Vote Blue 2020

Vote Blue 2020

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Think Eliot Ness, Special Agent Dale Cooper & Joe Friday All Wrapped Up in One Guy!

My head is spinning. So many great reporters writing about the Russian Dupe/Collusion story, and Robert Mueller's investigation. Journalism at it's best. We are lucky to have a Free Press. They may help save our Democracy.

And Robert Mueller himself is an American Hero. Think Eliot Ness, Special Agent Dale Cooper and Joe Friday all wrapped up in one guy. The crazy folks on the Right are trying to muddy the waters by attacking Mueller, but man, check out his resume: 

Robert Swan "Bob" Mueller III (/ˈmʌlər/; born August 7, 1944) is an American lawyer and civil servant who was the sixth Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 2001 to 2013. A Republican, he was appointed by President George W. Bush and his original ten-year term was given a two-year extension by President Barack Obama, making him the longest-serving FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover. He is currently head of the Special Counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.

A graduate of Princeton University, Mueller served as a Marine Corps officer during the Vietnam War, receiving the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" for heroism and the Purple Heart Medal. After graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1973, he worked at a private firm in San Francisco for three years until his appointment as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the same city. Prior to his appointment as FBI director, Mueller served as a United States Attorney, as assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division and as acting deputy attorney general.

He earned a reputation as a no-nonsense, straight-laced attorney and investigator, as well as the nickname "Bobby Three Sticks," in reference to his name's numeric suffix.[3][4][5] Lauded for his non-partisan and non-political approach, he has been credited with transforming the FBI from an agency primarily focused on law enforcement into one of the world's top organizations handling counterespionage and counterterrorism.[6]

In May 2017, Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department as special counsel, overseeing the investigation into alleged foreign electoral intervention by Russia in the 2016 presidential election and related matters.

He's up against the "Grab Them by the Pussy Prez." Who to trust?!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Conspiracy-Minded for a Reason!

Wow. The first indictment is a doozy... check it out. First charge is "Conspiracy Against the United States..."

Conspiracies. Maybe in the broadest sense "any concurrence in action; combination in bringing about a given result,"  tells us that are all swimming in conspiracies all of the time. 

The cells of our bodies are conspiring to form organs, to multiply and divide for a purpose.
The organs of our bodies conspire to work together to make a well-functioning human organism.

The stuff of the Universe conspires to form stars, planets, and other various astronomical phenomena.
Parallel Universes conspire to work side by side.
Super-Strings conspire to connect everything to everything.

Human societies conspire to work together, or work apart.
Everything conspires with everything else.

No wonder we are conspiracy-minded beings. We are trapped in a vast web of human and non-human conspiracies every moment.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

"Picture a Leader with no fucking brains..." - R. Waters

I was in my local Records store, stopped at the CD section, and there it was, Roger Waters' latest album. "Is this the life we really want?" Nice title. Provocative question. The short answer: "No!"

I haven't read any reviews. I really don't want to know what anyone else thinks of the record. I thought to myself, "I wonder what's on Roger Waters mind?" And I snagged a copy of the album.

I have lived with it for a week or so. Yes, it's a knockout. A major work from a major artist. Produced & Mixed by Nigel Goodrich, longtime Radiohead Producer/Collaborator. What a perfect match.

The record sounds amazing. Lush. Powerful. Layered. Sophisticated. Love the sound of the drums, keyboards, orchestrations. At the center of it all Roger Waters' uncivil voice, and his plain, resonant acoustic guitar.

Does Roger Waters rank with some of the great artists of our time like John Lennon, Bob Dylan, George Orwell and J.G. Ballard? Yes, he does.

He is Rock & Roll's Great Conceptualist! Rock & roll's Great Dystopian! There is no disputing Roger Water's bleak, gloomy, bitter, dark, alienated, disaffected, pissed off vision. We can't dispute it, we just happen to live in his world.

I love it that Roger Waters has not mellowed out. That he still has a chip on his shoulder. That he is still pissed off at the state of the world. Maybe, actually, no surprise, he's even more pissed off now.

He paints a corrosive picture of our current predicament, "The Death of the Post War (World War II) Dream." Fear in every heart. Drones in the sky. Refugees with no shelter. A harsh war on Immigrants. Guantanamo. A culture swimming in cheap shit and abundance. How we all have sold our souls and liberty, for a bit of security and $.

Does the "Grab them by the Pussy President" make an appearance? Yes, he does.  There is even a snatch of audio featuring the voice of the bilious fraud. It's almost too much, but I think it works splendidly...

Yes, well, the actual lyrics are "Picture a Leader with no fucking brains..."

Anyway, a powerful, cohesive artistic statement from one of the best of his generation. I highly recommend it.  I will let Roger Waters have the last words:

"We cannot turn back the clock
cannot go back in time
but we can say
Fuck You, we will not listen to
Your bullshit and lies
Your bullshit and lies."
R. Waters

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Heading into Hyper-Drive!

This Russian Dupe/Collusion story is NOT going away. In fact it is heading into "hyper-drive." Look out Mama, it's all going to come down! Just like we all imagined. At least maybe how I imagined.

The Grab Them By the Pussy President can cry and whine about Fake News but it looks like the first indictment is coming down with an arrest as soon as this coming Monday!

Love this, sounds like the Mueller Investigation will be quite the bargain:

"As for the cost of Mueller’s investigation, everybody knows these things don’t come cheap. The Iran-Contra investigation swallowed $47 million, which is about $104 million in today’s dollars. Even at $200 million, the Mueller investigation will be a bargain if it uncovers obstruction of justice, money laundering, and tax fraud by the president or his associates."

Kind of thrilling. Pretty sure we will get to the bottom of this sordid, ugly story. And some powerful, prominent folks are going to meet a certain Justice. That's how I see it Folks!

Should be a wild, interesting ride. Lots of turmoil, lots of noise, lots of hurly, burly... but I see light at the end of a long tunnel... really, really, I do...

Friday, October 27, 2017

Money, Ego & Ideology - That's How You Do It!

I know this Russian Collusion/Dupe in the White House Story is complicated. Lots of threads, lots of pieces of the puzzle. I do think we are starting to get a clearer picture, but lots of contradictory info, and lots of noise out there too.

There are plenty of folks who don't want the facts of this story to come out, lots of people in power who benefit by keeping it under wraps.

But I think at the heart of the story there is a simple thru line. Easy to understand. Alex Finley, the pen name of a former CIA officer, explains how Putin was able to corrupt and recruit the folks necessary to elevate a Russian Dupe into the White House.

Three basic elements: Money, Ego & Ideology. That's how you do it. There is something so basic to this, it's easy to understand. Human beings are oh so corruptible. Throw some money their way, stroke their Egos a bit, appeal to their fondest ideas, stir up with some gusto and you end up with a Russian Dupe in the White House - The Grab Them By the Pussy Prez.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

"... the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions..." - J. Flake

Jeff Flake is a very conservative Senator from Arizona. As a Democrat from Illinois, it's fair to say that I am pretty much opposed to just about everything he is promoting in his views of governing, and in his agenda for America.

At the same time, I am very impressed that he has decided not to seek another term in the Senate and he was willing to stand on the Senate floor and deliver a blistering, devastating assessment of the current President.

If you are interested, engaged, and want to be informed about what's going down in Washington D.C. you should probably read the full speech, or watch it. It's pretty amazing. Especially coming from a Republican Senator.

Lots of highlights... for instance:

"We must never regard as “normal” the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country — the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions; the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve.

None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal. We must never allow ourselves to lapse into thinking that this is just the way things are now. If we simply become inured to this condition, thinking that this is just politics as usual, then heaven help us. Without fear of the consequences, and without consideration of the rules of what is politically safe or palatable, we must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal." - J. Flake

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

"Even Your Thoughts Are Dust." - M. Williams

I almost hesitate to write about Lucinda Williams and her 2016 album "Ghosts of Highway 20." I fear my words will somehow diminish and fail to convey the beauty and the power of her work. I purchased the 2 CD (7 songs each CD), set awhile back and have lived with it for quite awhile now. There were a few weeks where I listened to the record every morning.  And also, for awhile it was the only record I listened to. Yes, it's embedded in my consciousness, madly, deeply.

Yes. It's that good. A major work, from a major American artist. Puts me in mind of other great American artists like the poet & writer Mary Karr and her trilogy of incandescent memoirs (The Liar's Club, Cherry & Lit), or Flannery O'Conner and her hard as nails, Southern Gothic short stories. Also I think of made in America originals like Tom Waits,  Bob Dylan, Howlin Wolf, artists who have given us some of their greatest works later in their lives. Their voices all morphed and deepened, and fermented with time, and that time bleeds out into their work.

Lucinda's voice is a uniquely expressive instrument. Won't win any singing contests. You can hear a life in those vocal cords. As she sings, you can see and feel the hard country she comes from, you can conjure your own ghosts listening to her vivid, powerful music. Classic song structures. Crystalline lyrics. Not a wasted word.

Some of these songs never fail to take my breath away. The record is about death, life, loss, deep, never healing wounds, fathers, lovers, broken dreams, broken hearts, carrying on with faith & grace. It's an album made up of the hardest, most essential things in life.

I find it deeply moving. And strangely exhilarating. The musicianship on the record is stunning. Perfect. Nuanced, powerful, inventive. 

My favorite track is called "Dust,"  it has become my own personal anthem, a song adapted from a poem by Miller Williams, Lucinda's father, who had recently passed away, and hovers over the record. The guitar interplay between Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz is stunning, beautiful, powerful and matches Lucinda's indelible vocal... 

My personal take on the song: it's a hard won Zen acceptance of death & loss, tears don't do the trick, even our thoughts are dust, accepting that all turns to dust is some kind of transcendence. The lyrics are powerful, but you need to listen to the track to experience the full power and the glory of the thing...

[Verse 1:]
It's a sadness so deep the sun seems black
And you don't have to try to keep the tears back
No you don't have to try to keep the tears back
Cause you couldn't cry if you wanted to
You couldn't cry if you wanted to
Couldn't cry if you wanted to
You couldn't cry if you wanted to

Even your thoughts are dust [4x]

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Mood: Cold & Rainy!

Cold and rainy here. That's the weather outside. It's the weather inside too. I surf the internet, read the news, seems everything is soggy & dark. There is this feeling that everything is sort of fraying, coming apart at the seams. Things falling apart. That's seems to be a theme. Maybe that's good? A falling away so that something new can emerge? But it's kind of ugly, and weird, not sure what comes next. It's all one grand Improv. Must pay attention. Must listen. Must say "Yes" to keep the game moving forward. Those are the rules of Improv. Good luck everyone.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Survival Mode

Then events conspire, and you are in basic survival mode, careening from one place to another, like a pinball, and it's all physicality, and muscle, and bone and flesh, alive and at play in the elements of nature, in the elements of the day - sun, wind, rain, cold. You get it all.

You are a heady kind of person, you live inside your head most of the time, but this survival mode is a reminder that you are just a body too. Alive in the world. You are composed of multitudes of systems and subsystems all working together, and you need them all to be functioning correctly to make it to the next destination, the next meal, the next bed, the next day.

You are a ramshackle collection of cells, nerves, bones, organs flying through the day, always on the move, just going forward, breathing, taking in the next breath, one breath, one breath, at a time...

Sunday, October 22, 2017

As for Me...

As for me (see previous post)... 

Religion. I consider myself a "Secular Buddhist." I meditate, clear my mind, seek to deepen compassion for myself and the world. I am an ex-Catholic. Although, even if you are an "ex" you are never really an "ex."  I know some of the 10 commandments, probably can't name them all, (can't name all the 7 Dwarfs either). For sure I remember that you shouldn't lie, cheat, steal, don't murder anyone, don't covet your neighbor's wife. Of course, there are always extenuating circumstances, that's what life teaches us. Extenuating circumstances. We all have our reasons. Even if they aren't reasonable. My grasp on religion is quite light.

Tribe. I'm White. Born in the Midwest of USA. Live near a big urban center. Working class family. Democratic. Chicago Bears fan. These are the circumstances of my life. But I'd say my tribe is composed of artists - writers, playwrights, songwriters, singers, painters, poets. I'd call my tribe "The Creatives," people who spend their lives creating work. Striving for some kind of art.  What one of my dear friends called "The Good Work." It is a nebulous, ever-morphing tribe, but the ties that bind me to it are very, very strong. This tribe is what really gives my life a purpose. A trajectory.

Ideals.  Liberty, Fraternity, Equality. I do believe in the big things. I do believe we should strive for an all-inclusive, multi-cultural world - a world of equality & justice. Creativity! I know there is nothing worse and more destructive than a bitter Idealist (see History!). I am not the bitter type. Hopeful. Always hopeful. I guess I'd say my tribe of Creatives is guided by the world of Ideals and I meditate often, always looking for clarity!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Religion, Tribe, Ideal.

thoughtful column from David Brooks - the "thinking man's" Republican, you know, one of those few Republicans who actually reads. A vanishing species. Usually Brooks is sort of a comic figure. He often twists himself into a pretzel trying to stick to his beloved GOP, you know, sort of Tribal? Over the years, he has been a figure of hilarity. But this column on John McCain is filled with some interesting ideas. 

I especially liked this: "Human beings can be rallied around one of three things: religion, tribe or ideals." Yes. Indeed. And I think that explains many of our basic conflicts and misunderstandings. 

Some folks are spouting old -time wisdom from the Bible, Koran, Torah. They tell you they are speaking the language of God. Any other language, or book, is disregarded.

Some folks are dedicated to their tribe - white, black, brown, country, city, North, South. The tribe is not inclusive, it thrives on being exclusive, tribes are defined by who they don't let in.

Some folks are dedicated to ideals - Liberty, Fraternity, Equality. They live in a world of aspiration, always trying to live up to an imagined Utopia of freedom, equality, human compassion. Maybe not so practical.

I flatter myself thinking, of course, I'm one of those "Idealists." Maybe not always practical or real world, but hopeful, always hopeful for a better day, a better human.

Still, if you realize human beings are naturally rallying around different things, lots of pain and havoc and hilarity are inevitable.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Barbarity and Stupidity!


descriptively to refer to certain codes of conduct put forward by a society or a group (such as a religion), or accepted by an individual for her own behavior, or

normatively to refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons.

Yeah. I have always been a bit leery of folks who talk about "morality." Usually, it means that they have some ideas they want to impose on other folks. Lately though, even just simple codes of conduct seem to be under assault. Powerful people show no concern for any morality or code except, whatever is good for them.

Man, if you have a whole society or group living by that code, barbarity and stupidity seem to reign supreme. Yes, that's not bad, the Age of Barbarity and Stupidity. Fits. So what to do? Try to be smart, humble, lean to the light. Call out the bullshit and lies. Maybe this assault on "political correctness" is really a rallying cry to be stupid. Let's not be stupid!

Maybe that can be the counter-movement! Let's Not Be Stupid!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Buying Stuff!

Buying Stuff. Seductive. You get why people dig Capitalism - owning, selling, buying shit for profit. Don't forget the pleasure part of the equation, right? We like buying shit.

Usually I am pretty frugal. Counting my pennies. Spending as little as possible. But lately I have been on a bit of a buying frenzy.

Buy new boots to replace the old, beat boots. Suddenly, every step is a bit more springy. Every step.
Buy new razor blades to replace, the old, dull blades. Suddenly every shave is close & smooth.
Buy a new travel mug to replace the old beat mug. Suddenly every cup of coffee is tasty & bright.
Buy a new guitar tuner to replace the old one. Suddenly tuning up that beat old guitar is easier. More tuneful.
Buy a new book, a big fat tome. There's hope, promise in those unread pages.

Like I said, buying stuff, seductive. Do we transform, renew ourselves by the shit that we buy? That is how it feels.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Grab them by the Pussy President, Psychopath or Sociopath?

This story made me sick to my stomach this A.M.

"He knew what he signed up for..." - The Grab them by the Pussy President tells Widow of slain Soldier.

Makes you wonder, what's the difference between a Psychopath & a Sociopath?

"A psychopath doesn’t have a conscience. If he lies to you so he can steal your money, he won’t feel any moral qualms, though he may pretend to. He may observe others and then act the way they do so he’s not “found out,” Tompkins says.

A sociopath typically has a conscience, but it’s weak. He may know that taking your money is wrong, and he might feel some guilt or remorse, but that won’t stop his behavior.

Both lack empathy, the ability to stand in someone else’s shoes and understand how they feel. But a psychopath has less regard for others..."

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"The Man in the Oval Office is a Soulless Coward..." - G. Popovich

I do think there is a "change of consciousness" in the air...

One great thing, (really), about our current "Grab them by the Pussy President" - people are speaking out. Folks who maybe before were silent, just did their thing, ignored Politics, avoided controversy, didn't want to takes sides, are now speaking their minds. Of course, there's lots of noise, and stupidity. But then again, there are some amazing, cool, and admirable people, like Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich weighing in, and it's glorious: 

“I’ve been amazed and disappointed by so much of what this President had said, and his approach to running this country, which seems to be one of just a never-ending divisiveness. But his comments today about those who have lost loved ones in times of war and his lies that previous presidents Obama and Bush never contacted their families, is so beyond the pale, I almost don’t have the words.”

This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner – and to lie about how previous presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers – is as low as it gets. We have a pathological liar in the White House: unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this President should be ashamed because they know it better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it. This is their shame most of all.”
And I am also encouraged by the #MeToo Campaign:

Now is the time to speak up! We need to hear the voices. We need to know. We need to shine a light on the darkness.

I do believe that a "change of consciousness" can happen in a instant, a blink of the eye. That is why I have always, always been a "hopeful" progressive. I do think if women, and men, speak up about their experiences in the world we can all grow, and heal, and together, we can create a new reality. Dark times, yes, but there is always, always the Light...

Monday, October 16, 2017

Losing Day by Day...

Yes, this is good. There are "Win/Win" deals, and "Win/Lose" deals. Our current "Grab them by the Pussy President" is experienced in the Win/Lose dynamic - "for me to win, you have to lose." The only deal he's really good at, and satisfied with is the Win/Lose kind.

Unfortunately, what the "Grab them by the Pussy President" doesn't understand: the world is now a vast interconnected global network. Win/Lose is counterproductive and besides the point. Much of what this Cretin is doing is actually Lose/Lose. He loses, we all lose too. That's his fucking brand. Losing day by day.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A New Collective Mind.

Yeah, I don't feel any affinity for Human Beings who lord it over other Human Beings. Just not cool. What is it with this "power trip," and with this old, retro, male dominance thing? How is it that America ended up with "The Pussy Grabbing President?" Just not cool. 

I do not feel part of the male fraternity. I do not identify with men who strut around trying to be the "Big Monkey Man!" I do not like bullies. Fuck. Fuck the Patriarchy. We need more Women to stand up. We need their voices. We need their influence. We need strength. Something is seriously wrong. Maybe it is time for a new paradigm. A new collective mind.

I am thinking things are so bad, all around, that a new thing, a new idea, a new way of life is birthing, right before our eyes. Maybe these are just the birth pangs? Here's hoping!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Pretty Damn Low!

You almost want to turn your eyes away. Such a nasty story unfolding. Harvey Weinstein's Hollywood. Yes, I am aware of the old Hollywood "Casting Couch" cliche. But the depths, the scope and the breadth of the depravity that this man unleashed on young women over the decades is shocking, disgusting, gut-wrenching. Powerful man attacking, humiliating, intimidating, assaulting, raping, young actresses hoping for a role in a movie. The mind reels. Weinstein was a relentless, voracious, sexual predator. Very sick and twisted. And of course, there was a company behind the man. Supporting, enabling. There were those who knew, and were silent. And the few brave women who had the courage to come forward early on were ostracized, shunned, shouted down, silenced and bought off with coercive NDAs. Many more brave women coming forward now and their voices, their stories are finally coming to greet the light of day. A necessary cleansing. It kind of puts the whole Hollywood thing in a new, terrible & terrifying light. Revenge of the Ugly vs. the Beautiful. The Old vs. the Young. The Powerful vs. The Powerless. Man vs. Woman. You wonder, how is it possible? How deeply does power corrupt a man, a soul, a mind? How ugly can a human being get? How can others look away? How low can people go? I guess pretty damn low.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Days Roll Out.

The days roll out. Silence and Thunder. Sunshine & Gloom. Joy & Doom. I feel like a Ping-Pong ball bouncing down the street. Up or Down? Feels the same. The Universe is Indifferent. That is the Universe as I understand it. On my own. All alone. Connected to everything.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Vanishing Point!

Power. Intrinsic? Extrinsic? Embodied? Bestowed? A combination? Who has it? How to acquire it? How to wield it? How does it vanish? We watch a powerful man implode. Power vanishes in an instant. And you realize that power can be stripped away, can be withdrawn at any time; one day a man has it all - money, fame, public applause, people fear him, people do his bidding, people close their eyes, people bow down to the power. And then, in an instant, new information comes to light, a change of consciousness, and it all vanishes right before our eyes. It is an awe-inspiring spectacle. Everything changes. In an instant. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Fall from Grace, Terrifying, Awesome...

To watch a "fall from grace," is sort of terrifying, awesome. Powerful Man. Falls. The "scales" fall from everyone's eye almost simultaneously. You wonder, how did someone so unworthy, last for so long, in such a position of power, doing such dastardly, disgusting things to so many people?

It is like that fable, right? One day someone points out that the King is naked, unclothed. He has always been naked, and he isn't really a King at all, just another naked human being.

How many people were silent? How many people just put up with the abuse? How many folks knew what was happening, but just walked away? Complicit. The word of our times.

Powerful Man has it all.  Money. Fame. Power. For years he lords it over everyone else. Then the truth comes out. And it all falls away. This Powerful Man thrived on an ugliness beyond imagining. We watch the great unraveling and wonder at the vanity, the hubris, arrogance and ugliness of a Man.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Belligerent, Thin-Skinned & Really Unpopular Moron!

I've said it once, I will say it again... you can't argue with a Moron... Forbes goes inside the Moron's head, do you really want to go there?

Of course, our current Secretary of State was a bit more empathic. He describes the Moron as a "F%#king Moron." That works for me!

It's hard to keep coming up with creative insults for this particular Moron. Kevin Drum gives it a go, and I'd say not too shabby: "Trump is not only a belligerent, thin-skinned moron, but also a really unpopular one."

That works for me too!

Monday, October 09, 2017

"Welcome Everything, Push Away Nothing..."

Looking for something this morning... I found it... a little bit of that life-death thing. Some kind of "in the bone" wisdom...

"The Five Invitations: Zen Hospice Project Co-Founder Frank Ostaseski on Love, Death and the Essential Habits of Mind for a Meaningful Life."

"In Japanese Zen, the term shoji translates as “birth-death.” There is no separation between life and death other than a small hyphen, a thin line that connects the two. We cannot be truly alive without maintaining an awareness of death. Death is not waiting for us at the end of a long road. Death is always with us, in the marrow of every passing moment. She is the secret teacher hiding in plain sight. She helps us to discover what matters most."


"In the horror of my own suffering, I always had held out the hope that one day someone would rescue me. I had imagined that I would be saved by love coming toward me. Just the opposite. I was rescued when love came through me."

The essential lessons:

Drawing on his work with the dying and on the healing of his own life, Ostaseski outlines the five central “invitations” — habits of mind, orientations of spirit — through which an untruculent acceptance of death can become a love-expanding, life-expanding force:

1. Don’t wait.

2. Welcome everything, push away nothing.

3. Bring your whole self to the experience.

4. Find a place of rest in the middle of things.

5. Cultivate don’t know mind.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

No Good Way Out of This Loop!

I heard a conversation this morning with Daniel Kahneman "Why We Contradict & Confound Each Other." 

Let me try to badly sum up the show...

We don't know what we don't know. We don't know why we believe what we believe. And what we don't know is greater, and possibly more significant, than what we do know. We don't believe in what we can't see, and what we can't see is possibly greater, and more significant, than what we do see. We don't understand ourselves. We don't know why we believe what we believe, but we believe we do know, and we make up reasons for why we believe what we believe, even if those reasons really have nothing to do with why we believe what we believe. 

And there is no good way out of this loop. We are "victims" of our circumstances. And our lives are bounded by unreason, illogic and randomness. We are over-confident and filled with hubris and bias, and we are blind to these basic, fundamental facts. 

Good morning.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Less "Great Men" Please!

Unfortunately, this quote never, ever grows old or out of date:

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." Lord Acton, in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887.

And often those "great men," are only great in their own fevered, ego-saturated heads. We need less concentrated power, fewer "great" men, more humility, more grace & more compassion.  

Give me a humble monk like the Dalai Lama any old day. Interesting times. The "great men" in industry, politics, entertainment are being exposed daily for their "absolute corruption." Maybe in these crazy days there is a necessary cleansing happening. One can only hope.

Friday, October 06, 2017

I'm Not a Worrier!

I am not a worrier. Not by nature. I am good at burying my fears and carrying on. Still, of course, there are deep, primal fears, like ominous black thunderclouds hovering over us, everywhere, at all times. A collective fear. Think of the many billions of human beings on the planet at once, all carrying some primal fears deep in their beings, and this fear seeping out into the atmosphere. In the ether. We smell it, taste it, breathe it, feel it.

This morning, for some reason, fear wells up, or descends upon me.  What if that freaking Idiot does something really, really, horrifically stupid? My go-to position is: expect the worst actions for the worst reasons...

How bad? How much worse? Me thinks there is no bottom to this well. No end to the depths of horror that are possible. Not a cheery thought-train. Not what I want to be ruminating over this morning. I pour another cup of coffee, and type these words. Sometimes just  typing is therapeutic.  I express what's going on, and by expressing, maybe there's a little "letting go."

I am not a worrier. Really, I promise. I am not...

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Death of a R&R Optimist!

Tom Petty has died.  A great, made in America, r&r optimist. Born and raised in "nowheresville," (Gainesville, Fla) at a young age, he decided to live the r&r dream. And he did it. He brought along some other characters on his journey, musicians he worked with over a life-time, including the guitarist Mike Campbell and the keyboardist Benmont Tench.

I think it's fair to say, even though Petty got all the accolades, (Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame with the Heartbreakers, hit singles and albums),  he and his work is still probably underrated.

If you've ever been in a car, just riding around town, windows down, listening to the radio, and a Tom Petty song came on, you always, always turned the radio up loud. It was just the natural, and right thing to do. Exhilarating.

Optimist? I think of some the titles and lines from of some of his great songs: "You don't have to live like a Refugee," "Running down a dream," "Even the losers get lucky sometimes," "I won't back down," "I'm FREE, FREE falling." Even a song about falling sounds uplifting, the emphasis is on the FREE part.

And that ringing, chiming Rickenbacker guitar? The sound is undeniable. Passed down from the Beatles, (see "Hard Day's Night") and the Byrds (just about any Byrds' song). Every chord rings with a shimmering possibility. 

I wrote about Peter Bogdanovich's 2007 film about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers here. Streaming on Netflix, an epic opus! I think my companion and I will watch it once again soon, in tribute to the man. Yes, shocked and saddened. I took the death of this r&r optimist pretty hard.

The highest accolade I can think of, applies to this man, in the way he lived and played through the years- "He was a cool guy!"

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Shocked and Saddened...

Shocked and Saddened. 

Kind of a theme around here lately. Events conspire. Hard to process. The news can be so deflating. We carry on. We must. Sometimes that's all we have in our arsenal. No magic kit-bag. We are alive, and we do living things. Live things love hanging around with other live things.  We honor those who have passed, we carry on. Look forward to a better day. We must. That's the way of life.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

A Terrible & Difficult Legacy...

Yesterday, Morrissey's line "It takes strength to be gentle and kind," was ringing in my head. I guess a reminder to myself that Human beings can be gentle and kind. Also empathetic, compassionate, and loving.

Of course, at the same time, it's clear for all to see that Human Beings can also be murderous, blood-lusting, nihilistic, selfish, greedy, horrifying.

Reminds me of Sigmund Freud and his idea of the "death drive." 

I fall into the rabbit hole of Freudian Psychology. Eros = "the tendency toward survival, propagation, sex, and other creative, life-producing drives." And Thanatos = "the drive towards death and self-destruction."

Can it be there is a constant battle going on? Forces inside our heads, fighting it out, moment by moment? Sometimes it does feel that way. And it is sort of exhausting, and deflating. Horrific events happen and we are all left to wonder, "How can it be?" 

What is wrong, and what is right about the Human Being? Every act of kindness reflects on us all. Every murderous act reflects on us all.  A terrible and difficult legacy.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Stupidity in Action.

We hear horrific stories. We hear tales of the Lone Wolf. We hear horrific tales of human beings unleashing their hate on others. What to say? How to process? There is hatred & madness in the world, hatred & madness in the hearts and heads of men and women. It is terrifying. Sad. No good answers here. It's probably not a good idea to let "average citizens" own "weapons of mass destruction." That seems like a pretty stupid idea. We should be smarter than that, we are smarter than that, but there are determined organizations & individuals who fight the idea of any rational gun policy. Would a rational gun policy stop every incident? Probably not, but maybe it could prevent some of this horror? Worth a try. To not even try? Stupidity & negligence, in action. 

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Selling Spiritual Transcendence One Song, One Show at a Time!

Two whitewolfsonicprincess' shows yesterday, an afternoon benefit show, (just an acoustic trio), and then a full-band late night show. Two very different shows. Very different feels. One was in the blazing light of a fading fall afternoon. The other a cool late night bar, a cozy, well-lit music room. One comment is still ringing in my head from a post-show conversation: "We came to see you guys to get some spiritual transcendence." Now that is the good work for sure!

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