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Friday, October 31, 2008

Election Special Edition

It use to be that you didn’t ask a fellow American about how much money he makes or what his financial situation was, or about his private life and for God’s sake never discussed politics, unless of course he was one of us not one of them.
If you wanted to discuss politics you got together with your political friends, people that had the same views as you and basically told one each other how right you were and how wrong the others were.
Of course those other people were never around for the debate.
So slowly after years and years of ignoring each other a huge schism has been created.
America is now divided between us and them, to the point of political civil war.

The other day I went to a kids Halloween party. The kids took over the back yard while the parents gathered into a corner by the barbeque.
To my total surprise 15 minutes into the party, a political debate ensued.
As you might now by now – if you read my posts – I am an X Republican.
Actually I believe I’m still a Republican, my values have never change but my political party some where has lost its direction.
For the first time I witnessed a real political debate, with passionate arguments, under the belt punches and clever setup traps.
The group divided in two opposite combat groups and two leaders arise.
The Republicans were lead by “John” and the Dems by “Jane” – not real names.

The battle started with the same old tired arguments, abortions, gay marriage and guns.
I didn’t even entered the debate because I consider these issues non political and just a distraction from the real problems.
Then the debate got more passionate and focused on Obama’s lack of experience.
I stepped in and asked, “Is experience just time in office and if that, is Fidel Castro the best president of the world, since he’s been in power the longest.
Is Dick Cheney the most qualified person to lead this country because he has the most experience?
My friend John was very disappointed on my betrayal and admonished me for not being a good republican – follow and don’t question type.
I said to him “John, if McCain was the democrat nominee would you vote for him?”
He said “Of course not!” I said “That’s exactly my point, you are voting for the republican party not for the country.”

The truth is that a president is as good as the people he chooses for his administration. When McCain choose Sarah Palin as running mate - for his own self interest, disregarding what America needs - I had a bad déjà view, of Bush forcing Colin Powel to resign and giving the job to kiss ass Condoleezza Rice.
Bush is the worst prez in history of USA because he has surrounded himself with incompetent, corrupted ass licking cronies and McCain shows exactly the same judgment.

November 4 is around the corner, and after months and months of grueling political debate the moment of truth is here. What will America choose? I am as curious as anybody else.
My prediction; Obama will squeeze in a victory.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The thirst for spirituality. Part IX

There is something spiritual and magic about old book stores and libraries.
Maybe is just the smell of old books bringing back forgotten childhood memories, or maybe there is a deeper spiritual connection I can’t explain, but every time I am in a library I feel connected to a higher wisdom and my creativity and inspiration take flight.
There was a public library by my apartment building where I would spend hours every day. I would take my stack of books go outside in the park, lay down under a majestic eucalyptus tree and read until my back start hurting.

In that park many days I would see this little old man meditating under a tree.
It was an intriguing little man with a strange smile on his face, like the cat that had swallowed a canary. It was a smile of total satisfaction coming from inside and it ticked me off with its serenity. One day I went and sat next to him in the shade. I said:
- Hi! Are you a Buddhist?
- Yes.
- What kind of Buddhist are you, what do you believe in?
- God.
- Which God?
He stopped for a moment and pierced me with his little biddy eyes.
- I don’t know… how many Gods are there?
- Well, uh, there is only one God.
- So, isn’t that a silly question to ask?
- No, not at all. There are thousand of religions and each one claims to represent the real God. So which one is the real one?
- Do you have a mother?
- Of course I have a mother. Isn’t that a silly question to ask?
- No, not really. There are millions of mothers out there. How do you know which one is your real mother.
So the little man is playing tough. I had to stop and think. Where is the catch? Ok. Lets play along and see where this goes.
- My mother is my mother because she made me.
- So, how come you don’t know who your father is?
I had this strange feeling that I was about to get a higher understanding, of something that had eluded me so many times before. I stood there my wheels spinning at hyper speed.
- You think, you can choose God like you choose a pair of shoes? …You choose the right one and you go straight to heaven, you choose the wrong one and you go straight to hell? …There is no choosing. Nobody has God. No religion, no country, no race no man has God. God has all of us, the Christians, the Buddhist, the Muslims, the Hindus and even the ones that don’t believe in God at all. We don’t make God, God made us. We don’t choose God, God chose us.
Well, I had to admit. That was something I never considered. There is no choice. God is my father and I couldn’t change that even if I wanted to. It is that it is and that’s all it is.
A question still remains. So I asked:
- So how does one relate to God?
- How do you relate to your mother?
- I love her more than anything in this world.
- Well if that’s good enough for your mother I believe it’s good enough for your father too.
- You don’t understand. It is not that simple… What should one think of God and how… how do you believe in God?
- It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what you believe about God or if you believe in God. What matters is what God believes about you. The question is not do you believe in God. The question is, does God believe in you?
I had no idea, no clue, no answer. I felt like a piñata after a Mexican birthday party.
My head, hurt, my heart ache. I stood up and stumble my way back home.
This little guy had just shattered my whole belief system in 5 minutes. I had to get some
Rest.

I recouped really fast and went back to my new find teacher armed with even more
questions, battling over every argument, from philosophy to politics.
He was a hard cookie to break.
Many time I would find him meditate and out of respect I would sit down beside him and
pretend that I was meditating too, although I would just sit there with my eyes closed
waiting for him to start talking.
One of those days sitting there “meditating” I let my mind wonder and in a flash of
lightning I had the revelation of God. It was such a shock that my whole body reacted
and I believe I groan so loud that I wake him up. I stood there stoned looking at him,
tears rolling down my face. He smiled at me and I knew he knew. I smiled back and he
knew that I knew.

After a life time of searching, after crossing an ocean and thousand of miles, finally I
found God. Not in a church, not in a bible but right here in my hart. He was always there,
all I had to do is say:
- Hi God!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Children and sex

I remember the life on the farm. It was a simple life, full of hard work but also full of rewards. But most of all it was real. It was that no frill, no nonsense approach to life that has molded my young character and in a way made me what I am today.

I remember one year when our cow had some problems delivering.
Her cry cut the night country silence like a knife. The whole family woke up and went to the barn to help her. My grand mother put her hands inside the cow and was trying to reposition the calf. My grandpa was holding the cows head and I was holding the kerosene lamp – yes we didn’t have electricity on the farm.
Finally the baby calf was born and the cow stopped her painful wailing.
My grandpa brought some warm water and started washing the baby calf while the cow was licking it. There was blood all over the ground and pieces of placenta in a small pile. But the little baby calf so fragile and so beautiful made everything so worth while and gave the place a feeling of purity.
Life had the power to sanctify the repulsiveness of the biological act.
Sex was part of life, part of the farm existence and in growing up, part of me.

At 7 I left my grand parents farm and joined my parents in the big city. The schools in the big city were much better and my parents wanted to give me a good education.
The big city was so strange to me, so weird and confusing.
The children at school didn’t like me very much and made fun of me – the farm boy – until one day when I kicked some but and suddenly became much respected.
I remember this discussion they had about the stork and the cabbage patch kids and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. Are you retarded? I said. Everybody knows women have sex with their husbands, get pregnant and deliver after 9 month. They laughed at me and then went straight to the teacher and informed her about the heresy I was spreading.
The teacher called me to the teachers lounge and asked me about the incident. She said “Who told you that?” I said Nobody. It was just the way it was. Life that I saw with my own eyes on the farm.
They called my mother to the school and I was sworn never again to tell anybody where the babies came from. I didn’t understand what the big fuss was all about. I thought everybody should know it. I mean what was the big deal after all.

Now I am a father of two beautiful, bright girls. We don’t offer any information on sex or sexuality to them, but we don’t lie if they ask any questions.
We had a little dog and we needed to fix her. The girls asked why and we explained it to them. No big deal.
My older daughter wants to be a veterinarian. We bought her a subscription to the Zoo book magazine. Some times the girls come and ask for some clarifications, like why a whale is a mammal and not a fish. We don’t hold back on the facts and they don’t find the facts of life inappropriate. They are just facts of life.
We have this wonderful book “Everybody poops” I wish they had one “Everybody has sex”
So what I’m trying to say is that we are not waiting for the girls to reach a certain age to give them the big talk about sex. They will find out about it even if we want or not and most likely if you don’t tell them the truth they will get wrong, distorted facts.
So when is the time to talk to your kids about sex? Any time they ask. How should you talk about it? As frank as possible. Don’t wait till they reach puberty to talk about sex.
Puberty is the time to talk about love, relationships, responsibility, commitment not sex. If you will wait that long you will not only make the conversation very awkward but probably give them the wrong signals, like now it is OK to engage in sex because you have reached this age.
Becoming an adult is such a complicated, difficult part of life don’t make your kids life even more complicated. Think about the embarrassing time you had when you got your big sex talk. I certainly remember mine.
I was about 16 and in the old country boys at that age were supposed to become men.
I remember my father talking to me:”Hey boy, how come you don do it, what’s wrong with you, what are you waitin’ for?” See, everybody else in the neighborhood has done it and I was the only one seemingly still a virgin.
So I wanted to make my pop proud, and I did it. I went to him and I said: Dad you can be proud of me now. Today I lost my virginity. “That’s my boy! Chip of the old block! So how did you like it?” He asked. I don’t know pop, my butt still hurts, but I’ll tell you the next time.
Strangely enough he never wanted to talk to me again about sex since.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The thirst for spirituality. Part VIII

I didn't want my relationship with God to be an one hour Sunday morning formal affair.
I wanted a religion that was an every day presence, an integral part of my life, and God in his infinite wisdom, and that screwy sense of humor of his, delivered it to my door.

Ring, ring, goes the bell. I opened the door and there they were.
The lovely bunch of people standing in front of me chirped in unison; " Good morning! Have you find Jesus today?"
Oh yes, my spiritual life was about to take a turn to the wild side.
If the "churchists" - I call the people that worship God by going to church once a week - were bad enough in their religious superficiality. My new found friends - I called them the "bibleists" - were the exact opposite. Religion was what they did 24/7. To be more precise, the study of the bible, which for them was a constant endeavor. They studied it so hard that the most advanced of them would reach a point that all their conversation was nothing but bible quotations.
They use the bible to justify anything and everything that was advantageous to them and their cause. You wanted a male prostitute, no problem, drugs, incest, theft, no problem. Jesus had already died for your sins and if you joined the bibleist you got yourself a free pass to heaven no matter what you did in this life.
And people wander why the moral fiber of America is falling apart. Well, when there are no more consequences to your acts, what do you expect?
On the other hand, if you didn't join them, no matter how decent of a human been you are, you were condemned to a faith worse than hell.
But even worse than the eternal damnation was trying to get out of the gang.
Once you joined them, it was like getting herpes, you have very little chances to get red of it. So I had to change my residence and disappear for a while until they lost my scent.
For now my church was an old book store and my temple the neighborhood library. My sermons were by Nietzsche and St Exuperie, my hymns by Mozart and Bach.
It looked that my quest for God had come to a dead end...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The thirst for spirituality. Part VII

So the coming Sunday I was all ready to go to church.
Imagine a Che Guevara all dressed up for a rollerskating disco night - a Steve Martin wild and crazy guy with beard - popping up at the neighborhood church for the Sunday morning mass. I was an instant hit!
The sermon was boring and uninspiring, a reading from the bible fallowed by a long and forced attempt to a moralized interpretation of the scripture. Then some guy passed the collection basket - which was a total surprise for me - I didn't have any money so I felt like a real shit head with the basket propped in front of me for what it felt like an eternity. After that the congregation split, with most of the people leaving and a few, mostly elderly ladies remaining for a cake and soda type of gathering.
I thought this was the moment for my pledge for help. "You should have come here last week, we had our monthly charity" They told me. But I don't want charity. I need help getting a job. "Why don't you come back next month, we'll have another charity" They answered.
Something was going on. The people were unwilling or unable to relate to me, or I wasn't able to express my need. I don't want charity I need help! I went back home very disappointed and depressed, my hopes and plans have totally back fired.
My girlfriend stopped by that noon but I was to bombed to go out. "Do you really, really want to get a job?" She asked. No! I want to be an unemployed bum and have you pay for all the diners and movie tickets for the rest of my life. What kind of retarded question was that? She took a minute to gather her strength and then she said: " If you want to get a job, you have to cut your hair, trim or shave your beard, get a blue or dark suit, white shirt and tie." And why was this such a big secret that nobody wanted to tell me? "They didn't want to hurt your feelings." So, let me get this straight; seeing a man crumbling in despair and poverty was OK but for God's sake don't tell him to shape up cause it might hurt his feelings?
I don't get it.
So I took her advice and, bingo! I landed a job.
I went back to the church for another Sunday morning mass. What a difference a job and a 3 piece suit makes! I was welcomed and even asked to help with the next charity event - being that I could speak immigreeze. I said to them: What the immigrants need is not a fish meal but the knowledge and skill to fish for themselves! Bad idea. It didn't go well with the natives. It turns out the only thing they were interested in was the handouts, the "charity work" as they put it. The one day a month when they will have something to do with the needy without getting too close or too involved with their lives.
I realized that church was just a place where they went once a week for an hour to bribe their way into heaven. Going to church had nothing to do with spirituality, it was just a way to wash away the guilt so Monday morning they would go back to their Northrop jobs, building stealth planes and intelligent bombs. - Isn't that an oxymoron, "intelligent bombs"? Aren't bombs inherent stupid?
Any way, this church going thing was not what I was looking for. I didn't want to join a religion just to buy my sins off and get a free pass to heaven. I wanted Gods acknowledgment of my existence. I wanted Gods love and presence in my life 24/7 not only on a Sunday morning inconvenient intermission.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The thirst for spirituality. Part VI

After learning English, my second most important task was to get a job.
I thought that having a college degree would make it easy, but all I got was “You’re overqualified for this position” or “We will call you back” which they never did.
I had only negative experiences and I was getting a little scared and depressed. What was I doing wrong?
One Sunday morning a compatriot friend showed up to my door and said to me “let’s go to the church. Today they have a big handout for the immigrants”
I hated the idea of handouts; all I wanted was to be off welfare and be on my on feet. I thought; what the heck, if they are willing to give away food and clothing, how hard would it be to get some advice. Besides I needed some urgent divine intervention in my life, so a trip to church seemed like an excellent idea. So way to church we go.
The church was a pleasant surprise. Unlike the old European churches of massive stone, dark and gloomy with the constant reminder of impending death on every corner, the American church was open and luminous like a celebration of life. The people were extremely nice handing out the care packages especially to the families with children. I tried to approach some of them on a more personal level but there was a strange resistance, a feeling that they did not wanted to stray from their charity mission, so I backed off, went inside the church and pray.
It felt really good and for a moment I felt like I finally find a home for my wary, tired soul. I decided to come back again the next Sunday.
My friend was very disappointed in me “I can’t believe you didn’t get your package. You could have saved your money and buy some beer and smokes” But I wasn’t thinking of beer. I was thirsty for something more…

Row, row, row your boat…

Let’s imagine for a minute that you are in heaven.
Here you are singing praise to the lord day after day and doing all the other heavenly things you do in heaven - you can see my knowledge of heaven is pretty lousy – So after an eternity or two you begin to get bored. How much perfect everything can one soul stand?
So you go to God and say. Father this is getting pretty boring. You are God for God‘s sake can’t you come up with something fun to do?
So God comes up with this crazy idea.
Let’s open a water park. I’ll make a ride for you, I’ll call it life. I’ll make these tubies we’ll call them human bodies, you get on one of them and I’ll push you down this stream of water called time. To make it more interesting I’ll make some up and downs some unexpected turns, dark tunnels, whirlpools, the works. What do you say?
So you say hurray put me on. And here you are going down the stream, kicking and screaming and then you get to the bottom and say: Whew! That was fun! Let’s do it again.
OK. So let’s supposed that I am wrong, this life is not a water park ride.
This life is absolutely and completely serious business.
So here I am in my tubie – I have a body don’t I? And here you are in yours going down the river of time.
You can’t stop time from flowing, can you? No matter what you do, tomorrow the sun will rise. No matter what you do, you will go up and you will go down, - you’ve been doing it until now, right? Well it is going to be just the same from now on and at the end of the trip there is a 6 foot hole waiting for you.
So why are you kicking and screaming for? Slow down and sing with me:
Row, row, row, your boat, happy down the stream.
Merely, merely, merely. Life is but a dream!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Zen Thoughts

Buddha gathered his disciples at a lake on Gridhakuta for instruction.
His adherents sat in a circle about him eagerly awaiting his teachings.
Wordlessly Buddha reached into the muck and pulled up a single lotus flower. He then held it high for all to see.
Practically everyone was bewildered. But then the disciple Mahakashyapa began to laugh.
Finally, Buddha handed the lotus flower to Mahakashyapa and said,
“What can be said I have said to you, and what cannot be said, I have given to Mahakashyapa.”
...

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The thirst for spirituality. Part V

All new coming immigrants have a choice to make: Live in the little enclave of their native community or embrace and fully integrate into the American society.
The people that come over here solely for financial gains stay in their community. They choose a life on the fringe of society and legality, taking advantage of the welfare system and funneling all the money they make back into their former country, on the hope that one day they will go back and live a life of leisure.
The others, like me, learn the language start a career, pay taxes and usually don’t want to have too much to do with their fellow countryman, unless they share the same ideal of American integration.
My first priority after settling down was to learn English.
The best tools to learn English are a TV and a dictionary. For the first 6 month I lived with my TV on 24/7. It wasn’t only to learn the language but also a window into the psyche and culture of the American people – at that time I had no idea how distorted that representation was.
I discovered Johnny Carson and “The twilight zone” and one late night I discovered “Tele Evangelism”
That night I laughed so hard I thought I’d burst a seam. I thought to myself: This is really brilliant! This stuff is even better than “Saturday night live” But then after a couple of nights I realized that it wasn’t a skit.
Those people with the healing of the crippled and the blind were dead serious.
My first encounter with American spirituality was a shock. In the country that had the most Nobel Prize winners and had put a man on the moon, this three ring circus was the best they could offer?
According to these morons God had not finished his job after 7 days – as I knew from my little biblical knowledge. God that had created the universe and life as we know it suddenly on the 7th day became impotent and called upon the televangelists to do his job. That job mainly involved collecting money. Lots and lots of money – apparently God not only lost his powers but also was totally broke.
I couldn’t stop the words of Karl Marx from popping to my head “Religion is the opiate of the masses”.
I wasn’t just disappointed I was totally disgusted.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

How to accomplish more

Also known as the 4D recipe.

It goes like this: Divide, Delegate, Do, Dump.
1) DIVIDE
“The universe is made of atoms. If you can move an atom, you can move the universe.” Before starting any task, divide it up in smaller parts – even if you think you can do it all at once.
2) DELEGATE
Have some one else do the work for you. A co worker, a professional or specialist, family members, relatives, friends etc.
3) DO
If you can’t delegate the work, it is time for you to do it.
If it seems too big, complicated or hard to do, go back to steps 1 & 2.
If you can’t divide your task in smaller parts and can’t find anybody to delegate, go to step 4.
4) DUMP
“The art of winning is the art of managing your loses”.
I’ve seen so many people stuck in failed, dysfunctional relationships or dead end jobs, not knowing when and how to quit. Time is the most valuable asset you have. So, stop wasting time on dead ends and move on to a new task.
Good luck!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The thirst for spirituality. Part IV

My first glimpse of America: I’m glued to the plane’s window looking at the emerald green lawns, the houses and the glittering pools. One in every backyard! My god, this must be where the rich people live. After about 30 minutes of the endless Los Angeles suburban sprawl, my brain starts searing. I ponder in awe: If all those people are millionaires, where do the poor people live? And this is just the beginning.
If I would tell you I started my life from zero it would be an understatement. I have left behind, everything I had and known; family, friends, my job, home, my culture, my language. And here I was all alone in a strange land, without speaking a word of English.
I did my shopping by pictures. Here is a can of beans, b-e-a-n-s, beans, and another word down. Imagine my shock getting on the pet food isle for the first time. Here is a can of cat. CAT??? It takes me a minute or two to realize …they have can food for the pets!
Welcome to the land of plenty!
You my think it must have been the hardest, most terrible, awful, time of my life. Hard yes, but also the happiest time of my life. It was the time of infinite possibilities, the time of unbounded hope. I would wake up in the morning with a smile on my face, ready to take on the world, and I would go to bed exhausted and some times hungry, but with the same smile on my face. This was the time of miracles and wonder. I was living my dream.
You see, I believe I was born American. I had life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness flowing in my veins from the first day. It just happened that I was born at the wrong time in the wrong place.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The thirst for spirituality. Part III

Life behind the iron curtain was very predictable. The daily routine almost mechanical. You go to your assigned work in the morning, pretend to work for 8 hours – the slogan was “you pretend to pay us, we pretend to work for you” pretty much like government work over here. You get out work, go sit in line for a couple of hours, and if lucky get some meat, or sugar, or if really, really lucky even coffee! But we kept up our spirits and often joked about the appalling conditions. Do you know the recipe for a communist sandwich? One salami ration coupon, between two slices of bread! Then you go home and turn on the TV to watch the party approved politically correct international news. The news were pretty much on the same subject: the horrible life of the American worker. The announcer would start with some sensationalistic remark on the always worsening conditions of living in US. “Workers strike in US!” Cut to some Detroit auto worker getting out his car, picking up a sign and getting in the picket line. Then for good measure, some beautiful dreamy sequences of communist paradise – that we were supposed to get some day soon, hence another slogan “from misery to misery, to the final victory” That was supposed to make us happy about our superior way of life but all I could think was: That fat American bastard, has a fat American car and he’s going on strike??? Nobody in my family has a car, nobody in the whole neighborhood! You finish your supper, brush your teeth and go to bed. There is no prey, no thanks giving. God his dead and you are alone in the darkness. Sleep is the sweet suicide that kills the pain of the day; we sleep and dream of the land of plenty... America.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The thirst for spirituality. Part II

In my first year of high school in social studies we started the course titled “scientific socialism” all you ever wanted to know about Karl Marks, Engels, Lenin and Mao. BTW I recommend “The Capital” not a bad reading. The only problem with any perfect social order is that it can’t exist. Nobody seems to realize that in order to have a perfect society you need to have perfect people. So what started as a good idea – the Bolshevik revolution – got high jacked by an asshole, psychopathic maniac –Stalin – and it ended up with the Gulag and the genocide of 20 million Russians. (Pretty much the blue print for all subsequent communist revolutions) On the third year we started another course titled “scientific atheism” also known as Christianity’s dirty little secrets and crimes against humanity that you’ll never hear in a Sunday morning sermon. It was a collection of gory details of inquisition tortures, murder, rape and pillage of the crusades, more of the same of Spanish conquistadores, greed, lust and corruption of the Vatican and church clergy and so on. Like I said a lovely collection of historical facts designed to turn us against God. Of course the problem was that God didn’t have anything to do with what the church did so the anti divine argument didn’t have much traction. So they bring in the ultimate anti God weapon: The scientific argument. I remember this teacher asking the class “Have any of you seen God?” I raise my hand, and then answer “Do you have a mind comrade teacher? He replied “Yes of course” So I asked him “Have you seen it?” A puerile argument I may say, but it landed me in the principal’s office. I was not allowed any more comments and questions if I were to finish high school. So pretty much I had to burry my question and quest for a latter day. So to college I went. The halls of higher learning, the temple of truth. BS. Things just god from bad to worse and I was on a collision course with the authorities. They said that I was corrupted by the capitalist ideology and propaganda; they called me an antisocial element and an instigator. Pretty much I had kept my big mouth shut and pretend that I agreed with them. It was at that time that de idea of defecting came to my mind. It was just a dream but the seed was planted and the future was set even if I didn’t know it then.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The thirst for spirituality. Part I

I was born and raised in Eastern Europe at a time when the iron curtain was still separating the globe in two different ideological worlds. I remember as a kid going to church with my grand parents. What a drag! (they had to drag me there) The church was dark and scary, with paintings of hell and all those weird looking saints with big piercing eyes starring at me. The smoke from the candles and incents was so thick it was giving me a headake each time. The sermons were long and boring and I hated dressing up in my Sunday clothes and those insufferable shoes. When I left my grandparents farm I vowed never to go to church again. It was in high school at that age when you start asking questions about the world around you and the meaning of it all, when I went to a local church everybody was talking about. I went because I was searching for God or at least some answers about him. At the pulpit there was a young priest all fired up, talking about the coming of a revolution of the spirit. The people were mesmerized. Somebody from behind approached me and whispered in my ears. “You look like a smart kid, you shouldn’t be here, go home!” There was something ominous in his voice. I turned around and he gave me this intense look, then turned around and left. I went home and told my folks the story. They forbade me to go back. The punishment for going to church was expulsion from school. That for you, my fellow Americans is what separation of church and state meant in a communist country, and I see the push for that kind of separation going on right here right now. Of course you have a choice they said, you can choose between public education and church. I never went back. The young priest got “transferred” and I forgot about him. But those questions have remained and that thirst for spirituality never quenched, no matter how hard they try to turn me away from God.

I hate to say, I told you so!

He he he, ho ho ho, LMAO! Watching all the finance and economy “experts” explain what just happened with the stock market today. Where were they a day ago, a week ago, and a month ago? Folks open up your brain. If you listen to the guy that makes a living on selling houses you are most than likely in a foreclosure or at least in deep shit. If you listen to all the so call experts on the stock market you will be taken to cleaners. Read all my posting starting with “The sky is falling, the sky is falling” on 29 September. I’ve been predicting this for weeks now – certainly with a margin of errors, but I’m telling you, the market is up and will end high at the end of the year. Watch for the swings and get in! Buy low sell high. That’s the way they do it and you have to catch the waves they create since you are to damn small to control the market. So my prediction. Clear weather for 2008 nasty storm coming at beginning of 2009. Watch my postings for better refined and more accurate timing. Do not take my advice as Gods word but please, consider my opinion in making your financial decisions. If you have any questions please drop me a comment. May god be with you and:

Be Loved!

Friday, October 10, 2008

To fear or not to fear.

Whenever I feel tempted by fear (like these last couple of days) I do my decomposing (or composting, if you prefer thinking in positive terms) meditation. I go to my Zen temple – Here in Hollyweird for some reason they call it “Public Park” I lay down under this ginormous tree (it is essential to feel the grass, and the earth pressing against your body) I look up at the sky and the leaves, and I drift away into this reverie. I close my eyes and see myself like on one of those national geographic videos where the time takes off at hyper speed. I grow older, and older, white beard, long hair, season after season changing, then I pass away. My hair falls off, leaves and ground cover up my corpse, bugs eat my flesh, bones crumble into pieces turning into the compost that's feeding this amazing tree. And I become branches and leaves and flowers. And I open my eyes and I scream at the top of my lungs: Fuck the fear! And the winos lift their brown bags and cheer “-All right, Buddha!” And we all laugh, and I go to pick up my kids from school.

PS: This blog is inspired by and dedicated to:
http://www.thisbrazenteacher.blogspot.com/

Fat Chance!

I’m still browsing the blogosphere in search of intelligent life. So looking for some advice on health and fitness I stumbled upon this blog about loosing weight and dieting. It was so sad that I decided to write a post about it. Here it is:

Let me tell you a little dieting secret you’ll never hear on Oprah: Healthy, slim, normal people don’t diet! To listen to all the experts that have lost 300 pounds tell you how to lose weight is like taking advice from a crack addict on how to stop smoking! Overweight is not a problem. Overweight is a symptom, for God’s sake. The problem is your dysfunctional relationship you have with your food. To go on a diet is to replace your dysfunctional relationship with your food with an even more dysfunctional one! That’s why diets do not work. Dieting is not a normal way of living. Once again: Look at your normal friends. They do not diet! Why are they then not fat? Because they have a normal relationship with their food. Yes relationship. – Don’t give me that BS excuse: they have good genes. I used to be a therapist and I dealt a lot with overweight people. The problem is always the same. People use food as a crutch. Some people use it as a love substitute, lover substitute, self esteem substitute, sex substitute so on and so forth - those are the most common problems - but you’ll have to get professional help to figure out why do you over eat. Yes, it all starts in your mind. To change your eating habits you have to change the way you think and feel about food. Without that you’ll never lose weight. If a diet works 1 in a 1000 is by pure accident – like gaining back your self confidence once you see yourself slim in the mirror. But trust me if your relationship with food doesn’t change, same forces that have made you gain weight in the first place will put your weight back and then some. So before embarking yet on another diet, think about you chances you have to succeed.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Satori


-Why blind people hate sky diving?
-It scares the shit out of the dogs.
It’s a joke. Do you get it? If you get it you’ll laugh, if you don’t you will be offended, if you are not even offended you’ll just stare confused and ask for an explanation. I had a friend like that, he always asked me to translate my jokes for him. (You know the type ;) So I would go: Blind people have seeing dogs, so if they sky dive they have to drag the poor dogs out of the plane and that makes the dogs very uncomfortable. But of course, when you explain a joke like that, the joke is not funny any longer. So he would go: Aaaha! Like he understood it. But he missed the whole point entirely. I was telling him the joke because I wanted to make him laugh not to give him a hard time.

Two hands clap and there is a sound; what is the sound of one hand clapping?
It’s a koan. Do you get it? If you get it, you got satori, if you don’t you’ll think it is a stupid or absurd question and if you don’t even think that it is stupid or absurd, you’ll just stare confused and ask for an explanation. So I’ll give you the answer: Silence – You need two hands to clap. You need silence to have sound, and sound to have silence. One cannot exist without the other, like the two sides of a coin or two ends of a rope. Technically speaking pure pressure on your year drums will sound like nothing at all. You need the constant switching between pressure and no pressure to make a sound. Two hands pressed together make no sound either. You have to clap. It's the yin yang thingy! But of course when a koan is explained like that you miss the whole point entirely.










The master has nothing to teach his students that that they already don’t know. (Well at least the real ones) He does not give his student a koan so the students have something to study, understand and learn, because there is nothing to study, understand or learn.
I know you purists out there will go: So how come you are doing this? Because I am a bad teacher. Actually I’m not even a teacher, I’m just a pissed off individual. And I know what you are thinking: So if you call yourself a buddha how come you are pissed off? Aren’t enlightened people suppose to be serene, on a plane above mundane? Oh well... if they choose so.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Back in business!

So the stock market (DJI) plunged to 9000 although my prediction was that it would take off the other way after the bailout (see “the pie in the sky” post on Oct 2). Well at least half of the prediction was correct – congress passed the bailout $700 billion. So do I still predict the market will go up now when the Dow is in free fall? Yep. I’ll betcha!
See I’m doing a bit of investing myself. I have 2 IRA accounts with TD Ameritrade – good company to work with, I had only good experiences with them. – So I had 20K floating around waiting for the market to bottom out so I can do some bargain shopping.
I don’t follow the “pros” advice, - I’ll tell you on another post why that doesn’t work – rather I fallow what the big investors do – like Warren Buffet – the greatest investor of our times IMO. When he started dumping billions into the market, I said to myself, time to jump in. Warren knows much more than I do and if he thinks is a good idea to invest, so do I. But the market took a turn for the worst. I’m down 10% on my investment – can you imagine how much $ Warren loss? I’ll tell you how much $0. It’s all an illusion baby! Like the Zen master Yogi Berra said “It aint over, till it’s over!” Let’s not forget that on November 4 all congress seats are up for re election. If the market goes up, all the congressman that voted for bailout will have bragging rights. If the market goes down a lot of them will join the unemployment lines. So you see, Wall Street owes them a big favor. Would they let the congress down? I personally think they wouldn’t.
But, everything is possible! – In a wicked way I hope I’m wrong and the market crashes, I’d like to hear them squeal!
27 days to November 4! Watch the stock market tomorrow!

Where the truth lies

Part I – The accidental truth.
Long time ago I had a very nasty car accident. There were several motorists that witnessed the accident and stopped to help. When the police arrived and started taking testimonies from them, to my surprise their stories were not as I recalled the accident happening. Further more, one of the witnesses even went to say that the accident was my fault. I couldn’t believe it! Why a complete stranger with no vested interest in the case would lie like that? Or maybe he wasn’t lying, he was honest but wrong. Was he then telling the truth? Then… what is the truth?
There is no universal accepted definition of truth and the subject is still out for debate. The classical definition of truth deals with how well a statement represents the actual facts or things it describes. So a painting, lets say, it is true to the degree it reflects the reality, hence a photography will be better but still limited to a two dimensional representation, while a hologram will be even closer to reality, but in an absolute sense not real. So reality is the only absolute truth. For more than 2000 years we have been trying to bring our language closer and closer to that realty with direct, explicit, clear words. At the same time our vocabulary has developed to reflect the social, political and economical trends, specifically the male dominance in the society. The rise of women rights movement in US brought those discrepancies in the lime light. The argument was that the male culture and language promotes sexism and discrimination against women and had to be changed to reflect the equality of sexes. So mankind became humankind, stewardess became flight attendant; policeman became officer, chairman chairperson, man made synthetic, fireman fire fighter and so on. The changing of the wrongdoings of the past was done not as a favor to women but as justice. The new words were not a departure from the truth but rather a better reflection of the man, woman equality. And this is the most important most misunderstood and abused thing about the truth. This misunderstanding has started a new trend in the American language to change the vocabulary not to serve the truth but to accommodate certain human sensibilities thus in the 80’s the “politically correctness” movement was born. The crippled became handicapped, the retarded are now mentally challenged, fat people are overweight, midgets are little people, old people are senior citizens and dead people are expired. Why? Are those words a better reflection of reality? Do they hold a higher truth? No. Fat people are still fat, old people are not getting any younger and stupid people are not getting any smarter. Are we really doing them a favor by pretending that we don’t see their condition? Do really deaf people say “I don’t like the sound of that word, I prefer to be called hearing impaired.”? Isn’t African American as racist word as black, since it makes the same artificial discrimination. There is only one race, the human race; shouldn’t we all be called just human beings?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Confessions of a junk news junkie

It was not a long time ago when I would spend endless hours in front of my TV and laptop, ingesting more “information” – read junk – than any human being could possibly digest. I was up; I was down, ecstatic or terrified. Like Rocky in an epic fight I was taking punch after punch – the war, the primaries, the debates, the mortgage mess, and every time I would get up and ask for more. It was on that faithful Monday 9-29-08, watching the stock market collapsing before my eyes, white knuckles, gasping for breath, desperate like a drowning man, looking for some sign of hope, for something to hang to, when I broke down. Defeated I went to my back yard and started pruning my orange tree. I asked myself – why are you killing yourself for? And the answer came to me: “NOTHING” It’s all an illusion folks! The war, the stock market, the elections, just an illusion. You know what the funny thing is? For the last 25 years I’ve been working in Hollywood in the illusion factory. Yup, I was one of the people that brought to you the soaps, the “reality” shows, the infomercials… yet I was the one watching the TV an unable to see the BS, damn we are really that good! Let me tell you a little secret about TV. How you can tell if something is real or fake: - If it is on TV it is fake! Do you think you are watching the news? Nope! You are watching a puppet show. Behind any anchor man or woman, behind every political candidate there is an army of professional people “experts” in charge of research, polling, analyzing and telling them what to say, how to say it, what to do and how to do it. Everything from the attire and shoes to the hair style, the way they smile, wink or gesticulate is measured, rehearsed and carefully choreographed. Hoards of political analysts are constantly poling and analyzing what you think, what you want, what you like and dislike. Everything is design for one thing and one thing only: Mass control and manipulation. The politicians will say and do anything to win and keep an election. If the experts say “change” has traction with the public opinion McCain will embrace change and talk about it like its own idea! If the experts say being a pacifist is a bad idea, Obama will become more hawkish than a right wing republican! By November 4th, they both will sound just the same, the only thing different will be the color of their skin. Don’t fool yourself. There is no original thought out there, no genuine, honest, open expression. Everything is scripted, rehearsed and acted. You are watching a puppet show!
I stopped watching TV. Now I get my news on the net. The news I want, the news I choose. I started my own blog – as you can see. It was just a way of venting out my frustration but now I really started to enjoy it. My next project: Looking for intelligent life on the net. I know there is a community and a place out there where I belong, and I’m sure I’m going to find it. Wish me good luck.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

THE PIE IN THE SKY

Back to Business. My favorite study subject, the workings of Wall Street and their lackeys, the Washington bureaucracy.
If you haven’t been scared out of your wits yet – see the Sept 28 blog - “the sky is falling” and the end of the world is upon us if we don’t act quickly – translation: Wall street has already decided it wants more hand outs and we are going to give it to them. They have now started “the pie in the sky” campaign – selling to you the idea that taking money out from your pocket and giving it to the banks is actually doing you a favor. Money – they say – will start flowing down the road like water. You want a new loan, no more problems! A new better, bigger house, no sweat! Cars, credit cards, student loans, a big fat pay check, they all are yours if you just stop bitching, pull your pants around your ankles and bend over. Keep on dreaming! The day they pass the bailout bill your credit problems will only get worse – see Sept 29 blog. The good news is that the stock market will take off up into the stratosphere – which will be sold to you as proof that the economy is fixed and their rescue plan has worked superbly - just in time for the elections – reassuring the public in the wisdom and foresight of our brilliant new leader. The bad news is that nothing has or will be fixed, this temporary band-aid will last till the beginning of ’09 and then the ugly head of fundamental economical problems we have, will rear its ugly head again. But don’t worry they already have thought of that. Yes sire! I forgot to mention the election of Obama as first American black president. Yuppie! What, you didn’t know he was elected, oh well about 4- 5years ago? Sorry I mean “made president” cause presidents are made not elected. Oh yah! Other wise how do you think they’ll raise you taxes – which BTW is how - they will explain to you – the economy will be fixed. The new American deal –we all go green – broken but environmentally friendly. And so we keep on going:
– From misery to misery, to the final victory!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Confessions of an X republican

I was a registered, loyal republican all of my life. I believed in small government and small government involvement, no income taxes, balanced spending budgets, strong defense and strong family values, heck I still believe in that. But I just realized something: My party does not believe in that anymore. They say they are but they don’t. They will tell you anything you want to hear. They will promise you anything to get your vote and then turn their backs on you. What did YOU get after 8 years of republican rule? How many of the promises made before the elections have they fulfilled? Do you think McCain will be any different? Do you think Obama will be any different? I don’t think so! I don’t think they will deliver even 50% of what they are promising right now. Heck if they would deliver even that, I would say it would be a miracle, but all you going to get is more excuses and more finger pointing as always. No real reform, no real progress, no real change. This year I grew tired of being used and abused. I left the party and now I am an independent. And no, I’m not asking you to do the same. I just want to say something: Republicans, democrats or independent makes no difference at the gas pump. We all get ripped off the same. We all get taxed the same and if you are in foreclosure right now it makes no damn difference the way you voted 4 years ago or the way you are going to vote this year. This voting thing is just a scam. It’s like putting new tires on an old junk car. It may look different but it would’t make the car run any better. I don’t believe it will make any difference who wins this election because the problem is not the president, the problem is the congress. You my get a new president but don’t forget you still have the same congress and that means one thing for sure. NOTHING WILL GET DONE. Bipartisanship, union and harmony? Come on, let’s be real! If you believe in that I've got a nice bridge to sell to you – it has an unbelievable view, you can see Russia from it ;) What we really need is term limits on congress and senate. They spend too much time in power and you know how it is – power corrupts. They are too cozy with the special interest groups and lobbyists, who have more saying in running this country than you do. I think without changing the way congress runs, it will be just business as usual in Washington. At least that is my opinion. If you have a different solution or opinion I’d like to hear it. And please don’t call me a traitor. I did not betray my party, my party betrayed me!