January 31, 2008

A Plague on Both Your Houses

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/29/health/research/29plag.html?ex=1359262800&en=934238753ec0a93b&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

From Buddhist Wisdom 1-31-08

How much of your life do you spend looking forward to being somewhere else?

-Matthew Flickstein, "Journey to the Center"
Copyright Wisdom Publications 2001. Reprinted from "Daily Wisdom: 365 Buddhist Inspirations," edited by Josh Bartok, with permission of Wisdom Publications, 199 Elm St., Somerville MA 02144 U.S.A, www.wisdompubs.org.


So true!

Joe Biden, Disraeli, and Michael Mukasey

Sorry folks, I made the mistake of listening to the hearings on the "waterboarding" issues yesterday. Here is a link for those who want to catch up on the news.

News results for attorney general
PRESS TV
Senate grills attorney general on waterboarding - 22 hours ago
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Attorney General Michael Mukasey told the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that he will refuse to discuss the legality ...

What I suspect doesn't show up in this report are the comments of Joseph Biden to Attorney General Mukasey. He quoted from Benjamin Disraeli. For those who want to see who that was, here is further link. Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)
Benjamin Disraeli served twice as Prime Minister, the first time from 27 February to 1 December 1868 and the second, 20 February 1874 to 21 April 1880. ...www.victorianweb.org/history/pms/dizzy.html - 14k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Okay, all set now? I bring this fellow in because I want to document a comment from Joe Biden that is attributed to Benjamin Disraeli when he was interviewing Mukasey. There are three catagories of lies, "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics." Love the quote. For the record, there is some dispute about who said that. Mark Twain deserves some of the credit for bringing the quote to the attention of the public. See, for instance, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies,_damned_lies,_and_statistics

Mess of Pottage

I am writing today about the stimulus package which really needs to be renamed because it reminds me too much of the K-Y Intimate Lotion ads on the TV these days. And folks, there are not enough bottles of lotion to help the economic package go on smoothly. Even worse it reminds me of the tale of Esau and his brother Jacob. For those who need serious refreshing on the saga, here is link to what I am going to discuss. http://www.aboutbibleprophecy.com/p98.htm For the others, here is a shorter version. Two brothers (twins), one father, one mother (who thought she couldn't have children), one bowl of pottage (bean stew). Esau, the older brother loved to hunt. Jacob, the younger brother, was a farmer. Jacob came home hungry one day and bugged Esau for his bowl of stew (aka pottage). Jacob tricked Esau into giving up his birthright (father's blessing) for the food. In giving up his birthright, Esau (the older brother), fades back into history. In taking his older brother's birthright, Jacob (the younger brother) marches into history to eventually become Israel. All brought about by a mess of pottage. And the situation is analogous even more when the Government chooses to sell our debt to foreign nations. It is chilling. Our birthright sold to finance a war many of us no longer agree with. A war many of us believe was started under false pretenses. The proposed stimulus (see KY Intimate Lotion) package is another mess of pottage. If the government were serious about helping us, it would say we didn't need to file our taxes this year. Not give us measley $500.00 checks which get used in one weekend with a family of four. Not sell off Treasury Bonds to pay for these checks. Not, not, not. Here in lies the crux of the story. In giving up long term rights to gain short term satisfaction we all lose our birthrights as Americans.

January 30, 2008

Camelot

Stay tuned, folks. It looks like Camelot is coming back. Obama's speech to American University on Monday was a massive homage to the old days. I guess I am an old fuddy duddy. I eat that kind of speech up like pecan ice cream. It is wonderfully nostalgic. And I so wish it would become "true." Who knows? We landed men on the moon once. Maybe we can land our better selves back here on terra firma? It is to wish for. But my heart still belongs to Dennis.....sigh. Hopeless causes my specialty. Here is his candidate quiz on which candidate matchs your personal philosophy. It is the best I have seen so far....

http://www.dehp.net/candidate/index.php

And sigh, here is his Presidential Hopeful website. http://www.dennis4president.com/home/
Who knows? Maybe he will run as an independent.

Which falls into my catagory of "if wishes were fishes, my cats would eat free."

Perspective--Helps more than Artists


It is the enemy who can truly teach us to practice the virtues of compassion and tolerance.


-The Dalai Lama


So True. It is imperative I stay open and flexible enough to learn the lessons adversity has to teach me. From enemies to flu to fibromyalgia/myofascial syndrome, I am surrounded by my loving enemies. It is all a matter of perspective.

Falling in Late December

Fall Thoughts...Who Knew

"In the midst of life we are in death." Book of Common Prayer, The Burial of the Dead, First Anthem. ("Oxford Dictionary of Quotations," Fifth Edition, edited by Elizabeth Knowles,Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2001). It is the end of the week. Nearly the end of a year which saw the final endings for many friends. To bring a child into life these days means a resolute facing of the fact that children die. Some sooner than later. And then adults die. And certainly animals we surround ourselves with as surrogate family die. Ah, well. It is a sigh and goodbye if we are lucky enough to have the time to do that. And even though this blog entry sounds sad, I am not sad. It just is what it is and that is enough. Peace.

Missing Heath Ledger

Ever Notice?
There is a wonderfully funny movie 10 Things I Hate About You. The dad in the movie is a crazy obstetrician who is obsessed with his girls not having s.e.x. So obsessed that everytime they talk with him about boys, he has them wear what he calls "the belly." Now the belly is an add on device that really makes a persons' profile look pregnant. I mention this because lately I am seeing lots of people -- men as well as women -- look as if they are wearing the "belly." It is bad enough for us moms. But when the guys do it too? Pathetic!

Welcome to Casablanca-Land

All Embracing Casablanca-Land
America, land of the slurb and the traffic jam. Home of the schools that have students who need course support for the 47 different languages here in the Fairfax County area. America is also the land of last resort for those driven out of their home nations either through war, economic hardship, famine or what have you. America, land of the world warriors. We bring war to Southeast Asia and acquire Vietnamese/Laotian/Cambodian refugees. We bring war to Europe and acquire East European refugees. We bring war to Iraq and refuse the refugees admittance. Makes me scratch my head on that one. America is the place of last resort for people who no longer exist in the "wild" outside of our borders. I refer specifically to parts of the world destroyed by good old American technology. Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, South/North Korea all have sent many refugees into our country. Some landed here in Northern Virginia and for a few years there were no cats seen roaming outside. They were collecting freezer burn as the newest immigrants discovered a new food source like the ones they had left back home. The immigration resettlement officer had to deal with that one. But new people are not always the cause of bad things. It is sort of like seeing a snow leopard in repose. You sort of know the leopard isn't safe but golly gee, isn't he beautiful?? I bring this up because of the Dalai Lama recent visit here to Washington, D.C. The Tibet he represents exists only in memory due to the cruel repression of the Chinese government. We are becoming Casablanca, MiB-Land. Folks exist here even though they no longer thrive outside our borders. As we ready to eat the thousands of slaughtered turkeys, let us remember that the turkeys who run this country are not immigrant friendly, not foreigner friendly, but are the only thing between the repressive governments like China (with whom we trade now) and us. Sigh. Happy Day. Peace Now Please

Clean Cursing

Oh, cranberries!

Ever look for a clean curse and come up empty?? I have. I use seasonal ones:
"Oh, cranberries" is useful. But I am working in a new curse: You son of a bagel baker....for use during Passover. It is always a good idea to have curses in different traditions. Some are more euphonious. Ehos de basura....or Sons of Garbage.

Keep your curses clean and full of fun

Spockian Blessings

I recently voiced my rather strong opinion about the State of Virginia's newest Grand Plan -- remember the last one folks? You remember, it was the one where Richmond became the capital of the confederacy. This newest and brightest idea concerns the wholesale in-gathering of cats who are wandering outside. Whether lost or not, treasured pet or castoff, all these cats were to be hauled to the various overworked animal shelters and killed. Yes, that's right. In the land of the free and the home of the brave, the best we can do is kill animals that are not terrorists. I wrote and expressed myself online and figured I would not make one iota of difference. Imagine my shock when I heard back from one of the folks who was fighting the good fight (translation -- she was on my side of the battle line) to keep the cats from being put down. I am in her debt. She and her fellow legislators were able to take the proposal right off the table and back into the Committee for more study. I know she has surely earned my vote and that is saying something for me these days. May she live long and prosper -- a Spockian blessing.

Supposes

I suppose it is no secret that I love to write. Mostly I really love to write to people who care -- whether it is about the loss of civility, the loss of habitat, the arrogance of the majority trampling those who are too quiet to speak up for themselves or the quiet sorrows that surround people going through loss either from the death of family, friends or companion animals. I connect with those issues best. Perhaps it is because I have needed to have someone listen to me when I am sad and no one ever did, that now I am opening my heart to comfort them which in turn comforts me. I find this is a circular process -- this healing I am doing. I heal others and am healed my them. It is a process of discovery as we inch towards the future a heart at a time.

Too Good to be True

Well, You All Knew My Silence was too Good to be True
Unemployment. War. Economy. Stock companies cooking the books. Campaign trails. Observations. Overflowing with ... anger is too strong a word. Disgust doesn't come close. Best left unsaid but a huge Ah, well, pretty much encompasses my feelings at this moment. The more things change the more they stay the same. Corruption breeds corruption. Joy breeds joy. So let's clone some joy today.

Just Stop the World, I want to Get Off

Where to Stop
Stop listening to C-Span. Stop listening to Fox News. Stop listening to NPR News. Stop, stop, stop. We are rife with negativity. No surprise we are a nation addicted to helping other nations fight wars that never should have been started. We are so busy pointing at how awful other countries are, we have lost sight that we are certainly no better and in many ways worse because we will not look at the facts on the ground. Fact one...unemployment is low. Truth suffers on this one. Unemployment is low for two reasons -- the number of young people in the military on this bogus extension of the 9/11 war and the people who have been out of work are not counted after a certain amount of time goes by. And the facts could go on from there. Unfortunately there is not enough time in the day to list all of the bogus things passing as truth when a harried person looks at them quickly. An unblinking assessment of what we are doing to ourselves as a nation, to our citizens, to our wanna-bee citizens, to our souls is what is needed in this hyper-heated atmosphere. Global warming? Hah, it has hit critical mass here in the U.S. and no one is paying attention. The political melt down will be something DHS won't be able to REAL ID or deal with.

Rescue Me...Classic Song

Rescue
Back in the heyday of the Vietnam protests, students hung flags upside down in the universal symbol of distress. It really makes more sense now with REAL ID coming down the pike at us, with prison labor taking over regular jobs, with contracts for data entry going to the Big House, with our national economy based upon the wars we start with other nations. We need rescuing just as surely as those cats and dogs I drive up I-95. Sigh.
Meanwhile, just hum a few bars of that classic rhythm & blues song

Aretha Franklin - Rescue Me Lyrics

Morals, Ethics and Politics

Moral Principles...Daily Buddhist Wisdom

Dangerous consequences will follow when politicians and rulers forget moral principles. Whether we believe in God or karma, ethics is the foundation of every religion.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

From "The Pocket Dalai Lama," edited by Mary Craig, 2002. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston, www.shambhala.com.

Frank L. Baum and Oz - A New Look

Behind the Breastbone Beats
Behind the Breastbone Beats ... a Heart. A heart was all the Tinman was looking for in the classic Judy Garland movie "Wizard of Oz." Recently the SciFi Channel reinterpreted the Wizard of Oz. Called the "Tin Man" this classic movie is a wonderful modernization of the original Baum book. Really thoughtful. Really thought provoking. Wisecracking, sad, wise. Frank Baum wrote lots of books about his universe of Oz. None of them pretty. And this adaptation captures that sense of ugliness amidst the stunning beauty of modernity. It captures the soul of what Baum was writing about in his modern fairy tale for the 19th and early 20th century. And its' appeal is timeless. Because, after all, hearts are the icon of the soul.

The Botox of Souls

Souls and Botox
Unlike Hollywood stars whose good looks are frozen in place by botox, the soul is the one thing that never ever needs botox to look good. No matter how tattered, no matter how closed down, the soul can revive and grow. It doesn't grow according to the filofax calendar or according to our own demands. It grows because we work it. And we need to do that work these days more than ever with all the awful news both locally and abroad coming to the surface. I don't know if there is an increase in bad news. Or if there is an interest in selling products which means that news stations need to find a "hook" to attract watchers and bad news is sexy and sells. Or if bad news is increasing (if you believe in the end of days theory of life). What I do know is that bad news is bad for my soul. It makes that maggot of fear and mistrust grow and grow so I stay away from people, stay away from food, stay isolated in my own little world which tends to shrink more and more and become as dark as 3 am with the winds of sorrow whistling through. Brrrr. So I write, I read wonderful books by Bujold, I listen to Garrison Keillor, I listen to a CD called "Irish Drinking Songs for Cats."

This Thing Called Statistics

Statisticians and Liars
If the devil is in the details, then it stands to reason that the devil is a statistician. At least these days he or she is. The older I get, the more I dislike statistics. I like plain facts. No charts, no tables, no itty bitty details buried in the document. No Disclaimer Statements, No Footnotes. Just the facts. No slippery words that could be construed another way. Just plain ordinary information.
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On Polar Bears and Snow Days

Snow Day
Polar bears are dying and I worry about a little ice. Go figure.

On Clorox and Cheap Rings

Cheap Rings and Clorox

I have a wonderful ring I found at Target. It was cheap and full of really wonderful sayings. Unfortunately, I didn't realize its shiny surface could be damaged by the Clorox I use to wash floors in the cattery. So now I have a favorite ring that is like the rest of my life -- lovely and shiny in areas and worn through in others. How appropriate! Hmmmm, maybe those harsh cleaners are actually called 'life'.

I believe a lot of us are like my ring. We look "good" on the surface but in adversity those pesky flaws come right up front and center. If we ignore them, we risk having them get bigger and bigger until they ice right over our souls.

If only global warming worked on souls...we'd thaw out and actually care about each other.

That's it for now for me. Hugs for eternity.

Dennis the Menace

Dennis the Menace and the Media
My heart goes out to Dennis Kuchinich and his campaign. For some reason that I don't understand, mainstream media is not a fan of Dennis the Menace. (Nickname from his earlier political days as Mayor of Cleveland when the Cuyahoga River would catch on fire). Dennis now is sparring with NBC who decides who will be allowed to debate using NBC/MSNBC airwaves. They recently changed the "first four" rule to "first three" which prevented Dennis from participating in last Tuesday night's debate. This arbitrary and capricious change certainly kept me from judging for myself how Dennis would answer the questions posed to everyone on the dias. And I resent that 'right' being taken away from me. Frankly, I think Dennis has an absolutely vital point and I hope he finds some positive resolution in the court system. As a nation we absolutely cannot allow corporations to choose who our elected officials are going to be. And it is all too clear that this corporate choosing is the way of the future politically in this country.

Musing on Kucinich

Observations On the Other Hand

On the other hand, Dennis might need to read the latest Buddhist Wisdom note from today:


A petty officer often thinks of the rules; a seasoned general doesn't talk of soldiering.

-Zen proverb

From "The Pocket Zen Reader," edited by Thomas Cleary, 1999. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston, www.shambhala.com.


It is pretty clear from the quote that those who complain about the rules lose sight of the battle. Ron Paul (on the Republican side) has the right idea about being denied a voice. He just works on the internet polls and keeps getting money for his campaign that way. We may be seeing a new way to conduct political debate in the country where Corporations back the candidates most likely to support them economically versus Candidates who through their own supporters' efforts are viable on the internet and no-where else. At this time, though, I am not sure which way will actually work on Election Day. We, as citizens, may need to adopt new technologies and demand the process change. All I say is, 'good luck with that.'

FN: Harry Truman allegedly remarked he needed/liked one handed economists because he hated to hear "on the other hand" explanations. IDK if it is true but it is imbedded in my brain as if it were.....

Clear as a Lotus in the Mud

Thought for the Day

Cancer Horoscope

(June 21 - Jul 22)

Something needs to come out into the open today, so you can integrate this information into your current plan. You may already have big ideas about what you want to change in your daily routine, but may have a hard time knowing how to do it until you have all the facts. Carefully asking the right questions now can help you discover what you need to know.

**********************

Well, that's clear as mud. But it does really relate to something I am dealing with so it isn't that off base. What is worthy of mention here is that it is the tension (for me) between my wants and my responsibilities. Very far apart on this particular issue. Light years. Mega Light Years. The bottom line is for me to stay out of the origami folds trying to smooth life out. Life and the universe do not work that way. Life and the universe like bumpiness even though it tears the heck out of my personal transmission. Sigh.

I See Famous People....

Leonardo DiCaprio and Cats

I think I saw Leonardo DiCaprio this week in front of the building I work in. It was awkward. He was trying to be ignored and I was trying to stay out of the way of him and his friend because they kept turning around and looking at me. Talk about awkward. Only as I crossed the street did I realize who it was. I bring this up because it is so rare when I actually see someone who is in the news. Sadly, when people start swooning over how gorgeous he is and ask me "what did I think when I saw him?", I blank out. All I can say is that if he were a cat, I'd have been far more impressed and glowing about how cool it was to actually see him in person.

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Wisdom We All Need but Totally Lack

Wisdom for Today and Always

From TheDailyEnlightenment@yahoogroups.com

Rely on the Dharma, not on people.
Rely on wisdom, not accumulation of knowledge.
Rely on the meaning of words, not the words.
Rely on the complete meaning, not the partial meaning.

- The Buddha

From TheDailyEnlightenment@yahoogroups.com

The Heartburn of Politics

Democrats/Republicans Blech to Both

I am on someones "sucker" list. I seem to get calls from everyone I ever (in a moment of madness) gave money to. Thank goodness I have call screening and I can avoid talking to them altogether. Frankly, I'd like to ask them for my money back. It seems to me that when I give money it needs to go where it is needed. Not fattening up a political office holders' telephone robo-callers. There are some folks I give to. But never ever will I give again to the mainstream parties. Local parties or national. None of them deserve a dime. None of them really earn it.

C-Span or was that C-Spam?


The radio stations in the Washington, DC area are limited. I know, I know. You'd think a big metropolitan area would have good radio shows, but you'd be wrong here. There are shock jocks, there are rabble rousers radio stations, there are news stations that only seem to read the news every fifteen minutes and never change either the news or the shock and awe with which they report it. And then ... there is C-Span. C-Span has a call in morning program. It limits its calls to those folks who are on a call list...I can't verify that folks. I just know I can never get through when I try to call. But it is a soap opera kind of program. People just vent. Predictably. Often. Some of the venters are really quite spectacularly weird. Some are just sweet. But I listen for the weirdos who crawl out from under rocks to accuse the people featured by C-Span of being - gasp - socialists. It is shocking to me to hear troglodytes calling on the phone. You'd think being inside a rock cave (look up the meaning), there would be spotty reception. But not only do these folks get on...they get listened to. We still must be a free country no matter how hard the pres and his buddies have tried to make sure our liberties go away because these cave-dwelling folks are still able to call in and insult the rest of us.

January 29, 2008

As Friends Stay Close

Part of the focus of my blog this year seems to leaning towards "How do we stay close in times where separation is necessary?" This is a constant theme for me these days. One of my long distance friends commented that my "little jokes" are missed. Again, my nearsightedness surely needs friends like her. Desperately! So I wrote her back to bring some light into her late January dark and realized I needed the laugh just as badly as she did. It is my opinion that the world is a far glummer place these days. I don't know whether there is any one cause to point at over any other. But honestly leavening is so necessary in the slumps. Especially as we inch forward towards Passover. All that leavening has to go. As a family, we used to give the stuff with yeast or other leavening away to our neighbors. Then after the Holiday, we would ransome the bread and stuffs back. It is too bad really that we can't ransome back the lightness, the leavening in real life. I think we need it more now than we ever did at Passover. So when you get a chance and things look glum, remember to ransome back the laughter.

When the Soul Needs Glasses, Find a Friend for Reflections

I am nearsighted physically. Who knew I was also nearsighted when it came to seeing myself? True friends hold up a mirror upon which I can see the breathe of my own life.

Horoscope for the Day

Cancer Horoscope

(June 21 - Jul 22)

Being in a serious mood is one thing; self-doubt is something else. Judging yourself too harshly can take its toll on you and your relationships, making it difficult to be too close to someone else, even if there is chemistry. This isn't about separation, so don't worry. A cooling off period can be exactly what you need to allow you to feel more comfortable with your own boundaries.

Horoscope for the Day

Cancer Horoscope

(June 21 - Jul 22)

Being in a serious mood is one thing; self-doubt is something else. Judging yourself too harshly can take its toll on you and your relationships, making it difficult to be too close to someone else, even if there is chemistry. This isn't about separation, so don't worry. A cooling off period can be exactly what you need to allow you to feel more comfortable with your own boundaries.

M*A*S*H Notes

God didn't put us here for a pat on the back. He put us here so he could be here himself.
M*A*S*H thoughts for the night