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Snickerdoodle Dad

Rad note » today's entry was lifted from another page. I transferred the following text here .. to its own separate entry because the subject (I'm sure you would agree) seems so different.

This is something I would consider a special treat. Here ya go...

Where have you been my blue-eyed son?Snickerdoodle Dad

"Those high school girls are checking you out, punkin'," I said.

He lifted his still-sleepy head and looked over there weakly for a few secs ..

.. then gently set it back down on my shoulder and said, "Can we get a snickerdoodle, dad?"

It struck me how he was more interested in a cookie.

And the way that he says the word » snickerdoodle .. is just so adorably cute that I can hardly stand it.

And I say, "Punkin', please dont be so cute. I cant stand it when you say such cute things."

He obviously has no clue why I think he question is so cute. Nor does he care.

Because there is a pause before he says (with a touch of morning eagerness in his voice) "Does this mean we can get a snickerdoodle?"

But I don't want to be the pushover-dad that I am .. so I said, "We got a snickerdoodle last time. Can it be my turn to choose this time?"

He took surprisingly long to decide, but finally said (rather disappointedly) » "Okay .. you can choose."

I mean, there came a point when I thought he simply wasnt going to answer.

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The Thunder Cometh

Rad note » the text contained in this entry was lifted from another entry and transferred here to its own, separate entry-page .. in order to give me better focus on my subject.

At the end of this entry (that you are now reading) I will provide a link to return you to the exact spot from which this text was lifted.

Here you go...

» Effect of the Artist on the Culture (and Vice Versa)

Anyway .. that is all I am going to say on the subject right now. Because I now find myself pondering [ i see the shift i must follow ] the role that is played by the artist in helping to define the culture (.. and vice versa).

Jules trying real hard in the final scene of Pulp FictionBut surely you can see how this might run parallel with ..

.. the topic of today's entry » exploring the limits of poetic (artistic) license.

Before leaving this subject however, let me just add that my intuition here ..

.. is that my friend, with the gift for words, is not limited to crafting lyrics.

You think I'm joking, or maybe even crazy, but I bet that, with a little practice, he could craft a very nice » children's book.

(Which is no mean feat, and probably requires the consultation of a third grader.) Or even a novel.

Because the gift is not limited to any one genre. The gift is not limited, period.

This is not the right way to say it, but you will catch my drift » the only limitation I have encountered with the gift is » the size of your balls.

And this man has large balls. Very large. Cojones grande huevos. Dragging on the floor behind him. "Anybody seen my wheelbarrow?" The cantaloupe man.

To be honest, I am surprised that avant-garde directors such as Tarantino havent solicited his song-writing talents (.. like Peckinpah did with Dylan).

Or maybe they did, and he turned them down.

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» The best party I ever went to was held up in Los Angeles .. at the home of a professor at USC's School of Cinema. It was billed as a » Valentine's Day Lonely Hearts Party. (Or something like that.) So I admit that my expectations were not very high.

The Famous Hollywood SignI had never heard of such a thing and found the concept more than curious.

But this professor, who was a surprisingly youngish woman, and who had helped the Film school girl get into Film school ..

.. opened her home to her students who might not have anyone special to spend the holiday with.

It became a popular thing. Other professors showed up, too. Yes, you could bring a date .. but you didnt have to. (That was the whole point. And most didnt.)

My point » you could *feel* the creative energy there. There was much outdoor decking in the back.

Lots of trees back there .. and undulating hills. Lovely neighborhood. (I did not know that LA had neighborhoods like that.)

The most striking aspect of this particular home .. was how dramatically the front hid what was out back.

I mean, you felt like you had entered another world soon as you came thru the front door .. but especially as you stepped outside out back.

"That's a good trick," I thought. Almost like an optical illusion. Front » plain, sparse. Back » lush, tropical. Like you were living on a hillside that sloped away from you.

So, right from the git-go I was intrigued. "I may not be totally sure what it is, but I definitely like this place."

Just a nice place to hang out, even without all the cool people. Very inviting. Like the kind of place » you dont want to leave.

I was loving it. I mean, the atmosphere itself there was like drinking nectar.

And I myself have a very different background .. from all these creative-types. So they seemed to find me different, and maybe even interesting.

» Drilling Down One On One

I am a one-on-one type of guy. In group settings, I tend to let others talk while I just listen. But one-on-one situations let you steer the conversation into more arcane directions .. where you can » drill down .. into some very interesting topics and subjects. (Which is where I like to go.)

So I was making the rounds, and everybody there looked like they were interesting to talk to .. but I found myself in the kitchen ..

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» This page is PART FOUR, continued from » Part Three. This entry was broken into FOUR pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go...

The Hypnotic Flash of Marianne's » Red-Soled Black Stilettos

I can't close this entry without at least mentioning .. that, on the very same day (13th) as the Kelly-verdict .. Marianne Williamson announced that she's running for Congress.

Marianne for CongressBecause it felt like I was dreaming when I heard the news ..

.. which I heard just BEFORE I heard the news about Kelly's verdict.

Something about Marianne's candidacy made my heart sing. Very encouraging.

The short article that I read .. concluded by mentioning how:

"Microphone in one hand, gesturing with the other, Williamson wove among the audience, taking questions and accepting compliments, the red soles of her black stilettos flashing as she walked."

The red soles of her black stilettos. I dont know why, but that shit gets me going. A voice said, "Dude, you should go run her campaign .. and make it a nuclear-grade operation."

Taylors Red-Soled Stiletto in Blank SpaceAnother voice said » "Dude, get real. You know jack-shit about how to run a campaign.

And besides, you would be involved in a scandal ..

.. if she ever wore the red-bottomed stilettos. You know how you are."

Here's my point » the conversation that Marianne will bring to the table will be both constructive and interesting. Even without the red-soled stilettos. ( "You go, girl." )

[ Here is something I feel needs discussing. Note this NYT article titled » What Drives Success? .. which references » this book titled ..

» The Triple Package - How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America (.. written by Tiger Mom herself).

Notice particularly the implicit » success = $money. Not judgmentally, but rather as (yet another) » reflection of the culture.

Aaron Swartz hung himself in NYC on January 11, 2013I mean, the people who wrote the book are talking about » dollars. Right?

Because (again implicit) » "nothing else matters".

I am merely pointing out the obvious, no?

So .. compare (and contrast) the ideas behind that book/title with » this article by Vandana.

In other words, we need to at least start to get beyond the point where money is considered the be-all and end-all ..

.. when it comes to how our society and our culture define 'success'.

It's related to what Kotlikoff says » it's in the metrics. And how you define them.

It's also related to what Skinner said » if you design a system to produce a certain effect, a certain result ..

.. then why, pray tell, are you surprised when it produces the result that you most strongly try to produce?

» This page is PART THREE, continued from » Part Two. This entry was split into FOUR pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go...

The Famous Hollywood SignAnyway, the Dog, when coming down, would always » give me shit.

About living in Orange county. Saying things like ..

» "They stopped me at the border, and made me put on an ankle bracelet. We don't want your kind here. You shady LA-types. We'll be watching you."

I should add tho, that the Dog, a Hoboken boy (like Marques), always wraps his barbs in clever humor ..

.. and his inter-personal skills are so finely tuned that you actually enjoy when the Dog gives you shit. (I liken it, and put it up there with getting a massage.)

When the Dog feels strongly about something, he sends missiles SAILING PAST YOU. They are not aimed at you in particular, but you can feel their breeze as they wiz by.

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» This page is PART TWO, continued from » Part One. This entry was broken into FOUR pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go...

The Famous Hollywood SignMeanwhile, others are left trying to deal with the effects of their dysfunction (.. both parental and also generally).

Over the years the Dog and I have had many conversations about parents and parenting.

From both sides of the parenting fence. Both as parents, and as the children of parents.

For example, he told me how it is his wife (the Czech-girl) who holds together their marriage.

"If it were up to me, Dog," he said, "this wouldve been over long ago."

One of the most memorable stories that I have about the Dog .. involves him "walking away" .. from a situation that he felt had deteriorated sufficiently.

It is beyond the scope of today's entry .. but let me just suggest here that » nobody walks away (3,000 miles) quite like the Dog.

So .. this girl, his wife, who I've never met .. must be good at what she does. Cuz I've never seen a woman who can hold on to the Dog for more than a few months. (With no do-overs.)

In this regard, the Dog's Czech wife reminds me of the Film school girl .. cuz she knew how to handle me. She knew how to deal with me. And she was probably the best at knowing how to make a relationship work .. of anybody I ever knew.

Most girls would say » "You make me crazy." To which I would usually respond » "Think how *I* feel." [ « Yes, that's a guy-joke .. but only because of the kernel of truth it contains. ]

In other words .. I'm not trying to make you crazy. So it's not like I am unsympathetic. No, ma'am. Not at all.

The Film school girl would say » "You gotta have something in the relationship that you are both CREATING .. either together or separately. Otherwise the relationship deteriorates and dies. If you have no kids together, you need to create something else. Something you love. Something that stirs your bliss."  

She Made Me an Offer » I Couldnt Refuse

This is the same girl, by the way, from my Statistics class, who I got to know when she made me an offer I couldnt refuse .. massages in exchange for tutoring.

She totally had the massage magic. Altered-state magic. She said that the magic in a good massage comes from » intention. (Notice that intention involves directed consciousness.)

Remind me to tell you the story about my first massage .. when she poured that warm oil all the way down my spine, beginning at the base of my neck .. and ending » in the crack of my butt.

"Ooh, this is gonna be a good massage," I thought. "I can tell already. I wonder if she meant to pour that oil in the crack of my butt, like that? Or did she accidentally go a little too far?"

I had never felt anything quite like that, I must say. Major altered state of consciousness. Like you did not think possible.

I've had her clients tell me (more than once), "I've been getting massages for a long time and she's the best of the best." Like she had a gift for it. She told me that the best massage she ever got herself was at Esalen (.. up in Big Sur).

The first time I came over to her house, she had a place with a view you would have to see to believe. Jaw-dropping. In Laguna. "How does this girl make this kind of stuff happen?" I wondered.

On the ocean-side of PCH. At 10th-Street. Which is known locally as "Thousand-steps." Tho really only 238. Or was it 214? I counted them more than once.

Anyway, she had her own private walk down to the beach. A goat path. One of the nicest beaches in Laguna.

[ The property has since been purchased, I heard, by the guy who runs General Dynamics, who owned the property adjacent .. directly south. I heard he paid $1.1 million for it.

So he just made his own property a little bigger. Somebody told me that he built an art studio for his wife on it. ]

And she was playing James Brown when I arrived. Pretty loud. "Good music to clean the house by."

I did not want to get involved, cuz I wanted to focus on my classes that semester (Statistics, Calculus & a 7-unit Chemistry class .. the one for doctors and engineers). But she was interesting enough that my curiosity got the best of me. "I have never met a girl like this before."

When I met her (.. she walked up to my desk after class) .. she was sleeping with her Statistics book under her pillow ..

.. as tho the formulas might magically levitate themselves into her consciousness.

I'm like, "Uh, that's not how it works."

[ Perhaps now you can understand why some have suggested that I am the one who got the Film school girl thru Film school. Especially grad school, where the focus is on » doing .. rather than » learning.

This came from others. Not me.

She worked very hard. Amazingly hard. She would dump a handful of Advil into the front pocket of her jeans at 6AM and say » "See ya tonight. I should be home by ten or eleven. And then I'll need to edit video for a few hours."

And then do it again the next day. And the next. Boundless energy.

She would drag your ass into the bedroom, throw you down and have her way with you .. until you were exhausted, begging for mercy.

"Have I got a special treat for you." ]

She says, "I'm not a math person. But I need this stupid Statistics class for my degree path. How do you know this shit? You're the only one in the whole class who seems to get this guy."

"I read ahead a few chapters," I said. "So I know the general flavor of what's coming. But the way that he teaches what is contained in the book seems designed to confuse, rather than clarify."

Statistics, as I encountered it, is about knowing which formula to apply in order to solve your problem. Once you know that .. the rest was easy .. cuz I could show her which buttons to press on a calculator.

That impressed her. She went from clueless to button-pushing Statistics wiz. I could see that she wanted to throw me down right then-n-there and have her way with me. (I jest, yes, but not entirely.)

She had two brothers, one older, one younger. No sisters. Thus reinforcing my point about tomboys. "Before I met you," she later told me, "I never owned a pair of high-heels."

The kicker came one day after a different class, when I stopped by her house unannounced. On PCH at Crown Valley, I could turn left to go home or right to her house.

Spur-of-the-moment I turned right, and she happened to be home. The door was open. "Hello?" I called out.

She came around the corner and when she saw me, a great smile broke across her face. (Her dad was a dentist, so she had great teeth.) How can you stay away from someone who you know is genuinely glad to see you?

I digress. But that was fun, nonetheless. It's always fun when a girl pours warm sesame oil down your spine and into the crack of your butt .. by candlelight. Let me tell you.

This is also the girl who took me on my best vacation ever. "We're throwing all our stuff in storage," she said, ..

.. "and you're coming with me this summer. I'm going to show your military-industrial ass things it has never seen.

Big Sur Bridge Foggy SunsetFirst we're heading up to Big Sur for some camping at Pfeiffer and a special treat at Deetjen's.

We probably wont be able to get into the Benedictine Hermitage .. but we can try.

Maybe we'll be able to score a few nights at one of the two environmental sites .. where you have to hike everything in.

Then we head over and meet the kids and their friends at Yosemite ..

.. where we hike to the top of Half Dome on my birthday during a meteor shower.

By the time we return, I'll have you hugging trees and eating sushi and drumming in drum-circles around a fire at the beach. You can run but you can't hide. Just watch and see. Your military-industrial ass is mine."

She was playfully competitive like that. My point » she knew how to handle me. But back to the Dog.

» The Dog Confronts His Parents

The Dog also told me how, after many years, he approached his parents .. about some of the behaviors he had endured while growing up there in Hoboken (like Marques).

"They totally denied it," he said. "They denied everything .. like they had total amnesia."

"That was very courageous of you, Dog," I said. "It must have been very hard." You can lead a horse to water...

He was hoping for some kind of apology .. to help him get beyond the mis-treatment he endured as a child. But it was not coming. Are you surprised?

[ It is beyond the scope of today's entry, but I never cease to be amazed at the ability of some to forget shit they find uncomfortable. This 'forgetting' looks genuine to me. Sometimes I am tempted to be jealous .. because of what Nietzsche said. ]

» The Girl at the Gas Station in San Clemente at Midnight

I know only ONE person .. who ever had a Confronted-Parent respond in a way that brought any degree of comfort or healing. A girl, tho I am not talking about the Film school girl. No. (That's another story, entirely.)

Lindsay Lohan on OprahAnd I must say .. this girl who confronted her dad about shit that had fucked her up ..

.. she was definitely a wow-girl.

Very interesting. Very sexy. Very different.

She had been to galaxies I didnt even know existed. (And to some cold and desolate planets).

Irresistible chemistry. Made my hormones do things I did not think possible. Electricity in her fingertips. Like she had the combination to my safe. So intuitive.

"How can such a thing be possible? How do you know me so well? Who are you, really?"

I will tell you a secret if you promise not to tell anybody » this girl *is* the nuclear-grade lace-top thigh-high girl. Well .. she was the original, anyway.

She opened my eyes in many ways. She was bi-sexual. And older women were craving her stuff (she once lamented).

Rad note » the section of today's entry that deals with the Wow Girl is so different from the rest of the entry that I transferred the contents to its own, separate entry .. see here » The Wow Girl.

At the end of that entry, I provide a link to return you here to the exact spot from which this text was lifted.

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» Folks who celebrated the New Year one century ago had no idea that their world was about to wane nasty beyond anything they could possibly imagine. Now there's probably a valuable lesson hidden in there, somewhere.

The Ballad of Bob Dylan | A Portrait, by Daniel Mark EpsteinOn a more recent note .. if a sharp-dressed man walked up to me and said ..

» "I'm here to make you the voice of your generation" ..

.. I would say » "Dude, knock it off. You're freaking me out with that shit."

When all of a sudden, a girl, who is one of the 300 people following him, runs up and says ..

» "You're freaking out? Oh my God. That's so profound. Cuz I'm freaking out, too. I can so RELATE to your freaking out."

Trying to ignore little Miss Relater, I address the Sharp-dressed man and ask » "Does this thing come with a burden?"

He gives me a perplexed look, then turns to the 300. There is a pause .. before they all erupt in laughter.

» Feet to the Fire

As the raucous dies down he turns back, looking thoroughly amused, and says, "Sorry. I havent laughed like that in ages."

Wiping a tear from the corner of his eye, he explains » "You obviously dont understand. Does the phrase » 'feet-to-the-fire' mean anything to you?"

Now, you might *think* that you'd fancy yourself the voice of your generation .. and say with eager anticipation, "Look no further, dawg. I'm your boy."

Jean Dujardin | A Sharp-Dressed ManBut if the sharp-dressed man actually showed up, with his crew of 300 ..

.. I bet you'd get scared shitless and say » "Give it to Dylan."

Just a hunch.

Because I would imagine that .. in order to be the voice of your generation ..

.. you would need to go thru the shit that they go thru ..

.. in order to get an idea of what it is like to live in their world. No? (Who would ever want something like that?)

[ Hmm. I find it interesting that Pushkin (1799-1837) found inspiration in the verses from Isaiah that I linked to in that last sentence.

And that he used that inspiration to write » The Prophet (1825).

Does being the 'voice-of-your-generation imply prophetic qualities?

Necessarily? Like you cant have one without the other? ]

Otherwise, how can you relate to them? Or better yet » how can they relate to you?

How can your voice be authentic? How can it resonate with the confidence that says » "Let me tell you what I mean." ? Without intimately understanding their world. Without walking a mile in their shoes?

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Not Talking About Writing - Part 4/4

» 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...

Blue hoverboard, clearly operational » 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.

Reflections in Autumn» 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.

Pope Francis carries his own bag onto a planeIs 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."

Pope Francis on Gays | July 29, 2013I 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?

World Youth Day July 2013 Rio de Janiero, Brazil | Copacabana BeachDoes 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>

Inception Glass of Water | Something unusual is going on hereI 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.

Dos Equis Cervesa Mas Fina» 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.

St. Francis at Meditation Gardens in EncinitasTho 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.

Holy Grail from Indiana Jones, The Last CrusadeSpeaking 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.

Not Talking About Writing - Part 3/4

» This page is PART THREE, continued from » Part Two. It was split into FOUR pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go...

Pyramids at sunset» Increasing Size & Complexity

Have you noticed? by the way, how my entries have been growing?

.. in both size/length and complexity? And probably a few other ways, too.

I now have *two* 4-page entries » The Broken Butterfly (January 11) and » Big Brother (May 23).

Both coming in 2013. Can't say I sense any slowing.

The (compressed) HTML content alone of those entries totals to more than 100-KB - for EACH entry (120) . HTML = text + mark-up.

It feels, I must say, completely organic .. the growth .. in that I would prefer to say-n-exit what I need to say. But if nobody is saying what needs to be said .. then wtf?

[ Specially when the Bill of Rights goes up for auction. For sale to the highest bidder.

I mean, I would not be able to live with myself if I stood by silently .. while it sells to the highest bidder.

Fuck that noise. I'm feeling all Braveheart now. Where's my blue woad? Let's DO this thing.

Etain, Shewolf of the CenturionSeems like the sentiment is contagious.

Let it not be said of our generation » "They stood around with their thumbs up their asses while the government systematically dismantled the entire Bill of Rights" ]

I am not prepared right now to discuss increasing psychological depth. But it's there ..

.. not far from the door labeled insanity. Right down the hall from Alice and her rabbit hole. =)

If I recall correctly, I took you down to the Dog's gelatin membrane .. the one that separates sanity from insanity ..

.. where we talked to the dude on the other side .. shortly after visiting Dracula .. but before we watched Anne Rice interview Mr. Vampire. Off the porch we got. Soul-fucking torment.

(Which is why I am not prepared right now .. to discuss increasing psychological depth.)

And each of those 4-page entries comes with ~ 1500-KB worth of representative graphics, which I encode rather generously, to favor a higher quality image. Hand-crafted Rad-ness.

Made with love. Travaux d'architecte. (Architectural work/labor, as Proust called it.)

These rudimentary metrics, I understand, are beyond the simple word-count of the Twentieth century novelist, but they help me compare where I was with where I seem to be heading.

Tho never size for size's sake. I mean, I could easily turn an entry like » Gatsby into a 10-page entry, if number of pages were the goal.

Wolf howling at the full moonPerhaps this is something I will do with today's entry .. break it up into many smaller pages .. just to experiment.

And one the factors affecting this complexity is the » hyperlink. Because that's where I hide my background research .. the supporting evidence .. for my seemingly outlandish claims.

[ It is another discussion, entirely .. but with good hyperlink skillz, and effective use of graphics, a 21-st century writer can now convey the essential wisdom of an entire novel .. in just a chapter or two. ]

The hyperlink is the thing that makes HTML (running on the Web) such a powerful technology, as you know. And don't forget abut the inclusion of graphics, audio, and multi-media. Mui powerful.

Tho my graphics (I have observed) always come AFTER I layeth down the text. For what it's worth. Always. An observed "psychological rule" as Proust might say. It is what it is.

So (in other words) picking the perfect graphic can be a lot of fun. Like getting your paycheck after a long hard week. So the harder you work, the more you appreciate the graphic. =)

Later, when it comes time to edit and prune dead weight, the graphics also help me to find more quickly the passage I am looking for. My graphics do not always correspond precisely to the topic at hand. Tho they are normally in the ball park. So they are still a good (quick) gross homing beacon.

So when I sit down to edit these large entries .. to try to squeeze out everything but the delicious juicy grandeur .. I need to have open at least 8 pages. The back-end for each four, and also the front-end. Others, sure. But those 8 are the starting point.

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Not Talking About Writing - Part 2/4

» This page is PART TWO, continued from » Part One. It was split into FOUR pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go...

» What Does the Catcher-in-the-Rye Catch? and Why?

Notice that the 'catcher' (in the rye) .. catches » kids .. and tries to save them from bad shit .. of which they know not .. stuff that lurks nearby.

This might be a good place to mention .. the Dozier School for Boys. Now, normally most Americans would never have heard of the name » Dozier.

Heck, I had to keep looking it up myself .. every time I wanted to mention it (such as with Florida) .. or to drop somewhere as a clarifying link.

It occurred to me .. that the reason I know that name .. is not because of the school, but because of the blood .. innocent blood .. that speaks .. that testifies .. to the point where vindication becomes necessary.

JD Salinger (1919-2010)Or we as a nation suffer for it.

» What Gives? (with The Catcher in the Rye)

What is it about Catcher in the Rye? Lani had to read it for high school. She said, "This book is really good," and let me have her copy afterwards.

"Let me see what all this commotion is about," I said.

I just checked .. and Catcher in the Rye is currently ranked #13 in Amazon sales. All sales. Of all books. Even today's best sellers. Remarkable?

The feeling you get reading Catcher in the Rye is » "Thank God there is intelligent life out there .. that gets it. That really gets it."

» GCE = Gross Conceptual Error = Dont Get It

In the Navy's Nuclear school, the worse possible letters you could get returned on an exam were » GCE (always in red letters). Gross conceptual error.

That means you dont even understand the most fundamental aspects of the concept. And if you dont understand the most fundamental aspects (.. the questions begs itself) .. what hope do you have of going any further?

I never saw anybody make it, who got a GCE. So when I think of Salinger .. I think of somebody who » gets it. (No red GCE.)

A young JD Salinger, I hear, worked in/for/with Military Intelligence .. not unlike a young Edward Snowden. He saw lots of ugly shit.

Fortunately, this ugly shit is beyond the scope of today's entry. You know how I like to keep my topics nice-n-tidy. =)

But it makes the conspiracy theorist wonder .. if maybe Salinger somehow included some coded military secrets.

Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago this November .. so, no doubt the conspiracy theories will be circulating among the members of VFD.

A Series of Unfortunate Events (1999-2006) by Lemony Snickett» Esmé Squalor & the Mysterious Lemony Snicket

I will say however, that I did not know (until today) that the name » Esmé Squalor .. who I have been hearing so much about with the Bug ..

.. over the last year or two .. originally comes from Salinger. I have learned much from Lemony Snicket. Far more than I would ever have imagined possible.

Which is interesting .. cuz, when I think of people who 'get it' .. I think of » Lemony Snicket (and VFD).

Both the subtlety and the knock-on [ "Anybody home?" ]. I would say that episode 3/13 was probably best .. The Wide Window .. in that respect.

If you liked Catcher in the Rye, you'll looove.... No, Lemony is not Hollywood Handsome [.. like me], but momma taught me never to judge a book by its cover.

Yes, I was surprised at the part where he mentions [ in A Series of Unfortunate Events ] the theme of Anna Karenina (.. in a book "for ages 8 and up").

His degree of intellectual penetration .. in certain unmentionable areas .. I find remarkable. Actually, it's beyond mere intellect. I admit that I dont have it totally figured out.

The exact same feeling I got from Catcher in the Rye. And who knows why three people use that book to justify their psycho ideas of murder?

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