Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Armageddon on October 30, 1961

Blazing sun - image from AtomicForum.Org

'Twas To "Show Somebody Kuzka's Mother"

Comrade Nikita was pleased as punch. As he slowly put the telegram back on the table, a smile crossed his lips. The man from Ukraine, more famously known as the "Butcher from Ukraine", had showed "them" "Kuzka's mother", after all.

Tsar-Bomba type casing

The events of the past few months swiftly crossed his mind. He could never forget the tomatoes the boorish American public pasted on his limousine on his return from the luncheon meeting with the movie stars in California, when he had gone visiting. Nor could he shrug off the bitterness of not having been given access to Disneyland, his favorite cartoon character's home. He would show them; he had vowed.

Nikita and wife Nina with Dwight Eisenhower

Tit for tat. Eye for an eye. That was the credo Comrade Nikita lived by. When the ambassadors of the western countries came over on a social visit, spouses in tow, he couldn't resist the temptation of bursting out - "We will bury you!" How much he enjoyed the expression on the face of the poor chaps as the import of the translation sunk in! Oh, he cherished that moment all through his life.

Satellite image of Berlin

Ah, and how could he forget the silly, childish tricks of the Americans with their U-2 toys? He had smirked and chortled when he produced Francis Powers with a flourish before the world. The discomfiture of poor Ike when he confronted him in Paris with solid evidence had to be seen to be believed. Ike refused to apologize of course. But Nikita had succeeded in making the Americans eat crow.

Nikita Khrushchev with the U-2 wreckage Gary Powers on Trial for espionage

Not that it was the first time Nikita had beaten the Americans at their own game. He remembered how the West was shocked and stunned when he launched the Sputnik 1 into space on October 4, 1957. That lady, Clare Boothe, was moved by the beeps emitted by Sputnik to call it "an intercontinental outer-space raspberry" and a mockery of "a decade of American pretensions that the American way of life was a gilt-edged guarantee" of its national superiority.

NY Times Issue

And the sending up of the young boy, Yuri Gagarin? Ah, that was the cherry on the cake. The world loved this handsome boy, even though it squirmed at the political baggage he carried with him on his shoulders.

Yuri Gagarin and Nikita Khrushchev

But the telegram in his hand now was the real crown of his political career. It carried the news of successful detonation of a 50 kiloton hydrogen bomb somewhere over Novaya Zemlya Island in the Arctic Sea.

Somebody said later that windows in homes as far away as Norway and Finland were shattered. The mushroom cloud rose to a height of 60 kilometers, and that's more than seven times higher than the highest mountain peak on earth, Everest. The ball of detonation "was powerful and arrogant, like Jupiter". The detonation went down as the "single-most powerful device ever utilized throughout the history of humanity." There was heard a "remote, indistinct and heavy blow, as if the earth has been killed!"

Tsar Fireball, image from Atomic Forum

Hehehe. The blow was delivered by Nikita, my friend; the blow was delivered by none other than Nikita Khrushchev.

Mushroom cloud - ground view, image from Atomic Forum

Yes, the telegram was clear and unambiguous. The test at Novaya Zemlya was a success. "Those participating in the tests have fulfilled the task of our Motherland". Nikita had detonated the King of Bombs. Nikita now Ruled the World.

Nikita Khrushchev's grave

Nikita Khrushchev with his daughters Julia and Rada

The world observes the anniversary of Nikita's attempt to Rule the World, this day.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Fascination Of Betrayal

Der Dolchstoss

Why Is It Fun To Betray The One Who Trusts & Confides In You?

I am sure psychologists would have spent years upon years in analyzing the urge in human beings to betray a person who trusts and confides in them.

A 1983 movie

Take the case of Judas Iscariot. What made him go and make a deal with the priests to expose Jesus Christ? The story goes that the betrayal was plotted for thirty pieces of silver. But Judas used to carry the money bag of the apostles - so surely, was he really lured by money?

'The Kiss of Judas' - by Giotto de Bondone

Take the case of Sandy Stranger, a student of Miss Jean Brodie, the conservative school teacher in Muriel Spark's novel - "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie". From the time she was ten years old, Sandy grew up under the tutelage of Miss Brodie. The teacher even anoints Sandy as a trusted confidante from the entire lot of six girls who formed the "Brodie Group". Sandy has an affair with Miss Brodie's lover, the married Teddy Lloyd. (So, Lloyd betrays his wife when she is away, too.) And then Sandy turns her mentor to the dogs, by suggesting to the orthodox principal Miss Mackay that the latter frame Miss Brodie as a fascist. Now whatever drove Sandy to walk into the principal's office and spill the beans? Rebellion?

'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie', by Muriel Spark

And then we have "that woman" whose famous "navy blue dress" was not sent to the Dry cleaners after all. It is now almost a decade since the stains became public, but I still wonder: what drew Monica to Linda Tripp, a woman older to her by twenty four years? Not only Monica, but Kathleen too - in fact, of all the possible confidantes in the world, these women would find only Linda whom to confide with. Granted, women do have this "need" (^|^) to have somebody to share their secrets with, especially if the catch happens to be so powerful a man. What void in Monica's and Kathleen's persona did Linda fill? How did the chemistry match so perfectly, like moth and flame?

Monica's blue dress Linda Tripp

"I hate Linda Tripp." - were her last words in the testimony. What exactly did Linda gain? Exactly what went on in her mind when she pressed the "RECORD" button on her cassette recorder? Now, let's keep the "sense of patriotic duty" story aside for the time being. If she was hoping for a book deal or some such lucrative transaction, nothing seems to have come of it. She got her fifteen minutes of limelight, of course.

Ho hum.

'Big Fish Eat Little Fish', image by Bruegel
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Sunday, October 14, 2007

So What Is _Your_ Monomyth?

Image from 'The Lion King', Broadway

Pick Up The Gauntlet In Your Life

We all read up on the biographical stories of the Buddha, Jonah, watch Superman and James Bond movies, feel momentarily inspired by all of them --- and then stow them away. Isn't it just possible, remotely, but just possible, that the same elements of heroism might be there in our own life too? Isn't it just possible, remotely, but just possible, that we might never have valued ourselves enough to look at ourselves as a Hero or a Heroine?

image by TouTouke, stock.Xchng

These folks, heroic all of them, went through the monomythical stages that Joseph Campbell so brilliantly describes in his "The Hero with a Thousand Faces".

Amazon Book store Image

You are leading what you or anybody might describe as an "ordinary" life. Suddenly, out of the blue, a gauntlet is thrown at you. You decide to pick it up, or ignore it. If you ignore it (continue leading the same _ordinary_ life), you take a different life path. Again, gauntlets are thrown at you at different times in the future.

image by mzacha, stock.Xchng

What could the challenge be? Oh, one of a host of issues. Being given the pink slip is one. Being told that you have cancer or AIDS or some other life-threatening disease, is another. Falling in love is a positive spin in your life. Or getting an offer of a job out of the blue, when you had resigned yourself to a life of a homemaker or a retiree is yet another. Going to college, or being assigned on a new project in the office / factory too come in this list.

image by bigevil600, stock.Xchng

And after picking up the gauntlet, begins a series of stages through which you go through. It is really interesting - to identify what stage you are in at the moment, by comparing with the stages Campbell has laid out in his book.

image by BrandyCorc, stock.Xchng

Somewhere during the day today, between your daily chores, sit down and go through his book. And quietly introspect and do this identification. You will be surprised at the answer that pops up.

image by hotblack, stock.Xchng

Do it. And let the hero or the heroine in you emerge.

image by puste80, stock.Xchng
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Monday, October 08, 2007

What Differentiates The Human Being From Other Animals?


The Ability To Set Goals And To Achieve Them - That's What

There are many differences between human beings and the rest of the animal kingdom. One of the most important is the ability to have goals.

image by omster-com, stock.Xchng

Look at the animals, they simply take birth and eat and give birth and die. In quite a few cases, animals are automatically cared for by Mother Nature for their food. And in cases where a complex social structure is in place, such as ant and bee colonies, a being that takes birth does so with its fate and destiny already pre-determined at the time of its birth.

image by gulden, stock.Xchng

Witness, for example, the drones and the queen and the worker ants. What destiny a ant will have when it comes to life is decided in advance. So you have the worker ant whose job is to slog, slog and slog. Which it does happily, for it knows not any other form of existence. The drone does nothing but eating and fornicating. And then dying soon after his sex act. The queen bee's goal is to get herself inseminated while in flight, and then found a new colony. Can we call their activities goals? Goals they are, in a way. But all driven by Mother Nature. They neither possess the mind, nor the wherewithal, to do anything other than what they are ordained to do.

Ants making their way - Uni of Melbourne site

Not so with humans.

Human beings can, theoretically, live off the raw material that Mother Nature provides. Hell, this was how they subsisted in the Cave Age! But tell a human being today to go pluck a pizza from a tree somewhere! And unlike the animals, a child's fate and destiny are not stamped on its forehead when it emerges from the mother's womb. It has to create its own fate and destiny. There are no predefined roles to be played. So, it is entirely possible for a child to grow up and fly a space shuttle, for example, and for another to find out the cure for the latest life-threatening disease. Mother Nature has not imposed any limitation to what a human being can do.

image by torif2m, stock.Xchng

This is the reason why it is important to have goals in one's life. Can you live a life without goals? Yes, sure, why not? Only, there wouldn't be much difference between your life and those of the animals. Simply breathing in and breathing out is not living. Simply foraging for food is not living. Simply procreating and producing children is not living. Living is defined by all these, plus there is an additional component: that of having a goal, or a set of mini-goals in life. And striving to achieve those goals. It is goals that distinguish man, a being of higher intelligence, from the rest of the animal world.

image by KLatham, stock.Xchng

Reflect on your own feelings and emotions when you observe a fellow human being achieving something. Does it make you feel envious? Or does it make you feel inspired? Do you look at yourself in self-pity and sigh? Or are you plain indifferent? Envy and inspiration are an indication that you already have a goal in mind, but are perhaps yet to set it in stone and work upon it. Self-pity is a signal from your subconscious that you, too, should think about a goal for yourself. Indifference implies that you are too steeped in some pre-conditioned way of thinking to understand what it means to be really alive.

image by gabriel77, stock.Xchng

Reflect. Discover yourself. Find out what it is that makes _you_ tick. And put that thought into a concrete goal. For that is the freedom Mother Nature has given you as human being. To be the Master of your own Destiny and not live to die like yet another worker or drone or queen ant.

image by brokenarts, stock.Xchng

And having decided upon your goals, set out to achieve them. Here is one very good self-hypnosis audio program that you can listen to everyday, to keep yourself going, when the going becomes rough at times: http://www.short10.com/?c=sdb_hypno_goalachiev. Costs USD 12.95 for a download, USD 25.95 for a CD.

Hypno Box
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Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Symbol of the sexes


It is one of the most important gifts of pleasure that nature has given to man. The gift of enjoying the surge of chemicals that ripples through the entire body before, during and after coitus.

Coition of a Hemisected Man and Woman, Image by Leonardo da Vinci

The entire body, the brain, and the soul - the entity in its entirety is involved in the act. Time stands momentarily still for this individual, while his nervous system is stretched to its fullest, right from the brain through the spinal chord to the very last neuron touching the remotest pore. It is so stretched to give his entire persona the highest celebration of his existence, that in those moments, nothing else matters. And the highest point in celebrating the conjugation is the ejaculation of the seminal fluid. The climax. After which, the refractory period takes over.

UCSB Site - Sexual response diagram

And yet, for a lot of men, the refractory period comes even before the body and the brain and the soul have reached their highest point of pleasure. The seminal vesicles appear to be too eager to give forth their treasure horde. The peristaltic contractions of the muscles underlying the seminal ducts are involuntary in these men. There is absolutely no control that they can exert on them. The net result is that after the volume of fluid has squirted out, they lie on their side, spent, dejected, full of self-hatred, and the partner turning around, adjusting her clothes and preparing to sleep, yet another session of love having ended prematurely.

MSN image

Do such men finish their meals in a hurry? Are they usually the first to finish the food in their plate? Are these the kind who place too much demands on themselves in terms of performance, in whichever field they are in? Do such men carry too much stress on their shoulders, all the time? Do they fret and fume when the queue is too long, when the signal turns red as the junction nears, when the waitress takes too long to serve, when the wife takes too long to get dressed, when the promotion is delayed...

Image by pamah, stock.Xchng

Unless there are genetic factors involved, I would place the blame of PE squarely at the doorstep of the man's mental makeup. Unless there is some biological deformity in his system, the core of his active-sexual existence revolves round the performance of those tiny, 10-cm long seminal vesicles that lie curled up, and the epididymis - both of which produce different components of the fluid. And these organs and all the organ systems that make up his sexual structure are under the direct influence of the thought processes that the man is all the time undergoing during his waking and dreaming hours.

Image by Lize Rixt, stock.Xchng

So how do you change the thought processes? How do you wake up to appreciate the rising sun, even if for a brief moment? How do you enjoy the little things that happen around you throughout the day? How do you enjoy every bite of your meal, as if it is the first time you are eating it, and experience the entire process - the way your teeth dig into the piece, the way your tongue rolls it around different parts of the buccal cavity, and finally as it slides down your esophagus to land in your stomach? How do you learn to not give a damn - that stress and that queue and the red signal and the delay in serving and the delay in dressing and the delay in promotion...?

Image by Emac81, stock.Xchng

In the making of your personality, every thought counts and matters, you see. It is how you define yourself that decides how well you are going to enjoy sex - the fruit of your carnal being.

image by borax, stock.Xchng

Learning to live in the present moment. Enjoying life to the fullest.

image by banjazz, stock.Xchng

Shifting one's thought processes from one level to another level requires being vigilant all the time to what one is thinking. The moment you detect your thoughts going back to the same old level, politely but firmly shift to the new one. You can aid this process by listening to pre-recorded auto-suggestions. I haven't tried this particular CD, but you could try it if you have this particular issue of PE: http://www.short10.com/?c=sdb_sexhypno_pe. Costs USD 12.95 for a download, USD 25.95 if you want the CD.

Try this auto-suggestion method. Beats any day taking medicines!

PE Box
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