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Good Mountain Press Presents DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#12c
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Dick Clark (1929 - 2012) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ [ We'll be thinking of you on New Year's Eve, Dick!] ~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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WELCOME TO   DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#12c   December, 2012
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Quote for the Returning to the Light Month of December:

A wolf knows that it's a wolf, and runs with the pack.
A sheep knows that it's a sheep and stays with the flock.
And You . . .        What are You . . . ?
If you are Light, You will move toward the Light.

Peter Deunov

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DIGESTWORLD

GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#12c for December 2012
                  Archived DIGESTWORLD Issues

             Table of Contents

1. December's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for December
3. On a Personal Note
       Flowers of Shanidar Poems
       Movie Blurbs

4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: Shrimp Remoulade
6. Poem from "Yes, and Even More!":"A Sentence is a Question and an Answer"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for December:

8. Commentary on the World
      1. Padre Filius Cartoon
      2. Comments from Readers
      3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
      4. Putting Unnecessary Stress on People's Defense Systems
      5. EAT-O-TWIST NEVER BREAKS

9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
10. Gratitude

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DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#12c
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ON THE WEB  
~ ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ~
2000: INAUGURAL YEAR: Jun  
#1 Jul  #2, Aug  #3, Sept  #4, Oct  #5, Nov  #6, Dec  #7
2001: Jan  #8,  Feb  #9,  Mar #10, Apr #11, May #12, Jun #13, Jul #14, Aug #15, Sep #16, Oct #17, Nov #18, Dec #19
2002: Jan #20, Feb #21, Mar #22, Apr #23, May #24, Jun #25, Jul #26, Aug #27, Sep #28, Oct #29, Nov #30, Dec #31
2003: Jan #32, Feb #33, Mar #34, Apr #35, May #36, Jun #37, Jul #38, Aug #39, Sep #40, Oct #41, Nov #42, Dec #43
2004: Jan #44, Feb #45, Mar #46, Apr #47, May #48, Jun #49, Jul #50, Aug #51, Sep #52, Oct #53, Nov #54, Dec #55
2005: Jan#051,Feb#052,Mar#053,Apr#054,May#055,Jun#056,Jul#057,Aug#058,Sep#059,Oct#05a,Nov#05b,Dec#05c
2006: Jan#061,Feb#062,Mar#063,Apr#064,May#065,Jun#066,Jul#067,Aug#068,Sep#069,Oct#06a,Nov#06b,Dec#06c
2007: Jan#071,Feb#072,Mar#073,Apr#074,May#075,Jun#076,Jul#077,Aug#078,Sep#079,Oct#07a,Nov#07b,Dec#07c
2008: Jan#081,Feb#082,Mar#083,Apr#084,May#085,Jun#086,Jul#087,Aug#088,Sep#089,Oct#08a,Nov#08b,Dec#08c
2009: Jan#091,Feb#092,Mar#093,Apr#094,May#095,Jun#096,Jul#097,Aug#098,Sep#099,Oct#09a,Nov#09b,Dec#09c
2010: Jan#101,Feb#102,Mar#103,Apr#104,May#105,Jun#106,Jul#107,Aug#108,Sep#109,Oct#10a,Nov#10b,Dec#10c
2011: Jan#111,Feb#112,Mar#113,Apr#114,May#115,Jun#116,Jul#117,Aug#118,Sep#119,Oct#11a,Nov#11b,Dec#11c
2012: Jan#121,Feb#122,Mar#123,Apr#124,May#125,Jun#126,Jul#127,Aug#128,Sep#129,Oct#12a,Nov#12b,Dec#12c
2013: Jan#131,Feb#132,Mar#133,Apr#134,May#135,Jun#136,Jul#137,Aug#138,Sep#139,Oct#13a,Nov#13b,Dec#13c
2014: Jan#141,Feb#142,Mar#143,Apr#144,May#145,Jun#146,Jul#147,Aug#148,Sep#149,Oct#14a,Nov#14b,Dec#14c
2015: Jan#151,Feb#152,Mar#153,Apr#154,May#155,Jun#156,Jul#157,Aug#158,Sep#159,Oct#15a,Nov#15b,Dec#15c
2016: Jan#161,Feb#162,Mar#163,Apr#164,May#165,Jun#166,Jul#167,Aug#168,Sep#169,Oct#16a,Nov#16b,Dec#16c
2017: Jan#171,Feb#172,Mar#173,Apr#174,May#175,Jun#176

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1. December 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.

The Violet-n-Joey Cartoon page is been divided into two pages: one low-speed and one high-speed access. If you have Do NOT Have High-Speed Access, you may try this Link which will load much faster and will allow you to load one cartoon at a time. Use this one for High-Speed Access.

This month Violet and Joey learn about Knee Surgery.

#1 "Knee Surgery" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/112712jv.gif

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2. HONORED READERS FOR December:
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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 December, 2012:

Joseph Orze in Florida

Sharon Roberts in New Orleans

Congratulations, Joseph and Sharon!


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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:


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Out Our Way:

WEBSITE HIJINKS: ZEEVE JEEBEES and SUPERFISH

No sooner did we get back from our Rhine/Danube River Cruise, did I discover to my chagrin that some scurrilous website named Zeevee had hijacked my Identification Page and directed the traffic to their website. If you haven't stumbled across my ID Page, here it is: http://www.doyletics.com/bobby.htm — this is a webpage I added to combat people who are insensitive to primary property (a person's thoughts, ideas, and writings) and were blithely copying one of my review pages without bothering to ask permission and posting it on some social media page. By adding this link to random I's in my reviews, anyone clicking on it will be taken to my ID page. Want to try it? Here I give you a chance; just click on the underlined I at left. To get rid of this hijacker, I finally got on line with my ISP, Earthlink, and a troubleshooter discovered a piece of Java script had been tacked on my ID page which caused it to go immediately to the hijacker's webpage. Took several hours. My Norton Internet Security service did not ferret out this hacking job, but the Earthlink rep offered me Norton 360 which will remove such attacks on my website.

Later in the month when we returned from our Thanksgiving drive to North Carolina, I was working on my website and I discovered that two of my DIGESTWORLD Issues from 2004 had been altered without my permission by another scurrilous website called Superfish. What it had done was to add a red seal to all the photos on the two issues, causing the photo to disappear until you did a flyover and then the photo and the red seal would appear saying, Click Here for Like Items. Clicking would take you to a page of ads for various companies such as amazon.com, etal. Once again I had to spend several hours in a troubleshoot mode to discover exactly how they were capturing my webpages and modifying them. I soon discovered the problem was limited to only one of my computers. That meant it was either a hacking of that computer or some kind of sneaky software got added in without my permission or knowledge. I consulted my Tech Support for all problems, animals, vegetable, or mineral, GOOGLE and found that Superfish was a search facility which piggybacks into computers on top of other downloads and likely got into my computer in such a fashion. I found the software in the Program Files under Superfish folder, but it wouldn't allow me to delete the files, as one person had done to get rid of the pestilent software on his computer. I went into DOS Command prompt to change all the attributes and still it would not delete. I was about to give up when I remembered that I had left a page open from one of the Superfish searches, so I closed that webpage, closed all the IE8 browsers and was finally able to delete the folder with the software causing my DW Issues to be FUBAR. (That's a technical term for Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition.) From my research, Surf Canyon is similar to Superfish, so if you have either of these loaded, get rid of them by deleting their program folders after closing any windows which may be activating them.

Please, if you encounter any problems accessing any of my webpages, send me the link and a short description of the problem and I'll get it fixed as soon as possible. (Btw, my email address is on my ID page.) The biggest problem with the red seal was the possibility that it might be affecting other Issues and on everyone's computer who viewed my DW Issues. As it turned out the ID Page problem did affect everyone's computer, and until I had troubleshot the red seal, I wasn't sure if it was only in one computer, as it turned out to be.

GARAGE DOOR AND RADIATOR

Entropy is the physics law which requires that things break even when no one's responsible. Entropy is the ultimate Not-Me Imp which roams the world and he surprised us with a visit twice this month. I mention these episodes because one or more of them might happen to you at some time, and you may find some comfort in knowing you're not alone and perhaps some information on how to handle them.

The first was our large two-car garage door spring broke which is essential for lifting the heavy wooden door. Our previous home had two wooden garage doors and one of them could be lifted if the spring broke, but not this puppy! It weighs like an elephant! Plus it broke as I was coming back home from my PJ's Coffeeshop run for my daily latte: the door lifted about a foot off the ground and ground to a halt! I went inside and inspected it to find that the large coiled spring about ten feet long had broken. I pulled the release cord and the door moved closed. Here it was on Saturday morning and Del's car was going to be stuck in the garage until Monday at least. She had to be at a meeting and called to get a ride down to Becnel's Farm where the Master Gardeners were going on a tour. On Monday the Overhead Door company had a technician with a new spring come over and Del's Maxima was released from its low-security prison.

What I learned from the repair episode was this: The repairman, after he had trouble putting new springs on the corroded 16' shaft, suggested that we replace the shaft next time the spring breaks. It would only cost an additional $40 and can be done easily at the same time, if we let them know to replace the shaft. Shouldn't the door company have its own database to recommend such repairs when we call next time? Remember this if you have a similar door break a spring; get the shaft replaced at the same time as they replace the spring.

Meanwhile the radiator on my 2000 Maxima had been acting up, but hadn't actually broken. Well, when it decided to break it was what we call a worst case scenario. I was all dressed up in suit and tie going to my club's breakfast one Saturday morning and the radiator overheated. I luckily got it back home, but with Del at another meeting, I had to call a Taxi to get the luncheon meeting. When I got up to introduce myself, I explained that this was the first time I had to take a Taxi to the meeting and it cost me about as much as the tariff for the luncheon itself. Another weekend with only one car: twice in a month. Luckily we were leaving for our Thanksgiving trip on Tuesday and I could take it to my dealer to be repaired by the time we returned, which is what happened. A couple of G's and I had a new radiator, two new valve cover gaskets, a rear brake job, a differential seal, and an oil change and lube job. For the equivalent of a few car payments, my White Steed was made whole again and ready to tread the highways and byways with me in the driver's seat.

What I learned from this episode was to take the car in as soon as the radiator gives any sign of leaking. Could have saved me the large ticket item of valve cover gasket replacement.

FOOTBALL IN PURPLE AND GOLD AND BLACK AND BLUE

Okay, Black and Gold, too perhaps, as these are the colors of our Saints NFL football team and Purple and Gold of our LSU Fighting Tigers. A word about our Fighting Tigers name: it came from the Louisiana National Guard's Fighting Tigers regiment who fought bravely in the un-Civil War. There may be other teams with Tiger mascots, but few named after so prestigious outfit as the Louisiana Fighting Tigers. In the 1880s, only a scant decade or so after the War, the Rex Carnival Organization whose motto is Pro Bono Publico, for the good of the public, decided to have banquet in New Orleans to honor two units which fought on opposite sides. They chose the Louisiana Fighting Tigers and a regiment from New York State. This event was publicized across America and began a healing of the war wounds and a coming together which was sorely needed and earnestly welcomed by all. We have seen such a healing in recent years when New York sent help to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and we returned the favor after Hurricane Sandy.

This month of November was the heart of the college football season, during which our Tigers clawed their way through, losing only one game, to finish 10-2 for the season. But for two last minute TD's, they would have gone 12-0 for the second straight season, those two TD's coming against Florida and Alabama, two other top five teams at the time. Our Saints, sans Head Coach, Interim Head Coach, General Manager, and its Quarterback on Defense for the first six games of the season, went a dismal 0-4 before roaring back to 5-5, becoming the first team to beat the Falcons and even with a decimated offensive line, using a fifth string lineman signed a few days before the game, nearly beat strong 49ers. At 5-6, will they make the playoffs? Means little to local fans who think they have already won the Super Bowl for tremendous effort in surviving the NFL Commissioner's onerous Bounty Scandal penalties. Would Roger Goodell have had the guts to do this to a so-called big market team?

Will the Saints shoot down the high-flying Falcons in prime time Thursday night with another hip shot? Could be some big fun left in this waning football season if they do. They may be black and blue as well as black and gold, but there's a fighting heart of these Super Bowl champs which never quits. If the Falcons have any doubt, let them look at the Super Bowl rings on the Saints' hands on Thursday night and the bare spot on their own hands.

After our win against Ole Miss, the LSU Coach Les Miles had some words to say to the media about a sports writer who wrote that Russell Shepherd's career at LSU was a flop. He said that Les Miles's career at Michigan could have been called a flop. That no young man who dons the football jersey at LSU can be called a flop. He was so honest, heart-felt, and animated in his words that almost a million folks have viewed the video clip on YouTube. If you missed it, here's a link to it or you can Google Les Miles press conference. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRXP5Bf8KFs&feature=youtu.be

WARREN EASTON HIGH SCHOOL FIFTY YEAR REUNION

A big event this month was three classes of 1961, 1962, and 1963 of Del's high school had a reunion in New Orleans. Out of a possible 1100 graduates, some 300 showed up for the reunion and the Hilton Garden Inn and nearby Ballroom were filled on Friday and Saturday nights. Filled and abuzz with energy and excitement as old schoolmates were meeting each other, some for the first time in fifty years. Del's best friend, Ginger, was planning to come and had scheduled her surgery to make it possible to come, but at the last minute, some complication arose with her recovery and the surgeons needed to go back. The only good news is that when she does come, we will have more time to spend with her and Buster than at the busy reunion.

My badge for the night had Del's high school photo and my name on it as did all the spouses's badges if they did not graduate from Warren Easton. We spouses, abandoned from our own spouses who were busy greeting old schoolmates, kept each other company and tried to survive the night. There was food, drinks, dancing on Saturday night and lots of photo taking.

The Saturday for us was a marathon day because Del and I had three events to attend. That morning she had a Master Gardener's meeting in City Park, I had a luncheon at my club near Audubon Park, and we both wanted to get home in time to watch the LSU-Ole Miss game in the afternoon before getting dressed for the Warren Easton Gala that night. This was also the morning when my radiator overheated about a mile from home as I was heading to the luncheon all dressed up. Had to quickly turn around, get the car back home, attend to the radiator, and then call a Taxi to get to the luncheon in time. The Ole Miss game was a nail-biter and went down to the last play, but LSU won and we quickly got dressed and headed to the Gala.

This was the longest evening we have been out together at a function where Del wasn't asking me to leave early. I had decided it was Del's call of when to leave since it was her reunion, and I enjoyed every minute of it myself, even got to dance with Del once and talk to her between her conversations with all her high school buddies.


Was great too see Jim Conley, a good reader of my work. He paid me the ultimate compliment a writer, editor, and publisher can receive from someone who did editing at a newspaper for a career, when he told me, "Your Digests are very clean." Typos stick out for me, too, but not while I'm doing creative writing, only later when I put on my editor's hat and read what I wrote as if it were written by someone else. The fun for me is that I always pick out typos in newspapers and magazines which I cannot correct, but writing on the internet, any time I pick up a typo in something I wrote, no matter if it was yesterday or last century, I can immediately fix the problem.

An absolutely fun night. The food was good, the music good, the camaraderie was great. Del was constantly having people come over to her to talk. Many of them remembered something special Del did for them, like George Elam who remembered her asking him to a prom and said how much he liked Del, but he moved to Houston shortly afterward, and had not seen her again until this weekend. Del met a group of graduates who live close together across the Lake and we expect we will get together with them in the coming weeks and months. We came home exhausted, glad to have a short drive across the bridge to our bed.

THANKSGIVING IN NORTH CAROLINA

Del's brother, Dan Richards, lives in Charlotte with his wife Karen and their two children, Daniel and Caitlin, live nearby. Dan has stayed with us many times when he has to come here on business and to visit his mom and his other two children and his grandchildren who live near here. Del was asking him early in November when he was coming back here and Dan said, "You know, Del, the highway goes both ways." Well, that triggered our drive to visit Dan and Karen over Thanksgiving. It was my first time at their house in Charlotte, and it seemed like a good time to visit. I didn't care for long drives on holidays, but we left early on Tuesday morning and got past Atlanta without too much heavy traffic, just an hour slowdown due to accident at intersection of I-85 and the Jimmy Carter Expressway. Not surprising after all the slowdowns that he created as president, that he would still be creating them today almost forty years later.

We stopped for the night at a Holiday Inn Express in Lavonia, Georgia. Found out that the "express" in the name signals it has suites, which was lucky for us as we wanted a king-size bed on ground level (most two-story motels have no elevators) and the only ones that qualified were the suites, but they were only 20 bucks more, so we got one with a short walk from the car to the room and we were very happy with it. A large flat screen TV which we could pull up a couple of sofa chairs in front of to watch. The next morning after enjoying the breakfast buffet, I noticed a bright red cardinal perched on the rear view mirror of a pickup truck in the parking lot behind the breakfast room. Went outside and the red bird had flown to the mirror of the car next to the truck.

I took a couple of shots and it seemed to me the bird was admiring itself in the mirror and the window of the car. I went back in and showed the photo to the waitress and she said, "That bird does that all the time."

On Wednesday morning, we arrived at Dan's about 11 am and they took us to one of their favorite restaurants nearby. That afternoon Dan and I went to a local supermarket to pick up food for us and them and last minutes items for Thanksgiving Day. Dan and Del worked together to prepare some Portobello Burgers for us for supper. We made plans to go to Blowing Rock on Friday and drive back to New Orleans on Saturday. It's one of the nice things about driving: you can change your plans after you arrive with no hassle, like in the good ole days of air travel in the 1960s.

We were six for Thanksgiving Day dinner which began with a delicious Shrimp Remoulade. Don't recall ever having had this for Thanksgiving dinner, but this classic New Orleans appetizer is welcome anytime, any place for me. The roast turkey, bread dressing with oysters, gravy, brussels sprouts, baked yams with marshmallows, macaroni and cheese casserole, and an assortment of pies filled the tables and then our tummies.

BLOWING ROCK: LOVER'S LEAP WITH AN ECHO

Our trip to Blowing Rock the next day was a highlight for us. A couple of hours drive into the mountains to this quaint village which reminded us of Cooperstown, NY, which we visited in July of this year. A main street lined with small shops selling antiques, local crafts, pubs and restaurants. First order of business was food and we found an Inn with its restaurant set to open in 15 minutes, also reminding us of the Antique Rose Restaurant when we arrived there on our road trek through the Catskills on our way to Cooperstown. We had to wait for the Chef to arrive before we even knew what the soup of the day would be. Whenever I see soup de jour on a menu, I'm reminded of the story where a guy sits down, looks in the menu, and when the waitress arrives, asks her, "What's the soup de jour ?" She looks down at him, shrugs, and says, "I don't know. They keep changing it every day!"

The soup of the day in this Inn was pumpkin soup with leeks. I ordered some and when Del began to order the same thing, I suggested that one of us should order some other appetizer in case only one of us liked the soup. Sure enough, the soup was tepid instead of hot, so we switched and she enjoyed the soup. I had the pecan-crusted grouper which was very tasty, and with the warm breads they brought us, it was a very filling meal and fortified us for walk back up the steep hill to the downtown main street.

At the top, Del and Karen took off on their shopping trip, and Dan and I wandered through various shops. We went into the Dulcimer Shop, a must-see place, as it is filled with dulcimers of every size and configuration you might like, all handmade locally. The shopkeeper demonstrated the long and slender mountain dulcimer which can have one to four strings and is played like a guitar, only laid down on a lap or board. The hammer dulcimer is more square-shaped and is played with a hammer, and she played a tune on it for us which I captured in a short video clip.

Then we found Amanda in the Juice & Gelato Shop, but with the cold weather, I opted for a hot chocolate and it was marvelous, the best hot chocolate I've ever had anywhere. The shop had a map of Mitford, about which you deserve an explanation. Jan Karon wrote a series of books about the mythical town of Mitford, beginning with "At Home in Mitford" and followed by "These High, Green Hills", "A Light in the Window", and "Out in Canaan", among others. Father Tim, the bachelor Episcopal priest, is one of the stars of the series of adventures set in Mitford, a town loosely based on Blowing Rock, where Jan Karon is the local celebrity who returns at least once a year for "Mitford Days" which celebrates her and her works. Anyone who has read one of more of Karon's books will likely be able to recognize places on the town map and relive the day the dog "big as a sofa" plopped down at Father Tim's feet and the comely new neighbor began wearing a path through the hedge next to his rectory. Del has read all the Mitford books and enjoyed them immensely, so visiting Blowing Rock was a must for her.

Our next stop was the eponymous Blowing Rock, famous for its updrafts which got it into a local legend and into Ripley's Believe It or Not series which graced the daily comics pages of the nation for many decades. Blowing Rock is the place which snow has been known to fall upward! The Indian legend involved a Chickasaw maiden who fell in love with a Cherokee brave who was in despair of being able to marry her and jumped from a large rock outcropping to his death, only to have a large updraft send him flying back upwards into his beloved arms. From that time onward, that rock was been called Blowing Rock. The sign for the park shows the brave's ascent into the maiden's waiting arms. Thus Blowing Rock gives us an ironic twist on famous Lover's Leap spots everywhere: it not only can echo sound back if you yell, it will echo lovers back if they leap. To my knowledge, no one has since tried to replicate the Cherokee brave's feat. . . . it was a one-time trick.

SMALL POTATOES, THE BITCH TREE, AND OTHER LAST MINUTE ITEMS

The two rows of potatoes I planted in my official garden did not grow, but several red potato plants sprouted and grew in the mulch bed where I may have dropped a couple of leftover potatoes with eyes. These we harvested this month and got a nice mess of potatoes, enough to make green beans and potatoes one day and a week later Del incorporated the rest of the small potatoes into a large pot of minestrone soup which got us through the first real cold snap of Fall.

One day as I was taking a shower, I was thinking about the ad in a magazine for Speakman Anystream shower heads with 8 nozzles and wondered how much longer the one I was using would last and glad that I found a way to still buy one. Then as I turned the head around one of the nozzles popped out! I was able to quickly order one from Home Depot on line this morning, not for $256 as in the ad, but for $128.33, tax and shipping. When it came in, installation was simple: wrap a strip of Teflon tape around the thread on the water line, then thread on the new shower head. When putting the Teflon tape, one must stretch it to get it to grab hold, then keep the tension as one goes twice around the thread, then pull the tape until it snaps all the while ensuring where it snaps is in contact with the thread of the pipe. The most important part is to ensure that you wrap the Teflon tape in a clockwise direction! Why? Because when you thread on the shower head, you will turn in the same Clockwise direction and it will tighten the Teflon tape. If you put the Teflon tape on in the other direction, you will likely loosen the tape and allow a place for water to leak through.

Okay, the shower head went on with no problem and worked when I turned on the water. But the water did not come out full force, and that’s when I remembered the Nanny State which coercively requires water restrictors on bathroom fixtures from toilets to shower heads. A quick Google of water restrictors led me to a site which explained how to remove these onerous devices. We live next to the Mississippi River, a mile wide and 300 feet deep flowing at 6 plus knots, and we have an infinite supply of water, plus we get 60 inches of rain a year. We do not need water restrictors! ! ! So I inserted a small flat head screwdriver into the water hole of the new shower head and lifted out with needle nosed pliers the O-ring holding in the water restrictor, then removed the white disk with the tiny holes through my entire shower water has to flow. With it removed, my new eight-hole Speakman Anystream worked as well as my previous one. I now have two partially whole 8-nozzle Anystream shower heads from which I can made one whole one any time I wish.

Oh, one more idiocy of the Nanny State is that the key feature of the Speakman design is stymied by the restrictor, namely, that by turning the spray adjustment lever around a full circle, any accumulated calcified particles can be automatically flushed after every shower. Guess what happens to these particles if the restrictor is in place: soon your shower head will go from just barely enough water for a shower to way too little water for a shower, and you will have to remove the restrictor, clean it, and re-install it (re-install it, that is, if you’re a dummy ). If having to remove the flow restrictor to take a regular shower makes you feel like bitching about the Nanny State, take a walk out to your neighborhood Bitch Tree.

One of our favorite comics is Rose Is Rose and Rose has a Let-It-Be Tree. When things get to bothering her, she will walk out to this tree and lean against it until all her worries dissolve away and she can walk away refreshed. While in the town of Blowing Rock, I saw a sign which said "birch tree" and thought that if it said "bitch tree" it could be a tree that one could walk to when one just had some bitching to get out and one could do it in solitude with the tree instead of bothering other people, and the tree would absorb the bitching and allow one to walk away refreshed. Remember if you need a Bitch Tree or a Let-It-Be-Tree, there's one waiting for you in your imagination.

For Halloween, Del had created a tall scarecrow decoration for the front of our home. We couldn't put it up till we returned on the 30th from our river cruise and had no room for it in last month's Issue. so I'll include a photo of it in this Issue.

Travel & Leisure Magazine's poll of its 40k readers led to the selection of New Orleans as America's Favorite City. We natives know it's our favorite city because many of us were born here and never left, and those who did leave, as I did, discovered at some point our mistake and quickly returned. To make sure I wouldn't leave ever again, I married a New Orleans' gal, a graduate of Warren Easton, Adele Richards, because I knew she would never want to move away. Our next move will likely be closer to the city in the French Quarter when we decide to downsize our quarters in ten or twenty years or so.

Nutrias are so plentiful since they were brought here from South American in the mid-20th century, and have become like Australia's rabbits, a plentiful nuisance, one to be eradicated.

The banks of our canals are steep and the nutria like to burrow into the canal banks and eat the vegetation which holds the banks together and keep them from sloughing off into the water of the canals. A bounty of $5 a nutria exists and there is an open season on them. Sheriff's deputies locally go on night time patrols to shoot these nutria. They do not bother us, other than an occasional wanderer which may walk across our property once or twice a year. The other day I was outside and heard a curious noise that sounded like someone calling chickens in a foreign language, and I walked over to an open place in the bamboo hedge which separates the canal rom our street and there was a man throwing chunks of bread to a gathering horde of white American ibises, which were soon mixed with a couple of dozen nutria of various sizes who came for the free food.

Our flowering plants have been covered with butterflies of all kinds including the "flitterbug" which looks like a cross between a moth and a butterfly and which flits around so quickly, it's difficult to get a clear shot, but I persisted and have one to show you. More common are the Monarch butterflies which frequent our milkweed plants. Did you know the milkweed sap is poisonous to birds and the Monarch are ignored as food because birds know they are dangerous. There is also a species of butterfly which does not frequent milkweed, but looks like the Monarch and are thus are not eaten by birds.

The Gulf Fritillary is a local butterfly which frequents our Passion Flower vine. Their caterpillars are bright red and I had been killing those as they seemed likely poisonous to touch, but when I found they turned into the Fritillaries, I left them undisturbed. They have almost no sting, also. The Fritallaries are also very active and hard to photograph, but I found one that had newly died and was able to get a good shot of the top and bottom of its wings which are dramatically different from each other.

Our Snow on the Mountain dwarf camellias are finally hitting their stride and the shrubs are covered with white blooms which when they drop their petals, it looks like snow on the ground. Out of hundreds of blooms, one pink one appeared, clearly a mutant flower.

WELL, AS WE LIKE TO SAY EACH MONTH, EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING, SO UNTIL NEXT MONTH AND NEXT YEAR WE WISH YOU ALL THE BEST THAT LIFE CAN OFFER.

For the past 30 days November has been a month with rainy skies at times bringing cooling temperatures as we head toward Winter. After being on a European Cruise for the last two weeks of October, it was good to be back in New Orleans again. Except for a small trip over Thanksgiving, we have enjoyed being home. On December 21st the Mayan Calendar will reset and, God Willing, we'll get a do-over for the next cycle. Shortly after the excitement of the world still being around quiets down, we will next see you in these pages in the January, 2013 DIGESTWORLD Issue. Till then, whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, Remember our slogan, now in its last month:

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF IN TWENTY-TWELVE ! ! !

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  • New Stuff on Website:
  • From Flowers of Shanidar, A 1990 Book of Poetry by Bobby Matherne

    INTRODUCTION
           In a small dark cave in the hills of Northern Iraq near the Turkish border the excavator Ralph Solecki found in 1960 the bones of a young man placed in the recess between two large boulders. Analysis of the remains from the cave of Shanidar determined that the burial occurred over 60,000 years ago.
           Soil samples collected near the bones were only analyzed several years later and produced a quite unexpected result. Ordinarily a small random assortment of pollen grains would be found in funereal soil samples, but the Shanidar soil analysis revealed thousands of pollen grains from wild flowers of the region. Flowers of rose mallow, hollyhocks, hyacinths, and other indigenous varieties of flowers had been systematically collected and transported to the cave of Shanidar as a funerary tribute.
           Astonished, the scientists were confronted with the earliest known evidence of a burial ritual. From the very dawn of mankind a message had come down to us, written in pollen grains from the flowers of Shanidar, of the birth of a new consciousness — the consciousness of death.
           How far have we progressed in the knowledge of ultimate destinations in the 600 centuries since that funeral celebration? As we stand before the door to the new millennium, do we dare to knock? Are we ready for the new flowers of Shanidar and the birth of consciousness that will surely accompany our passage into that new era?

    These poems are from Bobby Matherne’s 1990 book of poetry, Flowers of Shanidar and have never been published on the Internet before. Here in the beginning of the new millennium, we are publishing each month five poems, one from each Chapter of the book. (Flowers drawn by Artist Maureen Grace Matherne)

    1. Chapter: Hollyhocks

          Caesura

    In the play of religions
    Heresy is the hero of the hour.
    Dogma is the enemy of choice,
    And the heroine is in his power.

    The stage is set with stained glasses
    Costumes from the Middle Ages
    Worn by powdered pompous asses
    Pampered by the poor man's wages.

    We watch in bloody amazement
    As they throw Barbie's on the stake
    Without so much as a Howdy Do?
    Or even a G'Day Mate!

    ...

    The groundhog pops up from his winter home
    And spies his shadow on the ground,
    Hears the Nero fiddler from Rome,
    And moves a little further underground.

    One day the groundhog strolls out his hole
    And falls into a river channel.
    "I will help to make you whole,"
    He tells a man of medium build.

    Here come Ramtha and Lazaris,
    Channels are the New Age rage
    Speaking of an inner gnosis
    From the mouths of sleeping babes.

    Glasnost is a dirty word
    For the shepherd cannot have his flock
    Scattering to greener pastures
    Through the gates without a lock.

    The curtain falls, the old act ends,
    The Christians are on their knees
    Begging forgiveness for their sins
    And ships of state set out on New Age seas.





    2. Chapter: Hyacinths

          De Tour

    There are no detours
           in life

    Only shortcuts
           we don't understand,

    Up until now.





    3. Chapter: Rose Mallow

          Great Sprinkler

    Water while the roots are shallow:
    Seedlings, saplings, sprouts so callow
    Drink thirstily at the surface
    In order that they grow up fast.

    But unless the sprinkler relents
    In time each growing plant repents
    And enters dessicated sleep
    Because its roots were not so deep.

    Nearby lush emerald coats of green —
    Wildflowers' irridescent sheen —
    Frame each color of the rainbow
    And, flowering, send deep roots below.

    When seldom does the cool rain fall
    These blossoms suffer not at all.
    Deep in the earth's interior
    These plants feel not inferior.

    Their roots are deep beneath the sod —
    They wait upon their sprinkler: God

    4. Chapter: Shamrocks

          Every Day Is
         Christmas Day

    Every birth is a virgin birth
    Every child a holy child
    Every mother a blessed mother
    And every day is Christmas Day.

    Every home is a hallowed ground
    Every hearth a hallowed cave
    Every bed a saintly bed
    And every day is Christmas Day.

    Every food is a blessed food
    Every drink a sacred wine
    Every meal a communion feast
    And every day is Christmas Day.

    Every plant is a sacred plant
    Every flower a sacrament
    Every night a holy night
    And every day is Christmas Day.

    Every word is a sacrament
    Every song a sacred psalm
    Every tree a Christmas tree
    And every day is Christmas Day.

    Every friend is a faithful friend
    Every friendship without an end
    Every gift a holy gift
    And every day is Christmas Day.

    5. Chapter: Violets

          Dream of God

    Some people think it is a plus
    When we say "In God We Trust."
    But it would be miraculous
    If only God would trust in us.

    Some say the world is marvelous
    But others wonder "What's the fuss?"
    We only do the things we must
    Then ash to ash and dust to dust.

    But hop aboard the cosmic bus
    Come to where the world is just
    Where we can dream of God, we trust,
    And in the dream God's dreaming us.





      New Stuff on the Internet:
    • [add here]


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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. Microwave some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. 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.
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray DVD movies from NetFlix.
Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise ignore.):
“The Magic of Belle Isle” (2012) Monte Wildhorn (Morgan Freeman) learns to see clearly and Tony the Elephant waltzes with Mrs. Mouse. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
“The Lightkeepers” (2009) starring Richard Dreyfus. A grumpy old Lighthouse attendant and inveterate woman-hater is joined by a young man who washes up on the beach who becomes his assistant and fellow-woman hater. In a modern Miracle on Sunset Strip, they do not fall in love with each other, but with two beautiful women and everyone lives happily ever after.
“Big Miracle” (2012) is full of detours which turn out to be shortcuts: oil man gets big contract, Green Peace big donations, US and Russia become big friends, boy marries girl, Eskimo grandson takes off earphone and listens to whales instead of Guns & Roses, and the small hole in the ice becomes big enough to fit the whole world within it as the whales cavort to freedom.
“Lost in Translation” (2003) (See also DW52) Bill Murray & Scarlett Johansson find time together from their mundane lives and spouses to just be together in frenetic Tokyo where the simplest East-West communication could be lost in translation. A thoughtful movie with great scenes of Japan.
“Delicacy” (2011)A young woman learns that you’re never too old to play hide and seek. When newly married woman played by Audrey Tautou loses her husband, she loses all heart for loving again and disappears into her work until one day she impulsively runs over to kiss passionately a co-worker. Unable to explain her behavior to him, her co-workers, or herself, she begins seeing this unkempt and tall Swede, which no one seems to like nor think suited for her. Can love bloom on the barren ground of her heart? A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“An Unfinished Life” (2005 2nd Viewing, see DW107) of Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman, two scruffy characters who survive encounters with a grizzly, a bear of a daughter-in-law, and an unbearable loss of a son. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“The Lightkeepers” (2009) starring Richard Dreyfus. A grumpy old Lighthouse attendant and inveterate woman-hater is joined by a young man who washes up on the beach who becomes his assistant and fellow-woman hater. In a modern Miracle on Sunset Strip, they do not fall in love with each other, but with two beautiful women and everyone lives happily ever after.

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.

“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (2012) I only watched this turkey, not because it was Thanksgiving month, but because I was playing cards on the second floor of the house rented by the movie company in which Abe attacks a vampire in a bank. It was a dark and stormy night, with lightning flashes and thunder outside, and vampire screams coming up the stairway. The two hours of shooting were condensed into about a minute of film, but I got to hear about 23 takes of the screaming that night. This is a horrible horror movie which disgraces the reputation of Abraham Lincoln and the entire movie industry.
“Hunger Games” (2012) left me hungering for a real movie instead of a fictionalized Survivor episode filled with teenagers killing each other in their puerile soap operas! Imagine a Super Bowl in which rule changes are announced in the third quarter benefitting the underdog, then changed back in the fourth quarter! AARGH! and AAAC

Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:

Only Hits & Misses this month. No also-rans.


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4. STORY:
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Le Boudreaux Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission

Thanks to brother-in-law Dan Richards for sending this one along.

One Saturday night Boudreaux took his wife Clothilde to a fais-do-do down the bayou in Cocodrie. When they walked into the dance hall, there was this Cajun taking up the middle of the dance floor and dancin' like crazy. He was breakdancing, moonwalking, doing back flips — the whole works. Everyone was staring at him.

Clothilde turned to Boudreaux, nodded her head to the middle of the floor, and said, "See dat guy? Twenty-five year ago, he propose to me and Ah turn him down."

Boudreaux looked over at the guy and then said, "Mais, it look like he still celebrating!"

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5. RECIPE of the MONTH for December, 2012 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
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Shrimp Remoulade

Background on Shrimp Remoulade:

This is a classic appetizer salad of famous restaurants like Antoine's, Galatoire's, and others in New Orleans. Simple and easy to make with a few locally available ingredients, so if you can't get some of these locally, pick up some next time you're in New Orleans, 2012 No. 1 Overall Favorite City in December, 2012 Travel + Leisure Magazine.

Ingredients
2 TBSP of Blue Plate Mayonnaise
1 TBSP of Zatarain's Creole Mustard
1 tsp of Zatarain's Prepared Horseradish
1 lb. of Boiled Gulf Shrimp


Preparation
Peel the shrimp. Buy more than you need so you can eat half for lunch while you peel the other half for the Shrimp Remoulade you're preparing for supper. Horseradish is an essential ingredient for a true remoulade taste. Shrimp in South Louisiana is always boiled in spices which are essential to the taste of this dish. If you must boil your own shrimp, get some Zatarain's Liquid Shrimp and Crab Boil.

Cooking Instructions
Mix well the Mayo, mustard and horseradish. Separate some lettuce for the bed of the salad. Hold these with peeled shrimp until ready to serve and eat.

Serving Suggestion
Prepare a bed of iceberg lettuce, place 6 to 10 shrimp on top, then spoon the remoulade sauce on top. Do this shortly before serving for best results.

Other options
A garnish of a lemon wedge may be added.



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6. POETRY by BOBBY from "Yes, and Even More!":
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NOTE: A doyle is a bodily state, i. e., a feeling.

       A Sentence is a Question and an Answer

When you ask a question
       you open a doyle
       you trigger a doyle of incompleteness.

A question is the first half of a sentence.

When you answer a question
       you open a doyle
       you trigger a doyle of completeness.

An answer is the second half of a sentence.

Thus a sentence is a question and an answer.

“A sentence is a group of words
       that contain a complete thought.”

Yes, that’s what my elementary school teacher told me.

“And now you know why.”

Yes, and even more.



Notes: November 15, 1999. This poem was written on a Hill & Brooks sugar packet, which was the only paper he could find at first in the Seafood Galley where Del and Bobby were eating lunch on Dauphin Island, Alabama on the Gulf of Mexico shore. Then he picked up the paper placemat and wrote on the back the following notes.
       Sentence fragments trigger doyles of incompleteness which tend to trigger questions like “What did you mean by that?”
       For example:

The shrimp boat in the bay is a sentence fragment and it creates a picture of a shrimp boat in open water, but the feeling is one of so what? What about the shrimp boat? Thus a sentence fragment creates a question or at least it creates the same kind of doyle that a question creates.

had its long arms extended over each of its sides. completes the sentence fragment above and answers the incompleteness doyle triggered by the fragment above by triggering a completeness doyle. When we combine the two parts of the sentence we get:

The shrimp boat in the bay had its long arms extended over each of its sides.
Rather than trying to force youngsters in grade school to understand what this sentence means:

“A sentence is a group of words that forms a complete thought.”

Teachers would be better advised to break sentences in two and let the children experience first the incompleteness and then the completeness. Read them the first half of several sentences. Ask them how they felt. Then read them the second half of the sentences and ask them how they felt. They would learn how a sentence is a question and an answer.

Extra Note for Teachers: November 9, 2012: Sometimes a sentence fragment adds a sense of completeness following some other sentence or passage. If so, the so-called fragment is a great addition to the piece of writing and it should be treated like a member of the family of writing; it should not be cast outside like an unwanted guest to the wailing and gnashing of teeth. Certainly not a perfectly placed sentence fragment! Like this one. Even three in a row!

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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for December:
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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: The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

"Quark!" is how we meet Jennifer Strange's strange pet, the Quarkbeast. He doesn't talk much, just an occasional "Quark!" inserted in key points in the script, in between which he devours a tin or two of sardines. He — I think it's a he, not that anyone would dare get close enough for a short arm inspection — eats the tins, not the sardines, and any other metal object which dares to get close to him. He would make an afternoon snack of R2D2, for example, or have a full meal of a VW Bug, which strangely is our heroine Jennifer's auto, shredding it with his mouth with several rows of sharp teeth which rotate as he eats metallic things. But who is this Jennifer Strange? Here is the teaser page placed before Page 1 to answer that question.

Once I was famous. My face was seen on T-shirts, badges, commemorative mugs, and posters. I made front-page news, appeared on TV, and was even a special guest on The Yogi Baird Daytime TV Show. The Daily Clam called me "the year's most influential teenager," and I was the Mollusc on Sunday's Woman of the Year. Two people tried to kill me, I was threatened with jail, had fifty-eight offers of marriage, and was outlawed by King Snodd IV. All that and more besides, and in less than a week. My name is Jennifer Strange.

When we meet her in action, the fifteen-year-old teenager is at the wheel of the VW Beetle shown on the cover of the book and she is driving between two of the Ununited Kingdoms, apparently in a Britain some time in the future or in a parallel universe which is replete with magic and sorcerers who can do such feats, for a price, as replace all the rusted and leaky pipes in a large building with brand-new ones in under an hour, without tearing up walls and such, all of whom work for the company she heads, Kazam.

[page 1] We hadn't been able to afford a company car for years, so the three sorcerers, the beast, and I were packed into my rust-and-orange-but-mostly-rust Volkswagen for the short journey from Hereford to Dinmore.

Suddenly the Quarkbeast made his presence known in the crowded VW Bug.

[page 5] "Quark," said the Quarkbeast.
      "Did we really have to bring the beast," Full Price asked me.
      "It jumped in the car when I opened the door."
      The Quarkbeast yawned, revealing several rows of razor-sharp fangs. Despite his placid nature, the beast's ferocious appearance almost guaranteed that no one ever completely shrugged off the possibility that he might try to take a chunk out of them when they weren't looking. If the Quarkbeast was aware of this, it didn't show. Indeed, he might have been so unaware that he wondered why people always ran away screaming.

We follow with interest Jennifer’s adventures as the orphan who heads up Kazam. Why does she run the large magic corporation? Because the Great Zambini went missing, because she had been there since age 12 and knew the Magical Art business, and because, as she so adroitly put it, "No one else wanted to." Suddenly the Last Dragonslayer is predicted to slay the last Dragon, Maltcassion, and Jennifer discovers to her chagrin that she has been chosen, pre-ordained it seems, to do the job. Just in time, her replacement, a new foundling, called Tiger, has been sent to learn Kazam's business, a process which occurs every four years.

You've already heard about Full Price, whose twin brother, the skinny one, is called Half Price, and now you're ready to learn about the Transient Moose, Hector, another droll character conjured out of the ethers by Fforde. Jennifer enlightens Tiger.

[page 35] "That's the Transient Moose," I said, looking through the mail, "an illusion that was left as a practical joke long before I got here. He moves randomly around the building, appearing now and then, here and there. We're hoping he'll wear out soon."

When Hector was blocking someone's way, Jennifer suggested, "Just walk through him, and if you're ever wanted to know how a moose works, stop halfway and have a good look around." (Page 66)

Tiger wants to know about what a sorcerer can do who is at the Spellmanager level of skill. Jennifer answers her probie this way:

[page 48] I took a sip of hot chocolate. "Levitation of light objects, stopping clocks, unblocking drains, and simple washing and drying can all be handled pretty well at the Spellmanager level. There's no one below this status at Kazam except you, me, Unstable Mabel, the Quarkbeast, and Hector.

Suddenly Kazam is hit by a Magiclysm and Jennifer Strange immediately takes action to minimize the damage.

[page 55] The lights flickered in the corridor, and my bedroom door, which I had closed behind me, slowly swung open. I felt the building shimmer and the tingling sensation grow stronger, and then, one by one, the light bulbs fell from their fittings, bounced on the carpet, and rolled to the far end of the corridor. Beneath my feet, I could feel the floorboards start to bend, and several toads dropped from nowhere.
      I needed no further warnings. Zambini had briefed me about a Magiclysm. I ran to the alarm next to the elevator, broke the glass, and pressed the large red button.

      The klaxon sounded in the building, warning all those within to use whatever countermeasures they could. Almost immediately the misters filled the entire hotel with a fine dampness, which felt like stepping inside a cloud. Water is an ideal moderator and is about the only thing that can naturally quench a spell that is about to go critical. A few seconds later there was a tremendous detonation from somewhere upstairs. The tingling and vibrations abruptly stopped, and I turned to see a cloud of plaster and dust descend the stairwell. I switched off the alarm and ran up the stairs — elevators, even enchanted ones, should never be used in an emergency. I found Wizard Moobin lying in a heap on the fifth-floor landing.

As I was reading this I was reminded of our riding out Hurricane Katrina in a luxury apartment built on the third floor of an industrial warehouse next to the Mississippi River. The building shook, water was spraying in through holes left after the light panels in the corrugated metal wall had been blown out, and the mist was spraying over all the machine tools on the floor of the warehouse. The resemblance was to get spookier after I read what happened to Moobin.

[page 55, 56, italics added] "Moobin!" I exclaimed as the dust began to settle. "What on earth happened to you?"
      He didn't answer. Instead, he clambered unsteadily to his feet and returned to his room, the door of which had been blown clean off its hinges and was now embedded in the opposite wall. I stared through the doorway at the devastation. A wizard's room is also a laboratory, as all sorcerers are inveterate tinkerers by nature and may spend entire lifetimes in pursuit of a specific spell to do a specific job. Even something as inconsequential as the charm for finding a lost hammer had taken Grendell of Cleethorpes a lifetime to weave in the twelfth century. A destroyed workshop often indicated several decades of important work lost in one short blast of uncontrolled wizardry. Magic can be strong stuff and bite the unwary.

During Katrina, our 2005 Magiclysm in New Orleans, at the height of its winds, an office's door was blown, with its hinges and door frame still attached, across hallway and embedded in the opposite wall. If I had only imagined this happening, I would have written "blown clean off its hinges" but sometimes reality is stranger than fiction, and this door took its frame and hinges with it as it was embedded into the wall. What led to this event was the window on the outside wall of the office had been blown out and the full force of Katrina’s 105 mph wind ripped out the door still hinged to its frame and sent the whole thing flying across the short hall. Luckily no one was walking past at the time.

As for the finding-a-lost-hammer charm being lost, one could say that after a Magiclysm, even a charm could lose its charm. But this book, through all its Magiclysmic adventures, Fforde never lets it lose its charm. For example, when Jennifer as the Last Dragonslayer is commanded by the King to visit his castle, she can't believe it.

[page 173] "The castle? Me? You're joking!"
      The footman looked at me coldly. "The king doesn't make jokes, Miss Strange. On the rare occasion that he does, he circulates a memo beforehand to avoid any misunderstandings.

So if you are like King Snodd and don't like jokes or make jokes, this book will lose its charm for you quickly, and you would best not begin reading it in the first place. Why? Because the lines of this next passage will leave you as cold as the king's footman above. Gordon van Gordon is explaining the effects of Jennifer's newfound notoriety:

[page 186] "Out of your mail, ninety-seven percent want you to kill the dragon and three percent want you to leave it alone. Fifty-eight people have written in with offers of marriage, and two have claimed that they are the real Dragonslayer. One little old lady in Chepstow wants you to use your sword to dispose of a particularly invasive thorn tree, and another in Cirencester wants you to appear at a fund raiser for the Troll War Orphans Appeal. And finally the Wessex Rolls-Royce club wants you to bring the Slayermobile to a car show next month."

Jennifer has gone from an unknown orphan driving a VW Bug to a great celebrity driving a Rolls-Royce-based, Dragon-slayer armored car. When she finally gets to know Maltcassion, she asks the Dragon what he thinks about the people waiting for him to die so they can take over his great landed estate called Dragonlands. His answer is that he has already perceived her coming to kill him via some time waves from the future(1).

[page 229] Maltcassion stared at me and blinked the lids above his jewellike eyes. "It bothered me once. I am old now and have been waiting for you for a number of years. But there is another place we can see. Not radio waves or gamma waves but another realm entirely — the cloudy subether of potential outcome."
      "The future?"
      "Ah, yes!" said Maltcassion, raising a claw in the air. "The future. The undiscovered country. We all journey there sooner or later. Don't let anyone tell you the future is already written. The best any prophet can do is give you the most likely version of future events. It is up to us to accept the future for what it is, or change it.

Millions of people are expecting the Dragon to be killed at noon on Sunday by Jennifer and she tells Maltcassion that she simply won't come. This leads him to explain the nature of mass events to her.

[page 231] "Premonitions come true because people want them to. The observer will always change the outcome of an event; the millions of observers we have now will almost guarantee it. You and I are just small players in something bigger than either of us. Leave now. I will see you on Sunday."

What Maltcassion says is similar to what Seth said in the Jane Roberts book, The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events. She explained that the steering currents of hurricanes, like Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Sandy, are the collective psyches of the people in a given area who need a destabilizing force to pass through their area to clear the way for improvement. Maltcassion knew that his time had come and that Hurricane Jennifer was heading his way on Sunday, inexorably steered towards him by the psyches of millions of people.

While the charm for finding lost hammers may have been lost, the charm of Jasper Fforde's writing is as strong as ever, weaving the warp and woof of Dragons and Magic into a crazy quilt of insight and fun for all his readers. That being so, the only thing left to say is Quark!



~^~

---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------

Footnote 1.

You can read about "time waves from the future" here: http://www.doyletics.com/mrules.shtml#mrn36 These actually are perceived by ordinary humans, who ordinarily slough them off completely as if nothing had happened, up until now.

Return to text directly before Footnote 1.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Read/Print at:
http://www.doyletics.com/arj/lastdrag.htm



2.) ARJ2: The Tension Between East and West, GA#83 by Rudolf Steiner

Anyone reading this book today has the benefit of an Introduction which gives a fine overview of Steiner's lectures from the perspective of Owen Barfield, some forty years after the lectures were given. It was Barfield who led me initially to read deeply into Rudolf Steiner's works; I was impressed by his respect for how Steiner illuminated Barfield's own view of the importance of understanding the evolution of human consciousness(1).

Barfield sees the "tension between East and West" not just as a stagnant polarity but as a living tertium quid, a "vibrant tension" between the two. (Page 7)

[page 8, Barfield] To understand anything in depth involves some knowledge of how it came into being, and here the attempt is made to view the relation between typically Eastern and typically Western modes of consciousness in the light of the whole process of the evolution of human consciousness. In this Rudolf Steiner was up against the difficulty that the very existence of such a process was then — and it is still today — not generally recognized. That this is surprising "in an age permeated with evolutionary concepts" has recently been pointed out by Mr. Charles Davy, in his book Towards a Third Culture, in the course of which he defines the evolution of consciousness as "a constant-direction change in the normal experience of the perceived world".

Fifty years after Barfield wrote these words, there is as yet little understanding of the importance of the evolution of human consciousness outside of scholars immersed in Barfield and Steiner's works. Absence this understanding, it is no surprise that most scholars today project modern concepts onto previous ages as if human consciousness back then were identical to today's consciousness.

By doing this, scientists of today, who claim to be materialists, dealing only with observations of what they call the real world, have no idea how they have left their moorings and drifted into the very world they claim does not exist, the spiritual world. Barfield outlines the problem materialists face today and show how spiritual science is making advances using cognition directly, examining spiritual areas that materialists claim do not exist and avoid even attempting to examine. To make claims and avoid investigation of those claims is a very unscientific approach, yet few materialistic scientists are aware of their self-generated paradox. Barfield criticizes the schools of materialism for this salient failing which accompanies their proven successes.

[page 10, 11, Barfield] If we look aside for a moment from their proven efficacy in the field of straightforward physical manipulation and consider rather their claim (abandoned now altogether in some quarters) to furnish us with knowledge about the nature of man and the world, it must be admitted that the matter dealt with by the established sciences is coming to be composed less and less of actual observations, more and more of such things as pointer-readings on dials, the same pointer-readings arranged by electronic computers, inferences from inferences, higher mathematical formulae and other recondite abstractions. Yet modern science began with a turning away from abstract cerebration to objective observation! And this is the very step which spiritual science claims to be taking again today. Once grant the possibility that observations other than those made with the passive and untrained senses are possible, and you have to admit that the method of cognition which Steiner describes is more scientific, because more empirical, than the method of the schools.

When Steiner turned his understanding of the evolution of consciousness on the social situation, he achieved his fifteen minutes of fame on the world stage in the 1920s with his Threefold Commonwealth(2) which was urgently promoted as a solution to the problems of post-World War I Europe. Had Steiner's plan been adopted, one could not imagine an Adolf Hitler ever coming to prominence to lead Germany into a second and more devastating defeat in World War II. By controlling all three folds of the State, Hitler used his abstract principles to lead the political, religious, and economic sectors of Germany with a monomaniacal fury which burnt itself out in a dozen years. Kept separate from each other as Steiner outlined, these three sectors could have led to a sustained and peaceful growth of Germany and its neighboring countries in Europe.

[page 13, Barfield] Once again all turns on the basic fact of the evolution of human consciousness. On the one hand such an evolution necessarily involves changes in the social structure, but on the other hand that structure, and the changes which it demands, cannot be understood except in the light of that evolution. In the long run the views on diet of a man who had never heard of bread would be about as practical as the views on social reform of a man who is unaware that humanity is evolving from a typically oriental condition, in which the existence of the individual is latent in society, to a typically occidental one, in which the existence of society is latent in the individual.

Barfield says the reader will be disappointed if he seeks a panacea for the ills of society in these lectures by Steiner, but not if he approaches the lectures with an open mind.

[page 13, 14, Barfield] But it may be otherwise if with an open mind he travels through these pages expecting only what he will find: a patient examination into the way in which we form our ideas and the historical and geographical factors by which that way is conditioned, and, along with that, a preliminary contribution towards the unfreezing of certain hidden reserves of energy, imagination and wit, which would seem to be essential if human civilization is to be rescued from decline.

When learning something new, it's best to know all about it before you start, and Barfield has laid down the plan for what we can expect as we work our way through these amazing insights and thoughts that Rudolf Steiner shared with an audience of 2,000 in Vienna about ninety years ago, insights that speak yet to us today as fresh as if they were spoken only yesterday.

In the first lecture, Steiner takes on the paradox of homo sapiens of today, the wise man or man the thinker who looks unwisely upon thinking as an un-reality, up until now. Incurring this paradox are humans today, scientists in particular, who while using their thinking processes to investigate the natural world, exclude thinking as a process to be investigated, relegating thinking thereby to merely a tool for comprehending reality while excluding thinking from being a part of reality itself. One cannot ponder this paradox too much, as the fruits which can flow from this such pondering are many and useful, as Steiner explains in his writings and lectures elsewhere, while focusing directly upon the paradox itself in this lecture. The result of the paradox, he points out, is that most scientists today relegate thinking to a superficial semblance of a natural process, and do not recognize it as the real natural process which represents the height of human abilities and is responsible for the greatest human achievements.

Let us follow his thinking as he lays out how this comes to be.

[page 17, 18] Today, we are virtually obliged simply to accept the data given us by observation and experiment, and to work them up into natural laws, as they are called. Admittedly, to do so we make use of thought; but we make use of it only as a means of arranging phenomena so that through their own existence they manifest to us their inner connection, their conformity to law. And we make it our duty not to add any of our own thought to our observation of the world. We see this, indeed, as an ideal of the scientific attitude — and rightly so.
      Under these conditions, what has become of human thinking? It has actually become the servant, the mere tool of research.

Steiner follows the processes of scientific thought and comes to the conclusion that thinking "is condemned to be a mere semblance, not a reality." Note that this is precisely not Steiner's view of thinking, but rather the view which modern scientific thinking creates using thinking as its tool. He asks the crucial question and then answers it:

[page 18] How can we, from the standpoint of scientific law, understand thinking as a manifestation of the human organism? And to this, if we stand impartially and seriously within the life of science, we can only reply to day: To the extent that thinking has had to withdraw from the natural processes, contemplation of them can go on trying to encompass thinking, but it cannot succeed. Since it is methodologically excluded, thinking is also really excluded from the natural processes. It is condemned to be a mere semblance, not a reality.

Do you, dear Reader, see the paradox yet? You are a thinking being, are you not?(3) If you do not see the paradox, perhaps you sense that something is not right when you hear of thinking being treated as a semblance of reality and not a natural process in a human being, not being treated as the very hallmark of what it means to be a human being. That is Steiner's point.

[page 18, 19] Only as thinking beings can we regard ourselves as human; it is in thinking that we find our human dignity — and yet this, which really makes us into human beings, accompanies us through the world as something whose reality we cannot at present acknowledge, as a semblance. In pointing to what is noblest in our human nature, we feel ourselves to be in an area of non-reality.

Yet there is another paradox which confronts us: the semblance nature of thinking leads us to freedom, because its image nature cannot compel us as a natural force would. Following this line of thinking led Steiner to write his classic work, The Philosophy of Freedom.

[page 19] Whilst in this respect science would appear to lead to something negative for the life of the soul, yet — and this brings me to my second paradox — on the other hand it has resulted in something extremely positive. Here, I express once more a paradox that struck me particularly when, more than twenty years ago now, I worked out my Philosophy of Freedom and attempted, whilst maintaining a truly scientific outlook on life, to fathom the nature of human freedom.

While science would seem to lead to a denial of human freedom, its theories produce the opposite effect because science treats thinking as a semblance, which acts like an image in a mirror and cannot compel us, but allows us to act in freedom.

[page 20] Existent forces can compel me, whether they are thought of as existing outside me or inside me; images cannot compel me. If, therefore, I am able to conceive my moral impulses within that pure thinking which science itself fosters in us by its methods; if I can so shape moral impulses within me that my attitude to their shaping is that to which science educates me, then in these moral impulses conceived by pure thinking I have, not compelling forces, but forces and semblances that I myself am free to accept or not. That is to say: however much science, from its very premises, is bound, and with some justification, to deny freedom, yet in educating him to semblance thinking it educates the man of our culture to freedom.

In many places Steiner has cautioned against the use of techniques used by ancients to reach higher knowledge, such as yoga. In this lecture he expands this advice to explain how the yogis of olden times were using their patented yoga breathing exercises to allow them to become us! In other words, what they achieved by breathing regimens was to acquire a way of understanding the world that was still millennia away from becoming a common human capability. The yogi learned to breathe and think in the way we do today which, for his time, was an extraordinary achievement for the common person.

[page 22] When nowadays we examine our breathing, we find that it is a process which for the most part operates unconsciously in the healthy human organism. There must be something abnormal about the man who is aware of his breathing. The more naturally the process of breathing functions, the better it is for ordinary consciousness and for ordinary life.

The physiology of breathing is natural and thus fully unconscious to us today, but the yogis of old had to consciously create that process in themselves in order to understand the world the way we do today.

[page 23] When we breathe in, the respiratory impulse enters our organism; but it also goes via the spinal cord into the brain. There, the rhythm of the respiratory current combines with those processes that are the physical carriers of mental activity, the nerve and sense processes. Actually, in our ordinary life, we never have nerve and sense processes alone; they are always permeated by our respiratory rhythm. A connection, interaction, harmonization of the nerve and sense processes and of respiration always occurs when we allow our minds to function. By transmitting his altered respiratory rhythm into the nerve and sense process in a fully conscious way, the yogi also made a conscious connection between the respiratory rhythm and the thought rhythm, logical rhythm or rather logical combination and analysis of thoughts. In this way he altered his whole mental activity. In what direction did he alter it? Precisely because his breathing became fully conscious, his thoughts permeated his organism in the same way as did the respiratory current itself. We could say that the yogi set his thoughts moving on the respiratory currents and, in the inner rhythm of his being, experienced the union of thought and breath. In this way, the yoga scholar raised himself above the mass of his fellow-men and was able to proclaim to them knowledge they could not gain for themselves.

What was the essence of this knowledge the yogis gained over his fellows? He created an inner self or "I am" for himself. People of his time, lacking an inner self were congruent with what "lives and moves and acts" in the universe (Page 24), while we today, with our evolved inner self, are meta to these things. People of his time saw the external colors of objects infused with spiritual colors and spiritual beings, while we today see only pure colors radiated from the surface of objects. People of his time saw colors coming from inside of humans mixed with the colors from the surface which revealed how people were feeling directly, while we today only see colors and features from the surface of humans and must judge from this data how people are feeling within themselves.

Everyone has seen the old man on the mountain who is visited by someone who wishes to receive the sage's advice. Why did such sages have to go to the mountain top and stay there?

[page 25] At that time, it was generally accepted that one had to retire into solitude and a hermit's life if one sought connection with supersensible worlds. And anyone who carried out such exercises did condemn himself to solitude and the life of the hermit; for they bring a man into a certain state of sensibility and make him over-sensitive towards the robust external world. He must retire from life. In earlier times it was just such solitary figures who were trusted by their fellow-men. What they had to say was accepted as knowledge.

A good friend of mine confided in me several decades ago that he was planning to go to the Himalayan mountains and live alone in a cave. Thinking back, I wish I'd had this knowledge to share with him, but lacking it, I still sensed instinctively that it would be better for him to create a cave in a room in the middle of civilization to create the alone time he needed while continuing to work among people. Today he is a trusted consultant and speaker around the world.

[page 25] Nowadays, this no longer suits our civilization. People today rightly demand that anyone they are to trust as a source of knowledge should stand in the midst of life, that he should be able to hold his own with the robustness of life, with human labor and human activity as the demands of the time shape them. The men of today just do not feel themselves linked, as the men of earlier epochs did, to anyone who has to withdraw from life.

Exactly as a hermitic life is inappropriate for humans today, so, too, is an ascetic life inappropriate. It is inappropriate for someone to undergo various ascetic regimens of sensory and nutritional deprivation to learn of the presence of the spiritual world. All one will find by such ascetic exercises is that one's normal bodily functions mask the spiritual world from one's view and cognition today. Steiner's exercises allow one to live in the midst of people (he gave this lecture in Vienna to an audience of 2,000 people), and remain healthy while creating spiritual muscles or organs which allow one to view the spiritual world in full consciousness.

[page 26] What makes our physical and sensuous organism suited for the life between birth and death is precisely the fact that, as the ascetics' experiences were able to show, it hides from us the spiritual world. It was, quite simply, the experience of the early ascetics that by damping down the bodily functions one could consciously enter the spiritual worlds. That again is no way for the present. Anyone who inhibits his body in this way makes himself unfit for life among his fellow men, and makes himself unfit vis-à-vis himself as well. Life today demands men who do not withdraw, who maintain their health and indeed restore it if it is impaired, but not men who withdraw from life. Such men could inspire no confidence, in view of the attitude of our age. Although the path of asceticism certainly did lead to knowledge in earlier times, it cannot be a path for today.

In yoga the processes of respiration and thinking merge together; in Steiner's method(4) the processes of respiration and thinking are kept separate. His method involves placing "certain readily comprehended concepts at the center of our consciousness" and remaining with the thought. With practice, we build up a spiritual muscle which becomes an organ of super-sensible or spiritual sight, and all the while we remain conscious.

[page 27] Today, then, we go straight to thinking, by cultivating meditation, by concentrating on certain subjects of thought for longish periods. We perform, in the realm of the soul, something comparable to building up a muscle. If we use a muscle over and over again in continuous exertion, whatever the goal and purpose, the muscle must develop. We can do the same with thinking. Instead of always submitting, in our thinking, to the course of external events, we bring into the center of our consciousness, with a great effort of will, clear-cut concepts which we have formed ourselves or have been given by someone expert in the field, and in which no associations can persist of which we are not conscious; we shut out all other consciousness, and concentrate only on this one subject. In the words Goethe uses in Faust, I might say: Yes, it is easy — that is, it appears so — yet the easy is difficult. One person takes weeks, another months, to achieve it. When consciousness does learn to rest and rest continually upon the same content, in such a way that the content itself becomes a matter of complete indifference, and we devote all our attention and all our inward experience to the building up and spiritual energization of mental activity, then at last we achieve the opposite process to what the yogi went through. That is, we tear our thinking away from the process of respiration.

"This is the first step towards a way of knowledge suited to modern man," Steiner says on page 28. We are led into a vibrant way of viewing life and the world which our ordinary abstract logical mode of thinking is not able to perform. It is the difference between observing a body on a table in the morgue and watching a ballet dancer in Swan Lake.

[page 28] From abstract, dead thinking, from mere semblance thinking, our thinking becomes a vitalized thinking. This is the significant transition that can be made from abstract and merely logical thinking to a vital thinking which we clearly feel is capable of shaping a reality, just as we recognize our process of growth as a living reality.

This vitalized thinking should not be confused with any of the former clairvoyant arts; rightly understood, it is a new modern clairvoyance. The yogi strove inward to reach his self, his "I am"; but Steiner allows us to move outward to reach the "rhythm of the world."

[page 32] Today, I wished to show how, in contrast to earlier ways of knowledge, man can attain a modern supersensible way of knowledge. The yogi sought to move into the human substance and reach the self; we seek to move out to the rhythm of the world. The ancient ascetic would depress the body in order to express spiritual experience and allow it to exist independently. The modern way of knowledge does not incline to asceticism; it avoids all arts of castigation and addresses itself intimately to the very life of the soul.

While the ways of the yoga and ascetic drew men away from life, the modern way of Steiner places men directly inside of life. Vitality thinking is like a higher kind of mathematics, a higher mathesis which allows us to experience the forces of life and our inner powers directly.

[page 33] Anyone who perceives this process of cognition in its entirety must conclude: things can satisfy man as knowledge and lead to a science only if they rest on something he can really experience and observe through his inner powers. With the aid of mathematics, we can penetrate into the facts and structures of the inanimate world; but we cannot move more than a little way at most, and that somewhat primitively, into the organic world. We need a way of looking as exact as that of mathematics with which to penetrate into the higher processes of the outside world. Even one of the outstanding representatives of the school of Haeckel has expressly admitted that we must advance to an entirely different type of research and observation if we wish to move up from the inorganic into the organic realm of nature. For the inorganic, we have mathematics, geometry; for the organic, the living, we have nothing as yet that corresponds to a triangle, a circle, or an ellipse. By vital thinking we shall achieve them: not with the ordinary mathematics of numbers and figures, but with a higher mathesis, a qualitative approach working creatively, one which — and here I must say something which many people will find abominable — which touches the realm of the aesthetic.

The critics of Rudolf Steiner's approach miss the essential point that he is a scientist first, not a spiritual dilettante, and Lord knows, we have seen many of these in the past century. Rather than knock modern science and scientists, Steiner accepts their contribution to our knowledge of the physical world as something that is good, namely, something that has come in the right time for us, however, from him we can learn how to penetrate into the facts and structures of the living, animate world, something which our material sciences has few tools at its disposal to do. We, as living human beings, are more powerful than any of the tools of modern science, if we would only exercise our spiritual muscles and develop our spiritual sight.

[page 34] That is the aim of the spiritual science whose methods I have sought to describe to you today by way of introduction. It does not wish to oppose triumphant modern science, but to accept it fully in its importance and substance, just as we accept fully the external man. But just as we look through the external man at the soul, so it seeks to penetrate through natural laws, not in a lay and dilettante fashion, but with a serious approach, to the spiritual element underlying the world. And so this spiritual science seeks not to create any kind of opposition to natural science, but to be its soul and spirit.

One of the things which vital thinking allows one to do is investigate the time between death and a new birth. During this time, the outside world we know becomes dark and our inner world is illuminated for us. In this time before birth, we see the world we will enter after we are born; it is as though we form the steering currents which direct us as we wish — as we feel necessary — to our new lifetime to come.

[page 46, 47] Between birth and death it is not investigated by man with his ordinary consciousness. Exactly the opposite is true, however, of our existence before we unite with the body — our spiritual existence, in a spiritual environment. In this life on earth, the inner world is dark and the outside world of the cosmos bright and full of sound; in the purely spiritual life before our earthly embodiment, the outer cosmic world is dark, and our world is then the inner world of man. We see this inner world! And truly, it seems to us no smaller and no less majestic than does the cosmos when we see it with our physical eyes during our earthly existence. As if it were our "outside world", we come to understand the law of our spiritual inner world, and we prepare ourselves, in the spiritual realm, for dealing later with our bodily functions, with what we are between birth and death. For what we are between birth and death extends before us like a world, before we descend into this physical existence on earth.

Lest anyone call this a wild guess, Steiner spells it out clearly, "This is not speculation. It is direct perception arising from exact clairvoyance." He continues:

[page 47] It is something which, starting from this exact clairvoyance, leads us some way into the connection between the eternal element in man and the life on earth — that eternal element which remains hidden from us between birth and death, and of which we see the first gleams when we are able to perceive it in the still unembodied state. And with this we explore a part of human eternity itself. We don't even have a word in our modern languages for this part of human eternity. We rightly speak of immortality; but we ought also to speak of "unbornness". For this now confronts us as a direct experience.

What led me to eventually find Rudolf Steiner was an imagination I had decades ago that we as humans live in the middle of a riddle (life) which has an enigma at each end: the enigma of unborness and the enigma of death. According to Steiner, for us to discover our unborn nature requires a training of thought; to discover our life-after-death nature requires a training of will.

[page 47] This is one aspect of exact clairvoyance, one aspect of human eternity, of the great riddle of the human soul, and thus of the supreme problem of psychology in general. The other aspect arises from those other exercises, which I yesterday termed exercises of the will, through which we so take in hand our will that we learn to make use of it independently of the body. I explained that these exercises induce us to overcome pain and suffering within the soul, in order to make it into a "sense-organ" (to speak loosely) or a spiritual organ (to speak exactly) of vision, so that we not only look at the spiritual, but see its authentic shape. And when we learn to experience in this way outside our body, not only with our thoughts but with our will itself — that is, with our entire human substance — there appears before the soul the image of death, in such a way that we now know the nature of experience without the body: both in thinking and in willing and in what lies between, feeling. In an imaginally creative way we learn to live without the body. And in doing so we gain an image of our passage through the gate of death; we learn how in reality, too, we can do without the body and how, passing through the gate of death, we enter once more that spiritual sphere from which we descended into this bodily existence. What is eternal and immortal in us becomes not only philosophical certainty, but direct perception. By training the will, we disclose for the soul's contemplation the other side of eternity — immortality — just as unbornness is disclosed by the training of thought.

Do you wish to find your loved ones during your time between death and a new birth? Consider how difficult it is at times in this world for you to locate or to be with a loved one: they may have moved far away or otherwise be unavailable. Take heart. These impediments disappear during our time between death and a new birth. You will find your loved ones and you will even make plans for you to be together with them after your new birth. This philosophy is not some religious principle or article of faith, but is instead based on a knowledge from direct observation with vital seeing. It supports every religious faith. It supports each faith, but not the child-like fairy tales which some religious people create of an eternal life of bliss after death. It lays out a series of lifetimes on Earth inter-spaced with times in the spiritual world in which we prepare for our next life on Earth.

[page 49] On a foundation of knowledge, not of faith, we can now say: as they stride through the gate of death, men find themselves once more together. And just as the body, which impedes our sight of the spirit, disappears in the spiritual world, so too in that world every impediment to friendship and love now disappears. Men are closer together there than in the flesh. A mode of knowledge that may still appear abstract in relation to true psychology culminates in this religious feeling and vision. Yet the philosophy of life I am here presenting does not seek to infringe on religious faith. This philosophy can be tolerant; it can recognize fully the value of every individual religious faith, and even exercise it in practice; but at the same time, as a nurse to this religious life, it provides an epistemological basis for this religious life too.

One might say, "I won't believe this until I see it directly with my own eyes." To comprehend this reality requires a training equivalent to that of a painter, but to appreciate the truth and beauty of a Picasso, e.g., does not require one to be a Picasso. Likewise for seeing the truth and beauty of this philosophy.

[page 50] It therefore needs to be said over and over again: just as one does not need to be a painter to feel the beauty of a picture, so too one does not need to be a spiritual scientist oneself — although one can become one up to a point — to be able to test whether what I am saying here is true. Just as one can feel the beauty of a picture without being a painter oneself, so with ordinary common sense one can perceive what the spiritual scientist says about the soul. That one can see it, I think I have established all the more firmly in recognizing how souls thirst for a profounder approach to psychology and to the great riddles of existence in relation to the soul. The aim of a modern view of life such as has been outlined here today does in fact represent the desire of countless people, though they are not ordinarily aware of it; it forms the pain, the sorrow, the privation, the wish of countless people — of all those who are serious about what we must regard as constructive forces in face of the many forces of decline present in our age.

Steiner gives us a quote from Goethe which allows each of us to consider what our relationship to the world at large should be or become at each point in our lifetime. “What is the highest and best use that we can make of our talents?” is what comes to my mind. What comes to yours?

[page 51] Goethe, who gave simply expression to so much that men find great and moving, once wrote: "Each man should consider with what part of himself he can and will influence his time!"

Man is the recorded memory of the world. This statement will be difficult for newcomers to Spiritual Science to absorb in its fullest meaning, but it will be important for each of us to comprehend the implication of this statement if we are to influence properly our own time in this world. The full human being is more than the items the medical examiner categories during an autopsy. We are rather like a radio receiver which can receive and decode the recorded memory of this cosmos, but when our transistors are fried and depowered at death, no more transmissions of this memory can be decoded by the body on the steel table of the autopsy room.

[page 89] We can therefore say: the cosmos allows us to penetrate it to gain supersensible knowledge; and what it gives back to us as a result of this penetration is precisely our knowledge of self.

In a curious arrangement of things, which makes more sense the longer we ponder it, the macrocosm of the world is mirrored in the microcosm of our human being.

[page 89, 90] We can say therefore: what is physical and sensuous without is seen as semblance within. Conversely, I would say: in attaining the capacity to look out, through the spirit-organ that is our self, into the outside world as a spiritual one, with spiritual entities and events, we perceive our own inner physical body. We learn to know the substance of our lungs, heart and other organs. The spirituality of the outside world is reflected by the physical nature within us, just as the physical outside world is reflected by our spiritual, abstract nature.

If we engorge ourselves in abstract logical thinking we might, like the idealist, regard our inner human organisms as something trivial and commonplace, instead of as an intricately complex mirror of the cosmos in we humans were firstly formed as spiritual beings and evolved into our physicality only after aeons of evolution during which our human nature evolved in synchronism with the evolution of the cosmos, by which I mean the local region of space we basely name our Solar System.

[page 90, 91] The nebulous mystic remains caught in ordinary consciousness. The man who goes beyond this and, after first ensuring his psychic health by means of preparatory exercises that emphasize the formation of a healthy memory, pierces this mirror of memory and really looks into himself, will see there the effects of wide-ranging processes, originating in the spiritual outside world and continuing still in the spiritual world. In this way we come to know man, and to say to ourselves: what the abstract idealist may regard as something base in man, because he is looking at it only physiologically or anatomically, from the outside — man's inner organism — is a wonderful consequence of the entire cosmos.

Man is the recorded memory of the world. The answers we seek to the origin of the cosmos are stored inside of us, if we but seek for them in the proper fashion, a fashion Steiner has laid out on the table for all to see, a fashion, a process which is available to every living human being, and it ill-behooves those who refuse to use the process to proclaim it is a folly to attempt such a process.

[page 91] And when we really come to know this inner organism, this is what we discover: when we look into our spiritual self and go back in memory over much that we have experienced in life, we can then, from what we revive within us at a congenial hour, conjure up these experiences before our mind's eye, if only as shades. From the image-content our soul has absorbed from the outside world, we can once again conjure up this world before our soul in a way that satisfies us. If we also learn to know our comprehensive inner organism, and learn how its individual parts are spiritually derived from the cosmos, our entire being, as we now perceive it, will present itself as a record of cosmic memories. We look into ourselves, not now with the eye of the nebulous mystic, but with an awakened "mind's eye", and can perceive the nature of our lungs, our heart, the whole of the rest of our organism, looked at spiritually, inwardly. All this presents itself to us as memory of the world, recorded in man just as our memory of the life between birth and the present is recorded in the soul. There now appears in us what we can call knowledge of man as a memory of the world, a replica of the world's development and of the course of the cosmos.

Man is the recorded memory of the world. We have only to begin the process to arrive at this knowledge of self, and once you arrive at this knowledge, you will laugh at those who claim that the planets do not have an intimate connection with the various organs of the body as authors of modern astrology books glibly catalog but lack the ability to make clear why such connections exists.

[page 91, 92] The first thing to do is to familiarize yourselves with the detailed exercises that must be undertaken before man arrives at such a knowledge of self — not the brooding self-knowledge of ordinary introspection, as it is called, but the self-knowledge that sees in each of our internal organs something like a combination of spiritual elements resulting from certain spiritual processes in the cosmos. Once they have understood this aspect of man, people will no longer accuse us of transposing what is in our soul anthropomorphically into the world, in order to explain the world in a spiritual way. Instead, they will say: We first attempt, cautiously and seriously, to penetrate inside man, and there will then be revealed to us the cosmos, just as when we look at memories the sum of personal experience reveals itself.

Man is the recorded memory of the world. If a lie is repeated often enough, it is accepted as truth; if a truth is repeated often enough, it is a useful thing, an important thing, a thing which can begin moving the cogwheels of thought and rotating the wheels of the locomotive which will pull us into understanding the underpinnings of the cosmos in which we humans live, move, and have our being. Whether we live in the East or the West, we form the tension upon the drive wheels on either side of this locomotive pulling us on our odyssey from spirit beings to physicality and back to spirit beings, exactly like the stars in the galaxies come into our view and dissolve from our view, the view of us earthborn physical beings staring out into the far reaches of the Universe.


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---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------

Footnote 1.
See Barfield's Rediscovery of Meaning for details on the evolution of consciousness.

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Footnote 2.
For more information, see these three books: Social Issues, Toward Social Renewal, and The Renewal of the Social Organism.

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Footnote 3.
Animals are not thinking beings; they respond to sensory inputs, possess amazing instincts, but so far as we know, they simply cannot think. Many people treat animals anthropomorphically and claim that certain of their behaviors amount to thinking, but the thinking is only going on in their own heads which they project upon the animals.

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Footnote 4.
As described in his book Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment.

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Read the Review at:
http://www.doyletics.com/arj/eastwest.htm

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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. Remember: each review you read is like opening up a Surprise Christmas Present!

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8. COMMENTARY:
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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 coverse 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 Reads The Advocate delivered to his doorstep in New Orleans 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 the Only Daily Newspaper in New Orleans.


2. Comments from Readers:

  • EMAIL from Around-the-World Christopher Tidmore:
    Dear Bobby,

Feel not too much pity for my travels, my friend.   For today, I was decadent.   I'm in Koh Samui, Thailand, an Island-beach paradise of such beauty that one stands transfixed as the morning light hits the cliffs of the lagoon.   

The blue green waters are the temperature of a warm bath, and yet, the trade winds make the air temperate and cool.    I sat on the beach, with drinks delivered to me through out the day, and at dusk, moved to a table mere feet from the light crashing waves to eat Barracuda and drink Pina Colada.   

It is my vacation from my hard travels, that lasts for another three days, until I'm off to Kuala Lumpur and then to Singapore.   I should be home around Christmas, at current count, barring no problems.    I have many adventures to tell you of, my friend.   Long chats will surely ensure.   

Give your lovely bride my love, and I look forward to seeing you at year's end.  For I miss our conversations, and the home-away from home that is our club, more than you know.

Christopher


  • EMAIL from Vincent Youngs in Seattle area:
    Bobby, This technology confirms your theory about dolphins because blind people are using sound to see at fairly high resolution. Click Here!

    Vincent

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Bobby's Reply ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Thanks, Vincent!

    Blind people clearly have a mostly unused visual cortex, up until now. This technique will help them to activate it to produce visual images of their surroundings. This is an adaptation of the process that in my book The Spizznet File I coined the word, phizualize, for: using a phonation device to bounce sounds off objects and then creating visual images from inside the brain. Dolphins do this with ultrasonic waves and therefore can create high definition visual images due to the high bandwidth of their phonation and hearing apparatus. Humans with low frequency hearing will create much lower definition vision than dolphins, but for totally blind humans this will be a boon nevertheless.

    warm regards,
    Bobby

  • EMAIL from Chris:
    Bobby,
  • Carla has gone back to work in the school setting and she is enjoying it immensely. She saw an autistic boy today who is 9 or 10. When she went in the classroom he and the teacher had been through a hell of a morning. The boy was sitting at his desk sobbing, his lunch tray and lunch were strewn all across the classroom. Carla immediately seized the opportunity and sat by him and gently led him through a speed trace. He not only responded well to her, the teacher later told Carla that she had never seen him have such a good, productive afternoon at school.

    Based on my years in the New Mexico schools and the children I worked with, it seemed certain to me that tracing could be a very useful tool in helping those very special people deal with their frustrations. The teachers and teachers aides would have to be trained in how to lead them through a speed trace but that isn't difficult.

    3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell: "Individual Ism"


    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:


                            Individual Ism



    Ism is the social sin
    That we find ourselves ensconced within.
    Tamed by the orthodox
    We sleepwalk through the paradox.

    We leave the sacrifices of the masses
    In empty churches in our town
    For the sacrifice of the masses
    In the empty jungle clearing town.

    For ever faster do we flee
    To leave our shadow far behind
    But shadows have reality
    Created by unconscious mind.

    So stay at home and contemplate
    Light and shadow in your ism,
    Avoid the collective bait —
    Find your individualism.


    4. Putting Unnecessary Stress on People's Defense Systems

    There seems to be an unhealthy trend towards splashing diseases all over the news media and even covering football players and announcers with them. The month of October saw pink everywhere, calling a potentially disastrous disease to everyone's mind. What is overlooked in these well-meaning attempts to garner attention and donations is the negative effect these monthlong reminders can have on the individuals exposed to these reminders, which create images of health problems and can cause the very problems they purport to wish to eliminate.

    In Jane Roberts' book, The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events, Seth discusses this problem. Here are two excerpts from my review of this book. Seth's words are in bold and the rest are mine:

    This next aspect of personal health, what Gregory Bateson called, "an ecology of mind," is immensely important and yet has remained invisible to and uncomprehended by those it affects the most, up until now. The cells and organs of our body can only respond to what they encounter on a cellular level and have no knowledge of the cultural world in which the whole organism operates. They rely on our assessment of exterior dangers and when we notify them of a threat, they begin to react to those conditions.
    [page 48] The body will, therefore, react to imagined dangers to some degree, as well as those that are biologically pertinent. Its defense systems often becomes overexerted as a result.
    ~^~
    How can one experience an overall sense of health and contentment if one's body is asked to respond biologically to something that isn't really there? One's body can only respond to such bogus situations with bio-illogical confusion.
    [page 50] Left alone, the body can defend itself against any disease, but it cannot defend itself appropriately against an exaggerated general fear of disease on the individual's part. It must mirror your own feelings and assessments.

    Second to the news media in doing damage are the medical professionals who single-mindedly act as though creating fear of diseases in the public will somehow keep the public well. One wonders if they are not thereby violating the first principle of the medical profession: First, do no harm. How could they be doing harm? If you haven't understood the above, Seth lines it out in detail for you:

    [page 50] Usually, now, your entire medical systems literally generate as much disease as is cured — for you are everywhere hounded by the symptoms of various diseases, and filled with the fear of disease, overwhelmed by what seems to be the body's propensity toward illness — and nowhere is the body's vitality or natural defense system stressed.



    5. EAT-O-TWIST NEVER BREAKS

    Everything Allways Turns Out The Way It's Supposed To forms the acronym EAT-O-TWIST that I coined some thirty plus years ago to remind me that what I suppose is going to happen creates an image in my world which image begins forming a reality which will show up later. This is an immutable law of spiritual and physical reality which few people understand how to utilize in their lives, up until now.

          "Sure, I'm always doing that already."
          "Doing what?"
          "Thinking of stuff I want to happen."
          "Like what specifically?"
          "You know, like I don't want to lose my job because I can't afford to be without a regular paycheck coming in."
          "And how might you lose your job?"
          "Well, the company might go bankrupt, you know, it happens."
          "What I'm hearing is you are thinking of bad things you don't want to happen, right?"
          "Yes, of course, doesn't everyone?"
          "What if you thought about your getting a raise because your company is doing better this year than last?"
          "Never thought of that. I suppose that could happen."
          "Yes, and if you suppose it's going to happen, it creates the reality in your world by EAT-O-TWIST."
          "I suppose I could give that a try."
          "You could do better by allways supposing the outcome you wish instead of worrying about the things you don't want happening. If you worry, you are running EAT-O-TWIST backwards and making sure that the very things you don't want to happen will happen."
          "Does EAT-O-TWIST work all the time?"
          "Suppose EAT-O-TWIST never breaks, and it won't. Knowing that, will you begin to choose only to think about the things you want to happen from now on?
          "You betcha!"


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