Thursday, October 27, 2022


Best to Leave It at That

That every one of the personal crusades in the course of my life has been quixotic -- the opponent's breast and the tip of my papier-mache spear fading into a common fog.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Saturday, October 15, 2022


The Modern Philosopher's Dilemma

There are, let us say, ten incompatible paths.  The choice of any one of them, as in quantum theory, forecloses all of the others.

A path implies a goal of course.  We choose our path based largely on how congenial we find its teleology to be, socially, culturally, ethically.  The path may be:

  • Hindu
  • Buddhist
  • Taoist
  • Mosaic
  • Mohammedan
  • Pantheist
  • Christian
  • Secular Humanist
  • Purely Materialistic
  • Indigenous in its Origin
The late "tears in the veil," studied carefully, imply that each of these teleologies is wrong because anthropomorphic.  

We insist that Renaissance paintings of God reigning over His heavens are purely "metaphorical."  We think that the Sumerians must have been idiots because they thought that the Sun God could get angry.  

But even the modern materialist takes as his or her model a view of the universe that puts us at the center, psychically if not geographically.  (The "fact" that a wave resolves to a particle only on human observation continues to upset the apple cart of materialism.  No one believes that the wave will resolve to a point if Alexa follows our command to look at it.)  The materialist takes comfort, as much as the Holy Roller on his deathbed, in the susceptibility of all things to our ultimate understanding.  Her Heavenly Reward will be an obituary in the New York Times that confirms to the world that she helped to illuminate our path -- the only true path -- towards a richer understanding of the heavens.

But the tearing of the veil, in multiple places and with increasing urgency, rends all of this asunder.  For us to "figure things out" will be as impossible as for a dog to discover and embrace Jesus as his Savior.  And there is nothing in what we have learned so far that implies any particular benevolence towards us, that we are a Chosen People, that God sees us as his children.

This is a hard lesson at the tail end of life, when one wants to get one's house in order for Judgment Day, however it may be envisioned.  We might as well ask "What will be the fate of this particular well-intentioned bacterium on Judgment Day?"

Wednesday, October 12, 2022


"May the Angels Lead You Into Paradise! ..."

"... May the martyrs come to welcome you and the blah blah blah blah ...!"

Thus two screechy-voiced women of a certain age, invisible in the balcony, escorted the "faithful departed" from the dingy lower church of St. John the Evangelist to the gates of heaven in 1960 -- a heaven where everything was ideal to the point of perfection, including the music.

Monday, October 10, 2022


1,000 Years in Purgatory

And your punishment, according to the paperwork I have here, is to sing karaoke of Wayne Newton's "Red Roses for a Blue Lady."  Continuously.  For 1,000 years.

Friday, October 7, 2022


On A Comma Watch

Things appear now, unadorned by layers of interpretation.

A stick of pepperoni at Wegman's.  The deep folds of a purple pepper, photographed by Georgia O'Keefe in black and white many years ago.  The sands of an oversized hourglass, interrupted at the base of the top funnel by a damp, dead kitchen moth.  (Time has stopped for him.)  

The Vikings escaping in haste across the sea from whence they came.

All "unsettling," you may be permitted to say.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022


Freud's Mistake

The Depth of My Sorrows.  The Many Sources of My Sorrows.

A good old-fashioned psychotherapist could make it his mission to uncover them, using me as his instrument.  What possible other instrument could he have?

But to me it would feel as if he had grabbed me by the scruff of the neck, plunged my face into a 50-gallon drum filled to the brim with brackish, icy-cold water.  What good would this do me?  

(Gasping for air, gasping for breath.)

With all the will in the world

Diving for Dear Life

When I could be Diving for Pearls.


Just Like My Own Mother

Hanging our laundry out to dry on the back porch.  Recorded dutifully by the Bell & Howell handheld.  Trying too hard and too long to cling to her beauty.  And as a consequence losing her dignity, become a laughingstock in fact.

The Black Diva.

Diana (less Supremes) Ross.