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  • hardie karges 3:02 pm on October 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , push button,   

    Push-button Society, al borde de un ataque de nervios… 

    That’s what we Americans are, a push-button society, coddled and cuddled, just push a button for everything, then don’t even wait for the results, just assume that the button delivers the goods as ordered, even more so now that we’re all digital, with digital demands and digital expectations, virtual commands and virtual libations, all bundled in one perfectly-priced package and displayed for consumption…

    These buttons all connect to machines, off course, machines designed to make our lives better, supposedly, but in reality divorcing us from the very source of our own being, Nature, while killing that very source, too, so to leave us with nothing, eventually, no machines and no Nature, either, victims of our own excess, and our own unreasonable expectations. Hey, at one point, there were even push-button cars, trying to get women interested, I suppose, by allowing you to shift gears by button. Remember counter-top blenders? (More …)

  • hardie karges 12:26 pm on October 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: fuel, gasoline   

    Running on Empty 

    When I got into my van this morning, then cranked it up, I noticed a warning light on the dash that I’d never seen before. “Warning!” it screamed, with a slightly Midwestern accent. Probably no big deal, of course, but you never know, like the time I got a warning about my wheels, or my tires, not sure, so got worried, like maybe I’m about to lose an axle on I-10.

    Turned out to be a warning about tire pressure, so I had it checked in Banning, CA, they deflating all the tires uniformly, then re-checked in Tucson, AZ, because the light never went off, they re-inflating all the tires and cursing everything Californian, finally getting the light and dash message to go off, also.

    But this was a different light, never seen it before, and shaped like a gas pump, so must mean: Yeow! When’s the last time I filled the tank? I can’t even remember. That tells you how often I drive. I’d drive even less if I didn’t have a hostel to run. I made do without a car for five years in LA, which tells you as much about modern LA as it does about me. It’s better now. Me? Meh, good question… (More …)

  • hardie karges 7:39 am on October 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

    Trading God for Cosmic Energy (at pfennigs on the thaler)… 

    If you were like me, child of God-fearing parents and long Sunday mornings, lost in the deserts of Palestine in search of God or mammon or meaning or meatloaf, then you either resent that steepled ‘spired stupa’d snow-job or you got lost in the desert sand-job. Now maybe you even laugh at those who take comfort in their ‘invisible friend’ of wrath and redemption or maybe you take comfort in warm fuzzy atheism, complete with images of brutalist architecture and heavy-duty condoms…

    …or maybe you figured why throw out babies with bathwater, so decided to get all spiritual—NOT RELIGIOUS—and picked up some New Age training tapes, full of quasi-pseudo-science, complete with uncertain principles and stringy theories and quantum leaps and jumps through hoops of illogical syllogisms and irreconcilable silly jism lying lifeless on roadsides and undergarments…

    …promising you communion and redemption and transcendence and deliverance, all at reasonable prices. You’d be polishing the halo on your ‘energy body’ and getting in touch with your spirit being ASAP. There’s only one problem: there’s no proof of any of it. We’re back to religion’s square one, just without the god: belief. We’ve traded our invisible God friend for an invisible energy field. Even acupuncture, which I tend to think of as something that works, can only prove how with the help of a sympathetic culture to back it up. All of which is to say: Asian scientists find proof; Western scientists don’t. (More …)

  • hardie karges 1:25 pm on October 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Indians, Western movies   

    I Never Liked Western movies, not really… 

    …until now, that is, what with all the cowboys and Indians fussing and fighting, and people getting knocked over the head with gun butts—not good. Back in the 60’s and/or 70’s, there was much “to-do” over violence on TV, with all the ensuing Congressional committees and so on and so forth, which all seems rather quaint now, what with violence many times over that now standard fare on evening TV, and sex out the wazoo, the yin-yang, the whatever, you name it…

    With regard to the violence, the concern was that kids would see the gratuitous stuff and emulate it at home and elsewhere. I’d say that sentiment proved prescient, given the current level of violence in the USA, now just a major Reality TV show. Even all the hubbub over ‘Natural Born Killers’ long ago seems quaint now, even though it made it to the halls of Congress (the fact that Quentin Tarantino intended it as humor seemed lost on them, though not future fans of ‘Pulp Fiction’)…

    But the proof was more personal, the fact that I walloped my older brother over the head with the butt end of a toy gun to great fanfare, distress and concern, and loss of liberties to myself (sent to my room, with no conjugal visits). No, that did not go over well, and my protests that, “All the cowboys do it,” didn’t seem to help. No, I was in deep do-do. Nevertheless, I survived, but will we?

    Now I like watching Western movies strictly for their historical value. After all, when that genre was all the rage in the 50’s, there were still people alive who knew that era first-hand, and even if they got much of their visual input from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows, still there was a direct line of transmission from the authentic previous era of the 1880’s, if not the 1850’s. The Oregon Trail is still there, if you know where to look, and so is Silver City, NM. In fact the old West is pretty much still alive, if you know where to go, not Italy, maybe Argentina, guns optional…

  • hardie karges 9:26 am on October 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Modern Religion: Waiting for Godot, or ET, or the Eternal NOW… 

    Buddhist Temple in Laos

    Buddhist Temple in Laos

    I’ve always marveled at how certain songs just feel good, regardless of whatever words are being sung, while other songs are sad for the same reason, something about minor keys, I think. Words are the same way, it seems, especially when you’re trying to get all philosophical. I mean: nobody really wants to hear about categorical moral imperatives—borrrring. But everybody loves to hear about the ETERNAL NOW, philosophy in a spray-can, shake well before using, get in touch with your energy, etc. Why are such words and ideas attractive?

    Simple, dahling: because it feels so good, and it can’t be proven or dis-proven—nice touch. We Western Europeans used to exult in our rationality, our Age of Reason, beyond superstition and the dictates of the Mother Church. And it worked fantastically—up to a point. We still love the fruits of such labor, but not the labor itself, and the discipline that achieved it in the first place. Now we want all that and superstition, too, but without the church, thank you. That means New Age fad religions and pop psychology and life-coaching: people who can’t run their own lives will try to tell you how to run yours. Isn’t it wonderful to be alive in 2015 with so many options? (More …)

    • mary 11:19 am on October 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      serendipidy, now that is a good word, joe powers told me what it means, i still miss him.

      • hardie karges 11:33 am on October 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Tales of Serendib, ancient Sri Lanka, world’s oldest continuously Buddhist country… .

  • hardie karges 1:24 pm on October 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Catholicism, indulgences   

    The Sale of Chocolate Indulgences in 2015… 

    Me: Bless me, father, for I’m about to sin…
    Priest: Sorry, we don’t give pre-clearances, whatcha’ got in mind, anyway? Just curious…
    Me: They’ve got cheesecake on sale at Fry’s…
    Priest: Oh yeah? How much?
    Me: $1.79 for two full slices…
    Priest: Yeow! Two full slices? What flavor?
    Me: Chocolate swirl…
    Priest: Ooh; say, you don’t happen to have any of that on you now, do you?
    Me: (thinking) I might…
    Priest: Hmmm… I see… You are familiar with the sale of indulgences? Spot of bother back around half a millennium ago…
    Me: (light bulb flashing internally) You are familiar with the sale of cheesecake? Three bucks a slice in the deli case, more than five bucks in a resto, nothing like it five hundred years ago…
    Priest: (nodding) Well played, my friend and disciple; that little sin’ll cost you a pair of ‘Hail, Mary’s’ and a well-washed spoon… and mum’s the word, not to your friends or even your mum…

  • hardie karges 11:08 am on October 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Building the Perfect Religion: Buddhist Middle Path and the Pride of Sin… 

    In Spires In Thailand

    In Spires In Thailand

    Now I’m not sure exactly what the Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand had in mind when they sang about “right thoughts right words right action”, but I suspect that at least one of the blokes has some interest in Buddhism, because that little trifecta of meaning pretty much sums up the Buddhist ‘Middle Path’.

    And if avoidance of excess is one of the cornerstones of our hypothetical perfect religion—akin to the Buddhist Middle Path—then humility would have to be the second cornerstone. Note the similarity—and difference—to and from the related concept of humiliation. This is where the Middle Path comes in again. Humility, aka ‘humbleness’ is a very good thing, while humiliation is not, whether on the ends of giving or receiving…

    Pride is its opposite, of course, and well-known as one of the Christian sins, and probably one of the least-respected and most-abused. After all, what father is not proud of his son, and less deserving of it? It’s as though fathers and mothers see their sons’ and daughters’ actions and accomplishments as direct reflections on themselves, as though their offspring are hired hands with scripted roles to play. Sounds like a recipe for disaster… salt to taste… (More …)

  • hardie karges 3:06 pm on October 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: angst, , seniors   

    Meet-up Group Forming ASAP: Angst-Ridden Seniors Without Borders… 

    Don’t you just love the silver-haired ‘active older adults’ that populate ads for health insurance and Viagra (TM), they with the mile-wide smiles and wheat-straw hair, usually standing in a field of wheat itself, often in tennis shoes or hiking boots! There’s usually even a sunset (hint hint) imparting an other-wordly glow to these nothing-but-worldly faces, celebrating a life well-lived and ‘golden years’ well-deserved…

    I mean: you can almost see the looks on the faces of their four kids and sixteen grand-kids, mathematically precise and evolutionarily predictable, all the major possibilities for DNA replication and re-combination well represented and accounting for most of the usual copying mistakes and single-letter deletions typical in biological existence on Planeta Tierra. But aren’t we assuming a lot and taking a bit for granted? What if they don’t have kids, or—God forbid—hair? Now that’s different…

    I mean: what if I don’t want to stand in a field of wheat or spend the rest of my life touring the lower forty-eight in in a Winnebago or Airstream self-contained dream-mobile with all my customary wastes and acts of will all going down in their proper place in their proper time?

    So why don’t they have ads for over-60 hotties and seniors’ sex clubs, and what about suicide hot-lines and student loans and credit applications? Huh? What? They do what? MILF means what? I thought that was the Moro Islamic Liberation Front!  

    (So that explains why they keep asking me for money! I thought they looked strange for jihadis, but hey, strange is strange! Where have I been? Angst-ridden seniors unite! We’re tired of being taken for granted as over the hill and out to pasture. And we need better drugs, too just kidding)…

  • hardie karges 6:10 pm on October 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , red herring,   

    Gun Control: Do You Like Your Red Herring Smoked or Grilled? 

    Don’t you love how all the gun maniacs want to talk about mental health after every senseless shooting spree?

    “A red herring was originally a herring cured by smoking, a process that imparts a reddish color to its flesh.

    It is not known how red herring came to denote something that diverts the attention of observers or investigators, but the modern meaning may have arisen in connection with the sport of hunting….”.

    Gotta’ love the symmetry…

    That’s like blaming war on income inequalities–wait a minute…

  • hardie karges 8:41 am on October 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

    Time for a New Religion, One that Looks a Lot Like Buddhism… 

    IMG_1559You can split the atom, you can go to the moon, you can build 100-story skyscrapers, or you can talk on iPhones, and still you’ve accomplished nothing—not really. Populate the earth with ten billion people and what have you got? Nine billion wretches living in makeshift trenches slurping Campbell soup with Saltine crackers, war surplus rations and Bimbo Bread…

    But I get the feeling that the Buddhists already know that—have ALWAYS known that, in fact, just standing there watching, maybe cracking a little smile, though not much of one, and rolling with the punches as the Franks came and conquered and dictated terms to unwilling participants, the only refuge in temples and bedrooms and assorted cracks in the matrix-like display… (More …)

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