Posts Tagged ‘philosophy’

ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES Master Link Index

July 16, 2012
Gene Kelley danced past Joe's in "Singing in the Rain." Gene Kelley danced past Joe’s in “Singing in the Rain.”

OCCASIONAL INSTALLMENTS of THISSES and THATS collected over the years: HUMOR, bits of philosophy, short-short rants, CURIOSITIES.

ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES Master Link Index:
#1 – Odd Shots and Idle Pensees Nr. 1
#2 – This Man Needs a Chicken Suit!
#3 – Mother’s Advice
#4 – Say What?
#5 – Old Black Magic
#6 – The Lesser Known Earl Poppins
#7 – Tell the Truth and Run
#8 – Notorious Sex Scandal
#9 – Basic Human Behavior
#10 – Hacking Jack’s

Magic Mountains - Resurrection Machines

Magic Mountains – Poster (cards, postage, magnets) available at both the JLegry Gallery (prints, posters, cards) and Magic Mountains – Keepsake Box
at John Legry’s Store (gift boxes, t-shirts, mugs).

ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES Sampler:

Ancient Greeks: To sin = “to miss the mark” – can be high or low. Sin is not living up to, or being who you are.

Dead, uncorrupted saints make good listeners.

548 Primrose Lane – Robocop’s home address before all the bad stuff went down.

“The more you drive, the less intelligent you are.” – Mechanic, Repo Man.

Note: Feeling loss of identity? Eager to believe in something, anything? You’re prime fodder for cults!

Madison 5-1190: Perry Mason’s phone number.

Warsaw can no more be Tartar than Venice can be Teutonic.  The kings lose their labor at this, and their honour.  Sooner or later, the submerged country floats to the surface and reappears.  Greece again becomes Greece, Italy again becomes Italy.  The protest of the right against the fact, persists forever.  The robbery of a people never becomes prescriptive.  These lofty swindles have no future.  You cannot pick the mark out of a nation as you can out of a handkerchief.”  – Victor Hugo, Les Miserables.

Mom’s Advice:  “Use Clorox to get rid of the DNA evidence.  Burn the barn.” – Some CSI-type crime show.

G.W. Bush’s recent efforts to rewrite his history remind me of Ramses the Great (pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe).  He is called “great” because he managed to live longer than any other pharaoh and used the time to build more monuments to himself than all his predecessors and successors combined.  He had a factory that just turned out busts of his head so that he could knock the heads off other pharaohs’ statues and put his in their place.  He advertised himself shamelessly: painting and carving the story of the Battle of Kadesh on every wall and pillar in sight.  Kadesh was not even a draw and Rameses quickly signed a peace treaty with the victorious Hittite King, and went back to Egypt.  He nearly got himself killed and almost lost his army due to his egotistical rash actions as an inexperienced military leader, but he declared victory from near defeat, and covered up the fact that he came precious close to losing the farm – not just for himself, but for the whole kingdom of Egypt.  And that’s why G.W. Bush’s recent rewrite of his history reminds me of Ramses the Great, pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe.  G.W. became president of the United States by the skin of his teeth and the lies on his lips: the same way Ramses II became “Great.”  – 11/04.

“On a farm with no watch dog, the fox rules the roost.” – Ancient Sumerian proverb.

First rule about dealing with the Devil: Don’t.

Law of Probable Dispersal: “Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.”

“Separateness is a useful illusion.”  – The Big Kahuna.

Separateness is a youthful illusion.  Jl.

“God, the original Tony Soprano.” – church sign, Simpsons.

So, kick back, here are MORE ACTUAL Analogies and Metaphors Found in High School Essays:

  • The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
  • The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

“Even if you’re a born loser, you can and should be holy.”– Mother Angelica, cable TV nun

“Only fools and priests do squander life with thoughts of death.” — The Green Knight (Sean Connery), Sword of the Valiant.

Jimmy Neutron: “I didn’t know my candy would be that popular.” Candy Store Guy: “That’s what the man said who invented underwear.”

“I don’t want to go to prison; orange makes me look hippy!” Carl Wheezer, Jimmy Neutron.

“You are a smudge on history’s ledger, but you are my brother.” Agamemnon (Rufus Sewell) to Menelaus, Helen of Troy.

“The problem with the world is there’s too many stupid people, and nobody to eat them!” Carlos Mencia.

“I’ve heard it said that out of men, bishops are made!” – Cervantes, Man of Glass.

“This just isn’t the same cold, oppressive place I built with the sweat and toil of others.” Evil Emperor Zurg, Buzz Lightyear.

“I’m always up for a bit of adventure, Valerie, but you’re getting rather slapdash, aren’t you?” Art instructor to student, Midsommer Murders.

“Self-improvement is best handled by people who live in big cities.” Marge Simpson, Simpsons.

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A Choice, Not an Echo

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ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES #2 reprise

June 5, 2011
Chicken Soup
Chicken Soup

BITS and SCRAPS gathered over time – reprint by request:

Madison 5-1190: Perry Mason’s phone number.

Warsaw can no more be Tartar than Venice can be Teutonic.  The kings lose their labor at this, and their honour.  Sooner or later, the submerged country floats to the surface and reappears.  Greece again becomes Greece, Italy again becomes Italy.  The protest of the right against the fact, persists forever.  The robbery of a people never becomes prescriptive.  These lofty swindles have no future.  You cannot pick the mark out of a nation as you can out of a handkerchief.”  – Victor Hugo, Les Miserables.

Q: Reporter: Is Bin Laden alive or dead? A: Donald Rumsfeld: The answer to that is yes.  – NPR, 1-03.

“It was a time like ours of large impersonal states and individuals who felt lost in them.  A time of consumption, brutality, sophistication and trying to find justification and consolation in religious cults.” – Eugen Weber, “The Hellenistic Age,” The Western Tradition.

“Given a choice between gods or magic, I will take magic and be grateful.” –Doogana the medicine man, Moses, Howard Fast.

“Every tribal god proclaims at every opportunity the glorious future in store for his worshippers.” – G. Bibby, Four thousand Years Ago.

When asked by the reporter what it was like to live in the disputed west bank, a resident replied, “You can feel it and see it in the eyes of the people, in the eyes of the children.  Oh, do you really want to know how it is to live in?  It’s shit.” PBS, 1-03.

“The appearance of the law must be upheld at all times, especially when it’s being broken.”  — Boss Tweed.

“I hate it when a promising rookie turns out to be a terrorist.”  — Buzz Lightyear.

“Do you think getting married will make you decent?  Until I got married I was decent.” – one prostitute to another, Docks of New York.

Edward Gibbon relates that the ancient philosophers thought that Christians seeking martyrdom did so because they were obstinately despairing, of stupid sensibility, or victims of superstitious frenzy.  Dismayed that they tried to coerce the state into creating their martyrship, the proconsul Antoninus Pius (later emperor) said to the Christians of Asia: “Unhappy men! Unhappy men! If you are thus weary of your lives, is it so difficult for you to find ropes and precipices?” 8/03.

Reverend:  “You would replace god with man.”  Anthropologist: “And you would replace man with twaddle.” – Peter Falk to Edward Fox, Lost World.

“You’re getting into the heart of another person’s innermost being, which is something most other websites don’t offer.” – Customer, Loveline.Com, 4/04  – Must be the Ted Bundy special.

“What good fortune for governments that the people do not think.” – Adolph Hitler.

Hands are the most sensitive sensors of the brain; they transmit more information than any other organ.  Maybe that’s why we have to hold something when we say we want to “look” at it?

“When Quanah Parker passed, it was said that his passing was not just his passing, but the passing of the past – as well.” – historian, Real West, History Channel.  – Pass the chips?

New evidence has revealed that there might be an element of truth in what I have to say.

Let’s hear it for self-righteous superstitious indignation!

“If you are dizzy and sick, reach out.  I am your railing by the torrent.  Your crutch, I am not.” – NietzscheThus Spoke Zarathustra, book one.

“That which is now called natural philosophy, embracing the whole circle of science, of which astronomy occupies the chief place, is the study of the works of God, and of the power and wisdom of God in his works, and is the true theology. As to the theology that is now studied in its place, it is the study of human opinions and of human fancies concerning God.  It is not the study of God himself in the works that he has made, but in the writings that man has made; and it is not among the least of the mischiefs that man has made; and it is not among the least of mischiefs that the Christian system has done to the world, that it has abandoned the original and beautiful system of theology, like a beautiful innocent, to distress and reproach, to make room for the hag of superstition.”  Thomas Paine, Age of Reason, p. 37

“According to Livy, the Romans conquered the world in their own defense.” – Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall, Book 1, p. 839, n77.

“Then as now the most effective labor-saving device was stealing.” – Eugen Weber, Western Tradition.

Young Martin Chuzzlewitt: “I’m going to America.”  Mr. Pinch: “Not America! Your situation isn’t that desperate!” – Chas. Dickens.

“The contemporary world of learning is made up almost altogether of mean, starved, envious, strident, stingless fools and fops, ignorant and arrogant, who swarm about their betters with a fly’s equal inclination to dung or honey.” – Carl Van Doren on Swift, 1948.

Glen Manning is not a well man, mentally or physically.” – movie scientist’s assessment of the mutated, insane, irradiated The Amazing Colossal Man.

“Oh, problems in moral philosophy always provide a few chuckles!” – little green robot, Sonic the Hedgehog.

“Oh, the places we will go!” – Doctor Seuss.

548 Primrose Lane – Robocop’s home address before all the bad stuff went down.

More HUMOR at: www.zazzle.com/FatLemon

FatLemon Productions
FatLemon Productions

SNEAKY PEOPLE

May 11, 2011
The Poet Dines Alone
The Poet Dines Alone

Excerpt: SNEAKY PEOPLE, unpublished novella.

Okay, this is a story about me.  It’s my diary, so I can write about anything I want – even things I wouldn’t tell other people (especially other men).  I’m a sneaky person.  I come from a long line of sneaky people – really sneaky people.  We’re part of the anonymous swarm that comes out like rats – day or night – picking off top or bottom of the midden heap (depending upon status in the pack) – seeking sustenance while awaiting the ever-approaching End of the World.

Which is pretty much occurring every day.  The End of the World is both cumulative and individual specific.  On the upper end of the End of the World Scale is Climate Change, which promises wholesale extinction (and, some bitch winters and summers between now and then); and, on the other is the latest starving Somali, homeless person, or helpless geriatric.  Somebody’s pretty much meeting the End of the World every single second.

I was born in San Francisco a bit before the mid-point of the Twentieth Century.  My parents were apprehensive about the spreading World War of that time and, I believe, my arrival was an oasis of joy for them – odd as that seems to me now.  My birth was an opportunity for them to hold the rest of the insane world temporarily at bay, basking in the momentary glow of life’s continuity.  Like all young people, they huddled secretly under the covers with their arms around each other, whispering about futures and possibilities – hopes.

My presence – miniscule and infantile – was accepted as God’s reassurance that all of us – each one: Dad, Mom, and Jr. – would come out all right.  In the end, the enemy would be defeated and the world brought majestically into the bright, painless peace of Forever After and the New Deal (which sounds like a rock group and if someone cops the name, I’ll sue).

However, my parents honestly felt that they were finishing the “undone business of World War I” – there were still German vermin to exterminate and, unexpectedly, the sudden need to fumigate Italy and delouse Japan.

Shortly after I was born, father was sent to the war by our beleaguered government and mother moved in with his mother – grandma – and three maiden aunts who were all destined to have affairs with transient servicemen who “might be killed in a matter of weeks,” and were.  None of my aunts’ fellahs made it back.  One aunt went bonkers, one married a dull-witted postman, and the third wed a fat automobile dealer and got a divorce from the rest of us.

Anyway, we waited at grandma’s for dad to come home.

He arrived late at night three years later.  He was flown into San Francisco International and taxied seventeen miles to his mother’s Oceanside home – to his wife and growing son.  I looked up at him as he stood over my bed.

“Did you fly home?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said with a pleased laugh.  “Do you remember me?”

“I have your picture,” I replied, pointing to his image on my dresser.

He looked at himself in the photograph for a long time, silent and withdrawn.  The day the photo had been taken, he had been a young soldier, vibrant, self-assured, and alive.  His face now was subtly different from the one in the photograph mounted between fifty-caliber machinegun rounds.  In the picture he was young and proud with new sergeant’s stripes on his Eighth Army Air Force uniform.  Standing there looking at himself, he was weary and grim.  A trace of the young man remained – a hint of optimism, which fired his eyes.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said at last, hardly believing that this would and could be so, that the bombs were left far behind, and gratefully forgetful that half the world’s population was still awakening in a world of ruins – picking hungrily through the rubble, hunting rats for nourishment.

I learned that he’d been in photo reconnaissance.  I liked the sound.  The French word “reconnaissance” had a lean mean underground battlefield resonance.  I was a romantic kid.  (That drove Dad nuts – among other things).  I learned, too, one evening when he was drinking, something he did more and more, that he had helped empty a rocket-hit orphanage one night in downtown London, carrying out its dead and dying children and their bloody parts.

He saw and lived with death as a routine for three years.  His photograph war souvenir album had pictures of massive bombers dumping lethal rain on Dresden, Berlin, German gun emplacements in Normandy, French coastal towns, war ships and hospitals, trains, cars, horses, wagons, canals and villages.  Now, home, he attacked normal civilian life as if it was the new enemy.  He had lost time to make up, things to do, family to feed and a top to possibly find.

In his free time, he watched boxing on the new-fangled television, tense with pleasure waiting for the knockouts, heavy K. O. punches, and T. K. O. s swimming in blood.  He watched the gymnastic exhibitions of professional wrestling until he realized that the mayhem wasn’t real.  He watched John Wayne repeatedly and successfully storm Iwo Jima.  He saw Errol Flynn shoot his way single-handedly through the entire Japanese Army in Burma.  He observed as Jeff Chandler really died of pleurisy while filming a mediocre account of Merrill’s Marauders on location in Imperial Indochina.  Pa’s latent violence had to translate into real life.

He punched Ma.  He punched me.  He drank himself finally and completely to death.  In his scarred wake, he left two sons, one daughter, and his frightened, yet indefatigable wife.  He also left behind the lingering echoes of Henry David Thoreau, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

Father was a desperate man.

I’ve thought since that he was born in belief, raised in faith, condemned to hell, pardoned to purgatory, and eventually dispatched to…wherever he went.

Mother always said, “The War changed him.”  This is certainly so – I’ve seen other young men come back from Korea and Viet Nam.  They all have Dad’s eyes.  The men who fought at Salamis probably looked that way too.  Bloody fields and death process slowly.

Because of all this, justifications of violence appall me.  Its price is too high.  Brought home in the eyes of our young men, violence compounds as it seeks its vent.  Within the peacetime marketplace it ripples out on a high, spreading across the schoolyards, streaming into ghetto back alleys, finding its way into the boardroom.  Man against man, clan against clan.  So it goes, as Vonnegut says, and I?  I go on, watching to left and right, mindful of the dangers on the street, wary in my sleep – as restless as I was at the mouth of my cave one million years ago.

The history of mankind is a dry narration of famous battles, famous generals and famous kings, interspersed with profiles of failed political, social, economic and religious systems, which all rose and fell on the profit line.  The chronicle of anything else is incidental, a coffee table book.  Art, music, literature, dance, theater, magic are a sideshow to the main show.  Those things are the province of dreamers, romantics and fools.  For, if anyone is able to live a placid life, outside the maniacal slashing and hacking of whole peoples intent on the obliteration of other whole peoples, then one is, indeed, fortunate.

Life is a series of accidents.  Chance, not choice, governs (although, why we are in one spot at a particular time and not in another may be divinely inspired).  However, I doubt there is a Master Plan.  Master plans and master crimes require cumbersome plotting.  One can, or should be able to see their patterns, but impulse fires most of us.  We deal with consequences afterward, which is when they should properly be dealt with, I guess.

I’d like to do something to help my fellow human beings, but I don’t know what.  Everybody’s fighting and clawing, biting and scratching.  I’m hiding.  Scared to death.  Who wants to attract attention?  The threat to life may be worldwide conflagration, or in the mouth of some filthy city alley, with a knife wielding, coked-up assailant standing over one’s punctured corpse.  “Neither a peacekeeper, nor a lender be.” It’s too painful, too expensive, and too dangerous.  Experience is a great teacher; if we survive the lesson, but we’re still not gonna get out of this alive.

I wish I could stop the clock.  Turn back time until I’m just short of the primordial ooze – watch by degrees the slow progression of life.  See just how long it takes to make a human being out of all that gloop.  Think about just how quickly that complex organism can cancel itself out with a single bullet.

The universe is infinite.  I don’t really understand what that means, and it’s expanding, but into what?  It’s cosmic and vast and when you think about it, without the artificial augmentation of religious zealotry, perhaps meaningless.  Even so, this ship was pilotless before we knew that it had no pilot and continues so and nothing changes that.  Either way, I don’t expect the Creator to wash my dirty laundry or lift my heavy load.  It’s clear I gotta hoe my own corn.

I am alive, well, and living past the immoral end of the Twentieth Century and on the ignorant cusp of the early Twenty-first – unhappily still under threat of the nuclear-bomb, dismayed by Russians and Chinese, the System and the decay of the World, as ever.  “Is it just for the moment we live?”  You betcha.  What’s it all about, Alfie?  The End of the World is only a heartbeat away.  Whether one is one of a half million blown away at Hiroshima, drowning alone in the pool of a cliffside villa in Monterey, or choking in the arms of a lover on a sunny Egyptian Sunday.

Well, Diary, that’s my Summer Vacation.  I’m going home now.  Wonder what I’ll find?  It’s still the End of the World and Sissy Wagner doesn’t love me anymore.  Who’s going to do my laundry?

— JL:PDX, 8-09

Little Brown Bat with White-nose disease.

IMPORTANT LINK: Bats are present throughout most of the world and perform vital ecological roles such as pollinating flowers and dispersing fruit seeds. Many tropical plant species depend entirely on bats for the distribution of their seeds.

Bats are on a clear trajectory toward oblivion.  The Center for Biological Diversity has warned that the bat crisis is dire while calling for more funding to try to determine what, exactly, is killing America’s bats — and how the disease can be stopped.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/bat_crisis_the_white-nose_syndrome/index.html

Little Brown Bat with White-nose disease.

FOX NEWS, HOLY LAND, SUPERMAN

September 3, 2010

Canon Fodder

“Canon Fodder”

FOX NEWS IS PORNOGRAPHIC:

We don’t have to take pornographic mail, why should we have to take FOX?  I don’t want to pay for pornography.  All that phony-baloney religious programming and shopping channels are offensive, too.  I want the freedom to choose.  Why do I have to watch commercials when I pay for the satellite/cable?  I don’t want to pay to watch ads.  Give me “a la carte” television.    Let me pay only for the shows I want.  Why are television shows sold like blood diamonds?  They use the same scam DeBeers Diamonds invented – “take the crappy diamonds to get the one good one – no exceptions – this is a monopoly.”  I want a la carte television.   A useless boatload of shows will disappear from public notice if they aren’t packaged with the Top Ten and have to stand on their own merits – no more slopover prosyletizing, or monopoly broadcasting.  I want some person of legislative importance and influence to reform the broadcast rules and reinforce the fairness doctrine.  I want to turn off Fox Noise.

NOTHING IS HOLY IN THE “HOLY” LAND:

Any claim to “holiness” in ownership of the “Holy” Land, by any constituent of any side, is preposterous.  People of every persuasion have been killing each other over this crap hunk of real estate for thousands of years, to no apparent resolution, pretty much to malign purpose, and to the point of certifiable mental disease.

Their feuds are mindlessly generational, and they routinely dishonor their prophets and messiahsPeace is an illusion, reason is a poor orphan; “right” is confused with “rite;” and “hope” is just a word.

The people of the “Holy” Land are primarily useful to International Capitalists as trade route and pipeline handlers – since ancient times.  Their demographic division is a matter of greed supported by superstition.  Their migratory waves have pushed each other back and forth from Baghdad to Cairo for six thousand years.  Don’t let ‘em kid you, the protagonists have been a blood thirsty bunch for a mighty long time – no foolin’.  The “Holy” Land has always been incredibly harsh and savage; and its peoples have never been any different.  This is a piece of earth that people kill and die over repeatedly.

In practice, “god” – whatever Her, His, or Its name is – is a “get out of jail free” card for murder, and a justification for crimes against humanity and the planet.  Most cultures condone and/or pardon violence done to the “Alien Other.”  Fathers teach sons, who teach sons, who teach sons how to hate.  In that sense, the peoples of the “Holy” Land are not unique – just amazingly obsessive about that little crap hunk of real estate.

Who’d be so damned stupid as to stick his big old idiot foot into that “holy muck?”  Perhaps, a megalomaniac, a psychopath, a sectarian nut, or a greedy sucking oil baron.  In the “holy” land, believers sing about morality, peace and love in mind-numbing chorus.  In the Sixties, the Beatles sang, “Give peace a chance.”  In the Seventies, John Lennon added, “All you need is love.”  Of course, nobody listened to any of those do-gooders, and we now sing, “Waist deep in the Big Muddy, and the Big Fool says to Push On!”

It’s very hard to believe that any respectable or self-respecting god might have any interest and/or want to claim any responsibility for the disastrous generational holocaust in the so-called “Holy” Land.  Self-deception is, indeed, the fundamental core value of the human race.  It enables us to do so many terrible ungodly self-interested things that a conscience and compassion might prevent.

“RIGHTEOUS” SWORD?

“Some Christians pretend that Christianity was not established by the sword; but of what period of time do they speak?  It was impossible that twelve men could begin with the sword; they had not the power; but no sooner were the professors of Christianity sufficiently powerful to employ the sword, than they did so, and the stake and fagot, too; and Mahomet could not do it sooner.  By the same spirit that Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant (if the story be true), he would have cut off his head, and the head of his master, had he been able.  Besides this, Christianity grounds itself originally on the Bible, and the Bible was established altogether by the sword, and that in the worst use of it – not to terrify, but to extirpate.  The Jews made no converts; they butchered all.  The Bible is the sire of the Testament, and both are called the word of God.  The Christians read both books; the ministers preach from both books; and this thing called Christianity is made up of both.  It is then false to say that Christianity was not established by the sword.” – Thomas Paine, Age of Reason, p180

PEOPLE LIKE GOD LIKE SUPERMAN:

People like god for the same reason they like Superman.  They’re looking for a he-man hero savior who will kill all the bad guys and make the world safe for puny mortals.  People like a quick fix and noble selfless gods and superheroes can, at least imaginatively, give them one.

A child may dream, “If I was god/superman, oh, the changes I would make!”  An adult knows this will never happen, and if it did, they probably couldn’t handle it.  However, adults can and do choose to believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing god/superhero who will (eventually) “make everything better.”  The child says, “Close your eyes real tight and make believe with all your might.”  Adults pray for deliverance.

Many people apparently don’t want to work for deliverance.  They want it delivered; in fact, expect to receive it by hand from their imagined, and of course invisible, giant god/superhero in the sky (by and by).  It requires determined ignorance and dogged superstition to resist reason and responsibilityScience has to be suppressed and rejected so that it won’t threaten the house of cards.  Regular, preferably daily instruction in ignorance and superstition is mandatory; indoctrinate the youth early – always a good ideological strategy.

One may wean from Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy to embrace an even grander imaginary friend and benefactor with whom one may never share a single real word or thought, either.  Too many accept the secondhand word of a person declaring him/herself to be expert in a book of largely anonymous secondhand anecdotes written by largely superstitious ignorant men.  The book was gathered from a multitude of completely unverified sources over several thousand years of political, social and philosophic revolution, weeded, edited, and reissued as a certified collection of largely anonymous secondhand anecdotes now purported to be directly inspired by an imagined invisible cloud being, god, superhero by a secular monarch who wanted to use it for political control of his polyglot fractious empire. Believe it, or not.  Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews — A History by James Carroll

Ignorance and superstition are encouraged by the bland, if fanatic, reassurance that “all’s right in god’s world, or will be made so” (sometime).  The self-interested and often greedy people who deliver this message may actually believe the claptrap that they preach.  However, they cannot deny their venal interest in resisting any and all freethinking, diversity, or dissent.

A venal leadership inevitably yields vengeance and oppression.  Throughout history, such leaders have been the instigators of hatred, prejudice, bigotry and violence on a worldwide scale.  As for dead, dead’s dead – even a dog knows it when it sees it – and you can’t get much more empirical than that.

Thomas Paine taught us that reason, no matter how resisted or reviled, is the only path to truth.

RINGADINGDING:

Okay, I don’t like Star Wars.  I can’t accept George Lucas as my personal lord and savior, and parts I-III, and V-VI suck.  Retitle the series: Cliché Bores.  I do like Lord of the Rings, Tolkein didn’t pretend to wisdom.  However, I take issue with Peter Jackson’s film version: it didn’t matter in the books, but on gigantic screen, the military ineptness of all the principals is strikingly awful.  Consider:

  •  No moats, and obviously no drawbridges, on any of the castle-fortressesAttackers walk right up to the walls and the front door without effort.
  • The major fortresses back against cliffs, inviting attack from above.  The attackers display their ineptitude by not discovering and using such major weakness; the defenders by not noticing when they built the stupid joints.
  • No gauntlet or enfilade towers.  Attackers rush to the front door, bust it open and they’re in.  Very stupid.  Even primitive motte and bailey castle approaches were through narrow gate passages with arrow loops to shoot invaders in them, and flanked by towers to fire at enemies from all sides.
  • No horse or anti-personnel traps in the perimeter, not even sharpened stakes or concealed pits with spikes in the bottom.  The whole horde is on your doorstep at once.  “Oh, god, we only have stew for five!”
  • No ship obstacles or defense nets in the harborslanding parties always welcome, bring your own beverages.
  • No dock defenses, not even a guy with a hammer; just hop off the boat and waltz right in, without so much as a teamster organizer in your way.
  • No battle formations!  The armies line up in impressive scowling mobs and then run at one another, crashing into an every man-woman-thing for him-her-itself melee.  Subtlety, thy other name is idiot chaos.
  • No security screens, no spies out gathering information of any kind – not even, “How’s the weather down there, Gimli?” when Gimli the Dwarf complains of not being able to see the enemy; he should be so special?
  • No guerilla sorties – no harassment tactics.  No attacks on supply lines.  No need for supplies?   Orcs carry everything needed for one big overwhelming it’s a done deal battle?  That’s self-confidence, or more evidence of how militarily (at least) dumb they are; echoes of George W. Bush, Halliburton and the Republicans in Iraq.
  • No boiling oil/water/Greek fire.  I’ll give them the Greek fire since Middle Earth is theoretically before that, but it’s clear to see why M.E. didn’t survive long enough to benefit from Greek inventiveness.  No one exercises much imagination in stopping the bad guys, not even starting an avalanche when the baddies are walking at the bottom of a big honking mountain talus slope that’s ready to slide at a wisp of wind or the touch of a hairy little Hobbit foot.

Well, I could think of more, but this appeared the most obvious, so there it is.  A friend once said, “If the communist menace [so-called] was as monolithic and efficient as described by our leaders, we’d be dead; fortunately they turned out to be as screwed up as we are.”  So, root for Frodo, and pray his fellowship survives its own ineptitude.  Given the collapse of communism and Bush’s record in Iraq, I guess it’s realistic after all. – 6-22-05 Off the banks of Goldman Sachs.

   

Off the Banks of Goldman Sachs.

LAST WORDS: 

Whenever we come to the Book of Revelations we must always ask the same question, “Who wrote this crap?”

Resurrection Machines

DRUNK CALLS and COVER-UPS

May 19, 2010

DON’T DRUNK-DIAL the Tea Party or FreedomWorks, D.C. Douglas Video 

http://www.commondreams.org/

GOP Running Out Clock on Wall Street Reform
http://act.commondreams.org/go/683?akid=62.63000.-_katv&t=8

Criminals and Cover-ups

Daydreams.

Holder Harbors Siegelman Frame-up Culprit.

[Background: Don Eugene Siegelman (born February 24, 1946) is an American Democratic Party politician who held numerous offices in Alabama. He was the 51st Governor of Alabama for one term from 1999 to 2003. Siegelman is the only person in the history of Alabama to be elected to serve in all four of the top statewide elected offices: Secretary of State, Attorney General, 26th Lieutenant Governor and Governor. He served in Alabama politics for 26 years.

After the expiration of his governorship, two of Alabama’s United States Attorneys began a criminal investigation against him on accusations of corruption while in office. Indictments came in 2004 and again in 2005, and in 2006 he was convicted on corruption charges. There has been an ongoing controversy due to counteraccusations that his prosecution was intentionally wrongful, engineered by presidential advisor Karl Rove and officials of the U.S. Department of Justice to gain political advantage. National news media have published investigations into this claim and at least 50 U.S. legislators and officials have publicly expressed their skepticism over Siegelman’s prosecution. The treatment of Siegelman pending his sentencing was so harsh that it prompted an intervention by 44 former Attorneys General of various states.]

Scott Horton, Legal Affairs writer for Harper’s Magazine, exposes further misconduct in the Siegelman case quoting one member of the prosecution as saying that he would not come forward to expose government misconduct because:

–“you don’t understand, these people would kill me if they have to to keep the lid on this.” And Main Justice? “They’d be happy to learn that I was dead.”

Horton says the person responsible for subverting justice is David Margolas, Deputy Attorney General and the right hand man to Eric Holder. (Who is David Margolas? See Scott Horton’s speech below, 4th page, 3rd full paragraph.)

Please read this article and Horton’s speech linked in The Legal Schnauzer. It is chilling!

INSIDER ON SIEGELMAN PROSECUTION TEAM FEARS FOR HIS LIFE

A member of the team that prosecuted former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman says he witnessed rampant misconduct in the case but is afraid to come forward out of fear for his life.

Scott Horton, legal-affairs contributor for Harper’s Magazine, made the revelation in a speech last week to the Rotary Club of New York and the American Constitution Society

Horton says that one Justice Department whistleblower–Tamarah Grimes, of Montgomery–had come forward about misconduct in the Siegelman prosecution and wound up losing her job. A second, unnamed whistleblower fears a similar fate, or worse, if he comes forward.

Horton says he has interviewed both prosecution insiders, and they corroborate statements by key witness Nick Bailey that he was heavily coached and threatened with being outed as a homosexual. Says Horton.

As I note, two members of the prosecution team were appalled by the misconduct that drove the case against Siegelman. One of them filed internal complaints inside the Justice Department. The result? Her name is Tamara Grimes. She was persecuted, hounded, and finally dismissed from her position–in direct violation of the federal whistleblower protection statute.

And what about the second member of the team?

(He) tells me he will not step forward because he knows he would face the same fate. He even indicated the fear of a mob type–“you don’t understand, these people would kill me if they have to to keep the lid on this.” And Main Justice? “They’d be happy to learn that I was dead.”

Horton goes on to summarize the Justice Department’s disgraceful handling of the Siegelman case:

So today, even though the Siegelman case has been torn to shreds in the public and 104 state attorneys general, led by Grant Woods, the national co-chair of the McCain for President campaign, have formally complained about the Justice Department’s gross and abusive handling the case, the Justice Department admits no wrong. It’s even issued a series of brazenly false public statements in an attempt to cover its tracks.

The Siegelman prosecution hardly is an isolated instance of abuse. Horton discusses other justice-related matters, and the full speech can be viewed here. May 17, 2010 by Huffington Post

NOT SO SAD SACHS

Just Say, "Yes!"

Goldman Sachs Publicly Backs Financial ReformWhile Dispatching Army of Lobbyists.  Amid Attempts to Rein in Wall Street, Persuaders Safeguard Bank’s Interests. by Adele Hampton.

For all of Goldman Sachs’ professed support for an overhaul of financial regulations, the megabank hasn’t exactly withdrawn its army of lobbyists. Far from wearing out its welcome, the firm is busier than ever safeguarding its interests while a Wall Street crackdown takes shape in Washington.

Goldman has an unrivaled and influential network of lobbyists, including about 50 people with close ties to Congress and past White Houses, a Huffington Post Investigative Fund analysis of lobbying and campaign records shows. The lobbyists are challenging reforms aimed at Goldman’s profit centers, including the trading of complex contracts known as derivatives. The Senate this week will continue debating proposed regulations of derivatives, which are blamed for fueling the financial crisis.

Perceptions of Goldman’s role in the crisis, along with a civil fraud case brought against the bank last month by the Securities and Exchange Commission, have already spurred predictions of a less dominant future. But all is not lost for Goldman, which still stands out as perhaps the most influential of the nation’s top six banks — a remarkable feat given a crowded field of well-connected institutions.

Goldman’s more immediate concern, meanwhile, is the SEC’s accusations of fraud and potential criminal charges that could ensue from that case.

In response to the commission’s accusations, Goldman is beefing up its legal team. The megabank is projected to hire Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, a prominent corporate law firm, according to a Financial Times report. An SEC spokesman said he could not comment if Goldman, after hearing about the civil fraud investigation, dispatched lobbyists to dissuade the commission from pursuing the case.

Staff Reporter Ben Protess contributed to this report READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/05/17-4

We really need the immediate suppression and re-education of all Big Guys, and re-distribution of property and money.  Old banks to be required to hand over all of their assets and accounts to new community banks and credit unions; old bankers to fold their tents and look for honest and modest human employment.  The entire Health Insurance Industry should be closed down and put out to pasture – some nice place such as Angola.

Have you ever seen such bluster and fuss?

MY STORY BEGINS

April 27, 2010

MY STORY BEGINS

My story begins where the Old Testament ends.  It does not pick up with the New Testament – that painful detour for so many who entered its twisting maze to become helplessly lost. We tend to forget that the reader, not the character in the story, is the one being educated about the nature of the divine.  The best that can be said of the rest of the Old Testament is that it kept god god, and did not try to make a man out of him; however, all men became gods when Job did his ju-jitsu. Practically, the Story of Job is liberating revolutionary dynamite.

God shows growth and development throughout the compendium called the Holy Bible.  He starts off as an insane and dysfunctional parent, up to and including infanticide en mass, but “mellows” by the time of Jesus (“You bleed for them, kid, and we’ll call it good this time”). However, in the Story of Job – essentially the end of the original First Five books – God lets the Devil torment Job, mainly for reasons of vanity, and exposes His own “feet of clay.”

“I bet ya ten bucks I can shake this guy,” Satan says.

“You’re on!” God replies.

Job, however, refuses to forsake his faith in the face of overwhelming personal bodily and mental torture, including the loss of his entire family.

Since God created man in his own image, allowing Satan to do violence to Job, without giving Job relief or reason, makes God complicit in evil.

Job has shown God his true self (which is man’s function): man is in God’s image and God is both good and evil. As man sees himself in God, God sees himself in man.

God finally feels guilty enough to declare Job right and almost admits Himself wrong (Big Guy has real responsibility issues). He admits and fixes His mischief (close enough). This is the end of God’s growth into a mature deity.

It is the end of Man’s growth into maturity too; from here on out, for good or evil, he is able to be a free self-directing agent.

Worried learned men wanted to leave Job out of the Bible; their “Jobs” were on the line.
“Down with equality!” They cried. “The Invisible Cloud Being (ICB) rules; we’ll tell you what he wants you to do! You can’t be fully responsible for yourselves!”

Viewed in Job, God and man cancel each other out and merge as one. One can see why the learned men wanted Job out of town as fast as humanly possible. It was a real career-ender for them. But the story got in anyway. Probably because Job “took a licking and kept on ticking,” like a good old American-built Timex watch.

Ever since then, this whole business has been called a “Mystery of the Bible.” And, small wonder.

BUTTERFLY BUD

BUTTERFLY BUD

A Bit More About Adult Responsibility:

When Buddhists recognize the human being, or other in one another, they similarly acknowledge that everyone is under the authority of their own individual adult responsibility for their own thoughts and actions.

Christians, however, seem content as perpetual children, forever dutiful to a paternal authority, oddly manifested in an Invisible Cloud Being (ICB) – as fantastic as Santa Claus, or any other unproven fantasy figure – who, in this mythology, had adulterous sexual relations with an earthly teenaged virgin.  Christian desire for god is not nonsense, but their invention is a surrogate, crutch and dangerous doppelganger for the real deal.  It is the cop-out of every irresponsible dependent Christian soul.  It is also a handy tool that makes it easier for the unscrupulous to take advantage of the gullible and foolish, and even move them to fiendish deeds in the name of the deity.

The world will not improve while great numbers believe in an Invisible Cloud Being; it’s too easy to pass the buck, alibi, excuse, or harm others in the Big Poobah’s name.  Yet, if the act is one’s own, by will or grace, who is finally to fully praise or blame?  Does this argue that man is divine and divorced from the rest of creation?  Such a disconnect is a purely self-destructive insanity.  Like it or not, we are biologically nailed to this earth. Christians, and other religionists, seeking to escape life for imagined perfection in an impossible airborne Disneyland are a survival liability for the rest of us.

“Let us cross ovah the rivah and rest undah the shade of the great oak tree.”

One must be specific and particular, scientific and rational when addressing this volatile subject, because all religions are fundamentally intolerant and flawed.  My own prejudice is obvious in the few paragraphs above. However, Buddhism (for those who do not know) is not a religion, but a methodology for successful living; Buddha recommended shopping around if his tools didn’t fit the job, and asked his followers not to make him a god, which many of them obviously ignored.  Yet, somehow Buddhism admits the mystery without trying to explain it, remains open to new information and the next scientific revelation, and answers questions with more questions.  Other religious systems seem primarily fixed and inflexible, imposing absurd limits on the infinite, and providing definite answers to inherently ambiguous questions about inherently unknowable things.

It is, therefore, advisable IMO to be knowledgeable about all religions, and to select tools from each as they may best fulfill a specific need.  Critics say that this relativistic approach to philosophy and religion defies their true wisdom, which is intrinsic and whole, to be specifically and fully obeyed. One has to spend a lifetime proving only one point, which eliminates making a discovery that may be better, or being able to avoid a false conclusion before having wasted one’s entire life upon it.

Perfectly good lives are wasted with trivia, nonsense, and utterly worthless self-hobbling concepts, such as, sin, guilt, heaven, and hell.

  • The ancient Sumerians had no concept of guilt or sin, yet managed to build the world’s first true high civilization.
  • Ancient Greeks: To sin = “to miss the mark” – can be high or low.  Sin is not living up to, or being who you are.

People allow themselves to be kept in check with threats of eternal fire and damnation after death!  As soon believe on Santa’s list of good and bad boys and girls, and lumps of coal in your Christmas stocking; or rabbits hiding eggs at Easter time – he is risen, have an egg.  What kind of garbled mash is that?

Those sure of eternal life, are usually obsessed with and afraid of death.  One had better have a pretty good alternative at hand to mollify the despairing crowd, bemoaning their fallen faith, if they ever decide their emperor has no clothes, and god vanishes in a single weak puff of doubt.  Without faith, they might invent something truly harmful and ridiculous as a substitute.

Self-deception is apparently a core human behavior – I would now say gene; its use permits all sorts of mindless or mad adventures.  Self-deception enables otherwise perfectly decent people to burn disbelievers at the stake, or to bring guns to a town hall meeting; or to sit on the end of a big bullet and get fired at the Moon!  Self-deception allows us to feel perfectly safe when we are in fact balanced on a knife’s edge above a raging inferno – and no, not hell, something real, like Mona Loa.

Did you know, Amen, Amun, or Amon was the chief god of Egypt in the New Kingdom?  The Hebrews (Habiru) took his name into the desert with them in the Exodus.  They literally call on the Great God of the Pharaohs at the end of all their prayers when they intone “Amen.”  And so do Christians and Moslems.  The three great religions unwittingly – for the most part – believe in the same god and pronounce His name every day: Yahweh-Jehovah, Jesus and Allah are tribal manifestations of the one great god: AMUN.

 Pharaoh and the Lion Goddess

Pharaoh and the Lion Goddess

ALL OF A KEY

Alice said:

“There was a lad in there with a great polished shield of tin or brass, reflecting the yellow-white Egyptian sun back into the tomb recesses so that the paintings were clearly visible in all their profound beauty.  There’s a sadness about it, for their discovery and exhibition are destroying them.  They were intended as funerary decoration to be shut from sun and air and water for the rest of eternity, not to be displayed like some Messrs. Barnum & Bailey amusement.  The academics from all over the world are exposing their fragility to the rough outside world and the great legacy of ancient Egypt is crumbling to sand.  I think that those academics are searching as much for themselves as for the remnants of an ancient past.  Who and how and what and why mean nothing really except for context.  These modern grave robbers are trying to discover how they – the searchers – are somehow more profound, more intelligent, more advanced than the ancient people they are studying.  How arrogant it sounds when some fifty-year-old archaeologist marvels over the similarities of modern and ancient man!  It is a burlesque of the young judging the old – the foolish criticizing the wise.  In the end, it isn’t our technology, which defines our humanity; it is our relation to life and death.  In that, the ancient Egyptians were far ahead of the majority of we modern fools.”

ANCIENT WISDOM

Later, the Renaissance considered a life unencumbered by revealed religion.

ohmmmm

I MET JESUS

I met Jesus walking down the road with Buddha the other day.  They were discussing the oddity that, by eschewing things of the world, and accepting and giving unto Caesar that which is his, one re-arrives at a destination that is also a point of departure called acceptance or rejection.  It’s an endless loop, coming from nowhere and going nowhere; and, the leader is the guy who can be seen going by on the merry-go-round at any particular moment.  Nothing is fixed, and nothing ever changes; or, to put it another way, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

   Philosophy will do that to one, and that’s why I was so delighted, because any argument that begins and ends in chaos, with a lot of confusion, bafflement, and befuddlement in between is bound to be as fraught with opportunity as with risk, and holds as much potential good, as it does evil.  Having said so, they looked at me and said loudly and in unison,

“Go away!”

AGE OF REASON

“That which is now called natural philosophy, embracing the whole circle of science, of which astronomy occupies the chief place, is the study of the works of God, and of the power and wisdom of God in his works, and is the true theology.

“As to the theology that is now studied in its place, it is the study of human opinions and of human fancies concerning God.  It is not the study of God himself in the works that he has made, but in the writings that man has made; and it is not among the least of the mischiefs that man has made; and it is not among the least of mischiefs that the Christian system has done to the world, that it has abandoned the original and beautiful system of theology, like a beautiful innocent, to distress and reproach, to make room for the hag of superstition.”  – Tom Paine, Age of Reason, p. 37

Stephen Hawkings

Odd Shots and Idle Pensees #1

June 30, 2009
Magic Mountains - Resurrection Machines

Magic Mountains – Resurrection Machines

The FIRST OCCASIONAL INSTALLMENT of THISSES and THATS collected over the years:

548 Primrose Lane – Robocop’s home address before all the bad stuff went down.

“The more you drive, the less intelligent you are.” – Mechanic, Repo Man.

“We should not be ashamed to acknowledge truth from whatever source it come to us.  Even if it is brought to us by former generations and foreign peoples.  For him who seeks the truth there is nothing of higher value than the truth itself.” – al-Kindi, c.801-66

“Take Memoprove and forget memory problems!” – real T.V. ad. Blanks your mind?

Interesting (real) Historical Horse Manure:

Twenty-six handpicked men were selected from the 16th U.S. Cavalry to find John Wilkes Booth (Abraham Lincoln’s assassin), among whom was Boston Corbett, a religious zealot and military fanatic who had castrated himself for visiting prostitutes!  Edwin Stanton had ordered Booth be taken alive.  Corbett, of course, killed him. What’s wrong with this picture?

“Even I, Lucas, have heard the legend of a man fish!” – Lucas, Creature from the Black Lagoon.

“Ninety percent of things without backbones come alive in the darkness.” – no, not neoconservative republicans, starfish echinoids.  Ocean dwellers.

Ancient Greeks: To sin = “to miss the mark” – can be high or low.  Sin is not living up to, or being who you are.

Dead, uncorrupted saints make good listeners.

In ancient China they didn’t think of history as the past, but now, and in the future too, so it all blurred or blended in one unending flow, beginning, middle, and end.  In the West history is neatly compartmented with dividing lines between epochs and eras.  The Chinese View had us live in the stream as part of the stream; the Western Way allows us to cut off the past from relevance in our present, and as an influence on our future.  We can forget time in a sense and float in a bubble, separate from time and space, in it, but not of it.  The Western view, in this, as in religion and everything else in life, divorces us from connection to the rest of Creation and instead makes us little gods, capable of managing and directing our own fate, of manipulating the universe to our exclusive human ends – even if it kills us.  Conclusion: the Western Way is a confusion of our actual stature in the universe, and hazardous to our health. Modern China is definitely finding that out.

Note: Feeling loss of identity?  Eager to believe in something, anything?  You’re prime fodder for cults.

Edward Gibbon writes that it’s less difficult to invent a fictitious story than to support a practical fraud.  It is the character of falsehood to be loose and inconsistent.  The most incredible parts of the legend are smoothed and softened by minions or apologists.  Religion depends upon credulity and craftiness, which insensibly corrode the vital principles of virtue and veracity.  The useful prejudice, which has obtained the sanction of time and opinion produces the effect of truth.  People in the heat of religious faction are apt to despise the profane virtues of sincerity and moderation.

I oppose all –isms.  Isms polarize people and imperil the world.  I prefer democracy, which cannot be made into an –ism.  How could it be when one universal idea admits all ideas?  I realize that that makes democracy inherently messy, but I prefer its disorder over the violence, persecution, and oppression of any of its alternatives – all of which, are –isms.

“It’s hotter than a Fox News weather skank.” – Ned Flanders (!), Simpsons.

“God, the original Tony Soprano.” – church sign, Simpsons.

Parzival by Wolfram Von Eisenbach, 13th century C.E.  Much ado about fabrics, flags, one’s place at the table, head-busting by foolish men for foolish ladies, and the romantic search for the fabulous grail – the holiest snipe hunt for the silliest prize: the Americas-Stanley-Wimbledon cup of immortality available only for unblemished boobery.

He’d paid his debt to joy, his life was but a dying.” – Wolfram Eisenbach, Parzival.

Dey vas dese two crummy kids – rotten dey vas – runnin’ aboud nekkid, und fornicatin’.  Dey vent und eat all der fruit offen der tree, und dere vas gonna be no pie!  Der girl – hoo-vay – she vas a stinker dat tink she know ever thang, und snippet der papa.  Sonny vas joost a big putz, und it vas too much vor der ault papa.  Hoo-vay, dey godda go, vat’s da big loss?  Nuttin’!   Und der papa Yah-vey said, “Ged da fugg out mine garden!” Und, dat vas just da vay it vas.  Dey is outen de platz.  Phooie!

“Ve ver in der bunker, und der fuehrer vas goin’ nutsy, und ve used to call him der Nutsy Nazi.” – imagined dialog for End the Third Reich Already History Channel Show.

“They have to find a way to institutionalize the existing situation so they don’t have to fix it.” – insight on too many political debates.

People, books, and things come into our lives for a reason.  It’s up to us to figure out why.

And it came to pass that someone passed gas, and all were offended.

“There’s never been anything like it.” – Shaq, speaking for Icy Hot.

Pain is an itch we can’t scratch.  All life is pain in the Buddhistic sense.  Its temporal fleeting nature is a constant bitter sweetness, forever a tear on the edge of beauty, a sigh on the cusp of grief.  We only get it for a moment, and sitting in silence, alone, we can feel its presence somewhere, always within, always informing, if we will it so.

The prissy spellcheck: I typed “bullcrap,” it wanted me to use: “bull rap,” “bullyrag,” or “fulcra.”  I don’t see how “fulcra” can even remotely echo or apply, unless used to fling the bullcrap.

Nietzsche:

“The philosopher can attain to truth by his reason and can live by it, but not all human beings are philosophers and able to grasp the truth directly.  Most can attain to it only through symbols.”

the Galleries:Fine Art: JLegry Gallery

http://www.zazzle.com/jlegry

Humor, Sci-Fi, Fantasy: FatLemon Gallery

http://www.zazzle.com/FatLemon

VINTAGE and COLLECTIBLES, including POLITICAL MEMORABILIA: TheAttic Gallery

http://www.zazzle.com/TheAttic