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.

Posted in Misc

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. 

Posted in Misc

BREAKING NEWS

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Fox News just broke in that OJ has been released on bail:

“BREAKING NEWS …ATTORNEY: SIMPSON WILL RETURN TO HOME IN FLORIDA”

…this is un@#$%^&*believeable. the coverage could not be thicker if it were the assasination of George Bush. this is insane…choppers, reporters on all 4 sides of the building. national anchors. local anchors. ex-judges, prosecuters and defense attorneys.”experts” old and new picking up paychecks. Mark Fuhrman, Marcia Clark, Chris Darden all weigh in. waiting for Fred Goldman. local feeds. archive footage.

uh-oh, we now have video of OJ, “literally walking out” as it is described, of the Courthouse.

actual quotes- or damn close- of what I am hearing…. 

This question was just asked by an anchor to an “expert”…

“OJ appears to be heading to his bail bondsman- your reaction?”  

“…it looks like he’s on the freeway, Bob…does that mean he has by-passed his bail bondsman and may be heading to the airport?” 

 “… is the potential jury pool being tainted by the media coverage, Mark (Fuhrman)?”

“…standby, Mark, we have Miranda who actually saw OJ leaving the jail and get into the car…”

“…Miranda did you get any sense where they might be heading? maybe to The Palms to pick up some things he left there?”

 “…hmmmmm, we are only speculating at this time”

(ALL THIS IS BEING SAID WITH A BREAKING NEWS SENSE OF TENSION AND URGENCY)

 “…anybody have any info on where OJ is heading? anybody? (silence).. okay one of our producers says they are heading to the airport…”

 “…wait, we have Adam at The Palms…Adam has confirmed OJ will be meeting his bail bondsman there”

(and there was this exchange a minute later…. )

“…we’re trying to get video of OJ entering or leaving The Palms”

“…Barry, do we have OJ’s friend Tom Mezerro (sp)? Tom, are you watching this?”

Tom: “Yes”

Anchor: “…have you talked to OJ on the phone, Tom? Can you call OJ and get him on the phone? we just want to know how he is doing…

Tom:”…of course I can’t do that, and I challenge Mark Fuhrman to a one on one on TV”

Fuhrman: “Shut up, Tom, you’re a fool”

Tom: “well you’re not a detective, you planted evidence…”

Fuhrman” “…you’re a fool”

We are comedy. We are tragedy. The human condition. I expect a chopper’s eye view of some random white Bronco any minute now.

Posted in Misc

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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Posted in Misc

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…….                             

Posted in Misc

This Newfangled Packaging

The inspiration for this entry came after a gallon of blood, likely meant for a major organ, rushed to my head while I was bent over picking up uncooked macaroni off the kitchen floor. Bad form for sure, but I was not interested in style points after the contents of the Easy-Mac package rained across the linoleum. Thankfully the cheese, still in powder form, was safely in its vault. I say vault because it likely was as secure in its fortress-like envelope as the money I wish I had would be in the Wells Fargo down the street. I am quite sure I could not access either without a weapon.

So I can add Mac & Cheese to the list of packages I can no longer open without either a sharp implement or my 16 yr old son. That’s sad. Of course I’d prefer to blame new technology in the packaging industry that I am sure lowers costs and employs more welders. The alternative would be that the loss of dexterity means I am one step closer to assisted living.

The Oreos tray won’t slide out. Or when it does I can’t slide it back in. And forget about sealing it somehow after opening. The faux-plastic-packaging cannot be folded, twisted, rolled, taped, or stapled closed. What? You say there’s a resealable opening on the top of the package that doesn’t require sliding trays in and out? Where’s my glasses, I gotta see this.

Don’t even get me started on straws. Long gone are the good ol’ days of blowing those loose straw sleeves at your friend/brother/sister. Sigh. I guess they were hand packed by union labor in those days. Now the damn things are probably manufactured with that paper skin already on.    

Have you ever bought cheese that’s NOT  packaged in individually wrapped slices? Well I have. Now after I cut it open what am I supposed to do with this hoity-toity fancy brick of coagulated curd? I swear I have to use rubberbands, freezer bags and duct tape to keep it fresh. Or I’m forced to just eat the whole damn thing in one “tasting”.

(and what does all this say about my diet?!)

Now comes my favorite brand of water with some crazy redesign for their sports bottles. I suppose in an effort to eliminate small, round, clear, plastic spout covers from polluting the world, some brilliant engineer, named deSade I’m sure, developed some kind of kind of plastic, blue, locking mechanism.  When operated correctly, which is a one in ten shot by the way, you’ll undoubtedly embed a painful, plastic sliver under your thumbnail. And if you are unlucky and unable to rip it off entirely, then the spout will not open without vice-grips…or a 16 yr old son.

Are you having any success with those stacks of plastic coffee lids at your local QuikTrip? Have you ever extricated one without fondling six others? Then what’s the proper etiquette? Throw out and waste the ones you touched? Try to restack them and cover your tracks?  I just can’t stand thinking the lid covering my coffee may have just been manhandled by a Roto-Rooter guy after his bathroom break.

My solution pretty well defines why I’m broke. I just go to Starbucks and pay the extra three bucks for them to put one on.   

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Posted in Misc

Movies

I think it was Beavis that said, “Movies are cool”. So for the helluvit I made a my own top 100 list in no particular order…. (and no I do not have too much time on my hands)…

1. Hotel Rwanda

2. Yesterday

3. Sometimes in April

4. Geldof in Africa

5. Last King of Scotland

6. Blood Diamond

7. The Constant Gardener

8. Crash

9. The Score

10. Goodfellas

11. Oceans 11 

12. Fifth Element

13. Bend It Like Beckham

14. The Chronicals of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

15. Clear and Present Danger

16. Patriot Games

17. A Time to Kill 

18. Rocky (I)

19. Rocky Balboa (VI)

20. There’s Something About Mary

21. Gladiator

22. Braveheart

23. Christmas Story

24. Hellfighters

25. Bourne Identity

26. The Rundown

27. Jurassic Park

28. Lost World (JP II)

29. Jurassic Park III

30. Independence Day

31. Meet the Parents

32. The Godfather Part I

33. The Godfather Part II

34. The Godfather Part III

35. Jaws

36. Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

37. Lord of the Rings: Twin Towers

38. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

39. Seven Samurai

40. Pulp Fiction

41. The Shawshank Redemption

42. Saving Private Ryan

43. Forrest Gump

44. Fargo

45. The Terminator

46. Groundhog Day

47. Once Upon a Time in America

48. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

49. The Sting

50. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

51. Close Encounters of the Third Kind

52. 2001: A Space Odyssey

53. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

54. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

55. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

56. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

57. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

58. The Razor’s Edge (1984)

59. Casablanca

60. Rounders

61. African Queen

62. Remember the Titans

63. The Day the Earth Stood Still

64. Titanic

65. The Firm

66. Deep Impact

67. Something’s Gotta Give

68. The Outlaw Josie Wales

69. Pelican Brief

70. The Edge

71. Amistad

72. Meet Joe Black

73. True Romance

74. The Mexican

75. Castaway

76. Against All Odds

77. Lifeguard

78. The World According to Garp

79. Jackie Brown

80. Starman

81. Cop Land

82. A Bronx Tale

83. Jurassic Park IV 😉

84. Raiders of the Lost Ark

85. The Big Chill

86. Gangs of New York

87. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

88. The Road Warrior

89. Moscow on the Hudson

90. The Ten Commandments

91. My Favorite Year

92. The Devil’s Advocate

93. Mad Max

94. Predator

95. Vacation

96. Lost in Translation

97. City of God

98. Get Shorty

99. Tombstone

100. Gosford Park

Posted in Misc

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? 

Posted in Misc