Nope, not going to do it….. I won’t, I won’t do it! You can’t make me do it!….. Okay, drama over….. Originally, I had planned to re-blog one of my older pieces today, as I was not sure how I’d feel this morning…. Oh, not to worry, I don’t do New Year’s Eve any more, so that’s not an issue…. No, I just wasn’t sure how well I’d sleep, or what was happening today, or much of anything…. it was a confusing day yesterday, for some reason….
Maybe it was all the end of the year lists getting me all woozy and discombobulated; we’ve been inundated in them for days now, and I’m not sure how many more I can take….. Best New Phone Muzak, Stupidest Celebrity Arrests, Stinkiest Farts of the Year, The Absolute Best This, The Most Shockingly Entertaining That…. Every damn category the human brain could come up with gets covered by some reporter’s end of the year list….. If I wasn’t such a strong-minded individual, I would have cracked days ago… Probably just as well I haven’t, though, or they’d stick THAT on some list or another, and I have no desire to see my ride in an ambulance to the psych hospital become an internet meme, eerily contagious slick digital music or no….
So what is a struggling young author to do on a New Year’s Morn? Aside from being more honest in the choice of self-descriptive adjectives, you ask? I am neither young, nor struggling, particularly, other than in my own brain and body….. I could start like last year, with another fictional story opening…. but, then I’d be repeating myself, and I already decided not to just re-blog last year’s first post, good as it was, as it wouldn’t be fresh, and a New Year’s Day post ought to be fresh, at least to SOME degree…. I could wander and blather…. Oh, wait, I’m already doing that… Hmm…. I suppose I could go completely off the rails, and start a few paragraphs of piffle talk, complete and utter nonsense, that SOUNDS as if it might be real…. but, that’s too close to how I write already….
Okay, now we’re going to get tough…. I won’t have this kind of waffling, not to begin my third full year of blogging…. I have two documents now, each filled with a years worth of Pearls of Virtual Wisdom, for 2012, and for 2013…. Soon I will open the next one in the series, to begin taking down the Pearls for 2014, of which this, obviously, is the first. I was hoping to make it one of the best, as well, but, it’s already beginning to look as if this one may be out of control right here at the start, thus leaving little hope for much distinction by the time we reach the end….
Of course, that’s how I felt at first about last year’s New Year’s post, and look how well it turned out…. I almost re-blogged it today, just because it is so good…. Ah well, I’d hoped to avoid this, but, before this gets any further off the rails, I’m going to apply emergency technique # 4, otherwise known as the “Oblivious” method….. It involves some seriously deep denial, and a touch of grim-faced concentration, but, it always works, and its the least expensive of all my emergency methods…. A good thing to remember, since tax time will be here soon enough…. (Considering the upcoming End of the World As We Know It, taxes seem a bit like adding insult to injury, don’t you think?…..) Here’s how it (#4) works…..
Shall we Pearl?…..
Say first, of God above or man below,
What can we reason but from what we know?
— Alexander Pope (1688-1744) — Essay on Man, Epistle i, Line 17
“An hour’s perusal of our national charter makes it hard to understand what the argle-bargle is about. The First Amendment forbids infringements of the freedom of speech “except for commercials on children’s television” or “unless somebody says ‘****’ in a rap song or ‘chick’ on a college campus.” The Second Amendment states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” period. There is no mention of magazine size, rate of fire, or to what extent those arms may resemble assault rifles.” — P. J. O’Rourke
Now, at this point in most Pearls, you would think you’d find a good, long, vituperative rant, picking apart the arguments forwarded by the group of idiots who form the bulk of my target choices. It’s a perfect lead-in for a dual rant, on the media’s bungling of their avowed purpose, and the continuous attempted assault on the Bill of Rights, especially Amendment #2, which has had attempt after attempt made on its integrity since the first year it was printed, each one, thankfully, diverted from its intent….
In fact, the repeated attempts to curtail the Second Amendment rights we supposedly are granted have made it simpler to protect those rights, in at least one way, as those who would, ostensibly, take them away, keep providing us with a way to identify them, because of their repeated attempts to try to legislate it out of existence…. There are times when one may rejoice in the idiocy of one’s enemies…. But, they are very persistent, and they have no compunctions about screwing other people; they’re not going to cease their war on the Bill of Rights until they feel they’ve got them all under their control, just like they feel they do with much of the rest of society…. Sadly, quite sadly, they’re right about that control….
Any who, normally, a rant at this point would be not out of place…. however, it’s a New Year, and I don’t feel like being serious yet, so, we’re going with an old-school pearl, to take some random shots at those who I find it most enjoyable to set in my sights, the Beloved Ruling Class, the Priestly Hierarchies, The Police Myrmidons, and all the other Mundanes, who spend their lives with their heads firmly up their ass, making their slavery a simple matter for the formerly listed group(s) of asininnies…. (Hey, look!…. I just made up a new, GREAT word for that particular group of folks!! Asininnies…. I like it, a LOT…..) Okay, that’s the extent of the rant, let’s see what SB can do for us today…..
“The most common commodity in this country is unrealized potential.” — Calvin Coolidge
I speak religion’s message clear,
I am denial guilt and fear.
I am the prayers of the naive,
I am the lie that you believe.
If there is any period one would desire to be born in, is it not the age of Revolution; when the old and the new stand side by side… when the glories of the old can be compensated by the rich possibilities of the new era? This time…is a very good one… — Emerson
Q: How many believable, competent, “just right for the job” presidential candidates does it take to change a light bulb?
A: It’s going to be a dark 4 years, isn’t it? — Smart Bee
“If voting actually changed anything it’d be made illegal.” — Smart Bee
I swear, all I did was set the parameters, then hit the buttons, and watch…. Some days, it’s a thing of beauty to behold, I’ll tell ya…. Not too obscure, not too bloody, and, for flavor, a spicy portion or two….. Just to show you there are no hidden agendas, or anything other than full service, non-discriminatory curmdugeonry toward ALL individuals and groups, one last perfect pearl to finish this off in the classic manner…. Stooges Style!…. But, add a bit of irony, and it becomes almost Groucho-like…. Well, it makes my eyebrows twitch, anyway…..
“Support the right of unborn males to bear arms!” — A public service announcement from Phyllis Schlafly, the Catholic Church, and the National Rifle Association
Hey, not so bad for a New Year’s Day…. you should feel lucky, eh? It wasn’t Zippy….. Zippy can make one’s head hurt…. Of course, Phyllis has been known to have the same effect on any rational man….
“In the vacant places, we will build with new bricks.” — T.S. Eliot
I know I’ve used this little piece from T.S. Eliot in the past; he is frequently called upon as a source in this blog. Today, he’s here just because I like this quote, and just reading it is a good exercise for the brain, to get it ready for whatever follows in this section…. At this point, that is still an unknown…. I only know that it will be a good one, because I won’t settle for less on such a significant day (If that is what this is…. I suppose it is, what with being a real, actual Holiday and all…. I’m not particularly impressed myself, as a follower of the Aztec Calendar, which told us the world already ended, I think, about two or three years ago, I forget…) Any who, enjoy today’s poem, whatever it may be….
Perfect! It has been said that one should begin as one intends to go on…. What better way to begin a new year, than with Keats?….. A bit long, but, well worth the few moments in time to create this vision in the mind, and savor….
Fire, Air, Earth, and Water,
Salamander, Zephyr, Dusketha, and Breama.
Happy, happy glowing fire!
Fragrant air! delicious light!
Let me to my glooms retire!
I to the green-wood rivers bright!
Happy, happy glowing fire!
Dazzling bowers of soft retire,
Ever let my nourish’d wing,
Like a bat’s, still wandering,
Faintly fan your fiery spaces,
Spirit sole in deadly places.
In unhaunted roar and blaze,
Open eyes that never daze,
Let me see the myriad shapes
Of men, and beasts, and fish, and apes,
Portray’d in many a fiery den,
And wrought by spumy bitumen.
On the deep intenser roof,
Arched every way aloof,
Let me breathe upon their skies,
And anger their live tapestries;
Free from cold, and every care,
Of chilly rain, and shivering air.
Spirit of Fire! away! away!
Or your very roundelay
Will sear my plumage newly budded
From its quilled sheath, all studded
With the self-same news that fell
On the May-grown Asphodel.
Spirit of Fire — away! away!
Spirit of Fire — away! away!
Zephyr, blue-ey’d Faery turn,
And see my cool sedge-bury’d urn,
Where it rests its mossy brim
‘Mid water-mint and cresses dim;
And the flowers, in sweet troubles,
Lift their eyes above the bubbles,
Like our Queen, when she would please
To sleep, and Oberon will teaze.
Love me, blue-ey’d Faery, true!
Soothly I am sick for you.
Gentle Breama! by the first
Violet young nature nurst,
I will bathe myself with thee,
So you sometimes follow me
To my home, far, far, in west,
Beyond the nimble-wheeled quest
Of the golden-browed sun:
Come with me, o’er tops of trees,
To my fragrant palaces,
Where they ever floating are
Beneath the cherish of a star
Call’d Vesper, who with silver veil
Ever hides his brilliance pale,
Ever gently-drows’d doth keep
Twilight for the Fayes to sleep.
Fear not that your watery hair
Will thirst in drouthy ringlets there;
Clouds of stored summer rains
Thou shalt taste, before the stains
Of the mountain soil they take,
And too unlucent for thee make.
I love thee, crystal Faery, true!
Sooth I am as sick for you!
Out, ye aguish Faeries, out!
Chilly lovers, what a rout
Keep ye with your frozen breath,
Colder than the mortal death.
Adder-eye’d Dusketha, speak,
Shall we leave these, and go seek
In the earth’s wide entrails old
Couches warm as their’s are cold?
O for a fiery gloom and thee,
Dusketha, so enchantingly
Freckle-wing’d and lizard-sided!
By thee, Sprite, will I be guided!
I care not for cold or heat;
Frost and flame, or sparks, or sleet,
To my essence are the same;–
But I honour more the flame.
Spirit of Fire, I follow thee
Wheresoever it may be,
To the torrid spouts and fountains,
Underneath earth-quaked mountains;
Or, at thy supreme desire,
Touch the very pulse of fire
With my bare unlidded eyes.
Sweet Dusketha! paradise!
Off, ye icy Spirits, fly!
Frosty creatures of the sky!
Breathe upon them, fiery sprite!
Zephyr and Breama.
Away! away to our delight!
Go, feed on icicles, while we
Bedded in tongue-flames will be.
Lead me to those feverous glooms,
Sprite of Fire!
Me to the blooms,
Blue-ey’d Zephyr, of those flowers
Far in the west where the May-cloud lowers;
And the beams of still Vesper, when winds are all wist,
Are shed thro’ the rain and the milder mist,
And twilight your floating bowers.
~~ John Keats ~~
“If you would make changes in the present, study the past.” — Spinoza
It may simply be this concept that compels people, myself included, to engage in retrospectives. We are told this from our earliest days (well, I was….) in one way or another, and I think most reasonable, rational people will agree its a good idea to know the past, if only to avoid the mistakes we made then in our future acts. So, let’s take a moment for some words on 2013; I won’t use the adjective “few” in re: words and me, as that is non-productive, since it probably won’t be just a few…. We’ll see, though….
2013 was, for me, a long, interesting time; in the past 365 days I have traveled on a great many different paths, all over the Western/Northern Hemispheres of the planet…. I’ve spent over a month, cumulatively, on three different floating hotels, on four separate cruises, after spending the first four months of the year in the grip of near-poverty. I’ve flown on airplanes, ridden trains, buses, and innumerable taxicabs. I didn’t ride any bikes. I’ve been to five different states, if one counts the airports, and touched foot to ground in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Canada, Mexico, and, of course, the United States.
I had the chance to go to Paris for a day, and St. Peter’s Port on the Isle of Guernsey for a day, off the coast of France, but did not go to either, as I would rather have more time than was available to explore them (Paris needs more than four hours to see, I think, especially since the Louvre was closed the day I would have been there….)
I DID see many of the places of which I’ve read and dreamed of seeing all my life, especially in Ireland, and England…. Though I didn’t get in to see the Book of Kells ( Lines way too long…. ), I did walk around Trinity College, Dublin, and got to see a perfect pint pulled in a pub in Cork…. Found a pub in Belfast that first opened in 1635, by Queen’s charter, which served excellent bangers and mash….
I had a long lesson in humility, dignity, compassion, and love this year, from reconnecting with, and going twice to visit in Texas, my high school classmate, Carole Heaton Oliveiro…. She contracted cancer, in a particularly virulent, painful form, and went, undeservedly, but with magnificent strength and will, through treatment for over a year, only to pass away in less than a week from being diagnosed as terminal.
Her ordeal brought her very close to me, and I will always cherish getting to know her better here at the end of our lives…. Bonus: I got in touch with other old friends through her…. Also, traveling to see her, while for emotional reasons, turned out to be my most instructive trips, in terms of how my age and condition now affects all I do when on the road…..
During this entire year, I’ve also been falling more and more in love with Patricia, and find a great deal of contentment from just being together, even though the past two months have been a physical nightmare for both of us…. I’ve been fighting bronchitis, apparently for about two months now, while she, we just found out last week, has had pneumonia for the past month, at least, and possibly longer. It’s possible we both succumbed to travel fatigue, after three cruises in five months, one of eleven days, one of seven, and one of four; but, to believe that would be to give in to feeling old, and we’ve agreed to NOT allow this to affect our travel plans…. 😉
Now that the chatty portion of today’s program has been fulfilled, beyond all hope or expectation, I will get to the point of this, which, though it may not seem so, was planned just this way from the start of this section…. GASP! Imagine that…. forethought by gigoid…. What will they think of next?…..
So, the point of Spinoza’s wisdom, of course, extends beyond the merely personal level on which my discussion above rests; more significantly, it can apply without effort to include the entire world, and, all of mankind’s folly, which, as we know, is legion, and imminently dangerous…. I spent a great deal of time in 2013 writing about who I think is to blame for the world’s state of impending crisis, so I won’t insult you by saying I’ll leave them alone this year…. But, what Spinoza says is true, and if we don’t start looking at what has happened in the past, we are going to continue to have a present that will eventually kill us, in a very short time, cosmically speaking….
THIS is what we need to be looking at in the coming days and years, ffolkes… Global warming is a reality that cannot be denied, or ignored any longer, not without the very real risk of suicide, for ALL OF US. If we, as a species, do not make necessary changes, to human nature, and to the way we approach Life in general as a species, in re: planetary resources and the biosphere….. well, then, in the next five decades (NOT centuries, NOT millennia, I said, and can show proof that we are talking about DECADES!…), if nothing is done, we are all going to die, and that is the “unfortunate truth”…..
Okay, for a retrospective, that ain’t bad, and you can be sure, on this subject, there will be more to come…. for now, I think I’ve done all the damage I can do for one day….. I’ll leave y’all with just this thought…..
“Anaxagoras said to a man who was grieving because he was dying in a foreign land, “The descent to Hades is the same from every place.” — Diogenes Laertius (c. 200 AD) — Anaxagoras, vi
Well, there is no doubt whatsoever that I have done all the damage I can possibly do in one Pearl…. I’m not sure what that means in terms of the next year, but, I suppose we’ll see, won’t we? I’m done, ffolkes, and deserve a break, after this one…. It’s all fresh, other than the poem by Keats, so, it took a lot out of me…. well worth it, from my view…. Better out than in, right? Right!….. See you tomorrow…..
Y’all take care out there,
and May the Metaphorse be with you;
Blessed Be, dearest Carole, Mark, and Theresa…
and everyone else, too…
When I works, I works hard.
When I sits, I sits loose.
When I thinks, I falls asleep.
Which is Why….
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.