I got no job

sheep lamb

If you are lucky, very lucky, no, very, very lucky, when you grow up you won’t have a job.

You will have a calling.

And if you are one of the lucky ones, then you will know what I mean.

sheep lamb

In the beginning

In the beginning, we all worked.

Even in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve gathered the fruit that they ate and built the shelter in which they slept. It got worse after their expulsion. Since then work has been part of the human experience. It defines us. It makes possible the good life.

Back in the day, work and jobs were passed down from father to son. A trade was something you learned from dad, and if not from dad, then some uncle.

Education changed that. Go to a university, learn something, contribute to society. Thus, doctors and lawyers filled the earth. And there were hospitals full of patients and courtrooms full of plaintiffs and defendants.

Ouch!

Then Oz had this thought: Artificial Intelligence is making possible another Paradise on Earth. Imagine machines manufacturing things, machines driving cars, cooking food, doing all the things we used to do.

Let’s hope it doesn’t turn out like H.G. Wells dystopian vision in The Time Machine.

All this talk about work reminds Oz of what his father used to say:

Find a job you like and you will never work another day in your life.

The Calling

Gotta go…, Oz hears his wife calling.

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Tout bien ou rien

Et si tu le fais bien et vite, tu comprends francais.

 

Has Oz mentioned that his grandmother was French? Oh, there is so little we know of each other, but then, very little we know of ourselves.

 

“Tout bien ou rien.”

I think I got this from John Muir in his dedication of the book On National Parks, 1901. He got it elsewhere, though where, I don’t know. The sentiment is surely an old one.

I translate it as all is well or nothing. That is literal. Somewhat like the English, All or nothing, but not quite.

Some translations give it as, Do your best or not at all. That works too. If that is the case it is like the Flemish, Als Ik Kan, literally, as I can, and figuratively, to the best of my abilities.

The French phrase, tout bien ou rien, contains opposites, all or nothing, polar extremes, it is good or it is not. Shakespeare likde this form of “simplespeak”. It is ambiguous and clear, depending on the intended purpose of the speaker. One is afraid to argue for seeming the fool.

Ambiguity is a fact of life. It puts one in trouble and keeps us out of trouble. Just ask any politician, who has to explain contrary positions to opposing sides.

Tout bien ou rien, c’est bien fait, c’est tout.

Now, quick, try this – Vite fait bien fait.

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Butterfly Jokes

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Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. Ludwig Wittgenstein.

I cannot fly

but I can see

I  cannot be a butterfly,

But if I eat

a caterpillar, or two, or three

Will I, can I, would I

have butterflies in my stomach?

Would I feel light, would it be right

Would I be airy, like a fairy

Or just sick to my stomach?

One of the first jokes I learned as child goes like this:

Q: Why did the little boy go to the kitchen window and throw the butter out?

A: He wanted to see the butter fly.

Wittengenstein  speaks to the nonsensical attempt to understand purely mental concepts like color.  Green, blue, red, and yellow are purely mental constructs. We cannot represent them as absolutes, but rather as categories that only can be understood over a broad range. Or not at all  if one is blind.

Humor is our acknowledgement of the futility of imposing absolutes to any word. Paradoxes are punny and puns are paradoxical. We see both, understand that both cannot be true and yet they are.

Two more butterfly jokes:

Q: Why wouldn’t the butterfly go to the dance? A: It was a moth ball.

Q: Who is the king of the insects? A: The Monarch!

Ruff words

Oh, to listen, to hear, I think it queer I speak and no one hears. It is no better than to talk to my dog, but at least he’ll sit and stay, even if he knows not why. Then again, he must think me strange, that I cannot talk as he. To me, his growl seems quite rough, his language quite complex, yet quite simple, if only I would take the time to listen and hear.

dog-labrador

Just like us, dogs talk through body signals and barks and emotion rises or falls with pitch or volume. Like us, love is expressed best in a look, a lick, a nuzzle when we need it most.

Bring in the wine

Oz had a glass of wine, which got him thinking about the Oscars, translation, understanding, and Chinese poetry.

Go figure.

Lost in Translation, one of my favorite movies, written and directed by Sofia Coppola. Insert Oscar shout out here for female writer-directors. The 2003 Indie movie stars Bill Murray as an aging actor Bob Harris, who befriends college graduate Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) in a Tokyo hotel. The romantic comedy-drama plays out on many levels while the couple film a Japanese whiskey commercial.

Bring in the Wine, eighth century Chinese poet, Cen Can (aka Cen Shen and Cen Jiuzhou) commiseration about getting old and getting drunk with old friends. The Chinese characters are 將進酒 Jiāng Jìn Jiǔ, which must have been a mouthful if one was already drunk. Kind of like saying, “rubber baby buggy bumpers,” which makes no sense, but it is still fun to say.

You know, we are not so different, Japanese, American, Chinese, then and now… A little whiskey, some wine makes it easier to get along. And the hell with getting lost.

You can check out my translation here.

wine-cellar

What will the New Year bring?

What will the New Year bring?
Hopefully boundless joy, loving family and friends, few cares and an abundance of God’s blessings, then it helps to have a nut or two to tide you through the winter days, an adventure that lets you venture somewhere you’ve never gone before, and, at the end of the day, a thought to keep you warm in bed, may there be peace on earth.

 

What will the New Year bring?

It is that time of year when we all pause to think back on what the past year meant, on friends no longer with us, and what will the New Year bring.

Friends I have lost keep piling up like the round smooth stones hikers leave on the way up to the peak of Colorado’s Mt. Long. Hikers know what I mean, the rest of you need to get off your chair and hike a mountain to know.

Words and songs that keep coming back to mind. How about Donna Fargo’s What will the New Year bring? Friends, if you have tears, listen and prepare to shed them now.

And yes, I know this is copyright material, but I can’t help but think it is fair comment and a salute to a great artist from Mt. Airy, North Carolina and all the folks in Mayberry, including Andy, Barney, Aunt Bee and Gomer, who are now gone from us.

If you don’t know what I mean, you are under thirty and you don’t watch TNT.

This past year was good to us the one before just a little rough
The one before that was an awful thing what will the new year bring

Will it bring us a little boy to fill our lives with love and joy
We’ve had our share of growing pains what will the new year bring

You’re still one and one makes two now one and one make one
I hope you will love me throughout the year to come

We’ve made our mistakes with love we learned that it can’t promise us
Tomorrow and forever things what will the new year bring

Wish I hadn’t read our horoscope things look stormy for Scorpios
Virgo’s posed to sprout their wings what will the new year bring

Will you want me to love you the way you know I do
And will you walk through life with me another year or two

Or three or four or five or six hundred years or more
Happy New Year darling for whatever is in store

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For goodness sake!

For goodness sake!

Do not wake me yet

Let me sit and dream

For it seems

The world has gone quite mad

And the fighting never ceases

And for that I am sad, but for this I am glad

Oh Lord, let me rest

Oh Lord, let me dream of a world at peace

Full of goodness!

beach_sit

Wassail

Cheers!

If I said, “Wassup!” you’d know what I meant, but what about “Wassail!”

Wassail has its roots in ancient Norse, it rhymes with lass and hail and means “be hale” or “be of good health”.

The word entered the English lexicon in the 5th century with the Saxons, Hengist and Horsa, who came to help the British Celts fight the Picts. Horsa died fighting and Hengist stayed. The story goes that Hengist’s daughter Rowen offered British King Vortigern a golden cup filled with wine, saying,

“Lord King, Wassail!”

The word was new to Vortigern, the wine was pleasing, and so too was Rowen. They marry and the next thing you know, Hengist is the very first king of England, or at least of Kent, where the Saxons and their cousins the Angles settled down and became English.

By the time the Normans arrived centuries later, Englishmen were wassailing each other with a cup of wine. The habit was hard to break. Time changes words and their meaning and wassail was remembered as the spicy hot wine and not the salutation.

Sometimes a glass of wassail will start you thinking. What do other countries use for toasts?

In France they say, Bonne sante. The French being the French and very idiosyncratic don’t pronounce the first e and accent the second “e” to make the long eeee sound.

In Spain and the Spanish speaking countries of the western hemisphere, they say “Brindar.” Literally, meaning “offer” but that doesn’t express the thought, which is a hope that the recipient of the toast may receive all that is good and necessary. Brevity, the mark of a good toast and good sense.

“Expresar un bien deseado a alguien o algo a la vez que se levanta la copa con vino o licor antes de beber.”

In Russian, they say “Prosit!” but they say it Cyrillic, просит, which is hard to say, and means nothing more than, I beg or pray.

In German, they also say, “Prosit” or “Ein Prosit” which translates as “Cheers!”

But they made it into a song, which everyone sings at Oktoberfest and when wishing one a schönes Neues Jahr:

Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit.

Cheers, my friends, it all means the same, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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