• Karl Thunemann

A Brotherly Commentary

By John Scarborough

With the Blogger


1. In response to Dharma or Dreams, an epistle about lojong slogans


JOHN: I want my slogans to be spot on, so when I read them, and then hold them before my mind's I, I might feel immediate uplift and understanding. I do not doubt that my desire and its yet-to-be-met fulfillment will prove to be fleeting, but I still look for slogans and couplets and pithy expressions of truth.

The other day I was shopping with my wife at Paddington's, here in Ashland (OR), when my eye was caught by a wisdom-dispensing coffee-mug. I read the proffered text and burst into laughter: "I am a ray of fucking sunshine." Margaret asked what was so funny, and I pointed to the mug. She asked me, "Who would you give that to?" I immediately replied, "Bill" (name changed to protect effects of indelicacy). Bill had visited a day or two before and, asked for the purpose of his visit, he had said that "Vera" (not her name either) told him to leave the house and come back when he could support a happy expression on his face.


I think both dreams and dharmas are examples of the illusion ("dream") typified by seeing a body of water at a great distance on a macadam road on a desert, or on the desert sand itself.

The mug and its proffered uplift were definitely not a dream; I'm not even sure if it's (a) dharma. But I certainly needed no explanation, and I felt downright illumined by it. Dreams sometimes carry pithy expressions of truth. Rarely, I should say though. The other night I dreamed of a witch, riding a broom, that got stuck trying to fly through a fairly stout plaster-and-lath wall. My dream-wife expressed concern. I replied that the witch was not about to get off her broom. She was dressed for business, not for delivering messages.

Dharmas are not THAT kind of dream. I think both dreams and dharmas are examples of the illusion ("dream") typified by seeing a body of water at a great distance on a macadam road on a desert, or on the desert sand itself. We see something; that experience is real enough, taken as a perception. But it's not what we think it is. For that, we need to abide in the moment, perhaps for a very long moment, while our expectations subside.

KARL: Oh, brother, why are you empowered to use language that I am not allowed to use in my own blog?



2. In response to “O! O! An Aggravated Blessing,” in which the blogger lamented seeing his time eclipsed on the exercycle at the school for the disabled.


JOHN: The "also-pedaleds.” That eclipses all new or re-learned words I've learned today. The brightest before that was "Nolo episcopari", Latin for "I do not want to be bishoped", i.e. appointed bishop. I looked that up after reading it in Tom Jones, around chapter 10. It sounds like a defiant response to an opponent's bishop's micro-aggression, not a principled refusal of aggrandizement.

KARL: Also-ran is firmly established in our language. Can also-pedaled be far behind? Looking ahead to the base of the second Trump presidency, will they be called the also-groveleds?


3. In response to “Tantalized by a Taoist Dream.”

JOHN: "Another problem with being a Taoist in the West is that we are such a precious few." How does one go about counting them? They might, I suspect, be mistaken for topiary shrubs (or shrubbesses), or leaves blowing in the wind, or homeless vagabonds.

KARL: Please observe that I have found an image of what just might be a Taoist nursery. When do these shrubs take human form?



BLOGGER’S NOTE; John and Karl are full brothers, even though they no longer share a last name. They shared a bedroom for the first 14 years of John’s life. They look alike. They breathe alike. They once shred a fantasy of co-hosting a weekly talk show on KMUN-FM in Astoria, OR. This blog is as close as they have come to achieving that vision.