Clouds of vacuous attendants….

As I opened the door to the deli and pushed in out of the cold, steam from the sidewalk vent flowed in with me, disappearing in the warmth inside.  I had a moment of disorientation, a feeling of premonition that I realized had been with me all morning, distracting me during the walk through the dark streets from home.  Mrs. Cohen, one of the owners, looked up from behind the counter to smile at me, looking worried and relieved at once. “I wasn’t sure you would be in today, Nolan,” she stated in her soft accented voice, “I know you have a funeral to go to today.”

“I thought work might help me keep from thinking about it,” I replied. “And it seemed like what she would have wanted me to do.” With eyes shimmering, Mrs. Cohen just nodded, and said, “Well, then, you can start on the prep list, I suppose. We’re a little light on potato salads.” “Okay, I’ll cook off a bag of potatoes for the week.” Still somewhat distracted, I moved to the back of the store, into the kitchen, hanging my coat on the hooks by the back door. Flipping the lights on in the walk-in reefer, I ducked inside to check the inventory.

As I stepped back out of the reefer, I heard the front door bell jingle, and my feeling of premonition got stronger. Curious, I walked to the kitchen door, and looked out into the table area beyond the deli case. Just inside the door stood a…..

See, now, this is the problem…. I get started on a nice little story idea like this, then, just when it starts to get interesting, it all fades away, or like with this one, I have to take a break to stretch & ease up on the sitting. When I come back to it, it’s gone. Nowhere in my head to be found…. Oh, well, I guess it does provide me with some intriguing opening paragraphs, even if they’re pretty well non sequitor in re: the rest of what is here…. rather than complain any more about it, let’s go find some pearls, shall we?……

1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don’t hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
5. Clean up your own mess.
6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
7. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
9. Flush.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life–learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
15. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup–they all die. So do we.
16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned –the biggest word of all–LOOK.

— Robert Fulghum

Not everything needs a comment from me…. This doesn’t…..

“If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known  will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.” — James Thurber

I think that Mr. Thurber must have been a nice man, because this could have been expressed much more harshly. Instead he chose to use implication to point up his disappointment in the human spirit. He could have used words that would define more precisely just what it is about humans that makes us choose to act immorally much of the time, and do so in spite of knowing it is wrong. Dogs don’t seem capable of making that choice, unless they’ve been taught by a human to do so. They will almost always choose the act that is more ethical, or more moral; I would bet that is one reason why they sleep so well….. and why so many humans don’t…..


See what delights in sylvan scenes appear!
Descending Gods have found Elysium here.
In woods bright Venus with Adonis stray’d,
And chaste Diana haunts the forest shade.
Come lovely nymph, and bless the silent hours,
When swains from shearing seek their nightly bow’rs;
When weary reapers quit the sultry field,
And crown’d with corn, their thanks to Ceres yield.
This harmless grove no lurking viper hides,
But in my breast the serpent Love abides.
Here bees from blossoms sip the rosy dew,
But your Alexis knows no sweets but you.
Oh deign to visit our forsaken seats,
The mossy fountains, and the green retreats!
Where-e’er you walk, cool gales shall fan the glade,
Trees, where you sit, shall crowd into a shade,
Where-e’er you tread, the blushing flow’rs shall rise,
And all things flourish where you turn your eyes.
Oh! How I long with you to pass my days,
Invoke the muses, and resound your praise;
Your praise the birds shall chant in ev’ry grove,
And winds shall waft it to the pow’rs above.
But wou’d you sing, and rival Orpheus’ strain,
The wond’ring forests soon shou’d dance again,
The moving mountains hear the pow’rful call,
And headlong streams hang list’ning in their fall!
But see, the shepherds shun the noon-day heat,
The lowing herds to murm’ring brooks retreat,
To closer shades the panting flocks remove,
Ye Gods! And is there no relief for Love?
But soon the sun with milder rays descends
To the cool ocean, where his journey ends;
On me Love’s fiercer flames for ever prey,
By night he scorches, as he burns by day.

Alexander Pope

I subscribed to a new email notification service from a site called, and this is my first poem from them…. nice choice! Enjoy!…..

I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose garlands dead,
And all but he departed.
— Thomas Moore (1779-1852) — Oft in the Stilly Night

I often feel like this after writing one of my political or religious rants, but it isn’t an unfamiliar feeling. For most of my life I’ve felt a certain distance between me and other folks. When in school as a boy, it was just how things were for us “eggheads”; other kids who found school work to be tedious or difficult often expressed their displeasure at the ease with which I completed the work, or that I always seemed to have the answer to the teacher’s questions.

It was obvious to me even then that they didn’t enjoy reading or studying subjects outside their normal frame of reference as did I; I got a lot of funny looks at lunch time when I would read while eating. They didn’t know that the book was, for me, a protective barrier as well as an enjoyment; they didn’t realize how hard it was to be ostracized for being smart. How could they understand, when they were the one’s perpetrating the divisiveness?

Even though it hurt some, I never minded their misunderstanding that much; the joy of learning, and the power of the knowledge it gave me was more than enough reward for me. It was harder on them, I think, to try to get through school when they worked so hard to deny the tools that would have helped them. I never could get why so many of my peers complained about how hard school was, or how unfair, when it was so easy for me. Back then, without the understanding and tolerance that age brings with experience, I just thought it was lame. “It’s a poor workman who blames his tools” always made perfect sense to me….

I guess it would be safe to say that the human experience is not for the faint of heart; it takes some strength and will to be able to fully appreciate all the facets that make up a human being. Loneliness, remorse, fear, heartache, loss, emotional stress of all kinds are part of what makes us what we are, balancing all the good things of which we are capable. Many of us never even consider such ideas, making it that much harder to deal with them when they occur.

It occurs to me that this reluctance to use the basic intelligence with which we are born is a root cause of a great many of the problems the world at large faces today. Mankind’s unwillingness to apply the power of the mind to tasks that challenge it, or to any concept that makes it work hard, has kept us from advancing as far, or as fast, as might otherwise be possible.

We are our own worst enemy, and lack the wit to see it…. and, unfortunately, I believe it will eventually be our undoing…. But, I keep trying, shouting into the wind, and will do so as long as I breathe, because, little reason though I may have, I love my brothers and sisters, all seven billion of them, and would much rather they woke up and smelled the coffee….

It is Maya!
Dost thou not know her?
Illusion — dreams — phantoms.
But, to the wise, Maya is more.
But, to the wise, Maya is more.
Look around:
All that thou see’st,
Trees and shrubs, The grass at thy feet,
All that walks or creeps,
All that flies from tree to tree,
All is unreal: All is Maya.
Our bodies, our limbs, our very thoughts.
We ourselves are slaves to Maya.
What remaineth?  Who can say?
Love to the lover,
The child to the mother,
The song to the singer,
God to the worshipper;
These, wandering thro’ the world of Maya,
Are perchance shadows of that which is.

— Holst, Savitri (based upon the sanskrit Mahabharata)

Reality is a slippery little devil; at times one can’t grasp its true nature with both hands and a vice grip. Even duct tape won’t always confine it to one shape, and that is saying something.  The ancient Indian philosopher who wrote this either knew this, or got into a powerful batch of cannabis indicus, and couldn’t find his way out. But, nonetheless, whoever wrote this managed to capture the chameleon-like quality of Reality, and to state it simply and beautifully.

At this point in time, any comments on the nature of said Reality from me would be not only superfluous, but would most likely add to the confusion already present in the very nature of what we are discussing. So, I won’t make any…. I’ll let Reality confuse you all by its lonesome, a task at which it has unlimited experience, and proven talent…. enjoy it while you still can! You never know when it will turn into something else less pleasant to contemplate….

In retrospect, today’s Pearl went fairly smoothly, compared to most of my latest efforts. Rather than dwell on it, though, it’s probably best to just get on with the day, a policy that never fails. Fails to what, we may never know, but the fact that it does is sufficient to know for the nonce…. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..

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



Ben Franklin was a Sanctimonious Ass….

It may be harsh, but it has to be said….Ben Franklin was a sanctimonious ass, and I mean that in its’ basest, most derogatory sense. Who else but an ass would say things like “Early to bed and early to rise,  make a man, etc….” or “The early bird gets the worm”?  As one of my favorite sci-fi authors said, approximately, “all the aphorism about the worm proves is that the worm should have stayed in bed.” And early to bed, etc., is fine for those who fall asleep instantly, having the benefit of no worldly problems, and remain asleep through the night due to having no imagination. I’m 60 years old, and I can’t remember the last time I could count on falling asleep easily without first consuming a significant amount of adult beverage, or staying asleep for more than a couple of hours before some physical prompt has me up and going to the bathroom, or just laying in bed wondering how long it would be until morning. As far as I’m concerned, Poor Richard can take his little Almanac, and his advice, and place them forcibly in one of his orifices where the sun don’t shine…..just as it isn’t here at 0530 as I sit to compose this, having once more awakened at 0515 for no apparent reason. Wise man, my dying ass…..
I dove for these Pearls yesterday as I was in the throes of extra-pyramidal side effects, due entirely to the asinine ordering requirements dictated by Kaiser Permanente for dealing with a controlled drug. Thanks to those obscene regulations, I have spent much of the last three days with dyskinesia, malaise,  and an intermittent splitting headache just for good measure. In case you are not a former PT, dyskinesia is that condition of muscular and nervous agitation that makes one’s muscles twitch and dance, combined with a feeling of restless dread and diffuse anxiety that makes the nerves hum like a redneck with a kazoo. Add in the headache, (of the ilk that blurs the vision and causes whimpering in strong men), and you can imagine how difficult it is not only refrain from biting my self, but to refrain from biting anyone who crosses my path. All this, of course, is then complicated by trying to deal with people who have become bureaucrats, who have no conception of anything outside their own little sphere of inattention, and whose sole purpose is to keep anything from getting done. It’s enough to give one visions of mayhem and violent death for all bureaucrats, preferably by my own hand.
Sorry about the above rant……well, actually, I’m not. I could actually care less right now what anyone thinks, about anything. Nonetheless, I do think that the following Pearls will strike some good chords in many folks, and even more in those ffolkes who are familiar with this process, and how it provides some fine rules for life, or at least for looking at life in a different way. Regardless, they are what they are, and I hope you enjoy them…..much as I can hope anything at all……

“I sometimes think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability.” — Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a, star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea’s face and a gray dawn breaking.
— John Masefield, Sea Fever, first stanza.

Yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow but a vision.  But Today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore to this Day. — Sanskrit proverb (I like this one a lot; it covers a lot of bases….)

“It’s not denial. I’m just very selective about what I accept as reality.” — Calvin (“Calvin and Hobbes”) (Calvin is actually a sociopathic idiot, but Hobbes, I firmly believe, will someday be considered one of the 20th and 21st centuries’ most cogent philosophers….)

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth, more than ruin, more even than death….Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.” — Bertrand Russell (1872-1967), “Selected Papers”

So live that you can look any man in the eye and tell him to go to hell.

Well, there you have it. That’s the best I can do, under the circumstances that currently prevail. My greatest desire just now is that tomorrow will be different, if only I can survive until then without committing any acts that would land me in jail. Wish me luck…..and, y’all take care out there……

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