Jeanne’s Christmas Gift to Visitors and a Few Non-Gifted Words

Jeanne does Christmas but she has a gift worth giving.  I mostly don’t do Christmas so I tips my hat in gratitude she’s here to give it.

Note from Jeanne: This is one of the largest gel pen drawings I’ve ever made. It’s 24 x 24 inches square. I did that size as an experiment for a contest entry for a casino, but when I didn’t win, I re-worked it quite a lot and decided to show it in other exhibits.  I hope you enjoy looking at it!

Morning Readers,

Hope all of you are getting the cobwebs out of your punkin heads sufficiently to maximize whatever joy a person gets out of sitting around a Christmas tree unwrapping packages.

I overslept here, didn’t wake until dawn.  Maybe some of this Christmas spirit thing rubbed off on me and disrupted my routines.  Nice morning.  Quiet outside, cool, but not a shock to hit you when you climb out from under the covers or hit you in the face when you venture outside.

A red dawn.  Sailorman would be concerned about that, I expect.

Last night the cats refused to keep me entertained, so I began reading H. D. F. Kitto’s, The Greeks.  It’s a book I’ve read before, but I occasionally read it again as a refresher course.  Kitto’s work is a fairly expansive treatise on life in Greece during the Classical Period, but he constantly jumps backward so’s to demonstrate how they got where they were and why.

Those Classical Greeks are worth the effort of remembering about.  They’re as much how we got where we are as Homer, the Dorians, the Minoans are how they came to be what they were.  We owe our ability to think in particularly organized ways to them, mathmatics, philosophy, their practical use of democracy, even our concept of drama to some extent.

But we in the West also owe the curse of the Utopian Ideal to their pointy little heads.

That Utopian Ideal has haunted us every since, even though the Greeks, themselves never actually believed in it.  They knew perfectly well that human beings are fundamentally flawed in ways that assure they’ll poison their own watering holes, then run them dry.  They knew that wherever human weakness fails to do the trick, fate, or the gods will step in to lend a hand.

Those Greeks studied Homer much the way really devout Christians study the Old Testament.  And Homer, whatever else it might be, is a refined catalog of human strengths and weaknesses.  Of the drumbeat repetition of human experience.

In their own way, the Greeks were experts on a few thousand years of history in ways we aren’t.  They learned from it, not as we believe we’ve learned from it, but haven’t, but rather as an assurance that human beings make the same mistakes over and over.  That they’ll go on making them as long as there’s a human being left to do the job.

The Greeks derived a wisdom from their knowledge of history, but the wisdom was an oblique one that provided a separate wisdom….. one that included the certainty there’ll never be any Utopia.  Never be any meek inheriting much of anything and holding onto it.

But that’s my premise, not Kitto’s.

I hope you’ll spend a bit of time remembering what Christmas was supposed to be the anniversary of the beginning of.  Not baby-Jesuses or Santa Clauses, readers, but a beginning of a spiritual commitment to peace, love, understanding.

An ideal for breaking the endless cycle of power struggles, killing, worship of gluttony and greed.  A beginning for human beings to take responsibility for their own behavior, attitudes and lives.

Christmas.  Jesus.  A beginning of not being so frightened of everything.  So angry.  So aggressive and downright rattlesnake ugly mean you want to kill strangers a long way from here who are no threat to you if you’ll leave them alone, and take joy from doing it.

A beginning of having the faith that death is part of human experience, and that isn’t something you have to be so damned cowardly scared of it keeps you furious and wanting to look away at anything at all to take your thoughts away from having to do it.

I hope you’ll remember that for a few moments, readers, but I know you won’t.

I ain’t a Utopian.

Old Jules

39 responses to “Jeanne’s Christmas Gift to Visitors and a Few Non-Gifted Words

  1. nice blog, I love Jeanne’s gel pen drawing

  2. What an absolutely beautiful piece of art! Thank you, Jeanne, for sharing it with us.

    And how lovely to wake up on Christmas Day to a bit of Leonard Cohen.

    Not forgettting the Mesopotamian scholars and the Cradle of Civilization… Καλά Χριστούγεννα!

    Have a great day, both of you.

  3. In an attempt to be politically correct. Wishing you and your menagerie the best of the holiday season.:-) Aww, to hell with it.. Merry Christmas!!!!

    • Hi Ben. It’s one of those seasons when people get pleasure out of ordering one another to have a particular kind of day I reckons. Wonder how many follow the marching orders. Well, thankee amigo. I wasn’t going to have a Merry Christmas, but I reckons I’ll have to. Got my orders from all quarters. The felines here send a feline hello to the felines of yours, but not being near enough to enforce their will on them, they’ll just say hello and hope they figure out for themselves what manner of day to have. Gracias, Jules

  4. Beautiful post this morning, Jules…with beautiful gifts, too. Thank you.

  5. Inspired. I have no other word, hard to believe I know. Thanks for tugging my heartstrings this morning with a glorious measure of Peace. Too bad it isn’t sustainable. ~~Honie(also not Utopian, just a wannabe)

    • Thank you for coming by Honie. I reckons we’ll take what we can get and be as glad as we’re able for it. Utopia probably wouldn’t be all that great anyway, and definitely not as interesting. Gracias, Jules

  6. That’s a beautiful piece of art! And a very thought provoking post; I hope it hits home for some people because its the truth!

    • Carrie: Thanks for the visit and read. Truth’s not an easy thing to find among us human critters. It ain’t often easy and it ain’t often kind, but it at least ain’t boring. Gracias, Jules

  7. Thanks for the kind comments about the drawing! I appreciate you stopping by the blog, and I wish you all a Merry Christmas.

  8. Oh and here’s a forgotten Christmas song from Tom Lehrer:

  9. Read an article recently that compared bankers to high priests and all the accountants a kind of apostle. It was implying that we have been trained to appease these few priests in the hopes that they can talk to the financial gods in order to calm the markets.

    Also on the same note, having been an occupant of Seattle for some time now I am coming to realize that with a little effort from me and my neighbors the number of people threatening to spoil my own version of utopia grows to be very few. As of now we are a small group but if we can grow just a little bigger… We may be able to help each other out in spite of the folks that dont want to see that happen.

    • Morning arifmvega: Interesting comparison. Brings an image to mind of them all gathered around facing a suitcase full of large bills singing vespers. Gracias, Jules

  10. Great post as always. Love Hallelujah by LC.
    AND Jeanne’s gel art is absolutely beautiful! Mesmerizing.
    Merry Christmas Jeanne and OJ 😀

  11. Jeanne’s pen drawing is mesmerizing. What a wonderful talent! As for your thoughts, hope all your readers pick up on the idea of Peace, Love, and Understanding as their goals for the season and the year ahead.

  12. Great drawing; great thoughts. Hooray for Jeanne. I’m not much on Christmas myself. Seems wrong for a bunch of reasons. I go through the motions as requested for the family, you know.
    I like a little solitude on Christmas. I get nothing out of the way most celebrate Christmas so I try to do it my way for me. I like to spend time outside in the morning; thinking and contemplating the quiet of Christmas morning. I don’t mind visiting but I prefer quite small groups and small personal gifts. I detest Turkey Dinner on Christmas as I just had one on Thanksgiving. I would prefer something more ancient as I tend toward very simple things and old values and rituals etc.
    I’m just a dreamer who got caught inside Robin Hood, Lord of the Rings,Jim Kjeilgard books and Shogun; I guess.
    Anyway; have a great Holiday or day of contemplation as you wish and I wish you and yours Peace

  13. Pretty drawing, Jeanne.

    The Greeks learned a lot of what they knew from the Egyptians. Which a lot of people don’t remember. I also find it interesting how Dec. 25th was the birthday of Mithras before it was the supposed birthday of Jesus. I think the problem I have with the notion of “peace” is that it is an internal state. Like “love,” it is experiential on an internal plane, rather than being an external state. I think the notion of “world peace” is utopian, therefore, being that Nature is made up of things, as you mention, like life AND death, hierarchy, and consumption of life (life coming from death.) To me that is balanced and beautiful, but many have said to me I am weird. I’m cool with that. I get my own peace from Nature. I hope you have peace, too.

    I guess I’ll sum up by saying Death is a beautiful transition, not be be feared, and you are right on in your observations that most of what plagues mankind is the collective fear of death combined with a quest for the immortality of the ego.

    I welcome the death of the industrial age, and all of the evil it has brought us. It is time for some perspective on the part of humanity, and sometimes a dark age has it’s merits in what it teaches, what it forces, and what it leaves in its wake. Evolution happens as a result of crisis. Nothing changes unless it has to.

    I have a rooster named Leonard Crowin’. He has a nice voice. He’s a Cuckoo Maran. Sweet fellow. Needs to show a little influence to the commie hen that won’t come in, except now he stays in the tree with her. Guess he’s doing his job.

    • ejalvey: I wrote a long response just now, seemed fairly humorous as I typed it, involving Leonard Crowin’ and the death of the industrial revolution. But when I clicked reply the machine took me elsewhere and the post vanished. Maybe it will show back up, maybe not, but if not I suppose there’s time in the future for Leonard Crowin’. No doubt in my mind he’s going to get some of my attention in words. Gracias, Jules

      • Oh, well, shoot. It happens.

        Look forward to hearing from you! Poor Leonard had to spend some days inside with us for TLC. The Boodle (our LGD) got hold of him and ripped out his long tail and wing feathers. Thankfully we stopped her before more damage was done. However, I can testify that having a rooster inside does make one appreciate having them outside, despite the fine quality of his voice.

    • I will agree that what has humanity all twisted up is the fear of death not death itself; even if they are not aware of it.
      I always say that Death doesn’t worry me. it’s that long period of pain and suffering that so often comes before that scares crap out of me.
      “World Peace is Eutopian”
      Yes I think so. World Peace is an absolute like “Perfect”; it will never be attained but what I do believe we can achieve is a country where peace is the norm. A country that sets the mark for others to learn to care for their people and stay out of others business. Where we don’t feel the need to police the world. If we can change the goals; change the approach; and change from sending our troops to sending real help for people; we would i am sure find that many of our foreign worries would end.
      If we stop lying about being the worlds friend and start acting like the worlds real friend; the vast population of normal people (as opposed to politicians,and others seeking power) would respond positively and begin to see us as true friend and an example of how much can be achieved if we all work together.
      World peace may be an absolute; Eutopian idea but that is no reason for us to give up on getting as close to it a we can.

      • angrymanspeaks: I suppose it boils down to a person paying close attention to what he/she’s doing and trying to stay between the fences, doing whatever seems to be the best path. All the things you’ve described are worthy goals, I acknowledge. But the we you are referring to is a boundary that shifts and travels around, sometimes including one sized group, sometimes a larger one, sometimes a smaller one. The composite of whatever’s inside the ‘we’ might manage to do something in the direction you’re describing, but there are a lot of other ‘we’ segments out there, larger and smaller, doing their own influencing and trying to overbalance whatever’s happening in favor of their own goals.

        I wouldn’t know how to begin to change that.

        Glad for your visit. Jules

    • Well, thank you sir, that was actually several weeks ago and he is back in the barnyard. In fact, I’m on my way out right now in the dark to pick him out of the tree and put him inside, along with the commie hen, and the few others she has now corrupted. I think they enjoy it. (hope this ends up in the right spot on the thread!)

  14. Jeanne, I just had to make your drawing my PC desktop….it’s awesome….Merry Christmas to you and yours..Peace, Light & Love…

  15. Tel Jeanne that is a wonderful, wonderful drawing. I love it. Peace to you Old J

    • Thanks apocalypseicons: Peace is something I have a plethora of. Glad you came by this morning. If there’s any peace deficit in your life you’re welcome to some of mine. Gracias, Jules

  16. Wise words, indeed. Well said, as always, Jules.

  17. I would like to Wish you Happy Christmas and wonderful years ahead 🙂

  18. Love the Christmas greetings and inspiration here. And love that gel ink drawing by Jeanne..very beautiful. Thank you.

    That song is one of my all time favorites…hits me right in the heart chakra!


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