Ancient Wisdom — That Isn’t???


For the last couple of decades, our world has been awash with Ancient Wisdom.  Everybody and his sister seems to think they’ve discovered the kickass cure for contemporary society in the texts and teachings of long, long ago.  It’s only natural.  In troubled times, people long for a simpler life and usually go looking for it in the shifting echoes of half-forgotten time.  Whether it’s a paleo diet, aura energy, herbal remedies or smelly candles, we tend to believe that this “lost” knowledge will provide signposts on the road to enlightenment.  I’m not saying it will or it won’t – honestly, I don’t know – however, we do need to remember a couple of things.  First of all, by definition, ancient wisdom comes from a time of superstition and ignorance when germs were God’s punishment, life expectancy was 35 and you could die from a broken finger.  Secondly, some of this ancient wisdom isn’t actually all that ancient.  Here are a couple of blatant examples of ancient arts that aren’t!

Tarot cards – Everybody knows that the Tarot is as old as the sands of Egypt.  It was the tool of soothsayers and astrologers who used its power to seek metaphysical guidance and, perhaps, glimpse into the future.  And today, only a select few occult scholars have the wisdom to unlock its secrets.  Nope!  The truth is, Tarot cards were developed in the early Renaissance by a bunch of northern Italian gamblers.  They used them to play games very similar to poker and gin rummy.  That went on for about three centuries until the 1780s, when a popular French magician, Jean-Baptiste Alliette (whose stage name was Etteilla) began claiming the Tarot was full of psychic energy.  On the verge of revolution, the Parisian upper classes were eager to grasp at spiritual straws, and the Tarot cards looked like a good one.  Meanwhile, at the other end of the Rue de Fake News, a semi-intellectual, Antoine Court, wrote a history (without documentation, BTW) which traced the Tarot back to the pre-pyramid Nile.  Since everyone already knew that anyway, it became (and still is) the accepted history of the Tarot.  In fact, Tarot cards are actually younger than the ordinary “according to Hoyle” playing cards we use every day!

Wicca – For millions of its followers and most of the rest of us, Wicca comes from a time before history when Mother Nature spoke to her children from the rivers, mountains and meadows of the natural world.  It is a religion of the Goddess whose power comes from the living Earth.  A spirituality of standing stones, sacred trees and healing crystals that was suppressed for centuries by the Christian church and the woeful myopia of modern science.  Guess again!  Actually, Wicca (and all its various offshoots) was invented by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant, sometime in the late 1940s.  It’s basically a one-size-fits-all cauldron full of folklore, legend, superficial history and amateur anthropology — all stirred together with Aleister Crowley magic, make-believe rites and rituals, a Druid or two and nudity.  When Gardner went public with his mystic concoction in 1954, the Cold War was chilly enough to attract a good number of devotees, but, when the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile crisis put the world into a deep freeze, people all over the West started seriously looking for a reasonable alternative to nuclear holocaust.  During the late 60s and 70s, Wicca became the “religion de jour” to a host of bored students, disenchanted activists and aging hippies — each with their own interpretations, teachings and texts.  These days, the many faces of Wicca are everywhere from occult bookstores to suburban diets — colleges teach its practices and rock stars wear its symbols.  However, the painful truth is … Wicca is about the same age as Oprah Winfrey.

Stuff We Need — RIGHT NOW!


Despite the current mess (and everybody squawking about it) we live in the most benevolent society in history.  We have more literacy, less poverty, better health care, better education, better nutrition and easier access to information than at any time since Lucy and her girlfriends decided to take a stroll in Ethiopia, some 3 million years ago.  Unfortunately, we’re not that good at using these benefits to our best advantage – yet.  For example, we wasted tons of money and years of research on Viagra when a little marijuana and some decent porn would have done the trick.  Personally, I think our endless cycle of herbal shampoos, sugar water beverages and bum warmer automobiles has got to stop, and we need to concentrate on things that will really benefit our world.  So, in that vein, here is just some of the stuff we need – RIGHT NOW!

An electronic collar that zaps you if you’ve forgotten something at the grocery store.

A mute button for vegans.  Once a vegan has publically declared their veganness (veganosity?) eight times, they must wear a mute button for the comfort and convenience of the rest of us.

A sexier name for the Covid masks we’re all going to wear.  Might I suggest Cloak of Responsibility?

A universal restraining order against stupid celebrities.  Any celebrity who makes three (3) stupid comments in a calendar month is forbidden from coming within 100 metres of a microphone.

AutoCorrect that knows the difference between “your” and “you’re” and “there,” their” and “they’re” — so I don’t look like a moron when I’m not paying attention.

A written test before anyone is allowed to vote.  Even multiple choice (guess?) would be better than nothing.

Transparent toasters.  So we can at least see what that maniac machine is doing to our bread!

All statues turned into holograms so they can simply be switched off and changed when public perception turns against them.  Unfortunately, pigeons would be denied a place to – uh – sit, but too bad, pigeon lovers — we can’t please everybody!

Skip the Dumbass.  Like Skip the Dishes, but instead of food, this online service will deliver an intelligent person to your doorstep for an enjoyable conversation without a political or social agenda.

Laundry hampers that automatically wash clothes, dryers that fold them and a robot something that puts them away.

A Nobel Prize for Buffoonery.

A junk food that tastes super good but has negative calories so when you binge-eat a bowl of it while you’re binge-watching Netflix, you actually lose weight.

Voice-activated Smart Microwaves (with a cute female name) that remember how you like your frozen stuff nuked.
“Madison, beef and bean burrito.”
“According to your burrito history, you prefer two minutes on High.  Is that correct?”
(You just read that in a computer voice, didn’t you?)

Compulsory therapy for old men who insist on riding those extra noisy-ass motorcycles.

Something (I don’t know what) that gets the last bit of peanut butter out of the bottom of the jar.

And finally:

A secret society where the members memorize history to preserve it until those “culture cancellers” get over themselves — kinda like what the people in Fahrenheit 451 did for books and literature.


The World Keeps Turning – II

hold my beer

Here in isolation, we’re all finding creative ways to cope with social distancing.  I’ve started talking to the telemarketers.  Charlie from One World TechCom is nice; he just had a baby.  So, the world keeps turning.  Here are just a few things that happened this week.

A couple of days ago, supply outstripped demand and the price of crude oil fell below zero.  Let me give that to you again – BELOW ZERO.  In other words, oil companies were paying people to cart the stuff away.  One wonders how the international markets handled this.  After all, oil has been the price of doing business on this planet since the Saudis first held us hostage back in 1973.  (Shoe’s on the other foot now, huh, Salman?)  I can’t wait until Samsung starts giving away a free barrel of oil with every purchase of a big screen TV.

Travellers in Canada are now required to wear masks in airports and on all flights – foreign and domestic.  Hold it!  I can’t go across the street to get my hair cut because it’s a non-essential journey, and somebody is jetting off to somewhere because … Why?  Where could they possibly be going?  For God sake, the entire planet’s closed — except the factories in Wuhan, China.  And, trust me, you can get any of the junk they’re manufacturing delivered from Amazon.

And speaking of China, Missouri is suing China because they allege the Chinese government willfully “lied to the world and silenced whistleblowers” about Covid-19.  Good luck with that!  Folks!  You’re suing a country that has a couple of million Muslims in re-education camps, has armed troops all over Tibet, kicks the crap out of Hong Kong protesters every weekend, threw a Nobel Prize winner in jail and regularly conducts organ transplants where the Falun Gong donors are not notified.  I doubt very much if a subpoena from the Show Me state is going to carry any weight.

And finally:

Chutzpah has a new World Champion.  Apparently, Sir Richard Branson, the Grand Poobah of Virgin Everything, is in financial difficulties.  His various airlines are going broke.  In fact, it’s gotten so bad that Branson has offered his private Caribbean island, Necker, as collateral for a $500 million UK government loan.  This is a dire situation.  However, let’s review the facts.  Forbes estimates Sir Richard’s net worth is somewhere north of 5 billion dollars.  He doesn’t pay any tax on it cuz he lives in the Virgin Islands where he moved a couple of years after he was convicted of tax evasion.  He owns everything with a Virgin label on it and has enough money to build a spaceship (LauncherOne.)  That’s right!  A spaceship!  However, he figures that to keep all this going, he needs UK taxpayers to pony up some big bucks.  Hey, Dick!  Here’s an idea: use some of your own money and bail yourself out — that’s what the rest of us are doing.