» This page is PART FOUR, continued from » Part Three. It was split into FOUR pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go...
» Hoverboard Interlude to ..
But before I do that .. I need to say this other, about last summer's most righteous entry. I've had a whole year to think about it. Explore. Meditate.
And believe me, I have been thinking about it. And I feel as tho I bring unique perspective to the topic. (Maybe I don't, but I certainly feel like I do.)
Now this is what I would call » personal data .. which is probably why I havent posted an update on the topic since (.. tho I do return periodically to tweak and improve clarity).
But, seeing how the theme of today's entry seems to be » intimacy ala 1-on-1, I figure this is a good place to float it ..
.. and since it is such a gorgeous day today .. I figure this is a good time to take the hoverboard out for a cruise.
To be honest, I do not know where we will end up. I certainly have a few ideas .. of places I feel would be cool to visit .. but I have no green light yet. So we will have to see.
Yes, I am curious myself, and maybe even a little apprehensive .. about where we might end up .. tho I am certainly confident it will be a very cool place.
Once we get up in the air, the picture will become more clear.
» Thirteen Months of Reflection
A year is a long time. 13 months. I have distilled .. what I feel to be the essence, the crux ..
.. of the difference .. between my Catholic-era religion and ..
[.. and yes, I knelt down at the alter and kissed the arch bishop's ring ..
.. with all the other kids who knelt there beside me ..
.. after which relatives all gave me lots of money, tucked neatly into religious cards and envelopes ..
.. to signal their approval for my kneeling down and kissing the ring, just like they did many years earlier ] ..
And yes, I like this new Pope, who seems more real, less religious. Less judgmental. First things first.
But he is apparently catching flak. As would be expected.
My own opinion is that any organized religion that does not lead with mercy and compassion .. will eventually leave a sour aftertaste in people's mouths.
Not many of God's creatures seem very interested in anything that seems inclined to heap upon them judjment, criticism and condemnation. (Fitzgerald would concur, I'm sure.) "You dirty, ugly thing, you. You should be more like me."
And everybody knows that » mercy trumps judgment.
I am not surprised that the previous Pope said that God told him to resign .. the first such resignation in six centuries .. we're talking about since before the Renaissance. Since before Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Is that not very encouraging? For the Catholic church? I am encouraged. Very much so.
I mean, Peter .. supposedly the first Pope .. is Mr. No-Bullshit. Even in Acts, he is recorded (by Luke) as mincing not his words.
Peter can be hard to read. Because he cuts you no slack. He makes no excuses.
He throws down the standard and says, "Deal with it. If you get killed in the process, then welcome to the club, dawg."
You never come away from Peter feeling unchallenged. And Peter did not die a pretty death. Not many of those early disciples did.
The shit was on for sure. "These men, who are turning the world upside down. We, the ruling authorities, must kill them."
Somehow, along the way, the church became the killers. And the torturers. Not a whole lot of compassion in torturing people (.. or locking them up in cages for draconianly-long lengths-of-time).
My ego is convinced that the Pope is reading my stuff and running with it. (That's okay by me.) Papal sentiments echoed at MSN. Reuters. globalpost. CBS News. Financial Times. Boston Globe. Aljazeera. NY Post. The Street.
He apparently abandoned his scripted speech .. and got off the porch, ad-libbing along the way. I like that, too. "Go, dawg."
I called Nana to see what she thinks of this new Pope. (I left a message.) The Dog says that he is encouraged.
Notice that the Meditation Gardens here in Encinitas dedicates an area to St Francis .. the only figure you will see featured there from another world religion.
I read somewhere that this new Pope likes to read Dostoevsky. When I see the Pope carrying his own bag, it makes me think of what Paul wrote » here.
I also hear that he abandoned life in the palace to live in the modest Vatican guest-house. I dont know if I could do something like that.
[ Oh, dude .. the Pope is totally kicking ass and taking names. He's like a man on fire.
I find this video telling. The boy wants to be near the pope. Kids are honest. The sense things more plainly, more clearly.
That is the biggest compliment the pope could get.
When I hear the pope say » "Who am I to judge?" .. I think of what Peter said (the first pope) in Acts ..
.. after the Spirit of God fell on the gentiles .. whom the Jews had previously considered 'unclean'.
I would like to ask Pope Francis about his feeling on the historic circumstances (dating back to the Middle Ages) surrounding the resignation of Pope Benedict ..
.. and also the historic firsts (e.g. first Jesuit pope) represented by his OWN pope-ship .. if he feels this is the result of God flexing his Muscle. A sign?
Does he feel a sense of Destiny? More strongly than you might ordinarily expect?
Do you feel like the Living God Himself is involved? Of course you must, but why do you think this?
I wish he would elaborate on such things. I would be interested to hear his views on the subject.
I read an article about him in the CS Monitor which calls his style » compassion over doctrine.
Mini-update (Dec 4) » the December 9, 2013 publication of the Monitor (which my friends receive, but dont read) ..
.. quotes Pope Francis as saying (writing.pdf in his apostolic exhortation published Nov 24, 2013) »
» "How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"
I like this guy more and more all the time. He's certainly got balls. Cojones. Mui grande.
Obama can even be seen quoting this exact statement by the Pope in the video posted » here. </end_mini-update>
I also want to ask the new pope about his feelings ..
.. regarding any apparent irony that he supposedly likes Dostoevsky ..
.. but it was Dostoevsky which wrote about the Grand Inquisitor ..
.. who is portrayed as not a very nice person ..
.. and the Jesuits are famous (infamous) for their role in the Spanish Inquisition ..
.. which is not famous for mercy or compassion. Unless you call torture a compassionate act.
Does he feel a need to apologize for the Jesuits?
Speaking of apologies .. I would like to ask his holiness .. how does the man forgive ..
.. who has been wronged in a way that seems unfathomable to members of polite society?
People who have been wronged in such as way as to defy comprehension.
Because, if you can answer that, padre .. then you're on to something.
I think the Catholic Church is fortunate to have this man as Pope. A little late, perhaps, but you know what they say.
» Having a Beer with the New Pope
I would like to have a beer (with chips-n-salsa, or course) with the new Pope ..
.. at an upscale Mexican restaurant. Maybe that one there on PCH in South Laguna » El Ranchito ..
.. the place that used to be the gay hangout (Woody's).
Thats would be seemingly appropriate, no? Given the Pope's stated (and inferred) position.
And I want to ask the Pope about some of the aphorisms found in the book titled » The Art of Worldly Wisdom ..
.. which was (secretly) written (in 1647) by another Jesuit priest .. named Baltasar Gracián (1601-1658).
This little book (a mere 200 pages) contains 300 such aphorisms .. about Worldly Wisdom .. not too terribly different from Machiavelli's 'The Prince' (.. which was published ~130 years earlier, in 1513).
The author, Baltasar, was very much into » brevity .. the soul of wit, you know.
I would like to know the Pope's opinions on a number of things .. including how he likes Dos Equis cervesa mas fina, and whether he can handle spicy salsa.
Everybody who I have ever met .. who was ever taught by Jesuits .. were always very smart, very intelligent, well informed people. Impressively so. Always.
Almost like the term 'Jesuit' is synonymous with both intelligence and education. For what it's worth.
Tho Stendhal did not like his Jesuit instructor.
I would also like to take the new pope to the Meditation Gardens .. in Encinitas .. so that he can see the beautiful shrine there ..
.. in that peaceful place .. dedicated to his new namesake. The only other religion represented there .. far as I can tell.
Certainly it must come as a humbling tribute .. to the legend of the man. Of which you must be familiar.
If he has the time, perhaps we could discuss his feelings on how Stendhal's clerical-turned-military character, Julien Sorel, compares with what Paul wrote to Timothy here.
Sometimes I feel like the opposite of Julien, because I went the military route first .. then the spiritual. ]
Tho I myself attended public schools (in Connecticut), both my mom and dad attended Catholic grade schools. My mom even went to a Catholic high school. So I naturally feel well-qualified to speak on most things Catholic.
My grandmothers said the rosary. Dude, saying the rosary is hard-core Catholic.
ME: "What are you praying about, Gram?"
GRAM: "That God would keep you kids out of trouble."
ME: "We're gonna go down in the cellar and play pool. Do you have any more lasagna?"
After my mom died, my dad remarried .. a woman who had been divorced. He tried to get the Catholic church to grant her a special waver or sorts, but they refused.
Dad was furious .. saying how much money he had donated (several thousand dollars) to their recent building campaign to build a new school ..
.. as tho he might be able to purchase a special deal from the church.
I was only joking when I said, "Dad, so what are you telling me? That you're living in sin?"
He was so upset with me over that, that he did not talk to me for a few months.
Speaking of qualifications .. who more qualified to speak on the corrupting influence of money .. than a Pope?
I'm talking about what happens when the system becomes » all about the money. And we know how that turned out.
Notice how, Indiana Jones chooses the non-fancy Holy Grail.
Yes, it's just a movie, but the concept is the same. The Carpenter wasnt drinking out of a jewel encrusted cup.
Sure, the Film School snobs may criticize Spielberg for being "too commercial," but he gets it. He chose wisely.
On the subject of choosing wisely .. here is a good book.
"The standard of sound words" that Paul talks about .. is based on faith and love ..
.. not condemnation or criticism or fault-finding.
••• today's entry continues here below •••
» Medici Patronage & Renaissance Popes
While we are on the topic of Popes .. you must see this documentary .. on the Medici family .. 'Godfathers of the Renaissance' ..
.. which contains one of the most remarkable sentences I have ever heard. At t=13:20 » "but the family that had sponsored a pirate for a pope were not daunted by the temper of a maverick architect."
This happens to be the same pope who was in power when Martin Luther tacked his 95 Theses on the door to the All Saints' Church in Wittenberg, Saxony (.. present day Germany) and started the Protestant Reformation.
I love the voice/accent of this narrator. When he says (at t=1:00) the names » Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Botticelli, Leonardo, Gallileo (.. for whom we have the Medici's to thank). Talk about an all-star line-up.
We you say these Italian names, you get to include the Italian accents that come with them .. like my ex-nun sixth-grade English teacher did. Such a beautiful language. (Portuguese being my favorite.)
The word 'Renaissance' means » rebirth. Rebirth from what?
One of the themes of the Renaissance was a return to the standards and ideals and aesthetics of the Classical period.
A return? But why go back? So many centuries. Back to antiquity.
Many felt that the achievements of the Classical period (in many areas, including art, rhetoric, painting, sculpture, science) remained » unsurpassed.
So what was Western Civilization doing for a millenia? That's another discussion.
But returning to the topic of the influence that Classical ideas had on the Renaissance .. few will argue that the term » creativity would apply (to the period) like never before.
Regarding this explosion of creativity .. note that it was the Medici which broke the fanatical, puritanical extremist movement.
Wow. That sidebar was unexpected. Okay, I was talking about » the essence-of-the-difference ..
.. between my Catholic-era experience and my post-righteous 'experience' (.. via personal research) ..
.. which I would term » Scripturally-based Righteousness (.. if I was terming such things. Which I wouldnt, becausing people get hung up on labels, while it is really the process that matters.).
That entry was only supposed to only be about Scriptural » Righteousness. It wasnt until I was well into it .. that I could see how you can't talk about (only) righteousness without talking about faith. The fearless hoverboard.
That is why the entry grew to 3 pages. And why there is no Rad entry for July 2012. The first time that happened in 12 years. First things first (.. on the first day of summer).
Anyway .. the crux of the issue .. the essence of the difference .. the distillation-of-comparison .. goes something like this » when I was a Catholic, I believed (rightly or wrongly) that I wouldnt find out 'how I did' .. until I died.
Which, to be honest, has something of a feel of a crap shoot, no? I mean, the same ify-ness.
But with my post-righteous 'experience' .. I see that you get a 'knowing' .. before you die. And let me just say .. that this is not hidden. No, sir. Not hardly. Oh contraire.
» Bears Witness With
The Spirit 'bears witness with' our spirits. I didnt have that before .. that "bearing witness with".
And there is an inner peace and contentment .. that this knowing brings.
An inner peace .. despite what troubles and distresses may come.
Peter seems to say a similar thing .. when he says that » peace is "multiplied" thru knowledge. [ Knowledge is knowing something. ]
Friends have told me that I have a Zen approach to these things .. tho I cannot say that my experience always feels that way.
In reflection, I feel that discussing this 'knowing' fits nicely here .. because earlier in today's entry I was discussing (via subtext) the feeling that comes when you 'know' that you are a writer.
Is it because lots of people TELL YOU that you are? Professors and teachers and other professionals? (You know what I think of that.)
I also feel that this is a good place to discuss this topic .. because earlier today, we were talking about 'The Gift' .. Sophy's gift.
And here I have seen that (drum roll, please) » the Spirit-of-God [Himself] *is* the Gift (down inside your own spirit).
[ No, I'm not saying that you necessarily feel like you deserve it. Yes, Catholic guilt can be a powerful thing.
You get a flavor for this sense-of-undeserved-ness where Paul says, » "To me, the VERY LEAST .. of all saints, was this grace given..." ]
In a way, you could say that it is like being in love .. because, when you are in love .. you know that there is someone "there" with you.
Much theology we could probably delve into here, but that's the gist, the essence, the distillation .. of my experience regarding before/after. Before I did not have that inner witness. And now I do.
» Furnish Evidence
Notice that the dictionary defines witness as » n. one who furnishes evidence. The verb-form of the word is defined as » to provide evidence of.
Back when I was a Catholic, I had no such evidence. I had only a pair of dice in my pocket. Better than nothing, I guess. A chance at salvation. I polished those dice, as best I could, which was not very well, I must admit.
Scripture provides something better than hit-or-miss.
I am talking about the grace that extends beyond good works. In other words, you can't be good enough to earn God Himself.
I never saw that, before. And that is the biggest difference (.. that I can see).
Our hearts may condemn us .. but God never does [ .. according to Paul, anyway.
You think he might know? ]. That's one of the more remarkable things I learned.
Now, you might think .. that having the Spirit-of-the-Living-God Himself .. residing inside you .. would be such a wondrous thing ..
.. that you would never have to tell anybody not to NEGLECT the treasure that is in them, or that they need to "rekindle" or "stir up" the gift that is in them.
But you'd be wrong.
Hemingway said that incompetence-in-writing "seeks to mystify where there is no mystery." [ Death in the Afternoon, p 54, 1932 ]. I have tried to be clear.
But let me try one more time, anyway. So try this on » when I think of the essense of the difference between pre/post ..
.. uh, I am somehow reminded of the verse that says » "the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."
Which suggests that God is not very big about the letter of the law, of (religious) do's and dont's (.. which affects how things might look on the outside) ..
.. but rather, what matters is the inside. In other words » who you are is more important that what you do. (Yeah, I know that's a radical idea.)
Another big difference between my Catholic days and post-Catholic days .. is that I have learned a lot about the bible itself .. since I started frequenting these non-denominational churches.
As a Catholic, I knew precious little Scripture .. even tho I went to Sunday school after church every Sunday from first grade on. I knew more about Catholic doctrine, which was not always scripturally accurate .. I later discovered.
Now .. onto those other things. I am starting to see where we are going. And no, it is not where I had in mind.
» Holder Sings a Redemption Song
Oh! Breaking news! [ August 12th ] We interrupt your regularly scheduled broadcast .. to bring you this Special Report ..
.. a surprisingly unexpected message from Attorney General Eric Holder.
Redemption has come to Mr. Holder. That took balls .. political cojones. It is "without precedent" writes Vanita (4th paragraph).
He is surprisingly articulate. You know what I think. I am rejoicing. Out in the street. The heavens are displaying fireworks in celebration.
Are we seeing a genuine change in the direction of our nation? I am cautiously optimistic.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step .. said some ancient Chinese sage.
I must say .. my ego is convinced, saying, "Dude, they are totally reading your shit." =)
[ For me, part of » living-by-faith .. involves writing as tho they were. Speak truth to power .. in a way they cannot misunderstand. Provide them with a perspective that I'm sure they dont get.
So the next time they fuck up .. they can't claim ignorance.
It has become clear (painfully so) that, if we leave our nation to politicians .. they will sell us out.
Now to do this, I realize that I may need to use language more plainly persuasive. So be it .. because we are better than this? Arent we?
I mean, it's not like people (far more qualified than myself to speak on the subject) havent been trying .. for decades .. to right this wrong.
My understanding is » our leaders do not really give a fuck about right-n-wrong .. especially not when there's money to be made.
Hemingway said » "Write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know."
Here is a true sentence » Our leaders seem to care more about the money .. than they do about righting wrongs.
Along these lines, here is the thing I would like to convey to our leaders » actions speak louder. ]
» Won't you help to sing?
But sometimes our leaders don't get the message. So, if plain words are required .. so.be.it. There is often value in clarity.
But make no mistake. Inside, I am jumping up-n-down. Because the enormity of the injustice was/is so staggering ..
.. that I don't think it can really be grasped .. by the average citizen (myself included).
Not that Holder's gesture, in and of itself, is any vindication of the enormity of this injustice .. but rather for the promise it holds .. and for the signal it sends.
The signal it sends is this » "I get it. I really get it."
We appreciates the huevos. A few decades past due .. but we appreciate it nonetheless.
I have thought many times about the obvious injustice of our 'criminal justice' system. I could certainly wax Proust-like prolific here .. but let me simply say ..
.. it is clear that too often the socioeconomic factors inherent is our unequal society fuck-up certain segments of our youth (.. due to an unfortunate bias) ..
.. to the point where they sometimes need to self-medicate (with drugs or whatever) in order to help them cope .. with their shitty, futureless lives (.. cuz you've sold them out) .. in order to help take the edge off.
For this, we ship them off to prisons nationwide .. from sea to shining sea [.. while more 're$pectable' citizens like Ru$h (and Jerry) raid the local pharmacy on a monthly basis].
"My bourbon and cigarettes and oxycontin are fine. But your pot is evil and wrong and you should go to jail for smoking it. Preferably for a long-ass time ..
.. so I don't have to see your ugly face around here. Where did I put my oxycontin? The sight of your face is causing me pain."
I may not know the right answer .. but I know that something here is NOT RIGHT. Obviously so .. especially when the people sending them to jail (for sooo long) .. have NO EARTHLY IDEA .. what they've been thru.
Nor could they even imagine. Truth be told, they could give a flying happy fuck. Or so it would seem.
» A Source of Knowledge
If I were a gambling man, I would be willing to wager that most of our judges and lawmakers and lawmakers, who write these laws ..
.. have never even SEEN the inside of a jail or prison ..
.. much less have an experiential knowledge of what-it-is they decree .. from their shiny towers and lofty perches.
You boys need to spend a few nights in a cell .. to get a feel for the draconian sentences you impose on others (.. while letting the REAL CROOKS go scott free).
Then maybe, you might find a little more compassion in your hearts .. for someone other than your wealthy donors.
» Nothing Like First-Hand Experience
Get in there, ye architects of Incarceration Nation. Don't be such a pussy.
Einstein says we get smarter by experiencing new shit. And it is obvious to all .. that you guys need some 'insight' in this area. My prayer for you is that a few days in a jail cell will make you SMARTER.
[ Then, after you get out, try living on minimum wage for a few weeks. Trickier than you thought, no? ]
We lead the world (.. both civilized and barbaric) in locking up our citizens. Congratulations. We should all pat ourselves on the back.
It has become an entire fucking industry. And like Usain Bolt, we [ the United States ] are waay out front. Nobody is even close. The Russians are eating our incarcerate dust. Waay back there. You need binoculars to see them.
And this industry, in many scary ways .. is just like any other business. Except it deals in the 'servicing' of long-term human warehousing .. cage style. In other words » lives. The lives of God's children. Be-fucking-ware.
» Frogs & Locust are So Old School
They are not insignificant .. but you are treating them as tho they were. Dont say you werent warned. Let my people go. You know the drill, by now. No? You want the frogs next? Or thel locust?
Bro, frogs are soo Old School. We're beyond frogs. Waay beyond. Just watch-n-see. Welcome to the 21st century.
Land of the free? I am going to need more convincing.
"Saddam gasses his own people" .. while we merely lock ours up. In cages. For draconianly-long lengths of time. On a far grander scale. From sea to shining sea.
It's the ugly side of the Capitalist way » "How can I make a buck by persuading my Friends-in-Power to trick-fuck those less fortunate?"
"Put him in MY jail!"
"No! Put him in MINE! I will make a generous contribution to your re-election campaign if you help me fill up my prison with paying customers." [ funded by taxpayers ]
"Heck, I will even hire your son .. to help me. And I will pay him handsomely. Most hand$omely, I assure you."
It happens everywhere else in government. You think this explosive new growth industry is somehow immune?
» Clueless Judgment Leads to Cruel Punishment
It's as tho society [ and especially its corrupt, shitty values ] makes it very difficult for them to live up to the "lofty" (unequal) standards that one element of society has set for another (.. tho not for themselves, unsurprisingly).
And then it punishes them when then fail. Which seems doubly hypocritical, cruel, and even downright merciless.
Is this not intuitively obvious? .. to even the most casual of observers? It is why (I feel) that the crux (focal point) of Dostoevsky's 'gateway' novel is » "They won't let me be good."
They = the dominant/imposed society/culture.
In other words » "It is not that I cant be good. Because frankly, it is not terribly difficult to live up to a standard much higher than the one displayed by your sorry, hypocritcal ass. I just can't be 'good' on your unfair, unequal, corrupt, shitty, dysfunctional terms."
Speaking of which ...
» The White House Boys | Marianna, Florida | Dozier School for Boys
Dear Mr. Holder,
As a citizen (which supposedly confers upon me certain "inalienable" rights) ..
.. I think that our nation's scare judicial resources ..
.. would be better served by refocusing them away from the Aarons ..
.. and onto things which genuinely cry out for justice.
You can find just such a need down in Marianna, Florida .. at the Dozier School for Boys.
Because we're better than that .. aint we?
Send your best man down there. "Go down to Marianna and see wtf."
I have included a photograph of the infamous 'white house' for you. This white house is very different from the one that you are familiar with. No tea-n-crumpets will be served there.
Here is a good movie to get you in the mood.
If you are really interested in bringing true justice to the land .. and not merely perpetuating the charade that you have been calling justice .. then I see no better place to start than » Marianna, Florida.
That would most certainly be cause for rejoicing.
If you cannot bring justice to the White House boys .. then what good are you?
Because then you would seem no better than a bully ..
.. who picks on the weak and the defenseless ..
.. but who lacks the courage to confront true injustice.
There is an assortment of names used to describe people like this. Unfortunately, none are very flattering.
[ What did I tell you about the hoverboard? » It seems to have a mind of its own.
Because, if it were up to me, I would not have gone there. Feel me? ]
If murder, rape, torture and the beating of young boys .. to the point of "bloodied hamburger" does not do it for you ..
.. if this does not compel you to seek justice .. then you are obviously in the wrong profession.
These people make Jerry seem like a boy scout. And just like with Jerry, you have many eye witnesses waiting to testify.
The end. ■
UPDATE - October 31, 2013. I just realized today that the death of Georgia high school teen Kendrick Johnson ALSO came on January 11 .. same day as the Aaron Swartz entry. Big story.
Close to where the red thumb-tack in sticking in the Google map posted above.
The family is basically camped out at city hall (Occupy style), saying, "We'll be here long as it takes. Or 'til I die. So help me God."
So, it has been 9 or 10 months, so far. And the gears of justice are just now beginning to loosen. The Feds and hopefully the FBI are gonna look into it.
Very interesting .. specially when you play this development off others .. where it has been more than two years. ■■
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