General Interest

Digital Vendetta

Posted on August 1, 2014. Filed under: General Interest, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

and I am not just paranoid.  They ARE out to get me!

Something old and nothing new.  I rough-drafted this article about 6 months ago, but, I’m still chaffed by those events, so I am completing it now as ointment on my nagging hot spots.

Your words for the day (my definitions, so there):

  • ‘pooned = harpooned; grievously wounded; irked to the max
  • lampooned = made fun of; grievously wounded; irked to the max
  • dissed = see lampooned

Apple:  The computer maker, not the fruit.  I can’t complain much about their products, since I have yet to own one.  “Why not?,” you may ask.  When I first started thinking about getting a computer about 15 years ago, I thought the iMacs had the most stylish appearance.  The price tag was stylish, too — about 3 times the cost of a PC, which I could also not afford.  I immediately wrote iMac off my present and future Christmas lists, since I knew the hardware was  almost identical to that of the less expensive (and less stylish) PC.  I mean, Apple didn’t use precious metals exclusively in the iMac, or they would have been the only computers thieves would have targeted.  And over the years, I have not bought Apple’s gimmick of marketing a “great” product as they start the clock and the hype for a better (albeit the same) “much-anticipated and improved” product — annually.

Microsoft:  Deleted my Starter Word 2010 program that came with their Jim-dandy new Win7 with a “critical” update that told me I had to buy the full Win7 Word at full price if I ever wanted to see my documents again.  Let’s hear a round of applause for the system reset option.  The critical update was persistent, though.  I had to go through the system reset routine 3 times before it gave up.

Microsoft (or maybe Hewlett/Packard):  My Jim-dandy new Win7 laptop by HP came complete with a jack rabbit cursor that jumps somewhere else on the document while I am typing, and sometimes when I just look at the screen.  My typing point jumps to wherever the idle mouse cursor is resting.

Microsoft:  Though happy with Windows XP, I finally gave in and got a Win7 laptop.  The price was right.  A few months later, Win8 made the scene.  The salt in that wound?  Win7 (which sucks) deep-sixed a number of features I liked on XP, while Win8 has features that resemble those in XP that I had become friends with, such as that floating portfolio that clicked so neatly when opened or closed.  I never learned to use it, but, I loved its being there, and it looked a lot more professional than all those “post-its” on my Win7 desktop.

MicrosoftLong suppressed irks.  Around year Y2K, this pioneering software developer went beyond Windows 98 with new programs.  Windows 2000, followed by Vista, and — in their dust — the finally-got-it-right-almost Windows XP.  There were more satisfied buyers of the XP than the one-night-stand Win2000 and Vista. Wave bye-bye to 2000 and Vista.

Microsoft:  Deja vu…   all…   over…   again.  All you purchasers of 2000, Vista, and XP, get your checkbooks over to that retail outlet and buy Windows 7…   no, Windows 8…   uh, no, Windows 8.1…   shatspah!  Reserve one of those Windows 9 units I am hearing about.

Quick question to MS:  Are you using Steve Jobs’ and Apple’s marketing ruse of designing a product then producing incomplete versions of it with a promise to add “new” (wink, wink) features (that you already designed into it) as an upgrade in each of the next 3 years?  If you do as good a job as Apple of hyping your much-anticipated “upgrade,” you can get the same schmucks to buy the same piece of hardware they already own next year with an “extra” in the software…   which could have been added to the unit in-hand electronically at no extra cost to the customer.

Kudos to the marketing masters at Apple for taking the Cabbage Patch Doll generation to the cleaners year after year.  They were ripe for it.

T-Mobile Electronic upgrade is what T-Mobile did to the “My Touch” unit I liked so much several years ago.  On a quiet Sunday night around 2:00 a.m., the screen message said — in effect — “Don’t touch nuthin’.  Your Android Ver. 2.0 is being upgraded to a newer version of Android.  We are in control.  You can have your new and improved phone back when we are done with it.”  …sigh!  If only that had been the case.  The brain enhancement they gave my little phone was a lobotomy.  T-Mobile techs worked with it for a week and finally decided it was brain-dead.  I had the sad duty of boxing it up in a casket and sending it back to T-Mobile, while greeting its less-than-acceptable free replacement, a Samsung Galaxy S.

There is more of this digital dissing of my horse-and-buggy mind-set, but, this is depressing me.  Soon, I will be heading over to the electronics store and see if the Windows 8.1 units are on sale.  That’s what will happen just before the next “newer and so much more improved” version comes out.  (Maybe they will throw in a vintage Cabbage Patch Doll that I can adopt.)

 

 

 

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Ignorance Got Me To 99

Posted on January 12, 2014. Filed under: General Interest, Nezza at Hella | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This is my blog post number 99, and, who needs a stupid navigational chart anyway?

Your proverb for the dayIgnorance is bliss.

Captain Jack Sparrow (Disney fictional commander, Pirates of the Caribbean franchise) was a drunken sailor.  At first take, it appeared that his compass was afflicted with that very same character flaw — it spun wildly and never indicated geographic North.  When you finally realize that its erratic behavior was tied to a special property, it adds to Sparrow’s character:  the compass pointed only to what its possessor wanted most, which — in Sparrow’s case — was the lead female character.  Sparrow was not a mere 2-dimensional drunken sailor…   he was a multi-dimensional lecherous drunken sailor.

I am the fictional commander of this literary vessel, Words according to Dean (a.k.a., The Queen Mary), possessing little literacy in internet navigation.  My erratic course through the past 2 years and 98 articles has been guided by a compass that seems to point only to “poetic license.”  It doesn’t add any dimensions to my character, but, Sparrow-like, I have relied on its navigational irrelevance to steer my headings.  Hmmm!  …that implies that I had a charted heading in the first place

which I did not.  I did, however, set out to accomplish one thing:  remember how to write.  That mission, I think, has been accomplished, even though I do not see Ernest Hemingway when I look in the mirror…   nor Stephen King or Tom Clancy.

But, not important, since I have pleased my biggest fan:  ME!  That is not an inflated ego speaking, simply acknowledgement that the entire workings of the Cosmos are ultimately important to only one entity — the one perceiving those workings in relation to itself.  While garnered with little premeditation, these ramblings do form a platform of sorts from which to launch my second 100 postings…   those wishing to jump ship now, please line up in orderly fashion at the life boat stations.  Don’t want to panic the other passenger.

An essay collection would best describe these presentations — some facts, some references to events, often exaggerated or minimized to accommodate my curious, but, essentially cynical, quest for the big ANSWER.  Yes, Neo, I too, want to know the nature of the Matrix (a reference to the Matrix movie trilogy), but, there is no reason NOT to have fun along the way.

I have not attempted to monetize or advertise this blog or make it more visible on the web.  Mostly, because I  r-e-a-l-l-y don’t know how.  To put it in a more personally flattering light, I have passively and actively hidden my work because of personal motivation.  Either way, that begs the question…

HOW AND WHY HAVE SO MANY (…more than 10…) FOUND THE SITE AND HIT THE “FOLLOW” BUTTON?  Was it just late nights with Red Bull, Folgers, Earl Grey, or “Auntie” Sophie’s special brownies guiding such questionable choices?   …maybe even a game of “truth or dare” gone horribly wrong?  I ask, but, I don’t really want to know.

Ignorance in this matter is bliss, since it allows me to fantasize that there are discerning denizens out there who have fought their way through the internet jungle to sample my insightful, inspirational, spot on, even amusing offerings…   ohhh, yeahIgnorance is bliss.

Special mention to a trio of commenters:

  • Nezza, quite the global gad-about from Sydney, Australia, by way of San Francisco, simply because she blew me away with her impeccable use of English and her self-deprecating style of getting a chuckle…   okay, it was her picture that grabbed my attention firstNezza@Hella Sydney is the pixie dust that will take you to her Neverland.
  • John and Tanya Voorhees, folk musicians, who felt that my article The Story is Everything resonated with their own lyrics titled also “The Story Is Everything.”
  • mykentuckyliving.wordpress.com gave me a total surprise by re-blogging my English:  Gerunds, Fantasy, and the Splits.  mssheilasu, I owe you a re-blog…   as soon as I figure out where those buttons are.
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Coffee? 4 Cups A Day? You gonna die

Posted on September 2, 2013. Filed under: General Interest, Health Studies, Journalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

…but, even if you DON’T drink coffee, you GONNA DIE anyway.

Your proverb for the day:  It ain’t poison unless it kills you within a week. Anything taking longer than that is just what floats your boat.

DIE, coffee drinker, DIE!  …Ooooooooooooooo!  Sounds like a vengeful spirit out of Hollywood, doesn’t it?  Relax.  It’s just one of your biennial “scientific study” publicity releases.  I guess those are okay, since most of us don’t have the time to take off from work and spend 5 or 10 years without pay asking people what they did before they died.  But, these unpaid researchers patiently tally, categorize, enter data into spreadsheets, divine what it all means, figure out which mathematical tact will “prove” what they set out to prove in the first place…   Yeah!  I didn’t buy it, either.

Your words for the day:

  • existence = (consider it) a sporting event
  • birth = “WAKE UP!  You’re at bat.”
  • life = going for extra bases
  • death = you got tagged (“You’re outta here!”)
  • the dugout = your basic hole in the ground

Source of today’s laugh:  an online article on August 15, 2013, by Jenny Hope, put up at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health on a blog called MailOnline.  (Aside to the author:  Usually, I refer to female journalists giving me a laugh like this as Jenny Stonebottom.  I will spare you, since your name is already “Jenny” and Jenny Hope sounds like a cutie.*)

The headline — the funny part.  “More than four cups of coffee a day puts you at risk of early death, claim experts.”

The big picture, if you have been too busy dealing with life to have noticed:  One gets BORN; one LIVES LIFE as events, circumstance, and personal whims permit; then, one DIES.  You have no control over your birth; you have less control over the progress of your life than you like to think; and — though some might fiddle with the “how” — one DIES.  No refunds.  You can’t avoid death.

You only go around once in life, so grab some gusto while you can(It’s not plagiarism!  It is — loosely — from a beer commercial a few years ago, but, I don’t remember which one.  Al Gore’s information highway can answer that for you…   my smart phone is on the fritz.)

You survived the first year of LIFE.  Consider yourself on base.  From here on, the name of the game is (1) don’t get tagged out, and, (2) try to have some fun.  (Yeah, I know, it’s kind of ironic — avoid getting tagged and sent to the dugout early while you round the bases, but, when you reach home, you get sent to the dugout anyway.  Don’t dwell on that.  Concentrate on enjoying that trip to second base.)

But, enjoyment comes with a price.  You enjoy scattering your toys while you play, but, come evening, there are the nagging voices of parents saying, “Clean up your mess before you go to bed.”  You enjoy hanging out at the mall with your buds after school scarfing down McDonald’s French fries, but, there is this other group that has figured out LIFE ACCORDING TO THEM and are now suing McDonald’s to prevent YOU from buying and enjoying what YOU enjoy.  You move on over-the-hill (you know…   your 30th birthday) and become health conscious, so you take your vitamins, eat balanced meals, exercise more, take them antioxidants, and wash all that down with a cup of hot coffee…   or four.  And, those do-gooder groups line up at your door to straighten out your act:  you have the wrong balanced diet; you are exercising wrong; vitamins just might not be so good for you; antioxidants are not what they are cracked up to be.   That line extends around the block and you can’t make out who they all are, but, they will announce themselves soon enough…

…Uh, that was your cue, Doc.  Tell them of your fabulous finding that 55-year-old young people can expect to die before they are 55 if they drink 4 cups of coffee a day…

Yeah, I know, right?

  • The over-the-hill 30 year-old can’t blow his birthday candles out because his sides are splitting from finding out that 55 year-olds are called “young” for this study.
  • The record number of over 60 year-olds, who have been drinking 4 cups a day since they were 30, were once part of the “early death” squad claimed by our fame-seeking researcher.  Oh!  Now isn’t that thoughtful.  They are all hoisting a coffee toast to all you doomed 54 and below drinkers.

This article engendered 3 pages of 11×17 paper in 8 point type.  And, 15 cups of coffee.  I had to cut out 2.5 pages just to get this.  So, YES!  You can bet I have more to say on this subject.  (Excuse me.  I gotta hit the head.)

______________

* Okay.  Okay!  That was chauvinistic, sexist, and un-called for.  But, it stays.

_______________________________________

Next up:  lots more stuff about the hazards of coffee studies

Article references:  coffee, coffee study, coffee death, premature death, under 55, health risk, genetic coffee addition, antioxidant, Dr. Carl Lavie, Ochsner Medical Center, Dr. Euan Paul, Director of British Coffee Association.

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WTF: Wednesday The Second

Posted on June 17, 2013. Filed under: General Interest, Humor, Nezza at Hella | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Your proverb for the dayIn the matter of laws, Murphy has a long arm.

Your words for the day:

  • broke (1) = not working; as in, it needs fixing
  • broke (2) = empty; as in, bank account or pockets
  • Yin-Yang = the see-saw twins of Tao, providing the balance we call “existence”
  • deja vu = “Oh, no!  Not again.”

Ineptitude is a trait of self-deficiency, and could easily be a descriptive summary of last Wednesday.  But, what to call it when things just seem to go wrong in bunches, a la this, my second, bad Wednesday in a row?  Celebrity jinx?  (…probably not, since I’m not a celebrity).  Stars just not lined up right?  (…something I wouldn’t know anyway, since I don’t have a telescope…   can’t read one either).  Or, is it the more generic and mundane duo of unfortunate coincidence and just plain BAD LUCK?  I suppose it could even be a cosmic balance thing between Yin and Yang.

Whatever it is, it’s all over the front of my tux.  Not that I am wearing a tux (or even own one), but, if I were (or did), it would be like white meringue on a black one or dark chocolate on a white one.  Either way, corrective action must be taken immediately.

Like everyone, I got a list of stuff that just gotta be done — they aren’t done yet, but they are on the list.  Scheduled stuff that will eventually be done and will make my life better — as soon as I stop procrastinating.  Unfortunately, as a coping aid, putting things off ’till later works only with the stuff that’s on your list.  If meringue or chocolate is suddenly smeared over your plan of inaction, it has to be cleaned up before you can resume your delaying tactics.  As a rule, it gonna cost ya.

Like that preventive maintenance to your one vehicle.  This Wednesday, that differential flush gets done.  My garage of choice jacked that baby up on the hydraulic lift, and, while suspended in the air, the case would be opened, drained, and filled with brand new heavy oil.  That would be the Yin of cosmic balance finally flowing in my direction…   at a cost of $150 plus tax and possibly some other hidden cost.  I can scratch one thing off my “gotta do” list.  Except that

Yang, the cosmic score keeper, showed up with his tally sheet and watched while the mechanic popped the lid off the differential case, drained the oil, then called ME out for a consultation:

  • “Sir,” said he to me, “your pinion seal at the front of the differential case is defective and needs to be replaced as soon as possible.  We don’t do that kind of work here, but, I am letting you know about it so you can get it fixed before it blows and damages the rear end.”
  • “And how much will that cost?” said I to him.  “Typically,” said he to me, “about $250.  They’ll open the differential case (draining the fluid I’m about to replace), drop the drive shaft to expose the pinion and seal.  They will replace the seal, reconnect the shaft, and refill the differential fluid — just like I am doing right now.”

I thanked him for the heads up and returned to the waiting room where I mulled a single implication:  I am about to pay $150 right now for a differential servicing that will be done again in 1 or 2 weeks when I replace the pinion seal.  Had the mechanic told me of the greater problem BEFORE he cracked the case and drained the fluid, I would have cancelled the service request and applied the $150 to the future work.

But, Yang — the balance to all things Yin — was not yet done with me:

  • The mechanic, waxing loquacious, noted further that the front and rear seals of the transmission showed the same weakness as the pinion seal.  “We don’t do that work, either.”
  • Within a monetarily challenged week of the above, Yang zapped two of my fairly new tires (under 20,000 miles) with sharp pointy things to the tune of major inconvenience and another $25 for plugs — and one will need to be replaced soon.

WTF?  When will Yin get his act together and show Yang how it is done?

Next up:  Hermit interrupted

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WTF: Wednesday The First

Posted on May 30, 2013. Filed under: General Interest, Humor, Nezza at Hella | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Your proverb for the dayIn acquiescence there is repose.*

Your words for the day:

  • chicle = a dried tree-sap used as the base for chewing gum
  • multi-tasking = doing two or more things at once; e. g., chewing gum while walking
  • inadvisable = don’t do it; e. g., the above-stated multi-tasking

True.  I’m borrowing my title for this article from Nezza, a blogger out of Sydney, Australia.  Her perspective on this nightmare…   uh, dream…   make that dream… we call LIFE is unique.  The frequent use of “WTF” in her articles seems appropriately applicable here (that was a tongue-twister).  Oh, that dealing with LIFE were so simple as uttering a heartfelt “WTF” —  or delivering a well-placed Ninja kick.

The Mamas and the Papas had a song, “Monday, Monday,” that held jewels of wisdom which I can easily import to my recent series of Wednesday mishaps.  Chief among them:  the lament that it can’t be trusted to auger good for tomorrow — or even the rest of today.

Firstly, did I mention that I am a hermit?  The upshot of that is that I do not have a doting, loving, fastidious mate to pick up after me, cook for me, wash clothes and dishes for me, and fill in all that blissful togetherness stuff.  Yeah!  That gives you a picture of the disarray that surrounds me most of the time.  Focus, as you can tell by the sporadic nature of my blog postings, is something that — by and large — eludes me.

ROUND 1.  Breakfast (at 12:30 p.m.) delayed by a dirty skillet, my only one.  Must wash it.  My month’s supply of clothing items has run out.  Must wash it.  Caffeine-deficient body crying out for succor.  Must succor it.  Weeks since my last post.  Must post it.  Thusly was the stage set.

  1. Toss clothes in washer, utility room just off from the kitchen.
  2. Put skillet in sink with “Ajax” lemon scent soap; add hot, hot water.
  3. Follow Mr. Coffee’s protocol on starting my daily brew while sink is filling.
  4. Remember the computer down the hallway, a post being prepared.  …tick, tock, tick, tock…

“Yum!  Coffee must be ready,” chimed my internal clock, impelling me from the keyboard.  Walking past the noisy wash room as I wended casually toward the kitchen, I registered a noise I could not place…   until I entered the kitchen area.  There, the noise resolved itself into a cascade of suds-topped water breaking over the edge of the sink.  Hitting the floor, it morphed into a restless pool of soapy, bubbly water gathering for a sprint into the garage under the nearby door.  A long string of expletives (best characterized as, “Oh, darn it!”) accompanied my lunge at the tap handle, capped by another descriptive term as my bare feet splashed into the hot, soapy water.  Rush to grab an armful of towels from the yet-to-be-washed pile and spread them on wet floor.  Pull plug from sink (ouch, hot, hot, hot!), spread towels more evenly.  Pause momentarily, think “That coffee would be good about now…”

Except that the “on” button for Mr. Coffee is not lit!

ROUND 2.  1 out of 4 isn’t so bad if you are talking at-bats in baseball, but, it really sucks** for multi-tasking.

  • Ponder skillet with stubborn goo on inside surface.  Not willing to risk the sink again, I decided to put water in it and simmer it on the stove.  But…   turn on Mr. Coffee first.
  • Check on wash in progress.  Move clothes from washer to dryer.  Remember post-in-progress.
  • Time not important,” as the keepers of the Fifth Element (a Bruce Willis / Milla Jovovich movie) kept saying.  Accordingly, I can not tell you how much of it lapsed between Mr. Coffee’s “on” light illumination and my next “Oh, darn it!” enlightenment which returned me hastily to the kitchen.
  • The skillet had been dry for a while.  I turned off the burner and removed my former breakfast maker, which now possessed an interestingly textured surface.  I vowed to take better care of its replacement.

The towels on the floor were squishy, and there would be no breakfast.  But, at least the coffee was ready.  Feet up on foot stool, cup of coffee at hand, just relax and go with the flow.
___________________

*The internet could not tell me from where I picked this up.

**I’m old school.  I hear the current argot is “blows.”

___________________

Next up:  WTF:  Wednesday the 2nd

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Smoke and Mirrors

Posted on February 18, 2013. Filed under: General Interest, Journalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

2nd in the series The Manipulators

Your old saw for the day:

  • What’s good for the goose is good for the gander

Your words for the day (definitions my way):

  • migrate = the tendency of life forms to follow a repeating pattern of movement
  • immigrate = the regulated movement of life forms from one area to another
  • invade = the unregulated movement of life forms from one area to another
  • bias = to display partiality toward one thing over another
  • favoritism = obvious bias
  • The Big Pee = The Press (all news media)

Now, we gotta play catch up.  Last post, I left you skulking at the border trying to catch a break.  To draw a clear parallel between the treatment of US citizen criminals and non-citizen criminals, here is a list of the crimes illegal entrants are willing to commit:

  1. Violate United States immigration law.
  2. Violate United States customs law.
  3. Falsify official identity documents.
  4. Falsify government documents whenever necessary to look legal.
  5. Engage in criminal conspiracies to evade US authorities at the point of entry and in the ongoing tenure of illegal occupancy.
  6. Endanger minors (children) by transporting them through dangerous terrain and situations in this illicit search for a better life.
  7. Criminally trespass onto the private property of bona fide US citizens, using it as though it were theirs, vandalizing and stealing the unattended personal property of the land owner.
  8. Falsify United States federal and state documents to acquire government benefits illegally.
  9. Criminally conspire with friends or relatives to assist in their efforts to evade detection and ejection and to acquire benefits that they are not entitled to have.  Those friends or relatives are co-conspirators in the criminal lifestyle of the illegal entrant, whether US citizen or previous legal immigrant or illegal entrant.

This list is very similar to that for which US citizens get excoriated (previous post).

But, it’s alright, Brazen Criminal.  Your advocate has your back.  The Big Pee will cover (up) your criminal acts as though they are simply incidental occurrences in your quest for a better quality of life.  It will gloss over your persistent, daily acts of criminal conspiracy to defraud the US government, and your criminal falsification of government documents in your quest for a better quality of life (that phrase has a humanitarian and oh-we-do-so-understand-you ring to it).  It will focus on the cruelty “to undocumented immigrants” by human smugglers who pack 30 adults and 10 children into a locked cargo container, but fail to call attention to the illegal 30 adults’ disregard for the safety of children while dragging them across hundreds of miles of dangerous terrain in the presence of dangerous criminals.  It will categorize your tendency to grab 13-year olds for sex (you call it “marriage”) as excusable on the grounds that “it is a custom prevalent where you came from.”

Conversely, The Pee rains vehemence on US citizens for unavoidable child endangerment, marginal statutory rape, shading the truth to get government benefits, alleged sexual assault of a minor, then perfunctorily signs off on the resultant PRISON TERMS for these heinous US citizens…   they had it coming!

Can anyone out there define “double standard?”  If you need refreshment on that, it is a lot like “speaking with fork-ed tongue.”   (Hmmmm…   How about “sleight of tine?”  Sorry.  Just wandering a little.)  Why would The Big Pee practice that?   …just simply playing to the audience (that be us)…   and the panel of judges overseeing the in-house self-lauding Pulitzer committee.  And, let’s not leave out the watchful eyes of judges in a slew of local and national media “ain’t we the living end” contests.  Out here in the land of irrelevance, we all fancy ourselves as possessing moral superiority over our neighbor.  We just have to have a cause to rally around, either mentally or actively.  The Big Pee‘s got causes down to a science.

Do you need an example of my assertions?  No problem.  Let’s look at Jenny Stonebottom’s story (The Houston Chronicle, January 16, 2013) of a callous bureaucracy and a victimized illegal occupant.

Next up:  If it looks like a duck…

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I Lost A Penny

Posted on August 30, 2012. Filed under: Alzheimer's, General Interest, Memories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Drat!  I know it was here.  I tossed all those coins on top of the dresser when I came in.  A penny.  Something different about it caught my eye.  Wanted to examine it a bit closer when I got home.  Was it the date?  The color?  Some surface damage?  Was it even a penny?  Can’t remember which.  Ah, check the pants’ pockets; maybe it’s still in there.  Nope!  But, there is a worn spot in the pocket fabric.  Crap!  A hole big enough for it to fall through — and, the two dimes that I got with it.  Checked around the dresser; nothing.  Back-tracked my trail through the house to the car in the driveway.  Nothing.  Oh, well.  Just another memory that slipped away.  There’ll be other pennies and dimes.

Just another memory that slipped away.  Later, my mind  played with that thought.  One memory lost; others to be gained.  And, I thought of my Aunt J.

Years ago, in an “in-progress” manuscript (alluded to in a previous posting) I was considering the nature of SELF.  My conclusion, that the concept of “self” was the MIND’s answer to that persistent problem of MEMORY, should be no surprise to anyone.  We are what we remember we were.  And, I thought of my Aunt J.

The concept of SELF is a sense of personal continuity.  But, how can there be a sense of continuity when there is only one moment in TIME of which we are ever aware, that little slice of EXISTENCE that we call NOW?  Where is continuity?

The sentient MIND is a creative organizer, and its answer to quantifying the clutter of “NOW piled on NOW” is…   YESTERDAY.  In that folder, all things past could be sequenced by event chronology, and, their impact on the NOW being experienced could be assessed.  Except that…   assaying creates another problem:  projections.  Having a continuous file of YESTERDAY to compare to NOW requires someplace to put the possible answers.  MIND then created a speculative file of projections labeled TOMORROW.

Yesterday.  Now.  Tomorrow.  The chain of continuity of “self.”  We don’t have to think about it; it’s all automatic.  In an instant, the MIND experiences, records, compares and projects events and their implications to our own fragile existences.  We accept it as a complete whole, a story with a beginning, middle, and an ending.  Yet, the only part of it that is real is NOW.  Everything else is fabricated

Life, whether real or fabricated, is the realm in which we exist, and MEMORY is the coin of that realm.  Our senses collect information, and short-term memory mints a shiny new coin to record the data, even installing hyperlinks to connect it to previously minted coins.  Then, it is carefully stored in a cyber-pocket wove on a warp of reality into a wondrous fabric — the biological neural net.  Through Life we stroll, listening to the jingle of those coins as they jostle about in our pockets, often reaching into the pocket, pulling out a coin, and considering it within its context as if it were NOW.  And, I thought of my Aunt J.

Some of us reach into the pocket in search of a coin that we know just has to be there, but, we can’t put our fingers on it.  We can find coins we know were acquired with it, but, the one we want cannot be located…   and, it never will be found, because that wondrous neural net has a tear in it, one that will grow ever larger.  One by one, the coinage of SELF will trickle away, leaving neither the certainty that is YESTERDAY nor the hope that is TOMORROW.  What is left is one lonely, confused entity trapped in NOW with neither identity nor landmarks, and destitute of the coinage that will buy fare to…   somewhere…???

I have known only three persons in my life who suffered through Alzheimer’s:  my best friend’s mother, a sister-in-law’s mother, and my Aunt J.  By way of that last sentence, they remain just as anonymous to you as they became to themselves.  As circumstance and distance would have it, I was not privy to their suffering; yet, just knowing of their journeys into that twilight is disconcerting.  How awful it must be for those who are designated to escort loved ones from a full, complete existence into that shadow world of confusion, self-doubt, anger, and — eventually — personal oblivion.

What point, this article?  None, really.  Just an observation about the fragility of personal existence and how that existence is often defined by creative illusion…

…and the unspoken beauty of those whose existences have defined each of us.  And I think of my Aunt J.

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Reverence For Life

Posted on August 27, 2012. Filed under: General Interest, Philosophy | Tags: , , , , , , , |

“Flower in the crannied wall, I pluck you out of the crannies…”  Alfred, Lord Tennyson (c) 1849   All rights reserved.

Yeah, that was a long time ago, so I guess that copyright has expired by now.  So, I’m not going to ask for written permission from the author to use it.

I was only reminded of the verse because I thought about taking some pictures of flowers (specifically, orchids) to spice up my, heretofore, rather bland presentations.  Refreshing myself on the wording of that little ditty, I checked on my smart phone (at least something associated with me is smart) and saw the question “what does that poem mean?” queried on www.ask.com.  The answer that www.chacha.com posted was, “The poem is about depression and disconnect of oneself.”

to which my unsophisticated approach to life queried, “Huh?  Say what?  Didn’t they even read the thing?

So, we got this dude out for a stroll, and he scopes a flower growing out of a brick or stone wall.  In one of the shallow, dirt-filled cracks, I gather.  It entrances him.  Moves in for a better look, he  does.

Eyeball-to-petal-and-stem, he considers this wonder before him.  “Wow!” he is thinking.  “The existence of such a thing as this is totally amazing.”  Oh, sure, you see plants growing everywhere all the time;  it is all so commonplace.  But, this one former seed has taken root in a nutrient-starved, precarious spot and made a life for itself in defiance of all the odds.  And, in triumphant bloom, it announces to a hostile world, “I WILL SURVIVE.”

How can you get “depression” and “disconnect” from all that?  From the perspective of the strolling dude, reverence for such a thing of beauty would seem to be the poem’s theme…   wait a minute.  What is that fool doing?  No.  NO!   …he   …he   …he just ripped that tiny success story out of that crack by its roots.  It’s going to die before it can realize its dream!  What is he saying now?   “…if I could understand what you are, root and all, all in all, I should know what God and man is.”

Why do I suddenly feel depressed and disconnected?

 

Next up:  We’ll play it by ear (but, I warn you, I’m tone deaf)

Just in case anyone is interested, I still have a few more posts on  The Great Cluster Fu…   I just need a short break to regroup.

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Digressions: MIM4.5a – A Very Special Lady

Posted on July 8, 2012. Filed under: General Interest, MIM4.5a | Tags: , , , , |

Your word for the dayetch = to leave a clear and distinct impression

Water, one drop at a time, striking a rock in the same place over an extended period, will etch a pattern into it.  The water, though soft, is persistent; the rock, though hard, must acquiesce.

With my inner sanctum closed for business, I permitted only superficial relationships or contacts with others.  No more need for spiritual anesthetics and bandages.  And, then

At my new day job (one that paid) some years ago, I and two colleagues (also new) were in the building lobby when one of the veteran employees came in.  I supposed she was waiting to meet someone, but, after a bit, I spoke to her.  She responded with a smile and a twinkle in her eye.  My colleagues joined in, and, for about 5 minutes, we interrogated our cornered quarry without letup.  But, she was genial, catching every volley and returning each with that twinkle and (…amused?) smile.

That encounter left me with an enduring picture.  This Lady of the Lobby was at ease, and in no way intimidated by our persistence.  Her easy demeanor and steady gaze shouted self-assurance.  That got my attention, but, I think that first drop of MIM landed on me, right there in that lobby, the instant I learned that she was the adventurer that I had always dreamed I would be — a major part of her duties took her to exotic destinations around the world.  The best I could muster in the exotic travel circuit was a stint in Bangkok, Thailand, and the most in commonality I could offer was knowledge of the big traffic circle in the middle of that city.  She was strong of character, and living my dream.  From the get-go, I was going to be an easy target for that slow drip.   

Wonder no further about my frequent references to wines from Georgia (the country, not the state);  it’s because she expressed a liking for them.

In the several years since the lobby event, my interactions with this Lady were very sparse, consisting mostly of “good mornings” and a brief update on where she had traveled, and there was a running joke on my rainmaking “skills.”  For the most part, her movements through my field of awareness were like a vagrant ray of sunshine on a partly cloudy day, appearing when and where it deigned.  When the ray moved on, I never chased it; I knew, without a doubt, it would find me again in its own time and share its warmth, even if it was, typically, for only a couple of minutes once a week.  The best things are worth waiting for.

WOE IS ME!  Social isolation and the avoidance of my traitorous emotions failed to protect me — I became addicted to the certainty of my sun ray’s very brief appearances.  But, business is dynamic; it changes.  Workplace convenience removed my sunshine.  Break out the Ronstadt CD.

I consoled my loss with a little research, which shed a different light on that first lobby encounter.  In the big, corporate scheme of things, those three nosy interrogators were at the bottom of the corporate food chain — field mice, as it were.  I had seen a couple of my pay stubs, so, I already knew that, but, I didn’t know that our “cornered” quarry was, in comparison, a corporate eagle.  A daunting disparity.

That research pointed out just how special this Lady is.  Neither in that lobby nor any conversation she ever had with me, did she talk down to any of us.  SHE RESPECTED US.   The other kicker is, I never knew just what her job duties entailed.  I knew her title, just not how it was applied.  Turns out, she has considerable responsibility for corporate assets, a responsibility that is ever-present and entailed an absolutely killer travel schedule.  And, the part that makes me really proud to have known her?  She doesn’t report to an “office” office.  The best description would be shark tank.  That easy smiling, lady-in-the-lobby-with-a-twinkle-in-the-eye, is a corporate shark handler…   business sharks, legal sharks, government sharks.  Equal opportunity handling.  Judging from her tenure, a damn good one, too.  There is no doubt that she found those three little field mice quite amusing.  My Lady of the Lobby, “special” doesn’t begin to describe you.

Elan.  Strength.  Endurance.  Of such is the motivator that I call MIM.

Through no action from either of us, she is etched into me in that deep recess where I will not allow anyone to be.  Not even myself.  There are emotions in there that can totally overwhelm.  So, I’ll just pull up a chair here, outside that forbidden room…   just in case a random ray of sunshine escapes…   I sure don’t want to miss that.   Hmmmmm…   maybe just a little closer…

Yeah, I know.  I’m a pathetic mess.  But, somehow, I’ve never felt better.

Next up:  Resuming The Great Cluster Fu…

Stand by, Sparky!  Comin’ your way.  Oh, and when you’re done with Doyle’s boots, could you do mine?  Good boot-licks are hard to find.

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Digressions: Where No Foot Has Trod

Posted on July 2, 2012. Filed under: General Interest, MIM4.5a, Philosophy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Your word for th daymuse = someone who is a source of inspiration

The old Greeks had them. Muses, I mean.  In earlier posts, I touched on them, even if somewhat irreverently.  For the Ancients, they explained what moved that most remote recess of Self, the mysterious Psyche, to elicit from it the creative urges and even the dark manifestations that we call the  human spirit.

For most of my life, I didn’t have a Muse.  But, I had a love of poetry, so I guess you could say that Erato was my nominal, default Muse.  In verse, I could take “the road less traveled,” and “rise with eagles” to “touch the face of God.”  By finding reflections of my own inexpressible feelings toward this torture we call Life, it gave comfort that I had fellow travelers on a journey I just knew would, somehow, end badly.  But, what the heck…   eat, drink, and be merry…   right?

In spite of the Muses, in spite of the poetry, not all that emanates from the Psyche is definable.  There is the unexplained, a pathos that darkens the soul, a heaviness that ensconces the heart making its every beat a Herculean task.  An aching that surges to unbearable fullness, then ebbs, only to surge again; a vast emptiness that hovers just beyond feeling, where echoes fade like  diaphanous whispers into infinite nothingness. 

A poem I memorized decades just a few years ago often surfaces during my own musings.  The third verse of Each in His Own Tongue by William Herbert Carruth (1859-1924) captures that feeling; at least, it has for me:                     

Like tides on a crescent sea beach, when the moon is new and thin, into our hearts high yearnings come welling and surging in;  come from the mystic ocean, whose rim no foot has trod.  Some call it longing, and others call it God.

Yearning.  Longing.  A deep, aching feeling devoid of anything that could define it.  When all is said and done, is this the total eulogy that Life will intone for each of us?

Next up:  MIM4.5a

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