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October 25, 2006

Po knows Oprah

The media is increasingly ignoring the true American family, and instead is putting the dramas of affluent families on Page One. It would be okay if they delivered these portraits with a sardonic wink, so that we might laugh at the foibles of the well-off. But there is no wink. Instead, we are asked to sympathize with people’s self-made problems, and these affluent-family issues are held up as representative of us all.

Po Bronson’s column shows how media transmits the fears of rich and powerful parents to a mass audience who are then affected by their (natural, but inappropriate) emotional response with negative material consequences.

I think media’s amplification of irrational fear can be seen absolutely everywhere. Even this blog!

October 23, 2006

the big blue turret

Houses Inspired By the Big Orange Splot Book

I was compelled to find this (which was inspired by this wonderful book in particular) after reading about this man who was inspired to add a turret to his house. It looks pretty kickass to me.

We have experienced a lot of intolerance and harassment, ranging from people making nuisance calls for inspections to materials being stolen to our vehicles repeatedly having fruit, yogurt, eggs, tomatoes, et cetera thrown on them, to broken truck windows to extension cords running from the temporary power being cut and stolen …

the iPod on Mt. Everest: a Zen teaching

Van Halen on Everest — If I had been there, your iPod would not have worked because I would have ripped it off your skull and thrown it over the north face and said Wake up! You are alive!

My favorite comment in response to an absurd essay in the Washington Post panning the iPod for failing under extremes of temperature and altitude. Presumably published in service of the chocolate-and-vanilla-swirl school of “objectivity” so popular among poor journalists today.

October 22, 2006

a community of the spirit

A Community of the Spirit

There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street,
and being the noise.

Drink all your passion,
and be a disgrace.

Close both eyes
to see with the other eye.

Open your hands,
if you want to be held.

Sit down in this circle.

Quit acting like a wolf, and feel
the shepherd’s love filling you.

At night, your beloved wanders.
Don’t accept consolations.

Close your mouth against food.
Taste the lover’s mouth in yours.

You moan, “She left me.” “He left me.”
Twenty more will come.

Be empty of worrying.
Think of who created thought!

Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?

Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
Live in silence.

Flow down and down in always
widening rings of being.

—Rumi
trans. Coleman Barks

October 21, 2006

obake

Obake, the ultimate transformers, point up the folly of our human security in the unchanging status of things, and obliterate our proud sense of understanding the structure of the world.

via whiskey river, one of my favorite blogs

October 18, 2006

oy gevalt

some quick links:

:: How to Meditate. Concise and well-written intro. I find that even as I continue to meditate in earnest after starting 10 months ago, it still helps to read primers like this one, if only to see how far I’ve slipped from what I oughtta be doing.

:: Oh yes, Count Gore De Vol is back! Or did he ever go anywhere? Whatever the case, the alter ego of Captain 20 is hosting some horror flicks at a movie theater near my parents’. The Count featured prominently in one of my favorite books of all time.

:: Speaking of which, Daniel M. Pinkwater is posting the full text of his upcoming book, The Neddiad, on his website. The man considers it his “best work so far,” and his previous hundred books or so are tough acts to follow.

:: This conversation between Jim Jarmusch and Tom Waits is absurdly long, but I bet all the wisdom of the universe is within.

October 9, 2006

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

I do not know what “crozzled” means. Nor do I know what “kerfs” mean, or “grambeled” or “sleavings” or innumerable other words introduced into the narrative. I have a vague idea of what the word “claggy” means in the sentence sequence, “The gray and rotting teeth. Claggy with human flesh,” but I don’t want to think too much about it.

The end is nigh and woe is us (on The Road by Cormac McCarthy).

shop as usual. and avoid panic buying.

WFMU’s blog offers MP3s of Negativland’s Mark Hosler giving a talk at the New School about the band’s history.

October 8, 2006

bruce bickford where you been all my life?

If you’re not familiar with the mind-bending claymation of Bruce Bickford, time to get acquainted. Some of his models and a film, “Prometheus’ Garden,” are included in the new exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum, “Home and Beast” (that’s my longtime buddy Clyde Jones on AVAM’s front page — his critters are in the show too). “Prometheus” is a nightmarish, fantastical nonstop flood of shocking metamorphoses — people into faces into trees into thrones into what-have-you. I was picking up my jaw from the floor every 20 seconds or so. Unfortunately it’s not available on DVD, but you can get a documentary about Bickford, as well as the Frank Zappa DVD Baby Snakes, which features some of Bickford’s work. (Clip here, not at all safe for work!)

dr. eddie s. glaude jr. on tavis

Listen to Tavis Smiley interview Dr. Eddie S. Glaude Jr. about the politicization of the civil rights movement. Dr. Glaude speaks powerful truths. I’d never heard him or even of him — I welcome the discovery.

whitman in dc

Here’s a guide to where Walt Whitman hung out in Washington, D.C.

on desire

There is more to desire than just suffering. There is a yearning in desire that is as spiritual as it is sensual. Even when it degenerates into addiction, there is something salvageable from the original impulse that can only be described as sacred. Something in the person wants to be free, and it seeks its freedom any way it can. This is one of the major insights to have precipitated out of my study of the psychologies of East and West. There is a drive for transcendence that is implicit in even the most sensual of desires.

Buddhist psychotherapist Mark Epstein, from Open to Desire.

October 6, 2006

The Great Old Pumpkin, by John Aegard

The Great Old Pumpkin, by John Aegard

You must know, Doctor, that I did not choose to seek psychiatric help. I have no faith that I shall exit this room a healed man; I know now that I have been destined for the asylum since childhood. No mere conversation with you can steer me clear of that fate. That said, let us proceed with this court-compelled farce before my mad prattle provokes your crabbiness further.

As you are no doubt aware, I am the issue of solid Dutch stock — the prosperous Van Pelt family of St. Paul.

Bonus (while supplies last): It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

October 3, 2006

Mr. President, I think that if you could allow yourself to cry like I did this morning, you will also feel much better. It is our brothers that we kill over there. They are our brothers, God tells us so, and we also know it. They may not see us as brothers because of their anger, their misunderstanding, and their discrimination. But with some awakening, we can see things in a different way, and this will allow us to respond differently to the situation. I trust God in you; I trust Buddha nature in you.

From Thich Nhat Hanh’s letter to the President.

We have lost the war on torture. It’s devastating.

We live in shameful times :: Rebecca Blood

Fred Tomaselli

Artificial, immersive, theme-park reality was such a normal part of my everyday life that when I saw my first natural waterfall, I couldn’t believe it didn’t involve plumbing or electricity.

Waldemar Januszczak profiles Fred Tomaselli in The Times UK. See more of Fred Tomaselli’s work from an upcoming exhibition at the James Cohan Gallery in NYC.