Sunday, June 29, 2008

Luckovich On Target

Gun rights

Friday, June 27, 2008

Summer Haiku

seventeen days no rain
falls until tonight flashes
fireflies and lightning


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Going to the Blue Ridge Parkway

At the end of July, as Dar's birthday approaches, we shall join friends on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Here is a letter we received today from the Friends of the Parkway as entered on Gerry's Place:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway

A message from the Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway

(photo by Jack)

Dear Dr. Miller – Thank you for your email of June 25th. I talked with you on the phone last week, I believe it was, and told you then that we had received one memorial gift for your mother from Steve and Lee Killian of Charlotte, NC. Also I sent you an acknowledgement card, addressed to your and your brother Johnny, stating the same.

The address people should use for the Memorial Gifts for your mother is: FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway

PO Box 20986

Roanoke, VA 24018

Yes, your mother was a member of FRIENDS for many years, and we also want to honor her memory. Her name will be written in gold on recyclable paper and distributed in the planting soil as a memorial tree is planted at our next Viewshed planting on the Parkway. Also, her name, and those that send in Memorial gifts in her name, will be listed in our Spring/Summer 2009 High Vista newsletter.

You mentioned earlier that you would like to become a member of FRIENDS. When you join you will automatically receive a copy of the High Vista newsletter through the mail twice a year. Also, by sending in your email address you will also receive an enewsletter every month, giving you updates as to what is happening along the Parkway. I am going to send you a FRIENDS brochure today.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Luckovich on Carlin

Mike Luckovich is becoming quite the Obit. writer:

Remembering Carlin

Monday, June 23, 2008

Goodbye George

George Carlin

We'll sorely miss him

Jason Linkins

The Huffington Post

George Carlin Dies: Video Highlights From His Career

June 23, 2008

Read More: George Carlin, George Carlin Dead, George Carlin Dies, Supporter Of George Carlin And His Seven Dirty Words,

Buzz up

Comedian George Carlin, best known for his scabrous, unflinching style and his rivetingly observant social satire, died of heart failure Sunday night in Los Angeles. Carlin was 71 years old.

In a career spanning a half-century, Carlin's comic routines tended toward social commentary and satire, with a deep and abiding love for the vagaries and peculiarities of the English language and a fearless embrace of the profane. The apotheosis of Carlin's comic mind probably came in the form of his famous "Seven Words You Can't Say On Television" routine. The original routine can be read here. Below, Carlin does a variation. Yeah, it is Not Safe For Work.

Carlin's career took him from the stand up circuit to a television career that spanned four decades and included fourteen HBO specials, including 2008's It's Bad For Ya. He also appeared in over fifteen movies, most notably in the "Bill And Ted" franchise and a handful of late-career appearances in the movies of Kevin Smith. He's won a Grammy Award and was named the second-greatest stand-up comedian of all time by the Comedy Central network, behind only Richard Pryor. Carlin was often a deeply dark, deeply cynical, and deeply accurate observer of human nature. You probably should have listened to him, especially with the AP running a story this weekend with the fatalist headline "Everything seemingly is spinning out of control." His death is an irreplaceable loss.

RELATED: HuffPo's Rachel Sklar had the opportunity to interview the comedy legend earlier this year. For their conversation, click here.


Carlin, on "Stuff":

On language:

On saving the planet:

On white people:

On the Ten Commandments:

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Next Photo
Summer solstice
(Paul Hackett / Reuters)

British Druid priests performed sacred rituals to mark the summer solstice at Stonehenge for the first time in over a decade.,0,7773670.story

Saturday, June 21, 2008


(photo by Jack)

STONEHENGE, England (AP) — Thousands of partygoers, pagans and self-styled druids cheered and banged drums Saturday to greet the dawn at Stonehenge on the longest day of the year, the summer solstice.

Blowhorns signaled the rise of the sun over the ancient stone circle at 4:58 a.m. — although in typically English fashion, the sunrise was barely visible through the clouds.

Still, the mist and drizzle did not dampen the spirits of revelers who gathered under umbrellas, ponchos and plastic bags to greet the dawn.

"I've done this for the last three years," said Peter Rawcliffe, 26, who cycled the 50 miles from his home in the city of Oxford. "I suppose I'm a bit of a closet druid."

"It's a really magical experience," he said.

Police estimated 28,000 revelers had made the trip, one of the largest numbers in years. They said there were 15 arrests for theft and other minor offenses.

Trevor Wyatt, 55, described the historic site as his "cathedral."

"It's been a sacred place for 6,000 years for the people of this country," he said.

Wyatt, who lives in London, said he is neither pagan nor druid, "just English."

In ancient times, a druid was a member of the Celtic priesthood who would act as priest, arbitrator, scholar, magistrate and healer. They appeared in sagas and in Christian legends as magicians or wizards.

Solstice celebrations were a highlight of the pre-Christian calendar and in many countries bonfires, maypole dances and courtship rituals linger on as holdovers from Europe's pagan past.

Zoe Neale, 48, cheerfully admitted her visit to Stonehenge "is part of my mid-life crisis." She left her West London office amid gentle teasing from her colleagues Friday afternoon to see a very English tradition.

"I've always thought it's just a bunch of old hippies. I'm just going to ignore the hippie things and think about Stonehenge and the sunrise," she said.

Throughout the night, visitors gathered in groups to dance around drummers and bagpipe players — or to swig from cans of beer to the beat of techno music.

"We heard about it through our really studious friends, but we're going to come and get drunk," said Alison Newcomer, a 21-year-old student from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Stonehenge, on Salisbury Plain about 80 miles southwest of London, was built over three phases between 3000 B.C. and 1600 B.C. It is one of Britain's most popular tourist attractions, drawing more than 750,000 visitors a year.

The solstice is the one day of the year that visitors are allowed access throughout the night to the stone circle. Representatives of English Heritage, the monument's caretaker, were on hand to make sure no one climbed on or vandalized the stones.

Though the stone circle's alignment with the midsummer sunrise makes it an ideal location for celebrating the solstice, the event has a controversial past.

A clash between police and revelers at the solstice celebration in 1985 led to closure of the monument for the solstice for 15 years. During those years riot police and people determined to celebrate the solstice often clashed.

But in 2000, English Heritage reopened Stonehenge for the solstice, and celebrations since have been peaceful, with only a few arrests for minor offenses each year.

"People generally respect the stones and we don't have a problem," English Heritage spokeswoman Rebecca Milton said.

Exactly how and why Stonehenge was built remains a mystery. Some experts believe it is aligned with the sun simply because its builders came from a sun-worshipping culture, while others believe the site was part of a huge astronomical calendar.,0,7773670.story

Happy Solstice,


Monday, June 16, 2008

Love and the City

Sex and the City: The Movie
New Line Cinema, HBO Films

Getting every sort of review from 0 to 100, Sex and the City is a romantic fairy tale of a film about love in the Big Apple. It's hard to explain the fairy tale aspect without giving away a subtle hint given by the film itself. Let's just say it involves shoes; and anyone who knows who Carrie Bradshaw is, knows about her and shoes. So what's with the criticism that this story is predictable? DUH!
True, the film is not the witty sort of expose and ironic laughing at the whole New York scene that the series itself was. Its values are wrong: money as much as love conquers all. It panders to our grossest lust for frivolous, mindless shopping and travel. Lord, it makes the totally non-existential and anti-feminist claim that what makes these four women happy is marriage and babies and forgiving men their sins. Only Samantha escapes the marriage and baby trap.
So ultimately, the film is fluff. Go with that attitude, and it becomes not only fun, but good sentimental enjoyment. It's New York with all its fashion, style, glamor, and energy. It's the New York that the very rich and successful lap up. We know their woes are not permanent, that these characters will wash away their tears with the finest champagne. It's the life we all wish we could have, or at least have the opportunity to reject, after we have lived it a while.
The film's title is a bit misleading now, since sex and the city has become love and the city. But I say the moral of the movie, Eat, Drink, Be Merry, and put a little forgiveness in your love life, is just fine and makes for a delightful evening's entertainment.


P.S. The other reviews 0-100

Sunday, June 15, 2008

father's day

Sparkling eyes,
Smile filled with dreams.
Plans. Vitality.

All the world's an oyster roast,
Girlfriends, independence.

World wars? marriage? Sons
And a granddaughter...
Are they too hidden in
That grin?

Your youth is a blind bliss
An optimism you hold yet,
As your vision dims
And your smile fades.

Father's day, Savannah
A few years back.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Transforming Island of Hawaii

all night long
the sound of the waterfall
a remembered dream

--Jackie Hardy
from Haiku
Poetry Ancient and Modern

Of my six trips to Hawaii, this one has been the most transforming and transcendent. That is saying a lot, because my first trip to Hawaii with my brother in the 80s was itself a mind expanding experience, especially our brief visit to the Big Island of Hawaii and our stay at the Volcano House. There, I thought I would die from food poisoning, or was it from bacteria from Kilauea? Or was it my initiation from Pele? I have never gotten ill again visiting the Islands of Hawaii. Just the contrary.

The next visit with the Killians was simply to Oahu on our way to and from Australia. It was pure fun.

Maui Buddha
photo by Jack

The four stays in Hawaii with Darryl have included one visit to Maui, where we hiked into Haleakala, and thoroughly explored this aesthetic island. We even drove the road to Hana and stayed in a tree house there. Kaanapali Beach was our home base and as beautiful a beach as any I've seen.

Dar and Jack
Lava Flow
photo by Menard

Three times now Dar and I have been to Kalani and the Big Island, the first time traveling from Kona and the Kohala coast to Hilo and Volcanoes National Park as well as Zen Buddhist monk Su Nim's house near Hawi. The second time Starr came with us to celebrate her 50th birthday in the home of Pele and on the peak of Mauna Kea. And this third visit brought Darryl to the Big Island for 7 weeks of spiritual awakening, kindred spirits, and
confrontation with death itself. Our near drowning experience provided us both with baptism and rebirthing at the base of the waterfall we had listened to all night in our pagoda at friend Jane's Kulaniapia.

Kalani was the heart of our experience, especially Darryl's. Hiking to the flow of fire from Pele at dawn, swimming the black sand beach of the Waipio Valley, interacting with the world of people inhabiting Kalani was a religious epiphany. No exaggeration.

Finally, Cathy Hall and Marc Gilbert provided decompression and a soothing, relaxing reentry into the ordinary world. We visited art museums and had the charms of Waikiki and Honolulu to help us transition back to the mainland. My last night with Cathy included a visit to Rumfire, on the beach, near the Royal Hawaiian, the club Dar had discovered on an earlier trek to Oahu.

There are countless images that remain with me in addition to the 600 or more photos we took. Images such as the Thai truck selling fantastic garlic shrimp on the north shore of Oahu, or the ancient Roman painting in the Honolulu Academy of Art of Eros riding a Dolphin, Eros looking exactly like Darryl. A few future haiku might be appropriate. More links will continue to appear.

In the meantime, here are Photos from our journey to where East meets West:

Jun 4, 2008
Jun 4, 2008
(including many photos Dar took before my arrival)

Hawaii05 (114)
(with soul-mate Starr)
Jan 1, 2006

Hawaii 03/03
03.27.03 ( 56 photos )

Hawaii '03 and before