Saturday, October 29, 2011

America: Golden Age To The Rescue

One of my favorite patriotic songs is the old chestnut, virtually a standard by now, "America The Beautiful." I love it so much I'm actually standing as I write this.

It's the one that tells of "spacious skies," "amber waves of grain," "purple mountain majesties," and "the fruited plain." It gives me a real urge to go outside more, and I would if it weren't for mosquitoes.

You might remember all the verses, including this great one:
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.
Over the years, I've been repulsed as I've heard critics tear into that verse. "Oh!" said they, wringing their hands as they hyperventilated in an overly literal and earnest stew, "That can't be right! That's blind idealism! Because we all know that our cities are not undimmed by human tears!" They would make the case that the cities were a cesspool of suffering, with nothing to recommend them. Then they'd spell it out: Crime, murder, strangulation, pickpockets, muggings, and sweatshops. With lots of human tears.

So, assuming there was some truth to that, the song told of something that was false. And so it went. Until now ... when, with the coming of THE GOLDEN AGE we can at long last now gladly announce, The song is true! There are no more human tears! It is the Golden Age!

Something happened, something apparently happened at a very deep level, to suddenly change the heart of man from evil to good. It's been prophesied, that's for sure, so there must have always been the potentiality for perfection in us. I believe there was! But the fact that it happened just like that, and mankind as a whole turned on a dime, in an instant, is the amazing part. And yet we know it's true.

Criminals gave up crime. Murderers gave up murder. The rich were happy to share with the poor. The poor took the rich under their wing and taught them at long last how life works. In this vast switch, of course the Republican party had to go under. So one day the earth cracked open and sucked only them down, bringing stability and happiness even to the political process. All countries willingly gave up their weapons. Even now, they're still working out the logistics for distributing all the plowshares. It's a great problem to have. Everyone's smiling!

I've been very happy with the switch. No more do I have to see "Ghost Hunter" shows on TV. With the removal of evil from the world, all bullshit became extinct. And besides that blessing, it's great to know that everyone in the world has all he or she needs for the best life possible. There's always someone to share, as the bounty overflows.

Tears are no more, pain, suffering, it's all in the past! Creative minds are busy editing old movies and books to take out all conflict, since we're already starting to forget what it was like. Everyone in the movies and books will be happy the whole time. No one will be portrayed doing anything to another character that is negative even in the slightest. Finally, I can go back to the movies, since I hate anything but perfect happiness. I still remember conflict. It always gave me a headache.

Rejoice, America, that your song is finally true. "Thine alabaster cities gleam." There's no more shadow, it's all bleached white, great and beautiful!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Masturbananda -- The Need For Seed

You've got seed and you've got need.

The need is a personal, discernible need, often with personal motives. But the need is also part and parcel of nature's drive, there of course being no clear division between the two needs except what we see as true because of our sense of a personal consciousness.

Where the seed comes from and the compulsion behind it, these things obviously arise from beyond our individual personal consciousness and choice. They are a given in nature to the nature we are. The nature has one path leading toward regular replication. It also takes an evolutionary path, going toward higher expressions of nature. Then, ultimately, there is union with the Divine at the heart of it all. You can probably tell I'm thinking of concepts that come from a mix of Sri Aurobindo and Ken Wilber's teachings, as well as the teachings of Sri Masturbananda.

Of the masters who deal with seed and the various needs of seed, Masturbananda is no doubt the preeminent authority. This is right at the heart of his teachings, and in light of that, we find him to be very practical. Because this is at the center of every man's life. (We're excluding eunuchs and possibly the Pope. Note to women: You're going to have to look elsewhere. We know there is some psycho-physical corollary in your experience, but what it is and how it works is a complete mystery to us. We basically know where the off/on switch is, but how the apparatus behind it should most accurately be described is so far unknown.)

Sri Masturbananda's teaching is in agreement with the mainstream of science as to the properties and "needs" of seed, while going beyond them in terms of the hidden potentialities of the same for man's union with the Divine. He bases his teaching not on speculation or doctrine handed down but on personal experimentation and discovery. And so he passes it on, that his chelas (students) may discover it for themselves. He's not asking them to take anything simply by belief or trust, but calls on them to test the teachings and see.

As I've written before, Masturbananda teaches that real glimpses of the Divine are given to us through our best devotions. And he shows the way. How many times I can remember the Master retiring to one of the ashram's outhouses! Everything is as normal. Then there's an obvious fervency at work and we can tell there is something of greatness in our midst. An intensity that you can just feel is building in the atmosphere.

Suddenly all of your senses hone in on the outhouse! The sounds are greater and greater, even becoming ethereal and less distinguishable as mere sounds and become a feeling, like a shroud of intuition covering you! The eyes behold a glow covering the facility! Everything is working itself up in a wild crescendo. And then, we duck for the cover, the roof is blown clean off, and a jet stream of the purest light arises from the earth and meets another beam coming from somewhere beyond!

That's leadership. That's showing the way. I say it like that because the Master is always in unity with the Divine; he doesn't need to do this, but he takes part in the grosser forms of devotion to be our example. And you got to love him for it! It certainly inspires us, and how much greater then is our own fervency upon retiring to our chambers in the light of the Master's blessed condescension. The big difference, of course, is that none of us has yet caused real roof damage; perhaps some ceiling spotting, some of the bigger guys, but that's about it.

The more I concentrate on his blessed teaching, the more inspired I am, and that's the way it is for all of us. Because this isn't just something that arises from us, but is part of the Divine plan. Once you see it, you can't see it any other way. These potentialities are with us, but clearly they are from beyond us, speaking from an egoic perspective. That the Divine wills for union with us, and finds equal or exceeding joy in that, is all the added inspiration we need to be faithful to our devotions!

The Trouble With Cartoons

The main trouble with cartoons is they're not realistic. So I haven't got much time for them. People with four fingers, etc.

It hasn't always been that way, what I thought. When I was a kid, like most kids, even the stupid ones of today, I wanted to watch cartoons. Turn on the cartoons, I want to see them! But back then, cartoons were something special. They were on for a half hour in the afternoon, Saturday mornings of course, and maybe an hour on Sunday, if you were sick and didn't have to go to church.

Now, kids have cartoons all the time, to the point of being able to watch countless reruns on Netflix or DVDs. And they have outrageous cartoons, more outrageous than anything I remember, like some guy, I think his name is "Kick Buttinski" or Buttowski. If we even said the word butt, we were grounded for a week. So that's another thing, it's all pottymouth.

How many times do you have to watch a cartoon -- and I'm talking about people who actually think, not your average idiot -- to realize you're not watching something realistic? That's my big beef, remember. They're pounding each other with sledgehammers that somehow they've been able to hide behind their backs. They're running off cliffs without being permanent injured or killed. They dive in a hole like it's an Olympic swimming pool. They're running 100 mph down a hill with a repeating background. So you see the same tree go by a hundred times. It's ridiculous.

Look at the illustration I have. A bunch of monkeys riding a zebra. The zebra is running so fast that all four feet are off the ground, if it's not Super Zebra and he's flying. Yet the monkeys are not holding on for dear life. They seem to be very nonchalant about it, and this would be a perilous ride! The fourth one back is waving at someone, we don't even see who.

The last one's the one I'm really looking at. He's reading a book. It appears to be a book by a guy named Darwin, in which he hopes to find the instructions for how to become a realistic man and get off this mad zebra. As it is, he has an erect tail to rest his foot on, and whatever hopes a monkey in mid-evolution can muster.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Your Website After Death

If you have a website or blog, maybe you wonder, like I do, what will happen to it after your death.

I'd like to think that somehow, some way, everything would be nicely preserved for thousands of years. But that's not likely without real dedication on someone's part. How often just within the last 15 years, since the internet really got jumping, have sites come and gone, like Geocities? They give you a month to download your crap, then that's it. After that, you're out of luck.

Imagine your heirs. They think everything's going smoothly with the website they're trying to preserve, two or three years pass, they go back to check it, and Google has some new standard that you have to log-in before a certain date or it'll be gone. They just did that with "legacy blogs," blogs that hadn't been updated for a couple years.

So the idea of your website outliving you by very many years, while it's a great idea, is maybe unrealistic. It's certainly fraught with peril. On the other hand, they say that anything you say on the internet is imperishable, although that might be more true for embarrassing things rather than what you want everyone to remember. Like if you're a teacher and you've molested your entire class, no one's going to forget that. But if you're just an average guy like me, who's never molested anyone and isn't likely to, we have to fend for ourselves. The penalty for being good!

But let's think about that a bit more. Let's say you are a real cretin, like the teacher in the example, and you have a website. (And this goes for mass murderers, or a crazed killer like the guy who tried to kill the congresswoman, or even someone who bullies someone on Facebook into suicide.) As soon as their crime becomes known and they're infamous, you can set your watch by it, whatever they've posted on the internet will be gone within five minutes. Maybe it's because of the overload on the server, or because no one wants to be associated with them -- whatever, it's gone! Of course their incredible failure at life will always be known, just not the other...

And that's what it is for all these deranged people, they're an incredible failure at life. There's different ways at looking at life, existence, and what it is we are here to accomplish, if anything. More or less, I think we're here simply to reproduce, like every other species. Although we've tamed nature to a certain extent and don't need to reproduce like wild animals. But socially we have a purpose, and that's to get along as best we can, be a decent citizen, and someday pass on. People will say, "He lived a good life." But if you're deranged, or do something psychotic, like killing a bunch of people, we say, "What a failure at life! His one chance at life and he blew it!"

But they ought to leave their websites up. The publicity is going to die down. The rest of us then can preserve our own websites and blogs, and if we ever need to be reminded, we can go visit those folks' and tell ourselves, "I may not be much. But at least I'm not that asshole."

Yes, I Teach My Disciples Deeper Things

The question came up from one of my more faithful readers, "Is your teaching the same for everyone, or do you make distinctions for the---" That was his question word for word. As you can see, he broke it off without finishing, perhaps because he didn't know exactly how to word it. Or maybe he thought it was a stupid question and decided to cut his losses. (I don't think it's a stupid question.) Or maybe he was simply abashed by his effrontery, asking me something like that, thinking, If I wanted him to know, I'd tell him.

Well, have no fear, dear one, I am happy to tell you. You must know how open I am to all seekers, and what a true welcome I give to your questions. I'm nothing if not full of love and grace. I've never turned away a true seeker yet, and since that's the way it's been, that's probably the way it will be for the foreseeable future. You can ask me basically anything. Of course I don't want overly personal questions --no one would -- like what's a typical shower like for me, or how often do I change my underpants. (It's everyday, I guess I don't mind that question, since there's nothing embarrassing about it.)

But first I need to finish his question. "Is your teaching the same for everyone, or do you make distinctions for the uninitiated, the facile, the moronic, the surface-dweller, the common Joe, the sightseer, the dullard, and/or the shallow?"

The answer is a qualified YES. I would qualify it by saying, theoretically, the fullness of my teaching is available to anyone. I realize we're all seekers (I used to be), and that we don't have what we're seeking for, and often we're ignorant of what it even is. So I don't make distinctions, theoretically; I want everyone to know that he is welcome to sit at my feet and to receive what he needs.

But that's in theory; the practical truth, for one reason or another, is that not everyone is ready, and, frankly, there's no time wasting their time or mine in those instances. They may not be wise enough to see it. I find that's very typical. But I am wise enough to make that judgment, and it's usually a snap judgment, with my record so far being 100% accuracy. I can just look at you, and maybe listen to you guffaw loudly, or clap someone on the back in an outrageous way, and say, "This person isn't ready." So I send them off.

Whether, then, folks wander in darkness, never finding their way back to the light, of course that's possible. But I figure, you know, it's a big world, there's only one of me, and I can't be all things to all people, try as I might. I'm just happy to know I can pluck a few of these poor souls out of the fire. That's fulfilling to me.

So I am, of course, open and willing to teach people the wisdom they need. And I do it, day after day, sometimes till I'm literally about to drop. Even in those extreme moments, I do it with dedication, even if I can barely go on. But, yes, a lot of those folks are getting the shallower version of things, the truth they're able to grasp or bear. And they're happy, because for the most part they're oblivious to the fact that there's more to it!

But for the true seeker, meaning the one who is really ready, I am also ready, ready to take them under my wing and to share with them the deeper things. It's those who receive the full provision for their body, mind, soul, and spirit.

Great question!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why You'll Never See Me In Black

Probably all of you remember Johnny Cash being "The Man In Black." He wore black, he talked about his clothes, he wrote a book called that, and he had a hit song of the same name.

Now that he's gone, you don't hear much about it anymore. Which is why I want to reopen the subject for a new generation. Because now, thanks to the world's progress, there's no more reason to wear black. And if Johnny Cash were here today and able to look around at our progress, I'm sure he would agree, and purchase some lighter threads.

Remember his song, "Man In Black," in which he explained why he wore black? He sang:
I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he's a victim of the times.
Right off the bat we see where he's going. Back then there were folks who were called poor and beaten down, folks who were hopeless and hungry. So to address that, Johnny Cash wore black. Of course there was nothing about his clothing that told the story itself. He needed to spell it out for us, then whenever we'd see him in black, we'd know what was going on.

But hallelujah! There's no more need for black, now that everyone has enough for his daily needs, now that folks are no longer beaten down, and now that no one is hopeless or hungry. And the prisons are empty. Most of them have been torn down, there being no more need for them. If I felt like wearing black today, I'd have to come up with a whole new set of reasons, because with progress we've eliminated the old ones. That's great news!
I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you and me.
Again, hallelujah! There's no one, except maybe newborn babies, who hasn't read or listened to the words of the Lord. All of us in this more enlightened time, thanks to the strides of progress of the last 30 years, have easy access and eager minds to imbibe the wisdom of Christ, as he speaks still about the road to happiness through love and charity. We've not only had the teachings, we've lived out their spirit. So ... no more need for black.
I wear it for the sick and lonely old,
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold,
I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could have been,
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.
There's no more sick, there's no more old who are lonely. There's no more reckless ones taking bad trips. There's no more need to mourn the lives that could have been, because they're all living to a ripe old age, thank you very much, and enjoying their lives immensely. I'm thinking the last piece of the stanza had to do with guys who were fighting and dying in Vietnam. Of course that's long since over with, and because the world has found a way to live in peace, everything now is great. Black is definitely out!

Johnny Cash was, I hate to say it, the definition of pessimism. Read this depressing verse:
Well, there's things that never will be right I know,
And things need changin' everywhere you go,
But 'til we start to make a move to make a few things right,
You'll never see me wear a suit of white.
First, he thinks "there's things that never will be right," saying he knows that! Unfortunately he isn't with us today to eat his words! He didn't imagine the golden age that has opened up to us, where every evil has been dealt with and everything good, right, and proper is the order of the day. And yet, look at the last piece, he at least had the optimism to imagine that we might "start to make a move to make a few things right..." What?! "Start to make a move..." and "to make a few things right." It's not as optimistic as it sounded on first hearing, but only then -- only then -- would we, might we hope to see him wear a suit of white!

The big finale drives home his pessimism and his despair at having to always wear black:
Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black.
He'd "love" to wear a rainbow everyday, he'd "love" to tell the world everything's OK, but, alas, he couldn't. If only he'd lived, he would have seen that day come, that day of rainbows, happiness, fulfillment, and righteousness. Instead, as he shuffled off the stage, he sounded a Suffering Servant/Christ-with-His-cross tone, "I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back..."

You know what, that's a far out thought! Maybe after Johnny Cash's death, his atonement amounted to something in glory. Maybe that's how we got the switch, how everything started coming up roses. Johnny Cash's clothes saved the day. In glory, his having been clad in black ... saved the world! Stranger things have happened!

So, up there somewhere, today, Johnny Cash has to know the world's Golden Age is here. Injustice, heartache, and all forms of evil have been dealt with. Mankind is in harmony with his brother once and for all! And that's why you'll never see me in black!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pigs: "Eat More Bacon"

[Artwork COPYRIGHT 2011 dbkundalini, All Rights Reserved, please don't steal it. Note: Getty Images, please feel free to contact me for usage rights. Limited rights offered to Pork Producers, International.]

I was with a guy at the local barbecued pork restaurant recently. I think it was last Thursday, possibly Tuesday or Wednesday, definitely not Monday, and they're not open on Sunday. And I was busy on Saturday...

Anyway, they have quite a few pigs and other hog-related memorabilia, statues, knickknacks, and portraits there, with the pigs seeming to condone and even encourage the eating of their meat. This struck my friend as being kind of odd.

And, now that I think of it, it also strikes me as being somewhat weird. Maybe they ought to be like the Chik-Fil-Et (sp?) chickens, I guess it is, or maybe cows, that are encouraging possible customers at their restaurant to eat more cow or chickens, whichever is opposite of what they actually serve there. I guess it'd have to be chicken in a place called "Chick-Fill-Et." Like they must serve chicken filets, so there's cows encouraging people to "EAT MOR CHIKN."

That makes more sense if your whole thing is to have people eat the other guy and not you. Or the other species and not you. But it's shortsighted, like in the Martin Niemoller quote, if Niemoller had been a cow: "They came for the chickens and I didn't stop them. Now they're coming for me and there's no chickens to save me." Still, being shortsighted when it comes to your self-preservation can be an effective way to save yourself, because it at least buys time and allows you to plan your next move.

But getting back to pigs, and I'm 100% serious about this, in my opinion it's better to exist than not. If I had never been born at all, imagine how unhappy I'd be. I'd be sitting there going, "What? A stinking chigger can exist, but I can't exist?! How crazy is that!" You'd be unhappy, too! Or step it up, with something better than a chigger but still not as good as a man. "A stinking pig has a shot at life, but not me? Good grief, what kind of world is this anyway?!"

Since I actually do exist, I'm happy to share the land with pigs and chiggers.

OK, back to the pigs existing. There are millions of pigs, and the fact of the matter is hardly any of them, like less than 1%, would exist if they weren't being bred for food. Think about it, no farmer is going to breed 5,000 pigs just to have them standing around. He's trying to make money, not clutter up the farm with useless pigs. Therefore, if no one ate pigs, pigs wouldn't exist in any quantity. So if you're a pig, and you realize all this, you are going to do what you can to make sure people eat more pork, because that's the only thing that gave you a shot at life.You're not going to have piglets without that policy, however revolting it might otherwise be to you.

Just today, I had four slices of bacon. And I feel good about it, because I'm doing my part.

Cadaver Dogs Need To Get Our Attention

"It's over there! The cadaver!" he might say. "You're looking for a dead body, I've scented one!" would be another direct alternative. Or even, "I smell something in yonder box, you might want to check it out," would probably be enough, although he's not explicitly mentioning cadavers or dead bodies.

All those would be useful explanations, but, alas, dogs can't talk. They can only motion (the Pointer), make noise (the Whistling Dachshund), or bite your leg off (the Pit-bull). If they're some other dog, they have to make do with the assumption that you who are searching for the body will recognize it when they've found one.

But this doesn't always happen if the body isn't really lost. In those cases, they have a few different choices: 1) Dance around and tug at you; 2) Claw at the casket, or the deceased if he's not yet in a box; or, 3) Ignore its discovery. But I can't see a cadaver dog having the decision-making capabilities to simply ignore the body. Because of their training, anytime you get them around a dead body, they're going to let you know!

Our best recommendation for cadaver dog owners would be to leave your dog home if you're going to a funeral and don't want to be bothered with all the antics. Because it can be embarrassing to disrupt someone's funeral by having to lecture your dog in public. Especially right there at the grave site, with the pastor having to start over several times with his final remarks. "If anyone has just cause why the deceased should not be buried, let him speak now or forever hold his piece." Then an embarrassing "Howl!"

The whole story is this: A cadaver dog, as macabre as it may sound, can be very useful if you're trying to find a missing body. But they're not helpful at all if the body's location is well known and not a mystery at all.

Take All You Want, Want All You Take

Take all you care to eat, but care to eat all you care to take.

Take all you will eat, then eat all you take.

Take your fill, but fill yourself with all you take.

Take what you want, but want what you take.

Take all you choose to eat, but choose to eat all you take.

Take all you think you will want, but if you think you do not want what you have taken, think again what it was you first thought you wanted, then eat it.

Take it or leave it, but leave all you have not taken.

Take what you will eat, but eat what you have taken.

This simple policy helps keep our prices low.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Last Will And Testament Of Edgar D. Scuzworth

We're almost to Halloween once again, which always reminds me of the same thing, the kids of this one town getting their costumes and candy. Because they had a real champion in Edgar D. Scuzworth, of blessed memory.

But of course it would've never happened had his family treated him right. I feel like calling them a bunch of dirty names, and maybe you can guess what they'd be, but since there's a good chance the kids will be reading this, I'll just call them idiots, morons, and goofballs.

In my opinion, it'd completely idiotic if you're in for a big inheritance but then you're not patient with the person who is your benefactor, even to the point of wishing him dead, or worse, trying to hasten his death. Some of the idiots, morons, and goofballs thought they could speed it along, then get their grubby hands on his fortune, a considerable fortune ... of exactly $80,000,000.06. That's right, $80 million and change!

Of course it's always best to love our loved ones, money or not, but that very elementary, common sense concept had eluded Mr. Scuzworth's family. There was his crummy daughter, his terrible son, and his hateful wife. But it's not like he didn't see it coming. A guy with his brainpower -- he was very smart -- knows what's going on. He was smart enough himself when his father died to get the fortune, old money, from the famous Scuzworth Tire Company of the 1930s.

Mr. Scuzworth took care of the money over the years, he didn't waste it. He took out enough to live on and that was it. I think that's smart, except it created resentment in his family. His crummy daughter always thought she needed more, his terrible son was never content with his pittance of an allowance, and his hateful wife hated him for his frugality. She wanted to dress like the other society ladies. La-dee-dah! And that's the way it went all the way up to the time Mr. Scuzworth got sick and was about to die.

Well, to make a long story somewhat shorter, a necessity in this day of short attention spans, when people would rather have their stories short and pithy, even to the point of leaving out vital information, such as the various murderous intrigues and plots the family concocted to kill the old man off, interesting to me if not you, at some point he wrote out his "Last Will and Testament."

So there they were, Crummy, Terrible, and Hateful, gathered for the reading of the will. (His death was painful and tumultuous so I shudder to describe it.) The old family retainer, so old he had dust on his toupee, read it in his slow, halting voice.
To my loving daughter, who has wished me dead for years, I leave the grand total of two cents.

To my loving son, who has always been spiteful and had it in for me, I leave the grand total of two cents.

And to my loving wife, who stayed with me through thick and thin, always thinking I might die more quickly and leave her the family fortune, I leave the grand total of two cents.
So, you see, that takes care of the six cents. But the real shocker was what he bequeathed to the children of the town:
To the children of the town, I will that $80 million be kept in trust, so that to perpetuity they can have a great Halloween. The money will be paid out annually to Halloween stores to keep the children in good costumes and well-equipped in other ways to have a great holiday.
Pretty cool, huh? Apparently he had one joy in life, since his own kids were so bad, and that was the kids who came around at Halloween for Trick or Treat. They were scared to death of him, being a scary looking old guy, and he liked that. And so it is, to this day, the little town has about 40 Halloween stores that set up for two or three months a year. With around 200 kids in town, the stores, to get the money, really load them up with costumes.

They also have Scuzworth Days, including a big parade of the kids in their costumes, financed by the Halloween stores, who then write it off their taxes.

What happened to his hateful son, his crummy wife, and his terrible daughter? Suicide, boom, boom, boom!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Gadhafi On Display At Shopping Center

I love the story in the paper about Gadhafi (spellings vary, but out of laziness I'm arbitrarily choosing this one.)

They caught him, tracked him down, sniffed him out, and got him. A gathering of concerned citizens immediately killed and dismembered him, one individual even taking his shoes.

Authorities then moved in and broke up the reverie, then gathered up all the pieces of his body and stitched it all back together so they could give him a proper burial. Or so they thought!

Instead, and this is apparently true, according to an Associated Press article by Kim Gamel and Rami Al-Shaheibi, his blood-streaked body was put on display at a local shopping center. I can picture it perfectly, since of course we also have a shopping center here in town. It'd be like bringing in a corpse and setting it up right between the Mode O'Day and Hallmark stores, sure to gather a crowd!

The AP article says people filed in to take their pictures with Gadhafi's corpse. Some chanted, "We want to see the dog." Great sentiment, perfectly expressed!

This is what I love about foreign countries. They don't mess around with niceties. Like the Ayatollah when he died. The body fell out of the casket a dozen times on the way to the cemetery. Meaning, if he wasn't dead before, he certainly was by the time they got there!

Here in the United States, I don't know what it is. The only ones who get excited at American funerals are the religious zealots out there protesting. And even they aren't dedicated enough to grab the body and put it on display somewhere, like at their church. They ought to. Maybe it'd give the rest of us a taste for excitement.

Gadhafi was a tyrant and criminal, and he got what he deserved. Again, there's a contrast between the way the Libyans do it and the Americans. We've also had tyrants, even war criminals guilty of crimes against humanity, but we let them retire in honor back to their ranches. I can think of a few cretins who'd look pretty spiffy at the shopping center. Prop them up down by the ice cream stand. I could have my picture taken while enjoying one of my favorite desserts. Just desserts for them, just desserts for me!

Good riddance to bad rubbish... And that goes for Gadhafi, too!

Cadaver Dog Gets 'Hit' At Funeral Home

An FBI cadaver dog registered a "hit" at one of the local funeral homes today, according to FBI spokesman, Ed Hoogar Javer.

The deceased had apparently disappeared from the mortuary recently, leading police on a thorough search of the premises, inside and out. His family was beside themselves, for a time being suspects in the disappearance, their motive ... money, there having been a family dispute about their inheritance.

An affadavit stated that the cadaver dog indicated a "positive hit" for the scent of a deceased person, having sniffed the premises for less than five minutes.

As it turned out, there had been no foul play. The deceased was simply rolled from one room to another by the cleaning lady, who then went on vacation. The question was raised why the police failed to find the body in their thorough search. Their explanation was that they are not dogs and so of course do not have the same keen sense of smell.

While there, the dog found four other bodies -- none of which was lost -- including one whose funeral service was in progress.

Is This The Laziest Comic Strip In The World?

I'm not a big fan of the comics page, but I turn the pages and see it.

My eye notices this comic, MUTTS by Patrick McDonnell. And it seems like pretty often it's "Earl's Diary," where there's normally a character sitting there, then the rest of the comic is just a written entry to his diary. Today, though, we don't even get Earl!

It seems like a real lazy way of doing a comic strip. I've written about B.C. and the way the strip would have the insult exchange or some kind of definition. Then you'd have the characters walking over a hill and that was it. Or giving a deadpan expression to the audience and that was it. But this goes beyond that in laziness.

I also remember one one day -- were the lights out? I believe it was just a black box, something like that. That would be very lazy, too. Especially if they did it day after day, "Still haven't paid the electric bill!"

My only knowledge of the MUTTS strip are these "Earl's Diary" entries. Is it usually better than this?

Friday, October 21, 2011

I'm Smelling Something Bad -- That's Good!

I'd said before that I think I have olfactory hallucinations.

The tricky thing about it is I've never been officially diagnosed, so it's all anecdotal, what I tell myself and suspect. The thing about senses is that you have nowhere objective to stand from which to judge them. I suppose if you had instrumentation and science you could come to better conclusions. But if I was going to do that, I'd go to the doctor. So far, I prefer going it alone, because, for the most part, I don't mind them.

When I first noticed this -- and there's links above with links within some of those posts if you want to see what I've written before -- I thought it was all objective. To the point that I was scrubbing floors and walls to get rid of bacteria. But because others in the environment weren't smelling anything, and because it all went away after a while, which bacteria wouldn't be likely to do, and because I discovered online that olfactory hallucinations is an actual thing, I quit scrubbing, etc.

Usually everything is perfectly OK. Like right now, everything is more or less perfectly OK. I'm not smelling anything extremely vile or disagreeable. And when I do, frankly, it doesn't bother me that much. Nothing really lingers, not like a few years ago.

It's a big jump from really worrying about it a few years ago to embracing it now. Maybe there's some link, I hope so, between olfactory hallucinations and the creative process, and happiness, or even the more spiritual dimensions of life. My guess is that whatever you embrace you can use for personal profit. If you think it, you can live it. Which is what I'm trying to do. I read a good verse today:
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. (Song of Solomon 2:13)
Of course I read that in the most mystical sense presently possible for me.

Think about this, if you're evaluating all the nuances of your experience, and the nuances are varied with hidden dimensions, it really gives you something to think about. This touches that and everything gets affected along the way. It does happen to be my belief that there are stranger dimensions of reality than we typically see, so anything to open that up seems pretty much a plus. The trouble is, you might just be smelling rotten garbage...

If you are just smelling rotten garbage, it only takes a few seconds to get up and objectively make that determination. And anyway, in my case at least, there's nothing quite that profound about what I smell. I don't think I'm so far from objective reality in the nose/brain that I can't trust it.

Still, it's definitely good to test, which is true for all of life. If you're testing, experimenting with this or that dimension of reality, what better way to appreciate and enjoy it? I'm thinking maybe too much conscious reflection means you spoil the experience, since at some point pure experience is more desirable. But I'll cross that glassy sea if I ever get to it.

Right now, I keep wondering, What's that I smell? There's a hint of patchouli (I have some by my computer at home), a hint of some exotic vapor in another part of the building, a touch of something industrial when I wander around, something pleasant on my fingers, and who knows what all they've touched. I'd rather smell them than lick them, so at least this isn't gustatory hallucinations!

The way it stands now, if I'm smelling something, that's good! If you're spiritually stifled, breathe! Smell more stuff!

I Go The Distance

Progress, ho ho ho, the word of my life, the arrow pointing out ahead being the direction. I've been thinking about progress since I was a kid, and it doesn't look like it's going to stop anytime soon. Onward and upward!

You can tell I'm in a fantastic mood this morning. Of course, sure, there are things that could get me down were I to dwell on them. Like anyone, the future is always uncertain in particular respects. But I've always managed to deal with it before and there's no doubt in my mind that I'll keep on like that for the foreseeable future.

The thing about life is to take care of the present moment, looking out for your affairs right this minute, and to keep it all as clean as possible. Clean as in no entanglements you can't untangle. On that front, I have to say I'm doing pretty well. I may walk out of here and be run over by a truck, but that has nothing to do with what I'm talking about. If I look both ways, I will likely make it.

So I'm in a fantastic mood. I got up, took care of business, read a little (fiction), then read a little of some good spiritual literature, gave it all a joyful thought and zeroed in on the essence of the thing. And when I left it behind, it went with me, because I'm reminding myself as I go on. (It's not just me, it can be you, too!)

The idea I have is that we basically set goals for ourselves, personal attainment stuff, then we discipline ourselves (something I'm not always good at) to persevere and attain them. There's mile-markers along the way and we go past those, not just to be going past but because we're moving in life and enjoying the trip along the way. It's cumulative, not postponing anything!

I've really been thinking that giving attention to detail is the way to live, and less is more, or less is the whole thing. If you're feeling and knowing the texture of life along the way, that's better than postponement or seeking to attain more more more. My way hasn't always been like that, but right this minute it is. I might be thinking of planetary systems (appreciate that), something big, huge, then turn to the extremely small, a spider's web (appreciate that). Then a few words of something inspiring and I'm feeling pretty good.

Are you going the distance, are you advancing on and advancing in?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Horse Wildfire

His father was the lightning,
His mother was the weeds,
This horse is made of fire,
The fieriest of steeds.
He came across the prairie
In the greatest cloud of smoke,
Fire like this in horses
Is nothing you can stoke.

Keep on blazing!
WILDFIRE -- He's really one hot horse.

He started out a little flame,
But then the years passed by,
And what was only little once
Had now flamed up so high.
And so the prairie felt him
A'charging o'er the plains,
And not a thing could stop him,
Not the wind and not the rains.

Lights the night!
WILDFIRE -- A horse without a match.

The enemy of outlaws,
He watches where they turn,
And then he flares up at them
And whinnies as they burn.
Their camp will be no refuge,
No water's in the well,
There's nothing that can douse him,
He sends them straight to hell.

Whinnying at them!
WILDFIRE -- His flames will save this land.

His coat is a fiery furnace,
His mane's a living hell.
A marshmallow 40 miles away
Would heat and start to swell.
The children at that distance
May go out pale and wan,
But when their mother calls them in,
They look like Al Jolson.

Can't approach him!
WILDFIRE -- He's lighting up the sky!

And so, my friends, we honor him,
This horse without a peer.
We hail him from afar of course
Because we can't go near.
His fiery coat is burning,
There's brimstone on his breath,
To shake his hoof or brush him,
Would mean our certain death.

Keep on smokin'!
WILDFIRE -- He's burning evermore!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I've Got Free Meal Tickets For You!

I was down at the meal site today, as I am most days. Because of my disability (game toe), I qualify for free meals. Lately, I've been thinking of those more unfortunate than myself, and, somehow, I don't know how, four meal tickets mysteriously, miraculously, exited their perch on the cash register when the guy's back was turned and ended up in my pocket!

Seriously, I looked every direction and no one seemed to notice. Just like it was meant to be! I glanced up at the corners for video surveillance, but seeing none, I figured, Their loss, my gain! And guess what, this place has a sticker on the door advertising it's protected by some security service! Unfortunately, as we all know, most of those stickers are dummy stickers, or were genuine a long time ago until they quit the service.

I felt a little nervous leaving the facility, since it's when you exit the doors that they can actually do anything about it. Up to that point, you can plead ignorance, but for a smart guy like me, pleading ignorance isn't even believable. Anyway, I made it through the doors, shaking in my boots, my heart pounding like native drums, sweat running in rivulets down my forehead, and just for good measure I pissed my pants.

Once I got to the car, I prayed to the key, "Please start." It took a while, and I was restraining myself to keep from flooding it, but it finally rumbled into life. I kissed St. Christopher and told him I owed him one. Then it was a matter of getting out of the parking lot. I scooched down in the seat, trying to look inconspicuous. Then I was mortified to look up and see the guy from the cash register with four other disabled guys lined up against the building, frisking them. It would seem he noticed!

I didn't think I'd ever get home! Surely, I'd be pulled over and searched! But it didn't happen, thank the Lord. Speaking of whom, didn't the Lord liberate some little boy's lunch to feed the five thousand? Why, yes, He did, thank you very much!

So there they are, my hungry friends! Four liberated meal tickets! Easy as pie, which we might have tomorrow. All you have to do is print them on medium weight paper, maybe fudge the serial numbers a little, cut them out, and I'll see you there tomorrow.

But please, and I think this is important to stress, don't all of you show up tomorrow! We need to space it out and keep it on the QT, keep it on the down low, so they don't get suspicious and arrest us all!

I can't keep anything under wraps for long. The guys at Wikileaks, always revealing my secret plans for the blog, leaked it a few days ago. And now I can announce it officially as true. I have a brand new address:

Yes, I've joined the big boys, with my very own "dot com," hopefully not just in time for the bubble to burst!

I've had my address for quite a while, so it was a complete shock to me that was even still available. But it was!

The honest-to-God truth is maybe it wasn't available, if you know what I mean. But the government has the means to twist a few arms when they want to. So let's say some other guy had They put pressure on him to give it up, which is only right, because it was meant for me.

You're probably wondering why I made the switch after all these years. So here's the real deal. As part of the government's push to make the homeland safe, they've been designating certain internet sites as vital to the national interest. And because I gave a couple hundred bucks in the last election cycle, and with 2012 looming, and them hoping my generosity will continue, I qualified. I am officially "vital to our national interest"!

Seriously, the Department of Homeland Security contacted me one day, offered to pay for the domain name, and after making them pass the sniff test, I accepted. Simple. And they were more than generous. It's not just for one year like I was expecting. It's for life! Isn't that something! I've got the domain forever! [I'm fist-pumping the air.]

The ironic part about it is this, that I actually think the Department of Homeland Security is by and large a lot of crap. We had 9/11, the powers that be "didn't see that one coming," so now we need an entire department just to sit around and buy people websites. LOL, it's ridiculous! Hell, one of my neighbors got his driveway graveled for nothing, just because the police occasionally turn around in it to chase a speeder. This guy's driveway is "vital to our national security"! Anything to spend money .... and keep us safe! :)

The way the Department came about, though, if memory serves, is that the Democrats proposed it, of which I am one. The Republicans were against it, then they embraced it and it took on a more Republican slant and was even promoted by them, and dare I say, exploited by them. Remember all the duct tape we bought? Someday archaeologists will be digging through a mound, come to a stash of duct tape, and immediately pin it as "post 9/11."

We had -- oh, what was that clown's name? -- that big doofus from Pennsylvania ... -- I'm drawing a blank -- oh, yeah! Tom Ridge! He was George W. Shithead's man, and he kept us busy, didn't he! The alert is red, orange, blue, chartreuse, the chart is throbbing, the thermometer's exploding at the top! Then, fortunately, the 2004 election was over, Shithead was again ensconced in the White House, and we were safe!

But by now they had all this money. So they threw it at crazy stuff. I literally saw wheelbarrows of cash being pushed down the street, with the wheelbarrows having the Department's logo on the side. They turned in to this big heavy-duty truck shop and came out with a Command Post for the local police, something like $250,000. An armor-plated Winnebago. Meaning the July 4 parade would be safe, since that's what they did with it. Parked it at the main junction, monitored the crowd, and sold cotton candy out the window.

Now, with the next election season upon us, they're cozying up to guys like me, and I can't complain. I'm happy to have my own web domain. Ten bucks a year ain't chickenfeed! And since it's for life, and let's say I live another 25 years, that's roughly ... hundreds of bucks ... Unless, and this is my biggest fear, we get another idiotic Republican president and he cuts the funding, with Obamadomains going down the tubes.

But I'm going to live for today, not for what is to come. And today I have "," giving my blog some real credibility. You realize, I hope, that and are dotcoms just like me. Once upon a time, any schmuck could've registered Think about it. It was just sitting out there! I could've registered once upon a time, then what became Google might have been People would be looking up stuff on the internet, saying, "I grandmaslumped it!"

Today, thanks to the Department of Homeland Security -- and their tireless work protecting the Fatherland and upholding the Motherland -- you can "grandmaslump" it. Just by checking out my blog, not at the old address, although that will still work, but at the newer, better, bigger web address!

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Two Ways Of Flicking An Ash

Smoking isn't cool. It's not cool to me. And I say that as a former smoker. It was a different world back then. But the same stupidity.

I was looking at a lady smoking the other day -- and I have maybe four or five photos of her, but I'm not posting them, as it turns out, as a matter of avoiding lawsuits from the people I dress down. If she reads this, maybe she'll know I'm talking about her, but how to prove it, that's her problem!

Anyway, I looked at her and was thinking, how can anyone with any intelligence (and she didn't look like your typical dullard) be sitting there smoking a cigarette? In this day and age! How gross, how despicable. Doesn't she know that her doctor's having a fit? Doesn't she know her life insurance rates and maybe health insurance rates might be so much less? Doesn't she realize that lung cancer is a real pain in the ass?

I myself, as I said, quit. I quit cold turkey. It was a long time ago, 1978, and the first few days were terrible. I bought a pack, then threw them away, etc., the usual story. So I know how hard it can be. But once you exercise a little discipline, a little willpower, and this is key, once you make it X number of days, you've got it made. The only puff of anything I've had since was off a cigar in the '80s to celebrate a friend's proud papa moment, and that's it. The thought of smoking now totally sickens me.

But I remember how it went, of course, as dramatized in the pictures. There's two basic ways of flicking your ash, of course with variations.

1) Flicking with your thumb. There's some real violence to the ash with this one, because it doesn't see it coming. Your thumb is back behind your curled fingers. So the ash is sitting there thinking it's safe. "I can grow out to there and no one will be the wiser!" Then, as a total surprise, it's dislodged from its perch and is the sudden, unexpected victim of gravity. It's severed so quickly, never to be reattached, and never to recover. What a shock!

2) The finger tap. This one is gentler and noticed more often by the ash. The finger's right out in the open. It's not sneaking up on anyone. And it never has the same violence as the thumb flick. The same force is not exercised. Maybe it's because of the downward motion, you're not bucking gravity. Maybe it's because of the leverage, you're closer to the ash. But I think it was more to do with not wanting to break the cigarette in half. Just a tap gets the job done. The result is of course the same, the ash falls, but without the same trauma.

If you smoke, quit. If you don't smoke, don't start. If you start and don't quit, don't smoke around me!

Comfort To The Stranger

Here I go, across the great lawn, with a tray of sweetmeats for the stranger.

"How are you?" I say, tempering my smile while keeping it genuine. "How about a cinnamon roll?" It's important to keep body and soul together, it's good for the marrow.

He looks at my arm for the Red Cross emblem, but seeing none, realizes I'm just a kind person given to instant solidarity, at least admiration from afar.

The leaders are gathered like Civil War generals around their battle plans, a couple scratching their chest-length beards pensively. One uses the nasty phrase "goddammit" a lot. I'm thinking, "Cinnamon rolls for the leaders," but I hate to interrupt their plans -- and the goddammit guy might have other plans for my head, involving a pike!

An underling sees me -- possibly I'm a spy, or an autograph hound, but my confidence says otherwise. He sees the cinnamon rolls and realizes I'm an angel of mercy, while perhaps also being an attention-seeker. He moves closer to prevent any disturbance of the generals at their work. "Goddammit!" I hear the one bluster, so I leave the rolls in the hands of the lieutenant.

I cut across the concourse. A few bandaged hands are raised. So many worthy brothers and sisters, but I'm just a man, with only two hands and no super powers. I cast down a look of mercy, seeing dry, hungry mouths everywhere. The poor souls. They have but moments to live, in some cases, and a morsel of a warm cinnamon roll would do them such good.

Must hurry on...

Partial dream interlude: At the periphery, I come across an old friend, a former classmate. She's virtually naked, maybe entirely -- I don't look -- except at the six-inch scar she's showing me on the right side of her abdomen. She's been through a lot. I must not stay. I'm out of cinnamon rolls.

I look down and I'm barely dressed either. I need to cross a gravel alley to make a call back to the kitchen van. Even in my near nudity (waist down), I'm thinking I need to go for it; these people are hungry.

Off to the left a building gives way, imploding but more or less silently, leaving an open space in which I see the family owners of the place discussing how their place will be remembered. (There's no talk of cinnamon rolls.)

In here somewhere, there's a railroad station. The track seems to narrow and is blocked. I'm with the stationmaster. He's waiting for a train that might take some time arriving. I'm asking his business. Then the train shows up from the east. It brings the generals, the very ones, to their duties.

A stern "Goddammit" pierces the air and brings me to my senses. I run for more cinnamon rolls. I think, this is a small job -- but to give comfort to those at the front lines is very much a big deal.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Dog Gutterer

This is the story of The Dog Gutterer, sort of like The Dog Whisperer, except this guy has to get in there down and dirty with psychological tricks to trick the dog back into complacency.

I heard this story, I think its first roots are in the dog show circuit, where any nasty thing can happen. They may look like innocent friends, but the animus is raw ... because of what they've seen and had to put up with. Just as an aside, I don't believe I could show dogs. It's just such utter nonsense.

Let's pick out a scofflaw dog, since the way the story came to me there was one. And since there is a particular dog that we're not a fan of -- the pitbull -- let's let the pitbull stand in for our bad boy. (I was actually warming up to pitbulls a few weeks ago, then I heard of another one ripping up some girl's hand again, and that ruins it again for everyone.)

All right, the dog show (another damned dog show) is underway. And since we started this story, off camera, everything's gone completely to pot, with one dog, a pitbull, having taken over. He's got the judges rounded up and has chased them out on to the ledge of the building to a corner. They're cornered and he's leaping at them, his attitude not quite as raw as long as they heed his authority. But anytime he discerns a false move from any of the gathered party, he's nipping at them fast and furious. Even nervous moving of the feet bothers him. The party is looking down at taxis and bystanders looking up pointing. At this height, all hope is gone.

Inside, all the people have the other dogs in pens. There's a guy with the pieces of a stun gun on the floor, and a few guys are trying to figure out how to put it together. They're cussing and wringing their hands. The pitbull's owner is over pleading with them. He's at his wits end, pleading, "Don't kill him!" (Those closest to the dog are of course the most blinded.)

Then, at some point in this whole sad gathering, someone has called The Dog Gutterer.

The Dog Gutterer comes through the door. No tools, no bag, no cape, no superhero costume. About all he has is complete confidence and a special in with dogs. It turns out dogs both hate and love eye contact. They hate it if they don't see confidence behind it. They love it if they know you're going to put them in their place and be their boss. But you've got to speak their language!

The Dog Gutterer looked around, found the person who'd called him, went over and scoffed at the stun gun proceedings on the floor, then did a few knee squats and took a cleansing breath. It was like yoga. He had to tell himself, mentally and in silence, that he was the Dog Gutterer!

Then it was to the window and to the ledge, and around the corner and to the scene of the crime. The pitbull had the judges huddled and wasn't letting up with his threats. But now he had The Dog Gutterer behind him to deal with! He was split. What if the judges get away? But what if this guy behind him jumps him?

To make a long story short, let's just tell what happened in the barest of terms: 1) The dog backed up, feeling that a confident attacker from the back was a priority to the huddled judges. 2) The Dog Gutterer started in with his "guttering," making guttural noises, very tricky stuff that was confusing to the dog. 3) The dog thought to leap at him, but the look of confidence on The Dog Gutterer's face, as well as the queer up and down, weird cadence of his guttering took away the dog's resolve. 4) The Dog Gutterer led the dog back into the room, then down the elevator, guttering all the while, then out of the building, where he was hogtied and disciplined by his master in the parking lot.

The judges were so traumatized that they left their sham work of judging dogs behind and got honest work. Because as everyone knows, there's no dignity in judging dogs. It's pure idiocy.

As for The Dog Gutterer, he's still out there somewhere, waiting ... patiently waiting for a dog, maybe your dog, to act up.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Harder You Applaud

It could've happened to anyone. The horse just dropped dead.

He knew all the tricks and liked to keep the audience happy. But being a horse, he probably didn't know they'd be happy if he just showed up and gave an average performance. No one's expecting a Las Vegas revue out in the sticks.

Looking at the audience, personally I wouldn't try very hard at all. If there was ever a gathering before apparently missing that many chromosomes, I've never seen it. And those were just the ones paying attention. Mom and Dad were over there slapping little Sally for wanting cotton candy. And a few of them had lost their helium balloons within minutes of buying them, it was ridiculous.

I myself would've gone to the bathroom before the horse came on, but I didn't want to miss the clowns scooping up after him. They're always trying misdirection tricks with the audience, but I'm careful to follow the shovel. Keep your eyes on the shovel...

A guy named Toby was the announcer, and he knew how to get the audience revved up, telling us about 10 times, "The harder you applaud, the harder he'll work!" The cowboy took his horse through a series of steps, then jumps, then was racing him around the circle.

We applauded politely for the steps he took, being mostly one foot in front of the other, then crossing his legs, then a cute bow to each of the three sections. I liked the bows and applauded louder for those. Other joined me, with not just clapping but whistles.

Toby came out, his hands over his head, and called to the crowd, "The harder you applaud, the harder he'll work."

Off then he went, with many jumps over gates, getting always higher. We applauded like you might expect for the smaller gates, then louder for the medium-sized ones, then quite a bit louder yet for the higher ones. He jumped with all his might and cleared them, although he hit one of them with his hooves. We applauded even harder to make him feel better.

Toby stepped up and cranked us up some more, "The harder you applaud, the harder he'll work!" The rider seemed to sense something was wrong and acted like he wanted Toby to knock it off, but he didn't catch his drift.

It was time for the circles. The horse went running around the circles, running fast, cantoring, leaping, going ballistic in all the ways that only a horse with nothing but his legs and mad skills can. The applause was deafening, with the horse responding as trained, working harder and harder and ever harder yet.

Finally, it was time for the coup de gras, The Spectacular Deliverance of Beauty, with the horse meant to convey a threatened woman out of the hands of Black Bart, an evil cowboy. She staggers out of the upper room of a saloon set, her hands tied, and jumps to the horse's back, which runs with all his might around the circle. The applause is wild.

Somehow she stays standing. And she's trying to untie her hands while keeping her balance. An assistant runs in with a stick and the woman additionally has to leap over it each time around the ring. The applause is crazy, with the horse running even faster, the woman leaping up, and the stick going ever higher.

Toby steps out of the shadows, and seems to sense a disaster is at hand. But by pure habit, he calls for the audience to give their most rousing ovation. "The harder you applaud, the harder he'll work!" Leading to -- what? -- a sudden heart attack, something! It was like an airshow but with a horse. The horse is going 40 miles an hour when suddenly his legs crumple under him. The audience is aghast.

The woman is thrown into the stands, her fall cushioned by Sally's cotton candy ... and Sally, who turns out to be the only human fatality.

The King Of Group Dynamics

I'm taking personal inventory, thinking of my many good qualities. I'm not what you'd call famous, by any stretch. I tend to be able to walk the streets or go to restaurants without people coming up to me for favors. That's good.

But still, the more people who know and respect you, the better. Even though I'm not famous, I am basically known for two things: 1) Writing this blog; and, 2) Being the King of Group Dynamics. Now, lest you think I'm kidding around, I'm not. The fact is, you're at my blog, and I'm the guy who writes it. And the additional fact is, as far as I know, no one else has claimed the mantle of King of Group Dynamics, so I'm it.

Really, if anyone has a more legitimate claim to the title of King of Group Dynamics, I'd love to meet him. But I'm confident there isn't anyone.

Someone might say, what legitimacy do I have to the title? It's a fair enough question, and of course I wouldn't have asked it if I didn't have a good answer. If you look through my posts, I've been writing about Group Dynamics on and off for the last few years. And not only that, but I've been cited in a couple of textbooks (albeit undergraduate) for my "3 Rs of Group Dynamics."

I can't remember precisely how I came up with the 3 Rs. They just came to me, I guess. I knew them, I'm going to say instinctively just based on my dealings with people. So in that sense I was using the 3Rs before I even knew they technically could exist as an expressed concept. But one day -- several years ago -- I needed to do something, some kind of meeting with youth, and I thought, I need to really know what I'm doing or these little bastards will eat me alive!

So I sketched them out, what would become the famous (in certain textbooks) "3 Rs of Group Dynamics." Just as an aside, I really like the expression, because it makes it so definite and authoritative. It doesn't say, "Among the many other Rs of Group Dynamics, I've extracted just three" or "I have my 3 Rs and some other guy has his 3 Rs, and one set of 3 Rs is just as good as any other." It says, "These are the 3Rs of Group Dynamics, and if anyone thinks otherwise, he's an idiot." I almost said asshole but I went with idiot just to be nice.

In case you forgot what the 3 Rs are, you could look it up in my archives, or you could check at your local university bookstore for one of the textbooks, or I could just tell you again. They are: 1) aRrange, 2) Reconnoiter, 3) Ruminate. I've always been a little sensitive about number one, since it obviously doesn't begin with an R. But it's just like aRithmetic in the original 3 Rs. The big difference is that sometimes you see it written 'Rithmetic, but it'd be tough to call my R 'Range. With 'Rithmetic, it's unambiguous that it refers to arithmetic, but 'Range might mean something like "ranging around the room," and that'd be only half accurate.

Getting back to the example of the youth event. I needed to aRrange the room, the environment, so the little bastards wouldn't run roughshod over me. The only Group Dynamics we would've had would've been disastrous. Reconnoitering means paying close attention to what is happening, because you're structuring and guiding the Group Dynamics at play in the moment. You want your purposes to be fulfilled. And you Ruminate both during the moment, which is always in an interplay with Reconnoitering, and later, bringing forth our understandings after the fact. It's amazing, I know, how Ruminating now guides aRranging later! I love the symmetry there!

Confidential to textbook publishers: I know by law you don't have to pay me when you quote the 3 Rs. But don't you think you have at least a moral obligation to throw me a few bucks? Especially with what you charge for the books?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Legend Of Paul Boone

I've got kind of a heartwarming story today, of a true incident, something that actually happened and that I personally witnessed. This is true, I can't believe my good luck in just happening to be there when it all went down. But, who knows, maybe it was divine intervention, with me being right where God wanted me to be so I could witness this...

Well, I've thrown out enough clues, so you've probably already guessed what it was. Yes, that's it, I just happened to be at the public library, and just happened to be passing through the hall when they were doing the children's story hour! I was really in a hurry, and it's the weirdest coincidence that I overheard what I did, making me stop and linger just a little while.

I was passing by, like I said in a hurry, when I heard the story lady reading something about Paul Boone and Babe the Blue Ox. And I stopped dead in my tracks, because I couldn't believe it. That was always my most favorite story when I was a kid. And honestly I figured it was dead and gone as a story, since I know that kids are into so much more these days, with Pac Man, pogs, Pikachu, Pokemon, and Game Boys. I didn't think they still sat still long enough to hear the old stories!

But there they were, just like me all those years ago, looking up at the story lady, and I think she might've been the same one I listened to 50-some years ago, a little longer in the tooth, of course, but still fighting the good fight of reading books to little kids. So I lingered, I listened, and I heard her pleasant reading, only interrupted occasionally by a raspy smoker's cough, then the kids asking pertinent questions about where Paul got Babe, etc.

Good grief, it really took me back! Because, I actually can remember most of the details of Paul Boone's story, and how he had such big footprints that he created all the lakes in Minnesota! And how he had Babe the Blue Ox there as a kind of sidekick, or maybe a friend, a kemosabee, and someone to help carry their supplies.

I was going to go on for a while about Paul Boone, but, guess what, some of the details are eluding me. I thought I remembered them all. Let's see ... he had something to do with shoveling snow in Minnesota, I think, like in their very hard winters. Father Winter would be blowing from the North and Paul Boone would blow right back from the South, thereby keeping most of the snow out. Something like that.

Then there was the aforementioned ox, Babe the Blue Ox, who was blue because after Paul Boone stamped out all the lakes, he beheld his own image in the water so often and so long, that he became blue. Kind of a karmic thing, whereas he was normal color before the change. Then Paul Boone had to think, "Do I want a blue ox? Won't people point and stare?" He thought it over for an entire century -- the basic time-frame of legends being a lot longer than our own time -- and decided, Babe was cool even if he was blue.

OK, now I remember another detail. Paul Boone went through Minnesota with a big axe, the head of which was the size of a locomotive. He was able to cut down a fairly big forest in a few hours. He did that, providing lumber for the people settling the area. Which is probably why the people of Minnesota are so terribly lazy even to this day; they're always expecting someone else to show up and do their work for them.

I'm glad I passed through the library when I did. Because otherwise, you know, I wouldn't have heard what I heard when I heard it. I would've merely gone there and done whatever else it was I would've done.

Monday, October 10, 2011

So Tall A Tree, So Small A Man

I'm seeing this farmer dude looking at this tree like he's thinking of cutting it down. And I'm like, "No, that's not happening!"

And that's it. End of story. I won't give in. I won't let it happen. "Thus far and no farther," I say, "I will protect this tree, because trees are our future, and you're not cutting down our future!"

I'm sorry, that's the way I am. I simply lashed out because I saw it happening. I was the guy there on the scene. If it wasn't for me (no one else was there, just me and him), he would've cut it down. But I gave him something to think about.

Really, I can be very vociferous if I believe in something strong enough. Vociferous? Is that the right word? I think so, vocal in a furious way. And I really was. I laid it all on the line.

He looked at me and started spouting some bullshit about it being his land, his property, even his tree, and he would cut it down if he damn well pleased. "Anyway," he wondered, "What are you doing on my land? This timber is posted!" By now he was in a full blown rant, ranting at me, that he would call the sheriff, etc.

I was like, "I don't give a rat's ass who you call, but you are not cutting down this tree! I don't care if I have to take on the whole f------- U.S. Army, that tree is not coming down!" And that's when he started backing up, even though he had an axe in his hand. One, he wasn't going to use an axe on me. That'd be prison for him. And two, he didn't know what I was capable of. As far as he knew, I might charge him and use the axe on him. Believe me, I was tempted...

He looked at me and relaxed the axe, thinking that might defuse the situation. So why was I on his land? That's weird, I don't really know. I thought I was just going for a walk, but maybe it was where I was supposed to be. I wanted to take a picture of some trees, then I see this guy getting ready to cut down the tree. He had a cloth to wash his hands with afterwards and everything! So I jumped in!

Then everything kind of calmed down. He looked at me, I looked at him, and both of us knew something had to give. But I wasn't going to budge. He came over, offering me the hand of friendship. Then we got down to brass tacks, what my motive was in saving the tree.

I explained, "You might think you're a big man. But, no offense, you're a shrimp just like me. This tree is a lot taller." I went on, reminding him of a famous song from the '40s, recorded by Bing Crosby, "So Tall A Tree," which has the great lyric, "So tall a tree, so small a man," reminding us that the tree is big and we're so little.There's some comparisons with man and trees in the song, and man comes out, so to speak, on the short end of the stick.

With that, he gave up the fight. And we both walked away ... with the tree still standing!

This all happened yesterday. Then today I was thinking of it again, and going over the lyrics of the Bing Crosby song. Part of the lyrics say:
A man may grow for all he's worth,
But only tree's are down to earth.
So tall a tree, so small a man.
With that in mind, I wrote some fresh new lyrics to go with the song. See if you like what I've written, and see if you agree. I hope you do. Here they are:
A man might grow to 6 foot 4,
A tree will always go 1 inch more.
So tall a tree, so small a man.

A man might reach the clouds on high,
A tree will wave as it goes by.
So tall a tree, so small a man.

A man will always want for height,
A tree will tower out of sight.
So tall a tree, so small a man.

A man could be a giant bloke,
But to a tree he's just a joke.
So tall a tree, so small a man.

A man might grow up big and tough,
But to a tree it's not enough.
So tall a tree, so small a man.

A man might be all you'd want,
But to a tree he's always a runt.
So tall a tree, so small a man.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I Got A Little Umbrella!

I got one of these little umbrellas yesterday when I bought a sugary, fruity drink (cherry shaved ice). Of course I love it. I don't know anyone who doesn't love them. If you had a political party whose symbol was the little umbrella on drinks, they'd get 100% of the vote.

The way they served the shaved ice at this place was different from anything I've seen before. They had a styrofoam glass, that's common enough. But then, up near the lip of the cup, the umbrella, with the toothpick handle, was stabbed through the styrofoam.

Then they had the most worthless little spoon/straw that came with it. Not to put too big a damper here on our happy proceedings, the straw wasn't big enough -- its scoop basin -- to really be of much help in the eating of the ice. I was pretty much reduced to jiggling the cup and from time to time extracting chunks of the ice into my mouth with my mouth. Of course you're going to have a lot of falling pieces doing it that way.

Along the way, I put the worthless straw in my pocket and only periodically brought it out to try to break up the harder pieces and make the ice more of a slush, particularly as I got about halfway done. That's when you need a utensil like that, then it's not any big deal to put it back in your pocket, jiggle it, and get the meat of the goodie out of the drink proper.

As for the umbrella, I kept it on the cup for quite a while, since it gave me quite a bit of panache as I roamed the festival grounds. I thought I noticed more than a few potential admirers giving my cup the eye. With it then being only a hop, skip, and jump up my arm, past my shoulder, to my reddened lips. I could pucker up and you'd be smitten.

Then, however, to free up the cup for more persistent jiggling as the drink wore on, I removed the umbrella and tucked it carefully in my shirt pocket, along with my iPod and phone. I was a little nervous because there was some stickiness on the toothpick from the drink. This showed itself later when I took out my iPod (the iPod Touch) and saw a cherry smear on its glass surface. But no big deal, I just breathed some hot breath on it and wiped it on my shirttail. I checked the toothpick and most of its stickiness was dried up, thanks to the drainage just mentioned plus whatever absorbency my shirt was able to provide.

So I've got the little umbrella! And it's really quite sweet, I love it. I was just admiring the workmanship and craft that has to go into one of these things. Because it has actual moving parts! It seems like it'd take some effort to mass produce them, at least in the initial design of the means of production. Look at all the parts! The printed umbrella surface, the circular thing that has the struts, then bends and forms the piece that surrounds the toothpick, the crown that holds it all together from the top, and a lengthier toothpick down the middle. It's a bunch of stuff!

My only complaint is they didn't put a clasp in there somewhere to keep it open. It tends to close itself. And to get it to stay open I might need to mess around with some fast-drying glue and a paperclip, which of course will mean I can't close it back up. But ... no matter ... getting it permanently open will make a cute decoration on one of my curtains, while providing me an excellent souvenir of one great shaved ice!

In addition to a clasp on the umbrella, my only other desire, to say it again, would have been a better spoon, perhaps a plastic spoon in addition to a nice straw.