Forget the biscuits, into the water taxi….

“What a charming delusion!”, I thought to myself. “He thinks he is a pothole.” Since he’d asked so nicely, I gave him the bit of ground up coal shards he wanted to fill himself in, and shut the door. Turning back to the stove, I noted that the bacon grease had caught fire, and the whole wall was burning. Sighing in resignation, I turned on the automatic fire suppression system, shut off the lights, and left to go get some breakfast at the corner deli….. Sometimes, it isn’t worth getting up at all….

The deli was crowded with the usual midnight crowd (hey, we all like breakfast at different times!…. and the corner is a LONG walk away….), just out of the theater down the street, which is playing a classic version of “Phantom of the Opera”, complete with appalling  organ music, shabby, out-dated costumes, and glaringly ugly stage sets. I could tell the theater-goers by the vacuous, glazed expressions of their companions, and the baldness of their heads under the top hats.

Hungry now, I pushed through them, and hollered over their heads to Kim, the Korean imam behind the counter, “My usual,  Kim!” He replied, as always, “Fuck you, white boy, you wait like the rest!”  Confident that would produce my plate of bacon and grits with raisins in no time, I meandered to the single booth, kicked the homeless sleeper’s feet off the bench, and sat down to wait….

Whoa! I’m glad that one let go when it did; I’m not sure I WANT to know where it was headed…. Loaded with strange, this morning I seem to be. Oh uh, Yoda-speak I have caught. Woe me is! Do, this never will; write I must, but like this, I cannot. Too weird it is, and scares me it does….. If stop it I cannot, do, can I what? Help!….

If I start to annoy you, just let me know…. my sense of strange often exceeds even my own tolerance, so I know it can bother other ffolkes as well. Maybe we should just get on with the normal (question-begging term, I know) program, and let the chips fall where they may…. It’s better than trying to translate English to Yoda…. shall we Pearl?…..

“Writing comes easy.  It’s just a matter of staring at a blank  piece of paper until your forehead bleeds.” — Ring Lardner

If one may accept the above as true, then my opening line from yesterday makes a lot more sense. (I had blood running down my face at the time, if you recall…) It also fits right in with the experience yesterday gave me in being unable to write as I would like; it was a four-hour descent into Hell, punctuated with numerous slaps to the forehead and uncountable curses. Even the fictional outbreaks were written with great effort, as the words just fought harder to stay off the screen the more I pushed at them to go.

Such days are hard on me, as writing is, for me, therapy. If I don’t write enough, I have this feeling all day that something isn’t quite right. Kind of like leaving the house, getting all the way across town, and remembering you left the stove burning under a pot of rice. Then you race home, to find you cooked the rice the day before…. It lends new meaning to the term, PITA….

I need my writing. In reading the news, and watching the parade of ignorance that plays out daily on the public stage, I build up a lot of angst, ( a side effect of caring, oddly enough…), and writing is what keeps that angst from building up to the point where an explosion is the only way to get it out. Those explosions can be dangerous, in my experience, so I write to try to at least put them off for a time.

Fortunately for us all, this morning seems to be going much better than yesterday, at least from the standpoint of finding pearls. All those fine little snippets of virtual wisdom were hiding out for most of the day, and yesterday came very close to the flash point by the time the Pearl was finished. But they’ve all come back out to play again today, and we can rest assured that, for at least one more day, I won’t get to the point where the following would be a possible scenario…..

“If I didn’t have writing, I’d be running down the street hurling grenades in people’s faces.” — Paul Fussell

A limerick packs laughs anatomical
Into space that is quite economical.
But the good ones I’ve seen
So seldom are clean,
And the clean ones so seldom are comical. — Smart Bee

So true! If one loves poetry, one must have a small soft spot for limericks. Personally, I love them, even the filthy ones. I don’t know why the form lends itself so well to such degradation by people’s imagination; I suspect it has more to do with human nature than with the form itself. People can turn almost any form of words into pornography of some sort, so well, it seems one of our most advanced modes of thought is innuendo of a sexual nature.

I would guess this is an evolutionary left-over from our past, adapting itself to a more civilized mode of communication than grunts and facial expressions. Humans are, after all, the only creatures on Earth who experience constant sexual readiness; all the other species have only certain times of the year when they are sexually able to reproduce. This constant state of randiness is probably where the urge to limerick was born….. Ah, who cares? They’re still cool, no matter why we make them, and this is a classic of the genre….even though it is clean…..

“Age ain’t nothin’ but a number. But age is other things too. It is wisdom, if one has lived one’s life properly. It is experience and knowledge. And it is getting to know all the ways the world turns, so that if you cannot turn the world the way you want, you can at least get out of the way so you won’t get run over.” — Miriam Makeba

It is always a surprise when an artist, known for their talent in a field of entertainment, says something that shows the kind of insight that this statement exhibits. Perhaps the fault for that lies within us, for there is really no reason to expect that a good artist is NOT insightful. In fact, one could make an argument that such insight would lead to a lot of this sort of wisdom in our most talented entertainers, just as it improves their art.

Of course, this isn’t true in all cases. There are far too many artists whose lives are obviously not under the control of a wise person, as they carry on their personal drama on public stages; dramas full of glaring stupidity, rather than wisdom.

But, in this case, and in many others I can point out (though I won’t just now….), the artist’s personal level of experience and knowledge has brought them to a place where they can see life quite clearly, and allows this kind of shared wisdom. It is a very nice bonus to see and hear such good advice as an addendum to Miriam’s body of work…. and, wow! Can she sing, or what?…. Amazing pipes!…..

A Mexican newspaper reports that bored Royal Air Force pilots stationed on the Falkland Islands have devised what they consider a marvelous new game.  Noting that the local penguins are fascinated by airplanes, the pilots search out a beach where the birds are gathered and fly slowly along it at the water’s edge.  Perhaps ten thousand penguins turn their heads in unison watching the planes go by, and when the pilots turn around and fly back, the birds turn their heads in the opposite direction, like spectators at a slow-motion tennis match.  Then, the paper reports, “The pilots fly out to sea and directly to the penguin colony and overfly it.  Heads go up, up, up, and ten thousand penguins fall over gently onto their backs.  — Audobon Society Magazine

Whether this is true or not, the visual image it gives is priceless. If true, I find it to be possibly the best-spent millions of dollars of public money in all of history, without exception. I can think of no better way for these million-pound/dollar aircraft, capable of destroying entire cities, to justify their existence, than to act as entertainment for a colony of penguins! Nothing you could say could change my take on this, either; sorry, but this is just too, too cool for fools, and it just tickles me pink (boy, talk about dating oneself by slang!) to picture this in my mind….. brilliant!    🙂

A man fell off a mountain and, as he fell, saw a branch and grabbed for it. By superhuman effort he was able to get a precarious grip on it.  As he was hanging there for dear life, he looked up and cried out,  “Is anybody there?”
A deep majestic voice answered,   “Yes my son, I am here. What do you need?”
“Help me!!” cried the man.
“I will help you”, said the voice, “just let go of the branch and you’ll be safe.  All you have to do is trust.”
The man thought for a moment and cried out:  “Anybody ELSE up there?”

Okay, I’m sorry…. I couldn’t resist. I know that taking potshots at religion is like shooting at empty beer cans; they have no real defenses. But this made me laugh out loud, and that in itself makes it worthy of inclusion in a Pearl. Besides, Smart Bee is once again trying to hide pearls from me, so I’ll take what I can get…. It’s worth a chuckle, then we can get on with the day….

As I edited this, I was reminded of one of my all-time favorite jokes, so, here it is…

Joe was a deliberate man, and waited a long time before falling in love, but when he did, he fell hard, and married at age 30. He took his beloved new wife to Mexico for their honeymoon, and they went to watch the cliff divers perform. A freak gust of wind blew his wife off the cliff, into the waves and rocks below; her body was never found.

Destroyed, Joe went home to LA and buried himself in work. After eight more years, he came out of his shell, fell in love, and married again. But, as they were boarding a cruise ship for a lovely honeymoon cruise, an earthquake struck, and his new wife was thrown overboard, and drowned before anyone could recover.

Naturally, Joe was again devastated, and hid himself again in his job. It took ten years, but he finally met a good woman, and decided to marry again. While flying to Las Vegas, the plane they were in was struck by a freak bolt of lightening, and crashed a few miles short of the lights of Las Vegas…

The pilot and Joe’s wife were killed instantly in the crash, but Joe was thrown clear, into a soft sand dune, only breaking his leg, and a few other insignificant bones. As he crawled, in agony, toward the lights in the distance, he despaired, and cried out in his anguish, “Why me, God, why me?”

A huge voice came out of the sky, and said, “I don’t know, Joe, there’s just something about you that has always pissed me off!”


As is often the case after I finish a Pearl, a sense of confusion has stolen over me, and I am left with a feeling that something isn’t quite right. But, as in all of those cases, I don’t give a rat’s ass, because, hey, I’m done, and there is no power on Earth that can make me go back and do it over….. not with current technology, anyway.

Of course, I’ve never been tempted with unlimited sexual favors to do so, but, as that remains pretty unlikely, I’m sticking with my policy. If such were ever put in front of me, and offered to me if I didn’t write, perhaps I’d consider it…. Hell, I’d go for it in a New York second; it’s been close to two years now I’ve been celibate, and there is little a male in that state can do to resist such a temptation, other than running away, and who’s stupid enough to do that?

Well, I suppose a touch of innuendo is an appropriate ending for such a strange interlude, so I’m going to let this fly…. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..

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



Purveyors of faint praise….

Today is Friday, which means it is also Friday the thirteenth. I am compelled to say, “Yipee!” and dance a quick jig, because I always have a good day when one of these rolls around. Maybe it has to do with my lack of superstition, though I do have certain personal rituals I perform that ensure the success of any venture (like the little dolls I make to stick pins into when one of my enemies annoys me, or rubbing a child’s head before buying lottery tickets). I could also claim that it is a lucky day for me because I’m a triple Scorpio. Well, I could if I gave any credence at all to astrology; it’s a pretty flimsy theory, without much evidence of being real. I’d say that astrology is just about as true as the myths of creation that tell us that the world was made about 8000 years ago, and all the evidence to the contrary was planted here to fool us into thinking it is real. Sorry, not buying it; why would I think an omnipotent entity  would play tricks like that? Seems a bit petty to my way of thinking….okay, enough distractions, lets get on to the meat of the meal…..

“It has been said that there are two theories of history: conspiracy and blunder. If there is some truth to that, it is surely equally true that blunder seldom receives all the credit due it as an explanation of complex events.” — Michael Scully

I would say that this is probably pretty accurate; after all, it is the winners who get to tell the story, and why would they make themselves look any worse than they already are? I believe that much of mankind’s progress up to now is, in fact, a result of blundering about, breaking the china and scaring the horses, until something serendipitous falls into someone’s lap.

The example most often given regarding inspiration that brings progress is that of Isaac Newton and the apple, which, according to history, fell upon his head unexpectedly, causing him to fall down and begin writing the 3 Laws of Motion. I think it more likely that he was trying to climb up to get the apple, and took a good fall onto his head; he just blamed it on the apple, and since he was the only witness, who can gainsay him?

This points out one of the less attractive, and most problematic of the characteristics of humans, and that is our inability to get beyond our childish feelings of insecurity. The older we get, the less able we become to handle the embarrassment or ridicule that follows a mistake, and the more contortions we will assume to keep others from seeing our Bozoid Tendencies. You see, like the Firesign Theater said, “I think we’re all Bozo’s on this bus!”; we all have the unfortunate ability to perform ridiculously stupid acts at times.

Most folks, though, don’t like to be thought of this way, and will go through almost anything to prevent themselves from looking inept in front of other folks. Me, I wish they’d just learn to laugh at themselves, and everyone else; maybe then they could grow up enough to be able to look directly at the things in society that we need to change, instead of childishly refusing to even look at the situation. Emotional maturity means dealing with whatever happens, without letting emotions control one’s actions, or reactions, and most of mankind doesn’t exhibit anything close to that sort of maturity……

A Mexican newspaper reports that bored Royal Air Force pilots stationed on the Falkland Islands have devised what they consider a marvelous new game.  Noting that the local penguins are fascinated by airplanes, the pilots search out a beach where the birds are gathered and fly slowly along it at the water’s edge.  Perhaps ten thousand penguins turn their heads in unison watching the planes go by, and when the pilots turn around and fly back, the birds turn their heads in the opposite direction, like spectators at a slow-motion tennis match.  Then, the paper reports, “The pilots fly out to sea and directly to the penguin colony and overfly it.  Heads go up, up, up, and ten thousand penguins fall over gently onto their backs. — Audobon Society Magazine

I can’t help it. I this is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read; the mental image of thousands of birds falling over kicks me right over into hilarity. And I really, really like the idea of some bozoids spending hundreds of thousands of dollars  to use their supersonic flying machines of death to create a work of visual art, with only one witness, the pilot. Superb irony! It brings reality right up next to fantasy, and gives it a big hug……

The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. “Where shall I begin, please your Majesty ?” he asked.  “Begin at the beginning,”, the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

“The entire world is being driven insane by this single phrase: ‘My religion alone is true.'” — Ramakrishna, Hindu saint & reformer

I guess that Christianity and Islam are not the only world religions that suffer from the actions of their more fanatical devotees. It seems to be a particularly human characteristic to take perfectly rational religious beliefs and twist them into a form that has a dual purpose, to wit: 1) the beliefs now support their own personal agenda, no matter how bigoted and ignorant, and 2) the beliefs now justify that agenda on religious grounds.

It’s been said that a good theologian can dip into Scripture and pull out any number of ideas that seemingly support their own brand of madness; much like a statistician, who can make the numbers in a database say anything at all. I’m sure there are a few genuinely religious preachers out there, who actually try to apply the principles of their religion into life in the way it was intended. But mostly, they are just politicians who have found an even easier set of marks to exploit….

“Any priest or shaman must be presumed guilty until proved innocent.” — Lazarus Long

All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.

A beautiful sentiment, one I would be happy to claim, had I but said it first.  I live alone now, having been summarily dismissed from my last relationship almost two years ago. But I can truthfully say that this is a statement I could make to each of the women I’ve loved, and for that matter, still love. None of my relationships was terminated at my instigation; I’m not a person who gives vows of fidelity lightly.

But as Tom Robbins pointed out in one of his books, “Finding love is easy, but, how can you make love stay?” I don’t know the answer, obviously; if I did, I’d still be married. What I do know is that my feelings for Carrie, Martha, Ellen, and Julie will never change. When I wrote my own vows for my marriage, one of them promised that I would love her more each day until the day I died, and beyond. I meant it then, and I still do. It’s the hardest thing I know of to be alone, when those you love have chosen to be elsewhere. And it’s especially hard when you don’t know why……

“Thinking, understanding, reasoning, willing, call not these Soul! They are its actions, but they are not its essence.” — Akhenaton? (c. B.C. 1375)

When? Oh, four thousand four hundred eighty-seven years ago… that all? I’ve got acne scars older than that! Well, perhaps not. But I am continually amazed at some of the things I find that were written this long ago. It gives credence to the idea that mankind’s first steps toward modern culture were the result of how our minds work, and our penchant for using our imagination to understand the universe around us. It has been said that the first science was Astronomy, which makes a lot of sense. But, simultaneously, we used Philosophy, and the principles of logic and reason, to apply meaning to what we observed.

Forty-four hundred years is a long time to be working on the same issues, and it seems to me we should be getting somewhere a bit faster than we are. But then I realize that there is another side to human nature, one that is not so moral and ethical as our scientific bent, and this side of us is in constant competition with our virtues to assume control of society. And they are winning, mostly because they have no compunctions against cheating, or lying, or manipulating events to suit their own purposes. We’ve been at this long enough; let’s make a concerted effort to nullify the negative effects of deliberate ignorance and fear. Perhaps we can even find a way to survive our own nature…..

The abyss stares back at me, unblinking, unmoved.
With passion unveiled, with honor unproved,
Seeking the path only begun
In hope of love, never undone.
I am as I am, unafraid, and so very alone.

There, that’s not bad, is it? Not much, but not bad……I’m stopping here, as I refuse to press my luck any further, even if it is Friday the 13th. I hope youse have as good a day as I intend to have. Y’all take care out there……

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