The Very Firsts.

•January 29, 2012 • Leave a Comment

When was the first prayer? Was it before or after the first burial? When was the first laugh? How did laughter develope? When was the first event where our ancestors beat on wood, bones, etc. in time, in rhythm causing a group altered state within the tribe/pack that would become music? When did they first shout and make noise with their vocal cords along with the rhythm? When did they move about to the music and dance for the first time? When had language developed enough to allow our long gone ancestors to envision what the tiny little lights in the night sky might be and formulate an appropriate mythology? When did the blue eyes gene arise? When was the homo sapiens sapiens, the first speciated ‘Man’ born? Was there an era when Homo Neandertalensis had learned that the slender crafty new smoother skinned men were to to be fled from and feared for their ability to execute their complex will in painful terrifying ways on their prey and competitors?






When did the first hominid ancestor hug his or her companion and relate gratitude? When was the first time when one of us wore one of the brilliant colored stones from the ground for it’s beauty? When was the earliest utterance of words that meant courage, dream, joy, love, adventure, wonder………satisfaction?




The Ominous Kingdom of Theism

•December 3, 2011 • Leave a Comment

ImageFound a blog where science was given a broad though oblique swipe by a Christian ‘Apologist’. After perusing blog post titles like ‘Do Children Go to Heaven?’ and various dreary, ho-hum indictments of basic rational thought I just couldn’t stand it any more. I wrote the following reply within minutes.


Edmund Rainessaid…

Between contemporary molecular biology and the vast fossil record evolution is readily observable. The movers and shakers who bring you heart surgery and Ipads don’t care what we think or whether we call evolution fact or fiction. The need to minimize just the areas of science that don’t support whichever mythology we were brought up with and psychologically conditioned with is sad. It’s sad that so many shuffle through the miracle of existance NEEding to keep barriers against reality in place at such a cost to themselves and mankind as a whole. Either-show-your-GOD-or-a-proof-of-his-existance or keep it to yourself. The ‘right’ to proliferate delusion, with all it’s fear, shame, paranoia etc., shouldn’t be okay.
Where’s the harm!?
The Pope travelled to the most AIDS ridden continent and told them “Don’t use condoms.”
Let’s talk about inquisition, fatwa, the subjugation, torture and extermination of non-believers, women, gays, people with physical defects, or how about the systematic abuse of children, the disease brought to countless indigenous tribes by missionaries….okay you know what, this list is too embarassingly long to cover. Believe whatever pleases you but may you spread the disease of ignorance with the appropriate level of shame from now on.

In Spite of All the Danger

•October 16, 2011 • Leave a Comment


    Still Here. Still intend to be here…..then. “What a world, what a world”, in the words of one flabbergasted witch in the throes of sudden loss of molecular itegrity. Well, time is the fire in which we burn and in last moment’s hindsight the whole of our linear experience may seem like a bucket of cold water in the face. Or not. We’ll see. That’s one certain thing. We’re gonna know.

     Just watched a truly energizing movie called ‘Leaves of Grass’ where Edward Norton plays a brilliant up’n comin’ classical philosophy  professor (while simultaneously playing his own marijuana smoke soddened twin brother) and he muses at one point on the pointlessness of the fear of death as once you’re dead you are no longer aware, at least of this world, ergo you’re free from dying, so what’s to fear. Well, we’re hard wired for self preservation in a list of ways that are still there whether we acknowledge them or no.

      Still, knowing that fear of not existing comes from a nervous system that’s bloomed incrementally over millions of years, just as knowing that pain is only the physical being’s built in safety mechanism is an important part of not being tethered to or focused on these phenomenon in any sort of unhealthy or life restricting way.

      I’ve heard that every atom in your body came from a star, either our own, the sun, or one of ’em in the night sky. I remember sitting with that idea….for a while…until everything around me seemed like the hot, gold ashes of fireworks that glittered down and turned into us, this, the world we know. How is it that we aren’t crazed with excitement and enthusiasm all the time, and is that what the future holds? A time where we’re fueled by wonder and set about to accomplish great things incessantly as opposed to now and then?

       I was lucky. I have memories going all the way back to my first coupla years of this life. I remember my biological mom singing ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ well before I was given up for adoption just before my fourth birthday. The list of events and circumstances that created in me a need to play the saxophonist is long and it’s been tough going, on and off for some time. But as I pondered all this recently after watching another great movie, ‘Nowhere Boy’ about the childhood of John Lennon, it hit me that this sort of thing is going on all the time. John Lennon had a pressure cooker in his chest growing up, dealing with less than ideal familial issues but he was pushed to become a musician as a result…..a musician…yeah, right, I mean a Beatle.

      It seems like our collective human consciousness has some pressure cooker-like attributes. Everything seems out of hand on the world stage right now, whether it’s the economy, environment, politics or religious tension. You best fuckin’ believe that some are our answers can be found in some of the songs written by Mr. Lennon. Like which songs? Get online, google Beatles/John Lenneon/lyrics, etc. Simplicity often seems trite and fatuous, but simplicity is often the form the best remedies come in. It’s been true in my little corner of life.

•October 16, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Gimme fuel-gimme fire-gimme that which I desire.

    Atheist=no belief in God. Theist=Belief in God. Agnostic=Don’t know if there’s a God. What are you if you don’t care either way anymore? I mean the people that KNOW…for CERTAIN that there’s a God turn far more people off than on. and I’m wondrin’ how we make the leap from the last hand fulla millenia where religious sentiment has been subliminated into wars, oppression, and control to a world where we have problems to overcome and difficulties existing with our fellow man but this or that ancient text or idea of God or  is no longer being brought in to validate a struggle for space and resources or to assuage anyones xenophobia. Might we get there faster without people from different sides of an issue bringing in their own amorphous, silent, brooding, diefic referees from out of their own cultural conditioning?
     Heard someone recently make a blanket statement about how “the Bible says marriage is between a man and a woman and that’s good enough for me.” It dawned on me that she could’ve been a Muslim and said the same thing about the Koran. Also it obviously wasn’t ‘good enough’ for her or else she’d have been content to live the way her religious text insists and not needed to support legislation for everyone else based on her beliefs. These kinda people wouldn’t realize what theocracy means til they had it and then they’d be sorry. I hear the voice of Christian sharia law come from people who are often otherwise very cool and I wonder at it.
    If there’s a God, as in an anthropomorphic centrally intelligent creator who’s watching and judging, FINE. But judging by the history of religions, particularly those that sprang from the levant this God is seemingly not helping one religious demographic over another…, um….I dunno I think we should be able to look at this particular big picture and say enough. We….are….learning. In these times it seems like we better figure some stuff out or we’ll be in trouble.
    I hear talk about the end of the world, the End Times, 2012, the collapse of the world economy, environment etc. and I think we really need to pull up our big boy pants and be…..reasonable, conscientious, adult human beings.

     To me it’s more exciting to not know, for there to be endless mystery continuously unfolding into insight and and wisdom than to have a Sunday school coloring book (or pamphlet) laying it all out in just a few pages. This tiny planet alone is more wondrous and complicated than any group of ‘believers’ that I’ve come across has been totally in touch with.
      It really is exciting to be in one of these things….bodies, that is. Bipedal, carbon based primate go carts. Seriously, it requires more binary digits of information to run a single virus that it took to run the Martian land rover. Viruses are far less complex than even a single cell, of which we are composed of approximately 3 trillion. These things are cool.
     Anyhoo, so…what? There’s no afterlife? Just this? I dunno. Neither do you. I think that recent breakthoughs in science (quantum physics, string theory, MWI) make for a far more interesting view of reality than our imaginations could’ve hitherto devised. I happen to think for various reasons that this corporeal, linear reality that we’re dealing with head on is the tip of the iceberg or as Buddha said “the foam of a wave.”
     I would suggest reading Dr. Suzuki, Takuan Soho, Christmas Humphries, and Suzuki Roshi (Sunryu) to people trying to be all they can, see all they can and free all they can. Because while Zen Buddhism is a religion, Zen by itself stands apart in it’s aims and assertions. Humphries suggests that Zen is the light that all religions are offering, or as I would have it, marketing. Meanwhile here we are. Or, at least here I am. Breathing, thinking, enjoying, laughing, exploring, adventuring, working, giving, loving, playing my sax, sleeping, growing, screwing up, fixing, seeing….being…..dreaming…..and I can’t be converted.
     Once you’ve flown around the world you know it isn’t flat.

Things That Remind Me of the ‘Who Wants Chowder?’ Clip From Family Guy….

•July 6, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Michele Bachmann,,

Presidents and presidential candidates who can’t pronounce ‘nuclear.’

Anything Chris Lambert did since the first ‘Highlander’

People who think America was once a good and pure theocracy back in the f#@&*#g good old days.

People who’ve never smoked pot but know that it’s FAR worse than alcohol.

Creamed peas and potatoes in the frozen boxes that are all pasty and bland.

Movies with kickass trailers that turn out to be maddeningly stupid………. Wicker Man is the best example of this.

A few more of the things that remind me of the ‘Who Wants Chowder’ youtube clip from Family Guy are, Bill O’Reilly, Oral “God’s gonna kill me if I don’t get a million dollars” Roberts, Our major news networks that feature Casey Anthony 24/7, Sarah Palin, people who think Sarah Palin is just a gutsy, spunky maverick, and Michele Bachmann.

Lastly Michele Bachmann.

And now please enjoy the featured youtube clip entitled, ‘Who Wants Chowder.’


Fourth of July!!!!!!

•July 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

    Yeehaw!!!!!!! I totally dig fireworks. And unlike some people I know, I dig this country. Not so much because of where we are or our history, though there are things to be proud of (and things to be not so proud of) but because of where we could be, what we could do. Pffff! we have a black president! We could have a female president! We have dozens of religions, various races, political viewpoints, lifestyles etc. all living together here. Jon Stewart recently commented that we’ve been given the notion that right wingers and left wingers, Dems and Reps, conservatives and liberals….can’t work together…..But we work together everyday, everywhere except, as Jon notes, inside the Beltway. I’ve had various chapters in life where I thought within this or that ideological framework. It’s was comforting to think I was safely within the ranks of the good guys. Always painful though, when our personal paradigm proves worthless when actual reality comes into play.

      Our founding fathers weren’t water walking ascended masters…but they weren’t no fools neither. The progressive thought that went into the constitution has many times prevented mob psychology from doing it’s worst. I wish that the writings of people like Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin,  and John Adams, would be covered in school more extensively because something has gone awry.

       I hear people, STILL, in the year 2011, say “We need to return to christian values as a nation.” “We need to return to the christian principles our great nation was founded upon.”

       OMFG! REALLY?!?! We need to go back to when America was a theocracy?….I’m sorry, when was that? Where are these scriptures in the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence? Huh-uh. This country is great because of an original combination of deep thinking and passion for higher ideals and a consequent history of people wanting to preserve and defend their way of life. Fascism is just as likely to come in the form of a flag draped cross as a star and crescent or  hammer and sickle.

       I believe John Ashcroft once said “America has no king but Jesus!” ACTually, America has no king PERiod because you can’t call yourself a democratic republic if-you-have-one.

       It’s funny, I think unemployent, the economy and national security are the biggest concerns on most American’s mind…..but every piece of republican garbage I got in my mailbox last election cycle was about “stopping the gays.” RrrrEALLLyyy? It makes me laugh, it really does. And the ‘other side’ has no shortage of cluelessness. How the wording of  the second amendment is in any way unclear I’ve NO idea, but the Dems have seemed completely comfortable with shooting themselves in the foot over this issue for decades. How did these people, left and right, EVer get to be in charge? 

      Because as great as America is/was/can be………..right now we’re a bread and circus oriented society that would rather have comforts than give a damn……by and large……except of course for myself and you, dear reader.   8^)  We sit in the bleachers and cheer for our favorite team like it was a football game while they continue to do whatever they want. They will be in charge until decent, educated, concerned people decide otherwise…..or until the paranoid hive consciousness of the Tea Party decides otherwise.

       Change is the only constant, change is coming, and so often in history the good prevails…just barely…….because there were just a few more people thinking on their feet…..being courageous……..adding another note to the dissonant roar of the mindless mob.

      What’s this got to do with Zen? I dunno for sure. But Zen is, in part, about making decisions outside the conditioning we were brought up with or bought into. It’s relevant, I think.






So much is happening

•July 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So much to take in, absorb, comprehend and deal with. We’ve all seen the charts that show the progress of technology throughout human history; the slow upward grade continuing for millennia until the mid 19th century, then the almost vertical ascent of the the chart through the 20th century. Comedian Lewis Black, one of my absolute faves, talked about hope in one of his routines. How could he have hope in the face of so many frightening problems on our horizon? How could he entertain the notion of hope with the constant Jerry Springer horseshit that our political and spiritual leaders showcase daily via the media? Then he held up his Blackberry. A tiny thin little device that he could do 50 different things with like talk to people around the world, view live broadcasts, send texts, download music and movies and perform feats that would have required computers the size of whole buildings just 50 years ago.

   I have hope too. If we can keep from blowin’ up the whole thing, or keep from permanently ruining our little global pond we’re sitting in….if we can stave off the mind nullifying allure of fundamentalism, then there’s hope. Technological advancement still proceeds apace. The answers are coming but they’re not coming from North Korea, or fundamentalist Muslim states or from the 700 Club or Michele Bachmann. I tend to vote for whoever seems less likely to push us into total catastrophy. It’s the information age. Anyone in any nation can get online and learn about the cultural, political and religious history of our species. I think it’s going to be harder for religious and nationalist zeal to sway large enough demographics to stop the progress or send us back into another dark age. But they certainly do try. That’s why I so dearly love the comedians. They often perform a much more crucial function than mere entertainment. If you haven’t heard of Eddie Izzard enjoy the link below.