Tuesday, March 31, 2009

G-20 Summit

It’s time to think about the effect of thought on world leaders.

President Obama travels today to the G-20 summit in London. The organizers have suggested that this event could make a significant contribution to global economic recovery. Leaders of the G-20 countries are attending along with their finance ministers and top bankers.

There are some people who believe the thoughts we have for others are seen physically in our body language and sensed psychically through an unseen energy. It's been called many things, good will, prayer, light, vibration, and even the force.

Assume for a moment that our thoughts are a personal energy we can send to someone, even to the twenty world leaders and ministers meeting in London.

The men and women who govern different countries of the world are constantly being criticized or cursed by the citizens of the world for one reason or another. We are all quick to criticize, but we are slow to encourage, so our leaders are bombarded by negative thoughts.

To help our world, perhaps if we send our best thoughts to these fallible men and women it will inspire them to make choices for the common good and with common sense. If it works, if a little piece of our hearts, our energy, can indeed be felt by these men then we have everything to gain in this process. Problems get solved, change becomes positive, cooperation is the rule and mutual respect for the planet and humankind creates a global benefit.

Try it! It might work. We’ve got nothing to lose.

Perhaps next year the G-20 could be expanded to G-40 or G-60. Looking at the map above you'll notice most of Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia are missing as participants in the economic discussion. If we are looking at improving a global economy then everyone should be included. It is interesting that the G-20 comprises 80% of the worlds economy. What does that tell us?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Earth Hour

Saturday evening for one hour all over the world electric lights were extinguished as an environmental symbol to lessen the carbon footprint that humankind inflicts upon the Earth.

Here is the way the Associated Press put it:

“…illuminated patches of the globe went dark Saturday night to highlight the threat of climate change. Time zone by time zone, nearly 4,000 cities and towns in 88 countries dimmed nonessential lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.”

I took my place in the earth hour of darkness and I felt the hopes of the world and those living on it. It was an emotion of expectation, a sustaining wish, a colossal collective push to acknowledge that environmental harmony is essential for the future of the planet and humankind. It was not a dream. It was and is possible. It was happening.

I wonder if you felt it even though you may not have turned your lights off for the hour. All over the world there was a global hour of simpatico accommodation for common awareness. Wow!

I’m not sure it matters if all the lights went off for it never takes all, it only takes a few hundred thousand souls to hold a vision, to feel the joy, to expect the potential outcome and when that happens the whole world changes in an instant.

A paradigm of belief always becomes the norm of life. It is a shift of awareness, and a vision of being better than we were. It takes so few human thoughts to shove the collective conscience into an unalterable stumble that sets us upright.

All my house lights were dark and a single burning candle took their place. The flame that flickered for the hour illuminated my shadowed soul as the wax of imagination burned the bright of knowing into my mind. In that singular joy came the brilliance of living in the moment once again. It was an exquisite experience to participate in a Gaia consciousness.

What’s Gaia some may say? Gaia is the name of the Earth in the personification of understanding this planet. Gaia was and I suppose still is the Greek goddess of Earth. A Gaia hypothesis was formed by some scientific venues that view the Earth as a single organism. Sentient. Aware. In service to the angelic human kingdom.

The hour ended and so did my revere. I was left with the present and a presence of something greater than the self.

Then I wondered if anyone cried. Cried for the joy of change and for the harm we’ve caused the Earth.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Voice

Good Morning All,

I trust your day will be perfect and that your weekend will be filled with inspiration.

I guess it's becoming a ritual. Friday posts will be poetic. My thanks to Canadian photographer Claude Charlebois for the inspiration of his magnificent and spiritual photograph.

You can check out his inspiring photography at the following address.


The Voice
© 2009 Rolland G. Smith

I heard a voice the other day
It simply said, “I love my trees.”
The sky had clouds in swirled gray
With beams of light that bent my knees.

I listened more to what was said:
“My trees are friends and teachers too
They are the key and spirit thread
To prove that life will all renew.

Tell all of those who wish to know
The love and light of Source Supreme,
The lesson from my trees will show
The Truth is just before your dream."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Watercress Spring

I took my first spring walk in the woods yesterday. The place was alive, but at first glance you wouldn’t know it. You have to peek, probe and be still to see that life abounds beneath and within the ground and even at the edge of branches and twigs.

There is something spiritual about the spring season. It’s a celebrating renewal and rebirth for many religious communities and disciplines, and it's a regenerating time for all of nature.

As I walked a meadow some of the old leaves from last fall are still embedded in the tan and matted grasses. The leaves are now a deep brown and black in color. They are withered, wet and drained of their nutrients in order to nurture renewed growth and new life from the seeding winter winds.

The Lichen on the rocks and trees seemed a bit greener in its grayish demeanor. I know that Lichen florets grow more slowly than Pluto orbits the sun, but this day, only to my observation, there seemed a burst of colored growth in their crocheted stillness.

All along the path were fallen limbs and branches pruned by the cutting winter winds and the gusting breezes of spring. I stopped to push and drag them aside so the path would be clear for others who follow.

At a pond I looked for signs of small fish, turtles, tadpoles, and water bugs, but I could only see an occasional gas bubble from the decaying leaves underneath the surface. It’s too early yet since the ice just left the pond last week and each morning, when it’s cold enough, there is a thin sheet of ice on the surface until the sun hits it a few hours later. Only then do the wild ducks descend for a mating dance and ritual.

Besides the trickling stream that fills the pond most of the year, there is a side spring that drains its underground flow into the pond. But there in the middle of the crystal spring was the brightest green of growth I’ve seen so far this early season; a patch of Watercress about the size of a large hug.

It got its early start from the warmer spring waters surging from deep underground.

In many ways we are like the watercress plant. We are warmed by deep spiritual waters from an inner Source and we grow despite the outward climate or birth conditions and our only nutrient is unconditional love. Amazing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Presidents News Conference

I watched President Obama’s news conference last night. Afterward I flipped around and listened to the pundits, both positive and negative.

I didn’t think the President was angry when he responded to a follow-up question from CNN on what took him so long to publicly react to the AIG bonuses. I thought Obama was direct in his answer. He said he wanted to think about his reaction before he spoke publicly. A CNN pundit thought he was angry in that comment. I think CNN was looking for something that wasn’t there.

I also didn’t think Obama was on the defensive from what is called a usually supportive press. I’ve never seen the press collectively supportive of anything. There is too much diversity and competitiveness in the ranks for any consensus. Each and every press questioner would like his or her question to be the headline the next day. It validates their pay grade and purpose.

Before any of us can say Obama was great and brilliant or he was lecturing and didactic, we need to remember that news conferences are all for show and all of us are participants because we watch and wonder.

It’s a one act play in which all of us are both players and audience at the same time. Since we don’t know the lines it becomes an improv drama in which we validate or castigate the statements we hear based upon our level of understanding and our knowledge of what is real or better yet what we think is real and what we think we know. But let’s be truthful, most times we don’t know what is really real and we know far less than we think we do.

Why is that? Political obfuscation comes to mind and so does the fact that we the people don’t take the time to read, research or intellectually understand the global ramifications of even a simple Presidential decision. Unfortunately, we rely on others to do our thinking for us. We are visceral people. We vote, think and react on emotion and we forget intellect and reason just as easily as we cast aside ethics and morality if it suits us.

Every President has an agenda and it behooves them to glean support in any way they can. President Reagan used charm. President Bush used fear. President Obama is using intellect and logic. Maybe some day plain truth will be the norm.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Music is the wonder-filled vibration of the Universe.

Do we really know the importance and tonality of music in our lives? If there were no music would we invent a rhythm to correspond with our being? I think so!

All music is vibrational grace. What matters individually is that the collated vibration of the composition, the song, the melody, the tune, resonates in a harmonic tonality with us. When it does resonate, it is amplified back to the heart in an awesome appreciation of a universal Presence.

Music is the tonal breath of harmonic awareness and it is different for each individual. It can be a single sustained note that affects us. It can be a chord, either a dominant or a diminished one, but it must be a harmonic of our being in all its variations. Then we not only feel and hear the music, but we are it for the moments of connection.

How else can you describe the joy of classical music for some and the abhorrence of it by others? How else can the twang and story of folk tunes and country songs reverberate within some and distance others with distaste. Music must vibrate in unison with our spirit. If we feel nothing then the music’s vibration belongs to somebody else’s appreciation.

Music in all its forms is a divine resonance and the limitless variation of All That Is. It is the sound of the universe differentiated into specific pleasure. It is the tonal balance of the spheres.
It is the sentient tonality and emotion of being as tones vibrate with and in the essence of our soul.

Have you even listened to a melody and it was you in the intimacy of recognition? You grabbed it. It held you and it was yours forever. It became your song and the perennial invocation of conscious emotion every time you heard it.

Musical vibration in all its finite varieties and glamorous harmonics hold us in an invisible embrace. Tonality and its root vibrations reminds us of the Source so that in our forgetfulness of daily life we might choose to remember that material existence is temporary. Life, as we know it is experiential and designed only for spiritual growth resulting in the evolutionary At-One-Ment with the Source.

Where did all that come from? Have a musical day.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Courtesy and Manners

I think it’s time to talk about courtesy and manners again.

I may be old. OK, I know I’m older, but not old in the sense of adelpated, at least not yet. I admit to being old fashioned, but submit that it is still appropriate when it comes to etiquette.

I know I’m cranky off and on, but aren’t we all from time to time?

I do admit to being a stickler when it comes to courtesy and manners. Here’s what I still do: When waking with a lady on the street, I walk on the outside because that’s what my Dad said a gentlemen should do.

I open doors for a lady. I precede a lady down a staircase. I offer to lift a heavy object. I offer my seat. I hold her chair. I hold her coat. I open her car door and if circumstances provide it, I walk her to her door. These are things I was taught to do as a young man.

When it comes to manners I am also old fashioned. No, not old fashioned, I am right. No elbows on the table, break bread before buttering, forks on the left and knife and spoon on the right with the edge of the knife pointing toward the plate and the spoon on the outside. Don’t smack your lips and don’t start eating until everyone is served and don’t clear the table until everyone is done.

I know to say excuse me when I leave the table. I know to serve from the left and so on.

Here’s what I’ve noticed recently among the young.

A young dinner guest leaving his napkin on the table even after I quietly suggested it goes on the lap.

Parents not disciplining their children and teaching them to use their inside voices in a quiet public area.

Foul language and behavior in public.

Dressing suggestive and inappropriate besides looking sloppy and dumpy.

Cell phone rudeness. Loud conversation that annoys, disturbs and offends all in proximity.

Did I mention cell phone rudeness? Good.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


A special Sunday Post.

Here is a blogger’s story out of Brazil. It is indicative of the Catholic Church’s role in our global society today.

“A 9-year-old girl several times raped and made pregnant by her stepfather was guaranteed the right to have an abortion legally in Brazil. After the operation, the Roman Catholic Church excommunicated the mother, the doctor and the whole medical team responsible for the operation.”

Let me state at the outset I was raised Catholic. I had a devout Irish Catholic Mother and a convert Father. Through the years I have been involved in Catholic issues and programs and although I am now a non-practicing Catholic I still consider my Catholic foundation as a valid base upon which to disagree with the tenants, operation, edicts and dogmatic reasoning of the central Church of Rome.

Global Catholicism today is fear based, not love based as exemplified by the living Christ of two thousand years ago. I suspect that some in the church’s hierarchy years ago and others who sustain it today, secretly acknowledged that fear of hell’s condemnation attracts more alms to the church than love does in releasing the fictitious bondage of eternal fire.

The Catholic Church has a history of apologies where intellect and science conflicted with primitive church doctrine. People were killed, executed, and excommunicated because the church’s hierarchy was mired in the arrogance of false belief.

In my view, Catholicism has forgotten spirituality and what they think they do remember of it they confuse with dogma.

The word Dogma comes from the Greek and its root meaning is "opinion". Its root word "Dokein" means "to seem good". So when people say religious dogma, they are really saying, "religious opinion that seems good". To me, "seeming good" and the knowing awareness derived through a direct experience of God, are not the same.

Centuries of non-spiritual ritual and adherence to man-made rules give credence to doctrine, not necessarily to Truth. Even the early Christians were cautioned about dogma in the Gospel of Mark - Chapter 7 - Verse 7. "...In vein do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men".

To some religious authorities, an experiential truth, a gnosis, a Divine revelation that may result from an improvisational prayer or mediation is discouraged and discounted. History is filled with stories of inspired individuals, mystics, and saints, who have come in conflict with authority over an inner knowing or a scientific proof versus a system of rigid principles. Galileo, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas, Kabir, and Thoreau are examples.

A direct communication with God cannot be proven; it can only be experienced. Enlightenment, however it is experienced, will always disempower dogma and thus render mystics unacceptable to religious authorities.

A modern example was the conflict between the Vatican and then Dominican scholar, author and lecturer, Dr. Matthew Fox. His enlightenment led him to preach and write about creation spirituality, a positive view of humankind’s inter-relationship with God, rather than the Catholic Church dogma of redemption spirituality, a view whereby human beings are born sinful.

Fox was first silenced by the Vatican, and then asked to leave the Dominican Order and the Catholic priesthood and he is now an Episcopalian scholar. The church leader who silenced Fox was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict the 16th.

Back to the little girl in Brazil. The blog by Carlos Dutra states:

“The nine year old complained to her mother of severe stomach pains. They went together to a health unit, where they discovered the girl was 15-weeks pregnant, expecting twins. Only then, the girl confessed to her mother that her stepfather had been raping her and her older sister, aged 14, for the last 3 years. The stepfather has been detained and has admitted sexually abusing the girl since she was 6 years old.

After much opposition from the Catholic Church, a legal abortion was performed by a medical team. Brazilian law bans abortion except in cases of rape (up to the twentieth week of pregnancy), and when there is risk of death for the mother. Her case ticked all the boxes.
Nevertheless, the case has led to a social battle involving the Roman Catholic Church and the judiciary: supported by the Vatican, the archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Dom José Cardoso Sobrinho, excommunicated the mother, the doctor and the whole medical team responsible for the operation.

The girl was spared, as Catholic Church law says minors are exempt from excommunication. The archbishop, however, did not excommunicate the stepfather, and declared that “a graver act (than rape) is abortion, to eliminate an innocent life.”

Those who believe in a Presence greater than the self rightfully ascribe "Unconditional Love" to the All That Is. We fail to acknowledge our own divinity when we judge.

Friday, March 20, 2009

In The Air

Good Friday morning to all. We've had a couple of days of warmth here in the East. A harbinger of what's to come and spring always brings out my muse.

In The Air
© 2009 Rolland G. Smith

The ache of spring is in the air
Despite the chill of winter’s fare.
I see it in the buds of trees
Whose pokes from ‘neath the twigs do please.

For me a sadness in each spring
When birth and growth cannot re-bring
The energy of parted souls
Whose lives we shared with gentle strolls.

But then I know, I truly know
Life’s light forever keeps its glow,
for when complete, form goes away
And spirit laughs and plays the play.

We who stay must understand
That short or long life’s ever grand,
And ceases not despite the shift
of back and fourth in cosmic drift.

But back to spring and its rebirth
With life profound from sentient earth.
Both warmth and light do bright the stage
Releasing all from winter’s cage.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

AIG Again

When you have extreme greed you have extreme threats. Wrong is wrong and two wrongs...you know the rest of the old adage.

The loony’s are out regarding AIG bonuses.

Fringe Americans continue to demonstrate insensitive, inordinate, incomprehensible stupidity.

The illiterate and the sadly ignorant cretins have come out of their detritus habitat to threaten lives instead of thinking and assessing the situation for the benefit of the whole.

Their threats, however, are real and they ought to be put away.

AIG Chief Executive Edward Liddy works for a dollar a year and is trying to divest the derivatives unit of the American International Group without harming the global economy. He testified before a Congressional Committee. He said employees at the company had received death threats to themselves and their families amid the national furor over bail out bonuses.

What AIG did in paying out exorbitant bonuses was wrong and the tax payer has the right to be upset. What some sub-human intellects with cowardly threats are doing is also wrong and it gives the grace of intelligent discourse, discussion and dialogue a set back in the evolution of common sense.

Where do we get these people who throw threats of harm at others? Have they no understanding of justice or the rule of law? They must have come out of the Al Quida school of anarchy and bullying.

To all threatening ignoramuses, you want to kill something? Kill prejudice. Assassinate injustice. Liquidate drug and child abuse. Slay the greed that causes hunger and obliterate ignorance so that threat adjudications will never again rise above the scum layer of life.

Boy do I feel better!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I am posting this early as I am traveling on this Wednesday.

Another friend passed the other day and I will attend a service of honor and memory and as all endings do it got me thinking again about life and passages.

We are both physical and spiritual beings. When we perceive through our physical bodies via the intellect and instinct each moment of being is mortally precious because we tie it to time.

Our spirit, however, the true essence of what it is we are, sees each moment as eternity, as complete and perfect for the linearity of time does not exist. If you accept that premise, the expression, "Live in the Moment" takes on a different meaning.

The body is a beautiful mechanism brought into form that allows the spirit to exist in this earthly density and environment. When the spirit is finished with what it came here to do it discards the body and returns to the Source and the body returns to the earth.

The human heart embraces both the spirit and the body. It is, by design, the most important organ in the body; without it no other organ can exist. It's pith, however, is more ethereal for it is attuned to the Divine as we joyfully participate in the experience of life, not only because we too are Divine, but also because it was a willing choice prior to our birth when omniscience was part of our being and we could choose the experiences we call life with angelic guidance and without the ego's intervention.

Understanding the dichotomy of letting go to always have is a constant struggle of being, of life.

Implicit in this thought is the understanding that we are not our bodies. Our bodies only house what we really are -- spirit!

Would that we could see far beyond the eye
To where the mind oft goes to be alone.
Where mystery blends with thoughts that never die
And magic melts the ice of what’s unknown.
The miracle of mind is what’s not seen
Accept what artist’s hands can clearly show
The Universe and time set in between
The silence and the thought, a vast tableau.
What greater gift is there, but to create
And greet imagination at its core.
It is in bringing forth that we await
The opening of wonder at the door.
The mind is just the hook to hold the thought
Before we let it go and what its wrought.

Enough thought…I’m gonna go and have some ice cream.

Cooper Union

There are some people who believe you can feel the energy left over from an important event.

Some say you can feel the light, the essence of some individuals who are charismatic after they leave a place. I don’t know, but I do know I felt something last night.

I was at a memorial service at Cooper Union in New York City. It was well attended by friends and associates of a well-respected and influential man who graduated from the college and gave it much attention during his life.

The service was in the Great Hall, a very famous place with echoes of greatness embedded in its fiber and stone.

On February 27th, 1860, not more that 20 feet from where I sat, Abraham Lincoln gave his historic address on federal power to regulate and limit the spread of slavery. It was a speech that catapulted Lincoln into his party's Presidential nomination.

I looked around at the columns and architecture and I felt something. Maybe I was feeling my imagination. Maybe it was the person next to me, but I was thinking of Lincoln and wondering where he stood on the raised stage.

When I got home I looked up the history of Cooper Union and the Great Hall.

I read that besides Lincoln, Presidents Grant, Cleveland, Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have all made speeches in the Great Hall.

No wonder I felt something.

Monday, March 16, 2009


A.I.G. used to stand for American International Group. Today it stands for Arrogant Institutional Greed.

The big international company which has received more than 170 billion in taxpayer bailout money is paying nearly 165 million in bonuses to many of the same people in the business unit whose decisions lead to the companies catalyst for collapse last year. The total amount of “retention” bonuses is $450 million over the next few years.

The argument is that the bonuses are needed to keep the most skilled executives. Skilled? Are not some of them the ones who brought the company to the brink of disaster? Isn’t this the company that wrote trillions of dollars’ worth of credit-default swaps backed by subprime mortgages?

Like a lot of Americans I don’t understand the intricacies of company and government finance; it’s not my field of interest.

I do understand greed when I see it. I do recognize arrogance when I see it. I know of inappropriate bonus transactions and alleged obligations and I don’t like what I see.

It seems that a body of legal analysts looked at the AIG contracts promising the bonuses and apparently said they were contracted early last year before any bailout money was given and legally must be paid. Hogwash.

If the company had been allowed to default, to go bankrupt, which I understand could disrupt the economic system of the world, where would the bonus money promised have come from?

It seems to me that at that point all contracts are null and void and all promises negated. The American taxpayer, who now owns nearly 80 percent of the company, should not be responsible to pay contracts or bonuses agreed to before it ever got involved. Come on…where is common sense?

And as for keeping the “skilled” executives. How many do you think will put AIG financial Products Unit on their resume when they look for a new job?

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Gift of Choice

A poetic post this Friday to end the week and offer some unconventional thought. It is called “The gift of choice.”

Betwixt the spirit's cryptic flow
Are special skills in folio.
Reflections of collected gifts
Gleaned from thy many cosmic drifts

These gifts are yours to manifest
Through life’s experiential geste.
See not the dark where fear resides
Nor think that you’re unqualified.

These benefactions from your past,
Are balances of actions cast,
And yours to give and yours to share
To be of service everywhere.

When lightless black seems at its pitch
A simple choice can make the switch
To where perception changes ‘round
A thinking that you thought profound.

Embrace your vastness deep within,
Where masculine and feminine,
Combine as ONE to thus behold
An ageless truth forever told.

A simple choice to loose the bind.
To change your life, then change your mind.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Madoff's Ponzi

I’m wondering what good it does for Bernard Madoff’s victims to speak at him in court. This will all happen today in a Manhattan courtroom.

Yes, he has hurt many thousands with billions in losses, but truly what assuagement does a victim receive by looking the culprit in the eye and saying you hurt me, or you ruined me, or you scoundrel or worse?

Do they think that words will harm a sociopath like Madoff or think he will have remorse because of what they say? The psychology experts will tell you no.

Will the victim’s words of anger, punctuated by emotion and tears bring back the wealth whose loss is the source of the pain? We all know it won’t, but yet our court system allows the victim to confront the accused, the culprit, and the murderer.

Madoff’s ponzi scam and his promise of untold riches on investment was the lure that attracted many victims to invest in the first place. When untold wealth or return is promised on money invested people forget the old adages that "a sucker is born every minute" and "if it’s too good to be true then it probably is."

I truly feel bad for all those individuals and institutions that invested in the Madoff scam, but I also acknowledge they have some responsibility for their actions.

Until the scam was uncovered many received phenomenal returns on their investment and that’s a Ponzi scheme; word of mouth attracts others who want in for the big money.

In many ways we are all victims for the largess of charity and generosity stops when the money does. So many have been hurt and will continue to feel the pain, but yelling at Madoff is a momentary quell that serves no purpose other than to hold the hurt.

Let it go. Let it be and get on with our lives. Bad choices are always a part of living. We just have to learn from them.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Speaker Nancy Pelosi

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t vote for Nancy Pelosi for anything. Yet, Speaker Pelosi commands a power few know about and she seems to want to control the legislative agenda of the Presidency. It is her right to control the process, but not the agenda.

As much as I dislike to reference FOX news here’s a quote from a column by Bret Baier.

“Something else that appears complicated are Speaker Pelosi's multiple requests for military air travel. Transparency advocate Judicial Watch obtained internal documents by the Defense Department detailing attempts by its staff to accommodate Speaker Pelosi's numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft, along with frequent last minute cancellations and changes costing taxpayers money.”

There are 257 members of the House who keep Ms Pelosi in power. They are the Democrats. The Republicans number 178. To me 257 members do not constitute enough of an “across the land” constituency to enable the kind of power Speaker Pelosi requests, demands or thinks she is entitled too.

I remember as a young journalist working in Washington, D.C. and walking, with a bunch of other reporters, into Speaker John McCormack’s office for an interview in 1969. I was impressed as youth is wont too, but I don’t remember the office trappings and perks being beyond imagination or the power sacrosanct.

I understand there are perks that go with any office or committee chairmanship, but demands for taxpayer subsidized aircraft and big ones at that, all under the guise of security are a bit much.

Yes, the speaker of the House is second in line to the Presidency after the Vice-President, but like the auto company executives who screwed up by flying to Congressional bailout hearings in company jets, Madam Speaker needs a public relations adjustment.

She is not the President. She was not elected by the majority of citizen voters. She was re-elected speaker by only 255 votes of members of a very exclusive club and does not have my vote to run the country. At the moment Mr. Obama does and the speaker should follow her leader.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Swift River Gold

Good Morning Friends,

Reading about all the scams that have been going on lately, there was one back in the early 1900's that took in lots of suckers.

The Swift River in Maine is still frozen. The ice jams won't start to melt until late March. When spring comes the prospectors will be out there, searching, panning for gold. It's not a new find. Panners have been swirling the Swift River sediment for years, ever since the big rush in 1901 and 1902. It wasn't a big rush like they had out in California, but some gold was found.

Most folks think river gold is found out west. The truth is gold is where you find it and some pretty rich deposits have been discovered in the East. Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Maine have all had their share of gold strikes.

Some amateur gold panners around the country claim they make a living finding little pieces of gold. Some started doing it while on vacation and never stopped. After all if you find an ounce of gold a week, and some panners say they do, its like earning Seven or eight hundred dollars or whatever the going price of gold is when you finally sell it.

The Swift River Gold rush took place in the little hamlet of Houghton, Maine. The town changed its name to Goldfields after a prospector from New Hampshire struck it rich. He made up some stock certificates and sold interest in his strike. He made quite a bit of money before investors discovered it was a man-made strike.

It seems the fellow loaded shotgun shells with gold flakes and fired them into the stream bank. They caught him at it and he was convicted of fraud.

Shortly thereafter, Goldfields changed its name back to Houghton.

Sometimes things just don't pan out.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hummingbird Alive

He or she was tiny and delicate.

A ruby throated iridescent green-feathered hummingbird, not more than an inch and a half long and not even a half-inch wide slammed into a picture window and dropped to the ground. It quivered and throbbed as its body tried to recover from the head-on trauma.

Watching the process of recovery, I think human concern and a sadness of helplessness increases exponentially with the smallness of the creature. I’m sure it’s a subconscious protective reaction of something so small, but one of genuine concern.

This little creature was obviously hurting. I wanted to help, but there was nothing I could do. I knew it was alive because of its miniature movements, but I didn't know if it would live.

I also knew from other bird strikes against glass that sometimes these delicate creatures survive and you have to give them time to recover without triggering their instinctive fear and natural avoidance of human closeness. You also have to fight the desire and need to run and pick them up to comfort and try to cure with concern.

I watched the stunned and disoriented bird for a while. Hoping it would survive. I mentally struggled with it to stay in life. In many ways you become one with the bird and give it a human consciousness or at least an awareness and desire to survive.

It seemed like a long time, but finally it raised its head off the concrete where it had fallen and moved around a little and stretched and fluttered its wings and then with a little more rest it flew away.

There is no other word for my reaction other than “rejoice”.

Little "creature beings" have a profound effect on our lives if we let them. Look at the joy that puppies engender or the comfort felt from a purring kitten. How about the sound of a morning songbird as we stand in the warming and awakening light of dawn or the awe of a Bald Eagle in flight?

I thank the All That Is for these great gifts and on this morning especially for the life of a tiny hummingbird.

Friday, March 6, 2009


I am fortunate to be spending a few days in the desert southwest as indicated in my previous post. It is an environment with which I am attuned and every time I come to this climate I experience more of its grace.

Several years ago I had the opportunity to experience the Anza-Borrego desert environment in California. I spent several days in that desert camping and writing. It was both extraordinarily beautiful and sad at the same time.

The Anza-Boreago is an ancient seabed and is crusted with tiny fossil seashells and with the modern tracks of intrusive dune buggies.

I was not prepared then or even now in my memory for the deserts beauty or mankind’s trespass upon it. The result was a poem I call Carrizo Wash.

A desert vast to see and feel,
What is the truth and what is real.
There’s streaks and scratches on the land,
Where little grows and few things stand.

It’s tracks of man deep tire scarred,
On seabeds floor now wheel marred.
It’s Barren dry, yet full of life
Neath rocks of weather’s cutting knife.

With granite grays and sandy stone,
And black basalt and sun bleached bone
The Sages bloom in pale hue,
Where green and creams now rendezvous.

The Fossil shells from tranquil past,
Lay ‘neath a sea that didn't last.
Old solitude with crusts of shell,
What ancient day did mark your knell?

Thou sacred sweep, what is the worse,
No ocean cover or man’s traverse?
Intruding sounds in paradise,
Does make this silent place die twice.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Desert Southwest

What is it about the desert southwest that provides a sense of peace? I don’t know the total answer to that question, but I do have some observations.

First of all, I come from the east and in the east when I left a few days ago it was cold and snowy with a harsh wind blowing. Leaving the cold, if only for a few days is one undeniable condition that engenders peace.

The other observations are all southwest subjective.

Sand is an unnatural growing environment, at least to us Easterners, yet cactus species of all kinds flourish in the granulated loam. The red painted Ocotillo, the eatable Prickly Pear, the noble and stately Saguaro, and the winding Stag horn. Barrel cactus flowers have few equals with their thick colorful blossoms. Numerous floor varieties of tiny delegate flowers sprout through the cracked and drying sand and all are shaded occasionally by the multi-trunked Ironwood evergreen tree.

There is a peace that flows naturally from the land and in particular from the vistas embraced by the eye. Distances are unencumbered.

There is cultural variety everywhere. Immigrant Mexican traditions vie with Caucasian expectations and expansion.

In many ways water is the coin in the realm. By the time the Colorado River, which sources in the Rocky Mountains, gets to the desert southwest it is but a trickle of a stream. States use most of their allotment and there is little left to flow south of the border.

Somewhere down the years, by drought or use, water will be a problem. How it’s solved will be the choice of cooperation or legal conflict.

I hope the peace engendered by the rest of the region will prevail at that time.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I am once again disappointed in Congress. All of them. Democrats and Republicans. House and Senate.

The stimulus bill that was just passed has 9000 earmarks.

Efforts to eliminate them from the bill have just failed in the Senate.

The Office of Management and Budget defines an earmark as “funds provided by the Congress for projects or programs where the congress circumvents the Executive Branch merit-based or competitive allocation processes...”

For the most part it’s PORK spending and PORK usually refers to spending that is intended to benefit constituents of a politician in return for their political support.

Right now we are all constituents of an economic downturn, a recession, even a depression and we need to work together to cut, conserve and construct a viable survival base for our collective future. We do NOT need to payback voters in specific districts with suspect programs and projects that only benefit the few.

I really don’t think these guys get it. A lot of people don't get it given that there are more hands out ready to grab from the peoples treasure. The consideration for people, families and basic human need is lost.

Thirteen million American kids go hungry every day and non-profits want some of the government largess to build parking lots and improve museums. Run that one by the hungry!

We’ve got an infrastructure that’s crumbling. A mercantile system that crumbling. Health care costs out of control, unemployment at seven percent, we are fighting two costly wars and people and organizations want money for parking lots.

Where is the Senate's common sense? Who is the "smeller" on this smell test?

Let us ban earmarks and teach our representatives or elect new ones who vow to be of service to the whole of America and then we can confront and conquer the real problems of today and the future.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Coach Flying

Observations on board an almost trans-continental flight.

The first thing I noticed was that I had to pay extra for a regular size suitcase. Fifteen dollars! It was a policy instituted in 2008 when the fuel prices were going through the proverbial roof.

Now in March of 2009 the fuel prices are far less than they were, but I’m still paying for the fuel surcharge. Something’s wrong. Could it be greed? Probably not, the airlines wouldn’t do that.

An hour or so into the flight came the announcement that a snack would be served, not lunch, but a snack. There were two choices.

It was seven dollars for a salad and seven dollars for a pastrami sandwich. Seven dollars! This is airline food, mass produced, tasteless at best and they want seven dollars for an entre.

I paid it. I was hungry. I also ordered a tiny plastic bottle of wine. Tuesday’s vintage. It tasted like a Tuesday pressing. It too was seven dollars.

The last time I took a long enough flight to be offered a drink and a sandwich was a year ago. Then it was five dollars for the food and five dollars for the wine. Greed again? It was probably inflation not the airline.

The lady across the isle obviously knew far more than I did. She brought her own food. Celery sticks filled with peanut butter. I guess there are some things worse than airline food.

Two rows in front of me sat a weary young mother with two little kids, a little boy about two and a little girl about four. The girl had the loudest piercing voice I’ve ever heard. The boy was quintessentially terrible. Worse! Loud, crying, jumping, kicking and bellowing decibel discomfort throughout the entire coach class section.

Everyone was annoyed. Somebody complained to the flight attendant and the Mother said the kid was autistic.

People, who could, brought out their noise cancelling earphones. I brought out a hundred dollar bill and offered to buy one from anybody, but there were no takers.

I ordered another tiny bottle of wine for seven dollars. I finally dozed amid the noise, the screaming and the distraction.

If it were legal I would have bought another bottle or two and given it to the kid.

Seriously, I feel for the Mother and the little boy. They have a tough life ahead. The lesson I learned for me was that I am still intolerant. I'll work on it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Answer to Anonymous

Dear Anonymous on the post "Did You Know".

You can’t be completely anonymous since you signed your comment with the letter “S” and a couple of xxoo’s. Thank you “S” for the xx’s and oo”s.

I am delighted to answer your question.

To me, I see the singular importance of a raindrop as the prism into the brilliance and beauty of a rainbow. Therefore I extrapolate that my questions were of importance because my answer to your “Did You Know” question is “Yes.”

Without a cacophony of raindrops there would be no rainbow and yet within a single drop, depending on your viewing position, there is a lens into light frequencies and color spectrum's.

Long before humankind had the technology to construct a prism, the only place that primitive peoples of the world could see the color spectrum was within the collective raindrops of nature as experienced after a gentle rain or in a waterfall mist.

Without the raindrop there would be no understanding of primary colors and their effect on life and psyche and there would be no awe in the summer shower phenomena of a
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