Tuesday, July 29, 2014

You Have to Climb Physical Mountain

An old friend was just telling me about her physical and dental appointments today. She was looking around like a spy. I got the feeling she wanted some help. Which short term may seem like a good idea, but long term it's not. I suspect she's had help before with urine and blood samples and weighing in. Which, with video surveillance and medical snooping, is getting harder to pull off.

She was hinting around and I'll be honest, we got into it. I told her in no uncertain terms that it wouldn't help her at all, ultimately. Yes, if your main goal is to impress the doctor and dentist, it probably could be done. But it's much more important to know what your actual health outlook is.

So we got into it, all because today's her day when she has to climb two important mountains, Physical and Dental Mountains. It doesn't usually happen that you get both mountains in one day, but this time she did. The physical was scheduled some time back, then the dental, and they turned out to be the same day! Coincidence, so live with it...

Anyway, I think I convinced her. I brought my famous wisdom forth, in this case bolstered by references to two songs, "Lonesome Valley," which we sing in church in Lent, and "Wolverton Mountain," good at any time in the lectionary. In "Lonesome Valley," he has to walk that lonesome valley, he has to walk it by himself, O, nobody else can walk it for him, he has to walk it by himself. In "Wolverton Mountain," you don't want to go up it, because Clifton Clowers might kill you, but still you want the girl whose lips are sweeter than honey.

It's the same thing with getting your physical and taking care of your teeth. O, nobody else can do it for you. It's your physical body they're checking, and your teeth. And if you don't want terrible body catarrh and you want your lips to be sweeter than honey, you have to walk, climb, and sit there in the chair yourself. I've done it myself, I know it can be very easily done.

Hence the song: "You have to climb up Physical Mountain, you have to climb it by yourself, O, nobody else can climb it for you, You have to climb it by yourself." And something similar with Dental Mountain.

Let's say you had someone help you with your urine sample, your blood sample, and your weight. You're going to get nonsense results. The doctor would look at the results and say they don't match up with anything he's seen before. And you'd have to admit in shame, "Someone helped me climb Physical Mountain." This is unheard of. "You have to climb it by yourself."

Obviously you could do it a little on the sly, like with urine, till you're caught. It'd be easy to sneak in. But Dental Mountain is entirely different. The dentist knows if it's you in the chair. It's a mountain you definitely have to climb yourself. The teeth have to be the same ones you're always had. How about this? You're killed, they check your dental records, and find you've had 10 different mouths? That'd be a murder trial for the ages!

Of course there are mountains you get help climbing. Say you have car trouble. Anybody can help you climb Car Trouble Mountain. In fact, it's generally worse to try to climb it by yourself. I saw someone trying to climb it by themselves just the other day, which I've also tried before. Their car wasn't starting. They looked frustrated. Eventually -- as has been my constant experience - someone else would have to climb it for them.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I Laugh in the Face of Disease

I'm big, I'm bad, where others cry, I laugh in the face of disease. Ha ha! (Like that.) Of course I feel, just like in the Declaration of Independence, that such a claim demands an explanation to justify it in the opinion of mankind, my fellow withering-away organisms.

Disease causes lots of heartbreak, am I right? In fact, it's major Heartbreak City. But these are the things I don't worry about. I look at it this way: Millions of people have gone before me, and they're all pleasantly a'moldering. All suffering is momentary, relief relatively swift. Plus, que sera sera.

Of course, the best thing is to avoid all suffering, if you can, which you can't, so just hit the high spots and avoid anything prolonged. And if you can't do that either, then let it roll over you like the other balms of life, relaxing and luxuriating in the fact that you were apparently chosen, perhaps bearing the sins of the world. If you have to dream, dream big!

We hear it so often that we should not laugh in the face of disease, that we should not sneer in the face of heartbreak. I've heard that all my life; it's been very hush hush. But really, that's not a rule we have to obey, since we're all going to go. What really is suffering, but the breakdown of finite forms? Eventually our finite forms are so broken down that they appear to disperse entirely. Grandma had a disease, to give an example, and it got her. She broke down to the point that she died, and I haven't seen her since. I assume there's still bones or something, but huggable she ain't.

Probably it will actually be harder for me, assuming I ever get a disease that threatens to take me, to laugh in its face. But I shall try. I'm only reluctant to say I will because, frankly, I don't presently laugh in the face of the smaller things that come my way. Like heartburn. I strive to overcome it. I do what I can, as most physical conscious entities would. And I try to stave off the inevitable heartbreak. But I believe that if I get something really bad I will find a way to laugh about it.

I'll give an example of something I don't suffer from. Bulimia. I don't have that, so it's easy to laugh it off. I have a little song* for it:
Only a bull named Imic,
only a little steer,
He knew they wouldn't eat him,
and he would always be here.
But for me that's not a problem,
so eat him, yes, I must,
Only a bull named Imic,
he'll someday lose his trust.
That's right, boys and girls, Imic will someday lose his trust. He's thinking today I'm a mighty bull, and indeed a mighty bull is he. But there will come a day... it could be he will wait it out and fall apart and turn to dust. But let it be written: He shall lose his trust! Going beyond that fate, it will more likely be that someone will eat him. Someone who still has his trust, namely, me.

Or Cancer. Cancer is something I very well might get. If I had to bet, I'd say I will. My parents both died from cancer. Obviously cancer's something to laugh in the face of. My earliest memories of cancer is in the old joke:
TEACHER - Tommy, use the word cancer in a sentence.
TOMMY - I'm sorry, I can't, sir.
So far, cancer's not a problem I've had. I've been spared. Remember, I gave $50 to the anti-cancer society, so I'm hoping that gives me a certain immunity. I've had a lot of relatives die of cancer, those I've known and doubtless those I never knew. If anything major gets me, it'll likely be this disease. Yet I laugh in the face of cancer! I'm struttin' like a rooster, can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!

Join me in laughing in the face of disease. How can I do that? you ask. Start with a small smile, a tentative smile. Work your way up to a frightened chuckle, etc., then pretty soon you're bold faced, sneering, struttin', talkin' trash, philosophically dunking your way (basketball language) to rich and vibrant glory in the face of disease and suffering, your own and the disease others.

*Tune of Only a Boy Named David

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dilly-Dolly Dick-Around

It's a sign of the times, dilly-dally dicking-around. I can't remember exactly when it started in a major way. I had a friend in the '70s who dilly-dally dicked-around somewhat; if he said he'd be there at 3:00 p.m., he'd certainly arrive by 4. But things have gotten so much worse now, probably having to do with people's busyness in general. We have so many labor-saving devices, computers, etc., but it means we take on so much more, then we compensate by dilly-dally dickin'-around.

In addition to people being behind on their schedule, I see a lot of dilly-dally dickin'-around at stoplights. You're in a line of traffic 15 cars long. The light changes green at the front, but the front guy's never ready. He's checking messages, writing an email, taking a nap -- who know what? The second guy's not much better. Then the third. So we have to get the third guy's attention, who gets the second guy's, then he's able to finally rouse the first guy. Now the light's red again. Too much dilly-dally dickin'-around!

OK, the whole concept's infected society -- it's everywhere! -- so it was just a matter of time before some big-time entrepreneur, with his finger on the slow pulse of a plodding society, would capitalize on it in various ways, one big way being for kids, with the Dilly-Dolly Dick-Around doll. A baby for the times! Dilly-Dolly Dick-Around perfectly embodies today's spirit, never quick to start and only arriving when she does.

You can raise her from her bed, put her down, raise her, put her down, and she does nothing. But set her in the corner for a couple minutes, and finally sweet Dilly-Dolly Dick-Around says, "Ma-ma, Ma-ma!" How joyous, she called out "Mama!" Better late than never.

Our Little Mommy has planned a fun tea party with Dilly-Dolly Dick-Around, lifting Dilly-Dolly's tiny cup to her little lips, pretending they're really doing something great together, being refreshed. A few minutes later you hear the sipping noise, she lets out a breath of satisfaction, and gladly announces, "That was a fun tea party!" The table's already cleared.

Too much tea, of course, means a coming bathroom trip. Dilly-Dolly Dick-Around is prepared for this one, fitted with a washable bladder and three little sets of undies. Little Mommy comes over, "You have to pee-pee?" Dilly-Dolly doesn't say anything and seems very content in silence. Until several minutes later when she announces, "Have to pee," when it's discovered she's already wet.

This teaches Little Mommy patience, and probably more to the point, Little Daddy, whoever he may be. We see him when he's around, which isn't very often. It was probably Little Daddy's errant ways that gave Dilly-Dolly Dick-Around her biggest personality defect, putting things off like this, and other signs of irresponsibility. Little Daddy dicked around too, not even acknowledging Dilly-Dolly the whole first year.

Little Mommy says, "Dilly-Dolly Dick-Around, you need to tell Mommy when you need to pee before it happens, so I can set you on the potty, OK?" Mommy's supported by Little Daddy, looking stern and just itching to take his belt off. But little Dilly-Dolly speaks not a word, simply staring blankly into the distance, a number of clouds taking their time to pass casually overhead.

Mommy and Daddy go in to watch something -- they're binge-watching parenting shows. From the quiet of Dilly-Dolly's crib comes her soft answer, barely audible over the baby monitor, "OK, I have to pee." That was a long time ago! You've already been wet and changed! Or is she referring to a brand new pee, something she'll do a half hour from now? Too much damned dilly-dally dickin'-around!

Time passes, and Dilly-Dolly's now pretend-grown-up. Little Mommy and Daddy try to kick her out of the house. She promises to leave voluntarily, "Just let me go to my room and pack a few things." But all this happened two years ago and she's still there.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I'm Interested in Local (Lascivious) History

This isn't 100 years ago, back in the dark ages of history; this is now. So it's possible, and could be easily done, to know what's going on today. I always want to know what's going on. And if you're honest with yourself -- fat chance -- you do too! Because somewhere, someone's trying to get away with something. That much is established fact.

If you try to do it with older history -- stuff from a really long time ago -- you might get the rough outlines but that'd be it. And I venture to say you're not likely to get that much. Everyone's dead and there's no witnesses. Plus, add to that, the local landscape changes. A restroom in a local park from 100 years ago is no longer there, because the park isn't even there! Or they were doing this stuff upstairs at the saloon.

I sometimes wonder, if you could go back 100 years in time if people would just clam up. I've heard they had a greater sense of propriety than we do today, since we're a lot more open about lascivious things. I've personally heard people these days being very open -- painfully so -- about their love life, who did what to whom when. For embarrasment's sake, of course, it's tough listening, although it gives you a lot to reflect on later.

With this openness, you'd think you could just go up to someone and ask them what's going on. But I get the impression that even today people would clam up, especially if you were a complete stranger accosting them upon their exit. I'll give an example. I was at a picnic table one day and thought about going over to the facilities to go to the bathroom. Since I seriously don't want to be in there when someone else shows up -- park facilities are scary -- I spent an hour charting the comings and goings of people. I was able to establish that on average the facilities are visited about every 7 minutes. OK, in I went, and noticed a bunch of lascivious graffiti on the walls. I said to myself, "Somebody did this!" But which one, the guy from an hour ago? Was it one of the guys 7 minutes later, or 7 minutes after that, etc.? It wasn't me!

These places are obvious hotspots of a sort throughout the day, and, I'd guess, worse at night. Even though they technically close at 10:00 p.m., am I supposed to believe that an attendant shows up at precisely 10 o'clock every single night? I doubt it. That's a lot of weird history taking place nearly every minute of the day, 24 hours a day, on average every 7 minutes. I contend this stuff ought to be exposed to the light of day, documented and passed on to future generations. Who will have plenty of problems of their own.

I had the opportunity to investigate further today, but didn't take it. It was like this: I left the house and was way too early to pull into the church parking lot. So I went over to a different park, because there's some good shade there and I could stay cool while passing time. Naturally I didn't know when the 7 minutes started, but there was a truck pulled up next to the facilities. I thought, "Deja vu all over again." This phrase just popped in my head. Then like clockwork, here comes some guy out. That much is public record. But what he was doing -- the history of it -- is unknown. You could simply go up and say, "Excuse me, sir, what were you doing in there? Were you writing anything on the walls? Were you waiting for someone who didn't show up? Are you ashamed of yourself? Is that why you're refusing to answer? Sir, please, put your fists down! I'm sure we can resolve this amicably without nasty faces." Then I run across the lawn and step in about 12 episodes of dog droppings, another matter of park history that needs documentation.

Whatever he was doing, it was very possibly quite innocent. Or shameful and unforgivable.

Other things of of local history that one just aches to document would be: What goes on in old barns, knowing farm kids used to seeing animals breed, people walking briskly as though exercising (is that just cover after leaving someone's house?), and cat burglars in apartments, whether in broad daylight or under the cover of darkness. I'd love to bust a few of those guys. The key thing is I'm just looking for local history, as much as I can muster.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Banana Peel Collector

I think I've figured out the banana. Like everything else of nature, it wasn't made for us but its own sake. This concept was an eyeopener for me, like with flowers being to make more flowers and tomatoes more tomatoes. We're just interrupting the process, much out of necessity in certain respects, to eat them, for our own natural process.

Anyway, here's the banana: The little nubby we always pinch off is its seed, and the banana part is nourishment for the seed. The stringy bits are like conduits for the proper utilization of its nourishment. The flimsy peel is a dissolving husk.

As I'm standing there contemplating the whole wonder of it I'm thinking how we've trivialized it. Like in the phrase "going bananas" for insanity. Bananas aren't insane. Truly, to go bananas ought to be an expression for having it together.

Way back when, of course, as a youngster growing up as a kid, then through my 20s, 30s, and 40s, I was in one place, real immaturity when it came to the fruit with the yellow hue. It wasn't till my 50s that a mature understanding started kicking in. I remember blowing someone's mind when I told them about flowers. The reason flowers don't last a week is they're in a hurry to make more flowers! And the same thing with bananas, going "bad" in a few days; they're just trying to go to seed. But what do we do, make banana bread out of them...

I wouldn't mind recapturing the days of my innocence when I thought the banana was just a fun piece of food. Which I guess they still are. I still like them but I do feel a little sorry for the seed now when I chuck it. I take all this somewhat seriously.

But I don't take it as seriously as this guy I know. He's something like a hoarder, but he's scientific about it, cataloging, indexing, etc. Speaking of going bananas, I guess he's a candidate for that, literally. Because he went whole hog for bananas, even to the point of saving the peels. You believe this, right? I can see how it would be hard to believe. But some people -- you know, when they're kids -- you give them a chemistry set and one thing leads to another. They might breed a million mice, make stink bombs, or devote their full attention to something like bananas. Seriously.

And he may eventually have the last laugh. Glen, that's his name. Someday the world might thank Glen, because, honestly, I doubt if very many people are doing this. But someday actual scientists, white coats and all, might need to get their hands on his collection, whether to chart what went wrong in the past, or to see what they might do for the future. We've all heard of bringing back dinosaurs; what if we had to bring back the banana?

I remember a few years ago I read something on the WWW about there being some trouble with bananas. It projected a loss of crops, with the correlate drop in availability of bananas like we have now. I think of that when I'm having a banana split at DQ, that someday it might be 50 bucks for one. I haven't kept up on the latest news of whether bananas are still a threatened species, but since nothing ever improves in the world, they probably are.

That's when Glen might really come in handy. Because he has peels going back to the '60s, to the early days of the Velvet Underground. Various kinds of plastic bags, drying apparatus, shelves, cabinets, plugged test tubes of scrapings and juice, etc. And all of it cataloged, marked, the whole bit. If you visit him, his strictest rule is when you're in the garage you don't breathe.

You ever heard of this place in Norway (or somewhere), the seed bank? Where they have the purest collection of seeds of plants, the original stuff, not hybrids? If anyone from there's reading this, and you have an opening, get hold of me. Glen has the world's original bananas, and I believe he'd travel.

I Will Never Give a Colonoscopy

I had a major flash of insight at my doctor's appointment -- I will never give a colonoscopy.

It being July, it was time for my yearly physical. This year I did things a little differently. My old doctor retired, in like May. I'm thinking he knew July was about to get here again and he got out while the gettin' was good. Which normally takes doctors a while. You're a doctor, you have a bunch of patients. They all have to be notified, then you have to get a guy to take your place. He worked fast.

All was ready and the new doctor came on board. Of course I got the notification so I knew it was going to happen. So this year, instead of working out like crazy starting in May so I'd look great in July, I decided just to forget it. The new doctor wouldn't be impressed if I was in great shape. He'll only be impressed if I'm in better shape next year.

So there I go. The day of my physical I actually felt pretty good. But it's been a year like this: Whatever cushion there's been in my knees all these years, suddenly gone, I've had a ton of muscle pain, and indigestion like you wouldn't believe. I can stand muscle pain, but indigestion like this is a bastard, unbearable. And here's why I had such freakish indigestion, because I've been taking fish oil pills for my knees, which worked. Making a terrible trade off, no knee pain, but indigestion that took away my will to live.

But a few days before my appointment I dropped the fish oil. I read on the internet there's a "non-indigestion" fish oil pill, and thought I'd ask the doctor about it. So I get there and my indigestion is virtually gone, my knees are feeling great, and I'm on top of my game. After no exercise. He reads the report from last year and I'd lost a couple pounds. I haven't done labs yet, so there was nothing to compare with last year there. But he was impressed. Meaning I'll have to really work starting next May to top it.

In our discussion, then, we got on the topic of my colonoscopy, which, according to his records, I last had in 2005. Since they're good for ten years, that means mine is due next year. And, in fact, he, the new doctor, told me he does his own colonoscopies! Making me, honestly, very lucky. I don't have to get a guy from out of town (like in 2005), nor do I have to get a guy who doesn't know me; I'm going to have my very own new doctor doing it. That's great!

The major flash of insight came at this point, when he said to me, "I just did four on Monday." Four colonoscopies on Monday, I thought, that's something I'll never be able to say. Which is a little sad, because he said it with a great deal of pride, both being an achievement and to assure me that he's quite competent at it. I can indeed rest assured that I'll be in good hands with a guy who's done it so many times it's second nature, old hat. But still it's something he concentrates on in a dedicated way in order to have the pride to announce how many he's done on particular days. I said, "That's great."

Since then I've thought it over so many times. It's made me a little philosophical, if you really want to know, to consider the finality of it. Because of my choices in life, and now being 61, the path to me is now forever closed to ever be a doctor. I will never give one single colonoscopy. This lucky guy does four on Monday, old hat, and I'll never do even one ... not one in the years remaining to me.

Looking at it in print on the screen, it doesn't look very profound, or worth considering. But you probably know how it is with thoughts. Sometimes you have one and it hits you in a profound way. That's what happened this time. It's one more regret for someone just naturally wistful. I like the new doctor. I just hope he doesn't bring me down like that again.

P.S. -- It actually is conceivable that I could yet perform a colonoscopy. If we were together in a wilderness setting, and everything was very dire, and you were going to die anyway with a polyp the size of a breadbox, it would be foolhardy to forebear the procedure and surgery, even with an amateur's hand doing it. That would be a day neither of us would forget. You'd be biting the bullet and getting drunk. And I'd be sweating blood and hoping they believed me when they found you dead.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Is Edison Spinning in His Grave?

The debate rages on over modern curlycue light bulbs, which we hate, versus the good old time traditional light bulbs, which we all love. Through some unwelcome interference, the heavy hand of government, Thomas Alva Edison's good old light bulbs are going away, being taken off the market. We have had mixed emotions about this travesty, going from general everyday rage to exceedingly hot rage; the one constant is a bitter anger that shall never end.

Now, added to that, is a brand new debate, taking us to the grave site of the famous inventor and leaving us to wonder, Is Edison spinning in his grave? I personally believe he has to be, if his anger is anything like mine; the key takeaway from everything I know of him is that he was very invested in his inventions. And anytime anyone did anything remotely hostile to one of them -- I'm guessing here -- it sent him over the edge. He went ballistic. At the very least, he must be spinning over this!

But I'm nothing if not fair. So I will first present the NO response: He's not spinning.

NO! Edison was all about progress. He loved innovation. He knew as well as anyone -- thanks to his endless tinkering -- that inventions always will be improved on and adapted to the times. It just so happens that in these days the old ways are out, often for arbitrary reasons. But they frame it under the guise of "saving energy," so for that flimsy reason we have to change the light bulb. But Edison would have been fine with this, no doubt liking change for change sake, and innovation (so-called) merely for the sake of keeping busybodies occupied.

Edison liked making money, so he would've understood the real motivation here, the vast fortunes to be made by needlessly switching us to something different, however inferior the replacements might be. As for "saving energy," there's one light they can't tinker with -- the Sun -- the same old sun Edison often looked to for inspiration. Last time I checked -- which was in 2002 as a crew member on the spacecraft Solar Quest VII -- the great solar giant still had plenty of energy to give. No observable lack. So, NO, Edison is quite secure in his grave, no spinning.

YES! There was no one quite as vain as Edison. Children revered him. I know I did. We even had to memorize his middle name, which is more than we did for the average guy. It was a weird name we didn't know, that none of our friends had, ALVA. With that kind of adulation, Edison protected his reputation with ferocity.

Other inventors couldn't stand to be near him. He openly did all he could to sabotage them, mostly through legal means, tying them up for centuries in patent fights. Which he also invented, meaning he could never be similarly sued. Edison was inventive, yes, but even more so he was PREventive. His first aim was to hem in progress, to be its sole master.

The idea that Edison today could be doing anything else but spinning in his grave shall receive no credence from me. By now he's even worked up, with limited supplies, some kind of spit -- the Turn-o-Dead -- to make his spinning easier and faster. There's simply no way he could ever take this horrific change in the light bulb lying down. Even I'm up in arms over it; imagine how much more irate the inventor has to be.

So YES, YES, A THOUSAND YESES -- Edison is appalled, obviously spinning in his grave.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Vigor Vivus -- Up From the Bed I Arose

I'm a big believer in Vigor Vivus. That's well known from my many writings on the subject. But even I forget, occasionally. Then something happens -- it's hard to explain the workings of the mind -- and I suddenly remember. And when I do, the effect is amazing, like Popeye with spinach; there's an instantaneous change. Like all at once a sudden shifting of everything. Think of a Rubik's Cube, twisted and hopeless, but in an instant solving itself. That's amazing, and a great time saver.

Recently, I've been even more hopeless than that, although to be honest I have been keeping up with my morning spiritual ablutions and, to the extent I've been able, my reading. Such things are food to body and soul. But as everyone knows, the daily grind tends to wear us down, and that fairly quickly. I have a list of things that need to be done, I set myself toward accomplishing it, and forget there's a whole other aspect of life, my personal self-interest, well-being.

So it's just like someone sets a ton of bricks on my back. Let's say the bricks are first on one shoulder, so I'm weighed down on that side. Then another ton of bricks are put on the other shoulder, balanced, of course, but still very uncomfortable. That's only two tons. Then another ton on my neck, with additional tons speedily piling up on every other part of me. So I'm completely weighed down, seemingly nothing left free. But think about it, there's plenty of room inside. So more tons of bricks everywhere, and by now it's apparently quite hopeless.

This state of being, so put upon, so weighed down, so lethargic in every way is just the opposite of the spirit of Vigor Vivus. We call this state Rigor Mortis, like with death. Finding myself in Rigor Mortis like that, I'm good for nothing. Yes, I'm going through the motions, but without the joy of it, immensely, tediously, hideously, frighteningly joyless. You ask me something, I appear to give you a decent enough answer. But listen more closely: There's a subtle droopy tone, betraying the answer of Rigor Mortis. My smile's even semi-crooked, my eyes are lifeless, glazed over, my puffy eyelids almost blotting out the light. You might see a blackhead. There's nothing left. If only I could drag myself to bed! Perchance to sleep, perchance to await the guys from the crematorium.

Here, then, is how it might happen, changing everything. I might see something simple, like two pictures showing a great contrast, a person like me, down in the mouth, weighed down. But the other picture shows someone with the opposite spirit, getting on famously with life, full of joy, happiness, and, yes, vigor. It quickly registers. Like the Bat Signal in the sky, they've got my number. And I suddenly have -- right in the center of my forehead somewhere -- the flash of two bold capital Vs, standing for ... Vigor Vivus!

Then, just as fast as the tons of bricks were dropped and received, my mental gears are grinding full blast. I refuse to accept the current state of affairs. I turn away Rigor Mortis cold turkey, just like that. There's no patch for my arm, no gum to chew for six months, no E-vapor Vigor Vivus to puff at till I'm cured or hooked in some other way. I remember -- and I wish I never forgot, although real life can obviously be a grind. And when I remember, please, "Would everyone here kindly step to the rear!" Because I'm going to be stomping, and singing something like Brünnhilde's battle cry, "Ho-jo-to-ho"! It's Vigor Vivus to the rescue!

Friends, I'm the world's biggest big mouth evangelist when it comes to Vigor Vivus. I know you're out there, you... And the same thing besets you. I'm not so special, I'm not unique. You've got it too, Rigor Mortis, a real farking drag, a major drain. Just like me, then, you too can have something better, a sense of life in all its rich glory, Vigor Vivus! Your attitude shifts. You see the victory of a renewed attitude, a shift in your spirit. And you're up -- you, yourself, you -- stomping it out! Vigor Vivus is now in your spirit!


Friday, July 4, 2014

Memorizing the Declaration of Independence

You know how I'm always talking about how smart I am? Well, I thought I was, but now I'm not sure.

I've long had the desire to memorize things. I got the idea for this from a little old lady I used to know who memorized and recited poetry all the time -- all the time -- and always followed her recital the same way, a half hour of lambasting the rest of us, who hadn't memorized a thing. It seems that when she was in school, back in 1914, kids had to memorize a lot of stuff. It's like they didn't have enough books to go around or something. Either that or they had nothing better to do.

I know this is true of her generation, because I heard my own grandparents reciting a few simpler things they'd memorized in school, also ages ago. Now they're dead, and the little old lady -- who incidentally only had one eye, which makes it much more impressive; she wore glasses but one glass was fogged over so you couldn't see the sewn up place on her face -- is also dead.

And now here I sit, with two functioning eyes, and the vast library of the world wide web to assist me -- to find things worth memorizing -- and I couldn't memorize a grocery list. Or something simpler. The main problem might be I didn't get started early enough in life. So my brain doesn't have the trained grooves for memory work. I'd check out that website that helps you exercise your brain -- the woman advertising it on TV's kind of cute -- but I can't remember what it is.

Anyway, today being the Fourth of July, I had the idea of reading the Declaration of Independence. I've read it a couple times in my life. Mostly what I could already tell you by memory is that the king of England at the time was named George. That's a start, although admittedly it's not a heckuva lot to go on. What it was, what was going on is, the Americans at the time were very aggravated at George, so they wrote up the Declaration of Independence ... and the rest is history. Something, something. And our first leader was also a George!

OK, for some reason it's always easier for me to remember the first few words of something than it is the next few. Like the Bible. I always remember, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," words to that effect. The rest, I could probably hack out a few more words more or less accurately, but, again, my memory isn't what it should be. Did I already say that?

Let's review how far I got: "When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to--" No, I just checked the webpage and the next word is "for," not "to." I'll just copy and past the first paragraph and we can review it:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
According to that, "Course" is capitalized. Must be one of the Quaint Customs of the Time. So we've got a "Course of human events," the progression of time, pointing to a particular moment in that course, the "When." Then there's a people feeling it's necessary to dissolve the political bands that they had with another. Then they intend to assume "among the powers of the earth," other countries, a separate and equal station, blah blah blah. I'm sure George didn't care for this: the Laws of Nature and Nature's God entitle them to make this assumption. OK, When that necessity arises, they care enough about the opinions of the rest of the world to declare the causes of the separation.

That's a little different than now. Isn't our attitude now just to stomp the crap out of people and let them like it or lump it? Maybe I'm thinking of some other country, but I'm pretty sure ... I seem to recall ... although my memory ain't great.

That, my friends, the first paragraph is frankly more than I can handle, let alone the rest of it. I'm not one to admit failure easily, but the Declaration is simply too long for me to get it entire thing down pat. Not this year! Maybe next year when I'm older ... and, I hope, wiser.

P.S. -- Obama ought to prank the Republicans and just recite the Declaration of Independence on the radio. Since most of them likely have no knowledge of it, they'd hear it and start bitching, "He's totally full of hot air!" Then he goes, "It's the Declaration of Independence, you bozos!" They'd go, "It came out of your mouth, we still hate it!"

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Checking the Wood Manhood Relics

It's that time of year again, to check on the Wood Manhood relics. As trustee, according to the requirements set out in the agreement, I'm required to make sure they're all right. Along with the unusual (but agreeable) codicil that I "reflect thoughtfully on the meaning of the relics, leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of meaningful thought and reflection." It further states, "Being truly reflective is key."

Obviously, with me that's hunky dory. I'm nothing but thoughtful reflection, and I already think often of the relics in the quiet of my meditations, always thankful, as anyone would be, that it wasn't me. I'm thankful, for one, that I'm still able to zip my own pants and tend to my own personal affairs without restrictions, family codicils, trustees, and safety deposit boxes. Don't get me wrong; if what you've got turns to wood and you're dead, I guess it's a good way to go. Better, say, than being forgotten entirely, even if the memories people have make them to flinch in shame, cross themselves, and run.

OK, I went to the bank where the relics are kept and proved my identity beyond all shadow of doubt. I trembled as I pulled forth the precious drawer. And there they were, just as you see in the above photo, against a background of semi-precious gold velvet. Amazing! Still perfectly preserved!

As you can readily see, the top relic is the manhood in question, belonging to Brother Unsettled, now wooden. The bottom relic was found near his remains, a yoni-shaped piece of wood that appears to have been his last comfort, whatever he may have done with it. And the center chip is all we have left -- the rest being misplaced or lost -- of many pieces of wood from the local forest.

Just to recap, in case you're new to this whole affair, Brother Unsettled and I dwelt in India with other chelas (students) of the master Sri Masturbananda. His teachings involve beholding glimpses of heaven and the Divine in 7-8 second increments, the male chela concentrating and acting until all is manifest. (Women chelas have some correlate experience, of which I know nothing.) For whatever reason, Brother Unsettled simply would not faithfully practice the meditations, leading to him to be a loner and something of an outcast in the ashram. In the end, in despair, his ending was unhappy, and he was found dead, having abused himself against fences, splintery boards and trees. And so, the transformed woodenness of his manhood.


To me, all this is a cautionary tale. I remember myself and the other chelas shaking our heads, going, "I don't want that to happen to me! What about you? No? Me neither!" And you want to know something, after all these years, it never did! I am blessed, and I hope you are too. But beware! Once you've taken the master's mantle, once you've found a place in his blessed fold, there's only one direction you must go [looking up.] The Divine is on your side, revealed today right where you are, as long as your devotions are sincere and good, in His grace. You might spit and sputter, that's OK. As long as you hope to become more like the master, perhaps even to the point of blowing the roof off an outhouse!

I will check in from time to time -- this is my continuing vow. Because it's in the terms of the agreement, certainly, but because I know how much I need to see these relics. They're not a crutch in any way. I already have the grace, as I'm sure you do as well. But I knew Unsettled. I saw what was possible for him, and I saw what he settled for. It wasn't anything good, unless you think a fence, a splintery board or tree is good for ... that kind of thing. I certainly do not!

Sri Masturbananda - The Wood Manhood Affair (2011)
Revivising the Relics in Jan. 2013

Masturbananda -- Heaven's Just a Fantasy Away
Swami Masturbananda -- The Life of the Party
Swami Masturbananda -- Never Stoved Up
The Flying Masturbananda
Masturbananda in the Morning
Swami Masturbananda's Family Jewels
The Deflowering of Swami Masturbananda
Clash of the Titans -- Masturbananda vs. Pastor Wadd
Let's Be Sunbeams for Masturbananda
Air Devotions with Swami Masturbananda
Sri Masturbananda -- Turn On, Turn Off, Turn On
Masturbananda -- The Problem of Depressed Libidos
Masturbananda -- The Need for Seed
Masturbananda Transforms "The Little Drip"

Monday, June 30, 2014

Bad Health -- Are These Visages Credible?

I've spent a lot of time lately looking at old newspapers online, most recently stuff from 1901. That's a long time ago. Sometimes I'm thinking, Every one of these people is dead, the guy who wrote the story, sold the ads, ran the Linotype, drew the artwork, and manned the press. Then all the people in the many stories throughout the pages, a'moldering in their graves.

In all this viewing, something that leaps out is that the papers were chock full of patent medicines, sexual debility doctors, electric belts, and promises of good health. No TV, radio, or internet, it was all happening in the paper. There's so many ads about "Weak Men" (in that way) that it's a wonder my grandpas were able to get the job done that led to me! The times were the golden age, I'm proclaiming, of this kind of stuff.

In this post I'm featuring some illustrations, the worst ones, that are alternately funny and sad. Sad because maybe they're more or less accurate. Funny because surely they're exaggerated in places. Leading me to this wonderful dynamic question: "ARE THESE VISAGES CREDIBLE?" I'll try to answer that question.

Look at Mr. Bile in the Blood. No doubt the wrong mixture of bile in the blood would be a disaster. Not being a doctor, I don't know if there's a healthy level, or if you need to keep all bile away. Certainly if you end up looking like this guy -- a melted mess with a mustache -- I'd prefer to buy whatever they were selling to combat it. Yikes! To me the visage doesn't look credible. The mustache is credible, everything else is haywire, especially the look of his eyes in full meltdown.

I feel I can speak authoritatively on the credibility of the visage. I've been blessed in many ways and don't feel I've had any real trouble with constipation. But I've known plenty of people who have. They're often busy with our modern day remedies, over the counter laxatives. It can go on quite a while. But generally, even though we don't talk about it much, they seem to be back to normal. I frankly have never seen anyone look as uncomfortable as this guy. Whether his visage is credible is going to come down to this, suggesting that he didn't look that spry to begin with. He already had the wrinkles, the extra heft in the chin and cheek area, and the deep set eyes. What constipation did was furrow it all (from worry) in the bridge of the nose and push his mouth slightly open (discomfort.) Conclusion, the visage is credible, but not attributed exclusively to constipation.

Here's one for the ladies. We have five examples of women suffering menstrual pain. In my opinion, four look pained but normal. Their visages are, yes, very credible. That leaves us the sweet young thing in the middle, who, frankly, doesn't show feminine features. I keep looking but all I can see is a very stern, evil man. And yet, what? If he's anything like me, menstrual pain is the least of his worries. What is he, in a polygamous relationship with the other four and just pissed that that time of month is simultaneous for the wives? Surely not! The only conclusion we can reach is that this is meant to be a woman, whose sufferings are many times worse than average. Her visage is so contorted from the pain that there is absolutely no hope, except for whatever the ad was selling. My conclusion, four of the visages are credible, one isn't.

This guy I'm putting generally in the same boat with Constipation Man above. Although with constipation you're usually fixed up within a week. When you have liver problems, that's a whole different thing, going on and on. Even though I don't know anyone who's had liver problems ever looking like this, I know they don't look great. He's in the same boat with Constipation in this regard, that he probably didn't look fantastic to begin with, with his appearance then merely aggravated, how ever dramatically, by his liver. When I first saw this one I thought of Frankenstein or Lon Chaney, the man of a thousand faces. He probably did this one in one of his movies. So I'm saying the visage is credible, but a little deceptive, since he surely had preexisting conditions.

The top two, all of us have had experience with pimples and probably blackheads. It's the scourge of our teenage years, right when we want to look our best. You suddenly break out, and at terrible times, right before the prom, with pimples. Blackheads are more controllable because it's basically dirt in the pores, but pimples have a mind of their own. They come from God knows where and look bad. The credibility of the visages, judging it, has to take into account that these are black and white pictures from the paper, and that they have to be pronounced to really show what you're illustrating. I'm giving them credibility, then, based on the printing technology of the day.

The same allowance will be made for the woman with impure blood. Although just diagnosing it myself, with my only information coming from these illustrations, it looks a lot like an outbreak of pimples. But no, according to the caption, she's got impure blood, coming from bad digestion, headaches, dullness of brain, and weakening nerves. I'm going to negate the credibility of this visage on this basis, that she ought to look a whole lot worse. She at least has it over Constipation and Liver in that her visage looked pretty good to begin with, but surely all those ailments, the full list, would make her look worse than spots on her face. Look how pure her hand is! Come on!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The NSA and Baby Monitors

Welcome to the true nanny state, as our National Security Agency (NSA), with their great success at surveillance on all other fronts, turns its attention to the last frontier, baby monitors. These limited communication devices, usually with such innocent messages -- "Good baby," "Baby wet," and "Hey, Mom, get your butt in here!" -- can also be channels of deceit and intrigue, detrimental to national and international security.

They say kids are growing up faster all the time. We've all seen that's true. Kids shooting one another, kids blowing up schools, and of course, kid entrepreneurs buying up multinational companies and burning them to the ground for the insurance. With schools -- this is no laughing matter -- kids are developing a war mentality: "If I'm old enough to go to school, I'm old enough to vote and drink." It's a lot different from when I was a kid. If the teacher saw you with a knife, let's say, she gave you a thumbs up and we continued our mumblypeg game. But the downside was we couldn't vote or drink.

Now it appears, we're facing an even more insidious enemy, the innocent baby. Think of Vladimir Putin. Is there a bigger babyface than him on the international scene? There actually is, Kim Jong Un, but we've got him contained. That leaves Putin, who, with his KGB background has brought the old Soviet mindset to our shores in the most despicable manner possible, in our freshly-minted youngsters, fresh out of the womb, fresh into the party! Communists!

Look at the way they do it in hospitals. The babies are in a little commune behind glass, one big happy family, sharing and sharing alike, identifying themselves by party colors, pink and blue. I think I've got that right. Pink field, blue sickle in the corner. It's only right that the NSA would do their best to protect the homeland, gathering and massaging all the intelligence they can get. I know they even have a number of my calls by now, checking around as I have with various baby stores about monitors in researching this article. Some creeps google pressure cookers -- and not just Grandma -- I google baby devices. Both dangerous to do.

Anyway, we've always looked at these monitors as completely innocent, because Mom, and to a more limited degree Dad, thought they needed them to keep Junior or Princess protected. God forbid they soil themselves and they miss their immediate cry! They might have to lay in their own filth a few seconds. Seriously, my opinion, we've been babying babies far too long. We should let them experience life as it really is, tough. Lie in it, kid! Learn what Desitin's for! Of course we wouldn't let them suffer to the point of demanding the vote and liquor, just give them moderate toughness, of the right kind, American toughness.

But no, instead, by babying them various party apparatchiks have taken advantage and infiltrated the nursery, knowing the little buggers would reveal information via the monitor. "What's your father up to?" "Burning flags in the basement." "What's your mom doing?" "Something with a breast pump, sending milk to Russia and Red China, hoping to develop super warriors, that America be destroyed from within and without." God, that's insidious! Who was it who rued "The Enemy Within"? One of the Kennedys, Churchill, or some bigwig like that? They didn't expect the enemy within to be so young ... and apparently so helpless!

Then there's kids who aren't merely passive and accepting of outside schemes. There's the ones with brains -- probably reincarnated Cold Warriors -- who know where the grids are and what grids do and can be made to do. They're the ones who immediately know how to communicate via these obscure radio frequencies -- baby monitors -- the plans of a mastermind: "We'll meet at the docks. The soldiers are hiding in tuna barrels. You'll know them by their breath, smelling of fish. Get there by 8:00 p.m. Bring mayo."

I have to say, friends, I'm glad -- you don't know how glad! -- the NSA is on this. And patrolling neighborhoods all through our threatened land. Recording baby monitors and protecting democracy from future generations, hopefully never to be born.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Super Brain

I've mentioned a few times over the years that one of my pet names for myself is Super Brain. It's done wonders for my self-image but has been a detriment to my love life ("Super Brain knows you're in it for the free meals.") Be all that as it may, the name's stuck. And for good reason, thanks to my super brain, silly. The following is an account born in my meditations just this morning:

Super Brain is alone with his thoughts. At this moment he's monitoring the various energies as they go deep, seeing how they generally bypass actual information of a practical nature, inventions that might help mankind in some way, and veer off into fantasy realms, often tripping over themselves.

It's something like "Journey to the Center of the Earth," that story. I'll note it's a lot easier to make the descent than it may be, looking ahead, to get back out. I can't depend on a rock basin atop a volcano ready to blow. Super Brain calculates the odds. The rock basin and volcano being there, pretty good. Blowing at that precise second, less so. Survival with the heat and the difficulties of landing once blown free and clear, also not good. If that happens Super Brain calculates nothing but pain, discomfort, and a terrible death.

But we're far from that point. Super Brain continues to descend to the depths of himself. I see channels of light, synapses larger than most people's. I'm seeing these are synapses that don't mess around. For a lot of people, they're always shorting out, barely making a connection, but these are ones that receive from the previous synapse and add motive power before sending it to the next. Meaning -- ye gods! -- when a thought starts to occur it's already huge and powerful, but by the time it's fully considered, it's Everest! The fact that I can simultaneously shrink it down and make it presentable to others, as in this report, is itself a seismic miracle. Of tectonic proportions. Super Brain double backs on himself with amazement.

That's something to consider, although it threatens to put Super Brain into many simultaneous massive loops. Still, "Know thyself / Physician, heal thyself," -- if Super Brain wants to consider its own mighty workings, vis-a-vis the relation he has to himself -- although this is where a monumental conscious split might happen -- there's great danger in telling Super Brain to settle down. I must be careful not to become multiple Super Brains, as that would crowd out others from their rightful place in sharing the thoughts of the world. It would be immoral to swallow up all consciousness. But Super Brain is like the proverbial 5000 pound gorilla, demanding free reign, meaning we have to stand back and clean up the damage later.

Thinking on Super Brain's thoughts on himself -- how majestic the peaks -- how awesome and unsearchable the terrible depths, with all the power it takes to make it work -- a mighty surge overpowering all other insurgents! Super Brain doesn't fight the same war twice. Super Brain is a dynamic thinking entity of no observable limits. Although Super Brain obviously could observe them if he wanted. Super Brain's cranial habitation does not truly hold it. Another obvious miracle. Super Brain thinks and thinks and thinks and thinks on itself and remains healthy, ever strengthening and doubling in thinking might.

Now I'm going to perform an utterly magnificent feat, to cast Super Brain's thoughts on terrain and realms very far from it. My first stop: Out by the Tastee Freeze. What do I behold in that far off locale, at least 60 blocks from here? They're still closed. They've been closed for decades. You'd think someone would buy the run-down property, tear down the old place, and put something else there. A Taco John or something.

Super Brain sees -- wow! -- an investment opportunity. Super Brain actually truly sees the possibilities of entrepreneurship. All it'd take is a quick call to corporate, a plan that Super Brain might work out with lawyers -- himself able to guide the best legal minds in plush offices around the square. But is that really the direction Super Brain wants to go? It'd be good money. At first, though, his energies would be tied up in hiring teenagers to make tacos, and he can see -- thanks to the vast energies making these thoughts simply occur -- that would be so unrewarding.

Super Brain is not tiring, no. But Super Brain's vast energies are making the body tired. Must direct energies to recharge. Meaning, looking to the gigantic nucleus of pulsing light and dark right at the core of Super Brain, and sending forth power. Energy to the toes! Energy to the hands! Energy to the vital organs! Energy to the organs shriveling from lack of use. Super Brain must make the body more attractive to potential mates. (Troll nursing homes to find rich widows. Have to get them when they're new, before they've signed over the house.) Like spinach, Super Brain makes biceps anvils, hands hammers, dinghy tattoo on chest a battleship. Pipe is spinning, strident music playing, theme song. I'm a whirlwind of hitting objects with my fist and having them land in a more ordered arrangement. I'm strong to the finish.

Super Brain semi-drifts into a quiescent state, the body relaxes. Semi-drifts, because Super Brain continues forever his activity, now monitoring all things in a mighty way, crickets in the pantry, birds outside, and the air conditioner popping on again.

Must rouse myself and get on with my day.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Army Corps of Roastin' Ears

Hey, guess what! I am an official honorary Army Corps of Engineers temporary one-day cadet! I got to hang out with the troop, and the whole bit. This was actually Sunday night at their annual picnic, at which a fine time was had by all.

You might ask, Who did you have to know to get to do that? Well, as it turned out, I didn't know any of them. But I entered a contest that I saw on an obscure bulletin board in the dark corner of a little known coffee shop. It was this: "Guess the total cubic feet of output at the dam this year from the first day of spring to the first day of summer ... to the first day, not inclusive."

They print a daily figure in the paper that's purely an average. So naturally, I had to go beyond that. I did what most Super Brains would do; I went to the Army Corps website and found the average output for every year since the dam was built, specifically omitting summer, fall, and winter months. I focused on spring. But I didn't stop there, because I went back and weighted the averages based on rainfall amounts, fluctuating temperature, and other factors. Other factors included average river depth (output) for those years and adding in whatever fish, turtles, birds, and deer might drink, and I had it.

Well, wouldn't you know? (I'm blushing.) I was so close to the actual answer they accused me of cheating, having ties to a mole in the Corps! I was off something like an eighth of an inch, having forgotten that in those hotter years swimmers would've carried off water their swimsuits had soaked up, thereby reducing the output however infinitesimal it might be. Then if you figure an occasional camper pees while swimming, it gets tricky.

So it was a mixed bag. Like I said, they thought I cheated, so they were giving me dirty looks. I kept throwing up my bare hands, "Mea non culpa!" My suspicion on all this is the actual moles were trying to get their friends in, but warned them to be off by at least a foot or two. They didn't know Super Brain was on the case! (Sorry about the "Super Brain" references. It's a pet name I have for myself, which I don't always say in public, but in this case it's warranted.) Regardless of what they'd planned, though, there I was and there I stayed!

The Corps actually warmed up to me after a while. As everyone knows, my specialty is Group Dynamics, so I really know how to schmooze a crowd. A bunch of compliments, oohing and aahing over their magnificent accomplishments, and telling them I've always had a soft spot for the Corps -- ever since my dad showed me my first dam -- and they were mollified. You have to admit the Army Corps of Engineers is amazing. They don't just make dams to last a few years; they make them to last a century or more. On the other hand you could make the case they're just beavers with better equipment.

Whatever the case may be, once they relaxed, we were good buds. You know, I said they could build great dams? They put on even greater picnics! Wow! Try to get a beaver to do that! The food was coming on hot and heavy, including everything you might hope for: Hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks on the grill, pork chops, and my favorite, roastin' ears!* I absolutely love it, even though I don't do much of it at home. It's really great, though, when you're at a picnic and they have enormous grills and they're roastin' corn still in the husks. You see those blackened husks and they're great, and they smell good. But it's all happening on the inside, where the corn is perfection! It's like dying and going to heaven, where I hear cookouts like this are frequent.

Even though we were getting along great, I still hung back. As I teach in my Group Dynamics seminars, those around you generally admire humility more than jumping in. Pretty soon they had me center stage, as would be expected, and I was actually helping the head man, the General, man the corn grills. He'd say "Flip 'em!," I'd salute and do it. He'd say, "Move those over!," I'd salute and do it. Finally, he said, "You get the first ear!" I dug right in, forgetting to salute. Then I came up with a big bar of melting butter in my hand, thought of it and immediately saluted, getting butter all over my forehead and accidentally flicking some on the general's uniform. He gritted his teeth and said, "At ease, soldier," before wiping with a napkin. I was ashamed, but still proud that every time in the future he sees that stain, he'll think of me ... and, hopefully, smile.

In the end we were all such friends, they sang "You're in the Army Now" especially for me, and really meant it. It was great. All hostilities had ceased. We ate so much we were stuffed. And drink ... we drank so much beer, and peed in the lake so many times, the output might threaten the entire structure.

* I have an important announcement concerning corn coming up soon, very soon.