Tuesday, March 4, 2014


I'm not sure what I was reading when "…let go or be drug…" leaped off the page as the most universal metaphor for the self/other context of life I've ever come across. I carved it, along with other gems I've gleaned along the way, into the surface of the two and a half foot crosscut section of oak that serves as my ganjava tabletop in front of my home where folks may gather on occasion.

It seems that all pain results from an unsatisfiable desire for the security of permanent certainty in an eternally changing universe. Rather than seeing life as an opportunity to experience and celebrate the curious wonder of infinite variation in both the perceiver and perceived, culture requires a uniform perspective of a world within which its adherents wish themselves safe from the contradictions it chooses to ignore. The more dependent on such predictable norms one becomes the greater the anguish is felt when faced with the inevitably unseen event and the less able to integrate any novelty into one's less than curious shell of certainty one becomes. Unable to relinquish comforting faith in best wishes, reality becomes a gauntlet the hope filled suffer every day.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

…and Mirrors

Pen in hand, void in mind
The trace of ink a fascination
Awaiting the weight of meaning
To weigh upon what it's not.

Dueling with duality
Cutting to the bone picked clean by infinite opposition

Symbiosis polishes with the joy
Of each to serve the other
Usury abolishes with the hunger
Of each to own the other

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Out of the Smoke


Like the silk edge on my baby blanket
Events stream through my consciousness
And the two fingers I suckled then
Guide this pen to record them now.

Preferrences etch texture on the mirror of now
Making of life a story from this eternal instant

Thinking about thinking - that place between reality and perception where pre-verbial consciousness employs the chisel of duality to sculpt expression with precision.

At some point in the maturing of an organism the accumulation of size and survival skills is sufficient to give way to the ongoing increase in scope of perspective as the variety of experience either expands curiosity or refines defense of beliefs unchanged since that premature finish line,"adulthood," was declared achieved. The bredth and depth in scope of one's perspective when evaluating the effect upon the environment of ones size and skills reaches a clear threshold between agapé and usury that seems to describe a natural morality in a universe with no purpose.

Death is a natural phase of universal life - whether from old Age, predation or civilized rage matters not to the organism for which it is food.

The irony of the wealthy using excess money to attract the less wealthy to the milking barn is that they're depending on dependents, while the rest, the best, yet graze in the pasture uncalled by the mobs but by their expanding curiosity with no authority to answer.

Monday, August 5, 2013


As we laid on our backs, side by side gazing out into space, we passed a joint rolled in the rush of mushroom delight and small embers drifted into the valley between our breasts eliciting giggles at the pangs of their dying on our flesh.

Throughout the rest of our lives we recognized the shiny scars from such minute blisters on the chests and cleavages of folks we'd meet without acknowledging the common nature of the unique scarification among us all.

It was a brand of thinking, you might say — a distant cousin to Pink Floyd's pin hole burnt T-shirt.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Passing of the Carrot in the USA — or — Preparation for the Rat Race Within the Invisible Prison:

My folks tried to give me everything they never had. Now I too know I'll never have a big enough house, desirable enough mate, fast enough car, likable enough job or perfect enough DNA, but it's all I have to pass on to my kids —— a better world.As if nature is never enough. No wonder civilization is antagonistic to the process that gives it life.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Invisible Prison is Sinking

Although evolutionary survival has been proven to depend on adapting to nature's changes, western civilization dooms its flock with a belief in mastering nature as “stewards”, driving the sheep to adapt to artificial changes intended to further isolate civilization from recognizing natural symbiosis; a culture that has evolved humans that run to the beach to film a tsunami coming in while all the animals had been headed for the hills all morning.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Making Sense of It All

Brilliant beams of the rising sun's light, unblocked by planets, satellites or pecan leaves, scan across the glade feeding the length of my body the warmth of a place I belong — of these cells, under this tree, on this planet, among the galaxies of atoms great and small that, too, belong wherever they exist. Stroking the fur of an animal, the hair of a friend or the satin hem of a winter blanket are further reminders of belonging. The laughter of a child erupting from a person of any age or the dulcet whisper of the great owl above me at night sing the music of the spheres to my ears, the orbits of my atoms. The sweet sensation of a juicy fruit, honeyed java or a lovers tongue are to flavor as the jasmine blooms, rich soil and my own garlic farts are to odor in letting me know I'm in the right place.

I would not know of these things except through reports I've gotten from my cells throughout my life which, at the rate of seven years per generation are in the midst of their eleventh generation. I've come a bit further in my theory that the mind is like a play by play announcer for the team its cells are; born at the same time, learning the game together, getting so familiar with the multitasking performance of this complex team that it forgets it is merely getting reports from the team about how the game is going and assumes it is in charge like any rabid arm-chair quarterback — as if it knew the first thing about digesting food, circulating blood or regenerating cells.

I came across a clever case study in psychology/philosophy the other day which I feel is relevant to the seamless continuity in cell regeneration. It involves five monkeys:
First the experimenters placed five monkeys in a cage with a step ladder and a bunch of bananas hanging from the ceiling. Whenever any one of them attempted to climb the ladder the monitor would spray the other monkeys with freezing water. Soon enough, whenever the bananas became so tempting for one that he tried climbing the ladder, the other four would beat the crap out of him until eventually none tried climbing.
Next they replaced one of these conditioned monkeys with a new one. When this newbie innocently began climbing the ladder, the four vets beat the shit out of him until he no longer tried climbing.
They repeat this replacement of a veteran ice water experiencer with an innocent new monkey scenario four more times until there are five monkeys who don't dare climb the ladder for fear of being beaten, and none of them know why they do it other than "that's the way it's always been."

Applying this example to cell regeneration and the biological transference of information from the old cell to the new one, called epigenesis, it is easy to see how, beneath any conscious preferences we might form from our experiences during our journey through life, our body is accumulating its own biological traditions of "that's the way it's always been" since the first regeneration of the last of the birth cells — the mini-evolution of the body as it copes with western civilization's deviation from the evolution of the rest of the planet by trying to establish human exceptionality as orthodoxy allowing it to consume natural resources reassembled and wrapped in neat little packages, mindless of the pollution their production and use causes; just as one sitting down to a juicy sirloin doesn't want to see pictures of a slaughterhouse.

If nothing else does, this would seem to shed some light into the mysteries of old age as the mind continues to operate on the reports it gets about the universe based on information from cellular reporters filtering what they experience just as the mind does as it places each new pixel of information it receives into the hologram gestalt of the present with lights and focus directed by the attachments it entertains at any given moment.

I still rely on personal experience being the only authority I respect, but I am finding the vagueness of memory increases with time leading me to think that the ultimate authority about what exists dwells only in the immediate instant of the present before cellular, mental, cultural biases can name anything. 

Meditation is preverbal thinking, the language of genetic memory …

… spoken where we belong.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Seventy-four and Counting …

The first day of my seventy-fifth year was distinguished by this conversation over daybreak ganjava with my neighbor, Homer, who, in response to my observation that all the lessons anyone claims to have learned from hurricane Sandy were about needs to reinforce and improve infrastructure against now obviously worsening climate extremes due to global warming, with no mention of how it is just such attempts to isolate ourselves so defensively from nature that are polluting and heating the planet upon whose health we all depend, said, "Todd, you don't live in reality. There's nothing we can do about it."

"Homer, my reality observes your reality being formed by excluding the parts of it that hold our artificial, addictive conveniences responsible for our natural, karmic discomforts."*

*This is a paraphrase of the meaning intended by some less articulate arrangement of words I garbled at the time, noted for where three-quarters of a century living in the US of A has led my understanding of it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Nature's Default

Frontispiece from E.O. Wilson's  Behold the Earth

Health is Nature's default…
Joel Salatin, Polyface Farm

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thought I'd something more to say…*

A bee fell in my coffee for the second morning in a row and once again I lifted him free on my finger. While watching him dry out I began considering a little story inspired by the event.

Would it be a fairy tale about little Betty Bee out to see what she could see despite her hive's old wives' tale warnings about sugar in any form other than flower nectar?

Would it be about a little boy who got stung by a bee and grew up to avenge his pain by giving EPA's approval for a pesticide that was poison to bees causing the colony collapse from which this bee is a rare survivor?

Would it be about learning valuable life lessons in the comfort of freedom inherent in solitary curiosity about natural phenomena without blinders of foregone conclusions, such as led E. O. Wilson from childhood to discover social biology?

Before I chose the theme of this latest urge to wrap reality in equally compelling words, the bee dried his wings with longer and more rapid flurries of activity … and flew away*.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Unspeakable Truth

So long as there exists no word without an opposite, the truth can only be spoken around — but never uttered. The artistry of insight is juxtaposing that which delights to that which disgusts so honestly that the truth of the fulcrum upon which they balance becomes obvious to the artist, now the holder of both electrified wires of judgement. No matter how or where you slice it, it takes the same blade to reveal the truth.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Another Brick in the Invisible Prison

The lie we all tell ourselves to allow us to be herded like beef by the butchers is that obedience is control; life is good because no one is after me for anything. Parents, church, public education and government all depend on replacing individual’s innate curiosity by devotion to authority, enabling orderly fleecing, milking and harnessing by those who would profit from such duplicity.

That this is self-deception is exemplified by the conscious imitation of such control in most  individuals’ daily practice of “making a living” by profiting from the deception of fellow fools willing to pay; tithing to keep a good word in at the pearly gates ‘cause I been convinced God knows I’m the wretched sinner I can’t help but be down here in this miserable life.

The misery this life might seem to need rescuing from is caused by the general population not being sufficiently convinced of the lie because they're being nagged by the remnants of their curiosity still being able to recognize nature’s contradictions to the answers in the book being thrown at them by authority that falsely claims to live by it.

Obedient Nature

The kindness of strangers is exemplified where mutual benefit is the basis for all relations.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ninth Wave Isn't Just For Surfers

The universe, from here now

Inhabited since 10/13/11


Priest, Ganjava and Arugula seeds

Sunrise on Fetchit Drive, Dawgranch, Awestun, Tejas

The Whirled of Infinite Words

If I could say it, I wouldn't need to draw it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dynamics of Quality

I am losing focus on the hard edge of everything I see or hear and on the stark conflict of opposites in everything I think. Don’t know if it’s the breakdown of physical and mental faculties as I approach the average life expectancy for beings of my kind or if it’s by dint of accumulated experience eroding allegiance to my education, like water seeping into cracks in mountains of passing grades to freeze, expand and expose ever more long hidden faults.

It may be the fulfillment of an oath often muttered in my more misanthropic moods wishing people who couldn’t benefit from their differences would just shut up and go away. If I live long enough I’ll be blind and deaf so the silent disappearing part is inevitable.

I’m learning to resolve duality by seeing it less as a conflict closing minds and starting wars and more as the two sharp points of ice tongs, both necessary to function, pointing precisely at the threshold between them; that truth about which life’s ever changing events pivot but can never say. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


From time to time I come across such quotations as dilate vast new vistas where once were mere inklings of insight about the landscape of experience I’ve been wandering and reading I’ve been pondering since the last such an epiphany. When I do, I like to scour that plethora of jotted thoughts and quotes collecting in my notebook like iron filings cling to the magnet of my curiosity and arrange them in a coherent conversation about the latest, greatest revelation they’ve led me to.

This time the key to the new vista is:

Let go or be drug.

These components of the landscape are notches on the key:

Health is nature’s default.
—Joel Salatin, Polyface Farm

To a clear eye the smallest fact is a window through which the infinite may be seen.
Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority.
—Thomas Henry Huxley, biologist and writer (1825-1895)

The noble art of losing face
May one day save the human race
And turn into eternal merit
What weaker minds would call disgrace.
—Piet Hein, poet and scientist (1905-1996)

The Karma of Hubris

In youth we feel richer for every new illusion; in maturer years, for every one we lose.
—Madame Anne Sophie Swetchine, mystic (1782-1857)

A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.
—Thomas Carruthers

Most people are mirrors, reflecting the moods and emotions of the times; few are windows, bringing light to bear on the dark corners where troubles fester. The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.
Sydney J. Harris, journalist and author (1917-1986)

The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests, and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.
—Thomas Jefferson

Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation.
—Susan B. Anthony, suffragist (1820-1906)

How far should one accept the rules of the society in which one lives? To put it another way: at what point does conformity become corruption? Only by answering such questions does the conscience truly define itself
—Kenneth Tynan, critic and writer (1927-1980)

When I go into the garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands.
Our chief want in life, is somebody who shall make us do what we can.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, philosopher (1803- 1882)

Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense.
—Chapman Cohen, author and lecturer (1868-1954)

It is the certainty that they possess the truth that makes men cruel.
—Anatole France, novelist, (1844-1924)

Nothing is so firmly believed as what is least known.
Michel de Montaigne, essayist (1533-1592)

The greatest obstacle to discovering the shape of the earth, the continents, and the oceans was not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge.
— Daniel J. Boorstin, historian, writer (1914-2004)

Gullibility and credulity are considered undesirable qualities in every department of human life -- except religion.
—Christopher Hitchens, author (1949-2011)

Eternal suffering awaits anyone who questions God's infinite love.
Bill Hicks, comedian and social critic (1961-1994)

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.
Saul Bellow, writer, Nobel laureate (1915-2005)

Elvira always lied first to herself before she lied to anybody else, since this gave her a conviction of moral honesty.
—Phyllis Bottome, novelist (1884-1963)

Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.
—Carl Jung, psychiatrist (1875-1961)

The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.
—Aldous Huxley, novelist

The liar's punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.
—George Bernard Shaw, writer (1856-1950)

There is no absurdity so palpable but that it may be firmly planted in the human head if you only begin to inculcate it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnity.
—Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher (1788-1860)

If words are to enter men's minds and bear fruit, they must be the right words shaped cunningly to pass men's defenses and explode silently and effectually within their minds.
—J.B. Phillips, writer and clergyman (1906-1982)

The World is divided into armed camps ready to commit genocide just because we can't agree on whose fairy tales to believe.
—Ed Krebs, photographer (b. 1951)

In International Consequences
The players must reckon
To reap what they've sown.
We have a defense against other defenses,
But what's to defend us against our own?
-Piet Hein

A society that presumes a norm of violence and celebrates aggression, whether in the subway, on the football field, or in the conduct of its business, cannot help making celebrities of the people who would destroy it.
—Lewis H. Lapham, editor and writer (1935- )

We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable.
—Alexander Solzhenitsyn, novelist (1918-2008)

It is my belief that the writer, the free-lance author, should be and must be a critic of the society in which he lives. It is easy enough, and always profitable, to rail away at national enemies beyond the sea, at foreign powers beyond our borders who question the prevailing order. But the moral duty of the free writer is to begin his work at home; to be a critic of his own community, his own country, his own culture. If the writer is unwilling to fill this part, then the writer should abandon pretense and find another line of work: become a shoe repairman, a brain surgeon, a janitor, a cowboy, a nuclear physicist, a bus driver.
—Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)

I have gained this by philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law.
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
—Aristotle, philosopher (384-322 BCE

It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. There is no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do. Wasting time is merely an occupation then, and a most exhausting one. Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen.
—Jerome K. Jerome, humorist (1859-1927)

In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: they must be fit for it; they must not do too much of it; and they must have a sense of success in it.
— John Ruskin, author, social reformer (1819-1900)

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.
—Lin Yutang, writer and translator (1895-1976)

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
There is more to life than increasing its speed.
—Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948)

Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.
—Thomas Szasz, author (b. 1920)

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.
— Marla

The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is on the contrary born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else -- we are the busiest people in the world.
—Eric Hoffer, philosopher and author (1902-1983)

I made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it short.
Blaise Pascal

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fight or Flight

There is a polarity to animal magnetism programmed by each being according to the sequences of its earliest experiences. Attraction to others is a variation of the most elemental instinct for continued existence: to survive as an individual by eating the attraction or as a species by procreating with it.

Repulsion between entities is required for attraction to have any value whatsoever in the dynamics of quality that life is. Repulsion occurs when proximity of one entity to another elicits flight to prevent being consumed or disgusted. Competition over food and avoidance of being food often result in the fight response.

Some species diet on such abundant food there is no reason to fight each other for it and thereby find advantage in communal cooperation for both protection from their predators and gaining of their food.

Once humans had gained advantage over all their predators through the use of fire, shelter and weaponry, their access to more abundant food not only led to the biological inevitability of increased population but its spread throughout earth’s habitable lands just to maintain comfortable distance from tribal competitors for what food there was.

Upon the advent of totalitarian agriculture’s practice of replacing vast swaths of wilderness with man’s preferred foods, only farmers were required to understand man’s natural relationship to the biology of the land while the large majority collected around the processed food depots in never before experienced crowding.

Any remaining concious biological connection of these newly civilized town folk to the natural stage upon which their daily lives played out was dissolved when they became convinced of the myth that all of nature was created especially for them by an entity beyond the natural universe upon whose worship depended their welfare.

The modern inheritors of this usury-justifying myth are beginning to awaken to its fallacy as their abusive stewardship makes life a poisoned, boiling hell on earth from which their prayers for a heavenly afterlife seem the only hope of rescue.

I find such little attraction to and so much disgust with civilizations that operate on the “fact” of such a mythological premise that it begins to seem like I’m painting myself into a feral corner at the border with indigenous wilderness as I witness “western civilization” convert or destroy every planetary shred of symbiotic concern for the nest in which it shits its industrial indigestibility vainly attempting to achieve their heaven on earth.

Flight is one method of disappearing to avoid predation. Some beings change color to disappear into the background or at least appear not to be food. Some beings freeze to avoid being noticed. Being a species without a predator species, mankind often escapes the predation and disfunction within its own society by vicariously escaping into the fantasy world of human creation much as opossums and armadillos feign sleep.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Homeland Security Vesus Mother Earth

We are far more concerned about the desecration of the flag than we are about the desecration of our land. -Wendell Berry, farmer and author (b. 1934)

Though Berry’s quote limits planetary concern to “our land,” the poignancy of his statement about Western Civilization’s misplaced patriotic priorities trumping any concern for biological symbiosis with nature, from which we arise and on which our healthy life depends, is little diminished.

Understanding is a process of letting the unknown draw one’s instinctive curiosity into deeper consideration of the nature of an entity and its relationhip to the natural universe of which it is a part.

Overstanding is the process Western Civilization bases on the premise that all of nature is in thrall to a “stewardship” exclusively granted to mankind by an external monolithic creator. That such a premise is considered a conclusive fact accounts for the energy man devotes to exploiting the environment for gains that only profits one within a machine held together by faith in wishful thinking. This faith pervades even the supposedly more secular activities of science limiting any remedy for our obvious abuse to keeping the economy afloat no matter how much land must accommodate the new water from melted ice caps and glaciers.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Just the Facts

A discussion about a media star uncovered the microcosmic key to how the macrocosm of people, a whole civilization can be described by the “facts” it assumes are indisputable in dealing among themselves and with the rest of the world.

She said, “He’s an asshole.”

I said, “That’s just your opinion.”

“No, he really is.”

“Based on what?”

“He’s mean to people.”

“Because he says what he thinks instead of kissing ass?”

“He’s an asshole, it’s a fact. End of discussion.”

Sounds like conversations my daughter cuts short with, “It’s in the Bible.”

Twenty-six lanes of facts

The “facts” of any person or culture are the practical consensus derived from desire to solidify the eternal change nature is by endlessly naming new phenomena to patch holes in the neat capsule built of forgone conclusions. The unknown lies impenetrable, just beyond one’s final conclusion. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all agree to the “fact” that there is only one god. This agreement has bound them in an ancient, bloody war to settle the correct, factual name of this consensus superhero.

I live in an ostensibly Christian nation by declaration of its government and the professions of faith among 80% of its citizens. All other nations gaining my country's recognition as developed have less than a majority who say religion is important to them at all. I am well aware of the steamroller Christ’s followers interpret his inspiration commanded them to become. Christianity wants the Bible to be the facts of the world, but with as many versions as opinions, they just can’t settle on the one correct, factual name and required behavior.

Knowing the facts of one’s culture can aid the climb up the factual framework with  answers of correct names, dates and obedience to the authorities sitting atop the pyramid of consensus. For one aware of the process of fact fabrication, the difference between the direct experience of nature and the structure of the myth-cum-fact becomes as obvious as scaffolding one must skirt to keep from banging one’s head on the closed minds with which they are constructed. The business of Western Civilization is to bend nature to the facts about itself.

The momentum of nature's fluidly inevitable experience washes away more mere facts

The Zen masters know how to deal with conclusions:

Let go or be dragged.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Of course “art imitates nature” — until the first artist, that’s all there was. From then on there was nature and art to imitate. Lest we forget, nature is the original and art is imitation.

Imitation of Priest
imitating a 
"dead cat in the middle of the road"

When an artist is satisfied with an imitation of perceived reality it is shown to others out of the genetic instinct to communicate. Civilization is the exclusive evolution of the human species and its food; a spur off the main line of the hunter-gatherers’ eat or be eaten caution in dealing with hunger to the more sophisticated risk/reward of the winner-take-all profit motive predation among one’s own species.

Creating a spear, while obviously an imitation of nature’s array of puncturers, until decorated or carved to imitate a fang or talon, is less a work of art than a tool of predation, as are all weapons. Of the plethora of man’s artifice strewn about in nature, more is used to establish man’s exclusively superior “stewardship” over nature than to communicate with it; shutting out nature as caves, huts and tents give way to houses living in permanent crowds around markets for equally domesticated foods.

Art used to imitate nature, and still does for the few artists that can still recognize it and want to communicate it into the cities’ individual isolation chamber dwellers. Art used to imitate nature, but now the imitations are mostly guises to gain access to and exploit natural resources in support of our increased desire for increased isolation from and ignorance of the pollution of such increased abuse of nature.

I call this plot of land on the wooded banks of the Colorado River “going back to the garden” due to its remove from the city and relatively open spaces to grow my own food. It was an auto graveyard before being crudely sculpted to be an eight acre imitation of nature. What gardens succeed here were raised above the oil soaked, auto part incrusted soil like any city dweller would on a roof. I have also begun to realize, after last summer’s drought killed many young trees along the borders, that I am in the middle of an imminent, geologically predictable desert stretching from Texas’ Big Thicket to the Pacific Ocean, making my return to nature not only an admitted imitation but a foolish one as well.

Imitation of Priest 
imitating a playmate
 to get pip to play

I never dreamt of returning to the undomesticated state of nature we call the wild. I still have an urge to become more feral in the sense of understanding which of man’s imitations to which I am still attached are true gestures of symbiotic respect and which are merest, sincerest flattery to get usury in the door.