Thursday, January 17, 2019

eat your road kill, dear

During a recent trip to Fairbanks, my hometown, I asked locals why Alaska’s roadkill program has been so successful for so long. “It goes back to the traditions of Alaskans: we’re really good at using our resources,” the Alaska state trooper David Lorring told me. Everyone I talked to – biologists, law enforcement, hunters and roadkill harvesters – agreed: it would be embarrassing to waste the meat. In the past few years, a handful of states, including Washington, Oregon and Montana, have started to adopt the attitude that Alaskans have always had toward eating roadkill. A loosening of class stigma and the questionable ethics and economics of leaving dinner to rot by the side of the road have driven acceptance of the practice in the lower 48.
Or, as the proverb has it, "Waste not, want not." Those with a taste for humming-bird tongues may feel vindicated at their heights (only the less-affluent and less-washed would eat road kill), but food is food, whether the flatware is silver or toll. Strange to think that supermarket kill is acceptable, but what fell to the macadam is somehow less tasty and/or nutritious.

Moose, if I recall, is not the tastiest of meats.

domicile for €1

The lackadaisical, the fairy tale, the useless bit of irrelevant information ... such is this mind as it scans the news wires this afternoon. I can't keep up with the worldly-wise and weighty... the wars and famines and misfortunes of far and wide. Someone else will have to do it. Moi, I am left lolling and rocking in.... would still be hard-pressed to find a cheaper property than those on sale in one Sicilian town, where homes are going for as little as €1.
Dozens of properties have been put up for sale in Sambuca, a hilltop town with stunning views across the Mediterranean island, for less than the price of a takeaway coffee.
The deal is a bid to revive an area that has undergone depopulation in recent years, with residents moving to bigger cities.
And I want one.

Of course there's a hitch. You have to be willing and able to fix up the newly-acquired property.
But still ... it's down-to-earth. It's direct. And I can understand it and thereby be rolled into its wishery-pokery. Of course I have neither the disposable income nor the requisite youthful energy, but still....

A fixer-upper makes my hammers and wrenches, long since set aside, rattle for action.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

agriculture, news, education ... is anyone driving here?

Driverless tractor in China
Changes come in on little cat feet:
1. AMHERST — Hampshire College is seeking a long-term partner to keep it afloat financially and may choose to not enroll a first-year class this fall, according to an announcement made by President Miriam E. “Mim” Nelson.
Nelson sent a letter to the Hampshire College community Tuesday morning informing students, faculty and staff that the college would like to have “a strategic partnership to address the challenges we’ve faced as an under-endowed institution, really from our very first days.
This/my area of Massachusetts is chock-a-block with college-level colleges (Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Amherst, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a variety of others) so that even before Hampshire opened its doors in 1970 and offered students a less-structured course of study, there was some question in my then-teen-aged mind whether another were needed. "Pot-holders 101" we used to jest.

Now, with 50+ years under its belt and several high profile scalps on its lodge pole (Ken Burns comes to mind), the need to dilute Hampshire's world or imagination somehow shivers the timbers. In an era of Trump and money and the inevitable "deal," does a partnership mean that everything will get watered down and pretend to be really kool when in fact it is just mediocre and looking for the next transactional buck?
In the news biz:
2. NEW YORK (AP) — The local news industry hasn’t been the subject of much good news itself, lately.
Newspaper circulation is down sharply, and so is employment in the newspaper industry. Financial cutbacks have led to the shutdown of nearly 1,800 daily and weekly newspapers since 2004....
There have been some 500 digital start-ups attempting to replace coverage offered at the 1,800 newspapers that have closed in the past decade and a half, Abernathy said. The problem is these sites mostly serve urban areas, since that’s where there is enough business to provide advertising, she said. She’s encouraged by foundations that support news, although much of that funding goes to international projects.
In agriculture:
3. Xinghua, China (Reuters) - A brand new combine harvester buzzes up and down a field in eastern China without a driver on board, chopping golden rice stalks and offering a glimpse of what authorities say is the automated future of the nation’s mammoth agricultural sector
The bright green prototype was operating last autumn during a trial of driverless farm equipment as the government pushes firms to develop within 7 years fully-automated machinery capable of planting, fertilizing and harvesting each of China’s staple crops - rice, wheat and corn.... Semi-automated technology is already fairly common on farms in places such as the United States, but fully-automated tractors and combines have yet to be mass-produced anywhere.
What will the farmers do if there is no need to farm the crops? What will the reporters do if there is no one to report the news. Well, maybe we can all turn to and build the Great Wall of Mexico? If there is no need to have anyone to do anything, what will we do?

All play and no work makes Jack a dull boy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

speed ... or something

Did it ever occur to you, as it just did for me, that if you turned around fast enough, you might catch a glimpse of your own ass passing in the moonlight?

Cause and effect....

Say what?!

"I wish, therefore I am"

It's not so much "I think, therefore I am" as "I wish therefore I am."

Is this true?

I half-suspect so.

excellence and mediocrity mumblings

Perhaps what is more daunting than a lofty goal yet to be attained is the mediocrity that follows on the heels of success. What if, having striven and sweat, the goal were attained -- the mountain conquered at last -- and, at that lofty height, there were no one to dance with? Bit by accretive bit, the wannabes and phonies reclaim the scene and everyone falls back into the half-baked and ersatz. The bright light of once is now relegated to .... Ph.D.'s and nostrums.

I once mentioned casually to a friend that since she loved tennis to a pro-league fare-thee-well, perhaps she and I could hit the ball around some time. She did not know my capacities or incapacities, but a look of disdain crossed her face: I, as someone not so solemn as she, was an unworthy opponent .... a mediocre opponent. She was striving for excellence -- why should she lower her sights to the likes of me. She was excellence in the making. I was mediocrity on the hoof.

Perhaps the greatest challenge is for excellence that can meet the mediocrity that hovers in all the wings of life. Excellence must be able to outlast and outshine mediocrity... play an excellent game in the face of mediocrity.

I hark back to the post about my mother who, I suspect, attained the heights she presumed might save her ass. She climbed the mountain of excellence, but when she got there, there was no one to dance with.

I'm not entirely sure what subject I am circling, here, but there is something about the mediocrity that falls on an excellence attained. The problem, I suspect, is to imagine an excellence ... or a mediocrity either, I guess.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Helen Eustis, my mother and a very good writer

Yesterday was, somehow, an apostasy day -- a day contrary to what otherwise might have been assumed.

First, the New England Patriots (the home football team for the state I live in) did what was expected and beat the Los Angeles Chargers 41-28 and I really didn't care. What I cared about was the Kansas City Chiefs which I think of as the most interesting and fun team in major league football: The Chiefs beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-13.

This sets up a Chiefs/Patriots match-up for the National Football League championship next Sunday ... and I'm rooting for the Chiefs. I have decided it is probably better not to announce this to my neighbors. If anyone wants to bet, I'm ripe for the picking and will put my money behind the Chiefs.

The second bit of 'apostasy' concerns a book my mother wrote and I had never read, "The Captains and the Kings Depart," a book of short stories.

Yesterday, in search for something to pre-sleep read, my hand landed on this book. My mother died at 98 Jan. 11, 2015, and still I had not read the book which lists 1943 as the first of several copyright dates. You'd think I might have read it, but I hadn't. In some ways, I think I was afraid I might be disappointed. I had read "The Horizontal Man" and "The Fool Killer" and "Mr. Death and the Red-headed Woman" (books she had written) but not this tide-me-over collection.

I approached the first page gingerly ... what if it sucked?

I read the first 'chapter,' "The Good Days and the Bad." It was, to my mind and leaving aside the author, astoundingly good. I mean really, really good. Not my style or subject matter, perhaps, but ...
Helen Eustis, early 1940's
but it blew my socks off when it came to good writing.... her love of Willa Cather, the Brontë sisters and, no doubt, Henry James and early Thornton Wilder and the brothers Grimm. No wonder she could be a pain in the ass ... she was just that good. She deserved, from where I sit, whatever podium she may have felt she was her due. As others might not, I could smell my mother in those pages ...

How about them apples -- a really good writer in the family ... really good. Probably too smart by half, but still... this was a person who knew her specialty from muzzle to butt plate.

Odd to think it now and not sooner.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

deep dark mystery ... is that what it is?

Herewith a link I tried to read and really couldn't tell whether it were my feather-duster mind or the complexity of the players ... but the article struck me as horribly scrambled. I couldn't tell whom was being accused of what and, assuming you could sort that out, who gave a shit and why?

Man accused of shooting down UN chief: ‘Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to…’ Exclusive research reveals that a British-trained Belgian mercenary admitted the killing of Dag Hammarskjöld in 1961

I am more than willing to taste the critic's lash, but the whole matter is so interwoven with players and motives ... it seems that all that effort ought to amount to something, some revelation, some naked girl leaping out of an ornate cake. Instead, for this doofus, it feels like an advanced case of freshman-final-exam in which the freshman hasn't got a clue and just keeps pumping out more and more and more stuff.
Someone takes this stuff/adventure/revelation seriously. Who and why? The amount of space devoted ... the apparent seriousness of the players ... the romance ....
Beats the socks off me. Color me stupid.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

impeachment effort?

The progressive billionaire Tom Steyer will not run for the White House. Steyer announced he would not pursue a presidential bid at an event in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday afternoon.
Steyer, who earned his fortune as a hedge fund manager, has appeared around the country to organize around his Need to Impeach group, an effort to encourage support for the impeachment of Donald Trump. The group built a formidable email list of more than 6 million people committed to removing Trump from office.
“The impeachment question has reached an inflection point. That’s why I just announced that I will be dedicating 100% of my time and effort in 2019 towards Mr Trump’s impeachment and removal from office,” said Steyer.
The news was first reported by the New York Times.
He announced on Wednesday that he commit another $40m of his fortune to the group and defined success as either the House beginning impeachment proceedings or Trump resigning from office.
I have no way of weighing the seriousness or serious possibilities of this effort, but an additional 40 million dollars in the kitty sounds like an amount even Donald Trump might notice. Whatever the merits, I felt a strange (if unfounded) surge of relief that someone was going for the jugular. Like other mirror images of Donald Trump's political base, I too feel marginalized and anyone who can actually DO something feels like the right thing to do. Yes, we've all waded into the newly-decorated 'swamp' of Trump's devising.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

bona fides

Is it a litmus test or am I simply displaying my encroaching Trump-tinged laziness?

It seems to me that increasingly every issue is preceded by or riven with a litmus test.

Gotta homosexual male?
Gotta lesbian?
Gotta trans-gender?
Gotta the most-lately-dubbed minority?
Gotta oriental?
Gotta woman?
Gotta 'challenged' individual?
A victim or two?
Gotta a wildcard slot for any who have been left out?

And having applied the litmus test, now, at last, perhaps, we can be treated to the substance of whatever story/argument is being laid out. Sports, politics, show biz... sometimes I just feel as if the fine print had been placed at the front of whatever document or position is being staked out.

I don't mean to diss or dismiss such considerations, but I am interested in issues, whatever they may be. A four-headed cat with a good argument is still a being with a good argument ... so what's the argument? Who fucks whom and how they dress and any other outstanding anguish ... what's the issue?

OK... probably just lazy.

Monday, January 7, 2019

chemical innovations

Marshall Medoff unveils to 60 Minutes his innovative method of turning plant life into fuel and other useful products
Caught a bit of this on TV last night. Haven't got what it takes to vet and excise, but thought it important enough to warrant inclusion. I have a hunch someone will buy this guy out and we'll never reap the benefits.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

losing what once was ... again

 Bit by bit and drip by drip, my honest interest in the give-and-take of the world's woes -- once a first-place focal point -- just dwindles. A variety of articles suggest that I am not alone, but it is not the cozy company that inspires me. I just seem to have run out of energy and find myself skimming the fact that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is plumbing the 2020 presidential waters in Iowa or that migrants south of the Mexican border are jammed up against the U.S. lack of charity that might invite this sliver of humanity into America under existing immigration law; Brexit -- the potential withdrawal of Great Britain from the European Union -- is off my interest charts; and a host of other world-touching stories also seem simply to have lost their steam. I just don't read the stories, masticate and attempt to digest any longer.

Instead, this morning, for example, I found myself reading an interview with Hollywood actor Robert DeNiro, who dislikes (and has become vocal about that dislike for) U.S. President Donald Trump. I read the whole of it because I was mildly curious what one man might have to say. Not that I am willing to inflame my own negative take via some Hollywood bright-light. DeNiro's take is just DeNiro's take and the likely impact on my own thinking is minimal. But one man is easier to understand. It's more straightforward ... as was the only story that really grabbed by interest:
As the National Football League digs in its heels in a dispute with Colin Kaepernick, the star quarterback who refused to stand for the national anthem in protest at police brutality against racial minorities, the show this year has become more about politics than music. The fact that the Super Bowl is taking place in Atlanta, arguably the capital of black music in the US, has only added to the storm.
Colin Kaepernick is a young man whom I admire and, to the extent that I've got his drift, agree with and am thankful to. His exemplifies a personal, get-down-and-boogy sacrifice about something serious in American life. Those arrayed against him, who question his actions and impugn his posture on racism in America, are more cowards than anything else. True, there are aspects and facets to the situation, but after stripping away the posturing, Kaepernick is, for my money, right (nuff said) and deserves all the support he gets.

A voice in my mind asks what ever happened to starvation and war -- what ever happened to the Turks jockeying so as to be able to attack the Kurds who create a burr under their totalitarian-bound, oil-hungry saddle... and the Kurds who want an honest homeland that was taken from them by slap-happy, map-happy Brits. What ever happened to reviling the Syrians for chemical-bombing a constituency that doesn't agree with a once-reviled Bashar al-Assad?

What ever happened to being willing to do a little background checking?

Well, it's worn out.

And at the moment I am content to be stuck with my own tribalism -- a small appreciation of Colin Kaepernick. He loves something and is willing to go down the line for it ... both qualities I admire. That, and the fact that his views, if implemented, could benefit not just some mythical "many," but all of us, mythical and otherwise.

Friday, January 4, 2019

new year's card for Donald Trump

Newly-minted Democrat Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib refused today to back off her suggestion to fellow politicians that they should "impeach the motherfucker."   Democrats who had forged a more circumspect and polite assault along the impeachment line, were quick to jump out of her media limelight.

The days of couth and savoir-kool seem hopelessly lost in the rear-view mirror. Job security (Republican or Democrat) is no sufficient excuse for thoughtful, civil suggestion ... aka spinelessness.

Shithole countries, shithole president -- take your pick.

"the baddest monks on the planet"

A Buddhist monk in Japan has excited a furor (or maybe just a furor-lette) after he received a traffic ticket for driving in long robes that might tend to impair his capacity to drive safely.
Buddhist monks in Japan have posted videos on social media to prove their traditional attire is no obstacle to safe driving after one of their brethren was fined....
Recent news reports of the incident sparked a show of solidarity from fellow monks in a stunning display of asceticism-meets-athleticism.
Of all the potential problems monk attire might pose for the wearer, driving strikes me as miles and miles down the laundry list.

But it's fun, right?

Wednesday, January 2, 2019


OK ... 2019. A 'new year' and the half-thought of making resolutions.

As always, there is "don't make em; don't break 'em."

And whispering as well: Do your best to do no good. Do your best not to improve stuff. Do your best to be honest and be prepared for the lies that are bound to spring up out of the soil.

Do no good is not, as the simple-minded might say, an invitation to self-centered asshole-dom.

Just think a minute. Was there ever a (wo)man with an ax to grind who didn't imagine/insist s/he was doing some good? Do-gooders are a dime a dozen. Improvements abound ... are you shitting me?

Try to be honest. It probably won't work, but try anyway.

Stick with the Dalai Lama: "My religion is kindness."

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Republican Jesus

Passed along in email:

I kind of wonder how Vice-President Mike Pence is weathering such storms.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Warren for president?

Senator Elizabeth Warren jumped into the race for president on Monday, announcing she is forming an exploratory committee for 2020.

The Massachusetts Democrat, known for her critiques of big banks and corporations, became the first major candidate to declare her intentions with a video posted online on New Year’s Eve.
“America’s middle class is under attack,” she said. “How did we get here? Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie and they enlisted politicians to cut them a fatter slice.”

My knee-jerk taste: She's too early.

to sing a song

To sing a song beyond the highest ceiling -- what a lovely gift.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

name that child

For a lot of years after we got out of the army, William B. McKechnie III was my best friend. Bill is dead now, but for all the years we knew each other, Bill refused(?) to tell me what the "B" in his name stood for. One of his forbears, he said over and over again, had added the middle initial because rich people had middle names and he wanted to ally himself with the rich folks. So Bill's "B" stood for nothing at all. It sounded swanky.... and I never quite believed him.

Nowadays, the shoe seems to be on the other foot and people are entrenched in the use of hyphenated last names, names that recognize both parties on the parental pillow ... or acknowledging the names of both parties in a same-sex marriage. Harry Smith-Jones or Sarah Cymbal-Sassafras or some such.

And I still don't quite believe my one-time best friend's explanation.

If we wait long enough, maybe things will get reduced to the usage of various island or impoverished nations where just one name suffices.

Christmas gloom?

There was a time when, if someone asked me why anyone would become a Buddhist, I would reply with a tongue only halfway in my cheek, "Death, disease, drugs, divorce." And as with any quickie response, there was something valid in it.

This Christmas season ... there seems to be a peck of mortality insisting in my life. One good friend went out to the barn and then changed his mind about suicide. The father of my younger son's friend committed suicide and my son went to visit his friend by way of consolation. My sister's beloved has segued into what she suspects -- and he declines to address -- is Parkinson's. And I think there is another one in this bag full of Santa's gifts, but I can't recall it immediately ... maybe I am just blocking it out.

My friend in his barn realized, among other things, that his demise would mean difficulty for those left to clean up and lick their mental wounds. My sister, who coped her way through the death of her mother in 2018, continues to care for her mother's dwindling partner, whose hearing and mind crumbles.

Each in its own way is terribly, terribly hard. Wearing, wearing, wearing ... clawing, clawing, clawing.... time passes.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

remembering Benito Mussolini

Gamma 3000, a Rome-based printer, was the first to start producing Mussolini calendars in the early 1990s and now competes with three rivals. Around 10,000 are printed by the company each year and circulated to newsstands across Italy regardless of whether copies were ordered....
During Mussolini’s 20-year dictatorship he sent thousands of Jews to their deaths, interned gay people on the Adriatic island of San Domino, gagged the free press and executed political opponents. Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci, were shot dead by partisans in the final days of the second world war before their bodies were strung up on a meat hook in a Milan square.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

off-spring of Donald Trump ... count me in

Maybe this article is worth a skim:
Ziming Liu from San Jose State University has conducted a series of studies which indicate that the “new norm” in reading is skimming, with word-spotting and browsing through the text. Many readers now use an F or Z pattern when reading in which they sample the first line and then word-spot through the rest of the text. When the reading brain skims like this, it reduces time allocated to deep reading processes. In other words, we don’t have time to grasp complexity, to understand another’s feelings, to perceive beauty, and to create thoughts of the reader’s own.
The drum-beat of the dunces is not limited by age or youth, it appears. Anyone can be and perchance is, dumbed down. We are all Donald Trump's marginalized children. And, reading this article made me realize that I am not exempt. I skip and skim in the face of tsunami-like washes of information, misinformation and half-baked information. To ingest and digest the damage done to actual-factual, blood-pumping individuals ... it's whelming when it's not overwhelming. Is there no fucking reprieve? Is there no place where critical thinking can wax and be swallowed?

I admit it to it: My tendency is to find a single individual who may exemplify the problem that I imagine or revile. An individual to skim -- perhaps a movie actor -- can fill the gap, perhaps. Imagine allowing your world view or critical thinking to rest on the musings of a personality who spends his or her time pretending to be something or someone s/he isn't. And yet, in odd moments, I do it because it's easier.

I listen a bit to Tom Selleck or George Clooney or Chow Yun-fat (all of whom seem to have a whisper of seriousness) and then excuse my inattention by playing the age card.

Oh well -- stuck at the beginning, hoping in vain not to do too much harm.

And perhaps the skimming capacity is not so different from my own leaning away, eventually, from writers like Melville and Henry James and other 19th century luminaries whose pre-TV viscousness became cloying and overbearing and too damned time-consuming.

Perhaps everything -- every bright light -- is doomed to dim. If critical thinking doesn't work for you, just watch what happens when critical think is laid to rest.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas wishes

Awoke, child-like, this Christmas Day half hoping that Donald Trump might bestow on himself the luxury of retiring as president in order to take care of his sagging business interests. Just imagine: The Christ retires and the Christer (Mike Pence, who could easily morph into an Artificial Intelligence critter if he looked any more perfect) takes over the reins. What a Christmas present that might be.

But, as I say, it was child-like stuff.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

"Christmas in the Trenches"

peace in Japan


TOKYO (Reuters) - More than 82,000 well-wishers paid their respects to Emperor Akihito who turned 85 on Sunday, his last birthday celebration at Tokyo’s Imperial Palace before stepping down next year...
Although he cannot directly influence government policy, Akihito has created a broader consciousness of Japan’s wartime past throughout his symbolic reign, experts said.
In comments made to the media ahead of his birthday, Akihito said “it is important not to forget that countless lives were lost in World War Two...and to pass on this history accurately to those born after the war”.

As Japan's defense policy seems to have taken a new twist through a decision to seek the deployment of an aircraft carrier, doubts remain over whether the plan will best serve its national interests as it struggles with China's growing threat.
Possessing an aircraft carrier has been controversial in and outside Japan in light of its militarist past and the pacifist postwar Constitution, which restricts the country from possessing what are deemed to be highly offensive armaments.
But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government ventured into the move by endorsing on Tuesday a new five-year defense buildup program that includes a plan to transform existing Izumo-class flat-topped destroyers, currently used as helicopter carriers, into ships capable of launching short takeoff fighter jets.
Keeping the peace is an old man's sport. Younger men invariably 'know better.'

Saturday, December 22, 2018

poetry from another time

I eats me peas with honey
I've done it all me life.
It makes them taste so funny
It keeps them on me knife.

Christians step up

Finally, some Christians appear to be stepping up to their own plate.
PHOENIX/TAOS, N.M. (Reuters) - Members of an Arizona evangelical church are for the first time taking Central American asylum seekers into their homes, responding to record arrivals of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The predominantly white Central Christian Church, a Phoenix area “megachurch” had in the past assisted Muslim refugees. Church leaders wanted to help another group that lacked support and were portrayed as a threat in areas of the media and politics - asylum seekers.
Central Christian is among a group of around 10 churches, most of them Hispanic, taking in up to 500 migrants a week from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in greater Phoenix.
Caritas (inadequately defined as "charity") is the heart and soul of Christianity. Fear and loathing are not high on the bedrock Christian agenda, though many evangelical supporters of Donald Trump applaud his fear-and-loathing coin of the realm.

Seven hundred marchers is 0.0002333333333333333% of 300 million Americans. Most Americans are migrants of one sort or another. Another .00023 percent hardly seems like something the country cannot enfold.

Americans may be getting fatter-not-taller, but now and then a ray of sane light shines through. Fatter between the ears need not apply.

Friday, December 21, 2018

the dumbest heist?

It's so glaringly stupid that I hesitate to dignify it with the word "stupid." A man decides to rob a bank in a community of 2,000 people, most of whom know each other. The main way of ingress and exit is via the local airport. Nevertheless:
An armed man has robbed a bank in the world’s northernmost settlement on Norway’s remote Arctic archipelago of Svalbard – but he was caught shortly afterwards, authorities have said....
The odds of the heist succeeding were always low on the archipelago, famous for glaciers and its polar bears, who outnumber residents.

suicide sort of

A rainy day and grey with a reflection on suicide filling the email inbox.

Suicide. The weight and freight of getting older and aching more ... the mind ravels and unravels simultaneously. Reduction follows reduction (medication follows medication) until, well, why should suicide be given a bad rap?

The idea of leaving a mess for others to cope with may be offensive, but everyone is everyone else's mess, aren't they? Pardon the observation, but isn't this what keeps things lively? Enfin, isn't it even as the glib-lipped pronounce? -- "it is what it is." Medication follows medication and ... now what?

Go in peace.
Or not.
Your choice.
No blow-back.

Or, if there is blow-back, how would anyone know for sure without testing the waters?

Is there some honor to be siphoned from this life? A bit of love, a bit of kindness? Sure.
And dishonor as well. Why should death, by whatever hand, require an A+? Aren't we all more in the B- or C-ish category if we're lucky? But when there's no one left to grade the papers, what grade can reasonably be decided? Sins of omission, sins of commission are there to meet and greet and, well, there's no reversing the flow.

When word spread in an ancient Buddhist monastery that a particular monk's understanding of enlightenment had been approved by his teacher, the other monks gathered around to congratulate the lucky fellow (at least in my fragile and iffy memory banks). And he was asked, "What changed? Are your problems erased?" And the monk replied, "Nope. Same old problems."

Thursday, December 20, 2018

daring NOT to discover

The drive to know, to unravel, to understand, to explain and to generally tuck what was once unknown the belt of the known ... I suppose it's better than kicking baby robins. And yet ...

Was there ever a human being who died and who didn't join the majority freighted by one thing or another s/he did't know? Little or large, no different.

For example, my mind stumbles on the explanation or etymology of the Arizona city Tucson. Yes, Wikipedia can lead me by the nose, but there is something mysterious about the "cs" in the midst of it all. What a strange configuration of letters. I think I will probably never be at ease with it. On the other hand, why should I be? Is knowing something somehow better than not-knowing it?

Once upon a time, if flagging memory serves, there was a front-page New York Times story about an old wooden box unearthed in Japan. Inside the box was another box -- one that bore (not sure of this) a royal seal and a note that said, in essence, "don't open this box." What could possibly be so important that future generations should be warned against meddling so many years later?

The punch line on this tale left me marveling: Japanese scholars or other poohbahs made their decision: They would follow the instructions in the note and not open the box. Who has such courage? Don't think of a purple cow. Why would it be better to know -- more elevated,  crucial, satisfying and savvy -- to disregard whatever it was that compelled the writer to tack on his or her version of a Post-It?

"Ignorance is bliss," the slick and savvy mind chides derisively.

But is that any more true than imagining that a lack of ignorance can somehow fill in the restless abyss?

Do I know more when I know more? Do I know less when I know less? Do I know less when I know less or less when I know more? And which capacity deserves elevation? Take self-congratulation out of the equation and what is left ....?

More or less?

The Japanese, of course, are not immune: Despite a WWII constitution banning implements of war, they are now sneaking up on replenishing their aircraft carrier supplies.

More is more, after all, and less is less.