Friday, August 31, 2012
Sunday, August 26, 2012
This Morning, I Wanted Four Legs
Nothing on two legs weighs much,
an elephant, a donkey, even a cookstove --
those legs, a person could stand on.
Two legs pitch you forward.
Two legs tire.
They look for another two legs to be with,
to move one set forward to music
while letting the other move back.
They want to carve into a tree trunk:
Nothing on two legs can bark,
can whinney or chuff.
Tonight, though, everything's different.
Tonight I want wheels.
Friday, August 24, 2012
The monks from the Drepung Loseling Monstaery of Dharmsala, India, arrived in SLOTown Tuesday to create a “sand painting” mandala for world peace. They set up in the SLO Art Museum for three days. Visitors were free to come and go and observe the process.
The tradition is an ancient one in many cultures. It’s called “Kultson Kyilkhor,” which means “Mandala of colored sand powder.” In Tibetan tradition, it is believed that “wherever a Sand Mandala is created, all sentient beings and the surrounding environment are blessed. Whoever views the mandala experiences profound peace and great joy. The colorfulness and harmony of the millions of sand particles in the mandala gives a powerful message that we can all live in peace if each of us works in creating a little more space for others in our hearts.”
Dressed in their traditional robes, the monks initially held an opening ceremony to concecrate the site, then started by drawing a precisely inscribed design in white ink on the black table. According do an information sheet given to visitors, in “ancient times, powdered precious and sem-precious gems were used instead of sand. Thus, lapis lazuli would be used for the blue color, and rubies for the red color and so forth. The artists begin at the center of the mandala and work outward.”
On a side table, the monks had laid out their little bowls of colored sand. The sand is loaded into a long metal tool, a “Chakpur,” that has serrated edges on the outside. That funnel-tool is carefully placed on the area to be worked and another metal rod is rapidly scraped over the serrations, causing vibrations that gently, precisely release the sands where the monk’s skilled hands want it to go.
The spiritual belief involved is that the mandalas have “outer, inner and secret meanings. On the outer level, they represent the world in its divine form; on the inner level, they represent a map by which the ordinary human mind is transformed into an enlightened mind; and on the secret level, they depict the primordially perfect balance of the subtle energies of the body and clear light dimensions of the mind. The creation of a sand paining is said to effect purification and healing on all three levels.”
After three days of incredibly intense work, the mandala was completed and carried outside for the final ceremony of changing and music. After which, a monk stepped forward and cut the circle, again and again and again. He then swept all the now mixed grains of sand into a pile to be distributed to any who wanted a small amount to take home to scatter around their home or garden.
The bulk of the sand was then carried down to San Luis Creek to be gently scattered on the water, the grains to be carried by the waters down to the sea to join all the other grains of sand. And for the witnesses, the teaching remains: The impermanence of all things. Everything that exists has a beginning, a middle and an end. In the mandala, like life itself, the grains of sand are brought together for a brief time to create something of beauty and meaning and then are returned to their source as part of the whole once again.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Sunday, August 19, 2012
I was the last of my line,
farm-raised, chesty, and bold.
Not one of your skinny show-world
thirty-five pound Dalmatians.
I ran with the horses, my darlings.
Rivers they forded, wet
to the elbow, I swam. Their lot
was my lot, my lope matching
their stride mile for mile.
Their smell became my smell.
Joyous I ate their manure.
Its undigested oats
still sweet, kept me fit.
I slept with one broodmare.
I curled at her flank.
My head on that bay haunch
we lay, a study in snores,
ear flicks, and farts in her stall
until the hour of her foal.
She shunned me most cruelly.
Spring and fall, I erred over
and over. Skunks were my folly.
Then, I was nobody's lover.
I rolled in dung and sand.
My heart burst in the pond.
My body sank and then rose
like a birch log, a blaze
of white against spring green.
Now I lie under the grasses
they crop, my own swift horses
who start up and spook in the rain
without me, the warm summer rain.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
She certainly wasn't alone. Prior to ObamaCare, she had millions of Americans with minor "pre-existing conditions" in the same boat to keep her company. So, like those millions, she struggled along, rarely seeing a doctor even though a few years ago certain alarming symptoms cropped up. Since she couldn't afford to get treatment (no insurance available to her) she struggled along.
Finally, here came ObamaCare and its mandated insurance pools and requirements on insurance companies to stop cherry-picking, or denying coverage & etc, and she was finally able to buy insurance. Her individual policy wasn't cheap and she had (and paid) a high deductible, but she was finally able to get insurance.
And so she went to the doctor to see about those alarming symptoms, which turned out to be fixable if caught early, but catastrophic and/or deadly if ignored because, oh, say, you didn't have insurance or couldn't get insurance because ObamaCare didn't exist.
So, thank you President Obama. Because of your efforts, my friend will have a long, healthy, productive life paying taxes into the system and contributing to our society, instead of being a permanently disabled drain on society's resources due to lack of proper medical care due to lack of insurance due to a broken health system driven by rapacious greed and penny-wise, pound-foolish stupidity.
And to ObamaCare critics, No, it ain't perfect -- it was cobbled together with too many special interests tacking on too many special interests -- and it needs a whole lot of work to get it back on track to focus on maximum patient wellness, not maximum profit, but it's a start.
And if any of you have friends in the same boat as my friend, perhaps you need to think about what will happen to your friend should ObamaCare get repealed.
I'm just sayin'
A Modest Proposal
There's a very funny Ann Romney parody on You Tube
Funny, no? But here's the modest proposal: Wouldn't it be grand if every politician did what that parody was doing: Tell the truth. Flat out. No fear, no favor, no fudging. Quel refreshing!
Instead we get weasels flip-flopping, turning themselves inside out, using code and dog-whistle language, making stuff up, making stuff up and getting caught, then making more stuff up.
I mean, our PAC-fueled political ads have already jumped the shark and are now into pure Parody Land anyway, so this election has slipped into one long Trash-Talk Fest. Yo' Mammas all 'round.
Which must mean that Americans have now gotten to the point of viewing politics as nothing but the lowest common denominator Fake Reality Show filled with profoundly stupid people doing dumb things that the viewer can laugh at. Washington as Klown Kar or Paul Ryan's Oscar Meyer Wiener Mobile. Too dumb for words.
Ah, but think of how wonderful it all would be if everyone did what this You Tube spoof did: Spill all the beans, just like that, right out on the floor, SPLAT! So what? Ya wanna make something of it? Yes, I'm richer than God and you aren't so I can do anything I want. Who's gonna stop me? You? Yeah, I lied about that. So? Sure my numbers are fake but I like putting made up stuff on whiteboards in order to look like I know what I'm talking about. I don't. So, sue me. Sure we're engaging in voter suppression. So? Hey, politics ain't beanbag, ya gotta win by any means necessary. Yeah, we're gonna make sure that we end up with a corporatocracy. The rich OWN America anyway, so what else is new? You can't have a lot of unwashed poor people voting. What do they know? It'd be chaos. Karl Rove's right. He's worked for years to get a Republican-controlled House, Senate, Presidency and Supreme Court from this point forward. Who needs a "democracy," anyway? Not us.
Imagine. How wonderful would that be? No need to read between the lines or translate the code or waste time denying anything. There it all would be, all right there on the kitchen floor. And you wouldn't need a Mexican maid to try to clean it up or sweep it under the rug.
Calling Amory Lovins
Interesting story by Kevin Begos (AP): "Carbon dioxide emissions at 20-year low."
Seems that the "shift away from coal is reason for 'cautious optimism' about potential ways to deal with climate change. He [Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University] said it demonstrates that 'ultimately people follow their wallets' on global warming.
" 'There's a very clear lesson here. What it shows is that if you make a cleaner energy source cheaper, you will displace dirtier sources,' said Roger Pielke Jr. a climate expert at the University of Colorado."
Which is exactly what Amory Lovins has been saying for years: Put the right price on pollution and you've solved the problem.
Also, some research interesting papers coming up (so says the author of "Carbon Nation") interviewed on Bill Maher's, "Real Time" show. Seems that by properly managing grazing land,(i.e. getting rid of cattle-feed lots and keeping the cows on grass,) the soil in healthy grasslands can act as a huge carbon sink, and can stay greener longer, and so help buffer against drought. Once again, the message is, we don't have to rely on troglodytes in Washington who still have their fingers up their collective behinds (actually, doing the bidding of their Coal/oil Masters) to start new local projects that can actually get things moving in the right direction. All of which Lovins has known for years.
Monday, August 13, 2012
Sunday, August 12, 2012
In August we carried the old horsehair mattress
To the back porch
And slept with our children in a row.
The wind came up the mountain into the orchard
Telling me something;
Saying something urgent.
I was happy.
The green apples fell on the sloping roof
And rattled down.
The wind was shaking me all night long;
Shaking me in my sleep
Like a definition of love,
Saying, this is the moment,
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Friday, August 10, 2012
And if you're a fan of the cult-classic, "Rushmore," don't miss "Moonrise Kingdom," a deadpan comic cult-classic-to-be. Deliciously, wickedly funny but without a mean bone in it's filmic body. It's at the Underground Downtown Center 7, also in SLOTown.
Monday, August 06, 2012
Before the CDOs, before the Tri-W disaster, before AB 2701, there was http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2005/10/briggs-blown-opportunities.htmlmy one question:
He http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2011/05/exposed-karner-confession.html KNEW it wasn't going to work, and then he just sat back and watched it not work... for two over-the-top-disastrous years.
That was THE bureaucratic blunder, in the entire Los Osos sewer mess, and it was solely responsible for the next 13-years-AND-COUNTING of Los Osos sewer disaster, and no one -- well, other than me, of course -- said a word about that act of gross incompetence.
And, just like I write in my October 18, 2005 open letter at http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2005/10/briggs-blown-opportunities.htmlthis link, had ol' Rog shown up at that 1999 Los Osos CSD meeting, where http://www.smartvoter.org/1998nov/ca/slo/race/109/ Pandora and Co. voted to kill the county's then-"ready to go" sewer project, and begin pursuit of the known-to-be-DOA "better, cheaper, faster" disaster, and simply said something like:
"Look, we all know that your gimmicky little 'better, cheaper, faster' http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2009/07/exclusive-sewerwatch-investigation-how.html Community Plan isn't going to work. It will not be better. It will not be cheaper. And it definitely will not be faster. It can't be any of those things, because it is not going to work, as we, and a bunch of other water quality types, have been telling you for the past year.
“Now, I want you to listen to me very closely. If there is one friggin' nanosecond of sewer delay due to your pursuit of that paperweight you call a 'sewer project,' we are going to start fining you, hard and fast."
Had Roger shown up at that meeting, and said that to the brand new LOCSD Board, in early 1999, the past 13 years-and-counting of Los Osos sewer disaster, at an IMMENSE cost to the State of California, would have never happened, because HAD Roger said exactly that, at that meeting -- and this point is crazy-important, yet almost never discussed (well, outside of SewerWatch) -- the project would have simply, and logically, just turned back to the county's "ready-to-go" project... that was sitting right there... "ready to go," and Roger knew that.
Which means that, since early 1999, ALL of the delays of "the sewer" -- delays that led directly to, among many other disastrous things, those hideous, and highly embarrassing to the the local Water "Quality" Control Board, CDO's -- are Roger's and the Regional Board's fault!
He never lifted a finger to stop that known-to-him-to-be a disaster.
Why in the world did Roger Briggs allow the 1999 - 2000 Los Osos CSD to waste two years on a non-"project" -- the "better, cheaper, faster" disaster -- that Roger already knew wasn't going to work?
Which means that I also want to bring this:
http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2006/04/sewerwatch-cdo-defense-six-mirrors.html... to Roger's retirement party.
That's the link to my April 14, 2006, blog post where I suggest to the CDOers, that their defense should be to bring six mirrors to their RWQCB "trial," and then hand them to the RWQCB members, and one for Roger, because the CDO's were actually their fault for allowing the 1999 - 2000 LOCSD to completely waste two years on a "non-project" that Roger http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2011/05/exposed-karner-confession.html ALREADY KNEW wasn't going to work.
And, frankly, it's a damn shame that none of the CDOers used my defense strategy. because, not only would it have been hilarious, it would have worked.
So, happy retirement, Rog, and, a toast to no more "not happy memories!"
Sunday, August 05, 2012
My Lucky Rock
I said to a squirrel, "What is that you re carrying?"
and he said,
"It is my lucky rock, isn't it pretty?"
I held it and said, "Indeed."
I said to God,
"What is this earth?"
And He said, "It is my lucky rock;
isn't it wonderous?"