Friday, August 24, 2007

Beste Nachrichten Geschichte der Woche

Woman Sets Fire to Ex-Husband's Penis
MOSCOW (Reuters) - A woman set fire to her ex-husband's penis as he sat naked watching television and drinking vodka, Moscow police said Wednesday. Asked if the man would make a full recovery, a police spokeswoman said it was "difficult to predict." The attack climaxed three years of acrimonious enforced co-habitation. The couple divorced three years ago but continued to share a small flat, something common in Russia where property costs are very high. "It was monstrously painful," the wounded ex-husband told Tvoi Den newspaper. "I was burning like a torch. I don't know what I did to deserve this."

[I want the author of this story nominated for the Pulitzer. What delicious double-entendre! )

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Orchid, the Sage and the Ant

Growing and tending after orchids is a very rewarding pastime. But, one must have patience. They can be quite fickle: there is no sense in trying to figure out just when the things will bloom . . . or whether they'll bloom at all! Nope. Deep inside their little genomes the Great Mother has locked away a mysterious and unknowable little key and keyhole that remains maddeningly secret to thems of us holding what we regard as "The Magic Mister" - the device that will surely 'feed' the orchid's way into spike.

Such was the way with a particular vanda that I bought about 7 or 8 years ago. It has NEVER had the decency to bloom. NEVER! Vandas can be picky about sunlight so I've moved it here . . . I've moved it there . . . Lots of sun - partial shade - some sun - deadly shade that would make other plants wither - partial sun - ad nauseum. I've fed it lightly at partial strength from what the manufacturers suggest - blitzed it with 150% strength twice weekly - starved it; I've played music for the damned thing, chanted mantras within hearing distance - you name it, I've done it. This orchid, like that famed Ma Richards' dog "won't hunt!".

That is until about a week ago. I'll be switched if the bloody thing didn't go into spike. For no reason. It just one morning decided, I suppose, "Yes. Well, then! Let's have a spike, shall we?"

I don't understand it. It's just one of those great Cosmic Things that one can only accept and then move on. So, it was with some alarm that I discovered just days after the spike's appearance, an ant prowling all over the spike. I thought: "Well, that's just great. Finally got a spike and this interloper comes along to do Goddess knows what mischief."

So, I took down the orchid (knowing in my heart of hearts that doing so would irreparably jinx any chance of the thing actually blooming) and took it outside the pool cage. The ant, almost knowing my plan, hid somewhere within the leaves of the plant. I, being 'on' to his/her game, waited like a cat before a mouse hole. Sure enough, after a few minutes, out it came and scrambled back to the spike. I quickly sucked in a large quantity of air and blew the thing off in one felled whoosh into the air and down to the grass.

Satisfied that I had not had to resort to killing a fellow traveler and had rectified what surely was to become a horrible end to the spike, back inside the pool cage I went and rehung the orchid in it's happy place. With a smile of self-appreciation, I picked up my glass of wine and commenced to examine the rest of my collection to see if I could spot any other signs of immenent bloomage.

As I gazed at a particularly fine Braccia from Belize something caught my eye: could it be? No, surely not. YES! It was the very ant parading across the outside of the screen in full view, heading directly toward the cage door. Stunned, I stood there and watched it manoeuver it's way to the door, head south to the bottom, crawl under the door, across the deck to the trellis where all the orchids are hung and proceed to climb right back up and onto the imperiled spike.

It was at this point that the Law of Allowing crept to the surface of my mind. "For heaven's sake", I thought. "How do you think the universe has managed Lo, these many Eons? You haven't a clue where this ant is in the whole Scheme of Things so bug off yourself!" And I did. This epiphany was a wonderful realization. My smile broadened and I went and sat down to reflect on the Wisdom of Allowing the Universe to flow through you instead of around you. I was filled up, fairly glowing in newly found Resolution.

Then, this morning whilst trying to find a suitable photo to accompany, what I'd hoped to be, this brilliantly enlightening piece, I find the following on this website:

"If, however, the ants are congregating on the leaves or the flower stems, and look like they are feeding on tiny droplets of sap, a greater problem exists. Another insect or mite has chewed into the plant and the ants are merely joining the party. In this case, use a safe insect spray (such as a pyrethrum-based one) to kill the main offenders but don't worry about the ants. They will get bored and leave. " (Italics mine)

. . . . . I think I have some insecticidal soap underneath the sink. ~ Om.

From the Annals of Cataloging Hell

Having battled the computer all week long at work, dealing with crashes, huge records I'd created out of whole cloth not being allowed to be saved, our IT goons deciding not to allow attachments on incoming emails causing a bazillion bibliographic records from making it from the publisher to me so BOXES of new titles couldn't be loaded into our system . . . well, I'm just glad the week is over. Here's some things I bet we all wish we had on our machines:

Monday, August 6, 2007


For a number of years now, I have been practicing something which I call: Automatic Reading. Some years ago an organization I belong to asked it's members how they went about 'reading' in terms of how they selected what they read, how they read, etc. Was there methodology to their choices/interests. After having given it some thought, it occured to me that I did indeed have a method toward selecting what I read. Something would catch my eye, say a subject or person or place or topic, and I would start reading about it with no idea toward which it would lead me. Often I will scan the bibliography in the back of a non-fiction book and start reading cited titles that the author read. You can't imagine the places you end up - places seemingly unrelated to what you originally started off with.

As an example, someone gave me a copy of "Live from Golgotha" by Gore Vidal. It's a very small book with a delicious gimmick: A large corporation sometime in the near future has the ability to 'hologram' back in time. They contact Timothy, of New Testament fame, to be the anchor at the crucifixion of Jesus and to broadcast the event to the future so the corporation can televise it. Well, having blazed through that wonderful premise, I was left with the thought, "Where the hell did Vidal get the idea for this book?" There were some heretical ideas presented and, having been a theology major in college, I was led to investigate the herecies - something I hadn't done in school. Before I knew it I was reading everything I could get my hands on, mostly from St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore. I ended up spending nearly 3 years following this thread which ultimately led to me being somewhat of a student of the whole Templar thing . . . . YEARS before Brown got a hold of it with his book, "The Da Vinci Code". Which leads me to:

Automatic Reading

This practice entails going across the parking lot to the adjacent library and following my nose to wherever it leads. I kind of get a feeling about a certain spot, could be the 700's, the 500's, I never know what aisle. But I feel it when I arrive there and I start to look over that range of books. One will catch my eye and, flipping through the pages, a particular page will stop me cold and the very thing I supposedly was intended to read appears before me.

As an example, this morning found me in front of the 290's (eastern religion/philosophy). I find myself in this spot often and know pretty much what is to be found there. But, today out popped a book that I hadn't seen before and I looked it over. The title is: "Cave in the Snow" by Vicki Mackenzie. It's about how a westerner, the daughter of a fishmonger from London's East End, has become a Buddhist legend and a champion of the right of women to attain spiritual enlightenment. It's a true story about Tenzin Palmo. She goes to live alone for twelve years in a cave seeking self-realization. I was hooked.

But ,in the midst of this Find, Automatic Reading took over and presented this paragraph to me and nearly blew me away. So simple. So direct. So beautiful.

Concerning her meditation techniques, she was asked about the difficulties of learning to concentrate during meditation:

"After all those hours of meditating, those twelve years of sitting in her meditation box looking inwards in her cave, did she improve?

'Like anything else, if you practice long enough it gets easier. For example, if you are learning to play the piano, in the beginning your fingers are very stiff and you hit many wrong notes, and it is very awkward. But if you continually practice it gets easier and easier. But even so, although a concert pianist is very skilled at playing, still his difficulties are there. They may be at a higher level and not apparent to other people but he sees his own problems,' she said, modest as always.

In the end had it all been worth it? After that protracted extraordinary effort, the hardships, the self-discipline, the renunciation, what had she gained? The answer came back quick as a flash.

'It's not what you gain but what you lose. It's like unpeeling the layers of an onion, that's what you have to do. My quest was to understand what perfection meant. Now, I realize that on one level we have never moved away from it. It is only our deluded perception which prevents our seeing what we already have. The more you realize, the more you realize there is nothing to realize. The idea that there's somewhere we have got to get to, and something we have to attain, is our basic delusion. Who is there to attain it anyway?'"