The Tao Of Coffee

shackTwo scholars had spent the better part of the morning in a local Portland Starbucks arguing over Evolution versus Creationism. Getting nowhere, they decided to drive to Cannon Beach where an old sage named Chung Lee, who reputedly had the answers, lived.

After a pleasant one hour trip the two arrived at the old man’s shack hidden among the coastal dunes. They pulled off the road, parked, spotted a lone figure sitting atop a hill and started climbing up to where the old sage sat on a cliff facing out to sea. Upon their arrival the old man turned, directed his eyes upon them and asked, “Where’s the coffee?”

The two became puzzled. “Sir, One said. We were told you could help us with the greatest philosophical dilemma of our age . . . perhaps even give us some insight into the theories of which we are about to speak.”

“Yes, of course.” Chung Lee answered. “But go now, next time you come, bring me a cup of Starbucks coffee, then we will speak of your theories.”

The following morning the two checked out of their motel at the crack of dawn and returned to the hill. This time one carried a large cup of Starbucks coffee. After greetings, he handed the old sage the cardboard tray. Both sat in the sand and opened their portfolios, each anticipating a quick and decisive victory.

Chung Lee, while sipping his coffee quickly went over each theory, handed the papers back, looked out to sea and finished the coffee before beginning to speak.

“The two theories are mere disciplines, and although seemingly opposing views, upon deeper reflection are one and the same. The difference lies in your interpretation and in your desire to understand the mystery. But alas, the mystery cannot be contained within a theory, so you are both beating your learned heads against a brick wall.”

Going on he said. “Each theory is merely a doorway, and being so can never explain the goings on within the room. You need theory to find the doorway, but once opened this very same discipline becomes your stumbling block. Theory will never reveal truth, only the pathway to it.

The two looked at each other, excused themselves and walked back to the car.

“This is a wise man?” One asked the other. “”He sends us for coffee, then he comes up with this gibberish?”

“Yes, it is strange,” answered Two. “Yet his reputation is such that there has to be something we are missing. Let’s give him a chance to prove himself.”

The two went back to where the old man was sitting. “Sir, excuse us, but neither one of us understands. What are we missing?”

The old man held up the empty cup. “This cup will always contain a mystery, but as you smell of it, sip of it, and enjoy the taste of it, you one day realize you don’t really care HOW Starbucks made such a good cup of coffee, you are just glad they did. And thanks be to the mystery, as long as there are people like you seeking to understand it, I will never have to worry about getting my morning cup of coffee.”

The old man dismissed them with a smile and returned his gaze to the sea.

The Joy Of Playing Music

guitar playerI first fell in love with music back in 69 or so when I was living in Portland trying to be a hippie. The affair started one day while I was getting stoned in some girls apartment and I heard an angels voice on the stereo. It was Joan Baez. At that moment I fell in love with her and as a result of her voice I fell in love with music also.

Up until then music was a good backdrop for whatever inanities I found myself doing, but I never really got into it much cause (maybe) in the 50’s projects you got your ass kicked for even thinking of being a musician. Well, I’m much older now, it’s winter and I’m starting to think about playing music again. This is something I’ve done off and on for the last forty years or so ever since I fell in love with Joan.

I have a music area in my library where the two (electric/acoustic) guitars live . . . and the cello . . . and the piano . . . alongside, let’s see, my rebuilt mandolin, two hand made American Indian flutes, a hammered dulcimer, a regular dulcimer, two sets of African bongo drums, a (no shit) digereedoo, a tin whistle, various little things like a kazoo, a jaw harp (the real harp I made I gave away . . . as well as my old fiddle)

Anyways you get the picture, I have lots of instruments on which to play music plus piles of books, sheet music etc. to compliment them. If you were to walk into my library and look around you’d swear I was a damn virtuoso, or a one man band.

Well, I’m a one man band house building machine, but as a musician I suck. I have little natural talent, a voice like a fog horn and I hate to practice. “Forget about Mary Had a Little Lamb. I’ll start out with the Jimi Hendrix version of the Star Spangled banner thank you.”

So, forty years later, I still grab and beat up my guitar the same old way running everybody out of the house with the same old worn out bad-to-begin-with melody following an equally bad out-of-sync base line. Then one day, not long ago . . . I fell in love once again.

It all started at the flea market where I used to peddle my access wood. I walked over to the table of a guy who was setting up late. He was not a regular, had just cleaned out his garage and was gonna sell the stuff he didn’t want. Leaning up against his pickup was an old guitar case. Knowing by the looks of it that it wasn’t one of those Chinese cheapies I asked, “Can I see the guitar”?

“Sure” said he.

He lay the case on the table and opened it up to reveal a lovely little folk guitar that had been made by Fender sometime in the early sixties. He was the original owner. After a bit of small talk I bargained him down to about 100.00 U.S. The remainder of the day I pedaled wood while anticipating the time I could take off to lick and tickle my new love in the privacy of our own home.

Last year I listened to a guy on Utube named Pierre Bensusan teaching and playing his guitar in an alternate tuning called DADGAD. Wow! I grabbed the old folk guitar messed around a bit trying to re tune it till I finally got out my tuner (cause I’m tone deaf) and did it right.

One brush over the strings and I was hooked. It was like playing a dulcimer, kinda mountainy and mysterious. The first (base string) played open can be a drone to a treble melody. . . and it’s all easy as hell, an absolute necessity for me cause I get bored real quick. Later you can improvise to your hearts content using chords, melody lines etc. . . . anything you can do in EADGBE you can do in DADGAD if you play alone like I do.

If you have a guitar and your intercourse is getting boring, give her a different tone and she may just perk up and play you a lively Irish jig . . . or go all soft and mysterious like a deep forest rain. . . all dank, wet, and dripping.

If your heart is strong give DADGAD a try.

I would advise everybody to pick up an instrument, learn to play it . . . and RELAX. This following short video proves my point . . .

Chris Hedges: ‘Pornography Is What the End of the World Looks Like’ – Chris Hedges – Truthdig

fifty shades of greyI am not a prude. I am not a Christian. I am a man who has used women for sexual gratification most of my life, but . . . it was when I raised my viewpoint from T@A to the female mind that I began to see womanhood in all her glory.

Hedges say’s it better than I can so . . . read it and weep . . . our mothers/daughters/friends and co workers deserve much better.
Chris Hedges: ‘Pornography Is What the End of the World Looks Like’ – Chris Hedges – Truthdig.

My Old Friends

myoldfriendsIt seems I do more of it in the winter, but regardless, as I get older I spend a lot of time day dreaming. I usually wake up about 5 am, make coffee and, being retired and having no place to go, sit in my chair in the dark drinking my coffee and dreaming about the past. A rather pleasant time, I might add.

Now I have been to a lot of places and done a lot of things, but the things and places have become mere backdrops, places to hold the faces and memories of the many people I have known and the friends I have made over the last 72 years that I have lived on this planet.

As I begin to think on a place and time the faces are soon to follow. These faces pop into my mind like a worn out jack-in-the-box. Crank the handle and up pops Joey Sirgo or Gunner Thompson, or Tommy One Nut, Pissball Pete or just plain Joe . . . . . (It’s amazing how many of these guys have slang names and how often that’s the only one I can remember.)

Then the fun begins as I sit and reminisce with these guys over all the exciting times we had together . . . and a few of the sad ones. Seems the good and the funny always float to the top first though. I have to dig a bit to get to the bad, so as I hate shoveling I mostly leave that part alone.

To all the girls I’ve loved before. I remember your eyes, the lift of your breasts and the swing of your hips, but my Band of Brothers meant far more to me than trying to figure you out ever did. You ladies have a special room in my heart, but not this one. This room is filled with bar girls, one night stands, and short time hookers.

The “old boys club” door is locked to the finer female. You wouldn’t like it in here anyways cause the room stinks of old cigar smoke, cordite, and bull shit and the floor is littered with trampled peanut shells, dried blood and dog hair. A place only one of my old friends could love.

I always figured when I got old I would be sitting in the park with the rest of the old goats like they did when I was a kid. Maybe the old project crowd still do that, I don’t know because I lost contact with them at 15 when I had to move.

Today I live a life of seclusion. I spend my days reading, or goofing on my computer or driving my wife crazy, but rarely if ever do I spend time with friends, cause although spread out over half the world, they are not here.

Once I was in a Portland City jail cell with the walls covered in graffiti. I found an empty spot and wrote my own little tale of woe, “I’ve been alone since birth, I’ll remain alone till death, then I’ll have a friend”. Kind of a downer, but how else would you feel being stuck in a 6×6 cell with a guy coming down off heroin?

I do hope that quickly thought verse will prove itself to be true though cause I’m getting closer to D day each time I go to sleep at night and it would be really cool to wake up on the other side and see a large table of my friends gathered around it to greet me. (and my many favorite dogs lying under it)

Jesus and God would have to wait for a while then because first thing I want to do is drink some good Old Crow and hang out with the guys again for a season . . . or two.

I think Robert Service said it all about guys like us. Guys our women just can’t quite understand:

The Men Who Don’t Fit In

There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,
A race that can’t stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.

They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain’s crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don’t know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they’re always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.

They say: “Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!”
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.

And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It’s the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.

And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that’s dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.

He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life’s been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.

Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He’s a rolling stone, and it’s bred in the bone;
He’s a man who won’t fit in.

But . . . those of us who have, would have it no other way.

Self Defense

qigongI’m about burned out on trying to inform folks about what I see coming down the economic road in the U.S. and starting to feel like a religious fanatic (you know the guy at work who is a Jehovah’s Witness that makes everybody cringe when he shows up at the lunch table?) I’m starting to get that vibe when I bring up chemtrails and tar sands and fracking . . . and . . . so I’m changing course a bit and getting into the preparation phase of survival.

Besides anybody who is free from total indoctrination already knows the same things I do. They already see that the medical/political/economic/social environments in this country are in shambles . . . so what are we going to do about it?

This series of posts, (however long) is going to be about self defense and self healing. It is targeted towards senior men (although the tactics I use can be used by anyone) because that’s what I am, a 72 year old senior citizen who has no desire to give in to the ravages of time nor to become someone’s next victim.

Self defense, as well as healing, begins in your brain. Physical self defense is only the last resort of a very calculated plan of action . . . and if you use your natural intelligence you may never need to go there in the first place.

The thrust of this series is not about how to beat a guy up, or even to escape the family doctor and save some cash. it’s about how to regain the pride and independence we all have freely given to the American sedentary life style.

Something happens inside of a man when he learns how to defend and care for himself. He begins to feel better as he gains pride in his accomplishment. He becomes more confident and perhaps once on that path, he will begin to manifest the man that he was always meant to be.

Robert Service (the great alaskan poet) wrote in “The Heart Of The Sourdough:

I have clinched and closed with the naked North, I have learned to defy and defend;
Shoulder to shoulder we have fought it out — yet the Wild must win in the end.

I have flouted the Wild. I have followed its lure, fearless, familiar, alone;
By all that the battle means and makes I claim that land for mine own;
Yet the Wild must win, and a day will come when I shall be overthrown.

Where does it say in YOUR book of life that it is time to quit fighting and be overthrown? Sure, that day WILL come, but today? If not, then it’s time to fight for the right to be alive and free . . .

Self preservation is the number one motivational instinct in all life forms, including us. We are born with that instinct, live our lives steeped in it, and we die fighting to stay alive. As far as I know ours is the only species lazy enough to expect someone else other than ourself to do it for us.

We look to leaders, governments, religious figures, magic . . . all sorts of stuff. Many times these “helpers” hinder more than help, so instead of looking for help outside of ourselves and expecting someone or something to care for us, how about we get smart, look within, and realize we have been given the personal task of caring for ourselves?

Loving Jesus while stuffing our face fat with Twinkies may help us in the afterlife, but it sure as all hell will do us no good when our arteries collapse and we choke to death on sugar dust. I don’t care how many prayer circles our wife belongs to . . . we did it to ourselves and we are gonna pay the price . . . period.

Since this series is basically for elders, I can believe that most of us here are already practiced survivors else we would not have lasted these last 70 +- years on this planet.

My question to all of us survivors then is this: “Why quit now?”

Why retire and sit on our duffs drinking beer, eating chips, and watching some silly show on the new flat screen TV? . . . Especially when we have reached the time in our life when we actually NEED to stay in shape . . . when we actually NEED to be the proper weight . . . when we actually NEED to eat the right foods . . . when we actually NEED to be able to defend ourselves from the vultures who see us as an easy target.

When did life sit us down and tell us it was now OK to get fat and lazy (and all the rest) and promise to take care of us anyways? If self preservation is our #1 instinct, don’t you think we ought to remember that in order to survive we have to start living like we realize it?

Most of us in this country build our lives in freedom and wish it on others as well. We love and care for our families and work hard to see their needs are met. We try to do what is right and we seek to live in peace.

BUT there are far too many in this country who have built their lives on taking and destroying, some are thugs, some are pillars of society, some become president, some get hung, but they all have pretty much the same MO . . . to take . . . and many times the guys they take from are the elderly.

This is hardly the time to lay your burden down and think because now that you’re old people are going to feel sorry for you and care for you. They won’t. Truth is that in the real world people are too busy caring for themselves. You’re on your own brother, you better quit whining about your illnesses and get with the program because the next time you go shuffling through the Walmart parking lot you may be setting yourself up for a painful reality check. There are lots of punks out there who have you on their ‘easy target’ list. Time to get back in the game.

We need to realize that although we are old men we are in actuality the elders, the last of the breed that hasn’t been lulled to sleep by political correctness and liberalism gone amok. We are the last (or so it seems) of the independent crowd who believes that standing their ground on their own two feet is a good and proud thing to do. We are the last to remember independence before the media took over and told us what the word meant. We have the experience to pick through the bullshit and are needed now more than ever.

Forget the teeth whitenings, the hair pieces, the manicures and the face lifts.  Get healthy, balanced, and proud . . . you’ll be pretty as you can be.

First, before any talk of defending ourselves, we need to get our bodies and minds in order. Although there are many ways to do this, I chose Qigong because I feel there is none better . . . so without further ado, allow me to introduce the life changing power of Qigong:

Following is a 184 page e-book in PDF format by Jim MacRichie. The book is quite revealing and free to read on the web. I posted it here for anybody who is interested in learning the Chinese concept of total mind/body healing.

http://www.qigonginstitute.org/html/papers/EightExtraordinaryMeridians-Qigong.pdf

Following is a short video explaining Qigong

This Chinese man (Master Duan) is in his nineties, watch how he walks and demands respect with such grace and purpose.

To be continued . . .

Writing slow is the way to go . . . in a land consumed by speed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 297 other followers