Even in absurdity, sacrament.     Even in hardship, holiness.     Even in doubt, faith.     Even in chaos, realization.    Even in paradox, blessedness


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Birdfeathers, Moonbeams,
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PERIODIC: laughing~knees

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< # oddbloggers + >

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* Latest additions... welcome!

[?]= Seems to be down or on hiatus.
Please report broken links for my blog audit.

"Life expands or shrinks in proportion to one's courage."    ~Anain Nin

{ Monday, 31 January, 2005 }

Alex Grey: The Sacred Mirrors [via MeFi]

The life-sized representations of the human body, portraying its physical and energetic systems, are both rigorously precise and vividly visionary. The Sacred Mirrors dramatically reveal the miracle of life's evolutionary complexity, the unity of human experience across all racial, class and gender divides, and the astonishing vistas of possibility inherent in human consciousness. Alex Grey has combined ancient wisdom, anatomical accuracy and post-modern eclecticism to produce elegant, universally accessible, eternally relevant and resonant symbols.

jaybird found this for you @ 19:55 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink

What I heard about Iraq, an exhaustive accounting of executive doublespeak:

In 1992, a year after the first Gulf War, I heard Dick Cheney, then secretary of defense, say that the US had been wise not to invade Baghdad and get ‘bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq’. I heard him say: ‘The question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is: not that damned many.’

In February 2001, I heard Colin Powell say that Saddam Hussein ‘has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours.’

That same month, I heard that a CIA report stated: ‘We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since Desert Fox to reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction programmes.’

In July 2001, I heard Condoleezza Rice say: ‘We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt.’

jaybird found this for you @ 15:51 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

Confession as Art: Post Secret

You are invited to anonymously contribute a secret to the PostSecret
project. Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, desire, feeling,
confession, or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything - as long
as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:37 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink

Spray-On Solar-Power Cells Are True Breakthrough

The plastic material uses nanotechnology and contains the first solar cells able to harness the sun's invisible, infrared rays. The breakthrough has led theorists to predict that plastic solar cells could one day become five times more efficient than current solar cell technology.

Like paint, the composite can be sprayed onto other materials and used as portable electricity. A sweater coated in the material could power a cell phone or other wireless devices. A hydrogen-powered car painted with the film could potentially convert enough energy into electricity to continually recharge the car's battery.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:35 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink

Pablo Neruda: Twenty love poems and a song of despair

Hardened by passions, I go mounted on my one wave,
lunar, solar, burning and cold, all at once,
becalmed in the throat of fortunate isles
that are white and sweet as cool hips.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:34 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink

{ Sunday, 30 January, 2005 }

A Block of Cheese and the Value of Life:
Discovering Real Security through Deep Empathy

I've been asked to contribute a piece for the gay men's spirituality magazine White Crane Jounal, on the heavy and difficult topic of money, one of my least favorite things. This is the raw version of that article, presented here for vetting and your thoughts.

Some would probably call it a low point in one’s childhood, the day the block of welfare cheese arrives in its stark white box. True, times were very hard, and it was certainly represented a blow for a mother who worked multiple jobs to pay for her only son’s specialized schooling and who herself was brought up with all the trimmings of upper class society. But for me, a ten year-old awkward child who didn’t quite understand the symbolism, it was a blessing. While for my mother this handout was probably something of a last straw, it presented an opportunity for unusual and imaginative culinary misadventures. It was a challenge for my little hands to cut and its hue was so artificially orange that there is no natural analog for that color. Truly, making a meal of welfare cheese is a singular experience, a communion of resourcefulness and a twinge of despair, which the eyes of even the youngest children can glean from their surroundings even if the language isn’t there to classify it.

Yet, I remember very clearly laughing with my mother about the ridiculousness of it all. Hanging by a financial thread, the government in all its charity, gives us a dense monolith of adulterated cheddar; there’s a strange comedy in that. Yet we persevered, and during that interim I appreciated the little bit of food we had. As is natural when poverty strikes, we made sure nothing went to waste. And yet, that youthful naïve quasi-asceticism of mine had a flip side to it, as all stories do. On the weekends with my father, the centerpiece was always fresh, the silver always polished, and the roast, tender if intimidating in its girth, lay steaming in its opulence for no good reason other than it was Sunday dinner. Elbows off the table, fork held just right, the contrast between my two lives left me confused in my loyalties and questioning which of my parents made me feel more secure. Child psychologists often note that food is one of the greatest factors in creating or avoiding childhood neuroses, and this duality of scarcity and extravagance, of appreciation versus quantity left a mark that is still reconciling itself.

It’s only logical that money, in all of its permutations and schizoid transactions, remains an indelible bug-bear in a life made of priceless beauty. Throughout all the wavering fortunes of my days, what remains in my soul’s reservoir of thankfulness are not the costs of my desire but the outcome of my choices, and what I carry with me is gratefully free of charge. My soul wears sunsets more luxuriant and audacious in their wonder than any jewel or fabric. Some of the waters of my blood are dissolved crystals of snow, caught on my tongue one beautifully cold winter’s morning. The art my heart refers back to when trying to comprehend a moment of love remains to flutter in the trees or scurry along moonlit branches, full of secrets... such wonders could not hang on a wall or be bought at discount. This isn’t meant to be pretty metaphorical lip-service to a particular lifestyle, rather these images represent a value I’ve come to treasure, which has saved me from completely losing myself in a society written by checks and charges. Many times, I’ve got the equivalent of that block of cheese in my ‘fridge of my spirit, but there’d be a rainbow overhead or a strain of music wandering the street that sets my senses alight and reminds me that I will (like all humans) often bypass what’s truly precious over the drama of spinning my psychic wheels about things that are meaningless in the context of an infinite universe, like matching dishware and bed-sheets with high thread count.

It may be foolish and unprofitable to live this way, yet I believe that there’s an edict awaiting us for edifying a spiritual identity through the raw and gritty means we choose to live by. As gay men, we often begin the process of self-realization on our own, while big and glittery assumptions about our identity await our mental purchase, pearls of half-price. In conversation with queer and straight friends alike, it’s frequently noted in euphemism the tendency for young gay men to buy into the consumer culture without question, that their self concept is found in mass media and their affect can be as shallow as network programming. While I insist that our individual natures are eternal and no matter how trapped we may become in quick-fix salvation, I do see the point that queer culture frequently flirts with homogenization via the power of money and the power of product. I would rather see this as a temporary growing pain of our maturing selves and “Young Gay America” than a paradigm which could undermine our future spiritual and cultural growth, and I vary between skepticism and hopefulness about the outcome of our social emergence. Many of us weren’t born into environments supportive of our sexualities, and achieving financial success became a venerable tool to demonstrate pride and worth. In this sense there is a justification of sorts for the motivation to make as much as you can, and even flaunt a little. In these times, however, the deep soulful gratification of living in harmony with the Earth is a jeopardized modality, and the next generations of all children might not have the chance to fully enjoy a kinship with the world which cradles a conflicted humanity.

In my own imperfect way, I’ve tried to be a young-ish gay American who has chosen a lifestyle of relative simplicity in order to reflect my spiritual ideals. My aim, which is no better or worse than any other sentient being’s, is to be in greater empathy with the Earth herself and the vast majority of her struggling humans. The lessons required to foster that view, from the block of welfare cheese to holding dying children in Haiti, have not been easy, and I’m no saint for enduring my simple trials, which are trite compared to the real suffering that is invisible to us only though our fear of pain and deprivation. Yet I don’t reject money. The idea, quite simply, is to make money as useful as possible to the greatest good for myself, the planet, and that which I value. As illusory and artificial as I think it to be, it is still an energy to be reckoned with, and like the forces of nature, the direction of that energy can be malleable and can result in deep creativity. We can do sacred, holy things with it, and contrariwise. Money’s destructive power could become blasé if en-masse we began spending in radically different ways, which is possible to observe in your own daily life. It’s cliché to say that we feel better when we give to good causes, but if money can be made into a metaphor for our energy, the feeling becomes real and increasingly useful. I’d rather feel hackneyed than useless.

Two years ago, I went to Haiti to have my world rocked, shaken, and split wide open. It was my hope that doing some service work in the hemisphere’s most forsaken country would re-affirm the mystical and ethical path which by coincidence and hard-knocks I’d embraced. There are no words for the compassion and shock that blow through your heart like a landslide when your own struggle and suffering are put in a perspective so alien and incalculably more desperate. It’s common for people, children especially, to come up to you and say, “Blanc, Blanc, give me one American dollar!” And it utterly breaks your heart to not reach for your wallet and peel off a Washington, for you’ve been told doing so actually feeds into the poverty even more. But to go into an orphanage, or a hospital, and be present with every age of soul confronting a stricken or non-existent future, and to squeeze their hand and touch their heart and love them with everything you have that very instant, surpasses the worth of any currency in any amount. In blindingly vivid moments like that, amid the flies and squalor and despair, you come to understand that the only exchange that really matters in our brief time here is the exchange of soul, that personal energy which acts as an umbilical to the elements and the purposefulness of life. While wandering in a daze down its streets, absorbing the extreme differences in my story and theirs, I longed for some sign of commonality, and it didn’t take long to find... the smile. In spite of the pain and fear these people live with daily, they still smile, broadly and brilliant like the sun breaking through the mountains. There is music everywhere, joyous, hopeful, and full of spirit, for spirit is written into all aspects of life on that island of mystery and magic. While they own very little, and live threadbare at the mercy of nature and government, Haitians’ lives are overflowing with God and the Loa, and they see their plight as only temporal, for their faith far outweighs the brokenness of their nation.

That little field trip into the very hands of the Divine did indeed rupture my soul in a holy way, allowing new lessons to flow in about real appreciation, which felt a lot like the appreciation for that hunk of cheese which helped my mother and I get by so long ago. When I went to the supermarket, I was stunned with twin feelings of thankfulness and disgust, and when I emptied the spare change from my pocket, I blessed each penny as if it were a sacred jewel. I’d realized I’d never said “thank you” for the abundance I had, no matter how thin it seemed or how problematic it became.

Altruism and simplicity as virtues are not dead. In fact, their effects are as profound as ever as technology advances to where resources and abilities are paired instantly when needed, as evidenced by the swift and massive global communities online response to the Southeast Asian tsunami. As gay men resurrecting ancient ideals and creating and whole new social paradigms, we must follow a noble passage if we are to find security in today’s volatile world, and if we are to confront injustice and moral inconsistency. The only way to do such a thing is to decide for yourself what really matters, and whom you affect in your choices. I can only speak for myself, and it’s not my place to suggest how to consume and spend. As a gay man, I feel an extra duty to sculpt my material life in good conscience as so much attention is put into debating our worth and value as members of American society. I must try to live within my means, I must try to heal my little patch of Earth because it is right to do, I must remember that my empathy is only as good as my energy expended, and that correlates to each financial choice I make. I volunteer to be simple, even if it makes for a bit of anxiety on the first date.

The last sandwich I made from that block of cheese was mushy with yellow mustard, and I remember thinking that it tasted like sunshine. I was a strange kid. I still am. It’s with fondness that I consider those days, wearing hand-me-downs to private school and making forts from trash heaps. Our lives are so delightfully made of contrasts, so wonderfully a story only we can tell. In billions of years, when our sun explodes and the memory of Earth is dust, it won’t matter what’s in my savings account. What will matter, to each of us, is that we lived and loved, and appreciated the miracles of the colors of the sunset, the curves of a smile, and even the taste of a cheese and mustard sandwich.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:20 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

Wade Davis: Feel the Loa, Taste the Vision Vine

We live in a time of great hope and great potential horror. Thirty years ago, the terms ‘biosphere’ and ‘biodiversity’ were esoteric words known to just a few scientists. Now they’re in the curriculum taught to school children. I want to introduce the idea of the ‘ethnosphere.’ The ethnosphere is the entire scope of human thought, mythology, drama, philosophy, knowledge and dreams from the dawn of the species until now—and that’s being eroded at an even more dire rate than the environment. The linguistic evidence is the most dramatic illustration. When our mothers and fathers were born, there were 6,000 languages spoken on Earth. Now, half of those are not being taught to schoolchildren, not being passed on to new generations. When you lose a language, you sever the link to that entire intellectual tradition. What we’re doing is reducing the repetoire of the human race, reducing our collective ability to adapt and respond to conditions...

So what I say to people is, would you rather live in a monochromatic world where everyone is the same, or would you rather live in a world full of colors and diversity, a more poetic and dramatic world? And the answer is always the same. What we need to realize is that diversity isn’t a luxury—it’s the sign of health. Look at this way: Indigenous people number maybe 300 million, about 5 percent of the world’s population. But their knowledge represents half of the world’s cultural heritage.

jaybird found this for you @ 17:02 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

Sasha Shulgin: The Alchemist of Ecstasy

When Shulgin had his first psychedelic experience in 1960, he was a young U.C. Berkeley biochemistry Ph.D. working at Dow Chemical. He had already been interested for several years in the chemistry of mescaline, the active ingredient in peyote, when one spring day a few friends offered to keep an eye on him while he tried it himself. He spent the afternoon enraptured by his surroundings. Most important, he later wrote, he realized that everything he saw and thought ''had been brought about by a fraction of a gram of a white solid, but that in no way whatsoever could it be argued that these memories had been contained within the white solid. . . . I understood that our entire universe is contained in the mind and the spirit. We may choose not to find access to it, we may even deny its existence, but it is indeed there inside us, and there are chemicals that can catalyze its availability.''

Epiphanies don't come much grander than that, and Shulgin's interest in psychoactive drugs bloomed into an obsession. ''There was,'' he remembers thinking, ''this remarkably rich and unexplored area that I had to explore.''

jaybird found this for you @ 13:57 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

The multimodalities of reality

A multimodal magician is a magician that realizes that identity is at best a temporary phenomenon. The labels we use to identify ourselves as this type of magician or that kind of worker are labels of convenience. We can take back the power behind these labels and use them interchangeably, switching from role to role, acquiring the abilities behind such roles through study of the available material on the role, as well as practice employing the various social and in some cases magical practices that allow us to become and do the role. This is not to say that this is easy to do. A person needs to be dedicated, spending some time learning and experimenting with the skills of a given mode. But when such skills have been acquired it is entirely possible to move from one mode to another or to create a new mode which is a synthesis of other modes that have been explored.

jaybird found this for you @ 09:09 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

{ Saturday, 29 January, 2005 }

Dada and dadaism: History of the Dada movement

All over the world, discoveries have been made under the dadaists' inspiration: whether they were the domestication of the photographic "art" in Berlin through Hausmann and Heartfield's photomontages, or Man Ray's "Rayograms" in America; the upsetting of the process of retinal knowledge by Duchamp's "optical machines" or Picabia's "transparencies", heralds of op art; or again the use of collaborative works (Fatagaga in Cologne or Cadavres exquis in Paris) as a substitute for the cult of personality, far too prevalent among painters and gallery owners; and the appropriation as "art" of ordinary objects...

jaybird found this for you @ 20:31 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink

welcome wagon

Let's have a nice and warm meet-n-greet for these fine blogs joining the sidebar today:

  • Digital Falcon: getting jiggy with that ol' time ever expanding consciousness.
  • Ex Cathedra: Emanations from Rev. Bob's Rectory
  • The Little Professor: Things Victorian and academic.
  • Naked Villainy: Your vaunted reason is the enemy of my overpowering truth. (indeed)
  • Stormwind: Wisdom, poetry, and personal soulful emancipata.

    We have one relocation:

  • The Coffee Sutras in now "A Blog is a Happening."

    And we sing the "So Long, Farewell" song to the following which have shuttered their doors:

  • A Glinting Web
  • Across, Beyond and Through
  • Anodyne
  • Dennis Kucinich (run in '08!)
  • God and Consequences
  • Hive
  • Notes from the Asylum
  • Technoshamanic

    NOTE: This site is quickly approaching its 2nd birthday. It's potty trained (mostly) and isn't putting everything it sees in its mouth.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:48 in Blogosphere, Tech & Internet | | permalink

    early snow verses

    Once in this life
    I used to imagine the snow were bits of stars
    And like my heroes
    I too could run through space and plant my feet
    On new worlds far from home.


    Just now awake
    There are galaxies flying past my window
    And the silence of the day
    Is from the awe of the speed at which the world
    Is transformed through ice.


    (Is there snow inside my heart?
    Am I sledding through ventricles
    And laughing all the way,
    Or is the weather changing me
    All too fast?)


    I'm about to bundle up
    And with eyes still streaked with dream,
    This little place
    Will become a metaphor again, while the crows in the trees
    Will intone a chant
    To the stars, falling toward us.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:52 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Friday, 28 January, 2005 }

    Civilization of the Divine Forest, an explanation of Shinto [via Plep]

    There was a rock cave surrounded by tall trees, and we could hear only birds, monkeys and the sound of a beautiful cascading waterfall. It was a wonderful place. A short, brown skinned hunter who guided us to that place was wearing only a piece if waistcloth, holding a bow and poionous arrows. He plucked off a flower and put it in his hair. Somebody asked, "How do you know that God is here? Can you see the figure of God?" I thought it was nonsense to raise such a question, but the hunter answered with a smile. "I cannot see the fingure of God. But I know God is here."

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:24 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Again, a scientist has discovered a possible genetic clue to 'the gay.'

    "Sexual orientation is a complex trait, so it's not surprising that we found several DNA regions involved in its expression. Our best guess is that multiple genes, potentially interacting with environmental influences, explain differences in sexual orientation."

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:19 in Gay, Lesbian, Queer & Free | | permalink

    Another man who walked a great distance

    To give up on a dream is a terribly difficult thing, especially when you still have legs to move. Despite its gentle and human nature, it was a life or death thing. How could I live the whole rest of my life with the failure round my neck? So, the focus to keep going was the drive to see it through. No other person had ever done so and that leads to geographic priority of some kind, and I was British and there was a time, not so much now, when such things mattered.

    The initial motivation was that the world is not so big after all. Also, like most young people I suspect, I had the desire to make a mark on the great tree of life, although eventually this became overladen with a desperate need to return home and be with my young family. I always loved England and children. In this respect it changed, grew, as I got deeper into it and wondered whether I would ever get out of it alive. The gent who crossed South America on foot first (I was second), the late Sebastian Snow, put it this way: It has not been done, and it ought to be done. It was a wonderful challenge!

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:16 in Radical Undertakings | | permalink

    The Empire of Vulgarity

    George Bush's second inaugural extravaganza was every bit as repugnant as I had expected, a vulgar orgy of triumphalism probably unmatched since Napoleon crowned himself emperor of the French in Notre Dame in 1804.

    The little Corsican corporal had a few decent victories to his escutcheon. Lodi, Marengo, that sort of thing. Not so this strutting Texan mountebank, with his chimpanzee smirk and his born-again banalities delivered in that constipated syntax that sounds the way cold cheeseburgers look, and his grinning plastic wife, and his scheming junta of neo-con spivs, shamans, flatterers and armchair warmongers, and his sinuous evasions and his brazen lies, and his sleight of hand theft from the American poor, and his rape of the environment, and his lethal conviction that the world must submit to his Pax Americana or be bombed into charcoal.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:19 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    a golden whatever

    Red wine and a cold night
    Ever thankful for friendship and crazy possibilities
    And despite the confines of body and peculiarities of heart
    While half-asleep, half-crazy,
    I do declare that
    Life, this ever-increasingly discombobulated shadow-play of simulacra
    Is, indeed, good,
    And you know darn well to whom these words are sent,
    These holy syllables caught within the vibrant web of perception,
    Uplifting toward the sacred and the raw-unspoilt alike,
    Within inherant permission to deviate from the standards of the mundane, amen.

    jaybird found this for you @ 01:40 in Posting Under the Influence | | permalink

    { Thursday, 27 January, 2005 }

    One man dances his way around the world [.wmv 36MB]. This singular dancing man's blog about his walk around the world is here. [via MeFi]

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:34 in Radical Undertakings | | permalink

    Carl Jung and the Alchemical Renewal [via Orlin Grabbe]

    When Jung published his first major work on alchemy at the end of World War II, most reference books described this discipline as nothing more than a fraudulent and inefficient forerunner of modern chemistry. Today, more than twenty-five years after Jung's death, alchemy is once again a respected subject of both academic and popular interest, and alchemical terminology is used with great frequency in textbooks of depth-psychology and other disciplines. It may be said without exaggeration that the contemporary status of alchemy owes its very existence to the psychological wizard of Küsnacht. Take away the monumental contribution of C.G. Jung, and most modern research concerning this fascinating subject falls like a house of cards; to speak of alchemy in our age and not mention him could be likened to discoursing on Occultism without noting the importance of Helena P. Blavatsky, or discussing religious studies in contemporary American universities without paying homage to Mircea Eliade.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:23 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Dark matter clouds may float through Earth

    Small clouds of dark matter pass through Earth on a regular basis, suggest new calculations. The clouds may be remnants of the first structures to form after the big bang and could be detected by future space missions. Dark matter interacts gravitationally with normal matter and appears to be seven times more abundant in the universe. But physicists do not know what the mysterious matter is made of or exactly how it is distributed through space.

    Nonetheless, they have devised a number of hypothetical dark matter particles that were created in the big bang. These particles formed the universe's first structures, where mysterious "quantum seeds" caused matter to clump more densely in certain spots. Dark matter slid into these spots which grew into structures that merged to become giant clouds - or haloes - with millions or trillions times more mass than the Sun.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:19 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink

    Afghan Jew Becomes Country's One and Only

    When Zablon Simintov found Ishaq Levin sprawled on the cement synagogue floor last week, he immediately realized two things: His housemate and archnemesis of nearly seven years was dead, and he was now in all likelihood the last Afghan Jew still living in the country.

    "I'm not sad about that," Simintov said with a frown Wednesday. He acknowledged dryly that he would not miss Levin, an octogenarian who apparently died of natural causes. Simintov, 44, had feuded bitterly with him for as long as the two men occupied separate rooms in the ruins of the only remaining synagogue in Kabul.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:15 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    The Mysterious Opus Dei

    Society is fascinated by secretive religious organisations because they allow us to imagine the worst about what murky deeds happen behind their barred doors. The abusive activities of some cults have proved worse than anyone feared, but other times the reality is disappointingly banal. One "cult" in ancient Rome was "widely known" to practice child-sacrifice, cannibalism and incestuous orgies during its initiates-only Love Feasts. That's the cult we know today as the Christian church. There can be smoke without a fire. So what is the reality behind the rumours about Opus Dei, the Catholic movement that has been awarded its first British parish; that Education Secretary Ruth Kelly says she gets spiritual support from, and that was unflatteringly depicted in The Da Vinci Code?

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:12 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 26 January, 2005 }

    Cuttlefish wimps 'dress as girls'
    Diminutive Giant Australian Cuttlefish males have taken to pretending to be female to elbow out larger love rivals...

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:42 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink

    Creativity, Healing and Shamanism:

    It seems increasingly certain that healing and creativity are different pieces of a single picture...Creativity in terms of physiological processes means then physical healing, physical regeneration. Creativity in emotional terms consists then of establishing, or creating, attitude changes....Creativity in the mental domain involves the emergence of a new and valid synthesis of ideas, not by deduction, but springing by "intuition" from unconscious sources. The entrance, or key, to all these inner processes we are beginning to believe, is a particular state of consciousness...[called] reverie....

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:34 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Gay Religion: An Evaluation

    From “sick” and “perverted” or “sinful” and “broken”, most LGBT persons come to name their desires “healthy” and “natural” or “God-given” and “whole.” This requires not only atomistic re-labeling of the errant hormonal surge or emotional attachment, but a re-telling of your story within family, society, and God’s creation. When this story—which you’ve crafted through self-reflection, study, and the blood, sweat and tears of coming out—collides with an alternate telling, such as the one your family holds on to, there is no objective means of deciding whose is right. Each story heals wounds in the opposing parties (feeling different for one, fear of the different for the other), answers questions which are framed in unique ways (“God, why did you make me like this?” and “God, how could these things exist in the world?”), and cannot simply be stepped into without dramatic re-orientation of assumptions.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:26 in Gay, Lesbian, Queer & Free | | permalink

    The Human Connection Institute Art Gallery

    With a friend, gaze at a painting. Point out what one of you perceives until the other can see it too. Take turns doing this, exploring if you begin to feel greater empathy or even the beginnings of telepathy. Are you more heartfelt and insightful together than you are alone?

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:23 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink

    watching the owl

    The graffiti read something like
    "Watch for the owl."
    I've got one staring at me right now,
    Feathery portent eyes as wide as moons
    Days of flight as perfectly written
    As those dog-eared novels
    Most often stolen out of libraries
    By vagabonds and wild-eyed children.
    The owl, that bearer of transformation,
    Of white death and births at night,
    Nesting in the nether-land of time and chance
    Takes to the air and with a swoop changes destiny,
    Swooping with silent exacting will
    Into hearts craving love and mad with the possibility of it all,
    Absconding with reason and
    Retreating into a forest entangled with sorcery and shimmering lessons,
    Taught with cryptic tangles of trees and vines.
    In this night that froze the strangers out of downtown,
    And the barkeeps wiped empty tables where swooning happened only moments ago,
    I accept transformation,
    I accept the screech of the owl
    As foretold in graffiti and in prophetic whispers from goddess-women,
    I accept, with gratitude and respect,
    The prey the owl seeks in me,
    That the prayer within may ascend the skies, into the moonlight,
    Into the constellations which shine through ardor, and love.

    jaybird found this for you @ 01:56 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 25 January, 2005 }

    Riding The Snake – An Introduction to Kundalini

    Kundalini, a word derived from the root word Kunda which means a ‘pit’ or ‘cavity’ (though I’ve also read it translated as ‘She who is coiled’), is commonly described as a serpent coiled at the base of the spine in the physical body or the mooladhara chakra in the pranic equivalent. Kundalini is seen as an aspect of Shakti, the supreme female creative principle in the Hindu pantheon and consort to Shiva the Lord of Yoga. When she is wakened she travels up the spinal column along the Sushumna to the top of the head where she unites with Shiva the male principle in one hell of a psychic explosion.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:23 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    The 400th anniversary of Don Quixote, and tilting at Einstein.

    Cervantes lived his character. He fought the Turks at Lepanto in 1571, the culminating struggle of medieval Europe. He lost his left hand, was enslaved in Africa and imprisoned in Spain. His plays were failures. His life was a mess. Yet in just a few months of 1605 he wrote a book which soared beyond its time.

    The two parts of Don Quixote are as different as thesis and antithesis. The Don of the first part is the true fantasist, sated on fusty old texts. He sets out to re-enact the rules of chivalry, to defend justice and love in a sinful world. He battles with windmills, sheep and innkeepers’ daughters. In his great essay on the Don, Carlos Fuentes talks of “art giving life to what history has killed”.

    Part II breaks step with the past. The Don hears tell of his own exploits, indeed of his own book. Already he has chastised Sancho for thinking him unaware that Dulcinea is not a great beauty. He knows that she is a vulgar village girl, but she is the nobler for it. “Come Sancho,” he cries, “it is enough for me to think her beautiful and virtuous . . . I paint her in my imagination as I desire her.” A million Spanish women cheer. We are no longer sure who is poking fun at whom. Who are we to legislate between dream and reality? We are players and audience alike in the charade.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:39 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink

    Countdown to global catastrophe: Climate change report warns point of no return may be reached in 10 years, leading to droughts, agricultural failure and water shortages...

    And it breaks new ground by putting a figure - for the first time in such a high-level document - on the danger point of global warming, that is, the temperature rise beyond which the world would be irretrievably committed to disastrous changes. These could include widespread agricultural failure, water shortages and major droughts, increased disease, sea-level rise and the death of forests - with the added possibility of abrupt catastrophic events such as "runaway" global warming, the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, or the switching-off of the Gulf Stream. [via MeFi]

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:34 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink

    Soapbox: A Sampling 20th Century Political Speech (real audio)

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:33 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    { Monday, 24 January, 2005 }

    The Triumph of Gesture Politics

    The world's governments, churches and even terrorist-affiliated groups have thrown themselves into the tsunami relief effort. You would expect that passing judgment about which kinds of aid and which modes of delivery work best would be a complicated matter. But you would be wrong. In Europe, at least, the public has separated the heroes from the scoundrels with a simple yardstick -- lost vacation time. Chancellor Gerhard Schroder of Germany stands among the winners. He rushed back from a post-Christmas vacation in his native Lower Saxony to set up a crisis center in Berlin, and has since been a whirlwind of activity, pledging more than half a billion dollars in aid and devoting his New Year's address to the disaster.

    Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, who chose not to cut short his own vacation in Egypt, finds himself cast as the arch-goat. Blair's government was quite active during the days that followed the tsunami. But even though Britain has offered substantial assistance to the wave-damaged region, that is somehow insufficient. For the past month, the British news media have savaged their prime minister for his ''colossal act of disrespect.'' According to an editorial in The Independent, ''Blair has failed to grasp the essence of leadership.''

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:22 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    The (Complete) Travels and Surprising Adventures of Baron Muchausen.

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:20 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink

    The spoken word poetry of Taylor Mali

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:16 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink

    Italian dies in 'Romeo' tragedy

    A husband in Italy who lost hope of his wife waking from a four-month coma has killed himself - only for his beloved to regain consciousness hours later. Doctors said when Rossana, 67, stirred, she asked for her husband Ettore.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:16 in High Weirdness | | permalink

    { Sunday, 23 January, 2005 }

    Cold beer and a fried egg,
    And the space heater's got me in a warm glow,
    It must be the most frigid night of the year.
    A late winter's night, and Sarah Vaughn is turning radio waves to silk,
    It's a nice image,
    This cozy hermitage of a Bohemian Sunday night.
    While the mysticism that rises everywhere in books is not overt,
    It is here,
    In this delightful proportion of contentment and thankfulness
    That the wind chill, by God, is on the other side of the window.
    There must be a little bit of God in this,
    Even in the sock-pile huddled like refugees on the floor.
    Even in the migrant worker walking along side the road,
    Under layers of cheap clothes,
    There's a little bit of God in that, probably a lot.
    From this view, it's pretty clear that it's all pretty clear,
    And even the most mundane or exuberant communion with the senses
    Is proof of a crazy multi-dimensional communion
    With the totality of our lonely, lovely selves.
    As the beer winds down and the yawning sets in,
    Raise a quick toast of thanks, will ya,
    For the senses, for the stimuli that comes with
    This package tour called life.
    There's a little bit of God in this,
    The last drop and the warmth of the blankets,
    Pleasure is our simple receipt
    For the passing of yet another hour
    And verification that we, indeed, are somehow living ,
    Against the odds, but so implausibly perfect in the moment.

    jaybird found this for you @ 23:20 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    Hajj pilgrims welcome rain in Saudi desert

    As rains lashed the Saudi desert, tens of thousands of drenched Muslim pilgrims welcomed the deluge Saturday as an act of God while they circled the cubic Kaaba shrine in this holy city's Grand Mosque, the final rite in the annual hajj pilgrimage... "Rain is always a blessing and for it to fall so hard at the end of our hajj rituals means our sins are washed away and God has accepted our prayers," said a soaked Mohamed Jamal Khan, from the Pakistani city of Peshawar, before a gust of wind blew away the plastic bag the 42-year-old had tied to his head.

    jaybird found this for you @ 18:04 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink


  • Freedom given great PR, several setbacks: Nine months ago, I joined nearly a million other Americans—compared with the 500,000 ticketed guests attending the inauguration—to protest the Bush Administration’s curtailment of reproductive rights. We were marching for reproductive freedom, freedom that has been routinely slashed back by legislation supported by the President, by policies driven by the President. We were marching because we are a peaceful people, but we cannot continue to go peacefully into that good night if it means forsaking our Constitutionally protected rights. But that must not have been what the President’s publicist meant by “freedom.”

  • Photographs from the massive Inaugural protests

  • Ho Hum, More War And Death: And then you read the appalling little story about how BushCo is now "taking steps" to further the investigation into why their original intelligence on Iraq was so painfully, treasonously, colon-clenchingly wrong, why they thought Saddam had giant Costco-sized warehouses stacked to the rafters with snarling nukes and nasty biotoxins and active warheads when, in fact, he had nothing but a couple Dumpsters full of rusty 20-year-old shell casings and a bucket of stale glue.

    And don't forget the part about how Congress allotted hundreds of millions of dollars for the futile WMD search, with no public accounting of the money, and the entire budget and the expenditures are to remain classified, by order of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Ha ha. Sigh.

    This is about the time your head spins all the way around and you shudder in disbelief and you stifle a giggle and hold your sides and restrain yourself from gagging, think happy thoughts about sex and love and trees because otherwise you just smash your head with a brick and throw puppies into paper shredders to numb the pain and quiet the screams.

  • Notice of Revocation of Independence: To the citizens of the United States of America:
    In the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories except Utah, which she does not fancy.
    [thanks, Ramya!]

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:11 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    The Thought Project

    "Over a period of 3 months I stopped 150 strangers and asked them what they were thinking about them the second before I stopped them..."

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:55 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink

    { Saturday, 22 January, 2005 }

    reminiscence in white

    The wind is rattling the house tonight like a toy, and the whole world is dipped in confectioner's sugar. Just as in the molecular world, the sheer cold has stopped all traffic, and each draft is icicle breath. Winter, in all it's dark rage is putting on a fine show tonight, and I am in full swing of sucking up the guilty pleasure of this season's reclusive inclinations.

    I remember some great snows in years gone by. In the park, my father and I would go to the hill, that little bump of a hill, and slide down or wipe out in this ancient sled of his. I think it was his when he was young. Its metal runners hurt like a sonofabitch as I crashed against them on the wipe-outs, and I was at the age where I wouldn't cry from pain quite so much. But I'd bitch about it. The exhilaration of acceleration, the height and the speed, was such a wonderful drug.

    In '83, there was a terrific blizzard up north, and my mother and I were staying with the parents of her then-boyfriend. His family trained guide dogs, big vicious evil guide dogs, and they also rather openly practiced a form of magic that was at least on the gray side. For an eleven year old kid, this made for high curiosity. I remember building tunnels in the snowdrifts, as best as that awkward kid knew how, and being in complete awe at the volume of snow... about three feet in spots. One day while we were trapped there, my mother, her boyfriend and I were slogging our way around in the snow, marveling at the volume of white. Suddenly, three green flashes buzzed by overhead, and for the first time I sniffed ozone. The air definitely was charged. We were further agape from that mystery, scared a little. My best guess was that this was ball lightening, not unheard of in conditions like that. But certainly unnerving, especially for the adults. Later, I believe I saw a spirit floating through the house, and fell rather suddenly down the stairs, knocking myself out for a bit.

    That was an eventful snow.

    Fast forward a year and there was the snow I, for once, learned to hate. I had been spending the night with a school friend, Mike. The night before, we'd played "Spin the Bottle," just the two of us. You can expect that certain things happened, that innocent playing that adolescents do. That morning, my friend had turned on me. After instigating the game, I suppose he freaked and reacted against it. While outside in the snow, wanting badly to go home, he aimed an ice-ball at my head, and taunted me about being queer as I fell to the ground. The snow, that playful element that covered the world in magic, burned my face as I lay in it, head spinning. I remember the rest of the winter refusing thereafter to go play in the snow, in Pavlovian fear of another ice-ball. I didn't quite make the connection, and luckily, the wonder of snow was too compelling to render me phobic.

    I remember the strange joy of being able to pee my name in the snow.

    I remember the massive snowmen the big kids made in my apartment complex, and how mine were always so lumpy, but I liked them just the same.

    I remember going down to the river after one long, hard snow and freeze. I closed my eyes listening to the ice floes crash against each other in the currents, how the snow made the beach pebbles slick and difficult to walk on, and watching the flakes fall with such grace to their dissolution in the river.

    I'll never forget shoveling now with the neighbor boy... we'd charge everyone $5 a piece, and one sweet old couple invited us in for the best hot chocolate I ever had. The ache of work in my young muscles, then so foreign, felt good, and I felt that manhood, by conquering the elements with my shovel and mittens, was being conferred upon me.

    My first ski experience was a hoot: I had many tumbles, one of which happened as a good friend and I took the hill together, and by then, it was dark and most of the school was in the lodge packing up and comparing bruises. We became entangled as we rolled, and fell together for what seemed an impossibly long time. When the slope finally stopped spinning, there was silence, then great laughter, as we stumbled together down the hill.

    Mojo, a miracle cat who once was the gypsy mascot of a crazy band of friends, followed me out into the woods one day while exploring my own little tundra of illusion and identity. I was amazed at how far the boy was willing to follow, and where he'd take me when he led.

    I remember making love while an open window let the snow blow onto the bed and across my back.

    There was once a vicious ice storm, I think back in '95, that coated the entire town in crystal. A group of us slid out into the woods, losing our footing and high as the very clouds which dipped our empire of bliss into that beautiful mess. There was a loud buzzing and a bright blue flash across the sky, and we panicked as we realized that the power lines were coming down, all around us. Our run home was marked by great crashes of ice and explosions of not-too-distant electricity set free. Later, powerlessness was a thrill.

    I remember sliding down a hill one winter's night with nothing but my own body. A friend called it a "damn fool stunt." I did it several times just to be sure it was real.

    After moving to the mountains of North Carolina, our first winter was a harsh one. One blizzard knocked out power for two days, and I had to keep all the fish in my tanks alive by heating water with candles. When we first ventured out, we were in shock at all the downed trees, and the utter moonscape made of our new home. Trees was broken with the weight, and the sweet and peaceful mountains we'd run to for shelter took on a solemn tone as nature made her proof aloud that there, indeed, was no place on this Earth where weather should be taken for granted.

    Since then, there has been many phantasmagorical falls of that most intriguing form of precipitation, each one unique in character. Just as each snowflake is a geometric individual, each storm somehow frames a moment of our lives and captures a memory in a drift of time, even as it melts there is some part of us that retains that day. I am not a winter person, and as I've grown older my tolerance for this kind of element has lessened to the point of imposing a seasonal hermitage upon my otherwise exploration-obsessed soul. Tonight, as the wind-chill is dangerous, I'll take comfort in my home body predilections and enjoy the drama from my windows, the roar of the black wind and the piling of the snowy inches.

    And tomorrow, I think I'll make a snow angel.

    jaybird found this for you @ 22:34 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    But They Sure Seem Gay! A compendium of TV Characters often cited as queer due to their sexual ambiguity, rather relevant due to this recent ridiculous hullabaloo .* (go Sponge!).

    *Here's the video that started it all.

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:11 in Gay, Lesbian, Queer & Free | | permalink

    A National Guard soldier in Iraq blogs about the birds and the local ecology. Here's an audio interview with "John" from today's Weekend Edition. Follow along with this Middle East Birding Guide (Arabic language .pdf in 10 separate chapters, lots of pretty pictures).
    [Note: Iraq is home to many threatened and endangered species].

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:46 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink

    A sampling of sacred sites in the Andes: Tambomachay, Sacsayhuaman, and Tiahuanaco.

    It appears as if I will be visiting these places in May.

    jaybird found this for you @ 10:24 in History, Civilization & Anthropology | | permalink

    { Friday, 21 January, 2005 }

    Nature as Mirror

    Each song that emerges from Miguel’s flute reflects a unique facet of his soul that comes alive in the particular wild place he visits. It is an interaction, a conversation between Miguel and the wild. An award-winning documentary filmmaker who captures the eloquent gestures of the human heart and soul, Miguel is himself such a gesture. His elegant quena songs are a mirror of nature, both within and without; they are a communion, an exchange of essences.

    Our relationship to the wild unfolds through several developmental stages. In a healthy childhood, nature holds great fascination and wonder, the wide arena in which we discover and explore the world of our inheritance. By imitating the animals, birds, and trees, we acquire a vocabulary of gestures that we assemble into our own way of being human.

    Then, in adolescence, our relationship with nature changes. The natural world becomes a mirror of our developing adolescent personality, a screen upon which we project our fears and hopes for belonging. But we don’t yet know we are projecting. We experience our emotions as if they are qualities of nature rather than our own. We enter the wilderness as a place of danger, self-testing, and self-discovery.

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:41 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Brion Gysin's Dream Machine in NYT's Home and Garden section?

    At first glance it looked like something in the window of a TriBeCa furniture store, an oversize lamp from the early 60's maybe. But when Kate Chapman flicked a switch and the three-foot high latticework cylinder in front of me began to spin, it was clear that we were dealing with more than just another piece of midcentury flotsam.

    The machine started to cast strobelike patterns of bright light on our faces, and when I closed my eyes as instructed, there they were, the dazzling multicolored forms that I'd been told about: mandalas and crosses and even Mandelbrot fractals, dancing across my eyelids.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:30 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    Sy Hersh: The Coming Wars

    “This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone,” the former high-level intelligence official told me. “Next, we’re going to have the Iranian campaign. We’ve declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah—we’ve got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism.”

    Bush and Cheney may have set the policy, but it is Rumsfeld who has directed its implementation and has absorbed much of the public criticism when things went wrong—whether it was prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib or lack of sufficient armor plating for G.I.s’ vehicles in Iraq. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have called for Rumsfeld’s dismissal, and he is not widely admired inside the military. Nonetheless, his reappointment as Defense Secretary was never in doubt.

    Rumsfeld will become even more important during the second term. In interviews with past and present intelligence and military officials, I was told that the agenda had been determined before the Presidential election, and much of it would be Rumsfeld’s responsibility. The war on terrorism would be expanded, and effectively placed under the Pentagon’s control. The President has signed a series of findings and executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special Forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as ten nations in the Middle East and South Asia.

    Also, stunning pics of that ol' counter-Inaugural spirit

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:20 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    a few lines for evergreen

    Evergreen, there aren't many of you up on the ridge
    But for every one I see, distant and stoic,
    There's one shade of life, of survival,
    Rooting harmoniously against the odds, the machines.

    Such a tree ought to stand within each of us,
    Ancient or whippersnapper green,
    Living boldly through the reigning ice of retreat,
    We're both Earthlings, after all, and the sap that sustains you
    Isn't that far off from the sap that sustains me.

    Endure the winter well, good friends,
    For today you will be my sentinel,
    And I, another passing shadow
    Beneath your timeless growth.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:30 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Thursday, 20 January, 2005 }

    Inspired by a dream, Canadian man invents device which can "see through walls."

    Troy dreamed the Angel Light would be able to see through walls with window-like efficiency, and then built it with no blueprints, drawings or schematics. “I turned it on—that was well over a year ago—and it worked and it was really awesome.” Hurtubise said he could see into the garage behind his lab wall, and read the licence plate on his wife's car and even see the salt on it. "I almost broke my knuckles three or four times, because it was almost like you could step through the wall," Hurtubise said. "You could be fooled into believing that you could actually walk through the wall and go touch the car."

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:18 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink

    Good work, everybody.

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:15 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    The Time Cube Man is on TV. [.wmv]

    Warning: Faith IS NOT knowledge. Believers are ignorant of Cubic Creation and will be destroyed by their own word.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:14 in High Weirdness | | permalink

    You knew this was coming: Conservatives Pick Soft Target, A Cartoon Sponge [via MeFi]

    "Does anybody here know SpongeBob?" Dr. James C. Dobson Mr. Asshole, the founder of Focus on the Family, asked the guests Tuesday night at a black-tie dinner for members of Congress and political allies to celebrate the election results.

    SpongeBob needed no introduction. In addition to his popularity among children, who watch his cartoon show, he has become a well-known camp figure among adult gay men, perhaps because he holds hands with his animated sidekick Patrick and likes to watch the imaginary television show "The Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy."

    Now, Dr. Dobson said, SpongeBob's creators had enlisted him in a "pro-homosexual video," in which he appeared alongside children's television colleagues like Barney and Jimmy Neutron, among many others. The makers of the video, he said, planned to mail it to thousands of elementary schools to promote a "tolerance pledge" that includes tolerance for differences of "sexual identity."

    Here's the real story.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:05 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    An index to thousands of symbols

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:56 in Cosmic Randomness Grab Bag | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 19 January, 2005 }

    Empire and Militant Christianity: How Americans Were Seduced by War

    The greatest threat to the US is not terrorists but the neoconservative belief, to which President Bush is firmly committed, that American security and well-being depend on US global hegemony and impressing US values on the rest of the world. This belief resonates with a patriotic public. Bacevich writes, "in the aftermath of a century filled to overflowing with evidence pointing to the limited utility of armed force and the dangers inherent in relying excessively on military power, the American people have persuaded themselves that their best prospect for safety and salvation lies with the sword."

    If Americans persist in these misconceptions, America will "share the fate of all those who in ages past have looked to war and military power to fulfill their destiny. We will rob future generations of their rightful inheritance. We will wreak havoc abroad. We will endanger our security at home. We will risk the forfeiture of all that we prize."

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:51 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    Hallucinogenic cure for alcoholism

    A hallucinogenic drug popular in the 1960s could help scientists find a medical treatment for alcoholism, US researchers believe. A University of California team said ibogaine blocked alcohol cravings in rats by boosting a brain protein. It was already thought it could combat addiction, but scientists have been wary as the drug is also toxic. It is hoped a treatment which works in the same way as ibogaine but without the side effects could be developed.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:03 in Health, Medicine & Bio-Happiness | | permalink

    Cunning-folk, who were also known as wise-women, wise-men, conjurors and wizards, were an integral part of English society right up until the early twentieth century. Over the centuries hundreds of thousands of people must have consulted them regarding a wide range of problems, but particularly those concerning affairs of the heart, theft, sickness and most important of all witchcraft. They were multi-skilled, or at least professed to be so. They practised herbalism, treasure-seeking and love magic. They revealed the identity of thieves and divined the whereabouts of lost and stolen property. The more learned cunning-folk also practised astrology, while the less learned pretended to be masters of the art. The most lucrative aspect of their business was the curing of those people and animals who were thought to be bewitched, and also the trade in charms to ward off witches and evil spirits. [via MoFi]

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:41 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Same-sex foster care a success

    From the cluttered kitchen to his insistence on saying grace before dinner, Medaglia takes pride in his family's average suburban lifestyle. But that "average," Medaglia acknowledges, comes with an asterisk. Medaglia and his partner, Cliff Candida, are gay. Three of the four children who live in their home are in foster care. They have been raising the fourth -- a 6-year-old daughter whose birth family isn't able to care for her -- since infancy. "We're an average household," said Medaglia, 41, who owns a local hair salon. "The only difference is that there's just not a woman here."

    The existence of same-sex foster parents has come under increased scrutiny following a court ruling in Arkansas last month that struck down that state's ban on gay foster parents. The state plans to appeal.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:48 in Gay, Lesbian, Queer & Free | | permalink

    "No shit!" This telling metaphorical find was just the lead graphic on CNN.com

    jaybird found this for you @ 00:35 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 18 January, 2005 }

    Correspondence between Jack Parsons (associate of Aleister Crowley and L. Ron Hubbard, rocket scientist and madman) and His "Elemental", Marjorie Cameron.

    However, since Rome is such a new center, I wonder if it would not be worth your while to spend a little time there. It is only one of the three centers of opposition. I don't see how you will meet destiny in Guadalahara - on the other hand you might - or in Oshkosh, Minsk, Flatbush or any other place you may decide to go. This is quite uninspired - as it should be - it is really not my concern at all.

    After all, the other name of Armageddon will not be written until the morning of Ragnarok, when at last Her banner is unfolded before the armies. This part of the prophecy I have never told, and do not know that I ever shall. So far it has been quite literal. I suppose I shall see that bloody sunset, just as I have seen the rest. Well, I can change nothing, nor do I care to. What is loosed is loosed, and well loosed. All the rest calls for redemption; and nature moves inexorably towards a balance. If I am used in that work - however ill used - I am glad of it.

    We can be insulated against everything but death - in fact, death is the very substance of our insulation. But to be used by life we must be naked and to be naked is to be hurt. But it is also to be alive.

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:56 in High Weirdness | | permalink

    It's genets! What's a genet? More genets!

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:47 in Creature of the Week | | permalink

    The Aberdeen Bestiary Project [via Blort]

    The Aberdeen Bestiary is considered to be one of the best examples of its type. The manuscript, written and illuminated in England around 1200, is of added interest since it contains notes, sketches and other evidence of the way it was designed and executed.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:44 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink

    It's Rubberboy!

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:38 in Interesting People | | permalink

    { Monday, 17 January, 2005 }

    Abu Ghraib abuse firms are rewarded

    Despite demands by human rights groups in the US that the two companies be barred from further contracts in Iraq - where CACI alone employed almost half of all interrogators and analysts at Abu Ghraib - CACI International has been awarded a $16 million renewal of its contract. Titan, meanwhile, has been awarded a new contract worth $164m.

    jaybird found this for you @ 22:35 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    By the time you read this, I will have arrived in the Chapel Hill/Raleigh area for a meeting tomorrow (yawn). The upside is that I'll be crashing with my dear friend JenWo and we'll have a gay old time before six long hours of Home Office bliss.

    I've got linkage set to post until I resume normality. Will that truly ever happen? In the grand sense, I certainly hope not!

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:29 in Misc. Babble | | permalink

    The Tree of Life Web Project is a collaborative effort of biologists from around the world. On more than 3000 webpages, the project provides information about the diversity of organisms on Earth, their evolutionary history (phylogeny), and characteristics.

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:21 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink

    Northumberland Rock Art

    A celebration of rock carvings made by Neolithic and Early Bronze Age people in Northumberland in the north east of England, between 6000 and 3500 years ago. Over 1000 carved panels are known and most of them are still located in the countryside.

    jaybird found this for you @ 13:15 in History, Civilization & Anthropology | | permalink

    Opposing Bush: A Form of Mental Illness?

    “When the 109th Congress convenes in Washington in January, Senator Bill Frist, the first practicing physician elected to the Senate since 1928, plans to file a bill that would define ‘political paranoia’ as a mental disorder, paving the way for individuals who suffer from paranoid delusions regarding voter fraud, political persecution and FBI surveillance to receive Medicare reimbursement for any psychiatric treatment they receive,” writes Hermione Slatkin, Medical Correspondent for the Swift Report. “Rick Smith, a spokesman for Senator Frist, says that the measure has a good chance of passing—something that can only help a portion of the population that is suffering significant distress.”

    “If you’re still convinced that President Bush won the election because Republicans figured out a way to hack into electronic voting machines, you’ve obviously got a problem,” says Smith. “If we can figure out a way to ease your suffering by getting you into therapy and onto medication, that’s something that we hope the entire 109th Congress will support.”

    Um, this is pretty much the WORST THING EVER. I suppose we must all take our Soma rations so we can all be happy little workers, now.

    Cue widespread outrage.

    jaybird found this for you @ 10:14 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    { Sunday, 16 January, 2005 }

    fantasia in gay minor

    I do have a thing for silk shirts,
    And yes, who can deny the way jeans look on a man?
    When I'm out on the town
    There's a tiger in my heart
    With broad ambitions and wide territory,
    But my own tribe is a vexation.
    I find my heart stirring at the sight
    Even from a hundred yards,
    At the possibility of one man's beauty,
    But somewhere deeper than the sensuous nation of skin
    The glint of dashing purpose in the eyes.
    And I go home to drink another beer alone,
    Hoppy, heavy, and only slightly bitter.

    I normally don't write poems like this,
    So I know I'll try to rationalize it into that
    Space of forgetfulness where it hurts to remember.
    Yet for now, anthemic and brassy,
    The words well up inside like dam-busters,
    And I've been back to the beginning so many times
    That all the ticket agents know my name and where I'm going.
    This kind of thing happens late at night,
    When the glow of social interaction wears off,
    And I'm sleeping on the couch because the bed is
    Too damn empty.
    That's where I try to stop myself and summon the mirror
    To show that an empty bed is not pathetic,
    But piling it with clothes
    To make sleeping on it a chore of folding is that unyielding adjective.
    But the truth is,
    I know I'm worthy, and my straight friends all say so,
    They laud my eccentricities and trademarked peculiarities,
    While in the gay world such things are all too queer.

    "Jeans and a white t-shirt girl,
    And that shirt better fit right,
    If you know what I mean.
    And, you don't go to no gay club
    So you can sit in some dark-ass corner
    And write no damn poetry.
    Your ass best be dancing, bitch."

    Yeah, I know.
    And when I dance,
    I emulate the shamanic gyrations that moved our ancestors
    Toward the portal that cleaves this world from that,
    The holy ground of blood memory and
    Sacred sweat.
    And when I'm in that dark-ass corner,
    I'm putting metaphorical masks over the vanity
    To recreate in words the ancient drama of passion's reward.
    It may be stupid,
    But it's not wrong.

    Our people are so perplexed by imagery,
    We chase after the glittery jewel
    That it may somehow redeem us,
    To crown our identity and bestow validity to our
    All-too-often petty complaints.
    Don't you know that in Olden Days,
    We were the ones that mediated between light and dark,
    The navigators of worlds separated by
    Jingoistic dichotomies?
    Don't you know that we,
    By our births and our innate proclivities,
    Have been given the charge to de-stigmatize gender?
    Who will rise to claim the responsibility?

    Who will rise to claim a chamber of my heart?

    Perhaps, none but myself,
    Until one shall chance by with a higher bid.
    I await him, I co-create him,
    And I'll knock all the clothes off the bed
    The day he comes.
    Time is nothing but a trifle:
    I've waited this long,
    I'll wait longer,
    And perhaps in my wrinkled and age-spotted death,
    There we will at last meet,
    Over last words instead of the preferred cocktails.
    That will be fine with me.
    Destiny unfolds when it will,
    No matter how I rage privately against its vagaries,
    No matter how many poet's pens break at it's queer tendencies.

    Acceptance, in its rawest form, is a bugger.

    I am wrought and frought with fantasy,
    And in its cajoling I hope my voice has merit,
    I in fact implore the gods daily for that.
    My fingers trace the silk shirts on their hangers,
    And the folded jeans in their place,
    So ready for the gala of my repeated coming-out,
    Whereupon I am swept off my feet into the abode of the beloved,
    And all is happy and new.
    I know the world is not made of that stuff,
    For the surface of reality is layered into the Infinite
    With complexity and behind-the-scenes preparation.
    Even a fraction of my wishes
    Would fulfill my eternally-fixated dreams.

    Tomorrow, I awaken with all my quirks and oddities,
    I will walk briskly into a new day
    Where its story is only slightly suggested
    In the bowing of the branches, the tumbling of the clouds
    Over these temple-strewn peaks.
    Who isn't rebirthed as such with each dawn?
    I will sweep the snow off the stairs
    And think indulgent thoughts.
    I will imagine that the elusive 'he' is still in bed,
    And we are counting down our days until we vacation in the Tropics.
    I will stick out like a sore thumb,
    But in a way that suggests resignation to the ultimate
    Sunrise of divine romance.
    Call it weird, call it mad,
    But I will not retreat from the ideal of the sweet orbits
    Of passion and togetherness,
    Despite our intrinsic differences,
    On this little planet.

    jaybird found this for you @ 23:38 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    Zapatista Literary Life [via Wood's Lot]

    "Flor y Canto" (literarily 'flower and song'), the literary and musical expression of the indigenous peoples of Meso-America, is close to the heart of the Zapatista rebellion. No rebel celebration is complete without harps and accordions, songs and anthems, dramatic recitations, parodies, and poetry, and the 11th anniversary of the uprising marked this past New Year's eve at the "caracol" of Oventic, the Zapatistas' most public cultural-political center in the highlands above San Cristobal de las Casas, was no exception.

    Guided by its silver-tongued mouthpiece Subcomandante Insurgent Marcos, the Zapatista rebellion can be interpreted as an 11 year-long literary workshop informed by Mayan Indian tradition and the culture of revolutionary struggle.

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:02 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink

    the wisdom of dr. king

  • We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers.

  • In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the inter-related structure of reality.

  • A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

  • Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

  • I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.

  • Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.

  • Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don't have to have college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

  • The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

  • The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be...The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

  • We must meet hate with love. We must meet physical force with soul force. There is still a voice crying out through the vista of time, saying: Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you. Then, and only then, can you matriculate into the university of eternal life. That same voice cries out in terms lifted to cosmic proportions: He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword. And history is replete with the bleached bones of nations that failed to follow this command. We must follow nonviolence and love.

    jaybird found this for you @ 18:11 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    Overheard in a dream:

    "Anytime a 70 year old man jumps out of the bush wearing a skirt and a turban, while demanding an intellectual 'girl-fight,' and claiming that all conversation is an 'ontological clover-leaf,' it's a pretty good sign that you're beginning to successfully divest in reality."

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:20 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Saturday, 15 January, 2005 }

    Collection of Zen Koans.

    One monk said to the other, "The fish has flopped out of the net! How will it live?" The other said, "When you have gotten out of the net, I'll tell you."

    jaybird found this for you @ 23:10 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis

    George W. Bush is ill. He has a psycho-spiritual disease of the soul, a sickness that is endemic to our culture and symptomatic of the times we live in. It’s an illness that has been with us since time immemorial. Because it’s an illness that's in the soul of all of humanity, it pervades the field and is in all of us in potential at any moment, which makes it especially hard to diagnose.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:12 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    The gallery of random art: computer generated random images posted daily, with voting enabled. To see the most popular images since the project began, check out the best-of gallery.

    jaybird found this for you @ 18:01 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink

    The Biology of B-Movie Monsters [via plep]

    jaybird found this for you @ 10:58 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink

    { Friday, 14 January, 2005 }

    David Chalmers' Collection of papers on consciousness, a directory of 2160 online papers on consciousness and related topics.

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:49 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    This is a moblog* post:


    Please meet Titania, she is apparently my new car. She promises she'll be good.

    *Moblogging is posting from a cellphone or other wireless device- if a picture, it's taken from the phone.

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:52 in Live from the road... | | permalink

    The Trip Receptacles was a series of three 3-hour shows consisting of all-psychedelic, all-entheogen radio, featuring names like Leary, Grof, Capra, McKenna and more. Nearly four hours of shows on mp3. [via FutureHi].

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:44 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    Celestial 'spring' pours out cosmic rays

    A celestial "spring" of mysterious particles that slam into Earth from all directions may have been discovered by a US physicist. The underlying source of the ultra-high-energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) remains one of the greatest puzzles in physics, but this new work suggests it arises in known phenomena rather than in exotic, hypothetical forms of matter. Just 100 of these charged particles have been observed in the last decade. They appear to be mostly protons and atomic nuclei. Magnetic fields - with an unknown source - accelerate the particles to almost the speed of light. This makes UHECRs so energetic that some astronomers doubt that even the most extreme cosmic events, such as the explosive birth of a black hole, could account for their power.

    And in other goodness from the New Scientist, the Pentagoon at one time considered making a "gay love bomb."

    Most bizarre among the plans was one for the development of an "aphrodisiac" chemical weapon that would make enemy soldiers sexually irresistible to each other. Provoking widespread homosexual behaviour among troops would cause a "distasteful but completely non-lethal" blow to morale, the proposal says.

    Hit me with some of that stuff!

    jaybird found this for you @ 13:37 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink

    I see you shiver with antici....... Huygens begins its Titan descent .......pation!

    The Huygens spacecraft has sent back its first signal on its historic descent to Saturn's moon Titan. Early on Friday Huygens began its dive through Titan's atmosphere, taking images and readings as it parachuted towards the surface. Its scientific investigation of this mysterious world could yield clues to how life first arose on Earth.

    jaybird found this for you @ 10:03 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink


  • In Gambia, doing wildlife photography, mostly of birds. I was speaking French in a very hoarse voice. A great caravan came by, with much shouting, singing and ululations from the villagers for the old man at the center of the procession. I asked one woman who he was: medicine man, chief, or president? She replied that they have no government to speak of in Gambia, and everyone is fine. I never did understand who the great old man was.
  • I was attending a (Xmas?) party themed as a funeral. The gifts exchanged all had tags on them that said things like "I'm terribly sorry for your loss," etc. Throughout my mingling, I kept losing my black lace veil (I think I was going for a drag thing) so I took a spring from a screen door and wrapped it around my head.
  • In a rather carnal dream, I was separated by an invisible force field from a man whom I very much wanted to "get to know" and who also felt similarly. We could hear each other only by shouting. I suggested to the man to try pole-vaulting over, but there was nothing traditional which he could use. Until, the bright idea came to us that we could use our, um, athletic equipment to make the jump, which, by some strange magic, worked, and we set about doing what we wanted to do.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:01 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Thursday, 13 January, 2005 }

    warm front

    It's like opening the window
    In the dead of winter,
    Awaiting a blast of cold to fill the room
    But to find there's a warm front on,
    And the air greets you kindly
    As it wanders in.

    That's the feeling of this realization,
    Short and sweet:

    You are an impossible jumble of otherwise
    Inert elements, so ask your self
    "who truly makes this thing alive?"
    And wait to see if the answer
    Doesn't electrify the bejeezus out of you.

    Open that window wider,
    And if it's raining,
    Lean out and let it splash that
    Face of such curious origins.

    jaybird found this for you @ 23:12 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    Discovery of hidden laboratory sheds light on Leonardo's genius

    Researchers have discovered the hidden laboratory used by Leonardo da Vinci for studies of flight and other pioneering scientific work in previously sealed rooms at a monastery next to the Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata, in the heart of Florence. The workshop rooms, located between the Institute for Military Geography and the Basilica, contain frescos painted by Leonardo that have "impressive resemblances" to other examples of his experimental work. The frescos include a triptych of birds circling above a subsequently erased representation of the Virgin Mary that "constitutes a clear citation of the studies by the maestro on the flight of birds..."

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:10 in History, Civilization & Anthropology | | permalink

    Our Cosmic Self-Esteem

    The search for intelligent life is a different problem, and that may fail even if the search for simple life succeeds. Many people would be depressed if the search for intelligent life failed. It would be disappointing if the SETI searches yielded no results. It would make the cosmos seem a lonelier place.

    But, I think there'll be some compensations, which I discuss in my book. In particular, I think it would raise our cosmic self-esteem. We could then regard our Earth, tiny though it is, as perhaps being the most important place in the galaxy. It might be the only place where life has evolved into a complex biosphere, containing creatures with structures like our brains, able to contemplate their origin.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:17 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink

    Naughty Quantum Robot!

    The mind has always been compared to the contemporary vanguard of information processing. Last century the mind was like a telegraph switching circuit, then more recently a hologram. Now it's a computer, and soon will be likened to a quantum computer. A computerized robot may have a nice sensory processing system to produce a representation of the external world. But who/what is observing that representation?

    My toaster has a little computer. The thermostat on my wall computes. I don't believe either of them to be conscious. But OK, an A.I. type might say, well when you get to a critical level of computational complexity, consciousness emerges. There are emergent phenomena - new, novel properties emerging from simple interactions in a hierarchical system, like a candle flame from gas and molecular interactions, wetness from water molecule interactions, hurricanes and tornadoes from air and dust molecule interactions. So maybe consciousness emerges from simple interactions among neurons. But none of those examples are conscious (at least I don't believe them to be). And there is no predicted threshold or transition for consciousness.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:15 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink

    Irie: Marley to be exhumed, buried in Ethiopia

    The wife of reggae star Bob Marley said Wednesday that she plans to exhume his remains in Jamaica and rebury them in his "spiritual resting place," Ethiopia. The reburial is set for an unspecified date after monthlong celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Marley's birth to be held next month in Ethiopia. Both the Ethiopian church and government officials have expressed support for the project...

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:09 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 12 January, 2005 }

    Lost Apes Of The Congo

    ... discovered a strange skull with the dimensions of a chimpanzee's but with an odd, prominent crest like a gorilla's. Motion-detecting cameras in the forest caught what looked like immense chimpanzees, and a photograph purchased from poachers showed hunters posing with an animal estimated to be twice the size of an ordinary chimp... Most intriguing were the gorilla-like ground nests found in the riverine swamps. Chimps normally make their nests in the high safety of trees. Why would they build their beds of branches and shoots on the ground? And why here, of all places?

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:20 in Forteana, Phenomena & the Bizarre | | permalink

    UPDATE: I'll pick up the new car Friday. The salesman tried to be slick, in suggesting that I could pick it up tonight, which would have involved writing an essentially bad check. I can certainly wait one more day to have that strange American luxury of wheels again. Oddly, the Geo's unfortunate demise will get me in something a little better, it seems.

    It's not official yet, but it looks like I'll be hopping into my new car tonight. It's a new Kia, and I've never owned a new car before. Gulp. Will report later.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:27 in Misc. Babble | | permalink

    First direct sighting of an extrasolar planet

    Astronomers have directly observed an extrasolar planet for the first time, but are at a loss to explain what they see. More than 130 planets have been detected orbiting stars other than our own, the Sun. But because the stars far outshine the planets, all of the planets were detected indirectly - by how much they made their host stars wobble or dim, for example. Now, astronomers say they are almost certain they have snapped an actual image of an extrasolar planet.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:17 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink

    The simulation hypothesis: are we real?

    ‘The simulation hypothesis, that we are currently living in a computer simulation, should be understood literally, it’s not just in a metaphorical sense whereby one could view the universe as a simulation, but literally we would be living in a simulation created by some advanced civilization in a computer they built in their universe. And everything we see and our brains themselves would just be parts of this simulation...’ The simulation hypothesis is not sci-fi, it’s serious academic thought.

    Or, perhaps the inverse is true, and the entire world and universe exists, and all the people you know, and you, or I, are simply a convenient invention for the entertainment of totality?

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:38 in Conjecture & Speculation | | permalink

    The Secret Lives of Just About Everybody

    ...psychologists say that most normal adults are well equipped to start a secret life, if not to sustain it. The ability to hold a secret is fundamental to healthy social development, they say, and the desire to sample other identities - to reinvent oneself, to pretend - can last well into adulthood. And in recent years researchers have found that some of the same psychological skills that help many people avoid mental distress can also put them at heightened risk for prolonging covert activities.

    "In a very deep sense, you don't have a self unless you have a secret, and we all have moments throughout our lives when we feel we're losing ourselves in our social group, or work or marriage, and it feels good to grab for a secret, or some subterfuge, to reassert our identity as somebody apart..."

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:36 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 11 January, 2005 }

    book the second, car the next

    I just received the second author's proof of my new book. Damn. It's so much improved over the first proof. Of course, I had miraculous editorial assistance for the second go 'round. I'm gonna sleep on a potential change or two, but we're essentially done and ready to roll. Not to whore my product or anything, but you can buy a copy on the left sidebar from the primary distributor at discount from the retail edition. Have at it, if you like.

    Today was mostly spent looking at potential cars to replace the tragically late goddess of the highways, my sweet Gloria Grace. Eh. Nothing out there so far is as eccentric as she was. I also schlepped to the doc's for a check of my neck and back: I've got some X-rays coming up, and some muscle relaxants, but the luckiness of even these annoyances continues to make itself known. They're signs that I'm still in fact corporeal, where the slim vagaries of chance dealt me a fortunate hand. Life goes on, and how!

    The crisis of the whole thing is gone and now the strategies of surviving it are kicking in. It's going to work out. If I can reassure those I love with the same recipe, I damn well is good enough for me.

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:20 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    Random windows on your world... unsecured network webcams from everywhere...
    things are going on all around you.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:15 in Blogosphere, Tech & Internet | | permalink

    Psyching teh intArweb, or, imagining the evolution or devolution of the internet:

    This site examines the potential future of the Internet while simultaneously providing a peek back into its history. We invite you to navigate through three useful resource areas that: illuminate the views of stakeholders - The Experts Survey; give an historic overview - The 1990 to 1995 Predictions; and allow your participation...

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:09 in Blogosphere, Tech & Internet | | permalink

    Jared Diamond: Why societies collapse

    ...this question is relevant to the environmental problems that we face today; problems such as deforestation, the impending end of the tropical rainforests, over-fishing, soil erosion, soil salinisation, global climate change, full utilisation of the world's fresh water supplies, bumping up against the photosynthetic ceiling, exhaustion of energy reserves, accumulation of toxics in water, food and soil, increase of the world's population, and increase of our per capita input. The main problems that threaten our existence over the coming decades. What if anything, can the past teach us about why some societies are more unstable than others, and about how some societies have managed to overcome their environmental problems. Can we extract from the past any useful guidance that will help us in the coming decades?

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:08 in History, Civilization & Anthropology | | permalink

    { Monday, 10 January, 2005 }


    It's been a mere two days since the accident. My body is vacillating between stiffness and malaise, but I'm sure that the physical healing has begun. Under my skin, I'm told by a sagacious student of the body, cells are doing the microscopic grunt work of muscular repair. I find it the pinnacle of fascination that such wonders are automatic: why can't I repair the way I think, for example, without thinking about it? I'm sure that mojo is buried somewhere in the toolbox.

    In the cold, crumpled steel reality of the whole thing, there is a glimmer of hope that my claim will succeed and I'll get some kind of settlement for my car. Of course, we're not talking about justice, but about business, of corporate standards and inexact applications of the law, weighed with money. Legally, or at least logically, I'm not at fault. That is reassurance, even if logic or law aren't the sturdiest of crutches.

    Meanwhile, I'm back to that place of thankfulness and appreciation: for my life, first and foremost. A few feet or degrees and I would've been hospitalized, or worse, eulogized. I'm thankful for the rides I've gotten, to places like work or the grocery store which I usually rev up for thoughtlessly and thanklessly. I'm thankful that Gloria Grace, that little red Geo, is now an ascended master in the automotive pantheon for serving me so well, and taking the hit with her engine instead of my body. I'm thankful for friends and family that have, even from great distances, stood me up and washed away the daze of my shock with their kindness.

    The next steps are clear, if a bit overwhelming to surmount: find a car I can afford, or, with terms I can navigate with my rather vacuous credit. Gloria Grace was so named in that she appeared in my life through a fate which subverted those obstacles, and hopefully, the next vehicle will appear in like terms. It's important to remember, no matter how dear that little car was to me, how incredibly our eccentricities fit together, that it was simply a tool, and tools break sometimes, or are broken by force. New tools come along, and Pan be Praised, some come along auspiciously.

    Anyway, I thank you for your thoughts and vibes drifted in my direction. I'm feeling much better simply by getting this out there, airing out the struggle and lighting a little flame in the promise of what shall come after be good.

    Gloria Grace, 1994-2005

    jaybird found this for you @ 22:22 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    Annie Dillard: Write Till You Drop [via MeFi]

    Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case. What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon? What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:58 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink

    India's untouchables forced out of relief camps: Kuppuswamy Ramachandran, 32, a Dalit or untouchable in India's rigid caste hierarchy, said he and his family were told to leave a relief camp in worst-hit Nagapattinam district where 50 more families were housed. "The higher caste fishing community did not allow us to sleep in a marriage hall where they are put up because we belong to the lowest caste," Ramachandran said. "After three days we were moved out to a school but now the school is going to reopen within three days and the teachers drove us out..."

    Also, Earth "still ringing" after Indian Ocean earthquake: Australian National University scientists said Sunday that hyper-sensitive gravity measuring equipment showed minute reverberations may continue for weeks.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:15 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    I think there's a lot to be said for a town that mourns a goose.

    Lucy the Goose was memorialized last Friday with a service fit for a high-ranking diplomat. Which, in a way, she was, having served faithfully, if sometimes cantankerously, as Chestertown's avian ambassador for at least a dozen years.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:11 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink

    Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sleep (But Were Too Afraid To Ask)

    Until not long ago, just about until electricity became ubiquitous, humans used to have a sleep pattern quite different from what we consider "normal" today. At dusk you go to sleep, at some point in the middle of the night you wake up for an hour or two, then fall asleep again until dawn. Thus there are two events of falling asleep and two events of waking up every night (plus, perhaps, a short nap in the afternoon). As indigenous people today, as well as people in non-electrified rural areas of the world, still follow this pattern, it is likely that our ancestors did, too.The bimodal sleep pattern was first seen in laboratory animals (various birds, lizards and mammals) in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, i.e, before everyone moved their research to mice and rats who have erratic (un-consolidated) sleep patterns. The research on humans kept in constant conditions, as well as field work in primitive communities (including non-electrified rural places in what is otherwise considered the First World) confirmed the bimodality of sleep in humans, particularly in winter.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:06 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    { Sunday, 09 January, 2005 }

    mt upgrade

    Whew! Looks like all went well. Please report any bugs!

    I'm preparing to upgrade my MT install to the latest 3.14 from 2.64. If there's relative silence after this, you'll know something went haywire. Let's hope not.

    (knock wood)

    jaybird found this for you @ 18:52 in Misc. Babble | | permalink

    Considering the last few omens, indeed it do: It Pays to Trust Your Gut

    "When you walk out into the street and suddenly realize that a truck is bearing down on you, do you have time to think through all your options? Of course not... The only way that human beings could ever have survived as a species for as long as we have is that we've developed another kind of decision-making apparatus that's capable of making very quick judgments based on very little information."

    jaybird found this for you @ 18:00 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    Post tenebras spero

    Southbound train,
    Red light and serpentine winding
    Through the worn, worm-softened earth,
    A sleeping mother
    Curled in a dreamtime wait
    For a promised light.

    The red road,
    A muddied river longing for the kiss of sea
    That path revered by the ancients
    As the long walk toward dissolution,
    Death, reverting to silt and brine,
    One day, sucked up through a cat-tail root
    An old soul seeding the sky, at last.

    I did not expect this ride tonight-
    I did not expect a collision with a white angel
    With a toothy grin to mid-wife an anti-birth,
    To abscond with my broken security
    Into a desert of the never-seen-again.

    The morning was foggy
    As was I:
    I wondered how long it would be
    Until I had to reckon with the karma
    Which had been so carelessly spent
    On needless ephemera.

    In the steamy last exhale of shattered car
    In that silent minute before understanding
    I heard wild geese, those feral scions of
    The breathy truth that thrives above
    Our sightline, at last, the prophet’s word
    Over a crossroads of sudden metal and wreckage.

    Weeks ago, friends spotted an owl,
    A little white one, perched on the roof of the car
    That I lovingly called Gloria Grace.
    I know well, that while I cherish the midnight
    Incantations of these strange birds,
    That when they hang near,
    So too does an old legend of impending radical transformation
    Often made of tears and bones.

    While the oil-fed beast
    Which in America is praised above flesh
    Is gone into the night, goodbye,
    And I am merely sore
    Than torn-asunder,
    I do not feel the owl’s work is complete.

    I must reckon and reconcile further-
    Debt is nothing while its depth is colossus.
    Shadows are short while their source blots the keenest vision.
    Travails are fleeting while the world wars with a truer despair.
    America’s effluvia is Africa’s gold
    And balance, be praised, is teetered by an iniquity
    Which I disclaim but cannot escape.

    The owl beckons terrifying wakefulness
    In the presence of a starving, gnashing reality.
    The owl bespeaks respect
    In the wasteland of the everyday.
    The owl, made of blood and wind-song,
    Begs for a scrap of the feast of senses
    To be pierced by beak and talon
    To expose, finally,
    The carnality of what underlies and underwrites days.

    The strangers on this train are scarred by talon too-
    I cannot imagine the intimacy of their collective story,
    As the aglow windows and blurred homes by the thousands
    Speed past this crazed engine
    And the figures freeze in mid-thought by the curtains
    Who can dare fathom the pain and omen they’ve weathered?
    We are all but dashes of streetlight in everyone’s glass
    Can we deny our brother’s burdens, our sister’s hardened feet
    From carrying a load along the great red road?

    O Humanity,
    Thou incredulous, teeming, curious horde,
    My loss is but a stone along the path
    Which will be ground to dust
    As time girds the serpent from station to station
    The geese to their migration-land
    The owl to its next quiet clarion of fate’s passing
    And one little rivulet to its merger with the reaping waves of the sea.

    Southbound train
    Red light and serpentine winding
    Through an Earth whose witness is eternal
    Where a man’s problem is but a lump of dirt
    Take me back to the province of my mountains
    The hopeful promise of the light jeweled by the heaving ridges.
    Tonight I give myself to you
    To the rails and wails of your mournful horn
    I bow to fate even as it breaks my thin plans
    And will transmute the miles in lesson, in warning, in gratitude.


    Home, at last its white light warms me.
    We all know that feeling, as the walls cradle you
    And you could just kiss the view from your own window,
    To be someone else’s shadow play.
    I am slowly reconvening my senses, cupping the mug of hot tea,
    When a bang resounds: I thought it was the cats.
    But to find that from above a doorway, an old lithograph of an owl
    A little one
    Has fallen.
    Southbound train, what mystery you have delivered
    So early on a January day...

    "Post tenebras spero," out of darkness, comes light.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:08 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Saturday, 08 January, 2005 }

    This is a moblog* post:


    Lounge car, Amtrak train. Where i least expected to be tonight.

    *Moblogging is posting from a cellphone or other wireless device- if a picture, it's taken from the phone.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:23 in Live from the road... | | permalink

    crashed not burned

    My beloved car, my angel Gloria Grace, died today in a tragic accident. I am taking the train home tonight, which will get me in a 5:30 in the morning. I am sore and my head is buzzing, but I'm alive, and so is the other person. I was lost on a foggy road, and had my turn signal on as I debated to turn. I went straight through the interwsection, and the other driver, anticipating my turn, turned as well and hit me. The steam from Gloria's engine, a death rattle, ascended through the fog.

    I officially hate Delaware for taking my car from me. I'm never drinving here again.

    Meanwhile, I have no funds for a new vehicle, a job requirement. Please keep me and my neck in your thoughts, and if you have a little spare change, please consider donating via the left sidebar. You are all beautiful people and I'm grateful you, whoever you are, are somehow a part of my life.

    Until I'm home again, ciao.

    jaybird found this for you @ 13:33 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    This is a moblog* post:

    Car totalled, I'm OK

    *Moblogging is posting from a cellphone or other wireless device- if a picture, it's taken from the phone.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:15 in Live from the road... | | permalink

    This is a moblog* post:


    Woody's, Philly

    *Moblogging is posting from a cellphone or other wireless device- if a picture, it's taken from the phone.

    jaybird found this for you @ 02:13 in Live from the road... | | permalink

    This is a moblog* post:


    *Moblogging is posting from a cellphone or other wireless device- if a picture, it's taken from the phone.

    jaybird found this for you @ 02:11 in Live from the road... | | permalink

    { Friday, 07 January, 2005 }

    This is a moblog* post:


    Number 1 Chinese

    *Moblogging is posting from a cellphone or other wireless device- if a picture, it's taken from the phone.

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:07 in Live from the road... | | permalink

    Tortoise Adopts Stray Hippo at Kenyan Sanctuary

    A 120-year-old giant tortoise living in a Kenyan sanctuary has become inseparable from a baby hippo rescued by game wardens...

    jaybird found this for you @ 18:51 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink

    Sanity report: exhaustion on this trip to visit family post-holidays is exhausting, but somehow I manage to persist. I've revisited several dreamspots, long-purged memories, and recycled through the context of my former years here. Right now, it's nap time. As rest has been at a premium, that will take precedent over bloggage. More later.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:00 in Misc. Babble | | permalink

    Yodel your sweet little heart out [mp3s]

    jaybird found this for you @ 10:25 in High Weirdness | | permalink

    { Thursday, 06 January, 2005 }

    30% remaining

    I'm alive, mostly well, and a tad exhausted up here in Delaware; flatland, boxland, consumerland, waste-not-want-not-land. I'm masterfully ducking mindgames and dysfunctional virii, and deflecting the gelatinous paws of joie-de-homogenaity.

    Back home, myproper home, on Sunday. Intermittent reports on sanity will follow.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:33 in Misc. Babble | | permalink

    Medieval mural's tales of sorcery

    A mural which has come to light in Tuscany has been identified by a British university lecturer as the earliest surviving representation of witchcraft in Christian Europe.

    A book published in Italy by George Ferzoco, director of the centre for Tuscan studies at the University of Leicester, argues that at least two of the women in the porno-erotic wall painting are sorceresses.

    "I have no doubt that this is by far the earliest depiction in art of women acting as witches," he said.

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:49 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink

    Great Minds Queried: What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?

    We are in the age of "searchculture", in which Google and other search engines are leading us into a future rich with an abundance of correct answers along with an accompanying naïve sense of certainty. In the future, we will be able to answer the question, but will we be bright enough to ask it?

    This is an alternative path. It may be that it's okay not to be certain, but to have a hunch, and to perceive on that basis. There is also evidence here that the scientists are thinking beyond their individual fields. Yes, they are engaged in the science of their own areas of research, but more importantly they are also thinking deeply about creating new understandings about the limits of science, of seeing science not just as a question of knowing things, but as a means of tuning into the deeper questions of who we are and how we know.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:04 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 05 January, 2005 }


    It feels like you never left
    But did you even live here to begin with?
    You know all the streets,
    It was only your memory that trod them,
    So long ago.

    From the road you pass a house
    Where you once lived,
    All the lights are on.
    You wonder if it's your own footsteps
    That now go bump in the night there.

    Placehood is so dependant upon right now...
    Everything else is either behind the curtain of yesterday
    Or flails about in the wind of possibility
    Translucent and without the flesh of happenstance,
    It awaits its placement on the map of days.

    For now, the entitlement of rememberance
    Must lay down with the vagrancy of the present,
    To find a quiet hollow within these old bricks
    To belong, at once, to you through it's utility in the world,
    For you are both homeless, and home, at once.

    jaybird found this for you @ 23:15 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    This is a moblog* post:


    Arrival at my old stomping ground in near record time. After almost 600 miles, a friendly beer in my old favorite tavern will be my reward.

    *Moblogging is posting from a cellphone or other wireless device- if a picture, it's taken from the phone.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:51 in Live from the road... | | permalink

    This is a moblog* post:


    Random roadside 300 miles

    *Moblogging is posting from a cellphone or other wireless device- if a picture, it's taken from the phone.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:56 in Live from the road... | | permalink

    595 miles

    That's how far I'm driving today, once I get a new headlight in the car and run a few random acts of randomness. It's my delayed holiday in Delaware with my family, including my mother's 60th birthday tomorrow, so I'll be blogging about twice a day from whatever WiFi sanctuary I can find.

    In the meantime, consider this an interim post, one barely sent from home but not quite on the road, not at my destination though I can feel its strange quality of busy-ness beginning to encompass my thoughts. It's always an interesting experience; plunging yourself in the past to discover why indeed, you chose to live in the present.

    Until my next message (and hopefully, surpassing it), everyone have fun and play nice.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:35 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 04 January, 2005 }

    The Nazca Lines and the "Eye in the Sky" - an eclipse theory

    The Nazca Lines, particularly the biomorph geoglyphs depicting plants, animals, human figures, and perhaps most significantly. . . birds and "flowers", that archaeoastronomer Anthony Aveni asserts "defy all explanation" are almost certainly an ancient response to the "Eye in the Sky" (aka "Eye of God") that is clearly manifested in the heavens above our planet during total solar eclipses. A genuinely unusual series of total solar eclipses coincided with the time period during which the Nazca Lines were created. Some of the Nazca Lines geoglyphs would appear to depict avatars of the Nazca culture's sky gods. Some of the bird geoglyphs are clearly aligned with the winter solstice sunset or they are connected to, or closely associated with, Nazca Lines pointing to the winter solstice sunset. This is not surprising when one understands that a quite remarkable bird-like pattern that is manifested in the sun's corona during some total solar eclipses gave rise to the mythical phoenix and various other "Sun Bird" avatars of the sun god such as the ancient Egyptian bennu bird (which the Greeks adopted for their own phoenix myth), the Egyptian winged sun symbol and solar falcon god Horus, Garuda, and the Simurgh. The winter solstice is almost universally thought of as the annual "death and rebirth" of the sun. The sun undergoes a much more awesome and dramatic "death and rebirth" during total solar eclipses. Much evidence suggests that the ancient Nazcas, and many other ancient cultures, associated the diverse religious concepts and mythical beings inspired by solar eclipse phenomena with this annual "death and rebirth" of the sun.

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:21 in History, Civilization & Anthropology | | permalink

    "Sea Org:" Paramilitarism in Scientology

    In 1967, L. Ron Hubbard raised a private navy, appointed himself Commodore, donned a dashing uniform of his own design and set forth on an extraordinary odyssey, leading a fleet of ships across the oceans variously pursued by the CIA, the FBI, the international press and a miscellany of suspicious government and maritime agencies.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:05 in High Weirdness | | permalink

    Ants' 'genetic engineering' leads to species interdependency

    Millions of years before the first modern humans evolved, ants were practicing many of the social innovations we consider to be our own: division of labor, agriculture, and even slavery. Indeed, these traits have been taken to their extreme in many ant species, such as the case of slavemaker ants, which have become so specialized for raiding food from the colonies of other ants that they can no longer feed themselves or raise their younger siblings. Recent work on ants suggests that we may need to add genetic engineering to the list of innovations ants have evolved to employ. In two species of harvester ants, populations have been discovered in which queens mate with males of another species to produce genetically novel hybrid workers. In a new study, Dr. Sara Helms Cahan and colleagues demonstrate that both of the species involved have effectively given up the ability to produce pure-species workers in favor of the hybrids, thereby becoming completely dependent on one another for survival.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:14 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink

    The Tribes Of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, many of whom practice ancient cultural systems, have largely been spared the brunt of the tsunami. (links via MeFi).

    The Andaman and Niobar Islands are the home to four Negrito and two Indo-Mongoloid tribes. Those belonging to the Negrito racial stock - Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa and Sentinelese - are still at hunting-gathering stage of economy. Small in number, sensitive and isolated, they have been under severe stress. The Indo-Mongoloid group of the Nicobarese, relatively sturdy and resilient, have accepted the challenge of change and have prospered and multiplied. The other Mongoloid community, the Shompen, semi nomadic and living in small, scattered settlements, still shy away from outsiders. They are somewhat better off than the Great Andamanese and the Onge, whose numbers have sharply dwindled. However they are not as remote as the Sentinelese and the Jarawa.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:01 in Culture, People & Customs | | permalink

    { Monday, 03 January, 2005 }

    XLIII: Think about 43 things you'd like to with your life: finish reading Ulysses, stop trading time for money, visit Machu Picchu, or tell someone you love them everyday... and at least 38 other things.

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:28 in Blogosphere, Tech & Internet | | permalink

    Divine microphotography: Eye Of Science

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:41 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink

    Key23: Memewars

    Across arid deserts sand blown and scorched three great beings rage against each other for dominance, whipped by winds and beaten back by the melting ochre of an aging Ra hung heavy and languid in the sky. Like the winds themselves, the dust devils, they whorl and spin, at times fierce and swift, at others thin and empty.

    One such entity gathers like flies around the Nile people, buzzing in their ears and kissing their hearts, offering identity and meaning, culture and salvation. It’s arms are thick and multitude, enough to smite the pharaohs and part the seas. Yesheva is its name and it’s as much of a creation of them as they are of it - a metameme deity nourished and fed in mythic symbiosis. The deity is the enduring vessel of the culture protecting and transporting it’s archives codified in poetic myth and symbolism. The priesthood ensures that the metameme continues to have hosts - the more the better, though for Yesheva it’s been a long, difficult battle with little returns to show for the effort.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:36 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    100 things we didn't know this time last year

    47. A "jiffy" is 10 milliseconds in computer science terms.

    73. Ducks have regional accents. London ducks shout out a rough quack to be heard above the urban din; those in the West Country make a quieter, softer sound.

    86. You can see the back of your own head in some parts of the universe as time and light are so curved. The universe is neither flat, nor football shaped - it looks like a flat-sided trumpet, German physicists believe.

    jaybird found this for you @ 10:32 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    Mystery of 'chirping' pyramid decoded

    A theory that the ancient Mayans built their pyramids to act as giant resonators to produce strange and evocative echoes has been supported by a team of Belgian scientists.

    Nico Declercq of Ghent University and his colleagues have shown how sound waves ricocheting around the tiered steps of the El Castillo pyramid, at the Mayan ruin of Chichén Itzá near Cancún in Mexico, create sounds that mimic the chirp of a bird and the patter of raindrops.

    The bird-call effect, which resembles the warble of the Mexican quetzal bird, a sacred animal in Mayan culture, was first recognized by California-based acoustic engineer David Lubman in 1998. The 'chirp' can be triggered by a handclap made at the base of the staircase.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:24 in History, Civilization & Anthropology | | permalink

    { Sunday, 02 January, 2005 }

    proofreading miracle working, etc.

    The very last of it is finally done! My sweet and wonderful personal savior of proofreading, Jennifer, went through every page of my book and to my simultaneous delight and chagrin, found dozens of typos. I've just finished all the revisions and I'm celebrating with a lovely pale ale and strains of Irish fiddle. All I'm waiting for now is the Library of Congress (!) number to input and we're off. This has been mind-blowing; I can't praise my publisher enough for the overall quality and feel of the thing.

    In other news:

  • This past week's immense periods of dawdling and relaxation will be a stark you-know-what compared to this one... I'm off to Delaware on Wednesday morning for a few days of familial intermingling. My office is preparing to all overdose on crack rock this week as we have a state mental health audit coming up. I'm outta there at just the right time.

  • New Years was indeed a drunken blast, and I'm glad I took pics to remember it all by, because traditional recall is frizzier than a dust bunny in Diana Ross' wig shop.

  • Preparations are afoot for two weeks in Peru in May. We'll be trekking to Machu Pichu, Cuzco, and the Uros Islands, which actually float upon the surface of Lake Titicaca. I'm hoping for Nazca as well. I dare you to gage my enthusiasm level.

  • Of course, I cannot take my mind off of the cataclysm in the Indian Ocean. I've been in a pretty constant state of energetic focus and, let's be real here, prayer. In our comfortable little world, it's hard to comprehend the scale of their suffering right now, and while I've given money several times, that will not alleviate the grief of all the families suddenly broken down the middle. I encourage you to not only donate your cash, but donate some heart space as well, and take a few moments to ruminate upon the depth of their loss.

    jaybird found this for you @ 22:36 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    Beings of profound longevity: The Ancient Bristlecone Pine (4,767 years) and the "Living Fossils" of Hammelin Pool (2-3,000 years)

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:52 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink

    Traditional curry ingredient helps fight Alzheimer's disease

    The new UCLA-Veterans Affairs study involving genetically altered mice suggests that curcumin, the yellow pigment in curry spice, inhibits the accumulation of destructive beta amyloids in the brains of Alzheimer's patients and also breaks up existing plaques.

    The research team also determined curcumin is more effective in inhibiting formation of the protein fragments than many other drugs being tested as Alzheimer's treatments.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:27 in Health, Medicine & Bio-Happiness | | permalink

    { Saturday, 01 January, 2005 }

    Dwarf Mistletoe Reveals Its Sexual Secrets

    New research shows that the dwarf mistletoe, a member of the same Viscaceae family as the better-known Christmas varieties, is truly worthy of being hung with pride. The stubby variety might be a clumpy green parasite of conifers, but it turns out to have the world's only water-pump seed ejection system. One that can fire a seed up to a dazzling 20 meters (65 feet). So who are you calling a dwarf now?

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:39 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink

    Harbin Snow and Ice Festival

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:28 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink

    hold me to it

    I resolve to give more of myself in ways that truly matter,
    I resolve to become more comfortable with silence,
    I resolve to not over-commit myself,
    I resolve to laugh more,
    I resolve to thrust myself into unusual situations for the sake of growth,
    I resolve to not take things personally,
    I resolve to admit when I need help,
    I resolve to claim my right to be eccentric,
    I resolve to find more alternatives to living in this country without feeding its dragons,
    I resolve to not take too much advantage of good fortune,
    I resolve to finish all those unfinished projects or let them go completely,
    I resolve to challenge myself to learn in new ways,
    I resolve to not pass up an opportunity to connect with a good human, whomever they are,
    I resolve to have faith and doubt in the right measure,
    I resolve to love fearlessly,
    I resolve to have lots of fun,
    I resolve to resolve that no resolution is worth resolving if resolute, and that, I resolve to be.

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:01 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    time passages...

  • Miscreants, ragamuffins and mystical vagabonds watching things explode in the sky over Asheville, North Carolina. (QT .mov, 12 megs)
  • QTVR Panaoramas of celebrations around the world.
  • Traditions of New Year celebrations worldwide and throughout history.
  • Culinary traditions for New Year's Day

    And last night was a humdinger. I will not deny that well aged tonics and tinctures of bubbly and still varieties were consumed en-masse by myself and our roving band of scallywags and merry-makers. As you can see from the last moblog post, we retreated to a friend's house after the hubbub for a round of toasting and roasting another year. Not long after, I made the wise choice of nesting upon Robin and Joshua's futon for a deep sleep only interrupted by sheer hunger and that filmy haze of morning-after memory recall and brutal self analysis. I look like hell, but no real hangover. Joshua, however, may be experiencing a less-pleasant fate, for the metaphorical bull he rode threw him rather suddenly. Good thing the gentle hands of the Goddess will nurture him back to full dynamic interaction with the Universe and it's various challenges and fermented chemical compounds.

    I'm about to make my traditional Saturday morning omelet and will start the simmer for a less-traditional lentil, spinach and pasta stew for dinner. I don't have black-eyed peas on hand so I thought the lentils will do nicely for my evening feast of good fortune.

    My best wishes to you and yours for a safe, peaceful, prosperous and powerful new year (regardless of what horological/heuristic systems you abide by).

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:03 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    This is a moblog* post:


    To peace and enlightenment to every being

    *Moblogging is posting from a cellphone or other wireless device- if a picture, it's taken from the phone.

    jaybird found this for you @ 01:10 in Live from the road... | | permalink

    This is a moblog* post:



    *Moblogging is posting from a cellphone or other wireless device- if a picture, it's taken from the phone.

    jaybird found this for you @ 00:03 in Live from the road... | | permalink

    Web bird on the moon




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    are Copyright 2005 by theodore "jay" joslin and joyous jostling studios. Thank you, Wanderer, for All. 


  • i am jay joslin: a spirit-fed mountain hopping lover of everything, an ordained lefty-veggie-homo, and bon-vivant go-go dancing with all the messenger mockingbirds of morning. 



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    Letter Excerpt:


    Ten Considerations for Being Well n this Goofy Universe


    0. If you find yourself wonderstruck, don’t forget to return the favor.

    1. Always be of service to the whole and the Holy. You’ll find that the Holy will reciprocate by being of service to your becoming Whole.

    2. You will be called upon to use your mind and your vision in ways I cannot possibly glimpse. Never turn down an offer to shine that light so uniquely yours to help others in their darkness, and you’ll find that when it’s your turn to be in the night that there’ll be someone along the way who happens to have a little glow to share .

    3. The rewards of being true to yourself  are infinite, even when outwardly your efforts are met with nothing.

    4. You’ll also see that  knowledge and wisdom will come from within yourself through your own struggle and curiosity... your loved ones may guide you to insight, but yours is the power to choose it.

    5. You’ll find that some of your choices could’ve been better, or at times were downright stupid. That’s okay... I have a closet full of reckless decisions, but without making them I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what a good one might feel like if I tried it on.

    6. Your growth will be a mysterious, comic, ecstatic and sometimes scary ride, and I pray that you strive to savor each minute of it, even the most difficult or embarrassing minutes. Don’t count on second chances.

    7. In those times when everything collapses around you, and what’s left won’t go right, don’t forget your chances of being alive in this solar system, in this galaxy, are a little on the slim side. So slim in fact that it could be called a miracle to breathe this air, drink this water, and have whet ever predicament you’re having no matter how you shake, rattle and roll it. So go with the cosmic flow and always choose something over nothing, while remembering that there’s a little of each one hidden in both.

    8. Respond as best as you can with love to adversity rather than reacting with fear... Love, in any situation and  being the primordial source and essence of ALL THIS STUFF, leaves / enters us with the most possible ways out / in.

    9. Whatever you’re doing, celebrate the process of doing as much, if not more, than what you’ve got when you’re done. Magic lives in the action.

    9 ½ . All matter is energy. All energy is infinite. We are but raindrops falling to the ocean, a short time in this shape until we’re reunited with the expanse from which we came. Your delicate yet sturdy, resilient body is a temporary shelter of energy that has swam the universe eternally and will continue eternally. You are a sudden crystallization of the infinite. One must ask themself, therefore, why be bored?

    9 3/4 . Choosing to live in the moment is courageous but becomes effortless once you begin...feeling obligated to survive in the past or future is dangerous and is difficult to continue. It’s one of the few risks I’d recommend not taking, right up there with trusting icons and shrugging off coincidences.

    10. The Universe itself it not confusing, we humans just like it that way. Do frogs seem bewildered , butterflies befuddled and amoebas addled? Nope, just us, my child. So, whenever things just don’t make sense, just take a deep breath and laugh as best you can, because that’s what you get for choosing this goofy, unpredictable place called Earth to embody yourself upon.