Archive for May, 2008
Hannah and I saw a broadway play called The Country Girl while in New York. The leading roles were played by Morgan Freeman, Francis McDormand, and Peter Gallagher. It was an excellent play about a washed up actor (Freeman) who gets a chance at a big role. However, he has an alcohol problem and very low self-esteem, unknown to the play’s director (Gallagher), who believes in him. The actor’s wife (McDormand) gets into a contentious relationship with the director because she is the only one who really knows the actor. It was made into a movie in 1954 and the tag-line was, How far should a woman go…to redeem the man she loves? Anyway, something I love about New York is the art. What other city can you see these great actors in a small intimate theater performing a great play?
I was spending some time in New York City with my fiance. Had a good time. Got a good sense of the city. Have many thoughts but would like to focus on the new Temple between 58th and 59th streets on 5th Ave. in Manhattan. The temple is dedicated to the sacred Apple God and is quite beautiful. People were entering by the tens of thousands to pay their respects to this supreme power. One could sense the elation of the masses by being in the presence of this mighty God. It is nice to see a this strong spiritual practice and right here in Manhattan, no less. This temple is fairly new and pilgrims are coming from all over to join the fervor and worship the benevolent Apple God. The temple is open 24 hours per day and 365 days per year. Here is an image of this beautiful sacred space.
Let’s try and destroy this guy with the internet. Send this to everyone you know.
This video shows how severely McCain misunderstands the situation. Al Queda is a Sunni organization and Iran is Shia. These two sects of Islam have been feuding for years.
Just read a nice series at slate’s well-traveled column documenting a trip to the Dominican Republic touring the baseball scene there. The story is called, Baseball, Dominican-Style. It gives a nice description of the Major League Baseball training camps operating in the Dominican Republic. Major League Baseball teams are funding training academies for young Dominican ball players. The boys live at the academy and are fed and paid, but are under strict rules. The camps are run like a military school, but they live and breath baseball, instead of war. What I find sad is that if these kinds of academies were provided to young boys in our inner cities we might find more young American men getting out inner city drug trade and becoming great ball players. The five-part piece documents a meeting with Juan Marichal and smoking cigars with Jose Rijos. I find this baseball infrastructure in the Dominican Republic really interesting. The writer states:
It is the kind of place that reeks of long odds. One scout estimated that for every 100 prospects signed and enrolled in the Phillies academy, only three or four will make the major leagues. And given Dominican baseball fever—”Every father wants his son to be a ballplayer,” I was told again and again—it is safe to assume that for those 100 signees, there are many thousands more outside the academy looking in.
One good thing about this phenomena is that the operation is run completely by Dominicans. The only thing coming from the US is the cash. The author writes:
It is one thing to think about Major League Baseball sending its agents to the Third World to pluck out young shortstops and leave everyone else to fend for themselves. It’s another to think of Dominican baseball, at its core, as a local industry.
Just recieved the below message from my special lady friend in Scottland. It seems the Atheism cult is growing.
Hey Wolf – hope I might get chance to speak with you again today… but this is the brief comment that I mentioned to you yesterday in the great dawkins debate – comment made by catholic cardinal from UK in series of lectures about ‘Faith in Britain’
This is one of the reasons why, for this lecture series, I wanted this Cathedral to be a place for people to listen to matters pertaining to religion in the secular society in which we live here in Britain. I wanted religion to be seen to be open to the questions of those who do not believe; those who call themselves agnostic or atheistic. As always, the interesting question about atheism is ‘what is the theism that is being denied?’ Have you ever met anyone who believes what Richard Dawkins doesn’t believe in? I usually find that the God that is being rejected by such people is a God I don’t believe in either. I simply don’t recognise my faith in what is presented by these critics as Christian faith.
I haven’t read the whole thing, although strangely enough I found it on the dawkins website with the usual deconstruction in comments from the dawkinists baying for blood and chuckling away smugly – any day now they will suddenly decide that Dawkins in their god and start making shrines to him!
Expecting comment from B.S.
1!: Nelson Mandela just taken off the US list of terrorists. The United States Senate is in the process of passing a bill that would remove the Africa National Congress party off the terrorist list. This is the party of Nelson Mandela and the South African political party that overthrew Apartheid. John Kerry states:
The idea that Mandela would “be on our government’s terror watch list is deplorable,” said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. “No bureaucratic snafu can excuse this international embarrassment, and we need to fix this policy now.”
Chicago Tribune has more.
2!: The suicide rate among veterans and especially Iraq veterans is way above the national average. I heard on the radio that of the service men stationed in Iraq more have taken their own lives than died in battle. I have not been able to confirm this story, but I have found some interesting stats that show a very high rate of suicide among war veterans. There was a recent scandal in which the VA director of mental health sent an e-mail trying to cover up the high rate of attempted suicides. Here is the story. I also found a CBS News investigation done back in Nov. 2007 that exposes the high rates.
The chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, responded to the story Tuesday.
“The report that the rate of suicide among veterans is double that of the general population is deeply troubling and simply unacceptable. I am especially concerned that so many young veterans appear to be taking their own lives. For too many veterans, returning home from battle does not bring an end to conflict. There is no question that action is needed.”
Albert Hofmann, the Swiss scientist who invented LSD, died last week. Edward Rothstein has an excellent piece in the Arts section of the New York Times discussing the phenomena of LSD and how Hofmanm related to it. Rothstein writes:
Dr. Hofmann, you recall, was the discoverer of LSD when he was a brilliant young Swiss chemist working for Sandoz Laboratories; he was identifying and refining the medicinal properties of various plants. In 1943, after synthesizing a chemical derived from the ergot fungus found on rye kernels, he noticed some unusual sensations. He entered a dreamlike state, as he described it; when he closed his eyes he saw an “uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures.”
Rothstein goes on to describe the “first bad acid trip” which Hofmann has the next day when he dropped a little more. The author gets a little cynical when he states that although he never tried LSD he was fully emerged in the culture of LSD. When discussing the spiritual side of LSD he writes:
That Clear Light sounded nice. So did “the All Good” and “the All Peaceful.” But these chants also warned on the subject of the “Source Energy,” “Do not try to intellectualize it.” And that still seems wrong: ideas of trying to “merge with the world” and “enjoy the dance of the puppets” seem relatively banal compared with really seeing the interconnectedness of things. How did Eastern mysticism, 20th-century pharmacology, messianic politics and 19th-century Romanticism become so intertwined?
This really was a remarkable form of cultural intoxication. And there were important precedents. It was no accident that when Aldous Huxley wrote about his experience taking mescaline in “The Doors of Perception” in 1954, his title was drawn from William Blake: “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
Through out the piece the author ties together the mysticism, romance, and science that surround the mood and mind altering drug. At the end Rothstein points out that although LSD had an anti-materialism, anti-industry, anti-technology, and anti-science culture many of the techno computer loving citizens of today are products of the LSD culture.
I am not sure I agree with all of Rothstein’s points, but I find the death of the inventor of this entire psychedelic movement to be something of significance.