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Monday, May 31, 2010

New Orleans

I'm printing stuff for the wedding, and I'm listening to Fats Domino singing I'm Walkin' to New Orleans. And I think of the oil spill, and I feel sorry for our generations, because it's coming fast.

Gonna need two pair of shoes
when I get through walkin' these blues,
I'm walkin' to New Orleans.

Blind in Gaza 2

Blutiger Angriff Israels auf Gaza-Hilfsflotte

Sagt die Tzionistische Medina:   Gaza ist mein Schiesplatz !

The present government of Israel disgusts me. Not since Exodus have we seen a flotilla of humanitarian intent be treated in such a manner. When it gets this bad, I refer to the country as die Tzionistiche Medina, because ideology has replaced religion and humanity.


Getting to the Church on Time 2

Get to the Church on time, Stud !
(and by "stud", we mean "dork".)


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Quotes from Speakers of the House

"Uncle" Joe Cannon ( 1905 -1911)

Take Wall Street and Banks, thrown in a good size resesh [ sic : recession ] , coupl'a wars over seas, climate change: storms, floods, and drought... oil spills that make ya feel like Pharoah taking a Sunday drive through the Red Sea... pretty soon yer talking some real money.

Ye'd need a coupl'a industrial and informational revolutions to generate enough growth to start payin' that off !

Blind in Gaza

A flotilla of aid is headed for Gaza, which has been blockaded by the government of Israel since 2007.
There are memorials to such blockades:

Getting to the Church on Time 1

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Each time a company wishes to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, there is a thorough review and a complete Environmental Impact Study. What does it say in that Environmental Impact Study? Does it say that there is a chance of 1 in 33 that the eco-system will be destroyed?

I fail to see what good such studies do. They are nothing but the illusion of due diligence, a bunch of lawyers following the laws, laws which do not protect anyone except the rich.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The First Second Third

The times were silver. There were flashes of brilliance, but inevitably things tended to tarnish, so there was plenty of pocket money, but it fell into desuetude or out of holes in one's pockets, depending on whether it was lost in the laundry, or took on argent heat of impetuous consumerism: these were the two economic policies of the government at the time.
The times were silver, indeed.
It was not as if we said they were the best of times, and yet the worst, for there no longer were histories to compare; it was as if life had found a minimum on the fitness landscape of the galactic neighborhood, and we nestled in for a while, while the remainder of the local systems rushed on.
It was a world on disability, a world in waiting line # 5 in the District Court, where you are back so far that you cannot see what it is you are queued up for, so you'll take it on faith that this is the right line to be in.

My brother had chosen this time to go on the wagon and stop drinking. The booze had lost its kick, he said. The merry crowd that had always gathered at the end-of-times rathskeller was no longer attractive to him: their wit had turned to kraut, their repartee to reflex, their Muse was hustling tricks on the corner. Rocky the bartender was polishing glasses, grumbling that Chuck, his part-time fill-in, was late again. Everyone's teeth were on edge.

So it was this time he decides to do a miracle; now, when we thought the age of miracles dead: he got a job. And it wasn't a crummy job, where you pull down old drywall all day long without even a filter mask - where you had to wrap your t-shirt around your head to keep from breathing the dust, and the powder accreted on your sweaty body and burned with a lost intensity of gypsum meeting with water. No. He got a job at a bank; the conglomerate of The First Second Third Bank. The First Bank had been around for ages, and people called it the "old lady down on Atwater St." Now with the three of them together, it was like a coven of the weird sisters.
Of course, I didn't believe him. I expressed my disbelief, and he smiled like a bodhisattva who has found a favorite tree to sit beneath. In the old days, he'd just bark a laff and pull at a handy beer can, looking bleary-eyed, filled with hepatitis C, and angelic. Now he was just angelic. Not so angelic as Guy Kibbee's Captain January. Just a little angelic contentment.

So I decide to go with him on his rounds. All his vertebrae were firing: lumbar, thoracic, and cervical; the surgical inserts were well-oiled and smoothly operating. His nerves didn't go bic lighter and light up Central Nervous like a Rolling Stones concert. Everything seemed to work well. He even negotiated the stairs like he looked forward to returning and climbing back up them.
The sun was like Pickup on Noon Street and hurt his eyes, so he hid them behind some big, dark orbisons. Sweat accumulated in half moons beneath mens' breasts, and women had become scarce. It was one of those days when small commerce was transacted with wet, green, wilted currency of small denominations.

He had regular pickups. We went to the one down by the docks, where we had to descend the stairs of an unintentionally deserted parking structure. The stairs were corroding concrete blooming with efflorescence within the flying form of rusting steel, hanging ominously out from the salty walls, and threatening to fall on people below. We descended through the graffiti of desuetude, grime, and human perversions until we reached a large steel door on rollers. The light color of the door managed to grab the few, stray photons at the bottom of this stairwell, and cast a feeble light of reflection. Within minutes, I heard a lugubrious tread approaching through the dirge-sweepings which littered the floor: a humming, a coughing, a mumbling of phrases nonsensical and magic. A small sliding door slid open, and a small diskette container - large enough to hold maybe 10 DVDs - was thrust forward. My brother secured it.
"Thanks, Teech." he said.
"Later," came the voice. "Later, gator. See ya later... mater, bater, baiter ? , mater..." His rhythmical shuffle accented each rhyme until the noise disappeared.
"What the hell's that?" I asked.
"Dunno. I just come here three times a day and get it."

When we climbed back up, we switched over to the sky-way leading to The First Second Third. The concrete walls began to clean up. There was A/C, and as we walked we went from the hot and humid to pockets of the cool, and we were jabbed with blades of  A/C up and down our shirts. When we got to the middle of the way over the street in front of the Bank, you could see First Street off to the right, and all the way to Third on the other side. People looked like large ants - good sized ants - just below us.
The upstairs offices were encased in pine. Not a fresh new pine, but your gramma's pine paneling covered with cooking smoke and cigarettes exhalations: an old barnwood pine exposed to years of dust and mucking. The carpet was old and grimy; it had a rosette of greasy dirt within a navy field on which were laid intertwining branches of grape vines. The wooden steps from the entrance to the executive offices were worn down where the average placement of left foot-right foot occurred over the past hundred years: maybe a lot of Joes hung to the right side, maybe some Janes tootled down hugging the left, but most of 'em picked 'em up and put 'em down right square in the middle, and these areas were eroded away, and the stairs waved like a shallow ocean inlet.
Upstairs was crowded. My brother waved to a female type who shivered and gave a "one minute" finger to him. We sat down on a wooden bench, and he nudged me to look at the carpet: more oily rosettes and vestiges of of vermilion from the wild madder of Kandahar and Marjah. He motioned me to look at it at our feet, then looked at me. I quickly furrowed and unfurrowed my eyes to indicate "What the fah..?" when he turned his head slightly to the left, lifting it gently as he did so, to focus on a spot mid-way up the far wall where the carpeting had come to the edge of the floor and then proceeded to climb half-way up the pine wall, forming a wainscoting of a vibrant untrampelled color compared to the rest of the carpeting.
"Why would anyone run a carpet up the wall?" I asked in disbelief.
He smiled. "There's a lot of shit like that."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Whither Abraham ?

Abraham und 3 Engel

The situation that exists between Israel and the Palestinians is a critical juncture in history; it is a focus of all that has gone before, and that that will ensue; it is the meeting place of paradigms and orthodoxy, for here in this great narrative of more than sixty years - a bit more than two generations - we see the great religions descended from Abraham:  Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, wrestling together to determine whether any true offspring of Abraham will exist in the future.

If Israel expels the Palestinians into their own Islamic diaspora, or whether there are established "Bantu-stans" for their exile, such as existed in South Africa under the apartheid regime, then the Zionist phase of Judaism is dead. It may continue in body, but the soul is dead.
If all Islam embraces terror because of the horror of watching their fellow religionists' oppression and destruction, then it, too, shall pass into spiritual obscurity.
And if Christianity in its form in the United States of America cannot come to grips with this conflict with an understanding reflecting the central tenets of Christianity, but rather would retreat to symbolic charades of End-of-Times and the words of prophets and seers about the Return of Jerusalem to the Jews, then that Christianity will be dead on delivery to the future.

In this conflict lay the future of the Abrahamic tradition. If it goes badly, those religions cannot endure.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Story of the Good

I have been taken to task by my three nephews over the business of the story of the Good, specifically when I asserted that only mankind may create a Story of the Good. The three A boys: Ayden, Austin, and Aloysius - pronounced Ah-loy'-shush -  who are animal activists... and I use "activist" in its most dilatory sense, hold that animals, too, may live a "moral" life.
The hagiographic section of my brain threw up a few images of Great White Sharks laying waste round about while chanting hymns, suddenly reminding me of the recent reference to the choir in The Lord of the Flies singing the Kyrie Eleison on a tropical beach.
I pondered.
Animals may have the urge to morality, but they have no recursive stories.
Our stories give us direction: stories and narrative are the guidebooks through the world created by consciousness; sometimes they are out-of-date, and sometimes they are incorrect, just as medieval cartological maps show Isles of the Blessed and Hy-Brazil where there is only sea.
The recursive part is memory: going back over what we have done, and feeding back experience into memory and refining our consciousness. When we have sailed over the wide Atlantic enough, we remove the Isles of the Blessed from the maps.

Although the activities of animals may actively change and be modified, their morality does not: it is immediate and non-recursive; their actions may change, but their "stories" do not, and there is no "history" of morality which is modified. There is no history of morals through time. Therefore, they are all casuists and Jesuits.

All our talk about the freedom of the Animal, the State of Nature, the freedom of Zen; all these things refer to a state of being which is immediate and free of the constraints of society: that is, free from the bonds we have created for ourselves.
Only story-creators could look upon their creations and see that such things can free them or imprison them..........

Original Sin is essentially the creation of the Idea and the development of the Story and the compiling of the History of Original Sin.

Or. if you prefer, Original Sin is Original Sin.
It is Sin, but not just a sin: rather a sin fed back upon consciousness and let to grow to critical mass, thereby becoming Sin.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


The newly, newly restored 153 minute version of Fritz Lang's Metropolis is showing.

World Weary

Sometimes I feel as tired as Ausonius, and as weary as 島田勘兵衛,  Shimada Kanbei, the leader of the Seven Samurai. World weary. But there is so much to do... we have to get moving and get to work, just as did Ausonius and 島田勘兵衛 .

Thunderdome: And What About Nuclear Waste?

Someone has written that the off-shore oil drilling regulatory process is broken.
Indeed? Did it ever work? Or was it merely a vast pile of paperwork created for the illusion of due diligence? A mighty barrel of couvre-cul as I myself would say in my own French patois ( a barrel of cover-ass )
The SEC did not work, nor did the commercial rating agencies. The FAA did not work back in 2008, so it had to ground American Airlines while it caught up on 8 years of neglect. The Bureau of Mines? I don't know; won't know for a hundred more deaths or so.

The regulatory process will not work in a society that rewards lack of oversight more than oversight, nor will it work when those overseen are the ones who will eventually reward the overseers. It is a ludicrous spectacle, and anyone knows it can't work.
Every regulatory agency that has an economic affect on businesses is under suspicion, and furthermore is probably ineffective for the very same reasons: we have a government on the take from the Congress down to the lowest level bureaucrat.

Besides all this, there is now a finite probability - the real worst case scenario - that the spill will not be fixed, even with the new well being drilled to intercept it.

The point of the title of this post:  another threat that is "regulated", and which probably will also surprise us in the near future. Nuclear thing, climate things, chemicals leaching from plastics, genetically-modified food ... all the things whose regulation businesses have been whining about and that they have spent lobbying money on are going to haunt us soon. Most regulators have seen their jobs as smoothing the way for business, not protection of the citizenry. All our efforts are as ineffective as the reforms of Diocletian in arresting the decline of Rome.

It is going to happen quickly. See how quickly the environmental catastrophes happen? And a fix is only maybe a coin toss at best: 50-50; maybe less. No one has a clue, really. What's next? Will we have time to catch our breath between disasters?
I don't think so.

Welcome Lucky Thirteen

I noticed a new friend. It was Richard Morgan. Well, I guess some people actually do read the comments you post at their sites, so I must beware what I write. I usually just rattle on, safe and secure in the knowledge that I am considered a harmless crank.  Welcome, Richard. Welcome.

I have been noticing that our crowd seems very eclectic, which is pretty much to my taste. If I do not have a variety of people to talk to, I would have nothing to say. I've said that most of my ideas come from other people, and it's true. I just sit around reading The Times at the Drones Club until Jespersen glides in holding his silver charger with a small ivory envelope on it, saying that a Mr. Bloody-Good-Notion awaits without. I crack open the note, take a gander, sniff a bit, then tell good old J. to show him to the billiard room, where shall have our tête-à-tête... with plenty of good stiff pool cues handy. My morning horoscope in the Sun had said that I should beware of a tall dark stranger.
"Jespersen," I say to the retreating morning coat.
"Sir?" he says, pausing in his tracks.
"This Mr. Notion... is he tall? Tall and dark, actually. Is he tall and dark?"
"Yes, sir." J. affirms.
The brow furrows under my delving thoughts.
"Uh, very much so? I mean, very tall?"
"Yes, sir. I would say almost 2 metres."
I pondered. "And dark... very dark?"
"Like a Gypsy, sir."
Since the conversatio had descended to stereotypical descriptions - and decidedly Victorian ones, at that - there was nothing for it but to trot off to the carambole room and meet the fellow. One never knows. Usually they're ne'er-do-wells, but ... sometimes... a great... Notion?

What I mean is, if everyone were in total agreement and in if, in our discussions, shades of meaning were totally beigey earth tones, then we would all be rather dull.

Welcome, Richard.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

C. S. Lewis

I had to reacquaint myself with The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe . Well, I had no idea! Truly, I was shocked. I was shocked because all the years of things said about C.S. Lewis, never once did anyone come even close to what was going on; even Lewis himself dared not face what he was doing.
Yet, how do we go from the Resurrection myth of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe of our childhood, and end up in adolescence and adulthood with Diseased Resurrection myths of vampires, werewolves and zombies ? Or our myths about politics, our social lives, and economics - like the "invisible hand" that rules capitalist markets ? (a bit of benign idolatry of our ancestors) The progress of our experience from the Myths of Childhood to the Diseased Myths of Adulthood in this culture shocks me.

We reject the innocence of doves when we thrust children into the adult World of Wolves we have created for them.  It is child abuse of the most disgusting sort, being done merely to preserve our illusion of Eternal Degradation; eternal so that we cannot find blame in ourselves for our dismal state.

The world is built by codes and languages of conscious & observant beings. Even before birth, human beings sense and process information from their surroundings and themselves. To process information requires some sort of set of rules: a code. In the case of new-borns, it is built in. From this arises are the other codes necessary to process information during the life span of an individual, up to and including Language and Mathematics and Music and all the rest.
Life is a Story: information and codes to process information. Being made in the image of God indicates not that we resemble God physically, for then we would be idolaters - no, it means that Moral Inspiration is built into us. All things created experience suffering and evil; We alone are built with the ability to create the Story of the Good. (See the NY Times Magazine for May 9 2010 on The Morality of Babies.)
Joseph Campbell once said our age lacks Myths, and it needed some. I say that our age has too many Diseased Myths  (the notion of "vampire" extends even to Adam Smith's "invisible hand" of markets, in my opinion. This invisible hand has always for me been the image of the hand of Nosferatu.) and has a scarcity of Good Stories sufficiently complex to engage intelligent minds. (We do have quite a few "numbskull" stories about how good we all are and how good things in general are.)

A problem exists in the fact that Language and Mathematics are at the apex of our "coding" ability. What is the nature of the Meta-Language whereby we are able to see the World beyond the picture we have created with Language? There are no easy answers for this, since everything in our world - even Religion - has been built by us (no matter who created it... I don't see "build" and "create" as being the same.)
Here's where Paradox takes over, and we go where the religious geniuses (not "religious leaders") have indicated: to exist where meaning is so basic, it no longer can be defined.

The Good Story once every seven days is not enough. The Good Story is not the story of the religion we grew up with; for Christians, the Good Story is not the story of Jesus repeated over and over one day out of seven. The Good Story is what we create with our lives, the full history from birth to beyond. Everything else is but a sideshow.

Orders of Magnitude

It used to be that when I read books, I would come across things like "spiritual crisis"  - Olaf Stapledon was fond of saying such things - and I, thank heavens, hadn't a clue what he was talking about, because he had gone through World War I, and I had not.
I then came across things from others, and these had been through World War II, and the Holocaust, and I had not really been touched by those things intimately.

It's different now.
If the trouble in the Gulf of Mexico is on a scale mid-way between the best and worst estimates, we are looking at the greatest man-made environmental disaster in history; bet you didn't think anyone would top Chernobyl for baneful environmental impacts. Once again we've topped the Roosskis!

I was really hoping not to have too many spiritual crises that span the entire social structure in my lifetime, but we have to take it as we get it. Now voters are rejecting incumbents from both parties in primaries; anger is not a sufficient guide for the future...  especially anger in the hands of people who are part of a society which has been corrupt for over a generation.

Educational Reform

Based on the premise that the best algorithms for dealing with future uncertainty are concise counsels of people with experience, here is my advice for educational reform:

1) thoroughly teach the basics,
2) instill enthusiasm for knowledge,
3) develop character.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Revolving Door

An executive from the Mineral Management Service ( overseeing deep sea oil drilling ) is going to step down, but he is not yet ready to retire. Which industry do you think he will find a plush job in?

Regulation will never work not for any ideological reason, nor for any arcane economic argument, but for the simple fact that Regulations will not be enforced as long as the incentives for non-enforcement are greater than the incentives for enforcement.
Rewarding non-enforcement or lax enforcement will always end up in Deepwater doo-doo.

A Hard Place

Banks still understate their bad assets on their quarterlies.
They are still being supported by the Fed. Zero interest doesn't do anybody any good, since business lending - particularly to small businesses - has dropped; no one except the banks, that is. It is necessary for the banks... still !

Which shows you just how incredibly bad they shot themselves in the first place.

When will it end? What is it accomplishing? Why would we want to ensure the continued life of a banking system that wanted to destroy itself and us along with it?


( I've decided to use potted plants instead of the familiar
light bulb glowing over one's head.)

In my previous post, I used the expression "salad greens". It reminds me of my thinking. When I first have a glimpse of a structured idea, it is all one particular locale or focus, emotion and feeling, taste of time and place, smells, and things like fluids flowing under the influence of the moon.

If I had written Romeo & Juliet, the first step would have been love... young love and young discovery of love... discover... Verona... dust... sun... smells of love... taste of tragedy; all jumbled in a primitive layered onion, layer after layer, and part of undifferentiated greens and herbs for a salad.

And I don't know what you mean by salad, but a salad to me is a positively ancient Permian explosion of vegetation: all these new types of greens - Mizuna, Mesclun, Bok Choy... where ordering in a restaurant becomes as unnerving as being in Prep School unprepared for Latin class, under the withering eye of the magister studiorum, reading Caesar and stumbling like unhappy Vercingetorix in chains:' Aruga'la ?
Aru'gala, the teacher moans and corrects
Arugala, I say, shamed.

The shame of even dreaming of salad greens - I ask you, how do I retain that thought from its first tentative sketch as I sit in the easy chair, until I run to write it down? Emotion, taste, smell...old school colors and feel of cardigan sweaters stored in lockers. But sometimes I don't make it... and it becomes infinite lockers in my shady school corridors.


Dante's Five Levels of Aquarius

What holds the world together?
I am writing, and it is becoming apparent that there is more "realism" in my writing than there is in the world.
What I mean is I labor under the belief that things need be explained, that there be a certain type of causality for the reader; I assume things must make sense, and things must be explained: there is to be a simulacrum of the Real, and this we call "realism".

But there is no such causality in life. Things are beginning to happen in chaos. There may be a chain of events leading to foreclosure on a house, but afterwards, all is chaos. There is stress and panic, and panic is our reaction to a sudden experience of "nothingness": no realism nor fantasy, no fact nor fiction.
The first time I saw nothingness, I was terrified, and came crawling back to the world "caused" by World War II and mens' suits and crew cuts and the crystalline structures of alcohol, race, and religious intolerance.

You want me to add something here, because it seems incomplete. After the words "religious intolerance" there should be more, something like "Now I have grown used to..."  - something to finish out the train of thought, something to segue into a moral for the story. That's where we are now: we are in the Colosseum of the present where there will be reforms of the way we live and, thus, increased chains of causality and morality, or there will be a breakdown, and life will be truncated, discrete, and intermittent like a slowly moving line of Russian shoppers in 1995, all queued up and waiting for salad greens...
or the chop of machetes in DR Congo and the countries in the Lake District of Africa...
or the furious incompetence of the Gulf of Mexico...
or the quiet depletion of water, the disappearance of the Chad, the coming fruition of all the woes that form our modern litanies... aquifers of water as unseen as the gods, only the memory of Aquarius...
hate and spittle and crowns of thorns.

Monday, May 17, 2010


I wish to hear from Dick Cheney about the spill and the cap on environmental damages. Suddenly he is silent.

History of Religion

The House Martin Luther Grew Up In

pix: Himmel uber Berlin

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Psychology & Religious Experience: Prodigal Son

People experience the Holy in different ways. Bipolar individuals - in my opinion - are uniquely positioned to experience being Without and being Within:  the experience of the Prodigal Son, for these individuals have tasted being depressed then being exalted, being outcast then being included, thousands of times in their lives.

These are uniquely placed to see the Holy as an experience of suffering at being Without, and then the incredible joy at being Within. To such people, their return from Prodigality and their acceptance by the Father and the family is more intense than any dogma or any religious beliefs.

What possibly could a notion like the Rapture mean to someone who has fallen and been embraced so many times already? They have been being gathered in from the wild outlands for years and years. Only those who know what it is to be Without can appreciate the beauty of being Within.

You Had Better Re-Think That

I got into a conversation - actually, two monologues going on simultaneously - with a conservative juggernaut who expressed the opinion that Markets and Capitalism are neither moral nor immoral; when the Dow is manipulated into dropping 1,000 points, this is an extra-moral event. He said that markets and capitalism were "amoral".

I think most of the clowns mean to say that it makes no sense to speak of morals and markets, not that markets are amoral. To be amoral means to have no concept of morality, to essentially be a psychopath:  one may act morally, one may act immorally: it is all the same. For an amoral entity to pursue a path of evil  is the most horrendous human event possible, for there exists the possibility of unrelenting evil, structured by a complete lack of any glimmer of a moral idea.

To be immoral means at least that a person acknowledges a moral code which they willingly decide to break. In their every immoral act is a assertion of the validity of the moral code they spurn. However, the amoral sees nothing but their own impulses, and if those impulses tend to the dark path, there will be unremitting evil and suffering. I believe we've tested this hypothesis a couple times in the past century.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

All the World's a Stage...

Marilla & Anne

It's been said, and it's been enlarged on:  I personally feel "facts" are nothing but supernumeraries and props around which we trace the outlines of reality. Having said this, the very nature of these props themselves become suspect, and seem to me to be ideas I just do not seem to re-visit very often; I just leave them the way they are and my neglect is interpreted as ontological solidity; essentially, they exist because I do not think about them (very much).

Case in point:  when the young Russian orphan was sent home alone by airplane by his adoptive mother in Tennessee. In this story, barely two months old, the adoptive mother justified her "return" of the young boy - as if he were a pair of shoes being sent back to Zappo's - by saying he had behavior problems far beyond the ability of her dealing with.

She said that he at least once threatened to burn down their house with everyone in it.

Interestingly enough, the film Anne of Green Gables  (1934)  was playing in the background this morning, and we had reached the spot where Mrs. Blewett visits Marilla, and says she has heard that Marilla and Matthew were adopting a young boy from the orphanage.
Mrs. Blewett tells a seemingly recent story where Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So adopted a young fellow from an orphanage... and he burned down their house with everyone inside !

All the World's a Stage, and there's only a few scripts... and not too many copies, so we have to share them among ourselves... and even so, we stand there dumb, frantically whispering:   Line !


Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Imperium of Slaves

In, Greg Grandin writes a piece that sees the foundation of the Tea Party on Racism. Well... of course it is. I was born and bred in the USA, and I know what secrets are in the closets and who is behind the woodshed...
I know most of the colours and hues of racism, how to express it, how to gloss it over, how to hide it, how to joke about it; I took in racism with every breath I took while growing up. So did most of you. We can always choose not to laugh at a racist joke, but what we cannot do is fail to get the punch line:  the stereotype of the minstrel, the slacker, the dope-fiend... the shades of meaning where White is working, active, brave, and thrifty, but Black or Brown or even Yellow is dark, evil, shuffling, cowardly, and a squanderer when it comes to their bodily pleasures. Or vice-versa if our roles be reversed.

Everything is racism, more or less. When it was being discussed whether I should be employed at a girls' High School as a Latin teacher recently, I enumerated the good points of learning Latin, one of which is that Latin was the language of a slave-empire. Learning it would give access to a mind of an empire built on slavery, yet far away enough in time not to threaten our own high esteem.

What do we really know about slavery? About its effects over time? I would say not bloody much.
We had a slave-empire.
Do we still think with the minds of the slave-imperium? May we ever escape our histories, or are we doomed ever to repeat the nastier tendencies of our childhood ?

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Umbrella

The tornado went through in '74. The neighbors say it sounded like a freight train. My aunt El was always jumping and starting in the spring and summer, cautiously eyeing the door to the root cellar; she'd mutter about hearing the sound of a freight train, but since the railroad  tracks were just down the drive - skip over the gravel roadway and there they were - it was put down to failing hearing and a general jumpishness of Aunt El's, rather than dementia praecox.
After the real tornado in '74, down river from El's, down at Gram Parson's - where the river bucked up against the delta head, then staggered and slowed down to spread out widely into the lake; there where my parents lived,  it was time to rebuild. This was the time to take the summer house, bought by my grandparents around World War I, and bring it up to date. It was old. It was based on a cottage that formed part of a Grand hotel back in the late 19th and early 20th century: a separate domicile where people who did not wish to live in the main building could stay; free spirits, no doubt, who flew from the social strictures that ruled the main enclave, fancying themselves Henry Ford, Tom Edison, and Harve Firestone on a camping hike in western Pennsylvania - free from the gaze of Clara, Mina, and Lizzie.
I have seen photographs of the hotel at this time, even a picture of the cottages, though not the exact same as ours, and the people were dressed alike everywhere:  an unintentional candid series of women in walking dresses - now and then riding dress broke into view - and summer travelling dresses, culminating in afternoon dresses when the sun was lower in the sky,  and prints became blurry by a compensation in exposure time - grasping at photons and catching Muybridge-movement in sepia tones.
Men wore boaters and cravattes, unless they played at something more taxing than croquet, when the open collar was emblematic of their club. All were pale faces, the women who carried parasols especially so. The men who had darkened complexion seemed like servants captured in their rounds by the camera, or like roguish explorers - like Burton of the Nile - who came, created a stir, caused ladies to swoon and old crones to enforce purdah upon the girls in their charge.. and you knew they were destined for a bad end in some bawdy house East of Suez. It was life, ablaze, standing at attention with all its idiosyncratic emblems and medals by which it defined itself, and daring posterity to do better.

So we, the families of my brother and I,  bought an umbrella for the dock. Of course, the original dock and boat house, where I had carved my initials in 1960 into a door jamb and which had been white-washed and embalmed for posterity, was long gone: swept away by the tornado, the supporting spiles nipped off like spring shoots are nibbled by hungry deer. But when the dock was repaired a few years after the work on the house, we bought an umbrella to place on the end, so we could go out and sit in the sun without being fried; sit in the cool of the breeze blowing over the river.
Now my parents still had an umbrella in the garage: it was the one they had originally bought for the patio behind the house we lived in when I was in elementary and middle and high school. It was by now 30 years old, if it was a day. When the tornado had gone by, it had shook the garage, then jumped overhead and came down, taking the superstructure of the root cellar and the entire outhouse. In this process, it had shaken the garage so strongly that the dust from between the boards and the mica from the shingles had been showered down, and the umbrella was covered by a thick layer of this soot.
They greeted the new, clean, umbrella with a bit of disdain, favoring their old faithful one, which - if memory serves - hadn't actually been used since they moved it from city house to summer house years ago. I remember being surprised at this. Looking back, it was the first in a series of paradoxes they began to present to us, their children: they had grown up with the view that summer houses were supernumerary houses, and as time went on, this tendency began to cement into a faith, the outcome being a kaleidoscope of eclecticism of furniture and pictures and knick-knacks. Within a short time, it resembled a museum of tchotchkes dredged from the unconscious and the id of mid-20th century America.
My father got a ladder and pulled the old umbrella from the rafters of the garage. He took it outside, stood it up, banged it a few times - about 30 - on the ground to knock the dirt off. He hosed it down, and it began to take on color, faded and pale, but color, much like a hand-watercoloured umbrella from an old photo entitled "At the Beach" or "On the Sand at Coney Island".
He reached under and released the latch, and it extended itself outwards, opening up and over his head... and releasing a shower of dirt on him. We discreetly left the backyard, thinking it best to let him rally the troops as best he could. We grasped the new umbrella, with its polished cherry wood gleam and its smooth, supple blue fabric, and began trekking to the dock. I felt jaunty and hummed "Kyrie Eleison" from The Lord of the Flies.

The choir singing "Kyrie" on the beach
We had already lugged the base out at the end of the dock, so we stuck the umbrella in, and opened it to its full extent. Now we could sit out on the dock, without worrying about getting too much sun. Our lives had spanned the range of learned opinion on sunshine: brown-as-a-berry health & spend all day in the sun to mega-sunscreens with suncreen protection factors of 110% and holes in the ozone layer; I myself found a mens' gardening hat with an extra wide brim, and was then, as I am now, in the habit of pottering around like Brian Blessed portraying old Augustus Caesar when out and about al fresco.
The dock was now complete. Before now, it had been only half-done: offering too much summer and sun. Now it was perfect: we could escape the sun when we wanted, dive out of the shadows when we wanted; throw a pole in the water, dive in the river, dry out, or stay cool. It was complete.

The only downside left was the fact that our parents never seemed to come out to the dock now.

They had spent an afternoon trying to resuscitate the old rugged umbrella, to set its broken ribs and to stitch up its fabric, all to no avail. Since it had been brought down from the rafters, and since it was no longer useable, there did not seem much point in putting it back up in the rafters, so it made its way over to the refuse pile next to the garage, on the north side, out of our sight, but visible to the next door neighbors.
There started an long discussion about whether the garbage haulers would pick it up with the rest of the garbage on garbage day, a week away.

The discussion continued for most of the week, on and off, stoked by my mother's insatiable sense of analysis, an urge which drives her to attempt to see an item of interest from every possible viewpoint, to create scenarios for every eventuality, and to engage you in conversation about it. I can't tell you how many times I have fallen for this: to hear her speak of something of some importance, to warm to the conversation, to express my own considered opinion... and totally forgetting that all I have done is extend her monologue. She has no intention of paying attention to what anyone says, especially if it does not agree with the opinions she has so far gathered on her side.

If she does actually agree with you, she will not admit to it, rather she will bring it forth some time in the future by expressing your opinion as her own, and daring you to say otherwise.
Eventually, we called the haulers the day before garbage day, and were told they would gladly take the umbrella;  just have it out at the curb.

In all fairness, my father spends a good deal of time outdoors in the garden area, the area which would be called "garden" if there actually were a working horticultural entity there, but the "garden" is more like a work eternally in progress. My mother is fairly complected, and she has never been much for sunbathing. Their absence on the dock may not have been a smoldering resentment at all. We were probably misled by our memory of all those old pictures of them in their youths, frolicking on beaches and smiling from the gunwhales of open-decked boats. They had both had parents with houses on the river, and had spent a good deal of time outdoors, at least according to the archives. The Great War put an end to all that, I guess.
They did, however, feel compelled to develop a canon of umbrella laws and directives. At eventide, the umbrella must be lowered and its fabric lashed;  it must be removed from the heavy base and laid down, preferably with the apex pointing west, the direction of the prevailing winds. Each year, a series of interrogatories started as to when we shall be moving the umbrella from summer to winter quarters, as winter inexorably approached through the onset of autumn... about August 1, if I recall.
Storms do arise and the umbrella withstood a couple of gales, bending ominously. Several times the wind had filled it as it lay on the dock, and caused it to sail to the very edge, where it teetered on the brink of the 4 foot free-fall into the drink. The laws were designed to protect the guys ninety years old from having to constantly worry about taking care of exotic objects... new to them and unfamiliar: objects looking like a parachute popsicle, alien and ready to vault into the wind and vanish.
In 2008 and 2009, my parents actually did join us once or twice on the dock in the shade of the wooden umbrella. Old hurts were forgotten, and we did have Obama to argue about, and this far outweighed fidelity to some old - and admittedly junky - patio umbrella. Now in 2010 we don't discuss politics anymore, at least I don't. Two weeks ago my father said the terrorists' plan was to bankrupt the country by exploits like Times Square, forcing the police to work overtime... and Obama was behind it. Yesterday my mother discussed politics while constantly referring to some work of fiction she was reading about stratagems in financial markets. So even though this level of discussion is a good deal like that throughout the rest of the country, as well as on cable, we now tend to shy away from it.

The old tree in front came down last year. I counted the rings: there were 140 rings, at least; years of good growth and years of drought and struggle. It stood there all that time. We asked Mom whether Dad would like a new tree in the same spot, but she said no, it would block his view. It's a big river and there's a lot of room; a new tree would be pretty small: a sapling, a new maple, heck, would take 10 years to grow enough to block the view even a little bit, or so it seems.
Maybe the umbrella, even standing way out at the end of the dock, blocks his view, too. He doesn't see too well anyway, and maybe it blocks the view. But what are we looking at? It's a big old river, and it would take a couple dense forests to block the view entirely.
Yesterday, Mothers' Day, we took out the umbrella along with the base loaded onto a green garden wagon. As we put it up, cleaned it off, then took it down again, lashed it and stored it, apex facing westerly, we wondered how long we'd be doing these rituals, but we remained silent.


Sunday, May 09, 2010


A financial market that drops 1,000 points in less than an hour is not a financial market.
A financial system which offers savers no incentive to save, thus driving them to the so-called financial
markets, is not a financial system. By driving us into the "stock markets", the system ensures our impoverishment.
It is the great sucking sound of the transfer of every form of wealth to the powerful and rich.

Health Care means nothing. It only is going to keep me alive until the next downturn in around 2016.
Even the Secretary of Defense is embarrassed by a government and country which can only think of throwing money at weapons systems, and nothing else. Anything other than defense spending is "welfare" or "nanny country" or another dim-witted slogan.

And things move fast:  just a week ago I was saying that we are losing control of things; on Monday the third of May I was telling people face to face that that's what the next disaster will be... so the Dow freaks on the 6th! Perfect timing. I should start selling tickets.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

A Question About Ferngully

I do not wish to watch the film Ferngully. So can anyone tell me how closely the story resonates with the story of Avatar?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Future Shock: The Seldon Vault Opens!

Hari Seldon
(I use Asa Kasher's picture for Hari Seldon)

After a long period of time, the Seldon Vault opened again, and everyone flocked down to see what old Professor Seldon had up his Psycho-Historical sleeve, as it were:

By this time, the US Senate will have voted down the amendment to break up big banks.

I used to analyze these things with Psycho-History, until I found an unusually brainy fellow ( whose name I forget ) who said that the problem with Big Banks and Mega-Banks lies in the fact that any problems in the financial sector down the road will be Big Problems and Mega-Problems.

That sums it up. William Tecumseh Sherman's advice on the Iraq War was also good: War is Hell! I like brief advice; gets right to the root of the situation... saves time in psycho-historical computations. Good and brief  counsel is the best Algorithm!

It doesn't matter to you assembled here, really. The Big Bank scenario is part of the forking road to disaster, so keep trying to get your acts together to survive it. You cannot change it within the foreseeable future... it will only be changed after the next... downturn in the year two thousand and...

At this point, screen went blank, and we all looked at each other with wild surmise. I myself had one of those Ghostbusters moments; you know, where Zool says:  choose the form of the Destructor!

Left Holding The Bag !

OK. My stock went from 17.41 at the open to 6.99 at the lowest and closed at 17.02. Of course, I had stops set to sell long before 6.99 .

Someone made $ 10.03 per share profit yesterday in the afternoon climb back to 17.02, and it wasn't me.

Thank you, Wall Street, for allowing me to hold at least one of the handles of the bag!

Going Right By The Stops

I had some stock of various ETFs that had been doing all right; not fabulous, just all right. I had some stops set, so that if they really dogged, they would automatically be sold. So yesterday one of my favorites starts at 18.00, drops to 6.00, and closes at 17.00 plus.
It was so bizarre that I actually watched one of those Wall Street shows briefly. They said some stocks had gone to zero! That would have been lovely! The stocks I bought at 5.00 in 2008, and which have gone into double digits by yesterday morning would probably have had some stops set somewhere above zero! And they were to be long long-term, not long-term until someone pulls the Wall Street flusher.

Of course, it triggered the stops and the stock was sold, adding to the general selling mania. And I no longer have the stocks, and I really did not want to sell them. However, the stops worked. I had always thought that the stops would kick in after a decline that took a while, and I would be off in Bermuda or something, and not able to check things... I did not really expect this general "colon cleansing" type of day on the Street. (Of course, someone was able to pick up my etf stocks at $6.00 yesterday and now they're at $ 17.00, so a decent one-day profit was made... I wonder if this was a deliberate manipulation... Nah. Wall Street wouldn't do that. )

But, if memory serves, I have been saying and writing that we are rapidly losing control over our systems, our lives, and our futures. In some quarters, where I have as recently as three days ago told some people this, I am going to look like a real nine-day-wonder-prophet.
Imagine:  a couple of days like yesterday in the markets, threats of wars, infrastructure breakdowns, crazy weather and oil spills. Take yesterday and tweak it up to "worse yet". How long do we survive?

We have no stops set to bail out. We have to ride it all the way down. Let's fix it before then. The need is so critical and so compelling, that it is no longer merely a political necessity: it is a religious imperative.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


I like Capitalism, but not our form of it. Our form encapsulates the unhealthy uncapped incentives to drive the markets into a feeding frenzy, eventuating in their own destruction; then re-build.

The model - painful as it is - actually works well, as far as we know. What we don't know is the "tipping point" where it will no longer work well. Economics is a science that attempts to track its own change and mutation, as well as that of its subject matter. Quite a trip! I think there must be an Economic Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle not yet formulated somewhere. Economics is a hunting dog that thinks it is pointing at the hunter's prey, but actually is running after its own tail. I think I have characterized Economics well, for look at Alan Greenspan: every attempt at control and every claim to knowledge shattered in a head-on with Reality. Reality gets out of its Mercedes, brushes itself off, exchanges insurance info with the still thoroughly dazed Greenspan, and takes off on foot to the nearest auto lot.

Economics is one of the few areas in life where Conservative thought embraces the concept of non-restraint. Consider personal and public morals; Conservative thought has always advocated restraint and  "meden agan" - nothing in excess. I think it would be interesting to walk through society and discover where and when it counsels prudence and where it urges madness :  Apollo versus Dionysos again - the trained and ruled opposed to the wild and undomesticate.

Perhaps this explains why we have no tradition of Moderation anymore, except in those instances where to betray Moderation would eventuate in death and destruction on an enormous scale, such as MAD scenarios for nuclear warfare: moderate megatons means moderate megadeaths.

Give it words! Give it Image and Icon! Don't call it some sort of Capitalism... an economic system based on principles of equity and moderation and ecology need not be considered "Son of Capitalism Rampant", like Richard the Lion Heart need not ride Henry II's coat-tails, for he was a mighty individual on his own.
Our present line of progress leads two major ways:
(1) a future stagnant with old concepts from the 20th and early 21st centuries, and a world oppressed by the burden of seemingly benign superpowers allied under NATO or its spawn... and order enforced by the militarization of Space. In this scenario, we are condemned to the the generation that allowed the world to be split into a 1984 of power blocs, all allowed their oppressions and exploitations up to the limit allowed under that future regime which enforces its will from weapons in Space,

(2) something better. Not necessarily new, but new in spirit.
Let us learn the lesson that the past 30 years have been screaming at us, but we seem to be ignoring:  if you do not act moderately and morally, you will create enormous concentrations of power and information and energy which you will not be able to control. It is then the Tower of Babel falls, then the Dow plummets 7,000 points, then brother fights against brother; there is no guarantee of survival. God may have promised not to destroy mankind again by flood, but ...  what if the deluge comes from elsewhere? [ note: I wrote this about 4 hours before the Dow fell 1,000 points.]

Please explain how so much wealth can be amassed on Wall Street, but we cannot find enough fish in the sea? Please explain the growth of weapons of war, but we cannot teach children to read? Explain why we are so good at enabling the arts of the things which will destroy us, but cannot come to grips with the things good for our souls?

Our lives are a tightrope between entropy and chaos, and between too much and too little.
I think of it as The Middle Way. Brainy types of an evangelical stripe aren't happy that it smacks too much of the Buddhist. I usually tell them to please be moderate in their intolerance at the mixing of God and the thoughts of any man, who is an offspring of God. The Scenario of the Future is Freedom, and freedom means we are free from our old chains, and it means that if I utter a word, it is not bound to be free, nor is it bound to be limited: it is what we say it is.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A New Look

I thought someone had joined us, someone new. Not that we need someone new; not that we are stale, nots that our wits are jaded. No, not at all.
No, JoAnn had changed her picture, and it looks to be a swimmer in the surf, and I wish I were on the beach: the last time I was at the beach, I was at Cape May, NJ, and it was September 2009... I think Arsen mentioned something about a wildlife refuge just east of Lewes ( pronounced "lewis", just like the name), Delaware. But.. it wasn't sunny. Warm, yes. It was warm. It was 82, 84 degrees that day, but it was grey, and it was the last truly warm day of 2009... the last one I felt, at least. It didn't get that warm again until April of 2010 - talk about crazy weather!

Maybe I need a new look, retiring that old Mr. Natural of Bob Crumb's. Maybe... but what? I mean, Mr. N is pretty good, 'cause I'm always telling people where to get off, and why what I think is right, and where they make their fatal mistakes, and I told ya so! Mr. N is pretty much right there with that. Right there with that.
I always wanted to be Rotwang, the mad scientist from Fritz Lang's Metropolis. Perhaps not mad. Actually, the more I think of it, Rotwang doesn't seem to be any madder than many leaders and scientists today. You know, I sort of resent the Present, that it has become so bizarre that Dr. Caligari's Cabinet seems rational, and Mr. Hulot's Holiday makes people fidget for the lack of incoming voices and messages and texts: speak, Hulot! Speak! Mangez! Je veux dire... parlez!  The beginning scene of Four Weddings and a Funeral reminded me of Les Vacances de M. Hulot ;  a long scene of activity with no particular communication going on... other than cursing with the F word.
Where'd Hugh Grant disappear to? The world changes so fast these days.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Be Free

By war and violence and murder, we destroy the weak creatures that carry the burden of our scenario of hate; we do not touch the Themes of Oppression, Slavery, and Bondage that enslave us. They remain untouched, searching for another publisher.

From the Theoretical Cosmetologist 2

I am watching Solaris - the George Clooney version - for the third time, and I shall probably have to see it twice more before I understand the Language ( story ) behind the Image ( film ).
It is interesting how films can make you ignore the story, as Avatar did, where the story was old and derivative, yet the film still fascinated.

In Avatar, the Image dominates the Language, and the Image is wonderful.
In Solaris, the Language dominates Image, but it is hard to disentangle them, and find the story with all its implications and themes. I would say the Story is wonderful, but it is not easy to get a grasp on it, certainly it takes more than one viewing. It is uncanny: at first the Images dominate, then on second viewing, they fall back before the advance of the deepness of the Story. After that, the Story is triumphant.

(note: whenever I use the word "triumphant", I invariably think of Lon Chaney playing the organ in "The Phantom of the Opera"; he played "Don Juan Triumphant".)

Monday, May 03, 2010

From The Theoretical Cosmetologist 1

We shall not feel sympathy, nor pity; we shall not walk a mile in someone else's shoes; we shall see with the eyes of others, and they will see with ours.

Obama's Katrina?

Bush's Katrina moment was when he was judged by the government's stranding people at the Super Bowl, not the hurricane itself. These people were on cable all day for four entire days. George Bush was not a supporter of Hurricanes, Inc. It was the after-math that caused problems.

Republicans will not look good, because they backed drilling; they actively did back Big Ocean Oil, Inc.
The only people who will come out good are the ones who warned us.

Big diff.
And... everyone knows it.

A Time for Everything...

...under the sun. Specifically, there is a time when people are on a "hot streak".

I sit and listen to news about oil spills, and listen to nonsense, for a large number of people have been warning us about exactly this for a long, long time.

When the prophets of doom are on a hot streak, it is time to heed and bet with them, instead of against them. Suddenly, a prophet of gloom and doom is no longer an object of mirth and derision, but are actually movers and shakers, having taken Credit Default Swaps on disaster, as it were.

I am listening to the CEO of BP say that the worst-case scenario is 2 to 3 months until a relief well is drilled. It still hasn't dawned on them that "worst-case" means what it says, and the worst-case is the scenario where the relief well doesn't work, either.
The first offshore rig seems to have been that of Pure Oil in 1937:  63 years.
To me, it seems that the chances of such a catastrophe, such as that which has occurred, is at least "Once in 63 years", and certainly not "hardly ever" or "remote".

Furthermore, if we try to estimate the probability of an oil spill of at least 500,000 gallons into the ocean, whether from an oil rig or other source, we have at least a probability of 3 times in 63 years, or 1 in 21, which is just less than 5%. (The three events being Deepwater Horizon, Exxon Valdez, and the Santa Barbara spill. )  5 chances out of 100 is not large, but it is hardly rare or remote. Nor, I think, does an event which occurs 5% of the time likely to be a worst-case scenario, except in hell, where all scenarios are worst-case.

Time Travel 1: The Black Tide

I've decided to make use of the Time Machine Kip Thorne threw out - I picked it up out of the garbage in the alley behind his place - and go forward to actually see how the grandkids are making out in the world we created for them.

The first thing I noticed was that the seas were full of oil, and the beaches and estuaries were on fire most of the time. When Climate Change really kicked in, vast hurricanes and storms demolished as number of oil rigs, of which fully 40% lacked proper emergency shut-off systems, and the seas were fouled with a black tide.
Some were still pumping out crude. The resources needed to meet the situation just were not available any more.

The stocks of Insurance companies I had invested in and passed along to my offspring were now worthless, since these companies had been part of a world-wide consortium insuring the oil companies. The consortium went belly up, along with most oceanic creatures, and if oil rigs still are operating, they are operating as "pirate rigs" without any insurance of any sort. This actually increases their profitability rather enormously, but they are true "men without countries".. all countries will buy from them, but none will accept them as citizen traders and citizen merchant businessmen.

And, in all truth, the seas were burning, at least portions of the Caribbean and the Mediterranean were on the day I flew over. And the particles in the oil fire smoke were in the atmosphere, filtering the light so that the full moon at night resembled an albinoed leech engorged with hemoglobin and suffused with the pink hue of red blood cells.

The official seated next to me was looking out the airplane window at the fires, muttering "Damn terrorists, damn terrorists." After introducing myself and chatting him up for a while - he thought me a decidedly odd fish and rare bird... a bit "behind" the times and fanciful, for "fishes" and "birds" were scarce as hen's teeth in his time... and hens themselves were housed at the Smithsonian - I found out that the oil rigs had become a favourite target of terrorists during WoT IV, or War on Terror: fourth installment, as they called it, as if it were a "sit-traj", or "situation-tragedy" for the television.  He himself was on his way to the Middle East to help evacuate a group of his co-religionists who were being kicked out of Jerusalem since its re-unification in the war of 2051.
"Jesus wept," I said.
He gave me a rather goggle-eyed look. "Oh, Yeshua..." he said.
Leave it to good old American know-how: we have finally gotten Jesus' name right, having lost everything else.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Long March of Dental Hygiene

Let one thousand smiles bloom !


I keep telling people things are speeding up. I started talking about it with Climate Change back in the day when the experts said things would take a century. Well, then they said 50 years, then it had suddenly last summer... or a couple of summers ago. Glacier melt-down went from a thing of the future - near future, but still future - to being a prime time event.

Same thing with worst case scenarios:  businesses are confident that probabilities are small and worst-case won't happen, at least until our grandkids time - who will be the biggest bunch of hapless schnorrers around, the way we're going at things.

Hey! It's speeding up! Worst-cases happen right now! If you can't handle it, get out of the way. Black Swans are flying everywhere. The Science of Statistics does not change, but the events covered by statistics do, and they change remarkably!

Absolute Morality

Absolute Morality is based in something outside of us, making it independent of us. It is also assumed to be ontologically prior to us, pre-existing us. It is assumed by many to be unchanging. Here it is important to note that "unchanging" does not mean "not contradictory" or "not ambiguous".

Few people dare to assert anything is "not ambiguous", due to the fact that most people cannot seem to agree on most things, large to the small.

To be Absolute, Morality need only to be "dependable" , nothing else. (We may wish to put it "robustly dependable".)
Such a moral system provides all guidelines and answers all questions; it would be "efficient".
Otherwise, it will not be dependable, will be seen to be imperfect, and - over time - will be perceived as being not absolute after all.

Thus, the nature of the absolute moral code depends on how dependable it is; may we lean on it at all times, in all places? Or, like Egypt, will it be a broken reed, which - upon our placing weight on it - injures the hand holding onto it?

This does not make the validity of the Absolute dependent upon the judgement of mankind, for even the Holy would admit that His Morality indeed is dependable, and should be so, and will continue so. All the other things one says about the Absolute and His Moral Code have no effect on the workings of morality; neither "everlasting" nor "pre-existing" nor "held by an angelic band" has any effect on the day to day workings of morality, whereas dependability does.

Dependability and its effects: peace of mind, for one, are so important that they are one source of "iconic participation" by which the Holy is able to enter the world.
If we did not need forgiveness, if we did not need peace of mind, there would be no need for God to enter time and space to give us rest. The dependability of God is reflected in the Images of the Good Shepherd and the story of the Prodigal Son: ever forgiving, ever open to in-gathering. Totally wide, totally open, and always dependable.
Thus, the icons of the Good Shepherd, Prodigal Son Returns, and the Assembly of the Saints Exultant in Heaven. These icons are the keys in our consciousness by which, via "iconic participation", the Holy enters the world of mankind.

Sorry. I know this is a bit much. However, I cannot deny a word of it. I am only somewhat sorry that most readers will find it a truly bizarre rambling. I shall make every effort to clarify it. However, having said that I use this blog somewhat as a journal, I do this now and again. Sometimes I have to, because - like today - it just goes too fast, and I run the risk of losing everything if I don't chain it to the page.