Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Wednesday, 2021.12.01
Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing; a confusion of the real with the
ideal never goes unpunished.

		Goethe

2006.08.29

Variation On A Theme No. 4,577,308,253 By God

The Spring and Fall are the best seasons to walk along my life long favorite trails. This evening it was the Highline Canal Trail. I’ve walked this trail since, well, since I could walk. It’s evening walks like these, alone with my thoughts, that I feel I could never live anywhere but Colorado.

But the walks are changing. Deep gashes are being hacked out of the land on either side of the trail to build colossal, five story buildings some people seem to need. Stranger still, they call them “homes.” Thankfully, they haven’t rubbed out nature yet.

As I walk, I can close my eyes and listen to the cicada and crickets, smell the woody fragrance of the aging cottonwoods and maturing sage and yarrow. Fall is imminent. When the breeze is just right, and the failing sunlight just so, I can even imagine Janet is walking along with me. At this moment, it would take a powerful force to pull me away from here. I feel the roots fading, however, as places exist in both space and time. The relaxing satisfaction of watching a sunset has been displaced by a deep sadness I cannot define just now. It’s a silence that has me listening for something. My sense is there will be a time when I must go and search for a new home.

All the more reason to enjoy this sunset. And so I did…

Sunset 1

Sunset 2

[Edit History]

2006.08.30

Grammar changes and expanded a few ideas.

Sweet And Friendly Room In Kilauea

Passing this along…

I can vouch for the peace and tranquility of this space offered by Eana Rose. The quality of her massage is also top notch and an excellent way to set the stage for your visit to Kaua’i. Eana was one of the Hula dancers for Janet’s Celebration of Life on Kaua’i.

Sweet and friendly room In Kilauea

Do you have friends or family visiting? Anyone you know need a place while on Kauai for a retreat, workshop or school?

I am offering temporary shelter in my home, in a sweet room set up for retreat, healing and inspiration. Available for a day or two a week or two or by the month. As well as a supportive environment for your own agenda on Kauai, you have access to a sacred temple setting for meditation, yoga or making conscious music. Sacred Hawaii Bodywork and Ayurvedic Massages available, access to Hula lessons and sacred dance, great space for art and writing, silent Vipassana meditation on Monday evenings. Visit my web site for a description of “Pu’uwai Ka Lani Retreat”. Please feel free to share this with anyone you know who wants a safe, sweet space to stay while visiting Kauai. Or anyone needing a “Space In-Between” longer term living arrangements. Mahalo, eana

For information, rates and availability contact:

Eana Rose

(208) 721-1677
(808) 828-0138

eana@nalinilomi.com

eana.rose@hawaiiantel.net
www.nalinilomi.com

2006.08.28

Fake But Accurate News: Alternative Science Community Protests Loss Of Planet Pluto

On August 24, 2006, the International Astronomical Union ratified a resolution that resulted in Pluto being reclassified as a dwarf planet. The decision was immediately contested by the alternative science community.

Sascha Boolkarinski, psychic, Ouija board expert and Edgar Cayce scholar complained “They should have given us warning about this change. What do we pay taxes for? How were we supposed to see this coming?”

Madam Bimpka, astrologer, angrily protested the change. “Don’t they understand the impact of removing a planet and how that will upset the astrological houses? Do they realize how many homeless people they’ve created? Thoughtless. That’s all. They’re just thoughtless bastards.” Ms. Bimpka’s empathy for the diminutive planet was also on her mind as she sobbed, “‘Dwarf’ Planet?!? ‘Dwarf’! Have they no heart for the ‘Little Planets’?”

Bart Burt, Ph.D, Ph.D, Ph.D, Ph.D, of the Tesla Institute of Labs remarked, “I don’t understand their problem. They invent most everything else. Tacking a bit of real science on their epistemology is a bit out of place. Sort of like what morticians do to make dead people look more alive. They might as well keep Pluto as a planet in their little world. While they’re at it, add a 10th planet and upgrade to a metric astrology system.”

Psychically transmitted remote messages to both JZ Knight and Shirley MacLaine requesting comments were not returned.

2006.08.27

Cow Town Redux

I remember back in the early 1970’s, as part of the opening ceremonies to the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo every January, promoters would drive a small herd of cattle down 17th Street in downtown Denver. For those who don’t know, 17th Street is the heart of the business district in Denver. At least, that’s where all the banks are. Eventually this was done away with as it was felt this projected the wrong image, at least according to those seeking to “elevate” Colorado to Blue State status. They didn’t want to be living in no gall dang (spit) cow town. No sir. Git along little dowgies. Git.

Well, they’re back. After my morning cups of joe at The Market, I walked amongst the herd of properly sanitized and stylized she bovine. Let’s start here…

Cow 01

Yes, ladies and gentleman. Doesn’t she look stellar? Graced with green leggings and city scraps, this little lady is dressed to carry you off to sleep and into your worst nightmares. But move over missie, for daylight, she’s a comin’.

Cow 02

I hate it when the omen for the kind of day I’m going to have is a pink streaked cow. Looks like is going to be one of those pepto-bismol days.

Cow 03

This one is wearing a much loved sweater I had as a kid. So that’s where it went. Hey, my parents told me it ran away!

Cow 04

In need of a few antibiotics, it seems. Maybe something in a convenient hose on dosage. (I didn’t touch this one.)

Cow 05

Nothing to see here. Moooove along now. (Just a little freaky.)

Cow 06

Well, we know which are the recessive and which are the dominant genes. Time to close the book on that particular experiment.

Cow 07

That’s just not right. There ought to be federal legislation against putting cows in grass skirts.

Cow 08

Ouch. Occasionally known as the Denver Donkeys (during bad seasons), the Denver Cows is about as docile as you can get. Even the Denver Pigs would be better. At least pigs know how to be mean on occasion.

There you have it. Denver. Cow Town Redux.

[Edit History]

2006.08.27

Edited for clarity.

2006.008.31

Added link to The Market.

2006.08.24

The Blogsphere’s Tribute To The Victims of 9/11

If you are a blogger, do this: 2,996: A Tribute to the Victims of 9/11. You can sign up by clicking here.

I’ll be giving a great deal of thought for a post honoring Mary Melendez. She died in the World Trade Center.

Mary Melendez
Mary Melendez, Age 44

2006.08.18

In-Flight Internet Abandoned

I’m not surprised by this:

Boeing is scrapping its in-flight high speed broadband service because of lack of interest from leading airlines.

The discontinuation of its Connexion service will cost the plane maker $320m (£169m) in one-off charges.

There are probably any number of reasons, vaguely encapsulated by Boeing’s reason of “Regrettably, the market for this service has not materialized as had been expected.” Specifically, I’d venture the following:

  • It’s yet another thing the airline has to support, which adds to their cost.

  • Focusing on a computer screen for the duration of a flight is tiring on the eyes, even for the few times I have attempted to do this. There are enough headache causing things about air travel. No need to add another.

  • Airplanes are just not good places to focus on work. Anything from turbulence to interruptions by flight attendants passing peanuts and beverages to row mates getting up to go to the bathroom make it near impossible to keep a decent train of thought going if you want to write an article or work on software code.
  • Security rules have made the prospect of pulling out a laptop during a flight increasingly inconvenient. I can foresee a day where laptops in the cabin will be forbidden.

  • For a lot of people, there just isn’t enough space to open a laptop. If you are my size (6′ 5″) it is flat out impossible. The few times I’ve been able to open a laptop and do some work for an hour or more it has been because the seat next to me was open allowing me to use that seat’s drop down tray.

These, and I’m sure other things I’m not thinking of at the moment, push “Internet Access” down on the list of desired amenities during an airline flight. Criminy, these days I’m just delighted, as I’m sure are others, to keep the clothes on my body without security confiscating them.

2006.08.07

Gary Musselman – An Original

I had first read about Gary Musselman on Amy Alkon’s blog in an article titled “It’s Like Jazz On Paper.” And indeed it is.

I know this not just by the images displayed by Amy, but from first hand experience of Gary’s art. I commissioned a phrase.

I’d like an original of the following phrase:

Hobo Kore Dojo

The phrase is Japanese and basically translates as follows…

“Hobo Kore” is a little difficult to translate. Roughly, it means “this place where you are at” or “where ever you are.”

“Dojo” is a place of learning, community and personal commitment. While it is often thought of as a physical place, such as a school or a monastery, the deeper meaning is that of a space without walls and alive.

So the entire phrase comes to mean “each moment in life is your school” or “each step you take in life has a lesson.” I first encountered this phrase when I began Aikido (a martial art) training. The school’s founder and chief instructor is a Japanese immigrant and had carved this phrase in Japanese calligraphy on a large piece of wood and hung it over the dojo entrance. The phrase has helped me keep a healthy perspective on life ever since.

As far as colors, I suppose I’d like blues and greens with a slight touch of red.

Take Care,

Gregory Engel

I was told Gary was inspired by the story behind the phrase and that an awesome piece was in the works. And so it is. Truly awesome.

Hobo Kore Dojo
Hobo Kore Dojo

Many thanks to Amy Alkon for shining the light and to Scotty Todd for brokering the deal on Gary’s behalf. I am a proud owner of a Gary Musselman original work of art. But the true original is Gary himself. The inspiration of his story absolutely radiates out of his art.

2006.08.03

The Blogger Hole

Ann Althouse, guest blogging on Instapundit, makes note of the ubiquitous practice of blogging on bloggers. How far down the blogger hole does one care to blog? Well, don’t go too far, because its bloggers all the way down.

2006.08.02

Making The World Safe From Treeists

I am soooooooo relieved the police have pounded another gang of rogue tree climbers into the ground. Whew! It was getting to the point I was a fearin’ to leave my house!

To the 12-year-old friends planning to build themselves a den, the cherry tree seemed an inviting source of material.

But the afternoon adventure turned into a frightening ordeal for Sam Cannon, Amy Higgins and Katy Smith after they climbed into the 20ft tree – then found themselves hauled into a police station and locked in cells for up to two hours.

Their shoes were removed and mugshots, DNA samples and mouth swabs were taken.

Crikey. I’d ask where’s the common sense to this but I already know the answer – THERE ISN’T ANY. There’s a thread about this stringing over at Slashdot.

And let’s not forget Glenn Reynolds’ question: “Will somebody please explain to cops that they can’t arrest people for photographing them?”

2006.07.27

The Last Words Of Kevin Cosgrove

Stunning.

Kevin Cosgrove

I have watched this and will watch it again – every time I show it to someone else. Then I will list for them all the points of Shar’ia law they are in violation of just by standing there and being who they are. The best they can hope for is the life of a dhimmi. At the hands of rabid fanatics, it is more likely the consequence of their transgressions will put them in that building with Kevin Cosgrove.

We know Kevin Cosgrove’s last words. What will yours be?

For a fascinating “What If”, read SF writer Dan Simmons’ April 2006 Message.

More comments here.

[Edit History]

2006.07.27

Case in point:

On 15 August, 2004, Atefah Sahaaleh was hanged in a public square in the Iranian city of Neka.

Her death sentence was imposed for “crimes against chastity”.

The state-run newspaper accused her of adultery and described her as 22 years old.

But she was not married – and she was just 16.

A fine example of the “pure values” President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad seeks to slather world-wide. Under Shar’ia law sex outside marriage is a capital crime, just as serious an offence as murder and drug smuggling. Care to venture a guess how many Americans have a noose with their name on it?

2006.07.28

Another thread regarding Atefah Sahaaleh can be found over on Tim Blair’s site.

2006.08.13

An hour long video of Atefah Sahaaleh’s story can be found here. Seventh century thinking caught on video. Who says we cannot go back in time?

2006.09.11

Added picture of Kevin Cosgrove and his children.

Everyone Has A Story…

…if you are patient and let it emerge. Sometimes you do have to sleuth it out, chase it down or darn near drag it out of people with them kicking and screaming. Follow along and I’ll show you what I mean. Before reading any further, watch this video, making note of your reactions to the two players involved: The Bus Uncle.

Were you angry at the Bus Uncle? Sympathetic toward him or the young man? How would your have reacted to the Bus Uncle? What would you have done if you were the young man? And what if you were one of the spectators, perhaps even the person who caught this on video?

Well, there is more to the story of the Bus Uncle. Click here and get yourself some learnin’.

Now that you know a bit more about the cast of characters, how has your response changed to the event depicted in the video?

I’ve nudged people, just as the young man in the video, prompting them to speak lower while on their cell phone. But at 6’5″, 230 lbs and all the confidence of an Aikido black belt behind my nudge and polite request, the risk of anyone bus uncling me is no doubt quite low. In other words, the threshold for provoking a negative reaction against me is rather high. For the young man in the video, that threshold was no doubt much lower. If anyone ever were to cross my threshold, I would have responded in a manner similar to the young man – its that Aikido stuff again – assume a defensive posture and make efforts to deescalate the situation. Only if physically attacked would I have responded aggressively, decisively, and only with enough force as was necessary to stop the attack.

So my response would have mirrored that of the young man’s, although undoubtedly with a different strategy and set of motivations in play. What the heck, we’re all on this train for the duration of the trip and as long as the Bus Uncle isn’t hurting anyone, including himself, its all a bit of goofy entertainment. I’m cool with that.

About half way into watching the Bus Uncle video, I remembered a story, probably because it took place on a train as well, told by Terry Dobson which I read many years ago and hadn’t thought of for about as long. Terry was an Aikido student in Tokyo when a drunk laborer stumbled onto a train he was riding.

He was a big man, a drunk and exceedingly dirty Japanese laborer. His clothes were stiff with dried vomit, his hair matted and crusted with filth. His eyes were a bloodshot, neon red, and his face was apoplectic with hatred and rage. Screaming unintelligibly, he swung at the first person he saw – a woman holding a baby.

From there, things got worse. A young, healthy, sober and highly trained Aikido student, this was just the sort of situation Terry was hoping for to test his skills. As the two squared off for battle, they were interrupted at the last second by a small, elderly man immaculately dressed in a kimono and hakama. “What you been drinkin’?”, asked the old man and from there he proceeded to deftly diffuse the conflict. Eventually, the old man made reference to the laborer’s “wonderful wife.”

“No,” replied the laborer, shaking his head sadly. “I don’t got no wife.” He hung his head, and swaying silently with the motion of the train. And then, with surprising gentleness, the big man began to sob. “I don’t got no wife,” he moaned rhythmically, “I don’t got no home, I don’t got no clothes, I don’t got no tools, I don’t got no money, and now I don’t got no place to sleep. I’m so ashamed of myself.”

Terry’s response was profound:

And all of a sudden I felt ashamed. I felt more dirty in my clean clothes and my make-this-world-safe-for-democracy righteousness than that laborer would ever be.

I saw that what I had been prepared to accomplish with bone and muscle had been accomplished with a simile and a few kind words. I recognized that I had seen Aikido used in action, and that the essence of it was reconciliation, as the Founder had said. I felt dumb and brutal and gross. I knew I would have to practice with an entirely different spirit.

As with Terry Dobson’s story, the Bus Uncle is a good lesson in the importance of context when you seek to understand a situation. It is critical if you wish to find a solution to a problem. The bigger the problem, the more important it is to understand the problem context. If you are trying to hammer a nail into a piece of wood, just the facts will suit you fine. If you are being physically attacked or otherwise in imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death, you have all the context you need to make any life saving decisions. If, however, you are trying to do something like build peace in the Middle East, you’ll need the context if you want to avoid building a house of cards.

The problem content, contrary to what most people generally think, is not the only important element or even the most important element. You could be seeking a solution to a life threatening illness, a relationship issue, problems at work, international conflict, or an angry commuter on a train. Content can be important, but its rarely the only important thing. Approaches to problem solving, based on technologies like neuro-linguistic programing, where content is intentionally removed from the process offer excellent illustrations to just how much easier a solution can be found when the distractions of content are removed.

Fixating on content can leave one in a panic or paralyzed from acting. If the issue is health, for example, you want to make sure the medications involved are not in conflict with each other. That sort of content is important, even critical. The potential for things to go awry increases when content is given the priority to the exclusion of all else, especially the context. That can lead to the common result where the solution becomes part of the problem.

Another excellent video that deals with context: Koyaanisqatsi – At the beginning of the movie, you do not know what you are seeing. Gradually, the viewer is given a little more information, a little more context. It is only when you have enough context that you understand what you are watching. How soon the viewer is able to understand what they are looking at is dependent on their personal experience and knowledge of the subject and ability to extrapolate what they see and match it to what they know. This is a theme throughout the movie as the viewer is challenged to consider the bigger picture.

You know nothing, if you do not know the context.

2006.07.25

RFID In Medicine

This is a good idea and an excellent use of technology:

Technology that helps airlines keep track of baggage and sounds an alarm when a shoplifter tries to leave the store may be able to stop surgeons from losing a sponge inside a patient, a study said on Monday.

Doctors at Stanford University School of Medicine who tested sponges embedded with radio frequency identification tags said the system accurately alerted surgeons when they deliberately left a sponge inside a temporarily closed surgical site and waved a detector wand over it.

And they could go further. Its been widely reported that close to 100,000 Americans die each year as a result of medical errors. And its been suggested this number is too low. I believe there are many ways computer technology can be leveraged to make the practice of medicine much safer. Mind you, not as a replacement to current practices, but as an enhancement.

I had voiced a related suggestion more than a year ago whereby medication containers (bubble packages, bottles, syringes, etc.) would contain a RFID coded with the drug and dose. The patient’s chart and wrist band would contain data about what they are allergic to, which medications had been prescribed and the dose prescribed. Coordinated with a central knowledge base about all known drug interactions an additional level of checking (assuming the medical staff continues to check medications as is done today) can be done by computers to ensure the patient is getting what was prescribed, the dose and interval is correct and contraindications/side effects are taken into account.

A thread on the use of RFID for surgical sponges can be found at Schneier on Security.

2006.07.24

Heil Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty…

Yet another reason to be suspicious of cats: Kitlers. There’s lots of them and they have fans! Even so, its been 14 years since we had to put our kitty, Jerome, down and I still miss that purr.

2006.07.21

Operation Mag-Neato Update

Coolness.

   
 

Doc Lee Letter

Are you doing your part?

2006.07.08

Life on Fellini Street

Odd week, this. More so than most. Turning 45 without the one I had hoped to grow old with probably set the tone and the rest just flowed from there.

We’ve had a solid week of rain here in the land of perpetual drought. I had planned to replace one of the sprinkler zones during the holiday but that just turned into a muddy mess.

The person responsible for keeping me employed declared I was introverted. The surreal song-and-dance that followed as he strained to make this sound like an asset and a compliment is just too…beige…to describe.

Thursday I came home to discover someone had seen fit to walk up onto my porch and steal the 6 or so small American flags I had stuck into a flower pot. I found one in the street out in front of the house and retrieved it. This one will be hung on the inside of my glass door next to the Urban Scare Crow. I decided this act had some intent behind it which I didn’t like. Was it a political act? Was someone casing the house? Was it a solicitor miffed at the Urban Scare Crow? Is this making me needlessly paranoid (as opposed to necessarily paranoid, I suppose)? I filed a police report for the theft in case I need to establish a pattern or if others in the neighborhood had their flags stolen.

Minutes after the all-business police officer left along with his rather cute ride-along, Bethany I think her name was, all bloody hell broke lose. Six or seven police cars converged on the house two doors down along with an ambulance. The street was blocked and crime scene tape went up. The couple in the house had been in the midst of one of their numerous arguments and the dude went into his backyard and shot himself dead. We know this because the coroner showed up, too. As this was playing out, I looked to the neighbor directly behind me who is busily mowing his lawn. A little leaguer could have thrown a stone from where the lawn mowing neighbor was and hit the dead neighbor. Smelly gasoline powered machine being pushed across a lawn. Dead guy on a lawn. Only one conclusion can be made from this at the end of a week like this: Lawns are bad things. But of course, I already knew this.

I fully expect Rod Serling to ring my door selling cookies, magazines and V8 engine blocks. If he does, would you like me to put in an order for you?


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