Sunday, February 24, 2008

The End of Wanting Things


I think it started with the cell phone. Maybe not the practice of not wanting things, but the realization that it as time to stop wanting. My cell phone broke and Waterbunny brought me a new one. My old one was a black, stubby Nokia phone that flipped open. It was a sturdy, useful phone- mostly because I learned how to make it useful.

The new phone was a sleek Samsumg red phone with lots of bells and whistles. But the buttons worked different and I had little patience for learning a new phone. An added irritation was a volume button on the side that I was constantly bumping during phone calls. The phone wasn't working for me.

Then I remembered that Sweetie Angel had a Nokia just like mine. I proposed a simm card switch and she ended up with the Samsung and I ended up with the same old Nokia phone. I am still using it today. The realization had hit. I didn't want more bells or whistles or cell phone internet or blackberries or tunes or television or movies. I just wanted a telephone that worked.

It spread to other things. A wall-mounted wide screen TV would be nice, But I can see the picture just fine on the 27 inch television I bought a few years ago. I know I needed a new truck that could do everything my work required. If that wasn't the case, I would buy an old, cheap truck and drive it into the ground. Again and again I would do this. I don't need things anymore.

I love to play guitar. I met a musician awhile back who was a guitar collector of sorts. He knew every guitar ever made and each guitar's worth. His collection of guitars was impressive and worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. He would play at the bar with a Taylor guitar or a Martin D-38, and we would all salivate. He was an OK guitarist too, but nothing special.

Meanwhile, a good friend, recognized as one of the best progressive metal guitarists in the industry, sits in his recording studio, cradling a mid-priced guitar and making musical journeys that most only dream about. He doesn't need things, he needs music.

Even the computer I own is getting old and stubborn and could use replacement. I downloaded some virtual reality program earlier this week and was eager to play the game. When I tried to load it, an error screen popped up- insufficient video driver for the program. Ten years ago, I would have ran to the nearest computer store, pulled out a charge card, and upgraded my machine to match the game. This time I just smiled and closed the program. I don't need new things.

It all sounds so foolish on so many levels. We have been conditioned, through the pervasive and persuasive presence of television to want things. Just prior to the Academy Award show this year, there was a BMW commercial. There are many, so many of us who have never been able to afford that luxury. BMW is a status symbol we think we need. But we don't need new things.

Is the American dream to one day become successful enough buy the luxury car, live in the luxury home, and live the luxury life? That dream is the wrong dream. There has to be an end to wanting things. There should be a different American dream to believe in.

To build a better world for our children, to promote peace and harmony between cultures, to be a living example to those around us- that is the American dream I want to believe in. To live our lives with grace, honor, and dignity and to share our vision of freedom with others- that is the American dream I want to believe in. The words aren't empty if you believe in their meaning. We must end our wanting of things and begin the wanting of something more from within ourselves.

Can we fulfill such a dream? Will it require the restructuring of our capitalistic society? How do we get to the end of wanting things and keep our democracy strong? I wish I knew. Let's just see where the dream takes us. I'm ready.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Welcome the Wind~~~~~



It's blowin' up a gale outside tonight. A strong gust blew our recyclable container across the deck, scattering empty cans of Coke zero and bottles (also empty) of Corona Extra. I thought the cat knocked something over-shooed her down the hallway. Sorry kitty.

I ran outside in my tee shirt and jeans and into a driving wind and a temperature of 10 degrees. I was outside less than 2 minutes but had to be rubbed warm by the girls. I bet Barak Obama doesn't have these problems.

Water Bunny hates the wind. I remember when she lived in Texas. One day, a tornado approached her town. We watched it together on the doppler radar-she in her tiny apartment in Fort worth and me in my safe (or so I thought) Pennsylvania house. I felt helpless to protect her. She felt the same way. I suppose that's how everyone feels when the warning sirens go off and the Devil arrives. Whenever tornadoes are predicted, I say a prayer for those who are in its path. Afterwards, I say another prayer for those who were in its path.

Mother Nature has some powerful weapons: wind, water, quakes, rain, snow, floods, heat, sun, cold, ice. Every day someone, somewhere is a victim to her natural whims. No wonder whole nations prayed to Gods of Earth and Sky. Now we watch the weather channel before going to church. And the wind drives our prayers up to heaven and our Coke bottles down the street.

Oh, it's blowin' hard tonight, the house shakes and the roof groans, and the world outside seems larger than it should- so violent, so unforgiving. Yet we trust enough, we believe just enough and settle in for the long night's sleep. Where just outside our warm, wooden walls, Hell is chasing profanities to the top of a wild sky.


Friday, February 8, 2008

The Media Spin Cycle and Cows





Written by A. Holstein

The media pounds away at the message, leaving us convinced that the slice of the apple they show us is a whole apple, delightfully waiting for us to eat right it from the tree. Even if we can't reach the upper branches, we still want that media-created apple. Even if thr apple isn't full and ripe, and almost touching the ground- the media wants us to drool over the little green thing.

This guy doesn't have a chance, they say. Even though this guy won more states than that other guy. This guy's religion is his albatross, the press inform us. Then they run over to us and ask us our opinion of their slanted stories-and we, the cows in the field, are sure to answer.

"How is the field today?", they ask.
"Quite good, thank you", we reply.
"Do you like the sun today?", they ask.
"We like the sun very much", we reply.

"Welcome to Hardsell. I'm your host, Chris Ratchews. Latest polls show the sun is well ahead of the clouds. We have our team of experts right here to discuss this latest development...Frank Fullofit, what does this mean?"

"The clouds should drop out now and let the sun in."

"Tina Noknows, do you agree? You've had your head in the clouds for some time now."

"Well, Chris, the clouds did well in the Northwest, but they need to get those Southern cows in line and they have been trying to do just that, but those cows are very, very conservative and just won't follow the clouds, not as long as the sky stays in the race."

"Frank Fullofit, what about West Virginia? On the first ballot, the majority of cows chose the clouds, so the sun tells its delegates to throw their votes to the sky and then the sky opens up on the clouds and they cant get high enough to reach the sky. Isn't this the type of politics we are all tired of seeing?" Isn't this a backroom deal to let the clouds cover the sun, and then later the sun is going to burn the clouds off the field and out of the race? Then what happens to the cows?

"No Chris, that is the beauty of caucuses. The cows have to have a clear majority and this is how it gets done. The clouds may have more delegates than the sky, but simply can not compete against both the sky and the sun. And the word coming from our sources close to the clouds is that they are going to have make some tough decisions in the coming days - it may be time for them to let the sun shine in."

And on another channel, the popular program Cowline picks up the spin.

"Good evening, I am Randy Field and this is Cowline. Despite winning 6 states in last night's elections, it appears the end is in sight for the clouds. They have spent millions of their own money, but now it is nearing the end. The numbers are against them, they are running a distant third, despite being second overall in the delegate count nationwide. Our polls show they cannot win against the sun and the sky."

And the following day on every news channel,

"After a night of deep disappointment, the clouds have announced they are suspending their campaign."

It would be a better election if the idiot press would leave us cows alone and just report the news. Because, as Iowa and New Hampshire clearly showed, polls only tell you what the cows are feeling on the sunny day. They may feel different on the cloudy day. The sky is always nice to look at too. Sometimes clouds makes pretty shapes, like that one over there- look! It's a woman Senator from New York!

The national press have become great manipulators in the race for President, pushing their own agenda and ultimately limiting our choices. And we, a nation of cows, are left out in our field-getting ourselves milked the entire time.

Hello There You