Category Archives: Culture

Dope lines from Morals and Dogma. 

In a Republic, it soon comes to pass that parties gather round the negative and positive poles of some opinion or notion, and that the intolerant spirit of a triumphant majority will allow no deviation from the standard of orthodoxy which it has set up for itself. Freedom of opinion will be professed and pretended to, but every one will exercise it at the peril of being banished from political communion with those who hold the reins and prescribe the policy to be pursued. Slavishness to party and obsequiousness to the popular whims go hand in hand. Political independence only occurs in a fossil state; and men’s opinions grow out of the acts they have been constrained to do or sanction. Flattery, either of individual or people, corrupts both the receiver and the giver; and adulation is not of more service to the people than to kings.

Synesius, Bishop of Ptolemaïs, a great Kabalist, but of doubtful orthodoxy, wrote:

“The people will always mock at things easy to be misunderstood; it must needs have impostures.  A Spirit,” he said, “that loves wisdom and contemplates the Truth close at hand, is forced to disguise it, to induce the multitudes to accept it. . .  Fictions are necessary to the people, and the Truth becomes deadly to those who are not strong enough to contemplate it in all its brilliance. If the sacerdotal laws allowed the reservation of judgments and the allegory of words, I would accept the proposed dignity on condition that I might be a philosopher at home, and abroad a narrator of apologues and parables.” 

  
If you will advance, gird up your loins for the struggle! for the way is long and toilsome. Pleasure, all smiles, will beckon you on the one hand, and Indolence will invite you to sleep among the flowers, upon the other. Prepare, by secrecy, obedience, and fidelity, to resist the allurements of both!

 No man can make another man to be his slave, unless that other hath first enslaved himself to life and death, to pleasure or pain, to hope or fear; command these passions, and you are freer than the Parthian Kings.

If you would have the reputation of a martyr, you must needs accept his persecution; if of a benefactor of the world, the world’s injustice; if truly great, you must expect to see the mob prefer lesser men to yourself.

No sceptre nor throne, nor structure of ages, nor broad empire, can compare with the wonders and grandeurs of a single thought. 

 Let men of narrow minds withdraw,” he says, “with closed ears. We transmit the divine mysteries to those who have received the sacred initiation, to those who practise true piety, and who are not enslaved by the empty trappings of words or the preconceived opinions of the pagans.”

Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God; but unto men that are without, all these things are done in parables; that seeing, they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand. . . . And the disciples came and said unto him, ‘Why speakest Thou the truth in parables?’–He answered and said unto them, ‘Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given.

The ignorant, and those half-wise in reality, but over-wise in their own conceit, may assail our symbols with sarcasms; but they are nevertheless ingenious veils that cover the Truth, respected by all who know the means by which the heart of man is reached and his feelings enlisted. 

Originally the Mysteries were meant to be the beginning of a new life of reason and virtue. The initiated or esoteric companions were taught the doctrine of the One Supreme God, the theory of death and eternity, the hidden mysteries of Nature, the prospect of the ultimate restoration of the soul to that state of perfection from which it had fallen, its immortality, and the states of reward and punishment after death. The uninitiated were deemed Profane, unworthy of public employment or private confidence, sometimes proscribed as Atheists, and certain of ever-lasting punishment beyond the grave.

To betray the secrets of the Mysteries, to wear on the stage the dress of an Initiate, or to hold the Mysteries up to derision, was to incur death at the hands of public vengeance.

 Death is the inseparable antecedent of life; the seed dies in order to produce the plant, and earth itself is rent asunder and dies at the birth of Dionusos. Hence the significancy of the phallus, or of its inoffensive substitute, the obelisk, rising as an emblem of resurrection by the tomb of buried Deity at Lerna or at Sais.
  

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The Post Christmas State of Dad

Just got back from the 2015 post Christmas dads conference, what a hoot. I’d like to thank Lance and Big Billy for their generous hospitality and as always, thanks for the snacks, sorry about the furniture.  

The holiday season is a wonderful time for families to get together in confined spaces for extended periods of time, to share their love and get reacquainted with each other’s lives. It is only after these family gatherings have concluded that the brotherhood of fathers gather to discuss “the state of dad”.  

We covered so many topics this year and I wish I could write about them all, unfortunately time demands that I stick here to the airing of grievances. Listed below we have a few of my chosen highlights, the complete list will be available in my final report only after the final council approves. 

Without further ado, let it be known here and now that it has been agreed upon, sworn to and proclaimed law, that from this day forward, for all current dads and their posterity to come, during Christmas and other mutually observed holidays:

You cannot bitch about what’s on TV unless you are willing and able to commandeer the remote. 

It is impossible to direct and advise the proper assembly of toys from across the room or on the couch. 

Surround sound is NEVER a bad thing, even if it scares you. 

If you have a problem with the music selection, see above. 

Don’t like my gift wrapping? Do it yourself. 

You want me to take down the Christmas lights? Well that’s sure as shit not how I planned on spending my Spring Break. 

Put the food in a serving dish after I cook it you say? Great, now we got 2 sets of dirty dishes for one item. 

Sure honey, I’ll try that shirt on for your folks, just let me finish this brandy first.  

Of course I still fit in an XL! It’s the perfect gift. 

Oh for Christ’s sake Beatrice, I don’t care how young the kid is, I won’t allow that commie bullshit in my house. 

And last but not least, When I was his age by golly!!

In closing, I’d like to take a moment  to acknowledge some of the dads we lost in 2015. 

RIP 
  
 

  

  

  

  

  

  

Thoughts from Ignatius Reilly (John Kennedy Toole)

 Popular quotes from A Confederacy of Dunces. 

“…I doubt very seriously whether anyone will hire me.’

What do you mean, babe? You a fine boy with a good education.’
Employers sense in me a denial of their values.’ He rolled over onto his back. ‘They fear me. I suspect that they can see that I am forced to function in a century I loathe. This was true even when I worked for the New Orleans Public Library.

Apparently I lack some particular perversion which today’s employer is seeking.” 

 

“It smells terrible in here.’

Well, what do you expect? The human body, when confined, produces certain odors which we tend to forget in this age of deodorants and other perversions. Actually, I find the atmosphere of this room rather comforting. Schiller needed the scent of apples rotting in his desk in order to write. I, too, have my needs. You may remember that Mark Twain preferred to lie supinely in bed while composing those rather dated and boring efforts which contemporary scholars try to prove meaningful. Veneration of Mark Twain is one of the roots of our current intellectual stalemate.”

 

“You could tell by the way he talked, though, that he had gone to school a long time. That was probably what was wrong with him.”

 

“I avoid that bleak first hour of the working day during which my still sluggish senses and body make every chore a penance. I find that in arriving later, the work which I do perform is of a much higher quality.”

 

“Like a bitch in heat, I seem to attract a coterie of policemen and sanitation officials.”

 

“Oh, Fortuna, you capricious sprite!”

 

“Oh, Fortuna, blind, heedless goddess, I am strapped to your wheel,’ Ignatius belched, ‘Do not crush me beneath your spokes. Raise me on high, divinity.”

 

“… I tried to end our little duel. I called out pacifying words; I entreated; I finally surrendered. Still Clyde came, my pirate costume so great a success that it had apparently convinced him that we were back in the golden days of romantic old New Orleans when gentlemen decided matters of hot dog honor at twenty paces.”

 

You got a job?”

“Ignatius hasta help me at home,” Mrs. Reilly said. Her initial courage was failing a little, and she began to twist the lute string with the cord on the cake boxes. “I got terrible arthuritis.”

I dust a bit,” Ignatius told the policeman. “In addition, I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip.”

 

“Do you think that I want to live in a communal society with people like that Battaglia acquaintance of yours, sweeping streets and breaking up rocks or whatever it is people are always doing in those blighted countries? What I want is a good, strong monarchy with a tasteful and decent king who has some knowledge of theology and geometry and to cultivate a Rich Inner Life.”

 

“I would very much like to know what the Founding Fathers would say if they could see these children being debauched to further the cause of Clearasil. However, I always suspected that democracy would come to this . . . “A firm rule must be imposed upon our nation before it destroys itself. The United States needs some theology and geometry, some taste and decency. I suspect that we are teetering on the edge of the abyss”.

 

“In the five years that he had dedicated to this work, he had produced an average of only six paragraphs monthly. He could not even remember what he had written in some of the tablets, and he realized that several were filled principally with doodling. However, Ignatius thought calmly, Rome was not built in a day.”

 

“The only problem that those people have anyway is that they don’t like new cars and hair sprays. That’s why they are put away. They make the other members of the society fearful. Every asylum in this nation is filled with poor souls who simply cannot stand lanolin, cellophane, plastic, television, and subdivisions.”

 

“By the time we had left the swamps and reached those rolling hills near Baton Rouge, I was getting afraid that some rural rednecks might toss bombs at the bus. They love to attack vehicles, which are a symbol of progress, I guess.”

 

“Perhaps I should have been a Negro. I suspect I would have been a rather large and terrifying one, continually pressing my ample thigh against the withered thighs of old white ladies in public conveyances a great deal and eliciting more than one shriek of panic. Then, too, if I were a Negro, I would not be pressured by my mother to find a good job, for no good jobs would be available. My mother herself, a worn old Negress, would be too broken by years of underpaid labor as a domestic to go out bowling at night. She and I could live most pleasantly in some moldy shack in the slums in a state of ambitionless peace, realizing contentedly that we were unwanted, that striving was meaningless.”

Thoughts from Will Durant

“Every vice was once a virtue, and may become respectable again, just as hatred becomes respectable in wartime.”

“Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”

“you can’t fool all the people all the time,” but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.”

“The older Romans used temples as their banks, as we use banks as our temples;”

“It has been the one song of those who thirst after absolute power that the interest of the state requires that its affairs should be conducted in secret… But the more such arguments disguise themselves under the mask of public welfare, the more oppressive is the slavery to which they will lead… Better that right counsels be known to enemies than that the evil secrets of tyrants should be concealed from the citizens. They who can treat secretly of the affairs of a nation have it absolutely under their authority; and as they plot against the enemy in time of war, so do they against the citizens in time of peace.”

“But even democracy ruins itself by excess—of democracy. Its basic principle is the equal right of all to hold office and determine public policy. This is at first glance a delightful arrangement; it becomes disastrous because the people are not properly equipped by education to select the best rulers and the wisest courses (588). “As to the people they have no understanding, and only repeat what their rulers are pleased to tell them” (Protagoras, 317); to get a doctrine accepted or rejected it is only necessary to have it praised or ridiculed in a popular play (a hit, no doubt, at Aristophanes, whose comedies attacked almost every new idea). Mob-rule is a rough sea for the ship of state to ride; every wind of oratory stirs up the waters and deflects the course. The upshot of such a democracy is tyranny or autocracy; the crowd do love flattery, it is so “hungry for honey,” that at last the wiliest and most unscrupulous flatterer, calling himself the “protector of the people” rises to supreme power”

“This police supervision did not exclude coarseness and obscenity; the aedile wished to amuse the crowd, not to elevate it; and the Roman government was never displeased by the ignorance of the multitude. The audience preferred broad humor to wit, buffoonery to subtlety, vulgarity to poetry, Plautus to Terence.”

“Woe to him whom teaches man faster than he can learn.”

Will Durant

November 5, 1885- November 7, 1981


  

Thoughts from Eric Hoffer

“We lie the loudest when we lie to ourselves.”

“People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them.”

“When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.”

“Nonconformists travel as a rule in bunches. You rarely find a nonconformist who goes it alone. And woe to him inside a nonconformist clique who does not conform with nonconformity.”

“You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.”

“Far more crucial than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know.”

“It is thus with most of us; we are what other people say we are. We know ourselves chiefly by hearsay.”

“One wonders whether a generation that demands instant satisfaction of all its needs and instant solution of the world’s problems will produce anything of lasting value. Such a generation, even when equipped with the most modern technology, will be essentially primitive – it will stand in awe of nature, and submit to the tutelage of medicine men.”

“Unless a man has talents to make something of himself, freedom is an irksome burden. Of what avail is freedom to choose if the self be ineffectual? We join a mass movement to escape individual responsibility, or, in the words of the ardent young Nazi, “to be free from freedom.”

“The sick in soul insist that it is humanity that is sick, and they are the surgeons to operate on it. They want to turn the world into a sickroom. And once they get humanity strapped to the operating table, they operate on it with an ax.”

“To most of us nothing is so invisible as an unpleasant truth. Though it is held before our eyes, pushed under our noses, rammed down our throats- we know it not.”

“The history of this country was made largely by people who wanted to be left alone. Those who could not thrive when left to themselves never felt at ease in America.”

“A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business.

This minding of other people’s business expresses itself in gossip, snooping and meddling, and also in feverish interest in communal, national and racial affairs. In running away from ourselves we either fall on our neighbor’s shoulder or fly at his throat.”

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The Old Man in the Ambulance.

My job as a first responder has given me opportunity to visit many of the homes of our most elderly citizens. I never know what to expect when entering these homes but several years of experience have taught me what to look for.

The first sign of an interesting elderly patient is usually the lack of a television in the living room. How many of us are treated to the memory of visiting elderly relatives who kept their televisions locked away? In many of the houses I visit, the living room is left solely for that, living.

I can still remember those days before television took over. When I was a kid, visiting our elderly relatives was both a unique and educational experience. This was during the time that the story tellers thrived, the folks who could command an audience while a lunch of buttered rolls and decaf coffee digested. Without the use of television, folks were able to capture and hold audiences solely by their gift of gab. How these performers could captivate the minds of the young and old back then will forever influence my thinking today.

The next thing I usually notice in these homes is the presence or lack thereof, a bookshelf. A poor bookshelf can usually be noted by the number of high gloss dust covers on display. There is nothing by Bill O’reilly or Al Franken that will find home on any reputable shelf. A good bookshelf is hard to read, several dull manuscripts with authors whose names are hard to recognize but whose accomplishments are world renowned. A good library will never give mention to the New York Times or any other best seller list.

I recently met an older gentlemen who was having trouble keeping his balance. On our first arrival it was a simple matter of placing him back in bed. When we returned a few hours later, his wife was insistent that he be taken to the hospital. I was unaffected by the situation until I saw the grim look on this 96yr old man’s face.

It was during the time that the fellas were gathering the stretcher that I noticed something that they had not. Just before they returned this elderly man of wisdom, a man who had lived through things I could only read about, began to cry. It was only for a moment but it was long enough to tear my heart to shreds.

This man had seen things that the history books could not explain. He was part of a living history that was dying every day. A story teller whose song was in danger of being left unsung.

It’s hard to watch our elder citizens, the holders of knowledge both current and ancient, being processed like cattle grown too sick for the range. I promised myself to never forget the contributions made by our elders, no matter what their current mindset may be.

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The Guru On The Mountain

This is an old story that’s been told a thousand different ways. I recently heard it on the radio when the host was speaking about sharing wisdom with closed minds.

A young man from New York travels to Tibet determined to learn the wisdom of the ages. After quitting his job, selling all his worldly processions and saying goodbye to his friends and family, he sets out to find a guru that will show him the light.

While traveling through the wilderness he comes upon a small shack at the foot of a large mountain. There is a small stream that works its way around the mountain and sitting beside this stream he comes upon the “old man of the mountain”.

The man is dressed in simple garb, he has a long gray beard that falls to the top of his tattered sandals. One look at the man and the traveler is certain he has the truth he’s been searching for.

Traveler: “Master, master! I’ve come a long way in search of enlightenment. Do you know what wisdom is master?”

Old Man: “Why yes my son, I know where you will find wisdom. Wisdom lies at the top of this mountain. If you go there you will find the truth you so desire. Once you reach the summit you must sit and meditate in silence, only after long self reflection will you become wise.”

Immediately the traveler sets off for the top of the mountain. After walking for several days he reaches the top and finds a suitable clearing for meditation. The traveler ends up staying on the mountain for several years, living off of bark, grass, bugs and whatever else he can find.

The traveler spends his winters near death as the temperature plummets and the howling wind tears at his clothes. It’s not until his fifth summer that he decides it’s time to travel back down the mountain.

When the old man sees the traveler again he can hardly recognize him. He has aged twenty years and looks near death. The remains of his clothing hang loosely on his bony frame. His face is covered in wrinkles and his beard has grown down to his waist.

Traveler: “Master, master! I found wisdom master! But first I must know master, what do you think wisdom is?”

Old Man: “Well my Son, wisdom is to always be humble and pious. To be cordial to your fellow man. To respect your elders and to treat others as you would like to be treated.”

Traveler: “What a crock of shit old man! You’re an asshole. Wisdom lies in the river you nutty old bastard. I’m getting the hell out of here, screw you!”

Old Man: “Yes, you’re right my son, you’re right”

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Stock Market Monkey Business

I’ve heard a few different people tell this story when trying to explain the stock market. It’s an old story but grifting is an old trade.

There was once a small village located deep in the rain forest, far from all the horrors of modern day progress. The villagers were living an easy life, masters of survival, they had become accustomed to their harsh jungle environment.

Most mornings were spent gathered around the fire pit, discussing the day’s business and decoding the previous night’s dreams. All was grand until one morning when a stranger arrived, interrupting their morning discussions with an offer of easy riches.

The man explained how there was a great need for monkeys in the city and he was offering $10 for every monkey they could produce. The villagers seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them by the dozens.

The man bought hundreds of monkeys at $10 a head but as supply started to diminish and the hunting became more difficult, the villagers stopped their efforts. Not one to be denied, the strange man announced that he would now pay $20 for every monkey caught.

This renewed the villagers efforts, sending them back into the forest to produce more monkeys. It wasn’t long before the supply diminished even further and the villagers once again returned to their easy going lives.

Soon the man increased the bounty to $25 each and the supply of monkeys became so little that it was rare for the villagers to spot a monkey, let alone catch it! The man then announced that he would buy all monkeys at a staggering $50 each!

The villagers again redoubled their efforts but since the man had urgent business in the city, his assistant would now be buying the monkeys on his behalf.

In the absence of the man, the assistant told the villagers. “Look at all these monkeys that the man has collected. I will sell them to you at $35 and when the man returns from the city, you can sell them back to him for $50 each.”

The villagers then rounded up all their savings and bought back all the monkeys. Unfortunately they were never to see the man nor his assistant ever again, only monkeys everywhere.