By Caspar “Mad Dog” Milquetoast
One little mistake cost Germany WWII. 👹 Dark secrets of everyday love. 👹 Advice for the rejected and resentful. 👹 What the recent bad weather taught us about Satan. 👹 Hidden cameras in local supermarkets. 👹 Phone taps and bugged offices enliven City Hall infighting. 👹 Obamacare replacement: Medicare for All (MFA). 👹 Lowe’s announces it’s now “The Lowe’s.” 👹 Why people laugh at you behind your back. 👹
Let’s start a movement to locate the Clickbait Hall of Fame in Middletown.
And now we return to today’s excerpt from The Proceedings of the 1947 International Conference on the Advancement of Morology.
Upon the German launching of Operation Barbarossa (the invasion of the U.S.S.R.), the Ukrainian government and people welcomed the Germans with open arms as liberators until the SS started slaughtering villages. This engendered determined opposition that cost the Germans plenty.
Had the German army been able to traverse Ukraine unopposed, the German jumping off point would have been Rostov on the Don, just 250 miles from Stalingrad. Airfields, fuel depots, and more would have moved across Ukraine without loss of manpower and equipment, and the well-equipped 2.5 million-man Ukrainian Army would have joined the German attack on Russia. The Ukrainians loathed the Communists.
The Russian armies fighting the Japanese in the East would never have had time to get back to save Stalingrad. Moscow would have been vulnerable to attack from the west instead of the east, which would likely have caused the abandonment of Leningrad in an effort to bolster the defense of Moscow.
The Germans would have held everything from the English Channel to the Volga. Soviet long-range bombers would not have been able to reach German war factories. The British, like it or not, would have had to sue for peace, probably sending the Royal Navy across the Atlantic to the U.S. Millions more Jews and other targets would have been trapped and murdered.
The hinge of fate is sometimes very small.
A superb 11-minute jam by the late, great, and underappreciated Bo Diddley.
How about we put the riverfront under Route 9, like a dugout looking at the river? The sheltered space could house all-weather spaces, shops, dog tracks, jai alai frontons, survivalist tunnels, and deep underground meeting caverns for confabs with the Mole People. It could all be paid for by making the rich pay their fair share, which is to say, by magic.
Pub name: “Blessed Are the Thirsty.”
You are what you fear.
The Buddha was known to associate with worldly men and their unclean enthusiasms in much the same way that Jesus slummed around with prostitutes and tax collectors, instructing us by example to seek after lives that are as large as our love and not as small as our hatred. --Kevin Williamson
“The Welsh don’t speak Welsh among themselves; they do it when English are around, to annoy them.” --Steven R. Windsor of Abergavenny
“‘White working class’ is a courtesy title because a lot of them don’t work.”
“We need to subsidize labor force mobility. If jobs won’t come to the people, people must go to the jobs. If your town is failing, just go.” --Id.
Aphorisms and other texts are fun to ponder. Zen is a fruitful source of ponderables. Interpreting texts need not be a solitary occupation. Three friends pondered the following Zen saying. Each had a different interpretation.
The text: “A little bird ate a few crumbs of Zen and left white blobs on the table.”
First interpretation: “Zen is a laxative -- it makes you poop.”
Second interpretation: “The nature of the bird was the same after eating Zen as before.”
Third interpretation: “If you only nibble at Zen, you make little messes.”
(Well, that's tantalizing: to make big messes, swallow Zen whole?)
Two of the interpreters were women, one was a man. Can you tell from the interpretations which was which?
“Murder is bad and leads to worse: lies, slander, theft, and, in the end, bad manners and discourtesy.”
Hofstadter's Law: “Everything always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law.” --Douglas Hofstadter, professor of cognitive science (b. 15 Feb 1945)
“We are guided by the beauty of our weapons.” --Leonard Cohen
“Even in our sleep, unforgetting pain falls drop by drop upon our hearts until God, in our despair, against our will, by his awful grace, gives us wisdom.”
Some people in their college days dropped Aeschylus.
Every human culture accounts for the surrounding myriad of objects and phenomena that change but hint at underlying unity and stability. A baby grows into an adult, but is the same object. A living person becomes a corpse, but is the same object. A continuity survives the changes.
The same stability is visible across objects: no two trees are alike, but we still call each a “tree.”
Many cultures conclude that the multitude of entities derives from a single object, material, or idea. Demonstrating that solves “the problem of the One and the Many.”
The problem asks: “What is the unifying aspect of all things?” Among the candidates are material, such as earth, air, fire, water (or atoms) or an idea, such as “number,” “mind,” “God,” or the Chinese concept of Shang-ti, the "Lord on High."
Western philosophy began with Greeks posing forms of this question, which still dominates Western concepts of the universe (or multiverse, as in the “many worlds” theories). Physicists, for example, seek theories that will unify (make one) the laws of physics.
In China, what unifies the universe is called the “tai chi” or “Great Ultimate,” which consists of two opposing forces (Yin and Yang) and five material agents. Beyond that, the Great Ultimate is undefined. In Taoism, the Great Ultimate is called the Tao (the “Way”) and is equally undefined.
Buddhism and Zen had an amicable divorce and share custody of the children. Zen speaks of “the Path,” sometimes the Pathless Path to the Gateless Gate (to the Unclear Clearing?).
When Zen came to the West, it slipped its leash; the result is best described as “yee-hah.” Forget the Mystic East -- the Buddha wears blue jeans. The Changeless adapts. Zen adapts. Medieval Zen is a rusty sword, useless except as a reminder that Zen can be bloody and violent.
The charge that Zen makes no sense or contradicts itself is valid, if at all, only in the narrow sense that Zen is a perfect mirror of reality, allowing no distortions.
Sometimes the line between Zen meditation (zazen) and mindful contract drafting blurs. See if you can read the following boilerplate contract provision without your mind drifting to a place where the mountain is the mountain and the lake is the lake (chanting is recommended):
"Section 25. Severability. If a provision of this agreement is unenforceable, the following rules apply:
"(1) the unenforceable provision will be valid as modified to the minimum extent necessary to make the provision enforceable, but if such a modification is impermissible, the unenforceable provision will be void;
"(2) if this section 25 modifies or voids a provision, the rest of this agreement will remain in effect unless the modification or voidness defeats an essential purpose of this agreement, in which case the entire agreement will be void and the parties may seek remedies as upon a rescission;
"(3) if a provision is held unenforceable with respect to some circumstances but not others, it will remain in effect with respect to those other circumstances, unless that remaining effectiveness will defeat an essential purpose of this agreement, in which case the entire agreement will be void and the parties may seek remedies as upon a rescission."
The fact that Zen is a way of life and neither a religion nor a philosophy doesn’t keep Zen from commenting on religion and philosophy. It’s a free country, right? So we hear things like, “Religion is so poorly taught that God really ought to sue.”
That theme goes on like this: “People either believe fairy tales and think it’s religion, or they refuse to believe fairy tales and think they’re rejecting religion. In neither case is God involved.”
A Zen saying says that when the pupil is ready, the teacher appears. It would be better to say, “When the pupil is ready, the teacher becomes apparent.”
Your teachers are your family and the people you meet in your everyday life. When you, the pupil, are ready, you recognize that fact. That recognition, among other things, lets you show them gratitude.
In the end, you are your own best teacher; accept no substitutes. But until that end, saying that you are your own best teacher is empty boasting.
Another saying is that if you are enlightened, everyone you look at becomes enlightened.
Maybe that means that if you are the kitchen light, and Dagwood wants a midnight snack and flips you on, every surface in the kitchen instantly becomes a teacher (throws off light) because of you.
The term “environmental science” was coined in the nineteen-fifties by military scientists; civilian scientists didn’t use it until a decade later. Do you wonder what the military scientists were doing that made them coin the term? Hint: Boom!
In an earlier time, it was said that “Anti-Catholicism is the anti-Semitism of the intellectuals.” One idea in the saying is that only the not-too-bright are Jew-haters.
Hypallage (pronounced “high-PAL-a-jee”) is a figure of speech whereby an epithet is transferred from its proper object to another. In the example “angry retort,” it’s not the retort that’s angry but the person who retorts.
Here, thanks to Bryan Garner, is a bunch of alphabetically arranged alleged hypallages, with asterisks, thanks to Ken Adams, signifying those Ken thinks might not be true hypallages.
- angry fight*
- black colleges
- cruel comments*
- cynical view*
- disgruntled complaints*
- drunken parties*
- elementary classroom
- English-speaking countries
- feminine napkin
- gay marriage*
- Greek neighborhood*
- handicapped parking
- hasty retreat*
- healthy foods*
- humble opinion
- nondrowsy cold medicine
- overhead projector
- permanent marker
- provincial attitude*
- unfair criticisms*
- vulnerable period
- well-educated home
Part Eight: Apopemptic Zen hypographs.
"Apopemptic" means "leave-taking." Hypographs are things written at the bottom.
"Apopemptic" means "leave-taking." Hypographs are things written at the bottom.
“Zen is not a comb bringing order to an unruly world. Zen is more like the ordinary world making your hair stand on end from the shock of the ordinary.”
“Zen has no knife to cut the world into digestible bits. Zen swallows the world whole.”
“Zen is like a snake bite. It hurts like hell at first, but in time you get numb all over and die.”
“If you can’t let it go now, cling to it till you’re stronger. Then let it go.”
“Zen starts with the feeling that something is missing and goes to work till everything is missing.” (And good riddance.)
“You can do Zen if you can breathe and you can sit on your butt.”
“Don’t forget that changing the baby’s diaper is also zazen (Zen meditation).”
“Don’t worry that you might be doing Zen the wrong way. If you keep at it, you’ll do it the right way.”
“Zen isn’t just quiet ponds; it’s also hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, volcanoes, and evil people.”
“Zen can be hard work, but even at its worst, it’s much easier than life without Zen. So for the lazy it’s a no-brainer.”
“If you try Zen and give up on it, fear not: Zen never gives up on you. If you lose the Path, the Path finds you and gets back under your feet. Eventually you are all Zen, and everything you see, hear, feel, touch, taste, and think is Zen.”
“Once you’re sure you’re on the Path, you can also be sure you’re going in the wrong direction.”
"Zen is impossible, but people do it all the time. That's the big attraction."
That is all.