Place of Refuge

Place of Refuge

29 June 2012

Radio Ruminations

Today I found this little blog called
and I must confess, I was quite smitten by it, and
it's not simply because the guy who runs it
is named Phil.

He has a gallery of radios he has restored,
and he gives plenty of information
on how to restore your own.

I wanted to put Phil on my favorite blog list,
and I will, but I thought I'd also call attention to him
with this modest little entry today.

You see,
I have a little radio problem.
I love radios.
Not only do I think they are one of the most efficient ways
to disseminate information, I also have
utopian visions about them.
I'm not the only one -- when radio first appeared,
plenty of people felt it would be the most
democratic of mediums,
and it would unite the world.  
Well, that task would be left for radio's
younger cousin, the internet.

But I also have
great respect for the way their waves
embrace the earth, in something
like a woven electronic basket.

We tend to be afraid of too much 
radio-activity, but
I tend to think radio waves are our friends;
and we just don't understand how fully they can be --

So many of our recent technologies, in fact, 
have involved working with some form of 
radio wave, taming it for our
own selfish ends.

~ ~ ~

I read somewhere just yesterday
that there is a project afoot to protect the earth
from asteroids.  There's this huge telescope looking for them.

bunsenburner (story here about the telescope)

My question is:
what would we do if we actually found an asteroid hurtling towards us?
Is there some way that the earth can duck?

My simplistic theory is:
use the radio waves.  We can use microwaves to cook,
xrays to see into our bodies,
is there any frequency at which we can create
some kind of shield?

Just thinkin'

This is a pretty modest entry,
so pardon me.
My brain is just not functioning
as fluently as I would like it to.
Too much sun will do that to me.
So let me wish you a happy day,
and move on my way --


. . . and another radio thought:

(just found this on Facebook,
at the FB page "Global Awakening"

21 June 2012

Dear Karen Klein, Please Retire

I'm writing this off of the top of my head, so it may be messy,
but today I saw some of the video of the bullying that occurred
on a school bus in Rome, NY  (outside Rochester), and I felt the need
to write something about it, and post it, if only to join in the outrage
against it.

Now if you haven't seen the video, 
and you feel like being sickened,
go on YouTube;
it seems to have gone so viral
that people are reposting it 
for the attention it brings.  
I will not post that video on this blog.
Or you can read this story, from CNN 
The basic details are these:

Four or five middle schoolers on a school bus
taunted, swore at, jeered, made fun of, 
were absolutely nauseatingly awful
to a 68 year old woman named Karen Klein, 
who was on the bus as a monitor.

Someone took a video of it,
and posted the video on You Tube, and it "went viral."

I watched about 30 seconds of that video,
and it made me sick.  Now, the questions bound up in this video
and its "popularity" are many.  To begin, there's the horrifying question
of who raised kids who would act that way?  Yes, I will also blame the kids; I
like so many others who have commented on this, feel they should be
disciplined, severely.  But, as the saying goes: "the apple doesn't fall too
far from the tree."  I'll come back to this thought in a moment.

I also can't help but wonder who took the video?  That person
was sitting right next to the elderly victim, and the video captures
that woman's reaction: she cried; yes, she cried, as her assaulters
commented on her weight, her glasses, her ears (and then I stopped watching).
Why would someone want to capture that woman's reactions to this,
and then post it on YouTube?  Whatever the
motivation, as one You Tube commenter said,
the internet works fast, and no matter what the poster's intent,
within hours there were people all over the world responding to it with horror.
This included a blogger starting a collection to send this woman, Karen Klein,
on a trip.  I sure hope she just retires.

Now, bullying has been around for a very long time,
especially among children.  There's garden variety bullying,
I think, like my sister as a child teasing me because I was fat
(or so she said) or because I had a lazy eye.  That 
often comes from sibling rivalry.

But bullying has become such a huge issue
in the United States in particular.  A few months ago, just down
the road from Rochester, in Buffalo, NY,  a 14 year old boy
became famous because he committed suicide; he could no longer
tolerate the bullying against him. 

This caused a national campaign against bullying,
but did it make any difference?  

The common feeling about the Karen Klein case is that
these young people should be punished,
but would punishing these kids make any difference?
These kids have no respect for authority --
this woman was on the bus as a monitor,
and they attacked her, so punishing them might just
roll off them like water off a spaniel.
Furthermore, it's only a matter of hours before
their parents and other family members start
posting videos about how their poor, innocent child
is so misunderstood.   Which, let me say immediately,
is just a load of bullshit.  Those kids are perfectly understood
to be messed up.

I tend to think that whatever system
produced kids who felt it was ok to harass
an elder needs to be 
examined very carefully, and changed, immediately  --
and that includes calling to task their parents,
or anyone else who led these kids to feel
that they could gain popularity or respect
by harassing other human beings.
I do tend to feel parents are a huge part of
this sad equation of dysfunction: 
what I hear in these young peoples'
jeers are the jeers of an immature father or mother
who bullied their children with similar insults.

The U.S. education system is at fault, too:
it so wrapped up
in teaching kids to pass a test that it
isn't really paying attention to teaching
human dignity.

And then there's the entertainment industry:
the glorification of bullying and ridiculing through figures
such as Gordon Ramsey, Charlie Sheen, or even cartoon
characters (like those on Family Guy) who ridiculously
become models for human interaction.

The problem is very very deep, and it's only going to get worse
unless we all take responsibility for it now.
I'm going to have to teach some of these kids in university,
and I will say right here and now that it's already happening:
a year ago, I had a young woman in a university level English class
who took great delight in taunting me, calling me "stupid" in front of her peers,
and writing on her final course evaluation that I was just ugly
and she hated coming to class and looking at me.
Of course, she never did her classwork, and also
wasted precious class time by asking me, over and over again,
to repeat the requirements of any given assignment.
What gives me the chills is that she is now a year away
from graduation,
with an education degree no less. 

This type of behavior should not be validated
in any way, shape or form. They should not be allowed
to graduate from high school.
They should not be admitted into a college or university.

I'm not sure how to fix this system as quickly
as it needs to be fixed.  So I add my voice to the chorus
of online distress over Karen Klein's sad experience.
Perhaps shame, as this gets broadcast all over the world
by countless bloggers just like me, will be what it will take
for every person in this country to stop being preoccupied
with an election that is costing way too much already,
and put that money into teaching people how 
to be humane, and how
to live in the world.

20 June 2012

happy solstice to you

via wkbw

So I was walking along the harbour today,
watching the sun sizzle over the horizon,
while the Wednesday sailing regatta pirouetted underneath,
and a salsa band played music,
and couples danced and walked
and children ate ice cream
and I did, too.  I did
too, with you
thankful for this moment,
this day,
and you reminded me it was the longest of the year.

The past few weeks have not been altogether easy,
but there is the sun,
always to be counted on,
and there are the smiles of a summer dawning ~

We can rejuvenate ourselves,

Our planet does, every day,
every year

Happy solstice to everyone

11 June 2012

The Shimmering Self

So hard to believe my material self
                                           is the very least of me,
not meant to accompany me
                                           into eternity.

Over the centuries, I've grown so very
with my curves and lines,
with my cracks and groans,
with my nails and toes,
with my hair, and every
crevice of me.
So very hard to believe my physical

( with gratitude to The Happiness Rx )

And yet, when breathing deep,
I find my shimmering self exceeds
my mortal limits, is only impeded
by my body's desires, but smiles
              compassionately at my body's
needs for snacking on the fruits of the earth --
                air and sea, wine and bread,
                you and me
                together --
gentle pastimes of the time
we spend clasped in this earth's embrace.

But if one sincerely meditates
one finds the lines of our bodies
only hold us close; we seek to fly,
and we can fly

(photo by Makropoulos)

is it that we fear our dying?
It is because the body
which is a somatic entity
loves the vibrancy
                   the spirit endows it with.

The body is, essentially,
a parasite that sucks the life
off the spiritual source
that created it.
No sin in that, we live mutually,
striving to see clearly
                         the duality
               of each and all.

~ ~ ~

Now what the hell
             you may implore
does this have to do
               with the cost of oil,
               the unending wars,
               the embittered child,
               the Tony awards,
               with Barack Obama,
               or with Mitt or George?
               With the rising debt
               with the setting empire
               with Madonna's tit
               or the unpredictable weather?

With all the awful news today
Why is it that this is all
                I can say?

Because it is all I can say.

It's hard to believe,
yet it may be time
to believe
that our materials selves
are the very least of we
not meant to accompany
into eternity.

(Huffington Post: "Human Induced Ocean Warming" )

10 June 2012

Respect Yourself, by the Staples Singers

Heard this on the radio this morning,
and I can't get it out of my head.

It's worth a listen,
or two:

Or Three.

09 June 2012


I was recently on the Greek island of Chios,
which is just off the coast of Turkey.

I've lived in Turkey,
and been to several places in Greece,
but I had never been to Chios before.

Chios, like other islands in the area,
has been invaded and settled over time by several
different powers,
including the Greeks, the Persians, the Italians,
and of course the Turks.

Because of the island's vulnerable, coveted geographical location,
the people built up cities that were natural fortresses,
like this one, the medieval village of Mesta.
This is its outer wall:

The houses in these village/fortresses are built so close together
that you have to look for the hole
or chink
in the fortress, so the speak,
where you will find the entrance:

And then you walk through narrow passageways

that ultimately open out into fabulous central courtyards

The most fascinating of these medieval villages was Pyrgi,
also built so to protect itself:

But the remarkable thing about Pyrgi is the amazing designs 
on the buildings there.  It's almost like graffitti,
but controlled into fabulous patterns.

It reminds me, in a small way,
of the island of Bali,
a land where art and living work collaborate continually.

But in Pirgi, the artwork comes from very humble means.
It begins with putting plaster on stone walls,
then digging it off into different designs
using spoons:

This people of Pyrgi began doing this to their houses 
a few hundred years ago.  The more geometric patterns
come from that time.  The most recent designs
date back fifty years or so, and they are more
elaborate.  The result is a most definitely Greek
village that might have been imagined
Dr. Seuss & Gaudi:

. . . ah, it is so wonderful to see
what the human compulsion
for self expression.

There will, I believe, always be
some form of art.  And it is most fabulous
when our art is also the place
where we live.

(all photos by Makropoulos)

The Garden Goddess

Haven't been living in the virtual world much these days-
instead I've been in the real,
whatever that is,
and watching the garden explode.

You met this lady once before, in this form,
when the garden was young:

Well, her little patch of the garden keeps changing,
and she keeps reclining,
so happy to be part of the constant cycle
of the earth:

. . . enjoy your day --
I wish I had some more to say!
But sometimes the insanity of the man-made world is far too insane 
to even provoke comment.