The Power Of Three

So it hit me, out of the blue, for no apparent reason;
the urge to watch

2001: a space odyssey.

Just the thought of it brought me right back to the first time I viewed the flick, in the movie theater when it came out. Quite young was I, and as I look back I realize that I didn't get many of the movie's subtle, or perhaps not so subtle, messages. I liked it tho; it's unique combination of technology and eccentricity seemed an interesting and appealing combination of ideas.

We seem, in today's modern pop culture, to like absorbing things in single chunks - one idea at a time, which is where you get celebrity. Single ideas beget large crowds of like minded people, the concept of popularity, fad and mania - these are static elements. A combination of ideas can have a larger effect - it can move you through time and space, bring you back to the past, and more than likely into the future. Omnipresence is not merely being everywhere, it's being in every time, place, circumstance, possibility and purpose. The feeling that I felt as I indulged this sudden urge was not one of remembrance but more like a feeling of being two places at once, or two times perhaps .. and I had the realization that the right combination of ideas can cause the times of your life to fold back on themselves, and act like a temporal wormhole .. One who could become a master of this phenomenon might find the ability to freely flow about thru the different times of his/her life, experiencing, re-experiencing, and even reinventing circumstance, thereby escaping the linear constraints of existence, and achieve immortality.

So I put the movie on, listened to the song and watched the sun rise ...

I'm sure many of you know the movie's opening scene, but I'm going to describe it anyway.

"A tale worth being told is worth being retold"

as my grand-pa used to say.

It begins with a group of monkey types, eight or so, hanging out in a harsh barren land. Although they aren't acting in a manner that is, what you could call, organized, there is a sense of community among them, a tolerance of existence as they sit around, grunting and snorting, sometimes at each other, some times just for the sake of it, when suddenly there strikes a leopard, taking one down. The others flee, leaving behind the one who will, presumably, be killed and consumed. We are spared the details of this and in the next scene we find the remaining bunch gathered around a waterhole - a puddle, basically, idly drinking and bathing, when from up over a hill behind them comes another group of ape-type thingies. The water-clan rises up in arms, the hill-clan responding as they descend and soon the two are showing down to one another, screeching and yowling, chest thumping, foot stomping and arms a-waving across the small lakelet... The hill clan, not to be intimidated, advances thru the splash, shunning the waterboys into the neighboring caves, and settles onto their newly acquired turf. Now, it occurred to me in this latest viewing, that the reason the watermonks didn't put up an ardent fight might be that they simply weren't thirsty anymore, and that, due to the fact of their primitive minds being incapable of grasping something as broad as "the future", figured that, in that moment of time, it wasn't worth dying for.

Thus, if one assumes that to be true, the water-clan would go off and hang in the caves until they got thirsty again, and returning to the hole, would ostracize the hill-group for the exact same reason. And what would ensue could be seen as nature's perfect pendulum-swing of the self-perpetuating biological system. It could go on forever ...

Well . . . there's always the leopard..

We next find our waterclan waking to the first rays of dawn thru the opening of their cave, and they emerge to find

. . . the monolith.

They gaze inquisitively, begin to yell, wax threatening, punch and kick it. After having no effect, they fall into a state of indifference, and resume another idle day of survival in the harsh world. One of them comes upon the bleached white bones of a once living thing - looking not just a little

like the skeleton of an ass. He fiddles with some of the smaller bones and then takes what appears to be a thighbone into his hand. He feels it's weight and substance and then lowers it blithely to the ground. One or two of the smaller bones jump. He sees this and repeats the process each time harder, noticing how with each harder hit the small bones fly higher up into the air. In triumph at his discovery, he brings the thigh bone down with one great thundering blow, onto the skull of the bygone beast, shattering it to dust. This stops him dead in his tracks, and we leave him pondering.

Then comes the inevitable - the waterloo apes descend upon the hilldwellers, still holding their liquid turf, each armed in one form or other with some type of club. One of them brings his down on the head of a rival member, dropping him to the ground. Another blow and he's still. As the other bone bearers follow suit, this is clearly enough to drive their enemies back to the hills from whence they came, reconquering their territory.

They have discovered "want".

Eden is purged.

I have come to the conclusion that "want" is the source of all the imperfection in the universe. It's really quite a simple fact that the universe in which we choose to reside is bipolar in nature. Everything can be reduced to pairs of opposite extremes ... Love hate, life death, black white, color no-color, nothing everything.

'Nothing' is the only singularity; if you add 'something', even if it's 'everything', 'nothing' is always there.

The "nothing everything" dichotomy is a static system. Their balance is both perfect and absolute. Add a third thing and all chaos breaks loose. because by adding the third thing you instantly create the possibility of all the things that fall between nothing and everything , and you get a chain reaction that becomes ... existence.

That's my version of the big-bang theory.

'Everything' is intrinsically spherical and infinite, at whose core lies the 'nothing singularity'. In a perfect existence we would disregard the nothing singularity, and live happily in our universe of everything, free from want. But we are compelled to analyze and hypothesize as to why this nothing can't be made a part of our everything universe. And we build our energy flows around the desire to fill this single piece of emptiness, and thus, we want.

Upon taking stock the waterhole raid's outcome, the thighbone bearer throws his weapon up into the air, and as we follow it's flight, it is clumsily morphed into a vessel traveling through the the black nothing of space ...

The evolution of the tool.

I think it's interesting to note that the morph takes place on the airborne trajectory's descent, not on it's rise ....

Two Hours Well Spent

A while back I got a new computer and had to transfer all my mp3s, so I decided to let iTunes "organize" my music library. The net result was a folder entitled "Unknown Artist" filled with 400+ songs untitled except for the designation "track #", since I never named the files after initially loading them.

There they sat for a months as I had plenty of identified tunes with which to play, until the other day when I decided to sit and play a few seconds of each song and try to identify the ones I either knew or simply liked enough to keep.

Now I know what record company people go through. So many tunes and not enough time so judgement is passed in mere moments.
A few conclusions I have made:

There is literally NO kind, type, or style of music that has gone un-mined. Kind of sad, actually.

So many songs, you can tell right off the bat, are dependent on production - it's as if the production is the most important aspect of the song.

New music sounds amazing, the tones so clear, some intimately honest, others so effected they sound gigantic even through tiny speakers ..

. . . but older music still sounds as good. It just comes more out of the center than spread wide out to the edges.

You know a good song instantly, even if you've never heard it before. This doesn't mean "it's a hit!" - that has nothing to do with good music - but a good song is a good song the instant you hear it. I suppose I always knew that but it was interesting to experience this indisputable fact newly in the flesh.

Other stuff sounds like it might grow on you over time, but in this particular case, I didn't have the time. I'll leave that one for another discussion.

It's interesting how generic so many singers sound, new guys all trying to sound like the old guys - and too many trying to sound like Robert Plant.

There are a million different ways to make an acoustic guitar sound.

The blues really gets to sounding repetitious after hearing 20 different bands starting what sounds like the same song ... eek - i guess that's why they call it the blues.

Short list of distinctly standout voices in this small collection - John Fogerty, Gordon Lightfoot, Peter Gabriel, Pete Townsend, Stephen Stills, Rod Stewart, Nick Drake, Marvin Gaye, Ian Anderson, Burton Cummings.

Band styles instantly identifiable - Doobies, Creedence, Bruce, The Who, Big Head Todd, and I think I would know Stephen Stills' acoustic guitar sound if I were underwater wearing earplugs.

I have no idea how this reflects on my own work, but a truly enlightening undertaking it was. 400+ tunes, 2 hours well spent.

It has become been my belief that in the final analysis it is not success, money and material possession by which to measure the quality of a life. Perhaps not even people, although they do weigh heavily in the equation ... I believe it comes down to moments .... precious moments where you are able to reach through the thorny vines, the acid waterfall, the hailstorm of bullets and hate, somehow unscathed, to grab hold of the light beam that is the purity and goodness of living, and feel its vibration. These moments come unannounced, unpredicted, uncontrived, and often go unnoticed, except for maybe a brief feeling of well-being and fulfilled purpose. These moments are paled by literal description, but when called to mind spring forth with full sensory perception intact.

They are the A++s on the bell curve of the eternal grading system.

The quest for achievement is a necessary survival mechanism, which facilitates the safety and provision of ourselves and those loved ones who fall under our personal purview, in direct proportion to the knowledge and abilities which we endeavor to acquire along the way. It also allows for a sense of objectivity and challenge through which we view and quantify our mutual coexistence. But the frequency of life is that wavelength by which we travel between the objective and the subjective - bouncing in and out of our bodies, back and forth, bounce, bounce ... so fast as to create the illusion of a thick solid line, while remaining in fact a single point in rapid motion.

I recall as a child, from grades 1 thru 8, it was an annual requirement that we run the 600 yard dash. Not being one of great wind capacity or fleetness of foot, this event I dreaded perhaps more than any of the scholastic demands thrust upon me as a student. Whenever this requirement was imminent, I would consider my standing in comparison to my more athletically inclined peers, and in the anticipation of an embarrassingly slow time, it would come upon me a feeling of abject terror. However ably I rose to the task, at some point amidst the torture, with wobbly knees and lungs fit to burst, in each performance I can recall a brief moment, when arms and legs akimbo would somehow come into synch and I would feel as if I were floating with absolute effortlessness. This feeling would quickly pass, and I would once again sink into the depths of my hatred of this task until, gasping and convulsive, I would stumble across the finish line and begin to dread the next time I would be required to repeat the torture. The liberation I felt when I hit the 9th grade and discovered that this was no longer an annual requirement was truly sublime. When I call up these memories from the database, I can all but re-experience the pain and dread, but also the feeling of being on the outside

playing my body like I play my guitar,
like I hold my gal,
and relive my youth through the experiences of my son,
and I understand the wisdom that
"A winner doesn't even know he's in a race ..
he simply loves to run."

Herein I speak only for myself ... I have been blessed by many such moments in my life, and remain infinitely thankful to those whose presence were operative in their provision. I shall measure the quality of my contribution to the living in hopes that my presence and actions may provide for such moments to be experienced by others ...

And that is what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

pan·sper·mi·a (pan-spûrm-e-ah)

n. The theory that microorganisms or biochemical compounds from outer space are responsible for originating life on Earth and possibly in other parts of the universe where suitable atmospheric conditions exist.
[Greek panspermi, mixture of all seeds; pan-, pan- + sperma, seed]

But what's it all mean ? I begin with a few factoids:

  • 19 May 1995: two scientists at Cal Poly showed that bacteria can survive without any metabolism for at least 25 million years; probably they are immortal. (Immortal bacteria! - talk about the meek ...)

  • 24 November 1995: The New York Times ran a story about bacteria that can survive radiation much stronger than any that Earth has ever experienced.

  • 7 August 1996: NASA announced fossilized evidence of ancient life in meteorite ALH 84001 from Mars.

  • 27 October 1996: geneticists showed evidence that many genes are much older than the fossil record would indicate. Subsequent studies have strengthened this finding.

  • 29 July 1997: a NASA scientist announced evidence of fossilized microscopic life forms in a meteorite "not from any planet." (how do they know this?)

  • Spring, 1998: a microfossil that was found in a meteorite and photographed in 1966, was recognized by a Russian microbiologist as a magnetotactic (able to orient in a magnetic field) bacterium.

  • Fall, 1998: NASA's public position on life-from-space shifted dramatically.

  • 4 January 1999: NASA officially recognized the possibility that life on Earth comes from space.

  • 19 March 1999: NASA scientists announced that two more meteorites hold even stronger fossilized evidence for past life on Mars.

  • 26 April 2000: the team operating the mass spectrometer on NASA's Stardust mission announced the detection of very large organic molecules in space. Nonbiological sources for organic molecules so large are not known.

  • 19 October 2000, a team of biologists and a geologist announced the revival of bacteria that are 250 million years old, strengthening that case that "bacterial spores can be immortal." (I do love it when they use that word...)

  • June 2002: Geneticists reported evidence that the evolutionary step from chimps to humans "was assisted by viruses." (I would love to see their 'evidence')

  • 2 August 2004: Very convincing photos of fossilized cyanobacteria in a meteorite were reported by a NASA scientist. (cyanobacteria are bacteria that are capable of photosynthesis despite the absence of chloroplasts, the very "organ" which facilitates photosynthesis - also referred to (fondly, I'll bet) as "blue-green [cyan] algae)
  • Sorry - I know this is a truckload, maybe even enough to deter further reading, but interesting stuff, nonetheless. And, ahhhh, what does it all mean?

    I lay no claim to having a clue. But I do speculate .. and thus, inconclusive by nature (a tribute to my attention span), incomplete in fact (a tribute to my lack-of-knowledge), onward I forge.

    In foragement through the root cellars of my mind, I am entertained by the postulate of existential theory - most likely due to the many times I have sat on my throne, mid-performance to a roomful of randomly gathered folk, and wondered "what the hell am I doing here". Many 'conclusions' have I drawn, none provable, and most likely worth nothing more than their use as between-set time killing banter, and "If You've Read This Far doggerel.

    Twas a time when my big-bro, then a staunch macrobiotic, introduced to me the idea that the food you ate was beneficial to the organ to which it was most similarly shaped - hence, broccoli being good for the vascular system, apples good for the heart, etc... I found this tidbit intriguing in its simplicity, and extrapolated that the world around us contains the answers to all the secrets of life. I drew this conclusion (wow! - it's hailing out ...) by grandiosely affording myself the "if I were God" perspective.... that is, if I were God, and I created a pet-universe in which to experiment my creative ideas as to how things should be, I would want to provide all of my "God's creatures" with an owner's manual to the universe. And what better way to do this than to encode the answers to life's quandaries regarding existence into the very surroundings in which they existed. Hence, my theory is that existence is a perpetual feedback loop - which folds back into itself in a series if infinite concentric circles through which one can travel inward only to eventually come to the outermost layer. or outward to eventually come to the innermost nucleus, the result being that anywhere you reside within the system could represent anywhere within the system - are you following me? If you are, then you are, no doubt, as lost as I. Forging on ...

    Take, for instance, pollination .. we have bees that fly around, pollinating flowers and thus propagating both species. I know nothing of this system other than the surface scratching info shoveled into my brain during my 9th grade earth science class, so I don't know if this system is random or structured - do the bees pollinate any and every flower they can, or do they return to the same flowers season after season? Be that as it may, perhaps our universe is populated by these flying vessels carrying with them immortal bacteria, in random quest of fertile systems perched and waiting for impregnation. Crashing down, depositing their cosmic spermatozoa, incubated by a nearby burning sun ... the great petri dish of life!

    Sometimes life seems to me like one setting out on a quest, and getting so lost along the way as to forget where it was one was heading, and being left with three choices: to quest onward into the oblivion of not knowing where one is heading, to retrace ones steps back to whence the quest originated, or to simply settle down where one is and call it home. In all the grand essence of self absorbment, one could conclude, that no matter where you are, you are at the center of your universe and all that exists within . That "now" is simply the net-result of all the random choices made to date - the fall of the I-ching, the roll of the dice, the hope that out of the millions of little creatures a-swimming, one will get through and facilitate life - are merely hints that the nature of existence is truly by chance, all, of course except for the only decision one ever gets to truly make - to exist at all.

    Carry on, God's good creatures - stick your hand into the box and feel the worms. In all likelihood, it's only spaghetti.

    First Come First Serve

    I recently came to the conclusion that true character is achieved through one's own admiration of others.

    As a performer with designs on success, one is basically in the trade of coming up with new and creative ways to draw attention to yourself. In the process of trying to suck it all in, you "indensify" or contract your essence down to something akin to a single, super-gravitational particle bearing a single blinking eyeball.

    I have gone through my life seeing things from one point of view - my own. Logic might dictate that this is the only way it can truly be. But it's not.

    My theory. In the infinite universe of infinite universes, there is a universe in which you can experience this very moment as each and every other person alive. But, it's all too damn much to assimilate. So, you pick one - and you become.

    One place this theory breaks down is if you were to ask "What happens when more than one choose the same?" That's where I stop thinking. I have reached my limit.

    Or, you could say that it's simply first come, first serve. Wouldn't it be just dandy if, in all of limitless existence, this was the one and only finite axiom.

    First Come, First Serve.

    Live it up, good people.

    The Power Of Two

    I've been musing lately about the power of two. When I was introduced to this remarkable concept of mathematics in grade school, I was prone to think "what about the power of three , four, five, etc.. - aren't they even more 'powerful?" But when you try to visualize the higher powers, things get real messy awful quick. I have come to believe that the "power of two's" beauty lies in the fact that it's the logical next step. First you have one, then you have two. Each of these two individuals them themselves become two, and so on. When this principle is applied to life, it seems that, within the structural of limits proposed by the the power of two, one can grow, evolve and become more complex at the the exact rate that nature intended. Indeed, this appears to be evidenced in the bi-polar nature of our existence. All of our dichotomies; to be or not to be, light & dark, good & evil, come in pairs. As we swim about in the conceptual ocean of unlimited gray shades, there always exists a pair of absolutes - one at either end of the scale. Perhaps the essence of multidimensional existence can also be viewed from this perspective. A tri, quadra or quintipolar universe is likely beyond our basic comprehension, hence, tis in the bipolar existence that we find ourselves the most comfortable, where life is predictable enough for us to anticiptae and deal with our natural growth as a spiritual populace.

    The application of "the power of two" to the concept of lineage has resulted in my having had myself a bit of an epiphany; not one, mind you good reader, that I feel is very original, but one that just the same I had never seen represented in any rhetoric of my personal encounter. Come hither, I shall share with you all.

    We are, each of us, the product of 2 parents, each of them in turn, the product of two parents, and so on. Thus we are biogenetically inheritant of two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents ... yadayada. We each, at least in the Darwinian vernacular, contain bits and pieces of genetic flotsam and jetsam passed down to us from our descendants.

    Now, here, for mathematical sake, we must make a few assumptions, regardless of what we all know happens when you assume...

    First off, let us poastulate that the average age at which a mother gives birth to a child at 25 years. This may or mayn't be accurate, but it makes for easy calculations. By this assumption, a child born in the year 2000 should posess the DNA remnants of 1024 different people who lived in the year 1750 - leaving aside the possibility of "close family ties", if you catch my drift.

    According to the internet, the current world population is estimated at 6,528,089,562 - a ballpark figure no doubt. References on the internet also estimate the population of the planet at 0 A.D. at around 300,000,000. How they know this I have no idea, but it serves my purpose.

    By now, good reader, it is likely coming clear where we are headed with this... Setting up a spreadsheet with 25 year increments, using the power of two to reflect the increase in number of descendants over time, and a uniform population growth based on the aforementioned then and now figures (which calculates out to about 3.7% every quarter century -- too much free time? you may ask ... actually this all took about 10 minutes) one finds that, mathematically, we are, each of us, the sum genetic product of every living, breathing, and procreating human being that existed at sometime between the years 1200 and 1250 A.D, and, as logic would dictate, every living, breathing, procreating human that came before as well.

    There it is. The top of the bell-curve. A standing wave of humanity. Is there any value to this statistical inevitibility? Who knows. Perhaps a detailed study of the culture in that time frame would yeild some new insight into the state of the world today. God knows, we could certainly use a new perspective. I'm sure it could, at the very least, be used as a topic on Jeopardy.

    Riding down the backside of this Darwinian wave, it follows that one could trace this genetic line all the way back to when the aliens came down and injected free will into the oblivious molecules floating in the primordial ooze, inspiring them to join together and form a band.

    And, oh what beautiful music they did make.

    Carry on my good fellows all, procreate, and teach your children well. Come to a show sometime - and bring a friend - let's put that power of two to some use!

    Veteran's Day

    I believe that it is good we should honor our soldiers. In a perfect world, we would all honor everyone, but this is not the case. There are those to whom we regularly pay homage without hesitation or forethought: mothers, fathers, heroes, life savers, philanthropists, artists, etc ... but just the same, many to whom we pay very little. Often times for damn good reason, but as we can't seem to face up to the task of eliminating the reasons for which one might not be worthy of honor, then perhaps we could begin by honoring all in whatever they do.

    In the past, our soldiers have had a rocky road, thus, in the light of this premise, and in the aftermath of recent events, I see it as a forward step in the evolution of society towards a perfect world that we have added soldiers to the list.

    In the 60's, one would often hear the call "We're not against the soldiers, we're against the war." But it never really sank in ... never really took. Nowadays it seems as if this is practically a tacit understanding. And in this we have denied ourselves the fundamental disagreement that is requisite to any social uprising.

    It's not that the disagreement is no longer there, it's simply that its power has been cut in half. Looking at only the war side, it's easy to be overwhelmed - everything seems so far out of your reach that you wind up inwardly shrugging and thinking "what can I do about it, except to go about my own life has honorably as possible" .. so you focus on the humanity, and hope that it makes a better person out of you.

    A few years ago I had the chance to visit Woodstock, NY for the first time in my life. A beautiful area! Of the small hamlets that surround Woodstock, some are dumpy and others quite lovely, while Woodstock itself is very charming - a remarkable, old style northeast country town whose architecture has all been expertly and pristinely restored to its original state with such technological perfection that it will most likely remain in that state forever. A fabulously quaint and georgous shopping mall.

    And the people ...

    My hometown of Meredith, NH, once a year plays contributing host to Bike Week - a 9 day tribute to the zen of motorcycle riding. A half a million Harley Davidson enthusiasts in full regalia. It didn't always used to be like this but it is most definitely like this now: you look around and virtually every cool biker you see, you can imagine in his business suit on Monday morning. Up in Woodstock you find the same thing ... all these people walking around clad in full hippie garb, but one can easily imagine them all in their business suits come Monday morning. And the folks that live there play the role as well, as if they were like the people in that Chevy Chase movie, paid to appear in classic Rockwellian American Gothic nature. A real mideivel fairground, ala the Gilmore Girls, where, instead of princesses and knights in armor, you have earth-mothers, bell bottoms and beads - even the street urchins fit the role. And as ways of life go, it's likely not a bad one at all.

    I was surprised to find that Woodstock is not so much a tribute to the festival and what it was "all about", but rather a tribute to Bob Dylan. You walk around and there are little plaques and signs saying things like "here is where Bob Dylan wrote this song" or telling you what a certain building was back in the days when he hung around. In the book stores, the music section is right up front, and there are shelves of books about Bob Dylan whose titles read like the back of a greatest hits album, as if naming a book about Bob after one of his song titles was an original idea each and every time it was used.

    While in Woodstock, I bought a copy of Bob Dylan's book - what better place, I figure, and I have read it multiple times. I am delighted to find that he writes , as I have gleened from the many of his interviews I have read, exactly as he speaks. I admire the way he makes use of the "machine-gun metaphor" - a tribute to the "grocery-list" folk songs upon which he seems to have fed and subsequently mastered. There is a freneticism to the words as they read, which makes me think he is probably a difficult person to be around - very nervous, very busy, always moving and thinking, thinking ... either that or he simply operates on a slightly higher wavelength in the time spectrum than the rest of us - to himself, all appears normal, like the way the psycho-physicists say that if you flip the whole world upside down one would experience a mere moment of unsettlement, then adjust, and everything would seem normal again. I remember reading one of his interviews about the Blonde On Blonde recording sessions where he says "I was working at incredible speed ... incredible speed." With this phrase, imagined in his voice, punctuated by repetition, I could imagine how it could have felt - concieving and assimilating ideas in their entirety, musically, lyrically, symbolically, philisophically, that most of us would mull over for months, in a matter of hours, perhaps even minutes. I believe that I get a twinkling of this level of thought-energy come upon me from time to time, but I usually nip it in the bud quickly, after the first idea .. I get up, put down the pen, turn off the machines, Juju comes over and we get on the couch. This thing of concept to reality in an instant to me seems almost too machine-like - because once you take an amorphous idea, as they all are at conception,. and fix it in a finite form, there it remains, no matter how you seek to change it thereafter. And before I fix an idea into a finite form, I like to let it hang around awhile, absorbing the elements of my world, let it "get dirty". For what else is the dirt there for, if not to dig your hands into it, to dip your ideas into the mud and then wipe them clean, the residual adding character and maturity. It's either that, or the dirt is merely put there to get in the way... and if you believe that, then it all becomes too overwhelming really fast. But, if you believe the former, then you realize that this earth, this universe, this stuff of life is ours to mold in any way of our choosing, and to quote Harry Truman - "what a paradise we could make of this world".

    When it was being aired, Judith and I were quite fond of watching the Sunday night TV program American Dreams, a delightful interpretation of life in the 60's. It's interesting how, in the bird's eye view of retrospect, it's so much easier to see all the different points of view working in tandem with one another, while having experienced it first hand, things seemed so much more polarized. There was a real "us vs. them" mentality at work, while the reality was, in fact, that everyone really wanted the same thing. When the 'powers that be' wage war, I believe that there is a true purpose in their actions, and if war weren't so damn profitible, maybe their vision wouldn't be so clouded by the temptation of easy money to see that peace is, in fact, even more profitable. No-one wants war - I think this is a safe assumption - but commerce ruins everything. When Truman stood on the precipice of the post-war age, in the dawn of the nuclear age, amidst the flood of new technology that had emerged as a result of WWII, and uttered those fateful words, he may well have been the last American statesman to truly see the potential profitibility of a peaceful world. John Lennon's solution was so simple that it is beyond the grasp of the human mind - that if every individual in this world could merely decide that war is bad, put down the guns and go home, then we would instantly be free it's scourge - instantly be free to begin pursuing all the wonders that life has to offer. It's just all too intangible to accept. One of the lead characters in American Dreams is a boy who volunteers in the marines, and winds up in VietNam to witness and participate in the horrors that have become lore in today's society. Being the father of a boy coming of age, it is disturbingly easy for me to see the experiences of this character through the eyes of my son on in a similar situation, and I find myself appalled that anyone so young and new to the adult world whould have to ever live through such unimaginable atrocity. While watch one Sunday evening, the Ford Motor Company aired an ad depicting a young man returning home from the war in Iraq, replete with the honor and sentimentality one would expect of such a situation, who's mildly estranged father bestows upon him a brand new Mustang as a welcome home gift. Together they begin to rekindle what had apparently been a rough going relationship, by sharing war stories. I have no idea where this is all going, but it's hard not to look upon this scenario with some kind of warm an fuzzy feeling, that easily overshadows the underlying presence of their mutual common ground, the pain and misery of their shared experiences.

    War is not to be glorified, but detested. It should not be celebrated by the tolling of bells, but the mournful moans of the funeral dirge. It should not be profitable, for it's costs far outweigh it's production value. And whatever premise upon which war is waged, misguided greed, religion or simple evil, these atrocities should not be imprinted upon those who are sent to fight - the truest victims.. To these young men and women, sent forth to face what the rest of us have the luxury of avoiding, it is fitting we show them the honor for which we have created this holiday.

    An Apple A Day

    Those that can do, those that can't teach. I've always hated that adage. But there are those whom to it subscribe - otherwise it wouldn't be an adage ... so what does it say of teachers? A true teacher can teach anything - a teacher is someone who's art is not that which is being taught, but the ability to recognize when someone is learning, the ability to recognize and correct when someone is not, while, more the better, thereby learning themselves the subject, even if it be one with which they are unfamiliar. Given this, you might say the adage should read "Those that can, should not teach, unless teaching is what they can do." What those that can't do, I know not. Nothing, I suppose, as is so often the case.

    I get particularly bothered by those that teach spirituality. Watch Oprah enough times (NOT knockin Oprah here) and you're left with the idea that the world is filled with people who have found some sort of perfection in their lives and now feel obliged to share it with others. They write books, long books with many pages, none of which I have read, see them published, sell copies, go on tours, sign autographs and eventually, if they strike the right note, wind up on Oprah in some or other fashion, thrilled to receive her seal of approval because it no doubt will result in a boost in sales, and bathed in her relentless praise, preach their brand of wellness to the general public who are assumed to be wallowing in the mire of their ordinariness.

    I never quite get why people are so willing to flock into worship over anyone with the stones to stand up and say "I Know" whether they know or not, making it up as they go along perhaps, and if anything, are gifted with a vivid imagination. Is that all that is lacking in the black hole that so quickly gets filled by religion ....imagination?

    It certainly seems to be the seed that spawns the root of all brilliant thought. We mistake imagination to be that which is only capable of yielding Star Wars movies and children's books, maybe a painting or two, and perhaps a whistleable tune, but after that the more "important" concepts come from somewhere else, some higher plane, so I ask you this: what higher plane exists than that from which one conceives existence itself? For surely that which preceded existence itself must have been the conception of the 'idea of existence', and being that existence must not have existed when the idea of existence was first conceived, I would say that one would have to have one hell of a vivid imagination to conceive it.

    That someone would come up with a system that works for them, and then proceed to think that because it works for them, it must work for everyone else as well, betrays an assumption that all people are the same, and that, my friends, is an assumption that is born out of a complete lack of imagination. We are all unique, each and every one, no carbon copies, and no boilerplate rubber stamp concept of faith or spirituality can be applied to all .... we each must both do AND teach, our own selves being the star pupils.

    That, and an apple a day.

    Eyes & Minds Open Wide
    Good Morning Mrs Crabtree

    On The Verge Of Tears

    Sometimes I feel like I live my life on the verge of tears. bubbling just beneath the surface as i force my eyes open to look outward at the wondrous miracle that is being alive, it seems that at any moment i could break out in violent spasms of uncontrollable anguish ... but for the most part i don't . interestingly i find the things that set me over the edge and actually cause these tears to flow are not things of true sorrow - i get the news of the day from whencever i may be it: tv computer or good old fashioned word of mouth and when it's bad i steel myself to life's harsh realities with a silent prayer of thanks and wishes of good will toward those of mine and the general populace as best i can.. if i can help, and it seems so rarely that i can, i do. I am not unmoved by tragedy - i cried along with everyone else on 911 .. i have shed bitter tears over the untimely loss of loved ones, although i have been spared this grief to a much greater degree than most ... curiously the stimuli that set me over the brim and bring the wellment of tears are the good things - things of beauty and those that champion the human spirit - the majesty of fall's splendor in full bloom, the holdings forth of ones who speak with conviction their beliefs in the righteousness of mankind's true intent and purpose in this universe, the silent, voluminous gaze exchanged between people who share life in true devotion to one another, the black and infinite depth and timelessness of feeling i have for those i truly love, the image of a struggling family in a rare calm amidst the storm of circumstance that is their lives gathered at the precipice of the grand canyon, and breathlessly a-gaze upon it's explicit grandeur, share the idea that "it ain't all bad"

    I've been watching alot of the West Wing lately, thanks to the wonders of cable and Bravos' romance with the marathon, I have amassed a small arsenal of videos with perhaps half of the entire series - whenever election time comes around i run through them watching a couple of episodes each morning with my coffee fix. there's something in just about every episode that brings me to the verge ..some kind of statement or action or endeavor that is spoken or taken on by one or an ensemble of characters that faces off with one of life's anti-logics as it rears it's ugly head, and stares it down if only just enough to stave it off conceptually - we seem to be perfectly happy with the idea that these beasts will always be a part of living and cannot be avoided, and the best we can hope for is to be able to recognize that they are bad, and to go on dreaming of a world without them while inadvertently acting so as to bring about and perpetuate their existence. This seem the purview of the organization of man - to forever be in the employment of fighting the losing battle. so it is heartening and inspiring whenever I get exposed to the representation of a game where winning is indeed the intent, even if only a fictitious one. Maybe this is why we have art.

    Each time we elect a new president I am filled with hope that this time it will be better, the beginning of a new era where we can finally begin that journey towards the perfect society that we all dream about, that we all know could exist, after we strip away all the selfish notions and prejudices that we interject between truth and perception in order to disguise our own weakness. This is the stuff of hope, the stuff that resides on the waves of thought and feeling that flow between us and our loved ones, that emanate from all things beautiful, and that bring me to the verge of joyful tears.

    Moonbeams In A Jar

    sometimes i don't know where to begin ....

    so i don't.

    i don't know if this is weakness, or wisdom. perhaps, as would say forest gump "maybe it's both." I suppose this is why, of the many ideas in my jumbled brain, so few actually get put to paper.

        ... from whence comes the falling star... how to catch moonbeams in a jar ...

    for fear of being redundant, a fear i rarely observe, i have spent my whole life up to now, playing music, with few distractions; a year washing dishes as a teen, two semesters at college, a few month's working for my dad and about 18 months telemarketing for Digital... but come to think of it, i was playing music all the while i was doing these things, so screw it ... i've spent my whole life playing music ... period.

    i've been down a fairly long road, experiencing points both high and low, and the one and only thing i can say without hesitation is that, regarding my music, i have always given my 100% best and left nothing in the closet. this is the standard i set for myself as a youth and, for better or worse, i have stuck to it.

    other than that, i simply seek to live. to me living is not climbing to the mountaintop, riding the rogue wave, not basking in the tropical sun, the adulation of the masses, or amassing quantifiable objects and significances by which we become so easily defined.

    "love's not a hug, love's not a kiss,
    love is every day doing this, that, this."

    -- who said it?

    every time i hear or read a sentiment of this ilk, it hits me in an almost biblical sense. so, in this endeavor to live every moment, i have become more and more reticent to do anything that i don't like doing. i would rather go for a walk in the woods than sit at a desk making phone calls. i would rather sing a song than lick a stamp. so many things that need to be done, sometimes it seems there's no time to live your life. i am lucky to have been able to maintain this perspective, even though, to this end, it could be interpreted that i have not been as successful as others who share my trade. to those, I tip my hat in respect, and figure that they deserve success more than i.

    so i set my priorities long ago and along the way i have found, principally in retrospect turned forward, i have adopted the credo that i would rather deserve something and not get it, than get something i don't deserve. (... sour grapes is more like it ...)

    so many times we are prone to ask the question "what did i do to deserve this?" maybe a flat tire in a snow storm, that sinking feeling you get after a terrible fight with a loved one, or God forbid, something really bad. Sometimes it's a good thing that gives rise to the query - a winning lottery number, an unexpected check in the mail... a beautiful sunset. life is such a grand and glorious gift and i am inclined to believe that we are paid, in full, in advance, and are then left with the responsibility to live up to an expectation of equal grandeur - odd, it seems, that the truly unfortunate ones appear to see life in this aspect more clearly. I remember a Doonesbury comic with an impoverished child, whom Mike D was mentoring, going off on how excited he felt at getting a pencil for a Xmas present, listing all the things he might be able to do with this pencil - write the next great novel, draft world liberating legislation, sketch heart-stopping portraits .... cut to Mike D lavishing in the lap of luxury surrounded by heaps of unopened presents, crying. a picture well painted...

    ... a pause, perchance to think.

    Politics & Wrestling

    It has occurred to me, via recent events in my so called life, that politics is like, more than anything else perhaps, professional wrestling. It's all fake - they are putting on a show. By and large, these guys are all friends, and the competitive and dramatic animosity they enact in the ring ends at the bell, when the camera's are turned off and the photographers are gone.

    How many times have you watched a football game where two players from opposite teams slam into one another with as much force as necessary to inflict maximum damage, emotions boiling over to a near- melee, while you the viewer casually lean back in couched confidence to quip on how these two guys will go out and have a beer together later as if nothing had happened.

    I believe that this corollary carries over to the political arena as well. While there may be real philosophical differences of opinion amongst the parties and individuals involved, just as there are disparate intentions between teams in a league, or fighters in the ring, the general intent that is agreed upon by all is the presentation of pageantry for the entertainment and misdirection of the viewing public so as to dispel and prevent the possibility of revolution, for in a public uprising, they know that they all would likely be lynched.

    Thus, carefully scripted, the deadly body-blows our clever politicos deliver unto one another are no more deadly than the piledrives and flying bodyslams we see in professional wrestling.

    The problem here is that the piledrivers and deadly blows that are delivered to one another amongst the viewers are real, and cause real damage. From lost friendships to all-out war, they are very real.

    The idea here is that if we, the public, can be kept fighting amongst ourselves, we will be too distracted to notice that we are being manipulated, and that those doing the manipulating are not truly engaged in the very debates, arguments, and civil war-like disagreements in which we, the people, are.

    All the things that politicians are fighting for, they already have. They really are the wrong people to be doing the job - seems to me if you want responsible health care, put someone in charge of creating it who DOESN'T have it. If you want middle class prosperity and less poor people, let the middle class and underprivileged figure it out. Just because they are not wealthy doesn't mean that they are not smart, although I think we mistakenly allow that erratum to stand.

    It is time to make the administration of this land less of a spectator sport, where we all know it's fake and choose to believe the fiction for our own entertainment. I applaud all those who are doing this already and suppose I should get off my duff and get involved .. maybe if enough people push on the ocean at once we can have some kind of effect on the tide - provided we all push in the same direction. Otherwise, we are doomed to continue on in the same tapeloop-like, social feedback existence, while those that pretend to lead climb into the ring and act out their professionally pulled punches and we in the audience continue to bloody one another with real ones.

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