Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Two Trees, Two Shadows

Two Trees, Two Shadows by Kim Mosley, 1980

In the old days, I'd take pictures on my walks. Then I'd come back to my studio and paint on them. Now I sit and look at a wall. Tell me, Avalokiteshvara, which is more productive? Oh... this piece is being auctioned at and for the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, N.Y., where I studied in the 70s and exhibited in the 80s. Email me (mr@kimmosley.com) if you wish to bid on it and I'll give you more info.

Last day for bandage.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Illuminated Feeding Doe / My Shady Past

I found this at Goodwill. It reminded me of http://www.wimp.com/kineticsculpture/ 

And then, at dinner, I heard about a Texas who shot a buck he saw on the side of the road "because he couldn't help himself." He received a big fine because it was not hunting season.

I'm investigating some of my more shady past. Fascinating to hear about something all your life and then, thanks to the digitizing of newspapers and some energetic relatives, finally to be able to read about it. I'm sure, if I had any pride, I'd keep this all a secret. But I guess I don't.

So here it is: Sam Sax, Arson Trust

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tomorrow will be a calm day, won't it?

Finally today, on the second try, got to speak to the help desk. Presto, I was monkeying with the printer while I was waiting and the darn thing fixed itself. I basically couldn't claim any issues except that their printer was a piece of junk and I've spent more time on it than any other printer in any of my lifetimes.

There was an issue with a cartridge from OfficeMax that was showing 20% full, so I exchanged it for another which was also 20% full so I asked to exchange it for another, but by Brother rather than remanufactured. This one also measured 20%. I didn't think I should pay any more for the third cartridge and they did... so I called the district manager and he told them to give it to me. I did finally figure out that it was the printer, and not the cartridges that only 20% full... so I called OfficeMax and told them I was wrong.

Then tonight a full-moon ceremony to celebrate the full-moon, the end of the Chinese New Year celebration, and last, but not least, a renewal of vows. We talked about "no anger" which was hard for me because I'm not too good at anger... though I do get angry sometimes when I'm talking to a recorded message and they don't stop and listen. My wife asked me why I was yelling. It was pretty funny... and sad.

Tomorrow will be a calm day, won't it?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Eureka and Sisyphus

Some of you have heard of the myth of Sisyphus, the original existential hero, who angered the Gods when he begged to come back to earth for a short visit... and then refused to return to the afterlife.

Today my job was to call computer companies, and just when they were able to help me on a couple of issues, the iPhone would drop the call. I'd hold for about 10 minutes, then be told that I needed a Mac specialist. Then another 10 minutes. If I was lucky, I would start a conversation with the Mac specialist. If I wasn't, I'd be dropped after another 10 minutes.

Though most of this holding on occurred in the office of a Zen temple, I was not in a Zen mood, nor were the two priests in the room, one of who needed me to be done with my task. They were talking in their normal (somewhat loud) voices, and I was trying to understand people whose second language was English.

Finally I tried another solution and it worked. Yea! It is not my favorite solution, but, by God, it works. So tomorrow I can go look at ART and hopefully all will be happy.

Yea. I was much luckier that Sisyphus, who was given an eternal job as punishment of pushing a boulder up a hill each day, only for the boulder to fall down each evening. Hope no boulders will be at the bottom of the hill tomorrow.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Zen Dilemma

Saturday I heard a dharma talk, where the speaker said that if we saw things clearly, we would see them "as they are." I've mentioned before that Suzuki called this, "as it is." At first his students, confident in their native English tongue, would correct him. But he would insist, "as it is." To me, this designates that there is only one thing, and therefore "it" is the correct word.

In any case, I wondered if a number of people all looked in the same direction and all saw things as they are (or as it is), would they all see the same thing? I asked the speaker. He didn't think so. I also wondered if they would make art if they got rid of their ego. He said, no, he didn't mean that and sometime he'd give a talk about why the ego is good. There is the story about all these photographers who photographed the same mountain from the same vantage point and all the photos looked completely different.

So we have the world we construct, and then we have the world we see when we are not constructing. How can it be that we'd all see the non-constructed real world differently? What would account for the differences?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Stepping Out on my Wife

She's out of town so I'm at Pokejo's. Some of you might wonder what happened to my vegan sensibility. Well, it has been diminishing. First there was the rationalization that the meat eats veges, or eats animals that eat veges, so when you eat meat you are really just eating veges.

Then, not quite satisfied with that as an excuse, I decided that I could eat meat if I was sensitive to the fact that these creatures had give their life for me (as Christ did?). But soon I was enjoying the meat and forgetting about the compassion.

Later I was noticing that I was feeling better eating meat. Is that why the Dalai Lama's doc prescribed meat for his patient?

And tonight my wife and I went to dinner, and I had a vege bento plate (salad, vege tempuri, brown rice, vege egg rolls, and miso soup. Yum! I had been a little sick of the vege stuff... and needed a break. Glad she's back home (wife and veges).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Trigger Thumb Surgery

Hand is identified.

Surgeon signs his work. Before cutting, but after the numbing shot.

Voila! It bends.

He said it works 3000 out of 3000 times. So far, so good... yea!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Two-timing Tabby, Facing the wall, and Thich Nhat Hanh

As I ponder whether anything can be in two places at once, I received a couple of emails today, both to elists. The first was from the Rosedale (Austin) elist:
Are we sharing a brown tabby, neutered male, fourteen pounds? Sits like a buddha cat when grooming; mews rather than meows? Can't figure out how he could be so fat when you have him on a diet? I have a cat of this description who disappears some nights and some days, with no pattern to his comings and goings. Might he have been missing yesterday in the day time, but at your house overnight? Was your tabby home safe and sound the night last week when the rain storm blew in, but then disappeared the next morning to go missing in action during the snow storm? I know my cat is capable of such duplicity; he abandoned his previous owners from across the street and adopted us three years ago.

If you're suspicious your cat is two-timing you, contact me off list and we can compare cat notes.
and the second, from the Missouri Zen Center:
When you are facing the wall, it will not matter where you are."
Then at lunch, a priest talked about Thich Nhat Hanh, who is very difficult to visit, and who meditates 14 hours a day. She said that he doesn't see himself as somewhere, but rather everywhere. Is this what quantum physics is all about?

P.S. This was all spurred on by William, the scientist, who was in Canada when he witnessed my wedding in Peoria.

I just received an email from William, thanking me for the .pdf I sent him of the document he signed and said that he'd show it to his friends as evidence of his past life. He didn't explain how he could have signed it without being there. I'm assuming he decided that he was mistaken about being in Canada.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ruining the good with the bad.

Sometimes it isn't just good enough. She found a gentle skilled dentist to do a crown/root canal. She found out that she didn't need the root canal from his recommended endodontist, And he charged less than the old dentist. Good, right?

Then she discovered, too late, that she could have saved a little by paying by check instead of a charge card. Always ask if they give you a discount for a check if you can afford it. So what should have been a situation for great rejoicing was somewhat hampered by regret.

Is there ever a situation that isn't like this? What is that about? Just when you fall in love with a restaurant the priest tells you that he walked by and saw them sweeping the tables with a floor broom (I couldn't go back.) How many situations are like that? Something you know about someone that keeps you from liking them. Or you can't enjoy a donut (it was free too) because it had a lot of calories.

Are you just suppose to overlook the bad? Or not get attached to the good? I'm stuck... just realizing what a bad habit this is... and not knowing how to change.  Any solutions here?

Monday, February 7, 2011

I gave at the office...

So someone comes to your door asking you to give to United Way. You say, "I gave at the office." If the volunteer is a trusting soul, they will think you gave to United Way at the office. But suppose you meant it a little differently. Suppose you make bread. Is that giving at the office?

Yes, even if you only make bread to make money. You are performing a great service to humanity by providing people the opportunity for good food. Buddhists call this "right livelihood." See Jack Kornfield's description here.

The discussion about whether companies should be charitable is rather superfluous if the company is producing a good or service that benefits others (or even themselves). What might benefit others is open for interpretation. Though Michelle Obama (and Kim too) might disagree, some might determine that donuts benefit beings (perhaps by alleviating suffering). In any case, most businesses earn money by making our lives better. They are "charitable." No, it doesn't "hurt" them when they give. But why is that necessary? I'm thrilled that Apple makes an Iphone. Did they do it because they love me, or because they feel sorry for me? Of course not. It was just "greed." And I love them for it.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.

Some take this famous quote by Milton Friedman as "infamous." They think, how could anyone be so crass?  Is it ok to make a profit and pollute?

Friedman was not intimidated by these arguments. It is bad for profits to ruin one's reputation. And polluting would do that. His primary argument is that we usually become shareholders in a company so that we'll earn a good rate of return. When we want to give to charity, we do that as a separate action.

Here's a chart (from the Economist) showing how various countries chime in on Friedman's mantra. It was done by asking well-education high wage earners in each country.

I wonder (much more difficult to determine) what their actions would reflect. Often we don't do as we say we do.

If you'd ask Friedman about whether businesses actually benefit society best when when they make a profit, he'd nod to the affirmative, indicating that's the beauty of the free market. Goods and services are created, innovation occurs, jobs are created, and everyone is better off.

Happy 100 birthday, Ronald Reagan (who carried Capitalism and Freedom) in his coat pocket.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ms. Annie... Marriage on the Rocks again

Two days ago I was married to Linda, yesterday Ann, and then last night we decided it would be Ms. Annie. If people change, why shouldn't their names change too?

Then today I received an email from the one living witness. He said that he couldn't have been a witness because he hadn't arrived in Illinois from Canada until the next month in September 1969 (we were married Aug. 4th).

Today, in a dharma talk, the priest talked about how, in sub-atomic physics, a particle can be in two places at once. I'm assuming that, because we are made of particles, we too can be of two places at once.

My friend thinks he knows a lot about science. I know nothing, having barely passed most of my science courses. But I suspect that they (scientists) really know very little about anything. Every generation has felt that they understood and that the last generation did not. Why is that not still the case?

As they say, it is all a big mystery.

So now I'll send my friend a .pdf of the certificate that he signed and see if he'll change his mind about which country he was in 41 years ago. Suppose that he can prove that he really was in Canada. Then what will we do?

In case you haven't realized it, this is mostly about what do we really know (very little?). We take a whole lot on faith and on the accuracy of our memories. I did need to prove that we were married, and for now, that task has been accomplished unless my friend talks to the Austin officials.

Then our marriage will really be on the rocks.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Make a Plan and Watch God Laugh

So this guy was going to operate on my thumb this am, but the snow and ice were too much. So I'll either reschedule or cancel or postpone. They used to call me "jelly Mosley" because I'd change my mind so often. So we'll see. My thumb gets better on its own every day... so maybe I should wait.

When I made the appointment two weeks ago I would have never imagined not going because of snow. In fact, the nurse called this morning and said, "are you still coming." I hadn't looked out the window, so I said, "why do you ask that?" Then I looked and understood.

Think how minuscule my thumb is to Egypt's woes. Or you jam your toe, and someone else gets hit by a Molotov cocktail. Each is preoccupied with their disaster. Life is funny that way.

Last night I started calling my wife by her middle name (Ann). I thought that would celebrate our changing natures. Why should we not change our names since everything else about us change? Except maybe my "jellyness."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

If I were into anything more dangerous...

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=10859998734&topic=5460 talks about this particular type of pig. Is it something special? I don't know.

But the price is. 

I'm back to eating meat (and hating myself for it). It is so good though. I feel like I'm "led into temptation" or, as my mom said, "going to hell in a hand-basket." 

The price of the ham reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode where the man goes to sleep for 100 years, wakes up to realize that his stock has gone up 1000x. So then he calls his broker. (My memory is fuzzy... I know that the broker must be dead.) Anyway, he is told by the operator, "please deposit $1000 for the first three minutes." So his earnings were wiped out by inflation.

And then there was the movie, The Freshman, about a club for the elite that served exotic and endangered species. It was gluttony at its worst.

And tonight I heard that Suzuki Roshi, the San Francisco priest, would buy the bruised fruits and vegetables because he worried that no one else would.

I understand why Odysseus had the sailors tie him to the pole so he wouldn't lead the ship into the rocks when the sirens sang. I feel like I hear sirens when I smell great food. Glad I'm not into anything more dangerous. I'd be a goner. And glad I'm cheap, or I'd be eating ham for dinner.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A No-Brainer?

Ok, I admit it. My goal in life is to show how no brainers aren't. 

Being notified is a wonderful challenge for a software engineer. You could have an application on your computer that would monitor your usage and tell you how you are doing. I have an app on my iphone called "My Wireless" and I can change my plan anytime so I don't run over.

You might be thinking that most people are too stupid to use such a program. If so, it is only because we are doing too much protecting.

It is the same old slippery slope to tell banks and phone companies how they need to protect their customers. Are we going to tell stock brokers that people need 40% of their portfolio to be bonds? Probably not bad advice, but shouldn't someone have the right to take more chances?

Did I opt to take advantage of the debit card law that we have to be notified if we go over. Sure. If the damage is done I'll use it. I asked a banker a few years ago how come they can afford to give me a couple of hundred dollars  to open an account. He said that it was from the proceeds of people overdrawing their accounts.

I believe that having the information of one's balance is important. But it is dangerous to make this the government's role.


On Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 2:22 PM, a friend sent this email:
Consumers Union   

Dear Friend,

Forward this email to FIVE friends now!
Tell friends to lend their voice so they can be alerted before they go over their wireless plan limit.

Let's make sure the wireless companies hear us loud and clear!
We have 10 days to possibly change how your cell phone company does business – and save you some real money.

The deadline is looming for consumers like you to weigh in on a proposal to make wireless companies notify you BEFORE you go over your plan limits – helping end cell phone bill shock!

This 'no-brainer' idea could save you hundreds of dollars in overage charges, and give you control over your wireless bill. Let’s make sure the FCC hears by the Feb. 11 deadline from the tens of thousands of you who want to be alerted before you hit your plan limit, so you can decide what you pay.

Click here to send an email to the FCC now – then forward this to FIVE friends so they can do the same!

Overage charges add up – our September survey found that half of respondents who said they were hit with an unexpected bill paid at least $50 in overage charges. Consumer Reports calls the FCC's proposal to have companies send you a text before you go over-limit a “no-brainer that should be a snap for today’s sophisticated smart phones.”

Of course, the wireless industry is fighting this proposal tooth and nail. They even claim it violates the First Amendment because it’s “burdensome” for them to send you a text when your limit is near. Interesting, considering they now text you deals and offers tailored to your account. And the European Union recently started requiring similar alerts, and they appear to work well.

Add your voice to our FCC petition, and then tell FIVE friends to do the same!

It’s going to take a consumer tidal wave to counter the powerful wireless industry. Help us get the word out about this proposal by forwarding this message to at least five friends so they can add their voice by Feb. 11! The FCC will consider consumer input before making a final decision, expected in the next few months.

It’s time you – not the cell phone companies – had control over your wireless bill!

Parul Desai
HearUsNow.org, a project of Consumers Union
1101 17th Street NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036

Anatomy Lesson and Love