Archive for October, 2007

Work for the sake of work alone

October 31, 2007

Morning words from the Gita:

You have the right to work, but never to the fruit of work. You should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should you long for inaction. Perform work in this world, Arjuna, as a man established within himself – without selfish attachments, and alike in success and defeat. For yoga is perfect evenness of mind. (2:47-48)


Sexy new President

October 30, 2007

Argentina has elected their first female president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. She is the wife of the former President. Hearing this news this morning I began to ponder why some countries have been electing female leaders for a long time and others have never had a female leader. Countries that have been blasted for their treatment of women have elected female leaders, such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh and others, like the United States, the land of equal opportunity, has still failed to elect a female leader. Why is this? It is my opinion that the government should be forced to make half the representatives male and half female. Each state should have one female senator and one male senator. This might bring balance to the world. Here’s an AP article comparing her to Hillary Clinton.

Burn baby Burn

October 29, 2007

The man who was accused of setting the Man on fire at Burning Man 4 days before the traditionally scheduled burn has been arrested on charges of attempting to burn down Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. This article in the SF Chronicle does not give any explanation for his supposed plan to burn down the church but it does give some nice quotes on why he set fire to the Man early. He states:

This was not an act of vengeance, it was one of love, a love of the ethos that is fading at Burning Man. There’s no sense of spontaneity. No sense of ‘F- it. Let’s burn this down.

He also states that Burning Man has become a “suburban” event. When I heard about this guy setting fire to the Man early I thought it was really funny and exactly what Burning Man needed. But this thing with the Church is strange. I am waiting to see if more information is revealed.

Turkeys and Vichy Springs

October 25, 2007

Hot Tub at Vichy Springs I have been attending a conference all week at Vichy Springs Resort here in Ukiah. Vichy Springs is a carbonated warm spring up in the mountains just outside Ukiah. The baths have been used by Native Americans for thousands of years and were stolen from them around 1850. They have now been privatized and made into an exclusive peaceful abode for the upper classes to forget about all the capital they control.

They claim to be the only carbonated warm spring in North America. They also claim to be of historical significance; from their website:

It was during the Redemeyer and Doolan eras that the rich and famous in California history visited Vichy Springs. The Ghiradelli family, Abe Roeff, Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and William Harrison, Teddy Roosevelt and daughter Alice, Mark Twain, Jack London, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jim and John L. Sullivan. The list goes on.

Wild turkeys and deer roam the acreage. The grounds are exceptionally beautiful right now because all the leaves are changing color and falling.

During the lunch hour I snuck off to soak in the pools. The source is a little cool so I opted to sit in the developed hot tub of which the water had been heated electronically. Also, I couldn’t figure out how to stop up the baths and didn’t feel like waiting for a tub to fill.

I was happy to get a chance to see these springs, because it is a place I don’t believe I ever would have gone at my own accord. I believe there should be a law against privatizing hot springs.

Grandfather Wolf

October 23, 2007

My pal, Greggy Wolf, sent me this story recounting the life of the last American Lone Wolf. Erin Halcomb gives a beautiful portrayal of this enduring wolf of wolves. The wolf is a majestic, playful, and endearing animal. It is sad that they are unable to coexist in our beef hungry cattle ranching society. This wolf represents the will to live and be free out in the wilderness, independent of human interference. The old wolf was absorbed in the limitless love of wild creation.

Censorship and the FCC

October 22, 2007

My brother has published his latest intervention here. His topic is censorship and the FCC. Here is a taste of the article:

In other words, the principal effect of FCC policy is to reinforce the bifurcation of media markets along class lines, rendering “quality” programming inaccessible for the poor and expensive for the affluent. Furthermore, FCC policy stifles the creativity — and threatens the very viability — of independent radio and television stations that can’t afford to pay the fines. In the end, FCC policy on indecency simply further enables corporate consolidation of media outlets and standardization of content.

My brother is currently working on a book discussing obscenity and literature. Personally, I love the radio medium of communication and as I type this I am listening to a very interesting show on KZYX. Radio is the cheapest way to engage in mass communication and is used extensively all over the world. In India the radio is the primary method of getting the news after the newspaper. To see such a small narrow-minded organization like the FCC contain these stringent rules on what can be said is shameful.

It seems the leader of the FCC is trying to increase his power to control content by increased consolidation, see this article in The Nation.

The Briarpatch

October 18, 2007

Dave Smith is a local business owner and strong advocate of the localization movement. He is one of the founders of Smith and Hawkins. Now he owns and runs Mulligans Book Store, here in Ukiah. I came across his blog a few months ago and really liked his ideas and priorities. I totally agree with his beliefs about keeping business as localized and community controlled as possible. It is my belief that the only way future generations are going to have a healthy planet to thrive on is if we localize our impact on the Earth. Our production of food, energy, and material products must be kept as localized as possible and by keeping our cash flow local we are less dependent on foreign resources.

Dave’s latest blog entry is a letter he wrote to local newspapers discussing the development of the masonite plant. I encourage people to frequent his great book store. According to his blog the briarpatch is:

The Briarpatch Network is a voluntary community of self-reliance and mutual aid with the shared values of:

~Right livelihood and meaningful work.
~Giving, sharing, and exchange of skills and services in business and community.
~Humanistic management methods and unusual organization solutions.
~Better practices and traditions for those who have tools and work to do.

Cloud Forest Institute

October 17, 2007

After hearing someone on KMUD radio today mention the Cloud Forest Institute, which is located in Ukiah, I decided to research the organization a little. On their website. Their mission statement is as follows:

Cloud Forest Institute (CFI) offers educational alternatives to students of all cultures and ages through learning contracts via the internet and at designated research sites around the world. The sites are self-sufficient utilizing alternative energy technologies and sustainable, organic food production techniques. CFI’s goals are to make quality education accessible globally and, to foster an environmentally conscious philosophy.

I am interested in learning more about this organization. The article that is on the front of their web site discusses protecting the Cambugan Watershed in Ecuador. It claims that we can buy an acre for $50. Although I like the sound of this organization I wonder if privatizing nature is the best way to protect it? How do I know that there aren’t native people living on this acre I buy and now they will need to relocate?

Ram Tzu

October 16, 2007

Ram Tzu has some questions for you…
Just who do you think you are?
Are you other than God?
Are you separate from Me?

If so…
What are you made of?
Where did it come from?

Don’t look to science to help you.
The physicists have all become mystics.
They’re of no more use to you than is Ram Tzu.

If you’re really clever you’ll turn around
And walk away
Hang around here and you’re liable to lose
Everything you hold dear.

Go back to your church, your temple,
Your therapist, your drug dealer, your ashram.
There you may find a moments peace.
You found it there once.
Here is only emptiness for you.
You’ll find no food for your ego here.

What if your precious sense of self
Were to shrivel up and die?
Where would you be then?
What would happen?

Best not to risk it

Last week a guy in a sushi resteraunt showed me a copy of No Way by Ram Tzu. This is a book of short poem like the one above. They are all non-dualist in their message. Destroy the self to find the Self!

Burma Update

October 16, 2007

Slate has a good piece updating us on what is going on in Burma. Author, Gwynn Guilford, states that true change in Burma is going to need to come from within the military, and that may not be far off. He ends the article by writing,

“I’m counting on the military to get rid of [Than Shwe],” said the professor. “Even colonialists never shot a monk,” he said, referring to Britain’s harsh colonial occupation of Burma that lasted until the late 1940s. “They don’t say it, but [the military is] deeply unhappy,” U Thaung said.