Words To Live By

Words to live by, or some such schmaltz.  A few quotes by Robert A. Heinlein and some Hokusai tonight.  No need for anything more.

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Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.

Time Enough for Love

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I will accept any rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

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Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy — in fact, they are almost incompatible; one emotion hardly leaves room for the other.

Stranger in a Strange Land

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“Value” has no meaning other than in relationship to living beings. The value of a thing is always relative to a particular person, is completely personal and different in quantity for each living human—”market value” is a fiction, merely a rough guess at the average of personal values, all of which must be quantitatively different or trade would be impossible.

Starship Troopers

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The very basis of the Judeo-Christian code is injustice, the scapegoat system. The scapegoat sacrifice runs all through the Old Testament, then it reaches its height in the New Testament with the notion of the Martyred Redeemer. How can justice possibly be served by loading your sins on another? Whether it be a lamb having its throat cut ritually, or a Messiah nailed to a cross and “dying for your sins”. Somebody should tell all of Yahweh’s followers, Jews and Christians, that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Job: A Comedy of Justice

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Pic of the day:  A Tour of the Waterfalls of the Provinces:  Shimotsuke Kurokamiyama Kirihurino Taki, by Katsushika Hokusai

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That’s it from here America.  G’night!

The Idler No. 2

The day has been a long one, like many of the ones I’ve had lately.  So today I will simply toss out for you something from an author I have had placed here in quotes a great many times, Samuel Johnson.  Only this time I will place an essay of his, in it’s entirety for you to peruse.  Enjoy! courtesy of Wikisource.

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Many positions are often on the tongue, and seldom in the mind; there are many truths which every human being acknowledges and forgets. It is generally known, that he who expects much will be often disappointed; yet disappointment seldom cures us of expectation, or has any other effect than that of producing a moral sentence, or peevish exclamation. He that embarks in the voyage of life, will always wish to advance rather by the impulse of the wind, than the strokes of the oar; and many founder in the passage, while they lie waiting for the gale that is to waft them to their wish.

It will naturally be suspected that the Idler has lately suffered some disappointment, and that he does not talk thus gravely for nothing. No man is required to betray his own secrets. I will however, confess, that I have now been a writer almost a week, and have not yet heard a single word of praise, nor received one hint from any correspondent.

Whence this negligence proceeds I am not able to discover. Many of my predecessors have thought themselves obliged to return their acknowledgments in the second paper, for the kind reception of the first; and in a short time, apologies have become necessary to those ingenious gentlemen and ladies, whose performances, though in the highest degree elegant and learned, have been unavoidably delayed.

What then will be thought of me, who, having experienced no kindness, have no thanks to return; whom no gentleman or lady has yet enabled to give any cause of discontent, and who have therefore no opportunity of showing how skilfully I can pacify resentment, extenuate negligence, or palliate rejection.

I have long known that splendour of reputation is not to be counted among the necessaries of life, and therefore shall not much repine if praise be withheld till it is better deserved. But surely I may be allowed to complain, that, in a nation of authors, not one has thought me worthy of notice after so fair an invitation.

At the time when the rage of writing has seized the old and young, when the cook warbles her lyricks in the kitchen, and the thrasher vociferates his heroicks in the barn; when our traders deal out knowledge in bulky volumes, and our girls forsake their samplers to teach kingdoms wisdom; it may seem very unnecessary to draw any more from their proper occupations, by affording new opportunities of literary fame.

I should be indeed unwilling to find that, for the sake of corresponding with the Idler, the smith’s iron had cooled on the anvil, or the spinster’s distaff stood unemployed. I solicit only the contributions of those who have already devoted themselves to literature, or, without any determinate intention, wander at large through the expanse of life, and wear out the day in hearing at one place what they utter at another.

Of these, a great part are already writers. One has a friend in the country upon whom he exercises his powers; whose passions he raises and depresses; whose understanding he perplexes with paradoxes, or strengthens by argument; whose admiration he courts, whose praises he enjoys; and who serves him instead of a senate or a theatre; as the young soldiers in the Roman camp learned the use of their weapons by fencing against a post in the place of an enemy.

Another has his pockets filled with essays and epigrams, which he reads from house to house, to select parties; and which his acquaintances are daily entreating him to withhold no longer from the impatience of the publick.

If among these any one is persuaded, that, by such preludes of composition, he has qualified himself to appear in the open world, and is yet afraid of those censures which they who have already written, and they who cannot write, are equally ready to fulminate against publick pretenders to fame, he may, by transmitting his performances to the Idler, make a cheap experiment of his abilities, and enjoy the pleasure of success, without the hazard of miscarriage.

Many advantages not generally known arise from this method of stealing on the publick. The standing author of the paper is always the object of critical malignity. Whatever is mean will be imputed to him, and whatever is excellent be ascribed to his assistants. It does not much alter the event, that the author and his correspondents are equally unknown; for the author, whoever he be, is an individual, of whom every reader has some fixed idea, and whom he is therefore unwilling to gratify with applause; but the praises given to his correspondents are scattered in the air, none can tell on whom they will light, and therefore none are unwilling to bestow them.

He that is known to contribute to a periodical work, needs no other caution than not to tell what particular pieces are his own; such secrecy is indeed very difficult; but if it can be maintained, it is scarcely to be imagined at how small an expense he may grow considerable.

A person of quality, by a single paper, may engross the honour of a volume. Fame is indeed dealt with a hand less and less bounteous through the subordinate ranks, till it descends to the professed author, who will find it very difficult to get more than he deserves; but every man who does not want it, or who needs not value it, may have liberal allowances; and, for five letters in the year sent to the Idler, of which perhaps only two are printed, will be promoted to the first rank of writers by those who are weary of the present race of wits, and wish to sink them into obscurity before the lustre of a name not yet known enough to be detested.

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G’night America!

Brave Old World

       A quick viddy from an old TV movie version of  “Brave New World” from 1998 to begin the proceedings.  The viddy’s sound is not synced properly.

     I’ve really got nothing today, more because I am calling it an early night and want to concentrate on getting a job than anything else.  I’ll get to the Harry Reid race thing, Sarah Palin gets a job (can I be far behind?) and other stories that distract rather than illuminate tomorrow.  Just a few pieces of fine art and a few quotes for today sounds like a plan.

    First up, Hieronymus Bosch

    

   Next up, a personal favorite U-kiyo-e piece of mine, from Katsushika Hokusai:

    

    The last one an ancient sculpture of the historical/mythical figure Gilgamesh:

    Gilgamesh was an actual king of Sumer(modern day Euphrates valley) credited with having built the walls of Uruk.  The “mythological” part comes from the book “The Epic of Gilgamesh”, which says he was 2/3 god and 1/3 man.  He was said to have fought with demons, and dealt with the wrath of the goddess Ishtar, and crossed over to the netherworld to avoid death, a journey brought about when his best friend, Enkidu, dies.

    I’ve read the Epic of Gilgamesh, it is one helluva book, and it has, among other things, the story of the flood in it.  A story which predate the Bible flood story by 1,500 years.  Read the book.

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That’s about it, except for a second viddy.  An interview with Aldous Huxley

Today’s Nuggets, by Aldous Huxley, via wikiquote:   It is man’s intelligence that makes him so often behave more stupidly than the beasts. … Man is impelled to invent theories to account for what happens in the world. Unfortunately, he is not quite intelligent enough, in most cases, to find correct explanations. So that when he acts on his theories, he behaves very often like a lunatic. Thus, no animal is clever enough, when there is a drought, to imagine that the rain is being withheld by evil spirits, or as punishment for its transgressions. Therefore you never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion. No horse, for example would kill one of its foals to make the wind change direction. Dogs do not ritually urinate in the hope of persuading heaven to do the same and send down rain. Asses do not bray a liturgy to cloudless skies. Nor do cats attempt, by abstinence from cat’s meat, to wheedle the feline spirits into benevolence. Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly. It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, intelligent enough.

At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice, and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols.

Ringing In Winter

     I rang winter in with boots on.  I was walking in the dark in a woods in park about ½ a mile from my apartment when winter officially arrived at 17:47.  Why? I didn’t want to ring the season in with anyone around, and what better way to do that than to find the darkest most secluded portion of the world within my reach, and go there?

     At about 5:10pm, I walked out my door, headphones on, blasting the usual MetallicA that is the hallmark of all these trips and found I had made a mistake and immediately turned around and went back into the apartment.  I went out into the cold dark snow filled world wearing old running shoes.  Not the best way to go about trudging through foot deep snow in the dark.  After changing that up, i went back out and began, what has of late become, my nightly walk in the woods.  Even with those heavy leaden boots on my feet I found negotiating the streets and sidewalks difficult. 

    Poorly shoveled sidewalks and streets half cleaned along with melted and refrozen snow made for treacherous walking early on.  Street lights and the shadows they threw made the walking all the more treacherous, making it more difficult to see where puddles ended and ice began and vice versa. No lighting from street lights here would have actually been more effective than the poor lighting provided by the street lights.

    After a few blocks I noticed that I had a problem with my left boot. It was biting into my left leg a few inches above my ankle.  Hard.   I had to alter my stride in order to keep myself from grunting in pain as I was stabbed with each and every step I took.  I had to lean back as I walked and point my left foot at an unusual angle in order to walk without being stuck by my boot.  I only did this when walking uphill, as it was only a minor inconvenience at other times.  The MetallicA here provided a much wanted distraction, and I enjoyed barking “Sabra Cadabra” to no one in particular.

     I had all the time in the world, but I looked at my watch anyway.

    I made it to the park after a few minutes and the walk immediately became a great deal easier.  The people who cleared the paths in the park had the right equipment and knew how to use it and as a consequence there was a path that was, despite it’s being in almost complete darkness,  much easier to navigate.  The darkness, which when mingled with the weak street light was an enemy, became a friend again.  I didn’t walk so much as swagger here, walking towards the entrance to the paths in the more densely wooded area in royal oak.  I looked at my watch again.

    The paths into the woods themselves had not been shoveled, but had been traversed by someone on an ATV, or something like it.  I was hoping to be one of only a few people to have walked through there, so it was a hair disappointing. And what was worse it seemed that there was something following me.  The light didn’t drop nearly as much as I thought it would entering the wooded area, even though it was at this point almost an hour past sunset.  And I have a shadow…at night.  I was annoyed at this, and turned around to see the source of the light.  Nothing at eye level.  Turn around to look at the shadow to check the angle to get a better perspective on where the light is coming from.   

    Curious. It’s seems to be coming from overhead.  I look up and there is a crescent moon providing me enough light to walk for me.  I laughed out loud at my stupidity, and continued on my way.  I decided at this point to turn off the music that I had been listening to and completely ignoring since I had entered the woods because I was so completely focused on where I was.  It’s easy to focus on music to distract when there are things that I want to be distracted from, but when the music itself becomes a distraction, it must go.  And it did. 

  I looked at my watch again.  Six minutes.

    As i walked deeper into the woods, the loud incessant whine of civilization, the screeching horns, the blaring radios, the endless chatter, the worries of the day, the hustle and bustle all fell off behind me like so many snowflakes in a hard winter wind, and I was happy to be rid of them.  The dark path, lit only by the crescent moon from a cloudless night sky with Jupiter just below it, a jewel hanging below the moon, a diamond on a necklace, made for a beautiful walk.  The world around me was covered in snow and drenched in moonlight. 

     Everything had made the 29 degree temperatures with the wind whipping at times almost seem non-existent.  I had taken off my gloves and opened up my jacket and was walking, looking up at the few visible stars in the sky, with the moon at my back, feel like it was a cool early autumn evening stroll. With every few steps, I would look up at the trees and the sky and smile.  This, to me, is one of life’s great joys. I looked at my watch, 17:43,  four more minutes.

   I turned and for the first time found a path that was not yet trod.  I was overjoyed.  I walked carefully, not wanting my enthusiasm for this to overtake me to the point of doing something stupid like stepping on a boulder or tree stump buried in snow and injure myself.  So I took my time breaking trail for several hundred feet until I noticed that I was beginning to move towards the lights of civilization, that I was moving too close to that which I was trying to walk away from. 

   So I turned back, making sure to not step where I had stepped.  Each step, each time my boots bit into the snow, my feet sank in over a foot deep into the 2 day old remnants of the snowstorm that had dumped 15 or so inches of snow on the area. 

    I walked away from the trail I broke and back to the main trail, well worn by the ATV wheels that had been through at some point in the last day or two, and moved downhill, past an asphalt trail and towards a steep incline.  I looked at my watch.  17:47.  The solstice was here.  Winter has officially begun.  I looked up and said a silent our father and hail Mary, even though I am not particularly religious, simply giving thanks that I’ve made it this far.  That I’ve survived for as long as I have. Hoping, and in this case praying, for better luck, and more strength to weather whatever the future may bring, and for the health of all my relatives, and a better world.

     The time had come to put on some MetallicA and make my way down the hill.  Ride the Lightning is always good listening.  I went the long way, not trusting myself to make it down what seemed to be a 45 degree angle slope in the dark with over a foot of snow on the ground.  After a few minutes of walking trails that had seemed well trod, I ran into a walk that seemed untouched, at least from a distance.  This surprised me, seeing how it was an asphalt path.  All the other ones like it had been plowed.  It wasn’t until I was on top of it that I noticed that the thing had been plowed, and the snow had just blown back onto it.  It was slippery with melted snow that had refrozen, and steep, and my boots, No boots for that matter were up for the job, not in the semi-dark.  I walked the edge, in foot deep snow.  It was easier that way, and I made it to level ground easily enough. 

   When I got to the run paths in the park, the ones I run every day I run In the park, it felt different than it normally did.  No other runners, me not running, dark where I am used to light.  It made for a surreal experience, every nook and cranny that I know like the back of my hand, looking different, almost alien.  The markings on the path invisible in the dark, even with the crescent moon shining it’s feeble light onto the scenery.  It was starkly beautiful.  And the metal had me going. 

     I walked slowly, sauntered almost, singing loudly and badly out of tune and not caring a damn about it, a carnivorous smile on my face as I barked out the old evil once again. 

   “Take a look to the sky just before you die, its the last time you will”   I look up, and smiling, take my leave of the park.

    Back to the land of the living go I.  The lights, the cars, the whir of the world, even with the devil dancing in my skull, felt like an ugly impingement.  I snarled and almost growled at the world as I met it.  I saw a few people from a distance as I was leaving the park and after a few seconds realized it was parents watching their kids sledding, making sure they were OK and had fun without getting hurt.  I walked by them after a minute with a curt smile and a quick step, so as to not get in their way, but also as to not let them encroach on my mood.

    I walked briskly up the hill, made the right turn, and immediately began to fight again with bad lighting and half dug out sidewalks with ice on them.   Two foot tall snow drifts are easier to walk through than that, and I resent it, but I also understand. They can’t police their front walk  for every tiny bit of ice just for my benefit. 

    What I did was walked a path that I knew would have as little traffic as possible and made that my path home.  I know these streets better than I know the paths in the park, and I know the paths in the park well enough to walk them in darkness without fear of injury.  The Christmas lights in some places are actually funny.  In a span of 100 feet there was one house whose owner had solved that little problem of pesky visitors dropping by deftly placing a giant 8 foot Santa snow globe right in the path to their front door.  I didn’t notice a side door.  I giggled at this without stopping.  The next one, got me to stop though.

   It looked like it was supposed to be a lit plastic Santa in his sleigh, a small one, maybe a foot tall, 18″ at most, with a single reindeer in front about to take off from a small rooftop.  The wind did funny things to it though.  Santa and his sleigh looked like it had come off its moorings somewhat, and was now perched at a precarious angle on the roof, 3/4 off, 1/4 on, angled downwards.  It gave the impression of Santa about to nosedive off of a cliff.  The reindeer looked like it had somewhat broken off of whatever was supposed to keep it attached to Santa and was in fact pointed up at about a 50 degree angle, and turned towards Santa. The effect was one of the reindeer falling off the roof , looking back at Santa trying to figure out what the F*** he was doing back there with his half-assed driving. 

      DWI Santa about to kill Rudolph. LOL

   I made my way home the last few blocks only occasionally having to fight the ice.  It seemed easier after walking around in the snow and ice and darkness and cold for an hour and twenty minutes.  I made it home as “Creeping Death” started on my headphones.  I dusted off the snow, which was nearly up to my knees, smiled the smile of a contented man, grabbed my keys and walked in my front door.

    Singing badly, albeit quieter this time. 

    Have a good night.

A Good Night

 

The Front of Das Rhino's Hacienda

    As i sit here at 12:30am, the snow is falling very hard outside my window, wind whipping it in an energetic frenzy, in almost a straight line, horizontally.  The weatherman says that its falling at the rate of between 2 and 4 inches per hour.  The weather man says this is a record snow event.  The weather man says there may be up to 24 inches of snow before all is said and done.   That is great.  But I really don’t care about how much snow falls.  That it is falling is enough. It helps melt the stress of the times away for me, and helps create that warm feeling that can only happen near Christmas.

    I’m sitting in a warm apartment with my wife, listening to Christmas Carols at a mellow volume, enjoying Frank Sinatra singing “Mistletoe and Holly”, and a plethora of other tunes with a glass of chardonnay in hand.  My wife got a few bottles of wine and other assorted festive holiday treats in a gift basket as a thank you for a years worth of blogging.  It’s not the best vintage, that is a guarantee, but it’s fine by me. 

    I’ve had all of 2 glasses of the Sycamore Valley wine, small ones.  I’m not a wine connoisseur, when I drank regularly I was more the cheap American beer/Tequila drinker, wine wasn’t my thing, so I couldn’t really tell you how good it is.  It’s fine for me.  I’m not drinking it for any other reason than because my wife is drinking it, and that gives it all the flavor I need.

   I’m in kind of a mellow mood.  The wine has helped to loosen up my back and my quadriceps, which have been sore as hell all day, after yesterday’s workout and the last 2 days running.  A welcome respite from the pain. And I get to relax on a rare night without the concerns of most other days.  It can snow a million inches for all I care.  I don’t get stress free time like this very often, I’m enjoying it.

   No news.  No stress over finances.  Nothing but joy and time well spent with my wife, which I am interrupting writing this.  So I’m done.  Truly a good night. 

   Good Night.

Today’s Nugget, Via wikiquote:  …the wind had dropped, and the snow, tired of rushing around in circles trying to catch itself up, now fluttered gently down until it found a place on which to rest, and sometimes the place was Pooh’s nose and sometimes it wasn’t and in a little while Piglet was wearing a white muffler round his neck and feeling more snowy behind the ears than he had ever felt before.  A.A. Milne

Anagram: Forefathers/ Share Effort

       Rather than the usual bluster about how the world is a mess, i will simply toss a few viddys, a few pieces of art and some quotes at you.

     BTW, you’ll notice i don’t write as much about finances as i used to.  That’s because there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, despite what Mr. Heller said in the above video.  The economy is still in a somewhat fragile state, but not as bad as it was when things first started to fall apart in earnest in late 2007, and things in that vein are much improved since the money market run that happened in mid September.

  Could also be that i am a very focused individual, and since I’m out of work, I’m focused on fixing that issue. 

   First Picture; The Calumny of Apelles, by Sandro Botticelli

800px-Sandro_Botticelli_021

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Second Picture; one of Katsushika Hokusai’s 36 views of Mount Fuji series, this being #2 in the series, at least in the list by the people at wikimedia commons.

800px-Hokusai02_new-year

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Third and Final Picture is a close-up of the signatures on the Constitution.  The document might not be perfect, and it might not be art, but i like it.

622px-Constitution_signatures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    That’s about it from me. A second viddy, a few quotes, and I am done.

  The second viddy is from Bill Moyers Journal, speaking about torture.  

   That’s it for me. Later.

Today’s Nuggets, Via Marksquotes:  All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.   James Madison

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.  Thomas Paine

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.   John Adams

It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn.   George Washington

Anagram: Rhino’s Tears/ Satire Shorn

       My wife, who I only found out less than a week ago was pregnant, had a miscarriage.  450px-sc3a9pulcre_arc-en-barrois_111008_09

      I have no words.  None.  Well…One.  Sorrow.

          The words of others will suffice here.

   Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.   

  caryatid03  Holy Sonnet X,  by John Donne

    The worst pain a man can suffer: to have insight into much and power over nothing.  Herodotus

 

   I think I will just hide in music and games for a bit and distance myself from it for a little while. And console my wife.  It must hurt her terribly, if it hurts me.  Normally nothing hurts me, but if it hurts me this much, she must be going through hell.  She needs me.

   Politics and other such things tomorrow.

    Goodnight.