Switch over to the Itsy Bitsy network…


No slave is ever freed, save he freeth himself.

~~ Smart Bee ~~

Artist’s rendition of Mars One Colony outpost: picture from Space.com

It won’t do. It simply won’t do…. Unless, of course, it does, in which case, we have no opening…. SIGH. Well, ffolkes, I seem to have done it again…. Here I am, clueless as to how to begin, again, with a large amount of blank white covering the screen, and, my mind’s inner vision…. I wouldn’t want to put any blame for this anywhere it doesn’t belong, but, pretty soon, I’m going to have to assign a scapegoat of some kind, to get rid of all this angst; at least, then, I’d have something to feel guilty about….

I must say, though, I’m not much into guilt, having decided long ago it’s a pretty useless emotion, based generally on misconceptions of entitlement having nothing to do with the real world; only our own false ideas of how we DESERVE to be treated can cause us to ignore that which will not change at our command. Moreover, the whole deal becomes doubly useless when one considers one is experiencing guilt, anger, or other inappropriate frustration, over something we never had any right to demand in the first place….

Having thus far managed to avoid any such nonsense here on ECR, I think I’ll just use another facet of the human condition, one we ALL have practiced to some degree, to wit: total denial of reality in favor of one of our delusions…. It’s a common practice for us homo bozoidus’ to dump all the blame for what happens in our lives onto damn near anything, or anyone, other than ourselves; anyone who says they haven’t done this is, quite simply, a liar. We ALL have practiced such denial, at one point or another in our lives, if only to protect our own egos from the depredations piled upon it almost every day by our culture; denial of having done so is futile. It doesn’t make you a bad person, merely human….

And, goodness knows, we humans have our flaws…. But, the intro isn’t really the place to go any further into such matters. In fact, we’ve pretty much used up all the available space with my wandering around this concept, without ever really nailing it down. SIGH….. I suppose that’s what happens when I try to use the gestalt method of getting my thoughts down…. Sometimes it works; other times, not so well…. I will leave it to y’all to judge how it worked out, because I must now get us out of here, before we get stuck here for the rest of our allotted time…. In fact, look!…. It’s good ol’ #4, just sitting there, wagging its tail, waiting to take us out of here….

“Captain, I sense… a PLOT DEVICE!” — Smart Bee

Nah! Couldn’t be that!….. But, we’ll use it anyway, okay? Okay….

Shall we Pearl?

“Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.” — Buddha (B.C. 568-488)


Got a bit lucky yesterday…. I subscribe to Rolling Stone’s email newsletter, for just this reason…. Mark Knopfler, the virtuoso of Dire Straits fame, is about to mark the 30th anniversary of “Brothers In Arms” with the release of his latest album of new material. It’s called “Tracker”, as related in the Rolling Stone article interviewing him ahead of the new album’s release in a few days. They are allowing people to share it, so, here it is…..  It is GRAND, to say the least….


Mark Knopfler: Tracker






“God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent- it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks, please. Cash, and in small bills.” — Lazarus Long

From 8/15/2012:

“It is not the possessions but the desires of mankind which require to be equalized.” — Aristotle

Life is tough, but not as tough as it used to be. It’s been a long time since we humans had to actually go out and be responsible for our own survival, a pastime that, up until about 2500-3000 years ago, was pretty much a full time occupation for the majority of people. Very few folks back then could be spared to sit around doing nothing, using up resources that were acquired by the others of the group; everybody had to pull their own weight, or they starved…..

But once the species figured out farming, and how to produce food more efficiently than having to go out to find it, life got a lot easier, at least from a physical standpoint. Farming kept folks from needing to move around so much to look for food, so cities began to form, and civilization began to organize into its various strata….. beloved ruling class, priestly hierarchy class, warrior class, and, of course, the patsy class, also known as the worker bees, or peons, depending on one’s particular degree of sliminess….

To look at what Aristotle says above, one might think it speaks to the upper classes, suggesting that, perhaps, if they wanted less than they have, which is more than they need, then there might not be as many folks who want only enough to survive, but can’t find even that. It isn’t as if they don’t have enough…..However, thanks to the priestly hierarchies, who act as the protector of the ruling class, the less fortunate are lied to, and are told that THEY are being tested, and not to want more…. The priests have them all convinced that all they should want is just enough, in reward for which they will be compensated IN THE NEXT LIFE!  It’s one of the most egregious scams that has ever been perpetrated on the masses, and continues today….

“Most of the dogmatic religions have exhibited a perverse talent for taking the wrong side on the most important concepts in the material universe, from the structure of the solar system to the origin of man.” — George Gaylord Simpson

The problem now becomes this; almost all the available resources of the planet are used up… only by drastically reducing the total number of people  can the species continue to survive…. and, we all know who is going to get the short end of THAT stick, don’t we? Once people realize that the available resources needed for the species to survive are being hoarded and manipulated by the powers that be, all to favor themselves, the unwashed masses are going to be, shall we say, less than happy with the beloved ruling class, and even less happy with the priestly hierarchies who prop them up. It will be Mother Nature’s way of saying “you wouldn’t play nicely with others, and now you’ll have to pay the price for that failure….”  Of course, she would probably make it sound less pompous than I do….

Being able to control one’s desires is a very valuable skill, and one worth learning, for certain. But when the desire is the simple desire to survive, it is not one that either can, or should, be eliminated…. For many centuries, the beloved ruling class and the priestly hierarchies who are in league with them have been lying to the general populace for their own benefit; history, even when written by the winners, makes that very clear.

“History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.” — Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)

Soon, they will have to come to terms with that treachery, as the planet’s resources, and its ability to support our form of life, are reduced to where we can no longer grow enough food, or breathe the air due to the addition of carbon monoxide…. When the general public realizes that the PTB are the assholes who have put us in this position, I don’t think they are going to be very happy about it…. and my only hope is that they don’t take so long to come to that conclusion that it is too late to make the needed changes…. which is a distinct possibility…. Small hopes are better than none…..

“Jesus is coming, everyone look busy.” — Bumper Sticker


It’s been a long while since I posted this poem; it’s always been one of my favorites, as has the poet himself….. Enjoy, ffolkes, this is humanity at its best…. Well, in the twentieth century, anyway….

À Bas Ben Adhem

My fellow man I do not care for.
I often ask me, What’s he there for?
The only answer I can find
Is, Reproduction of his kind.
If I’m supposed to swallow that,
Winnetka is my habitat.
Isn’t it time to carve Hic Jacet
Above that Reproduction racket?

To make the matter more succinct:
Suppose my fellow man extinct.
Why, who would not approve the plan
Save possibly my fellow man?
Yet with a politician’s voice
He names himself as Nature’s choice.

The finest of the human race
Are bad in figure, worse in face.
Yet just because they have two legs
And come from storks instead of eggs
They count the spacious firmament
As something to be charged and sent.

Though man created cross-town traffic,
The Daily Mirror, News and Graphic,
The pastoral fight and fighting pastor,
And Queen Marie and Lady Astor,
He hails himself with drum and fife
And bullies lower forms of life.

Not that I think much depends
On how we treat our feathered friends,
Or hold the wrinkled elephant
A nobler creature than my aunt.
It’s simply that I’m sure I can
Get on without my fellow man.

~~ Ogden Nash ~~


Morning muse

        I didn’t mention it above, but, I AM rather late getting this done, so, you get another fine archive entry in lieu of a fresh pearl…. deal with it. And save the complaints; the judge isn’t listening….

From 10/1/2011:

Well, that took for-frigging-ever….I can’t remember the last time I had such a frustrating dive. But, then, since Murphy seems to live in my pocket, I should have known; I have lots to do today, & didn’t intend to spend so much time on the process of picking out today’s offerings.  I was forced to make three separate dives, each one more barren than the one before. If I was doing this for pay, I’d have to dock myself.  Ah well, s’okay, I’ll just pull out the old rescheduling software, as issued to me at retirement; all will be well.

Five minutes later, he came to his senses, after fixedly staring off into the distance, with that vacuous expression that tells you, for sure, something shiny has caught his meager attention. It was nothing, really, just another of those little trips to the edge of the universe and back to which I am prone, particularly when pressed for time. But, it has left me again without inspiration, and, it is too early to apply perspiration to the problem; I haven’t eaten yet. Poetry is out of the question, & it’s way too early for a conversation with James or John. I’ll have to resort to flaming bonhomie, then, hope for the best. Remember, ffolkes, it’s all in the timing, and the little twist of the wrist at the end…..

“Nobody ever complains that you are treating them like a child when you listen to their stories, encourage their dreams, and tell them how special they are.” — Callan Williams

“I bid him look into the lives of men as though into a mirror, and from others to take an example for himself.” — Terence (185-159 BC) — Adelphoe, Act iii, Sc. 3, 61, (415.)

His head,
Not yet by time completely silver’d o’er,
Bespoke him past the bounds of freakish youth,
But strong for service still, and unimpair’d.

 ~~ William Cowper (1731-1800) ~~

~~ The Task, Book ii, The Timepiece, Line 702 ~~

“AAAEEEYYYAAAAAEEEEEYAAAAAA” — Johnny Weissmuller (And he means that literally…..)

One spring morning Descartes was strolling in a suburb of Paris.  A local tavern owner recognized him and asked, “Would you honor me by tasting the new excellent wine I just received.” “I think not,” said Descartes, and disappeared.” — Smart Bee

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal Name.

~~ Lao-Tzu ~~

~~ Opening lines, Tao Teh Ching

Sometimes, I amaze even myself. All in all, it came out splendidly, I think. Now I can get busy with a clear mind….y’all take care out there…..


Rather than make any egregiously idiotic comments here, I’ll use this sterling opportunity to rest on my laurels, withered though they may be….. I will also stop any further harassment for today, leaving you, not in the lurch, but, rather, in the nick of time…. See y’all tomorrow, ffolkes….

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


“SCRAM!!!!!!!!!!”- Oscar the Grouch


À bientôt, mon cherí….


The remainder may go free…..

In re: motivation…. let’s be honest. The motivation that prompts each of us to write, and then to post what we write, may be simple, or it may be complex; humans have a tendency toward both at times, depending on their predilections, and preferences in life. In my own case, since I tend to complicate matters naturally, it is somewhat complex; I suppose I enjoy the feeling of chaos at work that comes with maintaining an active mental life. In short, I’m crazy as a bed bug, and I like it…..

As the old saying goes, I don’t suffer from insanity, I revel in it…..  😆   In fact, I encourage insanity in others, often, in an attempt to give life a little spice when it falls into one of those routines, that threatens to become a rut….. There is nothing like some general insanity to liven up a party, now, is there? Who’s more popular on the dance floor than the guy with the lampshade on his head?….. Nobody, that’s who!

There are so many aphorisms floating around in my head, I often can’t remember who said what, but, I believe it might have been Voltaire, or another social philosopher of the modern age, who said, “Insanity is a sane reaction to an insane world.”….. Oh, hell, Google will know… Yep, I was right in my being wrong…. it was the psychiatrist and philosopher R.D. Laing who is credited most often with that particular phrase… though other authors seem to lay claim to it without any regard for that information…

Now that we have that out of the way, and we know for a fact that, a) I’m crazy as a loon, and b) it doesn’t matter at all for our purposes here, we can get down to business, and stop with the fluff (Whew! Tough word to type…. took me five tries…. that fluff stuff is tougher than it sounds….). I have some crow to eat, and I’ll thank you to let me chew and swallow quickly, to avoid some of the unpleasant flavor…. It still leaves a bitter after taste, no matter how quick one is in spitting it out, or downing it, whatever….

Yesterday, I ranted for quite a while about missionaries, such as those generally found in remote places lording it over the natives, and specifically targeted the most famous of that breed, Mother Teresa. I knew when I chose the subject that I risked some controversy, but, I happen to believe all I that I write, and still do.

But, a friend, one of the email recipients of the Pearls, happens to live in my building, and we got to discussing the piece in the afternoon, during which discussion, she most excellently, and correctly, scolded me, putting me back into my correct place, for having targeted whom I did. She did so without ever falling into trying to make me feel bad, but, rather, explaining, or, reminding me, mostly, of a piece of the picture I had forgotten to acknowledge….

Essentially, that piece is this: I’ve never met Teresa, and, in the eyes of a great many people, she is considered to be one of the most compassionate, truly loving examples of a follower of Christ that has ever lived, achieving relative sainthood during her lifetime for the charity work she does with the poor.

According to legend (which, right now, I am merely listing, and not questioning for veracity….), she is a perfect example of how a real Christian should live, in the sense that she eschews all worldly material goods in favor of giving herself and all she has to help those less fortunate than herself…. In light of her unswerving dedication to this life-style, and her absolute defiance of typical Church procedures, she is truly one of the heroines of the common man….

I have observed much of Teresa’s life in the public eye, as she, and her books (five of them) all came into the light of public scrutiny when I was a child, so I have known OF her for many years. When I googled her name, the first page of results showed about 15 results, of which five were informational, such as Wikipedia, or sites where images were shown, seven were positive stories about her life, (she died in 1997), and three were articles like mine, that explored the darker side of the missionary activities she perpetrated for the Catholic Church in her lifetime. One was entitled, “The Darker Side of Mother Teresa”, while another headline in the Huffington Post proclaimed, ” Mother Teresa Humanitarian Image A ‘Myth,’ New Study Says”. I’ve included below the Google links to the three articles that challenge the usual image we have of the good sister….




After speaking with my friend, I went back to read over what I’d written yesterday, and I will confess to a degree of vituperation that may have been overdone. I don’t know the woman personally, so all I have to go on is her public persona, what I know about people and their psyches, and the depths to which they will sink to achieve their ends, regardless of whether or not those ends are either moral, ethical, or even helpful at all. So, I apologize for anything I said about her being an evil person…. she may indeed be a very compassionate, truly Christian woman, so I will acknowledge that portion of the legend that has grown up around her…..

However, I stand by what I said about her missionary work, and that entire ilk of religious fanaticism, or for how observing how it is demeaning for those it purports to help.  In truth, it seems clear to me the practice is motivated by the desire of the priesthood to claim more souls, not out of any particular concern for those souls themselves. The Church doesn’t send out missionaries to save the people, it wants the souls, which translates into power over others, and a lifelong bivouac of luxury and pomp for the clergy….

Nuns are a bit different, as many of them are actually out there in the world, dealing with people, so, they tend to ignore or modify what the church itself might do or say to fit the local circumstances; otherwise they would never get anything done to help people. But, their motivation remains murky, even to them, as almost every nun, or priest I’ve ever known, if they were at all honest people, suffered from crises of faith, where they doubted their vocation… Perfectly natural, and a shame they always seem to talk themselves out of listening to that little voice in their head….

Well, I’ve started to ramble, and it is threatening to turn into another rant, (actually, in looking back, it already did that….), so I guess I’d better get on with this, or I’ll never get done today…. I’ll have to depend on Smart Bee to come up with something different to talk about, but, it never seems to have much trouble with that….

Any who, I’m sorry for picking on Mother Teresa… like the Beatle’s song said about the Queen, “I imagine she’s a pretty nice girl, but she doesn’t have a lot to say….”  She may or may not be as bad as I made her out to be; to my mind, even if she is not a bad person, she is still operating under a set of very strong delusions, but, that is not at all unusual in this world, so I can’t hold that against her…. So, sorry, Terry… I hope your compassion can extend to forgiving me for my brashness and the crime of inelegance, if nothing else….

In the meantime, shall we Pearl?…..

“Enough is enough.” ~~ gigoid

I’ve re-read the intro section, as it seemed a bit like it was too long…. It was, indeed, but, I can’t in good conscience take much of it out, or it will fall apart from its own inner weight imbalances (it’s a very weighty discussion, difficult to keep in balance, as each word and phrase changes the moment of vector…. trust me, the math is tricky, but clear….). So, I’ve resorted to one of my own aphorisms, above, one I mutter to myself often, as an incantation against breaking free of the habit of moderation in all that I do…. Moderation is the key to long life, I believe, but, even moderation itself needs to be practiced in moderation; it’s a good thing now and again to just let go, and give one’s wild side free rein…. just long enough to release all the built up angst, but not long enough to land in jail….  😉

So, naturally, I shall default into the normal procedure for following a rant, even if it is an intro, and submit for your reading pleasure a harlequin pearl, freshly chosen this morning, complete with potential hilarity and possible clarity…. enjoy!  Oh, and, no point to this one, it’s all as random as I can make it…. so, don’t hurt yourself trying to figure out if it has one…. Of course, if it should end up with an obvious sharp point, let us know, so nobody hurts themselves on it, okay? Thanks…..

“If Mother Nature doesn’t make mistakes then why does dessert taste better than dinner?” — Smart Bee

Shifu: “If the instrument is broken, the music will be sour.”
Daniel: “The music does not play the musician.”
Shifu: “Normally there is truth in that.”
Daniel: “Really? Good. Because I really didn’t have any idea what I was talking about.”
— from Stargate

“Call on God, but row away from the rocks.” — Indian proverb

“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.” — Mark Twain (1835-1910)

” — You know it’s going to be a rotten day when you wake up face down on the pavement.” — Smart Bee (?)

Hmm… for a five-star, it’s not bad, if a bit strange… I think two more ought to bring the Force, if not the Metaphorse, back into balance for now…. let’s see what comes up….

“A life lived in fear is only half lived.” — Spanish proverb

“By the time this message gets back on topic, WE’LL ALL BE DEAD!” — Smart Bee
(Doh!   😳   Sorry, this one doesn’t count… Smart Bee isn’t supposed to do that…. bad Smart Bee, bad dB!…. One more, for good measure….)

“Good generally conquers evil. Unless, of course, good is stupid.” — Smart Bee

And there you have it… Smart Bee came through in the end with the perfect closer…. Okay, onward, or we’ll never get done….

In the interests of brevity, along with elegance and depth, where else would I go, but to Emily?…..

Rouge et Noir

Soul, wilt thou toss again?
By just such a hazard
Hundreds have lost, indeed,
But tens have won an all.

Angels’ breathless ballot
Lingers to record thee;
Imps in eager caucus
Raffle for my soul.

~~ Emily Dickinson

Her poems are small enough that two is not crowding….

Rouge Gagne

‘Tis so much joy! ‘Tis so much joy!
If I should fail, what poverty!
And yet, as poor as I
Have ventured all upon a throw;
Have gained! Yes! Hesitated so
This side the victory!

Life is but death, and death but death!
Bliss is but bliss, and breath but breath!
And if, indeed, I fail,
At least too know the worst is sweet.
Defeat means nothing but defeat,
No drearier can prevail.

And if I gain – oh, gun at sea,
Oh, bells that in the steeples be,
At first repeat it slow!
For heaven is a different thing
Conjectured, and waked sudden in,
And might o’erwhelm me so!

~~ Emily Dickinson

Faith, n: “That quality which enables us to believe what we know to be untrue.” — Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

Calm down! And sit down, and relax…. I am well aware that, upon first seeing the above aphorism where it is, you immediately figured I was going to start in on another rant of major proportion, again heaping scorn upon the priestly hierarchies, and the myriad of folks who fall for their rather unbelievable fantasies…. Even I, however, have my limits….

I wrote around a thousand words above, in a general way, about religion, or, at least, religious figures, and I’m not going to burden you with another…. No, this was chosen just to get your blood moving, and to relax you for a final, short group of simple pearls, all on a particular subject, or as near as I can make them…. What that subject might be is for you to guess, should you wish to exercise your imagination in that way…. Otherwise, just enjoy them for their, well, whatever they are….

“When Eudaemonidas heard a philosopher arguing that only a wise man can be a good general, “This is a wonderful speech,” said he; “but he that saith it never heard the sound of trumpets.” — Plutarch (46-120 AD) — Eudaemonidas

‘When they tell you to grow up, they mean to stop growing.” — Tom Robbins

“I have known noble ones who lost their highest hope, and then they disparaged all high hopes. They lived shamelessly in temporary pleasures, and hardly had an aim beyond the day. “Spirit is also voluptuousness,” they said. Then they broke the wings of their spirit; it now creeps about, and defiles whatever it gnaws at. Once they thought of becoming heroes, but they have become sensualists. A trouble and a terror is the hero to them. By my love and hope, I implore you: do not cast away the hero in your soul. Maintain holy your highest hope. Thus spoke Zarathustra.” — Friedrich Nietzsche, _Thus Spoke Zarathustra_

“All religions issue Bibles against Satan, and say the most injurious things against him, but we never hear his side.” — Mark Twain (1835-1910)

(Well, actually, Robert Heinlein did write a book called, “Job, A Comedy of Justice”, in which the main character happens to meet up with the Devil, when he was picked up hitchhiking, is taken to His home, and hears His side of the whole story… It’s a great read, if one can suspend belief, and exist purely in imagination for a time…. It’s also funny enough in spots I’ll warn you to be seated when you read it…. I will note, in Twain’s defense, that the book was written well after he died, so he can be forgiven for not knowing of it….   😆    )

“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth: (1) not going all the way; and (2) not starting.” — Buddha

Well, I don’t think I could have picked a better closing pearl if I had it specifically in mind…. good job, and good recovery, Smart Bee! Well done….

I am almost afraid to go back over this to proof… but, here goes…..  I’m really not sure how it happened, but, this is a good one…. I like it, and since that is all that counts, ultimately, it can go out as is, with my blessing, if not my hopes…. Those have already been realized today, when my first tax refund hit the bank electronically…. I’m considering dinner out tonight, as a start….

It’s nice to not have to think about how that might run me short at the end of the month, as it is already almost that time…. More proof that patience, while not an absolutely essential quality to possess, is surely of some value in preserving our dignity, if not our comfort….. And THAT is surely an example of “Enough is enough”….  Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..

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



It gives truffles a bad name….

One of my most strongly held beliefs is that “regret” is a useless emotion, and should be eliminated from those feelings I allow myself to entertain. This, or course, assumes that I can actually control what I feel, an assumption that, while true in the realm of possibility, is not always so in reality. Our feelings just happen, often as a reaction to new information or a surprise event (though we can control what happens inside us, for the most part, we cannot do the same in the real world, outside us….). Thus, we sometimes must suffer feelings that are not welcome, at least until we are able to banish them with our will. Regret is one that I try to root out at its first appearance, as it does nothing to help resolve anything, especially not whatever has caused it.

Some religious moralists will point out that regret can be useful in preventing future similar situations, but I challenge that presumption as overly optimistic, as well as morally manipulative. More often, I would say, regret causes us to avoid the type of situation where it might occur, not out of morality, but out of guilt, and fear. Plus, the situation that regret avoids may be one that is necessary to improve one’s lot, if only it is faced squarely, and resolved, rather than regretted, and avoided. Fear and/or guilt are never good motivations to act upon, except in situations of impending life or death, when the speed it adds to an honorable retreat is welcome. Any other time one acts from fear, the result is generally “regrettable”……

Why have I started out with such a serious subject? Hell, your guess is as good as mine. I just started typing, and this is what came out….. I think I was having some thoughts of regretting getting out of bed, which, since I was already up and typing, served no real purpose. Hence, this short, somewhat mellow diatribe….. it could be worse. I could have started in on health issues, always a pleasant topic, and always available for discussion, what with their daily insistence on being in the forefront of my consciousness. It can be hard to ignore my carpal tunnel symptoms when one hand is numb while trying to type, for sure….. But, I didn’t want to take the chance of driving the Gentle Reader away so early in the morning by creating too many unpleasant images…. bad policy, all around….

So, we’ll just fly with what I’ve written so far, relatively useless as it is for any purpose beyond filling space in the intro section….. We have more important fish to fry than to “regret” what has already taken place….   🙂    Shall we Pearl?…..

“I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair.  Then I thought,  wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?  So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.” — Marcus, Babylon 5

Here is one of those statements that, at first look, does not appear to be particularly important, or helpful. But, after a second look, it grows…. and, in reality, I have to remark that it is a pretty good way to look at life in its most real sense. If one can come to understand, and to believe in the indifference of the Universe, then its apparent malice becomes moot.

We all know of terrible things that happen in this world, and many of them make no sense to us; it’s hard to understand why little children have to die in natural disasters or fires or such events. There is no reason that we can find, and none that anyone can give, that will explain or expiate such a tragedy to the parents of the children.  Sometimes the violence that can shatter lives is perpetrated by other people, sometimes the Universe itself seems to have picked out the weakest, most vulnerable targets upon which to display its irresistible power. However it occurs, it will never seem fair, or just, nor can any justification be offered that would assuage the pain that is engendered.

Thus it becomes an important tool for us to be able to accept the unfairness that is inherent in the indifferent nature of Mother Nature. She doesn’t mean to be cruel; it is just the way it is.  If we choose to believe that the world is fair and just, then we can only believe that She hates us, both individually and as a species, for she regularly presents us with reasons to do so, if we assume her hostility. No other explanation fits the evidence.

Unless, of course, one learns to understand that there is no special animosity on Her part, it is just Her way of expressing Herself, and we happen to be there when She does so. In the final analysis, it is quite a comforting thought, to know that we are not the special target of all that goes wrong in our lives…. we’re just lucky, I guess…..  🙂

“Prayer carries us half way to God, fasting brings us to the door of his place, and alms-giving procures us admission.” — The Koran

As may have been guessed, I find the precepts and concepts that are put forth by most organized forms of religion to be not merely false, but deliberately so, in order to foster the control over people that is the sole intent of such organizations. No matter how pure they claim their motives are, they are no more interested in the well-being of their devotees than they are of anyone outside their church. This is true not only of every Christian sect I have examined, but of other major religions as well. The above serves as evidence in favor of this observation, as well as showing that I don’t apply this to only one religion; it is a hidden purpose behind all of them.

Now, let us examine the above statement. If we take away all the guilt-ridden phraseology, and strip away the delusions that are presented, we can re-state this more accurately as…. “Let’s talk to our imaginary friend to ask for favors we don’t deserve… then we’ll put our bodies in great stress in order to experience hallucinations that we are in the presence of our imaginary friend…. and to top it off, we’ll give our hard-earned money to the ones who tell us to worship, so they can build golden domes to the everlasting glory of the supposed deity. Hmm, makes perfect sense, eh what?

I’m not going to go into a huge rant today; I’ve got some stuff to post later that precludes any long, drawn-out discussions. But, I didn’t want all the Christians out there to think I pick on them exclusively, or that they are the only targets of my critical eye. No sirree, they are not…. any religious organization that puts out the kind of crap as listed above is my target, and they certainly don’t have to be Christian (though, in truth, I don’t believe there ARE any organizations at all that would actually deserve to call themselves such, as none of them follow His teachings closely at all… mostly they’re not even in the same ballpark….) .

Muslims, Hindi, Buddhists who mistakenly give Gautama godhead, Taoists who foolishly look for god instead of understanding of the Way, Baptists, Episcopalians, or any other such organizations that exist, in reality, solely to support a priest-hood, a group of men (usually… women don’t seem to lead these movements, though they often fall prey to them) whose only interest in other people is how much power over them can be obtained; these are what I choose to speak out against, with all the intellect at my disposal. Call me Don Quixote, if you wish, but that’s just the way I am, by deliberate choice….

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened.  But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

“Abolition of a woman’s right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsory maternity: a form of rape by the State.” — Edward Abbey

Here is perhaps the clearest statement of this idea that I’ve seen in a long while. Of course, it is an opinion that will be vigorously opposed by a great many people, too many of whom are women who have been brainwashed to believe that their male masters have the right to make such decisions for them. These women have abrogated their very person-hood, their entire feminine nature, becoming mental and physical slaves to men who have no right to call themselves such.

The arrogance and misogyny that is implied, and proved, by those who would disagree with this statement by Mr. Abbey is astounding. I regard such an attitude as evil, plain and simple, and only those who refuse to acknowledge reality as it is, instead of how they wish it to be, are able to give credence to such flagrantly dishonorable ideas. It is, to say the least, disheartening to realize the extent to which the average person will allow themselves to give up the control of their own minds, just so they don’t have to make the effort to decide what is right for themselves. It is much more to their advantage to go along with what is obviously wrong, as it feeds into their own egotism and misplaced arrogance.

And I say, fuck ’em. When any assholes who would argue with a woman’s right to control her own body speak up in my presence, I will never fail to put them straight, even if it entails reading to them from the Book of Righteousness (ref: Louis Lamour, from any Sackett novel), after tactfully pointing out the errors in their thinking. 

In fact, when such opportunities arise, I have a hard time preventing myself from advancing directly to that step in the discussion at the first asinine platitude that escapes their mouth. That first blow always sends a particularly pleasant shock of power from my fist to my shoulder at first contact, and though usually unnecessary, makes a second blow very tempting. But, if I do that, they’re not awake to hear the lesson….. Oh well, assholes, all of them….

“What’s on your mind, if you will allow the overstatement?” — Fred Allen

“He that doubteth is damned.” — Romans 14:23

It took a while, but it was worth the time spent searching…. This is a perfect example of how the folks who would have us believe that the Bible (or any other sacred books inspired by supposedly supernatural entities) is a direct line of information from God, will go to almost any lengths to trick us into doing exactly what that book tells us to do. I have previously written here as to the value that Doubt has in the bag of tools people have to get by in this complex, confusing universe we inhabit. It is our only defense against information or events that can cause, or even intends, us harm, rather than good; such information invariably is given to us by other people whose only intent is to achieve some sort of power or control over us. I don’t think this is a particularly hard concept to understand; its proof lies in almost every interaction we have when faced with organized religions.

This short little warning/threat implies that any who do not bend over in submission to its decree will spend eternity in Hell. Hmm, a bit harsh, don’t you think? For merely entertaining a question regarding the accuracy of a concept presented with no evidence that proves its reliability? The Universe at large presents such false information regularly, and anyone who doesn’t learn caution in such instances is liable for the consequences, which can be severe, such as in the case of being confronted by an apparently friendly, but in reality, rabid dog. Rabies is no picnic, from all reports, so Doubt in such instances is very appropriate, and useful.

But, in the minds of the folks who are selling faith-based products, Doubt is the last thing they want people to have in mind when considering what they say. It tends to cause their arguments to fall apart right in front of their eyes, and they cannot make the sale that way. If they can’t convince people to accept what they say without questioning it, their entire house of cards will come tumbling down around their ears, and they would have to give up all those nice little perks that go along with having everyone believe everything they say, like having poor people willingly give up 10% of their earnings in tithe, or free rent in a house built by the labor of others…. Did you think they would give that up easily?…. Well, then you’ve lost your strongest ally against such degradations to your sensibilities…. a healthy sense of Doubt….

“Fear not, for I have given you authority to do so.” — Smart Bee, via some random preacher’s King James version….

She what was honour knew,
And with obsequious majesty approv’d
My pleaded reason. To the nuptial bower
I led her blushing like the morn; all heaven
And happy constellations on that hour
Shed their selectest influence; the earth
Gave sign of gratulation, and each hill;
Joyous the birds; fresh gales and gentle airs
Whisper’d it to the woods, and from their wings
Flung rose, flung odours from the spicy shrub.
— John Milton (1608-1674) — Paradise Lost, Book viii, Line 508

Once again, I have included a poem here, just because…. What I’ve written above is serious enough, and a little balance is called for…. and here it is…. enjoy!

Okay, so, not so bad for an off-the-cuff sort of morning…. a fairly eclectic group of observations, fraught with my customary sardonic views on most everything. Without even going back to re-read yet, I’m going to let it fly…. even though I know in my heart that once gone, there is no retrieving any of it…. but, hey, what’s life without some risk, eh? Pretty damn boring, that’s what…. so, enjoy, or not, as you will… if not, feel free to comment on any of it. And if you do enjoy it, I’m glad to hear that too… not necessary, though, a simple click on the “Like” button will suffice to make my day….  🙂

Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..

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



Today only: Tofu Doll Houses….

Curious….. my mind this morning as I sit down to begin is empty again. I could have sworn when I woke up that there were lots of things going around in there, clamoring and pushing to be first to get out. But now that I’m faced with an empty screen, I find a matching empty screen in my mind’s eye, sitting there, staring at me like I’ve got something to put on there…. which, needless to say at this point, I don’t. I can’t say where all the stuff that was around earlier went to; if I did, I’d just go there, and cajole a few random thoughts to come on back with me, or maybe fool one of the weaker thoughts into turning into a comedy routine of some sort.

Since I haven’t a clue where they might be, I’m not sure now just what I should do. I can’t sit here typing stream of consciousness for too long; my stream is looking a bit thin at present. If only there were some way to magically call my thoughts back, like in a Harry Potter movie…. “Accio Inspiration!”  With my luck, Inspiration would be a big rock, which would proceed to smack me upside the head, thus inspiring me to curse mightily before heaving the rock out the window (hopefully, AFTER remembering to open said window….. the landlord gets so testy when I forget….). Like that’ll work….

Well, I suppose it’s back to Plan C…. pick up the axe, start chopping, and let the chips fall where they may. Not necessarily the most scientific or artistic solution, or even the most efficient, but brute force has always served me well…. so I’m going for it. If you’d care to tag along, please feel free, after donning the provided hard hats and goggles, both of which are required by law for all visitors to this site….. Thank you for you cooperation with these regulations…. they are filming us to ensure compliance. (See? Just over there, from that fourth story window across the way….) We hope you enjoy today’s tour through the WWW Ocean of Knowledge, and our search for Pearls of Daily Wisdom…..

Tho’ lost to sight, to mem’ry dear        / Thou ever wilt remain;
One only hope my heart can cheer,–       / The hope to meet again.
Oh fondly on the past I dwell,            / And oft recall those hours
When, wand’ring down the shady dell,      / We gathered the wild-flowers.
Yes, life then seem’d one pure delight,   / Tho’ now each spot looks drear;
Yet tho’ thy smile be lost to sight,      / To mem’ry thou art dear.
Oft in the tranquil hour of night,        / When stars illume the sky,
I gaze upon each orb of light,            / And wish that thou wert by.
I think upon that happy time,             / That time so fondly lov’d,
When last we heard the sweet bells chime, / As thro’ the fields we rov’d.
Yes, life then seem’d one pure delight,   / Tho’ now each spot looks drear;
Yet tho’ thy smile be lost to sight,      / To mem’ry thou art dear.
— George Linley (1798-1865) — Song

I love these poems! I’ve seen several now, though at least two are probably this one seen twice. I’ve seen another in techspeak, written by some hacker. I know I’ve used this before, but it’s been quite a while, so, the hell with it, I’m using it again. I am just so impressed by the creativity, and perseverance, it must have taken to create these three poems in one, I am compelled to include it again today, in spite of my regular policy against repetition of source material for discussions. To keep the left column consistent as a complete work, then the right column, then the poem created by the two together; this to me is poetic genius, or at minimum, a complete refusal to give up on something until it is right….. fantastic!  Enjoy!…..

“I don’t think we should punish the criminal [a rapist] by killing his child.” — Dr. John Wilke, President, National Right to Life Committee, — Search for Common Ground, taped for television 4/89, as quoted in “The Far Right, Speaking For Themselves”, a Planned Parenthood pamphlet

When I first read this, I could not believe that this is something that could pass the lips of anyone, anyone at all, without choking the speaker. There are so many wrong things about it, it is difficult to choose a starting point.  My next thought was to wonder how such an ignoramus could remember to breathe without someone there to remind them.  I certainly have serious doubts that this “Doctor” was awarded his degree by any accredited educational institution, in ANY field of scientific inquiry,  though I suppose it could be a Piled High and Deep Doctorate in Divinity, or some such faux degree. Such an example of extreme, deliberate ignorance is certainly not something that anyone with a) any compassion at all, or b) an IQ that exceeds 90, would ever contemplate allowing to come out of their mouth, at least, not without a grin and and a wink to assure the listeners that they were not serious.

After I got past the disbelief, (after all, there is no defined limit to just how stupid people can be… the bar keeps getting raised…..), I had a reaction not dissimilar to the one I get when I contemplate those who traffic in human flesh, i.e., pimps, brothel managers, and other WOS assholes of that ilk. (No, not preachers and priests, though they are certainly to be included in that category, for their active encouragement of the trade)

It is almost comforting to envision myself putting a double tap from a Glock 9mm right between their eyes, thus serving the sentence that Mother Nature herself would set if she were to judge such ignorance…. which she does, but leaves the execution of the sentence to other forces of Nature, such as the righteous anger of the brothers, uncles, and fathers of the abused victims…..

“It is no great wonder if in long process of time, while fortune takes her course hither and thither, numerous coincidences should spontaneously occur. If the number and variety of subjects to be wrought upon be infinite, it is all the more easy for fortune, with such an abundance of material, to effect this similarity of results.” — Plutarch (46-120 AD) — Life of Sertorius

Infinite monkeys, pecking at typewriters over infinite time, would produce all the works of Shakespeare….. It now seems clear from whom the man who wrote that line obtained the obviously plagiarized concept he employed in its composition. If such it may be called, in light of this thought from Plutarch, a man whose reputation has stood through millennia.

With my complete faith in the power of Google, after writing the above little query into Plutarch’s statement, and in the interests of accuracy (and scratching the itch of curiosity it gave me), I typed the essential phrases into the search box, hit enter, and sat back to await the results, trying to find the current author to whom it is attributed.

Sure thing, the first link was to a comprehensive article on Wikipedia on what is known as the Infinite Monkey Theorem. Little did I know when I first took up this subject that I had blundered into a field of intense and continuous scientific and philosophical inquiry that has been raging among the academic and public sectors of society since the time of Aristotle, who is credited in the article as having been one of the first to propose the basic concept in writing.

In scrolling down the Wikipedia page in a quick scan, I realized what I saw there would be equivalent to 30 or more pages of a book, in a tiny font, mentioning discussions by most of the philosophers of the last two thousand years, including many examples of historical and cultural explorations of the concept. This first glance I took only covered the basic elements of the discussion, which was organized into what seemed to be endless divisions of academic, mathematical, and cultural aspects.

There are several other articles listed as well, some even longer and more detailed, that explore the idea’s mathematics, and the implications of that math. There are entire articles on the cultural aspects of the question, and each article is filled with links to more information, literally thousands of web pages of data. It is, in short, a subject worthy of weeks, or even years of study before any discussion to be held would cover any ground that hasn’t likely been covered previously.

It would take a few weeks of eight hour days just to check if any ideas I had for discussion had occurred already somewhere, or some when, not leaving much time to develop the any possibly new arguments in a fresh way, or even much time to organize any, since their relative newness was as yet undetermined. A challenge of a lifetime, or at least one worthy of a doctoral dissertation…. hmmm, I wonder if some university would accept such an article for a doctorate?

Hell, somebody probably thought of that already, too….. I guess I’ll find another subject for discussion here. This one seems to be a dead end….in spite of the 300 or so words I’ve already spewed.

Damn monkeys anyway! Who asked them to write Shakespeare? Though, as I’ve said before, there is some of his stuff that could use a bit of work….. just sayin’…..

“Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you hear it.” — Laurence Peter, “Peter’s Quotations”, 1977

“Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters; united with it, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels.”– Goya

Master Goya knows whereof he speaks. If you believe it not, just view his body of work, and we will discuss it again.  Here is one of the marvels of which he speaks… I had forgotten how excellent a poet Keats could be. This is obviously a “toss off” poem, a spur of the moment reaction, yet effortlessly gives the reader a taste of the grandeur of what he had read in Chapman, and felt about what he read.  Enjoy!….

Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow’d Homer ruled as his demesne,
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific, and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise,
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
— John Keats (1795-1821) — On first looking into Chapman’s Homer

Gorgeous! If you can believe it, I am speechless in admiration….. watch me….. See? Nothing more to say…. well, maybe one thing….

“True eloquence consists in saying all that should be said, not all that could be.” — Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld

No, ‘t is slander,
Whose edge is sharper than the sword, whose tongue
Outvenoms all the worms of Nile, whose breath
Rides on the posting winds, and doth belie
All corners of the world.
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Cymbeline
— Act iii, Sc. 4

Not to belabor my point, but see? Shakespeare. Really bad verse. At least 10 too many words, way more than needed, and still so obscure the point has to be shaken out like a peach from a tree. Not unusual for him, in my mind….. I rest my case…..

Kirk: “Spock, comment.”
Spock: “Very bad poetry.”
— “Catspaw”, Stardate 3018.2.

Well…. I’d feel strange about the lineup today, but, in truth, it’s not an unusual grouping to find here. Since I never plan what to write ahead of time, I suppose that isn’t particularly surprising. It keeps me busy….. a bit of housekeeping, if you would spare me a moment of your attention….

*Smart Bee — Smart Bee is the database program in which a lot of the quotes I use as pearls are found. More of them than I would like are not attributed, as might be expected in a database of 111, 111 quotes amassed by a collection of geeks and programmers (i.e., hackers) in their spare time, and distributed for free.

In the past I have attributed all such orphaned statements to Anonymous, Unknown, and occasionally, no one at all (I feel plagiaristic every time, but whaddyagonnado,  when it’s perfect and you’re in a hurry to get done?) So, in the future, just for the sake of my sanity, such as it is, I’ll be attributing all such taglines found with no one to blame to Smart Bee itself. That way, I don’t have to try to figure out which to use each time, and can just get on with it… thanks for your patience with this little condom for my mental health.

And on that note, classy and elegant guy that I am, I shall bid thee adieu… be warned, please, that I intend to try to post to my blog site again later today…. but it won’t hurt, I assure you, especially if I don’t get to it….. Y’all take care out there…..


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


Betwixt perilous ideological sideboards….

Asleep, I lay dreaming I was awake. Now, awake, I sit dreaming I am asleep. Which is true? Am I awake, and dreaming, or am I asleep, dreaming of being awake? How does one tell, when there are no external sources of evidence to check against reality? If awake, am I really asleep, dreaming? And if I am dreaming, what is real? I confess to being confused….. at this hour, with no one about to whom I can appeal for a different view, the edge between reality and dream becomes somewhat indistinct….. It is most likely a good thing that I don’t weird out at weird stuff, or I would definitely be feeling thoroughly weirded out….. but, since I start from weird, it’s all good. I’ll just sip a bit more of this fine coffee, and wait until reality adjusts itself to a bit more clarified state….. no worries!

There are times when I do wish I wasn’t so strange, in relation to the rest of humanity. (No, no, don’t bother to argue…. I know I’m strange, and there’s no need to try to keep from hurting my feelings about it… I accepted it long ago, and now it’s just another part of me that other folks need to deal with…. at their own risk….) Not that I don’t like being strange; there are distinct advantages to having other people think twice about approaching, much less about asking for favors, or “just a moment of your time”.

No, it’s just that it can make it really hard sometimes to write anything people will look at twice. My words, as indicated by the first paragraph, can touch up against weirdness at the drop of a cliche, and it is getting to be an onerous task to edit such weirdness when I’m already feeling strange, such as this morning.

I’m guessing it’s just another little memo gram from reality, reminding me that any perks I may enjoy, due to my inner oddness, are always going to be counterbalanced by an appropriate kick in the ass, and there is no sense or benefit in either trying to avoid any such boots, or in complaining about them. Hence, I’ll just shrug my shoulders, offer a sheepish grin, and move on…..

One section of yesterday’s Pearl was a discussion on the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. I don’t need to go over that again (not after approximately 800 fairly passionate words….), but did wish to note the usual Murphy effect that accompanies much of what I write…. some time after publishing, I found the following pearl, which, as is obvious, is a perfect summary of the concluding portion of my thoughts yesterday. To keep Murphy happy, (always a good policy with that particular force of Nature), I include it now…..

“I believe everybody in the world should have guns. Citizens should have bazookas and rocket launchers too. I believe that all citizens should have their weapons of choice. However, I also believe that only I should have the ammunition. Because frankly, I wouldn’t trust the rest of the goobers with anything more dangerous than string.” — Scott Adams

That seems to cover it…. let’s go Pearling, ‘kay? ‘Kay!….. Kowabunga!…..

During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Adlai E. Stevenson “Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!” Stevenson called back “That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority!”

Obviously proving he was part of the minority…. Mr. Stevenson was perhaps the last truly rational man to ran for the highest office our country offers. I’ve seen a number of articles about that campaign, and it’s clear in my mind that his very rationality is what gave the election to the other candidate. He made every attempt he could to try to engage the minds of Americans, naively, as it turns out. His opponent, Eisenhower, just mostly kept his mouth shut and let his slogans speak for him, such as “I like Ike!”, and other such intellectual standards, that appealed directly to the American public’s misplaced sense of national pride.

After four years of post-Korean war economic boom, it wasn’t hard for the Republicans to rest on their laurels, firmly attached to the coattails of a war hero…. There was, and still is, no place on the political scene in this country for rationality, obviously, as Ike and his ilk won in a landslide….

So much for the opportunity to see what a “thinking man’s president” might be able to accomplish…. The chances of such a man being elected today are even slimmer, considering that those candidates who can be the most sly, underhanded, and completely dishonest are those who catch the eye, and the votes, of the great unwashed, uneducated masses that now comprise the voting public…..

“It has been said that man is a rational animal.  All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.” — Bertrand Russell

FOLLY, n.  That “gift and faculty divine” whose creative and controlling energy inspires Man’s mind, guides his actions and adorns his life.

Folly! although Erasmus praised thee once
In a thick volume, and all authors known,
If not thy glory yet thy power have shown,
Deign to take homage from thy son who hunts
Through all thy maze his brothers, fool and dunce,
To mend their lives and to sustain his own,
However feebly be his arrows thrown,

Howe’er each hide the flying weapons blunts.
All-Father Folly! be it mine to raise,
With lusty lung, here on his western strand
With all thine offspring thronged from every land,
Thyself inspiring me, the song of praise.
And if too weak, I’ll hire, to help me bawl,
Dick Watson Gilder, gravest of us all.

— Aramis Loto Frope — Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary”

Perhaps it is a result of having learned to see around corners at an early age, or that silly prophecy made by that supposed witch who scared my mother a week after I was born.  Perhaps it has to do with spending so many hours and days of my intellectual formative years with my nose buried in a book, generally one that made me a familiar inhabitant of the sleaziest, most disreputable spacer’s dives in every far corner of our Galaxy, surrounded by grizzled old first mates from a dilapidated freighter out of the Pleiades, and a motley group of aliens of all descriptions.

I could probably blame it on being the middle child of five, with a neurotic, if perfectly lovable mother, balanced by a perfectly stable father, and four siblings who had no clue how to deal with me.  Or, it could have been the daily ingestion of frozen, processed vegetables so common on our dinner table during the 50’s and 60’s; as it turns out, the benefits of the vegetables were pretty much nullified by the process of preserving and preparing them for consumption. Who knew?

Whatever the root cause may have been, Folly has long been a fascinating area of study for me, and its influence on my life at large has been extensive. My first attempts at blogging, via email since 1998, then via SFGATE since 2011, were known as “Gigoid’s Folly”, and that was almost used as the title for this blog, as well. But, not wishing to tread, even peripherally, on the estate privileges of Robert Heinlein, even out of respect, I left it at “gigoid” with the subtitle, “Exploring consensual reality” as a tip of the cap to Murphy, and Mother Nature’s fondness for him…..

Folly remains a big part of the process of pearling, and Pearling; if that isn’t obvious, I’m doing something wrong. It has been for me a boon companion throughout my life, ever a contrast and strong defense against the powers of darkness and ignorance, always to be trusted to coax a smile out of me, often in the deepest moments of my despair. If it were not for my Folly, and the humor it infuses into my daily existence, I most likely would have bitten somebody, hard, long before now….  I can only be grateful, and proclaim, “May I and my Folly never part ways, throughout all of my days!”……

“A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.” — Willie Wonka (Roald Dahl)

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour!
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Twelfth Night
— Act i, Sc. 1

I’ve been pretty clear in past posts in expressing my lack of enthusiasm for most of Will Shakespeare’s work. To my mind, the greatest part of what he wrote is overblown, heavy with excess imagery and verbiage, and even in the time in which it was first written and performed, must have been a pain to follow just by listening…. sorry, but that’s what I think.

But, at the same time, I can acknowledge, as well, that he was an excellent word smith, and did occasionally write material that is far beyond anything else of its time, or of any time. His sonnets hit that nail squarely more often than his plays, in my opinion, but there are exceptions…. this is one of them.

These few lines of verse possess that timeless beauty that is the hallmark of genius, beauty so great that one can not merely see it in these lines, but is surrounded by beauty that floods every sense. Far be it from me to fail to acknowledge such genius…. I’m no Shakespeare, nor do I consider myself either infallible, nor a critic, but I know what I like, and I like this, a lot…..

“I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off.  so I ran over and said “stop! don’t do it!”  “Why shouldn’t I?” he said.  I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!”  He said, “Like what?”  I said, “Well…are you religious or atheist?”  He said, “Religious.” I said, “Me too!  Are you Christian or Buddhist?”  He said, “Christian.”  I said, “Me too!  Are you Catholic or Protestant?”  He said, “Protestant.”  I said, “Me too!  Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?”  He said, “Baptist!”  I said, “Wow!  Me too!  Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?” He said, “Baptist Church of God!”  I said, “Me too!  Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?”  He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God!”  I said, “Me too!  Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?”  He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!”  I said, “Die, heretic scum”, and pushed him off.” — Emo Phillips

(Whew! Whoever transcribed this for the database where I found it was really lazy. They didn’t bother to capitalize the “I’s” or any of the Church names, so I had to go through and put them all in; it’s much clearer to read now, and looks a bit more refined…. but I didn’t change any words, just added capitals, just so you know…..)

Although I had a feeling as to where this would end up, I read it through to the end, and sure enough, it’s worth a full read, just to get to the punch line. My immediate thought was, “What a perfect statement of modern religious philosophy in America!”   🙂

Not trusting my original reaction, I put it down here, then prepared some breakfast, and consumed said comestibles, before coming back to look it over after some inner percolation. It’s still valid, and it still makes me smile, so it stays. No need to embellish any further, either, as I think it pretty well says it all…. Ignorance and bigotry are alive and well, and living in the Mid-West….. in a house, together…..

Visions of Absolute Truth and Beauty; The Tragedy of Severus Snape

The character of Severus Snape, as revealed in the seven novels that comprise the epic creation by J. K. Rowling, (which I choose to entitle Harry Potter, and The Chronicles of The Infinite Magic of  Love, hopefully with her approval and blessing) is, in my less than humble opinion, destined to become, if not synonymous, at least analogous, with those of Cryano de Bergerac, John Smith the Puritan, or the man from Tale of Two Cities, whose name escapes me (suffering functional disparity as I am from early onset Alzheimer’s, and the subsequent prophylactic application of sour mash bourbon), who said, “It is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” Sounds a little sappy for gigoid, doesn’t it? Well, you know what? I am completely and utterly serious…..

As I do not know Ms. Rowling, other than through her writing, and her public persona, which is carefully controlled, relatively speaking, I cannot say if it was her intent to create a character of such power that he would be forever enshrined amid the most famous of the heroic willing victims of tragedy in literary history. It is moot, anyway, because she has done so….

Here is a man who spent his entire life enduring unrequited love, love that, in his mind, could have been his, had he chosen differently. Yet, knowing that he could never have his deepest desire without destroying that which he loved, he still acted with honor to do all he could to keep the object of his obsession safe, to honor her and the love he felt, even after her death, and in defiance of the threat of his own death. 

He braved the wrath of the most terrifying of villains for almost 20 years, betraying that master of evil at every turn, to do what he could only hold as his Duty; he did this, knowing full well that in the end, he would have to kill the only man in the world who trusted him, and that he would die because of it. And, he knew as well, that his sacrifice would never be known to anyone but the son of the man he most envied in life, the son that might have been his…..

I’ve read a lot of what may be termed as classical literature, and in all that I’ve read, I have never found a character who fit the mold of the tragic hero any better, or more deserved the title of nobility it implies. Though flawed and miserable, Snape makes the hard choices, correctly, at the most critical junctures of his life, all for love of his Lily.

As Dumbledore exclaims when he sees the Patronus that Snape produces, a doe, identical to that of Lily, the only other human being he has ever loved,  “Lily! After all this time?”  Snape merely replies, “Always….”   Now, that is a hero, flawed and unlikeable as he is….. a hero that will go down in history, along with many of the characters from this series of books that will one day certainly be called “classics”……

Not a bad lineup…. personal foibles made light of to begin, with a bit of housekeeping, a taste of political irony, a touch of whimsy, Shakespeare, a dip into religious humor and more irony, and a discussion of literary archetypes in modern and classical writing. I think we’ve approached the demarcation between reality and esoterica quite adeptly, without completely crossing over where the border guards might hassle us about returning to our regularly scheduled activities here in Reality…… that should definitely make an impression. On whom, I couldn’t say, but, hey, I’ll take it…. Y’all take care out there…..

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