Friday, August 31, 2007

Birthday boojum


Lucky Pierre,
official host of the
Language Barrier's
4th Anniversary Celebration



I am feeling a bit melancholy this evening and after reading Roy's comment about "something in the air", I decided it's probably because humankind has finally made eye contact with the Great Void. Not to worry. As everybody knows, the void does not have eyes so ... and anyway ...

Happy end of August from
the place that does not yet exist.



Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark:

...
"It's a Snark!" was the sound that first came to their ears,
And seemed almost too good to be true.
Then followed a torrent of laughter and cheers:
Then the ominous words "It's a Boo-"

Then, silence. Some fancied they heard in the air
A weary and wandering sigh
That sounded like "-jum!" but the others declare
It was only a breeze that went by.

They hunted till darkness came on, but they found
Not a button, or feather, or mark,
By which they could tell that they stood on the ground
Where the Baker had met with the Snark.

In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
In the midst of his laughter and glee,
He had softly and suddenly vanished away---
For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.




Wednesday, August 29, 2007

For he is a jolly good fellow


My first introduction to Edison & Crew

I was at the park when my daughter called. Sometime this sunny perfect August afternoon, in the same beautiful yard where he enjoyed so many good days, Edison ... sweet sweet Edison ... the jolly fair-haired pooch ... will leave his body. I think of him as rising like a lovely butterfly out of a now dusty and decrepit cocoon. If you don't believe in the spirit then dust to dust baby, but I bet you even then Edison dust would have a twinkling golden glimmer to it with pink glittering sparkles flashing here and there.

He will be at home, surrounded by loving family. Understandably, he hates going to the vet so she will come to him. I am grateful for that. After we hung up I sat quietly for a while watching the ducks glide by. Finally I threw two stones in the creek as a way of saying, where you go, so in time go I, then walked away feeling the heart breaking tug of letting go.



Karma snapback?


Senator Craig & arresting officer

Perhaps I am merely and maliciously participating in the smearing of an outstanding, selfless public servant. After all, one of my nicknames in college was The Shark. I'm not proud of that. I'd chalk it up to teenage angst but some would argue that I still have tinges of, mmm ... shall I say ... a razor tongue. I'm workin' on it. In any case, I can't help but comment on the huge karma snapback certain sexually hypocritical Republicans are enjoying after crucifying Clinton for his hypocritical sex and lies; sort of a "first stone" kind of thing. Oops, now I'm making karma for myself. I'm traaaapped.

Anyway, check out this dramatic reading of the police report on the arrest of Senator Larry Craig in that airport men's room. Paul Hipp posted it at Huffpo. It's verbatim so what's the harm? And it's hilarious. I'll say one thing. If Larry is a two-faced liar using his senatorial power to crush his fellow homosexuals to garner votes from conservative Idaho voters, he has got good taste. That undercover agent is a cutie.

(scroll down to the audio link)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Looking up and back

I am lying on the floor of my office looking up at the small, square ceiling wondering if the room is ten by ten or twelve by twelve. It is afternoon and the window is open. The shade is half down and outside pigeons are arriving and departing like small, squeaky airplanes. They come to graze, bathe, to nap in the dirt. When they suddenly all take off together it is in a nerve racking rickety flap. They are too big for the space but I need them. Otherwise, this room is too small.

Last night I did a search on one of my former names and found a couple of articles I wrote back in '78 when I was in ISKCON. This was during the height of my fanatic phase and I was a staff writer and assistant editor for a fledgling, mostly in-house journal. To my great surprise, the articles were posted by a former acquaintance who, in those days, was more proud that he could spit through his teeth and temporarily blind a foe than read or write. In my own way, I wasn't doing any better. The articles are stiff and embarrassing and ribbed by a boilerplate philosophy through which I barely squinted at the world.



No, I will not comply! PERIOD


Feet in the clouds, heads in the sand




Friday, August 24, 2007

Desert adventures



I posted some photos from our recent trip at flickr. I'll add a few more later but, if you're interested, these will give you an idea of where we were and what we found there. Photos, Nevada outback.


Also, here's a video of the real life adventure of a lone Nevada lizard ... woo. There were rusting barrels embedded in the dirt near an abandon mine we were exploring and in some there were skeletons of mice and lizards. This was the only one alive. If you look closely, you can see her in the upper left portion of the hole. I put a sage limb down so that she could climb up and escape an otherwise certain death. Hope she got out.





Funny link


A friend emailed me this note: "ok, I know you don't go to the childish, squabbling, st00pid forums that I visit, but still, this is a great take on endless internet forum chatter that you may recognize, and is a pretty damned funny little movie." It is. Internet Commenter Business Meeting


Ps. We're back. Long drive, great trip. I am exhausted.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

0 Dark:30


Off to Montana in the morning to visit my son. Yay! Back Thursday. Confess your love. Be kind to the birds in your life. Photos forthcoming.

01001111 01101110 01100011 01100101 00100000 01100001 01100111 01100001 01101001 01101110 00101100 00100000 01100010 01111001 01100101 00100000 01100010 01111001 01100101 00101110 00001101 00001010 00001101 00001010 01010000 01110011 00101110 00100000 01000100 01101111 01101110 00101100 00100000 01101001 01110100 00100000 01110111 01101111 01110010 01101011 01100101 01100100 00101110

Friday, August 17, 2007

Nevada mailbox




We're back. I'm exhausted. Did get much sleep last night. It is a delicate decision whether or not to interrupt the piñata party a skunk is having with the garbage bag hanging a yard from your tent. Anyway, here's a photo from the trip. I do love Nevada.

---------------------------------------

UPDATE:


It's not an ice box. It's the Tardis. I always knew that police box was phony. The Doctor is too smart to think that people would believe a phone booth then, now or 50 million years in the future but an ice box. Thanks for the hints Barbara and Roy. Of course it's about getting ice cream, anytime ... anywhere.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Desert reflections



In the morning we're leaving for the Nevada interior. That almost certainly sounds pompous and affected. It would to me if I didn't know what it is like out there. I've wrestled with an accurate description for what we do every since our first excursion six years ago. Camping just doesn't cut it. Touring falls short. Exploring is a bit too much. I could say photo safari but the desert simply does not live up to the glamor a word like safari conjures ... elephants, indolent lion prides, chilling kills, rhinos bashing the jeep... So I end up using flat phrases like "going out there" and "poking around the desert". Not very descriptive. The thing is, once you've been out there, out there does make sense. It is out there. Out, not in where it is safe; not in with comforting familiarity; with water. Out there is not protected like it is in here. And there; Earth, without the people. Anyway, we're going camping tomorrow and won't be back until the end of week.

I have passed though a few different takes on what's out there, beginning with the astounding experience of meeting the planet beyond real estate ... earth, sky, wind, water ... not necessarily hospitable but fascinating and, other than the sound of the wind and voices of coyotes talking to each other across the night, and our noisy intrusion, stunningly quiet.

Over time, however, I became consumed by a grinding obsession with the history of the land, the miners, the crazy immigrants who threw their few possessions in wagons and set out in search of a new life,the West. Nevada is full of silent artifacts from those journeys, stone ruins, remnants of barns, fences, towns, wells, mines, roads. And under that, the desert holds records of humans crossing and crisscrossing each other's trails thousands and thousands of years before the Europeans came. These records were made by now extinct, unrelated civilizations who left behind petroglyphs, cave paintings, lithic scatters and burial grounds. It is all being erased by the wind, all rotting in the sun but, along with the gigabytes of photos I have taken, the dimensions and solemn account burned into my psyche until finally it was all I could see, the Past, tragic, bold, and violent everywhere.

That and the strange, impenetrable Nellis Air Force base, home of the legendary Area 51, smack in the middle of Nevada and completely inaccessible. Wanting to explore that is the only reason I can see for entering the machine. Mr. Lee is ready for the Singularity. He loves taunting me about how, pretty soon, we will be able to upload ourselves into the machine but I like sentient life. However, I must admit, the opportunity to freely snoop around Nellis and Area 51 undetectable in the lifelike body of a robot hummingbird, is very appealing as long as I can transfer back into my corporeal form at will.

In the meantime, my interest in the desert is changing. The history of the West is of the brutal, ruthless exploitation of humans, animals and the land. The power grab in the 19th century established the fortunes and corrupted the men and families who rule America as its fascist shadow government today, become corporate entities now evolving into the rapacious global Corporatocracy. But don't get me started. Anyway, I'm looking for something new out there now because the weight of the past has worn me down.

This trip, I think I'll start back at the beginning where all that is left of civilization, the impression of a road, leads only to the sky and the planet, as it is, land adrift in space, in an atmosphere of its own making, a breathing sphere, an island within an unfathomed sea.

01100010 01111001 01100101 00100000 01100010 01111001 01100101



Friday, August 10, 2007

Smallest park on Earth and other extremes


I bet you didn't know the smallest park on Earth is located in Portland Oregon. I didn't until I visited Google's Extreme Series page (updated daily). Mill Ends Park was created by a leprechaun by the name of Patrick O'Toole proving, once again, that one must be very specific when asking favors of the wee folk.


Mill Ends Park,
Portland, Oregon :
Smallest Park on the Earth


Mill Ends Park in Portland, Oregon is the smallest park in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records. The "park" is a 2 foot (610 mm) wide circle which in 1948 was intended to be the site for a light pole. When this failed to appear, Dick Fagan, a journalist for the Oregon Journal, planted flowers in the hole and named it after his column in the paper, "Mill Ends". Fagan told the story of the park's origin as follows: He looked out his office window and spotted a leprechaun digging in the hole. He ran down and grabbed the leprechaun, which meant that he had earned a wish. Fagan said he wished for a park of his own; but since he had not specified the size of the park in his wish, the leprechaun gave him the hole. Over the next two decades, Fagan often featured the park and its head leprechaun, named Patrick O'Toole, in his whimsical column.

Fagan died of cancer in 1969, but the park lives on, cared for by others. It became an official city park in 1976. Mill Ends Park is located at SW Naito Parkway and SW Taylor in downtown Portland.
The park's area is 452 in² (0.29 m²). The small circle has featured many unusual items through the decades, including a swimming pool for butterflies (complete with diving board) and a miniature ferris wheel (which was delivered by a regular-sized crane).






Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I Ching in a nutshell



(The title is meant to be a joke)

A friend recently posted, "Some time tell me how to learn I Ching? Please."

Naturally I am only too happy to oblige however the best I can do is an introduction.

Roy, I Ching ... I Ching, Roy.

Good luck guys.


But of course .........



I can't help offer an opinion or two. This is a blog after all.

First off, the name of the book translates as Book of Changes; "I" meaning change and "ching" meaning book. Don't ask it "yes or no" questions. You will really short change yourself ... sorry. The way I see it, when you toss the coins, you dip into the synergy of the moment as focused by your question so the more specific, the better. As above, so below. This is not the same as asking to be told what to do. For me, using the I Ching is like looking into the cosmic mirror. If I phrase my question properly, I get a peek at what is influencing a situation/me, and perhaps see more clearly the waters I am in and need to navigate.

Think about your question awhile. Wording is very important. Write it down. For instance, when I did the reading on my birthday recently, I asked "What is the Tao for my coming year?" Or suppose you want to quit the soul crushing corporate job that has you imprisoned in the dead dry center of middle America and go back to Santa Cruz so you can pick up your old life as a surfer dude. Then your question would be something like, "What are the influences surrounding my desire to ......" or perhaps ... "What would be the outcome of quitting my current soul crushing corporate job and ....." Get the idea?

The I Ching often confirms what I already know, which is amazing when you think about it but not particularly mind bending if you prefer carnival raz-ma-taz. My birthday hexagram reflected a condition I have been aware of for a while, Standstill, so I asked a second question in search of more information on a way forward. "How can I correct the mistakes I made that have resulted in stagnation" and got, "Cultivate yourself, await your alloted time, then you will be able to bite through." The changing hexagram, Biting Through, went into some helpful detail.


Be patient. It takes time to get use to the language and metaphors. The I Ching is among the oldest of Chinese classic texts and not dumbed down for the current age or its consumers. On the other hand, it is oddly modern. It shares a common language with computers, zeros and ones. The I Ching arrives at all 64 hexagrams and their changing lines through combining and recombining zeros and ones just as computers use what's called binary code, also made up solely of ever changing combinations of ones and zeros. Everything both systems do is based on zeros and ones. Elegant, yes?

That's it. Try it if you like. I recommend the Wilhelm/Baynes version of the book for your basic text. It's the original. It's easy once you get the idea of how to count each coin toss. If you don't want to buy anything you can find online versions of the method here or here or here or just look around for a site that suits you. On the other hand, if all this bores, mystifies or otherwise offends your religious and/or scientific bias, forget about it. Have some fun. Translate your name into binary code. Otherwise, what are you waiting for?


Step through the door...




~ 01100001011100110110100001100001


Update: Be sure to write your (well thought out, carefully worded) question down before tossing the coins. Being able to refer back to exactly will help you interpret the results.




Monday, August 6, 2007

Wedding photos



I posted a set at Flickr if you'd like to see more photos from the wedding. They are in order just as I took them so you can get a sense of day unfolding. Enjoy.




Sunday, August 5, 2007

Wake up and smell the latte


“We the People”. Ha!

The House authorized the government to spy on us and people are blaming the Democrats. Of course, I'm also furious that they caved into the Republican agenda but still it's pathetic scapegoating.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance” .

Sadly we, the American people, expect other people to take care of the dirty business for us. If we pay attention to politics all, we prefer to focus on our own pet issues and leave the big picture to "them". Screw us. This is what we get. America is a Corporatocracy now, that is a perfect slave state. Our chains are different but even stronger than the leg irons worn by slaves in days gone by. We are shackled by our addiction to “credit”. It’s the perfection of the slave state. There is no need for the slave master’s whip. Desire is the perfect master and the Corporate media stokes ours day and night. Naturally when the planet's natural resources run low these salad days will end but for now life still seems pretty good in the corporate kingdom, as long as you squint.

"The printing press has done for the mind what gunpowder has done for war." - Wendell Phillips




Saturday, August 4, 2007

Dialing it down


I had to dial down the Bird Park this morning. Just too many pigeons, too early. Don't get me wrong. I love them as much as other birds but there is a balance and right now it is out of whack. They are large, communal and very talkative. This morning I removed all but one feeder. However, the pigeons love their afternoon bath and the tubs are full of nice clean water and waiting. They just won't find much seed on the ground. It's kind of sad, but they'll be okay. After all, I am not Mother feckin' Nature.

And this correction is also very much in keeping with the overall current of my life. I have to be still, re-evaluate things, weed out what doesn't work. It's not exactly a choice. The times call for it. Even when I did my annual birthday reading the other day, the I Ching said the same thing. The fundamentals are wrong. Energetically bite through the obstacles. Indeed.

Once again I am impressed with the oracle's accuracy. It reflected exactly what I have been experiencing for a while now. No, I don't feel particularly effusive about it. Sober, yes. Reflective, yes. Perhaps this lingering flu has something to do with my mood but anyone with half a brain knows that transitions, realignments, are not always fun but, from time to time, necessary. But don't let me rain on your day.






Thursday, August 2, 2007

Think

Okay, if you've been keeping up here at the border crossing you've already watched the excerpt from Scott Jennings historically pathetic bogus testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning so here's a little fun from Live Earth. It's got a message but don't let that scare you off. At least I found it refreshing and delightful. Give it a chance. Perhaps you will too. As you know, it never hurts to ...

Think


More fun short films from Live Earth here.




Bogus "executive privilege"


BushCo. is defending a house of cards (all Jokers) in this Justice Dept. scandal. Get a load of this "testimony" by Bushman Scott Jennings who was questioned today by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy. The only hope these clown's have left is their bogus claim to "executive privilege". Jennings is a public servant but, in BushCo.'s pathetic attempt to avoid accountability, the White House won't even let him disclose his own job description!

These jokers really have their backs against the wall. They know they are defending a house of cards in a bowl of smoke, remove even one and the whole facade comes tumbling down in a puff.

Bush's house of cards










Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Babes in Bird Land and old crows too


A young quail couple, barely teenagers themselves, bring their baby over to the Bird Park several times a day. Seems they live at Dwayne's, probably under his giant Indian Willow tree-o-life. I don't know if cats got the rest of their family or they only had the one, but they are very protective of the little guy who, at this point, isn't any bigger than a tennis ball. Generally, one parent hangs back on lookout while the other escorts the baby around but he stays very close anyway. I say "he" because he has a tiny little comb on the top of his head but I don't know. Maybe he's a she. Perhaps time will tell. Anyway, they are very sweet as they work their way along, scratching and dirt bathing and keeping an eye on baby.

I generally watch them while I sit at my computer, which is very convenient for me however, last evening I got trapped when they made an appearance in the front yard. I was sitting on the porch eating dinner when they scooted over from Dwayne's. It is obviously one of the chick's favorite things to do. Before they were half way across the lawn, he made a bee line for the tree with the thistle seed sack and his wary parents obediently followed but they weren't at all comfortable with me sitting so near. First the father, then the mother, took turns keeping me under surveillance while I sat obligingly still as a statue. Talk about time stopping but, most importantly, the baby had a great time, ate his fill of seed, snuggled in the dirt, explored the lavender forest next to the tree, scratched around again, explored the forest again. He even caught and ate an ant.

Since coming back from Portland, I dialed down the feed a bit in an effort to reduce the number of visitors to the park. I was getting a bit obsessive about it all but mornings are still peanut time and some very old crows, Minerva among them, continue to show up for them which pleases me. I've never watched a crow age before. Did you know they get gray like the rest of us?

But before you return to the ongoing reports of mind-blowing human folly, one last bit of news. Yesterday afternoon a sparrow broke all park records for time on a feeder. This fellow stayed on the tube at least an hour, maybe two. Not that he was eating the whole time. He sat for long periods just swinging on the perch, looking around, taking in the day. I like to think he was basking in the peace and quiet.