GNL number 114

a report of doings at meeting #114- Sunday January 15, 2017 at Cynthia’s home

including notes from all attending, sans presence of Skippy Leader {we’ve studied & learned to make this work under her guidance} THANK YOU NANCY & BE WELL!!


From Ann- “We are the other of the other.”  Marcus Aurelius


STRANGE (ers) (ness) (ly) (ETC)

After sharing Nancy’s email notes which are included in our AFTERWORDS section, Sue opened our discussion with many, many definitions of “STRANGE.”

A few favorites: “NOT US”, “SINGULAR” and “EXTRANEOUS”…

SUE spoke eloquently of her research into this subject and shared her thoughts about Biblical/Torah references to our treatment of STRANGERS, with translations of the story of Rebecca, connections to Torah with Freudian theory and defining the Jewish word for ‘stranger’- “ger”. As always, Sue’s profound knowledge and amazing ability to tell the story was too much to compress into a few sentences so her notes will follow in our AFTERWORDS section. Her description of personal experiences of “strange events” while spending time with her father as he spiraled through dementia provided us with insight into the ‘other-world’ of an altered state of mind- a place our where brains know the unknowable. Sue shared a poem she wrote in 1988 and gave each of us a copy…  “The Poet Visits the Schoharie County Board Room, to Discuss Garbage” written February 5th 1988.  It resonates with our topic and she will share it with you by request.

LOUISE believes we need to reach out to the “STRANGERS” (i.e.- Trump supporters) in our communitiy, work locally to build a connection for healing and understanding one another. She spoke about her persistent search on-line to find the truth in news reporting, which has led her into reading more about unraveling WATERGATE and 9-11 and the history of ONE WORLD ORDER as planned by Kissenger, Cheney and Rumsfeld. Her prior experience as a teacher made her hyper-sensitive to the power of propaganda and the reality of our general acceptance of “FAKE NEWS.” Louise’s deeply scientific  convictions led us into conversations too numerous to convey here, but we did agree that  “truth is stranger than fiction.”

CYNTHIA spoke about the ‘STRANGER’ within herself… waking up each day with weird hair, new aches or stiffness in a joint or muscle that wasn’t there yesterday- all the strangeness of aging and getting to know her “older self”. She also talked about keeping in mind the evolution of generations before us- and how STRANGE the world must have been to our ancestors as each new invention arrived to make our lives better/easier/faster…. Perhaps ‘strange’ equals ‘change’.

ANN suggested Holly Near’s song (SEE AFTERWORDS) “I am open…. lift me up to the light of change” as she talked about coping with the STRANGE political landscape. She offered quotes and  bits of wisdom from her readings of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980, the second book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction trilogy by Douglas Adams and other insights from her wonderfully open mind – and her concise collection of “6 WORDIES.” As a dedicated pickleball player, Ann spoke of the phenomenon of ‘loser’ vs ‘winner’….wondering how someone could get so upset about losing a GAME? Ann spoke of the public education system as our generation experienced it and questions the “normal” assumption of reality- and she ended with an observation from Chris Hedges…. to be ‘optimistic but not hopeful’ as we enter the age of the Donald Trump presidency. This instigated much discussion about being hopeful.

VIJAYA expressed her need to know how to feel about this ‘STRANGE’ man who will be leading the country – “do I need to be fearful because I am a dark-skinned female?”- much as she felt when she became an American citizen…. Sue suggested perhaps returning to her homeland will help VJ untie the knot of being a “stranger in India because she is American” vs the feeling of being a “stranger in America because she is a native of India”. Vijaya spoke of an incident when she and her new family were riding a bus on a visit to India to introduce her relatives to her young son when she was reminded of a time long ago-  her parents were involved in a hit & run accident. Two young men helped her mother & father survive that night but she did not know them…. so when two young men caught her attention on that bus, it made her think of her parents’ saviours. She instinctively covered her baby with a scarf just before a sudden accident kept shards of glass from harming her and her infant son….

MARGE arrived a bit later and shared her thoughts about the STRANGE effect of the dyeing process: after the  dye agent has been absorbed into the new fabric, the water becomes almost clear! How strange and amazing to leave almost no trace of color behind!


from Sue- “The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it all from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning. The universe is no narrow thing and the order within it is not constrained by any latitude in its conception to repeat what exists in one part in any other part. Even in this world more things exist without our knowledge than with it and the order in creation which you see is that which you have put there, like a string in a maze, so that you shall not lose your way. For existence has its own order and that no man’s mind can compass, that mind itself being but a fact among others.”   ~ Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West



We agreed to donate today’s offering to House of Flowers {MEPO}.We received a thank you from Doctors without Borders for our donation in December. We reviewed and took flyers from Sue about the upcoming event, Standing Together for ALL Women, on Saturday January 21, 2017 at the corner of Main and Division Street from 1-2pm. We wished Vijaya safe travels and restful days in India.


Sunday February 12th, 2017 {10:30 am} at Sue’s home. The subject will be  SAINTS, HEROES and SPIRIT GUIDES. We recalled an earlier meeting when this topic was raised and caused great hilarity with some proposals for CofS Sainthood: George Carlin, Reverend Billy, Mark Twain and Dr. Seuss…hmmm…. We asked Vijaya if there were Hindu Saints and she nominated herself! She said India is a nation of Gods and spirit guides.


(AA)  Six Wordies:

Strange begs the question of normal

Bizarro Lane is very well traveled

Strange can be wonderful or woeful

If it’s not even it’s odd


From Middle English strange, from Old French estrange, from Latin extraneus, “that which is on the outside.”

Some quotes:

To see the world for a moment as something rich and strange is the private reward of many a discovery.” ― Edward M. Purcell – an American physicist who shared the 1952 Nobel Prize for Physics for his independent discovery (published 1946) of nuclear magnetic resonance in liquids and in solids

From Holly Near’s CD Show Up, song: “I am Willing”

I am open and I am willing

For to be hopeless would seem so strange

It dishonors those who go before us

So lift me up to the light of change.


“Life is stranger than biology textbooks.” David Rains Wallace – published more than twenty books on conservation and natural history.

“Fling arrows at all the strange things you see out here, and all you do is run out of arrows.” ― Scott Lynch, is an American fantasy author

“At this point I think we need to embrace the weird. High-five it. Give it our phone number.” – Jim Zub is a writer, artist, and art instructor based in Toronto, Canada. He juggles his time between being a freelance comic book writer and program coordinator for Seneca College’s award-winning Animation program.

“In an infinite Universe anything can happen,” said Ford, “Even survival. Strange but true.” ― Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.  English author, scriptwriter, essayist, humorist, satirist and dramatist. Adams is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

“The mind likes a strange idea as little as the body likes a strange protein and resists it with similar energy. It would not perhaps be too fanciful to say that a new idea is the most quickly acting antigen known to science. If we watch ourselves honestly we shall often find that we have begun to argue against a new idea even before it has been completely stated.” ― Wilfred Trotter  a British surgeon, a pioneer in neurosurgery. He was also known for his studies on social psychology, most notably for his concept of the herd instinct, which he first outlined in two published papers in 1908, and later in his famous popular work Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War. Trotter argued that gregariousness was an instinct, and studied beehives, flocks of sheep and wolf packs.

“The main point about civility is…the ability to interact with strangers without holding their strangeness against them and without pressing them to surrender it or to renounce some or all the traits that have made them strangers in the first place.” ― Zygmunt Bauman, (19 November 1925 – 9 January 2017) was a Polish sociologist and philosopher.


*{NS} via email —Here are some quotes and thoughts on the topic from me:

I have always depended on the kindness of strangers. ~~~Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.  ~~~Francis Bacon, Of Beauty

For I have hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in.~~~the Bible, Matthew 25: 33-36

Oh, born in days when wit were fresh and clear,

And life ran gaily as the sparkling Thames,

Before this strange disease of modern life,

With its sick hurry, its divided aims,

Its heads overtaxed, its palsied hearts, was rife.

~~~Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), The Gypsy Scholar


And some thoughts: —that, if strange means unfamiliar, that we’re all strangers in a strange land trying to do our life without a script, making it up as we go along.  And that we can, and need to, recognize each other as our self, or at least as siblings in this trip. —that my faith in it, life, is constantly getting revived by strangers who give me their eyes or smile, a gesture, kindness, connection, and this, so often unexpected.

—A case in point happened yesterday here in Virginia when I visited a walk-in urgent care clinic with daughter Nora, and was cared for so kindly not only by her but by three different health professionals.


*{SS} Oxford Dictionary: Strangeness The state or fact of being strange.  Also, oddity, eccentricity, oddness, peculiarity, curiousness, bizarreness, weirdness, queerness, unexpectedness, unusualness, abnormality, atypicality, unfamiliarity, unaccountability, inexplicability, incongruity, incongruousness, outlandishness, irregularity, singularity, freakishness, surrealness, & from Physics:  One of six flavours of quark.

from : late 13c., “from elsewhere, foreign, unknown, unfamiliar,” from Old French estrange “foreign, alien, unusual, unfamiliar, curious; distant; inhospitable; estranged, separated” (Modern French étrange), from Latin extraneus “foreign, external, from without” (source also of Italian strano “strange, foreign,” Spanish extraño), from extra “outside of” (see extra). In early use also strounge, straunge. Sense of “queer, surprising” is attested from late 14c.


“Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.” ~Werner Heisenberg, Across the Frontiers

“Tis strange,-but true; for truth is always strange;

Stranger than fiction: if it could be told,” ~George Gordon Byron, Don Juan


“Dare to Differ” ~ Matthew Goldfinger

“The truth was stranger than the official fiction.” ~ Dean Koontz

from Torah: “The stranger who sojourns with you shall be as a native from among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord, your God.” Leviticus 19:34

“The second thing the sages noted was the repeated emphasis on the stranger in biblical law. According to Rabbi Eliezer in the Talmud (Baba Metsia 59b) the Torah ‘warns against the wronging of a ger (stranger) in thirty-six places; other say, in forty-six places.’” ~Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Mishpatim (5768)

& “Why should I not hate the stranger? Because the stranger is me.” ~Rabbi Jonathan Sacks  – Loving the Stranger,

“At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done–then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.  ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“Strangeness is a necessary ingredient in beauty.” ~Charles Baudelaire

“The world is a crazy, beautiful, ugly complicated place, and it keeps moving on from crisis to strangeness to beauty to weirdness to tragedy. The caravan keeps moving on, and the job of the longform writer or filmmaker or radio broadcaster is to stop – is to pause – and when the caravan goes away, that’s when this stuff comes.” ~David Remnick

“In Greek the word for ‘guest’ and ‘stranger’ are the same.” ~Elisavetta Ritchie, “Softspots: a Memoir for a Deaf Siamese Cat,” Earth’s Daughters Magazine- Stormy Weather, #79, 2011, p.47



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