Monday, May 09, 2016

Ironwood Rhubarb #6


He tells me to take some Reese's Pieces for the flight crew, so of course this week's New Yorker has a cartoon of a robber inquiring "are those Reese's Pieces?" while holding up the store clerk during a robbery.

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of the network of mutuality, the Unitarian Universalist speak of the interdependent web, and not many years ago Al Gore invented the Internet. He might have had a little help from his friend, Joe Cocker.

The notion of acausal synchronicity was first promulgated by Carl Jung after handing one of his clients a scarab beetle to complement the beetle that appeared in her dream life. It apparently became a breakthrough in the therapy sessions that seemed to be going nowhere.

"My sister and I are 3 years, 3 months, 3 days and 33 hours apart in age. Our mother's favorite number is 3." I told her to look up Jeremiah 33:3 and that my son was born when I was 3 decades, 3 weeks, and three days old.

"I had a dream I was selling lollipops out of a cigarette carton. A few weeks later two co-workers were talking. One said 'these are the cigarettes I am smoking now.'  She pulled lollipops out of a bag. I was shocked. It was the fulfillment of the dream that I had."

If you overdo the obsession with patterns and coincidences in your life you may be drifting into apophenia, a word coined by Klaus Conrad a German psychotherapist. He felt this could indicate a form of schizophrenia.

I had somewhat of a foray into paranoia in the fall of 1994. Due to obsessing about coincidences I felt I had caused the death of 68 people on the 68th anniversary of the death of Houdini. It was on the 17th anniversary of my first day on the job in Brazil, Indiana. The 68 who died were on flight 4184 and the plane was in a holding pattern in NW Indiana, waiting for permission to land. There was ice buildup on the wings, but I felt I was responsible for the crash--just as one woman felt she was responsible for the carnage of September 11th, 2001

Most patterned coincidences appear in hindsight rather than foresight, but I had one experience in foresight that I feel is worth sharing.  It happened in 1985. A man I met one morning while out and about handed me his business card. I noticed that the four last digits of his phone number matched the four digits on my  friend Joreen's car tag.  I thought "I am going to run into Joreen today." Sure enough it happened. She pulled up in a gas station  in her car.   We remain good friends..

"Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous." "Remark made by Albert Einstein who formulated a mathematical construct between matter and energy.

The writer Nelson Algren's ideology can be summed up in a remark made by one of his characters, a defrocked priest. Asked  by law enforcement why he was defrocked he replied "because I believe we are members one of another."

That's from the Good Book and should inform our meaning making, our logotherapy. We are bound together in the web of synchronicity, the Other is the Self  sometimes and the One is the All. Something like energy equaling mass times the speed of light squared.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Jack Grew Up Fast

First verse:

Jack grew up fast and Jill grew up slow. Childhood don't last I guess I should know.


Where are all my children?   They've taken them far away. It's getting hard to remember when they were young as the newborn day.

Second verse:

Told 'em about being bad. Told 'em about being good. Sometimes I  feel so sad. Did I say what I should?  [Repeat chorus]

Third verse:

Jill was a cheerleader and Jack ran track. Told the kids many times I would always have their back. [Repeat chorus]

Fourth verse:

The kids robbed a bank and I couldn't pay bail. They served their sentence in the old county jail. [Repeat chorus]

Fifth verse:

 Jack became a preacher and Jill directs the choir. They both sing gospel tunes over the telephone wire. [Repeat chorus]

Sixth verse:

 And now it's about time to end this song. I know another rhyme wouldn't be more right than wrong. [Repeat chorus]

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

IRONWOOD RHUBARB #5---Imprint (by Dave Rowe)


Stroh's Sunday Beer--only 3.2 alcohol, sold someplace to minors--and bright green marijuana--that's what I and 11th grade buddy had to look forward to that Saturday night. Saturday afternoon found us on the windswept streets of Cleveland, Ohio, checking out the used record stores and scoping out the hot-looking clerks inside the ritzy department stores. Then out on Euclid Avenue--outside Halles we were approached by a small man, a small white man in thin white garb.

"My young men," he spoke, "how are you doing on this blessed afternoon?"

Frank shrugged. "OK, I guess."

"Can I bestow upon you some words?"

Another shrug from Frank. "Yeah, I guess."

The man gave each of us a small pamphlet, then told us the words inside would ward off misfortune and trouble. I looked inside and saw featured prominently the words "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Hare Rama Hare Rama." I folded mine back up, Frank deposited his in the trash can at the Rapid Transit station.

Back homed--a west-side suburban one--the first thing I did after greeting the black and tan dachshund was go up to my third floor quarter and fish out my George Harrison "All Things Must Pass" LP--the one Harrison put out shortly after the Beatles breakup. The album marked "poor" by the record dealer--crackled, but that didn't faze me. I went quickly to "My Sweet Lord, the second song on side one. The chanting--"Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Hare Rama Hare Rama" at the end had me joining in. From there it was "Wah Wah," then "Isn't it a pity," then it was downstairs where supper was soon set out on the dining room table.

The fare that night--lasagna, garlic bread, tossed salad, with tomatoes and Italian dressing couldn't be beat although the talk was, well, downbeat. "That Nixon," said my father, a middle school History teacher, "He lied to us, he lied to us on TV."

"Yes, it's awful," my mother said. Then she winked. "So Dave should we be waking you up for church tomorrow morning?--It's Reformation Day."

We were Lutherans and we had a new minister--the previous one got seduced by a sexy divorced parishioner. I was understandably disillusioned. "No," I told mom. "Frank and I will be out pretty late tonight."

Dad set down his seven percent alcohol Rolling Rock bottle next to his plate. "So what are you two guys going to do?"

"We, uh, we're gonna see a movie."

"A movie about what?"

"It's a movie about a rock group."

"The Beatles?"

"No. It's a group called Led Zeppelin."

"Well, be sure to take the dog out when you get home."

Shortly thereafter I was seated next to Frank in the front seat of his father's Pinto. First stop was Twin's Deli where we purchased our 3.2. That accomplished, I pulled the baggie with the marijuana in it out of my front jean pocket and poured a bowl for Frank.  The  light from my Bic showed on his face as he inhaled. He coughed and then a flashing light behind us--a red one--came to our attention.

"Frank," I said. "Frank, you'd better pull over."

Frank pulled over. Then up came a man in blue, a man in blue carrying a large flashlight. "So boys," he said chuckling. "What is it in those cans you are drinking and what is in  that bag with the green powder?"

"Cigarettes," was what Frank offered up. It brought a smirk.

"Why don't you just hand it over?"

Frank complied. The officer inspected the contents of the bag, then scattered the contents to the wind. As for the beers, he took our cans and emptied them out onto the concrete. "Beers," he said smiling. "Root beers--that's what you boys should be drinking. Now run on home to your mommas and daddies--they're worried about you being out so late."

"We will, sir," Frank said. I reached into my pocket--there it was, my pamphlet.

Now it's twenty something years later and I, a Methodist lay reader am on my deck enjoying a full-bodied Pabst Blue Ribbon and reflecting on that incident. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Hare Rama Hare Hare Rama. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

CREATING NEW WORDS??? I must be schizo!!!

Well well well....i just saw that creating new words may be a drift into psychosis...especially if only i. as the speaker undrestands the neologism/new word that I utter...hey hey hey i just typoed a new word. undrestands....whoopee whoopee due..

Don Rewd Drowned...double dyslexia....hmmm!?!

This is 2015...the year that a pitcher in baseball has been created: the amphibious pitcher came into the lexicon....could that be my late dad as the place of his birth is now underwater as part of Gallatin StatePark near Altoona, Pencilvaneyah.

So the first word i herewith neologize is vav--my shorthand for  the French expressionvis-a-vis, similiar to tete-a-tete ...I use it in my journal whenever i want to juxtapose something with something or Kate vav Edith...having cake and eating it two. VAV is also an acronym for variable air volume, variable air flow at a constant temperature.

The second word floating out of my schizophrenic self is bristherhood that's BRISTHERHOOD, the working as one the brotherhood and sisterhood of a society, or of any plural gender related harmonious construct or endeavor.

The third neologism I offer you is....donut call her your ex-wife, call her your woty, your WOTY....Wife Of Thy Youth. See Malachi 2:14 and realize she once was your February Fourteenth <2nd day="" month14th="" month="" nbsp="" of="" the="">Main Squeeze or Spouse, or Better Half, or parent of your children.....WOTY is considered an acronym for woman of the year and word of the year...can we now have one word from the woman of the year,whoever she may be?

So ten years ago Reader's Digest said you could tell if a man was married if there was chewing tobacco juice on both sides of his pick up truck, unless his mother in law rode shotgun with him I suppose o he was Cain in a same sex arrangement with another male......just sayin'....mickbic

Friday, July 03, 2015

Ironwood Rhubarb #4 (Meme)

Memes--by Howard Campbell

This year, the word "meme" is 39 years old. This is an article about memetics, the study of memes, and thinking about thinking.

Some say that the word meme has grown up stupid. Cynics of memetics say the best thinking about memetics came and went in the 1990s. Today, we generally know that colloquially the word meme is used to mean a picture with text on it. However, this growing awareness of the word does not disparage that the meme, meme, originally meant a single unit of thought, of anything a mind can replicate from another mind, opening up a new field of of exploration into consciousness, the fruits of which we can see today.

Memetics appears to me as an inquiry into our changing system of thinking. However, humans studying memetics is like a fish studying water--we are inquiring into the invisible currents surrounding us.

Meme, as a word, is credited with being coined in 1976 in Richard Dawkins' seminal book *The Selfish Gene.* The word "meme" was intentionally minted by Richard Dawkins years earlier when he was an ornithologist, a studier of birds in an academic setting Dr. Dawkins was a pro in birding, a hobby notorious for competitive amateurs.

Dr. Dawkins was tracking the source of variation in a bird song. When he tracked the migrating birds, he found they summered in New Jersey. There, in the valley of their traditional summering ecosystem, was a new factory, and the rhythm of the machines had been incorporated into this bird call, creating the shift he noticed.

Dr. Dawkins coined the word meme to reflect birds have adopted a specific unit of human intelligence, a unit of cultural reproduction that was traceable and capable of being coded for analysis. 

Meme allowed us to think about thinking in a new way. Thinking about thinking appears to me as similar to drawing about drawing--they both bring to life our own optical illusions. What Dawkins did for thinking appears to me as having many similarities to what MC Escher did for drawing--bringing the medium back around to examine itself and show where a surrealistic reality  gets created, allowing us to see that we are constructing a make-believe in our recreation of the Universe.

Thinking about thinking changes your thinking--or maybe you are doing what many philosophers call thoughting, which is to parrot back memories of people using the word thinking.

Dr. Dawkins saw a new phenomenon and he needed a new word for the phenomenon he saw. He documented a new scientific generalization. Consensus around a new generalization is a big deal in science. I think Dawkins' generalization is a big deal in the evolution of human thought, an echo of Einstein's generalization  of Relativity. I believe Dawkins removed intelligence from something being measured by man to anything a mind replicates, whether conscious or not. I read Dawkins as saying that there is complexity that oozes out, crossing the previously indelible lines of species-ism. This in an important part of our changing mind and evolving zeitgeist

The word meme appears to me as important to thinking as Copernicus' helio-centric model was important to our sense of place in  space. What Copernicus  did for space, Dawkins appears to me as having done for intelligence, showing that humans are not at the center--intelligence is something being measured, our mind is experiencing itself subjectively--we are the imagination of ourselves, crafting ourselves by thinking about ourselves and our interconnected thinking.

I am optimistic because I see more and more humans recognizing our interconnected with all living things, a perspective that the word meme helped open up on Spaceship Earth. I find heartening the words of Donald Kaufman from his movie *The Three.* :"Like cells in a body, we're all interconnected. 'Cept we can't see the body. The way fish can't see the ocean. And so we envy each other. Hurt each other. Hate each other. How silly as that? A heart cell hating a lung cell."

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

A Place at the Table

One of the phrases that the religious right used many years ago was that they wanted a place at the table.

I was too tired to hear and see Jerry Falwell when he appeared in Chattanooga for the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Southwide Baptist Fellowship...I had to settle for meeting the parents of the recently deceased Terry Schiavo and their lawyer the day before.

Last night I dreamed that folks in Indiana were establishing the Mickbic Baptist Church in memory of my pastorate at a non-denominational church in 1982 and 1983.

Hey I met Jerry Falwell after he died.  We had a little one on one at 216 Gifford Street in Syracuse NY where I lived in 1972 as a member of the Children of God, dubbed the Storm Troopers of the Jesus Revolution by TIME  magazine.  I talked Jerry listened. I suppose leaders do that sometimes.

Back to my dream.  I was back at Panduit Corporation and greeting some unfamiliar old timers. Apparently one familiar boss had scribbled on a newspaper article about myself--apparently having a church after myself was newsworthy enough to be published for a nation of newspaper readers. There was even a little piece saying "congratulations, Mickbic, from Lenna." She is one female from my childhood that I wished I had established a bond with when we were students growing up in Watkins Glen NY.

In the dream I had just bought a New Era Tag and Label printing press. I wondered if I was to bring it back to be used at Panduit. They probably have a couple of New Era presses in their Costa Rica facility.

One unfamiliar old timer in the dream asked me something [I asked him to speak up due to my hearing loss]--perhaps thinking I had some deep wisdom to draw from that prompted folks in  Indiana to name a church after me.  In real life, my Indiana parishioners  liked a sermon I had preached on forgiveness in  which I  undoubtedly quoted "Father forgive them--they know not what they do."

I had been fired from Panduit on 5-6-91 and I see that 5691 is the last four digits of the phone number of Asheville Transit. I subpoenaed three employees after I was fired, considering it an improper termination.

Oh well, I had my place at the table--with Jerry Falwell,  Lenna, newspaper readers, and Panduit employees. Tomorrow night it might be a more typical printing dream where nothing really goes right. Such is life.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ironwood Rhubarb #3

There Is No Noble Purpose, Only Noble Thought or Deed
(by Jkatian)

A few years ago while we were starving I got to thinking. I had decided years before that my life was ok to sacrifice to save my children. They would be worse off without me but if I could stay alive they would have a chance. Day after day there was no food for me. I ate nothing. Every third or fourth day I'd manage to get a bowl of oatmeal or something into me. Sometimes I went crazy and consumed everything I could find and didn't tell anyone I hadn't shared. I mostly lived on tea.

I tried to get food stamps but the poverty rate had been dropped so low that the fact that we owned a house disqualified us. I spent a lot of time searching for a cheaper place to live. The rents around us were higher than our mortgage. I tried hard to get a good deal on that house and $1000 a month looked good for a family of four. I never did find another better place.

I came to realize there is no noble purpose, only noble thought or deed. The starvation we were dealing with wasn't noble. There's nothing attractive about martyrdom. If I thought I was only being a martyr I would have divorced me immediately. But I couldn't find such scorn, the facts of our life just then were irrefutable. I could only wait and work to make things better.

In fact I was so sick from hunger that I couldn't work. I barely had enough food in me to stay upright. I dreamed of working, if only I could get enough food in me to have the energy to go find another job.  The economy had cancelled my last one, leading to the downward spiral and catch 22.

Today I still watch our youngest working generation deal with these same facts daily. My daughters are on their own now which finally allows me to eat their share. But just like all the 20 year old's they don't get much food. All the kids try to budget for one small meal a day. Often that does not happen. It's so common for people to go several days without eating anything. The toll on their health is permanent, And for some reason these days the situation seems unavoidable.

I do not feel privileged to have stood on the front lines of scant food causing impossible get to work situations and no work causing scant food. The homelessness looks pretty peachy after starving long enough. We did live inside. That was the point, I fought like hell to keep my teenage daughters off the street. Of course there wasn't enough left over for food.

Every day that I survived and we continued to live inside felt like a victory for me. Except it was an idiotic game. If the world were acting right none of it would have to exist at all. There's no nobility in starvation. No nobility in poverty of any kind. I called us broke, never poor. I dealt with the poverty mentality as a child and have never been willing to be poor since. But I did notice that I didn't go into stores Or if I did I just vaguely looked at other people's stuff. None of it was for me. I kept an obliviousness about all the stuff that was around me. Stores, restaurants, fast food joints, I glossed over it all. It wasn't for me. And so I knew that against my better instinct the poverty mentality lived inside me again. Still no nobility to be found there.

But one day as I stared out the back door I realized that I did have a choice. I always had. I could have kept all the food for myself. I could have eaten a full satisfying meal every day, if I didn't share with the other three. And it wasn't because I wanted to be the one to sacrifice. My husband needed enough food to work full time and have energy for that. That was our support. My daughters were growing teenagers who couldn't afford to share. That was the future. They all got so little already. I had no job. There wasn't enough of anything It was only fair that I get to stay alive if possible. In an unfair system that was the best I could do. And so I saw that thought or deed could be noble. Nobility wasn't my intention. But if that's all any of us have at the extremes then, at least I was noble. I searched all I knew to find any noble purpose ever. Nations, wars, disasters. No. All of these might create noble thoughts or deeds but them will never be a noble purpose. Just another extreme situation that should be bypassed by any sane person.