Zero is a hard row to hoe……

Having decided to forgo the usual nonsense, there will be no introductory section this morning. Yesterday’s near-disastrous hijacking of my keyboard has put me on edge, security-wise, and I think it is best if I just leave this section out, and go right into today’s dive….. oh. Wait. Hmm…… this is already an intro, isn’t it? Well, so much for that idea….

Well, since I can’t say, “I love it when a plan comes together!”, I guess I’ll just have to say, “WTF?”  (See? I AM capable of tact….. I could have spelled it out, couldn’t I?…. all part of the service…..) The latter is more honest, at base, and expresses my normal state of mind in the morning much more accurately. I’m finding that displaying such personal foibles is preferable to humanity’s normal policy of insisting all is well, everything is fine, nothing to see here, move along….. if nothing else, it garners more sympathy votes, which, though demeaning to accept, nonetheless help to stuff the ballot box. Cheating is, after all, the American Way…… if you doubt that, you really need to pay more attention…..

I’m not sure exactly what all that has to do with pearl diving; it sounded more as if I were just clearing my throat, mentally speaking, and really doesn’t say much of anything at all. Well, the last line is pretty pointed, but I didn’t jab very hard with it, so it doesn’t really count. At this point, once again, it would most likely be our best course of action to run to the end of the dock, and just dive in…. it would probably put the best end to a bad start, and may even save lives….. on that note, we are outta here….. let’s Pearl, like we did last summer…..

Ralph Barbieri fired as radio announcer at station KNBR in San Francisco, 4/10/2012…. link to article:

I first heard Mr. Barbieri’s voice around 1984, when he first joined KNBR and the SF Bay Area sports scene. I have to say, right off the bat, his voice grates on my ear like fingernails across a chalkboard; there is a reason he has always been known as “Razor Voice Ralph”. It has always stood as an obstacle for me to listen to him for very long, as my nerve endings just start to vibrate along with his voice after a few minutes.

However, that being said, I also must add that I have always admired his work, in spite of his delivery. From the start of his career, he asked the tough questions, and never settled for a fluff answer from anyone, big star or not. If he believed in something, he was a passionate crusader for that cause, as indicated by his campaign to keep the Giants in SF when the team was considering a move to Florida. His involvement was a big part of the success of that campaign, during which he was tireless, making his love of sports, and particularly the Giants, plain for all to see. He always prepared and researched thoroughly, and was expert in almost any sport’s details. Though his voice and rough-hewn personality were difficult to ignore, he nonetheless remains a stalwart and professional example of a competent, and popular, sports reporter, for that is what he really is.

Ralph was fired in a manner with which I can empathize very closely. It took my employer about 15 minutes to accomplish what his company did with him in 7, but the net results were identical, right down to the blocked voice mail. I did manage to rate an escort off-grounds by hospital police rather than management, so I guess that is one small difference. Otherwise, me and Ralph, we’re twins on this….. so, I know somewhat of what he feels right now. Given that knowledge I must commend his reasoned initial public response; I’m afraid that, given his media exposure quotient, I would have been a lot more forceful in my response to such chicanery, and would no doubt have caused my lawyer no end of wincing and wringing of hands at my inflammatory public ranting.

But, the saddest part of the whole affair that I found was in the comments section after the article on SFGATE, wherein readers have the opportunity to sound off on the news articles on the site. One has to register to comment, but it’s free, so they have a pretty huge online community that comments on EVERYTHING.  I spent a little time after my initial comment, which kind of paralleled what I wrote just above, reading over some of the other comments.

I was shocked, to say the least, by the number of responses that were not merely sympathetic to the company that did the firing, but actually expressed outright glee at what had been perpetrated on Ralph by a company where he proved his value over 28 years. In only three pages I viewed to to gather some numbers, the responses that were viciously petty toward Ralph, or merely resigned at the company’s behavior, were approximately 65-75% of the total number I saw….. it was absolutely astounding how many calloused, uncaring ignoramuses had spoken up to display their complete lack of humanity.

“Nadie tiene mas imaginacion que la realidad.” — Miguel de Unamuno, “El Espejo de la Muerte”, 1941

It isn’t often I’m prompted, or stimulated, to write several hundred words on a sports story. I’m a fan, yes, but it isn’t a big time-consumer in my life, just an occasional trip into vicarious thrills and fond memories of bygone days. But the sheer number of petty, self-absorbed, even downright vicious responses was a surprise to me. Yes, me, the complete cynic when it comes to human stupidity and bigotry. But even I had no idea that the state of public morality had fallen into so deep a pit as is indicated in the responses to this issue, one of no particular cosmic or even national significance.

I am now going to excuse myself, and go finish drawing up my plans for what I’m going to do when civilization comes to a crashing halt…. I have a sinking feeling I don’t have as much time to get ready as I had previously believed…. so, I’d best get to it…. I suggest you think seriously about following my lead on this. We may not have a lot of time left….. if this is any indication, very little at all…..

“I like Wagner’s music better than any other music. It is so loud that one can talk the whole time without people hearing what one says. That is a great advantage.” — Oscar Wilde

It’s been quite a while since these pages were blessed by a visit from Oscar; he is, and shall ever be, one of my favorite historical and literary figures, not only for the wit and charm of the verse in which he spoke, and wrote, but for the very picture of Life he painted with his every act. It was a picture of defiant genius, of incredible beauty and charm, a picture of towering intellect faced by the mundane restrictions of a repressed society. He was a man of the Twenty-first century as far as his ideas and his outlook, trapped and miserable in the Nineteenth century, completely misunderstood by all but those who flocked around him, ever anxious for any part of his charm and attention.

On this subject, i.e., opera, I have to side with Oscar. I love music, and just about all types. There are few genres that I don’t particularly care for, but the one I care for the least is opera. Strange actually, because I love classical music very much, and find the human voice to be perhaps the most compelling instrument mankind has ever produced. But, most of what I’ve heard in the operatic genre produces in me the same sort of reaction described here by Mssr. Wilde.

I have listened to a lot of it; I try to be fair before forming an opinion. But the majority of what I’ve heard was obscure, complicated beyond necessity, and in general, enough to induce sleep in a bipolar roadrunner in his manic phase, or, alternately, more than enough to keep one awake when we desperately want to be asleep…..

Oh, even opera has its high points. The aria that played in the movie “The Shawshank Redemption”, when the hero took over the warden’s office, and played it over the loudspeakers, is a stunning piece of music; that voice would raise the dead with such power and beauty. A couple of others come to mind as well, like one of the arias sung by the female lead in Aida.

Mostly, though, it all sounds like what my old pal Noah would sometimes sing when he particularly liked what Tom and I were playing on our guitars (Noah was my dog, for those who haven’t stopped in before; he was very social, and loved to join in whatever was going on….). Enthusiastic, but not particularly gripping, to be nice about it. Sorry, but that’s my opinion, for what it’s worth. As far as I’m concerned, we could lose every opera recording ever made, and I wouldn’t be troubled over it at all, at all…..

“You’ve got the brain of a four-year-old boy, and I bet he was glad to get rid of it.” — Groucho Marx

Perfect! I have found the exactly right comment to make to my list…. you know, the list. The one we all have….. the one where we put the names of those folks in the public eye who continuously make comments that curl your hair, and cause you to run and make sure your ammo is dry. The folks who, every time they open their mouth to spew, make us wish for a return to the good old days of the Inquisition. The ones who speak out every day and prove the old adage about never opening one’s mouth to provide proof of being a fool.

So, the next time I am confronted with one of these pimples on the face of society, I will have the perfect opening line….. In the spirit of indulgence of whimsy, I will now display the first 6 names on my list of folks the world would do better to fit with a permanent mouth plug….

Ann Coulter (to my mind, no amount of verbal abuse would ever be enough for this one; it would take a lot to balance all the vitriol she has spewed on some quite nice folks…..)
Rush Limbaugh (rapidly losing his grip on reality, which was never very strong….)
Willard ‘Mitt’ Romney (the new spokesperson for Flip-Flops…..)
Pat Robertson (a familiar voice on these pages…)
Michelle Bachman (Minnesota Mickey’s been less prominently featured of late, but continues to amaze with her chutzpah….)
Sara Palin (One word….. weasel…..)

There…. I feel better now, though it was a struggle to confine the list to six names; there are a lot of folks who make a strong case for their inclusion. For now though, I’ll just bask in the glow of thinking how much fun it would be to give one them Groucho’s razor sharp barb…..

“I am treated as evil by those who feel persecuted because they are not allowed to force me to believe as they do.” — Smart Bee

“Beware the man of one book.” — St. Thomas Aquinas

Possibly one of the most ironic statements ever made, yet the irony of it is never a subject of discussion. I can understand why those of a dogmatic nature would be leery of examining such an already, in their eyes, controversial sentiment, as it puts the lie to their entire system of belief. But one would think that those not as severely hampered in their thinking might have noted the irony, and wondered about it enough to say so aloud. But, I can’t think of a single instance of this; though I cannot claim perfect knowledge of religious philosophical works, I have read pretty widely, and have never come across anything that hinted at such a novel idea.

Where is the irony, you ask? Well, to me, it’s pretty clear…. here is a statement that warns against those who would place all of their faith and trust into what is included in only one source. But, the statement is made BY a man who was a high-ranking member of the church of his time (well, they did canonize him…). And the church of which he was such a valued member is the same one that puts the Bible on a pedestal as the only book Mankind needs, or should want, to provide the answers to all of their questions.

In short, St. Thomas was blaspheming the choir, rather than preaching to it. Sometimes I’m surprised that the Pope of the time of St. Thomas didn’t de-canonize the lad for his arrogance. Kind of gives one a clue as to what God wants, doesn’t it? If that is your thing…. Me, I’m going to go read a book….

“All art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.” — Federico Fellini

Whew! I guess that settles the question in everyone’s mind as to whether or not this process of creating the Pearls of Virtual Wisdom, that we engage in every day here at gigoid’s blog, can be called Art. Or even art. Sr. Fellini can, I think, be considered as enough of an artist to warrant an opinion, and according to him, this is art, if not Art. So, I guess that makes me an autobiographer, in a weird sort of way…. hmm. Well, it’s not what I had thought I’d be, but I guess it will do….. I have to say, it is nice to know that my efforts here are, if nothing else, not a complete affront to the sensibilities of the Muses…. I can always offer them pearls……

GASP! I have reached the ostensible final segment of today’s offering, and just noticed there is no poetry! Can’t have that…..

All I know of Love
is that Love is all there is.
–Emily Dickinson

There… I feel better now. I’d have hated to start the day with a gaffe like that. But, it worked out well, as Emily is a fitting close to any day’s work. It’s Friday the 13th out there, and it’s always a good day for us Scorpios, so I’m going to go do something unusual today… I’m going out of town for a while to visit a friend.

I’ve been stuck here in my house for about oh, five months or so, and I’m looking forward to surrounding myself with some different colored walls for a time….. plus, my friend and I will no doubt take some time to play some music, so it will be a day of sheer pleasure for me…. music, change of scene, and clean laundry, all in one shot. A good day in the neighborhood, to be sure…..  Y’all take care out there…..

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