than any other philosophy I’ve encountered in all my seeking after the wisdom of the ages…. I can’t say I would consider myself to be expert, but, I do feel my understanding of the basic ideas are accurate, and can, hopefully, be helpful to anyone who would like to achieve the degree of peace and serenity that I have found in my life…. I may not have the patience, depth of compassion, or manner of the Buddha, but, I’m pretty content with the Universe, just the way it is, all in all….
“Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right actions arises by itself?” — Lao Tzu
Ever since being first exposed to the precepts of Taoism, back when I was in college in the late 60’s, it has always appealed to my sense of rightness, making the closest approach to what I personally believe about the Universe at large. Not the mystical parts, that cater to the religious order of the time it first was clarified by Lao Tzu, but the essence of the concept of reality, as being both within our perception, and unknown to us as beyond our understanding. We may not possess the necessary sense(s) to be capable of receiving such information, whether about reality or fantasy, and if we assume the omnipotence of a god, then we would not be able to comprehend their existence, lacking the tools to perceive them with our five or six senses…..
This knowledge, however, of what is beyond us, is tempered by the deduction that, as a physical part of the universe, we are connected to it, and to every other part, if only by sharing that existence. The connection, intuitively, is deeper than merely the physical; it extends somehow into the spiritual plane, which, though not tangible, is nonetheless a proven part of our mental reality. (What IS the mind?) It is this very lack of the ability to explain by which we may know the connection exists, as it echoes the nature of reality itself, which cannot be explained in words. Goodness knows why I’m trying, to be sure…. this is getting pretty esoteric, although, so far, it is consistently rational, if not entirely illuminating.
“Since everything in life is but an experience perfect in being what it is, having nothing to do with good or bad, acceptance or rejection, one may well burst out in laughter.” — Long Chen Pa
And what better way to acknowledge and celebrate the perfection that we can see, or hear, feel, smell, taste, or imagine?…… It’s certainly preferable to a long, dusty discussion of esoteric concepts, and will encourage enlightenment just as efficiently, if not quite so verbally. In some way, I’m always looking for the perfect quote, the ultimate aphorism, that delivers that cosmic truth we are all seeking in one swell foop, and the above from Long Chen Pa comes very close to it, especially when considered in the light of what one concludes from considering the answers to the first two questions today. As a Westerner who has learned to appreciate what the East brings us, the following resonates very well….
“Somehow, in the midst of their horrid history, the best among the _gaijin_ learned a wonderful lesson. They learned to distrust themselves, to doubt even what they were taught to believe or what their egos make them yearn to see. To know that even truth must be scrutinized, it was a great discovery, almost as great as the treasure we of the East have to offer them in return, the gift of harmony.” — David Brin – Dr. Pak’s Preschool
There’s the key, ffolkes, right there in front of you…. Even truth must be scrutinized, or the universe will have its way with you, and you may never find the gift of harmony that is also there for the taking….. There, not so esoteric, after all…. not too shabby, eh what?…..
“The ancient Taoist sages were poised and alert…. like ice on the verge of melting.” — Taoist proverb
I’m sure I’ve done worse, but, I may not have done much better; only you would know; I can only guess…. That being said, without even proofing or editing, I’m going to send it off to the printer, over at Oxford Press, so I can get started on the submission of my doctorate thesis…. (I can only wish it were true…. I just like the idea of a doctorate in humanities from Oxford…. but, it’s a bit late in life to start another university stint….) Any who, I can see I’m starting to blather, so, I’ll save us all from that, and begone…. 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