Posted by: Mark Nielsen | April 21, 2016

Joe Walsh Says “Not Me” to GOP

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I’m re-posting this one at my blog, because once in awhile something a mere entertainer does (or in this case won’t do) actually matters out here in the “real world”. I’m especially a fan of Joe Walsh because in the recent past he’s recovered from over twenty years of drug and alcohol addiction, and become a worthy spokesperson for the recovery movement. The “Ordinary Average Guy” is a definite good guy…

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(CNN) For the Eagles’ Joe Walsh, the show must not go on.

The musician pulled out of a concert scheduled for July 18 in Cleveland, Ohio, after he said he learned of the show’s ties to the Republican National Convention.

“It was my understanding that I was playing a concert which was a nonpartisan event to benefit the families of American veterans on Monday, July 18 in Cleveland,” Walsh said in a statement he released Wednesday<http://www.joewalsh.com/news/273543&gt;. “Today it was announced that this event is, in fact, a launch for the Republican National Convention.”

Walsh said he also discovered that his name would be used “to raise sponsorship dollars for convention-related purposes” and therefore he felt forced to withdraw from the event.

“I am very concerned about the rampant vitriol, fear-mongering and bullying coming from the current Republican campaigns,” Walsh said. “It is both isolationist and spiteful. I cannot in good conscience endorse the Republican party in any way.”Walsh is scheduled to co-headline the “One Hell of a Night Tour” with Bad Company, which kicks off May 12 in Dallas. He apologized to any fans or veterans who may have been disappointed over his decision on the Cleveland gig and promised to do a benefit concert for vets later in the year.

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Posted by: Mark Nielsen | April 1, 2016

Worldmakers’ Creation Station Workshop

[A promotional flier to paste on the lamp post at the edge of the Milky Way]

Angels and WorldMakers’   “Creation Station” Workshop

 
.                     .                       .                   .

Angels! Hamicrobytes! Time Bridgers! Come one, come all… to the

Angels and Worldmakers’ Creation Station Workshop

First and Third Tuesdays at…

Third Planet from Sol (Star 8342.91v), USA, New York, Soho YMCA (in the alley, behind the wheel of the dumpster, on Bacterium 20047565, Conference Room)

Session 7, April 5, 2016 (Earth Calendar)

TOPIC – Jacob’s Ladder

GUEST PRESENTERS – Jacob, Son of Isaac and his collaborator Guardian Gil, of the 12th Generation Guardians

Come meet the Man with the Plan, and the Angel who whispered it in his ear. See how they transformed a planet, starting from a ragtag tribe of well-intentioned homo sapien desert-dwellers, a few rotten apples, and the simple idea that even a bad race of beings deserves a second chance.

  • “Atomic Brainstorming Techniques”: Put some Quantum into your Physical Manifestations
  • “Micro to Macro and Bacro Again”: Learn economies of scale, practice the “bait-and-switch” sales and propaganda strategy, and see how the “Too Big to Fail” revolution brought the Roman Empire to its knees —then 2000 years later taught American economists how to fit a camel through a needle’s eye!
  • “Beat Peculiar” : Watch guest performers Homer of Greece, Allen Ginsberg of Greenwich Village and Common of Chi-raq engage in battle-rhyming and protest poetry. Hear how the finest minds of each man’s generation were turned to oatmeal. Then write some rabble-rousing epic poetry of your own, creating a story that will create a reality that will inevitably either save or ruin millions of lives. (Take your pick! It’s all in good fun.)

Wear loose clothing or no clothing, and absolutely no metal, so that you can move between universes easily. Bring a friend for a 5% discount on admission.

And above all, come prepared to have fun! The Family of Man is depending upon it!

Admission: 10 Comet Credits, or barter by offering your services for 3000 years.

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Inspired by a writing prompt and blog post at:

fun with writing prompts

Illustration above, for article ‘The Scientist, The Humanist, and Us’ (1981) by Ron Walotsky in Future magazine.

Our favorite Stooge Moe knows his Shakespeare, and he runs a clean campaign, too…

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SIMON CRITCHLEY, philosopher, on how not to repeat the stupidity of history, from the Greeks thru the present day, in a blog interview on nonviolence at NY Times recently:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/14/the-theater-of-violence/?mwrsm=Facebook&_r=0

A highlight:

So the point of Shakespeare is not to give us simple answers or reassuring humanistic moral responses to violence, but to get us to confront the violence of our own histories. “Hamlet” gives us many warnings, but perhaps the most salient is the following: If we imagine that justice is based on vengeance against others, then we are truly undone.”

And… regarding the theatrical  “tragedy” that is being (perpetrated?) played out by the Trump campaign and GOP fringe:

Theater of Trump that has exploded (re the recently canceled Chicago Prez campaign rally)

…Shades of the DNC in Chicago in 1968, and the Chicago 8, and cops out to bust some heads, especially brown and/or “long-haired” heads.

It’s not just about race, or the economy, or immigration, or violence, or any one issue. It’s about who owns the Future and who gets to frame our view of the elusive “Truth”. Will it be Salesmen, Kings, Priests/Imams, Writers (aka the professional media in all its crazy and self-biased iterations),  or The People?

My blog post for the day, inspired by the above:

Today’s history/literature/politics/creative non-violence lesson, courtesy of current philosopher Simon Critchley:

“So the point of Shakespeare is …”

Why is The Donald angry, mean-spirited, and so much the-guy-you-hate-to-love or love-to-hate? Because that’s what people like to watch, the best and worst of our appetite for “political theater”. He channels our anger about the legitimate tragedies of modern life (a useless Congress, CEOs as kings and kingmakers, refugees out the wazoo, lost jobs, wars that lead down dead-end alleys, etc…) . Plus, Trump’s legitimately funny. He’s bold and audacious in ways that most people only dream of being. He’s like Hamlet: a rich, charismatic, really weird son of a modern-day king. Only a lot dumber. Let’s not be so dumb.

Actor #1 (Reagan) set us on this course. But at least he was sincere (if 80% wrong, especially about the de-regulation avalanche that led years later to the 2008 economic collapse). We can’t put a liar, tyrant and poser on the throne, like this is just the inevitable plot for “Actor #2:The RE-Actor”. In November, we get to fire him. Then we’ll figure out the rest later, like how to get Lady Hillary Macbeth to stop pitching us the script for that “Boomers’ Revenge” sequel, and finally restore some common sense, accountability and bipartisanship to government.

“Meet the new bosses. Same as the old bosses… “

Chicago Convention The Whole World is Watching 1968 …

Posted by: Mark Nielsen | March 17, 2016

What St. Patrick and Old Jews Have in Common

  

On mysticism & Kabbalah, from Rabbi Lawrence Kushner: 
“A mystic is anyone who has the gnawing suspicion that the *apparent* discord, brokenness, contradictions, and discontinuities that assault us everyday might conceal a hidden unity.” 

Me: 

Faith wouldn’t be the energizing, hope-producing gift it is. if we were just looking to be certain about essential Being, like we are certain that a fire will burn us when we touch it.

Look for what’s BEHIND what you see today. That way of interpreting our everyday lives, appreciating the lovely weed pushing up thru a sidewalk crack… This too is a kind of prayer. The most Celtic kind of prayer, in fact.

“Hurry ruins saints as well as artists.” ― Thomas Merton

St. Patrick, an ex-slave, went back to where he had been a captive, to minister Jesus’ radical love message to those people, of all people. Now that’s a ballsy Irishman for ya! 

Posted by: Mark Nielsen | March 14, 2016

Stepping on Stars (original poem by Mark Nielsen)

G at Chgo Cultural - Prairie installation 1

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Stepping on Stars         (original poem by Mark Nielsen, March 14, 2016)

 

Graham is exploring the earth–

GoogleEarth-style, all zeros and ones,

seen from the comfort of his makeshift bed–

when this Ohio field suddenly reveals

that there are stars there, in the dirt!,

blinking wildly, disoriented, wondering to themselves

how stars from Andromeda

and even further galaxies

got so off-course as to be trod upon

by a father and son in the American Midwest.

 

He asked me as we walked

if I’d ever had a déjà vu experience.

“Of course, haven’t you?”

“I’m not sure. What’s it like?”

“It’s like seeing behind what is,

behind the beyond.

It is a cross between a memory and a prophecy,

a hint of what has been and could be,

experienced as a non-random firing

of neurons in my head.

There is purpose behind it,

but it’s shrouded in mystery.

Déjà vu feels like God is standing at the door and knocking,

but He is actually downstairs,

twelve flights down,

with gloves on, knocking,

and it’s only because I caught a glimpse of Him

out of the corner of my eye,

that I even know to get on the elevator

(since the intercom is busted, damn it).

By the time I get there, He is gone.

But he did leave a note.

Now if only I could read the strange language

in which it is written.”

 

–loosely inspired by the music of Over the Rhine. Photo at top of Graham Nielsen taken at an auditory art installation called “Prairie” (or something similar, by an artist I cannot recall), circa 2011, by Mark Nielsen.

Posted by: Mark Nielsen | February 7, 2016

World Economic Forum On Income Disparity (aka WEF:wtf?) 


Warren Zevon – Economics 101 (click for a great live Letterman performance of Lawyers, Guns and Money)

I’m the innocent bystander/ Somehow I got stuck/ Between the rock and a hard place/ And I’m down on my luck” –Warren Zevon (Lawyers, Guns and Money)

The World Economic Forum happened in January 2016, but chances are (if you’re anything like me), election coverage ad nauseum –plus attending your kid’s chorus concert — prevented you from finding out what the next 8-80 years will actually look like if the world’s so-called leaders have their way.

So thanks, Huffington Post, for some decent coverage that I only now am discovering. Below you will find excerpts from one of the better articles, interrupted by my highly biased and probably under-informed (and parenthetical) opinion about the implications of various content in that article:

How Widening Economic Inequality Could Shake The Whole World

By Jo Confino, Executive Editor, Impact & Innovation, The Huffington Post …on 1/20/2016

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-end-of-globalization_us_569f3c0fe4b0fca5ba75fc6b?utm_hp_ref=davos

Experts say that rapid advances in technology are pulling the world in opposite directions and that the way that policy makers, businesses and civil society handle the extraordinary pace of change will determine the direction of human society.

On one side we are seeing that technology is creating greater transparency and stronger global networks. The recent unprecedented global agreement in Paris to seek to limit runaway climate change is also being hailed as an example of the ability of the world to act with one voice.

But on the other side of the equation, there are increasing numbers of people who feel disenfranchised and angry at the widening inequality between rich and poor, exemplified this week by Oxfam’s report

<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/global-wealth-inequality_us_56991defe4b0ce4964242e09&gt; that the richest 62 people are as wealthy as half the world’s population

“Those people being left out have no interest in the ongoing march of globalization, and we are likely to experience a bumpy ride in the years to come,” Lacy added. “How we manage the next 10 years will determine whether we see a greater pace of fragmentation or the ongoing benefits of globalization.”

Business leaders across the globe also worry that the world is once again in danger of fragmenting.

A new survey <http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/ceo-survey/&gt;

of 1,400 CEOs from 83 countries by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers showed that three-quarters expect increasing regionalization in trade, 83 percent predict differing fundamental belief systems underpinning societies, 59 percent expect multiple economic models and 81 percent see increasingly divergent systems of laws and liberties.

(We may have fewer dictators than ever, but what about the destructive and presumptuous IDEOLOGIES that they wield? [Including the implicit assumption that capitalism is ONLY good and capitalists will always play fair.] Those ideologies, plus the increased destructive/disruptive power that trickles down to disgruntled and weapon-supplied pawns and foot soldiers in the developing world, are enough to keep us bogged down, possibly forever. Furthermore, what are the unforeseen consequences of these “culture wars” that CEOs don’t want us to know about, or don’t know about themselves? For example, what’s the relationship between the war in Afghanistan [where illegal poppy plants are practically the only global asset they have, over 52% of the GDP] and the record-breaking increase in heroin abuse throughout the West since the “Taliban” war began?)

PwC says that the complexity faced by business leaders “isn’t just being shaped by economic and geopolitical trends. We believe there is a more fundamental shift taking place, namely from a globalizing world to one with many dimensions of power, growth and threats — a transition that we call multi-polar.”

(I call it chaos, just barely contained, and contained only by a lack of access to real power for the poor majority. What happens when they decide that neither the West’s nor China’s nor the average Muslim thug’s version of “law and order” has worked out for them? If their standard of living is still literally medieval in its severity, and they’re still locked out of the process for achieving the prosperity promised by all this so-called modernization, then why wouldn’t they be interested in tearing it down?)

…Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, also says that we live in a time of great promise and great peril.

The WEF, writing about Schwab’s new book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, points out

<http://www.weforum.org/pages/the-fourth-industrial-revolution-by-klaus-schwab&gt;

that “[t]he world has the potential to connect billions more people to digital networks, dramatically improve the efficiency of organizations and even manage assets in ways that can help regenerate the natural environment, potentially undoing the damage of previous industrial revolutions.”
(???!!! Really? And how is that “undoing” going to happen? Just because you want it to happen and believe with a religious fervor that technology can solve every problem? Science is science, and yet human error/bad public policy/corruption is something else entirely. Meanwhile, we’ve passed the tipping point on climate change. Doubling down on technology as an “asset” won’t clear the already ruined air. Plus, if your CEO survey from this same World Economic Forum says that the #1 concern of company leaders is OVER-REGULATION [presumably including EPA-style limits on such anathema as fracking], then giving them the keys to Dad’s swiftly disintegrating Planetary SUV will only wreck the planet quicker.)

“However, Schwab also has grave concerns,” the WEF goes on to write, “that organizations might be unable to adapt; governments could fail to employ and regulate new technologies to capture their benefits; shifting power will create important new security concerns; inequality may grow; and societies fragment.”

(OK. So you can at least be honest about the potential roadblocks to universal economic development. Good. Now where’s that same honesty when it comes to admitting that your kind of development has historically been at the expense of the poor, and of the planet, and that the whole capitalist/competitive system is designed to perpetuate that disparity and inequality? When will people stop equating capitalism [economic “freedom”] and democracy [political freedom] ? When my powerless self-interest (in equality) is competing with the powerful elite’s interest in national security, or an imbalanced tax policy, or cheap international labor, then whose agenda will triumph? When Mexican heroin production is up 600% in the past 10 years, and drug lords rule the provinces, why don’t we talk about illegal Mexican immigrants as “refugees” in the same way we talk about refugees from non-democratic nations or Islamist regimes?)

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Any thoughts, dear ones? I for one am just disillusioned… If not terrified.

Posted by: Mark Nielsen | February 4, 2016

Paczki is Polish for Paradise

            Can you say Sugar Rush?

I put this out on Instagram today:

“In #Poland, #pączki are eaten esp. on Fat Thursday (Tłusty Czwartek), the last Thursday prior to Ash Wednesday/Lent.” -promotional gift/food swag… delivered by a local bakery to the #cbsradio stations at #prudentialplaza while I worked Thurs morning. First I got to play the #DonutFairy, and then these extra #donuts were for my security staff. #niceworkifyoucangetit ”

More from Wiki in the Wonders of Whoa-nuts made by Poles:

“The common English pronunciation /ˈpɔːntʃki/[6] (pawnch-ki) imitates the Polish phonology,”

“…pączki are made from especially rich dough containing eggs, fats, sugar, yeast and sometimes milk. They feature a variety of fruit and creme fillings and can be glazed, or covered with granulated or powdered sugar. Powidl (stewed plum jam) and wild rose hip jam are traditional fillings, but many others are used as well, including strawberry, Bavarian cream, blueberry, custard, raspberry, and apple.”

“Pączki are usually covered with powdered sugar, icing or bits of dried orange zest. A small amount of grain alcohol (traditionally, Spiritus) is added to the dough before cooking; as it evaporates, it prevents the absorption of oil deep into the dough.”

The Spiritus is willing… But the flesh is weak! Mine was utterly bursting with awesome raspberry filling. Here, gimme another one of those before the next shift arrives. I’ll skip lunch. 

Posted by: Mark Nielsen | January 31, 2016

Not an Impostor, Just an Imp

MN Sen. Al Franken as America’s Chief Executive Affirmation-Giver, Stuart Smalley

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This thing– this feeling that “I’m an impostor, and everyone will find out any moment now.” –is true for so many people in all walks of life. 

 

Dana Carvey as the Master of Disguise… in this case, Turtle Man

 In my younger days, I used fancy psychobabble terms like “performance orientation” to explain why I’m *worthy* not because of what I DO (or have done in the past), but just by being the loved, lovable, loving, *blessed* and still-growing person that I AM. I still feel that way (most days, anyway), but I’ve mostly left the psychobabble behind. Now I simplify: “I’m important. I belong. Most importantly, I don’t need to prove it to anyone.” 
Blogger/novelist John Scalzi’s take on this below resonates for me, as an aspiring writer and former “prodigy” who STILL has not arrived at that “I’m a writer” place (as a career outcome) even by age 50. I may yet get there. I might not. The point is I don’t HAVE to be that — or do that– for my life to mean something. 
But for anyone who feels that deep insecurity of feeling like an impostor, just because you’re imperfect and human, don’t be deceived. You’re the Real Deal when it comes to being you. You don’t have to earn a doggone thing. Like that restaurant slogan says: “When you’re here, you’re family.” Furthermore, ol’ Senator Stuart Al Franken​Smalley was not wrong when he reminded us way back when that “You’re good enough; you’re smart enough; and gosh darn it, people like you.”

Impostor Syndrome, or Not

Posted by: Mark Nielsen | January 29, 2016

Parker Palmer (and me), on the lessons of depression

  

  1. Palmer on Power vs. Powerlessness (short YouTube)
  2. Educator and Quaker spirituality author Parker Palmer, on the “small fruits” of his period of clinical depression:

I could not think my way out of this. My intellect was useless. My ego was shattered. My emotions were dead. Depression is not “feeling sad”. Depression is being unable to feel anything. And my will was so miniscule as to hardly be noticeable. But way back in the thickets of my life, I could feel a little strirring like a wild animal, that little spark that made me think ‘I can make it one more day. I won’t kill myself today.’ …What came to me as I emerged from my depression is that The Soul is like a wild animal in two respects: 1) It’s very resourceful, it’s very savvy.It’s very sinewy and strong. It knows how to survive in places where there is very little to eat. and 2) But at the same time, like a wild animal, it’s very shy. And we know that if we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is go crashing into the woods shouting for it to come out. And yet a lot of our institutional life is like ‘Put it on the table, folks. Cross-examine it. Share or die.’ So the safe space is where the wild animal can put in an appearance.”

I have never quite had clinical depression of the crippling variety that Parker discusses above. But it has clearly hampered me my entire adult life, both with and without drugs or therapies. 

There is no magic bullet. But community, and family, and people (often my community of faith) who listen, further creating that safe space, … those do more than any doctor or self-justifying, ego-based sense of purpose ever could. People, often equally broken in their own way, hopefully but not necessarily empowered by God to grant mercy and consistent love– they are the way forward. 

I don’t do it alone because I don’t think we are meant to, despite my shy, slow to heal soul. We’re not built to go it alone. But on the other hand, I don’t automatically mistake the cacophony or “conventional wisdom” of my social situation for “community”. Community is something quieter and more delicate. We don’t make it… We make room for it. And occasionally we facilitate or recognize it when it’s there.

Posted by: Mark Nielsen | January 28, 2016

Psalm 23.481 (orig. poem by Mark Nielsen)

PetYellButterfly3

So far they fly, on such thin wings…

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Psalm 23.481

You are my barking Hound of Heaven,
Nipping at my heels.
You are my hiding place,
Which I run to,
And the Rock in my shoe
That slows me down on the way.
Yea, though I run through the valley of the Shadow,
I will fear no evil,
For Your bark is better than your bite.

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