The Great Joke

God is definitely a Joker. Peter Duggan's Artoon: Michelangelo from The Guardian
God is definitely a Joker. Peter Duggan’s Artoon: Michelangelo from The Guardian

“There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody’s expense but his own. … And as for small difficulties and worryings, prospects of sudden disaster, peril of life and limb; all these, and death itself, seem to him only sly, good-natured hits, and jolly punches in the side bestowed by the unseen and unaccountable old joker.”
Moby Dick, Chapt. 49, by Herman Melville (1859)

I know that Melville here was talking about the effect that those people risking life and limb come to experience in the height of danger; the “free and easy sort of genial, desperado philosophy” that life-threatening experiences engender. But even without physical danger there have been times — often in the midst of psychological or emotional tribulations but sometime even when all is well with the world — that I have had that feeling that the Universe is some Great Joke… And that the joke is on me.

It’s not necessarily a bad feeling. After all, I don’t mind being the butt of a joke… As long as it’s a good one.

But maybe it’s more than that. Maybe those times where you feel that everything is a joke is a faint understanding of how infinitesimally small everything you experience, think, feel and perceive actually matters in the grand scheme of things. That’s not to say that we are unimportant. But when you put our individual lives beside the Universe as a whole, how laughable and ludicrous it is to think that whatever is going on in our lives is the be all, end all of… of anything.

It really is quite funny when you think about it. No, really. Let’s think about it for a moment. Consider the three images I have included in this post’s header image… Continue reading The Great Joke

A Song for World War III and Philosophical Thoughts

I stumbled on this interesting article on a singer / song-writer / comedian / satirist by the name of Tom Lehrer who was active in the 1950’s and ’60’s. He long preceded the likes of “Weird Al” Yankovic but his music, despite it’s age, was right at home on the Dr. Demento radio show of the ’70’s to ’90’s. Besides the pure “cool” factor of the man and his work, his career spurred thoughts in me bordering on the philosophical.

One of the many songs of his that grabbed me is, “So Long, Mom (A Song for World War III)”. Continue reading A Song for World War III and Philosophical Thoughts

Goodbye, Pathfinder…

My old Pathfinder sits on the side of Rampart Range Road on a scenic drive I took on my birthday last year. Pikes Peak can just be seen through the fog and mist of an autumn storm that rolled in near the end of the drive between Sedalia and Woodland Park.
My old Pathfinder sits on the side of Rampart Range Road on a scenic drive I took on my birthday last year. Pikes Peak can just be seen through the fog and mist of an autumn storm that rolled in near the end of the drive between Sedalia and Woodland Park.

Well a guy came to get my old Nissan Pathfinder today. I know it’s just a car, an inanimate object… But it was a little like saying goodbye to an old friend. I had that car for 18 years…

I got the car just after I got my last dog, Buddy. I remember when I took Buddy for his first drive in it as a puppy. It started to rain, and when I turned on the windshield wipers, he started to bark at them as they went back and forth. 🙂

I bought the Pathfinder new, shortly after I got out of the Navy. I was working as a photo copier repair guy, my car was my office, and I had to carry a bunch of parts & tools around with me. I had a small Saturn sports coupe and had just spent a winter driving it to clients’ business all over downtown Denver and the Denver Tech Center. I decided I needed something with more carrying space and that could handle winter driving better. Continue reading Goodbye, Pathfinder…

‘Non Vi Sed Arte’ – What does it mean to me?

Beaty Coat of Arms
The Beaty Coat of Arms

“Non vi Sed Arte” is Latin for “Not by Strength, by Guile”. It is the motto on the “coat of arms” of Admiral of the Fleet David Richard Beatty, the first Earl Beatty (1884-1927). It was also used by a couple of different military units. For example it was the unofficial motto of the Long Range Desert Group, a reconnaissance and raiding unit of the British Army during WWII.

I always liked the saying. But my take on the slogan has changed as I have gotten older. When I was younger, not being the strongest of guys and having perhaps an excessive opinion of my intellect, I liked the idea of success due to mind over body. But as I grew older this “take” on the slogan not only grew to lose its appeal, but I began to feel a negative reaction to the slogan. Why be proud of a lack of strength or determination? And most dictionaries define guile as a treacherous cunning or skillful deceit. Did I really want to use that as some kind of guide or brag about my character? Continue reading ‘Non Vi Sed Arte’ – What does it mean to me?

The Still Point of the Turning World…

T. S. EliotI discovered the poem “Burnt Norton” in a recent post from Brain Pickings, a blog I have really found engaging on multiple levels. So many thoughts and literary works it has brought to my attention that I have wanted to pursue. But there is so much to read, so little time, and I DO so love my Sci-Fi & Fantasy escapes.

Anyway, back to the point. Below is a bit of the poem “Burnt Norton” by T. S. Eliot which is all about Time and our perception of it, and a little about writing & poetry, and how the universe and our bit of time in it, does have an order (Logos), and that writing and poetry is our attempts to encapsulate a bit of that order, that bit of time, into our own mutable words. I need to study this poem much more, as there are parts that I don’t quite grasp but “feel”. Continue reading The Still Point of the Turning World…

Music: Listening to ‘Flake’ over my Cornflakes

Jack Johnson - Brushfire FairytalesSigh… Ok, I’m not really eating corn flakes. But it is much too early to be thinking this “deep” and depressed about something so trivial. Driving to work this morning, this song — heard a hundred times previous — really punched me in the gut. It’s a great song, but…

Outwardly, the song’s about being “wishy washy”, a flake, unable to commit, tied up by life’s baggage, habit or laziness. But what it communicates to me is the frustration and exhaustion one gets over the inability to really communicate with someone you care for, either because of your own uncertainties, the other person’s, or both.
Read More, Listen to Song & Read Lyrics →

Poked, Prodded & Verbally Accosted

To an Introvert, people are just weird… Ourselves included…

Had my annual physical this morning, so after being poked and prodded I was really looking forward to relaxing over a late breakfast at the Egg & I. It was delicious. As soon as I sat down however, I was continuously talked up by a grey-bearded stranger maybe a decade older than I in the booth adjacent to mine.

Any who know my introverted ways should know this kind of encounter makes me VERY uncomfortable.
Continue reading Poked, Prodded & Verbally Accosted

Can you resurrect dead dreams?

A friend of mine posted something on Facebook that really hit me where I live today. I’m going to quote it in it’s entirety here cause I do NOT want to forget this. I’ve looked it up. The source is the book “The Pilgrimage” by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. You can find this on a page of his blog. I’m going to look into reading “The Pilgrimage” and his novel “The Alchemist” which I read a lot of raves about. Anyway, on to the quote… Continue reading Can you resurrect dead dreams?

INFP… Definitely “Me”

infp-darksideI am an INFP. I may have been told this once before, but as usual in my scatter-brained way I data-dumped it. I recently stumbled on this again, and all I can say is, “Yeah. That’s definitely me.” What am I talking about?

A bunch of head-shrink types broke human personalities into 16 basic types (called the Myers-Briggs Personality Types,) which were based on these 4 things: Continue reading INFP… Definitely “Me”