I get by with a little….

This week there were two stories that really made me proud to be part of the human race in the news and about a dozen and a half that made me shamed, but let’s focus on the two that were awesome.

The first story involved the resilience of the Grasshopper Sparrow. The bird was on the brink of extinction when conservationist and a Florida zoo stepped up. The birds were breed and raised in captivity then release into the wild. The survival rate of the birds is a happy surprise to the experts who have been involved in this birds comeback story.

The second story is about the founder of Patagonia and the future of his company. Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia is giving away his company. Patagonia will not go public it will be placed in a trust that is set up for the sole purpose of fighting climate change. This is remarkable and good news.

The two stories that made me smile this week remind me of a Beatles song titled “With a little help from my friends”. The song was written by Joe Crocker and the lyrics explain how everyone gets help from their friends every once and a while.

The Florida zoo and the billionaire businessmen both seem to be friends of the natural world and the natural world needs friends right now. Imagine how much better off the world would be if we were all friends to it….

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You went to the what?

My wife and I have always enjoyed seeing new places. We have no issues with renting an air bnb or booking a hotel in a different city for a weekend trip. When we get to the city we do a lot of the tourist things but when we can we try to stop at the cities library.

I know super lame right? I grew up in Cleveland Ohio and my mom would take me and my sisters to the library as a treat. me my sisters and my mom would take turns pulling a red wagon from our home to the Eastman public library on w 116th street. I know the branch because there was a statue of a walrus in front and I remember the nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” That poem was fun and a little foreboding. You just had a bad feeling about the Oysters fate.

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Libraries matter because people matter and need to socialize even if that solicitation is done in whispers and nods. At the library I meet all kinds of people, borrowed all kinds of books and I think it helped shape into the citizen that I am and the tourist who likes to check out libraries when he visits different cities.

The Walrus and the Carpenter 

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BY LEWIS CARROLL

“The sun was shining on the sea,

      Shining with all his might:

He did his very best to make

      The billows smooth and bright —

And this was odd, because it was

      The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,

      Because she thought the sun

Had got no business to be there

      After the day was done —

“It’s very rude of him,” she said,

      “To come and spoil the fun.”

The sea was wet as wet could be,

      The sands were dry as dry.

You could not see a cloud, because

      No cloud was in the sky:

No birds were flying overhead —

      There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter

      Were walking close at hand;

They wept like anything to see

      Such quantities of sand:

If this were only cleared away,’

      They said, it would be grand!’

If seven maids with seven mops

      Swept it for half a year,

Do you suppose,’ the Walrus said,

      That they could get it clear?’

I doubt it,’ said the Carpenter,

      And shed a bitter tear.

O Oysters, come and walk with us!’

      The Walrus did beseech.

A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,

      Along the briny beach:

We cannot do with more than four,

      To give a hand to each.’

The eldest Oyster looked at him,

      But never a word he said:

The eldest Oyster winked his eye,

      And shook his heavy head —

Meaning to say he did not choose

      To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,

      All eager for the treat:

Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,

      Their shoes were clean and neat —

And this was odd, because, you know,

      They hadn’t any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,

      And yet another four;

And thick and fast they came at last,

      And more, and more, and more —

All hopping through the frothy waves,

      And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter

      Walked on a mile or so,

And then they rested on a rock

      Conveniently low:

And all the little Oysters stood

      And waited in a row.

The time has come,’ the Walrus said,

      To talk of many things:

Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —

      Of cabbages — and kings —

And why the sea is boiling hot —

      And whether pigs have wings.’

But wait a bit,’ the Oysters cried,

      Before we have our chat;

For some of us are out of breath,

      And all of us are fat!’

No hurry!’ said the Carpenter.

      They thanked him much for that.

A loaf of bread,’ the Walrus said,

      Is what we chiefly need:

Pepper and vinegar besides

      Are very good indeed —

Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,

      We can begin to feed.’

But not on us!’ the Oysters cried,

      Turning a little blue.

After such kindness, that would be

      A dismal thing to do!’

The night is fine,’ the Walrus said.

      Do you admire the view?

It was so kind of you to come!

      And you are very nice!’

The Carpenter said nothing but

      Cut us another slice:

I wish you were not quite so deaf —

      I’ve had to ask you twice!’

It seems a shame,’ the Walrus said,

      To play them such a trick,

After we’ve brought them out so far,

      And made them trot so quick!’

The Carpenter said nothing but

      The butter’s spread too thick!’

I weep for you,’ the Walrus said:

      I deeply sympathize.’

With sobs and tears he sorted out

      Those of the largest size,

Holding his pocket-handkerchief

      Before his streaming eyes.

O Oysters,’ said the Carpenter,

      You’ve had a pleasant run!

Shall we be trotting home again?’

      But answer came there none —

And this was scarcely odd, because

      They’d eaten every one.”

What even is it.

Growing up we were told to not be jerks. As our kids grew we try to teach them to not be jerks. I was wandering this morning about the nature of the word jerk, specifically what is a jerk?

There was a movie starring Steve Martin titled the Jerk. The movie told the hilarious story of a naïve innocent country boy who moves away from his family to the city. I always wandered who the jerk was in that movie? Steve Martins character was always helping and learning and lacked a cynical attitude that seems like a prerequisite for being a jerk.

After some quick internet searching I learned that the title was inspired by Dostoyevsky‘s The Idiot. So in the movie the Jerk it seems like the Jerks may have been the men and women in society that took advantage of the protagonist. In Dostoyevsky‘s The Idiot well that’s another discussion for another day.

A jerk is a motion that yanks something into a different direction. A jerk is also a person that is rude and obnoxious and abruptly annoys others with words or actions.

The world would be a better place if. People live their own life and let others to live their own lives

Poornima Rawat

Not being a jerk can be hard sometimes, although on the surface it seems easy, just leave people alone. It can be hard to allow loved ones to make mistakes that you have made. People are sympathetic by their nature, it is this nature that makes it hard to not step in and give unsolicited advice or guidance. Support and unsolicited advice can seem the same but they are not. Support is helping out loved ones when they reach out to you not prior to.

Not being a jerk can be hard and dealing with people that are being jerks can also be hard. Everyone seems to have an opinion sometimes and those opinions are voiced and directed towards people making waves.

Sometimes it helps to keep somethings in mind. Remember that it is impossible to move without making waves. Remember that jerks usually have the best of intentions and finally remember that: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Today make some waves, shake off the jerks and don’t be one.

Freedom and the United States of America

There was a book I read that really resonated with me. The book was titled “Abundance” and was written by Jakob Guanzon. The book told the anxiety ridden story of a father and son living in a pick up truck. I was turned onto the book after hearing the author in an interview explain his motivation to write the book. The author was working as a day laborer on construction projects while attending college. The author wondered what the lives of those laborers looked like when they left the job site and went “home”.

For me the book shined a light on the American dream versus the reality. There are at lest 12 million children a day that live in food insecure homes in the United States of America. These children are part of families that are not living the American dream. The American dream is a way of living that involves opportunity and equality and happiness. Many community members are living in an American nightmare though ripe with no opportunity, inequity and unfortunate situations (like no access to food).

The American dream does not match the American reality for a majority of Americans. Soon in the United States it will be time to vote and every citizen should get out there and vote. I myself will vote for the person that has a plan to make the American dream a reality for all of us not just themselves. Far too often we vote for the politician that supports our personal agenda and forget that we are part of a community.

Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.

The Good Earth -Pearl Buck

When you vote go ahead and vote for those that will feed the 12 million children. When you vote go ahead and vote for the politician that will work to make the American reality look like the American dream for everyone in the country and on the Earth.

There is something off…

22 years ago I sat with my kids and watched a cartoon character voiced by David Spade dance around the palace that he lives in until he bumped into a citizen. The character told the citizen that he threw off his groove then he had employees throw the citizen off the cliff. As the citizen fell he yelled sorry.

The movie was “The Emperors New Groove”. The movie explains how a self absorbed Incan emperor changed his “groove” and learned to see outside himself and acknowledge others. Here we are sitting on Friday and I have felt a little off my groove all week. I really wasn’t sure why I was off my groove or how to get my groove back.

Of course like any other problem in my life I was able to solve the problem through the lessons learned from an animated movie. I am just now getting my “groove” back and I am getting it back by focusing on others.

It doesn’t make sense but often the best way to help yourself is to help others.

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Help yourself by helping others

John Templeton

The secret to a happy and groovy life is in helping others.

The small things

I can remember watching a great sci -fi series called The Fringe on TV. The series protagonist was the son a scientist and played by Joshua Jackson. The unit that the scientist, his son and an FBI agent were part of investigated cases that happened on the fringes of reality. The show lasted for five seasons it was created by JJ Abrams and was a blast to watch.

One of the story arcs of the show had the protagonist traveling into another dimension. Parallel dimensions are explained brilliantly by Neil Degrasse Tyson in this video. Basically (very basic indeed for sure watch the video by Neil Degrasse Tyson) if you imagine everything you know to be reality the earth, the solar system, the galaxies the super clusters all of that has a copy that exists in a different plane if you can imagine a stack of plates our existence is in one plate and other existences are in the other plates. Switch out existence with dimension and you have parallel dimensions. You are in all these dimensions but somethings are different.

In the TV show The Fringe the dimension that he show traveled between had coffee but it was incredibly expensive. Coffee seems small and inconsequential but it is truly a blessing for me. I enjoy every drop of coffee and sometimes I can (insert gasp here) take it for granted, until I purchase some gas station coffee then I realize how good my coffee at home is and I fully appreciate good coffee again.

Life can get complicated, messy and busy, so much so that we take things like coffee for granted.. Don’t do that, gratitude is inarguably good an good for you. Gratitude makes you happier and healthier and it is free!

If you feel like you need something to be grateful for find a cup of coffee (not from the gas station) and take a sip. If coffee doesn’t work look in the mirror. You are very special. The odds of you being born are 1 in 400 trillion! You really are special everyone really is and no matter what that agro a$@hole says you deserve a trophy. Be grateful that you are you and here on earth.

There is always room

My youngest in now in college but I can remember when she was in elementary school and we had just finished eating a pretty big meal. I mentioned that I was “completely stuffed” and wouldn’t even dream of eating anymore. My youngest made a similar comment, later however after seeing an advertisement for ice cream voiced that she wanted ice cream now. I asked her how this could be possible and she replied that, there is always room for ice cream. My wife also let me know that food and ice cream do not stay in the same place in your stomach. We laughed and somehow ate ice cream together.

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There have been times when I felt so exhausted and tired and still had to find a way to work and I did many have. How do we do it? How can we go on when we are “done”? Everyone is motivated by different stimuli. I have seen office workers who keep photos of loved ones at their work space as motivation for enduring, I have also seen photos of dream house and cars in the same spaces.

Whatever inspires us one thing is universal we can all find more space for going on, there is always room for ice cream.

Only God

I remember growing up and seeing a key chain. The key chain belonged to my maternal grandmother and I think it said something like “only God can make a Tomato”. I think I am really not sure what the vegetable was, I know it had to do with the sovereignty of god and faith. My grandmother and mom were huge proselytizers for the Christian faith, my mother still is.

I remember hating tomato’s growing up I have come around to tomato’s and enjoy salsa and tacos however you will not catch me eating a BLT.

Last weekend was a holiday weekend here in the United States and my wife, 2 dogs and three kids all left the city and spent time in our camper near the river. While swimming in the river and walking the dog I thought about how foolish we humans are and I thought about that keychain. Humans have been given almost everything they need to survive and thrive from God, nature, mother earth or providence depending on your belief system and humans have paved it over.

The tomato key chain and our weekend enjoying the natural world also makes me think about the poem trees by Joyce Kilmer

Trees

BY JOYCE KILMER

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

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Don’t get me wrong humans are capable of many amazing things even creation, but all of humanity’s acts of creation pale in comparison to what has already been created and perhaps the best thing humanity can do is participate not in destructive creation but disruptive innovation and environmental conservationism.

Disruptive innovation and environmental conservationism focus on being a responsible citizen of the earth and understanding that we were given everything we need to not only survive but thrive.

Altogether now

Yesterdays wordle answer was fungi. This got me to thinking about how amazing trees are. Did you know that the trees use fungi to communicate with each other sort of like a world wide web? Scientists are calling it a wood wide web. There is an amazing article in the Smithsonian magazine all about some research into trees. I think the more we learn about trees the more we will respect them. I am a firm believer in the power of education. Education provides an understanding and respect for what we study.

If you ever begin to feel like you are becoming apathetic or even cynical educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about everything and you will discover that education is like a sympathy machine.

Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family

Kofi Annan

One thing that seems to always be present in everything I have learned is that.. everything is connected and when those connections are broken society breaks down. Education informs, creates sympathy and connects us to each other. beings working together to learn more and become more, helping each other in person on line and in life. Just like the trees that send messages through the fungi humans do the same. We let others know about the changes in the weather and traffic patterns. We encourage each other and we learn from and about each other.

Imagine where society would be today if, we focused on connections through education opposed to division through polarization of beliefs.

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Watches

When my wife and I started dating I was a huge fan of watches. I have all kinds of watches and time pieces different styles colors and brands. I went for two months once and never wore the same watch two days in a row. When Apple released the Apple watch I bought the first generation and last year for my anniversary my wife bought me the newest Apple watch (best anniversary gift ever). My wife has joked with me on more than one occasion about the watches, not about my obsessive nature but because I have never believed in time. I am not alone in this believe that time does not exist and it is not a crackpot theory like the flat earth one either. Think about time and try to define it…. Impossible right?

Time may not exist however we can run out of it and I am always wishing that I had more of it in my day.

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Time is a created thing. To say “I don’t have time” is to say “I don’t want to”

Lao Tzu

I have a list of things I want to do and I often find that I have issues with getting everything done that I want to do. I know I am not alone in this predicament. Instead of time management I beleive I need to focus more on priority management. If I can place the correct priorities in the correct order chance are high that I will be able to reach my goals.

The great athletes never focus on the clock when they are competing. Ignoring the clock can help us fool our brains.

You can accomplish anything I really believe that I believe that more than I believe that time is real.