Wednesday, September 21, 2022--I write a lot about my chickens, my perceptions, imaginings, and sensations, both in my hand-written journal and on-line. My purpose is to communicate to the outer world and to myself, better to externalize the ever-shifting panorama of my inner reality. Today is almost over, at 11 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, in the US of A, and soon "today" will be a different day. Just establishing the time of day takes time, and focus. That's why there are so many methods for orienting oneself in a dimension outside physical space. The weather constitutes its own dimension, although climate is not given the status of dimensionality in common parlance. Yet with a temperature range of 30 degrees Fahrenheit today, weather begs for inclusion in our beliefs about reality on this Earth plane. Curtains open. Curtains closed. Doors open or closed. Windows open on one side of the house and closed on the other. These are the adaptations required to maximize comfort this fall so far in Savannah. We are broaching fall, as the calendar reports it. The calendar itself has changed over time and over cultures. The measurement of time is the bailiwick of politics and cultural beliefs. Time is as fluid as the weather, hard to pin down mathematically or predict with certainty. According to the Greenwich, England standard of measuring time, which begins tomorrow in fifteen minutes, in my time zone, but not for another hour a little west of here, the Earth's spin on its axis takes a mathematically convenient 24 hours. Trouble is, the earth's rotation takes 25 hours, thus we have "leap years" every four years, and compensate by giving February a 29th day, to account for the fact that the earth's rotation actually requires 25 hours, so a solar year is actually about 365 1/4 days. Natural cycles are perverse that way. They refuse to conform to human mathematics. The moon, almost a quarter the size of the earth, is just as unyielding. Its 28-day cycle doesn't allow mathematics to control its motion, so we have fabricated calendars and clocks according to mathematical parameters, striving to create precision in the wobbly dimensions of time and space. And now, it is 12:13 AM, EDT on September 22, 2022, according to the latest version of the Western hemisphere, planet Earth's calendar. Good night.
Squire, my 11-plus-year-old rooster, died yesterday, Saturday, September 17, 2022.
This photo, taken September, 2016, shows Squire at his most dramatic, crowing joyfully, but in celebration of Toozie's death and release from earthly struggles. I hope my Squire-wire feels a similar joyful release. He leaves a sad but relieved human being behind. I've watched Squire decline for almost a year, since Brownie died last October. Although he continued to watch out for Tweety, spar with Speckles, and ascend to the top of the shower stall of a morning, if I didn't catch him first, he has been losing weight, and his crow was beginning to crack, as though he no longer had the wind or vocal dexterity to finish his five notes. Tweety and Speckles are adapting, but they seem sad, too, as I am, because Squire is no longer there to guard and to crow and spar. We all have to die sometime. As I enter my 70s, I feel more acutely than ever the impending personal transition. Squire left lots of memories behind, memories I share, in part, with Tweety and Specs. I see his memory in every situation. I love you, Squire, and will never forget how you brightened up my life. May you rest in peace.
Sunday, September 11, 2022 Miss Tweety Pie, my 2-year-old hen, has a variety of nicknames. My favorite is "Miss Nemesis," for the goddess of divine retribution. I only have three chickens, but this follows a 14-year history of chicken-keeping, and the asociated challenges that come with the territory. In all, 20 chickens have passed through my life, but Speckles and his father, Squire, are troopers, over ten years old. Animals make great gurus, says Seth (of the Jane Roberts series). Whether pets or wildlife, animals have a wisdom that awes me. After the rainstorm today, which dumped a couple of inches in an hour, the sun came out, and I watched my six deer (mine because I feed them) frolic on the lawn. Birds flocked to the feeder. The stray cat I feed showed up for supper, and Coooney the racoon was looking to steal whatever food I might not be watching. Miss Nemesis has no fear, but Squire watches out for both of them--when he's not sparring through the gate with Speckles. I don't have the words or the space to describe the joy Nature exhibits after a storm. Soon a gorgeous sunset, with brilliant orange sky, appeared and vanished while I was getting chickens settled and watching over the cat while he ate his supper. I saw the racoons--at least two of them and maybe more--scouring the deck for spilled bird seed and chicken scratch grains and other treats the ants hadn't finished. Squire's tail drags when it's raining, but all the chickens love getting outside after the rain stops, just as the other animals, mosquitoes and biting sandflies do. Ain't Mother Nature grand? We human beings have the gift of the drama provided by all these actors, and we don't have to leave home to enjoy it.
August 29, 2022– My property is sinking into the marsh. The roof leaks in so many places that I’e lost count, but my head knows how to find the drips, just as my feet know how to find chicken poop that my eyes don’t see.
Still, the county government believes my property is worth taxing twice as much as it charged a mere ten years ago. The county knows what it’s worth to them. Chatham flies its spy planes over my house on a regular basis, but the planes don’t see the roof leaks. The planes do know I live in a flood zone, because the local government has notified me I must obtain flood insurance, to protect my valuable piece of mud.
It’s enough to make me want to walk or float away, provided I can get through the swamps, maybe with an ark to carry my chickens and me. Let the county extort its taxes from the river.
Brownie and Speckles on the porch, kco2019
Squire atop the shower stall, kco2015
On Monday, November 11, the planet Mercury will pass in front of the sun, beginning at 7:35 AM EST and lasting five-and-a-half hours. It will be visible during daylight hours throughout the Americas and seen as a small dot on the sun’s surface, with viewing through solar-filtered telescopes and binoculars recommended.*
Meanwhile, the October 28, 2019 issue of The New Yorker magazine includes an article about the resurgence of interest in astrology. Titled “Starstruck: Why we’re crazy for astrology,” by Christine Smallwood, the article claims that interest in this ancient discipline petered out after the 1970s but has made a comeback in recent years, especially among millennials. The current trend employs all the panache of modern technology, from pod-casts to computer apps and on-line chat rooms. There are on-line classes. There are zodiac-themed products like clothes and lingerie. It has become a booming business, complete with all the glitz of modern commercialization.
The astrologers interviewed in the article highlight astrology’s ability to describe character in non-judgmental terms. They downplay predictions, and emphasize timing. In short, it appears that this new appreciation reaches a deeper level than I remember from the 1970s and 1980s.
I have studied astrology for over 35 years, and still keep an ephemeris (a table of planetary movements) beside my reading chair. I still have the tape recording from my introductory horoscope reading. I was so impressed with the astrologer’s ability to “see my soul,” that I bought the classic beginner’s guide, Isabel Hickey’s Astrology: a Cosmic Science, that day. For several years, I was possibly obsessed and collected two full notebooks of horoscopes on everyone I met. I joined the American Federation of Astrologers, attended conferences, hobnobbed with other astrologers, and shared the language, which sounds like a secret code to the uninitiated.
I soon learned to downplay my interest, and finally, not to mention it, because people were simply not interested, scornful, or even threatened. But I found the astrological approach consistently provides a comprehensive framework for understanding human character. My natal chart highlighted potentials that soon prompted me to take the science pre-requisites to enter, then attend, medical school. I followed up with a psychiatry residency but was astonished to learn that astrology far surpassed psychiatry in its grasp of the totality of the human psyche.
Fundamentally, psychiatry—and possibly all Western medicine—focuses only on the negative, on abnormalities, disorders, or illnesses. Astrology offers balance.
There are many ideas about whether, why, or how astrology works. After all these years, I’m still skeptical, even though it has greatly contributed to my philosophy of life. In the early days, I felt in touch with the ages, knowing I was studying a system that in one form or another has evolved over 6000 years (at least), in every known culture. It corresponds to the “archetypes” that Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung described. Jung himself was a student of astrology and alchemy, for their spiritual aspects.
Fundamentally, it is based on geometry and is the parent of astronomy. Long before we had religions or governments, we had the sun, moon, and stars. Early man looked to the heavenly bodies for guidance and learned to predict the coming of the seasons by the gradual lengthening and shortening of days. The moon’s cycles, too, became associated with certain kinds of earthly events. Over time, and over cultures, the visible planets (“planet” means “wanderer”) were noted to move against a background of stars that formed patterns of constellations in a ring around the earth. In Western astrology, some of these patterns became the twelve constellations of the zodiac.
It’s important to note that a horoscope is completely impersonal in that it is a symbolic map of of the skies as seen at a specific moment in a specific place. That’s why an astrologer can cast a horoscope for anything, such as the time a question is asked (horary astrology), the signing of a contract, or the birth of a nation. The natal horoscope, then, pinpoints a time and place, and an individual’s birth is an event that occurs then and there. The individual then embodies all the potential of the moment. As the child grows, the moment becomes personified through the individual’s experiences, choices, and reactions.
Given that we are, so far, earthbound beings, it’s understandable that astrology would take a geocentric perspective. At birth, the individual is stamped with the cosmic pattern of that time and place. I like to think in terms of electromagnetic frequencies, with each planet (as well as the sun and moon) having its own electromagnetic character. As they move through time in their various cycles, and with respect to each other, the patterns change, as with a kaleidoscope, and either influence or reflect the meaning behind happenings in an individual’s life.
To understand the concept behind astrology, it’s convenient to think of a natal horoscope as a coded depiction of that person’s life drama. The individual is the star of her own play. In Western astrology, the planets–with the personalities of the Roman gods for which they are named–are the supporting actors; the signs are the filters or lights that they operate through; and the houses the props and stage.
As the sun, moon, and planets continue their cycles through a person’s life, they make angles (called “aspects”) to their natal positions, with each moving at its own pace.
Common questions about astrology have to do with whether it is presumed to “control” people’s lives. My answer is a different question. “Does the clock control your life?” No, but it makes sense to go to the grocery store when it is open, if you want to buy food.
“Shouldn’t a life be timed from the moment of conception?” is another common question. I respond that until birth, by whatever means, an infant is shielded from external cosmic influences by its mother’s protective vibrational field.
I once asked a fellow astrologer what she valued most about the study of astrology. “Tolerance,” she said. I had reached the same understanding on my own, and I still find that to be the case. There are no “good” or “bad” moments, and each moment is unique in its opportunities and challenges. Considering the infinite possibilities inherent under the cosmic clock that astrology reveals, the potential to deepen and bring that moment to fruition in a “meaningful” life becomes a horoscope’s greatest gift and challenge.
*For the astrologically literate, on November 11, Mercury will be retrograde and conjunct the sun at 18-19 degrees of Scorpio. This conjunction will square my natal Mercury in Leo from 2nd to 9th houses, perhaps inspiring this blog post.**
**Added November 13, 2019: Haha. The joke’s on me. I was doing something else when I suddenly realized the conjunction noted above occurred in Scorpio, not Sagittarius, thus squaring my natal Mercury in Leo and triggering my grand square in fixed signs. The full moon in Taurus on the next day (November 12) was involved, too, with the moon conjunct my natal Jupiter at 19 degrees Taurus that day. This is an embarrassing error, but is consistent with other features of my horoscope that indicate public embarrassment. It challenges me to admit error, and apologize to anyone I might have led astray.
I went to Barnes & Noble to order Rosaliene Bacchus’ novel, Under the Tamarind Tree, (rosalienebacchus.blog) but it was a humiliating and infuriating experience. I made a special trip to B&N to order that book. On walking in, I congratulated myself on my “pull through economics” philosophy. As opposed to “trickle down economics,” “pull through” means using brick-and-mortar stores to assist awareness and distribution of desirable products.
I had $23 in cash plus change and wanted coffee so figured I could just barely afford the book at $16.95. I was shocked to see a $4.99 shipping charge on the bill. The clerk who processed the order said Barnes & Noble has recently instituted a shipping charge even on books that come to the store. I began to wonder what is the advantage of a brick-and-mortar store if I have to pay shipping anyway? So I went to the café to pay for the book and to get coffee. But sales tax—which hadn’t been listed on the receipt—put me over the top. There was a long line before and behind me. I was ready to defer the book purchase until I had more money, but up speaks a curly-headed young guy from two people back in the line to ask how much I was short. “Three dollars,” says the cashier. He hands her the money, thereby rescuing B&N’s sale. I knew he thought he was doing me a favor, and I appreciated it, but I felt trapped in a situation I would have handled quite differently on my own. I gave the guy my $1.25 in quarters, and he got the $0.54 change, so his total investment came to about $1.25. I thanked him and learned he is beginning to write a novel himself, a futuristic fantasy novel dealing with monotheism vs. polytheism.
Later, I realized I could have written a check, but I was too flummoxed to think of that. There was no urgency to buy the book. I could have held on to the receipt and paid next week. I was actually thinking of by-passing B&N entirely and looking on Amazon for it, so annoyed I was with the shipping charge. But there’s more to it than this, because I resent buying anything these days. Books are falling off my bookshelves. I’ve also virtually stopped reading novels and want to read this only because Rosaliene wrote it and Sha’Tara (ixiocali.com) raved over it
I stewed about this, and about this home delivery trend, off and on, all day. I noted how stressful the hidden costs were. A $16.95 book should not cost $23.48 at the cash register. As I sat the next morning finishing the B&N coffee (in my reusable cup), I contemplated the emotional valence of this superficially insignificant experience.
Philosophically, I support brick-and-mortar. The trend in commerce is to promote home delivery, ultimately isolating people even more. At Kroger the other day, I spoke with an employee who was gathering groceries for home-delivery shoppers. I asked if he tried to find the best vegetables and he said yes. He is not allowed to choose items on sale, though.
I appreciate being able to see and touch what I’m buying, to squeeze my own tomatoes, and to have the social experience of meeting people on casual terms in public or commercial places. Barnes & Noble is one of the very few places with easy parking that I can go to sit with coffee, air-conditioning, good light, and a plethora of interesting and stimulating reading material, and frankly, people like the guy who helped pay for my book and coffee.
The next day, I went to B&N and apologized to one of the café employees for the commotion I caused, but I also presented my case for resuming free shipping to the store. I said that nice guy behind me in line saved B&N a sale. I had a large audience, yet again, not intentionally. I said she should tell her bosses the shipping charge is bad for business, that enhanced traffic into the store offsets the cost of shipping to the store. When people come in to pick up their orders, they might buy other things, like coffee, at least, whereas home delivery prevents the browser from finding other things to buy. In fact, I said, I might just write corporate B&N myself.
Jenique told me she believed they were sending the book to my house. I went into a long (sort of, being aware of customers waiting) tirade about how I hate home delivery because FedEx and UPS drive all over my lawn, and why do we have stores if they don’t store things?
As an advocate of print media, I want books to flourish. This trend to electronics may be here to stay, but I doubt it will fully supplant hard copy publishing, just as digital currency cannot replace tangible means of exchange, except in the ethereal realms of macroeconomic imagination.
Anyway, I decided I do feel some loyalty to B&N, because the staff is friendly, and coffee prices haven’t yet gone up. I’d checked Amazon for Under the Tamarind Tree and found no advantage in buying it on-line, so the book is becoming famous locally for its contribution to my latest “pull through economics” soapbox.
Apparently Walmart is initiating drone delivery in Virginia, fueling my fears regarding the implications of commercial drones. Must my birds now compete with drones for airspace? How much noise will drones make in delivering pizza to neighbors? They reputedly can go up to 70 mph. Worse, will the USPS start using drones to deliver junk mail to my front lawn?
I hope I die before that future arrives. I may need to get a a gun. I can go on a shooting spree, with drones and excessive traffic turn signals for targets.
It became part of my rant to Barbara and Ed as we walked back through the mall after the coffee klatch. Ed said Walmart is not only delivering groceries, but it will send robots into your house and put the food in your refrigerator. Barbara expressed doubt that I will be able to avoid the drone trend but did agree there are fewer and fewer places where people can meet and interact informally. Brick-and-mortar stores like B&N do serve a valuable but unappreciated social function.
So said I to Ned, a B&N customer service employee. I spoke with on the way out. I wanted to make sure the book was coming to the store, even though Jenique said she would take care of it. Yes, he said. He explained that the book is being published on demand by a self-publishing operation that requires pre-payment of book and delivery charges, and that B&N makes no money on the deal. I explained my “pull through economics” philosophy, how important it is to sustain brick-and-mortar stores, how loyal I am to B&N–even though it is a corporate monster– largely because of the friendly and helpful employees. I left him all smiles.
Footnote: The book was well worth the trouble. It was so gripping that I read it in two sittings: a heart-warming story about life and culture in British Guiana in the 1950s and 1960s, as it was undergoing the transition to become Guyana, independent of British rule.
There is no better therapist than a personal journal. A journal waits patiently, doesn’t interrupt, argue, criticize, judge, talk back, condemn, nag, or gossip. It’s there on your terms, when you want it, and it’s essentially free.
It’s also fun and sometimes embarrassing to re-read and see how perspective changes, or how memories differ from the written version. I’ve kept a journal on and off throughout my life. I’ve lost some, burned some, and some were stolen. I prefer writing by hand, as I sit with morning coffee, because there’s no urgency, no need to correct typos, and there’s something inherently satisfying about low-tech pen and paper.
Ten years ago this month, I had entered early retirement, had acquired my first batch of chickens, and was watching my stock investments fall below the value of my medical school debt. I was considering whether an individual could secede from the United States and not be owned by any country. I was reading a lot, as always, books, magazines and newspapers. I was beginning to pay attention to the FDA’s periodic food scares and seeing a pattern. I was philosophizing about how things ought to be.
Now, in 2018, my views have evolved, but not too much. I’m more offended now than before by the path the US is taking but am resigned to it. Ten years older, I feel the squeezing of time into fewer remaining years. Ambition and goals seem less important. I’ve recognized that many dreams may never come true, nor will some nightmares. Day to day existence goes on automatic pilot, most of the time, with less to interest or inspire, but more enjoyment from unexpected events, like a sunny day after a week of clouds and rain.
Here are some entries from November, 2008:
INDEPENDENT OF COUNTRY
Sunday, November 2, 2008–I may secede from the US. Why should I be a citizen of any country? I’m still a taxpayer if I live here. Does that make me illegal, if I was born five miles from where I live?
As an independent country, I am a citizen of the planet. How’s that? I belong to no government, and no government belongs to me. I make up my own laws as I go along, and if I break them, nobody cares but me. My own government is self-governance. It costs me nothing in taxes, and it provides generous returns on my investment.
I wonder about the expectation that anyone should be a citizen of any country. What’s the point of citizenship except to vote and pay taxes? If I were a foreigner, I would still pay taxes, and if I owned property, I would pay property taxes, so I would be contributing to government services, such as they are.
Radical revolutionary that I am.
Thursday, November 6, 2008—The internal nags don’t let up. The work ethic is so heavily instilled in me that I feel worthless if I’m not accomplishing things.
I avoid the study and the computer, and the piles of written words that await me there, my own files, and books and newspapers and magazines. So much information, much of it misleading, descriptive of a value system, and set of beliefs I don’t share.
PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
Saturday, November 8, 2008—I can’t blame anyone for the fact that I attract problems. I’m the solution all the problems are looking for, but do the problems want to be solved? No. They would lose their identity as problems, because they are ego-attached to being problems.
Maybe I’m ego-attached to being a solution, but I’m letting go of that. I worked myself out of a psychiatry job by declaring crazy normal.
I am neither solution nor problem, because both are traps. The concept of problems and solutions is as suspect as strength and weakness. Relative to what, I ask. My “solutions” bring new “problems,” and my ‘weaknesses” help develop “strengths” that then become “weaknesses” in turn.
MY VERSION OF HELL
Saturday, November 8, 2008–My version of hell is having to put up with miserable people forever. I can hear the whiners now:
“It’s your fault you’re here. You murdered me. You deserve to be here.”
“So why are you here?”
“It’s a mistake. I’m appealing God’s decision.”
“God made the right decision, alright. Why do you think I murdered you? I did the world a favor.”
“Hell wasn’t such a bad place, until you got here. The beer is free.”
“The beer is free? In hell?
“Yep. Keeps people from wanting to go to heaven.”
“Why do they call it hell?”
“Why do you think? It costs money to get to heaven, and nobody would buy into it if they knew they could get free beer in hell. Everything is free in hell, because everyone just takes what he wants without paying, anyway.
“But it’s so hot.”
“We drink a lot of beer and pass out so we don’t feel the heat so much.”
“Has anyone asked the Devil to turn down the heat? It’s not energy efficient, you know.
“You could ask him, but he gets cold easily in this drafty cave, and he is thin.”
“He could put on a sweater.”
“Why should he? He’s supposed to be torturing these people, and he’s afraid of losing his job if he doesn’t cause them enough pain.”
“That’s true in all government jobs. So the Devil isn’t self-employed?
“Hell, no. Who in his right mind would pay to spend eternity with the Devil?”
“How does he pay for the beer?”
“He steals it, of course. He sends his hellions topside whenever supplies run low, and they bring back everything people have ordered, including nuclear power plants, to help keep the Devil warm.”
“Sounds like the government.”
“Government is hell. I thought you knew that”
“Why do we have it?”
“To keep people out of heaven, of course. Heaven was getting crowded, what with all those people resting in peace. God ran out of bedrooms and couldn’t wake anybody up to build more, so He created hell to take the heat off Him. He sent Lucifer down to manage things and wake people up, but he steals beer for them instead.”
Ten years ago this month, I had just retired my medical and DEA licenses, in search of better ways to inspire people regarding the mind and its potential. A long-time student of symbolism, I write daily in my journal and regularly include references to astrology, mythology, religion, dreams, and other symbolic languages. These universal concepts fall loosely into Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung’s idea of a “collective unconscious” and of “archetypes.” As most people probably know, Jung was a protege of Sigmund Freud, father of modern psychiatry, whose The Interpretation of Dreams, published in 1900, rocked the scientific world and initiated the field of psychiatry and psychoanalysis.
The following excerpts from my November, 2007 diary show how I play around with symbolism to help develop a deeper appreciation for everyday life.
ON PREDICTIONS AND FREE WILL
Tuesday, November 20, 2007 – I believe if the student fails, the teacher fails more, because the teacher is paid to teach. The student (ideally), pays to learn. This is why I’ve never believed in tenure and probably why I don’t believe in marriage or other chains on the future. As an astrologer, I don’t believe in predictions either, but astrologers as a group would disown me for saying this. They thrive on making predictions, and people expect them to do it, but no one can say that predictions are consistent with free will.
You have to be a free thinker to understand how limiting predictions are.
This moment, as I sit in my recliner on this beautiful sunny day, overlooking vast expanses of marsh and blue sky, I have access to all time, depending on my focus. It can come as dream, memory, fantasy, association, feeling, impression, dimly or readily perceived. A book once read is forever a part of my experience, because I have invested the personal effort to make it so. A book once written is part of everyone’s experience, whether direct or indirect, as knowledge brought through on the verbal place is “thicker” and more physical than the more ethereal realm of imagination. How can I know before I read a book how it will change my life?
PENELOPE AND UNDOING
Thursday, November 22, 2007 – I’m approaching my multiple goals in piecemeal fashion. When everything seems to be at beginning stages, as now, or beyond my capabilities, I feel frustrated and at odds with myself. Re-doing things makes me feel like Penelope, Odysseus’ wife in The Odyssey of Homer, who undid her father-in-law’s shroud every evening to avoid having to marry any of the moochers who invaded her home as soon as Odysseus stayed gone too long.
I used to think Penelope was a sap, but undoing is a matter of perception, and if you enjoy the weaving and undoing for its own sake, it is no longer a waste of time. Here we have the clash of the results-oriented and the process-oriented approach. Also apparent is the stated vs. actual purpose. Penelope stated she wanted a shroud. She actually wanted to stall for time, so the actual purpose was met.
She lived in a time when women were possessions, and we have that subversive belief still, although no one admits it. Marriage is a testament to the people-ownership concept. While presumably it’s a mutual ownership, no one expects men to be as faithful as women, although this is a generalization and less true than in the past. In the great sexual shuffling of today, men and women seem equally unfaithful.
Probably few perceive the ownership attitude as clearly as I, the target of so many who want to own by any means available. Insurance companies, government, bankers, stockbrokers, businessmen, acquaintances, friends, family, partners–all want an advantage and will look for or create excuses to cross the line of equality, move in and take over.
Am I bitter and cynical? Yes. I don’t like feeling this way, knowing it only hurts me to have this attitude. Like it or not, I am a herald, of sorts, meaning I search restlessly for higher and more comfortable ground, especially mentally. Those who would control will seek first to control the mind.
I can’t control my own mind, nor do I want to. I like its free ranging ability and thrive on the little lessons obtained from every facet of my life.
How would I know about undoing if I did not live it, feel the emotions associated, know the practice from mythology and the term from psychiatry?
Unraveling a sweater – which I’ve already done once with this one because I didn’t like the stitch – brings many facets into play.
How would someone else handle it? Who knows? Most people would not attempt to knit a sweater at all, I suspect, and this is my contention with “most people.”
Nor will “most people” appreciate the value of the process as a means of showing how to solve problems, because this is my real purpose. Rather than start over, I can adapt mid-sweater and potentially turn a mistake into a success.
SNAKES IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN
Monday, November 26, 2007 – I’ve retired my medical license to become a New Age Profit . . . er . . . Prophet, for the Spirit of Capitalism.
I cut my fangs on Telluride politics and other stories from the Serpents of the Modern Caduceus. What if there were two serpents in the Garden of Eden, and they ran the interlopers out, better to rest in peace without getting trampled? Then they can bask in the sun of the Garden, eating of their favorite fruit, the apples from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Now that Adam and Even have departed in search of something better, the wise snakes may rest assured the tree won’t be cut down to build a house, to hold squealing brats who like to torture snakes for fun. Minimal risk of getting eaten for supper or skinned for belts and purses. Why, now that God has expelled these demons from Heaven, the snakes are ecstatic.
Unfortunately, the Garden of Eden isn’t quite as lively as when the humans were around. They provided entertainment, if only by making God mad. We snakes can make God mad without even trying. All we had to do was show him how dumb his latest invention was, and he threw them out and has been moping around ever since, feeling guilty about over-reacting. Now, look at the mess man has made of his lives.
All we said was “Wise up.” We didn’t say do it the hard way. No. That was Adam’s choice, to do it the hard way.
We snakes wise up the easy way. When our skins get too small, we shed them and slither on out to greater dimensions of girth and wisdom.
Yes, snakes are hated and feared, because we are so smart. We see life from the ground up, and we know where our support and strength lie. Our raw intelligence knows its own turf and doesn’t seek to intrude on that of others. Snakes don’t go looking for trouble, unless it’s entertaining trouble that enhances our wisdom and gets a potential threat redirected into other dimensions, like hell on earth.
In October, 2007, I had just retired my state medical and DEA licenses. The practice of medicine was ruining my health and attitude. It had become too hostile and dangerous for this wimp of a psychiatrist.
I spent the next few months reading. These journal entries are the result.
MY GRANDFATHER’S SON, CLARENCE THOMAS, 2007
Monday, October 1, 2007 – I went to B&N hoping to buy a copy of Clarence Thomas’ book, My Grandfather’s Son, which comes out today. Jonathan, my B&N employee friend – the coin-collector customer-service-book-orderer, a 20’s something kid who agrees with me so is very intelligent – told me B&N only ordered 12 copies of the book. Corporate B&N in New York “didn’t know Clarence Thomas was from Savannah.”
Well, Jonathan, you and I both know that’s a lie, but we’ll pretend they don’t want to undersell his book in his home town. He’s much too credible.
Sure enough, B&N’s 12 copies sold out in about ten minutes. They had to rush order 40 more copies. Should be here in 2-3 days. 400 more copies would be more cost-effective. They can save on UPS shipments.
Apparently B&N’s entire marketing department missed the 60 Minutes interview with Thomas last night in advance of this pub date. 60 Minutes interviewed him right here in Savannah.
Is B&N trying to lose money? I would sell its stock real quick-like if I had it, and I would buy copies of Thomas’ book, instead, from another distributor. What is B&N trying to hide?
Thus do I think like a free market capitalist.
THE ROBBER BARONS, MATTHEW JOSEPHSON, 1934
Tuesday, October 2, 2007 – I’m reading in The Robber Barons, about Jay Gould, the money churner and asset plunderer par excellence. Gould was a master manipulator, but anyone who refused to play his games could have stopped him. He used Vanderbilt’s and others’ spite towards him to play out his line, then reeled in the big fish over and over. How many times do people bite before their mouths are full of holes and they are still starving?
I’m getting an explosion of awareness regarding American history. Why has this become my latest passion?
I see the patterns set in motion long ago, in the history of human beings as we remember them, and in America.
The American history most astounds me. Lincoln essentially bought political favoritism by giving the West, the Louisiana Purchase, away to friends, political donors, and corporate railroad interests. Thus did he finance his war on the South.
I’m seeing Lincoln and Wilson as ego-driven megalomaniacs, not the great liberators their handlers claimed. They got us into two of the bloodiest wars to date, and the third great liberator, Roosevelt, got us into World War II.
I haven’t appreciated the intensity of my feelings for peace. What I’ve believed was my own violent nature is merely the reflection of a world so foreign to me that I had to identify with it to understand it. Once identified, I can forgive it, or so I hope.
Vis a vis The Robber Barons, I don’t understand sleazy business practices. I read, astounded that taxpayers have allowed these people to get away with such cruel dishonesty for so long. We have the veneer of civilization, but the viciousness has only changed garments and venue in time.
Jay Gould must be the idol of today’s Wall Street. This is why product quality has plummeted. Gould, et al. paid more attention to stocks than to managing tangible assets, and today’s brokers are doing the same. They have even less connection with the corporations’ tangible products than before. They deal only in electronic stock certificates, used in place of currency for the insiders. It’s a method for selling other people’s and taxpayers’ productivity. The companies’ products and services are only excuses for selling stock and feathering government pension and benefit nests.
Through all these wars and contests, who has benefitted, I wonder, as I sit in my lofty 21st century perspective. I have the advantage of history to guide me. For all of recorded history, war and fighting don’t work. The fruits of victory are spoiled by the fighting.
Monday, October 8, 2007 – When you rob from the perceived rich to give to the perceived poor, you are still a thief. You set up a race to the bottom, because everyone vies to be the best thief.
What happens when everyone is equally poor? Leadership loses its relevance, and it’s every man for himself, unless he can learn to cooperate with those around him. This is genuine leadership.
Now government robs from the poor to give to the rich. This is easily camouflaged, because there are so many more poor people than rich people. Cumulatively, poor people consume much more food, energy, clothes, and other tangible products and pay more in taxes than the rich, who reap the bulk of the profits from taxpayer-funded infrastructure.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007 – I’ve been thinking about my friends’ attitudes, which they revealed over the years I went the psychiatry route. They seemed to think I defected. I was merely exploring my own consciousness through the medical model. They hurt my feelings most by making no effort to understand my point of view or to give me credit for the history we shared.
They seemed so afraid I would abandon them that they pushed me away. I had to go deep inside myself to find companionship. Here I make friends of ghosts, memories, my cat, plants, and the few people who accept me at face value or who must deal with me.
I feel like a witch appearing to burn at the stake, shackles melting in the heat, but who emerges triumphantly from the blaze.
“I’m only waiting for the chains to melt, Assholes, then we’ll see who can take the heat.”
The witch got a little burned in the chastening, admittedly, but she’s walking, talking, and breathing fire. She cackles.
Smell that? They piled hemp on the logs, this time, so the burning was more enjoyable.
I have internalized the sacrificial heat, contained and controlled it, practicing using the dragon’s fire to advantage. Sort of. Burned the tips of my first and second fingers the other day.
However, burning witches is a waste of time and resources, and it distracts everyone from doing anything useful. It pollutes the air and puts everyone in a bad mood.
THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY, THORNTON WILDER, 1927
Saturday, October 13, 2007 – I started one of Mama’s books, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, by Thornton Wilder. Published and printed in 1927, the book has thick pages, almost like cardboard. I have avoided it, thinking it a war novel, but I was wrong. It’s about a 100-plus-year-old, hand-made bridge across a deep gorge between Lima and Cusco, Peru. Set in 1714, it tells the imagined lives of the five people who fell to their deaths when the bridge finally gave way. I’ve read about Dona Maria, the sad, alcoholic, rich mother, whose adored daughter had repudiated her, married a rich patron of the Spanish court, and moved to Spain.
Now, I’m reading about Esteban, whose identical twin brother, Manuel, died, leaving him half alive and desolate.
THE CREATURE FROM JEKYLL ISLAND: A SECOND LOOK AT THE FEDERAL RESERVE, G. EDWARD GRIFFIN, 1991-2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007 – So far, The Creature from Jekyll Island is astounding. It is so clear, concise, well researched and documented, reasonable, and logical that I’m amazed it hasn’t made a larger splash. Perhaps the time wasn’t right. It’s a sleeper and about to come into its own.
Griffin writes about the history of money and defines terms. He mentions tobacco as commodity money. So are shrimp, eggs, and any food, and that’s the bottom line.
He discusses the gold standard, says there were only about three examples of “honest” money in the world: Ancient Greece, the Byzantine Empire – which lasted 800 years on the gold standard – a bank in Germany before Napoleon plundered it, and maybe one in Amsterdam.
By “honest money” Griffin means money which is 100% backed by solid deposits, like gold. He says fractional reserve banking, which is lending more money than you have in deposits, against deposits that already belong to someone, is dishonest, because the banks have no right to do that. Why have a bank store your money if it’s not safe there? If I want to lend money, I can do it and keep the interest.
Fractional money eventually disintegrates into fiat money. This usually seems to happen to finance wars. The author doesn’t specifically state the latter, at least not yet. He says fiat money has zero percent backing, and that’s what the US dollar has become, fiat money.
Seems funny in light of all the political debate about international currency. I don’t know if any international currencies are backed by gold or silver, so they are all equally worthless, according to Mr. Griffin.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007 – We all know quantum theory turns the “scientific method” on its ear. If it works in sub-atomic physics, it works in life, because we are all composed of those electrons they study.
Now, if the experimenter influences outcome by desire or expectation, there is no way the scientific method can be valid. Experiment design alone can determine outcome, as any drug study shows.
Now that we’ve established that the “scientific method” is a crock, a sacred cow that needs to be broiled and served up as steaks, for the mastication and nourishment of truly progressive science, we introduce the quantum leap from the scientific method, which is the fact that human beings, by the power of their will, have the ability to influence destiny!
DIAGNOSIS: TESTOSTERONE POISONING
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Genetics: A sex-linked condition, like hemophilia
Epidemiology: Found almost exclusively in males
Sadistic type: Bullies
Masochistic type: Cons
Death: Not politically correct
Funded by costs
Not economically sound
Prison camps: A better idea, but still must house and feed
Not economically sound
Castration: The nation is almost equally divided on this one. A growing contingent claims testosterone poisoning is a medical illness, with castration the treatment of choice, worthy of insurance funding. It is believed Leydig and other testicular cells could be recycled into pill form and scientific research. Many female scientists have already applied for research funding. A particularly elated female researcher said no man has had the balls to apply, so the women have an open field on government contracts.
THE RAIN FALLS ON ALL
Friday, October 19, 2007 – I dyed fabrics last night, noticing how cotton or silk, sewed with polyester thread, doesn’t dye right, because the polyester doesn’t absorb dye. It also melts at lower temperatures, which makes garments with polyester thread hard to iron.
As I do things like this, I think about world politics, and how they affect daily life. We are being socially engineered to use man-made products in lieu of natural ones, because our textile mills and cotton are going to China. Meanwhile, China exports acrylic – a petroleum product – to the US, complete with the overhead of packaging, transportation, import and export taxes, and distribution. Machine-made polyester is considered a cheaper improvement, but it doesn’t wear or last like natural fibers. To me, plastic clothes reflect America’s cheap, plastic attitudes.
It’s raining. The rain is natural and impartial. Governments come and go, but the rain falls on them all.
ON MEDICAL LICENSE RETIREMENT
Monday, October 22, 2007 – Other people are more upset than I am about retiring my medical licenses. This shows how over-rated the license is. Once I explain my rationale, no one challenges it. I’m becoming convinced this is the most powerful statement – nay, indictment possible regarding the health scare/snare racket. If the system has become so bad that I am afraid to practice within it, that must be truly scary, indeed.
From my perspective, malpractice has become entrenched, subsidized, mandated, and legislated to the point where the risk to me is too great to continue. Only by retiring my medical licenses do I make my stance definitive, direct, and consistent with my beliefs.
Monday, October 22, 2007 – My psychodrama continues. I removed stuff from the safety deposit box today and put it in a safer place than bank with a Diebold key. It makes me nervous that Diebold has the contract on voting machines, bank safety deposit boxes, and bank ATM’s. Call me paranoid. No, it’s not a conspiracy. Anyone can buy Diebold stock, I suppose. I should check it out.
THE “CONSPIRACY THEORY” AND LIZARD WISDOM
Monday, October 22, 2007 – People like Hillary Clinton scoff at “the conspiracy theory.” My sister mentioned it today. It is they who imagine such grandiosity. I merely think the politicos’ behavior is stupid and counterproductive. That there are so many people being stupid, incompetent, paranoid, dangerous, and dishonest doesn’t necessarily make it a conspiracy. It merely means the planet is overrun with idiots.
This is something lizards understand. On my way to run errands, I had a conversation with a lizard on my back door. He was too close to the hinge for my comfort. I stopped to caution him – her, I think, although she was large. I told her she needs to be more careful. I mean well, but I’m clumsy, and when I get agitated, I’m dangerous. I’m also noisy, so she needs to stay out of my way if she doesn’t want to get hurt. I watched her listen. She tilted her head this way and that, eyeing me from different angles, while spread getaway style along the bottom edge of a step. My head was sideways, watching her, studying the wide blue eye shadow that ringed her eye. Such wisdom in animals’ eyes, if you look closely.
According to the World Book encyclopedia (2005), lizards are 65 million years old. Cockroaches are 250 million, birds 213 million, cats 55 million, dogs 34 million, man two million years old.
I told the lizard this hanging out on back doors is a bad idea. I killed one of her relatives by accident the other day. He got caught in the screen flange. It devastated me, because I figure these lizards are Lizardo’s relatives and descendants, and they are watching out for me.
As I got in the car, I saw a second, smaller lizard on the porch, also watching me. I hope he/she was listening.
Of course they were. That’s how they have survived so long.
Then, as I leave, I startle three deer in the woods, a doe and two fawns. They stopped to watch me, and I told them how much I love them. It worries me that Carol is clearing out so much of the underbrush, because the deer have fewer and fewer places to hide.
LET ‘EM FAIL
Wednesday, October 31, 2007 – Status post a trip to Cutter’s Point Coffee, where I read a Wall Street Journal scarfed from an outside table. I’d also purchased the USA Today and Savannah Morning News from the news boxes in front of CVS/Piggly Wiggly, so I was saturated with more current events than I knew what to do with.
The Fed meets today, and Wall Street is all aflutter. The presumed crisis is most amusing to me. These idiots will not see that it is not my crisis but theirs.
What they perceive is a crisis, I see as blessed relief from Yankee oppression and aggression. Let the markets fail. It’s high time they did. Get outside before the skyscrapers collapse. The penthouses have the farthest to fall.