Category: Attitude Adjustment

Some active “humor” for this Independence Day!

If anyone’s still out there reading this blog, THANKS! And a hearty howdy!

I won’t bore you with the details of my silence — suffice it to say that I muzzled myself for two long years for the sake of gaining and keeping employment in realms where my true thoughts were taboo. I scrubbed most of the “real” posts here into oblivion through the “make private” function in the WordPress software. And I quit writing, here or pretty much anywhere (except on the jobs).

Well, mostly, all I learned was that I don’t fit into what I’d call the standard, get-ahead sort of work situation, even when I do keep my mouth and mind sealed. I refuse to play the wasteful, deceitful, power-grabbing headgames others inflict on me and insist I ought to play too. (That’s what they really mean by the inane, manipulative, patronizing “team player” crap.) So for me, it comes to feel like I’m wading hip-deep in manure all day long — and I’m the only one sickened by the stench!

What’s intriguing is the feeling that, through this span of time, the mind I’ve kept quietly leashed has been busy thinking, growing, toughening itself. Busy seeking out new kindred spirits and spiritual homes.

I expect I’ll be saying more about these topics now that I’ve doffed my hip waders (and gotten the hell out of the manure pile!) and cast off my self-inflicted muzzle. But I would be wrong to promise that this time will be different — that I’ll really get to posting here regularly and frequently. I don’t know for sure that I will. I think I will, because I have so much to say, so much I’ve been saving up!

But I’ve never faithfully kept similar promises in the past. Too much seems to change too often (in myself and in the world). Here’s a post from Suelo at Zero Currency that brought me some new insights on promises as a form of burdensome debt:

It’s natural to plant ideas and plan with words and thoughts.  But beware of boasting for tomorrow, making vows, placing ourselves in debt!  When our minds are in debt or seeking credit (attached to the past or future), our hearts, our treasures, are not Here and Now.

I think now that, when I used to pep-talk on the blogs about posting more often, I was actually seeking credit in advance for having a little bit of the “chops” to become one of those bigtime, “thought-leader” bloggers. (Ugh again.) But I wasn’t able or willing then to make the regular payments in the form of time and energy spent on writing — so, in effect, I defaulted on the debt I’d entered into by making the promises in the first place. It was dishonest, and it could only create unpleasant experience on both sides. By repeatedly over-promising, I set myself up to under-deliver to you. I’m sorry.

As Suelo writes, “The doing is the vow, the doing is the commitment.” So — I’m not making any promises as to future posting. Talk IS cheap, and when it’s only talk, you can feel how cheap it is. Let’s see what kind of doing I manage to offer, here and elsewhere.

It occurs to me that I’m thankful to have this blog as a place for my thoughts to return to over the years, thankful for the connections it has provided with you. I am grateful to you for reading!

I’ve just sent in a resume for a position with a national rural-life organization, and while I was writing the cover letter, I thought of Jefferson and Washington. How they loved their farming pursuits and their lands. (I’m leaving aside the slavery question at the moment, but it’s never far from my mind.)

Jefferson, for instance, with all his legendary bookishness, loved to experiment at Monticello with varieties of peas, his favorite vegetable, to see how well they’d grow in his soil, when they would ripen, how they tasted. He also introduced viticulture to the United States. He kept copious notes over years and must have learned a great deal.

And Washington, who vastly preferred the life of a gentleman farmer over that of a politician, enjoyed using his ingenuity to develop a plow that would cut effectively through his pebbly, tough soil. He also designed a 16-sided threshing barn with a grooved floor through which the grains of wheat would fall after horses’ hooves worked them out of their hulls. In the barn cellar, slaves would then gather and sack the grain.

These two men of the world, of accomplishment and experience, dearly loved the land. I think they had a bond with it that many of us today have never known: Continue reading

Here’s an essay I wrote a few years ago. Thought you might like it. 🙂

Rosa Parks Redux

For much of the time I worked as a D.C. tour guide, I lived downtown, and — thanks to Washington’s clean, convenient Metrorail subway — didn’t actually need a car to get where I needed to go. On the other hand, one difficulty that we guides often faced (until recently) was early meeting times on the weekends, when the Metrorail didn’t open until 8:00 a.m.. (It was one of our pet peeves, and you bet we loved to gripe about it amongst ourselves!)

Thus it happened one Saturday morning, several years ago, that I needed to take a city bus to get to my meeting point by 8:00. I can’t recall now just where I was headed –- somewhere in Georgetown, I think — but I walked five blocks to Independence Avenue and caught the even 30’s bus line toward the northwestern end of town.

For 7:15 on a Saturday morning, it seemed to me that quite a lot of people were aboard, and there was no seat available anywhere in the bus. So I squeezed Continue reading

After commenting on a post by Claire just now, I thought, what the hey…this needs its own blog entry. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you episode 1 in a surely ongoing saga of real-life travesties of the magnificent English language by all-too-ubiquitous (and, thanks to the internet, self-reinforcing) fools:

Any intelligent lover of the English language nowadays is saddled with a panoply of peeves, I fear.

For instance, what’s up with “predominately” for when someone means predominantly?

Or “principle” to mean the principal amount of a loan?

Or “wallah” for voila?

Heh, I was beefing about this topic in a journal entry not long ago:

Listen, all you dumbasses out there:

You don’t REIGN in something that’s out of control. You REIN it in. As in pulling back on a horse’s reins to slow it down. (D’oh!) And when you do, you don’t say WOAH, you say WHOA. And if the horse doesn’t obey, you don’t LOOSE control of the animal, you LOSE control. Then you don’t WHINGE about “that stupid horse” to the stable groom, you WHINE about it.

What does all this have to do with my beloved usual topic of freedom? And hey, isn’t “proper” language a form of tyranny over the mind? Well, sure, just as much as the rules are over the players in a golf game. No rules = no game = no sport at all (if you consider golf a sport 😉 ). No rules = no winner, only losers.

And when it comes to language, the quality of one’s language is directly related to the quality (if any) of one’s thought process, of one’s ability to see relationships. Like why we say “reining in” government spending. (Although in this case, “reigning in” could, ahem, apply in some sense too.)

Hey, I’m all for creative linguistic juxtaposition, poetic license, and all those goodies. I studied languages and linguistics in college, and the linguistics professors liked to insist that “language is productive”–meaning that people over time change the language’s usages, spellings, syntax; they coin and borrow new words; they create new rules and demolish old ones. Same thing happens in golf, which is why there’s a new Rules of Golf published every so often.

Linguistic rules are what give structure and meaning and definition to the flow of ideas. They’re the basic guidelines of the game of communication. And don’t ever forget that it was Lenin who slyly advised dictators, “First confuse the vocabulary.”

It’s messed up that a town meeting would even see the need to debate and legislate the right to choose one’s own nourishment…the very stuff that makes up our bodies.

But, welcome to fascist la-la land, aka modern-day America. Go Sedgwick!

My thanks to Kevin at Cryptogon for the link.

From Claire Wolfe, a good thoughtful read.

Funny how so often we see strength where there really is none. The globe-topping ruler? He doesn’t feel safe until he imagines he’s controlling the actions of everybody else. That’s one funny kind of “strength.” The strongest guy in the world is probably writing poetry or building a log cabin somewhere, unheard-of and unheralded because he doesn’t need anybody feeding his ego.

Petroglyphs near Chloride, AZ

Petroglyphs near Chloride, AZ

Chloride, Arizona…population 352…about 30 miles and half a world away from us here in Kingman. Nary a stoplight, no gas station, and only a convenience-store market, mostly filled with cheap souvenirs made in China.

It bills itself as a ghost town, a former mining mecca (which it apparently is – its name comes from the silver chloride ore found locally by prospectors).  They’ve built a faux old-timey town square, and every Saturday at high noon there’s a “gunfight” in the street.  (This past week, it was the Wild Roses troupe of sassy gun molls in rags and Colt .45s.) Continue reading

The Hualapai Mountains from Route 66 in Kingman

The Hualapai Mountains from Route 66 in Kingman

(originally written August 21, 2009)

Whew…it’s been a wild couple of days.  In the midst of dealing with one neighbor up at our friends’ property who was putting unexpected pressure on us (long pointless story), Sable got into a scrape somehow and ended up with a snakebite on her snout.  Around 4 pm, I’d been taking down laundry from the line and had heard her yelp about something, but thought it was one of the other dogs who often treats her like a third-class interloper.  When I went to look for the source of the yelp, Continue reading

Mesa along I-40

Mesa along I-40

(originally written August 16, 2009)

The desert knows when too much is too much.

The washes, where rare rainwater can remain for short periods as it drains and runs off, hold more clumps of vegetation than the mesas, but also barren sands eroded off the uplands.  And then they run along the prickly-grassed meadows, which mostly aren’t covered with grass, but only with small mounds of desiccated gold in a sea of sand, stones and cinders.

Here there is no ceaseless push to get out MORE GREENERY, Continue reading