Demystifying the myth

valentines day chocolates and roses

Trending, I am told, is an article entitled:

The myth of self-control,

whose premise is that maybe we should give into temptation since most of us are not good at resisting it. Why feel bad? Why not enjoy the forbidden apple, the extra slice of pie, the entire box of pizza, etc., etc., etc. ad nauseum, until one collapses in an orgy of excessive consumption.

valentines day chocolates and roses

All hail Nero who had a fetish or two. He divorced his first wife, then had her beheaded and brought her head to Rome for his second wife to see. He kicked his second wife, Poppaea, to death when she was pregnant with their second child. When saw a young boy who looked like Poppaea, he married him, forced him to dress as a woman, and had him castrated, just for kicks.

He also killed his own mother, then there were rumors their relationship was much more than mother and son.

Oh, how we love to talk when it is saucy and racy.

Resisting temptation is a virtue, or is it?

An unpublished study, BORG ALERT, demonstrates that resisting temptation is futile. Besides that, it is exhausting.

I am confused

Now, if there is a point to this study it is this – enjoy better habits then there is less to resist. Or, simply resist the temptation to read and believe something that’s hogwash.

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To those who love to walk and talk

couple-hands-tight

An auto is a helpful thing;
The way it goes, the way it comes;
It saves me many a dreary mile,
It brings me quickly to the smile
Of those at home, and every day
It adds unto my time for play.

But more than this I love to walk
Beside a friend and talk
Of things that matter not
To anyone else but us
And if we have little to say
Holding hands will quite suffice

For this is the way the world really is
To those who love to walk and talk

Thanks Edgar Guest for many lines and many thoughts, whose rhymes I ought to write myself, but found it simpler to share.

 

cars and trucks in Glacier National Park

Veterans Day

sergeant varlourd (varlaurd) pearson, france, died in action spet. 28, 1918

Today, November 11, is Veterans Day, a day that honors military veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces. It’s significance is that it is the day when the Armistice was signed in 1918, ending World War I. My grandfather, and his cousin, and countless men and women, fought in that “great war”. Some came home. Some did not.

A well-known poem of that war goes like this:

I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air—
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair…

The poem was written by New Yorker Alan Seeger who joined the French Foreign Legion.

On July 4, 1916, he joined his fellow Legionnaires in the Battle of the Somme, attacking German lines in a green corn field already strewn with bodies. Their destination, the village of Belloy-en Santerre. With bayonet affixed to his rifle he charged the field with his fellows, and soon disappeared.

The village would be taken, the Legionnaires would celebrate, but not Private Seeger, who was among the first to fall that day.


It may be he shall take my hand

And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath—
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.

God knows ’twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear…
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

The 28th day of September, 1918, was the third day of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, in which the US First Army squared off against units of the German Third and Fifth Armies.

A young American soldier, Varlourd Pearson by name, hailed from Tallapoosa County, Alabama, but leaving Kansas State University in Manhattan and enlisting in the Kansas Reserve and joining the 137th Regiment, found himself in the middle of battle.

The first day of the offensive the regiment was ordered to assault Vauquois Hill. Having taken the hill, the regiment moved on through the Montrebeau Woods to a point south of the village of Cheppy on the way to Charpentry.

As so often happens in battle, the artillery does not keep pace with the enthusiasm of the advancing soldiers. The resolve of the enemy stiffens. The fighting becomes hand to hand.

sergeant varlourd (varlaurd) pearson, france, died in action spet. 28, 1918

Headquarters 35th Division, American Expeditionary Forces,
October 17th, 1918.
(General Orders, No. 83.

The Division Commander takes great pleasure in citing in General Orders the following-named officers and enlisted men for gallantry in action during the six days’ battle from September 26th to October 1st, 1918.

Sergeant Varlaurd Pearson, Company I, 137th Infantry.
Although wounded by machine gun fire September 30th (sic.), displayed excellent leadership in handling his platoon, which he kept well organized, and succeeded in dislodging several machine gun nests.

By command of Major General Traub

 

Bringing in the sheaves

peace-of-mind

I was just thinking

How many times have you said to yourself, where did this thought come from?

You are alone, sitting in an easy chair at home, or on a crowded bus in the midst of strangers, or out for a walk in the woods with only your dog for company; and some strange, distant image comes to mind, a ghostly and distant memory, mostly forgotten, until…

Stirring up memories

Where memories comes from I don’t know.

I am looking at the words, “bring in the ____” and searching my mind to fill in the blank. It is an old memory, stored somewhere in the trillions of images kept somewhere in the thick skull of ours. Drum my fingers on the table, tap my feet on the floor, then I start to hum, until it finally comes to me.

Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves,
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall…

Curious?

The lyrics were written in 1874 by Knowles Shaw, who was inspired by Psalm 126:6, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

This explains that the sheaves are the grains of wheat sown in the spring and harvested in the fall.

Tennessee Ernie Ford sang it proudly and loudly.

The first three stanzas:

Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves,
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows,
Fearing neither clouds nor winter’s chilling breeze;
By and by the harvest, and the labor ended,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

The Act of Creation

It is said that the human mind has the capacity of a flash drive when it comes to simple facts. The amazing fact, however, is that the synaptic connectivity of neurons allows for around 2.5 petabytes (or a million gigabytes) of combined images, or about the same as Google’s database.

Wow!

What’s next?

And like Douglas Adams’ Arthur Dent and company, I am already zinging around this amazing thing we call the human brain with other thoughts of who knows what and where.

a moment of change

Why don’t we do a moment of action? Why don’t we do a moment of change? Kelly Clarkson

There have been too many moments of silence this year, at too many schools, for too many students, and too many teachers, for too many lives lost senselessly.

At the 2018 Billboard Music Awards Sunday, television viewers were prepared for the traditional recognition of the tragic school shooting in Texas two days earlier. Instead, Host Kelly Clarkson called for a moment of action, a moment of change.

Oz tries to stay in the background, off stage, and out of the limelight. Some subjects are taboo, touching off visceral reactions, even rage. Gun control is one of those.

But as Kelly says, it is time, long past time, to do something and change the course America is on.

Please, won’t you be part of the change?

 

pray

 

He is Risen

Yellow, the color of sunshine, hope, and happiness, and, as this is Easter Sunday, a sign that He is Risen.

yellow-morning-oil.jpg

If I think I am, am I?

The subject came up this morning when Oz’s daughter tried to quote scripture. ” ‘You are as you thinketh,’ Jesus said,” she said.

Looking it up, Oz found this:

Jesus says in Mark 7:15-16, “There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!” Jesus is explaining that we are what we think. Proverbs 23:7 backs Him up: “For as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he.”

This is a good shout out for the theory of positive thinking. So, get rid of that stinkin’ thinkin’.

You gotta believe.

 

 

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.

cliff_2

Butterfly Jokes

butterflies-wide

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.