Random Rantings 07/27

Hey,you know you can find some great deals on Amazon MP3. Found some Paul McCartney tracks for 50 cents each. Stuff like “Uncle Albert”, “Another Day”, “My Love” and “Maybe I’m Amazed”. They have the “Band on the Run” album songs for that price (or the whole thing for $4.99 along with the deluxe version of “Ram” and some of the other recent reissues).

Sir Paul was quite quirky wasn’t he? John set out to save the world while Paul just wanted to write silly love songs. Paul is still with us. take that as you will.

Fun With Koans

I’ve always been fascinated by Zen Koans. They are a kind of nonsense riddle because there is no logical solution. The classic example is “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”. The teacher actually gave us the answer. Something about the sound of everything around you since one hand clapping makes no noise. I guess you have to solve these as part of Zen monk training. It expands the mind by forcing it to think illogically, transcending our normal mode of learning and problem solving. Anyway I made up some. See if you can distinguish the ones I made up from actual Zen Koans.

A)  “What is your original face like before you were born?”

B) “Why did the chicken cross the road before it was created?”

C) “The cat ate the dog, the dog ate the rhino, the rhino ate the cat. Knowing this O student tell me the horse’s name”.

D) ” How can effortless effort be done?”

E) “When does infinity begin anew?”

F) “The universe is one. State two examples”.

A and D are actual Koans. I’ve also read A as “What did your face look like before your ancestors were born?”.  I have one more “When does the Google search and not find?” Answer: when the seeker types in “Zen Koans”.

Bonus Koan: Why did the chicken cross … excuse me I ate it. Num num!

Answer for C: impossible, the cat (El Gato Diablo Gigante) ate the dog, rhino, horse and chicken. That is the way of things both past and new. The horse’s name was Mr. Ed. The presented premise was as illogical as a talking horse, hence his name.

If there are any Zen Buddhist practitioners reading this I mean no offense. Tell you what, present me with a Koan and I will answer it to the satisfaction of one of us.

The Local News

My mom used to watch the local news. She told me I should too because its important to know what’s going on in the area. Now she watches “The Simpsons”, “Family Guy” and “American Dad” instead (she was a Bright House customer who lost WMOR for a week. Mom angry, Mom SMASH!). She said the day to day misery was just too hard to take, especially when getting home from work. BTW: she does have MYFox Tampa Bay on as she is getting ready for work so she gets some stuff that way.

I still watch the local news (channel 8, sorry Newschannel 8). But as I watch it gets me to thinking. The opening segment is typically filled with crimes, trials, accidents and weather events. Yesterday there was two, yes two, stories about elderly people being robbed and beaten. A purse snatching and a store robbery. It made me very angry, I was not only wanting to change my stance on the death penalty I was wanting to expand it. And rush it. I’m better and rational now. But do I really need to know that elderly people were beaten this week? I know crimes happen against the elderly but what does two specific crimes tell us? What does it mean, how can I use that information (aside from praying for the victims)? In these cases the statistics for crimes against the elderly weren’t provided. Is it up, is it down? Have prevention policies been attempted or discontinued? How did that affect the crime rate? I was wanting to do something but what? And really it would be supporting policies and voting for candidates who advocate them.

Some might say that’s kind of callous. I should care what happens to my neighbors and my community. But my community is Dade City / Zephyrhills, not Tampa / St. Pete. Its not really a local event that happened in my community. I get that the station is in Tampa so those stories will get traction but it doesn’t change the fact that it didn’t happen to my neighbors. Let me rephrase that, neighbor in the traditional sense. Jesus said we’re all neighbors and that’s of course true (He said it, that settles it) but those elderly victims are no more my neighbors than hundreds of other crime victims daily in the United States.

Remember I wanted to execute the perps. I do care, I got angry, I’m glad the victims should be OK. But I got upset over something I can do nothing about and really doesn’t affect my life in anyway because I saw it on the local news. That’s my point.

Don’t get me wrong there is some good information on the local news. The Republican National Convention closing many roads also got me mad and it might affect me if I have to go to Tampa.

Aside: I think these conventions should be discontinued or at least downsized. The nominees are already determined by that time anyway, its just a 4 day political pep rally and while it brings some money into the area it makes the residents’ lives miserable for a week. The people in Harbor Island won’t have access to their homes a bunch of the time. People who live in the (very big) convention path are leaving for the week, its that bad. The city is turning upside down for a group of politicians. I’m not going to rant but anyone who has read my FB posts knows how I feel about politicians. The residents will be miserable for a convention that contributes nothing, and I do mean nothing, positive to our country and society. Any good it might do is neutralized by the harm it does.

A couple of convention facts for you Republicans:

1) You know what industry is excited and ready for the Republicans to come: the adult entertainment industry. Saw it on the local news. I’m sure Fox News will get right on it about the time the Democratic National Convention commences.

2) Barack Obama as president? Would have never happened if not for his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Yep, you have a political convention to thank for President Obama. A promising but relatively unknown community organizer and author becomes a presidential possibility because of one speech. Think of that. And if we have to have a convention by all means get Marco Rubio to speak in prime time. By any means necessary.

I’ll continue to watch the local news. They do a good job. I have no qualm with their story selection. Other stories are very useful (especially in the second and third segments after the daily tragedy rundown). They do investigations and tell us about governmental decisions that do affect us. Plus I am interested in what happens to “local” people, even if they aren’t local in any practical sense. But I get why my mom stopped watching, most of it just doesn’t apply to the average viewer except to get them upset. If we get a piece of information and can’t explain how we can use it you have to ask if we need it. We live in a lost and dying world, bad stuff happens. I don’t think we need the news to tell us that.

Well that was fun, thanks for reading. Next blog is Sunday School.

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