Aging

Some scientists believe that certain reptile and fish species don't age the way we do. As long as there is food and room to move about they will continue to grow, often to monstrous sizes. Unlike us, they do not have aging built into their genetic code - it is simply their own bulk and the lack of resources to support it that kill them off.

Hopefully, the recent mapping of the human genome will make it possible for humans to adopt this aging pattern. I'm looking forward to the day when as I age, I just get bigger and stronger. Assuming that you continue to grow at the same rate as in youth, I imagine that people in their 70s would be around 15-20 feet tall, and tip the scales at about 700-1000 pounds.

This greater size and strength would help the elderly finally get the respect that they deserve; kids would think twice about smart-mouthing Grandma if she were twice the size of Shaq.

Some professional athletes would have much longer careers - a football player wouldn't even be big enough for the NFL until he was at least 50. NBA teams would consist of mostly septegenarians, and track records would be blown sky high by long jumpers and hurdlers with 7-8 foot legs.

Feeding the elderly would be a problem, but that could easily be corrected by another small genetic modification. Most reptiles eat large meals that then take days, weeks, or even months to digest. The elderly could save up money between meals, and then eat heartily, say, 3 to 4 times a year.


Great Uncle Earl, living it up down in Boca

Naturally, a few weeks after each feeding they would need to shed their skins to accommodate the new growth. I propose that the new sturdier furniture the elderly will need should be made of a textured concrete, thus giving them safe and comfortable seating, coupled with a shedding aid. More expensive models could even have heating coils built right in, to help deal with that pesky cold bloodedness.

Most of the giant reptiles (the reticulated python, green anaconda, spectacled mother-in-law, saltwater crocodile, etc.) eventually find it takes too much energy to move their bulk about on land and retreat to water. Retirement homes would take this need into account, and soon going to visit your aging relatives will be coupled with the fun of a dip in the pool. Water slides the size of freeway on-ramps will allow grandpa and the kids to bond.

I hope scietists are working on this problem as we speak. I'll be happy to volunteer for the human trials.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I heard your grandfather died - I'm so sorry."
"Thank you. We'll miss him, but he lead a full life."
"What was it that took him from us?"
"Gravity. He was rubbing his back against the sofa, trying to shed a hard to reach spot, and he fell through the floor. We kept telling him it was time to move to an assisted living condo down in Boca - you know, the nice ones with the reinforced concrete - but you know how they hate to leave their favorite hotrock."
"Yeah, that's a tough one. That's how my great uncle went. He slipped getting out of the pool and that was that. Tragic, but it really was his time; my mom said that the last time she took him out for lunch the bill came to over $1200 before the tip."


Damn, my arm hurts...

That's Kendall Davis of Master Designs throwing a 36" boomerang. I don't know what is worse - throwing it, or trying to catch it. I think I might have to buy one.

Oh, and I finally figured out how to post pics. Now I have to buy a digital camera...

For Sloth
"The Ice Cream Rule"

When I first started throwing 'rangs, I noticed that each one I bought had the same lame-ass disclaimer on it;

"Always wear eye protection when throwing boomerangs."

My 'ranging buddies and I all thought that was incredibly silly. How could you be so lame as to hit yourself in the eye with a boomerang, or even let yourself get hit? We figured that one dumb kid had lost an eye and successfully sued a boomerang maker, hence the label. Being rebels and self-determinists, we decided that this rule would not apply to us. In its place, we institued;

The Ice Cream Rule

"Any 'ranger who is accidentally struck in the eye by a boomerang, regardless of the identity of the thrower, must purchase ice cream (or a suitable cool and creamy substitue) for every 'ranger present."
(We had to add the word "accidentally" in the wake of the terrible "Boomerang Massacre" of '03.)

So you see, dear Sloth, it is perfectly safe to throw with us - and if it isn't, at least we have dessert.

Incidentally, we are throwing again on Saturday. 07:00 hours, soccer fields by the teepee. Everyone is invited!

Throwing with Queers

This morning at 7:00 we met at the soccer field and threw boomerangs. It's great having people to throw with again, but it is a bit different with queers. The friendly jibes that I am used to trading with other 'rangers take on new meaning...

"That is totally catchable, Abra...['rang hits the ground] you pussy."

"I know it's hard for you, but try a little LESS wrist action, Travis."

And my personal favorite, "You throw like a little girl...", got them both laughing.

Despite this silliness, we had a blast. Travis showed an aptitude for 'rangs - he had two solid catches, including a very nice one on his last throw. Believe me folks, that is pretty incredible for your first day out - I mean, first day catching... OH, you know what I mean!

Abra was handicapped by her sinister leanings (I mean she's left-handed). Being right-handed myself, I have only one 'rang in my collection that goes both ways - I mean, that can switch...(sigh) At any rate, Abra did have a credible near-catch - not bad for a person whose childhood did not include sports of any kind.

Travis gets the nod for funniest moment of the morning, when he threw an art 'rang shaped like a cat. Not being familiar with pussy, Travis gave it too much angle, and it flew high then dove at the ground. It ended up with the head of the kitty stuck in the ground, tail and rear legs in the air. All agreed that a digital camera would have been an asset at that moment.

I think there is a movement afoot to get together and throw again soon. Anyone else wanna' play?


What's in a Name?

Blog titles lifted from the recently updated list...

pubic hair is funny
Car Alarms Are Really Sensitive
my mom got knocked up by a slot machine
she had too many syllables
Rants in my Pants
we drink up the anger like wine laced with sugar.
The Plague Spreads Like Peanut Butter

I haven't read any of these - just laughing at the amazing creativity of the blogiverse.


Boomerangs

I throw boomerangs. They are the oldest man-made flying machine. There is something amazing about watching them spin through the air, almost as if they are alive. Their circular flight is a reminder of the path we all take in life, journeying forth but ending up right back at our source. The search for the perfect throw is not unlike our quest for enlightenment and happiness. They are an excellent way to connect with the body, and focus the mind.

I began to throw booms as an adjunct to flying kites. When the wind is low or nonexistent, you can get out your ultra fragile, expensive, designed for indoor use, SUL (super ultra-light) kites, or you can just throw a boomerang until the wind picks up. I opted for throwing a $21.95 E-Rang over possibly wrecking my $425 custom Vapor.

It turns out that 'ranging is a great sport unto itself. I have spent hours at the soccer fields here in Laramie, throwing until my right arm was throbbing and useless. I now have 'rangs with ranges from 5 yards all the way up to 60+ yards (if my shoulder can handle it...). My collection includes 'rangs with 2, 3, and 4 blades; some are for dead calm, and some can handle winds up to 8-10 mph. You can throw for accuracy, speed, trick catches, or maximum time aloft. 'Ranging is an international sport, with talk of olympic status in the near future. You can take it easy and just have fun with it, or you can turn it into a cardiovascular workout that makes the stairmaster look lame by comparison. It also helps the more "city-fied" among us to cultivate a connection with nature, as you must be sensitive to the wind as you set up each throw.

Below, I have listed some 'rang pages to whet your appetites.

Master Designs 'Rangs
Colorado 'Rangs
Flying Frog 'Rangs
Gel 'Rangs
MX 'Rangs
United States Boomerang Association
Art 'Rangs
more Art 'Rangs

I have 'rangs from several of these makers, and Master Designs, Colorado 'Rangs, and Gel 'Rangs all make excellent beginner 'rangs.

I would love to have some throwing buddies. This is an open invitation - if you'd like to try your hand at 'rangs (or would just enjoy watching me be foolish on a soccer field)  let me know.  For a little bit of effort, you will get many happy returns!

(That's a boomerang joke... see, it's funny 'cuz boomerangs come back...) 




A Dream

I had a dream...
Yah, tell me about your dream.
Well, I was in a boat, and the boat was floating on some slimy black stuff that was definitely not water...
Ew.
and occassionally a dark green tentacle would rise out of the slimy black stuff that was definitely not water...
You've been reading Lovecraft again?
No - the tentacle was wrapped around a spoon, and it fed me what was on the spoon, and it tasted like Cream O'Wheat, and I ate a lot of it.
You have taste in your dreams? That's freaking awesome.
Yeah - it had raisins in it, too.
Okay, so some sea-like creature is taking care of you by feeding you rice pudding. Right?
NO - Cream O'Wheat. Anyway, this went on for a bit, and then I was full so I tried to duck the spoon, and other tentacles came out and held me in place, and it force fed me more Cream O'Wheat.  Then I woke up.
So it's not just taking care of you, but forcefully taking care of you?
Actually, I thought it was fattening me up for some tentacle-monster BBQ... he and the other monsters get together at someone's lagoon, put some brews on ice, put the game on the big-screen, toss a reverend on the grill; very festive.


Trackback

Why does everyone in our little corner of the blogiverse avoid Trackback? Over the past week, there were 4 or 5 posts that I wanted to use it on, but only two of the blogs in question were Trackback enabled. Who declared Trackback the red-headed step-child of Comments?

I'll admit that it isn't the easiest feature to use, but after taking a few minutes to read the instructions, I was able to properly ping a couple posts. I even figured out how to ping my own blog so the Trackback link goes both ways. If even I - a technopeasant who received his computer training on Apple IIs during the Reagan years - can do this, then you Gen X and Gen Y slackers should be able to handle it with ease. It would help knit our little blogosphere more tightly together, and help readers to locate like-minded posts more easily. After all, isn't communication the whole point of this exercise?

If you don't have Trackback, you can get it here.


Zodiac Power Animals

Combine your Western and Chinese Zodiac signs, and you have your Zodiac Power Animal (ZPA). I am a FishSnake. Clay, without whose links I would have missed this brilliant merging of East and West, is apparently a VirginMonkey.

Check your ZPA here. While you are there, check out the rest of Princess Blogonoke, the creator of ZPAs.

Sunday Sermon

I have a confession to make... I enjoy gossip. Getting the scoop on who did what to whom is one of my favorite social activities. I try to not pass it along but I do love to hear it, and I am not alone.

Why do we love it so? Perhaps it is because talking about the shortcomings and misfortunes of others allows us to forget our own. We can say, "I may be a mess, but look at this loser!" In essence it is a coping mechanism, but at what price do we purchase this temporary reprieve from our own pains?

Right Speech is one of the tenets of the Buddha's Eightfold Path. It refers to refraining from falsehood, slander, idle chat, and plagiarism. In Mahayana Buddhism, the path is broken down further, and speech is addressed more specifically. At least four of that sect's Ten Grave Precepts touch on gossip directly, and several others speak to it obliquely.

We are reminded that speech is an action, and thus engenders Karma. When we indulge in gossip, we strike at our own capacity for compassion. It hardens our hearts, and inures us to the suffering of others. We withdraw from others, and step ever more firmly into the illusion of the separate self. We say, "He is really screwed up," and whisper to ourselves, "and I am not him."

If one of us suffers, we all suffer. We are inseparably interconnected, and to deny that is, at best, short-sighted. You, I, and the lampost are one, and when we disparage another, we disparage ourself.

Try just one day of observing the 6th precept - no speaking of the faults of others - and comment on your results. You will be amazed how difficult it is, and how much difference it makes in your daily conversations.

Go in peace.


New Template

Just like the networks, I'm preparing a new look for the Fall. I think I like this template, but I'm waiting for the focus group numbers from Marketing. We're hoping for greater penetration in our target demographic... (there is no marketing department, and the only focus group is you all...the Reverend just likes to say "penetration." Please comment on the template so he doesn't make up a bunch of results).

Birthday!!

Today we celebrate the birth of She Who is All Things Cute in the World. Go there and wish her a happy day!


Summer Reading
 
Recently, someone - I can't remember now who it was - asked me for a Buddhist reading list. My suggestions are usually geared to what I know of the person asking, so I hesitate to put forth a general list, but these are favorites of mine.
 
Taking the Path of Zen by Robert Aitken Roshi
This is the book that started it all for me, and thus it is a sentimental favorite of mine, but it is also an excellent introduction to Zen.  I am unable to own this book - everytime I buy a copy, I meet someone who needs to read it. I think I have given about 7 copies away. If you like Aitken's style, try The Mind of Clover next.
 
Three Pillars of Zen by Phillip Kapleau Roshi
This one is a bit more ambitious. It contains not only instructions on how to begin, but also a section on monastic life, and several people recant their enlightenment experiences. This one is a bit dense for beach reading, but worth the effort.
 
Instructions to the Cook: A Zen Master's Lessons in Living a Life That Matters by Bernie Glassman is a update of a 13th Century japanese manual of the same name. The gist of the original was that attention to the small things in life leads to an understanding of the larger issues. The new version brings that idea to the 21st Century, and applies it to everything. Glassman is one of the Roshi at the Los Angeles Zen Center where I studied briefly, and he is a genuine bodhisattva. He is also the co-founder of the Zen Peacemakers
 
Stumbling Toward Enlightenment by Gerry Larkin
Larkin is a Michigan-based single mother who, accompanied by her 12 year old daughter, moved into a fulltime monastic center and became a Zen priest. It is funny, sweet, and full of the humanity of Buddhism. A good read for those dark times. There is also a sequel, called First you Shave your Head.
 
That's Funny, You don't Look Buddhist by Sylvia Boorstein
Boorstein is the Erma Bombeck of Buddhism. Her work is funny in a Jewish sort of way, but the messages are sound Buddhist teaching. She has several other titles out there as well; It's Easier than You Think, Pay Attention for Goodness Sake, and my personal favorite, Don't Just Do Something, Sit there! All are quick reads, good for a summer afternoon.

The Life and Letters of Tofu Roshi by Susan Ichi Su Moon
Tofu Roshi is a classic of modern Zen humor. This should not be your first book on Zen or Buddhism (you won't get most of the jokes), but once you have read Aitken or Kapleau it is hilarious. Consider this poetic excerpt:
 
                  Several birds wanting the same branch. 
                  A cherry blossom dropped halfway down.                   
                  I forget what I was trying to say.
 
It also contains a letter from a concerned student whose practice is breath counting. He is concerned because he seems to inhale more than he exhales...  It's funny stuff, and it is broken down into short sections so you can just dip into it for a few minutes.

There are many more, but if I had to cut my bookshelf down to just 6, these would be the ones I'd keep. I encourage all of the cult of blog to put forth a similar list - I'd love to see what y'all are reading.
 
 

Guess who?
(like "Name that Song" but more in keeping with my major)
 
Which American author penned these gems? Extra credit if you know where they came from as well...
 
"The reason the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is because man is disunited with himself."
 
"Is not prayer also a study of truth - a sally of the soul into the unfound infinite?"
 
"Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous."
 
"A man is fed, not that he may be fed, but that he may work."
 
Of course, I'll be adhering strictly to the "Whose Line is it Anway?" scoring rules.   
 

Sunday Sermon
 
Time.
It will tell, it waits for no man, it heals all wounds... 
 
A famous Buddhist teacher once said, "time flies as an arrow from a bow." Although Buddhists usually believe in some form of reincarnation, the most important incarnation is this one; being born human is the greatest of blessings. Only a human can become enlightened, so it is important to make the most of this life - you may not get a chance to be human again for a long time.
 
The fact is, unless you have made spiritual growth a priority in your life, you are probably not making very good use of this time. I find it hard to fit in the devotions and meditation that I need, but I keenly feel the lack of them as well. How do we make them mesh?
 
One solution is to fit small moments of spirituality into your daily activities. Here are some ideas that I've collected... 
 
There are numerous Email services that provide you with a thought for the day. My favorite is BeliefNet. It provides daily messages from numerous traditions, and they keep the spam to a minimum. As you check your Email you can check your karma...
 
365 Buddha by Jeff Schmidt is just one of the books in the 365 series of daily devotional guides. There are similar titles for Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity, Hindu, and Islam. Keep one or more on the bedside table and spend a few minutes each morning getting in the right frame of mind.
 
Sometimes having a place of peace is as close to having inner peace as we can manage. This site offers a brief (and oddly translated) essay on home altars. Here is another, from a different tradition. I find that offering incense to the Buddha allows me to rise above the hectic activity of the day, even if just for a moment. I like to spend 5 minutes or so on this sort of ritual after returning home from class/work.
 
Community can be very important as well. There are no less than 20 spiritually oriented clubs on campus - they are listed here. Go forth and find others like yourself...
 
Lastly, I'll make a plea for meditation. You don't have to fold yourself into a pretzel and chant for an hour every morning. You can get real benefit from even just 5 minutes of quiet sitting. The instructions given here are pretty general, but you can find many others with a simple Google search.  Use that time before class, waiting for the shuttle, or standing in line - it all adds up. Your focus will be clearer, and your blood pressure lower.
 
Use your time wisely. It goes by very quickly. If only I could get back the 90's...
 
Go in Peace.   
   

How do you fear?
A special mid-week sermon...

I've noticed a trend over the last few months. In conversation, in blogs, in phone calls - it's there in every form of communication. My friends, the flock is afraid. And let's be honest - we've got plenty to fear.

Al Quaida, nukes in North Korea, the next semester, graduation, grad school, getting a real job, 401Ks, coming out, Republicans in office, failure, success, love, boys, friends, girls, sex, celibacy, roofies, pedophile priests, rising gas prices, an aging supreme court, rejection, President Dubois, fat, carbohydrates, monogamy, polygamy, STDs, pregnancy, sterility, youth, aging, baldness, the religious right...

Yeah. We're scared. But I'm not here to tell you that - you've all told me, in your own ways, that you already know that. I'm just here to say that it's OK.

Fear is normal, and required. People who aren't afraid of anything are either ignorant or insane; you regular readers are neither. The important thing is how you fear.

Use fear to keep you alert, not to keep you down. Let it warn you of danger, not cripple you in the face of opportunity. Make it strengthen your resolve. Make it yours.

Fear well.

Sunday Sermon
The Five Rules of Buddhism...

1)Free your heart from hatred.
2)Free your mind from worries.
3)Live simply.
4)Give more.
5)Expect less.

Like the best rules, these are easy to remember, cover a broad range of situations, are hard to twist, and applying them can be a lifelong pursuit.

Each of us will find that at least one of these proves very difficult for us. Perhaps you are good at loving, giving, being worry-free and living simply, but you just can't get past your expectations. Maybe it is letting go of your hatreds that holds you up. I know that many of us are worriers (with this presidential election coming up, we have good reason!). Or perhaps you are one of those lucky folk like me who find them all difficult...

Examine yourself in light of these rules, and you will have a good idea of what is lacking in your spiritual pursuit. I did it as a conversation with two sides of myself. One side is clearly a politician or spin doctor of some sort. It went like this...

How are we doing?
Absolutely fabulously.
Really? How about #1?
Our list of hatreds is greatly reduced.
But we still have hatreds?
Yeah, but not so many...
Right. Needs work. Let's look at #2.
Well, we worry a bit, but who doesn't?
Weak. So we need work on this one too?
It's possible.
How about #3, then?
Well, we do enjoy the computer a lot, but other than that we live a very simple life.
Aren't you confusing simplicity with poverty?
Quite possibly.
If we had money we'd go crazy with gadgets and toys and unnecessary crap, right?
Almost certainly.
Right then, another "needs work." How about #4?
As you mentioned above, we are poor, so we have very little to give. Hah! we are exempt.
It doesn't apply just to money. What about giving of our time? Our skills?
I'll have to look into it and get back to you.
O.K., I'll just put that one down for improvement as well. What's the status on #5?
We expect to have our expectations under control within the expected time parameters...
You just did that on purpose.
Yeah, a little bit. But our task force on expectations is still in the field...
So we fail this one too, right?
It appears that way, but if you compare-
Shut it!

Go in Peace.

Carpocrates

The Gnostics believed that the true God (big G) was outside creation, and that this inferior world was created by either evil angels or a deluded, lying, lesser god (little g). This lesser force of creation is variously called the Demiurge or Ialdabaoth (pronounced just like it looks...).

Further, they held that each person contains a spark of the Divine that must be awakened in order to return to God.

A 3rd Century A.D. gnostic named Carpocrates wove these concepts into a fascinating doctrine of reincarnation. His teachings held that because the soul is invested with the divine, it cannot be corrupted. It must live in many bodies, life after life, in order to experience everything before it could be freed from the cycle of reincarnation to return to God.

Carpocrates was interested in speeding up this process. He held that because this world was created by an inferior god, the moral codes and laws of this world are also inferior. To experience everything, one would have to ignore the prohibitions on certain behaviors. By committing acts that society calls sins or crimes, the Carpocration Gnostic was simply paying the price of salvation. Sort of an early example of "if it feels good, do it."

Taken to its logical extreme, though, this doctrine is exhausting. If nothing is prohibited, then everything is compulsory. In practice, however, Carpocration rule breaking involved mostly sex. According to contemporary historians, they lived licentious lives, practiced various sexual magics, and sold love potions in order to fund their lifestyles.

For a few paragraphs now, you have been thinking, "O.K. Linus, why are you telling us about Carpocration Gnosticism?"

Glad you asked.

I got this cool book called the Encyclopedia of Heresies and Heretics and it rocks. Because it is in alphabetical order it is difficult to get a sense of the chronology of things, but I am beginning to see the larger patterns of heretical behavior.

Having said that, I realize that I am likely the only person in our happy little flock who is interested in this topic. Rather than bore you all to death in person, I thought I'd get it out of my system here, where you can all follow Clay's example and skip to the end.

I guess I should have told you that at the top of the post...
Sorry - my bad.

Atkins Dreams

"Psst... Linus... Hey, Liiiiinus..."

"*snork* Hmm?"

"Linus... We're cold, Linus... so cold..."

"What the... Who's there?"

"We're cold, Linus... save us..."

"Um... 'kay... assuming that you aren't just a side effect of some acid I took back in '84, where are you?"

"We're in the 'fridge, Linus... we're soooo cold..."

Moments later, standing before the fridge in my jammies, I realize that no mere ingestion of psychotropics in my youth can explain how the tiny voices of M&Ms in the freezer woke me from a sound sleep.


On a related note; if you open a bag of M&Ms and eat all of them but one, what do you have? Do you have an 'M' or an 'M&M'? It seems to me that you are holding an M&M, but, they each have only one M printed on their delicious candy shells...


You know, you're right. There is just about no food in the world that couldn't be improved with the addition of a candy shell. Kids would love it; getting them to eat broccoli, cauliflower, or brussel sprouts would be a snap if they came in a rainbow of colors - kind of like veggie Skittles. It would be great for adults, too. Think how much easier it would be to eat, for example, a big sloppy hamburger. The candy shell would add flavor, a crunchy texture, and protect your clothing - "patty melt in your mouth, not in your hands!"


I couldn't agree more about their commercials, though. I mean, the last thing a giant talking M&M should do is take a gig selling his brethren on tv. It's like a talking cow hawking steaks - it's something obliquely related to canabalism, I think, with a touch of slave-trading mixed in for flavor...


Their urban myth is all bunk, too. I ate a whole bag of green ones once, and I wasn't any hornier than usual. In retrospect, however, I admit that I might not be the best test case. At any rate, I think they made it all up to distract the American people from the health dangers of red dye #2. They pulled it from the market 'cuz they found out that if you force-feed the equivalent of 6000 red M&Ms to a rat, it will die.


Of course, nowadays it's no big deal to have a bag of all one color. You can get 21 fucking colors now by the pound, delivered to your doorstep. Back in the day, if we wanted a single color bag, we had to sort them by hand - it was actually a thriving sweatshop industry. Hundreds of Mexican women and children, living in squalid conditions on huge ranches in Utah, spent 12-hour days hunched over piles of M&Ms, sorting them into huge bins marked "amarilla," "verde," "marrĂ³n"... it was terrible. Damn Mormons. Thank god for the unions - they came in and cleaned up the industry. Rest assured, today your M&Ms are sorted by costly computer-controlled scanning devices, and those Mexican families are safely unemployed again.

Now, they've got Almond M&Ms, Rainbow M&Ms, Halloween M&Ms, Mini M&Ms, fucking Ogre size M&Ms - when I was a kid, we had one damn size, 5 fucking colors, and we were happy to have 'em too! We didn't need pink and blue M&Ms to help us figure out that it was Easter. You know why? Because we could read a fucking calendar, that's why! That's what's wrong with kids today - no discipline, too much Play Station, and pastel fucking M&Ms! If they had to sort their own greens out of the pile, they'd have more respect - you know what I mean? Hey! Are you listening to me?


Oh damn; I've been sleepblogging again. I hate it when this happens. The stubbed toes, the drooling on the keys, the rambling posts that even I don't understand. Fucking diet...



Ethical Wills

How will you be remembered when you die? Instead of just passing on your baseball cards and that complete set of Charles and Diana commemorative tea towels, you can now 'bequeath' your ideals and the lessons you have learned in this life.

Examples of ethical wills can be found in both the Old and New Testaments, but they are enjoying a resurge in popularity as evidenced by recent Washington Post and NPR reports. Unlike a living will or last will and testament, an ethical will is not a legal document. It is merely a text that is left to your relatives as a glimpse of who you were. This beautiful and thoughtful practice helps both the dying and the bereaved prepare, and leaves a treasured artifact for subsequent generations.

Naturally, some lawyers have figured a way to profit from all this...
Click here for software to aid you in writing your ethical will, or here if you prefer an old-fashioned book on the subject.

I imagine myself sitting around someday like Grandpa Simpson, jotting down my pearls of wisdom...

"Never pet a burning dog."

"No means No. Unless I said it, and then it means whatever she wants it to mean."

"Many things don't taste the way they smell." This is unfortunate in foods and beverages, but handy in the bedroom.

"Many things taste much better than they look." See above.

"Clothes never make a woman look fat. Ever."

"Don't settle for just one name." I have been known as Linus, Rene Michel, Yukio, Lochlainn, Centurion, Trooper Callahan, Kilty McFurious, Robin, Rob, Robbie-dobbie, Rotten Robin, Termike, Stumpbug, Big Jerk, Thor, and my current favorite, "Reverend."

"Ketchup is not a vegetable."

"Don't be too specific when calling out body parts during the 'Hokie-Pokie'"

and of course...
"Yo soy el pollo diablo."

Technology Gone Awry

Are you too busy to chant, meditate, and pray? What if you could cleanse your karma while checking your Email?

The Disk Drive Mantra could be the answer to your problem! Just right-click and save, then relax in the knowledge that your mantra is being repeated an average of 5400 times per minute as your hard drive spins!

If you'd like a more visual reminder of your practice, then the deluxe Digital Prayer Wheel is for you. Add a few to your webpages and let them spin your negative karma away while you sleep!

The most hilarious part of this all is the final line of one of the pages;
"P.S. It wouldn't hurt to think of the mantra from time to time while it's spinning around on your disk drive."
Yeah, that would be good.



Blog Identity

While commenting on another blog, I entered the address of my blog incorrectly. I put in just Linus, not Linus_Furious. I generally check any link I put up, because I am a technopeasant and it takes three or four tries to get it right. When I checked this one, it lead me to another Linus. I was struck with an odd excitement. Those of you who have more common names might be familiar with the strange moment of meeting a namesake, but for me it's pretty novel. Even my given name is rare; although I have met numerous female Robins (or Robyns or Robbins), I've never encountered a male one.

At any rate, I got excited and decided to go to the beginning of this Linus blog and read it all. (Don't take my posting of the link as an indication that you should do the same. Just read a few posts to get the feel - I don't want to ruin the holiday for anyone.)

Shouldn't have gotten my hopes up. Thankfully it was brief, but I subjected myself to it all. He hasn't posted since 2001 - that final post makes me wonder if he killed himself or something.

That sad possibility aside, the real irritant in this is that here is the blog address I truly wanted, misused and then forgotten. The blogiverse is so perverse sometimes...


Sunday Sermon
Patriotism

Today we celebrate the creation of our little Greco-Roman political experiment with the traditional rituals of grilling, drinking, and making stuff explode in different colors. Wouldn't Thucydides be proud?

These past few Independence days have been tough for me. I have never been overly patriotic - the most powerful "American Pride" experience I've ever had was back in '80 when Herb Brooks and the boys beat the Russians at Lake Placid. Jim Craig skating around draped in the flag was powerful, tear-producing stuff, but I was in jr. high at the time. A lot of things have happened since - like 12 consecutive years of warmongering Republican rule during my teens and twenties - that soured me on any kind of national pride. I prefer to think of myself as a citizen of the planet, not any country. We are all in this together, and what we have in common is much greater than our differences.

In the past, when I would share this view with others it was generally well received. Even the most staunch flag-wavers would grudgingly admit that humanity should unite, national borders not withstanding. That all changed on 9/11. Since that terrible tragedy, flag-waving and the attitudes that attend it have become a national passion for many. The problem with this is that inherently, Patriotism is a great big case of "Us, not You." Simply put, we collectively dance around and chant like little kids, "I'm American and you're not! We rock and You don't!"

What exactly are we proud of? Unless you are a naturalized immigrant, being proud of being an American is like being proud of having blue eyes. You are American through no effort or choice of your own - in short, by an accident of birth. Citizenship for most is a simple matter of geography and heredity, and we long ago decided that hereditary claims have little worth - that's why we have no titled nobles in America.

The driving force behind the human tendency to make these arbitrary divisions is shadowy, but Buddhists see it as an outgrowth of the basic problem of self. The Buddha taught that as long as we belive that we are seperate from everything else, we are living in the world of samsara (delusion). As you may have heard me say, "You, I, and the lampost are one." Divisions are inherently illusory, as they indicate a distinction between ourselves and the whole.

I'll grill some bratwurst and watch the fireworks... but I'll try to think of it as a celebration of freedom, and not a commemoration of any political separation.

Grill in Peace.



I'll see your Hellboy, and raise you an Ebola...

Hellboy should not be cuddly or plush... but the Ebola virus beanie is truly twisted.


Can I borrow $30,000?

It's for a good cause...

Ok, how about just $400?

So Schrodinger and Heisenberg are driving together (...just go with it).
Heisenberg says, "Hey, I think you just ran over a cat."
Schrodinger says, "Is it dead?"
Heisenberg says, "I can't be certain."