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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in jaelmara's LiveJournal:

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Monday, May 2nd, 2011
10:29 am
Why I cannot rejoice.
Why I do not rejoice.  

Ok, so I did for about a minute.  But then, I reflected on my intellectual and emotional journey of the day.  I started my day by finishing off Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said.  

He finishes the book with a quote from Hugo of St. Victor,
"The man who finds his homeland sweet is still a tender beginner; he to whom every soil is as his native one is already strong; but he is perfect to whom the entire world is as a foreign land."

Said says, "The tender soul has fixed his love on one spot in the world; the strong person has extended his love to all places; the perfect man has extinguished his.". Impressed by the way working through attachments helps validate each perspective, harmonizing under a transcendent perspective, I moved on to read a book I've heard a lot of good about Blue Like Jazz.

I read the entirety of Blue Like Jazz, which was great by the way, (and I hate myself for being that trendy or disaffected, but summarizes my whole post-seminary attitude and experience.). 

The appeal of a spirituality which has extinguished its attachment to a narrow, parochial concern and finds the highest expression in exile because All of humanity and God are there, gives me peace.

As the day drew to a close I heard the news about the death (read assassination) of Osama bin Laden, and I rejoiced for about a minute.  Until people gathered on the White House lawn chanting "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!", then it pained my soul, that we destroyed an image of God.  Even if as an American it was something necessary, (if I were prosecuting a war on terror and had killed bin Laden, I'd cover it up and report him dead of kidney failure to diminish the potential for retribution, I'm jus' sayin') there is a higher principle within me that cannot rejoice.

Current Mood: worried
Thursday, December 30th, 2010
2:04 am
Convo with cabdriver in New Orleans...

Cabbie: The guys you were with tonight, they kissed your hand, they were very nice. I've never seen this here.
Me: Yes, they are very nice, they are the guys that don't like women.
Me: Well, they love the women' but they don't like the woman.
Cabbie: Oh, they are the gays.
Me: Yes, gays.
Cabbie: So, they are the gays?
So with the gays, the man plays the man and the woman plays the woman, no?
Me: Well, they are having a discussion right now, who is "playing the woman".
Usually, the man is the man and the woman is the woman, but they have not decided who is the man or woman.

Cabbie: Ahhh!

Current Mood: drunk
Friday, July 16th, 2010
4:29 am
The Baby of Damocles
Again the deuteragonist? Doubly demoted in the narrative?

Dunno, but this is starting to feel like that situation last year about this time where the medical system enveloping he patient was unable to correctly handle the patients condition: diagnostically, clinically, and treatment.

At any rate, I'm starting to feel like this situation is much less dependent upon my self advocacy. I'm now a cog in the hospital machinery, one called patient. From here on out the integrity of the system is what will drive this process. It's weakness will show in my care and outcome. And the hospital a microcosm of new Orleans, and Louisianas healthcare system a product of our poverty, and so forth ad absurdum.

I'm much less optimistic about a good outcome, I see a few docs who don't know what to do with this rare case, and if they care is less certain. It's the middle of vacation time, so the machinery isn't functioning at %100, same thing as last year.

In the Victorian novel, when the woman dies in childbirth, it signals that life is cruel, and the child will face the cruel world without the proper nurture provided by the mother. Of course that brings to a fitting conclusion the role of the deuteragonist, as a set piece in the narrative, whose role is subservient to teleological needs of the protagonist.

Current Mood: exanimate
Saturday, January 2nd, 2010
9:56 am
Old Years' Reservations.
So, there are many unresolved questions of last year... What did my dad die from? So, after the autopsy of the brain by 3 teams of pathologists the closest we come is Limbic System Encephalitis. It looks like it was not a prion disease from what they tell me, the pathological changes one looks for viz spongiform tissue, were not present. Weird sort of thing because, it had ALL the hallmarks of CJD-prion-type disease. It was not a bad call on the doctors part. However, why didn't encephalitis show up anywhere. The CSF was clear, but had elevated protein between the month of June and July (yes 2 lumbar punctures), the first one checked only for cancer (non-Hodgkins lymphoma), the second checked for cancer and other neurological stuff, as well as 14-3-3 and tau protein BOTH of which came up positive, yielding an 85% probability of CJD. Didn't find any cancer.

The remaining diagnoses are paraneoplastic limbic encephalitis... Show me the cancer. Viral Limbic System Encephalitis lacking evidence of infection...? The pathologist at the University of Maryland says it would be less likely, but possible. So, I'm trying to get the records of what was tested for in the spinal fluid... Anti-Hu? anti-what?

I was in this same place last year when my dog died of unknown causes... My parents were keeping him, and they were visiting the fishing camp. My dad's favorite retirement spot. So, when the dog-topsy came back "Severe multifocal chronic suppurative meningoencephalitis"...:

"Spinal cord: ...Multifocally, there are random aggregates of neutrophils, few gitter cells, and histiocytes scattered throughout the grey and white matter. Multifocally, meninges are infiltrated with mild to moderate nukbers of neutrophils admixed with few lymphoplasmacytic cells.

Brainstem: There are multifocal coalescing areas with severe neutrophilic infiltration."

...More than four types of bacteria... Staphylococcus and Enterobacter....

Current Mood: pensive
Sunday, August 2nd, 2009
10:27 am
is this thing on?

It occurs to me that retarded cockroaches must be what we are if we have in our years of sentience only run into the the lamp of the moon, gotten the rover over to Mars, and de-planetized pluto. In the cosmic scheme of things, we are not much better than the Roomba. And, at least Roomba knows his mission, to suck. We keep asking the great 120V power source what it is He wants for our lives, and set up the Academie with philosophers to figure out why. Schizophrenic navel gazing retarded cockroaches, and we're not as likely to survive the nuclear winter.

I'm just sayin.

And, a nagging sort of question I've got on the backburner, citing Wikipedia from March 20, 2008:
Without a chiral influence (for example a chiral catalyst, solvent or starting material), a chemical reaction that makes a chiral product will always yield a racemate. That can make the synthesis of a racemate cheaper and easier than making the pure enantiomer, because it does not require special conditions. This fact also leads to the question how biological homochirality evolved on a presumably racemic primordial earth.

Not that this particular phenomena is relevant, but, thinking about Creutzfeldt-Jakob makes this interesting. Might not necessarily need a chiral influence to create homochirality, but a meme-ic influence.
Monday, July 27th, 2009
12:05 am
And the patriarchs thin out again.
No one could see this one coming. My dad retired 2 years ago, battling cancer, incurable, but treatable non-Hodgkins lymphoma, which had attacked two vertebrae. It was a lucky sort of thing, since, if it hadn't almost paralyzed him by the pressure to the spinal cord, they might not have found it. His bloodwork and many screenings tested negative. So, the pain was what finally caused the tumor to be recognized, lymphoma being a silent killer.

But who would think that dad would come back from stage 4 cancer, into remission, be enjoying his retirement years and then die of a prion disease. Probably Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, we'll know in a few weeks. Strange thing, that took my dad within 2 months of the slightest symptoms that we could recognize. It was a high time in my life, by which I mean, I was actively engaged in finding out what was wrong, trying to get him into the right physicians and facilities while considering that he was too young, strong, and paranoid for the Nursing Homes to take care of him, and insurance considerations, all the while not having a definitive diagnosis, since, diagnosis is made after an autopsy and biopsy of brain tissue. So, not knowing (but suspecting CJD) made decisions very difficult. Does he have 4 months (wikipedia's AVG death) or 8 months or a year? Certainly we could see it progressing rapidly. It was odd, and it was a process that fastforwarded my understanding of aging. Because by the time I had figured out how to deal with the Alzheimerish symptoms, we'd be one step down the road. Well, now he can barely walk, and becomes increasingly agitated at night. So, how do we bring him home from the hospital, and why would they sent rehab nurses, when his condition is inevitably downhill? So each step brought new challenges, also different caretakers, some great some pis poor. Such that, instead of trying to feed my dad stuff he could eat, like apple sauce, and contrary to our instructions to anyone who would listen, they tried to feed him a pork chop and green beans (when on the front of his chart it says, allergies (PORK, CODEINE). So, they labeled him "combattive" because his motor cortex was shot to hell and caused his body to do something called myoclonic jerks. They told us he was combative and refused to take his medicine or eat. Gee, guys, we've been telling you for a couple of days now, HE CAN'T SWALLOW!!! Crush it up and put in in apple sause, he'll eat if you give him something he could manage down the pipe. You know, as soon as you open the chart after the PORK warning, There is a living will, which stated that he didn't want any artificial hydration or feeding. So, when we showed up one day, and he was hooked to an IV, with a guard at his bedside, and mits on his hands so that he couldn't remove the IV, and he thought he was in prison, because a man in a blue uniform kept him from moving outside of his bed, it was just all too much.

Obituary, Douglas William Devall:

Brilliant engineer, musician, husband and father, he died Monday, July 20, 2009, at The Carpenter House. He was 61 and split his time between his home in Baton Rouge, fishing retreat at Toledo Bend and the piano bench at Grace Presbyterian Church. Wake service at Rabenhorst Funeral Home East on Friday, July 24, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Visiting continues at the funeral home on Saturday, July 25, from 9 a.m. until religious services at 11 a.m., officiated by James Alexander, pastor. Interment in Devall Cemetery. Doug is survived by his wife, Georgia Ann; mother, Doris; daughter and son-in-law, Julie Elizabeth and Jordan Siverd; son, Douglas Christopher; brother, Dennis Keith and wife Sue; sister, Margaret Ann and husband Cecil Harris; nephews, Jeffery, Jeremy and Matthew Harris, Alexis Leigh, Joseph IV and Chad Hebert, and Michael and Brian Devall; aunts, Nonie James, Margaret Baily, Mercedes Hopson and Sandra Devall; and uncles, Jimmy Hebert and George Devall. He was preceded in death by his father, Archie Devall Jr. Pallbearers will be Joe V. Hebert III, Joe Hebert IV, Devin King, Ronny Baily, Jeremy and Matthew Harris, Michael and Brian Devall. Honorary pallbearers are Bruce Barth, Jeffery Harris, Chris Devall, Chad Hebert and Jordan Siverd. The Devall family thanks The Carpenter House and all the wonderful caregivers.

Current Mood: disappointed
Monday, July 6th, 2009
5:24 am
Beyond a certain point there is no return. This point has to be reached. - Franz Kafka.

Comedy and Tragedy are the Janus headed embodiment of human nature. The same event in life can be viewed from either vantage. My father, child piano prodigy - computer inventor in 1971 (before it was cool), a real genius, is dying from some organic brain disease.

We think he has a rare, rare disease:

It seems that from the comic angle, it is God's sense of humor that we die by the thing that defined our life. Or from the tragic angle, it is a most undignified situation that the same gift which made us special is taken and we fall into oblivion.

I'll write more later...

Current Mood: melancholy
Friday, June 19th, 2009
2:13 pm
contra scientia
"Because, after all, liberty begets anarchy, anarchy leads to despotism, and despotism back again to liberty. Millions have died without securing a triumph for any one system. Is not that the vicious circle in which the whole moral world revolves? Man believes that he has reached perfection, when in fact he has but rearranged matters." Balzac, The Magic Skin

This is the cycle repeated over and over in history. It happens in the life of the church, the state, even communities, both ideological and residential.

No matter what overman emerges, mankind is not happy, and throws off his shackles. Maybe this is the lot of the original sin, purge what you will, license what you will, mankind feels doomed. This goes back to the original question about sin, will we conquer it? What exactly is to be the fate of the sin. Striving against sin to create a community of Puritanical regime, only to abandon that for Unitarian vision of love and conscience of the individual, and sin being a construct of time past, etc. something about a golden rule.

We're never happy to co-exist with our neighbor, and because of this we purge, whether jihad starts internally or externally, the struggle moves to the powerful affecting will upon others.

"The vigor of a nation in its origin was in a way physical, unitary, and crude; then as aggregations increased, government advanced by a decomposition of the primitive rule, more or less skilfully managed. For example, in remote ages national strength lay in theocracy, the priest held both sword and censer; a little later there were two priests, the pontiff and the king. Today our society, the latest word of civilization, has distributed power according to the number of combinations, and we come to the forces called business, thought, money, and eloquence. Authority thus divided is steadily approaching a social dissolution, with interest as its one opposing barrier. We depend no longer on either religion or physical force, but upon intellect. Can a book replace the sword? Can discussion be a substitute for action? That is the question." Balzac, The Magic Skin

A "dissolute" society, one in which there is no centre of power as in say an Ayatollah, can not help but be less reactive and radical, because if one power structure moves, it will have a counterbalance somewhere else, this is the strength of weakness. On the other hand, the theonomic regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is anathema to this thinking, and we cannot but help thinking of dismantling it.

"one of those thoughts that come to us as a ray of sunlight pierces through the thick mists in some dark valley--a sad enlightenment, a pitiless sagacity that lights up the accomplished fact for us, that lays our errors bare, and leaves us without excuse in our own eyes. It suddenly struck him that the possession of power, no matter how enormous, did not bring with it the knowledge how to use it. The sceptre is a plaything for a child, an axe for a Richelieu, and for a Napoleon a lever by which to move the world. Power leaves us just as it finds us; only great natures grow greater by its means." Balzac, The Magic Skin.

This, the knowledge of good and evil, does not tell us the method of removal, and consequently we try many means of rearranging the data until we like the results, only to find fault ad nauseum. Without the knowledge of how to use power in a world, we have produced fantastic failures.

Current Mood: full
Friday, May 8th, 2009
12:40 pm
Thursday, May 7th, 2009
9:12 am
World in Miniature; America - the beginning of the end.
This miniature couldn't have been written better by any leftist novelist, so we give you the story of New Orleans...

(and to it give away, where 'America' is in history, is precisely this - can the financial instruments which have caused near term destruction, be reinterpreted in such a way as to create the "wealth" they promised.)

This day in history: (from Wikipedia)
"La Nouvelle-Orléans (New Orleans) was founded May 7, 1718, by the French Mississippi Company, under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, on land inhabited by the Chitimacha."

Enter the antagonist "The Mississippi Company" (agent of colonial powers):
"The Mississippi Company (of 1684) became the Company of the West (1717) and expanded as the Company of the Indies (1719).[1] The French names for the company were: in 1684, Compagnie du Mississippi; in 1717 Compagnie d'Occident; and in 1719, Compagnie des Indes (or Compagnie Perpétuelle des Indes).

New Orleans - the original Ponzi scheme, and the first proto-American Bubble:
"In August 1717, Scottish businessman John Law acquired a controlling interest in the then-derelict Mississippi Company and renamed it the Compagnie d'Occident, (or Compagnie du Mississippi). Its initial goal was to trade and do business with the French colonies in North America, which included much of the Mississippi River drainage basin, and the French colony of Louisiana. As he bought control of the company, he was granted a 25-year monopoly by the French government on trade with the West Indies and North America.
"Law exaggerated the wealth of Louisiana with an effective marketing scheme, which led to wild speculation on the shares of the company in 1719. Shares rose from 500 to 15,000 livres, but by summer of 1720, there was a sudden decline in confidence, and the price was back to 500 livres in 1721. By the end of 1720, the Regent Philippe II of Orléans dismissed Law, who then fled from France.

France's debt laden upon the company; 'Credit default swap'?
"With the demand for company shares being high, the government and John Law set out to buy back the whole 1.6 billion livres government debt for shares in the company. The plan was successful and in 1720 the whole government debt was acquired by the company, before the company's market capitalization began to collapse during 1720 and 1721.

A period of prosperity... right?
"The company sought bankruptcy protection in 1721. It was reorganized and open for business in 1722. In 1723 it was granted fresh privileges by Louis XV. Among these were the monopoly of sale of tobacco and coffee, and the right to organise national lotteries... Its main goods of trade during the period were porcelain, wallpapers, lacquer and tea from China, cotton and silk cloth from China and India, coffee from Mocha (Yemen), pepper from Mahé (South India), gold, ivory and slaves from West Africa."

I'm sure they said, "It's too big to fail!"
"After 1746 the spendthrift policies of the French Government began to hurt the Company, and the Seven Years' War (1756–1763) brought severe losses. In February 1770 an edict required the Company to transfer to the state all its properties, assets and rights, then valued to just 30 million livres, while the King accepted to pay all the Company's debts and annuity (rente) obligations. The company was officially dissolved in 1770, although its liquidation dragged on into the 1790s.

So to recap on the rest of the history of New Orleans:
"...It was named for Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, who was Regent of France at the time. His title came from the French city of Orléans. The French colony was ceded to the Spanish Empire in the Treaty of Paris (1763) and remained under Spanish control until 1801, when it reverted to French control. Most of the surviving architecture of the Vieux Carré (French Quarter) dates from this Spanish period. Napoleon sold the territory to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The city grew rapidly with influxes of Americans, French, and Creole French. Major commodity crops of sugar and cotton were cultivated with slave labor on large plantations outside the city.

The Haitian Revolution of 1804 established the second republic in the Western Hemisphere and the first led by blacks. Haitian refugees both white and free people of color (affranchis) arrived in New Orleans, often bringing slaves with them. While Governor Claiborne and other officials wanted to keep out more free black men, French Creoles wanted to increase the French-speaking population. As more refugees were allowed in Louisiana, Haitian émigrés who had gone to Cuba also arrived. Nearly 90 percent of the new immigrants settled in New Orleans. The 1809 migration brought 2,731 whites; 3,102 free persons of African descent; and 3,226 enslaved refugees to the city, doubling its French-speaking population.[15]

During the War of 1812, the British sent a force to conquer the city. The Americans decisively defeated the British troops, led by Sir Edward Pakenham, in the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815."

Current Mood: nerdy
Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
1:53 am
Bittersweet Symphony...
I want to share with you, one of the most poignant things I've read lately, "The Measure of a Man" by Sidney Poitier. This selection reduces his life experience into a nugget of pure philosophical gold, and I produce it here at length for its brilliance. Afterwards, the juxtaposition of the People of African Descent conference at MCC in St. Louis (it gets good several minutes in, so fast forward), to illustrate the path that Poitier sought with his career to avoid. At least, from his memoir, he seems to have avoided a fair amount of anger, and come to a truer understanding of the nature of things than those who are too beholden to the "identity". And now, without hesitation, I bring you Mr. Sidney Poitier...

... that big answer that we all seek is even more complex than it appears to be. More than a value system and its opposite held in degrees by various people, more than the vague but persistent sense that somewhere inside ourselves lies hidden such answers as would be appropriate to questions that we are not yet fearless enough to ask. Questions like, for instance, how much truth is there in the lingering suspicion that nature is playing with us? Are we principle players with pivotal roles in her scenario, as we ferverently hope or merely inconsequential afterthoughts with not the slightest impact on her agenda as we often fear
why do we spend most or all of lives searching for balance between the bewildering variety of opposites designed in nature's nature? Why do we struggle so hard to find a comfort zone between: up and down, in and out, this and that, him and her, us and them, high and low?
Ever present is this duality and ever present is our need to articulate ourselves betwixt the various poles.

I concluded finally that in the juxstaposition of energies nature's intent was major. *The idea of the other*, the definition of self by its opposite -'I am not that'. I further concluded if such duality in so many aspects of her being was necessary to nature's sense of herself, her sustinance, her continuance, her survival, then duality must be a fundamental circumstance in her overall design, it must represent a basic, basic truth - that collision is essential, that opposites create an energy and that maybe nature has no preference for either of the opposites. What arrogance we possess then, to think that there is a preference in favor of our side?! Instead, nature waits for us to discover that her focus is on the energy which ensues from the coming together yin and yang, and the coming together, and the coming together of high and low, and the coming together this and that, and the coming together of us and them -all that blood on wild kingdom. We accept it in the animal world, in our world we say it's dog eat dog world, and it sounds like a bad thing but we talk about the food chain on the Serengheti plain, and give it civilized acceptability with polished terms like zoology.

During a bull session one evening wrestling with this issue over after dinner coffee, my buddy charlie blackwell said to me, "you know, we're not just talking about a process in nature we're talking about a process that may be nature itself."
I took this to be a warning for us to not take ourselves too seriously. We were after all jsut two guys with little more than a fair amount of curiousity, trying to stretch our minds by chewing on an issue light years bigger than our bite. He seemed to be saying.

I signal my accord with that cautionary sentiment, and also its use as ground rule to cover the deeper discussion that was likely to come. At that point he reached in his knapsack and hauled out his trusted little tape recorder positioned it on the table and said, "O.K
let's look at where this 'nature's use of opposites thing' leads?"
"you first", said I.
"ok" said he, "lets look at it in the same light as if it were the new testament, frank kapra, USA, judaeochristiandream that sustained us growing up and for a great deal of our adult lives. Then we found out that the dream was a dream, that it was inaccurate and incomplete, but we also discovered that that dream and the inaccuracy of it kept us alive and allowed us to survive!
All of us believed in John Wayne, later on we said, well he's a conservative, but the essential, winning through, and by God we'll get there, and over the hill huh, and hard work and we'll get there! And be true and loyal, and all those other things, that's what kept us going!
Now, knowing that that, that A) the dream kept us going, and B) it isn't true, What do we tell the children? Do we tell them to keep the Capra, let them find out the truth for themselves, or do we tell them...
Here I interrupted, "would what we now perceive as truth be so tough for them to handle", I asked, "Why not share with them what we've observed, tell them that it appears that nature doesn't give doodly squat about the whites and the blacks, and the browns and the blues, that on the evidence she looks to be operating in her own best interest and we as best can be told, are a part of how she operates, and not visa versa. That we believe her to have no preference between opposites, but feel focus falls sharpest on the clashing of opposing forces in mutual annihilation -if we speak of facts, truths, constant realities that are forever there- then of course a lot of dreams will be stripped away, sending Capra and John Wayne right out the window, but how bad is that? If the children hear our thoughts, about opposing forces in mutual annihilation providing energy by which nature perpetuates herself, and they learn thereby, that the browns, the blues, the whites, the blacks, and whatever combination there are will continually go clash, flash, slash, wham, bang boom boom, and not know why. Then the children will be the better for it. Otherwise they will grow up to hear each other exclaim 'oh my God, these people don't understand why cant' we get them to learn, why can't we get them to see, we've got to show them!' and they would remain unaware that nature sees all, while her interest encompasses only the sparks that fly."
"Right," Charlie conceded, "but if you'd known that truth, when you were a kid, before you left Nassau, would that have taken away from the hope that kept you alive, what we're really talking about it Santa Claus. We know that there's no santa clause, but we're grown up. We're talking about when we let the children become aware that there's no Santa Claus."

"Hope charlie," I said "is always borne out of the same womb, it doesn't matter what your level is, if you're a child your hope comes from the place where your imagination and your little bit of knowledge tells you that things are most favorable. where you get comfort, warmth, kisses, where you get cared for, where you get fed. You're hope is intertwined with that, with the people who do the feeding, when they feed you, how they feed you, how they protect you from the elements, and so on, but take the child at 10 or 12 and share with them our adult speculation about what nature does and how it operates, and that child then, would have to begin to articulate his or her hopes or dreams on the basis of that understanding."

I paused for breath, "in other words, hopes and dreams are necessary tools to the survival instinct, with the acceptance of new truths, hopes and dreams become subject to rewriting according to the needs of the new reality. On the other hand, hopelessness sneaks about on the periphery of our lives waiting to close in on us behind certain truths, but charlie, it's watched and held in check at a safe distance by our instinct to survive. Of course when hopelessness succeeds in narrowing the distance enough to infect hopes and dreams and slowly sap their strengths, then the instinct to survive falters, yes, begins to wear down, and if it's ever subdued to the point where it can no longer churn out the stuff, where dreams are spun to give flight to hope, then one resigns oneself to what follows, and over time hopelessness lays claim to another victim, but as the old saying goes, 'as long as there's life there's hope!'"

"Is that an assumption?" charlie asked, "'as long as there's life there's hope?'"
"yeah well, you have to qualify the line," i said, "as long as there's a chance for the life you envisioned and so on....
"And hope isn't planted in us?" inquired charlie, "it isn't a vision given to us as we grow up by our surroundings such as movies, patriotic books, attitudes of people around us, you know, what Studs Terkel called 'the good war'?"
"Yeah, it's planted some, but it's there from the beginning too, I think it shares a primal bond with pleasure."
"I'm talking about general basic hope" said charlie, "hope 101, the hope which is a kind of belief that things, people, conditions whatever,can get better"
"that hope is constant charlie," but let's examine by what we mean by things and what do we mean by better, we have to define better as well."

I took a moment to marshal my thoughts, "lets go back to the time when we were unaware that nature might be operating the way we now suspect she does, at that point hope was quantitatively different, but now when we assume as we do, the possibility that nature doesn't give doodly squat beyond the flying sparks which are important to her sustenance, we then say, hey wait a minute! -what is it that I want?- to hell with nature, she's getting what she wants, what is it that I want? well, I want a better life."

o.k. I continued, "before you can achieve a better life, you've got to be able to spell out what a better life means, for you, not for your neighbor, or the white guy across the tracks, for you. You're probably going to say, 'a better life is more comforts', and those comforts are of a great variety: I wanna be more comfortable emotionally, i wanna be more comfortable physically,
i wanna be more comfortable psychologically... more comfortable with myself, with my neighbors
aside from comfort, I want to feel good in my consciousness of myself and my existence, I want to feel good about things.

charlie nodded agreement and poured another cup of coffee. "ok, what things," i pressed, "you might say, I want to feel good about what goes on around me, I want to feel good about the way I'm thought of, the way I think of myself, good about how my friends see me, of how they feel with me, and how they accept me. I want to feel good about the things I do for myself, my children, my wife, my friends, and my community... I want to feel good in other ways too, I want to feel pleasurably good, ideally I would like life to be as close to an orgasm as it can get, and who wouldn't. So my call is this, hope essentially is goal oriented, and however else one may define hope there's no denying the likelihood that comfort, feeling good, and pleasures, is basic ingredients in the stuff that hope spins into dreams, therefore, when hope attains an occasional goal, a dream or part of a dream is realized causing us to feel that much better about ourselves. How much you ask is due to hope implanted by books and movies, and how much to inborne urges and instincts whose natural orientation is toward the pursuit of pleasure? Well if a harder look at things and better doesn't provide a satisfactory answer it should provide a clearer view of how hope matches up to reality, and how dreams keep us keeping on."

Charlie looked at me a moment, and said, "now that we're here looking back across our years, the children... what shall we tell them about our journey? what shall we tell them about ourselves?"
"the truth," i said without hesitation, "that life is tough?"
"Life is Tough, damn right!"

Waiting to Exhale from MCC of Greater St. Louis on Vimeo.

April 20th, 2008 - 11:30

Luke 24:44-49 & Acts 1:3-8

Rev. Elder Darlene Garner


Current Mood: apathetic
Sunday, April 5th, 2009
7:16 pm
an easter meditation and tiananmen memorial
I wonder why, in a postmodern age, we in a default, and perhaps monolithic mode of interpretation deny existence until it can be proven by 'tangible' data.

What do I mean? The scientist is in many ways in the same position as the prophet. He sees the reality beyond the data he sees, and translates that for the uninitiated. As the scientist's discovery leads in successive iterations toward truth, and many times paradigm shift, the prophet through vision appropriates that truth, and bestows it to others. Are there seraphim in our church service (Isaiah 6), I dare say if there are we don't see them, and that's probably a good thing.

Further, my point is that when narratives *collide*, or rather when we see in one gospel account 2, 1, or no angels at the tomb, and women, or nobody there, how do we account for these? Our default mode is to throw it all out as contradictory. I mean, the wave-particle duality of light hasn't been sufficiently accounted for, perhaps light doesn't exist either. Why are we so quick to impose our principle of non-contradiction, especially in a non-rigorous domain as literature, or narratology. What a facistic mode of interpretation.

So to clear things up I commend us to Tomb Sweeping Day (April 5), in the Chinese tradition, a day reserved to pay homage to the ancestors, and protect them from evil spirits. This day led, in 1992 to the Tiananmen Square incident, which, facist China perpetrated on individualistic consciences. Do not go gentle into that dark night, rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Current Mood: determined
Thursday, March 26th, 2009
12:17 am
The ultimate answer
I had forgotten the answer to the question of why, for quite a while, and then it was on "Blacktastic Movies" on BET.

So, enjoy:

When Neo knew why... because he chose to, ..."it all begins with choice."
Then the agent who formerly called him "Mr. Anderson" called him 'Neo', and that's where the tides turned, and the new matrix cycle could begin.

Current Mood: sleepy
Monday, March 23rd, 2009
11:38 am
The Farmer and the Cowman... *should* be friends.
I think that this clip represents the age old debate between Cain and Abel; mankind's solution is the nannystate - which by compulsion through regulations, solves.

Current Mood: working
Thursday, March 19th, 2009
9:38 pm
equinox, nature, and seasons of love...
What is all that men have done and thought over thousands of years, compared with one moment of love. But in all Nature, too, it is what is nearest to perfection, what is most divinely beautiful! There all stairs lead from the threshold of life. From there we come, to there we go.
~ Friedrich Hölderlin ~

A savage, brutish and short life would it be if not for the gift of friends and family. Restaurant life is a totally Darwinian endeavor, and altruism though it may be a useful adaptation for some, is not reciprocal, and perhaps, if I'm reading Ayn Rand correctly, any action I'm doing for the good of another, is perhaps, harm done to myself.

To come home, to see my husband, to relax on the couch, to enjoy an audiobook, and to know that even with the strife that comes with marriage, there exists no brutish force which would erode my soul, is delight.

Current Mood: content
Wednesday, March 18th, 2009
11:28 pm
military... gaygaygay
Okay, so there's just something so inherently gay about the military...

Or, for that matter, cultures like those in the middle east which rigidly segregate out the weaker sex, and spend their time achieving alpha status. When there aren't enough women to go around, because some guy gets 4, others turn to pre-pubescent males. This is especially the case when they're working toward jihadi status. Think about it. You've spent all this time in madrassa, then conscripted, you are initiated by sexual humiliation which is unpardonable in Islam, and then are promised that there is a sure way to get to heaven, martyrdom.

Current Mood: sick
Wednesday, February 25th, 2009
9:40 pm
Empire is norm, anarchy is exception... Ecclesiastes on Empire:
8:6 Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. 7 For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be? 8 There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it. 9 All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt. 10 And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity.

Ecclesiastes 4
1 So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. 2 Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive. 3 Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

5:8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they. 9 Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field. 10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. 11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?

Current Mood: blah
Friday, February 20th, 2009
10:34 pm
No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck. ~ Frederick Douglass

So, after working 72 hours, and receiving 8 hours OT pay, (really doesn't matter since it is a difference of 2.12 v. $3.20/hr), I confront the owner about whether I should receive extra OT pay for having worked an extra 27 hours at our sister restaurant. His reply is "no, see, they are seperate taxable entities and have nothing to do with one another." My reply, "so then, that resignation that I put in to ***** restaurant doesn't apply to our sister restaurant to which I am still an employee?" And then some crawfishing... I've been around too many attorneys...

Here's a colorful exchange. This guy made known to me on my first night at work that sidework was for girls, and that he didn't do it. He was there to make his money and be done. He really enjoyed working with me, since, I always made a joke about having done all his work for him so that he could make all the money. And really, it was tongue in cheek, but with a nugget of truth. His second to last day we all find it significant that he's doing sidework- though the manager is doing half of it for him, it was at least a start.
The next day he quit.

During which the subject comes up about the coworker who accidentally left his phone at the restaurant, only to find it doctored with a picture of the chef's testacles in the background... Classy.

Current Mood: disappointed
Tuesday, February 17th, 2009
12:43 am
is there something, nothing or both?
All things are in the Universe, and the universe is in all things: we in it, and it in us; in this way everything concurs in a perfect unity. ~ Giordano Bruno

Current Mood: contemplative
Sunday, February 1st, 2009
9:52 pm
The Avian Holocost
Originally, I had planned on writing a piece in an Onionesqe style, which held the media to task for their biased coverage of the war of aviation agression. Untold birds have lost their lives in man's pursuit of travel. In this case "The plane had suffered “a double bird strike,” one of the pilots told an air traffic controller at the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control." Nyt 1-15-09

In fact, in man's domination of the sky, The United States has used "shock and awe" tactics:
"For years, the F.A.A., the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the United States Department of Agriculture have tried “to minimize the conflict between birds and planes,” Ms. Elbin said. Falcons, along with pyrotechnics, recordings of wild animals and propane cannons that create loud, startling noises, have been used to scare bird populations away from runways. But sometimes, the airports have been forced to relocate the flocks, or in the most extreme cases, kill them. “As a last resort you have to do lethal control to convince the rest of the flock that we mean business,” said Russell DeFusco, a member of the steering committee for Bird Strike Committee USA, a group that collects data on bird strikes."
NYT - 1-16-09

But, in one of the ironies of life, I came across something when reading Hot, Flat and Crowded... A tangent that went of the heart of my queries, led to Deep Ecology:

"Deep ecology is a recent branch of ecological philosophy (ecosophy) that considers humankind an integral part of its environment. It is a body of thought that places greater value on non-human species, ecosystems and processes in nature than established environmental and green movements. Deep ecology has led to a new system of environmental ethics. The core principle of deep ecology as originally developed is Arne Næss's doctrine of biospheric egalitarianism — the claim that, like humanity, the living environment as a whole has the same right to live and flourish. Deep ecology describes itself as "deep" because it persists in asking deeper questions concerning "why" and "how" and thus is concerned with the fundamental philosophical questions about the impacts of human life as one part of the ecosphere, rather than with a narrow view of ecology as a branch of biological science, and aims to avoid merely utilitarian environmentalism, which it argues is concerned with resource management of the environment for human purposes." (wikipedia 2-9-09).

Current Mood: curious
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