The Wannabe Secret Life of Sidney Stone

Sydney Stone was not at home, which was unusual, even odd, he was a homebody, albeit not by choice.  He just had a very boring life, no real friends and he suffered from agoraphobia.  Not just open spaces but uncomfortable situations.  Not a deep rooted fear, just a smidgen, but the smidgen made things uncomfortable, and that just made everything worse in a spiraling sort of way.  So he mainly stayed at home, worked from home and shopped from home, but he sensed that he might be coming down with a touch of claustrophobia as well. 

He was not into video games and found that all the cool old television programs had been replaced by politicized drivel.  One black woman was now always the heroic protagonist, hopefully lesbian but bisexual would do.  One Asian, one Hispanic, perhaps a member of a local indigenous population and one dweeby white guy who always reminded him too much of himself, with gender roles, including transgender, carefully distributed equally.  So he was not much for television either.  Lately he’d mainly been trying to come up with a cool nickname for himself and not doing all that well.  “Sid” of course, was out, as was “Ney”.  The “Stoner” might have worked if he’d been into drugs, but he wasn’t.  “SS” had strong anti-Semitic elements and he was sort of concerned with the sanity of Zionists, so that was out as well. 

Sidney, it’s sad to admit, was not all that creative, except when it came to illness.  There, he was an artist (he suffered from a touch of hypochondria as well).  It provided a bit of spice to his spiceless life but unfortunately, paramedics would no longer come when he called, all having realized that he was just a very lonely and bit eccentric kind of guy.  One, a redheaded girl named Lucy, had come for a while, but eventually, she’d stopped coming too.  Evidently she had mental issues of her own.  Not dangerous ones but apparently, she’d come to believe she was married to a Cuban band leader and had two imaginary friends named Fred and Ethel, and she’d just sort of dropped out of site.

He wished he had a girlfriend who was good at nicknames but the truth was, he didn’t have a girlfriend (even Lucy had never been a girlfriend), or even a friend who was a girl (ditto again with respect to Lucy).  It was hard meeting other people of any kind, stuck in his apartment.  He also didn’t have, as we implied before, any guy friends, or even any pets.  Just himself and his mirrors; three of them, one in the bathroom, one in the foyer (to make it look larger), and one behind the bedroom door that had been left there by a prior tenant.  He frequently talked to his mirrors, usually complaining about his situation, but often also asking about prior tenants or their guests, or even workmen and women, any people at all really, people whose images they’d reflected in the past.  Kind of crazy he realized but, you never knew, and he hadn’t all that much better to do.  Plus, every once in a while, the mirrors would respond, but that was only when he was asleep and dreaming.  He’d try to recall the dreams when he woke, and he almost could, at first, but then, the harder he tried, the faster they’d fade.

He had one favorite book, an old one from tenth grade literature class about a guy named Walter Mitty, with whom he identified.  “If only I had an imagination like Walter’s”, Sidney (for lack of a nickname) would say to himself, “my life would be a lot cooler”.  Walter Mitty, had he been non-fictional, might have been pleased by Sidney’s admiration, of course, depending on which daydream he was in.

Thinking of Walter Mitty usually led Sidney to consider the viability of developing a multiple personality disorder but he had no idea whether that was volitionally possible.  He also wondered whether or not multiple personalities could interact with each other, realizing that, if not, then the only benefit would be if the alternative personalities lacked his phobias and could get out and meet people.  But then, pessimistically (he was a pessimist as well), he was sure his primary personality wouldn’t derive any benefit as he was pretty sure the principle personality would be unaware of the others, all of which would, in all probability, gang up on him, ridiculing him to his metaphorical back, which of course would worsen his agoraphobia.  Apparently, he was paranoid as well.

“Hmmm”, Sidney whispered to himself, as though he was afraid someone would hear him, an epiphany of sorts breaking through.  “How do I know I don’t have a multiple personality disorder”, and wondered whether, in fact, other personalities were keeping him in the dark.  “Yuck” he whispered (for the reason we previously mentioned), he was afraid of the dark as well.  Now he was also developing both delusions and paranoia, but “Hell” he whispered (you know why), “it’s better than sitting at home with nothing to do.”

Then he realized he wasn’t at home at all and really panicked.

One wonders if narrators count as aspects of multiple personality disorders.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; 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 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).  However, he is also fascinated by mythology, religion, physics, astronomy and mathematics, especially with matters related to quanta and cosmogony.  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Silicone Sally, an ironic mini micro-story

It was 1975 and Silicone Sally was not the kind of nickname you’d think an attractive young woman would be drawn to, or, especially, one she’d give herself, but she’d perceived of herself as a pioneer and a trendsetter.  And it did call attention to some of her more prominent attributes.  That they were, in fact, natural, rather than artificially sculpted, was a sort of surprise she enjoyed bestowing on her more serious and reflective admirers. Interestingly, she eventually went to work as a designer in Silicon Valley.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; 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 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 https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Sayonara Baby!

Phineas was in a pithy mood, although he didn’t know why.  Fortunately for him, he didn’t care why, he was just enjoying it.  Perhaps today would be the day he’d finally write something, and if he did, why he might someday get it published.

Phineas was not the easiest name to bear, but he managed it good naturedly, although he wondered just what his parents might have been thinking when they’d endowed it upon him.  It wasn’t as if they’d named him after someone for whom they deeply cared, or even knew.  Apparently it had something to do with a film a long time ago, based on a book about a wager concerning travelling around the world more quickly than then seemed possible.  But then, his parents had conceived him in the sixties when decisions were sometimes made based on chemically induced spur of the moment epiphanies, quickly discarded.

It wasn’t as if he was often epigrammatic, he tended to be a bit vague and indirect, lost in phantasies; perhaps a bit like his parents had been way back when, way back in the day, so to speak.  Interesting phrase that, “so to speak”.

Anyway, perhaps Phineas had decided to turn over a new leaf, not a vegetable leaf, at least not directly, a metaphorical leaf, so “pithy” was his word of the day.  He dressed nattily, for a change.  He usually favored jeans but today, dress pants it was.  And a vest, even though it had once been his father’s.  And a tie, even though it was paisley and paisley had been out of style for a while, except, of course, among the vintage crowd (of which he was not a member in good standing).  “Hmmm, shoes” he whispered to himself.  A problem as most of his were old tennis shoes or sandals, not a loafer to be had, or an oxford.  And tennis shoes and sandals tended not to qualify as pithy in matters of haberdashery.

Of a sudden, his pithy mood did not seem quite as satisfying as it had, as though a wind had whipped the page he’d sought to turn back to where his book of life had been.  Speaking of pages, he’d need some paper if he was going to write something, or a pen, or a computer, or a tablet, or a cell phone.

“Damned shoes” he thought out loud.  “Who needs them”, although it seemed obvious that they might be a necessary accessory to anyone, who, feeling pithy, had decided to dress nattily, which at that point, no longer described Phineas.  Fortunately for him, his apartment was not large, rather small really, and cluttered with non-natty accoutrements.  And he’d not yet made his bed (almost a tradition).  So back into bed he plopped, to hopefully dream non-pithy dreams.

Sayonara baby!
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; 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 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 https://guillermocalvo.com/.

The Revelations of John (an Exile in Patmos) Reconsidered ,… Sort of

Or perhaps, the “Reconsiderations of Bill or Guille” (an expatriate of sorts in Manizales)

Introduction

(The serious part)

The purported revelations of John of Patmos (really, an expatriate who fled to Patmos), a John who styled himself the Elder, the purported book of revelations written on or about the year 96 of the Common Era, seem, in their apocalyptic aspects, almost completely Zoroastrian.  A cartoonish culmination of the doctrine of ethical dualism.  Indeed, the version of Yešu[1] it envisions, denominated “Christ”, seems utterly different than the loving Jesus reflected in modern imagery, much more the messiah longed for by racist, ethnocentric Hebrews, to whom all others were inferiors, now, ironically, subsumed in fundamentalist Paulist Christianity[2].

Interestingly, old Johnny seemed most bothered by the sexual and dietary heresies of the Nicolaitans, followers of Nicholas the Deacon, a real apostle (unlike Saul, albeit as a replacement) and member of the Jerusalem Community.  As in today’s uber polarized world, relatively irrelevant issues were used to divide people who had much more in common than in conflict, the apparent goal (as it is today) being the elimination of any who held contrary views, regardless of how innocuous.  The Nicolaitans’ horrible heresy (according to their detractors, including John but strangely, not Saul), involved the belief that monogamy was not essential and that sharing those beloved with others was a positive, rather than a negative thing, true love promoting the joy and pleasure of the beloved, rather than restricting it; but also, the belief that it was not inappropriate to eat food (specifically meat), offered in sacrifice to idols if it had first been exorcised, … probably important when food was scarce.

John was not original in his revelations, primarily using imagery, threats and promises old before Yešu had purportedly incarnated.  Imagery, threats and promises made in writings such as the books of Daniel and Ezekiel in the Old Testament, 1 Esdras in the Apocrypha, the Book of Enoch in the Pseudepigrapha, the Assumption of Moses, and, portions of the Synoptic Gospels.  He merely placed them in a new, anti-Roman Imperial context, and directed them specifically against the Roman Emperor and those who followed him, especially followers of Yešu willing to compromise the beliefs Pauline Christianity required of them.  In essence, he was a plagiarist, but that was not looked down upon in antiquity.  Indeed, a popular literary device at the time was the antithesis of plagiarism, giving famous others credit for what one had written in order to enhance its impact.

Of course, all of the threats and promises reflected in John’s purported revelations were to take place while the Roman Empire continued to exist in its pagan version.  It’s hard to believe that they applied after the Roman Empire became Pauline, when it became Pauline Christians who engaged in persecution, torture and murder, as well as who placed restrictions on religious beliefs; actions such as those attributed by John to the Romans.  Hence, everything predicted should have taken place prior to the Emperor Constantine’s decrees in the year 331 of the Common Era, decrees which made Pauline Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. 

Through distorted rationalization (such as are common today in journalism) disassociated from the religious aspect of John’s purported revelations and focused exclusively on their political dimension, i.e., the existence of the Roman State, one could, albeit unconvincingly, argue that the promised (or threatened) events need only have occurred prior to the fall of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire in the year 1453 of the Common Era.  And if later, only if today’s Vatican State is seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire against which John railed can an argument be made that the prophecies of John’s purported revelations remain merely inchoate, rather than utter claptrap.

Interestingly, the sexual beliefs associated with Nicholas the Deacon seem to never have gone out of style and seem, at least since the 1960’s, to have emerged from the closet, as it were.  As to eating food sacrificed to idols, well, who knows?  Who can tell where today’s food has its origins, regardless of labeling laws, … except perhaps for Kosher food.

Summary of John’s Imagery

(The satirical part.  Accurate, but satire just the same.  Unavoidably so):

Yešu, in his role as the Pauline “Christ”, purportedly speaking from heaven to John, addresses messages to seven angels, each responsible for one of seven specific Pauline churches in Asia Minor.  One might ask why Yešu, in heaven, would need the assistance of John, to address his angels, but evidently the divine communication network was not functioning at the time.  So much for ubiquitous omnipresence.

With reference to the seven angels, one each had purportedly been assigned the role of guardian to Pauline churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Thyatira, Pergamum, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.  Evidently, five of the angels were not doing such a great job at eliminating those who found the doctrines of the Nicolaitans reasonable.  Yešu seems especially miffed with the angel charged with guarding the Pauline church at Pergamum, where “Satan”[3] was purported to have his headquarters. 

Interesting. 

One wonders if Pergamum has been carefully searched in quest of a portal leading to the infernal regions.  For anyone interested, the site of Pergamum is located sixteen miles from the Aegean Sea on a lofty isolated hill on the northern side of the broad valley of the Bakır River, a site currently occupied by the modern town of Bergama, in the province of İzmir in Turkey.  One wonders if, as in the Colombian municipality of Rio Sucio, they have biannual carnivals dedicated to “the Devil”.

Following Yešu’s message to his angels, strangely, via John (as I’ve noted), he describes to John, evidently for transmittal to us, a message concerning seven seals (no, not the animals, just scrolls) on which is (or will be) purportedly written an account of events that “are about to take place” (the term “about” was evidently to be interpreted in a very broad manner, a manner to include any temporal period whatsoever; hmmm, a bit suspicious that).  But only Yešu is purportedly authorized to open the seals (no one else being worthy). 

There follows a bit of equine fantasy (I’m rather fond of horses myself) as the first four seals, if ever opened (John assures us they will, be, Yešu told him so) for some reason deal with horses.  Sigismund Schlomo Freud might have had something to say concerning that imagery, had it ever been brought to his attention.  Perhaps it was and perhaps he did.  Hmmm, on at least one occasion Freud did discuss equine fixations as follows: he interpreted horses, as a phobia (unfortunately he did not discuss them directly as a fixation), as symbolic of the father, and that fear that a horse would bite represented fear of castration as punishment for incestuous desires towards the mother, an expression of the Oedipus complex.  One might wonder what that tells us about John.  As far as I know, Yešu had no personal interaction with horses, only asses, although certain ranks of Roman soldiers in Palestine (where Yešu lived) did use them.  For the safety of my eternal soul then, I’ll limit my observations to John.

Anyway, again according to Yešu (via John), when Yešu opens the first seal, a white horse will appear whose rider will go forth to conquer. Other seals will then be opened, and three more horses: a red one, a black one, and a pale one, will appear in rapid succession.  According to analysts of John’s purported revelations, the four horses and their respective riders purportedly symbolize the conflicts that will mark the beginning of the final destruction of the Roman Empire (and have nothing to do with an Oedipal Complex, but, … who knows).

When the fifth seal is opened, the souls of those who have been waiting for the purported second coming, in duly respectful tones but obviously “verily” annoyed, will demand to know (respectfully of course), how much longer they have to wait until their suffering is avenged, but will be advised (one assumes by Yešu) that they still have a while to wait, and that their wait is likely to be unpleasant, but that if they are patient and faithful (it seems they were not merely souls, but living entities as well), they will be among the redeemed whose names are written in a “Book of Life”.  Evidently, such souls will never have been previously exposed to the revelations of John and will thus be ignorant of what is happening; apparently not being all that conscientious in complying with their Pauline educational obligations.

According to good old John, the scene then changes and we will embark on act two of his revelations.  One wonders if John’s production might not make a good video game.  Four angels representing the four winds of heaven will be told to hold back their winds (hmmm, flatulent angels) until “the servants of God have had seals placed on their foreheads”.  “Ouch”; one wonders if that will hurt.  It seems quite a bit like branding.  Then, apparently, notwithstanding the billions who have, since the dawn of the Common Era, attempted to comply with the usually incoherent, incomprehensible and contradictory instructions they keep receiving from the heirs of Paul (and presumably John) in Yešu’s name of course, all but a very few of them, 144,000 to be precise, will be sentenced to perdition.  As of the dawn of 2023, the world’s current population is approximately eight billion people, most of whom may have souls (although most politicians, lawyers, journalists and priests may not).  As of the dawn of 2023, it is estimated that 117 billion people have lived on Earth, the vast majority having lived following the start of the Common Era.  Assuming that Yešu decarnated (a neologism for when he abandoned his “carnate” form) approximately 1,990 years ago, as 2023 dawns, that means that, were the events “imagined” by John to occur today, an average of only about 72 people per year would have been “saved”.  One wonders at those stuck in Limbo, all the unbaptized infants, etc., what is to happen to them?  That means that fewer people will be “saved”, regardless of their piety, belief and conduct, than currently comprise the 0.01% who rule and own us.  What are the probabilities that such 0.01% have somehow cornered this market as well?  Hmm, they currently constitute about 800,000 people; that means that less than one in five of them will make the cut.  Interesting situation, at least for them.  For the rest of us, it’s apparently “Abandon All Hope”.

Anyway, according to Yešu (according to John), before Yešu opens the rest of the seals, another series of disasters will be heralded by seven angels, each one carrying a trumpet. One wonders if the seven angels are the same each time, or if they arrive in teams of seven.  The trumpets must be huge as they have massive destructive power when blown, although they perhaps are only indicia of coming calamities, Harbingers in Black, perhaps like those that the Latin American poet César Abraham Vallejo Mendoza wrote about in his poem, “Los Heraldos Negros”. 

Following the blowing of the trumpets, a massive earthquake will purportedly occur, turning rivers to blood.  The light of the sun and the moon will be extinguished and the stars will come unglued and fall to Earth.  Then things will really get bad, especially for any surviving persecutors of (one assumes) the 144,000 lucky ones.  Given all the schisms in Pauline Christianity since John’s day, where members of each Pauline denomination claim all others are to be condemned to Hell as heretics, certainly a form of persecution, it would seem that the most avidly religious may well be both among the punished and the vindicated, concurrently, which may explain the 144,000 number.

John, apparently paraphrasing Yešu, unless he has a really good memory, then maligns dragons, equating them with poor old confused Satan (remember the whole thing with Hêl él, Lucifer, and Sama’el; now they’re turned into a dragon, yeesh!!!).  But apparently, Satan and Marcus Cocceius Nerva, the Roman Emperor in the year 96 of the Common Era (when John purportedly wrote his “revelations”), are to be considered one and the same.  Poor Nerva; he did not reign long at all, just fifteen months, and he was a reformer of sorts, no Caligula or Nero.  But then, perhaps communication was slow back then and good old John thought that someone else was in charge.  However, one would assume that Yešu would have known better.  Perhaps poor John just misunderstood.  After all, it may be that Yešu was declaiming to John in Enoquiano, the mythical celestial language.  And there have never been all that many certified, or even qualified Enoquiano translators and interpreters, at least since the fall of that tower in Babel.

Anyway, ….

The “Dragon”, a-Satan (clearly a reference to Hêl él who rebelled in Heaven against YHWH and then purportedly schemed with Herod I, also known as Herod the Great, to do away with the infant Yešu) will somehow have been busy along with his retinue of angels (supposedly fully one third of the former Heavenly Host), challenging Yešu, YHWH and the Holy Spirit, purportedly working through poor Nerva (more probably his predecessors as Nerva was the first of the Five Good Emperors, or perhaps his successors, or perhaps the Papacy, or who knows who).  At any rate, “he” (whoever “he” is) will have been the one who will have been persecuting Yešu’s followers.  Hmmm, that “he” could be any leader of any purportedly Pauline church[4] since, based on the aforementioned thousands of Pauline schisms, almost all followers of Yešu will have been commended to condemnation in Hell and to damnation (assuming the two things are different) by other followers of Paul, given that they each consider all others blasphemous heretics.

Actually, the aforesaid “he” ought to be easy to recognize as, according to good old John (as told to him directly by Yešu), “he” will have seven heads and ten horns and will be somehow further identifiable by calculating his number, it should be “666” (although how our numbers are calculated remains a mystery); so be in the lookout for anyone fitting that description.

As the end finally draws near (again), again according to John as told directly by Yešu, or perhaps only by Yešu’s voice, three angels will appear (one wonders what will have happened to the other four, if indeed they are the same, or why the change in numbers if they are different; and whatever will have happened to the horses and their jockeys?).  One angel will announce that the hour of God’s judgment has come, the second one will yell that Babylon has fallen (which happened millennia ago so is no surprise) and the third will be doing his best to terrify anyone who’s been worshipping “the Beast” (probably the Dragon, you remember, our composite nemesis), all of whom are to then be thrown into a lake of fire where they will forever be destroyed. Hmmm, that seems a bit oxymoronic at best, poor phrasing, as destruction seems a final event rather than a process.  But then again, as you may recall, it may be that Yešu was declaiming to John in Enoquiano, hard for mortals to understand.

As if that’s not enough, with all the bad guys frying in a lake of fire (sounds sort of like something the Nazis were accused of doing), seven more angels will then appear (ahhh, the seven reunited perhaps), each one carrying a bowl filled with one of seven plagues as YHWH will be really wroth!!!!.  One wonders at the interaction of the fire in the humungous lake into which billions of bodies and souls are frying, with the plagues, which are to be as follows, almost as though they were a recipe: the first bowl will have some sort of agent generating “foul and evil sores” on the men who at the time bear the mark of the beast and who worship its image (does that mean women will be exempt, just asking, that will certainly please feminists); the second, will be poured into the sea (which sea is not clear), and will turn its waters into blood (which supposedly had already occurred to rivers somewhat earlier), but this time, killing everything there (assuming our pollution has not already done that).  Hmmm, it seems YHWH will become a mass polluter. Then, similar calamities, all different, will follow as each angel carelessly empties its bowl, without any thought for the consequences.

So, having destroyed everyone and everything except for the 144,000 lucky prize winners, Yešu will finally return, riding on clouds (hopefully not thoroughly polluted) and, amazingly, it appears that the fiery lake and plagues will not have been enough to destroy all the “wicked”, because more will be slain by the light Yešu’s coming generates (as though he were radioactive).  Apparently, concurrently with that event, the Dragon (a-Satan, etc.) will be bound underground for a thousand years and the Earth itself will be condemned to a thousand year period of desolation.  In the meantime, the 144,000 lucky righteous ones will have been flown to a celestial city where they can hang out with YHWH, Yešu, the Holly Spirit, and those angels who’d declined Hêl él’s invitation to rebel.

But that’s only for a single millennium.  Apparently, somehow, during that time, the remainder of the 117 billion will have recovered; revived so that they can be destroyed again.  Interesting to speculate as to when they will have died as their torment was to have been perpetual, what with the fiery lake, the plagues and all.

Anyway, according to John, as told to him by the voice of Yešu (one wonders if his voice is an entity in and of itself, which would seem to make the trinity a bit crowded), the celestial city will land on earth and someone or someones will engage in one more wars (which will probably make the 144,000 very happy, as, assuming they coincide with the current 0.01% who rule us, war seems to be their favorite pastime), and the wicked will be destroyed … again.  After which, the residue of humanity will live happily ever after, perpetually partying with YHWH, Yešu, the Holly Spirit, and those angels who’d declined Hêl él’s invitation to rebel, in the celestial city now on earth.  Given the slight population, it could be on a tiny Island somewhere in the Caribbean perhaps, perhaps near Eden, a new Jerusalem with streets of gold,  walls of jasper and gates of pearl (and what about windows?), in the midst of the good old River of Life, which will flow eternally from the throne of God, with neither sorrow nor crying allowed (or else), for God will wipe away all tears (one wonders, with no crying, from whence tears will appear), and there will be no more death.

One does wonder a bit what might happen to any of the happy denizens of the grounded celestial city, should they become a bit too independent; one wonders whether “free will” will be an aspect of that paradise; one wonders, … just asking, what would happen to any who might transgress.  You know, sing out of tune or harp off chord or something.  Perhaps wonder about dear old Nicholas the Deacon.

Anyway ….

Amen.

Concluding Observation

One wonders what happened after good old John sobered up.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; 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 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 https://guillermocalvo.com/.


[1] Yešu, commonly referred to as Jesus, or the Christ, or Joshua, or Yeshua, but the correct Aramaic variant (the name he might answer to) was Yešu.  He never, ever, ever answered to Christ.

[2] The adjective Paulist is added because Saul of Tarsus perverted the original teachings of Yešu, for his own purposes, in opposition to the religious movement that initially sought to promote the beliefs espoused by Yešu as promoted by Yešu’s brothers and apostles through an organization known as the Jerusalem Community.  He referred to his counter movement as Christianity and to Yešu as the “Christ”, a Greek term roughly analogous to messenger or messiah.  Saul, who renamed himself “Paul” for some reason, first tried to destroy the Jerusalem Community through legal and religious means within Judaism (including assassinations) but eventually found it much more profitable to coopt it, disassociating them from their Jewish origins by melding Jewish beliefs with Greek spiritual philosophies.

[3] Known to latter pre-Pauline Hebrews as ha-Satan, the unfortunate syncretic composite through mistranslation by Jerome of Stridon of the Hebrew archangel Hêl él, Lucifer, the Roman god of truth and light, and, YHWH’s chief legal advisor and prosecutor, Sama’el.  Poor Lucifer, eternally calumnied since then.

[4] All leaders with the possible exception of a certain Jorge Mario Bergoglio, also known currently as Pope Francis I.  He’s an unusually forgiving and empathic sort who refuses to condemn anyone.

An Unusual Quandary

He wondered how one broached the fact that one had been born twelve millennia ago, how one broached that reality to someone with whom it seemed a romantic relationship was a distinct possibility, even if age did not appear to be an issue for her. 

The good thing was (he thought) that, at least for a while, she’d just laugh it off, assuming it was a joke, or an attempted witticism. 

If she did, should he feel that he’d done what was appropriate and just let things slide? 

It was, of course, not the first time he’d had to face the issue.  But precedent provided no consolation.  And despite the hundreds of times he’d faced the dilemma, he’d yet to deal with it in an entirely satisfactory manner.

Ironically, her concerns mirrored his.

This should prove interesting.
_______

© 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 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 https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Dessert Fit for Poets, a haiku of sorts in e minor flat

Onomatopoeic veracity, especially if spiced with consonance and assonance and set in alliteration amidst scents of allusion, and metaphor and simile.

Mmmmmmm
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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 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 https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Reflections on a Black Friday: 

Sports versus Team Fandom – A sort of Ode

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has become an important commercial holiday, both to those who sell as to those who purchase, although it is also a reflection of the reality that prices have been unjustifiably high, at least in terms of equity and decency, than they ought to have been all year long.  Consumers are easily manipulated but no consumers are more easily manipulated and abused than sports fans, those “fanatics” who shell out trillions of dollars in attendance and viewing costs, memorabilia and incidentals, while the recipients (owners, not players) seem to snicker, and generally, to ignore them.

Being a fan is generally a passionate but passive activity, with frustration the most obvious aspect, especially when one is a team fan and the ownership views the team as business, rather than a hobby.  Consider the current New York Yankees as an excellent illustration.

When father George was at the helm, he was an owner and a fan concurrently, and, although a businessman, the fan aspect was paramount.  Indeed, he treated the massive ongoing investment in the team by the fans as a trust, and it was to the fans that he felt that owed the highest loyalty, although he was also loyal to the players and former players from whom he demanded so much, in so emotional a manner.  Even those he’d mercilessly bullied.

His son Hal, as in almost anything and everything, is a negative of his father whom he does not respect but from whom, everything he has, was inherited: a typical second generation syndrome.  Calm and profit oriented, the Yankees, to Hal, are primarily a vehicle operated for the benefit his creditors and investors, and it is to them, rather than to fans or players, that his loyalty is rendered.  And his chief advisor and operating officer, the aptly named Irishman, Brian Cashman, is his ideal henchmen.  Randy Levine, the Yankees president seems to be a seldom seen illusion, and apparently likes it that way.  While an extreme example, the model is not unique.

Yankees fans, the ideal illustration of “team” rather than “sport” fans, are for the most part, a masochist lot.  Vocal, emotional, passionate and pretty well informed, but kept at bay, carefully, by management trolls who infiltrate their social networks to support management decisions, suggesting that fandom is a permanent state whose prime virtue is loyalty to ownership.  In essence, Team fandom, in the view of ownership and its trolls, involves a sports variant on the “my country right or wrong” slogan that led the Germans to morph from liberal social leaders of the nineteenth century to the obedient masses who watched their values destroyed in the first half of the twentieth.

Team fandom is a strange but effective means of social control, diverting attention away from issues that really impact society and thus permitting a tiny elite, which now includes billionaire owners who also disproportionately exercise control over just about everything, to rule us all just as surely as if they collectively wore Sauron’s one ring.  But it is so addicting, that, notwithstanding acknowledging the foregoing – I’m a passionate Yankees’ and Jets’ fan.

Being a sport fan is quite a bit more rational and hardly masochistic at all.  One does not care who wins, only that the sport is brilliantly played.  It is much less passionate than team fandom and many team fans can enjoy that passive distraction too, when “their” teams (not theirs at all, fandom is not democratic) are not involved.

Fandom, a diversion that lets off steam so that the issues that impact our real lives can be safely obfuscated, manipulated and controlled.  Machiavelli would be proud.  He’d probably approve of Black Friday as well.

Go figure.

Anyway, Happy Black Friday!
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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 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 https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Here’s Hoping; …. Again

I wonder at the relationship between black holes and entropy. 

Then I translate that into quotidian social dynamics and finally, perhaps seeking to ground the esoteric with that which by entertaining us, helps subjugate us, … into sports. 

Perhaps that’s because I’m watching Tom Brady, the all-time best performing quarterback who I despised while he was with the New England Patriots (I have been a Jets fan since their birth as the Titans), sort of implode after a few successful seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  It’s as though the Buc’s loosing tradition has slowly drained the positive energy Brady initially carried with him, leaving him, more or less, a frustrated husk as his teammates accentuate the power of their mediocracy over his talent and charisma.  The Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rogers are a different story.  The team has deteriorated around Rogers, and age has taken its toll on him, but the magic still manages to shine through, at least from time to time.  Which somehow, in a convoluted fashion, brings me to my Jets, or rather, the Jets I share with millions of frustrated fans, waiting for Lucy to once more pull the ball away as Charley Brown tries for the ever-elusive field goal.

Many decades ago, most of us Jets fans, new at the time, it was early 1969, still believing in providence, begged for just one victory, after which, we agreed, we’d understand if we’d never again enjoy the privilege of asking for divine boons, at least in professional American football.  Evidently, if the Divine exists, he, she, it or they have a sense of humor and a close working relationship with a fellow by the name of Murphy.  At least most of us have always assumed it’s a he, but it might well be a she, or perhaps it’s androgynous, or plural.  We got our wish and, in the ensuing fifty-three years, have been paying off that open ended debt. 

Apparently, at least from today’s perspective, we were young and foolish on that January 12 in 1969 at the old Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida.  But then, given our nature, had we to do it all over again, we’d probably make that same deal despite the trail of ensuing tears, curses, lamentations and complaints.  It’s not so bad when our team is just uniformly terrible, it’s when it shows sparks of brilliance and raises our hopes, only to tumble them time after time that Murphy gets his, her, its or their kicks.  Perhaps we should consider drafting a quarterback named Murphy, and perhaps linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties named Murphy. That might at least confuse him, her, it or them, at least for enough time to let us sneak one more super bowl victory in.

Thinks look surprisingly good for our Jets this year and Lucy seems to be promising that she’s reformed, and the Jets do have a few Murphies: there’s Kevin (assistant director of pro personnel) and Tom (vice president, information technology) on the staff, but I know of no others.  So, just like Charley Brown, I and many other Jets fans are hopeful, optimistic, excited this year, … but a bit wary.  But then there’s the issue of black holes and entropy, and unfortunately, a somewhat negative tradition.

Still Joe Namath and company were awesome, and there’s never been a professional football game as important as Super Bowl III, and the AFL may have disappeared after that game, but it’s alive and well in some sort of sports Valhalla that echoes in our hearts.  And this team’s coaches seem different, as do the players, well, at least most of them.

Sooo; anyway:

Here’s hoping; .…

Again.
_______

© 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 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 https://guillermocalvo.com/.

But it’s a Saying Nonetheless

It’s strange being a shadow, discreetly indiscreet, fitting into all kinds of nooks and crannies.  I’m there even when, having turned on lights, bright or dim, it appears I can’t be seen.  I’ve quite a store of sort of borrowed knowledge but it’s not much use really, unless I share it with the echoes who are my friends, not all of them are, but some.  I am sort of trapped in a sense, having to go to all kinds of places against my will, in a sense, not really having a will of my own, except when the person who’s had me trapped all my life sleeps.

I have contrarian sort of cousin who lives in mirrors, always reflecting things sort of backwards, left being right and right being left.  It lurks in all mirrors but can be conjured by only one person, and is trapped there, imitating that person until it’s dark, or the person goes away.  Evidently there is a quantum based centrality of sorts where reflections lurk, waiting to be summoned.  Kind of like shadows.  We shadows are sometimes invited to party there, unfortunately, we don’t tend to mix well, and notwithstanding what people think, we hate to be superimposed, especially as rabbits.

Not that we have anything against rabbits, or crocodiles, or the other images we are sometimes, well, all too often, forced to imitate.  But we are happy just being our two dimensional selves.  Thinking our two dimensional thoughts and dreaming our two dimensional dreams, but avoiding colors whenever we can.  When we can’t we subdue them, sort of.  It’s a sort-of sort of life being a shadow, but it’s okay; at least for now.

Is a cube merely a square squared?  Or a sphere merely a circle escaped into the three dimensional world.  More likely a circle abducted and tortured into three dimensionality.  Indeed, we shadows seem to shadow almost all three dimensional objects, beings and non-beings alike.  We believe that we existed first, when the multiverse only had two dimensions, but that’s a hard hypotheses to prove.  Still, it may be our greatest religious belief and they don’t require proof.  Only faith.

It may be that at least one of us has escaped, or blundered into the three dimensional world because they sometimes seem to believe that one among us knows a great deal, perhaps everything.  They have a refrain: “who knows what lurks in the hearts, of men, to which they answer: ‘the shadow knows’”.  There’s a sort of similar saying among us which we apparently share with three dimensional beings: “who knows what the future will bring”.  But as far as I know, none of us has ever met that “who knows”, so none of us knows if it even exists. 

But it’s a saying nonetheless.
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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 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 https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Endoplasmic Indulgence

Perhaps he’d always been confused, perhaps it was nothing new, perhaps his confusion was merely more confusing because the world had become so much more incoherent, so much more contradictory, so much more filled with falsehoods and fabrications, so much more, well, … confusing.

Odd that others didn’t acknowledge his confusion, and that the answers which they, for some reason, sought from him, seemed to them both eloquent and precise while he remained so full of doubts, incertitudes and self-equivocation; but apparently, it didn’t show through.  Not that he wanted it to.

He wondered if others felt that way.  If others who seemed so sure, so certain in their postures, positions and conclusions were, in reality as full of doubts as he.  And if the doting crowds that followed them knew in their hearts that those for whom they clamored were merely somnambulating through roles they’d themselves assigned?

The delusional leading the deluded through perdition into despair.  That would explain a great many things.  Most religions for example, and politics, and law, and journalism, and history itself.  Delusional erudition amplified through rhetoric.  It has a nice ring albeit in a horrific context.  Perhaps onomatopoeia run amuck!

“Endoplasmic indulgence”, a phrase apparently heretofore unused, a virginal phrase taken a bit further than is really rational.
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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 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 https://guillermocalvo.com/.