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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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Most Precious Parenting Memories

» I have a special treat today. For me! Today I share a few of my most favorite parenting memories. Vignettes of early fatherhood that I've never shared before. Some of my most precious memories. Places I go when I'm missing the Bug.

Since Newtown, and especially after seeing those photos of Peter's newborn son .. I've been thinking ..

Pooh and Christopher Robin Walking together in the Hundred Acre Wood.. about the preciousness of little children. The innocence. (The most fragile of graces.)

My first precious parenting memory that I'd like to share today comes from the time when the Bug was very small. I'm not sure .. maybe 2 years old.

It was the middle-of-the-night .. when we were living back at the old house. (What an enchanted place that was. A safe haven for us. A sanctuary. A quiet, protected sanctuary.)

» Little Hand | Big Face

I remember being very tired when I heard him stir (.. sleeping there beside me).

It was dark, very dark .. and I was facing the other way .. in the process of summoning the strength to turn and see what he was doing ..

.. when I felt his hand light on my face .. his tiny, little hand .. exploring the contours of my face. With those tiny little fingers.

I suspect he was simply trying to determined who it was sleeping there beside him. (He had been going back-n-forth between his mom & his dad since well before his first birthday.)

Anyway, I felt his little hand explore my face, my scruffy face .. then he laid back down, and went back to sleep. =)

Words seem wholly inadequate to describe the feeling. Like nothing I had ever experienced. So precious was the feeling .. that I can still feel that little hand today.

PS - Happy Easter! "He is not here, for He is risen, just as He said."

Environmental Nature Center | Newport Beach, California » A Waking Smile in the Woods

I used to take the Bug to the Environmental Nature Center (ENC) there in Newport Beach .. because of the wonderful wooded feeling you get ..

.. which is difficult to find anywhere else in semi-arid Orange county without a considerable drive. It reminded me of Connecticut, where I grew up. [ For 150 meters, anyway. =) ]

When he was still very small I would carry him .. thru the wooded areas of the ENC. Eventually he would become drowsy as his nap time approached.

One time, I noticed he was already asleep. So instead of taking him all the way back home, and maybe waking him in the process .. I simply found a comfortable place to lie down just off the beaten trail.

A New Dad with his Newborn Son!

» Special treat for you today! Photos from a new dad. Peter is one of the many online acquaintances I met thru this site over the years.

Peter & his infant son fast asleepHe is a real (professional) programmer who has helped me write scripts (in Perl) to help manage the site.

Actually, I shouldnt take more credit than I deserve. Fact is, Peter wrote the scripts himself ..

.. and then helped me troubleshoot the minor bugs I encountered running it. =)

[ The power of these little scripts (barely a few kb) to leverage the features of the design-environment of the host program ..

.. and to do very many things nearly instantly .. things that would take a whole day (or more) to do by hand. It's like these scripts vibrate with power.

[ Mr. Perl: "Yes, I will process you. Yes, I will run your set of instructions. So come here, young man. And make it snappy." =) ]

Before I actually run them, I triple-check to make sure everything is perfect. (More power means that mistakes are less forgiveable.)

See my note about the rise of MOOCs at the end of today's entry .. for a practical macro-example of the micro-pattern that I mention here.

The way that MOOCs use this leverage to multiply both ideas & knowledge .. with ultra-granular precision .. truly remarkable.

Most day-to-day computing insulates the power from you .. because the novice might unwittingly do much harm (quickly). But much power is available for the person who is willing to learn. ]

But first, yes, you have to learn the mojo. And the mojo is not the easiest thing to learn. It's almost another world, of sorts. Another way of thinking .. a very efficient way.

I was thinking about Peter recently cuz I hadnt heard from him in a while .. when I received word saying, "I'm a dad!"

Moreover he kindly gave me permission to share a couple of his most precious photos.

I was in a bit of a funk yesterday .. when I received his (personal) note with a link to the photos.

They seemed to miraculously cheer me up. See if they have the same effect on you:

  1. A newborn son in the hand of a new dad
  2. Peter & his newborn son fast asleep

» Questions for a New Dad

I want to ask Peter if having a son and becoming a father changes any of his ideas about the way our nation is racking up an enormous national debt and leaving it for his son's generation to pay .. all for seemingly no good reason.

Crack pipeBut he is still asleep. =)

<begin today's economic sidebar>

When will our leaders learn that using debt to artificially inflate asset prices (read » create bubbles) always ends badly?

[ reference.1, reference.2, reference.3, reference.4, reference.5, reference.6, reference.7, reference.8, reference.9, reference.10, reference.11, reference.12 ]

And when will they realize that taking on more debt to solve a problem that was created by too much debt ..

.. sounds frighteningly similar to what you might expect to hear coming out of the mouth of a crackhead or a junkie?

The leaders of our government can learn important lessons from a crackhead .. such as » when you quit, you feel like shit. But eventually you start to feel better. [ Hey, look! There's Jude! ]

Einstein says you can't fix a problem with the same [debt] thinking that was used to create it. (Cuz then you just have more of the same.)

If the economy is really on the mend, why does the unprecedented size of the Fed's balance sheet continue to grow to record levels? At what point does the size of the Fed's balance sheet become worrisome? (if not worrisome already)


The Best Day of a Second Grader's Life

» I have long since realized that parenting involves more than a proverbial annual pilgrimage to Disneyland. But I still harbor the notion .. that a father/son day with my boy at the Happiest Place on Earth would be a blast. A total blast!

Baloo & Mogli | Jungle BookBack before the Bug was born, I used to visit Disneyland every year on my birthday .. to celebrate it the happiest way I knew.

My b-day falls in January. Mid-week you have the whole place pretty much to yourself. Short lines. Minimal waits. "That was awesome! Let's do it again!"

Yes, I have been there during the summer break .. on the weekend, no less. No fun. Two hours in every line. A mass of sweaty bodies baking in the sweltering sun. (Never again.)

No, I have not been to Disneyland with the Bug, but I *did* spend some time with him this weekend. If you are a regular here, then you know about some of the too-adorable things that he has said and done.

Now, certainly these parenting vignettes are always nice. Yes, very nice. Precious, even. But sometimes I feel like I actually need them. Because they breathe new life into me (.. often when I need it most).

Case in point, this weekend, the Bug says (.. to his girlfriend, they're both 8) » "Isnt this the best day of your life?"

» What Constitutes the Best Day of your Life?

There we were .. sitting in a yogurt shop. The girl's grampa was there, too. The kids had just finished their yogurt and were starting on the candy. (Must be 50 different jars there. Easy.)

And gramps says to his granddaughter, "You're gonna get me in trouble with all that candy." She got way more than the Bug, and she's sharing her sugar-coated strips of sour ribbon. Generously.

And I say to the Bug, "Oh, we have a few good get-dad-in-trouble stories, don't we?"

And I told gramps and his granddaughter the story about how, one summer day, while we were down at the Newport Pier .. two girls were driving around in a Red Bull car .. with a big red bull mounted on the roof.

As we were locking our bikes there near the pier, the pretty girls called out, "Would you like some Red Bull?"

"Can we, dad?" the Bug asked. "Okay," I said. "Just one."

These bikini-clad girls were driving around on a scorching summer day, handing out samples of ice cold Red Bull. People were flocking from all around, soon surrounding their Bullmobile.

Red Bull canThe Bug walked over and the driver handed him a can, a small can, the 4 ouncer. His eyes were lit up as he walked back.

» "We won't tell mom."

He got me in trouble with that. So it surprised me when, it wasnt many weeks until he asked again.

This time we were standing in line at a store check-out ..

.. beside a mini-fridge, stocked with both the 4- and 8-ounce cans. "Can we get some Red Bull, dad?"

I looked down at him. "Don't you remember?" I asked, warily, "what happened the last time I gave you Red Bull?"

"We won't tell mom," he says.

I paused to study his face. "You'll get me in trouble."

"No I won't," he said, rather convincingly.

"Okay. One of the little cans. We'll split it." So he opened the case and grabbed one. (I admit I'm easy.)

I checked the time on my cell. This was an hour or two before he was scheduled to go back to his mom. (We normally spent 2½ days together.)

[ I must admit, as I calculated the t-minus number, I could see the risk. Something seemed say, "Dude, you are asking for trouble." =) ]

We sat outside on one of the benches. I popped the top and handed him the icy can. He took a sip and passed it back. A few more passes and it was empty. Less than a minute. We were riding our bikes that time also, so any energy had a physical outlet.

» 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.

And now, without further commercial interruption, the conclusion of » Dostoevsky, Aaron Swartz and the Broken Butterfly of Tomorrow. Here you go...

Baloo & Mogli | Jungle Book» Parenting & Paraphrasing

So I identify with Aaron, easily .. with parenting representing the most significant difference.

[ I could be wrong, but I do not think Aaron had children. ]

The threat-of-jail pales beside the threat of losing your son. Tho I must say .. that I was faced with mere days, possibly weeks. Not months or possibly years, like young Aaron. ]

The threat of losing your child fucks with your head .. in a far more exquisite manner. In my opinion. Straight to the looney farm.

The thing with jail is that .. it is the FEAR-of-the-unknown that fucks with your head. The p-r-o-l-o-n-g-e-d fear is definitely worse than jail itself. (In my admittedly limited opinion.)

And yes, jail does indeed suk very badly. But any experience with institutions should help there.

That 'parenting' thing .. seems to run below / underneath the part of us that rationalizes.

Cuz I recall that my thinking was obviously severely distorted on one level .. yet remarkably lucid on another.

My clearest recollection .. was that of feeling literally 6 feet under .. as tho I were ALREADY dead .. and as tho I was looking UP at the ground .. at the zero point.

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» 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...

» Aaron Swartz Hangs Himself in NYC on January 11

Aaron Swartz hangs himself in NYC on January 11, 2013UPDATE - Oh, this is sad. Very sad. I just saw that Aaron Swartz hung himself today. At age 26. In New York City. (Brooklyn.) January 11th, 2013.

Such promise. Such remarkable promise. What a loss. What a colossal loss .. for the cause .. of sanity against insanity.

Of certainty against uncertainty. Of freedom against incarceration. Of life against death.

A beacon in the darkness .. extinguished, silenced forever.

It may surprise you, Mr. U.S. Justice Man, but some people actually need a reason a live .. and you took his away.

When unrighteous shit like this happens to our brothers, to our prophets .. we need to cry out .. to make it know .. that we DO NOT AGREE with our ancestors deeds.

Therefore, let it be known unto you. Let this serve as a solemn protest.

» Fight of the Ages!

Announcer: "Ladies and gentlemen, in THIS corner! .. we have » Yesterday!" [ crowd cheers with wild enthusiasm ]

"And in the OTHER corner, we have » Tomorrow!" [ crowd curiously silent ]

Confused-sounding Announcer » "Uh .. something seems to have happened to Tomorrow."

Tomorrow has been persecuted (by Yesterday) so savagely .. that Tomorrow said, "Fuck it!"

The endangered Schaus swallowtail butterfly (male)Tomorrow is a butterfly that has been broken over a wheel.

A beautiful butterfly, broken over an ugly wheel.

A very ugly wheel. A corrupt ugly wheel .. that discriminates against youth .. on the behalf of age.

Do you not recognize .. can't you see .. that Tomorrow is being sacrificed .. for the sake of Yesterday?

From my perspective, it is not difficult to see. Not at all difficult. Because clearly, Yesterday can vote ..

.. while Tomorrow can't. And you only seem to care about getting (re)elected. That's sad. Very sad (.. especially for Tomorrow).

You know .. if the government were smart, it would have funded a Research Group .. and made Aaron the director. Just imagine what effect that remarkable young man might have had ..

. on technology that increases efficiency .. and that helps people everywhere become more efficient ..

.. sort of like, you know » Steve Jobs, Mr. Apple himself. Patriarch of one of our nation's largest companies.

Aaron already HAS contributed to our nation (.. and the entire world) .. things which have had a positive effect. But you dont seem to value his contributions .. as much as the ones by those who MAKE MONEY.

Steve Jobs (1955-2011)Perhaps this is why our economy is still sputtering after .. years, now. Why it is only benefitting a select few.

Perhaps .. in their fear of radically new things / technologies ..

.. they are unwittingly stifling good old fashioned Unites States creative ingenuity.

I don't understand why you continue to focus all of your energy on bullshit .. and ignore the real problems facing our nation and our economy.

You need more vision .. than just what you can see leading up to the next election cycle. I think the term for your condition is » myopia. Political myopia.

[ And you need to grow some cojones while you work on fixing the vision problem. Obama needs to grow the courage to follow the law .. just like you & me .. and all the other "little people".]

» The Weight of a Suicide .. of a Geek's Geek

I did not know Aaron, but this grieves me .. more than I expected. I needed to go for a walk. The weight was surprising. (Perhaps because this comes so soon after Newtown. Less than a month. Maybe I am still grieving for those 20 first-graders.)

What a stark reminder that human beings have limits .. to the bullshit they can endure .. especially those who are more human than most.

Even a cursory look at the circumstances and the comments coming in from around the world make it easy for me to identify with him. Because he was Geek's geek ..

.. caught up in an heartless legal system .. that was bound and determined .. to grind him into sausage meat .. without any regard for the need for human dignity. "If you dare disagree with the Overlord$, you are not even worthy of human dignity."

It seems as tho our government cannot tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys. As Harvard professor, Lessig [ who knew Aaron since Aaron was just a kid ] said »

"Remember, we live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House -- and where even those brought to "justice" never even have to admit any wrongdoing, let alone be labeled "felons."

Alan Turing | Father of Computer Science (1912-1954)I admit .. this kind of shit (injustice, inequality) pisses me off. It frosts my ass. Because it clearly isnt right.

Aaron stood for what I myself stand for. So it feels like a part of me has died .. under nasty circumstances. Horribly nasty.

Light a candle, ye Geeks. A candle of remembrance. The flame will speak.

Meanwhile Jon Corleozonie .. you know » Mr-Uh-I-somehow-LOST-$1.6-Billion-Dollars-of-Other-People's-Money .. has never even been charged with a crime.

[ Not hard to find victims THERE, is it, Jonnie? Because they have lined up .. and line disappears around the block.

The Authorities: "What's that, Jon? You lost a few billion of other people's money? No problem. Hey, shit happens, bro."

Meanwhile, the same Authority a little later: "Hey you over there .. with the 6-pack tucked under your arm. Dont make me tase you, dude." ]

How do we reconcile such vast disparity in justice? We can't. It is merely one-more-spotlight .. on the sad fact .. that our government has been co-opted. Clearly the wealthy-few OWN our government. And therefore they own us.

You set yourselves up as gods when you do that » "We-up-here, above the law, can do whatever the fuck we like. While you chumps down there in Sausage-land .. have different rules. Sausage-manufacturing rules. Make more sausage faster."

» Bouazizi & Swartz » Both 26 when they Committed Suicides-of-Despair

Do you not recognize similarities with Mohamed Bouazizi, the kindly street vendor who torched himself in the streets of Tunisia .. which became the event that led to the outrage that ignited the Arab Spring?

Mohamed Bouazizi (1984-2011).. who also died, coincidentally, at age 26 .. exactly two years and one week ago. And the fires are still raging there in the Middle East.

The same age Einstein was the year (1905) when he kicked maximum scientific ass .. while working in his SPARE TIME, no less ..

.. as a 3rd rate patent clerk .. because he could not land a teaching job, despite countless applications, nor even get into a PhD program.

The world is still trying to comprehend the implications of Einstein's muscular throw-down when he was just 26 years old. (Still.)

I also can't help but think of Alan Turing, the Father-of-Computer-Science, who committed suicide .. by eating a cyanide-laced apple .. after his government had him chemically castrated (.. for homosexuality) ..

in lieu of imprisonment .. after he played a major role in helping them win World War II .. by breaking the German Naval Enigma code (.. at Bletchly Park). No good deed goes unpunished.

Rumor has it that Alan's poison apple is where Apple Computer got its logo .. an apple with a single bite missing.

British government: "Thanks for helping us win the war, Alan. Looks like it's now time to cook your nuts now, seeing that we have no more wars for you to help us win. Thank-you for your service at Bletchley Park and cracking the German Enigma code that helped us win the war."

Dude, chemical castration .. is like dropping your 'nads into a pot of boiling water .. and leaving them there until they're well done. Hard-boiled.

That's what the British government did .. to one of the twentieth century's greatest geeks. So I'm not very surprised that he chose to kill himself (.. just like Aaron did).

[ I know it's hard to believe.. but governments have done worse shit than that. Waay worse. ]

» Warning Delivered | Warning Ignored | Momma Wizard Not Happy

Okay .. I tried to warn them » "Do NOT piss off the Geeks," I told them. I tried. You can lead a horse to water. I feel like I failed. Utterly.

Okay, here's what I said May 15th (.. copy-n-paste):

Guy Fawkes Anonymous MaskSo you've been busy. But .. if you piss them off, they will come after your ass. And they have special powers. You will RUE the day, my friend. Mark my words.

Because they are not forgiving, like me (« Mr. Niceguy). No, sir. Like an angry African wasp, they will sting .. and KEEP stinging ..

.. until their asses are good-n-sore. (That's why you dont want to provoke them.)

If they get really pissed, they will come after your ass .. with a vengeance. And then you're fucked. (Give me points for clarity. Ozy sends his best.)

Interesting, no? .. that Ozy was published on this exact date (January 11th) 195 years ago (1818).

Tho I also added:

I am not one of these wizards, no. (Not hardly.) But I understand them. I can FEEL them (.. we must share some of the same geeky chromosomes). Thermo-nuclear bonding, you might say.

This is how I know that you are in trouble. And I'm here to help (.. cue audio track of cavalry bugle cry amid the sound of galloping hooves). Consider it a lifeline.

So it's not like they werent warned. And I TOLD you they were wizards .. didnt I? [ Momma wizard is going to be verrry angry. ]

You probably already know this .. but for the benefit of our obviously-clueless government officials » "Dude, there is a tsunami coming." I dont know when it will make landfall .. but it will not be pretty. You might wanna look around for something sturdy to grab hold of.

» Stand the Fuck By

Mushroom cloudAnd you thought Sandy was bad. "Stand the fuck by."

Dylan wrote "It'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls." Unfortunately, Dylan never said when.

Japan had 9 minutes. The clock has started. Tickety-tock went the clock.


Update - Jan 26, 2013. Oh, I just saw » THIS .. Anonymous' response to the government's handling of Aaron Swartz (.. very well articulated, as usual) ..

.. which ends with a promise » "Not this time. This time there will be change or there will be chaos."

Give them points for clarity. Two weeks to the day. That was quick. Easy to see the 'love' they put into it.

I have been trying to tell you .. that they do not think like you. (And they seem to have the patience of a saint.)

Part of the art & craft of Writing, as I see it, is to convey the most .. in either the clearest, most efficient, or most artistic way .. depending on the desired result and your intended audience.

So I caught myself admiring the sentence construction. Nobody will be able to claim that their position was ambiguous. Certainly more tasteful than I would have done.

I find it noteworthy that Henry Miller wrote » "Dostoevsky is chaos and fecundity" .. implying that, in the writing of the Russian, the two forces meet to create a » "vortex in the bubbling maelstrom." In other words » humanity.

If you were selected to write the one sentence that was to initiate the countdown sequence to doomsday .. that would be it. =)

I jest of course, but it's the truthful undercurrent that makes it funny. Actually, the last two sentences go together. The repetition made me think of Hemingway.


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» 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...

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881)» Who is this DostoYEVsky dude?

"Who?" I interrupted and asked. But the officer [off-going EOOW] wanted to continue with his original train of thought.

So I waited a little and asked again. =)

"Who's this dahs-tuh-YEF-skee dude?"

My recollection of his answer goes something like »

"He's a Russian novelist from the 19th century who wrote about subjects that are DARK, such as Crime and Punishment. He had remarkable psychological insight. He could see into your soul."

The word 'dark' was the thing that stuck out. My curiosity was piqued .. because I found myself wondering » "Why would anybody want to write about a dark subject? Because who would ever READ about such a thing?"

I remember walking away and thinking to myself, "Crime and punishment .. that is a HORRIBLE topic. Nobody in their right mind would ever want to read about crime and certainly not about punishment."

[ Key phrase » in their 'right mind'. ]

The thoughts continued to come as I ducked thru the water-tight door, heading forward to the mess decks .. with the aroma of grease-burgers growing stronger.

[ The officers eat by themselves, with the captain and the XO .. not with us lowly enlisted folks. Heck, even the chiefs won't eat with us. They eat in the "goat locker." ]

"This Dostoevsky dude must be very strange," I thought. And I wondered what events in someone's life could make them such an expert on the disk-side .. that they are able to write entire novels on the subject.

[ That is obviously a dangerous rabbit-hole-of-a-question, my friend. =) So let's go take a look .. and see where this wormhole leads. ]

Clearly, there was something I did not understand. But at 21, there's a lot you dont understand. You just don't know it. (Yet.)

Perhaps it is worth noting .. that the first time I heard the name 'Dostoevsky' .. I was standing on a large movable object .. specifically designed to rain down death and destruction .. on a scale never before seen on the planet (.. should the need arise).

So you could call it » The Exterminator. (The life exterminator.)

Tho officially [ repeat after me ] .. "I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons aboard this United States naval vessel."

And over the years .. I would hear this distinctive Russian name mentioned .. you know, here and there .. from time to time.

But every time .. the thought would come » "There's something there .. something you might want to look into .. if you have cojones grande sufficientcio. A taunting distant echo » 'Are you afraid of the dark?'."

Martin Luther King Jr (1929-1968)» The Great Prophet of the Twentieth Century

And these mentionings always contained a bit of fright in the person who uttered the name ..

.. as tho he would immediately run away, shouting over his shoulder, "He's coming! Run!"

Yes, I exaggerate, but that's the mood I remember. Dostoevsky's name only arises in certain types of conversations.

And this was before I learned that the French existential philosopher Albert Camus [ ca-'moo, 1913-1960 ] called Dostoevsky "the great prophet of the twentieth century".

But the thing I dont get is .. Dostoevsky [1821- 1881] never lived in the twentieth century. He died nearly two decades shy. So how can he be "the great prophet of the 20th century"? See my point?

Is Albert saying that Dostoevsky was ABLE TO SEE INTO .. the next century? Sure would seem that way.

But if Dostoevsky is "the Great Prophet of the Twentieth Century" .. then who is the Great Prophet of the Twenty-First Century? .. the century in which you and I live.

I'll return to this question later. For now, I am merely cocking back our slingshot .. so later we can let the smooth stone fly .. with added velocity.

Yours truly» I am thinking of a book. Try to guess the name of the novel I have in mind.

I will give you a hint. My hint is an excerpt extracted from the Wikipedia entry for this title. So see if this next sentence rings a bell »

"Acclaimed the world over .. by intellectuals as diverse as .. Freud, Einstein, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Cormac McCarthy and Kurt Vonnegut .. as one of the supreme achievements in literature."

Supreme achievement? Uh, do you mean as in » 'EV-vuh'? As in » the-history-of-the-planet? Homo sapiens ultimo maximus?

Like » near or at the top of what our species has been able to accomplish in literature? .. a species whose trajectory-of-civilization has been defined by centuries of intellectual development.

The only species capable of inventing symbolic written language and using it to communicate among themselves. "Bonjour."

Such big words. My goodness. Any ideas? Care to venture a guess? Give up?

The KEY word in that excerpt, I think » diverse. There you have writers, yes, of course, but also very prominent philosophers, plus a psychologist [ » thee Psychologist of our most recently completed century ] ..

.. and even a physicist. Not just any physicist. No, sir. Rather thee physicist .. of the 20th century ..

Dr. J Robert Oppenheimer | Father of the Atomic Bomb (1904-1967)[ I say that with all due respect to Oppenheimer, who I hear was also a big fan of my mystery author ..

.. and who gave away copies of this other title (by the same author) to friends as a birthday present ..

.. a title, which, I hear, is "the best book ever written" on the subject of Revolutionary Conspiracy.

"Here's a little something I think you might enjoy. Happy birthday, dawg. How about another martini?" ]

.. not to mention that Einstein was declared Time magazine's » Person-of-the-Century.

You must admit .. that would be an impressive collection of signatories .. adding their John Hancocks to your already towering bona fides ..

.. seeing we could easily add to the list luminaries such as » Hemingway, Chekhov, Joyce, Sartre, Virginia Woolf, and EM Forester. More big names.

Regarding the original six, I could not, for example, have more respect for Cormac McCarthy (.. as a writer, as an author, and as a brave man). For me, Cormac is like Elijah-the-prophet .. in that he » turns the heart of the fathers to the children.

 » Harold Bloom Chokes Twice on Blood Meridian Before Speaking

Speaking of Cormac McCarthy .. the inside-flap of my Modern Library copy of Blood Meridan [thanks to Paula, who gave me her new copy, which she could not read] says »

"Widely considered one of the finest novels by a living writer, Blood Meridan is an epic tale of the violence and corruption that attended America's westward expansion .. I venture that no other living American novelist, not even Pynchon, has given us a book as strong and memorable."

America's most celebrated literary critic, Harold Bloom calls Blood Meridan "the greatest single book since Faulkner's As I Lay Dying" [which was published back in 1930, 83 years ago]. There's an eyebrow-raising statement, no?

Cormac McCarthy (1933- ) | The Real DealBlood Meridian is not an easy novel to read. Even the celebrated Bloom himself choked on it during his first attempt. His first *two* attempts, actually.

Here are Harold's own words (taken straight from the novel's 8-page Introduction):

"I will begin by confessing that my first two attempts to read through Blood Meridian failed, because I flinched from the overwhelming carnage that McCarthy portrays.

The violence begins on the second page, when the fifteen-year-old-kid is shot in the back and continues almost with no respite until the end, thirty years later, when Judge Holden, the most frightening figure in all of American literature [.. sentence trucated due to spoiler]."

You have to steel yourself before cracking open a McCarthy novel (.. or you will choke) .. for the same reason that you don't set a t-bone steak before an infant.

It's like you have to go into training before taking on Cormac. Good luck. He has no mercy on your soul.

Only the courageous dare to attempt one of McCarthy's darker novels .. and even then at their own peril. The literary gods will gladly administer last rites to those determined to assimilate one of those. America's most celebrated Literary Critic himself twice required resusitation.

But what about some of those other names we find referenced there in my Wikpedia excerpt?

» Einstein Peels Back the Skin of Reality Itself

Einstein is almost certainly the greatest mind of the twentieth century, no? E=mc2. Relativity. Wave/particle duality. Quantum mechanics. The illusion of time. Truly mind-bending shit. Major cranial torqueage.

[ I can almost see Uncle Fester with his bald head jammed in a vice .. saying to Einstein, "Hey Albert, be a sport and give it another turn, will ya?"

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)E=mc2 is the reason I wanted to learn about reactors. "Show me how you boys make that E out of the m using the c-squared thingie."

Like magic, a nuclear reactor turns matter (mass) into energy. A very little mass (.. known technically as the mass defect) .. into energy. Very MUCH energy.

Notice that the c-squared is over on the mass-side of the equals sign, helping it to make LOTS of energy.

Yes, it's true that real matter actually disappears. No mas. Adios matter. Hello energy.

That, my friend, is what you call » power (turning matter into energy) .. a truly remarkable thing to behold .. especially when done on an industrial scale .. and in a highly controlled fashion.

And even more remarkable when the fashion is less controlled. ]

The way that Einstein was able to peel-back the very skin itself of (perceived) reality and say, "Dude, check this out! You won't believe what I found. Lookie here. Aint that some shit." .. is the reason why he is generally considered thee Baddest Dude of the entire 20th century.

And here's the kicker » Einstein did this shit IN HIS HEAD! (As if he werent already intellectually impressive enough.) His mind was like a super-collider. (Powerful enough to destroy centuries of well-entrenched classical ideas.)

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» This entry is PART TWO, continued from » Part One. It was split into two pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go .. the conclusion of » Shooting First Graders? Like Fish in a Barrel? What the Fuck?

» A Curious Connection & the Ability of Man

I'd rather not .. but I must say .. that I find it 'curious' .. that the VERY NEXT section in Matthew [.. in the very same chapter .. right after where Jesus says "Suffer little children" in verses 14+15 ] .. he next talks about » the Rich Young Ruler [ RYR .. in verses 16-26 ] ..

The Ability of Man.. who, as you probably know .. "went away sad." Why? Because » "he had great possessions."

To which Jesus comments » HOW HARD IT IS ".. for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven."

And everybody knows .. that the reason it's hard .. is cuz it's so easy for the Rich Man to trust in his riches (.. and not God).

Now, I can vouch .. that it's more difficult to trust in uncertain riches .. when you don't have any ..

.. when you are forced to go to Plan B. But EVEN THEN .. even then it's a struggle.

It just so happens .. that I've recently been conducting my own little experiments in this area.

And for me .. this trusting-in-riches thing FEELS LIKE .. a ROOT .. out of which I suck something that feels like security (comforting) ..

.. a root that is very difficult to pull up .. and which starts growing (all-by-itself, it seems) .. soon as you let it drop.

I would go so far as to say .. this is the MOST DIFFICULT scriptural thing I've found. [ Uh, seems like I already have. ]

[ For the sake of clarity .. I approach this thing .. with a technical mindset .. rather than a religious one. As the religious one can be clouded by tradition.

I'd had to leave all that behind. As 'IT' did not work for either of my parents .. who both died young. (And not very nicely, either.) ]

So .. I can sorta see why .. the VERY NEXT thing that Jesus says [.. after talking about HOW HARD it is for the Rich Man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven ] ..

.. is » "With men this is impossible." [ Because uh, I have *tried* .. and not necessarily because I wanted to. ]

» Impossible (with Men)

"Impossible," he said. In other words » with men » Mission Impossible. [ And if you fancy the trick a trifle, let me be the first to challenge you .. to sell everything. Give it all to the poor. Let me know how it goes, dawg. ]

Tolstoy tried this, I understand .. tho his wife, it seems, wasnt too keen on the idea. =) "Wealth corrupts us all," he said .. tho I don't know how unapologetically he said it.

The Ability of ManDoes wealth corrupt? We know that power does.

The love of money. Yes, that is certainly alive-n-well here in the United States.

The problem .. is that THIS PART of our society has captured our government. [ Perhaps that's why they call it 'Political Capture'. ]

And it seems that this love-of-money is the root of all kinds of bad shit.

[ Uh, now I think I know why trusting-in-riches .. feels like a 'root'. Cool light bulb. ]

So the wealth may or may not corrupt .. but the LOVE of it certainly does. Do I have it, right? (Hmmm. I will need to think about that.)

So if I myself am having a struggle in this area .. I don't see how it could possibly be any easier for the rich .. for the wealthy. Do you?

The scriptural implication here .. as I see it (.. correct me if I'm wrong) .. is that .. if we are to 'succeed' in this area (.. big IF) .. then we will need God in order to do it. No?

This is a discussion for another day. But see if this notion resonates with you .. and perhaps we may revisit in the future ..

.. because, it seems to me .. that if the 'root' (.. of all kinds of evil) is coming up (for good) .. then He's gonna have to be the One to do it.

That's MY read anyway .. and I can vouch that it certainly does feel beyond mere human ability.

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

» The Two Sides to the Denial Method of Coping

It may seem easier to simply deny the presence of a faulty circuit in our lives, and indeed, for the Fifth Grader, that may be his only option » to lock the sparking monster-of-pain in his closet and hope the ugly beast doesnt try to escape.

Monster hiding in the closetBut my experience has been .. that these sparking monsters, if not dealt with, continue to zap us thru-out our lives .. that these monsters never stay put.

They always escape .. and affect our lives (.. usually when we are least able to deal with them).

Then we grow up and develop skills, but we forget about the sparking monster that we stuck in the closet ..

.. or we simply get accustomed to him .. cuz he has been there so long .. even when he causes trouble and misbehaves.

They are never as scary as they seem. Tho they do indeed seem scary (.. especially for little people). But as adults, we now have SKILLS to deal with these things (.. and friends, and people who love us) .. that werent yet developed when we were small.

Some people simply rename their monsters, giving them adorable pet-names.

Me: "What the hell was *that*?
Them: "Oh, that's just Pookie. Isnt he cute?"
Me: "Uh, he looks pretty damn scary, if you ask me."
Them: "Oh don't worry. You'll get used to him. We're the best of friends. I've known him like forever."

Now yes, people can wallow in their misery. Yes, I've seen that. But I think you'll find it is rare, compared to the number of those who partake of the blessings of Denial.

I am not talking about the wallowers. Because far more people are in denial about their limiting problems than those who wallow in their misery, and all wallowers have much bigger problems than their wallowing.

[ There is a ditch on BOTH sides of the road .. that we need to avoid. ]

In general .. if you follow-the-fear .. follow the sparks .. it will lead to your monster .. to your bad, faulty circuit. Most people plant flowers along the path to their ugly monsters .. so it doesnt seem so bad.

Once you've found it, you can reach out touch it. Consciously. It's a conscious thing. Usually involving much emotion. But it's not about the emotion. That is simply a related function.

Don't wrestle with it; rather just reach out and touch it. Yes, it will zap you .. but that will be the beginning of its end. The rest will come intuitively (.. and Dostoevsky will suddently start to make sense).

[ What is the difference between denial and forgetting? ]

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