Saturday, April 16

Rainbows on a Knife Edge

by Emerson, Lake, Fraser, Janacek

Just a step cried the sad man
Take a look down at the madman
Theatre kings on silver wings
Fly beyond reason

From the flight of the seagull
Come the spread claws of the eagle
Only fear breaks the silence
As we all kneel pray for guidance

Tread the road cross the abyss
Take a look down at the madness
On the streets of the city
Only spectres still have pity

Patient queues for the gallows
Sing the praises of the hallowed
Our machines feed the furnace
If they take us they will burn us

Will you still know who you are
When you come to who you are

When the flames have their season
Will you hold to your reason
Loaded down with your talents
Can you still keep your balance

Can you live on a knife-edge?

Friday, April 8

Burn Down the Mission

"Hurtful policies are enacted, not because of any logical benefit they might bring, but specifically because they hurt people the Republicans want to hurt." - Esquire magazine

Sometimes child play gets rough and the bigger kids, especially the ones in a bad mood or the ones who were routinely beaten, will hurt and dominate the smaller children. I remember being told to eat worms once or suffer a tortuous belly rub. The few seconds I was given to decide were desperate and fearful. Could I run away? What would happen if I scratched their eyes out or punched their faces in or ....?"

Finally, I realized I'd do anything but what they wanted because if I gave in at that moment and ate the worms, I'd be their target forever. I decided I would not be bullied. Their stupid cruelty and hate would not stop this time, so I took the belly rub.

Obama and the democrats need to take the belly rub.

The American people who elected a democratic majority need to take the belly rub and make no mistake it is painful right now. We need to be held down by the House of Representative Tea Party bullies and take the punishment right now. They want to shut down this government in the middle of its worst recession, when we are the smallest and weakest, so they can make us eat the worms of repression for years to come.

They are the worst bullies - uncaring of who they hurt or how they hurt us. They want power over us and they want us to eat the worms of poor air and water quality, polluted and blasted landscapes, sick old people, weak and stupid children, second class women and minorities - the dregs of American life. All this pain and suffering so the "big dogs" can maintain their tax breaks and preserve the enclaves of their "good life" untarnished by dissent and the human rights of the undeserving masses - erm, that's you and me.

They don't realize that these worms they force on us can't distinguish the powerful from the weak and that every grave has them.

P.S.: Looks like it's worms for breakfast.

Monday, April 4

Consumer Conflicts

"But the truth is that we live in a society that’s complex, at best, and a cesspool of corruption at worst. It’s just about impossible to get through a day without compromise, and every time we compromise it’s difficult not to feel as though we’ve failed a little." - Samuel Smith from the article "Hard Times for the Pure of Heart"

We're on our way to Home Depot this morning. Lots of house repairs and upgrades needed and not a lot of choices when it comes to materials and supplies in this neck of the high desert. We have a good friend that makes it a practice to boycott places that are anti worker, careless about pollution, and do not meet minimum ethical standards. She avoids Walmart and Safeway, shopping at local owned stores or farmers markets. She gives a big thumbs up to Costco because they take care of their workers and have quality products, but does not buy salmon there because it is not "green." I am exhausted listening to her explain the ethical and ecological ins and outs of these places.

"Where do you get the time to continually research and monitor these consumer issues, " I asked one day.

"It only takes a few minutes on the internet. Just check out Scorecard to find out who the polluters are in our area and the Good Guide will help with groceries and stuff." she explained.

I try to spend my money where it does the most good, but like the article above explains, it's hard. I go for convenience sometimes and I feel like a hypocrite when I pass through the doors of Walmart or Target. I can't image not shopping at these places, either. Quite a conflict. The good news is that customers of these places can exert influence by letting them know we'd pay more if they pollute less and/or treat their workers better.

Meanwhile, where's the farmers market and how soon can I get there.

Saturday, April 2

Lurid Fascination

"If the evildoing of men moves you to indignation and overwhelming distress, even to a desire for vengeance on the evildoers, shun above all things that feeling." - Fyodor Dostoyevsky, "The Brothers Karamazov"

It is only human nature to be curious about horror. The paralysis that causes us to freeze and watch instead of move away from something awful fights with our genetic "fight or flight" impulse. There is that moment of watching we give ourselves to decide whether to fight or flee that causes so much mental anguish. We lose focus, clarity, the ability to control ourselves for that nanosecond before years of mental training, spiritual discipline, real thought take over and we decide to pollute our minds with horror or not.

This morning, I saw the headlines about the Florida "minister" who burned a holy book and the resulting beheading of innocent peacekeepers in Afghanistan. I made the mistake of looking at this horror show, a man with a flacid, bland face. I did not see an enlightened man at the height of his spiritual enlightenment, but a sad, fearful creature without spirit. How men a world away could consider this flyspeck as a threat against their beliefs is even more distressing and incomprehensible. Both Christian and Muslim religions have their zealots and bigots. Why should I see their useless faces? Why should I embed their hatred into my psyche? Why can't I shun their actions and their images. They add nothing to benefit me or the human race.

Perhaps I've grown complacent and lazy. It is time to work on my own thoughts, time to continue to tame the wild mind and find a way to be compassionate and detached without hiding from the challenges of a world approaching the edge - a world that I live in and can impact by shunning vengeance and hatred and the polluting images of those that promote chaos. If I can find the strength to take that decisive moment before fight or flight and use it to look within, I may be able to resist the lure of drama and high emotion that often suck me into a bad place.

Sometimes reading the news is like walking through a minefield, one must find a safe pathway around harmful sensationalism and ignorant "opinions" hiding among the real and important facts about today's world. I knew when I clicked on that man's image that I'd made a mistake. Maybe I'll learn from it.