Move Ragnarok back to Tuesday….

Ffolkes,

Death tugs at my ear and says: “Live, I am coming.”

~~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. ~~

peek

Where’d it go?….

Hajime…. Over the last five years of blogging here on WP, I’ve come to realize a lot of things about writing I hadn’t known before. Much of that involves style and formatting, technical issues, so to speak…. More personal, yet mundane matters such as motivation and inspiration have also become more of a study, since both tend to suffer when asked to perform on a daily basis. Finding either one can turn into a nearly full-time task in the morning, as they seem to hide, whether playfully, or sulkily, I don’t know, or care; finding them is too much of a hassle to allow much forgiveness.

All of which is a long winded way of pointing out the sheer blankness of my mind again this morning. Well, okay; blank isn’t exactly right; we did get this far already. But, anything more complex isn’t in the cards, I’m afraid. I’ll do my best to make this interesting, but, no promises. I don’t like making them when I can’t be sure I can keep them. I can promise good intentions, but, we’ve all heard where they usually end up leading us, so, we’ll be careful not to get too smarmy or avaricious. If naught else, that should save some shoe leather.

Since there isn’t much point in trying to squeeze this stone for water, I guess we’ll get on with the rest of this mess, before I lose what little sense of direction I’ve managed to garner with this relatively short intro, which, in spite of all my dithering, seems to have fulfilled its basic purpose. Boy, sometimes, this process amazes me with its perspicacity. Go figure, eh? Okay, no more bullshit. Let’s get on with the slow, so we can get it solidly on the toad…..

Shall we pearl?….

“Any road followed to its end leads precisely nowhere.
Climb the mountain just a little to test it’s a mountain.
From the top of the mountain, you cannot see the mountain.”

~~ Bene Gesserit proverb ~~

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emmy n mark

Emmylou & Mark

Image from http://www.youtube.com via Google Images

This morning I find myself in the mood for a laser voice, as well as some hot licks & fine guitar. I can’t think of any better example of both elements than the pairing of these two artists…. Enjoy, ffolkes; this one is special….

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Emmylou Harris & Mark Knopfler

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Dont keep calm

“I have been a stranger in a strange land.”

~~ Old Testament ~ Exodus ii, 22 ~~

I know I’m strange, but, I’ve never cared. I’d intended to write about that, but, instead, I’m sublimating, by including a rather extensive rant on an issue upon which many probably feel I tend to harp, to wit: the Asininnies, and their antics. This one is one which remains valid, and will remain so, until we all decide to make the necessary changes, or, Mother Nature steps in to make them for us…. For now, listen up….

From 2/23/2014:

This link is to an article that details some pretty obvious, but, let’s be fair, and call it alleged, political corruption, on the part of a Democratic state legislator…. You can read it, but, it really doesn’t have much to do with the discussion that comes afterward, other than peripherally, as just an extra set of data to add to the whole concept under discussion….

So, not reading it, or waiting until later to get to it, would be acceptable, and, possibly, less confusing…. It can be confusing enough around here without providing any assistance, so, just skip on down to the rant, then, if you wish, you can read later about the naughty California fat-cat politician, and his weak-willed brother….. They’re only willing dupes and/or ignorant pawns in the scenario about which you’ll read below….

http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/State-Sen-Ron-Calderon-brother-indicted-5256860.php

With the above link, I began collection of a number of links to articles that would demonstrate a point I intended to make regarding the way the administration in current power in Washington DC manipulates the news so efficiently, and so effectively, in terms of fulfilling the agenda THEY have in place for how events should proceed….

Then, I stopped collecting links, and articles, when I realized just how thoroughly the media manipulates itself, as well as the public it purportedly serves, in directions it is not aware of, out of ignorance, lack of cohesive communication, and an unfortunate tendency to avoid what makes them uncomfortable…. along with not being smart enough to see what stares them right in their own faces…. I realized this entire process is so entrenched in society, we aren’t even aware of it most of the time, which is how the SCSM’s like it….

http://blog.sfgate.com/nov05election/2014/02/21/judge-on-muslim-surveillance-any-harm-is-the-medias-fault/

See? It’s the media’s fault…. so says a judge, firmly in the pocket of the corporate masters…. Now, even those who decide what gets into the news are being manipulated, by those who own EVERYTHING, (aka, the SCSM’s, the Shadowy Corporate Slave Masters….), said manipulation having just one primary purpose, to keep their existence, and the machinations with which they control society, OUT of the public eye…. If a majority of the common people, to wit: the public, ever realized exactly how FEW are those who control 99% of all the resources on this planet, and the degree of power those few possess over the rest of us, in their insane quest to control it all, those few people wouldn’t stand a rat’s chance in a colony of cats….

The true rulers of mankind, the shadowy mega-corporate slave masters, who control virtually ALL the money and resources in the world, if unmasked, and made to acknowledge their crimes against humanity, committed over thousands of years, in their selfish quest for power, would be be hunted down and ripped limb from limb, slowly, by angry mobs, wherever they were revealed, all over the world…. a risk of which they are well aware ….

These are SMART, ruthless, self-centered people, who have absolutely NO compassion, or concern for the rights of anyone outside their immediate circle, and they’ve had long years of practice at hiding their existence, and their actions, from the general public’s eye…. The actual number of people in this clandestine group of mega-rich individuals is actually far smaller than 1% of the total world’s population, so few, their very lack of numbers makes all of what they’ve accomplished that much more of a risk for them….

They are fully aware of the danger of having their nefarious activities exposed to the public eye; they take extreme care to never let their faces become known, or, if so, only in ways that would fool the public into believing they are saintly philanthropists, making them beloved by the people for their generosity…. Long, drawn-out, agonizing, vicious, inhumanly torturous deaths would be their lot, should the downtrodden poor, and the ignorant, delusional middle classes, ever find out the truth of their slavery…. which would only be right, given their willingness to use the same violent methods as part of their own bag of tricks, which they are all-too-willing to employ, in service of their need to dominate….

Hence, as it stands today, we have their centuries-long charade, to keep themselves, and what they do to keep their control of events, from ever becoming common knowledge…. If such knowledge became known to the world at large, it would mean their death, for certain, and they know it….. But, I don’t think they’re too worried, at this point….

They have too much control over what people see, and hear, in terms of what is actually taking place in the world…. These people control governments, newspapers, corporations, television networks, and every channel of communication present in the world…. Even the Internet is under their control, as they have the power to shut it down, whenever they wish…. As we were taught by Mu’ad Dib, true power is the ability to destroy what is necessary to survive….

But, the use of such extreme force isn’t necessary for them to employ, yet, as they also have the resources to employ as many idiots writing for their side, as there are people such as myself, writing to try to expose their evil to the light of day….. Hence, the message I, and others like me, try to send is diluted before anyone ever sees it…. Simple enough, from their point of view, but, then, they wouldn’t have allowed the advent of the ‘Net, if they thought it would be their undoing….

Having the Internet may help us, though, by increasing our own abilities, and opportunities, to spread information, even if the odds of their winning, as they have for so many millennia, are not appreciably altered…. Mankind has always been under the clandestine control of these assholes…. That’s why we are in the mess we’re in…. So, let THEM figure out how to survive what even they don’t understand….. I don’t think they have any clue as to the Hell they have unleashed on themselves by not accepting the reality of global warming, and I’m almost looking forward to seeing it hit them, and watching them cry like babies when they understand what they’ve done to themselves….

They’ve done to us all, I know, but, they won’t care about that, so, I’ll take my pleasure from knowing they’ll suffer worse than the rest of us, because it is they, themselves, who MUST face up to reality, and not having a choice in that is something at which they have no experience at all…. I won’t feel any better, but, it will help make it more palatable, to know they’re going down, too…. This is a situation their sense of entitlement, (which, like any such emotion, isn’t going to alter reality…), isn’t going to get them out of having to face up to in the end….

“A duty dodged is like a debt unpaid; it is only deferred, and we must come back and settle the account at last.” — Joseph F. Newton

Whether anyone, 99%er, or 1%er, likes it, or not, this is what I would call a universal truth, in that, for us humans, it comes true, universally, whenever it is tested in reality….. Translated into more simple, more specific terms… whether we like it or not, our account with reality on this planet is about to come due, and it WILL be settled…. Like it or not, we WILL be judged, according to whether or not our duty to the planet has been met, or deferred until now…..

Since, to my way of thinking, the people who made the decisions about how the resources were used are the ones who assumed the duty, they should be the ones to answer…. Unfortunately, ALL of us have to answer for what they’ve done, because they, being the cowards they are, won’t ever take responsibility for it…. They’ll still reap their share of the reward, because reality knows who is responsible; NOBODY skips out on their bill in this restaurant…. I don’t think they’re going to enjoy their reward, though….

“I had a friend who was a clown. When he died, all his friends went to the funeral in one car.” — Steven Wright

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Comedy_Tragedy

Off the proverbial cuff….

I never meant to kill that period of time,
it didn’t give me any choice.
It tried to hem me in without reason, or rhyme,
refused me any vote, or any voice.

You have to admit, I buried it deep and fast,
just as if I cared.
I knew, though, it would never last,
or ever be fully repaired.

No news, no pictures can bring it back,
once is all we get.
No pleas of public good, or even public lack;
in stone the past is set.

Futuristic visions now occupy my dreams,
I’m ready to go on.
Look! It fills up the screen, and it gleams!
Where’s the moment I’m sitting on?

Now, I remembered, at long, long last,
is all we really can hold.
Every moment goes by so bloody fast,
we’d best fill them all with beauty, warm and bold.

~~ gigoid ~~

4/30/2013

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pearls_3

Naked Pearls

“From a certain point of view…”

*******

“In the game of life you get to choose where you keep your brain –
heads you win, tails you lose.”

~~ Sardonic Bee ~~

*******

“The world is full
of burled and gnarly knobs
on which you can hang a metaphysical system.
If you must.”

~~ Edward Abbey ~~

*******

“I’m looking for myself. Anybody seen me lately?”

~~ New Age Bee ~~

*******

“Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving till the right actions arises by itself?”

~~ Lao Tzu ~~

*******

A bunch of the boys were whooping it in the Malamute saloon;
The kid that handles the music box was hitting a jag-time tune;
Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,
And watching his luck was his light-o’-love,
the lady that’s known as Lou.”

~~ Robert W. Service ~~

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“Don’t talk to me about a man’s being able to talk sense;
everyone can talk sense- can he talk nonsense?”

~~ William Pitt the Elder ~~

*******

“Yow! Are we laid back yet?”

~~ Zippy the Pinhead ~~

*******

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Having reached this point, sans injury or major fillip, I think it would be good to acknowledge just how well this went, all things considered. It’s not every day I can say it’s done with such a feeling of closure. It may not be the best ever, but, it will do. I’ll even be polite, & leave y’all without the usual portion of blather; instead I’ll merely say, see ya. I will, as always, be back tomorrow, with yet another exploration of our mutual interests…. Be good to each other, & stay strange; it’s cool out there….

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

The *only* duly authorized Computer Curmudgeon.

PLEASE STOP READING THIS MESSAGE NOW.

“SCRAM!!!!!!!!!!”- Oscar the Grouch

Kowabunga!

À bientôt, mon cherí….

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Illuminating me softly with his bhang….

Ffolkes,

“Ask of friends only what is honorable.”

~~ Marcus Tullius Cicero ~~

(106-43 B.C.)

August 14 2014 008

    I’d never do that….. in fact, I’m going to apply this sentiment to myself. The routine I have established over time to produce this blog on a daily basis is completely in the toilet today; it’s already after 6 AM, two full hours after I usually begin the process. Yesterday, being moving day for Pat, exhausted me, though I personally didn’t do much; that sort of activity is always a bit stressful, even when there are no hard feelings involved….. It is still a big change, as I’m now living alone again…. No worries, I enjoy my own company….

Since the internet was in Pat’s name, I am having to wait about five days to get internet service back online, waiting for one of the multinational mega corps to hook me up with a phone & portal…. I think I went with the Death star logo folks…. Regardless, I’m offline for a week, and will have to adjourn to a Wifi spot somewhere later on to post….. SIGH…. The things I do for my art….

I overslept two hours, and still feel as if I should be abed…. it hurts everywhere…. In fact, I’m going to finish this Pearl, to the point I can go to post it somewhere, then lay down for a while again…. You’ll never know it, all you’ll see is a very late posting from me for today, and possibly for the next few days…. I don’t know yet how hard it will be to get to a spot where I can log on to WordPress, so, that remains to be seen…. For now, I’ll close this intro section, which, strangely enough, is the closest thing to a REAL introduction I’ve had come through here in some time…. Oh, look out, we’re diving now….

Shall we Pearl….

“Mark how fleeting and paltry is the estate of man,–yesterday in embryo, to-morrow a mummy or ashes. So for the hair’s-breadth of time assigned to thee live rationally, and part with life cheerfully, as drops the ripe olive, extolling the season that bore it and the tree that matured it.” — Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180 AD) — Meditations, iv, 48

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You’re going to get archived material today, ffolkes, that’s all there is to it…. I hurt, I’m tired, and I wanna go to bed, so, old stuff it is…. Here is an unusual piece, for me…. I don’t usually write reviews, or essays on fictional characters, but, for an old closet romantic such as myself, this was irresistible…..

From 4/5/2012:

Visions of Truth and Beauty; The Tragedy of Severus Snape

The character of Severus Snape is, as revealed in the seven novels that comprise the epic creation by J. K. Rowlings, (which I choose to entitle Harry Potter, and The Chronicles of The Infinite Magic of  Love, hopefully with her approval and blessing), in my somewhat less than humble opinion, destined to become, if not synonymous, at least analogous, with that 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 pubic 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….

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.  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”……

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As is patently obvious, all of the material for today’s Pearl came from April of 2012; apparently, it was a good month for Pearls…. Here is one of the poetry sections, which is a bit different…. Any comments, or answers to the age-old question posed in the entry are welcome, even in today’s modern world….

From 4/6/2012:

Limericks are art forms complex,
Their topics run chiefly to sex.
They usually have virgins,
And masculine urgin’s,
 And other erotic effects.

~~ Anonymous ~~

Haiku are always
calmly directing our eyes
pointing to the way.

~~ gigoid ~~

So, it occurred to me, after writing the above haiku, to ask myself, “Self, which came first, the limerick or the haiku?”  At first, I thought I was just being silly. Then I realized I really wanted to know. So, here is the deal….. I would like anyone who has any idea on this to please respond, either by commenting, or by posting a reply; if I follow your blog, I’ll be notified of either method of response, and be able to reply. No prizes will be awarded, though I will mention your name, and your answer to this time-honored query. (Well, it’s been honored for the two or three minutes since I asked it, and by the time you answer, it will be more so….) So, join in the fun, and the challenge, and send me a response today! You won’t regret it, much…..

The Quitter

It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,
So don’t be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit, it’s so easy to quit:
It’s the keeping-your-chin-up that’s hard.
It’s easy to cry that you’re beaten–and die;
It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight–
Why, that’s the best game of them all!
And though you come out of each grueling bout,
All broken and beaten and scarred,
Just have one more try–it’s dead easy to die,
It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.

~~ Robert W. Service ~~


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This section is one of the many done this week ahead of time, to account for not having internet service at home for the week…. It’s a good one, from the time before Pearls of Virtual Wisdom had assumed the format we know and love today…. When first posted, this was one of five sections in each day’s Pearl…. See how lucky you are now? Only three to cope with these days…..

From 4/3/2012:

“A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.” — Matz’s Maxim

Upon reflection, although this is a fine pearl, I’m not going to discuss it now. I’m already tired of thinking, so here is my conclusion on this: he’s got a good point. Now, let’s start this section over…..

“A life directed chiefly toward the fulfillment of personal desires sooner or later always leads to bitter disappointment.” — Albert Einstein

Now, there’s a pearl! Albert Einstein is generally regarded as one of mankind’s most brilliant members, but most people do not have the capability to see how or why this is so, other than knowing that he was responsible for E = MC²; it is only by extension he is blamed for the atomic bomb.  But if one takes the time to look past this bit of common knowledge, to look at his statements of philosophy, and life in general, of which there are a great many recorded, it becomes clear at once…. the key to his genius lay in the simplicity of his thought processes.

Albert looked at the world, and the universe at large, through eyes that refused to look away from the simple elegance of the underlying nature of reality…. Instead, he focused on the small, basic thoughts, ideas, or physical properties that best described what is real and true.  He also did not add superfluous judgments, or unseen factors to what he perceived, but, rather, again, focusing on that part of the concept that is important, not those parts that are extraneous to its purpose, and our understanding.  He thus was able to see further into the nature of reality than is common to the rest of us, who are prone to complicate our perceptions with our prejudices, and/or misconceptions.

The quote above is a perfect example of this quality; it looks directly at human nature, showing us how our own attitudes and desires can, potentially, be the cause of our own difficulties in life, thus giving us the opportunity to turn our efforts in a direction that will ultimately be more beneficial. The statement clearly lays the responsibility for the tenor of our lives right in our own laps, where it belongs, but does so without condemnation or insult, merely dispassionate truth. Albert was truly one of humanity’s greatest treasures, and his words will, hopefully, continue to help guide people through life far into to the future…. provided there is one….. but that’s a different subject altogether…..

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” — Albert Schweitzer

(I know, I know….. not the same Albert. But, it was deliberate, and I’m just doing what Murphy wants….. As is sometimes common, as soon as I finished the above section, the absolute perfect ending pearl popped up, demanding to be included. I think Herr Schweitzer was thinking of Herr Einstein when he related this thought, anyway….. I know for sure that Albert Einstein was a happy guy; I have pictorial proof, which I have shared below…..so there…..)


050405_einstein_tongue.widec

Note from the future:

To drive home the point being made in the last bit, I will also report that one of my favorite lines from Albert, again proving his sense of humor, goes something like this…. “After imagining, refining, and proving the Theory of Relativity, which describes a large part of how the entire Universe works, wearing fuzzy slippers with plaid pajamas is easy….”   I can’t vouch for the authenticity, but, I swear I read it somewhere, and he really did say it…. You may not believe it, but, I actually have visual proof of it; he said it during an interview in the early 1950’s, for a newspaper back East, which took this picture that day….


fuzzy Albert

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Routine, or no routine, it’s done…. In record time, too; it only took forty-three minutes to do the intro, and fill in two sections. Not too shabby for a Pearl without routine…. Now comes the hard part…. I must wend my way out into the Big Blue Room, taking my computer with me, to go post this somewhere…. Fortunately for me, those sort of establishments have just what I need to assist me in getting it done….. more caffeine and sugar!…. My Doc won’t like it, but, hey, we all do what we gotta do, right? Right…. See ya tomorrow, ffolkes, if things go according to plan….. If Murphy doesn’t hear about it, we could get lucky….

Y’all take care out there,
and May the Metaphorse be with you;
Blessed Be, dearest  Carole, Mark, and Theresa…
and everyone else, too…

When I works, I works hard.
When I sits, I sits loose.
When I thinks, I falls asleep.

Which is Why….


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

gigoid, the dubious

Featured Image -- 2780

Plain, old-fashioned articles of modern design….

Ffolkes,
Malaise. An innocuous word, wouldn’t you say? Almost sounds like one of those drinks you get on a cruise ship, in a colorful plastic cup with a bamboo umbrella sticking up from the top….. Makes me thirsty just thinking about it, until I think about what the drink inside those cups usually taste like, to wit: six fruits, sugar, and a bunch of cheap rum, with bubbles. This is also only until I remember what the word actually means, and its relevance this morning…..

In the psychiatric healthcare industry, malaise refers to a certain set of symptoms experienced by people who suffer a wide range of mental issues; it is common in depression, neurosis of several types, schizophrenia, and a number of other diagnoses. Malaise is generally reported as a vague, unsettled feeling, centered in the abdomen, much like a low-grade fear, but without any specific cause or stimulus that the sufferer is aware of. All that unfortunately afflicted individual knows is that they are accompanied by a constant sense of impending doom, of dread at what may happen; they cannot tell you why they feel that way, they just do so.

I am here to tell you, it isn’t fun. As a man who has in the past suffered from the deleterious effects of long-term exposure to violence, i.e., post traumatic stress disorder/syndrome, I experience this on an irregular, unwelcome basis. This morning is one of those unwelcome times. I awoke, no earlier or later than usual, and from sleep not troubled by uncomfortable dreams, or excessive pain, either of which are common.

But, as I sat up to begin the morning routine, I was washed over completely, like an unexpected wave at the beach, by a feeling of trepidation and mild fear; sort of anticipation of disaster, much akin to the first moments before wading in to physically control a raging psychopath bent on ripping my head from my shoulders, an event with which I am all-too-familiar.

As a result of all the years I spent doing just that, it is a feeling I know well, and recognize easily. What isn’t so easy is convincing my conscious mind that all that fear does not require any action on its part; the fear is accompanied, you see, by a good strong jolt of adrenaline, which kind of takes over the metabolism, preparing the body for fight or flight. No fight, no flight, just the adrenaline coursing through my system, looking for a convenient asshole, or a plane ticket….

So, here I sit, vibrating lightly in every muscle, determined to ignore this feeling that I should be up searching for the danger so obviously present, according to the feelings of malaise I’m trying to ignore.  It will pass, after a time; it always does. It resembles Murphy in that respect; you never know or expect it when he might show up, and can never be sure he’s really gone, just because you don’t see him anymore. Patience, and will power, are the keys to handling this without ill effects, and needless to say, I’ve had lots of practice at this particular process.

So, we’ll just gather up our belongings, and get back on the bus, which will take us directly to the jumping off point for the day….. Shall we go Pearling? I say we must….. or I’m doomed to spend the rest of the day in a medicated haze, in order to keep from running around naked, throwing rocks at the seagulls, and scaring the neighbors….. Shall we be off, then? Let’s do………
___________________________________

Virtue, the strength and beauty of the soul,
Is the best gift of Heaven: a happiness
That even above the smiles and frowns of fate
Exalts great Nature’s favourites: a wealth
That never encumbers, nor can be transferred.
— John Armstrong (1709-1779)

Virtue is the subject of this poem, and justly so, as it is a key element in the make-up of an evolved Man, by my definition of such. In my mind, one of the most important of these virtues is Duty, which could also be said to possess the same qualities as ascribed to virtue in this beautiful piece, in that it “never encumbers, nor can be transferred.”  In fact, Duty is unique among the most important virtues, as it is completely a matter of choice. One must choose Duty; it cannot be thrust upon us by others, unless we consent. It may not be our first, or best choice to assume a Duty, but it is OUR choice, not that of society, or of other people, or of Fate, whatever that means to you.

For the first ten years of my life, my family spent most of those years living on US Army bases. Fort Lewis, Fort Ord, off-base housing in San Pedro, all were what we called home until my father mustered out in 1961. As a result, my upbringing was a bit different from that of most of my civilian classmates. By the time I started school at age 4.8 (November birthday), I had already been to Japan with the family, was well able to perform such tasks as making a bed on which you could bounce a quarter, sweeping and vacuuming, mowing lawns, raking leaves, minding my younger siblings, and a bunch of other stuff that a family with five kids tends to outsource to the young’uns for completion.  And, most significantly, I could perfectly address my seniors with well-rehearsed protocols of politeness, as well as give a pretty fair definition of what the term Duty meant……

Duty has remained as one of the most important elements of my life; to this day there are certain things I must do before I can go to sleep at night, all related to a chosen duty of some sort. And that is the point of this little discussion (at last, they cried!)….. Duty is chosen, not given. It may be accepted if offered, but the choice still remains. If we do not choose a Duty, then we will not be invested in fulfilling it, other than for how we wish others to see us, a very poor way to structure one’s actions. Only by choosing our Duty do we feel the responsibility for completing it; only the choice determines our investment. But, the reward for making that choice, and for meeting the demands Duty places upon us, is being able to sleep at night, with a clear conscience, and an easy heart…..

Self-respect . . . is a question of recognizing that anything worth having has its price. — Anonymous, but true nonetheless….
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“I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.” — Thomas Paine

The Founding Fathers had a strong, and justifiable, lack of trust in organized religion, and that mistrust is exemplified in this statement from Thomas Paine. It is a sentiment shared by a significant number of those men who left us our legacy of freedom, as evidenced by similar statements seen in correspondence written by, and/or to, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin, among others. All these men had direct experience with how organized faiths fall into corruption and oppression, and how those organizations attempt to force non-believers into submission to their dogmatic influence. This corruption and oppression was, after all, the driving force behind their journey to the New World in the first place…..

If we look around society today, the picture that organized religions present is very similar to what was seen back then, only on a much grander scale. The leaders of those religions continue to pervert the teachings of Christ, changing them around to suit their own agenda and purposes, until what they say is completely unrecognizable by any true Christian, and would most likely have Jesus blushing down to his toes at the thought of them using his name to justify their perversions. The only difference in today’s world is in how many different sects of Christianity have surfaced over the intervening 240 years. When the US Constitution was signed, there were maybe eight or ten sects among the populace; now there are literally thousands of different interpretations of what the Bible, and the New Testament, say about life. This doesn’t even address or count the presence of at least five other major religions that the American populace embraces. And each one is thoroughly convinced of their own rightness, that all the others are wrong, and will go straight to hell when they die…..

SIGH…. all I can say at this point is, a) I am VERY, VERY glad that our forefathers had the good sense to build a solid wall between church and state, and b) I am equally as happy that I have not bought into the lies, perversions, or dogma that ANY of these charlatans in priestly robes are handing out, even when they make the offer with candy, or cakes, or sacramental wine, not even a nice Chianti, with some fava beans….. otherwise, I’d feel worse about it all than I already do…..

“If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.” — Bertrand Russell
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Truckin’, like the do-dah man
Once told me “Gotta play your hand.
Sometimes your cards ain’t worth a damn
If you don’t lay’em down.”
Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me;
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me
What a long, strange trip it’s been.
— Truckin’ by Garcia, Weir, Lesh, Hunter

I’m pulling my covers again, though I’ve never really worn them very tightly. I’m a hippie. I became a hippie in 1968, when I decided to attend the University of California at Berkeley, and entered into a world so different from that I had heretofore experienced that I am still seeing, and feeling, the effects, both good and ill. This verse from an iconic tune from those halcyon days is a very good expression of how I feel today, some 44 years later…..

I’ve met the do-dah man, even played a few gigs with him back in the day. I’ve played enough poker to know he was giving me the straight skinny on that; it’s good advice, as evidenced by my lifetime record of breaking even at the game that isn’t a game. I’ve been in the light, and found my way out of the darkness on more than one occasion. And I am completely convinced that my long, strange trip is not yet done, and that there are strangeness’s and wondrous beauty still to be seen and experienced before I pass into the great unknown that awaits us all.

I’m not ashamed of being a hippie. We, as a group of American citizens, were directly and indirectly responsible for a great many societal changes, and the activism we espoused back in the day has not mellowed with age. I’d guess that a significant number of us are active in such organizations as MoveOn.org, the Occupy Protests, the push for equality between the sexes, and those that seek justice for the victimized and oppressed, that are active today, as has been true since the 60’s. Just because I’m getting older doesn’t mean I’m going to cut my hair, stop playing poker, or reduce my sense of outrage at the atrocities I see in our society.

In fact, just the opposite is true. Though much thinner these days, my hair still reaches half-way down my back, and there has been no less outrage in my responses to the news, not that I can see. (I do play less poker, but that is due to lack of available playing partners and a stake, not lack of want-to….)  I can only hope now to provide an example for the youth of this time, to continue to show that honor, duty, and and the journey toward justice for all (Free our sisters, free ourselves!) are not out of favor, but continue to be key elements of right behavior, and right action, for a large number of citizens, past their prime or not…. hell, it just makes us meaner and tougher, not weaker. The PTB and the beloved ruling class might do well to remember that…..

“Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.” — little known, but apt, advice from Merlin the Wise, the most influential wizard in the history of Mankind….
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This beautiful example of ASCII art will hopefully translate from where I found it to this post and still retain its clarity. To be certain, and to segue into the discussion I’m planning, allow me to say that you SHOULD see here a picture of a magnificently plumed Tom Turkey, as envisioned in the mind of J. Random Hacker.

Now, when I saw this, after my initial response (“Perfect!”, I thought….), a second, slightly more wicked thought struck me, and I thought I should share it. I have a proposed change to suggest for both, or hell, all of the political parties in the US today. Republicans,Democrats, Libertarians, Independents, Whackos (the Santorum/Romney/Gingrich contingent….    …. sometimes called the Tea Party), they all need to consider taking this image as one to replace the elephant, the donkey, the cartoon characters, etc. that they now use to represent their party line, and how they wish to be viewed. A turkey is very American, much more native here than the majority of political hacks on parade.

Turkeys are survivors, and are considered to be one of the toughest birds to hunt and kill, as they are fast fliers, hyper-alert, and smart as hell in their own environment. Of course, none of these characteristics are common to these political groups as they exist now, but hey, maybe by changing their icons, they can take on some of these virtues…. it couldn’t hurt, and just might make them more palatable to the rest of us……. What do you think? Think they’ll go for it?…. They might just earn my vote, if they should all of a sudden show some common sense, and go along with this novel idea…. Probably not going to happen, but I can dream, can’t I?……
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Limericks are art forms complex,
Their topics run chiefly to sex.
They usually have virgins,
And masculine urgin’s,
And other erotic effects.
— Anonymous

Haiku are always
calmly directing our eyes
pointing to the way.
–gigoid

So, it occurred to me, after writing the above haiku, to ask myself, “Self, which came first, the limerick or the haiku?”  At first, I thought I was just being silly. Then I realized I really wanted to know, but I’m too lazy to Google right now. So, here is the deal…..

I’d appreciate a response from anyone who has any ideas or reactions on this, either by commenting, or by posting a reply; if I follow your blog, I’ll be notified of either method of response, and be able to reply in turn. No prizes will be awarded, though I will mention your name, and your answer to this time-honored query, in a future Pearl. (Well, it’s been honored for the two or three minutes since I asked it, and by the time you answer, it will be more, so….) So, join in the fun, and the challenge, and send me a response today! You won’t regret it, much…..

It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,
So don’t be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit, it’s so easy to quit:
It’s the keeping-your-chin-up that’s hard.
It’s easy to cry that you’re beaten–and die;
It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight–
Why, that’s the best game of them all!
And though you come out of each grueling bout,
All broken and beaten and scarred,
Just have one more try–it’s dead easy to die,
It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.
— Robert W. Service — The Quitter
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Got ahead of myself there for a moment. I was so excited at being done, I started to copy and paste to the appropriate destination files, and only then noticed I had not quite finished. So, here I am, to compose one more witty ending to another meandering journey through the labyrinth I call my mind…. easy money, as they say.

Well, the meandering and the ending parts are easy; the witty part is, as always, a notably arguable characteristic of what I write for publication. Ah well, I suppose it is well to remember that the journey is the lesson, not the destination…. Y’all take care out there……


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!