Bagels never travel in first class….

My mind’s eye is clouded and grey this morning. No visions of beauty, or even of horror. No trite phrases, no witty repartee, and worst of all, no nonsense floating around in my head, clamoring for release. It’s all a void, empty space that I may have to try to rent out. I have fallen into writer’s limbo, that terrifying landscape where ideas run off the moment they arrive, and creativity is limited to sock colors. Where material is not merely hard to find, but actively resistant in spite of all efforts on my part to find something, anything to write about……

A hundred sinister eyes peered out from the darkness surrounding the traveler, closely following his progress on the road leading to the castle of the local lord. The traveler took no notice, his hooded face hidden as he stared downward at the back of his horse, seemingly asleep. In the darkness ahead, the vague outline of a building took shape, growing clearer as he approached, until a gatehouse revealed itself, tall and grim, seeming to lean over the roadway leading to the bridge over the river, which was now audible, as a low rumbling just at the edge of consciousness. In the swirling mist crawling out of the river, the traveler sensed a presence……

See, even my fantasies are failing me…. in re-reading this, it is apparent that this might make an entry for the Bulwer-Lytton Contest next year… that is the contest to find the worst opening paragraph that can be written each year, with a monetary prize for the top three entries, along with notice from publishers who follow such contests, looking for new talent. It’s certainly bad enough, and that second sentence in the second paragraph definitely stretches the boundaries of good writing; it is a run on-sentence of major proportions…..

Ah, well, fuck it…. let’s go Pearl, instead……

“I must decline your invitation owing to a subsequent engagement.” — Oscar Wilde

Ah, Oscar! Such a wonderful way with insults he had! This is so subtle that I believe 99% of the English speaking world would accept this from him and never realize they had been insulted…. I’ll have to remember this one the next time I get invited to attend Sunday services somewhere….

Shoot, I know for sure I could say this to my own brother, and he wouldn’t realize it….until he was sitting in church, and took a moment to reflect upon it…. but then he’d decide he must have mis-heard what I said, and would forget it…. He’s not the brightest bulb in the box, my brother….but he is very good hearted, one of the few Christians I can tolerate for more than a few minutes…. And if you ever repeat what I said about him, I’ll deny it, right up to the point where you show it to him online…. then, I’d just grin and tell him he’s heard worse…. which he has….

I’ve always enjoyed insults, as a study, not as a habit. I do use them on occasion, when deserved, but generally I try to be play nicely with others. A well-delivered subtle insult, the kind I like best, is like this one from Oscar; couched in words that outwardly appear to be quite amicable and friendly, yet devastatingly sharp upon reflection. The very best will not even be recognized as an insult at all, but I like them when they wait an hour or two, and then come back and poke the recipient right in the mind’s eye….. after I am safely in another part of town……

I used to collect insults, and once had a list of the 100 most effective put-downs, as collected by the publishers of Mad magazine…. Some of them were pretty corny, even for me….such as “You should be on the stage…. There’s one leaving in an hour….”  That’s just sad, when you think of it…. but, it does get the point across. Then there is this type…. “So, did they ever catch the guy?”  “What guy?”  “The one who ran over your face….”  Pretty silly, yes?  Yes….

And silly is a word that could probably be accurately applied to this pearl. So accurate, it struck home, and I’m now no longer in the mood for insults…. we’ll just have to go on to something else a bit more engaging….. Shall we?….

“You govern a kingdom by normal rules;
You fight a war by exceptional moves;
But you win the world by letting alone,
How do I know that this is so?
By what is within me!
The more taboo and inhibitions there are in the world,
The poorer the people become.
The sharper the weapons the people posses,
The greater confusion reigns in the realm.
The more clever and crafty the men,
The oftener strange things happen.
The more articulate the laws and ordinances,
The more robbers and thieves arise.”
— Tao Teh Ching #57, Lao Tzu

This is obvious. But don’t look at it too carefully, or it becomes unobvious, until you look at it for a long time, when it becomes obvious again. –Smart Bee

The above two pearls were sent to me by Murphy, so I have to write about them. How do I know he sent them? Well, when I was cruising my dB of quotes, the excerpt from the Tao Teh Ching was the very first quote that came into view after opening the program. I debated a discussion, as it is one of the most important of the lessons in that book.

But, I decided to go on, and find something a bit more amenable…. So I hit the key to bring up the next quote, and the second quote, the message from Smart Bee, came into view….. obviously, at least to me, the two were from Murphy, hence their presence here for me to comment….. although I don’t know why I should, since Murphy is such an ass. But, knowing him, if I don’t, I’ll pay for it, so…. here we go…

Each of the assertions in the above quote from Lao Tzu’s book is a subtle lesson, designed to teach the reader about the nature of the Tao.  As it says in the very first chapter of the Tao Teh Ching, the Tao that can be named is not the true Tao. To the Occidental mind, this seems to be a contradiction, and achieving an understanding requires a loosening of the rigid patterns of thought that are typical of the western mind. One must learn to hold two seemingly contradictory ideas in their mind simultaneously, to allow the meaning of each to mingle, and blend with the other, until the true nature of Tao is revealed, even though it cannot be touched, or seen, or heard.

This subtle process is difficult for westerners to use, as we tend to think in a straight line, from a to b; to understand the Tao, one must first understand that, to the eastern mind, a IS b. Instead of viewing the world as subject to cause and effect, the eastern way of looking at the world views cause and effect as the same concept, but looked at from a different vantage. As I said, subtle, but not completely inscrutable….

And now I know why Murphy sent them to me…. If one considers the second quote, and uses the lines from the Tao Teh Ching as the subject of discussion, then it is obvious. But don’t look at it too carefully, or it becomes unobvious, until you look at it for a long time, when it becomes obvious again…..

🙂   Murphy was obviously telling us that, in order to understand the eastern way of thought, use the second quote as the process for examination of the idea, and one can find their way through to an understanding that they formerly could not see….See, now what was so hard about that?…..

“Eternal Vigilance Is The Price of Liberty” used to mean we watched the government – not the other way around.” — Bill Stewart

I don’t know who this Bill Stewart is, but he sure nailed this one…. but then, the American public lost its will to vigilance some years back, and we are now reaping the results of that lack of attention to what is important. The PTB, (Powers That Be) comprised of the beloved ruling class and their myrmidons, the priestly hierarchies, have been brainwashing the American public now for oh, I’d say about a hundred and fifty years or so. Since the confusion generated by the Civil War in the mid-1850’s, the PTB have relentlessly waged war on each of the freedoms that are guaranteed to us by the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

First, a corrupt Federal judge made a landmark decision regarding businesses, and the rights thereof, giving “corporate personhood” to any corporation, but most specifically to those who paid him for that decision. This, in its essence, makes profit a right for these corporations, and just about any kind of process they may use to make that profit is made legal by this law. In other words, the law guarantees them a profit, no matter how much they may lie about their products, or to what lengths they may go to obtain a profit….

Since the beginning of the 20th century, this country has been involved in at least four major conflicts, and they all took place in the first half of the century. WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam shoved the nation into war time culture, exactly as Field Marshall Goering, of the the Third Reich, explained when he was tried at Nuremberg for his war crimes. The PTB convinced the  public that our nation was under attack by the forces of Evil…. Evil that was given a different face for each war. And, at the end, each war found the rights of the average citizen curtailed just a little bit more….

In the latter half of the century, the country was not forced into battle until our oil supplies became problematic. The PTB were having a harder time coming up with a face to put on the ones who are reportedly attacking us, until Saddam came along. Since the first intervention in Vietnam in the 50’s and 60’s, to the intervention in Middle Eastern conflicts in the 1990’s, to now in 2012, all of our wars have been illegal, in my mind, according to our Constitution.

Ostensibly, Congress is the only entity who is authorized to declare war. But, time after time, beginning in Vietnam, the President of this country has used his Executive powers as the Commander in Chief to engage in wars in Kuwait, Irag, Afghanistan, and probably a few places that haven’t been published.

Each time we are dragged into another conflict, using the same old tired story of being under attack, the PTB manage to place more restrictions on the unsuspecting public, until many of the rights we were given in the Bill of Rights have now been eliminated.

We can no longer gather to protest the government’s actions; if we do, we are “disturbing the public peace” or we are “serving the interests of our enemies”, thereby turning ordinary American citizens into criminals for actions that used to be protected by the Constitution. It is no longer considered legal to criticize the PTB; it’s unAmerican and a threat to National Security….

Our vigilance has been spotty at best, and the PTB are very well versed in the scientific methods of controlling large numbers of people; they have been practicing their skills for thousands of years. They know exactly how to phrase their words to inflame the public, to make them afraid, and thus set themselves up as the saviors of society. And they know exactly who to target with their rhetoric…..

Their primary targets are the same people who look at Mitt Romney as a man of character, and cheer him on as he makes his bid to get into the highest seat of power in the land, never realizing that they will be counted as his very first victims…. This man has NO interest in making things better of the average American. His words and actions have clearly shown that he is one of the elite, the super rich, who are not subject to the laws the rest of us must follow, and if elected, he will waste no time in making life a living hell for anybody making less than $250,000 a year….

I’ve been watching the government now for about 60 years, and every word of what I’ve written above is based upon what I’ve seen and heard from them in that time. None of it is made up. The PTB in this country, and in every country in the world, live only for their own aggrandizement, and have no interest in making life better for the average man or woman. They are only interested in maintaining the power that they have, and seek only to solidify their stranglehold on the remainder of society.

If you think otherwise, I challenge you to offer some kind of evidence for that. All the evidence that I have gathered, and witnessed, tells me that I am not wrong to mistrust the politicians and priests, because everything they do is designed to keep me , and you, and the rest of society in the role of victim. They’re good at it, they’ve practiced a lot….

Obviously, this is a subject I can rant about for days, which only makes sense, as I have a lot of years of experience at watching the ruling class in action. But, the rest of the day calls me, and my butt is getting tired of this chair….. so, I’ll leave this here, and merely say this…The situation in the world today is a result of NOT being vigilant, of not paying attention to the PTB, and assuming that they are looking out for our interests.

Well, we were wrong, and now we are paying the price, in the loss of those freedoms that made this country the world’s example of how the common man can be free. Now we are merely another example of how the wicked and corrupted in society can completely dominate the law-abiding masses, who allow themselves to be turned into sheep….. SIGH, and we showed such promise!…..

“When you stay on the tracks, ignoring the facts, you can’t blame the wreck on the train”. — from the song, “You Can’t Blame . . ”

Well, I certainly had a bit to get off my chest, didn’t I? Hopefully, I didn’t put anybody to sleep; I do tend to get carried away when I’m in the flow. But, we can all heave a big sigh of relief, and get on with the day….. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you….

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




Always twinkle before lifting…..

As time goes by, it is becoming more and more difficult to keep myself from becoming homicidal. I’m sure it is a problem common to every man; it is, after all, a part of our nature as natural born killers. Denying that part of us is foolish and dangerous. Without the proper understanding, and therefore control, of this part of being a human male, it can jump up and bite one at the most inappropriate times. I know, because it has happened both to me, and in front of me, on numerous occasions…..

Now, happening in front of me is not particularly a problem for me, unless I am the object, or target, of the other person’s violent outburst. Being the target happened frequently when I worked in mental health, due to the nature of the mental conditions of the individuals with whom I worked. Typically, they had poor impulse control, and when they became angry, for whatever reason, it could often lead them to become violent toward others; it was part of my job to let that other be me most of the time. I learned to deal with these situations well, and do not suffer any particular fear or anxiety over facing them any longer, though it isn’t one of my favorite pastimes. Even when one is not afraid of violence, its presence is not any fun whatsoever, for anyone involved.

But, even worse than being involved in peripheral violence aimed at others, or just random outbreaks, is the violence that I am tempted to carry out myself on others, every time some political or religious pundit opens their mouths to spew out more lies to me and the American public. I am so tired of being lied to…..

I’m tired of that kind of condescension, that assumes that I don’t hear the lie, or that I won’t do anything about it. It pisses me off the most that they are right, at least for most people. Most folks don’t hear the lies, or if they do, they don’t do anything about it. Hell, I’ve seen seemingly intelligent people go out and vote for someone they KNOW just lied to them, mere moments before….. it is disgusting, and infuriating, to say the least……

The worst part is there is nothing to do…. I keep speaking up about it, and folks nod their heads in agreement, then go out and do the same damn thing they’ve always done, just because they don’t know, or don’t have the courage to do anything else….. it’s pathetic, and it makes me want to buy guns and go shoot them at people until they start to wake up…… Maybe it won’t do that, but I will certainly feel better, so, hey, it’s worth a shot, don’t you think?…..

Well, maybe not just now…. we’ll go Pearl instead….. shall we?….

“Hurting other people unnecessarily is the only “sin”. All the others are made up nonsense. (Hurting one’s self isn’t a sin, it’s just stupid).” — Robert Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

Original sin…. who said it was? And why does anyone believe it? (That’s me asking…and not rhetorically, but literally…)

I saw Robert Heinlein’s quote, as related above, about sins the other day, and it got me to thinking about the concept upon which much of Christianity is based, to wit: Original Sin. Supposedly, as a metaphor, God made a snake, which talked Eve (whom God had refused to educate about snakes, merely saying “do as I say”) into talking Adam into taking a bite of the apple, which oddly enough (it’s hard to indicate a raised eyebrow in prose), was the metaphor for the knowledge of Good and Evil….. Then, when they had done so, this merciful god proceeded to punish them, with a most severe sentence for a first offense, for disobeying his decree (thereby blaming them for what he, being omnipotent, already knew would happen…. He set it up that way, in a lose-lose scenario, you can’t claim omnipotence and say he didn’t know it was likely…..). What a cruel, hateful set-up! It all sounds so….. human, doesn’t it?

This, to me, has always seemed like a very vicious thing for God to do…. very childish, in most ways that count.  And don’t give me all that crap about free will and choosing God’s love…. it’s not free if one is punished for using it, and God doesn’t love Man, not if he goes around setting him up to lose like that. You will note, that the knowledge that this merciful, loving God didn’t want us to have was the knowledge of Good and Evil… which, if we did not have it, we could not judge whether what God did to us was good, or evil, now could we?  Int other words, God did not want us to know that He was playing us for fools…. another scenario that, according to the creationists, was completely his idea….

I remember distinctly when I first heard the story of the Garden of Eden, when I was about four or so years old… and I remember thinking, at the end, why did God put the apple tree in Eden, if he didn’t want Adam or Eve to eat from it?  I didn’t know anything about the metaphorical nature of the story then… even I wasn’t that precocious, smart as I am. But I do remember thinking that it didn’t seem quite fair to put it there, and then tell them not to eat it. Even at age four, the question “Why?” was at the forefront of my thoughts when I heard the story, but nobody would ever answer me when I asked, other than to parrot the eternal, “God works in mysterious ways….”

Even a four year old knows a crock of crap when he hears it….. I didn’t fall for it then, and I still can’t seem to find anyone who can give me an answer that doesn’t make God look like a cranky five-year old who needs a nap….

“God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. It says so right here on the label. If you have the kind of mind that can believe all three of those things at once, then I have a wonderful deal in a bridge for you! Cash only, no checks….” — Robert Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

Conjure with ’em,–
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Caesar.
Now, in the names of all the gods at once,
Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed,
That he is grown so great? Age, thou art shamed!
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Julius Caesar — Act i, Sc. 2

Not much to comment here, other than to say, “Puke!”….. All I can say is, teaching Shakespeare as classical literature seems to me to be practice for convincing voters that a politician is going to be working to help his constituents, not spending his time lining his pockets with gelt…. in other words, not bloody likely!…. ‘Nuff said…. Hell, it doesn’t even rhyme! Doesn’t even try!….

Like to the Pontic sea,
Whose icy current and compulsive course
Ne’er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on
To the Propontic and the Hellespont,
Even so my bloody thoughts, with violent pace,
Shall ne’er look back, ne’er ebb to humble love,
Till that a capable and wide revenge
Swallow them up.
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Othello — Act iii, Sc. 3

In a mathematical proof, one would say at this point, Q.E.D….. I’ll just add, “What? What did he say?”  Long-winded way to say “I’m pissed off…”, don’t you think?….  What is it about people that needs things to be complicated? I just don’t get it…..

Halfway down the stairs
Is a stair
Where I sit.
There isn’t any
Other stair
Quite like
I’m not at the bottom,
I’m not at the top;
So this is the stair
I always
— A.A. Milne

Lovely. That’s all….. just enjoy….

politics, n:  From the Latin ‘poly’, meaning many, and ‘tic’, meaning little bloodsucking insects. — Smart Bee

Smart Bee was smarter than usual when it came up with this one… A perfect description of a modern talking head. It’s almost enough to send me off on a rant…. but, I’m tired this morning, from fighting pain for the last couple of days, and can’t seem to find enough outrage in me to get started… Oh, I’m sure it’s there; all I’d have to do is go read the news first…. but, not today. I’m going to slap on a Lidocaine patch to try to ease the lower back & hip grinding, take an extra pain pill, and try to get it to ease up a bit. My views on the current state of the circus we call election year are fairly well documented anyway…. just breeze back through just about  any random Pearl over the last few months, and you’ll find more than one rant that can best be summarized by the following statement from Mr. Jefferson, one that I believe implicitly….

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.  It is its natural manure.” — Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William S. Smith, Paris, Nov.  13, 1787

“[In the 60’s] there was madness in any direction, at any hour …  You could strike sparks anywhere.  There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was `right’, that we were winning …

And that, I think, was the handle — the sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil.  Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that.  Our energy would simply `prevail’.  There was no point in fighting — on our side or theirs.  We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave ….

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark — the place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.” — Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

When the 60’s began, I was a fifth-grader living with my family on an Army base in Washington, near Tacoma. One year later, I was in sixth grade in a small town (population: 686, counting my family), adjusting to being the new kid in school, again. By 1970, I was a student at UC Berkeley, marching with thousands of other hippies against the war in Vietnam…. In between I entered high school (and puberty), graduated as a three-year-and-sport letter athlete/valedictorian (sports and studying were less frightening than dating….), and left my tiny little home town, now with over 800 residents, for the University of California at Berkeley, where there were over 42,000 students, not counting the city of Berkeley, a significantly populous part of the megalopolis that the East Bay had already become.

Hunter Thompson was a more active participant than I in many of the activities in the early part of the decade, but I experienced enough of what was happening in society at the time to say that what he says here is quite accurate. A great deal of the power that kept those demonstrations of outrage against the system going was the exact energy he describes, a feeling of harmonious invincibility, a complete faith in the power of human love united in one purpose. There were no enemies to fight, other than apathy and indifference; those who opposed what we were engaged in manifesting would be enlightened by the very purity of our intent, and the rightness of our actions, and join us in marching on to Utopia.

It was a very heady wine, and the after-effects have not really disappeared altogether. That is some small comfort to me, as I myself get old enough to feel a lessening of my strength in a physical sense, if no other. Such forms of energy can fill up those empty fuel cells that age has emptied over time, with a different, but serviceable form of alternate energy. Maybe it won’t help me run fast any more, but I can think faster than ever, and that is a distinct advantage, to be sure…..

Such as it is, it is…. I kinna do morrre…. I’d say it will glide fairly well, if not fly strongly, and that will suffice…. It must, because I’m done, finito, serioso, and outta here. Wow… I’m driving my spell checker crazy here…. kind of fun, actually. But, enough whimsy, it’s time to go do some actual productive stuff… even we procrastinators have last minute deadlines we have to observe….

Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..

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