1 January 2006
is not a luxury that only those with leisure can afford. On the contrary, we
must attend to the needs of our bodies and our minds the more attentively
when we are under stress. Whatever hardship we need to endure, whatever
we hope to accomplish, whatever joys we wish to experience: we will be
more successful if we are fit, exercised and well-rested, appropriately
nourished, in good spirits, and drug-free.
~ Josh Mitteldorf
31 December 2005
once sat on an easel on my knee.
For ages I have been sketching you
With myriad shapes of sounds and light;
With your thousand swaying arms
That need to caress the Sky.
Call to You to Sing, by Hafiz
(1320-1389) tr Daniel
or perhaps by
Daniel Ladinsky, as inspired by Hafiz
30 December 2005
"Borrow trouble for
yourself, if that's your nature, but don't lend it to your neighbours."
Kipling, born this day in 1865, was swept up in early life by the
mission of Western Civilization to transform the world, otherwise known as
'imperialism'. His view was changed when his own son died in
battle. He wrote, 'If any question why we died/ Tell them, because our
fathers lied.' (Epitaphs
of the War) and
And the end
of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear: `A fool lies here who tried to hustle the East'.
29 December 2005
I would like to write a poem
about the world that has in it nothing fancy.
But it seems impossible.
Whatever the subject, the morning sun glimmers it.
The tulip feels the heat and flaps its petals open and becomes a star.
The ants bore into the peony bud and there is the dark pinprick well of
As for the stones on the beach, forget it.
Each one could be set in gold.
So I tried with my eyes
shut, but of course the birds were singing.
And the aspen trees were shaking the sweetest music out of their leaves.
And that was followed by, guess what, a momentous and beautiful silence
as comes to all of us, in little earfuls, if we're not too hurried to hear
~ from This
World, by Mary Oliver
28 December 2005
2006 will see the
implementation of a European
Union recycling regulation, requiring that factories take back their
products when they are ready to be retired. This provides an incentive
to design the products for ease of recycling (and for durability!).
The easiest way to comply with the law will be for manufacturers to
incorporate recycled or re-manufactured parts in their new products.
Some states in the US are not
waiting for the Federal Government to take a lead on this issue.
California leads the way, as usual, and there are parallel threads in New
England. "Maine's new law on
recycling electronics is much closer to the European approach, however,
because it compels the manufacturers to internalize these costs on their
balance sheets. The companies, not the consumers, will either pay
pound-for-pound for recycling their worn-out products or do the work
themselves. Either way, the cost pressure is on them to reduce waste and
harm – a concept known as 'extended producer responsibility.'...
breakthrough exists in a consortium of legislators from ten Northeastern
states. The consortium members are developing a model state law based on the
Maine example. If they get it right, we could see rapid political advances
at the state level."
- from a Nation
article by William Greider
27 December 2005
and shame, says the allegory, were at first companions, and in the beginning
of their journey inseparably kept together. But their union was soon found
to be disagreeable and inconvenient to both; guilt gave shame frequent
uneasiness, and shame often betrayed the secret conspiracies of guilt. After
long disagreement, therefore, they at length consented to part forever.
Guilt boldly walked forward alone, to overtake fate, that went before in the
shape of an executioner: but shame being naturally timorous, returned back
to keep company with virtue, which, in the beginning of their journey, they
had left behind."
This passage from The
Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver
Goldsmith demonstrates that in the 18th Century, common wisdom was
already aware of a central human truth that we have come to think of as
Freudian: the most virtuous among us are haunted by guilty feelings
about our shortcomings, while those who perpetrate great misdeeds are
usually well-defended against feelings of responsibility for the
consequences of their actions. It is upon people in the first group,
among whom I number all the readers of this web page, that devolves the
responsibility for preserving our humane social institutions against the
ravages of those in the second.
26 December 2005
thought may thrive,
So fades the fleshless dream;
Lest men should learn to trust
The things that seem.
So fades a dream,
That living thought may grow
And like a waxing star-beam glow
Upon life's stream –
So fades a dream.