The In-Between Time

There is a feeling one gets the day after Christmas (if you aren’t in the shopping mall) that allows one a bit of contemplative pause 2019imqge34before considering the possibilities of the new year only one week away.

Were this not the Age of Trump, this week might be full of joy and wonder and speculative potential for wondrous new things. But since it is the Age of Trump, we are filled with dread, uncertainty, and a pending sense of doom with thoughts of how dumbshitchristmascall.jpgmuch damage he can do in one short week with the government shut down and no one around to stop him.

I mean how stupid do you have to be to hold a Christmas Eve photo op of him talking to 7-year -olds about Santa Claus coming, and to say on national television: “Are you still a believer in Santa? Because at seven it’s marginal, right?”

Right.  It’s marginal Mr. President.

“Mommy, what does marginal mean?”

Well there goes a future prospective voter. Why on earth did the White House communications people think that putting a misogynistic, narcissist with no sense of empathy or humanity on national television speaking live to an impressionable female child about the plausibility of Santa Claus, was a good idea?presdienthomealomne5

Especially  Mr. “I’m HOME ALONE in the White House (poor me).”   Now there’s a Christmas message of hope and goodwill to all. (They rushed Melania back from Florida after that one.)

Don’t consider that the stock market took the biggest dive in December since the Great Depression, primarily because of Trump’s irrational behavior and tweeting—threatening to fire of all people, the Federal Reserve Chairman for raising interest rates.

MATTISflagsgenDon’t consider that firing the one buffer (Secretary Mattis—Defense Department) we had to keep Trump from starting a nuclear war or giving Vlad the keys to the White House, just scared the crap out of not only us but our allies around the globe.

Don’t consider that he makes national and foreign policy changes not on his Presidential Advisor’s opinions, but on the advice of FOX News consultants Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh (Is Hannity on the outs with him now?  I thought HE ran the Presidency.)

Don’t consider that Senate Republicans are likely soiling their drawers now wondering how they are going to actually handle the aftermath of all this Trump-created mayhem because it’s squarely in their laps for letting him do what all he’s done to date.

And the Democrats take over the House January 3rd.  Won’t that be a fun time for all!subpoena-forcongress.jpg

Watch those subpoenas fly—see those criminal investigations launching for the heavens like a new rocket to the moon.

Welcome to Washington—oh no, there will be no welcoming committee to Washington DC because the government is SHUT DOWN due to his latest temper tantrum!  Oh yes, that’s right.

So, during this time between your Christmas Cheer aftermath and your New Year ahead optimism, try to keep your head from exploding, stay away from the booze, and by all means, shut off the television. There’s nothing good for you on there now.

Trust me on this one.Washington DC Capitol Government Shutdown Text

Life-lessons from Dreams

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Dreams are sometimes considered the night-time, acting-out of our subconscious mind—trying to boldly go where in daytime ‘we’ will not venture. Other times it is our higher self trying to get our attention with messages and lessons for us to ponder or to consider about our current situations.

I have no idea what early-this-morning’s dream was attempting to do to me or for me, but it was fairly reflective of our present world-wide mayhem being promoted by the biggest mayhem maker of all in the oval office.

The setting: I was with a group of people I did not recognize and we were studying something like human anatomy in a classroom.  I was assigned to dissect a cadaver (oh yes, it got nasty fast) and collect tissue samples for analysis by the professor. Why I am in this role, I have no idea…I don’t even like CSI shows. But I did what I was requested to do.

So it then morphs into flying spaceships (2-person) zooming around outside the large smallspaceshit66.jpgbuilding/huge room with glass walls that a bunch of us are now in, and it then seems to be a chapel-like setting with pews and a podium whose glass-exterior provides a view of a massive outdoor setting—although not a particularly well-kept one.

In the dream, I am confused by all of this strangeness, seeing no purpose or context for why this is occurring, but just going with whatever is presented to me because when you are stuck in a dream, that’s what you do. Then the people in the spaceships land and emerge as tall vampires with evil intent and bloodlust.  They attack a few folks—do what vampires do—and move around the rest of us like it’s no big deal.  We’re all kind of in shock—what was that????  What is happening????

Me, …not one to just sit around through all this nasty mayhem and eventually get bit, I grab a very large knife (?) and a little cup of honey, because we all know vampires like honey (?) and set it outside the deck area as a trap to spring on an unsuspecting, extremely-dumb vampire with a sweet-fang.

There is a woman with me now who seems to have my back in all of this and she grabs a Bible from the pew and uses holy water to make crosses on my hands and arms before I head out to battle with my 10” blade.

I see a vampire approaching the honey (He towers over me by the way), and I get ready to leap out and slash his throat when he reaches for the honey-trap (little humor there).  As I start to slash, the knife flies out of my hand to the left and I reach for it but insteadantiquehairbrush.jpg some little person down on the ground hands me an ancient, roundish, well-worn hairbrush, and I look at it and say, metalnutcracker.jpg“Seriously???”, but then s/he hands me a “nutcracker”…yes, standard issue, pecan-buster type nutcracker.  I am perplexed again, but have no time to argue.

Armed now with my trusty hairbrush and standard issue nutcracker, I realize the vampire has discovered my honey ploy, saw my slash-his-throat misfire where I lost my knife, and it is now standing over me, towering  above me, …. ready to just lean down and take that savory bite out of my unprotected neck, …when I reach up in defiance and brush his creepy, hairy leg with the hairbrush—3 strokes. 1 – 2 – 3. vampiresonthescream.jpg

He stops mid-lean and looks confused at what I am doing, …that’s when I grab his nuts in the nutcracker and squeeze like the dickens, twisting it in the process, and he screams and then “poof” he disintegrates into a cloud of dust.  WOW!  Total success!

Who knew????

***

So this year, I’m giving out nutcrackers for Christmas, and no one will truly understand why, but me.

(Or maybe YOU if you’ve read this.)

T-Baby Tours the Pampas

Pretty exciting times right now for the world’s most illustrious leaders. The G20 is meeting in Buenos Aries today to discuss the fate of the entire planet, and our favorite inflated, orange blowhard is there to see how many nations he can insult, dismiss, or push out of the way as he fights for air time.

And air time he will have!  Lots of hot air there as T-Baby tours the pampas!

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We’re so proud!

Sunday Chuckles

I am a fan of NASA’s Facebook page because they post such amazing images of our solar system and beyond.  So this morning, they posted this fantastic image of Jupiter up close and personal; and it got personal to a few folks out there which made for some much needed laughter.

nasalodo987.jpg  NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration

 “Inkblot test!    What do you see in this image by NASA’s Juno Mission to Jupiter? We keep finding new shapes hidden in Jupiter’s swirling clouds. Look closer: https://go.nasa.gov/2qMt8ih

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To which the viewership responded in hilarious fashion:

  • Scott Dew I see our lord and savior Cthulu
    • ( according to Urban Dictionary: “A character in Lovecraft’s tale ‘The Call of Cthulhu’. Cthulhu is a monstrous entity who lies “dead but dreaming” in the city of R’lyeh, a place of non-Euclidean madness presently (and mercifully) sunken below the depths of the Pacific Ocean.Cthulhu appears in various monstrous and demonic forms in early myths of the human race.”)
  • Марио Колев Here come the religious people, even if their god is fictional….
  • Daniel Harden It’s a lady giving a Velociraptor the Heimlich.
  • Liz Gaffney Air quality in Los Angeles right about now due to fires. (So sorry California.)
  • David Jobling I’m not religious but I can see the full nativity here, which is a bit of a head trip.
  • Arun Krishnarayan A Bird of prey on the right and Gandalf with a bad cold.
    And at the bottom is a shark with a wide open mouth & woman lying face down in the middle.
  • Saranda Tessera The only true god is Zeus.  Scripture tells us so. Anyway the picture of Jupiter (Latin for Zeus) is breathtaking. What a chaotic creation.
  • Steve Parkinson Keep your sky pixie nonsense off scientific fact pages please.

At least the comments made me chuckle. 🙂

Our minds constantly associate familiar memories to objects and items that we are unfamiliar with in an attempt to identify the threat or safety of them before we proceed further in encountering them. And likewise, if you want to see something that others may not see in a burnt piece of toast, you will do so mainly because you are looking for it no matter where you look.

Unimaginatively I see an amazing image of Jupiter’s atmosphere with wild weather interactions.  (But I totally concur about the lady giving a Velociraptor the Heimlich–it’s clear as day.)

The Quest for What We Lack: Part Two—Family Reunions

reunion-cartoon.jpgTis the season for family reunions and family gatherings in general, involving picnics and potlucks and people you seldom see all gathered together playing nice (sort of) for a few hours.

It’s a time to clamp your jaw shut and hold your clever comebacks at the rude, intrusive, in-your-face questions—a time to curb your overwhelming desire to tell off the perpetually-mouthy aunt or the ever-drunken uncle (or role-play vice-versa)—a time to not snap at the obnoxious kids in your face all vying for attention and exuding their excessive “look at me-ness”—a time for staring with slack-jawed disbelief at all those people gathered together in this park to whom you are supposedly related and your saying aloud to yourself, “Uh-uh….NOPE…..that’s not in my genes—NO way—NO how!”minioncircus.jpg

But you know that they really are.

And these are the better thoughts you’re having at that yearly, quality “family-gathering time.”

The worse thoughts throbbing at your temples during the group get-togethers are the “family secret” thoughts that make you watch Uncle Sonny or Uncle Dicky as closely as possible, especially when little ones are near him—watch for the tell-tale enticement tricks he may have once used on you or your siblings—the “Come over here, little Suzy. Come and sit on Uncle Sonny’s lap.”  Or the little tickle games, he used to play. Or the little grabs he made when others weren’t watching and you were too unclebadtouch.jpgshocked or scared to say “Don’t do that!”—the little secrets he told you to keep just between you and him—and “Oh, here’s a shiny, silver dollar just for you if you don’t say anything to your mommy about us.”

Oh yes.  I know about Uncle Sonny and Uncle Dicky, both personally and in the late-night tales from female-adolescent slumber parties—I’ve heard the warnings not to be alone with such-and-such—to ignore such-and-such’s enticements or “games”—to watch at the next gathering for how Uncle Dicky avoids certain older adolescent family members that he once used to excessively dote on.  Yes, Uncle Dicky is a family secret—except he’s not really a secret. Nor should his behavior ever be one.

Yes, these folks, no matter how questionable some might be, are all a part of our genetic pool. Perhaps some families have a few more perversion-inclined members than others, but all families have at least one or two of them, just as all families have members who are openly addicted to drugs, alcohol, and porn.  These aren’t things that you should ignore and pretend aren’t affecting others, because they definitely do affect them—especially the vulnerable, young ones.

I’ll honestly admit that I’ve always hated family mazine not coming.jpggatherings—both with my own family and my long-time friend’s family.  The ones I’ve personally participated in, especially from childhood, were cringe-worthy for me and felt downright alien. Not only did I NOT feel like a part of that group—I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to be considered a part of them.  So I have a hard time relating to the positive experience of family reunions that others crow about.

After seeing a few sets of my friends’ family-reunion photos on Facebook, I was thinking intensely about this family-gathering hostility that I still harbor; and the question arose in my mind wondering what about this family-reunion experience appeals to the folks who DO like to attend them?

I know old folks like to gather all the little chicks around and say “See what I did with my oldfolkreunionlife?!!!  Here they are—right here! You all came from ME! Aren’t I proud? Look what I did. I made ALL of YOU!”

I get that part. I’ve heard older folks say that very thing as justification for why we were all torturing ourselves playing nice for parents and grandparents during that required togetherness time.

And many folks feel that family reunions carry on traditions and ancestral heritage—long sheets of genealogical trees are spread out on picnic tables while gnarled fingers trace lineage from some distant relation in some far away land—an ancient relative who once traveled the greatest adventure of his and her life by coming to America to create this new life here for all of us—even for Uncle Sonny and Uncle Dicky, bless their pathetic, perverted hearts.

Once in awhile, the old folks exclaim with glee queentree.jpgpointing at the far-right tree branch, this part of the family tree produced some genuinely PERFECT fruits—real peaches who made the perfect peach marmalade or jam and produced the PERFECT offspring themselves who did likewise, etc..   “Look what this branch over here produced—all these great people—they are all relatives of ours! Look how successful or prominent they were/are.”

Implied, of course, is that that branch’s success meant that the entire tree trunk must have value. And likewise, so do we—even if we can’t see it materially at this time, but we know that one of our future direct ancestors might prove us worthy of having existed at this less-than-ideal time of us personally. It gives us hope for our future redemption.

I guess our weakness as human beings is that we long for connection to others—long for belonging to the greater tribe—long for some verification of our existential validity. Genealogical tracings seem to give some folks great comfort.  I can acknowledge this fact, but I’m also not maxinespeakstruthone of those folks.

“We carry their bloodline,” we say if they are positive role models for us; and if they aren’t we say, “Must have been some overnight fling with a fly-by-nighter that slipped into our lineage. They aren’t really OUR kin.  We sure don’t claim them.”  (Ever think that on someone else’s lineage tree, they don’t claim you either?)

So while I do understand that some folks really get into family reunions, to me it is another one of those quests to determine what it is that we lack in ourselves that we try to find in others and in their familial relationships to us.  What hollowness within us do we keep trying to fill in our search for definable connection to our heritage and bloodline?

disfunctionfamily56.pngAnd when we occasionally run across our own version of an Uncle Sonny or an Uncle Dicky, do we likewise just shake our heads and say “Nope!  Not in MY family tree!”

Or do we risk alienation from the family to do something about it, and make the family secrets stop?

I shouldn’t even have to ask that question.

On Jiddu Krishnamurti

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In my previous post, Chopra mentioned how influenced he was by Jiddu Krishnamurti, who was quite an interesting character in early 20th century philosophy and religious circles. As an adolescent in India he was “discovered” by Annie Besant of the Theosophical Society who was searching for the group‘s “world teacher.”

While Krishnamurti’s greatest thought and influence extended far beyond the limits of the TheJiddu_Krishnamurti_01.jpgosophical Society, the society itself was pretty amazing for the time period that it influenced:

(From Wikipedia) “The Theosophical Society was officially formed in New York City, United States, on 17 November 1875 by blavatskipicHelena Petrovna Blavatsky, Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, William Quan Judge, and others. It was self-described as ‘an unsectarian body of seekers after Truth, who endeavour to promote Brotherhood and strive to serve humanity.’ Olcott was its first president, and remained president until his demise in 1907. In the early months of 1875, Olcott and Judge had come to realize that, if Blavatsky was a spiritualist, she was no ordinary one.[2] The society’s initial objective was the ‘study and elucidation of Occultism, the Cabala etc.’[3] After a few years Olcott and Blavatsky moved to India and established the International Headquarters at Adyar, in Madras (now Chennai). They were also interested in studying Eastern religions, and these were included in the Society’s agenda.[4] After several iterations the Society’s objectives evolved to be:

  1. To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or colour.
  2. To encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy, and science.
  3. To investigate the unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in man. …”

So back when Krishnamurti was still in his teens, these folks from this theology-philosophy cult adopted him to represent their beliefs and teachings about spirituality and life in general; and to share those thoughts—including his direct-connection abilities to Higher Truth—with the rest of the world. They helped him further cultivate his existing knowledgebase, and encouraged him to reach deeper to decipher the meaning and purpose to life; which he definitely did, and much of what he later wrote about or spoke about, was first encouraged and supported by the Theosophical Society itself.

Theosophical Society post card front 001.jpgNow my personal connection to all of this is as strange as it gets.

My grandmother grew up in a little town best known from Walt Disney’s early childhood: Marceline, Missouri.  And evidently Walt wasn’t the only artist or illustrator near that tiny town in the early 20th century.  Evidently an A. Theo Bondy also resided near my grandmother who was named Alice, or often called “Allie.” And she must have been early friends with Mr. Bondy because in 1949 he sent her a Christmas postcard that I found many years after my grandmother’s death. (See the front and back for details)

That little postcard that I found in my grandmother’s hidden-treasure drawer, began my quest to find out more about the Theosophical Society,  and during that research, I discovered Jiddu Krishnamurti for myself and read his extensive philosophical contributions at that time.Theosophical Society postcard back 001.jpg

So there you go.  How strange is life itself?

This must be like one of those ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’ things.

 

The Pretender

Sure, I could SO go there!

The obvious reference to this title would be the brooding hulk occupying the oval-office desk chair; when he’s not on the golf course, that is.anatomymiraclebookcov.jpg

But I was actually referring to a Jonathan Miles book I had just completed called Anatomy of a Miracle: A Novel*—The True* Story of a Paralyzed Veteran, a Mississippi Convenience Store, a Vatican Investigation, and the Spectacular Perils of Grace (with TRUE being the questionable descriptor in this story because it is, after all, a novel—meaning a work of fiction).

So my biggest question at the end of the story was is the book actually based on verified facts or is it simply fabrication pretending to be based on actual accounts?  I still can’t determine that, but I’m guessing it is fiction that reads like fact because we want it to do so.

jonmilesauthor.jpgAs the NY Times review suggested:  “…the genre that Miles is aping applies fiction’s methods to real-life stories, “Anatomy of a Miracle” offers the Victor-Victoria frisson of watching a novel impersonate a work of journalism impersonating a novel. It’s a difficult balancing act that Miles for the most part pulls off, and his book is best appreciated as a highly entertaining literary performance.”

Personally, I thought it was an astounding character study exploring the ulterior motives of everyone involved in the telling of a paralyzed vet’s miracle of suddenly rising from parkinglotstorefronthis wheelchair after four years of confinement to it–and doing so in the parking lot of the Biz-E-Bee convenience store in Biloxi, Mississippi while he waited for his helicoptering sister, Tanya, to purchase their daily smokes, beer, and Cap’n Crunch.

I’m always in awe of a skilled writer, and Miles is so gifted: intellectually, philosophically, and linguistically. He makes me want to study his techniques for topic exposition and subject exploration—how he carefully weaves the plotline into the unraveling research directions of the phenomenon; not to mention what an amazing perceiver/recorder of human nature that he is.

Then I went to the Amazon reviews of his book and was astounded by the depth or more appropriately, lack thereof, in the reviewer’s comments on it, and thought can people really be that shallow that they missed the point entirely?

biloximisscar.jpgA novel is far more than plotline. This was social comment all the way. Anatomy of a Miracle was an astute observation on what makes an unexplainable, sudden change in the human condition considered a miracle—with the word “miracle” implying an intervention by a force greater than ourselves.  Even the Vatican gets involved in considering the incident as such primarily because of reasons far too shadow-dependent to call it a holy vindication of God’s possible hand in the healing process.

But what does this sudden life change mean to the protagonist who has supposedly received this amazing proof of God’s Divine grace now bestowed upon him? And how vetchairflag.jpgdoes it likewise affect all those closest to him? As the camera pans out from the now-standing vet with the twitching legs, to how everyone around him interprets what has happened to him, and most importantly—how each proximal character determines in their own way what this supposed miracle means to each of them—how others try to use this strange phenomenon for their own personal motives—use it as their own vehicles to a personal lifestyle change for themselves also—use it to substantiate their own faith or belief in the possibility of miracles existing; and how this phenomenal  situation benefits/affects individuals, institutions, and cultural trends in general as it becomes simply the commercializing of miraculousness.

money god miracles.jpgOne of those key questions seems to be:  “What’s the quantity of dollars you can make from a miracle, directly or peripherally?

The other key question seems to be “How can I personally cash in on that guy’s ‘miracle’?”

I called this post “The Pretender” not because the protagonist faked the miraculous regrowth of his spinal cord that allowed him to stand up out of that wheelchair in the Biz-E-Bee parking lot, but because during the process of all those people so closely scrutinizing his life, he finally stood up for the person that he was pretending NOT to be all those years prior.

He simply stopped pretending to be something other than who and what he was. That was a miracle in itself.