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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Marie Louise Himel (1918 - 2015) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ [ Cousin of Annette Matherne] ~~~~~
WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#161 January, 2016== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Mardi Gras Ball Month of January:
Accidents are miracles of wrong-mindedness; Miracles are accidents of right-mindedness.
— Bobby Matherne, inspired by The Course in Miracles
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DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#161 for January, 2016
Table of Contents
1. January's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for January
3. On a Personal Note
Rainbows & Shadows Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Household Hint for January, 2016 from Bobby Jeaux: Quick Apron Tie/Untie
6. Poem from Bobby's Journal April 22, 2015:"Henry David Thoreau"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for January:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: From Limestone to Lucifer, GA# 349 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: Michaelmas and the Soul-Forces of Man, GA# 223 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: The Martian - A Novel by Andy Weir
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
4. Seeing What's Around the Corner Is Right Around the Corner
5. Defeat the North
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. January Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Truth-Telling.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Truth-Telling" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/151220vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR January:
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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 January, 2016:
Stewart Lundy in Cyberspace
Marty Sutton in New Orleans
Congratulations, Stewart and Marty!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
CHRISTMAS SEASON IN FULL SWING
With 16 children and spouses, 21 grandkids, 4 great-grandkids, Grama Claus (Del) began buying and wrapping presents back around Halloween, and, by Thanksgiving Day, the presents were piling up on the floors and in the Wrapping Room upstairs (one of the guest bedrooms). By mid-December I hadn't bought any presents for Del but I got started, and had a full complement by Christmas Morn. She asked for something beautiful and a sparkling necklace and earring set from Chico's filled the bill. From Sundance I ordered a beautiful pair of waterproof boots, calf-high, for our Arctic cruise later in year. Plus a colorfully embroidered pullover shirt which looks great with jeans.My biggest problem from starting so late compared to Del with the gift-wrapping was finding the paper, scissors, and tape which she had picked up when our kids and grandkids came to stay. Our third bedroom has had only one single bed, a foldout sofa, so we bought a large hassock which is great for laying our feet atop while reading in the small office it doubles as when we've no company staying over. When the kids come, we used to blow up an air mattress, but no more. This hassock quickly unfolds into another single bed. Teenage grand-daughter Molly helped me unfold and put the linens on the two beds that she and her cousin Evelyn would sleep on. Their brothers Garret and Aidan would sleep on the large corner sofa in the living room, and their two sets of parents in the two large upstairs bedrooms.
But I get ahead of myself, so back to the first day of December when I pulled out my new book, "The Martian", and began reading it. First thing I check is the half-title page and there it said "First Edition" and in its 22nd Printing. In my experience, a First Edition never gets into even a second printing, but this one must have taken off like a Mars rocket! You can read my review in this issue, which I especially recommend for those of you who saw the movie, as you'll find out some stuff left out of the Hollywoodization of this great novel. It's great because it is insightful, challenging, and funny as all hell! Del told me, "I never heard you laugh so often while reading a book before." Plus Hollywood took Andy Weir's practical joke idea, to make himself into Iron Man by punching a hole in his finger tips and use the exhausting of air from his space suit to propel himself towards his rescuer.Weir enjoyed the jest mentally but quickly calculated the high risk that he'd miss the rescuer and fly off into interplanetary space forever. Hollywood loved the idea and incorporated it into its movie version. At the worst they could lose a stuntman.
For years, I have told people that I read so much science fiction as a young kid that by the time I was fifteen I had spent more time on Mars than on Earth, so much time reading science fiction that I rarely ever read it today. So when The Martian appeared, I thought, "For a little nostalgia, why not spend some time on Mars again?" I finished the book in two days, not doing much else. It gripped my attention as I gripped my sides laughing at times. "Everything went fine, right up to the explosion." That's a quote that reveals Weir's amazing sense of humor. What intrigued me as a physicist is solving along with Mark Watney how to stay alive for the next minute, the next hour, the next day, or the next year. Once his suit began exhausting nitrogen and if he hadn't quickly figured out what was going on and how to fix it, he would have died from oxygen poisoning on a planet with almost no oxygen in its very thin atmosphere.If that doesn't grip you, watch the movie. If it does, it's only one of dozens of equally life-threatening dilemmas that Watney must solve without any help from NASA, his support organization on Earth which is convinced that he died on Mars, so convinced they had a funeral and memorial service for him.
With my new wheels, the 2010 Cherry Maxima, comes XM Radio, which I hardly listen to because I listen to Teaching Company lectures to and from PJ's Coffeeshop each morning. I was considering discontinuing the XM Radio subscription as I hardly ever used it. But two things happened this month: 1) PJ's on Lapalco stopped taking bills over $20 so I switched to Charlie Sampay's new PJ's on DeGaulle which has a drive-through service lane. 2) I discovered Symphony Hall which plays classical music.
One morning I turned on XM Radio to hear the beginning of Aaron Copeland's Appalachian Spring. I realized as I approached PJ's that as much as I enjoyed going into the coffeeshop to order, that if I used the drive-through lane I could listen to the entire piece without interruption. So I ordered my small latte, extra foam, and sipped it as I drove back home. The piece ended as I opened the garage door. Classical music is my favorite and I had only heard pieces of Copeland's masterpiece before this trip to PJ's. I plan to continue my XM Radio subscription.
On December third, I was up early reading The Martian when I got a text that we had a new grand-daughter born to my son Robie in California. First girl grandbaby since Molly over sixteen years ago. That gives the Matherne side of our clan a perfect dozen, six girls and six boys. Makes me wonder if there might someday be a Baker's Dozen. Not a common phrase these days, but when you dealt directly with a baker in his bakery shop, he would recognize you as a regular customer by slipping a 13th doughnut or cookie in your bag. An extra something in honor of your custom, your patronage of his shop. We have a word in New Orleans for this extra something, we call it "lagniappe" pronounced, "lahn-yahp". When I asked him about the possibly of a little lagniappe, he didn't discount the possibility.We had already planned to fly out Dec. 11 to visit our new grandbaby, figuring her to be born on Thanksgiving, but she decided to be a December baby instead. Seems to me that our son Robie, at 49, is experiencing a little Appalachian Spring of his own as a new papa.
On the first Sunday of December we decided to stay home and enjoy a Crawfish-Eggplant-Dressing Omelette in Bobby Jeaux's Kitchen instead of going to Muriel's for the annual Christmas Brunch. With lotsa fresh basil and parsley in the garden the omelettes were perfect and we enjoyed a quiet Sunday at home. Our NFL Saints were still in playoff hunt and had a chance to beat the visiting team at noon and I planed to watch it. Del, by being home, was invited to join our next door neighbors, Gerry and Barbara, at the Saenger for the Broadway Play, "Newsies", which she thoroughly enjoyed.
MY BAPTISMAL FONT
On my Certificate of Baptism, it shows that I was baptized at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Houma, Louisiana. I had been to a wedding and a funeral there before, but it had never occurred to me to check out the actual font of my baptism as a Christian. This month I had a chance. Last month my first cousin's son had died, and this month another first-cousin, once removed, had died, this time from the Babin-Himel side of my family.It was Louise Himel, my mother's cousin, who was born the same year as my mom, Annette, and had a daughter only six days after I was born. Mother was close friends with Louise and her long-time husband Earl Himel, and growing up I always heard their name together as "Earl and Louise are coming over" for example. Earl had passed years ago and now Marie Louise (never knew her first name was Marie before the obit came to me) at age 97 had died. Mom would be 97 today if she had survived.
So it happened that on a bright cheery Monday morning I put on my best blue suit and drove to Houma for Louise's funeral. Her daughter Carol Himel Collins greeted me. I sat next to my first cousins Judy and Leonard Clement during the service and they invited me to lunch afterwards at Peppers Pizzeria.
During the service I noticed my marble baptismal font and walked past it, stopping to touch it, as I returned from communion. Back in my seat, I took a closeup shot of the font that I was now sure was the one where I was baptized because clearly it was over seven decades old, part of the original church which has been very well maintained, as clean and bright as any new church I've been into.
After the funeral I followed my cousins in my car for lunch and it seemed like we'd never get there. Trying to get my bearings I put on the GPS display and soon we were off the grid of known streets looping along between some new apartment buildings and a large empty expanse of land when we pulled into Peppers. Turns out that Peppers is owned and managed by Judy and Lance's son who owns Houma and Thibodaux locations plus a catering business.I had the eggplant fettuccine and it was delicious. Had a great time talking to Leonard, Judy, and especially to Lance. I had never taken the chance to talk to LJ, as I knew him earlier, and learned about his career as a high school coach among other things. As we got ready to leave, Leonard told me to follow him and he took off in a different direction from the way we came and I was totally lost in borderlands of Houma until I noticed that US-90 appeared on my GPS and I realized that we had looped completely south of metropolitan Houma and as Leonard drove under the overpass heading to his home in Thibodaux, I merged right onto US-90 freeway heading to Raceland and New Orleans. Sweet way of getting home without driving through Houma downtown traffic. Lance had told me Leonard knows his way around Houma really well, and this shortcut out of Houma convinced me. Leonard told the Cajun joke to me that appears in this month's Cajun Story section. He said it was the only one he remembered. It's an old one, but when our steward at the club said he couldn't figure out why his wife was always late, I told him the story and he got a big laugh out of it.
STAR WARS CITY
Our new grandbaby was born in San Anselmo, California in Marin Country just north of San Francisco. This is the location of the George Lucas ranch where both Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies were born, so there are "life-size" bronzes of Yoda and Indy in a park in the city's small downtown area. Saw two all-electric vehicles for the first time. While waiting for our ride at SFO, I spotted a strange logo on the front of a new car that was parked at the curb so I walked around it and discovered it was a Telsa. Came with a good-looking blonde accessory. Later in San Anselmo, I spotted a Nissan Leaf and had a chance to walk around it, peek-in, and take a couple of photos.
TSA literally bowled me over when we checked in at Louis Armstrong airport in New Orleans. We went through TSA PreCheck with our shoes on and had a much shorter wait time, but the guy gave me a small bowl for my camera and my cell, another for my belt, then another small bowl for my wallet, and when we left the area, I left the small bowl with the cell and camera and had to go back to get it. They need to provide a larger container. They allowed my LT to stay in carry-on, but they let me know that only after I had already gone through the trouble of getting it out! So I had to rush to get it back into my carry-on.
We got to our son's new home and met Julie, the baby's other grandmother who was holding her. Julie showed me the baby and I commented that she looked like her dad when he was a baby. We had hauled our largest suitcase full of Christmas presents for our son, and his three older kids, Sierra, Walden, and Emerson. For the baby we brought a small white jumper with a pale purple embroidered fleur-de-lis logo. "Her New Orleans connection," her mother said, and I said "Yes" and wondered when or if her mother would ever have one, never having visited in New Orleans, up until now.
We then checked in at San Anselmo Inn and negotiated a change to a downstairs room which was handy to breakfast area and the office. We were exhausted, having gotten up at 4 AM, so we took a long nap and when we awoke it was raining. Rob came and picked us up and took us to Iron Springs grill. Took two trips to get mother and baby, Julie, Walden home, and then me and Del back to our Bed and Breakfast.
We had breakfast at the Inn and then took a leisurely walk downtown heading towards Rob's home on Elm Avenue. We located a jeweler who could replace the battery in Del's wristwatch. When we walked in the place it looked like it had not been organized for the last dozen of the forty years he said he'd been open at this location. He was is jeans and shabby looking, but clearly ran the place, so we left her watch with him and he suggested we grab a cup of coffee as it would take about twenty minutes. After we left, we realized we had left an heirloom gold watch with a stranger without getting even a receipt. It's a small town. The watch was fixed when we returned. He had to remove some corrosion on the contacts.
When we arrived at Rob's house, I got to hold and burp a baby girl, only seven-days old, a long time since I had a chance to do that. The last time was probably for our 34-year old grand-daughter Tiffany. We've had a long run of boy grandbabies in recent years. Rob wanted to take us on a hike to a nearby waterfall, which should be running with the recent rains around there. We would also get to see the yellow-bellied newts which walk across the path.We were warned not to step on any, but on this day they were hard to find. Their backs match the color of the muddy and slippery path, but they are docile, easy to catch and turn over. Must not have any natural predators like the very quick and hard-to-catch anoles and skinks around our area which provide afternoon snacks for Great Egrets. To get a photo of skink around here, I have to wait till I find one on a frigid day, motionless between some firewood.
Did I mention the path was slippery? Yes, slippery and up and down, and with large gaps where small streams flowed across the path. Del quickly dropped back and returned to the car to wait for us, but we trudged on. Like a walk through the Smokies without any of the fun, since every step required full attention. Finally we walked out of the dense trees and saw the sky. We walked up a long hill to the where the crest would afford us a great view of the waterfall. Or so I hoped. Instead we could see the surrounding hills and the path down to the waterfall, another ten minutes down and then up again. Julie and I opted to skip the waterfall and head back the mostly downhill but still treacherous path to the car. Definitely a low-light of our trip. Oh, Rob found a newt and turned it over for its photo session.
That night Del located a café down the street from us a few blocks and we walked there and had dinner with Rob, Meghan, baby, Julie, and Walden.The next morning at breakfast in San Anselmo Inn, we met Ludwig Haskins from South Africa. His father was Sam Haskins, a famous photographer. He had just packed up and shipped his dad's photos from Australia and is here waiting for them to arrive. The previous day he arrived after having driven from Miami to San Anselmo in four days, alone! Quite a feat, about 750 miles a day, for a man who seemed over 60. We enjoyed our walk back to Elm Avenue, and this time we talked to Julie, held the baby, and watched as Rob headed out for a bike ride with a buddy. No word on when he'd be back.
About a hour later, Del had a hair appointment downtown, so she walked there and I stayed back, getting to know Julie, whom I began to call Jules as the name seemed to fit her better. After an hour or so later Del called to say she was heading back and Peter Marino had called, whom we were to have dinner with that night. He was one of the Marcie Street friends of Del's boys who called Del "Mom" since they were around our house almost every day. Peter lives with his wife Stacey in Alameda currently and would like to move back to New Orleans. Del said that Peter called and offered to take us sight-seeing in San Francisco, and we said, "No way! We still have more of downtown San Anselmo and its area waterfalls to see!" Just kidding. Of course — we jumped at the chance to visit San Francisco.
On two previous trips to San Anselmo we never saw much of San Francisco. I said goodbye to Jules and began walking to meet Del halfway from the Inn. We had time to handle the watch battery replacement and take a few photos and sip a latte from Coffee Roasters. When I walked up to counter for my latte, it was slow and I chatted with the server. "Are these gluten-free bananas?" I asked him. He laughed and we found out we shared a disdain for the current gluten-free fad, something which affects only one in a thousand people has now created gluten-free cities like San Anselmo. I recall when in 1970s, health food fads like not placing black pepper shakers on restaurant tables swept the country from California (where else?). This too shall pass.
Peter didn't expect us to walk to where he was, and picked us up outside the San Anselmo Inn. As we waited I inspected the all-electric Leaf parked outside. We met Stacey who is a delightful gal, short, but with a walking pace that had us struggling to keep up with her at times. Peter took us to Twin Peaks, the highest point of San Francisco and we had never been there before. After driving up to the vista overlooking the city, Alacatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, in almost all directions, I needed a rest stop and spotted these two very large Porta-Potties. I stood in front the one which said OCCUPIED in an LCD digital display, and I noticed a guy at the other one whose door had just opened, but he couldn't get the door to close. Kept coming out, reading the display, going back in. Couldn't be that complicated, I thought, it's only a toilet. Well, I was wrong. I had a similar problem.This was like a Star Wars spacecraft outhouse! I walked in needing to pee and I couldn't because the large curved sliding door wouldn't close. I walked out and read the complicated ten-step directions which explained how to close the door, which had to be done BEFORE you could use it. Then it flushed the toilet and began washing and disinfecting the entire insides of the space-age unit. All the while I'm waiting outside doing the pee-pee dance. One minute, two minutes go by and the sound of water flowing, spraying and flushing was no help at all for me. Ah, for the good old days of the wooden building with a hole in the ground and a crescent moon cut into the front door!
Relieved, I walked to the overlook where Peter and the girls were standing and we took photos. I got a great 30X zoom photo of Alcatraz. Peter pointed to Market Street which leads from the foot of Twin Peaks into the city's downtown where we were heading. A few minutes later we were a block away from Union Square and Peter parallel-parked his car into the only vacant parking spot for miles and we walked to a very bustling night-time Union Square. Macy's Saks, Nordstrom were all alit with Christmas decorations, ice-skaters were enjoying the portable rink, and we found Sears! Not the department store, but a restaurant that's been serving since 1938 and we only had to wait about ten minutes for our table. It was a cold night and I had a delicious French onion soup and Del a delicious grilled salmon dinner there. Peter and Stacey shared a large Porterhouse steak, first one I've seen in a long time.
We then walked into Nordstrom's department store, like a modern Selfridge's all decorated for the season with a large circular center stairway which goes up about ten floors or so. We left Union Square and Peter drove us around the perimeter of SF, stopping for photos at the Bay Bridge, Coit Tower, Ghirardelli Square, all lit up at night, before driving us back to San Anselmo Inn. A great fun night in the City by the Bay.
This was highlight of our trip. The next day was Sunday and it rained all day or most of it. Stayed in the Inn, I watched an LSU basketball game on TV. They won, another highlight of our trip. Walked around town during a break in the rain. Many shops were open and we checked out some artworks on display. We ate at the Bistro across the street. We reserved a taxi to take us back to SFO airport early the next morning. He came at 5 am and we made it to the airport in only 45 minutes.
DEL SITS ON MR. BINGLE'S LAP
Our club had a Christmas lecture which began with an appearance by the familiar New Orleans figure of Mr. Bingle. Created to promote Maison Blanche Department stores, MB the store is gone, but its memory lingers on in the form of the snowball-shaped figure of Mr. Bingle. He was available for children and good-looking ladies to sit on his lap and tell him what they wanted for Christmas, so he could pass the word along to Santa. Del had her photo taken with him and then called for me to join her alongside Mr. Bingle. Children of members came to the club, our favorite piano player Armand played Christmas tunes, and John Magill regaled all present with stories of Christmas in New Orleans.
GRALAPP GRADUATION AND HATCHETT CHRISTMAS
We left to attend grandson Weslee Gralapp's graduation, planned to stay a Hilton overnite next to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, have dinner with Gralapp family members there, then sleep over and head to our Hatchett offspring's Christmas celebration a few miles down the road at son John's home. As we left for Baton Rouge and the LSU graduation, we stopped for breakfast. We love Waffle House, but this just wasn't their day. We were at the new Waffle House on Manhattan Boulevard near our home. It was freezing cold inside the place, cold air blowing on the only booth available. We asked them to stop the cold air and were told that they couldn't adjust the temperature. When we had arrived earlier, I noticed a fire in the Pointed Urn cigarette ashtray outside that was blowing smoke like from a smokestack. Some clerk came out and snuffed the fire, apparently a whole package of cigarettes had been dumped in it by a disgruntled smoker and caught fire. When we checked out, still shivering, the check-out gal named Destiny asked how things were going for me, and I said "Okay, till we got here" and explained about the temperature. No tip for Waffle House this time.
We drove into the LSU Stadium parking lot and walked past the luxurious penned area for Mike the Tiger and he wasn't there, just like he was a no-show in Tiger Stadium for all the games this year. I say get him in the stadium for football games or send him to a zoo. Being a mid-year graduation, the Pete Maravich Assembly Center was only 30% full, and the graduation was over fairly quickly. We went outside to get photos by the Shaquille O'Neil statue, but apparently no one was aware that the statue and its area was fenced off for construction. I shot through and over the fence to get a photo of Shaq's statue and the pad nearby where Bob Petit's statue is planned to be installed.Two of the biggest LSU Basketball players of all time. My son-in-law Wes asked me why there's no Pete Maravich statue and I laughed. "Hell, the whole building is named after him! Who could ask for a bigger memorial than that?"
We drove to find the Hilton Hotel which Del said we were staying at, and we drove right past the Hilton, because the tiny letters saying "Hilton" were invisible unless you knew where they were, down below the big LETTERS OF EMBASSY SUITES! We had to back up and turn around to get into their parking area. We checked in, loaded stuff to third floor, having to trudge over thick carpeting with our rolling suitcase. The smooth tiled area required you to go down about five steps, so when we said goodbye forever to the Baton rouge Embassy Suites, we used the tiled area and had to lift the bag up five steps, but it was better than tugging it over the carpet area. Poor design. Strike Embassy Suites off our list. The Embassy Suites were not sweet at all.The bathroom is falling apart. Toilet Water closet's cover broken, the shower flange fallen off. Terrible shower, more water leaks from faucet than comes through the ridiculous flat circular shower head. Black marble-like tops on everything made my black Z10 Cellphone disappear. The breakfast area sounded like Grand Central at rush hour. We left without eating there. TV selection was lousy. Impossible to hook up to Wi-Fi or even know if we qualified for it for free. Never going back. There was a nearby Holiday Inn Express, a motel which we've used many times with no problems, but we were already reserved at the Hilton Embaddy Suits.
It was a bit cold outside that evening when we walked to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. We sat at a large round table for twelve which made it easy for us to talk to each other. Wes asked each of us to tell a story to get some conversation going while the twelve appetizers were lined up on the table which we each shared with each other. Then the salads and soups, the entrees, and the desserts. A four-hour dinner to celebrate Weslee's graduation from LSU. Wes and Kim have one child left in college, Thomas, who is finishing his Sophomore year. Weslee is heading to graduate school, but we're not sure where as yet.
The next day we drove to our son John's house where he and his wife Kim were hosting the Hatchett Christmas celebration. With his brother Jim Hatchett recently moved to Memphis, Baton Rouge is now closer than Alexandria was in previous years when Jim lived in the Dallas area. That made a shorter trip for me and Del, as well as the other Hatchetts who live in Mandeville and New Orleans.
First thing, after greetings and hugs all around, we inspected Kirt's new Robo-Seat which allows him to get unassisted from his wheelchair into Jim's new van. Kirt pushes buttons on the remote and the chair moves outside the open van door, lowers itself. Kirt slides on and then it lifts Kirt back into the van. An amazing piece of space-age technology and a blessing for Gina. Kirt is soon to turn 21 and he's very heavy. Jim seems to prefer to lift Kirt into the seat rather than wait for the slow Robo-seat to do its job. Gina was excited about seeing our new 2016 Maxima, so I let her drive it. When Jim returned home with his twin brother John after picking up John's sons, I let Jim drive and take it out on the highway with the Sport button selected. The difference between Normal and Sport is that in Normal, if you push the accelerator down hard, the car seems to ask, "Are you sure you want this?" before speeding up. In Sport, it flat-out speeds up instantly. It's a guy thing, spending extra money on gas to have fun.
We opened presents while watching LSU beat Oral Roberts University in basketball. More excitement this year with Ben Simmons and a cast of outstanding recruits all learning how to win games together after a slow start. One gift was a large containers of soft, white, snowballs for indoor snowball fights. That was a hit, many hits actually.Then Walter the Farting Dog announced his presence auditorily. Apparently several folks had read the book which tells Walter's tale. Walter was one of the Swapping Santa gifts and was kept by Jacob, John and Kim's son. I kept the LSU insulated bag by being the third person to steal it and no more stealing after that. John's present to me was a leather cowboy hat fashioned at Dollywood Theme Park in the Smokies. It fit my head nicely and when I got home, I added a chin strap to keep it from blowing off, like when I'm aboard a cruise ship. If it goes overboard, it's a goner for sure. The hand-fashioned belt with the silver buckle and tip which Del's brother Dan gave me later make a fine accompaniment to the new cowboy hat. Decades ago, I had owned an all-leather Clint Eastwood style hat with a flat brim, but it was much too heavy to wear and I finally got rid of it. This one is just the right weight and it fits my head tight enough without need for the chin strap on land.
MATHERNE AND RICHARDS CHRISTMAS
In a recently established tradition my three girls have come to Timberlane for a few days before Christmas and I take them shopping at Dillard's usually in the shoe department. In an old tradition, Del parents, Dick and Doris had a family gathering on Christmas Eve. When Del and I began going to Buster and Annette's home that night, Doris blithely moved her event to the evening Christmas Day. We haven't done a Richards Christmas since 2004, until this year. Dan and Karen Richards have finally moved home to New Orleans, built themselves a home in Mandeville just a short twenty minute drive across Lake Pontchartrain and they have re-started the Richards Christmas Eve celebration.
MATHERNES: By Tuesday the girls had arrived and we had a houseful of Matherne offsprings and spouses. Maureen and Jay, Carla and Patrick, Yvette and Greg, with a full complement of six grandkids and three ggsons.Tiffany brought her three boys, our first three great-grandsons, Ben, Aven, and Preston. Ben is now taller than I am, Aven like quiet like Ben, but Preston is very vocal. Maureen's four kids, Tiffany, Jennifer, Chris, and Gabriel were here. Chris with his fiancee, Sara Upton, and Jay with his daughter Trinity. With the new fold-out-into-a-bed hassock, we didn't need a blow-up mattress on the floor. Grand-daughters Molly and Evelyn had each a bed in third upstair bedroom, grandsons Garret and Aidan each had a corner of the sectional sofa downstairs, and their parents slept in the other two upstairs rooms. Del was in charge of the food and everybody was happy. I had bought the only cauliflower size at Rouse's and it was super-large, $7.50 large. Del didn't need all that for the veggie tray, but Yvette and Carla took care of seasoning and grilling the leftover cauliflower and all that went too. Molly and Evelyn donned some reindeer antlers and handled the distribution of the Christmas gifts. It was a wonderful night and we appreciate the effort everyone made to be here.
We had a special Gambino's Chocolate Doberge Cake decorated for Greg Clark's birthday and called everyone into the kitchen to sing Happy Birthday to him. There are many imitation doberge cakes, but Gambino's Bakery who bought the recipe from Beulah Ledner's Bakery when it closed makes the absolute best. By that I meant close ain't good enough. If I'm going ingest calories it had better be a Gambino's Doberge cake. It not only tastes great fresh, but if sliced in thin parallel slices. separated by wax paper, and tightly sealed in Ziplock, the slices will freeze and keep for a year or more in my experience. To eat simply pull one apart from the rest and you can eat it like a pizza slice while it's still frozen, without getting chocolate or icing on your fingers.
The next day we drove to Dillard's Department store. We stopped first as the girls investigated the animal skin vests. One of them, I liked for Del and was in XL or 16 so I bought it. It was the first present she open on Christmas morn and she immediately loved it! Then the girls moved on to the shoes and boots area. The scene was much calmer this year than the utter chaos of 41 pairs of shoes and boxes scattered across the floor of previous years. Maureen chose ruffled top black boots, Carla some 6" spikes with multiple straps, and Yvette some wedged heels, as best I recall.
When we came home, I rushed upstairs to get the vest wrapped before Del came home. Naturally I had to search for the wrapping stuff without asking Del. Meanwhile Del had come home and she heated up the lasagna and Yvette the seafood gumbo. Garret left with Yvette and Greg shortly after lunch, and Molly, Carla and Pat stayed until much later, leaving about ten pm.
RICHARDS: All four of Dan and Karen's kids were at their new home in Mandeville. The dining room table had just arrived and only minor adjustments are still needed to complete the remodeling. There was also one of ours, Stoney with his wife, Sue, who live only a few miles away from Dan in Mandeville. From Boston, Caitlin and her husband Sean Heger had come in for the holidays.We enjoyed meeting Caitlin's baby daughter, Annabelle, now a toddler of 20 months, but she seems more like six years old. She is pert, cute, inquisitive, and bright. Reminds me so much of my first daughter, and well my other two daughters as well. Looks and acts like they did. Sean talks like Donny and Mark Wahlberg, so it was not surprising that they are about the same age and grew up in nearby areas in Boston. Dan and Karen had met when they both working the shipping business and a similar thing happened to Caitlin and Sean. I was impressed by the attention that Sean gave to his daughter, even combing her at one point in the night. A full complement of Dan's grandkids were there. In addition to Annabelle there were Brandon and Brooke of Randy and Denise Richards, and Heather of Cheri and Frank Shields. Heather had her boyfriend Mark with her. Dan's son Daniel rounded out the Richards clan for the night, along with his sister, Del and her husband, me.
CHRISTMAS DAY WITH REED AND FOUNTAIN
CHRISTMAS DAY: Del and I woke up, had coffee and a date bar or two before opening our presents for each other. Her favorite was the vest, and next best she liked the Sundance high top boots (which she has already returned for one size larger). After that the Chico sparkling necklace and earrings set. And the Sundance casual blouse with colorful embroidery. For me, I loved the surprise Le Kinff painting which we got during Parke West Gallery auction on a cruise years ago. It was unframed and Del discovered while wrapping presents and had it matted and framed. I loved it, the paint, the framing, and the surprise. We knew right where to put it: on the hook where we had hung the Terranova Supermarket plein air oil painting by David Dillard, a West Cork Ireland architect and painter, a painting we gave to Jennifer Terranova to hang in her new home near their family supermarket. My other favorite thing is the snazzy travel vest with all kinds of pockets. For people who can't read, a colorful icon is placed over each interior pocket to suggest which one to use for eyeglasses, cell phone, camera, or water bottles for example. Will come in handy on our three cruises this year. My other favorite gift was the Air Gun, engineered in Germany and built in China. A little awkward to use at first (only three cusswords), but we pumped up our bicycle tires with it the day after Christmas and took a ride around the area. The next morning, we got out early on a Sunday morning and made it around the North Nine Holes on the golf cart path without encountering any golfers. When we had to take down the Christmas tree, the Air Gun pumped up the Vermont Country Cart's bicycle tires quickly and easily. I must tell you that I bought that cart over 30 years ago, and it is going strong. Tires are standard bicycle tires so easily replaceable by any bicycle shop.When its wood gets worn, plywood will replace it, and that ain't been necessary, up until now. The slide in front piece needs new wood for the first time. We keep the cart outside but under cover of heavy rain. Nothing beats it for hauling dirt or mulch across St. Augustine grass. The bicycle tires slide over it easily.
FOUNTAIN, REED: Our good friend Burke Fountain from Taunton, Mass. phoned us on Christmas Day from Candice Reed's home in Algiers (New Orleans), and we suggested he and Candy come over around noon for a Crawfish Eggplant Dressing Omelette. It's mine and Del's favorite and I had it on good authority that Chef Bobby Jeaux was willing to come out on Christmas Day to make an omelette for the four of us. Luckily Carla and Patrick had brought us a dozen fresh yard eggs from their freely deranged chickens and the Chef needed 10 eggs for four CED omelettes. Burke and Candy loved the omelette, echoing verbally what Del and I have said many times, "This is best omelette I've ever had." Candy makes a great baklava and when I saw the colorful box of goodies, I knew what it was before I opened it up, baklava. I budget myself on piece every other day or so, and since Del doesn't eat any, it'll last me a week or so.
A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS
It's a wonderful, but sad, song reminding us that even Christmas time can be sad, and we had one sad event on Christmas morning when Del brought me our annual Christmas card from Glenn and Sara Lee, and when I opened the photo card, Sara Lee was missing. Instead there was a brief message from the family saying they had lost Sara Lee to cancer and "Yet we continue to live life to the fullest in her honor." What about Glenn? The longer note inside said that Glenn was singing weekly with a group of Parkinson's singers called the Tremble Clefs. Plus that he was going to Fiji on Christmas Day, one of his bucket list items. So, in this one card, we came to realize that Sara Lee was in Heaven and Glenn was on the heavenly island of Fiji. A merry little Christmas now . . .
LSU and TEXAS TECH
FIFTY-EIGHT YEARS AGO: The last time LSU played Texas Tech was 1957, the year before I started at LSU, and I had heard nothing about until a few days ago when this article with an interview of LSU and Tech football players who remember the game. Tech was ahead 14-13 and looked sure to win it when Billy Cannon picked up the football near the goal line on a kick and began running to the other goal. One Tech tackler said to the other, You grab him high and I'll grab him low." Well, what happened was Cannon was past them so fast they collided with each other empty-handed. LSU won 19-14.
DECEMBER 29, 2015 TEXAS BOWL:
LSU and Texas Tech meet again and our Fighting Tigers have a modern-day Cannon, big, strong, fast, and as hard to tackle as Billy Cannon, namely, Leonard Fournette. Tech tacklers better not take time to plan a tackle or Fournette'll slip right past them as Cannon did 58 years ago. Cannon's fellow running back watched the clock from the sideline of the first game and said that, "Only ten seconds clicked off during Cannon's run." Cannon recorded a 9.4 second in the Hundred yard dash in college, so it's not surprising. I suspect Fournette may be just as quick as Cannon from goal line to goal line.
What a great game! The Fighting Tigers (9-3) would have finished 10-3 with another 10 win season but for the NCAA SNAFU which canceled a sure win in an September game. LSU earned a win over Texas Tech with an impressive and exciting 56-27 performance in the 2015 Advocare Texas Bowl. What amazed me was LSU's first team defensive squad. Tech barely made a first down until the second team squad came in and allowed Tech's first TD. Leonard Fournette had 212 yards rushing and 44 passing with 5 TD's. The other 3 TD's were also scored by a sophomore who will be back next year. I have been wanting Cam Cameron to move from the press box area down to the sidelines to maintain a tighter control on the game and assist Brandon Harris, and bless Les for making it happen last night. Not a single delay of game penalty which has plagued LSU for years. Make this a permanent change, Coach!
Our Fighting Tigers beat Texas Tech's team in the pre-bowl Rodeo Event and then again on the football field. It's a proud day for LSU and for our beloved coach Les Miles.
GLITCH AND UN-GLITCH
Several Good Readers have told me they like the glitch section. Apparently other people also have to deal with glitches, and some find healing thoughts and comfort in reading about my trials and tribulations. Reading about glitches is more fun than dealing with one's own glitches, no doubt.
First, the un-glitch. During Hurricane Isaac, really just over a Tropical Storm, our power was out for over a week. I ran our portable generator after getting Marcelo over to rebuild the carburetor. We hooked up our Whirlpool microwave and the display was broken, so we had plenty time to find a replacement while waiting for power and AC to come on. We drove to seven other places and finally found a suitable one at Sears in the Oakwood Mall. Should have gone there first! Later I discovered the Whirlpool oven worked, and that only the display was broken. I put it in the garage for the next time we used a generator. This month, after Del took her usual hydrotherapy hot shower, I needed hot water to shave and it occurred to me that if I placed the Whirlpool microwave oven in my large walk-in closet it would save the 150-foot round trip to the kitchen's microwave. Plus it would be convenient for using the Neti Pot which requires two cups of lukewarm distilled water with a fourth-teaspoon of non-iodized salt. Running a Neti Pot of this warm saline solution through each nostril clears up incipient sinus infections instantly. The water and measuring cup is only a few feet away from my walk-in closet, so the microwave would work well for that purpose as well. Plus we could make a quick cup of tea, if we drank tea.I figured that I could run the microwave without the display working. But when I plugged it into the outlet, the Un-Glitch Struck! The display came on! The microwave had healed itself while sitting on the shelf in the garage for several years. Hooray for the Un-Glitch!
My Cox Broadband was down and I spent a few hours on the phone with Sean in Tech Support. He got me up and running and then tried to sell me for $5 a month a double speed of 100MBPS and had an enormous problem getting it going. Finally he got word that the cable system had a partial outage. Hell, that what I had called him to report and he went about it as if it were only my problem. Said I could call back to get the $5 charge removed if it didn't double. Well, after a few days I found there to be no change whatsoever. I called Tech Support and she said she'd take the charge off. Minor glitch fixed, but a major one created because Sean for some inexplicable reason send me not only the MiniBox I ordered, but also a Cable Card which I didn't order, I have one already, and don't need another one. The gal on Tech Support said, just reject the Cable Card when it arrives and Fed Ex will return it. HAH! First of all, when the package arrived, I had no idea what was in it, so even if I had in my hands while Fed Ex man was there, I couldn't return it. I opened the package and saw the slender Cable Card and resealed it. I took it to Fed Ex uptown office and had to talk the guy to returning it. Well, he took it finally and returned it — TO ME! I was furious and have put the envelope aside for now. Obviously neither Fed Ex nor Cox wants to admit a mistake and correct it. Somebody's going to want the card and will come looking for it or try to make me pay for it.
Del suggesting bringing the Cable Card back to the local Cox store. She went to all the trouble to locate it, tucked away behind where the old Ryan's Restaurant used to be, only to walk into the store and be confronted by a three-hour-long queue. So, once more, the COX SNAFU is sitting on my desktop awaiting its return to the good disgraces of Cox.
LAST MINUTE NEWSIt is indeed sad to report that my good friend Calvin Petersen transited into the spiritual world on December 28, 2015. He brought a life of fun to the mostly mundane work of planning work on the Waterford-3 Nuclear Power. He was the inspiration for The Book of Calvin. Our mutual friend Steve said that in the most recent outage, an engineer who remembered Calvin asked Steve to give him some Calvin quotes to brighten up his day. Steve directed him to my webpage: The Book of Calvin .IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
There will never be another Calvin. I hope St. Peter is ready for him. I will include some quotes from Calvin below. Folks that knew him can still be heard saying things like "I'm as busy as two Little Beavers and a Bee" or "You're looking ripe and smiffy today!"
God be with you, Calvin. We'll always remember you fondly.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW GOOD BEGINNING
For the past 31 days, December has brought us wet and often warm weather, great for keeping our St. Augustine grass from drying out. No frost or freezes has helped our large Purple Dawn Camellia bush to burst out in hundreds of beautiful blooms. Frequently it blooms after a frost and the edges of the blooms are all yellowed and ugly, but not this year! Our Winter Gardens are being harvested now. Have broken off six large heads of broccoli three at a time and put them into a delicious cream of broccoli soup by adding a can of cream of mushroom soup per head of broccoli and blending it in Vita Mix with some seasonings. For our Christmas with the Matherne clan at Timberlane, we used the broccoli and bell peppers in a veggie tray. Several large heads of cabbage remain for our New Orleans Traditional New Year's Day feast of Blackeye Peas over Rice, Cornbread, and lightly Boiled Cabbage. Till we meet again at the end of January in the Leap Year of 2016, God Willing, stay warm and cozy and enjoy the wonderful Winter Season with your loved ones, wherever in the world you and yours reside, be it warm or freezing. We pray that you will remember this: Peace and Serenity can only be found within, and so we offer this earnest wish for you, in the first month of the promising New Year:
MAY YOU MAKE YOUR NEW YEAR A SWEET SIXTEEN ! ! !
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
Quotes of Calvin Petersen from The Book of Calvin:
- Calm your jets or you'll ruffle my dandruff.
- I have the question to your answer.
- The time death was warmed over me.
Other Famous Quotes:
- They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance.
— Edmund Burke, Irish born English Statesman and Author
Once the government becomes the supplier of people's needs, there is no limit to the needs that will be claimed as a basic right.
The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.
We may not imagine how our lives could be more frustrating and complex — but Congress can.
New Stuff on Website:From Rainbows & Shadows, A 1995 Book of Poetry by Bobby Matherne
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky.
What is your substance, whereof are you made,
That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 53
Why rainbows and shadows? One reminds us of joyful occasions and the other of things that go bump in the night. First, rainbows.
In 1995 I stood in the open doorway of my garage before driving to work on my last day before retirement from the Waterford 3 Nuclear Power Plant, and I saw a beautiful double rainbow in the morning sky before me. My heart lept up like Wordsworth's when I saw that omen. I remembered that the source of the rainbow is in my heart, and was in the heart of everyone who took the time to observe a rainbow that morning. We each saw a different rainbow, and each one we saw was truly our own rainbow.
In 2015 a double rainbow appeared as I looked out my garage door in the morning of the same day I celebrated twenty years of working full-time as a writer, publisher, photographer, cartoonist, and poet. The beat goes on . . .
Likewise, each shadow we encounter is truly our own shadow, created by the materialistic stuff of our world blocking the light of the Sun. Shadows are the dark colors of the artist's pallette of our lives, without which there would be no texture, no structure, no light. As I reviewed my poems for this volume, I found some were naturally rainbows and some naturally shadows, and I separated them into one section called Rainbows and one called Shadows. My wife Del likes me to read to her one Rainbow followed by one Shadow — they seem to complement each other, she says. I have put the section titles in the header to facilitate such a manner of reading.
In addition to the poem, I have included a short note (where available), which notes altogether contain a panoply of information about my poems: when they were written, what I was doing at the time, what I was reading that inspired them, and on what scrap of paper I wrote them. Poems do not "form in their own water" (as my friend Calvin said of volcanoes), but they may form in the water of ideas suggested by others and completed in some fashion by me. In gratitude, I include in many of the Notes the authors' names and sometimes a brief reference or quote of the source of the inspiration. By reading the Notes, one may readily discern my favorite authors and assorted sources of inspiration during the five-year period of writing this book.
There is an ambiguity in the phrase driving to work that leaves unspecified whether I was alone in the car at the time. Believe me, I could never think these thoughts if I were not alone in the car. Sometimes I listened to jazz on WWOZ, sometimes to classical on WWNO, and sometimes only to the thoughts of the writer of the book I was reading and my own thoughts, but always moving on. Like rainbows and shadows are always moving, so was I.
You may have a moving experience also as you join me in my carpool of one on the highway of life. Welcome Aboard! What would you like on the radio, classical or jazz?
These poems are from Bobby Matherne's 1995 book of poetry, Rainbows & Shadows, most of which have never been published on the Internet before. Here near the beginning of the new millennium, we are publishing five poems until all poems have been published on-line.
Feelers Make Waves;
Sensates Ride the Waves;
Thinkers Talk About the Waves;
Intuitives Hardly Notice the Waves.
This poem was written sometime in August of 1995 on the front of an old Secor Bank deposit envelope. It was inspired by my friend Sharon, who is the consummate feeler and who is always making waves — mostly fun ones. She creates good feelings most everywhere she goes. Sensates, who pick up everything going are the consummate responders. No surprise that Sensates like to be around Feelers. Thinkers notice what’s happening and comment on it. That’s what this Thinker is doing now. Intuitives live in another time/space coordinate from the rest of us and most likely will not even notice the Feeler making waves.
Shadows of Light
is made of lightTwo waves of light
create a caesura
we call darkness
As we segue
from light to dark
and back to light
Let us remember
that God is light
and we are light
that we experience darkness
only by interfering
with God's will,
up until now.
NOTE: "Shadows of Light":
This poem was written on April 22, 1992. It was inspired by reading Sir Arthur Eddington's book, The Nature of the Physical World, in particular, the quote on page 120, "In optics darkness is considered to be constituted of two interfering light waves; light may be a 'part' of darkness." This poem became the title poem of the Shadows Section of Rainbows and Shadows. This was the inspiration I had been looking for to finish the organization of R&S. (Note: The moire pattern in Bobby's seersucker suit shown in photo is due to light wave interference. The brilliant colors in soap bubbles are another example.)
3. Rainbows4. Chapter: Shadows
Teachers & Learners
It’s an old Sufi saying that:
When the Pupil is ready
A Teacher will appear.
Is it not also true that:
When the Teacher is ready
A Pupil will appear.
And also true that:
When the Pupil is ready
The Teacher will disappear.
NOTE: "Teachers & Learners":
This poem was written on September 27, 1995, by expanding on the sentence on page 22 of my The Center Book. When I talked to Kathy Nichols the other day, she said she was sad that her friend, teacher, and boss was leaving the company. I wrote the third stanza as a result of that event. Artwork is on page 22 of The Center Book.
"Ever we look deeply only into those things that we can already see. Poetry carries us to the precipice to view those things previously unseen."
I looked into the looking glass
and all I saw was me.
Then the Master came to say,
"Come to the precipice with me"
And I saw the world in all its glory
shining deep inside of me.
NOTE: "Looking Glass":
This poem was inspired by pages 5 and 6 of Poetic Diction by Owen Barfield that I read on June 27, 1992. The two sentences I wrote on those pages are:This illustrates my idea of poetry's purpose as I gleaned it from Barfield's book. See also the poems "Either Twist" and "Sermons in Stones" in this volume. New words, as they are coined, "carry us to the precipice to view those things previously unseen." [Note: "I often quote myself, it adds sparkle to my conversation." I remember that quote from an Andy Capp Sunday cartoon I saw in the Boston Globe. Twenty years later, I discovered it was attributed originally to George Bernard Shaw. Andy was quoting Shaw, who obviously got first call on most of the witty reflections of the first part of the 20th Century.]
1) Ever we look deeply only into those things that we can already see.
2) Poetry carries us to the precipice to view those things previously unseen.
Accidents are miracles
Miracles are accidents
This poem was written on May 26, 1992. It was inspired by reading Course in Miracles, specifically the text on page 492 of the Textbook. Poem was written on the back of a Secor Bank deposit envelope.
Le Broussard Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission.
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."Some Kind of Beautiful" (2014) Another sunset with Salma Hayek for Peirce Brosnan in a silly but at times charming love story.
"Stuck in Love" (2012) Greg Kinnear as father of a family of writers estranged from his wife, but nevertheless waits for her and sets a place for her at Thanksgiving each year.
"The Best Offer" (2013) living with a woman, Geoffrey Rush finds, is like one of his auction sales, you never know if yours will be the best offer or if you will be ripped off. A DON’T MISS HIT! ! !
"Instructions Not Included" "(2013) It takes a daredevil to fall in love with a baby girl dumped in his lap. A DON’T MISS HIT !
“The Red Army” (2014) The Hockey Captain relates the pressures on the Soviet’s ice hockey team to perform, excel, and stay red at all costs.
“Night Train to Munich” (1940) Rex Harrison sings a German tune as he rescues Czech scientist from Nazi clutches and gets the girl. A DON’T MISS HIT! !
“The Longest Week” (2014) After the longest week of his life at the age of 42 Conrad was beginning to grow up. A DON’T MISS HIT !
"The Night of the Hunter" (1955) "The Lord abides the little children" and Bob Mitchum gets hung.
"Jackie & Ryan" (2015) make a reluctant duet.
"The Man From UNCLE" (2015) a Bond-type American spy teams with and against a Bourne-type Russian spy and all kinds of Hell-O! breaks out. Has the look of a new franchise in movies. Look for more UNCLES coming out of the Hollywoodwork! A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
"River of No Return" (1954) Bob Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe spark romantic fires on a raft fighting to navigate a frigid rushing river to safety. A DON'T MISS HIT!
"The Ref" (1994) Denis Leary stars in this "Home Alone" for adults where the bad guy helps the good guys straighten out their lives and gives the audience a ROTFL ball of fun. Remember Kevin Spacey in this one? 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."Voices" (2014) OFFAL! Hop and chop.
"Vacation" (2015) swimming in OFFAL! A Lampoon in a Shit Lagoon! FUGETTABOTIT!
"Goodbye to All That" (2014) — enough said.
"20,000 Days on Earth" (2014) a slideshow with boring narrative by Nick Cave. Better than Sominex.
"The Salt of the Earth" (2014) stunning beauty in mind-numbing repetitions.
"Dope" (2015) Nope. A DVD STOMPER ! ! !
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:"The Missouri Breaks" (1976)" are few and far between for cattlemen and rustlers where the land breaks up the Missouri River and vigilante justification breaks up pardners. Brando, Randy Quaid, and Nicholson in this tiresome Western.
"Eden" (2015) becomes hell when soccer teamwork falls apart and they fall upon each other with vengeance more important than survival.
"The Journey Home" (2014) Teenage boy drowned his snowmobile and nearly killed himself twice and led several other people to near death because he wanted to re-unite a polar bear cub with its mother. A frozen journey to melt bleeding hearts. YUCK! Lousy story, good scenery.
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Thanks to cousin Leonard for this one.
Boudreaux was hunting in the Atchafalaya Swamp when he stumbled over a hard object and picked it up. An old lamp, so he rubbed it and a Genie appeared offering him one wish.
Boudreaux thought a while and then said, "Mais, you know Ah’ve always wanted to saw Paris, but I get seasick and airsick. I wish you would build me a paved road all the way from here to Paris."
The Genie scratched his head and said, "You know, dat’s pretty hard even for a Genie. Is dere anything else you might like instead?"
Boudreaux said, "Wahl, I’ve always wanted to know how women think."
The Genie quickly replied, "Do you want a two-lane or four-lane road?"
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5.Household Hint for January, 2016 from Bobby Jeaux:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Quick Apron Tie/Untie
Background on Quick Apron Tie/Untie:
Aprons are made to fit a wide variety of waists, but if you're like me, you only have one size waist. So make a knot on each end of the apron only you use, and you can don and remove your apron in a half-second.
If you do a lot of cooking, you will have your favorite apron, so why not made this simple modification which will make it easy to don and remove your favorite apron?
Instead of tying the ends of the apron together each time you put it on, simply make a knot at each end of the apron ties.
Test that it fits snugly around your waist, and adjust it until it does.
Knots of Apron Wrapped around Each Other
After you have the two knots adjusted for you, you simply place the apron over your head and reach behind you and loop the two knots over each other and the apron will stay snug.
To remove apron is just as easy. Leave the knots in place for the next time you put on the apron. Bon Apetit!
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from Bobby's Journal April 22, 2015:
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Henry David Thoreau~^~
Henry David Thoreau
arose as an arrowhead from the Concord ground;
he once walked in the red snow,
his aquiline Roman nose
a forerunner dividing the air
in his holy time.
Thoreau, the Norseman Thorer the dog-footed,
smelling of the piney woods,
was present at the birth and
bringing up of Nature in his native soil.
Emerson, his transcendental tutor,
early to the school board and
later to the Lord,
With whom, Thoreau said,
"I have no need to make peace,
having never quarreled with Him."
So noble a soul, this edelweiss
that none could pluck
nor reach the heights of
alone in the grass
atop the mountains.
This teacher, surveyor, singer, naturalist, botanist,
flute player, carpenter, Spartan-Buddhist,
and even more, found
"books in running brooks,
sermons in stones,
and good in everything."
NOTE: "Henry David Thoreau":
This poem was originally written 1977 when I was in the New Orleans Poetry Forum. In the process of re-reading in my Journal of April 22, 2015, I tracked down my "sermons in stones . . ." quote, unsure of where I had first encountered the expression. I found this reference to its origin:Dr. George W. Richards, professor of church history at the Lancaster Seminary, gave the address. He began by quoting from Shakespeare's play, As You Like It, "There are sermons in stone, books in running brooks and good in everything."
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for January:
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For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first and second reviews this month will be ones which were never published in early DIGESTWORLD ISSUES and will be of interest to our DIGESTWORLD Readers. The rest of the items will be new additions to the top of A Reader's Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, new additions to A Reader's Treasury, or Essays previously unpublished.
NOTE: some Blurbs may be condensations of long Reviews, possibly lacking footnotes and some quoted passages. For your convenience, if you wish to read the full review or to print it out, simply CLICK on the Book Cover or choose Printer Ready option on the top line of a review page when it opens.
1.) ARJ2: From Limestone to Lucifer, GA# 349 by Rudolf Steiner
Steiner begins his first talk with a discussion of the various elements and minerals: how they are helpful to the human body. First he covers silica. I can't think of any medicines off the top of my head that incorporate a compound of silica. I had to look up the chemical constituency of aspirin to check if it contained silica, and it doesn't. The salicylic acid is an organic compound named for the genus of willow trees in whose bark the active ingredient of aspirin was first discovered.
[page 10] The head goes furthest towards cosmic space. It can therefore be healed most easily with silica. The belly comes closest to earth, and we therefore can most easily heal it with mica. And the parts that are more in the middle, the lung and so on, can be treated to good effect with feldspar, if we prepare it in a suitable way.
As for another hard mineral, limestone, it was once part of a living creature and is now mostly dead matter, but it will arise again into living matter. To understand how this might be so, we must look at the sun cycle of 25,920 years during which the Sun completes its path through all the signs of the zodiac, spending 2160 years in each one. While we humans live and walk upon the solid Earth, it is sleeping, a sleep of 15,000 years, and a mineral like limestone is hard and lifeless, a residue of life. When the Sun returns to Libra or the Scales again, the hard minerals of Earth will be flowing again, "and a state of life will exist again, only at a higher level of evolution." (page 15) I know all this sounds silly to materialist scientists with their radioactive carbon and uranium-decay dating methods that claim a life-time of over three billion years for the Earth. However their methods have not been in existence for three billion years but a paltry hundred years or so when things haven't changed much. They project backwards in a fashion much like the doctor who inspected the changes in a patient's heart over several years, and projected backwards from the changes he observed claimed that he could describe the state of the patient's heart at a time three hundred years in the past. His methods may be exact, but there is one small problem: the patient had not been born at that time! (Steiner has used this metaphor in several lecture series to show the folly of projections backwards as to the life of the Earth by materialistic scientists.)
What does all this mean? It means that the tiny bit of residual life in limestone may be administered as medicine, both homeopathically and allopathically, with good effect.
On page 16 he details the case of malnutrition involving a child with a bloated belly who is unable to digest food anymore. We've seen photos in our lifetime from Ethiopia, Somalia and other regions of such children. Steiner says for those children we must first make their "organs fit again to take in food."
[page 16 -17] This is where the little bit of life in the limestone serves us well. If the limestone, or calcium carbonate, is used as a medicine in the right way, we can wake those sleeping digestive powers up again and the child will live. . . . Given in allopathic doses, it acts on the digestive organs, given in very high dilution it acts on the head. And we can arrange things accordingly. But we can also know what we are using when we give calcium carbonate in very high dilution. We are using powers of the future. These are still in there and will be active in the future.
The next lecture he covers two basic parts of color theory: why the sky is red at dawn and dusk and yet is blue in the middle of the day. When the Sun is below the horizon, at dawn and dusk, there is dark around us, and when the light from the Sun hits clouds in the sky near the horizon, the light bouncing off the clouds towards us travels as light through the dark and thus appear to us to be red. In the middle of the day the sky above us is full of light from the Sun and yet above the Earth the realm of space is black. The result is that when we look up into a clear sky in daytime, we see darkness through light, which will always appear blue.
To me, a trained physicist, this seems prima facie to be poppycock and addle-headed foolishness. Everybody knows that all the colors of the rainbow are contained in a single beam of light and one only needs a prism in a dark room to prove that to be the case. Ah, but I am now hoisted on my own petard because my previous sentence presupposes an image schema of light being "a container of colors." To quote my review of Mark Johnson's fine book, The Body in the Mind:
What is an image schema? It is a "dynamic pattern that functions somewhat like the abstract structure of an image, and thereby connects up a vast range of different experiences that manifest this same recurring structure."
What does it mean for a beam of light to be a container of color? Rightly understood, the whole statement is a bit silly. Color is a process, the result of the path taken by a particular ray of light, not a thing is contained in a light beam. But what did Newton say to himself?
[page 24 -25] Newton said to himself: 'There the white light is coming in; the prism gives me the seven colours of the rainbow. The seven colours of the rainbow are therefore contained in the white light and I only need to lure them out.' You see, that is the simplest explanation. You explain something by saying it is already present in something from which I then draw it out.
And, as silly as it may be in truth, this explanation of light is still being taught to physics majors some forty years after I learned it in college. No wonder I was unable to understand the subtleties of light and color — I was always using the container image schema, so I was unable to notice by dint of my cognitive processes that the color of a white coffee cup could be white, gray, beige, green, yellow, pink, or any combination of those colors depending on the toils undergone by a ray of light from a given spot on its path into my eyes. Not only could I not see the cup as it really was, but my cognitive blindness made it impossible for me to render an accurate color image (painting) of such a simple object as a solid white cup! Armed with the explanation by Steiner that when using a prism we "see light through darkness on one side [namely, red], and darkness through light on the other [blue]," I would have been better prepared to understand that color is an emerging property of the path that a light beam takes, not something that exists in a container to be extracted!
When a bull sees red, it gets angry. We even call getting mad "seeing red." When we see a blue sky, we feel peaceful. If color is just something that is extracted from a container, how is this possible? Steiner says that when the eye comes up against the color red, light seen through darkness, the blood in the eye is a little bit destroyed as are the nerves in the eye. The oxygen drawn in from the body leaves the eye and the rest of the body vitalized. On the other hand, darkness seen through light, or blue color, does not destroy our blood and it leaves the nerves intact, and we feel peaceful with a sense of well-being. As for the other colors, yellow is a shade of red and green is a shade of blue. (from page 27 to 29)
How does one obtain color pigments for painting? I grant that this has been a mystery to me as well, up until now. So it was with great interest that I read this section on pages 30 and 31. To produce red shades of color [red, orange, yellow], one can use the flower of the sunflower plant.But if one wants to get a blue color, one uses a plant that produces a blue flower, but the material from producing the color is located in the roots of the plant. The example he gives are the chicory plant, which gives a shade of blue, and the indigo plant, which gives a darker shade of blue, only from the roots of these plants.
[page 31] And so I must develop a live chemistry in which I imitate the flower processes of plants to get light colours and the root processes of plants to obtain dark colours. You see, what I have been telling you is something that real common sense can discover. This business with the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet of the rainbow, on the other hand, is not something real, fundamentally speaking.
Next Steiner takes us into the human body, how the body is affected by colors and how the body affects colors in itself corresponding to its condition of health and vitality. Basically he says that in the presence of red colors the destruction of the blood calls up oxygen in us and this leads to a robust healthy condition. On the other hand, if we are surrounded by darkness or shades of blue all the time, we grow pale due to the excess of carbon dioxide. This is not something that Newton's image schema of a prism and rainbow to explain light would ever lead us to.
Consider for a moment the face of a shepherd, someone who works out of doors tending his flock and sleeping under the stars. What kind of a face do you see when you think about this shepherd? Tanned face, piercing eyes, peaceful countenance? Yes, peaceful is probably the most universal demeanor that one thinks of when one thinks of a shepherd, perhaps due to the many pictures of Christ as the Good Shepherd, or is it the other way around? Perhaps Christ was portrayed as a shepherd because of the universally accepted view of a shepherd as peaceful. Read what Steiner says below and decide for yourself.
[page 37] Think of the pastoral peoples of earlier times who drove their herds and slept in the open. In their sleep they were exposed not to the blue but to a dark sky. And stars beyond number were shining up there in the heavens. From the dark sky came a calming influence, and the people felt inwardly at ease in their sleep. The whole human being was penetrated by the darkness, growing inwardly calm. Sleep came from the darkness. But there were those stars shining on the people. And wherever a star's ray shone down, the human being became a little bit excited inside. Then a ray of oxygen would go out from the body. And the star rays were all met by rays of oxygen, with the human being having such oxygen rays running through every part of him. He then became an inner oxygen-mirror image of the whole starry firmament.
[page 38] All human beings everywhere on the earth have come from that pastoral state. And in their bodies they have inherited as much as has still come down to them from those pastoral ancestors.
A major debate in physics and chemistry raged for many years over what happens during combustion. The materials burned were obviously smaller after burning than what they were before burning, indicating that something was given off. That was called phlogiston. Then clever scientists began to weigh all the products of combustion and found that, instead of something being given off, something was added. That something, they called oxygen and it could be weighed. That was how materialism came about: people began to believe only in those things that have weight. There is a stark consequence to this belief only in things one can weigh, however, as Steiner tells us bluntly:
[page 50] But remember, this earthly human being will be a corpse one day. Everything that has weight, that can be treated with scales, will be a corpse. Then the corpse lies there. You will still be able to live in the part that does not have weight, the part that exists around this earth and which materialists say does not exist.
To exist as an individuality after death is to be human. What is it to be human while one is on the Earth? How are human different from animals? The answer is as simple as 1, 2, 3, 4. Humans can 1) Walk, 2) Talk, 3) Think, and 4) Learn. Do animals walk? Yes, but the easy way, on all fours, not erect for any long periods of time. Do animals talk? No, they bark, make noises and give signals to each other. Do animals think? Steiner says, yes, but their thinking is not personal but cosmic. Humans first learn to walk upright, something animals cannot do, only approach doing in some species. Then humans learn to talk by imitating others, which does not requires thinking. Thinking only comes along later by which time they are capable of talking. Walking requires combustion, which means that combustion products or ash are formed in our body. If we did not replenish the things burned up in our bodies, we would decompose like corpses. The ether body in us replenishes our physical body while we are sleeping. The astral body provides us with our ability to talk, which goes away when we are sleeping and the astral body departs the physical body. Do animals learn? No, they are born with instincts and apply them as they mature to adapt to unique situations. Our ability to learn, above everything else, distinguishes us from animals and makes us truly human; our ability to learn comes to us because we have a fourth body, an I. That rounds out the four bodies that comprise the human being: physical body, etheric body, astral body and I.
In this next passage Steiner reveals something about himself, about how it is that his lectures are always so fresh and informative, even when he is talking about a subject he has dealt with many times before.
[page 65] Now when one wants to come into anthroposophy, then, I'd say, one has to learn one's language all over again. For you'll find that when someone gives a talk nowadays — wow, it's as if it comes from a machine. Observe it — you'll find it is as if it were coming from a machine. It is different from the way it is when someone gives a talk about something out of the science of the spirit, out of anthroposophy. There one must all the time try and find the words, take them up again in a new way inwardly. And then, having shaped the words, one really begins to worry that they did not really present things correctly. In anthroposophy, the relationship to these who listen to one is very different than it is with academics today. Modern academics no longer take care with their speech. In anthroposophy, one must always take care of speech and language.
One of the things that always puzzled me as a child was where was I before I was born. Nothing in catechism was any help. Nothing that I read anywhere was any help. I seemed to have just popped up, "Hey, World! Here am I!" at birth. Some years ago it began to occur to me that if reincarnation were true that would mean that I had lived before this lifetime. But that meant that the whole fabric of the story by the Church was rent in two — you know, the story about eternal bliss in heaven with harps and angels. Thank Goodness, I thought, what a boring prospect for spending eternity! I came to understand that life after death must also mean life before death even though I had never encountered the concept elsewhere. So, it was not surprising to me to encounter the following thoughts expressed by Rudolf Steiner about why the Church taught the dogma that life before life did not exist for us.
[page 74] So what happened when the dogma was established that one should not consider life before life on earth? People's view of the supersensible was cut off. But does it serve a purpose for the Church to cut off this view of the supersensible? Oh yes, it serves a purpose, for since human beings desire to have life after death, the Church is then able to make itself responsible for everything to do with death. People will not be able to know what happens after death, and have to depend on what the Church tells them. And this will make people long to believe above all in the Church. It was therefore a good thing — that is, for the Church — to establish the dogma that human beings go on living after their life on earth. For with this the Church took control of everything connected with death and dying.
In the next lecture Steiner talks about "cat asthma" by which he means an asthma that is triggered by the presence of a cat in the room whether the person knows a cat is present or not.
This reminds me of the dog allergy that my sister-in-law had. I suggested that she do a doyle trace and she did one in under 60 seconds following the simple instructions I gave her. When she went from 5 to 4, she said, "Woo! What was that?" She told me later that she felt this enormous rush in her chest's midline. Suddenly she could breathe freely again. The trace was over! Her difficulty breathing was gone, and within five minutes the puffiness around her eyes had abated. When I asked her, "What's a plausible thing that could have happened to you at the age of four?" [the Plausibility Question], she recalled that a large Labrador retriever, a big black dog, had eaten her kittens when she was four, and she cried a long, long time. I asked her what kind of dog was it that her boss had brought to the office the day before that triggered her "dog allergy" and she said, "Omigod! It was a Labrador retriever!" Over the 35 years since that childhood incident she had thought she had a "dog allergy" and all her doctors agreed and prescribed drugs for her. What she really had was a doylic event stored that consisted of puffy eyes, difficulty breathing, and these were triggered by the presence of a big, black dog, a Labrador retriever. So she had a "dog allergy" that was specific to Labrador retrievers, and had actually had other types of dogs as pets in her past.
Read Steiner's description of the cat asthma and note the similarities to the dog allergy I described above.
[page 138] The child then recovers from his whopping cough, but sometimes a strange thing remains behind. If the child has not been used to having a cat around before, and a cat has come to live in the house whilst the child had whooping cough — this will not happen when he has just recovered, but later on the condition will develop which people call asthma, a breathing difficulty that repeats itself over and over again.
And further along Steiner talks about buckwheat asthma — a young student who only got asthma when buckwheat was present in the house, whether he knew it consciously or not. The cooks were all instructed that no buckwheat should ever come into the house.
[page 139] A new cook had come who did not know this. She had had some buckwheat down below on the ground floor, and the young student up on the second floor developed asthma. These seem like fables. But they are completely true.
Of the veracity of the stories, I have no doubt, especially after my experience with removing my sister-in-law's dog allergy. The human being has senses that are extremely sensitive and that operate outside of awareness, outside of consciousness, outside of cognition. Lawrence Weiskrantz discovered the presence of such senses and gave it the name 'blindsight'. In blindsight, a man who has a lesion in his cortical region that processes visual information is still able to identify visual objects that he says that he cannot see. In other words, without any consciousness of seeing, he is able to pass tests with almost perfect scores that confirm he is, in fact, able to see the objects. If, as I suspect, the amygdala provides the storage and retrieval mechanism for storing triggers, such as the visual information about the cat or the smell of the buckwheat, then these sights and smell would be able to trigger the physical body states (doyles) in the person's lungs that we call asthma that were stored and associated with these triggers before the person was five years old. With the science of doyletics we are able finally in the 21st Century to provide an explanation for these 'strange' phenomena that Steiner reported in the first quarter of the 20th Century.
We all know that red blood is highly oxygenated blood and blue blood is blood with an excess of carbon that must be processed by the lungs to remove the carbon dioxide. Couple that knowledge with Steiner's explanation that the lips are actually an expanse of inner skin and you have a way of understanding certain kinds of plant poisoning, e. g., from opium or belladonna, the deadly nightshade. The person who is poisoned gets a red face and blue lips. With the poisoning the breathing is held up, preventing the removal of the carbon, and you get the red face, blue lips syndrome. An interesting aspect is the origin of the expression "blue blood" as it refers to the nobility.
[page 158] This is something else primitive peoples once knew, this business of the blue blood going inside. When someone had too much blue blood inside they would say that someone who has too much blue blood inside him is in the first place someone who has little soul; his soul has gone away.'Blue-blooded' therefore became a term of abuse. And when members of the nobility were called blue-blooded, people wanted to say their souls were not there. It is strange how these things live in a most marvellous way in popular wisdom. You really can learn a tremendous amount from language.
You can also learn a tremendous amount from Rudolf Steiner by reading all the lectures in this book. This paltry review can do little but give hints of what insights are contained within. It would be fitting to close with a view of Christianity that he shares with us that he says would allow Christianity to be "understood everywhere on earth."
[page 228] The divine spirit we should venerate is not in a particular place on earth but is connected with the power of the sun, the living nature of the sun which the Christ has taken into himself. And the sun is truly for the whole of humanity. No one in Europe can say, when the sun is shining on his head, that this is a different sun from the one that is there for the Egyptians, or the Chinese, or the Australians. Anyone who truly accepts that the Christ power comes from the sun has to accept the general religion that is for all humanity.
2.) ARJ2: Michaelmas and the Soul-Forces of Man, GA# 223 by Rudolf Steiner
This series of lectures answers the question, "How shall man, the earth citizen, once more become a citizen of the cosmos?" It also answers the question, "How shall humanity rightly address the chaos of our social systems?" A hint: the answers will not come about from an intellectualized view of the spirit world, one that does not fill the human heart with warmth which is the essence of the German word "gemüt" in the original title of these lectures. Gemüt has no direct equivalent in English as it refers to a blending of thinking, willing, and feeling that one can feel with one's whole body, but is centered in the region of one's heart. The translator gives this poetic translation, "the mind warmed by a loving heart and stimulated by the soul's imaginative power" and this more intellectual one, "the soul in a state of unconscious intuition arising from the working together of heart and mind." Steiner was speaking to his native Austrians in these lectures and was undoubtedly filled with gemüt as he celebrated his last Michaelmas festival in Vienna before his death.
To counter the claim that anthroposophy is too intellectual, Steiner gave these lectures, and begins Lecture 1 with these words:
[page 1] It is true that today one never tires of insisting that man cannot stop short at what the dry, matter-of-fact intellect can comprehend. Nevertheless, when it is a case of acquiring knowledge people depend exclusively upon this intellect.
Then he proceeds to speak to the human gemüt in the remainder of the lectures, how one may achieve an understanding of one's place in the cosmos by a balanced celebration of the four key festivals of the seasons, Christmas, Easter, St. John's, and Michaelmas. Particularly he focuses on how the battle of Michael with the Dragon is to be understood, not as a fairy tale, but with the human heart. The forces of materialism would have us believe that if spirit exists, it is only because inert matter has evolved into life upward until spirit has been reached. Steiner says that the exact opposite has occurred (page 3), and anyone who has understood his description of the evolution of the Earth and humankind can not doubt the veracity of evolution from the spirit downward into matter as the proper and only reasonable direction of evolution.
What is the battle of Michael and the Dragon? I know Michael is an Archangel, but who is the Dragon? Where does the battle take place? How come I've never seen this Dragon? These are good questions and ones that immediately pop into my mind. This book answers these questions definitively, and in this review I will summarize the answers. Steiner's definition of sin is "a good out of its time." With that in mind, let's review the great sin that occurred in certain divine spirits, one of which we know now as the Dragon.
[page 4] In superhuman pride, certain beings revolted because they desired freedom of will before the time had come for their freedom to mature; and the most important one of these beings, their leader, was conceived of as the being taking the shape in the Dragon that Michael combats - Michael, who remained above in the realm of those spirits that wanted to continue molding their will to the divine-spiritual will above them.
This rebellion took place long before the form of humans or even higher animals came into being; as a result, a unique form that did not correspond to any animal on Earth was created, the form we know as a dragon, "a cosmic contradiction," in Steiner's words. This being could no longer remain in the realm of the higher hierarchies and had to be "placed among beings that would evolve in the course of physical development." (page 5)
[page 5, 6] It was Michael's deed, this bestowing of a form that is supra-animalistic: supersensible, but intolerable in the supersensible realm; for although it is supersensible it is incompatible with the realm of the supersensible where it existed before it rebelled.
The Dragon found its only home, not in the divine realm, not on the physical Earth, but in the heart of man, the gemüt of the human being, in the human nature. Whereas formerly, in pre-human times, the battle between Michael and the Dragon occurred in outer objectivity, now the battle has moved inside to the struggle with human nature. The imaginative picture Steiner says an 18th Century human would have drawn is the Dragon "coiling through the animality in man, thereby representing an earth-being." But a change settled into humanity around that time so that thenceforth "the intellect has become the only recognized autocrat of human cognition." The evolution of consciousness which accompanied humanity's fall into materialism obscured our ability to perceive this Dragon that constantly pulls humanity down into a sub-human condition. And the remedy for this sad state of affairs is to buttress our gemüt with the help of Michael in order to overcome the forces of the Dragon that wraps itself invisibly around our hearts.
[page 15] So the content of the human Gemüt can be this: The power of the Dragon is working within me, trying to drag me down. I do not see it — I feel it as something that would drag me down below myself. But in the spirit I see the luminous Angel whose cosmic task has always been the vanquishing of the Dragon. I concentrate my Gemüt upon this glowing figure, I let its light stream into Gemüt, and thus my illumined and warmed Gemüt will bear within it the strength of Michael. And out of a free resolution I shall be able, through my alliance with Michael, to conquer the Dragon's might in my own nature.
Every year on September 29, Michaelmas occurs. During Michaelmas festivals around the world, the battle of Michael and the Dragon is re-enacted and the Dragon is slain during the ceremony. Children are given toy swords, and they are encouraged to slay the Dragon, chop its head off, dismember its limbs, and completely destroy the Dragon. These are powerful images that work in the gemüt of children. In the unfortunate event that the instructions to slay the Dragon are abridged by squeamish adults who would instruct the children merely to subdue the Dragon, not kill it, such children are taught to live with a temporarily subdued Dragon wrapped around their hearts. Such folly no doubt pleases the Dragon enormously, up until now.
In my essay The Childhood of Humanity I discuss the evolution of our human memory capabilities, how our cognitive memory developed into full bloom around the same time our abilities to perceive supersensible realities faded. Early humans possessed a native clairvoyance that allowed them to bring to mind pre-natal experiences, especially the events of previous lifetimes. With the loss of that clairvoyance, we have become as "hermits" — isolated in one lifetime, unaware of the connection of this lifetime with our previous lifetimes and thus of the very nature of our spiritual reality in the cosmos. While there was something lost, there was also something gained in the process.
[page 18] This phase of human evolution was indispensable for the development of what we experience in the consciousness of freedom, the feeling of freedom, in order to arrive at full self-consciousness, at the inner strength that permits the ego to rise to its full height; but necessary as was the hermit life of man in relation to the cosmos, it must be but a transition to another epoch in which the human being may find the way back to spirit, which after all underlies all things and beings.
The all things needs a bit of elaboration, of specification, and Steiner attacks this task on page 21 when he tells us that "in every plant there is concealed — under a spell, as it were — an elemental spiritual being." We only observe a plant rightly, he says, if we realize that the beauty of the plant is only the sheath, the outer and visible covering, the vesture of a spiritual being in the plant, a spiritual being low on the scale of cosmic beings, but one intimately related to human beings. When we stop and smell the roses or closely admire any plant or flower, we move the elementals in that plant a step closer to breaking its spell and moving on its way into the spiritual worlds. In essence we perform for those spiritual beings the favor that was bestowed on us as human beings in earlier stage of our evolutions by spiritual beings higher than us.
[page 22, 23] All about us are these elemental spirits begging us, in effect, Do not look at the flowers so abstractly, nor form such abstract mental pictures of them: let rather your heart and your Gemüt enter into what lives, as soul and spirit, in the flowers, for it is imploring you to break the spell. — Human existence should really be a perpetual releasing of the elemental spirits lying enchanted in minerals, plants, and animals. . . . In the present epoch of civilization — that of the development of freedom — man's attitude towards the flowers is a mere sipping at what he should really be drinking. He sips by forming concepts and ideas, whereas he should drink by uniting, through his Gemüt, with the elemental spirits of the things and beings that surround him.
If one sips, but does not drink, what is the result overall? The plant elementals, instead of being released, are captured by the Dragon in one's lower nature where they perish. People talk about big plans to create an improved society and civilization on the Earth, but there is another equally important aspect of our life on Earth, and that is furthering the development of the elemental beings by entering into an intimate relationship with them. Part of our slaying of the Dragon is starving it. We can do this by cutting off its nutrients in the form of the elementals that we have thrown careless into the maw of the Dragon by our careless disregard of the beauty of minerals, plants, and animals, up until now.
If we do not slay the Dragon, but instead allow it to gorge itself on elemental beings, three things happen to human beings: spiritually, psychically, and physically.1: Spiritually — humans arrive at a belief in a materialistic world to the exclusion of a spiritual world.
2: Psychically — humans become cowards, weaklings who are unable to do the right thing even when they know it is the right thing to do.
3: Physically — humans are beset by disease germs of all kinds.Attacked thus from three sides, millions of human beings are unable to experience the potency of their spirit within and lead debilitated lives, up until now. (page 25) Under this fierce, encompassing attack, we require Michael power; it is the only way that thoughts about spirit will grip us powerfully enough to win the day over the pervasive forces of the Dragon.
What are we to do if we experience a lack of Michael forces in our lives? Shall we implore them to assist us? Pray for Michael's help? As paradoxical as that might sound to some, such pleading will not suffice to ward off the Dragon. We must avoid the passive stance of prayer and take an active role in joining forces with Michael in this battle.
[page 28, 29] For the Michael forces do not want to be implored: they want men to unite with them. This men can do if they will receive the lessons of the spiritual world with inner energy. . . . If a man will saturate himself more and more with confidence in spirit . . . he will acquire a feeling, a Gemüt content, telling them that every blossom bears testimony to the existence of an enchanted elemental being in it; and he will learn to feel the longing in this elemental being to be released by him, instead of being delivered up to the Dragon to whom it is related through its own invisibility.
Seen this way, each elemental being in a flower is like Sleeping Beauty in the fairy tale waiting for a prince to come along to admire her enough to kiss her forehead, by which act she will arise to a new life.
It is easy to imagine the clever ripostes of some readers of this review to the effect that these are mere flights of romantic fancy having no basis in reality. Here's how Steiner would counter such intellectual blather.
[page 31] Cleverness, then, has been furnished in abundance by the last few centuries; but what we need today is warmth of Gemüt, and this anthroposophy can provide. When someone studying anthroposophy says it leaves him cold, he reminds me of one who keeps piling wood in the stove and then complains that the room doesn't get warm. Yet all he needs to do is kindle the wood, then it will get warm. Anthroposophy can be presented, and it is the good wood of the soul; but it can be enkindled only each within himself.
During my physics studies in college, I learned things that none of my friends outside of physics wanted to hear about. How to compute the positions of planets that I learned in astronomy. The sounds patterns I computed on the head of a drum in acoustics. The interpretation of spectral lines from the stars. I was left feeling a little like a hermit when I went home on the weekends from college. As Steiner says on page 33, "But what have all the results of such methods to do with the intimate inner soul life of man?" I didn't even think about my inner soul life at the time, but I certainly felt the emptiness that accompanied my focused studies on such methods of the physical sciences.
[page 38] The nature of our present-day education is such that we are prone to apply to the whole cosmos what we consider true in our little earth cell; but it is obvious that truth cannot come to light in this way.
We perceive with our head the concepts of the physical sciences and all of materialism, but with our heart, our gemüt, we are able to experience the fullness of life in an intimate way. One could conceive of the heart as a sense organ that allows us to experience life to its depths.
[pag 44] . . . the human heart is really a subconscious sense organ: subconsciously the head perceives through the heart what goes on in the physical functions of the lower body and chest. Just as we perceive outer events in the sense-world through the eye, so the human heart is in reality a sense organ in its relation to the functions mentioned. Subconsciously by means of the heart the head, and particularly the cerebellum, perceives the blood being nourished by the transformed foodstuffs, perceives the functioning of the kidneys, the liver, and other processes of the organism.
In the ancient Mithras cult the disciples were taught to have a conscious feeling of the above functions and from that to obtain a knowledge about the course of the seasons of the year. Later the Celts with their cromlechs were able to perceive the spiritual light that filtered into the darkened chambers and from its color determine the passages of the seasons of the year: a yellow tinge in mid-summer and a pale blue shade in winter. (page 41)
Everyone has seen that earthworms come out of the Earth when a heavy rain falls. Steiner compares materialists to earthworms living so deep in the earth that no rain in the form of rays of spiritual light ever reaches them. These "earthworms for whom it never rains" must emerge into the spiritual light of day, and the Michael Festival is the right time for that to occur.
Tuesday, December 29, 2015 Insertion: Reading to this point in this review that I had written in 2007, I was entranced by the above insight about earthworms, and, like a hungry American Ibis, I grabbed this poem I wrote back on 9/3/1971. My hand was actually resting on the faded yellow bond paper that I had typed upon with my 1958 Royal Typewriter at my desk inside 2122 Judith Lane in Anaheim, California. I had no idea what it meant at the time that I wrote it. I had no idea what it mean a half hour ago, 45 years after I wrote it, but while I was reading the above passages in this review, Steiner's words about flowers as a Sleeping Beauty [page 28, 29], sipping flowers [page 22, 23], and earthworms as materialists resounated deep in my soul.
I was exactly such an earthworm-materialist in 1971 when this poem filled with spiritual insights came out of my pen and was later typed into my mechanical typewriter. For weeks this marked-up poem has sat in limbo on my desk. Would I type it into my computer, not knowing whether or not to use the emendations I noted on it over the years? I didn't know. I held that as an unanswered question, up until now. The answer which came was this: DO NOT CHANGE A SINGLE WORD!
I now realize what the poem meant. The reason I had not typed it up with the dozen or so "corrections" I had scribbled on it was simply: I did not know what the poem meant! Now I do, and I hope you, my Good Readers will also know what it means after you read it, in the context of the Review it is embedded within which explains what it means:
Earthworm of Hindsight
I once found an earthworm of hindsight
stirring under a log,
Unturned in last spring's plowing,
blindly moving along.
The magic of yesterday's dreams
are smashed to smithereens
and our loss is but of our innocence
in paradoxical canteens.
Follow me closely here by the wall,
careful of beer cans, watch for a fall;
Love me once more or I'll leave you alone
and watch all my vapors be gone.
Silence now as we close out the week     ~^~
and open the dusty shades,
Let in the light to fill up our souls
with parsley feelings and marigolds.
[page 67] During the last three or four centuries mankind has simply acquired the habit of considering all nature, and human existence as well, in intellectual, abstract conceptions; and now that humanity is confronted with the great problems of social chaos, people try to solve these, too, with the same intellectual means. But never in the world will anything but chimeras be brought forth in this way.A consummate human heart is a prerequisite to the right to an opinion in the social realm; but this no man can possess without finding his relation with cosmos, and in particular, with the spiritual substance of the cosmos.
In Easter we find death followed by the resurrection of the soul; in Michaelmas we find resurrection of the soul followed by death. To close out this review let us listen in as Rudolf Steiner closes out his lecture to his fellow countrymen in Vienna this way:
[page 68, 69] Easter commemorates for us the Resurrection of Christ from death; but in the Michael Festival we must feel with all the intensity of our soul: In order not to sleep in a half-dead state that will dim my self-consciousness between death and a new birth, but rather, to be able to pass through the portal of death in full alertness, I must rouse my soul through my inner forces before I die. First, resurrection of the soul — then death, so that in death that resurrection can be achieved which man celebrates within himself.
3.) ARJ2: The Martian — A Novel by Andy Weir
I had read so much science fiction by the time I was fifteen that I probably spent more time on Mars than on Earth. It was this thought which prompted me to spend time with a guy who is stuck alone on Mars with modern technology on hand to help him survive. The list of problems Mark Watney has to solve would fill a 368-page book, and in fact it does. Each challenge, if not faced quickly and accurately would mean certain death, sometimes instantaneously, other times certain death if he doesn't survive for the 400 days when the earliest rescue mission will arrive. First long-term problem: the seven billion people on Earth think he's dead, and no one sends an expensive rescue mission to save a man who is already dead. All he has to do is radio Earth, but his antennas were blown away by the huge dust storm which impaled him with the tip of one of the antennas. First instantaneous problem: cleaning and stitching up his own side. These two are related because the metal shaft of the antenna rammed through his space suit and bio-monitor computer while knocking him out in the raving dust storm which obscured him from his five crew members who had only seconds to locate him before their only way home was tipped over and rendered useless. Watney's space suit sent data to his crew about his space suit breach and about the lack of life signs from his bio-monitor, so the crew unknowingly left him for dead on Mars, bleeding like a stuck pig, in minus-120-degree weather, in a near-vacuum atmosphere, unresponsive, and unrecoverable in the dust storm before their emergency departure for Earth.
When Watney miraculously awoke later, he said three sentences which will live right up there with famous first lines, like Dickens' "It was the best of times; it was the worst times."
[page 1] I'm pretty much fucked.
That's my considered opinion.
These words are descriptive of Watney's situation and not in any way obscene; he was just talking as a mechanical engineer- and biologist-trained astronaut would talk in the presence of his crew mates. I've worked on very difficult projects, and when we got into a jam, that is exactly how we talked. We might have disguised our cuss word in acronyms such as SNAFU or FUBAR, but we all knew what the FU stood for, and we could politely answer, 'Fouled Up' when asked what the words meant. But we knew what they meant, and we talked like Watney among ourselves, maintaining a veneer of political correctness only when strangers were about. On one project we had a Cuban crewman named Jorge, pronounced Hore-Hay, who could not create a sibilant 'sh' so when he got really mad, he'd say, "CHIT!", and we would all chuckle at his attempt to cuss in English. He never got upset over our reaction; it seemed to lighten his own anger.
With that prologue, you'll be ready for some other colorful expressions our hero uses to describe his situation to us:
[page 3] And now we come to the real trick of Mars exploration: having all of our shit there in advance.
If you're an engineer, biologist, physicist, or any manner of technical person, my advice to you is this: READ THIS BOOK. And do it before watching the movie if possible. The movie will show you what Watney does to survive; the book will take you inside his head as he lays out the problem confronting him and you can work out the solution along with him. See if you predict how he's going to proceed, and do the calculations in your head along with him. If doing calculations in your head is not your forte, maybe you should watch the movie; but for me and others like me, this was the most fun! Consider these challenges: How you do make water from rocket fuel? How do you grow anything edible on Mars without any seeds? Watney can either use his solar power take a long drive or to keep warm — how can he do both? Just a hint of the kinds of life-saving obstacles Watney must overcome or die. A slight dust storm is moving overhead, if he guesses the wrong way around a large crater, his Rover will halt and he will die. How Watney calculated ingenious solutions for these and many other problems are glossed over by the movie-makers who show mostly only what he did. READ THIS BOOK.
Do you have children or grand-children who ask, "Why do I need algebra, geometry, trig, biology, physics, etal?" Get them to read this book, so they experience how the study of math and sciences saved this man's life.This Mars mission, described fictionally, is very similar to what is currently being planned for USA Mars missions, and some of the lack of redundancy revealed by Watney's various life-threatening dilemmas will likely feed forward into improving the design of future Mars' missions. Yes, your offspring are unlikely to become astronauts, but the ability to calculate and use one's available resources will challenge them at some point in their lives. If they have no solution, then they are doomed, if they have two possible solutions, they have a dilemma, only if they have at least three possible ways at their disposal, can they be said to have an option. Studying math and science gives them viable options, in other words, a way to stay vital and alive when faced with a desperate situation. Tell your offspring, "I won't be around to help you if you encounter life-threatening situations as an adult, but what you learn in school will be around, so study well. Making good grades means nothing unless you actually learn to use your knowledge."
The list of "if's" required for Watney to survive are as long the tail on a February kite in New Orleans, about three old tee-shirts torn into inch-wide strips tied into a long streamer. If he had access to a MAV, a Mars Ascent Vehicle, he could rendevous with a Hermes ship like the one he and his crew mates rode to Mars, if a Hermes were available, which none are! By the next planned Hermes trip, Watney will be long dead. Algebra was all it took for him to discover that. He'd die from a lack of, pick one: food, oxygen, water, or heat. And here's another "if": that's only if everything goes well!
Watney is an optimist. You know what that is? Two guys falling down the side of a hundred story skyscraper. The pessimist yells, "We're doomed!" The optimist thinks, "So far, so good!" Watney thought that way, and strived every minute of the Sol to live another Sol. Oh, what's a Sol, you ask, it's about the length of an Earth day and change, 24 hours and 39 minutes. That's the time Mars revolves once on its axis. More math to do, if you calculate how many Earth days something will take, you need to multiple that amount by 0.9736 to get the number of Mars Sols it will take. If you can't do simple algebra, you'll never even know on which Sol you'll die from lack of air or food or heat. How on Mars can Watney survive? Thereupon hangs the tale, a prehensile tale which grips you and won't let go until the last stinking line of the book.
If there were any bacteria in the soil of Mars, which there ain't, Watney could grow plants to provide food calories to keep him alive, if there were only any seeds aboard for anything but dumb grass experiments. As Watney might have phrased it, "One just can't shit bacteria, can one?"
After regaining consciousness Watney found himself near death from oxygen toxicity due to backup system called bloodletting during the breach which let in Mars air and filled it with nitrogen, depleting the nitrogen Watney needed to breath normal air. How ironic, he thought, to die from a surfeit of oxygen on a planet which has almost no oxygen! (Page 5)
Watney's humor keeps his spirits up as well as ours. My wife told me that she never heard me laughing out loud so many times as I read a book before.
Why on Mars would his crew leave Watney? All signs said he was dead, and like in Vegas, what happens on Mars stays on Mars. The rules said if a crewman dies on Mars, he stays on Mars.
[page 7] Leaving his body behind reduces weight for the MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle) on the trip back. That means more disposable fuel and a larger margin of error for the return thrust. No point in giving that up for sentimentality.
As Watney surveyed the "raw materials" at his disposal in the HAB and the MDV (leftover base of Mars Descent Vehicle), he found enough soil for a window box and seeds for grass and ferns, nothing edible, no way to create food on Mars, so far as he could see. But he had a large cache of hope.
[page 12] But I'm a botanist, damn it. I should be able to find a way to make this happen. If I don't I'll be a really hungry botanist in about a year.
He laughed at his fellow botanists who were hippies trying to compost everything. They seemed to spend a lot of their time trying to find better ways of growing pot. He thought, "Look at the silly hippies! Look at their pathetic attempts to stimulate a complex global ecosystem in their backyard." (Page 13) And now he was being forced to do the same thing. Saving every scrap of biomatter in a compost bucket. He even did an EVA (went outside) to retrieve his own freeze-dried shit to add to his garden soil, adding it as manure to the sterile Martian soil.
[page 13] The Hab has sophisticated toilets. Shit is usually vacuum-dried, then accumulated in sealed bags to be discarded on the surface. Not anymore. . . . Adding it [recovered freeze-dried shit] to water and active bacteria would quickly get it inundated, replacing any population killed by the Toilet of Doom.
Since the waste is labeled, he could use only his own and not be subject to others' pathogens. He began hauling in sterile Martian dirt and mixing in his bacteria-rich manure creating a fertile garden soil which he filled the Hab with. Where did he get seeds? Thanks to Thanksgiving Day falling during their planned stay on Mars, some real, not canned potatoes were in the Hab's larder, and he would cut the potatoes with one eye in each piece and plant them. His comment during this process was, "My asshole is doing as much to keep me alive as my brain." (Page 14)
What about the smell? He commented, "That smell's going to stay around for a while, too. It's not like I can open a window. Still, you get used to it." (Page 16) Would his gardening efforts allow him to survive until Sol 1412 when Ares 4 is scheduled to land? No. With as much potatoes as he can grow, he can stretch his food to last until Sol 490, only 90 days longer than without potatoes, but he had little else to do, so he grew the potatoes.
[page 18] Remember those old math questions you had in algebra class? Where water is entering a container at a certain rate and leaving at a different rate and you need to figure out when it'll be empty? Well, that concept is crucial to the "Mark Watney doesn't die" project I'm working on.
He works out how to create as much farmland as possible and calculates that he can just barely reach survivable levels of food, but he will need 250 liters of water. Where will he get it? Can't drill a well on Mars. He needs a magic spell for creating water. He slept on it and came up with a simple and ridiculously life-threatening plan.
[page 24] I have an idiotically dangerous plan for getting the water I need. And boy, do I mean dangerous. But I don't have much choice. I'm out of ideas and I'm due for another dirt-doubling in a few days. When I do the final doubling, I'll be doubling onto all that new soil I've just brought in. If I don't wet it first, it'll just die.
Mars has an atmosphere that is 95% carbon dioxide, one atom of carbon attached to two atoms of oxygen. Watney has an oxygenator whose job is to convert CO2 into O2, so he can create oxygen, mix it with hydrogen and BANG! Water! I mean the bang literally. To mix the two elements is easy, you burn hydrogen in the presence of oxygen and you get water. Too much hydrogen or too much oxygen you get a Big Bang, an explosion. Great, he's got a plan. Now where are the matches? None on a space ship; none in a Mars Habitat, of course. A spark will do the trick, if he had some kindling; one spark and you have a flame to start the hydrogen and oxygen burning. Another Sol, another problem for Watney: no combustible material for kindling. He went on a scavenger hunt for wood and found a small wooden crucifix one of the crew left behind. Where's the hydrogen to come from? The hydrazine, a very volatile compound of nitrogen and hydrogen, is the rocket fuel used in the MDV and there's plenty left. Rob a catalyst from the MDV's engine and you can release the hydrogen. But it produces ammonia as an intermediate step into becoming hydrogen and the smell of ammonia will make his Hab a living hell. Smell stinky stuff or die? He chose the former.
[page 27] The chemistry is on my side. The question is how do I actually make this reaction happen slowly, and how do I collect the hydrogen? The answer is: I don't know.
I suppose I'll think of something. Or die.
He comes up with a plan for making water by burning the hydrogen as it is being produced, so there'll be no need to store either the oxygen or the hydrogen and the water can drip directly into the arid soil to bring it to live. As he set up the equipment to create water out of rocket fuel (hydrazine), his most important item was duct tape to seal and attach the parts.
[page 28] Also, I have duct tape. Ordinary duct tape, like you buy at a hardware store. Turns out even NASA can't improve on duct tape.
He worked out a solution to get rid of the excess hydrogen using short bursts of oxygen at a time.
[page 43] I was elated! This was the best plan ever! Not only was I clearing out the hydrogen, I was making more water!
Everything went great right up to the explosion.
He is dazed, breathing pure nitrogen in a space suit, to which he has to quickly add oxygen or pass out and die, and then he has to clean up the Hab and get out to the rover.
[page 45] I'm in the rover again tonight. Even with the hydrogen gone, I'm reluctant ot hang out in a Hab that has a history of exploding for no reason. Plus, I can't be sure there isn't a leak.
He finally figured out where the excess oxygen came from: his own breathing out was adding oxygen. Yes, we breathe out oxygen or else how could CPR breathing into someone's mouth work? With that adjustment he got his water for this potato farm and then he did some astronaut work. He hatched a plan to take the Rover on a journey to retrieve the Pathfinder and its rover which had been sitting abandoned on Mars for many years. After he cleaned the dust off its solar cells, the Sojourner rover quickly reestablished its radio contact with Earth. Packing them on top his Rover, he drove home, towards the Hab. As he drove, he needed some Celestial navigation help and that came from Phobos, the larger moon of Mars which sped by overhead East to West twice a Sol. He mused over conquering his fear of losing his way on Mars by using Phobos, whose Greek name means Fear.
[page 106] It just feels nice to be an astronaut again. That's all it is. Not a reluctant farmer, not an electrical engineer, not a long-haul trucker. An astronaut. I'm doing what astronauts do. I missed it.
With Pathfinder's help, he establishes a crude method of texting messages to Earth using hexadecimal coding of ASCII characters, but NASA soon gives him a patch which enables him to be able type messages, basically inter-planetary email. Now he realizes he needs to be careful with his words because the whole world is reading what he writes, hanging on his every word as they pull for him to survive, but he still gets carried away at times.
While Watney enjoys doing astronaut stuff again, I'll skip my astronaut thinking and calculating for a while and do my poetry stuff. He apparently remembers the Bond movie Die Another Day and decides that his adventure on Mars would make a great Bond movie called Live Another Sol, only with him as Q instead of James Bond. That inspired me to write this poem in Watney's voice.
Live Another Sol
There's not another Soul
around for 35 million miles
and 35 million years
But I hope to live another Sol.
A Sol is like a Day and change
on Mars from Night to Sol.
What can I do with the extra 39 minutes?
Try to live another Sol.
I think I'm going for a stroll
I know I'll never see another Soul
Whether I go out by Night or SolMy only hope is to live another Sol.
I say, "I think I'm going to live after all,"
which is quickly followed by,
"I am fucked, and I'm gonna die!"
Everything went great on this one Sol —
right up until the explosion.
And yet, I think I'll get to live another Sol.
I am driving without a compass
on a planet without a magnetic pole
With Fear as my only Guide —
if there's a God on Mars —
I pray that I may live another Sol.
"Please watch your language,"
the folks at NASA tell me,
But I'm too astro-naughty to care.
So I type: Look! A Pair of boobs! — > (.Y.)
LOL! I'm the funniest guy on this planet!
If I could only get to live another Sol.
I'm awake: another Sol, another Problem,
Another cup of Martian Coffee
Another Sol here on Club Mars —
If only I could live another Sol.
Every step I take outside my Rover
No one has stepped there before,
Every step I take to stay alive
Helps me to live another Sol.
A dust storm is coming —
Dimmed skies mean less power —
Less power means not getting rescued —
If it gets dark enough to kill me,
I will not get to live another Sol.
Live Another Sol
— sounds like a James Bond movie
— or a Bobby Matherne poem.
Watney gears up for the long drive to the Ares 4 area where a fueled up Mars Ascent Vehicle MAV has been staged for a future crew. A plan is evolving where he will escape from Mars and be picked up in a very dangerous maneuver and returned to Earth. The details in the book of how this happen are more realistic than the Iron Man stunt used in the movie. As a practical joker in my teens, I quickly learned that you can have more fun thinking about a practical joke than actual doing one. Watney in the book describes the thought he had of doing an Iron Man stunt, but reasoned scientifically that it had too little a chance of succeeding. Hollywood, reasoning box-office-ly, loved it!
Meanwhile, back on the surface of Mars, Watney may never survive to get to the MAV at all because a light dust storm is in his path. What's the problem with a light dust storm? The light part. The reduction in light. Light is the fuel which generates the electricity in the solar panels which powers the wheels of his Rover. If his Rover stops, he will miss the rescue mission completely and die on Mars.
Watney calculates again.
[page 301] So right now, the sunlight in this area is dropping by 4.5 percent per Sol. If I were to stay here another sixteen Sols, it would get dark enough to kill me.
Out of touch with NASA, Watney has to burn precious fuel triangulating the path of the dust storm. If he drives around this large crater into the path of decreasing light, he dies. Another Sol, another Problem. Will Watney live to die another Sol, or will he live to die another Day on Earth? Inquiring minds, 7 billion strong, want to know.
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books — for less information, read the reviews.
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= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to converse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.1. Padre Filius Visits a Christmas Tree Lot in December:
Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of DIGESTWORLD to share with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
This month the good Padre Notes the Difference in Prices:
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.
- EMAIL from Anxious Good Reader on Dec 1 at 12:38 AM:
I have not received the December 1st issue of Digest World Please take action to send it to me.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ REPLY: A NOTICE TO ALL GOOD READERS
Our DIGESTWORLD REMINDERS are often sent out the day before the 1st of each month, but this month they were sent out at 8:54 AM on Dec. 1. We strive mightily to get them to you before the end of the first day of each month. [An email was sent to Rom saying the Reminder will be sent out shortly.]
- EMAIL to Good Reader Lawrence Kurzius on his Dec. 1 promotion to CEO of McCormick and Company:
Congratulations on your promotion!
I guess for you "Spice is the Variety of Life" . . .
Hope to you see soon,
- EMAIL from Kristina Kaine in Australia:
Subject: Steiner mentioning Doyletics "We have often spoken of the ancient mysteries that wanted to awaken in human nature that which permits the human being to look up into the super-sensible. And we have spoken of the fact that the Mystery of Golgotha, perceptible for all human beings on the stage of history, has presented the super-sensible mystery. There is something that fundamentally unites us with the true Christ thought. We have this by virtue of the fact that we are able to have moments in our life (I am now speaking directly, not in a pictorial way) in which, despite everything we are in the outer world, we can bring alive in us what we received as a child. We can do this by going backward, feeling ourselves back at the child's standpoint? we can do this by looking toward the human being as he develops between birth and death, so that we are able to sense within us what we received as a child." - Read rest of Steiner's Lecture at: CLICK HERE!
Hope you are well Bobby and enjoying preparations for this special time.
~~~~~~~~~~ REPLY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thanks for sending this along. A Speed Trace involves holding a feeling in the present and then placing yourself back in successive decades till you reach five years old, and somewhere below that age you will encounter some feeling. If it's a negative (unwanted feeling) it will be converted into a cognitive (declarative) memory and never return. Good feelings are reinforced so often they remain unchanged. Essence of doyletics and Steiner already knew how to do it. Unfortunately just telling people about it is rarely affective in helping them to be able to do it for themselves. My Introduction has a video which describes the easy process of the Speed Trace.
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Head Trip"
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:
4. Seeing What's Around the Corner Is Right Around the Corner
Beat the bush
With a pack of lies
Up'll pop a quail
Or two of roasting size.
Seize property freely
From Columbus Land
Made of sand.
Decapitate the druggers
And be rid of them
And you'll never get rid of the buggers
Who decapitate them.
~^~5. Defeat the North
The Economist magazine announced Dec 12th that Daniele Faccio of Heriot-Watt University, in Edinburgh has created a device which allows us to see around the corner in real-time. It's still primitive, but can create real-time movies of who or what is coming at us around the next corner. It does this by bouncing light on other objects until it reaches the target object and extracting only photons which have bounced back from the target object. Involves some complicated processing, but like so many complicated things, they should soon reach our hand-held devices.
So, the good news is that you no longer have to wait to see what's coming around the corner!I know Letters to the Editor are not supposed to be funny, but I nearly fell out of my chair when a letter appeared in my morning newspaper which claimed that the South tried to "defeat the North" during the so-called Civil War. What I would like to know is what the South was planning to do with the North after it defeated it? Was there anyone in the South who would really wanted to be a part of a country which included New England? No way, the South wanted to be left alone.
When some country wants to control another country, they invade it and try to defeat it. The South did not want to invade anybody. In my opinion, the South wanted to decide when to eliminate slavery, do it in a peaceful and economically feasible manner, and to be left alone to do that.
Did the North invade the South? The facts are clear and no other answer than yes is possible.
Keep letters like that rolling in — they provide a welcome respite from real world issues.
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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 January 1, 2019, in its 20th year of publication, the DIGESTWORLD and the doyletics website has received over 20.8 MILLION VISITORS ! ! !
We have received about ONE MILLION VISITORS per Year to the Doyletics Website since its inception June 1, 2000, nearly twenty years ago. Over 2.1 million in the past 12 months. We are currently averaging about 160,000 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.
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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.
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