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Showing posts from February, 2011

Courage, mon coeur

I was talking to a bright nine-year-old lad a few weeks ago, who was lamenting the loss of his favorite pillow.

"What did you like about it?" I asked him. "It had the word courage written across it," he replied.

"Did you know that the root of the word courage comes from the word for heart in other languages?" I inquired.

I could see his remarkable green eyes reveal the workings of his mind as he took in what I told him, could see the light of thought dawn within them. He simply said, "No, I never knew that."

I gave him a pillow I had and told him that on this pillow, the word courage was written on the inside, rather than the outside, of the pillow. He thanked me, tossed the pillow up in the air, and ran into the next room.

Courage, mon coeur. I am deeply humbled by the human struggles in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, and other countries, and by the sheer courage of these people, most of whose names we will never know. A young man interviewed today on …

How to Truly Lie

If you stretch out on your bed or your couch, you LIE down.   If you put something on your bed or your couch you LAY it down.  There: is that so hard to keep straight? 
Lately, I've heard even respected journalists make the mistake of saying "lay" when they mean "lie."  So, at least on this blog, I am laying down this grammatical law for all to see.  And now, I shall go into the adjacent room and lie upon my couch.   I could also lay my self down upon my couch, but in this instance,  I prefer to be true to lying.

Booked on Sugar

Sometimes the television remote control finds the channel for Destiny. I believe I was indeed destined to see Marc Aronson'sand Marina Buddhos's presentation to students at the Brooklyn Public Library based on their recent book, SugarChanged the World. Their program certainly changed my world. While written for a youth audience, this is a book that adults will enjoy, and naturally, a great book for parents to share with their children.

I often wonder at the parallels between drug addiction and food addiction in our culture. I know I'm not alone in this. You can't miss the similarities:  "Betcha can't eat just one.  Crave the crunch. Do you dream in chocolate? Hershey chocolate is bliss."  And, as noted in my earlier posts on  Super Bowl ads, when you see a man "snorting" Dorito crumbs .... well, I rest my case.

I've also thought about how quickly we "judge" people with substance abuse problems while the US clearly suffers from foo…
"The shade of my tree 
is for passersby, 
its fruit for the one
for whom I wait."
-Rabindranath Tagore, Fireflies

Feliz día del amor y de la amistad.

Super Bowl Ads: Votes So Far

The results so far: CareerBuilder's mini car wreck made it to the Top 10. One woman knocking out another with a PepsiMax can rated 87% positive, while man-hit-in-private-parts with Pepsi Max can and ferocious pug crushing man under door to get a Dorito rated 83% positive. Roseanne bashed by a log on behalf of Snickers rated 84% positive.

Good news: some of the truly best commercials were voted into the Top 10--even in the Top 5. More good news: Go Daddy spots' highest rating was a mere 42% positive. The addicted Dorito sniffer rated only a 60%. And, a mere 30% of voters so far have said aye for Kim Kardashian's butt-firming shoes (Skechers). Unfortunate: The Hyundai commercials, some of which were really good, ranked low with voters, while 90% of voters sympathized with Audi's prisoners of luxury.

Of course, this is only a contest--a like-fest, an opinion-banquet. I've seen many an award-winning ad yield nada for a business. The question remains: will these spots r…

DId You See What I Saw?

(Note: I can't get the links to appear consistently with Google's new editor. If it's brief and boldfaced, you can click on it and "go" somewhere interesting!)

It's been at least 20 years since I've watched a Super Bowl Game, and Super Bowl 45 was definitely worth watching--a classic game between good teams.What I saw between plays, however, was anything but good. The best word to describe the Super Bowl commercials is: horrifying. (Volkswagen's little Darth Vader spot and BMW's commercial about Spartanburg were clear exceptions.) 

In ads forPepsi Maxpeople get smashed in the head with a full can, and a man is hit in the testicles and other body parts by cans someone catapults from a can-throwing machine at a party.  Insurance company Safe Auto shows a man being kicked, hit, and assaulted--again with more shots targeted at his genitals. Career Builder's commercial introduces us to a man in a car pulling into a parking lot. His car is bashed in …

The Cruelty Inside the Beauty

I remember watching my first bullfights on Spanish television. Joselito, to be exact. Watching, I saw the unmistakable beauty in that orchestrated dance between hombre y toro. I also witnessed its cruelty.  The cover of this month's Juxtapoz magazine brought those memories back. Escif, also known as "Valencia's greatest street artist," really did put 1000 words into this image.

One of my wandering days in Madrid led me to Ventas, the city's bull ring / plaza.  It was empty, and the entrance was open. I walked in, and into a thick wall of smell. It was beyond the smells of animals, feces, sweat, or blood, yet it combined these into one unmistakable death-scent. While there may be great aesthetic value in the bullfight, it is still murder. The bull will be killed; perhaps the matador, as well--there is always that risk. But the bull will be killed and dragged from the ring, its blood smearing and soaking the sand.

Now, travel from Madrid's Plaza de Toros to the …

The Stillness of Winter

So, this is winter. First a good, solid layer of ice, followed by waves of snow, followed by temperatures in the sub-zeroes. I don't like it. Not a bit. I like looking at it for about half an hour, and then I want the snow to--presto!--melt!  Even the Buddha in my back yard looks put off and put out, underneath his new bib. Stillness sounds lovely when it is optional. But when forced upon me by dangerous roads and fierce weather, it just makes me irritable. Such impotence is mine.  As long as I fight it, that is. 
If I would just give in to it, submit, surrender, use this quiet, no-traffic-noise time  to Sit and Meditate. These are the moments when the Teaching hits the tarmac, and  one goes No-Where.  
Stillness, in my case, is not delivered, but must be won. I have to fight my way through some kind of cosmic plastic bag, through the internal tantrum that spins up like a sand devil when I don't get to choose my environment. And so, one more time, I learn why "begin" and …