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!

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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.

 

Miracles Do Happen

If you think there is no power in prayer or positive visualization, consider what has happened the last few days:

  • Although one Thai diver died in the process, 13 people—12 kids and their coach—were slowly but safely extricated over the course of three days, from a flooded cave in Thailand.

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  • A prop sea-plane crash-landed on a mountain in Alaska, and all 11 people survived and were quickly rescued.

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  • An abandoned 5-month old baby buried face-down in the dirt of the Montana wilderness for 9 hours “clothed only in a wet, soiled onesie”, was found alive and in reasonably good health. “This is what we call a miracle,” the sheriff’s office said. He was found by Deputy Ross Jessop while searching the huge wooded area, when he heard “just a whimper.”

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(Look closely at that little hand–the dirt under the fingernails and the scratches on the palm and fingers. That baby fought for its life.)

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So if you think good things don’t happen in this Age of Trump—think again.

Even the British are preparing for Trump’s upcoming visit to the Queen with him cruising over London’s famed Parliament (see below). They have the right idea celebrating his significance on the world stage this week. I wonder if they can mass-produce those balloons?

NATO should include them in the complementary gift packets to the other leaders. I bet it would be the HIT of the conference.

I’ll also bet that Angela Merkel probably wants at least half a dozen for personal, nefarious purposes.

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(Here’s the Large Orange One’s infamous sneer: Notice the ever present cell-phone in his right teensy-tiny, little hand.)

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(Well, there goes the neighborhood–who let the hot-air BULLY out?)

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(Trump-baby tours London from the only safe place he can find to do so.  Lots of roaring crowds there, I’ll bet, but not exactly like his well-funded campaign rallies.)

See, some miracles really DO happen!  Be extremely thankful for each and every one of them–especially the first three mentioned in this post.  I know that I am!

And here in the USA, we’re just glad Trump-baby’s out of the country this week so we can share him with the rest of the world!

That’s another miracle for us–but not so much for you, Europe. Sorry.

 

The Quest for What We Lack

For some strange reason, the Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz” kept coming intotinmanwizoz5.jpg my head this morning, saying, “If I only had a heart…”    And I of course assumed my subconscious was referring to the large “Orange One” on stage with all his daily ranting and conspiratorial lunacy. Yes, if HE only had a heart instead of that huge black hole swirling in his voluminous body.

But, he doesn’t.

So then my mind continued the “Wiz of OZ” analogy with the Cowardly Lion, who must be Congress, right?  If Congress only had the courage to stand up for our democracy’s constitution.  Yes, if only.

wizoz70thannOkay by now I’m paying attention and trying to determine who the other main players are in this mind-game parody.  Who is left: the Scarecrow, Dorothy and Toto, the Wiz himself, besides the witches good and bad, and Auntie Em.   Cheering Munchkins and Flying Monkeys must be all the rest of us, I assume, maybe representing our good and bad angels.

To me the main message of “The Wizard of Oz” depicts the search for self-awareness—where all characters set out to find the qualities that they think they lack in themselveslike the quest for self-knowledge and self-actualization.  And if we were to carry this into our present situation, I’d have to say that I think the large “Orange One” is too self-consumed to ever be self-aware, so I’ll make the analogous connections for him.

Back to matching characters to our current situation, I think Toto—the little dog—is Dorothy’s subconscious trying to guide her back to safety and sanity.

The Scarecrow was looking for a brain, right?  Or did he just represent innocence and ignorance? Who could that be, eh?  I know who I think it represents but I hate to say it here, so you’ll just have to guess.sepiadorothy6.png

But who is Dorothy?  Dorothy who searches to find who she really is and to make her way back “HOME” –who does Dorothy represent?  I think Dorothy represents the American ideal of who we are as a people trying to find our way back to being compassionate human beings who believed in fairness, equality, and the right to self-determination.

Then what does the Wizard lack and who does he represent?  Hmmm.  Well, in the show he’s a con-man.  He’s a fraud.  He pretends to know all the answers.  He tricks people.  He wizbehindcurtain67.jpgruns a phony operation to gain respect and demand adulation, but he is basically insecure and impotent.  Hmmmm. Who could that be??????

Perhaps the Prez can play two parts in this mind-parody: Tin Man and Oz Wiz.

So that leaves the good and bad witches and Auntie Em left to assess.

The witch dichotomy is dependent on your political affiliation, so I’ll leave that for personal consideration, but Auntie Em, … the maternal figure who is Dorothy’s stand-in auntieemsymbol45mother during these harsh-life conditions—who represents the safety and security of a stable, can’t–be-blown-away-by-a-tornado HOME.

She could be the symbol of Lady Liberty—the American ideological standard bearer, don’t you think?  Auntie Em as Lady Liberty.  “Bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”  Yes, I can see that.

So, let’s bring it home here ourselves:  What is it that we the citizens of this once great country lack here, that we keep searching for in all the wrong places, …with all the wrong characters?

That’s a really good question.

characterscartoonwizozWhat do we feel that we aren’twhat do we feel that we lack—that we are trying so hard to make up for by being so gullible and naïve to believe a guy who stands behind the curtain, pulling levers and pushing buttons to make as much chaos as possible for us in our world?

Maybe as a nation of people searching for true, wise leadership, we feel that we lack genuine moral character ourselves and keep trying to find it in others who only play facsimiles of those roles on television.

[Moral character: The concept of character can imply a variety of attributes including the existence or lack of virtues such as empathy, courage, fortitude, honesty, and loyalty, or of good behaviors or habits.” ]

Yes, I think we fear that as individuals we do lack moral character and instead we look for quality leadership in others to help us make it through more challenging times, rather than believing in ourselves to rise above whatever difficulties we might face.

The main problem for many of us in today’s world is that we have no idea where the attributes of moral character and quality leadership can be found, but I’m pretty sure that they aren’t behind that curtain with the Wiz. youhadthepowerallalong6.png

Let’s look in the mirror instead, because I think the entire point of “The Wizard of Oz” show was to say that’s where genuine moral character and self-determination were to be found all along.