Archive for July, 2009

Something I posted on a forum today


Much of what is viewed as morality, particularly public morality, is the result of who won the war. Slavery is a bad thing, not because it is bad in and of itself, but because the Confederacy lost, for example. If the war had gone the other way, we could very well have McSlave Markets on every street corner by now.

Years ago, a fundamentalist neighbor and I were talking and I said that I had no rational reason to believe in his idea of Hell, as fervently as I could wish for some people to be there. He then gave a standard response that might actually work on a college freshman but not on a middle aged man and asked, “What about Hitler?” To which I immediately responded, “If Hitler had won the war you would be asking that about Roosevelt and Churchill.”

He literally sputtered. They never taught him a response to that in Sunday School. The notion that a person is considered evil merely due to an accident of history just never entered his mind.

Might does not merely make right, very often it defines it. And it defines how we even approach the problem because once something permeates a culture it becomes the centerpiece of thought on a given matter.


Happy Feast of St. Conrad of Marburg


Today, July 30, is the Feast of St. Conrad of Marburg, the patron saint of evil doers.

Conrad of Marburg was a Dominican monk who, in 1233, after a life of many good works including regularly flogging St. Elizabeth of Hungary, was appointed as Inquisitor and he threw himself into his holy work with holy relish, going from town to town, torturing and burning everyone he could get his holy hands upon.

At least he did until he made the mistake of summoning Count Henry of Sayn to his court and on this date in 1233, Count Henry got his hands, and his sword, and his battle axe and his mace and his lance on Conrad and his two assisstants and thoroughly and completely martyred them.

Pope Gregory IX, upon hearing of this, immediately declared Conrad a Saint.  Then, a few days later, letters started to arrive from the various Bishops whose diocese had been visited by the now St. Conrad, thanking God, and various divine minions, for having relieved Germany of this bloodthirsty burden.  This created a problem for the Pope as there did not seem to be a procedure for uncanonizing someone and the canon lawyers could not figure out a way to create one.  So Gregory simply decided that it was best to forget that it had ever happened.

Even so, a chapel was erected on the spot of St. Conrad’s martyrdom and stood there until WW2 when the invading Russians blew it to pieces with artillery.  (Nothing personal, it was just in the way.)

The Orgone Telescope


I’d been trying to figure out how to make an orgone shooter that sort of looks like those nifty knuckle guns in the old Flash Gordon serials.

Well, I had a toy telescope from the dollar store laying around and, after making the handle and mounting it, wrapped the telescope (made of plastic, ready made organic material) with foil and then wrapped the foil with electric tape (plastic, again organic). When aimed at the target, the eyebeam travels through the scope and is energized by the orgone field while being focused on the target.

Oh, and Reich was wrong. You can use aluminum in orgone devices without ill effect. I’ve done that for years with no trouble.

Little Brother is watching back.


One of the things I find most amusing about the conspiracy circuit is how powerless they all see themselves as being.  And they could not be more wrong, for the very technology they fear, and rightly so, in the hands of the government is also in private hands and can make public officials very uncomfortable.

Consider the fate of the poor cops whom, thinking that no one was watching, planted evidence in an apartment laundry room and when questioned about that in court, of course denied it.  (How do you know when a cop is lying?  His lips are moving.)  And then the defense attorney asked, “Are you aware that there is video that contradicts your testimony?”

I would love to have had that poor, dumb pig wired to an electrocardiograph when the video of him and his partner planting the evidence was played in open court and they were getting their ticket to the stripey hole from which no pig returns.  End of case.  End of career, and with luck, end of lives.

Remember, everyone with a cell phone is wearing a wire.  All they need do is punch in their own home number and let the voicemail do the rest.   And there is nothing that can be done to stop it.

We are not helpless.  Stop being afraid.

Facing the implications


One of the fascinating things about science, even mad, fringe science, is the way those who work in it react when they look out and see what effect their work may have upon the world.  Some spend their lives trying to sanitize it, spending endless hours in justification.  Others abandon the work altogether.  And some look the ramifications square in the face and keep working, knowing that the genie being out of the bottle, there can be no putting it back and no safety in pretending that it is not there.

Let us take a simple example–map dowsing.  And let us assume for the sake of the argument that it works and that anything, or anyone, can be found by simply taking a map (or a satellite photo) and a pendulum, finding two co-ordinate points and directions to work from and by drawing two lines on the map using that find the target, no matter what that target may be.  Ok, that is a very useful skill in finding a missing person, or an oil well drilling point.  It can also find a person in the federal witness protection program.

Can you hear the high-pitched shriek at that?

Welcome to reality.   Any skill, any knowledge does not exist in a vacuum.  And they cannot be controlled because once they are out there, anyone with the ability to use them will.  That is what scares the living daylights out of people, the fact that there is no safety, no security.

And that is why so often people hide from what they know.

Nemo’s Response


One of my favorite scenes in all literature is the meeting of Captain Nemo and Professor Arronax on the deck of the Nautilus.  Nemo does not want passengers and tells the Professor that it is his right to simply dive the submarine under the Professor and his companions and sail away, leaving them to their soggy fate.  The Professor responds that that is the right of a savage, but not the right of a civilized man.

Nemo answers the Professor, “Professor, I am not what you call a civilized man.”

Now, look at that exchange.  Nemo does not debate, he does not justify.  He does not have to, as the Professor immediately recognizes.  The Professor has invoked a value and Nemo has simply rejected the value out of hand.  And there is a lesson there for all of us.

Those who seek to control you will rarely invoke brute force, for the simple reason that they do not have it.  They will assume that you share the same value structure as they do and they will use that.  But if you, instead of agreeing with them or justifying your disagreement, refuse to recognize the value, you have pulled their teeth.

For, as Captain Nemo teaches us, there is no obligation to be civilized.

Father’s proudest moment


No, it was not when I terrified the poor neighbor.

I went to grad school and got my Masters.  And after the graduation ceremony we went out to dinner.   Now, there was, in those days, a very nice restuarant that we had eaten at a number of times when the folks came down for a visit and I always took my girlfriends there.  It was an old-fashioned steak house with an illuminated pond in the center of the main dining room, very good food and martinis that, well, two of them could knock out an elephant, which meant that while they were just right for Mother, I had to be a bit careful with them.  So, of course, we planned on eating there.

This place did not take reservations, it was first come, first seated.  We knew that and planned an early supper to avoid the crowds that were going to pile in.  The restaurant, unfortunately, had the same idea–about the crowds.

We arrived, almost the first people there, and the hostess leads us through the main dining room, to a second main dining room, both virtually empty, to a third-er-dining room, a plain room with card tables a folding chairs set up!  We were horrified!  After all, we were well dressed, had bathed and had no small children in tow.

As my father reached in his pocket to draw forth money with which to bribe the hostess, I looked at her, froze her with a glance that would do credit to the basilisk, and, lowering my normally high-pitched voice a good three octaves rumbled, “Surely you have something better than this.”

The poor woman was clearly not expecting that.  She turned around and lead us back to the main dining room where we were seated by the pond, which is, of course, where we should have been in the first place.

I think that was the best dinner my father had in his entire life and when I picked up the check he nearly burst.  In one day he saw his son get an another degree, overwhelm the hostess and buy him dinner on top of it.

If life gives you dressing…


Make salad!

Last night for supper, Donna (Bride of Chuckie) and I had a store-bought macaroni salad from the local grocery and were dismayed to find that there was more dressing than macaroni in it.   Well, not wanting to waste it, tonight with our barbecued ribs, I made a salad by dumping the remaining macaroni salad and the plentiful dressing into a bowl and adding artifical crabmeat.

It worked perfectly, we are stuffed to the gills and our faces are still covered with barbecue sauce.  I’m going to have to wash before we go outside again.

“You mean you never…”


Well, until this thing gets off the ground and acquires an audience, I might as well tell one of my favorite stories.

One afternoon when I was ten, my father and I were tinkering in the garage doing something or other when a new neighbor wandered by to say hello and get to know his new neighbors.  Anyway, he and my father talked for a while while was tinkering and the conversation turned, unfortunately, to the subject of child-rearing.

Well, the neighborperson was very surprised to learn that I was never, ever, spanked as a child (much less as an adult, ha ha) and kept repeating several times at least, “You mean you never spank him?

My father saw that I was starting to get a bit, well, steamed and he was losing patience with this nonsense as well, so he turned to me and simply said, “Charles,” and at that point the knife which had not been in my hand a second before flew across the garage to stick quivering in the 2×4 wall joist on the other side.

“No one spanks Charles,” my father said, calmly as the poor neighbor stood there, his face bloodless with fright.

And after nearly fifty years I still remember how proud my father was as he stood there glowing at the quality of my aim.

By whose authority?


If there is any question that is certain to make me fall over laughing it is that particular one.  Think about it.  What is going on in the mind of someone foolish enough to ask that question in the first place?

Ok, we can leave legal stuff aside, but seriously, the question usually gets asked in a spiritual/moral context and the questioner is, by the nature of the question itself, operating under the assumption that there is an external, “higher” authority whose permission is needed for the given individual or group to act or speak in a certain way.  The assumption is self-evident nonsense.  No one needs any external authority to hold or promote any position or belief.

In matters spiritual or moral the individual is sovereign unto himself and the answer to the question is, very simple, “my own.”

You need no other and no other is binding upon you.