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

 

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

{ Sunday, 23 July, 2006 }

Why I love this town

jaybird found this for you @ 12:30 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



{ Friday, 30 June, 2006 }

North Carolina's mountaintop homes stir debate (as well they should)

"It's almost heaven," says Ms. Erickson, a retiree who spends half the year in these mountains, the other half in Naples, Fla. She has been drawn to the Smoky Mountains since she visited in her childhood.

The price range for these mountaintop homes? $225,000 to $1.5 million.

But these scenic views come with other costs: Ridge-top building may cause downstream water pollution and wreck trout streams by causing too much silt to pour off denuded slopes. Others worry that as rooftops, decks, and greens poke out from the ridges, this pursuit of the perfect view may ruin the view for others - and compromise the region's most precious asset: its beauty.

"These mountain communities face a dilemma where they've got an eroding economic system and the only choice is to take in things that are going to damage the environment and change the culture," says Charlie Derber, a sociologist at Boston College.

The western North Carolina mountains have attracted wealthy outsiders since the late 1800s. More recently, many of them have come from Florida, says history professor Chuck Watkins at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.

Today, the mountains are seeing a "perfect confluence" for mountaintop development, as hurricane insurance costs have tripled in Florida over the last year due to the hurricanes and Americans are looking for more security post-9/11, says James Chung of Reach Advisors, a consumer research firm in Boston.

As the overall real estate market slowly cools, high-end resort development is booming, experts say. For example, in 2000, just over 500,000 vacation homes were sold. That figure tipped 1 million homes for the first time last year, according to Reach Advisors.

The trend of mounting homes onto ridge tops also results from lax zoning laws, a culture that values property rights, and the skill of savvy resort developers who can easily influence local communities hungry for tax revenue and job opportunities, experts say.

jaybird found this for you @ 14:15 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



{ Monday, 15 May, 2006 }

Mygothlaundry: The Last Cows in Asheville

These cows live out on Hendersonville Road, wedged in between Applebys and Panera Breads, Walgreens, the Racquet Club and Deerfield Retirement Community. I heard today that they will soon be moving on and out of Asheville; their little farm has been sold; the land will be developed. Perhaps there will be another big drugstore, or another supermarket, or a chain restaurant, or a strip mall, like the one on Airport Road, where you have to drive from huge store to huge store; it's worth your life to walk across the acres and acres of parking lot concrete - there are no sidewalks; people don't walk here...

jaybird found this for you @ 20:12 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



{ Tuesday, 02 May, 2006 }

Si se puede: Thousands turn out in Asheville for immigration rally

...The crowd of 3,000 to 3,500 people by organizers’ count cranked those whispers into chants.

For 50 minutes, the group moved through the streets singing “We are one America” and “Si se puede,” which means “Yes, you can” or “Yes, it can be done.”

When the group crowded into Pack Square, speakers echoed national calls for comprehensive immigration reform.

Monday was set aside as The Day Without Immigrants, when illegal immigrants and their allies called boycotts of work, school and shopping to show how much immigrants mean to the U.S. economy. Hundreds of thousands of people took part in marches and demonstrations across the country, as Congress looks to overhaul immigration laws.

“It’s not just a Latino issue. It’s an American issue,” organizer Edna Campos said. “We know that immigration laws we have now don’t work. We know people want to be here legally.”

jaybird found this for you @ 07:59 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



{ Tuesday, 28 March, 2006 }

Jubilee: Doing what is right and holy in the world

My wide-open, big-love multi-faith spiritual community is stepping up to the plate against institutionalized discrimination. I was asked to make a statement on my opinion of Howard's move, and a gave it all the gusto he deserves, for he is just a man who feels deeply and profoundly about being spiritually congruent with your source, whatever that may be. It is a rare and noble virtue, and I applaud him.

I'm proud to call Howard a friend, and proud of my community.


In a statement he released Monday morning, Hanger said:

“As a United Methodist Minister, I am prohibited from ceremonially blessing the love of any gay couple. So, with a sad heart and after a long talk with my bishop, Deb Kiesey, I have decided that I can no longer operate as a minister under the banner of an institution which so blatantly discriminates against the love of 10-20 percent of the world's population. I will resign my ordination papers and continue to serve as Minister of Ritual for the JUBILEE! Community. This decision will not affect my legal ability to officiate at marriages, baptisms or any other ecclesiastical functions.

“This is an extremely difficult decision. Both my father and grandfather were Methodist ministers, one of whom left the church over his opposition to war and the other who got into trouble with the church over his pro-civil rights stance.

“The choice was clear, however: obey my conscience and my call to follow Jesus (a man who said nothing about homosexuality and everything about love) or obey a policy that clearly and uncompromisingly judges and discriminates against the committed love of God's children. It's a no-brainer; but a heavy-hearter. As a minister, my mission is to bless and encourage love wherever I find it and to bring love where it is not. I must continue to do this.

“My hope and prayer is that United Methodists and all other denominations may soon realize that love is love; and what our world needs now is love, not discrimination.

jaybird found this for you @ 08:35 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



{ Friday, 24 March, 2006 }

Charles Tayfor for Congress: He Sucks!

A daring group of local concerned citizens launched a new, imformative and pretty damn funny site aimed at Taylor's highly unethical behavior, sap-lust for deforestation, and rather unfortunate relationships with unsavory characters.

All with a delicious satiric bite. Do check it out.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:41 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



{ Wednesday, 15 March, 2006 }

Save Richmond Hill Woods City Park!

This park has something that no other park in Asheville has. Because this park is relatively large it can, and likely does support higher biodiversity. Clearing out the center of this park for ball fields and an Armory will not only reduce its physical size, but the climate inside the park will also change. This is called edge effect, and has negative effects of habitat, biodiversity and aesthetic value. This will negatively impact amphibian, bird, and plant species found within the park, as well as the uniqueness of the park...

Richmond Hill Park is Asheville’s largest wooded green space. At 183 acres, this forest is a unique, valuable, and irreplaceable element of Asheville’s city park system. No other park in Asheville provides city residents with the same outdoor recreation, nature and wildlife experiences as Richmond Hill Park. If this park is “developed” according to the proposed plan, the city of Asheville and its residents will lose forever much of the uniqueness and value of the site, qualities that make it an outdoor sanctuary for the people to enjoy. This goes counter to the heart and soul of the residents of the city, and the image that makes Asheville so attractive to residents and visitors alike

-The park is perfectly suited for low-impact outdoor recreation and nature appreciation. There is no better publicly owned place in the city to walk on wooded trails, mountain bike, walk your dogs, go bird watching, or take nature walks and appreciate wildlife. This is an experience that is unique to Richmond Hill Park among Asheville’s parks, and it should be preserved for these purposes. If the “development” occurs as planned, the outdoor experience will be greatly diminished, and the remaining forest will be ecologically poorer than it currently is. The increased "Edge Effect" will increase exotic invasive species establishment within the park, decreasing biodiversity, and wildlife habitat quality. This is why the edge of a forest looks and is different than the “deep Woods”.

-The site is a poor choice for both ball fields and an armory. The terrain at the site is very hilly and wooded, which will require large amounts of forest to be clear-cut, and then extensive heavy grading and leveling. 20% or 30-35 contiguous acres of the park are slated to be cleared and developed. In the process, many plants and animals will be killed, and erosion and sedimentation will severely degrade the quality of the streams found on the property. To treat the land at the site in this manner is to waste its’ intrinsic value, and to create irreparable damage to the park and landscape. We should instead restore an already degraded and cleared/leveled landscape for the creation of ball-fields/armory, and/or use the ones that have already been built more efficiently.

I agree that it is important to have ball fields, but this is not the place for them!

-There are a number of rare and area-sensitive species that live in the park. By reducing the park by 20% of its size, many of these species will be lost. A thorough count and catalogue of the species currently living in the park should be taken before any “development” takes place, as it is possible some threatened and endangered species may live there. Any environmental assessment should examine both the Armory and Ball field Complex jointly. Anything less is not a true assessment of the impact on the park!

-The project will create high traffic volume in the currently quiet and safe neighborhood. This poses obvious threats to pedestrians and pets, but will also lead to more localized congestion, increased air, noise and light pollution.

After you have voiced your concerns, thank them for their time and for hearing you. Let them know this is an extremely important issue to you, and that you will be monitoring it closely.

You can further express your opposition to the “development” at Richmond Hill by signing a petition asking city officials to stop this project. Sign the Petition at:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/3063317798

jaybird found this for you @ 20:08 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



{ Monday, 13 March, 2006 }

Citizen-Times: We're Sorry About That (Not Accepted)

So, Asheville's Billy Graham lovin', GOP cheerin' "news"paper has decided to say it is so very sorry for allowing the use of the word 'sodomite' in the 2 page hate ad. Hey, no problem! Next time the KKK coughs up $6300 for such an ad blitz, don't forget to apologize for the use of the word n*gg*r, and retract later. Really, people, c'mon:

A two-page advertisement condemning homosexuality and announcing a rally supporting the right of Christian and conservative businesses to refuse to employ gays and lesbians ran Thursday in the Asheville Citizen-Times. Many members of the community called to denounce the newspaper for publishing the advertisement.

We strongly support the right of all citizens to publicly present their opinions, whether or not we agree with them, and it was that paramount value that caused us to accept the advertisement for publication.

In doing so, we failed, however, to live up to another value that is equally central to our ability to function with integrity. For that, we would like to express our remorse and offer an apology.

In allowing the use of the word “sodomites,” we allowed an entire group of people to be referred to with disrespect and contempt.

We would have permitted the use of other words expressing bigotry only in the rarest circumstances, such as when essential to understanding an important news story. We would not have allowed them in an advertisement of this type, nor should we have allowed this word to be published in this context.

For having done so, we are truly sorry.

That's really all you're sorry for? What about the tacit approval given to a hate rally downtown, with hundreds bused in from Tennesee? Now, I'm all for free speech in the public square, bit I'm also for equal time. How about some good, objective press coverage of the next gay rights rally, rather than a two paragraph blurb with a blurry photo of counter-protesters... How about using a percentage of the ad revenue for employee diversity training?

Not so much A C-T. You made a bad move and many I know are cancelling their subscriptions. Between you and WLOS, Asheville is in a very sorry state of affairs journalistically.

But really, we know how to quit you.

jaybird found this for you @ 08:06 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



{ Monday, 27 February, 2006 }

WNC: State plans to divert mental health funds from local programs

The very premise of North Carolina’s mental health reform — that money saved by closing state hospital beds would follow patients into the community — is being overturned, mental health care providers and advocates say.

The state’s budget director, David McCoy, has advised that the money instead be diverted to pay debt service — $4 million this year and $8.9 million next year — on the new state hospital under construction in Butner. The city is about four hours east of Asheville, not far from Durham.

In a letter to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Carmen Hooker Odum, McCoy said the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services is not authorized to transfer money from “downsizing funds” to the local management entities. The LMEs, as they are known, are responsible for building and managing a network of local mental health services providers.

The state plans to close Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh and John Umstead Hospital in Butner, which have 631 beds between them, and consolidate services into one new hospital that will have 432 beds.

This action comes on the heels of a proposal to cut $28 million in administration funds to the LMEs in the coming budget year.

About one in four Americans has a diagnosable mental illness. About one in 17 — or 6 percent of the population — has a severe mental illness, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health. People with a serious mental illness are less likely than the general population to have health insurance because of their difficulty staying employed, so they rely more heavily on public support for treatment.

“We can’t build a network of services if we don’t have the money to do it,” said Anne Doucette, director of provider and community network development at Western Highlands Network. “It just can’t be done without money. People are going to wind up in crisis, in jails and emergency rooms, and that’s a lot more expensive.”

[via blog asheville]

jaybird found this for you @ 16:45 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



Yay for Jubilee!

Yes, that's me. And about 300 other very happy people on a day of celebration.

jaybird found this for you @ 14:29 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



{ Tuesday, 21 February, 2006 }

Chainsaw Charlie likes it: Bush plan could sell WNC tracts

The Bush administration has proposed selling 300,000 acres of public land nationwide, including some 6,615 acres in the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests in Western North Carolina. Some land in the Uwharrie and Croatan national forests in North Carolina would also be put up for sale. The money generated would be distributed to counties for schools.

That's the milquetoasty version. Scrutiny Hooligans spells it out fo' real:

Representative Taylor could, of course, go ahead and tell us how his values figure into the equation, whether selling public lands to private interests as a short-term education funding measure is something that's good for western North Carolina. But he has so far refrained from stating any sort of relevant opinion on the matter... The AC-T article makes it clear that underfunded rural schools, now seeing declining timber sales that were used to prop up a lack of federal and state support, depend on the money now supplied through timber funds. However, the article does not address the larger problem of school funding that is driving this wrongheaded proposal.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:42 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



{ Thursday, 06 October, 2005 }

Removing the Facade...

This is a moblog* post:

1128675225Picture3.jpg

...to reveal the nature of the game.


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

jaybird found this for you @ 12:37 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



{ Tuesday, 27 September, 2005 }

This is a moblog* post:

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This is the chaos pit that is my office in case you were wondering.


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

jaybird found this for you @ 13:03 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



{ Sunday, 11 September, 2005 }

Only in Asheville

This is a moblog* post:

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

What a town. I go to the local healthy grocery store, and there's Tibetan monks at the salad bar and a sand mandala next to the condiments island.

I'm a bit under the weather today, so the surreality of it all was much welcomed and interrupted my sleepy daze.

jaybird found this for you @ 13:50 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



{ Wednesday, 31 August, 2005 }

Things are getting strange

This is a moblog* post:

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$3.06 gas, tensions high


UPDATE: Asheville is in a state of panic. Because of the gas main rupture, gas prices surged 40 cents overnight, and many stations are closing, posting limits, and denying anyone with gas cans. Schools are contemplating closing as gasoline may be limited to emergency vehicles only. Wild. Some folks are going apeshit in grocery stores.

UPDATE: The always laconic Citizen-Times has a terribly dry news story on the shortage.
BlogAsheville has a far more lively and more entertaining read (because it is in fact citizen journalism and not ducky corporate yawnage). This series of events and the disarming (and de-legging) cost of gas has forced me to cancel a trip home to Delaware to check up on family, all of whom have have gone through a lot this year. That, considering the massive life-shattering events going on for millions of Americans right now, is not much of a sacrifice.

I was hoping to go down to Mississippi or Louisiana this weekend to help, but there is a 3 week committment, so I'm going to try to volunteer at the Red Cross office. I'm also making a challenge to my office to raise $500 for the Red Cross for Katrina relief. It's something.

When I was filling up after a half-hour journey for gas, a school bus pulled up to the diesel pump, and a teacher's aide was quizzing the lil' ones about why they were stopping for gas. I heard many kids yell out "THE WAR!" and a few yelling out "HURRICANE!" I would've been one of the nerds beaten up for shouting out "panic buying based on a short-term interruption of oil and another artificial price spike for light sweet crude by the oligarchies which control fuel markets!"

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

jaybird found this for you @ 14:29 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



{ Saturday, 27 August, 2005 }

Announcing Ashevillegames.com

Effective immediately, Asheville NC is under a game advisory.

Beginning in October, an unprecedented city-wide game will begin. For two weeks, contestants will have only one objective; to find and 'eliminate' an opposing random contestant by way of water gun. That's right... we are starting a game of 'assassin' via the moistening power of water pistols. This will be Asheville Game #1: Operation Moist Target.

OMT will have strict player rules to assure that targets are eliminated fairly. OMT will provide contestants with a dossier of their target, and there will be a 24/7 reporting system of wetness, arbitrated by judges. OMT will end in a final death round, where remaining contestants will be given dossiers on very elusive targets. Local celebrities may be involved. Local businesses will be compliant, and some will sponsor prizes and a gala after-party.

Signups will begin in early October at Max and Rosie's and Temptations. The $10 registration fee will benefit Manna Food Bank, and will help fund the prize of the final winner. The aim of the operation is fun, for a good cause. Visit Ashevillegames.com for emerging details, rules, and the schedule of play, which will be posted within the next few days.

A new game with a new aim will be announced in the spring.... Ashevillegames.com will organize a minimum of two games per year benefiting local charities. Operation Moist Target is the first of these, so go ahead... follow Ashevillegames.com for details and for signup information.

We double dog dare you to stay dry.

jaybird found this for you @ 23:45 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



{ Friday, 26 August, 2005 }

Bob Moog's Car

This is a moblog* post:

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The late genius' car, sitting all alone on an Asheville street. He will be missed.
*Moblogging is posting from a cellphone or other wireless device- if a picture, it's taken from the phone.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:03 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



{ Thursday, 25 August, 2005 }

Our quaint lil' mountain tremblor

A magnitude 3.8 earthquake shook parts of Western North Carolina Wednesday night, rattling homes and residents across the mountains.

The minor quake hit at 11:09 p.m. about 2 miles southeast of Hot Springs in Madison County, 25 miles north of Asheville, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center.

“It was widely felt across Western North Carolina and northeast Georgia...”

It was quite the event in apartment D, home of jaybird. From a light sleep, I darted right up off the couch as I felt "the Earth move under my feet," minus the "sky come tumblin' down." There was a slight rumbling sound, and I could also head the downstairs neighbors running around in frenzy. The vibration rate was very high, and I'm very embarrassed to say but my first comic thought was that our rolling mountains had employed the use of a gargantuan 'personal massager' to kindle their late summer passions. Ursula the cat stood in place also, both of us looking toward the door, but neither moving. The equivalent human expression on her mug would've been 'huh?'.

Again, another glorious reminder that we are indeed planet-bound, and are subject to the whims and whimsies of our host, as she hurls through space and is governed in her spinning by eddies of molten rock and the silent shifting of continents, much as a dancer's veils will billow...

jaybird found this for you @ 08:10 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



{ Sunday, 31 July, 2005 }

This is a moblog* post:

I'm not supposed to leave here without a kiss damnit


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

jaybird found this for you @ 00:53 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



{ Saturday, 25 September, 2004 }

Bomb Disabled Near N.C. Elections

Bomb Disabled Near N.C. Elections Office, and not just any office in NC, but the one where I go to register and early-vote!

Terrorists, why do you hate Asheville so much?

jaybird found this for you @ 17:44 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink




 
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Keep it even,
embrace the odd.

"Not all who wander

 are lost"

 

You contain everything

Everything contains you

 

If you desire the Infinite,

look no further than the window.

 


 

Letter Excerpt:

 

Ten Considerations for Being Well n this Goofy Universe

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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