Broken Will, Lost Soul

RE: 8/12/2018 article of “Broken Guy goes down with plane” from the Los Angeles Times

However bleak and and fatalistic his views on Death of God and Nihilism might be, the one definitive thing German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche knew was this: “Anyone who has a why to live can bear also any hows.” How reassuring it is because it means that even if life presents you anything but shattered dreams, aborted hopes, and clipped anticipations for whatever you try to work out, as long as you still hold steadfastly onto a sense of purpose – that is a why to continue this so-called “life”- your life will not end in nil, or in crash such as the man I read about in the newspaper today.

His name was allegedly known as “Richard Russel,” according to his bantering with an airport controller during his audaciously precarious aerial heist of an passenger aircraft he had stolen from Sea-Tac Airport in WA. He was reported to be a 29-year old former ground service agent at Horizon who had also run a bakery with his wife until 2015. It is reported that he died in crash on a wooded area on Ketro Island south of Seattle, WA by saying, “I wasn’t really planning on landing it.” The plane did not hit any structures nor did it cause any collateral damages to private properties, since the island itself is underdeveloped. The whys and wherefores of Russel’s quixotic joy ride have not yet been manifested in the course of the current FBI investigation, but judging from his communication with the controller, he might have been suffering from existential vertigo in which he had lost a sense of purpose, a why for continuing his life in dealing with demands of tasks that everyday life had imposed on.

In case of art imitating life, Russsel on the passenger aircraft reminds me of Don Quixote who, on his beloved Rocinante, gallops toward the huge windmill to vanquish it, a stereoscopic symbol of pompous hypocrisy of life that generates nothing but the ills. Foolish, yes, needless to say. But heinous or even insidious? Hardly so. Stealing is one thing, but ending his life out of emotional distress is another thing, as they are apples and oranges in the sense that he meant no fatal harm on anyone by using the stolen aircraft as a weapon of mass destruction as in the case of the terrorist carnage of 9/11. I wonder what might have gone through his mind in the cockpit of the plane as he was nearing to the end of his life: a phantasmagorical display of his memories that he had collected through life, willed or unwilled? Perhaps, being a pilot of the plane might have given him a tactile sensation of being capable of piloting his own life, that ineffable stupendousness of capability, which would have given him the equal dose of confidence at the spur of the fateful moment.

Playing a pseudo psychiatrist is not my forte, but it is viable to think that Russel ‘s contemporary strains of life and postmortem malady that anesthetized his Reason and thus emboldened him to do such a foolhardily venturesome act at the expense of his own life are something that we can feel pathos at the least. And that is why I find it hard to criminalize him by putting him into a moral/ethical Procrustean bed, which also brings me back to an act in Macbeth:

“Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage; and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”

Bicycle for Two


Philippa is pushing through busy Main Street on a sunny Friday afternoon with her son Fred in the backseat of her bicycle by dint of solicitation and fortitude of the valorous McGreen family.  Fred, an orphan abandoned at the age of two weeks on the step of her gingerbread lookalike house, is her de facto son, the middle one between Alfred, the eldest son of herculean feats of athleticism and the youngest, Philip, “Phil,” who, on an account of the solidification of hereditary traits of the adventurous family, goes for jocular adventure. But Fred is a different soul, he is a sensitive soul with a great mind and a tender heart. And today the foundling of Philippa is very ill that requires a doctor’s immediate attention; hence the mother is forcefully working pedals to Dr. Hobson.

image (4)The mother and the son is also escorted by a trusty entourage of Phil, who is also concerned about his dear brother. Small as he is, Philip is all bravery and cheerfulness. He wants to make sure all’s well with Fred, who always reads him sweet bedtime stories by his nightly bedside as well as other illuminating stories about ancient Greek heros and the gods and goddesses of the Parthenon, great historical figures, and oeuvres of fine writers throughout the western civilization.  Fred to Phill is what Yoda is to Luke in the Star Wars. Philippa is pleased to see her sons bound by Charity, Hope, and Faith, the three theological virtues, not by dint of mere blood relation that is often devoid of the virtues by default.

image (2)When the McGreen trio arrives at Dr. Hobson’s office on Kingsbridge road, they are amiably accosted by  Helen, one of the prettiest and kindest ladies in Avonlea who is married with three children to a grocery proprietor Priam, who fell in love with her at first sight by thinking, ‘She’s beautiful, and therefore to be wooed. She’s a woman; therefore to be won.’ Helen and her three-old son George are pleased to see her neighbors there and wants to know what has brought all three of them to this far. “Fred has been in agony for two weeks due to a serious case of abscess on his right shoulder,” says Philippa, “But Fred did not tell me and his brothers until this morning, enduring all to himself only the gruesome pain that stymied his everyday activities, such as eating and working. In fact, the pain even prevented him from reading a book!”

image (3)Helen does not understand Fred’s reason of silence that was broken this morning, so she ventures to inquire about the cause. “Fred, why did you not tell your mother when it began to hurt you? Had you told her about it earlier, you would have been cured.” Fred is absorbed in all the dialogues between his mother and Helen and  forms the most honest and provident answer to the lady’s inquiry. “At first, I thought it would go away because it had happened before. But although I tried myself applying to a topical ointment and taking doses of pain suppressant and high hopes, it just became worsen… What’s more, I did not want to worry mom because she was always very busy with running the restaurant and the household all by herself. Now I am in great pain now, which has compelled me to alert mom about it.”

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Upon hearing such stream of heartfelt soliloquy of Fred, Philippa’s eyes are welled up in tears and with an insurmountable gushing power of pathos and charity (which actually means “Love” as its original meaning of Caritas,) she hugs her dear son Fred and tells him tender words that can only be true if carried out by the one who possesses such spirit and soul: “O, my dearie Fred! You really shouldn’t have worried about my work and myself because I am your mother. A mother is ascribed to attend to her child with unconditional love, and it is an immutably, intractably, cardinal duty of Mother, who is also endowed with magical power to endure anything. So you do not have to worry about me, ever, Love.” Feeling the heartbeat of Fred against her own, Philippa reminds herself of her mother’s advice that it is a wise mother that knows her own child. All the more, she believes that love’s reason’s without reason, especially in the family.



Modernization of Fishery is no about-face

RE: July 30th 2018 article of “A Fight over Amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act” by Robert F. Bukaly of The Los Angeles Times

photo (4)Ever a voracious reader of good books and sensible, informative articles of The Los Angeles Times, Paul Collie is immediately steeped in a headline of today’s newspaper; that is, an article he has just read in the Times about a fight over the present fishing laws. It is reported that some amendments were made to the laws, which are called “The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act”, a 42-year old rules regulating over-fishing of New England Sea Scallops and Bering Sea Crabs, and that they were approved by the House of Representatives on Monday. Subsequently, these changes have stirred a projected friction between fishermen and environmentalists mostly consisting of researchers, scientists, and radical natural/animal conservatory activist whose viewpoints are normally out of touch with realities.

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As Paul is perusing  the article word for word as if he were tattooing it on the cerebral globe of his brain,  Paul’s thoughts are embroiled in a swirl of agitation and indignation that begins to brew a collection of words in a form of cogent opinion. ‘The amendments were favorable to many people and will promote business growth, especially commercial and recreational fishing groups that need to hire many more people.  The changes relate to a provision of managers with flexibility and refocus of the Act on sound science. It’s all about modernizing the management of recreational fishing! But those recalcitrant opponents who know nothing or little about dealing with constraints of daily task think that it is a rollback of the landmark law! There is no risk of over-fishing delaying the re-population of depleted fish! Logical Fiddlesticks!’

Paul has cogent reasons for his argument for the amendments to the Act: the purpose of the changes is to remove unscientific time frames that unnecessarily restrict access to fishery, which encompasses an revocation of a requirement for annual catch limits for certain fish species as aforesaid as well as amending rules about requirements to rebuild the stocks. He strongly believes that reauthorizing of the Act seems and is believed to be long overdue. As a matter of fact, Paul cannot help but link the article with The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley that he read last year with relish. In it, Ridley tries to enlighten the reader about the necessities of changes as part of cultural evolution for the betterment of mankind and the world itself. However, Ridley lays bare the the pressure of militant environmentalists who are evermore against any changes made to the agricultural as well as fishing industry. To Paul, their flagrantly truculent opposition to any such changes is a luxury disguised in the package of humanity/nature that only pampers their far-flung elitist attitudes that disregards or overlooks the need of everyday life.

Such is Paul’s axiomatic opinion on the article that he feels strongly. It’s not because he has a means of business, nor is his conservative tendency, nor his hereditary solidification of genes in the Proud Scottish Collie Family; but because the Act was unnecessarily binding the hands and feet of independent fishermen and other proprietors of the business tied to and related to fishery to overtly harsh conditions in which their households suffered under the strains of financial hardship. Which also brings Paul back to Act I, Scene 2 of Hamlet that illustrates the the hypocrisy of environmentalist dogmatism:

The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
What wouldst thou have, Laertes?




Eleusinian Craft of Lady Alchemist

IMG_3985She writes, and speaks to a soul in many sorts of music. She sometimes invokes inspirations from her favorite Muses: Kalliope for epic poetry; Clio for history; and Euterpe for lyric poetry. In fact, she feels most ecstatic when the divine inspirations become one with her body and soul creating the ineffable rapture of the body and elevating the excitement of the soul in zenith. She is no less a dilettante of amateur music aficionado and an apprentice of alchemy of literature and history than Seraphina by herself.

She also has a secret: that she practices her secondhand acoustic guitar she bought from a traveling troubadour who with his finely cultivated artfulness of sweet talking laced with a streak of medieval chivalry, tempted her to possess it three years ago at a reasonable price of $100. And it turned out that the crafty troubadour was a nice sort of reprobate who could make your otherwise bleak life a bit more cheerful and jovial to live because Seraphina loved the guitar at first blush and has played it since the farewell of the sportive wayfarer.


Seraphina is an Aquarius, and therefore an independent beauty. She is an autodidact and is at best when she’s least self-conscious and left alone. She has been teaching herself to play the guitar in hope of playing the songs she loves flawlessly by changing the chords swiftly in keeping up with the rhythms. One of her repertoires for her guitar practicing is “As Tears Go By” by Rolling Stones – not the version of Marianne Faithful – It is another secret that Seraphina sings the song while playing the guitar in her room, and she loves the moment of doing it because she feels like a Jane Birkin or a Joni Mitchell or a Francois Hardy.

Kurt Vonnegut once said, “To practice any form of art, however good or bad, is to make your soul grow, so do it.” In accordance with such supportive tenet of art, Seraphina thinks that it’s all about unlocking the artist from within. Surely, not everyone of us can’t make our names marked in the world, but then each one of us is something of a creator of a life. In her ideal firmament, being an amateur artist means being able to create her own artistic world unsullied by the material demands of life that often yield myriads of existential vertigo. But then who would know what might bring Seraphina into changing her weltanschauung in future? After all, we think we know what we are, but know not what we may be. In the brevity of life, Seraphina thinks to herself, ‘Sweets to the sweet: Farewell to worries!’



Walk like Poet Henry David Thoreau!

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Sally, the Thinker

“Give me a box of bonbons and a pouch of fruit candy assorted with gummy worms to sweeten my vapid imaginations! Oh, and a cup of Hazelnut coffee with a little bit of half-and-half to spark up my dormant spirit that resists to awake after a day-off.” Sally was hoping to make a new Monday as vivacious and jovial as possible, so she decided to meet with her lovely alter ego Bonnie for brisk morning sauntering. Yes, sauntering. Or even perambulating, which in fact reminded her of a baby perambulator.

“Hi, Sally!” Bonnie’s euphonious soprano voice manifested her presence like a spirit conjured up by a magician in an esoteric ancient language. Sally saw her dear friend approaching her from a distance waving effervescently at her with genuine smile. ” Oh, Dear. You look a bit pale… Have you eaten well? And please tell me not you are in a diet because you need it not.” Bonnie was concerned about a noticeable difference in Sally’s outward view: she looked thinner than before, and it did not look becoming to Sally. No, it was not out of that cardinal jealousy of womankind that knew neither friendship nor truth. In the eye of Bonnie, Sally looked prettiest with her round cheeks and dimpled elbows.

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“No, I am not on a diet, but I just did not have any appetite… I like walking than eating! Well, let’s call it our “sauntering” as the great poet Henry David Thoreau defined. Do you know Thoreau himself was an aumbulater nascitur non fit? He was an avid walker who used to spend about two hours walking in nature. His study was out of doors like his poet pal William Wordsworth.” “Oh, I did not know it, Sally. I only know that Thoreau was a great naturalist poet and died from consumption. “Yes, Bonnie. That too was right. Soon both adorable ladies were embarking on their ritualistic morning sauntering along the Avenues of trees and flowers with larks and bluetits vivaciously chirping and tweeting, all in nature’s symphony that could make you forgive your foes and love humankind at least for that pristine moment of pleasure.

Bonnie, La Bonne amie

Thoreau was right: the act of sauntering in nature would blot out the strains and cares of contemporary life and anesthetize your weary body and minds against the strains of everyday life. It’s absolute freedom from all worldly engagement. Like Thoreau, Sally thought that sauntering was not an exercise but a kind of enterprise, an adventure of a day that invigorated her spirit and mind. And Sally was hoping that Bonnie would share her pleasure of appreciating the symphony of nature. “You know Thoreau was something of an eccentric genius,” Sally decided to add some tidbit of gossip on the poet. “Oh, really? How so? ” Bonnie seemed intrigued.  “Well, he never went to church but believed in God; did not marry, nor did he cast vote, nor did he pay taxes! But this very individuality endowed him with a crown of literary ascendancy, I think.” “How could he not pay his due taxes as it’s his sacrosanct duty and responsibility as a citizen? You know what, Sally? That’s why I do not like any of these intellectuals who put ideas before their civic duties and personal responsibilities.”

Bonnie’s truculent remark was a bit startling aberration of her usual diplomatic modus operandi of expressing her opinion. But come to think of it, she couldn’t agree more with her friend about the duplicity of so-called the intellectuals, the new ecclesiastical estate of our modern society. And Sally was inwardly glad to have a friend as thoughtful and truthful as Bonnie. But still, Sally wanted to spare Thoreau from the supercilious learned elites.


The ante meridian sun was suavely sunny in the fiercely blue sky that would remind you of the celestial garb of the Virgin Mary in Rembrandt’s paintings.  The Italians would call the color “azure,” and they were good at making the pigment for Renaissance painters who raved about its lucidity and vivacity of the exquisite hue. And the fragrant breeze was a blessing of the beautiful Titan-goddess Aura for their friendship bound by mutual understanding and love of history and literature. As the two good friends were continuing to enjoy their sauntering in nature, it seemed right that without even going to church on Sundays, you could find the evidence of the Creator in awe of nature’s beauty and feel the presence of the existence just as Thoreau and the late Pope John Paul Second had felt and expressed.