once upon a time…

Like anything else, death is just nature's way of providing human beings with the fodder for fairy tales.

sometimes ignorance is just ignorance

Sometimes there is nothing else to do but sit back and marvel at the stuff going on in the world that I know absolutely nothing about: It seems endless, but that hardly seems to dent my relatively good opinion of what I do know.

Bringing this to mind was a single paragraph in a story about Pakistan's good fortune on the cricket pitch ... or anyway, that's what I think it's getting at:
A pair of double-wicket maidens saw Pakistan take an anaconda-like grip on the match as Australia finished the day on 4 for 59, 379 runs short of the target and facing a near-impossible task to bat out the whole of day five.
It looks like English, walks like English, talks like English and I thought I spoke English until I realized I hadn't a clue as to what the quoted words meant.

the land of nyah-nyah

As hunters across the dike loosed occasional shots in the corn fields, the first squadron of Canada geese flew over this morning. I'm not sure, but I think the hunters are after grouse and pheasant and other birds. The geese were too high for a shotgun assault and their honking almost seemed to be a taunt to the hunters below... nyah-nyah!!

Yesterday, a power outage discombobulated home and public life for 90 minutes and the blame was laid at the doorstep of a squirrel that circumvented utility barriers and ... what? ... made a snack of the insulation? Do squirrels thumb their noses at the civilization that has grown in their midst ... nyah-nyah!? Whatever the rodent motivation, much of Northampton was affected. Gotcha!

In England, a Portsmouth man "has become the first person in the UK to be convicted of a terrorist offence relating to the conflict. A jury at Kingston Crown Court found Mashudur Choudhury guilty of preparing for acts of terrorism after a two-week trial."

"Preparing for" or "thinking about" or "planning" didn't used to be an occasion for punishment or an obligatory opprobrium. But the government terrorists have managed to create an entire industry -- terrorism and its exponents are those who think and plan and plot and talk. These wannabes are portrayed and frightening and wily and adept and ... we've got to stop these evil people. Their nyah-nyah is enough to warrant a counter-attack, a bit of terrorism in a good cause.

Instead of a monolith of terrorist evil, Choudhury is portrayed in the BBC article linked above as a confused klutz. His business went belly-up, and even his wife was openly scornful of his jihadist posturing and hoped he might "go ahead and die" because he had made her life a nightmare. As far as I can figure out, the man never actually did anything more than talk and fantasize and borrow money under false pretenses ... in much the same way that the detractors of "terrorism" talk and fantasize and seek funding and provide little or no palpable evidence of action-taken. Yes, there are bombings, but if guys like Choudhury are the measure of an enemy ....? Is it enough to dislike or disagree with someone to make violence and incarceration the only option? Is justice what an inconvenienced or outraged majority says it is?

And sometimes it is:
(CNN) -- An Iranian woman convicted of murder -- in a killing human rights groups called self-defense against her rapist -- was hanged Saturday, state news agency IRNA reported.
Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, was sentenced to death for the 2007 killing of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former employee of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security. 
Nyah-nyah ... my religion is more worthy and righteous than your pleas for mercy or logical criticisms! No one fucks with my religion or politics ... hang the bitch! It seems that the half-baked prayers of a man like Choudhury can find a starting point among the august and holy and politically powerful...

And those in the terrorism industry are not beyond trying to extend their reach (read income and fantasized virtues):
FBI Director James Comey is asking Congress to force smartphone developers into building “backdoors” into all devices for law enforcement surveillance– a response to new customer data encryption standards adopted by Apple and Google.
“The FBI has a sworn duty to keep every American safe from crime and terrorism, and technology has become the tool of choice for some very dangerous people,” Comey said while speaking at the Brookings Institution last Thursday....
To the best of my knowledge, Comey did not point out that if "law enforcement" were to get its wish, then those whom "law enforcement" seeks to vilify and vanquish (think China and Russia and all those savvy techs around the world) would likewise have a back door to that information and the only ones to suffer a loss would be Internet users who might actually believe privacy was a right.

Isn't nyah-nyah sort of strange -- coming around and biting you on the ass in the long run and spilling a lot of discomfort and blood in the meantime? And it's not just the neo-conservatives who just know the perfect way to run things: Those flaunting their caring and compassion and TED talks can bring with them a well-perfumed nyah-nyah as well.

Man proposes, God disposes.


Don’t Wear Your Friends

It's amazing how much animal-related products pervade the marketplace. It may not seem it from an omnivore's perspective, but from a vegetarian's point of view, America is clearly a meat-driven culture. Last night I was shopping online for a pair of non-leather work boots--I don't like wearing animals any more than I do eating them--and couldn't find any affordable ones.

Sure there are vegan ones, but they are usually 150% more than the high-end leather ones, and ship from the U.K., which entails international shipping rates. It's no exaggeration to say that being a vegetarian can be expensive, a fact that I can't help but see as ironic. After all, why should eating vegetables be more expensive than dead animals? Is leather so commonplace that it is cheaper than alternative materials? I'm afraid so.

It was an eye-opening experience about the ubiquity of the meat industry.

Many Buddhists are vegetarian, but unfortunately I can confidently say that far more aren't. This baffles me:
In a culture where being a vegetarian is so easy, why would people who vow to save all sentient beings continue to eat meat when they know that it causes so much suffering?

Renowned Brain Researcher & Zen Practitioner Dr James Austin to Speak at the First Unitarian Church of Providence

Neurologist, researcher, and Zen practitioner, James Austin, MD, will be speaking at the First Unitarian Church of Providence this Monday evening. Professor Austin is perhaps best known as the author of the award winning Zen and the Brain (MIT Press, 1998). His most recent work is Zen Brain Horizons: Toward a Living Zen. Come for [Read More...]

Did you hear the one about the Dalai Lama and Lululemon?

Thrown By The Wild Horse of Painting

11"x14" oil & cold wax  "As The Light Falls" The instructions are "never judge your meditation session".  It's just a sit and good for you that you put your bum on the cushion.  Hmm, couldn't the same be said for doing your creative work, whatever that is.  No, sitting on your journal or canvas does not count. But how do we know what's good or bad anyway?  You know the Taoist story of the

The National Women’s Rights Convention Gathers

It was on this day in 1850 that the first National Women’s Rights Convention gathered in Worcester, Massachusetts. Two years earlier Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others had organized a gathering at Seneca Falls, in the Fingerlakes region of upstate New York. At that gathering they agreed there should be a regular gathering focusing [Read More...]

dancing seminarians

ROME (AP) -- A video of a pair of dueling, dancing American priests studying in Rome has gone viral, following in the footsteps of a now-famous Italian nun whose Alicia Keyes-esque voice won her a singing contest and a record contract.
The Rev. David Rider, 29, of Hyde Park, New York, and the Rev. John Gibson, 28, of Milwaukee, first shot to Internet fame when they were filmed in April during a fundraiser at the North American College, the elite American seminary up the hill from the Vatican.
My understanding is that the North American College is the fast-track territory for those aspiring to higher -- sometimes much higher -- Vatican office. The current ambiance of the Vatican seems somewhat more fun than the thin-lipped solemnity that preceded it... or maybe not.

insulting my intelligence and yours

I guess a part of what makes these times edgy is woven into the economic inequality that badgers individuals. It is the sense that those in power are willing to insult my intelligence and keep on doing so.

It is one thing for the wicked, wicked National Socialist (Nazi) Joseph Goebbels to weave a tapestry of lies repeated over and over again and quite another when the lies emanate from the government that is often revered when compared with the Nazis.

I guess part of what brought this to mind was an investigation that shows:
(AP) — Bogus classes and automatic A's and B's are at the heart of a cheating scandal at the University of North Carolina that lasted nearly two decades, encompassing about 3,100 students — nearly half of them athletes.
The story goes on and on without making head-on reference to what is obvious: Colleges make enormous amounts of money from sporting events. They would like to keep a good academic image, but are not above sacrificing academics to money. This bruises the longing to be seen as a credible academic institution. Americans (look at the percentage of coverage) don't really care much about academic prowess, but let's not say that out loud. Let's pretend, instead, to be concerned with falsified records and accomplishment.

It's a little like the "war on terror" which the neo-conservatives, among others, tout: Who is it who slows down long enough to actually investigate allegations and assertions when keeping people abjectly afraid is such a political winner?

I know I'm stupid, but I dislike having my nose rubbed in it by people who pose as caring and astute and really compound what they claim they wish to solve.