Monday, September 29, 2014
Why? Why do these phoney turkeys try to masquerade as 'Joe Lunchbuckets' when everyone knows they are the highest of high-octane Suits? The only ones they are fooling are themselves. Would you buy a used car from somebody who pretended to be someone he wasn't? If he lies about that, what else is he lying to you about? Think about it!
Sunday, September 28, 2014
This, I think, is probably what Tutankhamun's so-called 'favorite mug' originally looked like, before it spent all those years in his tomb with him.
Back in the 1980s, I believe, there was a traveling exhibit of Treasures from Tutankhamun's Tomb which came to our Museum in the same complex here as our Planetarium, of which I've always been fond. So I took the tour and bought the glossy little book with lots of pretty pictures. And got blown away by this one....
As I turned the pages of that glossy booklet and came to this image of the 'mug' I caught my breath, and found myself saying to myself, "There you are!". Then I stopped myself, because obviously this was impossible. There's no way I could ever have been familiar with this object. It was bizarre! I thought, "Ray, you're really losing it this time, Kid!" And yet I had this extraordinary feeling that I had seen this before, and perhaps might even have helped to create it. It seemed instantly familiar to me. And no, Pascal, I'm NOT King Tut reincarnated. But I might have been an artisan of the royal court back then, maybe. One never knows.
In any case, when I read the description of this piece, it gets even more bizarre.
Around the rim of it, those hieroglyphs are in two parts. One part lists Tut's five royal and familial names, in flowery terms, as was their custom. The other part is a wish, or a blessing, or a prayer, and it goes like this:-
May you live millions of millions of years, you who love Thebes, sitting with your face to the north wind, your two eyes beholding happiness.
I looked at that, and said to myself "That's what it says, but that's not what it means." Why not? Because: we don't take everything we write literally, and neither did they. So what it says is not exactly what it means. You have to understand the context and the times from which it came. So let's break it down and look at it...
Those budding blue lotuses forming the handles each have the God of Eternity sitting on top on a reed raft, holding a palm frond in each hand. The meaning of that is "Forever". Thebes in those days was the center of their culture and the heart of their academic institutions, a source of enlightenment. Sitting with your face to the north wind would mean you had your back to the 'red wind' from the south, meaning the sand storms, because the cooling breezes came off the sea to the north. Your two eyes beholding happiness meant just that: happiness.
So it was really expressing this, when 'boiled down' to its essence:-
May you live Forever,
And Enjoying Happiness.
And that's a wonderful wish or blessing or prayer for anyone, don't you think?
I colored and framed this little picture many years ago and had to dismantle that for this scanning, because the glass and frame made it out-of-focus for the scanner, and I do like sharp scans. And I did want a copy for a desktop background, so I thought I'd annoy you with this little tale at the same time.
I hope it hasn't been too boring for you.
Did I ever figure out where I saw the chalice before? No, I never have, nor am I likely to. But I do think it is a chalice rather than a common drinking mug. King Tutankhamun, in his role as Pharaoh would also automatically be the Chief High Priest of the principal Temple, and thus expected to participate in certain ceremonies at least a few times a year. This was likely his ceremonial chalice for use at those religious festivals.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
This is the new patio at the outdoor pool in the development across our back street, and down about a block's distance. They took so long preparing the ground, and refinishing the pool, summer was almost over by the time it was finally ready. There was another outdoor pool closer to this end of that property but they removed it about four years ago. I guess the families who were attracted to that development all grew up, and there weren't as many kids to use it.
This is a sample of what's left. It didn't start anyone's motor. Both of them have seen more lunches than lunchtimes. The good news is, they'll never drown.
And everyone's working for the phone company so they can play those stupid games on the screen at the bus stop, or in the elevator, or the sidewalk, or the crosswalk...and the people who talked you into all that are laughing all the way to the bank. You wouldn't be here today if civilization hadn't been able to survive quite nicely without all that until someone decided you had too much money in your pocket, or your credit was too good, or you were just stupid.
This was a very popular symbol in Egypt about 3,500 years ago and it still is at my house, where I, like ancient Egyptians, have my own little shrine in part of the room where I like to say my prayers. The Ankh in those days was part of a very well-known formula, as shown below in this page from my hieroglyphic dictionary....
The formula consisted of the Ankh, a candle flame, and a shepherd's crook, and meant "Life, Strength, and Health" which loosely interpreted came out as something like Commander Spock's "Live Long and Prosper!" I'm being facetious of course. It was actually a combination wish and prayer. And if you add to it "Thank You, Holy One, Everywhere You Are!" the prayer part works even better.
Religion isn't something you subscribe to, nor some kind of club you join - it's your own personal respect and admiration and gratitude to your Creator for everything you have been given. It's a 'Do-It-Yourself' project. Just do it!
Iran, and Persia generally, has a long and very colorful history and we need to do our homework before we jump to any hasty conclusions. These bottom two screenshots are good places to start.
I'm prejudiced on this whole topic, because many of my neighbors here in these hundreds of apartments are Persians from Iran, and those I've met are very nice people, and very warm and friendly. They provide a definite enrichment to our culture.
If you do some homework on this whole topic, you will of course discover almost at once why my Iranian friends have long had a legitimate grievance with western infidels who have been skinning them alive, so to speak, ever since the first discovery of oil in Iran in 1908. So they come by their distrust of us quite honestly, and with good reasons. And we have to be careful selecting our sources for the facts, because there are a lot of 'creative writers' in the news business, being paid to 'spin-doctor' the story in favor of special interests. I like to do what I can to 'unspin' those 'spin-doctors' to get us down to the bare-assed facts underneath all that. I encourage you to do the same.