Poetry


Keep on Trekkin

As I did at the end of 2013 & 2014, so I do again here at the end of 2015 to recount some travel experiences, which I don’t normally write about here. I need not give the whole setup again for the premise of such entries and see my blog from the end of 2013: Travels of Spocklogic. The notables this year (travel blogs I finished or made additions to) include:

feature-Erice2014-lgFeature-Indian_Wedding

Feature - Washington DC-1

Feature-China_2014

Feature-Spocklogics_TravBuddy_Meetups

 

That’s the summary for 2015. Some are carry overs from 2014, but I finished the blogs in 2015, after my last post on travels (see: Travels of Spocklogic II) in December 2014 or earlier if I made additions. As I alluded to in recent entries, I will take a break from this Cogito Ergo blog for a while in 2016. I’ve had 20 years of internet exposure and been blogging for 10 years (see: 20 Years of Internet and Mapping the Internet). I hope to return again with a fresh perspective down the line. There’s plenty to explore in the Cogito Ergo blog archives until then (see the link to: Browse Blog Posts). Best wishes for the New Year 2016! See you in the future…

bones-travels-through-time

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Carpenters-song-bmw

My father died on October 25, 2015 at 1:25 a.m. – Age 76 years and 23 days as the calendar counts. My thoughts go back to the death of my mother in 2007, which I wrote about in Exploring Death and Dying. These things still apply, but I don’t know what to say having lost both my mother and father now. He faced his health issues over the last decade or more with courage, but also acceptance of what faced him. In the end he faced death with the same attitude he faced life, as he thought best. Death came quickly for him, advancing in just short time, and he was awake and aware until shortly before he died in the company of his wife for some 35+ years. She told me a story of his brave last hours knowing he was dying, but not suffering. That’s my father, and I would have expected nothing less than going out the way he wanted to. Even going so far as telling the doctors to go away, stop checking, and let him die in peace. That’s my father! The headline image of this blog is a poem I wrote for my father in 2002 about his craftsmanship as a carpenter, and it echoes his passing now too.

Farewell My Father, and if there is an afterlife, may you build in new and interesting ethereal ways… I have some photos of me and my Dad over the years to offer and a video slide show of a particular Baseball reunion with my father and his two sons in 2007. Baseball has played a role in our lives over the years as long lamenting Red Sox fans, but in the recent decade or so have been victorious 3 times over. I’m glad my Dad got to see that in his lifetime and hope in the end he was somewhat proud of his sons, and his daughter too. We are all proud of him in our own way and maybe it can be said that if a man does the best he can, he has achieved all that he can be. That’s something to celebrate and to remember…

APR 63

A Family (big brother, father, mother and me) – 1963

Father&son-1965

Father & Son – 1965

Father&son-1967

Father & Son – 1967

Father&son-1969

Father & Son – 1969

Father&son-1980

Father & Son (with little sister on the right) – 1980

Father&son-1989

Father & Son – 1989

Father&son-2002

Father & Son 2002

Father&son-2007

Father & Son – 2007

Father&son-2010

Father & Son – 2010

Father&son-2014

Father & Son (With my daughter Jennifer in between) – 2014

 

Father and Son Reunion at Fenway Park in Boston – A slideshow my brother and I put together a day or two after the event in 2007.

My father and I would sometimes discuss poetry, and the last one we talked about was “Good Hours” by Robert Frost and it’s a good one to end on, or continue on…

Good Hours

I had for my winter evening walk—
No one at all with whom to talk,
But I had the cottages in a row
Up to their shining eyes in snow.

And I thought I had the folk within:
I had the sound of a violin;
I had a glimpse through curtain laces
Of youthful forms and youthful faces.

I had such company outward bound.
I went till there were no cottages found.
I turned and repented, but coming back
I saw no window but that was black.

Over the snow my creaking feet
Disturbed the slumbering village street
Like profanation, by your leave,
At ten o’clock of a winter eve.

~ Robert Frost

kirk-and-spock-travel-back-in-time-to-2014

As I did at the end of 2013, so I do again here at the end of 2014 to recount some travel experiences, which I don’t normally write about here. I need not give the whole setup again for the premise of such entries and see my blog from the end of 2013: Travels of Spocklogic. The notables this year are a couple of blogs I finished and some reviews that may be of interest:

spocklogic_Lyon-France_travel_blog.
spocklogic_Wroclaw-Poland_travel_blog.

spocklogic_Kirin-Hot-Pot_review.spocklogic_Long-Chao-Shou_review.
spocklogic_Ram-Pam-Pam-Pam_review.spocklogic_Raclawice-Panorama_review

That summarizes some travel selections for 2014. I did travel to Italy also in July 2014, and have some links to share for photo collections I put together for a special year in Erice to celebrate a 40th anniversary of the International School of Atomic and Molecular Spectroscopy (ISAMS):

Rino: 40 Year Erice Celebrations (2014) – Erice, Italy
2014 Erice Workshop: 30 July – August 5 – Erice, Italy
People (2014) – Erice, Italy
Places (2014)
– Erice, Italy

In addition, I traveled to China again this year in November 2014, but am still working on my travel blog for that, so it will have to wait until my 2015 account of my travels. I will make this type of entry something traditional at years end to cover where I have been and what I have done in travel ways. It’s all rather like the City on the Edge of Forever perhaps…

city_on_the_edge_of_forever-kirk&spock

 

 

In the beginning there was an idea to share information and seeds of the internet were born sometime in the 1960’s. Segue to the early 1990’s and there is altavista & webcrawler for search engines, no advertisements and the start of the internet for everyone. There were modems that worked over the telephone line and squealed their functionality with signature precision. They were slow, but the internet didn’t need speed back then as it was mostly text based information. Then it all began to change: AOL, Friendster, Myspace, Facebook and the people didn’t really want information, they wanted to socialize. That was the real revolution of the internet.

The_internet-2007

The Internet (c. 2007)

 

The_Internet-2010

The Internet (c. 2010)

 

The_Internet-2013

The Internet (c. 2013)

 

Interesting from a certain viewpoint (don’t think physicality in the construction similar to the continents, but where you are and where you go to online based on the map designations). In this sense, it’s another travel dimension of sorts! It’s rather like the the maps you see in the Age of Discovery in the centuries past when men explored the world in sailing ships. The maps were crude at first but became more refined over time. There is a perspective here to be appreciated and that is the following: All things human begin from the fundamental to the advanced – that is how our species learns and understands. We seem to be better at this in some ways, especially technology, but not so good in other ways, especially getting along with each other.

A final comment: The internet is capable of breaking down barriers like class, religion and wealth and everyone can participate (in principle). The reality is that the human species does not use the brain it has developed and the instances of this are too numerous to mention in the thousands of years of civilization. Although Carl Sagan did not live to see the full potential of the internet age, I like what he had to say about humanity in general – The Frontier Is Everywhere:

We were hunters and foragers. The frontier was everywhere. We were bounded only by the earth, and the ocean, and the sky. The open road still softly calls. Our little terraqueous globe as the madhouse of those hundred thousand millions of worlds. We, who cannot even put our own planetary home in order, riven with rivalries and hatreds; are we to venture into space?

By the time we are ready to settle even the nearest other planetary systems, we will have changed. The simple passage of so many generations will have changed us; necessity will have changed us. We are… an adaptable species. It will not be we who reach Alpha Centauri and the other nearby stars. It will be a species very like us, but with more of our strengths, and fewer of our weaknesses; more confident, farseeing, capable and prudent.

For all our failings, despite our limitations and fallibilities, we humans are capable of greatness. What new wonders undreamt of in our time, will we have wrought in another generation, and another? How far will our nomadic species have wandered, by the end of the next century, and the next millennium?

Our remote descendants, safely arrayed on many worlds through the solar system, and beyond, will be unified, by their common heritage, by their regard for their home planet, and by the knowledge that, whatever other life may be, the only humans in all the universe, come from Earth. They will gaze up and strain to find the blue dot in their skies. They will marvel at how vulnerable the repository of all our potential once was, how perilous our infancy, how humble our beginnings, how many rivers we had to cross, before we found our way.

References:
The internet 2007 – http://xkcd.com/256/
The Internet 2010 – http://xkcd.com/802/
The Internet 2013 – http://jaysimons.deviantart.com/art/Map-of-the-Internet-1-0-427143215
Carl Sagan – The Pale Blue Dot

 

 

drspock

I don’t often write about my travels in this WordPress blog (Cogito Ergo) as I have another site for that (TravBuddy). In this year of 2013, I completed a number of travel blogs on that site that are worth noting and I give the links to them here. Mind you, I don’t know that any of my travel blogs are ever really completed. Each one is like a child I nurture and raise up, but always needs attention in future ways. Anyway, I suppose I list them here for my own reference and also to offer it to others who may be interested in my travels. There is some connection of the blogs, one to another in embedded personal ways, but are also self-contained. Here they are:

Spocklogic_DC_Travel_Blog

.

Spocklogic_Italy_Travel_Blog.

Spocklogic_Switzerland_Travel Blog.

Spocklogic_Germany_Travel Blog.

Spocklogic_Travel_Topics.

Spocklogic_China_Blog.

Some of these blogs have been posted for some years, and I either added to them, made them more complete, and/or formed connections between them. Some of them are entirely new in 2013. They do tell a story in total I suppose and maybe that’s why I decided to make a sort of review of the Travels of Spocklogic here. They were also all the blogs featured on TravBuddy for me this year. My Italy blog (L’Avventura Dell Italia) seems never-ending and I have some more work to do on it, but the majority of important events are there for the most part. The last one in this list, the blog on China, is something I am still working on too, but intend (or hope) to complete it before the end of 2013. I suppose this collection of blogs forms a personal journey of sorts that I tried to form this year regarding my life and relation to travel. When I finish the China blog, maybe I will know what I have been endeavoring to understand and ultimately discover in my life. It’s not a teaser, or cliffhanger, but maybe more a matter of what I will embrace. Sounds enigmatic I suppose, but not really. It’s my personal perspective, the choices I make and what is ultimately best for me in a world of possibilities…

knowyourspock-1

Barbarians

This year has been somewhat of a situation best described as the “Politics of Inaction” in the United States government. There was Sequestration earlier this year, a government shutdown just this week and now the looming debt ceiling problem where the federal government will probably default on its loans. I don’t really wish to discuss the politics themselves as it has become my belief that both Democrats & Republicans are both to blame for their inaction in doing their jobs which they were elected to do. It’s all about spin and one-upmanship with politicians and you can’t believe half of what any of them say anyway. What I would like to do is bring attention to some verse by the Greek poet Constantine P. Cavafy. At the turn of the 20th century he wrote a poem called “Waiting for the Barbarians” that seems relevant to todays political and societal environment. Like many poems, it is open to multiple interpretations. It also frames the theme with classical references too, which may have their modern day analogies. That’s part of what makes the poem so interesting too. Anyway, the poem is structured as a question and answer dialog. The society and government seems to be in some state of decay or inaction and the questions are answered that the ‘Barbarians’ are coming, which are never specifically identified and open to many avenues of thought I suppose. I won’t try to analyze the poem too much from my perspective and let you the reader take it in the context of what it may mean to you. I am certainly open to discussing it, however, and here is the poem:

Waiting for the barbarians

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

            The barbarians are due here today.

Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

            Because the barbarians are coming today.
            What laws can the senators make now?
            Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

            Because the barbarians are coming today
            and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
            He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
            replete with titles, with imposing names.

Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

            Because the barbarians are coming today
            and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

Why don’t our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

            Because the barbarians are coming today
            and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?

            Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
            And some who have just returned from the border say
            there are no barbarians any longer.

And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.

~ C.P. Cavafy (1904)

You can explore various interpretations and analysis of this poem by searching yourself online. One interesting one is done in the Kenyon Review, in which the poet Robert Pinsky is quoted in describing the poem the following way:

“In this cunning, amusing poem, with its punch line that never wears out, the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy penetrates deep into the nature of political life. The atmosphere of civic pride and civic hypocrisy, the mingled air of awe and contempt toward governmental institutions, rings not the bell of cliché but many eerie tintinnabulations: the gongs and chimes of public life, the distinct sounds of what we say, what we know we mean and what we don’t know we mean.”

Continuing in this train of thought in a critique of political systems, politicians and the populace, I appreciated a monologue by Bob Schieffer that he gave at the end of the news program Face the Nation on September 29, 2013.

(CBS News) I had a dream the other night. The Ghost of Congress Future took me on a flying tour of Capitol Hill. I couldn’t believe what I saw down there — both Houses of Congress were filled with members. There were lively, spirited, informed debates going on.

“I’m used to seeing members speak to an empty chamber — what’s going on?” I said.

“Oh,” the Ghost said, “the people threw out the whole bunch you knew after one of those shut-down-the-government debacles and the people demanded new rules.

“We pay Congress by the hour now, like most of the other government employees, and they don’t get paid any more unless they’re legislating.”

“But it’s Friday afternoon,” I said, “Why aren’t they back in their districts?”

“Because the people stopped paying their travel expenses,” the ghost said. “They get one round-trip bus ticket back to their districts a year, so most of them stay here and work. They’ve actually gotten to know each other, and it goes a lot smoother now”

“Well, you must pay them well,” I said.

“Actually we cut their pay,” he said. “The people decided a public office shouldn’t be the most lucrative job someone ever had.

“We pay them about what school teachers and people at non profits make — it’s amazing! We’re getting a whole different class of candidates now, folks who do it for the same reason teachers teach. They want to help others.”

Then I was awakened by a noise — some guy was on TV reciting talking points.

In Washington, the nightmares don’t come when you’re asleep, but more often when you’re awake.

Captiol_clouds_620x350

The ultimate question maybe to ask is the following. Can we really blame politicians for their ineptness and politics of inaction? After all, we elect them to govern for us, and are ultimately responsible for what we get when they don’t do the job they were elected to do. This doesn’t just apply to the United States government, but all governments where officials are elected to legislate on our behalf and improve the greater good of the populace with devotion to their duty. Unfortunately, the reality is that most politicians are not doing the will of the people, but take care of their own special interests, lobbyists and other influences who help keep them in power to get them re-elected term after term. It’s the money that keeps these politicians, mostly elite rich people anyway, in power. They govern us and supposedly are doing the will of the people, but the reality is that it is all smoke and mirrors. The politicians in charge have their own agenda and it has little to do with the man on the street and bettering his life I am afraid. Are we Waiting for the Barbarians as depicted in the Cavafy’s poem? Or is the real dilemma inside societies and a willingness to put up with the Politics of Inaction? Maybe the world of future governing will be like Bob Shieffer said and politicians will really work for the people…

images  hmmm?

spock-santa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Stardate Before Christmas

Twas a stardate before Christmas and all through the ship
nothing was moving not even Miles’ pips
The phasers were hung in the arsenal that night
in hopes that poor Worf would win just one fight

The crewmen were all asleep in their beds
While Data calculated PI in his head
And I, in my ready room, with my eyes all bloodshot
had just settled down to some tea, Earl Grey, hot

When out on the main sensors arose such a clatter
you’d have thought that Geordi mixed matter/antimatter
Then what to my wandering eyes should appear
But a man dressed in gold with Spock and his ears

He gestured, his mouth opened, but I heard not a word
then slowly, distinctly, his voice could be heard
“Christmas…future…you sure Spock?”, he said almost appalled
“My…God…Spock….Look!…..I’ve gone bald!”

“Logically, sir”, Spock murmured, “It’s not all that hard.”
“Captain Kirk, I’d like you to meet Captain Picard.”
“Ah…yes..James T.”, he offered with ease
With hand on his phaser, “We come in Peace”

Spock spoke not a word as I went straight to my pin
“Worf, it is time to have your butt kicked, again!”
You see, I wasn’t sure if this Kirk was for real
the transporter, you know, had once made him evil

While shaking his head with more gestures he made
said over dramatically, “Do not be………afraid!”
I jumped to my feet, tugged my shirt as I spoke
“Q, show yourself!  Is this some kind of a joke?”

“A Joke?  An anecdote? A witticism or a humorous pun?”
Spock said, “I think not,  Vulcans just aren’t that fun.”
He raised an eyebrow, “Picard, we’re really not sure”
but we think we’ve been sent by the ghost of xmas future”

Then just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse
the silence was broken by a very loud curse
He appeared dressed in blue and his temper was huge
“Dammit, I’m a doctor!  I am not a scrooge!”

As if that wasn’t enough, Worf strolled from the bridge
in his emergency walk and head full of ridge
“A….Klingon!”, Kirk shouted, as Spock grabbed in restraint
but it was too late as Worf started to faint

The doctor rushed to his side as Kirk looked down upon him
“He’s been frightened, for sure, but he’s not dead, Jim!”
With much disgust, I gave a slap of my head
If only, I thought, Tasha weren’t dead

I confronted the trio and Kirk got a look of surprise
as I asked, “What are you doing here on the Enterprise?”
“This…is…the..Enterprise?”, he asked almost with glee
“Yes, Captain Kirk”, I confirmed, “The Enterprise-D.”

“Spock, could it be possible, I’ve been sent to demand
that I take this Enterprise as my next form of command?”
I’d been holding my anger but it started to slip
“I will not allow you to take over my ship”

Kirk’s eyes lit up as he said with a smirk
“You won’t be around long wearing that red shirt”
“Captain Kirk”, I chuckled, “you really ought to be told”
“The security team here now dresses in gold”

The grin came off of his face cause even he had to know
If someone got killed he would be the first to go
Spock quickly interrupted, “Jim, I believe we have been sent
by the apparition of Christmas to show how it might be spent”

Kirk looked at him with a puzzling gaze
then back at me in an obvious daze
“Spock….can it be…..Are we….still alive?”
He pondered, “Were we…able to…..survive?”

“Yes, Spock is here”, I said, “Admiral McCoy, and Mr. Scott, too”
“The writers haven’t told us what happened to the rest of your crew”
“I think, sir” Spock continued, “though some of us may be gone”
“The ghost wanted to show that our legacy lives on”

Kirk thought for a moment then said “Though we’ve come far,”
“I see what you mean, Spock, we’re still cruising the stars”
“Christmas future will be shaped as we continue to explore”
“Where possibilities are endless and no one has gone before”

Then came a power much like a nebula storm
out of a brilliant light stood an alien life form
It gestured at Spock and McCoy, in a flash they beamed out
Now only Kirk stood before me in somewhat of a pout

“Captain Picard, It seems that I must go”
All I could say was “Captain Kirk, make it so”
Kirk could be heard as he beamed into a speck
“Merry Christmas to all and keep up the Star Trek”

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