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WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#189 September, 2018== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Going Back to School Month of September:
Sickness, where guilt is absent, cannot come, for it is but another form of guilt.
— Bobby Matherne
From page 263 of A Course in Mircles Workbook, first read April 15, 1982.
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GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents
DOUBLE ISSUE#189 for August and September, 2018
Archived DIGESTWORLD Issues
Table of Contents
1. September's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for September
3. On a Personal Note
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe or Household Hint for September, 2018 from Bobby Jeaux: qrecipeq
6. Poem from David's Question: "The Good Mountain"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for September:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: Truth and Knowledge, GA#3 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: The Road to Walden — 12 Life Lessons from a Sojourn to Thoreau's Cabin by Kevin Dann
- ARJ2: Understanding Society by Rudolf SteinerRudolf Steiner
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. September Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Spending Time.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of early Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Spending Time" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/180704vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR September:
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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 September, 2018:
Dale Yost in Cyberspace
Paul Matherne in Opelousas, LA
Congratulations, Dale and Paul!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
BIRTHDAY FOR ABIGAIL ADELE
We had planned to spend the night so I could go fishing with Wes the next morning, but decided to make it a one-day trip and drive back the same day because of my back. I told Wes how much I wanted to go fishing with him in the morning, that I had even bought a new Zebco rod and reel set, but I had lifted a large glass bowl of figs out of the fridge with my left arm and strained my lower back. I didn't want to exacerbate the strain by fishing the next morning, so we were going back home after the party at Katie's. We wanted to see our three great-grandchildren, Ben Upton almost three, Abigail Adele turning 2, and James Michael our newest great-grandson.
We drove to Katie's new house and she was fully moved in. A fence had been installed enclosing their in-ground pool to protect the toddlers. The pool was already in use when we arrived, and Abigail was having a lot of fun. Katie did an exemplary job planning and arranging the pool party event. Kids and adults played in pool, but they came inside for the cake and present opening to cool off in the AC. I remember in Anaheim that people went into our pool to cool off.
James Michael came immediately to me the first time. He's already talking, saying Mama. Abigail Adele enjoyed her birthday muffin, shoving the cupcake's iced top into her mouth. I told Katie's husband Stephen, "Next you see Abigail with a cake shoved in her mouth will likely be at her wedding." His mom, Jane was there with her two friends Corliss and Rigby and her mother Mary.Katie's brother Thomas came along with Kim and Wes, but the other brother Weslee went with Laurel to an engagement party of some friends.
We left the party in the afternoon when everyone else did. Del drove us all the way home and I got an hour nap along the way. We enjoyed the 4 hours each way Saturday drive in our 2016 Platinum Maxima. At one rest stop, after I came out of the restroom, a guy asked me if the 2016 Maximum was mine. I said, "Yes, why?" He dealt in buying and selling used cars and had a chance to buy a low mileage Maximum and fix it up for his own use. We got into a long conversation about Maximas, segueing into football talk about the LSU Tigers. Our reverie was interrupted finally by Del's phone call saying, "Where are you?" I was in Guy Land talking about cars and football.
We arrived at Timberlane about 9 PM, shortly after dark, and we watched a Blue Bloods episode before retiring for the night. We like Blue Bloods because it always has a happy ending with family.
Our next few days involved packing for our Viking cruise to the top of Norway and back. My back was feeling better but I was glad to have one more massage before we left on our trip. If you're not working in an office job anymore, middle of the week holidays can pass without your noticing. So I went to Caroline's and after she was done, I realized that it was the Fourth of July. I asked her about it and she said, "Yes, I know, I came in just for you."
On the day before we flew out, a letter I wrote to Smiley Anders of the Advocate appeared in the paper. He had been publishing letters remembering the 60th Anniversary of LSU's great 1958 Undefeated Season. I shared my vivid memory of the night of the Kentucky game. We had beat Alabama 13-3 then gone down to Miami and beat them 41-0 and there was a buzz in the air about our Tiger football team.
As a 1958 freshman at LSU in the North Stadium Dorm, I either went to the game on Saturday nights, or I had 65,000 rabid fans stomping on my head. I was there for the first ever sell-out of Tiger Stadium, the Kentucky game.
I was waiting for my dad to bring my girlfriend and I had student section tickets for us in my pocket. I waited outside Section H-2 for them to arrive when I noticed this man who appeared to be despondent. He walking around in a circle with his head down. I asked him if something was wrong, and he said, "I just drove here from Pensacola, Florida, like I've done every home game for twenty years, and for the FIRST time ever, I couldn't buy a ticket!"
I knew then this was going to be a great year!
VOYAGE TO THE MIDNIGHT SUN
"Hello darkness, my old friend . . ." the lyrics of Paul Simon were going through my head after we arrived home and awoke the next morning to find it was dark outside, for the first time in about three weeks. We had spent most of July in Norway where we rarely saw any darkness outside. Here's how we got there and back again, and what we saw and did along the way.
We checked in early and got a great shot of the new Louis Armstrong Airport Terminal under construction. Any flights we take after June next year will use the new building. Our flight on the Dreamliner 787 arrived on-time and we picked up our bags and cleared customs easily. The bus trip to Greenwich where our ship was docked took about 90 minutes. We walked through the Viking check in entrance. Del asked for restroom and we were the directed to a Naval College Museum which we walked through. I took a bunch of photos because I didn't realize the college and museum would be on our walking tour the next day. So we wandered around a bit and then got aboard ship, which was not a simple walk up a gangplank but a tender ride to the middle of the Thames a couple hundred yards away. Our bags were coming later, but much later than we thought, arriving at 8 PM when we were ready for bed. Our Stewart's name was Dian and he was very helpful. My ShelfPak contents fit into the closet and Dian suggested two wooden hangers to support the shelves in the closet.When the empty ShelfPak wouldn't fit under the bed, Dian simply hefted up the bed a tad and slid it under. We went to the Viking Sky's World Café for dinner and ate heartily. Came back Stateroom 4062 and crashed for the night.
We had been to London several times and chose to stay in Greenwich the next day to take the short walking tour instead any number of tours requiring another bus ride. We filled up the tender and docked and walked around Greenwich following a guide, who took us around some of the places I'd taken photos the afternoon we arrived. We passed St. Alfege's with a Mass in progress and some choir's singing wafting out; I wanted to go in, but the guide moved us onward. I was able to shoot a quick shot of the inside of the church.
Greenwich was famous for being the center of GMT or Greenwich Mean Time, the standard for all the world's time. The modern name is Universal Coordinated Time which our military quickly nicknamed "Zulu Time". For ships going to sea, they always paused while approaching Greenwich because a big Orange Ball was dropped at Noon for sailors to set their clocks to.Even with satellite time today, the Orange Ball still does its business every day promptly at 12 Noon. At the Naval College there are two towers, each with a clock face at the top, but one shows the direction of the wind and the other gives the time.
I learned that "Cutty Sark" meant "mini-skirt." Tam O'Shanter used to drive his beloved horse Maggie to market everyday until one day he stopped to look into a building in which witches were convening, wearing their mini-skirts. The witches spotted him and he hopped on Maggie to escape from them and did, but the witches did catch a piece of Maggie's tail and tore it loose. That is why, on the masthead of the Cutty Sark, now permanently moored in Greenwich, you can see Maggie's tail hanging from the female figure's hand! Let's drink a dram of Cutty Sark to that! Here's to Tam O'Shanter and his piece of tail from Maggie!
We came back to do lunch, after having a short nap first. Lunch was a shoo-shoo, imminently forgettable. Out of the six things I put on my plate only the sea bream filet was good. I think it had a short piece of bone left in it which I discovered while swallowing it.Not skinny enough to penetrate the skin but enough to make me skittish about eating filet fish onboard. Reported it to Ariel, the one stripe manager, and he brought out the sous chef to see me. Had some coffee gelato and it was okay not great like Edy's Coffee Buzz Buzz which is real ice cream. There was no ice cream on board, but out of three servers, including the head waiter, they each swore they had ice cream served on board. A simple frozen yogurt cone would have been a blessing.
We had our photo taken and I complimented our waiter photographer, Nove, on his native country. The Philippines apparently have excellent English literacy: my Analytics Reports show that they read my webpages almost as much as the entire continent of Australia. Plus most of the Filipinos I've met serving on cruise ships and riverboats speak excellent English. After lunch we discovered the very comfortable chairs in the Library off the atrium on Deck 1. Very pleasant for reading in a quiet area. Overlooking the Atrium was a game room with a beautiful Scrabble box with a rotating top. We learned to move it alongside the railing for the Atrium and played several times during quiet afternoons on the Sky. After dinner, we went up to the Explorer's lounge to watch the skyline of London fading in the distance as we motored north on the Thames River to the North Sea.We saw the entrances to the under-the-Thames walkway, Skyway overhead cable car which crossed the Thames, the bustling business section known as the Isle of Dog, the Millennium Dome and finally the Thames Barrier erected to keep German ships out of the Thames during World War II. Our ship barely managed to edge its way between two barriers to get past the barriers into the North Sea. The evening was cool and pleasant and watching the night lights of Greenwich and distant London was a special treat. One of the few times, the Viking Sky seemed to act as a tour bus during our cruise.
The next day was a quiet one as we were at sea all day. We slept late, going down to breakfast about 9:30. We were recovering from minor jet lag and enjoyed the trip up the coast of England to Edinburgh. We docked early the next morning.
For a city with a large harbor, it seemed strange to have to tender to get to shore, what I call "tender mercies". We stayed on board in the morning and set our plan for our Anniversary Dinner into motion. Today we met Alan and Judy from Worcester. Having spent a couple of years in graduate school at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, I dared to say I went to Wippy, our code name for its initials WPI. They didn't recognize at first, but I shared with them some of my memories of WPI. One thing was that I never saw the college during the daylight as all my classes were at night during the Fall and Spring when it gets dark early. We enjoyed our conversation with them and asked them to join our anniversary table. Later we met Hugh and Mary from Missouri and had fun talking to them. Hugh was a big MIZZOU fan and I asked how he was enjoying being in the SEC. "Not much, so far," he answered. But we are both Tiger fans and we enjoying talking football together. So we invited them, and later discovered we spent a lot of time listening to Mary also a great talker. The last couple we intended to invite were Trent and Marla from Aurora Village in New Orleans, but they were double booked for that evening and we replaced them with Margaret and Barbara. Del arranged for a table the following Monday night The Restaurant complete with a bottle of Champagne and a big cake for the table.
We took the tender to Edinburgh for the afternoon bus excursion, first around the city driving, and then a walking tour. Luckily we didn't need the voice box. All Mo the Guide talked about on the bus tour was this school or that one, about how much they cost, from the Eton-esque fancy one at 43,000 pounds a year, to cheaper ones at 10k. Yet, all of the schools, public or private, have the same curriculum! Go figure. Mo answered my question of "Why are the expensive ones called Public Schools?" but her answer didn't make sense to this colonist.
Mo explained that when Queen Victoria disliked a statue of her planned for Edinburgh and asked that it be displayed out of sight, the Scots showed their dislike of England by putting it on the main street in full view. I doubt their Queen's displeasure was on in full view of her subjects, but Vicky's statue showed no emotion.
Bought myself a new Scotland wool scarf. Del wanted to make me to get a cashmere one. I said I love cashmere scarfs, but they're impractical in New Orleans because they have to be hidden and protected from moths. Cashmere is like candy to moths, and I prefer not to worry about my scarfs. It was listed for 12.99 pounds but we got it for 9.99 with a pence in change. Curious thing: the shop would not accept our 20 pound note, saying the new ones are plastic and the paper notes are no long accepted. Said I could swap it at the Bank of England, so as we walked further, I saw a state bank and went into and they wouldn't exchange, either! With impeccable pronunciation and spurious logic, the official explained, "You need to swap it at the Bank of England, not the Bank of Scotland!One country, two or more currencies, maybe three, if I include the Bank of Wales. Weird. We're not going back to England except to leave from Heathrow and were not likely to find a Bank of England there, nor did I wish to carry around a useless piece of paper for a couple of weeks. So we decided to give the paper 20 pound note to the young man with the almost trained Owl, putting it into his tip jar. His owl loved to go to the hunting fields, but wouldn't kill anything. Apparently he liked the pre-killed food his mater gave him at home. This was a smart Owl! No doubt his master will find a Bank of England to exchange the paper one for some legal tender. Never in my year has the USA done this dastardly trick on its citizens, make some money worthless in effect. That note was one we could only two years earlier when we went to Harrogate and it was already no good. Surely all Englanders had exchanged the worthless money by now, but tourists get to take it on the chin. Luckily we only had one of bad bills in our British stash.
We were exhausted when we got back from long return tender ride. Took a nap, ate dinner, then went to sleep. Soundly.
ORKNEY ISLANDS, SCOTLAND
The stone circles of Orkney are not as impressive as Stonehenge, but they predate both Stonehenge and the Egyptian Pyramids. The Orkneyinga Saga relates tales of Vikings before the 13th Century who lived on these islands. We were up at 4:50 AM since we had an early tour to the Orkney Standing Stones. Red-haired Ann was our guide, an English teacher locally. She was great with a voice that was clear and well-modulated in volume, unlike the very loud Scottish guides on other tours. One of them even argued with me when I said he was too loud. Ann talked on the bus and allowed us to walk around the large round group of standing stones on our own. I was a bit late getting back to bus as I went completely around the stones. We passed an archaeological dig and the work in the mud, muck, and cold weather seemed completely unappealing to me. We saw cattle in the fields around the stones, a few sheep, and we returned for some time on our own to explore the town of Stromness.
We walked down the center street of the town and noted the inlaid bricks down the middle of the paved streets. The brick allowed the hooves of horses to be able to pull carts through snowy and slippery streets, and that is why the bricks were laid in the middle: for one-horse carts. The large hotel, like many other structures, was built with its skinny side facing the sea to lower heating bill during the long, windy winters. We saw a public statue of Dr. John Rae an arctic explorer. But our favorite place was a small bakery. It had full-size, old-fashioned chocolate eclairs, and some delicious vanilla ice cream! Never would I have bought both of these treats at the same time, but the vanilla gelato on the Sky was yucky looking and tasting, so I couldn't pass up a real vanilla ice cream cone, and the eclair, well, the last time I saw a full-size one in baker was 1955. Plus the Scottish lass was a delight to talk with. Sparked up an otherwise dreary walk through the small town.
Back on ship Judy and Allan invited us to join them for dinner in the World Café. We chose the first round table on the seafood side of the Café and I started with the Alaskan King Crab legs and the shrimp cocktail. I had to order some horseradish to add the cocktail sauce and it was acceptable.
The four of us talked for 2 hours at our table. We found out that Judy and Allan had been offered a larger cabin at no cost it was the same one that we had declined because of the $1000 price tag, so we asked if we might see their room. It had double wide main room and regular size bath. We couldn't be sure it was exactly the same room we had offered to us, but it was assigned to them right before they boarded. Apparently Viking was unable to get anyone to pay for the upgrade.
SHETLAND ISLANDS, SCOTLAND
A few weeks before our cruise, we had streamed a few episodes of Shetland NetFlix to give us an idea of what the Shetland Islands looked like. As we began our tour, the house of the main character was the first thing the tour guide pointed out. When we got on the bus, the driver checked everyone's seatbelt. As he finished and headed back I asked if he could turn down the loudspeaker over everyone's head because the guide's voice was too loud. He said, "IT HAS TO BE THAT WAY BECAUSE OF THE BUS NOISE ON THE HIGHWAY!" A bald-faced lie so far as I was concerned. But I was shocked that I had asked him nicely and he argued with me saying in effect my request was superfluous and unnecessary. I was the customer and he was telling me what was right for me. I told Del I felt like walking off the bus in the parking lot and going back to the ship, skipping Shetland Islands tour completely. I stayed, but wished I hadn't. I could not take photos without unbuckling the nanny-state seatbelt and I had nothing to do but to wait morosely for the day to be over. Del suggested I trace the morose doyle, which I did and felt un-morose, but was still not happy being on the too-noisy bus. Did the guide turn the volume down much later?I don't know, but he clearly did not do so in response to my polite request of the driver. I wondered if the driver purposely waited long enough so I wouldn't know. Well, did the driver and the guide get any tips from us? They got double the tip and you know what 2 times 0 equals.
As far as the tour: what did we see? Shetland ponies just like the ones I've seen at carnivals and fairs all my life. I had hoped perhaps to see these ponies in the wild, but instead what I got was the Guide saying, "There's a pony." Just in time for me to look back and miss it. We stopped by this small corral of about a dozen or so ponies and a woman talking loud enough to be heard back at the ship, but still using a loudspeaker to amplify her voice even more. I had to walk as far away as possible to get away from her noise. I got almost no photos of this fiasco, but Del got a few I could use. Sure the excursion was free, but as I've learned, sometimes things you get for free are worth less than what you paid for them.
SEA DAY AND LOBSTER NIGHT
I got up late and went to the Explorer Bar for breakfast, a waffle with fruit over it. Had to wait for 4 people ahead of me to get theirs and then the two servers disappeared so I had to wait. I finally got mine and sat on stools at the bar, the only space available, then my waffle cooled while I waited for some silverware. The gal behind the bar finally showed up and said she'd get it for me, then she disappeared. Finally someone showed up with a fork and I could eat. One of the thrills of the Viking Sky: disappearing servers!
Del went to some lecture and I sat in the Rush Hour Tea Room because it was well-lit, quiet and good for reading my latest Rudolf Steiner book, Understanding Society. I finished another chapter, and have only 3 chapters left.
I got back to our Stateroom seconds before Del getting ready to send a text to me saying Where are you?We went to eat at the World Café on Deck 7 where Mary invited us to join her and Hugh (my Mizzou Tiger buddy) for lunch. I got a section of sweet potato and some veggies. Afterwards, we took a long leisurely sea nap in our Stateroom and then I began typing up the day's events or lack of anything better to do, while catching up on the news on Fox. Sometimes I can even catch a complete sentence or two before the signal is lost. Better than nothing.
Tonight was lobster night in The Restaurant, and who to better to enjoy Maine lobsters with than Allan and Judy from Worcester, Massachusetts, who joined us for dinner. I hadn't heard about lobsters before we arrived at The Restaurant, so we might have missed them.We enjoyed the food and company of our friends from Worcester. Then we came back to our Stateroom and went to bed a few minutes later.
It was freezing cold in our Stateroom, even though I had cranked the temperature up to its Highest Setting. Only 50 degF predicted outside for today, but it was colder than that in our cabin. We had to get ready for a two-hour tour of Lofoten, Norway our first stop.
We skipped showers it was so cold this morning. Wearing my pajama bottoms and double winter silk tops today and carrying the Bose sound earphones in case of another yelling Norseman.I hoped for today to find a cuter, soft-spoken Norse Lassie.
I discovered the reason for the lack of heating over night. The balcony door, which although being closed all night, had not been locked shut tight enough to engage the interlock that permits the AC/HEAT to operate. As a result, we had no cabin heating at all for the entire night. You never know until you find out! It wasn't until we returned that I asked Dian and he finally explained in a way I could understand what had happened. Lacking that knowledge when we left earlier, I had turned the heat all the way up, but Dian had since locked the balcony door, allowing our Stateroom to overheat.It had gotten way too warm for us by the time we returned, and we had to open the balcony door to cool the room off. Adventures at sea!
At last we reached the land of Norway on the eighth day of our cruise, actually it was the Lofoten Islands which reach 118 miles into the Norwegian Sea from the coast. "Home to breathtaking jagged peaks" proclaimed the Viking Daily below an equally impressive color photo of the tall, jagged peaks reflecting in the clear waters! None of which we saw as we pulled into our mooring spot. Low clouds hid all the peaks, blurring the reflection in the sea. We saw evidence of the cod which come here to spawn on the rack of fish bodies and fish heads on a wooden frame left to dry. It was these fishheads that would inspire Margaret Givens, a new friend, to sing her "Fishheads" song for my camera. You view her performance here.
As for the trip ashore, another too LOUD guide, this time, not equally a Lass either, but Gertrud, a local Viking female whose shrill voice pierced my ears and forced me to don my Bose Sound-deafening earplugs to listen comfortably to her. She threw a lot of words at us about Norway's most beautiful beach. It was a few patches of white sand created by Gulf Stream which flows up from our Gulf of Mexico (only a hundred miles from where I sit typing these notes), carrying sand from the waters of the Bahamas before depositing it on a couple of islands of Lofoten. The name "LOH FOO TEN" means low lands as I recall from gusty Gertrud.
We drove through the high sharp-peaked mountain via a long tunnel, and on the other side found another beach along with a campground with sheep grazing close to the water's edge of the sandy beach. Very exciting, er, sort of, if I were a Norseman, instead of a frequent visitor to a thousand or more miles of sandy beaches along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. No open facilities on our Nanny State bus due to the locked restroom, but two facilities at each beach stop. This one had long lines and waits of long minutes to use them.
We learned from our Gertud that Harald Bluetooth gave his name to our short distance Wi-Fi devices. The logo for Bluetooth devices is a combination of the rune Hagall and the rune Bjarkan which form Harald Bluetooth's name. This was the only excitement during the long tunnel ride back through the mountain and back to our ship.
We came back and had another waffle in Explorer area, I was much better prepared with silverware to eat it this time! Later Del had a grilled salmon sandwich on bread with a hole in it (bagel), I'm guessing because of the low calories in the hole. I skipped lunch mostly and we played two Scrabble games. So far it's been wins for me, Del, Del, and me, so the score is 2-2. My tiles kept coming up all vowels or all consonants in the two losses, but I fought valiantly, with Harald Bluetooth at my side. See photo later in this Issue of the two runes composing the Bluetooth symbol which is on my Smartphone.
At night I saw that The Restaurant had salmon en papiotte, not as good as our local New Orleans pompano en papiotte, but figured it would remind me a bit of the delicious dish, so we sat Table 5, the aft-most starboard table, and enjoyed a large meal. Del had the grilled Norwegian salmon and she had a large slab of salmon leftover. I had a delicious fishcake for my starter and both of us had crepes suzette for dessert. Almost like being back in New Orleans.
Hit the sack about 8 or 9 pm after watching this good 2018 movie, "The Spinning Man" with Peirce Brosnan trying to catch a Walter Mitty type, his prime suspect. The large screen TV in the room was another plus for the Viking Sky, but all the Philips TVs we encountered in England, Norway, on land and sea, had very slow response times and their operating instructions could have been written in runic script, if there had been any instructions at all.
HONNIGSVAG, NORWAY: ENTRANCE TO NORTH CAPE
We docked at the small island town of Honningsvag at the base of a tall mountain, overlooking a pristine bay of the Barents Sea. The town grew up on its fishing community and is surrounded by the rich Sami indigenous people who herd reindeer. One can enjoy the birds who inhabit the cliffs of these islands, migrating back and forth through the seasons. What passes for beauty is its stark tundra dotted with mountain birches, distant rocky islands which ascend into mountains. Nordkapp, aka North Cape, sits on a 1,000-foot plateau overlooking Norway's rugged northern coast which affords breathtaking views down to the sea.
We rode a large bus across thie rolling plateau, through and around large mountain lakes, and the other life we saw was other tour buses coming and going, plus a few lost souls in automobiles wondering if they'd ever get to the Cape's Visitor Center. We stopped midway at a Sami village, well, more like a few rough-hewn huts of souvenirs, with a parking lot. A Sami man tended to a live reindeer and in a corral off to the rear of the small cluster of kiosks and tepees was a mother reindeer with her baby reindeer in the high grass, barely visible.Del bought us each a pair of Sami-made gloves of reindeer skin with the tips of the fingers cut off for easy operation of the Sami-Smartphones, no doubt.
As we neared the North Cape, I spotted a sphere which seemed to be covering a large radar or microwave antenna. As we neared the Visitor Center, the antenna was sitting on the top of the building, but whether it was cosmetic or functional, we never found out. At the tip of the point of land was a metal sculpture of a hollowed globe made of sturdy longitude and latitude lines. It was a must place for a photo-op, and we found a willing Asian man to take our picture together. To the left of the Globe, in the point of land was a huge cleft which went straight down to the sea. Mountain-climbing gear would be required to go down and return back up safely. We saw small cairns of stones, likely left by post-prehistoric tourists. It was a great place to enjoy being on the Northmost point of land in all of Europe!
We bussed back to our ship, and I suspect that the trip to North Cape had excited us so much that we slept all the way back. I did awake at one point to see that the Sami village was vacated until the next day when more visitors with lots of Krone to spend would arrive. Del and I must have eaten and hit the sack early as we had another busy day ahead of us in Tomsø.
TROMSØ, NORWAY AND THE HONEYMOONERS
Oh, what's this about Honeymooners? That would be me and Del, married exactly 40 years ago on this date, July 16, 1978. I had noticed that if I added the last two digits of my year of birth and my current age, it added to 118. Now I noticed the same thing about our anniversary, 78 and 40 add up to 118. I mentioned it later that during our Anniversary Dinner in The Restaurant to Mary from Missouri and she said, "It's strange, but it works that way to anyone's birthday and age." That laid down a gauntlet for me to solve this curious situation. How could that be true for everyone? Overnight it came to me. It was so simple. Put the century number back in the year and 1978 plus 40 equals 2018. 1945 plus 73 equals 2018. Of course! And for millenniums it works, also, but equals 18 instead of 118. A teenager of 17 born in 2001 is 1 plus 17 equals 18. Enough math for a month, right?
But before our Anniversary Dinner on ship, we had a full day in the largest town in Norway we'd seen, up until now. A few guide-y facts about the town, thanks to the Viking Daily for compiling these. "Tromsø has long been considered the gateway to the Arctic. From the late 18th to the early 20th century, housing construction boomed, and today the city's historic center boasts the largest concentration of wooden houses in northern Norway. With a rich array of French Empire, Swiss and neoclassical architecture also spread throughout the city, Tromsø exudes an air of sophistication that rivals some of its southern European neighbors. Its Arctic Cathedral, a stunning structure of soaring white rooflines and triangular peaks, has been compared to the Sydney Opera House.The city is also home to the northernmost botanical garden in the world, a rare collection of alpine and arctic plants, and the northernmost brewery."
We went on our excursion into Tromsø and saw the outside of the Sydney-like church, but didn't have any krones to go into church. I thought it read .50 krone which would be 6 cents, but maybe it was 50 krone, but there was no one around to ask. Sydney Opera House, indeed! This Arctic Cathedral is about the size of a small church in New Orleans. Yes, it has some of the curves, but none of the panache of its much bigger brother Down Under. As for the brewery, what do you think the local Norsemen do here during long, dark winter days anyway? Grog and girls, no doubt.
Del and I met Barbara in the Rush Hour Tea room after our excursion and invited her and her cabin mate Martha to our anniversary party. This is a good time for me to explain the Rush Hour Tea Room. This is a lovely area just off the swimming pool which is quiet with comfortable chairs. They have a Tea there every afternoon and we expected something resembling the quiet elegance of the Palm Court Tea on the Crystal Symphony and Serenity Cruise ships. The likeness stopped with the word, Tea. Yes, they served tea. Here's the fire drill we observed. At 4 PM, a dozen or so Tea Servers bustled around tea area chatting continuous in some foreign language and banging pots, spoons, and cups as they placed them on trays, then rushed around serving people.Ever been on a NYC Subway at rush hour? I have, and the similarity was too striking to miss. Thus the name I gave to the place, The Rush Hour Tea Room and avoided during rush hour. Other times of the day it was a quiet and pleasant time to read and relax. But never during Tea Time. That day in quiet of off-tea time I was reading out of Understanding Society. I found Rudolf Steiner agreeing with Seth's thesis in the book, The Human Psyche and the Nature of Mass Events, as I point out in my review of Jane Roberts's book. People's will exerts power on the Earth's event while they are sleeping, e.g., acting as steering currents for the path of hurricanes. If an area has grown stagnant some decades after a major storm, one will arrive to shake things up and help improve them when things settle down from the storm. I lived through this happening in 1968 after Hurricane Betsy and again in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.
Del and I met Steven and Nancy a few minutes after Barbara left and we invited them to join us for dinner in The Restaurant the next night, as it was too late to add them to our Anniversary Table for tonight. Later we played a tough Scrabble game in afternoon before going back to 4062 to get ready for our Anniversary Dinner with 6 new friends.
First to arrive was Allan and Judy from Worcester, followed shortly by Hugh and Mary from Missouri. We were shown to our table and a few minutes later the stragglers, Margaret and Barbara showed up. Until this moment, I had never known where Margaret was from, but soon we found out, like Hugh and Barbara, Margaret had grown up in St. Louis, Missouri. The floodgates of memories opened between the three of them and didn't settle until the second glass of champagne and toasts. It was fun listening to their animated sharing stories of schools, honky-tonks, and neighborhoods in St. Louis.
Margaret gave everyone a full tour of the China trip coming up for Del and our grandson Collin. Hugh and Margaret got on well being both from St. Louis and knew the high schools, watering holes, and athletic teams. But the rest of us got ample air time and Missouri bunch were fun to listen to.I gave my "every drop" toast to begin the night with our champagne goblets, then later after dinner when Hugh proposed a toast to me I added my Goethean "dream of all to follow" toast. I took a break to explain that I wanted this evening to be a fun time for our friends and thanked them for coming. Later I grabbed the floor, saying, "In spite of a lack of demand, I'm going to give you a Cajun joke", and proceeded with the Victoria Secret joke, figuring with ladies who have gone through being 50 and developing wrinkles, it would be a big hit, and it was.
We had a delightful meal, a dessert, and then a large anniversary cake which we shared with the table. We had so much fun that I completely forgot about taking photos, so other than the photo I took of the cake the Sky provided, we have not photos to share of the lovely evening spent with our new friends.
The night was not over for me. I planned to stay awake to get a photograph of the Midnight Sun. We barely finished up by 9:30 and Del went to bed. I went up to wait for the Midnight Sun to arrive, which it did. The weather seemed to cooperating, but would the clouds break clear at the last minute. Yes! It did and there about a pinkie's width above the horizon was the bright Sun reflected in the sea with clouds above it. I found a sheltered spot outside the Explorer's lounge where I photograph without shooting through a window, and stay out of the cold wind while doing so. We were at 68 Latitude by that time, and 65 is the Arctic Circle line. Met a guy named Arnold from California and took a photo of him and his three friends. Del had already been in bed a couple of hours when I joined her for a snooze as our ship began sailing for a whole day to Molde, our next port of call. No excursion the next day, but we had our massages planned for me and Del.
CRUISING THE NORWEGIAN SEA
Del and I enjoyed massages and other spa treatments during this long sea day on the way to our next port Molde. Here's the blurb from the Viking Daily about the Norwegian Sea: "The Norwegian Sea has been culturally important to the people of Northern Europe for centuries. It was once believed to be the edge of the world where sea monsters lurked, a legend bolstered by the many ships lost to natural disasters. Closer to shore, 19th-century fishermen caught cod, from Norway to the Lofoten Islands, for consumption and export. Whaling was also popular, drawing hunters from England, Russia and other European nations as early as the 17th century. During World War II, the ice-free waters allowed Russia to navigate supplies to and from Arctic ports. Today, others come searching for oil and gas, releasing deposits from under the sea bottom more than a half mile deep."
My masseuse was named Cassandra which should have warned me to stay away from her. I had three types of massage to choose from and I chose the "Deep Tissue" massage. Well, it could have been called "Deep Bone" massage, for that is what Cassandra did to my poor limbs and back. I asked her to lighten up, but it was like asking our Norse guide Gertrud to talk at a normal level. I felt some soreness for two days from the lugubrious massage. For me the pleasure of a massage must come immediately, not two days later.
We met Margaret after lunch and taught her to play Pay Me! She knew a similar game called "3 to 13" but it involved removing Ace, 1, 2 cards and didn't have the extra fun of collecting a dime when you said, "Pay Me!" We didn't have any coins, so we used imaginary coins which worked almost as good. Margaret was a tough card player and learned very fast, plus she was a lot of fun. Pay Me involves luck and skill in a curious combination, but is easy to play and hold conversations as well, so the game never becomes dull among good friends, and Margaret quickly became a good friend.
That night we met Stephen and Nancy Samson in The Restaurant for dinner, and very much enjoyed their company. Nancy was afraid she was coming down with a horrible head cold and Del gave her some over-the-counter remedies we carry on cruises. They worked like a charm and Nancy was so delighted to be free of head cold symptoms the next day. Nancy grew up in India of Persian parents, speaks impeccable English, and is always dressed as if she stepped out off a fashion runway on Fifth Avenue.
She went to a fashion school when she came to the States and worked for a long time in Saks Fifth Avenue. She always carries an elegant small purse which she wanted to be visible when I took of photo of her, placing it waist-high in front of her, so we came to call that a "Nancy Pose". She and Stephen do a lot of cruising and like us love Crystal Cruises. We hope to meet them on a Crystal Cruise sometime in the future.
We had chosen an afternoon excursion so we could sleep late, We got to the Restaurant at 9:50 and just had enough time to order a breakfast and have them deliver it to our table. After that Del wanted some pay back on Scrabble and she won big time, even though I got close to her near the end.
Here's how the Viking Daily described our port city for today: "Norway's charming coastal town of Molde was built on timber and textiles. It enjoys a pristine setting among countless shelter islands, stunning fjords and forested hills. The Molde Panorama, a breathtaking view of a magnificent range of 222 peaks, is visible on clear days. With rich medieval origins, the town grew into a favored resort, hosting German Emperor Wilhelm II and the Prince of Wales. So picturesque were its streets, it was called the 'Town of Roses.' Today Molde is the gateway to the Atlantic Road, a scenic route tracing the stunning coastline to islands, medieval stave churches, fishing villages and old Viking cultures, all among soaring mountains draped in green and awash in waterfalls"
Our excursion took us to a church that we could go into. Molde's reputation for roses showed up in the flowers around the church, which were all blooming. The sun came out and it was warm, we stripped off our coats and enjoyed the warm air, but across the water it grew dark and by the time we got into bus for the next stop, it had grown cold again and the rain was beginning. We then drove through the town and up to a peak overlooking the area but a rain shower obscured our view.
We drove to the Romsdal Folk Museum by this time the rain had stopped again. We walked through various buildings with sod roofs. We saw a young lady spinning wool, another one baking flat bread (baked atop an electric pan), and we sat in a small auditorium where folk dancers came in an performed for us, and with volunteers from the tour group for one of the dances.
Back on the Sky, we met Margaret at the card table and played until the King round (13 card final round) when she wanted to go see the cruise preview for tomorrow and left, but came back to finish the game. I had a low of 20 and won the imaginary Pay Me! Quarter for low score.
Del wanted the World Café for dinner and when we got there we joined Allan and Judy at the table in the seats between them and Dan and Annette. We enjoyed talking with them, and when Allan admitted he couldn't remember the Cajun joke I told them all the Victoria's Secret joke. Dan and Anne really enjoyed it along with Judy and Allan. As a bonus I told them "Water in the carburetor story" and later threw in the "Test Results" story.
Allan and Judy were going to the ship theater to see the movie "13:15 to Paris" a true story of how three buddies from high school saved a high speed train from disaster on the way from Amsterdam to Paris by taking down a terrorist and saving the life of a man shot in the neck. We joined them in the theater, ate some popcorn, enjoyed the movie, and then we hit the sack.
We cruised into a narrow fjord to the village of Geranger next. We had to tender to shore, but the large cruise ship, Mein Schiff, had a portable gangway built which allowed passengers to walk ashore. When I met about 3 dozen bicyclists up in the mountains later from that ship, I realized how important the long walkway was for getting the bikes ashore. Here is the blurb from the Viking Daily: "Nestled among the towering peaks of Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the small village of Geiranger is the gateway to some of coastal Norway's most magnificent natural treasures. Nearby, the Seven Sisters Waterfall tumbles 1,000 feet into the fjord's water, while directly across the fjord, the Suitor waterfall also plunges down a steep face. The overlook known as Eagle's Bend towers 2,000 feet above the village, accessed via a winding mountain road with 11 hairpin turns.The Norwegian Fjord Center puts all this natural splendor into perspective with fascinating exhibits. Closer to shore, the village's octagonal church is a delightful gem, resting on tranquil, pristine shores with wonderful views of the fjord."
Our ship was deep inside the steep fjord when we awoke. The sun was actually shining so we took a walk on the deck on the sky to enjoy the view. We had breakfast in the Explorer lounge: waffle. Then later Del and I had veggie burgers by the Pool Grill. Our excursion left at 1:24 after a twenty minute tender ride to shore. Down at dock before we got on the excursion bus, Del and I walked along the long shopping area. We bought ourselves a real ice cream cone using our AMEX credit card. We met Linda and Dick and this gave a me chance to get a good photo of Linda the math teacher's tee shirt in a photo, the "i 8 sum pi" cryptogram to use in a Padre Filius cartoon.We had a hard time finding the toilets. After asking several people we found that they were hidden behind several large signs and tour buses way over to the end of parking area The only way we could tell we were headed in the right direction was a small blue WC (rest room) sign just outside the doors. Great job hiding the rest area, guys!
We went on a long tour bus ride through dozens of sharp hairpin turns to the top of a mountain. We got out to look at the large lake, the restaurant with a visible rest area, and a great view of the snow-covered hills around us. It was here I talked to one of the German bicyclists and found out they had come in on the ship in the harbor with the long gangway.
Came back to our Stateroom, took a long nap, and got up to watch our cruising out of the narrow fjord. The waterfalls, like the Seven Sisters, were a washout. Maybe if water was actually pouring instead of dripping down the upper hills. A Sky server Natalie took a photo of us by the pool. She was from Capetown, Johannesburg, and we could actually have a conversation with her.
Then we went to The Restaurant for a promising dinner. We ordered cauliflower soup, great. The softshell crab, mediocre. The lobster thermidor inside lobster halves, not so great. And for dessert the Grand Marnier Souffle, great. One of the better meals aboard the Viking Sky for us.
BIRTHDAY IN BERGEN, NORWAY
This was a triple-header day for us: a tour through Bergen in the morning, then an afternoon tour of a small farm, then a birthday celebration with friends in The Restaurant. First, an introduction to Bergen from the Viking Daily: "Nestled between gargantuan snow-capped mountains, magnificent fjords and one of Europe's largest glaciers, picturesque Bergen is an ancient city with deep Viking roots. Founded in 1070 on what was a Viking settlement, Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway; for many centuries, it was the country's capital and in the Hanseatic League, a merchant powerhouse with ports throughout the Baltic. Perhaps its most iconic landmark is the gathering of quaint, historic wooden buildings of the UNESCO-listed Bryggen wharf. Not to be missed are the treasures of the Hanseatic Museum or a stroll through the Torget Fish Market, where the fresh catch of the sea awaits -- from cod and prawns to local caviar and icy oysters."
First bus excursion through Bergen was tiring and tiresome, but mercifully short. We came back to find a birthday cake and bottle of champagne on the desk in our Stateroom. I put them into fridge and mounted a plan: Invite four friends from our anniversary party to join us in The Restaurant tonight at 7. But first, we had signed up for an optional afternoon excursion to a local farm only a ten minute bus ride from the dock.
The farm's owner met us at the bus and gave us a walking tour. He described how he managed his farm, using the words, "I was not allowed to", about seven or eight times, referring to the nanny state of socialist Norway. He can't sell his farm at market price and has to comply with all the other numerous other State requirements, keeping him from being able to sell his farm and live somewhere else. Some guy on the tour with us said to me later, "The polls say the Norwegians are the happiest people in the world." Hmm, that farmer didn't seem to be so happy to me.Yet, the hidden socialists in the USA try their best. For examle, today at the Radisson Blue I heard a guy talk about them, "When the market goes down 50 points, it's all over NPR, but if it goes up 500, they are quiet." Might be that when Norwegians say how great things are for them everyone broadcasts it, but when they mention the hundreds of hobbles on their freedom, no one hears about it. Due to the state shackles of his freedom, this farmer is unable to make a living just farming and has to do these Viking tours and teach courses in baking in the local prision just to survive.
He spoke to our tour in a barn which he had dressed up like a lecture room, then later took us to his "living house" where we were served tea. I heard that his milk from his cows does not have the cream separated from it, so I chose the hot chocolate, and it was great. His father was a Swiss baker and he baked us some great cakes and small pies to go with the tea, coffee, and hot chocolate. He played a song on the piano for us, then he danced with the two young girls, helpers that are daughters of his neighbors.When he was done, I went up and presented him a Rex Doubloon, one of the rare, new thick gold ones, with a King with a Crown on it, saying to the farmer, "This is the closest we have to a king in my country, 'Rex, the King Carnival', who is King for one day a year, in New Orleans." Del later said to him, "If someone gives you a Rex coin, it will call you to come to our city at some point in your life."
Then we drove back to the boat, bathed and dressed, and Del and I brought the champagne and cake down to the hostess Vivian to bring to our table at the end of our meal. Judy and Allen had other plans, but Hugh and Mary came along with Margaret Givens and Barbara Kiely. We had a great time.Del suggested a new friend toast and I gave this one: "To my new friends, the first of which is Del from 1977, and the other four are you from these past two weeks". Along the way I told them several jokes they hadn't heard. Mary was telling jokes and told one about a rosary, so I told the one about the Pope and Boudreaux in the limo, then the one Paul told me about Boudreaux's hypnosis stunt. It was all great fun. Proved that with the help of The Restaurant staff we could put together a fun table for dinner on two occasions.
After the morning tour, we had come back and packed all of our bags to be put out that tonight after our dinner. They were to be picked up for transfer to the Radisson Blue Hotel in Bergen.
A DAY IN BERGEN
I skipped my shower and had a simple English muffin and marmalade before we disembarked the Viking Sky to go on another Bergen tour of the city, this time ending up in our hotel for the night, the Radisson Blue. From here we would board the Bergen to Oslo Train the next morning. If we had known about this second Bergen bus tour we would have skipped the one we took the previous day. As it turned out, we did only some of the earlier tour over again and a lot of new things.Our tour took us to the King's Fort and Castle. We walked through this sturdy stone fortress situated alongside the pier. We saw a model of the fort's bombardment, and walked through the great hall whose ceiling resembled a Viking longboat turned upside down. Outside on the bus we rode past the fish market just opening up.
Then we drove to Old Bergen where we got off and walked through buildings moved into this area from their original location near the pier. We walked through these old buildings, such as a print shop, a dentist office, a barber shop, a toy store, a glazier's shop, a grocery store and many other buildings. At one point, a public performance by young actors created a historic re-enactment of the Old City.
This was a long day of tours, but we still got to the Radisson Blue too early, having to wait for over three hours for our room to be ready. A definite low light of the trip! In our room finally I put my laptop together after I was forced to unpack my adaptors just to charge Del's and my phones. The hotel was all 230v with small pin outlets. I hadn't needed them on the Sky, so all my adapters were in the net satchel at the bottom of my large travel luggage. Got laptop charged so I'd be ready for train ride to Oslo the next day. Would have been nice if they'd have had USB connectors!
After getting refreshed we ate lunch at a bar and grill attached to the hotel. We shared a fish and chips and I was able to get some Norwegian coins for my collection of countries I've visited.Took me some talking to explain that I didn't want an exact change of currency but merely to reimburse him the cost of coins he would give me. I managed to get a 50 krone and some smaller coins with holes in them. I know that coins are endangered species as far as currencies go. I have myself stopped carrying coins with me for almost four decades because they made holes in my pants pockets. I carry paper money for small purchases and put any coins in my car. After lunch we walked down the pier-side shopping area currently being renovated. One long narrow shopping area reminded us of the Shambles we saw in York last year. We watched a little TV, but nothing worth watching except the news before we hit the sack for our daylong train trip to Oslo tomorrow.
BY TRAIN FROM BERGEN TO OSLO
The travel guide said something like, "The Most Beautiful Train Ride in the World". Well, if you like looking at the insides of 182 tunnels covering 45 miles, this is just your ride! I didn't take any photos of the dark tunnels.
The bus ride to the train was only about ten minutes and we were riding the rails by 8:30 AM or so. During our trip to the train, we made friends with a couple we had seen on the Viking Sky several times, Rana and Marne, and they were our seat mates during the day long train trip. We started off going through Dale (118' elevation), then Voss (185'), Myrdal (climbing to 2,844'), toppingout at Finse(4,010'), then coming down in elevation through Geilo (1,432'), Nesbyen (554'), Hønefoss (318'), and near sea level with Drammen (7') before we entered the present capitol city of Norway, Oslo.
We were able to get off the train for a few minutes at Finse, the highest elevation. I got photos of the large lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains. We chose to sit on the left side of the train, but as we rode through the high elevations, the most beautiful snow-covered views were on the other side of the train, towards the south.Whenever we stopped I had only a minute or so to grab a photograph of the area, sometimes only of the city nameS on the train stop.
Was it beautiful? Yes, it was, at times. Del did not like being jiggled around by the train, but it didn't bother me. I wanted better camera shots through unobstructed views than I got. We enjoyed talking with Marne and Rana and that made the trip more fun. Would I recommend it to other Norwegian tourists, no. I'd tell them fly to Oslo, it's a beautiful city and worth spending a whole week there. Bergen was enjoyable, but the rest of the places we visited on the cruise of Norway were worth only the few hours we spent touring them, at least most of them.
We pulled into Oslo and boarded our bus about 2:30 PM and took a tour of the city while waiting for our baggage to get to our room in the Bristol Hotel. This beat having to wait in the lobby of the Radisson and be Blue for three hours! We passed a ski jump, the Nobel Peace Center, various palaces, and got out to visit a magnificent sculpture park. This was the design of one man who molded the sculptures and hired assistants to sculpt the individual pieces out of granite. His designs were of nude bodies of human beings.When asked why none of his subjects had clothes on, he replied something like this, "Clothes set people into a time and place, and I want my sculptures to be universal and timeless." The centerpiece looked like a 60' obelisk, but as you approached it, the tall structure resolved into a myriad of human bodies, one on top the other.
Surrounding the human obelisk are sculptures of human beings at different ages, from a large mound of children to old people comforting each other. Every human condition found a representative grouping, young lovers, families, athletes, and dying ones. This is a must see for everyone who comes to Oslo.
There is a large fountain surrounded by trees with young children climbing in them. The guide told us that in one of his tours, a ten-year-old boy was looking at a sculpture of tree in which a boy his own age was climbing. He stared for a long time, so the guide asked him why. He said, "I'm wondering why these boys are climbing in broccoli." And if you look at these green sculptures, you'll notice it does look like large broccoli more than small trees.
The next Oslo stop for us was the Viking Museum. A note about the word, viking, it is a verb not a noun! Why were some Scandinavians called Norsemen and some called Vikings? The answer is this: those that went raiding the southern lands of Europe were called Vikings because the verb viking meant to go raiding, robbing, and plundering. Vikings were the people who went viking for a living.Norsemen is a generic term for all of the Northern people of Scandinavia. The other discovery is that no real Viking would dare put horns on his helmet. Much too dangerous for a raider and plunderer to wear something a defender could grab onto and pull your head off in anger. Nope, horns on the helmet of the Minnesota Vikings football is just an artistic fabrication, not a historical fact.
There were several Viking Longboats on display in the museum. One had beautiful ornate carving on the spiral carvings of the prow and keel. These carvings were left off the working longboats and we saw one of those. What amazed me was the width of these boats. I was able get a view from the top of some steps of the inside the longboat. Many men and lots of supplies and booty could fit into these boats.Plus they had an ability that none of the Dutch, British, or Spanish ships that we think of today: these longboats were light enough that its crew could pull them over short portages from one river to another, which made them ideal for pillaging on rivers like the Thames, the Seine, the Elbe, the Neva, or any river which was deep enough to float these wide boats with no deep set keel.
Leaving the Viking Museum about 5:30 PM, we checked into out room at the Bristol Hotel, got refreshed, and walked out into the cool evening of Oslo looking for a place to eat. We found the perfect spot along an avenue full of outdoor restaurants. I asked the waiter for a table and he showed us to agreat table, and then he abandoned us. WTF? Soon it became apparent that we had to order our meal from bar area, so we picked out what we wanted and Del stood in line. Somebody clued her into ordering inside where the line is shorter. Here's the interesting part of the restaurant called Egon: there are no waiters! You pay for your food when you order, and someone delivers it to your table! What a neat idea! No one running off without paying! No waiters pocketing money! The system worked beautifully. We had some great food and enjoyed the wonderful evening in the outdoors of Oslo.
TO HEATHROW AND TO HOME
The Bristol Hotel had a very elegant breakfast room with a large variety of delicious breakfast foods. We caught our flight from Oslo to Heathrow and from there to New Orleans. We chased the Sun across the sky and seeing almost Full Moon greeting us as we began our descent, arriving shortly after the time we left London, with Sunjust beginning to set in the west as we taxied home to Timberlane and blessed sleep in our own bed.
The next day, stepping on the scale, I found I had only gained five pounds during the cruise. It was be easy to get back down to my fighting weight in a week or so. First thing this morning I went to Dr. Errol Bloom to get my new eyeglasses with the very light Titanium frames. They're identical to Del's new pair, except for the prescription. Then Del and I went to Rouse's Supermarket to get groceries for our empty larder. I was up at 5 AM to begin reading my backlog of newspapers. I spent most of the day reading through all the newspapers and collecting the crosswords. We took a couple of naps together to stave off the jet lag. For supper we shared a DiMartino's oyster poorboy and then we watched a bit of FOX news without losing the signal in mid-sentence as so often happened on the Viking Sky.
THREE GLITCHES IN ONE MORNING
1.) Del called me over saying her cursor is not moving on her monitor. I knew she had a battery-powered wireless mouse and popped the cover and replaced the AA battery. It had expiration of 2025 but its voltage was .991v only 2/3rds of its nominal, rated voltage of 1.5v. So I replaced it and her mouse was humming along again.
2.) Our housekeeper mentioned to Del that some water had dripped from the freezer while we were gone. I was in the middle of the computer fan tasks below, troubleshooting etal, when Del called me to kitchen to tell me about water dripping. I opened freezer and tried to open the drawer which contains the ice maker, but the ice maker had fallen into the drawer. This may have caused the leak; I saw that two screws had come loose which had held the ice maker in place.I came back later and with a long wooden spoon, I lifted the ice maker and was able to remove the drawer. The solid basket of the ice maker was filled with water about halfway and it had re-frozen. I brought it outside to defrost while I replaced the mounting screws for the ice maker. It was then I noticed the other items in the freezer, like ice cream, had melted and re-frozen solid. That would explain the water dripping on the floor, a 3-hour power outage would have done it. None of the ice cubes were separate anymore and water had leaked from bags of ice cubes in Ziplock bags items, which could easily have gotten small holes from the cubes. We'll have to remove the melted items and discard them and restock our freezer. We will go back to using solid plastic water jars to hold back up frozen water in the freezer in case of power outages.
3.) As the Housekeeper was explaining about the water she mopped up from the freezer while we were gone to Del, a loud grinding sound came from around my PC. It grinded for about 23 seconds, stopped, then did it again. I suspected the top fan of my Main Frame was covered with dust, hence the sound. My Intel Application which monitors CPU temperature and fan speeds was stuck outside the viewing area where I kept it and I had to figure out how to move it. But by that time, I had gotten the Shark porta-vac and had run it over the fan. That stopped it making loud noises. The little chippering indicated the fan needed replacement. It is a 12v 4" size fan and I later bought a new fan from A Prompt Computer and replaced it without even turning the power off.Later the CPU temperatures got up into the 170s and I found the lower front air intake grills were covered with dust, reducing the air being pulled into to cool the PC's interior. Again the Shark came out and ate up the dust. To get the insides cooled quickly I placed one of Del's iced jellpacks across the grill and within a few hours the temps came down to 104 where they have remained now for several weeks.
HOME AGAIN STUFF: FAMILY, TWILIGHT CONCERT, FRENCH QUARTER
Our niece Catlin and her family had come in from Boston and spent a week at Navarre Beach together. When we heard they were flying back the next day, we drove across the Lake to Mandeville to spend time with them. It was her Bostonian husband Sean's first time to the Gulf Coast and they had great time with Annabelle their 4 year old daughter there. Its fun or me taking a drive in the car after a month of bus drivers carrying us around. Also cooking and eating our own food. The captain on the Crystal Serenity liked to say at the end of a cruise, "Remember, if you drop a towel on the floor tomorrow, you'll have to pick it up yourself."Yeah, and if we want food, we have to buy it and cook ourselves, but at least we get recognizable and tasty foods, which we cannot say for the Viking Café.
One Thursday, Del and I decided to go to Houston's Restaurant for a late lunch and then pop over to City Park area, visit with our granddaughter Jenny at the counter of Terranova's Supermarket, and then check into Twilight Concert promptly at 5 pm in enough time so I could scour the City Park arboretum for photographs of flowers in bloom before the music started. Well, I got one photo and then the rain scuttled my photo plans.
The Twilight Concert was full of people we knew that night. First a favorite Cajun, Bruce Daigrepont. Talked to Bruce about how WWOZ's Johnny Fasullo always played Dagrepont songs on his Sunday afternoon. We'd seen and heard Bruce from a distance on big stages at French Quarter festivals, but up close, WOW! What a lot of energy he releases during a performance.
Our Les Dames friend from Timberlane, Pepper Scheffler, was there with her dad. Del went over to talk to two other sets of folks friends she knew Timberlane Estates. Our big surprise was when Sharon Payne came up on the break, leaned over said hello. We knew Sharon when I worked for her husband Tom at Waterford-3 beginning in the 1981. We'd see them at various company get-togethers, and for a few years after retirement at Entergy Christmas parties and some funerals. But it's been a bunch of years since we've seen them. Sharon said that she and Tom are regulars to Twilight Concerts, but since they expanded the year from just the summer months to March until October, we haven't gone as much. Also with several long vacation trips during the summer we've missed a bunch.We talked to Sharon for a while, then I went over to talk to Tom. I danced a waltz with Sharon after the break. She is still as perky and saucy as she was when she was Sugar Cane Queen no doubt. I gather that she and Tom are burning the midnight oil at various music and dancing venues, as they had another place to go after Bruce Daigrepont's show tonight.
Later in the week service buddies called about a birthday bash at Commander's Palace for our buddy Col. Jim Webb of the Air Force. Del was all excited when I said Commander's and then her arbor ebbed when she found out it was only for us guys! See, I said, now you know how it feels when you're heading out to lunch two or three times a week to places like Windor Court or Commander's Palace with the girls.
One day Del and I headed to the French Quarter, to have lunch in French Market area (Muriel's) and then walk down to the Mint to view the new Professor Longhair collection of Fess Stuff, then listen to Armand's tribute to Fess from 2 to 3 PM. Instead We enjoyed a DiMartino's oyster poorboy at home before leaving. Admission to Mint and Armand was $8. Mr. Clueless at the front desk wouldn't take our money and Del spent 15 minutes logging in on her SmartPhone paying $16 on-line, but never got an email acknowledgment back. We went upstairs anyway and discovered we could have paid cash to Athena at the door to the performance room.Armand came in and played some Fess songs, Professor Longhair, aka Henry Roeland Byrd. Armand told us some history of Fess and explained how Fess's favorite venue, Tipitina's, got its name.
Patty Lee, Armand's publicist came by afterwards and apologized for the carwreck that is the Mint Museum. Said she'd give us our money back, but I insisted she not. She persisted until I told her, you give our money back and I'll have to take your photo. Well, that got her. She hates having a photo taken. We had some fun with that. I said, imitating Fess, "Yeah, if I took your photo, my camera would go on FIYO!"
We walked down to Café Du Monde and met John and Venus O'Neill from Ohio. He's here to start a job with the USMC Office in Algiers. Nice couple. First time Del ordered a full 3 beignets for herself, usually we share one order of 3. We dodged the rain that afternoon, and the weather was very pleasant on the walk to and from our car. The steps to the Moonwalk have been renovated and it looks nice. There are now concrete steps down to the water, well, they don't go all the way to the water, except maybe at flood stage. I miss the wooden steps where you could reach down and touch the river water and no one ever painted any graffiti on the dark wood.
LAST MINUTE EVENTS
My brother Paul and his wife Joyce stopped by on a Monday morning. They came in from Opelousas to go to the CODOFIL sponsored dance at the Columns close to our home. Darn! I had planned to go, but the Houston trip we had planned got scuttled due to our friend's memorial service and I forgot to update our schedule. The previous day was Sunday and we had the afternoon free. We caught up on the goings-on of our now spread out siblings. Kevin's in Thibodaux, Paul's in Opelousas, and the other two are in St. Charles Parish.
Met my daughter, Mo, for lunch. Was nice to see her new office all de-cluttered and cleaned up. Later that night her grandson Ben Huber was playing in Pontchatoula High School's scrimmage with East Jefferson at her school's stadium, and I told her I'd be back for the scrimmage. Ben's a Senior receiver now. All of my grand-daughter Tiffany's kids were there plus her step-sister Trinity who is now a Sophomore at EJ.Aven is taller than his mom Tiffany and her other son Preston is a jolly old soul in nine-year-old clothes who doesn't like being 9 and the only non-teenager in the family.
I went into the football stadium stands but couldn't see Ben, then I realized he was on the Pontchatoula side of the field. I looked around the field and saw Mo talking with some guards, so I went down to talk to her. A few minutes later, a long horn went off signaling a lightning alert and everyone had to get off the field. We walked over to the End Zone room where Tiff and kids were. Water was leaking from an ice chest without a plug on it.Mo fashioned a plug out of a carrot and called someone to find where janitor supplies might be. She brought back a rolling bucket and a mop and began mopping up the excess water. I helped her by squeezing the water from the mop.
Then Tiffany wanted to talk to Ben and so I walked over with her. I said hello to Ben and his fellow football player and when I said I was Ben's great-grandfather, he said, "Yes, I've heard about you." I took photos of me and Ben and Tiff and Ben, No. 86 a receiver. Mo came over a while later then we walked back to the End Zone room.The game was resuming but I had talked to my daughter, two granddaughters, and three great-grandson, and decided it was time to head for home.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING
July was great weather in New Orleans with many cloudy and rainy days peaking at 78. It has been a delight to have no dry spots this year due to ample rain. Our lush St. Augustine Grass has filled in with bright green leaves again. Of course Del and I were gone for most of July, but August has been just as pleasant, outdoors that is. Indoors I have been typing almost continuously to write up our personal notes and two new reviews for my Good Readers this month, plus adding hundreds of photos from the cruise.
From me and Del, till we meet again, God Willing and the winds blow elsewhere, whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, be it warm or frigid,
Remember our earnest wish for this now-waning Year of 2018:
MAY THE WORLD BECOME PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-EIGHTEEN
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Quotes Selected from Indirections by Sidney Cox this month. More quotes at quotes.htm.
- To take the vapor threads of possibility that run up from the earth to heaven and weave them with the warp of days.
- He is fortunate if the discrepancy between dream and possibility also deepens his sense of humor.
- . . . history is always going to the bow-wows but never does.
- . . . learn to ride the flux, and shape it a little as it flows to your fluent but positive intent. Doing so you will have your times of loving the dangerous flood you ride and guide.
- You may have always known that the most stable things in a flood is a man or woman who can ride it.
- For sharing and possessing large intentions makes one either pompous, self-pitying, or humorous. Some of us show traces of all three.
- Let no one shame you with characteristics natural to your age.
- If you want to write well, you let a subject make you its subject.
New Stuff on Website:
~^~ Below are Four of Bobby's Published Books. Click to Read Them.
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.Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise have missed along the way.):
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray movies from NetFlix, and if it says DVD in your Queue, click and select Blu-Ray version."The Mountain Between Us" (2017) is filled with snow that only two warm hearts can melt. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
"The Vanishing of Sidney Hall" (2018) the writer of a great story vanishes, can the finding of the novelist become an even greater story? A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
"Deceived" (1991) Goldie Hawn gets deceived by John Heard’s multiple personality and nearly killed. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Are You Here" (2014) Owen and Zack go Amish crazy on a farm.
"Suffragette" (2015) was more than women carrying signs. A DON’T MISS HIT ! !
"The Spinning Man" (2018) a Whodunit with a Walter Mitty as prime suspect.
"13:15 to Paris" (2017) a true story of how three buddies from high school saved a high speed train from disaster on the way from Amsterdam to Paris by taking down a terrorist and saving the life of a man shot in the neck.
"Thank You for Your Service" (2017) Four army men return from Iraq war. Can they survive the toughest battle of all?
"Red Sparrow" (2018) a ballerina turns a plot on its head and a caged red sparrow sings.
A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"The Music of Silence" (2017) biopic of Andrea Bocelli, how an awkward blind boy rises to fame as a great tenor. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society" (2018) a few Downtown Abbey actors fill this story of a London writer who falls in love with the isle occupied by Nazis in WWII and the group of locals who escaped a curfew violation by making up a book club. A DON'T MISS HIT! ! ! !
"Lady Bird" (2017) will she ever fly out of her nest?
"Paul, Apostle of Christ" (2018) Luke records the last years of Paul in the Acts of the Apostles.
"Inferno" (2016) Tom Hanks in a popular Hollywood theme "Kill off 99% of People of World and start over". This time a plague had to be averted and Tom was man for the job.
"Red Sparrow" (2018) a ballerina turns a plot on its head and a caged red sparrow sings. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"The Stranger" (1946) Orson Wells as Nazi War Criminal hiding in small Connecticut town and with his time running out because Edward G. Robinson was chasing him down.
"Thank You for Your Service" (2017) Four army men return from Iraq war. Can they survive the toughest battle of all?
"The Vanishing of Sidney Hall" (2018) the writer of a great story vanishes, can the finding of the novelist become an even greater story? A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
Misses (Avoid At All Costs): We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. Awhile back when three AAAC horrors hit us in one night, I decided to add a sub-category to "Avoid at All Costs", namely, A DVD STOMPER. These are movies so bad, you don't want anyone else to get stuck watching them, so you want to stomp on the disks. That way, if everyone else who gets burnt by the movie does the same, soon no copies of the awful movie will be extant and the world will be better off."Searching for Sugar Man" (2007) not sweet.
"Run, Granny, Run" (2007) or they’ll make a lousy movie of you.
"Creepy Fingers" (2006) surfing aces at work.
"Like Father" (2018) I didn't like Like Father. A smarmy, noisome movie on a noisy mega-cruise ship; a floating soap opera sitcom lacking only a laugh track.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:
"Magic Harbor" (2007) soporific look at Sydney, Australia
"The End of the Tour" (2015 ) a Rolling Stone reporter hangs with David Foster Wallace in a rural Midwestern town to get a five day interview. Tedious.
"The Lovers" (2015) two sets of lovers in two centuries and on two continents in this confusing melange of people and cultures, a waste of otherwise good cinematic technique.
"Brad's Status" (2017) All Brad could think about on his trip to Harvard with his son was status, how he compared badly with all of his school chums. As reality sets in, he realizes, "I'm alive."
"Curvature" (2018) Round and round she goes and when in Time she stops nobody knows or cares.
"The Sinner" (2017) we wasted 8 hours on this 1 hour mystery story.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Broussard Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
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Thanks to Jo Anne Montz for sending in this story.Broussard was troubled about his old friend Boudreaux, an eighty-year old Cajun fisherman and hunter. He heard that Boudreaux had lost his long-time wife, Marie, a year or so before. Broussard asked his friends down at Mulates and they told him, "We bin worried about Boudreaux. He needs a good woman, but his marrying dat 'mail-order bride' don' sound good. No way, no how! Dat jeune filles liable to be the deat' of our bon ami."
Broussard said, "Mais oui! Ah gonna see wat Ah can did about dat, rat now!"
Broussard went to see Boudreaux at his camp and said, "Boo, tole me dat ain't true about you and some 'mail-order' bride."
Boudreaux said, "Mais, bien sur! We done got married last week."
"And wat's the age of yo' new bride?"
Boudreaux beamed, "She'll be twenty-t'ree in November."
Now Broussard thought to himself, Boudreaux ain't gonna take care of the sexual appetite of dat jeune filles. Not some eighty-year-old man, Ah guarontee! So he told Boudreaux, "You know, Boo, Ah t'ink you need yo'self a hired hand to help you out around on the house when you out trawling for shrimp and shootin' dem ducks on de lake."
Boudreaux said, "Merci beaucoup, Broussard, dat's jest wat Ah need. Ah'm gonna got me one rat away!"
About four months later, Broussard ran into Boudreaux down at Mulate's and had a beer with him. "How's de new wife, Boo?"
Boudreaux said, "Good! She done got pregnant!"
Broussard, smiled about his advice working out and said, "And tole me sumpin, Boo, how's de hired hand?"
Smiling, Boudreaux said, "Bon. She done got pregnant too!"
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5. Household Hint for September, 2018 from Bobby Jeaux:
Slaloming a Sudoku Puzzle
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Slaloming Sudoku
Background on Slaloming a Sudoku Puzzle:
A slalom is a zigzag course laid out in advance on a downhill ski slope. Every Sudoku puzzle can be thought of as a zigzag series of gates like ski slope slalom course. With a little practice, you can find it just as much fun.
See photo at right of the number 5 being marked as a downhill zigzag path.
Instructions for Slaloming a Sudoku Puzzle
1. Count the quantity of each number from 1-9 and record them right below the Puzzle. See a sample Quantity List below.
2. Begin with the highest count number, in the above list that would be the number 4 which appears 5 times. Go down or across that number. Follow the zigzag of that number until you find a gap and check if there is only one gap and if so, fill in that gap with the number.
3. Continue to fill in numbers as you usually do, but be alert for possible slaloms. Each time you complete the Slalom for all nine gates of a number, mark it off the Quantity List.
4. About halfway done with the puzzle, you will find more and more slaloms. This will make completing your Sudoku less tedious and much more fun.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from David's Question:
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The Good Mountain: In Bill Moyers' interview with Joseph Campbell, Part I of the "The Power of Myth" series, Campbell talked about the native American Black Elk who spoke of the central mountain of the world. I offer this short poem based on Black Elk's insights:
The Good Mountain
Black Elk spoke of
the Central Mountain of the World,
the Good Mountain,
where I am sitting,
where you are sitting,
where I am my I am,
where you are your I am,
where the Axis Mundi is,
the still point around
which all else
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for September:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first and second reviews this month will be ones which were never published in early DIGESTWORLD ISSUES and will be of interest to our DIGESTWORLD Readers. The rest of the items will be new additions to the top of A Reader's Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, new additions to A Reader's Treasury, or Essays previously unpublished.
NOTE: some Blurbs may be condensations of long Reviews, possibly lacking footnotes and some quoted passages. For your convenience, if you wish to read the full review or to print it out, simply CLICK on the Book Cover or choose Printer Ready option on the top line of a review page when it opens.
1.) ARJ2: Truth and Knowledge, GA#3 by Rudolf Steiner
This prologue was originally published in the front of his Philosophy of Freedom, and only later appeared as a separate book. In this brief volume, Rudolf Steiner takes on Immanuel Kant and single-handedly turns a key aspect of Kant's philosophy upside-down. Steiner apparently had a lot of respect for Kant's works of philosophy, but one disagreement that was crucial to Steiner - and missed by so many others lost in the materialistic fog of their shallow reality. Kant showed us that "the foundation of things lying beyond the world of our senses and our reason is inaccessible to our faculty of knowledge." (Page 9) In other words, the ding an sich or "thing in itself" cannot be known (This is the lack referred to below). In this passage, Steiner clearly states what his aim in this essay is.
[page 11] The aim of the following inquiry is to remedy the lack described above. Unlike Kant, the purpose here is not to show what our faculty of knowledge cannot do, but rather to show what it is really able to achieve.
Steiner's intent is to show that truth is not "an ideal reflection of something real," but rather that truth is a "product of the human spirit, created by an activity which is free." Thus he lays the groundwork for his landmark book, The Philosophy of Freedom , that was to follow. In the passage below, we catch a glimmer of why he chose a different title, "The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity," for his American readers.He wished to avoid their confusing a concept of spiritual activity with their entrenched political concept of freedom. Yes, freedom, even political freedom, rightly understood, is a spiritual activity, and that concept is not very well known, up until now.
[page 11] The object of knowledge is not to repeat in conceptual form something which already exists, but rather to create a completely new sphere, which, when combined with the world given to our senses constitutes complete reality. Thus man's highest activity, his spiritual creativeness, is an organic part of the universal world-process.
If the sphere of activity of one human being is encompassed by a man-made law that restricts some and allows other activities, then that one human being is not free - that one human's spiritual creativeness is as enslaved as any human slave was by the plantation master on the hill. Human slavery, in any form, acts to the detriment of the evolution of the world-process. "Surely you have overstated the case, Bobby!" some of you may be thinking. No, I have grossly understated it, but I have but these meager messengers called words to press into my service. They can only carry messages, not communication. Like anyone knows who has ever received a coded message, the deep meaning of the message must be decoded or "in-formed" by the receiver of the message. That communication process is the essence of in-formation, rightly understood. The author of the message can only encode the message - if the receivers of the message do not bother to decode the message, it will remain gibberish to them.
Does the abrogation of some laws or customs, such as Lincoln did when he freed the slaves, produce freedom? No, only the abrogation of all man-made laws can produce the "completely free personality" that Steiner discusses in the passage below. He directs our attention to the laws that underlie our individual deeds, our moral ideals. [Let us play the "believing game" of Peter Elbow and believe that living without man-made laws would be a good thing from now on.]
[page 12] Our moral ideals are our own free creations. We have to fulfil only what we ourselves lay down as our standard of conduct. Thus the insight that truth is the outcome of a free deed also establishes a philosophy of morality, the foundation of which is the completely free personality.
But surely if every one were able to have one's own moral ideal, the world would become a madhouse where a deed resulting from any wild impulse would be permitted! "There, Bobby, you have disproved your own point - we cannot live in a world such as that." Remember the believing game. We certainly do not live in a world such as that today - there are man-made laws everywhere we turn. The US Government regulation on the sale of cabbage is 26,911 words long. Steiner quickly adds a caveat to the above passage about the "free personality" - he says that it "is valid only when our power of thinking penetrates - with complete insight - into the motivating impulses of our deeds." In a very real sense, Steiner is saying that we must develop the ability to decode the deepest meanings of our own deeds as though they came to us as secret messages from our higher self.
[page 12] As long as we are not clear about the reasons - either natural or conceptual - for our conduct, we shall experience our motives as something compelling us from outside, even though someone on a higher level of spiritual development could recognize the extent to which our motives originated within our own individuality. Every time we succeed in penetrating a motive with clear understanding, we win a victory in the realm of freedom.
If we do not penetrate to our motives, we are as enslaved by our own motives as any slaves were by the motives of their masters in the history of humankind. In many ways, the elemental spirits that orbit us in our lives are like our slaves. They are called into existence by our thought forms and proceed to play havoc with our lives until we identify the origin of their existence within ourselves.
Epistemology is broadly defined by the dictionary as "the theory of knowledge" but Steiner tells us that it is "the scientific study of what all other sciences presuppose without examining it: cognition itself." (Page 27) Clearly if the essential problems of science are not stated or only presupposed, one can hardly expect any clarity to result. Epistemology cannot function properly if it contains unstated presuppositions. Like sidearms in the Old West, we must check our assumptions at the door of knowledge. And since Cowboy Kant didn't do so, Sheriff Steiner blasts off his holsters, and Kant's firepower falls useless to the floor. In the following passage Steiner quotes from Kant, and we can see clearly that Kant states his assumption as if it were a fact.
[page 35] "I will then limit my assertion to pure mathematics, the very conception of which implies that it consists of knowledge altogether non-empirical and a priori."
So, where does Steiner start? He chooses a starting point that lies outside the act of cognition and thus is not itself knowledge. What is this point immediately prior to cognition so that the very next step we take propels us into the activity of cognition?
[page 51] Only our directly given world-picture can offer such a starting point, i. e. that picture of the world which presents itself to man before he has subjected it to the process of knowledge in any way, before he has asserted or decided anything at all about it by means of thinking.
Steiner says that this "world-picture that flits past us, disconnected, but still undifferentiated" is never encountered by us. In a case history of a man who regained his eyesight as an adult, after having been blind since shortly after birth, we find that it is possible for someone to see this direct world-picture under certain special circumstances. Virgil was his name, and his case history was written up by the famous neuropathologist, Oliver Sacks, and was later made into a movie in the 1990's called At First Sight. Until Virgil learned how to think about what he saw, he was unable to see more than a crazy-quilt maze of colors and patterns.In fact, Virgil went from a fully functioning blind person to a partially functioning sighted person as a result of his eye operation. If he wandered off the marked path through his own living room, the objects dissolved into meaningless patches of color and he began to trip over objects and get lost. Yes, we have direct evidence that the given world-picture precedes our thinking operations on it.
Errors, in relation to knowledge, cannot occur in our perception of this given world-picture, only in the act of cognition that follows our perception. Any number of optical illusions can be cited as evidence of this. We may have errors in a conception but not in perception because a conception is a joining together of disconnected perceptions into a unity. Building on this, Steiner gives us his definition of the simple word, idea - "a concept with a greater content." (Page 61)
He shows convincingly, to those who will take the trouble to check their assumptions at the door, that the content of thinking is more than Kant's "empty thought-forms." Here is the pertinent passage:
[page 71] The world-content can be called reality only in the form it attains when the two aspects of it described above have been united through knowledge.
Call up the Structural Differential of Alfred O. Korzybski and note that the parabola at the top represents the "directly given world-picture" - what AOK called the WIGO or What Is Going On. In the strings that proceed down to the islands below we find the connections or cognition that takes place to create thinking. Each string connects something in the WIGO to an abstraction, in AOK's terminology. In the making of these linkages the process we call thinking evolves. If we were to make two circles, one representing the Territory (the directly given world-picture) and the other the Map (our knowledge or thinking), and then allow the two to overlap, we would arrive at a cogent representation in the overlapped portion of our "I". Here's how Steiner describes it:
[page 73] The I feels a need to discover more in the given than is directly contained in it. In contrast to the given world, a second world - the world of thinking - rises up to meet the I and the I unites the two through its own free decision, producing what we have defined as the idea of knowledge.
The first step in the Habit Formation process is becoming conscious of something that you don't know you don't know how to do. That consciousness moves you to the condition of now knowing that you don't know how to do something. Steiner points out that epistemology, the science of knowledge, has, as its very first job, to bring "consciousness to the act of cognition, insofar as it is still an unconscious activity of the I." (Page 75)
In this next passage Steiner gives us the crux of the job of the "I":
[page 81] Self-observation reveals the I engaged in the activity of building up the world-picture by combining the given with concepts.
Steiner explains that if we do not make the necessary effort of self-observation, we may, like Kant, Fichte, and others after Kant, imagine that one "spins the world out of the I itself." He admits that Fichte came close, but did not arrive at the "right thought-form which, when supplemented by the given, constitutes reality." Here he sums up his findings:
[page 85] The present discussion shows that the I is free when it cognizes, when it objectifies the ideas of cognition. For when the directly given and the thought-form belonging to it are united by the I in the process of cognition, then union of these two elements of reality - which otherwise would forever remain separated in consciousness - can only take place through a free act.
Now the skeptics among you already have your hackles up, thinking something like this, "Our thinking can never approach the world!" I would tell you that it is clear to me that you have never doubted your skepticism. Steiner's response, on the other hand, is simplicity in itself:
[page 90] Should the sceptic maintain that our cognitive thinking can never approach the world, he can only maintain this with the help of thinking, and in so doing refutes himself. Whosoever attempts to establish doubt in thinking by means of thinking itself admits, by implication, that thinking contains a power strong enough to support a conviction.
Rather than create an epistemological standpoint by presupposition like Kant or by metaphysical axioms like Biedermann, Steiner provides insight into reality by directly observing the process of cognition itself.
How does this create freedom, one might ask? A slave is someone who follows the orders of another - to be free is to be one's own master.
[page 94] If the I has really penetrated its deed with full insight, in conformity with its nature, then it also feels itself to be master. As long as this is not the case, the laws ruling the deed confront us as something foreign, they rule us; what we do is done under the compulsion they exert over us. . . . To carry out a deed under the influence of a law external to the person who brings the deed to realization, is a deed done in unfreedom. To carry out a deed ruled by a law that lies within the one who brings it about, is a deed done in freedom. To recognize the laws of one's deeds, means to become conscious of one's own freedom. Thus the process of knowledge is the process of development toward freedom. . . . This is the free sphere. Only insofar as man is able to live in this sphere, can he be called moral.
In the last sentence of the above passage, Steiner produces an insight that resonates with that of Andrew J. Galambos, who begins with his innovative definition of freedom and derives from it that to be free is to be moral! From my review of Sic Itur Ad Astra:
Galambos gives us an operational definition of morality that is simple, easy to understand and to explain, "any action is moral that does not involve coercion." In other words, any action taken in freedom, is moral, by the definition of freedom.
As an example of a deed taken in freedom, I offer my own work in doyletics, a science that I recognized could grow out of the pioneering work and insights of Doyle Henderson with my help. My task was to apply my own thinking to the given world-process to form a unity and to give that unity a name, doyletics. In the Editorial and Reference Notes at the end of the book were two Notes that contained material important to my work in the nascent science of doyletics, and therefore I include the following quotes and my comments on how they are important to the nascent science of doyletics.
[page 101-102] Johannes Peter Müller, German physiologist and comparative anatomist, born in Coblentz, July 14, 1801. . . . In his Handbuch Müller developed an entirely new principle which he called "the law of specific energy of sense substances." This he expressed as follows: "The kind of sensation following stimulation of a sensory nerve does not depend on the mode of stimulation, but upon the nature of the sense organ. Thus, light, pressure, or mechanical stimulation acting on the retina and optic nerve invariably produces luminous impressions."
When I read this "law of specific energy of sense substances" the question arose in my mind, "How does this law impact on doyletics?" After pondering this topic for a while, it came to me that, since doyles are stimulations of the sensory nerves from the amygdaline/limbic region of the brain, such stimulations would have the same results on the sensory nerves as did the original stimulations from the outside world during the original event when the doyle was stored. This was a basic assumption made by Doyle P. Henderson back around 1975 when he began analyzing how it was possible that humans could respond emotionally to thoughts. He knew the brain had no sensory apparatus inside itself, so it must be somehow re-creating the original stimulations in the sensory receptors at various other points of the body. This basic principle that Müller developed leads us to expect exactly the conclusion that Henderson, unaware of Müller's law, came to accept, namely that signals from the brain can re-create in the human senses the exact stimuli that have been previously received from the external world. These stimuli we have come to know variously as emotions, feelings, and, more specifically, by their component name, doyles.
In understanding the evolution of the species, one principle is essential — that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. I remember first hearing these words from a fellow college student's lips some forty plus years ago and thinking to myself, "What ridiculous stuff those biology students are forced to memorize!" In studying Steiner's works, I have now encountered two men who were instrumental in formulating this basic principle, Haeckel and Müller. Fritz Müller was apparently first with his formulation of biogenesis as described by Steiner in the passage in Note 75 in the appendix of this book. Thus stated, biogenesis is the intra-species equivalent of the principle of ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny, that is, one's individual development recapitulates one's ancestors' development.
[page 105] 75. biogenesis, the teaching that living organisms come from other living organisms, as opposed to abiogenesis. The author of the modern formulation of "the fundamental law of biogenesis" was Fritz Müller (1864). Haeckel called Müller's formulation "the biogenetic fundamental law," which can be stated briefly as the teaching that in its development from the egg to adult stage, the animal tends to pass through a series of stages which recapitulate the stages through which its ancestry passed in the development of the species from a primitive form. In other words, the development of the individual is a condensed expression of the development of the race.
The principle of biogenesis has deep meaning to the science of doyletics for the following reason: during the development of the race we call humans, we first developed doylic memory and later cognitive memory. With doylic memory, humans were able to have primitive memory capability which operated as follows: a vague record of events that occurred to primitive humans were stored along with the physical body states that accompanied them. This record included components of visual, auditory, gustatory, olfactory memory, and kinesthetic experience. The components of the visual and auditory memory can only be called primitive when compared to the later capability that was to follow when the neocortex reached its full development. It was the best we had available as a species, at that time.
The visual component was vague because of the limits of visual processing capability of the limbic structures of the brain, the highest brain function of our ancestors at that stage of evolution. The ability to recall feeling, smelling, and tasting was very refined, was distinct and sharp, however, as these had survival benefit, and the senses of feeling, smelling and tasting had been around a very long time, longer than the eyes with their superb visual acuity and image capability. While the eyes of our early ancestors were very sharp, perhaps sharper than our current eyes, their capability to remember the visual components of the events around them paled in comparison with our own due to the reduced size of their neocortex.
Modern scientists like Joseph LeDoux have shown us that there exists a primitive visual and auditory storage of memories in the limbic system, especially the amygdala, and the visual and auditory components of those memories serve as a pattern that triggers the release of associated doylic memories with their very sharp feeling, olfactory and gustatory components, that is, physical body states of visceral sensations, proprioceptive sensations, and muscle contractions and dilations, basically all the responses of the autonomic nervous systems that are triggered by the limbic region of our brain via the amygdaline structures and fed directly to the hypothalamus of our root brain, bypassing the neocortex. This bypassing of our higher cognitive functions in the neocortex is why such responses occur so quickly that we tend to characterize them as follows: "It all happened before I knew it." or "Before I knew it, there were tears streaming from my eyes."
What the principle of biogenesis allows us to understand is how we passed through a stage when, as a child, our highest memory capability was similar to these ancient ancestors - we had only the beginnings of a neocortex - and we were only able to store doylic memories, not full-blown cognitive memories as we later came to take for granted. At five-years-old, we passed into a period in which our neocortex, having been fully grown since age three, was able to store permanent, full-fledged cognitive memories, with a level of visual and auditory-digital discrimination far superior to the capability of any of our early ancestors. The structures of our limbic system that provided our ancestorswith doylic memory are maintained for the rest of our lives, however, and they faithfully feed up to us those early body state memories upon receipt of the associated trigger. This process of feeding up doylic memory, rightly understood, provides us with the mechanism that enriches our everyday lives with feelings, emotions, and various other physical body states that enable us to experience and re-experience the wonderful times, both good and bad, of our childhood.
In this book of Rudolf Steiner's, Truth and Knowledge, written over a hundred years ago, there are ideas that can infuse our thinking about the given world-picture today, if only we take the trouble to decode the message and in-form ourselves with the meaning.
2.) ARJ2: The Road to Walden — 12 Life Lessons from a Sojourn to Thoreau's Cabin by Kevin Dann
The author invites you to walk the road from New York City to Walden and face twelve life lessons along the way. Are you ready?
Mark Twain published his serial novel about Joan of Arc anonymously because he wanted "to free his readers from hearing it in his renown comic satirical voice." (Page 10) I imagine it was partly because Twain's chosen pseudonym meant "We drink tonight!" and was greeted with a collective cheer by the thirsty crew of the steamboat when depth marker shouted, "Mark Twain!" We were all told that "mark twain" meant two fathoms of water below the steamboat's keel. But as children we weren't told the impact on the crew of the announcement of "Mark Twain!" You see, the twelve feet of water was deep enough for the boat to dock so the crew could go ashore and drink liquor!
Get ready for the heady brew which Kevin Dann offers us to quaff at twelve different depths along this journey with him. Drink up, as Sam Clemens did at thirteen when he found the story of Joan of Arc. Drink up, as Joan herself did at thirteen when the Archangel Michael talked to her in her father's garden. Drink up, as Thoreau did at twenty when Ralph Waldo Emerson spoke these fateful words to him, "Do you keep a journal?"
[page 11] "I was born to do this." Thoreau echoed Joan's commitment in his Journal declaration that "I have never got over my surprise that I should have been born into the most estimable place in the world; and in the nick of time, too." Can you imagine how fully the world would be transformed if this confidence in one's own destiny were a universal birthright, a pedestal for personal action in the world?
Kevin recalls a teenage night when he slipped out on his bike for a drunken revelry with his friend Pete, who later stuffed him into a barrel in an auto shop to keep Kevin from being discovered by the cops looking to break up a drinking party. Kevin kept popping up from the barrel yelling, "I'm going to save the world!" At eighteen I recall sharing with a college buddy that I was going to be great. He explained to me as a lawyer-to-be it was not possible to know such a thing ahead of time. Our destiny has a way of seeping out of us at odd moments, and when we find our story, Kevin suggests, stick to it. Our Angel knows our destiny, but does not shout it at us, but rather whispers it by day in our ear and fills our being with it as we sleep each night.
[page 21] . . . the Joan story from some nineteenth century primer, tumbling like a tumbleweed across Mark Twain's path; Henry's chance meeting with Emerson on Main Street; these things are mercurial, easily overlooked, sleepwalked through.Don't sleep through what the angels have brought you. AWAKE.
#1 AWAKE! And know that you have slept with Angels.
Chapter 2: "When a Feller Needs a Friend": SPEAK!
His next deep drink was SPEAK! It found Kevin in New Rochelle where the welcoming sign shows a young fellow with three adorable mutts and reads: "The Place to Come When a Feller Needs a Friend". All I knew about the city was from watching Rob and Laura Petrie live there during the Dick van Dyke show. The way Kevin described the Feller sounds a lot like me as a kid growing up in Westwego, which was a suburb to New Orleans as New Rochelle was to New York.
[page 24] The Feller walks out of bounds by nature; no ruffled collars or starched shirts for this boy! He plays marbles for keeps, and gets a black eye now and then. He might smoke a butt behind the woodshed, and hates practicing on the parlor piano.
I walked into our local woods, cutting a water vine to drink the liquid which flowed from it; played marbles for keeps on the elementary playground at recess; smoked the very first filter-tip cigarettes when they appeared; but we never owned a luxury like a piano for me to hate practicing on. I flew kites, but I made them from split weather boards, tissue paper, flour and water paste, torn rags for tails, and No. 50 sewing thread to assemble and fly them with. I was a Feller in a very rough town and survived.
Thoreau was a walker, an extra-vagant one as he called himself. I never had any money to be extravagant, but like Henry I walked around and through my local town, becoming a newspaper boy on my bicycle from ages 12 to 15, which gave me access to front and back yards to most of the houses and yards in town, similar to the way Henry had access to most properties in Concord by virtue of being a surveyor. No one denied him access, figuring he was surveying; he spent so much time walking along the new-fangled railway that many thought he worked for the railway. He spent more time than some farmers did on their property and often reported problems to the owners he had observed. In many ways, the title was theirs, but he owned the land more than them in a very real way.
[page 30] Henry made it plain as day what sort of walker he was — a walker out of bounds, including the biggest boundary of all, that which we moderns call "nature," as we tightly circumscribe the cosmos into the tiger cage called the "physical world." "Walking" and Walden, and all of Henry's speaking, were uttered to enlarge that cage, to bust it wide open . . .
Joseph Campbell was from New Rochelle; married to a dancer, he loved to watch dance, to talk about dance, but not to dance. Dancing was outside his experience as a way of being, just as mythology was outside his way of being, but he could talk mythology till the cows came home and could tell you why they came home if you asked, no doubt. His PBS series on mythology made him a household name, but was he spiritual or did he just talk a good game?
[page 34] For, despite Bill Moyers's opening assertion that "Joseph Campbell was one of the most spiritual men I have ever met," the Feller from New Rochelle was a silver-tongued ideologist, a peddler of the most easily accepted of modern lies — that mythology is just a story, that the gods are human inventions, rather than the reverse.
Rightly understood, the reverse is true: Man is God's invention. Wrongly understood, Campbell proclaimed that myths were only stories told by humans in hundred of cultures, each myth based on the same story told over and again till they all seemed to be different stories.
[page 38] Would that Bill Moyers had devoted one episode of The Power of Myth to going out and interviewing any one of the peoples whose myths Campbell so blithely threw into his big iron monomyth melting pot. Each and every tribe and tradition past and present would have taken the greatest offense, to be told that their revered portraits of the world beyond the physical were just so many pretty pictures, whose details could be substituted from one place and time to another.
Campbell is best known for recommending that people follow their bliss. Kevin seems to have pinpointed the origin of the concept and phrase appearing in Campbell's mind. Campbell told the story of a family in Bronxville, next to New Rochelle, of a son refusing to drink his tomato juice.
[page 42] The mother intervenes, and finally the father explodes: "He can't go through life doing what he wants to do. If he does only what he wants to do, he'll be dead. Look at me, I've never done a thing I wanted to in all my life."
My first thought was of my own father who always did what he wanted in life and taught us by example to do the same. If he couldn't afford a trailer to haul things with, he found an old rear axle of a car, had a hitch welded onto a pole and build a wood compartment atop the axle. Campbell's first thought was of Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis's epitome of the complacent middle-class businessman, who sacrificed his personal wishes to make money and never allowed himself to "follow his bliss".
Henry as a young man looked at the stereotyped ways that people of the area "followed their bliss" and decided to march to a different drummer, namely, his own rhythm of life.
[page 44] As a young "Feller" living across the street from Concord's principal Freemason Lodge, Henry had peeked in on those mock mysteries and found them wanting; instead of trying to bind the gods to appear through oaths and empty theater, he built his own temple out in the Walden woods, confident that the gods would visit him there. He was not disappointed. They are still there, waiting for us.
Campbell followed a different drummer's rhythm, too, but focused only the score of the rhythm written on paper and spoken aloud. If there were secrets to be revealed by actually dancing to the rhythms Joe studied, he missed them completely, all the while becoming adept in describing them to others.
[page 47] For Campbell, it is all about "materials" and "analogies," not spiritual realities.
"Every metaphor was once a living reality," which Henry's mentor Emerson once said to explain how our everyday words once contained a vibrant spirit that has long since been quashed into dead symbols on a page. Henry went walking into and through the living realities of his beloved Concord all his life and avoided symbols wherever possible. Henry never called this plant a weed or that one a flower, it would be a Thaspium aureum, Oldenlandia cærula, a Polygonum amphibium, or some other specific real plant he had observed on his walks.He knew the common names, but by including the Latin names, made it possible for interlopers into his Journals a hundred and fifty years hence, like me, to locate and view the plants and find them on my own daily walks.
Not so Joe Campbell: he would take the most precious living reality, like a beautiful green fluttering Luna Moth, and pin it upon the page, to be observed as a material, a dead substance. To Joe, Christianity was simply another species of moth to be studied.
[page 48] The Virgin birth is a symbol to Joseph Campbell; the Crucifixion is a symbol; the Last Supper, Night in Gethsemane, Ascension, Pentecost, all the healing miracles are mere symbols. This is Joseph Campbell's great and unforgivable heresy. Christianity — and every step of Christ's life — is a mystical fact, with cosmic consequences for all eternity. There is nothing in the least "symbolic" about a single one of those steps!
If you came to this book to read about how great Joseph Campbell's work was, you will be shocked and disappointed. Yes, he was a son of New Rochelle, but Joe was light on his tongue not on his feet. Another son of New Rochelle, albeit fictional, Rob Petrie, was played by Dick van Dyke, who was literally light on his feet and put his whole body into his comedy routines.
[page 50] The "washing of the feet" is no universal mythic "trope," but a universal Christ-imparted supersensible physiological reality whose effects can easily be seen in such walking saints as Christ, Francis, Sister Elizabeth Ann Seton (this first American-born saint was from New Rochelle!), and Henry Thoreau. Their feet, which carry them and us toward the future, are literally holy.
Why do so many lectures and various talking-psychotherapy appointments last for an hour? It has to do with the rotation period of our throat chakra which completes its circle in one hour's time.
[page 50] The throat chakra is unsurprisingly the lotus flower of the word, and the Word. Hovering in the subtle body in the region of the larynx, it has petals that rotate once per hour. While Emerson and other admired antebellum orators often lectured for two hours or more, the Mars-blessed Henry instinctively kept his addresses to under an hour — the period of the throat chakra's rotation.
Find yourself a different drumbeat, Thoreau famously said, and no matter how measured, how far away; follow it, adopt it as your own drumbeat. Avoid those who upon hearing any new idea automatically counter with, "I know that!" Taking no time to mine and absorb any new idea, they live in a vacuous world, feigning a knowledge and enjoyment they severely lack.
[page 51] "Read not the Times," said Henry. "Read the Eternities." Stand apart from the mob. Be wary of anything — books, films, ideas — that is merely "popular." Avoid glibness, and give the glib tavern speaker and tavern keeper both a wide berth for their inanities. A Feller must be mighty wary not to wake up one day and find himself one more Babbitt or Dilbert.
Each month I share and create a couple of cartoons, Violet and Joey, and Padre Filius, and post them prominently in my monthly publication. As I read this next passage, it seems to me that I have been following the advice of the author Kevin Dann.
[page 51] Put up your own signs and markers. Make them mirthful, inviting, and easily read, but by all means, make them true. Seek out those places and people from whom you can cultivate a sure sense of the eternal, so that you might effortlessly bar the commonplace times from your speech and listening, ever-wakeful ear. . . .
#2: SPEAK, always striving to know more than you say.
Chapter 3: Learn to DANCE!
Learning to dance can also mean learning to mis-dance, as Edward Emerson reveals in this memory of Thoreau dancing to a Scottish jig in a New Bedford parlor.
[page 53, 54] (Edward) pointed out that the mischievous dancer deliberately stepped on Bronson Alcott's toes to get his all-too-serious goat.
Thoreau was hyper-sensitive to his environment, as he described one "aggravated November day in 1855" when a flock of less redpolls (acanthis cabaret) flew close to him.
[page 55] My body is all sentient. As I go here or there, I am tickled by this or that I come in contact with, as if I touched the wires of a battery. I can generally recall — have fresh in my mind — several scratches last received. These I continually recall to mind, re-impress, and harp upon. The age of miracles is thus returned. . .
I am surprised and enchanted often by some quality which I cannot detect. I have seen an attribut of another world and condition of things.
Kevin's poem "Gooseflesh" on page 56 caused me to chuckle in its first line. I include the first three lines here:
Do geese get goose flesh
When thoughts sublime
Arise to take them out of Time?
Old Cajun women have explained the appearance of gooseflesh as indicating "a ghost was walking upon your grave", but to me it seems that gooseflesh is likely an indication of a ghost walking through your human body. Movies often portray this very thing happening. In olden times, all humans could clairvoyantly experience the presence of ghosts.They could feel the gooseflesh when they observed a ghost walking through them. Super-sensible experiences in our time have lost their visual component, but we have kept their very real feeling component, so far as I can tell.
[page 58] Henry's flesh was the medium by which he made — before writing it down in his journal — a record of his love, as he practiced the art of reading and responding to the infinite gestures of the world. Art enlarges understanding by seeking wholes and then rendering them in figures that will make our flesh dance in sympathetic response.
Gooseflesh for Henry was like his dancing with Angels which accompanied him on his walks through the Concord woods.
[page 58, 59] Henry's physiognomically sensitive flesh took in the railroad and telegraph and other antebellum technologies and redeemed them; but he would have been vanquished I think by the Stamford "skyline" of corporate headquarters. The glass and steel towers stand just far enough apart from one another that there can be wedged between them a six-or seven-story multilevel concrete parking garage, so that the workers who enter them each morning need never step onto a street. This sequestering is accentuated by the massive, luxurious free dining rooms in each corporate headquarters building, freeing anyone from seeking out lunch fare downtown.
This passage inspired the following poem:The Concrete Jungle
The concrete jungle
where blockheaded Tarzans swing
from cubicle to cubicle all day,
gliding home by night
to martini-toting trophy Janes,
never brushed by Angels
of the living Jungle.
To close out Chapter 3 Kevin suggests that we learn to dance in earnest.
[page 74] Dance out ignorance. Dance out superstition. Dance tyranny into oblivion. Others before us have done it, and so must we. Waltz, or jig, or jitterbug, the dances we do must make us free, not bind us. They should set in motion the spirit of Saint Paul: "Not I, but Christ in me." A student of Saint Paul, Saint Augustine, once said: Learn to DANCE, else the Angels won't know what to do with you.
Chapter 3: Learn to DANCE!
In Chapter 4 we learn: Into the Vortex: CREATE!
Kevin's reminiscences of dumping large buckets of water on top a hill of gravel and watching the process of river formation reminded me of a job I had in the 1940s before they paved the street in front of our home in Westwego. In those halcyon days before Air-Conditioning, all our windows were open during the warm summers of southern Louisiana. On non-rainy days auto traffic would kick up dust which would be sucked in by our attic fan and coat our furniture, and my job, as the oldest of the children, was to water down Avenue F in front of our house to eliminate the dust. Our road back then was loose gravel, clay, and sand, pretty much like that which filled the gravel pile of Kevin and his friends's childhood. They poured water over the gravel for fun; I did it under orders from my mom. But I had the same kind of fun as they: I walked back and forth over the fifty foot stretch of the gravel road surface across our house lot.Once I had covered the dusty area with water, moving out of the way when cars crunched past, I began to form small lakes in some areas and then watch as the water created a river bed to follow down the gentle slope to the edge of the road. The patterns were different every day and fascinated me. I never once let on I was actually having fun doing this household chore. Often I would be rewarded by a nickel for a Dairy Queen ice cream cone from the shop at the end of our block, and that might not happen if I seemed to enjoy it too much, so I never let on. My rivers were fed from the city water supply via a hose, so they held no vibrant life as Kevin got in his buckets from the river, but the ever-changing morphology of dam and river creation was all there. It never occurred to me that I was having fun creating things, but it was likely my earliest memory of enjoying the process of creation.
[page 79] That whole summer, as we netted minnows or examined litmus paper or laid out the papery husks of dragonfly and damselfly nymphs, we went back in memory to our sand-and-gravel play of that first day, full of wonder that an inorganic channel in clay and sand and gravel could be turned into such a prodigious nursery for life.
Vortices are essential for nourishing our body. Our heart is a complex hydraulic ram which interrupts the flow of oxygen-starved blood from the veins and oxygen-rich blood from the lungs, then releases them into a swirling vortex which mixes the oxygen, so that oxygen-rich blood can fill the arteries which carry it into our body.A similar vortex receives nutrient-rich blood from our digestive system and mixes it into nutrient-starved blood from the veins so that it can carry energy-filled nutrients via our arteries into our muscle structures.
[page 86] At the physical level of reality, the human being — swirling about embryonically as the polonaise movement — begins life as a vortex, a lemniscate. The highest initiates in all places and times have said that we must "end" as a vortex too; that is, to incorporate into ourselves the very growth power of the Creator, to become Creators ourselves.
#4: Into the Vortex — CREATE!
In Chapter 5 we go Captaining Huckleberry Parties and learn to SENSE!
Ralph Waldo Emerson respected and admired his younger friend Henry, but was disappointed with his choice of career as an extra-vagant wanderer. He wished Henry would have been "an engineer for all of America," instead of "the captain of a huckleberry party." (Page xv of Preface)
[Page 89] Emerson's moniker "Captain of a Huckleberry Party," if a little cruel, was also accurate, for there was about the annual ritual of gathering the prosaic fruit a distinct atmosphere of carnival, a frugivorous charivari; and what are carnivals and charivari if no invitations to open one's senses wide?
Growing up as a Cajun in South Louisiana, we made carnivals and charivaris out of every possible get-together. Snapping green beans is a mundane activity that can take most of the afternoon for a handful of people. But the huge tub of green beans had to be snapped and made ready to put into canning jars to get these self-sufficient farmers, hunters, and fishermen through the winters.As a child we ate green beans over rice at least once a week from the canning jars. Many people know the word zydeco, but few know it's origin is from "green bean music" — music played on fiddles and squeezeboxes while the family and friend are snapping green beans and jarring them. Zydeco comes from the word for beans (haricots) which said in Cajun French sounds to English speakers like zydeco! What herbivorous charivaris those haricots afternoons were!
Charivari in Cajun is pronounced as shee-vahr-ee and I was present at one given for my Grandfather Clairville Pierre Matherne when he married Belle after his beloved wife Nora died at 48 years old. The tradition was when a man remarries, he is given a charivari. The tradition faded away by the middle of the twentieth century, but in 1948 it was alive in the little bayou town of Bourg. All I can remember is that after the Wedding Mass at St. Ann's Church, we walked back to Clairville's house with family and friends, and suddenly a loud ruckus took place outside the house! Banging on pans and yelling from about a dozen folks who were throwing the town barber a shee-varee! They were invited inside and joined the wedding reception. You can see one at the end of the 1950s musical Oklahoma! which ends with a charivari.
Green beans, weddings, boiling up a largess of shrimp and crabs from a trawling trip, and many more events formed the seed of these boisterous gatherings which filled the life of the Cajuns I grew up among. Ask me to join a Huckleberry Party, I'm ready! A day spend picking a No.3 washtub of blackberries was a common occurrence for me, and huckleberries can't be that much different.
The most amazing thing about the vortex is that humans and the cosmos evolved out of the same vortex, the microcosm and the macroscosm coming into being together. How did this begin? With a gigantic sphere we could call the primordial Earth, created as the womb of creation which spat out the Sun, Moon, our present Earth filled with human beings, and the planets.
[page 98] Before it spat out Sun and Moon — simultaneous with the human standing upright, to gain memory before consciousness — Earth was a living protoplasmic colloid, within which archaebacteria birthed both the oxygenated atmosphere and organ sulfur-nitrate-phosphorus and lime compounds, silica gels, manganese modules, gold, uranium. The human being was there, in embryo, at the birth of Earth, and of ourselves, too embedded in the surround to bear witness. In Steiner's very mysterious mystery school, one learned that earth and human being were twinned cosmic creations, their fates inseparably intertwined.
Our shared history with the animal kingdom takes place during the long Lemurian afternoon spanning the Cambrian to Cretaceous periods of esoteric paleontology. (Page 99) Rudolf Steiner discovered how this happened by doing some Wellsian time travel, not in a man-made machine, but in a human being, himself.
[page 99] Steiner did time-travel, venturing back via the akasha to the birth of Earth, and beyond. When he coined that injunction "The human being must become a vortex," he did so out of his own extra-ordinary sensory observations, having seen with his own acutely cultivated third eye that the vortex is stamped into the fabric of creation like no other sigil or sign.
With all our modern advancements, we humans have flattened our sensory perspective the way Medieval painters produced their images, completely lacking any 3-D perspective at all. We must attend to our senses acutely and perpetually and if we manage this, a sixth sense will arise from our current five. Sense your way toward the extrasensory.
#5: Captaining Huckleberry Parties: SENSE!
In Chapter 6 we'uns is gone fishin' and we learn to SYMPATHIZE!
Kevin goes fishin', not for fish, but for miracles, those small, everyday miracles we rarely recognize. We typically blow them off with a, "That was lucky!"But by doing so we miss a chance to recognize how to encourage these miracles in our life. In the Acton Public Library, Kevin stumbled into their spring book sale. The previous night as he finished his Captain of a Huckleberry Party performance, a woman in the audience offered him a place to sleep for the night. It was a Toad-worthy shelter with a driver to pick him up and dinner beforehand. This got Kevin thinking of Wind in the Willows and what a neat gift for his birthday that would make, and sure enough, he found a copy among the library's book sale, a 1966 "Junior Deluxe Edition" of the Kenneth Grahame classic illustrate by Tasha Tudor. Reminds me of the day I stopped by the St. Louis Cathedral Cathedral School in the French Quarter which had books for sale on its concrete stoop. There I located an original copy of Robert Heinlein's Space Cadet published in 1948. It was the same edition that I read from our Westwego Library when I was a kid, inhaling every science fiction book I could find. Kevin and I share a love for books, and allow miracles to happen in our lives. Here's another miracle, related by Henry in his Walden.
[page 111] Walden's last lines, unsurprisingly, are a Yankee folktale, of the "strong and beautiful bug" that hatches out of a farmer's venerable apple-wood kitchen table, having been imprisoned as a tiny egg in the living tree sixty years before.
Kevin closes Chapter 6 with this advice: "Be, dear reader, the bait for miracles, for angels, for your fellow human beings." This inspired me to pen a small poem:
Bait for Miracles
The best bait
for a miracle is
A change of attitude —
is a miracle in itself.
Sympathize yourself into the creation, both large and small, and you shall become the bait for miracles.
#6: Gone Fishin': SYMPATHIZE!
Chapter 7 tells us when making worlds, learn to BEFRIEND!
Kevin had driven through New London several times for a Labor Day family gathering, but this time, he was walking through, and, in the slower pace of walking, you notice things.
[page 114] Sequestered in my car, I had never noticed the gorgeous turreted brownstone Public Library of New London building standing at the top of State Street. Approaching it on foot this last Sunday of March, the first thing I saw was a plaque dedicated to the library's patron, whaling magnate Henry Philemon Haven. Another bronze sculpture hovered over the fountain at the library's entrance. Above a pair of leaping whales stood a man holding an open book aloft in his left hand, a woman bearing a whale weathervane in her right. I had no idea that New London had been a whaling town, nor a leader in the West Indian trade.
Amazing to me that plaques and statues are still standing in the North while in the South they are being taken down. Walkers like Kevin in the future will go through the South and wonder why nothing happened here. This thought prompted me to write a poem of a place where nothing happened.
People opposed to things are having statues removed from public sites. What if some group suddenly appeared which was opposed to nothing? One could walk by there and never know.Nothing Happened
The bronze plaque read:"On this site in 1897 nothing happened."
What happened next?
People opposed to nothing
petitioned City Hall to have
the offensive plaque removed.
Now tourists walk past the site
As if nothing happened.
Thoreau knew of the new inventions of his time and wrote of them, the railroad, the telegraph, and the daguerreotype. He envisioned a time when people might be able to daguerreotype their thoughts and feelings. We have all seen the phenomena of selfies: what are they if not an attempt to capture permanently our thoughts and feelings?
[page 120, Thoreau] Beauty and music are not mere traits and exceptions. They are the rule and character. It is the exception that we see and hear. Then I try to discover what it was in the vision that charmed and translated me.What if we could daguerreotype our thoughts and feelings! for I am surprised and enchanted often by some quality which I cannot detect. I have seen an attribute of another world and condition of things.
Henry knew how to see things in a new light; it often required only a slight move to one side to glimpse the contours previously undetected. His world was always fresh because he knew how to make a world not just accept it as a given.
[page 121] This was the talent of the physiognomist, to heighten meaning by tilting the head slightly, thereby catching the accentuated relief of surfaces too long seen as flat and featureless. This is the way to make a world, your world, not just passively accept the given.
Kevin reminds us when waking worlds, we should befriend Heaven.
#7: Making Worlds, BEFRIEND!
Chapter 8 speaks of Fires Within and Without: BURN!
My interest was first tweaked when Kevin revealed that the 12 Knights of the Round Table represented the 12 signs of the Zodiac. There is the fire which burns within each of us and without us in the Heavens, the Zodiac. It is a flame which burns with a certain pattern when we are spirit newly arrived in this physical body and this same flame lights our way through this lifetime.
[page 139] At Tintagel, I learned that "Arthur" was actually the name of the leader of a Mystery School that long antedated Christianity, and that a number of historical personalities had later taken "Arthur" as their name in tribute to the original Arthur.The Twelve Knights of the Arthurian Round Table were a picture of the twelve signs of the zodiac, and the cosmic powers contained within them, in service of earthly humanity.
Like the Wind in the Willows appeared to Kevin, when I needed a small miracle in my life, the Round Table appeared to me and filled my need.
Have you ever had a book fall off a shelf into your hands and open to a key passage you needed to read? You can even conjure up some advice by opening a book at random and running your finger down the page, only opening your eyes when your finger stops.The passage will speak to you, perhaps in enigmatic verse as the Oracle at Delphi did. This is what Kevin calls "book magic" — is it disappearing with the advent of electronic means of reading?
[page 156] It seemed to me that "book magic" would now be in retreat, given the increasing use of e-books and the widespread practice of reading online — both via computer and smartphone. But I also was sure that the elemental beings who could flip open flying books to just the right page for the hopeful diviner could adapt handily to the new technology.
#8: Let the Fires within and without BURN away the inessential.
Chapter 9 reminds us: In the Quiet Corner: BREATHE!
Since high school Kevin knew how to find a quiet corner to sit and think or to sleep peacefully for a night; it was in a cemetery.
[page 168] Sleeping in cemeteries had been my lifelong habit; I had worked every summer in high school as a landscaper in our town's largest cemetery, and while traveling had come to regard cemeteries as impromptu hostels offering the visitor both landscaped sanctuary and an open window to the town's past.
In this quiet corner of Connecticut as Kevin read headstones, a man in a pickup truck rolled by and asked, "Did you find Israel Putnam's grave?" Kevin eventually found it and discovered that after the Battles at Lexington and Concord, Putnam turned his plowshare into a sword and became a General and Revolutionary War hero, "ever attentive to the lives and happiness of his men."
[page 169]This generous memory filled me with melancholy, for somehow, on this gray day, I could feel nothing but my own lack of heroism, and the increasing sense that I had mapped out a fruitless pilgrimage that served no one but myself. I felt unfit to sing my own hero's song.
When the Vietnam war began I had gone through two years of required ROTC at LSU. It was my decision to drop ROTC and focus on my degree in physics. By the time war was in earnest I had a degree and a child which kept me out of being Second-Louie Cannon Fodder, a decision I have never regretted.But in recent years I recalled a song we sang in jest in the ROTC, which I have come to call the "ROTC FIGHT SONG." I share it to dissipate any tinge of melancholy from my friend Kevin. Let this be our joint "hero's song."
Some Mothers have sons in the Army
Some Mothers have sons overseas.
So hang up your battle star, Mother:
Your son's in the ROTC.
R O T C, it sounded like bullshit to me.
R O T C, and that's what it turned out to be.
If that's not enough, perhaps this poem will lead Kevin to pick up his mandolin and find a quiet corner in which to create a song of joy.Socrates Blues
Soldier on, Philosopher Friend
Soldier on, Philosopher Friend
sleep on stones of generals
sing your song of heroism
pour your blues into melancholy
till it flower into joy.
When Kevin's daughter Jordan wanted the golden teddy bear prize, he had to pop a red balloon on his first try. He didn't know that he could do it, but indeed he did. He did it! Kevin comments on his heroic first try success.
[page 169] Isn't it odd how, just before you do something you know you cannot do, you know you can do it; indeed, you already have done it — have leaped the brook, popped that single balloon, said the thing you could never say?
There is a lesson for all of us from Kevin's paragraph above. It is this: It is a poor memory which only works backwards, one that can only remember the past! Humans also can Remember the Future. Remember I said that feeling is the only remaining remnant of our original clairvoyance?Whereas once we could see and feel future events, now we can only feel future events. My insight is this: Remember the Future, it hums in the Present. Kevin knew he could pop the balloon because he could already feel having done it! That is the sense he had of having already done it. Love at first sight is the feeling of already having lived years in love with a person.
Remember: go into a quiet corner and breathe.
#9: Into the quiet corner: BREATHE!
Chapter 10 teaches us that the Respectable Folks WHISPER!
As a child, I believed in fairies, not because someone had convinced me of their existence, but because I had vivid memories of seeing them. As for people, as I grew older they convinced me of the non-existence of fairies, as happened to most of you, I imagine. It certainly happened to the people who arrived to hear Kevin speak in the library in Southbridge, Massachusetts. He wrote in his journal (Page 175), "I hope today that someone will guess the answer to the riddle. If not, I think it's safe to say that:
THE FAIRIES ARE FORGOTTEN."
"Who are the Respectable Folks?" was the riddle he presented to the dozen or so people who arrived. He had planned to sing Henry's favorite song, "Tom Bowling" about a younger brother who had died at sea. No one guessed the answer after the first part of the song. The second part began, "The respectable folks, — /Where dwell they? /They whisper in the oaks /And they sigh in the hay; /Summer and winter, night and day, /Out in the meadow, there dwell they. /They never die, /Nor snivel, nor cry, /Nor ask our pity /With a wet eye. . . ." "Fairies," said Rebecca, in a calm, low voice, just as everyone in the circle turned to look toward the entrance, as three people came into the room. (Page 178)
Rebecca knew the answer and said in a whisper befitting a fairy herself. Since only Kevin heard her, he continued with the third verse of the song, and out came the attempts to solve the riddle, "Trees?" "Nature?" Kevin added another verse of these "creatures of a different destiny", but received back only silence. He invited Rebecca to give her answer again, and a collective sigh and chuckle went out from the group. (Page 181) One person, Margaret, grew up in Ireland and heard countless stories about fairies, but no one shared having seen fairies as a wee child. It was as if their wee childhood had been brainwashed out of them. Kevin commented about Rebecca:
[page 181] Rebecca was shy, unpretentious, and spoke in soft, matter-of-fact tones. She seemed just the sort of person the respectable folks would seek out to whisper in her ear.
Henry communed with angels and fairies in his dreams, as we all do, but so few can hear the whispers because to them "respectable folks" do not believe in fairies. Henry wrote about dreams:
[page 182, 183] A part of me which has reposed in silence all day, goes abroad at night, like the owl, and has its day. At night we recline, and nestle and in fold ourselves in our being. Each night I go home to rest.Each night I am gathered to my fathers. The soul departs out of the body, and sleeps in God, a divine slumber. As she withdraws herself, the limbs droop and the eyelids fall, and the nature reclaims her clay again. Men have always regarded the night as ambrosial or divine. The air is peopled then — fairies come out.
When you wish to honor the invisible, please whisper.
#10: Respectable Folks WHISPER!
Chapter 11 say: A Track Repairer in the Orbit of the Earth: LOSE!
Henry enjoyed walking the railway lines and telegraph lines they made possible between towns. He love the aeolian harp created by the wind wafting through the telegraph wires. But he also envisioned the negative side of the progress they brought.
[page 185, 186] Though Henry might make hay of the railroad's convenience, he was unabashed in calling out the havoc it wrought on human lives. "To make a railroad round the world available to all mankind is equivalent to grading the wide surface of the planet," he declared. "We do not ride upon the railroad; it rides upon us." Do not the computer and the "smart" phone ride upon us too?
I remember the good ole days, before the new millennium, when our children came to visit and we actually sat around the table talking to each other. Nowadays, we can only see their faces if we espy their reflection in their smart phones. I hate when someone wants to show me some cute cat trick or have me to listen some new book on tape — I have access to all these things if I want them, please do not shout at me using other people's noise, whisper to me as respectable folks do.
Henry wrote in Walden about losing a hound, a bay horse, and a turtle dove. (Page 186) Henry lost his brother John to lockjaw, a scourge in times before penicillin. My mother in the 1920s lost her younger brother Carlton to lockjaw also. She was always careful of our safety, especially around nails.
Henry lost his friendship with Ralph Waldo Emerson who did not appreciate Henry's closeness to nature, warning him, "Very seductive are the first steps from the town to the woods, but the End is want & madness." (Page 188) Their dispute was between the Old World of Emerson and the New World of Thoreau.
[page 188] While Emerson sought intellectual and spiritual treasures in the Old World, Henry dug deeper and deeper into this new World native land of his, convinced that the lode held there was as rich as anywhere upon Earth.
Most people do not realize that Henry only spent two years at Walden or know his reason for leaving Walden to return to Concord, or care. Kevin shares with us Henry's reasons.
[page 192] American has never learned the sacred lesson of surrender. "I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there," said Henry after two years in his woodland temple. Henry had every reason to be able to tell Emerson and Bronson Alcott and Margaret Fuller and even George Melvin the trapper: It's been a good run. I left before the moss grew on me.
Surrender that which no longer serves you.
#11: A Track Repairer in the Orbit of the Earth: LOSE!
Chapter 12 leads us back to Thoreau's roots as he says to us: TRANSCEND!
Henry slept in a trundle bed with his young brother John, but Henry always stayed up much later than John, causing his mother to ask why. Henry said, "Mother, I have been looking through the stars to see if I couldn't see God behind them." (Page 196) This was how Henry's transcendentalism began.
His zest for botany is best understood by his dogged attempts to get the secret of the Azalea nudiflora or pinxter flower. Kevin relates the details of Henry getting the secret location of the flower from George Melvin on pages 197 to 199, but the symbolic meaning of the flower is revealed by Kevin. The pinxter means Pentecost, the time when the newly baptized wear white robes and the time when white flowers of the pinxter blooms.Melvin had been returning with cuttings of this flower for ten years and finally Thoreau had added it to his botanical collection. Why was it so important to Henry? His reason was to complete his collection. Kevin reveals that the "pinxter flower was emblematic of a kind of personal Pentecost for Henry" — he who rejected any Christian beliefs was strongly attracted to the Whitsuntide or Pentecost flower. Henry wanted to speak in the tongues of all of nature and on his own personal Pentecost the Holy Spirit arrived for him.
Transcend the times, as all fools do.
3.) ARJ2: Understanding Society by Rudolf SteinerRudolf Steiner
In the Norwegian Boy Scout's Handbook in the chapter on Map Reading, it says, "When the terrain differs from the map, believe the terrain!" Ten years after my boss told me that piece of advice, I spent a year reading the classic work of Alfred Korzybski who said the same thing this way, "The Map is not the Territory," but he added something very important, "It does not represent all the Territory." In addition Korzybski created a Structural Differential(1) in which he displayed the various levels of abstractions we use when we talk, mostly out of our awareness. If our sole source of understanding comes from verbal maps, we would soon be lost in an imaginary land with no hope of finding any truth or reality in the abstract terrain we have wandered into.
Notice for yourself how often you and others mean intellectual understanding when you talk about understanding something. Intellectual reasoning is an important part of understanding "What Is Going On" in the modern world, but, rightly understood, we can never reach a full living human understanding solely through dead abstractions of thought. Every word was once a living metaphor and has now been flatten into a dead shell, a token which has replaced the living, burning, moving, vibrating reality it is taken to represent, namely, a map.
Matthew Barton explains it this way in his marvelous Introduction:
[page xii, Barton] An education that prioritizes the child's understanding over the development of all other capacities, embracing the scientific paradigm as unquestioned, universal standard, will, (Steiner) thinks, inevitably become shallow and superficial.
Steiner deemed this kind of full education so important for the human race that he devoted much of his last six years to creating and fostering it in Waldorf Schools. From 1919 on, his speaking and lecturing on Waldorf education expanded to fill twenty-five volumes(2). He envisioned that Waldorf education could balance the one-sided intellectual training of our children and thereby help them to live as full human beings.
[page xii, Barton] Education for life, if it is to have real meaning, creates warmth, love, and enthusiasm in the child's soul, out of which deeper understanding can later be born.
In learning something new, it's best to learn all about it before you start. That is why Barton's Introduction is so important to study and absorb fully before we dig into the rest of this book. He pinpoints Steiner's insight of how our intellect comes from the past and our will carries us into the future, explaining how we merge with others in an often unconscious and yet meaning-full way.
[page xii, Barton] At the other pole from the intellect, which is past-related in Steiner's view of the human being, lies the will, a faculty, that carries us into the future, is born in warmth, and is by definition much less easily accessible to our conscious perceptions. It is through the will that we relate in moral intuition to others in society, that we actually 'engage with life', changing and shaping it for the future. Thus social interaction between two or more people, as the core and essence of all society, involves an unconscious element: in a continual alternation, we only perceive others by momentarily 'dreaming into and falling asleep' in them, then waking up to ourselves again.To be alive to the reality of this process is to allow others' reality to inform us, is to honor the gifts that each one brings and to incorporate them into a living weft of mutuality, an awareness of reciprocal dependence that enlarges us, as opposed to the construct of an 'agenda' or 'program' for social reform pursued or imposed (inevitably in a top-down manner) without this awareness.
What is an agenda or program? Rightly understood, it is an intellectual construct which requires coercion to implement. Steiner's attempts to install a three-fold society foundered on the reefs of a society which only understood using coercion to implement its programs. One hundred years later, coercion is still the main tool of every form of so-called government, some to a greater or lesser extent.
Each of the three spheres of society, the citadel, the market, and the altar, depend upon coercion to exist. Spencer Heath coined these names in his eponymous 1957 book, meaning by them:
[From my review of Heath's Citadel, Market, and Altar] The citadel is the regulatory, law enforcement, defense organization of the society. The market is the economic sphere and all that it entails in every kind of production and service enterprise. The altar is the cultural sphere that encompasses all the areas of human endeavor outside of regulation and economic activities.
If you study Steiner's threefold society, you will find he divided society into those three activities. The problem in a nutshell was how to keep these three folds from interfering with each other? The citadel as the enforcement arm will want to control the market (economic arm) and the altar (cultural arm). True government will regulate without coercion, but until that day arrives, we are stuck with so-called government which coerces to achieve its programs and goals for the economy and culture. Even Steiner with his amazing insight and ingenuity could not work out a way of achieving independence of the three folds of society because of the overweening power wielded by the so-called government bodies which were simply coercive tyrannies masquerading as governments.
Steiner was right in saying that his three-fold ideas were "not abstract ideas but contain the seeds of true development which, like any reality, might assume very varied and diverse forms in actual and always different conditions." (Page xiii)
[page xiii, Barton] Steiner warns us against nationalism, utilitarianism and any other 'ism'. Like Dickens before him in his humorous and ironic depiction of the bureaucratic 'Circumlocution Office', he pours gentle scorn on the exponentially increasing 'data' (Lecture 11) in which we can have such misguided faith, in the numerical or quantitative mass of proofs and evidence that clog our shallower minds. He warns, somewhat prophetically, against our failure to think or create for ourselves because of all that is 'given' to us on a plate, without any need for us to process it ourselves (using only our thinking).
In achieving a three-fold society, we must first arrive at a government which operates completely without coercion. Forget for a moment that you imagine this is impossible — that is after all only a thinking process. Every great idea was once an impossibility, was it not? Without coercion, the citadel, market, and altar will operate independently, will they not? Perhaps there is a way to create a government that governs and does not coerce, and if so, a three-fold society will be created as a natural result.
Until 1981 or so, I did not consider it possible for there to be a society without coercion; I always assumed some coercion would be necessary. That was before I took Dr. Andrew Joseph Galambos's course in Volitional Science. Slowly it dawned on me that when a majority of people understand Galambos's amazing definition of freedom, we will be on a one-way path to a government absent all coercion. It took almost twenty years before a book appeared containing his amazing concepts and I was able to review it. Galambos's work provides us each a way "to progress from morality based on authority to conduct based on moral insight." (Rudolf Steiner, page 102 of Philosophy of Freedom)
Galambos gives us the moral insight.
What is Galambos's definition of freedom and how can it have anything to do with morality in the sense that Steiner means it? Succinctly put, Galambos posits: "freedom is the societal condition that exists when one has 100% control over one's life and all non-procreative derivatives of one's life." Below is a short excerpt from my review of his book which explains the connection between freedom and moral insight.
[Adapted from my Sic Itur Ad Astra Review] Galambos gives us an operational definition of morality that is simple, easy to understand and to explain, "any action is moral that does not involve coercion." In other words, any action taken in freedom, is moral, by the definition of freedom. "To live in the love of action and to let live in the understanding of the other person's volition is the maxim of free human beings," as Steiner said. A moral person is one who lives in freedom and uses the 100% control of one's property in harmonious synchronism with other moral persons and all persons remain free human beings thereby.
If this sounds impossible, it's not, as it violates no fundamental law of nature. If this sounds like it's never existed before, it hasn't. For a short time following the founding of the United States of America, when the forces of coercion had not yet organized, enough ability to have 100% control over one's property existed to foster an enormous increase of prosperity. By the mid-1800s the coercion of King George had been replaced the coercion of a bureaucracy and the United States began its slide down from the 100% Freedom end of the Ideological Spectrum to something much lower.
Galambos was a materialistic scientist, a rocket scientist, who found that he could not do his work in freedom, so he worked on creating the conditions of freedom for himself and others. He was criticized by some who claimed that his basic principle of freedom was "obscurely mystical and lacking in clarity". Steiner encountered a similar criticism in his time.
[page 1, italics added] Anthroposophists often say that our movement ought not to have burdened itself with what is implicit in the movement for a threefold social organism. And on the other hand, some of those whose interest has been awoken for this social movement find it troubling that this idea began with an anthroposophic outlook which they may often feel to be obscurely mystical and lacking in clarity.
What can one learn from Galambos? For me it was to avoid dancing with the forces of coercion. If I get a speeding ticket, I pay. Tax bill, pay it. If you resist the forces of coercion, it's like wrestling with pigs: you both get dirty and the pigs love it. Respect everyone's freedom at every level and avoid those who don't.
In Lecture 2, Steiner reveals the connection between memorizing and digesting. When you memorize some data or digest some food, you use the same power for both.
[page 17] One very important faculty in ordinary life, as we have frequently discussed, is the power of memory, which we use inwardly whenever we recall something we once experienced. But as you all know, this memory faculty has a curious quality: we both do and yet do not entirely control it. Many struggle to remember something but can't. This desire to remember accompanied by a failure to fully remember is due to the fact that the same power we use inwardly as faculty of memory also serves to transform the food we digest into substances that our body can use. If you eat a piece of bread and this bread is converted inside you into a substance that serves your life processes, this appears to be a physical occurrence. Yet this physical process is governed by supersensible powers — and these are the same that you use when you remember things. The same kind of forces are used for memory on the one hand and for assimilation of nutrients on the other.
When you are hungry it becomes very difficult to memorize something. You may have never noticed this because you likely have interrupted any memorization work yourself to get something to eat or drink. We swing back and forth from soul to body when doing memory and digesting work. Digesting is body work and takes energy away from the soul work of memorizing. A good rule is to alternate the two processes: "Remember, then Eat; Eat, then Remember." This avoids a battle between the two.
[page 17, 18] When you try to remember something, you always have to wage an inner battle — which occurs in the unconscious — between a soul process and a bodily one. If you consider the faculty of memory in these terms, this is the best way to recognize the foolishness, from a higher vantage point, of seeing some people as idealists and others as materialists. Digestion and assimilation of nutrients in the human body is without doubt a material process. The forces governing it are the same, though, as are active in a process of ideation: the powers at work in our memory faculty. We only have a true view of the world when we see it neither materialistically nor idealistically but instead are able to recognize the ideal nature of material phenomena, and equally to trace the entirely material processes underlying ideal ones.
Do you imagine the sensory world closely surrounding us and the supersensible world as spreading out indefinitely all around us? Such a commonplace view will not help you to understand the reality of a human being. Instead Steiner suggests we imagine the sensory world of the human as a straight horizontal line with the supersensible world of cognition impinging on it from above and the subsensible world of will from below.
[page 19] The human being is the result, the outcome, of the combination of supersensible and subsensible forces. So now, which forces in human nature are supersensible and which are subsensible? The supersensible ones are all those connected with cognition; everything we employ for cognition is supersensible. And these same powers also form our head.
What are the subsensible forces that also play into us, what kind of forces are these? They are will forces. All will forces in us, everything of the nature of human will, is subsensible.
The supersensible forces of cognition from outside the Earth and the subsensible forces of will come to us from inside the Earth from the moment of our birth.(3) We undergo a progression from forces within the Earth from birth to age 7, then we move to forces of the atmosphere from 7 to 14, and then to forces of the planets from 14 to 21. In the last phase the human passes from the subsensible to the supersensible, and "The forces of the whole solar system . . . now exert an organizing effect upon the young person." (Page 20)
From age 21, wisely considered as the age of majority, "we must draw from ourselves what we need to live."
[page 21] We must slowly draw up again the forces of the earth and the planetary system that we previously led downward into our organism.
To ensure this always happened in the past, the forces of human blood were active. The human being was able to draw forth the earth's forces from himself without having learned to do so. He did this as an unconscious process; it lay within his blood. He had been configured and organized in a way that enabled him to do so. In our own time — though this of course encompasses a long period of centuries — a significant change is that human blood is losing the power to draw forth what has been configured into the organism in this way up to the age of 21.
The waning forces of our human blood can no longer do consciously what earlier they did for us unconsciously. We need a practical way of dealing with this change of humanity's evolution.
[page 22] In practical terms we must become aware that the whole education system needs to change. We have to enable a child to develop the conscious power to re-experience at a later age, as if in vivid memory, what the person assimilated as a youth.
What is the power of an unanswered question? is one of my basic rules of life and is of crucial importance in the proper education of children(4). Leave children with unanswered questions which will live in them and these unanswered questions will come back to them with powerful answers, which, as adults, they have become ready to receive. But, outside of Waldorf systems and similarly enlightened schools, teachers today strive to talk down to a child's understanding by answering a child's questions fully. Doing so, they produce children who are encouraged to respond to any new information with a perfunctory, "I know that!" and miss a chance of learning anything new in the currently received information, either now or in the future. If this makes little sense to you now, may I suggest you hold it as an unanswered question?
Steiner was aware of this trend which was already obvious a hundred years ago and has gotten worse today. Children are expected to receive the teacher's presentation silently and to have a feeling of knowing everything about the subject thereafter. We need teachers who do not teach down to children's current level of learning but rather teach up to children's expanded possibilities today.
[page 22] At present people everywhere are doing the opposite. They are proud, for instance, to conduct what are called 'object lessons' in primary schools — that is to introduce everything to children in terms they can immediately and tangibly grasp. At all costs, they think, they should avoid presenting children with anything that exceeds their present comprehension. Instead the teacher, the parent, should talk down to the level of the child's comprehension. There are arithmetical calculators used to teach children all the mathematical processes by counting off little balls(5). Nothing is meant to exceed the child's level of understanding. But these object lessons become appallingly trivial and banal. Descending to the child's level of comprehension leads ultimately to teaching the child only banal concepts. And those who do this completely overlook an important albeit subtle experience in human life.
"Meanings flow from soul to soul on the wings of words" is a concept I wrote about in a Final Paper for a Ph.D. level course in College Teaching. When a teacher has absorbed the material to be presented in her lesson plan, then presents it to her child with an inspiring enthusiasm, the child's soul absorbs all of the teacher's meanings, even those the teacher only felt in her soul, and all these feelings become a source of deep learning for the child, possibly appearing in the child as a maturing adult 10 or 20 years later.
[page 22, 23] The child assimilates it through living in the warmth that emanates from the teacher. The child absorbs something that goes beyond its understanding, doing so simply because of the teacher's infectious warmth and enthusiasm. The child does not yet understand what was absorbed, but it settles into the child's mind and soul. And what a child has absorbed in this way at age 10 is something the adult may remember at age 30.
Rule-based or normative pedagogy which enforces standards on teachers and students are silly, rightly understood. Steiner parodies it this way:
[page 23, 24] At our present level of consciousness we ought to regard this really as if we were to refrain from eating until we have understood that the human being is composed of carbohydrates, proteins and so on, that they are converted thus and thus in the body. It is like thinking we should not eat before we have understood the physiological processes of digestion.
What was beginning during Steiner's time, is rampant behavior in our time, with the amount of various components of our foods stamped on the outside of the packages we buy. As a result, one no longer needs a scale — a calculator, perhaps, which thank God few people use while eating today.
[page 24] I once told you, and you may have had the same experience, that on visiting someone on one occasion I saw he had a pair of scales next to his plate. He placed a piece of meat on the scales, and weighed it, since he was only allowed to eat a very specific amount of meat. Here physiology dictates appetite. But, thank God, we have not yet come to the point when everyone does this.
And yet, we have come to a similar silly approach to creating teachers who use rule-based or normative pedagogy, weighing on a scale every skosh of subject material a child should learn and be tested upon later. This tends to create children who are good at intellectual test-taking and are otherwise vacuous shells of living human beings. Normative pedagogy is as useful to a learning child as the study of the aesthetics of color is to a working oil painter, rightly understood.
[page 24, 25] Most people know this, and yet they do not recognize that one should also teach, teach in a lively and living way, without having absorbed this normative pedagogy. . . . you must learn from the child how you must teach the child. . . . When the child stands there before you, again you are completely electrified by this developing human being and by what you need to do to teach the child.
In 869 the Eighth General Council of the Church decreed that thenceforth humans were to be considered only body and soul, eliminating the spirit as a third and equal component. Yes, the soul would be accorded a few spiritual properties, but the trichotomy of body, soul, and spirit were gone forever. The time has come for humans to understand the importance of the spirit in holding body and soul together.
Steiner gives us the metaphor of a bronze signet ring and sealing wax to help us understand the role of spirit. Mr. Smith's ring has SMITH sculpted into its surface and when it is pressed into wax, the name SMITH appears in the wax.
[page 39] The fact that this is 'Smith' has no connection whatever with the bronze itself, not its constituents, but with a real, living element. The fact that a person is called Smith is related to life and points to the whole breadth of life. So here we have the soul-spirit, and here the body. The soul-spirit imprints itself in corporeality. But the element that is the same in both of them, the spirit, is a whole, wide world.We do not comprehend the spirit if we only ever regard the soul, just as little as we learn to recognize Mr Smith if we only look at the signet. Nor do we comprehend the spirit if we merely gaze at the material world, just as little as we recognize Mr Smith by staring at the sealing wax.
It is a matter, therefore, of the spirit mediating the interplay and relationship between soul and body. And in our era we are in a phase of humanity's evolution in which it is vital to comprehend this fact properly.
We are citizens of the cosmos, and we only appreciate this when we grasp our human nature spiritually. Spirit is not something added onto soul as religions would have us accept as truth; in truth, spirit is an essential part of our human nature and without us imparting our human form to Earth after death, the Earth would die, lacking all spirit.
[page 40, italics added] Ordinary science only considers the human being as a creature whose life ends at death. All it can observe thereafter are the bodily remains, and how these are cremated or returned to the earth, becoming dust. Now it would be possible to study the constituents in this human dust, the residue of the human organism. Science will say that human substance decomposes and rejoins the earth. Well, this is not even a fraction of the truth: it isn't true at all. You see, what is given back to the earth, irrespective of whether the body is cremated or buried, once had human form and had this also by virtue of the fact that before birth, or before conception, a being of spirit and soul descended from worlds of spirit and worked within this physical body until death. Then this physical body is given to the earth; and the nature of human form works on in the earth, irrespective of whether the body was cremated or buried, and continues to collaborate with the earth. To the earth is continually imparted something that it would not have if human bodies were not given up to it at death; the earth benefits from this. Otherwise, if it did not receive human bodies, the earth would only possess earthly substances.
During its Polaric morning and long Lemurian afternoon, Earth possessed uplifting forces, but since the middle of the Atlantean evening, these forces have been withering and yet kept refreshed by the formative forces of deceased humans which enter the Earth making the Earth a habitable place for living humans on its surface.
[page 41] When we are born we bear soul-spiritual forces from the spiritual universe into the earthly realm, and use them as long as we need them, until death; then we give them to the earth as formative powers and so become collaborators helping to shape the future earth.
We are not an insignificant animal roaming on a tiny speck of dust on the edge of one of many galaxies in a huge universe. We are born out of the universe to be co-creators of our world, "a mediator between the world of spirit and this physical world of earth."(Page 41)
Of what use is all this knowledge, people may ask you? Steiner says your knowledge is not especially valuable; it is what you become through knowledge that is valuable. (Page 42)
Take for example the knowledge that humans were strongly penetrated by materialism by the fifteenth century, what can we do with that? We can expect that our turning to more spiritual understandings will be made difficult by such materialistic people, especially those in religious confessions (churches) which find it difficult to comprehend anything truly spiritual. Steiner gives an example of talking to such a religious person about the intensely spiritual painting of Raphael known as The Disputa, that both them were standing in front of.
[page 43] In the course of our conversation, I tried to illustrate something by relating it to this painting. I said that anyone who seeks to cultivate the life of spirit must come to the point of recognizing why Raphael, in the consciousness of his time, painted The Disputa. Above we see the heavenly worlds with the Trinity, below the sacrament on the altar, and the Church Fathers and theologians. But on their own none of these things are the most essential aspect of the painting. What is essential is this: that a theologian with deeper insight — and many no longer had this at the time — who took his theology seriously, as Raphael did, so that its soul imbued his painting, would know that when the host, the sacrament, has been consecrated, and one gazed through it, one gazed upon the world that Raphael painted in the upper portion of The Disputa. The consecrated host really is the means to gaze through into the world of spirit; and that is why Raphael painted it in this way. That was by way of example. And what I mean is that we must find the path back to comprehending the true content of such a painting, which was painted out of a consciousness different from our own.
Steiner admitted that he could not imitate the grimace of the theologian when encouraged to see his holiest sacrament in this spiritual fashion. (Page 43) And yet priests have been trained since the beginning to hold the consecrated host in front of the communicant to be observed while he says, "Body of Christ" and the communicant replies, "Amen." This indicates that in early centuries priests and communicants could observe the spiritual scene as a living reality that Raphael later painted. Only when this spiritual scene faded from view did the question of transubstantiation arise. As Steiner says, "Discussion arises when knowledge disappears."
Raphael could not view Christ as a "simple man of Nazareth", but viewed Him instead as Christ Jesus, a simple man of Nazareth, yes, but with the Great Christ Spirit residing in him after his Baptism by John in the Jordan.
[page 43, 44] For theologians today, the 'simple man of Nazareth', as they define him, is just a figure like Socrates, Plato, or Aristotle, albeit a little more elevated. Theology itself has become materialistic.
Can you grasp the difficulties for modern humans to unite the materialistic and spiritual, as future humanity requires?
[page 45] To be either materialist or spiritual in outlook is simply to fall back into older modes of human feeling. Only if you can be both, so that both livingly interpenetrate, can you become equal to the contemporary needs of human society.
In Lecture 4, Steiner urges us to comprehend and to act. He points to two things responsible for the decline of our civilization: 1) the lack of a scientific element and 2) the lack of an impulse for freedom. Lacking both understanding and actions in freedom, humans end up as religious marionettes in the hands of church leaders.
[page 47, 48] Either we have religious fatalism, where people give themselves up to religious powers of one kind or another, offering themselves in its service as if they were puppets on strings pulled by these greater powers, or we have a scientific fatalism. This comes to expression in a gradually developing view that everything is governed by natural necessity or economic necessity, which allows no room for freedom of action.
The third thing is Church leaders have lacked creativity in producing new meals, continuing to warm up old leftovers, and wondering why nothing is changing for the better. Only with a great interest in the spiritual world, can we replace the stale, old ideas with new, nutritious ideas(6).
Science alone cannot provide these new ideas, until we have a science which incorporates the cosmos into itself.
[page 60] Without incorporating the cosmos, as a cosmogony, science cannot provide us with inner, human impulses that sustain us through our lives. In today's world we can no longer live instinctively. We have to become conscious. We need a cosmogony and we need true freedom. We do not just need phrases about it, mere talk on the subject of freedom, but a real incorporation of freedom into our immediate existence. And this can only come about on paths that lead to ethical individualism.
What does Steiner mean by ethical individualism? When I was eighteen and beginning college, I found a treasure of books in the college bookstores. Books I never found in our town's public library nor in my high school library in a rural area. The most important to me was Ralph Waldo Emerson's Essays. It was in his famous essay, Self-Reliance, that I first encountered ethical individualism. Later I found it in Galambos's courses in Volitional Science, and still later in Rudolf Steiner's various works.
Here's how Steiner defines it in Lecture 4:
[page 60] Ethical individualism is nothing other than a personal realization of freedom. The best people simply failed to grasp that something such as I was urging in The Philosophy of Freedom was drawn from the actual needs and impulses of the time.
Emerson's Self-Reliance was his way for achieving "a personal realization of freedom". What both Steiner, Emerson, Spencer Heath and other proponents of freedom needed was an operation definition of the word freedom. Lacking that, our minds are beset with ambiguities when reading these great thinkers talking about freedom. Freedom seems to morph into selfish and egotistical actions, and it slides farther and farther away from any semblance of ethical individualism.
Now add in Galambos's amazing definition of freedom and things become simple. You immediately have a test to determine if an action is done in freedom, an action of ethical individualism. How? An operational definition is one which allows you to apply an operation to an action by which you can determine if the action fits the definition.
Is Action A an action done in freedom? Operate on A using the definition to quickly determine if A was done in freedom. Here's Galambos's definition of freedom: "freedom is the societal condition that exists when one has 100% control over one's life and all non-procreative derivatives of one's life."
These three examples will help to show how this works on the three kinds of things one can acquire as derivatives of one's life.
Example 1: A man kills someone. Was this done in freedom? No, because the deceased had his life taken from him.
Example 2: A woman writes a screenplay and a foreign company makes a movie of it without her permission. Was this done in freedom? No, because the woman's thoughts and ideas are a derivative of her life and were used without her permission.
Example 3: A man's new auto is stolen from him. Was this done in freedom? No, because the idea to buy that auto was a derivative of the man's life and it was removed from him without his permission.
When one operates in freedom, by this definition, one will be following an ethical individualism and no other human will be killed, be offended, or feel cheated by this person's actions. This is a way of acting in freedom which one can apply in one's own life today. Good habits tend to be copied by other people, so one person's habits will be copied by others. As the number of people acting in freedom increases, at some point people who don't act in freedom will find no one willing to cooperate with them. This will put an enormous pressure on them to change their behavior and act in freedom. Gradually and inevitably, coercion will disappear, and the three-folds of citadel, market, and altar will be able to operate independently of each other from then on.
This review has focused on threefolding, education, and the nature of our human being in body, soul, and spirit. There is much more to be studied and absorbed in these lectures about thinking and willing, about how we can learn to balance the influences of Lucifer and Ahriman with the help of Christ, about how we humans affect large scale events in the world, and even more.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
Footnote 1. Korzybski explains this all in his book, which founded General Semantics, Science and Sanity.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Footnote 2. The volumes are collected here: Lectures and Writings on Education.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
Footnote 3. On page 16, Steiner says, "The powers used in Intuition, in intuitive perception, are the same as those active until the age of 6 or 7 in the growth that finds its expression at second dentition." It is these same forces which are active in the supersensible perception of Intuition.Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
Footnote 4. See Matherne's Rule #25.Return to text directly before Footnote 4.
Footnote 5. Electronic calculators and Smartphones today.Return to text directly before Footnote 5.
Footnote 6. Such as provided by Spencer Heath and Andrew Galambos.Return to text directly before Footnote 6.
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Remember: A book is like a 3-D kindle. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books — for less information, read the reviews.
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= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to converse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.1. Padre Filius Reads a Mathematics Equation 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 DIGESTWORLD to share with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
This month the good Padre Ate Some Pie in Norway:
2. Comments from Readers:
NOTE: I love hearing from all my Good Readers and including your missives here (slightly edited).
If you prefer any comments or photos you send to be private, simply say so and they will not be published.
- EMAIL from Good Reader:
I love everything about your ‘Good Mountain Press’ DIGESTWORLD. But, I now have to change my email address. Thanking you in advance for your help...!
Wishing you a fabulous Fourth of July holiday...!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Reply from Bobby ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thanks for being a Good Reader, Dale! Thanks especially for updating your email address on a timely basis.
Enjoy your Fourth of July as well!
- EMAIL from Georgia in Australia:
Hey Bobby, We are in Australia right now visiting Bob's mum who at 96 & had a stint put in. She is doing well. Her doctor was a young Chinese man and the 2 of them have made history for the elderly. They took a chance and together created a miracle. It is amazing really. I will read up on the latest. Later Mate
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Reply from Bobby ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our prayers are with Bob's mum and you two. Hope you can find your way back to Phoenix.
- EMAIL from Margaret Givens in Iceland:
In and outta hot water in Iceland! The Blue Lagoon, of course, they had a bar available!
Did you know all geothermal fountain bursts are called geysers, named after Geyser, a town near the geothermal fields in Iceland! How bout that useless cocktail information! See Margaret above right and both Barbara and Margaret in Iceland geyser bath here.
- EMAIL from Kevin Dann in NYC:
I just had a chance to read your generous read of The Road to Walden and what a treat to feel you dancing with me and Henry on that very road!
Thanks for your lovely review, which really did feel a bit like a kind of three-way biography centering on some tried-and-true homespun truths.
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Freedom on the Halfshell (Title Poem)"
Give me your poor, huddled masses, your deplorables 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 our oyster — 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:
Freedom on the Halfshell
In South Louisiana
We eat our oysters raw
Using the half shell as a spoon.
We take our freedom
In the open air
And consider it a boon.
The oyster shell is strong
and clamped shut so tight —
It takes a lot of force and skill
to open up the shell just right.
The oyster is opened live
it struggles against the knife
But when its muscle's severed
it gives up its gentle life.
Freed by coercion of its spirit
the oyster's body lies —
A delicacy to be consumed
by the scion of the skies.
Oysters all — we human beings
confront the coercive will
That would dispatch our spirit
leaving US freedom on the half shell.
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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