Salting hummus makes it nearly edible….

SPOILER: The following introductory section contains an unusually powerful potential to affect the reader soporifically, without warning; should you find yourself yawning, or your eyelids becoming heavy and hard to blink, go immediately on to the second section, where oxygen will be provided….

Our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause in the consumption of today’s Pearl; it was unavoidable, as the intro was done before its strong, almost narcotic, sleep-inducing qualities were noted and recorded…. Fortunately, it was discovered during the proofing, (when I found myself nodding over the keyboard…) which prompted this warning….

I find, if you don’t hold your breath while reading the intro, and just treat it like the preface of a book you are about to read (which nobody ever does read…. the prefaces, that is….), and go on to the meat of today’s offering…. you can make it through without any difficulty, other than a vague, mild nausea…. Best of luck!….


And, when I woke up…. I looked around, only to find nothing had changed while I slept. More’s the pity…. Of course, I’m speaking only of the situation outside of my own little corner of reality…. In my corner, I have things nicely arranged, just the way I like them, with Patricia nearby, and nobody else (well, other than my children, and the odd old friend or two….) who has any claim on my time, or my attention…. This means that I can spend my time pursuing my own American Dream, which involves books, excellent coffee, the possibility of love, puppies, kittens, cannabinoids, and no bad food…. With the time I have left on this old ball o’mud, life’s too short to put up with anything else….

Anything beyond those are what I consider a bonus, but,those listed are essential to my personal well-being, items I am unwilling to go without for very long before becoming quite irritable, whereupon I generally find someone to sink my teeth into, for sublimation purposes…. It works for me, though I do have to keep a lawyer on retainer to deal with the occasional bout of antagonistic litigation. It also gets a bit expensive having to keep so much material handy for bandaging, and stopping blood flow; and, don’t ASK about the trash bill!….. Do you know what they charge now for hazardous bio-waste?…. It’s outrageous!….

If I haven’t said so before, let me now say, I really like being retired…. I didn’t think I would, but, as things have worked out, it’s a lot more comfortable than I’d thought, if you don’t count the physical issues that arise from getting older. That’s something we all have to deal with anyway, but, not all of us manage to arrange matters so that we aren’t struggling with poverty when we stop working….

Not having a retirement account is actually a scary, sad idea to consider, as I know several people my age who DON’T have a solid retirement set up, and must continue working in order to live; I was almost caught without a retirement in place, so I know the panicky feeling that comes from not knowing if you will be able to retire, with enough to live on comfortably, or have to keep plugging away at a job in order to eat, and sleep indoors…. As I approached my 55th birthday, I was in that boat; no job, and not enough time in to keep my retirement active with the State, so I was looking at NOT having anything in place when I reached the age to retire….

I guess I’m winding around this issue like this to get to the point where I can say this: I’m a lucky guy…. I managed to get my job with the State back, and reinstated my accumulated time, which reinstated my retirement eligibility, and left me in the position in which I find myself now…. which is a far better position than the majority of the world’s population can look forward to…. I have enough income to live in a warm, dry house, eat well, stay clothed, and have enough left for entertainment and/or travel, if I’m frugal enough to save up…. So, I really have little about which to complain, other than my physical issues, which all of us must bear….

As a man who was raised to be compassionate, and who has learned over the years that service to others is a requirement of maintaining one’s self-respect and honor, I feel like I should give back to society what I can, sharing my knowledge and expertise…. In my lifetime, I’ve learned a lot, and the only way now I have to share what I know is to write…. My physical condition is such that giving of my practical experience, in cooking, organizing, or other skills that are useful, has been curtailed; I can’t work in the kitchen anymore, nor do much that requires standing or sitting for long periods…. So, volunteering at the local senior center, as I’d planned to do, is not an option any longer….

So, I write…. I try to write about subjects that will help us all to survive the upcoming shit-storm…..You know, that impending massive planetary environmental crisis so ignorantly created by our Beloved Ruling Class, in their patently insane search for power and control over others? Yeah, that one….  It ain’t much, but, it’s what I’ve got, so, I’ll keep doing it as long as I can, if only to amuse myself…. If I can amuse someone else in the process, so much the better….

Shall we Pearl?…. With such a mundane, elementally, if elegantly boring intro, I think we need a two-fer to start…..

“He is able who thinks he is able.” — Buddha

“If the Bible proves that God exists then comic books prove the existence of Superman.” — Smart Bee, demonstrating perfectly sound logic

Originally, I had intended to put a rant in this section…. I even had one started, dealing with a plague our society has endured since the beginning of time, but, writing that stiff, boring introduction has put me into a semi-deep depression, for some idiotic reason that my subconscious thinks will be more fun if it hides it from me….

In short, I’ve just been struck by a chemical imbalance in my brain that has created a miasma of karmic blueness, which surrounds my heart and soul, bypassing the brain altogether to make me feel as if the world is covered all in cotton, and nothing feels right…. and I don’t know WHY! It’s just as if a bunch of dementors had been sent to harass me by some perverse, antagonistic Ministry of Magic official….  Really a pisser, actually….

Ah well, it’s fortunate for us I have the perfect solution to this sort of marginally delusional, certainly self-induced emotional abuse…. It’s called an old-school pearl, sans any parameters beyond what pleases the inner eye, dreaming without focus, of peace, and illogical hope for our future…. In other words, potluck…. Enjoy! I intend to… In fact, I may even leave a comment or two, just to show y’all how MUCH I enjoyed it….

“He who receives a good turn should never forget it; he who does one should never remember it.” — Charon

(An obvious corollary to the Golden Rule, and an attitude one could only wish was more common in modern society….)

“It belongs to human nature to hate those you have injured.” — Tacitus (54-119 AD) — Agricola, 42

(Ahem!…. Well!…. I do declare, is it a bit warm in here?…. This certainly goes a long way toward explaining the reason why our Beloved Ruling Class expresses so much hatred and disdain for those who elect them…. as well as how the shadowy corporate slave masters can justify to themselves their insane obsession with money, and power over others….)

“The discipline of desire is the background of character.” — John Locke

“Just remember, when you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.” — Charles Schulz

“One’s friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human.” — George Santayana

(No comments from me could possibly add anything to the last three pearls….. Let’s see if SB can finish this off with the same sort of style and grace….)

POLITICS, n.  “A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.  The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.” — Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

“Thou shalt not get caught.” — The Eleventh Commandment

Hmm…. well, perhaps the ending didn’t quite live up to the rest of it…. But, when looked at in a certain light, one can see how that may well just be the best description of how human life stumbles along the way it does…. Then again, maybe not…. At this point, all of that is moot, and we are now free to go enjoy a poem…. Plus, the quicker we get out of this section, the faster it will fade into memory, yes?….

I don’t know this poet, having never seen his work before…. though for some reason, this poem sounds familiar…. In any case, it’s good, if a bit obscure as to what it wants from the reader; I found it hard to connect to the emotions that so obviously were part of the shock of the ending. Perhaps that’s a sign of a good poem; it made me think about my own reaction to what it had to say….

Richard Cory

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
‘Good-morning,’ and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich – yes, richer than a king –
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

~~ Edwin Arlington Robinson ~~


As a reward for hanging in there long enough to get this far, I’m not going to rant at all today…. Instead, here’s another fresh old-school pearl…. Let’s see if Smart Bee can come up with anything to lighten my depression, and give y’all a chuckle or two with your morning coffee, tea, or beverage of choice…. Myself, I advise NOT having any morning conversations with either of my old friends, John Daniels, or James Beam…. Nice fellows, but, as  breakfast companions, they tend to eliminate any prospect of accomplishing anything worthwhile afterward, for most of the rest of the day, after which, there remains the altogether unpleasant consequences to suffer through, as one recovers from the usual vicious hangover that comes with such foolishness…

As is apparent, I’ve been there, done that, and have no wish to go back, much as I love my old friends…. I’ll confine myself to shorter, more manageable conversations with them late at night, or before dinner, and leave it at that…. In the meantime, I got completely side-tracked…. Let’s see how amusing Smart Bee can be, shall we?….

“If at first you don’t succeed, you’re doing about average.” — Leonard Levinson

— Bother! said Pooh, as his ship failed to jump to light speed.

A mighty creature is the germ,
Though smaller than the pachyderm.
His customary dwelling place
Is deep within the human race.
His childish pride he often pleases
By giving people strange diseases.
Do you, my poppet, feel infirm?
You probably contain a germ.

— Odgen Nash (1902-1971)

“Believing ourselves to be possessors of absolute truth degrades us:  we regard every person whose way of thinking is different from ours as a monster and a threat and by so doing turn our own selves into monsters and threats to our fellows.” — Octavio Paz

(How did that slip in there?…. Hmm, sorry, it’s not remotely funny….. It’s also too good to toss away; such insight is rare…. Oh well, just imagine it’s funny, and go on…. I’ll make it right with the gods of consistency….)

“Sits he on ever so high a throne, a man still sits on his bottom.” — Smart Bee

(That’s better…. since we aren’t counting the fourth pearl, we’ll go with a three-fer to finish this off nice and balanced-like, just like the professionals do….)

“I spent 3 weeks childproofing my home. They still get in.” — Smart Bee

“It has been determined that most teenage girls lose their virginity during the summer months.  This stands to reason, since congress is recessed at that time.” — Smart Ass Bee

“HELLO, everybody, I’m a HUMAN!!” — Zippy the Pinhead

(It appears that balance was not going to be an element of note in today’s process…. but, I’m okay with that, especially if you consider the last line as the underlying battle cry for today’s effort…. )

I swear, pulling out a coherent thought today has been like trying to pull a Tea Partier’s head out of his ass…. It’s hard work, and ultimately useless, in terms of improving his chances of reaching average intelligence; in other words, there’s no hope of making them smarter, so, they’re usually better off leaving it there… I figure if somebody is a registered Tea Partier, it’s a pretty sure sign they already lost the evolutionary lottery…. It’s why I’m usually nice to them; they’re to be pitied more than reviled, as being too naive to ever really have stood a chance to learn enough to make themselves anything than the malleable mind-slaves of the BRC they are…..

There, now I’ve ranted…. Are you happy? Good. Me too, and I know why both of us have reason to be so giddy…. We’re done here, and we can afford to let go of our death grip on sanity long enough to relax for a while…. Until tomorrow, ffolkes….

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



Plain, old-fashioned articles of modern design….

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….

“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

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, 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….

,*~~~~              )
_+*                     ~**+_
_+~~*+_    (     ,+*~ ~          \+_        )
{       )  (    ,(    ,_+–+–,      ~)      ~\
{ (@)    } f   ,(  ,+-~ __*_*_  ~~\_   ~\       )
{:;-/    (_+*-+~~~~~+*+*<_ _++_)_    )    )      /
( /  (    (        ,___    ~*+_+* )   <    <      \
U _/     )    *–<  ) ~\—–++__)   )    )       )
(      )  _(~)~~))  )  )\~~~~~))~*+/    /       /
(      /  (_))_~)) )  )  ))~~~~~))~~~)__/     +~~
(     ,/    (~))~))  )  ) ))~~~~~~~))~~)       _)
*+__+*       (_))~)  ) ) ))~~~~~~))~~~~~)____*~
\             \_)~)_)) ))~~~~~~~~~~))~~~~)
(_             ~\__~~~~~~~~~~~~))~~~~~~~)
~\___            ~\__~~~~~~))~~~~~~~~)\\
___) >____) >___   ~\_\_\_\_\_\_\)
~~~//\\_~~//\\_~       ~(\_\_\_\)
~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~

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?……

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.

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

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.



Captain Kangaroo, Spiderman, and Tricky Dicky walk into a bar…..

What was that? Just spent 10 minutes composing three lines of absolute crap. It was so bad, and was getting so nowhere quickly, that I just deleted the whole damn thing. So, we will start anew….good morning. It is now just past 4 AM, and I am up, fully awake, anxiously awaiting the two little beeps from the coffee machine that it is ready. Yes! And there they are….I’ll be back….

I’ll say it again….the first sip of coffee in the morning may be my favorite moment of any day. There is just something so bracing, so uplifting, about how everything in one’s system responds positively to the first sip. The next few sips approach the same parameter, but never get there. And, of course, the whole rest of the day is then a downhill run, unless I come up with some new and astounding kind of entertainment or pleasure producing activity, like writing a good poem, or getting an award from another blogger who likes my work, or you know, like an orgasm, which these days are few and far between.

Well, that covers that, probably more thoroughly than it required, or wanted. But that is how I get sometimes when I wake up early. That part of my mind that acts as a governor, attempting to keep my thoughts in a channel that can be focused, probably refuses to get up this early, so the more undisciplined, and prolific, side of my angst-ridden soul takes over and goes amok, until the governor wakes up in disgust and starts putting on the brakes. Sounds as if he’s up now so we’ll dive into the deep end of the pool……

“I wanted only to try to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self.  Why was that so very difficult?” — Hermann Hesse

Robert Heinlein has, in fact, answered this question quite directly, in a number of his novels, wherein the main character or narrative voice talks about the Pink Monkey Effect. This is the theorem (actually, more like an axiom, as it has been demonstrated in real life many, many times), that states that in a group of Brown Monkeys, the order of prominence will put a monkey who is Pink, or merely not-Brown, at the bottom of the social scale, every time. Thus it can be surmised that discrimination according to the color of skin is bestial in nature, and is not a valid characteristic of a creature who reasons.

How does that relate to humans? Simple. In society, most people live by the rules they are taught as children, and never behave very far outside the parameters set forth by their parents. These people have a difficult time dealing with change, or anything that falls outside their experience, and this includes how people act when they are acting in accord with their true nature. It is well outside their experience when others use reason, rather than rote, to determine how to act. Thus, anyone in society who challenges the norm becomes a Pink Monkey, and is discriminated against by the Brown Monkeys, and all because the Browns don’t want to grow up and be human; they would rather act like apes…..and never even realize it…….

“Nature, whose sweet rains fall on just and unjust alike, will have clefts in the rocks where I may hide, and secret valleys in whose silence I may weep undetected. She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole.” — Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) — “De Profundis”

It is hard not to love Oscar Wilde, and this particular passage gives an inkling of why. He had such a beautiful command of language that so catches the imagination of the reader, that one becomes almost lost in wonder, at the sheer melody of the words and how they are placed together. The first sentence is possibly one of the most beautiful, and deepest, passages ever written. What imagery and emotion is packed into that one sentence.  “……..secret valleys in whose silence I may weep undetected.” “…..whose sweet rains fall on just and just alike”.

I can only hope that someday I will be able to write a passage such as this; in a way, a passage like this one acts as a goad, or a stimulus to my imagination and creativity. I have come close a few times, but have a far piece to go before I can claim anything close to the beauty of this paragraph by Oscar. It makes me wonder sometimes how Oscar would describe today’s world; I’d be willing to give a lot (say, a finger, or a toe, or even cash money) to hear what he could say on that subject……

If God had meant for us to take life seriously, He wouldn’t have given us a sense of humor.

I would say this is true, as far as it goes. I would feel compelled to add that, to listen to some of the folks who consider themselves tight with God, they don’t figure He has one; at least they won’t cop to it. They live and act as if they never did anything bozoid, or made a mistake, or for goodness sake, looked at a platypus. If that creature isn’t proof that God has a sense of humor, I couldn’t say what is.

Since I don’t honestly believe in the tenets put forth by any of the organized religions I’ve studied (damn near all of them now), I would have to say that our sense of humor is a survival characteristic, a buffer for our minds, to protect it from all the crap and nonsense that floats free in the universe, especially in what we see and hear from our cohabitants on this little mudball we call home.

Such a device is essential to retaining one’s sanity in the face of the kind of complicated, emotionally charged, irrational, and illogical BS we constantly have to deal with when trying to deal with the great unwashed masses. It certainly has aided me in my campaign to bring some light to the dark-headed among us (I refer here to the old saw: the lights are on, but nobody’s home), both by acting as a favored method of teaching for me, and a favored method of learning for them. So, for me, it is a two-edged sword, giving me both protection from the assaults on my mind from the ignorant, and allowing me to share some helpful information in people who can’t learn any other way.

And in the final analysis, it’s always good to remember that humor is best applied in looking at ourselves. I can’t tell you how often I break out in sheer delight over something stupid I’ve done, something I have told myself time and again to not do, but that I end up doing anyway. Just goes to show that even us smart guys are not immune to bozoid tendencies…..thank God….. 🙂

“I have a feeling that at any time about three million Americans can be had for any militant reaction against law, decency, the Constitution, the Supreme Court, compassion and the rule of reason.” — John Kenneth Galbraith

Mr. Galbraith makes a valid point here, but I think his estimate is low, considering there are over 310 million of us now. I’d wager it’s closer to 30 million, of which 95% would be fundamentalist Christians and/or Mormons. The entrance qualifications for acceptance into one of those organizations are pretty low, and since the principal characteristic of all of them is sheer mental laziness (they refuse to think for themselves, instead of blindly accepting what their leaders, or their interpretation of their scriptures, tell them), and the ranks of the great unwashed masses have swollen in the last decade. If you need proof, look at the Tea Party, which I consider one of the more apt descriptions for that entity. I would, however, prefer to add some words to it, to wit: the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

For the sake of argument, let us look at just one subject, say evolution vs. creationism. As recently as November of last year, several of the Republican candidates for the nomination to run for President expressed their doubts about evolution, trying no doubt to appeal to that 30 or more million folks who believe in creationism. Below, you will find just one argument on the subject; there are literally millions more scientists who would say the same…..

“Evolution is as much a fact as the earth turning on its axis and going around the sun.  At one time this was called the Copernican theory; but, when evidence for a theory becomes so overwhelming that no informed person can doubt it, it is customary for scientists to call it a fact.  That all present life descended from earlier forms, over vast stretches of geologic time, is as firmly established as Copernican cosmology.  Biologists differ only with respect to theories about how the process operates.”– Martin Gardner, “Irving Kristol & the Facts of Life”– The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. XII No. 2, ppg. 128-131

In reality, I am aware that I’m preaching to the choir here; most of the folks I know don’t much hold with nonsense. But, a lot of other folks may eventually read this, and if I can offend them enough, maybe I can get them to think for a moment or two, much as it pains them to do so……if not, well, it’s fun for me, and leaves them feeling confused, so that’s all good…..

William Shakespeare doesn’t need my approval, but he has it nonetheless. Though I don’t consider him to be as good as he is touted to be, he is still one of the most prolific of writers, and obviously had a firm grasp of human nature and how to write about it. Where other folks go past my preferences are those passages that become too complex and wordy; to me, this makes it less entertaining, and I’m not impressed merely by verbiage. I myself can write some pretty impenetrable stuff, so I realize that much of what he wrote was written that way to impress the yokels, who were his main source of income.

But, though I’m not his hugest fan, I still can acknowledge that there are very few at all who can compare to the beauty and depth of some of his work. Below I have included three of his best, in my opinion. These passages show skill, emotion, human nature, and humor, all with great style and wit. It doesn’t get much better than this…….

“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” — William Shakespeare, As You Like It — Act v, Sc. 1

And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke
That my youth suffer’d. My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs;
She swore, in faith, ‘t was strange, ‘t was passing strange,
‘T was pitiful, ‘t was wondrous pitiful;
She wish’d she had not heard it, yet she wish’d
That Heaven had made her such a man; she thank’d me,
And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story,
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake:
She loved me for the dangers I had pass’d,
And I loved her that she did pity them.
This only is the witchcraft I have used.
— William Shakespeare, Othello — Act i, Sc. 3

“What! canst thou say all this and never blush?” — William Shakespeare

I probably should have known that getting up so early would be problematic. Here I am, finished with this, and now I have to wait about three hours for the rest of the world to arise and get moving, before I can accomplish anything worthwhile, since today’s schedule has to do with interactions outside home.

Oh wait, company coming today….okay, that’s cool. No worries….. sorry, got distracted inside my head. I guess this is enough for one day (and no remarks about it being too much for any day), so maybe I’ll go take a long shower & go back to bed….. I sure like being retired, and making up my own schedule, without any outside influence; it’s a very powerful feeling. Any who, y’all take care out there….

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