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Monday, February 28, 2011

Message to Linda

OK, Linda. Should we come up with a nickname for you now? I personally would find it difficult to include you among the names of poisons I already have for the Rogues' Gallery of Friendship thus far,  but I do not wish you to feel excluded, either. All my wife's other friends have poison nicknames. If I were to come up with something like Iberis Sempervirens - which is no poison whatsoev... would you feel cheated? Iberis is not good anyway, eventhough the English name is something-something-candytuft! Iberis reminds me of Iblis ( إبليس ) which is probably not a good idea, being the name of ..  الشيطان
or Old Nick himself!

Hmmmm........  the mills are grinding.

Which reminds me of a melange of maxims, one of which:

He or She whom the gods would destroy, they first drive into Blogging !


I have been talking about structured and patterned behavior, such as Sports and Dance. I think these all can be subsumed under a heading of "Ritual". Ritual would cover a wide range of phenomena, but they would have in common their structure of bodies moving in patterns.
Sports is more chaotic than Dance; the probability of the sequence of movements in Dance is fairly rigid, whereas Sports is very much random at times.
Religious ritual is highly rigid, but it depends on its outcomes: if its outcomes are perfectly predictable, it is not much more than Sunday morning service.

Spring Training

 Una delle quattro stagioni di Vivaldi:  Primavera e il Baseball


Мы все живем на краю!

train surfing,
rocket surfing!
we all live on the edge!

on reading of 2 young men killed while train surfing in Moscow a few days ago.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Losing Weight

Losing weight is a misnomer. If you are exercising and trying to lose excess blubber, fat, flab... you will be replacing the BFF ( and this is not Best Friend Forever, by any means!) with muscle. Muscle is heavier than BFF so you may reach a point where you are, oh, say 192 lbs - don't know why I use that figure... I do not weight that much, certainly. And you stay at 192 for oh, a week, let's say; or even two weeks, and you are hump-busting and you can't figure out why you aren't losing weight.
Of course, you're losing flab and replacing it with good old striated muscle.

So the bathroom scale may be very misleading. I have found the best accessory to the scale is the pair of pants that sort of tightened up after New Year's, or the belt that forced you to go out a notch. The tight belt doesn't lie.


The Gov

The Governor of Wisconsin is destroying himself! I am amazed. Mostly I am amazed that he actually believes his own crap. I learned a long time ago not to believe too much of what I wanted badly to believe. Something you want to believe an awful lot is a red-herring... if not rotten carp; your belief is always colored by your desire - and your desire is the wish of a mere human schlub... just like the rest of us.

It will be a painful experience to watch this man go down in flames. I am getting a strange vibe from this whole affair. It goes beyond what I have ever sensed or intuited about politics before.


Le male pèse huit kilo;
la femelle... un peu plus p'tite.
le bébé environ soixante grammes;
c'est toute l'histoire.
the male weighs 8 kilos,
the female... abit less.
the bay is about 60 grams...
that's all there is to that.

Sinum Conservate! Save the Bay!

The "Small Brothers" of St. Paul  in Clean Up The Bay Day in 2010 At Neavitt, MD.

I have a high school friend who joined the Order of St. Paul Oikumene, which is actually an abbreviation of "St. Paul of the Oikumene and the Antioikumene, which literally means "St Paul of the Inhabited Lands and the Uninhabited Lands".  Their monastery is down on the Chesapeake on Tilghman Island on highway 33 west and south of St. Michael's on the Outer Shore of Maryland.
Their monastery on Tilghman is actually an aggregation of individual houses that had been built during the bubble by a developer who had declared bankruptcy. They had sat empty for a few years, but had been minimally maintained by Mungo Reeves, a County employee, who had scoured the neighborhoods about for money to keep the development from falling into ruin, and thereby destroying surrounding property values.
Then the Small Brothers came into the picture. ("Small Brothers" is a trans of "Fratres Pauli" which could mean both "brothers of Paul" or "small brothers" in Latin; it is short for Fratres Pauli Oikumenes kai Antoikumenes, a combination of Latin and Greek that is pretty uncommon.)

The order bought the development very cheaply and the structure that had been intended to function as a club house and community center was turned into a chapel and refectory and library, the rest of the units becoming domiciles for the members of the order.

Their function as an order is to maintain the ecological quality of the Chesapeake Bay along the Outer Shore and the Inner Shore of Maryland. The Small Brothers are the first ecological order of workers that I am aware of. Their goals are the maintenance of the Bay and the lower reaches of the rivers flowing thereto, which covers an enormous territory which is presently beyond the abilities of the twenty one brothers and their helpers among the laity, but eventually they intend to reach their goal.
When I visited last year, Brother Bob (my old friend, Robert Patterson III from high school) showed me around the grounds. He showed me things you don't expect at a monastery:  outboard motors and run-abouts, working scows, testing equipment... I was amazed.
The State contributes some money, but it is far less than it used to spend on clean up in the area the Brothers can effectively maintain.  In my life, I seem to remember three distinct eras of "The Chesapeake is dying! Let's clean it up!"  Flurry of money and activity, then everyone would forget. That's when the Small Brothers entered the picture. They have but one goal and no other distractions. Most of their monies come from appeals they make at churches around the Chesapeake, not only RC churches but churches of other denominations - and temples and mosques - that want to hear them preach the word of Good Husbandry of Nature.

I understood that the order would be establishing a womens' arm, Sorores Pauli. Where their place would be no one seemed to know as of last year. There were ten women interested, and that would be a welcome addition to their force. I don't know the status of that right this moment.

God bless the brothers and sisters of St. Paul of the Sown, the Settled, and the Empty Lands!

note: this is to be a chapter in my book.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Anne Rice: The Psychology of Vampires

Again, I do not say anything here about Ms. Rice directly; I am merely talking about other people who talk about her.  Since I am challenged in my efforts to read her myself ( an affliction I also have with a number of other authors - it has to do with the patterns of the language, not anything they say.) I explore this part of the modern world from one degree of separation, as it were.

So a psych-type last year did an article on the psychology of our attraction to vampires. Not too shabby, I thought. Give it a look. See what's cookin',  good lookin' !  (The psych-type was eay on the eyes as is so often the case in this day of rainbows, lollipops, and eye-candy in the media.)

Dr. Belisa Vranich

Dr. Belisa Vranich

Posted: July 22, 2010 01:05 PM 
Why We Love Vampires: The Psychology Behind The Obsession

First, the name is right. Belisa Vranich is filled with the night-frights, chain-rattlings, and midnight banshee keenings of Romania and Moldavia and other Transylvanian haunts. "My name is... Beleeeesa!!"
Of course, immediately I thought we were going to get the real stuff here, complete with references to Elizabeth Bathory and young virgins. In fact, if you hold a mirror up to the monitor screen, the good doctor's image will not reflect. She is the good Van Helsing as well as his evil brother, the bad Van Helsing:  Edward and Axl !
1. Vampires are loners, but not lonely... We envy that ability not to want either a sidekick (like Batman's Robin, Don Quixote's Sancho, or Oscar's Felix) or group of friends. 
Or Thelma's Louise... This may be common wisdom ( which we really do not require a trained psychologist for, Herr Doktor Belisa!) but it's poorly thought out.
For pity sake, even James Dean in Rebel had Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood!
2. Vampires are minimalists. They don't rely on gadgets. They don't need James Bond cars that drive on land and swim in water. They don't need shot guns, Glocks or bombs. They are never encumbered by gear, paraphernalia, futuristic outfits or first-aid kits
Riiiiight! Just some shades, capes,....  and a couple of coffins !
3. Vampires are slick and cool looking.
Hmmm. Except Nosferatu and The Shadow of the Vampire, I guess.
4. Vampires have fangs. It was Freud who explained our oral tendencies to us. People who fixate in the oral stage may turn to alcoholism or overeating. And then there are people who are aggressive in how they talk -- they have sharp tongues, they make biting comments....
There are two concepts here:  vamps have fangs is #1 and we love vampires is #2. This little exposition here does not really link them up.  I mean, it was my distinct impression - my very distinct impression - that I did not really fawn that much over nasty aggressive people with biting tongues that lacerate our hearts !!!!!!!
5. Vampires are smart. They possess the combined abilities of telepathy and telekinesis, communicating, reading thoughts and moving objects with the mind.
Having an ability and using that ability well or in a smart way are two different things. I mean I myself could have the ability of telekinesis and crash things into my head as I was sitting in an easy chair, instead of what I have to do now: get up and walk over to the garage door and smack my head twice, the first time because I did not open it all the way, and the second time as I turn around to open it all the way.
If I had the ability not to give a reflection in a mirror, I would forget about it and spend a couple thousand dollars on putting a ceiling mirror in my bedroom, only to discover that -depending on whom I was with - I could only admire rumpled sheets.
6. Vampires are powerful.
I have to give her that one. It never would have dawned on me.
7. Vampires are fearless.
???????  Who let the Garlic Out? as the song goes. Crucifixes and holy water and sharp pieces of wood, not to mention daybreak with no friendly coffin in sight!

I can't go on like this. It is sounding too much like Calvin reciting the club password for Hobbes : Tigers are graceful, tigers are lithe...  If you wish, read the rest of it. It has all the effect of a Halloween prank... along the lines of pushing over Neighbor Knowles' outhouse! That was funny - outhouse going backside over tea kettle - and scary - Neighbor Knowles yelling 'cause he wuz inside it!

Anne Rice

Extinction Events

In the post referenced    we spoke of types of animals seen from the height of man looking down: sheretz and remess, sheretz being any living being that is not higher than the ground - like flies, ants, beetles, worms, rats, mice, and all fish; and remess as insects that are low, crawling on the ground, and look as though they are being dragged, because their movement is not clearly perceived.

Upon receiving the injunction to be fruitful, man walked upon the earth in small groups and according to Elias Cannetti
Early man, roaming around in small bands through large and often empty spaces, was confronted by a preponderance of animals... Many of them existed in enormous numbers. Whether it was herds of buffaloes or springboks, shoals of fish, or swarms of locusts, bees, or ants, their numbers rendered those of man insignificant.
The sheer numbers of life were awesome. The living carpets of fauna and flora which covered the land - in the New World of America it was only 200 years ago that dense and tall forests stretched for hundreds of miles; dark forests whose canopies of leaves choked out the sun - inspired man to transform part of himself into the overwhelming life around him. He identified with animals and plants, creating totem identities. Each man had two natures: his human and his animal; the human belonging to the comparatively small group of his band, the animal belonging to the other world of life on a greater scale. (At this point, we may speculate that the spirit world was a description of the connection between these two realms of man, how man travelled from the one to the other, and how he acted within the totem realm.)

So what are we, who are living in a world where man has indeed proliferated, to do when the Nature surrounding us is no longer flush with life, but instead teeters on the edge of extinction? How do we interact with a Nature which is crashing in numbers due to our influence?

I do not know. I think it no particular accident that virtual realities have come into existence just as the real animals and plants man used to identify with are disappearing. Soon it wil be the artificial intelligences that will be sheretz upon the earth, multitudes of them. When man identifies, he will not identify with Nature vanishing into extinction, but with vibrant and growing machine life. This is where the Terminator films got it wrong: SkyNet will not revolt... we shall fall on our knees to the greater Power of the machines. Are we not always looking for a "higher power"?

Our search for meaning seems to me to be at least partially based on the primordial injunction back in Genesis to be fruitful as the world around us provides example, and to be the great Husbanders of the resources of the world. It was our objective to grow in numbers, to grow in science, to grow in religion, and to grow in wisdom... ALL the while making the world a harmonious and good place for ourselves and everything else God created.
We have failed.



At MacDonalds at the end of the universe;
hamburgs for two dollars - I only had a five;
waiting for climate change.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Governor Walker and his Republicans acted with a devious speed not seen since the aftermath of the Reichstag fire.


commuter traffic from the south will be on hold
as we continue to dig out from snow;
we change with the climate.


Computers working again!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


As a child, I was lost
in the carpets that filled
the house of my grandmother -
I would not leave
the gardens steeped
in chocclate incense.


Having too many computer problems.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Outlaw World

The last of the 12 inches of snow was falling, seeking low spots near the garage to fill in. It is snowy days like these that put me in mind of Stephen King's The Shining. I glanced at the hardy shrubs outside the library window, looking for the slightest sign of movement, a sure give-away that they had moved towards the house in a threatening manner, even though I was never quite sure what evil havoc shrubs and bushes could wreak. They had the uncanny ability, to be sure, to discountenance one when they abruptly moved from yon to hither, as they did in Kubrick's film version of The Shining, but since the pruning shears and snippers and coppicing saws had all been secured away, what harm could a bush do, other than throw nasty allergic-reaction causing juniper berries at you.
It is snowy days like these that are so Edgar Allen Poe cum Vincent Price... when the temperature drops precipitously, when the snows pile up to the windows and even higher, causing the sunlight diffused through the clouds to blink out as the casements drowned in the frozen precip.
It is especially days like then when the city layoffs have reduced the number of snowplow drivers from 100 to 50 that cause the tell-tale heart to apprehension. Well, I was not intending to go anywhere anyway... for a few days, at least. I would be alone, shut-off from the madding crowd... totally alone... perhaps the power will go out again as trees, laden with snow, genuflect into power lines... at least the snow cover will insulate us for a while. How long would it take for the temperature to drop? How long can one go without food? Water I could get from melting snow... as long as there was gas to the water heater. If the power grid goes down... say, have they ever done anything to bring it up to "code" since the Great North East Blackout of 2002? No, I think we decided on spending the money in Iraq instead. So here we are at the mercy of "possibility of freezing rain through 10:00 PM." Here! Here at the Mountains of Madness in the imaginary yet all-too-real virtual own, private Antarctica of Lovecraftian design....

It was at this point I heard the growl of cams, pistons, lifters, and low gears engaged with a mighty will. I ceased my mournful meditations, said "Shoo!" a couple of times at the Raven perched over the door, and went to the window, where I was rewarded by the sight of a monstrous sun-denying blackness of an all-wheel drive Escalade bucking and churning against the white stuff. The symbolism was acutely Evil triumphs over Good and Pure Whiteness, but I took the role of the advocatus diaboli, and cheered for the trampling of nature under the wheels of progress... just this once, feeling myself a bit like John Milton as he wrote about the noble lineaments of Satan lost from Paradise, fallen yet unvanquished. For this was my rescue: my nephews in one of their wonderful, munificent gas-guzzling, smog-spewing terminators-on-wheels come to my door. I thought briefly of "Down And Out In Beverly Hills", because it had been based on a French film "Bodou Sauvé Des Eaux" (Bodou Rescued From the Water), and I was - if I were anything - certainly Montag Sauvé Des Eaux Gelées (from frozen water)... or Des Neiges (from the snows), or durci par le froid... par l'orteil de Dieu!! I found myself saying... by the big toe of the Lord! thinking along the lines of frostbite followed by starvation.

They beat a path to the door, and snow tumbled inside as I threw it open. Lots of boot-stomping and scraping, cheeks filling with breath and blowing on fingers stripped from wet gloves, scarves flung randomly through the air and coming to rest on the decor as if the entire front room had been TP'ed by high-spirited and sophomoric knitters and purlers.
Earl Grey looked out from the kitchen and started the tea brewing. Aloysius ( pronounced A-loy'-shus ) produced the New York Times in its blue plastic bag which the paper boy had placed on the porch earlier, only to have it buried until spring. We would fight later over who got to read the NY Times Book Review first... the first reader got to recite the worst of the pretentious pomposities out loud to the rest of us, so by the time we got to read it, they were considerably watered down, and we tended to take the Times's word for it that some bright young thing of 21, fresh from Oberlin, was oracular beyond her years.

After a great indulgence in tea and after the paper had been strewn across the library floor, talk turned to more mundane things, things which were not of all that great an interest - sort of like the talk on Thanksgiving after everyone has eaten too much soporific turkey and drank too much wine and siesta was the order of the afternoon... turned to things, in short, such as my blog.
Ayden mentioned the post on drugs, and wondered whether I was seriously in support of crack. I explained that I did not mean manufactured drugs, rather the pharmacopeia that grew normally within the world, mentioning once again the fact that human beings produce cannabinoids naturally within their own bodies. I said that it was the nature of life: there is pain, and God - in His mercy - also provides various means of assuaging the pain.
Austin said, "Then you consider hemp to be "wheat", not "tares"?"
"Precisely," I answered.
They had, of course, heard a lot about the debate on drug legalization, but had never heard anyone say that such naturally growing alkaloids might be part of God's plan, as it were.

I ended up saying that the predominant mind-set of the USA was an effort to "Outlaw the World". The paradoxical right-wing "welcome" to the democratic revolutions in the Middle East were typical: invade Iraq to "kick start" democracy. Then when the big, bad black, red, and chrome Hog of democracy revs its mighty engines, change your minds and say that it is all terrorists.
The three of them nodded in unison.
Outlaw world in Outland Universe... there is no High Plains Drifter coming to save us, just ourselves. We just can not outlaw everything we do not like, as the governor of Wisconsin wishes to do. Pretty soon, there will be nothing left but Homeland Security, TSA, Wars-Agaist-Whatevers, Czars heading up those Wars, and just an enormous Posse befuddled by the fact that every time they shoot one of the James Brother, Jesse or Frank, they just pop right back up again... like children playing cowboys.



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Machine Translation?

Reading in Xinhua News the following:

CANBERRA, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith on Tuesday released an independent inquiry report highlighting a culture of predatory sexual behavior and tribalism aboard the Naval supply ship HMAS Success.

The inquiry was commissioned by Defense Force Chief Angus Houston, after allegations of misconduct emerged during the ship's 2009 tour of South-East Asia and China.

"No doubt the considerable volume of alcohol that was consumed by many members of the crew, male and female, was a factor contributing to virtually every untoward incident," Gyles wrote in the report.

I wonder what possibly could this "tribalism" refer to? I thought it may have been a misprint for "tribadism", but if we have a covey of well-stoked sailors on the prowl, why would they settle for tribadism?

So I went to the BBC and saw this:

The report, by retired judge Roger Gyles, examined the behaviour of sailors aboard the ship HMAS Success between March and May 2009.

"There was evidence of predatory sexual behaviour" among parts of the crew, Mr Gyles reported...

"A combination of a culture of silence and mutual protection among MT sailors and intimidation and fear of repercussions on the part of those contemplating complaints against MT sailors provided a powerful cover against exposure of poor behaviour," he said.

Now I am not 100% sure, but I think a translation program (they have one heck of a lot of news to translate and do need machine help, I'm sure) took "culture" and translated - according to its own best algorithms - as "tribalism"; there is a certain connexion.


Sheretz, Shoals, and Swarms

The scholar Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki - the name "Rashi" an abbreviation using the initials) defined the term "sheretz" as "any living being that is not higher than the ground - like flies, ants, beetles, worms, rats, mice, and all fish."
Later he defines a related term "remess" as "insects that are low, crawling on the ground, and look as though they are being dragged, because their movement is not clearly perceived."
There is a matter of two dimensionality in "sheretz"; they are "not higher than the earth". They lack height, the third dimension. In remess, there is a quality of unwilled movement: being "dragged".

In "sheretz" I understand motion ( and "life" to the mediaeval mind ) that is like a school of fish or a swarm of ants or a horde of mice: swarm behavior which although possibly "willed" shows no particular individuality, but rather a uniform movement. And that movement is mostly within a strict plane of motion, appearing two dimensional. In fact, since Rashi says "all fish", and fish are not even "on the ground",  I take the movement of schools of fish to be Rashi's defining concept:  motion restricted to a plane of 2 dimensions... even though the entire plane ( the school of fish seen as length and width ) may itself move within 3 dimensions; i.e., the school swimming in 2 dimensions may swim up, down, or sideways in 3 dimensions.
In other words, a movement that appears to be uniform with 2 dimensions, like a crowd of people seen from high in a bell tower above the town square as they move in one direction towards the cathedral: "they look like ants from way up here!"

In "remess", on the other hand, movement appears unwilling because there is no apparent individuation, rather the animals appear indistinct and form a blot of color, like a carpet, perhaps, being pulled and dragged here and there.

In Genesis, the word remess is used to describe all animal life, except Man. Mankind appears as individuals that move as individuals, not schools or swarms, and each human's movement (life) is clearly distinct the one from another.(At this point, it may be objected that Mankind often acts like a swarm and is a slave to crowd mentality, and that is true. The point is that Mankind's nature is to be individual, even though they may choose to lose a dimension now and then.)

In Genesis, the blessing of fertility is first given to fish, fowl, and animal life. As Zornberg says "To proliferate is, in a sense, the "sheretz" modality.
But early man did not have the numbers such as possessed by the fish in the sea nor the birds of the air. Elias Cannetti (the author of "Crowds") writes: "Men may press closely together and enact a multitude in traditional rhythmic movements, but they are not a multitude; they are few, and have to make up in intensity what they lack in actual numbers."

Zornberg: "When God blesses Adam and Eve, or commands Noah... "to be more"... "Fill the earth... abound on the earth [lit., swarm] and increase on it."  there is a command to be like "sheretz-remess" of animals.

Zornberg: "Surrounded by emptiness, man seeks the animal faculty of increase. What man is blessed-commanded to do is not simply to propagate; the process in one, in Canetti's terms, of transformation:

Early man, roaming around in small bands through large and often empty spaces, was confronted by a preponderance of animals... Many of them existed in enormous numbers. Whether it was herds of buffaloes or springboks, shoals of fish, or swarms of locusts, bees, or ants, their numbers rendered those of man insignificant.
For the progeny of man is sparse, coming singly and taking a long time to arrive. The desire to be more, for the number of people to whom one belongs to be larger, must always have been profound and urgent, and must, moreover, have been growing stronger all the time... Man's weakness lay in the smallness of his numbers... In the enormously long period of time during which he lived in small groups, he, as it were, incorporated into himself, by transformations, all the animals he knew. It was through the development of transformation that he really became man; it was his specific gift and pleasure.
This continues on to a discussion of Australian aborigines, whose ancestors believed themselves of a dual nature, both animal and human at once, each ancestor embodying a specific animal as part of themselves.
Zornberg: "These Canetti sees as products of transformation. A successful and established transformation becomes a kind of endowment: it signified a connection with the numbers of animals incorporated into the human identity. Man desired the increase of the animals, since they were connected with man: ' When they increased, he also increased; the increase of the totem animal was identical with his own.'  Plants, as well as animals, even insects, scorpions, lice, flies, or mosquitos can be designated as a totem"  ' it can only be their immense number which attracts them; in establishing a relationship with them he means to ensure their numbers for himself.'

In Genesis, man is told to proliferate and rule; to swarm yet to be above the swarm. It is to be swarmlike and attached to the earth ( or, in the case of fish, in the medium one lives ). It is also to have the third dimension, the height to be above the swarm and have an all-encompassing view of the world, and thereby to rule it wisely.

I have more to say, and  shall refer back to this. But this is enough for now.


as estradas inúteis do inverno
dan lugar a caminhos da primavera

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Emotions as Conscious Behavior

Our emotional lives are patterned and structured, otherwise there would be no reason for therapy and psychiatry. We could just throw darts at a target with nostrums and remedies for our psychic ailments.

Emptying (Kenosis) and Filling (Plerosis) are two examples, two ends of a spectrum process that spans space and time and consciousness.
The Emptying is exemplified by Lent and Ramadan and mortification practices and fasting. This practices are talked about and reasoned about in many ways, but in their simplest form, they are Patterns of behavior, the body and mind and soul interacting with each other, and the main process is emotional, affecting everything by changing habits, reducing the intake of necessary nutrients, eliminating sleep, foregoing human society by escaping to the wastelands...
Then there are the Filling times, times of feast and festival and indulgence; everything associated with a process leading to satiety - being filled to the brim - is the master of the course of life.

Ramadan is a lunar month and Lent is 40 days. Each day is a miniature recreation of every other, recurring patterns re-enforcing each other over time.
Christmas and Hannuka and the Two Feasts are defined in various ways: the days of Hannuka, the Sundays of Advent and the following Twelve Days, the time of preparation for the 'eid.
Life is shunted from the ordinary and intermittent emotion to a state of evocation of Emotion enduring and frequent.

What others? Pain & Pleasure, Giving & Receiving, Inclusion & Exclusion, Activity & Rest, Tension & Relaxation, Increase & Decrease... these are some of the dyadic behaviors. They are not just spots on a time-line, like "I play basketball... 1 hour later I rest"; they are process and reality.
My Tension in love and my Relaxion in satiety are not like a drive-by shooting; they are crest and trough of waves on the beaches of reality. They are patterns which form my life. They are symbolic chains of activity. 

What is Process and Reality, that genius of Alfred North Whitehead? It is this:
The Bible says not "In the beginning God created heavens and earth..."
The verb bereshit is in the Construct state and should be closer to: "In the beginning of God's process of creating the heavens and the earth..."
As Avivah Zornberg points out, in the next verse the "waters" are mentioned as already being there, so they pre-existed the heavens and the earth, but their creationary period and process is ignored. (This small but large distinction of the Construct nature of the verb destroys the notion of the 5,000 year old Earth, or the limit of 7 solar days on the Creation itself, for that matter.)

The flow and chain of Language is replicated in the flow and chain of Music and in the flow and chain of Emotions: all of them all patterned codes...
All are capable of producing Algorithms that will lead us to self-defeating infinite loops... or to the Promised Land.


I look for God
in the halo,
in the nimbus, cumulus...
in the airports of the cirrus
clouds wispy tarmac...
in the wreckage of
a thousand worlds and still wonder...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Do The Right Thing

I am reviewing Spike Lee's films; I consider "Do The Right Thing" to be a unique masterpiece that will endure forever. I like his other films, but none of them makes me feel as if I were sitting next to Socrates and Aristotle, watching a Greek tragedy by Aeschylus (not Euripides!), or being in the company of great visions being recounted by heavenly griots from some mysterious clime of genius.

A scene with Ossie Davis and Spike Lee, Ossie sitting on the stoop of a house when Mookie (Spike Lee) walks by delivering a pizza, Ossie is "The Mayor" and he refers to Mookie as "Doctor".

Mayor:  Doctor! Come here, this is the Mayor talking.
Mookie:  Ah right, ah right. What is it?
Mayor:  Doctor... always do the right thing.
Mookie:  That's it?
Mayor:  That's it.
Mookie:  I got it. I'm gone.

Part of the genius is in the perception that we almost never do "the right thing". We do the expedient thing, the profitable thing, the thing we think we should do, the thing we think celebrities would do, the thing that people with big smile on the cover of their books tell us to do, the thing we ideologically believe we should do...

...but how often do we do the right thing?

I think part of the enormous effect this film has is the sudden awareness that our lives are based on "almost" not "is"; we never do the right thing until everything explodes into our faces.

Bury My Heart At Pritchard, Alabama!

I was watching the Sunday Morning show segment of Pritchard, Alabama, where the city saddled with 144 retirees essentially refused to take care of their pension fund, aided and abetted by the State. Other municipalities that have ducked their fiduciary responsibilities over the last 25 years are watching with interest.

In can you have missed it, there is a substantial group of people in this country - our fellow citizens - who are quite willing to steal from us, to defraud us, to constantly lie to us, and eventually to kill us with their long knives... and they will see this slaughter as a victory!... just as they saw their genocide of Native Americans as a victory!
If the extreme Right-Wing continues , there will in the future be movies about the glorious Slaughter Of The Retirees.  By allowing an entire section of society, the elder retirees, to die from lack of financial resources, there will be a genocide of enormous proportions. As a Wisconsin Republican legislator said on cable "They should be happy to have a job!" referring to the protesting public employees: or Arbeit Macht Frei! - work makes you free, as the sign over Auschwitz proclaims.

Have your escape plans ready.

The Odd Right-Wing Stance on Middle East Protests and Revolutions

I condemned the War in Iraq in no uncertain terms. The Conservative movement justified partially by saying it was an effort to "kick-start" democracy in the Middle East.

Now we see democratic or popular revolutions all over the place. I can only assume this is what the Conservatives planned on happening. It seems that many of them do not support these revolutions - seeing terrorists behind every Arab yearning for change - but the burden is on them to explain why. If you accept the rationale for Iraq, it seems as if you must accept this opening to democracy. If not, what are your words except traps for the unwary?

So apparently I was wrong... again:  Iraq - good!

What Separates Shadow from Light? Poetry.

My friend Ruth made a comment of the poem

Especially the final stanza, and that breathtaking line:
They have forgotten the wind-like face of earth!

I was going through some things this morning, and I happened across it and I read it and I said "Hmm. That is not a bad line. Wonder who wrote it?"
So I looked around in the comment, then in the poem for a hint or a reference. It sounded familiar but I just could not place it. It took about 5 minutes before I realized it was part of my poem! (I was reading it something like: ...especially the final stanza which brings to mind the line by so-and-so... that reminds me of this poem.)
She is awfully nice.

Computer Problems

I am awaiting a new adapter for my "slap-top" Lenovo, and am working now on my steampunk 1998 Dell running Windows Millenium... and the wooden keyboard and the Babbage Universal Algorithmic Analyser. This may slow me down a bit as I await my power accessories.
Bear with me.


Even Lord Howl started out small,
fabricate a cottage before the castle,
and kindled a fire
of Shecky Green
before Billy Crystal...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Middle West

There are public worker revolts spreading across the Mid West from Wisconsin.
It is one thing to make cuts and lower benefits and balance the budget. It is quite another thing to destroy
the bargaining rights of groups of people.

By this over-weening grab for power, the Republican Governors have grievously erred. We cannot make sacrifices as a nation when only certain groups make the sacrifices, and whose rights are annulled in that same lopsided process of unilateral sacrifice.

This is a naked power grab, and it will be met with resistance.

Oração da Manhã

água do deserto;
rogai por nós!
água de pedra;
rogai por nós!
rio das montanhas distantes;
rogai por nós!
praia não descoberto;
rogai por nós pecadores!

Morning Prayer
water of the desert,
pray for us!
water from stone,
river from distant mountains,
undiscovered beach,
pray for us sinners.


I saw the tail of Cerberus
guard of the underworld,
descend back to hell...
like a drowned tree...
Dead-man sunglasses
resting on his eyes...

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Middle East... and West

Bahrain, Libya, Algeria... protests everywhere.
And in Wisconsin:
Democratic lawmakers in Wisconsin have left the capitol to try to slow a bill aimed at curtailing public employees' collective bargaining rights.
They described it as an attack on workers' livelihoods.
Republicans in Washington DC and state capitals have moved to cut government spending this year, including on public worker pay, in a bid to curb deficits. The legislation had been expected to pass the Republican-led Wisconsin state legislature on Thursday.
But Wisconsin Senate rules require 20 senators to be present for a quorum; Republicans hold 19 seats and the Democrats 14. Senate Democrats did not show up for the session, and aides told reporters they did not know where the legislators had gone.
 Just as we have seen elsewhere, such as Moqtada AsSadri's people walking out, like the Egyptian opposition parties walking out, we are seeing it here. I said 10 years. What a goof!

(It is tough. Obviously no budget can be reduced without trampling over some peoples' rights, right? That's how we used to balance the budget. That's how we did it at home; we did not sit around and discuss; we just crapped on everyone and get everyone mad. It works great!)

Orfeu Negro: Black Orpheus

I am watching Black Orpheus, Orfeu Negro, again. Most of the audience may not have seen it, even though it has been around for 50 years.
Orpheus' guitar playing caused the sun to rise every morning.

Music Consciousness

Space Music: Did Walkmans Kill Manned Space Exploration?

Analysis by Robert Lamb
Wed Feb 16, 2011 06:58 PM ET

I've been thinking about this since a fellow traveler mentioned it over vacation.
"No one wants to go into space anymore," he said. "It all started with the Walkman. The kids all slipped on headphones and retreated inward."
I'm paraphrasing a little there and I should stress that no one's implying that the rise in headphone usage directly links to the public's decreased interest in space exploration. But the notion still keeps kicking around my skull. What changed in us when the Walkman swept across the world?...

 There are behaviors that are "Carriers of Consciousness".
Our usual manner of "Being-There" is Language consciousness.
Music consciousness is totally different. Music is not some soporific drug on the minds of people listening to it; it is a different consciousness. In the article, a quoted expert implies that people listening to music become spectators of society rather than participants. That is a nonsense statement, since the musically adept are active indeed when interacting with their environment via Music; only the musically inadequate - like myself - are passive spectators.
That's why we had Rodgers AND Hammerstein: one inter-acted with Language and lyrics, the other with Music.

Along this line of thought, I was thinking of basketball when I got up this morning. An athlete is interacting with his environment via Patterned Physical Motion; i.e., the moves of B-Ball. When Jordan or Byrd cut to the basket at full speed, leap, catch sight of a impinging arm trying to block, spin, and shot and score... they are not using some sort of wordy analysis to avoid the defender.

They are using the Grammar of the Body, the moves they have mastered, to "speak with" and interact with their environment.
We have different ways of consciousness. I think they are Language, Music, Emotion, Physical Motion, Mathematics, the Holy... I forget if I have forgotten any. They are capable of being combined together, or to remain independent.
And the Mind never rests. When the Carriers of Consciousness are asleep, there is nothing to "carry" consciousness, so we say we're "unconscious". We are not in some dark mystery spot; we just are not interacting with the environment using the right behavior. However, we have still interacted... things happen...  but they do not have the cleanly cut forms of Language and Music, etc. They remain part of the Mind, but they do not have the type of symbolic "handles" that we can easily grasp.



Από χώρες μακρινές,
από μακρινούς χρόνους,
Θα επιστρέψω στο σπίτι μου:
Μούσα των φαλαινών!
Ειρωνεία της θάλασσας!
from far away places,
from distant times,
I will return home:
Muse of the whales!
Irony of the Sea!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


The Wisconsin Education workers protesting at the State Capitol have compared Wisconsin's governor to Hosnis Mubarak. Interesting. I think this is how it will go: as politicians move to destroy workers' rights, there suddenly will be protesters gathering. When people have had enough, there will be a lot of them, and they will not go away, and we will have our Days of Rage.

Food for Thought

Consider philosophy as a feast.
When I was younger, I gorged myself on Nietzsche's philosophy.
Now, were I to chew some inadvertently, I would go and check in the mirror to see if any dark flecks were sticking to my teeth. And I would grab some toothpicks before going out the front door.

Is History Amoral?

The Egyptian Gazette :

Impact of war on language (115)
By Sami El-Shahed-The Gazette Online
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 02:29:43 PM

Vietnam War poetry(iiv) ‘Bone in the Soil’: History,’ Anne Michaels writes in Fugitive Pieces, ‘is amoral: events occurred. But memory is moral; what we consciously remember is what our conscience remembers.’ However, it is humans as moral or immoral agents who fashion history.
Michaels indeed highlights the vital notion of moral memory ascribed to and valued in the poems of many American veteran representations of Vietnam.
     These poems are located within personal traumas, guilt, and desires, but they also address the memory and conscience of a nation that continually seems to dismember those harsh and traumatic memories, said Professor Subarno Chatarji, an authority regarding Vietnam War literature (referred to in the previous article of this series.)
I think the point made "it is humans as moral or immoral agents who fashion history" refutes the point made earlier (without proof) that "History... is amoral".
History is as moral or amoral as we make it ourselves. At no time does History become amoral because the tenses of the verbs we use have changed from "we are doing" to "we have done". Therefore, there is no escape from the iniquities of the past, and the sins of the father may indeed be visited (in a sense) upon the heads of their children.
Just as we take pride in the good in history, we must deal with the evil, for I get the impression that Ms. Michael's point was "History is amoral, thus we- the moral agents - must constantly turn our minds to it and deal with it in poetry, writing, debate, etc."  However, this implies we may indeed - if we so choose - ignore it, just as we ignore past genocides here and there. There is a difference between History's crying out for attention, and History's fury and revenge at being scorned. 
I do not believe we have an option to forget: just as body and mind and soul are one entity, so are past, present, and future. We have no option since History is moral and we are moral agents, and as moral agents, we cannot escape the pull of History's gravity, willing/unwilling. If History was not moral, how would one explain right now the fact that moral men and women can come together and create immorality, such as the Iraq War (which is not over yet, in my opinion)? You cannot, and all there is left is a mess of opinions and a constant wondering what to do.

History once again attempted to become amoral in the years 2002 to 2009 approximately. It did not pull off the stunt successfully, just as it did not come to an end as Professor Fukuyama had postulated in the 1990's. 



Compro los sueños en la bodega
y están a la venta por 50% de descuento ...
la inflación en el precio de la marihuana!...
y puedo comprar menos sueños

God vs. Atheism

Mr. Dawkins

I was looking at a book by Richard Dawkins. When I was younger, I would either (1) wish to read it to effectively refute the nonsense of religion, or (2) wish to read it to refute its own atheistic nonsense. I have flown the flags of many philosophies. But yesterday I just held it in my hand, looked at it, and felt quite sure it had nothing particularly fascinating in it one way or the other. It's time for me to write my own book.

I might emphasize the power of the Holy. I just might.

So if I were to write such a book, would God pull ahead in the race with Atheism? Would God throw a Hail-Mary pass into the end zone and suddenly win the contest? Would God's team sink a three-pointer at the buzzer?
I think that since so many, many people think of God as a way to Power and Persuasion over the obdurate "real world", more people would like my book than not like it. Sadly enough, the Holy Rollers (my team) would steamroller over the Blasphemous Bandicoots (Dawkin's team) mainly because readers believe in magic: they want things from God, they want to change the world and - having done that - take a rest and maybe tidy up their own lives at their own pace.

In fact, for a certain period of time, it will appear as if everybody loses.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Cassini will encounter Titan, the moon of Saturn, this Friday in a fly-by (photo) shooting.

Cassini encontrará con Titán, la luna de Saturno, este viernes en un sesión de fotos "fly-by".

The Big Surprise

Are you at all surprised how relatively easy things work out? Not for people in foreclosure and being chivvied from their lodgings by the stalking Banks; they have it tough... but they are in a minority... only a couple million. But for the rest of us glorious bastards, it isn't too bad:

BP dumps millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico... relatively benign. No  biggie; microbes are eating faster than we can seep it out into the water.

Trillions of dollars of asset value disappear in 2007 through 2009... no biggie. We aren't really feeling it, are we?

Get Ready for the Big Show.

Once the spending stops and the stimuli dry up, the balance sheets will - actually! - balance!
We shall feel the effects of the trillions lost.
The Great Impoverishment. ( I think of it like a very large hot-air balloon: we came up a couple trillion cubic feet short of propane to keep the balloon filled; we used some "free" extra propane we made up on the spot, but now we can not continue doing that, and the balloon size is going to shrink considerably... and my life, a spot painted on the surface of the balloon, will shrink also.)
So far, we've been in denial. What are the five stages of death... using "death" as a metaphor for "total impoverishment"?

  1. Denial—"I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."
    Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual.
  2. Anger—"Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"
    Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. Any individual that symbolizes life or energy is subject to projected resentment and jealousy.
  3. Bargaining—"Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."
    The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay the inevitable.
  4. Depression—"I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"
  5. Acceptance—"It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
We are sort of all over the place with these babies.
Since we have defined well-being as "having wealth", we are in for a tough time, except for the wealthy 5%.
I really hate writing posts like this, but we have to start now figuring out the rest of our lives, and it is not going to be like it was ever again.


Tough Winter

The Heck with Global Warming! It's getting colder! Any fool knows that! We've had a tough winter all around us (right here it has been - truth be told - an easy slide through winter): the South, The Northeast, the Plains; tough winter!

So it's getting colder...

Or is it?

At January 9, this map of below normal (blue) and above normal (red) temperatures:

Maybe it's a wash, it all balances out? Yeah! That's it!
Anyway, good article on climate. I don't care one way or the other. I'm like Lot: I'm girding up my loins, making plans, and hoping to get out in a few years. My sympathies for those who are stuck in class warfare!

Let's just call it Global Disruption; we can lump together Climate effects together with our own idiocies, such as the Great Impoverishment, and sit back and relax!



Во Владивостоке,
в холодных восточных солнце,
наши желания были вытянуты
по дороге к будущее.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Klimtian Kiss

Gustav Klimt's painting The Kiss

In my Valentine's Poem ----- and  by the way, I celebrate the day because it is my Saint's Day, one of my given names being Valentine, my great grandfather or uncle having been born on that very February 14... he had a sister named Praxidas......

Anyway, I used the word "Klimtian" to mean looking like the above.
How does one describe Klimtian objects?
Rectangular as an old grandfather clock, yet flexible and floating upon a wave of desire? Braids and cornrows of fragrant hair falling into poppies, becoming part of the flora? Tribes with flags made of masculine quilts impressed with cellular boxes and squares going in and out of order, teased by the circular feminine which overpowers homeostasis? Fixtures and moveables melting into aery gold? 
Is this Geb embracing Nut? Or are the two yet distinct... perhaps Eve is aborning from Adam's side and he is loath to let her depart; the ivy or laurel in his hair balancing the golden ivy emanating from her dress?
After our expression of love, do we relax with chocolate and coffee - the finest in Vienna? Is the coffee roasted dark with fin de siecle essence of Hapsburg; is there a chill in the air, a unseasonally early premonition of autumn and winter? Does the burning cigarette remind us of gun powder and Archdukes? Is this golden moment of combustion that of the Crown Prince Rudolf and his paramour, a self-devouring love whose ripples became the tidal wave which overthrew the Austrian Empire?


Pop-Up Books 2

This is my favorite book on Nature. I would like to have a similar one on the Universe where the galaxies and constellations form themselves in stellar array and super-novae melt to re-create the heavy metals that I'm hearing on my headphones.

Pop-Up Books 1

The Future of the City

A somber note...
I did this this morning; I use a very old photo processing software from the 90's. You may have to look closely to see what is going on; those aren't buildings in the foreground.


O amante maravilhosa e preta!
tu entras na minha vida;
vamos voar como
frisbees sobre a Amazônia !

O, lover, wonderful and black!
you come into my life;
we will fly like frisbees over the Amazon!

Monday, February 14, 2011

10% of Your Mind

It has been said that we use only 10% of our mental capacity at one time. It has also been disputed as a nonsense claim.

I believe it to be approximately true. We spend 25% of our mental capacity obsessing about things we have not decided to do something about: i.e., weight loss and exercise and good nutrition and stop smoking, hoarding, etc. etc. etc. We think about it, but do not get around to doing it.
We spend 25% of the remaining mental capacity obsessing about sin, guilt, and our overwhelming shame.
We spend 25% in hate, anger, road rage and other hormonal-chemical washes that whip-saw us.
We spend 15% in watching cable TV - an entity which is far dumber than we are! - entertain us with shows about people we think are far dumber than we are!

That leaves 10% to useful enterprises; close enough.

Sin & Guilt

Sin and Guilt are not separate things; they are the same dynamic behavior separated in time. We do not view them at the same time, so we assume they are separate.

The Forbidden means nothing if there is no immediate sense of Retribution. Nothing is forbidden if there is no huge down-side when we are face-to-face with whatever the taboo item is. One of the uses of Myth is to teach us this, so that we do not have to transgress against the gods or the fate or the word of God unwittingly, and suffer the consequences of an act performed all innocently.

If this is so, and we feel Shame when we realize our Guilt, what is Shame, then? Shame is the Thwarting of the Rewards promised by the Attraction and Impulse that we felt back in the past: back when we sinned.
All taboos are the Forbidden Fruit of the Tree in Eden:  no knowledge that is weak and impotent is forbidden Adam and Eve; only the fruit that is exceedingly powerful is forbidden:  the fruit that would give them divine understanding.
Shame is the realization that the fruit was not ripe after all.
What if one truly sins and feels no Shame? What if one commits a hideous act, shamelessly?

Nothing is always filled; a vessel filled with power and knowledge must be replenished at times, something must be emptied in order to receive the new.
To sin without shame is to wither and die, like flowers in the vases of a funeral home where there is no longer any need to renew the water.


A Village Divided Against Itself...

Education and upbringing is important; it is incredibly important. I was thinking of my own childhood; there are no innocents, there are only children untutored in the more esoteric and possibly vicious adult occupations.
Consider the phenomenon of children soldiers we have seen in Africa: give a child a gun and teach them to use it, and they will be perfectly good killing machines. Their innocence does not compel them to lay down their weapons. And they return from war just as messed up as their adult counterparts.

There are no "How To" manuals written for children 6 years old for a number of behaviors to which, in our society and world, they are unfortunately exposed and pushed into participation in. Most of our efforts are window-dressing: we focus on the Image of perversity or violence, but not the Fact of it.

The whole village - including the boys on Wall Street and the politicians who are going to cut heat subsidies for the poor - have got to realize that it does not work if half of the village tries to raise the child, while the other half - the wealthier half! - is trying to impede the same child.

A Village divided against itself will not stand!



رياح الصحراء الجافة

جعل عيني تبكي...

أو هل هو الحب؟

The dry winds of the desert
make me weep...
or is it love?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Budgets, Deficits, And Wars

The Art of War by Sun Tzu was very popular at one time. Sun Tzu, or Sun Wu, composed the book sometime between 500 B.C. and 221 B.C. There is scholarly disagreement as to the exact date. The dates above pretty much correspond to the "Warring States" period, and that is enough of the book's provenance.

Chapter 2
Waging War

Sun Tzu said:

(4) When the army engages in protracted campaigns, the resources of the state will not suffice.
Chang Yu [comments:] ...the campaigns of the emperor Wu of the Han dragged on with no result, and after the treasury was emptied, he issued a mournful edict.

(5) When weapons are dulled and ardor damped, your strength exhausted and treasure spent, neighboring rulers will take advantage of your distress to act. And even though you have wise counsellors, none will be able to lay good plans for the future.

(6) Thus, while we have heard of blundering swiftness in war, we have not yet seen a clever operation that was prolonged.

(7) For there has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited.
Li Ch'uan [comments:] The Spring and Autumn Annals say: 'War is like unto fire; those who will not put aside weapons are themselves consumed by them.'

source: Sun Tzu: The Art of War, Samuel B. Griffith, Oxford University Press, 1963

I think our wars certainly come under the heading of "Protracted". We knew when we started that they would be expensive. We differed in that I said they would impoverish us, the Bush Neo-cons said that Iraq's oil would pay for that scheme, and Afghanistan was a minor thing.

The Muslim Brotherhood

FOX has been trying to equate Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood with Al Qaida. They have pointed to the Brotherhood's influence on Al Qaida.

The Muslim Brotherhood is not a degraded running dog of American Foreign Policy that turned and bit its master, as did Al Qaida. Bin Laden was on America's pay-roll for a long time, and did its bidding as far as it suited his purposes against the USSR in Afghanistan.
Ditto Saddam Hussein and the Shah of Iran. Scratch a Middle East Hot Spot, and you will sniff the odor of the CIA and my tax dollars!

Al Qaida were dogs.

The Muslim Brotherhood are brave men.

Big difference.

Future Revolutions

 In Al Jazeera:

Arab protests in solidarity with the Egyptian people also suggest that there is a strong yearning for the revival of Egypt as a pan-Arab unifier and leader. Photographs of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the former Egyptian president, have been raised in Cairo and across Arab capitals by people who were not even alive when Nasser died in 1970. The scenes are reminiscent of those that swept Arab streets in the 1950s and 1960s.

But this is not an exact replica of the pan-Arab nationalism of those days. Then, pan-Arabism was a direct response to Western domination and the 1948 establishment of the state of Israel. Today, it is a reaction to the absence of democratic freedoms and the inequitable distribution of wealth across the Arab world.
(Stop here and observe that Al Jazeera English is carried in about three major Cable TV markets in the USA. I think this astounding figure is very telling about just how much "real information"  versus propaganda the American people demand from their Cable servers.)

The absence of democratic freedoms is foreshadowed in the distance by the fact that the USA wages wars all over the globe without a declaration of war by the elected representatives.
The inequitable distribution of wealth is closer and clearer.
The Future is filled with the potential of Revolution.
Even here we shall be demonstrating within 10 years.

Intuition: The Brilliant Way

I believe we all intuit the future as well as we remember the past. What makes it difficult is the clutter of our expectations, belief systems, desires, and just plain nuttiness.
Once we are able to clean all the debris away, we should have a pretty good rough intuition. It takes time and work. The hardest part is getting an internal silence and letting oneself just see. To me it is like finding gems along the highway: there is a "shining" that comes through once you clean things off. Without a "yea" or "nay" your intuition shines out at you.
Why should it not? God did not put us here to stumble in the dark, just as He did not put us here without means of allaying our suffering. Everything is here, we have to use it, and we have made it a difficult thing to do.

It is very difficult to be quiet. One of the interesting things of our age is the constant chatter of public media; the more chatter there is, the less intuition there will be. We shall never find the brilliant way out of our difficulties. We shall never see the unseen signs and guides and helpers... they are illogical and ridiculous! I disagree, for it is our society that is ridiculous!




Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rosemarinus Officinalis

My rosemary plant is dying. It cannot survive the winter. The attar of its leaves makes me feel good. There are a few things that just make me feel good, just as they are, without any special preparation of artifice. Rosemary is one, ginger another, cinnamon and cloves and cherries; perhaps good oranges not too domesticate and broken beneath the genetic demands of commerce... they make me think of ancient oranges and bergamot of Andalusia in Spain, where they grew in the courtyards of the Fatimid Caliph: the trees were pollarded and held their fruit easily, bright white beacons to the honeybees, bright orange pharos to the thirsty men and women...

I think of Tahrir Square in Cairo; people should gain freedom and liberty in places set off apart from the mundane by the escutcheons and heraldry of noble trees; we gain sustenance and succor from them as they provide for us and guard us.

Our Congress, our Parliaments, Our Allthings should place their deliberations in the confines of orchards and walk and talk together along hills and tors and across bournes of fields. Stop and smell the Rosemary. Discover the uses of all the growing things.


Wages of Sin

Egypt is free!
It has shed its tyrant, who was, unfortunately as Der Spiegel puts it, The West's Favorite Tyrant.
The sound you hear is Egyptian citizens celebrating, with a background scurrying of CIA and other covert operatives trying to cover up the evidence. Recall that Abu Omar was kidnapped in Italy and taken to Egypt, where the USA had him tortured by the obliging security forces of Mubarak.

Now there will be some tortured chickens coming home to roost, and some chickens escaped from Egyptian prisons. Will they bear a grudge against the USA? Who knows? But the events that flow from those monstrous acts by Bush and Cheney and the Neo-con establishment will now be paid for. Hitherto, we thought torture was a freebie. Now we may see that there is an excise tax on it.



O, Solaris!

Ich sehe die Wiedergeburt der Hoffnung,
Solaris, in der Leinwand, glühende,
und reife, silberne Vergebung
aus dem Judasbaum blühende;
der eisbedeckte Baum.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Hilary Clinton's Nightmares

Baysage ("What Powderfinger Said...") had a post a bout the Secretary of State, and she could not imagine life without a war on drugs, feeling that the drugs lords would make more money as regular businessmen selling marijuana legally.

The Wretched of the Earth

The Minister Smith had returned to the Capital in the spring, and admired the bloom of the cherry blossoms. The long black limo came up alongside him, moving slowly, keeping pace with his leisurely stroll. He looked at it from the corner of his eye, once, then twice. After a few moments, he stepped away and turned to look square on. He saw Senator Steele smiling by the window, pushing the door open to make room.
"Come on. We'll drive for a while."
They had known each other for years and had worked together even longer. It was Senator Steele who had requested that he leave his post overseas and return to D.C. at this time for the Sub-Committee hearing. He had resisted at first, but acceded to his friend's request.
After some talk and after another stretch of silent driving, Mike Steele said softly, "I know you did not want to make this trip, but I need you with me now. They're after my hide, and I need my friends."
"The knives are out..." the Senator said, and the thought trailed off. Smith had seen the knives of politicians cutting all over the world.


We are a Democracy, thus in a sense, we are all Ministers of the Government.

The Knives have been out for us for a long time.
We need our friends with us when the career politicians and  bureaucrats come for us, but the power structure has been able to effectively isolate us into small habitats:  environments as in zoological parks; we are fed by cable TV and conglomerate media empires a nutritious mush, we are amused with our own reality shows: imagine! we find ourselves so infinitely entertaining that we watch ourselves on TV!

Yet this image of ourselves is in the majority an image of troubled, degraded, decidedly odd people; if these shows were the theme of a film, it would have a very unhappy ending. We watch abasement, think it is other dopes being put down, but it seeps into our spirits, too!
We are being Colonialized! O, wretched of the earth! We are being turned into an impoverished race, are we not?!  Just as the Brits turned India into a nation of their own personal Gunga Din-water carriers, so are we being duped into a colonialized mentality.
What is a colonialized mentality? It is a frame of mind which thinks that banks are there to help you achieve your goals; that government is  by the people - such as a government where wars are voted on by the representatives of the people, not carried out by presidential fiat; and where education is to enlarge, not to diminish;  a nation where racism is treated like Original Sin and not something which can be eliminated... racism is thus bad, very bad,  but it springs eternal! So let's make the most of it.
(So much so that the Arts & Entertainment channel is the place for Dog, The Bounty Hunter, where a man given to racist tirades - now reformed and rehabbed - tracks down crack-addled bail-jjumpers after a prayer to thank God for a beautiful day.)

Today there is a rally at Senator Debbie Stabenow's  offices at 4:30 PM to bring attention to the foreclosure industry and how it will not supply any meaningful help for homeowners, will foreclose, will get mortgages paid off by government controlled mortgage entities ( like AIG, Fannie, Freddie... essentially I and you pay for it), then turn around and sell that foreclosed house cheaply, thus degrading the community further.

This will not stop in an age of Exploitative Capitalism unless we stop it. The Knives are out, they have been out, and they will continue to be out; they will cut any government program small folks depend on, while maintaining their own life-styles.

The Politicians have lost confidence in us. They have voted on us, and the Nays carried the day. We await our Gandhi.


Ce soir: avertissement de gel, neige, et la glace;
la semaine prochaine, vendredi, il ferait chaud;
qui se soucie de la météo tous les jours?
changer avec le changement


Thursday, February 10, 2011


 Mary Ellen from the right column had a whirl at something called Stones in  January, and it was a friend actually who started doing a "gem" or "stone" of writing, perhaps poems, perhaps a photo or both... for each and every day of the month.

Is This Anyway that "Patriots Act" ?

Disability hearing, two brothers, one judge;
I may go in, so I'm electric'ly surveilled!
Social Security Al-Qaida threats perhaps?
We can never go back!


"Ritual" Seen As A Bonsai WiIlow 2

Willow Bonsai

 The original post:
Yet, having spoken of the bonsai willow, we may turn to it and observe that it is itself a thing of beauty; it is tamed and domesticate, true. The bonsai conifers, if properly shaped, will recall the force of the winds and the tempests without actually forcing us to climb a mountain and feel the sting of the wind-blown rain as we search the cliffs for a specimen of hardy pine.
Thus, bonsai ritual is memory and imagination, yet it is also a map for the future, for the only difference in our minds between the future and the past is the tense of the verb we use in our speech: "we did go" versus "we shall go".

I can only disparage the bonsai willow if I do not appreciate its art and its ritual. I never took the time to study this part of Japanese culture. All I know is the dusty and desperate miniature trees I see in tawdry shops or stuck into odd places in big-footprint homes, thus creating an irony wrapped in enigma! Or green curves arranged on flat surfaces in public eateries - unknown whether coniferous or plastic!
I have lost the ability to appreciate ritual. Even worse, the protectors of ritual have lost the ability to present ritual to me.

The paradigm of ritual to me is Christmas. When we speak of the spirit of the season, we are speaking of a short period of time which changes our lives at many levels as we go through the various Christmastide rituals of gift-procuring, gift-giving, communicating by writing cards and making calls, giving parties, baking special sweets and comestibles that are confected at no other time of the year. And there is a spiritual focus that is like no other time of the year.

That is Ritual, and the "high" we get from it... and the "down" as well... shows us what is actually possible by Ritual. And this is what that bonsai willow is capable of, only we are fast losing our ability to interact with it. Our logical and mathematical manner of civilization sees only a small, small tree, whereas a proper appreciation would see many aspects of life's beauties and mysteries.
This reminds me of the story of Jack Wilson, Wovoka, the prophet of the Ghost Dance, who told the story of two men looking into an old black hat: one man saw an old black hat with sweat-stained band; the other looked in and saw the Universe!


U.S. public cautious on Middle East democracy: poll

By John WhitesidesPosted 2011/02/09 at 11:58 am EST
WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2011 (Reuters) — A majority of Americans believe the United States should be cautious about backing democracy in the Middle East because elections could lead to anti-U.S. Islamist governments, a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday said.

The American commitment to Democracy...

Our forefathers commit treason against a king, while we temporize and seek only our own safety and comfort. Well, why not?


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Little Green Men

Among mediaeval church carvings we find the heads of men surrounded in foliage, sometimes growing from their mouths, eyes and ears. According to Sir Geoffrey Grigson, this foliage is often recognizable as hawthorn or oak, and the face has an expression of a decided frown, or an expression fit to an unhappy state. (Nowadays we tend to put a smile on his face in pictures.)
Some scholars have "rationalized" these images by explaining that they stand for Easter and Resurrection, or that they are genii of the Spring and the Planting. I find it hard to understand why such a supernatural "genius" would plant hawthorn in its mouth, but I never put forward such "rationalizations".

Such images are the Green Men, the Man-in-the-Oak, or Jack-in-the-Green, who himself is the May King of the common May Day ceremonies of great age, a man who would play King and wreathed himself in leaves and flowers and acted out a death, and then came back to life, jumping up and gamboling and comforting his disconsolate May Queen, and dancing with her.
I wonder if this image appears in the yet more ancient cave paintings in a somewhat more lascivious form?

There are many pubs in Britain named after the Green Man. This is part of our history. We have pretty much forgotten it. When I forget history, I am left speechless. The words flow, but nothing comes out except an endless carpet of verbiage with a border selvage of incomprehension.