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Thus Spoke Penning Panda through Zarathustra

To get you in the mood I’m posting a song that I’ve been listening to quite a bit lately and possibly for the first time actually fits the post. So hopefully Mumford & Sons’ “Awake My Soul” will provide a good background as you read through this blog and get to know the Penning Panda a bit more.

Some of you have heard me talk about how I dig Friedrich Nietzsche’s writing. I’m sure some of you also have your minds racing and are judging me on that statement. But you can put your religious judgments about me aside; remember one of my heroes is Pope John Paul II. Ever since I met him in Kindergarten, everyone else I’ve met since is just a bonus (I’m grateful for you all though, through the good and bad). Keeping that in mind one of my favorite books is Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and a favorite quote from it is:

“One ought to hold on to one’s heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.”

I’d say it was ironic that Nietzsche broke down insane in 1889 and later died from his insanity (if that’s even possible).  But understanding that quote and the life I’ve lead… I can see it.

With my logic, it should follow, that one of my created life mottos is:

Craziness is hard to find. But when you do find it, embrace it.

The motto makes life that much better when you embrace craziness, and at times it gives an understanding to what we may consider crazy moments.

To the actual point of this blog, the following passage/chapter from Thus Spoke Zarathustra is the one that resonates with me the most… and it could, or could not, help to explain a little bit more about me.

The Penning Panda Kixin it With Confucius at the Confucius Temple in Beijing. Yes, Nietzsche, Pope John Paul II, and Confucius all in the same posting... and this isn't even about religion.

The Stillest Hour

What happened to me, my friends?  You see me distracted, driven away, unwillingly obedient, prepared to go-alas, to go away from you.  Indeed, Zarathustra must return once more to his solitude; but this time the bear goes back to his cave without joy.  What happened to me?  Who ordered this?  Alas, my angry mistress wants it, she spoke to me; have I ever yet mentioned her name to you?  Yesterday, toward evening, there spoke to me my stillest hour; that is the name of my awesome mistress.  And thus it happened; for I must tell you everything lest your hearts harden against me for departing suddenly.

Do you know the fright of him who falls asleep?  He is frightened down to his very toes because the ground gives under him and the dream begins.  This I say to you as a parable.  Yesterday, in the stillest hour, the ground gave under me, the dream began.  The hand moved, the clock of my life drew a breath; never had I heard such stillness around me: my heart took fright.

Then it spoke to me without voice: “You know it, Zarathustra?”  And I cried with fright at this whispering, and the blood left my face; but I remained silent.

Then it spoke to me again without voice; “You know it, Zarathustra, but you do not say it!”  And at last I answered defiantly; “Yes, I know it, but I do not want to say it!”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “You do not want to, Zarathustra?  Is this really true?  Do not hide in your defiance.”  And I cried and trembled like a child and spoke: “Alas, I would like to, but how can I?  Let me off from this!  It is beyond my strength!”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “What do you matter, Zarathustra?  Speak your word and break!”

And I answered: “Alas, is it my word? Who am I? I await the worthier one; I am not worthy even being broken by it.”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “What do you matter?  You are not yet humble enough for me.  Humility has the toughest hide.”  And I answered: “What has the hide of my humility not borne?  I dwell at the foot of my height.  How high are my peaks?  No one has told me yet.  But my valleys I know well.”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “O Zarathustra, he who has to move mountains also moves valleys and hollows.”  And I answered: “As yet my words have not moved mountains, and what I said did not reach men.  Indeed, I have gone to men, but as yet I have not arrived.”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “What do you know of that? The dew falls on the grass when the night is most silent.”  And I answered: “They mocked me when I found and went my own way; and in truth my feet were trembling then.  And thus they spoke to me: ‘You have forgotten the way, now you have also forgotten how to walk.’”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “What matters their mockery?  You are one who has forgotten how to obey; now you shall command.  Do you not know who is most needed by all?  He that commands great things.  To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult.  This is what is most unforgivable in you; you have the power, and you do not want to rule.”  And I answered: “I lack the lion’s voice for commanding.”

Then it spoke to me again as a whisper: “It is the stillest words that bring on the storm.  Thoughts that come on doves’ feet guide the world.  O Zarathustra, you shall go as a shadow of that which must come: thus you will command and, commanding, lead the way.”  And I answered: “I am ashamed.”

Then it spoke to me again without voice: “You must yet become as a child and without shame.  The pride of youth is still upon you; you have become young late; but whoever would become as a child must overcome his youth too.”  And I reflected for a long time and trembled.  But at last I said what I had said at first: “I do not want to.”

Then laughter surrounded me.  Alas, how this laughter tore my entrails and slit open my heart!  And it spoke to me for the last time: “O Zarathustra, your fruit is ripe, but you are not ripe for your fruit.  Thus you must return to your solitude again; for you must yet become mellow.”  And again it laughed and fled; then it became still around me as with double stillness.  But I lay on the ground and sweat poured from my limbs.

Now you have heard all, and why I must return to my solitude.  Nothing have I kept from you, my friends.  But this too you have heard from me, who is still the most taciturn of all men–and wants to be.  Alas, my friends, I still could tell you something, I still could give you something.  Why do I not give it? Am I stingy?

But when Zarathustra had spoken these words he was overcome by the force of his pain and the nearness of his parting from his friends, and he wept loudly; and no one knew how to comfort him.  At night, however, he went away alone and left his friends.


Still Love Siobhan, but Damn Crystal Bowersox is POWER

Let’s be honest. I’m pretty much continuing these weekly blogs for my love of Siobhan Magnus. Unfortunately, I have to admit that tonight’s performance was not her best. Ugh, seeing the tears in her eyes the Panda just wanted to grab the private plane and give her a Proper Panda Hug. But, I’m hoping the teenie bopper fans recognize what she’s done as a whole so far this year and keep her around. I still love her.

My favorites remain the same, but I’m going to have to reorder the list: Crystal Bowersox (by far the best voice in the competition), Lee DeWyze (the best male vocals), Michael Lynche, Siobhan Magnus, and Aaron Kelly. I have sleeper bets on Andrew Garcia (he’s my dude) and Katie Stevens (she definitely has a voice, but really needs to find her song and connect with the audience). Why that Tim Urban dude is still in the competition, I really don’t know. Didi Benami has such a unique voice, but like Katie, she really needs to find the right song. Casey James, he’s definitely a concert performer… but doesn’t really bring anything new. I could see him jammin on a side-stage at SXSW.

So on to the videos for my peeps. The first is Crystal Bowersox’s rendition of Gladys Knight & The Pips “Midnight Train to Georgia”. She’s definitely a professional. Stepping up every week, but I’d have to say vocally this was her best performance.

I also have to give props to Lee DeWyze. I agree with the judges, it was by far his best performance… and once he learns how to connect with the crowd he could be a force. But with him and Crystal Bowersox, I can see them both making records right now and they would sell like heaters in Alaska. Here’s Lee’s jammin version of The Temptations’ “Treat Her Like a Lady”.

Finally… Andrew Garcia, my dude. He’s definitely been struggling since Hollywood Week. His cover of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” was simply butter. But finally, my dude, came through tonight and if he can keep picking the right songs and does like I know he can do he’ll be right back in it. I’m going to post his creative money “Straight Up” cover and his super sick acoustic rendition of Chris Brown’s “Forever”.

Carolina on My Mind…

So my flight got into Raleigh just fine.  What was actually amazing, contrary to my previous statement in my last blog, is that North Carolinians are pretty damn attractive.

After grabbin my bags Boogs (Brett).  Actually let’s talk about Brett’s nickname.  Back in high school our boy Billy was actually trying to call Brett, Ogre, from Revenge of the Nerds.  But Billy forgot the name and called Brett, Booger instead.  Since that day the nickname has stuck and we’ve since shortened it to Boogs.

Anyway Boogs and his girl Laura Beth (LB) came to pick me up.  This was actually the first time I met LB (we have nicknames for everyone, people generally call me asshole kidding… Leon or Punchy Panda tends to get thrown around).  LB is definitely a Carolina girl, which I’m finding out is an awesome thing.  She’s very genuine and has a sense of humor that fits perfectly with us folk in the OHP.  Basically I give her the stamp of approval and beyond.  No, Boogs I’m not trying to snake your girl, I’m just saying you’re a lucky man.

On the way back to Boogs and LB’s house, I was telling LB how the only thing I really know about NC have been the over-the-top stories the Boogs has told me.  I was expecting to see people with no teeth, spit juice on their overalls, or some straight up country fed beasts (you know what I really want to say here).  Now there may be some of those around here, but generally people are extremely nice.  Though I’ve been told that there are some ignorant and illiterate folk around here, I guess not that much different than anywhere else.

We saw some deer running on the highway (reminds me of WA with all the greenery around).  Boogs said, “I could pull over and shoot that deer.”  I asked (like a dumbass if it was legal).  Boogs replied, “No, but no one would care.”  I wonder what my dad would think if he lived out here and the deer were eating his roses.  The deer back at my parents are notorious for eating the roses and every other plant in my parents’ garden back in WA.

We got back to Boogs and LB’s house.  Their house is very comforting and has a ton of space.  Boogs even has his own Man Room in the back and a kegerator (though the beer was kinda bunk, Boogs is workin on keeping it cold).  Further, I actually had my own room and bed.  I haven’t slept in a bed for what seems like months (but merely weeks).  Telling you they keep it homey down south.

It started to rain, rather storm up a bit and we decided to go out for dinner.  The restaurant’s name is escaping me right now, but all I know is that they had a $1.50 High Life special.  One may frown at The Champagne of Beers, but for a buck-fitty, you think any of us were going to complain.  LB opted for Michelob Ultra, the Sports Drink of Beers. HA HA.

Something interesting to note is that Boogs asked the waiter, “Are there any specials tonight?”   Turns out there are no happy hours in NC anymore.  Rather they have “specials.”  The difference?  Is that instead of a Happy Hour time period, drink specials run all night.  But shit $1.50 beers makes this guy happy.

After dinner we did as one would expect in NC and got some beers at the store.  I made an observation on the prices of beer and tobacco products.   The lady says “Everything is cheaper in North Carolina.”  I had to bite my tongue and not retort with something like, “So does that mean the folks of North Carolina are cheap also?”  But it was too easy and she was too nice.  Yes, I can keep my mouth shut sometimes.

We ended the evening watching the Monday Night Football game.  I’m in five fantasy football leagues.  In one of them I really needed Romo to toss at least one TD, hey to Witten would’ve been icing on the cake.  But no Romo didn’t.  I lost in that league and Boogs lost in his league because Delhomme, was well Delhomme and his opponent had Dallas’ D who swiftly picked off Delhomme for a TD.

Tomorrow I’m going to check the sites of Raleigh and see what this state is about…

(Seeing how I’m actually writing this on Thursday, I actually have a most of a blog done about Tuesday and Wednesday… so stay tuned for motorcycles, the sites of Raleigh, and moonshine… oh moonshine.

Today I’m actually heading up to Duke with Boogs and we’re getting a tour of the athletic facilities.  Yes as some of you know, Duke b-ball is one of my most hated teams.  But, I have to respect the Cameron Crazies and I wanna feel that air.

Also we’re going to have a full on NC type of night… stay tuned for that also.

I’ll probably have a blog dedicated to just pictures… I’ve just had too much fun kickin it with Boogs and LB and actually doing some work on the side to get to this blog and picture posting.  But I you’re on facebook you can see some of them on my profile.)

And the Leg to NYC Begins

Finally finished my research for the probate case, ah the joy of WiFi. Now I’m sittin in LAX waiting to get on with the trip. Debating with a girl that my Dawgs victory was definitely legit.

“All of our players were injured.”
“Babe, your third string should of beat us.”
“That’s what I’m saying we’re the better team.”
“Unfortunately, there is no ‘better team’ in the win loss column.”