Monday, July 27, 2015

On Violence

“All violence is an attempt to replace shame with self-esteem.”
-James Gilligan

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Shabbat Morning

I went with my family to services this morning for my Grandfather Harry's yahrtzeit.  There were two prayers I found most moving:

For the expanding grandeur of Creation,
worlds known and unknown, galaxies beyond galaxies,
filling us with awe and challenging out imaginations,
We acknowledge You with thanks.

For this fragile planet earth, its times and tides,
its sunsets and seasons,
We acknowledge You with thanks.

For the joy of human life, its wonders and surprises,
its hopes and achievements,
We acknowledge You with thanks.

For human community, our common past and future hope,
our oneness transcending all separation, our capacity to work
for peace and justice in the midst of hostility and oppression,
We acknowledge You with thanks.

For high hopes and noble causes, for faith without fanaticism
for understanding our views are not shared,
We acknowledge You with thanks.

For all who have labored and suffered for a fairer world,
who have lived so that others might live in dignity and freedom,
We acknowledge You with thanks.

For human liberties and sacred rites:
for opportunities to change and grow, to affirm and choose,
We acknowledge You with thanks.

We pray that we may live not by our fears but by our hopes,
not by our words but by our deeds.

Blessed are You, Adonai, Your Name is Goodness, and You are worthy of thanksgiving.

And the other I found at the front of the prayer book:

Tell them I'm struggling to sing with angels
who hint at it in black words printed on old paper gold-edged by time.
Tell them I wrestle the mirror every morning.
Tell them I sit here invisible in space;
nose running, coffee cold & bitter.
Tell them I tell them everything
& everything is never enough.

Tell them I'm davening & voices rise up from within to startle children.
Tell them I walk off into the woods to sing.
Tell them I sing loudest next to waterfalls.
Tell them the books get fewer, words go deeper
some take months to get thru.
Tell them there are moments when it's all perfect;
above & below it's perfect,
even in moments in between where sparks in space
(terrible, beautiful sparks in space)
are merely metaphors for the void between
one pore & another.

Monday, July 13, 2015


On a grey monday morning, I sat in the awning of the Frisco Inn.  The sign for Eggs Florentine had been tempting me for days.  The rains started to come down, and I inched closer under the covered awning.  A slow steady drip appeared down the corner of the overhang.

The Fiorentino were even better than anticipated.  Yellow creamy Hollandaise over cooked green spinach and a poached white egg.  The English muffin held just firm enough amid the yolk and Hollandaise drowning to pull through.

I sipped kaffie verkert under The Grasshopper's words Omnibus Idem

The same to all.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Dear Life Traveler, 

Take a moment, 
And allow the sounds of Nature
To awaken your inner silence,
And take you into your subconsciousness, 
Where your deepest truths lie. 
Love your life and its gifts.

Via MK.  The words of the prophets are written on rocks.

Via PR.  Life loves those who love life.

A la gloria

When all the revelers and whores have gone to bed, an eerie, early calm embraces the city--that is when I love Amsterdam the most.

In the quiet still. as canals create infinite arches with the stone arched bridges, and the only sounds are the bells ringing; birds calling; the street sweepers gently dusting street sleepers.

Filed under: the little things: drinking tap water.  Or from the shower.  After long periods in Africa, where that is not remotely possible.  I love such luxuries.

Amsterdam is Disneyland for big kids.

You'll remember me
when the west wind moves
across the fields of barley.
Sting, "Fields of Gold"

A la gloria.

Rule your mind,
or your mind
will rule you.

I love getting to focus on the present.  And pay attention to the beautiful contours of a tram as it bends to take a curve.

I love focusing on now.

I had a wonderful moment of blueberry zen in the depths of Frankdaal Park, sitting on a park bench under a beautiful old tree.  Its gnarls showed its years.  I listed to God moving slowly over the face of the waters by Moby.

I love Amsterdam because I feel the most free here.  Holland has drawn a line in the sand of acceptable behavior, and I am on the ride side of that line.  It's comforting to know that I have to work hard to do wrong here.  If Holland says don't do it, who am I to disagree?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Religion in schools

I was thinking about it: I am not opposed to religion being taught in schools.  I just object it being one religion taught.

If schools wanted to teach about Buddha's path to enlightenment, and stories of Ganesh and the Ramyana,

I think it would be quite worthwhile for students to learn the 5 pillars of Islam, and a little bit from the Talmud.

Lessons on Zeus and Palas Athena.

A bit of Odin and Norse mythology.

Perhaps even a bit on the Old Gods as well as the the new (and of course the Drowned God and the Lord of Light--because the Night is dark and full of terrors).

It is only when teaching religion becomes about teaching one religion do I object.  Because it is silly to think there is only one path.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Royal Burger

A grilled burger with fried onion, fried egg and grilled jalepeno coming my way.  With a side of Dutch frittes and samurai sauce.  Washed down with a cold Amstel.  Life is good.

De Nachtwacht

Sitting out in a cafe sipping peppermint tea under the watchful gaze of Rembrandt's Nightwatch cast in bronze.

Picasso said, "Everything you can imagine is real."

I tend to agree.

Greek trees; Chinese forestfire

Here is something far scarier than a "Grexit": China's Shanghai Composite Index has lost 3 trillion dollars in recent months--more than 10 times that of Greece's debts.


"The great and glorious masterpiece of man is how to live with a purpose."

Out of Africa; into Amsterdam

Out of Africa and into Amsterdam.  Gone from the hills of Kigali.  Gone from the lava-covered roads of Goma.  Gone from the seas of bodas in Kampala.  Hi to the canals of Amsterdam.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Zaire Bound

Or as Joshua Giraffe said in the song by Raffi:

"Nothing can go wrong-o, I'm in the Congo. Nothing can go wrong-o, I'm in the Congo. Nothing can go wrong-o, I'm in the Congo."