August 29, 2005
Harold in Ireland
Last Friday I received a little packet in the mail from Harold Hark. Within was a cassette tape and a stained piece of paper with the following scrawled words:
There was Johnny McEldoo and McGee and me and a couple of two or three went on a spree one day. We had a bob or two, which we knew how to blew and the beer and whiskey flew and we all felt gay. We visited McCann's, MacLaman's, Humpty Dan's, we then went into Swan's, our stomachs for to pack. We ordered out a feed which indeed we did need and we finished it with speed but we still felt slack.
Johnny McEldoo turned red, white and blue as a plate of Irish stew he soon put out of sight. He shouted out "encore" with a roar for some more that he'd never felt before such a keen appetite. He ordered eggs and ham, bread and jam, what a cram, but him we couldn't tram, though we tried our level best. For everything we brought, cold or hot, mattered not, it went down him like a shot and he still stood the test.
He swallowed tripe and lard by the yard, we got scared. We thought it would go hard when the waiter brought the bill. We told him to give o'er, but he swore he could lower twice as much again and more before he had his fill. He nearly sucked a trough full of broth; says McGrath: "He'll devour the tablecloth if you don't hold him in." When the waiter brought the charge, McEldoo felt so large he began to scold and barge and his blood went on fire.
He began to curse and swear, tear his hair in despair, and to finish the affair called the shop man a liar. The shop man, he drew out and no doubt, he did clout, McEldoo he kicked about like an old football. He tattered all his clothes, broke his nose, I suppose he would have killed him with a few blows in no time at all. McEldoo began to howl and to growl, by my soul, he threw an empty bowl at the shop keepers head. It struck poor Mickey Flynn, peeled the skin from his chin, and the ructions did begin and we all fought and bled. The peelers did arrive, man alive, four or five, at us they made a dive for us all to march away. We paid for all the meat that we ate, stood a treat, and went home to ruminate on the spree that day.
The cassette tape was labeled "My vocal rendition". I listened intently. But how suss can suss be? Could this really be the voice of Hark? If so, he has certainly missed his calling. However, a little investigation on the internet showed that Hark must have been playing the harp on the way back to his Dublin hotel room where, plootered to the eyeballs, he contrived this flagrant jiggery-pokery. For the above words are the text to a famous Irish ditty, and the singer is not Hark but Tommy Makem.
Next thing you know, he'll be trying to con us into believing he's Sinead O'Connor singing songs of the Irish rebellion. Seems John Howard has truly tipped him "o'er".
P.S. In a postscript Hark claims to be heading for the south of France to root for truffles. Stay tuned.
August 26, 2005
Petrol and toilet paper: two wrong ends of a short stick
The soaring price of petrol is getting all the attention these days, and rightly so. The local petrol station operator claims we'll soon be paying $1.50 to $1.80 a litre here in Australia. Investment banker Matthew Simmons, author of Twilight in the Desert, reckons that to reflect its scarcity, the price of oil should be $150 a barrel instead of the $60 or so at present. When that happens we'll be paying a whopping $3 a litre for petrol.
Since the present oil crisis began a couple of years ago (at the time almost costing Prime Mate John Howard his head), we have been conditioned like Pavlovian dogs to accept the unacceptable. Now that the crisis is permanent, we pull up to the bowser whimpering quietly, noting with blank stares that $25 goes into the tank as fast as $10 used to.
When, on occasion, the price inexplicably drops a few cents from the previous day's high, some of us with the vestiges of a sense of humour exclaim to the attendant, "Wow, the price has dropped to $1.18, time to fill 'er up!" And he laughs and give thanks that we haven't picked up one of those 25% larger Mars bars and tried to bludgeon him to death.
Oil alone will cause economies all over the world to eventually crash. When that happens, we, the wretched of earth, will have but one satisfaction: the sight of worthless, rusting SUVs lying dead on the fried lawns of suburbia.
But what of that other basic requirement of life beyond water, food and shelter? Yes, toilet paper, the unsung rip off.
You may have noticed some of your favourite supermarket items (chips and breakfast cereal, for example) suddenly appearing in new packaging with less content for increased prices, but toilet paper seems to slip under the radar.
A few years ago, one or two brands made six roll packets containing 300 2ply sheets per roll for around $3. Of course, you had the option to buy from a bewildering variety of high-priced spreads (no pun intended) featuring super soft paper fit for royal bottoms.
Not long ago, the 300 sheet rolls dropped to 280, and they were only manufactured by generic brands. The costly sucker brands dropped to a maximum of 260 sheet rolls.
Nowadays you can pay almost $5 for a six-pack of 200 sheet rolls. A roll that size is next to useless unless you are single and anorexic.
At present, I know of only one outlet selling one generic brand of 280 sheet rolls -- the minimum size for any family with any kind of budget -- and increasingly the product seems to be made from biodegradable sandpaper.
Well! you may be snorting, this anal retentive fool does go on. But TP is central to our Western way of life. We cannot leave the toilet without it. Whereas in the East, where I spent a couple of years, the use of paper is considered barbaric. The reason those folk eat with their right hand is because their left is used to wash their bottoms after defecation. As a result their bottoms are always clean, and so are their hands, because of course they wash them afterwards with soap and water.
While we in the civilised world are being forced to pay through the nose so that we can walk around all day with traces of faeces stuck to our anuses.
Indeed, remember this the next time someone like the Education Minister Brendan Nelson pontificates about the Good Aussie Values his government unconsciously despises. As he stands there so full of himself that he could detonate the entire universe, remember that his asshole is most likely still smeared with shit.
August 23, 2005
Lessons in Self-remembering (1A)
Addendum to Lesson 1: Respond to others inappropriately
The piffling exercises suggested in the earlier posting pale into an insignificance worthy of the smallest dot to be found in the vast ocean of nothinglessness when set beside the quintessential knickers-knotting Monty Python episode, The Bookshop.
Put yourself at the feet of Master Marty Feldman as he enters the shop of eternally harassed bookseller John Cleese. Learn well from Marty that you may stride forth on the morrow to do great mischief to the innocent minds of unsuspecting shop assistants.
You'll never forget yourself if you do.
Enter the bookshop here....
Wav file can be downloaded here (scroll down).
August 22, 2005
Lessons in Self-remembering (1)
LESSON 1: RESPOND TO OTHERS INAPPROPRIATELY
Have you ever felt like breaking the social contract, just a little, just for a day? Breaking it big time is always possible, of course, but the consequences outweigh the benefits if all you want to do is shake the cobwebs out of your head.
Maybe a whole day is too hard. Although if you're trying to remember yourself, then remembering to inappropriately respond to others all day is good practice. You'd be surprised how easy it is to forget to say the wrong thing.
For starters, try it during lunch break, while shopping, wherever you come in contact with strangers. (The workplace is out of the question. These days, and especially the days to come, any unusual behaviour will be followed at worst by arrest, at best by dismissal, fair, unfair, or other.) Or try it at the next get together with the rellies. They'll soon stop talking to you and you can get schnockered all by yourself in a quiet corner. If there is one. Personally, I have never found a quiet corner at any of the rellies houses. I cope by drinking fast and talking loud.
But I digress. Routine communications out and about are always by the numbers. Everyone behind the counter wants to know how you are, how's your day been, had a good weekend, gonna have a good weekend, etc. Well, they've got to say something. And you respond with the usual banalities: good, fine, yeah, it was (will be) good.
It's time to take charge of this drab conformism. You'll want to be as inoffensive as possible, because these folks are just trying to be pleasant while earning a little money to have a little fun before eventually dying a little death. There is no point insulting someone who doesn't care whether you exist or not, especially when you don't care whether they exist or not either.
Here are a few suggestions:
SHe: How are you today?
YOU: Is it!
SHe: My, what beautiful weather.
YOU: I don't have any.
SHe: How may I help you?
And, if you're feeling creative:
SHe: Do you need any help?
YOU: I'm looking for a trap door to a parallel universe, preferably one without a work ethic. Any in stock?
SHe: May I take your order?
YOU: I'll have the Veronicas in a butter-crisp bun.
SHe: To drink?
YOU: My shoe size, if you have it.
SHe: Will that be cash or credit?
YOU: This fridge magnet is guaranteed by the government.
These exercises in self-remembering (or being silly) will keep you on your toes during those times when you just naturally switch to rote behaviour. You will have remained awake while adding a little spice to the lives of your victims who can then tell their significant otters about the nutter who spluttered as he uttered such gibbering boggling twaddle.
NB: You don't want to get too saucy with young women, nor too smart with hardware blokes, lest the alarm be pressed or your eye swiftly blackened. You just want them to stand there dumbfounded.
August 16, 2005
Gaza settlers as insane as their God
There are two topics so emotionally charged that they require instant disclaimers. Any discussion of pedophilia, and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The latter requires the writer to firmly state that his or her disagreement with the conduct of the Israeli government does not constitute anti-Semitism. This writer further wishes to make clear his opinion that without the extraordinary intelligence and wit of the Jews, the human race would still be on all fours.
Having established that God is insane, what are we to make of the Gaza settlers who are refusing to leave the land their government captured from the Arabs forty years ago, claiming it's theirs because God gave it to them?
They are as insane as their God and the God of the Muslims, who has commanded his followers to liquidate all Jews and anyone else who refuses to convert to Islam.
These far-right Jews, who exhibit enormous hubris by claiming they are the chosen race, are no less wacky than the lunatic Imams being ejected from country after country for their delusional preachings.
Both believe in an insane God. And so have become insane themselves.
Some settlers are even donning the Yellow Star and mock-Holocaust prison uniforms. Ostensibly because they feel their removal from the settlements is the same as being forced out of their homes in Nazi Germany. It is a ghastly irony that their position in Gaza now is not unlike the Aryan families who took over their dwellings during Hitler's reign, only to be ejected once the Thousand Year Reich crashed and burned.
If the settlers weren't such religious fanatics, it would be possible to feel sorry for them. After all, they've lived there for a couple of generations. Being uprooted for any reason is traumatic in the extreme. But you cannot expect to live honourably on land stolen from others. Unless you believe in an insane God.
August 15, 2005
God is insane
According to the Gnostics the "god" worshipped by all excrement-dwelling insects as the "one true god" is no more than a creator deity, and a blind one at that, a sort of über-Sims jockey who fell from the Pleroma (the centre of divine life) and, finding himself unimpeded by those really in the know, decided to concoct not just a city but a universe.
Overcome with pride at his nifty, if unauthorised, creation, he proclaimed that "It is I who am God, and there is no other one that exists apart from me." When (according to Nag Hammadi) the "All-begettress" Pistis Sophia learned of the work of this Demiurge who mistook his fall for a promotion, she rounded on him with great cosmic epithets such as "Asshole! You will be trampled like potter's clay for this!" But, to shorten a long story, the deed was done and thus did this universal satrap: 1) become the role model for the hubris resulting in the stupidity and violence that still plagues mankind, and 2) cause the eventual forced incarnation of Christ as Jesus. Which, as we all know, was to no avail.
Scheisse 'n' Merde, all these ancient texts to wade through. I'm beginning to think Terence McKenna was right when he said you can't get there from here without drugs.
Anyhoo, the fuckwit who earned the wrath of Christ's syzygy is the "god" of Jerry Falwell and George W. Bush, all right. A nutter on high but not high enough, insane to the core.
So who really is the true God, that masked varmint always at the edge of the horizon? Dr Stone, from Philip K. Dick's Valis, sayeth: "the universe is irrational; the mind governing it is irrational; but above them lies another God, the true God, and he is not irrational; in addition that true God has outwitted the powers of this world, ventured here to help us, and we know him as Logos."
And Logos? Dick: "living information". Nag Hammadi: "the power of life." Terence McKenna: "The agent of creation; an informative, hallucinatory voice nearly universal to the visionary experience."
Put all that in your pipe of dried Psilocybin and smoke it. I know I would if I had some. For the moment, sitting at the feet of that which is so huge it looks like everything and nothing, I'll settle for an entry-level interpretation. "The really truly God (or Logos or whatever) communicates to us first and foremost that which the father who art insane and his unwitting followers have ever sought to suppress: never trust a right-wing politician."
August 10, 2005
I tried to remember myself this morning. I had forgotten all about this seemingly simple yet impossible task since the 5 August posting, but when I remembered that I had forgotten I decided to give in to the dog's trembling pleas to take him for a walk and see if I could keep remembering until we got back home.
We returned thirty minutes later, refreshed after a fine stroll through the neighbourhood.
I have just now, three hours later, remembered that I forgot to remember myself.
During the walk several arbitrary tunes played in my head, as well as dozens of random thoughts. I spoke to the dog a couple of times, chastising him for making me endure the zero temperature. When we got back I put out the rubbish bins, made a cuppa and turned on the puter. I deleted some unnecessary files from the memory stick, printed off some info on a couple of applications that will allow me to create CDs from no longer available cassettes and vinyl recordings, and then, out of the blue, I suddenly came to. I had gotten things done, but I was not present while doing them.
Which is ultimately what self-remembering is: being able to feel yourself, to be conscious of yourself while simultaneously observing or doing something. Fuck, it must be liberating.
According to P.D. Ouspensky, the act of self-remembering explains those incidents, often unremarkable, that are burned into memory. They occurred during moments of self-remembering, of being wholly present. Of all those other moments, almost all of the life, Ouspensky says, "I only know that they took place." Just like my experiences this morning. I know they took place, but I did not feel them. It's as if they happened to someone else.
Ouspensky says: "I had always been astonished at the weakness and the insufficiency of our memory. So many things disappear. For some reason or other the chief absurdity of life for me consisted in this. Why experience so much in order to forget it afterwards? A man feels something which seems to him very big, he thinks he will never forget it; one or two years pass by -- and nothing remains of it. It now became clear to me why it could not be otherwise. If our memory really keeps alive only moments of self-remembering, it is clear why our memory is so poor."
This quote comes from Ouspensky's book, In Search of the Miraculous, a detailed account of the time he spent with G.I. Gurdjieff. I read it many moons ago, and then a few years ago bought it at a used book shop. It sat on the bookshelf gathering dust until a few weeks ago when the idea of self-remembering suddenly popped into my head again after all these years.
Well, the words are all there. Now, to paraphrase Monty Python, all I've got to do is get my mind to comprehend them in the right order.
August 8, 2005
The whereabouts of Harold Hark
In danger of losing his marbles since March 1996, Harold Hark retired from the worldwide descent into moral hebetude in early 2005. Notwithstanding a growing repertoire of facial tics and the paranoid certainty that everyone he met was a John Howard supporter, Hark enjoyed his solitude among the lilies that were not in the field that wasn't there.
And then one fateful day he entered the only shop in Australia whose regulation Teac mini sound system in the back corner was set to the ABC. (He actually heard some news instead of the medicated hilarity of Kyle and Jackie-O clones offered in every other shop in the land.) There he listened to Treasurer Peter Costello's confident assumption that workers would be more than happy to cash in their meal breaks to earn a few extra roubles, zlotys or rials, whichever currency was weakest on any given payday. At which time they would queue at the privatised foreign currency kiosks located at the exits of their workplaces where their third world pay could be exchanged for Australian dollars (conditions and fees applying). In this way would Australia's new breed of Enterprise Workers boost productivity and contribute to the booming sales of the nation's newest number one product: Victory Gin.
Hark's marbles clinked and clanked and clunked.
When Costello's suggestion was met with a nationwide chorus of Heil Howard's from the conservative commentariat, the Howard Jugend and all right-wing-thinking Australians, Hark's marbles went berserk.
The jig was definitely up. There was no longer a shred of doubt that the nation was being ruled by the clinically insane and supported by the stark raving mad.
Hark panicked. Fearing his immanent capture and personal vernichtung at the hands of one of Philip Ruddock's Einsatzgruppen, to wit, the surgical removal of his marbles by one of the many devotees of Beppo Mengele then flocking to John Howard's privatised health industry in hopes of experimenting on untermenschen such as himself, Hark boarded a Qantas flight to an unnamed destination in Europe.
He has promised to send periodic updates of his odyssean peregrinations to this blog. Stay tuned.
August 5, 2005
Who is it that's speaking to who am I speaking to?
Deviations into politics and other shadow plays aside, this blog is really about consciousness and the realities it perceives.
What I ultimately know about either is zip. So rest assured I'm no ego-boosting wannabe guru itching to deviously lay my revelations about the meaning of life on you in the hopes you'll go wow, man and tell me how cool I am. Even though I've checked out this and that religion, not to mention a shitload of paths and ways (all available on the Internet), I'm still a poor stupe who knows nothing. Why? For two reasons: I can't stand the sort of people who go for this questing trip, and I'm lazy as hell.
But I've reached the point where the repetitive routines and sub-routines acted out every 24 hours are starting to scare me. Up to now they have sufficed in terms of knowledge gained and pleasure received. But increasingly, they are appearing to be the rote activities of one who, in the act of going to bed suddenly realises that it's time to go to bed again. What in fact did I really accomplish, or better yet, what did I really perceive, during the last 24-hour cycle? Sooner, rather than later, these cycles are going to cease. What will I have gained? What will it all have been for? When the consciousness begins to ebb from the robot I have presented to the world as me, will everything I ever did seem no more real than last night's dream? Does anything that ever happened really matter?
What I take to be my consciousness can only shed light on one idea or concept or whatever at a time, rarely more. It's like a pen flashlight in a big darkened attic crammed with all sorts of stuff. The tiny light can illumine one item at a time, but rarely can it take in two or more, let alone stick around long enough for even the most cursory examination. The whole life seems to have been lived in a continuum of fleeting, unprocessed images.
Thus, I spend most of my time in a state of unawareness, a sleepwalker. When I wake up, usually for a few moments only, I can see that all those around me are enwombed in their own hazy dream state. When we communicate with each other, we are aware of the other, but not of ourselves.
Occasionally the master reality I share with everyone slips out of focus. Or rather, another reality intrudes upon it. This has happened often enough for me to conclude that this different reality (or realities) is just as "real" as the shared one.
What is really going on?
The scary thing is that remembering all this is so hard. Once I post this and go on to something else, all these thoughts will most likely get lost in the attic again. It may be days, weeks, months until I suddenly remember what the hell this blog -- and this pathetic life -- is all about.