jazzoLOG - Category: Thoughts    
 From Duke 'N Satch To Obama: A Personal Triumph14 comments
picture16 Jan 2009 @ 13:16
I have been asked many questions in my life about poetry, religion, life, and I have given precisely the same number of answers, but I have never, I repeat, never, satisfied a single interlocuter. Why? Because all questioning is a way of avoiding the real answer, which, as Zen tells us, is really known already. Every man is enlightened, but wishes he wasn't. Every man knows he must love his enemies, and sell all he has and give to the poor, but he doesn't wish to know it---so he asks questions.

---R.H. Blyth

When a man is instantly awakened, he comes back to his original mind.

---The Vimalakirti Sutra

As naturally as the oak bears an acorn and the vine a gourd, man bears a poem, either spoken or done.

---Henry David Thoreau

During the 2008 presidential election campaign, I did not think of Barack Obama as a black man. He mentioned his racial origins himself from time to time, referring to his mother and grandmother when he did so. As president-elect he said, before all the other ferocious issues fell upon him, the most important decision was what kind of dog to get that he had promised his daughters. He'd like to find a mongrel, a mutt, like he is, he said, himself. I really liked that! I like thinking of him as the Melting Pot personified...and I said so one evening at Obama Headquarters here in Athens, Ohio. I realized race is a sensitive issue, even in there, but I was pleased no one seemed shocked or obviously uncomfortable.

With our first lady-elect, it's different. When Michelle Obama started to talk about her origins, the whole Civil Rights Movement came pouring out. I was in a huge audience here one of the times she stood on a stage and did that, my daughter on my left and a black single mom, in graduate school at OU, on my right. All around us were obvious members of every race and mix in the land, and it was thrilling. I was one of the people telling everybody who would listen that I hadn't felt this happy exhilaration in 45 years. That was when there were interracial agencies and programs for educational and neighborhood encouragement. Black and white, we got to know each other intimately sometimes, dance together, party in each other's houses, and---yes---argue. Races in Michelle's audience looked at each other joyfully that way, and I too felt really proud to be an American again---after a long time.

Well, she capitulated to the image makers a bit and I was disappointed if it meant she was being silenced. And like many progressives, I have questions and doubts about how Barack Obama is starting out. I worry about some of those cabinet appointments and so much inclusion of all sides as to risk diluting important decisions. I worry about hesitancy on Gaza and possible support to any and all Israeli policies. I don't want trillions handed over to banks, which have no history as effective social helping agencies. And then there's investigation and possible prosecution of Bush and his people. See Krugman this morning on that! [link] I understand not wanting it to be partisan, but if President Obama is going to be another one of these politicians who only talks about "moving forward" all the time I'm going to be sick.

But this is a time of inaugural celebration and let's get back to it. I am of a very fortunate generation in this country who has started out in segregation, nationality as well as race, and moved myself and been moved into the wonders of a multicultural world. My mother raised me to "play with our own kind" and she reacted physically to memories of bathing black men off the streets of the Lower East Side during her nursing training at Bellevue Hospital. This was a farm girl from Appalachia...but I didn't excuse her and went my own way. For one thing, we were being taught differently in school. After World War II the curriculum, at least in New York State, changed. We began to get a smattering of black history. We read Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver in grade school and junior high. Folk music entered our music training, and we got black melody and rhythm...stilted but there. Jackie Robinson was our hero on the Brooklyn Dodgers...though I didn't abandon Stan Musial or the Cards.  More >

 Election '08: You Make Me Feel So Young!47 comments
picture31 Aug 2008 @ 12:48
Scripture says, "No one knows the Father but by the Son." Therefore, if you want to know God, you must not only be like the Son, you must be the Son.

---Meister Eckhart

Zen is like a spring coming out of a mountain. It doesn't flow in order to quench the thirst of a traveler, but if the travelers want to help themselves to it, that's fine. It's up to you what you do with the water; the spring's job is just to flow.

---Alan Watts

To be satisfied with a little, is the greatest wisdom; and he that increaseth his riches, increaseth his cares; but a contented mind is a hidden treasure, and trouble findeth it not.


Sarah Palin sports a funny T-shirt during her college days at University of Idaho.
Credits: Heath Family/AP

Yep, I can hear Sinatra singing that tune, Nelson Riddle and his fiddles kickin' the arrangement along. "You make me feel 'sthough Spring has sprung!" We'll be voting with youth and age side by side. Young and tempestuous, old and experienced. Mixed races, mixed religions, the roles of women, Viet Nam, mooseburgers, what else could we want?

They say if you want to stay young, get yourself a younger mate. The younger the better. I know McCain still is the presumptive nominee at this writing, and therefore Palin is too---so the Convention still could change everything. Maybe they'll save money, surprise us again, and not even have a convention. Call it off and send contributions to New Orleans. It's all TV and they want us to stay tuned.

But anyway, if it is McCain/Palin, does McCain look younger to you now with runnerup Miss Alaska by his side? I think he does. How does Obama look next to Biden? If there's another Bush/Cheney situation it's these 2 guys. Joe can't help himself. He always looks as if he's showing Barack around. I even saw him, their arms around each other side by side, turn Obama in the direction of the most cameras. We live in such interesting times.

The press descended on Wasilla, Alaska Friday, and headed for the Heath's A-frame hunting lodge where they got handed the family album. As a result, we get all these candid shots of the small-town girl on the way to marrying her high school sweetheart. Even the Senior Prom picture. Sarah's husband, who works for BP (surprise, surprise!), has parents who know McCain's VP choice pretty darned well. "We don't agree on everything. But I respect her passion," said Faye Palin. "Being pro-life is who Sarah is." [link] (and don't miss the pictures) The Governor also sued Bush when he declared the polar bear endangered. Oil drillers prefer to shoot bears if they come around. Palin's mother-in-law had been thinking of voting for Obama. Maybe not everybody in Alaska is a Republican.

There's so much stuff in the Sunday papers this morning, it's hard to know where to start---or maybe you've decided not to bother at all. There certainly is a great list of assembled reasons as to the advantages and risks of the Republican choice. I can direct your attention to a couple of articles if you like. One is in this morning's Long Island Newsday...and the other is Maureen Dowd's hilarious piece today.  More >

 The Snowville Story6 comments
picture10 May 2008 @ 11:58
Great Buddha,
lap filling with these
flowers of snow.


It would imply the regeneration of mankind, if they were to become elevated enough to truly worship sticks and stones.

---Henry David Thoreau

A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.

---Paul Dudley White, M.D.

The Snowville logo [link]

It's been a pretty interesting couple of days, as local Krogers patrons registered concern about a single product lots of people seem to like. Snowville Creamery's milk can cost twice as much as other brands, depending on sale situations, but people are devoted. For an old dude like me it's reminiscent of childhood days, not so much of glass bottles the milkman brought to our doorstep---and which we washed out and returned for refill each day. It's because of the cream on top, something I never thought I'd experience again! Mom preferred we shake up the bottles before the first pour, but sometimes I couldn't resist stealing all the cream onto a bowl of Wheaties. Yum! It really was Breakfast of Champions then!

So Thursday and Friday there was a flurry of activity as word got out that for some reason Kroger's had reduced Snowville's shelf area and hiked the price by a buck. As people all over Southeast Ohio called, emailed, and went into the Athens store to contact management, various stories began to emerge. What we learned, if we didn't know already, farm and pharm are hotly competitive...and what the grocer's got and the doctor prescribes are similarly fought over. Lots of people are involved and it's complicated.

For instance, it's not unusual in the aisles of Krogers or in the doctor's waiting room to observe a salesperson pitching away to a department supervisor or the receptionist through the little window. I'll never forget sitting in Dr. Rothstein's one afternoon, and watching this woman push the latest mood-altering capsule. She was inviting the whole crew out to dinner---"someplace special this time"---and then pointed to her clothes which, she said, were specially designed to match the gay colors of the pill. Can you imagine the money involved to deck out the Merck sales force in this wardrobe, plus dinners at the resort? Wonder who pays for all that.  More >

 Take A Tip From Me39 comments
picture8 Feb 2008 @ 10:55
There is neither heaven nor earth,
Only snow,
Falling incessantly.


Life is fleeting.
Gone, gone---
Awake each one!
Don't waste this life!

---The Evening Gatha

On the day you were born, you begin to die. Do not waste a single moment more.

---Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

In the striking photo by Roger Braithwaite of the UNEP, a stream of melt water cascades off the Greenland Ice Sheet.

I'm afraid my pun in the title shows poor taste. There is nothing appropriate to laugh about as the United States finally begins to realize the facts of The Warming. Just last week I still was being mocked by 2 industrial tech teachers at my school, but surely even they are beginning to wake up. Disasters like the tornadoes across the South the other day are the kinds of things it takes in this country to get something done. But even then we'll try to rationalize and put it off. It looked to me as if CNN was broadcasting hours of live coverage of the devastation yesterday, but did any news anchor introduce a segment on violent weather we can expect from Climate Change? We aren't much for preemptive action...unless it's shock and awe somewhere else based on "bad intelligence."

My wife sent out a heads-up on Wednesday that actually provides a bit of optimism, despite the frightening aspects of the report. What cheered me up is that it came from MSNBC, where Americans are not used to seeing this kind of thing I think. It speaks of Nine Tipping Points that we grimly approach with continued carbon emissions at our increasing rate. We learn that "tipping" no longer can be taken lightly. The report begins~~~

Nine 'tipping elements' for warming listed
Arctic sea ice and Greenland are top 'candidates for surprising society'
MSNBC staff and news service reports
updated 10:00 a.m. ET, Wed., Feb. 6, 2008

Concerned that humans might push Earth into major climate shifts, a team of experts has published a study that lists nine "tipping elements," or areas of concern for policymakers.

Arctic sea-ice and the Greenland Ice Sheet, both of which have shown significant melt, were regarded as the most sensitive tipping elements with the smallest uncertainty.

"Society may be lulled into a false sense of security by smooth projections of global change," the scientists at British, German and U.S. institutes wrote in a report saying there were many little-understood thresholds in nature.

"The greatest and clearest threat is to the Arctic with summer sea ice loss likely to occur long before, and potentially contribute to, Greenland Ice Sheet melt," they wrote in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The experts coined the term "tipping element" to describe those components of the climate system that are at risk of passing a "tipping point," which was defined as a critical threshold at which a small change in human activity can have large, long-term consequences for the Earth’s climate system.

"These tipping elements are candidates for surprising society by exhibiting a nearby tipping point," the authors added.

"Many of these tipping points could be closer than we thought," said lead author Timothy Lenton, of the University of East Anglia in England.

"Our findings suggest that a variety of tipping elements could reach their critical point within this century under human-induced climate change," he added. "The greatest threats are tipping of the Arctic sea-ice and the Greenland ice sheet, and at least five other elements could surprise us by exhibiting a nearby tipping point."

[link]  More >

 Catastrophe Is Coming37 comments
picture18 Dec 2007 @ 08:48
When to the new eyes of thee
All things by immortal power,
Near or far,
To each other linked are,
That thou canst not stir a flower
Without troubling of a star.

---Francis Thompson

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.

---William Blake

When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.

---Kikuyu Proverb

The chart illustrated an article by Les Blumenthal in Sunday's McClatchy newspapers, under the headline "Oceans' growing acidity alarms scientists."

Last week my wife of 25 years fired off a letter to the editor. She didn't used to do this kind of thing, but world developments in recent years have convinced her wake-up calls like this are crucial. She comes from a family tradition of citizen involvement in current affairs. There's a big difference between a demonstration with folk singers and the hard work of political organizing. Increasingly she's going to community meetings nearly every evening, some of which she chairs.

The letter went to our biweekly newspaper, The Athens News. It was about global warming. The editor, Terry Smith, emailed back saying the piece was too long for the letters feature, but offered to publish it in the occasional Reader's Forum on the Opinion Page. He asked her, though, to compose a blurb about who she is. Well, that's kind of hard to do so we sat down together and came up with something simple and to the point:

"Dana Carlson has been a teacher for 30 years. She's been an advocate for sane environmental policy even longer." Here's her article~~~  More >

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