Updates from April, 2015 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • hardie karges 11:44 am on April 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Dachau, Nazi, Saigon, , , , , WWII   

    On this date in History…. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi, G-L-O-R-I-A….. 

    70 years ago: Dachau was liberated, the oldest of the Nazi concentration camps, paradigm for them all, and home and cemetery to many, simply for the fact of being a threat to Hitler’s intents and purposes. This was America’s entry upon the world stage as dominant power, rivalled for many years only by the USSR…

    40 years ago: Saigon was falling (if you’re American or South Vietnamese), or being liberated (if you’re Communist or North Vietnamese), Americans and South Viet sympathizers evacuated by helicopter if they hadn’t left already. This was the USA’s first clear defeat in war, and a clear message about the limits of power…

    What kind of animal are we, killing and wasting beyond our immediate needs for food and shelter, killing and torturing for the sake of misplaced doctrines and misunderstood creeds? Why does our need to believe in something become a need for greed and a penchant for destruction? We have the mutant gene; we are the other ones, the gift of consciousness becomes the curse of violence…

  • hardie karges 8:54 am on April 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Garden of Eden   

    Religio-Politics 101: Freedom is the Fruit of Forgiveness, Inna Gadda of Eden, Baby… 

    The best part about Christianity is the forgiveness, of course, the ability—no, the requirement—to wipe the slate clean, and start over anew… renewed… with tabula rasa… a blank slate… a new life… reborn in the spirit… in the flesh… en la boeuf… in the buff… at the small price of confession, at the small request of compassion…

    Protestants maybe threw out the beer with the bath water when they decided to forego confession in favor of confection, just keep the wafers if nothing else, add sugar and beat lightly, store the memories in the waistline rather than get it out on the timeline…

    Your deepest darkest secrets will kill you, assassins with no conscience, all with your complacence, all in the name of privacy, your sacred right to hide yourself away, to suffer no embarrassment, to suffer no shame, either real or imagined, to not reveal yourself to your maker, to not stand naked and afraid, and suffer the freedom that that brings, the freedom of nakedness without sex, the freedom of wealth without money, the freedom of fulfillment with no festivities, the freedom of fashion without followers… (More …)

  • hardie karges 8:02 am on April 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: captivity, color blue,   

    I Know What the Bird Cage Brings 

    I know why some animals can barely survive in captivity, much less breed, what I call the ‘exit strategy’ syndrome, aka ‘Plan B’, closely related to the ‘patch of blue’ syndrome, in which every prison cell needs a patch of blue from some upper corner to keep the prisoner happy. It saves on concrete, too. In some future underground city, elaborate mirror systems could bring that God-given blue color (450–495 nm wavelength/606–668 THz frequency) to where ordinary light would never reach, even if the real sky hadn’t been seen for years. Of course, enough light for photosynthesis would be nice, too, though our puny little future bodies could probably go long if not far on synthetic proteins carbs minerals and vitamins. Just add Viagra. When humans fail to breed, then we’re in trouble. Given current population levels, maybe that’s not so bad…

  • hardie karges 9:18 am on April 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , KABBALAH,   

    Religio-Politics 2015: Capitalist Kabbalah, Dial ‘F’ for ‘Freedom’… 

    I don’t know why there is such hatred from mostly-Christian Westerners toward Middle Eastern cultures generally and Islamic religion specifically, any more than I know why there is such racism toward black people from those same Westerners. I suspect it’s because we’re so similar, and historically so close geographically, so competing for the same turf, really, physically and psychologically. They’re violent; we’re violent. They’ve had great cultures; we’ve had great cultures. They’re stubbornly opinionated; we’re stubbornly opinionated. They had slavery; we had slavery. So why all the animosity?

    Despite all the historic animosity over the Crusades, which was mostly an act of European aggression, there is the case of modern Israel, once again mostly an act of Western aggression, as Israel re-invents itself as a modern European-style alcohol-based republic, situated in the heart of the Mideast, after centuries of being ghettoized in Europe itself and largely protected in the Mideast itself.

    That’s brilliant—and our cross to bear, somehow, all puns intended. The current fad of ‘Christian Zionism’ is ample proof of that. Other than that, the only real difference is that we—and Israel—are free-for-all devil-may-care capitalist consumerist economies, while most of the oil-based Mideast is not. Hmmm… No surprise there, as Jewish banking funded Portugal, then Spain, then northern Europe in their Age of Discovery, after the expulsion from Spain along with fellow Muslims. They never looked back, at their former life as Middle Easterners—until now. It gets worse.

    For all the good it’s done, runaway capitalism today is the number-one problem facing the world, not terrorism IMHO. Enough is enough. Terrorists aren’t destroying the planet with global warming. We Westerners (Americans especially) are, we and our precious freedoms: freedom to drive our cars, mostly, around and around, uptown and downtown, whatever is left of our hollowed-out cities, existing for little more than ceremonial purposes (i.e. entertainment) now.

    The Big Lie in America is that ‘they covet our freedoms’, but the truth is far from the narrative. We said that first about Communists, and now about ‘jihadis’, and neither one was true, not necessarily because they don’t want more freedom, but because we’re hardly the paradigm for it. The communists waited in line for bread; we wait in line for Apple watches. “From each according to his ability; to each according to his need.” Both have failed miserably. So what’s the big difference? Desire selects accordingly. The prostitute picks her trick. (More …)

  • hardie karges 7:49 pm on April 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Nashville,   

    Gays on TV, Gays in Nashville 

    Kudos to TV’s ‘Nashville’ for having two men kiss on-screen, in a fairly realistic situation, in a fairly realistic way. That takes cojones in a show based around country music, an industry that loves to take cheap shots on liberal sacred cows. I was pretty skeptical, too, after their biracial relationship consisted of a ‘black’ lady with mostly cream, not much coffee, in her DD cups. Now the homosexual relationship is not exactly a romp through the bath houses, or a parade through the Castro district of San Francisco, but it is full of subtlety and nuance. No, I’m not gay; I’m just a fairly reliable member of a dying club–liberalism (cue God’s wrath in a thunderbolt from above)…

  • hardie karges 9:31 am on April 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , chess,   

    Religio-Politics 101: Winning the Endgame 

    The future for the planet ain’t so good, to be perfectly honest. If I were a fire-and-brimstone preacher, I’d probably say it’s God’s wrath punishing us for our many sins, trespasses and transgressions, and not forgiving those who trespass against us. That metaphor is powerful, and quite effective, but only if you believe in a war God, a God of wrath, and one that inspires great fear, the Judaic god that Christianity tried to soften for a kinder gentler soft Chuy future, with varying degrees of success.

    The issue is not who’s to blame for the current morass and malfeasance. The issue is how to survive in a world increasingly crowded and belligerent, hell-bent and money-broke. Liberalism is dead and conservatism is a joke. Democrats are deadbeat diehards and Republicans are a hoax. Everything is a caricature of itself now and politics are no exception. I always knew that the USA—and most of the world—was racist to the core, but I always thought that some civility would rule the day, not fear.

    Environmentalism is the only politics I care about these days, and I don’t mean a plastic bag here or a recycled paper plate there. I’m talking about survival of the species, something that everyone should at least give thought to IMHO, given the dire warnings for climate and food production by such entities no less than NASA, a visible face to a thoroughly-modern problem that was easier to ignore when proffered by some anonymous group like “97% of all scientists” or something anomalous like that.

    This is real and that is fact, insomuch as we are now officially victims of our own success, a few short generations ago double-digit-size families required to ensure survival of the family name, now those multiple filials threaten the demise of entire civilizations while family lineages take over entire cemeteries, resting in peace and lying in symmetry, rows and rows where poppies used to grow. Of course some nickel-and dime philosophers (not me, I charge two bits = $ .25) assume that all was well before religion, and that atheism is preferable, but you and I know better than that.

    ‘Innate ideas’ are few and far between, Descartes; ditto, Chomsky. Almost everything is learned. I’ve got a hunch that some of the knowledge is even transmitted across generations, but given the lack of evidence for any transfer particles, it’s probably better to hold my piece, out of fear of being labeled ‘LaMarckian’ and burned at the steak (yes, I know how to spell, just illustrating how evolution proceeds by brilliant mistake, by single-letter deletions and resource depletion.

    Do you want to be right or do you want to be alive? Make a choice; the dreadful freedom is yours. Awesome or awful? Terrifying or terrific? Perception is everything. Connotation is intuitive even where Meaning is explicit. You decide… the clock is ticking…

  • hardie karges 9:39 am on April 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: apple pie, Ben & Jerry, dental, ice cream, smoothie   

    Apple Pie Smoothies and Life a la Mode… 

    Is there really no ‘Apple Pie’ flavor in the Ben & Jerry’s roster of winning tastes? That’s too bad. That’s hard to believe. After all, we grew up eating it ‘a la mode’, didn’t we? Aren’t Ben and Jerry all about putting comfort food in a cone? They have strawberry cheesecake, peach cobbler and maybe even Strawberry Alarm Clock, don’t they? I’m surprised they don’t have a pizza flavor…

    So in my current era of oral limits (no jokes, please) and gastric longing, post-surgery tooth extraction on both sides with a blister on my lip tossed in for good measure and God’s little reminder, ice cream the only hand-maiden in a rapidly shrinking universe, I tossed a healthy dose of apple pie, crust and all, into the blender, added milk and crushed ice then gave it a whirl. It was delish. I am vindicated….

  • hardie karges 5:17 pm on April 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Happy Easter, Passable Passover: Jesus as Shaman… 

    Christian church in Ethiopia

    Christian church in Ethiopia

    Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. ….

    That one line is enough to seal Jesus’s claim to fame as a prophet for me, even as much or more than the commandment of all commandments to “love your neighbor as yourself”, because it speaks to the heart of belief, and belief systems, which, of course, are at the very heart of religion, all religions. It even foresees the current degenerate state of ‘celebrity sickness’ that consumes the West in which everyone pursues his fifteen minutes of Warholian fame, and for which nothing else will suffice.

    When pilots crash planes and kill passengers just so they will be remembered, then we have a problem. When school-kids murder classmates for the same reason, then it’s obvious that the disease attacks at an early age. We chastise and castigate Muslim fundamentalists for their misplaced martyrdom, but offer no such cultural indictments upon our own celebrity-sick suicides, manipulative marketing techniques nor the ubiquitous hero-worship that populates social media to the gills. The desire for celebrity is the desire to be worshiped, the height of egotism.

    Jesus could foresee all that as easily as he could see that he himself would find scarce acceptance where people knew him as Joseph the carpenter’s son. He could see that people would become bored with Rome and seek knowledge in gurus and mahatmas and eventually even the parables of a mysterious carpenter’s son, but that his own family would never see that in him. Such is the price of enlightenment; it is selective.

    Jesus is possibly the greatest religious figure of all time, but he was a lousy religion-builder. That’s why we don’t sit around reading his great writings. He didn’t write. Buddha, Muhammad, Lao-tse and Confucius did much better at systems-building. That’s not Jesus’s failure, though, if he never intended such. What we study as Christian doctrine is as much Plato and Aristotle as Jesus. I think Jesus’s mission was to remind us of what we were about to forget as nomadic tribespeople as what we were about to learn as civilized city-folk, something he could see clearly while gazing upon Rome from Palestine.

    Jesus was a shaman, a Jewish one. Everything he did was shamanic, the communion with spirits and the performance of miracles. This was a rare commodity around the beginning of the Common Era, but it may have been much more common much earlier. Jesus could have intuited much of that, if not picked it up outright from one of many nomadic people still unassimilated at the time.

    Little or nothing is known of Jesus’s missing eighteen years, during which time it is imagined that he hang with the Essenes, Sadducees, or Pharisees, or even ventured as far afield as India to receive enlightenment; anything but the likely truth that he drove nails: all the better to appreciate the irony of having them driven into him a few short years later (and possibly developing some resentment against the conquering Romans).

    Easter is all about Jesus’s resurrection, his supposed return to life after death, every bit as miraculous as his supposed virgin birth; veracity optional. His magic act depended as much on suspension of disbelief as it did on physical transformation. That’s what shamans do. So do doctors, as in placebo effect. His healings are proof of his divinity for us otherwise-rational pharma-weary Westerners, whereas Christians of different backgrounds might find a different emphasis. His teachings pretty much boil down to one word: love. Duh.

    Now that’s revolutionary, but hardly a system of religion. Buddhist may have been a Buddhist and Muhammad was probably a Muslim, but Jesus was never a Christian. That’s the attraction, the call of the wilderness in us Europeans who scarcely even existed as a definitive group in Jesus’s times, Christianity and Europe coming into being together, in some sort of symbiotic relationship, developing a creed much different from that more aboriginal style still to be found today in Ethiopia, Armenia, and yes, even Palestine. Jesus is the wild crazy guy inside us, speaking in that still small voice. Now there’s food for thought. Happy Easter.

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