Rites of Spring

A few years back on Facebook, I posted the image at right to The Wife’s wall.  Silly me, I was thinking I could entice the woman I love into engaging in some Rites of Spring when I posted it.

I posted it on Easter because Easter is the celebration that corresponds most closely with the Vernal Equinox, the real demarcation of the beginning of spring.  It is the original spring festival, unlike the Hallmark created holiday of Valentine’s day which is as like a real celebration of spring as porn is a representation of sex.

It is a testament to the sexual repression in the US that there isn’t even a wiki page on the subject of Rites of Spring that isn’t about music. Another testament is the fact that I can’t even say exactly when I posted the image to The Wife’s Facebook wall, because the image is consistently removed as offensive every time it is posted there.

I am sorry that the fact that spring is the time of rebirth, of fertility and sex, gets in the way of a deathcult-like obsession with afterlives and resurrection that is found within the various flavors of the christian religion when it comes to their spring celebration. That the sexual repression that Paul introduced into the church from it’s earliest days has seized hold of the majority of the religion’s followers in the US, causing them to reject all things sexual as anti-christian. Jesus was not a sexist, saw no need to place women in an inferior role in the world.

There is also a hemispherical bias here. I’ve often wondered what an Australian would think of the hubbub common in the Northern hemisphere surrounding this issue. Easter is in the fall in the Southern hemisphere; consequently the death-cultish air that bothers me about Easter probably is a nice foreshadowing of the oncoming winter when viewed from South of the equator; a preparation for the dying off of plant life, the hibernation of animal life, with a spring resurrection waiting at the other end of winter.

I originally titled this piece Easter-Ishtar-Astarte. How about Tammuz? Because I wanted to push back at the near-hysterical responses I got from offended christians on Facebook. The offense has since spread all across the internet, with rebuttals on nearly any christian site you care to look at (no I won’t link any of them) most of them rather petty in tone.  Also, most of them cherry-pick history to prove their points, largely relying on Bede and Herodotus who give the preferred twist to the pagan spring rituals that pre-date christianity.

The facts are much harder to tease out than those people who simply want to prove their worldview make them. 

For example. The article at Scientific American on the subject of this meme also cites the Germanic deity Eostre as the basis of the word Easter.  However, the sole source of this proposition remains Bede. In the end, the need to prove that Easter is or isn’t some phonetic variation on Ishtar is pointless and petty, a hallmark of the vast majority of Facebook content. As one of the commenters to the SA article pointed out;

Actually, there is a connection between Oestre and Ishtar. Ishtar is associated with Venus, which is often referred to as the morning star, or light-bringer with its association with Lucifer (lucis = light). Venus is the planet of love and marriage traditionally. 
There are Babylonian egg myths too featuring Ishtar being hatched, and the mystic egg falling from heaven to the Euphrates. These same myths are recycled from their Egyptian/Babylonian origins and do seem to be connected to the old pagan rites. 
The mythology of Astarte (Greek) and Ashtoreth (Jewish) seems very similar too. Everything seems to have a common origin. (emphasis added)

The rest of the meme is even more questionable than the assertion that Easter and Ishtar are one and the same. Further down in the SA article is the observation;

The cosmic egg, according to the Vedic writings, has a spirit living within it which will be born, die, and be born yet again. Certain versions of the complicated Hindu mythology describe Prajapati as forming the egg and then appearing out of it himself. Brahma does likewise, and we find parallels in the ancient legends of Thoth and Ra. Egyptian pictures of Osiris, the resurrected corn god, show him returning to life once again rising up from the shell of a broken egg. The ancient legend of the Phoenix is similar. This beautiful mythical bird was said to live for hundreds of years. When its full span of life was completed it died in flames, rising again in a new form from the egg it had laid (4).

Eggs appear to be central to almost all of the spring rites and creation stories.  They lend themselves quite handily to the theme of new life arising from an apparently inanimate object. There is no specific linkage between Ishtar and eggs that I could lay hands on; but then there doesn’t need to be, since the egg is all over the various mythologies of the day as being the beginning of life.

The hardest facet of current Easter practices to track down is the Easter Bunny. Theories abound, and I even have some thoughts of my own on the subject as relating to the Wolpertinger and the Jackalope, both icons of Germanic influence in the US.

The rabbit’s springtime mating antics do bring me back to the point I started with. Like so many things human, the trappings of tradition cloud the purpose of the celebration.

Courtesy Berlin Art Parasites

The Rites of Spring from a human standpoint are necessarily sexual. That is how we renew the species, creating children who go on to make the future of the human animal a reality. Nearly all of the celebrations of spring outside of the deviancy of of the christian religion are sexual in nature, as they should be.

If you want an example of this, wander through the galleries of ancient temples dedicated to the subject.  Read about the fertility rites that are still practiced in Asia. These are not perversions any more than christianity’s sexless renewal celebration is a perversion of nature as well.

The US is demonstrably repressive, when it comes to the subject of sex.  Demonstrably repressive, and at the same time unhealthily obsessed with meaningless sex in the form of pornography.  Pornography which can be found all over the place in spite of the almost reflexive repression present everywhere in the US that isn’t the internet. Or San Francisco.

Pornography is not really sex, in the same way that film is not real life. The proverbial money shot, a hallmark of pornography, defeats the entire purpose of the sex act. If the male’s bodily fluids aren’t left inside the female body, what is occurring is no more meaningful than a daily walk in the park. A session of weight lifting. Swimming a few laps. It is exercise; and in the case of pornography, exercise engaged in for the purpose of display and nothing else; or as Robin Williams once famously quipped “an industrial film covered in fur”.

Sex is a joyous celebration of life. It is central to the human experience. No adult life is complete that doesn’t include some form of sexual interaction with a willing partner on a regular basis. Good health requires this, and I consider it a travesty in the US that we cannot come to grips with the existence of sex all around us, all the time.

Much less be unable to declare that the Rites of Spring should be founded around sex.

I think I have a solution to the problem, at least from my non-believing perspective. I’m simply going to stop marking the holiday as celebrated by the majority of the christian world. Starting this year, the Vernal Equinox will be my Spring holiday.  I’m done with the vagaries of christian Easter, aside from the chocolate, of course. Dopamine rewards being what they are, I’ll take them where I can get them.

PETA Wants to Kill Your Dog. All Dogs.

PETA does not believe in keeping pets. Pets of any kind. Animals are free and pets are slaves. Essentially they want to eliminate all forms of dogs and cats that cannot live on their own in the wild, as well as get rid of all farm animals and force us all to be vegans. I have no more use for PETA than I have for any other ideologue who wants to make me do things the way they think it should be done.

The dogs in question are not slaves, and they for goddamned sure weren’t harmed by their owners or the race itself. They were attacked by a drunk. Dogs are a musher’s entire life. I KNOW these people, Aliy Zirkle is a friend of mine and you only have to watch the interviews with her and a tearful Jeff King to see how devastated they are by the threat to their dogs. 

Stonekettle Station on Facebook

This article on The Atlantic entitled PETA’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad History of Killing Animals digs deep into PETA’s deplorable track record when it comes to living up to their own ideals, the ideals that the crucify every other pet-owning person on the face of the planet,

In 2011, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) behaved in a regrettably consistent manner: it euthanized the overwhelming majority of dogs and cats that it accepted into its shelters. Out of 760 dogs impounded, they killed 713, arranged for 19 to be adopted, and farmed out 36 to other shelters (not necessarily “no kill” ones). As for cats, they impounded 1,211, euthanized 1,198, transferred eight, and found homes for a grand total of five. PETA also took in 58 other companion animals — including rabbits. It killed 54 of them.

These figures don’t reflect well on an organization dedicated to the cause of animal rights. Even acknowledging that PETA sterilized over 10,500 dogs and cats and returned them to their owners, it doesn’t change the fact that its adoption rate in 2011 was 2.5 percent for dogs and 0.4 for cats. Even acknowleding that PETA never turns an animal away — “the sick, the scarred and broken, the elderly, the aggressive and unsocialized…” — doesn’t change the fact that Virginia animal shelters as a whole had a much lower kill rate of 44 percent. And even acknowledging that PETA is often the first to rescue pets when heat waves and hurricanes hit, that doesn’t change the fact that, at one of its shelters, it kills 84 percent of supposedly “unadoptable” animals within 24 hours of their arrival.

My answer to PETA is NO. Forever and always NO. Now get out of my face PETA scum. I have actual important work to get done.

The Fallacy of “Free Stuff”

Stonekettle Station on Facebook

Everything that gets done by humans as a group requires humans as a group to do it. There will always be free-ridership and people who get more out than they put in. Should we then say “fuck it” and climb back up in the trees? Go back to the caves because the trees were a bad idea? Where does this regression end?

Surveys and studies have been conducted that show that investment in education yields benefits far beyond the dollars invested. Studies have also shown that barrier-free healthcare yields better outcomes for the vast majority of people living in a system. That these benefits translate to better productivity for more years for more people.

Only stupid people argue against investments that profit everyone including themselves. Even those people who object to lazy people getting free stuff.

Overpriced Toll Roads Going Bankrupt?

KXAN.com

“The bankruptcy filing by Cintra should have no effect on travelers who use SH 130, the taxpayers or the State of Texas. Cintra assumed the risk to finance, build and operate the section of SH 130 south of US 183 to I-10,” wrote Texas Senator Kirk Watson, D-Austin, in a statement to KXAN News. “Traffic and revenue on that part of the road hasn’t reached projected levels and Cintra has taken the hit, not taxpayers. Use of that section will continue to grow and be there as drivers have more need of it.”

The most overpriced stretch of road in the country is the segment from Austin North to Georgetown. I use that stretch of road because it is faster, not because the price is reasonable. If Cintra can’t stay in business with those prices, then the state should come up with a way to do it themselves.

Also, the specific section of road in question, to Seguin South of Austin, isn’t tolled at all. Not tolled and three lanes of clear asphalt both directions to and from I-10. Best drive to be had in Texas these days, so get your driving gear on and have a great day tooling through remote sections of Texas as if they need six-lane highways there. Do it before maintenance failure destroys the smooth surface and requires you to reduce your speed below 85 miles an hour in order to reduce wear and tear on your suspension.

Facebook Status update backdated to the blog. 

Hillary for President

Hillary Clinton

I know I really do like Hillary Clinton. The proof is in the conversations I have with Trump supporters and people who feel the Bern. I know I like her because I’m not expecting her to be anything other than President of the United States.

Sanders and Trump supporters act like they are anointing a king or a dictator. No thanks. I like US politics to stay US politics with some minor variations on the theme, such as public campaign finance and no personhood for corporations.

Somewhere in the future we’ll see the end to party influence and perhaps some sensible ideas about who should lead in advance of people declaring themselves leaders, but in the meantime I’ll take the Clinton known quantity, thanks.

So it is with some trepidation that I face 2016 and acknowledge that I really don’t have a problem with a President Hillary Clinton. No one is more horrified by this than the tiny voice in the back of my head. – Me last year in a post titled Hillary for President?

Facebook Status Update backdated to the blog. 



Bernie won Minnesota, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Vermont, and lost Massachusetts by a whisker. So the Bernie movement lives on (even though much of the media wants to discount it). Meanwhile, Trump took most of the Super Tuesday states, but Cruz got Texas, Oklahoma, and Alabama (thereby becoming the Republican alternative to Trump).


In effect, the next president will emerge from one of four political tribes — Trump’s authoritarians, Cruz’s fierce right-wingers, Hillary’s establishment Democrats, and Bernie’s political revolutionaries. If America had a parliamentary system, these four parties would negotiate to form a government and a prime minister. But we don’t, and only one of these tribes will win.

The only group left out is the Republican establishment. They despise Cruz and abhor Trump. So where will they go? I think they’ll join Hillary’s establishment Democrats.

What do you think? – Robert Reich on Facebook

Pretty much what I’ve figured on for more than a year now. I still maintain that Hillary is the best candidate for President running. Bernie’s internal ideas are more progressive and the convention should adopt a lot of them; but a president has to be our representative to the world as well as the domestic leader. The progressive movement should focus on changing states and the US legislature. We will need a widespread blue shift, not just a Democratic president (as President Obama has shown over the last 6 years) to make the kind of changes we want.

I’ve watched her through the news for years. She isn’t isolationist enough for the people who are anti-war, and she’s not enough of a hawk to satisfy the chickenhawk neos. She’s a savvy political operator who stands to get something done if elected to office. I’m willing to give her the chance. Her economics started out wrong, but she’s paying attention to what the primary voters are saying and modifying her views.

But I can’t stress this fact enough; changing the states and legislatures will do more, more quickly than electing yet another liberal dream candidate to the presidency, where he will fail just as Obama failed because he’s one freaking guy expected to fix an entire country. Hillary for President.

Facebook Status Update and edited comments, backdated to the blog.