Sunday, July 27, 2008
“There is a sacred simplicity in not doing something—and not doing it well.”
Being a fool
Don't follow a liar.
Don't be a fool.
Don't follow a fool.
That is good advice and should be followed by all of us but in the matters of love other rules apply. If you chance to fall in love then you will at some point be a fool. If you are not then you did not fall in love (fall is a good choice of a word, as in no control). To be in love is to give yourself up, meaning total unconditional surrender. If that does not happen then you are not in love. If you have children then you will be a fool for them at some point and probably happily so and sometimes unhappily so. As it should be.
I have been a fool many times over and I still am. Happily. Even the ones that took advantage of me when I was blindly foolish I am not unhappy about. There was so much happiness. The pain of finding that I had been a fool lasted only a very short time and then was forgotten. What I was foolishly happy about has endured.
Thus you have an Old Fool.
There is more to this. Now that you have become a fool what happens next.
Next is “Fools in Love that turn into Long Lasting Love”. It can happen and has happened many times but it is not easy. You are very much blessed if it happens to you.
I have to write about this but not tonight.
Richard Thomas Swaim
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.
- Oscar Wilde
Immersed in oil
I feel as if I have been immersed in oil like a candle wick in wax since birth. Everything I eat, wear, feel or interact with in any way is connected somehow to the black gooey stuff. If my hair were torched I would burn for a week like a 1940's road flare.
Could we live without oil? Probably but life would not be as we know it now. Many would die, and all would be severely affected if there were suddenly no oil. There would be no surpluses as we know them now. Before the world was turned into a bunch of oil junkies wagons rolled, farms were farmed, wars were waged and life went on.
Life will go on. Outside of a cosmic catastrophic event that vaporizes this little corner of the universe it will go on but I still don't like thinking of myself as a oil smudge pot.
Gasoline is wonderful stuff. A compact, fairly light weight energy storage. It made airplanes possible. It made automobiles practical. Outboard motors, weed eaters, lawnmowers, model airplanes, electric generators you can carry with one hand, chain saws, tractors and any number of machines we take for granted were all made possible because of gasoline. It was this light weight power source and the light weight engine that burns it that made it all possible. Like whale oil gasoline will go its way but in the mean time it's what we have and if we pay attention it will help us progress beyond it.
We don't think much about it we just take it for granted that it is there. Consider that if we had a catastrophic sudden world wide failure of electrical systems that within hours thousands would die. Within days millions would die and within months billions would die. Just the failure of sterilization machines would kill millions. In the western world we overcome everything with power. Without it we would be like the Sudan and it would not take long.
There is nothing we can do about it except be aware, try to conserve it, try to get others to conserve it and be thankful for the genius that brought it to us and for the genius that will continue to supply it.
If you are young get use to it. If you are old you should be use to it as there has not been a day in your life that there has not been war somewhere. It's mans way. Apparently man needs war and even gives it to his made up gods. There are references through out religions that refer to war, soldiers and fighting for god. We even carry it into our domestic lives such as “war on poverty”, “war on drugs”and “war on (fill in you favorite here)”. How about “war on war”or “war on ignorance”. Not likely to happen. Get use to war, it's here to stay. Man will always think that his case is special and war is justified and as long as there are suckers to fight them there will be wars.
I'm sorry to say that not only is the United States the most hung up on religion but tops the list of the most sexually repressed as well. Not much I can say about that. Ignorance and the constant pressure to stay ignorant is probably the reason but what do I know.
What is this obsession with Americans about not seeing certain body parts. I mean to say, in this enlightened age why is every part of a womans breast showable except the nipple but on a man even the nipple is OK. What is the difference? I once had a girl tell me that if someone saw her breast they would turn to stone. If she had been joking I would have thought she was just embarrassed by her body but she wasn't kidding The idea that some body parts are OK and some are not baffles me no end. I know that there are societies such as Moslem's that even the sight of a bare ankle drives men to murder. That is not repression that is insanity.
I hardly think that we are shielding our children so that they won't go crazy with lust. They do that at about age 13 automatically with or without seeing body parts. Besides if we really wanted to shield our children then they would not see a dozen or so graphic killings on TV everyday. Heads being chopped off, stakes through the heart, bloody machine gunnings and torture are all available on a daily basis and we do nothing however just show certain body parts and the righteous public is all upset.
It's a mystery to me.
Bicycles can save us. I know this seems simplistic but I believe that this simple machine is the way to harness the enormous amount of power that is going to fat in the American public. There is nothing undignified or degrading about a human as a beast of burden or providing power to get a job done. Humans went along just fine for millions of years before the bicycle and did just fine. Bicycles are so much more efficient so we will have surpluses. How nice. That means a day off. Use a bicycle. Don't just buy one. Park you car. Can't maintain you lifestyle without it? Change you life style. In nature if you don't adapt you die. Have a problem with your commitment then throw you car keys on the roof of your house. They will still be available but the effort may be more than using the bike.
This is not what I wanted to talk about today but it will have to do. I needed to get it out. I know I am preaching to the choir here as the people that read these words are not average by any means but if my words just makes one new person more aware or to question the status quo then it is a good thing for me.
Don't worry, be happy.
Be careful who you take advice from. Some are just old fools
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Slow bicycle movement
I think I have found a movement that has enough variety to keep my short attention span focused. I have been a advocate and registered in the Slow Movement since I first heard of it. I could say how long in real time units if I knew but it seems as I get older that I get more like a child in my concept and estimation of time in that a minute is an eternity and eternity is only a minute.
I made my first commitment after reading about a town in Italy and their Slow Food Movement (sorry but I can't seem to find that article). I stopped eating fast food when I read of the Slow Food Movement and vowed to take time in food preparation and consumption. If I can't do that then it is better to not eat at all. My record of slowness so far is 30 minutes to prepare 4 cheese and crackers and 20 minutes to eat them. I haven't used drive ins (drive through) in years but now it's not from weight control or not wanting to use a car but is something more fundamental. Fast food drive ins have, like cigarette and candy machines, become invisible and all the food stains on my shirts from eating in my car have disappeared as well.
When I found http://www.slowdownnow.org/ I immediately signed on. Now there is a new one called the Slow Bicycle Movement and of course I, already being a practitioner, have signed on to that. I have a gang of one in my part of the movement so it will swell membership by that many.
I am not sure what kind of style I have over speed but it is certainly style and not speed that I am after.
I have rarely been competitive. I don't care to be in competition or to watch others in competition. I don't like losing anymore than anyone else but I don't like winning either if another creature has to lose. Their losing embarrasses me. My first understanding of this part of my nature came in grade school so I have had a good while to think it over. Now I think I would like to start a new competition and I will call it “Competitive Cooperation”. I don't think there will be many competitors as winning does not depend on someone else loosing. There is no embarrassment in loosing as even the looser wins. There is no final score as the competition is not over until you pass to a condition that is truly non-competitive as in dead.
As I travel around on my bicycle I see great evidence of both competition and cooperation among vehicle operators. I am sorry to say that the only reason I can say that cooperation prevails is because there is near one hundred percent cooperation of staying on your side of the road. So the scale is heavily weighted to cooperation. This is something that most drivers are totally unaware of. On occasion a driver becomes aware of it and decides to not cooperate and slams head on into another car in an act of defiance. Those acts of non-cooperation are so minor in the grand scheme of things that they hardly affect the total unless you happen to be the one who gets slammed into and of course the defiant ones will no longer have to worry about cooperating.
Everyone is involved in the cooperation without being aware of it. The competition is usually small, momentary, childish and silly. I believe it is done without thinking but occupies the entire being. I have never seen any competition on the street that was not degrading, dishonorable and in some cases disastrous except for the rare occasion when someone tries to out polite someone else. That is so very rare but I have seen it.
Now I come to the American drivers condition. I am not a psychologist but I am an observer. I think that Henry David Thoreau's "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them" may be in play here. I think that the vast majority of Americans are leading lives of “quiet desperation” and that any change in their life is welcome even if it is an immature act of stupidity. As in....
“I'll just get as close to that bicycle as I can and show them my contempt. After all if I hit them it's just an accident. No one will be killed. That only happens on TV and that's not so bad. I won't have to go to work/home and I'll get sympathy.”
I don't think anyone actually thinks that but I believe that is the mindset. Americans seemingly have scabbed over their sense of responsibility when in their vehicles. They are apparently willing to toy with the health and welfare of others to the own ends whatever that may be. The thought of hurting someone accidentally or on purpose physically upsets my stomach and I am a callous old man.
There is an apparent lack of of empathy as well. When I was young a pain feeling mammal that was hurt, whether it be a human or not, was given a great deal of genuine concern. The more sensitive would weep and even the macho men would remove their hats and dip their heads. Children would be devastated. Now it just ho-hum.
I don't mean to imply that we are mean and uncaring but after too long a day, too long a week, in traffic, starting my period, impotence, in a divorce, caught with the bosses wife(daughter)(boyfriend?), in deep debt, foreclosure and no one understands me we are mean and uncaring.
"That bicycle rider up ahead needs a lesson and I, without considering the consequences, will give it to him. If it goes wrong it won't be my fault it will be an accident."
Lives are ruined or lost everyday because of this kind of redirected aggression.
Children like to use “it was an accident” as an acceptable reason for unfortunate events. By the time we are old enough to vote we should know that accident or not there is still a responsible party and that a “accident” you cause can be a very unpleasant lifetime event. I find an alarming number of adults using the “it was an accident” reason. “It was Gods will” is another scary “reason”. I don't buy that one either.
I by no means think that this is just a American thing but my only other experience was in Mexico and drivers there are just suicidal for the fun of it. It didn't seem to matter if someone was killed as long as you looked good doing it.
We have pills for everything else so why isn't there a pill for concentration. If I were an mp3 player I'd send myself out for repair. My brain seems to be stuck in the “Random Play” mode. Several weeks ago I took a coaster brake apart and in the “Random Play” mode I went on to something else. When the “put the coaster brake back together” tune came up the next time I just simply could not remember how. I have probably taken a dozen of these things apart over the years and put them back together too and I have never had a problem. Fortunately “Random Play” kicked in again before I got frustrated. Now I think I'll just wait for long term memory to kick in.
I received this from a friend several years ago and I sort of related to it then and thought it funny. Now I see it as explanatory.
Diagnosis: A. A. A. D. D. (Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder)
This is how it manifests:
I decide to water my garden.
... As I turn on the hose in the driveway,
I look over at my car and decide my car needs washing.
.... As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the
porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier.
... I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.
... I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the
garbage can under the table and notice that the can is full
.... So I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.
... But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first. I take my check book off the table and see that there is only 1 check left.
... My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the
house to my desk where I find the can of Coke that I had been drinking.
.. I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke
aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. I see that the Coke is getting warm and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.
... As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need to be watered.
... I set the Coke down on the counter and I discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning.
... I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers.
... I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with
water and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table.
... I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I will be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers. I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor. So I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.
... Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.
.... At the end of the day:
* the car isn't washed
* the bills aren't paid
* there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter
* the flowers don't have enough water,
* there is still only 1 check in my check book,
* I can't find the remote,
* I can't find my glasses,
* and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.
... Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm
really baffled because I know I was busy all day long and I'm really
.. I realize this is a serious problem and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.
I am going to post this now but first I'll check my email then it's time for my nap.
Friday, July 4, 2008
I have been gardening in a kilt for more than a couple of months now and I have to tell you that it is mostly positive. In fact the only part that is not positive is the fear of non acceptance. Why I would worry about that I cannot say as I live in an area that is made up primarily of foul mouthed morons. That includes the children.
The contemporary kilt that I wear to garden in has convenient pockets and being made from old military uniforms it is impervious to dirt and sweat. It's not delicate and I don't mind wiping my hands on it.
My first revelation was the freedom of movement. Much freer than pants which in my case means baggy shorts and much freer than a short sarong. A sarongs only give is the overlap in front so a kilt has it hands down. That was a big revelation. I could squat, bend and spread my legs to do all the necessary things on the ground without restrictions. In gardening there is a lot of interaction with the ground. In fact the only other activity that has as much is probably gravedigger.
The first real surprise was sweat running down my leg. It gave me a real start as it felt like something crawling up my thigh in a very personal place. I got over that when a little light breeze tuned that sweat into natures own personal air conditioner. How nice. The other day I went out in light shorts that being what I used to work in. After about 15 minutes it was like wearing a wet diaper at least as I perceived it. It has been a long time since I wore a diaper.
There are a lot of places a Kilt or any other kind of skirt does not work. Namely in micro gravity(astronauts), swimming(scuba diving), pole vaulting(windage) or acrobat(distracting) but for gardening it rocks. I don't have have much experience riding a bike in one so I'll have to get back to you on that. The limited experience I have is positive and I see no problems with it after all women have been doing it since the invention of the bicycle. I don't stray far from the homestead kilted yet so I don't have much to go on.
I have to say that mostly working in a kilt is a positive and comfortable thing however when it is very hot and humid the shorts are much cooler. One layer of open weave fabric, big legs and no underwear (not that I have worn any in 40 years) works better. Kilts are hot even in the lightest material I have been able to find. Kilts are three layers of fabric in the back and two in the front at the minimum. When the there is a breeze that's fine but when it is still that kilt turns into a steam bath. I don't believe the kilt is the thing for hot humid climates any more than pants are. A plain gathered full skirt in a very light fabric would be more practical and cooler but then that would be a skirt. Heavens! Loin cloths are much more practical but would probably involve a police report.
I am looking for a very light open weave fabric that rejects dirt to try for a kilt. Otherwise I am going to have to have a fan to blow up my ally when the wind dies.
Wait there's more, but that will have to be another post.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
In the United States, Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Sounds pretty dry doesn't it but it is the document that defines who we are as a people. In my opinion it is the most important document in the history of the human race. It basically says we don't need a king and that we are entitled to govern ourselves. A concept that went over the heads of many then and still does today. What is missed by most and especially by our present government is that it says that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Emphasis on “ALL”. Not just just citizens of the U.S.A. And not just white men. All men. I don't know how they felt about space aliens but they were probably included too.
Random thoughts of an old man while sober.
I now have a perfect figure. 42-42-42-42. Perfect but still too big. I'm looking for 38-38-38-38. I doubt that I will achieve that but it is something to aim for. 42 is of course the answer to the question so has specific significance.
My weight is 198.5 (averaging my two scales). It was 219 at the end of February.
It may appear that I am a perfect tubular shape but be advised that it is not so. There are a lot of bumps, swellings and sticky outies in that tube. “She Who Must Be Obeyed” says I have some square parts as well. One of my stepdaughters (Danette) years ago labeled me as “the Fireplug” and it was so obviously appropriate that it stuck. I don't mind. I just want to get down to where I look good in a kilt and so far I'm getting down. I already taken about 4 inches up on my work kilt by hand sewing but now it's to the point that I am going to have to rip out some seams and do some serious cutting. I have been eyeing the cursed sewing machine. But it just sits there, snarling, with blood dripping from its needle.
I'm fairly certain hell has frozen over as the government repaved the bomb cratered street in front of my house this week. You should have seen the bicycles come out of the woodwork. I am, in general, not in favor of paving the world but for where there has to be wheeled transport it sure is nice and much more efficient. Hopefully the increase in efficiency makes up for the loss of bare earth because the wheels are going to roll regardless.
The paving is still going on and when it is finished I should be able to ride four to five miles without retracing my steps all here in Trollville. That will be nice on those days that I need to loosen up but just can't face the homicidal maniacs on the main road.
Speaking of homicidal maniacs I was just out the other day observing and trying to understand those who seemingly don't care about killing or maiming someone. The percentage of those who try to get as close to you as they can goes way up when it's the going home from work drones. It's mostly pickups and vans that are trying to teach you a lesson. It is the rare persons that try to let you know that they are aware of you and paying attention but it happens and it is appreciated. I am seeing a significant increase in numbers of bicycles and scooters.
My bride and I are truly celebrating Independence Day this weekend. I just delivered the “Princess” to her mother and the “Crown Prince” has taken his birthday guitar and gone off camping with his girlfriend and her family. Hope no one gets pregnant. He will be 15 the twelfth of the month. There is a term that apply's to 45 autoloader handguns called “cocked and locked”. That apply's to him but I'm not so sure about the locked part.
I'm thinking “honeymoon” but I think my bride is thinking “honey do”.
My Box Of Dreams
One of the things in my “Box of Dreams” is to write poetry that is not offensive to the ear. I don't care if it offends people as long as it doesn't offend the ear. I have heard plenty of that. The content was good but the delivery was offensive. Some people should just not read poetry not even their own. That's probably the reason I don't often share the petty poetry that I have written. Much of that poetry was on a hard drive that died so at least the world is safe from those words. I do make an exception for limericks. I try to make them as offensive as possible. Limericks are like puns in that I am trying top get a groan not a laugh. The louder and more pronounced the groan the better.
There was an old man in a kilt
who drank so much wine he would tilt
He tilted one day
and showed us the way
to find out just how he was built.
I can do worse.
Please don't take Freedom for granted. It ain't free.