Epistemic Mirrors

I’m sorry, but we can’t love eternal, evergreen Truth and “like” Salon. Or Fox News, HuffPo, NYT or NPR etc. Best to see oneself as an observer of such fare and not a consumer of it.

In fact, we can’t love Truth and trust ANY people who sell information– often cloaked as entertainment– purely for profit.(NPR hosts do it for love, sure, but they have to keep the BMW payments current.)

Playing with the Truth is the devil’s only real power; he can’t create a single thing. I don’t think he turns away from such an effective and long-proven weapon against the human soul. I think he makes it fun! with lists! and memes of outrageous! tragic! righteous! heroic! exclusive! and mostly, a/musing.

We naturally tend to heap our “likes” on the cultural information that reinforces our self-image– especially if it makes us feel morally fit. If we’re honest, it’s more real-time comforting to us than God’s divine assurances of our loveliness and acceptance in Christ’s atonement, because that was so five minutes ago.

Every “like,” “share,” and “comment”; every click of the mouse, is reinforcing to ourselves who we are. Every selfie is our attempt to convey who we are, and if we are honest, we know we are “selling it” to our best advantage. And we think folks who get paid to do such things are above “selling it” to us for their best advantage? Do you know who they are when they’re not selling ideas to you? Do you care?

Look, we don’t have movies because we want a calm and contented world-view, we want escape. And we have made-up “reality” shows because we want to experience otherness… CHANGE. We positively ache for newness every morning but we substitute it with mere news: who died, who offended, who sang, who is our new champion of the moment? It’s in our DNA. It’s a powerful and attractive force.

But we don’t seek the newness of God’s mercy. Nor the joy of His Truth, or the beauty of His creation– a force that wants to awaken us to CREATE instead of CONSUME. God’s in the creation business and your spirit, if you’re a Christian, is hungry for it. The enemy is in the distortion business and your human soul is satisfied with the empty calories of it. You’re soaking in it even now, in this stew-pot of likes and shares and selfies.

The layers of editors, salespeople, CEOs, managers, accountants and crony politicians behind everything we consume in the big publications, newscasts, and commercials is more than we can know– so we choose not to. We shut down our brains where we most need to employ them. But it’s our duty, if we love Truth above our cultural preferences and intellectual conceits, to be skeptical of the dietitians of our information consumption.

To be in the world and not of it, we must step away and observe it without consuming it. Let’s make sure we’re not existing in a hall of epistemic mirrors, enthralled to the selfie we find there.

How we do “Winter” here in the South

Not pictured: The Saturday mid-morning Mai Tai in my hand.

It’s all we can do to keep our flip-flops from melting before we finally feel warm enough to take our sweaters off.

Later, the Jolly Roger and I will go sailing. Just to show Winter who’s boss. Bring it.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: DONUTS! A local church from the ‘burbs just dropped off emergency food at our door. That’s how cold it is! It must have gone down to about 42 degrees last night. Brutal conditions here, I know. But I wish they could ship the sugar oysters up to Staten Island.

After a week of hellish flu, this was my reward:

Updated below.

Get in mah belleh!

Put up a good fight. For about two and a half minutes. Must be a Republican.

I haven’t been fishing in over a year. I know. My son and I had planned on going fishing last Monday, but since near-death interrupted our plans we regrouped for today; and headed to Folly Beach and we were soaking lines at the slack of high tide.  A disappointing hour later I tired of bottom fishing, went to float at about three feet deep and let the line roll out with the tide. Bam! The bobber disappeared from about 35 yards out and my little bait-fish pole with 20-lb. line and a half-inch offset circle hook, went double.

That brave fish and my right arm went at it. The teeny little rod and reel held up, the drag was perfect but we still couldn’t tell what was on the line. A real nice fight ensued as I brought him near the dock and hoped he wouldn’t run for the piers or the oysters. Eeeeennnn! rrrrrr!! went the drag and we waited him out, son with net in hand, he and I dancing and ducking around each other as the fish went deep, left, right. And then the moment,  that moment when he charges us near the surface and you see the flash of bright scales under the water and we both shout: whoa!! Holy cow!

Another minute and Paul was scooping him up in a net too small, but the handsome fish doubled up and into the net.  Too big to keep? A quick measure and into the Piggly Wiggly cooler he went.

In about 30 minutes from now, Paul the chef will have prepared him in a nice white wine sauce and serve it over some local red peas and rice. Six fat slabs of fish out of one catch. Not bad teamwork.

Update:Yeah, it was worth it!:

Fresh!

Red Drum, Red Peas, and Rice.

Muzzled Protest

Nothing like a little skeet shooting to lift one’s spirits! My first 12-gauge shot evah. Took the bird out, too:

Felt gooooood!!

It was a fine Sunday afternoon in the Low Country on an historic property. The house of our hostess was built the year before the Civil War and it still has the scribblings on the walls of the Union soldiers who were barracked there:

Why, yes. We sat on the porch and waved at the boats parading by.

Damn Yankees have no good manners!

This place is where we will be spending the Zombie Apocalypse come October 21st. We reconnoitered the estate, planning our strongholds and shoring up weaker boundaries. The alligator-in-residence is firmly on Our Side, however, and the tractor-trailer full of shotgun shells seems a goodly fall-back position if things get sideways.

Plus, there is the vantage point of the widow’s walk; but we had a long discussion on whether or not zombies can swim:

All that's missing is a sailboat in this picture.

Real Men Invoke Fear and Awe Just With Their Eyebrows

Lee Marvin was a peerless sonuvabitch in so many ways, but this interview is fascinating. Foremost for just the sheer, slightly frightening MANness he gives off with his aging features. He could hide an entire screenplay just in his eyebrows! Just watch him smoke a cigarette in a merciless grapple with the damn coffin-nail! The thousand-yard stare at his interviewer is cringe-worthy, even though softened by the watery tell of his years; but you have to admire the moxie of someone who can sit across from all that and still ask questions:

Just damn if Marvin doesn’t soften– if small but elegant graces don’t appear as twinkling eyes re-ignite the glorious memory of a different day in Hollywood, a different time in America. A time of the Cowboy spirit, the rugged individual, the man who could carefully groom wild eyebrows into an asset, punish a cigarette for its cancerous temerity, and charm a woman right out of her virtue –but only if she asked him to.

Time enough for politics on Monday. Right now, a Western movie seems appropriate. Western: a happy coincidence of term as both Western ideology and the Wild West threaten to fade into the sunset. Fading not for lack of caring or vigilance, but simply because cowboys don’t have the time or the meddlesome energy to herd folks into their way of thinking.

It might not be the easy way, but it’s the Cowboy Way.

Tomorrow I must name my boat.

The boat’s given name is Shining Star, and that’s just not going to cut it for me.  Sitting in it this morning, looking out over the inlet was a priceless thrill, considering how little it cost.  The boat is rock-solid and amazingly over-built for being 33 years old. It’s not going to set any speed records, but it’s completely dry and cheerful, with 6′ of headroom, 8′ of beam and quite inviting for margaritas and guitars, or dropping a line over the side (someone just caught a 28″ Drum this morning), or even a crab trap.  My River Rat inner child awoke once again and peeps, it’s good. It’s good to remember who I am.

I just sat back and let The Slack take over as I gazed across the salt marshes and sky. It’s a small respite with an expansive view, and just a 10-mile drive to escape and just be.

I think it’s the definition of Primordial Slack.

Another Bedtime Story

Because life is too serious not to dream:

Another Bedtime Story

We outgrow our bedtime stories
trading monsters and fair maidens
for the hard-won moment’s glories
of an evening’s relaxation

Now we numb our thoughts and passion
give ourselves to faint blue light
let the subtler monsters rush in
selfish ogres, aging plights

Yet awaits a land to dream in
good and rightness there prevail
gentle lull of moonlight beams in
as she arcs the sky full sail

Take the hand of your moon maiden
dream of dragons, deeds and fame
you’re a ship with treasures laden
a barbarian without shame

Cutlass-garbed and burden free
say goodbye to lesser mortals
venture into that bright sea
dream of lands with shining portals

bedtime stories never leave us
we just give them diff’rent frock
time for bed now, oh my darling
let us dream away the clock

-Joan Varga