Saturday, June 30, 2007

Acting Class

First session my acting class in Hollywood a complete wash. No one came out.

Hard to get the word out in this town. Of course, I posted on the Big Cheap theatre list. And the Theatre Dojo's slowly-growing list got announcements as well.

I wonder if, even with a paid ad here, there, or elsewhere, anyone will come.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Bought a carton of whole milk at the grocery store. Grade A, Vitamin D added, all natural.

Got it home and soon discovered the carton was filled with skim milk.

Could have taken it back - but felt lazy.

Perspective: everybody goofs at work sometimes.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The True Presidential Library

Would I rather see Guantanamo Bay shut down - and wonder about all the shadow prisons in eastern europe, similar to the "Salt Pit" in Kabul, and places we don't know much about?

Or would I rather see Guantanamo Bay run as an appropriate facility where a reasonable and just process is followed in dealing with people suspected of terrorism or other crimes?

They can tear down barbed wire. What they won't dismantle is that which Guantanamo represents: an administration that has reserved the right to imprison people indefinitely with no process whatsoever. An administration that considers the Geneva Conventions antiquated. An administration that considers privacy, due process, and even the basic writs of accepted common law for a just society (e.g. habeas corpus) as luxuries we cannot afford in a "changed world." An administration that favors force over justice. An administation that refuses to bring charges of any kind against people who have been held prisoner for several years - as if by now that still had any useful information - if they EVER did.

The idea that this place is somehow keeping us safe from terrorists must be derided for the empty lie that it is. If we cannot have honest and frank discourse in our legislature, we can at least have it over our dinner tables, on the golf course, on the bus, wherever we congregate.

The continued existence of Guantanamo Bay represents a Republic that, sadly, is unable to recognize the meaning of Guantanamo and confront it. Guantanamo Bay is the true George W. Bush Presidential Library. They should preserve it. It tells us something about what we are willing to tolerate. That is not good news for American democracy, or the ideals we make so much noise about around theworld.

Regardless of what is done with Guantanamo Bay (I still think it should be preserved in Bush's name), it is time to ask: Who are we, as a country?

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Zen Master Loses Three Minds

During a retreat at Dharma Zen Center, a student came to the interview room and bowed to the visiting teacher, Zen Master Bon Haeng.

"Good morning," said the teacher. "Any questions?"

"Yes sir," said the student. "Last night we had this dharma talk, and you made three kinds of mind. You made auditory mind, visual mind, and kinesthetic mind. How can we lose these three minds?"

"Let me ask you: what is visual mind?"

"Your mat is blue."

"Correct. And what is auditory mind?"

The student hit the floor. The teacher said, "Is that all?" The student said, "You heard that."

The teacher narrowed his eyes and said, "Not bad. What is kinesthetic mind?"

The student hit the teacher, who laughed and said, "Not bad. But I would have chosen this."

Then the teacher hugged the student. "Thank you for coming."

Making Making

Some volunteers from a certain organization have put in some time at the center recently. They are committed, industrious people who are involved (so it has been whispered) in some kind of encounter-group training that sounds similar to the law of attraction and "The Secret" but we don't ask them questions. For the most part, they have left their dogmas out of their interactions with us so we don't make it our business.

Until yesterday, when one of their volunteers was sitting by my desk waiting for someone. As she sat there, my internet browser froze while I was in the middle of something. I made an annoyed clucking noise and said, "Oy, now the computer's stuck."

The lady mumbled something with a big smile on her face. While I closed and reopened the browser, I asked her for a repeat. And she said, with the smile unwavering, "I was just wondering why you made that."

(Oh no, here we go.)

Typical of me, I tried reason despite knowing it was useless. "I didn't 'make' it. It's a simple mechanical phenomenon that happens routinely."

Smile continues, starting to look smug. "Well, tell me what's on your mind."

"The task at hand."

"What was on your mind before the computer went down?"

"The task at hand."

I then suggested that every snowflake falls exactly where it's supposed to, and there's no problem with mechanical problems OR having feelings.

The smile faded at last and she shrugged. "If you say so."


Took a sheet of paper, crumpled it, bonked it off her head, and then enquired with wide-eyed innocence, "Why did you make that?"