• Category Archives GeekWorld
  • Works for Me

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: Socrates Cafe today. Tara lesson today. Torah and the morning service. Rami Shapiro. Judaism without Tribalism. Ruth and Gabe. Mark in Hua Hin on the Gulf of Thailand. Three Body Problem trilogy. Breakfast at Aspen Perks. Picking up shirts at USA cleaner. Groceries today. Pickup again. Got hot dogs for Memorial Day. A very rare treat.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Lodgepoles of Arapaho National Forest

    One brief shining: Have taken no shirts to a dry cleaner/laundry since Kate died, not sure why, but last week I took in my new shirts and my flannel shirts, the new ones to have a wash and an ironing, the flannel shirts for a seasonal dry cleaning, ready now to store in the closet until the next Winter, and it felt like a splurge. So expensive. BTW: I did wash my shirts in the washing machine. Just so you know.

     

    A good workout week. Hit my 150 minutes again. Moving up on weights. Always feel better when I get all my workouts in. Think of Diane headed up Bernal Hill on her jogging route. Ode in the gym gettin’ buff. Watch the red meat, eat fruits and vegetables, more fish and chicken. Workout. Live longer, healthier. Maybe. No phone call yet about my P.E.T. scan. Part of it, too. Mind the cancer.

     

    Got a new set of all-seasons for Ruby. Big O. They know the double entendre, I’m sure, but using it on a tire retailer? Seems odd. To me anyhow. Oil change, too. Synthetic. 10,000 miles between. Feels luxurious after a life time of 5,000 mile oil changes. Course those of you with the electrics. Don’t they beat all when it comes to maintenance. I like leaving as many dollars up here in the Mountains as I can. Help the local economy.

     

    Led mussar on Thursday. Always fun to lead a group temporarily. Considering another dive into the educating realm. Right now I’m in a havruta with Gary Riskin. Traditionally talmud torah, torah study, was done in pairs. Read a text. Summarize it, analyze it. Sharpening each others thought process. A lively back and forth. Probably where the quip, two Jews, three opinions, came from. We meet every two weeks over zoom. We worked on Cain and Abel last session. The only class I’m in right now.

    But. Having just finished Rabbi Toba Spitzer’s excellent God is Here, and halfway through Rabbi Rami Shapiro’s Judaism without Tribalism, with Rabbi Michael Strassfield’s latest, Judaism Disrupted: A Spiritual Manifesto for the 21st Century, ready after I finish Shapiro, I may consider creating a class using these three books. Plus maybe one of Mordecai Kaplan’s, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism. The work in Toba Spitzer’s book and Rami’s show the power of Reconstructionist thought. I find them working the same vein as Emerson.

    That is, how can we use the spiritual deposit of the ages while maintaining an open, even skeptical attitude toward religion as an institution? I found Unitarian-Universalism too broad and too thin a tool for this quest. Paganism worked better for me. Until I found a group committed to the same rigorous approach to religion as Emerson and myself and committed to community at the same time. Reconstructionism.

    I find Spitzer, Shapiro, and Strassfield working at the outer edges of what Shapiro calls Judaism without tribalism. Calling into question the very way we understand the sacred, Spitzer’s work on metaphors, and Shapiro’s focus on Judaism’s two key moves: teshuvah and tikkun.

    Teshuvah, or return, means in his thought returning to who we really are after jettisoning other’s expectations, and being dead honest about who we are. Tikkun means repairing the world: the physical world, the political world, the emotional world. These are, according to him, the mission of Jews. To embrace our true selves and repair a damaged reality. Works for me.

     

     

     


  • Ouch. Judaism. Movies.

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Tuesday gratefuls: Marilyn and Irv. Great Sol. My Lodgepole Companion. Black Mountain. Those gravel roads in Indiana. Corn fields. Holsteins. Angus. Brahma. Highland. Duroc. Hampshire. Milky Sky. 35 last night up here after Sunday evening’s 82 in Denver. Altitude. Shadow Mountain. My Rock. Shadow Mountain Home.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Mountains

    One brief shining: Disrobed, crawled up on the massage table, covered my groin with a towel, and waited for Jill to come in with the needles, went to physical therapy for 10 sessions with Mary, do squats and lunges and dips, cardio, take the occasional acetaminophen, have not tried the lidocaine patches yet, and still my back hurts, more and more. Discouraged.

     

    So far none of the treatment modalities I’ve tried have succeeded in calming down my back. Seems to get worse. That is, more painful more often. Guess I’ve got to return to the doctor. See what else can be done. I said no surgery, but if this keeps up? Might have to consider it. Of course at 77 surgery, especially anesthesia, comes with its own risks independent of the purpose. Getting to one of those fulcrum moments. Where none of the decisions seem good.

    Not going to project an outcome or its sequelae. Too many variables. And, could produce anxiety. Going to stay in this eternal moment. Doing what I can. As I can.

    Worked out on Sunday. Just cardio. And my hip and leg didn’t like it. Hurt enough yesterday that I skipped working out. Gonna work out later today. Not working out is a slippery, self-fulfilling slope. Been there and don’t want to go back.

    This is not life-threatening, but it is life threatening. Meaning I may have to modify my life in ways I’d prefer not to. Age.

     

    I’ve chosen some parts of the morning service that I want to do. I can learn the Hebrew to lead the congregation in the morning blessings and I can lead the Shema. This in addition to my Torah portion. Which I have pretty much down now except for inflection.

    With learning my Torah portion, Rabbi Jamie’s conversion classes, two mussar classes and prepping for all of these, it’s been a Jewish immersion. Not only in the mikveh. I’ve also added shabbat to my week. No other classes right now. After the bar mitzvah, all this will quiet down. I’ll be done with Rabbi Jamie’s classes. The Hebrew learning will at least shift focus. I’ll still be doing Torah study with Gary as well.

     

    My next enthusiasm is cinema. I got a subscription to the Criterion Channel, and have access to Prime Video and Turner Classic Movies. I have to learn Chromecasting so I can use the Criterion Channel downstairs. I’m going to take my dvd player downstairs, too.

    Got pushed on this when I watched Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I have it on DVD. It’s so much of a commentary on the 1950’s as well as on the subject of political manipulation and/or conforming to other’s expectations. A general practice doc is the main character, referred to as a man of science. His main squeeze wears cashmere sweaters and has very pointy bras. In the evening they have martinis, barbecue, and spend time in the outdoor room with friends. His office is quintessential g.p. from the 50’s. A nurse with a tabbed hat and a white uniform. A lot of deference from the town folk.

    In other words the non-horror aspects of this movie fascinated me as much as the pods. I want to be able to write, talk about it. But to do that I have to have a good way of watching. I’ve got several mediums that will work and I have so many classical movies to see. Many again. Many for the first time.

     

     


  • Elegiac

    Imbolc and the waning Ancient Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Evergreen Medical Center. Snow. Hoar Frost and Snow on the Lodgepoles. Diane. Marilyn and Irv. Dreams. Frustrated early lives. Mom. Dad. Mary and Mark. My son and his Korean life, Korean wife, Japanese Dog. Mussar. Tire Rotation. Finding a friendly place for Ruby. Low tire pressure sensors. Luke. Leo. Janice and Ginny.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Big O

    One brief shining: That moment when, after getting up, I turn to my bedroom window to see how much Snow came down while I slept, even today at 77 a bit of a young boy’s Christmas eagerness rises. Happened again just this morning.

     

    Some Snow. Colder. Not the big, Tourney Snow. Not yet. White and fresh outside. These late Winter Snows have an elegiac feel, their wetness, their heaviness speak of a warming fallow time, one willing, reluctantly willing, to give way to Spring. Even though I love Winter and don’t like the heat of Summer I find myself urging Spring on. When the days warm between Snows, a fresh odor of sanctity arises from the Mountain Soil. Visions of Flowers, running Streams, Fawns and Calves, soft breezes dance in my head. Oh. Achoo. That too.

    Not sure why but this Winter has felt long to me. As if it’s beginning to overstay. Even so the moisture of these last rounds of Snow are so important for us. Filling our tiny Aquifers that feed Water into our wells. Protecting us from Fire. Reminding us that beauty in the Mountains comes in so many different forms.

     

    Read about rotating tires. A good thing. Winter tires, expensive tires. Want them to last as long as possible. Used to get them rotated at every 5,000 mile oil change but since I got Ruby the synthetic oil goes 10,000 miles. Thought rotating the tires was just Toyota trying to get me back as often as they used to. Wrong about that. Took me a while to tumble to this.

    Anyhow yesterday I had it done at Big O in Evergreen. No charge. Yay. Friendly people, close by. Stevinson Toyota is down the hill. Gonna have these folks handle my tires and oil changes.

    Oh, and another thing. These new fangled cars with all their computers and sensors. My low pressure light had been on for a couple of months. I knew it was faulty because it would go off for a day or two, then come back on. May have them all disabled. Somehow I survived over 50+ years of driving without them and I find them annoying.

     

    Just a moment: Going to Globeville on Monday to talk with the owners of the Rocky Mountain Land Library. They previously owned Denver’s most loved bookstore, Tattered Covers. Don’t know where this conversation will lead, but I hope I can find a niche at the Land Library for my earth-centered, human focused passion for creating a sustainable presence for humans on this planet.

    Yesterday at breakfast with Marilyn and Irv I said again, out loud, that I’m in a nothing to prove phase of life. That I want to read, learn. Revisit and befriend the young scholar I once was. Let him guide me and my time. Yet. I also have another me that wants to act in some way, have an oar in the Waters of change.

     

     

     

     


  • The Future is, again, Now.

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Old friends and newer friends. CBE’s beginning and its flounders. Sushi Win and Bella, that cute robot waitress. Tom. Happy Camper. Conifer Cafe, 80 decibels. Yikes. Naps. New Mexico. Arizona. Utah. Colorado. Short trips. Israel. Hamas. Gaza. Two-state solution. The Moon in the Sky like a big pizza pie. Amore! Love.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Jews

    One brief shining: Hold your phone up to the bar code, press the link, up pops the menu, consider it while using the physical menu, order, then enter credit card data, press send, and a bit later Bella comes trundling out from her charging station with plates, Water, and glasses, wait a while longer and here comes spring rolls, tempura shrimp, and a pot of green tea, followed after another short wait by Bella’s return with a sushi roll, my hamachi carpaccio, press finish on Bella for the third time and she rolls away, her fetching backside complete with an LED sign reading Sushi Win that flashes across her darling metal shoulders.

     

    The future rolled up on Tom and me not in Silicon Valley or the tech wise Denver suburb called Tech Center, but in a sushi place trying to continue surviving. I met Bella last week on Valentine’s Day when I ate at Sushi Win with Luke. Tom and I share a fascination with scientific and technological breakthroughs, so we had fun meeting Bella, considering her potential future impact. We both took videos.

    As I wrote a week ago, many restaurants have experimented with new ways post-pandemic. Covid was hard on people, yes, but on restaurants, too. Fountain Barbecue has computer screens where you order and pay, wait until your order is done, then pick it up yourself. So last millennium.

    Each of the three times Bella came to our table, I found myself wanting to say hello, thank you, and good-by at the appropriate times. And, I did. This cued me in to a robotic future where our responses to the new machines in our lives vary by context. I responded to Bella as I was familiar to responding with a waiter. But a robot in my living room serving tea or cleaning floors would probably elicit a different response. Oh, excuse me. Could you be sure to get that area where the dog hair is? Thanks. Could you get me a beer and a hot dog? Yes, you can clear this up now. Different yet again. Could you hand me a 3/16th? Hold the car up here while I work on the tire. Sweep out the garage and return to your charging port. We’ll cut the grass tomorrow.

    Oh, the wonders we’ll see. The future rushing, leaping into our lives, coming soon to a restaurant table near you.

    Of course, A.I. Shifting the workplace yet again. Hitting some knowledge workers this time. Maybe covering school board meetings, reporting on last night’s football game, making travel plans and reservations, polishing or even writing that essay or think piece for work.

    Not to mention our machines headed to the moon, to low earth orbits and high. DNA editing. Zoom. Smart phones. Dumb users. Electric and self-driving vehicles. Gee whiz, Buck Rogers.

     


  • The Technocene

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Luke. Sushi Win. Birthdays. Feeling seen. Darkness. Reading. Mussar. Fountain Barbecue. Their Chicken wings and pork ribs. Fingers. Toes. Heart. Mind. Lev. Exercise. Alan and his funny ecard. Weird Al Jankovich. Sympathy for the Devil. Rolling Stones. Beatles. And, Beetles. The Who. Credence. Jefferson Airplane. The Doors. Led Zeppelin. Early Music. Gregorian chant.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Sushi Win

    One brief shining: Ordered green tea yesterday at Sushi Win, waited a bit for it to show up, when it came it was on a delivery robot which rolled up to Luke and mine’s table with a smiley face, a button that said finish, and a pot of green tea, two cups, styrofoam plates for our order, chopsticks, and wasabi/soy sauce mixers; when Luke pressed finish the robot smiled, said thank you, and rolled away back to the place from which it came.

     

     

    Robots. AI. Space based nuclear weapons. Private sector launches from NASA launch sites. Private sector Moon projects. We have suddenly, yet chaotically (not slowly but surely) moved into a new era. The technocene. (my neologism. at least I thought of it just now.) OK. I looked it up. Though original in my head, several others got there ahead of me.

    What I mean by it. Our technoworld today surpasses almost everything I saw in science fiction movies as boy. Have you seen the robot do back flips? Or the new one that can learn from a video of a human doing a task, then improvise? Even, silly as it is, that delivery robot at Sushi Win? Properly programmed it could replace a wait staff. Order from your phone. Which Luke and I did. Wait a bit, here comes the food. These are not tomorrow. These are capacities that have made it into the retail level of robotics.

    AI. Can you say Kurzweil? The Singularity is near. I find it useful. Its capacity to summarize and simplify complex material amazes me. It’s fast, too. But again this is the AI that you can access through Bing or ChatbotGPT. It’s not the stuff that’s in development. Where serious arguments over sentience have become common place.

    Space based nuclear weapons. Banned fifty years ago it looks like Russia has a satellite killing nuclear weapon they could or have deployed. Of course, nobody commented on whether the U.S. has a similar capacity in waiting. Or, China.

    Private sector space. Colorado School of Mines offers an asteroid mining degree. Several private companies have attempted, all unsuccessfully so far, to land on the moon. The most recent launch happened early this morning. See video above. Remember the Coca-Cola in 2001? Or, Bruce Willis taking oil drilling technology to prevent an asteroid from hitting Earth in Armageddon?

    Others. Recent advances in nuclear fusion. The incredible space-based telescopes. CRISPR. Smart phones. Zoom and its ilk. Video phone calls! Self-driving cars. Electric vehicles. You can add your own items to this list.

    If there was an anthropocene, it will have been brief. Perhaps a hundred years when we burned dead ferns and dinosaurs to heat our homes, generate electricity, power our cars and airplanes. Fateful, perhaps apocalyptic yes but much like Hobbes describing human life: nasty, brutish, and short. Now we hope to rely on the wind and those giant windmills. Or the tides, or geothermal or Great Sol directly. Now the world shaping ideas and catastrophes are in the realms of computers, robotics, renewable energy.

    We have no idea how they will impact us or the planet we live on. Why? Because as humans, we go one step further than we can understand. That’s the genius of our species and its curse.

     


  • Days of Yore, Days of Chips

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Shirley Waste. Great Sol. The Middle East. Israel. Hamas. Gaza. The West Bank. Hezbollah. Lebanon. Iran. Iran proxies. Soldiers for the U.S. in the Middle East. The Ukraine. Russia. Yes, even Putin. The Black Sea. Brother Mark and Saudi sunrises. Mary and 9 foot long Monitor Lizards and 10 foot reticulated pythons. Monkeys, too. North Korea. South Korea. Japan. China.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: A new friend, Gary

    One brief shining: When Tara came on my Zoom window for our Hebrew lesson, I saw large tropical Plants in the background, yet she lives, I know, on Kilimanjaro Drive, just off Jung Frau and the calendar still says January; I had my lesson beamed from Shadow Mountain to somewhere in Costa Rica, my halting Hebrew sent to a Spanish speaking country while I took my teacher’s notes in English spoken in Central America. Gosh.

     

    Our world is so much more complex than the world of my childhood. Only the telephone, the dial telephone, connected my small hometown of Alexandria, Indiana to friends and family in distant places. And the further away the more expensive. Remember person-to-person calls?

    Sure we got Ed Sullivan and the Lone Ranger and I Love Lucy on often finicky TV screens. And, yes, there were those moments of catastrophe: the death of John Kennedy, the shooting of Jack Ruby when the breathless commentators came on interrupting regular programming. Or, the moments of glory, especially the U.S. race to put a man on the Moon. One small step, one giant step.

    Those special televised experiences united us. We saw one news anchor, often Walter Cronkite, with one view of the facts, no MAGA, no chest thumping yellow backs. And when they faded away we went back to our lives in towns and cities and countrysides.

    Now I can take something so mundane as a Hebrew lesson in real time even though my teacher and her husband decided to fly to Costa Rica and work remotely from there for a few weeks. In a few minutes I’ll go online with my buddy Tom. He’ll be in his home near Lake Minnetonka and I’ll be here on Shadow Mountain. I follow the war in Israel through Israeli newspapers that I can access with the click of a mouse button.

    The oddity of all this connection by fiber and phone line and satellite, the irony of it, lies in its isolating effect. Go into any coffee shop anywhere and you’ll instantly know what I mean. Most of the people in the coffee shop will not be in conversation with a person near them, but they might be speaking to a friend on their phone. Laptops will be open. Phones in front of faces. An electronic rapture has lifted the souls in the room up, up, up into clouds of whizzing electrons and packets and i.p. addresses.

    We find news sources, information sources now that meet out preexisting biases. We silo our knowledge on web pages devoted to whatever interests us.

    No. I’m not a technophobe. I’m posting this, aren’t I? And no I’m not even really complaining. Our world is not worse, simply different and infinitely more complex, so much more connected than the quiet days of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. How has this changed us? God, I don’t know. But the impact is profound, that I do know.

     

     

     

     

     


  • Post Conversion Let Down

    Samain and the Choice Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Leo. Doggy presence. Luke in Florida. Tom in Atlanta. Paul’s birthday. 77. Whoa. He old. Great Sol brightening a Shadow Mountain morning. Last warm day for a while. Snow coming. Over spending on Snow tires. For safety. Giving myself the best odds. Living high. Colorado. The Rockies. The Himalayas. The Appalachians. The Smokies. The Atlas. The Alps. The Dolomites.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Mountains

    One brief shining: Leo lies on my rug, legs sprawled out, head down, sleeping or resting, while I sit here typing, hitting key after key with the automatic movements learned first in typing at Alexandria-Monroe High School, perhaps the class I’ve used the most in terms of daily activity, odd to contemplate though paws on the keyboard, a million dogs would not produce the Britannica.

     

    I slept in this morning. On purpose. Because I liked the feel. An oddity for me, yes, but fun in a I don’t have to so I won’t sorta way. Bright eyed and bushy tailed. Ever hear that one? Don’t think I’ve felt that way since I hit 70. Awake and alert, ready to go about the day, yes, but bushy tailed? Can’t recall the day. Maybe a feeling reserved for the get up and go ages of the twenties and thirties?

     

    MVP tonight. Rabbi Jamie on trust/compassion with the metaphor of rock. This small group at CBE supercharges my month. We’ve been meeting for years now, lost two members to death: Judy and Kate, and have gotten as close as a group can get. Figuring what I can make since we always bring food.

     

    So. An odd, kind of silly deal with my Snow tires. Jesus told me two of my Blizzaks were at 4 mm tread. I knew it, too. I took them back last year when a tech said they could go a little further. Nope. So Jesus offered me a deal. Salvation for two Blizzaks. I don’t know how they get away with that name even in Latino circles. Too many jokes, I’d think. Anyhow. He would give me a deal on two new ones. But. I’d have to leave the car until 1:30 pm. This was at 9:30 am. Nope. Put’em on.

    Drove home, ordered two new Blizzaks from Tire Rack.com. About $20 more than what Jesus had offered. Shoot. Going to big O in Evergreen on Friday to have them put on. I know. But I brought this on myself. Having good tread and good winter tires for Mountain roads? Perhaps not necessary, but prudent. And damned if I don’t have a real strong prudent streak. Always surprises me, too.

     

    Post conversion let down. Had such a buzz going the last month or so. Getting ready, making schedules, preparing myself for transformation. A peak on Tuesday in the mikvah. Slowly. Like air going out of a balloon. Life deflates. Not depressing, but a daily normal state over against a time of heightened anticipation, excitement. Maybe like the time after opening presents on Christmas morning. Gathering energy for the long haul now, a Jewish life until death.

    Although. I do have an inner calmness now. As if some vibratory mechanism in my inner world got turned off. That is the opposite of an excited state and I’m still getting used to it. Feels like I have enough time now, as if the future has gone quiet, not clamoring for a piece of me right now.

    Changes.


  • Too many Gabriels, or Jesus Opened My Door

    Samain and the Choice Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Stevinson Toyota. Leo. Blizzaks. Jesus/Gabriel. Ruby and her Snow shoes. A lowering of expectations. For me. Bright Sol. Watching dawn break over the Mountains on the way down the hill this morning. Lack of traffic. Agency. Taking care of business. Renailing a board on my house. Taking care of Leo. Changing tires. Making breakfast. You know. DD. Domestic duties.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Winter tires on Mountain roads

    One brief shining: Jesus opened my door and asked what were we doing today changing the oil and tires, check the front brakes, and I’m a waiter all right I’ll come find you when we’re done that’ll be fine and he did. Back home.

     

    Jesus’ first name is really Gabriel but there was a time when they had several Gabriels so he took up his middle name. It was on his name tag. But each time he texted me it came up Gabriel. I asked about it. No longer too many Gabriels, think I’ll go back to that now. This is Latino country out here. Too many Gabriels, but only one Jesus.

    Ruby needed a synthetic oil change and her Blizzaks. I sat in the waiting area in my usual spot well away from the everon television which people no longer watch. Cell phones and laptops.

     

    I first read an NYT article about Evergrande, the giant housing developer in China sinking below the default line. Lots of its execs are in jail now including the founder. Quite a mess since they took a third of an apartment’s price upfront, then failed to build millions of them. A lotta angry people. Including Xi Jinping. My son says China is much less worrying as an enemy when its economy is in crisis. Hope he’s right. Still, imagine all those poor aspiring home owners…

     

    This story has a Kate component. The next article I read I highly recommend: What It Takes to Save the Axolotl. The axolotl exhibits neoteny, that is, maintaining its juvenile form all its life. Not sure how that can be right. I mean if it maintains its juvenile form all its life that makes it its adult form, doesn’t it? Anyhow, a minor point.

    The axolotl thrived in the chinampas canals of an early Nahuatl people, the Xochimilcas. They had an agrarian Venice with plots of land bordered on all sides by water in canals. The chinampas had/have a fertility enriched by the soil dredged to build the canals. The chinamperos who farmed the chinampas grew vegetables, ate fish and axolotls from the canals.

    The axolotl has largely disappeared from Xochimilco, the area once outside of Mexico City where the chinampas way of life had been preserved. At least two different groups at different Mexican universities are working to restore the axolotl to its home environment. The one that interests me the most champions the original wetland farming methods of the chinamperos which used no pesticides or fertilizers. Pollution holds most of the blame for the axolotls no longer able to survive in the canals.

    Another part of the blame? Festive party boats, trajinera, that operate on the weekend. Kate and I visited Xochimilco in the mid-1990’s when she attended a meeting of the Physicians for Social Responsibility in Mexico City.

    It was so hot. I turned around while we waited for our trajinera to dock only to see Kate sitting on a large block of ice and fanning herself!

    It was a pleasant afternoon. Flat bottom boats came up close to us with mariachi bands, barbecued meat, and souvenirs. Music filled the air and the colorful trajineras floated up and down the canals of the ancient Xochimilca people. Not so good though for the axolotl. Which we didn’t even know were there.

    I’m going to adopt an axolotl through this website.

     

    Jesus/Gabriel called me. Ruby had finished her rounds of the tire changers and oil changers. Only thing left. Pay and go home.

     


  • The Animal Shall not be Measured by Man (sic)

    Samain and the Choice Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Snow. Cool night. Gray-white Sky as Snowflakes glide past the Lodgepoles. The three Mule Deer Bucks in the yard yesterday. One with a magnificent rack. Thanksgiving week. Urban Farmer. Ruth and her new (to her) Subaru. Gabe. Mia who calls me grandpa. Mezuzah hanging tomorrow. The Iliad. Hector and Paris and Menelaus. Helen. Agamemnon. Ajax. Odysseus. Achilles. Troy. Reading. Sangfroid. Veronica. The mikveh. Canceling Starlink.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Snow

    One brief shining: On Snowy days I’ll load a fire in the fireplace, get a cup of coffee, and pick up the current book, right now the Iliad, and take off into the world of Troy, of men who lived for war, of women so beautiful they were worth fighting and dying for, of the wine-dark sea and the rage of Achilles.

     

    No more Starlink. In my reason for cancellation I quoted Musk’s comment on X.* Back to DSL and Centurylink.

     

    Those three Mule Deer Bucks in the back yard yesterday reminded me of the three who greeted me on Samain 2014. I had come to Colorado for the closing. They were in the back, like these three, grazing calmly. I walked out of the lower level, not sure what to expect. I was brand new to the Mountains. We stayed a respectful distance from each other while staring intently into each others eyes. After a few minutes, we broke off. They returned to grazing and I went back inside. Altered.

    As I reflected on it later, and as I’ve said, I came to believe they were three Mountain spirits come to greet me, say it was all right for me to live here. That began my ongoing experience of my Wild Neighbors, of their world in which I’m just passing through. They come and go on their own schedules, according to their own needs and desires. Sometimes I am fortunate enough to see them, usually not.

    I’ll finish today with a quote that if I ever had a tombstone big enough I’d want to include on mine.

    “We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
    Henry Beston, The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod

     

    *”An X post Wednesday afternoon said: “Jewish communties (sic) have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.” The post also referenced “hordes of minorities” flooding Western countries, a popular antisemitic conspiracy theory.

    In response, Musk said: “You have said the actual truth.”” CNN.com


  • A Philosophical Day

    Samain and the Summer’s End Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Kippur, Rich’s new Dog. Leo. Kepler, my sweet boy. Kate, my sweetheart. Rich, a good friend. Joan. Ron. Marilyn. Tara. Jamie. Alan. Ruth. The solar Snow shovel. Dry needling. Mary. Spinal stenosis. Ruby. Dry roads. Mostly. Safeway. Ice cream. Shadow Mountain. Shadow Mountain Home. Starlink. Sushi. Crackers. Salmon. Sleep.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: My CBE family

    One brief shining: Went to Rich’s office yesterday to sign Powers of Attorney and met Kippur, the five-month old black and tan puppy Rich got as a foster and who bounced back as a rehome, Kippur came up as I sat on the couch, pawed me, licked my hand, looked me in the eyes, jumped up on the couch, put his head in my lap, then settled with his body snug against my left leg.

     

    First off. Buddy Tom and I got to talking yesterday. About weirdness. Quantum mechanics and agreeable electrons and photons. The lack of solidity in all things.   And how about that spooky action at a distance. The narrow sensory spectrum of human senses. Multiverses. Multiple dimensions. We didn’t wander over into time. But we did mention death. And the sacred. And how limited our grasp of things really is. How much we don’t know. How much is hidden from us. Could the sacred be the occasional glimpse into  quantum reality? Or, another dimension? Or, a multiverse? Sensory data beyond our capacity?

    And these are matters that have solid scientific data and theories behind them. Not some guy reading gold tablets on one side of a curtain. Or Mohammed listening to the angel. Yet they are all also as strange as salvation, heaven, a God. As strange as the Quran or the Tanakh or the New Testament. That was the morning.

    In the afternoon I went over to Rich Levine’s office to sign durable powers of attorney naming Joseph overall and Rich for Colorado. That’s when I met Kippur, the wonderful puppy. All puppies are wonderful, I should also say. Anyhow Rich and I got to talking about whether humans are hard wired for symbol making. A woman philosopher he learned about Tuesday night thinks so. She convinced Rich. Not sure at this remove what the implications of that were but Rich thought it was important.

    Rich teaches constitutional law at the Colorado School of Mines in, he said, “A country that no longer honors the constitution. We’re living in a post-constitutional time.” We also discussed Israel and Hamas. The sadness and dismay at being Jews given the way Israel is acting in Gaza. And yet…

    Also had a p.t. session with Mary in which she said, alarmed, “What’s that around your neck!” I thought I had a creature somewhere on me. Turns out she’d seen the flashing of my Medalert pendant. I usually turn it so the light flashes toward my chest, but apparently I hadn’t that time.

    Finished the day with MVP discussing the character trait, or middot, of silence. My practice for this month is to ask myself when am I? More on that at a later time.