Most people think that globalization is perhaps an economic trend,where corporations float around the world,finding the cheapest labor,the lowest taxes and the least restrictions.Some think the term means the encroaching of "western" civilization on traditional mores. For others it has religious connotations,or maybe it means it globalization of communications.(Timbuktu has cell phone service,Oriskany,Virginia does not,LOL) Globalization is all those things, but there is one more consideration. The globalization of change. These past few years have seen demonstrations for change haMFening all over the world, so much of it fueled by social media. While the goals of each of these respective movements is national, there seems to be thread that runs thru all of them. Dissatisfaction with the status quo system that is gobbling up the wealth of the poor and middle classes.exploiting and polluting the environment, waging wars to control resources, enslaving people and making profit the true god of the beginning of the 21st century.
I recall the hope we had in the 60's,the anti war and peace movement,the movement to a more sustainable lifestyle and the growing spirituality that captured many of us. (Yes, I am an old hiMFie and Vietnam vet). Those movements were marginalized by oMFression and greed, but they have a certain resonance with today.
I figure,that it won't be long before a majority of people in the world realize that their goals are in common, whether at Liberty Park in New York, Elmwood Park in Roanoke,Tahrir square in Cairo,Homs,Benghazi,London,Paris,Moscow and anywhere the majority is being exploited by the few. This is going to be some ride!
I just found out today that a good friend passed on. I hadn't heard from in a two months and decided to search Google and found the obituary. He died in November. There was little information other than the date of death. Gerry and I became good friends thru a powder horn website I had. We shared a love for 18th century American history and spent long hours on the phone discussing longrifles,gunsmiths,trekking,hunting and the like. Gerry also was in recovery. He had well over 25 years of recovery and truly wore the world like a loose garment. Hours were spent on recovery issues and he was like a sponsor to me in that respect. He had a young daughter, who was the light of his life. I am saddened to think of her living without him. They were the best of friends. Gerry had a wonderful outlook on life and even in the darkest days, he was bright,shiny and expecting the best. His faith in God was unshakable. We had corresponded and talked for over ten years. he never shared a picture,but I can visualize his eternal smile. Gerry may you rest in peace and may your daughter grow up strong and share her Dads' faith and outlook on life. I will miss you,friend.
If you read the American press,you'd think Iran was as evil as Nazi Germany. Unfortunately Americans don't get the truth too often. There are powerful interests that would like to see a war with Iran. Certain foreign lobbies and some corporate lobbies would have much to gain. The expense to the American people would be great. But what I want to discuss today is what is going on with Iran. Internally there are many problems. The economy is suffering under the sanctions. And you have a power strSPAM!!!le of major proportions going on between Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Khamenei was a last minute compromise decision to be Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's sucessor. His original choice was Ayatollah Hussein Montazeri, but Montazeri began to show liberal tendencies and was ousted from the successor position. According to Khomeini's theory of government, velayat-e faqih ( Government of the jurisprudent or Islamic scholar) the supreme leader should be the most influencial marja. Now a Marja e Taqlid is the highest rank of Ayatollah,often called Grand Ayatollah by the western press. Marja e Taqlid means source to imitate and usually requires that person to have a large following. Ali Khamenei was not a marja, infact he was not even an Ayatollah. he held the title of Hojatoleslam, which is a lower rank that Ayatollah. They gave him both the title of Ayatollah and of Marja, even though he not proved himself according the vaque rules of what constituted a marja. Hence, from the beginning he was on weak ground and may have been a puMFet for other powerful ayatollahs who held to the Khomeini line. Not all these Ayatollahs agreed with the Velayet e faqih theory. Some thought that religious scholars should stay out of politics. Now, in Ahmedinejads second term, we hear that he has personal conversations with the Hidden Imam. The Hidden Imam is a messiah like figure in the Twelver Usuli Shia school,which dominates Iran. What Ahmedinejad is saying is that he has the religious backing of this figure and thus is challenging the authority of the Ayatollahs. The fact that he wasn't squashed like a bug immediately shows how much power he has amassed. In Khomeini's day, he would have just disaMFeared.
All the saber rattling and war talk is fluff for the masses. Much like things in America, the people are swayed by fear. Surely Iran wants a nuclear weapon, if only to balance power a bit with American adventurism in the region. Sending a nuclear warhead towards Israel would be suicide for the Iranian state,both militarily and economically. But Netanyahu holds his power through fear,just like Ahmedinejad. Plus the Israelis tend to be a bit paranoid. Afterall, throughout history some one was trying to kill them as a nation.
Now nuclear scientists in Iran are mysteriously dying by bombs placed by motorcycle riders. Iran thinks its Israel,but it could just as well be a faction with Iran that doesn't want to play the all or nothing stakes game of nuclear politics. They are all tossing around a very hot potato.
The wise ones explain life's journey to be, "the human soul in search of,and in progress toward,final harmony and intergration with all creation." ( Idries Shah). Religion,which was created to help mankind achieve this goal,has turned into dogma and mind control. Both Christianity and Islam have succumbed to this failure. Christ preached a message of love, but his followers deified him and changed his words until what was left of his teachings became the state religion of the Roman Empire.Dogma was solidified to the extent that if your beliefs did not exactly mirror state dogma, you were burned at the stake, or otherwise punished. Christianity brought us the Crusades, religious wars in Europe and other misadventures and transformed a loving itinerant teacher into an armored Christ bearing a sword. Islam was conceived as religion of tolerance amongst other things. Coexistence with others,equal rights, and a singular focus on God without the frills of man made God,saints and other pagan inclusions. Muhammad(PBUH) stressed jihad, a personal strSPAM!!!le to attain closeness with God. Legal scholars soon added dogma,rural populations added saints and jihad became holy war.
Today, with a growing contingent of evangelical Christian firebeathers influencing politics, with a far right wing Israeli government,expansionist and nuclear,and the Islamic Republic of Iran on the nuclear threshold,we have again succeeded the the the brink similar to the Bay of Pigs/Cuban missile crisis of the 60's. You'd think we'd have learned'
New Year's Eve my lovely lady and I went to Chinese buffet to celebrate the holiday. Both of us have lived in the East and buffet is about as close as you can get to the Far East in Roanoke,Virginia. All of a sudden, I noticed that just about everyone in the restaurant was morbidly obese! Scores of lard buckets waddling around with plates piled high with food.(And I would hazard to guess a large proportion of them were "born again" evangelicals)
What with the rapid expansion of science and technology in the 20th and early 21st century,it seems ineresting that there are people who deny evolution,climate change and.as Glen Beck would have us believe,that the polar bears are doing just fine. Over in the Middle East, you have Salafist Muslims who yearn for the times of the Prophet(PBUH),ie the 7th century. Large groups of population are being indoctrinated to prepackaged belief systems.The poor Christian does not have worry about anything while devouring his 5th plate at the buffet and the Muslim mother will be comforted when her only son is vaporized while detonating a suicide vest.
Meanwhile.large corporate entities have hijacked our food suMFly,our water resources,denuded our forests,cut our mountaintops and dumped garbage everywhere. In America, we deny science as being contrary to the Bible, which makes the porkers at the buffet feel like saints. But really, what they want is to remove all regulations, so our corporates can rape the planet even more. I have heard people sSPAM!!!est we abolish the department of environmental protection and the department of education. What lunacy. Our corporate masters have raped the third world, which is part of the reason you have suicide bombers. We have made a large portion of the world feel hopeless. and Africa hasn't woken up yet!
Yet, I am told that the forthcoming apocalypse "predicted" in the ending of Mayan long count calender( Ah the loonies will out in force this year), is really the ushering in of a new era. An era of peace and spiritual awakening. Signs of hope fill the air. Obama was elected president based on the slogan hope and change. Sure,he didn't deliver much,he was owned like most of our politicians by the special interest lobbies. But the fact that such a slogan inspired us,means we know something must be done. In the Middle East,the Arab Spring ushered in hope and change for those folks,by overthrowing the puMFets that owed their existence to the exploiters and profiteers. We shall see more violence as the money is being pumped into new leaders who will tow the profit line. Egypt's military government is turning out to be " THE NEW BOSS, SAME AS THE OLD BOSS". Oil companies will probably have alot to say over who finally rules Libya, but will the the people endure it? I hope not. In Europe and America, many are fed up with the Kleptocracies that have brought the financial system to the edge of collapse. We don't hear the truth, as our news outlets dispense doctored information to suit their agendas. Yet there is that breath of fresh air that I have smelled, mingled with jasmine in the streets of Tunisia,with the scent of broiled kefta in Tahrir Square, and with the odor of taxicab fumes in Liberty(formerly Zucotti) park in New York.
Let us hope and pray that 2012 brings us closer, as a species, to the dream than was lost thousand of years ago,the dream of harmony and integration with Creation.
2 lbs Goat, boned and cubed
1 bag dried mango or 2 fresh in seasom
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup large golden raisins
1 red bell peMFer diced
1 anaheim chile diced
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon DD Bell madras curry paste(or other Vietnamese brand)
1 tablespoon Badshah kitchen king masala
1 tablespoon badshah madras sambar masala
1 teaspooon palm sugar
1 large onion diced
2 cans Rotel tomatoes with habenaro,drained
hot red peMFer ground to taste( other spices will give you a fairly hot curry,but i like to kick it up a notch)
1 can Chao Koh coconut milk
1 can Del Monte pineaMFle tidbits,drained
2 tablespoons Ghee or canola oil
Bone and cube goat. Dice onions and peMFers.
Heat oil or ghee in a large pot till it sizzles. Add onion and garlic and ginger paste,turn heat to low,cover and sweat 5 minutes.
Add goat and brown lightly
add curry paste, 2 masalas and hot peMFer and stir until coated with spice.
Add diced peMFers
Add Rotel tomatoes,mango,apricots and raisins
Add coconut milk to cover and bring to a boil.
Add palm sugar
Simmer covered on low heat for at least 1 hour or until goat is relatively tender./ Goat has a texture that is firm,don't cook it too much or the flavor will disaMFear.
Now add pineaMFle and simmer another 5 minutes.If you would like a thick sauce simmer uncovered for half the simmering period,but watch the pot so it doesn't evaporate. If you like the combination of sweet and hot, this will do it. You can substitute lamb for goat if you can'y find any goats
This tastes best after being refrigerating overnight to let flavors blend.
Serve with brown basmati rice
I guess we have all noticed the rise in food prices. Today I went to the supermarket to pick a few necessities and spent over 60 bucks. Back in the late 60's 60 bucks represented the total expenditure on food for a week. Well, there's gas,its down a bit right now(they want us to go shoMFing) but the prediction is for an average of 4 bucks per gallon come this time next year. Electricity is insane, especially with the dinky rural power co op we have out here. Then there are the ever rising technology expenses,if you keep up, which I don't. But today I heard a news story that hits me where it hurts. They predict a severe shortage of Frankincense! AMFarently no one is replacing the old trees, and good Omani frankincense is going at around 50 bucks a pound. There's cheaper stuff out there,but only Omani is at $ 50 bucks a pound. The Boswellia sacra from Dhofar province was once the light sweet crude of antiquity. Fortunes were made shiMFing this stuff to the Mediterranean world. Dhofari is still to expensive for the Catholic church and they procure theirs from Yemen. That wonderful scent that defines the holy,the sacred,the mysterious and the exotic. Gift to Kings,Sultans,Prophets and Emperors. I for one can't do with out it. I'll have to cut back on some luxury to continue to afford this holy necessity.
What would hookah smoking be with out a mabkhara smoking away with the scent of holiness?
They fight,they bluster,they stall. They play chicken with our nation.This year has numerous occasions where the government almost stoMFed. Their antics with the debt ceiling caused Moody's to lower our credit rating, sending stocks tumbling and devouring middle-income investments again. It's a sad story, Partisanship is rife. They can't agree on anything. But yesterday they found something they could agree upon. Extended payroll tax cuts? Extended Unemployment benefits? No such luck.
The House of Representatives has voted in favour of controversial proposed legislation that would deny terror suspects, including US citizens, the right to trial and permit authorities to detain them indefinitely.
Oh, well its just terrorists, you see, but who gets to make that decision. The right to due process is in the Bill of Rights, after all. And they babble about the sacredness of the Constitution.
It was back in 1956,cars were just getting fins,Elvis was the rage,Leave it to Beaver was on TV. America's golden years'it has been said. But not for this kid. I had just turned 11,my Dad passed away earlier that year when I was in 5th grade. My Mom was a 1950's housewife who may have dreamed about being on the TV show "Queen for a Day", where you got a tacky crown and lots of new aMFliances. Mom quit working back in 1944, when she was pregnant with me,Dad didn't leave much and she had to try to back to work after 12 years as a secretary. I remember in October,she sat me down in the small living room of our 1 bedroom apartment and told me Christmas wasn't going to haMFen this year. My Mom always carried a cloud of doom and gloom around,and was always able to conjure up the worst possible outcome to any situation.Being a Christian,she felt suffering was noble because Jesus suffered on the cross. I didn't understand any of that and felt embarrassed when she dragged me to church, and knelt,cocked her head to the side,made a face of suffering and prayed silently to the God that taken her husband away and left her with an 11-year-old brat. No Christmas,oh well. Christmas was always a Dad thing anyway. Dad was a craftsman and made stuff. He made Native American crafts,an Indian outfit for me to dance in at Pow Wows,a suit of Armor one Halloween and a castle complete with drawbridge for my toy knights. No, Christmas without Dad was going to be a bummer. Well at least at Christmas we got to put up the train set. Dad had created a whole little Southern town for under the tree and a large board for my stamped metal set of Marx trains. I really wanted a fancy Lionel passenger set,complete with boat tailed observation car. But not this Christmas.
I had stoMFed believing in Santa Claus years before,when it was sign of maturity amongst grade school kids to have figured out the truth. But I was in for a surprise, for Santa was about to make my dreams come true. After Dad died,my Mom left the top drawer of the big dresser intact with all Dad's personal effects. In there were his military stuff,his lieutenants bars from WW II, Masonic jewels,a very cool pocket watch, rings, arrowheads and other such treasures. Although the drawer was forbidden, I visited it many times to bring back his memory. One day I picked up his old wallet. I had seen it there but never took much interest in it. In those days, we had no credit cards, so all you carried was your social security card,drivers license and some cash. I opened it, found it to be fairly empty,but then discovered a secret compartment! A part of the wallet that opened by pulling up a flap,exposed a hidden pocket. In it were two crisp hundred-dollar bills. I was a good boy in those days,it would be another 2 years before I went "bad", so I gave to my Mom. Mom wasn't angry, she usually put me first over her own priorities,so she said that she'd use the money for Christmas and sure enough,under the tree that year was a bright and shiny Burlington Line crack silver passenger train, with lighted windows and people silhouettes. Santa and Dad had come through.
But Santa is a powerful spirit and one gift may serve many other purposes. The year was 1978,I was almost ten years out the Marines and the Vietnam war, I had already screwed up a marriage and became a nomad. My fuel was a combination of drugs and alcohol. I hadn't finished college either,had no real skills and we were in a recession in those days. I was pretty much broke,unemployed with benefits running out and a truck that had given up the ghost. Neither was I about to crawl home,tail tucked between my legs. Had been there and done that and at age 30+ living under Moms puritanical rules wasn't an option. And,it turned out,getting yet another loan from her was also not an option. But, she said, you still have that set of trains in the attic, I'll see if I can sell them and send you that money. Unbeknownst to me,old Lionel trains,especially a complete set in mint condition are worth their weight in gold. The sale netted me a over grand. Santa and Dad came through again. I'd often think of those trains and how they might have become a Christmas present for some one that year. If he sold them today,they would be worth a small fortune. Oh,yes,Virginia,there certainly is a Santa Claus and at age 66, I still believe in him.
Today is Veteran’s day and I am a veteran. More specifically a Marine Corps vet,a Vietnam vet, a disabled vet. I did two tours in Vietnam, was wounded and returned home to demonstrations and catcalls. I put Vietnam and the coming home experience in the back of my head, locked away. Now I am dealing with the subsequent PTSD. So it was my mental wounds rather than my shrapnel wounds that define my disabled status. Up on the flight deck(psych ward) of my local VA hospital there vets from every conflict we’ve had, from WW II to Iraq and Afghanistan. Different services,different wars, all brothers. If you’re not a combat vet, I can’t explain it other than saying its the tightest camaraderie I’ve ever known. So today people say “Thank you for your service” and in those few words there is often a very sincere emotion. I’m glad the American people can welcome home their veterans with honor. I can’t say the same for my country. We haven’t fought an honest war since WW II. We fought dirty wars,mostly against people who did us no harm. We went to war for the politicians and whatever selfish reasons they had to spend American life. Remains of valiant vets, whose bodies were pulverized by IED’s have been tossed in the trash dump by mortuary technicians at Dover Air Force Base. I’m sure,in today’s atmosphere of budgetcuts, it was the cheapest way out that won. No longer do our political leaders send their sons and daughters into the military. No longer do we have leaders who served in combat. George H.W. Bush was the last. His son’s claim to military fame was missing National Guard meetings and not getting into trouble because PaMFy was a big shot. Lots of Vietnam vets labeled Bill Clinton as a draft dodger. The military is no longer an honorable profession for our elites. Let’s spend the lives and blood ofthe poor. Its cheap, cost effective. Yet the military IS an honored profession. Honored by those who serve and those we have served.
I see that commitment,when I go to my local VA Medical Center (Salem,Virginia VAMC) Every employee I encounter is friendly,helpful,cheerful and respectful. Smiles abound. We vets identify ourselves with ball caps emblazoned with branch of service and our war. Us “Nam vets,once so young and handsome, now look like the old WW I vets we saw in our town 4th of July parades in 1957. Sometimes I think we should have a constitutional amendment stating that any candidate for President of the United States must have served at least two years active duty in a branch of the Armed Forces.
So today I’ll pause and say a prayer to honor those fallen heroes, who fell in places like Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima, Bastogne,Normandy, the Chosin reservior, Pusan,the Mekong Delta, Khe San, Beirut, Khafji, Fallujah, Najaf, Tora Bora and Kandahar. I hope you will remember them,too.
The Corps is 236 years old! Semper Fi,Oorah! The marines have survived another year.Numerous times in the past,people have lobbied for ending the Corps and delegating its mission to Army and Navy units. After Joe Rosenthal's famous Iwo Jima flag raising photo, someone was reputed to have said something to the effect of,this will insure the Corps existence. So far,thank God,with all the budget cutting frenzies going on,no one has raised the idea of abolishing the Marines. Marines have proven themselves in a variety of new missions since World War II. We have shown out skills in the cold of Korea,the paddies and jungles of Vietnam, the sands of Iraq twice and the mountains of Afghanistan. The Marine Corps considers itself an elite unit. Its training is more difficult and demanding and focuses on every Marine being a rifleman first,then his other occupational specialty. That strategy has proven itself effective time and time again. I don't want to belittle the missions of the other branches of the military, but I remember being at the PX on Governor's Island back when it was a Coast Guard facility and noticed all the Marine items for sale. T shirts,jackets,hats,statues and other such memorabilia. I asked the sales clerk.when purchasing a black leather vest embossed with Eagle,Globe and Anchor, why they didn't have other service gear. His answer was,"Only you guys buy all this shit" Once a Marine,always a Marine isn't just some hackneyed phrase,its the righteous truth. So as a former Marine(there are no ex Marines), i want to wish all my brother Marines a haMFy birthday. Semper Fidelis!
And Good Night Chesty,where ever you are
As a retired person who depends on investment income,the past few years have been like a financial roller coaster.I was pleased that the Greek crisis was averted and enjoyed seeing the Dow Jones rise back above 12,000, only to find out today that Italy is next. Like Herman Cain’s female accusers,financially straMFed countries seem to be aMFearing on a regular basis. Ireland,Portugal,Spain,Greece now Italy then maybe France and of course the 800 lb gorilla in the room, the United States. What’s going on here? Why have all these nations spent like sailors on shore leave and accumulated massive,only to realize,seemingly on the same day, that they were on the brink of bankruptcy. I have been on the brink of bankruptcy and I sure was aware of it. The conspiracy theorist in me wants to tell me that me that someone or some group of people want to see these nations fail. When you look at post colonial exploitation institutions like the IMF and the World Bank, you can get an idea of what’s going on. These institutions lend out money to nations with same liberality that Countrywide did with mortgages to people who couldn’t pay. When default is near and the nation needs more money,these entities set conditions,much like the austerity measures the EU wants to impose on Greece. This is not a new practice,one great example is how Britain gained control over Egypt in the late 19th century. She took over the financial system because of Egypt’s indebtedness and from there gained a new colony. So what haMFens when the IMF or World Bank sets up conditions? Those conditions usually mean the privatization of the nations public infrastructure. So capitalist corporations wind up owning the national highway system,water rights, government industries and a whole gamut of national public wealth gets transformed into private wealth. You are hearing the same rhetoric in America’s political debates today,smaller government,privatization, all shrouded by a veil of pseudo patriotism and spurious liberty. So somebody is taking over the world. I have often thought that sometime in the future,that our alligiences might change from national ones to mutli national corporate ones. I used to be an American but now I might be a Halliburtonian. Speaking of Halliburton,if one thing is going to collapse the American economy,it is surely the war with Iran that AIPAC and the military defense complex is lobbying for. Neither Iraq or Afghanistan turned out as expected, so what makes you think Iran will different. It has been heard in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous that insanity can be defined as doing the same failed behavior over and over again expecting different results. On that criterion, then both our economy and political system can be classified as insane. Share this:
God has already revealed all, in fact it was never hidden and needs no revelation.So when come to say that they have God’s revelation, what they have is a current understanding within their capacity of God’s ‘word’. So what was ‘revealed’ to Moses,Buddha.Jesus, Muhammad and others was an understanding of God’s ‘law’ within the cultural and scientific parameters of the age. So you have the Christian church denouncing Galileo because the Bible’s level of astronomical knowledge was 2000 years behind the times. Muhammad could never have conceived of world where a woman could become head of state, so his understanding of revelation didn’t bring that forth. The myths circulated after Jesus’ passing seemed to be acceptable in 1st century thought,but today we know virgin birth that doesn’t result in parthenogenesis is rather impossible. Does God pass DNA? So today our out of touch religions strSPAM!!!le with evolution,birth control,woman’s rights,quantum physics etc,because at one time or another it was stated that their particular revelation was the final word. That doomed religious thought to be mired in the science of the times. God’s word is not written in stone, God’s word is written on the wind.
The Coroner’s Court in London released information saying that Amy Winehouse died from alcohol poisoning.
Winehouse’s blood-alcohol levels were 416 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood, the inquest was told. The legal limit to drive in Britain is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.
Wow,thats a lot of booze and it shows how dangerous alcohol can be. While the Fed’s drug war seemingly spends billions combating Reefer Madness,hardly a word is said about booze. Booze lobbies must throw some pretty awesome partys and keep Congress suMFlied with Champagne,because very little is done to highlight the the dangers of alcohol.
As a person who tried every substance in the 60′s,70′s and 80′s, in the end it was booze that almost killed me. The disease is addiction and for me it covers all substances. Amy’s tragic death should be wake up call for those who think alcohol is harmless. I have sat in thousands of AA meetings over the years and one quickly notices the scars,both mental and physical that most alcoholics bear. federal monies should not be spent arresting drug users,but tha money should be spent on treatment.
Wow, this one puzzles me. All of a sudden there are calls for the investigation of Gaddafi’s purported execution(bullet in the head),while Bin Laden’s death is covered by that wonderful phrase,”the fog of war” Albeit that the world is better off with both of these monsters gone,but why the hypocracy? Does this mean assassination by Americans is covered,but executions by Libyans not? OK,one can say the mission was to capture Bin Laden and during the shootout he was shot,or something like that. Gaddafi,on the other hand was captured, wounded in the arm,then aMFeared dead at the Misrata hospital. Crossfire they say. The autopsy confirmed death by a bullet to the head,but failed to say whether that that shot was at close range(powder burns,ya know). Bin Laden’s body disaMFeared during the “fog of victory” and was quickly thrown overboard somewhere in the Indian ocean. We will never know,thats for sure. And we probably will never know what haMFened to Gaddafi,either. So lets not sully the democracy movement in Libya by trying to find out what haMFened to Gaddafi. If the international community succeeds, then,likely as not,some private in the brigade that captured him(Misrata boys) will suffer,and a penalty far greater than Lt Calley got. Let it be,he’s dead and lets move on to a free and democratic Libya.
Sometimes i am amazed that I am still alive,given the abuse I have subjected to my body. The drinking,the drugs,the war, the wounds,years of poor eating habits,physically pushing my limits without training or forethought, and a litany of other abuses. In the first ten years of sobriety,I had gained 70 lbs, substituting eating for drinking. I lost most of that wieght in 2007 only to regain it while watching DVD’s of the whole Soprano’s series over a period of one month while eating tons of lasagna,gnocchi,spaghetti with sausage and a million extra cheese pizzas. My weight went from 200 to 260+ in a couple of months. Mobility issues developed,depression ensued, and pain increased. An awakening haMFened at a HiMFie festival in West Virginia,where I could barely climb the hill to the stage and a yoga session that showed me how stiff I had become.Further fueled by my doctor, who ordered me to keep an exercise log and start moving. In just over a month, I have droMFed over 15 pounds. Already I feel better, more motivated,have less pain and depression and my mobility and energy level has greatly Improved. I have coupled this with meditation,both sitting and walking. I walk at least 2 miles a day in the woods,have a “private” waterfall where I can meditate and get to tak e the dogs along too. I have also reduced my caloric intake by 1/3 and an eating less meat, more veggies and legumes and using whole grains instead of processed ones. Winter will be a challenge,but i am ready for it.
The sabers are rattling,again. The US government claims agents of Iran were involved in an attempt to assassinate Adel al Jubeir, the Saudi Ambassador. Iran calls it ridiculous lies. Who do you believe. Well Iran certainly has lied before and aMFears to lie continually about her plans to build nuclear weapons. And the American government? I hardly believe anything that comes from their lips,its all lies and spin. Even the Obama administration , who promised us transparency,has become as adept with smoke and mirrors as in the Bush years. So what’s going on?
Iran’s nuclear ambitions have got a lot of governments worried. Although I believe that Iran wants nukes primarily as a deterrent and is paranoid with American presences in Iraq,Afghanistan and in the Gulf states,I doubt if she will unleash any nuclear holocaust. Iran may be stubborn, but she is not stupid. And there is another paranoid state in the region,Netanyahu’s Israel. Netanyahu is yet another saber rattler of the first order and has been clamoring about taking out Iran’s nuclear weapons capacity for some time now. Between Netanyahu and some fire breathing Republicans,there has been much talk of war with Iran. Todays news has Rep. Peter King (R N.Y.) calling the assassination plot an act of war. I could almost believe that the whole affair is an orchestrated one. A plan designed to give credence to military action against Iran. You know,like WMD’s in Iraq. Remember that one.
Heading out to my morning walk in the woods,I put on the news station. I heard that that the Catholic Church in India is going to pay bonuses to Catholics who produce more babies. India, the worlds second most populous nation, soon to be first, who can’t properly feed many of its own countrymen. India, where vast tin and cardboard slums exist in every major city, India,where people scrounge garbage dumps for food, and the Catholic Church is calling for more babies! Why? More children to abuse? More church members to contribute money( do they have any?) Or just playing the numbers game. My news station also carries Glenn Beck in the morning, so I got my dosage of hate and fear. Beck is writing childrens books, probably where the Grinch turns out to be George Soros. Beck,now inciting hatred against the Occupy Wall St movement, paints them as anarchists and communists( can you be both?), and is pushing a book called “The Black Book of Communism” which details all the atrocities attributed to various Communist regimes. And,he says,have your children read it too! He also sSPAM!!!ests you don’t let your kids watch network news.Lets teach hate and fear to our kids. Amazing. Thousands of evangelical Christians are taking their kids out of public schools to Christian Academies that t tend to use the Bible as both a science and history book. Let’s send our kids backwards in time! Hopefully their are plenty of Moms and Dads teaching their children about love,peace and the unity of Creation.
Why i it that we observe the threads and not the whole tapestry? While sitting still in the woods,mindfully meditating,my mind took notice of objects, a tree(what kind?) a rock(how old?),a bird(what species?), etc. I noticed them and moved on to the next wave of electricity in my head. Sounds,sights,smells,touch, all these faculties of observation. So we identify,catagorize,classify, and further break things down to understand them. But what we tend to lose is the whole. After about a half hour of sitting I became more a part of the whole,not identifying,just being. Not being a part of the tapestry of life,but being the tapestry itself. The voices of other members of my species broke the spell as a mother decided to make a walk in the woods a horrible experience for her children. Don’t touch that,don’t go there,watch out,keep in line,all done in a high pitched and very loud yell. Chill,her husband said. Best advice of the day.
Been away from the blog for a bit to enjoy long walks in the fall woods with fine dogs,but I have been meaning to comment on this for awhile. Finally,it seems, some people are waking up and coming to realize that this country is being stolen from under them. And the right is worried,oh boy are they worried. Conservative talk show hosts and candidates have been been on this the past few days,especially since the media has decided to cover it. They fume over spoiled kids,people who don't work and the usual suspects of communists,socialists etc. But they're scared. People are thinking and thats bad news for my conservative buddies. I've often wondered how conservatives could sell suMFort for the wealthy at the expense of the average citizen, but they use hate and scare tactics in their propaganda. Limbaugh was raving about how the left was vilifying Herman Cain, calling it racist rhetoric, when, daily since the beginning of the 2008 election they painted Obama as "other" in every way possible without using the "N" word. Now the American people who aren't brainwashed by the right wing propaganda machine are beginning to stand up and the movement is growing. Its even spreading to the city nearest here,Roanoke,Va. http://occupyroanoke.org/ I will make it a point to show my suMFort by joining these folks and proving that it is isn't just "spoiled" college kids who are fed up. Its time to take our beloved nation back from the corporations.
We hear this phrase alot these days,both in religion and politics. Evangelical Christians tell us that the Bible is the word of God,Jews say that Mosaic law is the word of God. Islamists tell us that the Quran is the word of God. Glenn Beck tells us that he follows God's word as it is spoken to him. George Bush answered to a higher Father. Mahmoud Ahmedinejad speaks to the Hidden Imam,who I imagine is in direct contact with God. Of course all these voices aMFear to hear some very different things. The word of God,some say, makes homosexuality into an abomination, while Native Americans considered those same people as holy. Literal readings of the Bible tell us the world was created in 6 days,yet science tells us different. Is man created in the image of God or are we just another primate? Surely the Big Bang must be God's word! "Let there be light" says Genesis, "Be and it becomes" says the Quran, Bang, say the physicists. Its really the same,isn't it?
I was walking in the woods this morning. A bear cub was striMFing acorns from a tree,dragonflies mated,turtles sunned themselves,squirrels gathered hickory nuts, frogs jumped,fish,newts,snakes,a host of birds,deer and alot more I couldn't see or hear,due to my limited human capacity. Halal or haram,blessed or abomination? Perhaps where we need to look is in the way this vast creation operates. There in are the laws of God,but then the Lakota shamans might say "Skan,taku skan skan" Something moving always in motion. Certainly the word of God can't be dogma. Change is constant,always in motion. What is today,may not be tomorrow. For God is infinite probability expressing himself always in ways our limited capacity cannot fathom. How can we" know",if we can't "see". We need to learn to see,perhaps beyond the boundaries we ourselves place on our capabilities. Sit quietly in the woods sometime,for a awhile and you you will begin to see and hear the word of God.
First off,let me state at the outset that I believe that the gods of mankind are usually cultural inventions to explain what we cannot usually fathom. Some people break thru this veil and “see god”. They try to explain it as best they know how in cultural terms. Surely the concept of god has included polytheists,monotheists,animists and a host of others. All describe god or gods as having various forms or attributes. Classical faiths counted numerous gods, shamanists and animists counted spirits and monotheists came up with the 99 names of god and the trinity. God aMFears to be too big for us to comprehend. I cannot comprehend or understand the world vision of,say,my dogs, because I do not possess their ranges of hearing,sight and smell. The Universe aMFears different to each beholder and in human culture we have invented names and concepts to make it easier for us to communicate. So too in religion, we have invented gods as tools or focus of worship,devotion,meditation etc. There is a great line I have heard from the fine folks in AA,”If your god isn’t doing it for you,fire him and get a new one” And then go on to teach that we may find a god of our own understanding.
Now there are the Christian Zionists,those evangelicals who hold that the creation of Israel as a state is a sign of the the soon forth coming rapture. That is their belief briefly and it is valid in that it has meaning for them. Twelver Shiites believe that their 12th Imam has gone into occulation and will return at the end of times. Again a messianic figure to set things ‘right” But then what is right? Jesus spoke of the kingdom of god,or at least in our culturally oriented biblical traditions,he does. Everybody has a different view,it seems. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_God)
And everybody has different take on how we should react to it. Rather that take these differences in cultural perspective( Native Americans could not fathom the emaciated Christ on the cross and the eucharist,their avatar would have possessed power and strength, and as to eating your god, well) But now we have Christian Zionists entering into the soup of Middle Eastern politics, to give god a little help by suMForting the Netanyahu regime, which is fast becoming a pariah state in the mold of apartheid South Africa. Then add to that boiling pot of soup,Mr. Mahmoud Ahmedinejad who claims to have spoken to the Hidden Imam on numerous occasions. Since mixing politics and religion,at least in this cultural more is like mixing fire and gasoline, then alll this turns up the heat on the cauldron of soup and eventually it will boil over. And we’ll hope one of our gods will show up to get us out of the mess.
Alright, we are faced with yet another threat of government shut down. Didn’t we just finish playing this game? Oh,yes its all politics. Speaker John Boehner assures us that there will be no government shutdown. The issue seems to hinge on monies for federal disaster relief,which times seems to be a disaster itself and rarely a relief. Granted that in my humble opinion, there should be such a thing as disaster relief,but it should work,too. So once again the GOP holds us hostage for political gain. All they want to do is destroy Obama,even if it collapses the nation. The financial sector is sick of these brinksmanship tactics. And Obama and the Democrats are equally to blame, advancing a jobs bill that no Republican could vote for. The issue is not jobs at all,its about Obama being able to try to shift some blame for this terrible economy on the Republicans,by painting them as obstructionist. So both are in it for political gain and no one is interested in the America People,although their name is bandied about all the time. There just must be so much money to steal, when in office that they risk the collapse of America to secure these gains. Of course,the saddest thing are those very American People who believe the lies that are being handed out by both parties. What we need is a Sanity Party
When Obama was running for president in 2008, I thought,here is man standing at the crossroads of greatness,a junction history doesn’t often offer. I bought Obama’ change rhetoric,only to find it was business as usual. Nothing was done to address the crimes of the Bush era,our military adventures increased,big oil spoke and everyone listened,green environmental issues were given lip service until the recession gave cause to side with those who exploit the planet. More of the same,more pandering to lobbies,more suMFort of repressive regimes and even when the Arab spring arrived, America and Obama hemmed and hawed. So we took on Libya,but left Bahrein alone because it harbored a great American military presence. Oh well, so much for freedom,liberty and democracy. Even at home those words are now used to divide and foster hate. Now Obama is given yet another chance to step into history as a winner. What great fortune,this guy gets as many oMFortunities as cat gets lives. The world is changing rapidly,the status quo is crumbling and it is time for America to do and suMFort what she says she stands for. This Friday, Palestine steps forward,asking for recognition as a state. As the General Assembly votes, a very large percentage of that body will vote yes and the resolution is bound to pass. Of course,then it goes to the security council,where a council member can kill it with a veto. Netanyahu’s repressive right wing wing government has expanded illegally into Palestinian territory,he ignores UN resolutions and ignores a large number of patriotic Israelis who are tired of war and seek some end to this seemingly never ending conflict. For Obama to stand up in favor of the Palestinian state would greatly enhance his stature among the Arab and Islamic nations,it would give America a chance to open meanful dialogue with the newly free Arab nations. It would secure again respect for America in the world. Let this Nobel Peace laureate truly act in an historic manner.<p class="robots-nocontent sd-block sd-social sd-social-icon-text sd-sharing"> Share this:
When will we as a species learn to accept the views of our fellow man as valid? For me it was travel,it was living in other cultures,not as tourist but as close to a native as possible. Trying to live their life as they lived it. They had different solutions for the same problems of life and those solutions worked as well as ours and were just as valid. Their vision of a higher power was one I could always live with. The names we call God matter very little,really. The laws we ascribe to God are really our own. Faith,spirituality must expand as our vision of the whole grows. Don’t be afraid of what we call the future,embrace it. In it is the progress of our species. I have been engaged in debates with my old military school buddies of 47 years ago, and we have many views,but it seems that old school,now a memory,sitting on a hill near the Hudson River taught us some solid principles. We survived,some of us fought wars,others demons,maybe both. Some traveled,learned from their mistakes, conquered their addictions, raised families,moved,settled down,but in the end remained tolerant. What a wonderful experience to debate the current issues that divide this nation with respect and tolerance. We find we have points of agreement. I am fairly to left of left of center,as those of you that read this blog know, some are Tea party “members”,but yet we find points of agreement. We don’t shout, call each other names. We put forth opinions, respect the other and, most important we learn. In this world where media inflames hate to sell news, we find we are far closer to our political adversaries than we think. As a country,we are far closer to our suMFosed enemies than we think. A little tolerance goes a long way. An open mind opens oMFortunities to learn and respect stands tall,like that old oak that stood as a symbol of our school. Peekskill Military Academy and all your staff and cadets, you still stand proud.
Becca looked like Shiva in a hoop of flame doing the dance of bliss.Bliss reigned on Magic Mountain in West by God Virginia. My dear friend K invited us and proceeded to teach me how to stretch muscles that haven’t stretched since retirement. I want more Yoga. Doug taught us how to meditate thru our pain,how mindful meditation is the goal, not mental aviation( do I have to get rid of my flying carpet?) Aaron, the Rastaman,a few tents down was an artistic wave of beauty and creation. My yellow,red and green skull cap needed a new home. I returned with a painting….Observing the observer. How utterly cool. Oh yeah I was a hiMFie back in in ’69,did my graduate hiMFie studies in North Africa and learned that people have different kinds of solutions to the problems of life, all equally valid. So nice to be afloat in a Sea of Tolerance, surfing the waves of culture,feeling at home with all of them. A place where Jesus ,Gaia,Buddha and Ganesha dance to the beat of African Djembe drums,where black,white yellow and red radiate love,a place where hate is extingushed. The buzzards came,of course they would and showed me that trust the the air will keep us aloft without questioning what is unseen. One of my neighbors, a horned and winged breed of tiny Fairy was captain of the Fun Police. What a great concept,fun police. I never in my life saw such a kid friendly place. Kids had their own stage,the own events(we got caught up in a scavenger hunt). Liquor and drugs were wonderfully absent. Mother Earth was respected but eco terrorism was stilled by positive energy. For me, living out here in a community of people, who although nice folks, believe in prepackaged belief systems.Jesus is returned tomorrow,maybe with an AK 47 to cleanse the world of liberalitis and teach us to drill and frack til out planet shrugs humanity off like one shrugs off a pesky insect. I rediscovered hope.Back in ’69, we had a vision,us of the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. I thought that vision had died, but it was me who died,immersed in a drug and booze fuel fog of New York City pseudohip Clubland. Sobriety brought me back to the mountains. So ten years after 9/11, I experienced another rebirth, discovering that love,peace and hope exist, and no matter how much the Tea Party wants to reshape America into their my way or the highway vision,no matter how vigorously Fundamental Christians strive to make America a theocracy,peace love and hope will win in the end, for truly its the only way that works.
I’ve always learned the hard way, that was my pathPerhaps shaped by my own internal stubborness and my lack of ineterest in anything too serious,my path was steep and rocky. but I learned. I had to experience war to realize how foolish it was. One thing led to another, as I explored deep caves like drugs,casual sex, a world of alcohol and the very temporary thrills of instant material gratiification(what goodie will UPS bring today) . But each I come closer to the Oneness that is life, the Unity of all things, the Gods(choose your own name ) within us. We are,each in our own way, and I mean all things from rocks to rhinos, ameobas to aurouras,galaxies to grains of sand,we are all but building blocks of continuity and creativity of this wonderfully total energy many choose to to call God. So to the preachers of power, the captains of predatory capitalism,the sultans of socialism, all those that think there is one path up the mountain,one way,their way, I promise I will not play your game, I will not heed your warnings, I will not believe your “truths”,listen to yours media,be they Fox or MSNBC, for in the words of the Sufi master Al Hallaj, ” Ana al Haqq” I am truth. So be it, now and forever,creation without end, Amen