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WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#121 January, 2012== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Groovy Month of January:
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— Duke Ellington (A 1931 Musical Composition by Duke Ellington, lyrics by Irving Mills)
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DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#121 for January 2012
Table of Contents
1. January's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for January
3. On a Personal Note
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: Sauteed Brussels Sprouts & Avocado
6. Poem from 1990 : "Dance of Life"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for January:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: Reading Zen in the Rocks — The Japanese Dry Landscape Garden by François Berthier
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem "It's Not That"
4. GUARDIAN ANGELS
5. THE KING'S GLOBAL WARMING
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. January Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
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For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons! Check it out at: http://www.doyletics.com/vjtoons.htm Also note the rotating calendar and clock that follows just to the right of your mouse pointer as you scroll down the page. You'll also see the clock on the 404 Error page if you make a mistake typing a URL while on the doyletics.com website.
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This month Violet and Joey learn about Stubbornness.
#1 "Stubbornness" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/122211jv.gif
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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, 2012:
Charles Matherne in Bay St. Louis, MS
Marianne Else in Canada
Congratulations, Charles and Marianne!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
NO PANTS AND COFFEE FIT
Things change, stuff happens, and suddenly your favorite product is not available any more. It just ain't fair when I lose two favorites in one month! My favorite Cabelas pants are no longer being made. Funny thing is they are still making the same design in hiking shorts, which only require extra pants' length to make my pants, but, NO, that would be too much to ask! But I can survive that, if only PJ's Coffeeshop hadn't decided to stop selling Sumatra Mandeling Coffee at the same time! Due to price rise from Sumatra, PJ's has, in its finite wisdom decided to stop selling it. It would be about 30 dollars a pound, which I would be willing to pay just to keep from auditioning all the other kinds of coffee. We have used it for about 6 to 7 years and wouldn't consider switching, but now there's some unrest in Sumatra and the coffee prices have nearly doubled.
What's a man to do? Well, the pants were easy: I switched to a less satisfactory set of Cabelas pants — the cargo pants pockets are useless mini-pockets which barely and uncomfortably hold my Blackberry cell phone. There are no regular belt loops through which I can latch my camera lanyard! Bummer! I also switched to Columbian Arabica beans roasted by PJ's until we can locate some Sumatra elsewhere. Not bad, but not as good. Isn't life supposed to go from bad to good, not vice versa? Well, where's there life, there's hope.
LOST AND FOUND
As if the month were not frustrating already, I lost the book I was almost through reading and my PC reading glasses which I'm wearing now as I type these words. Both the book and the reading glasses were gone for a week or more. The story of how I found the book involves "Plumber and Dumber" Part II. How I found what was lost:
Our water heater broke over the first weekend of December — it stopped heating the water. The plumbers finally came and had to order a left-handed thread thermocouple for the gas heater. It only affected the south side of house where my shower is, so I finally had to go up upstairs to use the Guest Bath's shower which is fed by a separate water heater. Del had bought two towel racks for the Guest Bath and I took them with me to install. Going up anyway to shower, I thought I'd do the simple installation. Those apparently identical racks had two different kinds of installation: one with the wallboard attachments included and the other not. About five trips up and down the stairs to do what would have been a 10 minute job if it had been on ground floor! New tools, new parts, etc., and I was upset. Didn't want to do this in the first place as I didn't think the additional towel bars were necessary.
I cussed when I started the job. Cussed when I found the two mounts were different. Cussed when I realized that I had unknowingly drilled a hole into the wall which held a pocket door! The sparse instructions said to be aware that wiring may be behind the wallboard, but I knew there was no wiring and never had a home with a pocket door before. What I should have done was inspect the wall and notice the pocket door. Luckily no hole in the door as I knew to go in just enough to clear the wall board as an ingrained action.
The two mounting methods required me to go down to get a different set of drills. Also needed a level. And three hands, one to hold the bracket, one to hold the screwdriver and one to hold the screw in place while I tightened it. Good handymen always come up with an extra hand without having to call someone. In a half-hour or so, most of which was spent walking up and down the stairs, the job was done.
Then I made the last trip downstairs to return the tools to the garage. Because I had to find two wallboard attachments from our junk drawer, the two screws intended for wood mountings were left over, and I had to find a place to store them. I went to my two sets of drawers holding screws, nuts and bolts and decided to put the two screws into the older set in the sheet metal screw drawer which was mostly empty. "At last the job was done!" I thought, and as I turned to the kitchen to go take my shower which had been so rudely interrupted, I saw an old familiar friend, the lost book for two weeks, "The Temple Sleep of the Rich Young Ruler" by Edward Reaugh Smith. Del and I had scoured the house looking for this book which I was convinced never left the house. Once I'm into reading a book, the book becomes invaluable because it is my only source of notes for writing the review. Apparently, during my previous job as maintenance man a couple of weeks earlier, I needed a screw from the drawers and I had that book in my hand. I placed it on top of the set of drawers, found what I wanted, and proceeded to the fix, and sometime, a couple of days later, I got ready to finish the last few pages of the book and it was nowhere to be found.
Two scavenger hunts for lost items in a month are two too many, in my book. Whew! First my +0.5D reading glasses, the ones I use at the PC workstation, disappeared. How that happened is very strange. I had gone out to pick figs as December is the time of our breba crop from the LSU fig tree. I was doing this every other day or so in order to fill up a pot to cook some fig preserves. One day several hours after picking figs I couldn't find my PC glasses. I went immediately out to the fig tree and looked around on the ground, everywhere! Several times. Then I scoured the house. Then Del came home with her built-in GPS for finding things, she took over. She went out and scoured the area on the ground around the large fig tree. No luck! On and off for another week we looked for those glasses. If they had been +1.0D or stronger, I could have replaced them locally at Walgreen's Drug Store, but the +0.5 glasses needed to be ordered over the Internet. Soon I forgot about looking for them was out one day picking figs and there at pocket height were my eyeglasses hooked on a skinny horizontal limb of the LSU fig tree! Apparently as I bent down to pick a low-hanging fig the tree had lifted my eyeglasses which were hanging loosely in my shirt pocket. It held them for me for a week or so later. All the time my assumption had been the glasses had fallen on the ground and passed by the glasses many times during our searching, never once thinking it could be hanging at pocket level.
GUARDIAN ANGELS AND BUREAUCRACY AT WORK
The tortuous repair job with multiple trips up and down the stairs, for a job I deemed unnecessary and then deemed unnecessarily complicated, ended up being the very thing that would get me into the garage to save two small screws in a drawer, then I looked up to see The Temple Sleep of the Rich Young Ruler pretty as you please, sitting on top of the drawers!
This is how Guardian Angels work. Sometimes my Guardian Angel has to carry me kicking and screaming to the spot where what I misplaced is located! If the towel rack installation had gone easily due to being identical mounting with all the screws and wallboard mounting required, I would have had no screws left over and I would have never found the book with my notes in it! Thanks, GA!
So I took the long-awaited shower upstairs under the new Shower head which is clearly designed for some desert community with a scarcity of water! Seems the Feds in their coercive and cumulative stupidity insist that water-rich Louisiana folks use as little water as water-poor Los Angeles folk. Where is that allowed in the U.S. Constitution? If it's not, then the liberal interpretation of that sacred document constitutes an abominable fraud on the people of this formerly free land.
PLUMBER AND DUMBER REDUX
Remember the left-handed thermocouple which the plumbers had to replace. They did replace it when the part arrived here from the factory. A couple of days of hot water and I noticed we were running out of hot water before the end of the shower, so I went upstairs to check the thermostat setting. It was set low, but a new problem had surfaced apparently. There was a gurgling sound and water was running through the relief valve down the drain pipe. I called my friend AAA Wayne and he said that he always taps on the relief valve when he closes it after each heater repair to make sure it seats. The thermostat was set at Med-Hi, so I moved it to Medium and lifted the valve, steamy water flowed, then I closed it and tapped on it. After the second try the gurgling stopped, indicating the water was no longer flowing through the relief water line. I decided to check it in a couple of days. This is the third time that I've had to followup work done by this one plumber.
1) He did not reattach the vent cover to the other water heater during an earlier repair. I found the holes for attaching vent cover, set the cover's tabs into two holes and screwed a sheet metal screw into the other. (Probably this was the repair which resulted in my book getting left in the garage.)
2) He did not inspect the diverter ball but simply replaced the spring and rubber for the kitchen sink, even though I told him this was the second time a plumber has "fixed" it and the last time, the dripping started a week after the repair. I had to swap the diverter ball with the one in Laundry room to permanently fix the leak.
3) This time after replacing Thermocouple on south side heater, he apparently tested the relief valve when unit was cold and did not tap it to ensure closure. The next day I went up to check and found it gurgling and the relief line hot indicating water and steam was exiting through relief valve and therefore it was not properly seated. I opened and closed it, tapping each time and second time, the dripping stopped. Eventually the gurgling began again and required another call to the plumber to replace the leaky relief valve. The heater has been very quiet now for almost a month which leads me to suspect that the relief valve had been gurgling for months, costing us natural gas and water while reducing the hot water we had when taking showers.
"Trust everyone, but cut the cards," Sweeney always said. Well, his sage advice can apply to plumbers also, "Trust your plumber, but double-check his work."
LSU'S PERFECT SEASON
The first perfect season for the Louisiana State University Fightin' Tigers was in 1908. I remember the year because exactly 50 years later, I was a Freshman at LSU when our football team had a perfect season, 10-0 plus a win over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl 7-0. As the 2011 season progressed, I had a sense that this could be another perfect season for my Tigers. This year's team seemed to be the kind of team that Les Miles had been aiming for since he arrived at LSU. His BCS Championship Team in 2007 was kind of a fluke, requiring about six teams ahead of him to lose in the last few weeks so LSU could get into the BCS Game in the Sugar Bowl. This year's team simply kicked the door in by beating everyone on their schedule, including 6 or 7 teams which were ranked high up in the standings when the Tigers played them. Oregon was No. 3, Alabama was No. 2, Arkansas was No. 3, and Georgia was No. 5, if my memory serves. No other team had that strong a schedule. And LSU handled the above mentioned easily, except for Alabama, and LSU deserves a chance to set that right!
During the last afternoon of College Football, my last Saturday of a full college schedule leading up to the 3 pm game for SEC Championship, all the five screens in the Timberlane Screening Room were blazing with football games. During the SEC game, the Tigers's were stifled by Georgia in the first half who came aiming for an upset, but they only managed 10 pts before Tyrann Mathieu ran back a 62 punt for a TD in second quarter to fire up the Tigers. In the second half the LSU running game blasted Georgia off the field, adding another 35 pts with a couple of turnovers and another long Tyrann punt return that was a classic broken field run, unlike anything I've ever seen before. He is truly a future Heisman Trophy winner on Defense. After the game ended 42-10, Georgia Coach Mark Richt came up to and greeted Les Miles warmly after the game. I couldn't help but compare Richt's graciousness to Petrino's snub of LSU's Les Miles after we whipped his Razorbacks by a nearly identical score a week earlier.
Del's offspring and grandkids were here for our Christmas get-together on the same night as Tyrann Mathieu was one of the Heisman Finalists on stage in NYC. The Screening Room was jammed with the most people ever as we all wanted to watch the proceedings. There on the front row were Alabama Coach Saban sitting next to LSU Coach Miles and they looked like wide-eyed school boys having the time of their lives. Les Miles said afterward how exciting it was for him to shake hands after with Heisman Winner Archie Griffin, whom he had tackled in a football game one time. "Did Archie remember your tackle?" a reporter asked Les. "Sure did — I've reminded him of it every time I meet him!" Tyrann came in fifth, but it is rare for a sophomore to be in the Finalists and even more rare for a Defensive player to be there.
At the beginning of the year, Del asked my opinion about renewing our Sugar Bowl tickets (which come with the BCS Championship tickets). Her dad, Dick Richards, had those seats since the very first Sugar Bowl, one of the first college bowl games ever. In fact, "sugar bowl" was a common phrase whereas Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, and Cotton Bowl were names which rode on the back of Sugar Bowl. I told her, "No. The likelihood of LSU being in the BCS Championship Game in Sugar Bowl stadium for the third time in 8 years playing for a National Championship is slim. Besides those seats are so close to the end zone that you can't see the field on either end.In 2007 we were there when LSU beat Ohio State and when the Tigers were playing near our end zone, so many people stood on the sidelines that we couldn't see the players. When they were near the opposite end zone, I had to watch the LSU Band's reaction to know if something good happened. So we opted for the best seats: on television, in case our Tigers got into the game. And they have.
DO DAT AGAIN
That's the phrase on the banner Del bought early in the year from the Gift Shop at Our Lady of Wisdom facility where her mom was staying. We needed a replacement for the faded sign which simply said Saints. It's been a great replacement because that is the expression on every Saints' fan's tongue as our home town heroes are on a winning streak at 11-3 with two home games against divisional opponents. Win those two and the Saints will have replicated their 2009 13-3 finish on the way to the Super Bowl. God Willing, they will in fact, Do Dat Again! Late News: Saints whipped the Falcons 45-16 on Monday Night Football in a game where Drew Brew broke Dan Marino's 3-decade passing record for most passing yards in a season. They are the NFC South Champs and only need to win the last game on Jan. 1 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and if the 49ers lose, they will be Second Seed in the NFC. No coasting in the last three games this year as in 2009 but a fight all the way to the Super Bowl. Go Saints! WHO DAT SAY THEY CAN'T DO DAT AGAIN!
POTATOES IN THE GROUND
One morning I woke up from a dream about planting potatoes in the mulch bed which is now cleared of watermelon vines. When I got up, I checked the fridge and there was a bag of Del Dee red potatoes with eyes on them ready to plant. I checked our Bio-Dynamic Northern Planting Zone and December 18, 19, and 20 were prime Root Planting times and this was the 18th. I cut up the potatoes so each piece had at least one eye (some were sprouts an inch long).I donned my Duck Slippers, pulled down my hoe, and carried the bag of cut potatoes to the mulch bed. I quickly made three rows with the hoe, clearing the remaining dried watermelon vines away. Then with my gloves off, I spit on each potato as I set them into the furrow. If you've read my "Plants as Doctor" Commentary, you'll know why this is important. The chemicals in your body transfer to the seed potatoes (or any seed) and the plants adjust their genetic structure to provide exactly the proteins your body needs. I had just enough seed potatoes left to plant another row and did so. Called Del out to take a photo before I covered potatoes and she went over to add her own saliva to the seed potatoes. Should be a great crop of potatoes come Spring, about May. I think that's the usual time Dad used to dig up his red potatoes. Since my dream was so accurate, I'm wondering if I no longer need to buy the annual Planting Guide. My Guardian Angel seems able to cue me when it's best to plant.
LAST MINUTE THINGS
This is the first Christmas that Del and I have no parents remaining alive. My dad died in January and her mom in October. It seemed strange to have that empty space where we went to Dad's on Christmas Eve and to Doris's on Christmas afernoon to give them their presents.Now we give them our presence by remembering them fondly, making them aware that we know they live and are real in the spiritual world and how much we appreciate their love and attention in raising us to adulthood. Dad raised 6 kids and Doris 2 kids — Del and I have also raised 8 kids, 4 each, and they have now their own families to spend Christmas with. On Christmas Eve we got invites to visit John and his two kids, but Del wasn't feeling up to traveling to Baton Rouge. Also had an invite from Anne and Guntis to join them at a friend's house along the Bon-Fire route in St. James Parish on the Mississippi River and we asked for a "sunshine check" for next year. We did drive over to share presents and presence with Anne, Guntis, and their two foreign exchange teenage girls, Yuki from China and Chae'en from Pusan, Korea. I showed Chae'en how to view the bon fire photos on my Jan. 2009 DIGESTWORLD Issue #091. Del and I simply drove through on Christmas Eve, 2008, but we look forward to spending the evening with a bon fire making family. Anne showed me the bon fire construction and it looked just like the one I recorded in this photo for DW#091.
Having had two weekends of a houseful of guests, we are happy to spend this weekend together for Christmas. Julie Greenberg brought us some delicious cookies and Anne gave us a selection of her cookies, so even though our grandkids swept through the cookies Grama Del cooked, we are already restocked. The fire is burning in the hearth, Christmas Carols are resonating from Screening Room and we have already filled a bag full of Christmas wrappings and carried it out to the trash pickup area. I fixed us a couple of simple omelets with Stone-ground toast and homemade fig preserves for breafast and we plan an elegant Christmas day meal downtown later.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING . . .
The month of December brought us two crowds of children and grandchildren to share presents with, already frigid weather with respites of summery short-sleeve weather, blessed rain for our lawn and gardens followed by lots of clear skies. Our watermelon patch is cleared out and red potatoes are planted for Spring harvest. We are eating broccoli, green onions, brussels sprouts, and parsley from our garden. LSU is PERFECT! — unbeaten for the 2011 season, finishing the year as Unanimous No. 1 in the nation. The Saints are Play-Off Bound, looking to grasp a No. 2 Seed and first round bye! Till January arrives, with its frigid temperatures and hot clam chowders, God Willing and Global Warming doesn't freeze us over — whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, be it in mid-Winter or mid-Summer, in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, in the New World or the Old World — remember our motto: Enjoy the present moment, it's the only Eternity you have and it's given to you for Free!
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1. John Banville 's Doctor Copernicus
This is a docu-drama of Nicolas Copernicus's life and in spite of all the praise heaped upon it I was unable to trudge through it much past halfway before I dropped it unread on my shelf — from which I picked it up some fifteen years later to review. After writing this review, my impression of the novel is much improved, probably due to a change in me over the years. Banville is a good writer, and the more writing I do, the more I appreciate those who excel at this craft.
The opening quote by Wallace Stevens is important and sets the tone for a book about a man who saw things with fresh eyes:
You must become an ignorant man again
And see the sun again with an ignorant eye
And see it clearly in the idea of it.
This is the job of any scientist, rightly understood, to see the world through fresh eyes that are ignorant of and untainted by even the names that have been assigned to the things of the world. When one is able to do that, one is able begin anew the job of being a scientist. Banville begins the novel with that theme in his very first paragraph:
[page 3] At first it had no name. It was the thing itself, the vivid thing. It was his friend. On windy days it danced, demented, waving wild arms, or in the silence of evening drowsed and dreamed, swaying in the blue, the goldeny air. Even at night it did not go away. Wrapped in his truckle bed, he could hear it stirring darkly outside in the dark, all the long night long. There were others, nearer to him, more vivid still than this, they came and went, talking, but they were wholly familiar, almost a part of himself, while it, steadfast and aloof, belonged to the mysterious outside, to the wind and the weather and the goldeny blue air. It was part of the world, and yet it was his friend.
Then, as happens in all our lives, someone came by and named this mysterious friend for Nicolas, "It is a tree." Banville does a good job of building images for us of Nicolas's education into the world of names and mathematics. Here his father explains to Nicolas the meaning of money saying that it was more than coins.
[page 6] O much more. Coins, you see, are only for poor people, simple people, and for little boys. They are only a kind of picture of the real thing, but the real thing itself you cannot see, nor put in your pocket, and it does not jingle. When I do business with other merchants I have no need of these silly bits of metal, and my purse may be full or empty, it makes no difference. I give my word, and that is sufficient, because my word is money.
What a beautiful definition of money! Our credit rating in this new century is the index of our word — it indicates to all our record of keeping our word in our business dealings. In Nicolas' time, one's word equated to one's reputation, but the overall effect was the same. Next the father taught Nicolas about the special name that identifies the family he was born into.
[page 8] It was from this metal [copper] that the family had its name, his father said, and not from the Polish coper, meaning horseradish, as some were spiteful enough to suggest. Horseradish indeed! Never forget, ours is a distinguished line, merchants and magistrates and ministers of Holy Church — patricians all!
So Nicolas was a patrician who learned the names of things and the meaning of money, but there was still one major learning for him: the concepts of mathematical thinking. Banville waxes musical in his description of the younger Copernicus' thinking in mathematical concepts.
[page 19] He learned with ease, perhaps too easily: his studies bored him. Only now and then, in the grave cold music of mathematics, in the stately march of a Latin line, in logic's hard bright lucid, faintly frightening certainties, did he dimly perceive the contours of some glistening ravishing things assembling itself out of the blocks of glassy air in a clear blue unearthly sky, and then there thrummed within him a coppery chord of perfect bliss.
There was another skill that would prime Nicolas as a child to become the master of the heavens as an adult — he had to learn to connect theories to the things of the world. This lesson was to come from Canon Wodka during their walks together when they talked about Nicolas Cusanus, Aristotle, and Ptolemy's view of the world. He left Nicolas with the unanswered question of how strange was Cusan's universe — an infinite sphere whose center is nowhere — when compared with the classical view of Ptolemy and Aristotle.
[page 23] And later, as they walked across the cathedral close at dusk, the Canon halted, suddenly struck, and touched the boy lightly in excitement with a trembling hand, "Consider this, child, listen: all theories are but names, but the world itself is a thing." In the light of the evening, the gathering gloom, it was as if a sibyl had spoken.
Now many pieces were in place: things have names, theories are but names, maps, if you will, and the world of things is a territory upon which the maps may be related by someone who can discern their relation. The one additional piece needed for Nicolas was courage — the courage to say, "I am the one who will present this new way of thinking to the world." Banville portrays the astronomer Jacob Ziegler as the teacher of Nicolas thus:Banville presents a cogent picture of how the youthful Copernicus comes to be the one to shatter man's prevailing conception of the universe and replace it with a completely materialistic one that sets the stage for the celestial mechanics of Isaac Newton to follow.
[page 51] "Compromise! Caution! I tell you we must act! Times do not change of themselves, but are changed by the actions of men.
2. Jean-Paul Sartre's The Emotions — Outline of a Theory
How appropriate that I 'd be reviewing this book on the fiftieth anniversary of Sartre's writing it! In all those fifty years scientists haven't learned much more about a theory of emotions than Sartre knew in 1948. [See ARJ: Passion and Reason, Emotional Intelligence, and The Emotional Brain] But Doyle P. Henderson came up with a theory of emotions some twenty ago [ARJ: PANACEA!] in the light of which I wish to examine Sartre's view of emotions. Henderson's theory may be said to form the basis for the science of doyletics — the science of the acquisition and transmission of emotional traits.
Sartre says on page 7, "Thus, emotion is first of all and in principle an accident." He says it is useless for a psychologist to ask how "the very structure of human reality makes emotions possible." Yet, rightly understood, the theory of doyletics does exactly that: it says that a human being begins developing cognitive memory capability at three years of age and switches over entirely to cognitive memory at age five.
Before age five, all bodily experiences (those physical body states called by the names, emotions, feelings, moods, and motor skills) are stored directly in a form that permits later stimuli to trigger an exact recapitulation of any stored physical body state as though it were actually happening at the time.
Thus, if we are presented with a bouquet of flowers, we attribute the feeling to the flowers and say, "Those flowers give me a thrill!" We don't say, e.g., what would be more accurate, "The sight and smell of those flowers triggers a physical body state that was stored in me when I was two years old!"
We cannot say the latter because only the thrill was stored, not the cognitive memory of the event. We don't remember the when, the where, the what, the why of the event; we only remember the how we did it and the how we felt. If it had been possible for us at age two to store the event as a cognitive memory, the thrill would not have been stored. If as an adult we do a doyle trace we may recover the event as a cognitive memory, but in doing so, we will lose the possibility of ever experiencing the thrill of the event as soon as the event gets stored in cognitive or conceptual memory. This pre-eminence of cognitive memory over physical body states was very early recognized by Doyle Henderson and formed the basis of his theory. It is the key factor which permits his software program to remove unwanted physical body states.
If someone were so foolish as to trace their thrill experience upon receiving flowers, they would be able to say, the next time someone surprised them with flowers on a special occasion, "These flowers remind me of flowers that I saw and smelled when I was two years old." — but they would no longer be able to feel the thrill that they had felt before! Thus it is always necessary to remind new doyle-tracers, "Only trace physical body states that you do not want to ever have again."
Our experience of emotions allows us to classify them, and, once classified, to think that we understand them. Doyletics allows us to understand that the origin of our emotions is in our idiosyncratic set of childhood experiences before five years old and that our use of a classification word like thrill is simply a convenient pointer to some childhood experience that we have no other way of describing.
[page 16] If, in the manner of the phenomenologist, we wish to make of emotion a true phenomenon of consciousness, it will, on the contrary, be necessary to consider it as significative from the first.
Sartre says that "To signify is to indicate another thing." and that physiological facts signify almost nothing — they just are — yet, through doyletics we understand that the physiological facts are the physical body states that comprise emotions and that they point to events of personal history. Since we are always creating new personal history with each emotion that arises from an important event, we are easily led to believe that the current event is creating the emotion. The experience of over twenty years of doyle tracing to remove unwanted emotions permanently, however, proves the existence of an original event of personal history before the age of five. And during that original event only the physiological components of the emotion were stored.
To a materialistic scientist, the feeling of joy is the physical body state recapitulated from the original event before five years old. To a spiritual scientist, the feeling of joy is the spiritual concomitant of the physiological states or doyles that we call joy. The spiritual scientist sees the world as a chariot that is pulled by two horses: the black horse of the material world and the white horse of the spiritual world.
[page 43] A woman has a phobia of bay-trees. As soon as she sees a cluster of bay-trees, she faints. The psychoanalyst discovers in her childhood a painful sexual incident connected with a laurel bush.
Sartre claims the fainting is a phenomenon of refusal to re-live the memory connected with the bay-tree. If we consider that the painful adjective is a word used by the analyst to refer to the woman's reluctance to tell what really happened, the more likely description is that the young girl swooned or passed out, overcome by the flood of sexual energy, and the current fainting as an adult woman in the presence of a bay-tree is a re-triggering of the physical body state of unconsciousness stored during the original event.
[page 55] The words which my neighbor is writing makes no demands; I contemplate them in their order of successive appearance as I would look at a table or clotheshanger. On the other hand, the words which I write are exigencies.
As I pass now from copying the above quote, I enter a new phase of writing in which the very next word has an urgency, a potential newness that I cannot guess beforehand. Watching someone in the throes of an emotional display has the same quality as that of watching someone else writing — we observe the facts in progression. But when we are the one emoting, we feel the urgency of the emotion as an exigency that we do not feel when we observe someone else. What I am wanting to claim is that, "writing is born out of the same substrate of human capability as emotion," and I feel the impulse to write those words, even though I can pause, reflect, and consider what they mean, and not be sure what I mean by them, up until now.
[page 67] The emotion of active sadness in this case is therefore a magical comedy of impotence; the sick person resembles servants who, having brought thieves into their master's home, have themselves tied up so that it can be clearly seen that they could not have prevented the theft. Only, here, the sick person is tied up by himself and by a thousand tenuous bonds.
Seen rightly, sickness, a magical comedy of impotence, is a comedy that we are expected to take seriously if we are caregivers. This is a beautiful insight by Sartre into the reason why a sick person will rebuff anyone who suggests to them that it's all in their minds — the sick person, like the servants above, must insist that it was the thieves, not themselves, that tied them up. This reminds me of the lifelong hypochondriac who had the following engraved on her tombstone, "See! I told you I was sick!"
[page 72] The actor mimics joy and sadness, but he is neither joyful nor sad because this kind of behavior is directed to a fictitious universe. He mimics behavior, but he is not behaving.
This I must disagree with — though Sartre was a writer, not an actor, and so must be forgiven. One need only observe the sterling performances that are highlighted during Academy Awards presentations to realize that these performers are behaving in a real universe that includes real people in the audience, people who will only remain engrossed in a performance if it is startlingly real. The essence of the acting art is to produce experiences in oneself that are so congruent with the scene that the audience believes that the performer and the person portrayed are one and the same.
[page 93] The study of emotions has quite verified this principle: an emotion refers back to what it signifies.
And what it signifies, or points to, is the set of physical body states experienced by that person before the age of five. To build a theory of emotions is easy if one begins on this premise. And the theory, if it is to be accepted, must have useful consequences. In the case of doyletics, the useful consequences are the ability to remove unwanted emotions, feelings, or moods in the privacy of one's home. The listing of the possible set of uses is beyond the scope of this essay. Sartre's book is a useful outline of his theory of emotions, and it has helped this author to outline Doyle Henderson's theory of emotions.
Comments on my Review by Doyle P. Henderson, May 30, 1998:
Oh, what fun I have had reading your reviews, and even printing out, in color your photo and the well-formatted Sartre's book review... Your observations, as always, are instructive, even to me, regarding PANACEA! and Sartre's work... Your remarkable capability to relate things, to see and explain their relevance and meaningful relationships, continues — enhanced by your own exposure to more things.... It will never become stale or obsolete.
3. William Shatner's Star Trek Memories
"Captain's Log: these are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise — its three-year mission: to explore strange new worlds of TV series, to boldly go where only Gene Roddenberry's mind has gone before." Had it not been for Gene, this weekly science fiction series would have ended up as another bad Lost in Space insult to viewers' intelligence. In fact, CBS called Roddenberry in to pitch their executives on Star Trek. Instead of the perfunctory 20-minute spiel to underlings, Roddenberry was intensively grilled for three hours by the top studio executives. After Gene left they used his ideas of how to do a science fiction show to create Lost in Space on a weekly series budget. They stole his original ideas such as his "Similar Planets" concept: visit only planetoids with oxygen atmosphere similar to earth's to avoid space suits. Other ideas from Gene were re-usable sets and a constant cast with well-known guest stars. Every good idea used in CBS's Lost in Space series was stolen from Gene during that three hour meeting. CBS: the Creepy Bastards of Sleaze. I will never work for that network or present an idea to them after learning of this penchant on their part.
On a lighter note: Shatner loved practical jokes and loved to steal Nimoy's bicycle. Nimoy pedaled to lunch every day and reached the commissary across the lot before the rest of the cast. One day Bill chained it to a fireplug, the next day he hoisted to the top of a sound stage, and finally he locked it in his own dressing room guarded by a Doberman with an attitude. Apparently Nimoy's sense of humor exceeded Spock's by several parsecs.
Bill tells story about Gary Lockwood's appearance on Where No Man Has Gone. After a long tussle with Gary, Kirk plopped him on the ground at Sally Kellerman's feet and Gary's pants ripped all apart, exposing his lower torso, which was missing underwear. Gary looked up sheepishly at Sally and muttered, "I guess I took your picture." Undaunted, Sally looked down at his bare crotch and, without a pause, said, "What? With that little Brownie?" On the sidelines Kirk was rolling on the floor laughing.
This book is a delightful read for insights into Shatner, Nimoy, Roddenberry, Coon, Justman, and Freiberger. From its shaky start to its ultimate cancellation, none of the Star Trek cast members had any inkling of the huge success that awaited them in syndication. A smart ass and very likeable guy, Shatner tells good stories, and tells them from many points of view, just as the great Captain James Tiberius Kirk, commander of the Starship Enterprise, most certainly would.
4. Jane Austen's Emma
While reading When Words Lose Their Meaning by James Boyd White, I encountered his analysis of Austen's work Emma. His view was that the work takes several readings to fully assimilate and after this first reading, I agree.
What stands out most for me is the realization I came to when nearing the final chapter that Austen was writing of aspects of life that I never considered as objects for writing about. Nor do I ever recall reading about before. It was as though I lived these aspects, and yet I never considered that someone would write of these feelings, thoughts, considerations, hopes, dreams, etc. I was so much involved in their process, that I never considered them as content.That was a major shift for me — whole new areas and arenas of understanding and meanings in life opened up for me. It was as though I had lived life halfway, had seen it through a glass darkly, and now a window had opened onto a hitherto unspoken and unrealized aspect of my life — one that I can see clearly from now on.
I suspect that my usage of parentheses (so much affected by Austen's usage) will change, also. Typing up this review thirteen years later, I removed most of the parentheses and had to re-insert several so that the previous sentence would make sense. I did not experience this as words losing their meaning, but certainly I experienced myself as changing in the process of reading, which was White's thesis in his book.
"Two letters that mean perfection: Emm-a." I fully agree with the character who uttered those words, as it applies to the book Emma as well as to Miss Emma Woodhouse, the eponymic character of the novel.
There were many other learnings: how having the official title of matchmaker prevents such errors as a man's thinking that Emma's solicitousness reflects her desire to marry him when she only intends to marry him off to some other young lady she has chosen for him.
Overall Mr. Knightley reminded me of myself and Miss Woodhouse reminded me of several lady friends. I daresay that many men who read Emma will likewise form such a connection.
5. Mortimer Adler's The Angels and Us
I began reading this book about August 29, 1983 and it is filled with marginalia and date glyphs throughout. As I review my notes I find that they all seemed to coalesce into a coherent whole, when about three weeks later in September, 1983, I wrote a proof of EAT-O-TWIST in the blank pages at the end of the book. Before we get to that proof, there are some miscellaneous quotes and references from the body of the book, I'd like to relate. This process is almost like archaeology for me of an ancient city, as I am reading notes someone I was seventeen years ago wrote, and I'm trying to decipher what this writer was attempting to communicate. So enjoy these words realizing at each point that the words are almost twenty years old, the 1982 writer is no longer extant, and the 1999 writer is filtering them through his augmented understanding.[page 18] The significance of angels in the context of theology does not touch the minds of unbelievers or disbelievers, non-religious person of whatever variety. For them theology is a closed book, to be dismissed out of hand or ridiculed as a mass of superstitions. [page 19] When angels are mentioned, the question that usually pops into people's minds today is how many of them can stand on the head of a pin. That question was never propounded by any mediaeval theologian. It was an invention of modern scoffers who used it to exemplify what they regarded as the utterly specious disputes involved in theology.It is a pity that the words of skeptics on the issue of angels be better known than those of the believers. But this is merely a commentary on how far we've fallen into the materialistic morass in our time. This situation with angels reminds me of what Rudolf Steiner said about the historical documents about the gnosticism — that all of the documents we now have access to were written by the opponents of gnosticism who burned all the documents that explained the true tenets of gnosticism. It is heartening to see an establishment academic like Mortimer Adler taking on on the subject of angels, at all! That is the reason I bought this book in the first place. In this attempt to cover all aspects of angels, Adler tackles angels as objects of belief in Part Two and angels as objects of philosophical thought in Part Three of the book, spanning the subject from the creedal to the grave. In Part Two he reminds us that Aquinas posited the necessity for a layered hierarchy of spiritual beings thus:[page 57] "At the topmost summit of things there is a being which is in every way simple and one; namely, God. Therefore, corporeal things cannot be located immediately below God, for they are composite and divisible. This is why one must posit many intermediates, through which we must come down from the highest point of the Divine simplicity to corporeal multiplicity."This seems to be an important point to remember in this time of the beginning of the Third Millennium when everyone seems to have forgotten the intermediaries between human beings and God and we tremble before the unbridgeable chasm such an amnesia creates.The philosophical arguments are detailed in the book and thus hardly worth laying out here except for one in which the power of an angel is equated with the mass of a physical body and thus both are deemed as incapable of being interpenetrated. Here is the text:[page 130] Third, when an angel acts spiritually on a particular body, its presence at the place occupied by that body is also an occupation of that place. The body occupies that particular place extensively by filling it with its bulk. In contrast, the angel occupies that place intensively by surrounding it with its power. The body is enveloped by the place it occupies. In contrast, the place is enveloped by the angel that is present there by its power. It follows, therefore, that two angels cannot occupy the same place at the same time.Philosophically taut, but a careful inspection will show that to treat some abstract concept called power as if it were substance is pure folly. We have much evidence that matter is not inter-penetrable and none that angels are not. To the contrary there is ample reason to believe the opposite that angels and other spiritual beings are inter-penetrable of matter and each other without limit.In Chapter 11 If Men Were Angels, the authors quote The Federalist Papers where Hamilton and Madison say that if men were angels, no government would be necessary, and go on to say:[page 167] Virtuous men may comply with just laws voluntarily simply because the conduct the laws command happens to be conduct to which they are inclined by their own goodwill. But all men are not virtuous. Coercive forces must be employed to compel their compliance.I'll grant that before I took Dr. Andrew J. Galambos's volitional science course V50T , I'd have definitely agreed with the above quotation, but no more. The statements were true at the time and remain true — lacking the technology that Dr. Galambos has brought forward, coercive force is necessary for compliance. With the advent of his new technology, true government will come to be understood as that which has no coercion at any level, and such true government will drive out the coercive counterfeit of government as surely as good money drives bad money out of circulation [Gresham's Law].
Nothing remains but for me to summarize what I got from my first reading of this book some 17 years ago: the Proof of EAT-O-TWIST, Everything Allways Turns Out The Way It's Supposed To. The proof was written in rear overleaf of book on August 30, 1983, about three weeks after I finished reading the book. This was before I began reading any of the works of Rudolf Steiner and, as I review this proof from the perspective of seventeen years and over fifty Steiner books, there is no need to change anything substantive in the proof, even though I've acquired enormous new insights into the spiritual world since that time. [This note was written on March 30, 1999.]
November 20, 2000 Note: With the insights from reading Rudolf Steiner's lectures about the time between death and a rebirth, I would modify substantially my description of immortality below, but I will allow it to stand as one that may appeal to other materialistic scientists for whom the concept of a black hole provides a strong attraction.Proof of EAT-O-TWIST: A. All Beings are omniscient. (by Definition III) B. Each Being communicates Expectations to every other Being, i. e., Supposes what the other is going to do. (Definitions IV. and V.) C. Your expectations are communicated to everyone else, including God. (By Definitions I., II., and III.) D. Others accept your expectations and hold them in their minds, perhaps creating better or worse ones for them and you in their minds. (By Definitions IV., V., and VI) E. QED: Everything Allways Turns Out The Way It's Supposed To! EAT-O-TWIST! (By Definition VII and Postulates I. and II. Below.)
PostulatesI. God is omnipotent. (There's allways a way to do anything.) II. God is all good. (There's allways a good intention behind any action or behavior.)
DefinitionsI. God - the plenum of universal communication of which all objects comprising the plenum are simultaneously transmitters, receivers, and the communication itself. II. Angels - a local coalescence from the plenum for the purposes of the person doing the calling, whether conscious or unconscious. Another way of saying this is: Angels are subsystems of God, organized according to the expectations (EAT-O-TWIST) of the person requiring the communication from the omniscient plenum. EAT-O-TWIST is from Matherne's Rule #10 and stands for Everything Allways Turns Out The Way It's Supposed To. [Note: Allways is spelled that way because I mean both at all times and in all ways, and even more. See definition of Suppose below at IV, Supposed To at V, and Turns Out at VI.] III. Omniscient — having access to the communication plenum without constraint. Humans appear to be not omniscient to the extent that they have forgotten that they have continuous unrestrained access to this plenum. IV. Suppose — from Webster's 7th New Collegiate Dictionary — 1. Lay down tentative hypothesis or assumption, to hold as an opinion, to think probable or in keeping with facts 2. Conceive, imagine, have a suspicion of. V. Supposed To — refers to the holding of ideas in the mind about a given situation. VI. Turns Out - the final outcome or product. VII. Omnipotent — capable of changing any physical of mental situation without limit by thinking about it [supposing].VIII. Religion - an organized body of Left Brain Knowledge (Content) and Right Brain Knowledge (Process) whose purpose is to provide humans with access to the communication plenum(1). IX. Death — the process we observe when a person's bodily functions cease. X. Immortality — the process a person who is dying (in our frame of reference) undergoes in their frame of reference. (A person in this condition has instantaneous access to all of the time-space continuum.)(2) XI. Reincarnation — while in the state of immortality, the person has the option to enter a fetus and thus to be born into another body. EAT-O-TWIST! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ footnotes ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1. Religions may be characterized by the subset of the five basic senses that they activate or use preferentially. Below's my best guess at how religions I'm familiar with do this, but first what the initials stand for: V — Visual, A — Auditory (At is Auditory-tonal/RB, Ad is Auditory-digital/LB), O — Olfactory, G — Gustatory, and K — Kinesthetic. [Note: I'm no expert on religions other than Catholic, so I may have left out some aspects. ]Catholic V — statues, churches, robes, stained glass At — Gregorian Chants, organ music, hymns, High Mass Ad — Rosary, Litany, Low Mass, homilies.O — wine, incense G — communion Pentecostal At — speaking in tongues K — holy rolling Protestant Ad — sermons G — communion Return to text directly before Footnote 1.New Stuff on the Internet:
2. Black Hole Metaphor: To help understand the process of death from a scientific point of view, imagine you are entering a black hole. The rest of the universe begins to more and more rapidly evolve as your frame of time reference slows down. To those viewing you from the outside, the rest of the universe, you seem to reach what they call death in a relatively short time, but for you, from your reference inside the black hole, it's a very long time indeed, without end, and you get to the watch the evolution of the universe proceed at an ever increasing rate.Cybernetic Metaphor: if the external clock pulses of a computer slows down, the computer will be unaware of any change in itself — but the rest of the world will seem to speed up, from its point of reference. Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
You may have seen Sergeant Saint last month in DIGESTWORLD. Now you can see/hear a brief interview with him before the Saints whipped the Falcons on Monday Night Football. He is our nephew Dean Matherne, newly back from Iraq and new JROTC Teacher in Thibodaux. CLICK HERE!
[Thanks to Dean's sister Robin, my god-daughter, for sending this along!]SNOW FUN Is there a lot of snow where you are? Have a little snowball fun indoors without getting your hands ocld (BRRRA! Cold makes yiu musspeel tings!) CLICK HERE!
[Thanks to the Sage Team for sending this Holiday Treat along!]Home for the Holidays? Home or not, this will bring a tear to your eye. Budget yourself for a couple of minutes of pure enjoyment. CLICK HERE! [Thanks to Candace Reed for sending this along.]
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. Often you get the Director's Cut Edition which adds back excellent footage that was cut from the theater releases. 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 ignore.):
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray DVD movies from NetFlix.“Water for Elephants” (2011) behind the glitz of the Big Top are people shoveling manure, working for pennies, and suffering just for the thrill of the big day. Jacob’s parents die just before he graduates Cornell. Alone in the world he finds a home on the Circus train and a lifelong friend in Rosie the Polish elephant. The night-time train scenes are indescribable ThomasHartBenton-esque masterpieces. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Five Days of War” (2011) between Russia and Georgia during which the world stood by while Russia carved away a piece of independent Georgia’s territory and slaughtered thousands with their mercenaries. Story of the journalists who risked their lives to present stories of the atrocities. A DON’T MISS HIT !
“Eve’s Christmas” (2011) on the LMN channel, this take off on “Peggy Sue Got Married” takes our heroine from a penthouse in NYC back to her wedding week in small town Oregon for another chance at overcoming her cold feet. Eve's ten years of sleeping alone was cold feet enough for her!
“Cleaner” (2007) Samuel Jackson is wonderful as he works to clean up after homicides and police coverups.
“Little Fockers” (2011) two barely functional families cross paths at the twins’ birthday party. The series has matured and mellowed a bit and the fun kinda outweighs the zaniest making an enjoyable movie.
“Cleaner” (2007) Samuel Jackson is wonderful as he works to clean up after homicides and police coverups.
“Rabbit Hole” (2010) Kidman and Eckhart lose a four-year-old son and their sanity as a married couple. Can group therapy save them? Or will it take a comic book? An amazing movie at many levels.
“Late Spring” (1949) is the time of life of the daughter devoted to her widowed father. She helps at home and loves being with him, but he must find a way to get her to accept a marriage proposal and move on in her life. The Zen Garden of Ryoanji figures in a late scene in the movie and was mentioned in Reading Zen in the Rocks.
“Task Force” (1949) Gary Cooper, Jane Wyatt, and a young Walter Brennan star. Shows how air craft carriers fought dogged opposition from old Navy in gearing up to save US from Japan when WWII broke out. (saw on TCM)
“The Tree of Life” (2011) shows a boys life from conception to upper teens when a telegram of his death is received. Sparse dialogue in this beautiful movie allows us to relive our early life as a child. Watching our first brother being born, walking through drying sheets in the Sun, playing with first BB gun, exploring old buildings, etc. This is a movie to be lived through, all 2 hrs and 18 minutes, not watched, explained, or criticized. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !“Larry Crowne” (2011) fired from Wally Mart meets the Scooter Set and becomes Lance Corona and Teacher’s Pet. Marvelous Tom Hanks and Julie Roberts movie, reminiscent of James Stewart movies. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Green Lantern” (2011) comic book character in movie with shades of Top Gun, Thor, and Spiderman. The friend, who is son of Magnate, goes evil blah, blah. Fun and far-fetched.
“Ricochet” (2011) TNT movie with Jesse Stone-type character in a Sandra Brown murder mystery. A hit and a miss.
“City Island” (2009) Great movie, wonderful acting at many levels, and heartwarming ending. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Waking Madison” (2010) who is in a continual suicidal funk is a might job. She decides to enter one of the greatest thirty-day periods of self-healing ever shown on the big screen. Prepared to be confused, surprised, and eventually delighted. A DON’T MISS HIT ! !
“Drive Angry” (2011) limbs are severed, heads roll, and Cage rolls, running ahead of the Devil’s Accountant, on a mission of mercy for his grand-daughter. Watch out for the crazy Grandpa driver! A bloody but entertaining mess!
“American Experience: Panama Canal” (2010) documentary of the building of the canal and the challenges faced and overcome, especially yellow fever.
“The Perfect Age of Rock & Roll” (2009) has an “Easy Rider” feel to it, with Peter Fonda at the wheel of an Airstream trailer on Route 66 from NYC to California with a rock band which added an “Eddie and the Cruisers” feel, “Words and music, words and music”. Spyder was a one-album wonder rock star who stole the songs from Eric’s demo and was back for more words and music. Can this revived friendship be saved?“A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama” (1999) David McCollough narrates a shortened version of the American Experience documentary of Panama. Excellent summary, leaving out the warts, but explaining some items glossed over, e .g., how the linear plow worked for dumping spoil from railroad flatbed cars.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) is what we can say if we imagine what the world would have been like if we had not existed. George Bailey gets to experience this alternate reality thanks to his acknowledging his Guardian Angel. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
“Home Front” (2006) good look at wounded warriors returning to civilian life without eyes, legs, arms, etc. Follows man who lost his eyesight and part of frontal lobes in Iraq, how he coped with his disabilities and who helped him.
“Black Widow” (1987) Debra Winger is Fed seeking a serial killer who marries rich guys then kills them. Will Debra be seduced by Theresa Russell’s wiles and become her next victim? A timeless and gripping murder mystery. A DON’T MISS HIT ! !
“Looking for Richard” (1976) is Al Pacino’s story of looking for himself as a stage actor again. Four years in the making, one can get Shakespeare and the driving forces at work in Richard III by watching this incredible movie filmed in famous locations including the Cloisters and St. John the Divine in NYC. 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."Falling Sky" (1998) Brittany Murphy in slow death by alcoholism and bad script.
“Giving It Up” (1999) about a philandering fool who gave up sex altogether when he should have given up making this trashy movie!
“Swingers” (1996) Early Vince Vaughn movie showing great promise and lousy script.
“Beginners” (2010) with Christopher Plummer and Ewan MacGregor, you figure: what could go wrong? Let’s just say “everything that Hollywood wants you to think is normal”. Mailed DVD before finishing the movie.
“The King” (2005), named Elvis and released from Navy, he seeks his mother’s lover who fathered and abandoned him. Will he be accepted into his dad’s new family? Results are unbelievable, not set up by the script.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:“Take the Money and Run” (1969) The movie that Woody Allen’s managers talked him into doing using his comedy monologues and set him off on an eclectic run as star, writer, and director of movies which continues for over 40 years. Classic scene, “I have a gub.”
"Fair Game" (2010) Valerie Plame was fair game after her husband began raising a stink. Inside look at her personal life behind the headlines of an attempt to smear Bush policies.
“Crazy, Stupid Love” (2011) about how stupid people split up, try the dating scene, and get back together. Mostly slow movie with a few surprises at the end.
“Bad Teacher” (2011), Bad Script, Bad Acting, but fun movie which might make you laugh. Go figure. Diaz plays herself, no acting required.
“The Story of Adele H.” (1975) the daughter of Victor Hugo follows her love to Halifax and later to Barbados where it remains unrequited. A sad story of love falling into obsession and madness.
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Adapted from email by Michael Lawrence:
In Mulate's Saloon one afternoon, Broussard was talking to Boudreaux about putting up his Christmas lights. "Ah got some of dem lights dat look like icicles dripping down, and Clotilde wants me to put dem all around de house."
Boudreaux said, “Ah’m not gonna did no lights, me.”
“Mais, why not, Boudreaux, it’s the Christmas season, you know.”
“Wahl, dat’s not for me. Ah figure it dis way: Christmas lights are like dem maudits politicians in Baton Rouge,” Boudreaux replied.
“Wat you mean by dat?” Broussard axed.
“You know, dey all hang together — some of dem are lit up and de others ain’t dat bright.”
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5. RECIPE of the MONTH for January, 2012 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Sauteed Brussels Sprouts & Avocado
Background on Recipe:
Each Fall I plant Brussels Sprouts and they begin to produce in December and well into January. This is a quick recipe which uses a small mess of newly picked Brussels Sprouts and an Avocado.
1 small mess of Brussels Sprouts
1 Haas Avocado
Several pats of Butter
Tony Chachere's Seasoning
Slice small Brussels Sprouts in half, larger ones into quarter pieces. Cut Avocadoes into equivalent size pieces.
Heat butter in a saucepan on medium to low heat. Add veggies and sautee till the Brussels Sprouts are slightly charred. Season lightly with a sprinkle of Tony's.
Makes a great side dish or a small lunch entree. Shown above with a quarter of baked yam as a side dish.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from 1990:
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Dance of LifeAmid the crush of couples
He danced alone
His arms embracing palpable air
He danced alone
His face aglow
He danced alone
And under his whiskered brow
His eyes shone
He did not dance alone, you see
His partner was infinity.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for January:
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And for my Good Readers, here’s the new reviews and articles for this month. The ARJ2 ones are new additions to the top of A Reader’s Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, and the ART ones to A Reader’s Treasury. NOTE: these Blurbs are condensations of the Full Reviews sans footnotes and many quoted passages.
1.) ARJ2: Reading Zen in the Rocks — The Japanese Dry Landscape Garden by François Berthier
When I lived in eastern Tennessee for a couple of years, I was amazed that rocks appeared after every rain in the small patch of flat ground with grass on it that I called lawn. Where did they come from, was my unanswered question for a long time. I would pick them up and next rain more were back. This never happened back home in south Louisiana. After learning a bit of geology, I discovered that the Cretaceous layer formed the soil of small patch of lawn up north, while in my native home, that same layer is covered by 5,000 feet of soil laid down over eons by the Mississippi River. If we want a rock here, we have to buy one or bring one, you can't just find rocks and stones lying around. We have a small cabin in the mountains of Arkansas where we spend a week each year. It's an easy 9 hour drive and I look for stones of unique shapes and sizes each trip, and usually carry one or two home. I place these in our gardens, generally as a standing stone or menhir. They speak to me their "sermons in stone" and I listen. My interest in stones led me to buy and read this book.
The translator of this book in his philosophical essay (almost as long as the translation) says:
[page 128] We have discovered in the ideas of these exceptional appreciators of stone in the West a theme that we shall see developed and amplified in Japanese Buddhist philosophy: the idea that if we attend to the "great central life" of the earth we shall hear some teachings and see some scriptures couched and proclaimed in a language of nature's own — and in an unexpected eloquence of stone.
What is Zen? Is it a religion? No, it is not a religion, instead it is more like a philosophical approach to life similar to that followed by the Sufis. Inscrutable to Western ways of thought, both Zen and Sufi masters are characterized by outrageous behavior and child-like imagination. The text explains that Zen is a form of Buddhism that "is nourished by the sap of Daoism."
[page 2] [Its] primary aim . . . is to liberate the human being from the shackles of the rules and conventions imposed by society, and to allow one to regain the marvelous spontaneity of the child, or one's primary nature, original being, or essence. This project is connected with that of the Zen adept, who is in search of his deepest self.
The figure on page 2 is a Daoist hermit on a toilet and on page 3, a patriarch of Zen tearing up religious texts. Compare these to my statue of the Sufi Nasruddin sitting on his front-to-back donkey. Nasruddin was constantly doing surprising things which offered deep understandings of life to those whose noses were otherwise stuck in religious texts.
[page 2, 3] The basic principle of Zen is very simple: according to Buddhist teaching every creature harbors within it "Buddha-nature" — an expression equivalent to the Christian notion of a "fragment of the divine" or, in terms of Indian thought, to a spark from the great universal fire from which everything emanates and to which everything returns. The human being is, however, unaware of this, and that is precisely where the difficulties begin. How can one become aware of this "Buddha-nature" that is buried in one's innermost depths? To do this, to attain enlightenment, all methods are fine, including the most extravagant. The path that the Zen monk usually follows is threefold: it includes disconcerting conversations with the master, long periods of sitting meditation, and long stretches of manual activity — since one must practice with the body as well as with the mind.
We saw the practice of the body and the mind in the movie "The Karate Kid" as Mr. Miyagi set the kid to various seemingly mundane tasks of waxing a car, painting a fence, etc. all of which were later woven into the moves necessary to win a Karate match. The building of a garden is a way of practicing Zen. How can this be so?
[page 3] In his Dream Dialogues, Mus Soseki wrote: "He who distinguishes between the garden and practice cannot be said to have found the true Way." What the great monk meant was that to create a garden is a way of practicing Zen. Such an assertion implies close connections between the art of the garden and the search for truth.
There were two kinds of gardens, the early period ones which emphasized change and had flowers and deciduous trees and the later ones consisting mostly of rocks and evergreen bushes which remained still and unchanging through the seasons.
[page 5] The gardens of the Heian period reflected the vicissitudes of human life, whereas the Zen monks rejected transitory phenomena and worthless appearances. They stripped nature bare in order to reveal its substance: their "bare bones" gardens expressed universal silence.
When one visits a Zen garden, silence is almost palpably present there — one becomes like one of the rocks which stand in the garden, quiet and unmoving and yet moved within. One is allowed to grasp the essence of nature and thereby grasp one's own "original nature." [Page 6]
A Western professor went to Japan and was invited to a Tea Ceremony. He held out his cup and the Zen master began pouring tea into it. When they cup was filled, the master continued to pour until the tea was running down the sides and onto the professor's hand. He pulled the cup away and objected, "Did you not see that my cup was full and could not hold any more tea?" The master said, "Yes, and did you not come here to learn something without emptying the tea cup of your mind first?" This is the challenge of learning something new: one must empty oneself of all one's preconceptions first. This emptying is not something that is taught in Western cultures, but it is the essence of the Eastern cultures and religions, and especially in the Zen gardens of stone. One sits before the mute stones and one's mind is full of all the "tea" one brought into the garden with one. By meditation on the stones, one can come to pour out the tea of internal noise, and in the silence come to understand one's true face, one's original being, one's own self.
[page 10] The rock gardens are a concrete expression of Zen thought, which is not itself accessible to ordinary people. For that reason they appear impenetrable. They are very different from the garden paradises of the Heian period; there is nothing charming about them. On the contrary, they evoke the aridity of the desert, though without its sterility. For the masters animated these rocks in order to nourish the spirits of those in search of their hidden being. In short, it is as difficult to understand Zen gardens as it is to understand one's own self.
The ancient Japanese never navigated out of sight of land, and they believed that in the distant ocean were three to five mountainous islands on which one attained eternal life. Unable to sail to these islands, they created them in the middle of a flat sea of rocks with several large rocks sitting like the legendary islands in the ocean.These enviable islands sticking out of the sea were brought into view in the stone gardens with large singular rocks rising from a level bed of tiny rocks. One could sit and silently contemplate these distant mountains in a Zen garden.
In my twenties I began to sculpture wood and created a dozen or so wood sculptures, but along the way, I never had a chance or strong desire to sculpture stone. For me stones have been the raw material of sculptures, but to be placed together, not chiseled or chopped into shape. I didn't quite understand why I felt that way, up until now.
[page 44] Even when moved into a garden, the rock must not be retouched by human hands: it must stay intact, remaining in its pure state, for its purpose is to express the world just as it is, and its very essence. Patiently sculpted by waters and winds, it is the work of time, which operates slowly. The point is to respect the rough character of rock, since to work it is to desacralize it. In this connection, it is written in the Bible: "If you raise for me an altar of stone, you may not make it of sculpted stone, for in taking the chisel to the rock you will profane it" (Exodus, 20:25).
When my children were pre-teens, we lived about a mile from Disneyland in Anaheim which meant many trips to the busy park. So busy it was that there was a constant tumult from which it was literally impossible to escape from inside the park. I found some respite in New Orleans Square where during the week, there were few people and I could sit sipping an imitation mint julep while listening to imitation Dixieland Jazz. What I really wanted was a totally quiet place while waiting for the kids to be ready to go home and there was none. I was reminded of this when I found out that the Zen Garden of Ryanji has crowds now, but one could easily recover the silence.
[page 76, 77] Every masterpiece is imperishable, at least for as long as human beings have the wisdom to respect and the intelligence to protect it. Every masterpiece is inexhaustible, like a vital spring whose life-giving waters continuously overflow. Such is the garden of Ryanji, which was built in times of famine and civil war by laborers who were regarded as untouchables, built under the sign of Zen for the edification-or mystification-of the world.
This narrow waste of gravel, with several dwarf mountains with steep sides, never ceases to exercise its fascination upon posterity. In our century the number of visitors who cram into this space is most impressive, and loud is the hubbub that issues from the crowd, forming a screen between rocks and heart. But all one has to do is sit at the edge of the garden and stop up one's ears. Then the miracle happens. In the great silence that is thereby regained, the spontaneous beauty of these rough rocks surges forth, and their immortal chant ensues, the substance of which is this: Beyond the weight of matter there resides Spirit, without which one can never truly live.
In our time we have had Beatlemania and Rock Stars of all kinds, but in ancient Japan, they had Lithomania and Rocks that were Stars! [RJM Note: one koku was enough rice to feed one person for a year. The largest ship at the time could carry only 1,000 koku of rice. ]
[page 104, 105] If lithomania never reaches the heights in Japan that it attained in China, it nonetheless runs deep, and we shall see many — though not all — of the grounds for enthusiasm over stone prove fertile in the Eastern Islands. Emblematic is a passion for a particular rock — a passion that was shared by two of the greatest figures in modern Japanese history. The warlord Oda Nobunaga was, in his nonviolent mode, a connoisseur of gardens. As such he eventually acquired the most famous stone specimen in the country, the "Fujito Rock," and when he had a garden made for the last Ashikaga shogun at one of his palaces in Kyoto, he transferred this rock from his own garden with unprecedented pomp. "Nobunaga had the rock wrapped in silk, decorated with flowers, and brought it to the garden with the music of flute and drums and the chanting of the laborers." Toyotomi Hideyoshi, an army commander, later purchased it for the unprecedented sum of "a thousand koku of rice." When Hideyoshi seized power after Nobunaga was killed in 1582 he immediately had the Fujito Rock transported to his new palace, and at the end of his life he installed it in a place of honor in a special garden he built at Samb-in. This rock was one of the most valuable items in Hideyoshi's not insubstantial estate after he died.
In 1975 I went to a lecture on geology and learned that there are only three kinds of rocks which comprise the Earth: pink rock, black rock, and green rock. The pink rock is granite which floats on the green rock (the asthenosphere). When the green rock breaks through the ocean bed, black rock (basalt) is formed. The continents are large tectonic plates of granite and the stuff we call soil in its various forms is only tiny pieces of granite which have been pulverized, washed away and transformed. In Goethe's unfinished essay titled, "On Granite", he paid his respects to the wonderful properties of the ubiquitous pink rock upon which and out of which we build, well, nearly everything.
[page 122] Sitting on a high peak of exposed granite, surveying a vast panorama, he addresses himself as follows: "Here you rest immediately upon a ground that reaches down to the deepest parts of the earth, and no younger stratum, no agglomerated alluvial debris have interposed themselves between you and the solid floor of the archaic world. By contrast with those beautiful and fruitful valleys where you walk on a perpetual grave, these peaks have never produced anything living nor consumed anything living, being prior to all life and above all life." Goethe emphasizes the intimate connection between soul and stone — and at the same time redeems rock from the realm of the dead or lifeless. And when, inspired by granite, he writes of "the sublime tranquillity granted by the solitary and mute nearness of great, soft-voiced nature," he echoes, perhaps unwittingly, East Asian understandings of stone.
Goethe's highly spiritual understanding of the world was such that he likely did nothing or said anything unwittingly. What he says above helps me to understand my attraction for granite rocks which I have pried by my own hands from the grasp of the Earth holding it for millions of years, rocks I have hefted up a steep hill and placed into my car's trunk to transport them unscathed to the top of 5,000 feet of "agglomerated alluvial debris" in my New Orleans garden where I can be inspired by the "sublime tranquillity of their solitary and mute soft-voiced nature."
In the 1949 film Late Spring, Ozu Yasujir the Zen garden of Ryanji makes an appearance as two fathers talk.
[page 144] In their brief conversation by the edge of the garden the two fathers do little more than exchange platitudes about family life-and yet the scene is a profoundly moving expression of the human condition. It gains this effect from the assimilation of the figures of the two men to rocks, which seems to affirm the persistence of the cycles of impermanence. Now that they are on film, those fathers will always, it seems, be sitting there, monumental figures overlooking the celebrated rock garden of emptiness.
Above the entrance to the Temple of Apollo were two dicta: "Know Thyself" and "Everything in Moderation". One may come to know one's inner self by a long, quiet session with Ryanji's granite stones. As for the second dictum, the garden leaves nothing to chance. On the stone basin there is an inscription in four Chinese characters which mean, "All I know is how much is enough." Human life cannot exist if the parameters of the human body are maximized, only if they are optimized, i. e., held in moderation. We can only exist for long if we know how much is enough. And we can only know how much is enough if we know ourselves.
Read the Review at:
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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 Spots a Car in Gretna this Month:
Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of the Digest to share with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
This month the good Padre reads a Bumper Stick on an old beat-up Car.
2.Comments from Readers:
- EMAIL from Netherlands re: Owl Cross-Stitch in DW ISSUE#106:
[Email sent from Digest No. 106 above ToC.]
Good day to you,
A very curious question: is the owls cross stitch pattern for sale? I do like the pattern very much, it is so real!
I do like cross stitches. I’m sorry if my English is n’t very well: I live in the Netherlands.
With kindly regards, Babs Rijvordt
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ REPLY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dear Babs,
Thanks for writing. That Owl Cross-stitch was done by our son John Hatchett and I'll ask him about the possibility of buying that pattern. He has done many of these over the years and this was also one of my favorites.
Merry Christmas to you and yours,
One day soon... your B17 Flying Fortress will fly! [Click on Bomber Photo below to watch it fly.]
- EMAIL from Anne Kotch of Algiers Point re: December DIGESTWORLD Issue
Now that I am finally receiving your news letters ..... I totally enjoy them. Is there any way you can put the names of the plants under the pictures. They are beautiful flowers but I do not recognize all of them and I would find a name helpful. Many of the pictures I can figure out as I read through the newsletter. Sadly due to my hectic life it may take me several days to get through the newsletter and I am scrolling up and down to match the picture to the story. It is just me. I love to look at the pictures and know what they are. [NOTE: Anne is shown with her friend Candy & her mate Guntis in photo at left.]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ REPLY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I strive to add common and Latin names for plants and flowers whenever I can. Also names of people. Keep looking.
- EMAIL from son Robert Hilman:
- EMAIL from Frances Matherne Cagle:
Thank you, Bobby, for honoring me as a Good Reader for the month of December. I feel a direct sense of closeness to my father's family when reading your DIGESTWORLD.
- EMAIL from Chris Bryant in Corpus Christi, Texas:
We are contemplating installing a new generator for the building. We currently have capacity for elevators and emergency lighting but are considering a unit powerful enough to "light" the entire building. We were thinking natural gas but then someone told us there were many natural gas outages post Katrina and we should go diesel. What do you know anecdotally or statistically about widespread natural gas outages after Katrina? Thanks
The problem of natural gas post-Katrina was the low gas pressure (about 4" of water in pressure) of the original natural gas system of New Orleans. In nextdoor Jefferson parish our natural gas and probably yours is much higher than that, maybe several feet. Find out the pressure of natural gas, convert lbs/sq in into inches of water (34ft of water = 14.7 lbs) and if you don't expect flooding over that height, your natural gas lines should be okay. A lot of N.O. (our four plex included) was under a foot or more of water for weeks and the water pushed itself into the gas lines and stayed there until pumped out weeks later. That was the cause of natural gas outages.
The natural gas is a better solution. Raise generator at least to height you calculate, any higher is unnecessary because you won't have natural gas anyway to run it.
Most reliable would be to have a gasoline/diesel back up just in case for emergency lighting. If you already have that, a natural gas for the rest of building could be added. It will last longer without need to replenish the fuel. Could also run the emergency lights to save the backup fuel.
Hope this helps,
- EMAIL from Salvo in Australia:
Treasure the love and goodwill you receive this holiday season . . . because that's what you'll remember long after the wrapping, the tinsel, and the gifts have faded (or have been returned for a refund).
Have a fun and happy grab-as-much-as-you-can-get time this holiday season and all the best for 2012 . . .
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"It Surely Is"
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:
It Surely Is
"It's not that we're denying the requests,"
the radio spokesman said,
And went on to explain exactly
how they were denying the requests.
It's not that we decry the use
of the expression, "It's not that" —
For most certainly we do not depreciate
and discredit such a sly expression
Whose usage pretends to say the opposite
of what is really meant.
But, how refreshing it would be
if we could just once hear,
"Yes, we are denying the request
because we hold this other issue dear."
Till then remember this:
(No matter who the speaker is)
When you hear "It's not that,"
you can be sure "It truely is."
Yesterday was an unusual day. Our water heater broke over the weekend and the plumbers finally came and had to order a left-handed thread thermocouple for the gas heater. It only affected the south side of house where my shower is, so I finally had to go up upstairs to use the Guest Bath's shower. (separate water heater) Del had bought two towel racks for the Guest Bath and I took them with me to install. The otherwise identical racks had two kinds of installation, one with the wallboard attachments included and the other not. About five trips up and down the stairs to do a 10 minute job if it had been on ground floor! New tools, new parts, etc., and I was upset. Didn't want to do this, didn't think the darn towel bars were necessary, etc. Finally on the last trip down, I had to get rid of the two extra screws which I had scrounge a wall board attachments to replace, so I went to the garage and decided to put them into my array of small screw drawers. I opened the drawer, put them in, and when I looked up my long-missing book, The Temple Sleep of the Rich Young Ruler was sitting on top the drawers!
This is a good example of how one's Guardian Angel works. Sometime He has to carry me kicking and screaming to the spot where what I misplaced is located! If the installation had gone easily and simply, I would have had no screws left over and I would have never found the book with my review notes in it!Dec. 12, 2011, 6:48 p.m. CST
From Times-Picayune:TORONTO (AP) — Canada pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change Monday, saying the accord won't help solve the climate crisis. It dealt a blow to the anti-global warming treaty, which has not been formally renounced by any other country. The accord requires countries to give a year's notice to withdraw. Kent said the move saves Canada $14 billion in penalties for not achieving its Kyoto targets.This is a day I predicted was coming, and its arrival inspired me to write this Limerick:There was a Prime Minister named KentAccording to Wikipedia (as of yesterday), the USA is the only remaining signatory that has not ratified the Kyoto protocol, and now one of the signatories has shed the onerous Cloak of Kyoto. I imagine some in Canada criticized the USA for its lack of action in not ratifing Kyoto, and now Canada has joined the USA in proclaiming that King Kyoto has no clothes on to Warm his Globes.
Who thought global warming was spent,
He said that Kyoto
Is obviously Blotto
And will cost Canada a Mint!”
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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My reviews are not intended to replace the purchasing and reading of the reviewed books, but rather to supplant a previous reading or to spur a new reading of your own copy. What I endeavor to do in most of my reviews is to impart a sufficient amount of information to get the reader comfortable with the book so that they will want to read it for themselves. My Rudolf Steiner reviews are more detailed and my intention is to bring his work to a new century of readers by converting his amazing insights into modern language and concepts.
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Maintaining a website requires time and money, and apart from sending a donation to the Doyletics Foundation, there are several ways you can show your gratitude and support our efforts to keep doyletics.com on-line.
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