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 www.LetsSayThanks.com 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 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memetics

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

MORE at www.savedarfur.org

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