To Be is fraught;
To InterBe is Not.

- a koan by gs
2021.09.28.v1 2022.02.16.v2 2023.10.29 v3 
Unaware of any prior art or author,
but inspired in part by Thich Nhat Hanh.

GS: Plaque image generated by Google Chrome AI search based on the quote as the prompt 2024.01.22

No Lotus, No Mud

Familiar Thich Nhat Hanh quote:
"No Mud, No Lotus"

But also TNH:
~No Lotus, No Mud~
3 minutes 48 seconds into this 9-minute TNH video on non-duality 2020.xx 

GS: Google AI generated image of lotus rotting back into the lotus pond Mud.


Everything shimmers with the deathlessness of Impermanence, Inter-Being, and Emptiness.  

-- grs 2022.06.12, 2022.12.05, 2023.09.29


Not just sensation
    (Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste, Smell, Mind);
Not just awareness;
Not just concentration;
Not just observation;
Not just recognition;
Not just communication;
Not just contact;
Not just interconnection;
Not just interaction;
Not just interrelation;
Not just interdependence.
We are not just separate entities interacting.
We inter-are (*).

In Interbeing, in the only, unbounded,
impermanent, ever-evolving present moment,
there is already no separateness.
in distance or time.

We are distinct, but without separateness.

Understanding that we 
are empty of a separate, free-standing self,
we begin to realize the path 
to end suffering caused by the delusion of separateness. 
in ourselves and all others.

- imho gs 

Sum of All Vectors

We are the evolutionary, statistical sum of all vectors.

How could it be otherwise?

We are not separate --
nor merely tenuously interconnected,
interrelated, interdependent.

Separateness is a painful delusion, 
like tiny islands forgetting
they are gigantic mountains whose peaks
just happen to barely peek above the water.

Mountains, whose tectonic roots
extend into the mantle,
that floats on Earth's molten core.

Just as Earth floats in an evolutionary, statistical sum of all vectors,

We inter-are.

How could it be otherwise?

-- GS 2022.06.22

Apologies to Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawkins, Thich Nhat Hanh, Gil Fronsdal, Charles Darwin.

Fronsdal translation of the opening verse of The Dhammapada
"All experience is preceded by mind,
led by mind, made by mind ..." 

Multiple-Model-Dependent Realism
Stephen Hawking

Essential Workers

so much depends

these essential

hefting my red trash

heavy with rain

beside their white

gs -- 2020.11.21
Apologies to William Carlos Williams

Nature's Roomba and a Sleepy Time Machine

Tumbleweeds are Nature's Roomba

Sleep is Nature's time machine; fast forward only. 

Mindfulness of Ice

Stepping one foot forward
heedlessly into my ingrained memory of
a lifetime of previous uneventful steps,
i slip and fall on the ice
i was not present for.

- gs 2019.01.14
i'm OK :-)


On your birthdays you let me see what being one year older would be like, so that one month later, i would confidently follow you into my next age. I miss that a lot, but your gracious examples inform me still. Thanks.


Expanding Circles of Constant Kindness - Button

Lap Cat

Our cat yawns;
Swaps laps in the TV's glow.
Only now is life.
-- gs 2012.05.01

Belated Posting

OK. I'm way behind in posting here. But until i catch up, maybe there's something of interest to you in the sidebar menus. // be well

Face Breeze Now

Face flush
Breeze soft
Now cool
Now still
Now still

- gs 2010.01.10

Kitten Rescued in Crystal Plaza

This afternoon i saw this little hungry and thirsty kitten, who had been hiding from the hot sun under the entrance sign at Crystal Plaza for who knows how long.

After calling SPCA in Prince George's County, i caught it with a harm-free HavaHart trap; feed it and gave it water; and then delivered it for health care and, hopefully, adoption.

Creating The Now We Need

Outcomes? Yes, there will always be some kind of Outcome.
So, in this new moment i will humbly try to help create the Now we all need;
Patiently observing the arising Outcomes, without clinging or aversion;
And continue trying to help create each new, needed, ever-changing Now.

-- gs 2009.04.02

Mindful Wave

Arise, mindful wave!
Know that there is arising.
Who is arising?

Arise, mindful wave!
Absorb nearby momentums'
summing energies.

Arise, mindful wave!
Beware the heady self.
Take just what's given.

Abide, mindful wave!
Know that there is abiding.
Who is abiding?

Abide, mindful wave!
Experience follows mind,
Led and made by mind.¹

Abide, mindful wave!
Breathe. See clearly. Know what is.
Let go to be free.

Engage, mindful wave!
Know that there is engaging.
Who engages whom?

Engage, mindful wave!
Shaped by and gently shaping
Vast contingent seas.

Engage, mindful wave!
In high swells or flat water,
Be what's needed Now.

Abate, mindful wave.
Know that there is abating.
Who is abating?

Abate, mindful wave.
Pass on your life's momentums'
Lasting legacies.

Abate, mindful wave.
Profound equanimity.

- gs 2008.09.03/2008.10.12
See Mindfulness Metaphor - Wave - gs 2006.06.11

¹ This verse draws from opening verses 1-2 of The Dhammapada,
as translated by Gil Fronsdal:
"All experience is preceded by mind, Led by mind, Made by mind."

Related Reading :
The Dhammapada:
A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic With Annotations

Translated & Annotated by Gil Fronsdal,
with forward by Jack Kornfield

My Scion xB -- The Saga

Continued below...
It's so nice, i bought it twice THRICE.

Chapter 2 - Rude Awakening
Dec 4, 2008, i woke up to find that my 2004 Scion xB had been stolen -- leaving only a pile of glass from the left passenger window in my parking space.
It was one of the rare nights that i had not used my club-style steering wheel lock. I got a free unlimited mileage rental car and waited 21-days for State Farm to declare the car "unrecovered". January 5, State Farm declared the car unrecovered - total loss -- and using NADA prices, they paid us only $500 less that what we bought it for 13 months ago.

Chapter 3 - Deja Vu, xB [image coming]
Dec 25, 2008. It turns out my Dad's electric wheelchair will not fit in the Honda Fit -- we actually tried loading the wheelchair into Eliot's Honda Fit (last year, i had used just the wheelchair's measurements, not the actual wheelchair). There is plenty of room inside the Fit, but the hatch opening is just a bit too small and the wheelchair can't be tilted for loading the way i thought it could. So that left the tried and true Scion xB, but CarMax didn't have any local xBs with automatic transmission. Amazingly, after 9 pm Dec 25, CarMax Dulles, VA posted a 2006 Scion xB automatic. So from the CarMax web site i reserved a test drive at Dulles early Friday Dec 26 and Linda came, too. That 2006 Scion xB is every bit as nice as my old 2004, with a better radio (with auxiliary input jack on the console for an XM Radio or MP3 Player, etc) and only 26,000 miles (vice 80,000 on my 2004). So we bought it right on the spot -- the sticker price was $400 lower than the CarMax web site price. Laurel CarMax will "repair" the front windshield due to a crack in the driver's field of view, found during the delivery inspection.

Chapter 1 - Finding The Perfect Fit
Errata - See for EPA's revised MPG ratings -- not corrected here for hysterical reasons.

After almost buying a new 2007 or 2008 Honda Fit because the Fit gets 34 mpg and is bigger on the inside than on the outside (like Dr. Who's Tardis) so i can haul around Dad's electric wheel chair (36" high by 25" wide by 30" deep), i finally settled for a very much cheaper, but fully adequate 2004 Scion xB for its capacious cargo area. The 2004 through 2007 xBs get 34 mpg, but the 2008 xB gets only 28 mpg due to the xB switching to a Camry engine. The Fit and xB are the only two non-hybrid station wagons or SUVs that get such high mpg.

Anyway, i bought the xB on Nov 5, 2007 at CarMax Dulles, VA with the option to bring a credit union check in 3 days. Linda wasn't with me, so they drew up the contract and title under just my name, saying they could easily add Linda when i gave them the check in 3 days.

On Nov 6, 2007 I returned with Linda and the check -- oh, they said, we were wrong, we can't do that. So i had to officially "return the car" -- wait 15 minutes for the computers to catch up with that reality -- and then re-buy the car, with all fresh paperwork. No biggie, until we noticed that the credit union mispelled the payee CarMax on the check as "CarFax" . A quick call to credit union's 24-hour glass-enclosed nerve center resolved the problem -- following the credit union's instructions, i just corrected the spelling of the payee on the credit union check, added my initials, and voila.

On Nov 7, 2007 i called Laurel CarMax/Toyota to schedule the Maryland Safety Inspection required to get Maryland tags and they told me my VIN number was not a Scion xB but a Toyota Sienna and they would not do service on the car until that was resolved. Scion's "Customer Experience" center confirmed that the VIN is correct for my Scion xB. The problem was that someone at CarMax Laurel had typed in only the last few digits of the VIN instead of the full VIN, resulting in a false match to a Toyota Sienna VIN.

Dec 5, 2007 (Continued): Well, Maryland sent me metal license tags with a multi-purpose vehicle number xxxMxxx instead of a regular passenger car number, because somehow the title and registration say Toyota Truck instead of Scion 5-door Wagon. CarMax Dulles is retitling and re-registering my xB. They will ask for a passenger vehicle tag number but they don't hold out much hope for Maryland MVA correcting the Make and Style to Scion Wagon vice Toyota Truck.

Only two items needed correction during the 30-day warranty period. A missing plastic cap for the nut that holds on the rear window wiper, and the rear window itself will be replaced because the defogger heating elements were damaged. Otherwise the car is in fine shape and delivering 34-mpg as promised.

Dec 15, 2007 (Continued): Somehow, Karrin,
the title manager at CarMax Dulles, VA managed to intervene to get Maryland MVA to re-title, re-register, and re-tag my xB properly as a passenger class "Scion Station Wagon" vice "toyota truck". I have happily attached the new "substitute" metal tags to my xB.

Dec 29, 2007 (Continued): CarMax Laurel replaced the rear-window under the 30-day warranty, but i had to bring it back to fix a leak in the window seal. They also replaced the entire rear window wiper arm (including a new wiper blade) under the 30-day warranty. The wiper arm/blade unit is a Toyota/Scion proprietary design -- so you can't buy a replacement wiper blade anywhere. A Toyota/Scion original part replacement blade is $60 (vice $15 for a standard wiper blade). So far, this is the only aspect of my 2004 Scion xB that is not wonderful.

Lara Logan - Our unflinching eyes on war

It is sad for me to think that if it were not for the Daily Show, i might never have known about Lara Logan and her unflinching reporting on war.

and all the other Lara Logan clips on YouTube going back for a long time.

Heat Advisory June 8, 2008

Stepped out of my house
Into unexpected heat;
Fogged my glasses.

- gs June 8, 2008

Act Local, Save Global

Check out my list of opportunities to take personal action locally to save world civilization -- really !

My Photos of Free Burma Rally DC 2007.09.28

More photos at
Choose SLIDESHOW (upper left) OR click selected photos. Download photos with Picassa program OR use right-mouse click to SAVE selected photos (lower resolution).

Cheesy Flies

Each little fly buzzes persistently around my breakfast -- a source of untold disease. My plastic fork repeatedly waves off their ever circling descents toward the bright orange landing zone that is my daily cheese-topped scrambled eggs. They will be the death of me yet.

-gs 2007.07.29

Fountain of Youth

So, if there is a fountain,
From which they say youth springs.
I think, one might, to find it,
Begin again to notice little things.
-gs 1964
How did i forget that for so long?
-gs 2014

Anger & hatred aren't the answer either

On a napkin on my car windshield at Crystal Plaza ...

These are the offending bumper stickers ... Click image to enlarge

So, apparently, what that note really meant was -- It is not the U.S. Constitution and the peaceful rule of law, but rather wars (any wars?) that are what preserve our freedom of speech -- which we then apparently dare not exercise without risking aggressively angry verbal assaults, or worse, from those who may disagree with us on one point or another.

Of course i'm pleased that someone noticed -- who was even provoked to thought and comment by -- my intentionally pithy yet civil bumper stickers, many of which i authored.

But that disproportionately hateful reaction is exactly the kind of fear-fueled Assault on Reason that Al Gore writes about in his current book describing the fundamental human causes for -- and proposing some core human solutions for -- the precipitous decline in rational and civil public discourse and governance in America.

Yes, many -- but not all -- of Gore's examples are about the current very Un-Republican-like Bush administration. That is no surprise, given his own political perspective on that administration's very controversial unilateral actions leveraging unwarranted fears over ignored facts in order to take us into an unnecessary and costly war in Iraq. The Bush administration has raised many other serious constitutional questions relating to the loss of civil liberties, the separation of church and state, and others.

Surely, some Republican and Independent writers will soon, i hope, apply Gore's same critique to any uncivil and unreasoning far-out wings of Democratic Partisans, and any other irrational, hate-mongering zealots.

But is there anywhere any respectful, shared rational discussion trying to establish the actual facts of those matters and other important issues? Only rarely on TV, radio, and newspapers, and only recently beginning on the Internet and in all media only among very few elected leaders or superficial pundits, but not very much among us citizens who are supposedly governing this country through our representative democracy.

The logic of Gore's argument in The Assault on Reason is universal, because it is not about reasonable fact-based disagreements among partisans about particular issues, but about the very unreasonable ways we all, all too often, succumb to our worst human nature to collectively suppress reason and facts to try to gain emotional control of an issue for "our side" against "those others".

Moreover, there are many other non-political arenas, where the lack of shared commitment to rational discourse drastically impedes our finding solutions to important and urgent global problems that require fact-based consensus, such as the fight against AIDS, global poverty and poverty-based disease, genocide, gun violence, global warming, and yes -- the all too many constant, avoidable wars that kill and devastate so many millions of people.

Clearly war produces nothing worthwhile (much less freedom). War is just our civilization's all too frequent declaration of moral bankruptcy. Once commenced, war pursues its own agenda, enslaving everyone involved (including the so-called "masters of war") in its chain reaction of unremitting horror and senseless death. It is only peace (before or after war) that may bring about and sustain the conditions necessary for freedom. Even those who may argue that war is sometimes necessary to relieve intolerably inhumane circumstances, will acknowledge that initiating war is to be avoided at all costs less devastating than war itself -- and that war is the highest possible cost (in money, lives, morality and sanity). If we rationally did the math, we'd never go to war, because there are always less costly alternatives to war. It is our irrationality and impatience that goad us into war. This is not an argument against self-defense or mutual defense against an aggressor who has already initiated war against us -- but the objective must then be simply to end war by the least costly means that are effective, and continue hostilities only as needed to allow our survival and end the ever mounting carnage as quickly as possible, and not to perpetuate war for any other so-called "noble" purposes.

Drawing on the latest neuroscience, examples from history and recent events Gore explains why we frequently forget this rationally obvious understanding about war and other ill-advised policies. Fears, especially false fears that arise spontaneously as myths or that are manufactured and tailored to manipulate us, can suppress our ability to reason individually and together as a nation.

Meanwhile, the civil exercise of one's own individual reasonable freedom of speech in public, despite our constitutionally guaranteed rights, has always been a kind of personally risky freedom of navigation exercise, that is unfortunately constantly necessary to preserve that right (and all other rights) in the face of persistent uncivil intolerance or worse.

This rising tide of intolerance is extremely dangerous because it leads to repression of all of us by a small, extremely powerful ruling clique (masquerading as elected representatives of a "moral majority" -- which in reality is itself subtly disenfranchised), first within society, then ultimately by government, along the slippery slope from dysfunctional democracy to the inescapable depths of brutal tyranny.

Free Falling

Free falling.
Cat-like gyrations.
Feet first.
This time.

-gs 2007.07.05

Don Herbert; Mr. Wizard Of Children's Television

Let it not go without mention ...
"Don Herbert, 89, who as television's Mr. Wizard was for many years one of the nation's foremost popularizers of science, particularly noted for his ability to attract, inspire and hold the interest of children, died June 11 at his home in the Los Angeles area." Obituary (Washington Post June 13, 2007)

Thank you, Mr. Wizard, for many an inspiring Saturday morning.


There once was a goldsmith
Both clever and bold,
Who made crowns of brass not of gold.

Archimedes found out,
and gave out with a shout.
Eureka!, this crown's been Brasso'd.

- Winning entry submitted by GS to a monthly Brasso advertising jingle contest announced in the Army Times newspaper, in 1971 while stationed at Ft. Meade, Maryland, desperately awaiting ETS (expiration term of service) and return to civilian status. Truth to tell, i think every GI who sent in a jingle, got a "winning" $10 check from Brasso -- supporting the troops the old fashioned way -- with beer money.

In Defense of Wally

TO: Scott Adams,
I offer the following in defense of Wally. From his point of view, he's not irresponsibly unproductive -- he's responsibly conserving his ability to surge, however rarely necessary that may be. Why, i mean, there was one late afternoon just last year when Wally ...

Be well,
Garold Out-at-Five Stone, retired federal bureaucrat & former cubicle denizen

PS: Your Out-at-Five motto helped keep me sane before i pulled the rip cord. Thanks.

Erroring On The Side of Compassion

Thanks to Joe Murchison for sharing his personal quandary and insights about giving to beggars ("Panhandlers offer parents a perfect teaching moment," Jan 18). It is indeed sometimes, but not always, hard to tell the frauds from the truly needy. Here's what I do -- your own mileage may vary.

If they are not an obvious fraud, I choose to err on the side of compassion by giving them a food gift certificate from a nearby restaurant -- McDonald's or whatever. I know certificates are converted easily into cash or traded for addictive substances, but that is an autonomous choice made by the recipient.

On a related subject, when I closely questioned the Prince George's Homeless Hotline (301-864-7140), they said that the rules they have been given to work under do not permit them to provide any services (and they have no other government or private social service referrals they can make) to "homeless" people who can not prove they have a PG County "home address." Let that sink in.

Then they told me that the D.C. Homeless Shelter (800-535-7252) will take anyone without any residence requirement (which I confirmed).

Of course, that is literally cold comfort this winter for those who find themselves "homeless" without a home address in Prince George's County.

Garold Stone

Laurel Leader, Letters, January 26, 2007

Act Now to End the War January 27

On Saturday, January 27th, between 1-4 pm, the Buddhist Peace Delegation and Buddhist Peace Fellowship will march on the D.C. Mall as part of a larger rally, "Act Now to End the War" organized by United for Peace and Justice, a coalition of more than 1000 religious and secular groups. Children and families are especially welcome. There will also be a Meditation and Teach-in the night before, Friday, January 26th, 7-9:30 pm, at Foundry United Methodist Church, 1500 16th St, NW (at P St, near the DuPont Circle metro stop on the Red Line). For more information, see

Let's At Least Say Thanks

Considering all that our military personnel sacrifice personally to serve our country, whether they are actually protecting our country or whether while in military service they simply professionally carry out the various missions assigned to them by our country's leaders, wise or unwise, please let us remember their humanity and consider saying at least "Thanks" once and a while, especially over this holiday period when they are separated from their families.

One way is at where a card with children's art and your message (selected from suggested wording or written by you) will be sent to military personnel overseas (not just in Iraq).

Thank you for your service, away from your home, family and friends, missing so many holidays, personal celebrations, and just being together -- I thank you for your personal sacrifice. I also thank you for your professionalism in such volatile circumstances. May you have good health, clarity of mind and the courage you need to be successful in the very difficult and often very dangerous mission that our country's leaders are giving you to accomplish. Please be safe over there and come back to us all very soon. -- Gary Stone, Laurel, MD

"What, then, are we to do?" (*)

What, then?
What them?
Want them?
What end?
Want's end!
One tent.


(*) This enduring question is asked in various ways in:
-- The Year of Living Dangerously (film),
-- What Shall We Do Then? Leo Tolstoy
-- Luke 3:10-11.
-- Lotus Sutra.

This form of morphemic transformation is familiar to many of us from our childhood as "the telephone game", except that in that game all we get is the original sentence and the final version -- the intermediate sentences are not revealed -- supposedly as a dramatic admonition to children against gossip and later in self-improvement seminars to demonstrate the poor results of trying to communicate unilaterally without feedback.

Here, I'm using an experimental technique that i'll call progressive morphemic transformation (PMT). I follow intuitively (not procedurally) a non-linear, possibly looping, path of small, incremental phonetic changes that reveal the morpheme-space contiguous to the morphemes in the original phrase and in the subsequently encountered phrases -- in hope of serendipitously discovering meaningful insights, without forcing a path to some predetermined target phrase.

i have no idea if this technique has any relationship to any other use of the term "morphemic transformation", but after a quick google search, i found that it is a "creative constraint" possibly akin to what is described in this Journal article by Colin Symes; Mosaic (Winnipeg), vol 32, 1999, Writing by Numbers: OuLiPo and the Creativity of Constraints

Currently reading :
Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness
By Jon Kabat-Zinn

"Enemies" Don't Join You - Duh!

The logic is syllogistic in its simplicity and conclusiveness:

Parties grow by others joining.
Your "Enemies' don't join you.
Therefore, stop treating opponents as "Enemies".

... Duh !

This is not Pollyanna thinking -- It is Strategic!

Please consider my reasoning.

People bemoan the current "extreme polemics" of American politics -- Reds versus Blues -- each side looking for a slimmest possible majority, so it can slam-dunk legislation to impose its own uncompromising world views.

IMHO, neither the Democratic nor the Republican Party will ever again grow large enough to win enough elections to for very long occupy the White House, the Congress, install compatible Justices on the Supreme Court and throughout the judical system -- And cetainly Not IF we each continue to treat our opponents as "Enemies".

It is WE (our party, which ever that may be) who put THEM at that opposing pole, by not engaging them frankly and respectfully while defending and promoting our core personal values, even when they are acting in ways that do not "deserve" our respect. The concepts of "deserve" (good or ill), "should", "must" and even "compliment" and "reward" are fundamentally coercive, and thus ineffectual methods of persuasion.

Much worse, is when we make "enemies" of those who are not really very far from us along the political spectrum.

All that "enemy" making just triggers their individual and collective immune response. No one responds well to being told that they are "evil".

In the words of Korean Great Zen Master (Dae Soen Sa) Seung Sahn

"You make, You have." short for "You make problem, You have problem."

In this case: You make enemy, You have enemy.

Not until you think of them as your enemy are they really your enemy.

They are just people with differnet ideas -- maybe different ethics -- but not your own personal "enemy" unless you want to ban them and everyone like them Forever from your circle -- Enemies don't join. Where else will new joiners come from? Duh!

I am not arguing for the moral equivalence of all political views. I am arguing for the kind of human-to-human respect necessary to convince others to genuinely and voluntarily agree with us or find a livable compromise until we do find where we can agree.

And along the way, our opponents, treated not as our enemies, will let us get close enough to find more common ground on the really big issues where slam dunk majority legislation of uncompromising world views just makes matters worse for every one, immediately and in the long run.

A good book on this subject is Non-Violent Communication (2005) by Marshall Rosenberg.

Fishing Hookless

Lure in the water,
with no kind of hook at all.
Fish bites ----------------------------------------------- i tug.
-gs 2007.07.10
More about Fishing Hookless

Haiku Form & Formless

Five Syllables and
seven syllables and then
five more -- Haiku.
-gs 2004.03 @ NBP-1

Mindfulness Metaphor - Wave

Engage, Mindful Wave,
Shaped by and gently shaping
Vast contingent seas.
-gs 2005
-gs 2008.06.11 Arise vice Abide
-gs 2008.09.04 Abide vice Arise, Gently vice Briefly
-gs 2008.10.12 Engage vice Abide; Vast vice All
See Mindful Wave 2009.02.15

re: "The Jewish Mistress"

From: [Me]
To: [My Friend]

re: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: "The Jewish Mistress"

Dear Friend,

It is always good to get email from you ... even when you are only forwarding a "joke" that just came to you over the internet (below).

Please let me share with you what came to my mind when i read it and why i feel strongly that it is not "just a joke". And, of course, i'd also like to hear what you think about it.

Why is it "a Jewish couple"? -- Why not simply "a wealthy couple", which they obviously are.
Why is it "The Jewish mistress"? -- In the joke, she is not identified as Jewish.

Why is it that the mutual friend has a Jewish name, "Morrey" [in another version he's "Moishe"]? -- Why not another name, such as "Joe".

This "joke" is seemingly innocuous -- but it is overtly anti-Semitic -- not to mention misogynistic. Every carefully crafted sentence plays on ages-old negative stereotypes of Jews. We all know those stereotypes and many of them are implied in that joke. Knowing that, we need to look inward and ask, "What devious trick has the hateful author of that joke played on us to make it seem funny to us, at first reading at least, even for us who do not hate Jews?"

Such hateful stories should be dying embers from the last Holocaust. Sadly, instead, they are kept glowing with each retelling -- and these days with each forwarded email -- until someday, adding their residual heat along with other seemingly innocuous but hateful ideas, they help ignite bolder flames of hateful action, which grow and spread until they explode into the next "Krystallnacht" and the next Holocaust.

The hateful author of that "joke" has "freedom of speech". But we each also have the freedom to choose to let such hateful embers die, by not spreading them farther. Or we can choose to pass them on so they can again immolate millions of people.
I choose life.

For a less metaphorical, more scientific explanation of the evolutionary spread of ideas (dangerous and beneficial), see

And for comparison with the anti-semitic joke below, here is a link to a "good" Jewish joke.

Be well, and Please Stay in Touch,


From: [My Friend]
To: [Me]
From: [A Friend of My Friend]From: [A Friend of a Friend of My Friend]From: [A Friend of a Friend of a Friend of My Friend]

Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: "The Jewish Mistress"

A Jewish husband and wife were having dinner at a very fine restaurant when this absolutely stunning young woman comes over to their table, gives the husband a big open-mouthed kiss, then whispers in his ear that she'll see him later, winks, and walks away.
The wife glares at her husband and says, "Who was that?"
"Oh," the husband replies casually, "she's my mistress."
"That's the last straw," says the wife. "I've had enough! I want a divorce!"
"Well, I can understand that," replies her husband, "but remember this: if we get a divorce it will mean no more shopping trips to Paris, no more wintering in Barbados, no more summers in Tuscany, no more Jaguar in the garage and no more yacht club. So, the decision is yours."
Just then, a mutual friend enters the restaurant with a gorgeous babe on his arm. "Who's that woman with Morrey?" asks the wife.
"That's his mistress," says her husband.
"Ours is prettier," she says.

April 30th D.C. Rally To Stop Genocide in Darfur

Join our rally in Washington, DC on April 30th, 2006.

The Rally to Stop Genocide will feature leading voices in the effort to stop the genocide in Darfur, including a broad spectrum of prominent faith leaders, political figures, human rights activists, celebrities, and survivors of genocide.

Take action: sign up today for the Rally to Stop Genocide.

Who, What, When Where?
Click here for the latest Rally Fact Sheet.

Confirmed Speakers and Entertainment

Because the Darfur genocide Crisis is spiraling out of control and spreading.

Directions to Rally
Directions for Bus Parking and Metro Transportation
Metro Directions
Map of Rally Area
Printable Rally Flier
Suggested Sign Slogans

Information for Special Needs/Disabilities


Send Tony Blair a Christmas Card - End Poverty !!

Send a Christmas Card in your own words to Tony Blair, encouraging him
to continue in 2006 to lead world-wide efforts to end global poverty.

Voting is a fundamental right, not a mere privilege

As printed in Letters to the Editor in the Laurel Gazette, Dec 14, 2004

Thanks for the excellently researched Dec. 2 article, "Voting machine opponents report notes election troubles."

In that article, a local election judge was quoted saying, "Voting is a privilege, not a right."

Voting is most certainly not a mere "privilege" -- it is the most fundamental right of each citizen in a democracy.

In the Maryland State Constitution, the Declaration of Rights, Article 7 states: "That the right of the people to participate in the legislature is the best security of liberty and the foundation of all free government; for this purpose, elections ought to be free and frequent; and every citizen having the qualifications prescribed by the constitution, ought to have the right of suffrage."

Those "prescriptions" are given in Maryland State Constitution Article 1 Elective Franchise, which states: "Every citizen of the United States, of the age of 18 years or upwards, who is a resident of the state as of the time for the closing of registration next preceding the election, shall be entitled to vote in the ward or election district in which he resides at all elections to be held in this state."

The constitution goes on to enumerate procedures for orderly registration to enable "the right of every person, thus registered, to vote."

The word "privilege" does not appear anywhere in the Maryland State Constitution relating to the voting franchise.

Any statement or action, intentional or inadvertent, which might downgrade our precious right to vote to a mere privilege must be resisted with every fiber of our being.

In such an alternate universe where voting would not be every citizen's right, who would decide who is privileged enough to vote?

The purpose of voter registration is to ensure free and fair elections in which all citizens exercise their fundamental right to vote.

When procedures for registration and voting are misconstrued by those in power as privilege-granting exercises, they serve only to prevent all citizens from voting.

Garold Stone, Laurel

So-called Intelligent Design is Not Science

Ours is a pluralistic society, with wise constitutional protections against government-sponsored establishment of religion -- and for freedom of individual expression of belief.

It is, therefore, an egregiously evil breach of mutual repect, civility and the law for any one religious group (majority or miniority) to try to force its own religious views (mainstream or extreme) on the rest of society by trying to take control of government institutions or government-sponsored activities, such as public schools, which serve all Americans of all religious and non-religious beliefs. Such behavior is just plain selfish.

On December 20 the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania issued a ruling against the Dover [PA] Area School District policy of teaching so-called Intelligent Design in public school science classes and trying to discredit the scientific validity of evolution theory -- for religious reasons.

That ruling is a benchmark in our understanding and practice of the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state.

The court's Memorandum Opinion establishes legal precedent only in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. But it offers extensive fact finding and legal analysis (far beyond that quoted here) which will significantly inform any litigation elsewhere regarding any attempts to teach so-called Intelligent Design in public science classes.

This post provides two relatively short quotes from the court's full 139-page Memorandum Opinion, which fully and fairly characterize the ruling:
  • The court's summary conclusions as to fact and law.
  • The court's order.

Here is the court's conclusion (QUOTE):

The proper application of both the endorsement and Lemon tests to the facts of this case makes it abundantly clear that the Board’s ID Policy violates the Establishment Clause. In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.

Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false. Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general. Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs’ scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.

To be sure, Darwin’s theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions.

The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.

With that said, we do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.

Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.

To preserve the separation of church and state mandated by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Art. I, § 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID. We will also issue a declaratory judgment that Plaintiffs’ rights under the Constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have been violated by Defendants’ actions.

Defendants’ actions in violation of Plaintiffs’ civil rights as guaranteed to them by the Constitution of the United States and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 subject Defendants to liability with respect to injunctive and declaratory relief, but also for nominal damages and the reasonable value of Plaintiffs’ attorneys’ services and costs incurred in vindicating Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.

Here is the court's order (QUOTE):

1. A declaratory judgment is hereby issued in favor of Plaintiffs pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201, 2202, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 such that
Defendants’ ID Policy violates the Establishment Clause of the First
Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and Art. I, § 3 of
the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

2. Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 65, Defendants are permanently enjoined
from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area
School District.

3. Because Plaintiffs seek nominal damages, Plaintiffs shall file with the
Court and serve on Defendants, their claim for damages and a verified
statement of any fees and/or costs to which they claim entitlement.
Defendants shall have the right to object to any such fees and costs to
the extent provided in the applicable statutes and court rules.

All items sold at my cost - no markup, no profit

Sign of the Times

This gas station in Burtonsville, MD on Route 198 just west of Rt.29 is one of the first gas stations in the Laurel, MD area to recently install electronically changeable gas price signs -- at ground level -- other than the very tall signs usually seen along the interstate where changing the signs mechanically would require dangerous climbing.

I'm told that there is another electronic sign at the Frederick, MD FREE STATE gas station, but that it didn't working very well when first installed.

Given the time it would have taken FREE STATE to decide to switch to new signs for its stations and design, manufacture and install them, the appearance of electronically changeable signs does not seem to be a direct consequence of the recent frequently changing gas prices due to gas shortages resulting from hurricane Katrina and Rita. But now it will certainly be more convenient to change prices than before.

It is interesting that the time-honored "9/10" cent, which is permanently painted on most gas price signs, is now also electronically changeable. Can "1/10" or "2/10" or even "1/5" cent gas prices be in our future?

For those interested in the technology, the numerals seem to be low power LEDs on a single-digit-at-a-time scan, as revealed by this photo taken at 1/1000 sec shutter speed to freeze the scan.

End AIDS March Through Laurel Nov 3

About 30 very enthusiastic AIDS activists marched briskly south on Route 1 today, right past me as i sat in the Silver Diner, on their way to overnight in College Park. Tomorrow, they will walk the final leg of their journey on foot from the Lincoln Tunnel in NYC to the Lincoln Memorial in D.C.. There they will begin four days of action to END AIDS.

I walked with them for a few minutes and took pictures for their web site before returning to my lunch.

For more information about this kick-off event for a sustained campaign to once-and-for-all end the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. and around the world, and how you can participate, see

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Exxon Gas Station at intersection of Rt. 198 eastbouond and Rt. 1 southbound Oct 28, 2005

All the more reason to check Laurel/Betlsville gas prices at this link or for any city at with links to other sites for gas prices in other states.

A Day for Darfur Rally at White House Sep 8, 2005

I just got back from a day at a rally of over 800 people at the White House, which was part of a nation-wide "A Day for Darfur" to bring more attention to the still unrelenting Genocide in Darfur. Pictures from the rally. Background on Darfur. Darfur updates and
What you can do right now to help.

I didn't realize until i got there that a big part of that event was asking people like you and me all across the country to call the President and ask him to take immediate action to stop the Sudan government's genocide and violence against people in Darfur. Over 400,000 people have been killed and over 2 million have been displaced. The genocide and violence will continue until the African Union troops are allowed to intervene with force to prevent Sudan government troops and Sudan government-supported Janjuweed irregulars from killing and raping Darfurians and burning down their villages. Right now all the AU forces can do is observe and report the genocide and other atrocities because they do not have enough troops and they do not have a legal mandate to take any forceful action to protect the people of Darfur.

Even though that day for calling the President has passed, you may still consider taking this simple action soon -- call the White House comment line (202) 456-1111 to leave a brief recorded message for President Bush -- the White House comment line opens at 9 am and closes around 4 or 5 pm Eastern Time.

Or if you prefer, send an email to

The goal for "A Day for Darfur" was
a lot of calls -- but please just do which ever you can.

Here is an example of the kind of message that the President needs to hear (so he can see the rising concern about Darfur by Americans of all political persuasions across the country).

Mr. President:
Thanks for being the first world leader to declare one year ago, that what is taking place in Darfur is truly Genocide. But Genocide still continues there today, with over 400,000 killed, over 2 million displaced, thousands raped and most villages, crops and food supplies destroyed from burning by Sudan government troops and government-supported Janjuweed militias. Please take immediate action through the U.N. and NATO to send western forces to work jointly with the currently inadequate level of African Union peace-keeping troops in Darfur, with a mandate to use force to intervene to prevent this unrelenting genocide and other atrocities in Darfur.
Please now declare "Never Again -- Not on My watch." Please personally lead a coalition of nations supporting a global "Culture of Life", to stop this Genocide in Darfur now.

Something like that, or whatever your heart leads you to say.

You can contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives, too, but the focus of "A Day for Darfur" was on raising this Darfur Genocide on the President's agenda -- to let him know that it matters to more and more Americans every day. The Holocaust in Europe ... Genocide in Armenia ... Kosovo ... Ruwanda ... and now Darfur. All Genocide must stop now.

Thanks for considering what you might do.

Please pass this on as you may see fit, using this web link:

I'm keeping a public file of Darfur related news. To reach it on this BLOG click Topical Links then Darfur or you can bookmark/RSS

I compile a list of upcoming opportunities for action on Darfur or other Social Justice actions on this Blog under Social Justice Action or bookmark/RSS

Marriage of Jesse Stone and Rachel McLaren

On Sunday, August 20, my son, Jesse, married a wonderful woman, Rachel McLaren, from a wonderful family. I couldn't be happier.

Gary & Linda Stone, Jesse Stone & Rachel McLaren, Grace & Brian McLaren

Jesse's Mother, Linda, and our son Eliot (Jesse's Best Man)

Slow School Zone Project Resumes

To read and comment on this item on my Muirkirk Road News and Views Blog click here

Montpelier Elementary School Cross-walk Safety Beacon Failed on First Day of School

To read and comment on this item at my Muirkirk Road News and Views blog click here

Bush on Teaching Intelligent Design in Public Science Classes

I felt anger when i read about the President promoting
the teaching of "Intelligent Design" in public school
science classes.

But, if the purpose of Skepticism is to achieve for
myself, and promote in others, respect for reason and
reasoned argument based on empirically demonstrable facts
and well-tested theory ... then it behooves me as a
Skeptic to be not only passionate in defense of reason,
but at all times a REASONABLE person (equivocation
intended) ... in public where it shows and in private
where it forms habits ... and at a minimum ... on my part,
to eschew ad hominem attacks on others, even when --
especially when -- seemingly well-justified anger and
frustration well up within me. Often i will fail in that
effort -- but i should continue to try.

Else, i believe, skepticism will lose (fail to reach?)
the ethical and rational high ground it presumes to be
defending, because others will see Skepticism (in my
practice of it) as just another venally partisan and
selfish "special interest group".

When i compare these two statements from an Aug 3
Washington Post article, it is clear which one is easy
for anyone to dismiss out of hand and which one genuinely
advances the argument against ID.

1) Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), a leading liberal
lawmaker. Noting Bush's Ivy League education, Frank
said, "People might cite George Bush as proof that
you can be totally impervious to the effects of
Harvard and Yale education." [such examples cover
the political spectrum, of course, and the intended
audience is usually the partisan choir]

2) Bush's comments were "irresponsible," said Barry W.
Lynn, executive director of Americans United for
Separation of Church and State. He said the president,
by suggesting that students hear two viewpoints,
"doesn't understand that one is a religious viewpoint
and one is a scientific viewpoint." Lynn said Bush
showed a "low level of understanding of science,"
adding that he worries that Bush's comments could be
followed by a directive to the Justice Department to
support legal efforts to change curricula.

I'm both encouraged and cautioned by this excerpt from
Surowieski's The Wisdom of Crowds, page 76 large print
edition (last page of Chapter 2):

"Ultimately, [expressed] diversity contributes not just
by adding different perspectives to the group but also by
making it easier for individuals to say what they really
think." ... "Having even one person in the group who
felt as they did made the subjects happy to announce their
thoughts, and the rate of conformity plummeted."

The President's highly visible statements have made it
much easier for more people to express and act
(legislatively and otherwise) on their beliefs in ID.
As a Skeptic i need to become more visible in supporting
the teaching of evolution vice ID in public school
science classes, so that others will feel more comfortable
expressing their support for the teaching of evolution
vice ID in public school science classes.

I know how to do this, conversation by conversation,
letter by letter, email by email. I just need to get busy.

Muirkirk Rd De Facto Extension of ICC

I revised my previously posted message with this title and moved it to my new Muirkirk Road News and Views blog [now more broadly renamed "South Laurel Views"], which i just today created specifically to discuss the termination of the chosen ICC route at Muirkirk Road, and other topics relevant to local communities along Muirkirk.

To read it, click here