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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Arvella Schuller ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Wife of Robert H. Schuller, Founder of the Hour of Power ~~~~~
~~~~~~~~ for which she provided key Music Inspiration ~~~~~
WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE: DW#149 August/September, 2014== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Fall Bringing Month of September:
A poem is special because its logic is emotional and aesthetic and resists the traditional ways logic seeks to jail itself.
Dorothea Lasky (in July/August Poetry Magazine Issue)
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DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE: DW#149 for August/September, 2014
Table of Contents
1. August/September's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for August/September
3. On a Personal Note
3.1 Click for Destination:Orange Beach, Dornach, Lucerne, Black Forest, Strasbourg, Rudesheim, Marksburg, Cologne, Netherlands, Bruges, Back Home3.2 Flowers of Shanidar Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Household Hint for August/September, 2014 from Bobby Jeaux: VitaMix Repair
6. Poem from Yes, and Even More!:"Rest Assured"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for August/September:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
- ARJ2: Conscience Under Fire — A Novel by William Harman
- ARJ2: Physiology and Healing, GA#314 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: Illness and Therapy, GA#313 by Rudolf Steiner
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
9. Closing Notes our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD Reminders.
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1. August/September Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Nancy Drew.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Nancy Drew" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/140823vj.gif
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2. HONORED READERS FOR August/September:
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Each month we choose to honor two Good Readers of our DIGESTWORLD from those all over the World. Here are the two worthy Honored Readers for August/September, 2014:
Catherine Wilson in Virgin Islands
John Magill in New Orleans, LA
Congratulations, Catherine and John!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
OUR VACATION MONTH OF JULY
Welcome back! July and August have been busy months for us, and we are delighted to have a new Issue of DIGESTWORLD ready for our Good Readers after taking a month's vacation in July. We hope you will enjoy our selection of photos, reviews, poems, cartoons, etc. A friendly heads-up: This is a LONG issue, covering two months; there's a lot to see and to read, so pace yourself.
Getting ready to be out of the country meant adding Global Data coverage for my phone and getting a bad sensor repaired on our alarm system. I remembered during the month before we moved in that I had to drive the two blocks to our new house at 2 AM on several occasions for what turned out to be a false alarm on one particular sensor. It was comforting to find our Gretna police patrol had beaten me to the house each time. After three alarms like that, I called the Security Company and they came to replace the sensor that had falsely alarmed. In late June, right before our vacation, a different sensor set off an alarm and I immediately called and had it replaced. At a dollar-a-minute for international phone calls I didn't want to have to coordinate false alarms and repair from overseas, not to mention the upset it would have caused to our vacation, and we have had no false alarms at all since then. Our living room's AC went on the fritz and we reported it, but it had to wait till we returned. The compressor was given a new electrolytic capacitor, the most frequent cause for AC repair calls today according to our trusty repairman. Good thing about having four AC units is the redundancy when one goes out: the other three can pick up the load until a repair is completed.
We went to our July Patio Planters meeting, which is held above Mary's Ace Hardware in the French Quarter. I wanted to buy a new garden rake and hoe, my thirty year old ones kept coming off the end of the pole. When we got home, Del nearly fell on the floor laughing when I told her "I went to the French Quarter and picked up a hoe!"
One day Del spotted a small racoon running across our West lawn and called me. I moved around the tall Bald Cypress until I could get a clear photo clinging to the trunk of the tree. Del has become my spotter for photo ops around our home and when she calls I come running with my camera ready.
The next day we finished packing and left about 9 AM for Orange Beach. I had moved my Teaching Co. Lectures by Bob Greenberg on Opera to Del's Maxima and we both enjoyed listening to him explaining and sharing with us sections of Verdi's Operas, La Traviata and Otello.
When we planned our Viking River cruise, we had it scheduled a few days after the end of our beach cabins week at Orange Beach where our kids and grandkids usually come to enjoy the emerald water and white sands with us. But a funny thing happened on our way to the Rhine: we added the pre-cruise trip to Lucerne in Switzerland, an extra three days.Then we added a three-day excursion on our own to the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland. After getting the trip scheduled and coordinated with our friends from Orlando, Gust and Janet, we suddenly discovered that we had to fly to Zurich on Saturday morning, the day before our week at the beach was to end. This required us to leave early on Friday morning for the 4 hour trip home, unpack for the beach and repack for two and a half weeks in Europe! Packing for two consecutive trips ahead of time was a bit daunting, but we managed it. Extra grandkids came on the night before we left, Gabe and Chris whose girl-friend Sarah came with him. Luckily our son, Stoney and his wife Sue, had to leave on the same day Carla and Patrick arrived and they could move into Stoney's cabin. Maureen, Jay, and Trinity were staying in our second bedroom and when we left, they could spread out and have room for Gabe, Chris, and Sarah. It all worked and by Saturday morning, we had completed our checklist for European vacation and boarded our airplane for Zurich.
When we arrived at Orange Beach on Sunday afternoon, Stoney, Sue, and Sam arrived a bit later and we spent the evening visiting with them beside the pool. In the morning Stoney helped me to erect our canopy on the beach. I placed our two beach chairs to the side of our canopy where they would be in early morning shade, plus they would hold the spot for Maureen's canopy. When she arrived later with Jay and Trinity, Stoney and I went out to the beach and put up their canopy. We had two canopies, plenty of shade, and lots of time for walking on the beach. On Del and my early morning beach walk, the newly washed up sea shells were arrayed along the high tide mark like gems in a jewelry store counter. One need only bend over, select, and pick up one's favorites.
First night, after supper, Maureen and Jay joined me and Del in a game of Matherne's Rules Scrabble. I asked him his least favorite Scrabble rule and he said it was the Challenge Rule. I explained how that is eliminated in Matherne's Rules by allowing folks to look up a word before using it, with no time limit. Jay took to the new rules well, and was learning to improve his score by picking up a blank tile from a played word by replacing it with an equivalent tile in his rack. The other rule is that Double and Triple bonuses apply every time a word is added to. With these rules, a two person game can often top 1,000 points. One does need to find ways to fill in during any long delays in play, like half-watching a TV show or working on a crossword puzzle.
Ice cream was interesting. Del and I rarely eat ice cream at home, and then only vanilla. But the kids came back with exotic varieties of Ben & Jerry's, such as Cherry Garcia, Fuzz Buzz, Bricks and Mortar, and the like, filled with curious flavoring and chunks of various things like chocolate, nuts, riprap, roadkill, etc. I used to enjoy cherry-vanilla back in the 60s, so Cherry Garcia was kind of a throwback experience for me, the chocolate chunks adding a bit of texture. A little too froo-froo and calorie-laden for my tastes.
I had brought some frozen Doberge cake left over from Del's birthday. It is the one cake which thrives under freezing. If you slice it thin, the 6 thin layers of moist yellow cake separated by chocolate pudding-like filling as thick as the cake layers can be eaten right out of the freezer and are delicious. When Carla and Patrick showed up on Wednesday night they enjoyed some with us. Later, after we left on Friday morning, Carla and finished the rest of the Doberge and took a selfie of them eating it which they later sent to me on my birthday.
A couple of problems on the day we left for home. We stopped for breakfast at a Crackerbarrel Restaurant. My favorite was the Wild Maine Blueberry Pancakes. Once our order took a long time in coming and I explained to Del that it took a long time to tame the wild blueberries and whip the butter! On this day I noticed when I inspected the small bottle of Maple Syrup, I noticed a slight change. It said 100% Pure Syrup instead of 100% Pure Maple Syrup, and sure enough, in the fine print below: 50% Maple and 50% Cane syrups! Another marketing rip-off! Cheapen the maple syrup and pretend you didn't. They usually give me two bottles and I usually use only one, but if I had used both, it would have made up to a complete bottle of Maple Syrup. But with cane and maple mixed together still tastes like cane syrup not maple syrup!
The second problem came after we got home from Orange Beach and I got in my Maxima to head for PJ's. I've found that "Seven days without a PJ's makes one weak" and I was ready for my daily small latte with extra foam. But my battery was weak and didn't start on the first crank and was dead by the second. I jump-started it from Del's Maxima and moved it outside to let it run for an hour while I drove to PJ's in Del's car.When I got back I hooked my car to the trickle charger because after an hour of running, it still didn't have enough charge to start the engine. I never leave my car outside because of the possibility of hail, and wouldn't you know it, that afternoon it began to hail and I couldn't start the car to move it into the garage! Luckily it was small hailstones and no dents or damage to the car. (When we returned, it still wouldn't start, and after taking it to the Nissan dealership, it returned with a new battery to replace the one with a bad cell. The internal resistance of one bad cell lowers the current through the battery enough to prevent the starter from moving.
In the afternoon I picked the very first Celeste figs from our new 3 year old fig tree. Sorry to be leaving for the rest of the month when my two fig trees will be having a bountiful harvest. I ate all the fresh Celeste figs, my favorites, before we left the next morning. Our good neighbor Connie picked the LSU figs and Celeste figs and had two large containers of them ready for me when we got back from Europe. The fig preserves I made with the mixture of figs was the best ever. In November my LSU figs will have their usual breba crop and will provide me with more fig preserves for me and Del and our fig-loving friends.
That night after we finished our packing for Europe, we ate the last of our Creole tomatoes in the special sauce we make for them. We watched a movie and hit the sack about 9 PM with everything packed for our early start in the morning. Our ride arrived early and we buzzed through the TSA area with an hour or two to spare. I suggested we get a Delta Sky Club Pass for the day as we have a three hour layover at JFK in New York City. I expected some peace and quiet in the room this early in the morning, but CNN was blaring away and the only attendant was on extended Tech Support with Cox to get his home's cable moved from one side of a double residence to the other where he'd moved to renovate his original residence. He was so busy on his personal call, I tried to find the volume control on the big TV about 40 feet from where Mr. Obsessive was hassling himself over his cable move. I was about to turn the TV off, unable to find the volume, but having located the ON/OFF button, when Mr. O yells out, "What are you doing?" I yelled my explanation (leaving off the part that he was too busy on personal business to be doing his Delta job) and he yells, "You should have asked me for help!" Go figure.Try to help a guy and he attacks you. He didn't turn the volume off, but he did turn it low enough so we couldn't hear it from where we were. Later I noticed that he was off his personal business and he had now positioned himself close enough to hear CNN broadcast. I tried Delta's hot oatmeal, but as usual it had no salt in it, and it was so tastless it could be library paste. Plus there was no salt to be found in entire room. Maybe when the bartender gets there, after we leave, he'll have some for cocktails. But ask Mr. O for anything else, forget it.
I expected a better service at the big and fancy JFK airport, but you know, I had never been to JFK, avoiding it for the smaller La Guardia. Well, if it was fancy, we never saw it: it looked and smelled like an industrial waste dump in Newark. We had to walk across the tarmac carrying our bags and up a metal improvised ramp with a couple of switchbacks; the walk was long, hot, sticky, and smelly, reminded me of my working the ethylene amine plant for Union Carbide in the 1960s.
Once we got into the AC-area, we found the Sky Club and the gal at the front desk told us how to get to the terminal where our Zurich flight left from in 3 hours. Then she tried to talk us out of enjoying the hospitality of her Sky Club! Well, we were hungry and thirsty and not wanting to wait for the bus ride or whatever it was to the next terminal, remembering all too well the long bus ride around six terminals at Newark before we arrived at ours, the very last one, for our People's Express flight to Brussels for our Paris trip back in 1984. Well, then there was DeGaulle Airport's hour long wait for a bus to the next terminal in the 2000s. We entered the Sky Club, a room full of testosterone-driven sports fans watching Netherlands beating Brazil in a battle for Third Place in the World Cup. Found a seat tucked in a corner by the bar and the automatic coffee machine, which was automatic for everything except refilling its milk container and my latte came out in a half cup of dark sludge. A foreign man behind wanted the same thing and I explained it was broken, but said to try it anyway, and he did, with the same result. I reported it to the busy bartender and he refilled it right away. At least this Sky Club had a bartender. Del got us some stuff to nosh on while I drank my latte. The foreigner was Russian and only spoke a little English, but he had disappeared before I could tell him the coffee machine was now working.
Then we walked to the bus to the next terminal, after receiving several explanations that this terminal was being renovated. "Renovated, Hell!" I told Del, "they should raze it and start completely over." I had never been in such a run-down airport, one which is apparently handling traffic way above its capacity by the use of temporary ramps, buildings, and even using terminals extending far out into the airplanes' taxing spaces. At least DeGaulle looked and smelled nice during their extensive renovation. JFK looks like a backwater puddle jumper airport and its name should stand for Jolly-well FreaKedup airport.
We finally reached Gate 60 and walked down another rickety, very long metal ramp, a ramshackle temporary ramp, onto the hot tarmac and into a bus. We were the only passengers and while waiting I struck up a conversation with Franz, our black bus driver with a French accent, from Haiti, he said. I explained to him how German words with a "Z" have an automatic T-Z sound, so Franz or Frantz would be pronounced the same way.By the time he had dropped us by the Zurich departure gate's terminal, he and I were friends. Another walk up a temporary ramp and down the long concourse to our Gate 38 to Zurich which was settled next to another Delta Sky Club. This Sky Club was larger and better equipped, including waiters taking food orders and delivering them. I chose the salmon crosti, a smoked salmon on toasted slice of french bread with cream cheese, capers and pickled red onion. Del got a turkey pannini which she enjoyed. Then we could relax and wait for our flight to Zurich. The Sky Club pass was a worthy investment in comfort and service, and getting there was no fun at all except for Franz. Thank you, Franz.
Once we had taken off, Del and I synchronized our two screens and watched "The Grand Budapest Hotel." The movie is filled with stars, especially F. Murray Abraham, who relates how he went from Lobby Boy to owner of a great hotel and empire. It was great fun and soon we left the continental United States and lugubrious JFK behind us. I settled back to sleep a bit and when awake would watch our flight's progress across the Atlantic, over Dublin, London, and Paris into Zurich. I took a great photo of a plane following us up a thousand feet higher than we were. We were on a busy jet trail as a second plane appeared behind the first one for a short time. As we neared Ireland I could see the Sun's rays of dawn illuminating low-lying clouds which were partially obscured from my view by a higher layer of dark clouds. I saw the Sun shining between two layers of clouds. Del had turned on "The Butler" but she had gotten stuck with Arabic subtitles, so I was unable to read the text and mostly ignored the movie. I did recognize John Cusacks as Nixon, but didn't recognize Alan Rickman in his Ronald Reagan pompadour.
Arriving at the Zurich airport at 10 am local time, we had been already up and awake for most of 24 hours, and as tired as we were, we had to buy a train ticket from Zurich to Dornach and heft all four of our bags (Del also had a third large purse bag) around with us. We found the Train Station with help and the young guy who sold me the ticket didn't know where Dornach was, but finally located it as Arlesheim/Dornach and cut us a ticket for $78 SF. We had to switch trains at Basel he said. We were hungry, and I didn't want to drink a latte, so we sat down in the Starbucks area and I bought a yogurt with some mango in it for us to eat while we rested and waited for the train to Basel. A man from Germany who spoke good English helped us get to the correct train, and then, on the train, he talked the whole time to four Chinese exchange students who were headed to Basel and then to Paris. He mostly installed phobias in them, telling them never to go out alone on the Champs d'Elysee, etc. When we arrived in Basel, we were in a large train station that I had never been before and I had no idea where our next train would be or when it would leave. I walked until I saw an INFORMATION Sign and there a young man looked up my ticket info and gave me an itinerary, pointing me to Gleis 14 (Platform 14) to wait for the train which was due right away. We walked down to the steps; there are escalators all over the place. This escalator only began moving when we got close to it, a money-saving expediency, no doubt.
DORNACH DAY ONE: PIZZA, RENEE, SKULLS
This train to Dornach was a slow, local train with lots of stops and no pee stop facilities. Our first train had a good rest room and I had used it, but we were drinking a lot of water, and I had to pee while we were stopped at the second to last stop before Basel. That last leg was only ten minutes, but it seemed like an hour. As soon as the train stopped in Dornach, and I got off the train, and the pressure on my bladder disappeared like magic. We briskly walked across the street and into the Kloster-Dornach where I found blessed relief in their rest room and got registered. We walked upstairs and into the "Guardian", the name of our room, and collapsed on the bed to sleep until about 4 or 5 pm, and then Del was hungry.
As we walked downstairs we met a woman named Renee who was French, but spoke French and German equally as well, both better than her English. I knew she was French because when she was trying to find a word in English, she would always say, almost to herself, "Commen'on dit?" (How does one say?), before she found the word, sometimes with our help, like this one time she needed Del's assistance. Renee was telling the story of her miraculous recovery from cancer with the help of a medicine used by owners of Arabian horses to revive very sick steeds, an "Oil of Black Paper" she called it. Del offered that it might be "Oil of Black Pepper", which I thought to be as equally unlikely as "Black Paper", but Renee said, "Yes, that is it".
We walked towards the Goetheanum, but turned around when I was sure she was too hungry to endure the walk up there. Tomorrow would be soon enough. We entered Restaurant Pergola's patio under the large tent-covering and ordered us a single Margherita Pizza, a cappucino for me, and some still water for Del. As we were eating the pizza, a 21-month-old knabe (boy), Jay, came over and placed a book on the table next to Del. It was a small cardboard paged book, but he obviously wanted to share it with Del. His mom came over we talked to her as Del interacted with this cute little boy.
It was Sunday night and apparently the bus to the Goetheanum was not running, so we gave up waiting for Bus 66 and walked back to Kloster-Dornach. I had stayed here 18 months earlier in the middle of February and nothing was green in the gardens. But this time, when Del and I went into the side yard of the Kloster, we found ourselves in the middle of fruit, vegetable, and flower gardens. The grape arbor had new grapes growing to maturity on it and filled a long pathway which ended at a wall with a large crucifix hung on it. The prune-plum tree was fruiting and I ate one or two. The apple and quince trees had fruit, but not yet ripe. A raspberry vine had a few ripe berries, but the blackberry vine was in full fruiting stage and Del and I ate some. Then a bonanza appeared in the cemetery for deceased monks: a series of ripe apricot trees along its wall. I had not been able to pick and eat ripe apricots from a tree since 1971; it was a tree behind our home in Anaheim, California! Ripe apricots are so delicious when eaten directly from a tree! Even my daughter Maureen, who was only about 10 years old at the time, remembers how tasty those apricots were. This was a marvelous evening. But it wasn't over and several more adventures awaited us.
Earlier I had heard singing in the chapel, cracked open the door, and noticed that the 6 pm Mass was going on inside. I wanted to go in, but Del felt very hesitant about going to a Mass in a language she didn't understand. I tried to talk her inside, but she was insistent, saying I could go in and she would go take a shower. I didn't want to separate from her this early in our arrival, especially when we were both groggy from jet lag, so we didn't go in, but later as we came out from our fruit-picking, the Mass was over and the last church member was leaving, so I went up to the door and it was locked. The lady who had just left, noticed me, came over, unlocked the door, and let us in to view the chapel. I took photos of the two Jesus children painting and the John and Mary at the foot of Jesus on the Cross figures on the wall, better ones than 18 months earlier, then we left. The lady had stayed with us and she locked the door. We thanked her and we walked to our room.
Renee was returning from her daily walk with her small 15-year-old terrier. It had been her dad's dog before he died three months earlier, she explained. She asked us to come to see what she had just now discovered, even though she had been living at the Kloster for 3 months. It was a small alcove filled with human skulls, inset into the wall to the right edge of the large relief sculpture of the great Battle of Dornach in 1499 which freed Switzerland once and for all from Germany. These human skulls were clearly recovered from that great battle scene, as they each showed signs of battle damage, holes in the skull, shattered skull, etc. They were arrayed for display, about 30 of them and protected by a heavy glass pane over the grotto front. I never noticed the alcove myself when I was here 18 months earlier. Even the register clerk didn't know of its existence when I asked her about them later. I did notice that the metal sculptures of human figures cut out of sheet iron that had graced the front of the Sculpture Wall and the insides of the courtyard were all gone, but I have photos them from February, 2013.
We had another long conversation as Rene went over her various illnesses and recovery from three cancer surgeries, following six months of chemotherapy. At one point she lost her sight, her voice, her sense of taste, and then finally recovered them, leading her to pulling out the feeding tubes and IV's from various places in her body and walking out of the hospital and away from the care of all doctors to become fully functional on her own again. While she had been in the hospital the roof over the small apartment she had lived in began letting rain in and had destroyed her wooden furniture, and that prompted her to move to the Kloster-Dornach. She told us about a fountain in Dornach a few blocks away which delivers water from a mountain spring in the center of Dornach, and at our prodding, walked us to over to see it. She explained that the blue symbol over the spigot meant that the water was safe to drink. I placed my hands under the water coming out of the bird-proof spigot and tasted the water. It was good. We walked back to our room at the Kloster and collapsed into bed after a very long 22-hour day which began in faraway New Orleans.
DORNACH DAY TWO: GOETHEANUM, DANIEL, TWO WEDDINGS
The next day was our first full day in Dornach, and it was filled with adventures. I awoke very early, wide-awake in the Guardian room at Kloster-Dornach, and spent time typing up my Journal notes. Del and I ate breakfast downstairs. Then we took Bus 66 to the Goetheanum and confirmed that it was the building I saw covered with scaffolding. It looks like a woman with her hair all up in curlers with a net over it.When we went to the desk in the Wanderhalle of the Goetheanum, we met Folke and she said that we missed Giuseppe Acconcia by an hour or so, and that he had gone on vacation. So I'll miss him this trip. I wanted to say hi, to see if the ballpoint pen with lighted tip I had given him on my previous trip was still working for him.
I asked Sven, the guy at the desk, about getting permission to take a photo of the Representative of Man and he called for Johannes Nilo who came by to explain why it would be better (for him) and easier (for me) if I simply bought a photo postcard, but even using that photo on-line would require permission. I didn't get permission, but I had wanted to contact Dawn, his wife, and he gave me her number. After he left, I asked Sven at the desk to dial her number on his phone and he graciously did. Dawn said, "What a surprising call!" thinking I was dialing her from the States. I explained Del and I were at the Goetheanum for a couple of days, and I asked for her help in getting to Parcival's cave. We settled on Tuesday at 2 PM to meet her at the Goetheanum in the Wanderhalle.
After the phone call, I met Daniel, a man from India who was looking for help. He asked me about the information area in the foyer which had been open the last time he came to a conference here. I pointed him to the Wanderhalle desk as the place to go. We talked and I discovered he was from an area in India at the very bottom of the sub-continent. His home town actually sits on the equator. I asked him if that point is the conjunction of two oceans and he said no, actually three: the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean. His home town, Kanyakumari, is a tourist attraction as folks come there to see waves arriving from the three seas, three waves from three directions! At that point there is a temple to Swami Vivekananda on a large rock. According to Wikipedia, "during the month of December 1892, it is claimed that he swam to this rock and meditated. It is said that he attained enlightenment on the rock, and henceforth became a reformer and philosopher." What an amazing place, I thought, and decided perhaps that was a place in India where I would like to visit. See Photo of the Rock Temple below, Credit to Coolgama, see full credits by placing cursor over photo.
Daniel is a physicist by training, but is doing odd jobs as he has not been able to get a job in physics in Switzerland, up until now. One of his jobs is teaching German. He speaks good German and teaches German to folks, not for them to speak German but to comprehend the technical aspects of German. He lives is Basel, has his only family in India, and his problems getting a job began after he left Scientology. He was passing this place every day looking for work, and saw the help wanted signs. Thinking it was an actual church, he signed up, only to find out that he had been lured into a cult. When he left after a year, they began to systematically destroy his job prospects, his family businesses in India, and his credibility. What I heard from a fellow physicist, a gentle and intelligent man, was an incredible back story of one recruit to the Church of Scientology. We talked a long time at the Goetheanum, then Del and I invited Daniel to lunch with us at the Speisehaus, where we continued our conversation. We later invited him to visit us in New Orleans. He has never been to the States and would like to come. I told him about the YMCA as an inexpensive way to be a tourist in the USA.
We ate together upstairs at Speisehaus, The vegetable lasagna was great. Later, while waiting for bus to take us back to Dornach train station area, it began to shower, and the three of us stood by the large enclosed phone booth under a tree. I noticed that a suitcase was inside it, a modern rolling case, in black. Daniel opened the case and inspected it to find it was empty and said that the Swiss have a "Leave it, Take it" policy whereby, if you are done with something, you simply abandon it anywhere, and anyone who discovers it can take it, so he did. He put his bag inside it and became the new de facto owner. He mentioned that he had given his only suitcase to a relative who needed it more than he did. invited him to lunch with us and treated him.
We rode the 66 Bus back and at the Bus area he helped us decode the posted Bus schedule. Then we said goodbye to Daniel and went inside the ticket office. I said hello to Barbara who worked behind the counter, and from her we bought our tickets to Lucerne for Wednesday, aiming to be there for 1 PM to meet Gust and Janet at the Palace Hotel. It cost 68 Swiss francs for the two tickets, requiring us only to switch trains in Basel to Lucerne. She gave us an explanation of where the Platform or Gate would be located for our train in Basel. She asked if we had any Swiss specials to receive a better price, and I asked if flirting with her would give us a reduction, she smiled and said, "No." It was a fun interaction and the last time we would need to book our own transportation for this vacation because Viking would take over in Lucerne.
Then we walked across the street to the Kloster-Dornach, only to find that a wedding had taken place there, and the bride was about to get into a car. Every trip we've been on, we always run into a bride and groom in some public place. I asked her if I might take a photo and she said, "Yes". She had tattoos on her left shoulder which should show on the photo I took. Then Del went upstairs to the room, and I went to pick a few apricots for my lunch. As I opened the door to go I realized that I had the key to our room still in my pocket and Del couldn't get in so I quickly walked back in and found her sitting at the top of the stairs. Opened the door for her to take a nap and went back after my apricots, but three things got in my way before I made it back upstairs. A gal from Holland named Bjorn or Burnie was walking in the garden, and we started talking about her lost glasses. I let her try on my -1D lenses and she wanted to buy them from me, but unfortunately it was my only traveling pair or I would have given them to her. I needed them to quickly read railway station signs in low light, e.g..
While she and I were talking it began to drizzle a bit, and before we could finish our talk, Mlle Renee came by and began talking double speed in German with Burnie. Renee left quickly — she was off to get herself some ice cream, and Burnie and I talked for while until I said I had to leave. I thought I'd better get my three apricots before it rained harder.
When I went inside the Kloster, I tried to get an explanation for the skull alcove. The kitchen guy told me to see "big boss" who was at a table in the restaurant with two other employees. I excused myself with "entshuldigen, eine frage" and he chased me away with a barrage of German verbiage, basically telling me to leave him alone and go see the gal at the registration desk.Well, I did and she had never seen the alcove. So I offered to show her and I took her there. After all, other visitors may ask about the skulls and she should know. There is a German inscription which I studied and seem to say in German that these skulls were of soldiers in the Battle of 1499 which freed Switzerland from Germany.
Then I went upstairs. Loaded my photos from my Blackberry Z10 cell phone and from SONY HD50 to my laptop's C:drive. Found a way to access the SONY Memory Stick (SD) from Explorer! Very handy for quick upload of photos.
About 1600 (4:30 PM) as I was typing my journal notes, another wedding walked by below my open window in the Garden area below, and I took a quick shot of the bride, groom, and their wedding party. At one point I had to stand on my chair to shoot over the canopy which extended over the walkway. Two weddings in one afternoon, a first for me. Later Del and I walked down to the bridge over the Jura river which is flowing fast and high, as Renee had told us earlier. Finally got her written name correct, it's not Renatza as I first heard her say it, but simply Renee. We decided to eat at the restaurant overlooking the bridge, the one that Tara, Bryan, Bradford, and I went into about 10 PM one night searching for food, but back then it was packed with folks smoking and drinking, but alas, no food.This night it was mostly empty and was serving hot food. I had the knoblachcremesuppe and Del had the tomatorahmsuppe. They were both good, and cost only thirty dollars or so.
We walked back, but the ice cream place we wanted to visit was already closed. I walked into the garden to eat apricots and blackberries, as consolation for the lack of ice cream. This was when I first discovered that the blackberry vines had absolutely no thorns on them. I think the thorns developed to keep the vines from being eaten by wild animals in the New World. Since I rarely get stuck by thorns when eating blackberries, I hadn't noticed their absence before. I had three apricots and when I returned to the veggie garden, Del helped me in my search for the prune-plum tree which was also bearing delicious fruit. Hard to see those dark plums, but we finally found the tree. It was next to the naked gal bronze sculpture. I had Del take a droll photo of the gal in bronze looking unabashedly at my private parts. We then went up and retired for the night from another busy day.
DORNACH DAY THREE: PARCIVAL'S CAVE, BRANDLI'S CHOCOLATES
I found my camera charger in the big suitcase. The battery in it was dead. The one inside camera case is fully charged, so I put it in place of partially charged one I had been using. Not using the USB to load up photos to LT prevented my battery from getting recharged, so I put the partially charged one in my camera case till the third battery was fully charged.We had Frühstück (breakfast) downstairs and then walked to the fountain to fill our bottles with mountain spring water, which we're beginning to think is the same water that comes from our bathroom's tap. We took the 66 bus up the hill, the short way this time, with the Goetheanum as the first stop, and we enjoyed another walk through the wild flowers that are growing everywhere. The only lawn mowing which takes place is by the cows who have electric fences activated to keep them inside the desired mowing areas.
Our first stop was to investigate the curious statue on the other side of the hedge. I found an easy way for us to walk through the hedge. It was the interment place of Steiner's ashes and we paid our respects and took some photos for remembrance.
The plaque read, my translation:
In this small grove were the ashes of
Feb. 27 1861 to March 30, 1925
Marie Steiner-von Sivers
March 14, 1867 ti December 27, 1948
May 6, 1871 to March 31, 1914
and many other coworkers and friends of the anthroposophical movement handed over to the Earth.
The catalog of their names can be seen in the West Reception Hall of the Goetheanum and in the Rudolf Steiner-Estate-Administration Area.
From there we walked to the Glass House which is now a seminar area for agriculture and other events. Its outside walls are apparently the original tiny cedar shakes which show signs of having been charred, likely by the conflagration of the first Goetheanum. After we walked by the Furnace room with its truncated rose smokestack, we sat awhile on a bench near the veggie gardens before walking around to inspect them. Two women were on the other side of a hedge sorting produce into various containers for sale or use in the kitchen of the Speisehaus which seems to provide the hot lunch fare for the Wanderhalle's small café.
While waiting for Dawn Nilo to arrive, Del and walked around and shot photos of wildflowers and architecture. We wanted to rest awhile and we found a bench under a large shady tree, but it was a bit too groddy to lie down on, so I suggested that we go into the empty Schreinereisaal (Hall) that had been the headquarters for our Mi-cha-el Conference 18 months earlier. Del and I laid down on the floor for a twenty minute nap, using our folded jackets as a pillow.About a week later this same Hall was filled to capacity (about 500 people) for a memorial service to Sergei O. Prokofieff, well-loved anthroposophical author who lived nearby. Later that day I discovered from Dawn that there is a Ruhe Room expressly for resting inside the Goetheanum. I bought a postcard for Renee of the Representative of Man — it was for her that I had wanted to take a photograph of it. Del wants us to come back in 2015 during Christmas time to attend the Four Mystery Drama plays here, and we're discussing it.
Finally Dawn Nilo arrived and said Rozanne Hartmann has agreed to join us and be the guide for our walk to Parcival's Cave, but she would join us in another hour. So the three of us talked for that hour, which went by quickly. Then, instead of walking to the entrance to the Ermitage area, Rozanne drove the four of us in her small car to Arlesheim, saving us about twenty minutes of the walk from the Goetheanum.
The walk to Parcival's Cave reminded me of the walk up through Rock City in Tennessee, a narrow walkway up a rocky hillside. We got a view of Arlesheim and Dornac as we walked. Early on the walk, we came upon a woman who asked us to stop as a man with a camera was trying to get a photo of a rare butterfly. As we waited I popped out my SONY with its 30X optical zoom and got this shot of the rarely still butterfly. Its wings resembled a dried autumn leaf that had been nibbled upon.We passed caves, dripping waterfalls, small wooden buildings, a well that had been nailed shut which had previously provided air vent to a deep cave we later saw below, which is now sealed off. Rozanne pointed out a park area, a large field below which now has some fruit trees scattered across it. She said ancient engravings show this field full of tents and knights gathered there, and it is likely from one of these gatherings that Parcival was able to meet a knight in bright shining armor and decided to become a knight himself. His mother had tried to keep her son deep in this forested area on the hillside where we walked to prevent him from ever seeing a knight. One of the caves we inspected resembled a man's face with his left eye obliterated and his mouth open large enough for a man to fit in. It was used by Druid priests for initiations, placing the initiate in the mouth as he entered the spiritual world in a deep temple sleep. Rozanne had to leave for an appointment and Dawn walked down to the lake with us. There were dozens of large carp swimming near the shore and a waterfall where the lake emptied into a stream.
As we reached the place where Rozanne's car had been parked, Dawn suggested we save ourselves the trek back up the hill to the Goetheanum by walking down into Arlesheim and taking the Tram back to Dornach, which we did. Dawn mentioned Brandli's a Chocolatier's Shop was along the way. We were tired and thirsty so we stopped there, got a table and shared a tall soda-like Eiskaffe (Iced Coffee), much like the one we shared at the Café dos Amigos in Taormino, Sicily years ago. It was cooling and delicious and served to us by a young blonde gal named Kim. Click Here to See Photo.
We continued to walk downhill through Arlesheim, looking for the tram track. Finally we had to ask for directions to the tram and a nice lady pointed us to a passageway between two buildings. At the trackside we checked with another local and she told us to the other side of track. The tram took us directly to Dornach with one stop. Del got out but I hesitated because I didn't recognize the location from the tram. I had not ever come into Dornach on the tram and we were a ways from where trains usually stop, but the conductor seeing me pause, repeated, "End of Line" so I got out and then I recognized where we were.
Back in the Guardian, our room at the Kloster, we took a nap and then went downstairs to walk through the gardens again, eating a few blackberries and apricots, then came up and packed our bags to be ready to leave for Lucerne in the morning after breakfast.
LUCERNE, DAY ONE: WALK TO LOWENDENKMAL, ANNIVERSARY DINNER
For breakfast at the Kloster, we ate the muesli with a small container of yogurt added to it. It sounded strange to me, but Bradford had assured me during our earlier stay at the Kloster that was a good combination. He was right. I didn't like muesli with milk, but with yogurt it was easier to eat and tasted great. I noticed that if went directly across the street immediately that we could catch an earlier train to Basel, and we got to the track a minute before the train arrived.Arriving at the large Basel train station, we enlisted the help of a Basel businessman, dressed in shorts for the summer, who looked at our tickets and told us which track to take to Lucerne. We had time so we walked across the street to a café for a cappucino. The open area of buses and trams looked like the spot where on an early morning Bradford and I had switched to the bus to Basel airport.
The train ride to Lucerne was quick and delightfully smooth. Lots of tunnels which came on us by surprise. On a bus you can see a tunnel approaching ahead, but on a train traveling in a straight line you enter them without warning. At the Lucerne station we caught a taxi after confirming that the Palace Hotel was not an easy walk. We met Viking Cruise Line representative. Fiona, a lovely tall blonde from Australia, who answered our questions and got us oriented. It was such a relief to finally have someone else to get us from one place to another for the rest of the trip. We checked into our room, logged into the Internet with my cell and my laptop. We took a short nap.
Note: this is the first cruise of our nine or so cruises where we planned it with another couple. Previously we had alone and we always met wonderful people on the cruise. We met Gust and Janet on our 28 day cruise from New Orleans to Istanbul and we became fast friends. They live in Orlando, so we decided to plan our next cruise together. We added the Dornach trip to the beginning of this cruise, so we planned to meet them in Lucerne at the Palace Hotel. A word on this hotel, from the moment we stepped out of our taxi, we were treated like royalty. As we walked into the reception area and checked in, everyone we met was gracious and helpful.
After our nap, we went out on the patio and were enjoying a delicious lunch looking out on the Lake Lucerne when Gust and Janet joined us. After lunch Del wanted to see the Loewendenkmal (Lion Memorial) that her mom Doris and her daughter Kim had spoken of during Kim's graduation trip to Europe with her grandmother. We got directions from Fiona on how to walk there. It was a great walk; we took lots of photos. Inside the two-spired Catholic Church, I took photos of the gold-covered altars, the two side altars and main altars. Amazing. Then we arrived at the Lowendenkmal which is a memorial carved into a wall of solid rock showing a large lion leaning sadly on his paw. A beautiful and poignant monument.
In the Palace Hotel our large room overlooked the outside summer dining area, Lake Lucerne, and the snow-capped Alps in the distance. To the right out our window was Lucerne's Mountain which had some kind of construction going on at its peak. Inside the room, our bathroom had a large bath tub and a shower plus two lavatories. Before dinner I took a hot soak in the bathtub and Del took a shower at the same time. It was a wonderful tub to soak in and wash away the long train ride from Dornach. The tub had an extended spray head which was great for shampooing.
Downstairs that evening we met Gust and Janet for our anniversary dinner with them, outside on the patio. They introduced us to Jim Harman and Connie Eastburn whom they had earlier met.Jim and Connie ate at a nearby table that first night, but afterwards joined us and the six of us did almost everything together, splitting only when the post-cruise time came and they took the Amsterdam extension for three days and we took the Bruges extension. Unfortunately no one thought to get a photo of the six of us together but I managed to splice in a photo of Gust into the photo he took of the five of us at the Stadtkeller the next day. It was our 36th anniversary night, and there were no tables ready for an hour. The waiter Benjamin treated us as long-time guests (instead of first-timers) and said we would get the first open dining table. We sat in the outdoor bar area nearby. Gust and Janet bought a bottle of champagne for our Anniversary and we toasted each other and sipped the bubbly until it was time to move to our dining table. There was a 3 to 6 course meal on the menu that we ordered from. Everything was delicious except the veal because it was barely poached, looking like a sweet potato, and neither Del nor Janet were able to eat it. My courses, 4 of them, were delicious as were Gust's. We didn't finish until 11 pm and it was a memorable evening looking out at dusk settling on Lake Lucerne as we dined.
LUCERNE, DAY TWO: TOUR OF CITY, ALPENHORN, LICKING COW
We had a delicious and magnificent breakfast buffet downstairs, and we felt like we were on a Crystal Cruise ship with its elegant surroundings, courteous helpful service, and delicious food. Maya was our server and brought us whatever we asked for, anticipating our requests at times. Once again treating us like royalty. Everything was tasty and delicious.
The tour, included with our stay, was led by Elena. She showed us the Canton Map of Switzerland, which is a great help in getting oriented to where in the country we were and had been. We walked across the old covered wooden bridge with the triangle-shaped paintings in the peak of the beams of the roof. A large fire had destroyed many of the paintings, but there were still a lot of them remaining. Almost every painting had a skeleton on it to remind residents of the plague which beset the city for so long. Both sides of the 100 yard or so bridge were covered with a continuous array of baskets of full-blooming flowers.Along the way through the city, I got my photo taken with my head sticking through a Mammut (mammoth) outdoor advertising sign. The sign read, "MAMMUT is the world famous Swiss outdoor brand. Great souvenirs are ready for you just here." This was the closest I came to walking on snow or ice-climbing in the Alps.
I took a photo of a four-story building whose facade was decorated with colorful images of Knights and the plaque said, "Dornach Denkmal 1499 -1899" — remembering 400th Anniversary of the Battle which created Swiss independence. A long-haired blonde was posing for her photo on the edge of a concrete bridge pedestal, looking much like Die Lorelei, whose statue we would see in coming days on the Rhine River. Prominent on the skyline and easily visible from the wooden bridge was the Gutsch Castle which contains an Inn, Spa, and Restaurant.Elena told us about Lucerne's Mardi Gras celebration and showed us the Restaurant Fritischi, named after their King of Mardi Gras, Fritschi (freet-shee). Fritschi and his minions throw oranges to the public on Mardi Gras Day and the front of the eponymous restaurant shows them doing exactly that.
Our tour went to the nearby Stadtkeller (city-pub), where, after we dined on local food, we were subjected to or entertained by various Swiss cultural and traditional events, such as accordion playing, dancing, flag-twirling, Alpenhorn blowing, and large black and white cow (animated by two guys under the costume) with a large tongue which proceeded to lick the side of the faces of the audience. We laughed continuously for about 15 minutes as the lively cow with the even livelier tongue slalomed its way through the tables. So much fun that the cow was gone before I remembered to take a photo. Gust got one blurry shot of the side of the cow. Would have been great to have a video clip, but so far none of our group seemed to have taken one. After the Alpenhorn demo by the two guys, the emcee asked for volunteers and I raised my hand, not knowing that I was volunteering to blow the Alpenhorn. They asked where I was from and I said New Orleans and then gave me the Alpenhorn. The mouthpiece resembled that on my high school trumpet, so I figured I'd give it a blow and test out its range, plus try to push a little Satchmo verve out the long horn. My trumpet-valve fingers began working as if the long horn had valves, and when I returned to our table they asked me if it had valves. "No, it was an automatic reflex from my trumpet-playing days." Thanks to Gust for sending us the one photo we have of me on the Alpenhorn. A few hours practice and I'd be ready to blow calls across the Alps with one. I wonder if these horns served the same function as smoke signals did for our American Indians. (For the PC-Police: I figure I can change to writing "Native Americans" whenever the USA state, Indiana, changes its name to "Native-Americana".)The gal, Mary, in front me blowing on the Alpenhorn, was from Chalmette, of all places, the home of the Yats in New Orleans. I bumped into her and her husband later outside the Stadtkeller, and we talked. I found out that she now lived in Europe, married to an army guy, but she was originally from Chalmette. Both she and her husband were Saints fans, she said, and, as we parted we yelled a loud "Who Dat!" call to each other on the streets of Lucerne.
After the tour was over we walked back to the Palace Hotel across the bridge, we noticed along the promenade, there were lots of tents going up for a festival starting the day we leave. As we neared the Palace Hotel we passed a large building with the name SEEBAD on its outside. An American might wonder if this is a eye clinic for people who see bad, but no, See is Sea and Bad is Bath, and the building is a large barge, about a football field in size, with beach sand on its roof, bathhouse underneath for donning bathing suits, and an easy entry into Lake Lucerne for swimming. Along the promenade, we saw two gals spinning a handle to create a water tornado in a glass cylinder, then next to its entry steps, the Palace Hotel had provided a princely dog house for doggies. For supper that night, we dined outside again. It seems that all of Europe eats outside during the summer time, something I had not noticed before on previous trips. Jim and Connie joined our table and the six of us enjoyed a delicious dinner together as the Sun settled over Lucerne's mountain.
LUCERNE, DAY THREE: MOUNT TITLIS, ENGELBERG, VIKING INGVI
Gust and I took an early morning walk across the lake side of the Palace, for the first heading to the left side where we hadn't walked before. Gust showed me how to recognize chestnuts ripening in the trees, something we don't have in New Orleans; we have pecans instead which as our ubiquitous nut, no walnuts, chestnuts, or any other kind of nuts which are easily edible by humans. We met the girls in the Palace for another hearty breakfast and then had an early call for the Mt. Titlis tour of the snow-covered parts of the Alps at 10,000 plus feet high.
On the way we stopped by the Cheese Monastery, where a young man from Oklahoma made some cheese in front of our eyes while describing the ways that cheese varieties from hard to very soft cheeses can be made. Seems he married a daughter of the cheese family and received this job as part of his dowry (perhaps?). He did a great job. He started with milk liquid, added some enzyme and rennet to it and within a minute or so it began to gel and he handed the slicing knife to folks watching and each got a chance to slice through the gel, about one inch squares.Within a few minutes later the vertical solids began to shrink into solid curds and liquid whey. The curds could be compressed into a soft cheese immediately or left to harden into a Parmesan-type hard cheese. The technology was the same, the variety of cheeses came from the enzymes used, the timing of the drying-out, etc.
More driving up to the small Swiss town of Engelberg (Angel Mountain). I decided that I wanted to explore the small Swiss town more than climb to 11,000 feet on cable cars, likely with a long wait time at each change of cable cars. Engelberg had its ski slopes filled with skiers flying down the slopes during the winter, and its valley's air was filled with Para-gliders flying down from the ski slopes in the summer. I counted as many as a dozen gliders in the air in one spot. It was a breath-taking sight, one that a camera cannot do justice to because to get a whole bunch in one photo, each glider will be a tiny dot. I was able to get some closeups with 30X telephoto lens which I can share with you.
I took a photo of our bus, and began my solo walk into Engelberg while Del, Gust, and Janet went up to the top of Mt. Titlis. Along the way, I found an anthill in the grass next to the sidewalk. Glad to know the Alps have ants as well as we do. It was still early in the morning and the little town was just beginning to stir. The European Hotel seemed to be closed, but I found a small shop where I bought an Evian bottle of water and a drumstick (ice cream cone with chocolate cover). It was at the end of a bunch of rail lines, which I gather would be very busy during ski season. Greeting incoming skiers was a big banner saying "Welcome to Engelberg. The village of Olympia Skier Dominiques Gisin." My hands were sticky from the drumstick, and I found an abandoned red towel. Applying the "Leave it, Take it" rule, I used it to dry my hands after I ran the Evian water on them. From the "heart of the Alps" to my hands.Refreshed from my 20 minute walk from the bus, I walked into town to explore Engelberg. I found a quaint coffeeshop, the Alpschmaus (Alpine Mouse) Bistro, that was open and ordered a cappucino. I hooked up to their WiFi on my Z10 Blackberry, kicked back on their comfortable sofa, read and answered my emails. Above my head was a polystyrene sculpture of the head of a cow with its huge tongue sticking out, reminding me of the animated cow at the Stadtkeller. I positioned myself for a selfie with the cow licking my ear, which I can share with you. Makes up for not getting the licking cow's antics on film earlier.
Soon it was time to walk back to our bus, and I found our driver, Martin, there, his shoes off, reading. I took off my shoes and took a short nap, till Martin told he had to leave bus and lock it up, so I left went to the base of the cable car lines where I found a place to sit next to a man waiting for his spouse to return from the mountain. Eventually Del showed up, and we looked through the small gift shop with the big prices. We bought a small Swiss cowbell for our neighbors, Connie and Don, thinking that perhaps they might put it around their dog Sammy's neck, which might stop him from barking from now on.When we got back to the Palace, our bus to Basel was waiting. The ride went fine till we got near Basel and the traffic came to a complete stop, so I took a still photo of the stopped traffic which I can claim is a movie of the traffic and no one could tell the difference.
We arrived and boarded the Viking Longship Ingvi (ing-vee) and found our stateroom. We skipped the local tour which promised a leisurely walk through Basel center. If it's going anywhere near the train station, we've already been there, we thought. Our bags came in and we spent the time unpacking our things in our stateroom. The improvements of the new Longship design over the previous boat we were on are dramatic. Everywhere we looked we saw and experienced improvement. The stateroom was larger every one had a veranda with a sliding glass door. The bathroom seemed larger and when we discovered that the glass shower door which opened out in the middle, also opened into the shower area, that made the bath even larger with the extra elbow room.Everywhere I needed a 110V outlet, there was one! The WiFi was actually dependable on this ship, even if slow as sorghum molasses in a snowstorm; still I could easily check emails, but was stopped from updating my website as even small files were prohibited from uploading to remote sites. The Sun Deck was much bigger and more comfortable. The lounge area was comfortable, although the Aquavit Terrace was cold enough to store the wicked high-alcohol liquor, usually stored in a freezer, cold enough without further refrigeration. The service personnel were also upgraded over the earlier boat we cruised on a short 18-months earlier. Courteous, helpful, understanding, and with a sense of humor, thank God. Speaking of sense of humor, Nick Hale, the Irish Tornado, was our Program Director and he spoke so clearly and loud that folks on the Tauck Longship docked next to us could hear him. Seriously he was a great cruise director, always full of useful information which he provided in a fun way. His array of colorful hats was amazing. I got a photo of him talking to the Stork which was sitting on top of his head which was actually just a hat. His bright yellow sabots with his green Heineken hat in Kinderdijk was another highlight of his idiosyncratic haut couture. Nick was interesting and fun. He was the first cruise director that I felt I made friends with on all my cruises.
One of the charms of a River Cruise is that you can make friends with so many of the crew. For example, Barbara the Concierge, I named Wunderbarbara, because she handled our requests for help on shore so well. Our table waiter was a wonderful Filipino woman named Allen who made our meals a marvelous experience every morning, noon, and night, soon we six became her table and whenever we showed up, she was anxiously waiting to serve us again. We had the same bus driver, Thomas, who maneuvered his large bus through crowded and narrow medieval streets so well. He seemed to follow the boat to the next dock and be waiting for us.
INGVI DAY FOUR: BREISACH, BLACK FOREST, COLMAR MEDIEVAL VILLAGE
Breakfast was great. Allen would bring whatever we wanted from the kitchen or we could stand in line at the omelet maker or chose from the terrific buffet selection. After breakfast was the obligatory emergency drill where we had to don our life vests and meet up on the top deck in case the ship got into a problem and we might have to walk to shore. Seriously, most times of year, the water on the Rhine is just deep enough for the shallow longboats to clear the bottom. When we came down to go to our room, two crewmen in shiny silver-colored fire-retardant uniforms took a photo with Del holding one of their hatchets. When I first met her, her name was Del Hatchett, so this could be called a throwback photo.
Our first shore tour was from Breisach to the Schwarzwald or Black Forest, which was really green with fir trees and not black, except perhaps it was dark in the heart of some areas of the forest. On the way there, we made a stop at an old monastery with a tall, two-spired church called the Kaufstätte Klosterhof. It was made of local sandstone in various shades of red to tan on the outside, but inside it was decoratef in a High Baroque style with its white walls and ceiling full of ornate gold trimming, statues, and paintings.The entire church could be considered a life-sized museum piece today. One should understand how recent the idea of a museum is, churches such as these were built in a time when there were no museums to put artwork into; artists aimed to get their work into churches such as these. Leaving there we entered the Black Forest and were greeted by a life-size cuckoo clock, what I mean is that the animated figures of dancers in local costumes that come out to dance on the hour from the house-sized cuckoo clock are indeed human-sized. This clock was the facade of the souvenir shop and bakery in which we later witnessed a baker building a Black Forest Cake. I'm sure that I wasn't the only one in the audience of several dozen who expected to be offered a piece of that wonderful concoction of chocolate sponge cake, layers of whipped cream, sour cherries and a dousing of kirsch (cherry brandy). We were all disappointed. I went on a walk with our tour guide who did her best to dissuade us from going the whole way as it was too strenuous, didn't take much for me to stop as soon as the path started upward. Besides I was aiming to take photos not to pump iron using my body as a 155 lb weight. When I wandered back from the forest path, I noticed the Goethe House where the famous German poet stayed on September 29, 1779 during his famous trip to Italy. Another wall mural said that Marie Antoinette was a Guest here in 1770. Probably on her way from Austria to the guillotine in Paris (eventually).
When I wrote this poem for my Don't Push the River review, I had not gone to the Black Forest. Now that I have visited the Black Forest, I know that I would not wish to be pinioned in those woods.
O Pinion Me Not
O pinion me not on the grey prairie
O pinion me not in Cedarn Shoulds
O pinion me not with Great Expectations
O pinion me not in Black Forest woods
O pinion me not with politicians
O pinion me not with anxious ambitions
O pinion me not with opinions
because that's all that we've got.
After we returned from the Black Forest, we had lunch on the Ingvi and then got aboard another bus for the tour to Colmar, a unique medieval village. Del and Janet sloughed off this extra paid tour and decided to walk through the local village of Breisach, so it was Jim, Connie, Gust, and I on this tour. We boarded a small train which snaked its way easily through the narrow streets and half-timbered houses of Colmar. There were some multi-storied buildings with lacy ironwork railings on balconies. We saw an early Mansard roof on a four-story building. At one point, Connie and I decided that we had enough of the train ride and got off near our final meeting spot while Jim and Gust continued on the train. We enjoyed a cappucino in the shade of the open patio and the rest rooms of the Café, until the boys rejoined us. What I didn't know, because I hadn't read the fine print in tour brochure is that I missed a chance to the see the Isenheim Triptych created by Matthias Grünwald. He created this during 1506 to 1515. It is 8 feet 10 inches by 4 feet 8 inches and is now housed in the Musée d'Unterlinden in Colmar. My friend Bradford Riley had told me that I should visit this famous artwork, but he described to me how to get to the town from Dornach, and I had no idea that this was the town that we were visiting on our tour, not until after, and it was too late. I discovered my loss while listening to Jim and Gust describe the painting in this church they visited on the last leg of the train trip which Connie and I had missed. This is a very spiritual painting which has become an object of pilgrimage due to the healing effect it has had on many people. You never know until you find out, and I found out too late.
After dinner I went upstairs to get photos of the beautiful sunset on the Rhine before heading back to the lounge for entertainment and information from Nick Hale talking to the Stork on his head as he told us about the storks we would see atop all the trees in Strasbourg the next day. Following our intrepid Program Director Nick was the lovely Michaela Egloff who sang songs for us. Nick asked me if I would sing the Lorelei song in German over the speakers of the ship when we approach the Lorelei prominence. I agreed to do it, and Michaela offered me her music for the piece which she had used earlier.
INGVI DAY FIVE:STRASBOURG, STORKS, NOTRE DAME, ALSACE MUSEUM
We drove into Strasbourg and began immediately to see storks everywhere. Every roof top had one or two storks on them. If you looked carefully you could see a stork's nest at the top of every tree on the street we drove along. They were always considered to be good luck, and since having a baby is a very lucky thing to happen to someone, storks were considered to be the bearers of the babies which arrived in a home. At least, that's what they told the kids in those days when sex education had to happen on the street or not at all.
We had learned that the Group F Tour guides walked slower, so we began choosing what we came to call the F Troop as our preference. On this day the F-Troop guide was a lady who was speaking incessantly without a break. When I asked her about a rest room, she said, "Five minutes" and a half hour later we arrived at Notre Dame. That is not the kind of slow walking I was expecting. The cathedral is 426 feet high, the tallest medieval building in Europe. While it had a Rose Window, an elegant wooden pulpit, and many of the features of the Notre Dame in Paris and the one in Montreal, the one Montreal which I visited only a couple of years earlier was much more beautiful than this one. Besides that the water level of the ground has dropped to beneath the wooden pilings, and with the protective water gone, the pilings have begun to rot, causing the left side of the cathedral to settle. It is literally a monumental architectural headache to prevent further settling and possible collapse of the otherwise magnificent building. Observing the building from the inside would definitely have been more enjoyable without the Tour Guide giving us information like this.
The genius of the stone masons is embodied in a stone carving. It looks like a demon who is laying back looking up at the building he worked on with a stone mason's hammer in one hand. The genius of the architect who allowed the building to begin settling was nowhere to be found, of course.
After the tour was over we had an hour on our own and Del wanted to visit the Alsace Museum since some of her ancestors came from the region. As we walked to the museum a street with Gutenberg on it caught my eye. I had Del take a photo of me under the sign. My Good Mountain Press converted into German would be Gutenberg Press, an interesting ambiguity which my higher self came up with and only informed me of several decades later. When we were going through the museum, I was surprised to find that it was here in Strasbourg that Johann Gutenberg had indeed done his major work on designing moveable type. He later returned to native Germany to use his innovation to print the first Bible around 1455, and of course the type allowed him to reprint duplicate Bibles, making the Bible available to many more people than ever before. When some fifty years later Martin Luther exhorted people to read the Bible to bolster their faith, thanks to Gutenberg there were Bibles available for the people to read. We never found anything related to Del's ancestors, but we enjoyed our visit to the museum.
Back on board we enjoyed another great meal at the hands of Allen and the wonderful Ingvi chefs. We got the idea that she actually did much of the final preparation before delivering our food to the table. They had missed my birthday a couple of nights before and brought me a large dessert with a lit sparkler for a candle on it, large enough for our table of six. As the sparkler burned they sang Happy Birthday to me. Later Emcee Nick Hale played his trivia game with us, the sole purpose of which was to generate laughs and mostly he was successful. Our crew of six got 10 out of 21 and the winner had only 13. My guess "a prickle of porcupines" for the group name of porcupines was correct, but no one believed me when I suggested it, probably because the answer came to me out of the blue and I had no faith that it was correct. I did feel it should be correct. You know the joke, perhaps: What's the difference between a Porsche owner and a Porcupine? With the Porcupine the prick is on the outside.
INGVI DAY SIX:HEIDELBERG, RUDESHEIM
This was a hop, skip, and jump kind of day. We arrived in Mannheim and left on the bus to Heidelberg while the Ingvi set sail for Gernsheim downriver. We later reboarded the boat there and skipped downriver to Rüdesheim, our destination and docking area for the night. Somehow it all worked. The bus trip up the skinny road to the Castle atop Heidelberg was another challenge well-met by Thomas, our fearless and adept bus driver. Soon he was getting more tips than our blathering-away tour guides.
The Castle is a lovely ruin, a picture-book Castle which overlooks Heidelberg. When we got out of our bus, an open green park greeted us as we walked through the ornate stone arch with four columns and statues above the arch. The columns were carved to look like tree trunks with their limbs pruned and had small animals carved in relief among the leaves carved around the length of the columns. A high bridge spans what was originally a deep moat, but was converted into an animal park later and now is covered with grass a few trees.
One of the walls of the large courtyard has only its wall remaining, but is filled with a dozen or so 15 foot high statues of gods, each set in an arched fluted alcove, lined up across the three top stories of the four story wall, the top two stories having no building behind them now. The world's biggest wine barrel awaited us deep inside the castle, a 250-year-old oaken vat that can hold 50,000 gallons of wine. A walk along the promenade overlooking the city of Heidelberg offers spectacular views of the old city and the Neckar Valley. It was drizzling off and on all day, but not enough to deter our walking tour and enjoyment of the wonderful castle.
We bussed to Gersheim, got aboard the Ingvi for a splendid lunch, Allen had our table waiting for us when we arrived. About 5 PM we arrived in Rüdesheim. We decided to skip the wine and dine special tour and explore the old city which abuts the banks of the Rhine ourselves.
Connie didn't feel like coming with us, so the five of us decided to take a walk down to Drosselgasse, the narrowest street in the world. Along the way to it, Jim bought a model of a Tri-Fokker airplane, the kind the Red Baron flew, for a friend. We walked the length of Drosselgasse, and on the way back we were looking for a place to have wine. We had opted against the optional tour for 59 euro each which promised local fare and humor (got enough at the Stadtkeller in Lucerne with the accordions, male Swiss flag twirler, licking cow, Alpenhorns, und so weiter). We began exploring to find a place on our own to sip some wine. While searching, we walked past a place with wine bottles out in an open patio area with a cover and I suggested we go back there.We soon discovered that we had walked in on another cruise ship's local fare and humor tour, complete with accordion playing, and a special drink of brandy added to a fire-carmelized sugar flavored coffee topped with Schlagrahm (whipped cream). A few of the tasty drinks were left after they served the tour so I ordered one while the rest of our gang, Janet, Gust, Del, and Jim sipped their wine. We had a fun time, the music ended after the other tour left, and we were leaving just as Nick Hale arrived and we saw the ubiquitous red Ingvi sign being held up indicating a tour group from our ship was arriving for their wine and dine in the same place we were leaving from. Everyone had gone out but me and I spotted Connie Eastburn in the incoming group! She had gotten an unexpected call that the bus was being held, waiting for her! This led her to think that we were all expecting her to be on that bus with us, so she went. And here we were ready to receive her back into our group! She left the tour group and joined us for our walk back to the ship and dinner aboard. We never found out how or why the call was made to Connie's room or how we had come to select out of the two dozen or more wine spots the one where she would arrive to meet us as we left. As Popeye once said, when asked by his mom, "How come every time something needs fixin' 'round here you needs to go out on your boat?": "It's one of the great myskeries of the sea!"
We had a nice walk back to the boat through the cooling dusk, or as the Lorelei song says, "Die Luft ist kuhl und es dunkelt, und ruhig fliesst der Rhein" only the Rhine was not flowing peacefully now, but rushing with near flood stage waters. And as we arrived at the railway crossing close to our ship, the bars went down and I quickly extracted my camera to catch a shot or two of the electric train as it sped by. Three quick shots and it was gone. Allen awaited us with her smiling face in the Ingvi dining room, all six of reunited in time for dinner.
INGVI DAY SEVEN:MIDDLE RHINE, KOBLENZ, MARKSBURG CASTLE
The middle Rhine or Rheingau is dotted with large castles or Burgs on both sides of the river. It is a photographer's dream place, and being atop a longship in the middle of the river is the best place to take photographs from. I spend two weeks in the Rheingau and driving along the roads on the side of the river, one can hardly see the castles high up on the opposite side of the river, and the ones on your side of the river are mostly hidden by trees. Only on a river cruise can you see and enjoy these wonderful thousand year old structures, some of them in ruins, but most of them still vibrant and living today. I had the pleasure of attending an engagement party in Burg Rheinstein, one of these old castles. We walked up from road level, some five hundred feet to the base of the castle then climbed steps to open air patio overlooking the Rhine.
It was covered with a grape vine that was as old as the castle, a thousand years old. We enjoyed a reception there complete with mead, a honey wine. Then a dinner upstairs, a knight challenge, a troubadour, and some German beer. When it was time for me to leave, the couple had booked the Commandant's Tower for themselves and offered me the fold-out bed in the room below them. We pulled together the remaining beer bottles and sat outside the Tower on the iron balcony looking at the fireflies flitting across the dark walls of the fortress with the only sound the gentle flowing river far below. I wanted earnestly for our group of six to have dinner in Burg Rheinstein and put our Concierge, Wunderbarbara, to the task, but alas, the castle was dark, the restaurant was closed on Mondays. But the song that I sang for the knight's challenge, the first stanza of Die Lorelei, I sang for the passengers and crew of the Ingvi that day as we cruised past the high spot that Lorelei was famous for sitting. Up there, combing her long hair with a flashing golden comb, she caught the eyes of the crews of the ships having to fight their way upriver through the rapids, the rocky outcrops which threatened to overturn their small boats carrying cargo, so treacherous that any distraction would send them to their deaths, one flash of her comb was enough. That was the source of the legend and the famous song by Heinrich Heine which he wrote in 1823.
We had lunch on the Ingvi after we docked in Koblenz, then took a walk around the base of the monument. Koblenz began in 9 BC when the Romans established a military fortress there. Today it has a huge monument whose base supports Wilhelm I atop his horse facing towards the Deutsches Eck, the German Corner, the place where the Mainz and the Rhine rivers meet. From the base of the monument the Eck looks like the prow of a ship, only instead of the water being split by the prow, the water of the two rivers are merging together at the prow as they flow down river. Flags of German regions fly on poles lining the Eck, and I noted a United States flag as the penultimate banner, right before the European Union circle of gold stars on a blue background. The stars and stripes was the only non-German flag so honored.
On our previous trip to Koblenz, Del had taken the Marksburg Castle tour and I explored the Eck, walking up to top level of the Wilhelm monument which offers a great view of the prow-like Eck. This time it was Gust who did the steep walk and I got a photo of him waving down to us. At 2 PM we boarded our bus for the Marksburg Castle tour. The bus took us most of the way, but left us with still a steep climb to castle itself. The walk up was a great chance to see wild flowers such as a large Morning Glory vine and a chestnut tree full of nuts ripening.
We rested from the climb up before the tour began. A lot of tramping up and down stone steps, but we were shown interior areas of the castle, and got a good idea of the primitive conditions in which people there lived. The interior of one living area had a curious enclosed toilet whose heavy door could be barred to keep intruders out. Why? Because the toilet had an open hole which fertilized the outdoor garden below. Unfortunately invaders to the castle would come up through that hole, so the door had to be strong enough to stop them from entering the living spaces if they tried that.
One room contained a museum-like array of armor used through the centuries from Grecian warriors to 15th century knights. One room contained large cannons which were used to protect the castle from invaders on the Rhine. The kitchen showed how food such as cheeses, game, and sausages were protected from mice by hanging them on chains from the ceiling. The herb garden was on the south side of the castle which offered a great upriver view of the Rhine.
For dinner we had all German food, every kind of sausage you could imagine, and entertainment from an accordion player accompanied by an Organ Grinder.
INGVI DAY EIGHT: COLOGNE WALK, LINDL'S CHOCOLATE, AMBER EARRINGS
We docked in Köln, aka Cologne, about 9 AM and we had opted out of the walking tour and pub crawl. We had done a tour of the Cathedral (Dom) on a previous cruise and this time we wanted to walk the city on our own, getting at least to the Dom and back on our own. After a leisurely breakfast, Del and I walked into the city using a small map. We walked over a bridge over the street which led to the front of a building, but had a stairs to the right down to ground level. At the base of the stairs was a streamlined motorcycle it seemed, until we got close and I discovered it was a powered street cleaner. No one was around, so I got into the seat and Del took a photo of me at the controls of the sleek monster. I think I espied the operator of the thing, a gal in uniform taking a smoke break at the top of the stairs, but she said nothing, probably amused by the American who was testing her "ride".We then walked into the city, going by a bunch of pubs on one street, likely the spot for the booze-hounds' pub crawl tonight. We stopped in a shop which specialized in amber jewelry and were waited on by a delightful Irish lady who helped Del buy a beautiful pair of amber earrings. She explained that the older the amber is, once it's exposed to air, the darker it becomes. Del's amber on her earrings are three colors, going from light to dark. Her great-great-great-great grand-daughter will wear these some day and they may be only two colors or even one dark color by then. Next we walked to the Dom and saw that huge stone cathedral was a bit lighter due to the cleaning of the outside stone. We walked over the ancient Roman road which was unearthed recently and left uncovered and Del saw a water fountain. She put her hands under it and drank from it. It didn't have blue emblem that the Swiss fountains did, but it was apparently potable water and delicious. As we passed a Roman museum, we spotted a man asleep on the concrete step, an empty beer can and one shoe off, testifying to his sudden case of sleepiness.
We headed back to the ship for a delicious lunch and there was Allen, our favorite waitress, menus in hand waiting for us. Another beautiful and delicious dessert topped off the meal. Then we were ready to visit the Chocolate Factory, a Museum devoted to Lindl's chocolates which are also made there. Want to learn the history of chocolate, here's a good place to do so. Get a bare Kit-Kat like stick freshly coated with chocolate from the fountain in the bow of the ship-like building which sticks out over the water. You actually need to cross a bridge over a narrow canal to get into the museum. You can also watch the small rectangles of chocolate being poured in to molds, shaken down flat, cooled, dumped onto conveyor belt and wrapped in foil. The production broke down and was being repaired in front of our eyes before it began rolling again. What a wonderful place to work! You can eat your mistakes!
Even wonder how they design those colorful foils which cover a molded chocolate figure of a young blond girl in her colorful traditional wear? There's a display which shows how that is done, how the design must be warped so that when it wraps the figure the clothes fit and the face looks its smiling best. Del went ahead with Gust and Janet and we got back together aboard the Ingvi later. I was interested in the downstairs museum displays, and discovered that they had gone upstairs already. So I began looking for them upstairs for them. I went outside the museum and they already gone, so I started for the bridge, but it had been opened. It opens for boats by rotating parallel to the canal. While waiting for it to close again, I saw a gal with a Black Tee Shirt on which it read, "De Rien", which has various meanings like "It's Nothing" but it occurred to me that it could be that present day expression of existential angst, "Whatever", so I got a photo and sent to my daughter Carla whose guy has that expression on voice mail greeting. He's a whatever kinda guy. Being an economics professor does that to one, I suppose.
We disembarked from Cologne about 11 PM after the music and fun in the lounge was over, and the view of the Dom by night was spectacular. Both it and the smaller St. Martin's Cathedral were fully lit, and some summer festival with lights on was happening nearby. A memorable day in Cologne.
INGVI DAY NINE: NOAH'S ARK, KINDERDIJK, PACKING
Our last three meals on the Viking Ingvi and we made sure to enjoy them. We're going to gain a couple of pounds on this trip, so we might as well eat the most delicious things, like the dessert with three blueberries gracing its top, I don't remember what the ice cylinder was, perhaps ice cream, but the colorful and graceful helix was memorable.
We passed a full-size Noah's Ark, bearing no resemblance to the ugly rectangular raft in the 2014 Noah movie at all. It's a graceful boat complete with curious animals looking back at us waterborne spectators. In addition to the giraffes and elephants atop the deck the windows of the lower decks show a tiger, a bear, a camel, among other denizens carried on the Ark.Our previous cruise went upriver from Amsterdam and didn't have a Nick Hale equivalent, so we were left on our own to spot the Ark, which I did and a few other lucky passengers did. This time Nick was there to warn us over the PA system when we were approaching the Ark. I had the chance to get much better photos of this close approach to Noah's Ark.
We docked in Kinderdijk. What you should know about the Dutch language is that whenever you see the two vowels "I and J" linked together they are pronounced like "I" so we should say Kinder-dike. It is a World Heritage Site preserving traditional Dutch Windmills, windmills that are still lived-in and operational. One of them acts as a museum for visitors to see how the mill owners lived. The short beds in which one slept sitting up was memorable from our first visit there.Our tour guide said this design was required because of limited space, but I have since learned that people with lung diseases in previous centuries had to sleep sitting up to stay alive, and I imagine these pulmonary diseases were quite common to these people who lived so close to the water.
We skipped the tour, but Nick, in his colorful Dutch costume, with bright yellow wooden shoes on his, with a green Heineken hat with flaps open on his head, and bright orange lei around his neck, told us not to miss a small bakery, so that was our quest. We located it and bought a bag of cookies to take back to the ship with us. We saw a home with a maze made of small boxwoods in its front yard. We saw brilliant blooms on what looked like a California ice plant, the one which cover the sides of recessed freeways. After that excursion we walked toward the Windmill row for a few hundred feet when I notice a mother coot feeding her fledgling in the water among the water lilies. One was so newly hatched that its head and its wings were still bare.
We came back and finished our packing. Before the final dinner we attended the Captain's Cocktail Party which featured a passing parade and bow by all of the crew and servers. Then Nick Hale gave us his parting potshots in his Daily Briefing and Farewell wishes. We walked upstairs to the dining hall for our last supper together, the six of us, once more served by Allen our waiter. We didn't know if we would see her again the next morning, so we said our goodbyes before we departed. Jim and Connie will be spending their post-cruise time in Amsterdam and Gust, Janet, Del and I will be heading to Bruges for our three-day post-cruise tour.
BRUGES DAY TEN: DUKE'S PALACE, HILDA, MADONNA, ALMS HOUSE
It was our last morning on the Ingve and Allen found a way to serve us in the dining room. Along with Gust and Janet, we gave a poignant farewell to our wonderful waiter and also to our two new friends, Connie Eastburn and Jim Harman. We walked to our van for a three hour drive to Bruges with our capable driver, Reggae. He need a rest stop himself and we were all anxious as to where he might find a place along the freeway, but he soon enough stopped at a Texaco gas station. This was the first Texaco station that I have in my entire life been charged to take a pee. It was half a euro a-pees, which Reggae took care of for us. He let us know that this was a universal custom in Belgium. I told him about Del having to pay 7 euros for an ice cold Porta-potty in St. Petersburg a few years ago, and he went, "AY-YI-YI!"
Our stay in Bruges was at another Palace, this time a real one, the only remaining building of the Duke of Bourgogne's large palatial complex. Duke's Palace everyone called it. Deserves a song dedicated to by Duke Ellington, but it's a little late for that, plus we already have "Duke's Place", one more "a" in the Place becomes a Palace, doesn't it?
The main difference between the Lucerne Palace and the Duke's Palace was immediately obvious, the staff seemed to be beginners at Duke's. No one told us that to operate the elevator we had to use our room key, or if they did mention it, they should have come around the corner and demonstrated how to make it work! One of our room keys didn't work at all and had to be replaced. Then on our second trip up the elevator it let us out in the middle of nowhere! It seemed like we were stuck somewhere between Floor 4 (our floor) and Floor 5, and when I checked the stairs it looked like some Escher stairway, best avoided. Another trip down and switching to the left elevator got us up to our room. We always knew we were on the right floor because this painting of a guy looking like a fat Orson Welles or Rob Ryan (Saint's defense coach) whose eyes are looking all the way to his left, which is the way we approach him.No one bothered to mention that we always needed to take the left elevator. We quickly learned two things: 1) this is not the Lucerne Palace and 2) this was a Do-It-Yourself Hotel. The staff was nice enough and the accomodations were lovely and comfortable, but the staff often did not answer the question you asked them, making it a DIY job just to get answer to your question.
Gust and Janet had to switch rooms because their AC didn't work and the next morning they reported that the AC in their new room is no working. Del found the instructions for operating the AC and it was designed by some modern torture master. The face of the dial moves past a pointer from -5 to +5 and a tiny dial moves from Auto to 0, 1, 2, etc with a tiny icon of a fan. Go figure that one out. Usually the face of a dial is stationary and you move the pointer, nothing so simple on this masterpiece of stupidity. The instructions, necessary for operating, say 0 is 22 degC and +1 adds 2 degC. Ridiculously complicated. Built by Honeywell and designed by some idiot. I found out that the windows operated like the long windows in the Kloster-Dornach. I showed Gust how to turn the latch a quarter turn to open it using the right-side hinges, and turn the latch a half turn to open it using the bottom hinges. For sleeping opening the top using bottom hinges makes for good sleeping, plus no one can come into the window. Ingenious latch design, but not immediately obvious to Americans.
After fumbling around with elevators and thermostats, we went down to see the Viking Representative, Hilda. She was a short blonde, very sweet and intelligent. Unfortunately she would later do a Statue-of-Liberty play and hand us off to the tour-guide-from-hell Lieva. Hilda showed us how to get to town and back, which was lucky because when Lieva at end of our tour told us of a way to get to town that was more complicated than the Escher staircase to our rooms. With Hilda's help we found the town square, chose a pizza place for lunch, and then walked through a supermarket where I bought a tin of wafers in the small supermarket with a Magritte painting on it saying, "This is not a pipe" — the words hovering over an obvious Sherlock Holmes like pipe — and then it was back to Duke's Palace to meet Lieva for our tour. Her name first sounded like Eva Braun, Hitler's infamous mistress, and she drove us like a Storm Trooper.
We walked and walked and walked around the whole damn town, something which might have been fun if Eva Braun had only stopped for me to take photos and wait for me to rejoin them. But she didn't so I began to ignore them and take photos at my own pace. We saw the church with the Michelangelo "Madonna and child" sculpture in Carrara marble in the old church. It was recovered and restored to its church by the "Monuments Men", as shown in new movie by that name.
We went into an Alms House and she told us how these were the poor houses run by donations from miscreant husbands to absolve themselves from sin. A welfare program for retirees and poor during the Middle Ages.
We saw the boats filled to brim with tourists which I decided I wanted to skip. Too Disney-like for my taste. We saw as much of the scenery from the walks as they saw with elbows sticking into their sides. Bruges limits the canal traffic to these tourist boats, so it's their way or the high way on the street paths. We apparently got here in Bruges as it has become a new tourist destination because the old town was filled with tourists.
By the time we got back, my feet were worn out from the constant twisting of my ankles on those large Roman cobblestones which were similar in shape to those of the original Rome seaport, Ostia, but the individual tiles were about twice as wide. Walking on the flat sidewalks where possible made it much easier on my feet.
We showered and met Gust & Janet downstairs in the Bar and sat outside in courtyard for supper from the bar menu. Del's leeks soup had half a pig of bacon sunken in it, as did her salad, a Caesar's Salad with large chunks of half-cooked chicken with the bacon from the other half of the pig. Don't recall what I ate, but it was good and expensive.
The outside dining area was wonderful, open to the courtyard which has amazing sculpture pieces, an abstract metal piece about ten feet high, a three foot high rabbit like Alice might have chased, and 15 foot high, bright red Poodle executed in some plastic medium. Its head hovers near an outdoor table but I don't think I could eat with a large red poodle hovering over me sniffing my food. It was a nice cool evening and very restful. We went up to our room, I adjusted the windows, and I loaded all my photos into my laptop before we finally sunk into a deep sleep.
BRUGES DAY ELEVEN: MASSAGE, STRAWBERRIES, JOKE, MARCO
Del went down to breakfast and called me at 9:30 to come down. I wasn't hungry and my belt loop had once again moved to the fourth hole, only one day removed from the wonderful administrations of Allen our lovely Filipino Waitress aboard the Viking Ingvi. Gust & Janet were there all ready to go hoofing it again over Bruges cobblestones and I felt more like Colin Farrell in "In Bruges" and wished I were back home in my kitchen listening to Big Pete on WWOZ this morning, then heading to my club for Summer Breakfast and to Mouse Practice (which has nothing to do with either a mouse or practice) the next afternoon.
Del's scheduled a 30-min massage for 1:30 PM after which we're to go for boat ride. I thought I'd find a place to sit and take photos while they cruise, but luckily I was able to talk Del into the Carriage Ride instead. So I went down to tell Gust & Janet that Del was having her massage and the two of them went off walking.I then tried to call Del, but she was unavailable and the gal showed me how to get to the Spa, actually walking around the corner to point the way and then walking with me to the Spa area, extra points for that! Still didn't know where Del was, but I heard her talking through the door. As a telephone operator, Del's first job, she learned to talk clearly and loudly. When she came out, I met her masseuse Dorothea, a tall slender masseuse originally from Poland. Del suggested that I get a half-hour massage, so I scheduled one with her for 10:30 the next morning.
Del and I went for a walk to find the open market area, but it was empty (as we found out later it closed before lunch), but we bought some local strawberries in a small store which we ate. Walked around to see if we could find Gust and Janet, but no, so we walked back to hotel, stopping at the Supermarkt (Belgian spelling) where I bought some water, Belgian chocolates for Noemi our housekeeper, and some fruit and walnuts for us in the room. We then took a long nap and when I got up, I shaved, showered, and felt refreshed, completely recovered from the thrashing I took the day before and ready to go out for dinner with Gust and Janet. This was to be a big meal night and the place on the corner, looking across the Square to the Tower, was our choice. We each chose one of the 29 Euro dinner specials. Gust and I had the escargot appetizer, the mussels entree, and the ice cream dessert. Our waitress was a Joke, er, her name was Joke but pronounced Yuka. She was a very nice local gal and a good waitress. The escargot was delicious, about a dozen in garlic and butter sauce. For the mussels, I chose a white sauce which was delicious and it seemed that I would never get to the bottom of the pot of shellfish or get the white sauce to last to the end, but somehow I managed both.
Then we boarded the horse-drawn carriage, the horse was named Mark, the same as Gust's son, so I took a photo of Gust with the horse as we stopped for Mark's obligatory five-minute break for water and oats halfway through the city the 30-minute tour. Del and I sat facing backwards, seeing where we had just passed, but after the break Janet and Gust switched places with us and I could better plan my photos. Then we walked back past Da Vinci Gelato Shop and each got a cone thanks to Gust. Then he and I walked upstairs to see the Snooker Tables, but no one was playing on them. I had hoped to show Gust how Snooker was played.
We walked back to our hotel and sat in lobby talking for another hour before heading up to bed about 9 pm. By 10:30 I had wrapped up my journal notes after saving and backing up the notes and my 74 photos for the day.
BRUGES DAY TWELVE: MASSAGE, HELLO DALI, FARM WAGON PARADE
This was a completely empty day that we could fill with our own fun. We had breakfast at Duke's Palace. I should mention the wonderful breakfast area. Walking in there are two one square foot slabs of Belgium chocolate, one light and one dark, with a slicing knife for easy cutting. First time I've seen chocolate as a featured item in a breakfast buffet. The waiter brought coffee and orange juice, there was a cold breakfast buffet in this room, and a walk to the next room revealed a variety of the usual hot breakfast goodies.
The morning began with my massage from Dorothea. By then it was after noon and Del and I walked to the café closest to the Tower. While we were enjoying our cappucino and Belgium waffles, we heard a thundering noise as a large farm wagon drawn four large Black Draft Horses with long black hair over each hoof. Soon we realized it was a parade of such carriages as they began to circle in the center of the square. We asked our waiter what was going on and he said, "Nobody asks me before doing these kind of things, nor does anyone tell me."We paid our tab and I aimed to find out what was happening. Finally I found a driver who could speak good English and he told me something like this, "This is the first time my wagon has been out of its barn. We do one parade of our farm wagons each year. See how each wheel is covered with steel bands? This is our first parade to Bruges. We will stay here an hour or so then leave and store our carriages for another year." He said his name was Daniel and his last name was on his carriage: 't Vanhullehof. His parade brought a farmyard presence to the Town Square both visually and olfactorily. They left barely enough space for the regular tour carriages to enter, drop off and pick up passengers. After Daniel's parade left the square, it was nearly empty so I took advantage of that to take a panoramic set of images of the entire square. As our tour guide explained earlier, you can see a greater variety of architectural styles in one place than anywhere else in Europe. One six-story building on a corner with a clock on the top story looked so much like a modern 1960s skyscraper that I found it hard to believe it was over 400 years old. The step-roof edge design on other buildings were a time-saving device as it kept builders from having to cut stones and bricks on an angle, something was very expensive in those olden days.
We walked over to the front of the Tower, the one where the fat guy did a swan dive near the end of the funny movie, "In Bruges". I wanted to lie down at the point where he hit the ground and have Del take a photo of me, but she declined. Didn't even want to imagine me that way. I threatened to use the photo I took of the blank space on the concrete and paste a imagine of my back onto it, but I'd need her help to get that photo, and why bother? Some times you can have so much fun thinking about doing something you don't have to do it.
We then walked through the passage under the Tower, past the long line of people waiting to walk to the top. We found a rest room, and an art exhibit inside a side hall. Peeking inside there was a sculpture or title theme which said, "Together we can do so much". To the left of the Tower outside was the Dali Museum and Shop. Many of the artworks on display were for sale. One sculpture had an angel figure with a hole all the way through its middle. Of course the sign said "Do Not Touch". I had Del set up her camera to take a photo on my signal and I placed my hand through the figure without touching it. Luckily no alarm bells went off. Once I set off a signal alarm in a glass museum in Venice, and at the Lucerne Palace they wanted to charge me for a chocolate bar in our room's refrigerator. I said, "No, I did pick up one to inspect it, but we didn't eat it." Again a silent alarm so they charge you without having to inventory the fridge every time you leave. Caveat Emptor even you think you didn't emptor anything! Before we left the Dali museum, I met the sales lady Gerda Brouwers who gave me her card, in case we wanted good prices on Dali artworks. We did buy a jigsaw puzzle postcard of the Dali Bullfighter we have hanging in our son John's home.
We went to supper with Janet and Gust. We wanted something simple after the large meal the night before and I chose the spaghetti. I took a photo of Del and Janet coveting my spaghetti and you can see the tiny Fanta orange bottle, about 3 to 5 oz, I imagine, and getting ice cubes for the glass is a chore. Hard to believe our long European vacation was coming to a close as the next morning we had to leave early for the airport, missing Gust and Janet, and carrying our breakfast in a bag prepared for us by the Duke's staff. (Nice touch!) Our driver was Mark, and he did a great job maneuvering past a huge traffic jam with an 18-wheeler turned on its side blocking two of the three lanes on the freeway. He parked his taxi in the garage, then placed our bags in a cart and pushed it he walked us to within viewing distance of the Delta counter. Viking's arrangements for us, both on the Ingvi, in the Lucerne Palace, in Bruges at Duke's Place, and all the bus, van, and taxi drivers were absolutely first class. Great job, Viking!
Getting on our flight from Brussels to Atlanta was a close call, but we cleared the TSA-Euro-style folks quickly, and got to the gate just before our Zone was called. Our extended leg room seats that we paid Delta an extra $100 for were definitely not extended room seats. As soon as the guy in front of me laid back to sleep, my laptop nearly got crushed. We reported this discrepancy to Delta after a long number of calls by Del and they have refunded our money. Their computer had let us move back one row, which was not extended, but charged us for extended, as best I could explain to Delta what did happened (so they might make corrections to the software). Luckily the guy awoke to watch TV the rest of the flight. I was able to process all my photos through our first day in Dornach. Then Del and I watched the movie "Draft Day" (2014) and enjoyed what seemed like short flight home.
When we arrived, we turned the AC down to cooler and hit the sack right away. Woke up at 4 AM the next morning and got started on our checklist of turning stuff back on and checking things around the house. Our boxwood on the north side of the ugly rusted pipe on the phone pole out front had completely dried up. Must have been weed-killer spread by our previous lawn men. The Japanese yew is growing fine and I'll let it cover the north side of the pole, the boxwood from Don and Connie is doing well on the south side. A hole had appeared in one of garage door windows, a fact we didn't notice till later in the day as we backed out of the garage in Del's car and glass came crashing to the floor. Apparently the hole came from a rock thrown by our new lawn men who will be advised to watch it. We called Marcello and he said he'd come immediately to fix it. The next day or so, he came and replaced the light fixture in my dressing area.
Our ice maker, even though it had been on Holiday Mode, showed RED on its CLEAN NOW light and I did that a few days later. About a three hour job, start to end. Connie and Don had two large trays of picked Celeste and LSU figs they picked for me. I later made fig preserves with them and they were the best ever.We picked a ripe watermelon from the vine Connie had given us and it was ripe and delicious. Soon we were back close to our normal schedule. Close because we don't normally awake at 4 AM which I did for four or five days and get sleepy about 8 PM, but that was the jet lag effect, our bodies still acclimated to European time.
Soon I was binge-reading our only daily newspaper in New Orleans, The Advocate. Skimming the trivial and getting up-to-date on the important stuff. Even scanning the obituary section I was able to spot a COLON name, so I read it and found she was the mother of Percy Colon, Jr, who was a neighbor and chess partner when I lived a few doors from him in Kenner in the 1960s. I called him and offered my condolences. We had a long phone call to renew acquaintance while the cleaning solution was running through our ice maker on its CLEAN CYCLE.
Another problem, my ACT data bases would not open. I tried rebooting, restoring, hard system power off restart and nothing helped. Some kind of data base engine problem. Some of my emails were also not getting through. I called Verizon and spent a couple hours on Tech Support with it and Blackberry and by the end the problem was fixed in the one way I could have done on my own.The good news is that the next morning, I checked ACT and it was now working. Best I can figure, ACT is so tied into Outlook that if Outlook is turned off ACT goes middle-age crazy on you. A good slap across ACT's face and turning on Outlook seemed to have brought it back to its humanless and humorless senses.
Del drove up to Baton Rouge to fetch Collin Hatchett, our grandson, to stay with us for three days before his school started. His brother Kyle was busy with football practice already and couldn't come. Lucky for me while doing my processing photos, Del and Collin did a lot of movie-watching while he was here. One night I was so glad to be home, I looked for things to put on our five large screens in the Timberlane Screening Room. I haven't watched wrestling since 1949, but the WWE was in the Superdome here, so I watched it display its choreographed moves on the mat and its excited fans.What an amazing display of flash and color and sound to stimulate the adulation of the fans for Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Cena, etal. Testosterone and Masculine Pulchritude. The bad and ugly guys lost, again, as they almost always do in movies. Anxious for any football after a summer of World Cup soccer, I added the Hall of Fame game on one screen, in which Buffalo Bills tied the New York Giants at half time and looked like the better team, tearing a ball away from the Eli QB and scoring off of it, just like teams did with his dad Archie so many times when he was a Saint. The Giants barely won, 17-13 in this close game. Sure it was preseason, but it was real football. Soon I had all five screens on, caught Huckabe's opening statement about Israeli clashes, an episode of Lillehammer, and other things more interesting than the WWE and the NFL game. I was just glad to be home!
With Collin here, making fig preserves would be a fun thing to do together. Connie's two bowls of picked figs, one of them partially cooked with sugar, one of them uncooked, each with some combination of LSU and Celeste figs, all got dumped into our Magnalite pot and cooked down. Even with all the juice, the final product as poured into jars needed more liquid. Collin took a nap through some of the cooking process, awakening in time to see me fill the last several jars. Gave one jar to Connie for her trouble when I returned her bowls all cleaned. Next summer with my Celeste fig tree in full fruit and US HOME, I plan to mix the two figs again, and will make a much larger batch. I barely have enough jars to give to three good friends and last us through the fig preserves from the winter breba crop of the LSU fig tree. Since I was in the middle of processing photos, I showed Collin how to use Explore to quickly find photos, if you add the date, place, and people in the file names. A simple Find will scan through 50,000 photos in about 2 seconds and show only the ones with the date, place, or name you asked it to find for you.Explained to Collin the implication of his plans to take his working PC apart to add a bigger video card. I suggested he'd do better to begin building a new one from scratch and keep the other one working as he did so. Taught him the three most important words in Real Estate, Location, Location, Location and in Computers: Backup, Backup, Backup. Also why the Bootstrap program is essential and how important the Boot Sector on C: drive is. If it's gone, you're in "Boat Anchor Mode" with your PC.
While I was on vacation, I decided that I would be on vacation for the entire month. Taking photos and making some journal notes only. No publishing of a DW#148 on August 1. Instead I created a small DW#148 consisting of an explanation of the Double Issue coming in 149 with two months of our Out Our Way notes. Added a banner photo of me and Del on the Rhine and the Brandli photo from the Reminder for 148. Anyone looking at 148 will see this notice and be ready to return in September for the full Issue.
We went to Patio Planter's meeting in August and Jeff McNeilly explained how simple it was to get orchids to re-bloom. We had five orchids which were years old, and nothing we did helped them, so we decided to follow his instructions. Two hundred dollars later, more expensive than five new orchids, we had the supplies to repot our orchids in the proper openwork wooden pots and had them trimmed to re-bloom on the long stems (cut after the third segment). In the process we had to got to both Rose Garden places. Usually we use Mike's Rose Garden on the expressway, but he sent us to his brother-in-law's place on Lapalco Blvd for the roll of cocoa grass to line our orchid pots. I me the husband of Lucy who works there and just barely recognized Steve Morgan, and it was great seeing him again with his new grayer shade of hair, but the same great big smile.
That night was also Dirty Linen Art Night on Royal Street and the day of the Red Dress Run. Some outfit known as the Hash House Harriers started this annual event in which men (and some women) wear red dresses and run through the French Quarter. They call themselves, "A Drinking Club with a Running Problem" — sounded too good to miss, so Del and I planned our attack on the French Quarter, park at One Canal, buy our ticket to The Theatre, walk through the Quarter, get each a dozen or so oysters on the halfshell at Felix's Oyster House, check out some art galleries, and get back to watch the movie. We had aimed for Café du Monde for beignets, but as we crossed the front of St. Louis Cathedral the skies became threatening of rain and lightning, so we quickly walked to cover at our theater. We were there early, but they let us in almost an hour ahead of time. We relaxed for twenty minutes or so in the lounge chairs and then ordered a single panninie veggie sandwich which we split and soon enough the movie came on. We had bought the last two seats, separated by two seats, so we sat together, and when the couple came in, they didn't notice the difference. So great to be watching a movie in a theater in a room full of adults who all laughed at the right places! We immersed ourselves in the movie "The Hundred Foot Journey" and the room disappeared. The screen at the far back of the room subtended the same angle as the 52" Kuro TV does from our comfy chairs in our TSR.But the night wasn't over after the movie. We had learned about the Red Dress Rum on Big Pete's Trad Jazz show on WWOZ.org that morning and his guest also talked about Deacon John playing a gig at Chickie Wah Wah that tonight, so we headed up Canal Street and found a parking place and after paying the modest cover charge, we walked into a packed house with Deacon John and Ivories holding forth, blaring forth. Standing room only, maybe a few chairs in the side along the back, but we wanted to watch Deacon John up close. At one point he came down from the stage while singing and danced with a gal in the audience. He is a true New Orleans legend and great performer, a full-time performer since the 1950s and still going strong. He never took a break the entire hour we were there, hopping from one song to another and drawing rave responses from the crowd. We danced where we stood and Del looked like a 15-year-old Warren Easton gal on her first date to a dance, her high school was just across the street from where we were, so this was her WEHS neighborhood.
LAST MINUTE EVENTS
This is the section I reserve for things which happen late in the month while I'm putting the finishing touches on my DIGESTWORLD Issue. Like this night late in the month, I fixed some green beans and potatoes for us, we watched a great movie, and then we drove to Dos Jefes to catch our good friend Armand St. Martin playing and singing. A bunch of other mutual friends were, including a couple Roy and Dale who used to own Victoria Bed & Breakfast down in Lafitte, but who are now living on a 44' sailboat eight months of the year. Hadn't seen them since that October night in 2008. Dale moved as I took her photo, but the blurriness makes her look a few decades younger, so I think she'll like it.
The rest of August we spent cleaning out our veggie garden which was sorely neglected during our absence. The okra plants grew tall and had to be pulled out. The Creole tomato plants and eggplants were all done and also had to be discarded. Del had a lot activities with her clubs and I had three books to read and review. Luckily I got those done in time to get the September Double Issue of DIGESTWORLD out, but just barely.At times I wondered if taking a month off was worth the double amount of work I needed to do when we got back. But here it is, laid out for you in reviews, photos, and our usual features. Hope you feel that our hard work was worth it.IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING
The past 62 days of July and August have come and gone with a month long vacation on the beach and in Europe during July, and the month of August filled a few activities but mostly with processing 1800 photos, reading and reviewing three books and organizing my double issue for September First. Let me know if you enjoy the extended travelogue of our European trip. I am now ready for Saints and LSU football games to begin in earnest and get a little more normal schedule of activities going, i.e., bring fun back into my job. But, if it's too much work, who can I complain to, myself? Heck, I won't listen to that foolishness.
Till we meet again October 1, when Summer is history and leaves are changing their hues for Fall, God Willing and El Nino staves off El Huracán and the Gulf water stays outside our armored levees, Whatever you do, Wherever in the world you and yours Reside, be it balmy August days or cool and rainy Spring days,
Remember our earnest wish for you the remainder of this God-given year of 2014:
MAY YOUR WORLD REMAIN PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-FOURTEEN
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
A writer is someone who has taught his mind to misbehave.
Oscar Wilde (British Playwright and Author)
Those who try to lead the people can only do so by following the mob.
Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.
Oscar Wilde [Playwright]
The only difference between caprice and a lifelong passion is that caprice lasts a little longer.
Oscar Wilde [Playwright]
Introduction from Flowers of Shanidar, A 1990 Book of Poetry by Bobby Matherne
In a small dark cave in the hills of Northern Iraq near the Turkish border the excavator Ralph Solecki found in 1960 the bones of a young man placed in the recess between two large boulders. Analysis of the remains from the cave of Shanidar determined that the burial occurred over 60,000 years ago.
Soil samples collected near the bones were only analyzed several years later and produced a quite unexpected result. Ordinarily a small random assortment of pollen grains would be found in funereal soil samples, but the Shanidar soil analysis revealed thousands of pollen grains from wild flowers of the region. Flowers of rose mallow, hollyhocks, hyacinths, and other indigenous varieties of flowers had been systematically collected and transported to the cave of Shanidar as a funerary tribute.
Astonished, the scientists were confronted with the earliest known evidence of a burial ritual. From the very dawn of mankind a message had come down to us, written in pollen grains from the flowers of Shanidar, of the birth of a new consciousness the consciousness of death.
How far have we progressed in the knowledge of ultimate destinations in the 600 centuries since that funeral celebration? As we stand before the door to the new millennium, do we dare to knock? Are we ready for the new flowers of Shanidar and the birth of consciousness that will surely accompany our passage into that new era?
These poems are from Bobby Mathernes 1990 book of poetry, Flowers of Shanidar and have never been published on the Internet before. Here in the beginning of the new millennium, we are publishing each month five poems, one from each Chapter of the book. (Flowers drawn by Artist Maureen Grace Matherne)
Gary Cooper admires a white female statuette
and Barbara Stanwyck comes through the
Fred Astaire catches a white female statuette
and Ginger Rogers comes through the
Be careful when handling your illusions,
one of them might come through the
We hire someone to clean the house
Who charges less than would a spouse
The housekeeper doesn't clean us dry
Yet sometimes you give the broom a try.
But the greatest thing of all you do:
You're the person that I tell things to.
You cook a minestrone soup
And never take me out of the loop
I have a seat and take a sip
While you give me a piece of lip.
You clean the stove and oven too
But the greatest thing of all you do
Is not your washing of my clothes
We hire someone to help with those
The dishes get done by themselves
Or with the help of midnite elves
But the greatest thing of all you do:
You're the person that I tell things to.
3. Chapter: Rainbows4. Chapter: Shadows
This month, as we near the completion of Bobby's first book of Poetry, Flowers of Shanidar,
we continue with a poem from the Rainbows Chapter of his second book of Poetry,
Rainbows & Shadows (1995).
This month we read
The EAT-O-TWIST Rainbow
The EAT-O-TWIST Rainbow
Flows from the Physical World
To the Spirit World and back.
The EAT-O-TWIST Rainbow is a circle:It begins and ends
In that pot o' gold
A Vacant Lot
This month, as we near the completion of Bobby's first book of Poetry, Flowers of Shanidar,
we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of his second book of Poetry,
Rainbows & Shadows (1995).
This month we read
Scientists are a vacant lot
with a For Sale sign out front.
They like to show what they are not
and lift their vacant truths to flaunt.
Scientists are made not born
when as an adult they quickly learn
To stuff their hoary truths
in journals and three piece suits
To steal their bread appropriately
in voting booths from you and me.
Like silver threads among the galled
they leave the populace appalled,
Because the owner of the mines they salt
has no use for their perfected fault.
But undaunted in their forensic foray,
they shiver outside on a winter's day
And proclaim that globalwarming is on the way.Scientists are a vacant plot
Weeds are all that they have got.
Plants they want to trim and cut
And leave us with nothing but
A scorching concrete parking lot.
"What would it be like if you could manifest your true intention in the world?" - Greg Brodsky
Choose your favorite problem and substitute it for "x" and say the following phrases aloud:...
No matter what I think, someday I will stop "x"-ing.
When I stop "x"-ing there will be certain problems.
Which is why I don't stop "x"-ing now.
Would you like to leave here with your problem just as when you came in and know everything that happened in here, or
Would you like to leave here with your problem completely gone and not have the foggiest idea of what happened here?
Confusion is the mother of learning.
I don't avoid confusion, I create it.
I don't fix people, I break them.
Beware of IMPENDING joy.
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, no commercial interruptions, and all of the original dialogue. Microwave some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. With a plasma TV and Blu-Ray DVD's and a great sound system, you have theater experience without someone next to you talking on a cell phone during a movie plus a Pause button for rest room trips.Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise have missed along the way.):
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray movies from NetFlix, and if it says DVD in your Queue, click and select Blu-Ray version."The Grand Budapest Hotel" (2014) will become a classic, due to its wonderful story, exquisite scenery inside and outside the hotel, the precision timing of simple walks down an aisle, and the superb performances of the major stars, F. Murray Abraham, Ralph Fiennes, Ed Norton, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Jude Law, Owen Wilson, Tom Wilkinson, etal. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
"The Loss of Nameless Things" (2006) Oakley Hall II wrote the play "Grinder's Stand" and then fell off a bridge into a new life as a kinder, gentler man name Tad. Stay with this documentary, it gets better towards the end.
"Sniper: Reloaded" (2011) a new sniper gets his chops from Billy Zane, now a grown man, who plays a friend of the Marine's dad who taught him sniping. Lots of action and body count in this surprisingly good tale.
"Joe" (2014) Nicholas Cage as a loner driving a team of tree-clearers in a forest who puts a mid-teenager to work and helps him break out of his abusive family situation.
"The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete" (2013) or what Mister did all summer between the 8th Grade and the 8th Grade.
"Gambit" (2012) Mr. Deane knew Monet from Dawn to Dusk, but the switch never dawned on Mr. Shabby.
"Gideon's Daughter" (2005) Bill Nighy at his inscrutable best trying to figure out his daughter & his life. Like Chance the Gardener, his lack of response is pregnant with meaning. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
"The Long Goodbye" (1973) Philip Marlowe (Elliot Gould) tries to find who killed his buddy Terry's wife and how Terry later died in Mexico. Of the latter, Marlowe would come to have first-hand knowledge. Movie provides a nostalgic trip down memory lane to the 1970s where Primal Scream was mentioned along with Freudian Psychotherapy as a possible therapy in the script.
"Mediterraneo" (1992) watched the 8 Stooges, Italian soldiers directed to guard an abandoned Greek island in WWII, find to their delight only the young men have left, not the young ladies. Starts very slow, like foreplay, but gets steamy and fun very quickly.
"The Hundred Foot Journey" (2014) the distance between France and India, between two cultures who adore food and the two cuisines they adore, the distance between two sous chefs and two restaurant owners. An insurmountable barrier, but some quantum tunneling would eventually lead the two families to the stars. A DON'T MISS HIT! ! ! !
"The Railway Man" (2014) with Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. Will he make it to the end of the line, or a rope, or will he meet an old enemy who tells him, "The dagger of our meeting thrust deeply into my heart." and become his best friend thereafter? A DON'T MISS HIT!
"Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" (2014) Chris Pine plays Jack Ryan as a combo of Bruce Willis's McClain and Matt Damon's Jason Bourne. Costner is his CIA handler and Kenneth Branagh as his Russian enemy (who also directs the fast-action movie) A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
"3 Days to Kill" (2014) and Kevin Costner chooses to spend them with his daughter and clear up some things. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Private Parts" (1997) for a very public man, Howard Stern had very private parts, his love for his wife and the stunts he pulled on his bosses, such as 'Pig Vomit' at WNBC to get free rein to do his job. A DON'T MISS HIT!
"Rich and Famous" (1981) two college chums as they wend their way through life in the 1970s. A time "trip" through Malibu and NYC life.
"Redwood Highway" (2013) another Senior gets their moment in the Sun as Grandma walks 60 miles to the Oregon coast along the Redwood Highway while everyone is looking for her. Will she make it in time for her grand-daughter's wedding?
"NCIS: Season 11: Disc 1" (2014) Caught the last episode in which Ziva David appears together with commentary by Michael Weatherly who plays her co-worker and love interest.
"1st Night" (2010) Mozart's opera, "Cosi Fan Tutte" is staged on the grounds of a palatial mansion whose own wants to sing the lead part. Ends up as a first night for several love affairs and lots of great performances.
"Friends & Crocodiles" (2005) the back story to "Gideon's Daughter" or whatever the movie was we saw with Bill Nighy.
"The Company You Keep" (2012) if it's a terrorist organization, stays with you forever, and after 30 years, Robert Redford's liberal activist Weatherman past catches up with him. But instead of running to find another cover, he runs to clear himself. Will Julie Christie buy his plea for help, or get away for a ninth time, sailing into the unknown?
"Draft Day" (2014) Great movie with Costner make big moves and coming out great. Gripping, heart-rending, and poignant. A DON'T MISS FIRST ROUND PICK! ! !
"The Grand Hotel" (2012) aka Gran Hotel is filled with elegance and intrigue, a Downton Abbey with Spanish passions and a continuous series of deaths and almost deaths, more MacGuffins than Kirk's Tribbles on the Enterprise. It didn't deserve the fireworks at the end. 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."Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star" (2011) "Porn to Be a Star" is a better title for this sleazeball attempt at comedy. Should be rated PG for Pig in Gutter.
"Justified" (2010) wasn't.
"The Libertine" (2004) Johnny Depp as a raunchy aristocrat, sleepwalks through life and this movie.
Your call on these your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:"Pyaar Ke Side Effects" (2006) Bollywood star lists the side affects of being engaged while trying to avoid them himself, a feat made harder by the constant frenetic music and dancing which breaks out every 3 minutes.
"Transcendence" (2014) another dark Depp movie, this time about so-called Artificial Intelligence gone wild. AI-YI-YI! Should be called Artificial Stupidity because no huge set of computer circuits will ever come close to human intelligence as the ASScientists believe possible. Can a computer pick out a great artist? Enjoy a great poem? Fuggettaboutit.
"Ondine" (2009) with Colin Farrell as a fisherman who pulls up a water spirit in his trawl who will not let him go. Who is this mysterious beauty who has promised his daughter she will get well?
"1000 Journals" (2007) Someguy made up 1,000 blank books for journaling and distributed them around the world, each numbered with instructions to add as much as you want and give it to someone else. This film documents what happens.
"Son of God" (2013) Jesus, it seemed like it would never end!
"Orange is the New Black" (2013) Watched first couple of episodes. Yuppie woman pays for youthful indiscretion with 15 months in prison and is bullied by Captain Janeway (Mulgrew) from Star Trek Voyager.
"Admission" (2013) "What's the secret for getting into Princeton? I can't tell you. You have find out yourself." The secret for finding a true love, shed did find out for herself.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Boudreaux Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission.
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Story adapted from Jeff Parsons in June, 2014Boudreaux had three daughters, Betti, Flo, and Duckie.
One Saturday night each dressed up for a date. Boudreaux was very protective of his daughters, so he greeted each boy as he came to the door.
The first boy showed up, and politely said, "Hi I'm Freddy. I'm here to pick up Betty to eat spaghetti, is she ready?"
Betty left with Freddy.
The second daughters date showed up "Hey I'm Joe here to pick up Flo
to go to the show, is she ready to go?"
Flo left with Joe.
The third daughters date showed up "Hello I'm Chuckie, I'm here to pick up Duckie, is she ready for a ... "
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5. Household Hint for August/September, 2014: VitaMix Repair from Bobby:
(click links to see photo of broken parts and glues used in repair)
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Background on Vitamix Repair: We bought our first and only Vitamix back around 1980. We also bought whole grain wheat from the same company and ground it in the VitaMix to use for baking bread. We made split pea soup, vichyssoise, and various other soups which needed to be blended smoothly. Plus we've used it for over thirty years for making various smoothie drinks. It's half-horsepower saw motor is as strong today as it was when we first got it. The only weak link we found was rotor connection to the motor's base. In 2010, the rotor to base connection broke.
I called the VitaMix company to buy a replacement part and was told they no longer support that model of VitaMix, the 3600. I explained that all it needs for the right kind of glue, like the one used at the factory, to repair the connection. No part had actually broken, it had just come unglued. Well, the gal at the company would not give me the type of glue, so I was on my own.
My choices were to throw away a perfectly good blender with features no longer available, such as the open top, push-down rod, the Stainless Steel container with the spigot for drawing off blended material at the bottom, and the pulse switch with the quick blade-direction-reversal position.
Click Here to see the VitaMix motor's gears which connect to the rotor on bottom of SS Container when it is in place. Also note the blade direction toggle switch, which also allows for pulsing the rotor on and off easily.
I tried several glues and they just lasted a week or so. Then a friend suggested the glue she used for making jewelry whose name is E-6000, even giving me a partial tube of it to try. I was skeptical, but it worked! The repair held up to 3 years of use, and when I mistakenly put some large chunks of ice in it, the connection broke, but it only took a few minutes to repair it and it was good as new in a day.
If you have a broken VitaMix 3000 with a broken connection, get yourself some E-6000 glue and you'll be back blending again.
Get some E-6000 glue. Turn Stainless Steel container upside down. Place glue over its rotor connection. Next, set the geared connector into position over the motor's gears on the VitaMix's base. Then place glue on the top of the geared connector. Remove any excess glue, then turn the SS container upside down and carefully set it in place on the base. This has proven to be the best way to align the two pieces. Let the glue set for two days. Then test the rotor by rotating it slightly and cut away any excess glue. Do not use VitaMix for a few more days. Test it with no liquids and if it spins okay, test it with liquids, and then solids to be blended. (It's best to avoid using the reverse switch as it puts a lot of stress on the glue connection.)
If the rubber gaskey on the clamp-on plastic top needs to be replaced, remove it completely and fill the gap left with some Elmer's Stix All glue which will form a flexible gasket. May take a couple of time to refill to get it to seal properly, but it will work. Click Here to see the VitaMix top seal replaced by the flexible glue.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from Yes, and Even More!:
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that sleep is our auto-pilot to rest.
that if we would pilot manually
we would not rest.
How could we rest
if we worked all night?
Peaceful sleep is our auto-pilot
Rest Assured: This poem was written by Bobby on 2/9/2000 in the margin of page 23 of Macrocosm and Microcosm , a book of lectures by Rudolf Steiner. Here is the operant quote that inspired it.[page 23] If a man were to play a part in this difficult operation of restoring the forces exhausted during the previous day, he would ruin everything because he is not yet capable of being a conscious participant. It is providential that consciousness of his own existence is snatched away from man at the moment when he might do harm to his own development.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for August/September:
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For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first review this month will be one which was not published before in a DIGESTWORLD ISSUE and will be of interest to our Good Readers. The rest of the Reviews will be new additions to the top of A Reader's Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List.
NOTE: some Blurbs may be condensations of the Full Reviews, lacking footnotes and many quoted passages. For your convenience, if you wish to read the full review or to print it out, simply CLICK on the Book Cover and choose Printer Ready option on the top line of the review page when it opens.
1.) ARJ2: The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
This is a thoroughly enjoyable book. I found out about the book while reading The Writing Trade by John Jerome (see ARJ), in which he writes about the year 1989 as he lived it working in his trade as a free-lance writer. He had quotes from Dillard's book sprinkled throughout his book — and now I see that Dillard's book came out in the year 1989 — Jerome must have read her book while he was writing his. Jerome's book was a snapshot of his life during one year whereas Dillard's book is more like a series of video vignettes or music videos compiled from her life as a writer covering several years and writing locations that varied from the San Juan islands on the West Coast to the Cape Cod seashore on the East Coast.
She writes beautifully crafted metaphors, and the very first lines of the book grabbed me in two ways: as a writer and as a wood carver.
[page 3 ] When you write, you lay out a line of words. The line of words is a miner's pick, a wood carver's gouge, a surgeon's probe. You wield it, and it digs a path you follow. Soon you find yourself deep in new territory. Is it a dead end, or have you located the real subject? You will know tomorrow, or this time next year.
Wood carving or wood sculpture is a subtractive medium — you start with a block of wood or a section of a tree trunk and you subtract wood by digging away wood with a gouge. The block of wood is the blank page on which you write with the gouge, but unlike blank sheets of paper, each piece of wood has unique characteristics of texture, grain, knots, soft spots, etc. You start with a block of wood and a plan, but soon the wood begins to dictate and shape the plan as you remove successive layers of wood with your gouge. Soon the wood's plan becomes clear and you must merge your plan into the wood's plan. Writing is more like wood carving or stone carving and less like the metal sculptures of Rodin, where the beauty is in the precise execution of a pre-ordained plan in metal. When a writing piece is complete, the author knows that a single line can neither be added nor subtracted from the work without harming it. So, too, with wood carving.
In the process of editing one's writing, the metaphor becomes that of home renovation. You know the drill — there's a wall here that must go in order to make room for a large Jacuzzi bathtub. You begin your editing process and:
[page 4] The line of words is a hammer. You hammer against the walls of your house. You tap the walls, lightly, everywhere. After giving many years' attention to these things, you know what to listen for. Some of the walls are bearing walls; they have to stay, or everything will fall down. Other walls can go with impunity; you can hear the difference., Unfortunately, it is often a bearing wall that has to go. It cannot be helped. There is only one solution, which appalls you, but there it is. Knock it out. Duck.
The next metaphor is about submissions and this time you are a photographer who submits pieces of your work to a professional for appraisal. He puts the landscape in the bad stack. Next time your photographs are submitted along with the same landscape, which again goes into the bad stack. Finally the pro asks why you like the landscape so much. What do you answer? "Because I had to climb a mountain to get it." (Page 6) I would be tempted to tell you, "Thank God you don't have to climb a mountain to discard it."
How do you catch the first idea to begin writing? Annie tells the story of an Algonquin woman that the writer Ernest Thompson Seton came upon — he noticed a scar on her thigh and asked through his interpreter how she got the scar. In a winter camp everyone but she and her baby had starved to death. She walked to the lake and found a fishhook. She rigged a line and cut a strip from her thigh for bait.
[page 13] She fished with the worm of her own flesh and caught a jackfish; she fed the child and herself. Of course she saved the fish gut for bait.
How do you know whether you're wasting time or that your writing is working? Annie tells of having to split wood to keep warm in her small writing hut. Her attempts to split the wood always seemed to create small splinters of wood and once she ended up with a pyramid of wood remaining which she attempted to balance on its peak and split with the axe before it fell over. Her splitting activity drew spectators who would drop by to watch her. She truly warmed herself in the process of chopping wood thus. Then one night a voice in a dream said, "Aim for the block!" The next day she successfully split every log with one clean stroke — she aimed for the block and her axe sped through the wood in one stroke, contacting the block with a satisfying thunk! Unfortunately the wood splitting went so fast that she never exerted herself enough to warm up. "I lost the knack," she says on page 43.
On a day when any reasonable person would be sleeping for its duration, how did Dillard crank herself up? "I drank coffee in titrated doses. It was a tricky business, requiring the finely tuned judgment of a skilled anesthesiologist." (Page 49) After her judicious application of coffee, she finally got to her writing task. "I inserted words in one sentence and hazarded a new sentence. At once I noticed that I was writing — which, as the novelist Frederick Buechner noted, called for a break, if not a full-scale celebration." (Page 50) More boiled Brazilian fuel later and soon she was too wired to write or do much of anything else:
[page 51] Now, alas, I had cranked too far. I could no longer play the recorder; I would need a bugle. I would break a piano. What could I do around the cabin? There was no wood to split. There was something I need to fix with a hacksaw, but I reject the work as too fine. Why not adopt a baby, design a curriculum, go sailing?
What happens if you stop working on a book for a couple of days? From my work on my dolphin novel, I can only echo the sentiments that Dillard writes below:
[page 52] A work in progress quickly becomes feral. It reverts to a wild state overnight. . . . it is a lion growing in strength. You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it. If you skip a day, you are, quite rightly, afraid to open the door to its room. You enter its room with bravura, holding a chair at the thing and shouting, "Simba!"
What if a writer hates to write — would prefer to be doing anything else? If so that person is "living as it were in a fool's paragraph." (Page 53) When Dillard shared with the ferryman that she hated to write, he told her, "That's like the guy who works in a factory all day, and hates it." That did it for her and she thought to herself, "Why wasn't I running a ferryboat, like sane people?"
If you want to be a writer, if you would like to write lines and see where they take you, if you would like to spend time in "a small room in the company of small pieces of paper," if you like sentences, then perhaps the writing life is for you. If you're not sure, The Writing Life is for you.
Read/Print the Review at:
2.) ARJ2: Conscience Under Fire — A Novel by William Harman
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be a teenager growing up in 1930s Germany? Kurt Hofbauer was beginning high school around 1938 when his parents Max and Greta decided to abandon their bakery in Bavaria and move to the United States to escape the ravages of Hitler's regime which were already beginning. After the Jewish shop owner across the street from their bakery was scooped away in the middle of the night by Hitler's police, the Hofbauers began making plans in earnest to relocate near Greta's cousin Georg in New Jersey.
[page 16] Max turned his head to Greta. "One more thought, Liebchen. You have a cousin living in America. Maybe you should write to him about our coming there. He could help us find a place for a bakery. He lives in a large city, doesn't he?"
"Do you really want to leave your beloved Bavaria?"
"Do I want to leave? No. Should we leave? That is the big question. I think of the possibilities. In America finding work may be difficult, but we would be safe. In Germany, we have work already. We continue with our little bakery business. But are we safe? I think not. Therefore, I say we should leave. Is it not better to struggle and be safe than to take the easy road and live in danger?"
"All right. Max. I will write to Georg. I worry about my two men, two very different good men. Meanwhile, you must let Kurt do what he wants to do. If it means joining the Hitler Youth, then let him. We don't want to raise suspicions. With luck, maybe we can be gone soon."
" Now we will begin to think about our escape to a new and better life," said Max. "Sleep well, Liebchen."
"After this conversation, you want me to sleep? I will try, my dear Max."
Georg found them a place for a bakery with ovens already installed, just a matter of modifying them from pizza ovens to bakery oven with some sprinklers to add moisture(1) during baking.
By the time they were to leave, Kurt was already enrolled in the Hitler Youth Organization with all his friends, and didn't take kindly to being uprooted and placed in a foreign country. Max promised Kurt that he could return to attend the University of Munich after he completed high school. But would they be allowed to leave the country? They were not allowed to take any money, but Max asked Greta to sew up his stash of gold coins into the material in which he wrapped his collection of knives and bakery tools, so the extra weight would not be noticed by customs agents.
Kurt had taken enough English in Bavaria to get by in his new American high school, but he had a big disagreement with his history teacher Miss Morrison when she questioned some of the actions of Germany. His girl friend Madeline and her friends tried to help Kurt understand that the teacher was showing them how to analyze situations and understand them, and not trying to put down Kurt's native country in any way. This was a quantum jump in learning for Kurt and soon history became his favorite subject. This new way of thinking will become life-saving for Kurt in very short order.
[pag 68, 69] One of his male friends from Madeline's crowds went over to Kurt after class and said to him, "You know Kurt, Miss Morrison was not picking on you. She does that to everybody. She feeds on the give-and-take. She told my parents one time that her class is like the theater and the entire class is on stage. That way no one goes to sleep, everyone is involved, and everyone learns. So don't take what she did personally."
"For many years I was taught one way and I believed in what I was taught. This is so different, it is hard for me to understand."
Yet, Kurt's confusion is not how it ended. He had no idea about the effect Miss Morrison's approach to learning would have on him. It continued to affect him, even more so later. He had never been subjected to thinking critic and rationally. She angered him when she discussed German events, but he did begin to question his firmly held beliefs. When other topics were brought up, he found that he enjoyed the mental gymnastics, finding again that life was not all black and white but filled with infinite shades of gray. By the end of the term, modern European history had become Kurt's favorite subject. Kurt and Miss Morrison had entered into a "treaty" — "mutually assented to, its terms without coercion or duress."
When he returned to Germany he got a warm, but unsettling reception. "Welcome back to Germany, to the Third Reich, Herr Hofbauer . . . we are glad to have you back home. Perhaps the authorities will be in touch with you about your experiences in America." (Page 94)
As he headed to the university in Munich, he began to notice that Germany had begun to look like one large army camp, with so many people in uniforms. Soon events unfolded, his companion spy had gotten sick, and Kurt was forced to go it alone, to aboard a Germany submarine, an Untersee or U-Boat heading for the West Coast of Florida where he would be assigned to transmitting information on convoys leaving New York harbor. This job as a spy could get Kurt summarily executed if he were caught. He would be back in a country, the USA, where his parents live, where he has friends from high school, and he would arrive back with no possibility of contacting any of his friends or relatives, only his Germany handlers who are also spies.
He must walk alone onto a isolated island beach with his shortwave radio, wearing a Germany army uniform (in case he's caught, he would become a POW, not executed as a spy), change into civilian clothes, destroy the uniform, meet his handler, and get himself settled into an isolated cabin near New York harbor where his work would begin. He must get used to his new name, Konrad Eichler, a new personal history as an Austrian with a passport and visa.
His job was perilous: It was now 1942 and the USA had entered the war declared on it by Hitler. Tensions were high. FBI Director Hoover had his men on alert for German spies everywhere along the east coast.
Kurt got quickly settled into a place on the Jersey shore near New York City and was becoming restless waiting for something to happen, for his instructions to come in.
[page 174, 175] He needed to be active, although he sensed that his heart was not really into his mission, now that he had arrived. It was one thing to have been in Nazi Germany in comfortable surroundings with good friends and to have experienced the pulse of a mighty nation filled with pride and determination and a desperate desire to erase once and for all the shame of Versailles. It was something else entirely to be back in America where great openness and personal freedom and an uplifting spirit were evident everywhere among people who were terribly angry about what had been thrust upon them by Germans and Japanese. America had not attacked either nation; America's declaration of war was a response. And now that response was truly monumental, and in time could probably prove to be catastrophic for his native land. America was a huge country with vast resources, protected by two oceans, with nothing to stop the building of every type of weapon of war. The thought was frightening, as Kurt prepared tor another night of sleep, wondering whether his churning mind would deny him the sleep he needed.
Kurt now faces the most perilous time of his life. As his determination to be a German spy wavers, he must now come up with some way to extract himself from his German handlers and the FBI. Hoover's agents are closing in on him, they have his photo, and they are interviewing every landlord with small cottages to rent — showing them Kurt's photo. How can he escape the web he has entrapped himself in, with spiders closing in on him from every direction? If he gives himself up, he will likely be executed as a spy, a traitor to his adopted country; if he goes back to Germany, a similar fate awaits him. He is a man without a country, without friends, with limited resources, and a limited time to make a decision, the right decision, any decision, because making no decision is not a viable option.
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover wrote the following summary on June 26, 1942:
Eight Nazi saboteurs who landed by U-Boat at Amagansett Beach, Long Island, and Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida have been captured. Their mission was to blow up war production plants, bridges, railroads and shipping terminals. (prefatory quote in book)
Was Kurt one of those captured spies, or did he escape the FBI dragnet for him? What was Kurt's fate? Did he die as a spy named Konrad Eichler or find a way to live as an American named Kurt Hofbauer? His decision awaits your reading, Dear Reader.
3.) ARJ2: Physiology and Healing, GA#314 by Rudolf Steiner
This volume contains an excellent summary of Medical Courses in English Translation by both Rudolf Steiner Press in the UK and SteinerBooks in the US. I have added GA#107 to its list and appended it to the bottom of my Medical Course reviews (including this one) and to ones I am planning to review. For convenience of reading in the order in which Steiner gave these lectures, I will here list the GA#s in chronological sequence with the approximate dates of the lectures: #107 (1908), #312 (March, 1920), #313 (April, 1921), #314 (1920-24), #315 (April, 1921), #316 (April, 1924), #317 (June,1924) and #318 (Sept.1924). There will be an overlap due to some books covering multiple years.
As most of these lectures were given during the last five years of his life, one will benefit most by reading them only after obtaining a good grounding in Rudolf Steiner's basic works. I have learned, however, that one can indeed receive some benefit from reading any Steiner lectures, whatever one's level of exposure to his works. One can later revisit a book that one had read earlier to expand one's own understanding of it in significant ways.
As a student of Rudolf Steiner's works more than a student of medicine, I have found myself keeping a medical dictionary at my side while reading his medical lectures because of the frequent appearance of terms unfamiliar to me, up until now. Some examples from my reading yesterday in GA#313, Illness and Therapy: dropsy, pyretic, decoction, and infusion. Join me now in my adventure in finding "the courage to heal" in the lectures in these books. The Introduction by Andrew Maendl, MD, and Matthew Barton says it well:
[page xxi] The range of Steiner's observations in these lectures is staggering. It is as if we are asked to look up from the small focus of the microscope and the narrow field of view of a particular medical specialism and encompass in inner vision a far broader panorama of human nature, though without for a moment relinquishing attention to the tiniest detail. This stand is, indeed, part of what Steiner calls the 'courage to heal': the capacity to observe the whole cosmos of the human being, all the varied and interacting laws at work in us, in order then to intervene with detailed understanding, with loving compassion and respect for each human biography. A daunting challenge, but surely the true task of medicine.
Doctors generally study the sciences of biology and physiology, then focus on pathology, and only then on therapy. They tend to focus on knowledge rather than treatment, on pathology rather than how to restore the normal processes of health to an ailing individual. Doctors can become like engineers who, when they walk into a new building only see what's wrong with the building; doctors, too, tend to focus on what's wrong, and, like engineers, try to fix the problem where it appears. But the human being is not like a fixed building, but is instead a unified organism, with all parts connected at some level to other parts. This results, e.g., in a problem appearing in the digestion which may have its origin in the head. Steiner calls this restricted view fostered by modern medicine's skewed focus on knowledge over treatment, "therapeutic nihilism." (Page 5) Studying Steiner's lectures on medicine can help greatly doctors to understand the diverse interconnections between the various dynamic organs of the body, interconnections which can help doctors to apply therapeutic corrections to their patients not otherwise possible in this age of therapeutic nihilism.
[page 5] For in the study of diseases, albeit from the point of view of a natural science based on materialistic thinking, an extraordinary degree of perfection has been achieved in this age of therapeutic nihilism. At this point I'd also warn you against the potential misconception that in Dornach and in spiritual science with anthroposophical orientation we fail to recognize and tend to underestimate the full significance of modern science. That is not at all the case. Someone who has taken even just a brief look at the methods of investigation in pathology in the second half of the nineteenth century and how they have developed can only do so in amazement and admiration for the brilliant, tremendous progress made. Yet beyond this he must also make a very different admission. He has to say to himself: Yes, materialism has arrived. But it cannot meet certain needs in the human heart and mind; nor can it cast an adequate light on vast areas of human insight.
Steiner urges us to respect the findings of materialistic science and medicine, but to add to it the findings of spiritual-science to obtain a view and understanding of the full human being, something which materialistic science unknowingly and erroneously pretends is its exclusive domain.
Doctors are constantly making hypotheses about relationships which they cannot confirm, but which seem to be connected. Shingles and its relationship to the chicken pox virus is one of those hypotheses. When someone has shingles at age 51, for example, doctors claim it is due to a chicken pox virus that has remained dormant in them since childhood. What if shingles is due to the healing states of chicken pox in childhood being exhibited by an adult, in the absence of the chicken pox virus? Most things we call diseases are actually the healing state of some bug or toxin that got into us. We can't see the agent which causes the disease, so we give a name to its effects upon us, and call its effects the disease. Our research in doyletics has shown us conclusively that these healing effects can be triggered later in life if they were first encountered before the age of five. If you had the flu at age 2 while visiting a place with rotten-egg-tasting water and then later you return to a place with such water at age 47, you may find yourself getting flu symptoms every night in the absence of any flu bug! A simple trace can convert the flu symptoms (bodily-formed healing states) into declarative memory and the flu symptoms will not return. The science of doyletics is based on hypotheses formed from after twenty-five years of tracing away such unwanted bodily states; it provides a theory which explains the phenomenon and a means of removing such unwanted bodily states, the Speed Trace, which works in a few minutes. Steiner gives an example of the misleading usage of hypotheses.
[page 6] What is a hypothesis? Well, let us take a perfectly ordinary thing from everyday life. When I have walked along a road and seen someone along this road and walked on and then did not see him any more I am unlikely to assume at first that this person has disappeared into the ground, something most unlikely to happen. No, I'll look around and perhaps see a house. I can limit my ideas and say to myself: Well, he's gone into that house. I don't see him now, but he's in there.
If later the man appears, we can say, "He has come out of that house," even if we did not see him emerge from the house. This is an unwarranted hypothesis, similar to the one doctors make when they claim that the chicken pox virus hides in our body and emerges later in life as shingles. This is not based on direct phenomenon, but upon a hypothesis, which may or may not be justified, especially if a different hypothesis explains the same events, but has observable healing effects that accompany the testing of the hypothesis. The doyletics hypothesis of shingles as recapitulated healing states can by tested by a simple Speed Trace which will prevent recurrence of its often painful shingle lesions.Unfortunately medical doctors accept their virus hypothesis as the cause of shingles because they have not learned to perceive shingles as the healing states of an early case of chicken pox which are stored in bodily memory (doyles) which can be triggered later. The later triggering of these healing states produce effects which we call the disease of shingles. Abraham Lincoln was asked, "If you call a tail a leg, does a dog have five legs?" Abe answered wisely, "Calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg." Calling the appearance of shingles "due to a hidden chicken pox virus" does not make it so, but merely advertizes one's ignorance of the true etiology of shingles.
Another hypothesis by doctors is that one cannot have "red measles" a second time. This one may not be true, if we accept that having the healing states of red measles is equivalent to having red measles. This second case of red measles actually happened to me at age 35 when I was diagnosed by two internists as having red measles. I explained to them that my mother said that I had red measles as a child and she raised four boys and should have known what red measles were. The timing of my "red measles" episode required me to stay home for a week and discover things going on in my marriage. It was very fortuitous and turned my life to a better direction. Once again, the evidence of a healing state which can be stored and re-triggered later is a directly observable phenomenon, whereas the hypotheses of both shingles and red measles are logical constructs which only explain the simplest cases and obstructs us from seeing them as healing states, up until now.
The next topic is the balancing of catabolic and anabolic processes in the human organism. I first encountered the essence of these processes of annihilation and proliferation in G. Spencer Brown's Laws of Form, albeit in a completely abstract logical sense. His first two Laws of Form are anabolic (replication) and catabolic (killing). Steiner leads us to see our catabolic nervous system which can only be balanced by our anabolic rhythmic system.
[page 30] You cannot encompass the human organism with the static, abstract ideas people want to have in modern physiology and pathology. We have to grasp it in ideas that move, ideas that truly enter into the action of something that is inwardly mobile and certainly not mere mechanical interactions among organs that are at rest. We thus begin to see that essentially there is constant interaction in the human organism between catabolic processes, killing processes, an d the anabolic processes of growth, processes of proliferation, and so on. We cannot comprehend the human organism unless we proceed in this way.
Steiner brings into sharp focus here how the nervous system, the head system of the human being acts destructively in our body. We come to see the destructive head system acts to poison our metabolism and limbs, and our rhythmic system provides anabolic constructive forces to counteract the destructive head system. We are like "mugwumps" with our mug on one side of the fence balanced by our "wump' on the other side of the fence, each fighting the other and maintaining a healthy balance in the process.
[page 30, 31] We are not looking into a natural process of the kind one would generally like to have, a process going in a particular direction — easily understood direction, I'd like to say — so that we may simply refer to the healthy processes as normal. No, we are looking into two processes acting in opposite directions, with the one definitely harmful to the other, and we actually cannot live in our physical organism without our system of limbs and metabolism continually exposed to the causes of sickness from the head system, and the head system to the causes of sickness from the metabolic system. Just as scales that are not balanced go to one side, wholly according to natural laws, with the beam not in the horizontal, the state of balance that exists in life is unstable, not static, and may go in the one direction or the other, leading to irregularity.
We can maintain a balance in ease, or suffer an imbalance in dis-ease. When we find disease, our aim should be to restore the balance, bring both sides into equilibrium, and definitely should not be to move unilaterally in the opposite of the currently skewed direction. Anyone who has measured using balance scales knows one does best to make a change which only slight overshoots in the other direction and a smaller change to move back until a balance is achieved. The process is like mortar sighting, in which one always overshoots on the first lob and then undershoots until the target is reached, a process called bracketing. In software search algorithms, the binary search technique, based on bracketing, has been proven to be the most efficient process for locating an unknown target. Finding a cure for a disease is like moving in on an unknown target of balance between the opposing systems.
[page 31] To cure is simply that when the actions of a head system are too toxic for the metabolic system you relieve the head of its toxic action, taking it away. Or conversely, if the actions of the system of limbs and metabolism are too toxic for the head system, causing proliferation, the former must be relieved of its toxic action.
The human being has forces in it which operate in opposite direction to those in plants. In plants the catabolic forces act in an upward direction from root to flower, and anabolic forces act downward towards the plant's roots. In humans, the directions are reversed and the catabolic forces act downward while the anabolic forces act upward. If one knows that gout is caused by the formation of uric salts in the limbs, one can understand that gout occurs when the head's catabolic forces are overcoming the limbs' anabolic forces, forcing salts to form in the limbs which would otherwise flow as uric acid towards the head. A cure can be achieved by decreasing the head forces and thus restoring the natural balance of catabolic and anabolic forces.
[page 32] We then return to the human being and consider the catabolic process which acts from above downwards. We see that basically, let us say, human beings have the kind of forces in them which in plants act from below upwards. Looking at the forces that act down from the head system towards the system of limbs and metabolism, we are, as it were, seeing the forces acting downwards which in plant development were being sent up from below. If someone blocks this plant development active in him, doing so in the wrong way, so that the process is not coming from the sphere of head activity — the astral, I nature — to penetrate bodily nature in the right way, and the penetration comes to expression within the living body, we have something which is blocked, though it should take its course in the human organism. This is a pathological phenomenon which we see, for instance, when rheumatic disease or gout develops.
In the text Steiner explains how birch leaves have the necessary protein-forming (albuminization) anabolic forces which can effect a cure of rheumatic disease and gout. (Page 32, 33)
[page 33] Looking from the inner organism, let us say, to a process in plant development like the one we found in silver birch, we learn the following. On the one hand we are considering what happens when salts form, and on the other when protein forms. If we understand the process of protein synthesis properly we find in there a process which is the opposite to the situation where something is blocked. The process is held up in the organism which should run in a way similar to the process which runs properly as albuminization in birch leaves. We thus see a connection between the processes found in birch leaves, for instance, and the processes in the organism. If we use the principle found in birch leaves to produce medicines which we give to people these will be therapeutic because they are correctly counteracting this blocking process which leads to rheumatic disease and gout.
The use of aromatherapy is becoming popular in the first decades of the new millennium, but its usage to prevent diabetes was prescribed by Rudolf Steiner back in the 1920s. Here is how he describes the etiology of diabetes.
[page 44] Take a condition, for instance, that may also prove to be a major headache for physicians — diabetes. We must again consider the relationship between mind and soul — the conscious mind and soul imbued with I on the one hand, and the physical vehicle for this I activity on the other. . . Let us assume this I activity gets excessive in the human organism. It goes beyond its boundaries. Abnormal eliminatory processes like those seen in diabetics may then occur.
Once a doctor has understood the origin of diabetes in this fashion, he can now find plant essences which are able to act in a fashion so as to reverse the tendency of the human body towards diabetes.
[page 45] When we are able to observe what is really going on in the plant as it grows in the direction which is the opposite in human beings, developing the I from above downwards, we find that something arises in the plant which can indeed have an inner connection to this inner I activity because it also has something to do with combustibility. I spoke of combustible substances before. Now we see combustible, volatile substance close to combustibility develop in the volatile or essential oils of the plant. When we see volatile oils develop in certain plants the kind of view to which I have just been referring shows that this is an activity opposite to the one performed by I activity pressed into the human organism which leads to diabetes. We can then combat diabetes by treating the individual concerned in the right way with something which is the opposite in the world outside.
In other words, he is prescribing what is now called aromatherapy. Back twenty or so years ago, I began using a homemade soap by a chemist, Lee Don Bienski, who created essential oils from plants he grew biodynamically. I tested two kinds of soap and found that I preferred his Purple & Gold Alchemy soap. It is indeed aromatherapy in a bar of soap. The aroma from the soap fills my nostrils and my shower stall in the morning. I use it both as a shampoo for my hair as well as a cleanser for my face and neck and it works marvelously. Knowing now that it is a preventative for diabetes is an extra bonus.
There are few men who mature without feeling at some point that women act like aliens, like they are from outer space. Steiner explains what's at the root of this familiar male feeling. Men are more connected to Earth, while women are more connected with extra-terrestrial forces, particularly when it comes to procreation.
[page 46] Human beings have been created to be different. We find, for instance, that the female organism is made to be such, let us say, out of nature or the cosmos, that the forces are more to the fore which are less bound up with the forces of earth, as it were. The female organism has a powerful extraterrestrial element to it. The forces which predominate in the male organism are more connected with life on earth. This does not mean so much in everyday life, but it does play a role in procreation. The forces active in the female organism that play a role in procreation are really and truly a transmission of the extraterrestrial aspect in the whole of essential human nature. The principle which brings human beings down into the earthly world is mainly organized in the male organism. Let us consider the aspect of human beings which really is in them because of their earthly environment. The most obvious part of it is I activity. I activity actually gives human evolution on earth its full meaning. We have to find our way from other worlds into the earthly world so that we may fully develop I activity in mind and soul. I have shown you how this I activity is bound to the scaffolding of powers mediated by the blood. We would therefore have to say that the principle which is predominantly organized into the blood, acting predominantly towards I activity, is in procreation brought about by the male individual. The element which mainly organizes the extraterrestrial in us and must first be imbued with I activity comes more from the female side.
To many people some of the findings of spiritual science are hard to believe in, but believing is exactly the wrong approach to take. Instead we are asked to accept them without rejecting them, and test them against our individual world. When I did this, I soon found that they stood up to this test against all the aspects of the world quite well, all the while expanding my view of the realities of the world. I found that no amount of belief was necessary because I was able to confirm the realities described in my own life. Granted there is a bootstrap process one must go through before one can begin to understand the realities well enough to confirm them — this boot-up process may require some measure of belief, but the confirmation will come soon enough, and the results will justify the work required to arrive there.
[page 48] The point is that we can accept the spiritual-scientific results, I'd say, without being dogmatic about it or belief in authority, and on the other hand also without predetermined scepticism, full of prejudice. We simply take them in. We do not immediately say: I believe them, but we also do not reject them out of hand. We take them and test them against the reality of the world we live.
The three basic tools of spiritual sight are Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition. Steiner always capitalizes these three processes to distinguish them from the common nouns. The first, Imagination, refers to pictorial insight (something we see in our mind), the second, Inspiration, to inspired insight (something we feel in our heart), and the third, Intuition, to a deep intuitive insight (something we feel in our bones). Steiner summarizes these in this next passage:
[page 67, 68] All the functions to be found in human beings really consist in these three: the neurosensory process, the rhythmic processes — breathing and the circulation of the blood — and the metabolic processes. The human being thus is really insight brought to realization and made physical, i.e., what we see initially when looking at it from outside or investigating by dissection. Limiting ourselves to the human head we come to realize what is really going on in the head if we know that there is such a thing insight based on images. Looking at the rhythmic human being — what is really going on there becomes evident if we know that there is inspired insight. Looking at the metabolic processes — we realize what is going on there if we know what an intuitive insight is. The reality principles in the human being thus lie one in the other. Look at the organs, for instance, that are wholly organs of the will and only intuitive insight will make it possible to understand them.
The kidney and the liver can both be seen as excretory processes, but Steiner points out an important difference between the two kinds of organs. The kidneys communicate with our outside world and the liver communicates with our inside world.
[page 70] The kidneys are organs of elimination. The question is, however: If in the sensory experience of empiricism they are initially organs of elimination, do they not also have significance for the human constitution? Is there not something other than this eliminatory function, something which makes the kidneys more important in building up the human being? If we trace the functions further and move, say, from the kidney to the liver, we have the following interesting phenomenon. The kidney ultimately discharges matter to the outside; the liver secretes to the inside. The question arises as to what it means for the relationship of the liver process to the kidney process that the kidney relatively discharges its secreted products to the outside and the liver to the inside. The human being is thus communicating with the outside world in the one case and with itself in the other.
What is the etheric body of a human being? Basically it fills the fluid that comprises over 80% of our bodily mass and enlivens it. The fluid itself is full of life and is rightly called the life body. One can follow the rules of materialistic evidence with the mass enveloped in fluids but not with the living fluids and the living cells immersed in them.
[page 75] This is the same as saying: The human being has an ether body! We therefore have to see everything solid as embedded in fluid. This immediately gives us the contrast. Everything known by way of laws and ideas in the inorganic world is also applied to the solid parts of the human being, and not only the cells as the smallest organisms found in the human being are believed to have life but the totality of fluid elements in the human being is considered to be full of life.
We have now gone from solid body to etheric body, from earth to water, and we can expect the next body will be an air or gaseous body, our astral body.
[page 75] What is more, when we then come to the gaseous element in the human being we find that everything of that nature is in a continuous exchange process. We will have to make it clear during these days that the exchange is not merely inorganic, nor is it mediated merely by the solid organs. The human organism has its own laws to govern the swirl of one into the other in the internal exchange of gases. We have inner laws relating to the solid element, reflected in the relationship between kidneys and heart, and we also have to accept a set of laws within this organism of gases or air, if I may call it that, which is not limited to the laws of solid physical organs. The laws which directly govern the organism of gases or air are in anthroposophy called the astral laws for the human being, the astral organization. They would not exist in human beings if these had not brought the aeriform organization into their solid and fluid organization.
Having progressed through earth, water, and air, we should expect to come to deal with the fourth basic element of existence, fire, and sure enough, fire appears as the substance called warmth in which the fourth principle of the full human being exists, our I, I am, or Ego. One can easily confirm the connection of one's I and warmth: if one's Ego is activated by some event, one becomes flushed with warmth, if one encounters a sudden fright, one grows pale and feels cold instantly. This also reveals the deep connection our I has with the blood: when we flush, blood rushes to our face, when we pale in fright, it rushes away from our face. The I is the controller of the temperature of every portion of our body.
[page 76] It only intervenes directly in the differentiations between temperatures in the human organism, so that we may speak of a warmth organism, a human being of warmth. The I organization influences this human being directly; being supersensible it effects the differentiations in temperature and above all also perceives them, lives in them. There the I organization lives directly; it does so indirectly in the rest of the organism in that the warmth influences all gaseous, fluid and solid organization.
Human beings are not animals because we have an I and because we convert inorganic matter into living organic matter before we have finished digesting it. Materialists, who love to claim that humans are simply a higher primate, have little knowledge of what makes up the uniqueness of the human being.
[page 78] If you study the anatomy and physiology of animals you will find that animals do not remove the constitution of material that passes into their body to the same degree. It is another matter with their products of elimination. The matter which passes into the body is more similar to its outer organization in animals than it is in humans, that is, more similar to the vegetable and animal nature, continuing on into the bloodstream according to its external constitution in its inner laws. In human beings the organization has advanced so far that human beings have made the chyme(1) as inorganic as possible when it is allowed to pass the intestinal wall. There the purely physical human being is really present in the region where the chyme passes from the intestine into the organization of heart and lung, if I may put it like that.
This difference in human physiology is what allows us to convert external substances into living matter before we are finished our digestion process.
[page 79] As human beings — it is not at the same level in animals, where it is less clear-cut — we thus have a process of vitalization, catching the inorganic and taking it into the organic, into the vital sphere in a process taking place in the system of heart and lungs.
Human beings are not animals, but exist an evolutionary step above animals. We are also not angels, existing an evolutionary step below angels, but because we breathe and convert oxygen, we are able to walk upon the Earth. Note: anyone who portrays angels in an artwork as having feet does not understand this reality of angels, how different they are from human beings in that they have never walked upon the Earth (which is why angels are often visualized with wings, which they also have no need for). In the following paragraph, Steiner summarizes how the elements Carbon, Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Hydrogen are connected to our physical, etheric, astral, and I organizations.
[page 84] You'll see that, in the same way as the physical organization is connected with carbon, the etheric organization with oxygen, the astral organization with nitrogen, and I organization with hydrogen.
On page 85 Steiner points out that we must consider the plant growing this year to be taking its forces that the Sun had given to the soil during the previous summer. We are always planting in last year's soil! With the leaves, they grow from a mixture of last year's soil and this year's soil. The petals of the flowers, however, are truly from this year.
[page 105] The vitality is sucked out of last year's summer warmth stored in the soil, out of last year's power of sunlight. The greatest vitality is in the root element. We have a gradual devitalization process from below upwards, and when we come to the petals, especially petals containing much volatile oil, we also have the power devitalization process in those plants.
If you would like a quick summary of how different parts of the plant affect our bodies, consider the diagram at right of the upside human and note where the flowers, leaves, and roots are located next to the human. Flower and leaf teas will aid digestion, root vegetables will aid head processes such as thinking.
[page 86, 87] Everything connected with the digestive tract is greatly influenced by what we get when we make a tea of petals. A decoction of root and seed influences the activity which follows — into the vascular system and as far as the nervous system.
When we eat something we poison ourselves, that is, we ingest a food substance which would kill us immediately if it were introduced directly into our bloodstream, but with careful processing by our organs and digestive system, its poisonous qualities are removed as it is turned into enlivened nutrients ready for our bloodstream.
[page 106] Looking in an unbiased way at human nutrition we cannot but say to ourselves: With every food we are actually introducing something into the human organism which needs to be thoroughly reversed. Essentially, taking nourishment is always a first step towards poisoning ourselves. When we speak of actual poisoning we have to be clear in our minds that this is merely a metamorphosis — greatly tending to be radical — of something which happens a little bit when we are altogether taking food into the ptyalin, let us say. And the further stages of digestion, especially in the renal function of which I spoke, absolutely are always a process of detoxification.
Pardon me if I say that we think, not with gravity, but with levity. This is no joking matter. I say this because our 1500 gram brain is levitated or floated in the cranial fluid so that it exerts only about 20 grams of weight; this floating allows the jelly-like substance of our brain to retain its shape instead of collapsing into mush by its own weight.
[page 107] With our I and our thoughts we are not living in gravity but indeed in buoyancy.
The deeper into Steiner's medical courses I go, the more I am beginning to understand what it means for one of four organizations, the physical, the etheric, the astral, or the I, to get out of whack, how to recognize when that happens, and often how to correct the situation to restore a balance. Here's an example of how hemorrhoids and heavy menstrual flows result from a weak renal (kidney) function resulting from an under-performing astral body.
[page 115] The matter [RJM: circulating food] drops down, as it were. Hemorrhoids and heavy periods develop. There is no contact, and the metabolism deteriorates in itself. When this situation exists in the organism, a kind of occult febrile condition may very easily develop, and even intermittent fevers. . . . to deal with such a syndrome . . . we can actually regulate it in very many cases by regulating the iron level in the organism. The iron level regulates the circulation in that it now actually provokes powerful inner renal activity.
Steiner exhorts the doctors in the audience of these lectures to strive to stimulate the patient into self-healing rather than doing all the healing. He blatantly advises that the human organism does not want to be fully healed.
[page 119] This is enormously important. In sickness, the human organism really wants to be stimulated to heal itself. To make the cure a lasting one we really have to limit ourselves to providing the necessary stimulus. A cure that seems to proceed smoothly will more easily lead to relapses than a disease that is stimulated to heal, [RJM: that is, the] organism has initially got used to the healing process and continues with it by its own activity.
One of the key therapies innovated by Rudolf Steiner is a form of dance with wordless speech called Eurythmy. The below definition he gives for eurythmy is near-perfect and reveals how a therapeutic effect can be achieved in a general fashion.
[page 123] In eurythmy, we exclude the principle of ideation as such as far as possible and let the will principle take effect. With this, ordinary speech sound metamorphoses into movements of the whole human organism. We thus enhance the one component, which is the will principle or the metabolic principle, weaken the ideation principle or neurosensory principle, and eurythmy will be the result. This truly enables us to create human movement correlates for individual sounds, be they vowels or consonants.
Since eurythmy is also a performance art, Steiner felt the need to point out that it will have energizing effects on the audience, something any worthwhile performance ought to have.
[page 124] With ordinary eurythmy as an art form there is no other physiological consequence but that ordinarily the eurythmy will energetically harmonize the human functions, doing so in so far as they are a complete whole in the human organism.
In the diagram, I am attempting to illustrate the key aspect of the astral body as it is divided by the diaphragm into an upper or nerve sphere and a lower or metabolic sphere. (See page 125)This is important when giving preparations to a patient.
[page 151] If you give preparations made from the volatile oil obtained from a flower, for instance, you do not take them from the lower part of the astral organism into the upper. They can only be used to evoke some processes or other in the lower part, in the actual metabolic tract. The moment you use anything obtained from the root of a plant, this pushes through from the lower to upper tract of the astral body, and you have it in there because it acts back again from the head onto the organism. You have it in the whole of the organism.
How does a doctor become a materialist? We suspect this is ingrained in them through their studies which focus primarily upon material substances and materials processes. Rarely do students of medicine study live humans until they are almost completed their medical career and are working as interns. It must come as a bit of jolt for an intern to go from dissecting corpses in anatomy class to cutting into a live human being for the first time. Recall that Steiner is giving the material in this book to practicing doctors.
[page 185] What makes you into a materialist is that the spirit is not with you when you study material processes, that you look into the world of matter and see nothing but matter and material processes.
This is what the science of the spirit must show — I can only speak of this in summary form today — that wherever material processes become evident to the senses (the only processes which are accepted as observable and exact in modern science), they are always mere external signs, the external revelation of spiritual forces and powers at work behind them and within them.
Steiner urges the doctors present to understand that in material medicine, they are taught to deal with pieces of a human body, but in anthroposophical medicine, they are taught to deal with the whole living breathing human being, and to deal with it in loving dignity.
Although Steiner, to my knowledge, has never innovated a school of posture, one can guess from this short passage, that he could have developed such a school, and may have done so in the Waldorf School system he helped to get started. Look at children in grade schools today and ask yourself if the following practices prevail. Where, for example, on any of the highly touted testing procedures, do they test for proper breathing and speaking loudly and clearly?
[page 193] Unless you have truly comprehensive insight into the human being you cannot really judge what it means when children sit in class, their back bent, so that their breathing is always impeded, or when they are not taught to speak loudly and clearly, enunciating vowels and consonants clearly. All their later life essentially depends on whether they breathe properly in school and are taught to speak loudly and clearly, articulating well.
People, who are afraid of Waldorf Schools because their children will be taught airy-fairy mysticism, are wrong. Children are taught only normal school subjects, but in a way that they will learn to become strong healthy human beings. Steiner talks of his early lectures in Stuttgart on Waldorf School education.
[page 194] Everything said there as art of education and didactics was said with the aim of making the children into people who have been taught as children to perform the functions of life in the right way and would therefore have sound lungs and livers and hearts and stomachs, because their minds and souls would have worked on them in the right way.
Speaking of testing procedures in schools today, especially the egregious governmental standards meant to apply to all students, those who support such standards would do well to consider what Steiner said on the matter of standards some ninety years ago:
[page 198] Anything an individual can do for the benefit of others must come wholly from his own abilities, there can be no governmental standards, nor dependence on economic powers; it must be within the personal dependency sphere of the individual and also within the trust and understanding which others who depend on his skills have for that capable individual. We need a cultural life independent of all authorities, government, and economic life, a cultural life with its own expertise gained solely from the powers of the mind.
If you came to this review to learn about physiology and healing, I expect you might be disappointed with the sparse information provided on those two subjects. But if you came with a knowledge of physiology and healing based solely on materialistic medicine, you have perhaps been left with a lot of unanswered questions to ponder and topics to investigate further. If you leave with a respect for anthroposophical medicine and an earnest desire to learn more, then you have indeed blessed yourself and this striving writer.
---------- Footnotes ---------------
Footnote 1. From Wikipedia: Chyme is the semifluid mass of partly digested food expelled by the stomach into the duodenum, the first section of the small intestine.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
4.) ARJ2: Illness and Therapy, GA#313 by Rudolf Steiner
In a book devoted to anthroposophical medicine an Introduction contributed to by a medical doctor, Andrew Maendl, deserves our attention. He gives us spiritual science medicine's view of the full human being of body, soul, and spirit vis-à-vis so-called modern medicine's view of the human being as a higher primate composed of biochemistry with an enlarged brain.
[page xii] There is a great deal of dissatisfaction in medicine today, and this may partly be due to the prevailing view of the human being as a creature composed more or less entirely of complex biochemistry. Deep down most doctors sense that there is a great deal more to human nature. Steiner has given us a path, albeit a difficult one, for discovering deeper aspects of the human being, upon which a true art of healing can be based. The essence of Steiner's approach is holistic, i.e. not confined to sense-perceptible physical phenomena, but encompassing the whole person. In common parlance, terms like soul and spirit — if used at all — are today regarded as something very vague, at most a kind of 'icing on the cake' of physical reality, and produced by it. Steiner has a radically different, non-materialistic yet extremely precise view of the human entelechy, in which the physical body and its functions are embedded in three other aspects: forces of life and growth (etheric body), powers of sentience and sensibility (astral body) and finally powers of spirit, identity and self-realization (the ego or I).
What we will find in this book will help us to understand what Steiner means in other lectures by phrases such as, "the astral body is penetrating too far into the etheric", and many similar phrases. We come to discover that the astral body is the source of the unease which we label as "disease". Animals do not experience "unease" and when they get sick, they either die or get well again, taking appropriate actions to restore their healthy body. Birds, after ingesting some poisonous substance, are known to immediately fly to a particular berry which will counteract the actions of the poison. Humans have done similar things for thousands of years, and it is only with the advent of allopathic medicine, the processes of modern medicine, have humans immediately relied on someone else to doctor them back into health.
The four parts of the human being, physical, etheric, astral, and I, interact directly with or imprint upon the threefold human organism of head, thorax, and metabolism which hold our capacities for thinking, feeling, and will. Here's how the good doctor sees the importance of understanding this 12-way relationship.
[page xiii] It requires a great mobility and fluidity of thinking to grasp the complex dynamic involved in this four-three relationship, but in do so we unlock a wonderful diagnostic tool that will stand us in good stead in the appraisal over every patient.
Plus we are given a way of grasping the everyday meanings of thinking, feeling, and will.
[page xiii] We can easily get a sense of such difference by comparing the following three activities: forming a mental image of candle flame (thinking); going out to dig the garden (will); and listening to beautiful music (feelings). Our experience of will is closer to physical activity while calm, contemplative thinking is furthest removed from it. Feeling, which is centered in and involves the response of our rhythmic system (breathing and circulation), lies roughly midway between the two.
The imprint of the four on three is a "looser or freer reflection" than the primary effect. Steiner explains the various combinations of primary and imprint.
[page xiii, xiv] . . . the I, the astral body, and etheric body act only in a freer way, as imprint, in the head, while the physical is fully engaged there as primary effect. In the chest region, the astral and I are relatively free as imprint while the etheric and physical are more fully engaged in physical processes. In the system of metabolism and limbs, only the I is relatively free as imprint, and physical, astral, and etheric take primary effect there, in deeper engagement with the physical body.
Now consider this: an illness in the chest region must have its source outside of the rhythmic system, say, in the head system.
[page xiv] In the later stages of the disease [TB], alveoli and lung tissues harden and Steiner sees this as the result of forces of ossification issuing from the head and acting on the lungs.
The Introduction ends by telling us that doctors do best not to fight diseases, but seek to rebalance the forces of human organism which are out of whack. When learning something new, it's best to know all about it before you start, and the two authors have given us an excellent basis to proceed with the remainder of the lectures devoted to illness and therapy, which Steiner tells us is a supplement to the previous year's course, An Introduction to Anthroposophical Medicine, GA#312.
[page 1, 2] Now, though, as we come to consider the higher constituting levels of human nature, the supersensible human bodies, we will need to speak about substances in a different way. . . . Rather than substances per se, we must start from processes: developmental processes rather than finished products. And whenever we speak of substance we must really visualize how the external sensory appearance that a substance presents to us is in fact nothing other than a process that has come to rest.
Steiner focuses on processes, not content (which can be defined as a process which has come to rest). He visualizes the 4X3 interactions discussed above as processes which create a healthy human being when they are in balance and a diseased human being when they are out of kilter, acting too far in one direction because the counteracting process has become weakened. As we have already seen, that weakened process will often be in a different portion of the human body than the one where the disease is presenting itself in process and content.
Science can analyze and discover that we have silica in our hair and in our urine. Steiner explains that we have silica in our hair because it provides a source of activity. The silica present in our urine is leftover excess for which the body has no use.
[page 14] A merely physical analysis of whether a particular substance is present somewhere really doesn't tell us anything of importance. We always need to know whether something in playing an active part at the right place or whether it is just present because it has been expelled or excreted. That is the decisive thing. . . . precisely through spiritual science we can demonstrate that the idea of particular substances which chemical and physical analysis locates in particular places in fact leads to nothing but error.
Sometimes, the excess of a substance is ignored by material science when spiritual science can enlighten us to the reason for it excess. That happens with nitrogen, Steiner was unable to find any notice taken of the excess of nitrogen in breathed-out air versus breathed-in air. Lacking a key understanding of nitrogen's involvement with our process of digestion, the slight unexpected excess had been ignored in all the literature he searched.
[page 16] But because materialism has no idea what to make fo this difference, it cancels it out with a shrug of dismissal. Such things happen in modern research. As I said, I will just leave this here as a [unanswered] question, and return to it later.
Steiner urges us to imagine the human organism as consisting of four interwoven processes or bodies: a warmth body, an air body, a fluid body, and a physical body. He says about our brain:
[page 19] What we must regard as the brain's aqueous content should not be thought of as merely undifferentiated fluid, but is just as thoroughly organized as our limbs.
Our brain has major cavities filled with cerebrospinal fluid called ventricles which I have postulated provide the sense of spiritual sight that Steiner had since birth. These fluid processes provide spiritual sense for all those who work their way to spiritual sight as Steiner outlines in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment. We all have these ventricles and have the possibility of developing them in the current era, and many more people will develop them in coming eras. Some people access the spiritual world consciously, as Steiner did; others of us, actually the majority of us, access the spiritual world unconsciously, but we all have the possibility for recognizing those of our actions which were influenced by some unconscious spiritual input or insight. (See Matherne's Hypothesis.)
Once more Steiner reminds us of the importance of balance in our various processes. If our digestion is impaired, we are more likely to become obese than when our food is properly assimilated.
[page 24] As our point of departure, therefore, we can try to focus on what we find by observing these initial processes, which are still very much within normal bounds. At the same time it is also important to say that if we could not fall ill we could not be human beings at all. Illness is simply a continuation or progression beyond due bounds of processes we need, that are indispensable. Human health, we can say, is the condition in which pathological and curative processes are in appropriate equilibrium. We are not in fact only at risk when pathological processes manifest but also when curative processes overshoot their target.
In ancient times the art of healing was a closely held secret because it also included the art of making people ill. Steiner explains further why this was so.
[page 26] Pathological processes, therefore, are nothing other than a further development of processes indispensable in a healthy person. If we were unable to fall sick then we could not think or feel either. Everything that ultimately comes to expression in the psyche as thinking and feeling is, in clinical terms, a system of forces that becomes pathological when it exceeds its proper bounds.
These processes lead to the so-called toxic action which comes from the head: it results from an excessive thinking and/or feeling, over and above its proper state. Tied up with these processes is the I. The I counteracts the physical processes which in turn fights against the I.
[page 27] This physical process is implicit in continual dying within the human organism, and in what ultimately manifests in death. In fact, if the physical process hypertrophies, as it were, so that the I can no longer control it, the I is compelled to leave the physical body — which can of course occur at an earlier stage of life if an excessive physical effect arises somewhere in us, with further ramifications throughout the body. And so we can say that the human I is intimately connected with death.
In a like manner the Astral body is connected with illness, the Etheric body with health, and the Physical body with nutrition. He clears up a possible confusion here, because most people imagine that the I and Astral body completely disconnect from the Physical and Etheric body during sleep. Instead, what happens is this: while disconnecting from the rest of the body, the I and Astral body stay connected to the metabolic and circulatory organization, in fact, during sleep they are even more connected to those parts. He likens this to the type of reconfiguration that occurs when the geographical extent of night and day across the Earth constantly changes. (Page 29)
[page 33] Study of disease ought to focus on the domain that belongs intrinsically to it — disorders that most clearly reveal an inappropriate influence of what we call the astral body.
Who has more diseases, country people or city people? The answer seems obvious, but the reasons for the healthiness of country folk are not obvious. Our worries and cares stem from the Astral body (look at your pets, they need worry nor fret). Since city folk have more worries and cares, their Astral body is usually out-of-whack, leading eventually to illness and disease. Country folk, on the other hand, tend to live closer to nature, just as our pets do, and lack the hectic schedule-driven existence of city folk.
[Page 37] Above all, you can experience the remarkable connection between the etheric and astral body if you observe how cares, worries and suchlike work on in people. Here it is not enough to observe the cares and anxieties that have occurred yesterday or in the past week, which are ultimately of least significance, but those which arose longer ago. A certain period must always elapse between the time when worries or griefs first affected someone, and the time when they have, in a sense, become organic, passing into the organism's activity. Cares and sorrows that reach a certain level of intensity always surface later on as anomalies in organic activity — and specifically in rhythmic organic activity.
A few days ago in our daily newspaper, The Advocate, I noticed an obituary for a former neighbor's mother who died at 103 years old. I called him to offer my condolences and was not surprised to hear that she had not been sick until two weeks before she died. Somehow the cares and worries of the city had never bothered her and her astral body was in harmony with her etheric body until the very end. It occurs to me, some thirty plus years since I conceived of my acronym EAT-O-TWIST, that it provides a way for us to maintain stability in our astral body because it reminds us, Everything Allways Turns Out The Way It's Supposed To. The Supposed To part means that the supposing we do today about how things are happening (Turns Out now) or will be happening later (Turn Out later) all result from what we are supposing, expecting, or imagining now.Saying EAT-O-TWIST now can sober up one's astral body and remove the cares and worries that might else beset it and result in creating in the future the very things worried about now. All future events are planned in the now, and now is the right time to say EAT-O-TWIST. There is no better time, don't you think? Do it now and you will use it from now on. If you use it, don't blame me if you begin to have nothing to worry about.
Steiner tells us of a Viennese physician and professor, Dr. Moritz Benedikt who decided to run for a seat in Parliament and when asked why, he is reported to have said, "So many patients consulted me for whom I was unable to prescribe what I ought — that is, better clothing, habitation, better air and so forth." (Page 35) Later in talking about therapy, Steiner explains the salubrious nature of Dr. Benedikt's desired therapies.
[page 40] So [if] we take a patient to a region where his is exposed to . . . a sun-illumined air — we work upon his rhythmic organism. And in fact we work in such a way that an irregular metabolism is directly combated by rhythm due to the latter itself being naturally regulated by such exposure to light.
Later he points out the benefits of altitude therapy. For myself, my first job out of college was in Oak Ridge, Tennessee at an altitude of about nine hundred feet, which may not sound like much to most people, but the altitude in which I grew up was at sea level and up to 17 feet below sea level. I worked at high altitude for two years and then returned to sea level and below in New Orleans and soon found myself with a case of amoebic dysentery and constant sore throats, both of which were fixed by medications and a tonsillectomy before I moved to California where I lived in Anaheim (200 ft) for three years, followed by Foxborough, Massachusetts (300 ft) for four years. Was I getting altitude therapeutic effects? Possibly, because since returning to New Orleans in 1976, I have remained healthy. It also occurs to me that since 1982 we have spent a week a year in our cabin at an altitude of 800 ft in Arkansas where we are subjected to altitude and climactic changes.
[page 41] If we find that a patient is particularly susceptible to parasitic infections due to irregular circulatory organism, it is a very good idea . . . to take him to a higher altitude than the one he is used to, a greater altitude above sea level, and thus give him an 'altitude cure'.
Clearly what can be useful in one area may be harmful in another, Steiner cautions us. The fact is that my body, soon after I moved back to New Orleans from Oak Ridge in 1964, contracted amoebic dysentery, a disease caused by a parasite.
In addition to altitude therapy, Steiner discusses light, climatic influences, and magnetic and electric fields. He says that applying a strong magnetic field to a patient's back can be extremely beneficial for combating disorders such as those implicated in tuberculosis of the lungs. (Page 45 paraphrase). This revelation was amazing to me because I had worked in Oak Ridge on devices with strong magnetic fields (so strong if a tool got attached, it was impossible to remove, and high electrical voltages in the 100,000 volt range). I was exposed to these fields for eight hours a day, usually from a distance of from five to twenty feet. My two years in Oak Ridge subjected me to light, climatic influences, magnetic and electric fields. The very treatment that would be helpful to someone with TB, something that I never to my knowledge had. But my aunt, only three years old than I am, contracted TB and was in the Dibert-Brown Sanatorium in New Orleans for the disease for some years. She lived with my family around the time I was going to college and it was during that time she was diagnosed and placed under treatment. None of the rest of my family including me were detected as having TB.But about twenty years ago, after a minor operation to repair a navel hernia, the X-ray showed something suspicious and I went to a medical specialist who carefully examined the spot and said he was certain it was a TB scar. A year later, his initial diagnosis was confirmed by a second X-ray. All of which raises the question for me, "Did I have a minor TB case and did my exposure to climatic and light change, altitude change, and exposure to high levels of magnetic and electrical fields eliminate it by restoring whatever was out of balance in my body?"
Since I am not a medical doctor, I do not have case histories of patients that I can share to help shed light on my study of these illnesses and therapy lectures, but I am able to share my own experiences with illnesses and how changes in my situations may have impacted my health in various ways.
Eating uncooked or raw fruits and vegetables is covered in Lecture 4 and once again, Steiner lectures against any kind of diet that is strongly skewed by some new fad regimen. Always he stresses a diet which is individually determined, not according to dietary prescription, even his own. Some people have short small intestines and a meat diet is better for them, for example. A story will help illustrate Steiner's attitude towards rigorous diets. After a lecture on vegetarianism one evening, Steiner accompanied some members of his audience to a local pub for supper. The special for that day was a meat dish, and each member hassled the proprietor in an attempt to order something completely vegetarian. Finally the owner asked Steiner, "What would you like to eat, Sir?" and Steiner replied, "I'll take the special."
In this next passage he expresses a definite aversion to extreme forms of raw food diets, a kind of regimen which seems to be gaining a following in recent decades along with the rigorous vegan regimen.
[page 49, 50] The kind of fanaticism which can come to expression, say, in extreme forms of raw food diets, applied fanatically as dietary prescription(1), will have a very specific consequence for the whole human organism. Raw food — in other words never eating in cooked form the parts of a plant that are lower down, towards the root — means that the health of the respiratory system is gradually undermined. The human organism isn't easily wrecked and so the ruinous effects of a fanaticism of this kind will not become apparent for a long time. Gradually, though, an extreme raw food diet will express itself in marked shortness of breath or similar conditions.
This recommendation is modulated by Steiner later as not including fruit diets because fruits are essentially already cooked, if you will, by their exposure to the Sun. If a disorder originates in the circulatory system not the respiratory system, a diet of raw fruit may be called for.
[page 50] That will be absolutely right — in such a case one can certainly resort to a raw fruit diet. But if an impairment of chest function tends to originate in a patient's breathing, such treatment will achieve nothing and may even be harmful. Here instead I will need to provide a diet of cooked roots. The instability of fluctuating dynamics in this system shows clearly how misplaced any particular form of fanaticism is.
The material on pages 53 through 55 is very important to parents and caregivers of children between seven and 14 years old who have digestive problems. Steiner recommends children during this age do not be overfed or subject to any one-sided dietary prescriptions or food fads. The deleterious effect on them can last the rest of their lifetime. Without forcing food upon them, parents should instead find them a variety of foods and allow them to choose the amounts they can eat, even if it seems too small. In addition he says to keep their schoolwork down to a minimum(2). Do this, and they will begin to thrive and become very healthy when puberty arrives. This is the wisest path to health for such children.
[page 50] The very opposite of this is done on a large scale, and by overlooking or transgressing this law we do not nurture healthy human development. Instead, all sorts of predispositions for illness potentially result from these digestive ailments, and can continue to affect a person for the rest of his life.
What is a medicine? Anyone reading this far into these lectures must be wondering what distinguishes a food from a medicine. Steiner's answer is simple, "Whatever the organism can digest when healthy is not a medicine. This cannot be a medicine."
[page 56] We can only start to speak of a medicine when we administer something to the organism which it cannot digest when healthy, which must therefore only be assimilated in an abnormal human organism. We challenge the abnormal human organism to assimilate something that is not assimilated in a healthy human organism. Healing is therefore a continuation of digestion — but digestion, in fact, which is gradually transposed into the interior of the human organism.
Allopathy is scientific medicine claiming to be proven with materialistic research. Homoeopathy is scientific medicine based on the ability of the body to heal itself, often using tiny quantities of substances to promote healing. Steiner calls our human organism a homoeopath because of its inherent ability to heal itself, to return to health after an errant side trip. He explains that only the subtlest qualities of metals can be used for healing, acquiring these subtle qualities by potentizing, that is, creating successive dilutions to create a homoeopathic medicine.
[page 57] This is why I said last year that basically the human organism won't let you muck about with it using metals allopathically, for it is itself a homoeopath. In the ascent from the digestive system to the head organism, it fragments the metals itself — and we can of course support the organism in this process by potentizing a substance.
Steiner adds that the closer to the head region we come, the higher the potencies that will be required.
Our I or Ego carries warmth to our extremities, which is easily observed when one shakes hands with someone. In childhood children have strong I's which are able to drive warmth down into the hands and feet, but if something happens to counter the effect of the I in later life, the process of having cold hands and cold feet will become dramatic enough to be noticed by a casual handshake.
[page 59] In chilled hands and feet you find images of what is occurring in the whole human organism. And then we can learn to assess the symptoms in a way that allows knowledge of the whole human being to leap out at us from them. If a person has chilled hands and feet this is profoundly indicative of a failure of this [person's] I to engage properly in later life. If we take account of such things or if in general we simply engage with what spiritual science has to say, based on its fundamental approach, we can forge a real connection with the human organism. A failure to do this, to take account of such things, will gradually lead to a loss of connection and capacity to really perceive and understand the human organism. If we engage with what spiritual science has to offer, on the other hand, we acquire a connection with an insight into the human organism. We grow into it.
How can a doctor fail to take account of such things? By running a series of medical tests and entering the consultation room for the first time without even shaking hands with her new patient. Herein lies the source of much of the ills of modern society: doctors who spend more time entering data into computers than actually touching patients, resulting in treatments directed to the data image of the human organism rather than directed to the full human being.
One example of a homoeopathic medicine involves arsenic, which is known as a strong poison, but in potentized does can be quite helpful to increasing the penetration of the astral body which carries along with it the I. Arsenic poisoning is known to create mummification in corpses. But there is a arsenizing or astraling process in all humans, and only in high concentrations can arsenic poisoning of humans occur.
[page 62] For instance, the corpses of people who strongly astralize, and in whose organic, physical processes arsenization is therefore at work, will decay less easily than those in whom the astral body is too weakly connected with the organs. This is certainly something we should take note of. In extreme form we can see it in the tendency to mummification of corpses poisoned by arsenic. They mummify and show strong resistance to the process of decay.
How does one counteract excessive astralizing? By turning the human into a tooth, figuratively speaking, that is, by administering magnesium in some form. The common household product, Epsom salts can be used in such cases.
[page 62] We make the whole human being into a tooth: in other words, taking the whole organism into account we try in some way to administer to him the radiant power of magnesium, magnesium in some medicinal form.
Another excellent definition by Steiner: Nutrition — the proper reciprocity between organic insides and environmental outsides. Lacking such reciprocity, what happens?
[page 63] The inner, organic processes start energetically developing their own vital energy, and cease to be receptive to outside influence. The powers of the I no longer penetrate food substances so thoroughly, and in consequence the astral body is also engaged one-sidedly, and cannot gain proper access to the etheric body.
The doctrine of signatures is no longer in use due to our human evolution of consciousness having led us away from spiritual sight and into seeing only the outside of things; it states that every fruit and vegetable has a shape that points to the human organ it is best used for. The tomato, e. g., is an oval shaped red fruit which resembles the human liver, and in fact the eating of tomatoes helps one to maintain a healthy liver.
[page 68, 69] The old doctrine of signatures — which has vanished today simply because people no longer have the necessary powers of observation — relied on instinctive inner vision. It is important however to be able to perceive the inner activity which, basically, is apparent in all external appearances in the world. Someone, therefore, who does not get stuck in a mystic realm, veiling things in all sorts of mystification, but instead retains his healthy common sense, will have to say that vermilion, red cinnabar, is something that in a sense expresses an activity that counteracts fungal processes. Whatever tends towards a colorless state can become fungal. Whereas too strong an astralization of the earth's surface is implicated in fungal growth, in cinnabar-related substances we find a reactivity to this astralization, a counteraction, and therefore the red color. Wherever reddishness appears in natural processes, astralization is strongly counteracted. To couch this in moral terms, one could say that by reddening the rose tries to defend itself against astralization. Such realms therefore involve an interrelated view of pathology and therapy that can lead us into this remarkable relationship of I and astral body to the other organs, in which they grasp hold of organs or withdraw from them; or manifest excess astral activity in streams rising from below upwards.
On pages 75 through 80 we reach the portion of Lecture 6 where Steiner explains that the excess of nitrogen in our exhaled over our inhaled breath shows that nitrogen is involved in our process of digestion, going into and out of proteins as they are formed internally. He explains that we have three levels of breathing: our head breathes the etheric (sensory data is an advanced breathing process), our lungs breathe air, and our liver breathes nutrients.
[page 76] The breathing is in fact metamorphosed in the head, and all thinking functions through to the assimilation of perceptions are nothing other than breathing configured in an upward, forward-evolving direction. The head is a more advanced breathing organ which has progressed beyond the scope of the lungs. It simply holds back breathing and, in place of air intake through breathing, replaces it with intake of etheric forces through the senses. Sensory perception is nothing other than a refined breathing process — that is, one taken into the etheric realm. The head breathes and the lungs breathe. But something else — the liver — also breathes in us at a still lower level of this metamorphic development. The liver is an incomplete lung, an incomplete head form, and also breathes. Here, though, the polar metamorphosis to sensory activity predominates: the absorption and assimilation of nutrients. This is why the development of lungs and liver development occupies a middle position between stomach development on the one hand, and brain and head development on the other.
Head forces are the least spiritual which explains why head-type humans become materialistic. "The more of a thinker one is — a head thinker — the more one will end to become a materialist." Nitrogen is utilized in the production of proteins and some of it is given up when digestion is completed. Thus we see that nitrogen is vital in the breathing-in of nutrients, and , being used up in digestion, it is expelled later, causing the excess of nitrogen in exhaled air over inhaled air. This slight excess of nitrogen is something that the head-type materialistic thinkers claim to be insignificant since their man-made instruments are unable to detect how nitrogen affects the organs spiritually. Only human-instruments, those processes formed inside the human being, can perceive the spiritual reality effects of nitrogen which Steiner reports to us.
[page 78, 79] The activity which comes to expression in breathing is also apparent externally, in the elimination of carbon as carbon dioxide. But the accompanying activity of spiritualization, which unfolds in an inward direction, is connected with nitrogen. Once the nitrogen is expended, it is expelled, you see, for the purpose of spiritualization. The degree to which nitrogen is expelled is a measure of how much our organs are working inwardly towards spiritualization. From this you can gather that someone who does not credit the existence of spirituality will inevitably remain in the dark about the uptake of nitrogen in the human organism. Only once we know that both an inward- and outward-directed activity unfolds every time protein is formed or configured can we understand the role of nutrition. If you examine this process, which is fundamentally a process of respiration with its polar contrasts, you can see that nutrition and digestion border everywhere on processes of respiration. Wherever nutrition and digestion are at work, breathing and spiritualizing processes come towards them. In this spiritualizing process — thus in the other aspect of breathing — we find shaping and modeling forces at work in protein formation, everything that gives us form.
One of the universal images of hospitals is that of putting a patient in a bed and covering him with a blanket. This is done to bolster the I of the person whose job of creating warmth is facilitated by the blanket covering. The first thing a patient does when he feels recovered is take off the blanket.
[page 80] The I must always be allied with warmth, and its activity always proceeds from warmth. If we put a patient to bed and cover him with a blanket, this means nothing other than inviting the I to make suitable use of the increase in warmth thus achieved.
The search in Bibical times for a land flowing with milk and honey indicates that they could see the constructive forces in milk which leads to healthy babies and the constructive forces in honey which leads to healthy mature adults. Milk is a substance best for babies and honey best for adults. Keep this in mind as you read this next passage how substances can have different effects on children and adults.
[page 80, 81] For instance, substances we know to be very beneficial in children may well have no effect in adults. This is because the child is involved in formative growth and weight increase, and therefore needs intake of substances, needs these to enter him and unfold their forces inwardly. If a particular substance has a good effect in a child, this does not by any means signify that it will work in an adult in the same way. In an adult it may well be far more important simply to sustain the repose-seeking forces in his tissue fluid by activating an appropriate stimulus.
The heart is not a pump but rather a hydraulic ram whose job is to create vortices to ensure mixing of airy (oxygen) and solid nutrients, and the ebb and flow by these rams create the signature pulse of the heart. Another way of looking at the heart is that it is a monitor of the activity of our fluids. In deriding those who insist the heart is a pump, Steiner opens a jocular vein with a humorous analogy.
[page 81] The heart is not a pump, as I have often remarked, but is more what I would call an instrument for reading or monitoring the activity of tissue fluid. The pumping actions of the heart do not cause blood circulation, but the circulation, rather, gives the heart its impetus. The heart has as little to do with the circulatory function in us as the thermometer has to do with producing external heat or cold. Just as a thermometer is nothing other than an instrument for recording heat and cold, so the heart is an instrument for recording our circulation and what flows into it from the blood's metabolic system. Here we have a golden rule we must faithfully observe if we wish to understand the human being. The modern scientific belief that the heart is a pump that drives blood through the blood vessels is the opposite of the truth. Those who subscribe to the heart-as-pump belief should, if they wish to be consistent, also declare their faith in the capacity of a thermometer to raise the temperature in a room!
Those who live by the spirit, die into the spirit; those who live by the matter, die with the matter. Those who ignore soul and spirit can never understand the dynamic interplay of the heart with the forces of the body. Note: I have added in the next passage [the heart] to replace the possibly ambiguous pronoun [it].
[page 81] So you see the consequences of an outlook that ignores by far the most important aspect of the human being — the spirit and soul. It overlooks the motion-impelling, dynamic force in us and instead bases everything on mere substance. This outlook seeks to derive from matter the forces which are really impressed upon [the heart]. It tries to impose on the heart capacities which in fact [the heart] only acquires through the dynamic play of forces informing [the heart].
What leads to the processes of paranoia and hallucinations in mental illnesses? Due to a defective organ, illusions arise as compulsive imaginations which stay inside the organ as paranoia. If the illusions cannot be held inside by the organ, they flow into the outside world as hallucinations, as in schizophrenia. Below is the detailed explanation.
[page 86] Last year I said that certain types of mental illness present as a compulsion to form imaginations and inspirations, and this is indeed what inner release of spirit signifies.
If this kind of compulsion is present, this is basically because the organ has become damaged. If the organ is not defective but normally constituted, it does indeed develop imaginative capacity but this remains unconscious. Once it has been damaged it is no longer able to develop imagination properly. On the one hand the organ is defective and in consequence a compulsion to develop imagination arises, and on the other the imagination remains unsecured by the organ and therefore appears as hallucination and so forth. We can see it like this: if we have an organ and the imaginations developing within it which then radiate into the rest of the human organism and are perceived, then, if the organ is deformed the developing imagination cannot unfold properly in its plasticity and thus, being abnormal, it impresses itself on conscious awareness. Then we find the patient has hallucinations and visions. On the other hand, the organ is not functioning properly, and this gives rise to the urgent desire for real imaginations. Such things become clear simply by gaining an insight in their inner nature.
The remainder of the book, Lectures 7, 8 and 9 dealt with answering questions, uses of specific medications, and when either vowel or consonant eurythmy would be prescribed for various ailments.
What we can learn from this body is how therapeutic approaches to illnesses are possible with the insights of spiritual science, approaches that are determined by direct observation of the whole human being, not from looking at data on some electronic device or printout. If you go to a physician who specializes in anthroposophical medicine, be prepared for a complete life history to be taken and for lots of questions which might seem unnecessary, but know that your health will improve due to the logical corrections of the various organs and processes of your body being brought back into alignment close enough for your body to take over and carry the healing on from there.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
Footnote 1.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Note: when Steiner says "dietary prescription", he is likely not referring to a doctor's prescription, but to the dietary choice of an individual, a "food fad" as we might call it today. E. g., our grandson self-prescribed himself a diet consisting almost entirely of cheese products.
Footnote 2.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
Waldorf and Steiner schools are often criticized for giving their students in this age group too little homework. This is one of the bases in reality for the apparent lack of homework; these schools aim towards fostering healthy human beings in school years and later life.
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books for less information, read the reviews.
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= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to coverse 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 Spots a Clip-on at bottom of a For Sale Sign in the French Quarter and wonders, "Does that increase or decrease the price?":
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 with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
This month the good Padre notices a Curious For Sale Feature:
2. Comments from Readers:
NOTE: I love hearing from all my Good Readers and including your missives here (slightly edited).
If you prefer any comments or photos you send to be private, simply say so and they will not be published.
TEXT from Jennifer Terranova:
Dear Granpa, They poured our foundation today! ! I can't wait to show you and Grama! ! ! !
EMAIL from Jane in Tucson:
Hi, Bobby! Yes, I would LOVE to have Bill Watterson bring Calvin & Hobbes back to the comics page. I eagerly clicked on the link to read all about Stephan Pastis getting him to co-draw several daily strips. BUT the link was a 404. Please let me know when you get it fixed. Thanks so much. We get "Pearls Before Swine" in our daily paper, so I know which strips you are speaking about. I did not have a clue that Bill Watterson helped with them, although at the time I felt that it was someone other than Pastis. I'm still enjoying reading your monthly news and book and movie reports in the Good Mountain Press newsletters. Thanks for sending them out so faithfully. Best wishes,
Tucson, AZ USA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Bobby's REPLY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I loved Calvin & Hobbes and am a regular reader of Pastis. The broken link was my fault and I fixed it and it is still working so you can read Pastis' adventures with Watterson. Be sure to do a RELOAD or REFRESH when you go to this link, if it doesn't take you directly there the first time: Pearls Before Swine.
We'll be cruising in July, so I'm taking the month off. But DW#149 will be released on Sept 1, and it will cover both July and August, so look for it.
EMAILs with Danilo Vaccai in Italy:
Hi, Bobby. I'm a medical doctor from Italy and my name is Danilo Vaccai. I visited your web site with interest. I'm a Rheumatologist, NLP Practitioner and I am using also energetic techniques in my work with patients. One question, please: what if the trauma is exactly at the birth ? Can I use Doyle technique ? If yes, how ?
Danilo Vaccai, MD (Italy)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Bobby Reply ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Speed Trace is a memory technique for answering the following question: Is this physical body state a doylic memory? If the answer comes out "yes", the doylic memory will be converted into a declarative memory (cognitive). If no, it was not a doylic memory or there was a fault in the trace.
The hippocampus transmits information about a bodily event to declarative memory in the cortex, and its ability becomes fully operational around age 5. Before then bodily events are stored in limbic region as physical body states which I call doyles. After then doyles are never again stored so long as the hippocampus is functional. Under intense stress, glutocorticoids flood the hippocampus causing a temporary malfunction and doyles will be stored at this time leading to the flashbacks, tremors, fear states called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
If you do a speed trace, you go back in time to before the event and an automatic creation of declarative memory takes place as you name a time mark before the event, then the bodily states will no longer arise under the same stimulus, instead a vague memory may arise of the event.
This is the essence of the theory of doyletics, named after the man who innovated the first tracing procedure, Doyle Henderson.
P.S. I would suggest you subscribe to our monthly reminder, a short email, to keep up to date on developments in doyletics.~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~~^~
Bobby Matherne, Principal Researcher
The Doyletics Foundation
In Memoriam: Doyle P. Henderson (1924-2010)
Ok, Bobby. Many thanks for your valuable answer. I appreciate the technique very much (I tried it directly on myself, with very good results). Certainly I shall subscribe myself for monthly reminder.
Greetings from Italy
EMAIL from daughter Carla & her guy Pat:
Dad, here's selfie of me and Patrick eating Chocolate Doberge Cake in honor of your birthday! ! !
EMAIL from Chris Bryant in Corpus Christi, Texas:Subject: Tiger fans in Houston
This gracious couple was on our final flight home, from Houston to Corpus. I saw their matching LSU scrubs and pleaded for a picture for my pal Bobby. They happily obliged. We'll call on your birthday and hopefully connect.
MOST happy to be home,
~~~~~~~~~ Bobby Reply ~~~~~~~~~~~
Thanks Chris, for phone call from you and Carla to wish me Happy Birthday while we were aboard the Viking Ingve Longship on the Rhine in Germany. Also thanks for the LSU scrubs' photo at right!
EMAIL from Daniel Trivanprum in Basel:
Dear Sir / Madam
It was nice to meet You on the other day, that we were able to chat for a long time about India as well as various other things. I am also grateful and Thankful for your invitation for the Lunch. Anyhowe, I am hoping once again to meet you and if God Wish, I may come to your country as well. Please keep in touch with me Sir.
With Kind regards
DanielEMAIL to/from our earlier Viking Rhine River Cuise companions:
TO: Joe and Carole:
View of Lake Lucerne before our Viking cruise to Amsterdam.
Wish you were here.
Bobby and Del
~~~~~~~~~~~ REPLY ~~~~~~~
It is wonderful to hear from the two of you.
We remember the beauty of Lake Lucerne fro our visit there many years ago. Are you on one of the new Viking longboats? A friend was on one for the same Amsterdam to Budapest cruise as when we met you. She oohed and aahed over the ship. You certainly chose a much more beautiful season to take this cruise than the time of year we took ours.
Thanks for keeping in touch. We would love to be there with you.
Enjoy the cruise.Carol and Joe
EMAIL from Edward Reaugh Smith in Lubbock, TX:
Thanks for sharing the dialogue relative to Sergei O. Prokofief's death. I learned of it in the afternoon the day he died. The email came within less than two hours of my having completed a substantial footnote in my current writing about a little booklet of his that was first published in English by Temple Lodge in 2005. I had been pondering the content of the booklet a good bit that day. In retrospect, it is as if Sergei, having loosed his earthly restrictions, was here. Ed
EMAIL from William "Jim" Harmon:
Connie and I also enjoyed meeting you and Del. It was a memorable vacation for us, thanks to you two and Gust and Janet. Our waitress, Allen, asked me how long the six of us had been traveling together. Obviously, we all clicked.
We've been talking about an excursion to New Orleans. We need to do it soon, since my aunt is now approaching the age of 99. We'll give you plenty of lead time.
Meanwhile, thanks for the copy of your newsletter and do stay well.
EMAIL from Erica in California:
Thank you so much for your response!
I'm in the U.S., in California. I love your monthly bulletins! Thank you for all that you do for all of us, and thank you again for getting back to me!! Have a wonderful weekend!
Blessings and best wishes to you!
EMAIL from Eddie Clark in Dallas area:
Loud and immature as ever down here in Dallas.
This is your 'rock star' reader from way back. I hope you and yours are doing well and enjoying life as it rolls along.
I shall see you next time.
Eddie Clark. — artist on far-right in pic.
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Renaissance of Liberty"
Give me your poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free and I will give them taxes, regulations, restrictions, and every manner of unfairness ever created by persons saddled with the illusion that they can decide what is best for someone else's welfare. The individual, like the business professional, knows what's best in a given situation and, given the freedom, will take that action. The forces of coercion are prying open the shell that contains the living muscle and spirit of the American people will we resist those forces and keep our muscles and spirit alive, free to open at will, or will we give up like the oyster and settle for "freedom on the half shell?" Here is another poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:
Renaissance of LibertyThe doctrine of free will
Seems to me to be
When every one has 100% control of
One's manifest destiny.
To be forced by law to cooperate
Is to sabotage our freedom
With a will most determinate.
Does it seem that every one
Must be forced to cooperate
For the common weal?
Would God set up commandments
In contravention to free will?
Or is it we humans who
Build semantic fences for our kin
When we promulgate human-made law
In the name of God that Moses saw?
Does one's thoughts belong
To God, to oneself, or to the state?
Giving to Caesar those things
That are Caesar's is to respect Caesar's property.
When Caesar leaves to us
Those things that are ours
That will be the renaissance of liberty.
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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Thanks to all of you Good Readers for providing the Sunshine which has made this site a Blooming Success. — Especially those of you who have graciously allowed us to reprint your emails and show photos of you and by you on this website — you're looking good!
By November 1, 2017, beginning its 18th year of existence, the doyletics website will have received about 18.3 MILLION VISITORS ! ! !
We have received about ONE MILLION VISITORS per Year to the Doyletics Website since its inception in August 1, 2001, over sixteen years ago. Over 2.5 million in the past 12 months. We are currently averaging about 220,000 visitors a month. A Visitor is defined as a Reader who is new or returns after 20 minutes or more has passed. The average is about one visitor for every 10 Hits.
IMPORTANT NOTES about DIGESTWORLDtm
Our DIGESTWORLD came into existence years before Facebook and all the other social media which interrupt people's schedules many times a a day. All our photos, reviews, cartoons, stories, etc, come to you via a link inside of one short email Reminder at the beginning of each month. We hope you appreciate how we let YOU choose when to enjoy our DIGESTWORLD Issues.
We especially want to thank you, our Good Readers, in advance, for helping our readership to grow. NOTE our name is now: DIGESTWORLD. Continue to send comments to Bobby and please do create links to DIGESTWORLD issues and Reviews on LinkedIn, on your Facebook page, and on other Social Media. When you copy any portion of a webpage or review, please include this text: "Copyright 2017 by Bobby Matherne".
Email your friends about the reviews, the handy doyletics Speed Trace, the cartoons, the cajun jokes, the recipes, the poems, and the photos in all the DIGESTWORLD Issues archived on our website. Urge them to subscribe to the DIGESTWORLD Reminder so they won't miss a single issue!
The Subscription Process SIMPLE: no Reply Confirmation is required. An email to the Editor with your First and Last names is all that's required. There is never a charge for viewing any page on our website; nor for any of the guidance we offer to people using the FIRST AID KIT or asking for help with doyletics in any other areas.
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The cost of keeping this website on-line with its 300 Gbytes of bandwidth a month is about $50 a month. Thank you, our Good Readers, for continuing to patronize our advertisers when they provide products and services you are seeking as you visit any of our web pages. Remember the ads are dynamically displayed and every time you read even the same page a second time, you may find new products and services displayed for your review. Our reviews, digests, tidbits, etc, all our webpages act as Google magnets to bring folks to the website to learn about doyletics and frequent our advertisers, so they support one another in effect.We wish to thank all Good Readers who have made a contribution to the doyletics.com website! A special thanks to Chris and Carla Bryant of Corpus Christi!
We welcome your contributions to the support of the website and research into the science of doyletics. To obtain our street address, email Bobby at the address found on this page: http://www.doyletics.com/bobby.htm and we will send it to you. Every $50 contribution helps toward keeping this website on-line for another month. If you can't send money, at least show your support by Clicking the Google +1 which appears at the top of this Issue of DIGESTWORLD and every Review pages.
You can read a description of how to do a Speed Trace (either in English or Spanish):
Learn to Do a Speed Trace Here
Or Watch Bobby extemporaneously explain How to Do a Speed Trace on Video:
To make a connection to the Doyletics website from your own website, here's what to do. You may wish to use the first set of code below to link to the site which includes a graphic photo, or to use the second set of code for a text-only link. Immediately below is how the graphic link will look on your website. Just place this .html in an appropriate place on your website.
<CENTER> < with graphics link >
<A HREF="http://www.doyletics.com/index.htm">Learn to Do a Speed Trace Here<BR>
<IMG SRC="http://www.doyletics.com/doylepb.gif" width="309" height="102" border="2" TITLE="Learn to Remove Doyles all those Unwanted Physical Body states of fear, depression, migraine, etc." ALIGN=middle><A/></CENTER>
<CENTER> < text only link >
<A HREF="http://www.doyletics.com/introduc.htm">Learn to Do the Speed Trace at doyletics.com <A/>
Check out the new additions to the Famous and Interesting Quotations at:
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My reviews are not intended to replace the purchasing and reading of the reviewed books, but rather to supplant a previous reading or to spur a new reading of your own copy. What I endeavor to do in most of my reviews is to impart a sufficient amount of information to get the reader comfortable with the book so that they will want to read it for themselves. My Rudolf Steiner reviews are more detailed and my intention is to bring his work to a new century of readers by converting his amazing insights into modern language and concepts.
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10. GRATITUDE - in Three Easy Steps:
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Maintaining a website requires time and money, and apart from sending a donation to the Doyletics Foundation, there are several ways you can show your gratitude and support our efforts to keep doyletics.com on-line.
One would be for you to buy a copy of my Dolphin Novel, The SPIZZNET File. Books May be ordered in hardback or paperback form from Xlbiris the Publisher here:
The best source at the best price is to order your copies on-line is from the publisher Random House/Xlibris's website above.
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Any questions about this DIGESTWORLD ISSUE, Contact: Bobby Matherne
Look at George Burns, Bob Hope, both lived to 100. Doesn't that prove that "He who Laughs, Lasts"? Do you find nothing humorous in your life? Are your personal notes blue notes? Are you unhappy with your life? Fearful? Angry? Anxious? Feel down or upset by everyday occurrences? Plagued by chronic discomforts like migraines or tension-type headaches? At Last! An Innovative 21st Century Approach to Removing Unwanted Physical Body States without Drugs or Psychotherapy, e-mediatelytm !
Does your Face sometimes resemble the Faces Below? If so, Click on the Faces or Flags to Dig into our First Aid Kit.
To follow Research in the science of doyletics, Read our Monthly DIGESTWORLD Issues.
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Books are Lighthouses Erected in the Sea of Time
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