We’ll titrate the phone books, THEN we’ll marinate….

Ffolkes,

I should, perhaps, know better than to begin while still free of coffee…. Aha, I know…. I’ll go peruse the headlines, to see what I can find to rant about today…. Be back when I’m lucid….

Lucid I may be, but, bursting with energy, I’m not, sad to say…. It’s funny, actually; as soon as I started gulping down my coffee, I started yawning, my eyes began to droop, and I started feeling as if going back to bed is the right thing to do (it’s still only 5:15 AM, so it’s not as if it’s too late…). Or, maybe, a bit of a lie-down on the couch would do the trick… We’ll try that first, before I make a complete fool of myself here… Shoot, too late for that, huh?… Oh well….

Laying down wasn’t the answer, either, it seems….. I’m here, though, and I’ve had coffee, so I may as well get started….. Let’s try this…..

Spinning darkly, madly through wild spaces, shouting defiance, the weight of Ramistolia, the Axe of Invincibility, heavy at my belt,  I begin to curse, slowly, with great passion, at the strange methods used by wizards to move people to where they need to be.  I think then of home, and Mira, my wife….. Sleeping now, I hoped, dreaming her gentle dreams of love and beauty, about to awaken…. Flushed in the pale light of dawn, her long tresses tumbled, she will arise, moving slowly to the bath as her handmaiden throws a robe over her milky white shoulders. She’ll think of me then, and smile, not knowing that I had already left her, to meet the destiny set out for me……  IF I managed to survive Alizander’s terrifying mode of transport….

Well, that’s enough of that… it’s okay, but not the best I’ve ever come up with…. I haven’t actually done one of those in a while, which is odd, because I always enjoy it, even though I never do finish any of them. I keep telling myself that one of these days, I’ll sit down, and outline a story to go along with one of them, but, so far, I’ve not done so…. Obviously, it’s not as important to me as I had imagined it to be, which is fine…. I’m actually pretty content with life just now, and it’s hard to get worked up over much of anything….

My contentment may be a contributing factor in the difficulties I’m encountering in this process…. For ranting, it is necessary to feel at least a bit of discontent down in the deeper parts of the psyche, and, right now, mine is pretty happy, for the most part…. Oh, like everyone, I have my moments of angst and bitterness, but, mostly, of late, I can avoid them, or pass them off without any fuss, or lasting effects…. After a lifetime of passionate involvement, and volatile relations with women (I always did find passion to be irresistible…), I am quite content to live more peaceably….

Now, if only the pundits and talking heads would just go crawl back under the rocks from whence they came, all would be well in my world…. But, no, they have to go through all the asinine contortions they can, while continuing to act out their insane personal agendas, taking society down with them, on their completely unnecessary trip to Hell…. The idiot assholes, or asshole idiots, take your pick, on both sides of the political fence, are still exhibiting massive amounts of blind stupidity, and have yet to give any indication they are getting any smarter with time…. Personally, I’m kind of happy with parts of the shutdown, as it does mean they aren’t up to much of anything at all in government, which HAS to be good for all of us….

There, that’s my rant for the day, such as it is…. and now that this intro section has climbed up to a new plateau of chaotic oddity, I guess I should get on with whatever I plan for the rest of it…. Such is life before the rest of the worlds returns from the ‘little death’, into which we slip each night, searching for Endymion…. If you like, you can choose your own metaphor for that, but, I’ll stick with that one, because, hey, it’s done, right?….

Shall we Pearl?…..

“Ignorance of one’s misfortunes is clear gain.” — Euripides
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Bloggers, it seems to me, are a group of people who should have a good grasp of the importance of freedom of speech in a democratic society. Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, Thomas Paine, Ben Franklin, all of whom were part of the founding process of this nation, and our particular brand of democracy, wrote many letters, essays, and comments on the subject, as it is considered to be one of the most important keys to the survival of a democracy, in the face of the attempts made daily by corporations, priests, aristocrats, and all the other immoral, unethical pirates, who live to control others, and who continuously strive to maintain, and increase, their ability to manipulate and control society for their own benefit.

“We can’t allow the people to interfere with the smooth flow of democracy.” — Kitchener city council member

This might seem like a funny statement, until you realize that he wasn’t being facetious, , or even ignorant; rather, he was clearly and honestly (a mistake I’m sure, and the reason his name is now forgotten….) expressing the prevalent attitude among virtually all of the elected officials in this country. Thomas Jefferson particularly warned us, on a number of occasions, to be watchful for attempts by corporations to manipulate the law, as did others of the founding fathers….

Unfortunately, we didn’t listen to them well enough, and along about the middle of the nineteenth century, the corporations found, and used, the most corrupt federal judge they could bribe, influencing him to establish legal justification, and pass judgments on certain laws, creating legal precedents that would forever put the government under their power and control…. If you think that is a bit simplistic a view, or that it is essentially wrong somehow, please, please, show me your evidence…. As proof of my assertion, just consider the modern legal definition of “corporate personhood”, to get a clue as to what I’m talking about…..

“When I want to buy up any politicians I always find the anti-monopolists the most purchasable. They don’t come so high.” — William H. Vanderbilt (1821-1885)

Now, we see the net result of those manipulations, as our country is being held hostage to those politicians who are most heavily influenced by corporate philosophy, and corporate money…. In addition, this administration, which was elected partly due to their promise of transparency and accountability in government, has proven once again that we have fallen prey to some very persuasive liars, as the following link to an article will demonstrate…. Please read this article, which ran a few days ago on SFGATE…. The implications herein are terrifyingly real, and support what I’ve been saying all along, that even though Obama is very good at distraction, always telling the public what they want to hear, his actual agenda is not as transparent, or as beneficial to the public as he has claimed…. Read it, please, then I’ll continue….

http://www.sfgate.com/news/us/article/Report-Obama-brings-chilling-effect-on-journalism-4884506.php

Pretty scary stuff, isn’t it? I don’t like to gloat, but, I DID warn y’all, back in 2009, when Obama was first sworn in, that what you were seeing in him was NOT what you were actually getting…. That became clear when one of his first acts when he got into office was to renew the provisions of the Patriot Act (which could more accurately be called the Paranoid Act….), first pushed on the American people in the wake of 9/11/01, an event completely blown out of proportion by the then extant President Shrub, and his band of good ol’ boy cronies (I won’t bother to mention the timing of the attacks, which were conveniently distracting to the public, drawing their attention from the other news of the day…. which included the possible investigation, by the US Department of Justice, into the 2004 elections, to seek further evidence of illegal voting and election tactics by the Republican Party ….).

Obama’s first significant act as President, then, was to reinforce the LACK of transparency fostered by the Shrub’s administrations, and to further limit the power of the US Bill of Rights to protect our citizens from their own government…..

“I want the ability to monitor high-tech communications among far-flung terrorists. I want to be able to have our people learn their plans before they strike.  That’s the key.” — US President Bill Clinton, radio address, Saturday, May 20, 1995

Oops! What’s this? Yet more indication of how long this charade has been going on? Yep, you got it, ffolkes….. In fact, without trying terribly hard, I could go back over the past 75 years of American political history, and show exactly how much the rights of the American people have been eroded, and how many lies have been told in the process of that erosion…. It’s isn’t hard, because I only use the public newspapers and TV news for my evidence, which anyone may access….

Believe me, it’s a lot of lies, and they continue right up to today….. It amazes me, sometimes, to see just how easy it is to get the public to fall in line…. All one has to do is make people afraid, and they will accept whatever loss of freedom is asked of them, in order to save themselves from thinking, or from admitting their history of being duped….

“What George Washington did for us was to throw out the British, so that we wouldn’t have a fat, insensitive government running our country. Nice try anyway, George.” — D.J. on KSFO/KYA

Normally, and, of late, mostly, I pick on the Republican Party, due in part to their lack of finesse in lying, and due to their more open disregard for the people…. But, the Democrats are no better, ffolkes… They have merely learned how to lie more smoothly, telling people what they wish to hear, and making them believe that they are working for the people’s benefit….

Frankly, and simply put, they’re not interested in any of that sort of thing…. They have merely discovered an old method, of giving something desired, something of small and insignificant meaning, very publicly, to the people, with great fanfare, while, with the other hand, they are clandestinely searching our emails, and profiling our citizens in search of the mulligan, terrorists….

Yes, I said mulligan…. the threat of terrorist activity is very small, as they are very few, and not well funded, generally…. Any who are so funded, you may be sure, are well controlled by those who are in true power, for they control the flow of money, and the availability of weaponry, both of which are needed to foment rebellion. They know this, and since they, quite simply control all the money, they control the terrorists…. No, the terrorists are what they show you in one hand, while the true actions of significance are happening behind closed doors, and in shadowy corners where no one looks….

“… But when he [the people’s champion] has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.” — Plato (428-348? B.C.), “The Republic”

I guess I’ve ranted enough for one day…. I’ll leave you with this…. The US government has been controlled by corporate interests (i.e., money) for a very long time…. The quote below gives us a clue as to how long it has gone on, though it started long before 1950…. By that time, though, the corporations were in control enough so that, even though there was no military need, or justifiable rationalization, to drop the atomic bomb, the government was persuaded to do so…. It’s a pretty clear picture, when one sees that the highest ranked military leaders saw no need for it, but, the politicos, and their corporate masters, just HAD to see what their new toy would do….

“It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.  …The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening.  My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages.  I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.  We were the first to have this weapon in our possession, and the first to use it. There is a practical certainty that potential enemies will have it in the future and that atomic bombs will sometime be used against us.” — Admiral William D. Leahy, — Chief of Staff to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, I Was There, 1950

Stay alert ffolkes, this old ball of mud doesn’t have a lot of turns left where we’ll be joining in the song of life…. These idiots, who operate their lives on a basis of complete self-indulgence, and blind belief in their own invincibility, are getting closer and closer to the time when the physical laws of nature will take over, and complete the job of suicide of the species that they have begun…. We can’t keep pumping carbon into the atmosphere, whether it’s monoxide, dioxide, or any other oxide, and expect nothing to happen…. Our lungs don’t use that stuff, and it will eventually kill us…. So, stay alert, and maybe we’ll get a chance to turn things around…. Here’s hoping….

“It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere.” — Voltaire
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I have the feeling that any responsibility or today’s effort shouldn’t be shared, lest whatever happens affect the reputation of whomever I chose to display here in the poetry section…. So, you’ll have to settle for one of mine, as the new one is still cooking…. I hope you enjoy it….

After the odyssey….

Portraits of iconic symbols, crashing, singing, forgotten;
evolving into mature innovation, as yet pale, and rotten.
Still water justly breeds, impenetrable primal verses resound;
unholy moments tarry, emotion swirls in passion unbound

Spiritual ovulation precedes each pregnant pause;
gravid, time moves on, following destiny’s cause.
Cast adrift on waves of confusion, to a final, damp landing;
salvation beckons sweetly, fed well on understanding.

Dreams directly fall, in night’s grey bower, unbidden;
lingering flavors in simple taste, lovingly, cleverly hidden.
Childish laughter sounds, joyful, bright, and clear;
no need ever to hide, no more monsters to fear.

Temper most foul arrives under unregistered mail;
forgotten taunts live on, lashed by an ancient flail.
Plain dealing delivers such lasting specks of honest hate;
savage in retrospect, never hasty, always running late.

Forever, cries an ambient lover of the pending night;
his pale, weak issue forms its own failing light.
Still, fortune favors such as those who apprehend;
Sweet love of Gaia, let it never end.

~~ gigoid ~~

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I’ve ranted sufficiently for one day, so I won’t bother you with yet another…. As is our wont, we’ll go default, meaning old-school style…. It may be default, but, it’s MY default, so deal….  😆

“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.” — Emily Dickinson

“I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We’ve created life in our own image.” — Stephen Hawking

“In real life, unlike in Shakespeare, the sweetness of the rose depends upon the name it bears.  Things are not only what they are. They are, in very important respects, what they seem to be.” — Hubert H. Humphrey (1911-78)

“Time carves all. Let yourself be carved to attain your true nature.” — Master Po

“A right is not what someone gives you; it’s what no one can take from you.” — Ramsey Clark

“I think the dragon’s asleep.” — Famous Last Words

A word is dead
When it is said
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.
— Emily Dickinson

In the words of the Colonel, “I love it when a plan comes together….” Nothing like a balanced pearl of virtual wisdom to start, or end, your day….
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I have a feeling that this one is better than it seems from over here…. let’s take a closer look….. I might be right about that. Since, however, I’m not the best judge of my own work, I’ll just do as I always do, which is to post it, and damn the consequences…. 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

dozer3

And take what the day gives us….

Ffolkes,
Vast, empty corridors stretch into infinity, with doors every few yards on both sides. Silence rolls ahead of the quiet footsteps that pace down the hall, seeming to absorb the slight sound of the soft shoes worn by the tall, darkly humanoid being who paced there. Shimmering pillars of moonlight shone through the windows that marched between the doors on the east side, throwing shadows across the floors and walls as the trees outside trembled in the soft breeze. No other movement, and no other sound invaded the space around the walker as he moved toward a door on the inner side of the hall, where a light blazed from under the bottom edge, glaring against the softer moonlight on the walls. Even as his hand moved toward the handle, the door opened wide…..

And then I woke up, and smelled the coffee…. Not too shabby, I suppose, but I never know where to go from where I stop…. just as well, then, I guess, that I don’t keep going, so I don’t end up somewhere I hadn’t planned to be…. Boy, this waking up business is getting complicated…. It has been some time since I felt a shortage of material, but there seems to be a large void spot in my head today, soaking up any directed focus I try to put out. It being Sunday, the library isn’t open but a few short hours this afternoon, so I have plenty of time to get this done before posting. That is a good thing, considering how it’s gone thus far. I can see already it will be one of those days when I spend an inordinate amount of time waiting for inspiration to strike, hating every moment until something pops up that I can use…. It’s that purpose thing I told y’all about the other day; us guys just feel better when we have a defined purpose….. even in the small things in life….

Without a defined purpose, like most men, I tend to wander around like the proverbial bull in a china shop, crashing into delicate items left and right, creating havoc. That is what it feels like anyway, a sort of out-of-control rushing about, with shattering glass sound effects and the whole nine yards. It’s probably not as bad as it seems to me, but, mine is the only perception that counts, and I don’t much like it…. However, there have been any number of times during life when I’ve had to do stuff I didn’t much like doing; we all have that cross to bear. So, I guess I’ll quit whining about it, and get on with the search for material I can turn into a Pearl. There has to be something out there I can use; Smart Bee has never failed me yet, and I don’t expect it to do so now….. fool that I am….

So, without further ado, shall we Pearl?…..
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“If you disclose your alms, even then it is well done, but if you keep them secret, and give them to the poor, then that is better still for you; and this wipes off from you some of your evil deeds.” — Koran (c. 651 AD)

“Don’t let your mouth write a check that your tail can’t cash.” — Bo Diddley

“It is a waste of energy to be angry with a man who behaves badly, just as it is to be angry with a car that won’t go.” — Bertrand Russell

“It is as useless to argue with those that have renounced the use and authority of reason as to administer medication to the dead.” — Thomas Paine

Okay, so here’s the deal…. The three first pearls in this group were collected in one swell foop, all together. The fourth one I added this morning. When I saved the others, I didn’t know just why; the three quotes don’t seem to have much of a connection, though all are good trains of thought around the subject of righteous behavior. The last one almost ties them together, but actually speaks to a different subject altogether. So…. it’s a wash…. none of it means anything, and I’ve wasted the time it took to put them together. SIGH…. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a spectacular failure of systemic nature like this one. All the usual lack of control I use to semi-direct the subject matter had no effect at all….

Sure, all four of these are pretty good pieces of advice, or good knowledge to possess…. but they don’t do anything special, and they don’t fit together like I intended…. I’m not sure now what I ever intended, as those first three, looked at now, have very little to do with each other, and certainly don’t stretch to cover a portion of reality that means anything important. The last one is damn good, for what it is, and shows us that we are not the only culture to have to deal with the deliberately ignorant; they’ve apparently been around, bugging the rest of us, for a long time. But, it doesn’t tie all the others together into a neat little lesson for the Gentle Reader, not by a long shot….

Hell, now what? I guess I’ll try to find a closing pearl that can save this section from complete uselessness….. Hmm, how about this?….

“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of potential — for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints; possibility never.” — Soren Kierkegaard

Now THAT’S a pearl! And, now that I see it clearly arranged, it actually DOES save this section from uselessness. It issues a joyous peal of hope, that passion for potential, that is exactly what I try to capture in a POVW (pearl of virtual wisdom). The last line says it well, and goes a long way to pulling the entire exercise in imagination together into a coherent mass…. A bit jumbled, and tumbled, but coherent. What we are trying to do here at Exploring Consensual Reality is just this, to bring the joy of the elevated spirit and mind to life, to give everyone who reads this, that sparkling, electrifying connection with the potential that exists in every single moment….. Grab on, ffolkes, and hang on for the ride of your life…..

“Each of us has a spark of life inside us, and our highest endeavor ought to be to set off that spark in one another.” — Kenny Ausubel

“When you said “HEAVILY FORESTED” it reminded me of an overdue  CLEANING BILL..  Don’t you SEE?  O’Grogan SWALLOWED a VALUABLE COIN COLLECTION and HAD to murder the ONLY MAN who KNEW!!” — Zippy the Pinhead
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I’m feeling a bit stressed today, for reasons best left alone for the time being. But, it gave me an urge for some Emily…. so, here she is….

To my quick ear the leaves conferred;
The bushes they were bells;
I could not find a privacy
From Nature’s sentinels.

In cave if I presumed to hide,
The walls began to tell;
Creation seemed a mighty crack
To make me visible.

————————————–

One wasn’t quite enough, I wanted more, so…..

Delight becomes pictorial
When viewed through pain,–
More fair, because impossible
That any gain.

The mountain at a given distance
In amber lies;
Approached, the amber flits a little,–
And that’s the skies!

~~ Emily Dickinson
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Okay…. I’m not feeling all that well after all; since I started this a couple hours ago, my body has decided to give me a few symptoms to deal with, (which I won’t detail…. too graphic, and unnecessary….). What it boils down to is that I’m not up to a lot of sitting and cogitation right now…. so, I’m going to fall back on some of the stuff I’ve written previously…. About a year or so ago, in a form of self-therapy for some depression I was fighting to overcome, I wrote a four part series of short pieces that described my life, and the events that led to my acquisition of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is what I have as a complement to the relatively constant physical pain with which I live…. I’m just lucky, I guess….

Any who, I’m going to reprint those four articles, beginning today, as the third section of the daily Pearls. As I created these documents, I re-lived a lot of the events, which was both painful, and helpful…. I’m hoping that doing so again will also help again, as the darkness threatens to creep into my head, and I cast about, seeking the light…. and, it can’t hurt, so, I’m doing it anyway…. So, here is part one of what I called “Repercussions”….

REPERCUSSIONS, Part I

When I was four, my father was stationed in Japan with the US Army, at a base near Okinawa. He was there for about 18 months, and the rest of the family, my mother and, at the time, four kids joined him there for the last seven months of his tour of duty. During that time, I was made aware, simply by traveling to and living there, that the world was much larger than I thought, and there were a lot of different kinds of people living in it. He was an officer at the time, so the six of us lived in a large house on base, with two Japanese housekeepers. Learning about Mariko and her sister, whose name escapes me, taught us many things about Japanese culture, and my mind grew in leaps and bounds.

One of the things we learned were some basic Judo (the gentle way) techniques, by one of Mariko’s friends who was member of a dojo (school). This exposure to the martial arts stayed with me, but after returning to the USA, there was little opportunity to pursue the arts further. Especially when my parents had another child, and money became a permanent issue in the household. But I never forgot Mariko, (who made the best cinnamon roles ever), or any of my experiences in Japan.

Much later in my life when I went to college, at the University of California at Berkeley, Judo was offered as a physical education course, and I at last had the opportunity to study in earnest what so long ago had made such an impression on my young mind. I took the course for 3 quarters (UCB had switched to a four-quarter-per-calendar year schedule some years before my admission), much as a duck takes to water, and after less than 9 months I had been awarded a second-degree brown belt, Nikkyu, one level below a black belt, 1st degree.

I loved the arts with a passion I had not felt since I first discovered science-fiction at age ten. It was, perhaps, a lesser passion than when I discovered that girls weren’t so yucky after all, but studying the arts became a significant part of my life, and I have studied one art or another ever since, a matter of about 42 years. After Judo, I took some lessons in Karate (the empty-hand), Tae Kwon Do and Shotokan styles, a little bit of Tai Chi, and some Aikido.. Then in my late twenties, I joined my first class in the Chinese art of Kung Fu. All my other exposure, Tai Chi aside (which though useful in that respect, is an art not primarily designed for use in fighting), had been to arts developed in Japan and Korea. I learned that all of those arts had been patterned after the precepts of Kung Fu many centuries before.

The origins of Kung Fu are shrouded in some mystery, but the consensus is that the monks of the Taoist temple of the order of the Shaolin were the first to learn the basic art, and developed it as a means of protecting their temple from the degradations of the numerous marauding warlords fighting over the various geographic regions in China. It is said that the art was brought to them by none other than Bhodi Dharma, an ancient warrior of India who traveled all over the Far East during his life, using his unspeakably powerful skills, developed by him during many years of studying Yoga, to protect the weak and oppressed, much like a wandering knight in Europe during the age of chivalry.

The Shaolin monks developed the skills they learned to such a high degree that the temple was eventually destroyed by warlords who had developed cannons, because they feared the monks so much. The monks scattered over the rest of China taking their skills with them, teaching them to the people, and to monks at other temples. It was said that a Shaolin monk could disappear from sight, could walk through walls, and fly through the air, and their reputation protected them probably as much as their fighting skills.

In the 1970’s there was a show on TV called Kung Fu, loosely based on a figure in Shaolin history, their greatest warrior, whose name on the show was Kwai Chang Caine. Though subject unfortunately to the occasionally bizarre demands of Hollywood culture, it was nonetheless a relatively accurate representation of how such a monk would have approached the new culture in the United States, and gave a good idea of how effective the skills learned by the monks could be, even against superior forces and weaponry.

When I was first introduced to Kung Fu, it seemed as though all the other arts I had studied became irrelevant. I had graduated from the high-school level of Karate and Aikido to a more advanced university, that started with basics, then led the student into deeper and deeper knowledge, not just of the techniques of fighting and training, but knowledge of both the body and the mind, which are never considered to be separate entities in Chinese culture.

The techniques learned became only a part of what one learns; much of the rest of what is taught was concerned with learning to control one’s mind and spirit. The first lesson was the most important one, and it consists of one concept…..restraint. Simply put, we do not learn these skills to fight, but to grow; to learn how to accept the danger that exists in human society without being paralyzed by fear, allowing one’s higher principles to guide action for the betterment of all creatures.

Learning Kung Fu, as well as the other martial arts I studied, was a seminal part of my own developing philosophy of life, and has been, in my mind, an invaluable tool in my own growth. But learning the arts, as I was later to learn, would have repercussions so powerful, and so all-encompassing, that they would send shock waves of pain and anguish down every step of my path in the world; repercussions that would stay with me for the rest of my life…..

To be continued…….
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Well, I kind of feel as if I’ve cheated a little bit, but, given the way I feel physically right now, that’s just too bad, so sad, because it’s done now, and nothing will make me go back and do it over. It will be all I can do to get down to the library to get this posted later, so I’m going to go deal with my physical issues, and hopefully get past them….. I’ll be fine, it’s just miserable for a while, until it all passes…. life goes on……  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!

Even sliced thin, it won’t fit….

Ffolkes,
It probably seems unfair to blame it all on Murphy. Statistics alone says that not everything can be traced back to his malign influence on events… but you know what? Statistics can be made to lie at the slightest manipulation, and will believe whatever they’re told to believe, just as they can be made to show whatever one wishes. And it is hard to deny Murphy’s presence when his hand prints are all over the events in question…..

“There are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up.” — Rex Stout, mystery writer

Rather than go into a litany of how the interfering butt head has messed with me today, I’m going to try to sublimate my anger at him and his machinations into writing…. anything. If it takes my mind off how seriously f__ed I am due to his efforts, then it will do for my purposes. Trouble is, when I am awakened at ONE AM to deal with the crap he saddled me with, my creative senses tend to be a bit dull, and subject matter is shall we say, not jumping up, waving its hand, and yelling “Me, Me! Write about me!”  More’s the pity….

I suppose the best idea is to go diving for pearls…. the search itself can be soothing, as long as the pearls aren’t playing hide and seek with me…. ah well, everything’s a risk, isn’t it?  Shall we Pearl?…..
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“If one is master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time, insight into and understanding of many things.” — Vincent Van Gogh

Kung Fu…. The Chinese words are believed by most Westerners to refer to martial arts, and they do. The words, however, are applicable to much more than merely martial arts; they refer to the mastering of any art or skill. A master chef has, or shows, or is, kung fu when they engage in the production of beautiful delicious meals. A master painter has kung fu when he puts his paints to canvas, as does a master pianist, or violinist when they allow the music to soar. The words describe the state of excellence that is achieved by hard work over a long time; it cannot be learned in a day, or a week, or even a year. Basic skills must be learned by rote until they are habit; these build upon each other to become mastery.

Vincent Van Gogh had strong kung fu as a painter; I’ve seen the exhibit of his work that sometimes travels from its home at the Louvre in Paris. It was displayed in San Francisco in 1968 at the De Young Museum, and I was fortunate enough to be able to see it while it was there. It is difficult to describe the effect his paintings had on me; I had never before seen any of the classical genius’ works, and it was very enlightening.

His technique, of using thick paints and bold hard strokes, had to be viewed at the correct distance, but when it was, the visions he created were astounding, almost alive in their intensity and connection with reality. One of his self-portraits, painted from looking in a mirror on a small canvass, had the most piercing blue eyes I’ve ever seen, eyes that were alive, and stared right into the soul of the observer…..

Herr Van Gogh must also have been a very deep thinker, as this is not a common insight; it is a very subtle point, and often overlooked by Western philosophers, at least to my knowledge. It is nice to know that excellence in one area does not limit one to showing such talent in only that area.

It gives me a little hope for the continued existence of mankind, even if that is not rational; but hope springs eternal, and if East and West can combine their understanding of reality enough to become commonly accepted, then we may yet find our way back to a path that won’t end up killing us…. Chances are slim, but not zero….
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Boy, now, there’s some good advice from Dr. Freud, which can’t always be said with any degree of truth. The good doctor was an intelligent man, no doubt, but had his head pretty far up his ass on a lot of fronts. This, however, hits the nail right on the head, and is something I find it useful to say to myself each morning before reading the news, just in case that Westbrook Baptist church or Mitt Romney have released some statement that sets a new standard of ignorance to affront the rest of us. It helps to keep it in perspective…. and keeps me personally from biting the first real person with whom I come into contact, just to release the pressure that reading that stuff can create….

It’s gotten so I have to literally walk away from some articles, to keep from banging my fists and/or forehead against the keyboard, which, though cathartic, tends to be hard on the keys. Even music doesn’t help, when I read some of the stuff that the minister and congregation of the Westbrook church put on their signs all over the country where they travel to spread their hatred and bigotry. Not even Mozart, and he can usually cut through almost any negativity….. And now that Mitt is the official Republican Main Squeeze, I keep expecting new clueless statements to be coming out any time…. Something to look forward to, in a perverted sort of way….

Quem metuunt, oderunt. (They hate whom they fear.) — Ennius (239-169 BC)

Ah well, after over 55 years of reading, and/or listening to, and watching, the stuff that goes into American newspapers and programs, I should know better than to get too emotionally involved in it all. I distinctly remember, at the age of about four or five, or so, lying on a couch somewhere, watching the Republican National Convention on TV, (I LIKE IKE!), and thinking to myself, “Boy this is really stupid and boring….”. That should have been a warning of what was to come in the future…..

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Her Reply

IF all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd’s tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy Love.

But Time drives flocks from field to fold;
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold;
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complains of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward Winter reckoning yields:
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy’s spring, but sorrow’s fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies,
Soon break, soon wither–soon forgotten,
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

Thy belt of straw and ivy-buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,–
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy Love.

But could youth last, and love still breed,
Had joys no date, nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy Love.

Sir Walter Raleigh

Okay, so I’m a romantic… so sue me….   🙂   Enjoy!
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Murphy seems to be laying low for a little while, so I’m going to take advantage of that, and go get some stuff done out in the Big Blue Room…. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you….


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!

Remarkably obscene patterns in the sand….

Ffolkes,
Here is the second of four parts…

In 1973, at the age of 23, I attended school to study to take the state examination for a license as a Psychiatric Technician (PT). The classes were subsidized by, and took place at, Atascadero State Hospital (ASH) in Central California. College credits were given through the local J.C., Cuesta College in nearby San Luis Obispo. In conjunction with the classes, students were allowed, and encouraged, to work 20 hours per week in the hospital, as a supplement to the clinical hours required to complete the courses. So began my journey in the mental health industry, and unknown to me at the time, down the path to darkness…..

The hospital at Atascadero is a maximum security facility that houses up to 1200 individuals, who are committed to the bleak, prison-like hospital by the state courts, having been judged as being either unable to stand trial due to being unable to understand the charges, or because they were unable to cooperate in their own defense, due to mental illness. Some of these men (it is an all-male facility; women in the same legal categories were housed in another facility) were also committed by the courts as being Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity, or were those who had manifested symptoms of mental illness after being convicted of crimes and sent to prison. A very few of them were not insane, but were master manipulators, career criminals with very good lawyers who had convinced the court to send them to the hospital rather than prison. These individuals caused a great many problems, as they would manipulate their less functional peers into giving up their property, or doing their will, or  incite them to violence, just to watch the results from a safe distance, for amusement.

Working in a maximum security facility as a therapist is possibly one of the most difficult jobs man has ever created. A prison-like environment makes it difficult to create the ambiance necessary to allow the men being treated to feel safe and comfortable enough to deal with their individual problems. The danger of housing so many people with mental illness is an ever-present and overriding concern, as one of the primary characteristics of those with these types of diagnoses is a lack, or even absence, of impulse control. As a result, managing assaultive behavior becomes a necessary adjunct to treatment.

The Department of Mental Health, working with employees from all the state hospitals, developed a policy for dealing with the issue; subsequently, training in Management of Assaultive Behavior (MAB) was given to every employee who came into contact with the committed individuals. Since the facility was classed as maximum security, the training was especially important for the Hospital Police, who were responsible for maintaining the security of the physical plant, and for the therapists (psychiatrists and psychologists, nurses, psychiatric technicians, and ancillary staff such as occupational and rehabilitation therapists) who were the primary care-givers for the individuals. These teams were taught specific techniques for recognizing the warning signs of impending violent behavior, how to re-direct when possible, and methods for physically controlling individuals who were acting out in a violent manner, without causing or sustaining injury.

Most of these principles and techniques, if not all, were very similar to the Judo and Kung Fu that I had been taught, so my prior training and experience became valuable tools for me, helping me to be skillful in keeping safe both the aggressors and victims involved in the violent episodes so frequently found in settings such as ASH. I became one of the people who specialized in MAB, which necessarily meant that whenever a violent incident broke out, I was one of the first to respond, as I was adept at controlling the situation without any of the participants sustaining injury, the primary goal in such instances.

Working in such a high stress environment as a maximum security hospital was both physically and emotionally draining, and after three years at ASH I had had enough. I moved north to work at Napa State Hospital, in order to get back to being a therapist rather than a glorified cop. I obtained a position as a PT in a treatment program for adolescents at NSH in 1976. To me, it was  a wonderful change; the kids in the program, lived ina co-educational environment, and were smaller as a rule than the full-grown men I was used to; in addition, there were far fewer individuals who had already learned to resort to violence, compared to those who were housed at ASH. It was also different for being co-ed, as I had previously not worked with any women, or girls, in a therapeutic setting. Because of my experience in MAB, violence on the unit where I worked became a non-viable behavior for the adolescents, and after a few months the number of incidents that took place on the unit were greatly reduced.

After a few years at NSH, I decided to take an extended sabbatical from working as a PT, and traveled around California for a few months, until not working became a bore; I was raised to be productive, and needed to get back to work. I applied to and was hired to work in another state hospital in Camarillo, a relatively small town near Ventura in Southern California. At CSH I once again worked with adolescents, as they had a similar program, patterned after the one at NSH. My martial arts training, which I had continued all this time, once again proved to be a valuable tool, and I again became the first responder at any outbreaks of violence among the individuals under treatment.

I met my wife at Camarillo; she was another PT in the adolescent program. We worked together, began dating, fell in love, married and started our family. It was a challenging period for me; between work, parenting, maintaining my marriage, home maintenance, and the myriad of little things that are the activities of daily life in this country, I was a very busy, very stressed individual. But I loved it that way, and was happy and content for some years.

     The economy at that time changed for the worse; we were unable to keep up with our mortgage payments, and lost our house to foreclosure. We decided to move north, to the Sonoma Valley, to raise our children in a country setting, with very well-respected schools, and a much lower crime rate than the southern California area in which we had lived.

I eventually hired on back at NSH, but the adolescent program was no longer open, so I began working with adults, on an all-male unit, with a group of individuals with a wide variety of diagnoses. As the level of security at Napa was not maximum, and the degree of MAB training was not up to the higher standards at ASH, the units in the program where I worked were very dangerous, a situation which ultimately led to my downfall.

     It was about this time when I calculated that, in my career as a PT, I had worked in the most stressful environments in the entire world, outside of battlefields, constantly in danger, and my martial arts background had become not just useful, but absolutely critical. I estimated the number of violent incidents in which I had been involved, and found that over the years I had an average of one major incident (translation: a knock-down, drag-out fight, in real-time, with real opponents, who are actively engaged in trying to hurt or maim me, or someone else) per week since I had started as a PT at ASH. My calculations came to a minimum of 728 incidents. I was appalled, but also somewhat proud of this figure; in all those incidents only one of the individuals had sustained a minor injury, and I had sustained one minor injury myself. Not a bad record, all in all…2 partial failures and 726 successful outcomes.

However, the damage to my psyche that had accumulated through the years had by this time reached an unprecedented and dangerous level, and I was finding it extremely difficult to maintain the now uncertain equilibrium I had achieved. My experiences had left me burdened with an indelible, hidden wound in my soul, in my very center. The experiences to which I’d been exposed eventually culminated in one specific incident that brought all of my pent-up stress to the surface, and affected me so deeply that I still feel the effects today……I became, quite literally, one of the “walking wounded”, a condition with which my generation, due to the Vietnam War, had become all too familiar. It was a single incident, that happened one night in 1984, and to this day I have never fully recovered…..

To be continued…..


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!

Belaboring toast points for profit….

Ffolkes,
Today, and for the next three days, I’ll be posting some material I wrote last year, while writing on a site called GoodBlogs. Technically, they have the online rights to it, but it is still mine, and is completely appropriate for this venue. Therefore, I am publishing all four pieces here on WordPress, just because I want to, and to give my brain a few days to dive for pearls, and to renew and redirect my creative urges. Together the four pieces tell a true story, of my time in Hell…..it’s titled, “Repercussions”……

Part the first…..

When I was four, my father was stationed in Japan with the US Army, at a base near Okinawa. He was there for about 18 months, and the rest of the family, my mother and, at the time, four kids joined him there for the last seven months of his tour of duty. During that time, I was made aware, simply by traveling to and living there, that the world was much larger than I thought, and there were a lot of different kinds of people living in it. He was an officer at the time, so the six of us lived in a large house on base, with two Japanese housekeepers. Learning about Mariko and her sister, whose name escapes me, taught us many things about Japanese culture, and my mind grew in leaps and bounds.

One of the things we learned were some basic Judo (the gentle way) techniques, by one of Mariko’s friends who was member of a dojo (school). This exposure to the martial arts stayed with me, but after returning to the USA, there was little opportunity to pursue the arts further. Especially when my parents had another child, and money became a permanent issue in the household. But I never forgot Mariko, (who made the best cinnamon roles ever) or any of my experiences in Japan.

Much later in my life when I went to college, at the University of California at Berkeley, Judo was offered as a physical education course, and I at last had the opportunity to study in earnest what so long ago had made such an impression on my young mind. I took the course for 3 quarters (UCB had switched to a four-quarter-per-calendar year schedule some years before my admission), much as a duck takes to water, and after less than 9 months I had earned my brown belt, second degree.

I loved the arts with a passion I had not felt since I first discovered science-fiction at age ten. It was, perhaps, a lesser passion than when I discovered that girls weren’t so yucky after all, but studying the arts became a significant part of my life, and I have studied one art or another ever since, a matter of about 40 years. After Judo, I took some lessons in Karate (the empty-hand), Tae Kwon Do and Shotokan styles, a little bit of Tai Chi, and some Aikido..

    Then in my late twenties, I joined my first class in the Chinese art of Kung Fu. All my other exposure, Tai Chi aside (which though useful in that respect, was an art not primarily designed for use in fighting), had been to arts developed in Japan and Korea. I learned that all of those arts had been patterned after the precepts of Kung Fu many centuries before.

The origins of Kung Fu are shrouded in some mystery, but the consensus is that the monks of the Taoist temple of the order of the Shaolin were the first to learn the basic art, and developed it as a means of protecting their temple from the degradations of the numerous marauding warlords fighting over the various geographic regions in China. It is said that the art was brought to them by none other than Bhodi Dharma, an ancient warrior of India who traveled all over the Far East during his life, using his unspeakably powerful skills, developed by him during many years of studying Yoga, to protect the weak and oppressed, much like a wandering knight in Europe during the age of chivalry.

The Shaolin monks developed the skills they learned to such a high degree that the temple was eventually destroyed by warlords who had developed cannons, because they feared the monks so much. The monks scattered over the rest of China taking their skills with them, teaching them to the people, and to monks at other temples. It was said that a Shaolin monk could disappear from sight, could walk through walls, and fly through the air, and their reputation protected them probably as much as their fighting skills.

In the 1970’s there was a show on TV called Kung Fu, loosely based on a figure in Shaolin history, their greatest warrior, whose name on the show was Kwai Chang Caine. Though it was subject, unfortunately, to the occasionally bizarre demands of Hollywood culture, it was nonetheless a relatively accurate representation of how such a monk might have approached the new culture in the United States, and gave a good idea of how effective the skills learned by the monks could be, even against superior numbers and weaponry.

When I was first introduced to Kung Fu, it seemed as though all the other arts I had studied became irrelevant. I had graduated from the high-school level of Karate and Aikido to a more advanced university, that started with basics, then led the student into deeper and deeper knowledge, not just of the techniques of fighting and training, but knowledge of both the body and the mind, which are never considered to be separate entities in Chinese culture.

    The techniques learned became only a part of what one learns; much of the rest of what is taught was concerned with learning to control one’s mind and spirit. The first lesson was the most important one, and it consists of one concept…..restraint. Simply put, we do not learn these skills to fight, but to grow; to learn how to accept the danger that exists in human society without being paralyzed by fear, allowing one’s higher principles to guide action for the betterment of all creatures.

Learning Kung Fu, as well as the other martial arts I studied, was a seminal part of my own developing philosophy of life, and has been, in my mind, an invaluable tool in my own growth. But learning the arts, as I was later to learn, would have repercussions so powerful, and so all-encompassing, that they would send shock waves of pain and anguish down every step of my path in the world; repercussions that would stay with me for the rest of my life…..

To be continued…….


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!