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Good Mountain Press Monthly Digest #051
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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam:              ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ "Ray Charles" Robinson (1930 - 2004) ~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Marlon Brando (1924 - 2004) ~~~~~~
~~~~~~~ Johnny Cash (1932-2003) ~~~~~
~~~~~~~ Julia Child (1912-2004) ~~~~~
~~~~~~~ Estee Lauder (1908 - 2004) ~~~~~
~~~~~~~ Ann Miller (1916-2004) ~~~~~
~~~~~~~ Jerry Orbach (1934-2004) ~~~~~
~~~~~~~ Donald O'Conner (1925-2003) ~~~~~


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~~~ GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #051 Published January 1, 2005 ~~~
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Quote for the Winter Month of January:

You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.
Leo Aikman

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Editor: Bobby Matherne
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~~ Click on Heading to go to that Section (Allow Page First To Fully Load). ~~
Archived Digests
Table of Contents

1. January's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for January
3. On a Personal Note
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: Split Pea Soup
6. Poem from Yes, and Even More:"Nothing But Spirit"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for January:

8. Commentary on the World
9. Closing Notes - our mailing list, locating books, unsubscribing to Digest
10. Gratitude

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#1 Jul  #2, Aug  #3, Sept  #4, Oct  #5, Nov  #6, Dec  #7
2001: Jan  #8,  Feb  #9,  Mar #10, Apr #11, May #12, Jun #13, Jul #14, Aug #15, Sep #16, Oct #17, Nov #18, Dec #19
2002: Jan #20, Feb #21, Mar #22, Apr #23, May #24, Jun #25, Jul #26, Aug #27, Sep #28, Oct #29, Nov #30, Dec #31
2003: Jan #32, Feb #33, Mar #34, Apr #35, May #36, Jun #37, Jul #38, Aug #39, Sep #40, Oct #41, Nov #42, Dec #43
2004: Jan #44, Feb #45, Mar #46, Apr #47, May #48, Jun #49, Jul #50, Aug #51, Sep #52, Oct #53, Nov #54, Dec #55
2005: Jan#051,Feb#052,Mar#053,Apr#054,May#055,Jun#056,Jul#057,Aug#058,Sep#059,Oct#05a,Nov#05b,Dec#05c
2006: Jan#061,Feb#062,Mar#063,Apr#064,May#065,Jun#066,Jul#067,Aug#068,Sep#069,Oct#06a,Nov#06b,Dec#06c
2007: Jan#071,Feb#072,Mar#073,Apr#074,May#075,Jun#076,Jul#077,Aug#078,Sep#079,Oct#07a,Nov#07b,Dec#07c
2008: Jan#081,Feb#082,Mar#083,Apr#084,May#085,Jun#086,Jul#087,Aug#088,Sep#089,Oct#08a,Nov#08b,Dec#08c
2009: Jan#091,Feb#092,Mar#093,Apr#094,May#095,Jun#096,Jul#097,Aug#098,Sep#099,Oct#09a,Nov#09b,Dec#09c
2010: Jan#101,Feb#102,Mar#103,Apr#104,May#105,Jun#106,Jul#107,Aug#108,Sep#109,Oct#10a,Nov#10b,Dec#10c
2011: Jan#111,Feb#112,Mar#113,Apr#114,May#115,Jun#116,Jul#117,Aug#118,Sep#119,Oct#11a,Nov#11b,Dec#11c
2012: Jan#121,Feb#122,Mar#123,Apr#124,May#125,Jun#126,Jul#127,Aug#128,Sep#129,Oct#12a,Nov#12b,Dec#12c
2013: Jan#131,Feb#132,Mar#133,Apr#134,May#135,Jun#136,Jul#137,Aug#138,Sep#139,Oct#13a,Nov#13b,Dec#13c
2014: Jan#141,Feb#142,Mar#143,Apr#144,May#145,Jun#146,Jul#147,Aug#148,Sep#149,Oct#14a,Nov#14b,Dec#14c
2015: Jan#151,Feb#152,Mar#153,Apr#154,May#155,Jun#156,Jul#157,Aug#158,Sep#159,Oct#15a,Nov#15b,Dec#15c
2016: Jan#161,Feb#162,Mar#163,Apr#164,May#165,Jun#166,Jul#167,Aug#168,Sep#169,Oct#16a,Nov#16b,Dec#16c
2017: Jan#171,Feb#172,Mar#173,Apr#174,May#175,Jun#176,Jul#177,Aug#178,Sep#179,Oct#17a,Nov#17b,Dec#17c
2018: Jan#181,Feb#182,Mar#183,Apr#184,May#185,Jun#186,Jul#187,Aug#188,Sep#189,Oct#18a,Nov#18b,Dec#18c
2019: Jan#191,Feb#192,Mar#193,Apr#194,May#195,Jun#196,Jul#197,Aug#198,Sep#199,Oct#19a

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1. January Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
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For newcomers to the Digest, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons! Check it out at: Also note the rotating calendar and clock that follows just to the right of your mouse pointer as you scroll down the page. You'll also see the clock on the 404 Error page if you make a mistake typing a URL while on the website.

The Violet-n-Joey Cartoon page is been divided into two pages: one low-speed and one high-speed access. If you have Do NOT Have High-Speed Access, you may try this Link which will load much faster and will allow you to load one cartoon at a time. Use this one for High-Speed Access.

This month Violet and Joey learn about Charlie Chaplin song he wrote for his wife, Oona.

#1 "Oh No" at

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Each month we take time to thank two of our good readers of Good Mountain Press Digest, books and reviews. Here's our two worthy Honored Readers for this month. One of their names will be in the TO: address line of your email Digest notification. Our Honored Readers for January are:

Cole Gralapp in Alexandria, Louisiana

Valerie Topping in New England

Congratulations, Cole and Valerie !

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Out Our Way:

We know from talking to many of you that this is your "don't miss" place in the Digest, so we endeavor to make it fun and informative for you every month. One good reader wrote about my Famous and Interesting Quotes (FIQ) page:
"Thanks for steering me to your pearls of wisdom page." Anna Keller, Author of a new book coming out soon entitled, "Belle Terre Acadie," a story about the Cajun Expulsion from Nova Scotia.

If you have been enjoying the photos in this Digest, but have wondered who or what you were looking at, simply let your cursor fall stationary over the photo and the photo's identification will appear.

Note: Beginning January, 2005, a new numbering system will be employed for the digests. Instead of digest56.htm next month's will be digest051.htm followed by 051, 052, up to 05a, 05b, 05c for Oct, Nov, Dec, then 061 for Jan, 2006, etc. This sequence will last to the end of the century; e.g. 99c will be Dec, 2099. With all the Thanksgiving fanfare and houseful of company, we didn't begin our Christmas present assembly and wrapping in earnest until December began. Stored away presents, books, and other items came out of hiding and were carefully stowed in boxes. With eight children, 16 grandkids, spouses, nephews, nieces, and assorted other relatives we assembled and wrapped about 75 presents. Mrs. Santa Claus, known hereabouts as Del, does the major portion of the wrapping.

This month I enjoyed listening to Prof. Hefferman of Dartmouth (emeritus) lecturing on James Joyce's novel, Ulysses. This tale of Leopold Bloom’s wanderings during one day in Dublin made excellent company for me during my wanderings around New Orleans doing my errands. Whether it was five minutes to Regions bank in the morning, or 15 minutes to A&P Grocery Store, or wherever, Bloom was always with me. I started to bring the CDs in the house with me to listen to one morning when I got back, but decided that I liked having Bloom's peregrinations match my own. James Joyce was a genius as a writer. He destroyed a sameness in the literature of his time — as a true artist would. He was the Picasso of the printed word, the Van Gogh of the novel. He taught us how to write as we think. His works allowed people to live another’s life by reading a novel.

Early this month I had a minor repair job in the attic. As I went up the pull-down stairs to the attic, I noticed that the string for the light fixture at the top of the attic stairs had broken off. I got a replacement string, actually a wire, and installed it. Then I pulled it and the switch fell apart! It hadn’t been used for years, and the switch components had fallen apart after 30 years. The porcelain base was still good, but there I was in the dark. A light fixture that had been working just fine without a switch for the 15 years we’d been there had broken. The irony is that it would have continued working okay indefinitely if I hadn’t tried to “fix” it.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I violated that dictum in an egregious way. That light was always switched on/off by the wall switch and didn’t need to have a pull-string switch at the fixture, but I tried to fix it anyway. Now I was in the dark and had a bigger repair job. I got my flashlight and propped it up for light as I took down the porcelain fixture. I couldn’t get it to switch back to ON, so I took it apart and soldered the switch to ON. A few resistance tests with the light bulb in and out was enough to determine what to solder to what. It’s back installed without the switch which was unneeded anyway --- after a repair job to fix something that wasn't broken.

Del's mom was feeling better early in December. Del took her to the Gretna Senior Citizen Christmas luncheon. Del & Dan bought Doris a first class roundtrip ticket to Charlotte, North Carolina for the week including Christmas. We were feeling very hopeful that she was going to her son's house for Christmas and Del would get a break for a week.

On Saturday the 11th we took a tour with the Louisiana Landmarks Society of four homes on the Gulf Coast: Old Brick House c. 1850 in Biloxi, Tullis-Toledano Manor c. 1856, Lunch at Annie's in Pass Christian, the Old Spanish Custom House c. 1787, and the Log Cabin c. 1928. It was at the Log Cabin where we saw the fine collection of stuffed wild game which I comment on below in my Appreciating Taxidermy Commentary. Another marvelous Christmas tour of two museum quality homes (first two) and two private homes (second two) we would have never seen but for the tour. Some photos of our day are in this digest.

The next day, while watching the Saints whip the up-and-coming Dallas football team (Saints Alive!), I read Chapter 8 of Harold Aspden’s book about “Creation: Stars and Planets” where he devlops a theory that predicts there was never a Big Bang, but rather that the doppler “red shift” of distant galaxies was due to what happened to the light over longer distances – a frequency attenuation due to the aether of zero point energy. His calculations show that this attenuation matches the changes that would be due to the doppler effect of an outward movement of the distant galaxies. He postulates the existence of a quon – a sub-atomic particle which is charged and spinning – sounds a lot like Joe Newman’s gyroscopic particle which Joe uses to explain how his motor creates more energy than it consumes from external sources. Aspden's theory of the evolution of the solar system is much closer to Rudolf Steiner’s view of how it happened, while holding itself within materialistic constraints. One important point he makes is that neutron stars cannot consist sole of neutrons and yet be powerful sources of electromagnetic radiaation. Aspden posits an alternate explanation in keeping with his theory and the known facts which make a so-called “neutron star” like one enormous nucleus containing not neutrons, but anti-protons with balancing quons.

The upshot of all this physics folderol is that the Big Bang is a Big Fizzle --- it never existed except as a made-up scenario due to a misinterpretation of the available data. A tempset in a teapot, the British might say. Astronomers' hairlines might be receding, but those distant galaxies in their telescopes are not! They are red because they are far away, not because of a doppler shift. Once more the simpler explanation prevails over the more complicated one in science.

Del and I took Daddy and Emily to lunch on the 16th because we planned to be in Bloomington, Indiana at our son's home for Christmas and miss the Christmas Eve gathering at the Matherne home. While at lunch, Del asked Buster (my dad) if he’d talked to his brother, Purpy, recently. When Emily pointed out he hadn’t, I decided to call him from our table and let Daddy talk to his brother. I recall how in his generation making a long distance phone call was something you only did when somebody died or some other serious event happened. Thus, when I finally reached Uncle Purpy, and he began by saying, “I have something to tell you about Aunt Maryann,” I was prepared for the worst. She had been sufferly endlessly from back pain, back problems, and back operations. Countless times over the past twenty years, she has gone to Gainesville, Florida for surgery to repair her back, and every time she was disappointed by getting no relief. So I waited for the latest lugubrious installment of her condition, only to be rather surprised, almost shocked. Uncle Purpy continued, “ She went to a charismatic meeting and her back is not hurting her for two months now and no medications. Some guy named Benny Hin.” Wow! When someone gives you an update on someone aged 85 or so who’s been having problems for as long as Aunt Maryann has, you can’t believe that it’s going to be good news. Later I called my cousin Deanna and told her, “Well, she’s been to every other healing place in Gainesville, so maybe the religious healing place was the last one for her to visit.” You always get cured in the last place you visit, don’t you?

Two Christmas parties for us, one at my club where we met Mike and Beth Lachin. Del met Betty Hotard who knew my daughter Maureen Bayhi from Archbishop Chapelle High School. It was the second party in a row we'd gone to where Del met a lady who knew Maureen. When I told Maureen about meeting Betty, I added, “We’re going to a Christmas party for Waterford-3 tonight — the place I retired from — where I’ll bet more people will know me than know you!” She laughed.

On Saturday the 18th we motored to Baton Rouge to our son John's home to exchange gifts with our Hatchett children. Of the four, Jim in Beaumont and Stoney in Baltimore were unable to come, but John and Kim and their families were there. Got a photo of Thomas, Kim's son, perched on top of his other grandfather's pickup truck --- if you look closely, you may be able to spy the moon over Thomas's head in the blue sky.

On the trip to and from Baton Rouge Del and I had been listening to Professor John Fisher of Rollin College lecturing on Oscar Wilde. One quote struck me as particularly revealing. Oscar Wilde said, “The only difference between caprice and a lifelong passion is that caprice lasts a little longer.” What I picked up from Wilde’s statement: caprice is a spur of the moment whim which comes to one and leads one to do something that one would have no earthly reason to do otherwise. One never understands consciously the rationale behind a caprice. As such, a caprice must be identified as due to some karmic bleed-through of a reality from an earlier or future lifetime. This analysis shows that caprice, though momentary, can “last longer than a lifetime.” Since we do not consciously know about such things as lead to caprice, the information which triggers caprice must come through as a vague feeling which initiates action, just as karmic impulses do during this period of human existence with its overwhelming materialistic tendencies which mask direct knowledge of karmic impulses, up until now.

On Sunday the 19th, on the Hour of Power, Dr. Schuller talked about a Dr. Flew who had a debate with C.S. Lewis some thirty years ago during which he had decried a belief in God, calling it inconsistent and illogical. Schuller said that he had received an update about Flew from a conference where Flew averred that he was now convinced that a higher intelligence was necessary to create human beings and that he had reversed his earlier position on God, now saying scientific evidence seems to him to require the existence of God. I posted an email to a friend of mine, Don Cruse, who is very interested in this debate which bears directly on his book, Evolution and the New Gnosis, which I reviewed awhile back. The details of what Dr. Flew said then and now can be read here.

After High Mass at St. Joseph's Church, we drove to pick up rent money from one of our tenants, Hector Perez, and brought him a special Christmas gift. Then we drove down to Oak Street, hoping to see the 1940s cars lined up for the remake of "All The King's Men" which is being filmed along the street currently. Saw no cars, but when Del suggested we backtrack to a little café on Carrolton Avenue, we drove past a huge array of blooming purple bougainvillia flowers. I rolled the window down on my driver's side and as we admired the profuse explosion of deep purple a monarch butterfly landed on a bloom and I managed a closeup shot of it which I'd like to share with you. When we finally reached the café, we noticed it was Middle Eastern food, so we drove back to Café Margaux on Oak, which looked inviting. The simply splash of yellow daisies on our table and the jazz piano player near the buffet complemented a wonderful New Orleans brunch of grillades, grits, and omelette.

That afternoon the Saints were playing Tampa Bay, another playoff hopeful team that has been improving of late, and expectations for a win by the Saints were low as usual for this season. A few hours later and the Saints had no only won convincingly, but they were themselves now in the hunt for a wild card slot. All they have to do is win out — win their last two games and they’ll have performed something only real saints can do: a miracle. Who would have bet on a Daily Double of the Saints making the playoffs and white Christmas for New Orleans? Well, both of those long shots are stretching their legs for the finish line as I type these words.

I'd like to share a story of Christmas cheer with you, the kind you read about in the newspapers, but this one happened in our family this year. Actually it happened in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving last month. About 1500 troops were waiting to be shipped out to Iraq from Fort Polk in Central Louisiana. The loccal news showed film clips of these young warriors who were in limbo for several weeks with not much to do but wait.

Meantime our daughter Kim in Alexandria was helping a group of moms of her daughter's junior high prepare a fund raiser to sponsor their trip to Washington, D. C. Their plan was to sell po-boy sandwiches to businesses in Alexandria. The girls would make the sandwiches and deliver them to various businesses. Kim had the idea, “Why not ask the businesses to buy sandwiches for the troops in waiting at the base?” From that basic idea, she enlisted the help of her friends and some of the moms who also liked the idea. She checked with the base commander who had major obstacles to overcome before the project could proceed.

About halfway into her project, the simple idea grew into a huge task which began to overwhelm Kim — the logistics of doing over 1,000 sandwiches seemed insurmountable. She was almost in tears of frustration when help came from an unexpected source, as help often does when one is in need. Her housekeeper, seeing Kim in such distress, said, “Miss Kim, remember the story of the loaves and fishes. Let’s pray together for Jesus to help you.” And they did.

The donations of the food to make the po-boy sandwiches poured in, helpers came from all over, including some of the moms involved in the original project, and the base commander called and invited those working on the sandwiches to come to have lunch with the troops. The girls working on the project would be served the MREs or Meals-Ready-to-Eat that the troops had been eating while awaiting departure, as most of them had limited funds for eating off-base during this long wait. The day was a big success for all those involved.

Kim has made her parents very proud. She got an idea, she fought opposition at every turn, overcame all obstacles, fed the troops a delicious home-fixed meal, raised money for the teenagers' trip, and had an abundance of food remaining after the sandwiches were prepared to donate to a homeless shelter. Life consists of little miracles like this one which often go unnoticed and unappreciated. Kim, we appreciate what you did more than we can tell you. . . but in this photo the look in your mom's eyes speaks volumes.

Our planned Christmas trip to Bloomington, Indiana and a White Christmas at our son's house was cancelled because Del's mom, Doris, was not feeling up to the trip to North Carolina, so we were forced to stay home. Not wishing to give up the White Christmas we dialed Santa and had him deliver one to Timberlane on Christmas Day, perhaps the only White Christmas ever in the New Orleans area. But first we had dinner at our daughter Maureen's house on the "night before right before the night before Christmas" as Benny and the Grunch sing it. Her husband Steve spent so much time on the scaffolding repairing the roof that he cut back on his Griswold Christmas lighting this year, but it still was super.

On Christmas Eve we exchanged gifts and met new members of the Matherne family at dad's house. Newest great-grandchild for Dad was Ella Grace Matherne and in the photo of her above, she looks like a manger baby.

On Christmas morning Del and I sat in front of a roaring fire and opened our gifts to each other. Del got a Moebius strip silver bracelet with the Lord's Prayer written in one continuous script on the inside/outside. Del left to assist her mom who is unable to get out of bed by herself and I watched the weather reports and the skies wondering if the White Christmas would ever arrive. Working at my PC, I suddenly spied huge globs of snow falling. Hurriedly I got my Sony CyberShot and Video Camera out. With the Video camera on its tripod, I taped the snowfall from the East Portico and then the West Portico. I took it out on the drive to record Timberlane with the snow falling in front of it, but had to hold a towel over the camera to keep it dry as the snow was melting upon contact. It was quite a juggling act with the still camera holding the towel on top as I shot photos out on the drive. Neighbors came out to take photos of their kids playing in the snow. Our next door neighbor, Ann, came out and got in the video at one point. The luckiest part about the whole snowstorm was that neither Del nor I had to drive anywhere. I'll be posting some of the snow photos I took on Shutterfly for family members who wish see them. If there's a link below at the end of this sentence, it will be the one to view the photos.

The snowstorm scuttled my duck hunting plans and we will give it another try on the 30th if the ducks are flying over the rice paddies in Alexandria, Louisiana where my son-in-law Wes Gralapp has his hunting leases.

Our first ever White Christmas in New Orleans was followed by another Saints victory over Atlanta on Sunday and suddenly the Saints are alive and kicking and contending for a playoff spot. Beating Carolina Panthers on the 2nd will likely propel them on the road to the Super Bowl. A White Christmas and a Super Bowl Champion? Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, so stay tuned.

Once more a coach from the North has come South like a carpetbagger of old, climbed on the backs of our football players, and leapfrogged to a new job shortly after winning a National Championship at LSU. Paul Dietzel did it in 1962 when he left LSU to be head coach at Army, a stay which was woefully short. And this year, no sooner had Saint Nick placed gifts under the Christmas tree, Un-saint Nick Saban announced he was leaving to be head coach at Miami. Both men left behind a chance to retire from LSU as head coach as Bear Bryant did from Alabama. One of them, Dietzel, probably regrets he did. The other will likely also regret he did.

The weather has warmed slightly and the snow is gone. Our daughter Carla has come to visit from Beaumont with her two children, Molly and Garret, and they will be coming over tonight for some hot minestrone soup, stuffed bellpeppers, and baked sweet potatoes. The next day I took my three grandkids, Gabe, Molly, and Garret to the New Orleans’ Children Museum and kept track of them as shopped at SAV -A-CENTER, steering barges and tugboats down the river, pulled themselves up on ropes, dressed up as Vikings, and generally had fun. Afterward we picked up their two moms, my daughters, Carla and Maureen, and we went to Café Du Monde in the French Quarter where we ordered café-au-lait and beignets. Two-year-old Garret pretended to sneeze and the white powdered sugar sprayed over Carla, his mom. That began a mutual spraying of the white stuff which dusted each of us before we left. This dusting is usually the only White Christmas one can expect in New Orleans, up until now. Seems to happen most often to women wearing black dresses or pant suits.

Remember to have some boiled cabbage and black-eye peas on New Year's Day to ensure a Happy and Prosperous New Year for you and yours!


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New Stuff on Website:

I'm right 98% of the time. Who gives a darn about the other 3%?
See more T-Shirt Humor

I've created a Reagan section in my FIQ — Famous and Interesting Quotes page bookended by a couple of photos of Ronnie. Click to Read the Reagan Quotes.

The five most popular doyletics webpages visited all-time:

1. Custom Designed Error page Better than the blank 404 Error Page.
2. Home Page of The Doyletics Foundation website.
3. Top Ten Things People Want and how the Speed Trace can help achieve them.
4. Training Exercise How to Learn to use the Speed Trace.
5. Basic theory of doyletics Hyphotheses, Definitions, and Discussion of Theory behind the science of doyletics.

Prominent Links to Bobby Matherne's Writing on the Website:

1. In the Athenaeum Reading Room:
"Science and Sanity" by Count Alfred Habdank Skarbek Korzybski
Reviewed by Bobby Matherne
Editor's Verdict - A wonderful book and a great review:

2. Psychology Designerz Website:

3. Eric Swearingen's "Modred Active Worlds" Website:

4. Relevant Sites: 21st century :

5. Carol Golden's Spiritual Atlanta Website:


Movies we watched this past month:

Notes about our movies: Many of the movies we watch are foreign movies with subtitles. After years of watching movies in foreign languages, Arabic, French, Swedish, German, British English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and many other languages, sometimes two or three languages in the same movie, the subtitles have disappeared for us. If the movie is dubbed in English we go for the subtitles instead because we enjoy the live action and sounds of the real voices so much more than the dubbed. If you wonder where we get all these foreign movies from, the answer is simple: NetFlix. For a fixed price a month they mail us DVD movies from our on-line Queue, we watch them, pop them into a pre-paid mailer, and the postman effectively replaces all our gas-consuming and time-consuming trips to Blockbuster. To sign up for NetFlix, simply go to and start adding all your requests for movies into your personal queue. If you've seen some in these movie blurbs, simply copy the name, click open your queue, and paste the name in the Search box on NetFlix and Select Add. Buy some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. You get to see your movies as the Director created them — NOT-edited for TV, in full-screen width, your own choice of subtitles, and all of the original dialogue.
P. S. Look for HD/DVD format movies which are now available from NetFlix.
Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise ignore.):

“De-Lovely” (2004) was exactly as advertised — de-lovely. Kevin Kline was superb as Cole Porter in this 2 hour marathon of his music, lyrics, and life. Newly in the spirit world Cole is sitting in a theater with his Muse at his side, watching the play of his life, a musical, naturally. His Muse calls up actors, dancers, musicians, friends, and lovers from Cole’s life to trip lightly across the stage on his command, sometimes snapping his fingers to adjust their costumes to please Cole’s directorial preferences. A genius of a movie befitting a genius of a man who dearly loved his wife and soulmate Linda. To quote the one song we heard sung by the composer at the end, “You’re the top!” Cole Porter. “Meet the Fockers” (2004) I’m still chuckling from this movie an hour later. Hoffman, Streisand, De Niro, and Stiller. Non-stop rollicking laughter. If you don’t laugh during this one, go back to the monastery and throw away the key — no need to leave again. “I don’t want to be Pamela Byrnes-Focker, I want to be called Pamela Martha Focker.” There you have it from the aunt of a one-year-old whose first word is . . . aw, see the movie and find out for yourself.
“Elf” (2003) — this was a truly enjoyable Christmas movie. Bob Newhart as the Elf’s adopted father, Ed Asner as Santa, and James Caan as the elf’s natural father all added class to a movie one might think was silly from the previews. The human baby carried to the North Pole by mistake in Santa’s bag grows up to be a HUGE elf and has to return to New York City to find his real father. What follows reminded me of some Jerry Lewis antics as the eternal juvenile in a large adult body. Don’t miss this one. Allows you to see the world through the eyes of a child-like adult, which we would all be better if we did that every day of the year, but especially during Christmas time. Sure to be a perennial Christmas favorite along with “Christmas Story” etal.
“The Life and Death of Peter Sellers” (2004) in which it became clear the reason for his last movie, “Being There” — like Chance the Gardener, Peter Sellers did not have a life outside of the screen. He was an empty shell which people like Blake Edwards filled and when people saw the result they were greatly amused. In Dr. Strangelove, he was filled to overflowing with four parts, which drove him to complete distraction. Telling vignette – on the plane he asks someone for a light, and when his seatmate asks, “Aren’t you Peter Sellers?”, he responded, “Not today, I’m not.” Geoffrey Rush was excellent as Sellers, but he had an easier job of it — he only had to mimic what Sellers created out of thin air.
"Krippendorf’s Tribe” (1998) with Richard Dreyfuss as a widowed anthropology professor just back from a trip to New Guinea trying to survive the death of his renown anthropologist wife and coping with three children, one who has gone silent upon his mother’s death. The grieving father has to give a lecture on the “lost tribe” he was supposed to have found, but didn’t, so he makes up the lost tribe and films the tribe sequences using his children in his back yard. Suddenly his life goes from bad to worse to better. In the end, the smallest member of the family, who has been mute since his mom died, speaks out loud what everyone else in the family has been keeping silent about, up until now. All in good fun and lots of laughs. Unexpectedly delightful movie!
“The Company” (2003) Ever want to go behind the scenes of a ballet company during rehearsals and performances? Here’s your chance. The good, the bad, and the beautiful are all expertly laid out on the screen. The final dance sequence with the Blue Snake and the Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum Giant is spectacular. Don’t miss it. Watch it twice – as we did.
“Mikado” (2000) — the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta performed on stage at the Stratford Festival. Funny, dull, quick-paced, slow, a Bi-polar Express of dance, wit, patter singing, clowning, and sheer delight. ALL ABOARD!
“Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat” (2003) — which Mike Meyers sets Theodore Geisel’s classic all alop like the eponymous cat’s hat. But it works — the genuine fun and comedy rises above the occasional toilet humor. “Where my brother is buried,” the Goldfish laments. Can be enjoyed by kids especially if a frowning adult is about during the viewing.
“First Knight” (1995) — when Lancelot (Richard Gere) and King Arthur (Sean Connery) vie for the same Gwinnie, who can predict the winner? Gere is great as the outsider Lancelot who becomes the first among Arthur’s knights while trying surreptiously to take Arthur’s lady away from him.
“Garden State” (2004) How can you fire your psychiatrist when he’s your dad and he thinks you crippled your mother on purpose? In the movie such a son returns home as a bit player from Hollywood after a self-imposed exile of about seven years for his mother’s funeral. Son and dad do not touch or talk. Son finds a girl who brings him out of his shell and he proceeds to stop taking the lithium after the doctor identifies it as the cause of his weird lightning burst headaches. He escapes his drug-induced state by stopping his medication and begins his individuation into a separate person, a real human being, one who can finally cry, laugh, and love for the first time in his memory.

Misses (Avoid At All Costs): We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. Awhile back when three AAAC horrors hit us in one night, I decided to add a sub-category to "Avoid at All Costs", namely, A DVD STOMPER. These are movies so bad, you don't want anyone else to get stuck watching them, so you want to stomp on the disks. That way, if everyone else who gets burnt by the movie does the same, soon no copies of the awful movie will be extant and the world will be better off.

“Italian Job” (2003) Mark Wahlberg in a crooks steal $35 million in gold bars, then steal it from themselves, and then recover it again from themselves to live happily ever after — spending other people’s money. If you like speed boats splitting gondolas in Venice in two, this movie is for you. If you like a world in which cops are stuck in traffic jams while crooks fight against each other, ditto. Someone should blow a hole in the floor under the vault of this ignominious film’s master copies and send it to oblivion.
“Buffalo Soldiers” (2001) another movie in which grand larceny pays off for the crooks. Joachim Phoenix plays a Tony Curtis role as an Army clerk involved in the black market, manufacturing heroin, and selling heavy arms to terrorists. Once more, like in the “Italian Job”, the crooks get off scot-free while laying waste to taxpayers’s property and lives. Avoid this one — too much like watching the government at work.
“Anchorman: Legend of Ron Burgundy” (2004) — a mercifully short 104 minutes of pratfalls and obnoxious male humor including the coerced consumption of doggie doo-doo. Everyone who worked on this movie and funded it should be made to do likewise. If you must watch it, keep the volume low and the blinds closed.
“I, Robot” (2004) and U, Dummy if you pay to go see this bit of sci-fi fluff about robots gone wrong because they begin acting like human beings. The partially robotic man meets the partially humanic robot and they dream of each other. Sounds dull? Don’t worry — lots of special effects to keep you from noticing the lack of dialogue and plot.

Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:

“Prime Suspect” (1991) a British detective story with Helen Mirren as a newly appointed chief inspector on the trail of a serial killer. Will she survive as leader of a bunch of guys? Will her boss back her or the guys? Will she turn the tables on her eponymous prime suspect and reverse the belittling he’s been showering on her head?
“A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” 1976 (Color) paints an image of young Stephen Daedalus as he grows up in the hands of Jesuits. Gielgud as the priest called up the horrors of hell in vivid, lugubrious details. Not an interesting movie, but good as a backdrop to Stephen’s later adventures with Leopold Bloom in “Ulysses”.
“Ulysses” (1967) (B&W) starts off very slow, but picks up speed as Leopold Bloom enters Night Town attempting to save Stephen Daedalus from its throes. The Catechist section works great, and Molly’s soliloquy lying in bed next to Bloom was a delight. The parallels with Odysseus or Ulysses’s adventures are completely glossed over in the film, and one would be hard put to notice that this was a movie made of a great novel of literature.
“The Shop Around the Corner” (1940) is the movie from which “You’ve Got Mail” was adapted. As we watched this movie we were able to predict a lot of things that would happen next. Frank Morgan was wonderful as the owner of the store. Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan as the secret pen pals. Amazing how little the world has changed — even with high tech emails, we have the same low tech feelings to deal with.
“The Sum of All Fears” (2002) could easily be titled “The Sum of All Tom Clancy Movies” as he is at it again with his behind the scenes view of how the President and his crew operate in an emergency. Once again, one man saves the day in spite of being blocked from giving vital information to the very people who need it for effective action.
“Duplex” (2003) Another movie about a writer in which the big novel he ends up writing is the movie itself. Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore as a young couple become landlords with a tenant who is a nice little old Irish lady from Hell.
“Collateral” (2004) in which Vincent (Tom Cruise) selects Max (Jamie Foxx) to be his cab driver for the night while Vincent systematically kills five prosecution witnesses in a federal case against a drug lord. Side by side they drive to each location with Vincent holding a gun against Max’s head when necessary. We learn from other sources that Vincent’s pattern is to kill the cab driver after one of his hit man duties is over, so we wonder how Max will survive the evening, if at all. Fast-paced action till the very end . . . but whose end . . .
“Under Suspicion” (2004) a movie with Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman as the protagonists matching egos and wits. Hackman is under suspicion of murdering two pre-teen girls, and Morgan Freeman is under suspicion of slamming this pillar of the island of Puerto Rico in jail to become Police Captain. Rather boring, repetitious at times, and you wonder if the action will ever leave Freeman’s office, but this handicap is offset by an nnovative directing technique which takes us to the crime scene with Hackman and Freeman even though they are only talking together in an office.

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Thanks to Anna Keller for sending this one along!
Boudreaux staggered home late after another evening with his drinking buddy, Broussard. He took off his shoes to avoid waking his wife, Clothilde. He tiptoed as quietly as he could toward the stairs leading to their upstairs bedroom, but misjudged the bottom step. As he caught himself by grabbing the banister, his body swung around and he landed heavily on his rump. A whiskey bottle in each back pocket broke and made the landing especially painful. Managing not to yell, Boudreaux sprung up, pulled down his pants, and looked in the mirror to see that his butt cheeks were cut and bleeding. He managed to find a full box of Band-Aids and began putting a band-aid as best he could on each place he saw blood.

He then hid the now almost empty box and shuffled and stumbled led his way to bed. In the morning, Boudreaux woke up with searing pain in his head and butt and Clothilde staring at him from across the room. She said, "You were drunk again last night weren't you Boudreaux?"

Boudreaux said, "Mais chère, why you say such a mean ting?"

"Well," Clothilde said, "it could be da open front door; it could be da broken glass at da bottom of da stairs; it could be da drops of blood trailing true da house; it could be ya bloodshot eyes; but, mostly

... it's all doze Band-Aids stuck on the downstairs mirror!"]

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5. RECIPE of the MONTH for January, 2005 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
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A Hearty Soup for this Month: Split Pea Soup

Background on Split Pea Soup: On the California coast up north of Santa Barbara there’s a restaurant called Split Pea Anderson’s which specializes in this wonderful concoction. Since most any day of the year is cool or cold when you’re driving along the Pacific Ocean, this restaurant is a must-stop. It was there where split pea soup won my heart — I had avoided it for important reasons like “It’s green.” or “It’s yucky-looking.” up until then. Now when winter’s chill envelops New Orleans during the rare cold snap, I like to make up a pot of this yucky-looking green soup that warms you up and tastes so good, too. My recipe comes mostly from Rombauer’s “Joy of Cooking” Cookbook with my own flair. We have an original metal VitaMix blender through which we blend the final ingredients to attain a smoothness that always amazes newcomers to my soup.

1 lb bag of split peas
2 chopped yellow onions
1 TBSP of chopped garlic
1 can of chicken broth or stock
1 bag of small carrots (slice thinly)
3 stalks of celery including leaves
2 TBSP white flour
2 TBSP butter
Tony Chachere’s Seasoning
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 tsp Thyme
1 bay leaf (remove before blending)
Bertolli’s Extra Lite Olive Oil (enough to sauté the onions & celery)

Chop and dice celery, onions, slice carrots (if using blender, else dice finely). Soak the split peas for a couple of hours or heat in microwave to speed up soaking.

Cooking Instructions
Heat the oil with a couple of pieces of onions in a large pot. When you hear the onions sizzling, add the rest and stir with a wooden spoon until the onions are translucent. Then add celery and repeat the process. Then add the chicken stock, Worcestershire Sauce, chopped garlic, bay leaf, Thyme, and carrots. Bring to a boil then add the split peas including the water they were soaking in. Bring to a boil and then lower heat just enough to keep lightly boiling for two hours.

Remove bay leaf.

Pour into blender and blend ingredients but leaving small pieces of carrot showing. Set aside the blended soup in another pot.

Bind the Ingredients:

In the original pot melt the butter and stir in the flour till blended. Slowly add a little of the soup mixture and bring it to a boil. Ensure there are no lumps in the mixture, then add the rest of the blended soup.

Serving Suggestion
Season to taste using Tony’s which has a little cayenne in it to give a zest.

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6. POETRY by BOBBY from Yes, and Even More:
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Nothing But Spirit

When you’re surrounded by
       Nothing but things
Completely surrounded by
       Impertinent things
And there is nothing
       you can think of to do:
Let your heart grow wings
       and let yourself go —
If your heart grows wings
       And lets your Self do,
Then you find there’s
       Nothing but spirit in you.
I found myself surrounded by
       Nothing but things
And found what I needed
       To set myself free
I let my heart grow wings
       and set myself free
I let my heart grow wings
       and let myself free
And I found there’s
       Nothing but spirit in me.
When eagles fly
       On spirit’s wings
We find there’s
       Nothing but spirit in US.
We let our hearts grow wings
and set ourselves free
We let our hearts grow wings
       and make ourselves just
Then we find there’s
       Nothing but spirit in US.
When US hearts fly
       On spirit’s wings
We find there’s
       Nothing but spirit in US.
I let my heart grow wings
       and set myself free
And I found there’s
       Nothing but spirit in me.
And I found there’s
       Nothing but spirit in me.
When I go to heaven
       Then I want to bring
No thing but spirit with me,
Nothing but spirit with me.

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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for January:
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And for my Good Readers, here’s the new reviews and articles for this month. The ARJ2 ones are new additions to the top of A Reader’s Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, and the ART ones to A Reader’s Treasury.

1.) ARJ2: The Karma of Untruthfulness, Volume 2 by Rudolf Steiner

“Untruthfulness is the counter-image of Imagination,” Steiner tells us in this second set of lectures, and he exhorts us to see through the disguise of untruth which covers the world, for "only if hearts exist which see things in their true guise and penetrate that terrible fog of untruth which shrouds everything in the world today, can we progress in an appropriate way."

What is it that creates the fog of untruth? "Evil," he answers. How do we endeavor to pierce through that fog? He points out that one usefulness of violent evil in the world, such as armed conflicts, is that it enables us to recognize and oppose evil when it appears in our own life. In the final passage of the Lord’s Prayer, we plead, “Deliver us from evil”. As free human beings our deliverance must come from our own will applied when we recognize the true nature of what is before us to be evil. How can we recognize evil if there are no examples of it extant?

This book is not an appetizer, but rather a main course. It is to be pored over, swotted, and digested, not merely noshed on. The Karma of Untruthfulness is yet alive today, and all the talking-head chatter on the media will not help you approach the depth of understanding of the world as the study of these two books of lectures will: The Karma of Untruthfulness, Volume 1, Volume 2.

2.) ARJ2: Shadows in the Sun by Wade Davis

From the title I expected a traveloque to exotic places of the world as its subtitle hints: "Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire".

What I didn't know what what Davis desired to do what to throw an encyclopedic stacks of statistics at the unsuspecting reader beginning about Chapter 6 and going to the end of the book. Some of the statistics were enlightening but most were the doom and gloom of the ecological activists which become boring after awhile.

From some point on, instead of useful descriptions, Davis throw statistical darts at us, each dart designed to get us to wince appropriately and open up our pocket books to assuage our conscience. All of which would be nice if it were true and useful and good. Alfred Korzybski showed how we proceed from reality — from the territory — up successive levels of abstraction to concepts — to the map — which can represent the territory, but not all of the territory. If we manipulate abstract concepts as if they were real, we are dealing with all map, no territory — and those abstract concepts will fall through the cracks of life. But statistics are abstract concepts — maps of the territory they represent — and like maps they cannot look at all of the territory and what they leave out in unknown and that unknown can make all the difference in the world. To paraphrase my favorite quatrain of Samuel Hoffenstein:
Statistics icily subtract
Faith and Fallacy from Fact
The Illusory from the True
And scare us with the Residue.
Statistics can be made to appear like the rotting carcass of a dog lying on the side of the road as we walk past — it requires a strong will to be able to see its shiny bright teeth.

3.) ARJ2: The Mind Game — A Novel by The Mind Game — A Novel

When Ben Ashbury goes to discuss his essay on the Prisoner's Dilemma to his assigned Oxford tutor, James Fieldhead, he is in for a shock which will change the rest of his life.

Suddenly Ben is thrown into a mind game which involves his very survival, including a dark isolation cell in a Kenyan jail accused of drug traffricking.

Will he uncover the secret applications intended for the device to detect and stimulate emotions at will?

Are all of his friends involved in a gigantic conspiracy against him?

Learn more about this fine first novel in the review here:

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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books — for less information, read the reviews.

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In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to converse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.

1. Cajun Food

The Sufis say that counterfeit gold can exist only because true gold exists. The same is true of Cajun food. I have a Recipe page which has links to my recipes. Some of these recipes are not Cajun dishes, but they are recipes prepared by, eaten by, and enjoyed by this Cajun. If you are not Cajun and prepare these dishes, I can't guarantee you will enjoy the results, but if you don't, I suggest you find a Cajun to help you by preparing the dish alongside you, and perhaps only then will you learn to cook like a Cajun. I put this caveat in so that perhaps you will understand what you eat in a Cajun restaurant may be horribly executed renditions which had little in common with what real Cajun food tastes like. Cajuns don't cook from a book, I guarantee! As a result every dish they prepare tastes good, because taste is the only consideration when a Cajun is cooking. The over-seasoning with spices and hot sauces is not real Cajun cooking, but a twisted and over-done version of Cajun cooking. If you see packaged versions of Cajun food, avoid them --- they will be over-spiced and made of dried ingredients you can get at the grocery yourself --- they will take away the control you have of making something taste good as you cook. If you see some restaurant or menu advertising "Spicey Cajun Cooking" do yourself a favor and avoid it! But, if you see a Cajun cooking the dishes, Mais, Cher! You is in for a treat! You will tell people about the food you ate, "Talk about good!" I guarantee!

2. Why I Read Rudolf Steiner

Many readers have asked why I read so many Rudolf Steiner books, and here's why, so far as I know as of this date: I've just read and reviewed about 131 Steiner books, and there are 600 or so books by him extant, so I'm only about one fourth the way through in terms of volume. I'm beginning to see repetitions --- helpful ones because I understand the bases better each time when I encounter the same idea. And yet, every new book or lecture introduces one or several mind-boggling concepts that seem to spring wholly new out of Steiner! He's truly amazing.

When I first began reading Steiner, it was like he was strumming a melody on a musical instrument. I listened, enjoyed, and was enlightened by the music.

Now when I read Steiner, it's like the instrument he is strumming is me. I hear the melodies and harmonies flowing out of me in ways I could not imagine, up until now.

My goal is to make Rudolf Steiner's spiritual science more approachable for humans of this new century by distilling his teachings in my fiery retort, then condensing and pouring the spirit-filled concentrate into my review pages which become like the score of an ethereal symphony.

When you read my reviews of Steiner, you are joining the orchestral instruments pouring out the symphony Steiner is conducting through our living souls.

3. Appreciating Taxidermy

One weekend this past month, Del and I visited a log cabin from Vermont. We saw a large variety of wild game mounted on the walls, moose, Cape Buffalo, Mountain goat, Bobcat, mountain lion, several kinds of African antelope, and two reindeer with large racks.

We found out that reindeer have a center antler that divides their forehead which provides them like a windshield wiper for moving away snow for their wintertime foraging for food. These stuffed and mounted animals were very educational. I had never seen about half of these animals up close and personal, especially the moose, the Cape Buffalo, and the reindeer, but only in photos.

I heard some lady in the room saying, “Poor animals” as she looked at a small Springbok antelope, and I thought immediatly about how the beautiful animal before me would have ended its life if left alone. Perhaps a lion would eaten it and a hyena would have cleaned off its bones. Perhaps it died a natural death and its flesh rotted and its skin fell to dust leaving behind only the skull bones.

All animals die, and while I would not suggest that we continue to hunt endangered species for sport, all too often, what is defined as an endangered species is a species whose numbers have remained high unchanged for the entire past one hundred years, such as the harp seal. Wade Davis, in his book, “Shadows in the Sun”, says, “There are five million harp seals in the eastern Arctic, and their numbers have never been higher in this century (20th).”

Hunting for food and for sport which does not decimate the population of a species of animals is healthy for the species by thinning out the population so that the remainder of the animals can thrive. Decimate means hunting until only ten percent is left, while controlled hunting might only take ten percent each year. And that ten percent gleaning makes for a healthier environment for the species.

Mounting animals allows those who would never have the chance to see an eland, or an oryx, or a water buffalo, etc., a chance to appreciate the noble characteristics of the animal. The owner of the log cabin keeps his collection of stuffed animals in pristine condition by paying someone to come and clean and preserve them on a regular basis. They will not rot nor will they turn to dust. All animals die, but those who are mounted acquire an immortality that should be appreciated by all who are privileged to observe the taxidermist’s art.

4. Edisonian Success

The first requisite for success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly without growing weary. Thomas Edison
Edison's success came by applying this dictum to the implementation of other people's ideas unfortunately. This fact gets glossed over by folks in awe of the success of his implementation of his primary thievery (taking ideas from others). I met a man whose dad worked directly for Edison in New Jersey who saw up close and personally what Edison was doing.

This is what often passes for American success --- conspicuous consumption of other's ideas without permission, credit, gratitude, or payment. Read about what ole Tom did to a real inventor, Nicola Tesla, and see if you can find credit, gratitude, or payment. Edison had major recurring problems his DC generators and Tesla offered to redesign the generators. Edison offered Tesla $50,000 if he could do the job. Tesla fixed it and when he came to Edison for the money, Edison laughed at him and told him, "You don't seem to understand our American humor." Tesla resigned and walked out of the door --- he took a job digging ditches rather than work for that American again.

The reason Edison never stole Tesla's ideas for making AC generators and motors was that he spent all his time ridiculing the idea. Even after Tesla built the Niagara Power Plant with George Westinghouse's help, Edison tried to scare people away from using Alternating Current power by having an electric chair built, the very first one, and gave it to state officials to use it for executing criminals.

If you make enough money in America stealing other people's ideas, no one else may care, but the one you stole them from will never forget, and you will incur a karma that you personally will have to deal with eventually.

This country will never reach its fullest potential until each one of us fulfills those three requirements of idea usage which Edison neglected: permission, credit, gratitude, payment.

I have added this quote to my FIQ page to remind me and others of Edison's consciously applied requisite for success. His other famous dictum of genius (or invention) as 98% perspiration and 2% inspiration mirrors this one and causes me to wonder if all of the 2% inspiration didn't come from other people's ideas. Inventors without an idea are oxymorons in my book. Don't put me down as an admirer of someone whose only idea may have been the electric chair.

5. Rudolf Steiner's Thoughts on the Asian Tsunami

Some have noted that a disproportionately large number of young people died in the recent horrendous tsunami which hit Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and other coastals areas of the Indian Ocean. Rudolf Steiner talks about the effects of deaths of young people in his book The Destinies of Individuals and of Nations. I quote with some minor changes to my words from my review of this book of lectures given by Steiner from 1914 to 1919. [Steiner's words in bold.] Steiner is talking about the huge loss of life in World War I, but his points are equally applicable to the huge loss of life due to the recent tsunami.
The next concept is crucial to understanding what happens when a young person dies. The ether body is used up in the course of a lifetime which leads to its forces dissolving quickly if one dies at a very old age, and less quickly if younger. If a young man dies, his etheric body "could still have served him for many years" and "will not dissolve immediately."

[page 94] It will separate from the astral body and the ego and these will go their own ways in the spiritual world. The ether body will separate from them, but it will not dissolve immediately. It will seem quite natural to you that the human being maintains a certain connection with the ether body which has separated immediately but still continues to be present in the spiritual ether. We are therefore able to say that the sphere of this spiritual ether -- taking it in absolute terms, close to the earth's aura -- contains a very considerable number of unused ether bodies, ether bodies with vigorous forces. It is particularly impressive to see, when observing the spiritual world as it is at the moment, that we find there such a large number of unspent ether bodies.

On the heels of the tsunami catastrophe, one can expect that there is currently a large number of unspent ether bodies in the etheric sphere of Earth. How do we go about making use of these unspent energies? Steiner tells us if we listen carefully we may hear "a spiritual whisper . . . from all those who have now made the sacrifice of death: 'The time has come! Mankind will only make rightful use of the unspent energies within our ether bodies if it becomes conscious of its relationship to the spiritual world.'"

Steiner has spoken on many times of the benefit of reading to the dead, saying that when we do so it is like giving food to the one who has died. Usually reading to the dead is done to those we know personally who have died, but Steiner makes the point on page 95 we will be able to "read out into the unknown" to thousands who have died with great effect using the poetic prayer or mantram he gives us on page 32 below.

[page 95] Having used this mantram with true reverence we are then able to read out into the unknown, as it were. Dead people who have gone to their death in consequence of the events of the present time will be able to receive this. They will be able to gain benefit from this connection with us and use it to influence cultural developments on earth through their ether bodies. They will be working together with the people living on earth to advance spiritual life.

In this next long passage, Steiner speaks to us about the current world situation where a huge loss of life has occurred, this time due to an earthquake and its subsequent tsunami. What a senseless destruction of life and property, one might think. What possible good can come out of such a sorry state of affairs? Not much -- when viewed from a purely materialistic point of view. Let's see how it looks from Steiner's perspective.

[page 97, 98] This is the thought which should fill the hearts and minds of those who suffer great losses: Our age desperately needs to become spiritual, and this will be possible only with help from the spiritual world. The means of providing such help have to come out of painful events like those we are now living through . To the spiritual scientist it is immediately obvious that these events should not be considered from a materialistic point of view only. Yet a materialistic way of looking at these events is about all one can find. It may happen -- and we have seen it happen -- that a number of people in one part of the world feel that there is hostility towards them and therefore issue some form of proclamation. This proclamation reaches enemy territory and from this enemy territory the question is put: 'Who was it who wanted this war?' Or the other party is accused of having wanted the war. Again and again they forget the one thing which must be understood if a deeper insight is to be gained from the situation. It has to be understood that all these events are indeed willed out of the spiritual world, because the spiritual world needs the powers that may be the fruits arising from the seed of those unspent ether bodies . If accusations were to be levelled one would also have to level them at the spiritual world. But there all thought of blame goes from one's mind. There we become aware of the iron necessity which exists, the iron necessity which from the point of view of the spiritual worlds, has to regard our earth world in about the same way as we have to regard a situation where it is necessary to consume so and so much, kill it, take it out of its natural context by force, in order to do something else. We cannot build a house unless we destroy so-and-so many rock formations. There is no point in speaking of blame. We have to speak of necessity in this case. And, in the same way it is necessary in the spiritual world to demand the sacrifices that are now being demanded because the seed is needed. This seed consists in the unspent ether bodies which will then be present in all that develops for humanity , and these have to be available if evolution is to proceed. Otherwise mankind would lack the energies it needs to progress.

My suggestion to you, dear Reader, is to read this prayer by Rudolf Steiner twice: once to "turn towards the spirits who protect all who have to offer life and limb out there" along the ravaged coasts of the Indian Ocean, and secondly to those "who have already gone through the gate of death" from the tsunami:

[page 32] Spirits of your souls, guardian angels,
On your wings let there be borne
The prayer of love from our souls
To those whom you guard here on earth.
Thus, united with your might,
A ray of help our prayer shall be
For the souls it seeks out there in love.

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