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


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PERIODIC: laughing~knees

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< # oddbloggers + >

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* Latest additions... welcome!

[?]= Seems to be down or on hiatus.
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"Life expands or shrinks in proportion to one's courage."    ~Anain Nin

{ Tuesday, 31 January, 2006 }

States of Union and Dis-Union

Tonight, a man will address the nation to say that everything is just fine, and it's getting even better. The man will smile, wink, and nod, and lift up his hands in a flurry of passionate rhetoric. He will extol the common American virtues, and pause for raucous applause. He will believe every word he says.

We, however, will not.

It has become almost passe to speak of the President of the United States as a tool, because it's become so obvious. It's like going around saying that the sky is, indeed, blue. We've gathered this by now. To spare a dollop of credit, I think the man truly believes what he's saying, though this Pygmalion won't ever see the world beyond his carefully maintained sphere. He handlers know, his most trusted staffers know, and the man behind the convenience store drinking malt liquor knows it too: like latter-day Reagan, George W. Bush has strings attached. Many.

We know that we live under a tattered and torn constitution, and to quote the man speaking tonight, "it's just a goddamned piece of paper." That settles that. I've long said that things must devolve before they evolve, and for that, I must thank, without handshake, the man. He has brought us to the very bottom of the crucible, and we as a nation are busy pulverizing ourselves and the rest of the world with a maddening rhythm. I can only hope that from this brutal place that something alchemical may occur, should we add the right elements.

I do not, of course, celebrate the global misanthropy which this man has been a party to unleashing. More damage than history will care to record has been exacted on the climate, biodiversity, culture, dialogue, international relations, the economy, human rights, et cetera. Yet, as in homeopathy, it's that little drop of that which we wish to stave off that has now entered the thinking person's bloodstream. Yet what to do, amid the partisan jabber?

Simple: start, earnestly, the work of evolving. This means paying little mind to the Little Mind of Government, Media, and the many tentacles of distraction. Even if in November the elections see a partisan change, acknowledge and move on. An electoral reconfiguration is a very, very tiny piece in the puzzle- so much more lies with a strengthening of individual will, local action, and internal fortitude. Personal and social evolution should be controlled through the stamina and passion of the individual heart than by subscriptions to pre-ordained social movements. The most powerful social movements in history were always the ones that were not manufactured, but spontaneous, individually authentic, and based upon the Person and not the State. Such things begin quietly, as whispers.

We are at a point where we have access to more information, ideas, and collective imagination than ever before. Surely, this ought to be enough to lay a transformative foundation socially, as it's already changing who were are internally. There is as much danger in losing the self in this time as there is in fighting to establish the self. The Government, while sitting atop an apex of power and tyranny, is indeed beginning to lose its seat. It, as an entity, is terrified of losing strength, and losing it to empowered individuals. I do not see a revolution marching to Washington and dismantling the State; rather, I see this paradigm losing relevance and any scrap of authority as humanity does the work that governments used to do; care for itself, reach out and forge real bonds with the rest of the world, self-educate, and finally, to be the bold pioneers that grow and become through the ardor of reaching our chosen frontier.

While the man is speaking a scripted speech, I invite you to ignore it. Bake something wonderful. Make love. Go stargazing. Be rapt in the sensuous. Think upon your dreams, your cause for hope, your contribution to goodness, your virtues, your genuine and valid opinions... the State of Your Own Wondrous Union.

jaybird found this for you @ 13:26 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

{ Monday, 30 January, 2006 }

Monday Link Disco!!!

I've been saving up all sorts of goddies for you. Let's dance!

  • The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571 Page Lie
  • As Elections Near, Officials Challenge Balloting Security
  • Democrats Denounce Bush's Human Pesticide Testing Plan
  • Behold, the Micronomicon!
  • New technique finds Earth-like planet
  • Here Is The Big Gay Agenda Revealed! The horrifying secret plot to homo-amplify America. Also: Dig this hetero agenda!
  • Peak America – Is Our Time Up?
  • A Self-Made Man: One Woman's Journey Into Manhood and Back Again
  • Sea level rise 'is accelerating'
  • Documents Show US Army Seized Iraqi Wives As Tactic
  • Kurzweil on the Singularity
  • Life beyond biology and organic chemistry - Mechanical waves in the earth’s crust shows ‘Earth is alive’ and communicates like all other living beings
  • Spirituality Without Faith
  • Overview: Self-Organizing Systems
  • Gore Vidal: President Jonah
  • "Saint Death" Cult Draws On Pre-Christian Roots
  • Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him
  • Top 10 Project Censored News Stories for 2005
  • Stark warning over climate change
  • Well now, that was fun, wasn't it? I just had to get these out of my system (and bookmarks folder).

    jaybird found this for you @ 09:40 in I don't know where to put this... | | permalink

    { Sunday, 29 January, 2006 }

    The blog was similarly stricken by a case of the sleepies today. It promises to revive tomorrow.

    jaybird found this for you @ 09:37 in Misc. Babble | | permalink

    { Saturday, 28 January, 2006 }

    The blog was sleepy today. It's winter, after all.

    jaybird found this for you @ 23:31 in Misc. Babble | | permalink

    { Friday, 27 January, 2006 }

    Something is always getting in

    If only I could stare, full-bore- at the Sun
    Without succombing to blindness and madness
    To fully be absorbed in the relentless broadcast of photons,
    To give context, for a moment, on the fortune of being heated
    By something so distant, so far, a storm so incomprehensibly terrifying.

    Yet I avert the eye, and in so doing,
    Lift up that which is impenetrable within me,
    We all are dense and dark matter in this little parade
    Yet porous to the light in degrees, and below the atomic structure,
    I am mere scaffolding, sudden form, through which untold winds blow.

    The earthen mug from Peru which holds my morning tea is warm
    Containing the ardor from bursting and soaking
    All over the papers and effects of today.
    We are that, too- earthen vessels made of far off elements
    Containing some kind of impossible brew from spilling out into the wilds, the deep.

    The light that creates shadows is symbolic for a reason-
    The alchemists and brujos are rightly enthralled
    By that which is so powerful, yet so easily
    Thwarted by curtain or veil... it's those things that fascinate
    The thin skins and borders that mitigate brilliance and the fertile dark.
    The skin of an eyelid and the rock of a mountain
    Seem to say, somehow, that the work of life is somehow found here,
    Slow and muted or ribald and fecund, something exists,
    And duel natures must be balanced
    That from the contrast, creation oddly endures.

    Closing my eyes, I feel the window's draft-
    Something is always getting in.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:45 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Thursday, 26 January, 2006 }

    Has anyone a clue what this is?

    It looks like a cross between a crayfish and a lobster with some characteristics of a large prawn or crab but even the experts are stumped about the identity of this crustacean.

    Christopher Chan, Operations Manager of Mimpian Jadi Resort in Tuaran, noticed it crossing a tarred access road, while driving to work with wife Rosie last Friday.

    "I've never seen it in my life," said Chan and sought Daily Express for help. We showed the pictures of it to a certified diver who shook his head and said: "I have no idea."

    ...There are more than 500 species of crayfish in the world. Could this be one of the 500 or could it even be a new species?

    Characteristic of crayfish is its joined head with the thorax (mid-section) and a segmented body, four pairs of legs and a pair of pincers.

    This creature has all those general features but there is something very unusual about the pincers - they are not equally curved claws as in most cases.

    Rather, the lower claw is short while the upper claw shapes like a sharp blade three times longer.

    And it is combative and fierce.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:25 in Forteana, Phenomena & the Bizarre | | permalink

    At the Beep: Physicist hypothesizes creator left messages

    A University physicist has proposed that temperature fluctuations in microwave radiation may contain messages from the universe’s creator.

    “It’s one of the most speculative possible hypotheses,” said associate professor Stephen Hsu, a member of the University’s Institute of Theoretical Science.

    However, it may be 20 or 30 years before experimental physicists develop instruments refined enough to collect the data necessary to test this hypothesis, Hsu said.

    Hsu said he thought of the idea many years ago, when theoretical physicists at Stanford and MIT addressed whether a universe could be created in a laboratory. They hypothesized that this could be done by creating a bubble of super-dense matter that would expand into extra dimensions.

    “If you did create such a universe, how would you tell the occupants of that universe that their universe was made in a lab at MIT?” Hsu said. “One place to put the message would be in a microwave background.”

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:21 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink

    The Story

    Another installment of "Revival Policy" will be posted shortly. Keep in mind that I'm writing in a whole new style I've never tried out, so it's going to be klunky going for the next little while.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:18 in Misc. Babble | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 25 January, 2006 }

    Short Fiction - The Revival Policy - Part III

    As a writer of science fiction, I had used the same literary devices that I felt were now being used on me. I knew nothing really of the technology of molecular nanobots, specifically of the kind that were inhabiting my brain and organs. I had to stop and think- I’d been frozen for a hundred years, brought back to fucking life, injected with this and that, and despite a gaping lack of real answers, had swallowed the new program hook, line and sinker. Paul said that he could help control my mood if there was a problem. What was he, some kind of camp counselor? Obviously not. There was no proof that it was really 2111. There was no proof of anything. Thus, that first night in the cabin saw my first existential crisis after only been alive, again, for a month and a half.

    I went into the kitchen, lit a candle and poured a tall glass of Tokaji. The flannel pajamas felt good on my skin, and I sank into a wicker couch to think. I relaxed into the idea that maybe I was catching up on some the karma I’d put my characters through. A voice loudly split my thoughts and I almost spilt the damn wine.

    “Micah, it’s Paul. Is everything alright?”

    “Yes, I’m fine. Are you... how did you... are you watching me?”

    “It’s your first night. We- I have to monitor you for signs of adjustment stress. I was passing by and saw the light. Would you like to fall asleep? I can send a signal-“

    “No, please, thank you Paul but this was something I always did back home. Y’know, have a glass of wine before bed. I never lived in a log cabin before. You guys could’ve made me a beach house... heh.”

    “I see. Just remember Micah that your system is still a little fragile at this time, especially mentally. I’ll address this in therapy tomorrow. I recommend that you finish that glass and not consume any more alcohol at this time. I have to monitor your night time activity, just for the next few days, and you really need your sleep. Try to sleep Micah, and if you find that you can’t please press the call button. Remember, I’m here to help.”

    “Yes, sure, thanks Paul. I feel better already.”

    Shit. I was being monitored, and I had no idea as to the mechanism. How could the other Revived tolerate this? How could they so easily allow this? Perhaps I had read far too much Kafka in my previous lifetime, and I was clearly experiencing classic paranoia. But how valid was it? As I returned to the bed, pulling the covers over my head, I thought of all the things that truly inspired me; the stars, the moon, the waves at play along that stony beach back home, in that other time. Time, how thou hath vexed me. I thought of Roy, Muppet, driftwood, agate, taking the kayak out into the surf. I thought of Sunday afternoon walks, the joy of long hot baths with Roy, the bottle of champagne celebrating yet another book deal perched precariously on the edge of the tub. Life has changed; I was alive and my world wasn’t. Phoenix Ranch was a mere fabrication. It was a shallow attempt to coax me into comfort. This was the kind of thing I’d rallied against my whole life. Why did these people even take the risk of reviving me?

    I slept with the insecurity of a newborn. My dreams were all landslides of fear and maze-running desperation.

    jaybird found this for you @ 09:13 in Short Fiction | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 24 January, 2006 }

    Short Fiction - Revival Policy - Part II

    (see Part I below)

    If I had known as a younger fellow that I was going to die, but a hundred years down the lane be revived, and brought to a place I couldn’t leave where all of the dťcor was western-themed, I would’ve tried far harder to die completely and stay dead. The community center of my newly appointed neighborhood at Phoenix Ranch was over-the-top gaudy; large framed photographs Dale Evans and Trigger hung on one wall, saddles and spurs and fake cacti and all manner of kitschy western ephemera filled the large, open room. I asked Paul if there were other motifs available, and he laughed politely. At least the years hadn’t diminished my gay wit.

    As I walked in the room, I was struck by the homogeneity of my neighbors- mostly white, middle-aged and up, and all just looking like the type of people that would turn my peaceful Oregon town into a tourist traffic-jam in the summer. I knew at least that they would be somewhat erudite- cryonics was an expensive undertaking, and these Revived would’ve been somewhat affluent. As was I. But since we all lost our assets during the big sleep, none of that mattered now. Paul rang a bell and announced the new neighbor had arrived- “the great novelist Micah Waterman, who de-animated in 2009.” A chorus of ooohs and aaahs, and big wide smiles approached me. Some had been in academics, a scientist here and there, an oil tycoon I clearly remembered from the news of being on the out and out in Washington before he died of a stroke. A former software engineer had said that they’d read my work, and asked me if I’d now finish the trilogy I’d been working on concluding when I de-animated. As a random group of people go, they were nice and easy to get along with. Though they were so damn friendly that my cynicism was triggered. They seemed a little too content at the ranch. I’d asked an aerospace engineer if he’d wanted to ride the Space Elevator (which Andrea did confirm was finally erected in the 2030s), and he deferred, with a slight hesitation. He was happy here. He was lucky enough to have revived at all. There is a time and place for travel, he said. Besides, he’d de-animated a few years before me, and he said that he was still deep into transition therapy. He wasn’t ready yet. His story seemed to jump around some than a game of hopscotch on the San Andreas Fault.

    One lovely British lady, who’d made her fortune in internet speculation, de-animated in 2015. She gave me the news that my worst book (in my opinion) had been optioned into a movie. Naturally, they had to pick that one. I chatted with her more than anyone else, actually, and she seemed to have that sparkle in her Liverpudlian eyes. She obviously never read the tabloids that, at least in the last century, I was queer. Alas, I needed friends, and Veronica seemed a little spunkier than the rest. She’d died of AIDS. I ventured with her that I’d spent a week at LifeBridge not getting answers, and she seemed, in a guarded fashion, to share my frustration. Perhaps I’d found a confederate? As we spoke, I could see Paul peripherally looking at me very intently. With a shiver, I realized that I know none of these people, that any of them could be some kind of “Therapist” or another, and since this Phoenix Ranch was set up by the Western government and all of the cryolabs, I might have to heed the same advice I gave my characters in print and not share too much of my resentment. After all, as I’d been frequently reminded, I was a Ward of the State, and as such, at their mercy. I chinked cocktail glasses and nibbled on salmon, smiling and making the same kind of idle banter I abhorred a century ago. After a few Margheritas (for which I must commend the Ranch on accuracy), Paul motioned that I ought to sleep- I’d only been alive for a month and a half, after all.

    He escorted me back to the cabin, and after I watched him disappear into the Cascadian night, I got all of Roy’s letters out from the box. They were dated until 2016, and said little of the historical events of the day. Roy was prone, the old coot, to droning on about the mundane. He’d stayed with the beach house as long as he could before beachfront property was redefined for all coastal areas not long after I’d been entombed in liquid nitrogen. Out of loyalty, he had not even fooled around, at least until he stopped writing letters. He admits sheepishly to selling the rights to Save The Last Star For Me, and said I got a dedication in the credits, from him to me. Roy the producer. He was a good man, and his handwriting and the coffee-cup rings on the letters brought me back. Perhaps I could be happy here. I have this, what more could I want? While the neighbors are not really stunning and engaging, I’m alive. I died in pain, disoriented. Now, I can smell honeysuckle again, I can swim and paint and fart. I had been cut short, so why be so worked up over the Ranch, as the other option (death, the abyss, void) pales in comparison. The fact that I and a few thousand others can walk and talk and schmooze at parties with little else than occasional joint pain or memory confusion certainly supersedes my own curiosity, right? As I drifted off to sleep in the cabin that first night, I heard an owl in the distance, bathed in some tree by sweet moonlight. I smiled until I cried, until a further realization hit.

    I sat up in the bed in terror.

    jaybird found this for you @ 00:52 in Short Fiction | | permalink

    { Monday, 23 January, 2006 }

    New Category - Short Fiction

    I'm doing something a li'l bit different and am going to start presenting short fiction here on the blog. The first selection is a piece I'm in the middle of writing, and will serialize it weekly until it is concluded. This piece is quasi-science-fiction, about a novelist who is revived from cryogenic suspension after one hundred years. He "died" in 2009. I haven't written fiction in ages, so I beg your indulgence, should you choose to read it. Feedback is welcomed. And since this is a work of fiction, I've got to invoke copyright.

    Revival Policy
    by jay joslin
    You don’t always get what you pay for.

    I died about one hundred years ago. The term the cryologists used was “de-animate.” Whatever. I died from a rare form of leukemia, which seemed to find itself in me in the prime of my life. I had as much as a man like me could have- happiness, a loyal partner, my own home, a boat. Those things seem so very far away now.

    When I bought the cryosuspension policy, I had the promise of a cure when science, that ambiguous ideal, had the means to revivify me from the deep freeze and cure my sad and ailing body. I remember dying. Late in the first decade of the twenty-first century, few could ever say they remember dying. I now can, and so many like me that bought the policy. There I was, the hotshot novelist, dying on the deck of my Oregon beach-house, with my partner Roy and my dog Muppet with a few friends weeping, blocking my view of the ocean, somewhat. It was fine. I went out assured that I’d live again after a short sleep in the underworld, and they would all be by my side. They promised they would buy the policies, perhaps to please me, and make my own death easier. The de-animation technicians were inside, watching the World Series, when I drew my last breath in that life. The techs had all the charm of quarrymen, though I entrusted my future life, my rebirth, to those men and their boxes of tubes and ice. In retrospect, my friends saw my decision to go into cryosuspension as a bit of a crank, the dying whim of the dying writer. They deferred, now long since at peace. Perhaps, Roy and my dog still walk that beach. I’ll never see them.

    For a century, my body lay vitrified in a tank of liquid nitrogen. On a spring day in 2111, I was taken out into a new world to thaw. Nanobots were discharged to my organs to repair the damage of the cancer and the freeze, and I lay in a coma for a month before they brought me back into the world of the living. With the flick of a switch, or something, they turned on my brain and retrieved my soul. I awoke to the sound of my name, repeated over and over again through the perfect smile of a Revival Therapist. “You are Micah Waterman... You are Micah Waterman... You are Micah Waterman.” The very first thought that entered my very old but seemingly working mind was ‘it smells like sauerkraut in here.’ I summoned up the breath to say “Hello,” though I was confused. Perhaps I didn’t really die and this is just the damn hospital in Portland. Thoughts came so slow and time seemed so bent that I didn’t know what to think. That’s what the Revival Therapist is for.

    “Micah Waterman, you have been revived from cryosuspension. I am here to help you adjust to where you are and the time that has passed between de-animation and today. Think of today as your first birthday, Micah. You have a lot to learn, and we are going to move at your own pace though the process. You are at the LifeBridge facility in Eureka, California. You are going to have many questions, but today is about assuring that your physical and mental functions are comfortable to you and healthy. I will begin by saying that you will have an unpleasant taste for a few days...” And so on. This woman was saying what she was saying with such familiarity, I was reminded of a waitress reading off the daily specials. I wondered if there still were waitresses. I had no idea of when this was, and the room itself was bare, and her manner of dress suggested little. I never really knew what to expect about the “future” I’d been promised. I suppose no one does.

    Over the course of that week, I received many painless nanobot treatments, and found that these very polite but somewhat impersonal people still made use of physical therapy. There were plenty of aches, digestive issues, and the lot, but I was told that my recovery was exemplary. Answers to questions would come after the first week, and they seemed quite assured that there was no other way of doing business. I complied, though I was anxious to see if Roy or any of my friends were to be revived. At forty-something, actually one hundred and forty something, I had no real idea what to do, and felt somewhat at the mercy of the Revival Therapist, who was to be my sole source of information. What else could I do?

    With a carefully rehearsed speech, Andrea coolly recited the missed days, years, decades, the gaping chasm between my incarnations. Humanity had progressed about as reasonably as I’d hoped, technology seemed a tad unimpressive, but I suppose with the usual pitiful distraction of war and politics that science had lagged a little behind what the talking heads of my time predicted. Socially, it seemed as if things had evolved progressively enough, and the dystopian in me was pleased that I seemingly evaded the fate of living amidst zombies, robots, and the terror of Orwell. The west coast was always so good at doing its own thing, and luckily they were no longer in cahoots with Washington. My laughter seemed to puzzle Andrea over that point. If she’d only known what we went through... at least I’d earned my right to be curmudgeonly. I was excited and ready to see it all.

    The next day was the day designed for much harder news. I learned that Roy did not undergo the procedure, nor any of my friends. Andrea couldn’t tell me what happened to him, though I was given some letters he’d sent after I passed in the dim hope I could read them someday. Neatly sealed in a box were pictures and videos of my life then, along with my books. One of Roy’s shirts, Muppet’s collar, beach sand. Roy did well in leaving me the last bit of my old world, and I cried all over it. For hours. The house had long since been taken by the rising tides, but the box smelled like that house. Andrea tried to cheer me up with a dumb joke: “Hard to swallow a time capsule, eh?” It didn’t work, though I could tell that was about as much rapport as she could muster. I went to sleep that night, the last night in LifeBridge, with Roy’s godawful plaid shirt that I picked on him so much about over my pillow, and Muppet’s ancient collar in my hand.

    The next day was bright and crisp. I was to leave the center, but Andrea told me little about where I’d go or how I’d get there. I’d left myself ample funds that would have hopefully accrued interest and made me far richer than I ever was in that life, but when the West Coast seceded the revival funds that all those of us in cryosuspension didn’t convert. I was assured by Andrea that LifeBridge would see to it that I was compensated, and my living expenses would be covered at a reasonable rate. I thought that as a novelist from the last century, there might be a university that would be quite eager to have me do some seminars and lectures, though oddly she seemed to avoid responding to my suggestion. I had run though so many emotions since being re-animated, and now, for the first time in one hundred years, I found myself getting angry. I confronted Andrea for some answers.

    “In this time, Micah, you can’t walk out the front door and be in charge of your life again. A lot has happened between then and now, and I know there was no way to prepare you for that before you de-animated. As with all those who we de-animate, you will be taken to live with those from your time, Micah, to make it easy, and so you can enjoy life to the fullest without worrying about everything you would have to do and know to be comfortable in this time. Micah, it’s not easy to say this, but you are a Ward of the State.”

    Devastation is a word for it. As a writer of science-fiction, I wanted nothing more than to see the future I’d created in my books. I wanted to fly to the moon or Mars, to be welcomed as a repository of information from another time, to see what the hell the damn Internet had evolved into. Now I was to be flown inland to some country club in the Cascades where all the other Revived live, apparently. After I froze, it became far cheaper and far trendier to be cryosuspended, even before natural death. There were so many of us now that the West Coast had decided that it was best to keep us amongst ourselves, rather than even try to integrate us into their society. Eventually, Andrea assured me, through training and desensitization, I could fill out my years closer to society, though she warned me that it’s nearly impossible for Revived to fit in perfectly. We were sort of an expat subculture in our own world. Though, it wasn’t really my world anymore, it belonged all those future generations we spoke so whimsically about. I didn’t know it at the time, but I’d been given sedatives and re-patterning neural-nanobots to help me ease into the transition. We all get those, apparently. I’m sure I didn’t think much about that when I signed the policy. One supposes that this makes their job somewhat easier.

    Under a stunning blue sky, I was flown in a rather unremarkable jet to my new home, on the banks of the Snake River. I clutched the box that Roy packed tightly, and tried to get a sense of this new-fangled world through the tinted glass of the windows. I felt like I was purposefully not allowed to see or ask too much; LifeBridge seemed to have the whole operation choreographed to a tee. Phoenix Ranch had its own little airstrip, and just outside that, the place would have been a dream come true for the leisure-obsessed of my era. It was laid out like the kind of subdivisions I hated to watch gradually sprawl across the continent. Currency-free shopping for the clothes and (surprisingly) working gadgets of my decade, movie theatres with all the titles I lived and died to, horse-back riding, white-water rafting... the place would’ve been a Mecca for the retired American. I was taken on a tour through all of this my a new Personal Transition Assistant, Paul. He was cute, and had the kind of charisma a tour-guide would, and the man just seemed all too happy. I was taken to my new 'home,' a spacious log-cabin with all of the pre-modern conveniences, and Paul really emphasized the TV worked and it had all of the shows of my previous life, “from cartoons to car crashes!” he gushed. Since I’d been a minor celebrity a century ago, there were some knickknacks and pictures representing my career on the walls, and the rather clunky old refrigerator was stocked with all the food I mentioned I loved during a tedious interview I’d given to some gourmand rag in 2001. A bottle of Hungarian Tokaji, my favorite white wine, sat on the counter. The attention to detail, and nostalgia, was incredible. And, incredibly spooky.

    I asked Paul to sit and share some wine. He seemed to wince at the thought of drinking wine, and settled on just a splash in his glass. Even that seemed a bit much for him. He was dressed in a rather poorly coordinated Hawaiian shirt and corduroy pants. “Paul,” I said, “you people are really trying too hard. I know it’s 2111 and not 2009. I’m a writer, I can fathom social and technological change. I know I’m one hundred and forty years old- I no longer have leukemia, and thanks to the nanobots I’ll probably never have a headache either. Just tell me, honestly, why does LifeBridge and the government want so much to keep the future so far away from me. It’s what I signed up for.”

    His forced smile quickly flattened, and his eyes went glassy. “Mr. Waterman, LifeBridge didn’t promise you anything other than Revival, which it has done. They have gone out of their way to be sure that you and all of the thousands of other Revived are cared for to the best of our abilities. Let’s face it: the Revived are... a... social phenomenon. Much about our times are the same: we still eat oranges and barbeque and we still have dance clubs and yacht races. But far too much has changed than you can accept, and we know that from experience. Right now, Phoenix Ranch is the best place for you and your contemporaries. Believe me. Trust me. I’m here to help you in any way that I can to adapt, and I will gradually be able to educate you on some of our many differences. But, over time, Mr. Waterman. All of our residents are happy and content here. Sure, they want to travel and see the world, but they have come to understand that after being on ice for so long, what feels best to them, and what will feel best to you, is to savor all of the pleasures of being alive, and all of the pleasures of your time. Right here."

    He went on to say that they can adjust my mood should I need it, as the neural-nanobots can be given instructions by Paul to help make the transition easier. Great. I relied on what little theatrical training I had and feigned appreciation for his honesty, and said that adjustments would not be needed, that with a little time, I’d be just fine. I further over-thanked him for his services, and told him I wanted to set about unpacking my box, and to settle into my new home alone. With a sharp gaze, Paul explained that he lives just a minute down the pine-shaded road, and if I needed him, he was only a call-button away, though we would have therapy daily. Super. He asked me to be ready to meet the neighbors at the community center in an hour- there’d be a reception, and a “full spread.” Most of them had de-animated within ten years of my own, so we should all be able to get along, he announced, without seeming to process the illogic of the idea. This is living life to the fullest, I thought to myself. Sure is. What LifeBridge didn’t do their research on is just how much of a cynic I can be, or was.

    I unpacked, showered my ancient body with a familiar brand of soap, and got ready to meet the neighbors.

    (to be continued)

    jaybird found this for you @ 22:15 in Short Fiction | | permalink

    { Sunday, 22 January, 2006 }

    those million holy whispers

    It's Sunday, and the mist that falls
    Is as slow as a year to pass.
    You are downtown, passing an old Gospel church
    Which has a speaker pointed toward the rough and forlorn sidewalk.
    You stop, leaning against the chipping sky-blue wall, and listen.
    As the choir shakes their tambourines,
    You hear a booming bronze voice that is as strong as Africa:
    "Nothing Just Happens!"
    The congregation repeats it back, and the mantra is spread
    As a wildfire of pentecost, and there is great jubilation.

    You move on,
    And set your bearings to the lake,
    Where coots dive in silence for the mystery beneath them,
    Where the winter bramble becomes a writ of holy codicil
    If you look at it in just the right way.
    The water is still, save for the coots,
    And you listen intentlty to the murmur of the water
    The stories that fall in the rain
    And hear, quite clearly, that even this short scene is destiny-
    "Nothing just happens..."

    You desire much, yet are filled by these little moments.
    You join with even that which evades you in dreams
    For they somehow matter in the great schemes of the Schemer.
    None can claim to know, only to do.
    To know is to catch a star with a butterfly net,
    And even our own knowledge is as thin as your reflection on the water,
    Your shadow on the sidewalk.
    Yet your desire is as radiant and as real as those stars
    Burning endless, beacons forever to pull up into the arms of the ecstatic.
    Desire, deep pounding longing, is what gives you shape and substance
    Here in the great unknown-
    You beget it, and from you it erupts-
    You can see it in your eyes.
    "Nothing just happens..."

    The coot, the wizened black preacher,
    The beautiful gaze from the one across the room
    That you just can't put down, these don't just happen.
    You made them from the clay of your love
    Because you wanted them so,
    And thus, you are free to revel in these glad tidings.
    We even give ourselves that which we cannot touch,
    For the sheer folly of a spectacle to enthrall and bemuse.
    You are now wet from the rain, those million holy whispers.
    You walk back slow and easy, and tuck Sunday into your pocket.
    Yeah, you think, nothing just happens-
    It already is.

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

    { Saturday, 21 January, 2006 }

    A Gray Saturday, and a little light

    Good evening, friends. It's been a quiet, gray day, which I decided to dedicate to musical exploration, and I've happily come across many fine tunes. I'm about to finally cut my hair, which has become a bit of a, overgrown metropolis of tangles and curls.

    The spectre of my unemployment seems to have finally been exorcised, though with somewhat shakey results. I will hopefully begin doing adult mental health in the community, a population change (and salary drop). That does sound very, very exciting, on paper, desite the cut in greenback. I have applications in two other places, and this gives me a chance to criticise the State of North Carolina: if you have no intention of following up on a resume, please inform the sender. Thanks. That's all.

    The adult MH is one gig, and another part-time gig really has me excited: teaching positive parenting, prevention and divorce education classes. I really love conducting trainings, and this gig along with contracting to train with my old company will hopefully eventually mean that I will be able to survive financially. I've always had many jobs simultaneously, so this is nothing new. I'm not out of the woods yet, though: I've only worked eighteen hours in the past week. Thus, I'm reframing my Fund Drive and turning it into the "Not Out Of The Woods Yet" Drive. I'm optomisitc, though, which has made this experience far more tolerable, and the fruits of my industry far more rewarding.

    Tonight, hopefully a little merry-making with friends. Thanks to everyone for your deep and lovely support- it's really helped me get through what could've been far more difficult. When I put my situation in perspective with most of the planet, however, I'm damn lucky, and that comes as a somber realization.

    I stand in gratitude, and also profound respect for this world, and her unpredictable orbits.

    jaybird found this for you @ 18:17 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Friday, 20 January, 2006 }

    In Japan, Cute Conquers All

    There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who adore Hello Kitty, and those who just don't get why the little fluffy feline with no mouth has managed to attract a global cult following. I get the part about Hello Kitty being cute, innocent, and sentimental. She likes to have tea parties and make friends all over the world. How sweet and precious. I just can't understand why this would be of interest to anyone beyond the age of 10.

    But Hello Kitty is a $1 billion-a-year franchise for Sanrio, Japan's biggest maker of cartoon characters. It licenses Kitty's image to product makers far and wide. My two daughters, aged 6 and 3, have Hello Kitty pens, cups, toothbrushes, stickers, and a toy vacuum cleaner that makes a lot of noise when dad is trying to watch the World Cup. Last month, the two nearly overdosed on cuteness at a Hello Kitty amusement park in suburban Tokyo.

    Don't get me wrong: I'm not interested in dissing Kitty here. It's just that I've long been fascinated by Japan's cult of cuteness -- it's rather like an obsession. The everyday visual landscape of Tokyo -- the ad banners on the subway, storefronts signs, digital display screens, and various forms of mass media like manga (Japanese comics) and fashion magazines -- are just oozing with cute stuff.

    Cartoon characters are often used as pitchmen for Japanese products. All manner of companies and services, even banks, have licensed characters like Kitty or imports such as Snoopy, Pooh, and Miffy to jazz up their advertising. Spend five minutes in retail centers like Shibuya and Shinjuku, and you almost feel like you're in cartoon town. Cute sells big time in Nippon.

    Japanese cute, which the Japanese call kawaii, isn't just a marketing gimmick. It's embedded in the culture and manifests itself in social and gender roles, particularly those of young Japanese women. Cute isn't just a fashion statement -- pink lipstick, butterfly hair bands, and pastel colors -- it's also a mode of behavior. Cute girls often act silly, affect squeaky voices, pout and stamp their feet when they're angry. It seems to be a cultural statement.

    jaybird found this for you @ 18:06 in Culture, People & Customs | | permalink

    Decades-old mystery: Who visits Poe's grave?

    Continuing a decades-old tradition, a mystery man paid tribute to Edgar Allan Poe by placing roses and a bottle of cognac on the writer's grave to mark his January 19 birthday.

    Some of the 25 spectators drawn to a tiny, locked graveyard in downtown Baltimore for the ceremony climbed over the walls of the site and were "running all over the place trying to find out how the guy gets in," according to Jeff Jerome, the most faithful viewer of the event.

    Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum, said early Thursday he had to chase people out of the graveyard, fearing they would interfere with the mystery visitor's ceremony.

    "In letting people know about this tribute, I've been contributing to these people's desire to catch this guy," Jerome said. "It's such a touching tribute, and it's been disrupted by the actions of a few people trying to interfere and expose this guy."

    The cryptic visits began in 1949. Jerome has seen the ceremony every January 19 since 1976. Poe was born in 1809.

    "They had a game plan," Jerome said of the spectators. "They knew from previous years when the guy would appear."

    jaybird found this for you @ 13:04 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink

    Blogger uncovers US mercenary spy ring in Haiti

    I seem to have uncovered a strange little black ops organization that's spying in Haiti and elsewhere. Not long ago, they were also looking to drum up some business in the US in the Homeland Security market. I got a few tips from whistleblowers. But all of the most substantial information has come from one of their own employees who wrote me a number of long letters... CAG, ostensibly staffed with ex-military and ex-"agency" personnel, wished to remain unknown and inasmuch as it was known, it wished to be known as a "management consulting" company. It was founded by US ex-patriates and is registered in Panama. And, very specifically, CAG did not wish to be seen as either a private military company or as a security company. They claimed to be management consultants.

    Well. All right then. Management consulting.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:56 in Haiti | | permalink

    { Thursday, 19 January, 2006 }

    An affordable endeavour? Cost of Iraq war could top $2 trillion

    The cost of the Iraq war could top $2 trillion, far above the White House's pre-war projections, when long-term costs such as lifetime health care for thousands of wounded U.S. soldiers are included, a study said on Monday.

    Columbia University economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard lecturer Linda Bilmes included in their study disability payments for the 16,000 wounded U.S. soldiers, about 20 percent of whom suffer serious brain or spinal injuries.

    They said U.S. taxpayers will be burdened with costs that linger long after U.S. troops withdraw.

    "Even taking a conservative approach, we have been surprised at how large they are," said the study, referring to total war costs. "We can state, with some degree of confidence, that they exceed a trillion dollars."

    Before the invasion, then-White House budget director Mitch Daniels predicted Iraq would be "an affordable endeavor" and rejected an estimate by then-White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey of total Iraq war costs at $100 billion to $200 billion as "very, very high."

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:48 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    Futurepositive: Connecting Synergistically

    Within the complexity field we spend much time talking about state space and the total possibilities open to the system. Here alternative answers come into their own, and in this sense complexity studies is more a female oriented approach to choice than a male one. Synergy is the study of how interactions within systems affect their joint fitness, and this depends largely upon the forms of interaction employed. In the ancient philosophy of Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism, and also in its close relative Taoism, we find the observation that as well as the view of 'me' and that of 'you' we can also have the views of 'both me and you' and of 'neither me nor you'. In other words, when we view combinations or interactions we must take into account all the possible combinations, and not just those obvious or familiar to us.

    Relating this to our two forms of interactions, the male 'rights' approach seeks to keep 'me' and 'you' separate and to mediate a sort of mutual non-interference pact between us - a uneasy truce (as seen in the politics of Rawls and Dworkin). The female 'care' mode addresses the 'both me and you' viewpoint, and seeks to benefit both as a result - a compromise, more concerned with emotions, intuition and trust (e.g. in the work of Noddings and Baier). But what about the 'neither me nor you' viewpoint, what do we make of this ? Here we step up a level, we transcend the limitations of individual viewpoints and enter a new plane, a social viewpoint. In complexity terms this is a form of emergence and leads to new system properties coming into being, properties or opportunities that do not exist in terms of individual viewpoints.

    jaybird found this for you @ 13:46 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    The Hikikomori: Shutting Themselves In

    After years of being bullied at school and having no friends, Y.S., who asked to be identified by his initials, retreated to his room at age 14, and proceeded to watch TV, surf the Internet and build model cars - for 13 years. When he finally left his room one April afternoon last year, he had spent half of his life as a shut-in. Like Takeshi and Shuichi, Y.S. suffered from a problem known in Japan as hikikomori, which translates as "withdrawal" and refers to a person sequestered in his room for six months or longer with no social life beyond his home. (The word is a noun that describes both the problem and the person suffering from it and is also an adjective, like "alcoholic.") Some hikikomori do occasionally emerge from their rooms for meals with their parents, late-night runs to convenience stores or, in Takeshi's case, once-a-month trips to buy CD's (sic, shame on NYT). And though female hikikomori exist and may be undercounted, experts estimate that about 80 percent of the hikikomori are male, some as young as 13 or 14 and some who live in their rooms for 15 years or more.

    jaybird found this for you @ 09:41 in Culture, People & Customs | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 18 January, 2006 }

    Chopra: The Peace Economy

    These are all "soft" alternatives to our other great exports, aerospace technologies, weapons, foreign military bases, and war itself. Since 1960 the U.S. has adapted to losing its smokestack industries (primarily steel), its energy base (oil), and now its large-scale manufacturing (automobiles). Change is hard, but if we can adapt to those things, we can adapt to becoming a global "soft" economy.

    Peace is soft. It doesn't hide in fear behind borders. It accepts influences from outside. It makes friends of foreigners. GM knows that it can't survive without making cars in China, so that step has been taken. The oil industry realized that it had to concede the lion's share of energy revenues to Middle Eastern regimes (unthinkable at the end of World War II), so that has happened as well.

    The economics of peace consists in giving the military-industrial complex a new role. Step by step the military boondoggle must be diverted into such peaceful uses as rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, funding a future for the poor, providing meaningful jobs for the elderly after they retire, and feeding the world. The Soviet Union had such a devastated infrastructure that it was like a Third World country with a space program. We are well on the way to becoming a military empire with impoverished masses at home.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:34 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    Key 23: The Feral Magician

    ...In American culture insecurity is rampantly bred into us. So people limit themselves to safe bets. But there's also the fear of success. Fear that magic really DOES work, which requires having a responsibility of some sort associated with one's practice of it. People are afraid to take the reins of a power they deem godly; they fear becoming Icarus, of falling prey to hubris and being struck down.

    We're also kept down by modern Western thought, which dictates causality and Cartesian duality. Not content with disagreeing with more esoteric thought, the egregore of Western civilization has sown the seeds of fear into our heads--the fear that, if we embrace beliefs outside of a certain norm, we are insane. Not evil, which can be romanticized and thereby reclaimed, but insanity, which supposedly denotes a REAL danger. Few people fear demons; magicians and mundanes alike rarely tremble at the names of the Goetia, and rare is the person who even really believes in Satan any more as anything beyond a symbolic construct. But many fear the insane; even those who are harmless, who have something as relatively benign as bipolar disorder, are looked at with distrust by those who claim no ills to the public. And so that stigma is attached by mainstream society to anyone who practices magic, believes in spirits or otherwise plays in the ocult sandbox.

    Chaos magic lent some unique credibility to magic by boiling it down to its base components and explaining it with physics. Yet overexposure to Chaos magic can breed the misconception that magic is wholly psychological, that it can be captured within one's head, that the entities one works with are purely symbolic and have no life independent of human thought. This is just as draining to the spirit of magic as the idea that it doesn't exist.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:31 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Lovelock: The Earth is about to catch a morbid fever

    This article is the most difficult I have written and for the same reasons. My Gaia theory sees the Earth behaving as if it were alive, and clearly anything alive can enjoy good health, or suffer disease. Gaia has made me a planetary physician and I take my profession seriously, and now I, too, have to bring bad news.

    The climate centres around the world, which are the equivalent of the pathology lab of a hospital, have reported the Earth's physical condition, and the climate specialists see it as seriously ill, and soon to pass into a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years. I have to tell you, as members of the Earth's family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilisation are in grave danger.

    Our planet has kept itself healthy and fit for life, just like an animal does, for most of the more than three billion years of its existence. It was ill luck that we started polluting at a time when the sun is too hot for comfort. We have given Gaia a fever and soon her condition will worsen to a state like a coma. She has been there before and recovered, but it took more than 100,000 years. We are responsible and will suffer the consequences: as the century progresses, the temperature will rise 8 degrees centigrade in temperate regions and 5 degrees in the tropics.

    Much of the tropical land mass will become scrub and desert, and will no longer serve for regulation; this adds to the 40 per cent of the Earth's surface we have depleted to feed ourselves.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:29 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 17 January, 2006 }

    Hypertime, Hyperself, and Googling The Akashic

    From a psychological perspective our experience of Universe has been equally if not more profoundly changed and expanded since our ancestors were struggling with fire. Imagine further the gulf between our ontological space and that of an insect or small microbe. Now imagine looking beyond our current technology and psychology, to the future of post-human intelligence vastly exceeding our own. Who is to say that these other dimensions of space described by string theory and quantum gravity will not open up to us? Who is to say that parallel universes (which apparently are right next to us - less than a micrometer, just in a parallel dimension out of our 3d space) will not become known and experienced by our future post-human selves?

    If David Bohm is correct about the implicate order, then there are an infinite number of dimensions of space, time and everything else, within us and all around us. All we need is believe in them and open ourselves up to them. It doesn't require any fancy technology, only a willingness inside you to go there. You'll soon learn that our physical bodies, space and time, and all that other stuff doesn't matter very much. It's just this tiny place we happen to be in at the moment. But the next moment, the one right after now, can become the first moment you are living in infinity. Many people who have taken sufficient amounts of psychedelics to have experienced these hyperdimesnions. The best part is we don't need drugs anymore to go to these places. The helped show many of us the way, but the way out is past the drug experience. I know this view has given me some flack here on this 'psychedelic' site, but I believe ultimately that drugs are a dead end. It's kind of like an old tool that has served us well, but is now no longer necessary. We cling to it because it gave us fond memories, but it no longer serves us. We have outgrown it. We have become one with these higher spaces, we are going there in dreams, in OBE's and NDE's. Death is an illusion.

    The holographic theory provides a great map to understand and integrate this beautifully simple and inclusive worldview.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:20 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    Bush Authorized Domestic Spying Before 9/11

    The NSA's domestic surveillance activities that began in early 2001 reached a boiling point shortly after 9/11, when senior administration officials and top intelligence officials asked the NSA to share that data with other intelligence officials who worked for the FBI and the CIA to hunt down terrorists that might be in the United States. However the NSA, on advice from its lawyers, destroyed the records, fearing the agency could be subjected to lawsuits by American citizens identified in the agency's raw intelligence reports.

    The declassified report says that the "Director of the National Security Agency is obligated by law to keep Congress fully and currently formed of intelligence activities." But that didn't happen. When news of the NSA's clandestine domestic spying operation, which President Bush said he had authorized in 2002, was uncovered last month by the New York Times, Democratic and Republican members of Congress appeared outraged, claiming that they were never informed of the covert surveillance operation. It's unclear whether the executive order signed by Bush removes the NSA Director from his duty to brief members of Congress about the agency's intelligence gathering programs.

    Eavesdropping on Americans required intelligence officials to obtain a surveillance warrant from a special court and show probable cause that the person they wanted to monitor was communicating with suspected terrorists overseas. But Bush said that the process for obtaining such warrants under the 1978 Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act was, at times, "cumbersome."

    More from the NYT

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:44 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    Ecoliteracy: A Path with a Heart

    I think self-organization and the newer understanding of life and complexity, when it is applied to the social realm and human organizations, can help people to find their authenticity as human beings The old paradigm model is a mechanistic model where people are seen as parts of a big machine and the machine is designed by experts who either sit at the top of the organization or are brought in from outside as consultants. Then this design of new structures is imposed upon the people who work in the organization and they are pigeon-holed in certain departments with well-defined boundaries. So the underlying model is that of a machine working very smoothly.

    What self-organization tells you, among many other things, is that creativity is an inherent property of all living systems. All living systems are creative because they have the ability to reach out and create something new. In the last 20-25 years we have begun to understand the dynamics of this creativity, in terms of emergence of new structures and in terms of instability, bifurcation points, and the spontaneous emergence of order. This is the underlying dynamics of creativity at all levels of life.

    When people understand this they will realize that human individuals as well as groups of individuals are inherently creative. So when you have an organization and you want to design a new structure and you bring in outside experts and then impose this structure on the organization you have to spend a lot of energy and money to sell the idea to the employees and the manager. Since human beings are inherently creative they will not accept the idea as it is. since this will deny their humanity. Therefore you can give them orders and they will nominally adhere to the orders but they will circumvent the orders; they will re-invent the orders and will modify it, either boycott it or embellish it, adding their own interpretation.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:42 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    { Monday, 16 January, 2006 }

    Because this is important...

    The text of Al Gore's speech today, in full
    Congressman Barr and I have disagreed many times over the years, but we have joined together today with thousands of our fellow citizens-Democrats and Republicans alike-to express our shared concern that America's Constitution is in grave danger.

    In spite of our differences over ideology and politics, we are in strong agreement that the American values we hold most dear have been placed at serious risk by the unprecedented claims of the Administration to a truly breathtaking expansion of executive power.

    As we begin this new year, the Executive Branch of our government has been caught eavesdropping on huge numbers of American citizens and has brazenly declared that it has the unilateral right to continue without regard to the established law enacted by Congress to prevent such abuses.

    It is imperative that respect for the rule of law be restored.

    So, many of us have come here to Constitution Hall to sound an alarm and call upon our fellow citizens to put aside partisan differences and join with us in demanding that our Constitution be defended and preserved.

    It is appropriate that we make this appeal on the day our nation has set aside to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who challenged America to breathe new life into our oldest values by extending its promise to all our people.

    On this particular Martin Luther King Day, it is especially important to recall that for the last several years of his life, Dr. King was illegally wiretapped-one of hundreds of thousands of Americans whose private communications were intercepted by the U.S. government during this period.

    The FBI privately called King the "most dangerous and effective negro leader in the country" and vowed to "take him off his pedestal." The government even attempted to destroy his marriage and blackmail him into committing suicide.

    This campaign continued until Dr. King's murder. The discovery that the FBI conducted a long-running and extensive campaign of secret electronic surveillance designed to infiltrate the inner workings of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and to learn the most intimate details of Dr. King's life, helped to convince Congress to enact restrictions on wiretapping.

    The result was the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act (FISA), which was enacted expressly to ensure that foreign intelligence surveillance would be presented to an impartial judge to verify that there is a sufficient cause for the surveillance. I voted for that law during my first term in Congress and for almost thirty years the system has proven a workable and valued means of according a level of protection for private citizens, while permitting foreign surveillance to continue.

    Yet, just one month ago, Americans awoke to the shocking news that in spite of this long settled law, the Executive Branch has been secretly spying on large numbers of Americans for the last four years and eavesdropping on "large volumes of telephone calls, e-mail messages, and other Internet traffic inside the United States." The New York Times reported that the President decided to launch this massive eavesdropping program "without search warrants or any new laws that would permit such domestic intelligence collection."

    During the period when this eavesdropping was still secret, the President went out of his way to reassure the American people on more than one occasion that, of course, judicial permission is required for any government spying on American citizens and that, of course, these constitutional safeguards were still in place.

    But surprisingly, the President's soothing statements turned out to be false. Moreover, as soon as this massive domestic spying program was uncovered by the press, the President not only confirmed that the story was true, but also declared that he has no intention of bringing these wholesale invasions of privacy to an end.

    At present, we still have much to learn about the NSA's domestic surveillance. What we do know about this pervasive wiretapping virtually compels the conclusion that the President of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and persistently.

    A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government. Our Founding Fathers were adamant that they had established a government of laws and not men. Indeed, they recognized that the structure of government they had enshrined in our Constitution - our system of checks and balances - was designed with a central purpose of ensuring that it would govern through the rule of law. As John Adams said: "The executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them, to the end that it may be a government of laws and not of men."

    An executive who arrogates to himself the power to ignore the legitimate legislative directives of the Congress or to act free of the check of the judiciary becomes the central threat that the Founders sought to nullify in the Constitution - an all-powerful executive too reminiscent of the King from whom they had broken free. In the words of James Madison, "the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

    Thomas Paine, whose pamphlet, "On Common Sense" ignited the American Revolution, succinctly described America's alternative. Here, he said, we intended to make certain that "the law is king."

    Vigilant adherence to the rule of law strengthens our democracy and strengthens America. It ensures that those who govern us operate within our constitutional structure, which means that our democratic institutions play their indispensable role in shaping policy and determining the direction of our nation. It means that the people of this nation ultimately determine its course and not executive officials operating in secret without constraint.

    The rule of law makes us stronger by ensuring that decisions will be tested, studied, reviewed and examined through the processes of government that are designed to improve policy. And the knowledge that they will be reviewed prevents over-reaching and checks the accretion of power.

    A commitment to openness, truthfulness and accountability also helps our country avoid many serious mistakes. Recently, for example, we learned from recently classified declassified documents that the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which authorized the tragic Vietnam war, was actually based on false information. We now know that the decision by Congress to authorize the Iraq War, 38 years later, was also based on false information. America would have been better off knowing the truth and avoiding both of these colossal mistakes in our history. Following the rule of law makes us safer, not more vulnerable.

    The President and I agree on one thing. The threat from terrorism is all too real. There is simply no question that we continue to face new challenges in the wake of the attack on September 11th and that we must be ever-vigilant in protecting our citizens from harm.

    Where we disagree is that we have to break the law or sacrifice our system of government to protect Americans from terrorism. In fact, doing so makes us weaker and more vulnerable.

    Once violated, the rule of law is in danger. Unless stopped, lawlessness grows. The greater the power of the executive grows, the more difficult it becomes for the other branches to perform their constitutional roles. As the executive acts outside its constitutionally prescribed role and is able to control access to information that would expose its actions, it becomes increasingly difficult for the other branches to police it. Once that ability is lost, democracy itself is threatened and we become a government of men and not laws.

    The President's men have minced words about America's laws. The Attorney General openly conceded that the "kind of surveillance" we now know they have been conducting requires a court order unless authorized by statute. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act self-evidently does not authorize what the NSA has been doing, and no one inside or outside the Administration claims that it does. Incredibly, the Administration claims instead that the surveillance was implicitly authorized when Congress voted to use force against those who attacked us on September 11th.

    This argument just does not hold any water. Without getting into the legal intricacies, it faces a number of embarrassing facts. First, another admission by the Attorney General: he concedes that the Administration knew that the NSA project was prohibited by existing law and that they consulted with some members of Congress about changing the statute. Gonzalez says that they were told this probably would not be possible. So how can they now argue that the Authorization for the Use of Military Force somehow implicitly authorized it all along? Second, when the Authorization was being debated, the Administration did in fact seek to have language inserted in it that would have authorized them to use military force domestically - and the Congress did not agree. Senator Ted Stevens and Representative Jim McGovern, among others, made statements during the Authorization debate clearly restating that that Authorization did not operate domestically.

    When President Bush failed to convince Congress to give him all the power he wanted when they passed the AUMF, he secretly assumed that power anyway, as if congressional authorization was a useless bother. But as Justice Frankfurter once wrote: "To find authority so explicitly withheld is not merely to disregard in a particular instance the clear will of Congress. It is to disrespect the whole legislative process and the constitutional division of authority between President and Congress."

    This is precisely the "disrespect" for the law that the Supreme Court struck down in the steel seizure case.

    It is this same disrespect for America's Constitution which has now brought our republic to the brink of a dangerous breach in the fabric of the Constitution. And the disrespect embodied in these apparent mass violations of the law is part of a larger pattern of seeming indifference to the Constitution that is deeply troubling to millions of Americans in both political parties.

    Continue reading "Because this is important..."

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:46 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    { Sunday, 15 January, 2006 }

    The blog resteth today.

    jaybird found this for you @ 23:44 in Misc. Babble | | permalink

    { Saturday, 14 January, 2006 }

    Lyric Fragment

    Skipping down a road that's closed
    On account of the snow
    Singing down the double yellow lines
    Falling stars through the forest

    We are the road we follow
    Walking in a winter spiral that brings to completion
    We are the storms that bend the trees
    Unsettling the piles of last year's leaves.

    I could be some many names
    But right now, I'm cold yet I love it-
    The chill on my handsis celestial, resultant of the cosmos;
    Circles, rings, orbits... I live within such holy formula.

    Skipping down a road that's closed
    On account of the snow
    Mud on the jeans, lyric fragments billow like weather,
    I persist, we thrive, I whistle, we arrive.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:38 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Friday, 13 January, 2006 }

    County Line of Desire

    for Nancy, thank you...

    I've been on the still prairie of whispering grass
    I've been on the Avenue of the Americas, dodging the hither and thither of the city-
    I've traced my finger across the map of the ancestors
    And followed into the darkness the county line of desire.

    Oh, how transcendant is the open sky to the traveler;
    For the clouds themselves are simulacra for my deepest thought,
    The wind takes we who are lonely on the road, holding us in a gust
    Further and further, the map is traced to discover love, to plunge into it.

    To the lover whose passage is my mind, whose body is the curve of mountain,
    He who rises from the forest, glistening:
    Possibility is as boundless of the blue of your eyes, the skies,
    The river's imaginative current cajoles us here and there,
    To guide us downstream into some wondrous nook.
    I drink from the river, summoning more than the thought of you.

    I've had this pack on my back, heavy with effects, charms, and notions,
    I've tossed the map to a wind, given trust to strangers,
    And let this country road wind deep into the heart of divine rumination,
    Where, I can only stop, and listen, and hear that distant voice,
    Carried on the wind as gossamer.

    Oh companion of dream, I breathe you in:
    To be filled by you, oh amazed being, you shimmering amore,
    Is to blessed with the warm night, the wizened moon dancing,
    Is to be replete with the completeness that no street can give,
    Is to be guided to that hill where the vista begets, at last, the wildest of fantasies realised.

    I give you, nameless one, these words:
    To merely live is to be a star;
    Thou shinest brightly, with the abandon your heart longeth for,
    To love is fool-wise;
    For we emerge from our heady whims to boldly say "We are here, we have arrived."
    With that, I summon him...

    Now, under star and phantom feather, I lay me down-
    My feet have known thousands of miles of desire's journey.
    I've walked headlong into terror, and absolution, fire and all-
    The holy is known through the toils of the heart,
    And the migrations of the spirit, through mysterious counties...

    I will rise again fulfilled by the very thought of love.
    Come what may.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:50 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Thursday, 12 January, 2006 }


    We're having a teasing bit of warm weather, as if Winter Itself has decided to sleep in, slack off, and let things to all to bright-n-sunny for a while. Doubtless, this slacktime will be noticed and the proper weather will be brought back on line toute suite.

    There's hopeful movement on the job front, key bills have been deferred and payment plants writ in plasma. I'm feeling a bit safer now, though the finite resources which I use to supply cat food and eggs and frozen pizza are becoming ever-more finite. I've become amazingly resourceful in how I conserve what I've got, and life has begun to take the form of an extended camping trip through the wilderness of the self, and all the goodly beasts therein.

    Today, the aims are clear: cut my hair, trim a kitty who's having similar fashion faux pas with his long hair, make a high-placed phone call and/or a visit to a prospective employer with fingers and all manner of limbs crossed and entwined, maybe the gym, maybe a stroll around the Biltmo' House, since I have the irony of being dirt poor and having a year pass, finish consuming vitally nutritious leftovers, get some work done on the "secret project" since I've had to out school on hold, and perchance cap the whole thing off with a visit to our local Drinking Liberally faction after sundown.

    Despite the haze and mist over my present situation, I'm maintaining an optomism that, while it may be reminiscent of Nero, that fiddling bastard, is persistent. This is the longest spell I've ever gone without gainful employment since that itself became a necessity when I was but a freakish pup just out on his own (19 days). There are ends in sight, not all ideal, but ends to this, nonetheless. I certainly will miss the rather leisurly pacing of my daily life (is today Thursday?): the soft-shuffle to the morning kitchen to feed the mewling ones and my own mewling and curious pallette, the unknown quotient of what theme the unstructured day will tether to, the spontanaiety of river walks and amazingly bad yet guiltily delicious movies. I suppose that all this leisure may well be the result I postulated for with the Universe for a time to rest. That it has been, and thus, my vision is clearer, my spirit gently rises.

    There is movement toward resolution, in this situation, and in all situations. The gradual lengthening of day promises that spring, and summer, and another fall and winter must come. Even if my place in it is strange, the perpetuity of the world is enough to satisfy, indeed, enough to exalt.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:01 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 11 January, 2006 }

    Paul Davies: Physics and the Mind of God

    The mystery is all the greater when one takes into account the cryptic character of the laws of nature. When Newton saw the apple fall, he saw a falling apple. He did not see a set of differential equations that link the motion of the apple to the motion of the moon. The mathematical laws that underlie physical phenomena are not apparent to us through direct observation; they have to be painstakingly extracted from nature using arcane procedures of laboratory experiment and mathematical theory. The laws of nature are hidden from us, and are revealed only after much labor. The late Heinz Pagels-another atheistic physicist- described this by saying that the laws of nature are written in a sort of cosmic code, and that the job of the scientist is to crack the code and reveal the message-nature's message, God's message, take your choice, but not our message. The extraordinary thing is that human beings have evolved such a fantastic code-breaking talent. This is the wonder and the magnificence of science: we can use it to decode nature and discover the secret laws the universe follows.

    Many people want to find God in the creation of the universe, in the big bang that started it all off. They imagine a Superbeing who deliberates for all eternity, then presses a metaphysical button and produces a huge explosion. I believe this image is entirely misconceived. Einstein showed us that space and time are part of the physical universe, not a pre-existing arena in which the universe happens. Cosmologists are convinced that the big bang was the coming-into-being, not just of matter and energy, but of space and time as well. Time itself began with the big bang. If this sounds baffling, it is by no means new. Already in the fifth century St. Augustine proclaimed that "the world was made with time, not in time." According to James Hartle and Stephen Hawking, this coming-into-being of the universe need not be a supernatural process, but could occur entirely naturally, in accordance with the laws of quantum physics, which permit the occurrence of genuinely spontaneous events.

    jaybird found this for you @ 22:26 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 10 January, 2006 }

    Take a leap into hyperspace

    The US military has begun to cast its eyes over the hyperdrive concept, and a space propulsion researcher at the US Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories has said he would be interested in putting the idea to the test. And despite the bafflement of most physicists at the theory that supposedly underpins it, Pavlos Mikellides, an aerospace engineer at the Arizona State University in Tempe who reviewed the winning paper, stands by the committee's choice. "Even though such features have been explored before, this particular approach is quite unique," he says.

    Unique it certainly is. If the experiment gets the go-ahead and works, it could reveal new interactions between the fundamental forces of nature that would change the future of space travel. Forget spending six months or more holed up in a rocket on the way to Mars, a round trip on the hyperdrive could take as little as 5 hours. All our worries about astronauts' muscles wasting away or their DNA being irreparably damaged by cosmic radiation would disappear overnight. What's more the device would put travel to the stars within reach for the first time. But can the hyperdrive really get off the ground?
    “A hyperdrive craft would put the stars within reach for the first time”

    The answer to that question hinges on the work of a little-known German physicist. Burkhard Heim began to explore the hyperdrive propulsion concept in the 1950s as a spin-off from his attempts to heal the biggest divide in physics: the rift between quantum mechanics and Einstein's general theory of relativity.

    [via metafilter]

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:22 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink

    "Judge Doom's" Application for Employment

    I can't quote the whole thing here since it's an image file, but not surprisingly, ScAlito believes in "the legitimacy of a government role in protecting traditional values." That meaning, of course, that many pervert that gets the slightest wood over Brokeback Mountain ought to be rounded up and publicly shot, paying for the bullet beforehand. I kid mostly, but this kind of openly political statement (and others, read the app) deeply concern me. If the Preznit is so serious about not selecting activist judges, why did he pick Alito?

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:00 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    { Monday, 09 January, 2006 }

    The CPAP Rap

    As a followup to this post, I finally have an answer about my sleep apnea. I was actually laying across a picnic table on a closed-off stretch of the Parkway when the call came in. The walk, by the way, was incredible- I was the only human for miles.

    On the night I went in for my test, I stopped breathing 52 times in a five hour, forty minute period. The longest I went without breathing was 27 seconds. I snored 112 times. I tried to do that right now just for comparison, and it was difficult. I will go in for another evaluation later this month, hooked up to the dreaded CPAP unit. It sounds as if that machine may soon be my newest accessory. HAWT.

    Me: Hey, you wanna crash out?
    Prospective Nonexistant Boyfriend: Sure, yumz!
    Me: Oh, BTW I do have to wear a mask with pressurized air flying into my nose.

    Obviously, this will require bigtime lifestyle adjustment. Nonetheless, having a real answer is a relief.

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

    { Sunday, 08 January, 2006 }

    Day off

    The blog is observing a randomly observed day to rest and relax.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:15 in Misc. Babble | | permalink

    { Saturday, 07 January, 2006 }

    Greetings from the homefront

    This new year has started off fairly well, with the obvious exception being that I'm not working. I have accepted a position with a loathsome pay rate, and I'll have to locate a third job in order to keep myself afloat... while making a few notable sacrifices (one of which being the not-looked-foreward-to incorporation of low-profile Google or Blogads on this site). Yet the time has helped me clear my head, play, and relax. I've also used the copious lack of preoccupation to begin a new "msytery project," that *no one* will know about until March 4th, 2006. Tee-hee-hee.

    I've been writing here and there, though not as much as I'd like to. There is a traditional mid-winter slump I go through that is usually broken by the first real snowfall. I have had, most happily, the time to read. My stack of books crying out to be digested has grown to Pisa-like proportions, and I'm taking one at a time. What's really pleased me is that my typical wintry saunted into the clinical blues has not set in; my outlook is good and realisitc, I'm keeping myself occupied in this vocational interim, and really have had a staggering series of complimentary and supportive energies flung in my somewhat meanding direction. These buoy me against the tides that churn, nonetheless, and spin toward those numb pockets of wintry desolatry.

    If you were to see my apartment right now, you'd think it a madman's lair... I've been so busy keeping myself busy that I haven't done the best at domestic business, so that's on today's agenda. So was attempting to bring a dead laptop back to life; alas, poor Lazarus, he riseth not.

    I've been thinking a lot about two subjects, and hope to do write-ups: the myth of the American family structure, and whether Jesus actually existed as an incarnate being. There are so manr corollaries between his story and that og the many, many magi and messiahs in his day that, combined with the imagination of Paul, might have helped to create a religion quite from scratch. That certainly doesn't mean that Christian spirituality has lost meaning in my eyes, as brilliant people have pured their life into creating this body of work. But since there are no historical records that prove anything about his life, or his teachings, it's a matter of individual faith. I've been non-Christian now for over twenty years, and as a child wasn't a particularly dependable one. Yet this myth of Jesus is so massive and has shaped aour world if oft brutal ways that it must be understood and reckoned with in order to be of use to the thinking mystic.

    Anyway, time to reheat some beans and settle into some luxurious movie watching. I know the blog hasn't been an exciting place lately (though I did get a link from BoingBoing), but other interests have pulled away my blog time. Actually, once I get into a steady job, things will pick up here a bit, as the structure lends itself well to content provision. For now, I savor the bittersweet lack of structure, and joyously abide by my own whims.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:25 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Friday, 06 January, 2006 }

    Consciousness in meme machines

    If we hope (or fear) to make a conscious machine it would be helpful to know what consciousness is. We do not. I shall not claim here to solve the hard problem, or to say what consciousness ultimately is (if anything). Instead I shall argue that ordinary human consciousness is an illusion. Therefore making a machine that is conscious in the same way as we are, means making one that is subject to the same kind of illusion. Before explaining this in more detail I want to distinguish this view from some other major positions on machine consciousness, crudely divided here into three.

    [via bruce eisner]

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:28 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    { Thursday, 05 January, 2006 }

    The Switch: Scientists Discover a Gene That Regulates Lifespan

    Genes that control the timing of organ formation during development also control timing of aging and death, and provide evidence of a biological timing mechanism for aging, Yale researchers report in the journal Science.

    “Although there is a large variation in lifespan from species to species, there are genetic aspects to the processes of development and aging,” said Frank Slack, associate professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and senior author of the paper. “We used the simple, but genetically well-studied, C. elegans worm and found genes that are directly involved in determination of lifespan. Humans have genes that are nearly identical.”

    A microRNA and the developmental-timing gene it controls, lin-4 and lin-14, affect patterns of cellular development at very specific stages. Slack’s group found that mutations in these genes alter both the timing of the worm development stages— and the worm lifespan. C. elegans has been the premier model organism for studying the genetics of aging, and an excellent predictor of genes that also control mammalian aging.

    To test their functions, they made mutants in both of these genes. Animals with a loss-of-function mutation in lin-4 had a lifespan that was significantly shorter than normal, suggesting that lin-4 prevents premature death. Conversely, over-expressing lin-4 led to a longer lifespan. They also found that a loss–of-function mutation in lin-14, the target of lin-4, caused the opposite effect — a 31 percent longer lifespan.

    jaybird found this for you @ 18:43 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink

    Busted, LOL: Anti-Gay Baptist Leader Arrested for Soliciting Gay Sex

    An executive committee member of the Southern Baptist Convention was arrested on a lewdness charge for propositioning a plainclothes policeman outside a hotel, police said.

    Lonnie Latham, senior pastor at South Tulsa Baptist Church, was booked into Oklahoma County Jail Tuesday night on a misdemeanor charge of offering to engage in an act of lewdness...

    Charmed, I'm sure. Via metachat.

    jaybird found this for you @ 13:05 in Gay, Lesbian, Queer & Free | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 04 January, 2006 }

    "I am one"

    I had a dream in the early hours of today about a building that had collapsed, apropos of the German ice rink and West Virginia disasters... I did fall asleep with NPR on, afterall. Anyway, I was in the building, which was massive, when I received a vision of an old woman at the base of the building who was still alive. In the vision she was in her bed, breathing hard due to the increasing lack of oxygen, and at peace, thinking that if she were to die, she'd rather die in this bed than any other. She started to fall asleep, when as if to state her last words lound and clear, she loudly proclaimed "I am one!"

    This vision shook me, and I ran to where the rescuers were concentrating their efforts. I told them that a woman was alive on the ground floor, and yet she had very little time. The rescuers scrambled to the area; they were dressed in monkey masks. I suppose they saved her.

    A dream it may be, but what she said and how she said it had profound impact on my waking day: I am one. Not a million disolate parts, not a mind-body-spirit 'trichotomy,' but one. The self is profoundly more profound than it can possibly know, yet the work of the seeker is to know that, to know that they coexist within a thinking, feeling, and aware universe. We are one with the most embarrassing moments of our histories, our most illumined glories, and our most mundane farts. Buried beneath the rubble of the material, we survive, and we see life for what it is... one within One.

    At least, that's how it strikes me in this era of my life so ripe for big dreaming.

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:15 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    Introduction to the Psychology of the Four Elements

    The first step in working with a psychology of the four elements
    involves creating elemental sensations within ourselves through
    force of imagination. The sensation relating to each element has to
    be fully felt. Once we can generate a particular sensation in
    ourselves by will, we can then tie that sensation into the basic
    qualities of the element.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:41 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    Your dangerous ideas: 2006

    Something radically new is in the air: new ways of understanding physical systems, new ways of thinking about thinking that call into question many of our basic assumptions. A realistic biology of the mind, advances in evolutionary biology, physics, information technology, genetics, neurobiology, psychology, engineering, the chemistry of materials: all are questions of critical importance with respect to what it means to be human. For the first time, we have the tools and the will to undertake the scientific study of human nature. [via metafilter]

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:34 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 03 January, 2006 }

    Intro to Hermeticism

    Hermes was taken to be the inventor of writing. Texts that covered religion and philosophy were said to be due to him, as well as those on magic, alchemy and astrology. It is the former that make up Hermeticism, however; the latter have nothing more in common with them than their being credited to Hermes. Nevertheless, it was common practice to ascribe a text to Trismegistus in order to give it more credibility.

    It was thought by Renaissance translators that Hermeticism could be traced back to the Egyptian mystery schools, through the Neoplatonists and Kabbalists, but some of the texts have been shown to be contemporaneous with early Christianity.

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:14 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    2005 stats in review

    Here's the stats for birdonthemoon.com over the years.. we've really grown, and I'm really honored that so many poeple are interested all of this wonderfully crazy nonsense.

    2005: 609,816 visitors
    2004: 173,962
    2003: 31,117
    Total: 814,625

    115/175 countries so far under the belt. I need the following coutries and territories to complete 'my collection...' lemme hear ya holla!

    Ascension Island, Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Antarctica, Aland Islands, Burundi, Bouvet Island, Botswana, Congo, Republic of, Cook Islands, Serbia and Montenegro, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Dominica, Western Sahara, Eritrea, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Micronesia, Federal States of, French Guiana, Guernsey, Guinea, Guadeloupe, Equatorial Guinea, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Guinea-Bissau, Heard and McDonald Islands, Iraq, Jersey, Kiribati, Comoros, Korea, Democratic People's Republic, Liberia, Lesotho, Marshall Islands, Mali, Northern Mariana Islands, Mauritania, Montserrat, Malawi, Niger, Norfolk Island, Nauru, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Palau, Reunion Island, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands, Sierra Leone, San Marino, Turks and Caicos Islands, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan (c'mon Turkmenbashi!), Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna Islands, and Mayotte.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:18 in Blogosphere, Tech & Internet | | permalink

    { Monday, 02 January, 2006 }

    Jay tackles cultish behavior

    I just concluded a heated conversation with a person who is trying, with great skill and sincerity, to initiate me into a group which has origins with EST and Scientology. I was really happy with the way I was able to disassemble the programming and false logic the group uses to induct people, as my skills in confrontation aren't always that great... kinda left the person sputtering. I know, quite humbly, that I don't have any Answers whatsoever other than my own, but I also know that linear thinking, dogmatic belief systems and agressive recruiting equal cause for concern.

    My own truth, and sense of awe and empowerment, is far larger than any particular human-made method of perfecting the self. And that, my friends, is not to say that I've got it all together... but the rays of light through the trees and and the hoot of a screech owl is, to me, far more powerful than any man-made attempt to qualify all wisdom, all potential, all growth in a vastly impossible to understand and express universe. I guess this means that I've chosen the path of a mad mystic.

    So be it, I reckon.

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

    { Sunday, 01 January, 2006 }

    2005's 21 Most Memorable and Powerful Moments

  • 2005 started off wonderfully, with the then-unpublished "rainbow Over Crossroads" having a strong editorial/proofreading workover by my dear friend Jennifer.
  • Barely a week into 2005, my trusted and beloved car Gloria Grace met her end in a violent crash in Delaware. Very sore and stunned, I endured a long train ride back to Asheville.
  • Getting published in a magazine I admired for years.
  • At about the same time, I went snowboarding (which injured the hell out of my back) for the first time with two friends, and I signed up to go back to school, which is going very well (3.9 GPA). My 33 year old brain can still learn, apparently.
  • I broke my preious records and endured 89 hours without food during a winter fast.
  • I made my swan-song appearance onstage in March, hoping for a year to cleanse the theatrical pallette. I apparently broke that long break today, doing a small dance/theatre piece with friends before 500 folks.
  • Also in March '05, I came to a realization that depression had gotten the best of me. I was a wreck, and sought my first dose of therapy in some time thereafter, which really helped throughout the rest of the year.
  • The literary blowout event of my year: my April Fool's Day book signing.
  • I just got teary eyed thinking about the Sunday morning where Joshua and Robin retrieved me from my duties at Jubilee, and sent me on my way to South America with friends Terry, Edel and Malvary. Really, that trip was one of the brightest highlights of 2005, two weeks in Peru... a magical place. Bolivia was scuttled due to insurrection that closed the borders, but that gave us even more time to explore the Titicaca region. The aftertaste of Peru remains with me, and I'm sipping coca tea as I write this. As a wonderful follow-up, one of the Peru pics from my Flickr set was honored by the United Nations Populations Fund by being placed as the lead image on their website. I long to return, one day. I love South America, and remain in gratitude to all those who made it happen.
  • Just after returning from South America, I set off for a long weekend in Folly Beach and Charleston, SC. I camped solo, where one night the rain was so thick I slept in my car, tent be damned. Despite chafing (not so good with the "man" thing sometimes), I walked endlessly in reverie. It was quite a perfect time.
  • The following weekend, however, was seconds away from being my last. Helping to retrieve a friend who was stuck in the currents of the Horsepasture River, I nearly drowned to death. Thus began an odyssey of replenishment in what it means to be alive, and how thin the line between life and death truly is. I'm long since over the short-term PTSD, and am in the water every chance I get. I won't ever forget the tears of thankfulness I had the following day, where I was just barely oriented to the world of the living, having be the closest I ever came to the world of the not-living.
  • After a whrilwind day of driving 500 miles for work, I rushed into Asheville to emcee my third Hunger Banquet.
  • Up late in August, surfing some random tide of internet, I felt an earthquake!
  • Katrina really brought up a lot of emotion in me. I organized a candlelight vigil downtown to honor those gone, missing, and suffering, and to demand accountability by those responsible.
  • Had a gay old time at the Mountain State Fair!
  • A real WOW moment, going up to a particular spot on the Blue Ridge Parkway to watch the Monarch Butterfly migration.
  • One of the most significant lifestyle changes pretty much ever: I joined a gym.
  • The return to Turtleback Falls on the Horsepasture River, to reconile and mend the wounds from July 9th.
  • The bizarre night in November spent undergoing diagnostic testing for sleep apnea was a hoot.
  • November and December found me vacilating wildly about my job. Lo and behold, the Universe decided for me, and I type now amicably unemployed from by previous vocation, with hopes pinned one place and a yes offer waiting elsewhere.
  • Finally, the year wrapped up with the trip to my ancestral homeland, Delaware, of all moribund places. There was the usual familial drama, a great visit with the world's greatest grandmother, and performing my cousin's wedding. It essentially capped a very full if occasionally difficult year.

    With all the glad tidings of 2005, I'm glad that this symbolic chapter is closed, and I'm already liking 2006. It began in ritual, performance and poetry, there was a surprise tuition refund check in the PO box I never check, and I will have great friends over tonight for the official 'ring it in' event with black-eyed peas, turnip greens, and really fabulous white wine.

    Paul Ford at Harper's has an excellent review of aught-five for the more globally impacting goodies. Meanwhile, I'm getting my proverbial sh*t together in many ways, and clink a glass of ginger ale your way in the hopes that we all have a happy and prosperous 2006.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:17 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

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



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    Letter Excerpt:


    Ten Considerations for Being Well n this Goofy Universe


    0. If you find yourself wonderstruck, donít forget to return the favor.

    1. Always be of service to the whole and the Holy. Youíll 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 youíll find that when itís your turn to be in the night that thereíll 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. Youíll 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. Youíll find that some of your choices couldíve been better, or at times were downright stupid. Thatís okay... I have a closet full of reckless decisions, but without making them I wouldnít 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. Donít count on second chances.

    7. In those times when everything collapses around you, and whatís left wonít go right, donít 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 youíre 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 thereís 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 youíre doing, celebrate the process of doing as much, if not more, than what youíve got when youíre done. Magic lives in the action.

    9 Ĺ . All matter is energy. All energy is infinite. We are but raindrops falling to the ocean, a short time in this shape until weíre 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. Itís one of the few risks Iíd 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 donít make sense, just take a deep breath and laugh as best you can, because thatís what you get for choosing this goofy, unpredictable place called Earth to embody yourself upon.