May I let my voice be a clarion call. I will use these words for justice. I will use these words for truth. And humour.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Wing-suit Base Jumping

Just plain WOW! This kind of thing is almost beyond-words surreal.

Just watch the video.

I can imagine for those among us who are a bit more tame, it would be fun to just jump out of an airplane with one of these suits on, so as to get to experience the flying instead of a standard freefall.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

So I just got an email reply regarding the Transforming Theology conferences coming up. Only some of the sessions are open to the wider public, though they will be recorded and available for later viewing, which would be good. I don't recall where it is taking place, and their server seems to be down, but if its too far away, I doubt I can make it just to sit and listen when I can hear a recorded version on my own time without wasting gas.

I wonder what they'll come up with.

This is just a tiny stub post, and a kind of bookmark for myself to come back and revisit this later.

From There You Are [Jesus Song No. 7], by The Flaming Lips
There you are
And you stand in the rain
And the rain fills your brain
And it makes you think that god
Was fucked up when he made this town

There you stand
With your bleedin hands
And you dont understand
Why you work so goddamn hard
To be anything at all

There you are
And you drive in your car
And you wish for the stars
And you end up face down in the road
Dead as fuck

chant/prayer/mantra: For the sake of our world, may our understanding of theology travel well beyond unexamined categorical boundaries.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Some Awesome "Small Planet" Art on Flickr

Check out this amazing art by an artist by the handle of Gadl.

lyrics: I'm sticking with you, like I'm made out of glue.
From I'm Sticking with You, by Velvet Underground

colors: Green, gray, and blue.

mood: Scratchy.

chant/prayer/mantra: As our world gets smaller, I pray that we'll be more comfortable getting closer.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

Monday, February 23, 2009


Some other people's thoughts on music and nature, along with my own...

While looking up a John Cage quote, I came across this page, with several interesting things to say about sound, music, musicians, and other stuff.

The two notable ones that made me most want to link to it are:
[ David Sanjek on music fans who value the tragic stories of dysfunctional musicians]: "The word 'schadenfreude' grants these lookyloos way too much dignity."

[On why he {Stephin Merritt} subverts genres]: "Because I'm embarrassed." (He added that this is also why Andy Warhol did everything the way he did.)

[On the difference between shame and embarrassment]: "You can talk about embarrassment. You cannot talk about shame."

And here's my 5-minute presentation for class tomorrow on "Why I Love the Sound of Music" (It may be a little fluffy in tone, but I stand by it as one of my truths.)

To me, all sound is musical in some way or another. According to musician John Cage, “Everything we do is music. And everywhere is the best seat.” While some sounds – the blaring repetition of a car alarm or the too-loud hum of a laptop's fan – do still qualify as music to me in the way John Cage describes, they're not the kind I like. Those sounds make me mad, because they are created from principles that mar the natural music of life. The car alarm was intentionally designed to cut through the baseline sounds introducing cacophony, and not blending with the beauty around it, just squawking. And the whir of computers, refrigerators, and the constant sound of the freeway's stream of cars are unfortunate byproducts of our culture's design that raise the noise floor, obscuring our ability to more perfectly perceive nature's music.

Frequently, I will clap my hands together when I walk into a new and interesting space. I clap not really for the purpose of dispelling evil spirits, as is the belief in some cultures, but rather just to hear the acoustic signature. Every location has an acoustic signature, but I imagine many people do not fully note the beauty of this. A hand-clap is a short, sharp sound with such a quick “attack” that it manages to carry many different frequencies of pressure waves as it propagates outward to any boundaries, where it will then bounce around before returning to the clapper's ears. At sea level, the sound's pressure wave will travel at 1100 feet/second, which means that in a cathedral like St. Mary's on Geary in San Francisco or the Cathedral of Christ the Light just north of Lake Merritt in Oakland, the sound may travel 100 feet to a wall or ceiling, then return two-tenths of a second later.

Actually, there will be the direct sound that only takes a millisecond to go the one foot from your hands to your ears, then there is the first echo, then there will be multiple echoes as the sound waves bounce back and forth. The sound is damped partially by the total distance it must travel through the air, and also by the surfaces of the walls or trees or ground as they absorb the sound. A simple example of this how is a wall made of carpet in Elvis' basement will absorb much more sound than the tiles in your bathroom. Actually, the reverberation is one of the reasons people like so much to sing in the shower. That, and the fact that the noise floor created by the shower's spray kind of covers up those off-key notes....

But even the off-key singing I like. I had a voice teacher explain to me that you want to sing each note right on key instantly, but many singers' nature is to start the note slightly flat if its in the upper registers and then sort of slide into the right pitch a fraction of a second later. To me, that's part of what is called the “attack” or the onset of a musical note. The next part is the decay, which is the portion of a note where the “voice” tapers off. This voice can be a human voice, a hammered piano string, a bowed viola string, a horn's honk, a plucked guitar string, or something entirely synthetic. Each instrument has its own unique [act with hands] attack, decay, sustain, and release.

More importantly to me is the timbre of the sound, spelled with an “i” but pronounced with an “a.” Timbre is the quality of the overtones as they relate to the fundamental pitch. Say you pluck a low E on a guitar string, you will also hear harmonics resonate at various amplitudes. There is a harmonic that occurs at half the length of the string and sounds an octave higher than the fundamental. Another harmonic occurring at 2/3rd the length of the string is the perfect fifth, and so on. Synthesizers, with their abilities of sculpting harmonic levels, feeding back, and applying low-frequency oscillators, are able to create any sound imaginable. You may play a note on an instrument, but the sound that comes out may be entirely different, depending on the timbre. With the right settings, a single note can be made to sound like a chord, or may just sound like something many people may not associate with music at all....

There's much more to say about all that's beautiful about sound, but I will just leave it at that, saying that the music to me in life is how our notes resonate and reverberate and resound. So,... Send your sound out there, and see which frequencies it resonates on, and find out how long it takes to come back.

lyrics: Something in Turkish off of a song called "Haydi Kolkola" by Grup Yorum off of The Rough Guide to Turkey

colors: 430,000,000,000,000 Hz (red) to 750,000,000,000,000 Hz (violet)

mood: Okay.

chant/prayer/mantra: May all our sound be a chorus.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, February 20, 2009


Scientology's Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I came across this on the net after watching a video on Scientology, made by the Scientology community.  The video was obviously very slanted, yet, their list of human rights is quite noble, if not difficult to attain and enforce.

Also, I did a quick search for a list of human responsibilities, and came up with this.

I wonder when somebody will get it right.

lyrics: The moustache stays right where it's at.
From The Incomparable Mr. Flannery, by Clutch

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

Monday, February 16, 2009


How Protests Work

This post on kind of made me chuckle. I'm not sure why, but I think it struck a chord.

The methods of protest vary greatly. One activist may create a stirring piece of art to highlight his or her cause, or a thousand activists may rally together in the streets. Either way, the aim is simple: Draw enough attention to a message, convince enough people of your cause's moral superiority and you can change the way a government, industry or society acts and thinks.

chant/prayer/mantra: May all necessary change one day be good, quick, and non-violent. Amen.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

Sunday, February 8, 2009



Been praying for the well-being of Jerusalem, along with its peace and safety for a while now. I hear its a beautiful city, and hope to visit one day. In the meantime, I pray for peace and honest and compassionate trans-community/trans-national conversations, so that we can work together to create a lasting loving solution. Amen.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,


Doodle 4 Google

This is just too cute, and I wanted to bookmark it for myself and also share it.

In a nutshell, what I like about this is that a major corporation is asking kids to share their imagination and dreams, and then amplifying it out to the world (I guess that's one of the advantages of being a major media corporation). Hmmm, that's the first time I've thought of Google as big media -- I guess since they don't have TV stations, etc, they don't fit the normal definition, but with acquisitions of things like YouTube (and of course being the ubiquitous search engine), they're certainly grabbing a lot of eyeballs now....

chant/prayer/mantra: allow your children's dreams to become real, and just maybe they can put this world's nightmares to rest.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, February 6, 2009


Michael Phelps caught smoking from a bong

So uber-champion of swimming Michael Phelps had a picture of him smoking from a bong end up in a newspaper. And now lots of his sponsors are dropping his contract, including Kellogg's and Subway -- corporations which enjoy business from people who smoke marijuana. Perhaps they and the other folks trying to slap his wrist really are doing it because he should be a role model for kids, perhaps they're doing it because they don't want to be associated with marijuana because of family-goodness perceptions they want to keep alive.

There is a lot I would add to this discussion, but apparently, there are many professional journalists saying pretty much the same thing. Note a few of the headlines of the Related Blogs section from the page linked above (I will add my comments in []'s):

The simple way of saying this is that the context is being presented as if Michael Phelps spending some of his downtime in an altered state of consciousness cannot be allowed as a part of our worldview. For Christ's sake -- and I do mean that literally -- shaman and spiritual guides have been smoking and snorting herbs and such for thousands of years. When can we get real about drug policy, and get real about having a system of laws based on a deep and grounded ethical morality, and put people (and the planet) before ideologies?

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Forcing Divorce, and a message on stewardship

So apparently back on December 19th, the Yes on Prop 8 folks got Kenneth Starr (the same guy who prosecuted against Bill Clinton) to file a case so that all 18k of the same sex couples in California who got married last year will have that marriage taken away.

Note that at the bottom of the dailykos page, there's a scary video of two Latter Day Saints marching into a lesbian household and taking their rings and marriage certificate, ripping it in half. That's pretty close to the truth. To think that rights that some people have been working to achieve and then win, could be taken away again is TOTALLY unAmerican.

So, if you're a friend of mine, and/or care about equal rights, please go here, and do as your heart compels.

I find it interesting and extremely sad that the Catholics and JC-LDS folks were two of the biggest proponents behind prop 8, and Unitarian Universalism was one of the biggest opponents to it. What I find interesting are these numbers.

The Catholics, a population of roughly 80 million give an average of 1.3%, a total easily over $5 BILLION dollars to the church annually.

The Mormons, a population of roughly 6 million give an average of 7.5% of their income to the church. For argument's sake, let's pretend the median income is a generous $50k/year. That works out to roughly $22.5 BILLION/year.

Unitarian Universalists have less than 200,000 pledging members, averaging less than 1% of their income. That means a total of (far) less than $100 million.

If we're talking about economic power (and the ability to put it to work in the form of making the world match your values), UU and our message and values are hurting. It's not just a question of getting the message out, but of getting it out enough, and getting it out more. The Catholics, the Mormons and the fundamentalists are all a lot more vocal than us, and often, its the loudest or most frequent voice that gets heard. We would be hard pressed to launch an ad campaign anywhere near the size of the Yes on 8 campaign the Mormons put on, or to pay lawyer's fees the size of someone like Kenneth Starr would ask for.

And a bit closer to home -- with the economic downturn, our association of churches are even hard-pressed to train ministers -- significantly fewer congregations are taking interns for the coming year, which means I might get the opportunity to be a stay-at-home dad for a year, and UU will have me as a minister for one less year, or perhaps not at all. My guess is that many other ministerial hopefuls are in a similar predicament. If our movement, and its values, are important, they need to spread. Unless we're going to turn all of our 50 person fellowships into 1000+ member uber-churches, we're going to need more ministers.

Giving 1% is not the way to do it. And I'm not suggesting 10%, or even 7.5%, but how about 3%? If it's about the margins between operating cost and the good social justice work we can do in the world, 1% is continually help us to keep a roof over our heads and a basic staff with bread on the table, but 1.1% would mean 10 million more bucks to go toward real community-roots justice work, and growth.

And yes, times are tough. My grandparents (a farmer, and a farmer's wife -- in other words, two farmers, one of whom fixed the tractor and tossed the hay bales on the wagon, and the other who drove the tractor and cooked and fed the chickens) didn't make a whole lot of money with their small 40-acre farm operation. But they had a policy that when times were tight. Knowing that the church community was the place that people turned to first when they ran on hard luck, if there was a recession or depression, they gave MORE money to the church, to help the community. In short, this recession/depression is an opportunity for Unitarian Universalists and other churches to pull together in community, and to rely on each other just a bit more.

And I say all this knowing full well that money is a substitute, a symbol of our labor. At some point, I intend to write a bit about what happens when the dollar (and other forms of money) get de-monetized, and are no longer current. I think a bit part of the paradigm shift coming up is when our labor gets de-monetized. I believe there can and will be a time when all our fundamental needs (food, water, housing, clothes) will be easily taken care of (if we work things right -- efficient sharing of resources & bringing the population down to 2-3 billion). And our basic modern needs (running water, electricity, communication, education, garbage collection) will also be taken care of. Then the work each of us does can be voluntary and our labor need not be monetized. It's just a question of if and when enough people have the collective will for us to turn the corner. I guess here I am talking parousia again.

Or we could just go the way of the Dodo. At least some of our theology would last, maybe. The thought that it might not is one of the few things that makes me shudder to the bones. Lord knows the mormons aren't preaching it (yet!).

lyrics: "Come around to my way of thinkin'.
Don't you want to, want to get along?"
-Urge Overkill, from Sister Havana

colors: blood red -- the color of hell -- the hell of enforced separation and divorce

mood: side-tracked. perhaps on-track actually.

chant/prayer/mantra: it takes an impulsive creative force, and then sustained energy.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

If you have the time and inclination, all 736 pages of the document are located at the link above in .pdf format.

lyrics: Joanna Newsom rules my world again and again.
"Emily, they'll follow your lead by the letter."
(Honestly, how do artists memorize such long and wandering songs? I am amazed at the capacities of human memory.)

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

Labels: , ,

Monday, February 2, 2009


Bagholders Unite!!

OK, I'm really not much of an organizer, but I just had an idea, and I hope an organizer picks up on this one. I have been reflecting on the nature of labor, investment, and reward in the U.S. culture, and have come up with this. The people who do the work get the least reward. The people who own the resources upon/with which the workers work get first dibs on the reward.

That is nothing new, and it takes a fool not to notice that. That is not the idea I am speaking of.

The idea I am speaking of is the direct application of the above when it comes to today's situation. It comes from seeing what happened with Enron, and seeing what happened with that Madoff guy recently and his execution of the latest Ponzi/pyramid scheme. With the U.S. government pouring tons of borrowed/taxed dollars into banks and such, where it is not fully accountable and being siphoned off, the government is looking to be the greater fool.

And ultimately, that leaves the people holding the bag. The taxes we paid, and the money borrowed that we will have to pay to God knows who, are being invested in the pockets of pillagers. These pillagers include those at the top/inside/beginning of the stock market game, and the CEO's still receiving exorbitant sums, after their companies received a part of the $700 billion bank bailout.

In short, any government money that is being borrowed from the future, and not being invested in our future -- in the infrastructures of:
Any money being invested elsewhere, further afield than that related to our real well-being, and the people who are putting it there are criminal. We the common citizens of the U.S. will be left holding the bag, without real investment in our country's future, while the folks in the Senate with a country club sensibility and nary a clue of what it's like to be out in the cold, and those with the tightest connections -- they will be (are) the first to cash in on the economy as the true value of this U.S. company becomes more clear. With our tax dollars ending up in somebody's pockets, it will be really difficult to get it back.

We the people had our money invested over the last eight years (and many prior) by "mutual fund managers" who did not have our interests in mind, or had the singular interest of maximizing money, not in responsible investment. When their investments failed because of unsane monetary policies such as the outrageous overextended ratio allowed (or unregulated) for fractional-reserve banking newly-constructed credit default swap market, the investment (put into things that had low value anyway) has gone sour.

One REAL rule for investors: Put your money in things that you want to see saved/thrive. It's not difficult. It's only difficult if you treat investments as if it's gambling. Put your money in what needs to thrive, and you will see it pay you back in ways well beyond those seen in dividends, stock options and monetary ROI's.

lyrics: No his mind is not for rent to any god or government.
-Tom Sawyer, by Rush

colors: green, as in money. and green, as in environment.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

Labels: , , , , , , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

free page hit counter