Further and More Observations and Thinkings, Guests Julie Ragland and Kate Schneck, Atwood Quote Examined, Dangerous Jobs, Malidoma Patrice Some’

Welcome to this week’s “zine.”

by Mark M

From Further and More Observations and Thinkings (2005):


The Master is having a problem.


Crucified for thinking silver thoughts in a golden world.

Oh, Come On, All Ye Faithful.

The sun burns saint and sinner alike.

Where religions agree, there is truth? All the major religions have a form of the Golden Rule (“Do unto others…”).

Sacrifice sacrifice.

Balti more or less.

When time does not fly, it marches on.

There may not be love at first sight, but there is certainly lust or infatuation at first sight.

…and then they lived ever after. Amen.

overblown underblown blown

My fudge factor has nuts.

White House of cards

The Bushes:

George and Georger

double-standard bearers

Kindness is not difficult for happy people.

Mark M’s Razor:

“Of two competing theories, the more astonishing one is to be preferred.”

(As I’ve written in the past, William of Occam was wrong, things just aren’t that simple.)

The Creation: God’s ineffable experience. If we humans can have an ineffable experience, why not God?

I say decadence is not necessarily the Dead Kennedys or John Waters, it’s Muzak, prime-time teevee, and People magazine, dig?


Uncle Spam, Alexander the Big, Pauline Bunyan (axtress), Dad D, She-man, other brother, A. Lincoln, B. Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, Lick Jagga, Amerikan homo-ners, a man who scaled the seas, Jesse Hems, Roller Debbie, JeZeus Christ, Pastor Preech, the Bad Lord, the Democraps, the Repubicans, Mark Twang, the Sculpture of Liberties, the gods of the gods all in Geronimo’s Pontiac, going down to the magic-wand factory, on a 2’s day, to drink at the Fountain of Use with charity blossoms…

I child you not.

Have a cup of Joseph.

She had a blast; I had a ball.

He gave it the community college try.

The zoo animals were religiously fed a scientific diet.

He died from being overjoyed.

Worry — daymare

Pessimism is counting your defeats before they happen.

Intuition is unreliable, not a surprise. It’s about as reliable as pure reason without enough data.

It’s Superperson!!(!)!

Totally bonkers.

Partially bonkers.

Not at all bonkers.

How did the outcome come out?

He and she moved in the same circles. They were quite lost.

Absence makes the heart go find her.

If familiarity doesn’t actually happen to breed contempt, often it merely breeds taking someone/something for granted.

Cars — oil-burning coaches.

Burn fat not oil.

Get a bike!



About the Author

The author rides his bike so much some people are actually surprised to learn he actually does own an oil-burning coach.


Julie Ragland

and Kate Schneck

were/are good friends of one another who I met at the long-defunct Centre City cafe (located where Olde Madrid in downtown Racine is now) in 1994 when they were 16. I included their art and poetry in more than one THTICT back then as well as the work of other teens who frequented the place.

Julie moved to Arizona with her family around 1995, and I stumbled upon her name about 10 years ago either in a mailing or on the website of the Center for Biological Diversity, the only environmental group that I know of that also concerns itself with human overpopulation. We reestablished intermittent contact, and, with Kate, who still lives in Racine, that must have happened via Facebook suggesting friends.

Julie’s career now has her as one half of Ragland and Wilhite, a consulting firm concerned with Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access (IDEA).

And Kate writes: “I ended up getting a B.A. in Applied Linguistics, an M.A. in Second Language Acquisition and with that I teach college English as a Second Language to students who have immigrated here from all over the world. I also DJ and I recently started writing songs and producing music. I plan to incorporate other languages into my music.” Hear Kate’s music here.

Below are some examples of theirs of what I included in THTICT. For a slightly enlarged view of same go here.


“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

Margaret Atwood

There is a sexist notion that women are more prone to hysteria than men. Indeed the etymology of “hysteria” is thus:

From New Latin hysteria, from hysteric, from Latin hystericus, from Ancient Greek ὑστερικός (hysterikos, “suffering in the uterus, hysterical”), from ὑστέρα (hustera, “womb”). Compare French hystérie.

From the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

Dear Margaret’s quote actually inadvertently supports that sexist notion, for one of the fears described in the quote is far more likely to be realized than the other.

For instance, I’ve seen some marriages where one can readily observe that one of the fears is realized numerous times per day.

Actually, further asking men and women how likely they think their fears might come to pass would, I would think, bring things into proper perspective instead of simply putting each fear “side-by-side” like that in her quote. Just sayin’.

To be clear, this is not to deny that some men kill women. Also, some men kill men. Even some women kill.

Speaking of fears, police people shouldn’t be as afraid as people who are employed in 24 other lines of work. This list is a ranking of fatalities on the job by occupation:

  1. Logging workers
  2. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
  3. Roofers
  4. Construction helpers
  5. Crossing guards
  6. Garbage collectors
  7. Farming supervisors
  8. Delivery drivers
  9. Ironworkers
  10. Farmers
  11. Cement masons
  12. Agricultural workers
  13. Construction supervisors
  14. Highway maintenance workers
  15. Grounds maintenance workers
  16. Mining machine operators
  17. Supervisors of mechanics
  18. Power lineworkers
  19. Construction workers
  20. Construction equipment operators
  21. Maintenance workers
  22. Heavy vehicle mechanics
  23. Crane operators
  24. Landscaping supervisors
  25. Police officers

OK, a police person should at least be vitally concerned when a person actually has a gun, but what’s with shooting to bits a fleeing (fight or flight, it’s quite primal) person of color?

Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy, wrote how he was merely listening to his car radio, parked in front of his residence, when someone had called the cops on him. He found himself trying to calm them (“It’s OK… It’s OK…”) and just barely managing to fight off the almost overwhelming desire to run.

Nearly 1 in 3 people killed by U.S. police since 2015 were trying to flee.


I learned of the late Malidoma Patrice Some’ from Jeanne Denney who I interviewed not too long ago. Jeanne met him about three times and studied with his students, and my brother, Dave, met him when he spoke in Minneapolis at the Continuum Center.

At age four, Malidoma Patrice Some’ was taken from his village in Burkina Faso to a Jesuit boarding school where he was taught in the ways of the West, very like any U.S. or European child, except retaining any village learning from his young life was very strongly discouraged. In time, he forgot most all of it. Further, Somé wrote that he endured sixteen years of physical and emotional abuse by the priests.

At age 20, he fled and made his way back the very long distance to his home village (I think this was around 100 miles if my memory serves), but he did not fit in well at all in the village, having been so “Westernized.”

Eventually, he was initiated, his fellow initiates being younger, and fit in better and thereby gained “powers” we in the West are taught not to believe in, but an elder suggested he leave the village and become instead something of an ambassador of them to the West.

I find his story fascinating…

How Malidoma Patrice Some’ Took Exams

p.5ff, Introduction: Of Water and the Spirit by Malidoma Patrice Some’

“I spent four years in that center for higher education, which later became the national university. I walked away from it with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, literature, and linguistics, and a master’s thesis in world literature. I still did not know why I had been there. The system did not care whether, you really learned anything or not. It was based upon the regurgitation of memorized material fed to one by professors who read from their notes in bored, sleepy, and sometimes even drunken voices. Most of what they said was incomprehensible. Our only reason for being there was our need to transcend the alarming social and economic situation in which most of us were caught. We did not need to be told that a proper Western education was the key to good Western jobs and a decent life.

“For most people, top performance in that school meant hard work. As an initiated man, I did not have to work hard to get my degrees. I skipped a great deal of the classes, made sure that I was present at the exams, and walked away with my diplomas. The answers to the exam questions were mostly visible in the auras of the teachers who constantly patrolled the aisles of the testing rooms. I just had to write these answers down quickly before any one of them noticed how strangely I was looking at him/her.

“During my second year in college, the teachers began to notice me. It was harder and harder for me to cut classes. When I was picked by the professor to reply to a question, I continued to instinctively seek the answer in his aura, as I did during exams. To me it was like being asked to read out of an open book. This method worked so well that one day one of my teachers looked at me suspiciously and asked, ‘Have you been reading my mind?’ Of course, I said no. We were in the modern world, where such things are impossible.”

Here is something “connected” from Seth/Jane Roberts whom I previously wrote about:

“(Speaking to Warren:) Now, when you learn to communicate with the gracious ease with which those primitive people communicated, then you can call yourself civilized. You [as a member of the human species] do indeed see yourself as the supreme flower of history so far, yet when you can know what is going on clearly and concisely on the other side of Elmira[, NY], and can communicate it also, then you will be as primitive and as civilized as some of those primitive people.”

—Seth/Jane Roberts, The “Unknown” Reality, Vol. 2, Appendix 23 (for Session 724)

Reaction of Malidoma Patrice Some’s Tribal Elders to Seeing a Star Trek Film

p.8ff, Introduction to Of Water and the Spirit (1994) by Malidoma Patrice Some’

‘… we … [must] permit ourselves to accept that there is more than one version of “reality.” To exist in the first place, each culture has to have its own version of what is real. What I am attempting to share with you in this book is only one of the endless versions of reality.

‘In the culture of my people, the Dagara, we have no word for the supernatural. The closest we come to this concept is Yielbongura, “the thing that knowledge can’t eat.” … In Western reality, there is a clear split between the spiritual and the material, between religious life and secular life. This concept is alien to the Dagara. For us, as for many indigenous cultures, the supernatural is part of our everyday lives. To a Dagara man or woman, the material is just the spiritual taking on form. The secular is religion in a lower key–a rest area from the tension of religious and spiritual practice….

‘The world of the Dagara also does not distinguish between reality and imagination. To us, there is a close connection between thought and reality. To imagine something, to closely focus one’s thoughts upon it, has the potential to bring that something into being…. In the realm of the sacred, this concept is taken even further, for what is magic but the ability to focus thought and energy to get results on the human plane? …

‘I decided to do a little experiment of my own with “reality” versus “imagination” when I was home visiting my village in 1986. I brought with me a little electronic generator, a television monitor, a VCR, and a “Star Trek” tape titled The Voyage Home. I wanted to know if the Dagara elders could tell the difference between fiction and reality. The events unfolding in a science fiction film, considered futuristic or fantastic in the West, were perceived by my elders as the current affairs in the day-to-day lives of some other group of people living in the world. The elders did not understand what a starship is. They did not understand what the fussy uniforms of its crew members had to do with making magic. They recognized in Spock a Kontomble of the seventh planet, the very one that I describe later in this story, and their only objection to him was that he was too tall. They had never seen a Kontomble that big. They had no problems understanding light speed and teleportation except that they could have done it more discreetly. I could not make them understand that all this was not real. Even though stories abound in my culture, we have no word for fiction. The only way I could get across to them the Western concept of fiction was to associate fiction with telling lies.

‘My elders were comfortable with “Star Trek,” the West’s vision of its own future. Because they believe in things like magical beings (Spock), traveling at the speed of light, and teleportation, the wonders that Westerners imagine being part of their future are very much a part of my elders’ present. The irony is that the West sees the indigenous world as primitive or archaic. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the West could learn to be as “archaic” as my elders are?’

Malidoma again recounted, briefly, this account in his subsequent book, The Healing Wisdom of Africa (1998):

“During one of the scenes where people were being dematerialized and moved around by the transporter machine, I asked the elders if they understood what was going on. They were rather taken aback, replying that of course they knew what was happening, but could I please explain what all the machines were for.”

Malidoma from The Healing Wisdom of Africa, Tarcher/Putman (1999):

“At the colonial school I had been told that the rituals my people performed to heal were devilish and inspired by Satan. But I discovered that there were countless illnesses that could not be healed at the local infirmary which were perfectly curable at the hands of Dagara healers. I wondered whether saving lives was indeed devilish or Satanic.”

The End.

Next week (subject to change): Observations and Thinkings, Vol. P, Guest Artist Neal Rohrer and 50-Cent Girlfriend, Musician Jean Beauvoir, Our Two(?)-Party System

Boilerplate: As part of my community project as Racine Writer in Residence, I hereby invite Racine-area people to send me prose or poems of 250 words or less for me to consider for inclusion in my posts as a “guest appearance.” So far, there have been no responses. So, former Racine Writers in Residence, I want to explicitly include you in this invitation. If you want, also send a photo and a very short “bio.” You will retain the copyright for the material you submit. Send to m.mk at att.net with “Racine WiR” in the subject line. Thank you.

Don’t hide your light under a bushel-sized basket; it is recommended that you let it shine.

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