your meandering goat path on the information super-highway 

November 4th, 2010

We never really know what stupidity is until we have experimented on ourselves.

Paul Gauguin


Tired of what's on television? For a small fee I will paint a picture that fits your exact screen size. Replace those dumb programs with art! I'm Larry the TV Painting Guy. Box 980.
November is National N Month. Try to use N in a word every day this month!
For sale: brand new Ford Taurus. Never driven. Not the car. Box 4.
For rent: small furnished apartment. Sorry that should read burnished. No furniture but really shiny. $850/month. Box 11.
Willing to trade a whole lot of empty boxes for a lot of empty bags. Must be plastic and have handles. Logos not important but they cannot smell like gym clothes (anyone's). Box 339.
Now Hiring - apple polishers. Multi-national corporation seeks local people skilled in the trade of apple polishing. Piece work. 3 cents/apple. Work from home. We deliver apples to your door (or other opening in your house). Box 19.

The Mystery of the Lost Lenore

Listen to Part Eighty

Click on the picture. (2:48)

Or start from the beginning.



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The Shirtsleeves Philosopher

Looks at Good and Evil

Many of us (I mean human beings) have within us a number of warring impulses. Sometimes there is a separation between what we feel and what we think and often there is a direct confrontation between what we want and what we think is right.

In the cartoon world this is often represented as an angel (representing good) on one shoulder and a devil (representing evil) on the other. This sort of thing used to really bother William Blake and may explain his intense dislike of the "funnies" as they were known in Napoleonic Era England.

Whatever Blake believed, this illustration of a fundamental dichotomy in conflict within the psyche of all of us (including the pet dogs of cartoon mice) can be useful for understanding the behaviour of some of us some of the time.

The principle of evil is fairly easy to define. Evil is when we wish harm to others. Conversely good is when we wish good for others. But let us further define our terms: good is constituted by things that are good for us or that we like or enjoy. Evil is made up primarily of bad or awful things.What do I mean by things? Let me explain further.

A "thing" is something which is. Or can be. Or might be. Such things as actual stuff or items can be "things" but even "feelings" or "ideas" may be "things". So therefore one can have a "bad" or "awful" feeling.

If you cause someone else to have a bad feeling that would constitute evil but if you gave them a good thing, like candy, that would be good. Unless the person is diabetic in which case that would be evil. That is if you knew that they were diabetic. If you didn't then it would just be ignorant which is a very mild form of evil.

Of course, if you gave the diabetic person sugar-free candy or, better yet, made them sugar-free cookies then that would be good. Unless of course you did this so they would trust you enough to leave you alone in their house so you could rifle their drawers. That would be evil.

So in the non-Blakean model, the devil on, say your left shoulder (the traditional shoulder of evil), would be advocating the cookie strategy in your left ear and the angel (on the right) would be arguing that you should be spending your time working at a food bank or making little sweaters for kittens.*

Does that clear that up?

Graham Craquar

*[Persiflage recognises that representatives of PETA would not consider this activity good but, in fact, evil. Our assumption is that Mr. Craquar is referring here to hairless kittens who are forced to live out of doors in winter and therefore need sweaters. - Ed.s]

The Terrible Tale of the Super-Frightening Unbelievably Scary Dangerous Person Who Did Those Awful Awful Things

Once upon a time there was a small sleepy village smack dab in the middle of a happy little river valley. It was sleepy at least partially because it was a little on the boring side and maybe also because it was always so sunny there and, as we all know, the sun can make you quite sleepy sometimes.

There was virtually no crime in the village because there weren't many people living there, they all knew each other and there weren't really any of the gross economic inequities that you sometimes find in bigger places. The villagers were more or less happy and really, why the hell wouldn't they be? It was a pretty nice place to live.

One day the sky suddenly darkened as a large ominous looking cloud stopped its journey across the heavens right over the little village. People were a little disturbed by this unusual meteorological event but nobody got too excited because all their lives they had lived in peace and happiness and they saw no reason why that would change now just because it was a little dark and rainy. They were a pretty optimistic lot, the villagers.

But what the villagers didn't know was that in their midst was a super-frightening unbelievably scary dangerous person named Dennis. Now Dennis had lived in the village all his life but nobody knew that he was a super-frightening unbelievably scary dangerous person because it was so sunny and nice all the time and so he had had no real opportunity to do the awful awful things that super-frightening unbelievably scary dangerous persons always do when it is dark and rainy, especially in stories like this.

At any rate now that it was dark and there was an ominous looking cloud over head Dennis was able to commit the awful awful acts that he had been waiting his whole life to commit. Finally he was able to completely fulfill his destiny as a super-frightening unbelievably scary dangerous person.

Which was nice for him.

C.F. Maynard

The Spiders

Not everyone is frightened of spiders. A lot of people think they are small and harmless. That is, unless they are giant fuzzy spiders from some place in the Southern Hemisphere. Most people are frightened of those.

But Felicia was not most people. She was not afraid of any spider no matter what hemisphere it came from or how fuzzy it was. And as for those little things that climb on plants and make sad little webs in the corners of rooms around here - well she just crushed those with impunity. She didn't even use a Kleenex. That's how little she was frightened.

And it was because of this fearless attitude towards all those little eight legged fellows that the spiders got together and hired a giant rabbit to strangle Felicia in her sleep.

Sally Kind