¿ TENNIS ANYONE ? — DEATH TO MOSQUITOES !

Mosquito Bat — "Mata Moscos"

Mosquito bat — “mata moscos”

This blog entry is an update to one in which I awarded a Nobel Prize in Consumer Electronics to an amazing device   (Of course there’s no such category — but what fun !)   Well, the earlier design has been cheapened in a pricing race-to-the-bottom — the result being shoddy quality-control, and premature failure: I can’t find the brand depicted in the earlier entry, but junky competitors abound.   So I was delighted when I found a new version at a new store  :  MINISO, a Japanese retailer with seven outlets in Merida, including  City Center, Centro, and Harbor.  (We’ve visited two, and the mere experience of reviewing their wares is engaging, as the variety of unusual items is intriguing.)

The purchase confirms my suspicion that this is a superior design, including a lithium ion battery.  One feature I really appreciate — the handle displays the charge as a sliding indicator, zero to full, so you are not swinging with a depleted battery.   Take back your home space!  $199 pesos.

JOE BIDEN : : SLEEP WALKER

 

Click here to watch Joe snooze.   short video  / no ads

Dear Democratic National Committee :  I promise to stay home on election day if you nominate Sleepy Joe Biden, a slam-dunk loser, an instant replay of Hillary 2016.  Please wake up!

From TheAtlantic [emphasis added by me] :  This spring, Joe Biden, who entered the 2020 presidential campaign selling himself as the Democrats’ Trump-slayer, gave a speech in which he discussed the event that, nearly 30 years later, remains an open wound for many: Anita Hill’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee alleging that Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. “She was abused through the hearing,” Biden acknowledged. “She was taken advantage of. Her reputation was attacked.” He paused. “I wish I could have done something.”

Biden failed to mention that he had been the chair of the Judiciary Committee during the hearing—that, in fact, the person in the best position to have done something to help Hill had been Joe Biden. But the kind of slippery nonapology he offered—at an event called the Biden Courage Awards—was standard rhetoric for Biden, so common that the Hill family had turned it into a joke. Whenever the doorbell rang unexpectedly, Hill said last year, someone in the house might shout, “Oh, is that Joe Biden coming to apologize?”

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For a hard-hitting, but deeply-caring look at our governance problems, I invite you to read “The Enemy Within” – an  essay from Truthdig by (NYT) Pulitzer winner, Chris Hedges, cautioning against more of the same from both parties.

THE INTERNAL GOD : A Book Mention

BEWARE YE WHO ENTER HERE.  I may be a heretic.  (The original Greek sense of this word implies one who is free to choose.)  But the evolved  meaning is one who holds an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted.  Thus, Jesus of Nazareth was a heretic who was guilty of choosing freely to oppose the mainstream religious practices at the Jerusalem Temple ;  and of loving too much, getting himself crucified by those with whom he differed about how to worship — those who thought they owned the practice of worshipping “correctly.”  

I hope I model myself after such contrarians as Moses, Socrates, Buddha, Jesus.  But I may be very wide of the mark.  It’s above my paygrade to know ; and above ours to judge.  “Judge not, lest ye be judged” said Jesus. Yet so much of religion is based on the silly question of who’s in and who’s out? Who knows?  Certainly not me.  If you think you know, beware, for there are those who feel sent to kill the heretic.  You might be drawn in to joining a murderous crowd. 

Ok, about the title of my essay, The Internal God.  The more common expression is eternal, forever-lasting.  But most of our observations tell us that almost nothing is eternal — as even the Sun will eventually run out of energy, explode, or vanish into a black hole, whatever that is.  Ah, but ideas can be both internal and eternal. — Just imagine going to the tool crib for a seven and being told they are all presently being used by other borrowers – sorry, wait your turn.  “Seven” is eternally available to everyone.  Your ability to grasp the concept of number, or beauty, or justice, entitles you to use it.  But be careful — powerful tools often cut in two directions.  For example, those who want justice when they’ve been wronged also want forgiveness when they have transgressed.  

So where is this internal God?  Let’s be clear — I am not God!  But perhaps consciousness, the awareness of the presence of an ideal — the I AM — is God in us.  This is an elusive concept.  It can’t be possessed. But it can be beheld. Jesus said the kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:20,21 see various renderings via pulldown menu).  ¿ So, can you see God in me? (Probably not, if I choose not to see God in you!)  Yep, words are slippery, and it’s our task to squeeze’em to get all the juice.  

There’s a new book which speaks to such a broadened approach, titled THAT ALL SHALL BE SAVED: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation.  It is likely to draw fire from those who prefer “that old time religion” which crucified Jesus and his fellow heretics.  An excerpt can be read here.

 

DEAR SENATOR SANDERS, I supported you…

foto: milleniumreport.com

Dear Senator Sanders:

DO THE RIGHT THING, BY ENDORSING ELIZABETH WARREN.

RUN THE REPLAY, BERN !!!

Have you forgotten, Bernie?  Just prior to the Democratic convention in summer 2016, WikiLeaks handed you the smoking gun : nearly 20,000 emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) proving that there had been wholesale cheating to rig the nomination, “coronating” Hillary, even before the initial kick-off.  Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was “replaced” — translation :  thrown under the bus to protect the bus owner’s enterprise.

So, you could have stood up at the convention and demanded from the podium that Hillary stand down, for cheating.  Instead you choked.  You apparently worried you would become “the goat” if you lost to Trump.  You blew it.  No do-over, sorry.  (You know this, Senator.)

YOUR WORDS ,  BERN, at the convention — “By these measures, any objective observer will conclude that – based on her ideas and her leadership – Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States. The choice is not even close.”  You endorsed a cheater, and she lost. You coulda beat him, populist versus  populist, Bern, but you choked.

Bernie, you didn’t have the courage to own the possibility of a loss to Trump.  And now, you are about to repeat the same mistake by spliting the vote, thereby handing the nomination to Joe Biden.  It’s time to do the right thing.  If you don’t stand aside, Sleepy Joe Biden, the man who gave us Clarence Thomas, will be the instant replay of Hillary’s loss — Obama’s Secretary of State, and next, Obama’s Veep?  Don’t even go there, man!

Get real, Senator.  By dividing the nominating pie with Elizabeth Warren, you are giving the nod to Biden, a Wall Street pushover, a corporate puppet. History will not smile on you.  (And if DNC runs Biden, I will stay home, since merely defeating Trump is not an adequate goal.)  Instead, we need real leadership from someone with courage and heart and vision, someone who has surrounded herself with the sharpest mind’s in the nation.  Biden is over the hill.  Trump will dine on his bones.  Nostalgia for Obama’s days will not Make America Great Again.

But Trump will have a much harder time bullying a woman, especially someone as quick on her feet as Senator Warren.  Voters will pummel him for bullying her — someone he’s actually afraid of — as are the banksters she has intimidated.  But Joke Biden would be an easy target for Trump. 

Bern, I donated to your campaign, I made calls for you, I wrote letters to friends and wrote blogposts for readers.  Smell the coffee Bern. You must stand down, Senator. (Hey,  thanks for making such a huge contribution to American political thought!)  But now it’s time to pass the torch to someone unafraid of owning the possibility of a loss.  She will dance around Goliath and sting him down, as could a yellow jacket.  Yes, she can win, Bernie.  And you missed your chance.  Now get out of the way, and allow real leadership to flourish.  Don’t make the same mistake twice!

foto: washingtonpost.com

Speaking of what a woman can get done, she points towards Francis Perkins, FDR’s Secretary of Labor (the very first woman cabinet member) :

“So, what did one woman — one very persistent woman, backed up by millions of people across this country — get done?” Warren said. “Social Security. Unemployment insurance. Abolition of child labor. Minimum wage. The right to join a union. Even the very existence of the weekend.”

Channeling her own campaign slogans, she added: “Big, structural change. One woman, and millions of people to back her up.”  

source : https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/16/warren-women-new-york-1499570

 

 

 

ART OPENING : ÁRBOLES CON ALMA, Stefanie Schikora @ The Olimpo

During “Nobel week” there will be three salas of art — opening Thursday evening, September 19, at 8:00pm at the Olimpo.  In Sala 2 artwork by painter and teacher Stefanie Schikora will be featured.  (I’ve enrolled in one of Stefi’s painting classes, and am enjoying it thoroughly.)  We discovered her work while making the rounds on the Artist’s Studio tour in February.

One of the great things about living in Merida is there is so much free culture to be enjoyed.  So come on out to the Olimpo @ Plaza Grande, corner of c.61 and c.62 in Centro (not to be confused with Gran Plaza, a shopping mall in the north of the city).

Stefanie, Artist Studio Tour, Itzimná

 

 

¿¿ WHO WILL PUT OUT THE FIRE ??

“HOW ‘BOUT A LITTLE FIRE, SCARECROW?”

Yes, the world’s on fire, and it’s melting, and little Dorothy, er, Greta, needs our help.  And, as Smoky-the-Bear often said, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires.”  Greta can’t save the world from melting, all by herself.  “The responsibility resides in my shoes,” sez me.

So, our assignment, if you care for the future of the planet and its human children, is to read this  >  (HERE’S AN EXCERPT TO GET YOU STARTED) :  “New coal plants built since the 2015 Paris climate agreement have already doubled the equivalent coal-energy output of Russia and Japan, and 260 more are underway.”  READING INVITATION LINK.  

Don’t get depressed, get angry enough to do something brave and bold : Get ready!  Coming to a street corner near you this October is a life saving event worthy of great risk, called Extinction Rebellion.  Bookmark it.  (Don’t expect your elected officials to take action, as they’re all sold out to the corporatist state.)  Like I said, get ready.  Only you . . . ( ¿ If not me, who ?)  PAY NO ATTENTION TO THAT MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN, WHO IS GAMING YOU.

If you need further persuasion, here’s a quote linked to an essay by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist : “The American political system is not salvageable. It will be overthrown in a mass uprising—a version of which we saw recently in Puerto Rico—or vast swaths of the globe will become uninhabitable and the rich will feed like ghouls off the mounting human misery. These are the two stark options. And we have very little time left.”

“I’m melting, I”m melting.”

SIDEWALK ART IN MERIDA

Painting by Lobo, “el brujo”.

On a Sunday stroll we happened past Maternidad park, c.60 near the symphony theatre in centro.  I was delighted to see Lobo showing his wares, along with many other artists.  (He last appeared in my pages in July of 2012.)  We have two of his paintings and a lacquered woodblock sculpture at home.  His work is seen in homes around town.  Here’s one owned by a British couple:

Lobo calls himself “el brujo” which variously can be translated as shaman, wizard, sorcerer.  His English is good.  He’s a Yaqui Indian, a philosopher, a musician, and a thinker engaged in the project of life :  pondering that great question, ¿Who am I? – while still trying to feed and house himself by painting and selling on Sundays.  (I don’t believe he has gallery representation, so you’ll need to visit the park if his work appeals.)

Lobo, tending his wares.

Merida is a lively art scene, with many galleries, and plenty to see on foot on Sundays along c.60 or a bit further north on Paseo Montejo between the remate (c.47) and the glorieta (traffic circle, circus) at c.27-a.

¿¿ Too Darn Hot ?? > Heat > Humidity > Stoopidity ?

The above graphic, by Phil Hands, is copyrighted, and is not to be used commercially without arrangement with the owner(s).  It appears here under fair-use doctrine — note that this site carries no advertising, and is incorporating the graphic into an educational essay.  Tip o’ the hat to AAEC.

A mentor once observed that it’s not who is right or wrong, but what is real which is important.  Honest discussion is essential.  “Tribalism” or what the Founders (authors of US Constitution) termed factionalism, is the problem.  And Newt Gingrich, the main factionalist of the day, actually declared war on dialog, across party lines.  War kills.  So we talk past each other, wounding and violating our community, signifying nothing with our warfare.

But your eyeballs don’t lie.   So have a look at this satellite animation compiled by NASA and NOAA, and watch 25 years of polar ice disappear in one minute.     NOT COOL!  Not a hoax.  Not fake. 

And this brings us to a compelling speaker who is a professor of climate science with an amazing resumé. But get this:  she’s also an evangelical Christian!   She wants us to talk about the problem of climate change, even tho’ our tribalisms have gotten in the way so often in the past.  Don’t miss it! We might learn a few things from each other.

 

Book Review

A project of breathtaking beauty and insight.

What an amazing project this American journalist who is a practicing Jew has hatched and nurtured!  He moved from Brooklyn to Israel in 1982, became an Israeli citizen, and sought dialog with open-minded, devout believers from the three Abrahamic faiths (Jewish, Muslim, Christian) for fellowship, and learning — even risking visits to a Sufi sheik’s mosque in Gaza.  

The book was originally released in New York on September 11, 2001, and immediately vanished in the chaos of that day.  Harper Perennial has re-introduced it this year.  Krista Tippet, host of public radio’s weekly, On Being, calls it “One of the most important spiritual memoirs of our time.”  Not to be missed!

The author’s journalistic skill, observational power, and clarity of language make this telling into an ineffable blessing for his readers.  The beauty of his honest engagement with his chosen candidates brought tears to my eyes several times.  Anyone interested in faith, peace, humanity, will find hope in this moving work.  (Thanks to the Divine Librarian for placing this volume into my hands!)

 

 

STORY TIME

ORIGINAL INNOCENCE.  Adam & Eve                             © 2019, MeridaGOround

I love good stories.  Surely we all have some familiarity with this one.  It comes from the First Book of Moses, titled Beginnings, perhaps known more widely as Genesis. (Moses wasn’t actually the author, but he gets the royalties for writing down this oral history – although even this detail is dubious.)  My point is that facts and stories are often at odds.  

This short story has entered public consciousness, but with much accumulated baggage which simply isn’t there :  concepts such as sin, fall, apple, satan.  So, where did they come from, and how did they insinuate themselves into our story, and our thinking?  ¿Maybe that hulking clownish presence in the upper right of the image whispered them into our ears?  In the original language, a serpent is known as nacash, whisperer.  We can almost hear it hissiing,  pssst, this story is gaming you.

No, don’t run away!  Like Moses, you need courage to handle the serpent, wisely.  (Don’t grab him by the tail (tale?) or he could turn and bite you.  If you’re still convinced that those terms, sin-fall-apple-satan are in the story somewhere, you’ve already been bitten.  Have a look for yourself, using the pulldown menu  presently set at “KJV” — choosing whichever version you prefer,  as I’m unaware of any translation that includes them.  (The story is very short.)  I’m not trying to charm you, but merely awaken you from a bad religious or cultural dream.  

There’s a point to this story of the garden.  I won’t presume to tell you what it is, but will ask you to think along with my four-year-old self.  As I watched my Mom preparing meals, she would often tell me “don’t touch the hot stove.”  Why does she keep telling me this? – I wondered.  So one day, after she had turned off the flame, and turned her back, I put my index finger on the blackened metal grate.  Yeow! – I cried, and beheld a blister forming instantly.  And, of course, she said I told you not to do that, silly!  But, here’s the thing :  she did not kick me out of the house for disobedience, nor curse me with a death sentence.  Yet this is exactly what our story tells us that our Divine Parent did when the first couple disobeyed. Is rigid, uncurious obedience the point of the garden story?  I think not.

 A delightful account of the history behind this story can be found in a book by Harvard’s Stephen Greenblatt, titled The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve(I’ve linked a 4-star review by an Amazon Vine Voice, a Doctor Moss; Kindle:  $8.30, for those who want more of the details.)

For me, the contest between innocence and sin comes when Bishop Augustine and Pelagius (a saintly British monk) disagreed over doctrine, Pelagius arguing on behalf of innocence.  Well, Augustine, being a powerful church politician, won, and Pelagius’s letters were burned, and he was declared a heretic (see pp. 104+, of Greenblatt). And the world got celibacy and pedophilia.  Life might be dull without some drama, which I suppose can be a problem with nonduality (also called monism).  But I digress. 

No apple!  Nor was sex the problem in our story.  Sex is natural, and innocent, when balanced.  No marriage, either.  Back then, and for many, many centuries beyond, we simply got into the same tent together one night, and emerged in the morning as a couple.  Everybody in camp knew that we were now a couple, with major responsibilities for each other, and to the human family, the community.  Absence of ceremony didn’t lessen the seriousness, but may have kept the cost of formalities in check <wink>.  (But note that the state will declare you married by “common law” eventually, and it will divide “the stuff” of your relationship.)  ¿ Best to catch up with modern times by being real?

ASIDE.  There’s a new nonfiction book coming July 9th, titled Three Women, which may do a lot of whispering, based on my reading of a review with excerpt.  I’ve not read the book, and probably won’t. (It could be this year’s 50-Shades, also not read by me, but as nonfiction.)  The new book claims not to be about sex, but rather about desire.  Yet it seems to be selling drama and sex.  And it seems it will do much whispering.  Be alert.  If you enter the story you may burn your finger, or worse.  You might do better reading an ancient stoic, Epictetus, his Discourses, (online, or from a library) who writes about desire and aversion in a balanced and undramatic way, with short essays which will focus the mind on these topics, painlessly.  

As Pelagius argued, Adam and Eve probably would have died a natural death, anyway.  And my last shot is simply this.  When we die, we get to export only the lessons we’ve learned.  (I hope I’ll avoid touching a hot stove again. Curiosity has other tools beyond the senses, intuition being among them.)

Note: the photo above, shot in my backyard here in Mérida, is copyrighted by me, “MeridaGOround”. Contact me thru the comment section of this site to discuss usage.  But be sure NOT to include any links in your message, as my spam trap is very sensitive. So, include a “broken” email address after the @ (adding a space, which I will then mend) and I will reply to you.  Please include your real name in the comment, so I can verify that you are not a spammer.   Also, I plan to print a small, fine art run of archival prints done on rag paper, with chromogenic inks, which should be for sale later this summer; and perhaps I will attempt a painting, as well.