The following first appeared in the private email list IVy-subscribers,
which was available to all those who subscribed to the
printed magazine, International Viewpoints.

The Odyssey and the Idiot
by Phil Spickler
7 Sept 99

Hello, anyone -- anyone at all.
Here's a story that I hope you won't find too tall.

        Julie (that's my companion and better half) and I have been
conducting for the past year or so a survey throughout the Americas of any
and all mountain traps -- in fact, we've been looking for and examining traps
in general; and as you can well imagine this has been truly a fantastic

      Traps, so we are told, and what they can do, are said to be  very old
in origin, and seem to have been very useful to all sorts of intelligences
throughout the trillennia.  Now of course a trap that's worth its name is
designed or made, usually, to trap something, to capture it, usually by
surprise.  And once it gets hold of the thing, whether it's a mousetrap or a
lobster trap, or (dare I say) a theta trap, whatever's trapped usually can't
get away from the trap, and is held there until the trapper comes along and
completes the job of doing whatever it's going to do with that which it has
trapped.  Once something gets trapped, it often fights and struggles and goes
through all kinds of things in an attempt to escape the trap.  Some animals
have been known to chew off an arm or a leg to escape the trap, and sometimes
lose their lives in so doing.

      But there's a wide, wide range of traps that are designed by trappers
to capture all sorts of trappees, and most folks seem to have almost an
innate sense of what traps are and what they're all about and how they're
used.  When you design something that's supposed to trap or entrap very
clever or very intelligent whatevers, you've got to really put your mind and
inventiveness to the wheel, so to speak, in order to make something that
won't easily be spotted as a trap, since obviously, if any of us, including
my dear readers, are able to spot a trap before we get caught by it, we'll
usually say something like, "Hmm!  There's a trap!  I think I'll just avoid
that.  Or maybe I'll surround it by a more clever trap and when the trapper
comes to find out if there's anything in his or her trap, I'll trap the
trapper."   And so on and so forth.

      There's some that do declare that that's all that Life is really
about, is getting in and out of traps.  You could say that all that Buddhism
ever was or will be is a manual to de-entrap, dis-entrap, oneself and others.
You could say that, but don't, because it will probably anger hard-core
Buddhists to simplify their 850 million canons (all written in Pali),
supposedly attributed to a guy that said, "Please don't pay attention to
anything I ever said."  Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, don't get the
Buddhists mad at you.

      Well, I could go on and on about traps, and don't forget, before we
leave this topic, that people themselves sometimes mock themselves up (I know
this won't come as a surprise to you all) as traps.  Hubbard used to say,
"The best approach to a trap, either as a high-toned human being or as an
immortal, is just to jump feet-first into the darned thing and enjoy it!  But
definitely don't get into the habit of using your own energy to entrap
yourself further, since that's the most enduring trap of all."

       Anyway, my partner and I were on our trap pilgrimage, and we found
ourselves high in the Altiplano (that's the high plains for those of you that
don't speak Latin), surrounded by even higher and very forbidding mountains.
We had also, through a navigational error, run out of food and water, and
were surrounded by one of the most hostile tribes of Native Americans I ever
hope to see outside of the Lower East Side of New York City.  Anyhow,
shivering with cold and trying to look friendly ourselves, with what looked
like a grim future soon to happen, my eye was caught by a movement in the sky
as a large condor (that's a vulture with a 12' wingspan) came soaring
overhead, giving off that terrifying cry that heralds its passage, and I
could see it was looking right at me, as if to say, "You'll soon be dead
meat, and I'll be there to enjoy you."

    But at that moment, something fluttered from between its claws, went
through a series of very interesting maneuvers, and as I reached up my hand
it came close enough for me to grasp it; and by gum, by golly, you'll never
believe what this was.   Yes, it was a copy of IVy 43, and what I have found
in this amazing periodical saved the day and saved our lives, thus making
this journal possible.

      First thing we did was use the information on 2-way communication by
Frank Gordon to get into such great communication with these hostile
tribespeople that soon we had been invited to the warmth of their shelter and
were being fed a good hot meal and had a chance to dry our wet clothing, and
even though we didn't speak what could be called the same language, we
managed to create and maintain good 2-way comm with these folks, and it got
going so well that a few of them may show up in Dallas in the not-too-distant

       Other articles in this wonderful issue of IVy that helped us out in
further travels are as follows:  Otto Roos's article made it possible for us
to assume false identities, thus escaping from some of the worst
possibilities that were intended in our direction by unnamed pursuers; with
the help of Ken Urquhart's masterpiece we were able to get pretty serious
about Truth and Falsehood, thus avoiding any further interactions with groups
like the Explorers' Club, or should I say the Liars' Club; with the help of
Pam Kemp's article on love and its power in this world and other universes,
we enjoyed the company and help of many ordinary and magnificent people
throughout our travels.

     But of course the ultimate bellyful from the magnificent journal called
IVy was the giant meal to be found in the bill of the Pelican, which as you
know holds more than its belly can.  That article left me speechless, and as
you know that's saying a mouthful.  It also said everything I ever hoped to
say, only better, and may cause my early retirement from these hallowed pages
and this list (just kidding).

      And so in conclusion I'd just like to say that aside from being the
greatest bargain in reading material to be found on Planet Earth at this
time, as you can see, the information contained in the pages of this and many
earlier editions could save your life and entertain you at the same time.

      All the very best to those who ________ -- Phil (and Julie too)