Updates from December, 2015 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • hardie karges 1:03 pm on December 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    The Other Human Wave: Yanqui Si, Cuba No… 

    Somewhat lost in all the hubbub over the refugee wave flooding Europe from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan (sound familiar?) is the fact that we’ve got our own little refugee problem right here in the USA. Remember those child immigrants washing up on the beaches of Texas from Central America last year, Guatemaltecos, Hondurenos, Salvadorenos, et al?

    Nasty spot of bother that, breaking the rules by turning themselves in on arrival to the waiting arms of police and gendarmes, begging for food and some succor, Yanqui suckers, hard to call them ‘economic migrants’ when they aren’t even working age, anchor babies born a decade too soon.

    We can add to that list now Cubanos, de tal, up until now content in their status as exiles-in-waiting, Guantanameros without benefits, now ready to bolt at the moment their island opens up for Gringo-turismo, get on board or get lost, serving mojitos and daiquiris, frijoles con arroz, everything but Batista and San Juan, Jesus and Little John…

    The deal is that they get residency on arrival in the US, no waiting no fuss, so easy path to legality for Rubio and Cruz, presidency optional if you got the (foot) balls or the bucks; so now Cubans with means take a flight to mainland America, Central or South, then work their way up by hooks and crooks, then declare themselves Cubans to the pinche migra in Laredo, easier than a ninety-mile swim… American dream on the half-shell… Welcome!

  • hardie karges 9:41 am on December 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , freesom, responsibility   

    Free Will and Freedom, Surviving Christmas… 

    Well, we all survived the most difficult day of the year—Christmas, aka the Royal Gorge—so I suppose that life goes on and we will live to see another day. This is good, I think, considering the options. I generally try to avoid sharp objects on that day. To say that Christmas has ‘lost its way’ would be an understatement, of course, but then: isn’t that true of all religions and holidays?

    The challenge as always is to make this world as perfect as we humanly can, in terms of truth beauty and goodness, as a reflection of that more perfect world of spirit. That means a world that is clean green and serene, with an interesting cast of characters displayed upon the green screen, for eventual release in a theatre near you. And on a personal level that means that each of us has the freedom—and responsibility—to do good. Let’s get started.

    Of course we Westerners—including Americans, especially Americans—believe in freedom like nothing else, absolute and inviolable, in yo’ face and reliably profane, seldom profound. You score points in Western culture by showing skin, by showing balls, by being offensive and downright insulting. Aggression is our calling card and massive armies our stock in trade.

    “The best defense is a good offense,” or so the story goes. We ‘liberate’ peoples around the world, giving them their ‘freedom’ and wishing them good luck, with a pat on the back and a Starbucks coffee coupon, worth a couple bucks. Welcome to America. Real freedom is nothing like that, though. Real freedom is a metaphysical necessity, a metaphysical reality, nothing to do with the chains around your heart or your ankles.

    Real freedom is a freedom of the will, the freedom to do good or bad, and to be called to answer for your actions and your decisions. This is the essence of morality, to do good or bad, of your own volition. There is a tendency in popular societal narratives to avoid and evade this responsibility but it is real, and disallowing it only perpetuates it, presumably so that no one’s feelings get hurt.  For example, it is often said that alcoholism is a disease, implying not only that it isn’t your fault, but that there is a cure. I’d say that there is more likely a cure if the onus is placed squarely on the shoulders of the free agent.

    Likewise no one should get credit for his moral actions if nothing is truly given. For some rich bloke to act like he’s moral because he threw the bums a dime in his prime is pathetic and ridiculous. Better you should cross the street to help a handicapped person open a door—for no money or even thanks. That is an act of kindness and charity that confers merit upon the bearer regardless of any financial importance.

    Our rush to put a monetary value upon everything, acts of kindness included, is a sign of our own poverty, not those of the so-called ‘poor’. We have only mastered money when we can live without it. And the hypothetical ‘freedom’ involved in portraying various religious prophets in various acts of sex, distress or undress is not freedom. That’s something else. I am NOT Charlie what’s-his-name…

    Freedom is all about responsibility, the responsibility to do good, not purchase mass quantities of consumer goods. Let’s add another tenet to our hypothetically perfect religion—moderation in consumption and strict recycling and extreme non-wastefulness. Christmas needs to take a different direction. Maybe the best offense is a good defense. Sounds good to me.

  • hardie karges 7:43 am on December 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Buddhist in training… 

    When you start ENJOYING meditation, rather than struggling with it, then I think you’re getting somewhere…

    • Sven Johnson 10:43 am on December 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Hardie,
      I have been a couple of times to the Farang Buddhist meditation meetings here in Chiang Rai. Nice people and a great place. But I found out after a couple of times, hearing the discussions about suffering etc etc that I am probably too happy to be able to get something from this meditation. We will see, maybe try it ater a couple of years. Merry Christmas and have a Great New Year!

      • hardie karges 11:47 am on December 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        There are worse problems to have than that, Sven, to be one of the lucky ones… 🙂

  • hardie karges 11:25 am on December 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Merry Kerygma (Disgust for Dogma), I Am Furious (Mellow): Fugue State in 3 Parts… 

    (There comes) that feeling that you get when victimized by the wannabes, lackeys and lapdogs of late-era capitalism who feel their futures to be threatened, so busy themselves building bunkers and moats, walls and bridges; bankers salesmen agents middle-men and their sons and daughters working commissions tighten the screws holding back proletarians and progress, especially in America the most Communist of all countries…

    …a communism of the mind, brutalist structures strictures and constructions, multiple male-enhanced skyscraping erections, filling post-apocalyptic city centers long vacated for the necessities of parking, crumbling rusty dusty rotting hulks, beauty sacrificed to convenience, with female submission to financial straits and straighteners for the benefit of comfort; souls slathered with gadgets and gizmos and widgets and whatchamacallits; freedom falls flattest and fastest when and where the wallets are fattest, lives battered and fried, looking for existential catsup… (More …)

    • davekingsbury 3:46 pm on December 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Letting go of the preconceptions and mass deceptions … great line! This has inspired a new year resolution. 2016 will be the year I satirise the clichés we all live by …

  • hardie karges 4:57 pm on December 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 'Hello' song, Adele   

    Continuity Errors: Adele's 'Hello'… 

    I seriously listened to the lyrics of Adele’s ‘Hello’ today for the first time:

    “But when I call you never seem to be home?”

    Huh?  What?

    What year  is this?

    If her ex-heartthrob is one of the population’s eight percent that has only a landline, then she has no need to fight back the tears.

    No, she should be rejoicing to be rid of that loser, just sayin’…

    • kc 5:56 pm on December 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      not all people w landlines are losers, i know many people w a landline and cell, like us. plus, her love may recognize her number and choose not to answer.

    • davekingsbury 2:52 am on December 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Maybe she’s the kind of masochist who enjoys leaving plaintive little messages on answerphones …

  • hardie karges 2:19 pm on December 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Buddhism 101: Happiness is not the goal; non-sadness is… 


    Statue of Buddha in Kandy, Sri Lanka

    Anybody who thinks he’s getting the hang of Buddhism by ‘following his bliss’ is probably seriously deluded. For one thing, Joseph Campbell, the author of that statement, came to regret the hedonistic message with which it was taken. Secondly, he died almost twenty years ago, and if the concept wasn’t dated by then, it certainly is now. This ain’t the Sixties. Letting your freak flag fly should not necessarily be at the top of everyone’s ‘to do’ list in 2015.

    And Campbell wasn’t Buddhist, anyway. That’s his buddy Alan Watts, who’s quoted with similar statements, but whom I also admire as a rigorous intellectual, not some purveyor of New Age-y no-brainer psycho-fluff. Most importantly: Buddhism has nothing to do with bliss, much less the ‘ecstasy’ that many people refuse to stop short of—Hinduism maybe, but that’s different. (More …)

    • davekingsbury 8:21 am on December 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You chart a nimble course through the clutter of ideologies, embodying the middle way principle perfectly. I’d say enlightening if the word wasn’t already appropriated by zen. I’ll settle for stimulating … thanks for writing it.

      • hardie karges 9:13 am on December 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Concepts like these are a challenge for me almost every day, Thank you for allowing me to think out loud…

  • hardie karges 1:22 pm on December 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Clock Ticking: Bottom Line on Climate 

    What irony—that a significant contributor to climate change is our desire to control climate! Bottom line: we can live a climate-controlled, push-button convenienced, air-conditioned nightmare of a life only at the expense of environmental destruction and global warming. In all fairness to our forefathers, that fact was not obvious even a hundred years ago.

    Even less obvious is that maybe it’s not all it’s cracked up to be anyway, separating us from the forces of nature. When’s the last time you swam in a lake or even walked to the store? If you’re an American like me, it’s probably been a while. Such activities are usually relegated to recreation or exercise, not ordinary life. That’s a shame. (More …)

  • hardie karges 10:31 am on December 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    The Perfect Religion: 10 Commandments, 8-fold Path, 5 Pillars, 4 Noble Truths, 1 Creator 


    Christian church in Ethiopia

    Okay, so back to the grind: creating, or let’s say ‘distilling’, the perfect religion. After all, we’re not trying to create something from scratch, quite the opposite, in fact, we’re trying to reconcile religions—all religions—and science, too. Contradictions, in my view, are only apparent, not real.

    If we all love our kids, then we all love God, however that’s defined. All religions have central tenets, and articles of faith, of course, and so does my hypothetically perfect one, as previously noted, and most of them gleaned from the major religions.

    The Five Pillars of Islam are: faith, prayer, alms-giving, fasting, and pilgrimage, all pretty basic, of which pilgrimage to Mecca might be discarded for our general use as too cult-specific, non-general, and non-attainable. Visas to Saudi Arabia are hard to come by, even for Muslims. (More …)

  • hardie karges 11:54 am on December 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Angie's List, home repairs   

    Dear Angie: 

    I really like your list. It helps me when I need a plumber or a HVAC specialist. I don’t feel like I can always trust Craig, you know, what with all the scammers over there? Now could you please tell me WTF a ‘roof tune-up’ is? Thank you…

  • hardie karges 2:16 pm on December 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ash Carter, , , , ,   

    The Enemy Within: A Few Things to Like About ISIL… 

    “Losers with keyboards?” Did Ash Carter really say that? Wow, such depth of understanding! Is that really his official ‘take’ on the ‘enemy’? Sounds like Trump.  And I suppose he prefers his losers with tanks and aircraft carriers and AK-47’s? He doesn’t have a clue. The American position is worse than I thought. We’re in denial. America doesn’t have a chance in a war with ISIL. And that may be just fine, because

    1) Gun Control: now that ‘terrorism’ has officially come home to the American nest, there is obviously a silver lining to the clouds on the horizon, i.e. the ease with which a terrorist in America can just walk in a store to buy weapons might just mean a tightening of gun-control measures. How’s that for some cosmic symmetry? (More …)

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