Monthly Archives: October 2005

Divination


OuijaBush

How can divination
Exceed imagination?

You may be contemplating a very bold move in your life. It might be taking a chance on love. It might be deciding to move across the world to begin a new career. It might be combining things that have never been put together before to make a new invention. What you’re contemplating is so surprising to you that you wonder whether or not to do it.

Traditionally, people turned to divination. But how can any system of divination really help you? Whether it is turtle shells, yarrow stalks, crystal balls, psychics, or spirit possession, are the forces “out there” really going to provide any true reassurance? Depending on divination means giving up control over your own life. It’s also avoiding responsibility — you are able to say it wasn’t your fault if things don’t work out.

Imaginative action is very important in life. Without it, we are less than human. For imagination to come into being, we need decisiveness and control. Unless we have these two factors, we cannot manifest the concentration to bring something new into being. We should not surrender our right to decide the course of our lives to vague propitiations of the unknown. We should explore every new possibility that appeals to us and, with wise action, build the force of our characters.

Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

“>in divination< Harry: Wait, I've got two neptunes, that cant be right! Ron: >imitating professor trelwany< Ahh! Two neptunes is a sure sign a midget in glasses is being born!" -- J K Rowling

“There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.” — Bible

“DIVINATION, n. The art of nosing out the occult. Divination is of as many kinds as there are fruit-bearing varieties of the flowering dunce and the early fool.” — Ambrose Bierce

“Few people have the imagination for reality.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have – for their usefulness.”
— Thomas Merton

“Study the situation thoroughly, go over in your imagination the various courses of action possible to you and the consequences which can and may follow from each course. Pick out the course which gives the most promise and go ahead.” –Maxwell Maltz

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.” — William Blake

“To open the Eternal Worlds, to open the immortal Eyes
Of Man inwards into the Worlds of Thought: into Eternity
Ever expanding in the Bosom of God, the Human Imagination.”
— William Blake

“Imagination is not something apart and hermetic, not a way of leaving reality behind; it is a way of engaging reality.” — Irving Howe

“Imagination grows by exercise, and contrary to common belief, is more powerful in the mature than in the young.”– William Somerset Maugham

OK, I wasn’t gonna get political with this one, but I found that image while doing my art search and how could I resist? And it does speak to character – everyone read what they wanted into Dubya, but what I saw was someone with a track record of failure and bad character, and so it has proved out.

We all spend a lot of our time trying to figure out the “signs and portents”, whether economic, professional, or personal. Many people turn to their God to try and answer their questions about what to do, many people look to fortune tellers or astrology or another method of divination. One of my favorite things as a kid was a tarot deck. I loved to play with it, and still have a couple of particularly artistic tarot decks that I like. We also played with ouija boards and read our horoscopes and all of that. I really don’t think I ever took much of it seriously. I had a high school friend who did some wonderfully humorous horoscopes and palm reading s for me – his sense of humor was quite bizarre and I loved it.

We never know what is going to come into our lives, or what directions we may take. Many people are afraid of change; I happen to love it. Mostly because I think the only thing we can truly count on is change itself. If we are unhappy, we can know things will change, if we are happy and prosperous, we can keep ourselves prepared for the downside risk. We are organisms that are continuously changing. Every cell in our bodies is constantly being repaired, renewed, or replaced. Why do we expect that our lives should not be constantly changing as well?

Major Republican Donor Indicted in Ohio – Yahoo! News

Major Republican Donor Indicted in Ohio – Yahoo! News

A coin dealer and major GOP donor at the center of a scandal in Ohio state government was charged Thursday with illegally funneling $45,400 in contributions to
President Bush’s re-election bid.

Tom Noe was accused in a federal indictment of giving money directly or indirectly to 24 friends and associates, who then made the campaign contributions in their own names. In that way, he skirted the $2,000 limit on individual contributions, prosecutors said.

“It’s one of the most blatant and excessive finance schemes we have encountered,” said Noel Hillman, section chief of the U.S.
Department of Justice’s public integrity section.

Calls to the White House and Noe’s attorneys were not immediately returned. Prosecutors said the Bush campaign has cooperated with their investigation.

Noe also is under investigation over an ill-fated $50 million investment in rare coins he managed for the state workers’ compensation fund. Noe has acknowledged that up to $13 million is missing, and Ohio’s attorney general has accused him of stealing as much as $6 million. No charges have been filed in that case, though state officials say they plan to do so.

Prosecutors would not reveal the names of the people to whom Noe gave money to contribute or say if any of them would be charged. The indictment said Noe and those who gave his money to Bush had conspired together to violate the contribution limits.

Two people who received just over $20,000 from Noe recruited others who then gave money in their own names, the indictment said.

The coin dealer personally contributed more than $105,000 to Republicans, including Bush and Gov. Bob Taft, during the last campaign.

An investigation into Noe’s coin investments led to ethics charges against Taft for failing to report golf outings and other gifts. The governor pleaded no contest in August and was fined $4,000.

U.S. Attorney Gregory White said prosecutors were negotiating Noe’s surrender with his lawyer.

Noe’s attorney, Bill Wilkinson, said in a statement that Noe’s surrender was complicated by the fact that Noe was in South Florida and that many courthouses there were still closed because of Hurricane Wilma.

If convicted, Noe faces up to 15 years in prison and fines up to $950,000.

Dem candidates should now refer to their opponents as “The Unindicted Republican Candidate….

Seriously, these people are as corrupt as they come. Culture of Corruption…..

Righting


Harriet Miers withdraws her nomination for the Supreme Court

A deviation of a hair’s breadth at the center
Leads to an error of a hundred miles at the rim.
When the effort is so slight,
Why should you hesitate to set things right?

There are many people who endeavor to know Tao. In the greatest sincerity, they take music lessons, read scriptures, learn foreign languages, study nutrition, change their dress, and go to temples — all in the hopes that they will reach Tao. Sadly, they miss it by a hair’s breadth. For a person to awaken to Tao, someone must give them a spark. Perhaps this is what is called direct transmission. It is odd, but this is the only way that knowledge of Tao is passed on.

Book knowledge can help and give one a deep theoretical background, but the true understanding of Tao still comes person to person. There is no other way.

So if you have any true understanding of Tao, you got it from someone. If you meet someone else who needs that spark and you are in the position to give it, then do so. Don’t be selfish. There are so many people out there who want guidance and who cannot get it. If you can make a difference for at least one person, then you have tremendous merit indeed.

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”– Friedrich Nietzsche

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” — Albert Schweitzer

“How hard it is to hide the sparks of nature!” — William Shakespeare

“The spark divine dwells in thee: let it grow.”
— Ella Wheeler Wilcox

“Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.”
— Samuel Johnson

“If you have anything really valuable to contribute to the world it will come through the expression of your own personality, that single spark of divinity that sets you off and makes you different from every other living creature.”
— Bruce Barton

“Each of us has a spark of life inside us, and our highest endeavor ought to be to set off that spark in one another.” — Kenny Ausubel

“The really good idea is always traceable back quite a long way, often to a not very good idea which sparked off another idea that was only slightly better, which somebody else misunderstood in such a way that they then said something which was really rather interesting.” — John Cleese

OK, so my Tao posting gets political today. It just seemed… right.

So because Harriet isn’t far enough to the right for the wingers, and because she isn’t really qualified anyway, but only got the nod by being Bush’s suck-up, she withdraws. She misses the dream job of her life for being a hair’s breath away from being “right” at her center….

Yes, it’s fine to give guidance to others. It is not fine to nominate your buddies to positions they aren’t qualified to hold. It is not find to push your own world view, whatever it is, so hard that you can’t accept that other people have a different world view. It is not fine to surround yourself only with people who think like you do, and then be surprised when those people aren’t qualified to do certain jobs that need to be done. It was not right to elect someone as our President who wasn’t qualified for the job, who knows only how to listen to a point of view he already holds and not those of the people who disagree with him. Those who believed him were off by more than a hair’s breath, and now find not only can they not meet their goals, but have screwed up the lives of two thousand of our soldiers and millions of other people as well. Cronies and sycophants are not those who should hold the highest offices in our land. It’s not right.

And I don’t know that it is right to assume that Tao is only passed hand to hand by some Tao gurus. The Tao Te Ching is 81 verses of lovely poetry that presents a neat way of looking at the world, one that allows you to find spirituality in a very simple, direct way. It is not a mysterious virus that you get from others and give to them. I read and write about the Tao because it gives me pleasure to do so, because it makes me think and feel and reconsider how I think and feel. If others learn from what I have to say, great. If they don’t read it, or don’t learn from it, that’s ok as well.

Ah, but I look out my window and see that the bird feeder is empty, and someone would like something to eat. So I’ll probably get some bird food and fill the feeders today. I suppose in that way I will pass some of the Tao along to the birds. And a young kid was passing through yesterday selling magazines, and grateful that I purchased one from him, saying I was the first person who had helped him all day. The neighbor’s daughter delivered the gift wrap I had purchased from her for her school sale, proudly carrying the rolls of gift wrap and handing them to me with a big smile. My yoga class last night was a wonderful sharing of good exercise and good spirits. I’m off this weekend to a friend’s wedding in San Francisco.

Yes, I share the Tao, I give others guidance and help when I can.

The true spark of the Tao? That is bright laughter, the sparkle of the eyes, the understanding and amusement that comes from living in a beautiful, fulfilling world and knowing this is all there will ever be and it is enough. It is enough to wake up to the day and and find opportunities to help others in the world, opportunities to enrich your own life and the lives of those around you. If you enjoy the process of learning about Tao, that is great and wonderful. But don’t think a book will give you the spark of life you can find from those around you.

Yes, I get my sparks where I can, from everyone I can. I love to see someone’s eyes light up when they get a joke I’ve told, or when they learn to look at life with amusement instead of being always overly serious. I’ve collected the little sparks my whole life – from my Dad, my Grandfather, others in my family, my friends, my husband, my kids, people I meet every day – there are sparks everywhere you look. I get them from nature, my pets, those birds who keep showing up even though the feeder isn’t getting filled, and so many other places.

What do I think was really wrong with Harriet Miers? She lacks that spark. No one was impressed with her, no one taken by her so much that they would fight to defend her. Sure, she read all the right books, said all the right things, changed the way she dressed, changed her hair a bit. But only by sucking up to someone was she able to even be considered in the first place, and it wasn’t enough. And it sets off, for me, what is wrong with the entire Republican party today. It is a cobbled-together mess of power lust, wealth, and moral indignation that has no true spark of life to it at all. These people don’t want life to be better for everyone, or even anyone else. They see only their own goals, their own pocket books swelling, their own agendas. And what we need right now, desperately need, are the people who have the spark of life – and want to share it with everyone, not just their buddies.

Existing


illustration by Kuniharu Shimizu haiku by soji

Fog makes the world a painting obscure.
Even close trees are half unseen.
But a lonesome crow won’t stop calling:
He objects to being in this dream.

Over and over, the sages tell us that this world is but a dream.

When one awakes on foggy mornings, with the mists obscuring hills and valleys and the trees and village buildings appearing as diaphanous apparitions, we might even agree with them. Didn’t we see this same uncertain mirage in the hills of Vermont? The hollow of the Yangtze River valley? The streets of Paris? Don’t the memories blend with the dream and turn reality into phantasmagoria?

The world is a dream from which there is no escaping.

In this still dream, there is a crow calling. He doesn’t stop. When everything else is frozen in the sepulchral dawn, the bird continues to scream. Maybe he realizes the same dream. He protests loudly.

The ancients hold the outer reality to be unreal. But there is the inner reality too. Some of us do not readily accept the conditions of this existence. We have eyes to see, but we also have voice to refute the existential delusion.

Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

“All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.” — Buddha

“What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet” — Woody Allen

“Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion”
— Democritus

“You can become fully conscious only when you are living in the moment. To begin to live in the moment you have to know it exists and understand it. To understand it you have to observe it in relation to yourself and in relation to life. When you understand it, when you become conscious, you will see it is all that exists. To see this is to glimpse reality. ” — Barry Long

“There is no God, no universe, no human race, no earthly life, no heaven, no hell. It is all a dream, a grotesque and foolish dream. Nothing exists but you. And you are but a thought –a vagrant thought, a useless thought, a homeless thought, wandering forlorn among the empty eternities!”
— Mark Twain

“Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bog-gglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.
The argument goes something like this: `I refuse to prove that I exist,’ says God, `for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.’
`But,’ says Man, `The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED.’
`Oh dear,’ says God, `I hadn’t thought of that,’ and promptly vanished in a puff of logic.
`Oh, that was easy,’ says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets
himself killed on the next zebra crossing.”
— Douglas Adams

“I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world”
— Walt Whitman

The problem with arguing about existance is that the evidence is in front of you – things you see, touch, taste, feel, hear. There’s little point in worrying about reality except as a philosophical exercise, which is what turns most people off about philosophy anyway.

It’s fun to look at from a molecular level though, and see that most of what we call real is just empty space, and inside those atoms there is – more empty space. Huh. So when you get down at that level, it’s fun to play with the bits and see what’s really there. On a day-to-day basis though, not so much. We kinda have to deal with what is here and now in our bit of reality.

So, perhaps the best approach is to be like the obnoxious crow, and shout your barbaric yawp already. You’re here, so enjoy it.

Always Low Values. Always.

Wal-Mart Memo Suggests Ways to Cut Employee Benefit Costs – New York Times

An internal memo sent to Wal-Mart’s board of directors proposes numerous ways to hold down spending on health care and other benefits while seeking to minimize damage to the retailer’s reputation. Among the recommendations are hiring more part-time workers and discouraging unhealthy people from working at Wal-Mart.

In the memorandum, M. Susan Chambers, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president for benefits, also recommends reducing 401(k) contributions and wooing younger, and presumably healthier, workers by offering education benefits. The memo voices concern that workers with seven years’ seniority earn more than workers with one year’s seniority, but are no more productive.

To discourage unhealthy job applicants, Ms. Chambers suggests that Wal-Mart arrange for “all jobs to include some physical activity (e.g., all cashiers do some cart-gathering).”

The memo acknowledged that Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, had to walk a fine line in restraining benefit costs because critics had attacked it for being stingy on wages and health coverage. Ms. Chambers acknowledged that 46 percent of the children of Wal-Mart’s 1.33 million United States employees were uninsured or on Medicaid.

Scum sucking maggots.

Update:

Michael informs me in his comment that I have unjustly defamed the scum sucking maggots of the world. Indeed…. apologies to any actual scum sucking maggots I may have offended.

Walmart is far worse than the insects of the earth. Insects are useful creatures. Walmart is a parasitic organism that preys on the poor to feed the greed of the wealthy inheritors of its evil empire.

Oh, and GET THE MOVIE and show it – often…

http://www.walmartmovie.com/teaser_qhi.php

The Names


Today in Iraq

10/25/05 2,000 UNITED STATES TROOPS DEAD IN IRAQ

On September seventh of last year we crossed the grim toll of one thousand U.S. troops killed in Iraq. Today, just a little over a year later we hit the two thousand mark. President Bush is still in denial about anyone being hurt or killed American or Iraqi.

Ryan Anthony Beaupre, 30, Marine Captain, Mar 21, 2003

Therrel Shane Childers, 30, Marine 2nd Lieutenant, Mar 21, 2003

Jose Antonio Gutierrez, 22, Marine Lance Corporal, Mar 21, 2003

Brian Matthew Kennedy, 25, Marine Corporal, Mar 21, 2003

Kendall Damon Waters-Bey, 29, Marine Staff Sergeant, Mar 21, 2003

Jacob D. Dones, 21, Army Sergeant, Oct 20, 2005

Dennis P. Merck, 38, Army National Guard Staff Sergeant, Oct 20, 2005

Richard T. Pummill, 27, Marine Staff Sergeant, Oct 20, 2005

Andrew D. Russoli, 21, Marine Lance Corporal, Oct 20, 2005

Steven W. Szwydek, 20, Marine Lance Corporal, Oct 20, 2005

Kenneth J. Butler, 19, Marine Lance Corporal, Oct 21, 2005

Seamus M. Davey, 25, Marine Reserve Corporal, Oct 21, 2005

Christopher W. Thompson, 25, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class, Oct 21, 2005

With photos at the NY Times

Terrorist Cookies

US News Article | Reuters.com

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A toy car and a cookie prompted a bomb scare at San Diego airport on Tuesday when they were mistaken for possible bomb-making parts in a passenger’s luggage.

Officials closed the commuter terminal at San Diego International Airport and evacuated passengers for about an hour after baggage screeners using X-ray equipment raised a red flag.

“Both of those items together on the screen gave the appearance of an … improvised explosive device,” Transport Security Administration spokeswoman Jennifer Peppin said.

Peppin said that, seen on the X-ray, the cookie resembled organic material that could be a raw component of a homemade bomb. Inspectors may also have spotted batteries or wire in the child’s toy car, she said.

A handful of flights were delayed until the contents of the suspect bag proved harmless.

The scare followed bomb threats phoned in around dawn on Tuesday to two airports north of San Diego — Long Beach and Orange County’s John Wayne airport in the Los Angeles area. Both airports were searched but nothing was found.

OK, so terrorists – make sure you shape those explosive charges like cookies and toys! Oh, and get a six year old to carry them for you…

Reminds me of when they wanted to cut open my sister-in-law’s stuffed teddy bear…

What an insane country we live in.

Stages


Eric Morris, I Ching hexagram 8, Pi – Holding together (Union)

Unless you are pious,
You cannot gain a foothold in Tao.
Unless you go beyond rules,
You haven’t gained the middle.
Unless you can be creative,
You aren’t traversing Tao.
Unless the road always stretches out before you,
You are not walking the true Tao.

When people start on a spiritual path, they are anxious to learn all the rules. This is understandable, even necessary. Often we need stern measures to set ourselves right.

But dogmatism is not spirituality. Sometimes, it is necessary to break rules. The task is to know how to go against doctrine in a way that actually fulfills the spirit of that doctrine. It is only at this point that one matures as a follower of Tao.

The next stage is complete creativity. You have so internalized doctrine that you need not think of it, yet everything you do will be spontaneously correct. There are many stages after that, stages not documented but there for you to explore on your own.

Those who follow Tao recognize that all people go through stages of development. Many people leave their spiritual communities when they outgrow them. The path of Tao has been conceived so that one never outgrows it. One can outgrow a particular stage, but when that happens, there is another one to be entered. In this way, following Tao is always vital.

Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

“The stages of the Noble Path are: Right View, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Behavior, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.”
— Buddha

“Every philosophy is the philosophy of some stage of life.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages” — William Shakespeare

“If life is just a stage, then we are all running around ad-libbing, with absolutely no clue what the plot is. Maybe that’s why we don’t know whether it’s a comedy or tragedy.” — Bill Watterson

“We come fresh to the different stages of life, and in each of them we are quite inexperienced, no matter how old we are” — François de la Rochefoucauld

“Old age, believe me, is a good and pleasant thing. It is true you are gently shouldered off the stage, but then you are given such a comfortable front stall as spectator.”
— Confucius

“Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength”
— Betty Friedan

“We see that the apparent contradictions and perplexities in every religion mark but different stages of growth. The end of all religions is the realizing of God in the soul . That is the one universal religion.”
— Swami Vivekananda

“Although we human beings have our own personal life, we are yet in large measure the representatives, the victims and promoters of a collective spirit whose years are counted in centuries. We can well think all our lives long that we are following our own noses, and may never discover that we are, for the most part, supernumeraries on the stage of the world theatre.” — Carl Gustav Jung

A man is born gentle and weak.
At his death he is hard and stiff.
Green plants are tender and filled with sap.
At their death they are withered and dry.
Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death.
The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life.
Thus an army without flexibility never wins a battle.
A tree that is unbending is easily broken.
The hard and strong will fall.
The soft and weak will overcome.

Tao Te Ching, 76

I’ve never been one to enjoy dogma. I really like karma, though. People who are dogmatic and unyielding are not usually of interest to me, no matter what stage of life I was in.

I think I pretty much always questioned religious teachings. As a young child I sort of believed them, but I think once I got beyond a certain age religion and God became like Santa Claus to me – I might still pretend there is a Santa that exists independently of me and other people too, but I know where the presents come from.

My mom’s faith was always very strong, and in many ways, it turned me off. I would see her turn things over to religion that to me were things someone ought to be doing something about. As if God would come solve all her problems somehow, and she didn’t have to change how she acted. When my dad died, I saw some differences in how she handled things, but that period passed all too briefly, and by the end, she was once again just letting things slide on by her – including her health, her home, and my sister and nephew’s problems. My nephew and my sister became so dependent on her that it was difficult to get them to start handling their own lives when she died.

I know religion is a great help and comfort to many, even most, people. It is difficult to walk an independent path, and for that reason, Tao is not for everyone. But the path you can find with Tao, while it can be lonely, brings a real peace and trust in the real world that other spiritual paths may not. It’s fine to follow rules if they work for you and make sense to you, and don’t interfere with other people’s lives. But to demand that others must follow your path is not spiritual, and to demand that your own life be ruled by dogma that harms you or makes you uncomfortable is not spiritual either. I find many, many people who have religion, but no spirit. I much prefer those who live the other way around.

Nice work, Halliburton – fire the locals and bring in illegal workers

USATODAY.com – Illegal workers found at La. base

Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Jamie Zuieback said Sunday that the agency was asked to come to Belle Chasse Naval Air Station on Thursday by base officials. Zuieback said 10 workers were found who were not authorized to work in the United States. They were denied base access, and the agency is investigating “the circumstance surrounding their employment,” she said.

Navy spokesman Lt. (j.g.) Sean Robertson said that 13 individuals had been barred from the base. Neither he nor Zuieback could explain the discrepancy between the numbers.

The action came amid growing complaints from area electricians who say they lost their jobs at the base to lower-wage workers.

Robert “Tiger” Hammond, president of the Greater New Orleans AFL-CIO, said about 75 union electricians lost their jobs after the Bush administration temporarily suspended the Davis-Bacon Act, which guarantees the prevailing local wage for workers hired under federal contracts.

It was unclear who employed the undocumented workers. Zuieback would not give the name of the employer. Robertson said they worked for BE&K, an Alabama-based contractor, and Texas-based BMS Catastrophe.

BE&K spokeswoman Susan Wasley said no company employee had been cited, removed or barred from the base. “We haven’t done anything wrong,” she said.

BMS Catastrophe did not return calls for comment.

BE&K is a subcontractor for Halliburton, which is doing the bulk of the reconstruction work at the base. It was not clear whether BMS Catastrophe also is a Halliburton subcontractor.

OK, so bad enough they don’t hire locals, but then they bring in ILLEGAL workers – for a NAVY BASE?

Give me a break – I never know what’s worse, the corruption or the incompetence….