January 6th, 2009

alan - winter bird

Chirping -

Perhaps, today, you have noticed that the day lightens a little earlier and stays lit a long longer.

Maybe you are thinking about birds, maybe even woodpeckers. Did you know that Downy Woodpeckers hammer at about 15 times per second and Hairy Woodpeckers at 25 times per second? Just thinking about it should jolt your brain like an injection of caffeine. You can listen to the Hairy Woodpecker here.


alan - winter bird

Live Journal!

I have been wondering what is going on with Live Journal. I've been trying to get help and there is no response. They say they depend on volunteers. What is that about?

I guess my answer is here.


I suppose my $175.00 for a permanent account is gone along with the account. They had something simple that worked, and then, money had to enter and now all may be gone.

So, I understand there is a way to back-up blogs. I need to talk to my son.
I am angry about this.

I was thinking about tree houses today, about how much I love them, the idea of living embraced in the tree's moving hands. Change.
Book Cover

Stanley Kunitz!

I think about honesty today, about greed.  Answers seem always to be found in Art, "the chalice into which we pour the wine of transcendence," as Stanley Kunitz puts it.

Here is a passage from Kunitz’s 1994 Commencement Address at St. Mary’s College, Maryland.  


The writer today, said Albert Camus in his acceptance of the Nobel Prize, “cannot serve those who make history; he must serve those who are subject to it.”



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Alan - sunrise - Palm Springs area

Backing up -

When I think of backing up my postings of over three years on Live Journal, I realize there is a great deal of fluff, anger, stuff that is over with, done, gone, so I am going to take this opportunity to do something I haven't done before and start deleting, much of what I now deem irrelevant.  Sarah Palin will go, the campaign, Bush's failings, well, maybe not all of those.  What would be left?

I know there are new ways to create what is shared here, and who knows.  Maybe they will pull a rabbit out of the hat.

alan - joshua tree bloom

What is sane?

Thomas Merton:

One of the most disturbing facts that came out in the [Adolf] Eichmann trial was that a psychiatrist examined him and pronounced him perfectly sane. I do not doubt it at all, and that is precisely why I find it disturbing. . . . .

            The sanity of Eichmann is disturbing. We equate sanity with a sense of justice, with humaneness, with prudence, with the capacity to love and understand other people. We rely on the sane people of the world to preserve it from barbarism, madness, destruction. And now it begins to dawn on us that it is precisely the sane ones who are the most dangerous.

            It is the sane ones, the well-adapted ones, who can without qualms and without nausea aim the missiles and press the buttons that will initiate the great festival of destruction that they, the sane ones, have prepared. What makes us so sure, after all, that the danger comes from a psychotic getting into a position to fire the first shot in a nuclear war? Psychotics will be suspect. The sane ones will keep them far from the button. No one suspects the sane, and the sane ones will have perfectly good reasons, logical, well-adjusted reasons, for firing the shot. They will be obeying sane orders that have come sanely down the chain of command. And because of their sanity they will have no qualms at all. When the missiles take off, then, it will be no mistake.

Thomas Merton. "A Devout Meditation in Memory of Adolf Eichmann" in Raids on the Unspeakable.
New York
: New Directions Publishing Co., 1964: 45, 46-47.

Robin Williams:   You're only given a little spark of madness.  You mustn't lose it.

Italy - rome - ara pacis

Conscientious Objector -

In reading The Sutras of Abu Ghraib, Notes from a Conscientious Objector in Iraq by Aidan Delgado, I learned that one of the original drafts of the Second Amendment included an objection for conscientious objectors - that "no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service."  

According to Delgado,  "The proposal was voted down and reworded.  Thus, conscientious objection was just a few votes shy of becoming one of our fundamental freedoms, along with the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion and the freedom to bear arms:  the freedom not to bear arms." 


bridal veil falls - north carolina

Looking Back!


Nine Ways to Cross a River by Akiko Busch.  

"In ancient
China, serpentine streams were sometimes constructed for the play of literary games.  Scholars and poets would gather, positioning themselves at appointed bends in the stream.  The host would then name the subject of a poem, then float a cup of wine down the stream to the first guest, who would compose the first line of the poem, sip the wine, then send both down the stream to the next guest.  As the cup floated from bend to bend and guest to guest, so too was the poem completed. 


Life is movement. The more life there is, the more flexibility there is. The more fluid you are, the more you are alive.
- Arnaud Desjardins



Floating, floating, what am I like?
    Between earth and sky, a gull alone.

             - Tu Fu



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