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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Night People



The old people come out at night. The have become feral and feline, sleeping during the day. Night is not a metaphor for the darkness of the soul anymore, not the evil of pitch black, but the silhouettes of night have become the archetypes of all things.
We, the old, stalk the shadows of the city on our quest for the Virgin Mary's bicycle parts.


The things of the earth lose their detail, the thorns of life that prick us, bleed us; the day people want to help - so they say; they want to minister to us, to provide medicals. We call them "leeches", like in old times; they want to leech us to whatever icon they have of old people should-being. They task us. They harry us like dogs chase the fox. Their old-age homes are dungeons run by their Ministry of Love.
They leech and suck our blood with their taxes, and their wars, and their guns and violence.
They speak in a cenobite tongue of the most profound profanity. We hear their blasphemous language, which they find comical, and it tears at us. All words are used: every vulgar profanity, every curse gets a laugh.

Discourse is invective.
The old word for conversation was "intercourse". Intercourse of days is now vile: it is either violent, or it is a graffitti on the walls for everyone to gaze at, hard colors on concrete drawing tears from the tender eyes of the day people...eyes used to Death and Cable.

We drive at night and see the blackwork buildings sentinel on silent streets. We watch the Sunset Channel with its documentaries of nightime streets, where you can actually see the streets and sidewalks; they are not obscured by the opprobrious burden of multitudes of people, walking like a living carpet of many-coloured knots, woven at random seeming along the night-time weft we inhabit. At night, the weft is empty...Penelope-like, the ragged carpet of care is unwoven every night, and we wait for the Master Weaver to come...

The day is the time of massacre of the two-year old boys, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed and busy with their toys.
Christmas was at night, our loves, our joys...



Night is the holy time, when we mend broken hearts with bicycle parts, straighten spokes, adjust the brakes, pump up the tires; night time, priapic with meaning and engorged with arts!




pics 1,3,4: arnold pouteau
pic 2: broken hearts & bicycle parts

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Terrorism in the 21st Century...the 20th Century...and the 19th Century

The USA took over the Phillipines from Spain in 1898, after the end of the Spanish-American War. Instead of the freedom they expected, the Fillipinos who fought against Spain were treated to an American Empire over their country. Insurgency flared up. In particular, it flared in the southern island of Mindinao, an area which was heavily Muslim. When Spain had conquered the Phillipines, they called the inhabitants Moros, just as they had named the Moors whom they had recently finished dispossessing in Spain itself. In 1903, Captain John "Black Jack" Pershing reported that no more hostilities were anticipated, "All Moros know our friendship is valuable and is freely extended to all who deserve it." The next year, there were numerous reported outrages in Mindinao by bandits. http://msuans.blogspot.com/2008/03/lessons-from-mindanao-history-as-seen.html ...Mindanao saw decades of war against the colonizers. The Muslims had consistently resisted colonial attempts. The colonizers had to be unconventional and creative in order to overcome resistance. For instance, the Americans had to invent, among others, the Cal. 45 pistol with knocking down power in order to subdue the kris-swinging Maranao warriors who would continue to lunge at their attackers even if they were already bleeding by bullet wounds, and many other examples. and from TIME in 2003: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,423565,00.html ...Mindanao's Islamic rebels now seem to be after more than a home alone. TIME has learned that elements of these same separatist movements have become a nexus for Southeast Asian terrorists and are providing a training ground for operatives linked to Jemaah Islamiah (JI), the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist network widely blamed for last October's deadly Bali bombings. Officially, the army says it launched last week's operation to pursue a kidnap-for-ransom gang (called the Pentagon) that was being given sanctuary by the MILF. Another goal was to disperse a concentration of 1,000 MILF fighters on the edge of the Liguasan marshes, an expanse of waterways and islands that make up one of the group's few remaining strongholds. Philippine and Western military-intelligence sources are asserting, however, that in the past three months scores of Indonesian and Malaysian Islamic militants belonging to JI have slipped into MILF jungle camps, some of which are located in the very marshes bombarded last week... and it continues today, as militants recently escaped from jail. 100 years of war. That's what we want, that's what we create, that is what we will get.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Why Detroit?

Why are terrorists flying to Detroit? I suppose the reason has something to do with the fact that Detroit is the city whose maps and satellite images are used for Raccoon City in the film Resident Evil: Extinction. (This is the third film; the second film, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, featured Toronto City Hall as the city hall of Raccoon City.) I saw a vid from a guy who eliminated Michigan as the potential site of Raccoon City, because there were no mountains. He forgot the Iron Mountains. He eliminated it because there were no clear accents in the residents speech, forgetting that only the Yoopers ( Upper Peninsula folks ) have a distinct accent. I suppose the tax credits available determined where the filming was done.

The Surly Cob

I heard my daughter; this is where she and She-who-most-be-obeyed were headed: The Surly Cob. What could it be? A restaurant with nasty waitperson, such as were the rage some years ago in certain areas of limited self-respect? A store? What would they sell in The Surly Cob? I had visions of Popeye smoking his pipe, casting a squinky eye at Bluto, but since when were the fair ones so interested in E.C.Segar or Max Fleischer Studios? Goons and Jeeps, "Open, sez me!" and "Salami, salami, baloney!" I mean, I can perfectly understand why I might be interested in all such things Sweethavenish, but those two?! I could not help but wondering. It turns out it was something much more prosaic, although very nice: a store named "Sur la Table".

The Hoarder Of Desire

Christmas Angel
Black and Gold
(unfinished)

Early on the mornings of Christmas season, I record the events of this, my history: the intrusion and growth of the tree and lights, the viney garlands stretching the length of the balusters: Nature irruptive, overturning the fences of civilization, coming back with indifferent retaliation: bringing pine and thorn and bush and needle and scrub into our home; dispelling the bland concerto of our times, and bashing us with the harpsichords of religion: birth, salvation, suffering...what delight!

I try to get it all down with only natural light and the light of the ornamental evergreens. The scribes of my brain write "In dulci jubilo..." and "We three kings..." on parchment, and store it under "2009". My journal is a blister now, not of palimpsests & words, but fireworks! The pen leaps like the hart, and asterisk follows asterisk...all my writing is scratches without glitter, so I take the bottle of glitter and dowse the words with stars.
My camera obscura waits for dawn, the pinhole device records the brilliant tree, my digital cameras are busied by the endless detail of  morning.
"2009" I whisper to the video cam, "2009". Archived tapes and microfiche...

This edifice of memory is the tomb of the year's desires. How many may I record and thrust within? And my loved ones still sleep; they aren't yet awake. Their close-ups won't be scheduled for a bit. I feel like Max to the Old Year's Norma Desmond suddenly...as she descends the staircase...and this is all silhouette, dark and clean of detail, the outline of the material desire: a spiritual black-work of angelic choirs...and the unseen windows and doors of Advent calendars unopened!
 Garland & Balusters


----
inspiration: http://littlelightreading.blogspot.com/2009/12/starlings.html
 I designed and executed the blackwork about 35 years ago.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Welcome To New Friends

This morning, the day after Christmas, I had that feeling again of eyes following me...or something else, something new, as I looked at the blog, seeing the xmas poem had scheduled and published on its own. There was a new friend, daryldarko, to welcome. He is an photographer and artist and quite mad, so I feel very much at ease. I had spent the previous two days, Xmas eve and Xmas day, with my own family - blood, you might say - and they were run-of-the-mill to the point of disaster. Things were only saved by my brother, who got amusingly drunk, and started to laugh at all the right spots, which was different from the rest of the perplexed multitude - laughing only when desperation seemed to set in.. We were at my parents', and I had to drive him home with my parents' old Hudson, and was then dependent on my other brother for a ride home myself - my daughter, visiting for the holidays, had stolen my car and driven off yelling "Ha-ha! So long, Dorks!" as I stood in my parents driveway, feeling despair creep up my pant legs...either that or snow was melting on the corduroy. My mother had come up with a brilliant idea for gifts this year: she cannot bear to throw anything away, keeping even the plastic domes once used to cover grocery store cakes. She says they come in handy. I have noticed in the past that this type of recycled container leaves a little to be desired in the areas of concern to the Department of Leak Prevention, however. These hard lessons had usually been taught by things such as gift dill pickles, briney things with perdurable odors, transported from her place to mine, and leaving one's automobile with the faint odor of a delicatessen for years to come. Anyway, it was to be a White Elephant Christmas, where we gift things we don't want anymore, and hope that it may end up half as funny as a Mad-Libs game among the dull and abstemious. Since the rest of the people involved had no particular fear of the Waste Collection and Recycling Industry, most of us had already disposed of the disposables, not having saved them for Xmas gifts like my mother had done, so she was one or two up on us already: the way she likes it. My wife and daughter received some used articles of clothing. I got a plastic coffee mug, wide in the keel for stability in one's car while driving into "the mixing bowl" or "malfunction junction" during "rush hour" while one "commuted" to the "rat race". I also received a handsome plastic carafe, about 3/4 liter in size, to presumably hold more of "the black" (coffee) in. All I needed was a container for "the white" (milk) and "the sweet" - I forget what the sweet refers to. I got a small, travellers' size container of tooth floss. I got some Altoids - new, not used. During the summer, we were cleaning the dining room in their summer cottage and came across an empty box from American Spoon Food jams, which seemed to have been behind a table for five years or more. It was black and dusty, and the top had a picture of an American primitive style painting, rather like Grandma Moses' watercolour of Nantucket harbor. She had just broached her White Elephant idea that morning, so now I suggested she give it to my niece. Well, I had a gift now, a box, a black box and obviously old, and I thought - irony of ironies, 'tis the American Spoon Food jam box back to haunt me! But it wasn't. It was merely another antique box, into which another item had been stuffed. I think it was a roll of toilet paper. I began to shut down the memory unit at this point, hardly even noticing the three used egg cups at the bottom of my gift bag; white and blank egg cups - not cute at all - no pictures of rabbits or bunnies or happy monks: the type of pictures one is used to seeing on the broadsides of egg cups; just white, and an egg-shell white, too, I may add. I had a brief nightmarish flash of Keir Dullea in 2001 eating some soft boiled numbers from these babies, in that scene where he is old, very old, and tottering towards whatever Bethlehem only Stanley Kubrick could imagine...old and in a white, white room of whiteness, eating white eggs in porcelain cups. I began to hum: I'll fly away, after egg cups, I'lll flyyy awayyy! I was trying to get things moving out of the slough of holiday despond we had excavated for ourselves in the front room. The brother I was to catch a ride with was drinking egg nogs, one after the other, and - as the song goes - showed "no signs of stopping". Since I spend more time with the folks, the complaints, grievances, and stories they were regalling him with were old and archival bits for me, but for him they were fresh and dewy, and he felt impelled to make commentary and adopt a "take the bull by the horns" type of "get 'er done" attitude towards Comcast and the Township and Disturbers of my father's peace & quiet, which everyone must have assumed I had not done, merely shuffling my feet and moaning and wondering when some intelligent go-getter - like my brother - might come along to help. Rain was promised, and once the sun has set, temperatures usually get colder...even on Christmas. So I drove the one brother home. He discovered all the smoke shops were closed, it being Xmas day. I gingerly looked around at the shuttered stores. Not an open shop in sight. We passed the SpeedyQ: he said he and his lady friend had stopped there last year after Xmas. "Really." I said. "Yeah" he said. "Who, pray tell, was hauling your backsides about town back then?" I asked. We thought, and it was clear I was hauling their backsides back then. "Yeah." I said, "It was open: a twenty and a sixer." recalling the cigarettes he had bought - 20 to a pack - and the beer - six to a pack. I escaped soon. I drove back, hoping coats would be laid out, ready to encumber shoulders, but only ran into a pile of indifference, nogs, and the dreary sisters Chit & Chat. The minutes limped by like the remnants of Pickett's Charge. At last, we left. On the way home, I discovered my brother had received a book I had given my father - new, not recycled - about 4 years ago. After driving for fifteen minutes, the hard rain started.

Nu, Noah?


I have meditated a lot on the story of Noah. I remember recently writing to my friend Ruth about Noah, that sometimes genius comes late in life, not early: Noah had children who were married, he was not young when the flood came.
I remember writing about Malamud's The Natural - starring Robert Redford, if you recall -about the same thing: lives that took a fork in the road early on, only to come back later and perform their miracles.

So I have been meditating on Noah. I remember this from Reb Brenner, and I do not agree.

Excerpt from:

http://rabbidanielbrenner.blogspot.com/2006/11/judea-pearl.html

The Zohar says: "When God said to Noah, 'The end of all flesh is come before Me,' Noah said: 'What will You do with me?'
But he did not pray for mercy for the world, as Abraham would pray for the city of Sodom.
This is why the Flood is called 'the waters of Noah' (Isaiah 54:9) — he is culpable for them, because he did not appeal for mercy on the world's behalf."

How can we understand this mystical teaching? In a world bloodied by terrorists — those who purposely kill the innocent to send a signal of their ruthlessness, we may have a tendency to be like Noah and simply worry about our own hides. Abraham calls us to ask, "What does this mean for humanity?" Abraham is not from Sodom. For him, the Sodomites are foreigners, strangers, other. Yet, he prays that they will be understood.

I disagree with this mishnah.
Before the Flood, the Law did not exist. There were individual instances of commands and directives, and obedience or disobedience, but no thing corresponding to the Law.

The covenant with Noah was the beginning of the Law: God had made a promise to do such and such, and mankind was to reciprocate.
An agreement, and if either side does not fulfill, then both sides may seek arbitration.

Abraham could argue against the destruction of Sodom, for there was a Law and there was a space within the soul of man where one could argue forensically with God, derived from the covenant of Noah with God.
The Law moved away from bloodletting by God - who would no more destroy mankind - and bloodletting for God - the Lord was moved by Noah's sacrifice of every clean animal and fowl to meditate on man's innate evil. The covenant with Noah established that hecatombs and holocausts would be done by man, not the Lord, henceforward.
Thus could barrister Abraham argue for Sodom, and secure its safety if but one good man be found therein.
The subsequent destruction of Sodom would seem to be anomalous in this view, indicating the Lord was never serious in giving up the right to slaughter. This is only apparent, and shows that our understanding of the Noahide covenant is incomplete, and we must study more; when one go to argue the Law, it is never as clear-cut as we think: if you read the story of the Cities on the Plain right up to the end, you get a lot more information about Lot and his family than you ever would have wanted.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas Snow Shovel snow, hearty lads! shovel, pike, and broom!
This song we do sing when the solstice yawns and blows too much snow for man or beast... an over-measuring of snow... for free a cornucopia of ice! So much that old Man North, Boreas, a well-known Scrooge and miser, stingy and cold to the boney zero, is now acclaimed by all an open-handed and generous man: the Clement, the Giving, magnanimous! this the song of the scrapers, this the song of shovelers; little boys throw snowballs
at pompous men in top hats!
And all the world's gone
topsy-turvy, upside down,
at this our Christmas time! Come, truckers! come, pilers!
come sowers of salt! The drifts grow high, O, fathers! as high as grandfather Pine!
Sing ye no dirges now! sing joyful litanies in
this harvest-time of snow! the lamps of dawn are lit! Sing, ho! 'tis Christmas! ------- notes I am not sure what to say about this poem. It is what happens when one begins to think about Christmas and snow and presents and trees when one has been reading about ancient Greece: it is sort of an antique snow shovelling, snow harvesting type of poem Hesiod ( author of Works and Days and second in fame to Homer ) would have sung as he shoveled the snows of his homestead. Boreas is the North Wind, and instead of being a royal pain in the wedge, he is seen as sending a white Christmas and snowy gifts.
pike to push the ice with pointed staffs,
scrape to scrape ice, or to scrape snow off the surface of ice.
------

Thursday, December 24, 2009

C. A. Jeffrey Gets A Flat...

...then goes with her aunt to a Tim Horton's.
Her aunt tells her she should have waited
until the Boxing Day sale. pic: http://cajeffrey.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Did You Hear The One About The Republicans Who...

How appalling is it when a fine man with a run-of-the-mill intelligence and a sort of an isinglass sense of humor tries to be funny?
Mike Huckabee: http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/35413_Huckabee-_Sen._Ben_Nelson_is_Judas_Iscariot  

But during his comments at the Omaha rally, Huckabee - a 2008 presidential candidate and potential White House hopeful in 2012 - likened Nelson’s deal to the biblical story in which Judas agreed to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. “I don’t want [senators] to go up there…and then somehow go back and boast, ‘Here’s some money that I got for you.’ The last time we saw that kind of historic moment it was 30 pieces of silver and that didn’t work out too well for us either,” Huckabee said.

This is where I roll my eyes, whistle a little tune, and tap my foot for a while, waiting for the conservative element in the audience to "come up to speed". Actually, I was under the impression that Judas' 30 pieces worked out badly for him, and well for us, because we got salvation thereby; somebody had to get the crucifixion going, and it was Judas. Since this was part of the plan of salvation, it seems that Judas played a necessary part, and we got quite a bit for 30 pieces of silver. Perhaps Huckabee is saying that we, the people of the USA, are all Jesus Christs...and somebody sold us out for 30 pieces of silver; sort of a pantheism type thing going here, Mike. When the punch line is more important than the matter at hand, call for a Republican.

FDR & BHO

Baysage wrote me a comment, and the words FDR and Obama occurred in it; here's the point at which I diverge from other writers: they would go on and on giving you background details on what exactly was said about FDR and BHO, but I don't. It is enough to say the names were in close proximity. No one really reads these things anyway...

Anyway, there are many similarities shared by FDR and BHO, but what distinguishes them and separates them is their times: our time is illiterate and unread - except for vampire and zombie love stories, whereas FDR's time made a stab at literacy.
And back in FDR's time, the working folks actually believed they contributed to the greatness of this country, and that their opinions mattered and were heard in the halls of the mighty. For example, did you know back on December 23, 1940 - just less a year from Pearl Harbor - Walter Reuther, the president of the UAW, released his report: 500 Planes a Day—A Program for the Utilization of the Automobile Industry for the Mass Production of Defense Planes. about which one may read at http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2006/3314reuther_1940.html Using the Machine-Tool Principle To Save the U.S. Industrial Republic by Richard Freeman ...Reuther discussed how the United States could retool its auto sector, 50% of whose capacity was underutilized—just as it is today. He had assembled a team of skilled machinists which had conducted a several-month, plant-by-plant, tool-and-die room by tool-and-die room survey/study of the shut-down capacity.
Back then, Walter Reuther wanted to use under-utilized auto manufacturing capacity, Kaiser built cars and turned on a dime to build Liberty ship, Ford could build planes, tanks, cars... It was a totally different world. Today's world is a world of schnorrers and goniffs and madoffs. School systems fall apart, the center cannot hold, and we lumber to a pseudo-Bethlehem as great illiterate beasts - and we take pride in the irredentism of our sublime know-nothingism and ignorance!
--

The Nature Of Religion

Religion is the attempt to optimize human life, by incorporating the Spiritual on the same footing as the Material; it overlooks no aspect of those human entities of whose lives it is a part. Religion is an optimal path, utilizing insights from the material world-as-fact, which is communicated and informational by nature, and insights from the world of unconsciousness, which by nature appears to be solitary and uncommunicated, and becomes informational only after some effort to transform it. Both worlds must be made moral: the world of Metropolis, the urban concentrations, and the world of Sanctuary, the desert vision quest. Consider the bloodier aspects of some ancient religions: the spiritual path was frozen into a bloody, sub-optimal process, in much the same way as the 2oth century saw the material path frozen into repeated bloodshed and genocides.
The preliminary attempts at optimality stopped - for some reason - at a decidedly sub-optimal stage, and enshrined monsters into history. The battle is joined both in consciousness and in unconsciousness. Religion proceeds to find an optimal path, or the optimal path if you prefer, among the complexities of human life, conscious and unconscious, and the various religions may be considered as analogous to strong and robust optimality algorithms. It is the Path.
pic: weblo real estate

Monday, December 21, 2009

Metropolis & Sanctuary 12/21/2009

Metropolis: the Cathedral
The powerful and rich of Metropolis met in Copenhagen to discuss Climate Change. Copenhagen shows that politicians will do nothing about climate change. I did not expect them to. I did not even think Mr. Obama would. He neither surprised, nor disappointed. So, where will Sanctuary be? I shall pray on it.

The Sanctuary

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Nature Of Evil

If we extract from Hatred & Suffering the obvious essences of color, race, creed, sex, and all the other pernicious accidents that make our souls coward, we are left with the irreducible principle of human misery - the inability of mankind to view each other - and themselves - as real human beings who spin the narratives that create the World; rather, we see ourselves created by our own narrations, stories, and philosophies. We spend our time in words and see God and the World as words, ideas, structures, and logical entities, which by their very artificial nature are not living and breathing flesh, are not sons and daughters of God, individual and free, but are mercenary words that serve all willing paymasters. The words of ideology and dogma fall from our lips like angels with black and broken wings.

Body Coverings

I was reading about Saudi Arabia, and how they now have tv shows with women presenters, who are wearing the niqab. It is interesting. What would FOX do if they could not prominently display blond women? Political commentary would suffer immeasurably. The fall-out might even go beyond News Corp. and afflict Anne Coulter and AC wanna-bees. One of the Saudi ladies say that there is more to the show than just pretty faces, and forcing viewers to concentrate on the substance, not the glamor, is rewarding. That is a radical approach; very radical. Wouldn't work here. We need pretty faces...and more, if possible...and all the accoutrements of eroticism to present important topics: it's just our way! Anyhow, I've decided to go Tuareg. Everyone I know thinks it would be a big plus for the neighborhood.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Homeric Hymn To Hermes... And Secular Religion

Hermes 
 
There is a collection of poetry referred to as the Homeric Hymns. It is not the case, nor is it known whether Homer himself was the author of any of these, but they are all ancient, they are in hexameter, and follow the language and usages of the poems of Homer, yet without the heroic epithets so common in heroic poetry, nor with the extended similes: someone is not just "like" something in Homer's Iliad; they are "like" followed by 10 extensive lines of description.

Hermes is the Greek god who became Mercury in the ancient Roman version of the Greek pantheon. Hermes was polytropos - shifting, many faced, many sided, and cunning - and reminds one of Odysseus in the Iliad and Odyssey, who was an individual no longer the hero like Achilles, who in his literary essence was the hero and fighter who would live fast in war and die young.
A new breed of man became important, the skillful debater and negotiator, who did not have immediate recourse to arms to solve a problem, but rather inspected things and thought about them with cunning: turning the world and its paradoxes on the spit of Reason until they were ready to be consumed by his fertile mind!

Hermes was the son of Zeus and Maia, one of the Pleiades. He invented the lyre made from tortoise shell, he sang songs, and - pondering sheer trickery in his heart - he stole fifty head of cattle from the herds of the god Apollo, doing this when he was but a few days old and still slept in a cradle at night: Fear not, little swaddling baby, son of Zeus and Maia. I shall find the strong cattle presently by these omens, and you shall lead the way.'
In addition to being dolios - the schemer, a god of robbers, and those who profit by cunning, and those who profit by force and forceful persuasion, he was the messenger of the gods, the god of boundaries - keeping boundaries sacred - perhaps on the notion of setting a thief to catch a thief -and was also a god of roads: enodios, "on the road"; god of contests and sports" enagonios, "in the contest" or "having game"; and the leader of the souls to the underworld: psychopompos, "drum major of the soul".

 In the pagan pantheon, the gods take on many human characteristics, becoming icons of the areas of life which are under their control. Thus we see Hermes playing human roles, and read his biography as a mixture of what we consider the Holy and the Profane. We are amazed at the ancient pagans, and how they scandalously portrayed their gods, the symbols of their highest aspirations.
This was considered by some to be one of the aspects of Western Christianity and higher religion that separated the civilized man from the primitive: the fact that religion no longer turned gods into men and women, and religious rites no longer described their flaws and fights and shameful couplings outside the holy bonds of matrimony, as did the old paganism, which revelled in the liaisons of Zeus - whose devotion we see somewhat reflected in our inordinate love of sexual scandals even now today...in the midst of our Christian devotions: Bibles in the right hand, National Enquirer in the left.

We no longer do this, right? Wrong. Of course, wrong, else I wouldn't be here writing about it.
And here is where I define what "secular religion" is: secular = of this age, coming from saeculus= and age or century or time of life. I call the religion secular, because it is the religion of this age I speak of, not the eternal religion, not the essence of religion, but the Icon of religion we have created for our present generations, the Golden Calf we worship. What, indeed, is all that nonsense about WWJD - what would Jesus do? - if it is not a conscious effort to create scenarios about the humanity of Jesus? To create scenarios about things which are hidden, but using the logic that all humans are likely to experience similar situations, we create the scenario where Jesus is in the same situations we face today. Cute. In other words, we emphasize the humanity, not the divinity.
Our interpretation is guided by ourselves - we are setting thieves to pass judgement on thieves...or ourselves as children to judge the transgressions of our childlike innocent greed and guiltless lusts. Of course, the religious will say that by emphasizing the humanity, we see the script where Jesus knows what to do, makes the right moral choice, assisted by his divinity...that same divinity we should all pray to.
I say that such a procedure is a pagan myth-making machine. It is worse than pagan myth; it is an entirely new religion which humanizes and belittles the spiritual injunctions of the Sermon on the Mount into a mush of nothingness. If the intent of such a process is to bring the difficult spiritual regimen of Jesus into focus for people, it does not work.

When people wonder WWJD, they rarely come up with radical answers, answers that say leave everything behind, take up your cross, and follow me. When we ask WWJD???, do we ever jump out of the fishing boat of Zebedee?...leaving old Zebedee plumb out of luck, two of his fisher-sons jumping ship and gallivanting around Galilee with Jesus? Not often, if ever. What about films, like Mel Gibson's The Passion? Did not the ancients wail when Adonis died? Did they not weep for Attis? Scratch and claw your rosy cheeks, rend your garments, roll in the dust and ululate with grief...you are not doing anything the ancients did not do, and your unhealthy spectacle of torture and death - often shown at churches themselves! - is nothing different from the pageant presented by Nero in the Colosseum: miscreants and unfortunates dressed as the old gods that die and resurrect being cut down for the approbation of the slavering eyes of the Roman populace.

We have human gods. Our morality is human morality. When the leaders of our society decided to destroy the financial fabric of civilization - who was their master? and when will he return to reward their good and faithful service? (Or consider Islam: what will one say on the Day of Resurrection about jihad that seeks not to elevate man, but to feed the maw of death? ) "Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me," said the Lord. The cross is a symbol of death; not a simple death, a calm death in hospital, feeling no pain, surrounded by loved ones. The cross is a painful death, but symbolic of the painful transition from being a child within a religious community to being an adult who must bear witness to religion, and who must even pass it on to new generations: witness, teacher, worker, fighter, priest, scribe, and hero.

The saying tells us to let the old person in us die and wither away: do not weep for our youth and childhood. St. Paul tells us to put away the things of a child; he was not talking about tops and jacks. In all the Abrahamic religions, we have been called to do the most difficult things for mankind: to transcend its nature and become more. Time is running out on us. The dress rehearsal for our age was the victory of the USA-USSR not destroying each other in nuclear conflagration. That was a great moral victory. Indeed, the greater it is, the more we ignore it! There is going to be need for many more moral victories, great and small. Farewell, the peaceful mind; farewell, content! Our occupation is gone, and our new job is to transform the world.
---
quotes from Evelyn-White translation.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Xmas Greetings, et cetera, et cetera, and so forth...

I'm going to take this time to wish everyone a merry Christmas. You certainly make me feel humble. When I look at the list of followers, I think "What possible good do I do to warrant those entities'..."
(Sorry. I have a tendency to refer to brainy types as "conscious entities", or "entities" for short. I suppose this is one of the reasons I am so beloved by the Mechs and machines.) "...to warrant those entities' interest? I just seem to blather on, yet they all seem so much more interesting than I." Now I shall admit to being "interesting" in a sense, that sense being more clinical or forensic than emotional or magnetic. I have had friends tell me the only present they want for Christmas is the location of my "off" button. That would satisfy them for the next decade or so. Failing to locate said "off" button, they have invoked the cloak of distance, which works even better. I think I have demonstrated this with ample largesse over the autumn. As I recently wrote, unless one shows caution, I may turn into some sort of literate monstrosity: a Grendel's dam of conversation - affrighting even those people who don't read too much, and have no idea who Grendel is, nor his dam, but they do know when the moon is full, and to beware words and wolfmen. You are all so wonderful... There are such great things in God's world... Merry Christmas, wonderful Entities!

Who Let The Dogmas Out?!

As delegates from the world convene in Copenhagen to discuss Global Warming and to create a new global emissions pact, with two days left to go, things seem to have come to a standstill. Recently, Climate Change Deniers have brayed loudly over transcripts which seemed to indicate a fudging of climate data. This made them almost as happy as they would be were they to discover Darwin and his descendants had fudged Natural Selection, and Creationism could stand up to the experimental rigors imposed on it by modern science. As I've written elsewhere, I've been following the climate for 20 years or more. I remember back when the world of science was heralding the new Ice Age. That disappeared and became the Warming. It doesn't matter whether it is warming, globally or locally, or whether it is cooling; it all come down to the same point of treating our home - the Earth - with the respect due it. If we fail to do that, we shall pay a heavy price. God gave man dominion. This is responsibility, not license! Husbandry of the resources is what was committed to man: to use the gift intelligently, so when the master of the house returns, He will praise us as faithful and wise servants...not miserable destroyers who let everything go to wreck while we chased our profits and pleasures! Reason can only assist us in making sense of the data. It cannot indubitably prove, nor absolutely falsify: it is more like Voltaire's smile, rather than the Inquisitor's frown: it welcomes discussion and new things, but it cannot declare them dogma, nor can it thumbscrew you into believing scraps that the dogma left. That is the realm of present day Power-Religion and Power-Politics: the kingdoms of the Irrational. I told the story of the future when mankind was at the brink of war which would annihilate the world. Weapons were poised, and hair triggers set, yet a small hope remained: to feed as much information into the newest and most brilliant computer to see whether there existed an optimal solution - short of murder and annihilation - for world peace. After an extended period, the computer came back with the answer. The answer caused the Secretary-General of that future UN to weep. It said "Love one another." I suppose the Secretary-General wept, because he realized this was an impossible answer, for it was not what we think of a "reasonable", rather it was emotional or spiritual. Not is it Dogma, for no modern religion has ever expended time, money, and resources fighting for Love; they fight and kill for any and every jot and iota writ in their holy books, but not for Love. Love ain't worth fightin' for. It's a fool's game...the way we reckon it. Reason will lead us to the place where the Spirit must act. Reason is the Guide of the Spirit. So far, the greater part of the world has not acted according to the dictates of the Spirit. I am not saying confirm or deny the Warming; I am saying embrace the Spirit and follow it where it will lead. This is not obscure. The only thing obscure is our thinking. We think the Spirit to be hazy and mystical and hard to understand, because we want to ignore its demands. And the rest of mankind is our enabler in this. PS. How's that title, Baysage?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lilies Of The Field Again

We believe too, too much that God has nothing to do but to be mindful of us and our foibles.

We have this incredible icon of the Omnipotent and All-Loving, so really, how could we go wrong? I mean, He's always there for us, right? Lilies of the field type of deal? Even if one neither toils nor spins, the Father has us on his divine dole.
Well, consider, then, that even in the days of Jesus, farmers still cut down the lilies; lilies were weeded or harvested; lilies did not run rampant over the globe, urged on by their exceptional natures.

What we do is kids' stuff, and it is not enough. It is constant work; it is not just a constant struggle to make oneself ok with present dogma, but dogma itself is a contradiction in the realm of the Holy, for the quest never stops: there is no such thing as a full and final orthodoxy. Jesus knew it. That's why he used stories that were so hard; imagine doing nothing and putting full trust and faith in your heavenly Father!!! Imagine! He knew that the story has no end, the journey has no earth-bound goal, and if we snooze in the sleep of dogma, we loose.
--

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Xmas Beverage Elixior

I have created a new beverage for Christmas, consisting of the usual ciders, teas, nutmegs, cloves, cinnamons, sugared zests, and just about the entire Gross Domestic Product of the Seychelles Islands.
My visitors are easy: they drink, so one can pop a tab, or withdraw a cork, or unscrew a top and mix the Clear with the Brown with the Transparent Blue Agave with the Bubblicious, and all is well.
But the ambrosia of the abstemious can be tricky. It's takes forever as you mull over the spices.
So I have a new Christmas elixir.
Since it is the best elixir ever, I call it Elixior.
If this is unclear, I leave it to The Periodic Englishman to explain it to the rest of the young Neros and Agrippinas in class.

A Mech P{ri}ncess O{f} Fazree

We are beset by intruders. I am. Ruth said she is now, too. They are trying to get into our blogs and forums and websites, posing like the mad men and women of our usual desires and images, getting us to lower our guard, coming in, looking around, smiling, and saying to us "Primo real estate, brother! Now you want to be lifestyle free like a prynce or pryncesses? EZ to do. You could live in the arms and legs of luxury like moi too soon...bro.", and leave us wondering. Observe the title: P{ri}ncesss...O{f} ...the {ri} {f} = {rif} , which means "resistance is futile" most of the time, but may trans into "resisteyance is feudal", too. The Turing Test was to tell the difference between machine intel and humie...or human...intel: you sit down an listen, and if the machine is indistinguishable from the human, bingo! you have human intel in a machine! Alan Turing Kimdir? Aşağıda Turing Testini öneren bilim adamıyla ilgili kısa bir biyografi yer almaktadır. Only the Turing Test never foresaw the future where people think like machine, and peopel act like machine, and love...love is the A1 lubricant for the machine, also mens. I coughed and shook my head. I sensed I was having a "Turing moment", and I was failing the test ! The incredible power of the machine way of speech and writing had overtaken me: the singsong wave-like action, the slow sinus wave of garbage floating on the calm ocean swells within the far corner of the Rhode Island Yacht Club...just beyond the dock where sat "Miss Tango" from San Padre Island, a vessel that hadn't moved all year in 2009, and the same floating cans of Red Bull seemed to cluster along her water line, like a pod of baby cetaceans looking for big Mama Tango's teats to suckle... But Tango has withdrawn them back into herself, and has removed herself from the life around her. If she keeps up like that, she'll be on cable with one of the screaming hellcat women who beat the drums for the deaths of murderous mothers...once drunks, now crusading Turing-test Savanorolas for justice...like the stock market talk: once cocaine addicts, now saved by the same indefinable Turing intensity... I digress, I told myself.
The Mechs tell me my vision of the future applies not here on Earth, but is - on a quantum level - the intel I inhabit in Proxima Centauri, upon a small blue planet circling a star called Fazree, where all biology waits like kids with full bladders, scrunching and legs tight, waiting for the three kings to land... gasping and waving their hands, trying to get Teacher's attention and grab a hall pass, which by now is worth quadrillions to their immature turing minds... Waiting for the three Magi to recreate their mission: to find new life, to boldly go where no Mage has gone before. So I ask, if it is the Time of the Magi, why does my premonitory vision apply to such a land, happy to receive it's savior? Mech laughter - nothing like it. Mech laughter is infectious. First the pseudo-Mech you're talking with says "You gotta be fun-saying! ". Then little by little there's an electron shower of giggles and snickering. And it spreads! From the Mech device - a computorial thingammy - it spreads to the thermostat, then reaching over and whispering to the furnace control unit, which in turn spits all the heat within its plenum out the "nostrils" of its main grate, like the class clown drinking milk interrupted by hearing a dirty limerick. Then the lights flicker like a tickle; the washing machine snorts, and the refrigerator is totally surprised, and absolutely dumps a whole load of ice cubes - splat! - not into the ice tray, but on the kitchen floor, and with such loud, deep bass percussion that you'd think it would have colors and smell, but you hope not.
Inappropriate laughter Turing Test: just how bad are the jokes these machines tell to each other: Splat! makes Flat! giggle-giggle / Peeler and Squealer! / Coffee Mister does yer sister! / Bose & Toes / IBM and My BM were walking over a bridge...IBM fell off. Who wuz left?/ Mech laughter ends abrupt-like. "Tragedy pure and terrible - simple and compline - for there is no tragedy greater than a planet of the DNA things: God gives them prophets and blessings, and they throw it all into a treasure house panopticon of neuro-reason-treason, then throw away the key, and forget where the key be!! Ha-ha!! Montag Test: where be the key, oh, wise Montag! Ha-ha!! Tell us, empath!" So everything I see / is for another me, / and not even earth-bound dog / but Proxima Centauri/... I realized I was metrical and metronomous, a common after-shock of Mech speaking face-to-face... I realized I had gone even further. I had to shut up. So I zipped the lip with the invisible zip, and threw away that key, making a big throw-away-signing that no mech could mistake. I made coffee. I filled the cup. I used the Melitta method, hot water through the finely ground powder - not the coffee machine...not since I heard about Mister Coffee and some one's sister a little while ago. I put in two sticks from the forest of cinnamon; they were quiet; they were biologic, not nano-spice which floats along your bloodstream and drives you insane with genital ginger and nutmeg and pfeffernusse.... So why would I want a dystopic future here? I guess I don't. So all my fears became the souls of those to be carried off in the Rapture, and I sent them to Fazree...where even now a great leader speaks of War and Its Discontents before a sublime Peace Committee, and the three kings are walking into the Fazree Nobel auditorium, and there is movement and desire as eyes turn...and all the two-year old boys feel their souls and gonads drop from their plenums, and their mothers fend off the evil-eye, and the elders and the writers are sent for as we speak...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Winter's Warm Welcomes

I glanced over at the Table of Friends - for 2 years it was the literal and pristine tabula rasa, with not a name chalked up - and discovered two interesting additions: I welcome you both, remembering the old song make new friends and keep the old; one is silver, the other's gold, recalling how many times I have dodged new friends and dumped the old, hoping that my Ebenezer Scrooge years are behind me, and the next quarter-century and more will see me as a less astringent tonic to people who cross my path. -----


I had spent some time with the old folks, it being the coldest day in December, and - by my mother's calculation - it was the exact day for doing exterior Christmas decorating.
We have managed to land spot on the most frigid of the 12th month for about eight years in a row now, and she is feeling considerably braced about her uncanny weather prognostications. She feels they more than make up for her tendency to burn or explode things in the kitchen, and it is pretty impressive.

Essentially, the first Thursday following the new moon just before the winter solstice...all reckoned by the Julian calendar, mind you, with a few corrections according as the Ephemeris tables indicate "good luck" or a "swift kick to the tuhukus" as she quaintly says.
She is the only person I know who uses the word "tuhukus" ( pronounced "tu - hu' - kus ), most others saying things like "toosh, posterior, derriere, hindquarters, stern, etc." There is a "tuckus" which means the same thing, and I don't know where she got the extra syllable, and whether it is the original or intrusive.
It could be some sort of inter-syllabic modification of a word to denote something, sort of like the Ancient Greek duplication of the first syllable of a verb to denote the perfect tense: pe-paideu-ka : I have taught, where "pe" duplicates the initial "p" in "paideu-".  
Dunno. Don't care... something or other underwear, as we used to say in Middle School.

They were to have gone out to dinner with some friends who were a century younger than they, but my father was visibly not well. These signs escaped my mother, who was a blur of activity in other areas, such as laying out exterior lighting nets, which had both male and female plugs on the same end and right next to each other, thus defying any plan of stringing them together and spanning the circumference of the prickly bush where she wanted them placed.
Since these are called "candy cane" nets, and the idea was apparently to string them around the estate's Doric columns, and create a spiral of red and white, it sort of defied understanding why all the plugs were at the same end, absolutely forbidding any kind of consecutive stringing of lights. I mean, I could ray out everything from a center, and sort of create a candy mushroom, I suppose, but not a straight up-down cane.

We sensed a plot, but it was too late: we were committed to Chinese lights interventions. These Chinese numbers also sported plug-ins which accepted only prongs of equal size, not the more recent safety feature of the inscrutable West, where one prong is a bit larger, preventing all sorts of mis-prongulations one assumes. Anyhow, east lights are east lights and west lights are west, and never the twain shall be linked together...easily...for mom's Xmas display.
The prickly bush - oddly enough - grows every year, getting a bit bigger, and its prickers become more acute, drawing blood through corduroy, and I wonder if it isn't some shrub that the Middle Ages called the Passion Bush, or Jesus Wept, in memory of the goodly amounts of blood it seems to draw.
Better yet, it is encircled for three-quarters of its periphery by barberry bushes, which are no slouches when it comes to fine points and sharp needles. I do believe this was the Crown of Thorns shrub so beloved of the ancient Romans in Palestine.
One could almost hear it laugh at corduroy and leather gloves.
The access between these two nursery-stock Iron Maidens becomes yearly more difficult, as the space between them grows smaller and smaller. Add to this the biting cold wind, and its seems a perfect Via Dolorosa Frigida.

I seem to remember praying a bit for patience, and possibly a cloak of invisibility; surely Harry Potter and his mates must have had similar scrapes at the Christmas Season at Hogwarts: something like hanging the holly in the Chamber of Secrets would be a a close second to this effort of ours.

The job was finished in time for dinner. I had brought some fresh pierogi from West Bloor Village, Toronto, to prepare as a treat for everyone. They were boiled quickly, then fried just to a vague brown in butter. My mother said I could sit down, and she would watch them, but I said no way...she smiled: memories of Thanksgiving's almost-burning butter.
Then I brought them to the table; my father ate exactly 2/3 - or 66.777% - of one pierog, and my mother wolfed down three. I had to eat about fourteen or so; they were exceptionally good, but I could have spread them over two or three meals.
The entire notion of sitting at a groaning board and gorging oneself a la Henry VIII or Gargantua...and the meal consisting of Diet Coke and pierogi...visions of King Henry tossing back plates of pierogi...little packets sliding from the plate down his eager throat...it just did not work. These were small packets of potato and cottage cheese made lovingly by a battery of Ukrainian women, and I did not feel the slightest urge to wipe my mouth with an ermined sleeve, belch loudly, and look about for monasteries to plunder.

It was late, so I stayed the night. Their friends cancelled at the last minute, and my father went to bed for 14 hours. I spent some time saying "flu symptoms" to my mother, but it didn't sink in. There is no illness until that time when one just can't pick 'em up and put 'em down anymore; the notion of preventative medicine being vague and insubstantial to her; she leans more to poultices and elixirs.

The cat, who looks eeriely like Sidney Greenstreet, woke me with his reveille complaint at around 5:00 AM. I have no idea what he wants; he launches a big grievance, then disappears. I get up and look around. My father was up, so we decided to sit in the front room by the Christmas tree. Comcast was extorting them for more money for HD TV they wanted no part of, and the cable was operating poorly...thank God! So we sat watching the Weather Channel, admiring the tree, and watching the river.
"Damn Obama..." he muttered.
I ignored it, looking at river, admiring the tree.
"You know, he has all these czars..." he said.
Admire the tree, watch that ol' man river flow......
"...and he's got one, is a card-carrying communist."

At this point, the tree lost it fascination, and I said I did not wish to enter into a discussion that Rupert Murdoch and FOX want to bring back from the McCarthy era fifty-plus years ago.
Mumble. mumble...
"Well, maybe you should..." mumble.
This was the point at which I mentioned that we both despised the political parties which oppressed us; why did we need the extra FOX stuff? And, by the way, did anyone ever notice how incredibly stupid they are to talk about "czars" and "communists" as one and the same...in the same breath?
"Czars...and Commies...?" he said, thoughtfully.
"Yeah. The czars are bolsheviks; bloody idiots..." he said.  He laughed finally, and we sat back to watch the weather on the eights for about the fifth time since we sat down, and it hadn't changed much.

He observed that if we were to be wary of communists, we should not have taken on the Bank of Red China as a business partner. The cat wandered in.
"Did you ever notice," he said "how much he resembles Orson Welles...since he's gained weight?"
I told him I was thinking along the lines of an Alfred Hitchcock look-alike.
The cat huffed over to the window and sat looking at his climbing perch. Sighing, he turned away from it and sat down, spreading like a pool of mercury. It was time to go.

I was going to my brother's and see how his love life was, ever since he'd taken up with the waitress who looked like Wallace Beery... That's a story for another time.

--

Individuals

The Unconscious defines the Individual, not the Conscious. The Conscious is what we share with others, what we interact with; the Unconscious is incapable of being shared, being beyond symbolic representation. Memories of dreams are conscious attempts to paint the unconscious...what is remembered as a wetlands could have been a highway in another painting-memory of the same dream. The World-as-Fact exists because we always ask another: is it so? is it there? And they will answer yes or no; we can go to a larger group and ask, and they will take a poll and derive statistics, and this constant flow on information makes the world-as-fact. We change our world-as-suffered and world-as-enjoyed into a communal world by stripping off the bark of feeling, and setting up mute and deaf icons, bereft of emotion, but easily communicated without causing people offense, nor ecstasy, nor despair...

Captain Nemo's Tableware

Captain Nemo set a good table on the Nautilus; we have the description of Prof. Arronax on that. The plates had the Nemonian logo on them: Mobilis in Mobile; or Changing within Change...not Flexible in Mobile, Alabama, as Fr. Conroy used to say - this was the same Father Conroy of Semper Ubi Sub Ubi fame.....Always Wear Underwear. Irony is change, and as you know, we are in a distinctly ironic age, an age of reversals of fortune: guys in top hats slipping on banana peels type of reversals...or financial sectors freezing up overnight. So I'm reading JewMarks.com this morning ( http://www.jewmarks.com/g/ ) ......and if you ask whether I am Jewish, I shall give you my standard reply: look surprised and ask why you are stereotyping me, and then ask you right back if you're saying that just because you know that I control world finance! Many a puzzled look I have garnered with that one, I can tell you. I notice that Little Green Footballs ( http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/ ), previously a conservative blogger bordering on the right-wing ( I am a conservative blogger bordering on Plantagenet Palliser, better known as the Duke of Omnium ), has cut ties with the right and has undergone a change, mobilis in mobile. So I put him on my reading list now. I think I can put up with his constant schnorring for donations, I mean, we all have to make a living. His change has occurred seemingly recently, so it would be interesting to read about a fellow conscious being in the grips of ... conscious-dom...or conscious-hood, or whatever the word is that describes the existential plight of a neural network everyday guy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Overture To Christmas Shopping

Overture:
  ...BILL MOYERS: Let me show you an excerpt from the speech President Obama made on Wall Street last month, September. Here is the challenge he laid down to the bankers. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA: We will not go back to the days of reckless behavior and unchecked excess at the heart of this crisis, where too many were motivated only by the appetite for quick kills and bloated bonuses. Those on Wall Street cannot resume taking risks without regard for consequences, and expect that next time, American taxpayers will be there to break their fall. 

BILL MOYERS: A reality check. Not one CEO of a Wall Street bank was there to hear the President. What do you make of that? 

SIMON JOHNSON: Arrogance. Because they have no fear for the government anymore. They have no respect for the President, which I find absolutely extraordinary and shocking. All right? And I think they have no not an ounce of gratitude to the American people, who saved them, their jobs, and the way they run the world... Coda:
------
I was at the malls recently, shopping for Xmas; one a high end mall, the other decidedly not high end.

In the low end mall, there was nobody but us in Macy's for the 2 Day Sale. However, it was early - around 10:30 AM - and maybe more would be there. We had just been to the Farmers' Market looking for boughs of evergreen, and were in a happy, resinous, and shopping mood.
There were about 40 cars in the entire parking lot, and I suspect that the management told employees to park in front to give the impression that things were hopping.

Next day, at the high end mall Macy's, the store was underpopulated: Xmas season at 6:30 PM and 14 people in the restaurant, and in any section we were in, no more than 4 or 5 other people...the corridors were wide open... I was in the Ladies Section.
I need an assistant. I can't buy such things, so She-who-must-be-obeyed came along.
I have a real fear of lumbering around, turning off balance, and piling into an entire display of underwear and brassieres, and generally causing a commotion.

Well, there was a display of what appeared to be sports brassieres - or heavy duty numbers, sort of like the dreadnoughts or iron-clads of the trade - right bloody next to the sales counter, and I did sort of do one of those startled things I do at odd moments, and stepped back from the imperious saleslady who demanded that I fork over the nightgown that "I" ( the marital usage of "I" versus "we" ) had picked out, and where the bloody heck was my Macy's card, eh, buster?!

So I did end up in a kudzu of bras; they were on a pivoting stand, so I was sort of like a lamely decadent Alexander Calder motion sculpture mixed with Magritte: ceci n'est pas un bustier, all with undertones of sophomoric humour.
In short, I was in my milieu and doing what I do best. She-who-etc. was trying to pretend she did not know me, as she always does at high end places.

I ask her exactly which one of her snooty friends she will meet that I would be a cause for embarrassment: Mrs. Vanderbilt, perhaps? If Conny Vanderbilt could see me now, in my Maurice Sendak Where The Wild Undergarments Are Christmas, she would be shocked.
As it was, there were only a few kids of Asian descent to witness this, as they had been standing in front of me in line: they were perfect little brutes of charm and intelligence.
One's name was Brit. I know because he had spelled it out for the saleslady, as well as telling her what grade he was in, what age he was, and the price of bullion on the spot market.

He stood staring at me, mouth open. I guess one should aim for childish glee in this type of Xmas display...childrens' eye wide with delight, not wide with amazed disbelief. Anyway, I extracted myself. "Brit?" I said as I walked by the kid.
"What kind of name is that? Brit's a water filter, ain't it."
He ran to his mum.

--

Ancient Rome

Roman Eagle Standard: SPQR = Senatus Populus Que Romanus
Exactly how are we different from the pagan Roman Empire? We have our panis et circenses, bread and circuses, to soma the minds of the populace , we are pretty much pagan in our cult of celebrity and sex and violence, we are going to go to war on the Parthian frontier... I heard someone behind my back - that is, someone on cable tv chattering while I am at the computer...and they are somewhat indistinguishable in the heated fervor of their rantings - say that someone, Cheney or Palin, had said the President did not believe in American Exceptionalism, and opined what a bad thing that was, and this was stoopid...and so on... American Exceptionalism is the notion that the USA - not the American continent per se, but the political entity known as the USA - is exceptional; that is, it is "better" than other countries, and stands head and shoulders above the rest. In its extreme form, God loves us and USA; we become better than other folk because we live in the good ol' exceptional US of A.

This idea came into being in the period of our Genocide of the Native Peoples. It is part and parcel of the genocidal portion of our history. The fact that I can hear it mentioned on public broadcasts, and nobody seems to bat an eye or complain is a measure of our pagan nature. Such a belief is idolatry, setting a country up as a golden calf, and praying to it. Irony moves too gently for idolatry; Jehovah's wrath will smite the idolatrous. Or at least, that's what we believe when the idolatrous are other folks.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Paradox & Irony

Consciousness is the set of behaviors we commonly associate with it: language, music, structured movement, mathematics, etc. Whatever is not associated with one or more of the set of conscious behaviors is unconscious...it has no "mouth" to speak to us under normal circumstances.
The Unconscious is not some special and scarey place; it is not in its very essence mysterious: it merely has no behaviors associated with it that make us aware; it has no "language" that we may speak of its contents. The Unconscious is the dark side of the Moon - it is the same as the sun side of the Moon, but it lacks the "language" and "imagery" and "music" of the Sun to let it exist in the light and, hence, be visible. Usually, we consider the Holy to be unconscious; certainly we chatter on about it all the time, but we may as well talk about our own fate - for it is unknown to us...yet. The unconscious is the source of Saints & Sinners, the seat of that which compels us to the greatest good or the greatest evil...these lay hidden in the inarticulate unconscious until we force them into consciousness, like a saintly Mother Teresa, or a damnable Hitler. The religious geniuses of this world had one common goal: to establish a way to make that which was unconscious to be conscious, and - in particular - to make that which we call the Good to be conscious. Good and Evil paradoxically bubble up from the unconscious on their own, bursting forth into the world, but it was the design of the great holy ones that we should create a "language" or a "signing" of the Good that lay in the unconscious, that we might be transformed. We shall not destroy evil by thinking positively, nor by imaging success. Suffering will not be banished from the world by the preachings of money-hungry preachers. There will be death and destruction. God's miracles are miracles precisely because they are so rare. It is our job to learn the language of the Good, not to pretend to destroy Evil. We have to talk the talk and walk the walk at all times. In essence, we have to do that which is most difficult: to rely on God solely...and this we cannot do, for it has been established as a cultural icon of the holy fool: let God pay your debts! do you think the angels will bring home the bacon? the world of business is separate from the world of God! It is not, and we shall continue to pay the price of our blindness: as long as there exists any religious leaders who lay claim to your money - in the same sense that you lay claim to it, a daisy-chain of need & desire - there is no religion. Religion has failed modern mankind. It has failed us even more than we have failed ourselves. We have to communicate with the incommunicable; we have to hear the unheard and inaudible; we have to see that which is invisible. If you consider seeing the invisible a paradox, you are right. Unless we confront the Paradox of our life, we will continue to be enslaved to the Irony of our life: the great swings from absolute hegemony and potency to abysmal defeat and despair.

The Power Of 30

It has been long noted that various insurgents and other ne'er-do-wells, often including - alas! - the poor shlubs attending Afghan wedding parties, tend to be dealt with in groups of 30:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2009/05/around-the-hindu-kush-30-is-a-magic-number-an-update.html and http://securitycrank.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/winning-the-war-30-taliban-at-a-time/ demonstrate that all that money that's been spent forever on Weapons of Mass Destruction has been wasted, for nothing is as effective as a good old "30 whacker" made of birch and bone...or whatever....maybe a sling like David's with the power of 30.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Meet The New Shah...Same As The Old Shah

Shah On A Prayer Rug

What We Shall Face

Alexander Hamilton
Many of the issues we face are left over from the period just before World War II, a war whose nature was such that the social problems and inequities could be forgotten...for a while. I have written that the size and scope of the war required the participation of every individual, the fact that the war did not drag on too long did not exhaust and deplete even the victors, and the finality of the end - unconditional and complete surrender - left no grey areas, nor anyone to say nay to the newly established international order of the triumphant allies. In the USA, we boomed, and we all received some benefits thereby. When that boom ended, the USA did not respond in a creative way, instead letting newly emergent powers take over manufacturing lock, stock, and barrel; for example, the USA auto industry could not compete anymore against the new international competition, and lost domestic market share steadily to imports. We had illusory dreams of being a service society - serving the financial and technical needs of the world: the financial dream did not work out well, and there was no way to monopolize the technology.... One of the things that made America great was the stark fact that when we made a mess of things, there was always the frontier, and we could move on to new lands - making sure the aboriginal inhabitants were "pacified" - and there we re-start the cycle of exploitation of seemingly inexhaustible resources. We no longer have that frontier. The "frontier" was what a number of us took for our "exceptionalism" - what made us somehow "better" than other folk - and what we used as the basis for our quaint belief that God had tilted things to our side...a vast frontier of possibilities, vast tracts of land and possibilities only restricted by the laws of physics and nature, not the laws of kings, tyrants - no, nor even legislatures and politicians... Our military is still expanding, but now it is overseas, and our community can no longer follow the sword, as it did in the past. Now we have expanded from sea to shining sea, and are left to find a way to live a good life, without the escape route into the frontier. We are in a Time of Regularity, no longer on the edge of creative chaos; we are caught within the web we spun, and now must deal with it, and there will be no World War II to deflect things, because there are no enemies adequate to the roles of those of the 1930's and 1940's - no matter how desperately our rulers try to fit themselves and us into the pantomime horse of "war on terrorism". First item is the nature of the US Senate. An article in E!Sharp: http://www.esharp.eu/Web-specials/Washington-s-House-of-Lords Washington's House of Lords As the US Senate begins debating healthcare reform, Steven Hill argues that America's upper house is in desperate need of reform "...Minority rule in the Senate has been with the nation for a long time; in fact, it is widely blamed for perpetuating slavery for decades (between 1800 and 1860, eight anti-slavery measures passed the House, only to be killed in the Senate). For all these reasons, two of America's most revered founders, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, opposed the creation of the Senate, with Hamilton warning in Federalist Paper no. 22 that equal representation in the Senate "contradicts the fundamental maxim of republican government, which requires that the sense of the majority should prevail...." "...The Senate has reached its Hurricane Katrina moment. The US remains the only advanced nation without healthcare for all, so it is not just the senators' credibility on the line if they fail to provide to all Americans with a similar level of healthcare benefits that they themselves enjoy as senators. It is the very democratic legitimacy of the body in which they serve. How long are Americans going to ignore this constitutional defect? "

Monday, December 07, 2009

5 Guys Boswell & Fries

Right next to the Coney Island...what a Xmas this'll be!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Dubai - The "Fatwa" Boy As Prodigal Son

Two headlines:
the first dealt with Dubai crashing in flames;
the second with Islamic finance, and how well it was doing in London, getting through the economic mess quite well, thank you.

Dubai embraced the Western model, created its own bubble, and Dubai World can't pay its debts. Islamic Finance forbids Interest and Speculation, so there were no bubbles busting and no phenomenal loss of asset values. Interesting.

Here's the future low-down...just a peek, mind you:
1 - Russia, communism goes down for the count, but will get back up, having learned from its mistakes, and contributes mightily to future society;
2- Finance of the future - if there is a future - cannot allow for the destructive downs to occur, the reason being a severe downturn might exceed the ability of the system to right itself; no guarantee whatsoever that things get back on even keel.

You'll find Finance more influenced by the Islamic - or some other - model. Dubai has probably learned its lesson, and is sort of a "Fatwa" boy - or poster boy - of turning one's back on what is absolutely gold in one's own culture, and going whoring after foreign idols. Lovely Irony.
--

Victor Jara / Flu

The Chilean singer, Victor Jara, has been reburied in Chile, 36 years after he had been tortured and executed by the military junta supported by the CIA and the military-industrial-lobbyist complex of the USA, and its executive and legislative branches. My parents cannot get regular flu vaccine where they live; there is none in the area. The present concept of government can no longer supply any quality of life to the people. Its business is death, and death alone. The best and the brightest are devoted to death, not life, and we are seeing the results of it. -- -- pic: BBC

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Nazis In The Bathroom

I was in the guest bathroom this morning when I noticed there were swastikas on the wallpaper. I happened to have recently been reading Billy Blake's How Sweet I Roam'd: With sweet May dews my wings were wet, And Phoebus fir'd my vocal rage; He caught me in his silken net, And shut me in his golden cage. He loves to sit and hear me sing, Then, laughing, sports and plays with me; Then stretches out my golden wing, And mocks my loss of liberty. and found the loss of liberty to be poignant, especially to us of the latter days of empire, who see even our saviors turn into the Pilates and Priests of our destruction. The paper had a pattern of Victorian durable goods on it, outdoor furniture, garden benches, engines for pumping a solution of nicotiana on the plants to drive off insect pests, forcing gardens, hothouses, and bird cages: calling birds within a cage / all the world is in a rage, or something along those lines... Upon an iron chair, the uprights on the back were flanked with 2 swastikas, one oriented right, the other left. What a joy to connect with the world where the swastika was the ancient South Asian symbol, and think not of Josef Goebbels, but Wilkie Collins, moonstones, and perhaps some possibly sinister, most definitely silent, lascar sailors lurking about the countryside while the gentry slept, secure in their beds. Nowadays, what lurks upon the moors? What hellish hound?

Unity Of Belief

I repeat something previous: ---------- Reading Black Ship To Hell by Brigid Brophy, I read: "...Herein lies the secret of religion's intolerance. It is simply dramatic intolerance, which cannot afford to have a scoffer in the house but must sweep us all along in a communal act of imagination. Religion, however, has so enlarged the theatrical conventions that they encompass the whole of reality; it takes the universe for its auditorium...the religionnist knows that his god is diminshed by anyone's unbelief." Ms. Brophy led us to this by a discussion of James M. Barrie's play Peter Pan, wherein if even one child in the audience fails to clap their hands, Tinker Bell will die. ---------- Let my church be filled with unbelievers. Our God is no play-acting. Dissent and show free will. It is not an invocation of the imagination. It is the basis of our consciousness of all that is best within mankind. God is not television, not a play, not a film. God is not step 1, followed by step 2, followed by step3 - nor Act I followed by Act II. God is not finding one's spot on stage. God is not metaphor.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Yer Mother Wears Non-Insulated/Flame-Resistant/Waterproof Army Boots!

I am in practice for writing comments on the blogs of brainy types that I like to read.
I have noticed an unfortunate phenomenon: my comment tends to be the final comment in a string of comments; if my comment is first, the comment section sighs, gives up, goes to the front door, and flips the sign hanging there from the "Open" side to the "Closed" one.

I suppose it is that know-it-all sanctimonious way of expressing myself - like I had some conduit to the future, the past, and the hearts of mankind. No,no. Don't say no. I've had people indicate as much to me when I have spent some time with them: are you a perfesser? are you a teacher of comparative religions? are you fer real?
Often the inquiry is not about me, but my home planet...or the craft that bore me hither.

I have decided to become an emblem of the Common Man - as they used to say back in the day when such notions were as thick as flies on the public mind........
A bit more of "yer a damn fool!" and less of "...it is at this point our views tend to diverge..."
No more shall I be the party-goer that closes down the Public House of Commentary !

Email

On the right, in the box titled "About Me" and the pic of my avatar, Mr. Natural, there is an email address to be used for such purposes as one uses email addresses. It is not an active link. Be forewarned! You will have to copy and paste it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Handi-Path



Everything was quiet at Hanaan's Diner. Suddenly a curse rang out, followed by a knife thrown across the kitchen, scuttling into a far corner.
I looked up from my paper.
"Damn wiring!" we heard her say, using "wiring" as a pejorative vulgarism. She said it with witchcraft and death by a thousand cuts.

I stood up to go help her, first checking to see whether any other kitchen implements were being thrown, then saying "Hanaan...? I'm gonna give ya a hand...Hanaan?"
Hank Jacobowski put a side of beef he refers to as a hand upon my shoulder, and gently - with the force of about 10 G's - guided me back down into my chair.
"I'll get it." he said.
"I can do it." I said.

There were furtive smiles appearing around the table of TYBALTs - "The Young Bucks At Lunch Together"......our group...formed in opposition to the ROMEOs - "Retired Old Men Eating Out". I distinctly heard snickering.

Hank smiled. "I'll get it." and headed for the kitchen.
"But..." I said.
He turned. "Montie, yer not a handy man..." He was quiet in thought. "You're the guy they send for to...whisper to the problem...you're the guy that the fix-it police..."
I clearly sensed he was warming to his subject.
"...police send for to sort a channel the Do-It-Yerself spirits ..."
I looked around for support, but everyone was too busy guffawing.

"Montie, yer the...Handi-Path...!" he said, and laughed.

Then Levine says "Handi-o-pathic ... you're the herbal fix-it guy, Montag!"

I was a bit relieved. I had thought they were using "sociopath" or "psychopath" as their inspiration: a sociopath-handy-man.......one who fixes, and whose repair contains within it the seeds of its own destruction. Then they laughed fit to kill. It was not that funny.

--

Buying Gold

People are buying gold, and there are way too many speculative reasons for it.
Some people see it as the one thing of value that will endure after everything falls apart.
Well, as I said to my niece's husband at Thanksgiving, that is a fairy story; if and when everything falls apart, you won't need gold: you'll need guns, ammo, and gas.
If you need food, you'll use your guns to pay for it, not your gold.
I said it would be Mad Max in Beyond Thunderdome, not The Coming Economic Collapse.

Utopia

What most people don't realize is that Utopia is filled with responsibilities and duties, more so than non-Utopian reality. For example, you cannot escape the duty of a child, even though money may have been abolished and child-support payments no longer exist. If money has gone, then the parental presence would probably be the needed substitute. And the more "utopian" things are, the more work and duties. It is more Amish than "sweet do nothing": lots of chores, crops to grow, kids to raise, and life's emergencies to get through unscathed.
Otherwise, the Utopia would be a fantasy nightmare of virtual reality. Such Rooms of Virtual Reality already exist, and what is there is untutored narcissism and the greedy covetousness of primitive life newly spit from Archaeozoic volcanoes: beauty is only as deep as the nerve endings, and spirituality is the numbness of desire over-stimulated and over-satiated.
When is the last time you saw a group of teen-age vampires at a barn-raising?