I should make that -- Brush with Death -- a new category on the blog.
What reminded me is how all the wind damaged those jet airliners' windshields today. Quite a disaster.
In the mid 90s, I was on a United SFO to LAX flight to get down for some computer party. At 30,000 feet -- and with no explanation from anyone -- plane went into a nose dive.
You could not have heard an earring drop. There was no screaming. I was in first class and looked frantically at the stewardess across from me, she was strapped in with her eyes closed.
The guy next to me was a few years older, as I recall. A lawyer from LA. And he said, well, you wanna call anybody? We both had phones in our seats. Neither us made a call. He said keep looking out the window and look for strips of highway or flat areas he can land us. But nothing. Just mountains.Meanwhile, he chanted the words to every Jim Morrison and the Doors song he ever knew.
We all thought we were gonners, but then the plane started rocking side to side, violently first, and then more gently and then our nose was level again.
Pilot got on, apologized for not explaining earlier. Said a bird hit the windshield (the first layer) at 30,000 feet. He just had to get us down as far as possible so we wouldn't get sucked out.
We finally landed at SFO.
They immediately took all of us -- tunneled us to another waiting plane back at SFO -- put us in our same seats and we were off in like, two minutes. Everyone wanted to talk about the hair-raising experience, but we had a new crew and captain obviously instructed not to talk about it. Very weird.
My paper I worked for - The SF Chronicle/Examiner Sunday -- ran a paragraph about an emergency landing. My editor knew the whole story and thought it was funny. Sure we were at risk, but no one will sue you for "brush with death" if you make light of it. I mean, no one was hurt.
Another pilot later told me that our pilot must've been great, because to be able to get stable after a 5 or 10 minute nose dive from that height is really impressive.
So that's one of my brushes. Yep. Think I'll make it a topic. I'd like to hear yours.
Ignore this posting if you don't like eclectlic music, but I recommend you download every version of Begin the Beguin (by Cole Porter) you can find on iTunes from every possible artist. In every style, every decade. Download, then play them in order. It will blow your mind.
Let me know what you think. I think it's amazing. Maybe you have another suggestion.
You may know Begin the Beguin it was voted in the Top 5 songs and lyrics of the entire 20th century. Popular for more than 40 years. Amazing more people don't remake it now.
Begin the Beguine (Cole Porter)
When they begin the beguine It brings back the sound of music so tender It brings back a night of tropical splendor It brings back a memory ever green
I'm with you once more under the stars And down by the shore an orchestra's playing Even the palms seem to be swaying When they begin the beguine
To live it again is past all endeavor Except when that tune clutches my heart And there we are swearing to love forever And promising never, never to part
What moments divine, what rapture serene Till clouds come along to disperse the joys we had tasted, And now when I hear people curse the chance that was wasted, I know but too well what they mean.
So don't let them begin the beguine, Let the love that was once a fire remain an ember Let it sleep like the dead desire I only remember When they begin the beguine
Oh yes, let them begin the beguine, make them play Till the stars that were there before return above you Till you whisper to me once more, Darling, I love you And we suddenly know what heaven we're in When they begin the beguine When they begin the beguine
The Shakespeare section beginning "All the world's a stage" that describes the many roles we play in life never hit me as hard as it did today.
In my life, I have been the single daughter of a Muslim Serbian alcoholic, a high school partier, a boarding school student, a beach rat, a competitive swimmer, a chemistry and English major, single, married (still), lived in Daytona, Miami, Boston, NYC and San Francisco. I have been a writer all along, but a tech writer, then a newspaper writer, then a magazine writer, a national radio host for 12 years, a newspaper columnist for 10 years, then a correspondent on ABC News (network, then a CEO for Larry Ellison's company, then an author of a five books (iWOZ on shelves now), now a parent, now a teetotaler, now someone who practices ahimsa, once a meat eater and now a vegan. So all those are roles.
But in a way, I feel exactly the same I felt at 14. Does that ever change? I wish Shakespeare had addressed that one. Someday, when (if I am privileged) to reach old age, I have no doubt that I will still feel 14 inside.
The one thing I feel that has changed within me, and I can't explain why, is I used to be so self-obsessed. How do I look? Do you like me? Can I get famous? Are they gossiping about me?
And now, for no reason I can think of, perhaps motherhood, I try to think little of myself and let whatever happen happen. Nothing anyone thinks of me is any of my business. I don't let resentments rent space in my head. I feel serene for the first time in my life. I read somewhere (Lincoln?) that is you do something charitable for someone every day and keep it a secret, that is is the secret to happiness. I did that today, but I won't tell you what it is.
What's happening to me? It is positive, but it is weird, because I have not had some radical supernatural experience. I just somehow changed. So now I have a lot of roles -- and one. Help any creature who needs it, even if it is not convenient.
Ahimsa, especially. Does anyone have any comments or feelings similar to this? Ahimsa mean, in Sanskrit or Pali, I think, DO NO HARM.
Enough about me. Here's my man, William Shakespeare. (who incidentally was born on my birthday!)
All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players, They have their exits and entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms. Then, the whining schoolboy with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier, Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice In fair round belly, with good capon lin'd, With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws, and modern instances, And so he plays his part.
but now that I read this story, I went out and bought a treadmill for my house so I can get in even better shape.
Check this out, from Reuters:
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Here are two more reasons to exercise: It may help prevent breast cancer and can be a safer way to lose weight than dieting, doctors said on Monday.
One report from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, said a study of women aged 55 to 69 found that those with the highest physical activity levels when the study began had a 14 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer than those who got low levels of exercise.
The multiyear study, which ended in 2003, involved more than 36,000 women.
While the mechanism involved is not clear it may be that exercise reduces body fat, the major source of estrogen in post-menopausal women, the study said. That could lead to fewer tumors of a type called estrogen receptor positive/progesterone receptor negative, which are typically more aggressive, added the report.
"Further studies are needed to confirm these novel findings, and to evaluate similar relationships among premenopausal women," concluded the report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
"If found to be causally related to breast cancer, physical activity would have a substantial public health effect on the prevention of this disease, along with its other positive health benefits," it added.
In another study published in the same journal, doctors at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that people who slim down by cutting calories may also be losing bone density -- something that does not happen if weight loss comes through exercise.
Loss of bone density can lead to osteoporosis and fractures later in life.
That finding was based on a look at 48 adults involved variously in weight loss by caloric restrictions or exercise.
"A common explanation given for the bone loss induced by weight loss is reduction in mechanical stress on the weight-bearing skeleton (the hip and spine)," the report said.
But when muscles pull on bones during exercise it is thought to produce strains in the skeleton that stimulate new bone production, the researchers said.
"These findings have important implications in designing an appropriate weight-loss therapy program in middle-aged adults, particularly in the subset of patients who may already be at increased risk for bone fracture," the study concluded.
Okay, it was a few years ago, and I haven't spoken with him since at least the late 1980s, but I was so sad to hear this today.
Robert (Bobby) Esser, of Ormond Beach, Florida (my hometown), died in a motorcycle accident last month. I just found out.
Your grandparents die. Your parents die. Your prom dates die. RIP Bobby. He was funny and kind and an exceptional sailor, diver and surfer. I remember his sister, Cathy, being the best lifeguard -- and the only female lifeguard -- on our long stretch of Daytona Beach. I always admired the whole family.
Bobby Esser, you were a good date, even though you refused to dance to disco. Who knew the wisdom you had then?
I wrote the Inside Silicon Valley column in the SF Chronicle Sunday Business Section for about 12 years. I had to leave because I entered the business world to start Larry Ellison's ill-fated New Internet Computer Co. (NIC).
I was there. I was a bridesmaid. And there are new photos in the photo album. Thank goodness they didn't try to lift me up in a chair while they were dancing around at the reception. I have a fear of heights!
It is weird to say that Steve Wozniak, with whom I wrote the upcoming autobiography iWOZ, is the person who introduced me to Bob Dylan's amazing lyrics and deep sentiments. Both of them were just a bit before my time.
In fact, one night I went to a Dylan concert with Steve, and ended up standing next to another Steve, Steve Miller! I said to him, quite stupidly in retrospect, you know, for my generation, your music (Book of Dreams, etc.) is much more relevant to me than this. I mean, I grew up with that album and every lyric resounding in the background.
Miller said, "I simply cannot believe that. What are youI thinking?" Who knows what I was thinking, but I still like Miller's Joker. Reuters article at Bob at No. 1 below.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Bob Dylan reached the top of the U.S. albums chart for the first time in 30 years, and only the fourth time in his career, according to sales data issued on Wednesday.
The rock poet's latest album, "Modern Times," sold 192,000 copies in the week ended September 3, his best sales week since tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan started using its point-of-sales data to collate the charts in 1991.
Dylan, 65, last reached No. 1 in 1976 with his album "Desire," which led the field for five weeks. At the time he was on his Rolling Thunder Revue tour and winning publicity for his protest tune "Hurricane." His other chart-toppers were the 1975 classic "Blood on the Tracks," and 1974's "Planet Waves."
Dylan has been on a creative and commercial roll since 1997, when he released "Time Out of Mind," a comical look at death. It opened at No. 10, selling 101,600 copies, and went on to win the Grammy for album of the year. His 2001 follow-up, "Love and Theft," opened at No. 5 with 133,760 copies.
Rolling Stone magazine said the three albums "stand alongside the accomplishments of his wild youth."
Dylan has recorded almost exclusively since 1961 for Columbia Records, a unit of Sony Corp.
This is going to be a little macabre. Fair warning.
About 22 years ago, my friend Laura and I were hanging out at the OP, short for the Other Place, a beachside bar in our hometown of Ormond Beach where things could get real wild. I remember being surprised to see Darlene Webb there, as she generally did not hang out with partiers in my group drinking underage.
The next day, I remember, Darlene Webb was reported missing, nothing heard of her sense.
Now this, from MSNBC.
A Los Angeles homicide detective will travel to Daytona Beach next month to determine whether a local woman who disappeared 23 years ago became a victim of a serial killer with a penchant for photographing his prey.
Los Angeles County investigators were struck by the resemblance between Darlene Ann Webb, who went missing at age 20 in 1983, and a woman shown in a photograph taken by Bill Bradford, a convicted murderer who sits on San Quentin State Prison's death row.
"Based on looking at these photographs hours and hours and hours, we see the similarity," said Sgt. Richard Longshore, a Los Angeles sheriff's detective.
Longshore will stop in the Daytona Beach area sometime after Labor Day when he visits cities in Florida and Louisiana, where young women vanished during the period when Bradford was believed to be on a killing spree.
Investigators recently opened Bradford's files and found 54 photos he had taken of women across the country. Twenty-three of the women have been confirmed alive, including "CSI: Miami" star Eva La Rue, who said Bradford took pictures of her and her sister in the '80s.
Longshore said he will meet with people who knew Webb and show them Bradford's photos. He also plans to look through police files to gain further insight into her disappearance.
In an intriguing twist, Fran Webb, the missing woman's mother, said she is beginning to doubt that the woman in the most publicized photo -- No. 33 -- is her daughter.
Instead, the woman in No. 30, which was televised on a local newscast Thursday, looks more like her daughter did at the time she disappeared, Webb said.
Webb said she saw the full-length shot of No. 33 for the first time Thursday, and her doubts grew.
That person, she said, appears to have larger breasts than her daughter and armpit hair, something that would go against her daughter's grooming, Webb said.
Still, that woman's eyes, nose and mouth strongly resemble her daughter's, Webb said. "I'm really anxious to see more pictures."
Longshore said it's better for loved ones to see the actual photos rather than ones reproduced in the media. They can usually get a clearer sense of whether a daughter or friend is in the picture, he said.
Darlene Webb disappeared Jan. 22, 1983. She was last seen walking to her car from a beachside bar at midnight. Police later found her car with her purse on the front seat.
Bradford was found guilty of slaying two Los Angeles-area models in the mid-1980s. Detectives have determined he had stayed in Florida, but was living in California when Webb went missing.
However, Bradford traveled throughout the country and might have killed while he was on the road, Longshore said. "We certainly don't know where he was every minute of every year."
Fran Webb, 68, said she has reached an age when her daughter's long disappearance is taking its toll. She still clings to hope that her daughter is alive.
"They are going to have to show me proof of where she is -- a body," Webb said. "Or she walks in. I'm stubborn and thick-headed. I don't give up."
Since 1979, when I was a little kid, I have kept a daily diary and only missed a couple days between then and now.
Just a few minutes ago, I found a diary from three and a half years ago, when I was six months pregnant with my now three-year-old boy, Eric. And for some reason, I wrote down a Rumi poem I wanted to share with him when he grew up.
Well, an eighth grader named Katharine Close just won the National Spelling Bee.
First, I want to congratulate her.
If asked -- and I am rarely - I usually say I have three -- truly only three -- talents. In order: 1.) spelling. 2.) investigative reporting 3.) and writing non-fiction books, like iWOZ, which is out late this year. I know a lot of you readers know me as an ex ABC TV reporter or a radio host, but really the three things above are the only things I am excellent at. And then, tonight, I saw Katharine. MAN!
Katharine, if you are reading this, listen up. You rock.Your mind is a supercomputer. I could see you analyzing whether something had a Greek or a Greek to Latin to French root and make the correct decision every single time. I will be watching to see what you do with this great mind.
I made it to second in the Florida eighth grade spelling bee, meaning I would have been one step away from the amazing competition you won tonight. But holy moley. No WAY could I have competed with you. I hope I never have to. This is one of the few times in my life I'm glad I'm not 14 again -- so I don't have to compete with you. Now or ever! I hate losing.
p.s. In the Florida statewide bee, I lost on the stupidest word on the planet. Queue. I kept thinking "pool cue." Agh.
So, congratulations, sweetie. And to your competitors. I was blown away by the televised spelling bee tonight. And buy my book and see if there are any mispelled words, okay?
(Thanks to Pete Butler for correcting the spelling in this blog entry.)
After four years of blogging and lots of you still reading, I guess you know my avocation is music. I play piano well and the guitar only passably. I used to sing in a band that played at this strange bar (I think it was called Ricky's Hyatt House) right off HP's campus back in the early 90s.
So when I saw a news item regarding Beethoven, not my favorite composer (Chopin is), I clicked. And then I found this bizarrest of stories. Excerpt from Reuters.
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Beethoven composed many enduring symphonies, but now a Chicago company wants to make a Beethoven piece that lasts forever -- a diamond made out of strands of the 18th-century composer's hair.
LifeGem Memorials, a company that first gained attention in 2002 by making diamonds out of the carbon from cremated human remains, now says it can make diamonds out of human hair, allowing people to bury their loved ones but still have a memento they can carry with them.
To publicize this -- and to raise money for charity -- the company has teamed with John Reznikoff, who is in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest and most valuable collection of celebrity hair.
Reznikoff is giving six to 10 strands of Beethoven's hair to LifeGem, which will use it in a process to create three diamonds of between 0.5 and 1 carat in weight.
Greg Herro, chief executive officer of LifeGem, said the diamonds will initially be put on a worldwide tour of museums and opera houses for about half a year as the company tries to gain attention for its ability to make diamonds from hair.
"We thought, well, what better way to do it than with an international icon who is known to millions," Herro said.
Eventually, the diamonds will be sold at auction, with the proceeds donated to raise money for military families, Herro said.
Reznikoff, who has about 115 hair samples in his collection -- including locks from Abraham Lincoln, Marilyn Monroe and Charles Dickens -- noted that Beethoven has wide appeal. The composer's music has been used in jazz, disco and rock songs, including the use of the familiar da-da-da-dum beginning to Symphony No. 5 in the Electric Light Orchestra's version of "Roll Over Beethoven."
Hey, I had lunch today with Guy Kawasaki (the legendary former Apple evangelist, now VC and author) today. We met at Il Fornaio in Palo Alto, where the place is crawling with VCs and computer people of all rank.
Anyway, I wanted to remind you of his fantastic blog. It is in the top 40, but it should be in the top 10.
I also ran into a wonderful old friend, Pierluigi Zapacosta, the founder and ex CEO of Logitech. We exchanged European kisses.
Now how's that for some name-dropping? Maybe I should change the name of this blog to I'm Gina Smith, Where Names Get Dropped.
Does anyone else feel like emailing me and dropping me some names, some brushes with celebrity?
Okay, so it's not world news, but I thought I'd tell you it's amazing. And what may be of interest to you, if you are ever planning one of these things, is how they (michele earl) did it. A day at the spa and an evening at a great restaurant (cortez, in sf). No hokey gifts. Just fun.
By the way, I was personally humiliated for having gumpalumpa shoes. As a joke, they took a picture of all 12 womens' shoes. I will post them here and you guys can guess on which one of us dared to look ugly, feet-wise. We can take a vote. I actually thought the shoes were good, but they were from 1990 and my taste is questionable.
"Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live by the death of others. We are burial places! I have since an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men." Leonardo da Vinci.
It works like this. They email you. Tell you what the "action alerts" are, and you literally just click a button to send a message to the right people trying to cut forests down, drill in Alaska, what have you.
For instance, today's action alerts were:
1. Speak out to protect Eagle Lake's wilderness and wildlife
2. Help stop illegal off-road vehicles from harming California's environment
3. Urge your state legislators to reduce global warming pollution in California
I have been meaning to share this with all you guys -- over 1000 of you now -- for a long time.
But it's Earth Day.
A while ago, I signed up to get a regular email from the Natural Resources Defense Fund. The idea was, they send me emails about ways the government or industry is destroying or trying to reverse government protections, and I get to email (with one click) my name onto a petition or an email to an official.
So finally, after years of wishing and doing nothing to help something I care about, this site finally did something. And succeeded! Check this out -- a letter I received from these folks after clicking on a button to stop Bush's reversal of the Clean Air Act. This would pollute the air further, rather than clean it up, the whole purpose of the act.
Quoted in full below. Now you will see why I highly recommend this. And I haven't (yet) given a cent, so don't worry it's a big money drainer. Your voice, I think, is what they need most.
Dear NRDC Action Fund Supporter,
Last year, you helped us win a critical victory when we blocked President Bush's Dirty Skies bill before it reached the Senate floor for a vote.
Now, I've got more good news to report on the clean air front. NRDC has turned back the Bush Administration's most aggressive attempt to dismantle the Clean Air Act for the sake of America's biggest polluters.
Four years ago, the Administration issued new rules that would have allowed 20,000 aging power plants, oil refineries and other big polluters to evade pollution controls required by law. These proposed changes, shaped directly by industry lobbyists, were little more than a payback to Big Oil and Big Coal for their lavish campaign contributions.
This devastating reversal of the Clean Air Act would have given ExxonMobil and other industry giants a free pass to clog our air with hundreds of thousands more tons of harmful pollution. And it could have led to a dramatic increase in asthma and heart attacks, hospitalizations and premature deaths. The most vulnerable -- children, seniors and those already struggling to breathe in our cities -- would have suffered the most.
In response, we mobilized thousands of our online activists to protest this unprecedented attack on our clean air safeguards. When the Bush Administration moved ahead anyway, NRDC raced to court and argued that the new rules would cause permanent injury to millions of Americans. In December 2003, the court took the unusual step of blocking the new rules from taking effect until the full case could be heard. Now, the U.S. Court of Appeals has issued a ruling that slams the door on the Administration's attempt to sabotage the Clean Air Act. The court rebuked the Bush plan for threatening the health of millions and undermining a law that was meant to limit pollution, not increase it! This victory proves once again that the courts are often our last line of defense against the Bush Administration's worst attacks. Thank you so much for helping to defend America's clean air law
In light of the histrionics and possible break with my sister and my beloved sisters, I read this Rudyard Kipling poem and thought of taking the high road. Forgive me if this is old hat -- I think I read it first in English class at Ormond Beach Junior High -- but here it is.
If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too: If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim, If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same:. If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings, And never breathe a word about your loss: If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much: If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
I know, I know, I am not allowed to tell you about this TV project, but I can tell you this. Between now and May, when it will be announced, I will have traveled to 12 cities to do tech and science stories.
So far, I've hit Seattle, San Francisco, LA, Albuquerque, Austin and Akron. Six more to go!
And I am reading books at the rate of a book a flight. Flying through them. So though the airports are crowded and worse than ever, the silver lining is I get to read A LOT again. Catching up since it has been so long since I've flied this much.
I read the Time Traveler's Wife, which I thought was brilliant and no, not a girl book at all. Here's a link to some reviews. If you like a little sci-fi combined with great characters, plot and lots of mystery, check it out.
Probably I am the last person in the U.S. to read this book, but I would love to hear what you all thought about it if you did read it.
I have one question, though, for the readers. How is it possible that the little girl had all the dates that the time traveler would visit her. Did he visit her twice each time? Am I dense? Wait. Don't answer.
Something on the Internet must be running about me and my old days as a reporter at a Good Morning America (95-2000) or hosting On Computers with Leo Laporte. Because I had TWENTY-FIVE emails today saying, hey, you've vanished.
To you all. I have not vanished. I am right here. Since leaving ABC, I ran a company for Larry Ellison (NIC, maker of the ill-fated $199 net appliance), wrote The Genomics Age, wrote Steve Wozniak's autobiography with him (out later this year) and am now back on TV in a project I can't announce yet because they'd shoot me.
So I'm here. Not invisible. It feels weird that so many people think I dropped out. When all I've been doing is working like a mad woman. And procreating. Yes, there's that.
I just never was exposed to The Band as a kid. (In Ormond Beach, Fl, where I grew up, all we heard on the radio was southern rock. Seriously, they didn't even play Springstein or The Dead.
Oh, they played a little Ted Nugent, too. Cat Scratch Fever. Yikes!
At any rate, I just saw the movie, The Last Waltz. It is a rock DVD of The Band's last concert here in SF in 1976, and they brought the most amazing performers (Dylan, Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, and they played the most tremendous backup.
The Joni Mitchell rendition of Coyote was incredible. Usually, she is mellow with just that acoustic guitar, but in this, she's backed up with the best electronic backup band you have ever heard. Man, what a sound and what poetry and what reaming guitar!
I read the word "sanctimonious Californian" in an article today, and I am startled and embarrassed to see I've turned into a preachy one. Organics, vegetarianism, all of this I preach so hard. And now I realize that the term I read describes me. So I am going to be a little more tolerant of everyone else's lifestyles. That was my Big Thought of the Day.
For all 1000 of you who subscribe, I am sure you are all thinking, so what's new?
My mother died three years ago when I was six months pregnant. Today is the day I remember her, and at the MSNBC shoot today, I wore her jewelry all day.
She was a larger-than-life woman. A former Miss Yugoslavia. An irreverent partier. And you should've seen her with a tambourine. My god, what a site.
Losing a parent is tough, I think now, not just because of the loss. But also because you realize that hey, I'm the next generation to go. Unless Aubrey de Grey (google him) makes me immortal.
It all reminds me of a book I love, The Denial of Death. It won the Pulitzer in the 1970s, and its premise is that all human activity -- good as well as destructive -- is our attempt to deny death and start an immortality project.
Emilia Sladjana Djuran Caynor Smith Ferguson -- 3/6/35. She certainly lived life like a hurricane ripping through Daytona Beach, Florida, my hometown.
I can't believe how many emails I had after I asked for commentary surrounding the Diamond Sutra, the second-most important Buddhistic sutra after the Heart Sutra. That one is pronounced every day by most Buddhists in serious Great Vehicle countries.
Anyway, your answers were great. I can't beat you. I wasn't trying.
But I did find a wonderful commentary on the text, and I am including it below. (And by the way, for all of you who classify this an "atheist' blog, let me remind you that Buddha is a non-theistic religion). Buddhism is a philosophy, last I checked, not a religion.
Everything is a conditioned Dharma as it is just a phenomenon. The Five Skandhas, the Four Great Elements, the Six Roots, the Six Dusts, the Twelve Places and the Eighteen Realms are all conditioned Dharmas. All those Dharmas, whether external or internal, are like dreams, illusions, Bubbles, Shadows, dew drops and a lightning flash.
Dreams is unreal. When one awakens from one's dream, one will know without being told that all those events happened in a dream are unreal. In this present life, we are living in a dream too, as all phenomena are unreal and impermanent. We do not believe when we are told that is a dream because we still have not awakened from our dreams. When our cultivation is accomplished, we will awaken from the dreams and know without being told that everything we did in the past was a dream.
Illusions are unreal, like a magician's tricks. What a magician does is unreal as we know. Although it seems real, it is seen to be illusory and non-existent. When we understand the Buddha Dharma, we know everything is empty and illusory, thus we cannot be confused by anything. When we do not understand the Buddha Dharma, we are like the children or the fools who consider everything to be real. We should not be attached to unreal states.
Bubble are also basically unreal, and quickly disappears to show their emptiness.
Shadow follow people around. Where there is form, then there is a shadow. The form is a physical substance, the shadow is empty. In reality, the form itself is empty, without its own nature.
Dew drops are found early in the morning, but will have disappeared after sunrise.
A lightning flash is also impermanent, and its existence is momentary.
Contemplate them thus. We should look upon all conditioned things in this way.
The listeners were filled with joy. As a result, their beliefs were right . They received the Sutra in earnest and their observance of the Sutra had purpose
Here's something you didn't know about me. I like to look at early English and middle English poems and try to translate them. Usually, I need help. So I thought, today, maybe you all could help. Good luck! I'll post my translation tomorrow, and then you all can argue with me, per usual.
Here is a poem called TRUTH.
Flee fro the prees, and dwelle with sothfastnesse,
Well, I started reading Kerouac's seminal beatnik novel On the Road. I read it the last time in high school, but now it just resonates. Some of the sentences are hilarious. His writing is pure -- pure like a tequila is pure -- and dead on.
I remember tequila even though it's been six years since I've had a drink, but tequila is a hard one to forget.
Another hard thing to forget is what it's like to have a TV job -- the reporting, the calling, the booking, the waiting for the sound guy and shadows, the logging of tapes, the editing, and the final win of having a good looking piece at the end. I guess you guys know I worked for ABC News on-air for several years, doing just this for Good Morning America and World News Tonight.
Well, I am back in TV. I can't say for who because it is all still a STATE SECRET, but I can tell you that I will definitely be back on the air (so to speak) and back on the road very soon.
By the way, since I quit TV and had the baby three years ago, I had this idea that I would just grow my hair and never stop until someone made me or it got waist-length, whatever came first.
Well, it's almost waist-length -- or was -- when I got this job offer. So the hair's going, the Mac makup's coming back home and it's back on United.
Everything old is new again. How strange. And exciting! This job is going to be a blast! When I can tell you more, I will. Promise.
Got this from Steve Wozniak's news list tonight. Made me cry. Good job rescuers and thanks for carrying this piece, Chronicle. It moved me.
SF Chronicle Thu, Dec 15, 2005
If you read the front page story of the SF Chronicle today--Thu, Dec 15, 2005 -- you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by 100s of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She had 100s of yards of line (rope) wrapped around her body - her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth. A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farralone Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her - a very dangerous proposition; One slap of the tail could kill a few rescuers. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.
When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around - she thanked them... some say it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.
This song (and these lyrics) were on the CD I told you about yesterday. God, they almost made me cry driving home from the Woz interview yesterday, and crying is not good going down 280 90 miles an hour in heavy rain.
So I looked up the lyrics to see what the heck made me so sentimental.
I like to watch tv listen to the news hear what everybody is saying there's a lotta talk about God peace and safety and war and fear and there goes a girl in a bikini
this guy's saying that guy's an idiot and she's on the right he's on the left and everybody's screaming and yelling at each other and calling each other jerks it's a party
who cares where the truth lies who cares where the truth lies
guys dressed up in suits and ties look you straight in the eyes telling lies but I really wish I knew what they were talking about meanwhile human beings are being strung up on bridges and little kids are getting their legs blown off and young soldiers are coming home no more
if you live in new york city keep your eye on he sky afraid to take a subway ride wondering about the next time the next time
who cares who cares
so I look inside my own angry heart the violent world of my misdeeds and my mistakes my old messy heartbreaks and fantastic fakes the good intentions paved in gold another war story gets told
I like to watch tv listen to the news hear what everybody is saying I think that I'm a dove but maybe I'm a hawk and someday I will fly away
I have spent the last five weeks working from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. trying to finish the Wozniak book on time. He and I have been spending ridiculous amounts of time at a barbecue place in Campbell (that's the only hint I can give) doing the final interviews.
Nov. 1 is the due date, so think of me. The book, I, Woz, is a biography of Steve Woziak due from Norton next year. It will have all the little secrets, I promise. Now, back to work!
I told you I would lighten things up after the heavy breast cancer thing. So I took a quiz at Quizilla. Here's what kind of muppet it says it would be. (Even though my favorite -- yes, I have a favorite, I have a two year old) is Baby Bear.
Oh well, as someone once said, a doctor I think, "acceptance is the key to our happiness today." So I'm just going to accept being Fozzie and like it, damn it.
You are Fozzie Bear. You are caring and love your friends as if they were family. For only they will put up with your stupid jokes. FAVORITE EXPRESSION: "Wocka! Wocka!" FAVORITE AUTHOR: Gags Beasley, comedy writer HOBBIES: Telling jokes, dodging tomatoes QUOTE: "Why did the chicken cross the road?" NEVER LEAVES HOME WITHOUT: His joybuzzer, his whoopee cushion and Clyde, the rubber chicken.
What I bet you don't know about me, is I have played classical and jazz piano since i started taking lessons at 6. I still play all the time. I follow classical music. So if you care, check out this story below. It's important.
BERLIN (Reuters) - A previously unknown aria by German composer Johann Sebastian Bach has been discovered in the eastern town of Weimar, a researcher said Wednesday.
The handwritten music represents one of the few surviving pieces from Bach's early period, said Peter Wollny, research director at the Bach Archive Foundation in Leipzig.
"Everything new we find from this period opens up the possibility of new perspectives on Bach," said Wollny.
The music appears at the end of a book previously thought to have contained only poetry by a local Weimar poet. It was given as a birthday present to the Duke of Weimar in 1713. Bach's aria was written as an accompaniment to some of the poetry.
A researcher found the manuscript in Weimar's Anna Amalia Library, which was seriously damaged by fire last September. It survived only because a librarian interested in the book's unique binding took it to the basement a month before the fire.