Monthly Archives: September 2007

Priorities

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If you are already making ends meet, what is the point of working so much overtime? Where’s the joy? Who benefits and how? The answers are likely shallow when it comes to “Type A workoholics”.

Strive to accumulate more stuff. Pay it off, insure it, polish it, fix it, store it. Never dispose of it. Can it bring anything but mind-numbing, time consuming attachment to meaningless things? 

Try buying stillness and quiet contemplation. The trancsendence of egoic persuits is the greatest endeavor.

Verse 44 of The Tao te Ching says it all…(S. Mitchell translation cited)

44 Fame or integrity: which is more important?
Money or happiness: which is more valuable?
Success or failure: which is more destructive?

If you look to others for fulfillment,
you will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money,
you will never be happy with yourself.

Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.

The Phoenix Rises

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It took about 15 months, but I can honestly say the makeover is done. I have successfully disposed of every reminder of my previously superficial, dramatic, more-of-everything-based existence.  

The metaphor of the rising Phoenix is appropiate, if too easy to use, but the timing of it is perfect. As the end of September signals, The Valley of the Sun has risen from the deadly heat of summer just as I have risen from the toxic misery of materialistic living. 

In the shade of a Ponderosa Pine on a perfectly still, 85 degree Monday afternoon, I am looking out over the 14th fairway of The Lakes at Ahwatukee Golf Course. I’m taking in the view of a rolling sea of emerald grass broken by a snakey stream flowing under a walking bridge and emptying into a reed-lined lagoon. 

Palm trees dot the landscape like flagpoles flying the frond flag of the desert. The seasonal transition from bentgrass to winter rye results in an even quieter day. The course is closed for over-seeding so there are no duffers cussing their slicing Titleists. Just mallards paddling through the glistening water under the clear cobalt sky. 

When a soft breeze breaks the stillness, it feels like we’ve finally made it. The travel-brochure weather that melted away in May is back. The four months of surface-of-the-sun living is at a merciful end.

Think of the best weather where you are. That’s what we’re blessed with almost daily for the next eight months- eight months of ahhhhhhhhhh. 

Great Quotes 1

Some great quotes/citations I have encountered….

“I do not have an excess of anything. Some would say I have too little. Yet each day I try to get rid of something else. I will not indulge.” –Siji Tzu Rules for Living

“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.” –Maya Angelou

“The supreme good is like water, which nourishes all things without trying to. It is content with the low places that people disdain. Thus it is like the Tao. In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present. When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”Lao Tzu Tao te Ching -verse 8

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try to understand each other we may even become friends. –Maya Angelou
 

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They’re Not All Bad Guys

Let’s add The New England Patriots, and specifically their coach Bill Belichick, to the rapidly expanding list of cheaters/criminals in major sports. By the end of the week we should know the punishment they will receive for videotaping the New York Jets’ defensive coaching staff sending in their signals during last week’s game.

Checking the scorecard we show….

NFL Quarterback Michael Vick plea bargains to felony charges related to dog-fighting.

NBA referee Tim Donaghy plea bargains to felony conspiracy charges related to illegal betting on basketball.

Current and former MLB players suspected of steroid abuse include Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmiero, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield and Ken Caminiti (deceased).

Like all celebrities, athletes should not be considered inherently ethical, moral, generous, or even good sports. The fact that they make more in a year then most of us will in a lifetime actually makes them more susceptible to the vices that Joe Lunchbucket can’t afford.

I’d much rather focus my attention on the “good guys” like, like….. ummm… ahhhh… hmmmmm, well I can think of one at least…Poker player Barry Greenstein. That’s right, a poker player. Here’s a guy that pays his way into tournaments, risks his own money and then, gives all his winnings to charity!

Just consider that for a moment. The guy DONATES 100% OF HIS TOURNAMENT WINNINGS to charity! And that total is in the millions.

Quiet and unassuming, Barry is the epitome of a guy under control, playing in a game that tests the tilt factor of every player. Most can’t stand the heat or the bad beats.

And to my knowledge he’s never been caught… taking steroids, making illegal bets on dog-fighting, obtaining inside info from NBA refs, or videotaping Phil Helmuth from the rail.

shuffle up and deal…….                             

A New Arizona Holiday

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It’s Labor Day and I’m reluctantly putting away the matching white belt and shoes until Easter. After a long drought we finally have another 3 day weekend. The last one was Memorial Day, way back in May. (Remember, the Fourth of July was on a Wednesday this year!) 

But in my opinion the labor theme is getting kind of old anyway. If you know anything about Arizona, then you gotta love the irony of a “Right to Work” State (read: anti-union) loaded with undocumented workers, celebrating what’s essentially a holiday for organized labor.

Let’s toss that farce aside and spice up this holiday with some local flavor. Here’s my plan…

We’re not like the rest of the country in some big ways. We don’t do Daylight Savings Time, our kids start school in early August, and we dread summer.

In the spirit of Groundhog Day (and what a great movie that is), I am proposing our own Rattlesnake Day. Think about it. Who in Phoenix cares about what a fat, hairy marmot in cold, dreary Pennsylvania predicts for an extended winter forecast in February?

If anything, we Sonoran Desert dwellers are happy to extend our winter. Heck, we don’t even have winter. We have two seasons; spring and summer. And we’re in no hurry to get to summer. This year has been exceptionally brutal with 30-some days of plus 110F temps. That’s over one hundred TEN. Who cares if it’s a dry-heat; I’d call it a fry-heat. After we get through August, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and thank God it’s not coming from a heat lamp.

Wouldn’t it be fun then to let one of our own beloved indigenous creatures, the rattlesnake, help us celebrate the coming of sub-$200 electric bills?

On the first Monday in September we could all gather in Patriot’s Square before the temp hits 100 (figure around 6:00am), and while we mingle with the homeless, we can listen to local dignitaries pontificate on how great it is living on the surface of the sun for ONLY 4 months a year. The civic pride would culminate in a symbolic-rich release of the rattlesnake. Right there on stage, they’ll coax a genuine Arizona diamondback ratt’ler onto a sheet of genuine Arizona copper.

If he hisses and rattles and slithers away, then voila, summer’s over baby! Bring on the 90’s!

But if he hisses and SIZZLES? Tragically, my friends, the copper got too damn hot in the sun. We’ve got fried rattler for the homeless and 6 more miserable weeks of summer. Pour me a margarita.

Now that beats the heck out of waving to “Miss AFL-CIO” on a parade float doesn’t it?