Mordred’s dream of chaos draws nigh…..

Ffolkes,
Yow…. Coffee without cream is enough to make one cranky. It is marginally better than no coffee at all, though, so folks will have to take their chances with me until I can get some half & half. The odds of getting bitten for speaking to me too early rise dramatically when the consumption of my morning coffee is disturbed in just about any fashion, and not having an ingredient is a sure ticket to the cranky express for me. Makes it difficult, as I need to speak to people this morning at some point, and don’t want to scare anyone….. or, at least, not deliberately.

Today’s Pearl was mostly composed yesterday, as I need to take much of today to get the form done for Social Security; it’s not difficult, or even particularly complicated, but needs to be detailed. Then, when done, I need to scan it and send it to my lawyer so they can get it right in to SS, well before the ridiculous deadline they gave me. When the process is complete, and I’ve secured my SS benefits, I can definitely feel an exposé on SS percolating in the back of my mind.

From all I can ascertain, the myrmidons over at SS think that it is perfectly okay to throw up every obstacle they can in front of the people applying for their own benefits, and make it as hard as they possibly can for anyone to obtain the very things they have paid for throughout the years. In the process of making it so hard, they are adding to the difficulties of people who do NOT need the aggravation…… So, I’ll be writing a bit of stuff, later, after I’ve secured my own benefits, and cannot be punished for what I write, by their attempting to make it even harder for me to get them…..

Any who, I came across the following again yesterday; it is an old DOS file command line, and is the secret wish of all geeks that it would actually work in reality…. if you know what it means, you’ll know what I mean…. if not, well, it would take two or three pages to explain well enough to be accurate and worth the effort, so you’ll just have to ask a geek to explain it to you…. Any nerdy type who likes to read Science Fiction, and knows what a command line in DOS is, will be able to fill you in….. meantime, Shall we Pearl?….

C:\> erase c:\reality.sys; copy a:\pern\*.* c:
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This is a somewhat old-school pearl, but with a slight difference…. normally (well, you know what I mean…) I would list several quotes, all of which led one’s thoughts in a specific direction, to a foregone conclusion, or at least a conclusion, of sorts….. This pearl however, is simply a grouping of ideas that I thought went together, as sort of a tribute to the relevance of illogic at certain times, and how liberating it is to think not only outside the box, but to kick the box into a shapeless lump of cardboard….. enjoy! BTW, these are all related in one respect, which I’m not going to mention, as it is totally irrelevant…. at least, to the lack of purpose herein implied…..

“The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower.  To think otherwise is to demean the Buddha — which is to demean oneself.” — Robert Pirsig, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”

“Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.” — Confucius — Analects, XV.24

“When the music business changed so drastically in the late sixties and rock began happening in such a big way, I went to Count Basie and said, “It’s a complete takeover. What should I do?” Basie waited a beat, looked up at me with those big eyes of his, and said, “Why change an apple?” — Tony Bennett

“I am your density.” — George McFly, in Back to the Future

Tsze-kung asked, saying, “Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life?”  The Master said, “Is not Reciprocity such a word?  What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” — Confucius (551-479 B.C.)

“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.” — Alan Watts

“As God is my witness – I am that fool!” — Gomez Addams

Okay, so I’m not sure where it came from, or why the last one showed up when it did…. but, it’s a perfect ending, for it fits in with my own self-image this morning…..  Onward, into the fray…..
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Accentuated Lessons

Bold statements of calculated intent
Become common rule of the malcontent.
Avarice assumes such attractive wear
Beguiling deception, illusory and fair.

Grasping and pulling with ghostly hands
Legally proper in all the signatory lands.
Seeking and finding each vulnerable soul
Anguish as payment for exacting the toll.

Wraiths of commerce’s invisible dead guards
Still haunt the dreams left in sad empty yards.
While absentee nobles sit in stiff, elegant splendor
Served by sad-faced detainees in abject surrender.

Escape from reality is illusory at best
Often we falter and fail its daily test.
Only when focused on inner strength
Does peace stay with us for any length.

Peace lies within, always…..

~~ gigoid

The following just seemed like an appropriate addition to this section…..

Fate steals along with silent tread,
Found oftenest in what least we dread;
Frowns in the storm with angry brow,
But in the sunshine strikes the blow.

~~ Thomas Cowper
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“About the use of language: it is impossible to sharpen a pencil with a blunt ax.  It is equally vain to try to do it with ten blunt axes instead.” — Edsger W. Dijkstra

I do try…. I try really hard to write well. All of my effort in the last year plus that I’ve been writing so much has been with the intent of improving what I do write, and I can see a certain degree of that (improvement….). It isn’t enough, to my mind, and hopefully, never will be enough. Only by making the effort will what we do ever change, and writing well is a skill that requires constant honing, and constant endeavor.

The following paragraph is an example of the kind of impact that a well-written piece should have on the reader…. it’s a beautiful little piece, and even though you could remove the word “God’s” from it, and it would suffer not at all, I left it in, since I didn’t write it…. I only wish I had…..

“As a little silvery circular ripple, set in motion by the falling pebble, expands from its inch of radius to the whole compass of a pool, so there is not a child–not an infant Moses–placed, however softly, in his bulrush ark upon the sea of time, whose existence does not stir a ripple, gyrating outward and on, until it shall have moved across and spanned the whole ocean of God’s eternity, stirring even the river of life, and the fountains at which the angels drink.” — Elihu Burritt

See? A truly lovely thought, and written in a way that it touches a chord of response within the mind and heart of whomever reads it. This is the kind of thing that I am shooting for when I write…. I hit close now and then, but, not often enough to suit me, so I’m going to keep trying until I can write at this level whenever I should so choose…. and if, along the way, someone wishes to pay me for what I write, well, I’m not going to complain…..

Of course, my usual choice of subject matter may have a lot to do with the absent beauty of my writing; it’s a bit of a trick to turn a political or religious rant into a thing of beauty, other than from a logical or tactical standpoint. There can be, of course, well-done passages, even powerfully passionate parts that can inspire, or anger, or merely amuse. But one is not going to impress anyone with the sheer beauty of a treatise wherein one has to discuss the latest lies and deliberate misrepresentations as spouted by political pundits, of any party. Not without a lot more skill than I have, or anyone else I’ve read over time. It’s just not a subject that lends itself to pretty pictures in words….. In addition, one must always remember to actually use one’s mind in a constructive manner when writing about politics or religion, because anyone who actually engages in either one is not going to do so……

One also must remember to always keep the following principle in mind, for anything written, about either politics or religion, must be governed by this thought, or what is produced will not stand up to the test of logic or time….. so stay alert, ffolkes, and use the mind you have for something other than sitting on……

“Freedom of speech and freedom of action are meaningless without freedom to think. And there is no freedom of thought without doubt.” — Bergen Evans, The Natural History of Nonsense (1946)
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All in all, not a bad Pearl, I’d say. And, if there is an expert on Pearls, that would be me….. or, at least, of literary Pearls…. and I am certainly the world’s ONLY expert on Pearls of Virtual Wisdom…..To be honest, I never thought the gems themselves were all that compelling…. they look nice, but don’t seem to me to be as big a deal as everyone makes of them…. Ah well, I’m just a country boy at heart, and good honest sweat is my favorite perfume, so I guess I’m not the best judge of such delicate matters, eh?…… 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!

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Pliable, yet soapy, it burned quickly….

Ffolkes,
Whew! It’s going to be an interesting day….. I’ve been up only about 15 minutes, and have at least three comments from yesterday that will require some heavy thought in order to respond adequately. The good news is that the blogger friend I was worried about last night is fine, and my worry was unnecessary; his poetry was simply too real, and I bought it…. very powerful piece…. So, all is good, and I have lots to keep my mind occupied (as if that were ever a problem around here…..).

That being said, we should probably just get on with it, so…… let’s Pearl….

All of the above is out-of-date by 24 hours, so just pay it no mind…. As I explained yesterday, this was written on the 15th, but before I realized I was writing it into the template for the next day….. The nose grew bulbous and red, and I honked it, for sure….. I had to start over, and shall proceed to do so again this morning…. be right back….  (Why not just delete? That would be cheating….)

It has been a full day since I wrote that, and the above introductory paragraphs are hereby declared to be null and void. This procedure will now resume its normally scheduled activity…. as normally as it ever gets, that is….. and to avoid any further nonsense, we will go directly to the task at hand, i.e., we shall now Pearl……this way, please, and watch your step…..
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Deal with others as thou wouldst thyself be dealt by.
Do nothing to thy neighbor which thou wouldst not have him do to thee hereafter.
—  _The Mahabharata_, c. 800 B. C.

I feel a google coming on….. yep, it started even earlier than this…. According to Wikipedia, the earliest mention of the concept we now refer to as The Golden Rule is to be found in the Code of Hammurabi, first codified and set down in the year 1780 BC. Though the majority of Christians believe that the teachings of Jesus were the origination of this idea, almost every religion and philosophy in every country in the world has made a reference to this ideal of reciprocity in human relations, dating probably from before the time of Hammurabi.

Once again, the mathematician in me takes over, and we will now emulate The Count, from Sesame Street.  1780 + 2012 = 3792. That is 3792 years, approximately (I don’t imagine they know the day of the week it was published; it’s not THAT accurate a computation). That is a lot of days. Even more hours. It seems like, and is, a long time, at least in relation to the sum total of written human history, which has been been recorded for only about 5 or 6 thousand years… not too much longer ago than this first appeared.

These figures, in my mind, beg the question: So, how are we doing on that? Do we all treat each other according to the underlying principle of this piece of societal knowledge, well known to even the most ignorant of our brethren? Is this the basis for all our laws and moral standards?  Have we made any progress at all in nearly four thousand years during which this has been a part of the tool kit that humans possess to deal with reality?

I don’t think so.

In fact, it seems clear to me that our society pretty much acts in a manner completely OUT of harmony with the principle of reciprocity between men and women, of seeking harmony between all members of society. There is NO reciprocity present in modern day life. The attitude of self-service first is prevalent in the beloved ruling class, and trickles down naturally to infest and infect every level of society, from top to bottom, reaching into every nook and cranny, soiling each soul it touches and ensnares.

Each and every one of these people whom we have elected into office, as well as a significant number of average society members,  will tell you with a straight face, and a firm belief they are telling the truth, that they strongly support the Golden Rule, and use it in every area of their life. These same people will then steal your wallet while you aren’t looking, then offer to help you look for it. Then, they will ask you for a reward for helping you find it, right where they dumped it…. and I’ll bet everyone reading this has a story that fits that scenario, at least in the essential points….

Is there an answer to this issue, to these questions? Yes, it has already been made, and is in place now. This is the way it is; it will not change, not until human nature changes also, and that is just NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, PEOPLE!  I’d suggest you get used to it, and polish up your armor….. There are not many of us left who feel like what is below…. most folks don’t feel at all…. but trying for this at least can make our own journey a bit more tolerable…..

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves. — Irish blessing

After that explosion of cynicism, all I can say to you all is….. Blessed Be, and maybe I’m wrong…. We can hope…. In fact, here is a proposition…. If the world will adopt the Golden Rule, I’ll break myself of my habit of using all these dots in my writing….. that ought to be worth something in the larger picture, don’t you think?  It’s worth a shot, nothing else seems to be working very well…..
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“Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other “sins” are invented nonsense. (Hurting yourself is NOT a sin–just stupid.)” — Lazarus Long, from Robert A. Heinlein’s “Time Enough For Love”

I first saw this quote when I was about 23 or so… I had been reading Heinlein’s work for many years already, and my philosophical growth was still in its expansion stages, not yet having settled on the final format that I eventually found suitable. This statement, part of the collected “Notebooks of Lazarus Long” was one that almost seemed as it it had been part of my being for many years. It wasn’t a feeling of deja vu that I got from it; it was more like a feeling of , “Well, of course! That’s obvious!”  It was quickly adopted into my own philosophy as a good way to view reality, to my way of thinking….

It quickly came to my attention that this sentiment is not exactly a popular one amongst the more religiously oriented folks with whom we share space in this reality. The year 1973, when this book was first published, was a time when the gay movement was just gaining some attention in the news, and, I believe, may even be when Anita Bryant first began her misguided campaign against homosexuality.

A lot of social mores were being challenged by the hippie culture, and the rules, and sins, as promulgated by the established religions, were under constant attack from the left side of the political spectrum. The noise and outrage from the conservative fundamentalists was deafening in its panicked frenzy (a state of mind that persists to this day when fundamentalists are reminded of the laws that now exist…. it makes them absolutely CRAZY to think that their worst nightmares are now legal acts…..), as they thrashed around the public arena, shouting out their dogma to whomever they could persuade to listen.

But, as I did back then, and continue to do now, I pretty much ignore the crap that gets flung in my direction whenever one of these religious zealots hears what I believe, or is confronted with the evidence of their own foolishness. It’s the only honorable way to deal with them… They are not sufficiently well-armed to make a battle of wits a fair proposition, and beating them to a pulp is frowned upon by my peers, as well as the fundamentalists themselves…. It costs them a lot in bandages and aspirin when they are silly enough to try to engage me in debates on this subject, and carry on to the point where my patience snaps…. it isn’t pretty…. but it sure is fun!…..
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C:\> erase c:\reality.sys; copy a:\pern\*.* c:

Yesterday’s little contest had a winner, cowgirliz, (http://cowgirliz.wordpress.com/) who slipped in the correct answer late last evening, about 2 minutes ahead of the second place winner,  Rohit, (http://quest4knowledge.wordpress.com/).  Both of them correctly interpreted the above DOS command, and have won this fabulous prize….. four minutes of fame, here on gigoid’s folly….. This prize, it must be added, has no cash value, and is only worth as much as you give it, so, give until it hurts…… or at least go check out their blogs; both of them are well worth reading….

So, you’re asking, what the heck does it mean?  Okay…. first, you need to know about Pern….  Pern is the name of a planet that circles a star much like that of Earth’s, approximately 200+ light years from Earth, in the direction of the constellation Draco, suitably enough…. It is a fictional world, created and written about by Anne McCaffrey, an Irish author of science fiction and fantasy novels. The novels about Pern are a combination of the best of both of those literary worlds……

Humans came to Pern, in giant spaceships, from Earth in the twenty-second century, seeking to colonize a planet using new ideas of government and societal structure that the colonists believed would be an improvement over what now existed on Earth. When they arrived on the planet, from which they could not return to Earth, having used all their available resources to get to Pern, with not enough to spare for a return trip, they found it to be welcoming, if challenging. Except for one thing…. Thread.

Thread was a life-form that originated on another planet in the same system, a life-form inimical to carbon-based life, such as humans, plants, the animals the colonists had brought with them, and those indigenous to Pern. Thread fell from the skies above Pern, after traveling across the intervening space between the two planets during the closest approach in their respective orbits. It would then voraciously attack and consume any life form it touched, producing a painful and not quick enough death.

In order to combat the menace, the colonists performed bioengineering on a life form indigenous to Pern, called fire-lizards. These flying lizards, resembling small dragons, the size of a cat, had two characteristics which the colonists needed to fight the Thread as it fell on them from above. First, they could fly, and in addition, had the power of teleportation; they could almost instantly move from one point to another on Pern, taking only the time it takes to draw two breaths to get anywhere else on the globe. Second, they could breathe fire….. But, cat-size, they were too small to be an effective weapon against the Thread, so the colonists altered their DNA, making them larger, the size of the real dragons of human myth, but keeping the abilities of flight, teleportation, and breathing fire….. thus making them effective at eliminating Thread before it reached the ground, fighting with their bonded human riders, who feed them the mineral needed to produce the flames…

Over the course of numerous books, the history of Pern is laid out, over a three thousand year period following the first arrival of people to the planet, showing readers a number of interesting cultural changes to society, caused in part by the new form of self-government the colonists established, as well as the effects of having a new sub-culture, that of Dragon riders, within the main culture of the planet. It is a very popular set of books, with new ones being added by enthusiastic fans writing in the same universe as Pern, as well as other fantasy and sf authors who have collaborated with Ms. McCaffrey to create more books on the same subject. The culture of Pern, as described in the novels, is almost Utopian in its attitudes, and the planet serves as a modified version of Heaven on Earth, as it fulfills several human dreams that our current society either represses or ignores, i.e. a peaceful society based on respect for others, and Dragons, too!

Now, the DOS part…. DOS is an operating system, a mathematical model that is used to give computers the actual commands that cause it to perform different functions, such as opening files, viewing contents of the files, word processing, or printing files. The commands are written in a specific format, a language, as it were, that tells the computer exactly what files to seek and use, or to copy, or move, or whatever; it is the details of the actions the computer will be asked to perform.

Using the common format for such commands, the above command line can thus be seen to instruct the computer to delete Reality, and to then, using a file on a floppy disk in the a:/drive, to open, and start, an alternate Reality based on the Pern universe… in other words, replace today’s Earth with Pern… and all of its wonderful advantages……including Dragons!  Bonus?  No tax day!

See? A bit of modern cultural mythology, a bit of fantasy, a little technology, and a lot of whimsy…. it always works for me….. thanks for listening…..
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“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not.” — Epicurus

So simple, yet this remains as the root cause of much of the unhappiness that people experience in today’s world, both directly, and indirectly. Often, losing what we have is a result of letting go of it to chase after an illusion of what we believe would be somehow better than what we already possess. We all remember the story about the dog with the big bone in his mouth who, on spying his reflection in the water of the river, opened his mouth to grab the bone the other dog had, and lost the one he had….. So obvious, and a lesson we all are taught from a young age, no matter what our educational level. This story crosses all such distinctions, as it is easily seen as universally relevant by all who hear it, save those few who are cognitively incapable of more than rudimentary thought (Certain politicians come to mind…. okay, I’m sorry, that was a cheap shot, totally unnecessary, and out of place in a serious discussion…. but, it still is true, it DID pop into my mind’s eye; the image is still there…   🙂   )

In light of the above paragraph’s implications, the question that begs asking is this; What the fuck is wrong with people?  I’m serious. The entire world seems to be locked into a pattern of behavior and attitudes that consistently contradicts the concept under examination, in short, material desire. Everyone, from the leaders and public figures at the supposed apex of society to the poorest miserable resident of the ghetto, seems to be chasing material advancement, both for personal benefit, and in relation to others, instead of being happy and content with what is spiritually and compassionately beneficial that we may possess in plenty, no matter what our material status, just by making the inner decision to let go of the desire for what is ephemeral, and holding on to what is eternal…..

To my mind, it is incomprehensible… I know that I possess many advantages over some folks, in terms of what I have been blessed with between my ears…. though it hasn’t made me rich in money or property, I am fabulously wealthy in terms of the things I consider to be essential to life, such as love, honor, truth, and compassion. Whatever I may achieve, or acquire, beyond those things, can be considered to be a bonus, in some cases, and a challenge in others…. either way, I try hard not to let any of the extra stuff detract from my appreciation for the four pillars of my existence, as stated above……

It is hard for me to not feel compassion for any who are so lost, or out of touch with themselves, or just misled, such that they cannot see the advantages of learning to embrace the sentiment expressed so well by Epicurus. It arouses my compassion, and makes me wish I knew how to get through to all those people, so they could share the joy in living that I do…. As painful and difficult as my life can be at times, I know it will all be well in the end, that the Universe is proceeding as it should, and that contents me…. most of the time….
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Halfway up the stairs
Isn’t up,
And isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery,
It isn’t in the town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head:
“It isn’t really
Anywhere!
It’s somewhere else
Instead!”
— A.A. Milne

You know, when I found this, I had an immediate reaction that I knew would make a good pearl…. Now that I look at it again this morning, that thought is gone. Phtt! Nowhere to be found. Too bad, really; as I recall, it was an interesting thought.  But, so much for the best laid plans, etc.

You know what else? This is good enough to stand alone. As I look it over again, it is echoing, growing deeper and more complex as each minute passes….. of course, that could just be the moldy cheese I’m eating, too…..  No, really, it is a pretty deep little Pooh-ish sort of thought, isn’t it? Almost sounds like Emily D. might have said it, in one of her more whimsical moments….. Nonetheless, I’m going to just leave it alone, and leave any further contemplation of its depths to the Gentle Reader….. where all such musings belong…
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I was noodling around in my head last night, as is my wont, and the following popped into my head. Now, if I was a paranoid schizophrenic, I would think, and most likely be right, that this is what is referred to as a thought intrusion. I might, if I were so diagnosed, and inclined, think that someone else had planted this in my brain, or that another of my hallucinations had telepathically forced me to think it. But, not being any subject to such silly ideas, (my brain chemical balance seems to be holding up just fine, thank you…), I just felt a small glow of mild achievement, as one does when one turns a phrase nicely, or makes a clever play on words, as in this case….. I like it…. What do y’all think? Is it worth using, as an alternate sig file? Or is it just okay, slightly amusing but not on the cutting edge of clever?  I need some feedback here, please…. thanks…..

“May the metaphorse be with you.” — gigoid, Sunday, 2012

Thus does another Pearl of Virtual Wisdom draw to a thrilling conclusion. Or, well, at least a screeching halt….. hell, I think we’d better jump before this thing goes over the cliff there….. look out!….. Nooooooooo! …… NO CARRIER

Hmph… I always seem to end up going for the cheap laugh at the end. When will I ever learn?  SIGH…. Well, y’all take care out there….


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!

Until Bob returns, no cha-cha, & no rhumba….

Ffolkes,
As I sit here, laughing at myself, I have to admit, my Bozoid tendencies are in full swing this morning…. I’ve been steadily plugging along, filling in the blanks as I go through the morning routine, for about 35 minutes now. Got a lot done too, on starting a Pearl. I even had the intro section completely done, and was dutifully searching for pearls, when I was confronted by my own silliness and failure to be a Lert….. or, if you insist, alert…..

I started to paste a poem below, and realized I was posting it into tomorrow’s Pearl template. This is also where I had already composed and written an intro section leading into the Pearl….. see my problem?  Complete time distortion ensues…. Now I’m dazed again, much like the first 5 minutes of being up, before the first sip of coffee kicks in enough to raise the eyelids a fraction, and will need to take a minute here to regroup…… I’ll be back in a few, when I have caught up to reality again….. mumble, grumble, phtt….

I have re-established contact with reality, and we can now move on to bigger and better things…. if that particular phrase can be considered to apply to this process…. as the old Dead song says, “head’s all empty, and I don’t care….”   No worries, we’ll just go now and find something with which we can fill it up…. shall we Pearl?……
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C:\> erase c:\reality.sys; copy a:\pern\*.* c:

This pearl is a bit of a test…. What I’ve written here is, of course, a DOS command line. (I wrote ‘of course’ before I fully realized that it is ‘of course’ only to those who are familiar with DOS, which may not include the more modern users among us. For those ffolkes, just think of it as double clicking on a program you want to use…..) The test is to tell me, in the comment section, if you know what the command tells the computer to do….

It’s quite a simple command, though the .exe installation file it points to is VERY complex…. and that is your only clue….  Let’s see who’s paying attention, as well as who is well grounded in both computers and literature….. luck won’t be needed, and wouldn’t help in any case, but, good luck!  If no one figures it out before tomorrow morning’s Pearl gets written, I’ll reveal the answer then….
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The only point in the following entry is to preserve my sanity. In looking over the last few Pearls, I found a disturbing lack of poetry. Oh, there was some there, but not enough to suit my needs…. if I don’t get enough of the grace and beauty that good poetry provides, I get testy, to say the least. That probably accounts for the 800-1000 word rants in the last couple of posts. That has actually worked out well; I was able to publish two of those rants to another site as solitary articles. But, in the process, I’ve built up a need for the serenity that a good poem gives me…. so, here are three of them, all capable of filling my need, and, hopefully, yours….. enjoy!

Weep no more, nor sigh, nor groan,
Sorrow calls no time that ‘s gone;
Violets plucked, the sweetest rain
Makes not fresh nor grow again.
— John Fletcher (1576-1625)  — The Queen of Corinth, Act iii, Sc. 2

How fading are the joys we dote upon!
Like apparitions seen and gone.
But those which soonest take their flight
Are the most exquisite and strong,–
Like angels’ visits, short and bright;
Mortality ‘s too weak to bear them long.
— John Norris (1657-1711) — The Parting

But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.
— Lord Byron (1788-1824) — Don Juan, Canto iii, Stanza 88

I don’t know about you, but I feel better…..

Oft in the stilly night,
Ere slumber’s chain has bound me,
Fond memory brings the light
Of other days around me;
The smiles, the tears,
Of boyhood’s years,
The words of love then spoken;
The eyes that shone
Now dimmed and gone,
The cheerful hearts now broken.
— Thomas Moore (1779-1852) — Oft in the Stilly Night

I know, I know, I said three… but this one popped up in front of me, glommed onto my leg before I could dodge, and insisted that I include it with the others. Then I looked at it, and was sunk…. It’s not like I jabbed you in the eye with a stick, now, is it?…… Don’t worry, it won’t hurt you to have another; they’re calorie free……
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“The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower.  To think otherwise is to demean the Buddha — which is to demean oneself.” — Robert Pirsig, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”

I like this. I liked it when I first read the book, more years ago than I care to think about, and it still clicks with my way of looking at things, as if Buddha himself was talking directly to me…. I admire it so much, that’s all I’m going to say on the subject. This can speak for itself……
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“If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.” — Bertrand Russell

We are now experiencing first hand the beginning effects of the proof of this proposition. Our world-wide society has succumbed to the truth in this statement, and are actively, and obliviously, pursuing foolishness en masse. One need only look through the daily news to see this demonstrated; article after article explores concepts and events that illustrate the full and complete absence of critical thought that is rampant in our culture. No matter how outrageous the statement, no matter how silly the proposal, no matter how egregious the lie, if a talking head on TV says it, fifty million people will jump right up and cheer its arguable (to any minds but theirs…) merit, and give it their unquestioning belief.

Do I really need to point out examples? Oh, right, evidence is good…. Okay. Easy money. How about….. Mitt Romney?  Here is a man who has spent the last 10 months or so running around the US to various political electoral farces, er, functions, and has repeatedly lied, or pandered to special interests in the face of another, or alienated entire segments of the voting public (such as women, and the poor), or changed a position one day after claiming it as his own, so many times there are a number of web sites that are devoted just to keeping track of his contradictory and/or fictional statements, of what he has the temerity to call facts.  I’m not picking on him; it’s all out there in black and white for anyone to see.

Yet this man is the apparent next candidate for the Presidency of this country as the Republican choice. If we are to believe it, he has the support not only of numerous officials and “important public figures” in his party, but of millions upon millions of folks who seem unable or unwilling to examine any of his public statements for truth or accuracy. It’s almost as if he were a talking fundamentalist Bible…. He said it, they believe it, and that’s that…… possessing, as they apparently do, steel traps instead of minds. Anything that gets in, isn’t getting out alive, that’s for sure and for certain… As a bonus prize in the foolishness category, the folks who generally fall for this kind of chicanery have the following attitude as well…

“When you are sure you’re right, you have a moral duty to impose your will upon anyone who disagrees with you.” — Robert W. Mayer

And people wonder why I’m cynical…… here is a short verse that laments the absence of the kind of men I wish were running this country…. and I am saddened by the fact that I can think of no man, or woman, in office or out, who fits this mold…..

Statesman, yet friend to truth! of soul sincere,
In action faithful, and in honour clear;
Who broke no promise, serv’d no private end,
Who gain’d no title, and who lost no friend.
— Alexander Pope (1688-1744) — Moral Essays, Epistle to Mr. Addison
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But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell!
Did ye not hear it?–No! ‘t was but the wind,
Or the car rattling o’er the stony street.
On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet.
— Lord Byron (1788-1824) — Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Canto iii, Stanza 22

So, I needed another hit of exquisite….. so sue me… I’ll add an extra pearl, okay?….
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Wedding March:  19th Century, England

“The traditional church wedding features two bridal marches, by two different classical composers. The bride walks down the aisle to the majestic, moderately paced music of the “Bridal Chorus” from Richard Wagner’s 1848 opera “Lohengrin”.  The newlyweds exit to the more jubilant, upbeat strains of the “Wedding March” from Felix Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The custom dates back to the royal marriage, in 1858, of Victoria, princess of Great Britain, and Empress of Germany, to Prince Frederick William of Prussia.  Victoria, eldest daughter of Britain’s Queen Victoria, selected the music herself.  A patron of the arts, she valued the works of Mendelssohn and practically venerated those of Wagner. Given the British penchant for copying the monarchy, soon brides throughout the Isles, nobility and commoners alike, were marching to Victoria’s drummer, establishing a Western wedding tradition.”

It seems at first glance that this entry has little significance in relation to what usually passes here for subject matter. Admittedly, it is less of an issue than my usual pick of stuff upon which to rant. Calm yourselves, I’m not going to rant about this…. I have included it for one reason only, and that is to demonstrate that the power of celebrity has its roots further back in our cultural history than might at first be apparent. This short historical note on weddings clearly shows how the famous in society influence the culture as a whole, and have done so since well before the advent of radio, news delivery over international distances, TV, and the internet.

The actions of one woman, the most visible public figure of her time, were sufficiently of interest to the rest of society as to institute a new custom, which persists to this day, and not just in the British Isles. Public opinion can thus be seen to be manipulable by the simplest of means, to wit: if the public likes it, they’ll buy it…. simple, yet effective, and obviously well-known to those who manipulate others as a rule of policy….. funny, sometimes where one can find evidence of humanity’s vulnerabilities, isn’t it?…..

“It is easier to perceive error than to find truth, for the former lies on the surface and is easily seen, while the latter lies in the depth, where few are willing to search for it.” — Goethe
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As another morning’s musings draw to a close, I find myself a trifle melancholy. I’m sure it is temporary, and merely the result of finishing what has been fun to create. Since I’m happy with it as it is, we’ll get on with the rest of the procedure, and speed this on its way to cyberspace, and your perusal….. enjoy!  Y’all take care out there…..


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!