Wednesday, November 25, 2015


During this season I find it useful to remember what others have said:

Gratitude places you in the energy field of plentitude.  Perceiving life in a consciousness of gratitude is literally stepping into another dimension of living.  Suddenly the seeming ordinariness of your days takes on a divine sparkle.
n  Michael Beckwith

The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see.
n  Dr. Robert Holden

While we cry ourselves to sleep, gratitude waits patiently to console and reassure us; there is a landscape larger than the one we can see.
n  Sarah Ban Breathnach

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.
n  Willie Nelson

Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.
n  Karl Barth

Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer.
n  Maya Angelou

Gratitude is a flower that blooms in noble souls.
n  Pope Francis

There are many things to be grateful "for" but, as I ripen with the seasons of life,
the many reasons blend into a sacred mystery.  And, most deeply, I realize that 
living gratefully is its own blessing.
               Michael Mahoney

There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.

n  Ralph H. Blum

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Knee Jerk Cynicism!

The carnage in Paris has provided a new excuse for a spate of Knee Jerk Cynicism.

Knee Jerk because it is a predictable reaction by those who look for any reason to promote their favorite opinions.  Cynical because the reaction is driven by an unashamed manipulation of the facts to suit the purpose being promoted.

Rushing to get to the front of the line are governors looking for any excuse to stem the flow of refugees/immigrants coming into this country and specifically to keep them out of their state.  One of the terrorists was a Syrian or had been to Syria?  “No Syrians will cross my border.  And while we’re at it, none of those other dangerous brown or black undesirables either.”

Then we have the hard-nosed patriots who believe civil liberties and privacy are inconsistent with keeping this country safe.  “What good is freedom if we allow it to be taken away?  Better we temporarily compromise our values than let others do it for us.”  The problem is that the short-term compromises become long-term erosions of what we say we stand for. 

In our zeal to get the bad guys and prevent further damage we look for quick fixes and forget that violence begets violence.  We are in a war, yes.  But this is a war of ideas that will not be won on the battlefield.  Military action has a role to play, but it is not the answer.  Our strength is the moral high ground we occupy.  If we give that away we are indeed in peril.  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Surprise or No Surprise!

Does it surprise you that every Republican running for president has a plan to cut taxes, get rid of the deficit, increase employment, grow the economy and improve the well being of each and every American?  And that the numbers don’t add up for any of them?

Does it surprise you that the Israelis and Palestinians are killing each other again?

Does it surprise you that every day we hear about cops shooting and being shot at?

Does it surprise you that discrimination based on skin color, religion, ethnicity, class, caste, gender, race and whoever else the ‘other’ is is part of the human condition?

Does it surprise you that money in politics and the unrestrained need for more and more of it –  empowers special interests, corrupts individuals and the system, subverts the democratic process, turns off young people who might otherwise get involved, and promotes a culture of greed?

Does it surprise you that the Patriots are undefeated?  Or the Warriors?  Or that Bayern Munich is kicking ass in Germany and PSG in France or that Barcelona and Real Madrid are leading the way in Spain?  Business as usual in sports.

And does it surprise you that the web of corruption in FIFA is more obvious every day?  And that Sepp Blatter is in the hospital for stress?  What a shame!

Thursday, November 05, 2015

What I'm Watching!

There seems to be no end of things worth watching these days – whatever your device of choice.

Recently I finished the third season of “Orange is the New Black”.  It’s a winner.

At the moment we’re in the middle of “The Affair,” “Homeland,” “Indian Summers,” and “Narcos.”  And we’ve been watching old episodes of “House” and “Homicide,” both of which hold up well over time.

I’m more and more impressed with “The Affair.”  The acting and writing are excellent.  “Homeland” is better than many expected it to be this season.  “Indian Summers” is a soap opera dressed up as an expensive mini-series, but it furthers my ongoing love affair with India, so I watch.  “Narcos” is OK but not wonderful.

I record Charlie Rose every night and still find it a useful and enjoyable seminar on a wide variety of topics.  “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah is still trying to find some solid ground to stand on in this post-Jon Stewart era, and is still on my watch list.  “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver is brilliant.  He has carved out a place for himself at the top of the news with comedy list.  I catch up with Stephen Colbert with excerpts on the computer.  And stories produced by Vice are usually very well done.

Does all this leave time for regular movies?  Fortunately, yes.  More about that later.