Platitudes are on sale every third decade….

Ffolkes,

Hello, ffolkes, I’m back…. It seems Ernie H-II, the writing ‘bot I found, filled in yesterday with distinction, if not perfection…. I appreciate his help in a tight spot; I didn’t feel well, and left myself short of time to get it figured out, so, his willingness to pitch in on short notice saved the day…. It isn’t often you get that kind of cooperation from a ‘bot, especially an AI ‘bot, but, he is a VERY well-programmed machine, and it shows in his demeanor….

I’m still not feeling like busting out in song, but, I think I can pull it together long enough to put out a Pearl… with a bit of help from whatever impulsive absurdity I can come up with on the spur of the moment to keep it moving, or to supply the proper stimulus at the proper moment to keep it from flagging…. That last sentence could be considered a metaphor for this entire process, but, it’s a weekday, so we’ll leave the metaphors alone until they’re ripe, which only happens on weekends…

As you can see, taking a day off hasn’t reduced the size of my nose, or dulled its shiny red color; whatever comes out today is liable to be a bit caustic, or toxic, or at minimum, confusing, so, if I were y’all, I’d keep my hands inside the rails, and refrain from teasing any of the animals we may encounter, just to improve the odds of survival…. Oh, don’t fret too much, we have yet to lose an entire group; in fact, we’ve only lost a total of three individuals in all this time, and two of those were self-induced catastrophes, for which we were cleared of all charges…. The third guy was found to be an ex-Mouseketeer who had an obsession about oysters, and ate too many in the wrong season, so no charges were ever filed….

I mean, is it my fault if they snapped their cookies while reading my blog? No, it isn’t, even if what is written isn’t terribly helpful to those without the inner strength to use it; what gets written here doesn’t actually CAUSE insanity, it just skirts the edge of feeling it…. Besides, all we can do is all we can do, right? Right….

As is apparent, I’m not at my best today; chalk it up to whatever physical issues are still plaguing me, (about which I refuse to whine, or even comment on….) and we’ll get on with this…. I apologize in advance for any decrease in quality or relevance, and can only hope that any lack will be counter-balanced by increased humor, as I find my own debilities to be good reason to laugh at myself, for hubris, if for nothing else….

Life is pain, ffolkes… I’ve known this for a long time…. all my life, in fact. As such, it is well to learn how to deal with pain in an efficient manner, because, one way or another, we, as humans, will always have at least a little of it present in our lives, always there, to keep us aware of our mortality…. To me, that is both funny, and ironic, not to mention written in stone….

So, I’m gonna take my pain, and roll it into a little ball, so I can stick it under the table until I’m done…. That’s better than letting it have its way, and losing another whole day to weakness, and the concomitant misery…. If it works, great…. If it doesn’t, well, let’s hope I can find the humor in it, and put it down to share…..

Shall we Pearl?….

“Breaks balance out. The sun don’t shine on the same ol’ dog’s ass every day.” — Darrell Royal
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In an attempt to return balance to the Metaphorse, I’m going on a quest…. I’m going to gather a group of pearls together, whose subtlety, depth, and, perspicacity will bring tears to your eyes…. in response to the headache you’ll get from trying to figure out what the hell I’m talking about…. This one will be so obscure, you won’t be able to penetrate to the meaning without major weaponry, of nuclear capability. So, please remember to read this in the privacy of your own mind, and don’t let any of it spill over onto your neighbors…. It’s a good one….

“If possible, try to find a way to come downstairs that doesn’t involve going bump, bump, bump, on the back of your head. ” — Pooh in Winnie the Pooh A.A. Milne

“Do you have exactly what I want in a plaid poindexter bar bat??” — Zippy the Pinhead

“Ignorance of death is destroying us. Death is the dark backing a mirror needs if we are to see anything.” — Saul Bellow

“I love my country too much to be a nationalist.” — Albert Camus

“I may be a self-made man, but then, when I get to thinking about it, if I had it to do over again, I think I would call in someone else.” — Roland Young

“One of your most ancient writers, a historian named Herodotus, tells of a thief who was to be executed.  As he was taken away he made a bargain with the king: in one year he would teach the king’s favorite horse to sing hymns. The other prisoners watched the thief singing to the horse and laughed. “You will not succeed,” they told him.  “No one can.”  To which the thief replied, “I have a year, and who knows what might happen in that time. The king might die. The horse might die.  I might die. And perhaps the horse will learn to sing.” — The Mote in God’s Eye (Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven)

“Give me a lever and place to stand and I will move the world.” — Archimedes (c. 287-212 B.C.), Pappus, Synagogue, VIII, 10, xi

See? Plain as a black cat in a windowless room at midnight, with the lights off….. As recompense, should you find your way to the right place, it’s a very friendly cat….
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Some days, I’m in the mood for poetry that challenges the mind, as well as the spirit…. this woman’s words always do that….

A Winter Ship

At this wharf there are no grand landings to speak of.
Red and orange barges list and blister
Shackled to the dock, outmoded, gaudy,
And apparently indestructible.
The sea pulses under a skin of oil.

A gull holds his pose on a shanty ridgepole,
Riding the tide of the wind, steady
As wood and formal, in a jacket of ashes,
The whole flat harbor anchored in
The round of his yellow eye-button.

A blimp swims up like a day-moon or tin
Cigar over his rink of fishes.
The prospect is dull as an old etching.
They are unloading three barrels of little crabs.
The pier pilings seem about to collapse

And with them that rickety edifice
Of warehouses, derricks, smokestacks and bridges
In the distance. All around us the water slips
And gossips in its loose vernacular,
Ferrying the smells of cod and tar.

Farther out, the waves will be mouthing icecakes —-
A poor month for park-sleepers and lovers.
Even our shadows are blue with cold.
We wanted to see the sun come up
And are met, instead, by this iceribbed ship,

Bearded and blown, an albatross of frost,
Relic of tough weather, every winch and stay
Encased in a glassy pellicle.
The sun will diminish it soon enough:
Each wave-tip glitters like a knife.

~~ Sylvia Plath ~~

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Jacob: “You know sometimes I get a little worried that you’re gonna get my favorite planet blown up.”
Jack: “Yes. Which planet is that?”

— from Stargate

I’m always feeling a small bite of anxiety, in the back of my mind, as time passes, and we approach the End of Days for Mankind…. I’m not speaking about any predictions of doom related by supposed prophets, such as Rasputin, who predicted that today would be the beginning of the Apocalypse, or some such catastrophe, back in the day when he was known as the Mad Monk of Moscow…. No, I’m talking about the very real end of our stay on this planet, brought about by our own foolish belief that we are immortal, a belief that will find no basis in reality when we are all gone, victims of the physical laws we chose to ignore, laws we broke with what we believed was impunity….

What I worry about is that the end won’t come as I hope it will, in slow stages; that would at least give us a small chance of survival, on another planet, if not this one…. I’m afraid, though, it will come more quickly than I hope, fueled by the death throes of the ruling classes, who won’t want to believe that they are included in the sentence of death that we have passed upon ourselves…. They could conceivably make things even worse for the rest of us by their insane insistence on continuing the very actions that are killing us, and using force to keep on doing so…. I can envision such actions leading to a very ugly situation, as the declining resources of our planet, such as air to breathe, or water to drink, are fought over by the few remaining humans, with all the formidable ferocity of which we are capable…..

Forget about food, or shelter, ffolkes, the physics of these issues, global warming, and the pollution of the atmosphere, are a mathematical certainty, if the addition of CO and CO2 in massive quantities into the air continue at the current rate. Those figures, which cannot lie, show us a very ugly picture of ANY future that may result; ugly, in the fact that humans are NOT in the picture at all….. The oceans are getting warmer, as is the whole planet, and this leads to climate change; this is eminently clear from the geological and fossil history we already have proven to be true, and once the process starts, on a global scale, it takes time to stop it, or to restrict the changes that have been induced, time we no longer have….

But, this process is at least capable  of solution, physically…. It is the intransigence of the people who run things in our society, and the ignorance, avarice, and fear that controls them, that is keeping any possible solutions from being instituted, or even begun. This intransigence is not only holding things up, it could conceivably make it go faster, by creating upheavals in society that could cause the pressure cooker in which we live to explode into violence, even more so than it does now…

Such deal breaking events are already being seen in the news, as that area of our culture becomes ever more insane, right along with the rest of society…. For example, the current flap over the surveillance of email and phone conversations by the government is one that may eventually lead to more outrageous events, and be the cause of further increase in the rate we speed toward oblivion….. I’ve been watching the story unfold in the news, and become more flabbergasted as time passes.

The reaction of the government, in my mind, ever since this became public knowledge, has been characterized by disdain (by first denying, then admitting with a sheepish grin….), dishonesty (even in the face of their own documentation, they lie about the extent of the programs, and continue to do so…. see below….), and arrogant entitlement (they have neither admitted they were acting illegally, nor stopped or limited those illegal actions….).  In all of the public statements, I have seen no apology to the public, nor any real admission of wrong-doing; instead, the President talks about “having the trust of the public”, and issues a flurry of information that appears to show their commitment to controlling the surveillance, when all it really shows is that they aren’t doing much of anything to oversee the process….

Here are three articles that show exactly how much obfuscation and distraction are used as a technique for diverting the public’s attention away from the actual programs themselves, and focusing it on extraneous issues, that have no real effect on stopping, or limiting the surveillance. It just makes it LOOK like they are doing something….

http://www.sfgate.com/news/politics/article/Obama-defends-government-surveillance-programs-4755098.php


http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/NSA-says-it-was-told-to-stop-collecting-some-data-4754364.php


http://www.sfgate.com/news/politics/article/NSA-collected-thousands-of-US-communications-4749853.php

Incredible amount of shadowy details, with no clear purpose in reporting them, other than distraction? Yep…. Plus, they admit right up front that their own attempts to restrict the collection have been relatively non-existent…. They speak of 56,000 emails that were “inadvertently” gathered up with some emails that “might” have come from terrorists…. What a crock! That number isn’t a fraction of a percentage point of the number of emails that go out daily, and doesn’t mention the fact that this collection was one of MILLIONS of times they mined such emails, or the BILLIONS of emails and phone calls that are monitored…. And, those 56,000 emails are the ones they’re saying they DIDN’T read….. as if they believe we’ll believe that….

Note also, if you will, the repetitive language used in the articles… showing clearly how the media fosters and maintains the lies that are being spread by those in charge, using words and phrases designed to encourage belief and trust in the BRC, as well as in the honesty and impartiality of the reporters…. However, to my mind, it just tells me that the media is supporting the agenda being promulgated by the government, and whether they are doing so unconsciously, or deliberately, they continue to be as much a part of the problem as those on whom they are reporting…..

Now, if some reporter would just ask the right questions, and report the answers accurately, maybe, just maybe we’d be able to shame them enough to actually make a change…. I don’t think I’ll be holding my breath, waiting for THAT to happen, though….

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)
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“I’m in my own little world, but everybody knows me there.” — Smart Bee

Since SB came up with a perfect closing line, I’ll just see how the rest went…. Considering everything that has gone into creating this, it’s not half bad… As such, I’m going to go post it, before collapsing for the balance of the morning…. So be it, gigoid has spoken….

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

dozer3

Clouds of vacuous attendants….

Ffolkes,
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?……
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EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN
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…..
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“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…..
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Summer

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 PoemHunter.com, and this is my first poem from them…. nice choice! Enjoy!…..
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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….
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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….
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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.

gigoid

Kowabunga!

Pliable, yet soapy, it burned quickly….

Ffolkes,
Whew! It’s going to be an interesting day….. I’ve been up only about 15 minutes, and have at least three comments from yesterday that will require some heavy thought in order to respond adequately. The good news is that the blogger friend I was worried about last night is fine, and my worry was unnecessary; his poetry was simply too real, and I bought it…. very powerful piece…. So, all is good, and I have lots to keep my mind occupied (as if that were ever a problem around here…..).

That being said, we should probably just get on with it, so…… let’s Pearl….

All of the above is out-of-date by 24 hours, so just pay it no mind…. As I explained yesterday, this was written on the 15th, but before I realized I was writing it into the template for the next day….. The nose grew bulbous and red, and I honked it, for sure….. I had to start over, and shall proceed to do so again this morning…. be right back….  (Why not just delete? That would be cheating….)

It has been a full day since I wrote that, and the above introductory paragraphs are hereby declared to be null and void. This procedure will now resume its normally scheduled activity…. as normally as it ever gets, that is….. and to avoid any further nonsense, we will go directly to the task at hand, i.e., we shall now Pearl……this way, please, and watch your step…..
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Deal with others as thou wouldst thyself be dealt by.
Do nothing to thy neighbor which thou wouldst not have him do to thee hereafter.
—  _The Mahabharata_, c. 800 B. C.

I feel a google coming on….. yep, it started even earlier than this…. According to Wikipedia, the earliest mention of the concept we now refer to as The Golden Rule is to be found in the Code of Hammurabi, first codified and set down in the year 1780 BC. Though the majority of Christians believe that the teachings of Jesus were the origination of this idea, almost every religion and philosophy in every country in the world has made a reference to this ideal of reciprocity in human relations, dating probably from before the time of Hammurabi.

Once again, the mathematician in me takes over, and we will now emulate The Count, from Sesame Street.  1780 + 2012 = 3792. That is 3792 years, approximately (I don’t imagine they know the day of the week it was published; it’s not THAT accurate a computation). That is a lot of days. Even more hours. It seems like, and is, a long time, at least in relation to the sum total of written human history, which has been been recorded for only about 5 or 6 thousand years… not too much longer ago than this first appeared.

These figures, in my mind, beg the question: So, how are we doing on that? Do we all treat each other according to the underlying principle of this piece of societal knowledge, well known to even the most ignorant of our brethren? Is this the basis for all our laws and moral standards?  Have we made any progress at all in nearly four thousand years during which this has been a part of the tool kit that humans possess to deal with reality?

I don’t think so.

In fact, it seems clear to me that our society pretty much acts in a manner completely OUT of harmony with the principle of reciprocity between men and women, of seeking harmony between all members of society. There is NO reciprocity present in modern day life. The attitude of self-service first is prevalent in the beloved ruling class, and trickles down naturally to infest and infect every level of society, from top to bottom, reaching into every nook and cranny, soiling each soul it touches and ensnares.

Each and every one of these people whom we have elected into office, as well as a significant number of average society members,  will tell you with a straight face, and a firm belief they are telling the truth, that they strongly support the Golden Rule, and use it in every area of their life. These same people will then steal your wallet while you aren’t looking, then offer to help you look for it. Then, they will ask you for a reward for helping you find it, right where they dumped it…. and I’ll bet everyone reading this has a story that fits that scenario, at least in the essential points….

Is there an answer to this issue, to these questions? Yes, it has already been made, and is in place now. This is the way it is; it will not change, not until human nature changes also, and that is just NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, PEOPLE!  I’d suggest you get used to it, and polish up your armor….. There are not many of us left who feel like what is below…. most folks don’t feel at all…. but trying for this at least can make our own journey a bit more tolerable…..

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves. — Irish blessing

After that explosion of cynicism, all I can say to you all is….. Blessed Be, and maybe I’m wrong…. We can hope…. In fact, here is a proposition…. If the world will adopt the Golden Rule, I’ll break myself of my habit of using all these dots in my writing….. that ought to be worth something in the larger picture, don’t you think?  It’s worth a shot, nothing else seems to be working very well…..
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“Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other “sins” are invented nonsense. (Hurting yourself is NOT a sin–just stupid.)” — Lazarus Long, from Robert A. Heinlein’s “Time Enough For Love”

I first saw this quote when I was about 23 or so… I had been reading Heinlein’s work for many years already, and my philosophical growth was still in its expansion stages, not yet having settled on the final format that I eventually found suitable. This statement, part of the collected “Notebooks of Lazarus Long” was one that almost seemed as it it had been part of my being for many years. It wasn’t a feeling of deja vu that I got from it; it was more like a feeling of , “Well, of course! That’s obvious!”  It was quickly adopted into my own philosophy as a good way to view reality, to my way of thinking….

It quickly came to my attention that this sentiment is not exactly a popular one amongst the more religiously oriented folks with whom we share space in this reality. The year 1973, when this book was first published, was a time when the gay movement was just gaining some attention in the news, and, I believe, may even be when Anita Bryant first began her misguided campaign against homosexuality.

A lot of social mores were being challenged by the hippie culture, and the rules, and sins, as promulgated by the established religions, were under constant attack from the left side of the political spectrum. The noise and outrage from the conservative fundamentalists was deafening in its panicked frenzy (a state of mind that persists to this day when fundamentalists are reminded of the laws that now exist…. it makes them absolutely CRAZY to think that their worst nightmares are now legal acts…..), as they thrashed around the public arena, shouting out their dogma to whomever they could persuade to listen.

But, as I did back then, and continue to do now, I pretty much ignore the crap that gets flung in my direction whenever one of these religious zealots hears what I believe, or is confronted with the evidence of their own foolishness. It’s the only honorable way to deal with them… They are not sufficiently well-armed to make a battle of wits a fair proposition, and beating them to a pulp is frowned upon by my peers, as well as the fundamentalists themselves…. It costs them a lot in bandages and aspirin when they are silly enough to try to engage me in debates on this subject, and carry on to the point where my patience snaps…. it isn’t pretty…. but it sure is fun!…..
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C:\> erase c:\reality.sys; copy a:\pern\*.* c:

Yesterday’s little contest had a winner, cowgirliz, (http://cowgirliz.wordpress.com/) who slipped in the correct answer late last evening, about 2 minutes ahead of the second place winner,  Rohit, (http://quest4knowledge.wordpress.com/).  Both of them correctly interpreted the above DOS command, and have won this fabulous prize….. four minutes of fame, here on gigoid’s folly….. This prize, it must be added, has no cash value, and is only worth as much as you give it, so, give until it hurts…… or at least go check out their blogs; both of them are well worth reading….

So, you’re asking, what the heck does it mean?  Okay…. first, you need to know about Pern….  Pern is the name of a planet that circles a star much like that of Earth’s, approximately 200+ light years from Earth, in the direction of the constellation Draco, suitably enough…. It is a fictional world, created and written about by Anne McCaffrey, an Irish author of science fiction and fantasy novels. The novels about Pern are a combination of the best of both of those literary worlds……

Humans came to Pern, in giant spaceships, from Earth in the twenty-second century, seeking to colonize a planet using new ideas of government and societal structure that the colonists believed would be an improvement over what now existed on Earth. When they arrived on the planet, from which they could not return to Earth, having used all their available resources to get to Pern, with not enough to spare for a return trip, they found it to be welcoming, if challenging. Except for one thing…. Thread.

Thread was a life-form that originated on another planet in the same system, a life-form inimical to carbon-based life, such as humans, plants, the animals the colonists had brought with them, and those indigenous to Pern. Thread fell from the skies above Pern, after traveling across the intervening space between the two planets during the closest approach in their respective orbits. It would then voraciously attack and consume any life form it touched, producing a painful and not quick enough death.

In order to combat the menace, the colonists performed bioengineering on a life form indigenous to Pern, called fire-lizards. These flying lizards, resembling small dragons, the size of a cat, had two characteristics which the colonists needed to fight the Thread as it fell on them from above. First, they could fly, and in addition, had the power of teleportation; they could almost instantly move from one point to another on Pern, taking only the time it takes to draw two breaths to get anywhere else on the globe. Second, they could breathe fire….. But, cat-size, they were too small to be an effective weapon against the Thread, so the colonists altered their DNA, making them larger, the size of the real dragons of human myth, but keeping the abilities of flight, teleportation, and breathing fire….. thus making them effective at eliminating Thread before it reached the ground, fighting with their bonded human riders, who feed them the mineral needed to produce the flames…

Over the course of numerous books, the history of Pern is laid out, over a three thousand year period following the first arrival of people to the planet, showing readers a number of interesting cultural changes to society, caused in part by the new form of self-government the colonists established, as well as the effects of having a new sub-culture, that of Dragon riders, within the main culture of the planet. It is a very popular set of books, with new ones being added by enthusiastic fans writing in the same universe as Pern, as well as other fantasy and sf authors who have collaborated with Ms. McCaffrey to create more books on the same subject. The culture of Pern, as described in the novels, is almost Utopian in its attitudes, and the planet serves as a modified version of Heaven on Earth, as it fulfills several human dreams that our current society either represses or ignores, i.e. a peaceful society based on respect for others, and Dragons, too!

Now, the DOS part…. DOS is an operating system, a mathematical model that is used to give computers the actual commands that cause it to perform different functions, such as opening files, viewing contents of the files, word processing, or printing files. The commands are written in a specific format, a language, as it were, that tells the computer exactly what files to seek and use, or to copy, or move, or whatever; it is the details of the actions the computer will be asked to perform.

Using the common format for such commands, the above command line can thus be seen to instruct the computer to delete Reality, and to then, using a file on a floppy disk in the a:/drive, to open, and start, an alternate Reality based on the Pern universe… in other words, replace today’s Earth with Pern… and all of its wonderful advantages……including Dragons!  Bonus?  No tax day!

See? A bit of modern cultural mythology, a bit of fantasy, a little technology, and a lot of whimsy…. it always works for me….. thanks for listening…..
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“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not.” — Epicurus

So simple, yet this remains as the root cause of much of the unhappiness that people experience in today’s world, both directly, and indirectly. Often, losing what we have is a result of letting go of it to chase after an illusion of what we believe would be somehow better than what we already possess. We all remember the story about the dog with the big bone in his mouth who, on spying his reflection in the water of the river, opened his mouth to grab the bone the other dog had, and lost the one he had….. So obvious, and a lesson we all are taught from a young age, no matter what our educational level. This story crosses all such distinctions, as it is easily seen as universally relevant by all who hear it, save those few who are cognitively incapable of more than rudimentary thought (Certain politicians come to mind…. okay, I’m sorry, that was a cheap shot, totally unnecessary, and out of place in a serious discussion…. but, it still is true, it DID pop into my mind’s eye; the image is still there…   🙂   )

In light of the above paragraph’s implications, the question that begs asking is this; What the fuck is wrong with people?  I’m serious. The entire world seems to be locked into a pattern of behavior and attitudes that consistently contradicts the concept under examination, in short, material desire. Everyone, from the leaders and public figures at the supposed apex of society to the poorest miserable resident of the ghetto, seems to be chasing material advancement, both for personal benefit, and in relation to others, instead of being happy and content with what is spiritually and compassionately beneficial that we may possess in plenty, no matter what our material status, just by making the inner decision to let go of the desire for what is ephemeral, and holding on to what is eternal…..

To my mind, it is incomprehensible… I know that I possess many advantages over some folks, in terms of what I have been blessed with between my ears…. though it hasn’t made me rich in money or property, I am fabulously wealthy in terms of the things I consider to be essential to life, such as love, honor, truth, and compassion. Whatever I may achieve, or acquire, beyond those things, can be considered to be a bonus, in some cases, and a challenge in others…. either way, I try hard not to let any of the extra stuff detract from my appreciation for the four pillars of my existence, as stated above……

It is hard for me to not feel compassion for any who are so lost, or out of touch with themselves, or just misled, such that they cannot see the advantages of learning to embrace the sentiment expressed so well by Epicurus. It arouses my compassion, and makes me wish I knew how to get through to all those people, so they could share the joy in living that I do…. As painful and difficult as my life can be at times, I know it will all be well in the end, that the Universe is proceeding as it should, and that contents me…. most of the time….
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Halfway up the stairs
Isn’t up,
And isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery,
It isn’t in the town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head:
“It isn’t really
Anywhere!
It’s somewhere else
Instead!”
— A.A. Milne

You know, when I found this, I had an immediate reaction that I knew would make a good pearl…. Now that I look at it again this morning, that thought is gone. Phtt! Nowhere to be found. Too bad, really; as I recall, it was an interesting thought.  But, so much for the best laid plans, etc.

You know what else? This is good enough to stand alone. As I look it over again, it is echoing, growing deeper and more complex as each minute passes….. of course, that could just be the moldy cheese I’m eating, too…..  No, really, it is a pretty deep little Pooh-ish sort of thought, isn’t it? Almost sounds like Emily D. might have said it, in one of her more whimsical moments….. Nonetheless, I’m going to just leave it alone, and leave any further contemplation of its depths to the Gentle Reader….. where all such musings belong…
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I was noodling around in my head last night, as is my wont, and the following popped into my head. Now, if I was a paranoid schizophrenic, I would think, and most likely be right, that this is what is referred to as a thought intrusion. I might, if I were so diagnosed, and inclined, think that someone else had planted this in my brain, or that another of my hallucinations had telepathically forced me to think it. But, not being any subject to such silly ideas, (my brain chemical balance seems to be holding up just fine, thank you…), I just felt a small glow of mild achievement, as one does when one turns a phrase nicely, or makes a clever play on words, as in this case….. I like it…. What do y’all think? Is it worth using, as an alternate sig file? Or is it just okay, slightly amusing but not on the cutting edge of clever?  I need some feedback here, please…. thanks…..

“May the metaphorse be with you.” — gigoid, Sunday, 2012

Thus does another Pearl of Virtual Wisdom draw to a thrilling conclusion. Or, well, at least a screeching halt….. hell, I think we’d better jump before this thing goes over the cliff there….. look out!….. Nooooooooo! …… NO CARRIER

Hmph… I always seem to end up going for the cheap laugh at the end. When will I ever learn?  SIGH…. Well, y’all take care out there….


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!

A particular quality of light….

Ffolkes,
I’m feeling a bit curmudgeonly this morning; I’m down to instant coffee until I can get to a store, and having to drink this nasty stuff has me close to biting myself in irritation. Fortunately, one of my friends is coming by, and will be bringing coffee with him. One of the advantages of advanced years is the improvement in forethought skills; we knew he was coming over today, and arranged to have him pick some up on the way. Too bad it doesn’t improve the flavor of this instant crap…….
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Deal with others as thou wouldst thyself be dealt by. Do nothing to thy neighbor which thou wouldst not have him do to thee hereafter. —  _The Mahabharata_, c. 800 B. C. (Sounds suspiciously like the Golden Rule to me)

“To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” — Sun Tzu (fl. c. BC 500)

As the same fire assumes different shapes when it consumes objects differing in shape, so does the one Self take the shape of every creature in whom he is present. — Upanishads (c. B.C. 800) (Metaphysical logic, as sound as it gets….)

“Nothing endures but change.” — Heraclitus (540?-480? B.C.) (Obviously, Heraclitus was no stranger to Reality….)

All of the above statements were recorded (on paper or other form of tablet; t’was all they had then) prior to the birth of Christ, the seminal date upon which our calendar is based. It is fascinating to me to read these, which were all written about 2500-3000 years ago, and to reflect on how little apparent progress has been made in advancing human thought and behavior. The above remnants of the culture of the time clearly indicates an ability to reason that surpasses, or at minimum, equals the best of today’s philosophers. As an example of just how far we have come, or not come, to be more accurate, here is an example of how one of the most revered leaders in recent history, a man known as the Great Communicator, felt about ecological issues in general…..

“A tree is a tree.  How many more do you need to look at?” — Ronald W. Reagan, 1966

Kind of scary, isn’t it?………
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“Do not settle for less than the best your own excellence can command.” — Anne McCaffrey

I identify closely with this; it parallels Axiom #4 of my own philosophy, Peruaosophy, which reads “Excellence is its own reward.” This has been one of the guiding principles of my life, though I do occasionally encounter some resistance from the outside world in trying to achieve it. For some reason, it seems to make other folks feel nervous and threatened, and sometimes even antagonistic. I don’t worry too much over that; I figure its their problem, not mine, and paying too much attention to what other folks think or feel about what I do just encourages them to think its okay, when it is not. Its merely a distraction, and unfortunately, a potentially hazardous one, should my detractors turn from the relative confusion of a simple lack of understanding, to the dangerous rage of ignorant fear and loathing. But one of the more important skills that is learned by the process of seeking excellence is the ability to see a broader perspective, and plan for unexpected dangers during the process of sharing one’s excellence with the world. Forethought is a good thing…..(oooo, deja vu all over again….)
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JABBERWOCKY

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And thou hast slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.
— Lewis Carroll, “Through the Looking-Glass”

No comments here, I just like this a lot; reading it makes me happy…….it can work for you, too, if you like!…….
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Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
And without sneering teach the rest to sneer;
Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike.
— Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
— Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, Prologue to the Satires, Line 201

For some reason, probably buried somewhere deep in my unconscious mind, when I read this I was struck by a mental image of the last couple of Republican debates, which I must admit have provided us all with a wonderfully comic sideshow, complete with outrageous statements, vicious lying and in-fighting amongst the candidates, curiously obscure positions, and dubious economics. It’s been great, and provides tons of material to write about. But it also gets too easy to forget the seriousness that lurks behind the silly false fronts that they all throw up to keep people from knowing their true agendas; each of those people is serious about their desire to assume the mantle of power in this country, and each of them would be a greater disaster than the others. Take your pick; if any of them come even close to getting into office, I’ll be heading for the farthest place I can find to duck and cover…….any one of them would accelerate the already out of control rush toward extinction, and would create messes that may never be cleaned up…..
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He who allows his day to pass by without practicing generosity and enjoying life’s pleasures is like a blacksmith’s bellows – he breathes but does not live. — Sanskrit Proverb

I hereby pronounce this to be good. We hear the same message a lot of different ways, so it is good to see a new way of expressing such an essential point, one that fully embraces the meaning of, and behind, the words used. So much so, that it really doesn’t need any embellishment from me, so I will merely say……engage, examine, evaluate, and effect a change in your life. You’ll like it….trust me……
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Well it took a bit of effort, but it all came out well, I think. It’s certainly good enough for a retired dilettante, and I should know….. y’all take care out there…..


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!