The remora

Empire State Building
Empire State Building (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My step-father was a small farmer. He worked with his hands all of his life. He worked with mules, horses, and later tractors.

Otto was primarily a wheat farmer. He took pride in his farming. Straight rows, sowing at the right time, cultivating, knowing when to harvest. There was a German Lutheran toughness to him and a real pride in growing crops and beasts to feed the people.

It was a real shock to him when he made his first trip to the US east coast. He went up to the top of the Empire State Building and looked out over the city. He noticed barges in the Hudson River that were dumping their loads into the river. He asked what they were dumping. He was told they were dumping excess wheat and also milk. He could not believe it.

“Why would they do that?” he asked.

For the futures market he was told. Too much wheat brings the prices down now and in the future.

When he came back to the farm he was changed. Those barges had stolen his life’s purpose.

At about the same time Camus was writing his Notebooks 1951 – 1959. He writes (35) :

According to Melville, the remora, a fish of the South Seas, swims poorly. That is why their only chance to move forward consists of attaching themselves to the back of a big fish. They then plunge a kind of tube into the stomach of a shark, where they suck up their nourishment, and propagate without doing anything, living off the hunting and efforts of the beast.

The remora reminds me of the market speculators. They do not produce any wheat or corn – they merely bet on its price in the future. And they don’t manufacture anything to use for anything – they specialize in gambling.

Oh, yeah, and Otto paid his fair share of taxes.

Dreams, spirits, sex

 

Emanuel Swedenborg’s Journal of dreams and spiritual experiences in the year seventeen hundred and forty-four,
by Emanuel Swedenborg, translated by C.Th. Odhner; 1918; Pennsylvania.

Lesser known among the many works of the eighteenth-century Swedish scientist, philosopher, religious teacher and visionary Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) is his private Drömbok (variously translated into English as Journal of Dreams or Dream Diary). Attracting less attention than his other journals, from later years, this “octavo pocket book, (6.5 by 4 inches),
bound in parchment and containing 104 written pages” was lost for many years, only found in 1849 in the library of an apparent “enemy” of Swedenborg’s, R. Scheringson, professor and lector in the city of Westeras. Its contents cover a period from July 1743 until October 1744, a time of crisis for Swedenborg, transitioning as he was from life as a scientist and mining engineer to one as a “revelator” and seer. It begins as a simple travel diary, describing his leaving Sweden, crossing the Baltic to Stralsund and then journeying through Hamburg and Bremen to the Netherlands. After some undated fragments it resumes at the end of March 1744. A week or so later during Easter weekend, in what is probably the most significant part of the Journal, Swedenborg describes in detail a vision of Christ he had while staying in Delft. Among the heavenly visions come other scenes both mundane and fantastical: a cast of various dogs, Kings, an executioner with his heads, dragons, a talking ox, and an abstract apparition of an oblong globe. There are also many women and, somewhat controversially, several dreams that are erotic in content.

More here.

Evolution

Surely 700 scientists named Steve can’t be wrong

The National Centre for Science Education in the U.S. has recently announced that there are now 700 scientists named [Steve Jones] who have publicly agreed: Evolution is a vital, well-supported, unifying principle of the biological sciences, and the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of the idea that all living things share a common ancestry.

Full Text

(Copyright The Daily News (Nanaimo) 2006)

Some things never change

Council can rein in city spending and have fun

Lane, Bob. Nanaimo Daily News [Nanaimo, B.C]13 Dec 2013: A.6.
 [2010, 2013. and 2018]

On cats

Cats should be governed the same way as dogs: