Grandfather Tree

Now having come to understand that we are all spiritual beings who have chosen to temporarily live a physical existence on this planet, certain musings are inevitable, and shared here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Support the Troops?

He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.
--Albert Einstein

Why is this so difficult to write about? I have been wanting to say this since the invasion of Iraq by my country, but haven’t had the guts to do it. I have been thinking though that if I cannot write what I want in my own blog, then I shouldn’t have a blog at all.

If I have a son who joins a gang and he sets off one night and I press him to tell me what’s going on, and he tells me that one of his buddies was shot by a rival gang. He is going out to avenge the death. Do I tell him, “Well son I really don’t approve of this war of yours, but I support you fully. I hope you don’t get killed, and that you do whatever is necessary so you don’t. In fact, son, I want you to know that I really do not approve of what you are doing, but I noticed that you do not have the best equipment. Let me buy you a more powerful gun so you won’t as likely get killed.”

I don’t think so. I do every thing I can do to make sure he doesn’t go out tonight and I work as hard as I can to find a way for him to get out of that gang, at all costs, even if it means him going to prison instead.

So I guess the big question is “What kind of support?” If support means to let our soldiers know that we are praying for them that they don’t die, (read kill real good) and that we must give them the best equipment (read weapons of human destruction), and that we think they are brave and noble, then:


There. I said it. I hid a little behind Einstein, and I couldn’t quite say it at the beginning of the blog, and I couldn't find the courage to put it in the title, but I said it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)

I’ve got to talk about the $100 laptop project: One Laptop per Child (OLPC). Can you imagine this? A laptop in a pretty lime green color, durable plastic, with a built in wi-fi card and a crank (one minute of winding will give you ten minutes of usage), a color screen, open source only software (it runs Linux through Red Hat). Think of a village in India, or on a Lakota reservation in South Dakota, with every student linked to every other student, writing on their laptops. If they can find an access point, they will all be connected to the internet and can get information. They can type their reports, email each other and the teacher, etc. etc. And it will only cost $100 per child. You have got to order a minimum of one million units, so we need only raise 100 million dollars to equip one million kids. Those of you who know something about fund raising, lets get going on this!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Double Nickel

People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.
--Albert Einstein

"Live as long as you may, the first 20 years are the longest half of your life. They appear so while they're passing, they seem to have been when we look back on them, and they take up more room in our memory than all the years that succeed them."
-- England's poet laureate Robert Southey 1837 (as quoted by Jay Ingram, author of The Velocity of Honey)

55 years ago this day I transitioned into birth. I have been living on this planet in this body as Gaia has traveled 55 times around our sun. The first few revolutions seemed to take forever. Then somehow the speed seemed to increase. Now, she swims through space much faster, or so it seems. I remember when I celebrated my 50th birthday. My partner arranged a party for me at our local coffee house and we had lots of fattening food and many friendly guests. Now it is 55, and we celebrated by taking the family out to see “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” Then we took a huge carrot cake to the Assisted Living facility where my mother resides and gave cake to all the residents, after singing happy birthday to me of course.

My back has gotten lots better with ice and chiropractic treatment. I had conversation with a pediatrician friend of mine, sharing with him that my doctor did prescribe pain medicine as well as muscle relaxants, but that she also encouraged me to continue with my chiropractic care. I asked my friend if he encouraged his patients who had such problems to see a chiropractor. He replied that he did not, because chiropractic treatment is not based on scientific investigation or rigor. I was surprise by this answer, and he explained further that if it makes them feel better he wouldn’t necessarily discourage it, but he seemed to equate it with the fantastic, similar to faith healing. I thought about asking him if he ever gave advice to the parents of his patients, such as suggesting to a dad that let up a little on his son, or to suggest to a mother that talk to her daughter about menses. Then if he said yes, I was going to question him as to what is the scientific basis of such advice. Could he prove that such parenting practices are going to improve the life of his patients? I thought also of discussing with him whether he is influenced by certain drug representatives and find himself prescribing one medicine rather than another even though there is not scientific evidence that one is more effective that another? But I held my tongue, another characteristic of getting older. What would be the point?

I recently found out that my first cousin now 56 has retired. He must have made wiser investments than I have. It is true that a decade doesn’t seem nearly as long as it used to, and in ten years I will be at that magic 65 when I would presumably be eligible for retirement and Medicare. (Actually it is 66 for me due to my birthday.) I have been working hard to figure out a way to have a steady stream of cash without having to work but a few hours a week, to free up my time for what I really want to do. As I keep working at it, I may get old so quick that retirement (the traditional way to do this) will appear before I can get it accomplished. I had hoped that we would find an alternative to this money business by now, but it looks like I underestimated this by a few decades (or perhaps a few generations).

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Why did I create this?

Two days ago I reached for something out of my briefcase and "pulled out" my back. I was able to get to the chiropractor and had a treatment from him as well as ultrasound and felt a whole lot better. Two hours later, I was sitting in my chair in my office and considering whether to call the ambulance as I couldn’t imagine ever being able to get up and walk across the room much less make it to my car and drive home. After applying ice I was able (barely) to do both and was so grateful when I was able to crawl in my bed, where I stayed for almost 24 hours. The only time I got up was to go to the bathroom and that was with major pain and difficulty. With the aid of additional chiropractor treatment and good drugs, I can move around and even went to work today. But what was that all about? Lying on my back with lots of time to reflect? Taking a break from my many responsibilities? My spiritual sister says that lower back problems have to do with not feeling supported. That sure fits, but so what? It is up to me to find the support I need and to take care of myself in this life. I love to work. I love to be alive. For sure it has reminded me to be thankful of everything I usually take for granted: being able to walk down the hall, being able to cook supper, being able to sit with my family for supper. Is that it? Or am I missing something?