Archive for the ‘Personal’ category

GIVE ME MY TIME MACHINE, DAMN YOU!!

December 16, 2008

This is so important, I’m ripping off the entire news report.

Swiss watch found in 400-year-old tomb

Archeologists in China are baffled after finding a tiny Swiss watch in a 400-year-old tomb.

The watch ring was discovered as archeologists were making a documentary with two journalists from Shangsi town.

“When we tried to remove the soil wrapped around the coffin, a piece of rock suddenly dropped off and hit the ground with a metallic sound,? said Jiang Yanyu, former curator of the Guangxi Autonomous Region Museum.

“We picked up the object, and found it was a ring. After removing the covering soil and examining it further, we were shocked to see it was a watch.”

The time was stopped at 10:06am, and on the back was engraved the word “Swiss”, reports the People’s Daily.

Local experts say they are confused as they believe the tomb had been undisturbed since it was created during the Ming dynasty 400 years ago.

They have suspended the dig and are waiting for experts to arrive from Beijing and help them unravel the mystery.

Emphasis added by me.

400yearoldmicrowatch

There it is.

Proof time travel exists!

Now give me my goddammed machine so I can go back to 1960!!!

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White Castle, Brooklyn, NY

December 14, 2008

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Where the scene from Saturday Night Fever was shot.

I was there that night.

Long gone. One of the victims of the Yuppie Eighties.

Photo stolen, of course, off the Internet.

Redacted By Me Without Further Comment

December 14, 2008

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W. Wyeth Willard

December 13, 2008

Sometimes … the Internet manages to knock the wind out of me.

W. Wyeth Willard, Chaplain 8th Marines

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Willard was credited with serving more consecutive days under constant enemy fire than any chaplain in the history of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

Willard landed with the Marines during the World War II battle at Guadalcanal, and of the eight chaplains who served the Marines there, he was the only survivor. In 1944, he was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Navy’s highest honor, for his service with the 2nd Marine division during the 1943 battle at Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands.

After seeking special permission to go ashore with his men, Willard, despite heavy enemy fire, evacuated the wounded and gave spiritual comfort to the dying. He paced the beach in full view, chanting “I’m Chaplain Willard and you can’t shoot me!” reported Leatherneck, the magazine of the U.S. Marines, in November 1980.

Emphasis added by me.

I never knew this about him.

For several consecutive years when I was kid, I attended a summer camp he founded.

None of us kids saw him as special or courageous or brave.

He was generally a distant fellow, who now and then would address all of us kids.

One of his specialties was doing an imitation of a rooster welcoming dawn. That sounds like a minor thing. But let me tell you, when he did it, it was God’s Own Rooster thundering from Heaven! He was prohibited from doing it by his doctor, that’s how powerful it was. But one summer, one of the counselors had an eye injury and Willard said he’d do the rooster if we all chipped in to help pay for the surgery. He was putting his life on the line for that.

I didn’t know until moments ago that putting his life on the line was something he’d done many times before. And at Guadalcanal, one of the bloodbaths of the Second World War. He not only survived it, he walked it defiantly!

One time, on a trip, we went to some sort of museum and part of the presentation was an old silent movie with, I think, Charlie Chase, in a DIY auto that he powered with a giant magnet, towing himself behind car after car. Willard laughed at that movie with a gusto that bordered on shameful for a grown man! Tears were coming from his eyes! I thought it was funny — but his reaction was … we’d call it Over the Top today. But it was genuine.

It was a Christian camp, devoted to instilling Biblical values in children. Today, that sounds like a horrible thing. That’s how degraded the term “Christian” has become over the decades, due to cartoon “Christians” strutting TV stages, sticking their noses into politics, and overall acting very unlike Jesus.

Whenever I think “Christian,” I see the true Christians I witnessed at that camp. All saints? No, of course not. Regular flawed human beings who did their best without being inconsiderate of others, who didn’t strut around in expensive suits, who didn’t make embarrassing displays of themselves. And some, of course, were there just for a paycheck for the summer, but they never claimed to be holier than anybody — and who knows?, maybe the environment influenced them and they became better people.

We kids never knew what the first “W.” stood for. I still don’t. And, of course, give a kid a strange name and we’ll mangle it into shape for easy ridicule. So “Wyeth” (pronounced WHY-eth) became “Weeth” to us. “Weeth Willard” was what we called him. Behind his back, of course.

To go through the hell of war like that — and then to come home to want to work with noisy, trouble-making kids? It’s inconceivable to me. But I saw him lead us in prayer. I heard his words to God.

His was a true faith. And he was a true man.

God bless and rest his soul. May he have his reward.

The Worst Four-Letter Word

December 11, 2008

SNOW!

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I am weak.

I’m Using Google Chrome Today

December 8, 2008

And I’m all bollixed up.

I’m used to the way Firefox 2.x (the only version this PC can use without going to its knees, mostly) does things. I miss the lower-right hand green progress bar.

Things are considerably faster, but it’s all also making me slightly dizzy, with everything looking and acting differently.

I had to go Chrome after being told by three people in charge of Teleread that the site in fact loads quickly — and not aggravatingly-slow as it always does for me. Chrome has confirmed Firefox is terrible.

I also miss Twitterfox.

I’m using iTweet, but it’s very disorienting. It’s giving me refresh problems and I feel like I’m not directly plugged into my Twitterstream.

Expect missed tweets and late or even no replies.

This Is Your Sanity Prescription

November 23, 2008

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They all say freedom is at the end. But freedom is at the beginning.

— Krishnamurti

Two posts by others in the span of one week addressed a similar issue in different ways. With the second post, just today, I found myself wanting to rip out my hair. Because the confusion I witnessed was just so goddammed unnecessary.

The posts do not matter. The issue is knowing who you are.

Some people don’t.

For the longest time, I didn’t.

Some of us are not lucky enough to be have been born to parents with a large view of life. Some of us are born into families and neighborhoods where the biggest ambition is to be able to fill your belly and be grateful for having attained that basic goal.

Part of me really wants to rip into that, berating that narrow field of vision, but those people have been formed by their own experiences, their own disappointments, and even their own lack of ambition. The problem is that they pass that onto others as what is normal.

It’s not.

We are not educated to inquire. We are educated to conform.

— Krishnamurti

There is no “normal.”

“Christ,” Dickie muttered, scratching his greasy hair with the end of a ballpoint pen. “Another eccentric. What is this, are there more eccentrics these days or just fewer normal people?”

“There never have been normal people. It’s a myth,” I said as I reached under the sofa cushions looking for an antidepressant I might have dropped while I was opening the bottle. “Listen, Dickie, there are just crazy people and statisticians. Of course, there is some overlap.”

— The Music of What Happens by John Straley; pg. 25-26

Must I do the cliche thing and trot out the “crazy” to hammer home the point? Apple based an entire ad campaign on that theme!

I’m not saying other people of the same type of mind will rise to their prominence. What I am saying is that it’s critically important for one’s own life to recognize being one of them.

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I flailed for years and years not fitting into any corporate pigeonhole. Not understanding what was happening when Me encountered Them. They — to use that alienating term — are, for varying reasons, different than Us. That in no way makes them better than us — or us better than them. (Let me kill that poisonous Ayn Randian notion right now.)

But what happens on Our end is that We are made to feel deficient or defective or malfunctioning or — even — crazy.

Well, in three short words: Fuck. That. Shit.

It wasn’t until about ten years ago I was pushed to read a book I’d heard about but never had the impetus to investigate. It was, as Gulley Jimson said when he gazed upon a painting that opened up new artistic vistas for him, something that skinned my eyes. It was to me a religious experience. That book is my Bible.

It’s now the cornerstone of my Standard Sanity Prescription for people who don’t know who they are.

This is the prescription:

Two movies:
The Horse’s Mouth
A Fine Madness

Four books:
The Outsider by Colin Wilson
Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament by Kay Redfield Jamison
The Price of Greatness: Resolving the Creativity and Madness Controversy by Arnold M. Ludwig
Limbo: Blue Collar Roots, White Collar Dreams by Alfred Lubrano

I’m not providing links for the books because I want you to do some minor work to investigate them.

But don’t click around and have them filtered through the eyes of others (one description I’ve just looked at of The Outsider is frighteningly misleading). Read them for yourself.

In fact, just frikkin buy them. You’ll want to keep them.

The Outsider is my Bible. I saw myself on just about every page of that book.

Limbo is essential if you come from that socioeconomic background and might also be otherwise useful if you did not.

This, it seemed to me, is the basic difference between human beings. Some are perfectly satisfied with what they have; they eat, drink, impregnate their wives, and take life as it comes. Others can never forget that they are being cheated; that life tempts them to struggle by offering them the essence of sex, of beauty, of success; and that she always seems to pay in counterfeit money.

— The Outsider; Twenty Years Later addendum, by Colin Wilson

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Know who you are and no one, no thing can conquer you.

Forces of containment
They shove their fat faces into mine
You and I just smile
Because we’re thinking the same lines

— “I Like You” by Morrissey

Previously here:

How Writers Write Writing
Some People Ignore Hints
Microsoft Is Dying On Its Own
Never Ask
It’s Not For You To Know, So Don’t Ask