April 29th, 2006

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Good Morning!!

I wake. The deck is wet with fog. I consider William Blake's statement "Energy is eternal delight." I agree. I sit and play with energy like a big beach ball, and I juggle it like apples, I open and eat, then, plant the seeds.

I just realized I forgot to bathe myself in Gisela's white light, so I try now to swim in a pool of white milk, but I feel myself separate from the milk, and the pool. I'm floundering a bit, and then, my strokes change and become quite lovely. I am Esther Williams for a moment. Then, I pause and bathe in the milk, warm milk. Perfect. I'm there. I sink into the milk, no longer separate. The milk and I are an energetic one with the pool and the world and you, for a moment, and now, I'm back in a chair looking out on green bathed in fog. I am aware.

I think of Jim's question again about what surprised me most in working with the horses so far. Yesterday was our fourth time. I realize it is how much I love the horses. I feel this overwhelming love for them, and I just want to hug them, and I lie in bed, and feel layers and layers of love opening up inside. I am like a croissant I am so fluffy with layers. I am in love, or maybe, I am love. Perhaps that is it.

Celebrate this day. Peel and fluff layers of love. Peek between, for the grace. It rests there like chocolate and raspberry jam.
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Singularity Summit at Stanford -

Now, you might be sitting around worrying about the price of gas or a troublesome co-worker, but there is something much bigger looming on the horizon. Attend the Singularity Summit at Stanford on May 13, and find out what, or read about it here, or get Ray Kurzwell's book "The Singularity is Near." Check it out at http://sss.stanford.edu/

What is the singularity you ask, unless you are Jeff or Chris, who seem quite aware of this, and maybe you are too. Well, here is some information. The following is straight from the web-site. I acknowledge that I do not claim this writing as my own. I don't say I read it once and it entered my unconscious, and now, miraculously, I spilled out exactly what someone else already wrote, and I want to be reimbursed and claim fame. I am not one of those, I hope. So, here we go. You could read this on the web-site. I place it here for your convenience.

"What Is the Singularity? In futures studies, the singularity represents an "event horizon" in the predictability of human technological development past which present models of the future cease to give reliable or accurate answers, following the creation of strong AI or the enhancement of human intelligence. Many futurists predict that after the singularity, humans as they exist presently won't be the driving force in scientific and technological progress, eclipsed cognitively by posthumans, AI, or both, with all models of change based on past trends in human behavior becoming obsolete.

In the 1950’s, the legendary information theorist John von Neumann was paraphrased by science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem as saying that “the ever-accelerating progress of technology…gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.”

In 1965, statistician I.J. Good described a concept similar to today's meaning of the singularity, in “Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine”:

Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an 'intelligence explosion,' and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make.

The concept was solidified by mathematician and computer scientist Vernor Vinge, who wrote about a rapidly approaching “technological singularity” in an article for Omni magazine in 1983 and in a science fiction novel, Marooned in Realtime, in 1986. Seven years later, Vinge presented a paper, "The Coming Technological Singularity," at a NASA-organized symposium. Vinge wrote:

What are the consequences of this event? When greater-than-human intelligence drives progress, that progress will be much more rapid. In fact, there seems no reason why progress itself would not involve the creation of still more intelligent entities – on a still-shorter time scale. The best analogy I see is to the evolutionary past: Animals can adapt to problems and make inventions, but often no faster than natural selection can do its work – the world acts as its own simulator in the case of natural selection. We humans have the ability to internalize the world and conduct what-if's in our heads; we can solve many problems thousands of times faster than natural selection could. Now, by creating the means to execute those simulations at much higher speeds, we are entering a regime as radically different from our human past as we humans are from the lower animals. From the human point of view, this change will be a throwing away of all the previous rules, perhaps in the blink of an eye, an exponential runaway beyond any hope of control.

Most recently, in 2005, inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil released The Singularity Is Near, where he presented the singularity as an overall exponential trend in technological development:

What, then, is the singularity? It's a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed. Although neither utopian or dystopian, this epoch will transform the concepts that we rely on to give meaning to our lives, from our business models to the cycle of human life, including death itself. Understanding the singularity will alter our perspective on the significance of our past and the ramifications for our future. To truly understand it inherently changes one's view of life in general and one's own particular life.

While some regard the singularity as a positive event and work to hasten its arrival, others view the singularity as dangerous, undesirable, or unlikely. The most practical means for initiating the singularity are debated, as are how (or whether) the singularity can be influenced or avoided if dangerous. The Singularity Summit will explore these nuances. We invite you to join us."
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Gas prices -

Chevron's first quarter profits soared 49 percent. I love listening to the solemn voices proclaiming there is no rape involved in this. They are busily putting the profits into research and development, and, of course, their shareholders get a little piece too, but the oil companies are, in actuality, barely scraping by. I try not to feel riled, to continue to breathe in and out, and to thank the dinosaurs for giving us so much so that some people can celebrate so jubilantly while others wonder how to get to work.

I love the Republican idea that we give each American taxpayer $100.00 to cover the rising gas costs. Imagine the administrative costs of that. Oh, probably about $100.00. Who elected these looney-tunes? Not me. There is a bracelet you can get that says you didn't vote for Bush. Maybe we all need one of those.
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from Heron Dance -

There is no sense talking about “being true to myself” until you are sure what voice you are being true to. It takes hard work to differentiate the voices of the unconscious.
Marion Woodman

The first part of the spiritual journey should properly be called psychological rather than spiritual because it involves peeling away the myths and illusions that have misinformed us.
Sam Keen

People say that what we’re seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.
Joseph Campbell
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Roger Housden

I am reading Roger Housden's book Seven Sins for a Life Worth Living.

I offer you some tastes.  Housden quotes the poet Theodore Roethke. 

    "Those who are willing to be vulnerable move among mysteries,"

I read these words, and want to go down under the Redwood tree and picnic with the fairies living there.

What does vulnerability mean to you?  What mysteries do you move among?

Housden discusses the pleasures of our senses.

He writes of the kiss, and how Salman Rushdie, who grew up in India, Knew the kiss as "a way of honoring the world of everyday objects that we rely on."

Salmon Rushdie:

    I grew up kissing books and bread.  In our house, whenever anyone dropped a book or let fall a chapati ... the fallen object was required not only to be picked up, but also kissed, by way of apology for the act of clumsy disrespect.  Devout households in India often contained, and still contain, persons in the habit of kissing holy books.  But we kissed everything.  If I'd ever dropped the telephone directory I'd probably have kissed that too.  Bread and books: food for the body and food for the soul - what could be more worthy of respect than that?

Housden continues:

    "Wordsworth thought that Nature was a necessary second mother for the preadolescent child, and if that relationship was missing, the child's imagination would be stunted in some way in later life.  Imagination, he would say, feeds on old tree roots, the smell of wet grass, the shimmer of corn in the sun."

I keep passing Mother's Day cards and feeling sad that I no longer have a mother on earth for which to buy one, and yet, as I read these words, I realize I can celebrate my second mother.  I can offer gifts to Mother Nature today, the gifts of attention, care and love.

And maybe that is what the visceral love for a horse is, love for mother nature, the forms we touch.  
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Here's a Big Smile!!

The grannies against the war unite, ignite, and win.

Peace grannies win their war

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS NY Daily News - April 28, 2006

The grannies got a walk yesterday - even if some of them needed a cane to take it.
A Manhattan judge acquitted 18 golden agers of breaking the law when they staged a peace protest in front of a Times Square military recruitment center.
After the verdict, surprised members of the so-called Granny Peace Brigade burst into applause - and then into song - outside the courthouse.
"God help America," the sassy seniors trilled to the tune of "God Bless America."
"We need you bad. Because our leaders are cheaters and they're making the world really mad."
The elderly women were arrested last fall and charged with disorderly conduct and disobeying police orders - violations that carry up to 15 days in jail.
As a protest against the war in Iraq, they were trying to sign up for military service and give the recruiters home-baked cookies.
During a five-day nonjury trial, each defendant took the stand and testified she never tried to block anyone from entering the recruitment center.
Their old-fashioned charm made whippersnapper prosecutor John McConnell's dogged cross-examinations and closing argument seem a tad harsh.
"Good intentions are never an excuse for lawless conduct," he told the court with all the intensity of a rookie trying a mob chieftain.
"They don't get a pass for who they are or however noble their cause might be. Lawlessness is not a personal decision these defendants were entitled to make."
But Judge Neil Ross couldn't find a single outlaw among the grannies, though he went out of his way not to criticize the cops for arresting them in the heat of the moment.
"There was no blockage of pedestrian traffic and anyone who wanted to enter the recruiting center could do so," Ross said. "I find the defendants not guilty."
The courtroom erupted in applause, and some of the oldsters later said they had been bracing for a sentence of community service.
"I was a little surprised," admitted Betty Coqui Brassell, 76, of the lower East Side, who used a walker and sports a "Smush Bush" button on her lapel.
The trial had turned some of the grannies into cause célèbres. One said a cab driver who dropped her off at court that morning recognized her from news coverage.
"This is a free ride," he told her.
The Police Department had no comment on the verdict.
But the brigade's lawyers, Norman Siegel and Earl Ward, used the outcome as an opportunity to call on the NYPD to review the First Amendment training officers get.
Their feisty client, Joan Wile, 74, a retired singer, sounded like she was ready to march right back to Times Square and give President Bush another piece of her mind.
"Listen to your granny," she said when asked what the judge's ruling meant. "And take to the streets like we did."

Originally published on April 28, 2006 NY Daily News- and in the NY TIMES- Below:


April 28, 2006
Setting Grandmotherhood Aside, Judge Lets 18 Go in Peace

They came, they shuffled, they conquered.
Eighteen "grannies" who were swept up by the New York City police, handcuffed, loaded into police vans and jailed for four and a half hours were acquitted yesterday of charges that they blocked the entrance to the military recruitment center in Times Square when they tried to enlist.
After six days of a nonjury trial, the grandmothers and dozens of their supporters filled a courtroom in Manhattan Criminal Court to hear whether they would be found guilty of two counts of disorderly conduct for refusing to move, which could have put them in jail for 15 days. The women call their group the Granny Peace Brigade and said they wanted to join the armed forces and thus offer their lives for those of younger soldiers in Iraq.
The women — from 59 to 91, many gray-haired, some carrying canes, one legally blind, one with a walker — listened gravely and in obvious suspense as Judge Neil E. Ross delivered a carefully worded 15-minute speech in which he said his verdict was not a referendum on the Police Department, the defendants' antiwar message or, indeed, their very grandmotherhood.
But, he said, there was credible evidence that the grandmothers had left room for people to enter the recruitment center, and that therefore they had been wrongly arrested.
He then pronounced them not guilty, concluding. "The defendants are all discharged."
The women, sitting in the jury box at the invitation of the judge, to make it easier for them to see and hear, let out a collective "Oh!" and burst into applause, rushing forward, as quickly as women their age could rush, to hug and kiss their lawyers, Norman Siegel, the former head of the New York Civil Liberties Union, and Earl Ward.
"Listen to your granny, she knows best," crowed Joan Wile, 74, a retired cabaret singer and jingle writer who was one of the defendants.
Outside the courthouse minutes later, the women burst into their unofficial anthem, "God Help America," composed by Kay Sather, a member of a sister group in Arizona, the Raging Grannies of Tucson, which goes, "God help America, We need you bad, 'cause our leaders are cheaters, and they're making the world really mad."
The trial was extraordinary, if only because it gave 18 impassioned women — some of whom dated their political activism to the execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg — a chance to testify at length about their antiwar sentiments and their commitment to free speech and dissent, in a courtroom that attracted reporters from France and Germany.
Despite the judge's demurrals, the verdict was one in a series of victories for protesters who have been arrested by the New York police since the invasion of Iraq.
While more than 300 people were detained for minor offenses during demonstrations at the 2004 Republican National Convention, few were convicted. Also, earlier this year, a state judge rejected the city's efforts to quash Critical Mass, a monthly bicycle rally in Manhattan.
"I was sure we were sunk," said Lillian Rydell, 86, a defendant who testified during the trial that she went to "the school of hard knocks," instead of college.
"I love everybody," she said. The defendants called themselves "grannies" because they are all old enough to be grandmothers, even if some of them are not, and because in their view, grandmothers are a core American value, as patriotic as mom and apple pie.
Essentially, Judge Ross had found himself with grandmotherhood on trial in his courtroom. He seemed to acknowledge his dilemma when he said, in his decision, "This case is not a referendum on future actions at the location in question, on police tactics nor the age of the defendants or the content of their message."
He said he did not fault the police for making a decision in the heat of the moment to arrest the women last October, but he said that as a judge, he had the "luxury of time and hindsight" in which to consider events.
Before the verdict yesterday, both sides delivered their closing arguments.
The youthful prosecutor, Artie McConnell, allowed that it would be foolish of him to "cross swords" with a veteran civil liberties lawyer like Mr. Siegel on the First Amendment. "Luckily for me," he said, "I don't have to, because that's not what this case is about."
The case, he continued, was about breaking the law. "These defendants do not get a pass for who they are, no matter how noble their cause may be," he said.
If Mr. McConnell stuck to prose, Mr. Siegel did not hesitate to offer poetry. The defendants, he said in his closing, "tried to alert an apathetic public to the immorality, the illegality, the destructiveness and the wrongness of the war in Iraq." The grannies could not be punished for failing to obey a police command if that command violated their constitutional right to protest, he said.
When it was over, the grannies seemed ready to do it again. "The decision today says the First Amendment protects you to protest peacefully," Mr. Siegel said, addressing his clients outside the courthouse after the verdict. "So — go do it!"
And the grannies cheered.
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A Marvelous Gift!!

I walk up to the mailbox and there is a wonderful present from my brother, a book. Yay!!

This one is Disabled Fables: Aesop's Fables, Retold and Illustrated by Artist's with Developmental Disabilitites.

What a treat!   You will never walk by or treat people with developmental disabilities in the same way again.  I recommend this book, not just for the beauty and insights, but for the way it makes you feel.   Read it and smile, and know exactly how you want to live.  It is so clear, isn't it, and if it isn't, this book will ensure you know just how to live each moment of each day.   It is for grade 1 and up, so most of us are covered. 

Here is the Foreward  by Sean Penn.

    In January 2001, I was invited to L.A. Goal, an agency on the West side of Los Angeles.  The purpose of my visit was to research the role of a mentally-disabled man for a motion picture called i am sam.

    When I arrived, I was greeted by L.A. Goal's no-nonsense, passionate Executive Director, Petite Konstantin.  This is not a woman who suffers fools like me easily.  At her direction, I was thrust into participating in that day's chore: T-shirts emblazoned with the artwork of my fellow workers needed packaging.  I was now a part of an assembly line comprised of the developmentally-disabled men and women of L.A. Goals.  I had no idea how to pack T-shirts in plastic, but I was surrounded by skilled packers, generous with their advice. "Which side goes in first?" I asked. "Where do I fold the sleeves?" "How do we seal the package?"  "Who am I?" "Where am I?"  Who's disabled now?

    In the panic of trying to keep up with the speed of my co-workers, I did just manage, here and there, to get a look at the artwork that was on the T-shirts.  At first, the pictures appeared childlike. Yet, there was a resonance to them that I still remember today. I don't know how best to describe them other than to say that they had a soul and maturity; in other words, they were art.  Pure.  Beautiful. Art.

    In the following pages we are reminded that it is innocence and humility coupled with the deep desire to express human thoughts and emotions that create any art of value. In Disabled Fables we are led into a world where the stories and pictures create an experience very close to the dream of one's own childhood.  I congratulate all the artists represented in this book, and I thank them for teaching me, among other things, how to pack a T-shirt into a tight plastic wrapper, exhibiting the art without rumpling the sleeves.

                - Sean Penn