Campaign sign in New Mexico desert: “Freedom or Collectivism–It’s your Choice”; now in what warped world-view is that the choice? Oh, yeah, right…
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Why do Westerners join radical organizations like Isis, Isil, the Islamic State, the whatchamacallit gang of hashishins currently overrunning the Mideast from their base in Syria, and apparently with recruits from all over, including those paragons of capitalism UK and US, this at a time of unparalleled economic stability and growth in most of the world? Good question. That’s what a lot of Western politicians would like to know. You can’t just buy these guys off.
The answer, of course, is as obvious as the nose on anyone’s face. Material well-being is largely an empty vessel, all form and no substance. Once you’ve got your forty acres and a mule, then what’s the next thing you’ll want? Why, another mule of course, a younger one, a larger one, a stronger one with more horsepower. Such is the nature of desire, for acquisitions of more and more, bigger and bigger, to what end, who knows? There is no end. Materialism is an end in itself. But it’s a dead end: entertainment rules, sex and all that jazz. Wait a minute… (More …)
I would like to be wealthy merely to renounce it. Renunciation is the greatest act of faith. All Hindus and Buddhists know that. But a homeless person has nothing to renounce, and the world is suitably not impressed nor has any message been conveyed: the greater the possessions, the greater the renunciation. I would like to tell the bankers to stuff it back in their vaults, tell the coke dealer to stuff it up his nose, tell the beautiful young starlets to stuff it… some day…
If you cling to your life, you will lose it. All Christians know that…
Conversation overheard between the Left and Right sides of my brain:
LS: They say that to sell non-fiction, you need a platform. Do we have a platform?
RS: I think that’s a metaphor, actually.
LS: Actually, I think it’s a two-by-four, lots of them in fact, and double-headed nails, the better to set up and tear down easily.
RS: Hmmm, sounds like a flea market,
LS: Now there’s a metaphor, life as flea market.
RS: Yes, all too true; at least the food trucks are good… are you hungry?
LS: Yeah, let’s eat. Did you get salsa?
RS: I thought you did.
LS: Typical. When are you going to grow up?
RS: When are you going to chill out?
It’s that time again—tax time (hey, I’m not an April person!)—in which all the prior year’s goings and comings and savings and spendings come back to haunt me, wishing I’d done this differently or that more carefully. Of course now I think they’ve extended that already-extended August 15 deadline to October 15, but I don’t see any reason to procrastinate, ha ha. That usually means refreshing myself on the last reported year also, so two years ago, really, to synchronize figures on a complicated return, and some of those wounds are even more egregious.
In my case that means the great 2012 prostate free-for-all in which my poor beleaguered sex-exhausted prostate gland received untold amounts of radiation in an attempt to send a clear message to any cancer cells lying in wait to do me in before my appointed time, that they had better think twice before declaring victory, in fact should just go on back home where they belong. (More …)
“You don’t negotiate with them.” “You make them beg.” Words like these, in reference to Palestine in general, and Hamas in particular, were overheard from the mouths of various Israeli leaders, journalists and pundits-at-large following John Kerry’s recent failed attempts to cut a deal, any deal, between Israel and Palestine. They disgust me, so racist and hateful. Israel tried to back away from the comments, but—you know.
If words like this hurt me so much, I can only imagine what they do to Palestinians. It’s no wonder there is no solution in sight, with such racism and prejudices at work behind the scenes. Imagine the Western horror if Palestinians spoke like that: ‘Muslims are like that; it’s in their blood.’ Religion flowing through capillaries: now there’s an image.
I’ve been following the Mideast crises for a while now—approximately 2000 years—and it seems to me that the modern version of the quagmire boils down to one irreconcilable issue: Israel’s various leaders demand that Palestinian’s various leaders officially recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.
The accent, of course, is on ‘Jewish’ and ‘official'; that is: in writing; that is: in words; that is: kiss ass, something that Palestine is not likely to do in this lifetime or the next, nor should they have to. They’ve already recognized Israel’s right to exist by the way, since 1993. Only now does Netanyahu add the ultimate insult: as a Jewish state. If someone stole my property, which they have, I’d never recognize them as rightful owner, but I’d get on with my life. But I’ll be damned if I’d suffer their insults publicly. Who’s the obstructionist? (More …)
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The idea of a Michelangelo-like anthropomorphic God, wrathful and scheming (before Jesus made him all love-y dove-y), bad teeth and all, thunderbolt in hand, is so absurd and fantastic, that I’ve long wondered how such nonsense ever got started, and moreover, how it persists. My idea is that it originates in the feedback over death, probably around the time Neanderthals (no, not Me-anderthals) began burying their dead.
We humans look for meaning, of course, as such is our curse, so some must have wondered about these newly dead: Where do they go? What will they do when they get there? The idea that people are here one moment, then gone the next, is a tough pill to swallow, after all. Even dogs go through mourning. I suspect the phrase “WTF” also originated around this time.
“Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy,” definitely my favorite Commandment, “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work,” etc., keeps us workaholics from working our selves to death, only problem is defining ‘work’ and separating it from non-work.
But what if I enjoy work? Then is it okay? Are we supposed to be miserable six days a week?
Then there’s the question of which day is the ‘true’ Sabbath. If you could be Muslim, Jew, and Christian too, some kind of 3-in-1 monotheist, then I guess you’d get a 3-day weekend. Now there’s a thought…
It has not been a good year for Malaysian Airlines. I’m wishing now I’d sold my stock. First there was the long-lost flight MH370, at the bottom of the ocean now somewhere, and now this, cold-blooded aer-o-plane-o-cide in Ukraine. Where have we gone wrong, that the world has come to this?
This is not a case of war, or even terror. It is a case of stupidity. Give a monkey a machine and this is what you get. They will drive the car right off the cliff. They will shoot airplanes out of the sky. And they will frack every last bit of oil out of the very bedrock of the earth, just to power those machines.
Of course this ill-fated flight MH17 has much more in common with KL007, the Korean Airlines flight that was shot down near Sakhalin Island in 1983 in what was then the USSR. But that was then. This is now. That was the USSR, known for its Commie paranoia. This is Russia, supposedly a prime player in the second-tier BRIC level of emerging capitalist movers and shakers. What gives? Does paranoia run in the DNA? Stupidity does.
We’re all monkeys in this machine, and we all bear some responsibility. Those flights could be on detour around the war zone; but that would cost an extra dollar, wouldn’t it? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
But war is the least of my worries, really. People are killing each other probably less than ever, in outright warfare, at least, that is. The Old Testament is nothing but ethnic cleansing. Sound familiar?
I’m more worried about the environment, where the connection between cause and effect is much more abstract and indirect, where the effects are spread over a much longer time and much wider territory, where the culprit must be hypothesized from reams of facts and figures gleaned from data collected over the last century over the entire planet. Who will sift through the wreckage from total environmental disaster?