Sunday, August 30, 2020

Sunday Papers: Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

"A little wind cleans the eyes."

On the turntable:  The Who, "Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970"

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Over Naccho, Grande

Cheers to Wes for writing up our recent expedition up Mount Naccho.   

The link is here.

On the turntable:  Mogwai, "Kicking a Dead Pig"

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Feet in the Clouds...

From the air, the landscape takes on very different characteristics than on the ground.  The walker orients himself to objects man-made, which strike an odd balance between the comfort of a familiar human scale, and a dehumanizing disregard for his presence.  But from a great height, one encounters a landscape that goes well beyond the chauvinism of time.  The grandeur below was formed over generations, over centuries, over aeons.  Man's presence in it is incidental.  I think of the great forest cover of Cambodia, of the dusty angles of India, of the battle-pocked cones and grids of Laos.  But nowhere on earth I believe has the grandeur of Siberia.  All is tabula rasa, the twisting rivers bringing life onto the slate.  Canyons are as grand as that of Arizona, the mountains are areoli that rise from the tie-dyed steppe.

On the turntable: Drive-By Truckers, "The Unraveling"

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Sunday Papers: Peter Fleming

"To read a propagandist, a man with vested intellectual interests, is as dull as dining with a vegetarian."

On the turntable: "Happy Songs for Happy People"

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Stuff from an Old Notebook #18


I've always found it difficult to write when immersed in something.  Meditation, martial arts, yoga, these practices require full participation.  One can only write from the role of observer, and in full immersion, this separation is impossible. (On the other hand, being a foreigner in Japan distances you, so it is easy to report and retain).  So the notes from my time in the ashram are haphazard and scattered: 

-Hearing the roar of lions at night and during savasana, coming from across the lake. 

-The sound of someone singing in the shower.   

-The dhobi drying laundry in the sun.  

-Sitting in lectures, the same as it was one thousand years ago.  

-The call of the Asian Koel, what I refer to as the Ali G bird: "For real, for real, for real."

-Sadhu taking photographs.

-Hindu devotional music blaring from the coconut forest, and from elsewhere, the call of a muezzin cuts through. 

-Om graffiti

-Feral dogs hardly recognizable as dogs 

-God as flower behind ear; smudge on forehead, ash symbolic of humility, draws power

-Man made god in his own image. 

-Why can't man answer the simple question, "Who am I?"

-Wizard of Oz as a sacred text.

-iPod Mothersbaugh techno in Singapore airport at 6 a.m.  Upgraded to Business class, and while in my broad seat, read that there are no distinctions between human.

On the turntable, "Meat Loaf, "Bat out of Hell"

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Sunday Papers: Alan Booth

"People speak of a Protestant Work Ethic, but there is a Protestant Walk Ethic too, and it is every bit as perverse."

On the turntable:  Miles Davis/John Coltrane, "Best of Miles Davis & John Coltrane 1955-1961"

Thursday, August 13, 2020


Sitting in the mountains,
Giving my life away
With every exhale.


Shidare-zakura laden with omikuji,
Sway in the the spring wind,
Like bridal trains.


Cold wind rattles the 
Bamboo like skeletons;
Whole sections twisted and fallen.

On the turntable:  Otis Span with Muddy Waters,"Live the Life"

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Stuff from an Old Notebook #17

-Interesting that we engage the world as infants, strictly orally, and later, create the world through an another oral process, with words.  

-Hippies still haven’t figured out that you cannot stop war with folk music.  

-US feminists trying to combat men by acting like men themselves.  Non-American feminists utilize their femininity to develop a third possibly, a more holistic one.  

-Rereading The Inland Sea.  Richie brings the muse back to me, his every sentence perfect. 

-The 20th century did a number on the world.  The 21st seems insistent on finishing the job. 

-The house has a “Warning Police Dog" sign written in English but judging from the ferocious look of the dogs (there are two) and quite frankly from the man himself, I’d take a fair guess that he’s on the other side of the law.  

-On protest:  I don’t know why many protests begin in the autumn.  They inevitably wind up defeated by something far stronger than any government, winter.  Protest and politics are pursuits of the leisure class, and as such, are not sustainable as that class doesn’t have the fortitude.

On the turntable:  Magic Sam, "Chicago Folk Festival"

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Sunday Papers: Wade Davis

"The measure of wealth in a civilized nation is not the currency accumulated by the lucky few, but rather the strength and resonance of social relations and the bonds of reciprocity that connect all people in common purpose."

On the turntable:  Mahala Rai Banda, "Ghetto Blasters"

Thursday, August 06, 2020


I used to expect a lot of others--
Hoping for art,
Then for purity,
For truth.
Lately I'll settle for...


On the turntable:  Mike Oldfield, "Tubular Bells III"

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Sunday Papers: Roger Deakin

"I keep uncovering more and more evidence for a Murphy's Law of publishing: that if a book is truly wonderful, it is certain to be out of print."
   --Notes From Walnut Tree Farm 

On the turntable:  Mile Davis, "Bag's Groove"