Saturday, December 16, 2006

Early Morning Thought, my friend and waiting ~

Yesterday was again spent in the clutches of a system that fails people without insurance. As I had posted on Monday, about my friend, who is ill - we were back at the emergency room supposedly for admission to the hospital to begin treatment for a very serious illness. Unfortunately, it took 2 1/2 hours to discover that an important piece of paper that needed to come from his doctor was not there.

We were faced with two choices:
1) Start the entire process over again - with the probability of and 8 - 10 hour wait or
2) go early in the morning to his doctor, get the paper and come back to the emergency room.

As it was now late in the evening, doing all that has to be done in the morning seemed to be the best choice.

All this was terribly wearing on my friend, but with encouragement he handled it very well. Of course, having to wait even longer was becoming a throbbing pain to him. I don't blame him at all.

This has been an adventure or a roller-coaster ride. Unfortunately, there are no "carny" stands to win a teddy bear or other such trinket.

So, encouragement became the most important.

One word or a pleasing smile
is often enough to raise up a saddened and wounded soul.
St Teresa of Lisieux

Is of constant need
Both in the inner
World of progress
And in the outer
World of success.
Sri Chinmoy

And this is what can be offered, and must be offered. And, from personal experience, when it comes from the heart it reaches the heart and soul - uplifting both!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

A really good chuckle ~

The Bible says that:

Proverbs 15:13 A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.

Proverbs 17:22
A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

So in the midst of what's been going on with my friend, the world, the sky ... a good laugh was definitely needed. When I got home tonight, there it was!!

Evidently, at the end of exams 4,000 UCLA students celebrated by taking off their clothes and running around the campus in their underwear!!!

As a fellow blogger says:
That's a lot of dangling participles!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Early Morning Thought ~

Jane Eyre Takes To Cyberspace
by Chella Courington

Tired of midnight screams in drafty rooms
she imagines a jaunt down lover's lane
like a walk on the moors
to distract her dampened spirits

if she can make it on
through questions
more questions than any governess agency
dares to ask.

She wants to speak the truth
though truth often brings her trouble.
So this time she'll slip
into white lies.

Plain? Not Very
Exciting? Somewhat
Sexy? Very

Lying is fun.
She can turn herself into a babe
by clicking keys.

Who cares if Rochester waits for her
the other side of a burning house.

She's sick of gloom
of being the model of every wallflower
in every century.

A hot young star
even Barbie would emulate.

Where Angels Wouldn't Go ~ part one

This post begins a series on reason/passion/thought ... I've been wrestling some ideas that have to do with things going on in the news and how they relate to me. I've chosen to start this series with a quote from one of my favorite authors: Kahlil Gibran. Hopefully, you'll enjoy this journey as much as I have taking it.....

On Reason & Passion

And the priestess spoke again and said: "Speak to us of Reason and Passion."
And he answered saying:
Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against passion and your appetite.

Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.

But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul.

If either your sails or our rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.

For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.

Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion; that it may sing;

And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.

I would have you consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.

Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both.

Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows - then let your heart say in silence, "God rests in reason."

And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky, - then let your heart say in awe, "God moves in passion."

And since you are a breath In God's sphere, and a leaf in God's forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion.

Early Morning Thoughts ~

"Great men are they who see that
spiritual thought is stronger than any material force,
that thoughts rule the world."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Progress of Culture

"Thoughts are free and subject to no rule.
On them rests the freedom of man, and they tower above the light of nature...
create a new heaven, a new firmament, a new source of energy from which new arts flow."


"Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth -

more than ruin - more even than death...
Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible,
thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions,
and comfortable habit.
Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid.
Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man."

Betrand Russell

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

But It Said ~

My home being in the south central part of the US (read: Texas), there are certain things we do battle with almost continually - bugs. As I was deciding whether to do them in or buy them presents, I ran across a new-to-me spray made with "real" orange peel juice. I thought it would work, bought it and tried it out today. This was a good day to do it as I needed to attack the kitchen of my apartment. I did the cupboards, under the refrigerator and such. About half way into the job, I was coughing, gagging and having difficulty breathing. I walked carefully (all right, I fled) out the door to get some reasonably fresh air into me. It was then that I really read the label, which informed me to use ONLY in a well-ventilated area. That got me thinking about language (and those who don't read information as they should) and it's use and misuse.(more on some of my adventures with language for later posts).

Every year, there are several lists that I look forward to seeing. Lists such as the Darwin Awards (for another post) and the LSSU banished words list. With this list are a few more words that need to be retired (like certain over hyped celebrities) to the trash can.

Lake Superior State University 2006 List of Banished Words


One part opiate of the masses, 13 parts overuse. Oddly, news anchor and television small talk is becoming more surreal. “Dreams are surreal, not daily adjectives.” – Tracy from Murray, Ky.

To brace oneself, in anticipation of media onslaught. Trotted out in reports about everything from politics to hurricanes. “I have a hankering to ban all of this hunkering.” – Kate Rabe Forgach, Fort Collins, Colo.

Found within the context of legal commentary, but seldom encountered at cocktail parties. “People with guns want to talk with you.” – Melissa Carroll from Greensboro, NC. “Does this mean the rest of us are too boring to deal with?” – Patricia Johnson from Mechanicsville, Va.

A five-dollar phrase on a nickel-errand. Value-added into many higher education mission statements. “Not to be confused with ‘school.'” – Jim Howard from Mishawa, Ind.

A casualty of today's partisanship. No discussion on this one; the committee just tossed a coin. “I see a bright future for ex-senators as elevator operators.” — Allan Dregseth, Fargo, ND.

Once it stopped presses. Now it's a lower-intestinal condition brought about by eating dinner during newscasts. “Now they have to interrupt my supper to tell me that Katie Holmes is pregnant.” — Michael Raczko, Swanton, Ohio.

Many nominators consider this a bastardization of dog breeding. It may be a good line to use on angry neighbors when an un-neutered dog escapes. “When you mate a miniature schnauzer to a toy poodle, it's not a ‘Schnoodle,' it's a mongrel.” – George Bullerjahn, Bowling Green, Ohio.

Dedicated to the memory of a great federal agency consigned to the ash heap of parody. “If they don't do anything, we don't need their acronym.” – Josh Hamilton, Tucson, Ariz.

Preamble often heard on talk radio. “I am serious in asking: who in any universe gives a care?” – Miguel McCormick, Orlando, Fla.

Marketing catch phrase that became a lost-leader long ago. “Read: Pass the markup along to you.” – C. W. Estes, Roanoke, Tex.

Adventures in delusion. “Still has 3% fat . . . accept it.” – Andrew Clucas, Canberra, Australia.

Best-laid mayhem. “This means some accidents need to happen, for whatever reason, I can't figure.” — Thomas Price, Orlando, Fla.

Banished from the Marketplace of Ideas. “It's not scientists who are using this phrase so much as the people who practice junk politics.” – Ron LaLonde, Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada.

GIT-ER-DONE – (Any of its variations)
It's overdone. “There's no escaping it. It's everywhere, from TV to T-shirts,” says Amanda Tikkanen of LaGrange, Ind. “Please tell me when we're done with this one.”

No designer breed here. Someone should wash out this Spot. “Even parents are starting to use it!” – complains Mrs. Swartz's Fifth Grade Class in Church Road, Va. “This is species confusion.” – Rob Bowers, Santa Clara, Calif. “Don't call me ‘dawg'! I'm not your pet!” – Michael Swartz, Albuquerque, NM.

Cover your ears! “Topics which will please those you want to impress.” – Michele Mooney, Van Nuys, Calif. Joe Wonsetler of Swanton, Ohio, believes the phrase was created after PR staffers stopped attending seminars on how to put a positive ‘spin' on their press releases.

Many salvos were fired during this past season's “war on Christmas.” At the risk of jumping into the breach, the committee feels that “Holiday tree” is a silly name for what most folks hold as a Christmas tree, no matter your preference of religion. Thank goodness we all agree on the first day of winter.

LSSU accepts nominations for the List of Banished Words throughout the year. To submit your nomination for the 2007 list, go to

I sent a nomination for this list -
All-OVER -IT --
This term, it seems, has become a catch phrase of Fox News and CNN. It seems to be used every program for almost every story. I usually associate the phrase with having spilled something "all over it." The two news channels cause some unintended laughter from me as the describe a situation such as a car wreck and tell me that their reporters will be all-over-it.

So how about you? Surely there are phrases/words that you feel should be done away with. Let me know - perhaps we could send a P B & J set of nominations for next year.

For The Early Evening ~

When I started sharing, one of the postings that I wanted to stay away from were video postings that didn't seem to fit with me. Yes, I watch videos on YouTube, Dailymotion and a couple of others since I use them in Sunday Meditation. Nothing seemed to really stand by itself.

A few days ago in very active forum that I'm a member of, a member re-posted a video that stands out as amazing.

The performer is Jerome Murat - a living statue performer of some note. This clip takes a little patience to watch and appreciate. It's not only brilliant technique, but has something to say. It does not involve violence, sex or computers. It's from France, and you might say it could only be from France (it seems to be a sort of articulated mime routine; and it is existential, but of course) but it is not obnoxious. It is something completely different.

The start of the video is in French as he seems to be winning some kind of award. After just a few moments, his performance starts.

He can be "booked" for events .... from this company and this is their page with yet another picture of him.

Early Morning Thoughts ~

To sleep, perchance to dream-
ay, there's the rub." --From Hamlet (III, i, 65-68)

Perchance to Dream

The child sat in his bedroom
while night undressed the sky
and opened up the window
through which his dreams would fly.

The stories in his paintbox
sailed on and out of sight.
He took the moon to pieces
and bade the stars goodnight.

The sedative nightwatchman
crept clockwise through his pulse,
chasing the naughty ghosts off.
But he was somewhere else.

The tipsy blobs of colour
diffused, then recombined.
He found a sheet of paper
where they might be defined.

His thought, turned inside out now,
strode through itself, agape,
watching the transposition
of syntax into shape.

Here, in this gentle country,
no thought was contraband,
but music fused with grammar,
and pictures held his hand.

And in each patient landscape,
where speech refused to slur
the vowels his heart was hiding,
he was inventing her:

lost in the mind's penumbra,
and shy to be expressed
in syllables too prudish
to see themselves undressed,

she waited. As he saw her,
his words began to spin,
and tricks his toys had taught him
to shield his sleep from sin

came back in strange declensions,
a lazy paradigm
of some forgotten language
where love grew out of time.

She stepped - a perfect stranger,
perfect, yet not so strange -
from myths of many colours
where time had frozen change.

The light was growing soft now -
sepia monochrome:
an open family-album
welcomed its father home.

The dream dissolved in moonlight.
The child sat up in bed,
and asked his dumbstruck mirror
where all the years had fled,

while features of adulthood,
staled by their sense of sin,
stared back at him in wonder,
masking the child within.

And out of force of habit
he closed his eyes to hide
his fears from the warm person
unconscious at his side.

His arms were safe about her
whose words his heart would keep.
He turned them into windows,
then smiled and fell asleep.

Andrew Moore
Published in Proof: Anthology 2, 1980

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Tree Meltdown ~

Earlier this month, the airport of Seattle, Washington (Sea-Tac for Seattle-Tacoma) decided to decorate the airport. As a nod to the holidays and perfectly logically they put up a number of decorated and lit Christmas trees. As I said, this sounds perfectly logical as one can hardly consider an airport to be any kind of competition for Macy's windows.

Then came the letter from a local Rabbi complaining that there was no Menorah as part of the decorations. All the Rabbi suggested was that one be included . Simple request. The officials of Sea-Tac immediately solved the problem by removing the trees and (how no one knows!) leaking the name of the Rabbi who complained. By now, the "media" had gotten a hold of the story and has begun to push the angle that the Rabbi somehow wanted Christmas trees out of the airport.

This, as might be suspected, did NOT sit well with the Rabbi - who, like so many of us, trying to deal with "important" people apparently kept running into a brick wall. He literally had to threaten Sea-Tac with a lawsuit to get the trees back up.

In the meantime, employees of one of the airlines bought Christmas trees and lights to decorate their counter. There is no word on what Sea-Tac officials had to say about that, but probably not much as airlines rent the counter from the airport and are not thereby controlled by the airport.

Yesterday the airport had the workers re-assemble and re-place the Christmas trees. Sea-Tac now plans to form a committee to look into what decorations should be placed in the airport in the future.

My concern is not the trees (turning brown) standing around looking forlorn in the lobby of the airport, or whether or not the canned music should eliminate the 16 different versions of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" being played to greet bleary eyed travellers as the deplane.

My concern is two fold. First, the culture of fear this seems to represent. When something like a tree is placed and decorated it can be reasonably assumed that the airport is at least trying to allow some brightness in an otherwise bleak travel experience. When presented with a complaint, the illogical reaction seems to have been one of panic, followed by immediate removal of the trees. I say illogical because it seems to be a reaction based on fear - not thought. Which brings me to the second concern: the lack of communication. Would it have been terribly difficult to sit down and talk to the Rabbi and get his suggestion as to how to change the decorations. The Sea-Tac officials were worried that they would be deluged with complaints about the trees. But they were not. So, to my mind, the reaction looks like a knee-jerk reaction based on fear, which often leads to non-communication. And as long as those two things are operating, the chance to solve any problem goes away.

Of course, this was brought home to me today by a close dear friend. If I can't say what's going on, people have no way to help. Sea-Tac didn't really talk to the Rabbi - so they now have spent a lot of money running trees up and down like a cartoon show. I started not talking about what was going on, so friends couldn't do what they do best - be friends and acknowledge the situation.

Just as the American Express ads used to say:
Communication, don't leave home without it!!

by the way, the picture at the top of this post is called The Christmas Tree from one the deep caverns beneath the earth.

Early Morning Thoughts ~

Santa Sat on His Great Butt Enjoying a Hardy Brew

A beer distributor says Maine is being a Scrooge by barring it from selling a beer with a label depicting Santa Clause enjoying a pint of brew. The label for the English-made Santa’s Butt Winter Porter features a rear view of a beer-drinking Santa Claus sitting atop a barrel.
The beer’s name refers not only to Santa’s ample backside, but also to the barrel. In England, brewers once used a large barrel called a “butt” to store beer.
In a complaint filed in federal court, Shelton Brothers accuses the Maine Bureau of Liquor Enforcement of censorship for denying applications for labels for Santa’s Butt Winter Porter and two other beers it wants to sell in Maine.

Does this mean it's acceptable to call someone a "horse's (any other animal's) butt" in polite conversation? Somehow horse's beer barrel just doesn't have the same ring. Does it?

Oh Radkappe Tannenbaum!
Oh Kraftfahrzeug Radkappe Tannenbaum

Here in the city there are always hubcaps along the sides of the road. There are some shops that collect them and resell them (with or without the car attached). But this Christmas season someone decided to collect them with a very different purpose.

All I can say is: You probably won't see this on DIY network or Martha Stewart ... althought it would be interesting to see what would be said during the program. "Now, Martha, while we wait for the crankshaft shaped fruitcake to cook, let's take this crowbar and insert it right there on the hub cap of this car and ...."

Monday, December 11, 2006

tolerate -- NOT!


Civility and consideration seem like two rather banal and inconsequential words. But in a society as diverse as our own, incivility and inconsideration can do great and enduring harm.

In partial defense of Michael Richards, Mel Gibson or even (heaven forgive me) Andy Dick -- current America thinking influeced by those in power and an irresponsible media is to blame for their vile and inexcusable behavior. Richards' racist tirade is merely at manifestation of a profound problem.

Consider what we allow.

Politicians like Rick Santorum and religious leaders like James Dobson openly and proudly use words that are painfully insulting to gay Americans. Senator Allen laughingly calls a college student "Macaca." Rappers and Reggae singers celebrate rape, murder, racism and homophobia. We pretend that it's humor, Biblical or a political statement, when in fact it is hate language that pollutes our society and even worse the minds and hearts of our children.

Rather than uncompromisingly condemn this behavior and language as disgusting, we debate it. We look for ways to explain it away and even worse allow it.

The collective outrage over ' n*** word tirades or "jokes" rings hollow in a society were politicians are applauded for comparing homosexuality to bestiality, where hate-spewing rappers, black and white are given record contracts and Grammy Awards, where openly homophobic Reggae singers are booked for concerts and religious leaders who use words like fag and abomination to describe their fellow Americans are allowed tax exemptions.

Partly it's because as a nation we have perverted and trivialized the value of free speech. Neither the Bible nor the Constitution were intended to justify intolerance and bigotry. Michael Richards is symptomatic of a badly damaged society. Tolerance is not an absolute; we do not tolerate murder and rape, nor should we tolerate homophobia, racism or intolerance for that matter.

As a society we must take harsh action against hate language regardless of it's source: the Bible, politics, booze or rage. As adults we can rationalize, excuse and trivialize, but in the meantime less sophisticated minds, our children, are listening and learning very bad things.

And our "free press" is oftentimes the most culpable in this mess. It's time to call bigots bigots. It's not a hard word to define, even a mediocre reporter could do so.

"Bigot: A person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices esp: one who regards or treats the members of a group with hatred and intolerance."

As far as I know that is not the definition of a conservative, a Christian or a rapper.

Conservatives don't boycott Wal-Mart for supporting the civil rights of American citizens. Bigots do. And our children need to know that.

And we try and excuse using these words toward each other, millions of others develop hatred to each other. I was appalled watching a comedy channel one night. The program was ostensibly and supposedly queens of comedy. Never - never have I heard such hate and hate speech delivered as "comedy." People try and excuse it as acceptable among "our own." To me it is no more acceptable for blacks to use n*** toward each other, than it is OK for gays to use faggot as a "joke" toward each other.

All it does is belittle, cut down and move toward humiliation of people. And for those that are listening (especially children or youth), they form the idea that it's perfectly acceptable to use those terms. And why shouldn't they? After all they see/hear them being used, so it must be alright. It must be "cool" to use them.

This reminded me of the lyrics of "You've Got to be Carefully Taught" from South Pacific:
You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!

To conclude, let me quote from something I said above:

Neither the Bible nor the Constitution were intended to justify intolerance and bigotry. Tolerance is not an absolute; we do not tolerate murder and rape, nor should we tolerate homophobia, racism or intolerance for that matter.

(borrowed -- OK, plagerized heavily from "proceed at your own risk" a blog I really respect.)

I really needed ~

I really needed something encouraging this morning. It started out as one of those days when nothing - nothing seemed to be going as I planned.

Then -- I saw this and it really brightened my day. A truely trashy christmas tree. Be sure to note the lit bottle on the top. Of course, the extension cord running along the floor really added to the ambience. (see my previous post Bah Humbug, and you'll understand why!)

Early Morning thoughts

My friend who I sat with at the ER center, is not doing well. He's become angry and disgruntled at the time it's taking to find out what's wrong - even though we both have our ideas. He's begun to take it out on those around. I wish that I could wave a wand and take it all away.

The anger shows in
the tone.
the anger shows in

The smile might
still be on
face, but I'm
listening to
what isn't said.
What's there
not revealed.

I could offer
platitudes of
life ~
the appropriate
sounds we
when faced with
that which

But I can't do
that for,
my friend.
I care too
much to play
a game
of caring.

I want to let
I care -- really care.

And I shall show it
by just being there.
Just sitting and being.

We can talk -
if you want.
We can be silent -
if you want.

But what must
be known,
understood -

I am here.
I care.
I will continue
to be here -
even when
try to
shut me out.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday Meditation ~

We are nothing
In Comparison to
What we shall become
If we pray and meditate
For the remainder of our lives.- Sri Chinmoy

some music to go with your thoughts

In this moment of silent communion with Thee,

O Lord, a still small silent voice speaks in the depth
of my spirit.

It speaks to me of the things I must do to attain
holy kinship with Thee and to grow
in the likeness of Thee.

I must do my allotted task with unflagging faithfulness
even though the eye of no taskmaster is on me.

I must be gentle in the face of ingratitude
or when slander distorts my noblest motives.

I must come to the end of each day with a feeling
that I have used its gifts gratefully
and faced its trials bravely.

O Lord, help me to be ever more like Thee,
holy for Thou art holy,

Loving for Thou art love.

Speak to me, then, Lord, as I seek Thee again and again
in the stillness of meditation, until Thy bidding
shall at last become for me a hallowed discipline,
a familiar way of life.

- From Jewish Liturgy

May your day end with peace and quiet and joy

Sunday Morning Paper -- News, Reviews, thoughts

--This is an article about George W. S. Trow who in a sense/way predicted Paris Hilton and her kind of celebrity. A thought provoking read.
--The critical buzz on Apocalypto and Blood Diamond. Results seem to indicate that Apocalypto is going to be a big money maker.
-Reviewers look at Christmas TV.
--Jeane Kirkpatrick, a realist remembered.
--A New Jersey Assembly man takes himself out of the closet.
--New comparisons of photographs taken in the past decade indicate that very recently water has flowed in liquid form on Mars, indicating the exciting possibility for life on that planet. The comparisons also showed evidence of many new craters indicating frequently hits by asteroids and meteors, which could present a hazard on future Mars missions.

--Here is the sequel to the very popular production about the "first dogs" and Christmas at the White House. (Go to the link, move a little down the page. On the right hand side is Barney's Holiday Extravaganza. You can choose what format you want to play it.) Hopefully, everyone participating were rewarded for their work!!

--The committee that studied the Mark Foley scandal (remember his 15 minutes of shame/fame) has decided that no rules were broken by anyone involved. My reaction -- if no rules were broken, then perhaps the rules might need to be changed.
--In David Mamet's adaptation of Harley Granville Barker's play "The Voysey Inheritance," both men share a mutual fascination with greed, guilt and financial corruption.
--With ticket prices as high as $250 taking children to the theater is and can be a major risk.
--The American secret service was bugging Princess Diana's telephone conversations without the approval of the British security services on the night she died
--For the second time in eight days, a judge ordered the Bush administration to immediately resume making housing payments to thousands of families whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
--Cal Thomas starts his article: "By its own admission, the Iraq Study Group (ISG) has submitted a "flawed" report to the president, to Congress and to the American people."
--The city of Padua has become the first in Italy to allow gay couples and straight couples to have their partnerships legally recognized, prompting swift criticism from the Vatican's official newspaper and fierce debate is expected nationally and in Parliament.