left biblioblography: January 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

And Lo And Behold, The Mighty Thyroid Hath Laid Me Low...

I realize that my posts have been few and far between recently, but there are good reasons for this.

In 2007, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, but in early 2009, I was re-diagnosed as hypothyroid.

Basically, my body overcompensated for being hyper, and nuked it into being hypo. The thyroid, as it turns out, is a huge gland, and it has all sorts of impact on the human body.

Dating from 2007, I've made nearly ten trips to the ER. Being in the age range of 48-50, when chest pains hit and your left arm starts to numb out, well, nobody fucks about with that. Turns out I've been having panic attacks (which is a symptom of my previous condition, not my present one). The thyroid can cause all sorts of upheavals: it can prematurely turn your hair grey, panic attacks (again, previous, which makes this so weird), simulate heart attacks as well as cause arrhythmia (I actually had one nurse measuring my disturbances, asking "Didja feel that one?"), heat intolerance (this is murder on me in the Bay area in the summer, and I can't get anywhere near a barbeque), and in general runs amok.

I am now on an antidepressant, thyroxine, Advair (for my mild emphysema), a cholesterol blocker, and something that treats peptic ulcers.

I've always despised medication: like most men, I consider these things to be the venue of the hypochondriac. But hey, who's got the medical degree? Not me. I realize this sounds like I'm en route to being a human shambles, but I'm still pretty much the laughing philosopher. And I'm fairly strong for a 'frail' old man of fifty. At least, that's what I hear from my martial arts classmates.

I've quit smoking, going on four months now.

One of the more frustrating items I've come across, is the weight. I'm well over 220 right now, at six feet tall. So for the last 2 months, I've been doing 40 leg lifts almost every night. Not only are the six-pack abs not manifesting themselves, my rotundity is simply getting firmer, and stronger, but not smaller. I'd bet I can knock over a grown adult with a simple shove of my pot belly.

So that's the travails I've been experiencing in a nutshell. I'm adjusting, obviously judging from my sudden loquacity, and I intend to go compete in Berkeley, and maybe add to my collection of medals that sit in a drawer somewhere. I still practice Tai Chi, about an hour and a half six days a week.

Anyways, thanks for lending an ear, and I'll be more prolific in the coming months.



Saturday, January 24, 2009

Orphism - Another Well To Draw Upon...


Cross posted @ God is for Suckers!

I have always been intrigued at the myths of humanity - how they weave the fantasy of an afterlife from simple to complex over imagination. A mixture of blood and thew, heart and mind, walking the strange labyrinths of allegory drawn from the complexities of nature and stretched like a canvas over the metaphor of death.

One of these older cults was for a time a rival of Christianity (and as we all know from history - these things end in tears).

Orphism blends a fairly unique and diverse degree of symbology:

According to legend Orpheus founded these mysteries and was the author of the sacred poems from which the Orphic doctrines were drawn. The rites were based on the myth of Dionysus Zagreus, the son of Zeus and Persephone. When Zeus proposed to make Zagreus the ruler of the universe, the Titans were so enraged that they dismembered the boy and devoured him. Athena saved Zagreus' heart and gave it to Zeus, who thereupon swallowed the heart (from which was born the second Dionysus Zagreus) and destroyed the Titans with lightning. From the ashes of the Titans sprang the human race, who were part divine (Dionysus) and part evil (Titan). This double aspect of human nature, the Dionysian and the Titanic, is essential to the understanding of Orphism. The Orphics affirmed the divine origin of the soul, but it was through initiation into the Orphic Mysteries and through the process of transmigration that the soul could be liberated from its Titanic inheritance and could achieve eternal blessedness. Orphism stressed a strict standard of ethical and moral conduct. Initiates purified themselves and adopted ascetic practices (e.g., abstinence from eating animal flesh) for the purpose of purging evil and cultivating the Dionysian side of the human character.

 So, here we have an all-father giving his son the ownership, son gets killed, son gets resurrected. Along with the concept of dualism (which Judaism rejects, but Christianity embraces), and we can liberally interpret 'Titanic inheritance' to mean 'original sin'.

What is of particular interest, is the influence it had upon fellows like Plato and Pythagoras, as stated by the Philosophy dictionary:

Mystical Greek religious and philosophical cult derived from the myth of Orpheus and the so-called ‘Orphic literature’. It involved stories of creation, reincarnation, and punishment after death, and had a large influence on Pythagoras and Plato. The mysteries of Eleusis were the initiation into Orphism.

The story of Dionysus' mother, Semele, is also of interest:

Zeus' wife, Hear, a goddess jealous of usurpers, discovered his affair with Semele when she later became pregnant. Appearing as an old crone, Hear befriended Semele, who confided in her that her lover was actually Zeus. Hear pretended not to believe her, and planted seeds of doubt in Semele's mind. Curious, Semele demanded of Zeus that he reveal himself in all his glory as proof of his godhood. Though Zeus begged her not to ask this, she persisted and he agreed. Mortals, however, cannot look upon Zeus without dying, and she perished, consumed in lightning-ignited flame.

For those of you familiar with the Christian mythology, recall that it was said that no mortal could look upon Yahweh and live (Exodus 33:18-23).

It's easy to see how the ancient Israelites borrowed symbology from their neighbors. It's what people do - we borrow from others, and tailor it to suit ourselves and our environments.

I happen to be a Jebus-myther - how about you?

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Political Pulpit: A Clear Violation Of SOCAS


Cross posted @ God Is For Suckers!

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him. - John F. Kennedy

These then, are the words I would pass to President-elect Obama. His choice of Rick Warren, a truly crazy individual who very well might signal the latest effort of the theocrats to get their wills and ways imposed upon the rest of us.

Back in August, I posted on this fruitcake (and I'm not being unkind: oh no, I'm being unambiguously blunt), and even then, I predicted that these words:

He says he is more interested in questions that he feels are "uniting," such as "poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate change and human rights," and still more in civics-class topics like the candidates' understanding of the role of the Constitution. There will be no "Christian religion test," Warren insists. "I want what's good for everybody, not just what's good for me. Who's the best for the nation right now?"

were a lie. He's an unabashed homophobe (equating homosexuality with pedophilia and bestiality and supporting Proposition 8), 'pro-life' (what a nauseating turn of frame that is - equating abortion with the Holocaust), and the capper? He's a flipping creationist!

Oh, sure, he's trying to address the AIDS issues in Africa...with abstinence-only programs, a methodology with a proven track record of failure. What makes matters worse, is that Warren's key man in Uganda is a condom burning lunatic.

These should be enough red flags to keep this crazed loon away from the president.

 Certainly, he 'wants what's good for everybody', but only if it passes his relusional filter.

Sign this petition now, and let your voices be heard.

Till the next post, then.