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Good Mountain Press Monthly Digest #094
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: George Carlin (1937 — 2008) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ American Humorist (Hippy-Dippy Weatherman on WINO Radio) ~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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~~~ GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #094 Published April 1, 2009 ~~~
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Quote for the Easter Month of April:

When the network becomes as fast as the processor, the computer hollows out and spreads across the network.
Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google (spoken in 1993)

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THE GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #094, April 2009
Archived Digests

             Table of Contents

1. April's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for April
3. On a Personal Note
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: Maman Nette's Oatmeal
6. Poem from Faith, Love, Hope:"There's Hope for the Flowers"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for April:

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

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THE GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #094
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ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ON THE WEB
 
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1. April 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: http://www.doyletics.com/vjtoons.htm 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 doyletics.com 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 Being Little.

#1 "Being Little" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/032709jv.gif

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2. HONORED READERS FOR April:
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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 April are:

Mary Jean Chester in Des Allemands, LA

Ken Rogers in Cyberspace

Congratulations, Mary Jean and Ken !


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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:


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Out Our Way:

MOUNTAIN CABIN BY THE LAKE

Del came down with a cold a couple of days before we left for our cabin in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. It was very cold and snow was predicted for the area, so we got up at 4 AM and motored straight there, arriving before dark and able to get settled in, stocking up on groceries for the week, before the snow event blew past. It was a night-time snow, mostly a snizzle, which left scant accumulation, but it marked the second year in a row that we have had snow during our winter vacation in our cabin. Last year we had two snows on a Tuesday and a Friday with ample accumulation.

Monday morning while setting up my portable work station, I discovered that I had forgotten to bring along a VGA cable for my second monitor, which made it useless. The cable usually attached to it had been pressed into service for when we wish to hook up my new HP Laptop to the large screen TV in the Screening Room to watch instant movies on NetFlix, etc. I located a Radio Shack in Hot Springs near the Mall, well below the city, and 45 minutes away.

They had a VGA cable so Del and I decided to drive all the way down 25 minutes to the only Radio Shack we could find by letting our fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages. We were going to eat at some restaurant down that way to help justify the long drive. What happened shows that I wasted a lot of time sorting through the complicated Yellow Pages — on the drive down the hill about 4 miles from our cabin, there on the left was a Radio Shack. I went in and bought a VGA cable for the same price as the one almost an hour away had quoted me. We drove back home, saving several hours, and I hooked up my outboard monitor so that I could play with sentences, update my statistics, etc., at my ease. I spent the entire afternoon playing with sentences in my review of Freedom of Thought while looking out on Lake Desoto. Playing with sentences is what I call my final proofing of my writing. February was too short and too busy, so I had saved a couple of reviews to proof while on vacation.


One thought which came up as I was editing Freedom: It makes a great difference in the results you achieve with students, if you as a teacher treat your young pupils as if they were wise rather than as if they were blank tablets to be written upon by you. A true understanding of reincarnation leads to the former approach and a materialistic view of life to the latter.

For supper we baked four sweet potatoes in the oven. The electronic controls were as abtruse as they were cheap to make. You can't just push BAKE and have it start baking. I tried LOCK and then it wouldn't unlock. We kept trying to extend the TIMER from 8 minutes to 50 minutes and evenutally gave up on doing that. Finally we decided, with complete lack of evidence to the contrary, that the 8 minute countdown was simply an estimate of how long it would take for the bake temperature requested to be reached. Seemed to be the case, but nothing on the panel indicates that.

For the first time during our winter vacation in the cabin, I was able to watch LSU baseball games. The combination of the broadband cable connection, my wireless router, and my HP LT made this possible. The local newspapers hardly ever cover any LSU sports or even offer results, especially of early season Baseball games, unless they're playing a local team.

In previous years, I'd have to wait till we got back home to find out what happened, now I know what's happening live on my monitor. With our wireless router hooked up, it made it possible for Del to use her laptop at the same as I was using mine and to move the laptops around while I was watching the game. We played Scrabble each night, as is our custom, and I could watch the game between moves while we sat in front of the television with some movie playing in the background. Our Scrabble rules allow us to take as much time as we want with each move, and consulting the dictionary before a move is encouraged. No time-wasting challenges with these rules. So the games go on for several hours and either one of us is liable to win any one game. Our scores average around 400 to 500 each, usually within several points of each other.

In the Scrabble Wars, Del started off with a 7 tile sweep for 97 points and I knew I was in for a battle. I fought hard, using her strategy of adding on to her big point scores and keeping her from getting blanks and S's as much as possible. Result: a 500-450 win for me tonight. We are now even at 2 wins and 2 losses each. I never got two games ahead of her the entire week.

We dressed up and drove to Grandilla Subdivision to see the empty lot still empty that we bought in 1982. The area is developing nicely around it, especially lots in close proximity to Lake Balboa.

Then we took the Grand Tour around Hot Springs Village, going up the steep climb to the top of Jarandilla Drive, overlooking Lake Lagos. On the way up we jumped some deer crossing the road. About five of them were spotted by Del running back down the hill out of sight. She managed to get one clear shot of the small group of them downhill. We came back for tuna salad sandwiches and then Del filled the jacuzzi tub and we soaked our bones in mountain water. I finished the proofing of A Feeling for the Organism and Inner Reading — all cleaned up and ready for Prime Time. Last one to proof is Spizznet File. LSU Baseball on-line one night at 5 PM overlapping the LSU Basketball game following at 7 pm vs Vanderbilt, last home game of the year.

Miss Valley State got out to a 4-0 lead due to bad luck breaks for Tigers. They just came back and made it 4-2 with a flurry of activity. New pitcher coming soon for MSV no doubt. Went to 4-3 next inning. Then in the eighth inning, Sean Ochinko had his second Grand Slam in as many nights, quite a performance. Soon the score was a comfortable 8-4 and ended 10-4, another double-digit win, but a nail-biter for 6 innings. The LSU basketball team came out cold and never really warmed up, and even though they led by a point or two for a short time near the end of the game, they lost. Looked like a team needing a long rest before the NCCA Tourney.

We decided on Thursday to leave a day early. We ate breakfast in the cabin, and decided to skip the Hot bath downtown. We took a walk outside along Lake Desoto, and later in the afternoon, I walked over to Unit 37.

Sure enough it was the couple I sat with on Monday morning for coffee. James and Cherylin Aucoin from Baton Rouge. James is a member of the Los Lagos Board, and he gave me a precis of what was discussed at the Board Meeting the previous day which I had decided to skip.

Del and I ran hot water and soaked in the hot tub in the afternoon and began packing for the trip home. Each time we come to the cabin, we learn something new about what we should take with us to make our winter vacation more comfortable. For us it is a time away from the usual interruptions and errands and a time to relax without much to do. A time to read, to play Scrabble together, and simply enjoy a vacation away from the flatlands, away from our home on the banks of the Mississippi River. On the way home, I was reminded of a saying I coined which rhymes: "Seven Days without a PJs Make One Weak", when Del spotted a new Pj's along Airline Highway just past Norco and we stopped to get a great latte for the first time in a week.

EGGCRATE LOUVERS AND BASEBALL

For a long time I had wanted a solution to the yellowed panels which cover the dropped ceiling in our kitchen. Never could get the same color when one needed replacing. Finally occurred to me to get the kind you see in elevators that are square holes which let the light through unimpeded, but seen from any angle except straight up, looks like a solid panel.

I had often looked straight up at these panels, but I had no idea what they were called, and it's hard to find something if you don't know their name, and if you can't find it, you can't buy it. Finally I discovered that they are called "eggcrate louvers" and several companies made them. I even found them at Home Depot and bought a couple to try out, but found that they lacked several inches of length and width from being 2X4 foot louvers! Back to the drawing board. No way I was going to try shuffling around the ceiling brackets to fit these shortened panels. Have you ever measured a 2X4 wooden stud lately and found it to be exactly 2 inches by 4 inches. This shrinkage effect with studs began in the early 1950s with the post-WWII housing boom, I suspect, because I actually found a 2X4 on an older house which measured up to its name! That saves a lot of material reducing a stud below its nominal size, but reducing an eggcrate louver doesn't save anything. You still need the same amount of area covered!

I found a place in California which offered a carton of 15 full-sized 2X4 foot white eggcrate louvers and I ordered a carton. Our ceiling takes exactly 15 panels, with some pieces left over, which is either a lucky break for me, or more likely indicates the builder decided to make the ceiling its current size based on using a full carton of light panels! The Friday night we arrived home from the mountains, the UPS truck dropped off the carton.

Actually the driver carefully carried it to the side door next to the kitchen and gently place it down for me. On the bill of lading I found the expression "Drop-shipped" and I thought, "What a horrible name for delivering fragile items like these 5/8" thin, 2X4 foot wide eggcrate louvers. Someone should come up with a better name to replace "Drop-Ship", something like "Direct-Transfer" or "Gentle-Ship". The box seemed okay at first glance, which was all it got from the person who just completed a 10-hour drive home.

Besides that the next step required changing all the bulbs to Cool-White so that I would not have to adjust the Light-Balance for every photo I take in the kitchen from now on. Once I removed all the panels, the yellowed, oranged, and broken panels, I examined the 8 foot-long flourescent bulbs in ceiling and decided that 6 CW/EW tubes at Home Depot would do the job. I was able to run the tube packages through the trunk and could close it for the drive home. Used to carry one or two home with the ends sticking out the window. This was much easier.

As soon as I opened the box, I noticed that the box had in fact been dropped during its "Drop-Shipment" and one end of the louvers was crushed. Instead of simply installing them, I had to do an assessment of whether I would have enough material that was unharmed to complete the job or would I have to contact UPS or the company or both, file a damage claim, and wait several weeks for the chips to fall and an undamaged box would be routed through the obviously hazardous Drop-Ship process.

By judicious placement and a couple of extra hours of work, I was able to fit all of them in place, cover the entire ceiling, and I had to patch the corners on a couple of louvers.

By 5:30 I was ready to plunk myself into an easy chair and watch some baseball. The LSU-Illinois game was on Channel 54 TV and after losing an earlier game, LSU came swinging back to win 22-10 in a real slugfest.

FOOT VEGETABLES IN THE SPRING GARDEN

No latte at PJ's Coffeshop the next morning because their steamer was broken, so I went over to my masseuse's office since I had called three times with no success of making an appointment. Kim's daughter was sick apparently. She got defensive, but I defused it by praying her daughter recovers and explaining why I called three times. Once before they were open at 8:50, second time after that they were supposed to be open, 9:10, and the third time the line was busy, as it still was when I walked up to her, making a personal call apparently because she ended the call after I stood waiting a minute or two. I made appt with Brandi for 1 PM, and then went to Rose Garden for tomatoes and okra, and wire baskets for tomatoes. Then to Rouse's for groceries.

The next morning Del couldn't get her printer working. I suspected it had to do with re-connecting after the vacation trip.

What caused the problem was that re-installing USB cable for the program added another printer process, different than the one she was using. As a result, nothing would print. In addition, Del kept wanting to plug in the old printer serial plug which has nowhere to go in her new HP LT. Showed her where the USB plugs in, labeled it PRINTER. Then I went to the [Control Panel, Printers] dialogue box and removed several excess printer processes, and then she could print her document.

I spent the rest of the morning buying more plants, eggplants and cucumbers and planting the veggie garden. I think the cucumbers will go inside the archway after I till it later. I planted the four artichoke plants which I started from seeds that Del was given at a recent Garden Club meeting. I hope to nurture one or two perennial artichokes plants in our garden like the ones I saw at the City Park arboretum. Would be great to cook and eat foot artichokes by the end of this year or next. Made a detailed plot map of the veggie garden for the first time to keep track of what I planted where. Oh, foot vegetable is the name we adopted from our daughter, Carla, when she called our broccoli "foot broccoli". When I asked her why she called it that, she reminded me of explaining how I walk barefoot in the garden so that the chemical exudations of my feet can help the plants create custom-genes and produce proteins best suited for my individual body. Actually Del and my sweat, the air we exhale, and any contact we have with the garden from our hands, etc, while weeding or tilling also go into the custom-designed genes and proteins we later eat in our vegetables, but foot broccoli stuck as the name. Thanks, Carla.

I walked barefoot through the new veggie garden the next morning, first morning warm enough to do that. Planted last of the five artichoke seedlings along East Portico garden. It will get full morning sun and should do well. Placed rock garden around it to protect it from other plants overwhelming it during its first year of growth. Exciting to be planting a new plant this year. When I planted the green beans, I kept the beans in my mouth to warm them up and to allow them to absorb the chemicals in my saliva. For the radish seeds which are so tiny, I held them in my palm, warmed by my hand and moistened by my saliva before planting them. Tried to find signs of broccoli seeds on the larger of the two leftover broccoli plants from the Fall Garden which I had allowed to flower. The flowers were mostly gone and I couldn't find any signs of broccoli seeds this morning. Going back for a closer inspection suddenly I noticed that what looked like barren stems of the flower stalks of the broccoli were actually broccoli seed pods! The seed pods replaced and resembled the flower stems! Only the tiny dimples indicated the presence of seeds. I took Del over asked if she could find the broccoli seeds and she missed them a well. Tried this experiment several times with other visitors to Timberlane and got the same results. Couldn't see the trees for the forest! Nature is amazing.

LSU played USL that night at 6 pm and I hoped to watch, looking for the Tiger bats to be active again. They won 16-5 but it was played at USL and therefore, no video broadcast, at least this year. WWL AM-FM stations were listed in Times-Picayune Sports Pages to be broadcast radio game, but no radio broadcast were available. This is getting to a habit with local radio and newspaper coverage: their listings are random and completely undependable. Thank God for the internet coverage.

Suddenly LSU's basketball games added to the array of baseball games and Hornets games for me to watch. On several occasions, I took my LP into the Screening Room and watched a baseball game on it while watching either and LSU or Hornets basketball game on TV. I can watch a baseball game and basketball game at the same time and keep track of them, but two basketball games would be a bit much to attempt.

VISITORS TO TIMBERLANE

My sister Janet called and said we were needed at Dad's that night to help him get to bed. My brother-in-law Dan was taking Doris, Del, and me to dinner at Houston's the same night, we left early and took two cars so Del and I could get to Dad's in time. We drove to Mimosa about 8 and stayed till Daddy was ready for bed. Took a photo of him in his easy chair with his glasses on; he usually only wears glasses to read the paper, and I had never taken a photo of him with glasses on before. Apparently they help him to read the subtitles on the TV which he kept on the whole time. When he was ready for bed I made sure he had his proper sleep wear on.

Dan Richards stayed with us for several days. We enjoyed boiled crawfish together one night. Rouse's didn't have any again and I called Del as she was returning from lunch with our son John in Baton Rouge.

She said, "I'm just passing through Laplace, and can get some at Kenner Seafood at the next exit." I remember Brian Kelley, Jr. in Colorado writing me awhile back about how great the boiled crawfish he had shipped to him were and I knew we'd been having crustacean delights for supper, and we did. Dan and I finished off the last couple of pounds by peeling them and saving the crawfish tails. I used them in a sauce over some grilled drum later in the week for me and Del.

Other Timberlane visitors were first my good friend Guntis, who helped me pick up two teak rockers and carry them home. Del was waiting for us with a small Muffalotta sandwich for him and an oyster po-boy for me. The next day Del drove up to Laplace to meet son John half-way and picked up grandsons, Collin and Kyle, to spend the night while John and Kristin went to a wedding.

Worked on my Quantum Enigma review till Del got here with Kyle and Collin, at which point she left to go to her yoga class and I was to babysit. My favorite way to babysit with grandkids is to have them watch or work along with me. I did both on this day. First I gave them each a bag to put Honeybell oranges in. I told them each to pick 10 oranges, figuring that a couple of dozen would squeeze into the half-gallon jar I've found will hold just enough juice for me and Del to drink without it beginning to ferment. Kyle, the younger of the two boys, and not yet into arithmetic, came up to me and lifted his bag as if he were done. I asked him how many oranges in the bag. He counted them and told me 9.

I asked how many more he had to pick to get the 10 I was expecting from him. Instantly he said, "One." I said, "Yes, that's right." Kyle turned to pick another Honeybell, and on a hunch, I asked, "Kyle, how much is 10 minus 1?" He shook his head, "I don't know." I explained that he may not know the words that describe a problem in subtraction, but he sure knew how to subtract 10 minus 1 to get nine. Actually he had done a primitive operation in algebra solving for an unknown! I could have told him, Let X= the number of oranges left to pick, and calculate X from this equation, X= 10 - 9. Rudolf Steiner exhorts teachers to teach subtraction and division first and only then addition and multiplication. Teachers who do the traditional way create human beings who detest subtraction and division, especially so-called long division. Simply dropping the "long" from "long division" alone would help a whole lot. I watched as I solved long division problems easily that many of my classmates eyes would glaze over when asked to do a long division problem. It's just another division, why make it seem extra hard to tender young minds/

Kyle and Collin carried their Honeybell bounty into the kitchen and watched as I squeezed a half-gallon of Honeybell juice and another one of grapefruit juice from grapefruits I had picked earlier in the week. They watched and tasted and enjoyed the juices. Later on, outside they tried the foot broccoli from the veggie garden. Kyle loved and ate several pieces. Collin, who said he didn't like broccoli, tried the foot broccoli and said he liked it. They also ate a half of a radish, the first time for either of them, saying afterwards, "It was a little spicy." They loved the oatmeal I fixed for them the next morning. Great kids.

I set up to listen to LSU beat Sou. Carolina in SEC game on-line while Del took the boys to City Park for the day.

When they came back I was in the 9th inning of baseball which LSU won handily, 10-2 and the half-time of the NCAA game which LSU lost by a few points to some kids from the East Coast after leading them for the first part of the second half by as much as five points, losing only because of a dry spell when the Tigers couldn't make a basket or a rebound.

This past month I bought a VCR/DVD which records VHS tapes to DVDs and vice-versa. With VHS tapes no longer being manufactured, the availability for new VCRs will quickly disappear also, so I saw the need to quickly buy one in order to archive our VHS tape collection on DVD's. Del brought her mom, Doris, over while I was archiving a VHS tape of 1985 Easter at Timberlane when Doris and Dick were still living there, so I invited her to sit in the Screening Room till she'd seen the whole thing. My parents were there, three of Del's kids, and one of mine, plus our first two grand-daughters. She was fascinated. I told her to look how everyone was having fun and enjoying themselves, but she was working the entire time. Look at the food on that table: you bought it, prepared it, and made sure everyone had enough to eat and drink. You did that for 62 years and now you are retired. Time for you to enjoy yourself. Later as Del brought her home and reminded her what she had seen, she reported that Doris said with a sense of relief, "I guess I'm retired now." It was great to hear her say that, because since her Alzheimer's started a couple of years ago, she would constantly say how useless she felt. We knew why, but it helped to show her why. Helping others was the only way she felt useful and she stayed busy doing that for 62 years.

JAZZ FEST YEAR ROUND AND BEAUMONT

To close out the month, Del and I went to the Twilight Concert in New Orleans City Park to hear Tim Laughlin on clarinet, Tom McDermott on piano, and a great guitarist play old and new favorites. Both Tim and Tom are virtuousos on their instruments and composers of their own music. Tim played on "Ole Betsy", a clarinet used for many years by Pete Fountain, one of the few horns which survived Katrina's flood and which Pete gave to him recently. Tim is a fitting successor to carry on the music when Pete lays down his horn for the last time. As we listened to these three amazing musicians play together and segue in and out of solos in the Pavilion of the Two Sisters, it occurred to me what we like most about these concerts: over a year's time, it's like going to the Jazz Fest without having to put up with the following aggravations: long-lines to get in, paying for parking, elbowing through boistrous crowds of out-of-towners, sitting on hard metal folding chairs in soggy ground in a hot tent, waiting in long-lines for over-spiced food, sitting in stinky Porta-Johns, and trying to see and hear everything in one day. Instead we are sit on comfortable padded chairs in air-conditioned comfort, in an all-glass room looking out on the Arboretum grounds, next to locals who love New Orleans music as much as we do like Dennis and Cynthia Miranda last evening (who lost their home in Lakeview and have rebuilt), saying hello to an old friend like Cordell Louviere, listening to great soloists and small groups do their best music for us.

The pace is easy: take photos of the blooming flowers, eat a little jambalaya, sip an authentic mint julep, enjoy the show and drive home in time for a movie if you like, well-rested and ready for the next set at the Year-Round Jazz Fest which is called Twilight Concerts.

This weekend we headed to visit our son Jim and our daughter Carla who work in Beaumont. We all met together at Poblano's Grill for dinner Saturday. Del drove up to spend the night with Jim and Gina and Kirt in Kountze and I left with Carla and Patrick to stay with them in Beaumont. We decided to go to the local theater to see the first-run movie, "I Love You, Man", together, and ended up laughing almost continuously during the whole movie. Del came to pick me up at Carla's house the next morning, managing to get her iPAQ GPS to direct her right up to the front door. It was a birthday present that I gave Del last year, but I've been learning to use it during the past year while Del has been watching and this was her first time attempting a solo flight. We enjoyed Carla showing us around her gardens, and sharing a couple of her plants with us: a sprig of Swedish Ivy and a purple and gold day lily. I missed seeing my two grandkids, Molly and Garret, but they were busy with Carla's ex this weekend, but it gave me a chance for an adult movie and long conversations with my Geology instructor daughter, and her significant other, Patrick, the Economic instructor and tennis coach. Last visit with the grandkids, we went together to see "Alvin and the Chipmunks", the highlight of which was when we left the movie and Garret looked up to Carla and said, "This is the greatest movie EVER!"

TILL NEXT MONTH
That’s it from out our way for another Digest. Till next month, God Willing and the Mississippi River don’t rise! Enjoy Palm Sunday and Easter, and the warming rays of Spring (or cool breeze and Fall color in the Southern Hemisphere). Make it a great month for yourself wherever in the world you are ! ! !

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New Quotes Sent in by Guntis Melbardis (which sound like they were written especially for today). They have been added to quotes.htm this month:

  • In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.
    — John Adams (Second American President) US writer
  • If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.
    — Mark Twain (American Humorist/Writer)
  • Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself.
    — Mark Twain (American Humorist/Writer)
  • I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle
    — Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister/Writer/Painter)
  • The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
    — Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister/Writer/Painter)
  • A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.
    — G. Gordon Liddy (American Writer)
  • Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
    — James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)
  • Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
    — Douglas Casey
  • Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
    — P.J. O'Rourke (Civil Libertarian)
  • Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
    — Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)
  • Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases:
    If it moves, tax it.
    If it keeps moving, regulate it.
    And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

    — Ronald Reagan (1986)
  • I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
    — Will Rogers
  • The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
    — Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)
  • There is no distinctly native American criminal class    . . .   save Congress.
    — Mark Twain (American Humorist/Writer)
  • What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
    — Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)
  • A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
    — Thomas Jefferson (Third American President )


  • New Stuff about Website:
  • Many thanks to Dan Richards for passing along many of these Tidbits of Assorted Facts about New Orleans on March 6, 2009. Click here: FACTS

Five Books by Women on Writing

1. Eudora Welty's One Writer's Beginnings.

My first exposure to Eudora Welty and a pleasant one. This book is a recounting of experiences of her life as they affected her becoming a writer. Stories such as her mother's getting a full set of Dickens books in exchange for getting her hair cut short ("long hair weighs a woman down"). Then later here mother charged back into the burning house to toss out the Dickens set and then herself. These books later formed the basis for Eudora's reading as she was growing up.

Her book is divided into chapters on Listening, Seeing, and Finding a Voice - which chapters seem to trace her progress from hearing and seeing to finally becoming a writer. One beautiful point she makes early in the book is about what voice she heard as she read books and then what voice she heard as she read her own writings. Her proofing and rewriting were accomplished by giving that voice the words that allowed it to sound right. One of the things I've learned in the 13 years since I first read this book is that if your sentences sound right to you during proofing, they will sound right to others reading it later. If they don't sound right, and you don't change them, you should really consider some other line of work than writing. Annie Dillard in The Writing Life says that one must like sentences to be a writer.

In the latter portion of the book Eudora recounts her family's trips home to West Virginia to her mother's father and to Ohio to her father's father. During the trips her mother's hat hung down and bumped the kids on the head. The kids' legs stretched horizontally over the suitcases. No trunks for luggage storage in their 1915 vintage Oakland. The tools clattered under the rear seat whenever they hit a bump.

The "boys" (her mother's brothers) picked up their banjos upon entering the house and began plinking in fast beat unison one song after another, and seven-year-old Eudora kept asking for more and more well past her bed-time. Her cold drink from the mountain well and the echoes of the cow bells from the top of the mountain stayed in her memory. These are samples of the images and sounds that Eudora calls up in the reader from her beginnings.

A journey into the past and into the mind of the writer. How she creates characters out of her experiences. How though she could never be a school teacher, she creates school teachers as characters. These are the essence of One Writer's Beginnings.


2. Brenda Ueland's If You Want To Write

If you want to write, this is the book to read right after Brande's "Becoming A Writer." The similarities between Brande and Ueland are striking: both are female, both are writing on the same subject, and both wrote their books for publication in 1934. Both are worth reading, studying, and most of all following the directions they give for the free-writing process, the early morning writing, and the setting of writing appointments with yourself. These work, but only if you do them, so either be serious about your writing and do free-writing for a year or admit to yourself that you want to be a writer but you don't want to become one.

Note how carefully the two titles are chosen: Becoming A Writer is for people who want to write and need some hints about getting started. If You Want To Write is for people who want to become writers and need some hints on how to channel their desire to write in productive ways. Both of these writers understand how the unconscious can be tapped by the conscious mind.

One cannot find material in either of their books that dated them (except the reference to reducing a meat budget for a household for a year by $3.70). Their psychological insights are as pertinent today as any NLP Master Track graduate might conjure up. One of the major insights for me was that following the process for a long period of time was a prerequisite for judging whether the process worked. There is no other way. Since I had been free-writing for a year before reading these two books, I was in a position to attest to the efficacy of the suggested exercises from personal experience.

The differences between the books are enlightening also. Brande suggests you begin writing immediately when you sit down and Ueland suggests sitting there with pen in hand meditating on what to write until the words come. Both ways work, but not for the same person - you must find a way that works for you and stick with it. You are anchoring in the essentials to your new writing career. It will be as important to you as the infamous houndstooth hat was to the football coach, Paul "Bear" Bryant.

Read them both, one is like a rear wheel drive pushing you ahead, and the other is like a front wheel drive that adds traction while pulling you forward.


3. Dorothea Brande 's Becoming A Writer

While reading Gabrielle Rico's book on writing I came upon repeated quotations from this book, a classic of 1934, which contains a compilation of the techniques used by Brande in her creative writing classes in the twenties. It is a classic in the sense of timelessness because Brande writes as though she were writing today with our wealth of split brain/dual brain studies, but without using the buzzwords, only the insights. Her understanding of the conscious and unconscious mind of writers and artists was as complete as a World Class NLP Practitioner in both her exercises and her use of metaphor. By the elegant use of these, she prepares us for a lifetime of creative writing experiences.

The first part of the book fell victim to a process in me that she warns about in the middle of the book: I told someone about the book and thereby removed the information I would otherwise have to share with you here. The metaphor she told was of a writer who spent his gestation times lying on his back on the grounds of his house looking up at the clouds.

This worked well for him until members of his family, seeing him alone, took the opportunity to come over to talk to him. During one of these talks, he shared with one of them the book he was working on in his head and when he got back to the house, both the idea and the impulse to write it down had disappeared. After that he began feeding pigeons in the park.

Brande's first exercise describes what Peter Elbow 50 years later came to call "free-writing" exercise. The exercise in one form or another has appeared also in Rico's book and the "Writing Down The Bones" of Natalie Goldberg. Brande must be the innovator of the concept. After free writing she suggests getting up an hour earlier than usual and writing as much as possible. Next step is to move that time to one that you consciously set. Then go back and read your accumulated free-writings (after a long, non-reading hiatus) to find a subject of your own to write about and to set an appointment three days hence to sit down and write in one setting a complete work.

Note the careful stepwise design and how each step is anchored in before proceeding to the next step. She anticipates Carl Jung's collective unconscious and our New Age understanding of higher consciousness: "X is to Mind as Mind is to Body," what is X? Only your Higher Consciousness knows for sure.


4. Christi Killien and Sheila Binder's Writing in a Convertible With the Top Down

This book is as saucy as a joy ride with two friendly girls in a convertible with the top down. The girls are the authors who are writing each other about writing as they travel about various parts of the country. Again and again they teach us how to dive into our unconscious to bring to the surface pearls of insights from our own sea floor bounty.

The maps they give us to the bottom are from many well-known authors on writing: Brenda Ueland, Peter Elbow, Gabriele Rico, and Natalie Goldberg. The idea of using the cluster diagrams of Rico to show relationships in a book you are writing and the idea of the "W" outline by Kubis and Howland are well worth the price of the book alone.

Best of all are the suggestions Sheila and Christi come up with on their own.

1) Challenge yourself to ten "likes" a day. [ I came up with "a neon sign is like a bowling alley"]

2) "Take it for a Spin: Look at any stuckness in your life as you would food on your plate, your face when getting ready for an important date, a person you haven't seen for a long time." Write about details of a portion of the image, like the date's nose.

3) "Explore the cupboards of your memory..." List the sayings, rituals, foods, and events that come up for you.

The book has an immediacy and intimacy that is both arresting and charming. We are invited to eavesdrop on two girl friends as they share their writing, thoughts about writing, and tips on how to write with each other. Get a copy of this, pull on a sweater, a tight cap, and climb in the back seat for a spin and you may soon forget their techniques- but your writing will forever show traces of the benefits of that saucy joy ride that is but the price of a paperback book away. My wife asked me after reading this review, "Is this book really this good?" Find out for yourself.


5. Maria Nemcová Banerjee's Terminal Paradox

At the time of writing this piece, I have only read the sections of this book that deal with the books of Kundera that I have already read. During my attempt to read the section on The Joke, I felt that I was missing something by not having read the book first, so I skipped to the last two sections on The Book of Laughter and Forgetting and The Unbearable Lightness of Being, both of which I have read. I wanted to be certain that I even wanted to continue reading this book. I did.

How does one review an illumination of a writer's work? I suppose one praises the parts that are brought into a clearer light and illuminates the parts that were left in shadow. Banerjee shines her literary spotlight first on that philo-fool, Milan Kundera, who was born on April 1st, and then shines it on his Book of Laughter and Forgetting. She points to the official act of forgetting by the Czech people after Clementis was executed and "airbrushed" out of the history books. Next she illumines the poetry reading circle rising like a wreath over Wenceslas Square, buoyed upward by their lyricism.

This image presages Kundera's next book, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, but I found it on the cover of the paperback edition of Book of Laughter and Forgetting. We sense that Banerjee understands Kundera when she points out, in his own words, "the book is a novel in the form of variations." We sense with her that the infinity of the variations of things is greater than the infinity of things.

Banerjee's treatment of The Unbearable Lightness of Being focuses on the existential plight of Tomas, who stated repeatedly, "Einmal is keinmal," which roughly translates, "Once is none." Tomas longed for repetition, but found repetition to be only kitsch, or repetition not worth having. To me Kundera's goal was to illumine kitsch in this novel. Banerjee makes more note of kitsch than the movie, which barely mentioned it, but her tone shows up best on p. 242 where she says, "The section opens with a digression on kitsch . . ." This statement reminds me of Ernest Rossi's comments on Milton Erickson. Rossi would delete a brilliant metaphoric story and trance induction by Erickson, and replace it with the words, "Here Erickson digresses into a story about his life."

Kitsch, to me, seemed to pervade the novel, e.g., how Tereza first appeared in Tomas's world with the book Anna Karenina in her hands. Later she left for Prague with Karenin, a dog named after the book, in her hands. In the end of the book, Tomas and Tereza died like Anna Karenina, crushed under the weight of a motorized vehicle. Tolstoy opened his book with Anna viewing someone being crushed under a moving train, and Kundera opened his book with Tereza carrying Tolstoy's book. Repetition, kitsch.

As Sabina, Tomas's girl friend, said, as she pondered the kitsch in the epitaphs of the Montparnasse cemetery, "Kitsch is the stopover between being and oblivion." Kitsch, then, might be considered our glimpse at the plans that the greater part of us, our Soul, has made for our stopover in time. If we are vigilant, we might achieve the goal, "Once in a Row is Enough," whereby we recognize the pattern of kitsch in our world at the earliest possible time: the second time it appears.


    New Stuff on the Internet:
  • Graduates of LSU: Check out here photos of the LSU Campus around 1930s including many of Agricultural and Theatrical Activities: Antique Photos

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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 http://www.netflix.com/ 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. Often you get the Director's Cut Edition which adds back excellent footage that was cut from the theater releases.
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.):
“My Blueberry Nights” (2007) starring Norah Jones (who sings a song for the movie). How do you deal with losing someone you can’t bear to lose? Norah experiences that in her life and in the lives of several other people as she eats her way through many blueberry pies and finds out how long it takes to cross the street. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
“Pride and Glory” (2007) Ed Norton as a good cop fighting against a station full of bad cops, maybe even his brother. Can this family be saved from certain scandal?
“The Lucky Ones” (2008) are the ones who never had to fight in Iraq, as these three who survived their tour of duty prove as they fight to recover or recover from the life they left behind in the States. One is going back, one is retiring, and one is heading for Canada, but plans and reality are oft like oil and water.
“I Could Never Be Your Woman” (2006) with Michelle Pfeiffer and a young Paul Rudd in a December-May romance full of fun and frolic, even if frowned on by Mother Nature. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“The Great Debaters” (2007) is the latest of the blacks-did-everything docu-dramas in which a team from the South beats Harvard at its own game. Proves that blacks did learn things in their separate-but-equal school systems.
“The Impressionists” Disk 1 of 2 (2006) leave an incredible impression on the movie screen — at times you feel like you’re observing a Monet “Lilies” painting, but Monet is walking through it. Spectacular cinematography and documented scenes makes this a tour-de-force and A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
“The Impressionists” Disk 2 of 2 (2006) Cezanne is featured in the first feature on this disk. We see traces of Vincent van Gogh appearing on the canvas of this wild man of art. In the second feature, we get to look upon the many paintings of Monet etal in a splendid documentary. Can’t keep the first names of these best friends straight? Watch this 2-DVD Set. Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
“Nurse Betty” (2000) A multiple personality triggers in Betty after watching her husband get shot and she moves to L. A. to find her fiancé who is a fictional character in a soap opera. Stranger than fiction, he falls for her, but she’s not in Kansas anymore.

“Stranger Than Fiction” (2006) “And so it was a wristwatch saved Harold Crick” the IRS agent who began auditing his life with the help of an omniscient narrator and found a loophole. Will Ferrell’s best acting to date. A DON’T MISS HIT! ! !

“Eddie & the Cruisers” (1983) Can’t make a musical out of this movie because it’s already filled with great music. Michael Pare stars in this biopic of an imaginary rock star going through his “Season in Hell” as he strove to innovate his own music. Was a hit when we first fell in love with the music back in the 1980s and it lives yet today. A DON’T MISS HIT! ! !
“Eddie & the Cruisers, II” (1989) Eddie lives as Joe and is building high-rise apartments in Canada when a wave of nostalgia about his music hits America and draws him back to quest for his own sound. But how long can the ghost of Eddie Wilson remain separate from Joe and his new band. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Count of Monte Cristo, Disk 1 of 2” (1998) A tour de force by Depardieu who plays the Count and all his disguises as he plots to bring justice those who abandoned him to a dungeon for 18 years. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
“Count of Monte Cristo, Disk 2 of 2” (1998) Great rendering of the Alexander Dumas classic hero. All the sweep and nuances packed into over six hours of grand cinematic experience as Edmond Dantes learns to balance vengeance with justice and learn forgiveness at the end. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
“Peter the Great: Tyrant Reformer” (2000) A Biography Channel 50 minute production. Quick overview of the tall Russian who made his countrymen wear Western clothes and dragged them kicking and screaming into civilized life.
“The Deal” (2003) took 13 years and was completed when Tony Blair stepped down and turned the Prime Ministership over to Gordon Brown in exchange for his support which led Blair into office in a landslide victory for the Labour Party. Confusing for Americans who don’t know the ins and outs of British election system, but interesting historical docudrama.
"The Deal" (2007) Bill Macy and Meg Ryan as love interests? How unlikely is that? About as unlikely as any of hobo and movie producer Macy's biopic on Bejamin Disraeli! A HILARIOUS DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
“Dedication” (2007) which extends past one’s life on Earth when Rudy the illustrator sticks around to assist Henry the writer in getting his life back on track with a new illustrator, best friend, and wife. But Henry will not go gently into that good life. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“I Love You, Man” (2009) Paul Rudd is scheduled to get married but needs a good friend to be best man and has to recruit one. The hilarity which results before and after he finds Jason Segel of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is unforgettable and A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !

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.

“Baby Mama” (2008) is a waste of Blu-Ray disk on a sitcom mentality or lack thereof attempt at a film. We stomped it in High Definition about halfway through the movie. A DVD STOMPER! ! ! !
“The Flight of the Conchords” (2007) ended in a crash on the floor right before we stomped it. A “Harold and Kumar Go to the Toilet” or a “Beavis and Butthead on Steroids”. A DVD STOMPER !

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

“I’ll Always Love You” (2006) A slow Filipino movie with scenes of Frisco that look like faded home movies from the 1960s, but the star-crossed couple find love and togetherness on both sides of the Pacific.
“Purple Violets” (2007) Violet is purple faded almost away like the love of these two couples, and yet there was enough of a tinge left to recover the love and book it.
“In Bruges” (2008) you can find a fairy tale land or a Purgatory — it’s your bloody choice. What happens when one man’s on-the-job training goes bad.
“The Violin” (2005) Plutarcho played his violin for the soldiers while smuggling bullets to his rebel son. No good can come of this.
“4 Months, 3 weeks, and 2 Days” (2007) and 1 abortion. In the mean streets of communist Romania. Mother does everything wrong: goes to wrong hotel, forgets plastic sheet, gives 2 months instead of almost 5 as her pregnancy term, and has an abortion. Will she survive it? Will it scar her life forever? Will the baby she aborts survive?
“Synecdoche, New York” (2008) takes place in Schenectady, New York. At the end Del said, “I’m still waiting for it to make sense.” as if holding an unanswered question. A quote from the movie helps, “Everyone is a lead actor in one’s own life.” There may be extras in a movie, but in one’s life, those “extras” are stars in their own life. Not bad insight for a YC clunker.
“Rachel Getting Married”(2008) and identified patient, maid of honor, and sister returning from rehab to a house full of crazy people who blame her for the death of her brother Ethan. There should be a 13th step for family members as part of addiction recovery. Slugging one’s daughter for telling the truth isn’t the step I’m thinking of.
“10,000 B. C.” (2008) was a tough time for the mammoth hunters, especially when the monsters on four legs raided their villages carried everyone away to work on the pyramids. Can the hero rescue his blue-eyed maiden and save his people? An epic saga reveals the seamy side of the Giza Geeks.
“Willow” (1988) is a wannabe Hobbit with a baby instead of a ring to take care of. Val Kilmer as a fool and a warrior.


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4. CAJUN STORY
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Rosie Harris told Del and me this story me on Feb. 18th. This happened when she was a school teacher down the bayou in South Louisiana.

In the 1930's a teacher was assigned to teach Cajun children down along Bayou Lafourche to speak English instead of French. She asked Tee Boo to stand up and say his numbers. He stood up immediately and said, “Une, deux, trois, . . .” and the teacher stopped him.

“No, Tee Boo, in English,” she said.

“Mais, Ah don’ know dem in English.”

“Remain standing and I will teach you. Say, ONE.”

Tee Boo said, “ONE.”

“Say TWO.” Tee Boo immediately sat down.

“Tee Boo, why did you sit down?” the teacher asked, puzzled by his response.

“Mais, Miss Teach, you said, ‘C’est toute.’ and Ah thought you was finished wit me.”

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5. RECIPE of the MONTH for April, 2009 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
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Maman Nette's Oatmeal

Background on Oatmeal: Growing up I was the oldest of four boys and one sister, and my mother, Annette Matherne, made us hot grits and hot oatmeal on many a morning. When I left home, I was not able to find oatmeal that good in restaurants or cafes where I ate. When I got married, I recall vividly the first time I made oatmeal for myself at age 20 because it tasted so horrible! What could I have done wrong to make it taste so bad, I thought. I looked at the recipe and I was sure I followed it directly. Okay, I left out the tiny amount of salt that it called for. So I added the salt and it tasted fine. It was one of my first lessons in cooking: there are some ingredients which are essential to the taste of the food, and for oatmeal, that one is salt.

The other thing my mother did was always use rolled oats. As a kid, I had no idea what that was. So as an adult, I decided it would be cool to buy "Old-fashioned Oats", but whenever I cooked them, they were lumpy with a lumpiness that you couldn't get rid of the lumpiness no matter how much milk you added to them. That was what led me to discover rolled oats which are necessary to obtain the kind of creamy oatmeal that Maman Nette made. (Maman Nette was the name my kids gave my mother, and I use it even though its means "grandmother.") Then I recalled that she always bought Crystal Oats, and if you check the package it is "rolled oats." (We keep Old-fashioned oats for oatmeal cookies and Crystal for oatmeal today.)

Back before the current fad of "Quick-Cooking Oatmeal" Crystal Oats needed to be cooked about ten to twenty minutes and it was a lot more fun cooking it back then and the oatmeal came out creamier than one can obtain with its oats today. But since there is no option, I use the Crystal Oats today and in this recipe. On the original box of non-quick cooking Crystal Oats, the recipe said, "Add oats to boiling water. For creamier oatmeal, add oats to the cold water." Sure enough, adding the oats from the beginning created a smoother, creamier consistency.

Another thing was that evaporated milk was less expensive than whole milk (when diluted) and it didn't go bad because it was canned and didn't need to refrigerated until it was opened. As a result, Maman Nette always used evaporated milk to cook with and never whole milk. When she cooked oatmeal, it was always evaporated milk which went into the pot, and cold milk was served alongside with the hot oatmeal. She added evaporated milk to the water from the beginning about half and half. If the oatmeal was too hot to eat, we would dilute it with just enough whole milk to make it ready to eat and just a bit creamier. Often the last thing she'd put in the hot oatmeal pot was a dab of butter, so our oatmeal always had a hot buttery savor to it. Maple syrup was way out of her grocery budget, so the oatmeal never got any of it. Our pancake syrups were always the cheapest available and if it said "Maple" on it, it was just a bit of maple flavoring and it never went into our oatmeal. Likewise with with brown sugar. It was too expensive to use to flavor oatmeal, so plain white sugar was all she used. Those two flavorings I have come to enjoy as an adult and always include them in hot oatmeal for me and Del, the kids, and the grandkids.

I hope you will enjoy oatmeal made this old-fashioned way without the "Old-fashioned" oats.

Ingredients
1/8 TSP Salt
1 CUP Crystal Wedding Oats
1 CUP Water, 3/4 CUP Evaporated Milk
2 TBSP of Brown Sugar (to taste)
1 TBSP of Maple Syrup
1 TBSP of Butter
Preparation
Assemble ingredients.

Cooking Instructions
Add water and evaporated milk to pot. Add salt. Add oats. Bring to a mild boil and cut back on heat. Add brown sugar and stir it. Then Maple Syrup. Then the butter. When it's ready to serve, turn heat off. Add some more evaporated milk if necessary to attain proper consistency. The oatmeal should be creamy with the consistency of a good split pea soup. It should be almost level when lifted from the pot in a large spoon. If it stacks in the spoon, add milk or water to thin it.

Serving Suggestion
Serve hot from the pot in a flat soup bowl for easiest eating. Serve with a small glass of cold milk to either dilute the too hot oatmeal or the too hot palate during eating of the oatmeal.

Other options
For two people, the Quaker packets of Maple & Brown sugar microwave oatmeal are acceptable and we use them when only one of us wants hot oatmeal, but there's nothing better than a hot steaming pot of Maman Nette's Oatmeal on a cold wintery day, as any of our 19 grandchildren who've tasted it will attest.



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6. POETRY by BOBBY from Faith, Love, Hope:
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There's Hope for the Flowers

Ever-returning Spring, trinity sure to me you bring. — Walt Whitman
When we plant seeds,
there's hope for the flowers.
When the Earth revolves on its axis
there's hope for the flowers.

In Spring-time showers
there's hope for the flowers.
When we plant seeds,
there's hope for the flowers.

In winter-night beneath the bitter snow
there's hope for the flowers.
When we plant seeds,
there's hope for the flowers.

When a newborn baby cries,
there's hope for the flowers.
When a human being dies,
there's hope for the flowers.

For when we raise our hands in prayer
Some One is watching over there
And with His grace and divine power
Pours on us His blessed showers.

When He plants seeds,
there's hope for the flowers.


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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for April:
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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. NOTE: these Blurbs are condensations of the Full Reviews sans footnotes and many quoted passages.

1.) ARJ2: Quantum Enigma — Physics Encounters Consciousness by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner

A spooky thing happens if you send a single photon through a single slit, it goes through to the other side, just like the proverbial chicken crossing the road. If you make a fence with one hole in it in the middle of the road, the chicken will cross the road going directly through the hole. If you send a chicken across the road after making two holes in the fence, sometimes it will go through the original hole and sometimes through the other hole. You can't predict which slit it will go through, but, unless you offer the chicken some feed or other inducement, it will randomly go through either slit and one can make a plot of the places of appearance on the other side of the road and get a pattern of occurrences. If we are called upon to explain this curious behavior, we might say, "A chicken has a mind of its own" or "A chicken is unpredictable" but we would not see any enigma. But a photon behaves the same way as the chicken, and that's an enigma, an example of the eponymous quantum enigma.

How does the photon know there is a second slit that's been added which causes it to split into two potential photons and recombine on the other side of the two slits exactly as predicted by quantum theory? It's an enigma. We physicists know it happens, and we can't explain why.

Thereupon hangs the tale, one of many, the authors deal with between the covers of this book. Open the front cover of this book and you're like a chicken crossing the road: there are 17 gates or holes in the fence, chapters, through which you can get through to the back cover of the book. You will find yourself split into multiple parts at times from the puzzling effects reported, but ever and anon you will arrive at this statement in the final chapter on page 202, "When experts disagree, you may choose your expert." At that point, your wave function will collapse and all 17 superpositioned versions of you will coalesce into your unity self, allowing you to leave the Temple of Quantum Reality and tell others, "I have glimpsed the enigma."

With the title promising an enigma, one would expect that the book contains controversial material about which many physicists disagree. One would be disappointed to find the opposite is true, at least about the physics aspect of the material.

[page 1] This is a controversial book. But nothing we say about quantum mechanics is controversial. The experimental results we report and our explanation of them with quantum theory are completely undisputed. It is the mystery these results imply beyond physics that is hotly disputed. For many physicists, this mystery, the quantum enigma, is best not talked bout. It displays physics' encounter with consciousness. It's the skeleton in our closet.

In the early 1970s my wife at that time took a course entitled, "Physics for Poets", and it was the beginning of a genre of physics courses for nonscience students of the ilk of the course of the authors, who have boldly expanded the course into the strange world of the Quantum Enigma and created the most popular physics course at Univ. of Calif. Santa Cruz. (Page 5)

The authors offer us an interesting parable in a mythical land called Neg Ahne Poc inhabited by the Rhob. A man visits there and finds that the Quantum Enigma can be demonstrated with life-sized objects. He is given a demonstration in which there are two huts and a man and a woman. He dons a hood as the couple arrange themselves in the huts, then takes it off and asks one of two questions:

1) In which hut is the man, and in which hut is the woman?

2) In which hut is the couple?

When he asks question 1) the doors are opened, showing the man in one hut and the woman in the other hut. When he asks question 2) the doors are opened, showing the couple together in one of the two huts and the other hut empty. He mixes up the order of the questions at random and every time, the answers are consistent. Sometimes the answer to question 1) shows the man in the left and the woman in the right and sometimes it's vice versa. Sometimes the answer to question 2 shows the couple in the left hut and sometimes in the right hut. But never does the couple show up together in either hut in answer to question 1) and never does the man and woman show up alone in either hut in answer to question 2). The lesson of the parable is that the way you ask the question, which question you ask, question 1) or question 2), determines what you will find. Incredible as this may sound to you, this is a Quantum Fact, and no exception has ever been found to this fact. Now this being a quantum fact means that it only applies on a microscopic scale and not on the macroscopic scale as demonstrated in the parable or metaphor above. Quantum effects of various sorts are being demonstrated on links of molecules which are visible under microscopes, and whether macroscopic objects are subject to such observer effects is debatable.

We live in a world where our view of reality is shaken when we begin to observe quantum effects. Photons move more like mobile chickens than billiard balls. Imagine a quantum pool table where you aim for a pocket on a table with one pocket and the ball goes right in. Then add a full complement of pockets and aim for the same original pocket and the billiard ball will go into one of the pockets. Shoot hundreds of balls at the one pocket and count the balls in each pocket, and you will find a distribution of balls among the pockets which will be the same each time you do the experiment. Quantum theory allows us to calculate that distribution, but it cannot predict which pocket the next ball will go into, only the probability that the next ball will go into that pocket.

Much of the debate over the quantum enigma can be understood as a battle between the map and the territory. Newton gave us a map for how the world operated, and everyone was happy. Then Einstein showed us discrepancies in Newton's map and gave us a new map and everyone was happy. But while Einstein was still alive, quantum theory gave us a map about how microscopic events happened when we recorded them with macroscopic instruments, and that map could only predict probabilities and Einstein was unhappy, for no longer did we have a map for the basic elements of our world on the microscopic level. In fact, what we could understand from the wave equations and various interpretations of the quantum world showed us that no map was possible of that world. Our world had a reality which was stranger than our maps. Physicists for the most part were chagrined by this reality, as they dealt with maps of the world, and now their map model method had failed them, and even predicted that no map would ever be found! Philosophers, on the other hand, smiled because they loved paradoxes and failed maps, seeing fertile ground to be plowed where most physicists saw barren ground better left alone.

For my part, as a physicist and a philosopher, I became deeply interested in physics when I first heard of the quantum enigma. I had wandered from physics into the study of computers, systems theory, psychology, and the quantum enigma led me back to this fertile ground of the physics which I was unschooled in academically because its paradoxes were hidden from me by professors who were mostly intent on teaching us to calculate instead of think. With my study in the twenty years of the spiritual science of Rudolf Steiner, I see in the quantum enigma hints of humankind's technological seeking encountering a limit at the boundaries of the physical world, finding itself impotent in moving further in its understanding of what it is finding because it is encountering the spiritual world which operates in an inverted fashion compared to the physical world. The quantum enigma is a phrase which describes the meeting of the spiritual and physical world, two incompatible systems. Such systems, at the point where they meet create a chaos or turbulence which cannot be understood from either side. We can only calculate probabilities from this side and explanations or maps for what is happening will ever escape our materialistically-minded physicists. Such physicists take little comfort in Walt Kelly's saying which he put in Pogo's mouth back in the 1960s, "We has met the enemy, and he is us." The empirical tools of the physicist going back to Francis Bacon prevent them from understanding the physical basis of quantum phenomena, likely because, in my opinion, there is no physical basis, only physically observable results of our measurements. We have reached the point where our concept of physical has disintegrated, and quantum enigma is the name we have given to our confusion.

My preliminary thoughts on the matter will not make sense to most physicists, but here goes. When one goes to sleep at night, one's spirit expands to the extent of the physical universe at a rate that makes Star Trek's Warp 10 seems snail-like by comparison. The speed of spirit is infinite and thus the simultaneous transitions of two once-connected objects separated by billions of light-years, as required by the Einstein-Poldosky-Rosen paradox, seem to provide proof that the quantum enigma reveals that our instruments are discovering a reality which we have ignored and forgotten for over six centuries, the reality of the spiritual world. It will no doubt greatly upset physicists to have to admit that "planets were pushed by angels", after all.

If the spiritual world exists, as I have no doubt that it does, then it is clear that the world exists independently of its observation in the physical world. Realism, whether the hard form mentioned below or not, is only one of twelve ways of understanding the world, but an understanding is a model, a map of the world, and there is always more world than our map. Alfred Korzybski wrote, "The map is not the territory; it cannot represent all the territory." The territory is what he identifies by the wonderful acronym WIGO, which refers to What Is Going On. Clearly to me, the WIGO of the world includes the spiritual world, and none of the maps of physicists include the spiritual world, up until now. At least, not consciously. But the quantum enigma is pointing physicists towards it and highlighting it, for those who care.

In my undergraduate study of physics, not a single student or professor that I encountered cared about the quantum enigma. And yet, according to the authors of this book, college students are very interested in the subject today. Something is resonating within these students which did not resonate within college students fifty years ago. Rightly understood, our age of materialism is waning and a new age of spirituality is waxing before our eyes. But this new age will not discard outright materialism, as our adventure into materialism discarded spirituality 600 years ago. Actually our materialistic age stood on the shoulders of spiritual thought, but this is not readily known and even less admitted by scientists of today. On the contrary, the very basics of our learning to think scientifically originated from ways of thinking which I have often heard ridiculed. Here's an example of ridiculing by presupposition, "Why, that's as ridiculous as arguing 'How many angels can dance on the head of a pin!'" Perhaps you've heard something like that. Who made such arguments about angels dancing on the head of a pin? It was the Scholastic thinkers back in the 12th through 15th centuries, and their mode of thinking represented a quantum leap for human consciousness, a leap which was to allow those who followed Francis Bacon, after he suggested that our thinking and reasoning should be devoted to the physical world, to begin to create with the help of Galileo, Newton, etal, the technological revolution which has apparently brought us today to the edge of the spiritual world.

Schrödinger created his famous wave equations as a way of eliminating what he called "the pesky quantum jumps of Bohr", but he was surprised that his waves were demonstrating equally puzzling effects which challenged any realistic understanding of the underlying microscopic world.

[page 75] If an actual physical object were smeared over the extent of its waviness, its remote parts would have to instantaneously coalesce to the place where the whole object were found. Physical matter would have to move at speeds greater than that of light. That's impossible.

And yet, the soul and spirit of every physicist when awakened from a dream re-coalesces instantaneously from the edges of the universe. Perhaps physical matter is not actually physical. Physicists calculate the probability that a wave will coalesce in one place, but that is not the probability of there being an object there, an important difference.

[page 75] The waviness in a region is the probability of finding the object in that region. Be careful — the waviness is not the probability of the object being there. There's the crucial difference! The object was not there before you found it there. Your happening to find it there caused it to be there. This is tricky and the essence of the quantum enigma.

If we accept the time-honored notion of cause and effect in the physical world, then we must admit that quantum events do not follow that notion at all. Perhaps our notion of cause and effect should be replaced by the notion that it all happens at the same time? When we find a so-called object in a region, there was no object there beforehand. Our act of finding coincided with the appearance of the object where we found it. We both arrived there at the same time. Quantum mechanics allows us to calculate the probability of that simultaneous occurrence happening. When our macrocosmic world of measurement interacts with the microscopic world of quantum effects, it all happens at the same time.

Let us now examine what happens if you apply cause-effect logic to objects on a microscopic scale. The thought experiment is called "An Atom in a Box Pair". First one needs to run the atom through a semitransparent atom-mirror which divides the atom's wave function into two wave packets, which go into each of the two boxes. Note how the authors talk about an "object" in two places and confront the enigma which arises from talking about them as objects. Focus on how the authors talk about objects — the magnetic orientation of the atom has a "north pole" attached to it even though our Earth has no actual north pole, it's only a way we have of talking about a specific location around which our planet rotates. Also note that applying my notion "it all happens at the same time" makes the entire situation easier to understand.

[page 78, 79] The most accurate way of describing the state of the unobserved atom is to put into English the mathematics describing the state of the atom before we looked to see where it is: The atom was simultaneously in two states; in the first state, it is in-the-top-box-and-not-in-the-bottom-box, and simultaneously in the second state, it is in-the-bottom-box-and-not-in-the-top-box.

Alfred Korzybski elaborated on the deleterious semantic effect of the usage of the verb "to be" in English in his classic book on General Semantics, Science and Sanity. Over seventy years later, scientists such as the authors of this book are still using the verb "to be" in English. Check the paragraph in the passage quoted above. The quantum enigma arises from putting the mathematics into English! A clear demonstration of what Korzybski wrote on page 202 of his book, "The 'is' of identity plays a great havoc with our semantic reactions, as any 'identity' is structurally false to fact." No wonder the authors claim "putting it this way boggles the mind" — the word boggle indicates the presence of a semantic reaction!

The authors give many examples in Chapter 8 of how quantum effects make possible technology which comprises "One-Third of Our Economy" as stated in the title, elaborating specifically on transistors, lasers, and MRI's and pointing forward to quantum computers. And they explain how little the quantum enigma bothers these scientists and engineers.

[page 83] Engineers and physicists who work with the technologies we have spoken of may deal intimately with quantum mechanics on an everyday basis, but they never need to face up to the deeper issues raised by quantum mechanics. Many are not even aware of them. In teaching quantum mechanics, physicists, including us, minimize the enigmatic aspect in order not to distract students from the practical stuff they will need to use. We also avoid the enigma because it is a bit embarrassing; it's been called our "skeleton in the closet."

Methinks I hear the ghost of Alfred Korzybski rattling their skeleton in the closet. Engineers and physicists working in technologies use mostly English prime — that is English without the verb "to-be" used as identification. They are interested in how things work not what they are, and thus the quantum enigma never arises in their work.

Here's an example of how the quantum enigma seems to be telling us that we create the past in the present.

[page 94] But our physicist hesitates, and again seems evasive: "What exited before we looked, what you call 'a physically real world,' is another issue most physicists prefer to leave to philosophers. For all practical purposes, all we need to deal with is what we see when we actually do look."
      "But you're saying something crazy about the world! You're saying that what previously existed is created by the way we look at something," is his unsatisfied response. Most heads nod in agreement; others seem baffled.

If you wonder why I don't seem baffled, it's likely because I encountered these ideas in Jane Roberts' Seth Books back in the 1970s, specifically in The Unknown Reality. The idea that we create the past in the present seems quite natural to me as well as the idea that a time wave from the future comes to us in the form of a feeling. Clearly the idea that a feeling is an important part of reality was never taught to me in a physics course — there is no Maxwell's Equations for feelings!

Others are more blunt about how to proceed in the face of the quantum enigma and we should allow them their terse rant, "Shut up and calculate!" (Page 112) The rant contains no verb "to-be" and avoids the quantum enigma.

The remainder of the book deals with Schrödinger's Cat, a modern scientific metaphor of a Cheshire Cat which is sometimes there and sometimes not there at the same time, and the Bell Theorem, both of which have weird implications about reality. Both of these we have discussed in more general terms before. The atom that is in Box A or Box B is replaced by a live cat in one box which will be killed if some quantum effect is observed in the box. Given the probability of the quantum event, the cat will be either alive or dead in the box at any time until we actually observe the cat. If we go on a cruise for a week and open the box when we get back we will either find a hungry cat or a dead cat. Since the cat's condition occurs only when we open the box, if we see a cat dead about 7 days, the past of the cat must be created on the spot in the condition of a cat 7 days dead. Spooky, but true.

[page 124] Indeed, if someone on trial convinced the jury that he believed that his looking created the physical world, the jury would likely accept the plea of insanity.

The Bell Theorem concerns the objects once together who then fly apart to the ends of the universe, but the choice of measurement of one of the objects will determine instantly the condition of the other object when it is measured. John Bell proposed a theorem which could be used to prove whether this is true and in recent decades, it became possible to perform the experiments and the results were exactly as quantum theory predicted, with all its weirdness. What weirdness? It proved that our world is neither real (not created by observation) nor separable (objects can affect each other without physical forces). That's my surmise from the results: neither real nor separable.

[page 143] When the experiments were done, Bell's inequality was violated. Bell's straw man was knocked down — as he expected it would be. Our world does not have both reality and separability. And we immediately admit to not truly understanding what the world being unreal or having a universal connectedness would imply.

To me the answer, the way to understanding is to admit that our maps reveal a world that is no comprehensible by maps. Does that mean we live in an incomprehensible world? No, not necessarily. It means that physicists live in an incomprehensible world and the skeleton in their closet, which they prefer to not mention, proves that to be the case. The difference between how establishment physicists and graduate students in physics grapple with these issues speaks volumes. The authors report on two conferences where they dared to take the skeleton out of the closet in public.

[page 154] When I spoke of our interest in the issues of consciousness raised at the two conferences, I was heckled by some senior faculty: "You guys are taking physics back to the Dark Ages!" And: "Spend your time doing good physics, not this nonsense!"

When professors rant in this fashion, it leads me to suspect that they have some fear associated with the ideas expressed by the authors. Where might this fear stem from? Might it be from some deep knowledge which the professors have, but of which they are unaware? Rudolf Steiner saw a lot of such irrational fears in his time when he was lecturing and writing on his spiritual science. But the authors state that the graduate students have no such fear, but rather are excited about the new possibilities unleashed by the quantum enigma and its experimental results and what it means for the new way of understanding the world which is quickly approaching.

[page 154] Physics graduate students in the audience, on the other hand, seemed fascinated. Not surprisingly. Younger physicists today are generally more open to the idea that there are problems with the foundations of quantum theory.

In spite of having written this fine book laying out the case of the quantum enigma, the authors admit to feeling embarrassment when the ideas lend support or resonate with what so-called metaphysical teachers have averred for many years. Since embarrassment is an emotion which reveals a secret pleasure, there must be something true resonating deep within the authors, but which they cannot access consciously and therefore, instead, feel that truth as the emotion they call embarrassment.

One can find no better example of the condition of human beings in the eyes of physicists than the statement by Nobelist Physicisr Murray-Gellman which heads his discussion of quantum physics, "The universe presumably couldn't care less whether human beings evolved on some obscure planet to study its history; it goes on obeying the quantum-mechanical laws of physics irrespective of observation by physicists." (Page 156, emphasis added) One cannot understand the reality of the spiritual world and how humans fit into it and call our home base some obscure planet. We are all travelers of the universe each time we nod off or sleep for the night. As such we are both observers of the universe and we care about the planet which forms the center of the universe for us. Want to choose your own expert to decide about this matter? Look no further than the mirror!

Did you find this blurb interesting? Read the entire review and then you may wish to read the book itself.

Read the Full Review at:
http://www.doyletics.com/arj/quanenig.htm

2.) ARJ2: Cosmic New Year, GA#195 by Rudolf Steiner

In his Introduction, Christopher Bamford says of the years following World War I that this was Rudolf Steiner's challenge, "To reach the general public, the spiritual-scientific epistemology and insights had to be translated into accessible, jargon-free, ordinary language that educated people could understand." This is a splendid statement of the challenge we face today, some 90 years later, when the English translations of Steiner's works back then are filled with spiritual-scientific jargon which is inaccessible to educated people today. That reminds me of a story. Around 1970 I was working for a new computer firm in Los Angeles and we had this consultant, Bill, who sat in on meetings with us. After we engineers had explained our proposal in intricate detail, Bill would set back in his chair, adjust his thick spectacles, look at us and say, "What does all this mean?" He did this in meeting after meeting and it irritated us, but at the same time, it drove us to reconsider our proposal, perhaps modify a bit, and explain it a bit better until everyone in the room understood what it meant. I think about Bill's pesky habit often when I imagine reading aloud several of Steiner's lectures to some educated person, who could then rightfully ask me afterward, "What does all this mean?" These reviews are my way of answering Bill's question to my Readers.

One need only Google my name or Steiner's name to encounter the fear that some people have of spiritual science. One finds the fear disguised under abusive language, e. g., Loon of the Month, but the disguise is a thin one. Positive Atheists are not immune to such fear — they are positively afraid of anything spiritual as if it would open them up to something deep inside of themselves that they do not want to face. Instead of facing this thing, they attack others who dare to reveal this thing. Skeptics fit also in this category of fear, but they must confront a paradox — they are absolutely sure that one cannot be absolutely sure of anything!

Steiner confronted such fear in his critics back a hundred years ago.

[page 1, 2] For how, according to some people, at a time when we have come so wonderfully far, could people have any kind of fear of knowledge? Indeed, people today believe they are able to encompass nearly everything with their intellectual powers. But people are not generally conscious of this fear that I have often described. In their consciousness people pretend that they are brave enough to receive every kind of knowledge, but deep in the unknown part of the soul (which today people basically don't want to acknowledge) there sits this unconscious fear. Because these people have this unconscious fear, there rise up in them all kinds of reason that they claim to be logical objections against spiritual science. However, they are only emanations of the unconscious fear of the science of the spirit that reigns in human souls. For in the depths of the soul every human being really knows much more than is known intellectually. We do not want this knowledge rooted in the depths of the soul life to rise to consciousness, because we are just afraid of it. Above all else, the human being divines this about the supersensible worlds: in everything we call thinking, in everything in the world of thoughts, something of the supersensible world can be found.

Steiner gives details behind his threefold society in Lecture 1 which is summarized metaphorically in the three threads of wool which are rolled up into a ball of yarn at the bottom. We can see the Light which came from the highlands of Asia in the East migrating south to Greece and forming the basis for the thread of our cultural life today. Most people would place Rome as the origin of our concepts of Law today, but Steiner shows that the political thread of human rights and Law originating in ancient Egypt from which it found its way through Rome to us today. The third thread is that of the Economic Life which formed in Northern Europe and England for which old customs and festivals provide the best evidence for its origin there.

In his threefold society proposals, Steiner endeavored to unravel the Gordian Knot of our current culture. He showed how we can progress in our time only by keeping the three threads separate from each other, so that they do not become entangled. One need only look at the immense set of regulations of economic firms by the political systems to see the extent of the current entanglement. The others entangled are equally present if not equally obvious: the religious with the political in many countries, the political with the arts sphere of the Cultural, and so forth. So long as one of these three spheres of influence can lord it over another sphere, the entanglement will continue and the people who should be served by the three spheres will be dis-served.

The arrows in the diagram indicate that the Light came down to Earth in the East, but the Economic Life rose upward from the Earth in the North (and the West as far as America). In a surprising revelation, Steiner indicates that the Laws of Nature are an artefact of Roman culture, bringing the processes of the judicial system into play in what constitutes establishment science yet today. No wonder innovators in the field of science are treated like criminals and heretics.

[page 13] Laws of nature only arose when the Roman side-stream was taken up. There the judicial law crept in through a window into the perception of nature and became a law of nature. Goethe wanted to grasp hold of the pure appearance, the pure fact, the pure phenomenon — the archetypal phenomenon. Unless we cleanse our natural science from the appendages of jurisprudence, we will not achieve a cleansed spiritual life. Therefore spiritual science everywhere takes hold of facts, and only points out laws as secondary phenomena.

The concept of Law as it comes to us from the Romans knocks up the Economic Life and from this impregnation the bourgeoisie or merchant class is born. Even though it's been almost two millennia since the last Roman man impregnated a woman, on an economic level, the seeds of Roman law are still alive.

[page 14] Life penetrated by law has bred the modern bourgeoisie — the bourgeoisie comes from the legal stream. Today one must clearly see through these things. I would like to say: subconsciously people have the urge to see through such things, but only spiritual science can bring real clarity to this urge, this longing.

Nowhere is Roman law more apparent today than in the church which bears its name. In Steiner's time, that church proclaimed that its members could not read Steiner's writings, requiring those members to inform themselves of what Steiner wrote about by reading what Steiner's opponents have to say about him. One can see that science and religion today is completely infused with Roman law and their method of creating outcasts from those violate their man-made laws in the guise of eternal verities. When a man wrote an essay in which he claimed Rudolf Steiner to be the "Rasputin of Wilhelm II", Steiner simply stated the facts that his connection with Wilhelm II was nothing more than being in the same public place with him on several occasions, as a spectator, not as a confidant. He urges that we go to the source and not accept the slanders which are promulgated as Law by the protective cadres of religion or science.

[page 17] Today one must go to the source of things; today it is not enough just to accept the things that are said, but it is necessary that people accustom themselves to going to the source of what is said and asserted. But the capacity to recognize the true origin of the outer factual world will only come to bloom for humanity out of a deepening into real spiritual knowledge.

Once Lucifer incarnated into a Chinaman, thousands of years before Jesus, and was the "bearer of the human light that was the basis of pre-Christian wisdom" which streamed later through Greek culture. Everything human came as a heritage of the incarnate Lucifer, up until the Mystery of Golgotha. (Page 25) According to Steiner, Ahriman is or has incarnated among us, as an American. What does this mean to us?

[page 25, 26] But then a time will come when, just as Lucifer once incarnated in the East as an earthly personality in order to prepare the coming of Christianity, the real Ahriman will likewise appear in the West in an earthly incarnation. We are approaching that time when Ahriman will actually wander over the Earth. As truly as Lucifer and Christ. actually wandered about as human beings, so Ahriman will wander over the Earth with an intellectual faculty of tremendous power. We human beings do not have the task to prevent the incarnation of Ahriman, but we do have the task of preparing humanity in such a way that a right assessment of Ahriman will be made. For Ahriman will have tasks and will have to do one thing and another, but human beings will have to assess and utilize in the right way what comes into the world through Ahriman. Humanity will only be able to do this if we can today orient ourselves in the right way to what Ahriman is already sending to the Earth from other worlds in order to be able to operate on the Earth without being noticed. Ahriman must not operate on the Earth without being noticed; we must fully recognize his peculiar nature and be able to face up to him in full consciousness.

Ahriman is the agent of materialism and all of the ills that it can bring to humankind. Human beings have been reduced by science to an advanced ape whose consciousness was a by-product of an increased brain size. Christ Jesus reduced to a wise man who gave simple teaching during his lifetime. But paradoxically the worst tendency today comes from the Christian fundamentalists whose devotion to the Bible blinds them to any possibility of perception of a contemporary Christ in our world today. They act as if nothing important can be added to what appeared in the Bible almost two thousand years ago. Their intellectual interpretations of the Bible gloss over the numerous contradictions in its texts. One must take notice when Steiner says that such fundamentalistic interpretations of the Bible are as bad as materialistic views of the world. Simply put, Bible thumpers unknowingly spread lies about the truths portrayed in the Bible. And by doing so act as the henchmen of Ahriman in furthering his materialistic agenda for the world. We do best to balance ourselves between the soaring fancies of Lucifer and the nitty-gritty clenches of Ahriman, and the only way for us as humans to do that is with the help and strength of Christ.

What happens if one takes full knowledge and removes the guts from it until only an abstraction of the original knowledge? One is left with a dialectical argument according to Steiner, which is "spirituality filtered to abstraction". Samuel Hoffenstein in 1933 wrote an insightful quatrain on how we distill reality into abstraction: "Little by little we subtract/Faith and Fallacy from Fact/The Illusory from the True/And starve upon the Residue."

The theme of this book is stated best in the first sentence of Lecture 4 Steiner gave on New Year's Eve, 1919.

[page 43] On this evening it always behooves us to think of how past and future are linked together and connected with all of the cosmic life into which the human being is woven. . . . How does our life actually relate to the past and future? It is like a mirror. Yes, this comparison with a mirror corresponds much more to reality than we might at first imagine. In fact we stand as if in front of a mirror, just when we are striving for a little self-knowledge What is being reflected in the mirror is the part of the past that we know about.

Consider that the part of the past we know about comprise the events and thought we were conscious of when they happened, i. e., our day-time knowledge. Those events and thoughts which occur within the time we are in deep sleep constitute our night-time knowledge and as such we are not conscious of them, so they cannot form a part of the "past we know about."

[page 43, 44] And behind the mirror lies what for now cannot be looked at, no more than you can see what lies behind a mirror when standing in front of it. Perhaps we have to especially raise the question here: what actually is the reflecting coating in our world mirror that allows what is transparent to become a mirror? In a spatial mirror the back of the glass is coated so that our vision cannot penetrate this glass. What then coats that world mirror, which shows us a reflection of the past, but hides the future behind itself for the time being? It is coated, my dear friends, with our own being — coated with our humanness.
       We need only consider that with ordinary knowledge we are in fact unable to become clear about what we ourselves are. We cannot look through ourselves; we look through ourselves no more than we can look through a mirror. Much is reflected back to us when we look into ourselves. What we have experienced and learned is reflected, but our own being hides itself, because we can no more look through into our own self than we can look through an actual mirror. . . . There is a continual intervention of the nighttime experiences not included in one's thoughts. We are deceived when we look back and believe we are looking over our whole life: we, so to speak, piece together only what the days contain, and our life's course passes before our soul with constant interruptions.

Our night-time knowledge is one of the things we "subtract" from our experience; we cannot call them fact because we are not aware of the experiences, but they nevertheless affect our behavior during the day-time. As a result we can see that only our day-time experiences are capable of reflecting our past to us.
This suggests a short poem to me:

Our map of the world, our day-time knowledge,
       coats the mirror of life and
       reflects the past back to us
While preventing the future
       from reaching us.

Our humanness, our day-time knowledge,
       is the silver lining which coats the mirror of life
       and reflects the past back to us
While it masks the future from us.

Our divinity, our night-time knowledge,
       penetrates the uncoated glass
       which we look through to forever.

We watch the scrolling film of our life
       and get lost in the images as
       day-time knowledge fills us up.

Between each day-lit frame of the film
       is a night-time darkness
       in which we recover our immortal "I".

To be human is to be awake at times and to sleep at other times. We cannot stay fully awake and be human. Consider a God who slept — how would you feel if you knew that God slept as much as the average human being does? How can God be all-knowing if He sleeps part of the time? No, our impression of God is of a Being who is wide-awake at all times. Similar logic would apply to spiritual beings all the way down to Angels. Would you want your Guardian Angel to be asleep while you were asleep? Our very experience of ourselves as an "I" require these nighttime interruptions of our experience of the world. But the "I" each of us experiences today is only our own "I" whereas people of ancient times had an "I" filled with clairvoyant perceptions which convinced them that they were divine. No one argued whether God existed back then, but it was a common experience. As Steiner says in several places in other lectures, "Discussion begins when knowledge ends."

Here is the key point which Steiner hinted at earlier: our logical, abstract way of talking, our use of dialectical arguments, is an atavism of humankind's former clairvoyant nature and is no longer appropriate for us from this time forward. This reality comes to us as most spiritual realities come to us: as a feeling.

Steiner takes up the "soaring fancies of Lucifer and the nitty-gritty clenches of Ahriman", those "two great enemies of human spiritual progress" (Page 54) in a new way, calling the former, the "dogma of revelation" and the latter, the "dogma of experience". (Page 55) Can anyone today not be aware of how these two dogmas are fighting each other in the public forum over the teaching of evolution? The dogma of revelation is represented by the various Christian groups who wanted their brand of evolution taught in schools based on almost literal interpretation of the Bible, which they call Creationism. The dogma of experience is represented by various scientific and atheistic groups who wanted pure Darwinian evolution taught without the taint of intelligent design. Rightly understood, both groups are wrong and their fight is over whose fallacy will rule the day. The only voice of sanity in the entire matter comes to us from almost a hundred years in the past in Rudolf Steiner who reveals evolution to be a cooperative effort between the spiritual hierarchies in which humans played a part from the very beginning. Clearly neither of the Lucifer &Ahriman (L&A) Dogmas above don't hunt, as the country expression goes, but they do a lot of barking!

Steiner was writing at the time of the beginning of the great experiment with communism in Russia, and he clearly saw the fallacy in the approach of Lenin back then. Lenin wanted to reach social justice by creating a gross social injustice as a way of beginning. Even though Steiner agreed with Lenin's stated goal that "a social order must be developed where the individual capacities of each human being become of value and where the justifiable needs of each human being can be satisfied," he could see that Lenin's approach would not work.

[page 56] But on the other hand we hear such a personality as Lenin saying that such a social order cannot be established with the people of the present time — with them one can only set up a transitional social order. One can only establish something that of course will contain injustice in the widest sense. It is also present to an absurd degree in everything being established by Lenin and his followers: they believe one could only produce a new human race that does not yet exist by passing through this transitional phase, and when it comes to be, then one will be able to introduce into it that social order in which each person can make use of their capacities and live according to their needs. Thus, they invent a nonexistent human race in order to realize an idea that, as I said, is even justified in an abstract sense.

Ninety years of history has proven Steiner right and Lenin wrong. Steiner dealt with reality and Lenin with abstract non-sense. Clearly Lenin and his followers did not believe the above truths about a soul-spiritual being descended into a physical human body, or else they would not have driven the Soviet Union into atheism so monomaniacally.

How many great sounding ideas are being bruited about today, March 20, 2009, as I type these notes? Ideas which resonate in sleepy heads who close their eyes to the full significance of ideas as if having imbibed a narcotic, the deadly narcotic of abstract logical reasoning which, by careful selection of premises can prove anything to be the case. As a society we are today, if anything, more addicted to such abstract thinking than in Steiner's time. His way of concrete thinking can yet today provide a foundation for right thinking for those ready to take the first step into awaking-ness. The Luciferic forces envelop us unless we acknowledge their presence in us. We are trapped by what we deny! This statement is easily proven, as Richard Bandler and John Grinder showed, "Do not think of a chartreuse elephant." Now, what color was that elephant? If you try to follow the process of denial, you create a living thought which sticks in your mind just like the atrocious color of the elephant you just visualized.

What do people want today? Look at the majority of people you know who watch situation comedies each night. They must relate to the characters in the sitcoms, don't you think? And where do the characters in those programs get their information? They get it from other people, newspapers, mass magazines, and other TV programs. They learn what is right to think and how to act by taking advice from people who get their information the same way they do. And, most importantly, in the process of acquiring information this way, they do not have to do any in-forming in themselves from the actual situation they are trying to solve. People who act this way have reduced in-formation to data collection. They copy other people's maps of reality, and operate out of them, sometimes with hilarious results, but truly the laugh is on them, because for a little more effort they could have in-formed themselves and created a more satisfying though less laughable outcome.

People who have wondered exactly why Steiner dropped out of the Theosophical Society after years of lecturing under its aegis are now in a position to understand it fully after reading these five lectures. In Lecture 5, Steiner closes this book with this passage:

[page 63] We should build on the basis of the knowledge that what is intended here has nothing to do with the customary idle talk of Theosophy that takes place here and there, but which is based on just as strict a judgment about things as any science that has ever established its worth. If something like that were thoroughly appreciated, then one would also know why what happened is now called a defection by Father Zimmermann. You know that that was not the case, but that we were thrown out because we did not succeed in bringing a real seriousness into this society of wishy-washy talk — because there a real seriousness was not wanted, because there they wanted to continue to chatter on in the same way as they had chattered for years, at best in connection with something or other about which one can say all kinds of things without having any knowledge of the spiritual world. What our time so urgently needs is complete seriousness in the area of spiritual life.

We have come to the end of "Cosmic New Year" and find that Steiner's comments and exhortations are as vibrant and valid today as they were in his time, and they are even more needed. We note one major difference today: there is a world-wide Waldorf School system which is educating the next generation. Steiner's words are being translated more and more into other languages. The publishing house, SteinerBooks, is beginning to publish Rudolf Steiner's entire Collected Works, of which this book is one. People are discovering Steiner's insights into the importance of honeybees. His innovative dance involving spiritual gestures is being performed in more and more locations around the world. Organic architecture as innovated by Steiner can be found around the world. One measure of the success of Steiner's work in the present age is the increasing of attacks made against him by Luciferic and Ahrimanic forces who, on the Luciferic side attack Anthroposophy as a cult, and, on the Ahrimanic side, ridicule Steiner's work as utter fantasy having with no basis in the real world. One must be courageous today to read and study Rudolf Steiner's work. It is no easy task. I looked far and wide for answers to my questions about the big issues of life, and it was only in his writings that I found real answers instead of empty promises. My hope is that you, dear Reader, will begin to want more than my meager reviews and begin to collect and read Rudolf Steiner's books in full.

Read the Review at:
http://www.doyletics.com/arj/cosmicne.htm

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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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8. COMMENTARY:
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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. Padre Filius Reads The Daily Reveille on the LSU Campus this Month:

Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of the Digest to share us on some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.

This month the good Padre reads an actual Headline on Louisiana State University's Campus newspaper when LSU Hired Away Trent Johnson from Stanford to be Their New Basketball Coach last year.


2.Comments from Readers:

  • EMAIL from Tiffany Ostarly
    Hi Granpa,

    I just wanted to send you a couple of pictures I took of Preston the other day. He is now 6 months old. I am finally getting family pictures taken in a couple of weeks!

    Give Gramma a kiss for me.

    I love you,
    Tiffany

  • EMAIL from Renee Lattimore:
    Dear Bobby,

    I can't believe that we live in such a beautiful city! Your picture of the New Orleans skyline was STUNNING (as are ALL your pictures, BTW).

    I'm glad to hear that Cap'n Robespierre and Camille Rose had a great Mardi Gras. We were blessed with such perfect weather. I was able to see Hermes, Endyminion, Rex and a few others in between.

    We have gotten all our furniture back from George Parker in Lafayette and are finally resuming a somewhat "normal" life. All of our carpenters, electricians, plumbers and painters have gone to other realms. We still have a few things to do, but that is fairly normal in maintaining all that we have. We need to have you and the "gang" over now that the light is visible from the tunnel!

  • Love to you and Del,
    Renee

    P.S. Jelly Side Down didn't effect my viewing of the GMP Digest!

  • EMAIL from Cleveland Labat:
    This is the Teardrop Memorial made and installed by the Russians to honor those who died on 9-11-2005 and as a statement against terrorism. It is very impressive. It is located in Bayonne, New Jersey. The Memorial is lined up with the Statue of Liberty which appears within the teardrop.
  • EMAIL from Abbey on Ed Hackerson in answer to my earlier request in Digest078. Thanks!
    Hi,

    You probably already have this info, but just in case not, here it is.

    Someone requested the whereabouts of Ed Hackerson, rolfer/therapist, formerly of San Francisco, El Paso and New Orleans. His name is now Ross Hackerson and he practices in Northampton, Massachusetts.

    His website is: www.livingbodywork.com

    Sincerely,
    Abbey

  • EMAIL Joyce Matherne on March 11, 2009: Bobby,
  • Monday night your brother Paul and I were dancing at Randol's and they were taping again. Well this time it was for CBS national news. They had the camera in our faces as well as our friends, and we don't know if any of us will make the program, but we were there.

    Apparently it was about cajun music and will be on Katy Couric's news program, we just don't know when. So if you happen to be watching the news, look for an article about cajun music and you might see us.

    Joyce

  • EMAIL from George Parigian:
    Hi Bobby,

    Thank you so much for the comments you posted on my site! As always your writing is valuable and has good insights for those who choose to listen. Content 2.0 does not allow HTML links, but I will put the links you included on the "benefits of Honey" page for those who might be interested or curious about Steiner's work.

    My site traffic is growing and I have to think about the direction I want to go with it. There are many possibilities, and I want to be sure that I do not drop the ball by trying to be too many things to too many readers. I have you to thank for a good part of that traffic however, and for that I am grateful.

    Best Regards,

    George

  • EMAIL from Martin Rizzi in Mexico:

    Hola Bobby,

    Announcing the publication of "New World Mexican Women." Please, will you consider writing a testimonial in promotion of this book?

    This book is a collection of authentic letters by village women written to loved ones in the United States — check out examples of the pages of this book on the website linked below:

    Will you provide a testimonial ? this would be valuable - there is a download available in the lulu shopping-cart, where one purchases the hardcover book for only $9.77usd. (follow the buy link below on the New World Mexican Women website)

    GOOD things are comin, good very good, the wind is beginning at last to pick up

    Martin R

    Website: http://artcamp.com.mx/new_world_mexican_women/papa/ New World Mexican Women

  • 3. 1953 Bridge City Little League Team

    In 1953, my father, Hilman "Buster" Matherne, coached a Little League team composed of my younger brother, Paul Matherne, a group of Westwego kids. Why the team had the name Bridge City, a small town at the western approach to the Huey P. Long Bridge, I have no clue, but all of the boys, so far as I can recall, came from Westwego, which abuts Bridge City.

    Since my cousin, Leonard, is on the team, I suspect the photo was taken by his father, Welton Clement. I deduce that from looking at the two cars in the background, a 1951 Chevrolet which Uncle Welton drove, and a 1951 Kaiser which Buster drove.

    The large area of trees tells me that the baseball field was at Metairie Playground which was the only park we played in back there which had so many trees and required parking on the grass.

    Here are the names of the boy on the team, beginning from the first row, from left to right:

    Row 1: James Rivero, Paul Matherne, Michael Favre, Leonard Clement, Elgin Sampey, Kenneth Thibodeaux, Kermit Duhe

    Row 2: Baton Duplantis, Unknown, Warren "Boo" Richoux, Unknown, Kenneth Sampey

    If anyone can identify any of the Unknown players, please contact me with the name(s). Or if one of the names is incorrect.

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    9. CLOSING NOTES:
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