Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An Efficient Commute

This morning, as usual, I was pressed for time. I had to be to my "9 to 5" especially early and I woke up late. Instead of rushing around more than I already had been, I thought I would take the time to finish my "getting ready for work rituals" in the car. After all, I have seen countless others in my rearview mirror and beside me in their cars do the same, so why can't I?

As I grabbed my things, I raced out to the car and started on the 32-minute commute to work. As I was brushing my teeth, I realized, I had no place to spit out the toothpaste foam that accumulated in my mouth. So, I rolled down the window and masterfully drooled down the inside of my car. Crest and saliva dripped down the inside of my car door into the power lock and window switches. At least my car has a minty fresh scent to it. I took a swig of orange juice and remembered what vomit tasted like.

Not having a lot of time to worry about my toothbrushing experience, I figured I should do my hair next. One of the nice things about owning a Pontiac Vibe is the 110 Volt AC plug built into the car. Perfect for my wife's hair dryer. Red lights were spaced perfectly to allow me to safely dry my hair. I wasn't about to dry my hair with a towel in the car. That would be just dangerous. The hair paste and styling of my messy spiky hair went off without a hitch.

The final thing on my list to do before work is shave. Now, I won't really go into a lot of detail, but I will say that this was the hardest task of my commute. I made it to work with a little time to spare and the only evidence that I was really hurried this morning was a hairdryer on the passenger seat, dried drool on the driver's side door and shaving cream with beard stubble on the floor mats.

America To Sue Rest Of World For Ungrateful Behavior

America, which has sacrificed the lives of its citizens and its material plentitude more selflessly than any other nation in history to come to the assistance of other countries, noted the astonishingly heated negative commentary about it emanating from virtually every corner of the globe and has decided to sue the rest of the world on the grounds of ungrateful behavior.

The President said, “You can’t just go out there and sacrifice your sons and daughters lives and expend so much of the national treasury and not get a little something back. We’ve got sorrowful families all across the land, with whose losses I deeply sympathize, and we can’t even afford to fix the potholes on federal highways. So what choice do we have? We’re taking the ungrateful foreigners to court. Justice will be served. We merit and demand some praise here.”

A grandmother for the plaintiff stated, “My family has lost loved ones in three different wars and all in countries that I haven’t heard a good thing said in about America for years. When I take the stand, watch out. I’m patriotic pissed.”

The international court at The Hague has declined to take the case, primarily because it is in The Hague. Upon learning of that court’s disinclination, the U. S. has appealed to the U. N. to find a venue that will hear the case.”

A prominent attorney for America commented, “We’d rather not have the trial here. Holding it in our own country will detract from the credibility of the outcome, but having it in an unfriendly location is bound to create the kind of inflammatory demonstrations that will lead to a lot of free press.”

Not surprisingly, France, Germany, and Spain have also nixed the idea of hosting the trial, maintaining that since they’re all being sued, supporting the action seems inadvisable.

Britain and Italy are understood to be considering the matter. Tony Blair is the most disposed to hosting it, saying, “We hardly ever badmouth America, so we hope to come through the trial with flying colors.”

The Italian government has expressed some willingness to host it but has indicated it may charge for rental of the courthouse. “I’m confident of victory,” another attorney for America maintained. “All you have to do is look at the newspapers. All the incriminating evidence you need is on the lips of leaders and the public in general in just about every country of the world. The only thing that stands in the way of a big win for the U. S. is finding a country where we can conduct the trial.”

Should the verdict go as the plaintiff hopes, the expectation is that the guilty will henceforth base their comments on a true understanding of just who this country is.

One of the most persuasive arguments the nation’s attorneys hope to present is based on the usual philosophical tactic of imagining the opposite argument.

As the lead attorney for the country put it, “Will you please tell us what other country in the world, besides your own, you would prefer to possess the amount of power America has? We are, in fact, the first nation in the history of the world that could conquer it but, in addition to being freedom-loving people that the whole idea offends, we’re savvy business people who know we just can’t afford the worldwide upkeep.”

America: Still So Young No Americans Allowed

If sometimes, weighed down with the complexities of uneasy empire, we perchance wonder if America could be freedom’s fading star, it’s somewhat reassuring to realize that the nation is so young it still does not recognize the existence of Americans. Even the Indians don’t completely get the nod, because they’re still camped out on reservations.

We might see the persistent refusal to accept “I’m an American” as a recognized nationality, at least on the home front, as a consonant reflection of our mixed and matched heritage. But it does present us with inconveniences.

Tell a fellow American who asks your nationality, “I’m an American,” and what does he say? “Oh, come on, tell me, really, what are you?”

“I just told you,” you repeat, in your resourceful attempt to nationalize yourself, “I was born and rear-beaten in America.”

“No, no,” your interrogator presses on, “I mean, where did your parents come from?”

“Well,” you let out, “my mother was born in West Virginia.”

“Then where did your father come from?”

Now, you’ve been cornered, so you finally confess that he came from here, there, or wherever. Let’s say Ireland. And what does your pouncing interrogator reply?

“Oh, so you’re Irish.”

Actually, the only time you get to be an American is when you’re likely to suffer the slings of outrageous interactions in distant lands.

“Oh, so you’re an American,” you're told, usually in a tone that intimates at least a slight reprimand, as soon as the securely French, Italian, or whatever person you chance to chat with determines you’re from the USA.

And, no matter how much effort your make to elude detection by speaking in the tongue of your assailant, the nonchalant accusation pops to the fore as soon as your first Yankee twang intrudes.

Will Durant, the popular (dare we say American?) historian, estimated that it takes about eight-hundred years for a country to develop a civilization. I wonder how long it takes short of that to develop the nationality that might achieve it.

Amazing Trivia Part 1

I admit it .. I LIKE trivia, tho it serves no purpose for me since I can never remember any to bring up in conversation. But still, it is fun, so I've created this list of amazing trivia that I found to be absolutely riveting.

1. Snails can sleep up to 3 years.
Not so amazing actually since I managed to sleep thru 6 years of jr. high and high school. And when you think about it, what do snails have to do all their lives? Sure, they leave great slime trails and make excellent targets for salt shakers and little boys, but other than that there’s not much more to do but sleep after an exhausting run across a sidewalk.

2. American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first-class.
Until I read this, I was convinced that there was an olive missing from my salad, yet no one would believe me. Now I am vindicated! I am now searching for proof that the airlines have taken one peanut from each bag .. I'll keep you posted.

3. An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
After reading this, I realized that I know of many people with the same problem! But that’s an article about politicians I'm working on. For me, it's usually that my eyes are bigger than my stomach...

4. Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour.
Well, I'd like to see anyone keep this up long enough to actually lose 150 calories. Now that I think about it, I DON'T want to see...

5. Donald Duck comics were banned in Finland because he doesn't wear pants.
This is completely understandable.. I mean, who wants to look at a duck with no pants on? Besides, I understand that it is the law for all birds to wear pants in the city limits of Finland.

6. If you pass gas consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb.
I tried to prove or disprove this, but two things stopped me ... I couldn't stand to look at a bowl of chili after the third day, and my girlfriend threatened to leave me ... although it was kinda hard to tell what she was really saying with that gasmask on.

7. In ancient Egypt, priests plucked EVERY hair from their bodies, including their eyebrows and eyelashes.
Now, this piece of trivia leaves ALOT to the imagination, which is probably a good thing. BUT, I would like to point out, you'd have to be pretty limber to get some on those hairs .. nuff said.

8. The ant always falls over on its right side when intoxicated.
I know this trivia fact isn't true 'cause I've gone drinking with my ants several times and I've watched them fall over in several different directions... usually they tend to fall on my uncles tho.

9. The average human eats eight spiders in their lifetime at night.
I don't know about this fact ... I've seen several spiders at night and never once felt compelled to eat one. Though I hear that spider is tasty if barbequed correctly.

10. And now for our final fun trivia fact:
Some lions mate over 50 times a day... No wonder the females do all the work.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq Announces New Leader. Or Do They?

In the wake of the sudden death of its now fragmented leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Al-Qaeda in Iraq polled its somewhat shaken members about who would like to take over Mr. Zarqawi’s job. After a determined effort, the group was able to find a terrorist who, though expressing understandable reluctance, was eventually persuaded to accept the expectedly short-lived position.

The usual amateurish Webcast was quickly arranged, and the new leader, flanked by other terrorists wearing the standard-issue black head disguises, introduced himself, with visible knee shaking, as Abu Hamza al-Muhajer.

In the co-opted, overbearingly religious language that has become the worldwide standard in terrorist-speak, the new leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq vowed to avenge al-Zarqawi’s death and vowed that he and the other “holy warriors” will continue with what they perceive as a holy war against their own slack populace and the people Al-Qaeda refers to with moronic medieval acumen as “the crusaders.”

“Don't let the joy of killing our Sheikh Abu Musab, may God bless his soul, fool you,” he stated, “for he left behind lions."

To prove his point, at that moment, he held up an uncooked shish-kabob and took a bite out of it. Chewing on the raw lamb meat, he continued: "He raised them by himself and they trained in his den. They believe in their ideology, and they fight only for God and in God and through God."

Apparently, the group had to reach far down into its ranks to locate another willing volunteer. Unfortunately, no one on the side of the infidels had ever heard of him, even the most erudite terrorist analyst.

A few days later, his identity was determined. After the announcement, his photo-ID poster was taken to a US firing range for target practice.

No comment was forthcoming until and a couple days later, when a terrorist of even less repute made a tape, claiming he is the rightful fellow who's picture should be on the firing range.

Whoever the new leader is, if apprehended alive, he will be sent for retraining in religious ideology to an enlightened mosque, if one can be located, wherein he will learn the disconcerting logic that if, as he and his ill-informed cohorts maintain, there is only one true God, even crusaders are the children of the same God, so such a God is unlikely to welcome them into the paradise they long for as a reward for their murderous activities but will far more likely present them with a more heated welcome and destination.

Monday, June 28, 2010

AIDS epidemic in the USSR

When an adult suffers from а child disease, it is extraordinary painful. Just as it happened to me at the late Soviet time when I caught measles, was bedridden for three days with a fever heat of 40C and was going to die. But then a doctor came, diagnosed the rubeola, I was taken to a specialized hospital and alive and kicking in a couple of days.

I will never forget those three days - an awful headache, general muzziness because of high temperature and in three days no thoughts but those of fast and desired death. In the hospital I met a man of about 50 who told me his case history. Further narration is from the first person.

I'm not young already and all my age mates often club to start complaining of their illnesses - some have ulcer, others - pressure problems, etc. And I sit like an asshole and can't keep the ball rolling since don't have any serious diseases. There finally I fall ill, which made me really happy. "They will cure me" - I thought - "so at last I will have a good reason to beat gums with my aces". I found myself in a contagious isolation ward of Botkin's surrounded only by those with Joe Trots and where everyone carries his own altar in their arms. I was also given my own altar. I really joined the club. They analyze me but can't find anything. At those times there appeared first reports of HIV-positive people in newspapers. The first one, as far as I remember, was a fellow from the foreign trade organization - a homosexual. That was the only association with AIDS. After failing to make a diagnosis the doctors decided that I had AIDS. And started putting me to the question. "Suppose you sleep with pants, come clean, we are doctors after all". I deny this but they don't believe me. They say: "Come on, faggot, we keep the medical secrecy". Thus, a week passes (in three weeks I gave up).

I come up to my doctor and say: "All right, guys, make a diagnosis and treat me, I may take it till the day after tomorrow, or else I will leap out of the window - can't stand it anymore". The next day they hold a regular council when a pediatrician wanders in by mistake. On examining me, she diagnoses rubeola proceeding without visible hives for some reason, which prevented to make the diagnosis right. The day before yesterday I was brought here and now I'm well. The only thing I'm distressed about is that it's even shameful to tell men about my experience - they discuss different serious ailments there and I have a child disease which is shameful to speak about let alone personal altars and how they passed me for a faggot. Then I have to hold my tongue.

A Revised History Of Pasta

While Marco Polo, a Venetian, is generally given credit for discovering noodles in China, recent research suggests that Italian pasta in all its glorious varieties was actually discovered in Rome nearly a century earlier, and quite by accident, by a remarkably unlikely epicurean named Julius Amplonius, with the able assistance of an invading barbarian named Klunk, The Great.

The momentous event occurred one afternoon when this portly patrician was dining at a chic restaurant just off the Roman Forum. He was savoring a sip of red wine from Tuscany when a group of alarmed citizens came running by, screeching, “The barbarians are coming! The barbarians are coming!”

Amplonius had witnessed their arrival before, and by now he had made peace with the ancient wisdom, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you may be out of food and wine.” It was by such Stoicism that the wise were able to witness the destruction of the Roman Empire while preserving a somewhat peaceful life. So, with a knowing smile, Julius simply raised his glass toward the fleeing crowd.

“What are you going to do, Julie, just sit there and eat?” a citizen who knew him quite well asked.

“Why not?” he replied. “I’m thirsty. Not to mention hungry.” With that, he indulged in another taste of the Tuscan red.

“You’re crazy!” a speeding friend called. “Run, Julie! Run!”

Just then a waitress who doubled as a temptress arrived with Julie’s lunch, which might be described as a plate of proto-pasta. It consisted of a flat, round piece of dough that hung just a bit over the margins of the plate. It had a baked tomato sitting in the middle of it, with a single chunk of parmesan cheese next to it, and around both was a wreath of fragrant basil leaves.

“Enjoy your plano,” she said, putting down the dish, for that is the name the proto-pasta was known by.

“Thank you, gorgeous,” Julius told her, and gave her a pinch.

“Oh, you silly man,” she replied, and, looking about, seemed nervous. “Can you do me a favor, love, and close out your bill now?”

“No problem, you sex kitten,” he said, and reached for his purse. He took out enough Roman coinage to include a generous tip. “Keep the change,” he told her, and pursed his lips expectantly.

“Thank you, sweetie,” she said, and gave him a luscious but ever-so-brief kiss. Then she hurried off after the other fleeing citizens.

Julius calmly picked up a knife and fork and began to eat his proto-pasta.

Just as he cut off and savored his first bite, in rushed a huge, fur-covered barbarian, with a leather shield and the fateful sword with which he would help Julius discover pasta in many of the varieties we enjoy to this day, from lasagna to angel hair.

“Uh!” he grunted, and raised his sword.

Julius continued to dine. “Uh! Uh!” the barbarian raged, for the sound “uh” comprised much of the everyday range of his proto-language. To attract the attention of the unperturbed diner, he swung his sword in a circle and just happened to whack off the head of a statue of the great Augustus. It crashed to the marble floor.

Julius couldn’t help but notice the decapitation and, placing a leaf of basil on his tongue, said, “That wasn’t very nice. I kind of liked that statue.”

The barbarian could not, of course, understand a word. In an effort to establish a bit of good will, at least long enough to allow him to finish his meal, Julius held up his bottle of wine. “Like some vino?”

“Huh-Uh!” the barbarian managed to say.

“Suit yourself,” Julie told him. “Got a name?”

The barbarian stared at him without comprehension.

“Name?” Julius repeated, pointing to himself and then at the barbarian to illustrate the point of his question.

“Klunk,” the barbarian said.

“I might have guessed,” Julius commented.

“Klunk, The Great,” the barbarian continued, with some intellectual effort.

“Good for you,” Julius told him, and put out his hand. “I’m Julius, The Roman, also known as Julie, The Ample. Have a seat.”

“Huh-uh! I am conqueror – conqueror of Rome!” Klunk managed to say.

“Good for you!” Julie told him, and couldn’t resist asking the most challenging question. “Are you sure you can afford the upkeep? It’s an expensive city to maintain.”

“What is upkeep?” Klunk wanted to know.

“You’ll find out,” Julius advised him. “Now, come on. Have a seat. You’ve had a hard day.” Then he pointed to his dish and indicated a reluctant willingness to share some of his food. “And enjoy some plano.”

Klunk looked down at the plate, and asked, “What is plano?”

“You don't know?” Julie inquired. “Where have you been?”

“Other side of the Alps,” Klunk managed to get out.

“Oh, no wonder,” Julie replied, and decided to educate the deprived soul. “See. This is a plate. Ever hear of a plate?”


“Instead of eating off the table, or the ground, you eat off of a plate.”

“Uh,” Klunk said, with apparent understanding.

“Now, on the plate we put a flat piece of boiled dough, called plano,” Julius continued, lifting up the edge with his fork to demonstrate. “Then we put all kinds of goodies on top of it. In this case, a tomato, a piece of cheese, and basil leaves.”

“Uh-huh.” Klunk acknowledged.

“All you do is take a knife and fork,” Julius explained, picking the utensils up slowly, so Klunk wouldn’t mistake his intentions and send his head rolling the way of the great Augustus’s marble head. “Then you cut off a piece.” He went through the process and took a bite. “Ah, delicious! Sure you won’t have any?”

“Uh-huh,” Klunk said, holding his ground, and repeated with some effort, “Plano.”

“Excellent!” Julius exclaimed. “You'll be a true Roman in no time!”

“Klunk – a Roman?” the barbarian responded, visibly insulted, and raised his sword high above Julius. Then, unexpectedly, he brought the sword down on the plate and cut the plano right in half. “Now, what do you call it?” he was somehow able to ask.

Julius looked down at the two half-moons, and said, “I think I’ll call that one big agnolotti.” Then he took another sip of wine and smiled at Klunk.

Incensed at his inability to frighten Julius, he raised his sword again and whacked the plate three or four times. “What do you call it now?”

Julius examined it, and said, “This I’ll call lasagne.” With that, he took a bite and savored it.

Now furious, Klunk attacked the plate repeatedly, and demanded, “What do you call it now?”

Julius, despite his indifference to fate, was a bit shaken by all the clatter, and said, “I will name it linguine.”

Needless to say, Klunk swung his sword at the plate with an unprecedented volley of strokes. “What is it now?”

Julius examined the mishmash on his plate. By now, the plano was cut into thin strips, the tomato was diced, and the cheese was grated. After some deliberation, Julius announced, “You made what I will call spaghetti.” Still remaining remarkably calm, at least on the exterior, Julius took his fork and wound some spaghetti around it. Then he took a bite. “Delicious! And fun, too,” he told Klunk.

Enraged at his seemingly imperturbable true Roman, the barbarian now slashed at the contents of the plate until his arms were a veritable blur. Then, short of breath, he sighed, “Tell me what you name that.”

Julius looked closely at the mayhem in his plate. Now, the pasta was as thin as he could imagine it, and the tomato sauce, cheese, and basil were all mixed together. “It is so thin I think I will name it angel hair.”

Klunk became unexpectedly curious and bent toward Julius. “Angel hair? What for? You no angel. You fat Roman.”

Considering how finely the plano was now sliced, Julius could not imagine how much longer it could invite the attentions of Klunk and imagined that his own neck might well be the next object of the barbarian’s fury. Ever the clever Roman, he noticed that, as a result of Klunk’s exertion, his tummy was showing a bit.

Julie was, of course, also aware of the legendary weakness of the barbarian shield, as opposed to the metal shield that accounted for much of the impenetrability of the storied Roman phalanx.

So he pretended to move his knife toward the last remaining decent-size piece of tomato, saying, “No, my friend, I am not an angel.” With that, he quickly stabbed the somewhat exhausted Klunk, and added, “But you’re about to become one.”

Klunk looked down at his sudden, fatal wound with shock and fell to the ground with a thud. His head knocked the table and, if Julius’s hands weren’t so quick, the movement would have upset his glass of wine.

Leaning back and enjoying a sip, he said, “I think I’m gonna call all these things I discovered after my beautiful girlfriend, Pastina.” Then he rolled a bit on his fork and indulged in another mouthful, musing, “I just love Pastina.”

All the names Julius invented that day, with the undoubted help of the ill-fated barbarian Klunk, have come down through the centuries without alteration, except for the categorical appellation, which usage would eventually abbreviate to the more familiar word “pasta.”

A Page From Betty Crocker’s Cookbook

Recently, while sitting in my chair drinking the last of my breakfast coffee, a thought staggered into my mind. I must confess most thoughts are quite lonely once they enter my mind, but this one had a nagging element to it.

Experience has taught me I should never give in to these strange trespassers. Every time I entertain any of them, I’m the one getting burnt.

This time was different. Don’t ask me how it was different, or how I knew it was different, it just was. Of course, looking back I could have been wrong.

The thought: why not surprise my wife by baking her a cake?

I know what you’re thinking. I thought the same thing when this suggested itself to me. But, the more I thought about it, the more delightfully delicious it sounded. How can anything go wrong if I am doing it for my wife?

The only question I needed to answer was what kind of cake should I bake.

After a long period of ruminating, I settled on a lemon sponge cake with peanut butter icing. This was going to be the best surprise my wife has ever received from me.

Sitting in a prominent place in the kitchen is my wife’s Betty Crocker Cookbook. I don’t know how long she has had that book, it’s been in our kitchen for as long as I can remember — which really may not be that long when I come to think of it.

I took the book, sat in my favorite chair and opened it. How do you read a cookbook? As I leafed through it, it did not have any rhyme or reason to me. In musing on the book I said to myself, how important is it to follow directions?

Placing the book back in its revered spot, I concluded that since this was my cake, I didn’t need help from anybody else, particularly Betty Crocker. This is the difference between men and women. Women need a lot of directions, while men enjoy the liberty of doing their own thing.

I knew exactly what I wanted. A lemon sponge cake, with peanut butter icing. What could be simpler?

Retrieving a large mixing bowl, I assembled all the ingredients I needed; flour, sugar, eggs, milk and baking powder. Everyone knows you cannot bake without baking powder.

I have no idea what baking powder is, except when you bake you use baking powder.

I put everything in the mixing bowl. The only thing I wasn’t quite sure of was the measure, but how hard could that be anyway? Betty Crocker mentioned a cup of this and a cup of that, but never defined what she meant by a cup.

I went to the cupboard and looked at all the cups. There were all kinds and sizes of cups and I did not know which one to use. I eyed a large coffee cup and said to myself, this will do just fine.

I dumped 6 or 8 cups of flour into the mixing bowl, I can’t remember how many. Then I cracked a dozen eggs and put that into the mixing bowl as well. Pouring a quart of milk into the mixing bowl, I whipped everything into a nice batter.

This was to be a lemon sponge cake but I could find nothing marked lemon in the cupboard. I opened the refrigerator, and as luck would have it, I found a quart of lemonade.

I poured this concoction into the largest cake pan I could find. As I was about to put it into the oven, I remembered the baking powder. How is this cake going to bake if it doesn’t have the baking powder?

Setting the cake pan down, I grabbed the baking powder and liberally sprinkled it on top of my batter. I have no idea what baking powder does but I put enough on my cake so it would do a good job.

Into the oven the cake went, and with a flick of the wrist I turned the temperature to 450 degrees. Remembering this was a big cake, I readjusted the temperature to 650.

The bigger the cake the hotter the oven, is what I always say.

Now all I needed to do was wait for my cake to bake. As I was waiting, I heard rumblings coming from the oven but just chalked that up to a good cake baking.

I guess I fell asleep, because the next thing I knew there was a strange odor permeating the air. It smelled a little smoky and then it dawned on me. My cake, it’s done.

What I pulled out of the oven did not resemble any cake I had ever seen. It looked like a burnt pancake, twice the size of the cake pan, with some kind of disease on the surface.

No amount of peanut butter icing in the world could camouflage this disaster.

It was about this time I began reassessing the idea of reading directions. Maybe instructions have a purpose after all.

I remember something the Apostle Paul said. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV.)

To live right without getting burnt you need the right directions.

A Life Of Lorenzo Da Ponte:Talent Flies; Practical Reason Walks

Among the world’s favorite operas, we find three of them with a libretto penned by Lorenzo Da Ponte and music by none other than the astonishingly delightful Viennese ear-confectioner Mozart. The list is a delight in itself: The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovann, and Così Fan Tutte.

We learn in the new book, The Librettist of Venice, by Rodney Bolt, that Da Ponte grew so close with the unequalled Mozart – both of whom, we learn, were not only talented but vain, insecure and ambitious – that while writing Don Giovanni, they worked in adjoining lodges and shouted to each other through their windows.

Da Ponte even dared to contend with Mozart, who believed the text should be subservient to the music, while Da Ponte was certain that the words should be primary, in fact, that without his poetry even Mighty Mo’s music would be nothing.

Yet how Da Ponte tumbled from the heights. Hard as it may be to imagine, he wound up in New York, running, at one time, a grocery store on the Bowery.

Brilliant as an artist, he was apparently, in his personal life, a managerial moron. Or, said another way, while talent flies, practical reason just plods along, like a relative moron.

Da Ponte, born Jewish, was, as a result of his father’s having decided the family should become Catholic for the easement of a life of trade, ordained a priest. But his real vocation was married women. His exploits, we learn, rivaled Casanova, who became his pal and, if we believe such a thing is possible in the category at hand, his mentor.

Da Ponte himself admitted a shortcoming in comparison with his rival for insincere relationships: he didn’t have Casanova’s purported talent for fleecing the women he falsely wooed. In fact, Da Ponte claims he actually loved the ones he made out with.

He also considered himself adroit politically, but his moves were disastrous. He upset the successors of Joseph II so much he was exiled from Vienna.

Now,still technically a priest he was married to a younger but more wisely practical woman named Nancy Grahl, but even she was unable to keep the man out of bankruptcy in London and again in America, where they moved in 1805, because her family had settled here.

He attempted to establish Italian opera companies when English-speaking audiences had little interest in them. To add onions to opera, the grocery business failed.

He finally became a teacher, bookseller and wannabe impresario.

On the positive side, New York turned out to be the most agreeable spot for him. It was relatively liberal, and Da Ponte found himself a favorite of the cultural elite.

He became the first professor of Italian at Columbia University. While the position was pretty much ceremonial, Da Ponte has the double distinction of having been the first Jew and first priest on the school’s faculty.

He lived on into his 80’s, revered but regarded as eccentric.

He was charming man who made a profession of being European when such a state was still considered novel.

Yet when one compares his everyday doings with his winged collaboration with Mozart, one can only shake his head with the recognition of how quicksilver brilliant the remarkable syntheses of talent are, way up in mental processes we can only hope will drop answers into our expectant consciousness, compared to the "first we do this and then we do that" plodding of the practical but still invaluable mind.

A Lawyers Favorite Lawyer Jokes

Lawyer Jokes

Q: How does a pregnant woman know she is carrying a future lawyer?

A: She has an extreme craving for baloney.

Q: What is the legal definition of “Appeal”?

A: Something a person slips on in a grocery store.

Q: Why did God make snakes just before lawyers?

A: To practice.

Q: What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 12?

A: Your Honor.

Q: What’s the difference between a lawyer and a herd of buffalo?

A: The lawyer charges more.

Q: What do you call a smiling, sober, courteous person at a bar association convention?

A: The caterer.

Q: Why are lawyers like nuclear weapons?

A: If one side has one, the other side has to get one.

Q: What do you get when you cross the Godfather with a lawyer?

A: An offer you can't understand.

Q: What do you call a lawyer gone bad?

A: Senator

Q: Did you hear they just released a new Barbie doll called "Divorced Barbie"?

A: It comes with half of Ken's things and alimony.

Q: What's the difference between an attorney and a pit bull?

A: Jewelry.

Q: What's the definition of mixed emotions?

A: Watching your attorney drive over a cliff in your new Ferrari.

Q: What’s the difference between lawyers and accountants?

A: At least accountants know they’re boring.


1. A man who had been caught embezzling millions went to a lawyer. His lawyer told him, "Don’t worry. You’ll never go to jail with all that money? In fact, when the man was sent to prison, he didn’t have a dime.

2. As the lawyer awoke from surgery, he asked, "Why are all the blinds drawn?" The nurse answered, "There's a fire across the street, and we didn't want you to think you had died."

3. God decided to take the devil to court and settle their differences once and for all. Satan heard this, laughed and said, "And where do you think you're going to find a lawyer?"

4. A lawyer is sitting at the desk in his new office. He hears someone coming to the door. To impress his first potential client, he picks up the phone as the door opens and says, "I demand one million and not a penny less." As he hangs up, the man now standing in his office says, "I'm here to hook up your phone."

And finally:

You Might Be A Lawyer If.... You are charging someone to read these jokes.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Funny Joke and The Man without Humor

April fool’s day is a favorite day for some, because there are many funny jokes that can be played. But when you are working for ‘The Man’ humor can be unacceptable. The workplace has become a controversial place for funny jokes, because what is funny to one person can be considered an attack by another. Finding humor at another person’s expense can cause many stressful days at work or even many lawsuits.

Many companies hold informational meeting on not practicing office humor, because they don’t want any of there workers to be offended. However, at time companies can cross the line on what is acceptable and not acceptable. Part of the problem with telling a person that funny jokes or humor is not acceptable is that if a person can not enjoy themselves at work the workplace will become uninviting and the workers unhappy.

‘Night Court’ was a sitcom that came out quite a few years ago. The judge on the show was always having fun, but playing practical jokes occasionally got him in trouble. However, most of the time the judge’s antics allowed him to see a larger scope of the people he met and he was able to help them to better their lives. A saying that many companies need to learn is the ‘a little levity never hurt’. Allowing personnel the opportunity to send jokes through email and find humor in some of the bad things that may happen in the office can help to handle stress and bring a better camaraderie between the workers.

Where the line needs to be drawn on funny jokes and humor is if the joke shows a racial or gender bias or if the joke is intended to harm another or cause a person to be made to look bad (especially in the eyes of their superiors). Harmful jokes or humor should never be acceptable in the workplace. Every individual should be responsible for their actions and take steps to know what is acceptable and will be found as a funny joke. If a joke is questionable the individual should recognize that that type of humor should be refrained from.

A company does have the responsibility to uphold its reputation and should educate its employees on acceptable humor and what would be considered a not so funny joke. However, companies should also take steps to allow their employees a fun work place. Part of this may include allowing a worker to use email to send jokes to people they know. One suggestion for the workplace may be to have a ‘no joke’ list and if people do not want to receive jokes through email they can place themselves on the list.

Humor and jokes should be allowed in the work place to allow a happier and more jovial work environment. A funny joke can cheer up a person’s day and a little humor can relieve stress. If an individual is responsible to not offend a person and the company encourages their work force to be happy working for ‘The Man’ wouldn’t be so bad.

A Deep Look At Soap Operas

You have got to love soap operas. From the intricate plots and finely woven webs of deceit, to the depths of schemes, they were, are and always will be classics. They are timeless. I wrote this article as my take on them back in 1970 when filling white space for our high school paper. Watch a few soap operas for the next few days and see for yourself how closely they resemble the soap operas of 36 years ago...

And now for that thought provoking question that plagues men’s souls unceasingly through the bright shining of the day and through the untold dark depths of the night:

Why did Peter, who in reality is actually Superman, fake that he stubbed his toe on the 17th stone on the sidewalk starting at 4th and Grand instead of the 16th stone, which was bigger and more logically the victim of that invulnerable toe and why did Marlys take Sam’s advice to buy the yellow tulip instead of the red and green carnation, while all the time Rodregus knew that the curvaceous young Pandora was at the moment buying the last purple, double-breasted, duck-billed, warbling giraffe in the world for her dear departed Phillip disguised as a lowly second mate on the Queen Mary, which was under attack by the tyrant Cedric because of the terrible beating he had suffered at the hands of Radcliff whose ex-wife Natalie was actually Percival’s long lost great-great-uncle Maximillian in disguise who knew that Zigmond was fond of un-pitted olives stuffed into green grapefruit filled graciously with Granny and Gretchen’s goulash, which was gradually getting gooey and who also knew of Jennifer’s contact Louella in the deep Congo, seized at the time by the dread Gardenia, the 7th cousin of Guenivere, in hopes of receiving the eight-ounce bottle of Elmer’s Glue stored in the vast files in the cortex of Courtney’s colossal computer complex carefully compiled to correct the current curling, commonly crusading as the contagious, communicable, crystalline, cucumber crud, carried on cue sticks by crying cuckoo clock birds continuously to conform with the cunning Cornelius’ cumbersome plot to corrupt the currency and continue the crisis of the Cormandel Coast Cult, complicated by the coroner Cort’s corny connotation to conceal his consecutive coronary contractions constantly crippling his conscious efforts to contradict congenial counterparts’ careful counterfeit correspondence with Corwyn, the cosmic cosmetician?

Was it because Bill had green eyes or was it because Melissa meddled menacingly and meticulously in Maude’s plans to read the calendar to see what year she had been sent to by her superiors in the future?

Tune in tomorrow for the exciting climax created by another deep question.

A Cialis A Day Keeps The Uncertainty Away

The maker of Cialis will apply to the FDA for approval of a once-a-day version of its ED treatment. The company maintains that a daily dose will allow the benefactor to enjoy more spontaneous delight than he can with what the manufacturer refers to as its "on demand" version.

The company maintains that side effects of the new dosage are mild and consist primarily of an inexplicable bulge in the pantaloons.

Dr. Ira D. Sharlip, professor of urology at the Univesity of California, San Francisco, stated, "For patients who are more sexually active, which generally means younger patients, whose sexual activity is more spontaneous, it will be an attractive alternative, provided the cost is not prohibitive."

Until now, men had to take Cialis and other impotence drugs thirty minutes or more before they flung themselves into the arms of their lovers. Now they’ll be ready at the drop of a belt.

Some analysts doubt that millions of men will take the drug every day, since the biggest users of the therapy generally have sex only a couple of times a week.

Insurance companies may also refuse to pay for a daily dose.

Interestingly, a Cialis a day may also have cardiovascular benefits, since the enzyme that Cialis, as well as other impotence drugs, inhibits, flows in all the body’s blood vessels. As a result, the drug may be an effective treatment for high blood pressure.

An expert stated, "There may be a much bigger picture than just for erectile dysfunction."

He certainly chose his adjective well, since “bigger” does seem to be the operative word here, except in regard to the one item Cialis does, at its best, reduce the size of, and that is, of course, the performance anxiety, or uncertainty, of the aspiring lover.

18 Similarities Between Women and Computers

Before you read any further, please note that this is not a piece out to damage or cut down the important role of women in our society. Read below only as humour and nothing more. These are intended solely for a good laugh.

Women are unique in many ways (and by this I mean different than men) and its this specific uniqueness or certain traits that I refer to when likening a woman to a personal computer. Do not get offended; it is intended to create a smile.

1) A woman is like a computer in that she costs more than you thought it would.

2) A woman resembles a personal computer in that she will not do exactly what you thought it will.

3) After a while, you simply cannot do without both: your computers and your woman.

4) Computers are just like women: after you have gotten used to them and cannot do without them, you discover that one is not enough.

5) Some computers, like some women, serve many people.

6) You can work miracles with both by gently using your fingers if you only know the proper code.

7) If you are inactive with them for more than fifteen minutes, they go off.

8) Just like a computer, the one who runs her has more privileges than just anyone else who is just running her.

9) When there are short-circuits of electricity, they shut you off and then you cannot always return to what was before the short-circuit.

10) Normally, they are available and receptive in the night, but it’s a lot better when they are available and receptive in the morning.

11) When you are, at last, sure that they will do what you wanted, they go off and do something else.

12) The only thing that you predict about the future with them is that they will react unpredictably.

13) Just like women, so too for computers: every year a new model is released that is younger, more advanced and gives a lot more.

14) A woman is just like a computer: you are happy with what you have but when you see what your friends have got, you are sure you want what they have.

15) Women are like computers in that no matter how much you improve and put into them, they only improve for a short time and then go back to their same old pace.

16) Women are like computers in that every day a new program comes out promising to revolutionize your knowledge and use of them, but after spending a lot more cash you realize that none of them work better than the old one you had before.

17) Women are like computers: you always want what others have and they want what you have but you cannot switch even for a trial basis.

18) Women are like computers in that when you get them you are sure that they are the best. But when the days go back, you wonder why you did not get them with a replacement note.

8 Reasons Why You Should Email Me One Dollar

Paypal has made it possible to quickly and easily send money over the Internet. This allows us to pay for all kinds of purchases with a lot less hassle. It also will allow you, everyone who reads this article, to send me, Timothy Ward, $1.00.

Being the cynics that you are, I know you're probably asking: "Why should I send you $1.00? I barely even know you. If I hadn't somehow stumbled onto this article I wouldn't even have known that you exist. I still don't know how I came across this ridiculous article, I was trying to find my brother-in-law's blog."

Since I know that humanoids are by nature untrusting, and I know that you can spare the dollar, I will now generously provide 8 reasons why you should immediately paypal me a buck. I don't think I'll need more than 5 reasons but I like to give people their money's worth. Plus I have a word count to think about. So without further ado:

(1) Sending me $1.00 will keep you from spending it on something pointless like the mortgage payment. You've been faithfully paying on that mortgage for years-it's time you had a break. And it'll only cost you a single greenback.

(2) Donating to a worthy cause can give you peace of mind which, in turn, will help you to sleep better at night. Giving me a dollar may not be as worthy a cause as, say, giving to the Red Cross, but I promise I will sleep better tonight and many nights thereafter if you send me that dollar.

(3) If I were sitting in front of a gas station smelling of cheap wine and wearing the same clothes I had on when I lost my job 8 months ago, you wouldn't even consider giving me a dollar. You would probably tell me to: "Get a Job, ya bum", and then rapidly walk away, clutching your wallet tightly. I, however, am not sitting in front of a gas station, I'm sitting in front of my television. And I changed clothes 2 days ago.

(4) I need to buy some Bling Bling! You're just not in the game if you don't have diamonds in your ears and ice on your neck and wrists. Plus I know a guy who'll give me a great deal on some gold teeth. But I need more cheese.

(5) Many great artist in history have depended on donations to finance their masterpieces. Your sending me $1.00 will allow me to do the necessary research for a masterpiece of an article that I'm working on called: 'Going Out on Saturday Night and Getting Sloppy Drunk Using Other People's Money'. I'll be sure to acknowledge you at the end.

(6) Fellas, would you rather send me a dollar or have your wife spent it on yet another pair of black heels? Ladies, would you rather your husbands spend it on another one of those magazines that he keeps in that box in his workshop? I thought not.

(7) Time is money. You're already wasting money by taking time to read this article. Another George Washington won't kill you.

(8) The pens and paper I use to write these articles don't pay for themselves. My high speed internect connection that I use to upload these articles isn't free. I don't think $1.00 is too much to ask after the scores of articles I have written and shared with all of cyberspace. After all, if it wasn't for my articles you wouldn't appreciate the good articles written by others.

So there you have it folks. 8 reasons to send me $1.00 via Paypal. As I suspected most of you were sold after Reason #5. I appreciate you waiting patiently until I finished with the remaining Reasons before rushing over to Paypal.com. Now that I have finished listing my reasons feel free to login and send your $1.00 to wailinward@yahoo.com. And please hurry, the guy with the gold teeth isn't going to have those great deals forever...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

5 Reasons Why You Should Quit Your Day Job

Most of us would stop working if we could. We constantly dream about it, but that's about as far as we get-dreaming. Working a 9-5 just seems inevitable. I, Timothy Ward, however am a master at defying the inevitable. I stare 'The Inevitable' in the face and call him dirty names. I say, if you want to stop working, STOP WORKING; I'll even give you 5 reasons why you should.

1. If you stop working you'll have more time to devote to reading my articles, columns, and lists. This will enable me to become a household name down at the Unemployment and Welfare offices. My fame is a small price to pay for you living your dreams. Think about this when you see me on the 'Today Show'.

2. Quitting your job will make you feel wonderful. For about 10 minutes you'll be on cloud nine, you'll be on top of the world, you'll be living the good life, you'll be: -insert your own cliche here-. Then you'll start worrying about the car note, the mortgage, the kid's school clothes, groceries, and how you're going to pay that $850 you owe the Petermanns for running over their mailbox and a whole row of prize-winning azaleas. All this will probably depress you to the point of assisted suicide, but at least you had 10 minutes of freedom.

3. Daytime television is some of the most exciting and captivating television around. You'll wonder how you ever survived without all those quality soap operas, daytime talk shows, and judge shows where you get the sinking suspicion that the judge has been paid off. When you combine this with all the informative commercials that air during the daytime that will 'Show you how to make $1,000 a day stuffing envelopes, 'Teach you to drive a tractor trailer in 4 days', 'Allow you to get a degree from home in such exciting fields as GED preparation and septic tank scrubber' and you'll not only wonder why you didn't quit your job sooner, you'll also vow to never work again.

4. In your formerly employed state you missed all those important calls from collection agencies and other bill collectors. Now that you have quit your job you'll be able to sit at home in eager anticipation of these oh-so-important calls. Toss in a few telemarketers, calls from the Sheriff's Association asking for donations, and a few of those computers that call you and ask you to 'Hold for an important message' and you'll have a full day of just answering the phone. It will be like having a full-time job all over again, without all the hassle of getting a paycheck.

5. Dragging yourself out of bed every morning at 5:45 a.m. can't be good for your health. Your doctor will proud of you for caring enough about your body's well-being to go as far as quitting your job. He will not, however, see you as a patient anymore because you no longer have health insurance. But there's no need to worry, after all that's why we have free clinics. Sitting all day in a damp clinic waiting room next to two teenagers with stage 3 Chlamydia is yet another experience you would have missed out on if you had kept your day job.

There you have it folks. 5 reasons why you should immediately go out and quit your job. Feel free to quote any of these reasons to your employer when you turn in your two weeks notice. If she wants to know where you came across such valuable information tell her that a unselfish friend of humanity supplied them to you free of charge, and all I asked in return was that you remember me next time you need your septic tank scrubbed...

5 Big Advantages of PC Games on Demand

Not to knock PlayStation 2 or Xbox 360, but I have a decent PC. The consoles are okay for the kids, but I am happy with a keyboard and mouse.

I play online games to relax between work sessions on the computer. I don't want to get up from the machine to play. Thankfully, there are games on demand made for my PC.

Here are some of the reasons PC games on demand are going to change the way most of us play the latest video and audio intensive games:

1. Instant Gratification. I can demo the latest games to see what appeals to me. When I find a winner, I can purchase on the spot and download the entire game instantly. No waits. No trips to the mall to find the game I want - if they have it in stock.

2. New technology takes care of the install. Some PC games can be a bear to install from a CD or DVD. Why bother. I downloaded a fast free player from Triton (http://www.playtriton.com), and I am using the latest streaming technology to start playing the hottest games on the net.

3. I can begin playing full games within minutes of purchase. Triton's player will download and install your new game in the background using the fastest streaming delivery media available today. You don't have to wait for the entire game to download before you begin play.

4. Automatic updates. When you login to your game, Triton automatically makes sure you have the latest and greatest version of your game and player. No more searching the Internet for updates. You get yours automatically in the background.

5. Worldwide availability. No matter where you live in the world, if you have a good PC and a broadband Internet connection, you have access to the best games at the same time as anyone else. It doesn't matter if your local computer store carries the game you want or if they sold out before you went to buy. You are in control.

As PCs get more powerful, and broadband becomes the international standard for accessing the Internet, it only makes sense to move to a faster, more economical delivery method for cutting edge games.

3 Surefire Ways To Combat Rising Gas Prices

I have heard the rumblings of many of you in Readerland about the recent spike in gasoline prices. In fact it's all I seem to hear about lately. But at least it keeps you from rumbling about the infrequency of my columns and articles. Nonetheless, I have decided to try to help you get through this crisis by generously providing: 3 Ways to Combat Rising Gas Prices!

1. Don't Drive Your Car

This is, of course, the most obvious solution. If you never take the old Plymouth out the driveway, then it won't matter that at current gas prices it takes $125 to fill up the 30 gallon gas tank, or that you only get about 2.51 miles to the gallon. If you never drive, you could care less.

Of course, I know what you're going to say. "But Tim, I have places I need to go-like work. And the kids have school and soccer practice. And then there's grocery shopping and yoga lesssons and dinner at the Richardsons and blah blah blah and...." Ok, I get the point. Not everyone can sit around the house writing not-so-funny articles and searching the Internet for Drew Barrymore
photos like me. I fully understand that some of you have a life. But just because you don't drive your own car doesn't mean you can't get around. The answer?

2. Carpool

It's seems so simple now doesn't it. Instead of using your gas-Use Someone Elses! Have someone else pay $5.50 a gallon for gas to take your kids to school. Make someone else dip into their retirement fund just so they can cover the gas bill needed to get you to the office and back everyday. Make someone else get a second job so that they can have a full tank of gas in their SUV when your daughter needs to cruise the mall. It's so simple.

Of course, the concept behind carpooling is that everyone takes turns driving. So in a normal carpool situation you would eventually be required to use your car and spend your money driving others around. But this is not a Normal Carpool Situation, this is a Tim Ward Carpool Situation (TWCPS). In a TWCPS you avoid using your own car by making it so that the other carpool participants would rather walk barefoot on 120 degree asphalt than ride with you. You achieve this by:

(a) never washing or cleaning your car. Leave it looking and smelling like the county landfill.

(b) Have the worst behaved child in your family sitting in the front seat at all times. Feed the child lots of candy so he/she is always superhyper.

(c) Refuse to discuss anything in your car except your spouses bad bathing habits, bodily fluids, hang nails, chest hair, etc.

(d) Only play reggae music on the radio. Loud!

You shouldn't have to worry about anyone wanting to ride with you ever again.

3. Ride the Bus/Subway

Many cities have a mass transit system that is an alternative to driving your own vehicle. If you live in a city that doesn't have one don't worry-you can
always move. Of course, riding public transportation does have a few drawbacks, but these can be easily overcome if you follow these simple guidelines:

1. No matter what happens never, ever make eye contact with anyone. Making eye contact is an invitation for someone to mug you.

2. No matter what happens never, ever give up your seat to anyone. This is seen as weakness, and will be taken as an invitation to mug you.

3. No matter how tempted you are never, ever strike up a conversation with the person sitting next or across from you. This is very annoying and can be taken as an invitation for someone to mug you. Or worse, for someone to talk back.

4. Always make sure you are alert to get on and off at the right stop. Getting off at the wrong stop can lead to immediate mugging.

5. Never, ever take children with you on public transportation. Fellow passengers hate children. Children make you definite mug victim material.

Well, there you have it. 3 ways to deal with rising gas prices. Hopefully, you will be able to use these methods to keep from spending twice your car's Blue Book value just going to Walmart. Hopefully, next time your friends are grumbling and ranting about the mounting gas prices you will be able to
just sit back and smile, content because the issue no longer concerns you. Hopefully, I've once more helped my loyal readers in a time of crisis. And all I ask in return as a simplethank you next time you see me. Just make sure we're not on the bus. I'd hate to have to mug you...

Zen in a thimble

This is a way i use to bring thoughts to the physical world. There are a great many of them, and the better you get at creating them (thinking em up)The easier it will be to find work arounds in the real world, when obstacles and hurtles present themselves.

Im not exactly sure of why they work, but they do.Ok, for the first one, take all you money out of your pocket. Now lay it down on a table or something on the other side of the room.Now go find a seat somewhere that still lets you see your money. Now look at that money and try to think of ways to get that money back in your pocket. And you cant get help.List them.Hopefully everybody figured it out. If you are not magic, you gotta get up and go get it. Only way. If you are magic, then you dont need this article, so put it down and call me, imeechatly.

Doing This exercise makes you see in the physical world what you think. And from it you should see that the way to get what you want is to go get it, and bring it back to you. the funny thing is you will keep trying to figure out ways to get your money off the table, even though there arent any, its impossible. But the weird thing is that you no longer truly believe it is, yet. Use this exercise a lot and it will get you the answer to some tough questions.

Just about everything is possible, till it proves it is not.

Sometimes you have to make your thoughts real, envision them in your mind and make them real. Its like wouldnt it be much easier to figure out how to make something if you could see it. I believe that if you can see a thing in detail in your mind, it will give you clues as to how to make it real. Think about it, its corny but it feels right and works.

If you keep doing the exercise for different thoughts, you will start giving the impossible the burden of proof. And the more you think ahead the better you know what to expect,and the better you know what to expect the better you deal with the obstacle or hurtle or problem, so don't only think about reacting to hurtles and obstacles, think about attacking them too. That let's you react better in the process also, 2 for the price of one. This really works, give it a try.

Shadoweternal. (taken from article of the day at racialdebate.com)


What is wisdom? But first, what are the conditions that render it desirable, if not necessary, and what is its essential purpose?

Life is a desire to live, and better still a desire to live happily. As we strive to satisfy this desire, we encounter obstacles that complicate or frustrate our efforts. This complication or frustration amounts to suffering because it stands in the way of satisfaction.

Wisdom is designed to help us cope with this suffering. It is an adaptive product of reason in the face of tough circumstances. Thanks to it, happiness is conceivable and achievable in spite of everything. It is therefore the supreme good.

Actually, religion is a good that many rank equally high, since it serves the same purpose as wisdom, if differently. The difference lies in the way religion and wisdom portray suffering and define the meaning of life.

From the perspective of religion, suffering betrays a state of worldly imperfection that is in contradiction with the human desire for perfect happiness. Consequently, life here below – where humans are doomed to suffer – is absurd in itself. Or rather, life is meaningful strictly in terms of means to a heavenly end in the great beyond: A life of virtue prepares the way for an afterlife of bliss. The religious believe this in accordance with the teachings of an inspired spiritual leader, who claims to know the transcendental nature of the hereafter.

While personally I cast a skeptical eye on these teachings, I keep my mind open. They are highly suspicious, but the transcendental nature of their object puts them beyond the reach of any discredit based on conclusive evidence.

Anyway, as I see it, wisdom is independent of religion, though it can complement the latter. According to it, life in itself has meaning, despite its imperfection that people can learn to accept. Better still, they can learn to value this imperfection as they realize that perfection, contrary to popular belief, is not infinitely desirable.

Indeed, perfect happiness leaves something to be desired. By definition, it excludes suffering and hence all forms of complication or frustration. It supposes that circumstances are absolutely favorable – that is, not tough in any way. Therefore, no effort is necessary while every dream is possible. At first glance, this sounds like the most wonderful situation imaginable, and yet taking another look at it will dispel this illusion.

What strange whim, in the history of humankind, has compelled people from every walk of life to leave their cozy home and embark on risky ventures? Perhaps this whim is not so strange after all. A multitude of conquests have been made for the sheer joy of conquering against great odds. The operative word is pride, accompanied by excitement. To conquest-minded people the infinite ease of heaven entails infinite boredom. To them life – together with the struggle that is integral to it – is the very thing that perfect happiness leaves to be desired. It is an opportunity to prove courageous and victorious, though it is also a risk of failing painfully.

Happiness is about grasping this opportunity with courage and gaining a victory over the obstacles that stand between us and success in all the activities that most matter to us. This victory is often strenuous and always limited, precarious, and transitory, and we are bound to lose the battle in the end; but that makes the victory all the more precious and worthy of savoring.

When trying to define the activities in which we most care to succeed, we are forced to study our nature to know our purpose. Our growing wise depends on this study and this knowledge, leading to this definition. It begins with an awareness of our animal will to survive, as survival is the foundation on which life, in the truly human sense, is built. The awareness of life in this sense follows. It takes into account both our humanity and our individuality, as members of society with particular tastes and abilities to which a wide range of activities are suited.

The clearer we are about our purpose, the more we can live our lives with determination and passion, and so with a greater chance of succeeding and achieving happiness. The reverse is equally true. It therefore stands to reason that in striving after wisdom we lay the groundwork for success and happiness.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

WilliamKeleher.com: Six Generations in America

William A. Keleher (1886-1972) founded the Oldest and Largest Law Firm in New Mexico, Keleher & McLeod, P.A. The William Keleher site WilliamKeleher.com contains over 300 Rare Photographs of numerous Pioneer Southwest Luminaries like Elfego Baca and Conrad Hilton. Internationally Famous William A. Keleher authored some of the premier works on the Southwest: "Maxwell Land Grant,"1942; "Fabulous Frontier," 1945; "Turmoil in New Mexico, 1846-1968," 1952;"Violence in Lincoln County," 1957; and "Memoirs" 1969. and "New Mexicans I Knew." Purchase the Books of William A. Keleher in .pdf format online through Google Books at WilliamKeleher.com

Scholarships: Arts & Sciences:

Additionally the William A. Keleher Memorial Journalism Scholarship was established in 1980 at the University of New Mexico College of Arts and Sciences.The UNM fund had at the time 126 Endowment Funds with an investment value of $8,000,000 as of June 30, 2001.

UNM collections open for researchers:

The Center for Regional Studies Fellows presented work on the UNM Libraries Collections. William A. Keleher: Maker and Marker of History. William A. Keleher's papers an archives continue to be a rare glimpse into that bygone era of the Pioneer Southwest. Keleher, an author of several books on history of the southwest and a practicing attorney at Keleher & McLeod, P.A. left an extensive collection of history and territorial publications along with his correspondence and research materials.

Scholarships: Gifts that Grow.

In the 1920s in Albuquerque New Mexico, with subdivisions proliferating, developers pressured City Hall to annex their subdivisions, and the City Commission, led by Tingley, obliged. In 1925 the city added nine sections, doubling Albuquerque's land base overnight. The land stretched from Mulberry to San Pedro and Gibson to Constitution. The last annexation before the Depression was the Huning Castle Addition, 156 acres of pastures and drained swampland acquired from Franz Huning's heirs by contractor A.R. Hebenstreit and attorney William Keleher.

In 1928 lawyer William Keleher and contractor A.R. Hebenstreit acquired land from Franz Huning's heirs and platted the Huning Castle Addition. Swamps made much of the land unattractive for development, but that was remedied after the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy began projects to drain marshy lands and control the river. Albuquerque Country Club moved from the East Mesa to its current location in 1928, which added prestige to the development. They only got a few homes built before the Stock Market Crash of 1929. (Most of the homes in this affluent subdivision, which came to be known as the Country Club neighborhood, were built after World War II.

Securing a Place in New Mexico History:

William A. Keleher was a newspaperman, lawyer, internationally known author and historian who lived in Albuquerque for 84 of his 86 years. UNM awarded him two honorary degrees. His five books about the frontier era in the Southwest include an authoritative chronicle of the Lincoln County War. Keleher died in 1972.

Zimmerman Library: received Keleher's impressive collection of southwestern books and archive of papers and manuscripts, which is still being inventoried. This gift is from sons William B Keleher, Michael L Keleher, John G. Keleher and Thomas F. Keleher, and from the children of W. A. Keleher's late daughter, Mary Ann Keleher Rogers: James W. Rogers, Junior, Susan Rogers Schenkelberg, Ann Rogers Rothman and Michael Rogers

We Have Two Kidneys But Only Need One Kidney To Live

Organ donation is a gift and it should come from the heart, not by emotional coercion. Kidney transplants are the most common organ transplant that happens. Kidney transplants paved the way for surgical teams to develop successful transplantation of other organs including heart, lung, pancreas and liver.

People who do not have good kidneys are very sick. Kidneys do many things that are important to stay healthy. Normal kidneys perform several important tasks that keep the body in good health:

Clean your blood and remove waste products through the formation of urine
Balance fluids in the body by controlling water and salt concentrations
Maintain the balance of the bodys chemicals (potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus)
Control blood pressure
Supply elements used to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen in the blood
Help sustain strong bones.

One kidney, functioning at 20% capacity, can do all of the above. The kidneys produce urine that drains through narrow tubes (called ureters) into the bladder. Every day the kidneys filter 160 quarts of fluid from the bloodstream, removing about 1-1/2 quarts of waste in the form of urine.

There are two ways to replace the kidneys: dialysis and transplantation. Dialysis is when doctors use a machine and medicines to do the work that kidneys do. A better way to do the kidneys work is to give the person another kidney. To be a candidate for immunotherapy, the patient must be in good general condition, have adequate function of vital organs (such as the heart, lungs and kidneys) and have no brain metastasis.

For those with kidney failure, kidney transplants are preferable to treatment by dialysis. Kidney transplants are designed to treat patients whose kidneys are failing, making them unable to process body waste products. Transplants done relatively soon after starting dialysis are on average more successful than transplants performed two or more years after a patient starts dialysis. Patients who receive live donor kidney transplants usually have much shorter waiting times than those who receive kidneys from deceased donors. Transplants of kidneys from younger donors tend to survive longer than transplants from older donors.

Kidneys are allocated based on, among other considerations, the match between the donor and recipient blood groups and genetic type (called the tissue type or HLA type). Kidneys taken from living donors often begin to function immediately, while those from cadavers may take up to two weeks for tissues to adjust and become functional.

Unlike the backlog of patients in other medical areas, renal transplants happen when the donor kidney becomes available. On average, patients who are listed for a deceased donor transplant wait approximately three years, but there is a great deal of variability in this. For example, for a patient with a rare tissue type, there will be fewer donors with a tissue type that matches that of the patient well, compared to patients with more common tissue types. Furthermore some patients have antibodies directed against certain tissue types, which means that some, or even most, donor kidneys are not suitable for these patients.

After surgery, patients can expect to be hospitalized for approximately 7 to 10 days. After being discharged patients are seen daily as an outpatient for approximately four weeks. After the daily outpatient visits patients are instructed to do no heavy lifting or exercise for 8 to 10 weeks. Patients who do not smoke or give up smoking, maintain a good body weight and exercise regularly are more likely to have many years of good quality life with a well functioning kidney.


Flashes of memory stream into my consciousness. They take me back thirty years plus. I was a boy then, a newcomer to a poor and tough neighborhood. My parents, of moderate means and daring to a fault, had decided to move there after my father had accepted an editing job in the federal government. They had taken a lease on a low-rent brick house, which was also run-down, covered in filth, and littered with trash. I do not mince my words: Previous tenants had been pigs that got along with bugs and rats.

“The house has potential,” my mother had said to reassure me, seeing that I was aghast at its sordid aspects. Its one redeeming feature, besides its solid construction, was a large woody front yard, neglected, allowed to become a large dumping ground, as weedy as it was woody, but potentially attractive and pleasant, to be sure.

My mother was a hard worker with a great deal of stamina, creativity, and tastefulness. She mastered the art of doing wonders with little money. After three months of intense labor – which for the first week involved a carpenter and two garbage collectors plus two dump trucks – the house was transfigured, quite presentable, even nice, much to my amazement. It now contrasted sharply, cuttingly, with the slums at the rear of the house and on the left of it. On the right was a school and at the front, across the street, was a nunnery on a large piece of land. My parents had conveniently focused their attention on these establishments, as if the good education and good disposition of their teachers and sisters could shield us from the evils of the slums.

Needless to say, they did not. Violence was rampant in this neck of the woods and I was elected punchbag with only one dissenting vote: mine! At the root of this violence was malevolence, which grows from resentment, after one has been subjected to mistreatment. As much as my family projected an image of distinction, the neighborhood boys were malevolent and violent toward me. To them this image of distinction was an act of humiliation; their feelings were hurt and it was natural for them to hurt me. Of course it is a lot worthier to elevate oneself than to abase someone else. It is also a lot harder, and nature spontaneously levels everything the easy way. Moral excellence relates to culture, is an acquired trait, by virtue of which a human is courageous and just, worthy of praise.

One winter evening, I was crossing the field next to the rink where I had played hockey, when a gang of hoodlums encircled me like a pack of wolves. There were six of them, one of whom – a weakling who always relied on others to feel powerful – lived three doors down, east of my house, across the back street. The leader stepped forward and turned around with a snicker. “Hey shithead, come and kiss my ass.” I was tempted to kick it, not kiss it. “No thanks. Please let me go; I don’t care for trouble.” As I was finishing my sentence, one of the boys lunged toward me from behind and shoved me forward. I dropped my hockey equipment and braced myself to fight and suffer. I was big for my age, but big is small when outnumbered by six to one.

Again the leader took the initiative; the fight was on. With several thrusts, punches, and kicks, I repelled my assailants momentarily, until I was knocked and wrestled to the ground. Fists and feet hit me everywhere, nonstop, from all directions. Suddenly I heard a menacing shout and everyone slipped in a last blow before fleeing. A brave and kind man had caught sight of their misdeed and chosen to intervene, armed with a hockey stick. I was hurt but saved.

A few days later, still aching all over, I saw the weakling, alone by his house – his hovel to be exact, which was covered with old imitation brick, torn in places, and infested with cockroaches, rats, and woodworms. His face was bruised and wet from weeping, as he screamed with rage, “Fucking bastard, fucking bitch, fucking life, fuck, fuck, fuck!” My anger was now tempered with compassion. I unclenched my fists, prompted by a desire to spare him. I could not demean myself to add pain to his pain, already so excessive that it overflowed in streams of tears and curses.

His father was an illiterate and idle drunkard who collected welfare and spent considerable time and money at the tavern. At home, slouching in an armchair, he forever watched TV and drank beer or liquor. When grossly intoxicated, he sometimes vomited before reaching the bathroom and, without cleaning up his mess, fell unconscious on his bed, the armchair, the floor, or wherever. He was also vulgar and brutal. He often battered his son and his wife, and heaped insults on them.

His wife was an abusive and sluggish woman who had grown obese from attempting to fill her inner void with chips, cookies, and pop. Day after day she wore the same tattered nightgown and constantly found reasons for bawling out her son and swiping him. She drove him insane, then used this insanity as another reason for persecuting him.

These two loathsome and pitiful parents rendered his life at home unbearable. He usually roamed the streets with fellow-sufferers from similar – miserable and violent – backgrounds. Together they ganged up and took their resentment out on other kids such as me. My aggressors, first, were victims.

My insight into the origin of violence came to me at that time and has never left me. I saw then and still see a victim in every aggressor. Some say there is such a thing as gratuitous violence, committed by individuals whose youth was favorable to all appearances. Violence for the sake of violence, an exercise in brutality at the expense of others, without provocation, past or present? I beg to differ.

Appearances are not a valid means of assessing someone’s youth, whose favorableness or unfavorableness is a subjective, not objective, matter. Circumstances have no value in themselves, but in relation to people who consider them favorably or not. Attitude is here the only relevant concept. Also, brutality cannot be exercised at the expense of others unless these others are viewed heartlessly as expendable. This heartlessness is greatly suspicious, unlikely to belong to someone who regards humans with favor, thanks to a feeling of solidarity, of mutual benefit.

In my opinion, aggressiveness is triggered by hostility, without which it is dormant: a mere potentiality incapable of harm. It may include an abnormal sensitivity or intellect that intensifies or alters someone’s perception of the environment. The fact remains hostility, as perceived by someone who feels painfully antagonized and proportionally victimized, is always a factor. Therefore, aggression cannot be dissociated from victimization, not only that of the victims but also that of the aggressors. These aggressors are victims of their sick minds or of the ill treatment they have endured. They deserve compassion, besides indignation.

They are liable to a punishment that ought to be effective and exemplary, not vengeful. Vengeance and violence are one and the same thing. Both are resentful and harmful. Both are reprehensible. The harm inflicted does not remedy the harm suffered; it simply compounds one harm with another, and invites yet another harm. It lengthens the chain of savagery from x (a frightening number of savage links) to x+1, potentially +2, +3, +4, etc., instead of breaking it and helping to free humanity from it. There is no worse slavery than savagery. The best course is to make every effort to get over a wrong and forgive it, while bringing the wrongdoer to justice.

In sum, justice should not serve to avenge people. It should serve to prevent crime and protect the public, by intimidating or incarcerating those who are a menace to others except under threat or behind bars. It should never push the severity of this mandate to the point of cruelty, in which case it would be a perversion of justice, an ominous sign of barbarity. On the contrary, it should be a jewel in the crown of civilization and foreshadow the coming of a better humanity, more consistent with its true nature and purpose – in a word, more humane.

The difference between severity and cruelty is radical yet subtle; it must be emphasized. Cruel law enforcers delight in the punishments they inflict and readily overstep the mark. They are vicious and blameworthy, like the criminals they punish. Law enforcers who are severe, but not cruel, administer punishments reluctantly or regard them as a necessary evil they would gladly forgo if they could. They deplore the criminal element in society and strive to neutralize it through intimidation, or incarceration as a last resort, and preferably through reformation, a fundamental change of the criminal mind for the better. Their ideal, as unattainable as it is elevated, is the supremacy of justice without the institution of justice: no threats, no prisons, only people who deeply understand and freely exercise the principle of justice.

Impossible as this supremacy is, it is usefully pursued. The institution of justice can become less and less necessary for the manifestation of justice, which can become more and more customary. This progress depends on the wisdom and willpower of its proponents who make it their duty to educate, assist, and encourage potential followers. It also presupposes that these potential followers take an active part in this endeavor. They cannot be actual followers unless they welcome this education, assistance, and encouragement, and display intelligence and determination of their own.

How much can we collectively be civilized – that is, mutually respectful and helpful, in the knowledge that this high goal can unite our wills toward a common good of colossal proportions? In other words, what is the ceiling of our possible civilization, which implies responsibility and solidarity, an elevation of life to love? Nobody knows the limit, so none should be set but the sky!

Generally, in a loving environment, human beings show humanity as naturally as fruit trees give fruit in the summer. Love is to these beings as sunshine is to these trees. It helps them grow into what they are meant to grow into (unless their nature is flawed from the start, which is an exception to the rule): beautiful and bountiful creations, as opposed to ugly and puny aberrations. Yet, beware of love; it can be possessive and manipulative, selfish and devilish! Yes, some angels have horns, unnoticeable at first sight under their pretty hair; their paradise is hell.

True love is in the image of God (by God I simply mean the fundamental cause of everything. It brings us into existence and, within the limits of its might, supports us in our quest for fulfillment). It is a desire to nurture, not to capture. Under its divine rule, one always has the other’s best interests at heart. No one, however, should be supportive to the point of being an accomplice in someone’s oppressive or destructive acts of egocentricity, folly, or injustice. These evils should not be loved and served; they should be hated and combated.

Hate is legitimate toward them, whereas the people who embody them are worthy of love because they exceed them by their ability to do good. They are indeed greater than the sum of their evil ways; they include the power to improve them. Therefore hate is directed at these ways, and love at this power: It promotes the people’s ability to do good. What if a person who is oppressively or destructively egocentric, foolish, or unjust never responds to this love? In that case it is lost and the life of this person shamefully amounts to a waste of soul.

By a stroke of luck, my parents were bright and warm people who helped me blossom into a joyful and respectful individual. Their love was true and so was the love of many others who took part in my life. I was also lucky enough to be a good seed. I was a strong and healthy boy, extremely lively and moderately clever, cheery and gentle-natured, though impatient and self-assertive. In my eyes, until my family moved to the poor and tough neighborhood, civility was the norm among the members of society; it made sense. Barbarity, on the other hand, was a stupefying rarity. The abused weakling gave me an understanding of barbarity – which was common in this neighborhood – and replaced my stupefaction with commiseration.

Type Of Tattoo

Tattoos are at their heart a sign of individuality, and as more and more human beings seek a path to locate themselves apart from the crowd, the popularity of tattoos as a form of self expression is only likely to grow.

In act, the strict code of practices takes every safety measure so the risk of transmitting HIV or other diseases is virtually nonexistent.

however before spread outside, bids from approximately the society drove the reward over the century mark. If you bear these things in head and keep you eyes peeled, asking any and all questions that come to head, you should be fully capable of deciding whether or not your decision to get tattooed will be a acceptable one.

One beneficial body about henna tattooing, unlike the tattoos the western culture is used to, the henna tattoo is not permanent, for it fades away in age or it comes outside after a hardly any washings.

This path, others that are researching where to get a tattoo, will have that much more helpful info to ease them outside! A great place to do this is Body Mod.

Others events are far more profound, like the large number of policemen and fire fighters who tattooed the names of fallen colleagues on their arms for all to see.
If you contemplate on the internet there is a controversy about getting Kanji and Japanese Tattoos also. They will necessitate to contemplate into the dynamics of their relationships with customers and the nature of their interaction.

Getting a tattoo involves piercing the skin, and so there is going to be some pain involved, no complication how small the tattoo and no complication where it is on your body.
The more tattoos you have, the more ink spots you will end up with all over your body as age goes by.

This is easy! I know, you are thinking that you can’t much scan Japanese, so how on earth will you be able to recognize these different styles? Well, try this:

A temporary tattoo can latest for anywhere from a couple of days to various months and may be an alternative for you who are not certain that a permanent tattoo is the fair body for you.
Granted it is a small snaggy and faded at once however he still has one on his forearm nonetheless.

A legitimate, well-trained tattooist follows strict health guidelines and is willing to answer any of your questions about tattooing procedures and concerns.

However many tattoo artists are spotting the trend and jumping on it already. The best defense in the battle of the fading tattoo is to stay outside of the sun, cover the tattoo with clothing and wear a really acceptable sunscreen.

Hepatitis, a disease that attacks the liver, is of a parcel more concern, being a much heartier pathogen that requires a much smaller amount of body fluid transfer, though it should be mentioned that , according to the Centers for Disease Control, there has NEVER been a documented action of Hepatitis OR AIDS caused by a tattoo.

Therefore, soon after their tour of the Honda plant, the Harley Davidson Motor Society decided to lay into practice this originally rejected approach. Try to utilize some kind unscented, undedicated body lotion, as some scents may irritate the still-tender skin of your tattoo. Some human beings decorate a small area of skin, while in others it may be difficult to find a square inch of un-tattooed flesh.

Studies showed that about 75 % of Harley customers made repeat purchases, and executives quickly recognized a pattern that refocused the convention’s overall strategy.
anyway, after getting a tattoo done you should know some aftercare tips that cannot be ignored.

Fortunately there are other avenues you can capture instead of getting a permanent tattoo lay on. They are also a great path to express your individuality and unique sense of style.

To Think for Oneself

Let us examine the three purposes of writing: to inform, entertain, and enlighten. To me, the second one is bottom of the list, though it is instrumental in the achievement of the two others. Every great teacher knows this intimately and readily laces his teachings with relevant and interesting stories, and humor.

The first purpose, to inform, comes second in my mind, whereas the last, to enlighten, comes first. To explain my attitude, I think it appropriate to draw your attention to my book A REASON FOR LIVING, where both of these purposes are pursued.

Part of my book relays factual or theoretical information about things like human physiology, nutrition, and universal evolution. This information relates to the current perception of reality in scientific circles. I am just a vehicle for it. Now, for two reasons, my role as a writer who informs his readers about scientific facts and theories comes second in my mind to my role as a philosopher who strives to enlighten his readers.

My main reason is that I regard wisdom as paramount, whereas the knowledge of the material world (i.e., the constituents, structure, and workings thereof) is not equally important, however useful it is on a practical level. Conscience comes before science, which in itself is incapable of providing humans with a sense of what is good, right, or sacred – in a word, with moral principles. An example of science without conscience is the destruction of nature and the violation of human rights by rogue companies who are efficient in their use, or rather abuse, of their environment and their workers to satisfy their greed.

My other reason is that my role as a writer who informs his readers about scientific facts and theories is indeed that of a mere vehicle. It is very much secondary to the role of researcher, which drives the scientific enterprise thanks to advanced instrumentation plus skillful, scholarly, and clever observations and rationalizations.

By contrast, my role as a philosopher who strives to enlighten his readers is in the driver's seat, so to speak. Not only is it concerned with everything that makes life worth living and gives humans a sense of purpose, but also it does more than mirror the light of wisdom; it generates it by force of thinking on the basis of experience and study.

Truth to tell, my readers can likewise think for themselves. They themselves can be philosophers and create their own wisdom while discovering and evaluating mine. Therefore, the light shining through in my book is there to help my readers see a range of weighty matters on which they can meditate to form their own thoughtful opinions about them. And since they can do so, I venture to argue that they should.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Quest for Truth and the Meaning of Life

All too often, the quest for truth – which admittedly can only yield a qualified success in the best case scenario – is tainted with laxity and fancifulness, and hence is doomed to a pitiable result, not to say failure.

Strangely enough, Blaise Pascal, a famous mathematician and philosopher, is also the eccentric author of a wager according to which the belief in God (or more precisely in heaven as a divine reward for virtue) is defensible to the extent that it is desirable, even though it cannot be proven. Actually, it is supposedly defensible because not only cannot it be proven, it also cannot be disproven. So desirableness is considered a valid foundation for belief, absent provableness and disprovableness! The door is open to every wild fancy, as long as we lack the empirical means of discrediting it.

— Who have you invited to dinner, dear?
— Some fabulous folks, my love.
— Great! And who exactly are these folks?
— I don’t know, but they’re fabulous.
— Hum! How can you say they’re fabulous if you don’t know them?
— Our neighbor across the road told me so.
— Forgive me for asking, dear, but isn't that neighbor somewhat loopy? The story about angels watching over us sounds like wishful thinking to me.
— This loopy neighbor, as you say, is more fun to listen to than your professor friends, with all due respect.
— But don't you think…
— Forget about thinking; I’m in the mood for a dinner with some fabulous folks.

(If you feel this is a bit of sexist humor, note that I have made no mention of genders. The prejudices that offend us are sometimes very much our own. Remember also that Blaise Pascal was a man.)

Personally, I am not willing to forget about thinking. However attractive a claim may be, this attractiveness must be accompanied by credibleness – which is a function of provableness and trustworthiness – before I let it shape my view and govern my life. When credibleness is wanting, I reserve judgment until further notice and meanwhile accept reality as it appears to be, judging from facts and solid arguments, even if this appearance is not consistent with a so-called ideal world. Call me austere (not ready to indulge in the luxury of extravagant beliefs), a man of reason who associates his intellectual austerity with intellectual integrity.

Having said this, the reverse attitude is common, especially in matters that are beyond the realm of experience and hence can neither be proven nor disproven. For example, as regards their future – here below or in the hereafter – many do not reserve judgment or keep their minds open to all possibilities, ranging from disastrous to glorious. Instead they believe a heavenly tale because they fancy believing it and often also because a charismatic fortuneteller or spiritual leader, allegedly endowed with supernatural powers, is the originator of this tale.

In its wildest and blindest form, optimism coupled with faith is illustrative of this attitude. Is it fanciful and naïve, or even foolish? I am tempted to say yes, and yet I will resist this temptation. There is no denying that the inveterate optimists-believers derive significant enjoyment from seeing their future through rose-colored spectacles. In view of this enjoyment, a sophisticated better like Blaise Pascal will argue that these spectacles are worth wearing, at the risk of laboring under a delusion. I myself lack the grace or the guile of innocent or calculating souls to whom ignorance is bliss.

I am all the stauncher as a committed realist since life in itself – without fables and despite the adversities that are part and parcel of it – has meaning to my mind. Furthermore, I contend that religion (as a provider of a questionable but meaningful myth that makes a blissful afterlife the purpose of life) is often a poor substitute for wisdom. It is designed to offset the feeling of dissatisfaction that shadows the foolish if often profound concept of existential absurdity. The more deficient in wisdom, the more avid for religion (as defined above) one is.

Now, what is the content of this wisdom, or what is the meaning of life within the limits of life? I have answered this question to the best of my ability in my book A REASON FOR LIVING; and my answer – like any answer to this question – is sure to be both at odds and in keeping with yours. But then, the antithesis of statements and disagreements can usefully stimulate the intellect to resolve the oppositions and achieve a new and superior synthesis.

Be that as it may, this antithesis betrays the imperfection of individual wisdoms. At best, they are true up to a point, and we can persistently overpass this point while the complete truth indefinitely recedes like the horizon as we advance toward it. There are as many wisdoms as there are individuals; nevertheless their subjectiveness admits of much intersubjectiveness or deep intellectual kinship.

Let us explore a number of cardinal facts and logical assumptions based on facts.

1) The observable universe is the obvious manifestation of a tendency toward order. Ordered things and beings (that show their attraction for a particular inert or living state), ordered behaviors and thoughts (that aim at specific achievements and feelings in preference to others), all this testifies to the tendency in question, which can be called the principle of universal order. The oneness of this principle is not merely nominal. It is fundamental, as demonstrated by the unitary if complex human nature, which comprises every physical and nonphysical aspect of the observable universe.

2) The observation of the universe relates to observers: humans, in the present instance. It is limited to the observable manifestations of this universe, or provides a basis for knowledge only within the limits of these manifestations. Everything beyond these limits – that is, everything that is not observably manifest – transcends our ability to know it. Nevertheless, as Kant pointed out, our inability to know it does not suppress our curiosity. Whereas some accept the limits of knowledge, many don’t. Their effort to penetrate the transcendental mystery ought to yield nothing except fancy.

3) There are, however, various degrees of fancy. At one extreme, fancy is grossly unfounded or rests on the highly suspicious claims of inspired visionaries regarding the great beyond. At the other extreme, fancy is very much tempered with reason. It is reminiscent of poetry, which assimilates certain things to kindred things through metaphors and similes.

Take for example the predictions of learned and intuitive futurists about the distant future of humanity. They clearly overstep the limits of knowledge, and yet they are believable to the extent that they are conceivable, given the way this knowledge represents humans and the world they inhabit. Take also for example the conjectures of learned and intuitive philosophers about the intimate nature of nonhuman beings or things beyond their observable characteristics. Like the above-mentioned predictions, they clearly overstep the limits of knowledge, and yet they are believable to the extent that they are conceivable, given the way this knowledge represents humans and nonhuman beings or things.

4) With respect to our human nature, observations include introspections and reveal both the spiritual and material aspects of this nature. Since we measure the value of life in terms of pleasure (sensual, intellectual, or moral), it is safe to say that the spiritual aspect is preeminent.

By underscoring the pleasure principle in moral matters, I imply that even the most edifying proof of nobility comprises an element of self-interest. Indeed, nobility is an ideal in the pursuit of which the noble soul takes pleasure – not the low sort of pleasure that one derives from such activities as feasting on a palatable dish or having intercourse with a seductive lover, but the most elevated sort. Therefore, self-interest and nobility are not mutually exclusive. When they come together, the former is exalted by the latter.

5) As we fathom our human nature, we ultimately acknowledge the principle of universal order as the essence of our being, which can normally acquire habits – of thought or behavior – that are conducive to well-being. And so gratitude adds to the acknowledgment, though misery may reverse this attitude when it plagues us despite ourselves.

Why such misery? There is no answer to this question. We can ascertain the possibility of misery; we cannot explain it. Saying that the principle of universal order is such as to permit the occurrence of misery is like saying that misery is because it can be, which is no explanation. In short, misery is a mystery; and the best we can do is fight and overcome it, or resign ourselves to it when it is insuperable.

Actually, we can do better. We can regard misery as a precious opportunity for courage and merit, whereas an absolutely blissful and effortless life would require no courage and hence afford no merit.

But what about extreme cases where we are truly miserable and helpless? We can then take comfort from the knowledge that the principle of universal order is the essence of our being. Each of us is a single human incarnation of this principle among countless other like incarnations, which offer the prospect of a meritorious happiness through considerable effort.