Quote of the day

A Photo Collection of our Favourite Cycling Roads From Around the World!

Crank and Cog

Considering my fondness for maps I’ve an awful sense of direction!  I may give the impression I know where I’m going, but instead my internal compass has spun off it’s axis leaving me adrift and rudderless. The upside  of this is you end up in completely new and unexpected places, the downside … you get lost!

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Dear Adoption, I Just Want to be Heard

Flag_of_South_Korea.svg.png

Dear Adoption, I Just Want to be Heard

I think. Sometimes, I pray. I talk myself into it.

This is always the lead up to me beginning a conversation, hitting send on an email, or clicking post/share on social media.

The topic: Adoption.

And then, inevitably, with unwavering consistency, the pushback begins.

Argh. Why?

Why?

Why can I not share freely without someone interjecting their feelings about my feelings.

Yes, we are all entitled to our own opinions; on politics, education, parenting, etc. But we aren’t entitled to an opinion on how another person should or should not feel about their own experience.

Okay, Adoption (adoptive parents, adoptive families, non adoptees), allow me to give you a small sampling of what I’m talking about…

When I talk about something I am grieving because of adoption, you say:

      “But look at all you have!”

      “Those things weren’t…

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BECAUSE A REAL DICK NEEDS PROOF

BECAUSE A REAL DICK NEEDS PROOF

(A Genteel Homage to our Chief Dick)

Our Comey said homey there’s nothing to see
We just said what you said by not listening to thee
Cause the fact of the matter is the case is still up
But we can’t tell you why, or why not to trust

That we never did do what you think that we did
Though we couldn’t have done so less heaven forbid
We did as we didn’t or didn’t to do
Whatever you think that we’re saying of you

Thus we haven’t and never would do any less
Lessen whatever you didn’t we release to the press
So say what you will but we’ll say to you all
It couldn’t have happened, not ever at all…

Unless…

It did but it didn’t when we listened to it
But cannot confirm, we submit to admit
By acquittal a little we never convict
Yet we’ve proven we’ve moven
To affirm the real trick –

I’m a Comey see homey, and truly a Dick…

CAULDRON COOKING

On Sunday I cooked lunch for the family as I usually do.

I made a chicken fajitas rice meal with peppers, oranges, corn, shredded cheese, and honey,  snap pea stir fry vegetables and water chestnuts cooked in olive oil, fresh strawberries, and sour cream. As was typical I used plenty of herbs and spices. Since we were out of white wine I drank green tea with ginseng and honey and had a cup of coffee (not shown).

Not the best lunch I’ve ever made but certainly quite good.

Strangely enough I have learned something new about cooking from playing Skyrim. I now cook the main course on Sunday in a mini-cauldron (I’m going to be getting an even larger cauldron for this very purpose) and thereafter we can eat leftovers for the next two to three days.

 

A FAR GREATER INTEREST

A FAR GREATER INTEREST

I have a far, far greater interest in becoming a Hero, a Genius, and a Saint than I will ever have in being a hippie and protester, an academic or intellectual, or a modern Christian.

For the Hero is memorable and necessary, the Genius is original and useful, and the Saint is, ultimately, the one and only kind of Indispensable Man (or woman).

By contrast the hippie is, far more often than not, an utterly naïve fool, the protestor usually self-absorbed, the academic regularly specious, the intellectual mostly inutile, and the contemporary Christian of the West is, of course, an entirely modern invention.

And a rather bathetic invention at that…

from Human Effort

Wanderlust: Jiuzhaigou (China) & Singapore

I’m always up for Wanderlust… it’s one of my very favorite lusts…

20th March 43 B.C. The Birth of Ovid, Roman poet Onthisday

By Scott Kelly A year ago, astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth after the longest time spent in orbit by an American. On his trip, with Russian cosmonaut Misha Kornienko, he executed experiments designed to examine mysteries of the human body and mind. His discoveries often reached beyond science. In a preview of his forthcoming…

via What I Discovered After My Year In Space — TIME

Poet Christoper Citro meditates on the omens — good and bad — that arrive on air: “I pierced the clear membrane and the coils expanded and the guest bed took its first deep breath. Each time a visiting friend or family member sleeps on it, it will take another.”

via Each Breeze Began Life Somewhere As a Little Cough — Discover

KNAVES AND FOOLS

Wyrdwend

KNAVES AND FOOLS, BOYS AND WIZARDS

Suddenly Alternaeus looked up to see the boy standing beside him. How long the boy may have stood there patiently waiting for him to finish or may have attempted to summon him from his numinous labors he knew not.

He looked back down at the grael. The roiling and lotic liquid was lentic and smooth again, untroubled and clear. Not a shadow lingered, not a ripple disturbed the surface or the depths. It was as if the grael were one more and without any apparent transition a spotless and terrene lens by which to view our naïve and evident world. Or at least some sort of polished glass to see blemishless to the bottom of the Black Sea. From whose distant waters Alternaeus had filled the grael.

“What is it boy?” Alternaeus asked.


“You are summoned sir.”

“By whom, to where, and for what…

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THE SECRET ACCORD

Wyrdwend

My opinion is this. A man’s true Word-Hoard isn’t just what he knows, for not all coins are of the same weight and measure. Rather his true Word-Hoard is what his treasures will buy and sell, and often and uppermost, in secret…

THE SECRET ACCORD

I dug a Word Hoard
Connate and wide
To bury the Wealth
That often abides
When the Weal and the Wisdom
That cannot be spread
By exchange in the markets
Still dwells, it is said,
In the bed of Procrustes
Asleep for awhile
In dreams made of amber
For this mind of exile
Has mastered the tongue
Of the treasures beneath
Subterranean efforts
In caverns replete
The facade of the fashion
A looking-glass hall
Where the hordes
Glom the gilt-work
And the herd is a-stall
There’s an ark, and an archway
A cup dipped in brass
For written upon it
Inscribed is a task
In…

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AND THEN THEY ATE

Wyrdwend

AND THEN THEY ATE…

“You know what I’ve always loved most about you?” she said reaching for his hand across the table. “You never judged me. You always just accepted me as I am.”

He accepted her hand, and held it gently but shook his head dubiously.

“No, my dear,” he said flatly. “You are entirely wrong on both accounts, and could not be further from the actual truth.”

She withdrew her hand in surprise, a deepening frown creasing her puzzled brow.

“What do you mean?” she said nervously.

“I mean I judged you constantly,” Steinthal said. “I still do. That is what I do. I watch people. I study people. I come to understand a person, and then I judge them. In a brutally honest fashion. I judge everyone this way, including myself. You are certainly no exception to the rule. As a matter of fact there are no…

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PIE

Tome and Tomb

So it was PIE after all?

I had wondered… at the possible construct and the sound

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THE MURALS OF DATONG

Tome and Tomb

This interests me for purely archaeological, cultural, and historical reasons, but it also goes to show that in gaming and in writing fiction, authors and creators (and modern people in general) often overlook the near ubiquitous artwork and coloring that often existed in many Medieval and certainly a great many Ancient urban centers.

The answer seems self-evident to me if you think on it awhile. Lacking things like cinema and film and television, etc. then what would be your source of visual and imaginary stimulation in a world devoid of such things? Indeed, what would be your method of advertising your skill and craft and wealth compared to that of a neighbor or competitor? How would you communicate with foreigners? How would you establish yourself even after death?

Art work.

Impressed everywhere you could impress it as strikingly colorful and vibrant as you could make it.

I don’t think…

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A GRAVE AND SUPERSTITIOUS ERROR

Launch Port - The Open Door Business Blog

It is a grave and superstitious error to consistently draw out universal truths from circumstantial observations. Yet it is a common practice of modern men.

from The Business, Career, and Work of Man

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THE LOST LAWS OF ROBOTIC DEVICES

Launch Port - The Open Door Business Blog

Recently I have been re-reading the classics. Like I, Robot.

After having re-read the book I soon realized that I too had, over the years, discovered at least two of the (lost) Laws of Robotic Devices.

The Lost Law of Robotic Devices:

“No computer, file, or robot shall function, or allow any function whatsoever to operate as normal, without at least one full reboot. Upon reboot no computer, file, or robot shall fail to function normally or through omission allow a user to come to harm through failed function. Normal biological functions, such as heart attacks triggered by ignorance of this law, are not covered by the workings of this law.”

Second Lost Law of Robotics:

“No computer, file, or robot will ever fail or will ever need to be maintained, serviced, or backed-up until a moment of absolute and optimal disaster and/or complete failure for the end-user at…

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THE WATCHERS

Since my oldest daughter is home on break (from college) we went into town today to eat at O’Charleys. Took some pics of our adventure outside the restaurant.  Then afterwards went to see a movie. Had a ball with my posse. And got in some Monty Python type funny walks too.

I like my posse. Saw some awful weird things up in the sky though. And my oldest daughter saw something weird in my mouth. I think it kinda scared her. Lol!

THE PHILOSOPHICAL SPHERE AND THE COHERENCE OF THE UNIVERSE

THE PHILOSOPHICAL SPHERE AND THE COHERENCE OF THE UNIVERSE

 

I have been rather intensely studying the book Advanced Wizardry by Loricus ben Abechai since I first got it about a year or so ago. The book deals with actual “magic” and “wizardry” though, like me, he has a radically different idea of what both are compared to popular notions of the same. (He is, for instance, I strongly suspect, a Christian Khabbalist as he speaks often and loftily of “The Logos” and many other such mystical Christian terms, and Jewish terms, and relates them all to magic.)

Anyway in the sections I am now reading he has been speaking about the creation of the Wizard’s personal “Philosophical Sphere.” A notion I have never before encountered in any book of magic (certainly not as he means it) even a Medieval or ancient or neo-Platonic one. Though the idea is certainly based upon Jacob Bohme’s idea of the Philosophical Sphere. Now a blog is hardly the place to discuss such ideas or terms because they are quite complex and well beyond what is usually discussed here. And I had to read and re-read what he was saying over and again before it really sank in, the full implications, that is to say. For the man’s original language seems to be Spanish and even though the book is in English the translations are sometimes spotty at best.

But essentially I’ll summarize the idea as best I can:

The Philosophical Sphere is what results when the Wizard transforms or transmutes the Tree of Life into a Sphere whose circumference of immediate effect and power (dunamis) obviously extends about ten feet in diameter in all directions from the Wizard but whose real diameter is infinite and which encompasses everything and so it’s circumference is also eternal. In other words, and this is not exaggeration, the Wizard attempts to create a pocket universe in the form of a Sphere over which he exercises control similar to the way God exercises control over all of existence. This Sphere is not, however, anti-scientific at all, as ben Abechai stresses, because the Sphere cannot create matter or energy out of nothing. Rather it accelerates and interconnects the rate at which things move from Ideal Form or Thought-Form to actual matter and physical substance. What is Real and what Occurs is not altered in the sense of “creation” (only God can truly create) but rather the rate at which things “materialize” into useful (read Practical) and acceptable (read Good, or Beneficial, as opposed to bad or malignant) forms is altered and greatly sped up (or malignant processes can be slowed or possibly even stopped).

In others words things do not moves from Idea or Concept or Conception through the normal and complicated process of materialization to finally appear as either perceptible energy or useful matter, but rather move straight from Concept or Idea or “Logos” to “thing” (object, material). It is the process and speed that is altered by the Philosophical Sphere.

This is indeed a highly brilliant magical concept as it mimics, on the part of the Wizard, the method by which God creates, except of course that God can create literally from nothing whereas the Wizard cannot, but what the Wizard can do is alter the rate from Spiritual Concept to Physical Reality. As the very term implies there is a corresponding necessary set of actions and training required to study and employ the ways in which God behaves (to the Christian this would be “Imitating Christ”) for Philosophy itself means “Love of Wisdom.”

At first though I did not fully grasp what he was saying until he used the term “coherent” for how the Sphere works in conjunction with God, the Wizard, and the surrounding or “outer universe.” Then I realized that he literally meant “Co-Herent,” not as the term is typically used to mean integrity and orderly (though those meanings are also necessarily implied) but both “Inherent and Exherent – or explicit” and that the Sphere exists both within the Universe and within God and the Wizard simultaneously causing all three (points or positions) to fuse together as an inseparable element or Loci. (It just occured to me that the sphere is also a Loci for the Logos!)

Therefore the Sphere is “Coherent” just as it is “Coeval” in the way it can manipulate matter and energy and ben Abechai goes on even further to say that the sphere is in fact, in this sense, the only True or Real Universe (to the Wizard) even though it is a “pocket universe.”

(I am using a sci-fi term because modern men can easily get this idea whereas a “Coherent World or Universe separate from but essential to and within the outer world and in which God and the Wizard operate in tandem” is a term that would be more Medieval and Ancient in concept, and more accurate, as much as words can actually describe such concepts, but would not be easily understand by many modern men. Though I do not think ben Abechai means pocket universe as modern men understand the term, but as a truly independent universe or world within the mind and soul of the Wizard that is capable or transmuting and transforming, or rewriting the world in which all other things exist. The best parallel I can think of is The Kingdom of God idea expressed by Christ and I suspect ben Abechai may mean this precisely. Or something very closely parallel. An invisible but nonetheless very real “pocket universe” seeking to impinge it’s self upon the world around us. Though in actuality, as ben Abechai says, this would in fact be the “True Universe” seeking to supplant or replace the unreal or untrue one.)

The real trick is, of course, the Creation of a properly functioning and constructed Philosophical Sphere, no mean trick as it is literally a curved in upon itself or Spherically transformed Tree of Life.

But if it could be done then it could be an incredible, and incredibly useful feat. Ben Abechai calls this (the Sphere) the “Chief or Primary Tool or Instrument of the Wizard” upon which all the failure or success of his other operations and works as a Wizard entirely depend. So, once all of the necessary preparations and studies are made on my part I shall attempt the creation of my own Philosophical Sphere. (Though i very much suspect that I have been doing this for most of my life now, just maybe mostly sub-consciously in many ways, rather than fully consciously.)

As an example of what I mean another odd or coincidental thing (if you believe in coincidence) in my studies of this book is the fact that my personal motto is “Deus Ordere, et facere ego verite.” Meaning, God Orders and I make Real. (Well, that is the easiest and most common translation I use anyway).

I have had this motto for most of my life, though i only put it in this final form about two decades ago.

In any case I was looking through the suggested method ben Abechai recommends for the creation of my own Philosophical Sphere and ran across this declaration/statement, “In Nomine Tuo Ordo Deum Factum Lumine Est.”

Interesting, eh?

Well, I have other Work to do. I highly recommend ben Abechai’s book, Advanced Wizardry. It was expensive, and it had to be individually printed, but it is without doubt the very best single book on “magic” I have read to date.

Have a good day folks.

I WANT YOU…

Superb! I love Postmodern Jukebox…

STOLEN?

“Stolen,” eh?

Secret Service hunts for stolen laptop with Trump Tower floor plans

A Secret Service laptop containing sensitive information about Trump Tower, details about the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe and other national security secrets was swiped from an agent’s motorcycle in Brooklyn, police sources said Friday.

The computer was taken Thursday morning from the driveway of agent Marie Argentieri’s Bath Beach home, the sources said.

The thief drove up to Argentieri’s home around 8:40 a.m., walked right up to her Bajaj motorcycle and took the items. He was then caught on video fleeing the scene on foot, sources said.

Argentieri told investigators that the laptop held sensitive information about national security, the floor plans for Trump Tower, evacuation protocols and details about the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server.

While none of the info pertains to White House officials or foreign leaders, she said it could ultimately compromise national security. Sources told The Post that the laptop cannot be remotely erased or traced.

A black bag with the Secret Service insignia on it was also taken — along with an access keycard, several lapel pins that Secret Service agents are required to wear when protecting the president and other sensitive documents, sources said.

An agency-issued radio, used for closed-circuit communications between agents, was also among the stolen items, according to Politico.

“The U.S. Secret Service can confirm that an employee was the victim of a criminal act in which our Agency issued laptop computer was stolen,” the agency said in a statement Friday.

“Secret Service issued laptops contain multiple layers of security including full disk encryption and are not permitted to contain classified information. An investigation is ongoing and the Secret Service is withholding additional comment until the facts are gathered.”

The NYPD is assisting the agency in their investigation. It is unclear if the theft was targeted or simply a random act.

The black bag and some other items were later discovered at nearby Poly Prep HS by the head of security, Carol Bongnan, and returned to Argentieri.

But the laptop and lapel pins were still missing as of 2:30 p.m. Friday, sources said.
Sources said somebody had brought left it at the school.

Thursday’s heist is just the latest in a long line of public embarrassments for the Secret Service in recent years.

A Congressional investigation in 2015 found that it had transformed into an “agency in crisis” — entrenched in low morale, heavy boozing and dimwitted security decisions.

In Sept. 2014, President Barack Obama’s Secret Service detail allowed a security guard with a gun and three prior convictions for assault and battery into an elevator with him for a photo.

Two years after that, a pair of agents allegedly got drunk and interfered in a bomb investigation outside the building.

In 2014, a man was able to bypass Obama’s security detail and speak to him by pretending to be a congressman.

Most recently, two agents came under investigation after snapping selfies with President Trump’s 8-year-old grandson, Donald III, last weekend.

RAINBOW CONNECTION

WHO’D A THUNK?

Well, I’ll be darned. Who’d a thunk it, huh?

Dungeons and Dragons, Pokémon card games and role-playing games are more than entertainment — they’re inspiration for the CIA.

David Clopper, senior collection analyst with 16 years’ experience at the CIA, also serves as a game maker for the agency. From card games to board games, Clopper creates games to train CIA staffers including intelligence agents and political analysts for real-world situations.

“Gaming is part of the human condition. Why not take advantage of that and incorporate into the way we learn?” Clopper said Sunday at a games-themed panel discussion at the South by Southwest Interactive technology festival. Clopper and other CIA officers discussed how the agency uses games to teach strategy, intelligence gathering and collaboration.

Related: SXSW coverage: Why Facebook tracks internet outages around the world

Clopper, who began making training programs based on popular tabletop games in 2008, described some of his creations for the CIA.

In “Collection,” Clopper’s first CIA game, teams of analysts work together to solve international crises against a ticking clock. His second title, “Collection Deck,” is a Pokémon-like card game in which where each card represents either an intelligence collection strategy or a hurdle like red tape or bureaucracy.

cia collection game

For instance, a player could lay out a card to collect intelligence via satellite photos, but an opponent could block them by playing a “ground station failure” card. It’s meant to mimic situations analysts might run into in their actual work.

Related: Congressman: We need a National Guard for cybersecurity

Also speaking on the panel was Volko Ruhnke, who is an intelligence educator at the CIA and a freelance game designer. Ruhnke said he is particularly interested in one type of game: a simulation tabletop game to train analysts and help with analytic tasks. It could help forecast complex situations by forcing players to handle multiple scenarios simultaneously.

Ruhnke himself created a commercial board game to simulate the Afghanistan conflict and walk players through military, political, and economic issues in the region. It gives players “a much more dynamic understanding of the issues of modern Afghanistan,” Ruhnke said, adding that a similar game could be of use internally at the CIA as well.

Old school games are the main inspiration for popular training programs — for now. But analysts expect to be using virtual reality gaming in training programs soon. Multiple branches of the military have used VR training for years, immersing service members in real life experiences through visual and audio simulations.

“The sooner we can get involved in using VR in games, the better,” Rachel Grunspan, Chief Strategy Officer at a digital innovation organization inside the CIA, said during the panel discussion.. “You want to get their heads inside the intelligence question you’re trying to answer, and VR does an amazing job doing that.”

THE FRIAR’S DOG

DAY WITHOUT A FACE

DAY WITHOUT A FACE

Had a friend who said, “this is the face of evil.”

It also looks suspiciously like a polymerized death-mask. Or android skin grown from a synthetic iguana. I suspect if you cut into his face that rather than bleeding blood he’d slowly seep an embalming solution, turpentine, servo-fluid, or maybe a black Hydra ichor.

 

How To Embrace Individuality In A Robotic World….

BRILLIANCE WITHIN

“Embrace your individuality” – I love that phrase and for me, it means having the confidence to be honest with yourself and others and often standing away from the crowd. I recall my granddad frequently telling us as children..

“When you see people walking together toward something, stop for a moment and consider whether you are better to walk in a different direction alone…”

We don’t have to walk in the opposite direction to others, as sometimes it’s only a small shift that is required, to enable us to walk the path that aligns with our personal values and beliefs.

Making that shift, will feel more comfortable than if you tread the path of others when it isn’t fully aligned with your core values…

Let me give you a personal example…

I have been a great believer in the importance of ‘family’… it’s definitely one of my ‘core values’. However, working…

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