If not four, maybe seven….

Ffolkes,

“Grain grows best in shit.”

~~ Ursula K. LeGuin ~~

Persistence

Life is persistent….


Hajime…. Life is change, it is said, but, do we listen? Not much, for even when we do, it changes anyway, in ways we cannot predict. Fortunately for me, I’m getting fairly used to it by now, save for those days our old nemesis, Murphy, steps in to lend a hand to Fate, with his own ironic twists to the changes we think we expect. SIGH…. since there isn’t a damn thing to be done about it, the necessity for adapting, as it always does, rests with me, to do with as I please. Of course, if what I please isn’t in line with reality, well, too bad for me. Ah, well, I suppose we all have things in life which can disappoint us; this, for some reason, is mine….

Boy, that was pretty useless, wasn’t it? When I began, I was trying to be helpful, or at least compellingly sincere. But, it worked its way right into something else, insidiously, in the manner of Murphy himself, hiding the end result until too late to do anything about it. Funny how our own unconscious processes mirror the way reality works, isn’t it? And, so much for putting together the brilliant, gripping introduction that was my original intended start to today’s Pearl, eh, what? I’d say it was yet another small lesson in the hazards of engaging in vaulting ambition, I suppose, if I were in the mood to be pious, or even more ridiculous, morally instructive. Fortunately for all of us, I’m not, nor do I often fall into that absurdity. Lucky you.

Okay, we are quickly losing our way, so, perhaps it would be best to get on with the show for today. I find that’s usually the best way to preserve at least a modicum of dignity, even if we never actually display any at all. Oh, well, such is life in the blogosphere, ffolkes. You can never quite tell just what you’ll come across on any given day. I guess that just goes to show the nuances of human nature, which embeds itself in everything we do; in this case, it will allow us to escape into the wilds of the inner blog, without really even trying. In fact, we’ll just fake the whole process today, and do it like this…. Watch closely, or you’ll miss the change….

Shall we Pearl?….

“It is good
to have an end to journey toward,
but it is the journey that matters in the end.”

~~ Ursula K. LeGuin ~~


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royalty-free-clip-art-vector-logos-of-black-and-orange-floral-acoustic-guitars-by-seamartini-graphics-6573

    I’ve been sleeping better lately, which sometimes means I get up a bit late to make my self-imposed deadline for posting each day. This, naturally, means we cheat, and go with our default musical choice, to wit: classical…. As always, the mix chosen was simply the most compelling picture I saw when perusing the choices….. Enjoy!….

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Classical Music

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Sandclock .jpg

    I really wanted to have the rant on which I’ve been working ready for today; my fatigue yesterday prevented that, and arising late today finished off any chance of getting it done this morning, as it’s still evolving on me. So be it. Here is a discussion of virtue from late in 2012, not too long, to fill in quite nicely for today…. I figure, in today’s world, a discussion of virtue can never be out of place….

From 12/16/2012:

“Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.” — Buddha (B.C. 568-488)

This statement strikes a deep chord within me…. It comes to me upon reflection that there are basically two kinds of people in the world; there are those who will see a statement such as this, read it, think about it, and either accept it, or reject it, though it hardly seems possible to do the latter, given its degree of demonstrable truth. The other kind of person will start to read this, then give up after a few words, because the words have no meaning for them, beyond the word ‘treasure’. Once these folks discover that the ‘treasure’ isn’t jewels or gold, they stop all thought on the subject, and turn to anything else that will serve their self-interest.

In one sense, this dichotomy of nature is indicative of what is happening in the world at large today. On one hand we observe the people who reject the above statement, and live according to rules that are pathologically oriented to themselves, those who also believe in “do unto others before they can do unto you….”. Sadly, this group is the same one that the major percentage of elected officials and members of our beloved ruling class come from, along with all of those who spend their lives playing with money, i.e., the bankers. All of these folks refuse to acknowledge the veracity of any of the sentiments expressed by the Buddha above, and in many cases, do so with pride and arrogance…

Another group of folks lend their support to those in power, though they spend a lot of time trying to convince everyone that they are acting out of altruistic motivation rather than monetary. I call these folks preachers, for lack of a better word, and the group, in my mind, includes priests, pastors, vicars, sadhu, imams, Elders, or anyone else who considers themselves a holy man, with the right to interpret the words of gods for the rest of us. They want us to believe they are acting according to what Buddha has expressed above, but in reality, what they do bears no resemblance at all to virtue. They merely use the words to assume the authority by proxy.  In fact, their very insistence that they are acting in the interests of others, or are at all inspired to virtue, to me, is a foul lie, and worthy of their own judgment…..

I could rant for a long time on this subject, as I regard it as the most critical problem in human nature, the root cause of our current dangerous position as a species threatened with extinction. The callousness and self-aggrandizement that characterizes those among us who wish power over others will, in the long run, kill us all, if we don’t put a stop to it. Unfortunately, that would require making decisions, and taking actions, that would challenge our own virtue, and place us at risk of becoming that which we are trying to destroy…. a conundrum, for certain. Time will give us the answer, and I, for one, fear to hear it…..

“It’s too bad ignorance isn’t painful.”

~~ Smart Bee ~~


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Comedy_Tragedy

Dreaming of Calliope

La belle dame sans merci speaks aloud through endless night,
torturing dreams, with powerful words and stentorian phrases.
Manifest visions bathed in unbearable grace and light,
destroying all direction, standing lost, in unfathomable mazes.

Fate plays a part, one that will never face denial,
as fear and courage eternally vie for ascendancy.
Conflict becomes valid, gifting strength in open trial,
but honest emotion wears no costume so fancy.

Blood, sweat, and tears stroll on avenues of gold,
unlikely heroines heralding as in ancient lore;
Sharp, competent knives cut through tales untold,
eternally shifting reality past the naked shore.

Drifting toward origin, bereft of mandate or cause,
finished, nay, abandoned, tied with a figurative bow.
No simple gift from muses to give comfort or pause,
save that all we need to know, we already know…..

~~ gigoid ~~

12/13/2012


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About Hopi Indian Symbols

    This, ffolkes, is one damned odd pearl. It put itself together, with little assistance from me, beyond formatting. One or two were out of place, so I moved them where they made sense. Other than that, it’s a self-created pearl, with a message that SEEMS to be that life is strange, and these are things you should remember about it to make it through with some aplomb. Of course, you should already know what ‘aplomb’ is, before attempting to achieve it…. Always good to remember things like that; they save embarrassment later….. Enjoy! If naught else, it’s all good advice, from one viewpoint, or another….

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“The best way out is always through.”

~~ Robert Frost ~~

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“What most people need to learn in life
 is how to love people and use things
 instead of using people and loving things.”

~~ Zelda Fitzgerald ~~

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“Old age is no place for sissies.”

~~ Bette Davis ~~

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“The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

~~ Chinese proverb ~~

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“If life must not be taken too seriously, then so neither must death.”

~~ Samuel Butler ~~

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“Ears are what keep your feet from getting in your mouth.”

~~ Anonym+us ~~

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“If attacked by a lion thrust your arm down his throat.
This takes some practice.”

~~ Cyril Connolly ~~

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“The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.”

~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~~

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“Flowers are words which even a baby can understand.”

~~ Arthur C. Coxe ~~

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“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable,
but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

~~ George Bernard Shaw ~~

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“Imagine there’s no heaven… it’s easy if you try.”

~~ John Lennon, “Imagine” ~~

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Having completed my chosen duty for today, I can take a break, well-earned. Leelu will be happy about that; she gets antsy in the mornings, waiting for me to finish. She’s become an excellent companion, (not that she was ever anything else), and we are learning to adjust to each other’s habits fairly well. Now we’ve filled the standard requirement for chatty blather, which seems to have gone missing above, we may legally, and morally, take out leave, sans guilt (not that we ever feel THAT useless emotion…). As is our wont to comment on such occasion, so be it. See y’all tomorrow, ffolkes. Just try & stop me….

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

The *only* duly authorized Computer Curmudgeon.

PLEASE STOP READING THIS MESSAGE NOW.

“SCRAM!!!!!!!!!!”- Oscar the Grouch

dozer3


À bientôt, mon cherí….

Plain, old-fashioned articles of modern design….

Ffolkes,
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………
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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….
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“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
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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 MoveOn.org, 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….
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U _/     )    *–<  ) ~\—–++__)   )    )       )
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___) >____) >___   ~\_\_\_\_\_\_\)
~~~//\\_~~//\\_~       ~(\_\_\_\)
~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~

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?……
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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.
–gigoid

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
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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.

gigoid

Kowabunga!