Donald Trump and his new Republican Party proved something: That a Constitution written when indoor plumbing was actually cutting-edge technology, is not itself strong enough to withstand a manipulative assault on it by a modern day organized crime mindset that literally came of age in the dark gaps found between its words.
what can we do when
off the glaciers sheer
and dams burst outward
to peasants in valley
so far away from you
hunched over a teak desk
looking tight for the line
of the feeders on bottom
As the Dome burns its effigy
in Democracy’s last waltz
One of the exercises that I found particularly helpful when discussing the concept of ’emptiness’ in Buddhism, was trying to figure out at what point a car is a car.
For example: We have a car in front of us…
If I remove the engine, and the leave the rest of the body, frame, etc., is that still a car?
What if I then take off all of the doors, is it still a car now?
Or how about if I took out all the wiring and stuff, is that still a car then?
You can see how the exercise goes. At some point the realization began to set in that all things are all composite. We ourselves, are not singular. And we really are not separate from other beings. We are all made of of countless other components, and those things themselves are made up of even smaller elements. You can follow this logic as far down as you like, ultimately splashing around in the quantum foam like are in a 50’s surf movie.
But what if applied this logic to other things? Like what happened yesterday at the capital.
At what point does a protest become a riot?
At what point does riot become sedition?
At what point does a sedition become an insurrection?
At what point does insurrection become civil war?
What I have discovered is that rarely are there clear lines showing separation in nature. We tend only to be able to identify things after a new form has become apparent to us. In Buddhism, I have found this very humbling. When it comes to public safety, things get very messy and dangerous very quickly.
It’s that perfect time of year when the dog poops are easy to pick up, don’t smell, and aren’t frozen to the ground.
It’s the little things right now, folks.
It seems that I tend to post this once in a while, and there’s usually good reason each time. Aside from the fact that this is one of my all-time favorite poems, for me it also calls up a reality check. I’m not alone in that fact, either. And, I have always loved the version that Joni Mitchell arranged, so today I am posting that with the text of the poem. Read deep.
We humans have enough of a history that shows how clearly we are capable of existential damage to each other, as well as our environment. I don’t believe there is anything particularly prophetic in this poem/song, but there are some huge reminders.
The Second Coming
by William Butler Yeats
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Today I saw two fairly typical rural New Hampshirey kind of guys (white males, beards and baseball caps, obligatory work boots, and a variety of apparel from famed designers such as Mossie Oake and Coco Flanell) slogging hip deep through the roadside tick-grass dragging a massive sign that proclaimed: “Asians for Trump”. These guys were in the process of hammering it into the ground directly between myself and a bunch of very beautiful fall leaves. I absolutely hate political signs.
I suspect if I had actually pulled over and pointed out to these guys just how dense their political irony was, it would be as welcome from me as breaking the news about where fortune cookies actually come from.
The problem is that publicly voicing any sort of political speech these days is just as likely to get you shot, as get you are to get run over by a muscle car or big-ass truck with giant tires and a Punisher sticker on the back window. All while sustaining a barrage of colorful potty words, and various observations about your appearance and pedigree.
I am afraid that no matter who wins this presidential election, there will be violent reactions across the country, leading to far more deaths than there should ever be in a country with free and fair elections. And if you’re wondering just how many deaths should happen as a result of free and fair elections, the answer is zero.
Book Title: The KING, the MICE, and the CHEESE
Creators: Nancy and Eric Gurney
The KING, the MICE, and the CHEESE, by Nancy and Eric Gurney is a book I read at least 40 years ago, and I’m just getting around to telling you about it now. It was absolutely in the top 10 favorites I would reread. It’s illustrated with fantastic cartooning, especially the mice. I absolutely love how expressive their faces are.
It’s a lighthearted tale of your usual self-important, rich white guy who has a series of problems he needs to solve. In typical fashion, he throws his weight around and until he can get someone else to satisfy his petty whims.
His subservient advisors go to outlandish lengths to please their tantrum-prone Mucky Muck. They begin to bring in everything from cats to elephants in order to try to solve the latest problem. Yet each new catastrophe is really nothing more than the growing happiness of these animals as they begins to relax and settle in to the new home they’ve found themselves in.
Each one is brought there for a specific reason, with never a moment’s thought given to its well being or happiness. He would use them only for what he needed, and after they’d outlived their usefulness to him he would quickly mark them as the next problem his kingdom must eradicate.
The book itself is of course, a work of fiction. Nothing more than childhood stories of the outlandish. I mean, could you imagine the leader of a country being so self-aggrandizing, and so hyper-focused on only his own comforts and whims, yet so blind to the suffering of everyone and everything he can’t use somehow? Thanks just crazy talk.
That’s whackier than a mouse eating a nice cheese dinner, with very good manners.
In America, there is a small town where things don’t work the way they do everywhere else. It’s a place that’s still small town America. Exactly the same small town America that politicians invoke during an election cycle when they are trying to convince people that they alone are somehow able to conserve the values many of our grandparents held dear.
In this place, everyone who is anyone was brought up in a good Christian home, raised on down-home rules pulled mostly from the Bible. But one value that’s sure to be upheld is the one that says that anyone who hasn’t accepted Jesus into their lives, has to go to the back of the line here in America. And that this value is an essential part of the fabric of a nation founded on Christian values.
Modern scientific “theories” don’t just automatically get accepted and taught here. Especially not if they fly in the face of what we’ve been taught and know in our hearts to be a part of God’s plan for us. In this town there’s a saying, “Noah didn’t need no nanoparticles.”
Of course everyone here knows someone who’s been addicted to meth, has diabetes, or is missing a few teeth (This is America after all). But, that is no reason to scare people into letting some socialist weaken our national defense just for some free doctor’s appointments.
More than anything, the people of this town do their homework. They‘re not likely to sit idly by while an oppressive government schemes their freedom out from underneath them. Microwaves, contrails, chip implants, and 5G… you name it and they’ve fought for freedom from it.
Here the law matters. And not those little freedom-killing laws that get forced on you by some liberal activist judge, but honest-to-goodness tough laws. The type that are designed to punish people. This town is founded on the age-old knowledge that “might makes right”, as well as a couple of other things that rhyme with that.
And with that deep respect for the law, comes an even deeper respect for our Second Amendment. Every citizen of this town is advised to keep and bear arms to show how each one of us cares about the safety of our neighborhoods. We will always do what we have to to keep them safe, unlike ‘other’ types of neighborhoods.
Most of all this is a town that exists in direct proportion to the amount of payola each politician gets from silent sources when they publicly invoke its fabled existence. And, it is entirely populated with the faces of each and everyone person imagined by a voter who wished their vote who somehow transported them to this safe little island of individual liberties with a type of justice they can secretly get behind.
This is a town that too many American’s wish they lived in. And what’s worse, most of them are afraid to admit it to their own friends and family. How can we expect an enemies country to learn from this, when a huge portion of its citizens can’t even reconcile their own beliefs with way they hope to appear to others?
Sitting on my summer deck
Jerry plays, hot in the sun
I reach out with myself
to commune with nature
The very same one
I tamed with power tools
irony hangs thick on the air
*The following is multi-part series on the rise of cannabis as a medicine, how it affects alcoholics and addicts in recovery, and how to go about changing the information we have in our minds.
On June 10, 1935 the modern recovery movement was born when Alcoholics Anonymous came into being. And with it came an entirely new way for society to view alcoholism. While this isn’t the only method for people to recover, it’s going to be my primary starting point for now.
AA presented alcoholism as a disease, and one with no known cure. They also offered an ongoing “treatment” for alcoholism that would help the sufferer keep their illness in remission. It soon became very well respected, primarily for the recoveries that it had helped foster. Rather than branching out into other problem areas in society, it instead offered up its 12-step formula to other organizations, to adapt as they saw fit to help other populations with different needs. AA also offered its help to the world of science and health, helping to catapult much of the medical research on alcoholism and addiction that we now benefit from. They firmly put themselves in a position to only help, and never to engage in opinions one way or another. AA also tried very hard to foresee the future in order to avoid falling prey to medical fads, or fickle politics. In doing so, it necessarily took a step back, offering no opinions or endorsements. It’s that kind of foresight that has allowed the program to help as many people as it has over the years. It also gave the mistaken impression to many that the organization itself was mired in the past, advocating faith-healing over science, and allowing people to blame their problems on a disease instead of taking responsibility.
On August 2, 1937 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Marijuana Tax Act, setting in motion an eighty-year assault on plant that had previously been cultivated for a variety of uses by Americans up until that point. The bill itself was drafted by Harry Anslinger, who served (not at all coincidentally) as the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. There is more than enough evidence indicating that cannabis was already under assault on different fronts prior to this point, but history has also shown that Anslinger played a pivotal role in cannabis prohibition. And, like many of the other substances that were being regulated, and prohibited during this particularly active period of American puritanism, cannabis went from being a plant of many uses, to a fast and efficient way to ruins your life just from the penalties alone.
So, for 80 years those two worlds existed on parallel planes, rarely interacting. As the 12-step world grew and expanded to include organizations like Narcotics Anonymous, and Marijuana Anonymous, the idea of members using any sort of medicine that alters consciousness became taboo in church basements around the world.
It’s here where I need to step and explain something. I have and will use the terms organization, program, members, and culture to describe things like AA, and that isn’t accidental. It also needs to be pointed out that they aren’t synonymous with each other, something that becomes important as this narrative continues.
The organization of Alcoholics Anonymous is just that, the parent organization that exists to serve the groups, and individual members with information to aid in their recovery. This is the same type of organization that I mentioned had “firmly put themselves in a position to only help, and never to engage in opinions one way or another”. Unlike most organizations, they never set rules or requirements for their members to follow, at most they will offer suggestions. Not everyone at the organization is a member, let alone an alcoholic or addict. If asked about their position on different forms of cannabis being legally prescribed as medicine, or about recreational legalization, they would very likely say that they have no opinion on those kinds of issues.
The program of Alcoholics Anonymous are those 12-step things you hear mentioned in TV and movies all of the time. If you actually use these twelve things to help you in life, you are following the program. You don’t need to be a member, or even an alcoholic or drug addict to use them. They were designed to be “open source” long before that was a term of use.
The members of Alcoholics Anonymous are just that, the people in the seats. Someone becomes a member when they say they are, that’s all there is to it. Of course, because the membership is made up of people who get to decide if they are members, or even if they are alcoholics at all, it is as flawed as and varied as people are in general. And while that means no one person is in charge, it also means that anyone who thinks they are, will try to be. I invite you to someday attend an AA meeting someday, and then randomly suggest they move their coffee pot across the room. Watch to see how many people think they are in charge. This will become is a crucial point in this narrative, because they are people with lots of opinions, who talk to each other all the time.
Finally, there is the culture of Alcoholics Anonymous. This is where most misunderstandings and conflicts arise within the world of recovery. And it’s here where opinions become dogma, regardless of evidence.
To be continued…