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I have only questions
(The Hero and the search for meaning)
One cannot completely dissociate meanings and sounds. A Japanese said that the most beautiful word in English was "cellardoor." This had not occurred to me, and never would have, but as soon as I heard this I remembered that "celadon," which is so much like it, had always seemed to me a word of unusual beauty. Shelley and shelly do not sound alike, nor do Abraham the Prophet and Abraham Lincoln. It is even difficult for me to believe that "Cromwell, fling away ambition" is the same name as the Cromwell that goes with Oliver. Art deals with matters that do not exist in a vacuum....
-Leo Stein, Appreciation: Painting, Poetry and Prose
It could be said that Richard Kelly's first major movie, Donnie Darko, was an attempt to fit too many ideas into one framework. It's apparent that he has something to say and that he is familiar with the language of film school, but he cloaks his message and allows much of it to be left to the cutting room floor. If a director can't fight to keep his work intact and his message clear, then he should expect it to fail. Donnie Darko almost fails from over-editing. It's bitter testimony to the state of Hollywood when Spielburg can run AI into the ground and Kelly can't keep in 20 minutes or so that would have made a better final cut.
Dr. Lilian Thurman: Do you feel Alone right now?
Donnie: I'd like to believe I'm not, but I've just not seen any proof. I just don't debate it anymore. I could spend my whole life debating the pros and cons and in the end I still wouldn't have any proof. So I just don't debate it anymore. It's absurd.
Dr. Lilian Thurman: The search for God is absurd?
Donnie: It is if everyone dies alone.
Dr. Lilian Thurman: Does that scare you?
Donnie: I don't want to be alone. So does that make me like an atheist?
Dr. Lilian Thurman: It means you keep searching.
This is an extended conversation between Donnie and his therapist from the DVD outtakes. This conversation starts after Donnie reveals what Roberta Sparrow whispers to him, "Every creature on this earth dies alone." The movie opens with Donnie waking up on a mountain road. We learn that he has a history of sleep walking and each time that he wakes from one of these episodes he is further from his home. It's straight out of Joseph Campbell's hero's journey, Chapter I: Departure. The supernatural aid comes in the form of Frank who also is his guide through various trials ("They made me do this") and apotheosis (Frank tells him, "I can do anything I want...and so can you.").
Donnie calls his mother a "bitch" early on in the film but atones with her before his departure. Though there is no conflict shown between the father and son-in fact it seems the father is Donnie's biggest ally-a scene was cut where they had a moment of bonding.
Donnie: Dad, I'm crazy.
Eddie: You're not crazy. I used to be crazy, but you're not crazy...I know I'm not the best communicator, but whatever happens to you, whatever shit you come against...
(together): You just say and do whatever's in your heart.
Eddie: Be honest. Tell the truth. Even if they look at you funny. They will. They'll call you fool. Tell you you're wrong. But there's something you gotta understand son. And that's that almost all those people are full of shit. They're all a part of this great big conspiracy of Bullshit. And they're scared of people like you. Because those bullshitters know that you're smarter than all of them. You know what you say to people like that? Fuck you!
It's possible that Donnie slowly realizes that his distance to everyone is a result of the "unnaturalness" of his existence when he escaped death and so he tries to connect with the people he loves. This explains the development of his relationship with Gretchen who is haunted by a violent stepfather and ponders question of, "What if you can go back in time, and take away all those hours of pain and darkness and replace them with something better?" Latter we see them present an idea in science class about Infant Memory Generators and the cruelty of other classmates ultimately brings them closer together. It is also why he tells Cherita Chen that, "I promise one day everything will be better for you." It's why he's so angry at Jim Cunningham's oversimplifications of life's problems.
Kelly offers us a science fiction wrapper on a concept that has been around for a long time in the realm the divine miracle. Though the dialogue touches on religion, it skims it as if afraid to delve too deeply into religious themes with contemporary audiences and it's mirrored in the dialogue of one of Donnie's teachers when their discussion of time travel veers towards religion.
Prof. Kenneth Monnitoff: I am not going to be able to continue this conversation.
Prof. Kenneth Monnitoff: I could lose my job.
In the extended version of the final conversation with Donnie's doctor it is revealed that not only was Donnie taking placebo's but that he is not an atheist.
Dr. Lilian Thurman: Donnie, an atheist is someone who denies altogether the existence of God. You're an agnostic. An agnostic is someone who believes there can be no proof of the existence of God, but does not deny the possibility that God exists.
It some ways the biggest problem with Donnie Darko lies in the ending. Not only does the movie name the concept of the deus ex machina, but it uses the jet engine as a loose version of it.
deus ex machina (L 'god out of the machine') In Greek drama a god was lowered onto the stage by a mçchanç so that he could get the hero out of difficulties or untangle the plot. Euripides used it a good deal. Sophocles and Aeschuylus avoided it. Bertolt Brecht parodied the abuse of the device at the end of his Threepenny Opera. Today this phrase is applied to any unanticipated intervener who resolves a difficult situation, in any literary genre.
-The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory 4th edition
A movie like this seems to be drawn from many sources. Movies like A Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful Life seem like inverse images of the general theme. The author of Amamut was reminded of Appointment in Samarra, in which he also saw a link with Nosferatu. I saw another link with Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal.
(After Jöns, the squire, attempted to ask a monk directions, who turns out to be dead)
Antonious Block: Did he show you the way?
Jöns: Not exactly.
Antonious Block: What did he say?
Antonious Block: Was he mute?
Jöns: No milord. He was most eloquent.
Antonious Block: Indeed.
Jöns: But very gloomy.
It may be nothing more than a coincidence, but Donnie Darko
came out in 2001 and is set in 1988. There seems to be a lot of American flags scattered throughout the film and then there's the whole jet engine crashing into Donnie's room. The Seventh Seal
came out in 1957 and is set in the middle ages.
In 1349 the Black Death arrived in Sweden. A third of Europe's population fell to it between 1346 and 1351. Well, "...it took roughly 200 years for Europe's population to regain its 1340 level" and this is just after the Crusades (which Antonious Block is returning from) that lasted about 200 years. So you can probably see why stupid SARS art disturbs me. Is there such thing as karma on a grand scale?
I want to confess as best I can, but my heart is void. The void is a mirror. I see my face and feel loathing and horror. My indifference to men has shut me out. I live now in a world of ghosts a prisoner in dreams.
Is it so hard to conceive God with one's senses? Why must he hide in a midst of vague promises and invisible miracles? How are we to believe the believers when we don't believe ourselves? What will become of us who want to believe, but cannot? And what of those who neither will nor can believe?
Why can I not kill God within me? Why does He go on living in a painful, humiliating way? I want to tear him out of my heart, but he remains a mocking reality which I cannot get rid of.
- The confession of Antonious Block
With the agony of Antonious Block, there's the cynical squire Jöns who sums up their time spent away from Sweden, "Our Crusade was so stupid that only an idealist could have thought it out."
Antonious decides to play his game with Death because he seeks answers, but Death has none. He is later satisfied with saving his traveling companions Jof, Mia, and their child. It is similar to Donnie who has given up searching for God and finds meaning through saving the life of Gretchen Ross and possibly the world.
I have to admit that I have felt a strong attachment to the Donnie Darko movie ever since I first saw it. Certainly, it has not pleased everyone and others have seen different things in it. I relate to Donnie's character in both the way he was in school and the years he attended High School. I was a freshman in 1988. I had teachers I loved and teachers I fought with. I never had visions of 6 foot tall bunny rabbits, but I did have an active imagination and I was often at odds with most of my peers.
I can't help but think about how all the connections I see in things can't just be random coincidence. As hard as things seem to be to me right now, from starting a new career to dealing with the many problems of and with people in my life that I love, I realize that maybe all the crap that has happened to me in the past that has caused me to try and learn to understand people and things is for a purpose. I get really frustrated when presented with situations that I can't seem to resolve no matter how hard I try, but maybe I'm not meant to fix things for everyone or maybe it'll just happen in time and I need to be more patient. But even as I fail to find solutions to everything, I have found more confidence in acknowledging my true feelings. I didn't get there alone. I had someone special to help me pull down the wall that I had erected and yet I haven't been able to return the favor. I haven't given up either. I just hit a hard spot and I've lost my way. I've not lost sight of how I feel, but I have lost site of the road and have plunged into darkness.
And so it happens that if anyone-in whatever society-undertakes for himself the perilous journey into the darkness by descending, either intentionally or unintentionally, into the crooked lanes of his own spiritual labyrinth, he soon finds himself in a landscape of symbolical figures (any one of which may swallow him) which is no less marvelous than the wild Siberian world of the pudak and sacred mountains. In the vocabulary of the mystics, this is the second stage of the Way, that of the "purification of the self," when the senses are "cleansed and humbled," and the energies and interests "concerned upon transcendental things"; or in a vocabulary of more modern turn: this is the images of our personal past. In our dreams the ageless perils, gargoyles, trials, secret helpers, and instructive figures are nightly still encountered: and in their forms we may see reflected not only the whole picture of our present case, but also the clue to what we must do to be saved.
-Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces - Chapter 2 Initiation:The Road of Trials (p. 101)
Dear Roberta Sparrow, I have reached the end of your book and there are so many questions that I need to ask you. Sometimes I am afraid of what you might tell me. Sometimes I am afraid this is not a work of fiction. I can only hope that the answers will come to me in my sleep. I hope that when the world comes to an end, I can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.
-Donnie's letter from Donnie Darko.
Attack of the Cranks
(I wog to Crank, Who's a silly wanker?)
I said I'd be back with more to say about the great blog-shit-storm that has intensified to the point of pure absurdity. Thankfully we have the fine folks at boingboing are posting the highlights from Reboot. For those highlights it seems like a big waste of time to me. So the parties have to truly rock to make it worthwhile.
Boingboing's been bothering me lately. It's not just that I can't stand their current guest "blogger who is not a blogger", John Dvorak. It's Xeni's recent obsession with SARS "art". It's not that I don't like art. It's just that it's mostly boring. A person wearing a mask just doesn't do it for me I guess. There's also the factor of it being one of the biggest overreactions in recently history. Can we get some perspective?
Killer Diseases Through Time
Justinian Plague, 6th Century
China Plague (Bubonic)
Spanish Flu Pandemic
Sources: WHO, CDC
*Based on estimated historic mortality rate of 70%
Source: The New York Times
Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever
in the Republic of Congo,
from 2000 to May 6, 2003
in Burkina Faso,
from Jan. to April 20, 2003
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
Worldwide, as of May 20
It's not that I want to see more AIDS art or something on Meningococcal Disease. It is a simple matter of "enough already!" Am I just being a silly wanker?
Now back to Cory's posting of Reboot speakers. Well, you know Meg had a speech or whatever there. Let's lookie.
I cofounded Blogger with Ev Williams, but left to focus on
writing, speaking and evangelizing blogs. Now that blogs have
taken off, I'm able to actually talk about blogs, as opposed to
As far as I recall the story was that after working for months with no pay, she decided to leave. Since the IT industry was gutted and web designers were more numerous than needed, she decided to talk blog for a living and rides the coattails of her web design days with invented expertise about weblogging. Rebbeca Blood did this except while dressing up like a goth and without ever coding anything interesting. Thankfully Ev is still working on making sure such simple things as comments are totally broken for months on end.
I like speaking because it's almost always men speaking at these events.
Affirmative action's bad side effects, the elevation of the banal.
She goes on to cover her standard speech of utter pointlessness and outright lies.
This is new and unique, as compared to previous publishing,
online and offline. Timestamps give a sense of timeliness and
convey the frequency of change and the currency of information.
Has she ever seen a newspaper with the date on every page? Don't people in the audience laugh at her when such idiocy is aired? Are they asleep?
Permalinks: made it possible to talk about individual posts. An
important distinction from the earlier days. Enables distributed
discussion. The first Web-native format. There's no reason to
have "pages" in hypertext. The appropriate unit is a "post."
But the distinction doesn't matter anymore. This is what the web
was supposed to be in the first place: writable. It took a while,
but we've got it now.
We used to get by with a bibliography. You can site someone's work and start a discussion. I defy her to prove there's no reason to have hypertext pages. That's what this site is built on. Prove me wrong! And what is this total wacked out shit about the web being "writable" now?
There's some more notes on her Lafayette Project, which sounds like a major waste of time. It replicates the same tech of weblogs.com, blogdex, and Amazon reader suggestions (the blogroll). And to make matters worse, I'm more interested in culling my reading list than expanding it.
OK, one more article to go and then I'm giving the blog bullshitter backlash a break for a while.
But that said, there are some things that - in my opinion - make good blogs good. And the most important of those things are (1) a personal voice; and (2) rapid response times. By this token, some blogs aren't really full-fledged blogs: my MSNBC "weblog," GlennReynolds.com, has a personal voice, but since MSNBC's antiquated publishing platform means that I have to email my entries in and then wait hours until they appear on the site, it doesn't offer the kind of rapid response - and on-the-fly editing and revision - that more typical weblogs, powered by things like Movable Type, Blogger, or Radio, offer. On my InstaPundit weblog, which is powered by Movable Type, I can post something, think better of it moments later, and change it, or add an update in response to a reader email that comes in sixty seconds after it's posted. I can't do that at GlennReynolds.com. So although MSNBC calls it a weblog, and it sort of is one, I think that's a real lack.
Yes, it's true. The editor, Nick Schulz, left this paragraph without even the hint of an edit. Why not? The whole point other than Glen's a blowhard of the grandest kind (takes one to know and all...) is that he thinks the most important aspects of blogs are that they have "a personal voice" and have "rapid response times." That's the only real bit of information there. It informs me that the things that are not good or as good to Glen are that blogs be honest and interesting. Those are the things that drive me to read blogs. No wonder Glen is as much a bore to read as Andrew.
On the other hand, a number of house blogs have rapid response, but no personal voice. TomPaine.com's blog, for example, is timely and interesting, but anonymously institutional. The same is true for The American Prospect's blog, Tapped, and The New Republic's blog, &c. (What is it with these lefty house blogs and anonymity?)
By contrast, the National Review Online house blog, The Corner, features signed entries by many different NRO writers, and rather a lot of back-and-forth disagreement and personal reflection, which makes it far livelier and far "bloggier" than its more staid lefty competitors. The same is true for Reason's much newer house blog, Hit&Run, which also has signed entries and considerably more life to it than the anonymous lefty house blogs. (And when did lefties become "staid"? About 20 years ago, I'd guess.)
Glen has a raging hard-on for lefties. He keeps it going with a political cock-ring given to him by Andrew. "They're so stiad! And we're fabulously funny wunny!"
All of this means, of course, that if you came to this column looking for blogging secrets, well, there aren't any. The key to good blogging is simple: have something interesting to say, and say it well. Kind of like, well, every other sort of writing - just faster, and with links. There's nothing new about that, but it's still a kind of magic, as good writing always is.
Oh shit. That's priceless. He admits that everything that went before was complete PUFFY FLUFF up your posterior. "The secret is good writing," there's the article Nick Schulz. Publish that! Use a permanlink, a timestamp, slap my name on it somewhere and get the damn MIME type correct! WOOO HOO! We're blogging now!
How could Tech Central Station be such a publishing shithole?
Tech Central Station is supported by sponsoring corporations that share our faith in technology and its ability to improve modern life. Smart application of technology - combined with pro free market, science-based public policy - has the ability to help us solve many of the world's problems, and so we are grateful to ExxonMobil, AT&T, Nasdaq, McDonalds, Microsoft, and General Motors Corporation for their support. All of these corporations are industry leaders that have made great strides in using technology for our betterment, and we are proud to have them as sponsors. However, the opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of the writers and not necessarily of any corporation or other organization.
Oh yeah, who can forgot the betterment ExxonMobil provided the coastal waters of Alaska? I can count the number of times I thank God for Microsoft's dedication to providing a cheap and stable operating system that doesn't require me to activate its products continuously in order to use them. Hmmmm. Their sick little love affair with
Bjorn Lomborg, AKA "he who lies and denies the very real damage that has been done to the environment" surely has nothing to do with their ties to ExxonMobil and GM. Nah.
It's nice to see Bjorn has friends like Glen that are willing to bend the truth to defend him. That Scientific American didn't want Bjorn to republish the article on his site is somehow using copyright law to silence him is pure lie. Bjorn is entirely free to link to the article and quote within the limits of fair use. Glen purposely does not provide a shred of evidence to support his accusations. In fact, he does not provide a single link to their website. Glen is a journalist who is completely bias and prone to partial truths. His unwavering support of the unscientific and inaccurate statistical analysis of Bjorn's book is clear proof.
We are lucky to have so many sources that report "without prejudice." I'm so happy that I might jump ahead from Pinker's book for Wilson's Consilience.
It longs to be eviscerated
(Why what who where wog)
Addicted to Blog
Your site is up, but your cams not on
You're busy downloading prOn
Your bad bets, your photo fakes
Another hit is what it takes
Your stats creep, you wax L33T
There's no bout, you're not in deep
You plug your site, you code thieve
Another meme is all you need
Whoa, you like to think that you're immune to the fluff, oh yeah
It's better to admit you're a diamond in the rough
Your IP they're gonna trace it, you're addicted to blog
You see the RSS (rrrrusssss), but you don't feed
You're readin' at a moseying speed
Your paypal tips cause you to whine
and you'll be fine, a rare web find.
You can't be raved
Originality is all you crave
If there's any chance to do
Something considered new
Whoa, you like to type whatever comes off the cuff, oh yeah
It's closer to the meme to play filler post stuff
You grow but you're gonna have to pace it, you're addicted to blog
Might as well face it, you're addicted to blog
Might as well face it, you're addicted to blog
Might as well face it, you're addicted to blog
Might as well face it, you're addicted to blog
You know how it is with me. The inter-blogger-bation builds up to a point where eyez gots ta belt out my Opining! And heck, I've been good. I haven't lent verbage to the meta-blogga-bullshitta circle jerk in weeks!
Oh, but you drag me into another Blood bullcrappathon
I have no difficulty screening out and ignoring opinions I am confident by this time in my moral and intellectual development are patently absurd, misguided and morally bankrupt because they diverge too much from my own well-defined and strongly circumscribed viewpoint. Making them, effectively invisible, from my point of view is not a concern; from my beleaguered progressive perspective, the reality of the political 'dreck' on the right is in our face, increasingly so, every day.
What's becoming clear to me is that REBECCA BLOOD DOESN'T KNOW SHIT ABOUT WEBLOGGING, which is OK because there is nothing that anyone needs to know about it. Knowledge about weblogging is about as useful as man-titties, which apparently have some nerve endings, but not enough to make a big deal over. What an apropos analogy, eh?
What about Blood's point? Is there any cause to be concerned about getting caught in an endless echo chamber? WHAT? Hey let's invent ISSUES! Let's get a rocking talking 'bout pointless poppycock! Who fucking cares what people decide to link to and read. Who cares? Really. Most of the viewpoints these folks are not linking are the views of the mentally disabled.
Americans believe in free-market capitalism.
Lew-ten-ant Smashmouth, free speech trumps your free market moronity. You can stuff that neologism together with your fetid neoconism and wash it down with some Kool-Aid. There is no consensus here bubba.
I waded into the alternaview waters and came out with no better opinion about the current online kings of the right wing. They've little more to say beyond "kill!" and less a grip on their own importance.
A shocking development
And the award for the least surprising sentence written anywhere this week goes to....Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, for his observation that "Meanwhile Andrew Sullivan has plenty to say on what's going on at the Times, as does Mickey Kaus." Good to see that the obsessions of Kaus and Sullivan haven't changed in the many months since their endless and tedious carping about the Times drove me away from their sites.
- Douglas Turnbull, Beauty of Gray
Go ahead and think whatever you want about what you are doing online. Crap journalists like John Dvorak can't even be spared to squeeze out an accurate turd of an article about it, "But the vanity sites such as Anti-Bloggies are just asking for ridicule. Who can resist?" What? The Anti-bloggies are a...(yesh I've been drinking beer to get through this post) But wait, "This is especially true now that the cat fanciers and ersatz poets have come on strong in the blog world." Hey, what's fucking wrong with cats? I prefer the term poetaster you numbnutter.
Surely, we can see how the mighty morons have fallen from reporting on how the latest PC processor can spread your sheets faster. We can also see that a HAAAvard edyoumacashun is worth a lot these days. Way to go boys.
In the end I really don't care what I'm called, as long as it's not blogger.
"Excuse me while I shit
on a few hundred thousand heads." Oh Thanks Mr. Drudge
! After all you're such a responsible journo!
Like that tard from The Register
. I know bloghards are not journos unlike Andrew "don't know a real work from a posted link" Sullivan.
Call your website whatever you want, do whatever you want, but let's leave the weblog, blog, blogasphere-istan-whattaeverca out of the nomenclature. Imma a wogger now kay? It means nothing.
So I'm cruising a new wog and the guy's got decent taste it seems, but he's sending me to parts I don't want to hear. No NO NO!
John Constantine is a friggering brit you Hollywouldfuckupanythinggood scaley slags of shit. Hell, at least Gut Pierce would have been close. I'll even accept James Marsden to play the Preacher. I have some hope because Garth is writing the screeenplay.
I don't know what to say, but Jim is right on about Donnie Darko. I will be writing more about that movie and Bill Hicks on the not so distant future.
Let's wrap this sucker up (sober grammar and spellin to be added later.)
Dotster.com is a shitastic company. I would love to have just went with Godaddy.com from the get-go, but alas, it was not meant to be. If this site goes away for a while, it's probably because dotster has fucked me out of this domain through their own incompetence. In that case I'm considering just sidestepping over to linkworthy.org. I mean, really it's that simple. I've also tossed alternate domain ideas about. JanusJocular.com and derniercridesjustes.com were looking good. That's pretty much it, except for these lyrics for my girl.
like my world I'm on fire
cause I am full of desire
no more preachin' on your part
no more love on my pillow
come dance with me in my room
you can hold me hands
i shall be your boyfriend
and you can call me names
and nobody's gonna change the way I feel, for my love
nobody's gonna slow my gentle groove
till kingdom come thy work is done on earth as it is in Dallas
come play with me in my room
you can hold me hands
i will be your boyfriend
and you can call me names...
and nobody gonna take the power away, from my love
and nobody's gonna slow my gentle groove
and nobody's gonna take my love away...
and nobody's gonna slow my gentle groove
ill kingdom come thy work is done on earth as it is in Dallas
-Mother Love Bone
Don't Fear the Future
3 things avoided by the Wise:
Expecting the Impossible
Grieving over the Irretrievable
Fearing the Inevitable
- Douglas Monroe, The 21 Lessons of Merlyn: A Study in Druid Magic & Lore
Triadic Verse was born from the Druid's belief that "all manifestation occurs through three" and that the "perfect union of three un-equal parts" enables learning.
It could be argued that we're advancing on the Third Age. The first saw the rise of the technologies of agriculture, industry, and science. The current age has seen of the rise of nuclear, biological, and chemical technologies (NBC). The Third Age will be of genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics (GNR). Their combination will result in what has been called the "Singularity."
Of course, there's a lot of fear involved in the kind of power GNC will give us. The destructive potential makes h-bombs look like muskets. The optimistic timetables of about 2030 leave many wondering if the world will be ready mentally and spiritually even 50 years from now. Doesn't all the chaos in the world prove that we are nowhere near ready to take on the responsibility of this technology.
"The reason the world is so fucked up is because we're undergoing evolution. And the reason our institutions, our traditional religions are all crumbling is because they're no longer relevant. So it's time for us to create a new philosophy and perhaps even a new religion."
-Bill Hicks (as part of a post I did years ago)
Even as flawed as some attempts at Gnostic messages are there seems to be a growing interest in recovering wisdom lost and distorted by the current hegemony of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic Chimera. These things go in waves, but when they crash it is never pleasant. Science is just a tool to cut out the bullshit. Unfortunately, people waste much of their lives - in the process they often take the life of others - in the effort to deal with all the bullshit built into their religious texts.
In the world of business they reject and create ideas constantly. They survive in a very Darwinian sense. Sometimes bad ideas are maintained artificially by people's refusal to face reality. But as Russia found out, the illusion can only be maintained temporarily. There must be a way for a system to evolve or the system will crumble in time.
Out of the Game
The poet, get rid of him
He has nothing to do around here
He does not play the game
He does not make his message clear
does not even notice the miracles.
He spends the whole day thinking
always finds something to object to
That fellow, get rid of him
Remove the party pooper
the summer malcontent
who wears dark glasses in the new dawn
of time without history
He is even out of date
He likes only the old Louis Armstrong
Humming, at most, a song of Pete Seeger
He sings 'Guantanamera' through clenched teeth
No one can make him talk
No one can make him smile
each time the spectacle begins...
- Heberto Padilla
Creationists / Fundamentalists take a literal interpretation of religious text produced thousands of years ago by mostly racist misogynists as truth over what they experience every day of their lives. It's textbook insanity. They hate the world. It's not just the folks across the water bowing to whomever, it's every bit of truth painstakingly experimented out from the annuls of ignorance that constantly reminds them their books are as outdated as the beliefs they "interpret" from them.
You know the world's 12 thousand years old and dinosaurs existed, they existed in that time, you'd think it would have been mentioned in the fucking Bible at some point.
"And lo Jesus and the disciples walked to Nazareth. But the trail was blocked by a giant brontosaurus... with a splinter in his paw. And O the disciples did run a shriekin': 'What a big fucking lizard, Lord!'
But Jesus was unafraid and he took the splinter from the brontosaurus's paw and the big lizard became his friend.
And Jesus sent him to Scotland where he lived in a loch for O so many years inviting thousands of American tourists to bring their fat fucking families and their fat dollar bills.
And oh Scotland did praise the Lord. Thank you Lord, thank you Lord. Thank you Lord."
Get this, I actually asked one of these guys, OK, Dinosaurs fossils - how does that fit into you scheme of life? Let me sit down and strap in.
He said, "Dinosaur fossils? God put those there to test our faith."
Thank God I'm strapped in right now here man.
I think God put you here to test my faith, Dude.
You believe that?
Does that trouble anyone here? The idea that God.. might be.. fuckin' with our heads? I have trouble sleeping with that knowledge. Some prankster God running around:
"Hu hu ho. We will see who believes in me now, ha ha."
[mimes God burying fossils]
"I am God, I am a prankster."
"I am killing Me."
-Bill Hicks, Relevations
If there is a God, Creationists / Fundamentalists will go the way of the Dinosaurs. They will choke on their own stupidity and allow the rest of us to forge ahead. Evolution is true and it's a one way trip up the deoxyribonucleic acid ladder. James John Bell has it right that, "Nature and technology are not just evolving; they are competing and combining with one another. Ultimately they will become one." Each generation has come to the table at a higher point up the chain and the stakes get higher too. One of our toxic coughs on an ancestor 10 generations back would be as lethal to him as a knife in the belly. We can't go back. There's no rapture. It just goes on. Look down at your feet and see that they are pointed forward as are your eyes, just open them. Maybe if we can get that third eye opened we'd see far enough to find that it all goes in a circle, spinning like a wheel of fortune in a Fibonacci Sequence.
Those struggling against growth and change are going to lash out. It's inevitable, but they will meet up against those that will rise to the challenge. We've seen it again and again. These heroes can come from anywhere and they don't always make themselves known. Heroes have a lot of enemies and tendency to be short lived. We only have to listen to them and care for them.
The world is like a ride in an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think it's real because that's how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it's very brightly coloured and it's very loud and it's fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time and they begin to question, is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, "Hey - don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride..."
And we... kill those people.
"Shut him up."
"We have a lot invested in this ride. Shut him up. Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account and my family. This just has to be real."
Just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. But it doesn't matter because: It's just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It's only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one. Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defences each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.
-Bill Hicks, Relevations
What do you think about the future?
Do what comes Natürlich
Nature imitates herself. A grain thrown into good ground brings forth fruit; a principle thrown into a good mind brings forth fruit. Everything is created and conducted by the same Master,–the root, the branch, the fruits,–the principles, the consequences.
- Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
Natürlich--both adjective and adverb--is a normal, indeed fairly bland and bromide word in German. It means: natural(ly), of course, by all means, sure, needless to say, etc. As an interjection, a concession, it goes almost unnoticed. Yet it conceals an intricate reference to cerebral and behavioral manipulation by Western culture and religion.
During the nineteenth century, as traditional absolutes were being replaced by new (usually scientific and technological) absolutes but also by numerous relatives, the concept of "nature" and "natural" changed in meaning and power. Often, the word "divine" was replaced by "natural."
"Nature," says Katharine Hepburn in The African Queen," is something we were put on this earth to rise above." For Christianity and European civilization, "nature" has always been something to be overcome, conquered, tamed, domesticated--subdued and subjugated for human use. The West draws an artificial line between "nature" and "human" or "man-made"--as if a beaver's "natural" dam and an engineer's "technological " dam were not the subject to the same physical laws, the same "natural" laws. After all, whether you jump off the Jungfrau of the Eiffal Tower you are prey to the same law of gravity and you will fall at the same speed. Naturally, this ancient distinction between "natural" and "man-made" gives Homo sapians a special place in Creation--and the privilege of bending Mother Nature, and her children, to his will.
In an inconsistent yet compatible fashion, the "natural" was also seen quite the opposite--an ethical imperative: not only in "natural law" (which nevertheless changes from culture to culture and era to era) but in human conduct. While religion and government attacked some forms of behavior as being "natural," they lauded others--likewise as beings as being "natural": for instance, men's domination over women, whites' domination over blacks, Europe's domination over the rest of the world, the nuclear family, family values, etc.
To confuse things further, "unnatural" has always been a putdown no matter how good or bad the "natural."
The cataclysmic upshot of this citing of "natural" and "unnatural" as ethical standards was European Fascism, which, in touting nature and natural man (yet developing the most destructive prenuclear technology in history), set up life-and-death categories. The Nazi government even tried to change Nature's name, Natur, into the more Germanic (and therefore more "natural") Allmutter or Werdemutter. Rather than letting Darwinism and evolution take their alleged "natural" course, Fascism ("unnaturally") lent Mother Nature a helping hand: anything and anyone that a Fascist state declared "unnatural" was segregated and ultimately killed.
- Joachim Neugroschel, from the Introduction to a translation of Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, and Other Stories: with Two New Stories
What about the impact of genetics on emotions?
W: Take love. At the end of it, love doesn't come from God, so it's not the greatest gift of God but the greatest gift of our genes. You see evidence of maternal care in birds, and they feel seemingly pretty strong about it. So it's an emotion that has an enormous selective advantage. You've probably met someone who you think is just not capable of love. I suspect that they lack a gene that is necessary for the emotion.
Does the lack of a love gene mean these people will lose out in evolution?
W: No, as long as you've got a good brain, you can marry for money. There are other strategies, so I'm sure there are a lot of loveless women in America.
What about other emotions–say, anger?
W: In several studies researchers have found a gene associated with violence. They found the gene can exist in two forms: the gene where you express a lot of the enzyme and the one where you express a little. Then they correlated that with what happened to children who were abused. If a child was abused and didn't have much of that enzyme, they had a much higher probability of getting into trouble with the law. If you weren't abused, the chance of your getting into trouble with the law was much, much slimmer. So most people, if they have a lot of the enzyme, the anger dissipates fast. If you come from a good family, then when you get angry, you don't hit someone in the face. I want to test myself because I bet I have the root form of the gene, but I keep it in the background.
Do you get angry
W: Very fast.
Is it over with fast?
What is the purpose of this anger gene?
W: It is extremely interesting to find out why some people have one personality and others are really different, because if there's one thing that doesn't seem to change during people's lives, it's their personality. If someone is phlegmatic, it's with them all their life. You can't change it.
-James Watson (Molecular biologist known for identifying DNA), in an interview with Discover Magazine in the July 2003 issue
So far as the search for causes is concerned, nature presents the same kind of problems to the physicist as to the biologist or psychologist. In only one sense are final causes peculiarly present in human conduct; that is the sense in which the change effected is not the ultimate end, but only a means to some further end desired. Here there is an extrinsic final cause as well as a final cause intrinsic to the change itself. It may be with regard to this special sense that Bacon says of final causes that they are "more allied to man's own nature than to the system of the universe." Yet Bacon, far from denying their presence in the scheme of things, assigns the investigation of final causes to metaphysics (as a branch of natural philosophy) rather than to physics. For him the ascertainment of final causes does not discover a purpose in the nature of things. Rather it looks to God's plan and providence.
All finite things are modes of the divine substance or, more precisely, of the attributes of God, such as extension and thought. Nature, therefore, is the totality of finite things, both material and immaterial. But nature exceeeds even this totality, for the infinite substance of God is greater than the sum of its parts.
-The Great Ideas: A Syntopicon, chapter 60:Nature
Our concept of what nature encompasses is the knife that divides our actions between the moral and immoral. We wield it with as much diversity as the manifold meanings of the term "nature", if not more so. Onto ourselves we ask questions of our nature as individuals in contrast to our nature as human beings. The realization that the major contribution to our nature, DNA, may soon be alterable through genetics brings the need to better grasp the natural and the normal in order to judge whether these concepts have any real meaning.
How much do we want to know about ourselves? Hopefully, we can cast aside fears of Gattaca-like future. Watson's view seems very sensible in this case, which is to, "...let all genetic decisions be made by individual women. That is, never ask what's good for the country; ask what's good for the family." Families know their history and are probably the best judge of their own nature. Science can help us bridge the gap in understanding how much of that is merely a matter of faulty genes. It's easy to make decisions based on physical health. Preventing birth defects is an obvious good. What about matters of sexuality? We already know that there is a certain genetic factor from the work of Dr. Hamer and described in his book, The Science of Desire. There also appears to be physical differences as shown by the research of Simon LeVay, Ph.D in 1991.
Outside of the realm of certain religious bigots, most people accept the fact that sexual diversity has given priceless gifts to world culture throughout history. Once we start playing with personality variables at conception we risk losing something to the overriding desire for our children to be "normal." Or do we? Certainly, not everyone will opt for such fine-tuning. But we can always imagine scenarios where a choice must be made for the good all. What genes in the future will act as a Mark of Cain?
I know exactly why, too. It is an injustice because you are on the side of the angels (who, by the way, stand a little silent for you just now). You are in the small company of Good Guys. You are that, not by any process of intellectualization and decision, but reflexively, instantly, from the glands, whether it shows at the checkout in a supermarket where you confront the Birchers, or in a poolroom facing down a famous bully, or in pulling out gut by the hank and reeling it up on the platen of your typewriter.
There is no lack of love in the world, but there is a profound shortage in places to put it. I don't know why it is, but most people who, like yourself, have an inherent ability to claw their way up the sheerest rock faces around, have little of it or have equipped themselves with spikes and steel hooks that you can't see it. When it shows in such a man–like it does in you–when it lights him up, it should be revered and cared for.
-From a letter Theodore Sturgeon sent to Harlan Ellison concerning his divorce in 1966 and reprinted in the introduction to If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister? as part of Dangerous Visions
That story asks the question about what we would do to cure cancer. What if a similar genetic question arose, but it would end violence and it's ultimate progeny, war? What if to end war we'd have to be able to love anyone, essentially becoming a homogeneously bisexual world? Would we reject it?
I took a look back to an old post of mine today. I'd like to point out Norman Angell's essay again, The Great Illusion. I'll just reprint the quoted text here to save you from loading that page.
The fight for ideals can no longer take the form of fight between nations, because the lines of division on moral questions are within the nations themselves and intersect the political frontiers. There is no modern State which is completely Catholic or Protestant, or liberal or autocratic, or aristocratic or democratic, or socialist or individualist; the moral and spiritual struggles of the modern world go on between citizens of the same State in unconscious intellectual cooperation with corresponding groups in other states, not between the public powers of rival States.
War has no longer the justification that it makes for the survival of the fittest; it involves the survival of the less fit. The idea that the struggle between nations is a part of the evolutionary law of man's advance involves a profound misreading of the biological analogy.
The warlike nations do not inherit the earth; they represent the decaying human element....
Are we, in blind obedience to primitive instincts and old prejudices, enslaved by the old catchwords and that curious indolence which makes the revision of old ideas unpleasant, to duplicate indefinitely on the political and economic side a condition from which we have liberated ourselves on the religious side? Are we to continue to struggle, as so many good men struggled in the first dozen centuries of Christendom -- spilling oceans of blood, wasting mountains of treasure -- to achieve what is at bottom a logical absurdity, to accomplish something which, when accomplished, can avail us nothing, and which, if it could avail us anything, would condemn the nations of the world to never-ending bloodshed a nd the constant defeat of all those aims which men, in their sober hours, know to be alone worthy of sustained endeavor?
What do you think about nature?
Transformation Through Temptation
(To love or not to love)
I've got sunshine on a cloudy day...
-The Temptations, My Girl
Scholarly ascetics assault the poet in thick thought
Erudite bandages wrapping modern mummies silencing the speaker
Long lightning bonds for today's Phaëthon caught
They censure what's sought, what hearts wrought, chain the seeker
They couldn't tell me why, psychological, biological, genetic
I wouldn't buy the cultural prophetic theoretic hermetic ascetic
I won't deny parts empirical, the sublimely spiritual accord access to the lyrical
I'm going to cry this wondrous word to be heard, our mutual miracle
It need not be by gilded tongue
For finally two hearts have won
The Ying to Yang to Heart to Brain
From Southern Sky to Northern Plain
Each day I try to
Find a new way
To say I love you
To never again let
That need for new
Rob your ears
Of the word
And then I turn on the news...
I get so worked up over folks so obstinate about making people abstinent.
Frist accepted the House bill, intact, taking a "like it or lump it" approach that no changes would be allowed in the Senate. He made approval of the House bill, including the conscience clause and the mandated "abstinence" money, a party-line issue, in the rush to get a bill to Bush to sign before the European summit of world leaders in the first week of June. During the debate, Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic senator from California, attempted and failed by a 45-52 vote to eliminate the abstinence mandate.
Some conservatives applauded.
One was Ken Connor, president of the Family Research Council, a nonprofit conservative group based in Washington, D.C. He posted a brag-note on the organization's Web site on May 19, saying "our groups worked tirelessly over the past three months to fix a bad bill and ensure that the final legislation reflected sound pro-family principles." He applauded Frist, Pitts, Smith and Hyde for ensuring that the bill "included a designated emphasis on promoting abstinence and faithfulness in marriage. This emphasis discombobulated Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose amendment calling for a condom airlift was defeated." Connor said the Family Research Council agrees with Feinstein's focus on prevention, but said she "cannot seem to grasp that abstinence is the only 100 percent effective prevention."
- Peggy Simpson, AIDS Bill to Export 'Abstinence Only' to Africa
We all are concerned with the health of teenagers, but it's being overrun by the hard-line stance fueled by religious viewpoints that are counter to the overall health of the children and the integrity of the separation of Church and State. This shouldn't come as a surprise from an administration openly touting the fundamentalist Christian denial of the Theory of Evolution. Remember, a theory is as close to a fact as if God peeked out of the clouds and said, "Yes, evolution saves me the trouble of micro-management. Yours isn't the only world I'm dealing with, OK. Those Dinosaur bones we're not a joke. Have fun with it and No, I had nothing to do with your team losing last night's game."
On the issue of evolution, the verdict is still out on how God created the Earth.
-George W. Bush
Ladies and gentleman of the jury I would like to enter into evidence documents A and B. It appears these issues are coming to a head. Environmental influences are sparking an evolutionary decline in the average age of puberty. Kids have to deal with urges earlier. So this is the time to evolve our ideas about sex. A good way to do that is to educate ourselves about it.
You can educate teenagers about sex so that they may understand better the changes they are undergoing and put them in the know of how to satisfy their urges in a safe manner. When talking about people you can't force a 100% solution on 100% of them. You must offer them a choice and arm them with real knowledge so that choice is the best it can be for them. Just because you might not have been able to grasp things at a young age does not make someone else immoral or unwise to take that road.
Of course, what we are dealing with is the irrational religious point of view that intends to place children in a sexual garden for years with only the feeble warning, "Don't eat of the fruit of fornication."
Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation. The other eight are unimportant.
The Sing Shift
Good God I've got the guts and the gall
I've jumped the ruts, surpassed the smuts
Heard clarity's call.
Transform disparity to charity
To harmonic karmic charisma
I'm a Dionysian physician
On a mission
Singing out for awareness
Of the inalienable
Fairness of us all
Don't dread to raise those long locks
Don't slander, but praise the buttocks
It's quite simple for once I knew
I could beat down the world for you
It's a realization of transformation
The intangible becomes manageable
And with patience
Clearing the Political Plate: Question-enabled Content
(Polly tic talks)
Don't be Playa-hating those Republicans!
Poor Willy Stern! He turns a possible blind date boink bonanza into a blue balls bitch bash. At least he made some cash for the article to compensate for his coitus cancelus. His failed chance for fellatio has found solace in fallacies and self-victimization techniques worthy of the daytime talk show circuit.
When somebody makes a prejudicial comment about Republicans in my presence, I play a private game. I replay the sentence in my mind—only I substitute a word like "black" or "lesbian" or "Mexican" in place of the word "Republican."
Here is the logic of what perhaps can be described as the compassionate conservative. It's a way to "feel their pain" while missing the point. It lets him play the victim because he chooses to identify with the Republican party as a whole and he absolutely has no ability to form his own views. He holds on to that label no matter how bad the neo-conservative stench gets.
If one cannot be bigoted towards self-selecting groups, then it would seem to be OK to despise all Southerners (who have chosen not to relocate west or north) and all Harvard economics professors (who have chosen to get Ph.D's.) I didn't choose to be a Republican any more than I chose to be a Jew. My family has been Republican (and Jewish) for several generations. Being a Republican is part and parcel of how I was raised and of who I am.
"I can't help myself, I blame the poor for their problems! Cut social programs and trust in the burgeoning behemoth of corporate compassion to build enough sweatshops to eliminate unemployment!"
Just because your date makes a division fallacy does not justify you to bring out more of them.
I've made fun of just about everything; the South, Country Music, PhD's, and Republicans have been among them. People from Illinois make fun of Cheeseheads and Hoosiers. They take pride in pronouncing it, "Illi-noise" right back. It's all in fun. Some people despise the South's heritage of racism, but ignore that it has always been alive, well, and under wraps in the North or hate country music, but have never gone past some of the more banal contemporary versions in their understanding of the style (as if all music types didn't have hacks trying to suck the life out them).
It's amusing how far he's willing to take his straw man construction project.
The bigotry of America's Left-leaning intelligentsia is based upon cold logic that unfolds in the following predictable, if venal, fashion: I'm very smart. I'm well educated. So are most of my friends. I give generously to liberal causes. I'm a kind and caring human being. I defer to nobody in my exemplary set of values. I care about equality. I believe in a just society. These values are integrated into the core of who I am. I work diligently to teach these values unto my progeny. And these are just the values that, generally speaking, have been represented by the policies and actions of the Democratic Party.
The corollary logic continues: I don't have much respect for the values of the Republican Party. Oversimplified, Republicans stand for the rich, for the status quo, for selfishness, and for war-mongering....
In short, the justification for bigoted comments directed at those with whom the educated Left disagrees politically is based on two foundations: 1) We're a lot smarter than they are; and 2) We're better people than they are. That logic leads to three inescapable conclusions: We're right. They're wrong. QED: All Republicans are assholes.
I pity the poor students of the Vanderbilt University that get stuck in his classes. At least his dates can walk out without missing out on much more than a meal.
The bigger question is why such seemingly hypocritical hatred could occur in the first place, but I'm not interested in trying to point the finger at the flaboriginal mudslinger. We have rancid ranting Rushes, Ralls, Coulters, and Fisking fuggers for all. It's to the point that all labels are tainted by the loony fringes that endlessly fight in their midst.
My Politically Misanthropic Cheat Sheet
Democrats: They collectively embody Saturday Night Live's parody of Jeff Goldblum; Rambling, obscure, incompetent. They are conflicted by their emotional reaction to the past and how they were swept away by the fury fomented by the fear-mongering force of the Neo-necro-bomb-i-cons. They simply couldn't remember the words they had to say to prevent the rise of the Army of One Way Only. Their only hope is the create a new candidate that appeals to the patriotic pulse of the American public before it's too late to stop the corporate sponsors from heading off to greener pastures.
Greens: In the unenviable position of having their name invoke how some think they feel about how little funding they get compared to the Democrats. The Ralph Nader thing still stings even though no one is willing to admit how folks like Lieberman and Tipper Gore make a mockery out of the Democratic Party label. The get no respect since they try and emit the message of conservation in a climate where the freedom to consume in ridiculous degrees is held sacred. Every time a SUV (H2's rock to the extreme) rolls off the sales lot, the party is distanced from the public. Many see them as analogous to Greenpeace boats chasing the Global Warming white whale into irrelevance. Those same people are just trying to have as much fun as they can before the apocalypse, which is late, but will surely come when the last oil spigot goes dry. Get in your cars and Let's Roll! I'm spending Judgement Day by the lake. I hear the view is to die for!
Libertarians: When not fondling one their many guns to DVDs of lesbian hobbit porn while doing lines of coke off the barrel, they take time out to crack open their limited edition copy of Atlas Shrugged and give it one more read. After washing down a plate of pot-brownies with absinthe, they start to hallucinate with their favorite fantasy of riding the Amazing Flying Cock of Capitalism to Free Market fairyland that is as free of idiotarian influences as it is of the Heavy Hand of Government.
Communists: Stubborn buggers that refuse to collapse under the weight of everything being their fault. They are a political cockroach that somehow survives despite the best efforts of the American Jingoism all the Way Tour (which is likely to be booked up for at least another 4 years). Pest control policy in the form of Partriot Acts might kill it dead or simply push it further underground like that other thing...oh yeah, terrorism.
Socialists: Strange creatures for many Americans to grasp when they start to learn a little about the nature of European governments, which thanks to "no child left behind" programs is less likely to happen. While it is possible kids could wander into a library from time to time, Microsoft assures us that the X-Box 2 has been carefully engineered to keep kids within a visible distance as long as it's on. Some theorize that socialists believe in, "The equal distribution of vodka" from the strong Soviet influence. Canada's health care system is an abomination of reality in the eyes of managed care evangelists and medical malpractice lawyers. It's probably because it's too cold for germs up there.
Republicans: Pay no attention to the person behind the URL! The one and only True God (accept no substitute, supplies of contradiction unlimited, offer only valid to those of Christian faith) was forced to divinely inspire Florida election officials to set into motion the regime that will get this country back on track even if we got to go 180 degrees. The freedom trains going to ride on through the whole world. It's full speed ahead with the rights set to the Constitutional minimums. No Muslim nation will be left behind with unused oil and they will be served with a hot tray of McPride in their shiny new democracies by the party that knows Islam is as much a religion of peace as Christianity is. Republicans love freedom so much they are willing to bomb people free. They are merely picking up the ball where Clinton left it and spreading the seeds of democracy to the survivors. God will make sure the survivors that are left are the ones willing to use their newly found freedom properly.
(If I missed your political party, it's because I don't care about it enough to bother making fun of it.)
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(Imagination, perception, and the past)
What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?
- Vincent Van Gogh
Now I'm fighting that feeling that it is a futile and anal-retentive forensic foray. Who would wander into such an over-analytic sifting of the cryptic connections that occurred during a DMV rendezvous of you-know-who? And still I feel compelled to at least gloss over the fading glimpse of perceptual pleasure that passed over me one bright b-day.
Sometimes thought comes to a point and sometimes it rolls over in waves. You might catch its meaning straightaway or in the repetitive seascape as your understanding rises with its tide - then it really has you.
So I pick and choose to place your attention on the girl reading Matilda. The meaning is manifold in the sense of school and tendency towards telekinetic imaginings (though mine manifested themselves in dreams.) In school I was not always at the level taught. This was true in the domain of words. I've often had little interest in what the school offered and this was most readily apparent as early as the 6th grade where I fought against the extra in-class English assignments. I'm not sure what riled my teacher more, that I read my own books during these sessions or that whenever she asked me a question I was still able to answer it correctly. These skills have been kept in check by my long-standing distaste for maintaining strict grammar and wretched spelling. Perhaps, word processors have given this cripple a more pleasant appearance, but one area I felt well endowed in at an early age was imagination. I would take the idle time to turn out imagination tests in my head of my own devising. Whether it would be to imagine the biggest things possible or to contemplate the contours of the infinitesimal, I would engage in these mental exercises. One of my most challenging self-inflicted tasks was to imagine new perspectives, such as the ability to see in all directions at once.
Those are the more the significant points I wanted to make.
It has been a long time since I entertained the idea of being a scientist, just as I once could have been a pianist, or a doctor, or a tennis player. This whole discussion coincides nicely with a short series on Leonardo da Vinci, probably the most famous polymath of all. He indulged every craving for knowledge he had, gaining spectacular insights into a variety of different disciplines. da Vinci has always fascinated me because there are aspects of his way of learning that I strongly identify with. He certainly did not get some things right - witness the fatal mistake of using linseed oil as a base for the paint used on the Last Supper fresco - but he experimented, created, tried, and learned.
The most interesting thing about da Vinci is the fact that most of his discoveries were completely useless to the world. They were not understood in his lifetime, and they fell by the wayside upon his death. That they are of interest now is largely because of a sheer accident of history - that mankind could have discovered flight five centuries before it did, that a steam engine might have been the force driving the Renaissance, and that one single brilliant mind generated this all.
Our current society generally does not allow room for polymaths. Geniuses and intellectuals are encouraged to specialise more than they are to diversify, and to focus their minds on one particular (and often obscure) problem. Whilst concentration of resource can achieve a faster solution in terms of productivity, it is important to remember that a mind, in particular, needs a variety of stimuli in order to function. That a genius is unhappy will have a direct influence on his work. That the resources created by the damming of a river all go towards the production of agriculture might mean drought. In this society where we no longer have the so-called "job for life", we might do well to remember the benefits of the diversification of our individual skillset.
And to some extent, we would also do well to learn to embrace change when it is thrust upon us, rather than to resist it at all costs.
- Francesca of Thinking Aloud
Leonardo da Vinci was a role model during my early years. How much so? Well, my Mom brought out a box of the stuff I did when I was little and below is something I did, but I couldn't tell you when I did it.
I'm still plowing through Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond and a friend knocked one book off my wishlist for my birthday. It's Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge by Edward O. Wilson. But my queue is all screwed up by the presence of American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story by Cynthia True. I feel compelled to start over from the beginning once I'm done with it and I need to write about it and Bill.
I have much to say, much to learn, much to do... Hell, this site's a blessing and a curse. I don't want to write journalistic type things here and I don't care much for the way journalists tend to write - boring as all hell. So maybe the next post will be on weblogging or I'll just spend the week doing that short story that has been pounding on my brain or neither or...
Blues me Baby
It was a cold day in Chicago for late May. Temperatures went from to low 50's to the mid 40's after the Sun went down. The local weather report mantra, "cooler by the lake" was felt by more than a few attendees not fully geared up for cold air and chilly winds. But the power of music got people moving and there's nothing like a Blues infusion
as a cold weather solution.
This is the 20th Chicago Blues Festival, a four day festival of good food, good people, and the best damn Blues event to be had at any price (it's free). I went Saturday and while I missed quite a bit, attending just one day is enough to give you a full bore Blues buzz.
Getting to the Fest from Sandwich is as simple as taking a short ride to Aurora and then hoping on the BNSF train to Union station. The round trip normally costs a little under $10, but this weekend you can get a $5 pass for unlimited rides on Saturday and Sunday. Once you arrive at the station, it's a straight shot down Jackson Blvd. to Grant Park.
I arrived at the park at about 3pm and got in line to get stamped for the Petrillo Music Shell. If you come to the fest and you see a long line, that's probably it. Get your stamp you'll be able to go in and out of the Petrillo area after that.
After I got that taken care of, I headed off to find some food. Put your health concerns aside for this day. A variety of tasty choices are too good to pass up. I had to have me a Polish. Then it was off to the Front Porch to see the Easy Baby Blues Band with Eddie Taylor Jr. and Alan Batts. Yeah!
Eddie Taylor Jr. has been playing the guitar since he was 16 and certainly shows the signs of his father's influence in his approach to music. He is usually found playing at Rosa's Lounge every Thursday night. He was joined by the sweet keyboarding of Alan Batts and the vocalist and delicious harp playing Alex "Easy Baby" Randle who won't sing blues on Sunday, but that leaves more than enough days for us to hear him when he does.
After that I went off to get a seat at the Petrillo to take in Delmark artists. Key Saydek, Zora Young, and James Wheeler brought a whole lot more than just Blues to the stage (to the annoyance of a few folks), but were entertaining the whole way through.
The next act was Chicago's 20th Anniversary Salute. It featured local favorites all together, all jamming, All Blues. Harp players Billy Branch and Matthew Skoller showed their mastery. One solo performance was the best I've hear in forever and I simply was stunned at the duration and depth - "He's still at IT?!?"
There was Carl Weathersby and Mevlin talyor on guitar and a few more that I missed the names of. One did a feaverish rendition of Hendrix's "Hey Joe."
The real treat was watching Shirli Dixon and Shirly King perform together with Dixon's 13-year old daughter on the piano. They are the daughters of Willie Dixon and B.B. King. It was quite a site to see and they put on one hell of a show. Then KoKo Taylor came out and things really starting moving.
Bonnie Raitt closed that night. I don't think I need to say much about her. She played 75 minutes of a whole range of music and gave something for people to dance about and stay warm. She understandably had to pause a few times to warm her hands and hope "we all hand ours someplace warm." She made her political comment gracefully vague and kept belting out the tunes. Without a doubt, she's one of the best acts around and as the first time I've seen her in person, it was a fine treat.
It's these times when I love my sweet home Chicago.
Heavy hand on the will
traveling the country like some prophetic Johnny Appleseed spreading my seeds of ascension i.e. dick jokes.
Ascension Day is the 40th day after Easter (29th of May)
I've was growing more energetic for quite a while until last night. Is it the weather? Is it books I'm reading? Is it the websites I go to? Is it the people I talk to? Is it the food? Is it the air?
It started out like most days. I woke up with much on my mind. It had started to concern me the day before and I thought it might be a good idea to cut the massive amounts of coffee I tend to consume. Cutting back on the unhealthier portions of my diet seemed like a good idea too. When much weighs on the mind, I find it best to fallback into disciplined routines. It's a mental form of "biting the bullet."
I did my daily reading and then headed off to get my license renewed. On the way I was still thinking about what to write about. I had already written about 5 pages of notes the day before. Once I got to the DMV, I took my number (41) and sat down to wait.
What is it about waiting while at the DMV that gets to people? Whatever it is, I was sitting there trying to just wait and not run back outside to grab my notebook. So I started looking around and tried to take in everything. Slowly I started to notice details more clearly.
There's a guy taking the written exam wearing a black cap, a t-shirt tucked into light blue jeans that had a pocketknife and a cell phone hanging off it in separate holsters. The test machines are lined up and the area is lined off with that elastic fabric band divider that seems to be popular in banks and government offices. There's a sign above each touch-screen monitor "Push chair back in before leaving." There are lots of signs like this. There are a few desks with chairs and a paper folded into a triangular sign ominously demands, "For title work only." I take note of all the objects that I can see from my seat.
I go back to the people sitting around me, waiting. To my left is a man with a surly haircut, a black leather riding jacket and well-worn jeans. He had come in on his Harley Chopper while the guy in the cap got himself situated at the test machine. It's after 2pm and he looks hungover. To my right is an elderly lady with a baby blue windbreaker jacket, blue slacks, and blue shoes. Her grey hair is curled a couple of inches from her head and she shuffles her feet when she walks. Next to her is her granddaughter with a yellow hooded pullover and baggy pants. Her hair is dark and thick and with her head turned slightly to her grandmother it covers her face from me. She's talking about a book she's holding in front of her. It's called Matilda. It's about a girl still in early elementary school, but smart enough to start college. Her mother won't let her skip ahead and her father is barely ever home and is a bit of a crooked used car salesman. Matilda is so bored in class that she imagines she has powers, like that she can move things with her mind.
To the right, behind me and directly behind the grandmother and granddaughter, are a mother and daughter waiting too. I think you get the point and we'll skip the description of them except that the little girl is talking non-stop, "I'm 3 today. I'm 1, 2, 3. I'm going to Chuck E Cheese. I'm 3…"
There's also people giving information at the counter and two employees are having a conversation about a package. Usually I'm terribly distracted by things and can't hear two people talk at once. My attention tends to be focused. But suddenly I could understand what was going on around me all at once.
I used to have an Amiga computer. It was one of the first real multitasking systems. I liked to test it by opening all the programs I could. It would start to slow down the system after a while. It was sort of like that except my perceptions increased to compensate for the increased input.
When my name came up, my attention focused on it. The conversations all muddled together into the typical chaos that I'm accustomed to hearing.
When I came home, I took a bath and tried to relax. The ideas started pouring in. I wrote 5 pages that included the stream of consciousness riffing and I am the Walrus remix before I decided to stop.
I write too slow. It's like dipping a teacup into a fast moving…um…stream. Yesterday it was raging and when I got out of the tub, I suddenly felt tired. It got worse as the day wore on. I struggled to get the post done and then hang out online for a while, but I was beat.
Anyway, I have some ideas about what was going on. I'll write more about that later. I do believe it has to do with the questions that started this post. There are some things about the details I described from the DMV that I'll get into later as well. Sounds a bit…strange? Don't worry. A lot of it has to do with me tapping into things I used to do as a child with my imagination. I've been hitting the nostalgia stuff big time. As a kid my imagination was my favorite toy. It's not like riding a bike though.
All things celebrated
Self-indulgence level set to explode in brilliant HTML code. Come wade into the stream of kinda conscious commentary on current i-vents. The call is made for this site's new trajectory and a celwebrity celebration of what was and who was and where we are headed. Because it's not just me there's a Bob the Corgi who came to be on this day the 29th of May. But how'd I know? Step into this stream.
The Bear is Back and Eric is with him and to Tina he links and I see what is written. So on to Bob The Corgi who hilariously sings warmly.
I warn you, the sing thing I can't do, but I'll make something old new and follow this stream through.
It's a celebration of creation, sure Gonads & strife are rife, but ChexSex, Bodhiva Sativa, IMBlogGottaDeL33Tya, I won't leave Yoa, won't deceive vu, tell God I'll receive her, I'm in line to believe her, That's the ticket, You dig it, I'd hit it, You blew it, I knew it, Just Do it, it, it, it, it, it, Woooo, Wooooo, it, it, it Hit another station, its all good, it's as it should, eggtimers set for garglemegemen, In like Fin, watch for the Lemming, drink like Flemming, think like Lennon....
I am three as you see he as you are free and we are each other
See how they shun like twigs from a nun
see how they cry,
Sitting on a Clambake-waiting for the MAN to come.
Corporation SeizeSkirt, stupid bloody Ruseday LAN you been a stealy ploy
you let your log grow long.
I am the enigman, they are the enigman - I am the gyrus Loo Loo Loo Roob
Pity peacemen sitting witty whittle peaceman all in tow.
See how they try like pie in the sky - see what they done.
I'm trying - I'm flying, I'm dying.
Jello Colonel Flanders licking from a fried chick thigh.
JabbaWookie wishlife thermotragic princess.
Goy you seen a lofty goal,
you let your lickers frown
I am the enigman, they are the enigman - I am the virus Foo Foo Foo Loob
Sitting in an Engrish pardon
waiting for the fun
If the fun ain't rum, you get a fan from riding on the sluggish brain
I am the enigman, they are the enigman - I am the papyrus Woo Woo Woo Noob
Expert sexspurt poking forkers don't you think the toker blows at you? LOL
See how they pile, like cigs in an eye,
See how they plied.
Magnolia pikchard pining Harry Carey
San you would have been them killing
Anger Envy Woe
I am the enigman, they are the enigman - I am Osiris Zoo Yoo Xoo Boob Woo Voo Too Doob Soo Roo QoooooooooooCooooooB
Time to de-enigmatize...
Yes I was in a strange mood. I blame the DMV.