Archive for June, 2010

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Benjamin Disraeli(1804-1881) the outsider by sheer will and his wit made to the top. On his way he had to demolish quite a few and cut many to size.
He was a dangerous adversary in a verbal duel.
Here are some samples:
on Sir. Robert Peel
‘The Rt. Hon’ble Gentleman’s smile is like the silver fittings on a coffin’.
‘The Rt.Hon’ble Gentleman is reminiscent of a poker. The only difference is that a poker gives off occasional signs of warmth’.
On Lord John Russell who represented Liberals:
If a traveler were informed that such a man was the Leader of the House of Commons, he might begin to comprehend how the Egyptians worshiped an insect.’
On William Ewart Gladstone:
He has not a single redeeming defect.’
He made his conscience not his guide but his accomplice.’
‘He was essentially a prig, and among prigs there is a freemasonry which never fails. All the prigs spoke of him as the coming man.’
On Daniel O’Connell:
‘…a systematic liar and a beggarly cheat; a swindler and a poltroon… He has committed every crime that does not require courage.’
There was dyspeptic philosopher who was impotent but when his bile was up he could bite with especial venom.
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) on one occasion cried out against Disraeli thus:‘How long will John Bull allow this absurd monkey to dance on his chest?’

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Let us talk of graves, of worms and epitaphs,’ (Richard II-Shakespeare)
An epitaph according to Irvin S. Cobb(1876-1944) is a ‘belated advertisement for a line of goods that has been permanently discontinued’. I shall cite some epitaphs here.
Here lies
Ezekiel Aikle
Aged 102
The Good
Die Young.

Then you can be sure your friend would know you better than most.(OK That is what you think.) Late Hotten had his friends.
One summed up the dear departed in three words:

This brings me to mind of a prayer,’Lord,save me from my friends.’
Robert Burns the national poet of Scotland was lucky to see the last of great many.
Of Lord Galloway he wrote thus:
Bright ran thy line,O Galloway,
Thro’ many a far- fam’d sire;
So ran the far-fam’d Roman Way,
So ended in a mire!’
Uncharacteristically William Blake had some thing to observe on Sir Joshua Reynolds the painter.
O Reader behold the philosopher’s grave!
He was born quite a fool but he died quite a knave.
JC Squire(1884-1958) had this to comment on Einstein, and he merely dusted Alexander Pope’s celebrated lines on Newton for the occasion.

‘It did not last:the Devil, bowling Ho!
Let Einstein be! restored the status quo
(ack:Second Book of Insults-Nancy McPhee/Chancellor Press-1982)

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An earthworm was run over by a passing cart and its mate was heartbroken. “No more I shall turn up the earth; let the earth go to hell for all I care.” Zeus descended at that moment to ask the earthworm to take back his curse. He refused and said,” I can’t. I’m too heartbroken!”
Zeus repented to watch the worm suffer and planted a Laurel sapling to mark the spot.
Eons later a pilgrim was passing at the foot of Mt.Olympus saw a laurel tree and he bowed and said,” Oh Zeus what brings you here?”
” Oh I came to check out the tree favored of gods. Looks still impressive. Isn’t it?”
Zeus then asked what took him on pilgrimage. He replied,
” Misery of my existence. I live among the dead and near unto dead. Loving means Mourning. Why love someone to see her dead one day?”
Zeus tried to tell him to take life by the horns. “Like this tree hug the earth, good and bad, sorrow and gladness alike.” The pilgrim received a laurel branch from him and took it to his people. He said,” Here is a branch! With these laurel leaves we shall make a wreath for the victor!”
It was how the tradition of crowning the victor with laurel began.

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A Cheshire Grin…

(…The grin is a shorthand of reality of the cat.)

“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order”. Carl Jung
So true; I call it anomaly of matter. Laws of Nature in our cosmos allow light as a wave and as particle. In Newtonian model while studying dynamics of a ball we have the precise equation to study its velocity and position at any given time. But in quantum mechanics it is not possible. The more accurate velocity is, its position can only be guessed. Vice versa. There is an uncertainty. All these contradictions or anomalies are smoothed out while we think of cosmos as a whole.
In Alice in Wonderland there is the Cheshire cat disappearing except for its grin. The grin must explain anomaly of matter. Its body must be elsewhere thereby validating its being. It is not dead because it can grin. Merely because Alice can’t see its body doesn’t mean it is non-existent. It is Alice’s problem.
Death of a friend or a member of the family is a fact. Reality of death is our problem. Coming to grips with it is only valid for our body. Memory has no problem, neither dream has a problem. We hold the dead in memory as well as in dreams.
In our wakeful state we are conscious; and we see dreams while asleep. There is a kind of consciousness that must explain the REM phase. Language of that consciousness has different grammar. Would it be wrong then to assume universal consciousness shall have a language and rules different from what we are used to?
The dead and alive are realities in such a universal consciousness, which however is not what we can crack with our intellect. It is our problem just as Alice had with the grin of the cat.
Tail piece: how big is our consciousness? Are we connected to Universal Consciousness say of God? I think so.


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Humayun (1508-1556) the Moghul emperor was, in comparison with other emperors in Moghul galaxy too humane and emotionally high strung to be an effective monarch. His life was bedeviled by his struggle to keep his ambitious brother Kamran in place. His father’s words must have rung in his mind ‘Do not harm your brothers even though they deserve punishment.’Ultimately he had to punish him by blinding him and it seems he was more punished by it.
Kamran on his way to Mecca passed through Sind where his wife awaited him. Chauchak begum, the daughter of Shah Hussain resisted all attempts of her father to keep her back. Her father followed the pair to Arabia to plead with her. Her reply to her father is so unusual it is worth quoting in full.
’You gave me to him when he was the ruler of Kabul,Badakshan and Kandahar. Now that he is poor and friendless you want me to desert him. Fortune may have turned his back on him but I cannot. He needs me now more than he did when the armies of armored soldiers were at his beck and call. A woman’s place is by her husband whether he be in a hut or in a palace, please father, do not waste your time. In case you try to take me away by force, your Chuchak will jump into the sea or choke herself to death.’

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Sheol is the place you visit if you want to keep your misanthropy sharpest. Man is such a funny animal who when given a religious persuasion instantly turns himself into a fool. I never thought I would see it again but I could not refuse the Man Upstairs.
Well it happened this way.
The Ancient of the Days called me one day and said,’Yisthak, you know your fellow men. ‘Are they living in peace, tending their own flocks?’
Yisthak replied,’See I spoke of peace and look what I have got,Lord’
Yes the Lord saw I was more like a sieve than soul.
At that point an angel came and announces that among His nation the ultra orthodox Jews who came from the Eastern empires cannot stomach the Jews who are in the Middle East.
God was amazed,’I wrote my name on their foreheads and do they not appreciate my love and forbearance?’
The angel explained that one group hates the other because they do not consider it evil to watch television or read newspaper of the gentiles.
‘How will I recognize them?’
‘One sect walk on tiptoe and keep their heads peeking at every corner as if they are out to hunt up all those who indulge in worldly pleasures.’
‘Yisthak, good that you left these dogs behind.’
‘But I had to leave behind my family as well’ murmured I.
God wanted to know about the other group. The angel was sure they surprised others by sneaking on their behinds. They are out to sniff those who ate pork and such unclean meats.
‘Oh they can decide who is holier than the other?’
Oh Lord of Unspeakable name, these people do much worse. and they do it all in your name!’
So Ancient of the Days went to the earth accompanied by me. He saw the nation that he had in His mind and who they really were entirely incompatible.
God walked the entire length and breadth of His nation. Not one could notice His presence. His shekina glory was missed out by all. The two ultra orthodox Jews were either walking on tip toe because of their own holiness or sniffing the backs of others in order to prove they were superior in the matter of diet. God said, ‘Yisthak, I am sorry that I sent you to the earth in the first pace.’
I bowed and said,’I thank you, Lord this visit made me realize that I no longer need worry about what they do. ‘

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Sir Alexander Fleming (1881-1955)
Discoverer, Nobel Laureate

Dr.Fleming discovered penicillin while working in an old laboratory. A mold spore which was blown in through the open window, landed on a culture plate he was about to examine. This led to his remarkable discovery.
Some years later he was led through a research lab which was built using the latest state of the art in technology: air-conditioned, dust free and with super-sterile setting. ‘What a pity, you didn’t have a place like this to work in,’ remarked the guide, ‘what you could have discovered in such surroundings?’
‘Not penicillin,’ replied Fleming dryly.
Alexander Fleming was awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1945. When he arrived in Stockholm to receive the award he had a bad cold. Throughout the ceremony he used his handkerchief repeatedly. Later as was leaving teary eyed and sniffing one official shook his head sympathetically and said to him, ‘No good for colds?’
En route from London airport to give a lecture in Belfast, Sir Alexander Fleming was told that all the seats on his plane were taken by the VIPs. It turned out these high priority personages were all officials from the Ministry of Health who had been sent to attend his lecture.

Henry Norris Russell
Astronomy, Princeton

Once the Princeton astronomer was giving a lecture on the Milky Way and at the end a woman from the audience asked: ‘If our world is so little and the universe is so great, can we really believe that God pays any attention to us?’
‘That madam,’ replied Dr. Russell, depends entirely on how big a God you believe in.’
Eugene Paul Wenger, one of the outstanding nuclear scientists was noted for his politeness. Once encountering a rude attendant Dr. Wenger listened patiently for a while his abusive language and he said, ‘Go to hell please.’
Norbert Weiner

Professor Weiner fitted the popular image of an absent-minded professor, brilliant but eccentric to extreme. One day he wrote out a complex problem on the blackboard. Shortly after he wrote the answer down having worked out complex steps in his head.
A young graduate, seeking a clue to the master’s approach, asked: ‘Professor Weiner, isn’t there another way of doing that problem?’
‘Why yes.’ replied the Professor.
Turning to the blackboard again, he picked up the chalk and reflected for a moment – and wrote down the answer a second time.’
Professor Weiner was crossing the quadrangle of the campus one afternoon when a student stopped him to discuss a problem.
The professor stopped and answered the problem and at the end he asked, ‘Which way was I going when you stopped me?’
‘You were walking that way, sir,’ the student pointed the direction and the professor with a relief murmured,’Oh then I’ve had lunch,’ and continued on his way.

John Von Neumann (1903-1956)
Mathematician, Professor

Like Einstein he was also one of the full professors of the Institute for the Advanced Studies at Princeton. Unlike Einstein whose mind was slow and contemplative and could chew on a problem for long Neumann’s mind was swift. Either he solved a problem right away or not at all. His wizardry prompted Hans Bethe, who was the Director of the Theoretical Physics division to comment, ‘I have sometimes wondered whether a brain like von Neumann’s does not indicate a species superior to that of man?’
One day at a research organization there was a meeting to discuss the possibilities of building a new kind of computer. Von Neumann who was present after hearing their requirements said, ‘Well gentlemen, suppose you give me an example of the kind of problem that had taken two years to solve.’ While the presentation was completed, John von Neumann sat with his head buried in his hands and then scribbled on a pad. He said that he had the answer.
While the scientists satin stunned silence von Neumann outlined various steps, which provided the solution to the problem.
One of the scientists then laughed and said, ‘Johnny, we need this machine because we don’t have a von Neumann’.
Von Neumann’s lectures were brilliant but he had a habit of erasing formula from the blackboard as soon as he had reached the bottom to continue the steps all over again from the top. Many of his students had difficulties to keep track. On one such occasion one waited till he had finished the problem to say, ‘I see proof, by erasure.’

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School District 202 in Plainfield, Illinois, joins other school districts across the nation in banning “look-alike drugs”: candy cigarettes, fake chewing tobacco, non-alcoholic beer, and oregano. Various reasons are cited for the ban, one being that candy cigarettes can possibly lead to real cigarette use, that they send an inappropriate presmoking message. Secondly, that the prevalence of fake drugs makes it difficult for school administrators to find the real ones. And that the use of certain substitutes such as mint-flavored herbal snuff increase the chance that users may be considered “yuppies.” (Chicago Tribune, 1/7/92, 2/7/92). If child minders cannot distinguish between the real and playacting why should they mind children? They should spend their time usefully elsewhere and not mess up with children.
Much of our draconian laws arise from our own unfounded fears. Like Israel choking the Palestinians in Gaza and they think it is collective punishment and would send a strong message to Hamas. I am sure if given chance the state of Israel would be at it even after 100 years. From this collective punishment the only group that is reaping much in public support and sympathy is Hamas.
Israel in a way is raising a fresh wave of intifada from child of today.
If the powers that be in Israel could only distinguish between a punishment that work and that doesn’t the Palestine problem would have been by now on the table. Like the school administrators cannot distinguish between fake drugs and the real, the Israel government cannot search their own hearts or minds and arrive at a balanced view without the pressure groups orthodox Jews and the like, coming in between.
I am responsible for my life. It is plain as day. But interference from all corners should make me irresponsible for the mess around me, there must be wrong with laws that create this situation? For instance I paid the cost of raising my child, a quarter million of hard earned money, and end up with a son who stays home and smoke pot; he cannot even speak English that I thought was requisite for a well educated man. Who is to blame. Somewhere all my labor,discipline, industry and everything I regarded as fruits of progress have been messed up.
In short someone has shortchanged quarter of a million of my money, I raised with sweat of my brow. Who is irresponsible party and is to blame?

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I came across a news item that in the southern ocean sperm whales counteract with the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Their feces do the job. Our carbon footprint on land somewhere along the line must deal with it: do we consider ourselves blessed that sperm whales out there have in them to keep our blue planet run on without much hiccup?
This makes me wonder: Here on land all religions consider a speck of dirt not to mention feces falling on the offerings taint them. Temple priests pour milk over idols and chant mantras for rains and many other things besides. Would they not consider their sacrifice or ceremony ruined if some speck of feces fall into it? In short man on the earth ignorant as always of Nature’s ways, deals with what he can not understand, treat Nature in an arbitrary fashion.
Man can understand the lure of gold or the sound of money. So he drills the sea and deceive all that he knows what he is doing. Only that when oil spill in the gulf goes on rampage and cause great destruction he shows he has been completely a damn fool to tinker with things that he has not foreseen. Only option for him is to play blame game. Does he even here pause for some sober reflection and change ways?
Money has completely screwed up his thinking set he would embark on another enterprise that gives him dividends.

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