Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Please check this out

For anyone who values the Internet as it's been, please check this out for more information. Our freedoms are constantly being infringed upon and it's only us staying informed that changes that.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

What steps can we take to get economic fairness?

Following along with the last post, I want to suggest some of the things that I think we can do to get our country back on the right path (and also welcome other ideas from readers who may not see it the same way). Writing about this is hard to keep cultural and not partisan. It's also hard for me not to make everybody mad-- on both sides of the current divide. It's a lot easier to be someone who follows one ideology rather than to think for yourself (right or wrong) and end up making one-third of the people mad every time you express your own ideas).

If you don't live in a bubble, you know that we have a country divided. One-third wants one thing, one-third wants another, and one-third isn't sure what the heck is going on but it better not interfere with their games and television programs.

If you are one of those who care, I present some possible actions you can take.  If you have totally given up, say you won't vote, don't donate, don't work for any cause, might I suggest immigrating although I rather doubt you'll find human nature different anywhere else.

I do NOT believe we cannot make our government work. I do NOT believe in revolution. I do NOT want the loudest persons to take over our businesses, public schools or government offices without at least winning the vote. I do believe in government and see much need for there to be a strong one-- but one that is accountable to the people. I DO believe there are things we can do that will get it back for us and do it using our Constitutional rights.

Here's the thing on government and business. Currently both are being painted as the bad guys depending on what pundit you turn on. The evil is government-- give business total power and you will see Utopia reborn (not that it ever existed). The evil is business-- give government rigid controls over it and voila you experience nirvana.

Both are wrong. Business (you can substitute government also) with no controls will concern itself only with gaining more power for itself. Business is not evil. The people on Wall Street are not evil. They are shortsighted and think that what they do to benefit themselves with the help of government regulations being pulled back is the right thing to do. They don't look at the long range and it's up to somebody else to limit their powers.

We just watched 1982's 'The Scarlet Pimpernel,' which, in my opinion, short of reading Baroness Orczy's books, is the gold standard for Scarlet Pimpernels; but whatever version you see, the story is about a culture that has been convinced all the evil is in the wealthy and rich classes of people. Sound familiar? Well our people aren't about to get out the guillotine, character assassination is more our thing. Pretty much, in history, there is always a sector that will encourage mobs to go toward violent solutions as they then will use it as their own chance to gain power. Seriously get that film through Netflix and rewatch it as I imagine most have seen it before. The 1982 version with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour is a good reminder of what can happen to a culture when it gets out of whack-- also a warning to those who ruthlessly amass power with no concern for others.

In our country, some even got elected into office just to destroy our government's ability to do anything. Some work to block any sort of regulations on business. Business and government are both hero and villain in the same story but depending on from which side someone is viewing it. I think they go together actually for whether they really are good or bad. They are both in need of oversight and require a populace who cares and pays attention. 

So anyway, I have some ideas that I think would help us get our situation under our control. They come in no particular order of importance but just as I am thinking of them while at this keyboard.

Be informed or don't donate money to any cause. Do not sign any petition and definitely do not make phone calls if you don't know the full situation. There are a ton of those floating around right now to tell you to call here, petition there, and donate donate donate. Even though the callers doubtless mean well, they are screaming loudly the sky is falling and can you help pay to prop it up. They are told what to say, sometimes paid to say it. But it's up to you to be informed or not go along with it.  Find out what the 'others' are saying about it. If you don't, you can do more damage than the 1/3 who are sitting home watching their television. These calls use facts often loosely and are aimed at getting power for their side. It's not that hard today to find out what's fully going on before you run around like a chicken with its head cut off-- and I've seen chickens do that-- it accomplishes nothing.

So, if you are informed, donate but don't worry if it's a lot of money. The thing is the politician, who you have researched and know stands for your causes, he/she needs to have numbers to show power. Those demonstrations or going to hear them speak, they are looked at as significant. Getting together legally to demonstrate is a good thing-- if you know what you want from it. When they have a million followers, that's a big deal. So your $10 is significant. Of course, it puts you on their donor list, hence those calls above and being informed and not signing that petition etc. etc.

Now this isn't just about government. It is also about business that has lost controls thanks to their own manipulations and their own if I can do it, it must be fair actions. So how to put pressure on them? Well watching The Scarlett Pimpernel should be required viewing in banking seminars as it shows you can only push a people so far before something really ugly erupts. That doesn't make it okay to have these revolutions. I think everybody loses; but since business is determined only the dollar decides their actions, there are things citizens can do to put pressure on them short of picketing their homes and trying to shut down businesses on the street and much much short of Madam Guillotine.

Take your money out of big banks and put it in small ones and credit unions. Frankly I favor having it in a mix of two because it is safer if this whole thing does fall apart. Keep some cash on hand too or trade goods. Protect yourselves.

If you do not though likewise put pressure on your Congress to get better regulations in place, the small banks will become large and voila, you are back where you were. So changing banks is a pressure tactic but human beings being human beings, there must be government regulation in place to limit banking behaviors or it's kind of a tiresome process... and if you guillotine them, it's hard to find others who know how to run banks; so think long and hard on that one.

Buy something from a small business on November 26th but keep on doing it past the day set up for it. It might cost a bit more to support small business but is this supposed to get changed with no sacrifice? Reading labels is good  but frankly we sent so much of our clothing manufacturing overseas that it's pretty hard to find anything made in the USA-- even jeans.

For those of us who are Democrats, let's take back our party from the establishment. Sadly to say the Republicans already started that process with their insistence on Tea Party orthodoxy; so here we are now with needing to elect people who are hard line lefties to counteract that. Woe unto a moderate in today's political climate.

We get in new leaders by supporting alternative candidates in the primaries for the House and Senate. Yes, your guy has been delivering pork but unless he's also been fighting for progressive causes, dump him. It will take a bit of jaw clenching but give that OWS person a chance and keep doing it as they turn out to be just as greedy once they get there as the one they replaced.

We do NOT need a revolution in this country. We just need to occupy the government we already have. It can be fixed just fine with the right people in office, those who have energy, responsible ideas (in other words if you want to have it, you have to figure out how to pay for it) and can think long-sighted-- something in short supply these days.

If he runs (not a given right now) eventually donate to Obama (give me a break like what's the alternative if you believe in progressive values); but wait a bit on that and let him know what you expect. We fairly often get calls asking us to donate to him right now and we always take time to speak to the caller and tell them why we are holding off.

We tell them all, any political calls asking for money, that our main concern right now is taking back Congress. The Tea Party got in their people and if you don't like what they are doing, get in yours!

Pay attention to the Republican primaries. Those guys are telling you what they will do if elected president. Look at the words they say today, when they want the Tea Party voter, versus what they have been saying and what they will say if they get the nomination.

It is hard for me to believe Republican voters will really choose the totally corrupt and superficially slick talking Gingrich; so I think Romney still appears most likely-- not that he wouldn't sell out his brother to get that office. Just once, why doesn't someone ask him in one of those debates how he'd pay for that new war in Iran which he virtually promised he'd start. Can anybody trust he won't also support, once in office, say a national personhood bill like Mississippi's? And Gingrich, don't get me started on him. I'll save that for Rainy Day Things after Thanksgiving.

Look for candidates who write, can speak, and indicate they understand how trade policies have contributed to this economic disaster, who believe in progressive taxation but not to the point of  confiscation. There are tax policies that would punish sending manufacturing overseas and reward having jobs here. Look into what they are-- then support those who would work toward that.

Support candidates who believe in reaffirming our Bill of Rights and not some meaningless sentiment on our currency. For God's sake really, that's what they thought mattered when the document that our Founders gave has been eaten away at in the name of safety-- supposedly anyway *gagging*. You do not give up your rights just because someone convinced you the sky was falling.  People who sell those rights for their personal security don't deserve this country nor those who died to preserve it.

Vote for those who know a corporation is not a single voter and doesn't deserve those rights. If it takes a Constitutional Amendment to overthrow that dreadful Supreme Court decision, research what this means, then sign petitions and support that drive. That this business of considering corporations to be the same as any single voter, that it would even be debated is a sign of the nuttiness of our times. The owners of that corporation already are voters, can already donate as individuals. Now, even if they are part of a foreign conglomerate, we are giving them a second personhood?

I believe in a mix of capitalism and socialism and when someone says they can't go together, it means they can't think outside the box. We need people who can think outside the box because it is there that solutions will be found to new problems.

So, despite the naysayers, I do not believe it is too late to get our government back. We are not Egypt who needs to do that with a gun. We are a country with the vote. We won't do it though with the current crew in office. If your own guy is fighting for progressive values, fine, keep him but be sure you know how he votes. Robert Reich (boy do I disagree with him a lot these days but he was right on this) called for an Occupy Democracy.

Oh I know it's showy to sit on sidewalks or camp in parks and get pepper sprayed where you can get on television and eventually sue over it happening. It might seem satisfying to watch people screaming at the police, but it won't turn this country around. There are things that can be done by progressive leaders if we get them in power. The other method will only lead to anarchy (as said above-- watch The Scarlett Pimpernel 1982 version for a good film and a reminder why you don't want anarchy).

You know, it might sound good, but if you really had these occupiers take over Wall Street, would they have any idea how to do it? What would that do to people's savings and investments? Let's get real about this and realize it's not just about making noise but about accomplishing something that works.

If you really divided up what everybody has in this country-- and that includes you-- you'd have less than you currently do, and some of those who got what you worked for and saved to get, they will not appreciate it and quickly lose it. It's how it goes. You see it time and again with the lottery winners. Some use their money wisely. Some go through it like it was water. That's what they call human nature.

Finally, anarchy might be what some want but I got some news for them. There is another side in this country-- one that buys AK47s and believes exactly the opposite things should be done. If you think this cannot descend into out and out civil war, you aren't paying attention to either history or what is going on right now.

Photo of Bannack, Montana, a silver mining camp in the late 1800s and today a ghost town. Sometimes a community just does cease to exist.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Sky is Falling-- or not-- or yes or....

 Most people, who are interested in the economic situation of our country and who can think beyond 9-9-9, have been reading the recent economic statistics indicating the growth of poverty and extreme wealth with the diminishing of the middle classes.The questions have to be asked-- what can we do about it; and if there is something, should we do it?

What we should also ask-- is this a time of change as earth has seen since its beginning not only in geology but human history? Is it a natural occurrence or is it manipulated; and if manipulated, can we stand up against it?

If you, like us, were pretty major donors to the Democratic party and various Democratic candidates (or if you were on the other side and likewise donating to the causes in which you believed), you are probably getting the same kinds of phone calls we are getting to ask if we can do it again. They always start with some variation of the sky is falling.

Now our personal situation has changed economically since the last time we had an election, but we do plan to donate. I told the caller yesterday that it would not, however, be to the Democratic party. He was then questioning as to why. I said we will be choosing individual candidates and donate directly to them as well as those who have not run before but do have the agenda in which we believe.

He then asked-- don't you like your own senators? Well we like one but not the other. The one we don't like already got in because the Democratic party ran nobody of consequence against him. That could happen with a lot of these offices and we end up with those who won't then work for progressive principles and sometimes, even though they are Democrats, I wonder who the heck they are working for as it doesn't appear to be the causes in which I believe. From us, nobody gets donations this go round who doesn't support those things we think are important like single payer health insurance.

Nobody should blame Obama for not doing what they wanted if they have not worked to get people in the House and Senate who will also support those issues. That is what the Republican party found  the Tea Party bunch decided and with that viewpoint, they took over the House. What those Tea Party types want to do is an abomination to me; and it has galvanized me to think we, who believe in progressive causes, have to think outside the box and be supporting those who have come from outside the party structure-- unless our guys/gals inside have track records to show it's more than talk.

If this OWS bunch is to have any longevity, it's what it'll have to do-- run for office and support those in their group who do. Otherwise it's only leading toward obstructionism  and anarchy with the kind of logic that leads Republicans to believe tax cuts will yield manna from heaven. I don't see the evidence for either. Take over government or keep having your nose ground into the dirt.

Now there is just a possibility that we cannot turn it around. If you look at earth and human history, change is inherent in it. The longest we can really look back on human history is around 10,000 years-- in earth's time a drop in the proverbial bucket.


So is the sky really falling? If we base our answer on the history of the United States, which only goes back a few hundred years, we would have to admit we have no clue. Have our recent choices for government been sustainable?  Are we willing to pay for the things in which we claim to believe? How about actually work for them? Oh, that all sound soooo hard.

Today we have a world population that has just claimed the seven billionth person-- living on a planet that has a hard time supporting that many people  (certainly not as the so-called advanced world has been accustomed). Things will not stay as they have been and that's a given if you look at human history.

Because it impacts me the greatest, I am most concerned with what America has experienced and what it faces. People my age were born into a time of affluence-- especially if you look at what human history has known. I, who was born in 1943, was born when people didn't possess so much but rapidly came into that period where almost everybody had more than they ever expected. Old people, who once would have faced either poverty or been forced into their children's home, assuming they had children, could know independence with a pension that provided their basic needs.

I've seen changes in what the average person expected to have in their home like central heating, never mind even imagining central air conditioning. There was no television in the average home when I was born and radio was our main form of entertainment. My parents had known a time when that wasn't there, and on it went with changes coming fast particularly where it comes to communication.

When I was a child, there weren't so many high earning jobs for everyone, but it was not a problem to put a chicken in every pot (my parents remembered times that was not true). In my growing up years, there weren't as many things to buy, but a pretty good education was possible for anybody. Higher education was affordable and not only for the middle class but lower economic classes without big loans or government grants.

During those years, education was being subsidized through government by a culture that believed in education as a way to success not only for the individual but for the society. Trade schools and trade guilds taught young people skills needed for other kinds of jobs.

Frankly I have called it a golden time and it economically it was. Movie stars, sports heroes, and corporate CEOs earned a lot of money, but it wasn't anywhere near the sums they get today but then the dollar wasn't worth the same either-- it was worth a lot more. CEOs were also more respected as the ones who made companies work. Investments were something to be proud of making, not considered part of greed. Now that's not to say everybody could afford to make such but it wasn't considered crooked if someone did.  Americans had gone through the Great Depressions, understood the risk of investing but also the benefits.

People were not inherently better back then. Human nature simply is what it is and that means some good guys and some not so good-- in every economic, social and yes, religious group. Right now Wall Street is not made up of all evil people despite what some want to think. It's made up of people where regulations were pulled out and you saw the same thing you see in any unregulated group of people-- those who will take advantage of freedom for their own gain regardless of its morality or concern for the overall good.

When humans can be convinced either that no government is good or that government is the solution to all problems, they are on their way to trouble. In reality some will not cheat others even if they can, and some spend all their time trying to figure out how to cheat others.

With transitions comes the ability to move things around. In the case of our country, government did more than remove regulations, it actually began to encourage the practices that sent jobs overseas. Corporations saw profit as primary over any other standards short of not being arrested.

I have heard a quote saying-- paraphrasing here-- that all it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing. If you only pay attention to what profits you, the end result is it makes it easier for corruption to occur. If you ignore what is going on with your government, the wrong people will end up running it-- and this is in either current political party in the United States. It's about human nature-- all you have to see is the rise of Newt Gingrich once again to prove it.

Government, which is the collective us, became the bad guy to a lot of people who actually need it to be there. If you think you don't, tell me who regulates the safety of your food when you cannot buy it from the local farmer? Who makes sure the freeways are built to standards that will insure they don't collapse or maintains them as they get old? Who keeps the airways safe? How do you take care of those who would threaten you? Starvation is really okay for 'other' people? How about your own money in a bank-- who keeps it from collapsing or if it does, guarantees your deposits? Who makes sure that an education means an education and not a lot of propaganda with a degree handed out at the end? Who makes sure that another large group of people don't arrive and take over your land such as happened to America's earlier citizens?

The idea that we are rugged individualists and don't need to have a government is rubbish and only bought into by those who prefer simple answers to all problems. Oh how they are selling the power of the rugged individualist today to convince people that they don't need a strong, functioning and honorable government, and they are doing it because it serves an agenda. This isn't just the right wing but part of the left also if you look at what they actually are doing and what is happening. The following article is well worth reading to try and grasp this with charts and directions.


So we have a problem if we believe in an America that has opportunity for everyone. Anybody, who goes further than their own lives and looks at the whole, can obviously see we have a problem. Oh we can live in our bubble for awhile but if we care about our grandchildren, about this country's future, it's apparent that things are changing in a way that doesn't help what has been known as the middle class and is now called the disappearing middle class. The question is what to do about it and that's where the arguments start and range between the extremes of revolution to doing nothing.

Because of our technology being so advanced where it comes to communication (even if what is communicated might be shallower and shallower), the ability to spread disinformation is immense. It can be spread to frighten us or get us to do things that won't help but will have us thinking we are part of the solution-- except those things are getting us exactly where?  The powers, that would rule, love to confuse us as it makes their job easier. Get you out there wearing a flag pin and block thinking about the fact that you don't do anything for say returning veterans in terms of health care or jobs, and their obfuscation is successful. Subterfuge and emotional manipulation doesn't just happen on one side.

Since this blog is primarily intended to be about personal and cultural issues, I won't go into partisanship in this (I save that for Rainy Day Things); but I do have some thoughts on what we can do that don't involve blasting the right or left nor does it involve giving up or destroying our existing system.  There are a lot of such ideas out there for things we can do.

We are not helpless. We are not necessarily done as a people even if we might have to change some of our ways. There are NOT simple answers and I go nuts when I hear the left and right trying to convince us that there are. BUT we can take back our democracy from the corporate and big money interests (which is actually better for them also as rampant corruption is not actually good for anyone), can make the existing party system cater to our ideas, not us to theirs. We can do that if we are willing to be informed on what is possible and the costs of various actions.

The main thing is to not get caught up in the hyperbole that is rampant on both sides of this. That just has us running around claiming the sky is falling and potentially damaging any chance we can actually take effective action.

Top photo-- sky in Big Hole Valley in Montana. The second-- John Day fossil beds a reminder that earth changes. We have to be adaptive if we don't want to be left behind. Sometimes we welcome change. Sometimes not so much.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sexiest Man Alive-- or not

Now I don't buy the magazine, but every year you can't avoid seeing that People has come out with another sexiest man alive issue. Obviously a man cannot stay sexiest for more than one year.  It must be a heavy burden to carry.

It seems to me recently that they pick these girly men and sorry if that's sexist, but they do seem like the kind of guys who get their muscles from a gymnasium, not real work. and this time, they went to the bottom of the sexiest pile in my opinion to pick Bradley Cooper who would be on my list of sleaziest men but never sexiest (based just on his looks, not anything I know about his personality). For me, he  looks too much like the guy who would hop onto a bar stool next to you, offer to buy a drink and forget to mention he has a wife at home. I can barely stand him in any movie, and he is sexiest of the year?? Seriously!??

Well somebody else had an opinion on it (link below) and I agree with their idea more-- boy though he also is. They aren't going to pick my actual take after I thought a bit about it-- Stellan Skarsgård (son isn't bad either).  I am drawn to Stellan even when he's buried under makeup as he was in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. When a man can look sexy even then, that guy is sexy ;) He took the prize though in Mamma Mia-- tough, sensitive, sexy. Oh my! Okay, so I get it, he's older, but does sexiest guy alive have to be young? Frankly young guys can't possibly qualify ;) but if one did, I nominate Stellan's son-- Alexander

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cattle on leased pasture

Generally speaking I don't duplicate images here that I posted elsewhere, but I am making an exception with this one which went up in my Gallery earlier. The thing is it is also about the farm.

More than a month ago Farm Boss began working with a neighbor to arrange a lease for using some of their land to extend the range for our cattle. I had and still have some concerns about this but do see the value in doing it. We don't have enough grass to feed our cattle without supplementing with hay which can get costly. Leasing isn't free, but it's cheaper and easier (once the electric lines are up). My concern is mostly along the lines of more predators back there to possibly endanger the calves, but the herd generally stays together at night and should be able to protect their young from cougars. Once they get used to it, they are probably likely to return to the barn or their familiar nighting places when dark comes.

To move them back there has required putting up electric line for the section they will graze (those sections will change), using a solar panel to make the battery work without electricity to the site, and eventually convincing the cattle, who regularly break through our fences, to go through an open gate to the new land. At one point Farm Boss had several of them through when the bull blocked the way and sent them all running back. Now what the heck was that about? Anyway once enough went through, the rest followed and they were in a cow's version of heaven-- new ground and adventure.

When I went back to take photos of them, the lighting was off which meant the photos didn't come out sharp... but they did come out like a pointillism painting which I liked and inspired me to do a digital of the cows and their enjoyment.  So a lucky accident in the photo led to a digital sketch which might lead to an oil painting when I get a break in the other things I am doing.

None of which was what I should have been doing that morning. Sometimes I am sooo easily distracted.


 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Audio books-- Joseph Campbell

When we are on road trips, we often take audio books with us. Some are simply for pleasure. Others about subjects in which we have a particular interest. On the last trip we made over to Montana and Eastern Oregon, we took Man and Myth-- lectures by Joseph Campbell.


Joseph Campbell was a lecturer fascinated by cultures and mythology with an ability to link up stories with larger truths. His work has influenced a lot of writers and film makers because he understood not only the mythologies but their value to us. I had first read his books many years back as a way to understand deeper themes in writing, the kinds of things that make books into something more than pleasure while also adding to our understanding of life and ourselves.

Campbell wrote many many books and they are much encouraged for those who want to write. An example is his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, where he lays out the adventure of the hero, which is, after all, the basis of all good fiction and lasting mythologies.  There is the call to adventure, the departure into the adventure with the first threshold; then the initiation which requires a set of trials and finally the return which is the satisfactory ending where hopefully the reader as well as the adventurer has learned something valuable.

Campbell believed that with our modern religiosity (and remember he was writing and speaking of all this some years back as he died in 1987) demanding that Biblical stories must be taken historically and factually, can lead you to throw out the whole story without considering the symbolic importance. In short the demand for historicity can cause the loss of why the story was there.

Religious mythologies have broader themes which apply to our life cycles and experiences. This was his take on many stories such as those of Jesus with the virgin birth and the resurrected king, myths that are in many cultures. Now why would that be? Possibly because they offer wisdom for us today.

I decided rather than just write about the fact that I take notes when listening to such audios, I'd share examples (a bit chaotic though they might seem) from these five discs-- Man and Myth, Mythic Living, Society and Symbol, The Necessity of Rites, and Personal Myths. These notes are a flavor, a teaser, not the essence.

********************************
from my notes:
The function of mythology is to give images for roles we play. They form the basis through ritual of transcending self and ego to play the necessary human role we all must. James Joyce is the ideal example as he turned his mind to unknown art.


Symbols of religion are binding when they are not interpreted as symbols but instead taken as facts. In short the symbols can become negative and limiting instead of how they were intended which is to be enriching our understanding.
Jung explored what it means to live with a myth or without and then sought to find his own myth. He decided he could find his own myth by going back in time to when he was a child and asking-- what did I love to do? Jung found for himself that was building with stones which he then did in building his own structures.  
Mazlo's theories on the values for which people live like survival, security, prestige, self development, they all disappear when there is a big mythological dream. The jump from what seems prosaic or ordinary to the mythological dream can be called a mystical moment.
Yeats's vision was of two orders of masks. We are born animal, without definition; then comes the model the mask that life puts on the baby-- Primary Mask. We  go through life and take on new masks in series.

We can see the cycles of our lives in the moon's with its 28-day cycle. It begins in darkness. With growing light comes growing consciousness.  By the eighth night, light begins to dominate awakening of own possibilities. There is then a struggle with light versus darkness for which has most weight. The primary mask appears to be the darkness. The emergence of the individual is the light.  Some societies block this emergence and will wipe out people who teach or speak of such. 
An open society encourages what Campbell referred to as the antithetical mask, the ability to see the complexities of life, the opposing aspects to all of living, the encouragement of whole leading to fulfillment. Some societies oppose this which gives them control but also limits creativity and an ability to move beyond boxes.
Still using moon cycles as the example, it, with the full moon where light dominates, represents by the fifteenth night, the achievement of fulfillment at what is about our thirty-fifth year.

With the moon, what comes next is increasing darkness with the twenty-second night. In humans, this means you have done your deed. Now what should happen then is actually no less important than the growing of light was as the shadow gains power. You are now moving from solar to lunar world.
Concern of youth is to bring vehicle to fulfillment so that it can be best carrier of consciousness then shift from vehicle to identifying with consciousness. The body can go. Dante illustrates this with his Divine Comedy.
To many people, mythology is other people’s religion. Look instead at your own religion as a mythology. Religion is misunderstood mythology.  It is misunderstanding symbols which refer to spiritual symbols as though they refer to facts. If you throw away the symbols because they are not facts, you lose something. All basic mythological symbols refer from all mankind from primary imagination and big dream system not facts. But they use imagery of human life to do this. Images of myth come from the psyche and are reflected through the world through projection. We see this in dream motifs.
Difference between mystic and lunatic is the lunatic has fallen into water where it cannot swim while the mystic swims there with delight-- and can leave when he/she chooses.
Mythological shows you your own face. Art hosts mirror up to nature.
Disengage then from the world. Experience the imagery to engage in society’s work and then disengage. 
Orient-Occident example: Isis seated on throne with two students in painting with Hermes at her right, the author of many mystical writings of first century. At her left hand is Moses. Both have learned from Isis.
All imagery that came to Europe, the same symbols were found in Hermetic writings. Spiritual references all come together in symbolisms. Facts or psychological spiritual realization. Facts will bind and limit you.
Cultivating the antithetical mask (in other words being able to deal with opposing conflicting views that collide) conflicted with the Christian tradition. 
 An example: marriage was a social arrangement that became sacramentalized as though it was a spiritual arrangement. Love became a danger. Rome authoritarian mask. Amore the antithetical mask.
On love—the eyes are scouts of the heart. They go forth to find an image which they can recommend to the heart. If it is a gentle heart, not moved by lust, love will be awakened. Amore is the awakening, the symbol of awakening.
When Arthur, with his Round Table, sent his knights out the search for the Holy Grail, it was part of a Round Table tradition of having an adventure before the meal. The knights then went out to find the Holy Grail as a quest, but they didn't go in a group. They went individually. They went where it was darkest and with no path. If you went by someone else's path, it would be their way, not yours. The antithetical mask is your own path.

From James Joyce the greatest novelist—theory of aesthetics. Proper and improper art. Proper art that is serving a function that is proper to art. Improper serves some other service. Improper art is kinetic. Arouses desire or loathing. Art exciting desire Joyce terms pornography (not our meaning of pornographic). Didactic inspires loathing. And what you should not like. Novels in the service of sociology are didactic.
Symbols of mythology are of the spirit reflected through matter. Leading to the enchantment of the heart. A rhythmical quality of organization that echoes something that awakens beyond the mere pain or reference. It is a vehicle to mystery of the human organism.
Pity and terror are tragic emotions. Comic emotions are joy. Pity the emotion that arrests the mind. Before whatever cannot be changed and ignites it with the human suffering. Terror is before whatever and ignites it with the secret cause. Secret cause is what is grave and constant. Mortality is first possibility. Shadow of moon lives within it.
Static means you cannot go out an reform. Desire and loathing and fear.
Art is affirmative. The object and brings out the radiance.
The word kills. It is the job of the intellectual to see and name. Seeing deviations. Describe the faults. Perfections are not loveable. If you live in the world, you have to accept the faults. Humanity. Sends accurate word with love-- Ironic
We project what the person must be not what they are.
Artist must say yea to life to all of it. Where he says nay, he’s lost his humanity.

A symbol is an energy releasing image.
Are symbols imprinted or inherent?
Adult pattern of responsibility—Initiation rites enter this Ancestral images. First great crisis. Old age diminishing of powers, losing capacity. Images and symbols are there to help the individual cross over


Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11

Dates with matching numbers always seem as though they should have something special about them. Yes, I know this one is Veterans Day; but if I write about that, it would go political and relate how Senator DeMint just voted to block our veterans receiving special help in getting jobs. I mean what do we owe them anyway? (that was satire) Just keep in mind DeMint is one of the party that is supposed to be the patriotic one... Patriotic to what though is becoming more and more obvious and it's not our returning soldiers who have higher unemployment rates than the average.

Okay, leaving behind politics, which we know I don't write about here, next year some are expecting a 12/21/12 to be the end of the world. I guess they didn't favor 12/12/12 because it's not at the Solstice. Anyway I felt it'd be fun to write about 11/11/11 and if I was lucky find something significant... except I couldn't come up with any promised catastrophes or blessings.

There was a suggestion that we use it to meditate on peace and making our world move in that direction. When that comes to mind, it's hard to not think of Penn State and the ignoring by powerful people of multiple molestations and rapes of children. The assaults were bad enough, but what the powerful did about it, that was unbelievable to most of us. What does that say about our culture? Was this all about dollars? About maintaining power positions? About the nearly godlike attitude some have toward sports. Reading the story I found it impossible to believe it and yet know it happens over and over. I guess it would be a good time to meditate or for those who believe in prayer to ask for a better world.

If I was a numerologist, I'd consider 11 to be one of those numbers you cannot break down into something else. It's a life path number, considered a master number i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 22, 33, 44, etc. You get master numbers when you put together all your numbers and cannot break them down farther... except, of course, you could get 2 out of 11 but never mind that. It's not about logic but rather tradition, I suppose.

Now since 11 isn't my number (7 always has been even before numerology came along to tell me it was), I wasn't too aware of any significance to 11 other than it looks cool to write 11/11/11. I actually had a book on numerology but unfortunately for this exercise, I had traded it into the bookstore as I didn't end up feeling it covered anything of value. In short I didn't take it too seriously although when I decided to do a search on this topic, I found what a life path 7 means and that seemed pretty close to me-- except the bad stuff, of course ;). [Life path for 7]


So will 11/11/11 be significant? Who knows.  Most likely not... but it is fun to speculate a bit, don't you think. That is if you don't start counting up numbers to plan anything you do or worry that one will mean the end of the world for some undefined reason. Well actually one will but not because it likely fit a numerological profile... probably. Hey, I am a libra, we don't deal in absolutes but in balance-- of course, our definition of balance. *s*


Hmmm when I went to put a label on this one, I realized I need a new one-- speculation...

The maple leaves are from two small maples that we bought several years back for down toward the creek from the house. Since red leaves aren't natural for here, we figured we could add them. So far they've done quite well even though they are beneath the big oaks. They will never grow big enough to challenge them for space.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Autumn colors

It's November 8th-- be sure you are voting.


My part of the Pacific Northwest had a pretty start to autumn this year with more color than some of the years where we've had more rain.


We're not a showy area with the bright reds like the mountains or New England but the golds and orange, frosting many of our trees, help make up for that.


Our Herefords add to the autumn color. Of course, they do it year round.


Naturally the brilliant color appeals to me as does that I finally can start having fires in the evening. Winter fires in the fireplace are part of what helps me get through a dark season. There is not much more soothing than watching a fire and having a warm spot to sit and warm your back.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

eReaders

When people discuss the eReaders, for some the issue is their familiarity and liking of paper. They have grown up with books being readily available and they are resistant to losing that sensory experience and switching to an electronic media.

For me, this was never a problem. I had been turned off on the weight of reading hardback books; so a plus for me was the lightweight of the Kindle. I got more than one migraine later from reading a heavy book in bed, holding it up, of course, and finding it irritated my neck later. I don't live near a library for borrowing books and had a bookshelf (okay 5 of them) full of books and overflowing. Electronic media means a new way to read without acquiring more 'stuff'.

What I bought to start was both a Nook (for color and internet access) and a Kindle. Very quickly I discovered I favored the Kindle for book reading and color didn't matter for most of what I was buying. I select my books by using my computer (where I do see color), reading the reviews, and then read them later on the Kindle where the text is easy on the eyes, its lightweight is perfect, and I don't look at the cover again anyway. The Nook has the advantage of being lit which is good at night if you are reading in bed with a partner wanting to sleep but otherwise being lit doesn't matter.

Either one is great for exercising with the Nordic Track or if someone had a treadmill. I had been using paperback books but they weren't as easy to read or turn pages. We already had a clipboard on the bar which made it quite easy to use the Kindle or Nook for my (mostly daily) time with it.

The one place that so far I am not thinking I will be using either one is research where I either want to print off things from the Internet or buy books that I can highlight and bookmark. I know I could do that with the Kindle but have this feeling scanning with it would not be as easy as it is with a paper book. Lately I am researching 1865 or thereabouts Oregon and buying the books seems the right answer as I'd save no money with getting them from Kindle and, more over when the project is finished, I couldn't resell them.

Kindle stores the books easily, makes it easy to access what I've been reading or add another. In fact getting new books is too easy. I think the whole thing can be addictive especially since Amazon sends me out emails suggesting I might like this or that book. I don't know if it's a regular event but I got one such email giving me 100 titles for a set span of them at sale prices under $4.  Usually I check Kindle and Nook to see if there is a price difference and often the type of books for which I am looking are a bit cheaper with Kindle.

So far if I wanted to read a bestseller, I'd probably still buy the book from say Costco where the price is reduced  (making it around the same price) and I could later sell the book at one of my favorite used book outlets. If I am buying a paperback, I won't pay more than I could get it used. Mostly the Kindle prices on the books, not by best selling authors, are cheaper than my used store.

This whole thing is a totally addictive awareness as in it used to be I'd see a book online and think I'd like it but I'd generally have to wait to purchase it. Now I get this heady sense of power that I can have them instantly. One click and it's mine. I need to make a budget.

I have not yet tried library borrowing; but from what I am told one library (where I'd have to pay a yearly fee to join) is only letting readers have a book for a week. That could be a drawback. I know the publishing houses didn't like them being in libraries at all, and wanted to set it up with so many rentals and then their copy disappears. That hardly seems fair as libraries have always been a cheaper way for a lot of people to access books.

I have made some mistakes in what I have bought, but it's easy to delete them as despite reviews and a few sample pages, I do think I get a better sense of whether I'd like a book when I am scanning it in a bookstore. I have learned you want a Table of Contents as that enables easily going here or there in a hurry.

Whichever story you are reading (and I might have two or three going at the same time), when you click on that book, it'll take you instantly to where you were. On mine changing where that is through a different chapter is done by hitting Menu and a Go To option which is where the Table of Contents is useful. I also now have collections set up which will make it easier to find things in the future and keep the collection from being unwieldy.

The Nook, for me, was less intuitive and takes more to figure out how to use it but the Kindle (mine is the mid range without the advertising banner and without color), I could pick it all up without reading the tutorial, which does come with it.

The advantage of the Nook will come later when its battery can be replaced locally but the Kindle will require sending it in (as best I understand it). I have no idea how long a battery will keep being easily recharged.

As things stand, when we put up my own books, I think they will be in both Kindle and Nook and not sure about other places. Each place you submit them requires a different format. Google eReaders can (as I understand it) access off either the Kindle or the Nook with an app.

Using eReaders have more confusing aspects to publishing your own work; but for reading other people's, I am very happy with the service. It is also going to make my bookshelves happy as they were overflowing with books I didn't want to sell. Yes, I have long been a book addict-- I've just now added a new way to be addicted.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

You're kidding-- It's November already?

I can scarcely believe how fast time seems to be going. For a reason, for which I don't have the answer, I am enjoying this fall. That just doesn't generally happen for me. I usually look at this as the beginning of the end with shorter days and colder air. It means winter is coming fast and something to get through to make it back to summer. This fall has been different and maybe some is where I moved my computer giving me more light and a view of the oak leaves as they are turning and falling.

As usual where it comes to planning my workday (as in forget my own plans), this week I looked outside and saw sheep in the main pasture which is not where sheep are supposed to be. Because I could see how they got out and who was responsible, I called the appropriate party at work and told him I was not happy; then went out and tried to get them back by myself.

Now the sheep know when they see me that they are not supposed to be out there, but they also know there is more fresh grass and clover out there. Some persuading is needed. The sheep and possibly even neighbors got to hear my mean voice.

As I got them in, I realized one of the cows was going berserk, running back and forth and bellowing. She's a relatively young mother and she clearly had a problem that her calf was not where she wanted him to be. Unfortunately I could also hear him calling to her and knew that meant he was on the wrong side of a fence. (Is there anything in astrology making this a time conducive to animal breakouts?)

So after I had gotten most of the sheep back inside, I decided to see what I could do about the calf issue. He was lying on the other side of the fence, seemed not at all upset with where he was but also calling to his mama now and then enough to upset her. She watched as I went into the wooded area where he was and seemed to feel she was leaving it up to me to fix the problem-- probably assumed it was either my fault or some humans.

Fortunately he was a pretty mild mannered calf and walked his way down the fence-line, past a back gate and then when I got the gate open, he went through it. I was at this point, having seen how mama had been nearly hysterical acting, feeling I deserved to see how they met. I was expecting a Gone with the Wind moment of deep emotion (might have been reading too many romances).

He meandered across the field to a mother who had turned her back on him and seemed oblivious now that she ever had a problem. When he finally reached her, the closest description I can come to her reaction was-- oh, it's you. There were no apologies, no thanks, no drama. Cows, who can explain them. Not me and I've had many years to get some idea. Farm Boss got some of the drama from me (which he also didn't take nearly seriously enough) when he made a hurried trip home and fixed the fences where each errant critter had gone through.

Otherwise, I am blowing leaves about every other day. With seven huge oaks around this house, it's a full-time task for about a month. When I look up right now, it appears all the leaves are still up there.

This makes about six months since I got started editing on the manuscripts. The ten contemporary romances are as done as I can make them. I have also done two of the historic romances but do not plan to put them online to start. The business of actually putting the contemporaries onto Kindle and Nook will be Farm Boss's problem and he's learning. There is a lot to it; so I haven't been pushing him on his end. He's had a busy farm season with barn cleaning lately and selling wool last week. I want us to get it right when we do it.

The big thing I am asking myself is-- when these are done and that's not far off now with one historical left to do, what will I do with myself? It's been a lot of my life recently-- living with these characters and their problems. I do though have an idea for a new story; so maybe that will come next.

I might add I am loving the Kindle and actually like it more than the Nook to this point. I especially like how Amazon has so many reviews online to help make a decision on whether to buy a book. The only drawback to it so far is that it's nearly addictive and way too easy to buy more than I should. Amazon is tricky with sending out offers sometimes with 100 books at reduced rates. Definitely a potential addiction!