Friday, November 02, 2007

2396 and typing

I intended to write something short to say I would be off the reservation for a while because I'm participating in NaNoWriMo again this year with an old idea and a new format for a book. Writing true stories seems to work best for me and I finally found a hook for this one, so I'm going to concentrate on that all month. I may be able to finish before the end of November, but this book is the focus of my attention for a while. I'll check in occasionally, but only when I have a free minute that's not devoted to writing or working or editing (not for NaNoWriMo), so those among you who are writers, join me, and those who just read, cross your fingers and send good wishes our way.

In the meantime, ponder this. I found it when I did my morning rounds this morning and found it interesting. I hope you feel the same.

written by Elbert Hubbard
February 22, 1899

In all this Cuban business there is one man stands out on the horizon of my memory like Mars at perihelion. When war broke out between Spain and the United States, it was very necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the Insurgents. Garcia was somewhere in the mountain fastnesses of Cuba - no one knew where. No mail or telegraph could reach him. The President must secure his co-operation, and quickly.

What to do!

Someone said to the President, "There's a fellow by the name of Rowan will find Garcia for you, if anybody can."

Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. How "the fellow by name of Rowan" took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, and in three weeks came out on the other side of the island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and having delivered his letter to Garcia, are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail.

The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, "Where is he at?" By the Eternal! There is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college in the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this or that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies; do the thing - "carry a message to Garcia!"

General Garcia is dead now, but there are other Garcias.

No man, who has endeavored to carry out an enterprise where many hands were needed, but has been well-nigh appalled at times by the imbecility of the average man - the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it. Slipshod assistance, foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, and half-hearted work seem to be the rule; and no man succeeds, unless by hook or crook, or threat, he forces or bribes other men to assist him; or mayhap, God in His goodness performs a miracle, and sends him an Angel of Light for an assistant. You, reader, put this matter to a test: You are sitting now in your office -six clerks are within your call. Summon any one and make this request: "Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Correggio."

Will the clerk quietly say, "Yes, sir," and go do the task?

On your life, he will not. He will look at you out of a fishy eye, and ask one or more of the following questions:

Who was he?

Which encyclopedia?

Where is the encyclopedia?

Was I hired for that?

Don't you mean Bismarck?

What's the matter with Charlie doing it?

Is he dead?

Is there any hurry?

Shan't I bring you the book and let you look it up yourself?

What do you want to know for?

And I will lay you ten to one that after you have answered the questions, and explained how to find the information, and why you want it, the clerk will go off and get one of the other clerks to help him find Garcia - and then come back and tell you there is no such man. Of course I may lose my bet, but according to the Law of Average, I will not.

Now if you are wise you will not bother to explain to your "assistant" that Correggio is indexed under the C's, not in the K's, but you will smile sweetly and say, "Never mind," and go look it up yourself.

And this incapacity for independent action, this moral stupidity, this infirmity of the will, this unwillingness to cheerfully catch hold and lift, are the things that put pure socialism so far into the future. If men will not act for themselves, what will they do when the benefit of their effort is for all? A first mate with knotted club seems necessary; and the dread of getting "the bounce" Saturday night holds many a worker in his place.

Advertise for a stenographer, and nine times out of ten who apply can neither spell nor punctuate - and do not think it necessary to.

Can such a one write a letter to Garcia?

"You see that bookkeeper," said the foreman to me in a large factory.

"Yes, what about him?"

"Well, he's a fine accountant, but if I'd send him to town on an errand, he might accomplish the errand all right, and, on the other hand, might stop at four saloons on the way, and when he got to Main Street, would forget what he had been sent for."

Can such a man be entrusted to carry a message to Garcia?

We have recently been hearing much maudlin sympathy expressed for the "down-trodden denizen of the sweat shop" and the "homeless wanderer searching for honest employment," and with it all often go many hard words for the men in power.

Nothing is said about the employer who grows old before his time in a vain attempt to get frowsy ne'er-do-wells to do intelligent work; and his long patient striving with "help" that does nothing but loaf when his back is turned. In every store and factory there is a constant weeding-out process going on. The employer is constantly sending away "help" that have shown their incapacity to further the interests of the business, and others are being taken on. No matter how good times are, this sorting continues, only if times are hard and work is scarce, this sorting is done finer - but out and forever out, the incompetent and unworthy go. It is the survival of the fittest. self-interest prompts every employer to keep the best-those who can carry a message to Garcia.

I know one man of really brilliant parts who has not the ability to manage a business of his own, and yet who is absolutely worthless to anyone else, because he carries with him constantly the insane suspicion that his employer is oppressing, or intending to oppress, him. He can not give orders, and he will not receive them. Should a message be given him to take to Garcia, his answer would probably be, "Take it yourself.

Tonight this man walks the streets looking for work, the wind whistling through his threadbare coat. No one who knows him dare employ him, for he is a regular firebrand of discontent. He is impervious to reason, and the only thing that can impress him is the toe of a thick-soled No. 9 boot.

Of course I know that one so morally deformed is no less to be pitied than a physical cripple; but in your pitying, let us drop a tear, too, for the men who are striving to carry on a great enterprise, whose working hours are not limited by the whistle, and whose hair is fast turning white through the struggle to hold the line in dowdy indifference, slipshod imbecility, and the heartless ingratitude which, but for their enterprise, would be both hungry and homeless.

Have I put the matter too strongly? Possibly I have; but when all the world has gone a-slumming I wish to speak a word of sympathy for the man who succeeds - the man who, against great odds, has directed the efforts of others, and, having succeeded, finds there's nothing in it: nothing but bare board and clothes.

I have carried a dinner-pail and worked for a day's wages, and I have also been an employer of labor, and I know there is something to be said on both sides. There is no excellence, per se, in poverty; rags are no recommendation; and all employers are not rapacious and high-handed, any more than all poor men are virtuous.

My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the "boss" is away, as well as when he is home. And the man who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly takes the missive, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it, never gets "laid off," nor has to go on strike for higher wages. Civilization is one long anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man asks will be granted; his kind is so rare that no employer can afford to let him go. He is wanted in every city, town, and village - in every office, shop, store and factory. The world cries out for such; he is needed, and needed badly - the man who can carry a message to Garcia.

That is all. Disperse.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Enter at your own risk

There are witches in my mailbox.
What am I to do?

I found them there this morning,
doing things they shouldn't do!!

How the witches got there,
I haven't got a clue.

But they won't be there much longer
because I'm sending them to


You've been Witch Kissed!

Before the warts begin to spread,

pass the kisses on instead!


For the eco-conscious

That is all. Disperse.

Monday, October 29, 2007


I am constantly amazed about how a chance comment or meeting can result in finding something you've looked for or just a new friendship.

As part of my Monday morning ritual, I read the posts about alternatives religions on and today there was a link to an article about the Kabbalistic symbology in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The rabbi writing the article pointed to the last part of Indy's journey when he must pass three tests to get to the cup of Christ (holy grail) to save his father's life. The rabbi had it almost right, but he mixed up the first trial with scenes from the first movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indy has to race for his life as darts/arrows fly out of the walls. I emailed the rabbi and explained the first trial in Last Crusade was flashing blades that Indy avoided when he knelt. The rabbi immediately emailed back and we began discussing Joseph Campbell's treatise on the Hero's Journey and how Indiana Jones, and indeed Star Wars, is based on that concept.

That discussion led to Maureen Murdock's The Heroine's Journey and then The Tree of Life in Kabbalistic tradition to Tree of Life in Native American culture to Yggdrasil (the World Tree) of Norse mythology to something I have researched for years -- the serpent as a messenger/go-between man and deity, which is also symbolized in Norse mythology as the Midgard Serpent. That's when he told me about a little known Midrash, or commentary on the Tankh/Torah where the serpent is a messenger from Yahweh to Adam and Eve who urges them to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that they might leave Eden and "begin the spirit quest that would become humankind." I find that interpretation of what Xians call "Original Sin" more in line with what I've learned from studying other mythologies and religions. Even the Mormons (LDS) believe that Adam and Eve had to disobey in order to become the progenitors of mankind. I may just be closer to writing that book after all. I've been stumped by the Xian interpretation for years and couldn't reconcile that with the premise that all beliefs/religions use the serpent as a symbol of wisdom and a conduit/messenger between man and deity. But I digress...

At any rate, I would not have had the chance to exchange ideas with the rabbi or get another piece to a puzzle I've been working for years had it not been for that one mistake in his article. I'm glad I'm a curious person. They say curiosity killed the cat, but they always forget that satisfaction brought it back. No wonder a cat has nine lives, especially if the cat is as curious about everything as I. Then again, I'd need more than nine lives, maybe that's what reincarnation is all about. Ya think?

That is all. Disperse.

Cowards and Victims

A few years ago, I read an interview with Linda Lovelace about her autobiography where she claims her husband forced her to perform sex acts at the point of a gun. This is a very different tale than the one she told when she was riding the talk show circuit wave in the wake of her debut film, Deep Throat. She was certainly cashing in on that success. I remember her telling Merv Griffin and Dick Cavett, among other talk show hosts, how she learned to do the deep throat and how much she enjoyed not only performing in the movie but the adulation and acclaim from her 15 minutes of stardom. When she couldn't sustain her acting career and no one cared about her or knew who she was any more, she made her claims of sexual abuse and harassment, even though she divorced the man who made her famous as soon as she got the money in her hot little hands.

I have little patience and no sympathy for cowards and victims. They sing one song when they're on top and another when the spotlight moves to someone else, anything to stay in the limelight. And it's not just celebrities or celebrity-wannabes. People want to be victims, to be seen as sinned against rather than sinning. Give me an unrepentant sinner every time. At least I know I can count on what they say and believe them. I certainly don't believe the victims and cowards. They remind me of what Judge Roy Bean said, that there is none so righteous as a redeemed sinner. Of course, he was talking about soiled doves who married and became ultra respectable to the point of obsession and mania. He knew what he was talking about because he saw it happen when his little town went respectable and all the saloon trollops and bawdy house whores turned on trollops and whores when they became respectable. It is said that hell hath no fury like a woman scored, but she has nothing on the repentant, reborn, sinner who has seen the light. Those kinds of people never learned about moderation or about honesty, but they sure know how to keep the spotlight on them even if it means denouncing who they were and what they once espoused with their whole being. Just like Linda Lovelace and countless others in the not so public eye who justify their past by denouncing who and what they were and why they did the things they did. After all, the public loves self flagellation no matter how they cringe at the act, as long as it isn't themselves they are flagellating.

Were you a thief who became a security consultant? There is no one more adept at catching a thief than a thief because they think alike, but don't get too close or the reformed thief's zealotry for protecting people will make you ill from the sugar shock or drown you in their crocodile tears of remorse. Do you constantly remind your spouse of their one-time infidelity and play the heartbroken and disappointed victim when you come back from a rendezvous with your second or third lover this year? After all, if you don't get caught then you aren't an adulterer. Did you hate and fear your spouse when they were alive, but now that they're dead do you loudly and publicly mourn them on the anniversary of their death? Don't forget to keep the hankies handy. Or how about anonymously stabbing someone in the back and playing the concerned friend when you'd rather see them broke, unhappy, unsuccessful, and alone -- or bet yet, dead?

There is nothing wrong with taking a different path in life, but at least own up to your previous life and how much you enjoyed stealing, sleeping around, or reveling in someone's downfall. It's a whole lot more honest and less cowardly. I know it is more fun to play the victim with people rushing around doing their best to comfort and support you, to forget about whatever is going on in their own lives to focus on you. It's not honest, but it has become the national past time. Everyone wants to be a victim -- well, not everyone, just the cowards.

Yes, give me an unrepentant sinner every time. At least he's honest.

That's all. Disperse.