Monthly Archives: July 2016

THINKING ABOUT THINGS . . .

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Sometimes I wish that things were different.  Sometimes I am glad that things are the way they are.

I wouldn’t mind having a money tree growing in my backyard.  I don’t have a backyard, but I would if I had a money tree.

Some people say that money is not important, but the people who say this always have lots of money.

I have my health, but some would say that I am missing a few screws.  Is this true?  I haven’t noticed.

This is the best moment of my life, but sometimes I wish that things were different.

THE GANZFELD EFFECT

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The mind is powerful and never needs alcohol or drugs to get high, hallucinate, and have fun.

I made a pair Ganzfeld goggles from safety glasses and white paper.  Wolfgang Metzger, a psychologist, discovered that people hallucinated when they gazed into a blank field of vision.  This is called the Ganzfeld Effect.  Ganzfeld is German for total field or complete field.

I put on my goggles and waited.  When deprived of sensory input, the brain will make up stuff.

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At first I saw a waterfall in an exotic forest.  Then the waterfall slowly changed into a voluptuous woman who belly danced for me.  Just when I was aroused enough, the belly dancer slowly melted into a cloud joining other clouds on their way to work.  Unlike people who stay in their own worlds when commuting, the clouds talked to each other and laughed and joked.

“I think the meaning of life has something to do with water vapor,” said one cloud.

“I haven’t the foggiest idea,” said another cloud and they all laughed.

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The clouds and their laughter faded.  Before me was a bird’s-eye view of a city with its skyscrapers, buildings and houses.  This city lasted only seconds before I saw a mushroom cloud destroy it.

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I took seeing a nuclear bomb destroy a city as a hint to stop hallucinating for now.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganzfeld_effect

LOOKING FOR A HOME

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“We hope you don’t mind if we rest here for now.  We’ve been searching for a permanent place to live and are not having much luck.”

Who are you?

“Isn’t it obvious who we are?  We’re words.”

Okay.  Where are you from, and how long have you been searching?

“We’re from Creativity.  We left there shaybuks ago looking for a short story, novel or poem to live in.  Nothing so far?”

Shaybuks?

“Oh yes, we forgot shaybuks hasn’t made it to the English language yet..  It exists in Creativity.  Shaybuks means a long time like eons.”

What was wrong with you staying in Creativity?

“Creativity is a wonderful place, but nothing created there is supposed to stay.  Words, melodies, and artistic lines and colors all leave at some point to a find permanent places to live.”

Okay.  You’re welcome to rest here for as long as you like.  Stay permanently if you want.

“Thank you.  Your blog isn’t what we had in mind.  We were looking for something more imaginative.  But it’s better than nothing.  At least we didn’t end up in a political speech.”

FAMILY VALUES?

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Abraham had a wife named Sarai and Sarai had a servant named Hagar.  Sarai said to Abraham, “The Lord has kept me from having children.  Go and make love to my servant.  Maybe I can have a family through her.”

Oddly enough, Abraham agreed to what Sarai said.                                         – Genesis 16

 

Lot insisted the two male angels, who arrived at Sodom, stay at his house.  The men of Sodom surrounded Lot’s house and said, “Where are the men who came to your house tonight?  Bring them out to us.  We want to have sex with them.”

Lot went out to the men and said, “Don’t do such an evil thing.  I have two daughters who are virgins.  I’ll bring them out and you can do whatever you want with them.”

The men insisted on Lot sending out the angels . . .

After God had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and his wife turned to a pillar of salt for looking back, Lot and his daughters lived in a cave in the mountains.  One day the older daughter said to her sister, “Our father is getting old.  There aren’t any other men to make love to.  Let’s get our father drunk so we can make love to him and continue the family line.”

They did.  The older daughter had a son Moab, and the younger daughter had a son, Benammi.     – Genesis 19

 

Gideon had many wives and a concubine who bore him 70 sons.     – Judges 8

 

To sum up we have,

  • A wife offering her servant to her husband to have children,
  • A father offering his daughters to men for sex,
  • Daughters sleeping with their father to carry on the family line, and
  • A man having many wives and a concubine.

Are these the family values religious leaders want us to follow?

A LESSON IN NONVIOLENCE

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At the North York Central Library yesterday, a male librarian told a young man to leave after the young man had disturbed other patrons.  The young man filled the library with words never said in a church.  He began to leave, but would often lunge at the librarian and slap him in the face challenging the librarian to a fight.  The librarian did not retaliate.  He kept walking calmly towards the retreating young man telling him to leave.

What patience!  The librarian stayed on the high road.  After being slapped repeatedly, he remained calm and kept repeating to the young man to leave.  The young man eventually left.

“Anger and violence provide instant relief, but cause more damage in the long run.”

I spoke to the librarian today commending him for his patience.

He said,”I was irritated, but never once did I fear for my safety.  I knew that I could cause serious injury if I got angry and struck back.  Anger and violence provide instant relief, but cause more damage in the long run.

Imagine our world if more people thought like this librarian.

 

MATCHING COLORS

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A friend recently told me that he saw a fantastic bargain at a Giant Tiger store: bathroom mats regularly $18.00 were marked down to $2.00.  His bathroom mats needed replacement, so he asked his wife whether he could buy new mats.  “Suit yourself,” she said.  “I don’t care what you do.”

Off he went to Giant Tiger and bought two sets of bathroom mats.  His only thought, which thrilled him, was, “I’m getting two sets of mats for $4.00 that would normally cost me $36.00!”

When he got back home, he thought his wife would be as excited as he was about the great bargain.  How crushing for him when his wife looked at the mats and asked, “Did they have other colors?”

“Yes, they did,” he said.

“I don’t like these colors,” she said.

“Why?”

“Because they don’t go with the bathroom.”

“Who cares?  We got two sets of mats for $4.00.  They would have cost $36.00.  They’re bathroom mats for keeping the floor dry.  Who cares whether they match the bathroom?”

“I do.  It will bother me until we go back and exchange them for the right colors.”

“But you told me that you didn’t care what I did.”

“That’s because I thought you would buy the right colors.”

My friend made two mistakes:

  1. He should have insisted his wife go with him, when he bought the mats, and have her do the selecting.
  2. He believed his wife when she said, “I don’t care what you do.”

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My friend’s story reminded me of another wrong-color story.

My friends Paul and Susan received a nice towel set as a wedding gift.  After their honeymoon, they moved into an apartment.  Susan noticed that the towels did not match the color of the bathroom in their new, freshly painted apartment.  She went to the superintendent and asked him to re-paint the bathroom so the color would match the towels.  The superintendent said, “No.”  Because of Susan’s relentless insistence, she and Paul moved to another apartment with a bathroom that matched the towels.

This happened a long time ago.  Paul and Susan are no longer married.  I don’t know which one got to keep the towels.

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MAKING MONEY FROM MISERY

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The Toronto Sun interviewed Toronto Police Superintendent Gord Sneddon about a drug bust.  Sneddon said that the members of the drug ring were from various ethnic backgrounds.  “There was one common denomintor here and it was the desire to make money from the misery of other people,”  Sneddon said.

Are drug dealers bad because they make a living off people’s misery?  What about undertakers?  Don’t they rely on people’s misery to earn a living?  And before the undertakers’ turn, don’t doctors, nurses and other health practitioners make a living off other people’s misery.  Then there are the police.  Do they not have employment because of people doing bad things to other people?  And people doing bad things to other people keeps judges, lawyers, and jail guards employed.

“There was one common denominator here and it was the desire to make money from the misery of other people.”          –  Toronto Police Superintendent Gord Sneddon

Drug dealers would not make any money if there was not a high demand for drugs.  Is giving people what they want making their lives miserable?

Never mind the high demand for drugs or answering that last question.  Let’s make drug dealers’ lives miserable by trying to make prohibition work.

http://www.torontosun.com/2016/07/14/police-arrest-27-people-in-drug-trafficking-bust-toronto-police

KAREN

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Karen had a birthday recently.  I haven’t seen here since the creation of the Universe, but I always think of her on her birthday.

Karen was my girlfriend when we were adolescents slowly becoming adults.   At the time I would not have said so, but looking back it was puppy love.  Although we never buried any bones, we spent a lot of time digging and chewing.

Karen was the oldest of six children.  Her mother had survived an abusive relationship with the children’s father.  He was  also an alcoholic.  She was raising the children on her own and did a damn good job.

Karen and I carried on for several years until her mother decided to move to another province where she would be closer to her relatives and have better financial opportunities.  My relationship with Karen continued after she moved.  We wrote love letters to each other.   I flew out to see her several times and my arms would get sore, but the pain was worth it.

The second last time I saw her she had met another guy and said, “I didn’t think it was possible to be in love with two men at the same time.”  The last time I saw her was at her wedding.  I proposed a toast to her and her husband.  I was sad, but accepting of fate and happy for Karen.

So so every July, and other times, too, I think about Karen.  Fate spared our relationship the reality of domestic drudgery which often happens after people marry and take each other for granted.  Our love remains forever pure, and forever innocent.  But being a puppy love, it occasionally gets fleas.

TWO MYTHS AND THE TRUTH ABOUT THEM

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On July 14, 1789, the people rose up and stormed the Bastille and freed all the political prisoners.  This act started the French Revolution.  It was a revolution where the poor rose up against their wealthy oppressors paving the way to our modern-day freedom—or so I believed.

The French monarchy had stopped keeping political prisoners, in the Bastille, years before the French Revolution.  On July 14, 1789, the Bastille had only 7 prisoners: 4 fraudsters, 2 lunatics, and a nobleman accused of sex crimes.  That’s it.

As for the poor rising up against the rich, it was a revolution started by wealthy nobles and professionals in meeting halls at Versailles weeks before the storming of the Bastille.  The poor had a small part if any part at all.

 

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Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862)

Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12, 1817.  I read his book Walden when I was a teenager and found Thoreau’s rugged individualism and self-reliance inspiring . . .

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived . . . I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like . . . ”   – Thoreau

“Wow,”  I thought, “what courage to go off into the woods and live in solitude and be self-sufficient!”

It turns out that Henry David Thoreau did not really go off into the woods.  Walden Pond was on land owned by Thoreau’s friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Emerson allowed Thoreau to live on his land for two years.  Essentially Thoreau stayed in Emerson’s backyard.

As for solitude?  Emerson and others were frequent visitors to Thoreau’s cabin.  What kind of hermitage is that?

Self-sufficiency?  Living “sturdily and Spartan-like”?  Thoreau made trips to Emerson’s house for a home-cooked meals.  He would also go into Concord and have meals with friends in exchange for odd jobs.  And his mother, who lived close to Emerson’s backyard, did Thoreau’s laundry for him.

 

LIES

I believed that Bastille Day was the beginning of the French Revolution on which the poor set hundreds of political prisoners free.  And I believed that Henry David Thoreau lived in solitude for two years near Walden Pond being totally self-sufficient.  What else do I believe that is not true?

 

Sources:

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/07/13/french-revolution-myths-endure.html

http://blogs.britannica.com/2012/05/henry-david-thoreau-and-the-paradox-of-self-sufficiency/

 

 

“AWAAAAAAY UP!”

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“Awaaaaaay up!”

I had no idea what awaaaaaay up meant.  Perhaps it described my level of excitement.  They were the first words that popped into my head as I rode a lawn tractor.  (Maybe the next time I am in the wild with lions and tigers and bears and no Internet, I will brood, muse, ponder and reflect on the meaning of awaaaaaay up.)

“Awaaaaaay up!  Awaaaaaay up!  Awaaaaaay up!”

I shouted out other words, too.

“Weeeeeeeeeee!  Oh boy!  Oh boy!  Oh boy!  Heeeeeeee Haw!”

I was looking after my friend’s two dogs on his farm while he was away.  Before he left he showed me his lawn tractor and asked me to cut the grass.

“Oh, I don’t know how to drive one,” I said.

“It’s easy,” he said.  “I’ll show you.”

He did, and it was easy.

What a blast cutting his grass!  It was like being a kid on a ride at an amusement park.  The only difference was that the ride always ended too soon, and most of the time my parents did not have extra money so I could go on a second or a tenth time.  My lawn-tractor ride went on for as long as I wanted, but I had my fill after four hours which is how long it took me to cut the grass.

All the jiggling and vibrating shook up my guts causing me to have to pee more.  How wonderful that I could stop to pee when I needed to without having to ask a supervisor, or have to wait for a scheduled break or lunch.

The only supervisors I had were two German Shepherds, Miley and Charlie.  They would watch me get off the tractor to pee.  Charlie would come over and sniff where I peed, and then pee on top of my pee.   Charlie never allowed my pee to be on top.  If he did, then he would be violating a law in The Peenal Code.

I was working and having so much fun.  May all my work be this way.