Matthew had some strong ideas about prayer. It is in his book that we find the Lord's Prayer, also known as "The Swiss Army Knife of Prayers." This particular prayer, according to Matthew (who should know about such things), is the Alpha and the Omega of prayers. He stresses this when he writes in Matthew 6:9-6:13, "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven....
Of late, and for obvious reasons, I've become more likely to pray than to curse. Indeed my new program is to swap a prayer for a curse whenever I find I've slipped into the cursing mode.
In a world that is accursed putting more curses into it is never a good idea. We are full up at present. No shortage of curses that I can see. Still, slipping into the cursing mode is easy to do in today's world. We're encouraged to do it by the very nature of the secular society.
Add to that my thirty year stint in New York City where the standard reaction to almost any event is either a curse that involves the middle initial of the Savior (Just what does that "H." stand for anyway?), or the invocation of unnamed males who have an affinity for crude sex only with females of the motherly persuasion, and you've got, when it comes to my ability and propensity to curse, one crude mother....
It's a bad habit and one that I am trying to break. One way is, whenever I catch myself in an angry cursing moment, to recite a prayer instead. And the goto prayer in these multiple moments is always the Lord's. It's brief. It's beautiful. I can say it at high speed and by rote.
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day...
The Lord's Prayer also has a hidden benefit. It has, at is core, one simple but profound request:
"Give. Us. This. Day."
That's it. That's the real core of all prayers. That is the one request of the Lord without which nothing else matters. That is what all our past, lost days flow towards and which all our future hoped-for days flow from. Without the gift of "This Day" the ones that have passed have no meaning and the ones that are to come have no potentiality. Both are but abstractions or, as the poet has it:
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Which is a fancy way of saying that without the gift of this day being given all else is lost. Secular thinkers speak of this as being "in the now" as if "being here now" was all that it took to be really alive.
I lived in that popcult fauxworld for years before escaping and, looking back, I seem to remember it not as replete with luminous headlands overlooking the sea, but as the shadowlands that loom beyond a darker border. It was neither a gift nor a curse, a burden or a blessing. It simply was and, as a result, was rather unremarkable.
That secular world originated out of nothing, out of the limited imagination of the noosphere and, with no reach beyond itself, existed closer to the Alpha than to the Omega. It had, as secular things often do, a tangle of bright, shiny deceivers clustered around it like gnats outside a privy, but when you arrived at the center it had nothing to say about tomorrow, and very little to promise about this day other than that it would be roughly similar to yesterday. There was little inscape and no escape. Its "Now" was always the same day, neither given nor taken but simply existing. It was the kind of day in which the existence of the Human and the existence of Planaria were essentially equal. I, for one, would rather ask for my day than simply arrive in it.
Which is why, when I pray the Lord's Prayer, I always pause -- at the very least -- when I come to the phrase, "Give us this day." And in that pause I remember another phrase derived from scripture, "Tomorrow is not promised."
I once knew that phrase, "Tomorrow is not promised," in a rather dry, academic, vaguely poetic manner. Now, having had my all my tomorrows removed and then miraculously restored, I understand the phrase down to the marrow of my bones. Coming into this day I always ask "Give us this day." Departing the day I find I return to the early litanies of childhood, "I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake...."
But then, so far, I do wake and I continue in my project to replace curses with prayers. I'm not very good at it yet. Still fairly shaky. Then again, as another poet tells me,
This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.
The Lord give me (and give you) This Day.
[ UPDATE: And now, the First Lady of the United States, in Florida, February 18, 2017 .... ]Click Here to Continue
Proof -- Dateline: Moab, Utah Taken at Site
He'd hunted big game for years all over the United States. Hunting was a way of life to him. But, in all those years, he'd never shot a buffalo. He'd put his name in for the lottery that gave out yearly licenses to shoot buffalo, but year after year the winning number had eluded him. As he failed, again and again, his need to add a buffalo, an American bison, to his life bag grew to obsessive proportions. Finally, he could stand it no longer. He determined that he would buy a couple of young buffalo, raise them, and then shoot them. It seemed like a plan.
When the buffalo purchase was completed the question arose about where these buffalo were to be raised. He wasn't a rich man and the cost to two baby buffalo maxed out his credit cards. The only viable option was to raise them on his front lawn in Moab, Utah. Accordingly, the buffalo were delivered and put out to pasture, or "out to lawn" as the case may be.
Besides grass the lawn also contained, courtesy of his kids, a couple of soccer balls. Shortly after the buffalo became his lawn ornaments, he was out walking among them when one of them discovered a soccer ball and butted it over to him with its nose. Without thinking he kicked it back towards the other buffalo, who passed it to the first buffalo who butted it back to him. An hour or so of passing and kicking the soccer ball between man and buffalo ensued.
When he went out on his lawn the next morning, they were waiting for him. One seemed to be playing midlawn while the other hung back by the water trough which had become some sort of goal. The forward buffalo butted the ball towards him. Without thinking he returned the kick over the head of the forward. No good. With a speed belying its bulk, the defensive buffalo moved quickly and butted it through his legs to the porch. When it bounced off the barbecue, they seemed to do a brief victory prance. The game was afoot.
Day after day, week after week, the strange lawn ritual with the soccer ball went on and on. In truth, he had long since pulled far ahead of the buffalo in goals, but what do buffalo know about keeping score?
In time, however, the hunting season came around. He looked out of his house on the first morning and saw the buffalo waiting for him, the soccer ball in front of the forward, the defensive buffalo pacing slowly back and forth by the water trough. It came to him then that he could never shoot them. It would spoil the season -- and the soccer season, in the deserts of Utah, is never really over.
On a hot afternoon soon after, he looked out his window and discovered, much to his delight and his neighbors' shock, that the two buffalo on his lawn were indeed male and female.
Now it is two years later and he has four buffalo on his lawn. He doesn't hunt anything anymore. Says he's lost the taste for it. His old hunting buddies come by every so often and razz him about the buffalo.
"You started with two and couldn't shoot them," one said. "Now you got four, and next year you're gonna have five. What are you going to do then?"
He went to his garage and came back with a basketball.
"Trump la mitad del territorio de U.S.A. es nuestro": Trump, half the territory of the USA is ours. "Trump, devuelve (etc)": Trump return our (list of states). "Trump no pagaremos tu muro": Trump, we're not going to pay for your wall.
Loomings. Every year, sometime between the fade of Indian summer and the rise of white drifts, I find myself entering the forgetting. Underneath the rain and the packed ice my world goes brown and brittle, sodden with leaf mulch, sad with weed sighs, and the mind fills with all the past gone years.
The weather becomes predictable and hence I pay more attention to the predictions -- a kind of confirmation bias of gloom; sought to bolster my own pessimism of this time, of that place,
Of things ill done and done to others' harm
Which once you took for exercise of virtue.
In the forgetting time the sunlight hours of the day seem to drain rapidly away until you mark well, and others underscore for you, the shortest day of the year. But once that passes, the adding of sunlight to the day seems to come on with agonizing slowness and you note, ruefully, on a January Sunday, that at 7:15 it is still dark.
And then, on that same Sunday, only four hours later you open the door and step out into your little corner of the world. And you smell it. You smell it every year and every year you forget until it comes back again.
You smell that faint, distant, almost ineffable, sweetness coming in on a breeze from the south. You look to the north and you see the slate sky swirling away, almost ablating before your eyes, and the washed teal blue revealed. Not the winter's blue of stark ice, but a shade like that seen in a cast-off jay's feather.
It's the hint, the first faint far-off hint. It's a memory's whisper behind the breeze. You remember that to see what's really the news of the day you have to LOOK and look carefully. And so you look and you see what even yesterday you did not.
You see that the green of the pines has gotten brighter and taken on a faint shine. You see that the moss seems to be ringed round and shot through with small shoots of grass. You look and look more closely at the weeping birch and you see, as small as a butterfly's eyes, the buds beginning to push through the bark.
You see what was the rank and sodden leaf-mulch and sad decayed weeds and you think, "Compost. I really have to plant something now."
You pause on the street corner of your little corner of the world and you feel, see, hear, smell and, yes, faintly on the tip of your tongue, taste the return of the world. It's back from winter as the abiding earth swings again closer to our home star. It is today and today is Just-spring.
And in spite of yourself you remember the plaque on the wall at your daughter's school somewhere in all those past gone years:
This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it -- Psalm 118
Ace says: "Thanks to Soothsayer, the best TV intro ever, and yes, it beats Manimal, UFO, and even The Six Million Dollar Man."
And I believe him.
Nordstroms of Seattle yanks Ivanka Trump's line because... because.... well they lied. An interview with Abigail Adams at I Own the World where, at the end, it is suggested that I get in my van and round der loons. File under: "It's my horn and I toot it as I pleases."
"Just so you know: the woman I spoke with at Nordstrom was an exec asst to CEO, Blake Nordstrom. She wasn’t a random customer service person in the PI. Money talks and BS walks — and I’ve got (somewhere) my original paper Nordstrom credit card. I’m probably customer number 001. Now I’m customer 000. We won the battle of the election but, as you can all see today, the war has just begun. So suit up, fix bayonets, and get into the current battle — whatever it is." -- Abigail Adams We’re Going To Try and Do This More Often: Conversations With Readers – IOTW Report
One of my favourite anecdotes is of Mick returning unannounced to Dartford to see his parents after two years of chaotic world tours, debauchery, mayhem, riots and goodness only knows what else. ‘Oh Michael,’ says his horrified mother on opening the door. ‘Your hair….’
A laundry chute is a mythic domestic space. It’s an unwatched door to nowhere, the open throat of an old home. Its reputation has as much to do with convenience as with the early recognition that a house is not solid through and through. The laundry chute is a place where stains and embarrassing odors go to be erased, and dropping linen down the chute is a mnemonic for forgetting those embarrassments, for making such accidents invisible.
Does gentle reader enjoy being smeared? Well, I should speak only for myself. I don’t like it. Perhaps I am projecting when I guess that most members of the new administration, Stateside, don’t enjoy it either. Verily, I’ll go out on a limb, and say no normal person delights in becoming the target of vicious attack, and yet our Lord said: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”
In the past three weeks, Trump has: staffed the White House, sent a dozen Cabinet nominees to the Senate, browbeat Boeing into cutting its price on a government contract, harangued American CEOs into keeping their plants in the United States, imposed a terrorist travel ban, met with foreign leaders and nominated a Supreme Court justice, among many other things (And still our hero finds time to torment the media with his tweets!) What have congressional Republicans been doing? Scrapbooking?
Time and again, we give away a right because we think it’ll adversely affect only those we see as adversaries. But it always comes back on you. When you give power to politicians you like in order to punish Americans you don’t, it’s guaranteed that that power will one day be used against you by politicians you don’t like, who see you as the bad guy.
"Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world.
Where none suffered. Where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed that we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that as a species, human beings define their reality through misery and suffering. Smith Interrogates Morpheus Transcript
While the original colonial ancestry of the country has been overrun by subsequent migrants, the founding stock remain as a genetic undercurrent – a common genetic thread – within each American nation. This is especially true in the nations of the American South, where the colonial settlers received less subsequent migration and the original stock remains strong.
The changes that they saw in their lifetimes are nothing short of astonishing. Almanzo lived from 1857 and died in 1946; his birth predated the Civil War and his death happened after the dropping of the atomic bomb. Laura lived from 1867 to 1957; she was born during Reconstruction and died in the same year that Sputnik I was launched. She lived to see the introduction of electricity, the telephone, penicillin, movies, television, air travel, space travel, and two World Wars. She was born in an era of twig brooms and eating hard tack on the trail, and died in the age of vacuum cleaners and counter-top blenders.
"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: "
A ten minute signing ceremony today which concludes with Trump, surrounded by Washington DC players, giving the pen to the miners and inviting them back to the Oval Office. Check it out.Click Here to Continue
Too much winter? Too much rain? Two words: "Road Trip"
THE FIRST THING YOU LEARN IS your don't go "into" the Olympic Peninsula. You go around it. Although Seattle has the feel of being on a coast, it's really an interior city protected from the lashing storms of the Northwest Pacific by a vast up-welling of mountains, as much as it is protected from the cutting edge of our political storms by its removal to the far corner of the nation. One of the advantages of the city is that it sits at the bottom of a vast bowl of straits, lakes and mountains. When the rain clears out and you take in the western view from the top of Queen Anne Hill (the highest hill in Seattle) you see the barrier of the Olympic Mountains that seems to wrap around half the horizon. After seeing this a number of time, two words appear in the mind: Road Trip.
So it was with Spring a day away and, for once, a promising weather forecast I set out for a short trip to the Olympic Peninsula since I had had enough, for a few days at least of:
But, as I said, there is no "into" when it comes to the Olympic Peninsula, only "around."
It was not promising when, in my effort to get to the ferry that would take me out to the jumping off point, I ran afoul of three detours and two Sunday afternoon traffic jams. What should have been a fifteen minute drive to the ferry turned into an hour and a half. Enough time to take me off my original plan of staying at the Kalaloch Lodge. Instead, I only managed to make the town of Forks in time to participate in the town's annual scholarship auction. You had no choice but to participate since every sound system in every store and restaurant was tuned to the broadcast of the auction and turned up loud. I took shelter by going to the auction itself.
It was one of those small town events that puts your faith in the essential goodness of people back into your soul. Everyone in this town of some 1,300 souls had evidently donated something (From a $1600 Alaskan Fishing Trip to a plate of 6 brownies baked by the Brownies -- $22 and delicious). And everyone in the town was buying something. Furniture, art, baked goods, embroidered guest towels, exercise equipment... a hodgepodge of a town wide garage sale. The purpose? A fund to send some kids from Forks to college. And in Forks getting to college was very, very important because it meant those kids that made it had a chance to get out of Forks.
Not that it is a bad town. Not at all. It is just that it is a dying town. The curtailing of logging and fishing in the Olympic Peninsula may have gone over well in Seattle where people are concerned that they won't have any natural, unspoiled environments in which to ride their horsies and mossy woods to hike about in. In Seattle, the only thing more popular for a politician to say than "It's for the children" is "It's for the environment." Some of the brighter politicians have taken to working in the phrase, "It's for the children's environment!" This always plays to rousing ovations and cheers, especially from the childless.
Things are not so happy in Forks which has had to deal with the loss of thousands of jobs as a result of various "popular" [in the cities] measures. Forks, by any measure, is struggling to keep its head above water. You can feel it in the forced cheer and the determined pride shown at this one small auction where, against all odds, they have managed to raise more than $50,000 for the Forks Escape Fund.
One of my local correspondents, much more knowledgeable about the shameful political history that killed Forks related this small tale that pretty much sums up the relationship of city and town in Washington state:
Our US Senators, Patty Murray (D) who we rightfully detest and Slade Gorton (Republican and now defeated by Maria Cantwell) were on opposite sides of a timber debate on the floor of the senate. Listening to the floor action on the squawk box, we heard Patty nattering about how she was totally in tune with the people of Washington on timber issues, why in fact the lumbermen of Forks were some of her best sources of information and strongest supporters, The staffer turned to me and said "Seattle liberal greenies may love Patty, but not the good folks in Forks. She's cost hundreds, maybe thousands of timber people their jobs. If you handcuffed her to the stop sign in the middle of Forks at 3 AM, come morning she'd be gone and they would never be able to find her body."
True enough. I looked. And she wasn't there. There are many hungry crab pots in these waters.
After an amazingly indifferent meal, I put up at the Pacific Inn Motel to wait for dawn and pray for sun.
Which, amazingly, arrived with the dawn. I wanted to go south towards the Hoh Rain Forest, but since La Push was nearby I decided to head there. Big mistake. Even though my correspondent, who had been so prescient about Forks, declared that she "grew up hiking, camping, trying to drown myself and poaching salmon, crabs and clams off all these beaches and I love every stinking piece of seaweed on every slippery barnacle befouled rock, " I found that I could not share the love enough to find it in La Push. La Push is an indian village and like most of these sad places, seems determined not to let money from casinos work against decades of squalor. Whenever I find myself in these towns I always have to wonder where all those millions are going. Certainly not for paint or decent housing. I beat a quick retreat.
La Push, the only scenic view
About an hour later, I took a left and came to one of the roads I was looking for.
This let me know that I was well on my way to what is probably the greatest collection of moss in the Northern Hemisphere, the Hoh Rain Forest.
I stopped in a small store on the way in where the woman behind the counter had been waiting patiently for at least a week to sell something to somebody. She sold me a rain coat. "You'll probably need it seeing that you are going to a rain forest." What could I do but agree? Besides, it was lined with the holy fabric of the Pacific Northwest, fleece, and it doubled my holdings.
Correctly attired, waterproof, I pushed on up the road past local inhabitants --
--- and signage betraying local attitudes that seemed as eager to say "Goodbye" as "Howdy tourista!"
But it was worth it because, once beyond the mysteriously deserted entrance to the Hoh Rain Forest, --
-- I found myself alone in the location where they will shoot the Freddy Kruger epic, Nightmare in the National Parks.
Walking the Hall of Mosses trail alone on a Monday morning brings you quickly in touch with the overwhelming beauty of this carefully preserved and presented part of the forest. The signs along the way and the slow rise into deeper and deeper groves of moss obliterated trees is like walking through a live Powerpoint slide show on "the value of preserving our national parks at all costs. No matter who has to pay."
At the same time, this particular show, by the time you get to the core of it, starts to present your subconscious mind with all sorts of disturbing back chatter. For all the beauty of it, you still understand that you are also seeing a parasite run wild across a very large chunk of forest. And you see, time and again, how a very small organism such as a spore of moss can topple very large forms of life such as a 300 foot tall spruce. I've always liked moss but I have noticed that various treatments to kill it are quite popular at the local Home Depots. Perhaps, just perhaps, even a good thing can get a little out of hand.
From the Hoh Rain Forest I finally found my way to Kalaloch Lodge. I'd made this my destination since it seemed to promise all the things I need in the way of a retreat from the world, that vision of Edna St. Vincent Millay of:
.... a little shanty on the sand
And so I was forced to hunker down with plank-grilled salmon and a few glasses of crisp Riesling. And there I sat until, as it will, the last light came and got me.
It not only fetched me out of the cabin, it fetched the entire lodge as if a lodestone had, on the very cusp of the vernal equinox, of Spring, taken hold of our rain-soaked, mossy souls and dragged us out of our pastoral stupor, back into the world dimensional.
All along the cabins strung down the bluff doors opened and men, women, children and dogs came tumbling out onto the wet lawn to hover and stare as far out to sea as they could while the sun came down from beneath the curtain of cloud and lit the world and made it new.
It was only about five hours steady drive back to Seattle, but nobody was leaving. Behind us you had the impenetrable escarpment of the Olympic Peninsula.
In front of us you had the slow Pacific swell illuminated by the hand of God.
Tomorrow would be the first full day of Spring. It would rain again. It would always rain again.
For now, nobody was going anywhere.
"If there had not been freedom of speech in the 19th century, I can guarantee you that we would still have slavery today. Powerful voices would have silenced the abolitionists arguments and the modern world would never have come into being. We have labor saving devices because labor became expensive. And labor became expensive because slavery was ended...."Click Here to Continue
When the fog forms in Paradise all my ghosts come out, moving like wraiths behind the mist, believing no one can see them. But I do. Everywhere in this small town in northern California in which I was a young boy and to which I have returned as an old man, I often sense that boy and those long ago moments.
This morning the fog was thick here on the ridge as I returned from an errand down on Lucky John Road; a road I had not been on for over 60 years. Even before I came over the crest of the hill and started down the far side my back brain told me there was a brook at the bottom. And sure enough, in a moment, my car passed over the brook as it flowed in a culvert from one side of the road to the other.
Today there were a number of tidy cookie-cutter contractor-built homes on either side complete with their gardens, garages, and water-features. The once forest-thick pines were thinned out to garden specs.
The little old lady’s ramshackle homemade house was long gone to landfill... as was the little old lady herself. Still, as I pulled the car over in the fog and looked around, they appeared. Ghosts moving behind today's new morning; a kind of Balinese shadow puppet epic projected on the far side of the atmosphere by the lantern of memory.
The last time I had been to the brook I was 11 and I walked. I walked from my house on the canyon's edge half a mile to where the brook meandered out of the pines and under Lucky John Road. I did it because my father told me to do it. I did it because my father had decided that at 11 it was time I had “A Job.” My father believed in boys having A Job and having one as soon as possible.
One evening shortly after my 11th December birthday he called me aside. “There’s an old lady named Miss Helen over the hill who needs help,” he told me. “She’s getting on and she has no family. She needs help chopping wood for her heat and other chores.” (“Dad, please.”) “No backtalk. I’ve already told her you’d be there tomorrow afternoon.” (“Oh come on, dad.”) “Did I mention she was going to pay you.” (“Please, dad.... Oh? How much?”) “Four or five bucks a week....” (“When can I start?”)
This would have been 1956 and my allowance at the time was a royal fifty cents a week which kept me in bubble gum and comic books. Barely. The sum to be paid was an expansion of my cash on hand to levels beyond the dreams of boyhood avarice. The next afternoon my Keds crunched through the thin sheets of ice formed in the puddles next to the stream as I reported to Miss Helen driven more by greed than duty.
Thinking back Miss Helen’s place was more of a hut than a house. It had a tin roof and was very small, consisting of a small sitting area just inside the door, a kitchen behind that, and a sleeping alcove behind that with a curtain that was always closed.
The hut sat on what were probably cinder blocks on a sort of islet around which branches of the brook actually made a babbling sound over the mossed rocks. There must have been some electricity since I remember a refrigerator and a radio, but there weren’t any electric lights, only kerosene lanterns that required me to trim their wicks. Her water was drawn from the stream and stored in a large tank just on the other side of the kitchen wall with a pipe that came through the wall to a small metal tub she used as a sink. One of my primary tasks was to carry buckets of water to the tank and fill it.
This job began in the winter and the only source of heat Miss Helen had was a standard issue wood stove that she also used for cooking. The stove took a lot of wood and the old lady’s wood came from a large pile of logs on another islet behind her hut. They were far too big to fit in the stove and my main job was to take a maul, then an axe, then a hatchet, and transform the each log into a pile of kindling that the old lady could use. It wasn’t that bad a job except when it snowed or rained, which, since this was winter in Paradise was pretty much every other day when it was not a continuation of the snow and rain from the day before.
At the start it made me ache but by the end of two weeks I didn’t mind it much. I went to school. I took the bus home and at the bus stop instead of going down the dirt road to home I walked over the hill to chop wood and carry water. When I was done I would walk home. Tired.
Miss Helen was both little and very, very old. Or as old as a person in their late 60s appeared to a boy of 11 in 1956. She was small, stooped, with almost translucent hands, and as roly-poly as my paternal grandmother. She wore thick stockings and heavy shoes. It seemed to me that she wore only hand-sewn dresses that could have been fashioned from large print tablecloths. Over these she always had an apron on. These aprons always had a pocket and from that magic pocket, every Friday, she’d take a clasp-closed leather change purse and count out four silver dollars with their satisfying clack and clink.
Once I got home my father had me hand over two of the silver dollars so he could demonstrate the miracle of compound interest in a savings account he made me open.
“So,” he’d ask every week as he relieved me of half my cash flow,”how do you like going to the job?”
I’d make some kind of half-hearted response to which his response was always, “You don’t have to like the job, but a real man always goes to the job.”
I’d nod and dream of all the extra Fleers bubble gum and comic books my residual two bucks were going to get me down at the Feed Store. Sometimes I’d splurge and get a nickel Coke and read my comics lying on bags of feed with their dusty burlap smell.
And so I went to the job with the little old lady who lived by the brook. For months I chopped wood and carried water for Miss Helen, and saw how even the very old and the very poor still carried on their lives with dignity even when all they had was miserable, mean nothing.
Then, one day, I came home on the school bus and found my father waiting for me at the stop. “You don’t have to go to work today. Miss Helen’s left.”
“Left? Where’d she go?”
“When’s she coming back?”
“She won’t be. But she left this for you.” He reached into his wallet and handed me a ten dollar bill. At the time it was the largest bill I’d ever possessed. “It’s like a two week notice. She wanted you to have it.”
I took it feeling good about having it but disappointed that Miss Helen would leave without so much as a goodbye.
But of course she didn’t leave. She just became a ghost; a ghost my father wanted to spare me. Hence, she just went away. Until this morning when, sitting in my car near the brook on Lucky John Road, she came back.
She came back out of the fog; small, translucent, in her hand-made dress with her apron and her worn change purse fat with its silver dollars.
Which is when, after 60 years, it hit me.
Miss Helen was a very, very poor woman. In 1956 four silver dollars a week would have been a serious sum of money to her. Very serious. Unless she had some sort of secret stash of silver dollars. Which I was pretty sure she did not. In fact I’m pretty sure a secret stash of pennies would have been beyond her means.
On the other hand, my father really liked silver dollars and always kept a jar full on his dresser.
“You don’t have to like the job, but a real man always goes to the job.”
When the fog forms in Paradise, all my ghosts come out.
Now I see you standing
With brown leaves falling around
And snow in your hair
Now you're smiling out the window
Of that crummy hotel
Over Washington Square
Our breath comes out white clouds
Mingles and hangs in the air
Speaking strictly for me
We both could have died then and there....
As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
I've got a little list--I've got a little list.... - W. S. Gilbert
"The List" is the bane of testosterone-driven humans. "The List" is kept in the secret mental lock-box of human beings of the estrogen persuasion. Some believe that "The List" is a social construct, while others believe that "The List" is hard-wired into the DNA of the human female. I favor the latter theory since it seems to me that "The List" is merely a subset of "The Plan" -- and "The Plan" is not only part and parcel of the basic makeup of the human female regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, or historic epoch, it is also the reason that -- over time -- women triumph over men. Women, in short, always have a life plan while men are stuck with something that looks like a cross between a spread sheet without a recalc button and a really slick marketing idea.
In short, men might have a plan for making a rocket-propelled street luge, but they have none at all when it comes to human activities that stretch across decades -- unless it involves such trifles as national defense or energy policy. Men seem to see items like this as actually important, but women know that what is really important is the command and control of male behavior. Hence, "Your Permanent Conduct Record" aka "The List."
Women reading this essay are, of course, not the type to ever keep an indelible list of male transgressions, large and teeny-tiny. But trust me, there are many that do. Why? Because it works.
"The List" is a means of male-control through negative feedback. Positive male actions towards a woman are expected, perhaps noted at the time, perhaps not, -- but always in pencil. A brief pat and nod of encouragement and then the woman goes back into the default mode of "what have you done for me lately?" "Lately" is, as all men know, but a small subset of a single day.
Failings of the male -- such as lapses in mental telepathy -- are kept on "The List" in indelible ink, preferably blood-red. "The List" also includes transgressions, large and small, against the woman from previous relationships with previous males. The ownership of all these transgressions is automatically transfered to the male of the current relationship at the moment of inception or conception, whichever comes first. This is the reason men sometimes feel they are expected to pay an overdue bill for a meal they did not eat in a restaurant that no longer exists. Plus a 20% tip.Click Here to Continue
In a large forested enclosure of the Wolong Reserve, panda keepers Ma Li and Liu Xiaoqiang listen for radio signals from a collared panda training to be released to the wild.
Tracking can tell them how the cub is faring in the rougher terrain up the mountain. As conservation icons go, nothing quite beats the giant panda. Instantly recognizable worldwide and adored by billions, the giant panda is a virtual brand whose resemblance to anything wild is as tenuous as it is rare. Like many endangered species, giant pandas have declined as a growing human population has seized wild lands for human uses. The Chinese have spent the past quarter of a century perfecting breeding methods, building a captive population and protecting habitat. The giant panda was recently taken off the world endangered species list—a minor miracle, due to the unique efforts of Chinese zoologists and conservationists. -- Winners of the 2017 World Press Photo Contest
Cognitive dissonance happens.
Fortunate that the drooling moron mayor of Davis now sleeps with the squashed toads.
[HT: Armchair Sinner: "Gawd, I forgot about Julie Partansky: a proponent of leaving potholes unpaved, lest we should lose their historic value (I'm not joking); one of the architects of the Dark Skies campaign, which dimmed and shaded streetlamps to better view the stars, much to the delight of drunken college students, graffiti "artists," rapists and muggers (finally, we folks in the Downtown Davis Business Association -DDBA- been able to make some headway against this crime issue); and, last but not least, Ms. Partansky was a vocal opponent of mosquito abatement, particularly with respect to West Nile Virus spraying.
RIP, Julie, 'cause now that you're gone, we sure are.
Oh yeahhh, we can't forget this little gem either (sorry about the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert link, but it's funny and from way back in 1999, when he wasn't so insufferable.):"]
Thank you for being here. For today, and for all days, this is my wish for you.
In Tuesday's Woodpile Report. Ol' Remus offers up a fine study of the recent regrettable events in that bastion of Free Speech, Berkeley, California:
Having achieved their stated goal—shutting down the event—the mob then surged into the city of Berkeley and went Full Ferguson, again without serious inconvenience by law enforcement.It appears there was another, unstated goal. Those who committed acts of violence and property destruction were promptly called "outsiders" on the basis of no public evidence whatever. Such speedy certainty suggests insider knowledge, perhaps prior knowledge.
Actual "outsiders" in student mobs, meaning "no affiliation to the campus", are rare. They ask us to imagine a sudden and sizable influx of random opportunists where there was no evident gain. "Outsiders" are more often the most inside of insiders, on call for criminal thug work . On call by who? Perhaps by those who can offer credible assurance of noninterference by law enforcement....
Oathkeepers has infiltrated organizations like The Berkeley Against Trump Coalition and has this to say about the "outsiders" they deploy:
The anarchists are by far the most dangerous of these groups. They are organized like militias. They actively train and practice their operations. They have discipline and zero tolerance for weakness. They have a number of former military personnel providing expertise to enhance security, logistics and martial arts capabilities. The majority are physical fit, military age males. They are primarily white with few minority members. Their leadership tends to be either former military, a proven leader from the occupy movement or a highly educated alpha-male.
The rest is right next to the top at last Tuesday's Woodpile Report.
The progressive madness
has only gotten worse after the election of our LORD and SAVIOR, Donald J TRUMP!! They're doubling down on EVERYTHING they believe in, but the thing is, they don't actually believe in anything except for petty vindictive virtue signaling moral panic justified by demonizing every political opponent.
It's going to be a beautiful 8 years of Trump!
He mixed soda powder and water with a wooden stirring stick but somehow forgot about his drink and left it on the porch. When he woke up the next morning andreturned to the porch his drink was frozen with the wooden stir stick stuck in the frozen liquid. He ran the glass under hot water and licked the frozen treat off the wooden stir stick. He had invented a new treat and named it Epsicle. - - Vintage News
. The "resistance" is a collection of elites, from actors at award shows to fashion magazines to tech billionaires, decrying a popular revolt against their rule. They are not the resistance. They are dictators in exile. They had their chance to impose their vision on the people. And they lost. The revolution will not be brought to you by BMW, by a Davos conference, by $100 cologne that smells like nothing or by Facebook lobbying. It will be brought to you by the comeback of America. Sultan Knish: The Elites are Revolting
This does not mean you should run for office, though that is certainly an option for some. Even if you cannot serve in an elected capacity, your local officials need to know who you are and what you stand for. In my local town, we had a county commissioner running for reelection this past year. He had not done a good job, but is well known in the community and seemed to have the inside track on getting his seat back. So what did we do? We found a guy who offered a better choice, we supported him, and we got him elected. If he doesnât follow through, then we will get rid of him next time. This is something we can all do. Whether it is a mayor, sheriff, or any other local office, get good people in there. Use that same principle for state representatives, state senators, and on up to national office. Moving Into Meatspace -- Men Of The West
To many Japanese feline lovers, cat paws smell like nice things (right from caramel crepes, to wheat and sunflowers) and their soft, smooth texture is considered mysteriously soothing. Cat paws are so popular that a couple of years ago, a company came out with a hand-cream that not only left the users' hands as smooth to the touch as a cat's paw, but also made their skin smell like it too. But now, the organizers of the 2017 Japan Pet Fair, are taking this obsession one step further with two unique ice creams designed to have the texture and flavor of cat and dog paws.
* The organization can be created by any private or public institution from a small church or informal neighborhood group all the way up to the Federal Government, with a heavy emphasis on local involvement.
* Ideally, the organizations will be physically centered around local fire halls, schools, and churches, due to their central location and existing infrastructure (e.g., parking for vehicles, communications, sanitation, and bulk cooking facilities. Concepts For A New Civil Defense Organization: Part I – Overview | Western Rifle Shooters Association
That’s the new narrative on the left. The Hitler illusion is starting to fade because Trump refuses to build concentration camps as his critics hallucinated he would.
And Israel likes Trump, which is making the Hitler illusion harder to maintain. So the critics are evolving their main line of attack from Hitler to “incompetent,” with a dash of “chaos.” You’ll see those two words all over the Opposition Media’s coverage. It isn’t a coincidence. How to Evaluate a President | Scott Adams' Blog
I’ll send them a little message, except I don’t think many of them read me, but here it is:
Trump isn’t dumb. He’s pretty canny, and he knows how to mock people, in case you hadn’t noticed. Like him or hate him, he’s a good comedian as well, and at least half the country already likes and trusts him. That’s more people than like and trust you, and that fact is not because of anything Trump has said about you, it’s about your behavior for several decades and beyond. And the more sanctimonious you act about yourselves, the more you will be hated. neo-neocon Trump's presser: beauty in the eye of the beholder
In this case, the trigger is clear. Trump’s unexpected win forced the Huffington Post to rewrite their mental movies from one in which they were extra-clever writers to one in which they were the dumbest political observers in the entire solar system.
You might recall that the Huffington Post made a big deal of refusing to cover Trump on their political pages when he first announced his candidacy. They only carried him on their entertainment pages because they were so smart they knew he could not win.
Then he won.
When reality violates your ego that rudely, you either have to rewrite the movie in your head to recast yourself as an idiot, or you rewrite the movie to make yourself the hero who could see what others missed. Apparently the Huffington Post chose to rewrite their movie so Trump is a deranged monster, just like they warned us. That’s what they see. This isn’t an example of so-called “fake” news as we generally understand it. This is literally imaginary news. Imaginary News | Scott Adams' Blog
And I don’t want to be a part of that club anymore. It used to be that if you were a gay, educated atheist living in New York, you had no choice but to be liberal. But as I met more Trump supporters with whom I was able to have engaging, civil discussions about issues that impact us all, I realized that I like these people — even if I have some issues with Trump himself. For example, I don’t like his travel ban or the cabinet choices he’s made. But I finally had to admit to myself that I am closer to the right than where the left is today. And, yes, just three months ago, I voted for Hillary Clinton. - - NY Post[HT: NeoNeoCon]
if you're a gay white male, yes, you're gay, all right, but you're also the two worst things you can be in the eyes of the left: white and male. Which means that on balance you're more privileged than you are oppressed. Across Europe, gays have been deserting the left in growing numbers for the so-called “far-right” parties that are standing up to Islam – and they're making that move because they've seen enough of Islam to know that it represents a threat to their very lives. Woodpile Report
symbolically “negative” reds — those coloring the fires of hell, the face of the Devil, the coat or feathers of infernal creatures, and all impure blood of one kind or another—were often painted with the same pigment: sandarac, a resin lacquer more commonly called “cinnabar of the Indies” or “dragon’s blood.” Various legends circulated in workshops regarding this pigment, a relatively expensive one because it had to be imported from far away. It was believed to come not from a plant resin but from the blood of a dragon, gored by its mortal enemy, the elephant. According to medieval bestiaries, which followed Pliny and the ancient authors here, the inside of the dragon’s body was filled with blood and fire; after a fierce struggle, when the elephant had punctured the dragon’s belly with its tusks, out flowed a thick, foul, red liquid, from which was made a pigment used to paint all the shades of red considered evil. A Brief History of Red: How Artists Made the Elusive Color
The long-term forecast has rainfall totals within the watershed that are showing the exact spot where Lake Oroville watershed is located will get 11.62 inches of rain over the next 10 days, the most accumulated rainfall in the entire western USA:
in which a judge who agrees with the result writes separately because he or she feels there is something more to be said. Or, as Judge Roy puts it (in passive voice), “A few disquieting thoughts that have lingered and languished in distressed silence in mentation demand expression at the parting with a pulpit touch. Hence, this supplement.” | Lowering the Bar
When residents were ordered to evacuate on Sunday, many left in haste, including some, in Sutton County, California who left behind a few of their pets, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. And not just any pets: an albino kangaroo, a red kangaroo, and a muntjac, a type of small deer -- named Kenzie, Dottie, and Mary, respectively. The animals were found safe == if perhaps a little traumatized -- by the California Highway Patrol, officials said Tuesday, and, for now, are staying with a California family that has cared for abandoned animals in the past. The animals' owners were not named, but, hopefully, they'll be reunited soon. Their temporary caretakers said that Kenzie, in particular, was used to sleeping in bed with her owner.
The rounds might kill, maim, or just leave a painful but survivable wound, but in less than half a minute, they were all on their way. Inside the vans, the rounds tick-tick-ticked off, and the brass went into catch-pouches. The mob was careening around the intersection now. Panic set in with a vengeance as people started to go down. The herd started to stampede back the way they'd come when the first vehicle's gas tank went up with a "Whoompph!", and sent them in new directions. - - Raconteur Report: Tomorrow
While flamingo hunting is both illegal and uncommon in the South American nation, investigators from Zulia University in the northwestern Venezuelan city of Maracaibo have noted at least 20 cases of bird carcasses being discovered with their breasts and torsos removed. And flamingos aren't the only unusual animal to become a victim of Venezuela's worsening food crisis. Remains of everything from dogs and cats to donkeys and even giant anteaters have been found in garbage bags at city dumps around the country. "Sometimes we only find the animal's heads, guts and legs. We used to see this very little in the past, but this practice is now out of control and on the rise," Robert Linares, a Maracaibo waste disposal worker, told the Miami Herald. Linares added he recently found on the street the remains of a dog that had been skinned and dismembered.
We’re seeing that today with the coordinated attacks on the trouble makers by the media companies. Twitter and Facebook are banning anyone that they think is in in the resistance. Even comedy posts can be deemed blasphemous. Yesterday some guy named PewDiePie was erased from the media for impure thoughts. The level of coordination is astonishing. Google and Disney team up to erase the guy and then the mainstream press is out reporting within minutes that he was eliminated due to heresy. It could be a coincidence that all of the big media players were on this at the same time, but it could also suggest a high degree of cooperation. The people in charge are pulling out all the stops to crack down on dissidents. They consider the threat posed by errant comedians on YouTube so serious, any means necessary will be used to end it. What’s important here is not that some comedian lost his livelihood. That’s part of the message being sent. The more important part is the coordination. | The Z Blog
Could take weeks, could take minutes. There will be a warning, there always is. But consider this. Perhaps we've already been warned and it'll be obvious in retrospect. Pompeii, for example, prosperous and pleasant except for the annoying tremors. -- From the New Woodpile Report HERE
Madam, Let the showers of your pity mitigate the fires of my fancy.
Madam, There's a civil assault within me, by which I feel a certain restraint of my own liberty and affections.
Madam, You have no more beauty than will serve to excuse you from being extreamly ugly.
Madam, Your hair negligently dishevell'd, and careless attire, grace forth your beauty; which shines in the midst of so many obstacles, as the Sun in a winter day.
I keep thinking about how important it is to have a weather station in the most northerly and cold latitudes of Alaska to monitor the polar air for signs of Dangerous Global Warming.
I think many of Obama's national security personnel and DoJ personnel can be usefully assigned to this
gulagcritical science headquarters, especially given that many of them believe that global warming is both the most important national security issue of our time, and also a threat to Environmental Justice. - - Ace of Spades
I read as much of “Ulysses” as I thought I was obligated to do, then recognized that I was no longer willing to give Joyce the satisfaction of my attention.
There’s the sense, at least, that Joyce put his back into it a little bit. The painter just sought the easy path – the Pollock and the Rothko – and found it cleared of obstacles by a public who was tired of things being important. The public could form no bond with the important, and so they asked for, and received, something that looked as messy and meaningless as they felt. “We are not permanent. Please do not speak to us of permanent things.” But they’re up against it from the start. If you’re a modernist, or a post-modernist, or doing anything which rests its meaning in negation, then it’s only useful once. By 1920 it was pretty much spent, and after that it was all just one kind of pooping in cans or another. Beauty is permanent. Reaction decays. - – New West Havens
How, then, have we been bested by malnourished and undereducated men with antiquated and improvised weaponry whilst spending trillions of dollars in national treasure and costing the lives of thousands of servicemen and hundreds of thousands of civilians? - - Innovation | Marine Corps Association
Catalogs and fashion magazines were littered with guys and girls in identical attire looking just as cheesy as you can imagine. Granted, the styles themselves weren’t always horrible – it’s the mere fact that dressing alike was ever a “thing” is what gives us cringe decades later. - - - Flashbak
including an ex wife, relatives, friends, neighbors, doctors, nurses and random strangers.His death came at an age that was '29 years longer than expected and much longer than he deserved.' 'At a young age, Leslie quickly became a model example of bad parenting combined with mental illness and a complete commitment to drinking, drugs, womanizing and being generally offensive.'
“Let us in or we’ll kill you” is the least compelling immigration argument ever.
We have our current wave of terror despite legalizing some 100,000 Muslims a year. If we don’t manage 100,000 this year, they are saying that maybe more of the 100,000 from a few years ago will join ISIS and start killing us. And if we don’t legalize 100,000 five years from now, the 100,000 coming into the country this year will become the terrorists of tomorrow. That’s not an immigration policy. It’s a hostage crisis. Sultan Knish:
Moreover, they are going to be shot dead. And a city or two will burn and people are going to stop and think twice about leaving home. In other words, some unforgivable deeds are going to go down. The parades well end. The marches will get more militant. The riots will be real. There will be no head of the snake; there will only be President Donald Trump. What this means is that the Democrat party will implode and find no leadership from which to draw down the anger in the streets. It will be the cops vs the mobs, and the mobs will lose because they will have no political leadership whatsoever. I don't think that those who are lining up to bring their tweets to the streets understand how far out in the cold they will be left. - - The Warning - Cobb