Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Good Life

"Once our basic physical needs are covered, more stuff does little to boost our happiness. Friendships, family, self-acceptance, and meaning in our lives are the core determinants of our happiness."

~Frances Moore Lappe; Yes Magazine, "Voices Carry"

Last week, I attended a workshop. The title was something like: The Theology of Abundance: Creating a Future with Sustainability.

One of the key concepts was "The Good Life." As the world changes with new technologies and diminishing resources, how do we create the The Good Life? What could it look like? ...What comprises The Good Life anyway?

We discussed how to create new and meaningful changes in society from the ground up.

To be honest, when I hear "grassroots," I think of grungy myopic fringe-type activists who are (I'm sure) doing fine work, but I'm happy to leave it to "them."

However, as we talked and shared stories, it became clear that there are plenty of choices out there. We are not locked in to a boring life. We can apply our wits, knowledge & skills to whatever vision we have for our life, our home, our community, and beyond. And, creation & expression are satisfying.

In one of our sessions, the themes that came up... our thoughts and interests... seemed to hone in on Community and Intimacy. A few complaints about txt messaging and facebook ("People don't communicate deeply anymore"), led us to appreciate them as tools. It's revitalizing to remember that we get to choose how to use them. And, if we remember that it's Intimacy that we're after, then we can choose to develop that.

In the midst of new challenges, we can be creative and seek out the new opportunities that lie in our midst.

Pretty cool.

PS: I would love to hear your thoughts on The Good Life

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Rev. Joseph Lowery

After hearing a lot about the controversial choice of Rick Warren to deliver the Inaugural Prayer, I was reminded of a blog post that said something like:

Once Rev. Lowery has spoken, you will no longer be thinking of Rick Warren.

After hearing Lowery's benediction, I felt the sting of knowing that I had focused too much time and energy to the wrong person. I wish even half of the media coverage had been devoted to the life and work of Rev. Lowery.

Here are his Inaugural Benediction, and his eulogy for Coretta Scott King.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sea Kittens

"I don't see fish as sea kittens; I see them as food," says 12-year-old Chastity Haskins.

PETA rebrands fish as "sea kittens."

I'm having flashbacks to my high school friend Jill. When she wasn't imploring me to have our cats fixed, she was pleading the case of the sea kittens.

...which reminds me of the time she had to euthanize her own sea kitten.

While working towards her Masters in Physical Therapy, she got herself a Chinese Fighting Sea Kitten.

At some point, it came down with a disease and it's fins fell apart.

Eager to meet every challenge that came her way, she put her new skills right to work. She created a physical therapy program for him, in which she would drag the tip of a toothpick across the top of the water. Being a fighter, not a lover, he would muster up enough energy to chase it around. (also reminds me of an encounter with a weasel at a Wildlife clinic I interned at.... another time)

Against all odds, she was able to coax him through his time of grave illness. It was impressive.

But then, I got a phone call.

"Never leave your fish alone with something that is called a 'White Convict!'"

She had bought her sea kitten a friend. And it ate him.

Well, not totally.

But, after its extensive stint in rehab, this Chinese Fighter was no longer a Contender.

A difficult decision had to be made.

She said her goodbyes. And, being Catholic, I'm sure she administered her own special version of Last Rites. Then, she carefully scooped him up and ran down the hall to the bathroom where she had a towering stack of Anatomy books waiting. (flushing was cruel)


If you were watching this on TV, the camera would now cut to the hallway. You would see baffled co-eds wondering what was with the girl who just blew past them.

And then, you would hear something resembling a war cry, followed immediately by a thundering, slightly squishy, SLAMMMM!!

Friday, January 09, 2009

"Terrorism is rare"

"...terrorism is rare. If a bunch of men with guns and grenades is all they really need, then why isn't this sort of terrorism more common? Why not in the U.S., where it's easy to get hold of weapons? It's because terrorism is very, very rare."

That is a message that bears repeating. It's not something that makes the news, is it?

Here's the article.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Cloverfield 2.0 Goes Straight To Video...

Square Fish

Taking my lead from Alise, who posted a classic Swedish Chef clip today.

Because that was fun, and I have a clip of my own stuck in my head, and we both love DW, I wanted to put this up.

Enjoy! Until the next posting, happy monkey!

Headline of the Day

Craze over touch-screen gadgets not shared by the blind

Happy Monkey!

This was awesome...

I had a great time catching up with my best friend from high school, Alise. She has always been quick to laugh (and what a laugh it is) and is good at ferreting out obscure, yet hilarious, stuff. Plus, she's got a husband with a matching sense of humor.

First, she informs me of their New Years tradition. As soon as The Ball drops, they flip the channel to "The Horrible Singers." Apparently, when they moved to W.Va, like 10yrs ago, they happened across the local access channel and this choir of "really old people" were, well, singing horribly. Oh, they found this to be right up their Amusement Alley. And, every New Years since, they have faithfully watched the Horrible Singers! ...she worries that eventually they will be invited to a NYE party and will have to scheme some way to watch them.

Ok. Now, Part II.

We were talking about this insane Science vs. Religion phenomenon. Like, when did Christians start not believing in science? I didn't get the memo, or maybe it got buried in under a pile of molecular chemistry lab reports... while I was studying Environmental SCIENCE in college.

Anyway, she told me about a comment on a science blog that her (Christian) husband reads. The guy GOES OFF and it is AWESOME!! He ends by saying:

"I wish I could get a job teaching at a University, but I am not qualified. I am not a terrorist (BillAyers) and do not worship the environment(global warming nuts), do not seek monkeys as my creator (evolutionists) and do not brainwash other people (Marxists). I suppose I am disqualified from teaching. Maybe someday, America will wake up and fire every hippy liberal brainwashed professor and hire real teachers who teach the truth rather than a mock version of reality.... Until then, happy monkey! (or what ever non Christmas evolution people say)"

Needless to say, "Happy Monkey" has been flying around their house non-stop ever since.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Happy Happy

“If you want others to be happy,
practice compassion;

if you want to be happy,
practice compassion.”

~Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama

Gone but not forgotten

One of my favorite sights of the year has been a rare but dependable occasion in rifle season. When the time and conditions are just right, the morning sunlight strikes the trees where I'm nestled.

Usually, I am gazing across the hilltop beyond the farmhouse where pink-orange clouds start lighting up the cool blue morning... soon, they are glowing. At last, the sun crests and sends blazing orange light across the brushy brown hills and pastures. And, when I finally glance behind me, it looks like someone's flipped a switch. Hot pink and orange floodlights are pouring across the hillside.

I visit these scenes in my head in quiet moments throughout the year. I'm glad I snapped a few pictures this year.

Turns out, it was the last season for these gentle giants.... in December, they were marked for logging- numbers in blue spray paint ranged up into the 50's.

My buddy just called to tell me that they logged that patch.

The bright spot? The 2 trees that we hunted from were left standing.

PS: click on the pics for a larger, more real to life, feel

Majora Carter's "This Is Home"


Here's someone who brings some inspiration to the table: Majora Carter.

She has taken her talents, knowledge and initiative and applied them to her own hometown... the South Bronx.

When I first heard her story, I was reminded of a poster back at college- "Bloom Where You're Planted."

Here's her 5 min essay on "This I Believe."