Homage to Buddenbrooks


     The entire venerable family were at their usual seats at the antique oak long table in thei patriarch’s dining room.  A delightful aroma came in from outside the double-doors that served as the only exit to the hall that led to the kitchen and pantry, wafting into the grand room in great fragrant waves as the portal was swung open and closed by the scullery maids, who were hurrying in and out carrying decorative silver trays ladened with poached chicken and pear salads and Oloroso sherry.  The penultimate course had arrived.

This being a Sunday, the Christiansons sat at the table eating in an easy silence that came from comfortable routine.  Most of them preferred a long-held precedence over the perceived flippant alternatives – they held tight to decorum in circumstances such as these especially — when all of them came together for their weekly brunch on Sundays to steady themselves for mass.  At these trysts they refused of habit to do no more than share a nice cold repast with hardly more than sliced rye bread and perhaps a Sauvignon Saint-Briswith with which to pair.

The meal, while by itself an essential aspect of the ritual, in fact was most necessary for the grandfather, Christoph Christianson, founder and unofficial administrator of the family.  His health on the decline for years, he, on doctor’s orders, paid special attention to his nutritive intake, being disposed to a wasting disease that, sadly, in the last few months threatened to weaken him to the point of exhaustion.  His still-regal hands, once robust and agile, now gripped the gilded serving spoon for the butter-seared potatoes with trembling unstable motions; his fingers wrinkled with loose skin and  betrayed the fat lost to his accursed affliction.  Only his eyes, which darted back and forth across the expanse of the gourmet spread laid luxuriously across the table-clothed dining table, with a hint of sly merriment, still retained the vigor and spark of youth’s fancy. 

     While his eyes and countenance stayed true throughout his diminution, the rest of Christoph’s form turned faint yellow and desiccated as a plant that had strained and extended itself thin in search of sunlight withheld from it too long, and at last, in resignation, bent itself a little and shrunk sadly back earthwards.

Now in his twilight years, at 71, Mr. Christianson was fighting and losing the struggle for his life. His high Nordic cheekbones, once a cherished feature that formerly made all who knew him comment with genuine sentiment how handsome he looked, now protruded unnaturally, stretching his skin conspicuously and thus enhanced his hollow cheeks and gaunt jawline.  Set against this picture of frail decline, and a little inwards into his sockets so as to create a shadowed look and darken them all the more, his eyes somehow still flickered a deep blue and could have a somewhat unpleasant effect upon the person whom he consented to gaze upon and rest his eyes in scrutiny.

     But today, at the brunch before church, his look betrayed no interest in social games as his eldest, Chad, helped him with his thirds by heaping steamed asparagus and honeyed ginger ham upon his plate.  It was one of life’s little ironies that Christoph Christianson, from the time he had been a little child still being weaned, carefully and practically by his mother, Lynda, as only a woman of culture and sophistication who had already been through the birth and rearing of a first son could well do with an experience hand, never was known to eat more than two small meals a day.  And coupled with an abnormally slow metabolism, he had been able to eat like a bird and still strike a nobly filled-out pose, as if he were a clone of some of those other businessmen with whom he of necessity was well-acquainted, and who, perhaps because of the free time and money to spare from their careers (or else, in a depressing response to these same careers and the idle languid lifestyles they created for them), filled their unoccupied hours treating themselves to the most expensive and lavish of meals.  It was those corpulent men, whom, walking to and from the Exchange with their bloated bellies and fatted shanks which slowed their approaches and departures, although ostensibly resembled in some aspects Christoph’s then rotund figure, did not, could not, have his lively stamina-enhanced gait and bearing, being themselves drawn down by the fat and gristle of raw salted steaks, and the sugar from countless sweets and pastries they consumed and were consumed by.

In contrast, old Chistoph had since a toddler been filled-out, a tad abdominous; but always with an easy mien, a graceful air, with his low-caloric intake a resounding success for his health overall, giving him a youthful intensiveness and potency for which his friends and family had always high remarks, and often subdued envy, the latter a chord of emotional persuasion belonging mostly to his business and political opponents.  The family dietitian advised a heterogenous fare in his case, eclectic in varieties of dark green vegetables for iron and fresh fruit to aid digestion and make up for his lack of substantive food intake with high quantities of vitamins and minerals.  This proud command of the physique could never last, being a castle built on the sands of time, which, however exquisitely built and sculpted must surely sink and ebb.  He was at last beset a few years ago by this gastroenterological illness, that brought with it a remarkable appetite which belied a healthiness, were one to see him attack a meal, and that hid a fatal Demon that, once unleashed, began at once to starve his muscles and flesh, taking all his nourishment meant for his body and diverting it ivillanto the Spectre’s own maw, even as Christoph gorged himself perpetually.

     When, in the oppressive dry heat of an early August three years ago, Christoph fell ill to this intestinal malady, he summoned all the best doctors in the municipality to consult with his own family physician, Dr. Spetic.

Dr. Wilhelm Spetic was a proud man, deriving no small amount of ego from the patronage bestowed upon him by the Christiansons.  He had always been quick to pick up compliments out of indifference, not perceiving the difference between love and necessity.  He was competent in his craft, though not by any means spectacular – his stint at the University of Hadleigh in his youth was delayed by several semesters, not through, it should be said, a lack of endeavor on his part, for he knew the rewards given by hard work; the mental acumen required by the rigors of his doctoral dissertation had proved to be a hurdle he hadn’t anticipated on, and, to save face and keep his family name intact, he honorably withdrew his term at Hadleigh and transferred to a smaller college just outside the township in which the Christiansons summered and took sabbaticals.  It was here that he finished his doctorate, with no honors, true, but nonetheless no small feat, all things considered.  And it was also here that he met and began treating the Christianson family.

     This doctor, who in the classic medical condescending pedantry announced after a quick, high-spirited dance of words with his colleagues, that the “Lord had seen fit to conduct another play of cosmic humor by censuring Mr. Christianson with the very same blessing he had hereto let his health thrive.”  It was apparent after some small analysis and an even smaller collaboration with his peers (the latter to assure himself of his accuracy in diagnosis), that “the tissues involved in hormone production, which had for so long affected his lack of both necessity for high-calorie sustenance and emotional desire for food, had now begun to grow necrotic and unviable from the very same physiological mechanisms.  And, now that their irreversible decay was underway, Mr. Christianson would be forever in an animal state of constant hunger, paralleled with an even slower metabolism than he had had before – the final outcome of all this resulting in his corporal deterioration from the inside out and a rapacious appetence, the two affections for which, sadly, modern medicine would be largely useless against except as in a purely palliative role.” 

This cruel little speech was delivered in a pompous demeanor that had Dr. Spetic speaking with upturned corners of his mouth, looking down at Christoph, who was there sitting in his heirloom reading chair and feigning a look of indifference which aimed vaguely around the study at intervals to escape his doctor’s gaze.  And as the exposition of his condition continued, one could faintly notice his visage of disinterest jerking slightly every time the good doctor accentuated choice words of his oration with a stiff rap of his walking cane onto the painted flagstone floor under which he stood so statuesque, his shoulders square and feet wide apart.

    That uncomfortable conversation in which Christoph barely said but few words, only nodding his  head or gesticulating when the flow of the dialogue demanded etiquette or tact.  The immensity and consequence of the occasion all but muted him.

In the Course of Human Events


Image result for honor and men painting

When the time comes for honor to vanish and eloquence to fade; for men’s dusty glorious banners to tear away from their posts and blow uselessly around in the tepid air, then will the mortals have won with their unrelentless attacks on humanity’s foundation, and all will return to a morbid state of nature to rejoin the grey origins of the past.

But that time is not now, and the day of it’s reckoning has not yet been written.

It is curious to think that all that life has fought for in this inhospitable, opposed construct of chaotic forces and matter will be denied it’s full fruition from the very entity that exposed it to existence.  We have brought randomness into symphonies of complexity.  We built ourselves out of mere floating dust particles to achieve singularities so bright with meaning that they defied their own constituents that they were made from.

Wild hope and ambitions took their place to confront their seemingly impenetrable prisons until the walls were crushed with pure will.

Alas, it was this very will, this volition of life that will one day destroy itself.  With no more true enemies to confront, fear and hatred, coupled with our will has begun to fight itself.  We are warriors with no foes, and so, since we must vanquish and destroy, we will do so to ourselves.

I have bourne witness to these events in my perpetual solitude, my spirit unswayed and unlured by the false fantasies presented in the passing moments of eternity.  But now the old gods come to me and entreat me to allow myself to be their vessel, and I have agreed with much carelessness.  I drink of their essence, and do their bidding in exchange for nothing but the promise of more ineffable knowledge.

There is one goddess who wishes not to entreat me.  Her hair and eyes blaze with the sun’s unbridled light, and her lips speak nothing but wisdom and peace.  She takes her place among the mortals, tied to them with the karmic rope of compassion.  And in her kindness she has blinded her mortal body to the awareness of her true nature.  She is Freya, and she has warmed my stone of a heart so that I can now hear the calls of the innocents and respond with pity and empathy.  I am hers, entirely; I willingly bonded my soul with hers aeons ago.  To her I owe everything, and it is with her that I place my hope.  She is my refuge and my praeturnatural lover.

Humanities and the Hard Sciences


Humanities and the Hard Sciences

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The assumption I’ve always had about the humanities and the hard and natural sciences is that they are two disciplines attempting to outgrow one another – two branches of the tree of knowledge pushing out in opposite directions, both bearing fruit of different varieties.  The connections between the two are evident to the learned and unlearned alike, but this obviousness is illusory for both because what is obvious to the former is not congruent to what is obvious to the latter (However I am certain a line of tangency connects the two).  My own path deviates in a practical nature from the obvious into the ineffable state of contradictory monist interpretation.  The infighting of creativity and psychopathic intellectualism appears the same to me because I overthrow mutual exclusivity with what I will call here ‘awareness.’  Ego will be limited as a consequence, and truth reawakened through the opaque film of errant perception.  The ego that remains builds, for me, an attitude of indifference towards the humanities and a special attachment for the hard sciences.  One must cut their losses and accept the wrongs in this pluralistic world; one must accept the frailty of the human mind.  Nevertheless I will expound the reasons behind my individual closeness and affinity towards the hard sciences.

The humanities will not be studied in any rigorous effort, because I believe that by their very nature they require none.  All they require is the knowledge of their basic systematic order, and from this one can reiterate in different types their qualities.

To study Yates or Poe, or abstract expressionism as a discipline is a hindrance – one must use them to inspire oneself to complete what they have started, but there is no absolute quality or truth to them (in and of themselves) that would require a meticulous and thorough examination of them.  The hard sciences however, relinquish circular mental effort and retain the dignity, precision, and absoluteness of truth.  Their work requires a deep understanding of all the mechanisms involved because without it one cannot proceed further with the endeavors they inspire.  One must first learn arithmetic to grasp algebra before then understanding discrete mathematics and calculus and number theory.  One must read a few passages here and there from John Milton to create something sublime that may or may not build on Milton’s work directly.  The humanities are an ever-changing melting pot of creativity; one can start anywhere and add to it.  The hard sciences are a structure of bricks laid on top of one another, and one must know the places of the bricks to add another meaningful layer on top of them.

Old Man, Destruction of Ages


Date: 1/4/09

The blinking of one’s eyes tells much of its owner; in fact in the eternity of my age I have come to regard it as a great sign of the width and breadth of one’s character. But ah! I seemed to have started in on a subject that may appear strange to you, and without properly introducing myself – both flaws I admit to readily, and excuse just as readily on account of my years. Both my own age and the age of men are coming to an end. Our declines spiral downwards at steady and simultaneous rates. My death will signify the demise of men; the time of wisdom and deceit, richness and spirituality, is at its conclusion. Progression of time is a tricky thing, and since I haven’t kept track, being preoccupied with other studies and practice, I can only approximate my life on this planet to near six hundred years – does it surprise you? It should not. Stranger things have occurred in this world than an unusually long life. Perhaps among the experiences of your own existence you can ferret out a past memory that was long forgotten because it did not fit tidily with your sensible worldview where nothing too out of the ordinary happens, but will now be drug up and perceived with new eyes. This is an especial hope of mine: that my words will announce the dawning of remembrance for you before everything comes crashing down and humanity is obliterated.

But so much for formal introductions. I’m afraid my frailty would not endure one. And anyway, formal introductions by their own nature require names, and I’ve forgotten mine through the decades. Though sometimes when I’m out in the forest, going for a walk to soothe my tired mind, I think I hear it whispered among the rocks beneath my feet. It is as if I walk a river of grey stones that gush forth before me and gurgle indecipherable words, dripping and splashing with memories long lost in time. So it is sometimes with me: I have reached an age where most of my memories sprawl deep, hidden safe within the thickness of tree trunks and greenness of grass; percolated from my mind to form new connections with myself and nature. But make no mistake – this was my goal: to embrace the profundity of earth and contemplate its vastness until ultimately I will no longer know where it begins and I end.

As the seasons change, so do I. My skin is cold and fresh and covered with dew in the spring. My beard turns from brown in the fall to snowy white in the winter, when my breath blows frost. The rhythm of the world beats in my heart and the stars shine bright in my eyes. Oh, that I had just a little more time to enjoy this union – to sing forth the comings of night and days, and quake and blow and rain with each step. But such is not to be had. ‘Fate goes ever as it will,’ and I with it. My exalted moon and sun darken even now, and my soul becomes restless in great expectation.

So listen then, with an open ear to my words. I spoke at first of the character of men – the representation of life’s greatest failures! Man is a crucifixion of God and Animal. He will never be one or the other, nor a dialectic of the two. He was destined from the start to be both, a contradiction self-contained in physical form. A torturous existence, one that is escapable exclusively by intellectual and moral sanity and death. Pity yourself, therefore, and weep. But let there be a smile that creeps beneath the tears also, because know that soon it will all be over. It is strange to think of it. Even I cannot see beyond the great Destruction; my foresight stops of a sudden and all turns black. I do not know if it is because time itself folds in and I thus peer into an infinite regress of shadow, or if there will come a day of rebuilding and it is too far away in the future to see. I myself am not a man, though it is possible I was born of them – I do not remember. Some of my features and attributes resemble those of a man. I can speak in their tongue when I wish to. I experience emotion, though not of the same variety. I can shape myself almost like them. But my preference is to the trees and riverbeds; when night appears I become a silhouette, a cloak to roam and lose myself in dark refrain. In the day I am a shimmering refraction in a drop of water, a glint.

Men’s eyes.. watch them closely, listener. Study them and see their eyelid’s movements. Perhaps you will see a discernable pattern that mirrors their character. I have not said enough, but I grow tired of speech and must yield to the forces of nature and absolve this body. I have a brother. At least, we call each other such. His path is much different than mine – you will learn from him. He, also, is unbearably burdened with age. A lover of knowledge, he has attained much of it. I must go now.

 

 

My brother’s speech, it appears, has tired you – you have a stern look about you. I hope he hasn’t worried you into a frenzy. I can assure you the destruction of men has not come, nor do I think it ever will. My brother is right about one thing, however: this planet will not be here much longer. And unlike my brother I can tell you the exact date and time at which this will occur. But this I will not tell you – you cannot know. To tell you would be the cruelest thing I could do, for you would count the minutes until the very end.

That he despises mankind and waves off their achievements as trivial is a fact whose cause I can’t ascertain, but only guess. But I do know why he has chosen the path of nature and strayed from the path of logic and reason. He cannot remember his or my own origins; he has forfeited his own memories for that of the world’s. So be it. As for me, I can remember. He and I are not six hundred years old, nor even one thousand. We were born of a Pictish tribe in the 900s B.C. Our fathers were pagans, druids, and witches, and so were we. Although both he and I studied druidism, my pursuit of it was purely intellectual, while he practiced it and soon knew nothing else. By and by he became capable of what most would call extraordinary feats, and all in our clan was amazed. He could converse with animals, shape shift into myriad forms and tell the future accurately through such geomantic acts as looking at the play of shadows caused by leaves blowing in the wind. I remember a strong lust for knowledge was present in me then – the same gnawing desire I still experience today. It was this same desire that eventually forced me to abandon my clan and leave Ireland by boat to England. My studies there continued with fervor in a small cabin overlooking the western coast. I found many secrets there, things unknowable to most men. Among them was the means to cheat death. Not indefinitely you see – no, no – as you can easily discern I am dying – but long enough. Long enough to compile my work: all my knowledge of everything there is to be known. I received word that my brother had one night vanished and was never seen by our clan again. But I realized he was still among us, unnoticed like a faint breeze on your neck. And so we have both lived now into the 21st century A.D., over 2900 years, albeit by different methods.

 

Winter’s Black Decay


As part of an attempt to ressurrect this blog for the sake of seeing something once loved verified and reanimated, I thought it appropriate to start with this poem, written around 2009.  I can’t give much in this prefatory note; I know very little about the circumstances of its creation.  Only that back then I was caught up in passions and violent emotions dipped in the flavor of young love, tempered slightly with aggression.  I was in a tumultuous relationship with my then wife, Nicole.  It may be therefore an expression of the angst from frustrated adoration.

It’s short in content; it may be entirely possible to read it straight through without having ascertained its meaning.  See for yourself.

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Winter’s Black Decay

 

 

In winter’s black decay

Rise sheltered roses that hide in day.

Their sensitive petals unfurl and spread

Giving off luminosity, bright and red.

And through the darkened skies above

Shine tender sunlit rays of love

That penetrate the thick cold air

And soak with warmth these frail flowers fair.

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Experiental Wisdom


During mediation, I experienced a fundamental truth about concentration;  I was sitting cross-legged on the floor, staring at a small point on the wall in front of me, willing myself to keep concentration on that spot without breaking attention.

At first the attributes of the speck on the wall I was gazing at became very important: about 4-5 of its basic attributes were trying to be kept simultaneously in my consciousness.  But I found that way of fixing my attention on the spot start to fade and be replaced effortless and easily into a quite different modality of concentration.  The 4-5 aspects of that spot (its color, shape, size, material) began to all merge somehow into a homogeneous mixture so that they were all still being consciously perceived, but no longer as distinct attributes – now as one meta-attribute.

When this change occurred, my mind was then free to examine other elements of my attention.  Although the spot was still a focal point of my efforts, the melding of its clear, defined properties into a uniform whole allowed other features of my scrutiny to reveal themselves.

Although the experience itself was subjective and its implications anecdotal, I believe the qualities it exhibited as more objective, inasmuch as they seemed ubiquitous in quiddity.  The other components that became apparent after the shift in comprehension of the speck were, among other things, the space that inhabited the distance between my eyes and the the wall, which was now prominent in my view, and exhibiting qualities of a circular cone in dimension, with the wide mouth open on my side and the point aligned directly with the original dot.  I also perceived lines of demarcation of the cone of vision, represented by different intensities of light that lined the edge of the cone.  Awareness of movement within and on the edge of the cone of vision was also present – myriad small squiggles that few across the lines haphazardly and frantically, small fractal patterns of light appearing and disappearing on different levels of space in the 3-dimensional space.  It was really quite beautiful and instilled a feeling of profundity in myself.

Cone of vision

Because this secondary quality of concentration materialized organically and meaningfully in spirit, and because I couldn’t not categorize this second reality of experience as a variety of concentration that was just as important in the concentration of a single spot, I decided to momentarily reset my awareness by looking away and allowing normal thoughts to arise, essentially stopping my meditative state in order to reinitialize it for another experimental run.

The second time I focused on a small spot on the wall (a different one entirely this time) I found the same sequence of experiential events occurred in relatively the same amount of time and natural development it had executed last attempt.  To me, this helped confirm my hypothesis that this shift in type and level of concentration was not only a normal, modal development, but also put weight to my hypothesis that the attributes of the conversion and of the resultant state of concentration were objective properties that emerged out of a subjective experience.  I am sadly unversed in knowledge of prior philosophical work on the mechanisms in play and processes that allow objectivity to exist significantly within personal subjectivity.  Objective truths can be proven or falsified – I believe the secondary shift of concentration can be proven to exist within this field of subjective experience produced by meditation through analysis of a population of subjects that purposely engage in focused examination of a single point and report any developments afterward, if anything.  That data can be gathered through a simple survey.

It’s important to note that there may be inessential deviations from my experience such as minor differences in content of the concomitant transformation in type of attention, the fundamental nature of both the shift and experience of perception will, I think, be proven empirical.

A bold statement, I know.  Many reading this may scoff at my Aristotelian approach toward attaining truth.  To them I acknowledge the lack of empirical energy and overreach into the metaphysical with no great persuasion for this technique of acquiring knowledge – only stating that I am resting on the powerful beauty and meaning of this experience.

 

Short Biography of New Head Coach Mike Zimmer and 2014 Vikings Opinions


ZimmerM_Cards2014

Hey folks, since I’m back from a long hiatus and want to get right back into the thick of things, I’d thought I would post a blog biographing Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer. It’s the end of the playing season for the Minnesota Vikings, and as the few teams left battle it out for the 49th Super Bowl ring, us Purple ‘n Gold fans can settle in for the off season and start internal franchise politicing.
One of the biggest pieces of meat on our plate is Head Coach Zimmer. He, along with Norv Turner, will constitute the largest and most interesting aspects of the Viking’s club news until the draft of 2015 starts to heat up.
Just briefly, since I touched on Offensive Coordinator Turner, I’d like to say here and now that he is a -huge- breath of fresh air for our team. And I’m not just saying that because he’s not Bill Musgrave! Honest! He has given the Vikings offense a new look and feel; one that actually works without Adrian Peterson. Musgrave’s rush, rush, screen pass offense was, I felt, a lazy scheme that had no personal stamp on it, but rather stunk of amateurism and was devoid of anything original. If I had to conjecture, I’d say Musgrave, being the droll opportunist he was, realized he could get paid to sit on his ass, and took that paycheck every month smiling at his good fortune that was Adrian Peterson. He knew that all he had to do was allow AP to do his thing, and he could be seen in a positive light… Except it backfired on him. Yes, AP was and is one of the best running backs to play football, and yes, AP could and did carry the team on his back for years – especially recently while the whole Ponder experiment was taking place, and we didn’t have an aerial attack. But Musgrave got fired, because everyone got wise to what he was doing, which was essentially nothing. I am mad everytime I think of how much better a team the Vikings could have been in recent years if our offensive coordinator had gone beyond just the minimum, and actually utilized ALL of our weapons, not just the Atom bomb.
Which leads us back to Norv Turner. This guy gets it. He understood Musgrave had gotten fired because sooner or later (sadly it turned out to be sooner), we wouldn’t have Purple Jesus and the offense would have to get a passing game going if we were ever going to get up off the ground. That’s why you’ll notice that when Peterson was ejected out of the club due to the accusations of child abuse, we didn’t just roll over, lose hope, and die. We went out there and won games. We showed up and in many instances, we straight up dominated without him. Here are some stats from the 2014 season: Peterson ran us 75 yards in the first game of the regular season. Afer he left, in the next 15 games we went 6-9. Losing record? Yes. But we faced one of the toughest schedules in the league that year, without Adrian, and (thank God) mostly without Matt Cassel behind center. In just about every single category, eg. running yards, passing yards, total 1st downs, total 3rd downs, we scored average compared to all the other 31 teams. Our new quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, fresh out of college and green as can be, came out of this season with a quarterback rating of 85.2! Cam freakin’ Newton’s rating was lower, Andy Dalton’s was lower, Nick Fole’s was lower. We were 14th overall in rushing, with Adrian Peterson playing one game out of the year. Tell me Norv Turner didn’t do his job. We ended the season 7-9, and our predicted win/loss record posted by profootball-reference.com was 7.5/8.5 BEFORE they knew AP was going to be out. We reached our expected win/loss ratio that had Peterson factored in!
So Norv Turner, we love you, please don’t leave… ever. Your now 30 years of NFL experience is a blessing to us in the offense department. We salute you, sir.

Back to our new Head Coach, Mike Zimmer. I remember when we fired Frazier and Zimmer came into our club, the big excitement was that his expertise in defensive schemes would help us our tremendously. He had worked as defense coordinator for the Bengals, Falcons, and Cowboys previously. Zimmer was working the Cowboys’s defensive backs when they won Superbowl 30 back in 1995. Since 2008, when he first joined the Cincinnati Bengals, until he left them after 2013 to join us, that team enjoyed 4 years of being ranked top ten in defense. In his last year there, they were ranked #3 overall.
So yah, Zimmer was talked about as being huge for our defense since the outset, even though he came to us in the capacity as Head Coach. I’ll go over this season’s stats and my impression of the intangibles that can’t really be covered by stats both in a little bit. Right now I just want to focus on the man himself, and his past achievements.
I really can’t say how good a football player this guy was back in his youth, because frankly there’s not much to go on. He did play quarterback briefly in college in the mid 1970s, before a thumb injury moved him to linebacker. Then he injured his neck, and he was done playing altogether. But the man must have had a deep-rooted passion for football, because even though he couldn’t play it due to injuries, he still felt compelled to be right in the middle of the action in coaching capacity.
Zimmer’s first coaching job was part-time assistant coaching, and, except for this last transistion to Minnesota, every single coaching job he’s taken has been in the defense department. He was inside linebackers coach, defense backs coach, and defensive coordinator in both college and the NFL. All defense, all the time, baby.
Looking back at his past coaching record, I don’t see one year he took off to do anything else. Since 1979 he’s been coaching defense, without any break whatsoever that I can ascertain. And everywhere he went to coach, the teams improved in defense. He transistioned from coaching on the collegiate to the professional level in 1994, when the Cowboys hired him to be assistant defense coach under Barry Switzer. He was promoted up the coaching ladder within the Dallas Cowboy’s organization, and finally became defense coordinator 6 years later in 2000. Just 3 years after that, while still with the Cowboys, due to his coaching expertise Dallas gave up the fewest yards in the NFL. He used the 4-3 defensive scheme to achieve this.
Now, this next bit of information I’m about to divulge about him speaks a lot to his ability to improvise and succeed under pressure. Apparently in 2005, then Cowboy’s Head Coach Bill Parcells favored the 3-4 defensive scheme. So when he was hired that year, Parcells made Zimmer coach the defense under that scheme. Zimmer effectively went from what he was comfortable with and excelled at, the 4-3, to the 3-4, on a whim of the Head Coach, and ran with it. The 2005 Cowboys defense held their opponents to an average 19.25 points against!
I already spoke above about his success with the Bengals, and he only did one year with the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta didn’t have an exactly stellar defensive year when they had Zimmer in 2007, and they finished that season 4-12.
While researching his past coaching resume, a picture of the man slowly began to develop before me: someone who was driven, hungry for victory, did excellent under pressure, was willing to go out of his comfort zone, and, most importantly, was very very good at making the defensive side of the team he was coaching one of the best.
Well, how did he do as his first year ever as Head Coach for the Minnesota Vikings in 2014?
We already know he was part of the talent that got our team past the difficulties of losing one of the best RB’s in football history to finish 7/9, when I thought it was going to be more like 2-14.
Robert Blanton had a breakout year at strong safety with 72 tackles and 34 assists. Harrison Smith, our free safety, also had a great year with 72 tackles, 21 assists, and 3 sacks. Overall, we were top ten in defending the pass, but ranked an abysmal 25th in defending the run. That puts us exactly square in the middle in general defense, an improvement from 2013, to be sure.
what extent Mike Zimmer had on our defense, given that he is coaching as Head Coach, not defensive coordinator, is hard to gauge. I’m certain he had a hand in it. As a whole I believe he lead our team to a great year. And by great, I mean a year that could have easily been 1-15, or even 0-16. Up until this season, our whole team structure and foundation had been built on just one man, Adrian Peterson. We had no quarterback, we had lost our one phenomenal wide reciever in Percy Harvin. Greg Jennings is good, but what is a good reciever without anyone to throw the ball to him? Our defense was just starting to take form, with people like Floyd and Griffen.
We had just recieved Teddy, and Anthony Barr. We had a huge question mark for the year, that Zimmer turned into an exclamation mark. After 2014, I now have hope that our team will now be a playoff contender in a year or two. We have all the ingredients, we just need to stir the pot a bit. We’re drafting 11th pick, let’s make this draft a great one, and for God’s sake let’s keep Teddy healthy!

Skol!

Asperger’s Syndrome and Reviving an old Blog


So I apologize to my blog followers and readers for my disappearance into the abyss of real life.  It happened.  Let’s move on, shall we?

I think it had to have been a record; I created a WordPress account, wrote a few blogs, and within 2 weeks was awarded the WordPress award.  It was fun watching the page visits through the analytics afforded to WordPress users. I think for a straight week my site was being visited on average 300 times a day.  Then it slouched off and the visitor count became ephemeral: something that didn’t quite exist.

Anywho, I remember having some grand plan of highlighting then and now Minnesota Vikings long snapper Cullen Loughler.  I had researched the subject for quite some time and was ready to draw it all together into a palatable reading dish for you all to digest, but then I started having marital difficulties, found out I had Asperger’s Syndrome, and figured out how to make that annoying fart noise that people make by cupping their hands over their armpits and squeezing, except in a new and exciting way with the inside of my knee!

Which brings me to my main point of this rant, if there in fact is one:  That I’m branching out into the wonderful world of Vlogging via YouTube, and I need subscribers and watchers to make the whole thing work.

The basic idea is to chronicle my life with Asperger’s, and (hopefully) successful treatment of the symptoms and underlying causes of said mental illness to the point where I can start functioning at a high level.

Cuz I gotta be honest with you guys:  I’m 31, divorced, no job, and living at my dad’s house.  If that couldn’t get any lamer, I also am loving it!

Seriously though.  If you could please turn your attention to my YouTube account, called ‘Aquashift,’  https://www.youtube.com/user/aquashift

I’m going to start uploading some Vlogs that should entertain, inform, and give extreme orgasmic pleasure to all who view.

Aaaaaaand … TIME!  It took about 6 minutes to write this.

Please check out my YouTube channel Aquashift.  At the time of writing this I only have one video out now that has audio problems, but I promise more and better things to come.

https://www.youtube.com/user/aquashift

See ya!

Chris Kirby

A Reverse Exorcism of Humility


humility

This is the time of year when the chill seeps into my skin and caresses my soul with icy, lingering fingers, almost as if it’s been waiting all year for this.  And so it takes it’s time now, savoring the moment.  I can walk outside at night and feel how cold the black of the sky is; drink in this rigid dark ice.

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I’m going to make a conscious effort to love other humans, to cease this constant hate towards them… stop my self-pitying.  I’ve  always considered others to have some value inherent in them, but only a very small value when compared to myself and those I consider friends and family.

As if a conscious awakening occurred only slightly, just enough to be aware of the filth of the world, but not enough to love it regardless.  A fracturing of the shell of ignorance, not a hole carved out to actually see something.

I have the intellect to hide behind my words; to distract people from my true self, and to delay the truth by piecing together lies to create a very artful, convincing obscurity.

I don’t believe I can attain the next level of consciousness except by through a convergence of both emotion and thought – a dialectical approach seems the only way.

It appears to me I’ve covered a vast distance, but when I look back, I see no footprints to mark my path.  I can only hope the arrow of time is splintering, or else I’m a very light-footed traveler.

My Blog Site Goes ‘Ka-Ching’ for WordPress.com


I’m simultaneously watching the State of the Nation Address and surfing the net.  Here’s a juicy bit of information I found via Freewebsitereport.org:

 “The estimated website net worth based on it’s traffic value and online website advertisement revenue alone is around $110. Aquashift.wordpress.com receives 50 page views per day and generates nearly $0.15 in daily ad revenue.”

 

When I read this I was first a little jealous that I wasn’t getting a cut, and then I wondered about how many wordpress.com users there are.  While I couldn’t find an exact number, I did get some information on just how large WordPress.com is:

http://en.wordpress.com/stats/  says that “Over 401 million people view more than 4.1 billion pages each month.”

Also: “WordPress.com users produce about 39.3 million new posts and 42.7 million new comments each month.”

 

Then on the site http://www.easystaffhawaii.com/how-big-is-wordpress/

I read that 32 million active websites were run on the Multisite version installation of WordPress in 2012.

 

I’m too lazy to whip out my excel program and crunch the numbers, but in this case I don’t think I have to.  WordPress.com is banking it.  

So, like I said, I was a little jealous.  Then, I thought about how much joy WordPress gives me, and I say they deserve the money they make, even if a tiny part of it is off of advertisements on my blog.

 

– The Philosopher


 

Imitation of a 19th Century Philosopher


This is an imaginary essay that a philosopher of the 19th century would write.

Enjoy.

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The man of low, or what we shall call here not only to preserve the conventions of propriety and formality, but as a well-meaning gesture of understanding for him, normal, intelligence, has much difficulty engaging some of the more rarified mental faculties that are necessary precursors to singular thought and idea.  To this man, then, engagement defines itself as the primary function that precipitates deep thinking.

The genius, on the other hand, is forever in the predicament of attempting to disengage various problematic faculties of the mind that deluge him and thus render focused attention unattainable.  Once disengagement has occurred, the genius is granted a respite from the blur of thoughts and is able to focus the power of his intellect on save one or two.

And while the man of normal capacity of intellect takes a simple pleasure from overt display of a self-formulated answer to a problem that, more often than not is of a practical nature, the genius is distinguished by finding much joy in the process itself of unraveling and dissecting a conundrum, even if, it is emphasized, the end result is not an answer readily perceived as concrete, reasonable, and exclusive.

     These two, then, are the main, but sometimes innocuous differences between the ordinary thinker and the savant.  But what of the similarities? What traits of mental and emotional character instance themselves in these two ostensibly different men?  This question requires a detailed look into the lives of each.

     Certainly, the genius would argue in unequivocal terms that he is an island, would try to isolate himself as much as possible not just from the average man, but from all other evidenced genius.  Not only does he despise the mundane and, what he perceives to be, the superficial, it is justifiable to say that he resents the presence of novelty not directly evinced by himself.  He seeks the state of “Nietche’s Ubermann” – the elusive transcendental qualities of perfect self-sufficiency and self-mastery.

And indeed, it is a fact that he will usually lead a life of social reclusion, quitting much of the possibility for friendship so as to better align himself with the arts and sciences, and with his work.  This foregoing of potential happiness derived from social contact is a solid testimony to his will and constitution, for no one can deny the suffering and confusion that must necessarily accompany a life of solitude.  Even the aforementioned joy the genius partakes of by virtue of his intellectual pursuits cannot provide him refuge from the inevitable tides of Loneliness and Depression that rise ever higher as he progresses in his craft.

All his works are tragic labors of love, to the discerning observer.  They represent the horrendous agony, the sea of tears, the incalcuble number of hours in which he has spent starving himself emotionally and physically to create the sublime.

     That he is consumed utterly by the demands of his vocation should go without saying, yet is not widely understood, I think, how this almost preternatural consuming nature of his work transforms him, bit by bit, into a human of extreme depravity and madness.

He sacrifices all, and in the end, himself, on the altar of his ideals.  To see an example of this we must hardly look further than the most obvious and well-known of painters, Van Gogh, who in his unbowed earnestness for the absolute, relinquished his ear fearlessly, cutting it eagerly from his body.  There is no forfeiture too great, no task he is unwilling to do in the name of the enlightenment of the mind.

     In his final stage, the genius is by most accounts no longer human.  His work has so obscured any other interest or habit of mind that it is impossible for him to act in anyway unnatural to it.  Misery, happiness, ennui, all no longer hold meaning for him as relative contextual entities, and thus only affect him in the form of an impetus to work longer hours, to eat and sleep less, etc.  He will feed off these emotions in the same manner that a sportsman will harness nervous pressure to excel at his game.

     Now that we have acquainted ourselves lightly with the life of a genius, such as it is, we will move on swiftly to bring the life of an ordinary man under scrutiny, and so have a better framework of knowledge in our employ to correctly identify the similarities between them.

     Unlike the obsessive and self-destructive nature peculiar to the man possessed of much intellectual wealth, the ordinary man embodies a rational and cautious temperament.

He settles comfortably enough among life’s quaint trivialities, and as a consequence of his simplicity, allows himself to be blown freely by fate, passion, and circumstance. His worries are practical, and his ethos unremarkable in style.  Yet if he were to struggle determinedly against instances of willful malfeasance, resolving to abide by the universal laws of kindness, how can we say that his time on earth was any less beautiful than the tragic days spent by the genius?  For the average man has more space around him to move gracefully and effortlessly, if he so chooses.

     The subtle scent of a rose many not invoke awe or sense of mystery; the unseen pattern an ant makes with its movements on the earth beneath his feet may escape attention; he will certainly never know the rapture and intensity of solving a differential equation of Calculus.  Yet because he is so empty, his body can more easily be filled like a vessel with the ineffable understanding of God.