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

 

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

{ Thursday, 30 June, 2005 }

Take A Notion for Ocean

folly_above.jpg

I'm presently driving for Folly Beach, just south of Charleston, SC, for a few days of utterly free and unrestrained heaven. The website will be on autopilot as I stop caring what day or time it is, and my heart sets the agenda. Bliss... even in utter imperfection and in lack of expectation... bliss. While Peru was wonderful adventure, this is vacation.

The graphic above is Folly Point, where I've seen dolphins dance and stars do the merengue. I'd love it if you'd picture yourself here, too. Let this stunningly beautiful place be in your dreams, and I'll look to meeting you there.

Here to sand 'tween the toes,
jaybird

jaybird found this for you @ 20:04 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



a rebellious vision of the thing

Emerson’s Gnostic Democracy

Spiritual rebellion grows from attention to a particular presence. Corporeal attack relies on faith in abstract ideology. These apparent contradictions can be resolved in a vision of the thing. If things are not temporal copies of eternal forms or hunks of matter pushed around by mechanical force but numinous events proffering heterogeneous possibilities, then attention to these sites releases one from stale heavens and iron laws and throws one into unrealized horizons, invisible abysses. Likewise, if ideological positions are not meditations on evanescent currents or excursions into abysmal voids but ciphers of impalpable systems, then faith in such political views divorces one from the hums of ungraspable particulars and marries one to predictable forms—the same ideas, the same bodies, the same ruts.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:24 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



Sowhatism

The Immoral Relativists of the Bush Administration

In his speeches, George Bush regularly calls for a return to or the reinforcement of traditional, even eternal, family values and emphasizes the importance of personal "accountability" for our children as well as ourselves. ("The culture of America is changing from one that has said, if it feels good, do it, and if you've got a problem, blame somebody else, to a new culture in which each of us understands we are responsible for the decisions we make in life.") And yet when it comes to acts that are clearly wrong in this world -- aggressive war, the looting of resources, torture, personal gain at the expense of others, lying, and manipulation among other matters -- Bush and his top officials never hesitate to redefine reality to suit their needs. When faced with matters long defined in everyday life in terms of right and wrong, they simply reach for their dictionaries.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:18 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



New frogs found in Sri Lanka

Sadly, though, many species extinct

Sri Lankan biologists have found dozens of new species of tree frog over the last decade in the island's dwindling rainforests, but warn many known species are either extinct or on the verge of disappearing because of man.

Researchers from Sri Lanka's privately-funded Wildlife Heritage Trust found 35 new species of frog -- increasing the number of known frog species on the Indian Ocean island by a third -- but also found 19 species are now extinct.

"(They) have gone extinct largely because of the loss of their habitat... The land has now been converted to other uses like tea and rubber..."

jaybird found this for you @ 07:15 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



{ Wednesday, 29 June, 2005 }

Prevarication and the art of ruling

The Gentleman, the Prince, and the Simulacrum

I will suggest that we look at the Bush administration through the lenses of three controversial theorists who have had much to say about secrecy in both its religious and political dimensions: the German-born political philosopher, Leo Strauss, the Florentine philosopher, Niccolò Machiavelli, and the French postmodern theorist, Jean Baudrillard. I have chosen these three, seemingly disparate, theorists because they correspond to and help make sense of three of the most important forces at work in the Bush administration, namely: 1) the Neoconservative movement, which is heavily indebted to Strauss' thought and has a powerful presence in the Bush administration through figures like Paul Wolfowitz (a student of Strauss) and the Project for a New American Century; 2) the manipulations of Bush's pious public image by advisors like Karl Rove (a reader of Machiavelli) and Vice-President Dick Cheney (often compared to Machiavelli), who have used the President's connections with the Christian Right for political advantage; [16] and 3) an astonishingly uncritical mainstream media, whose celebration of Bush's image as a virtuous man of faith and general silence about his less admirable activities is truly "hyperreal," in Baudrillard's sense of the term.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:35 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



Oh, Canada!

Our northern friends keep freedom alive

[The bill] is expected to win Senate approval and become law by July, making Canada the third country after the Netherlands and Belgium to allow gay marriages. Gay marriage is already legal in eight of 10 provinces and one of Canada's three territories... Prime Minister Martin: "We are a nation of minorities and in a nation of minorities, it is important that you don't cherry pick rights. A right is a right and that is what this vote tonight is all aboot."

jaybird found this for you @ 11:30 in Gay, Lesbian, Queer & Free | | permalink



impossible reads

The Invisible Library

The Invisible Library is a collection of books that only appear in other books. Within the library's catalog you will find imaginary books, pseudobiblia, artifictions, fabled tomes, libris phantastica, and all manner of books unwritten, unread, unpublished, and unfound.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:12 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink



{ Tuesday, 28 June, 2005 }

Travel Journal: South America

I awoke to being awake, as I was most of the night. While I was excited about the day’s itinerary, I was beholden to a mood besotted by a rootless weariness. The lake, so azure, transformed that. Big water has a mysterious way in its flow to soften the stones we carry within, for flow is about the only real law. Its molecules contain a key, which upon ingress opens floodgates.

Stepping onto one of the 28 Uros islands, I slid back to my early years, playing among the reeds of the Delaware River. These are familiar margins. There used to be less than 28 islands, but after a dispute some islanders literally tore themselves asunder, to drift as a smaller island, hacking their homeland with a saw. Yet these people have made a permanent home upon the reeds, floating atop tides and currents, this is no memory like water's memory. This is their sanctuary; it floats, and is mutable. They must be content with ripples, waves. Unfortunately, the missionaries got to them… the lives we see now may just be a shell, a show, while they are held in the strings of an alien god. We boated along the reeds, on a solid vessel made of the same. It was utterly quiet, as a little boy dragged his finger along the water.

The motor boat picked us up and we began the two hour trek to Taquile island, out in the open water. I stayed atop the boat most of the time, breathing in the blue and optical illusions played with distant islands, bending their shorelines, bobbing beads on the deep. I savored the slow ride, and the bit of chop. Along the way, families were out in their row boats, fishing, and there was no indication in this scene that this was the twenty-first century.

The island loomed, or wove, before us for what seemed an eternity. We trekked up to a path that local villagers take to circumnavigate the small island, still clinging to gender-bending traditions of men knitting and women plowing. It was steep, but easy. And I made a discovery about the capabilities of my body versus the capabilities I perceive my body to have; I can do what I want. I have freedom. I make-believe that I can’t do. But I scaled Taquile with little effort. Alas, a discovery to note.

We stumbled upon a poor family, and our guide gave them bread. They invited us to watch the matriarch, Lucia, weave. With her sharpened llama bone, she deftly an minutely managed a pattern coming right from ancestral memory. She offered to show other weavings, not really, it seemed, having hope that they would sell. My eyes immediately alighted upon a coca leaf bag made by her daughter Juana Cruz Wata, and I bought it for 30 soles. This combined with a scarf that Terry bought gave the family 70 soles more than what they had expected to come out of the sky that Thursday afternoon, and being very poor it made a world of difference to them. That was far more a motivation for me than the coca bag, to see lights behind the eyes well up in thanksgiving.

The island lives on in a sea of liquid emerald. The ways of life have only slightly been changed by tourism and modernity. The stone gateways are gravity-defiant and bold corridors between this world and that. I love it there, and hope to be able to go back when I need it. Taquile could be a mantra for peacefulness, openness, perspective. May it be so.

The boat ride back was harmonious. I laid out atop the boat in the sun, and let the choppy waters rock me into deep-cocooning, metamorphic thinking, or non-thinking. A boat in trouble hailed us, and we swung around to latch the two boats together for a slow, conjoined ride to the boundary of reeds, where we loosed the mostly happy crowd and literally, made course for a dramatic yellow sunset.

Dinner at the same queer restaurant as last night, and I enjoyed the wittedness the beers gave my tongue. In dreams: hasids and rabbis cock-fighting in the street, worms going in circles, black veiled women pronouncing undecipherable secrets.

(9 June, last full day in Puno)

jaybird found this for you @ 19:40 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



stand for justice

Where You Stand Determines What You See, and How You Live

That's how Voices in the Wilderness members began our statement explaining why we'd decided to stay in Baghdad during the 2003 Shock and Awe bombing of Iraq. During the long war of the economic sanctions, we had stood at the bedsides of numerous mothers who held dying infants and looked at us with imploring eyes, asking "Why?" We saw too much of the catastrophic military and economic violence inflicted on ordinary Iraqis to ever consider giving up on efforts to end UN/US economic sanctions. We had returned to our homes haunted by the gasps of children in hospital wards that served as little more than "death rows" for infants, and we had tried to alert people in the U.S. and the U.K., people with some level of control over their governments, about how those governments brutally and lethally punished Iraqi children for political actions they could not control.

Where you stand determines what you see. For the latter half of June, eight of us will do plenty of standing, again in opposition to economic punishment of ordinary Iraqis, with children bearing the hardest punishment. We're fasting for fifteen days leading up to the June 28-30 UNCC deliberations over whether to saddle the poorest Iraqis with billions of dollars of Saddam Hussein's debt.

We're standing in Geneva, which is one of the most comfortably elegant cities in the world, and where the future of one of the world's most desperate countries will be decided...

jaybird found this for you @ 15:37 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



toward zero-point

How to Abhor the Void While Loving the Quantum Vacuum [via orlingrabbe]

Nature may abhor an old-fashioned vacuum, but we dare to predict that physics and astrophysics of the 21st century are going to love the quantum vacuum. It is a state of both paradox and possibilities.

Actually nature has nothing to abhor. The vacuum as a condition of complete emptiness, as an absolute void, does not even exist. Rather the laws of quantum mechanics predict the real vacuum to be a seething sea of particle pairs, energy fluctuations and force perturbations popping in and out of existence and thereby capable of both quantum mischief and, we predict, veritable technological magic. The quantum vacuum is in reality a plenum, but in keeping with tradition we will continue to use the term vacuum instead of plenum, and in particular we will explore the fascinating role of a part of the quantum vacuum known as the electromagnetic zero-point field.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:25 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



Ito and Sirius

Connecting In Chaos

People on the Internet have talked a lot about how a sort of intelligence will form just by connecting everyone together. The issue is how we are connected together. Since it is an organic/chaotic system you can’t engineer it like you engineer a bridge, you have to get it just right, and I think a lot of it is trial and error. Although this isn’t a great metaphor, the amount of DNA that separates us from Chimps or even slugs is quite small. Similarly, throwing social software at the problem of freedom, democracy and leadership is like trying to predict — by looking at a bunch of DNA – whether you’re going to get Einstein, a chimp, or a slug. Some day maybe we will know how to figure this out, but right now, it’s a lot of tasting and stirring.

So what have we learned? We’ve learned that conversations on mailing lists tend to explode in flame wars. We’ve also learned that if you make a web page, there is a good chance no one will notice. Mailing lists are like rooms that people can get into, but very difficult to get people out of. Everyone in the room hears everyone else in the room. Too much feedback.

A personal web page .... No one can hear you. Not enough feedback. Life and good emergent systems live in the interesting place between too much feedback and too little feedback, that very special space between chaos and order. It’s the sweet spot of emergent order that we see in fractals, life, and the high of being "in the zone."

My theory is that the critical mass of actors as well as the right balance of the cybernetic feedback systems is getting closer. Blogs allow you to more easily ignore stupid threads on other blogs, but participate in conversations. This is because blogs ping servers to let you know that they have been updated so they can be indexed immediately and those who have been linked to or mentioned will immediately know. They can read the post and assess whether the comment requires feedback or not. Speed has increased, feedback occurs, but filtering occurs as well.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:19 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



{ Monday, 27 June, 2005 }

Novalis


When geometric diagrams and digits
Are no longer the keys to living things,
When people who go about singing or kissing
Know deeper things than the great scholars,
When society is returned once more
To unimprisoned life, and to the universe,
And when light and darkness mate
Once more and make something entirely transparent,
And people see in poems and fairy tales
The true history of the world,
Then our entire twisted nature will turn
And run when a single secret word is spoken.

Translated by Robery Bly

jaybird found this for you @ 19:56 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



think up when down

Body's own 'cannabis' helps pain

"This study shows for the first time that natural marijuana-like chemicals in the brain have a link to pain suppression. Aside from identifying an important function of these compounds, it provides a template for a new class of pain medications that can possibly replace others shown to have acute side effects. If we design chemicals that can tweak the levels of these cannabinoid compounds in the brain, we might be able to boost their normal effects..."

jaybird found this for you @ 15:52 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



waiter rant

Three priests walk into my bistro

I’ve given my heart and soul to being a priest for four years. I’m supposed to go abroad to study theology next year. Now, for the first time, I realize it isn’t going to work out.

“God doesn’t want you to be unhappy,” the priest says.

“Then why drag me here and put me through all this for nothing?” I whisper.

“I don’t know.”

“God’s a real asshole sometimes isn’t he?” I say sadly.

The priest leans back and smiles. “A gigantic asshole.”

jaybird found this for you @ 11:50 in Interesting People | | permalink



electronic voice phenomenon

A Swril of Voices

The voices take on diverse forms; they may appear to be speaking in tongues (polyglot), singing or making public service announcements. They interrupt standard radio broadcasts, and can apparently call on by name, and speak directly to researchers (and most likely attempt to communicate with people too busy to notice they are being addressed by the voice of weirdness). They may make themselves heard over telephones, during television broadcasts, and as anomalous interference on tape recordings. Some of them seem to enjoy engaging in dialogue, answering questions, or willingly supply secret, or highly specific personal information, no doubt as an indication of their greater insight.

Often, intercommunication between those waiting and hoping to speak finds its way onto the tape, just as background talk might during any normal recording, the difference here being that the discarnate technicians' ability to create a window of communication is seemingly random, or poorly fixed. In other words, that acoustic window only opens for a moment, and whoever happens to be making noise ends up on the recording, whether they are the designated speakers or the bystanders. Of course, as with all "sciences," both conventional and paranormal, there are those investigators (or "investigators"), who are so keen on finding evidence to support the validity of their chosen field that they will impose meaning on what might otherwise be a mere cloud, albeit oddly shaped.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:45 in Forteana, Phenomena & the Bizarre | | permalink



{ Sunday, 26 June, 2005 }

swim radiant in the black water of summer night

To be honest with one’s feelings,
With one’s own perception,
Is a daredevil feat-
For what is found there when the eye
Is seeking after truth, truthfully,
Can be utterly terrifying.

But for tonight,
I’ll settle for this poor man’s cocktail
And a view of the city at night,
Buzzing positively with so many strident walks
So many proud conversations
And maybe the lucky will make love tonight.

We get so afraid in our chatter
To get “too deep”
For that’s where the monsters stalk
And they feed on our broken logic
Sinking to the muck, our jettisoned tragedies,
Where our truths could not come together.

But damnit, I want to ride the back of that beast
Through the blackwater of which the outcasts drink
And fish, hopeful for a nibble.
What I want to share with you is only a jumble of words,
And how harmless can that be?
We sharpen swords but words are only as deadly as we hear them.

And these are dulled by the sun,
Such slick blades are night-things.

Day-lilies are so placid in this night June breeze
Won’t you marvel with them for a moment
As, like some earthen choir, they line the road,
And wave me home, the city recedes,
And out the window I toss a streamer of longing
To float to earth in that sweet air.

No, there’s no magnum opus tonight
Just a few words written from the quiver of heart muscle
Faint ripples, trembling leaves,
Invisible friends which come close when eyes shutter,
And somewhere, the sun goes down
And another conversation about yearning
Is carried on between a loner and the stars.

jaybird found this for you @ 23:56 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Saturday, 25 June, 2005 }

Travel Journal: South America

My free day. Of course, I thought much of Condor, who is utterly free and powerful. How can I be that? I wandered up to the lake, walking alongside rubble and trash, where I felt very fortunate to be the only foreigner in sight. There were no preserved temples, no well-swept streets, only people living as they normally live, beyond the unquiet throngs longing for more curiosity. Only dust-devils, dogs and old women picking through refuse, the raw scent of poverty’s daily life, and momentary stories of the everyday populate that boulevard. And I, having last night been filled with stars, got to see this, I have that dust on my shoes. Viracocha and the old gods are as much alive here as they are in the museums and guarded sanctuaries, and why not? They are not some mere temporal idea that wander only in the photogenic, they must be here, in the stink and scrape of the city as well. Gods do not die, they only lurk, waiting to be noticed again. And these people remember, despite the cross and the hourly bells to salvation. Salvation is lakeside, where the mud bricks are dried and where the old woman finds fifty centavo on the street. May it be so.

Memorable: from the fruit stalls near the wharf, a radio was declaring clearly that it was “A Beautiful Day” by U2. Dinner at the ostensibly queer-friendly Inka Palace, with a familiar sashay and dancers rehearsing. Wandering through the market, I recall what our supermarket is like… this is more alive. This is more real. This is how people get by. This is today.

(8 June, Sleepless night, Puno)

jaybird found this for you @ 12:18 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Friday, 24 June, 2005 }

Venomous mammal

One of a kind find

A small, fossilized mammal had what appears to be poisonous fangs that allowed it to bite like a snake – the first such find in an extinct mammal...

Vertebrate paleontologist Richard Fox of the University of Alberta in Edmonton found the specimen in 1991. Now Fox and his research team say the extinct, mouse-sized creature was built to deliver venom. The world is home to few living mammals with venom delivery systems: the duck-billed platypus, the Caribbean solenodon, and a few rat-like shrews. Scientists concluded that mammals long ago lost the ability to release venom to defend themselves or find food, given how few mammalian species still use the strategy.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:35 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



dangerous emissions

Burning a flag seems innocent enough, right? I mean, after all, it's just a material thing used to represent ideals, right? You're not really setting fire to freedom, patriotism, freedom, liberty, or freedom, right? WRONG.

When you burn an American flag, freedom particles and liberty molecules are released into the atmosphere. "But, Andy, don't we want more freedom and liberty in the air?" You'd think that, wouldn't you? Releasing freedom and liberty sounds great in a symbolic kind of way, but the truth of the matter is sobering. We only have so much freedom and liberty to go around. That's right. Like fresh water or fossil fuels, only so much liberty and freedom exists on Earth. If you're burning an American flag, you're wasting a precious, limited resource.

And that's only part of the story. Freedom particles and liberty molecules, once released into the atmosphere, will interact with other types of particles, ones which will cause the creation of unstable, mutated and dangerous compounds. After speaking with a number of scientists, I compiled a list of the most dangerous particles, which when combined with freedom, spell disaster for our country.

Heathen particles - Released during everyday sinning
Sodomite particles - Released during sodomy
Abortion particles - Released during abortions
Gay particles - Released by gay people
Welfare particles - Released by welfare recipients
Tree-hugger particles - Released by hugging trees

jaybird found this for you @ 11:32 in Silly People, Satire & Strange Behaviors | | permalink



sappho

New Poem Found

In the new poem... the focus is on Sappho herself. She recites the symptoms of her ageing, as in another famous poem she recites the physical symptoms of jealous love. Then comes philosophical reflection. In the love poem she tells herself that everything is endurable, because fortunes can be transformed at God’s pleasure. In the new poem she tells herself that growing old is part of the human condition and there is nothing to be done about it. This truth is illustrated, as typically in Greek lyric, by a mythical example. It is a tale that was popular at the time, the story of Tithonus, whom the Dawn-goddess took as her husband. At her request, Zeus granted him immortality, but she neglected to ask that he should also have eternal youth, so he just grew ever older and feebler. Finally she shut him up in his room, where he chatters away endlessly but barely has the strength to move.


jaybird found this for you @ 07:11 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink



{ Thursday, 23 June, 2005 }

Travel Journal: South America

Chucuito in the morning… a taxi ride a half hour out of the city to a dirty lot across from a church with about a hundred phalli either rammed into the female earth or pointing upward to the male sun. Come down and play, sun-god. I rubbed a well-worn stone penis for good luck, and a spiritual ray of chicha and quinoa shot out, raining lavender in the sky. Oh, the sweet breeze of the lake, the spirits enticed…

We walked along Puno’s wharf, as the boats gently rocked in the algae-blanketed water, while shorebirds skirted along. I write this hoping that the words will give me a moment’s solace, a minute alone with language, alphabetical shelter. Hang on, I’m trying to write a guidebook to the world. I want the angle of an L or the fork of a Y to be paths away, on my own, for a few hours.

This is a journey where I must acquire more than experiences and trinkets, I must return filled of Spirit and wisdom. Not having the time to water those seeds, touching the sacred on the fly, is hard on the mind looking to be alight with insight, rather than boggled by time and faces. Oh sleep, take me to a place where I can do the work.

I awake. Such a powerful mantra, a deep breath and a single point of awe to suddenly jigger the soul into power. I awake.

I awoke to yet another military band, so wonderfully off-key and over it, as it processed down our thin little street. A sea of red and white, a few smiles and claps along the way, gyrating like a surprised critter caught in the heat. Is a nation a genuine animus, or a party costume? Is the measure of pride relative to the measure of collective happiness, or can a flag just be so much fabric?

We took a ride out to a swank shipwreck of a hotel on Esteves island after dark. The intention… to escape the city lights and see the stars. Why do we try compete with them with our own orange and blue electric imitations, which may twinkle from a distance yet do not radiate with the ardor of a sun? The Southern Cross, finally, was overhead, crown jewels in the ghostly spine of the Via Lactea. I spent time with these new stars, their light never before reflecting upon my retinas, tasting them on the frigid Titicaca wind, entering me. To be filled with stars! The lake lapped below, strange sounds from the marshes, I may as well be atop on alien hill, my own home a blue speck, context flocking away with the night-birds and the receding presence of the city. Meaninglessness, our slipshod civilization pronounces, for we have dimmed the very galaxy. Exaltation, the pilgrim pronounces, when suddenly struck with a new cosmos, endless as the veins within him, remembering there is no difference between him and the faint light from forever-away.

The stars, for those moments, were a perfect refuge, even the cold. For the cold and the wind under that deep blue night are faint approximations of the real nature of space, lurking just beyond our sheer bubble of air, and our soul is big enough to sail upon it, unfettered, until the taxi ride home.

(7 June, riding the waves of a star)

jaybird found this for you @ 19:01 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



moyers

A Moral Transaction
We are free to regard human beings as more than mere appetites and America as more than an economic machine. Leo Strauss once wrote, “Liberal education is liberation from vulgarity.” He reminded us that the Greek word for vulgarity is apeirokalia , the lack of experience in things beautiful. A liberal education supplies us with that experience and nurtures the moral imagination. I believe a liberal education is what we’re about. Performing arts, good conversation, history, travel, nature, critical documentaries, public affairs, children’s programs—at their best, they open us to other lives and other realms of knowing.

The ancient Israelites had a word for it: hochma , the science of the heart. Intelligence, feeling and perception combine to inform your own story, to draw others into a shared narrative, and to make of our experience here together a victory of the deepest moral feeling of sympathy, understanding and affection. This is the moral imagination that opens us to the reality of other people’s lives. When Lear cried out on the heath to Gloucester, “You see how this world goes,” Gloucester, who was blind, answered, “I see it feelingly.” When we succeed at this kind of programming, the public square is a little less polluted, a little less vulgar and our common habitat a little more hospitable. That is why we must keep trying our best.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:11 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



The Rage of Ludwig

Why Beethoven the man continues to hold such fascination for us
Beethoven didn't only achieve fame posthumously. In his irascible prime, he was already the most celebrated composer in the world, and his Ninth Symphony, with its 'Ode to Joy', has kept the pot on the boil ever since. It was a sensation when it premiered in Vienna, and its after-life has been extraordinary, serving in the 19th century as the anthem for proto-Marxists, French republicans and German nationalists, and in the 20th for both the Nazis and their Jewish victims in Auschwitz.

The 'Ode', which has been sung at every Olympic Games since 1956, was also adopted as an anthem by Ian Smith's white-supremacist regime in Rhodesia. In Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange it stood for private criminality and public terrorism, and it was what Leonard Bernstein chose to conduct — with an orchestra symbolically drawn from six nations — when the Berlin Wall came down.

As an American critic once put it, we all live in the valley of the Ninth: no other work has been all things to all men. And no other composer remains so idolised.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:08 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink



all gods considered


In the Beginning...

I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design to be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them. I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design.

Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.

jaybird found this for you @ 08:02 in Silly People, Satire & Strange Behaviors | | permalink



{ Wednesday, 22 June, 2005 }

but is it art?

Turin Shroud confirmed as fake

Drawing on a method previously used by sceptics to attack authenticity claims about the Shroud, the magazine got an artist to do a bas-relief - a sculpture that stands out from the surrounding background - of a Christ-like face. A scientist then laid out a damp linen sheet over the bas-relief and let it dry, so that the thin cloth was moulded onto the face.

Using cotton wool, he then carefully dabbed ferric oxide, mixed with gelatine, onto the cloth to make blood-like marks. When the cloth was turned inside-out, the reversed marks resulted in the famous image of the crucified Christ.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:10 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



sanguine pastorale

A village still in thrall to Dracula

What six local men did was enact an ancient Romanian ritual for dealing with a strigoi - a restless spirit that returns to suck the lifeblood from his relatives. Just before midnight, they crept into the cemetery on the edge of the village and gathered around Toma's grave... There, cows and grubby geese sway and horses pull carts past old men who sit motionless in the shade of a few broad trees. The air seethes with birdsong and the noises of farm animals tethered in dung-strewn back yards. Time moves slowly and ritual and superstition shape the lives of peasants who gained little under communism and even less from the aristocracy that came before and the free market that followed it.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:07 in Forteana, Phenomena & the Bizarre | | permalink



Terraforming

Human Destiny or Hubris?

Say the word “terraforming” amidst a gathering of space enthusiasts and it’s a bit like upending your beer mug in an Australian pub. It means you’re ready to duke it out with anybody in the joint. And the fight usually breaks out along these lines: One team sees the quest to replicate the biosphere of Earth on other planets as a moral imperative, an inevitable destiny, or both. Others -- equally passionate -- recoil at such pretension, proclaiming with surety that humans have no right to interfere with Nature as writ large upon the face of other worlds. Both viewpoints are, of course, so fraught with self-defeating conflicts as to be, well, flat out wrong.

Weird, isn’t it, that an enterprise that no one now alive can remotely hope to see fulfilled should arouse such fire and fury?

jaybird found this for you @ 07:05 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



{ Tuesday, 21 June, 2005 }

Travel Journal: South America

The day started minus one, as Edel has the sirocha, or altitude sickness.

We left early for the chulpas, or burial towers, of the Collya and Inca at Sillustani. Upon a hill overlooking the placid lake Umayo, these inverted cones of lightening-attracting stone have stood for over a thousand years. At the crest of the hill, a holy island looms and seems to float upon the surface. Down the steep banks, swifts and finches savor their aerial realm by indulging in heartening acrobatics. I stood at the center of the stone astronomical observatory called Intiwatata, and felt a quiver within, as if an embryo were exploring its newfound limits. Freedom means being able to let go, to fly; I spiraled out of the circle as a condor wings toward oneness.

Another holy moment while overlooking the lake. Silence and nothing to say, nothing more to experience other than what is.

I slept for a long time, mostly as a sanctuary. Dinner was in a strange little restaurant with an Andino band putting everything into their instruments, and laughing all the while. Confidence must be an ability which frees one to play whilst commanding appreciation. After dinner I piddled around in circles, and I ultimately fell asleep with Annie Dillard's "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" over my face.

(6 June, Puno, backwards slide to home)

jaybird found this for you @ 19:46 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



reverse immigration

To Cuba (almost) by Outrigger Sailing Canoe

I'd be sailing with my eyes open, and what I was seeing would sort of freeze. From then on I was dreaming, but my arm would still steer the boat, and the waves that hit the boat didn't quite line up with the dream waves. They'd hit the boat from a wrong angle and I'd jerk awake, able to see again, and straighten the boat out. I couldn't always tell if I was awake. I thought it would be a good rule to not do anything dangerous in my dreams since I might not really be asleep. Day came and I slept, less afraid of being run down by a ship. I'd wake up a few minutes or hours later and sail again til I couldn't stay awake, it would get dark and the stars would come out, and I didn't really know how many days it had been or if I'd missed some.

After sailing for a while and getting really tired, the waves and sails started sounding like voices. I ignored them for a long time, but they didn't seem to do anything scary and they were mumbling anyway. Eventually I started tuning them in, and it was pretty funny stuff. There were some evil aliens that lived in my transom. When I went fast the transom made kind of a hissy alien sound. It was the soundtrack from a cable-tv sciencefiction show. These aliens had landed at a goth disco and were trying to fit in. They dressed up like vampires and looked really evil and talked in scary voices and were the coolest couple at the disco. They were really into evil in theory but they never actually harmed anyone. They said it was a "big-picture" approach to evil rather than a "street-crime" approach.

Sea birds made calls sounded like people shouting things at me, I could never tell what.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:38 in Radical Undertakings | | permalink



Thing-Tide?

Summer Soltice

People around the world have observed spiritual and religious seasonal days of celebration during the month of June. Most have been religious holy days which are linked in some way to the summer solstice. On this day, typically JUN-21, the daytime hours are at a maximum in the Northern hemisphere, and night time is at a minimum. It is officially the first day of summer. It is also referred to as Midsummer because it is roughly the middle of the growing season throughout much of Europe.

"Solstice" is derived from two Latin words: "sol" meaning sun, and "sistere," to cause to stand still. This is because, as the summer solstice approaches, the noonday sun rises higher and higher in the sky on each successive day. On the day of the solstice, it rises an imperceptible amount, compared to the day before. In this sense, it "stands still."

jaybird found this for you @ 11:30 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



today

The 21st of June has, seen a weird waking vision in 1986, been a peculiar day for me, my own personal day of death and rebirth. My sleep was interrupted several times by dreams, and I'm scanning them for clues like so many scattered tea leaves.

...at the beach, my best friend says to visualize a coil and said that it represented expectation, and asked what color it was.

...a giant mall with Incan ruins on the outside. Inside was a cacophony of bizarre elevators and staircases, rotating buildings that creaked, and huge Arab buffets under circus tents.

...I was trying to sleep with my backpack and boots on, under heavy covers and listening to African radio. I had a love interest but wasn't sure how things would work out with a backpack on.

A bird on the window sill finally woke me, and just now all the streetlights flicked off, some arbitrary threshold is passed and it is now day. There's a ritual tonight and about a half-day's work on this, my own little day of history. Today into the alchemical cauldron go the lessons from my recent trip to Peru, all of the connotations of my return, and all of my past experiences of this day. I'll go forward without expectation, and will not let any drama impinge on my freedom.

Every minute feather of a birds wing sustains flight. I preen and stare out at the world. I want to be in it, and I want to sing at the windowsill of all my beloveds, to carry a dream in my beak for into the fog-shrouded morning.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:12 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Monday, 20 June, 2005 }

Travel Journal: South America

I awoke earlier than early, before the sun had any ideas, and was lost in space for a while. This journey is past its half-way point, and I need to assess what, other than facts and souvenirs, will return home with me. What has changed? Who am I now that was not then?

We boarded the bus for Puno, and I settled in for the nine hour ride that will take us to the blue lake Titicaca, and along the way Andahuaylillas, Roqchi, and Siciuni, What amazing names, what glorious construction. The Ururbabma, apparently, was the Quechua metaphor for the Milky Way. What then is our galactic looking-glass?

Andahuaylillas is a very simple Quechua town with a frighteningly opulent church at its center, all done in frescoes and gold, and fighting time’s gnashing teeth. It is amusing that all these ancient native temples stand today, while these cathedrals are so elderly and frail, all done up in gold and silver as if it were a shield against aging. Roqchi is the site of a massive temple of Viracocha, with seemingly hundreds of round rooms. In one of those rooms, I felt a very strong intuitive tug… in looking at a picture I took of that room, there is a wispy form to the left. Who was visiting, or waiting to be noticed?

We stopped at the village of San Pablo for the wildlife (llamas, guineas and a vicuña), lunched at Sicuani, and stopped at La Raya, the border between Cusco and Puno, at something like 14,000 feet. We’re now in the high plains; thatched roof huts and ruddy skins look positively Tibetan. Pucara is a village of red stone, which houses within its walls carvings from the pre-Incan Collya period. Half-human, half-fish, winding serpents, faces etched in stone that are so removed from their time and place that they stare out, bug-eyed, in confusion. We can only touch them and whisper that they’re safe, while seeking to assure our own travel.

Puno has a bone-chilling effect to it. This slanted town, home to 200,000, is perched before Titicaca as if waiting for a show, for an old god to emerge from its blue waters. We situated ourselves in the Fawlty Towers-like hotel, and set loose on its pedestrian boulevard, teeming with so many versions of humanity. Beggars and shoe-shine men, flashy tourists, mestizo women carrying impossible loads on their mountain-spine backs…

(5 June, Room 202 [again], Plaza Mayor, Puno, dos, tres)

jaybird found this for you @ 19:47 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



science their way

New US move to spoil climate accord

Extraordinary efforts by the White House to scupper Britain's attempts to tackle global warming have been revealed in leaked US government documents... These papers - part of the Bush administration's submission to the G8 action plan for Gleneagles next month - show how the United States, over the past two months, has been secretly undermining Tony Blair's proposals to tackle climate change.

The documents... represent an attempt by the Bush administration to undermine completely the science of climate change and show that the US position has hardened during the G8 negotiations. They also reveal that the White House has withdrawn from a crucial United Nations commitment to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:42 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



you too can be a time bandit

No paradox for time travellers

Some solutions to the equations of Einstein's general theory of relativity lead to situations in which space-time curves back on itself, theoretically allowing travellers to loop back in time and meet younger versions of themselves. Because such time travel sets up paradoxes, many researchers suspect that some physical constraints must make time travel impossible. Now, physicists Daniel Greenberger of the City University of New York and Karl Svozil of the Vienna University of Technology in Austria have shown that the most basic features of quantum theory may ensure that time travellers could never alter the past, even if they are able to go back in time.

The constraint arises from a quantum object's ability to behave like a wave. Quantum objects split their existence into multiple component waves, each following a distinct path through space-time. Ultimately, an object is usually most likely to end up in places where its component waves recombine, or "interfere", constructively, with the peaks and troughs of the waves lined up, say. The object is unlikely to be in places where the components interfere destructively, and cancel each other out.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:39 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



Summer Moon Illusion

The lowest-hanging full moon in 18 years is going to play tricks on you this week.

This week's full moon hangs lower in the sky than any full moon since June 1987, so the Moon Illusion is going to be extra strong. What makes the moon so low? It's summer. Remember, the sun and the full Moon are on opposite sides of the sky. During summer the sun is high, which means the full moon must be low. This week’s full moon occurs on June 22nd, barely a day after the summer solstice on June 21st--perfect timing for the Moon Illusion.

When you look at the moon, rays of moonlight converge and form an image about 0.15 mm wide in the back of your eye. High moons and low moons make the same sized spot. So why does your brain think one is bigger than the other? After all these years, scientists still aren't sure why.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:34 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



{ Sunday, 19 June, 2005 }

Travel Journal: South America


Anyelo

Over breakfast, we agreed to stay in the Titicaca area, flying to Lima on Friday… I think. We set off to two mercados to immerse in the cultural life of Cusquenos. An immersion in color and design… and need. These people’s economies depend on tourism and the pleading in their eyes shows it. I did not bargain too heavy, but played the game as expected. My Spanish has really improved as a result. Off to the Mercado des Pueblas Confraternidad. I found Anyelo’s regalos de bautizmos (a sketch pad, colored pencils, and a “Bob el Sponge” pillow) with little trouble, and took a few extra minutes to examine the stalls, which tell a story of Peruvian daily life. Golden thread and baby Jesuses for altars, shoeshine, glittery uniforms for ritual dancing, fruits delicately balanced atop eachother in an appeal to the eye.

We took taxis to the San Pedro church near the Plaza des Armas for Anyelo’s baptism. The church was cold, dusty, and smelled of diesel. The golden altar had lost its sheen and was lit by fluorescent tubes. Anyelo squirmed throughout the ceremony, often trying to face away from the priest, longing for his stuffed panda (Pandito). The priest’s drawing of the cross upon his forehead did not draw a smile, but the baptismal candle drew wonder for the flame, so much more real and effective than a god who lives in a celestial gated community. We threw coins and candy to the throngs of children who writhed with glee when the coins began to jingle on the cobblestones.

We taxied to Efrain’s hilltop community, full of roaming dogs picking through the windstrewn trash, shuttered windows and distant music. We entered a courtyard to a small room decorated with balloons and a colorful head table, with ourselves as the guests of honor (gusts of honor, I like that). Cheese bread, candied biscuits, beer and respect followed in courses. The main course has huge and we laughed as a dog wandered in and sniffed out some pork that Malvary had hidden in her pocket. I left fairly drunk, and barely got through a session of the internet café before falling hard asleep… though through the night I wrestled with dreams.

(4 June, last night in Cusco, fitful sleep)

jaybird found this for you @ 14:03 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Saturday, 18 June, 2005 }

Travel Journal: South America

Oezakaliti, Zoetikali. 2 serps 1 land 1 water

That’s what I reached over to write in some quiet minute of a hypnagogic morning. This dream was about a land serpent and a water serpent that both had needs in the other’s terrain. They reached a deal to where they could both benefit from each other without having to leave their respective domains. Oezakaliti would hop Zoetikali’s back for a ride across the river, and in return, Oezakaliti would bring Zoetikali some gift from land. The entire dream was sung in an aboriginal language which I couldn’t understand (except for the fact that some part of my being was helping to write it) with the sweetest Goddess voice one could imagine, nurturing and clear like warm, flowing water over skin.

We left early in the morning to raft down the Rio Urubamba, also known as the Vilca Norte. The ride was exhilaratingly fast and bumpy, and we arrived on the wild shores of a river rarely tamed. At first dyslexic with the paddling commands, I soon savored my position on the front of the raft and the role of paddling through Class IV rapids. I threw my body into each swell with the paddle, and used every available upper body muscle. As if the water were a crowd, I used all my intent to plough us forward. The sights along the way… stalagmites and mineral cities, stones smoothed from an eternal flow of a north-bound river, a play of currents and eddies, spiraling into aqueous memory.

From such placid passages, like a slow harmonious strain of music, into a grand cacophony of standing wave and stubborn stone, mule paths along the route where time played a game with our 15 kilometer race through a landscape shaped by this serpent, this meandering water god.

We returned to the base camp, where the small stone sauna with yellow translucent roof pulled the Urabamba’s chill from my muscles, and gave me my first few moments of solitude on this entire journey. The hiss of water on stone gave voice to my soul, bubbling against bone, grateful with achievement, eager for more breaking open, shattering the self. When a vase has a crack in its base, the water leaks out- I want something to leak in, even to sneak in.

The ride back to Cusco from Cusipata was replete with reggae and detours due to the Corpus Christi procession, taking us through the back alleys of villages that gringo eyes aren’t supposed to see. After peeling off moist clothes and taking solace in a scalding shower, we went out to dinner to meet Efrain and Anyelo Hancco-Zamata, Terry’s adopted family. I was presented with the odd situation of trying to entertain a six year old without understanding his language… this resulted in silly faces, eye winks, and goofiness for kiddie laughs. Upon returning, I met Craig at the internet café and we wandered the streets for a place to kick back and savor a cerveza. The bar selected, “Free Time Café,” was very small but had little red velvet sofas, Brazilian dance music (which was actually quite good), and a few men huddled around beers in quiet conversation. Also, posters of slutty celebrities and male models around mirrors and colored flashing lights made me suspect that we wound up in a proper Peruvian gay bar. Huzzah!

We let loose with laughter, and I did not let loose with hormonal longing, as I realized that he is very straight and I didn’t want to muddy the water of a temporary friendship. We returned to a darkened and shuttered hotel, and I fell quickly asleep pondering the news of our sudden change of plans; the Bolivian borders are closed- no exit, no entry. In the morning, we will determine the remainder of our course.

Rivers often make surprising changes in course.

(3 June, Cusco)

jaybird found this for you @ 12:00 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Friday, 17 June, 2005 }

Travel Journal: South America

Cheers to the self, that strange being with which we must grapple, world without end. It tends to defy even its own image, and will put on such a lively masquerade without our over-saturated eyes even noticing… but we remember in dreams.

I just walked the nighttime streets of Qosqo, which, after hours, puts on rougher clothing and grits its teeth. I invoked Puma, the virtue of power and warriorship, as I made a hapless circuitous route to visit Craig, a Canadian I met at the top of that montaña sagredo yesterday. There were moments of concern, certain dark corners seething vacuously with possibility, but I flew past them with courage and boldness, and later patted myself on the back with a mas fine cerveza.

Now I’m here back at the hotel, watching the barman count the bottles at this empty bar. Such meticulous care are the precious liquids accounted for. Last night was a blur, as I was exhausted and dirty from the hike, the train ride which was really only made more astounding by the brightness of southern hemisphere stars, and the rushed nature of adventure-by-itinerary makes one’s head spin. Not necessarily in the way we imitate the Earth in our dancing and heady poesy.

This morning we were herded onto the bus to experience Pisaq; the weavers and the farmers easily get passed over by the throngs for the tourista stalls. The Andiño countryside rolls endlessly and at perilous angles for the farmer’s toil. The earth is pushed and pulled, tilled and seeded from daybreak until the Southern Cross shines brightly in the brilliant sky. Glacier-capped mountains lord over it all, a granite grandmother clothed in ice, assuring harmony, these fields her billowing patchwork gown.

We next rolled to the village Urubamba, and I fled the indulgent lunch hall for the shores of the river, which is a shade of green that painters have tried for tirelessly. A farmer crossed a path across the river with his two donkeys, and for a moment, I lost my place in the book version of this escapade. These beautiful people live largely beyond time, and the influences of Civilization™ only lap at their shores, but do not roll and froth upon them. Another holy moment, another moment for the self to suddenly be as wide open as the valleys that hold these sacred cities in the shapes of Puma, Condor, Llama.

Ollantaytambo has fascinated me from the start, and in our brief time there, I connected to something, Pacha Mama knows what. A dust devil danced along a path, and the wind overlooking the Urubamba valley blew through all the chambers of my heart, making a kind of music… these people knew how to make their architecture reflect the utter creativity of the landscape. Chinchero would have been a powerful place, had the Spaniards not pissed all over it. The temples were defaced and desecrated to make a sanctimonious cathedral for themselves, covered in gold rudely stolen from the Quechua.

A day’s journey in a few hundred syllables. We remember here the rhetorical question “does it take a day to remember a day?” As far as dreams, had one about a 17th century Benedictine monk being sought by Roman authorities for heresy. The implication in the dream was that this was me, and my name was Brother Mathias. Way to go on the heresy, self.

(2 June, Cusco, coo-koo)

jaybird found this for you @ 19:51 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



finding you

Latest Planet Discovery Suggests New Targets

SETI scientists are taking notice of the latest discovery of a "Super-Earth" beyond the solar system as they fine-tune their list of stars to target in their search for extraterrestrial intelligence. With the recent announcement of a planet seven to eight times the Earth’s mass circling an M dwarf star, the chances for habitable worlds seem greater than ever. "It may well be that there are far more habitable planets orbiting M dwarfs than orbiting all other types of stars combined..."

jaybird found this for you @ 15:49 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



cryptic organs

Brazilian doctors uncover 'Michelangelo code

Two Brazilian doctors and amateur art lovers believe they have uncovered a secret lesson on human anatomy hidden by Renaissance artist Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel's ceiling.

Completed nearly 500 years ago, the brightly colored frescoes painted on the Vatican's famous sanctuary are considered some of the world's greatest works of art. They depict Biblical scenes such as the "Creation of Adam" in which God reaches out to touch Adam's finger.

But Gilson Barreto and Marcelo de Oliveira believe Michelangelo also scattered his detailed knowledge of internal anatomy across 34 of the ceiling's 38 panels. The way they see it, a tree trunk is not just a tree trunk, but also a bronchial tube. And a green bag in one scene is really a human heart.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:43 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink



downing street masquerade

Inquiry Urged on Iraq War Intelligence

The White House refuses to respond to a letter dated May 5 from 122 congressional Democrats about whether there was a coordinated effort to “fix” the intelligence and facts around the policy, as the Downing Street memo said...

Conyers and a half-dozen other members of Congress were stopped at the White House gate last night when they hand-delivered petitions signed by 560,000 Americans who want Bush to provide a detailed response to the Downing Street memo.

When Conyers could not get in, an anti-war demonstrator shouted, “Send Bush out!” Eventually, White House aides retrieved the petitions at the gate and took them into the West Wing.

“Quite frankly, evidence that appears to be building up points to whether or not the president has deliberately misled Congress to make the most important decision a president has to make, going to war,” Charles Rangel, senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, said earlier at the event on Capitol Hill.

Conyers pointed to statements by Bush in the run-up to invasion that war would be a last resort. “The veracity of those statements has, to put it mildly, come into question,” he said.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:31 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



{ Thursday, 16 June, 2005 }

travel journal: south america

I could enshrine this moment in a photograph, but I’d rather tell you about it. It’s the day of my trek up the looming Huyana Pichu, and it’s that time before the bustle to get ready, that time of blessing one’s soul for the love of it All. The mountains ahead of me are tipped with soft flowing cloud, as a bridal veil in the breeze. All I hear is river and bird, and the village seems to have not to have awakened yet. I am calm yet anticipation rattles through my lesser veins, tiny electric sparks.

I will draw a bath, and be with myself, building myself with heat and stillwater prayer. While writing this, I’ve realized that it’s that hour, the time for words is nigh and the time to excavate magic within my soul is high.

(1 June, a Holy Moment, Aguas Calientas)

Very little time to write, I’m finding. Climbed Wayna Picchu, which was desperately steep and challenging to my wheezy frame, but I did make the 90 minute climb. One enters the summit through a cave, which seems only natural, to emerge through an earthen womb to the height of your achievement. I found a quiet spot away from Macchu Pichu (where a majority of talkative youth were gathered) and settled on the rocks. My long awaited vial of Chinese ginseng came crashing to the stones, and shattered like a sacrifice. Of the running liquid I tasted with my finger, and realized it was expectation, that onus of prescience, that was indeed broken. And, to some degree, my soul, a shattering to let in this new air, this jungle breath, this timeless testimony.

(1 June, a brief moment, Cusco)


jaybird found this for you @ 19:24 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



Regarding Cervantes, Multicultural Dreamer


Enter the Quixotic

Why was "Don Quixote" originally written in Arabic? Or rather, why does Cervantes, who wrote the book in Spanish, claim that it was translated from the Arabic?

Much is being said this year about "Don Quixote," in celebration of the 400th anniversary of its publication. And indeed, much has always been said about this extraordinary epic, narrating the misadventures of a half-mad hidalgo who seeks to re-establish the traditions of knight errantry. Faulkner reread it annually; Lionel Trilling said all prose fiction was a variation on its themes.

But aside from its literary achievements, "Don Quixote" sheds oblique light on an era when Spain's Islamic culture forcibly came to an end. Just consider Cervantes's playful account of the book's origins. One day in the Toledo marketplace, he writes, a young boy was trying to sell old notebooks and worn scraps of paper covered with Arabic script. Cervantes recounts how he acquired a book and then looked around for a Moor to translate it. "It was not very difficult" to find such a Moor, he writes. In fact, he says, he could have even found a translator of Hebrew.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:19 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink



hopping mad

The Meaning of Madness in Magical Realism [via]

Is the physical, social or political landscape of your story where reality loses its footing, and not the emotional or intellectual landscape of the character? Where does the real chaos lie? Sometimes it's the folks in charge who have created, and wish to maintain, a landscape of madness. The individual characters who struggle to survive this landscape cling desperately to their singular identities as they are caught up in the swirl of anarchy around them. Readers need the anchor of the "true" real in stories of madness from which to establish what's really going on. Madness, after all, is a construct of realism.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:17 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink



war is a lying game

More Damning than Downing Street

It's bad enough that the Bush administration had so little international support for the Iraqi war that their "coalition of the willing" meant the U.S., Britain, and the equivalent of a child's imaginary friends. It's even worse that, as the Downing Street memo confirms, they had so little evidence of real threats that they knew from the start that they were going to have manufacture excuses to go to war. What's more damning still is that they effectively began this war even before the congressional vote.

With Congressman John Conyers about to hold hearings, coverage of the Downing Street memo is finally beginning to leak into the media. In contrast, we've heard almost nothing about the degree to which this administration began actively fighting the Iraq war well in advance of the March 2003 official attack--before both the October 2002 US Congressional authorization and the November United Nations resolution requiring that Saddam Hussein open the country up to inspectors.

I follow Iraq pretty closely, but was taken aback when Charlie Clements, now head of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, described driving in a Baghdad neighborhood six months before the war "and a building would just explode, hit by a missile from 30,000 feet -'What is that building?'" Clements would ask. "'Oh, that's a telephone exchange.'" Later, at a conference at Nevada's Nellis Air Force Base, Clements heard a U.S. General boast "that he began taking out assets that could help in resisting an invasion at least six months before war was declared."

jaybird found this for you @ 07:00 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



{ Wednesday, 15 June, 2005 }

Travel Journal: South America

The blue train twisted as a sidewinder through up the mountains that encompass Cusco, which is a Spanish bastardization of the original Qosqo, or navel, whereas Cusco means “flea ravaged dog.” We can thank European imperialistic thinking for that linguistic wonder, replacing the savages with gentle folk. Whom is truly evil? Those who sacrifice the occasional black llama to feed the condor or Inti were made out to be the villains, and for hundreds of years, civilization bought that. They bought it with gold from melted gods.

We arrived at Aguas Calientas, and in a whirlwind were transported to the “ruins” of Macchu Pichu. There is nothing ruined about it other than the ravages of the conquistadores which helped lead to the collapse of the community. Awe is a wordless thing, a feeling which runs off with language into the pure night. My wind was saturated with the expanse of the place, the towering mountains which looked as if some creator god were pinching dough. The precision of the stones, of the design (the Quechua made models before they built), of the whole complex leaves one with nothing but the raw experiential bliss of being overwhelmed by the knowledge they possessed. Perhaps that’s why swarms of people flood the place; to finally, at last, be awed. Must the bar be raised? Only if it results in daily spectacle worthy of praise songs and incantations to the stars.

The Urabamba, the river of the spider, runs quickly and fills this room with its breath, which is dragging me to my own dreams, where empires crumble each morning when I take what I see as truth. Tomorrow, an epicenter of the pilgrimage; the climb up Huayna Pichu, upward to the unhitched clouds.

(31 May, Overlooking el rio Urabamba, Aguas Calientas)

jaybird found this for you @ 19:46 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



last jungle

Logging threatens Borneo species

Conservationists are warning that the south-east Asian island of Borneo could lose almost all its lowland forest within a decade. A report from the WWF says illegal logging and clearance for oil palm plantations is destroying the habitats of several animals. Orang-utan and pygmy elephants could become unviable in just 15 years.

According to the WWF, 1.3m hectares of Borneo's lowland forest is being destroyed each year. At that rate, it claims, by 2020 the remaining pockets of jungle may be too small and broken up for some species to be genetically viable. In other words, each tiny area of woodland that remains will not support a healthy breeding population of large animals like pygmy elephants or orang-utan.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:31 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



pigmentocracy of power

Bolivia, the Poor Little Rich Country

For three weeks, Bolivia has been paralyzed by blockades and protests, an uprising that forced the president, Carlos Mesa, to resign last week. The protesters, primarily indigenous Indians, want to nationalize Bolivia's vast natural gas reserves, South America's second largest; BP has quintupled its estimate of Bolivia's proven reserves to 29 trillion cubic feet, worth a whopping $250 billion. The Indians are in a showdown with the International Monetary Fund and companies like British Gas, Repsol of Spain and Brazil's Petrobras that have already invested billions of dollars in exploration and extraction.Many are calling developments of the past several years in Bolivia a war against globalization, but in fact this is more of a struggle over who has power here. An American Indian majority is standing up to the light-skinned, European elite and its corruption-fueled relations with the world.

When the Spanish Empire closed shop here in 1825, the Europeans who stayed on didn't seem to notice - and still don't. Even within Latin America, Bolivia is known for its corruption. It's also divided along a razor-sharp racial edge. Highland and Amazon peoples compose almost two-thirds of the population. And while Indians are no longer forcibly sprayed with DDT for bugs and are today allowed into town squares, Bolivian apartheid - a "pigmentocracy of power" - continues.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:25 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



freedom on the internets

Internet under attack in Congress

A bill just introduced in the House could destroy universal, affordable Internet access everywhere. The “Preserving Innovation in Telecom Act” (H.R. 2726) would let big cable and telecom companies shut down Community Internet and municipal broadband projects being planned across the country. The bill would prevent state or local governments from providing “any telecommunications service, information service or cable service” anywhere a corporation offers a similar service.

This outrageous legislation was introduced by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) — a former SBC executive — and is a blatant effort by the telecom and cable companies to cement their monopoly control of communications at the expense of innovation, competition, and local choice.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:19 in Blogosphere, Tech & Internet | | permalink



{ Tuesday, 14 June, 2005 }

Travel Journal: South America

South America. I awake to you feeling like I’ve been through the wash, but in lieu of water I was spinning with thousands of tiny sharp stones. Airplanes are strange things; sedate, sterile, yet overflowing with people whom by nature are neither. The Lima airport could have been anywhere, so anonymized by American-style design and franchise. Yet, you can feel creeping just beyond the edge of its shiny walls a different thing; like a vibrant dancer, gaily frilled with wild colors as if it were her 15th birthday, dancing alone in a yellow-lit parking lot to piped in Latino ballads. I think that’s a way of saying that magic lurks even here, it has not been completely smothered by the heavy footsteps of Yankee influence or the bloody trail of Conquistador forbears. But, one must look for it, or even feel it to know what to look for.

Somehow, in my laden backpack, there were a pair of nail clippers, which is absolutely puzzling as I was sure I placed that in my checked bag. Lord knows I could have brought down civilization, and I slipped by until countered at Lima.

Until I’m beyond this efficient sardinization of people, though, I still feel mostly as if I’m just Anywhere. My mind and itinerary tells me that this is not so. Thank the holies for that. In just an hour, I’ll be within one of the most ancient cities in the Americas, one that is purported to have made it through the bloody conflagration of civilizations with many customs intact. When there are no gringo eyes, ceremonies still go on. Whispered words are still spoken to Inti, the sun, and Quilla, the moon. La Virgen is really Mama Pacha, and perhaps the priest will even confess this over a pisco sour.

We are flying toward Cusco… above these bright clouds and peek-a-boo mountains, the two travelers beside me close the window shade, as I crane my neck to see this new world from this perspective, even the light fighting to be seen through the crack. I can’t comprehend what trumps awe in this world, unless I look at my own life and when I’ve yawned my way through cavalcades of miracles. But that’s what I’m here to mend, that laissez-faire glassy-eyed succumbing to the Great Big Whatever. I’m here to battle Whatever head on, blades swinging, eyed wide with absolute awareness of my opponent, the sweat of war at my brow, like those ancient warriors that fought the imperialists until their last muscle was gashed, the last sinew snapped. These are not mere montañas beneath me; they pierce the blue with the zest of a condor on the hunt.

Landing…

My feet tingle from the height, and my lungs assure my tissues there is enough oxygen to satiate their vivacious red hunger. This ciudad of 400,000 souls is overlooked by the bronze statue of Pachamac Inca, the ninth emperor. From his perch along a busy street, his polished eyes protect the fruit vendors with the hand-pushed carts with their loudspeakers and swinging scales. Horns “tat tat” to his majesty.

The coca tea, its scent steaming upward as a sultry jungle, full of beasties on the prowl, is oddly familiar. It might the anthem of earth itself in liquid form. We’re told to take it ease, as it will take a few days to acclimatize. I’ll choose to adjust with this prayer that came to me during a hot bath to purify my body from the scourge of airports and madness:

“O let there be a golden sun disc in my heart-
Molten under an archaic eye.
Let an owl rest atop my head and let me be covered in snakes,
Holy, skin-shedding regeneration
At the behest of the Gods, which look over the city from billowing
Curtains and terracotta rooftops.”


It’s night now, and the city has turned on its lights as the night does what is so natural. Those constellations I long to see are hidden by cloud, but no matter. I’m excitedly worn. I learned today that the Quechua people consider black to be the color of purity. I learned today at Sachsayhuaman that when they built their massive temples, each stone has to be considered as to where it would fit; the carving is razor blade exact. With incomprehensible skill, a limestone quarry birthed great temples and fortresses that stump the best scientists today. Halleluiah. At Tambomachay, a temple honoring the flowing of numbingly cold water which will keep one young, no one knows where the water comes from, and that’s after hundreds of years of guesswork. Halleluiah. At Q’enqo, an labyrinth leading underground is a path you take to bring you to Varicocha’s altar. And coca leaves were still there in honor. And one must bless the puma for power, the serpent for knowledge, and the condor for freedom. Halleluia. Such ancient stones, such eternal water, such blue skies. This is a place for coming alive from a resurrected history, and these temples still speak. It’s a rustle in the grass, a whistle in the wind. The fuego of these hearts, and their sacred moon, sun, stars,, lightening and thunder cannot be winked out of existence that simply. The perpendicular doors and the inward leaning walls, like pyramids, are strong. So are those that seek for the blue sky within before even opening their eyes.

Tomorrow, rising from the jungle and from a scattered civilization, Macchu Pichu.

(30 May, Room 202, El Puma, Cusco)

jaybird found this for you @ 19:22 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



peter carroll

Sleight of Mind [via]

The conscious mind is a maelstrom of fleeting thoughts, images, sensations, feelings, conflicting desires and doubts; barely able to confine its attention to a single clear objective for a microsecond before secondary thoughts begin to adulterate it and provoke yet further trains of mental discourse. If you do not believe this then attempt to confine your conscious attention to the dot at the end of this sentence without involving yourself in any other form of thinking, including thinking about the dot.

Sleight of Mind means using the more stable thoughts, feelings, sensations and images stored in the subconscious or unconscious parts of the mind to launch or receive aetheric patterns. Tricks have to be used here, because if those things in the subconscious are brought into the focus of the conscious they will not be magically effective. On the other hand, they have to be released or activated somehow at a level just below conscious awareness for in their normal memory storage mode, which is an abstract code, they are not magically effective either.

Thus the magician has to occupy his conscious mind with something which somehow activates his intent in his subconscious without consciously reminding him of what it is. This is basic Sleight of Mind. Though this seem paradoxical or impossible, there are many tricks in the lore of magic which make it easier in practice. Some consideration will be given to Sleight of Mind in each five classical magical operations.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:17 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



tip of the historical iceberg

Found: Europe's oldest civilisation

Archaeologists have discovered Europe's oldest civilisation, a network of dozens of temples, 2,000 years older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids. More than 150 gigantic monuments have been located beneath the fields and cities of modern-day Germany, Austria and Slovakia. They were built 7,000 years ago, between 4800BC and 4600BC. Their discovery, revealed today by The Independent, will revolutionise the study of prehistoric Europe, where an appetite for monumental architecture was thought to have developed later than in Mesopotamia and Egypt.

In all, more than 150 temples have been identified. Constructed of earth and wood, they had ramparts and palisades that stretched for up to half a mile. They were built by a religious people who lived in communal longhouses up to 50 metres long, grouped around substantial villages. Evidence suggests their economy was based on cattle, sheep, goat and pig farming. Their civilisation seems to have died out after about 200 years and the recent archaeological discoveries are so new that the temple building culture does not even have a name yet.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:15 in History, Civilization & Anthropology | | permalink



nothing pisses me off more than a missionary

India to deport US missionaries

Police told the BBC that the men entered India on tourist visas, but were found preaching religion. They say two of them have already left Mumbai, and the other two are waiting to catch the next available flight... Christians are often accused of forcibly converting the poor in India by bribing them with money and jobs.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:10 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



{ Monday, 13 June, 2005 }

Rest

Today is the last day of my vacation. I've been resting, sorting, and slowly processing and posting pics to my Flickr Peru photoset. I go back to work tomorrow, and I got wind of a little drama. Alas, so it is.

I'm going to post a journal entry or two a day from the trip. I'll resume blogging tomorrow. I'm a little low on words right now, just soaking it all in. In the immortal words of Nina Simone, "I'm feelin' good."



Journal Entry: "Getting There."

These clouds, these simulacra we pray to, that from our peculiar view on Earth remind us of acrobats, or seahorses, of any shape in Creation… these clouds, they are such a slim veil between worlds, and now I’m above them, a refugee from the gravity below, on a winged stone skipping toward a distant place of dreams.

My body recognized 13,500 feet; I fell back into the fecund green of the Mother from that height, and she caught me and swooped me back to my world with the force of a hawk, diving toward prey. Now, higher up, I am in a sort of nether-world, a strange highway above all human scurrying so we can go scurry elsewhere. Some call this heaven, some call it cruising altitude.

So, a journey begins, and with its first step, teaching. When I left home this morning, I was in sanctuary, and my mouth was full of Communion. Perhaps my whole soul was too, but with what or whom, I don’t know. That might be the very reason I am swinging below the equator, to encounter that rare spirit who lives in the secret valleys of the mind, always beckoning you to learn, when we are least interested in doing so. That still, small voice, it’s called, or maybe it’s some god who lives on your shoulder, or within the quiet folds of your ear. That spirit has names, and maybe that’s what we utter when we sleep, those groans are intonations to that hidden friend who, with lantern swinging, tickles the eyes with a cascade of stars as we notice, one night, that we exist.

I know this spirit lies within, but perhaps it will be jogged out of its sultry lair with a conscious mind stunned by being out of place, surrounded by new mountains and new tongues. I seek holy confusion; I seek what I know to be blown away by condor-sail’d wind, and what slumbers beneath my skin awakened by new angles of the sun. I will chase down self-knowledge with a puma’s hunger, and I shall not be willy-nilly when in sudden meeting with the Sacred. Maybe, though, the Sacred will have a plan for this Fool’s heart, and will truly ride me to the cliff’s edge.

(Somewhere over Florida, 14:15, Sunday 29 May)

Miami… the mantra was this, based somewhat on Frank Herbert: I shall not Florida. Florida is the mind-killer that brings total obliteration. I shall let it pass over me and through me…

We took in a stupid movie, opulent and mindless, to pass the eight hour layover. The mall was indulgent and crawling with eye-averting humanity, and what delights transfixed the eye. Like a blister, it was a reminder of everything I’d been through in this country, of everything I’m feeling done with. I’m done with the zombie stare. I’m done with entertainment on a fast drip in the veins. I’m done with languishing because there’s nothing else better to do. An adventure has been ticketed, not just to Peru and Bolivia, but to the rest of life. It’s a ride into self, that incessant spiral road through guts and bile to the glory of imagination and strength.

America slipped underneath us like a slow walk away from the jewels in the jeweler’s case. Then, the black of the sea, reflecting the black of space and the black of mystery. That’s where we’re racing to now, at 31,000 feet; utter, relentless mystery, that universal guarantee that ticks like ethereal clockwork. It’s not an element you have to visit, like a foreign country or a distant aunt. It lives even inside me, in the folds of the brain and beneath the aqueducts of veins, like a hoodlum under a bridge. It will pounce, but if it rears up in any given mundane day, we ignore it. That crazy mockingbird outdoing Billie and Ella at her streetlight perch is just another damn bird, we think, not an oracle. Not a teacher. Just another damn bird.

Now, this night flight will soon settle after the turbulence and customs forms, and we will sleep a little. Bronze, chiseled faces will upturn and slumber, and a few gringo faces will try to peek through the windows for a clue, a sign of the trajectory that will deliver us to tomorrow. We will pass over Cuba, Panama, Ecuador… but will we pass over that which we were looking for all along, like a lost pair of keys? I don’t think so… I can feel my heart beating, and my lungs working. What I’m seeking for is right in there, a scallywag, a mystery peddler.

I’m drinking wine at 31,000 feet. Who would have imagined such a luxury one hundred years ago, let alone one done with the casual carelessness to just toss the empty bottle of red onto a tray with so much trash?

(30 May, Sometime, Somewhere)

jaybird found this for you @ 18:52 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Sunday, 12 June, 2005 }

home

Retorno. Suddenly, the world which I knew returns. Yet, the details emerge in new ways. I return to this home, these people, my life with new eyes, and a vision not blighted by routine. Adventure transforms the inner realm, and where and when only matter as stage dressing... which is vital, it seems, in telling life's tale. Peru was great.

I will being posting pictures and excerpts of my travel journal tomorrow. I am rather tired and needing some readjustment time before diving heavily back into the online world. I'm so grateful to be back in my own home, but I've again been changed my the road. It is a time to re-examine and re-think what matters and how I operate in this sphere.

Onward, upward, inward, everyone.

jaybird found this for you @ 18:39 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Saturday, 11 June, 2005 }

Returning

This blog has been running itself since the day before I left for South America. I can't tell you what I've seen because I haven't seen it yet, or how I've changed, or who I am now. One way or another, I am coming home now. One way or another, I am awed, and likely trying to find the words. It may take time.

So, this is almost like a letter to "future self." Hello, then, glad fool. I hope you've done what you set out to do, and did it well. You're coming home now, and doubtless there are many details you've omitted from your Andean reality, and slowly, they will return. Will they matter?

Thus ends this one journey, I assume. Or, rather a small diversion along it, a sudden footpath that cropped up and lured you out of the comfort zone and into really living, experiencing, by being thrust beyond imagination. No matter what's happened, I'm on my way back to all you good people, and when I'm ready, let me tell you a few tales...

jaybird found this for you @ 12:26 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Friday, 10 June, 2005 }

last stop: tiwanaku


Ancient city, ancient gateways

Tiahuanaco - also Tiwanaku - is in the Bolivian Andes lying 12,500 feet (over 2 miles) above sea-level. It is located some 15 miles from the shores of Lake Titicaca. Some have hypothesized that its modern name is a corruption of the Aymara term "taypikala", meaning "stone in the center".

As with many other sacred sites on the planet it remains an enigma allowing reseachers to speculate on its origins and purpose - then paralleling their conclusions with other ancient civilizations - on other major grids points of the planet - left behind by unknown beings - surviving in time - with great stone markers which bear clues to humanity's creational story. Gods, temples, idols, metaphors - all clues in a puzzle humanity is unraveling at this time of conscious awakening. Much of the construction is unfinished.

Tiahuanaco is believed to be the capital of the Pre-Inca Civilization. The city is believed by some to have been built by the Aymara - the Native South Americans inhabiting the Lake Titicaca basin in Peru and Bolivia.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:20 in History, Civilization & Anthropology | | permalink



a few words from the road

I'm spending my last hours in Puno, off to Juliaca to fly to Lima. I'll be home late Satuday night, and will begin the full debriefing Sunday. Went to Lake Titicaca yesterday, spent the whole day on that shimmering azure lake, which seemed larger than the world. This has been an incredible journey which has tested me in many ways, and made me stronger. I can't wait to tell you about it. Until then, ciao amigos, and leave the light on for me.
Love,
jaybird, twittering in song at the top of the world.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:05 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Thursday, 09 June, 2005 }

a little more magic


At The Witches' Market in La Paz, Spells are Hot Sellers

Barren 12,000-foot (3,650-meter) peaks rise sharply around La Paz, Bolivia, the world's highest capital at 11,200 feet (3,400 meters).

On Cerro Cumbre, a mountain clearing that La Paz residents call holy ground, the wind carries the smoke—and smell—of animal sacrifice.

Margarita Quispe Acho, a self-described witch, is performing a ritual that her grandmother taught her. Through prayer and a burnt offering of llama fetuses, Acho asks Pachamama, a god that many Bolivians call Mother Earth, to bring health, happiness, and especially prosperity.

Acho and other witches, medicine women, folk doctors, astrologers, fortunetellers, and sorcerers live and work on the Calle Linares, a cobblestone street in an old quarter of La Paz known for generations as the Mercado de las Brujas, or Witches' Market.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:15 in Culture, People & Customs | | permalink



{ Wednesday, 08 June, 2005 }

the city that touches the clouds

La Paz, Bolivia

Founded in 1548 by Alonso de Mendoza at the site of the Native American settlement called Chuquiago, the full name of the city was originally Nuestra Señora de La Paz (meaning Our Lady of Peace). The name commemorated the restoration of peace following the insurrection of Gonzalo Pizarro and fellow conquistadors two years earlier against Blasco Núñez Vela, the first viceroy of Peru. In 1825, after the decisive victory of the republicans at Ayacucho over the Spanish army in the course of the South American Wars of Independence, the city's full name was changed to La Paz de Ayacucho (meaning The Peace of Ayacucho).

jaybird found this for you @ 12:09 in Culture, People & Customs | | permalink



seeing stars

Last night, from a slight hill on the shores of Titicaca, I saw stars. And beyond. I saw the Southern Cross, the famed constellation of mariners and explorers, and the ghostly spine of the Milky Way arc across this massive blue lake. I opened myself to the cosmos, and allowed a pouring in of the celestial. It made my veins sing, as the wind filled my lungs with night.

Right now, another military marching band is heading down Lima street, and I'm watching these decorated children march by in the name of some national triumph I do not understand. Nations and nationalism are such strange ideas, and yet they go on for some apparent reason. One world has room for the children who straggle behind, hats askew, dragging their intruments.

Today, nothing is planned, which is wonderful. Plans are containers. Bless those that leak. Planning gets in the way of experience, just as expectation is a glossy movie poster for a reality that isn't even close. You can easily leave reality, just as a movie, being disappointed by the outcome. I choose experience.

From this chilly seat overlooking tired merchants and chattering schoolchildren sick of marching, adios for now.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:03 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Tuesday, 07 June, 2005 }

uros on titicaca


Floating Islands

The floating islands are man-made, created from cane, or cane-brake (totora), pulled away from the bottom of the lake by the movement of the waters. Walking on the 'ground' surface was very strange, essentially walking on reeds. Even the huts and most of the boats are made of cane. The boats are used for fishing as well as for collecting cane when it's needed for restoring the islands as the lower levels rot away in the salt water.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:39 in Culture, People & Customs | | permalink



{ Monday, 06 June, 2005 }

puno, dos, tres

I am in a little upstairs net cafe in Puno, Peru, which is a grittier and colder town than Cusco. But, it is nonetheless interesting and full of mystery. Today we went to Sillustani, a series of upright conical pre-Incan {Collyo} burial chambers on a hill overlooking Lake Umayo... it was wonderfully peaceful. Lake Titicaca (please stop the snickering) looks to be a broad, bright blue inland sea. We are adjusting to this change of schedule well, and I am going to make my own agenda for the next few days, winding up on the Uros islands on Thursday. Three quarters of we viajes are sick with altitude-related funk, me being the exception. All I am really sick of is a lack of time to write and I need a dash of privacy as well. I suppose that is a bit of a luxury.
Spiritually, I have been a bit of a whirlwind but am feeling some really intersting movement inside, like a bustling embryo longing to break out of its shell. I presume that when the whirlwind stops, I will be able to see the eye better.
Thanks for popping by the site while it is in automated mode. I will give a full debriefing upon my return!
Love you all,
jaybird

jaybird found this for you @ 16:10 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



Doorway of the Amaru Muru


Gate of the Gods found in Peru

After discovering the door earlier this year, Luis contacted archeological authorities in Puno, La Paz, and Lima and within a short time the area was besieged with archeologists and Incan historians. It turned out that the native indians of the region had a legend that spoke of "A gateway to the lands of the Gods", and in that legend it was said that in times long past great heroes had gone to join their gods and passed through the gate for a glorious new life of immortality, and on rare occasions those men returned for a short time with their gods to "inspect all the lands in the kingdom" through the gate.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:35 in History, Civilization & Anthropology | | permalink



{ Sunday, 05 June, 2005 }

puno


On the shores of Titikaka

As numerous as the dances themselves are the lavish and colorful outfits the dancers wear. They range from multi-hued polleras (layered skirts) donned by barefoot female dancers to the short skirts, fringed shawls and bowler hats used in the highland version of the marinera dance. For centuries the Indians in the altiplano were accustomed to working hard, then celebrating their special days with gusto. In fact, many of the dances incorporate features of the most repressive times for the Indians with dancers dressed as mine overseers or cruel landowners characters that are mocked during the festivities. It is difficult to find a month in Puno without at least one elaborate festival, which is always accompanied by music and dance.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:32 in Culture, People & Customs | | permalink



{ Saturday, 04 June, 2005 }

Ceremony


The Sacred Hymns of Pachacutec

Lord Wiracocha,
Who says
"Let there be day, let there be night!"
Who says,
"Let there be dawn, let it grow light!"
Who makes the Sun, your son,
move happy and blessed each day,
so that man whom you have made has light:
My Wiracocha,
shine on your Inca people,
illuminate your servants,
whom you have shepherded,
let them live
happy and blessed
preserve them
in peace,
free of sickness, free of pain.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:14 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



{ Friday, 03 June, 2005 }

change of plans

The borders to Bolivia are closed so it seems that that leg of the journey will not happen. It seems that we will backpeddle to Lima from Puno. I will supply more info later, but I am okay, in fact very much alive. Every adventure has its challenge, otherwise it wouldnt be an adventure.

jaybird found this for you @ 22:11 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



urubamba

Sacred River, Sacred Valley

For the Incas, the valley of the Urubamba river is the entry point to the jungle, the Antisuyo, the amazon, the land of the chunchos. The river's ancient name was Willka Mayu or Sun River, and the snowy peak which was its source was called Willkan Uta or "the house of the sun". This valley was inextricably linked to the worship of the sun, since willka is the quechua term for the sun god, a word which was formerly preferred to the now popular inti.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:12 in Culture, People & Customs | | permalink



{ Thursday, 02 June, 2005 }

¡Viva!

Life... that must be what this is all about, gallivanting through exostic countries, challenging the soul, and rewiring the small fatty labyrinthine mass between the ears. I am doing great, and tonight am writing you a short hello from the vivid (with a capital V) city of Cusco, Peru. It was a festival night and the streets are chaotic with horns, the barking of vendors, and the smells of celebratory foods (guinea pig and roasted corn). I climbed Wayna Pichu yesterday, a very steep climb which left me breathless, especially upon reaching the summit... which you enter thrugh a cave. Obviously, a rebirthing experience designed to awaken the heart, the true heart, after all that effort.

I am out of time already, and unable to post pictures, but all is well, my friends, and I am having muy gusto sueñas. Tomorrow we raft down the Urabambo, and I{ll try to post an update on Saturday.

Te Amo,
Pajarro de Luna

jaybird found this for you @ 22:00 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



ollantaytambo


A Citadel of Mystery

...The boulders were transported to the upper spot where the temple is erected using the inclined plane that is something like a road which silhouette is clearly seen from the valley's bottom. They had the help of log rollers or rolling stones as wheels, South-American cameloids' leather ropes, levers, pulleys, and the power of hundreds and even thousands of men.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:03 in History, Civilization & Anthropology | | permalink



{ Wednesday, 01 June, 2005 }

Huayna Pichu

The trail starts at an altitude of about 7,875 ft., then drops down a hundred or so feet before crossing a knife-edge ridge between Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu... While the slopes are steep and the drop to the Urubamba River is close to 1,300 ft., the trail along the ridge is neither difficult nor threatening. The trail follows a mixture of original Inca trails and steps and modern additions to make the climb easier. From the base of Huayna Picchu, it climbs 1,000 ft. in a series of switchbacks and steeply pitched rock steps. Most of the steeper sections are provided with handrails of either braided nylon rope or steel cable, making the climb mostly a matter of hoofing it up long, tall staircases with lots of air behind and beneath you. That morning, clouds intermittently blew over, dropping an occasional drizzle and leaving behind condensate even when they were not heavy enough to have precipitation falling from them. The stone steps become slick enough with the moisture to deserve care and respect...

jaybird found this for you @ 11:59 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink




 
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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.