Saturday, December 08, 2007

a parable for an empire in collapse

Photo: Activists helped detainees escape from Woomera during a protest in 2002.

Nauru is a tiny island, population 12,000, a third of the size of Manhattan and despite being in the middle of nowhere has been in the middle of some of the biggest global events.

"This American Life" contributing editor Jack Hitt tells (yes, back in 2003, but I missed it!) the untold story of this dot in the middle of the Pacific.

Highlights include the bankrupting of the Russian economy, global terrorism, North Korean defectors, the end of the world, and the late 1980s theatrical flop of a London musical based on the life of Leonardo da Vinci called Leonardo, A Portrait of Love. And there are 89 Afgani and Iraqi detainees trapped on this island in conditions similar to Guantanemo. The difference? They escaped from the Taliban and Sadam Hussein!

The story is SO worth the $0.95 download because it is a parable, an almost unbelievable story illustrating the dis-eases of our current misguided civilization and its warped, material-entrapped world view.

Interesting to me (at least, because of the name) was the role that Senator Andrew Bartlett of Australia in criticizing the government's treatment of the detainees. Bartlett has been a courageous advocate and human rights champion of refugees and the people trapped on Nauru. A recent blog post of his talks about a hotel guest book and the stories it tells. And you can watch a You Tube video talking about his stances and testimonies from Nauru detainees.

As I can't find the transcript of the radio show, here is a version Hitt did for Utne Reader on Nauru. Toward the end, this question is posed:

Could it be that Nauru will become the first nation-state of the modern age simply to go out of business? Once, Australia offered to give the Nauruans a new island off the Great Barrier Reef. The Nauruans declined, since it would have meant completely surrendering their sovereignty. But it does seem likely that some future leader will have to plan for such a contingency.

Friday, December 07, 2007

2012 and the Mayan calendar of thirteens

I just finished this fascinating romp of a read by a very human Daniel Pinchbeck - 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl. The image is artist Andrew Jones' take of this mystical creature the Mayans called Kukulcan. This segment from page 240 gives a taste of this psychically juicy book, which was a gift from my sister Martha. Thank you Martha!

In The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness, the Swedish biologist Carl Johan Calleman, a cancer specialist and former adviser for the World Health Organization, raised the discourse on the ancient time-science of the Maya to a new plateau. According to Calleman’s thesis, the nine levels of the most important Mayan pyramids—the Temple of the Inscriptions in Palenque, the Pyramid of the Jaguar in Tikal, and the Pyramid of Kukulcan (Quetzalcoatl) in Chichen Itza—represent a model of time, from the origin of the universe to the upcoming phase-shift, in which each step, or “Underworld,” is twenty times more accelerated in linear time than the one preceding it.

“The nine-story Mayan pyramids are thus telling us that consciousness is created in a hierarchical way and that each Underworld stands on the foundation of another,” writes Calleman. The initial level, starting thirteen hablatuns or 16.4 billion years ago, proceeds from the inception of matter in the “big Bang,” through the development of cellular life on Earth. During the second step, beginning thirteen alautuns, or 820 million years, ago, animal life evolved out of cells. The third underworld, starting thirteen kinchiltuns or 41 million years ago, saw the evolution of primates and the first, rudimentary use of tools by human ancestors. During the fourth underworld, beginning thirteen kalabtuns or 2 million years ago, tribal organization began among the ancestors of Homo sapiens. During the next underworld, starting thirteen piktuns of 102,000 years ago, Homo sapiens emerged, developing spoken language. The sixth underworld comprises the Great Cycle of thirteen baktuns, beginning 5,125 years before the approaching birth date, when we created patriarchal civilization, law, and written language—Calleman calls this the National Underworld. The seventh step, dubbed the Planetary Underworld, thirteen katuns or 256 years, beginning in AD 1755, introduced industrialization, electricity, technology, modern democracy, gene splicing, and the atom bomb. Our knowledge became Faustian power over the physical world. The eighth level—the Galactic Underworld—thirteen tuns or 12.8 years, began in 1999, with the development of the Internet into a global communications infrastructure. The final step, thirteen uinals or 260 days, will lead, Calleman believes, to the attainment of “nondual cosmic consciousness” across the Earth. By the end of this Universal Underworld, humanity will have crossed the threshold of the abyss, confronting the shadow projections of the Apocalypse, to become conscious cocreators of reality.

New source of fuel - water!

What the hay?! Is this for real?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Story of Stuff - Intro

This is a 2-1/2 minute intro to The Story of STUFF video - a fast-paced look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. Great illustrations to draw out the connections between environmental and social issues, and the direction we need to go - together - to create a sustainable (for humans and many other species we are fond of). It's a funny, even delightful, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life (forever? or maybe through the Christmas shopping season?!).

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tonglen Collection: Taking and Giving

Ah, Tonglen. This is a wonderful and challenging practice - at least for me! But worth the effort...

Tonglen from Wikipedia
Tonglen is Tibetan for 'taking and giving', and it refers to a meditation practice found in Tibetan Buddhism.

In the practice, one visualizes taking onto oneself the suffering of others, and giving one's own happiness and success to others. As such it is a training in altruism in its most extreme form.

The function of the practice is to:
  • reduce selfish attachment
  • increase a sense of renunciation
  • create positive karma by giving and helping
  • develop loving-kindness and bodhicitta, which refers to all of the Six Perfections of giving, ethics, patience, joyous effort, concentration and wisdom, which are the practices of a Bodhisattva.
The Practice of Tonglen - Pema Chodron
Transforming Confusion into Wisdom

All-Embracing Compassion: The Heart-Practice of Tonglen

Peter Fox, Tonglen - receiving and letting go
Methodology and stages

Dalando's Favorite Dharma Delicacy
"In with the bad and out with the good" the topsy-turvy world of TONGLEN

Monday, November 19, 2007

How It All Ends

Interesting and fast-paced logic. Worth a view. It'll hone your thinking...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Crop-circles: non-human, magical, or high-tech?

I had a book in the early 80s, maybe it was the Aquarian Conspiracy, that had crop circle pictures, but I haven't seen pictures of recent ones until this morning. These are wild!

This one appeared on July 7, 1996, just across from Stonehenge and is called the "Julia set." According to the account, it was made within a 45-minute time-window in the daytime. Given the detail and size, construction of this would normally have taken hours. Stonehenge has guards and many visitors, and you can see it is adjacent to a fairly busy highway. Plus there was a farmhand working the next field - but no one saw it made.

Jonah Ohayv has compiled photos of crop circles that appear more genuine to him. Check them out, if for no other reason than the cool patterns.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mobilize to end the war

On Saturday, October 27th there will be 11 massive demonstrations for peace throughout the United States. In Boston, Chicago, Jonesborough, Tennessee, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Seattle, people from all walks of life will join together to express their anti-war sentiments and to call for an immediate end to the conflict in Iraq.

How about Louisville?!

Friday, August 24, 2007

China holds strings on reincarnation

According to Newsweek (August 20-27, 2007 issue), "In one of history’s more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission."

Al Queda too issues regular pronouncements on the limits and directions of its adherent’s thoughts and behavior in this current life as well as, more importantly, on their relationship to the afterlife. Certainly their definitive offer of 72 virgins attempts to institutionalize, as does China, management of the ‘world to come’ as well as one’s ultimate resolution of mortality – suicide bombings notwithstanding. An abundance of fat was demanding the death of all disrespectful opposition, of all non-believers, of all sacrilegious iconoclasts further fine tunes their inordinate attempts to micromanage who lives, who dies and who inherits heaven or hell.

Do Christians do this?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Showering in solar hot water

The Louisville Courier-Journal featured our solar system on the front page of the St. Matthews Neighborhood section.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Fast Food, sure. Now we have Fast Fashion?

Clothes – and fast clothes in particular – are a large and worsening source of the carbon emissions that contribute to global warming, because of how they are both produced and cared for, concludes a new report from researchers at Cambridge University titled "Well Dressed?" [read the press release for the study]

The global textile industry must become eco-conscious, the report concludes. It explores how to develop a more "sustainable clothing" industry – a seeming oxymoron in a world where fashions change every few months.

You can read the full article here.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

We can't make it hear anymore

James McMurtry, with a voice reminiscent of Bruce Cockburn, sings about class war straight up. While country music may not get your toes tapping, the song is worth a listen.

Choose the top song from the album "Childish Things" here -

It's Sunday morning and I just came across this at We are here south of Louisville in a motel with a indoor waterpark, yes, of ALL places. The owner of the bar behind our house didn't want us calling the police in the middle of their 10 - 4 a.m. party with an extra tent outside, so he put us up here.

Next party, we'll send the kids to sleep at Grandma's...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Organic versus Local? - for an iPod

Newsvine <> does a 'Question of the Day' and last week's question generated a phenomenal 151 answers.

The Question:
If given a choice between purchasing either organic produce that has been grown in another country or non-organic produce which has been grown locally, which choice would you make and why?

The chosen winner was 'kurtstack' and here is his answer:

I would go with organic produce which has been grown in another country. Even though purchasing local empowers your local economy the well-being of a local field worker exposed to pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers is worth more than a few extra dollars in his or her pocket. In addition, the number one water pollutant in the United State's are pesticides. The value of everything affected because of these chemicals outweighs the revenue which is generated from non-organic produce which has been grown locally. We must look at the big picture and see what is best for the planet, because without a healthy planet, generations which follow will be asking, what went wrong?

For more answers...

One person replied:

"Produce? Grown? You mean food that isn't red meat, flamin' hot cheetos, oreos, various junk foods, and otherwise artificially made?

You're kidding, right?"

Thursday, January 18, 2007

on being firm

Things might have quickly devolved into an attitude meltdown. At one point, I threw up my hands and said, "Forget it. After the parent-teacher conference, I'm dropping you all off and I'M going for at hike at Mt. St. Francis. I wanted to walk on the lake before the warm weather melted the ice. With 48 predicted for today, and warmer the rest of the week, it was only a matter of time.

Elias wanted to go to Iroquois Park so we could do disc golf and basketball. I want the kids to enjoy the outdoors without always doing a sport. So, finally I put my foot down and said, "We're going to Mt. St. Francis, period. No more discussion." And that is what we did.

Elias tried to bribe me into going out for lunch. "If I don't complain, I get to pick where we go out for lunch, okay?" I said I didn't know. In the end, after making a bird-headed snow man in the middle of the lake, and hiking a couple miles, I convinced them they could choose anything they wanted from Whole Foods to cook up for a mid-afternoon "Linner." Or "Dunch."

The resulting meal was a feast. Julian mashed some lovely new potatoes with salt-pepper, milk and olive oil. I bought four "wild caught" Top Necked Clams, simmered them in Trader Joe's marinara sauce, served it on hot spaghetti noodles, and sprinkled with Parmesan. I also boiled some fresh organic broccoli.

Elias made rolled biscuit dough and we shaped the rolled dough around uncured hot dogs to bake in the 450 degree oven. The hot garlic mustard and organic ketchup perked up those pigs in a blanket. And we finished it off with extra bisquits, lathered with margarine and gobs of wild blueberry jam from Lake Adaquetangie. Yum!