Friday, July 31, 2015

7 Ways to Heal a Broken Bone


Melissa Prichard

What you have chosen is a profound vocation of healing, and your stories and poems are as sacraments, as visible blessings. Be at the heart and soul of your time, not resigned to what is safe or peripheral. Try to free yourself from attachment to results, to awards, publications, praise, to indifference, rejection, and misunderstanding. Immerse yourself in the common ground of the universe so that your true voice — not the egoistic voice that clamors vainly for power (for it will ruin you if you listen to it) — your authentic voice, supported by sacred reality, may be heard. May your words illuminate your vision, find you compassionate, attuned to human suffering and committed to its alleviation.
-Melissa Prichard

Overhaul Dysfunctional Dept. of Children, Youth and Families

RI Governor Gina Raimondo to overhaul 'dysfunctional' Dept. of Children, Youth and Families
Among the problems: high rates of out-of-home placement, excessively long waits for children to be permanently placed, lack of support for family guardians, over-reliance on group homes.

Jon Frankel

Scientists have discovered the first warmblooded fish, but have yet to find a warmblooded Republican.
-Jon Frankel

Don Nix: Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven

"Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven"

Everybody wants to laugh but nobody wants to cry
I say, everybody wants to laugh but nobody wants to cry
Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die

Everybody wanna hear the truth but yet, everybody wants to tell a lie
I say, everybody wants to hear the truth but still they all wanna tell a lie
Oh, everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die

Everybody wanna know the reason without even askin' why
Oh, everybody wanna know the reason, oh without even askin' why
You know everybody wanna go to heaven but nobody wants to die

- written by Don Nix, on 'The Best of Albert King'

Morning Energy

If you are a person geared towards morning energy then morning can be a perfect time to create a new habit.

1. Pick ONE Habit, just one, that you can do in two minutes or less. Everyone has two minutes and if you don’t you have bigger problems than I can fix in a blog post.

2. Show your commitment with a trip to the store and get everything you need to do your habit for 2 weeks. Buy enough floss. Get enough fruit to make smoothies. Buy the tupperware. The last thing you want to do is get 7 days under your belt, then run out.

3. Do all the prep so you can get your entire habit done in less than 120 seconds. When a race car comes into the pits, the pit crew doesn’t run around looking for where they put the fresh set of times. Chop the fruit, crack the eggs, put the floss on your counter, or clear the spot where you intend to do the push ups.

4. Piggyback it. Pick the event that you already do every morning that you are going to do this habit after. It should be the same every morning.

5. Put it in the way. If you’re going to floss after you brush your teeth, put your floss in the way. If you’re going to make a smoothie after your coffee, put your blender in front of your coffee machine.

6. Tell everyone you feel comfortable telling that you’re going to do this habit every day. Accountability here is key.

7. Do it every day.

8. Tell yourself you’re awesome. Give yourself a high-five. Do a little dance. Anything that puts a smile on your face.

9. Keep a visual record. Write a hash mark on the mirror or your fridge. My friend gives clients pitch counters so they can see the numbers add up and it’s been wildly successful at his gym.


Physical Therapy: Rehab a Metarsal Fracture



Happiness does not come from getting what you want, but rather appreciating what you have; a loving community, a roof over our head, indoor plumbing, electricity, healthy pets, no alligators earthquakes or tornadoes.

TRUE Generosity and Compassion

My husband and I were talking about true generosity and compassion the other day. How and where did we learn these things?

[...] Article

It’s become so commonplace for people to do things for personal gain. Favors are expected in exchange with a favor in return.

As playwright, author and poet Oscar Wilde famously said, “People these days know the price of everything and a value of nothing.”


Pure generosity is so rare that it can’t be helped to take these actions without a grain of salt. When did it stop being cool to believe in good people?

[...] Those of us who give freely will ultimately be the most fulfilled. The most charitable people are the healthiest and the happiest.

People who truly expect nothing in return for their kindness will find the most value in life. Because they give so much love, they never feel starved for it. For them, love is an ever-filling pail. “The more they give, the more they get,” as the saying goes.

It is the generous people of this world who end up having the most of everything.
Giving actually gives you real pleasure.

Too many people in this world are focused on protecting what’s theirs. They grow anxious at the prospect of giving things away for free.

The generous individual finds no pain, only pleasure, in giving. A study in Psychology Today found that charitable donations can relieve stress, and that “those who spent money on charity rated happier than those who spent the money on a personal expense.”

Sharing your good fortune will genuinely make you happier.
You have healthier, longer-lasting relationships.

People will always be drawn to the generous, giving person. They breed attraction because they are so warm and inviting. Those who give the most actually end up getting the most of the one thing we all crave: love.

According to The Atlantic, kindness and generosity are key to lasting and successful relationships.

It’s far better to be rich in friendship than rich in money, and true friendship comes from generosity.
You live in the moment.

Being in the moment is how you get the most out of all of life’s amazing experiences. When you are busy helping others, you don’t get too concerned with the future. You are a child of the present. You don’t feel the need to pinch your pennies out of anxiety. People in need are in need now.

You give freely of yourself. You forget worry because you have genuine faith in humanity and in the kindness of others. You know that there are awesome people in the world because you’ve seen them. You relieve stress by helping others.

You don’t feel troubled by uncertainty; you know the path is straight for the loyal and strong of heart.
When you help others, they help you.

No one forgets being given a favor without any pressure to return it. According to a University of Michigan study, the giver ultimately receives more benefit from this interaction than the recipient. You literally will be happier when you start being charitable. It’s a little counter-intuitive, but it totally works.

When you are someone known for being generous, others will respond in kind. They want to feel that same glowing happiness because it is so insanely awesome!

Though you don’t perform favors with any expectation, you “get what you give” because people respect you. They want to show you the same respect and affection you’ve always shown them.
Generosity translates to longevity.

Even though you may not “have it all” in the short term, you will have long-term success. Selfishness produces cheap, lame results; generosity prevails. According to the Review Journal, it can even add years to your life.

Those who give freely understand that they will suffer some financial setbacks compared to their “hoarder” friends. But the friends they make — and the love that results — can’t be quantified.

Good deeds will not go unnoticed for very long. The generous person can look forward to a long and happy life.

Constantly Amazed

I am constantly amazed by man's inhumanity to man.
― Primo Levi, If This Is a Man / The Truce

Primo Levi

Is anything sadder than a train
That leaves when it’s supposed to,
That has only one voice,
Only one route?
There’s nothing sadder.

Except perhaps a cart horse,
Shut between two shafts
And unable even to look sideways.

It is the duty of righteous men to make war on all undeserved privilege, but one must not forget that this is a war without end.

To be considered stupid and to be told so is more painful than being called gluttonous, mendacious, violent, lascivious, lazy, cowardly: every weakness, every vice, has found its defenders, its rhetoric, its ennoblement and exaltation, but stupidity hasn’t.

The bond between a man and his profession is similar to that which ties him to his country; it is just as complex, often ambivalent, and in general it is understood completely only when it is broken: by exile or emigration in the case of one’s country, by retirement in the case of a trade or profession.

Better to err through omission than through commission: better to refrain from steering the fate of others, since it is already so difficult to navigate one's own.

The aims of life are the best defense against death.

Anyone who has obeyed nature by transmitting a piece of gossip experiences the explosive relief that accompanies the satisfying of a primary need.

Human memory is a marvelous but fallacious instrument. The memories which lie within us are not carved in stone; not only do they tend to become erased as the years go by, but often they change, or even increase by incorporating extraneous features.

Primo Levi: Survival in Auschwitz

“Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.”
― Primo Levi

“...the sea's only gifts are harsh blows and, occasionally, the chance to feel strong. Now, I don't know much about the sea, but I do know that that's the way it is here. And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong, to measure yourself at least once, to find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions, facing blind, deaf stone alone, with nothing to help you but your own hands and your own head...”
― Primo Levi

“I am constantly amazed by man's inhumanity to man.”
― Primo Levi, If This Is a Man / The Truce

“Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealizable, but there are few who pause to consider the antithesis: that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable. The obstacles preventing the realization of both these extreme states are of the same nature: they derive from our human condition which is opposed to everything infinite.”
― Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz

“You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find warm food
And friendly faces when you return home.
Consider if this is a man
Who works in mud,
Who knows no peace,
Who fights for a crust of bread,
Who dies by a yes or no.
Consider if this is a woman
Without hair, without name,
Without the strength to remember,
Empty are her eyes, cold her womb,
Like a frog in winter.
Never forget that this has happened.
Remember these words.
Engrave them in your hearts,
When at home or in the street,
When lying down, when getting up.
Repeat them to your children.
Or may your houses be destroyed,
May illness strike you down,
May your offspring turn their faces from you.”
― Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz

“Even in this place one can survive, and therefore one must want to survive, to tell the story, to bear witness; and that to survive we must force ourselves to save at least the skeleton, the scaffolding, the form of civilization. We are slaves, deprived of every right, exposed to every insult, condemned to certain death, but we still possess one power, and we must defend it with all our strength for it is the last — the power to refuse our consent.”
― Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz

“Those who deny Auschwitz would be ready to remake it.”
― Primo Levi

“Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealizable, but there are few who stop to consider the antithesis; that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable.”
― Primo Levi

“I too entered the Lager as a nonbeliever, and as a nonbeliever I was liberated and have lived to this day.”
― Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved

“This cell belongs to a brain, and it is my brain, the brain of me who is writing; and the cell in question, and within it the atom in question, is in charge of my writing, in a gigantic minuscule game which nobody has yet described. It is that which at this instant, issuing out of a labyrinthine tangle of yeses and nos, makes my hand run along a certain path on the paper, mark it with these volutes that are signs: a double snap, up and down, between two levels of energy, guides this hand of mine to impress on the paper this dot, here, this one.”
― Primo Levi, The Periodic Table

“A country is considered the more civilised the more the wisdom and efficiency of its laws hinder a weak man from becoming too weak and a powerful one too powerful.”
― Primo Levi, If This Is a Man / The Truce

“Logic and morality made it impossible to accept an illogical and immoral reality; they engendered a rejection of reality which as a rule led the cultivated man rapidly to despair. But the varieties of the man-animal are innumerable, and I saw and have described men of refined culture, especially if young, throw all this overboard, simplify and barbarize themselves, and survive. A simple man, accustomed not to ask questions of himself, was beyond the reach of the useless torment of asking himself why.

The harsher the oppression, the more widespread among the oppressed is the willingness, with all its infinite nuances and motivations, to collaborate: terror, ideological seduction, servile imitation of the victor, myopic desire for any power whatsoever… Certainly, the greatest responsibility lies with the system, the very structure of the totalitarian state; the concurrent guilt on the part of individual big and small collaborators is always difficult to evaluate… they are the vectors and instruments of the system’s guilt… the room for choices (especially moral choices) was reduced to zero”
― Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved

“I live in my house as I live inside my skin: I know more beautiful, more ample, more sturdy and more picturesque skins: but it would seem to me unnatural to exchange them for mine.”
― Primo Levi

“... how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong, to measure yourself at least once, to find yourself at least once...”
― Primo Levi

“If it is true that there is no greater sorrow than to remember a happy time in a state of misery, it is just as true that calling up a
moment of anguish in a tranquil mood, seated quietly at one's desk, is a source of profound satisfaction.”
― Primo Levi, The Periodic Table

“Auschwitz is outside of us, but it is all around us, in the air. The plague has died away, but the infection still lingers and it would be foolish to deny it. Rejection of human solidarity, obtuse and cynical indifference to the suffering of others, abdication of the intellect and of moral sense to the principle of authority, and above all, at the root of everything, a sweeping tide of cowardice, a colossal cowardice which masks itself as warring virtue, love of country and faith in an idea.”
― Primo Levi, If This Is a Man / The Truce

“The librarian, whom I had never seen before, presided over the library like a watchdog, one of those poor dogs who are deliberately made vicious by being chained up and given little to eat; or better, like the old, toothless cobra, pale because of centuries of darkness, who guards the king's treasure in the Jungle Book. Paglietta, poor woman, was little less than a lusus naturae: she was small, without breasts or hips, waxen, wilted, and monstrously myopic; she wore glasses so thick and concave that, looking at her head-on, her eyes, light blue, almost white, seemed very far away, stuck at the back of her cranium. She gave the impression of never having been young, although she was certainly not more than thirty, and of having been born there, in the shadows, in that vague odor of mildew and stale air.”
― Primo Levi

“He could hardly read or write but his heart spoke the language of the good”
― Primo Levi

“We must be listened to: above and beyond our personal experience, we have collectively witnessed a fundamental unexpected event, fundamental precisely because unexpected, not foreseen by anyone. It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say. It can happen, and it can happen everywhere.”
― Primo Levi

“An enemy who sees the error of his ways ceases to be an enemy.”
― Primo Levi, If This Is a Man / The Truce

“Our ignorance allowed us to live, as you are in the mountains, and your rope is frayed and about to break, but you don't know it and feel safe.”
― Primo Levi, The Periodic Table

“For human nature is such that grief and pain - even simultaneously suffered - do not add up as a whole in our consciousness, but hide, the lesser behind the greater, according to a definite law of perspective. It is providential and is our means of surviving in the camp. And this is the reason why so often in free life one hears it said that man is never content. In fact it is not a question of a human incapacity for a state of absolute happiness, but of an ever-insufficient knowledge of the complex nature of the state of unhappiness; so that the single name of the major cause is given to all its causes, which are composite and set out in an order of urgency. And if the most immediate cause of stress comes to an end, you are grievously amazed to see that another one lies behind; and in reality a whole series of others.

So that as soon as the cold, which throughout the winter had seemed our only enemy, had ceased, we became aware of the hunger; and repeating the same error, we now say: "If it was not for the hunger!...”
― Primo Levi, If This Is a Man / The Truce

“This is the most immediate fruit of exile, of uprooting: the prevalence of the unreal over the real. Everyone dreamed past and future dreams, of slavery and redemption, of improbable paradises, of equally mythical and improbable enemies; cosmic enemies, perverse and subtle, who pervade everything like the air.”
― Primo Levi, If This Is a Man / The Truce

“In order for the wheel to turn, for life to be lived, impurities are needed, and the impurities of impurities in the soil, too, as is known, if it is to be fertile. Dissension, diversity, the grain of salt and mustard are needed: Fascism does not want them, forbids them, and that's why you're not a Fascist; it wants everybody to be the same, and you are not. But immaculate virtue does not exist either, or if it exists it is detestable.”
― Primo Levi

“Then for the first time we became aware that our language lacks words to express this offense, the demolition of a man. In a moment, with almost prophetic intuition, the reality was revealed to us: we had reached the bottom. It is not possible to sink lower than this; no human condition is more miserable than this, nor could it conceivably be so. Nothing belongs to us any more; they have taken away our clothes, our shoes, even our hair; if we speak, they will not listen to us, and if they listen, they will not understand. They will even take away our name: and if we want to keep it, we ill have to find ourselves the strength to do so, to manage somehow so that behind the name something of us, of us as we were, still remains.”
― Primo Levi, If This Is a Man / The Truce

“It is neither easy nor agreeable to dredge this abyss of viciousness, and yet I think it must be done, because what could be perpetrated yesterday could be attempted again tomorrow, could overwhelm us and our children. One is tempted to turn away with a grimace and close one's mind: this is a temptation one must resist. In fact, the existence of the death squads had a meaning, a message: 'We, the master race, are your destroyers, but you are no better than we are; if we so wish, and we do so wish, we can destroy not only your bodies, but also your souls, just as we have destroyed ours.”
― Primo Levi

“...he never asked nor accepted any reward, because he was good and simple and did not think that one did good for a reward.”
― Primo Levi, If This Is a Man / The Truce

“Dawn came on us like a betrayer; it seemed as though the new sun rose as an ally of our enemies to assist in our destruction.”
― Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Diana Spechler

Have someone you can call in the middle of the night. Here’s the upside of your best friend living in California: Your middle of the night is her evening. Her voice will feel like the first deep breath you’ve drawn in hours.
Take very good care of your free time. Don’t give your precious hours to that person you meet for coffee every three months who never asks you a single question —

Rachel Louise Snyder: I see Myself Reflected there.

I’m grown now. My daughter is 7. Her father makes her not alone in the world, and I also make her not alone in the world. I push my closest friends toward her, hoping they make adequate stand-ins for the extended family I cannot offer her. I am a journalist and for 20 years I’ve written stories of genocide, homicide, domestic violence, natural disasters. People with terrible histories in which they should, by any account, no longer be alive. The stories are not about tragedy, but about survival. I spend hours listening. I search their eyes for clues as to how they made it when so many others did not, their secrets of survival, of endurance, of tenacity. I see myself reflected there.

Rachel Louise Snyder is the author of “What We’ve Lost Is Nothing” and of “Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade.”

Friday July 31 is a Blue Moon


Glittery Slime

I liken myself to a slug, leaving a trail of glittery slime.

I had no idea:

Slug Reproduction
Slugs are hermaphrodites, having both female and male reproductive organs.[10] Once a slug has located a mate, they encircle each other and sperm is exchanged through their protruded genitalia. A few days later, the slugs lay around thirty eggs in a hole in the ground, or beneath the cover of an object such as a fallen log.

Apophallation has been reported only in some species of banana slug (Ariolimax) and one species of Deroceras. In the banana slugs, the penis is trapped inside the body of the partner. Apophallation allows the slugs to separate themselves by one or both of the slugs chewing off the other's or their own penis. Once the penis has been lost, banana slugs are still able to mate using only the female parts of the reproductive system.


Elizabeth David

To eat figs off the tree in the very early morning, when they have been barely touched by the sun, is one of the exquisite pleasures of the Mediterranean.
― Elizabeth David, An Omelette and a Glass of Wine

Everyday holds the possibility of a miracle.
― Elizabeth David

There are people who take the heart out of you, and there are people who put it back.
― Elizabeth David

David Simon: West Baltimore

“West Baltimore. You sit on your stoop, you drink Colt 45 from a brown paper bag and you watch the radio car roll slowly around the corner. You see the gunman, you hear the shots, you gather on the far corner to watch the paramedics load what remains of a police officer into the rear of an ambulance. Then you go back to your rowhouse, open another can, and settle in front of the television to watch the replay on the eleven o’clock news. Then you go back to the stoop.”
― David Simon, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets

My standard for verisimilitude is simple and I came to it when I started to write prose narrative: fuck the average reader. I was always told to write for the average reader in my newspaper life. The average reader, as they meant it, was some suburban white subscriber with two-point-whatever kids and three-point-whatever cars and a dog and a cat and lawn furniture. He knows nothing and he needs everything explained to him right away, so that exposition becomes this incredible, story-killing burden. Fuck him. Fuck him to hell.
― David Simon

Mass Medium

We have treated television as if it is not a mass medium, and we have been rewarded in kind.
― David Simon

It Never Was

“It isn't about the welfare check. It never was.

It isn't about sexual permissiveness, or personal morality, or failures in parenting, or lack of family planning. All of these are inherent in the disaster, but the purposefulness with which babies make babies in places like West Baltimore goes far beyond accident and chance, circumstance and misunderstanding. It's about more than the sexual drives of adolescents, too, though that might be hard to believe in a country where sex alone is enough of an argument to make anyone do just about anything.

In Baltimore, a city with the highest teen pregnancy rates in the nation, the epidemic is, at root, about human expectation, or more precisely, the absence of expectation.”
― David Simon, The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood

The Truth: A Simple, Solid Thing

For a detective or street police, the only real satisfaction is the work itself; when a cop spends more and more time getting aggravated with the details, he's finished. The attitude of co-workers, the indifference of superiors, the poor quality of the equipment - all of it pales if you still love the job; all of it matters if you don't.
― David Simon, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets

Boiled down to its core, the truth is always a simple, solid thing.
― David Simon, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets

David Simon: Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets

The "Homicide Lexicon" and its rules

Throughout the book, Simon frequently refers to a set of 10 informal rules that apply in the majority of homicide cases, as detectives soon learn. They are as follows:

Everyone lies. Murderers lie because they have to; witnesses and other participants lie because they think they have to; everyone else lies for the sheer joy of it, and to uphold a general principle that under no circumstances do you provide accurate information to a cop.
The victim is killed once, but a crime scene can be murdered a thousand times.
The initial 10 or 12 hours after a murder are the most critical to the success of an investigation.
An innocent man left alone in an interrogation room will remain fully awake, rubbing his eyes, staring at the cubicle walls and scratching himself in dark, forbidden places. A guilty man left alone in an interrogation room goes to sleep.
It's good to be good; it's better to be lucky.
When a suspect is immediately identified in an assault case, the victim is sure to live. When no suspect has been identified, the victim will surely die.
First, they're red. Then they're green. Then they're black. (Referring to the color of an open case on the board, the money that must be spent to investigate the case, and the color of the solved murder as it is listed on the board)
In any case where there is no apparent suspect, the crime lab will produce no valuable evidence. In those cases where a suspect has already confessed and been identified by at least two eyewitnesses, the lab will give you print hits, fiber evidence, blood typings and a ballistic match.
To a jury, any doubt is reasonable; the better the case, the worse the jury; a good man is hard to find, but 12 of them, gathered together in one place, is a miracle.
There is too such a thing as a perfect murder. Always has been, and anyone who tries to prove otherwise merely proves himself naive and romantic, a fool who is ignorant of Rules 1 through 9.

- David Simon Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets

Lives Stolen

The children in our family are so exhausted from taking care of their narcissistic parents for six decades. They're emotionally overdrawn, bankrupt.

Kazuo Ishiguro

After university, when I was working with homeless people in west London, I wrote a half-hour radio play and sent it to the BBC. It was rejected but I got an encouraging response. It was kind of in bad taste, but it’s the first piece of juvenilia I wouldn’t mind other people seeing. It was called “Potatoes and Lovers.” When I submitted the manuscript, I spelled potatoes incorrectly, so it said potatos. It was about two young people who work in a fish-and-chips café. They are both severely cross-eyed, and they fall in love with each other, but they never acknowledge the fact that they’re cross-eyed. It’s the unspoken thing between them. At the end of the story they decide not to marry, after the narrator has a strange dream where he sees a family coming toward him on the seaside pier. The parents are cross-eyed, the children are cross-eyed, the dog is cross-eyed, and he says, All right, we’re not going to marry.

Kazuo Ishiguro Paris Review

Navarro: Observational Effort

The majority of individuals view their surroundings with a minimal amount of observational effort. They are unaware of the rich tapestry of details that surrounds them, such as the subtle movement of a person's hand or foot that might betray his thoughts or intentions.
-Joe Navarro

Former FBI Agent Joe Navarro: Violations of Personal Space Cause us to Become Hypervigilant

“We all have a stake in the truth. Society functions based on an assumption that people will abide by their word - that truth prevails over mendacity. For the most part, it does. If it didn't, relationships would have a short shelf life, commerce would cease, and trust between parents and children would be destroyed. All of us depend on honesty, because when truth is lacking we suffer, and society suffers. When Adolf Hitler lied to Neville Chamberlain, there was not peace in our time, and over fifty million people paid the price with their lives. When Richard Nixon lied to the nation, it destroyed the respect many had for the office of the president. When Enron executives lied to their employees, thousands of lives were ruined overnight. We count on our government and commercial institutions to be honest and truthful. We need and expect our friends and family to be truthful. Truth is essential for all relations be they personal, professional, or civic.”
― Joe Navarro, What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

“The problem is that most people spend their lives looking but not truly seeing, or, as Sherlock Holmes, the meticulous English detective, declared to his partner, Dr. Watson, “You see, but you do not observe.”
― Joe Navarro, What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

“For instance, when people press their lips together in a manner that seems to make them disappear, it is a clear and common sign that they are troubled and something is wrong.”
― Joe Navarro, What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

“If you currently travel abroad or plan to in the future, make sure you understand the cultural convention of the country that you are visiting. Particularly with regard to greetings. If someone gives you a weak hand-shake, don't grimace. If anyone takes your arm, don't wince. If you are in the Middle East and a person wants to hold your hand, hold it. If you are a man visiting Russia, don't be surprised when your male host kisses your cheek, rather than hand. All of these greetings are as natural as way to express genuine sentiments as an American handshake. I am honored when an Arab or Asian man offers to take my hand because I know that it is a sign of high respect and trust. Accepting these cultural differences is the first step to better understanding and embracing diversity.”
― Joe Navarro, What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

“the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”
― Joe Navarro, What Every Body is Saying: An FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

“Because the neocortex (the thinking brain) is capable of dishonesty, it is not a good source of reliable or accurate information (Ost, 2006, 259”
― Joe Navarro, What Every Body is Saying: An FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

“Because we are social animals, we not only lie for our own benefit, but we lie for the benefit of each other (Vrij, 2003, 3–11).”
― Joe Navarro, What Every Body is Saying: An FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

“Violations of personal space cause us to become hypervigilant; our pulse races and we may become flushed (Knapp & Hall, 2002, 146–147).”
― Joe Navarro, What Every Body is Saying: An FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

“Ticket agents can often identify passengers who will become problematic by how wide they position their arms when they are at the counter.”
― Joe Navarro, What Every Body is Saying: An FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

“We lie with our faces because that’s what we’ve been taught to do since early childhood. “Don’t make that face,” our parents growl when we honestly react to the food placed in front of us. “At least look happy when your cousins stop by,” they instruct, and you learn to force a smile. Our parents—and society—are, in essence, telling us to hide, deceive, and lie with our faces for the sake of social harmony. So it is no surprise that we tend to get pretty good at it, so good, in fact, that when we put on a happy face at a family gathering, we might look as if we love our in-laws when, in reality, we are fantasizing about how to hasten their departure.”
― Joe Navarro, What Every Body is Saying: An FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

“There is no single behavior that is indicative of deception—not one. (Ekman, 1991, 162–189).”
― Joe Navarro, What Every Body is Saying: An FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

“If you are a parent, teacher, camp counselor, or school resource officer and you see children severely change or restrain their arm behavior around their parents or other adults, at a minimum it should arouse your interest and promote further observation. Cessation of arm movement is part of the limbic system’s freeze response. To the abused child, this adaptive behavior can mean survival.”
― Joe Navarro, What Every Body is Saying: An FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

“It is estimated that humans are capable of more than ten thousand different facial expressions (Ekman, 2003, 14–15).”
― Joe Navarro, What Every Body is Saying: An FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

“Eye blocking is a very powerful display of consternation, disbelief, or disagreement.”
― Joe Navarro, What Every Body is Saying: An FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

“Neck touching takes place when there is emotional discomfort, doubt, or insecurity.”
― Joe Navarro, What Every Body is Saying: An FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

“Research tells us liars tend to gesture less, touch less, and move their arms and legs less than honest people (Vrij, 2003, 65).”
― Joe Navarro, What Every Body is Saying: An FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

“Even the vaunted polygraph is accurate only 60 to 80 percent of the time, depending on the operator of the instrument (Ford, 1996, 230–232; Cumming, 2007).”
― Joe Navarro, What Every Body is Saying: An FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

Still, No Letters

“How huge it is, how empty, this great space for which I have been longing all my life. Still no letters.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Sea, The Sea

Ringside Seat

“Human beings crave for novelty and welcome even wars. Who opens the morning papers without the wild hope of huge headlines announcing another great disaster? Provided of course that it affects other people and not oneself. Rupert liked order. But there is no man who likes order who does not give houseroom to a man who dreams of disorder. The sudden wrecking of the accustomed scenery, so long as one can be fairly sure of a ringside seat, stimulates the bloodstream. And the instinctive need to feel protected and superior ensures, for most of the catastrophes of mankind, the shedding by those not immediately involved of but the most crocodile of tears.”
― Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

Art and Psychoanalysis

“Art and psychoanalysis give shape and meaning to life and that's why we adore them. However, life as it is lived has no shape nor meaning, and that's what I am experiencing right now.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Unicorn

Every Man Needs two Women

“Every man needs two women, a quiet home-maker, and a thrilling nymph.”
― Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch, The Green Knight

“The theatre is a tragic place, full of endings and partings and heartbreak. You dedicate yourself passionately to something, to a project, to people, to a family, you think of nothing else for weeks and months, then suddenly it's over, it's perpetual destruction, perpetual divorce, perpetual adieu. It's like éternel retour*, it's a koan. It's like falling in love and being smashed over and over again.’
'You do, then fall in love.’
'Only with fictions, I love players, but actors are so ephemeral. And then there’s waiting for the perfect part, and being offered it the day after you've committed yourself to something utterly rotten. The remorse, and the envy and the jealousy. An old actor told me if I wanted to stay in the trade I had better kill off envy and jealousy at the start.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Green Knight

*eternal recurrence

Little Holidays

“The division of one day from the next must be one of the most profound peculiarities of life on this planet. We are not condemned to sustained flights of being, but are constantly refreshed by little holidays from ourselves. We are intermittent creatures, always falling to little ends and rising to new beginnings. Our soon-tired consciousness is meted out in chapters, and that the world will look quite different tomorrow is, both for our comfort and our discomfort, usually true. How marvelously too night matches sleep, sweet image of it, so nearly apportioned to our need. Angels must wonder at these beings who fall so regularly out of awareness into a fantasm-infested dark. How our frail identities survive these chasms no philosopher has ever been able to explain.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Black Prince

What I needed with all my starved and silent soul was just that particular way of shouting back at the world

“People have obsessions and fears and passions which they don't admit to. I think every character is interesting and has extremes. It's the novelist privilege to see how odd everyone is.”
― Iris Murdoch

“The theatre is certainly a place for learning about the brevity of human glory: oh all those wonderful glittering absolutely vanished pantomime! Now I shall abjure magic and become a hermit : put myself in a situation where I can honestly say that I have nothing else to do but to learn to be good.”
― Iris Murdoch

“The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Red and the Green

“What a test that is: more than devotion, admiration, passion. If you long and long for someone’s company you love them.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea

“Starting a novel is opening a door on a misty landscape; you can still see very little but you can smell the earth and feel the wind blowing.”
― Iris Murdoch

“Youth is a marvelous garment”
― Iris Murdoch, The Bell

“As we live our precarious lives on the brink of the void, constantly coming closer to a state of non-being, we are all too often aware of our fragitlity.”
― Iris Murdoch, Nuns and Soldiers

“We defend ourselves with descriptions and tame the world by generalizing.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Black Prince

“I feel half faded away like some figure in the background of an old picture.”
― Iris Murdoch, A Severed Head

“To lose somebody is to lose not only their person but all those modes and manifestations into which their person has flowed outwards; so that in losing a beloved one may find so many things, pictures, poems, melodies, places lost too: Dante, Avignon, a song of Shakespeare's, the Cornish sea.”
― Iris Murdoch, A Severed Head

“There is a gulf fixed between those who can sleep and those who cannot. It is one of the greatest divisions of the human race.”
― Iris Murdoch

“How different each death is, and yet it leads us into the self-same country, that country which we inhabit so rarely, where we see the worthlessness of what we have long pursued and will so soon return to pursuing.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea

“Every human soul has seen, perhaps before their birth pure forms such as justice, temperance, beauty and all the great moral qualities which we hold in honour. We are moved towards what is good by the faint memory of these forms simple and calm and blessed which we saw once in a pure, clear light being pure ourselves.”
― Iris Murdoch

“What I needed with all my starved and silent soul was just that particular way of shouting back at the world.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea

“Bereavement is a darkness impenetrable to the imagination of the unbereaved”
― Iris Murdoch

“We are all the judges and the judged, victims of the casual malice and fantasy of others, and ready sources of fantasy and malice in our turn. And if we are sometimes accused of sins of which we are innocent, are there not also other sins of which we are guilty and of which the world knows nothing?”
― Iris Murdoch, Nuns and Soldiers

“Violence is born of the desire to escape oneself.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Bell

“Reading and writing and the preservation of language and its forms and the kind of eloquence and the kind of beauty which the language is capable of is terribly important to the human beings because this is connected to thought.”
― Iris Murdoch

“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats, and if some of these can be inexpensive and quickly procured so much the better.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea

“In philosophy if you aren't moving at a snail's pace you aren't moving at all.”
― Iris Murdoch

“(I think I fell in love with you when you were shouting at Romeo and Juliet, 'Don't touch each other!')”
― Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea

“We need a moral philosophy which can speak significantly of Freud and Marx and out of which aesthetic and political views can be generated. We need a moral philosophy in which the concept of love, so rarely mentioned now, can once again be made central.”
― Iris Murdoch

“I ate and drank slowly as one should (cook fast, eat slowly) and without distractions such as (thank heavens) conversation or reading. Indeed eating is so pleasant one should even try to suppress thought. Of course reading and thinking are important but, my God, food is important too. How fortunate we are to be food-consuming animals. Every meal should be a treat and one ought to bless every day which brings with it a good digestion and the precious gift of hunger.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea

“Love doesn't think like that. All right, it's blind as a bat--'
'Bats have radar. Yours doesn't seem to be working.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea

“The talk of lovers who have just declared their love is one of life's most sweet delights. Each vies with the other in humility, in amazement at being so valued. The past is searched for the first signs and each one is in haste to declare all that he is so that no part of his being escapes the hallowing touch.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Bell

Hamlet in London Starring Benedict Cumberbatch


Psychologist Warden: Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia

There are now 10 times as many mentally ill people in the nation’s 5,000 jails and prisons as there are in state mental institutions.

Five days a week, a group of about 15 inmates with mental illnesses, from depression and bipolar disorder to schizophrenia, receive cognitive behavioral therapy, job readiness skills and extra recreation.

The warden said such inmates who were released without such services were often back within weeks as they amassed dozens, even hundreds, of arrests for petty crimes like shoplifting and drug possession because they were unable to obtain the prescription drugs needed to treat their condition. Many are rearrested just to receive treatment, so upon their release inmates are now given a two weeks’ supply of medication.

“If somebody doesn’t have access to the basic tools to survive, they’re more likely to recommit a crime and come back,” Dr. Jones Tapia said. “So we know it’s not just a mental health problem. It’s more of a well-being problem.”

None of the 43 former inmates who attended the program before being released have been rearrested, said Ben Breit, a jail spokesman.

One of those former inmates, Demetrius Members, 23, who has been arrested 18 times, mostly for selling drugs, said he had recently been told that he had a severe case of depression in which he had nearly constant thoughts of suicide.

Mr. Members said that he had frequently used PCP and alcohol, which helped chase away negative thoughts, but that now, with the help of medication and counseling, he had enough confidence to envision a day when he would be able to open his own business, get married and become a homeowner.

“I hate I had to come to jail to learn this,” he said, “but who would have thought a program like this would be in a jail?”


Iris Murdoch Quotes

“Art and morality are, with certain provisos ... one. Their essence is the same. The essence of both of them is love. Love is the perception of individuals. Love is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real. Love, and so art and morals, is the discovery of reality.”
― Iris Murdoch, Existentialists and Mystics Writings on Philosophy and Literature

“I think being a woman is like being Irish... Everyone says you're important and nice, but you take second place all the time.”
― Iris Murdoch

“Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.”
― Iris Murdoch

“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”
― Iris Murdoch

“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.”
― Iris Murdoch

“Falling out of love is chiefly a matter of forgetting how charming someone is.”
― Iris Murdoch

“We can only learn to love by loving.”
― Iris Murdoch

“Jealousy is the most dreadfully involuntary of all sins.”
― Iris Murdoch

“Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea.”
― Iris Murdoch

“We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality" says Iris Murdoch.
But given the state of the world, is it wise?”
― Iris Murdoch

“One should go easy on smashing other people's lies. Better to concentrate on one's own.”
― Iris Murdoch, Henry and Cato

“The most essential and fundamental aspect of culture is the study of literature, since this is an education in how to picture and understand human situations.”
― Iris Murdoch

“The absolute yearning of one human body for another particular body and its indifference to substitutes is one of life's major mysteries.”
― Iris Murdoch

“Only the very greatest art invigorates without consoling.”
― Iris Murdoch

“Yes, of course, there's something fishy about describing people's feelings. You try hard to be accurate, but as soon as you start to define such and such a feeling, language lets you down. It's really a machine for making falsehoods. When we really speak the truth, words are insufficient. Almost everything except things like "pass the gravy" is a lie of a sort. And that being the case, I shall shut up. Oh, and... pass the gravy.”
― Iris Murdoch

“Of course reading and thinking are important but, my God, food is important too.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea

“Then I felt too that I might take this opportunity to tie up a few loose ends, only of course loose ends can never be properly tied, one is always producing new ones. Time, like the sea, unties all knots. Judgements on people are never final, they emerge from summings up which at once suggest the need of a reconsideration. Human arrangements are nothing but loose ends and hazy reckoning, whatever art may otherwise pretend in order to console us.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea

“Those who hope, by retiring from the world, to earn a holiday from human frailty, in themselves and others, are usually disappointed.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Bell

“Anything that consoles is fake.”
― Iris Murdoch

“Time can divorce us from the reality of people, it can separate us from people and turn them into ghosts. Or rather it is we who turn them into ghosts or demons. Some kinds of fruitless preoccupations with the past can create such simulacra, and they can exercise power, like those heroes at Troy fighting for a phantom Helen.”
― Iris Murdoch

“Perhaps when distant people on other planets pick up some wavelength of ours all they hear is a continuous scream.”
― Iris Murdoch

“We are such inward secret creatures, that inwardness the most amazing thing about us, even more amazing than our reason. But we cannot just walk into the cavern and look around. Most of what we think we know about our minds is pseudo-knowledge. We are all such shocking poseurs, so good at inflating the importance of what we think we value.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea

“For most of us, for almost all of us, truth can be attained, if at all, only in silence. It is in silence that the human spirit touches the divine.”
― Iris Murdoch, Under the Net

“Emotions really exist at the bottom of the personality or at the top. In the middle they are acted. This is why all the world is a stage.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea

“Every artist is an unhappy lover. And unhappy lovers want to tell their story.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Black Prince

“Our actions are like ships which we may watch set out to sea, and not know when or with what cargo they will return to port.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Bell

“I hate solitude, but I'm afraid of intimacy. The substance of my life is a private conversation with myself which to turn into a dialogue would be equivalent to self-destruction. The company which I need is the company which a pub or a cafe will provide. I have never wanted a communion of souls. It's already hard enough to tell the truth to oneself.”
― Iris Murdoch, Under the Net

Education May be the Means

Education doesn’t make you happy. Nor does freedom. We don’t become happy just because we’re free – if we are. Or because we’ve been educated – if we have. But because education may be the means by which we realize we are happy. It opens our eyes, our ears, tells us where delights are lurking, convinces us that there is only one freedom of any importance whatsoever, that of the mind, and gives us the assurance – the confidence – to walk the path our mind, our educated mind, offers.
― Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch

I know how much you grieve over those who are under your care: those you try to help and fail, those you cannot help. Have faith in God and remember that He will is His own way and in His own time complete what we so poorly attempt. Often we do not achieve for others the good that we intend but achieve something, something that goes on from our effort. Good is an overflow. Where we generously and sincerely intend it, we are engaged in a work of creation which may be mysterious even to ourselves - and because it is mysterious we may be afraid of it. But this should not make us draw back. God can always show us, if we will, a higher and a better war; and we can only learn to love by loving. Remember that all our failures are ultimately failures in love. Imperfect love must not be condemned and rejected but made perfect. The way is always forward, never back.
― Iris Murdoch, The Bell

Henry's Literature Church

I dreamed my writer friend Henry Gould was a pastor for his own 'church of literature' on the east side of Providence. He was reading a passage of Arthur Rimbaud aloud to console people after a hold up.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Rereading Favorite Books

If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.
― Oscar Wilde

Mary Karr Quotes

I write to dream; to connect with other human beings; to record; to clarify; to visit the dead. I have a kind of primitive need to leave a mark on the world. Also, I have a need for money.

I’m almost always anxious when I’m writing. There are those great moments when you forget where you are, when you get your hands on the keys, and you don’t feel anything because you’re somewhere else. But that very rarely happens. Mostly I’m pounding my hands on the corpse’s chest. The easy times are intermittent. They can be five minutes long or five hours long, but they’re never very long. The hard times are not completely hard, but they can be pretty hard, and they can go on for weeks.
For me the best time is at the end of the day, when you’ve written and forgotten. You wrote longer than you expected to. You’ve been so absorbed in it that it got late. You unhitch yourself from the plow.

I usually get very sick after I finish a book. As soon as I put it down and my body lies down and there’s not that injection of adrenaline and cortisol, I get sick. I have a medium-shitty immune system so that doesn’t help. All of that said, writing feels like a privilege. Even though it’s very uncomfortable, I constantly feel very lucky.

The quote I had tacked to my board while I was writing Lit is from Samuel Beckett, and it’s really helpful: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail better.”

Any idiot can publish a book. But if you want to write a good book, you’re going to have to set the bar higher than the marketplace’s. Which shouldn’t be too hard.

Most great writers suffer and have no idea how good they are. Most bad writers are very confident. Be willing to be a child and be the Lilliputian in the world of Gulliver, the bat girl in Yankee Stadium. That’s a more fruitful way to be.


Alligators and Hail

Moving to Florida? Check this out. Moving to Texas? Check this out

All Quiet

Our neighborhood is QUIETER than the burbs. We don't have trees so we don't have leaf blowers. We don't have ocean so we don't have motor boats. We don't have lawns so we don't have lawnmowers. It's just the occasional bang of dumpsters being flipped into garbage trucks and the steady hum of air conditioners.


Today is what I call THE HEAT BLIZZARD. It's as intense as a blizzard except we don't need to put the boiler on.

I'll admit it 'vacation' and 'holiday' are PTSD words in my world. But 'time out' and 'what's cookin'' are good phrases. We take mini vacations walking our Lily-dog to the downtown and to the pond in nearby Blackstone Massachusetts.

Spice up your life: Today Penezey's Spice catalog arrived. It is adorable. My bumper sticker: LOVE PEOPLE, COOK THEM TASTY FOOD!!!

Street Smarts: Adam Platinga

Cop shares his street smarts in new book

By Jessica Zack

S.F. police Sgt. Adam Plantinga’s book reads like advice he’d give to a rookie cop, tinged with a street-smart wariness.

San Francisco police Sgt. Adam Plantinga admits that he has “occasionally, and never too proudly, found myself yelling at the television” when Hollywood cops are shown doing things — like telling a gunman more than once to drop his weapon, or shooting at an oncoming suspect’s car — that fly in the face of “good, common-sense policing.”

Another one of Plantinga’s pet peeves? “In the movies, even the slightest cop knocks down a door in one kick. Real life is different. Once it took me 27 tries. I know this because there was a sergeant next to me counting out loud encouragingly,” Plantinga, 41, writes in his riveting and often humorous new book “400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons From a Veteran Patrolman.”

An unusually frank insider’s view of what Plantinga calls “simply one of the most engrossing professions around,” “400 Things” is a personal compendium of both hard-won sociological insights and offbeat anecdotes compiled during his 13 years wearing the badge.

“I’ve always tried to be a good student of the game, so I’ve been scribbling notes and observations on tactics, techniques, anything I found particularly striking, for years,” Plantinga, 41, who lives in Lamorinda with his wife and two daughters, said during a recent interview about the recent flood of positive attention he’s been receiving for a book that not so long ago he doubted would ever be published.

After deciding four years ago to shape his wide-ranging reflections on everything from traffic stops to criminal profiling into a manuscript, Plantinga was ignored or sent rejections by 90 literary agents. “The 91st did his due diligence but couldn’t quite make a (publishing) deal happen,” he says, “but I always thought I had something here so I kept plugging away.”

Boost from authors

When the small Fresno indie press Quill Driver Books signed the title, Plantinga took the publisher’s suggestion to send the book to his “dream list” of favorite writers. “I just cold e-mailed them — George Pelecanos, Lee Child, Ed Conlon, whose 'Blue Blood’ sparked my own interest in writing the book.”

Within weeks of its October release, “400 Things” was generating social-media buzz. Pelecanos recommended the book on Twitter as “essential for crime writers” aiming for veracity in their story lines “and anyone interested in the reality of police work.” “400 Things” is currently the No.1 best-seller among Amazon’s law enforcement titles.

Child, bestselling author of the Jack Reacher novels, has been citing “400 Things” as his favorite read of 2014. “I thought I’d just glance at the first few pages then set it aside, but two hours later I’d finished the whole thing,” Child said by phone from New York. “It’s a list but reads as a hypnotic, stylish memoir. I hope Adam writes a novel one day.”

“I feel like I’ve been transported to an alternate universe,” says Plantinga, a down-to-earth native of Grand Rapids, Mich. “I was a preacher’s kid. I stayed out of trouble, but I always had this childlike desire to get out there and catch bad guys. I think there’s some small part of me where that’s still the case.”

Plantinga says his parents “really emphasized service in our household.” After graduating from Marquette University, Plantinga spent a year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps working at a shelter for homeless teens in Houston. “But I still found I had that pull to be a cop.”

He spent seven years as a patrol officer in Milwaukee before moving to the Bay Area in 2008. Plantinga has worked out of San Francisco’s Bayview and Southern (SoMa) stations, and joined Mission Station a month ago as a new sergeant on the felony investigations team.

Although big-city policing has a great deal in common among jurisdictions, Plantinga says “there is definitely more pushback from citizens” in San Francisco, a city with a long history of questioning authority.

“That’s OK. I’m all for people going out and taking a stand on a cause,” he says during the same week as confrontational protests around the bay following the grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases. “People want to know why we’re doing things and we should be in a position to answer.”

He writes affectingly in “400 Things” about split-second “Shoot or Don’t Shoot” scenarios. “Use of force is tricky because there is no perfect calculus to decide how much to use,” he says. “You want to use the minimum force necessary to control a situation, yet you’re trained that almost everyone you encounter is potentially dangerous,” he says, adding that “anyone who fights with the police is making a very bad decision.”

Plantinga’s book is a corrective to “the glitzy, glamorous Hollywood cop shows,” but also a snapshot of his own views on such thorny subjects as gun control, broken families and criminal profiling.

“As a street cop, one of your major goals is to prevent violent crime and take felons into custody, but they don’t come to you. You have to go out and find them, and one way is stopping people for minor violations — littering, riding a bicycle on the sidewalk. Then you can ID them.

“That being said, there’s still a right way and wrong way to go about it. We shouldn’t assume everyone out there is John Dillinger. There has to be a civil conversation, and we probably don’t do that enough.”

Troubling insights

Among Plantinga’s troubling insights is “the irony that the people who live in the kinds of neighborhoods that need you the most also hate you the most.”

He says that’s “one of the hardest parts of the job” and can erode a police officer’s sense of optimism. “There’s this 90/10 rule. Ninety percent of people are decent in ways that count. 10 percent not so much. And as a cop you deal with that 10 percent 90 percent of the time. That’s a big problem because it starts to color your world view, and if you’re not careful you fall into this trap of thinking everyone out there is a felon. That’s why it’s important to have a life outside the job. Family. Friends. Time with healthy, well-adjusted people.”

Many of Plantinga’s life lessons read as the advice he’d give to a rookie cop, tinged with a street-smart wariness: If you’re in a restaurant on duty, don’t leave your food or drink unattended (someone could spit in it or drug you). Write your blood type on your ballistic vest in large print. Anything that weighs two pounds or more can hurt you. Never park your squad car right in front of the address you’re sent to (known as the “kill zone”).

Plantinga, like his new book, is an unusual hybrid — the die-hard public servant who has lofty ideals about fighting crime, and also the witty English major who relishes recounting the humorous absurdities of life on patrol: People showing up at the door unclothed. A man who asks to go in and use the ATM during an active bank robbery. Citizens who call 911 because their neighbor gave them a dirty look.

“One of my favorites? Criminals who somehow, even after violent felonies, leave their ID at the scene. Otherwise there would be no way to connect them to the crime, but they basically solve it for us. I always marvel, how can that possibly be? You guys have to tighten your game up a little bit.”

Adam Platinga

What’s it like inside the station house? “It’s like high school except everyone’s armed.
-Adam Platinga, 400 Things Cops Know

If the public screams at you, don't scream back. Because if they piss you off they own you.
-Adam Platinga, 400 Things Cops Know


There's a man in my neighborhood I refer to as the French-Canadian Groucho Marx. His name is Donat. He is is 87, and tall and thin. He looks like Ghandi but speaks like Groucho Marx.

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
― Groucho Marx

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.”
― Groucho Marx

― Groucho Marx, Groucho and Me

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”
― Groucho Marx

“I've had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it.”
― Groucho Marx

“Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well I have others.”
― Groucho Marx

“One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I'll never know.”
― Groucho Marx

“If you're not having fun, you're doing something wrong.”
― Groucho Marx

“Well, art is art, isn't it? Still, on the other hand, water is water! And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now, uh... now you tell me what you know.”
― Groucho Marx

“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.”
― Groucho Marx, The Essential Groucho: Writings For By And About Groucho Marx

“I'm not crazy about reality, but it's still the only place to get a decent meal.”
― Groucho Marx

“He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot.”
― Groucho Marx

“Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, and I'm going to be happy in it.”
― Groucho Marx

“Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light.”
― Groucho Marx

“Some people claim that marriage interferes with romance. There's no doubt about it. Anytime you have a romance, your wife is bound to interfere.”
― Groucho Marx

“If a black cat crosses your path, it signifies that the animal is going somewhere.”
― Groucho Marx

“I have nothing but respect for you -- and not much of that.”
― Groucho Marx

“While money can't buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.”
― Groucho Marx

“Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot.”
― Groucho Marx

“A child of five could understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.”
― Groucho Marx

“I intend to live forever, or die trying.”
― Groucho Marx

“Just give me a comfortable couch, a dog, a good book, and a woman. Then if you can get the dog to go somewhere and read the book, I might have a little fun.”
― Groucho Marx

“Whatever it is, I'm against it.”
― Groucho Marx

“Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men -- the other 999 follow women.”
― Groucho Marx

Groucho Marx

“Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.”
― Groucho Marx, The Essential Groucho: Writings For By And About Groucho Marx

Inseeing Dogs


Sherlock Holmes

“A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes


“A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.”
― John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog

He Wasn't a Dog

All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed. For after all, he was only human. He wasn't a dog.
― Charles M. Schulz

Mary Karr: Mail Myself

“I get so lonely sometimes, I could put a box on my head and mail myself to a stranger.”
― Mary Karr, Lit

"Your Heart, Mary Karr," he'd say

If you lie to your husband - even about something so banal as how much you drink - each lie is a brick in a wall going up between you, and when he tells you he loves you, it's deflected away.
― Mary Karr, Lit

Such a small, pure object a poem could be, made of nothing but air a tiny string of letters, maybe small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. But it could blow everybody's head off.
― Mary Karr, Lit

Your heart, Mary Karr, he'd say. His pen touched my sternum, and it felt for all the world like the point of a dull spear as he said, Your heart knows what your head don't. Or won't.
― Mary Karr, Lit

Poe on Poetry

With me poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion.
― Edgar Allan Poe

Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.
― Edgar Allan Poe

I remained too much inside my head and ended up losing my mind.
― Edgar Allan Poe

That which you mistake for madness is but an overacuteness of the senses.
― Edgar Allan Poe

To elevate the soul, poetry is necessary.
― Edgar Allan Poe

Even in the grave, all is not lost.
― Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe: Blessed

Never to suffer would never to have been blessed.
― Edgar Allan Poe

Years of love have been forgot, In the hatred of a minute.
― Edgar Allan Poe, The Complete Stories and Poems

Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.
― Edgar Allan Poe

All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.
― Edgar Allan Poe

If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.
― Edgar Allan Poe

Mary Karr: Sure the world breeds monsters, but kindness grows just as wild...

A dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it.
― Mary Karr, The Liars' Club

Sure the world breeds monsters, but kindness grows just as wild...
― Mary Karr, The Liars' Club

She holds every dress briefly by its shoulders like it’s a schoolkid she’s checking out for smudges before church. Then one by one they get flung away from her and into the fire.
― Mary Karr, The Liars' Club

Daddy said a Republican was somebody who couldn’t enjoy eating unless he knew somebody else was hungry.
― Mary Karr, The Liars' Club

After Mother got her picture, we all stood around the fire truck eating moon-shaped cookies dusted with powdered sugar that the mayor's wife had brought in some Tupperware. It was stuff like that that'd break your heart about Leechfield, what Daddy meant when he said the town was too ugly not to love.
― Mary Karr, The Liars' Club

Those are only rumors of suffering. Real suffering has a face and a smell. It lasts in the most intense form no matter what you drape over it. And it knows your name.
― Mary Karr, The Liars' Club

I kept the fingers of my left hand crossed all the time, while on my right-hand fingers I counted anything at all—steps to the refrigerator, seconds on the clock, words in a sentence—to keep my head occupied. The counting felt like something to hang on to, as if finding the right numbers might somehow crack the code on whatever system ran the slippery universe we were moving through.
― Mary Karr, The Liars' Club

I loved the idea that looking at a painting or listening to a concerto could make you somehow "transcend" the day-in, day-out bullshit that grinds you down: how in one instant of pure attention you could draw something inside that made you forever larger.
― Mary Karr, The Liars' Club

I Remember Asking . . .

I remember asking my mother "Why did you have me?" she seemed so bored and annoyed and unhappy being saddled with children.
I remember asking my bio dad when visiting him in NYC when he had wife number two, "Is God dead?"


My mother insisted on taking our temperature with anal thermometers. It was like okay you think you're sick, bend over, I'm taking your temperature. My brother was eleven when the ambulance came. They had to take him away on a stretcher so the thermometer wouldn't break. She said "I lost it" She had lost it up his ass. The whole neighborhood was out in the street watching the ambulance pull in and park in our driveway, asking what happened.

It is Terrifying to be a Child

I remember the nurses had me pee in a bathtub at the hospital when I was three and a half. I was covered in red-orange Mercurochrome from my belly button to mid thigh. My mother had called my bio-dad to come to the hospital. We rarely saw him. He was 6 foot 4 and towered, lumbering down the hallway beside me.

I remember being way up high in some NYC hospital. I was told to lay down on my belly and look out the window and spot the tiny red cars as the nurse shot me in the ass with a gigantic needle.

I remember two mean old lady nurses giving me a sponge bath when I was in the hospital to have my tonsils out I was 5. I remember being given ether through a small metal thing like a colander over my mouth on the operating table and my mother waving and smiling her red-lipsticked smile and walking backwards.

When I was six I was hospitalized for a week for appendectomy. My mother was incredibly happy. She decorated my bed with crepe-paper flowers she made and sprayed them with perfume. She brought me a picture-book about a girl who is in the hospital for an appendectomy. She brought in two girls in wheelchairs to become my new best friends.

I Figured I Might as Well Make it Easier

"Okay kids lets drive until we hit snow!" My bio dad said showing up at our house with his 3rd wife and off we went. There was no heat or muffler in the big pale blue Oldsmobile. My sister and I huddled under a quilt in the back seat but we hated each other so we didn't capitalize on each others warmth. The muffler was too loud to be able to talk. I was sure they had a plan to toss me over the mountain at the scenic overlook. It would solve everyone's problems, I thought. When we stopped to see the view of the mountains I didn't bother to put my boots on, instead I asked my father to lift me up out of the back seat. I figured I might as well make it easier.


The prison escape story.

Vivian Gornick: Courage to Look

You have to learn to write from the very center, and to have the courage to look at that center.
—Vivian Gornick Paris Review

I LOVE Stanley Kunitz

It is out of the dailiness of life that one is driven into the deepest recesses of the self.
- Stanley Kunitz

It's the birthday of poet Stanley Kunitz, born in Worcester, Massachusetts (1905). His parents were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. His father committed suicide in a public park before Kunitz was born, and his mother, Yetta, erased all traces of Stanley's father from the house, and refused to speak about him. She opened up a dry-goods store and sewed clothes in the back room, working overtime to pay off the debts that her husband had left behind, even though legally she was not obligated to pay them.

One thing his mother did not destroy were the books his father had left behind, books by Tolstoy and Dickens. One of Kunitz's favorite books was the dictionary. He said: "I used to sit in that green Morris chair and open the heavy dictionary on my lap, and find a new word every day. It was a big word, a word like eleemosynary or phantasmagoria — some word that, on the tongue, sounded great to me, and I would go out into the fields and I would shout those words, because it was so important that they sounded so great to me. And then eventually I began incorporating them into verses, into poems. But certainly my thought in the beginning was that there was so much joy playing with language that I couldn't consider living without it."

His first job as a boy was riding his horse down the streets of Worcester and lighting the gas lamps at night. He became a reporter for the Worcester Telegram, went to Harvard, and stayed for his master's degree. He wanted to pursue his Ph.D., but the head of the English department at Harvard told him that Anglo-Saxon students would resent being taught by a Jew.

So he moved to a big farm in Connecticut, and worked as a reporter and farmer. He sold fresh herbs to markets in Hartford. Kunitz was drafted into World War II, and when he came back, he was offered a teaching position at Bennington College. In 1949, the college tried to expel one of his students — Groucho Marx's daughter Miriam — right before her graduation because she had violated a curfew. Kunitz helped organize a protest of the decision, and the president of Bennington showed up at his house and told him to stop immediately. Kunitz took the plant that he was potting and threw it in the president's face, then quit.

He published a second book, but it was barely noticed. He was so unknown that his third book, Selected Poems (1958), was rejected by eight publishers — three of them refused to even read it. When it was finally published, it won the Pulitzer Prize. When someone asked W.H. Auden why nobody knew about Stanley Kunitz, Auden said: "It's strange, but give him time. A hundred years or so. He's a patient man."

It was more than 10 years before he published his next book, The Testing Tree (1971), and slowly but surely, people began to take notice. He was appointed the poet laureate when he was 95 years old. He died at the age of 100.

-Writer's Almanac

Sleepless in Seattle, Topless in Ontario, Bottomless in the Bronx

What a world.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Air Quality Alert


Determined to Duplicate

I've decided I will try to make my favorite foods since I can't buy them. First on the docket is learning how to duplicate Jeanette's Spinach Pies and Calzones.

Home Cooked Family Meals

There are very few people who actually bake and cook anymore in the neighborhood I live in. It's tragic and scary.

Females are too Fierce

I do not believe in using women in combat, because females are too fierce.
- Margaret Mead

We've Noticed

"Women want mediocre men, and men are working to be as mediocre as possible."
- Margaret Mead

Peanuts grow in a Fascinating Manner

We keep a five pound box of peanuts in the freezer for quick snacks.

Peanuts are almost ubiquitous in the U.S. culture: baseball games, circus elephants, cocktail snacks, and the ever-popular peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Yet, contrary to what their name implies, technically, peanuts are not nuts. They are, in botanical fact, legumes and are related to other foods in the legume family including peas, lentils, chickpeas and other beans.

Peanuts grow in a fascinating manner. They start out as an above ground flower that, due to its heavy weight, bends towards the ground. The flower then burrows underground, where the peanut matures.

Pancake Breakfast for the Neighborhood

My latest fantasy is to host a pancake breakfast for the neighborhood if I can afford to get or rent the gigantic professional grill. Stay tuned! Our parking lot is land of happy kids and parents now that the drug dealers moved away. Hurray!!

Loving to Cook

I've always hated school but loved learning. When I was in college I'd skip out at 2PM and bicycle home to make chicken soup or bake bread. I was broke. I got hired to be a prep chef and I bought a blue used VW bug. I learned more about EVERYTHING and had more fun than at my expensive college. Participating in the making and preparing your own food is the highest form of self-love. I'll never understand people who give up cooking and eating just because they live alone. The scent of bread baking and soup simmering is one of life's most sensory pleasures. Sharing home made food is the most sincere of gifts.

Archetypal Mythological Madness


Pens and Needles


In a life properly lived, you’re a river.

Paris Review: Jim Harrison Interview

In a life properly lived, you’re a river.


Antaeus magazine wanted me to write a piece for their issue about nature. I told them I couldn’t write about nature but that I’d write them a little piece about getting lost and all the profoundly good aspects of being lost—the immense fresh feeling of really being lost. I said there that my definition of magic in the human personality, in fiction and in poetry, is the ultimate level of attentiveness. Nearly everyone goes through life with the same potential perceptions and baggage, whether it’s marriage, children, education, or unhappy childhoods, whatever; and when I say attentiveness I don’t mean just to reality, but to what’s exponentially possible in reality. I don’t think, for instance, that Márquez is pushing it in One Hundred Years of Solitude—that was simply his sense of reality. The critics call this magic realism, but they don’t understand the Latin world at all. Just take a trip to Brazil. Go into the jungle and take a look around. This old Chippewa I know—he’s about seventy-five years old—said to me, “Did you know that there are people who don’t know that every tree is different from every other tree?” This amazed him. Or don’t know that a nation has a soul as well as a history, or that the ground has ghosts that stay in one area. All this is true, but why are people incapable of ascribing to the natural world the kind of mystery that they think they are somehow deserving of but have never reached? This attentiveness is your main tool in life, and in fiction, or else you’re going to be boring. As Rimbaud said, which I believed very much when I was nineteen and which now I’ve come back to, for our purposes as artists, everything we are taught is false—everything.


If you can hoe corn for fifty cents an hour, day after day, you can learn how to write a novel. You have absorbed the spirit of repetition. When you look at my wife’s garden you understand that; the beauty of the garden—the flowers and the vegetables—that’s how an artist is in his work. And I think the background that at first nonplussed me—that rural, almost white-trash element—stood me in good stead as an artist, in the great variety of life it forced me into, the hunger to do things


I can only think of one American in our time who’s lived up to the full promise of his talent, and that’s Saul Bellow. He’s the only person who brought his talent to the fruition that seemed promised way back with his first work.


The idea of getting bad reviews is not nearly as bad as getting no reviews, frankly. And it never stopped me from writing poems and novels, it didn’t slow me down a bit. That comes from too deep a source. It’s something you have to do. And at any given time during those fourteen or fifteen hard, impossible years I could have taken a well-paid teaching job, because I had that cachet as a poet and a novelist, but I refused to do it.


Do you still keep in touch with Nicholson?

HARRISON:Sure, we’re friends. He’s an extraordinary person, really literate and intensely perceptive. I don’t know any novelists who are more perceptive than he is, which after all is central to his profession too—to be perceptive about character. He’s always aware of how people around him are changing, just as he’s changing. He never tries to locate people or make them stay in one place.

INTERVIEWER: You said earlier that one’s dream life is the foundation of art.

JIM HARRISON: It is for everyone whether they like it or not. Or that sleeping/waking period early in the morning. Your brain has spent the night evolving a sequence of metaphors that allows you to survive the day, and sometimes it comes out in such poignant, distinctive terms.


Vertical or Horizontal, no in between

Since I was very small I have been fascinated with motion. I made a sculpture: two blobs of gray plasticine connected by arched colorful straws. "tell me about it", my mother said.
It's the motion of the bouncing ball!" I exclaimed.
No much has changed except it is telling that I get motion-sickness from nearly everything. I wanted to animate my drawings and when I did I got sick. Movies, iPads, wind farms etc flip my stomach. Terra firma s'il vous plaît.

I have been thinking about this since I broke my foot because I hate to sit. It stops my brain. As my friend Jeff Marchand said "Now we know where your brain is!" He's right.

I work standing at my desk, easel, kitchen. I walk my dog to think. I swim laps to rest and rejuvenate. I'm vertical or horizontal, no in between.

How to Become Mentally Flexible


Gratitude is Happiness Doubled by Wonder

G. K. Chesterton wrote that “thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

People with grateful dispositions see their efforts grandly but not themselves. Life doesn’t surpass their dreams but it nicely surpasses their expectations.


Deb Word: We don’t Need to put this kind of Trauma on a Child’s Soul.

About 14 families with gay or transgender members have registered to attend the four-day World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia just before the pope’s arrival. Deb Word, president of Fortunate Families, a support group for Catholic parents seeking full inclusion of their gay children in the church, said her group applied to have a table in the exhibit hall, but was rejected. She was also interviewed by a World Meeting organizer as a possible speaker for the only panel on homosexuality, but was ultimately not included.

“We wanted to go and share resources on how you can safeguard your child’s long-term health by using loving acceptance in your home. It doesn’t sound like a scary message, does it?” said Ms. Word, who lives in Memphis with her husband and has taken in 17 homeless young gay and transgender people over many years who were rejected by their families.

In Philadelphia, she will be wearing a small rainbow ribbon pin and carrying a bag of literature for Catholics she meets who express interest. If she could meet the pope, she said, she would tell him the story of her son, an altar server and a faithful Catholic who did not come out until he was 23.

She and her husband had known for years that he was probably gay, but he delayed telling them because he was so worried he was going to hell.

If she could say only one thing to the pope, Ms. Word said, it would be this: “We don’t need to put this kind of trauma on a child’s soul.”
-Deb Word, president of Fortunate Families,


David Casarett


by David Casarett is the director of hospice and palliative care at Penn Medicine and the author of “Stoned: A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana.”

As a palliative care physician, every day I see firsthand the suffering my patients have experienced, and the lengths to which they’ve gone to manage their symptoms and control their lives. They stockpile medications in case their pain increases. And some buy illegal drugs on the street because their physicians won’t prescribe opioids. So is it any wonder that people like Robin with serious illnesses want to take matters into their own hands?

Yet it seems that many of my physician colleagues haven’t considered the possibility that patients are turning to medical marijuana because the health care system has failed them. In general, their reaction to medical marijuana has been one of detached amusement, tinged with avuncular concern. And when they recognize the challenges that patients like Robin face, they point out that they don’t have enough time in a typical 15-minute visit to deliver the kind of personalized care that Robin needed.

Fortunately, Robin’s story offers solutions. I’ve identified at least three lessons the medical marijuana industry holds for our health care system. And none of them require doctors to spend any more time with patients.

First, we should give patients a chance to learn from one another. In marijuana clinics and dispensaries, I’ve seen as much advice and support offered by patients as I have by physicians. That’s the beauty and attraction of websites like PatientsLikeMe, which has created communities of patients who support one another. Who better to offer advice about how to get your prescriptions filled on the weekends, or how to swallow those large pills, than someone who has already figured it out?

Second, if physicians can’t spend more time with patients — and, in general, they can’t — we should give patients more time with other office staff members. Robin didn’t spend any more time with a doctor in that clinic than my patients spend with me. But she spent much more time with the marijuana clinic employees, none of whom had any formal medical training. They gave detailed answers to her questions about various marijuana strains, the unpredictable absorption of cannabinoids in edibles and even how to clean and maintain her vaporizer. That advice took time, but none of it required an extra minute with a physician.

Third, we should give patients more ability to manage their treatment. What Robin wanted was a chance to treat her symptoms in her own way, using strategies that worked for her. She wanted to try, and maybe fail, and try again. She wanted to be in charge.

Giving patients more control doesn’t mean handing over a blank prescription pad. Patients can gain more control — safely — if they understand a drug’s effects and duration, and if they have some leeway in when and how to use it. For instance, when I prescribe as-needed pain medication, I’ll give my patients permission to figure out for themselves how much to take and when.

These suggestions aren’t difficult, or expensive. Nor are they only for patients like Robin, or for physicians like me who care for seriously ill patients near the end of life. They’re changes that any clinic could start making today. The medical marijuana industry has learned these lessons well, and our more mainstream health care system needs to catch up.

Cat Scan: Milwaulkee Creature on the Loose


Poet John Ashbury

I don't quite understand about understanding poetry. I experience poems with pleasure: whether I understand them or not I'm not quite sure. I don't want to read something I already know or which is going to slide down easily: there has to be some crunch, a certain amount of resilience.
-John Ashbury, Writer's Almanac

Monday, July 27, 2015

Your Brain on Writing


Ram Dass: Still Amazing After All these Years

Support & Surrender
by Ram Dass

The wild geese do not intend to cast their reflection and the water has no mind to receive their image. That was the first message I got from the first fortune cookie I opened when I returned from India. That seems like a fitting contract for these writings, and perhaps the full implications of that contract will become clear as we continue.

What I’d like to do is to present a model to you, and the specific model is my own life experience. That’s really all I have to offer to you – of my own experiences. I would like to clarify the reason for doing this. It is not my expectation, or my hope, that any of you necessarily would undergo the particular journey that I am pursuing. I am not proselytising for Ashtanga yoga.

But we in the West are faced with a very interesting predicament through a variety of circumstances, some of which are built into the culture like changes in communication media and so on. Some of them are the result of the chemicals that have appeared and been widely used – psychedelics.

Some of them are personal experiences people have had which previously they kept hidden but now they begin to redefine or they’ve hidden them under labels that society provided them which made them seem like psychosis or insanity or something, and they now reconsider them. As a result of all these circumstances many people in the west including me, and I assume you and that must be what’s bringing you here; appreciate the possibility of states of consciousness other than our normal waking state of consciousness.

Or maybe you are here just because you look at the world in which you’re living and you say, ‘Well, we obviously can’t handle it with what we’ve got going, so I’ll at least look for something else,’ even though you may not have the faith in the possibility that there is something else, but you’re gonna look anyway.

So we’re presented with a possibility and it filters through to us from one source or another that there is a very ancient tradition of people who have realized other states of consciousness and have sent messages and made maps. But the problem that we have as westerners is, that we can’t understand the maps. The maps are there, the secrets are not secrets in the sense of ‘I’m not gonna tell you’, they’re secrets in the sense that we cant hear.

Jung writes in a book by Wilhelm called the Secret of the Golden Flower, its a eulogy. He commends Wilhelm for having the courage as a westerner to give up his predispositions of thought to be able to get into that position from which he could appreciate the eastern writings from an inside point of view, in other words give up his identity as a westerner.

The term that you may be familiar with is what’s called surrender.

And so what we can do for one another as westerners, is collect the data that are available to each of us as we open ourselves to them. We are all on a journey. We are just as Herman Hesse talks about the fellow travellers on our journey to the east. East not being literal necessarily but metaphorical.

And what we can do is we can help each other along.

We can be the satsang, the sanga, the spiritual community, the support for one another.

Giving each other the confidence to keep pursuing this possibility.

And we give each other our own lives to help and that’s what I would like to do.

I’d like to present as I say, the model, because maybe there’ll be some clues that will be of some use to you in your own sadhana, in your own spiritual journey.

But in doing this I am going to work on myself as I’m always doing. Doing my mantra, japa, and therefore I’m really not speaking – Because the place where I am and I hope you are – is the same place where we are together witnessing one of us speaking and the rest of us listening.

But let’s not get trapped in our social roles. It’s a good exercise.

– Ram Dass, 1968