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H2O Man

H2O Man's Journal
H2O Man's Journal
October 29, 2023


"On Children," by Kahlil Gibran
(From "The Prophet," 1923)

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

As I've noted numerous times in the past 14 months, I have been taking a real life course on infants. I had not taken such an intense study of infant consciousness since my youngest child was a wee-little, wiggly human being. But, before I ramble on about babies, I want to make one point clear: this is in no way any type of endorsement of the efforts our nation is experiencing to dictate a woman's choices in health care.

While writing this, I remember a late relative who was aggressively "pro life." By no coincidence, he was a male who had mean-spirited things to say about women who had abortions. This phase lasted until he learned that a woman he picked up in the early a.m. hours in a local bar was pregnant. Suddenly, his deeply held value system becaame as flexible as a republican congressman's upon learning his mistress is pregnant.

Now, a true story about a baby. This was before I became a father. My oldest brother's infant daughter was sleeping one night when I visited him. I had just picked up the album "Band of Gypsies," featuring Jimi Hendrix in concert one New Year's Eve. Because his daughter was two rooms away, we played it low, so that we could hear her if she woke up.

A few minutes unto the song "Machine Gun," she started making noises in her sleep that I can only describe the essence of sadness. My brother picked the needle off the record, and my tiny niece became quiet. My brother and I looked each other in the eye for a moment, and then he put the needle down again. Within seconds, she was whimpering again, and so that ended our listening to Jimi's haunting song. (Link below)

My brother called me the next afternoon. We decided to try listening to it again later that night. The same thing happened. I would try to keep that in mind when my own children were growing up ...... not to argue or create a hostile atmosphere in the house, for even sleeping babies have a wotking antenna while sleeping. Being human of course, I was an imperfect father.

These days, I study not only my grandson, but other babies, including the features and behaviors of those we encounter when my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson bring me along with them in public. Some are European-Americans, some African-Americans, some Asian-Americans, some Native Americans, some Hispanic Americans, and some Americans who are Middle Eastern Americans. They are all cute as buttons, and despite the fact that they have secret communication skills, when we pass by another grocery cart with a baby in it, that baby and my grandson will lock eyes, communicating just as my late brother and I did when he lifted the needle from the album.

Now, coming from an extended that includes members from all of those groups noted above, including babies that are wonderful mixtures that seem to fit Yoko Ono's 1970 prediction that in time, humanity would become beautiful variations of the color of coffee, I am confident in thinking that babies are our future. At the same time, with my no doubt shallow grasp of DNA, they are carrying on the past, just in new ways.

Maybe that is why, throughout time and around the earth, the Enlightened Ones have spoken about the Goodness of little children, often noting how wrong it is to do harm to them. Now, in a healthy society, that would not need to be said. Any person advocating or excusing harming the most innocent of humanity would be recognized as being "not right in the head." Let's consider an example.

During the 2016 election campaign season, a journalist asked a candidate about the use of drones in warfare? I refuse to use that candidate's name, but shall describe him as a dick-dripping that splattered upon the public and stained our social fabric, known to me as "the defendent." He advocated using drones. The journalist asked about the "collateral damage," meaning the killing of innocent people? The defendent said that you have to kill the whole family, lest children grow up to be terrorists.

As fucking obscene as that answer was and is, it may be the only time since 2016 that the defendent answered a question honestly. For throughout human history, there have been at least two contants. The first is that in areas with conflict between two groups, having a relative killed by the identified enemy increases te level of hatred within the dead person's family and community. Only in a diseased mind, warped by bitterness and hatred, is it "justified" to add to this cycle.

Second, within our society, we tend to recognize those who kill babies and little children as extremely repulsive beings. Should anyone doubt this, and think there is a time and place for everything, I recommend reading, "The New Evil: Understanding the Emergence of Modern Violent Crime," by Michael Stone and Gary Brucato (Prometheus; 2019).

To any person who has read this far, thank you. These are just the thoughts going through my mind today.
October 27, 2023

Keeping Pace

" Hate is not inborn; it has to be constantly cultivated, to be brought into being, in conflict with more or less recognized guilt complexes. Hate demands existence and he who hates has to show his hate in appropriate actions and behavior; in a sense, he has to become hate. "
-- Frantz Fanon

It is the late night/ early morning hours, and I have not been able to get to sleep. Usually, reading late at night helps, and I have read another 199+ pages of "The New Evil: Understanding the Emergence of Modern Violent Crime." It is the second of a series by Michael Stone, this time with Gary Brucato.

The authors do not use "evil" in a religious sense. It is a reference to crimes so violent and cruel that the average person, not about a moral account book in the sky, but the harsh, cold reality about humanity. But it is not somehow limited to those we identify as mass murderers in a "legal" context. It is why Camus wrote, " We are faced with evil. I feel rather like Augustine did before becoming a Christian when he said, ' I tried to find the source of evil and I got nowhere. But it is also true that I and a few others knew what must be done if not to reduce evil at least not to add to it'."

The new book does not cover terrorism, warfare, or organized crime, as they are outside of the authors' work. Yet I know, for example, that the murder of Samantha Woll was evil. It was violence resulting from ignorance and hatred. Spinoza noted that ignorance was the mother of cruelty. And we see ignorance and hatred gurgling up around much of the globe.

What twists the mind of a human being tp the point they will carry out a plan to kill innocent people? I saw two news reports on Mohammad Deif, who is said to be behind the attack on Israel. Both reports noted that his wife and child were killed when Israel was attempting to kill him years ago, and that he has planned his "revenge" ever since. Clearly, he had hated Israel before his family members' deaths.

Both reports compared Deif to Usama bin Laden.This was at the same time the attack on Israel was being called their 9/11. That got me thinking about how the 2011 raid where bin Laden was killed used the operational name "Geronimo," and his great grandson's testimony to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, where it was revealed that bin Laden was "Geronimo."

Geronimo was an Apache shaman. In 1851, Mexican soldiers attacked his village, killing his mother, wife, and children. For decades, he would vent his rage on settlers -- at first Mexican, eventually Americans -- that were moving into his people's territory. This resulted in the Apache - US campaign, which involved 25% of the US military searching for the elusive small band of Apache Indians.

There were scenes of Israeli forces on the edge of Gaza, preparing for the eventual invasion. It is likely that many of these people will be injured and/or die during the invasion and occupation. And scenes of the bombing of buildings that were deemed targets. I immediately get up and start pacing, trying to set emotions aside and view the situation objectively. This is a struggle, because I know some of the Israelis in uniform will die horrible deaths if they invade, and that there are human beings not connected to Hamas are buried under what was once a building.

I do understand both violence and emotions. I've had numerous family members and friends murdered, and others seriously assaulted. I get the desire to get revenge. Been there, done that. I also know that despite the belief common among people that they can control violence, that is an environmental mrage. Violence is addictive, it limits thinking, and takes control of people. At the same time, it can be necessary for self-defense.

I continue to pace. Soon it is the next day, and the news reports are focused on a terrible mass shooting, double in nature. I pace and it's the next day. I will avoid swimming in the Sargasso Sea of arguments on the internet about war and peace, mass shootings, and other topics which, in a healthy society, could be discussed -- even debated -- without insults being slung. Obviously, I can not prevent this dangerous trend, but I will not add to it.

Instead, I will shell an enormous bag of beans that my son brought in from the garden. By late tonight, I will have a kettle of bean soup, made the way I like it. I'll eat that and continue reading.

October 19, 2023

DU, Change, & the Meaning of Life

I'm not sure how I feel about the change in DU. It's not that I don't like change, but I'm just not comfortable with it invading my life. And I'm not just talking about here on DU. Think about listening to your car's radio. Should we have to listen to this new stuff? Why is there new music, anyway? Like, what purpose does it serve? Let's get back to strictly the music of the '60s and '70s. Early - mid- seventies, not that disgusting disco stuff. And thank god those "punk rockers" all died off young. We should be listening to Jimi, Janis, and Jim.

And what's with the arguing on another OP/thread here about teaching kids cursive writing? I say grow the fuck up, and go in reverse for a while. Bloody hell, my generation will be extinct soon. Fucking kids complaining their generation will be, too, because of the environmental crises we are gifting them. Are they too stupid to know what the seniors handed down to my class when they graduated? Of course it was a prank! Think of it like bell-bottoms or a bad LSD trip. We changed your fucking diapers, you ungrateful whipper-snappers. Learn the cursive arts.

We endured great suffering to make this place better for you. Did you know that it rained at Woodstock? Of course not, you self-centered kids (anyone under 60). You and your designer pot. You couldn't have lasted a night at the party's we had. Like at Walter's. Fucking ounces of pot smoked among six guys around a table. The revolutionary plans we made -- and had forgotten when we got up the next evening -- brought you all this progress.

Didn't stop us from partying the next night. We changed everything, and that should be more than enough. Now you want "free college"? My generation didn't get no "free ride." Our parents worked hard so that we could go to college and avoid the military. Speaking of 1968, have you kids every played "Revolution 9" backwards? Oh, you couldn't identify a turn table in a fucking police line up. These are lost skills that never should have been changed.

There was a gas station on one corner, and a Mom-n-Pop's on another. None of these all-night gas stations selling stuff to eat and drink. You had to be prepared by shop-lifting from the Mom-n-Pop's store in the evening, or stealing from your father at night. Both options posed risks that you fucking kids can't grasp. Now there are cameras and your stupid friends get caught. Bring back the Polaroid Swinger.

We'd get hammered while playing baseball, just like Mickey Mantle. He was our hero, back when an alcoholic hitting home runs represented the best in America. Christ, we had one guy on our team -- I'll never forget him -- he could have played for the Yankees. Knocked the ball out into the tall grass all the time. I can't remember his name ..... he died a couple years back, in '79 or '80. Might have been '83, I'm not sure.

I could go on and on ...... probably why no one visits me. Fucking kids and their cell phones, texting that it's a real giggle they put the Senokot on a high shelf I can't reach. You think everything is a big joke, do you now? Well, the joke is on you, if you live long enough, and you can't change that.

October 11, 2023

Earth Blues

" Oh, say can you see, it's really such a mess
Every inch of earth is a fighting nest
Giant pencil and lipstick tube-shaped things
Continue to rain and cause screaming pain
And the Arctic stains
From silver blue to bloody red ....."
-- Jimi Hendrix; 1983 (A Merman I Should Turn To Be)

I started to try to write this on Saturday night. I continued yesterday, right into today's early morning hours. At first, I thought of opening with Bob Marley's song "War," the lyrics coming from a speech that Haile Selassia delivered in October of 1963 at a U.N. Conference on World Peace. This was just weeks after the Organization of African Unity (OAF) was founded in the Ethiopian capital city. Older forum members will remember how this meeting influenced Malcolm X, including his founding of a non-religious organization in the US to advance human rights.

The lyric regarding a willingness to fight "if necessary" presented a stumbling block for me. While I do believe that "violence" can be justified -- and sometimes necessary -- in the context of self-defense -- it generally can only result in a temporary peace.

I was getting ready to head out to a reunion of friends from college when I began hearing the news about the terrible violence in the Middle East. It became a topic of discussion among the twelve of us still alive at the reunion. One of my old friends has, over the decades, gone from being liberal to a rather conservative christian pastor. He viewed these events in the context of his understanding of the books of the bible.

I tend to view it differently. I have a cousin in Ireland, who during "the Troubles" was forced with his family to see his brother executed in their living room. I was in touch with this cousin until about a year ago. He quit drinking about once a day, though I am unaware of him ever going 24 hours without drinking. As a young man, I was in favor of fighting against the foreign forces on the island. Today I understand that in such conflicts, no one wins and eveyone loses.

By the time I got home, the news reports told of things becoming much worse. To quote Robert Burns' poem from 1784, "man's injumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn." And Martin Luther King, Jr., " Violence begets violence; hate begets hate; and toughness begets a greater toughness. It is all a descending spiral, and the end is destruction — for everybody. Along the way of life, someone must have enough sense and morality to cut off the chain of hate."

I do not pretend to know "the answer" in the Middle East, beyond "stop the violence." But how? Nothing has worked well thus far. It is impossible if both sides do not recognize the other's right to exist, as human beings, and to exists as a nation-state. Yet attempts to make that a reality have not been successful. What we are witnessing has a long history.

The scenes being shown on the news are heart-breaking. It is difficult to watch, and is surely causing great pain and suffering for innocent human beings. When families lose a member (or morethan one) to this type of extreme violence, it causes trauma. There are three types of actual trauma: acute, chronic, and complex. These will haunt people through generations.

Even watching the news reports brings about emotional responses. There are many good people in the United States with friends and relatives in that section of the earth. That likely includes here on this forum. So I understand how people feel, and understand and respect that many think more violence will provide protection, however brief or long, from the next round of violence.

It's a tough topic to discuss, including with friends. Older forum members will recall in late 2006, when former president Jimmy Carter published a book on this. While I disagreed with the part where he at least appeared to say oppression can justify terrorism, I thought it was an important book. I also think that Israel has a right to exist, without being attacked.

I do not know a great deal about Gaza. But I read an OP/thread about the percentage of people there support Hamas? One response -- by one of the people I've liked and respected here for many years -- responded that wasn't a valid measure, because about one-half the population were children. I understand that measure as extremely important. My primary concern is for the children of Israel and of Gaza. Thus, I will end with a quote from Albert Camus:

"I share with you the same revulsion from evil. But I do not share your hope, and I continue to struggle against this universe in which children suffer and die."

October 4, 2023

Rattus rattus

"Truth on our level is a different thing from truth for the jellyfish." -- T. S. Eliot

Yesterday I watched a documentary similar to the great episodes of "Wild Kingdom" I enjoyed many years ago. What was truly amazing was that it was live. It was about a rat attacking a jellyfish. And not just any rat, but a Rattus rattus, commonly known as a "house rat." And the rat attack came in the House against the defenseless, out of water jellyfish.

The disembodied voice of a ournalist said, "This is the first time in history that this has happened." That is correct. However, had he been Richard Marlin Perkins, that journalist might have connected some kind of recent events with another House rat, at least it qualifies as pretty recent if you are my age.

Newt Gingrich resigned from being Speaker before getting booted out. He had qualities much closer to Gaetz's than that of the jellyfish. Newt used timing to become the Speaker of the House, and he had more juice in the party than Matt does. But Gaetz thinks that now is his time to make a bold move within the republican's aquarium.

Advocating government shut-downs? Newt led two in 28 days. He thought that would be evidence of his being a populist rat. He was also convinced that impeaching President Clinton would result in republican picking up 30+ seats. But he was wrong when thinking that the common family would embrace a rat in their house.

No, house rats are actually destructive. They spread germs and viruses similar to those left on a theater seat by Lauren Boebert. They leave a stench.

Now, while Gaetz is of a lower intellectual capacity than Newt, we can recognize their goals as the same: a combination of self-promotion and a desire to destroy the federal government. Both have tried to rapidly increase the rat population in the House. Yet, as we know, when Rattus rattus over-populate, they begin to fight among themselves. Rats such as Majorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert provide an example.

After watching the vicious rat attack, I saw the corpse of the jellyfish talk to reporters. It was half-Richard Nixon's bitter 1962 concession press conference, and half- Sponge Bob Square Pants. Thus, it was funny, but not really funny.

Needing something to make me laugh loudly, I next watched the defendent's deposition with the NYS Attorney General's Office. If you haven't watched it yet, I promise it is a giggle.

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