Monthly Archives: June 2009

Walking softly

A good walker leaves no tracks;
A good speaker makes no slips;
A good reckoner needs no tally.
A good door need no lock,
Yet no one can open it.
Good binding requires no knots, Yet no one can loosen it.

Therefore the sage takes care of all men
And abandons no one.
He takes care of all things
And abandons nothing.

This is called “following the light.”

What is a good man?
A teacher of a bad man.
What is a bad man?
A good man’s charge.
If the teacher is not respected,
And the pupil not cared for,
Confusion will arise, however clever one is.
This is the crux of mystery.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – chapter 27

One may move so well that a foot-print never shows,
Speak so well that the tongue never slips,
Reckon so well that no counter is needed,
Seal an entrance so tight, though using no lock,
That it cannot be opened,
Bind a hold so firm, though using no cord,
That it cannot be untied.
And these are traits not only of a sound man
But of many a man thought to be unsound.
A sound man is good at salvage,
At seeing that nothing is lost.
Having what is called insight,
A good man, before he can help a bad man,
Finds in himself the matter with the bad man.
And whichever teacher
Discounts the lesson
Is as far off the road as the other,
Whatever else he may know.
That is the heart of it.

Tao Te Ching 27, Witter Bynner translation

So long and thanks for all the music


You close your eyes and hope that this is just imagination…

Cause this is thriller, thriller night
There ain’t no second chance against the thing with forty eyes, girl
Thriller, thriller night
You’re fighting for your life inside a killer, thriller tonight

Night creatures calling, the dead start to walk in their masquerade
There’s no escaping the jaws of the alien this time
(They’re open wide)
This is the end of your life…

Being the same age as Michael Jackson, I grew up watching him. Never bought any of his music because it was ubiquitous, everywhere. I don’t think I ever really admired him, except in the sense of realizing how much work it was to do what he did, how much he put into it all. He was an amazing performer, his entire life basically one long performance. I wonder if even Michael ever knew who he really was, underneath it all. A part of the boomer childhood vanished yesterday, with Farrah and Michael. Some are calling it the end of pop culture, but of course it isn’t. But I certainly felt the pull of age and time, and the loss of another piece of my teen years and their history.

Thanks, Michael. We’ll miss you.


“He thought intelligence a function of the individual and that groups of persons were intelligent in inverse proportion to their size. Nations had the brains of an amoeba whereas a committee approached the condition of a trainable moron.”

—  John Updike, in his story “Bech Swings”

“It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value.” — Arthur C. Clarke

“I would like to take you seriously, but to do so would be an affront to your intelligence.”
— George Bernard Shaw

“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun”
— Pablo Picasso

“Intelligence is the ability to avoid doing work, yet getting the work done”
— Linus Torvalds

“Intelligence is not to make no mistakes, but quickly to see how to make them good.”
— Bertolt Brecht

“I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.”
— Socrates

“The intellect is not a serious thing, and never has been. It is an instrument on which one plays, that is all.”
— Oscar Wilde

“Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun.” — George Scialabra

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.”
— Tao Te Ching

Spiraling Up

DNA, Robert Finkbeiner

Three subtle energy currents:
Twin helixes around a jade pillar.
This glowing presence
Is the force of life itself.

Deep in meditation, it is possible to become aware of the life-force itself. You can see it if you learn how to look within. To describe it as electricity, or power, or light, or consciousness is all somewhat correct. But such descriptions are inadequate. You have to see it for yourself. You have to feel it for yourself. You have to know it for yourself.

To be in its presence is like being in front of something primeval, basic, mysterious, shamanistic, and profound. To be in its presence makes all references mute and all senses slack, leaving only deep awe. One is drawn to it in utter fascination. It is the mighty flame to our moth-like consciousness.

This column of energy that coils around itself holds all the stages of our growth. It is our soul; it is the force that animates us and gives us awareness. If you want to engage your life completely, it is essential for you to come to terms with this inner power. Once you harmonize with it you can blend with the dynamics of being human.

Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

“Oh soul,
you worry too much.
You have seen your own strength.
You have seen your own beauty.
You have seen your golden wings.
Of anything less,
why do you worry?
You are in truth
the soul, of the soul, of the soul.”

Jalal ad-Din Rumi

A helix, sometimes also called a coil, is a curve for which the tangent makes a constant angle with a fixed line. The shortest path between two points on a cylinder (one not directly above the other) is a fractional turn of a helix, as can be seen by cutting the cylinder along one of its sides, flattening it out, and noting that a straight line connecting the points becomes helical upon re-wrapping (Steinhaus 1999, p. 229). It is for this reason that squirrels chasing one another up and around tree trunks follow helical paths. — Eric Weisstein, Mathworld

I think the extraordinary success of the double helix sprang largely from the fact that it’s such a simple geometric shape. The helix struck a responsive chord in so many people because it suggested that the secret of life is something you can look at. Looking at it, you see properties which otherwise would have been totally incoherent if you didn’t have a geometric shape to hang it on. –Benoit Mandlebrot

“What is art,
But life upon the larger scale, the higher,
When, graduating up in a spiral line
Of still expanding and ascending gyres,
It pushes toward the intense significance
Of all things, hungry for the Infinite?
Art’s life, — and where we live, we suffer and toil.”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

People often talk about their spiritual growth as a spiral. Karen Armstrong’s recent autobiography is called “The Spiral Staircase“. Very few people find their spirituality is a straightforward process, if they are determined to really find something more than what western society gives us as religion, or what Eastern mysticism gives us as chants and mantras.

For me, the spiritual growth has come in strange ways and from strange places, and I think that is how authentic spiritual growth progresses, from within, as we turn through the limits of our own being and try to become more. We find ourselves turning again and again within the limited space of ourselves, and finally realize that there is an enormous amount of space outside of ourselves. We then create mobius strips and Klein bottles, trying to bring this outside space within ourselves, an impossible task at first. We see the beautiful poetry of Rumi as he struggles with spirituality, the magnificent stories and tales of mythology, religion, and literature, all trying to move in these same paths.

And then one day, a small hummingbird sits in front of your nose, flapping its wings, and looks at you curiously, or you gaze into a flower and finally really see it, or someone says something that catches your ear and your mind at just the right moment, or a quiet meditation brings you to the place within yourself that just knows, simply knows, and you smile. You get it. You get that Mona Lisa smile on your face and just — become yourself.

And it happens over and over. We find ourselves, we lose ourselves, we find ourselves again, at another place on the spiral. The helixes divide, and come back together. And life goes on.

Wascally Wabbit!

There is a bunny in my garden! It is small enough to fit through the 2 by 2 inch grid fence. I’ve chased it out a couple times now but I’m sure it will be back again.

Sigh. Never had bunnies in the yard before. Usually they are afraid of the dogs and the cat, but I guess this one is very brave or very stupid. Well, not stupid enough for me to catch yet…

Kids, don't tweet in the tub!

Sad… I make fun of Twitter, but this is just… sad.

Two things here in what seems to be the world’s first Twittercide: don’t use your computer while taking a bath. And if for whatever reason you do, don’t be like this 17-year-old Romanian girl and risk your well-being to Tweet.

The Austrian times says that Maria Barbu was, in fact, in the tub while using Twitter when she likely reached to plug in her charger with a wet hand, electrocuting herself in the process. You smell that? Yeah, that’s a Darwin Award in the making. [Austrian Times]

via Gizmodo – Girl Dies by Electrocution While Twitting in Bathtub, Apocalypse Draws Nearer – Girl Dies Twitter Bathtub.



Long ago, far away
Life was clear
Close your eyes…

Remember — is a place from long ago
Remember — filled with everything you know
Remember — when you’re sad and feeling down
Remember — turn around

Remember — life is just a memory
Remember — close your eyes and you can see
Remember — think of all that life can be

Dream — love is only in a dream
Remember …
Remember — life is never as it seems

Long ago, far away
Life was clear
Close your eyes…

— Harry Nilsson

(posted today for Neil Bulger, who passed away June 15th…)

Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice at the ancient observatory of Stonehenge.

Chinese astronomers determine the summer solstice

Solstice comes from the Latin (sol, sun; sistit, stands). For several days before and after each solstice, the sun appears to stand still in the sky—that is, its noontime elevation does not seem to change.

When the true light appears,
The entire planet turns to face it.

The summer solstice is the time of greatest light. It is a day of enormous power. The whole planet is turned fully to the brilliance of the sun.

This great culmination is not static or permanent. Indeed, solstice as a time of culmination is only a barely perceptible point. The sun appears to stand still. Its diurnal motion seems to nearly cease. Yesterday, it was still reaching this point; tomorrow, it will begin a new phase of its cycle.

Those who follow Tao celebrate this day to remind themselves of the cycles of existence. They remember that all cycles have a left and a right, an up side and a down side, a zenith and a nadir. Today, day far surpasses night, and yet night will gradually begin to reassert itself. All of life is cycles. All of life is balance.

So celebrate, but be not proud. For whenever you celebrate high achievement, the antithesis is also approaching. Likewise, in misfortune, be not sad. For whenever you mourn in grief, the antithesis is also approaching. Those who know how to reach the peak of any cycle and remain glorious are the wisest of all.

Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

And a Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads. My husband’s present is getting away from us all for the day. Not for good reasons, unfortunately, he’s off to a friend’s brother’s funeral in Phoenix.

I’ve always celebrated the Winter Solstice more than the Summer Solstice — I’m happier for the end of darkness than for the day the light begins to decline again. We haven’t seen that much of the sun here this year, though — even yesterday it was cloudy and barely hit 70. Today the sun is out shining and we’ll maybe see 80. These cool days are getting to me — I need some heat. I’m sure as soon as it does get warm I’ll be complaining about it, though.

But my poor tomatoes are half-shriveled things and the peppers look stunted. They need some light and heat to take off and do well. I’ve planted a few more tomatoes just to replace the ones that have just given up this year. My yellow pear is the only one that is really doing well. So we’ll be buried in yellow pears, at least. I have a couple brandywines that have popped up on their own, and as soon as they get big enough we’ll have a good haul from them.

Careful, they spit!


President Obama took a jab at Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel at the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner last night:

“In Egypt, we had the opportunity to tour the pyramids,” Mr. Obama said, referring to his trip earlier this month. “And by now, I’m sure you’ve all seen the pictures of Rahm on that camel. I admit, I was a little nervous about the whole situation. I said at the time, ‘This is a wild animal known to bite, kick and spit. And who knows what the camel could do.’ ”

Via Kos.