Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Soundrack To My Life

Add this somewhere in the soundtrack to my life. You know. Those last minutes of existence, before the cycle ends.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Yes. The ominous year. 1984. Big Brother. The book by Orwell. I read it for a High School assignment and found it depressing. Of course, not as depressing as the actual dictatorships in real time. Nevertheless, the book didn't have an impact on me as much as other books I read during my high school years. No. The year 1984 was memorable for other reasonr. No. Not the trashing of Mondale by Ronald Reagan in the presidential elections. Though, I can't still see how I survived that era, the year were made memorable and tolerable by two cult films:

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

Repo Man

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hacking Democracy

This is part 1 of a 9-part video on how "Democracy" works in America. If this does not make you go out and fight for Participatory and Representative Democracy.........

.........then check your numbness in your heart.

In Mexico, where I was born and raised, in the 70's & 80's, it was naked electoral fraud. We, Mexicans, even created a vocabulary for the different ways of committing fraud and the fraud makers. "Mapaches" (Racoons) for the ballot box stealers. "Tacos" for the way you bundled ballots like a taco and then stuffed the ballot box. "Raton Loco" for the voters who went searching for the "nobody-knows-where-the-voting-precint-is-located". On and on. They are still stealing elections in Mexico. But. We have learned from one of our neighbors how to do it better.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Selling "Buddhism" - The Schtuff

Buddhism, like all human activity, has objects. Ritual or almost-ritual objects. I, being a human still attached to objects, do peruse stores and web pages for Buddhist, socialist, UU, etc. schtuff. In this case, yesterday, I was looking for Buddhist "schtuff."

I am amazed at the expensive stuff out there for what seems, to my eye, inexpensive. I am not sure if the Buddha had a certain profit margin that he felt was Dharmish.

I guess some folks gotta make a buck, but sometimes checking some of the "schtuff" sellers' web pages, it makes wonder who buys the stuff. Take for example this:

This is sold as a handcrafted incense cup sold for $22.00. The web page doesn't say why this is a "special" cup. Is this sold directly by the pottery makers? Are these pottery makers earning a living wage? Was this cup brought over from the deep mountains from an ancient Chan monastery? Was this blessed by a 300-year old Zen master? Who knows. Just pay $22....(does not include shipping and handling.)

Yesterday, I went to one of those discount salvage stores. Folks that buy crates of unsold goods & re-sell 'em. I usually go there once a week and see if I can find some chacharas to buy on the cheap. Yesterday, I found what looks to me like a small blue soup dish. Really pretty. Good enough to be an incense cup. Price? $1.00.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Charlie Rose meets Samuel Becket

I have no problem stating that I am part of the Grand Lodge of the Ignaro. Have only seen parts of Becket's Waiting for Godot. Aside from that, nil. Nevertheless, I never let my membership in that great club get in the way of understanding some of the "heavier" humor.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Burke Lecture: Buddhism in a Global Age of Technology

This is a good broad introduction into the growth Buddhism as world religion. This video comes courtesy of the University of California TV.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Quote of the Day

Anytime one talks to me about religion in the manner that it is detached from our existence, from our reality. Anytime anyone mentions religion as a mere rite or as a tool to maintain an oppressive socio economic system. I remember this quote.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Spoiler alert!!!

One of those rare occasions where I have read the book and seen the movie. In this case, I saw the 1972 Russian movie version of Stanislav Lem's novel "Solaris" first and then read the novel almost 10 years later. The movie version by Andrei Tarkovsky is meditative science fiction in the only way Russian's can make novels and movies. Almost over two hours long (the VHS version was two cassettes when I watched it!), it's an almost faithful version of Lem's novel. Almost since Lem's novel is mostly Polish magical realism full of ideas and plot that would be a challenge to anyone to turn it into a movie. Steve Soderbergh did his version in 2002, but it's just different. It's not a bad movie. But. Soderbergh's version just doesn't get to me as Tarkovsky's. Google this movie and you may get a different take. Nevertheless, the last scene in Tarkovsky's version almost makes me cry (yes, I admit it). Without the proper context, the video below makes no sense. And if you don't want ruin two hours of 1970's Russian science fiction film viewing, then stop reading here. Do yourself a favor. Find this movie and rent it.

24 Hour Party People

Yes. It a movie by Steve Coogan. A silly little movie as my dad my call it. But. It captures a moment in modern rock culture. A moment that I was not part of and did appreciate until I turned into my 20's. Living in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, during the late 70's, this scene was not part of the pop culture in that town. Nevertheless, once I found it, I started my music collection. A dear friend of mine, Raul Cano, got me hip to this movie. It's hard to find and rent in my area, but it's worth the try.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Step Outside....And Be.

Today, my jardinero came for his monthly visit to cut my arid grassland. Not sure what he finds to cut since I haven't planted any non-native grass and most of the vegetation is "desert loving" kind. But. He comes. And does his tasks. He doesn't miss his schedule. With the price of gas going up, with work hard to come by, and with an a new addition to his family, he has to double his work.
Rigo. That's his name. Does his work with all his energy, thoroughness, and with the hand of a master craftsman. So, today was no exception. He came. I lend him my machine. Talked about his family and the economy. He did his work. Asked for a knife to cut some nopales and a cup of water. Once done, he said goodbye and another cycle passes by.
He piqued my curiosity with his cutting of the nopal. Outside, behind my house, I have a full blown grown nopal. I have not noticed my dwelling from the outside as much as I should. Had the nopalli grown that much? Today. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to step outside this cocoon that atomizes. Experience this world this moment outside.
I stepped outside and made a plan just to walk. Walk around the home. Walk in the grassland. Walk in the dirt. Check the neighborhood. But. More importantly, contemplate my nopal. It did not disappoint. It welcomed me with its many flowery fingers and green presence in a brown ground. I was awakened again to what I miss when I do not stop and get out of my routine. If all I could do was stand in its presence and take a picture of the moment, then I would be satisfied. And I was.

Monday, June 2, 2008

BBC Documentary on Sartre

This is one of a three part series from the BBC on key existentialist philosophers.

More thoughts on this. But. For now. Sartre.