Standing Up To Shutting Down

“I am opposed to any form of tyranny over the mind of man.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.”
– Isaac Newton

You know what I hate? Going to the beach on a hot day and baking in the sun. You see the Sun has a funny way of defying every maneuver I make with my flimsy umbrella to shield myself from its searing heat that creeps ever closer towards me. As sweat pours through my blistered pores, each and every solar radiated fibre in my body screams ‘Help! I’m burning up!’ The grievous cacophony of cellular shrieking overwhelms me so … that I just lay there and allow sunstroke to set in.

So that’s what I hate. Unfortunately, it’s only a metaphor for what really has been bothering me lately: life overload. And trust me, I’m completely and utterly fried!

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In Light Of A Bohemian Smile

God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.
– Voltaire
Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.
– Henry Miller

 

How easy is it for you to smile? Can you manage a fake one? Do you need someone’s help? Go on and give it a shot.

A few mornings ago, I looked in the mirror; it was my birthday. I’m 49 – a little older and a lot wiser with still lots to learn. Ok, maybe ‘learn’ is not the right sentiment; maybe ‘make sense of’ is. In any event, I think the older I get, the more I scratch my head over life, which no doubt might be the reason for my thinning hair! Still, compared with other male members of my family, past and present, I still have plenty of hair on my head, so I really shouldn’t complain.

Indeed, I have a lot to smile about and day by day I try really really hard to remind myself of that. If you blink though, you might miss it.

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Dangling Angles: Rules, Lines And Floaters

WORK-TO-KEEP-FREE-NARA-516190Enlightened people seldom or never possess a sense of responsibility.
– George Orwell
 
Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
– Albert Camus
 
It’s important to know thy keepers … because they certainly know you. Yes, they are watching, planning and plotting as you go about picking up the pieces of your daily dander. They are watching to make sure you remain occupied and don’t venture too close to the unmarked boundaries they have drawn. Go on and scoff all you want. Go ahead and laugh, too. It’s ok because that’s exactly what you’ve been programmed to do; when in doubt, keep on doubting.
You see, our lives are marked by rules to follow and lines not to cross. A friendly tip might suggest for you to be mindful of where you step. Step on the wrong toes or tread on the wrong flag and you will be crushed, most certainly. ‘Step on a crack, break your mother’s back’, remember? Yes, that’s how the life goes; ‘them’ is the rules. And, there are quite a few angles, as well. 

In Apathy We Trust (Never Mind The Drone)

“I don’t know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t make any difference.”
– Jack Kerouac
“When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.”
– Thomas Jefferson

 

“Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know” is an exasperated cry often heard by the apathetic and scared. “Run for your lives!” often punctuates a panic, and many are all to eager to comply. Children are admonished to heed the words ‘curiosity killed the cat’. Build a bomb shelter, stick your head in a hole in the ground and live to hide another day.

And then there’s denial … obstinate denial. ‘It can’t be true!’ we exclaim. We don’t want to believe that which is perfectly obvious because some how or another we may become implicated. So, we shake our head, close our eyes, cover our ears and refuse to listen, see, care, feel and most other than behaviors that characterize us as living and breathing human beings. In light of this, maybe it’s true, as a friend of mine is wont to say, that ‘the dead ask the best questions’ … simply because many of us don’t.

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Drive Me To The Occupation

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’
– Bob Dylan (The Times They Are A-Changin’)

 

Back when I was a teenager, I remember being eager to reach the legal age at which I could take the examination for a learner’s driving license. It wasn’t that I really thought I’d be driving, but I wanted the license just the same. It signified some rite of passage to me, I guess. License to go and be free.

A friend was kind enough to give me his copy of the ‘Driver Handbook’ published by the ‘Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ (read: road hogs) to help me study for the required exam. One of the first things I remember reading were the words “In the state of Florida, driving is a PRIVILEGE.” The words sort of jumped right off the page and blind-sided me (almost as unnerving as the way in which Florida Highway Troopers (read: stormtroopers) would suddenly appear, riding your rear bumper, their blue lights a blazing). Before even delineating how one attains this privilege, the handbook launched into a list of how said privileges could be taken away. Words like ‘suspended’, ‘revoked’ & ‘incarceration’ seemed menacing … purposely so.

I’m sure you will agree that teenagers quickly catch on to what the word privilege means, especially because they are always being threatened with having theirs taken away. It does seem fairly sadistic to teach children the value of ‘liberty’ by robbing it of them every now and then. It’s even more perverse when the exercise has less to do with education and more to do simply with authoritarian ‘control’.

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In For A Penny: Debtors’ Prison In The USA

Debtors; Prison – Anywhere, USA

“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”

– Mahatma Ghandi
 
“The measure of a society is found in how they treat their weakest and most helpless citizens.”
– James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, Jr.

 

I had a different post in mind for this week … until I read about the following news item that just made me sick:

Lisa Lindsay, a breast cancer survivor in Illinois, was arrested for a disputed $280 medical bill, which in fact she was told she did not have to pay. Nevertheless, the bill was turned over to a collection agency, and the next thing she knew, local State Troopers bombarded her home and hauled her off to jail in handcuffs. (Insert painful pregnant pause here) Yes, apparently in the United States of America – the home of the co-called ‘free’, debtors’ prisons, previously abolished in the 1830’s, are making a comeback.

You read this news item (links below) and you get the idea that there has to be more to this story. You get the feeling that the thousands of dollars that went into the arrest of this poor breast cancer survivor, over a billing error, just doesn’t make sense. But it’s true.

Folks, something is very wrong in the United States of America. Something that defies all logic and what might be referred to as ‘humanity’. Something that should be an insult to all … but it’s not. Instead, its ‘business’ as usual. It seems the game of ‘life’ is really just a game of ‘Monopoly’ to the government and Big Business. No money? Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass go …

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Our Saving Disgrace: Economic Sheep Dip

I’ve walked and I’ve crawled
on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles
in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard,
it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.
– Bob Dylan (A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall)

 

This morning I awoke to the sound of a hard rain washing away yesterday’s fog. I’m an American; I live in Greece.

In the ‘States’, yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday, in some respects a day that has become less about NFL football and more about big business and advertising. In Greece it was just a ‘lack of business’ as usual. While pre-game tail parties and the commercial brainwashing of Americans were in full swing, political theatrics were being played out by Greek technocrats and bureaucrats that have turned a blind eye and deaf ear to the will of the people.

And, all the while bankers and ‘big business’ continue to turn the screws on ‘we’ the sheep.

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