All aboard. People I very much appreciate:

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Threaded Eyebrows and History

"Hello? I'd like to order a pizza please."

"You want threaded eyebrows with that?"
"Maybe, I don't know.  Are they fresh?"
"Threaded right next door, no question."
"They any good on pizza?"
"Like I'd ask if they weren't."
"Ok, uh how do I know if I'd like eyebrows on my pizza?"
"Well, do you drive a modern sedan?"
"When I don't have to haul anything big, yes."
"Does it look like it wants to crawl into a hole?"
"Quite often, yes."
"Good! Holes are the only parking spots we have left. Hard to back out of but worth trying."
"If you can back a car out of hole, you can eat threaded eyebrows and get a coupon."
"I'll call next door and get back to you."
"Hello, Eyebrow Threading, how can I help you?"
"Are eyebrows any good on pizza?"
"Depends on when you were born and if you were ever in an identical twins contest."
"In the 1950s when I was about 8. We would've won if my older brother had stood further back and looked smaller."
"Please hold while I connect you with our customer service number... All our representatives are busy right now but your call is important to us. Stay on the line for our useless questionnaire or press pound# for our next available agent ...this call may be monitored for quality control. Hello? This is Blaze (Blasse?Vlasz? Who?), how can I be of service?"

"Hello, I have a question. I mean I had a question but my mind wandered during the hold-time on your answering system. I've been thrown off by all the personal history your policy demands. "

"Oh yes, poor consumer, it can be trying --powerful stuff, history."

"Indeed, one day the world is fine. Next day, it knocks you for a loop!"

"It's a matter of the heart, sir. The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of."

"Wait, I recognize that. Its from Blaise Pascal. Blaise, Blaise, is it really you?"

"Alas, I am discovered in history between pizza and threaded eyebrows. Flee! Escape now or be caught in mindless soul-killing muzak! I have other calls."

To hear this menu again, please press 4 now.

I have never pressed 4.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Transcendental Backseat Driver

For those, like me,  uncomfortable with the whole concept of faith-based driving, who can't in certainty and good conscience declare, "God is my witness" or "Jesus is my copilot",  I suggest we accept Buddha as our backseat driver. Here he is pictured in a 2013 Mazda.

Mazda is the god of Zoroastrianism --a Sumerian religion that spread along the Persian Gulf over 5000 years ago-- which advanced 3 tenets: Good Thoughts; Good Words; Good Deeds. My other car is a '71 VW Bus. VW stands for "Peoples' Car" and, after tinkering 45 years, I've got this one running about right --but Buddha likes modern seatbelts.

45 years.
                                                         {Other car, '71 VW Bus}
Mazda is a very popular car in the USA. It comes from a corporation based in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan.  This is probably a good time to get back to Buddha.

Buddha thought suffering is an ingrained part of human existence, described generally in what he called the 4 Noble Truths: craving sensuality; acquisition of identity; fear of death; mainly, the mind creates suffering because it is complex and prone to anxiety. He devised a therapeutic remedy which he traveled around teaching for 45 years, "The Eightfold Path".  It involved Mindfulness, correct View, Intention, Speech, Action, Livelihood, Effort, Concentration --generally a more detailed, studied and inspired catalogue of Zoroaster's tenets-- and gave onto modern psychotherapy.

45 years.

He recognized compassion, kindness --towards oneself and others-- has no calculable limit but still, supply is often exceeded by need --a great enigma that may take several more millennia to solve.

Is anybody working on this?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Hi Bead...Bead?

"Hi Bead !"

"Not Bead," quoth the bee. "Bombus."
"Yes, Bombus terrestris, a buff-tailed, Earthly Bumblebee."
"Earthly Bumblebee?"
"Yes, we're essential to many other planets besides Earth. Planets with ecosystems. There's an economy to the universe and we work cheap --Humblebees actually."

"I hadn't heard of Humblebees."
"You'll find it in Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, act 4, scene 1: 'BOTTOM:
Monsieur Cobweb, get you your weapons in hand and kill me a humble-bee on the top of a thistle. And, good monsieur, bring me the honey bag. Do not fret yourself too much in the action, monsieur. And good monsieur, have a care the honey bag break not. I would be loath to have you overflown with a honey bag, signor.' "
"So when did you get called Bumble?"
"Well, when you're humble and you see a chance to keep your mouth shut, you do it. Us bees used to audition for parts in plays. We'd get on stage and some director and his cronies would say things like "Ok, so you want to act, eh? Can you make a noise like broken glass?" So, a few hundred years ago, we just told them to go do something they probably did anyway, then we shut up, humbly. No more auditions. Just flower to flower, clumsily at first, bumbley."

"Then Bombus? I learn here!"
"Indeed, but not so far into the etymology as bombastic --even though we fly without regard to aerodynamic lift equations and do so only because it's part of our act --remember, we started out as stage-bees, big enough for audiences to see but lifted by wires and guided by riggers and stage-hands. Should we ever be bombastic, our hot air would escape and we couldn't even handle poppies. Now, if you'll stand clear, I'll inflate myself and ascend."
I stepped back and watched but, ere he flew out of sight, called, "Give my best to Bead and to all a good night!"

He kept his mouth shut.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Word

I have been engaged this week in philological research.  That is why I tried to weigh our big dictionary on the bathroom scale. I thought it would be easier to quantify the English language by weight than content. It is an old dictionary that I have used since 1962 and very heavy --so big I couldn't read the dial. I checked the scale to see if it was working properly. It was not.
Technology is a transient thing, a novelty. Obviously it had reached its limit and I could rely on it no longer. This demanded a measure I am seldom driven to anymore: thought. Thought may not always resolve enigmas but, when thought is absent, action becomes mindless --which can be fun in private but not in traffic or politics. The current competition among presidential candidates suggests itself.

So far the process has hoarked up a champion born and raised downwind of Rancho Seco in the faintly glowing (radium-green at night) western frontier town of Bleeding Scrotum, California. I know this because I looked up the word, Kakistocracy, in the dictionary and made the rest up. But I'm sure there are newer words, if not better words, to describe the calamities of our times. For that, I recommend Global Language Monitor, an organization that has kept count of English words since 1999 (after which a new millennium  dawned over an administration --2001-2009-- that at least tripled our Kakistocratic adjectives).

In fact, Global Language Monitor calculated the million-word count was exceeded in June of 2009 and now stands over 1,026,000, representing a new word being added to our language every hour and a half. When I first got my dictionary, as a young teen, new words were not so frequent as that. In fact, the musical giants of our time were called upon to herald each new word into communal lexicon with artistry and dignity. I remember the excitement caused by worldwide consensus that we should create a word for feathered things that fly --this example, if listened to enough, will bring  tears of nostalgia and ear-damage: 

Bird Is The Word

Although it was filmed in black and white, I've always imagined this stage glowing green.