March 16, 2013

200th Post: All Your Base Are Belong To us

Brian writes:

"I think you should have a bottle of absinthe, invite a couple of worthy conversation partners over, let it rip well into the night, and commit the proceedings to wax cylinder (or whatever medium you use for these sort of things), and transcribe the best bits into an epic 200th post."

My ideal. Conversation, I'm afraid, is a dying art form. The raconteur, the wit, the perfect phrase and impromptu remark, subtlety and erudition, the long story and the delight of engagement seem to have gone the way of the dodo. That's not to say it doesn't exist somewhere, just that I can't find it. We seem to live in an era of fast track soundbites, gotcha and pedantry. So I hesitate to schedule any kind of gathering I myself would probably ruin.

b.e. earl talked about the picture that led off the challenge post (previous to this) and then went on a Sherlock Holmes jag, it seems. That picture, earl, was Jeremy Brett. yes... the quintessential Sherlock Holmes.

flask thinks I'm uncanned. Or seem to have a sixth sense about what to say at just the right moment in her life. In point of fact I am most grateful - and interested - in people who have discovered the blogs out of pure chance. It makes me wonder if there is such a thing as pure chance. A subject for more depth than my poor intellect could develop I'm sure.

gino - a Chicago boy who lives in California and always likes to rub in the weather thing but can't help being obvious that he wishes he lived here when all is said and done, wanted to talk about the Chicago Bears - a traditional team based for a century on tough, brutal defense and "three yards and a cloud of dust" offense - and how they would fit into the modern era. And I'm glad I waited to respond, because in the last week the Bears have gone after a couple of offensive weapons - one a Pro-Bowl offensive lineman - that has the local media here in Chicago talking about how "you can't call the Bears a team built on defense alone any more." I'd say new coach Trestman, an experienced quarterback coach - was brought here to infuse the modern era thinking on offense into the storied, albeit identity crisis prone, franchise. It is romantic to wish to see the Bears hold on to the original concepts of football and somehow win it all using the time-honored methods. But I think football has moved past it. Defenses and offenses evolve year to year, all trying to over match and outweigh the other and come up with an answer to the current innovation. And so it goes, ever onward. Probably in ten years we'll discover that the answer to all the modern twists of the game is something called the "quarterback sneak." And what's new will be old. Hell, I still remember when they didn't call it a "blitz," the called it a "red dog." But  have to admit falling out of infatuation with the game the last couple of years. Since the inset of my dotage I've returned to my roots, and baseball is the thing for me these days.

dave2  threatened me with fodder when we had our meeting the other weekend. I fed him some cacio y pepe nd my wife made him a cake. So his threats were minimized and he left full of wine and song. Well okay maybe just wine.

sybil law wanted to hear more about my "hatred for Scientology" and about how awesome she is. I have little to add about the ongoing fraud of the cult that hasn't already been exposed by Anonymous and other good people on the planet. But did you know that Scientology's latest "ally" is Louis Farrakhan? Yes it's true. The Church of Scientology and the Nation of Islam have drawn closer together in the last two years and "minister" Farrakhan is actually taking courses and getting "auditing." For whatever else it may look like, Scientology views the NOI as an income stream and has had to hide the racist rants of L Ron Hubbard in order to seem friendly to them. I would like to save everyone the trouble, and the $400,000. Here is what you learn deep into the sessions and your pocket. You'd have to be drunk or stupid to buy it, but here's what you'd pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to learn... OTIII  The other thing you should know is that at the highest level of achievement and your spending curve is the "revealed truth" that... are you ready?... the big secret of the entire universe is that you made your own problems. That's it. See what I did thar? I just saved you all a fortune. Oh, and sybil is awesome. No, she really is!

Mocha (aka Mocha Momma aka Kelly, which is what my wife and I know her by best) wanted more talk about absinthe, but from what I recall she  didn't want to try it when offered lo these many moons ago. But she wanted to. But she didn't. But she should have. Well, kelly, they still have these bottles around and you can always get them. And if you need someone to show you the technique I can be right over! Kelly... I mean Mocha... also wanted me to talk about my convincement as a Quaker. I was an attender since the mid-80's and only became a recorded member about five years ago, I think. Quakers try to find "that of God' in everyone. Even the lowliest and the meanest of the mean. They seek to "remove the occasion" for conflict and war. George Fox, the first Quaker, sought to return men and women to the innocency that existed before the fall from the garden, and that this is seen as the best a human can become. That's from the 1600's. Fast forward to today and the idea that the Bible is NOT a closed argument, and that revelation continues because "the still, small voice (conscience, God, the native understanding between good and bad behavior, whatever you want to call it and from wherever it comes from)" still speaks to men. It is also understood that the Bible, and indeed all "holy writ" comes to be considered and called "holy writ" on the belief of humans. The fact of the matter is that Christianity is great... until Paul gets a hold of it. Then he contradicts edicts from his own "teacher." But, more than biblical references, the important thing to understand is that your personal journey - no matter where it takes you - is VALID. And religion, when it serves best, is experiential. Not dogmatic. The Faiths have caused more strife than anything else except the struggle for resources between peoples. It's also - I think - important to know that women have had a role of leadership from Day One of Quakerism. There were women ministers among us in the 1600's, and they were in those leadership positions from the start and still are. We were against slavery, against the death penalty, for the reform of mental institutions, and founded Johns Hopkins. We count Joan Baez, Ben Kingsley, Betsy Ross, and Mr. Cadbury of the candy fame among our members. And yes also Richard Nixon and Herbert Hoover, but we don't talk about them much. And nowadays you can find Quakers who have a Christian slant, a Buddhist slant, transcendentalists, spiritualists, and agnostics. Fundamentally the sect is officially known as "The religious Society of Friends." And it's important to note the words society and friends. I'm  what's known as a "Christ-centered Quaker" because I believe that's the source of my Inner Light. The cohesive aspect that holds us together is the idea that there is an Inner Light in all of us. The definition of it can vary widely. But is that part of each of us that is intrinsically good. I enjoy silent meeting. Everyt Sunday we sit in meeting in silence, only occasionally opened if someone is led to speak. Sometimes the whole meeting is in silence, sometimes there are many "messages" and many speakers. There's much more. We welcome same sex couples, and married them in our meetings before any state gave it a nod or a shake. The byword is grace. That's what we try for. I have a long way to go. You're welcome to come to meeting anytime. You can just walk in.

Finally sligo, my high school friend from (&TYTG:*T years ago put forth the issue; "I'd like you to recall how you felt about yourself in your twenties, and what you think about that now." This is easy. I was an idiot. Now I'm just a fool. In my twenties i was never wrong. Now I usually am. In my twenties I was going to live forever. I turn 60 this year, and expect to live much longer - but I can count my reign in finite time. In my twenties I was often alone and miserable. The funny thing was everyone seemed to think i was always busy and engaged, so they never rang me up. I spent a lot of time alone because everybody thought I was all up in he world's face and too busy for them. Now I have a small cadre of friends and family I love. What's the line, paraphrased, from Man For All Seasons"? The guy was concerned about living in obscurity, never to be "someone." Thomas More suggested he be a teacher. But the guy said "hmph, if I was a country teacher who would know?" And More's answer was something along the lines of "You, your friends, your students, God. Not a bad public that.'

In my twenties I was dissatisfied with everything. Now I like cigars, peace and quiet, and books that go for 600 pages.

Thanks everybody.

Happy 200th post to ME!


SK Waller said...

I've always enjoyed your posts about the writing process, even down to the cigar on the deck at the end of the day. I miss those posts. (Sorry I didn't leave these on your previous post. Things have been weird, and I missed it somehow.)

Brian said...

Very cool.

Dave2 said...

No... no... I was totally singing to the radio as I drove back to the hotel.

sybil law said...

I am so glad I get to hear and read your voice - and the people you give a voice to in your awesome stories.
Happy 200th to you, RW!!
You are awesome.

P.S. That Louis Farrakhan shit is cray cray.

sligo said...


Gino said...

well done.
and i even learned a thing or two from your other responses.