Rick Shory

Offering a little something you might not otherwise have

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A little radioactivity

I’m going to have radioactivity in the house. Not often. But you keep track if you ever feel bad, and we’ll try to correspond it with when I had radioactivity in the house.

Sometimes late at night, I just need to give myself a radiation treatment. Burn off a wart, or something. I’m sure nobody in the house will mind these little experiments I’m doing on them. This way we’ll know for sure if radioactive dust in the house is ever a problem.

And we’ll have clear communication.

As clear as you can over something so loaded!

 After the talk on “just a little smoking, in the house”.

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Psychic vs. Knowlege

I was talking to my psychic friend, who I fictionalized as “Deva” in previous posts (here and etc.). As I’d said, from knowing her, I came to quietly see that psychic is a real thing, although of course there is also a huge amount of hype and fakery about it in the world.

This time, I was asking her what it’s like to be able to read people. She laughed and explained it took her a long time to understand that other people couldn’t.

“Well,” she said, “I look at someone, and I fall in love with them. That’s just something I do. Then, impressions start to emerge. Some things are obvious. Like, as soon as Chris walked in, I knew he was a good person. But I pick up the high points, the turning points. Like I might say to someone, ‘So, tell me about what happened with your teacher, and the peanut butter sandwich, when you were in the third grade?’ And they’ll say, ‘How did you know about that?'”.

I asked, “So, is it a matter of emptying yourself, so your own stuff doesn’t get in the way? Or knowing your own stuff so well you can compensate for it?”

“Both,” she answered. “As I stay with it, more and more images emerge about a person. Finally, it can be almost like watching a movie about them.”

It gave me a lot to think about. I am anything but empty. I am full to the brim, in learned knowledge. The maturation in my life has been curbing myself, so as not to spew it out indiscriminately. Rather, I now wait for people ask. But it’s always what I bring to the situation; learned information.

I worry that I come across as a pedant, or a know-it-all. But I have got feedback that people like it. On a hike, they can ask me if what kind of tree that is, and I can say whether it’s a limber pine or a whitebark pine, or if I can’t tell why I can’t tell, and what you would need to be able to tell.

At my best, I weave a safety net of knowledge. People feel secure. They sense that nothing bad is going to happen because — this guy knows. He knows what to watch out for. He knows what’s poisonous and what’s not. He knows how to fix things. He knows how to keep bad things from going wrong in the first place.

But now I think, what would it be like to be some other way? To just fall in love with everyone I see? And, without knowing, let myself know all about them?

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Jury selection

Three days of jury selection.

It wasn’t brutal. It wasn’t like the lawyers were grilling you. It was sitting in a room, fifty of us, gradually coalescing into a forum.

The lawyers would pose a question about something. And you’d have to think if that would be an issue for you. People would raise their hands, the judge would recognize them, and they would say their piece. That would get you thinking in another direction. And you’d have to decide whether you had anything to say. And always, in the back of your mind, whether what you said was going to make it less or more likely you’d end up on the jury.

Nobody “wanted” to be on the jury. Like the Monty Python line, “Nobody ‘expects’ the Spanish Inquisition.”  There’s never a “good” time to sit on a jury. It’s always inconvenient. It’s always an imposition. It’s always a bother. Lost pay, childcare, canceled trip, or what. It’s always a bad time for it, one way or the other.

Another thing in the back of your mind is if what somebody says is a stunt to get rejected from the jury. Sometimes it sounds like it is. And, over time, that comes to seem pretty low. Like, here we all are, all in the same boat, having to risk whatever we do to be on this jury. And you’re pulling some cheap shot, to bail.

Of course I can’t tell you anything about the legal case itself — except it was clearly going to get complicated. The judge estimated the trial would take about a week. That was when the fifty of us were first called. Jury selection alone took twice as long as expected. That raised the specter that the actual trial might be in proportion.

No, the process wasn’t grueling. But it was like starting a new job. You weren’t exhausted at the end of the day, but you felt like you’d done a good day’s work. It was time to go home, chill out, and not do a whole lot of anything else.

The judge was very sweet. She was firm, professional, but very sweet. I couldn’t help wondering if there were evaluation forms for judges, and over the years there had been a steady — something. Like water dripping on a rock. Comments, “The judge was so strict,” “The judge was too stern.” Till finally all the strictness and sternness of judges has been eroded away, and they have to be sweet.

The closest she came to being sharp was when one of the jurors got lost after a break, went to the wrong room, and sat there about an hour, holding everybody else up. She dispatched clerks, sweetly but firmly, to the jury assembly room, where our lost juror had gone, to find out why they hadn’t caught the mistake. And she impressed on us, trying not to make it personal, the importance of being where you’re supposed to be.

It took us awhile to get it that, even though we couldn’t talk about the trial, we could talk to each other. We formed the natural human connections that always happen. You come to know about other people, from hearing what they say. Sometimes it’s common interests. Sometimes it’s things you glance at, scribbled in their notebooks. Sometimes, it’s that he or she is just kind of pretty. So you strike up a conversation. And there ends up being plenty of time for conversation, waiting for whatever the legals are doing, off in the other courtroom.

So, what determines the final jury cut? It was all over so quick. After waiting in one of the other courtrooms for over an hour, they called us in, read the names, and that was that. The jury was seated, and the trial began.

During the preceding days, some people had spoken a lot, and raised issues. Not many of those people were seated on the jury, but some. We had declared our hardships; kids at daycare, out-of-town conferences, software releases, first day of college classes, upcoming exams. Not many of those people were seated, but some. It seemed like a lot of the quiet ones, the individuals nobody had much noticed, were seated. I would like to think a judge who was so sweet could not be so petty, but the juror who had got lost was seated.

In the end, I was not. I left the courthouse, out through the security cordon, shifting gears back to my usual life. Relieved. Liberated. But, at the same time, a little disappointed. Of course I can’t tell you anything about the case, but that trial was bound to be interesting!

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Cure for depression?

  • Effective, though controversial, treatment for depression is electroshock.
  • Alternative natural “brain sparker”: Exercise?
  • What kind of exercise: Sufficient to have to breath harder?
  • Links with: Spiritual traditions and their breath exercises?
  • Links with: Jumping-into-cold water, which causes hyperventilation by Cold Shock Response?
  • Links with: Mammalian Diving Reflex, cold water on the face, and especially up the nose?

– For feedback on these ideas:
Do you know anyone who stays depressed, who exercises strenuously enough to breathe harder? Or has a spiritual practice of breath exercises? Or uses cold water in these ways?

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Journeys to Heaven

In the past year I have tried to get through two books, “Heaven is for Real” by Colton Burpo and “My Journey to Heaven” by Marvin J. Besteman. Both books, I got so annoyed I had to put them down.

For these Christians, everything in these heavenly sojourns that matches scripture, they take it as absolute proof that the complete Bible is literally true. Anything that doesn’t match is some new revelation.

I believe there is some kind of greater reality. I have no proof. There can be no proof. This is my one point of my faith.

Now, what that greater realm is, I don’t know. I hope this analogy isn’t too insulting, because it’s insulting to me too: Humans trying to understand the higher realm are like little children trying to get a grasp of adult life. One of my favorite quips is “People arguing about religion are like two little boys on the playground, fighting over whose dad can beat up whose dad. Only — the boys are brothers.”

The evidence (though of course not proof) that a higher realm exists is that people bring back from it information that would otherwise be hard to explain. Any denizens of the higher realm are overwhelmingly beneficent. If they were inimical, they would long since have destroyed us.

To this extent, I am in agreement with the Christians. So far so good.

But the Christians seem unable to think of spiritual beings in even the most rudimentary psychological terms. There are hints of presentation, such as “I was shown this”, or “God meant me to see that”. But these Faithful gloss over the huge point that the souls, saints and angels they meet know at least as much about us as we do about them.

Heavenly journeys entail a great deal of fulfillment of expectations. Marvin meets Saint Peter, who was always one of Marvin’s most meaningful spiritual figures. Now, how is it that Peter speaks to him in Marvin’s own language, accent, and idiom? When Christians from France go to heaven, surely Peter talks to them in perfect colloquial French. Think about how hard that is. If you were a spiritual being, and you’d mastered the voice, you could do anything. From there, any garments, body, or face would be child’s play.

When Colton went to heaven, the spiritual beings knew he was a little boy from Nebraska. If he’d gone back to his Christian family talking about a bevy of houris riding around on camels, or dear elephant-headed Ganesh, he’d not only be disbelieved, he’d have been exorcised! So the spiritual beings he met were Jesus and cetera.

Marvin sees babies in heaven. Lots of babies, from newborns on down to little nubbins of fetus. I just about put the book down at that point, permanently. His heaven would be my hell. I can see how, for the many parents who have lost an unborn child, this would be a numinous blessing. The idea that their little lost one were somehow held and loved, and its dear existence had gone on to fulfillment and grace. Me, though; that quarter of heaven was a miasmic vision of the Undead. All eternity, rubbing elbows with the likes of tadpoles — or slugs! This must be part of that new revelation. There’s no mention of “embryo” in the Bible.

But what finally got to me was the aridity of it all. The idea of a journey to the greater realm, an eyewitness account, holds such promise. And there are tantalizing hints, but buried in slag-heaps of wish fulfillment. I mean, this is eternity. You meet loved ones. What then? You hear heavenly choirs, see celestial colors. What next? After the first day, week, millennium; how could any of that be enjoyable, or even tolerable? Or do we become bliss-ninnies and don’t know how dead bored we are? If we’re “drugged” into happiness, what kind of heaven is that?

Can you ever feel productive in heaven? Can you develop new expertise? Do you ever get the fulfillment of feeling useful? Can you ever find new love?

It’s harrowing, the idea that all these good people, Christians, have a vision of paradise that goes no further than comfort. Call it what you will. Peace. Happiness. Bliss. However you slice it, they are revealed as hedonists, sybarites, only looking to their eternal pleasure. I hope I am wrong about this. It’s too awful. The churches full of only the basest souls.

The next time some of them come to my door clutching their bibles, I want to shake them by their lapels and demand, “Weren’t you ever born for anything?!?” Or is life to you so horrible you only want to get it over?

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Non sequitur

This morning the words “Catlin Gable” idly drifted through my mind. Just some syllables with an engaging cadence.

A few hours later when I checked email there was an announcement for a party coming up. I put it in my calendar, and then checked the address on the map.

There it was in the West Hills. To the northwest maybe half a mile away was something called Catlin Gabel.

It was nothing but a private school. But what’s going on here?

Maybe I had subconsciously noticed “Catlin Gabel” at some previous time. Possibly. But why would I think of it before reading an email about a place nearby? Unless I had also, subconsciously, mentally pinned the address of the party. Before reading the email? That’s a stretch.

A whimsical phrase like “Catlin Gabel” is just the kind of thing I would peripherally notice on a map. But — before looking at the map?

The Occam’s Razor idea is explaining things with the minimum number of assumptions. So, we could get away here with just one single assumption: That information can travel back through time. Huh?

This kind of thing has happened to me before. But always like this. Trivial. Random. No real consequence. But I have to admit it tickles me.

So, if I can see the future, is the key that I can only see whimsy? Well, my favorite form of humor is the non sequitur.

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Dog tricks

My niece, Rebecca, had been training her dog, Cooder. “But he’s so slow!” she ranted. “He’s getting it, but he’s so slow!”

Dan, another guy at animal rescue, chimed in. “My dog’s smart. He can sit, stay, roll over, speak, and even shake – with either paw you ask for.” Then Dan sauntered off.

“What did you think of that?” we asked Bek.

“Well,” she said, “I didn’t tell him Cooder was working on colors and numbers.”