The Dalai Lama & The Mouse

Was in Tucson today, went to see the Dalai Lama.

It's always good to see him - he's surrounded by really nice people and I always enjoy seeing them as well. Today he was hosting an interfaith conference, with a Catholic Bishop, a Protestant Minister, an Imam and a Rabbi. I know, it sounds like the start of a joke, but it was interesting to hear everyone talk about compassion.

The Protestant Minister - his name escapes me, told a very cool story, which I'd like to post here.. it went like this:

This Minister was camping in the woods about 12 years ago, up in canada, and about day 9 he was meditating (a protestant minister who meditates; cool!) and he was suddenly aware of a sound behind him. He looked back and saw a mouse coming out of his backpack of food. He said his first reaction was to freak - he needed to kill that mouse, and get him out of his food supply. He saw him scamper under a leaf and into a hole. Then after thinking about it for a minute - he's a minister after all, he changed his attitude, then thought, "You know what I'm going to share some of my food with that mouse and make a little mound of food so we can both have it."

So he went over to the mouse hole and knelt down, put a little food out, and said a little prayer 'Here you go mouse, I'm going to share this food with you, because you probably need it too." Then he went back to his perch and sat down to meditate some more. After some time went by, and he was deep in meditation, he opened his eyes and saw the mouse was sitting on his knee, looking at him.

True story.

So. What does that tell us about compassion? I thought it was pretty amazing. The Dalai Lama was as well.

Karl Rove - American Hero

Ah. The hero has finally come out of the closet. It turns out that the Deep Throat behind the outing of Valerie Plume, CIA agent, was none other than the brilliant man who ran George Bush's two campaigns. So we have this paragon of virtue to thank for using the Constitution as he sees fit, for the benefit of us all. I guess one could argue that Clinton's right hand man Dick Morris wound up in a scandal between the sheets, and in this case GB's right hand man has wound up with some serious poop on his hands. So, maybe it's a law not to out CIA agents. So what? Rove is quoted as saying "I never game her name." Well, most likely that's because he didn't know her name - didn't care to know her name - he was in the process after all, of trying to bury someone who had come out and spoken the truth about the fictitious reasons we went to war with Iraq. What part of the word treason isn't clear here? Our nation tries to impeach a President for lying about his sex life, how dare he!!! and now we have a Congress and a nation sitting on its hands - after all who cares about some CIA agent whose career was ruined? And the careers of all those people who worked with her, now under suspicion in the countries she worked in - hmm.. maybe even some of them executed? Could it be? But we have this hero - this Karl Rove, who will go down in history as the man who brought us George W. He obviously knows the President will never fire him - otherwise he wouldn't have told the reporter that he's giving his permission to reveal his source. Forget that the President said "whoever gave that leak will be fired" knowing full well who it was. Does anyone doubt that Karl Rove told George Bush before he told anyone else that he was behind the felony? Does anyone doubt what George Bush's response to that information was? "Whoever it was will be fired." That is, unless I change my hand. The nation's security is at risk. In fact, forget the Constitution, because I decide who is needed or not needed. Hmm. Are there any other lies that have been told to the American people in recent memory that come to mind? There's an old saying about "you get what you deserve;" in the case of the American public, we certainly are getting it in spades. Hail Karl Rove. The untouchable American hero, who as an example to our children, will do anything to get elected, anything to crush his enemies, including treason - well, maybe just a felony - because after all it's not how you play the game - it's how you win the game. Democrats will wring their hands and cover their heads, because secretly they wish they had a Karl Rove on their team who would do anything, just anything to win. A shining example to all those other nations that we excoriate for human rights abuses, for corruption - when we dare not look in the mirror.


Deep Throat

Most people don't remember what it was like to have a liar in the White House. I was a little kid when Nixon went on t.v. and lied about his dog Checkers, I was too young to understand what he was lying about, but I saw it on his face when he debated Kennedy. Of course I was too young too understand what the hell the fuss was about, but later, when I got to know Nixon, I could see in those debates the face of a liar. It's something you can sense, like the hairs going up on the back of your neck. So now we have the outing of the most famous deep background source in the history of modern journalism. Like having a guy in Pontius Pilate's suite, willing to spill the beans. What was his motivation? Well the articles make it seem like he was proud of the FBI and extra proud of Hoover who he went to personally to beg for a better position in the agency. Question is, was Hoover wearing pumps and a dress when he went to him? I mean, here's another first class creep, Hoover, the man in drag who is out there hunting down Martin Luther King, trying to smear him so he'd have power over him.. Certainly there's a motivation in there somewhere for Deep Throat to go after Nixon - but who'll ever know? It's not like Deep Throat at the age of 91 can sit down and remember his thoughts on the matter. But back to Nixon - Larry King was replaying some of Nixon's tapes - and we hear him saying "It's a Jew thing, right? I mean is the guy a Jew or not? It must be a Jew thing." and "I can't believe Hoover put a ****ing Jew in there!" even though Deep Throat was Irish. Oy vey. God bless the Presidency. A paranoid creep of the first order. And Pat Buchanan and Gordon Liddy being trooped out to sneer thatDT did a disservice to his country.. hmm.. so the creepy bigot could stay in the White House? There was a poll today that said the majority of young people think DT should have kept it to himself. Well I was alive when Nixon sent people off to die in Vietnam for no reason.. When our country hunted down and napalmed thousands, hundreds of thousands of innocent people who were in the midst of their own Civil War. If anyone bothered to notice, Bob MacNamara, the man behind the logic of the Vietnam War, has come out publically and admitted he, and the entire country, made a mistake. If he'd realized that Vietnam was fighting their own Civil War, and now the Cold War as was thought, we'd never have gone there. I was alive when Nixon used the office to hunt down and hound private citizens using the CIA, and the IRS.

I'll tell ya, I get the same creepy feeling when I see the four horsemen of the Apocalypse on t.v. - Dick Cheney calling Amnesty International offensive, he's got to be the most offensive VP we've ever had, George Bush talking about "dis-assembling," that it's the terrorists who are claiming abuse, when the FBI and the Red Cross have already gone on record saying the same things Amnesty Intl said about Guantanamo - and today it comes out that US soldiers "kicked the Quran" ("Hey Billy, let's go play kick the Quran, instead of Kick the Can" - and threw balloons filled with piss at the detainees, sometimes drenching them and their Quran's with pee. You've got to be kidding me. Balloons filled with piss? this is how we extract information for detainees? Has anyone in the military actually read "The Art of War?" It repeatedly says that the captured soldier is the only conduit to information and they should be 'treated better than your own soldiers' to obtain information. Then there's Don Rumsfeld on t.v. saying that the offenses he authorized at Abu Grhaib and I"m sure in every other detention center.. we're inconsequential, miniscule in the overall scheme of things.. Scheme is the right word. So what's a little torture, when the biggest lie in our lifetime has been swept under the rug in the name of patriotism, or the patriot act? Wolfowitz was the fourth horseman, but fortunately he's been put out to pasture. Ten years from now, when the country swings back the other way - kicking out the old and restarting the new (and then will swing back again the other way, if you're a student of history) people will look back on our era and wonder why the Prez wasn't chased out of office like Nixon for his lies. The answer is; because there is no Deep Throat out there. No one who will sneak around in dark corners and blow the whistle on the creeps that are running the store. Oh, and just to put it in perspective, a few days after I wrote a letter that was published in a national newspaper critical of the Bush administration I was hit with a tax audit. Who says the times have changed?


Always Connect

Always connect...

Ishmael Merchant died this week. He was 68. They say he died from a 'burst ulcer' - didn't know that you could die from that. They packed him up in a box and flew him back to Mumbai, where he was from. They said his box went to the house of a friend. Well, Ishmael was gay - I hope it went to the house of his best friend or lover, or whatever. But of course that's not in the article. Not that it should be - just noting the non mention - and that whenever you read the paper, if you read between the lines, you always get a bit closer to the truth. Truth is I met him once - at a dinner in Cannes, one of those fabulous affairs, where everyone is dressed to the nines and a waiter walks around with free champagne and cocktail treats until they seat you at a big table. Somehow I was at his table - he was wearing a big white caftan kind of thing - well there's an Indian name for it - maybe it was a white sari - and he was sitting next to some princess type - older woman, royalty blah blah blah. And I started chatting with him, not about movies, but about how unusual the Cannes experience is - because of time and place you wind up meeting people you never thought you'd meet, having conversations you never thought you'd have.. And he looked over at me, smiled and said "Always connect." I've thought about that since then - when I"m tired, trapped in some airport somewhere, waiting for my starbucks - impatient, in a bad mood, cranky, ready to take someone's head off for an incompetent move that cannot be tolerated at any.. and I stop and hear his voice and say outloud; 'How ya doin'? ' Of course since I'm from chicago, i can be forgiven for doing what all chicagoans do everywhere on the planet - 'how ya doin' is a universal greeting in chicago, usually followed by 'what high school did you go to?' friendliness for the sake of a laugh - finding some way to break the ice that surrounds us every day when we're out in the world. Or "what's up on your side of the counter today?" and you hear all kinds of tales.. I love to collect stories from people, they go into my work sometimes, and other times, I can see people lighten up physically just because I've taken the time to ask how they're doing. Or phone operators, who are bored out their minds - i'll ask "so where are you located now?" sometimes it's in colorado - atlanta, canada, even india... but just by taking that extra time to connect - 9 out of 10 times the transaction goes that much quicker, the outcome is that much more favorable, and the memory is that much happier. So, I salute you Mr. Merchant, and in your next life whatever it may be; may you always connect.

The Pope et al

Hmmm. Cardinal Ratzinger. Well, not that I was partial to my cousin, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, but I was a bit put off by this choice. A bit? Let me put it more succinctly - he's not longer the Panzer Cardinal; he's "The Panzer Pope." This is a guy who served in the Nazi Hitler Youth. Oh, there were extenuating circumstances I know - but has anyone bothered to read what his excuse was about serving in the Army? "I had an infected finger, so I never fired my rifle." Oh my. So one finger goes, the rest are not of any use? Anyone notice that he served some of his time in the army protected the BMW plant, working alongside prisoners from Dachau? Cheese Louise. Okay, forget for a minute that every one of his public stances lines up with the Nazi party - so he doesn't want women as priests, he doesn't want homosexuals in the church, he doesn't want married priests in his church.. hmm.. what's left? Gypsies? Forget for a second that he came out and said that Turks were not Christian enough to be considered part of Europe - shall we burn some of their books as well? Am I just missing the point? Didn't John Paul II spend time making Opus Dei one of his pet projects, and wasn't Ratzinger the choice of the OD fellas? I'm not paranoid. But I'm going to think twice about baptizing my next kid into this place - he actually said that the scandal of sex abuse in the church was 'limited to one percent of the priests' and that he felt the US media - anti Christian in its bent - was out to destroy the Church. Can anyone see the words anti-Christian media and not think of what's going on up in Capitol hill? So - here I am ranting from the relative anonymity of my blog. But the Pope should have known better - JPII that is - let's not forget the stories behind what happaned to JPI (check out the book at - In God's Name - published in England) - which happened to be the subject of Coppola's film: "Godfather III" - somehow all the critics, bent on critiqueing his daughter's performance, missed the point that FFC nailed the Church for it's complicity in the murder of JPI - basically following the facts outlined in the above mentioned book. There's some solace in the fact that an Italian professor once told me; "All American Catholics are Protestants.. they choose which dogma to believe and which to leave behind, which in essence, is Protestantism." Maybe he's right. I'm subscribing to Rantism.


What's up with moi

Okay, it's the middle of April. Taxes are upon us again. I'm sitting in an edit bay with the amazing Josh, who is cutting our Tibetan documentary.. a trip around Mt. Kailash with Buddha Bob. If you know who the Bob is, then you'll know what i'm talking about. It'll be finished in a week or so, touched up over the next month and hopefully released in the fall. Four weeks in Tibet - don't know what I'm going to call it yet, but soon.

Olivia is 19 months now, and little Romeo is due in August. Actually we haven't agreed upon a name yet, but since dad passed away this past year, and he was Romeo Charles, it sorta makes sense. Although I'm partial to Rich - since then he won't have to build a new blog. I can just will him the passwork, you know? Somehow I don't think he's going to care about blogs by the time he's 25.

Got to find a way to leave information for my kids - Just turned 50, when they're in their twenties, I'll be in my 70's, by the time they get to this amount of useless information in their brains, i'll be gone and won't be able to pass along any of my sageness.. or what the hell i've learned in this lifetime. and if you can't pass along some of that, what the heck are we doing here anyways? If we all lived a bit more along the lines of 'what am i going to leave for my kids, or my kids kids,' the world might be a different place. Might be.

So this is a place for musing, for bashing the current administration whomever it is, and generally for having some random thoughts. I'll try to keep up the good work as they say. Hello to all my pals who've found this blog.



Mt. Kailash, western Tibet Posted by Hello

Blog number one

Okay, Martini Man was taken. Martinia Mania taken. The Martini Shot was taken. Hmm.. maybe not. we'll have to check that one as well. if there's no more blogs from me, it's cause i went to the martini shot. be right back

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