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Iris Chacon:
Tuesday, January 25, 2005  permanent URL for this entry

Hyakujo's Fox

Once when Hyakujo delivered some Zen lectures an old man attended them, unseen by the monks. At the end of each talk when the monks left so did he. But one day he remained after they had gone, and Hyakujo asked him: 'Who are you?'

The old man replied: 'I am not a human being, but I was a human being when the Kashapa Buddha preached in this world. I was a Zen master and lived on this mountain. At that time one of my students asked me whether the enlightened man is subject to the law of causation. I answered him: "The enlightened man is not subject to the law of causation." For this answer evidencing a clinging to absoluteness I became a fox for five hundred rebirths, and I am still a fox. Will you save me from this condition with your Zen words and let me get out of a fox's body? Now may I ask you: Is the enlightened man subject to the law of causation?'

Hyakujo said: 'The enlightened man is one with the law of causation.'

That was one of the bits of "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones" that I especially liked in my youth. Other kids want to be spacemen or firemen or CEOs of international corporations; I wanted to be one with the law of causation.

Pictures from really really far away. I remember years ago seeing some of the first "live" pictures from Mars projected up on the big screen in the front of the auditorium at the Lab, and thinking it was the most amazing thing. And now we're getting feeds from the moons of Saturn.

See that rock there? That rock is like eight hundred million miles from here. Pretty neat, eh?

Spam subject line o' the day:

Subject: Defegreez available from N0NAccruedited Univerusities

Pretty obvious why they're not Accruedited, nyuk nyuk nyuk.

Phrase o' the day: "OSI Layer 8 problem".

"...a Beowulf cluster of atomic supermen...

Long, long ago we challenged our readers to reply to "Eye of Newt". And and always you have come through in rare style.

Eye of Newt...

Wing of bat Leg of Gingrich

toe of frog, shocking headache, hair of dog ;)

on a bed of pureed winter vegetables with a raspberry coulis was delicious, my companion chose the lugworm salad and we were both startled by the mischievous way it was served in a galvanized steel bucket drizled with dirty seawater. A meal to remember, but look out for that "discretionary" 20% service charge!

I think, going by conversations with friends, that I either don't understand American politics or culture, or that I'm just plain naive - I really don't understand why the states accepts the continued references to god (singular) within a political framework. Maybe it's just me, but I thought that being part of the governing body of people was outside of religion; that politicians should act for the good of the country, not to appeal to their religious beliefs and that God certainly shouldn't be referenced within the debates. Naive, that's me.

The idea of former Speaker Gingrich being blind is vaguely appealing.

D&D babes? Apparently, yes! (Sort of.) dungeonmajesty.com/

Poor Newt.

like your log.

Americans who sign up to Votergasm can pledge to withhold sex from a non-voter for up to four years until the next presidential election in 2008.

"oh what is Farragut?" "It's my hams sir, they...well they're bleeched." "Bleeched! What nonsense is this? It takes a hella' good wallup for a bleeched ham to cast past cemetary, even for you Farragut."



leia organa nude

When I was seventeen, I had some very good beer.
I had some very good beer I purchased with a fake ID.
My name was Brian McGee.
I stayed up listening to Queen,
when I was seventeen.

Eye of Newt like my log?

When I was seventeen (or maybe a few years after) I actually knew one or two D&D babes (good times, good times).

The thing about God in USAian politics is puzzling to me also. Maybe the problem is that a significant number of us USAians are so thoroughly indoctrinated with the God idea that it doesn't even occur to us that when politicians refer to God they're talking religion. After all, everybody but a few perverted atheists and pagans believes in God, so referring in a sort of generic non-sectarian way to God isn't favoring anybody in particular or anything.

As a perverted atheist and/or pagan myself, this idea rather depresses me, of course.

"leia organa nude", on the other hand, is a very cheery little snippet of text.

And I have no idea what was going on with that Farragut thing...

Sunday, January 23, 2005  permanent URL for this entry

The weather forecasters exaggerated again; we only got seven or eight inches, not the fifteen to twenty-five we were promised. Impressive wind, though; down at the lake there's no snow at all in the child beach area, because the wind ripping down the lake has swept all the snow and the top layer of sand up away from the lakeside, and there's a line of two-foot drifts, snow sprinkled with sand, extending about twenty feet inland.

M went out and bought us a snow-thrower last week; a mammoth eight horsepower thing that was on sale that day. It definitely cut down on our shoveling time today.

I do rather miss the virtuously sweaty and tired feeling that comes after a hard afternoon's shoveling. And the machine is loud and uses fossil fuels. But it's compellingly convenient. Thus we lose all sorts of things.

(On the other hand if I really have to do all the maintenance that the manual says I do, I may decide that shovelling is less work all told.)

A spammer writes:

Dearest One,

How are you and every members of your family I hope fine Good a thing to write you. I have a proposal for you - this however is not mandatory nor will I in any manner compel you to honour against your will.

That's a relief, eh? I so hate those mandatory 419 scams that compel me against my will.

On the organization that we joined the other day, readers write:

The initiation ritual is barbaric.

which, while it may be true, we must remember isn't a defining property of the organization.

And also:

Your organisation sounds a little like Danny Wallace's 'Join Me' project. But, I like the idea - Can I declare myself a member of this David Chess organisation right now ? "I, Justin Fletcher, declare that I am part of..." um... what is it ? "The Organisation For Want Of Any Better Name" ? Hm. I definately like the idea that the members of the organisation can, by definition not know that there are other members - two completely non-intersecting groups of members of the same organisation. Although, thinking about it, the organisation of 'people called...' oh dear, I'm about to become self-referential... 'David Gorman' is similarly separated in members and yet they are part of the same organisation. Whether they know it or not. Sometimes I wonder if I should think about my sentences before I start them...

Yes, you can declare yourself a member of it just that simply, and you'll be one! You can call it whatever you want; its name (or lack thereof) isn't one of its defining characteristics, after all. There is definitely no membership roster anywhere (or actually there might be; who knows how close to omniscience the various entities around here might be). (Speaking of changing one's mind in mid-sentence!)

There's nothing to keep two members from knowing that each other are members. But you're quite right that it's likely (pretty much certain, in fact) that there are groups of members that are entirely unaware of each other's membership (or even existence).

I finished another book. I also bought some more; there's a growing stack next to the bed now (one place where I usually don't have a stack of books). I was going to list them as today's log entry, but then I thought of this other stuff to say.

- 7 for "mia"
- 2 for "iris chacon"
- 2 for "webcam"
- 1 for "anais"
- 1 for "kasha"
- 1 for "nude"
- 1 for "pratchett"
- 1 for "webcams"

So I've been looking at various "Zen debunking" sorts of articles:

Stuart Lachs in particular seems to have a real bone to pick. He says some very correct stuff, about how people abuse positions of power and all, but also some stuff that's on the order of suggesting that physics must be a scam because there's a power asymmetry between physics professors and physics students. See also "Tending the Bodhi Tree: A Critique of Stuart Lachs' Means of Authorization: Establishing Hierarchy in Cha'n/Zen Buddhism in America" for someone with a similar impression.

(I haven't actually read any of these things with any care, but I've sort of skimmed over them in brief disconnected intervals of time. Very XXIst Century of me.)

And see also a bunch of Zen poems and stories, and some furry Zen stuff; very much the kind of thing that I have a guilty fondness for.

One bit of politics, because it seems like it might be important: from the Times, via some weblog:

The President last week surrounded himself with citizens ranging from children to an 80-year-old and warned that the Social Security system will be "flat bust, bankrupt" by the time workers in their 20s retire. As early as 2018, Bush said, "you're either going to have to raise the taxes of people or reduce the benefits." At another appearance intended to promote federal standards for testing high school students, Bush went off script to warn a group of teenagers, "The system will be bankrupt by the year 2040."
That sounds pretty scary--except that it's not true. What will actually happen in 2018, according to the Social Security trustees who oversee the program, is that the money paid out in benefits will begin to exceed the amount collected in taxes. And since Social Security will run a surplus until then (and has been running one for some time), it has billions available that it can tap to fill the gap. Even under conservative estimates, the system as it stands will have enough money to pay all its promised benefits until 2042 and most of its obligations for decades after.

So keep that in mind.


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