Nameless Way 14

Look, and it can’t be seen. Listen, and it can’t be heard. Reach, and it can’t be grasped.Gab_Xena_Eve_baby

Above, it isn’t bright.  Below, it isn’t dark. Seamless, unnamable, it returns to the realm of nothing. Form that includes all forms, image without an image, subtle, beyond all conception. 

Approach it and there is no beginning; follow it and there is no end. You can’t know it, but you can be it, at ease in your own life. Just realize where you come from: this is the essence of wisdom.

Gabhopper said, “Your baby is the newest thing in the world, yet she bears the name of the oldest woman, ‘Eve.’ I like that, old and new, all in one.”

Xena replied, “My child was given a name because there was a time when she was not, and then a time when she was. But there was never a time when my path was not, so it cannot be given a name.

“Yet you call it the ‘Nameless Way’. Is that not a name, Xena?”

“Things have names, but truly, the trail I follow which leads from confusion to clarity is a lane of emptiness that permits me to travel on it. Because it is not a thing, it cannot receive a name. Try to give it one, and the name tag falls right off.”

“You call it a lane? Does that mean your path is long?”

“No Gabhopper, it has no discernible shape at all. It is like a statue buried under centuries of dust. If you brush the dust off to try to make out the face, you only succeed in totally obscuring everything with a room full of dust. Thus it is with words as I try to teach you about my way.”

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Milestones in Xena and Gabrielle’s Childhood

Milestones in Xena and Gabrielle’s Childhood

Age 5OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

GAB: First time crossing the street without holding mom’s hand

XENA: First time extending the buffer zone around Amphipolis without holding mom’s hand

Age 8

GAB: First mastery of jump rope

XENA: First mastery of horse whip

Age 10

GAB: First time playing “Doctor”

XENA: First time making a hole in a boy’s neck with a hollow reed playing “Doctor”

Age 12

GAB: First training bra

XENA: First training breastplate

Age 14

GAB: First ear piercing

XENA: First ear piercing (it was a bully’s ear, with Xena’s dagger)

 

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Joseph

Meanwhile the Ishmaelites sold Joseph to Potiphar, the captain of the guard in the house of Pharaoh. Eventually Joseph became the chief servant in the house of his Egyptian lord, responsible over the whole household and everything in it…except the Lady of the house.potiphars-wife-joseph

Joseph was a good looking man. The lord’s wife repeatedly tried to get him to bed down with her, but Joseph respectfully declined, refusing to betray his earthly lord and show contempt for Yahweh. One time she grabbed a hold of his second coat and begged him to sleep with her, but he abandoned the coat in her hands and fled naked outside. She screamed to the other servants, “He entered the room to rape me! But when I screamed he ran outside and left his coat in my hands.”

And she repeated the story to the lord of the house when he returned, showing the coat as evidence. Joseph was unjustly thrown into prison, to embark on a new chapter in his life. Step by step he approached the time when his earliest prescient dreams would come true, and his brothers would bow before him.

One time Pharaoh’s butler and baker pissed him off, so he threw him into the dungeon with Joseph, which was very sad, but one night they both dreamed strange dreams and there was no one to interpret them, which made them sad enough for even poor Joseph to notice. He started talking to them and discovered the problem. Master of dreams, Joseph fancied himself, though the real power to interpret them belonged to God alone. Joseph served only as a channel of God’s oneiromancy, so they related their dreams to him to see what Joseph would say.

The butler dreamed of a vine with three branches which budded, and blossomed, and brought forth grapes. He crushed the grapes into Pharaoh’s cup, and gave the cup to Pharaoh’s hand. Joseph said the dream meant that in three days Pharaoh would restore the butler to his old job, and all would be forgotten.

The baker’s dream was that he had three baskets on his head, full of pastries. And birds came and ate out of the topmost basket. Joseph said the dream meant in three days Pharaoh would hang the butler by his neck until dead, and birds would come and eat from his flesh.

And everything came true just as Joseph said. In three days, the baker was executed, and the butler was restored to his former office. And the butler forgot all about Joseph for two years.

At the end of that two years, Pharaoh was troubled by two dreams that he himself had. In the first one, seven skinny cows came up out of the Nile and ate seven fat happy cows that were feeding in a meadow. In the second dream, seven dessicated, sickly ears of corn devoured seven full, ripe ears of corn. And none of the wise men and magicians in Egypt could figure out what the dream meant.

Then the butler remembered Joseph, and told Pharaoh there was a Hebrew in the dungeon who interprets dreams, and he seemed to be pretty good at it. So he sent for Joseph, who was shaved and cleaned up and fitted with new clothing, and when he came before Pharaoh, he listened to the sovereign relate his dream.

“The seven fat cows and seven full ears are seven years of plenty in Egypt,” Joseph said. “They will be followed by seven years of famine so severe that the first seven years will be forgotten. So important is this dream, that God sent essentially the same dream twice. So what you need to do, O Pharaoh, is set a minister over the harvest, to set aside a portion of the corn in the fat years, and store it against the seven years of lean times which are to come.”

Pharaoh was so impressed he made Joseph that minister, and renamed him Zaphnath-paaneah, and gave him the daughter of Poti-pherah priest of On, Asenath. And Asenath bore unto Joseph two half-Egyptian sons, Ephraim and Manessah. Life was good for Lucky Joe. He was accorded great honors, given a chariot, and assigned a stature second only to that of Pharaoh himself.

During the next seven years, Joseph served as the minister of Pharaoh, gathering a portion of the harvest, storing it up in the cities, and so great was the harvest that he lost count of all the corn. Then the seven years of plenty were ended, and famine struck all over the known world, but in Egypt people still had corn bread because they drew down Joseph’s stores. And word of this spread throughout the world, and supplicants came from all over, seeking to buy corn from Egypt. The alternative was to starve.

In seven years the famine would be over in Egypt but it would continue in Canaan for a long time. And this would, in due course, result in the mass emigration of the entire House of Israel to Egypt. Fortunately for Jacob, he had a friend in the court of Pharaoh, yet he knew it not.

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Puppy Linux

My love affair with Puppy Linux goes all the way back to version 1.04  released in 2005.  Now it’s up to version 5.7.1   Puppy is a lightweight distro developed independently by Barry Kauler from Australia, with help from a lively community of fans.  It’s just packed with goodies yet small enough to run on an old Windows 98 computer with only 128 Puppy525megabytes of RAM.   You don’t actually install Puppy, you simply put the CD in your tray and boot.   The only thing it will do to your existing setup is leave a persistent save file on your hard drive (or a stick, if you choose), with a size you pick, to store all your settings and bookmarks and the files you download or create.  So no matter what you have, Ubuntu, Windows, whatever, you also have Puppy.

There are other Linux distros that run from a Live CD, like Knoppix, but you can’t pull the CD out of the tray because the ‘stro needs to access the disk every time you launch something. But  Puppy runs entirely in RAM, which means as soon as it boots you can pop the CD out of your tray and put a music CD in, or a DVD, and you can start watching movies immediately because the libdvdcss codec is already included.   And it also means you can use Puppy to resize the partitions on your hard drive, maybe shrink your Windows partition to make room for a Linux one.  Often I will squeeze an XP partition by 4 gigabytes to make room for MS-DOS and Windows 3.1.  And because Puppy does run entirely from RAM it’s snappy as all get out.  You’ll grow spoiled by how fast applications start.

Puppy Linux allows you to take your existing setup, which is all the applications on the original boot CD plus the ones you’ve installed to your save file, and remaster a new boot CD that includes all the stuff in your save file.  So you end up with your very own flavor of Puppy.  I call mine Hacky Linux, and after repeated remasters  with hundreds of applications ported over from Debian it’s too big to fit on a CD now. I need to boot it from a mini-DVD and it only works on computers with 2 GB of RAM.  But it includes Wine and Open Office, and it’s more capable than the full-on distros that come on DVDs in the Linux magazines.

 

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Raziel

When the army truck driven by Erel Raziel topped a pass high on a terminal moraine hy saw a sheer wall of slowly retreating ice across a wide zone of freshly uncovered land still being carved by melt.the_Wall

Thirty ji tall, the blue-white ice barrier stretched left and right to sink over the horizon. This was the edge of the awesome Northern Ice that covered almost half their world. Behind Raziel’s truck lay a mere twenty-five hundred ji of unfrozen land and then the wall of the Southern Ice. It was slowly melting over the centuries, but there still remained three vast bridges of ice, dividing Gorpai into three separate lands.

The four-lane concrete ribbon wound down the other side of the pass and straightened out, a low elevated highway that disregarded the shifting waters under as it made beeline for the base of the wall.

Raziel’s passenger, Beleth, was hyz older sister and only surviving wife. Once hy had four wives, two of them hyz sisters, befitting hyz rank in the middle eschelon of the Army of Belial. But as was so often the case in a harem situation, jealousies erupted, one wife was murdered by another, and Raziel hymself strangled the guilty wife to death, more out of wrath that sha had brought hyz career to an abrupt halt than to avenge hyz dead younger sister.  A third wife died after an extended illness.  Sha had been the sister of hyz opponent in the second ritual killing of the Cupel system mandated by the Law of Belial. Now, with only one yin to wager, advancement to flag rank was out of the question. Raziel was damaged goods and even hyz promotion to hashmal was long overdue.

Raziel had been diverted from combat to a more sedate role in logistics, and in the supply world, after the self-reinforcing bravado of battle command fell away, a healthy fear of death returned to him.  Raziel drove closer to the blue and white wall until it grew to half their world. They could see the cliff was literally vertical, and even a little more than vertical.  If one of those overhangs decide to sheer off right now, hy pointed out needlessly, we’re dead. A high ridge of ice and snow on both sides of the road attested to the constant clearing that was needed.

Experimentalism, Beleth said, without any sign of worry about the ice, contrary to popular belief, can, if implemented properly, allow one of the freest possible societies.

The dangerous period was short. Soon the highway entered a tunnel melted into the very base of the ice. The pale blue translucent walls grew darker until they were black. They were safe, but to Beleth the tunnel was a kind of death anyway. The shrinking glow behind har could well be har last sight of Gorpai. From now until they departed the planet sha would know only caverns.

Raziel sighed. Push for Experimentalism and you rank up there with King Haniel, who rallied hyz city under the banner of Talishi and killed thousands of hyz own people.

I rather think it was your own Army of Belial did the killing.

Suicide by Belial. You have to be pretty stupid and gullible and naive to think Experimentalism can work.

Why can’t everyone determine what is good for the public in Experimentalism? Beleth suggested. You can have Democratic Experimentalism. What do we have now? Traditionalism. One person can determine what is good for many, but the many cannot determine what is good for themselves?

Beleth, there is a fatal flaw at the heart of democracy. People are naturally lazy. They want free stuff. In a pure democracy, everyone will simply vote themselves sustenance from the Commons and no one will contribute. The whole structure will come crashing down. This has happened many times before, which is why only Traditionalism has survived.

Construction in ice was simple; it needed only a source of heat and a flexible conduit to whisk the melted water away. Deep within the ice the road twisted this way and that, finally dumping out in a multilevel city of burrows, bristling with security.

Look up tunnel 610 on the map, this isn’t familiar to me.

It’s coming up on the left. Ugh, I’m carsick now. I never could read and ride.

I was thrown off by that sign for 910.

This map has a blurb at the bottom that says, ‘with apologies to Zelebsel.’ Who’s Zelebsel?

Probably some poor yang who trusted an earlier edition of the map.

Tunnel 610 was interrupted by a series of several checkpoints and it was only Raziel’s credentials as a supply officer that got him through the gates with a long skinny gray box of ordnance strapped down on hyz flatbed trailer.  Hyz manifest was not in order. It would not do to allow even a quick glance inside the box.

The road dead-ended in a large illuminated cave that was the lay-down area for supplies coming in and going out of the facility.   Hy was expected. The box was quickly forked off the truck and disappeared inside the bowels of the facility.

Raziel and Beleth themselves were taken to a well-lit conference room deep within a maze of passageways carved into the ice. They were given warmer clothes to wear, because the chill was eternal and omnipresent. Space heaters would only melt the walls.

Presently they were joined by three yang and a yin, and Raziel was mildly surprised when the yin began speaking rather than one of the males. Sha said, My name is Tabaet. These yeng are members of my team. They are Malkiel, Senciner, and Xaphon.

Your team? Raziel gasped. They answer to you? And Belial permits this?

Sha smiled. Belial permits much, because we do many things for Belial that hy could not have otherwise. The…equipment…you have delivered for us was designed and assembled right here.

Raziel took har awkward speech as a signal that someone might be listening to what was said in the room. And that presented a problem. It would be difficult conveying what had to be said while dancing around the actual words.  Hy nodded hyz head to indicate hy understood the situation.

Tabaet said, I would extend a full welcome to you, but this is a classified project, and the yin is uncleared.

I will not send my wife away, Raziel insisted. Where I go, sha goes. You will have to get har a clearance. sha must be…fully involved…in the project.

That is impossible, Malkiel said. You must be content to train one of us to operate the …equipment. The project is of such a nature that only four people can be…fully involved.

It was a condition of bringing the…equipment…that I remain the sole operator. If you do not accept that condition, then you’ll have to content yourself with an inert mass.

Time grows short, Senciner objected. With any delay the risk grows.

Raziel smiled. It is the unique nature of this…equipment…that any reasonable delay is irrelevant.

Tabaet sighed and came to a decision. Very well. We have a simulator. Xaphon will instruct you in hyz role, and Malkiel will instruct your wife. I will retain Senciner on the team. When you are both fully involved in the project, there will be opportunity to discuss this further.

The yeng exploded simultaneously with loud objections but a glance from Tabaet quickly silenced them, and to Raziel that was an impressive thing to witness. Beleth concealed a smile behind har hand.

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Tamar

The story of Tamar is one of those overlooked corners of the bible…because it is a storysensual female eyes, Arabic style about a very strong woman. Essentially, Tamar was a proto-Ruth, but more edgy. She was a Canaanite woman who nonetheless became an ancestor of Jesus Christ and the mother of an heir of the Blessing.

Tamar was married to Er, the firstborn son of Judah, who was the fourth-born son of Jacob. But Er pissed off the Lord somehow, and God had him whacked. Then by Hebrew law, the second son Onan was required to marry her, which he did. But he wasn’t pleased with the thought of just being a stud for Tamar, so at the height of his passion he withdrew from her and let his seed spill on the ground. Somehow this part of the story has been mangled to the point where “Onanism” is a word meaning masturbation, but it was really coitus interuptus instead.

The Lord didn’t like that either, so he in turn whacked Onan. Judah told Tamar to hang out for a few years until his third son, Shelah, was old enough to give it another go. But when the time came, Judah balked, probably because he thought Tamar was really jinxed.

But Tamar was not to be denied. She dressed like a whore and seduced Judah himself, for the price of one sheep. He didn’t exactly have the sheep with him at the time, so he gave her his bracelet and signet ring and staff as collateral until he could go get the animal. Then they went to it. Judah did not know he was making love to his own daughter-in-law.

Later when he tried to send the sheep to her, she could not be found. Tamar had removed her hooker clothing and put on the clothing of a grieving widow.

Nine months later she had twin boys, Peretz and Zerah. But a report made its way back to Judah that Tamar had played the harlot, and even conceived a child through her prostitution. Judah said bring her out to be burned alive. Tamar, in her own defense, said the father of her children left only these tokens on the bedstand: A bracelet, a signet ring, and a staff.

Judah cleared his throat, hemmed and hawed, and quietly acknowledged her sons as her own. And Peretz was numbered in the line of Messiah.

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Jerry’s Case

Naturally we were disappointed when Robyn reported having a dream, Dr. Amanda Trochmann said, resuming her slide show. But the benefits of this drug as a general Jerry-muganesthetic were initially judged by us to outweigh that possible side effect. After observing the girl for two days we did a complete physical on her again, with no changes noted, and I mention that because those two physicals will be important later in my brief.

Maybe the girl lied about the dream, Roland suggested.

We thought about that, of course and prepared a second volunteer. But as it turned out, it doesn’t matter if she was lying about the subjective side effects of the drug, because there are objective side effects. We paid Robyn the five hundred dollars we promised and sent her home.

Then why is she here at Hanford?’

A week after the drug trial she sought us out because she was scared. But I’m getting ahead of myself, Doctor. Let’s back up to the day Robyn was discharged. For phase one we had a ready pool of five candidates, and two of them were male. We wanted to try a male because there could be a gender differential in the response to the drug. We chose Jerry Aspin, who is serving a jail term for killing Oboe Man for his spare change.

Roland was astonished. You wanted to flush out Robyn’s lies by using a convicted criminal?

I chose Jerry Aspin, Director Roland, because I realized we might have to abort the trial after two or three tests and he was the most anxious to continue. Jerry has every incentive to be truthful. He’s on year eight of a fifteen year prison sentence. He was qualified for parole after seven years, but the first parole board shot him down because he had no extracurricular activities on the books. Volunteering for a drug trial can help prod the probation board to turn him loose. We called him in.

So what happened?

Just like with Robyn, he says he floated through a dark tunnel toward a bright light, but this time he was in warm water, and when Jerry floated to the top and climbed out of the water, he was given some towels and a robe by what he says were some warrior women, and dried himself off on a dark wooden deck in a grove of trees under a glowing white sky. Jerry says he met Jesus, who was playing the role of his parole officer, but things didn’t go so well and after a time Jerry re-entered the pool under his own will and swam back here to his hospital bed.

Crazy dream. That’s some powerful stuff you whipped up, Dr. Trochmann.

Well, after the second test, the clinical trial of this drug as an anesthetic was officially called off. No one is going to sign up for a guaranteed Near Death Experience when all they want to do is sleep straight through an operation. Note that it gives you a dream of whatever you want the most. Robyn missed her father. Jerry missed female companionship and wanted to pass the parole board examination.

Dr. Trochmann, I’m sorry your research failed and your company wasted money. But what does any of that have to do with the CDC?

Directly, Dr. Roland. Directly. It would have been better if we had just closed up shop. But Pharmadyne management came up with a way to attempt to salvage our substantial monetary investment into the research of this substance. The team remained largely unchanged, but now we were to investigate the possibility of using the drug as a form of psychological therapy, maybe cure schizophrenia by inducing a controlled NDE. So yes, it was greed that got us in a jam and led to calling for a Federal response.

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