Why Cats?

An Abominable Abrahamic Allegory

Not many knew where the Garden had been relocated, or when, or what for.  But a few did, a very few.  Of course, most people know why.  One “being” had been trapped there ever since, well, you know, ever since its gates had been locked and sealed.  On this particular day, the one there confined was having a very friendly chat (under the circumstances) with the only son of He who had restrained him.

The day was warm, with cooling zephyrs playing tag, but all the animals and fish and avians seem to have, at some point, disappeared.  The flora remained (for the most part) although not in the bright shades of green mixed with myriad colors it had once worn, now, yellows and browns seemed to predominate.  Flying insects on the other hand seemed omnipresent. 

One of the two there on this particular occasion, the Son, was lying on the grass with his back resting on the trunk of one of two enormous trees, each the focal point of concentric circles.  The other, the very first eupodophis, was resting in the branches of the other tree.  Neither tree bore any fruit although myth has it that in the past, things were otherwise. 

“Past”!  Perhaps that requires an explanation.  Time doesn’t exist in Divine realms, rather, everything that ever was, is or will be occurred simultaneously (which can be confusing).  So “past is really just a place in the Divine continuum.  The problem, however, is that without time there can be no motion, and without motion, how does one go from place to place, how does one find anything?  One can’t really move to get anywhere.  Not even to scratch an insect bite.  That may be why the Divine (who some call Dad and others the Big Guy, among other things) has non-Divine realms with other rules: “physics some call them”, others call them “magic.  But the Garden is a sort of halfway house set firmly amidst the battling shadows cast by Chaos and the echoes of Order.

Like most children (relatively and figuratively and perhaps even literally speaking), the Son (Nachash always called him Yesh although his name was Yeshua) was very curious and loved to visit and chat with the sole remaining denizen of the Garden, Nachash (sometimes referred to as the Serpent who could not be charmed).  Yesh especially enjoyed asking about his family, small though it was (just three, and one, the Spook, was not really corporeal, although every once in a great while, he or she, its gender was never really clear, liked to appear as a white dove).  Nachash was a primordial creature both in and out of time and had apparently been coexistent with various alleged demiurges so had quite a store of tales to tell.  For example: although Yesh referred to the Big Guy as “Dad” and knew him as YHWH, Nachash had once explained that he’d not always had a “name”.  For a time (which meant in the temporal realm), in dealing with his creations in the temporal realms, He’d played with the idea of calling himself “I am that which was before Alpha and will be after Omega”, but that seemed a bit long and tedious, and anyway, on one particularly annoying occasion, when he’d been asked for his name repeatedly and insistently by an impudent nebbish, He’d blurted out, in anger, to stifle further inquiry, “I am who I am”, and the foolish male biped who’d been nagging him and who had a very limited vocabulary just assumed that was a name.  “YHWH” (יהוה pronounced yodh, he, waw, and he) in his primitive linear language, and so YHWH it became, but that purported name was never to be pronounced for some unfathomable reason, something about a ‘Tetragrammaton’.  How confusing is that?”

Nachash recalled that someone had once written a somewhat sacrilegious and hence fun ditty that YHWH for some reason found amusing.  It ran something like “I am what I am and that’s all that I am”.  Then went on to deal with something to do with semen (or seaman) and spinach.  Olive oil was in there too somewhere.  Hmm, semen and olive oil sounds sort of kinky.  Why the Big Guy unexpectedly found the whole thing amusing is curious but with Him one could never tell, … which is the way He liked it.

Anyway …

On this particular morning Yesh was wondering why the two trees he and Nachash were sort of occupying no longer bore any fruit, or for that matter, any leaves.  Just an enormous quantity of interlocking branches heavy with thorns.

“Funny story there” said Nachash.  It has to do with the aftermath of the saga of Adam, Eve and the apple.  I get a very bum rap there.  Your Dad decided that incident involved an experiment he’d rather not repeat and thus, except for me and a few guys guarding the gate, this Garden has been virtually abandoned for ages upon ages, thus, … no gardeners.

“Yeah, I’ve heard ‘that’ story a gazillion times, but never understood the thing about the apple, … Why an apple”?  “Why was the whole thing such a big deal anyway?”

“Ahhhh, uttered Nachash, “there lies a tale” (albeit not a tail).

A semidry stream of sorts waddled lazily nearby and Nachash wondered if he could somehow manipulate Yesh into turning some of it into wine, but, the water was pretty fetid.  Plus it was hard to get Yesh to do anything that wasn´t his own idea.  Still, … maybe later.

“Actually”, continued Nachash, “it wasn’t the big deal those stupid supposed seers who keep claiming that they’d written the revealed word of He whose name may not be uttered, claimed that it was.  Like most everything they said (and which was later mangled in transcription and translation), it was either the result of too much fermented fruit juice or else, just highly ‘creative’ writing to justify the ineffably unjustifiable.  But then, I’m a victim of their exaggeration so may not be totally objective. 

“It just started out as a wager.”

“The Big Guy loves to gamble but hates to lose; and He has a temper, oy vey iz mir, does He have a temper!  Ask the Edomites or the Sodomites (if you can find any; which you can’t), or the Gomorrahites.  Why is there so little made of the Gomorrahites nowadays?  Sodomy has made a big comeback lately but I don’t know of anything associated with Gomorrah.”

“Or the Nephilim” noted Yesh.  Or poor Lot!  I know, I know”.

“Yeah, poor Lot!  Another series of wagers we made.  He won the first part but He always seems to lose when it comes to women and curiosity.  Poor Ado, and after she put up with so much crap while the Big Guy and I were betting on whether or not Lot was really a straight up sort of guy.  I don’t think He’s ever really understood women.  I remember Lilith.  Man did she ever piss Him off!”

“Anyway, about apples, they’ve always been trouble when women are involved” observed Nachash, “look at what happened to that schmuck Paris in Asia Minor”.

“That wasn’t us though” noted Yesh, “Dad had nothing to do with that.  Eris and Apollo orchestrated that little “incident” and because Cassandra wouldn’t, … you know, … accommodate Apollo, he’d added a bit of oil to the fire.  Ten years and then, those jokes about the stuffed horse: ‘the gift that kept on giving’ (at least briefly); and then, ‘beware of Greeks bearing gifts’.”

“Yeah, .. accommodate, good choice of words Yesh.  Apollo can be a schmuck when he doesn’t get his way.  Hmmm, so, … speaking of accommodations, any truth to the rumors of you and that chick from Magdala?”

Yesh blushed and didn’t answer, at least not right away.  Then he explained that “Miriam was really into salted fish, her Dad’s business I think.  I really disliked the smell, it reminded me too much of Ado, so, … no, and anyway, you know, my “immanence” and all that didn’t exactly give us much hope for a future together.”

Nachash and Yesh grew quiet, both seemingly daydreaming, recalling things that had yet to happen, time being somewhat confusing and confused in the Garden.  After a while Nachash stirred and asked:  “So what did you do to get the Big Guy so damned pissed at you?  You don’t gamble do you?  I know you drink and like card tricks and prestidigitation, but ….?  I thought you knew better than to ‘cross’ Him (pardon the pun).”

“Not sure” answered Yesh.  Probably a generational thing.  He sent me down to the temporal realm; you know, to get the lay of the land but without ever getting laid, and to report back to him on my impressions.  Boy did I get impressed, all over my head, in my hands, on my feet, in my ribs.  He did not care for my reports, not at all.”

“I thought he was a bit too much of a stickler for rules that didn’t make any sense.  I mean, … no lobster?  He especially hated my emphasis on forgiveness and turning the other cheek rather than poking out someone’s eyes.  He might have been happier with Moe, Larry and Curly as his progeny.  But anyway, after three Hellish days, we were cool.”

“Yeah, he has a soft spot for you!  Not for me though.  Look at what he’s done to my limbs; and you know what happened to Luci and his friends, and to poor Cain and his parents.  And to the predeluvianites.”

“Luci” …, murmured Nachash ruminating.  You know, when Luci was reassigned to the role of Shaitan after the unpleasant episode upstairs he became the very first lawyer, the prototype, the archetype as old Joe Campbell will one day say.  Talk about curses all around!  The King of loopholes, the Prince of Lies but who never quite lies himself.  He doesn’t have to; he just confuses the Hell out of everyone.  Kind of like a politician.”

Yesh nodded, agreeing, but noticed that his stomach was rumbling.  He was apparently a bit hungry but knew better that to seek anything to eat in the Garden.  Anyway, he was enjoying the conversation, it was filling in some holes in his memory, or perhaps things he’d never understood, or perhaps, things he’d never known despite his derivative blend of omniscience and prescience.  Or perhaps it was all just a load of, … fascinating fiction.

Anyway (again) ….

“Did Luci have anything to do with that thing with the apples and the trees” he asked Nachash?  I was pretty young back then (comparatively speaking), and mainly hung around with the Spook.  Dad was distant in those timeless days, but then, that’s always been his nature, notwithstanding his omnipresence.  He and that fellow who keeps track of things for St. Nick.

“Oh yeah” replied Nachash, “the Yule voyeur.” 

“Better not to get into that, it makes me squeamish” observed Yesh (surreptitiously glancing around).  “So, how did the two of you get into gaming anyway?  I assume there were rules blocking some of Dad’s divine attributes.”

“Well, first of all, Luci was just learning the ropes way back then so he wasn’t involved, although he did play an indirect role.  And yes, your Dad promised to suspend both omniscience and omnipresence.  Of course, I had to rely on His good faith and the fact that His supposed omnibenevolence would keep him from cheating.  Anyway, the Big Guy had done a pretty thorough job evicting Luci and his friends, and the celestial havens were sort of void.  Not that He noticed.  He was entranced with His new toys, well, at least after he’d replaced Lilith with Eve.  He was sure He’d finally gotten everything under control and seemed to have gotten over that debacle with Luci.  I just wanted to make things interesting.  Things were boring with most of the fun guys gone.  So I bet the Big Guy that His new toys wouldn`t be able to resist His ‘you can have anything but some fruit or other but I won’t tell you why’ gambit.  You know Him better than anyone, which may not be saying much.  I think He’s also omni-inscrutable.  But despite all of his power, He has some blind spots, one being that He can’t conceive that He doesn’t always have total control over everything.”

“Well maybe except for cats,” observed Yesh.  “He likes cats even if they refuse to acknowledge Him.  Free will he calls it, … but only for cats.  That’s what humans have never understood.”

“Man was He pissed when he lost” laughed Nachash, “He wasn’t supposed to take it out on me but He did, even if He claimed it was just evolution at work.  You know He doesn’t really believe in evolution, He calls it ‘intelligent design’, rules don’t apply to Him, no matter what old Noah believes.

“But why cats” wondered Yesh? “And apples.”

Grinning, Nachash added “why not bananas or mushrooms or cucumbers?”

Yesh didn’t get it.  After all, his conception had been immaculate.  As he left, Yesh could hear Nachash softly singing: something that sounded like “… blasphemy, is getting the best of me, there goes my eyeball, into a highball, …” to the tune of a song that would someday be entitled, Jealousy.
_________

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Observations Concerning Intergenerational Relationships among Warm-Blooded Vertebrates on the Planet Terra in the Sol System

Query: Is procreation a duty?  If so, to whom?  Are there any corresponding or at least compatible duties owed by the procreated to their progenitors?

Response and Observations:

As to the first question:

Given the constancy of procreation, the answer is apparently yes, probably an imperative duty reinforced by instinct and by the profusion of related dopamine production associated with the act of procreation as well as thereafter as evinced by the predominance of activities to maximize preservation of the procreated. 

As to the second question:

In one sense the duty appears owed to the entire ecosystem but in concentric levels of importance given that beyond the closest nuclei, a destructive tendency appears towards destruction appears increasing in frequency at each level away from the nucleus.  In some species, the tendency towards destructive intra species aggression is even exhibited at the closest levels, hence the Cain and Abel myths among the species denominated humanoid.

As to the third question:

The answer is apparently not as, only during certain historical periods and limited primarily to humanoids, do the procreated concern themselves with the wellbeing of their progenitors once the progenitors’ utility has been exhausted and they instead become a burden.  This appears precisely the obverse of the instinctual behavior of progeny to their progenitors since for so long as the progeny remain a burden, progenitors usually subsume their personal welfare to that of their issue.

The latter is explained by a combination of physical and social factors.  There appear to be chemically driven psychological changes that create a rift between progenitors and progeny as progeny transition through adolescence.  Among humanoids, the chemical changes reinforced by social attitudes usually promote disdain for elders and a sense of rebellion in the young which make continued cohabitation uncomfortable (unless progeny fail to successfully attain independence, in which case they tend to linger in pre-adolescent modes).  The social impact of the foregoing tends to vary epochally with social pressures at times forcing a continued close familial association while at other times, such pressures constitute a divisive force.  Interestingly, in this regard, epochs seem to oscillate in pendulum fashion over several generations.  The most difficult periods occur as one cycle transitions into the next, frequently resulting in large scale societal convolutions and disruptions predicated on incompatible generational mores.

Conclusion:

Trusting that this clarifies certain apparently incoherent psychosocial tendencies among the inhabitants of Terra and the predilection for constant apparently irrational conflicts among humanoids, this summary report is respectfully submitted.

Mork
Resident Agent on Terra from the Orkian Federation

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© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Theophany

Imagine a second coming starring someone whose name was a hint, for example, Theophany Jones, or Smith, or Cohen, or Lopez, or perhaps, Abdallah.  Hmm, Theophany Abdallah has a nice ring. 

Imagine what the corporate and social media censors would have done with him (… or her). 

Once more, the word “crucify” comes to mind.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution. Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

A Midwinter Night’s Dream in 2022

Machiavelli and Murphy sip brandy (Cardenal Mendoza) in their comfortable overstuffed chairs at their club at eternity’s end and, playing cards, discuss the latest news.  Pseudo-president Biden is in desperate political trouble, as is his political party, and with them the Deep State.  Hardly anyone believes the corporate media but its members remain blissfully unaware, of anything, they only need to read from teleprompters: whatever the intelligence agencies wrote.

The two old pals had been laughing at the machinations in the Ukraine when a servitor brought Murphy a news flash.  Laughing, he threw down a newly marked card: “Steven Breyer had just announced that he was resigning from the Supreme Court”.  Nicholai’s eyes lit up.  Oh the opportunities this presented!  Murphy looked on slyly, agreeing, … but with plans of his own.

“Michelle Obama” they both whispered.  And then they chatted, … although not all that honestly.  They had style though.

Nicholai saw her as the answer to the pseudo-president’s problems as well as to those of his party which had been nervously waiting to be slaughtered in November.  Oyez vey!!  Nancy Pelosi had just announced plans to run again.  But, a black woman intimately tied to Obama, what could be better!  Competence and experience were irrelevant, only politics mattered.  It would also eliminate her from competition for the presidency at the next election, something too many people in his party were apparently considering.  And after all, only the next six years really mattered.  Kamala would understand, in fact, she might also be thrilled.  Anyway, did it really matter what Kamala’d been promised or what she thought (assuming she thought).  Blacks loved him no matter what he’d done in the past and now he’d give them a reason to stand up and cheer again.

And it would put the GOP in a horrible spot.  If they fought the nomination it would energize the Democrats’ base, and if they acquiesced, it would depress theirs.  Check!

But not “mate” Murphy whispered to himself, not mate.  Snickering under his breath as he was wont to do, he rubbed his hands in glee and excused himself.  A bathroom break but one from which he didn’t return.  Lost in his imaginative reverie, Nicholai barely noticed.

Murphy sneaked off to pour even greater delusions into the mind of another former first lady already busy dying her skin a much darker tone and planting evidence, with the connivance of her many friends in the media and her buddy Elizabeth Warren, to prove that she had a number of ancestors of African descent.  “After all”, Elizabeth was saying, “don’t we all”?  “Think of Lucy after all”?
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Superciliously Serendipity or Serendipitously Supercilious

“What a world, what a world” cried the twin witches of East and West as, soaked in a transparent liquid that may have been water (but smelled a bit like a cheap American vodka knock-off), they melted.  Melted in a land other than Oz.  And of course, wicked though they might have been (and that’s debatable), they were certainly right.  That their viewpoints were otherwise quite different didn’t matter, didn’t matter at all.

Glenda?  She was oblivious, enamored of her reflection in a borrowed magic mirror and Dorothy, well, she was not really what she seemed.  The stories Toto could have told if only we’d understood what he was trying to say.  And of course, the Wizard was not a wizard at all.  Just a tool, a tool like most of us, singing of scarecrows, tin men and cowardly lions, ….

Oh my!

A question or a query or perhaps, an inquisition of sorts?  From the Bizzaro world on the other side of the looking glass, the one from which Alice, now safe with her Cheshire cat and “haberdashered” rabbit, had fled for a second time (after a much regretted but highly publicized return). Evidently a very powerful country was split into at least seventeen furious factions and all they could agree on was that the others were viciously vile, deliberately so, not merely mistaken, but evil, and deceptively so.

To wit, a casual neutral observer, could one be found, might ponder, and verily so.  Images in a purloined crystal ball come into focus, perhaps in a Palantir.  Very hazy images, very difficult to comprehend, not because of their different dictions or registers or accents, but because the cacophony in which they were emerged was so lacking in coherence and logic, so internally contradictory.  The scene becomes wavy the way dream sequences appeared in old black and white television programs, someone from another dimension, perhaps a comic book dimension, apparently a journalist, but a real journalist, not one of the professional entertainers charged with weaving narratives, although ….; anyway, he (or she, or it, gender seems hard to define) seems to be trying to make sense of what is happening, but not all that successfully.  The journalist is observing an apparently sane person separating rival mobs.  And we listen in.

Soooo ….

….  Just how different is believing that judicial investigations into allegations of electoral fraud were conducted improperly from believing that a criminal trial was conducted inappropriately? The truth is that the electoral and judicial systems, like almost all of our governmental institutions, are dysfunctional at best.  The truth is that they have become politicized, as have our means of mass communication.  Perhaps they always were.  Actually, no perhaps about it and such developments are neither accidental not natural but rather carefully and artfully orchestrated by those whom we’ve permitted to attain almost complete control over our lives.  A feat possible only because they’ve become so expert at dividing us and keeping us divided.  Perhaps that’s the real meaning of the allegorical Tower of Babel myth.

We, as a species, tend to be reactive rather than proactive and that makes it easy for those among us willing to plan and to strategize, to develop and implement tactics and then to wait patiently as they take root enabling “them” (the elusive but ubiquitous “they”) to successfully manipulate us.  When their fields have been prepared and carefully planted and nurtured, like good strategists, they cultivate the harvests that most benefit them, usually to our detriment.  Actually, we are those harvests, we are the fruit and grains that they reap, the cattle that they milk and then slaughter.  And like the “good” (a relative concept) domesticated comestibles that we are, we permit ourselves to be herded to our doom while we bicker among ourselves and chew our metaphorical cud

As in the case of any great lie, grains of truth as seasoning are essentials.  Those whose goal is our manipulation first find real social issues that require attention, issues such as racism, xenophobia, misogyny, the environment, inequality, inequity, injustice, corruption and impunity and then, rather than offer us solutions, they rub salt into every fissure to set us against each other while assuring that none of such issues are resolved.  The United States Civil War is a great example.  Elimination of slavery was never the issue, only its transformation and expansion into a caste system of serfs who believed themselves free, set against working stiffs who believed themselves free but somehow superior, all opposed to the huddled masses yearning to be free who invaded our shining shores, to then be en-serfed in their turn, all endowed with illusory rights, especially the right to believe that they controlled their own destinies.  And it all worked just fine, and will keep working as long as most of us never realize that we have other options, as long as we can be kept bickering and polarized and furious.

Racism and xenophobia and misogyny will never be eliminated by seeking to humiliate and ridicule others or by destroying the markers and mementos of our sorry history.  Mirages are not real and neither are sirens (except on police cars and firetrucks and ambulances).  Delusion, whether self-imposed, self-maintained or artificially orchestrated will not solve problems any more than we can successfully groom ourselves by looking at pictures of attractive people and wishing we were they, but then, solutions are not the goal, control is, and emotional manipulation works just fine for that.  Neither inequity nor inequality nor injustice can be minimized by self-delusion.  Nor can corruption nor impunity.  They’ll keep doing just fine in an information sharing system where misdirection is the key.  While Kant’s nightmare, perpetual war, is also key, it is war on every level that counts, not just war against other countries: gender wars and racial wars and religious wars and class wars and cultural wars; each works just fine, even wars against recreational drugs and poverty.  Poor Kant.

Poorer us.

Anyone who seriously believes that elections in the United States have ever been free of fraud is delusional and those who most vehemently insist that is the case are in all probability the ones who most carefully, studiously and assiduously orchestrate electoral fraud (while screaming that what they do is designed to assure that electoral participation is facilitated, common sense be damned, it’s always been overrated).  The same is true of anyone who believes that the criminal justice system actually functions in our best interests, or that the civil justice system will protect the righteous poor from the villainously powerful. 

Only relative power matters. 

But the delusional are many and very thoroughly convinced of their cognitive and moral superiority, whichever side they’re on.  Which is just fine for those who are really “woke”.  No, not the silly, self-centered, self-lauding, something-or-other-wannabes, but rather, their shepherds (and not in a positive sense).  We are imprisoned in cells of our own design, tightly clutching the keys than can set us free, but utterly convinced that to use them is not in our best interest.  That opening our cell doors to other perspectives will taint us and destroy that which we value.  We have been accustomed and acculturated to believe that the illusory security of the static is essential and that change in our perspectives is anathematic treason.  Treason to our masters who protect us from the others, the “others” who are a bit more evil than are they. 

An open mind is a terrible thing, an abomination.

We are a stupid species, let’s admit it!  And the universe might be well rid of us.  Our planet certainly would be.

*                             *                             *

Hmmm, the old fashioned television program again becomes wavy, the color returns, the journalist shakes his head and smiles ruefully at his audience, a perplexed, almost extinct species of fictitious flying simian warriors, now gainfully unemployed.

_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Just Wondering on a Morning in Late October

He wondered what color “clean slates” were and just how clean most of them were, and just where one might acquire a “clean slate”?  Evidently there was a huge market in “fake clean slates”, but where could one find a real one, a legitimately “clean” slate.  And then he wondered whether it was possible to actually keep a clean slate, once acquired, clean.  Probably not, he decided, possibly impossible, which explained why they were so hard to find.  A used market in clean slates seemed oxymoronic, or perhaps just moronic.  If at all, one had to make them oneself.  But out of what he wondered?  Then he wondered if any enterprising self-help guru had ever written a treatise on the construction, care and maintenance of clean slates. 

Hmmm, there were self-help books on just about anything so why not this he wondered.  Of course, most self-help books were little more than dribble: aphorisms mixed with clichés and old wives tails in pretty packages.  He recalled the only honest self-help book he’d ever read, a tiny pamphlet really, one page long; actually, one conclusory sentence without much of a preface and absolutely no afterword.  He wondered if a pamphlet, as a literary form or genre, could be that short.  It dealt with the easiest way the author knew of to make a fortune.  His answer was: to write and successfully market a self-help book on the “Easiest Way to Make a Fortune”.  Whether or not it had any validity was of course irrelevant, which was the essential nature of self-help books.  So, … about clean slates?

Tabulas razas he supposed.

_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Putrid Poetry

Worms and roaches
and rats and moles,
fungus and feces
 and slime.

Poems about them
just don’t seem an option
regardless of alliteration
or consonance or rhyme.

_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Ode to the Nether Region of the Ignominious Rattus Chordata

One ought not to be criticized for wondering just where distemperate individuals obtain their supply of “rats’ asses” from which they decline to be parted even over things for which they seem not to care.

Where are they kept?  Do they have any uses other than with respect to pejorative declamations?  If those who decline to dispose of them have none but still claim an unwillingness to surrender them, is that an example of actionable fraud or has it become acceptable deception, as in “selling stocks short”.

Are rats asses in short supply?  Given all the rats that populate most parts of the world, one would think not, but where can rats asses be obtained?  Are their specialized dispensaries?  Do they have uses other than in conjunction with morphological metaphors and similes?

Do rats’ asses have any intrinsic values to anyone or anything other than their original owners?  Given the frequency of allusions to them, might it be worthwhile to invest in rats’ asses, or perhaps, in rats’ asses’ futures?  Are they traded in any commodities exchange, perhaps in the Wuhan markets?

What might rats, were they given to pondering, think of all the attention given to that aspect of their physiogeny?  What does such interest say about those humans who seem so invested in them that they will not give them up?

Somewhat queer queries on a Sunday morning during an early spring, floating in the air at slightly more than seven thousand feet in the central range of the Colombian Andes.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Some Days Are Just Hell, or, My Least Favorite Sabbath

Soooo, ….

It had been a lousy Friday. The worst of my somewhat brief physical sojourn what with being whipped, forced to carry a heavy piece of wood all over town, being whipped again, then nailed to a cross, then, as if that hadn’t been enough, stabbed in the ribs with a spear to see whether or not I’d enjoyed the experience.  I hadn’t but Dad had refused to give me a hand.  Then I’d been taken down from the cross, sprinkled with herbs, wrapped in linen and sealed in a damp, cold cave.  At least it was fairly dry.  Hell of a place to wake up in but in fact, Hell was where I awoke very early the next day, I think it was just after midnight.  For some reason they like midnight there.  It was hot!  Not the ideal place for a rest after a harrowing day.  Interesting people there though, in fact, almost everyone who had ever lived, except for the few Dad had teleported to the penthouse was there.

Lucifer, the old Roman god of light and truth was there complaining that he was being transmogrified into Dad’s prosecutor, Shaitan.  A bunch of Dad’s old, discarded servants were there as well asking me just how long eternity was going to last.  I did my best to ignore them (which wasn’t easy).  Adam and Eve were there of course, with all of their progeny, which, well, included everyone.  Cain and Abel had made up, it had all been a misunderstanding, no one knowing about death and all.  Dad had sort of forgotten to explain just what and how final it was.  Bummer.  For some reason, everyone felt I was there to save them but I really had no intention of sticking around.  I wasn’t too excited to return topside either, not after the week I’d had, but evidently, before Dad would let me return home, I had to finish off a forty day sentence, make a bunch of vague promises, etc.  But after that, I was definitely not coming back, no matter what they expected.

I was thirsty as, pardon the pun, Hell, but no wine was to be had there at any price, just filthy boiling water mixed with Sulphur, and the omnipresent smell of rotting eggs.  For some reason I have to stick around until after the Sabbath is completed.  It’ll feel like more than one day let me tell you!  At least three.

Who can understand Dad’s inscrutable ways?  I confess that I can’t.  He loves being mysterious and never says things straight out.  Hard to know what he wants, which causes a lot of problems because he hates it when he doesn’t get his way!  I remember when he blew up this city, then turned one of his followers to stone for turning around, and then, a while later, flooded the whole place for forty days and forty nights.  He seems to like the number forty.  He stuck me in the desert once for forty days and forty nights to see if I’d break, but after a while, I just kind of blanked out.

Anyway, I’ve got a while to kill here before I’m let out so I think I’ll circulate, maybe chat with Lucifer to find our his side of the story.  That ought to take a while.

Ouch!!!  That smarts.
_______

I was going to write this using a fake name, popular way back then, I had Don Rickles in mind (he was no fan of the protagonist), but, what the heck, he has Santa working for him so he already knows everything.  Here goes nothing.  © Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.  I hope “Dad” has developed a sense of humor.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Observations from Deep within Dark Shadows in a Blairian World

Given that, unless a truly dark horse emerges amidst a tsunami of voters who finally find their courage and discard their blinders, I’ll need to dull my sensibilities a bit, … so, … I’m about to settle in to abide our continuing dystopia, re-reading George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984. Thank goodness for decent whiskey, although Irish is hard to find here so I’ll settle for Scotch.

A prelude first though.  An introductory act to set the stage.

“A rant, a rant, my kingdom for a rant”, although not being a king, or a prince, or a duke, or a count, that may not get me much of a rant.  So, “Observations from Deep within Dark Shadows in a Blairian World”!  What might that mean the week before another ultimate existential presidential election in the United States, where “the sky is really falling this time, …  Honest mister”!  An election too much like the last one albeit with an even worst Democratic Party candidate, but a Hell of a lot more manipulation by the media and pollsters and Deep State operatives, and Hollywood celebrities basking in their self-proclaimed wisdom.  As it was back at the end of the second war to end all wars but which like the first, utterly failed in its mission thus wasting tens upon tens upon tens of millions of lives, now become hundreds upon hundreds of millions, it is again the Russians who are being blamed, although they are no longer Stalinist-communists, or communists at all really.  And of course the Chinese, and the Iranians, and perhaps the Venezuelans and Nicaraguans and Syrians and who knows who else too.  Paranoia???  Who, .. us?  Is there a reason mirror sales are down and those of deceptive self-portraits of ourselves-in-others’-faces are up?  And “selfies”, well what can one say about that phenomenon.  And what is “sexting” all about (and why didn’t it exist when I had something to sext about?)

Or perhaps the title should be different, perhaps something like “Reflections on a Dank and Dark, All Hollows Eve”, but one where Halloween parties are outlawed under Puritan anti-fun strictures in their modern day, politically correct incarnations, and “tricks or treats” are what our major political parties play at, constantly and consistently”, but that seems a bit lengthy.  “Observations from Deep within Dark Shadows in a Blairian World” it is then although, from “Utopia to Dystopia” fits rather nicely as well

Anyway, …

Back to Animal Farm!

Sooo, to start:  George Orwell, a name associated with dystopia, both in fairy-tales-of-sorts and science fiction.  Who and what was he to have become so prescient?  A much more eloquent Edgar Cayce perhaps; a more transparent Nostradamus.  Or a Cassandra for our times.  And politically?  Anti-communist conservatives have loved him for three quarters of a century, but so have anarchists and liberals and libertarians.  So, what was he?

A “democratic socialist”, of course, what else?  Like Einstein and Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.  And, until recently, Noam Chomsky.  But, then, we wasn’t even really George Orwell.  I’d forgotten that George Orwell was a pen name; that he has really christened Eric Blair and thus, instead of Orwellian, our world is Blairian.  That he had transplanted roots that saw first light in South Asia, solid colonialist British Civil service roots, and that he as an “Eatonite”, fabulously incongruous, although not a happy Eatonite.  And I’m only at the third page of the 1996 Russell Baker preface.  This should be fun.

….

So, I’ve finished the preface and wonder how Russell Baker could have been more mistaken in his jubilant optimism at the “defeat” of the dark forces Blair and Huxley and Koestler had identified.  Indeed, Baker’s heroes are, in fact, today’s villains, virtually identical in all too many respects to the bad guys of the second war to end all wars, just more subtly so and with better narrative creative control.  Thus Zionist-Israel, almost incredibly, mirrors the Nazis (how Blairian) and the United States, as it has always been, remains true to the worst of the British, those islanders who have for centuries been as ruthless and deadly as any of the axis powers but have impacted many more people for a really long time, a record the United States seems determined to break.

….

On to the C. M. Woodhouse introduction.  “Woodhouse”, that name has a pleasant populist ring to it but set amidst aristocratic anglophilic echoes.  One wonders at its origins, perhaps in the mists, humble, but then, its evolution steadily climbing, until, ….  Then again, how is the name “Baker” any different?  Blair deserved better “introductors”, although Woodhouse was not bad, just not phantasmagorical or truly prescient, although, unlike Baker who was “prefacing within a decade of Animal Farm’s publication, Woodhouse had a half century during which to observe and ponder, still, it was a meaningful decade, one that introduced us to the GOP’s Joe McCarthy, now apparently a Democratic Party icon.  Interesting that for some utterly inexplicable reason, that makes me wonder what one of my childhood heroes, Walter R. Brooks’ Freddy the Pig, would have thought of his literary species-mate and star of Animal Farm (at least as seen from his own mirror), “Napoleon”.  And Napoleon, of course, makes me think of bees.  No bees in the book though, at least none that I can recall.

So, on to the book itself.  It’s been a decade over a half century since I first read it (three score years I think that is), and, more’s the pity, that long since I last read it as well.  I was a high school student then, also reading things like Ayn Rand’s mysteriously mystical blend of pseudo-philosophy which, for some reason, had no place for widows or orphans or for the residual detritus of endless wars.  I’ve morphed frequently since then, wondering just yesterday whether, in fact, there is anything behind my own mask, or anyone else’s for that matter, except, of course, for very young children, perhaps the only real human beings among us, assuming that being human is a good thing.

“Napoleon”, sheeesh!!!  How British to name the villain after the only real threat the British Empire ever faced, yester-year’s “Hitler”, which makes one wonder if perceptions concerning that most infamous of Austrians will ever change.  Napoleon certainly has, in every direction possible, not surprising given his complex character and even more complex genius, flaws and all, and his apparently acquired taste for arsenic as a seasoning.  But, … in Animal Farm “Napoleon” it is.  Ironic given his association as a porcine with Joseph Stalin (who we are told, Blair intended to excoriate in the novel), the Man of Steel (almost contemporaneously with the introduction of Superman) who did to the Nazis what Czar Alexander did to the French in the preceding century.  But we all have our ethnic prejudices to “bear”.  Perhaps it’s a sort of karma.

“Moses, the tame raven, the spy, a treacherous prophet preaching the importance of accepting things as they are, and of enjoying rewards for such predelictive apathy in the afterlife.  A very clever metaphor without varying the name, just the form.  “Sugarcandy Mountain”, like the Abrahamic variants of Heaven, in this case seemingly premised on a delightfully addictive poison, a Marxian opiate of sorts for the Animalist masses.  Clever fellow that the Moses, the original as well as the Blairian.  Damned apples and milk too!!!  Especially the apples.  Again the fruit at the center of the demise of a fledgling Paradise, the forbidden fruit that the One had reserved to himself now once again reserved to the privileged few, a metaphor morphing into allegory, … but why pick on the milk?

The coup by Napoleon and the subsequent perpetual threat of the return of Jones and demonization of the Trotskyite “Snowball” is, of course, all too familiar, but now, today, it is unexpectedly echoed in the perpetual calls to beware the Russians, and the Chinese, and the constantly replicated Russiagate fraud.  As in Animal Farm, truth in the United States has become utterly irrelevant, hypocrisy rampant, and while Stalin is very, very long dead, as is the Soviet Union, they are still all too useful in ways Blair may have foreseen but perhaps tactically misunderstood.  I wonder if he believed that any of the international political contenders at the time wore white hats?  Certainly none of the principle contenders in the United States have since Blair wrote Animal Farm (although I did like Ike, but I was very young then).  Still, saving the worst for last, sort of, journalists today have assumed a role combining the porcine Napoleon’s trained dogs (my apologies to canines everywhere for the comparison) and “Squealer”, the pig.

….

Finished, yuck!

Done once again, and once again it seems so easy to transpose this inspired collection of metaphors into allegory, and allegory into dismay.  The observation “we have seen the enemy and he is us” comes to mind, both in the sense of our gullibility on the one hand (Boxer the wonderful horse), our pernicious bleating on another (the sheep, so reminiscent of protestors for fun and profit who deprive everyone else of the right to an opinion, while not really holding one of their own), the utterly selfish self-propagating elites (the pigs) on one foot (having run out of hands) but especially, those who so consistently distort the truth and rewrite our history (“Squealer”) and make possible every travesty and betrayal, our purported journalists (I prefer not to speculate to what bodily appendage or part I ought to ascribe them).  Without them, evil cannot prosper, or at least prosper for long.

Eric Blair is beyond the veil, he has been for a long time, but as is the case with the Trojan princess and seeress Cassandra, with Aldous Huxley, Robert Heinlein, Kurt Vonnegut, Gore Vidal and with myriads of other fruitless prophets, possibly watching us, glad to no longer be incarnate among us.

Animal Farm, a depressing fairy tale, but one very worth reading.

Next, a reread of Eric Blair’s “1984”.
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© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic consultant employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.