February 25th, 2009

alan - morning glory center

Good Morning!

There is a strip of mist/fog outside my window almost like the Milky Way in its white permeability and uplift.  It begins to dissipate now, but my heart is still resting on its pillow-like beauty.   When the light is like this, soft gray, I feel I'm living in a Japanese painting.   My whole body shimmers.   Oh, now, everything is softening into gray.  I woke to wetness and rain is predicted and now the trees blend in the distance.  It is a continual play.

I am reminded now of this quote:

Franz Kafka:

It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet.

There is nothing valuable to say in this place, which is why I will place the following poem here.  I do not understand people who speak on cell phones in crowded places or indoors at all.  I find it beyond rude, so this poem is a wonderful outlet.  Perhaps we could all print it out and then, softly place it on the table of the coffee house as we walk by, or hand it to those with whom we stand in line at the post office, or those chatterers we try and reach around to reach the produce in the grocery aisles.

Yesterday, our local paper, the SF Chronicle, announced massive cutbacks and a possible closure.  They are losing money.  I hope they hold onto Jon Carroll, who probably has many eloquent columns on the courteous use of cell phones.

Bridal Shower

by George Bilgere

Perhaps, in a distant café,
four or five people are talking
with the four or five people
who are chatting on their cell phones this morning
in my favorite café.

And perhaps someone there,
someone like me, is watching them as they frown,
or smile, or shrug
at their invisible friends or lovers,
jabbing the air for emphasis.

And, like me, he misses the old days,
when talking to yourself
meant you were crazy,
back when being crazy was a big deal,
not just an acronym
or something you could take a pill for.

I liked it
when people who were talking to themselves
might actually have been talking to God
or an angel.
You respected people like that.

You didn't want to kill them,
as I want to kill the woman at the next table
with the little blue light on her ear
who has been telling the emptiness in front of her
about her daughter's bridal shower
in astonishing detail
for the past thirty minutes.

O person like me,
phoneless in your distant café,
I wish we could meet to discuss this,
and perhaps you would help me
murder this woman on her cell phone,

after which we could have a cup of coffee,
maybe a bagel, and talk to each other,
face to face.


"Bridal Shower" by George Bilgere.

alan - spring flowers

President Obama!

President Barack Obama looks so young to me, and he is so confident in the way of purity and wholeness.  We have a leader now who can think and speak and negotiate and who was honestly elected.  What a concept!

The New Yorker has a delightful "short" this week in The Talk of the Town.  Joan Kennedy Smith made a bet with a cab driver in January of 2008 that Obama would win.   He was so incapable of imagining that, that when she said she would give him $100.00 if he didn't win, and that if he did win, he, the cab driver, would drive her around Washington for a day, that he said he would drive her around all year if Obama was even nominated to be a candidate. 

Well, here we are, and she called to collect on her bet.  She said if he picks her up at the airport that will settle it.  It works for me. 

We all won on this one!!

oregon, willamette, 1 proxy falls

more Franz Kafka -

Franz Kafka:

Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.

Evil is whatever distracts.

Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.

A book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us.

You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid.

alan's beach photo

What will it take?

I prefer to think positively about people but I do not understand the Republicans at this point and those who think they can still spend money in the following way.  What is going on?   Each time I start to feel hopeful that we can pull out of this mess in some reasonable amount of time, I read something like this and have to wonder at the lack of intellectual capability in those who brought us here, the continuing need for greed that will never be satisfied until these people discover something inside.  Might it be that for some there is nothing inside?

Op-Ed Columnist

I Ponied Up for Sheryl Crow?

Published: February 24, 2009


Talk about being teed off.

The economy is croaking and bankers are still partying at a golf tournament here on our dime.

It’s a good argument for nationalization, or better yet, internationalization. Outsource the jobs of these perfidious, oblivious bank executives to Bangalore; Bollywood bashes have to cost less than Hollywood ones.

The entertainment Web site TMZ broke the story Tuesday that Northern Trust of Chicago, which got $1.5 billion in bailout money and then laid off 450 workers, flew hundreds of clients and employees to Los Angeles last week and treated them to four days of posh hotel rooms, salmon and filet mignon dinners, music concerts, a PGA golf tournament at the Riviera Country Club with Mercedes shuttle rides and Tiffany swag bags.

“A rep from the PGA told us Northern Trust wrote one big, fat check in order to sponsor the event,” TMZ reported.


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alexander calder

Balance -

This morning I was trying to clean my oatmeal pan from yesterday that I left on the stove too long, so there was a dark scrunge, and I was hoping by letting it sit there and happily soak, it would magically clean itself, but no it really was necessary for me to add a little attention and pressure, so the pan and I shared quite a philosophical moment today. It let go of something it had become attached to and I realized that smoothing my edges may require an extra grade of sandpaper. I want to be clear - I almost said transparent, but if I hear one more politician use that word, I am going to vomit. It reminds me of the word "situation" as it was used in sports a few years ago. Now, I don't watch sports so I don't know the latest buzzword. The point is that I want to be clean and shiny like my pan, with nothing extra attached, and then, I start to say, like barnacles, to my soul, and I realize I like barnacles, and maybe I wouldn't mind being in a symbiotic relationship with some, so there is that.

I check and it appears that whales don't gain anything from the barnacles that hitch a free ride. I suppose it is like us in an airplane, though we are not completely harmless as we add a great deal of noise, commotion and weight.


In the New Yorker, there is an article on the slums surrounding the airport in Mumbai. It is titled Opening Night, The Scene from the Airport Slums and is by Katherine Boo. (I love that last name.) She is contrasting the slums and the "beautiful" people preparing for the opening of the film "Slumdog Millionaire." Those attending come to the hotels surrounding the airport to be "manicured, exfoliated and blown out."

I find this paragraph particularly sobering as to how we are all now tied.

"The banks in America went in a loss, then the big people went in a loss, then the scrap market in the slum areas came down, too," was how Anna, who read the Tamil-language newspapers, had explained the crisis to the residents. A kilo of empty water bottles, once worth twenty-five rupees, was now worth ten. This was how the crisis was understood."