Saturday, August 13, 2011

Vacations; Stepping Out of our Safety Zone

The motel room is dark leaving me alone with my thoughts. Not always a pleasant sensation. Leaving a home leaves me vulnerable to existential questions, particularly in darkened rooms on distant highways... And for a New Yorker who has lived most of his adult life overseas, this small town rest stop in Tennessee is the perfect place to taste this. That mental stuff I usually suppress.

Thankfully I am a man with friends and family, and a loose yet real bonding to my birthright Nation. This acute condition are the inevitable questions, for a man in his 60's. You too have them from time to time, when  you are feeling wobbly at the knees, and the possibility of death colors itself... inevitable. Thankfully there is cable TV, and WIFI access, to hide inside most of the time, but occasionally the darker truths creep in.

That is why the Gideon people are so diligent in providing their favorite book. Leaving us doubters even fewer places to hide. Time is precious and bountiful, until it disappears in a puff. Life is clumsy and cumbersome until it hangs on a wire at the edge. Friends and family are in our hair until they are gone forever, sponged up by some mystifying quirk of nature, leaving us with only our thoughts.

... The sun is rising now behind the curtains. Truckers are starting their engines. Soon there will be a country diner breakfast, and a world of distractions. And... when I catch a glimpse of another hummingbird perched on some brilliant flower... I will be thankful.

Those 'deeper' thoughts will be waiting for me, just there... in another motel room, in some other corner of the universe. Existential darkness and radiant hummingbirds, who could ask for more. You take them all when you have the chance. Knowing nothing for sure is for sure.

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Orleans jewel of the South

There is plenty of beautiful aloneness when cruising the South... miles and miles of forested back roads with kind strangers sauntering about in pursuit of humble dreams. But the town of towns, where the world ends and art begins, is New Orleans. This is a crude awakening, a bold print of exquisite contradictions. A city between the extremes of East and West, decidedly a Southern Mecca for all those who question the legitimacy of normalcy. Home of the brave, the chaotic, the inspired, and all that is criminal in the human soul of duplicity. Sin and sinister sprinkled on a tourist town of undulating color. A place everyone should visit at least twice.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Late night in a cheap motel

There is a raw potential in the massive scale of forested hills lining the interstate... Cruising Pennsylvania... As dad relates tales of our kin, sprinkled in memory and the local geography, a mental patchwork of vivid colors woven, tangled, laced in my head. We are as American, as the Hindi motel owners who shelter us everywhere... as the poly-diverse Chinese immigrants preparing our take out, as the rough hewn multi-generational US Italian, Irish, new breeds, tattooed and pierced like modern island warriors, in their massive rusty big wheeled battleships.

Colored thoughts of eccentric great uncles mingled with the social political gymnastics, of dealing with the precious still alive... feelings of family housed in a nation of diversity. America the beautiful, America the ugly duckling waiting in intensive to be revised... America where 'Wow' is the only suitable exclamative.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Adjusting to my homeland

I have lived much of my adult life in Japan, a quarter of a century, much of that in and near Kyoto. This leaves me in a surreal state of mind as I move about in the land of my birth, U.S. of A.

To witness the startling diversity of physical stature, so many people larger, in so many ways, than what we are accustomed to in Asia... to adjust to the scale of space, so much square footage unused, between buildings, along roads, even within interior spaces... a mystifying gluttony of under utilized inches. In Japan all is consciously allocated to use, in the US so much is outside of anyone's concern, a no man's land of neglect and potential.

I am here with my son to discover, to gently uncover, our heritage. To make sense of an identity. To be an American on a road trip in 2011. Three generations, my dad at 89, myself at 60, and my son 19...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

David Crowder*Band Rockumentary 4: Twitter Will Kill You

Mark warns David that Twitter will only lead to certain death. David and Jack lose their lives to the Twitter craze.

David Crowder*Band Rockumentary Episode 4: "Twitter Will Kill You." Created by Jordan Bellamy, Key Grip and 2nd DP- Kelly McTavish, Frisbee Provider- Seth Hale,

Friday, April 8, 2011

Richard Dawkins first published in 1976 The Selfish Gene, perhaps his most infamous of titles. You can now enjoy him reading this book, with Lalla Ward, in an Audible edition with all the most recent endnotes and added chapters (second edition 1989) included.

Publisher's Summary

Richard Dawkins' brilliant reformulation of the theory of natural selection has the rare distinction of having provoked as much excitement and interest outside the scientific community as within it. His theories have helped change the whole nature of the study of social biology, and have forced thousands to rethink their beliefs about life.
In his internationally best-selling, now classic, volume, The Selfish Gene, Dawkins explains how the selfish gene can also be a subtle gene. The world of the selfish gene revolves around savage competition, ruthless exploitation, and deceit, and yet, Dawkins argues, acts of apparent altruism do exist in nature. Bees, for example, will commit suicide when they sting to protect the hive, and birds will risk their lives to warn the flock of an approaching hawk.

You may know this author by his controversial title The God Delusion. A must read for any one who wants to hold their own among the religious herds pounding at the gate.

"...For a scientist who criticizes religion for its intolerance, Dawkins has written a surprisingly intolerant book, full of scorn for religion and those who believe. But Dawkins, who gave us the selfish gene, anticipates this criticism. He says it's the scientist and humanist in him that makes him hostile to religions—fundamentalist Christianity and Islam come in for the most opprobrium—that close people's minds to scientific truth, oppress women and abuse children psychologically with the notion of eternal damnation...."
 From Publishers Weekly


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

News Junkie, virtue or addiction?

I was on holiday in Cebu, initially, intentionally avoiding my daily diet of cyber-socializing. Yet the very first solace I found was the hypnotic hum of cable-news in air-conditioned rooms. And then the final clincher, a devastating earthquake in my home nation, Japan. It was then I wish I had my own computer, and hung-tense on the remote, clicking between BBC, Singapore News, and CNN.  There was absolutely little I could do, yet still, I stared blankly fixed on the TV monitor, poolside in paradise.

Since, I have returned to my 27" iMac, Facebook, and the labyrinth of connectivity in my home. I can only question both the soothing rub of inter-connectedness, with friends and family, and the obvious futility of simply knowing what has happen, but, in fact, doing so very little.

There has been a blanket of benefits, all of us donating in a myriad of ways, yet in the end we all dangle on our own bootstraps. So, like my neighbors, I prepare for work, check on friends and family, and fall back into the routine. In our own immediate world, we are still alive, still connected, still well enough to login one more time.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

John Galliano formerly of Dior

John Galliano is a British designer who has recently undermined his career, when a cellular phone recorded his racist remarks at a Paris bar. His comments, though extremely distasteful from a man who specializes in extreme tastefulness, among drunks is rather common banter, and why I do not like hanging out with heavy drinkers. He will now suffer the slings and arrows for both his political incorrectness and his inability to deal constructively with his angry inner child.

The curious variable here for me is the discovery of his website... a truly brilliant piece of online theater. Apparently brilliance does not necessarily make one consistently clever. One more celebrity has fed the hungry ghost of public pulp and will again verify the adage any publicity is good publicity. Now discover his website and confirm the adage.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Four Horsemen

The Four Horsemen Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens

Perhaps the foremost authors in the world of new atheism, this free two part two hour discussion is a fully gratifying experience. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys brilliant minds in honest dialogue. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Collision of Lives; Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson debate

It is always refreshing to listen to the witty genius of Christopher Hitchens and, in the case of this film, enjoy an articulate bright-minded Christian. Douglas Wilson is the perfect good brother to the evil twin Christopher. Like Steve Jobs, another brilliant mind cast in the role of villain, I dread Hitchens and Jobs passing. In their fight against terminal ailments, I'd love for them to come out winners... this one last time. The Atheistic intellectual dance, often cheerfully researched on my beloved Apple devices, remains a positive stimulant, close at hand, day long and night longer.
 I need great minds to sooth my own rocky inner voices.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lisa Gansky

 Lisa Gansky has a mind a man could love. Her recent performance on sent me searching for her in Googleland where I found her interviews on TechCrunch with Andrew Keen. Her new book Mesh has her media-izing all over the internets. If you do not know her Mesh, Mesh-it-up and see what happens. Her credentials are impeccable, her talk as sharp of a whip you will ever be hit by. Sit up and listen, stand up and cheer, or simply buy her book.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Learning to be me

Being blessed with time, where I can tweak my life, my home, my relationships, but most of all spend time letting myself be... a bit terrifying... afraid I am not maxed out to fully utilizing this opportunity... yet too getting down with quiet moments stretching out into a day, doing all those many little things around the house, making ToDo lists and actually completing all those little tasks, even coming back when the task is stymied to finally triumph over cumbersome details... Still many back brain targets festering, yet I feel these too will be faced and delegated a time and a focused assault may arise. I understand this space can be blown away when hard fact life clicks in and takes precedence, yet, for now, I am happy.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Under a blanket of powdered snow

Extraordinary quiet... White to gray as sunset downs, beyond our Western higher ground, here on snowed-in Hieidaira. Nested, I have begun the game of low-card diet... a way to highlight rituals and invigorate sacrifice. Relationship shift as Valentine's Day articulates ambiguities and unresolved tendencies. I am free between semesters. I order the training package from the Giggling Guru, Madan Kataria, on line from India. I want to laugh and make my classes even more fun in the coming academic year... thinner, more cheerful, and free. Like a single long stem rose cut for romance, destined to die in a voluptuous display of beauty eternal. The glowing retina burn of welding torch passion.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Happiness on Eating Hope

I am not quite certain why, but I feel I am about to enter into a contract with the devil yet feel as high as an angel. I will resume dieting, hardcore dieting, and will lose some serious weight in a most ex·cru·ci·at·ing way...