All aboard. People I very much appreciate:

Monday, June 27, 2016

California Dream Revisited

Because we went out to lunch today with longtime friends to an excellent restaurant in Galt, I decided bring an old post forward into the present and enjoy the sort of confabulation that has characterized our relationship from the '60s and '70s. Long friendships are full of delightful semantic distortions and, rather than tease specimens out of today's encounter, I found this 4-year-old post would easily serve, and so trotted it out. Let's return, for a pleasant while, to another summer:

August 9, 2012:
Norma told me Friend Dan had a magnum bottle of 2004 Sterling Cabernet that I didn't know about. Suddenly, the 103 degree temperature outside was unimportant and we headed over there to make sure it was genuine. Sterling Vineyards is a winery near Calistoga, a central coast region well-known for its waters. They are geyserous and curative and I was hoping the same benefits were imparted to its wine but I am not an optimist and was prepared for pleasurable disappointment.

Dan and I are in our 60s and therefore knew enough to ask our dates to this function some 40 years in advance. They immediately tired of our silent oenophilic appreciation and began discussing "charmeuse" as they wandered away. We didn't know whether they were talking about charmeuse silk or qui exerce un pouvoir de séduction. Being longtime Californians, Dan and I thought they were saying "Shamu", which is the name of a whale at Marine World who became famous for something and whose name was associated with whales ever after.

We decided "charmeuse" is a French word for whale.

Then conversation would drift back as our wives passed though with their heads together and we learned of warp and weft.  All who have taken folding chairs and hot cocoa to Reyes Point in January know the whales are passing by on their way to...something. As we consumed more geyserous  fermentation we mentated upon this migratory imperative. The destination must be where the whales spin their cocoons and emerge as butterflies weighing 3 to 9 tons.

We learned "Shamuese(?)" whale silk(?) is used in bridal gowns, hankies and boxer shorts. It was at this point I looked at Dan and wondered why he stopped aging at 45 while I look every minute of my age. When I recover from the effect of these rejuvenating waters, I fully intend to investigate it. Meanwhile, I'll have what he's having.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Panpsychist's Fathers Day Sermon

It's been a rough week for America. Its mind is folded five ways and stuck where the sun don't shine --or maybe it just has the jumps. When I get the jumps, I go see somebody about it but it's Sunday and I settle for a beer --Guinness Extra Stout-- or two, and think about panpsychism.

Panpsychism is a philosophical term for the idea that mind, thought, is a fundamental feature of reality. It suggests mind --every mind-- exploits some quantum coherence to the irreducible as well as  tremendous operations of the sidereal universe. Where is this astonishing thing, this mind?

Tap your noggin. There it is.

There is, in this plenum, this vast assembly of all possibilities, a mechanism for generating thought. Getting its parts to think together rationally, benevolently and constructively is a more difficult proposition --including, as it does, every life-form in existence that has a brain in it. Of course, it's my brain telling me this and I suspect that organ of bias in favor of itself.

There is, however, a special concert of mind that shows us something even specialler, realization. When we realize we can't be in the universe without it being in us, there is a moment of unity, of reality. The universe becomes apparent --our parent, and we are one family, a family very much in need of counseling for the jumps but still...

[Richie Havens, Open Our Eyes]

...a family.  When we finally realize.
Your regular pastor will be back when he finds out why he isn't here. Until then,
Go in peace.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Uncle Eyeball Returns!

"Good heavens, it's Uncle Eyeball, and he's grown a rocket butt!"

(You wouldn't know about Uncle Eyeball unless you've read a couple posts from two years back. Click on his name in the previous sentence and they'll bring you up to date.)
"Remember yourself, nephew, and calm down. I know you've had trouble with that lately."

"Dear Uncle..." I began.

"No, no, this is an election year. Let's relieve ourselves from formality and pleonastic rhetoric."

"Agreed, Uncle! Now how'd you get a jet-propelled butt?"

"Oh, the usual way, wrong bottle in a border town."

"You've been traveling, then..."

"Yes, Geo., conducting a survey of politics and religion."

"And doubtless found each lining up with the other."

"I saw some churches boiling over with heat and hatred but true religion doesn't debulliate so readily. Some churches skill themselves in arresting human thought long enough to make a fortune and move on to broader markets, but they're the lesser temples. The real temples, the important ones, are much more compact,  protected by cranial vaults and number above seven billion now."

"You mean human heads, Uncle?"

"Mmm...yes those. You see, the holiest temples are occupied with the propagation of reason and compassion, a future with love in it. But there's resistance to that future, too."

"So what's the future like, Uncle Eyeball?"

"It's a lot like the past only less predictable, which is why memories come true oftener than dreams. Each of these billions of temples subtly affects billions of others and, in combination, can produce a paradise --a future full of energy and kindness, minds engaged in pursuit of knowledge, inquiry, harmony and the belief that misery is not desirable--- otherwise..."

"What otherwise?"

"Otherwise you just get exhaust from a burning butt. Be careful, nephew, what bottle you drink from."

There was a flash, a sonic boom and he was gone,  continuing his survey, but I love Uncle Eyeball and he loves me. He'll be back.  


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Future Of Law Enforcement Revisited

Phone (automated voice of neutral but strangely cheerful inflection): Hello! Thank you for calling the Law And Equity Public Intoxication Hotline. If you are reporting a Drunk, please press 1. If you are a victim of Drunken Disturbance, press 2. If you are  DRUNK, press 3.

Caller:  Beep...uh...beep...oops!

Phone: I'm...sorry, I didn't quite get that. Please try again.

Caller:  Beep!

Phone: Public Intoxication is a serious offense and I'm glad you are reporting it. Please repeat your entry.

Caller: Beep beep?

Phone: Alright, I understand you are reporting a crime that you have committed. If this is correct, press 1. If not, press 2.

Caller: BEEP BEEP!

Phone:  I'm...sorry. That's what they all say. If you wish to misrepresent the severity of your offense,  you will need an attorney. Select from the following menu....

Caller: Beep?

Phone: Thank you for choosing the first attorney on our list. He is experienced and well-qualified, but he drinks. Misrepresentation in Law and Equity equates to fraud. Thank you for confessing to conspiracy to commit FRAUD. You may now lock yourself up. If you believe this judgement has been reached in error, please stay on the line. All our representatives are busy right now but your call will be answered in the order it was received and monitored to insure quality. Months spent on hold will be applied toward your sentence (muzak). Thank you for calling Law And Equity Hotline. Goodbye.