Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stop Stalking Darwin


     Charles Darwin - whose time on earth was from the ninth year, all the way until the eighty second year, of the Nineteenth Century - was once asked the question "Do you believe in God?"  His answer was of course an excellent one.  Then, if I can pause from stalking my fellow Aquarian,  look around, it's safe to say that it's a question that I too have asked myself, because I don't actually remember anyone asking me the "Do you believe in God?" question, in a way that I can call discursive. And I say this because I have  a suspicion that there are often confused assumptions motivating this particular question, otherwise I wouldn't get the sense that I am being asked whether the world is round as a ball, or flat as a plate, when everyone knows the world is actually both. 

     In the company of say the devout Christian, or Muslim my answer is the serious golfing of an "Of course." In the company of say devout Atheists my answer is a more jovial "Of course not." It's also true that occasionally under the spell of evil demons and maybe a few beers, I have reversed both the "Of course," and the "Of course not."  And such tribulation it can sometimes cause, because as we all know believing in anything at all  has its pride, and its community, both of which can sometimes be fragile and possessed of a potential  I could call "pissed-offedness."   But Charles Darwin, was one of the greatest minds ever to be given a State Funeral, so his answer to the question was, as I say, an excellent one.  When he died he thought they'd pop him in the ground, just round the corner from where he lived.  But after petitions to Parliament and strong words from the Royal Society, which in the Victorian Era was science, and following a great deal of huffing and puffing amongst the mighty he was buried in Westminster Abbey.   These days, however, given how prissy everyone seems to have become, he might have got his wish and he'd have been buried in his Parish Church yard, which in 1492 was Saint Mary Magdalene, but which following The Reformations of Calvin and Luther, the church was renamed Saint Mary the Virgin.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Straight Lines, Hops and Tangents


      I would argue that for me at least, always better to attempt to reserve a conclusion until more thoughts have been permitted their opportunity to ramble around kicking tires, or whatever it is that thoughts do to ideas and the written forms of ideas, and particularly classifications of ideas which has that endless demand for detail from a most inadequate memory.  It's the leaping, Frog-like down the lane in the early morning, and today I actually had to stop the vehicle, because the Frog just sat there, waiting to be run over.

     Rabbits are different, they'll run along a while, then you'll catch a glint from their eye, and they'll take the sharp turn, into the longer grass.  On previous mornings, the Frog has clearly been waiting for me, and his rule has been to take the odd hop, before himself choosing the Rabbit's tangential approach to head lamps by disappearing into the edges.  Today he didn't do that.  I thought him stubborn or more irritated than I. So I got out of the vehicle and stamped at him. Polite at first, then rather fiercely, because it was very early, dark and rather misty.  I decided he was a Leopard Frog.  Nor should I have spent most of the day deciding that he might not have been a Leopard Frog.


Friday, September 28, 2012

And Your Point



     I think the point is that Russell's essays on mysticism, which he wrote in the twentieth century,  matched the early Christian Church's attitude toward the Gnostics.  I'd argue too that the essential nature of authority, or politics, is to maintain a central  body of knowledge, or meaning.  Then challenges to the meaning of this or that part of the Great Book, have to be presented, given over to war, or argued and discussed, common cause or compromise found, before a new or changed meaning is entered into the Great Book of Meaning.  Which of course pisses off those who tend toward a belief in the intuitive intellect, because once intuition is sacred, it's products too are sacred and should not be humbled by what some call orthodoxy, or what the well adjusted might mistake for common sense.  And it's worth noting here that the Gnostics who so infuriated the early Christian Church, believed in an idea of being which the Gospel of Mary might better have explained.  Gnostics claimed that of the several parts of a person, the body and perhaps its mind were doomed, but the spirit or soul, during it's time here on earth had access to other planes of being that were more rarified and pure, and elsewhere, and from which planes, insight and encouragement came, and into which the spirit or soul would return once the body and its evilly inclined mind had satisfied its opportunities on earth.  Which is why Mary when she saw that Jesus had apparently risen from the dead, far from being alarmed, asked calmly what part of her was seeing him.  Which  Door of Perception, I guess.


     Nor do I believe Russell ever dismissed mysticism as just so much nonsense. Instead he saw 'intuition' as an aspect of mind that was somewhat fraught by the imponderables of motive and origins.  Certainly intuitive solutions had often provided good solutions, but equally true intuitive solutions had also resulted in terribly poor solutions. And this was especially obvious when successful solutions from intuition where statistically rated against successful solutions from the Great Book of Meaning.  I mention all this because I watch long hours of television and sometimes while doing so,  gnostic moments offer the impression that my own species just might be more closely related to Lemmings than we'd like to think.  Which is a good enough place to remember at least one familiar entry in the Great Book of Meaning that produces in me a truly  intense dislike for Mickey bloody Mouse and his profit motive.  In the Academy Award winning documentary, White Wilderness, the Disney crew took a non-migratory and very adorable looking species of Lemming from the Hudson Bay area to Calgary, where there are no Lemmings, and there, in order to prove a much disputed point about another species of Lemming throwing themselves from cliffs, the bastards designed a rather complicated device to toss Lemmings from a cliff.  Tangential maybe, but worth noting, that my fellow sufferer, Darwin, who considered females of our species more compassionate and intuitive but less reasoning, also argued against eugenics. It was his view that because we are not wise, nor were we intended to be, a selective breeding breeding of people could weed out 'compassion' which he considered the signature feature of our own species and at least one source of our success. Bless him.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tirade, Brigandage, Tangential and Rambling.


    Tirade, brigandage, tangential  and rambling.   How better to describe the hour or so spent yesterday at this table in the company of two dead Wasps, which have been at my side for some time now.  And all I'd actually wanted to do when I woke up yesterday was ask why the word 'Gnostic' has to have its capital letter, a subject upon which I regret to say I still have very a strong opinion.  Then there was yet more theft of images, reliance upon myth, all of which were compounded by a completely unnecessary, and rather dismissive mention of the protestant, Martin Luther.  A brave man, whom I rather admire, even if  I find him  little scary, and even if I blame him for unleashing the dilemma of Kapital which has so radicalized the concept of a fulfillment center.  Quite why it is the status of girls in societies and in religion puts me  into a thunder storm, I do not know.  But at least yesterday I avoided the words 'ethnic,' 'nation,' and 'sept,' which is another word for bloodline.  Probably best to blame October, then hope The Artist has twice the energy for leaf gathering.

     Yet maybe the source of my reaction can be found in a simpler time.   A way to 'pick up chicks' who'd  pay their share of beer and maybe mine too.  And its possible, I have been made brittle by the hours and hours I have spent with Charles Darwin, a less brave man, whom I greatly admire, even if his line followed the course of his own generation which saw women as belonging to a more primitive less civilized form, and upon whose behalf decisions just had to be made.  Darwin believed his own maleness put him at the head of the table, and yet at the same time he was of the opinion that "it was absurd to talk of one animal being higher than another."  It's this, I think, as much as anything else that probably sets dark clouds to rolling.  And Darwin was English, which could be why some part of me appears to have an obligation to frequently debate his assertion here on a  square yard or two of Kentucky.  A frail excuse, unless I can call it a genetic transmutation, because Darwin died a hundred and thirty odd years ago of 'angina pectoris,' after seventy three years, two months on earth,  and for almost all of those years he suffered from  "uncomfortable palpitation of the heart," which disallowed visitors, unless they were Gardeners, Beetles or Birds.  Bless him. 
 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Anyway


      Let's leap to the conclusion that Religion is an aspect of mind that falls under the title of genetic and is a product of evolution.  And let's for a minute try to pretend that the Gospel of Mary had passed the censor and had entered the Canons.  And let's do our very best to imagine that the Gnostics had they been less secretive or perhaps more scientific might have persuaded the influential  Bishop of Lyons, to permit oral traditions from the life of Jesus to play their role in that body of work we now call the New Testament.  And let's pretend the constitution which the New testament provides had been unwritten, possessed of an informality, or flexibility of understanding, a nuance that moves about, unlike the ten commandments.   And, I know I risk confusing myself, but let's also just try to pretend that religion has nothing to do with politics, but is indeed represents the word of an all knowing God whose representatives here on earth are honest decent hard working "folk" who are not in the least manipulative and self serving.  And of course let's try to understand that in the life of Jesus he knew many more Mary's than just his mother.   And let's remember too that Gnostics have a long tradition in the Christian Church as believers in intuition as their source of access to the Great One and the mystery of being, a tradition that has not yet died.  And probably best to try to ignore the slings and arrows of those who have defined heresy as speaking out of turn, or from insufficient foundation, or from inability to follow established theory, or by wearing sandals with something like white socks, or from any one of such flaws that can also materialize in the form of an inability to grasp the semi-colon.   And let's just go ahead, turn completely rogue, give Jesus a girl friend, even if its only because Mohammad had either eleven or thirteen wives, and not so long ago that sort of thing was legal south of border, I am told.  And certainly Abraham might have loved Sarah longer than Hagar or Keturah.  And I'm pretty certain that Amazon women would indeed kill their male children as their act of atonement to a lifestyle that saw them victorious.  Samaritans of course were descendents of Amazons and Scythians, and it's been said of Samaritans, "No girl shall wed until she has killed a man in battle."


    But rather than ramble, I guess I should begin with the explanation that Mary too had a vision of Jesus.  Nor was she alarmed or frightened as others had been, she did not quail or run.  A something that impressed the spirit of Jesus, or his soul, or whatever remarkable and extraordinary thing it was that had apparently risen from the dead in a most wonderful way.
 "Blessed are you, that you did not waver at the sight of me. For where the mind is, there is the treasure." Then Mary said to him, "So now, Lord, does a person who sees a vision see it through the soul or through the spirit?"
   The Savior gave his answer to Mary's remarkable question in words that are mostly lost. What does remain of his answer has something to do with there being a distinction between mind, spirit, soul. And there was something else that combined all three in a way that suggests to me the beginning of a definition of imagination or of  being, that's as good as any.  But whatever answer the Savior had for Mary, it produced a reaction from Andrew and Peter which Mary thought important enough to try to pass down the ages through what remains of her Gospel.
"Andrew answered and said to the brethren, 'Say what you think concerning what Mary said. For I do not believe that the Savior said this. For certainly these teachings are of other ideas.'"
"Peter also opposed her in regard to these matters and asked them about the Savior. 'Did he then speak secretly with a woman, in preference to us, and not openly? Are we to turn back and all listen to her? Did he prefer her to us?"
    Yet, so as not to be accused of being a bumper sticker or a shill for a somewhat puerile Republican Senatorial candidate just across the state line, I have to add that another source from those olden days reports that Peter might actually have said,  "Surely the Savior knows her very well. That is why he loved her more than us."
    Anyway, these pictures are probably stolen from some place most worthy. One picture is of an Amazon, about five hundred years before Christmas Day was invented.  And the other is of how the 17th Century decided Amazons treated captured Greek soldiers, and probably Luther carried it around in his pocket book.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Great Black Wasp


     The Great Black Wasp, or what we who have a familiarity that sounds intimate reduce to GBW, have dug their holes,  made their mess and the barn is now a more peaceful and very much safer place through which to tip-toe.   After laying and providing for their egg, or maybe eggs, a GBW buzzes about for a little bit, then succumbs to what we'd all  prefer to think of as a sense of satisfaction, of mission complete, of a job well done, rather than that cold hand of purposelessness, that precedes depression, or chemical imbalance, or seasonal change.  Which leaves a headless corpse of a GBW, and a chance to more fearlessly examine the structures of flying creatures, with special reference to wing and stinging part.  And here I think what's most noteworthy is how light and elegant a GBW feels when compared to the corpse of the smaller, compact Wasp that recently granted me so fine an opportunity to  feel the breath of my own end time, ponder the big questions and again realize that life in all it's forms is nothing more or less than variations of "The Question Why?"  

     Evolutionary Biologists, and Religious Leaders, and Captains of Industry, will probably disagree with such an apparently desolate assertion.  But, in one way or another each of these constituencies have an idea of an answer, which naturally puts them at a huge disadvantage.  Indeed, it's the case, particularly within my own species, that the content of the word 'truth' is demonstrably constructed to widen the parameters of purpose, rather than belonging to a moment, when nothing else matters, or an end time, which is how I have learned to relegate 'truth.'  "The Question Why?" however just continues, on endless and glorious in and of itself, and because it assumes a material form in the panoply of living things, there is an argument which too often falls to a suggestion of something that knows the answer, or has an unrequested and usually demanding plan.  Rather than the more real, great unknowing, or GU, which actually provides life with community, generosity to time and that sense found in the word wonder before it takes the form of something like an I-pod, or a pork chop, or social mobility, or a village or whatever your equivalent to an electric train set might be.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Eluard


     Scattered frost this morning might not augur a winter so cold it lasts until June of next year.  That clear night and dry air, with Orion and The Plough just south of the Milky Way.  The Sky Blue like an Orange, or was it the Earth is Blue like an Orange.  He was a Frenchman, and I say this because he was born in one of the nearly thirty seven thousand  communes, or villages or parishes, of Metropolitan France, which includes Corsica.  "The Wasps are flowering green."  "The dawn is worn around the neck."  His first wife ran off with Salvador Dali.

."The fish of anguish."  "She is standing on my eyelids." "They make fire from coals, they make men from kisses."  "The light is always close to dying."  His given name was Eugene Emile Paul Grindel.  His other name was Paul  Eluard.   "On the white bread of days, I write your name."  It was during the second world war he  found his nuts and bolts.  He died in 1952.  He has a very nice grave in a large Paris cemetery, his funeral paid for by the Communist Party. 





Oh Goody


      I was born with both hair and a remarkably high opinion of myself.  And I still have an irritating amount of each.  Which is why, during the break time, I can find myself laying down the law to no good end, and for no good reason whatsoever.  And it's this same high opinion that also allows me to avoid sharing  those criticisms of Kierkegaard that bemoan his lack of a structured volume of work that sets out his thinking in sentence after sentence, through well constructed paragraphs, on to a conclusion.  Instead I'll say that language is endless, and the very idea of  'conclusion' is a concept better explored by something like a commercial, or a political enterprise, or a week.
 
      Language, was always the first step out of Eden.  And as well, it's the place to go for comfort and joy, when proteins, roughage and pure calories from sugar are not enough.  "Yes you look pretty and not in the least like a Polar Bear." And through the generations language has been reduced by what might be called 'discipline,' or 'bundling' or perhaps 'fascism,' a something I'd rather call 'the official in charge of safety.'  But whatever its name, it has quite prevented language from absorbing the parameters set for it by both grammarians and dictionaries, spelling tests, or by what so many have reduced to the word 'comp.'  An absolutely appalling little word that I think is supposed to reference some part of the word 'comprehension' that's also found in the word 'composition.' And, according to my informants during the break time,  'comp' is a nightmare to pass and I need a hair cut.




Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tonto

  
     On the Radio program Tonto was played by Shakespearian actor called John Todd, an elderly Irishman who was born with the name Fred McCarthy.  For the Television program, Tonto was played by Jay Silverheels, a Canadian Mohawk who was born with the name Harold J. Smith.  And I can almost guarantee that in no single episode of the Lone Ranger, whether on the television or the radio, did the plot line suddenly reveal The Masked Man to be the product of a broken home, several unsuccessful marriages, or struggling with a substance addiction, an irrational relationship with an almighty, or that he shared a genius that could have gone on to become brain surgery, a solution to the problem of world hunger as well as world peace, but preferred silver six guns, white horses and the company of an indigenous soul who for some reason wore long trousers on even the hottest day.  More recently, I'd say, it's pretty much impossible to spend four or five hours with the television without being dragged into a mawkish nonsense surrounding characters that in no way resemble the plight of hero, or for that matter heroine.

      Some will naturally look to Star Trek, where the character of Spock would have made absolutely no sense had The Captain been more like the Lone Ranger, and ever since it's been downhill.   My own mood tends toward an idea that audiences were becoming totally depressed by actors and their proclivity to become apparently stricken by a mental palsy whenever in public with no script to read from.  Consequently program producers, rather than risk losing the audience completely, demanded characters that were already half baked and soapy, this way expectation from public appearances would already be low. And who really knows, but I give you all this, because more and more interesting to me is the account of the Radio Station owner, back in the nineteen forties or fifties, who wanted to replace a bald and stocky Irishman in the role of Tonto with a real Native American so that public appearances might be more true to life, which in the case of the Lone Ranger would have been the American West of the Nineteenth Century.  But a real Native American chosen for the role, refused the lines "Him Go," and "Me Do," which is why the former Shakespearian actor  kept his radio gig for almost twenty years and when in public he'd wear a wig. 


Friday, September 21, 2012

Praise The Lord


     Food stocks are good.  And as a result the committee has decided to put aside the more ambitious plan to hoop house what looked to me like an acre or two, which would be used for early and late season planting.  Or to give it another perspective there are enough Beans, Eggplant and other such characters, put aside to outlast the siege of this coming winter, and maybe the winter of two thousand thirteen / fourteen.  Next year though, when it becomes hot again, we'll use shade cloth suspended over rows, so that air, birds and the special might visit, but high sun kept at bay.  It was this technique that permitted a Cucumber plant to continue producing on into late August.  Which itself was gratifying, even if by late July a person generally is happier if he never sees a Cucumber again.  It's these shade cloth constructions, which are low and manageable, that will for this winter be modified to accommodate a more genteel suggestion of winter activity in the Vegetable Garden.

       At least one of us is delighted by the committee's decision. He has a spring in his step, because the big  hoop house, the thing that sticks up with that 'look at me aren't I cobbled together,' are all of them without exception remarkably unsatisfactory features.  It's the plastic, sinister in the night.  It's the waiting for the plastic to blow away, then the hell of running around after it.  It's the door that inevitably fails.  It's the constant  fritting around with stones or bits of wood or other band aids to keep the edges snug with the ground.  An entire panoply of nurturing activities which mostly have to be accomplished when the air is at its chilliest, the wind at its most obnoxious and possibly snow on the ground.  Then during a moment or two of enthusiasm from winter sunshine, there is usually a hatching of some sort.  A virulence that in the course of an afternoon can plough though everything, leaving what is politely described as disappointment, which through the short days one needs no more of.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Question of Values

  
   Like all Priests or Druids or Mental Patients, I too prefer to think I have the necessary arrogance to pursue a thread.  In my case, this thread is of a gauge Tadpoles would laugh at, but it's the lure, or maybe a bait, that counts.  Yet, even though I might sometimes appear to endeavor it, when it comes to dragging it into the net, beating it over the head, so that I might feast upon it's corpse, someone else can did that.  And if you want to know why, it has more to do with my own experience of priests or the professions of hallowedness, than it has to do with the gauge of my own value.

       I remember arguing over the distinction between a citizen military and a volunteer military.  The other point was that this distinction lay in the "question of values" rather than in the convolutions that follow a desire to avoid the possibility of dying for clan or country.  I forget the ever so frail point I was attempting to make, but I do remember thinking, "This dumb shit is a pompous arse and we are doomed if even the Priests are self serving cowherds with nothing but book sales from the souls of others on their mind."  A complete over reaction to one idea of  'personal salvation,' I know.  But it was his smirk that left the indelible mark in me.  And I wish I could remember the bastard's name.


Last Couple of Days

Yes I Built the Pyramid  (September 19th 2012)


   The political campaign here in the United States is suddenly exciting for all of us, because it has provided the opportunity to address Pyramid Questions.  Not the wonderful and nuanced "Why build a Pyramid?"  That would be too much to hope for. Rather the "Did Pharaoh build his Pyramid" question.  And the answer to this second question appears to be either, "Yes, he did," or "No, he didn't." 

     Certainly in his dream of himself, those bits and pieces that make a person, Pharaoh might well gaze across the plain, at the final wash of whiting, which would glint under a blue sky, and he might believe, "Yes, I built my pyramid."   Then he might look down from his gilded cage and across to the thirty thousand workless men who might be wondering why they built his pyramid.

   


Outhouse  (September 17th 2012)


    The Artist has called forth an "Outhouse," which for those in the Antipodes might be understood as an "outside bog."  My first consideration was, "Indeed, a fine example of the pioneer spirit, which I guess should be nurtured because it belongs to heritage and heritage I am told is romantic."  Which was probably why I suggested a good view of woodland, that might be further secured against surprise by partially surrounding it with a  fence of some kind.  And I thought of this with some fondness, because  I have always found the act of defecation is more satisfactorily accomplished when squatting, with knees just inches from the forehead.  A position the porcelain toilet no longer permits those of us who lost the necessary agility and good balance to a door-less policy and peer pressure some time ago.  A tragedy I prefer to  blame upon the centuries old conspiracy between manufacturers of  products like Metamucil and the random ideas of sanitation engineers, rather than relive what in the end became thirteen odd years of potty training. 

     However, too often I have also been made confused by the creative mind, its brilliance, its vicissitudes, and the suddenness of its inspiration, because this will be no ordinary outhouse.  It will be happy with color, probably yellows, greens and pinks. Combinations the fashionable like to consider Caribbean colors, but which we all know is actually an example of how not to waste unwanted, or to render invisible surreptitiously acquired, cans of paint.  The 'house' will have a blue bottle tree sign post to point the way, and this already has at least some of its bottles.   Then when you reach the destination there'll be a seat upon which to sit, which I think is a shame.  Nor will any kind of creature that slithers, or has whiskers, or can hang upside down and stare, be permitted access to what will be enclosed space with hinged door.  Yet, when the mood strikes I have a wilderness of opportunity upon which to squat, and the outhouse will require a magnificent and lasting and deep hole in the ground, which is always enough to get my fevers high and running with enthusiasm.  And I'll manage the rest, by thinking of it as an adornment to the honest work of shoveling.


 

 

The Calends of Fish Oil (September  16th 2012)


    I'd argue that if the 'Ides of Fish Oil as a Health Supplement' was somewhere around yesterday, then by the calends of October 'Fish Oil as a Health Supplement Manufacture' will be firmly on that side of the political debate that sees reasonableness as a gross and unacceptable interference with god's gift of freedom.  And in keeping with traditional practice, these manufacturers will parley an interruption of cash flow into an equally expensive campaign of promotion, or reeducation.  "Fish Oil," they'll insist, "Is not only vital for complexion and internal governance, it is also central to a nation's sense of worth."  Gnarled old men with clear eyes, perfect memory and better hair styling, will immerge from amongst the guild of actors to claim it was "Fish Oil" that gave them the character to become the Greatest Generation.  And having myself been a victim of 'fish oil through formative years,' I'll find myself agreeing with them.


    So, I'll call today a good opportunity for those with a callous disregard for anything beyond enlightened self interest to offer their services to the Fish Oil Debate.  For my part I will say,  "Rickets, from vitamin D deficiency is a horrible and unnecessary affliction."  As well I'll  remind the debate, that to make Cod Liver Oil, the livers of Cod are no longer carefully removed, then lovingly fermented in a barrel of salt water for twelve months before the oil is extracted by Cod Liver Oil Brew Masters who also read Kierkegaard.  These days the fatty tissues and other bits of all captured aquatic animals that have gills and limbs without digits, and which cannot be turned into fillets or tinned cat food, are cooked up to make Fish Meal, which is fed to the creators of pork chops and which is why frozen chicken from the Grocery Store can sometimes smell strangely like a five day old Halibut.  And Fish Meal is also a product which the dainty can call an 'organic fertilizer,' at around a dollar fifty a pound, or around two hundred Algerian dinars a kilogram.  Fish Oil, and what now passes for 'Cod Liver Oil,' is one byproduct of this process.






The Ides of Fish oil (September 15th 2012)



  
    September does not have an "ides" on the fifteenth. The Roman Calendar was more lunar in it's origins, so the "ides" of September fall on the thirteenth.   The "ides" of October, however, is due to fall on the fifteenth.  So that's another thing to place in the future, where it might lurk for an hour or two before completely disappearing from that part of mind which might still  be called 'memory' by the delusional or fortunate.
 
    Much more hard hitting, and certainly more enduring will be September sixteenth of the year two thousand and twelve.  It was today I read that Fish Oil, most likely does not meet the claims made on it's behalf by generations of quacks, school doctors and other such propagandists for the fishing industry.  It was called "Cod Liver Oil," I think I  remember.  It came by the spoonful.  And why any one in their right mind ever thought that oil form the liver of a North Atlantic Cod had benefit to health and well being, I no longer have to think about.





BEARS (September 14th 2012)




      Some of us wait for first frost.  It sits out there in the near future, and it's grinning like a downhill skier.  So invariably this is that time of year when storage and stock figure in imagination.  For us it's more like heating fuels, and shelf space, than it is like a dry cave and confusion over adequacy of fat reserve. 

     The idea that for example Bears can avoid the emotions that drag them to a couple of months of blissful oblivion is probably one that some naturalist somewhere has investigated. I reckon he came away with a collection of chemicals, rather than a library of Bear thinking on what I'd like to imagine the more pompous, or disgruntled Bear in his discourse would call, "The Hibernation Problem."



Friday, September 14, 2012

Joy


    So much of a joy to hear body parts rumble on.  I could call it 'moaning and groaning,' but I won't.  It's more like a rhapsody through ache, twinge and a sudden stabbing-ness, which I could call a 'pain' but absolutely refuse to. I have been digging with both a long handled shovel, and with what once was called a 'jembi,' but which now is called a 'mattock' because it is not as heavy as a 'pickaxe.'  As well, there has been wheel barrow with gravel, some sort of soil that exudes a sneezing musk, produces headache and dizziness along with a cruel sensation that I will not call 'Terminal' because most likely it followed me home from the Hardware Store.

    Granted this recent excursion into blue sky and sunshine hasn't the glory of double trenching, but it's close enough to fill some sort of void that has existed in me since I completely lost my mind by seeking solace in the title 'gainful employment' at what only demons or 'Job Creators' would call a 'Fulfillment Center.' Nor would it have been in the least helpful to seek that title within the wider community of Hole Diggers, because in my view a  relationship with a shovel is extremely personal, and should not be turned into a hell on earth, or a commodity or in any way squandered to the whims of others.  That particular dark angel pulls me to his weekend, so that I can preserve some sense of title by having  Friday on Sunday. And what fun it is to belong.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Morris and Heidegger


    Both William Morris and Martin Heidegger had the idea that Technology was evil.  At least Morris tried to do something about it.  But neither of these great men used the word 'evil,' preferring instead to see mechanization as something like a thief that so insinuated itself into the day to day of  the simple folk, that we mislaid an element in our lives that I'll gently call 'an important element,' because otherwise the definition begins to include diatribe and stamping of foot, long explanation with evidence in the appendix, which does neither of us any good as we try hard to fill the space between here and the end time in a manner that does not include holy-days in Cancun, or Paris or on the Water Slide in Bowling Green.  


   Worth accepting that I too am not a great believer in the species I belong to. Or perhaps, I'm  not one who has faith in it's future.  Which puts my God somewhere amongst the known unknown's.  And while he might be almighty, he is certainly more like an equation than he is like an inscrutable poker player, or a shepherd, or a political operative, or head of the secret service, or goodness.  But, just because it's here and now that we live and have our own being, it's sometimes insufficient to look at the Mockingbird and say, "Yes, he's my friend," when generations ago I might have been able to tell you, "Yes, he's quite tasty if you know how outwit him."


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Purpose of Youth



    Wise men have often reminded me that thinking about meaning is a wasted exercise.   They will add, that what a person needs in order to find solace or comfort here on earth is a sense of purpose.   Those who have none, are doomed to a sort of madness, because meaning is always invented.  Wise men have also told me that sometimes it is necessary to find solace through  that combination which is summarized by the words anger, fear and hatred.  This visceral moment, they tell me, boils the blood and should be raised as a substitute for usefulness, then  followed until something less volatile comes along.


    When you get to my age, and I keep being reminded that I'm not as old  as I feel, there is the traditional temptation to find a visceral inspiration, and therefore continued existence, from observing the ambitions of youth.   Fortunately for the preservation of my soul and its sense of purpose, I have irregular contact, some of it quite personal, with managerial and supervisory lackeys who without my actually asking for drivers license or birth certificate or species identification,  I would guess come in somewhere between fourteen and twenty five years of age.  And  I'll save you the trouble by calling this solution to the problem of meaning, devil worship.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Honorableness or Honourableness

http://www.militarytimes.com/valor/

    Eanbald became Bishop of York.  The world around him was very much less than peaceful.  Heathen and pirate raids. As well as kings and princes competing for territory and political advantage.  King Offa, who died the year before Eanbald received the pall, had during his life secured the Kingdom of Mercia against the Welsh to his west. His soldiers won battle after battle against  the powerful Kings of  Wessex.  They occupied Kent, defeated the East Anglians, and they were able to frighten the northerners by marching an army to the Humber River.  For all of fifteen years Offa owned most of southern England, except for Cornwall, which belonged to the Welsh Celts.  Offa's son and successor Ecgfrith, lasted one hundred and fourteen troubled days.  In 825 Egbert of Wessex won the battle of Ellendun.  Danish raiders decided they wanted land to occupy.  East Anglians took to revolt.  And chaos waited for the ambitions of Alfred.

    Those Early Middle Ages, for the tribes of the English, must have been an exciting place for a young, athletic man who could lift a battle axe or maybe a sword, and perhaps wear a helmet, and who had ambition and drive and a yearning to succeed.  It was simpler too, far fewer career choices, and life so much shorter.  In those days a person did indeed die before he or she had the audacity to become old and burdensome.  An injury beyond a minor abrasion, or blow to the head, pretty much meant painful and agonizing moments while waiting for a miracle.  Few survived the loss of an eye, or arm, or foot, sometimes a toothache was enough.  You could wake up in the morning, see pirate sails in the estuary, and by the evening if you were not in chains, your home was burned, the vegetable patch trampled, your livestock and all the girls taken away to Denmark, or Norway and winter just round the corner.  And in the end, if Bishop Eanbald were alive today he'd probably be able to give me the same old reason why Lee Davidson from just south of York, died in Helmand Province yesterday.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10629358

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Pall


     I will not attempt to persuade anyone that the Anglo Saxon Chronicles is a gripping yarn.  But, if a person likes the image of a chronicler settling down to a day of chronicling, his quill sharpened, his ink pot properly watered, paper very precious, then there's a chance.  And there he is, probably tonsured, staring at the wall, understanding the day's purpose, perhaps wondering when coffee might be invented, but never once in the least objective, because of all people in the world at that time he was amongst the very few who could read and write..  And here I'd like to paraphrase the little note a chronicler placed at the end of his account of the year of A.D. 796 - "Oh! by the way, also in this year King Offa of Mercia died after ruling the wretched midlands for forty years."

    From the following year, of A.D. 797 a person might prefer  actual text:   "This year the Romans cut out the tongue of Pope Leo, put out his eyes, and drove him from his see; but soon after, by the assistance of God, he could see and speak, and became pope as he was before.  Eanbald also received the pall on the six day before the ides of September, and Bishop Ethelherd died on the third before the calends of November."    Current dictionary defines one meaning of  'Pall,' this way - "To become insipid, boring or wearisome."  However, Eanbald did go on to become Arch Bishop of York, so I think more likely "The Pall' referred to in this wonderful translation into Modern English of the Chronicles, is the little bit of cloth that covers a communion chalice.    Bishop Ethelherd was from Wessex, which in the Eighth Century AD, included Hop Country as well as Cornwall, and I could go, but I do not wish to receive the pall.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Heaven as a Roof.


    The poem I was once forced to memorize contains the line "He first created for the children of men heaven as a roof..."  Some have recorded this line as "He first created the heavens as the highest roof for the children of men..."  I never really went beyond the phrase "heaven as a roof,"  and much worse, in my mind the entire meaning of the verse slowly and over time had become "heaven is a roof," accompanied by the odd expletive that always accrue to memories of the detention room. 

    I was always quite happy to think of the Venerable Bede pottering around writing his history.  And I was always quite happy to think of him as a man with a job in the clergy, rather than as some kind of religious nut job. Then I find out he didn't even write the poem I was forced to memorize.  Someone called Caedmon dreamed it first before he wrote it, and after writing it, he too became a 'zealous monk.'  Bede did no more to the poem than translate it from Anglo Saxon into Latin.  It's these sorts of little things that lead a person toward cynicism.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Tape Dispenser


   Never a good idea to be seen talking to yourself.  Or  laying down the law to a tape dispenser.  

   It happens to me a lot.  Nor would a good comrade find it in the least bit entertaining.

 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Voetsek



    It has been my understanding that the Great Economic Depression of the 1930's became the Second World War.  I could say, that the Great Economic Depression of the 1930's caused the Second World War.  As well, I could choose sides by adding, the Great Economic Depression of the 1930's was resolved by massive world wide government investment and borrowing.  And I could say the Second World War was the biggest and most successful Job Creator of the Twentieth Century.  But I am going to say none of these things, because the truth or otherwise of these sentences is too depressing a commentary upon a species that also built the Pyramids at Giza, Rievaulx Abbey and the long walks of Offa's Dyke. So instead, I am going to take my pill and attempt a moment of contact with what appears to be the signature activity of Twenty First Century imagination, which is promoting a product.

       "Foetsie,"  is a familiar word, because when I was smaller the Dutch phrase "Voort seg ik" was known to me through it's adaptation by the Afrikaner Dutch who turned it toward the more popular "voetsek" and which came to English as "footsac."  "Voort seg ik"  translates as a noble "Forward Say I."  "Voetsek" means something like "Vuck Ovv".  The English "Footsac" means "Kindly go away."  Then some years ago, The Artist produced a "Foetsie" from her overseas travelling case.  I thought, "Be still my heart! A yellow plastic tennis racket! Upon which wall shall we hang it so as to better appreciate and understand its meaning."  However, this hand held device requires a battery, and if a person can avoid electrocuting himself while installing this battery,  and if a person can also remember where the "Foetsie" might be,  it becomes what I consider an almost honorable weapon in the continuing negotiation with Fruit Fly ambitions.  And it is also an opinion that a more authentic, less pandering "Foetsie" would have retained its "V."



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Meaning


     Dentists and everybody else, strikes me as an obvious social distinction.  As well there are Cops and Robbers. Then there are those who can make telephone calls and those who cannot.  There are Sheep and there are Wolves.  Yet inevitably, such divisions are subject to the blur of imagination, because meaning is often more useful than it is true.  I, for example, hope to one day wake up as a wolf.  Then I'll know what's best for my own teeth, and I will be able to pick up the telephone, dial a number, say "hello" without first enduring that sort of stress I imagine a bank robber experiences just prior to capture. 

     But I think my point is probably better appreciated by those who are members of the political class.   A group I feel very safe in assuming will always include Dentists, Sheep, Wolves, Cops, and Robbers.  And it's a group I know, from personal experience, contains the ability to make telephone calls, say "Hello" and then ask for a contribution, otherwise the world will certainly end before this coming Winter Solstice.  And too, just like me, it's a group for whom meaning is clearly much more useful than truth.  As for example in the defining of life, freedom, greed, laziness, marathons, mathematics and so on.  


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Johnny B Goode


 
    Hard work has been done in the field of gene sequencing, and for some minds this hard work has produced more hard work and even more confusing ideas.  In one idea, the tree of life  has two main branches.  One branch went on to become Bacteria, the other branch divided once, then  produced the rest of us.  It's an idea that gives all of us a common ancestor somewhere down there in the trunk.  This common ancestor would have been that first collection to gather the ingredients necessary to join what language also tries to define as 'life.'  The estimate is, this ancestral moment occurred around three and a half billion years ago.

     But, in the search for evidence, this common ancestor theory has its black holes.  Which has resulted in a concept of  multiple ancestors, one such idea suggests three kingdoms, or domains, each with its own unique ancestral moment.  As well there are theories that postulate a creative force driven perhaps by loneliness or boredom.  And on it goes through magical mystery after mystery, told by both ancient and more recent minds grappling with the phenomenon of living things.  I have to mention all this because thirty five years after it was launched, Voyager One travelling at a million miles a day, is just now leaving the last influences of our sun, on its way out of the Solar System.  Aboard the craft, are sounds of earth that include a baby crying, a Whale singing and Chuck Berry's "Johnny B Goode."