Goodbye for awhile

Greetings Readers –

As you may know, mariner has been staying in Chicken Little’s henhouse for several months. Not watching television news has been a blessing but getting his news from equitable online newscasters has offered no relief.

From time to time, he gets feedback from readers that he would have more readers if he wrote more positive and friendly posts. More readers was never his objective – discharging alarm because of a flagellistic desire to fail as a human race was the primary purpose.

In the last post mariner defined the five flavors of Armageddon that are in play and progressing. He realized that he very much was against the common grain of society, especially those deliberately encouraging Armageddon.

Noting the fate of Prophet Amos in the Old Testament, mariner is retreating to his little home in Iowa.

Ancient Mariner

Those moments

Everyone has moments of bliss, of complete satisfaction, perhaps even grace. One cannot select these moments, they happen unannounced, but they are rewarding. Sometimes, it’s just a moment with a loved one or a deep appreciation of a child. Sometimes it’s when one is alone, sitting in the midst of nature’s wilderness. Sometimes, it is the joy of making another life better. Sometimes, it’s just a realization of fulfillment in a familiar surrounding.

Mariner and his wife had a similar experience sitting in their backyard, a garden respite from garages, concrete parking pads and streets. Sunlight was fading, sparrows, robins, doves, blackbirds and squirrels went about their individual lives. Having these moments is like a soothing salve on one’s soul.

But those moments are brief. ‘Real’ life calls us back.  In that moment of recall, what does one feel? Is it anxiety? Duty? Contentment? Desire? Motivation? Does one retreat to depression or leap to ambition? Generally, all these sensations are in a bag labeled ‘accountability’. One is conscious of these feelings because a moment ago they were suppressed by a moment of bliss.

What accountability does one feel toward self, family, community, the nation and the sacred world of spirituality? It is important to note which accountability emerges first. This obligation is important and requires action of some nature. Based on one’s motivations, it may be to load the dishwasher, call one’s senator or see to the well being of a family member.

The moment of bliss should provide great healing power to the self, a comfort in family, a friendship with the community, a responsibility to the nation, and an allegiance to one’s source of spirituality.

It may be helpful to search for places where on can let go of the real world for a moment and restore a unified sense of one’s life experience.

Ancient Mariner



Recently mariner wrote a post about how to develop spirituality. Briefly, it has two key requirements: One must acknowledge the existence of a permanent prophet who sets the standards for proper behavior. The second is a personal allegiance to that prophet, a sense that one belongs to that prophet rather than to one’s self. The prophet does not have to be human. For example, many naturalists believe Planet Earth is the prophet because it controls the rules of life; some Christians believe the Bible is a prophetic statement in behalf of Jesus [See ‘Spirituality’ May 29, 2024]

Closely related to spirituality is a human behavior called ‘bonding’. Bonding can occur only when sharing with others. One easily can relate to bonding with family, close friends and those who participated in significant life events. But bonding, like spirituality, has an extended role in the fabric of society that sustains social orderliness, community allegiance, and the ability to sustain common abstract behaviors; just a couple of examples: being a fan of a sports team, and befriending the mail carrier as a person who shares a common task. Both these examples imply a commitment to sharing without which the civility would not occur.

An excellent example of bonding in everyday life is the movie “The Green Book” released in September 2018. It stars Viggo Martensen and Mahershala Ali. For those who have not seen it, take the characters in stride as the movie progresses. Mariner’s wife found a copy at the library or you can pay to see it online


Bonding requires sharing a common responsibility with open mindedness as a lubricant. Importantly, bonding generates motivation in life.

Ancient Mariner

Distracting mini-thoughts

֎ Mariner will not speak disparagingly about the future if it exists.

֎ From the 1990s until now, humanity very much resembles a pot of boiling water. Has the reader ever watched the process? At first, there are small wisps of steam rolling about in the pot; After a bit, one can see tiny bubbles on the bottom of the pot that show up then quickly disappear; moments later there are lots of tiny bubbles and they no longer disappear but seem to be waiting; they don’t wait long before starting to dance and grow; then the bubbles grow large and violent. Finally, the water itself begins to roil pushing bubbles to the side. Where in this process is humanity? Even Denmark, the most liberal nation in the world, went red in its last election.

Will the pot boil over in a giant rage only to vaporize in the end to a scorched pot of nothing? Is there anyone who can turn off the burner? (Don’t be ignorant enough to suggest the three-year-old or the ghost). Examples of roiling bubbles are US financing of any war, Putin, Netanyahu, the genocide war in China against Muslims, and the military leaders of thirty different state wars in Africa! An example of a roil is the Middle East.

֎ Mariner quickly is distracted by tiny, irrelevant things. He was sitting on his back porch the other day when a tiny, really tiny black bug walked by. The bug has a brain that is fully functional for bugs. In it’s own way, it interprets the world just like humans do except from a bug’s perspective. It turned out to have wings. Wow! My son is going to college to learn how to fly but this bug has it all in it’s tiny brain! Could the human brain handle six legs? Mariner wondered whether the bug could rationalize the presence of an escalator – now that’s something the human brain excels at: inventing things that make life easy. As the bug flew off, he wished it well in it’s disciplined reality.

֎ If small things entertain the reader, the biggest small thing is the neuron. The human brain has 86 billion nerve cells (AKA neurons). 86 billion!! And that’s just one brain. One wonders how many neurons exist in the Universe. How would anyone consciously be able to manage 86 billion cells? As a human, we can’t manage 86 commercial airplanes. Thank goodness the brain brought along a cerebellum to handle things.

֎ It is the busy time of year for gardeners. It seems every plant wants attention – especially weeds. But there are some plants that earn respect by not asking for much, by returning every year for decades and which provide a fine display, anchoring other flowers around them. Mariner recommends this quiet, unassuming shrub that performs well as a plant and as a player in the quality of the garden:

Spiraea Double Big Bang

Ancient Mariner

2024 – the age of juggernauts

A good analogy for the definition of ‘juggernaut’ is a huge cargo ship running into a bridge, splintering the bridge apart as if it were made of matchsticks. The 2000s have been years for growing juggernauts culminating with an election in 2024 that may well splinter a nation.  The registry of juggernauts is awesome: Middle East oil, Middle East war, Middle East international conflict, Putin’s war, Sudan genocide, Pacific war over Taiwan; in the US, the recent pandemic, immigration, unbridled economy, cultural collapse, social isolation expressed with mass shootings, Federal and State governments and courts operating under antique theories about governance and further stressed by the presence of plutocracy, the age of super-automation and the stress from violating the rules of nature for centuries.

It makes one feel they are walking through an entanglement of giant rosebushes with significant danger from life-threatening thorns.

There are three relatively unnoticed juggernauts that will bring collapse to our nation – not the movie versions with high energy explosions and sudden destruction of the countryside. What will happen is similar to the ripening of an avocado – looks good on the surface but spoils more rapidly inside than expected and is inedible before one would suspect. The three juggernauts are:

֎ Health Industry. Even today the economics of health management are destructive. Too few physicians are graduating from medical school, nurses and other staff are overworked while working for wages that have not kept up with inflation. US governments/insurance agencies are over-managing medical science and the implied authorities of medical professionals. Private investment is turning medical service into a profit-only model of service, demanding more patients with less care per patient. There is a growing trend for physicians to disassociate from their medical institution and set up an independent, fee-based patient relationship (eliminating access for poorer patients). In mariner’s state of Iowa even standardized health care may be an more than an hour away.

There is promise from new technology that will ease an individual’s workload but this is only a mechanical solution to a national population that cannot survive to current age expectations without personalized healthcare. In 1900 the average life expectancy was 40 years.

֎ Retirement. This is a cousin juggernaut to healthcare. The population in the US has begun to slow because births have fallen below 2.1 per fertile woman; by the end of the century population will reflect an annual decrease. At the same time, an increasing percentage of the population is moving into retirement. Today, this population dilemma goes unnoticed. As more and more citizens retire, fewer and fewer citizens comprise the national workforce. Who will, or can, pay for retirement and healthcare? On this very day Social Security faces a huge political confrontation in 2025. The only solutions offered to date are sidewalk tents and tiny ‘homes’ for the homeless.

֎ Education. In the 1850s the idea of grading students was implemented. This has been the norm until the internet began to offer divers ways to gain an education. Today’s society is so divers that the letter ‘A’ or ‘C’ can have very different meanings across different education administrations. Colleges in particular suffer from the undermining idea that knowledge cannot be totally scored by a set of letters. The desire to tie education with a direct link to a job is more important than a letter.

It has been a blessing over the decades that the ‘white collar’ class maintained a steady, independent function for education. This is gone today as citizens attack libraries and otherwise intercede the authority of trained teachers – similar to interference by governments with a physician’s professional decisions.

Over the centuries with many cultures and religions, education was a matter of compliance with behavioral norms or religious mandates. Neither is an influence today because of the diversity of society and, in particular, because of confrontations with many juggernauts.

While there are many techniques for keeping one’s self sane and worthy, that does not dismiss one’s job to sustain survival as a nation.

The closing analogy is one of a polar bear trying to walk across melting slush in a warming world.

Ancient Mariner

Visit with Mariner’s alter-egos

It has been a month or two since mariner visited his alter-egos; their personal perspectives often reveal entirely different realities. So he’ll stop at each ego’s residence to see how they are doing.

Chicken Little is just down the hall because mariner is renting an apartment in his hen house until after the 2024 election. It is a good place to hide because broadcast news on TV is blocked to avoid undue stress. [mariner cheats by going onto the internet]

Mariner asked Chicken Little to give him a general perspective on the United States today.

“You know,” Chicken Little said, “Each day is not fun anymore. Used to be I could wake up in the morning, put on my comb, go out into the yard and just have an easy day with the flock. Now, you have to be careful what you say to a given chicken because the flock is really uptight about so many issues.”

“What bothers you the most?” mariner asked.

“The violence. Chickens don’t have many resources to defend themselves. And I don’t understand why issues like homosexuality and abortion are causing so much conflict. These issues aren’t really the fault of the victims.

“Maybe it’s because the dissenters can’t really address larger issues like the economy and dysfunctional government agencies,” mariner suggested.

“May be.” Chicken Little said. ” But what’s closer to home is gun violence, riots and destructive protests. Thank goodness we chickens have a nice home here but it could be gone in a day because of riots with torches, gunfire, police abuse, tornadoes, and changes in zoning. Most chickens don’t have the resources to start over again.”

Chicken Little was becoming upset so mariner wished him well, left and headed for Amos’s house – mariner’s skeptical alter-ego.

“Hello.” mariner said as he entered the office of Amos. (Amos was named after the prophet Amos in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible). “Hello.” Amos replied. Amos’s office was disheveled, having stacks of newspapers, magazines, books, a television, two phones and a computer. Obviously Amos was an information hound.

Mariner tossed out an obvious conversation starter: “How is the election coming along?” he asked.

“Jesus, mariner, you jump right in the middle, don’t you? I haven’t had the time I’ve wanted to follow the three-year-old and the ghost. I’m too busy trying to keep on top of an all out war in the Middle East, not to mention Taiwan!”

He paused a moment and continued, “And its like Congress doesn’t even know its the twenty-first century – and the courts are trying to recreate the eighteenth century.”

“What’s your biggest concern?” mariner asked.

“Hell, that’s like asking which piece in the garbage do I dislike the most.” He paused. “I think its that corporations and private equity have taken over the economy. Congress is so busy pissing on each other’s shoes that corporations can do whatever they want – and both are ignoring the growing impact of global warming. It is time to modernize tax structure and government spending for a new reality – and get out of paying for wars.”

Amos was becoming flushed. Mariner said goodbye and headed for the home of alter-ego Guru, the theorist member of the team.

Guru has a pleasant but simple home on a hillside in the country. He offered a Croatian red wine as we sat down to talk. “I’ve been visiting the other egos”, mariner said. “I would be interested in hearing your concerns about today’s world.”

“Hmmm, that’s a difficult question to prioritize. In all likelihood, there are four global forces that will require civilization to reconstruct the future of humanity in a way that does not exist at the moment: Not in any specific order, they are population, the relationship between humans and dwindling natural resources, a warming planet combined with solar phenomena from sunbursts to magnetic shifts, and certainly the impact of intensive automation that will affect the daily behavior of human society.”

It was mariner’s turn to pause. He asked, “Will any of the great difficulties facing the world today affect the four issues?”

“No. The end of the twentieth century coincided with deep changes in how society will move forward in the twenty-first century. The most subliminal may be the move toward a global or regional economy rather than a separate economy managed by each nation. Another subliminal shift will be a redefinition of human rights from a global perspective. Both these issues will be difficult to experience and will cause consternation.”

“is this the same as the confrontation between capitalism and socialism?” mariner asked.

Guru replied, ” That is a typical shortsighted question. Just as there was a rewriting of human values during the early Persians, just as there was a rewriting of human values during the Great Awakening, so to will humanity have to ‘rewrite the books’ as they say to provide structure for a global society.”

Mariner could sense that the conversation was getting a little too deep. He finished his Croatian wine and pleasantly said thanks and headed for the door.

It is always interesting to visit the alter-egos; they each have a view of reality at very different altitudes. Mariner appreciates this diversity since the alter-egos have a lot of influence in his posts.

Ancient Mariner



Yes, Virginia, Armageddon has begun

The post will deal with this issue but first be sure to read Marc Miller’s response under Recent Comments. His lifestyle is right on the mark!

Now, about Armageddon. According to the Book of Revelation in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, Armageddon is the prophesied location of a gathering of armies for a battle during the end times, which is variously interpreted as either a literal or a symbolic location. The term is also used in a generic sense to refer to any end-of-the-world scenario. In Islamic theology, Armageddon is also mentioned in Hadith as the Greatest Armageddon  (the great battle).

The Abrahamic religions maintain a linear cosmology, with end-time scenarios containing themes of transformation and redemption. In Judaism, the term “end of days” makes reference to the Messianic Age and includes an in-gathering of the exiled Jewish diaspora, the coming of the Messiah, the resurrection of the righteous, and the world to come. Christianity depicts the end time as a period of tribulation that precedes the second coming of Christ, who will face the rise of the Antichrist along with his power structure and false prophets, and usher in the Kingdom of God. [ mostly from Wikipedia]

Now that we have our Certificate of Understanding, One can define Armageddon as any extended, excessive change and upheaval of morals, economy, global upheaval and comprehensive, diminished value of humanity.

In the news today, Trump, along with a self-interested polity, economic disparity, global population issues, overdue war among Islamic nations, AI, and planet weather on the move, could be described as an Armageddon.

But in his musings, mariner feels that a big list of troublesome times is not what Armageddon is all about. Planetary Armageddons preceded life on Earth by billions of years. Focus on the term ‘end of times’. When an Armageddon occurs, what pre-existed no longer exists.  Pre-Armageddon isn’t upgraded or modified, it is gone. One crude example is the disappearance of nomadic life when money was invented, ways were found to manipulate planet resources for profit, and stationery life made survival more secure. Only one nomadic tribe still exists: in Africa and its days are numbered just like thousands of other creatures on the continent.

Bear with mariner as he focuses on circumstances that predict an ‘end of time’ for humanity.

By far and without question, the potential for an electronically based existence that will push human life into extinction, is the most potent shift that may cause a genuine ‘end of time’ for humanity. With a bit of tongue in cheek, mariner poses some phenomena.

Already, trucks and electric vehicles don’t need humans to run around streets like a loose dog. One can call a self-directed cab, get in and arrive at the appointed destination. Cab driver? Give this situation a broader context: why, eventually, would taxis need to exist if fewer and fewer people travel? By then, will vehicles still exist?

Technology exists today to make sex dolls self-dependent. They will be able to move out and sustain themselves without a ‘sponsor’. Provide them with an especially supportive bordello – who needs human prostitutes?

It is not just less and less need for humans. Does the reader enjoy the presence of their local state bank? Armageddon already is underway for independent banks. Already, large credit card companies have been absorbed by corporations like Amazon. Amazon can then control pricing from manufacturer to customer – including managing a customer’s checking and savings accounts. Then there’s crypto – no one knows what will happen when crypto leaks into the stock market; perhaps we won’t need the dozen or so humans who control stock markets.

To sustain a human’s life is much more complex than plugging into an electric socket. Did the reader know that if every little piece of vein and artery in their body were pieced together into a long string, it would wrap around the planet more than once.

Then there are all the ‘human communication’ robots. Everyone knows Apple’s Siri replaces everyone’s relatives. Then there’s the world of minions who replace secretaries when the reader calls for service. Mariner once got tangled up in a phone answering web that had three levels and about fifteen options – none of which led to a human.

The point is that electronic existence is so efficient when compared to the complex chemistry of humans that any post-Armageddon world will consist only of simplistic biological creatures driven, fed and taught by AI.

Storefront shopping disappeared long ago.

Ancient Mariner

Just for old timers

When mariner was in his sixties and had just retired, he thought, “Being old ain’t so bad.” He felt the new freedom of not having to work long days and forever flying off to some contract. Then he rolled into his seventies. During that time, he moved to his retirement home in a small Iowan town. He did notice that, socially, he had no role in this town. He dismissed this thought and traveled often to see friends and family, take a cruise, have the joy of crewing on the Stars and Stripes, (the America’s Cup winner in 1987), and sailing in the Caribbean.

As he neared his eighties, he experienced a few significant illnesses, began to have back problems, arthritis and palsy. He had adopted gardening as his new raison d’etre. In his eighties, however, the body disappeared. (See Tim Conway’s oldest man at ). Where once mariner could lift two concrete blocks and toss them into his pickup, yesterday he almost needed a hand truck to move one block five feet.

But the body is its own story bound by genetics, health history and life experience. There is a more important side to being old: mental health. The time comes when we must change who we think we are.

While work rules and government policy suggest when to retire from full employment in the sixties, it is the decisions we make in our seventies that set our future happiness. Perhaps now you have a parttime job in a grocery store or perhaps you belong to organizations like PEO, Masons or even a bowling league. The time has come to move on.

Do not make the mistake of just jumping out of your social role into a deep pit where a recliner-casket, a television and delivered groceries shape who you are. The subconscious brain (the real boss) needs to communicate with other humans no matter how old you are.

Instead of cutting strings and disappearing, develop a new plan for how you will fit into society. For example, set a specific pattern for visiting friends, having friends to your home, perhaps joining a volunteer organization or a hobby-based club like reading, arts and crafts, etc. If you are fortunate, perhaps its time to move to a retirement community – designed to fulfill your new but antiquated needs. Perhaps move closer to your family to retain that togetherness that families provide.

While one is alive, it is a mistake to retire to a closet. Just reshape the way one can still have a good time in a different way. Be with people!

Ancient Mariner


Yes, he knows, logarithms aren’t interesting. But the reader will have to put up with obtuse and irrelevant subjects while mariner spends time in Chicken Little’s henhouse.

Cruising through Netflix, mariner found a documentary about how everything in the Universe is connected with everything in the Universe in an orderly fashion. Humans, like every creature, measure reality in terms of meaningful increments – one candy, one day, one football game, 12 eggs, one automobile, $500 dollars, three children, etc.

But if a very large number of anything – people, number of days late to work in a lifetime, the distance from Earth to every star in the sky, the number of times each letter of the alphabet starts a word in The New York Times, etc., the numbers will relate to one another in a pattern called a logarithm. Even the pixels in a photograph are subject to the same pattern in this logarithm. What is fascinating is that the values in the logarithm are the same for every example!

Take the tax returns from every citizen in the US. Throw all the numbers in all the answer boxes together. The number ‘1’ will start 30 percent of the values in all the boxes. The same is true when measuring distances to the stars; whether one uses miles or kilometers or 2x4x8 lumber, 30 percent of the distances will start with ‘1’.

Mariner will not pursue deeper uses for logarithms. He suggests the reader go to Netflix and search for ‘Connected’. Or, if you are more scholarly, search for ‘Benford’s Law’.

When mariner took calculus in high school, the ethereal characteristics of logarithms was not taught. Consequently, as a tool it was a boring inversion of exponential values. He, remembers, though, that a different order of values was created that seemed to having nothing to do with the rest of the values in the equation.

So, what’s for supper?

Ancient Mariner


Spring is nigh

After several weeks of near-zero temperatures, a foot of snow, a large lake at the end of the yard, bitter winds and muck in the yard, there are signs. Mariner is hesitant to celebrate. He has no trust in Punxsutawney Phil and last February saw similar temperatures in the sixties which provoked premature growth that later was frozen in a series of frosts in late April.

Still, in these times, any sign of a positive event should be appreciated. Today, tulips in the front garden poked through just by an inch or less but there is life! Further, when mariner cleared last year’s dead tomato plants, he discovered four chard plants pushing through in spite of all the cover. This is well appreciated because that row of chard was covered by the huge tomato plants and bush beans. He considers the chard heroes and they will receive special care this year.

It was refreshing to return to the hardscape chores that will restructure the backyard gardens.

Since spring is nigh, he and his wife will attempt a celebration of family as they launch a visit to their family in California (if they haven’t been washed away).

So, readers, look around for similar good times with your family and newfound gumption. Be warned, however, not to look too far – it’s a tough world out there.

Ancient Mariner