No one: …

Southern Boys: “Welp, there ain’t nothing left to do in this town but repeat myself and I ain’t a man of repetition. Guess I’ll join the military, probably go airborne lol, and get my limbs blown off and terrorize everyone when I get back or die in war lmao.”

The nation: Thank you.

A Debt Owed–Maybe: Napoleon at St. Helena

I have a book on Napoleon in exile: Titled: Napoleon’s St. Helena. In it, on the first blank page, is a father writing to his daughter, dates many years back, encouraging her to read it, with a little judgment/narrative on the man himself–none of which I disagree with.

I feel almost bad that I picked it up in some used book store in Virginia many years ago for certainly the man is dead now and his daughter is 20 years or more older than me. In a perfect world, I’d give it back to her.

Cafe Bible Study

I went down to my favorite diner there on East Texas, not too far from my house, a little earlier today. I like to have breakfast for dinner at least once a week. So I ordered three pancakes, three eggs, and sausage. As I locked my elbows, wiped my brow, and began to dig in over my heart attack, I noticed the tables next to me. There were about six men who had adjoined two tables for the purpose of bible study. I heard them talk about 1 Peter: 3 and Ephesians: 5, which are in part about wives and husbands. I didn’t need a bible in front of me, I know about 80 percent of the NT by heart. In any case, I got to listening because mainly the gentlemen, I thought, were so far off from Peter and Paul that I began to feel charitable. Me being a naturally inquisitive and joyful fellow, I asked if I might join them. A wholesome bunch they turned out to be; Baptist, but not the regular kind. No these here; they were from the Good Hope Baptist kind—It’s 1 of 732 of the variety.

In any case, I grabbed the seat at the end of the table and became privy of a lady of the congregation who had gone mad. Yes sir, turns out she was spurned by her man and instead of going to Barnes & Noble or to her mamma’s house, she went right to his job and tried to have him fired. She key’d his truck and even vandalized his trailer. This was a woman on fire, I could tell. Just my type of gal, I was thinking.

Well, the gracious gentlemen who allowed me to sit with them explained how they had to expel her from the congregation. I asked, “and what of the man?”

“Brother Gerald? Well, he’s still very much a part of our congregation.”

“And brother Gerald is a good man?” I asked.

“Oh yes. A foreman at his job and a good father to his kids.”

“And if Brother Gerald is good, which I’m sure he is, because you men vouch for him, why did this woman feel so injured by his goodness?”

Well, here things went a little icy. There were a lot of faces looking down at plates and fingers stirring forks in gravy. Turns out Brother Gerald stepped out on this crazy woman, brought in a new woman and another set of kids, and kicked this one out.

So now we’ve come full circle, I said. Brother Gerald isn’t good. In fact, he’s quite ordinary as far as men go. He repented I’m sure but the lady who’s been expelled had no such luck.

Then I was asked what I thought about her behavior and what would I do in that situation.

I thought for a minute. I really did because I hadn’t considered that point. After reflection, I confidently said, “I’ve never been loved like that by any woman. If I were brother Gerald I’d be looking her up with my hat in hand and a clever line. A woman who will fight like that is a woman fiercely in love with her man. You gentlemen can judge accordingly but as for me, a woman on fire is a friend of mine.”

There were some agreements and crawfishing but not enough for me to stick around. I said thanks and by and left.

I hope that old gal finds a new place to worship and remains a woman on fire.

Splendid Spirit

When I look about and see the things that have been given to me, what do I see?
I see much joy and splendid beauty and impossible gifts. What has been trivialized and passed off as ordinary is through ignorance and selfishness. Problems occur when man fails to see himself as part of the whole. What is good for him is also good for nature and vice versa. When man neglects this principle or rebels against the whole, he suffers.

Man’s problems are nothing more than a problem of the spirit. Though the spirit can be damaged, it cannot be destroyed so long as the man himself is not destroyed. Spirit is man’s Super Organ. In it dwells light and strength and goodness—all the requisites that make the man. Just as a man takes in the good foods, the vegetables, fruits, meats, and such to nourish his body so that the lower organs function and carry the man forward in a physical realm, so should he take in the good things in life so that his spirit may carry him forward in the metaphysical realm.

Man has been bestowed unlimited promise and opportunity within a limited time. With intent and purpose, he can have what he desires if only he does not deny himself these things and so long as they are good for the spirit. For if they are good for the spirit, a man can be satisfied and filled with the things he has acquired. He will find peace, love, and joy. If they are not of the spirit, then a man can never be satisfied because there is no limit to his desires and nothing by which to measure success. He will be unsatisfied, listless, and depressed. For as soon as he acquires the thing he coveted, he will place it down or put it away and pursue another thing, and another, and another until he has spent all his time pursuing nothingness. A healthy man can eat a meal or enjoy drink. He can take one woman and be filled. An unhealthy man will eat the same meal while desiring the next one. He cannot enjoy the same drink because the drink itself does not satisfy him. He cannot be satisfied with one woman. He is empty and can never be filled with anything.

Romans: Ch. 7 (Apostle Paul)

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

What is good in life? What are the things that are beautiful and impossible gifts? They are the things that fill the spirit. They are the higher pursuits that put man in accordance with his nature. A man who lives according to his spirit will have near perfect harmony within and rarely will he suffer from worldly ailments such as regret, guilty conscience, anger, depression or defeat. If a man focuses on the things that are good for the spirit, the man will be good as a whole and subsequently to the whole. He will spend very little time in the past and spend less time trying to see into the future. He will live comfortably in the present with little desire to change what has been done or worry over what has been assigned to him through providence. He does not credit himself with knowing everything. He rids himself of such troubles and focuses only on the things within his control and in his domain.

The spirit compels the man to live within nature and comfortably to joy and all men possess this spirit. He can speak the truth without arrogance. He is concerned little over the opinions of others about him because it’s his opinion about himself he values most. When man is in full accordance with his spirit there he will find truth and purpose.

“God sees the minds (ruling principles) of all men bared of the material vesture and rind and impurities. For with his intellectual part alone he touches the intelligence only which has flowed and been derived from himself into these bodies. And if thou also usest thyself to do this, thou wilt rid thyself of thy much trouble.

~ Marcus Aurelius


The Good Nature

This list finally came to me last night in a rush but with much clarity. I took more than a week of constant thinking, reflection, and reading before they were ready. I am satisfied with this list and what each value means to me. I will have it framed and I will keep it for all my days.

There is a duality in man, a bad nature, and a good nature. They are constantly at war with the other. I have learned if you are not aware of this war, then you are a prisoner of that war. Be careful and consider which side you ally. Feed the good, neglect the bad.

The Good Nature

Self Respect: First, consider thine soul; do no harm to yourself and you’ll do no harm to others; never value a thing or validate impulses that compel you to act against the first.

Acceptance: What has happened and what will happen are things unto themselves; what exists and occurs now is destiny.

Perspective: Judge according to the harmony within; act rationally, move accordingly, and where you stand is where you ought to be.

Temperance: Duty and dignity maketh the man; prudence and fortitude maketh a good man.

Gratitude: Above all else, you live; while you live, there is an abundance; live the rest of thine days with purpose and good acts and you will be in harmony with thine self and kind to others. This is joy.

Such as Life And If So, One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy.


I’m no Greek scholar or trained in Stoicism, so I’ll ask in my own colloquial custom. How many times do you reckon this old world gobbled up the many who said, “I’m gonna show the world how tough I am!”? Probably at least a dozen hundred times I’d suspect, and I bet the old world was mean enough to say, “I’m gonna show you how tough you ain’t,” just before the condemned was masticated in those slow-moving jaws that never cease gnawing.

I recall the story of the Greek legend, Sisyphus, who was the king of Ephyra (or Corinth today). We are told that Poor Sisyphus was too high-strung, too self-assured, ambitious, and known for “self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness.”

The Gods punished Sisyphus for his insufferable behavior in life. His sentence was to roll a boulder up an impossible hill, only to have it roll back over him, once he finally reached the top. Helpless, he’d trek down the progress he’d made that day where he’d steady himself behind the boulder again there at the bottom of that hill, look up, eyes stinging from sweat and brightness from a midday sun, that never shone otherwise, sigh, wipe his brow, grip the punishing reminder the Gods set before him, lay his shoulder into it and repeat the monotonous routine that was his hard labor for eternity.

Was Sisyphus that bad of a guy, though? Or did life pluck him from the unfortunate few?

There’s something to be made out of Greek Tragedy. I suggest you look it up but as I understand a version of it, the Gods had a way of leading one along, success after success, only to bring him to personal failure or professional defeat. Think Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg (after thoroughly having his way with the Union Army and its, what, five previous commanders?– only to fail spectacularly in Pennsylvania during that hot July month in 1863– or Napoleon post-exile at Waterloo) or any other example as a sure thing launched only to see it crashing back down to earth.

Such as life is how the philosophers describe it but that’s too flippant here.

We return to Sisyphus, who was condemned by the gods to push a boulder up a hill. Perhaps old Sisyphus viewed life as a bleak joke. What if life to him was nothing more than a pretense, a thing not to be taken too seriously. Moreover wasn’t it Augustus, the man who turned a Roman Empire from clay to marble, that left us with the closing statement for his consequential place in history, “Have I played my part in the farce of life well enough?”

Irony and fitting words from a man who embodied Imperium.

Read how Albert Camus views cruel fate and how he detest the Gods! In fact, I gather from below that maybe the Gods envy us!

Truly, a man cannot be defeated as long as he knows who he is and understands what part he is to play.It’s when he forgets this and gives up that he will be destroyed.

“It is during that return, that pause, that Sisyphus interests me. A face that toils so close to stones is already stone itself! I see that man going back down with a heavy yet measured step toward the torment of which he will never know the end. That hour like a breathing-space which returns as surely as his suffering, that is the hour of consciousness. At each of those moments when he leaves the heights and gradually sinks toward the lairs of the gods, he is superior to his fate. He is stronger than his rock. . .

I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one’s burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

I Had a Dream a Few Nights Ago


A few nights ago I had a very profound dream that ended with a complete thud or so I thought when I awoke. Over the days that followed it kept playing over and over in my mind. Last night as I lay in bed and it entered my mind I felt disappointed that it had so much potential at profoundness but ended like most dreams do: a nebular memory. Nonetheless, today I thought a lot about the dream, it’s context, it’s imagery, it’s meaning.

The dream…

Out of nowhere and no information as to why I was there, I appeared standing inside a what I’d say was an operations watch floor. In case you are wondering what an operations watch floor is, think of a secured facility with large plasma screens and real-time data being transmitted across those screens. Surely you’ve seen some of those cool military or NASA-like movies where there are scenes in such a setting.

In any case, I’m standing there looking at this huge screen that dominates the room. There’s a man standing next to me. He’s obviously there as my guide and to show me around. He’s handsome in a clean-cut kind of way, shorter than me, no facial hair, wearing a jacket — he’s very paramilitary — the kind of person I’ve met a thousand times. The kind of power-guy you see in and around Washington DC.

I look at this large screen and displayed is a map of the world. The continents are outlined with proper political boundaries. This place looks legit. The screen is busy. I can see events happening all across the world simultaneously and some regions are busier than others. The color depicting these events and their respective locations is white. It’s all white with flashes here and there and a seemingly steady white glow in other places.

I ask my guide, “What is happening up there. What do those lights mean?”

“Those are prayers going up.”

“Wow, I didn’t realize so many people prayed.”

“Yep. And He hears every one of them.”

“I always knew He existed. Does He hear my prayers?”


I face my guide, “what did He say?”

“He told me to tell you to get a shovel.”

Puzzled but cognizant even in my dream, I respond “What does that mean?”

He told me, with a smile, which revealed age lines in the corner of his eyes but a set of nice straight teeth (he looked to be 42 or so) “you’ll have to look it up.”

And that’s it. That’s how it ended. I woke up trying to gather my senses and surroundings and admittedly felt disappointed about the ending.

What struck me afterward as I replayed this over and over was the mention of He. Clearly, we were discussing God and He was mentioned in the third person singular. He wasn’t there but I immediately understood where I was and the importance and awe of what I was seeing and hearing. It was like taking a tour of the president’s Situation Room. The president wasn’t there but he didn’t have to be to still be president and operate as the top consumer of all real-time data coming over those screens. It added to the awe and power and omnipresent feelings I felt.

So today I finally searched the meaning of shovels in dreams and I was so struck by what I read that I actually felt a bit uneasy about the whole thing. I’m just not that into this kind of stuff and I’m not that religious to start.

The shovel stands for the need to dig out something from your past and work towards personal forgiveness and happiness. To find peace. On a spiritual level, I’m told the shovel is the tool used towards inner knowledge. Additionally, the tool symbolizes a trustworthy person you can depend on for support or during times of adversities. (Search it if you care to. You’ll read about several meanings but remarkably the same as it relates to various religions and mysticism).

Considering the meaning, maybe the shovel represents Him as that trustworthy person, which explains the setting and the power and awe the dream provoked within me, standing there on that watch floor, and at the same time a message to me that there’s some self-help to do on my part.

I understand this might not mean a lot to a reader but considering the last couple of years of my life, the deep, deep regret I wake up with every day, the turmoil and change, the stress and anxiety, the depression and wrestling with my past, this dream gave me more answers than any friend or family member, any counselor, book, bottle of whiskey, or anything else I’ve tried or have yet to try, possibly could.

That’s not to say I haven’t come a long way over the course of a year or more as time tends to settle things to their new normal. However, this dream and its timing and meaning really propped me up and made me take notice.

It’s time to break out the shovel, friends.

Things that Keep Me Up at Night–And Civil War Trivia

This kept me up last night and is doing so now. I’ve been reading Civil War accounts for the past few weeks—the campaigns, the battles, the men with no names who fought in them and the men with well-known names who made their decisions (it’s always seemed to me and seems so still, that almost all the decisions made during that war were bad but for a striking few) and I arrived at Gettysburg, which led me down a wormhole of differing scenarios, each one leading to a parallel universe as a result of that outcome. I’ve rested on the fact that the Battle of Gettysburg should have never happened at all. It was a consequence of Lee’s Virginia-centric war outlook. For, in Lee’s view, if the Old Dominion ceased to be, then the Confederacy died all at once. This view was held despite 750,000 interior square miles, the Mississippi River, what was but limited, industrial and munitions centers, the Gulf of Mexico and no less than a dozen ports (albeit mostly blockaded, but theirs nonetheless, and a decisive victory would have lifted that blockade from European recognition).

During the summer weeks of ’63 that Lee was contemplating taking the war into Pennsylvania, Rosecrans was in Tennessee. Grant was in Mississippi running over token resistance until he reached and burned Jackson. With the capital secured and on his flank, he’d march west and take Vicksburg—the real prize for the Union—for the capture of Vicksburg cut the Confederacy in half, denied it any control over the Mississippi, while allowing complete Union control over it, and greatly reduced the Confederate interior. It was Vicksburg and not Gettysburg that spelled doom for the Confederacy.

Whatever the infinite outcomes and decisions one can create, securing the interior, cutting Grant off from the rest of the Union, and destroying him as he tried to break out, would have either secured victory for the Confederacy or prolonged its existence for an eventual defeat by other means not influenced by the outcome of Gettysburg.

Instead of taking his army north, Lee should have sent a sizable portion of his command under Longstreet, perhaps two divisions, into the interior, to join Bragg and Johnston in Tennessee. Combined, the army now numbering 130,000 to 150,000 effectives was well within the interior and space and time to counter both Rosecrans and Grant’s separately. An all-out offensive would have been possible much like the Confederacy did in ’62 when during the end of that year there wasn’t a Union boot on confederate soil. In Tennessee, they would draw Rosecrans out to a ground of their choosing, defeat him soundly and push him beyond the Ohio. The command could then head west, secure Memphis and cut off Grant’s access up the Mississippi. Grant completely boxed in and cut off, low of supplies, and with no hope of receiving more, would have seen the jig was up. Consequently, he’d had to give up his designs on Vicksburg or face total defeat. Out of military necessity, he’d have no choice other than to make a run for it up river against an overwhelming force in complete control of the Mississippi and the interior. Grant would have no doubt been defeated, possibly in toto.

With no Union threat within the interior, the command would then split into two parts. One part would reinforce Kirby Smith who would then retake Missouri all the way down to Louisiana. The other part, under Longstreet, would reinforce Lee in Virginia, who could then take up his decision to invade the north, except under much stronger and more contemplated strategic military terms.

Oddly enough, this scenario is a mixture of Beauregard’s and Longstreet’s proposed plans in response to Grant’s designs on Vicksburg with modifications on my part made from the advantage of hindsight. They were dismissed in Richmond at the highest reaches of government in two rounds of voting, with the same result each time, 5-1, in favor of Lee’s Virginia optics—the one holdout who remained unconvinced of a northern invasion was a non-Virginian native, who was the Confederate postmaster general from Texas.

Something Truthful about Conspiracy Theories


A Facebook colleague asked me what I thought about Jade Helm 15. According to conspiracy theorists Jade Helm 15 is the government codename for the coming military takeover of the state of Texas. Why the military would want Texas or what they plan on doing with it after the takeover isn’t elaborated so far as I’ve discerned. Come to think of it, might be Texas would make one helluva of an officer’s club or one of those great big Air Force bases. Plenty of cheap, low skilled labor nearby to make sure the greens are watered and weeded and the nearby dining facilities and NCO clubs are stocked and cleaned.

Funny thing on the way to believing conspiracy theories is there is a certain amount of truth to them. At least the same amount found in any other thing we’ve judged to be truthful.

Conspiracy theories are manifestations of the truth buried deep in our psyche like an imbedded germ deep within our conscious that reminds us every day we are doomed, destined to die, and will at one moment pass into that final midnight.

Time and evolution has granted to humanity an excess of consciousness that has come to weigh it down with knowledge of tragedy and death. It’s this dark knowledge we have about our fates, which causes us to turn this despair into entertainment and self-consciousness into Dark Enlightenment.

H.P. Lovecraft’s Old Ones is a wonderful source to this dark knowledge as it explains that we are utterly contingent and fragile. Put simply, this dark knowledge kills us for sport. All such foreboding and ultimate designs about our fate is a product of the human, rather than the natural, world. They are inventions of human consciousness just as our conceptions of self-awareness and autonomy are.

Since death isn’t real until it happens and the only way to experience it is to die, there stands a void in between. Conspiracy theories stand in for this void for the ultimate realization: “Horror is more real than we are” as Thomas Ligotti wrote in The Conspiracy Against the Human Race.

No better example comes to mind then the frenzy and hysteria over global warming/climate change. Talk about the ultimate horror! And despite the fact we were supposed to have died a dozen times over the past 50 years, it’s still gripping entertainment for many who thrive off of existential miserablism.

So, beyond all illusion and distraction we are faced with the horror of our certain, imminent, and permanent annihilation. Conspiracy theories are a dark confirmation of all that you had feared, but stand in for good entertainment in the meantime.

Remembering John Keats

John Keats

John Keats wrote in a 1820 letter before he died of tuberculosis in Rome: “I have left no immortal work behind me, but I have lov’d the principle of beauty in all things, and if I had had the time I would have made myself remember’d.”

Our man only lived to be 25 years of age. Which is kind of fitting because he never grows old in style or age.

Bright Star

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art–
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors–
No–yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever–or else swoon to death.