Made it out of Heathrow,via BritRail to Paddington to Kings Cross station on our way to the walled city of York. At Kings Cross we saw heavily armed police guarding the station, patrolling throughout. Britain now but the world as a whole may need such a show of force. But in Britain still even the common man jokes with the cops.  It’s a class thing. The English can’t resist a joke, even when a terrorist may be lurking. As for we Americans, I’m thinking of a taking a bloody picture of the two blokes with AK-47s. I thought twice and probably avoided the slammer.

After a serious bout with acute jet lag, the train ride to York was a piece of cake. In fact they offered no only free cake but free lunch and dinner for a couple pounds more for first class. And we’re not talking crap here. High quality fare with not just a spot of tea, although they had that too. Unfortunately we knew nothing about this and bought sandwiches at Paddington, whereupon we stuffed ourselves just before the free bees arrived. But did that stop me? No way, and I proceeded to eat more of the free stuff than I should of. Ruth wisely never went near the train  delicacies.

Not knowing British rail etiquette, we got bumped from our seat by a pair of reserved Brits, forcing us to double up with a couple of friendly lawyer types who proceeded to tell all sorts of juicy tidbits about York and its environs. They were also golfers chock full of info on old and ancient courses in the area including one of particular interest known simply as the Old Course some 600 years of age. Such is golf on the British Isles.

Finally, York. The walled city of winding ways. Wonderful. Full of interesting shops and bells and spires and cobblestones and an ancient walkway on the wall that allows you to circumscribe half the city. You are back in the middle ages without all the black plague and stuff. And York food breaks all the molds about English eateries. It was fantastic. British food has hit world class. As good as anything SF has to offer. Michael Bauer would have a blast at Ambiente with Tapas and fino that will take you to Spain. Even our B&B served an English breakfast with eggs, banger, bacon, beans, and a cappacino that bettered its betters in the Bay Area. York food was memorable.  Long live the cream!


Today…off to St. Andrews, Scotland and those old courses of another mode.


Waiting for the big flight. 13 hours over the US then the Atlantic to Heathrow. I am increasingly out of my comfort zone. Although if not here, I’d be at the gym right now also out of my comfort zone. Alles ist relativ. Am staring at the nose of our plane as  an accordian like gangway whispers sweet somethings into its cockpit. Sending prayers for a safe flight and the company of angels, my  wife included.  Angels do exist.I’m sure of it. There would far more crashes of planes and cars if they didn’t. We keep them quite busy. They must work in shifts, getting very sleep. They don’t need  much sleep, angels. Without bodies, they don’t need much sleep. Just enough to wipe a light mist away like a sporadic windshield wiper. Just enough so they can see their way to get to us as we race around with our eyes screwed to back of our heads. Perhaps the angels are in the gangway whispering to the plane to pay attention: precious cargo depends upon its integrity and skill.

In 13 hours, angels willing, Ruth and I will be in London, starting a European vacation that’s been a long time in coming. Tasty vacations are like that: they need aging. They need reflection. They need occasional cancelations. They need doubt and squabbles over whether they should be taken . They need hesitation. They need strong coffee. This one’s been  about 10 years in the making. At some point you  stop making bad jokes about canceling out to  go to Tahiti. I stopped about five minutes ago. It didn’t go over well, 30 mintues before we board. See you later. Hey there angels.

Hiking on a cliff by the Pacific Ocean recently, I saw Earth: sea, sky, land, shore, sand, people gazing out looking for whales, sighting birds, braced against a stiff breeze. We are Earthlings, and would call ourselves so if we knew there were other planets in the universe with people as us. Unfortunately most of us think we are the only people in the universe and so have divided ourselves into countries, some of which are hostile to others. If we knew there were other inhabited planets, we would see ourselves more as Earthlings than from particular countries. We would spend our time not opposing or competing against other countries but on concentrating on Earth itself, taking pride in our home planet and making it a place of sanctuary and peace. We would be conscious that another people from another planet could visit us, possibly attacking, yes, but more likely exploring to see what we were about. If they attacked we would want to present a united front, with a united front of weaponry, to oppose them. And if they were explorers, we would also want a united contingent to meet them, communicate, share, and get to know them. We would hope to befriend them. We would hope to have a true United Nations. In fact that would be the name of our united planet: The United Nations of Earth or UNE. The League of Nations was a start. The United Nations followed. The United Nations of Earth could be the next level of unity and cooperation.

The key to forming UNE comes out of a news story just a few days ago about exoplanets, or planets that circle around their own star. Hundreds have been discovered, creating the possibility of life on those planets, if conditions were as ideal as here on Earth. As President Kennedy initiated putting a man on the moon within a decade, we could resolve to find other Earth-like planets, and establish communications within a decade. Scientists from relevant disciplines could work cooperatively, and focus their energy and resources to this crucial goal to establish contact with people in the universe. Since most Earthlings think we are the only planet with life as we know it, our attitudes, values, and perspectives are shaped by this superior assumption, a kind of anthropomorphic equivalent to our relationship with other planets. In other words, we possess the only life in the entire universe. Since there is no one else to be “better than,” and as human beings, we seemingly must be better than someone, we have divided and categorized ourselves into being better than others here on Earth, hence we’ve resorted to conflict, war, religious persecution, racism, sexism, ethnic cleansing, holocausts, even attacked our planet itself through environmental degradation and anthropomorphism. It’s my way or the highway. Nothing has succeeded in deterring us from this tendency to shove our ideas down the other  Continue Reading »

No wonder I retreat to the solitude of nature as often as I do. There, in the weeds, in the swamplands, is what is real. There, is a poem that moves with each moment, that has nothing to say, nothing to rhyme, completely out of time. It is where I go to commune with myself, and with all connected beyond myself, like the bittern I saw today grubbing in the reeds, camouflaged by its own color against that of the swamp and defying detection. Nothing that came from the bird was not true. Nothing that was not true came from the bird. I sat there, camera in hand, closing the gap between seer and seen, until we came face to face hidden in each other’s soul. Where do I go from here? I am at the end of the fence where the universe ends, at the end of words, at the end of time, at the end of fear, where it all starts over again. It is where a new language begins to talk out of the still, deep, dark silence. It is where love arises, one more time, again just an impulse, a feeling, before a label takes hold and compound flashes stop the action of no action.

The bittern inches forward, pecking through the swamp water, picking at bits of food, forming the base of the new language. I watch it move closer as I snap the shutter. My mind is quiet. I have lost track of time. People pass on the trail behind me, talking in an ancient tongue that is only spoken by those who have forgotten how to listen, responding even before the words they meet spill out–that distorted language from flapping lips that roam aimlessly, without direction or meaning. No one knows what anyone else is saying. It’s sad. It’s goddamn Continue Reading »

We’ve all said, “I can’t believe how fast time has passed. It’s kind of scary.” But I believe the speed of time is a barometer of how meaningful the content of that time has been. When we “waste time”, that time has, in no way, honored our life goals, or what we think important time should be. If we have a job, for example, that merely “pays the bills” but does not fulfill us, time will rush in and fill the gap of insignificance. And since it rushes in so fast, we perceive time speeding by, which “scares” us. Anytime we perceive something as different from what it actually is, we get frightened. And the misperception of time is, arguably, the most frightening of all. On the other hand, when we are engaged in an activity that we perceive as meaningful, time moves at a normal pace. We remember these times with reverence, with grace, with the dignity it deserves. This holds for quality time with family, time consumed with helping others, time creating art, time engaged in a hobby or pastime (well phrased), time in meditation or prayer, time in silence, time in nature using our senses, time walking to nowhere in particular. In the late 70’s, I lived in a cabin in the New Hampshire woods, absorbed in nature and solitude, (quite literally) “chopping wood and carrying water.” I had no car. I had no electricity. I had no Continue Reading »

Buddhism teaches not to judge, so as you read the following, don’t.

Diets don’t work…but they’re far from unemployed.

The right tool for the right job. Or to put it another way: the right tool doesn’t work unless you hire it.

If you lose a needle in the haystack, find another hobby.

Moderation is good…in moderation.

The early bird used to catch the worm when it was worth getting up for.

Whatever the mind can believe, the mind can deceive.

Know your limitations…then defriend them.

Behold, the Gingrich who stole Christmas.

I’m against abortion, unless a woman has thought it through and decides she needs one.

A penny saved is kind of stupid these days.

A penny earned is just that.

Since Jesus turned water into wine, how did the Christians ever pass Prohibition?

Water over the bridge is a like a foreclosed house: under water.

A bird in hand is worthy of a ride to the rescue center.

It’s Howdy Doody Wine: full freckled, high cheeked, and clear as a bell.

Borderline Person out of Order

Global Warming: BiPolar Disorder

Brinefeld: A show about salt.

Shakespeare: now appearing at the San Andreas Theater in San Francisco.

Some say Shakespeare didn’t write the plays ascribed to him, but he’s the only one who took credit.

When crossing a street, remember, cars will often double-cross you.

Mitt Romney: He’s the man who can be whoever you want him to be or not to be: That is the question. Or is it the answer? He’ll betcha ten thousand on it!

If you meet the Buddha on the road, ask directions.

The Bible says Jesus walked on water. It just doesn’t say how deep it was.

Children should be seen and heard, and not hurt.

Father knows best less.

Men are from Mars; Women from Venus; and both need their space.

The know-it-all is like Humpty Dumpty on a wall: ready for a great fall.

It’s as American as apple pie in the sky.

Golf spelled backwards is Flog.

Written on New Hampshire license plates, which are made by prison inmates: Live Free or Die.

Sorry, an apple a day is not covered by your insurance.

E=NC squared, N being a nap after lunch.

The devil’s in the details, but, hell, I can’t find my goddamn reading glasses.

They say dieting and exorcising are best.

Maestro, there’s a fly in my flute.

The Tea Party must be learning disabled: They say “no taxation” but forget the “without representation”.

These days, a man’s best friend is his blog.

Nowadays, a home’s man is its vassal.

Diamonds are a girl’s best hedge.

GOP: It’s my way or the highway…to nowhere

Men are like saving bonds: They take too long to mature.

With Bluetooth cell phones, I can’t tell who’s crazy anymore.

I’m all for guns, but only for state and national militias like the Second Amendment says.

I really like Buddhism, without all the precepts and stuff.

I never met a lobster I didn’t like.

I predict in 500 years, with the advent of computers, that human beings will no longer be able to add, subtract, divide, and, consequently, multiply.

I’m all for drinking, smoking, reckless driving, and national health insurance.

Obama cares.

Cats rule, and they know it.

Give me liberty instead of death.

Plastic surgery is like a horserace: ahead by a nose, slipping behind, good looking roan, can’t outrun time.

I’m so successful that I’ve been able to succeed at failure.

Ten years ago we had Steve Jobs, Johnny Cash, and Bob Hope. Now we have no jobs, no cash, and no hope.

Doctors Without Borders Books.

Politicians have a way of apologizing to those they’ve offended, thereby offending those they apologize to.

I’ve pushed the envelope so much I now have it licked.

The problem with the 99 percent is that, down deep, they want to be part of the 1 percent.

The reason the Occupy Movement hasn’t caught on with the mainstream is that 90 percent of the 99 percent have jobs.

Herman Cain is not Abel.

What is matter? Never mind. What is mind? No matter.

Some say Mormons are not Christians, the same of which can be said of most Christians.

The Bible says the Israelites are the Chosen People, and that settlements it.

On the seventh day, God rested, the Bible says, and is still resting.

Where there’s a will, most want to be in it.

Roses are red, violets are blue, I’ll soon be dead, and so will you.

My balloon loan blew up.

With my out-of-pocket costs, I am now out of pockets.

I must’ve lost my head spending an arm and a leg for that car.

Money is no object unless you lose it.

The Great Recession is an end to your means.

Don’t do as I do, or say as I say.

The family that prays together prays that they stay together.

I’m all for same sex marriage, but a little variety does spice things up.

Money does grow on trees.But it’s down amongst the roots of all evil.

* Using any of these without permission by and acknowledgement of the author could well result in two broken knee caps. I’m just sayings.

I have observed that as the content of ordinary things reduces so does our consumption of those things. Clearly, except for many of the 1%, it holds as the jelly or nut butter get closer to the bottom of the jar, and as the ice cream nears the bottom of the container. But what interrupts that process is almost complete denial that some things–things we can’t readily see or notice–are diminishing, like fossil fuel, and clean air, and potable water, and the ozone layer, and ice at the north and south poles, and fish. This unwillingness to face reality has led to a plethora of problems of which we are all aware but many do not want to make the hard choices to find sustainable solutions. So we continue to use resources unabated, even when the planet shows obvious signs of abuse and degradation. Reactionary elements disdain scientific evidence and extoll folklore and fundamentalist religion. For example, in Louisiana, schools are required to present an alternative theory of evolution which asserts that 5,700 years ago an aging deity created the heavens and earth and all life on it in six days. Eventually, God didn’t like his handiwork and sent a flood to drown everyone except 600-year old Noah and his family and two of every species on Earth, including microbes. Somehow, Noah forgot the dinosaurs…

Yes, it’s true. They really are required to state all this in Louisiana’s schools, giving it equal billing to evolutionary theory, which is based on everything we know about biology. This is a very weird country indeed. Believers in this theory are called Continue Reading »