Monthly Archives: July 2007

aqal for dummies

okay, maybe that book title will never come into being, but i found a book that might be a good stand-in for that, with a few tweaks. human: the definitive visual guide is your typical dorling kindersley pictoral masterpiece, with loads of photos, illustrations, graphs, and charts on all things human. and here’s where aqal comes in: the book is divided up into the following sections (corresponding aqal quadrant in parentheses) – body (upper right), mind (upper left/upper right), life cycle (lower left), society (lower right), culture (lower left), and peoples (lower left/lower right). specifically, it jumps from topics such as human anatomy to types of intelligence to third world economies to cultural rituals around the world, going into just enough detail to pique one’s interest for more serious research. it’s a beautifully done aqal primer if i’ve ever seen one, totally worth checking out.



i’m cleaning out my email inbox this afternoon and just came across a conversation i had with a friend a couple of weeks ago. i’m very amused by this part of the exchange, so i thought i’d post it here (and i’m fairly sure he’s okay with that):

me: Maybe I’m naïve, but my philosophy on these types of things is simple: it’s not cheating if everybody knows. (and I don’t mean knowing details, just being aware.) and I think that if there is awareness or some sort of sense of permission, that actually cuts down on the likelihood of so-called cheating, because part of the thrill of it is the illicitness. If your partner is okay with it, that takes at least some (certainly not all, though) of the thrill away.

not me: I think you should consult the old testament

me: The old testament is a work of fiction.

not me: there’s still truth in it, like in eccleastics [sic]…there is a time to cross ones legs and a time to spread them

me and my universe

one of my personal mantras is ‘the universe is on my side’ (a mantra which has gotten me through quite a bit) and it seems to be proving that to me once again over the past couple of days. during the past couple of months, i’ve been going through some sort of crisis of meaning, trying to figure out what to do with my next 40-plus years. as most of you know, i’m currently enrolled at union institute and university out of brattleboro, vermont, working toward a degree in religious studies. now that i can see the light at the end of the tunnel, i’m thinking i’ve just wasted many thousands of dollars that i will have to pay back in loans, because i have no idea what to do with such a degree. i don’t feel led to teach or to go into the ministry or any of the ‘normal’ things that one would do with such a degree. in my ideal world, i’d sit around and write my thoughts about spirtual and consciousness related subjects and talk shit and get paid for it, but where does one find that type of employment? i’ve had a couple of people suggest that maybe i’d be good as some sort of a spiritual coach, because i’m a good listener and i have, as one friend put it, ‘strange wisdom’, and i could still write as some sort of a complement to that. okay, but to coach, to be a certified coach, costs several thousand dollars more in training. and i’m not opposed to dredging up the money for it, but how do i know i won’t change my mind when that is nearly complete?

the easy thing for me to do would be to stay at my current job at the kcpl. despite the many things i can and do complain about there, i love my job (or maybe it’s just that i love working in a library). and, barring some disaster, i know i could stay there for the rest of my working career, getting yearly raises and a decent pension paid to me at the end of it all. but if i do that, it then makes sense for me to go to library school, so i can give myself a $10k raise right off the bat, and be taken a little more seriously. in the meantime, i buy a little house in the volker neighborhood, get a couple of cats, and live happily ever after. this whole little scenario would have made my mother happy (well, except for the fact that i’m not married and have no intention of ever doing so legally), but is really not all that appealing to me. so, back to me and the universe…

…i’m trying to figure this all out, and one of my coworkers invites me to a reiki workshop given by cat running elk. i would love to go, except i have little money these days because of other financial obligations, so i kind of write it off. but i think about it and how i’ve had interests in so-called ‘new age’ topics, like auras and chakras and subtle energies in general. i do some reading about reiki in particular and remember things that people have said to me about my own energy and really wish i could do this, but think i’ll just catch her next time she offers a certification class. but my coworker keeps talking to me about it, and suggests i ask cat if she’ll work out a payment plan with me. long story short, of course she does, so by the end of next saturday, if all goes as planned, i’ll be certified in reiki I. but, it gets better: it turns out that cat is also a life coach. so, i’m going to use her services to help me figure out what the hell to do with the rest of my life, whether it’s eventually being a life coach myself or a writer or a healer or some combination of these things and/or other wonderful things not yet thought of. i really feel as if this was ‘supposed’ to happen the way it is going down. i’m no big fan of ‘the secret’, but i am a big believer in ‘ask and ye shall receive.’ i’ve been asking for some sort of direction, and believe this is all pointing me down a different path than the one i’m currently on. coolness. 🙂

the sh*t

i just bought the world cafe playlist handbook, which has some neat ideas for mp3 playlists, such as songs about ‘drugs’ (e.g., ‘white rabbit’ by jefferson airplane or ‘love is the drug’ by roxy music) and ‘beatles covers’ (‘helter skelter’ by u2 or ‘happiness is a warm gun’ by the breeders). it’s all really cool, but my favorite part is at the end. in the fall of 2004, listeners of wxpn in philly sent in lists of their top 10 songs of all time, and as a result, the station compiled a list of the 885 greatest songs of all time. as to be expected, the beatles, the rolling stones, and springsteen dominate, but there are a few surprises (to me, anyway) and some that i think should never have made it (‘superman’s song’ by the crash test dummies at 839? it should have been at least at 800, i think…)

anyway, inspired by this list, i bring you my top ten songs of all time. some have sentimental value, some are revealing about who i think i am, and some just sound damn good to me. here they are:

  1. ‘genius of love’ – tom tom club
  2. ‘faithfully dangerous’ – over the rhine
  3. ‘are you experienced?’ – jimi hendrix
  4. ‘where the streets have no name’ – u2
  5. ’32 flavors’ – alannah davis
  6. ‘true to myself’ – ziggy marley
  7. ‘i radio heaven’ – over the rhine
  8. ‘woman like a man’ – damien rice
  9. ‘love is my religion’ – ziggy marley
  10. ‘me, my yoke, and i’ – damien rice

help wanted: leader of the free world; pays $5.85 an hour plus bennies

this comes from last night’s youtube debate (courtesy of

When was the last time a presidential candidate was forced to promise to work at minimum wage? That is effectively what happened when a voter asked whether the candidates would serve four years at $5.85 an hour rather than the president’s annual $400,000 salary.

“Sure,” replied [Senator Hilary] Clinton.

would you vote for someone who was willing to sell herself so short just to get a few votes?

seriously, this woman went to yale law school, after which she worked more than 15 years as an attorney in a chicago law firm, mixed in with spending a number of years embroiled in arkansas politics, spent eight years as first lady to one of the most popular presidents ever, after which she managed to finagle herself into being elected as the junior senator from the great state of new york. and she’s willing to work as the leader of the greatest country in the world for a mere $5.85 an hour. she is either truly the biggest bullshitter in the world or a damn fool.

the fact is that nobody should have to work for $5.85 an hour, but then again, no one has to (especially if you are a yale law school graduate). it’s just a matter of priorities. yes, sometimes we make choices where momentarily we may have to take a lower wage job to keep a roof over our heads, but there are things we can do to increase that wage. we can go to night school; work towards getting promoted; if things aren’t going well at our current job, we can look for and get another job. as individuals, we don’t have to wait around for the government to decide to tell our employer the least they can get away with paying us. here in america, with education and hard work, we can have some control over our incomes.

yet, there are people who believe that politicians have just that responsibility, to tell employers just how much they should get paid. check out this video:

she might as well just give it up and go on welfare if she’s expecting a raise in the minimum wage to raise her baby girl. or maybe someone should have told her that for a couple of hours of work at minimum wage, she could have bought herself a box of condoms and saved herself and her baby girl a lifetime of grief and hardship.

it is my belief that minimum wage should just be abolished, and that employers should be allowed to pay people what they want and/or can afford. it absolutely is not the government’s place to tell a private employer what they should pay their employees. sure, without a governmentally imposed minimum, the pay is gonna be shitty in some situations, but, more often, the employer is going to pay what he or she needs to pay to get the best people, which most likely is going to be far above the current minimum wage. supporters of a minimum/living wage conveniently forget that it was primarily designed for entry level jobs for teenagers (most of whom wouldn’t even work for minimum wage). i am so amused when i’ve heard reporters say over the past couple of days that minimum wage workers have just gotten their first raise in ten years. i’m like, damn, if you were working for $5.15 ten years ago and are just now getting a raise, you’ve got much more serious problems than just low income.

at any rate, i would not want a president willing to work for minimum wage. if she does get elected (which seems likely), i hope we remember that she said this, and that obviously while it’s not going to happen, we will get what we are willing to pay for.

my 15 seconds of fame

saturday morning there was a fire in my apartment building. i’m all fine and good, as are most of the residents of the building, and fortunately i was up and dressed when it happened, so i could evacuate fairly quickly. we had to wait outside for a couple of hours as the kcfd put out the fire, did their investigation, etc. while waiting, i was interviewed by a kansas city star reporter, and actually ended up in the story:

the buzzsaw of lack of choice

this post was originally going to be about the reaction to rudy giuliani’s opposition to the fair tax, and how i hope that he actually does some research on it and changes his stance. despite his assertion that our economy is dependent on our current tax system, that doesn’t change the fact that the current system is woefully unfair to people across the board, from those living below poverty level through billionaires. the fair tax would eliminate all taxes across the board, including social security and the so-called death tax, replacing them with a flat retail sales tax rate across the board. some people who know little about the idea scream about how this would be a regressive tax, affecting most those who can afford it the least, but people below a certain income would be refunded any tax paid on a regular basis, up to a certain portion of their income, so many lower income people would in effect continue to pay no taxes (although they would lose their earned income credits and other subsidies from the government).

anyway, in looking around the web for articles discussing rudy and the fair tax, i kept finding the same article over and over again on different websites:
these five sites are just the tip of the iceberg. the only other sites i found not using the associated press feed were other blogs talking about rudy and/or the fair tax.

the world wide web is supposed to be this vast resource of news and knowledge, yet no one can make the effort to write an original news story that at least caters to a regional point of view? i realize that in the grand scheme, this story was relatively minor, but this is just one more example of how the media is controlled by so few. this is not by far the first example i’ve ever come across as far as news stories being the same on different websites, and i do understand somewhat the purpose of the a.p. but this further illustrates to me the need for the independent and/or alternative press, which gives more in depth and focused looks at what is really going on, instead of using cute phrasing such as ‘giuliani ran into a buzzsaw of opposition…’ such memorable phrasing probably should not be used as the opening sentence in an a.p. story going to hundreds of newspapers across the country. people do jump around and look at different sources on the web (or i do anyway), and it would be nice to have differing news perspectives on the same news stories.