Emily Dickinson is a cheap date

Rocking your World since 1884

As the oldest of five children, my upbringing differed considerably from the others.

Frugality is part of my earliest memories.  Conservation and efficiency were part of every lecture when I was old enough.  As a result, even to this day, I am not above eating everything on my plate and saving things that my younger siblings willingly throw away.

As you can imagine, frugality is not the easiest way to impress someone of the opposite sex.  Lucky for me, I met a wonderful woman, also the oldest, brought up similarly to me, and understanding of my ways.  In fact, to this day, she is even more frugal, so that I have to toss things when she’s not looking!  I’m sure she knows.

Which brings us to Emily.  Being a tough New England chick, she also would have eschewed anything having to do with frills and waste.  Which is why she was so happy taking long walks, tending her garden, or reading a book.

That’s why I can imagine walking with her, aimlessly, through the woods until we found a small glade, and then, sitting together, read to each other.  I wouldn’t choose anything too heady, no sermon or improving literature.  No, it would be something whimsical, even poetic.  We’d laugh, we’d talk, and then we’d walk home.

She sums all of this up right here.

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry—
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without opress of Toll—
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human soul

 

 

E Pluribus Unum

Out of many, one.

The antics in the White House press room have angered many.

The ejection of CNN’s Jim Acosta has become a lawsuit, one that CNN will most likely win.

But let’s learn something from this.

No matter which side you take, it’s easy to agree that there is one speaker, and many reporters.

When a reporter asks a hard question, and receives an answer that many deem insufficient, what happens?

The speaker moves to another reporter.

Divide and Conquer.

The hard questions never get answered.  The statements are never fully challenged.  The slowly unfolding tragedy that is politics in the USA continues.

United we Stand.  Divided we Fall.

Consider this, those of you in the briefing room.

Choose.  Choose to stand as one.  Or choose to be a mass of competing voices, each of whom goes away unsatisfied, and used.

Choose a single member to become your spokesperson.  Choose them to represent all of you, to ask your questions (submitted beforehand), and to not allow the President or his shills to divide you.

Choose to stand away from the limelight and televised publicity, so that all of us can stand for what is most important.

Choose truth.  Choose dignity.  Choose honor.

Remember.

Choosing not to choose, is also a choice.

Please, choose wisely.  For all of us.

 

Pride and Prejudice: Decompressed

Great Novel, Great Novelist

Jane Austen compressed a lot of action into her prose.  The incredible part isn’t just the compression, after all, other great writers have done that.

What makes Jane the MASTER is that her compression is hidden among ordinary text.  The compressed information gets into your head, and slowly unspools into a much larger story.

That’s beyond great.

By way of illustration, I’m going to grab a semi-random paragraph and unspool it for you before your eyes.

Chapter 21.  Fairly innocuous, not much happens, even by P&P standards.

First Paragraph.  Why not?  Here it is.

The discussion of Mr. Collins’s offer was now nearly at an end, and Elizabeth had only to suffer from the uncomfortable feelings necessarily attending it, and occasionally from some peevish allusions of her mother. As for the gentleman himself, his feelings were chiefly expressed, not by embarrassment or dejection, or by trying to avoid her, but by stiffness of manner and resentful silence. He scarcely ever spoke to her, and the assiduous attentions which he had been so sensible of himself were transferred for the rest of the day to Miss Lucas, whose civility in listening to him was a seasonable relief to them all, and especially to her friend.

Here comes the decompressed story. (begin expansion)

To the extent any discussion was possible in the household, they had nearly exhausted the subject as well as the energy of those most passionate about its subject.  All that was left from Elizabeth’s emotional point of view was to bear the uncomfortable feelings that can be assumed to accompany such a spirited offer and its refusal, particularly in the face of such strong opposition to her own wishes.  It didn’t help that her mother would continue, on occasion, reintroduce her feelings by alluding to the situation Elizabeth had created.

This, of course, reintroduces the concept of how Elizabeth’s mother was cast by the narrator of the story to be something of a simpleton.  However, we have here yet another example of a frustrated mother, but one who is disciplined enough to know that a frontal assault upon Elizabeth’s sensibilities would be ineffectual.  Instead she pushed through allusion, and not incessantly at that.  This shows that Mom was both intelligent and restrained, despite the narrator’s attempts to have us believe otherwise.

Strangely enough, as if he wasn’t strange already, Mr. Collins does not appear to feel the need to express himself as being embarrassed, rejected in any form, or for that matter, any possible appearance of avoiding the former object of his alleged affections.  In a manner that is most familiar to today’s armchair psychologists, Mr. Collins is showing his aggression passively.  He is decidedly silent towards Elizabeth, and he is extra “stiff” in expressing his manners.  Something like a resentful robot, allowing those angry thoughts to remain suppressed and easily interpreted through childish actions.  Everything he does only reinforces Elizabeth’s original impressions of him.

The fact that he hardly speaks to her is greatly appreciated, particularly as he originally had such assiduous attentions in mind.  That they have been transferred to her best friend, Charlotte Lucas, is also appreciated.  Elizabeth feel particularly close to Charlotte, and feels to a large extent that her friend is “taking one for the team.”  The last phrase, however, is an incredible sleight of hand as far as foreshadowing the story is concerned.

For not only is this a relief to Elizabeth, but “especially” to her friend.

(end expansion)

There.  Of course, I haven’t tried my best to polish this expansion.  However, the text above is not unheard of in this day and age.  I’ve seen what passes for “modern” writing.

Jane’s excerpt comes to 110 words.

My explanation comes to 363.  Easily tripled.

Is this conclusive proof?  Of course not.

But I hope it intrigues you enough such that the next time you dig into the rich story that is P&P, you’ll ponder the incredible talent that puts so much information into such a small space.

When you do, perhaps you will react much the same way as when Elizabeth read Darcy’s letter for the upteenth time.

 Till this moment I never knew myself.

Decompress that!

 

The “Other” Other Woman

Image

The other day my super politically reactionary cousin was defending Herr Drumpf as being a good example of a leader and gentleman.

You are.

 

I do my best to stay calm and level headed, so I asked what she thought about all the women who have come out and made statements about things that he has done to them?  Most of the things he’s alleged to have done were unwanted harrassment.

But there were also quite a few women who attested that they were quite happy “Doing the Dude” for any number of reasons.

My cousin’s reaction?

“They are all lying.  Women will do or say anything to get attention, especially at the expense of a famous man.”

This caught me by surprise.  There have been, and still are, quite a few famous men that don’t have a dozen women chasing them around with sexual allegations.

There also have been, and still are, quite a few women who generally tell the truth.

There also have been, and still are, quite a few men who are well known to make a habit of preying on women.

Finally, there is absolute evidence that Der Drumpf has cheated on his previous wives, evidence that was presented in divorce court.

So what’s the deal with my cousin?

I figured it out the other day, and here’s an article that helps lead us in the right direction.

It must have happened to her.

The only way my cousin would discount ALL women as liars, is if she has to believe that ONE women in particular, is also a liar.

Who is that woman?

Someone who threatened to come between her and her husband.

In order to save her own peace of mind, my cousin had to consider that “other” woman as a liar.  That means her husband was still faithful to herself, and that means that her marriage is sound.

It also means that my cousin has become the other other woman.  For it is she who is fooling herself about a relationship that no longer exists.

It also means that, of all the other women out there who stand by His Hole-ness for all his alleged sexual exploits, there’s a chance they are reacting like my cousin for similar reasons.

Is it possible that there is such a large population of “other” other women?

What do you think?

 

Emily Believes, Do You Believe, Too?

Rocking your World since 1884

In this day and age of political correctness and word games, the hottest topics are those revolving around:

FAKE NEWS

The amount of confusion as to whether or not any news is true or false would be amusing, if it weren’t for the serious implications involved.

Emily was probably thinking along the same lines, although in a different context.  After all, asking someone “to believe” without convincing them completely has been going on since before there was language.

Consider this scenario.  A cave dwelling, some thousand centuries ago.  A young family huddles together.  Perhaps even several families, a tribe.  They may even huddle around a newly found discovery, fire.

The fire burns bright, but a young lad is curiously drawn to the darkness outside.  The moon is full, the stars are burning bright.  Mother dear, can I go outside tonight?

Absolutely not, she insists in no uncertain terms.  She doesn’t have the language to describe sabre-toothed tigers, giant pythons, and many other horrors of the dark.  But she can tell her son that he must remain.

Why?  But Why?

Because, she says.  The ultimate answer for any parent, before, and since.  You must believe me.  You must trust me.  Accept this as fact, as truth.

And this is what Emily touches upon.  Whether it is a religion, something hiding in the night, or whether Russians want to undermine American democracy, there comes a time when you must accept what someone tells you.  Whether you go beyond that in order to make up your own mind, well, that’s another story.

I never saw a Moor–
I never saw the Sea–
Yet know I how the Heather looks
And what a Billow be.
I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in Heaven–
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the Checks were given–

 

Grandmothers Rule

There’s a book by Rudyard Kipling called “Kim.”

A young orphan boy grows up in the shadows of the himalayas during some of the greatest political intrigues of the late 1800s.  We learn of political struggles between the British Empire, the Hind, the Punjab, Afghans, Tibet, and even the Russians.

Mark Twain claimed to read the book at least once a year, it’s that good.

Here’s some excerpts from the very end of the book, where an old Kulu woman of Saharunpore tells us how the old and the young live together.

We who go down to the burning-ghats clutch at the hands of those coming up from the River of Life with full water-jars, yes, brimming water-jars.  …  It is true that the old eat the young daily.

Mothers have not the wisdom of our years.  If a child cries they say the heavens are falling.  Now a grandmother is far enough separated from the pain of bearing and the pleasure of giving the breast to consider whether a cry is wickedness pure of the wind.

When one cannot dance in the festival one must e’en look out of the window, and grandmothering takes all a woman’s time.

I watched my father make his way to the “burning-ghats” in his own way.  I’ve also seen neighbors and friends about my age doing the same thing with their parents.  It’s our turn to help our parents in this transition.  And it can feel as if they are feeding upon us.  How wrong is this, that we also fed upon them for many of our first years?

What strikes me about Kipling’s words, beyond their insight, is also how much they tell us about the strength of family relationships for that time, that place.

Consider the popular movie, Crazy Rich Asians.  The underlying theme is the strength of the family, the responsibilities of keeping everything working properly.  The father is never in the movie, ostensibly because he’s off taking care of the empire.  It is also the basis upon which the heroine is evaluated by the mother.

Family relationship ARE important.  It’s critical to have a baby, a mom AND a dad, and then some grandparents nearby.  We’ve been losing sight of this for many years, and it’s something many people never think about.

Hearing Kipling’s thoughts on the subject reminded me to think about it again.  And to thank all those families out there that still have all their parts.  Money doesn’t matter.  The health of the family does matter.  Love holds it all together.  And it’s the best way to grow the future.

Finally, consider what Kim and others say whenever something annoying happens.

It’s all one.

 

Shivanomics

The time has come, as it must for all things weak and unproductive.

The old tree becomes dry, hollow, and falls to the ground, fertilizing the next generation of flowers.

Taking out the old, bringing in the new.

The old man leaves his home feet first, enabling a young couple to move in.

Who is at the bottom of all this change?

The pantheon of Hinduism has a great character for this, the god Shiva…

the destroyer.

For you must destroy in order to create anew.  Get rid of the old, bring in the young.

The time has come for that to happen to one of the oldest behavioral studies we have:

Economics.

Economists have failed us in so many ways that it’s difficult to describe.  In simplest form, consider these damning accusations:

  1. No economic model has any predictive value.
  2. After so many years and dollars of investment, there is yet to be a single (actual) statement that can be considered a LAW of economics.  Not one.

It’s best if we leave this simple.  And here’s the simple solution.

Shiva.

Yes, the destroyer must come and eliminate all things economic.  All tenured positions, all funded chairs, all areas of grant funding.

Shiva must visit the Nobel committee and get them to rescind the award, saving it for something more meaningful.

Shiva must erase every professional in government, banking, and finance house that carries the title of economist.  Shiva must come with her large eraser and make every journalist, every commentator, and every column that refers to economics go away.

That is what must happen for the situation to improve.  For now we spend so much time, energy, and money asking experts for their insights, and they have none.  For this they are never punished.

And for that, we must plead to Shiva.

It’s time to study Shivanomics.

 

 

Dickinson Desires — Emily’s Envy

Rocking your World since 1884

According to the wiki entry for my new girlfriend, Emily, she led a fairly sheltered life.

Even so, a few young men may have ambled their way into her heart.

As fate would have it, their fate destined otherwise.  Emily got to know Death fairly well.  Almost everyone that she loved, or could have loved, Died.

However, as a young woman, especially one deeply steeped in the culture that was young America, it’s very likely that some of her thoughts may have included the occasional curiosity of companionship.

Uh oh.

Lucky for her, she went to church.  For a while.

Lucky for her, she had a protective Dad, Mum, and brother.

Lucky for her, she had her upright New England practicality and Bible thumping learning.

And, perhaps lucky for us, she was shy.  Painfully shy.

Yet, locked deep within her heart, were thoughts that she never truly voiced.  It’s too bad, but would the world have lost some of the passion in her resulting work?

Perhaps.  If I could meet her, knowing what I know, would I try to meet some of those deeper, emotional needs?  If I could divert her, it may make her happier, for the moment, but would it have reduced her impact upon the world?

I’m not sure, but true confessions here, I’d love to meet her and take her out on at least one date.  Maybe a church picnic.  Or two.

At any rate, take all those desires, those thoughts, those yearnings, those urgings.

Take what society tells us, take what our own practical sense tells us, and try to wrap it all up in the above 300 words.

Then, if you’re Emily, you say the same thing in twenty:

Forbidden Fruit a flavor has
That lawful Orchards mocks —
How luscious lies within the Pod
The Pea that Duty locks —

Nuff said.

 

Pornography on the Brain

Sorry guys, it’s not that kind of post.

A few porn stories caught my eye recently.

There’s a recent-ish movie about how young women are consumed by the porn industry.  The average 18 year old lasts about 3 months and only make a few thousand dollars in profit.  Meanwhile the producers make millions.

There was a story about a young Australian women, very religious, who discovered pornography on her fiance’s phone.  She was so appalled that she called off the wedding a week before the ceremony.  She had many things to say against the pornography.  She didn’t say anything about her lack of respect for his privacy.

Finally, an Australian report on how licensed brothels are being run out of business by illegal massage parlors that have “extra” items on the menu.  It seems that the illegal parlors charge about $160 (Aussie I’m guessing) an hour.  But the illegal parlors don’t have as much overhead.  The women only make a fraction of that anyway.  Most of it goes to the pimps.

As you can imagine, the pimps, the producers, and the vast majority of consumers are all men.  When society tries to contain any of these “evils,” the typical prisoner is going to be the prostitute or the actress.  Yes, sometimes a producer gets arrested, but it’s more likely they are major contributors to the local judges’s campaign coffers.  As for the pimp, they can afford lawyers.

Here’s a thought.

Make it all legal.  Pornography.  Prostitution.  Let men consume it.  Perhaps it will make them a bit less “handy” on real dates.  Of course, that is a another subject.

Here’s the other half of the twist.  Also make it totally illegal for men to have any part of the production or distribution of the material.  Women only, from start to stop, in only public corporations.  Even male actors, if they can’t be replaced by “man”-iquens or robot actors, must work for minimum wage.

Women actors get paid, fairly.  Women directors, stage hands, sound stage, stunt doubles, medical support, producers, marketing, communications, distribution, makeup, wardrobe, and even accounting and janitorial, all possible functions must be women.

Will you know it when you see it?

Now the “policing” function becomes easy.  The customers go free, they are paying.  The women go free, they are working.  Based on what I’ve read, they are mostly performing as psychologists anyway.  As for the pimps and every other male, arrest them.  Even if it’s a guy who owns the cameras that the women are using, it’s illegal.  His wife can own the cameras, so that when she gets paid it’s all her money.  But not him, not one little bit.

So, that’s the idea.  Play with it.  See if it has legs, or sticks to the wall, or whatever you want to do with it.  And the next time you see some porn, consider where that money is going.

If that doesn’t turn you off porn, nothing will.

True Killers

There’s this great report put out by the Centers for Disease Control, it’s all about how many people die of things in the USA.  It lists lots of reasons, and helps the government set policies to help its citizens live longer, happier, more productive lives.

wait till you see what's inside.

Except it doesn’t always seem to be working.  There’s been a drug crisis going on since the 1960s, and today it’s morphed into an even worse epidemic.

So, here’s another perspective on our problem.

Perhaps the list the CDC maintains is the wrong place to be looking.  What we should  consider are things having to do with behavior.

For instance, perhaps the suspects we should consider are these: Loneliness, Stress, and Boredom.

What can Stress do to you?  We know it can accelerate heart attacks, stroke, and many other things related to aging.

What about Boredom?  That gives us time to play with drugs, experiment with risky behaviors, and wonder why life is worth living when the going gets tough.

Finally, what about Loneliness?  When we’re lonely, we tend to think about our pains, we magnify our problems and minimize our blessings.  When we’re lonely, we can also be alone.

One of the biggest causes of loneliness is being alone.  If we’re alone, we can make mistakes.  Mistakes can be big ones, like leaving the stove cooking something when we go to sleep.  Or sitting in a running car when the garage door is closed.  Or taking the wrong medicine at the wrong time.

These three things can exist in any age group, any population, at any time.  Addressing the causes that underlie the reasons we die may be far more effective than simply trying to attack the reason.  It has to be better than what we’ve been doing, simply because what we’ve been doing hasn’t worked.

So the next time you see a horror film, go with someone.  Talk about it.  Make sure it’s a relaxing experience.  My guess is you’ll live to see another day.  And another.