Appropriate and Inapropriate

A fellow is walking his pet duck when he passes a movie theater and discovers that the last showing of a movie he really wants to see is just about to start. 

There’s no time to take the duck back home, so he stuffs the hapless bird into his pants and goes in to see the movie.

The movie is running and the duck starts to get edgy. The man is patting the duck through his pants in an effort to calm it down.

It just so happens that two old ladies are sitting next to him and one of them can't help but see all the patting and stroking.

“Ethel, the man next to me is playing with himself!”

“Pay him no attention, and he’ll stop,” advises Ethel.

Well, time passes but the duck is getting more and more agitated being so confined. So the man unzips his trousers and lets the duck stick its head out.

“Ethel, Ethel. Now he is deliberately exposing himself!”

“Never mind,” says Ethel. “You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.”


“Yah. But, but . . . this one’s eating my popcorn!”
The Correct Negation of 'Self'


THE 5TH. SAMDHONG RINPOCHE, LOBSANG TENZIN


Today when we talk about the Buddha’s teaching of selflessness or the not-self or Shunyata, people mostly cannot comprehend the real connotations of these teachings. And they always fall into the error of negating the relative self. When you speak of selflessness, they take it to mean that they are completely devoid of self, that self does not exist at all.

It is only in Buddhism and in some non-Buddhist Indian traditions that the Truth is classified into two levels: the Ultimate Truth and the Relative Truth. And these two need to be understood at their respective levels. They are two sides of one coin, yet they differ vastly. The key point is that, if you deny the relative truth, then you cannot realize Shunyata, but will fall into nihilism instead: the negation of everything.

The Buddha does not negate the relative existence of anything, but teaches that whatever exists in the relative or conventional sense, exists interdependently and the common-sense of the interdependent nature of things cannot be denied by anyone. It is truth; it is a fact. Things do not exist as we view them in this moment, we who do not realise the true nature of existence. The ordinary person views phenomena as existing by their own nature, complete and independent in themselves. They impute the quality of inherent existence to these phenomena, as they do to the self. But the fact is that relative phenomena, including the self, exist in interdependence on each other and on a myriad bases. This quality of interdependence does not imply that relative phenomena simply do not exist at all, but only that their existence is not inherent to themselves. In simple terms, if you remove the interdependent factors of which phenomena consist, the phenomena themselves would disappear because they have no inherent existence of their own, or from their own side. So unless you clearly recognize what is to be negated and what is to be affirmed, there is every chance of descending into nihilism. In this case, what is to be negated is the notion that relative phenomena exist absolutely. On the other hand, it is equally important to affirm that they exist relatively or conventionally. It is important to take care and be very cautious about this; that you should not negate the relative existence of self. But the self which we conceive of now as an absolute entity having independent existence from its own side is to be negated.

So, unless you very profoundly see how you conceive yourself, you will fall into the error, either of absolutism or of nihilism. But if your understanding of self is profound, then you can very easily negate the notion of an inherently-existent “I,” and that negation is Shunyata.

The simple negation of inherent or independent existence is Shunyata. The way we conceive of self, the way we conceive of phenomena, need to be very precisely and clearly recognized. Then you will realize that it is completely different from the real nature of the existence of self. So, it is quite a difficult process of analysis. But unless and until you realize what is to be negated, it is very dangerous to negate anything. You might negate the whole thing, and then you would fall down into nihilism.

So, it is very difficult to verbalise; but through meditation, through observation, you will realise how you conceive the self. It is not yourself which you negate, but that self of which you have formed a conception: that conception is to be negated.

At this moment, if somebody calls you or addresses you, you immediately conceive a self which is almost identical with body, mind, and speech: the gross combination. But you never conceive of self as something very subtle or very different than your conception of it.

Somebody hits you, and you feel that he has hit you, he abused you, he oppressed you: and at that time your conception of “I” is so gross, so monolithic, and so singular. There is the perception of the singularity of “I” which comes forward—a sense of the singular existence of “I,” and that is a misconception, and that misconception is to be negated.

After negating that mode of existence, then you will automatically understand the transitory and interdependent existence of the relative self — and when you realise the relativity of self, it will cease to create attachment or hatred — and it will see, since it is in the right view of self-existence, and it will automatically give you the right view of the existence of others, and then compassion arising from that profound understanding of the equality of all beings will come out naturally.

So, the negation is not negation of the relatively existent self, but the negation is the negation of how we view ourselves right now. That view is to be negated.

In the Canon and in the teachings the self as a whole, as an entity per se, is negated — but at that time the teacher is addressing you directly, attacking, as it were, the way you perceive yourself. It is a method for finding that which indeed is to be negated. So it sometimes seems as though the teachings are negating the total relative self. But we need to separate the teaching technique from the object which it seeks to accomplish. We need to separate these two and identify the object which is to be negated. Only then can the reality of selflessness be realized.

Great, great, great Uncle Bedazachefczchickleslov Wronski. Great, huh? Fo shizzle my Wronskizzle.

That's quite a mouthful of a name too, huh? Just call him Bedaz for short. Pronounced, "Bad-Azz", with emphasis on the latter syllable. Interesting. He was quite the badass, in fact. But, like it is with almost all us Wronski's, ahead of his time; i.e., well before that term was a term.

Additionally, Uncle, he was the original "bedazzler". Only he did it before glitter and sequins were things. He was, as they say, a man of means; precious and semiprecious gem stones did it for him; that be sparkle. And — you might guess where I'm going here — also before the term bedazzle was a term.

Also, one of the most decorated warriors in the great pantheon of Wronski Warriors of lore, and among most other warriors of any lore for that matter. In the Crimea he was known as the one "who never met a man he didn't kill".

That scimitar ... encrusted with diamonds. Big ones. What did I tell you? I know! He predictably went in for the big "WOW" factor. Blade, as sharp as a razor. Forged over years of painstaking effort by the most famous sword maker of his time. Coincidentally, also a Wronski family member. Sharp ... and, tough. 

Just like Uncle Bedaz. But, hey, that's a Wronski.

To this day among all the family members observant of the Wronski traditions, Thanksgiving — well, in fact, just about at any holiday or family gathering — it is custom to remember Uncle Bedaz's prowess with the sword in a ritual called "Flaying the Bird". Not a pretty sight for outsiders. But to a Wronski, mother's milk. A touchstone for what it is to be a Wronski. By the way, it was Uncle who invented "spatchcocking". He didn't give it that name, he just did the deed. The name was given to the culinary procedure by yet another one of the Wronski clan, Aunty Spatchinzcokschvitzskia. And, oh boy, she was something too! 

But, enough for now. 

And for the full bore Wronski hystericalicity CLICK to go to this page.

What's the Point of Citing Science?

You can't convince anyone whose mind is already certain they know what you're talking about.

Image may contain: meme and text

The image above was recently posted on a Facebook page I like.

Since I chime in about the benefits of Rolf Structural Integration whenever there seems to be an opening, I said:

"There was Dr. Ida P. Rolf who had this idea of fostering an integration of the Human Energy Field with the Energy Field of the Earth. Depth ecology."

Comment 1: "Interesting."

I added: " “Some individuals may perceive their losing fight with gravity as a sharp pain in their back, others as the unflattering contour of their body, others as constant fatigue, yet others as an unrelentingly threatening environment. Those over forty may call it old age. And yet all these signals may be pointing to a single problem so prominent in their own structure, as well as others, that it has been ignored: they are off balance, they are at war with gravity.” – Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D." 

And this graphic ...



Comment 2: "There has never been a shred of peer-reviewed evidence that "Rolfing" offers any benefits beyond those of a good massage — in fact, for certain issues, it can cause *more* damage."

Me:



Then: "Link to source, please? Meaningless without context."

Wronski: "The photo to the best of my knowledge comes from the files of the Guild for Structural Integration."

Reply: "... hence, worthless." 

Me: "Assuming the representation is accurate and truthful, showing the results of 10 sessions of Rolf Structural Integration, pre/post, at least demonstrates the possibility that we humans can learn to work with Gravity along the same lanes as what architects and the building trades honor in their designs and structures — plumb and square as the cardinal reference for enduring through balance.

" If you want to wait for the Science to come in, go ahead.

"It's like asking the guy at the Wagon Wheel in Birmingham, Michigan to show the scientific proof that the top slice of that eponymous sandwich won't slide off. (Assuming you go back far enough to remember the Wagon Wheel.*)

"Forget about whether Rolfing works. Consider the images in the attached photo. The body is well understood to be plastic. The first thing is to decide if you want to learn to find balance in the make up of your body such that it works with Gravity. Down the road, if you want, Rolf Structural Integration offers personalized assistance."

* The gentleman in this exchange lives in Michigan, near the city of Birmingham. The Wagon Wheel sandwich is an overstuffed affair and a slice of dark bread 6" in diameter. 

Halloween 2017


The photo collage above shows the antics at Johnny Jupiter in Manhattan circa 1990. The original piece recently turned up, and here it is to remember sensational good times at that most magical of stores.


Here are the new owners of the home we've been visiting for the past few years on Halloween. (See photo record in links below from Halloweens past.)


Thanks for keeping the tradition alive. 

And, many more Happy Halloweens to come.

(The pooch is not a prop. Alive. Very alive!)



Our friends moved to, of all places, Madiera. 

Above is the decoration at their new home.


Kids today! Interesting exchange. One girl asked me why I was taking the picture. I said, "It was for keeping an eye on potential juvenile delinquents." She asked, "are you Police?" I said I was undercover. "Then why did you tell us that?" There is hope for the future. Smart kid.


Waiting to pick up a Pizza to take home, Dad and Daughter sat down right in front of our parked car waiting for their ride. Nice picture.

___________________________________________

CLICK to see previous years: 




A Parable of Professional Distinctions

Dear Friends,

I recently discovered yet another branching in our fascinating field. This is in no way a recommendation and I don’t vouch for the efficacy of the method being described. Just a humble reporter, at your service.


Here’s a brief recount of the four w’s: (Who, What, Where, When, Why) Alright, that’s five. OK?


Recently at the mall I spotted this fine young fellow who had the kind of posture and bearing that we professionals would instantly recognize as “structurally integrated.” I approached and introduced myself and asked, “Who is your Rolfer?” Well, first he chided me for using the term without the requisite legal qualifiers; for which lapse I apologized. Then he told me what at first seemed to be a total shaggy dog story; but, it gets more interesting, so read on.


He said that he wasn’t “Rolfed,” but in fact was “Besomed.”


Before telling me all about what I am about to share with you, he counseled me that the terms “Besom®” (proper noun and verb usages) and “Besomer®” (trained/certified practitioner) were privileged terms, there being huge legal and karmic repercussions to use these words even in ordinary speech, even in the privacy of one’s own home. It seems that the name came about as a nickname based on the name of the developer of this unique approach, who is seen here: 



Joe Besom

I may be going out on a limb to share all this with the group, but I am a professional after all and therewith comes responsibility to my fellows (used in the gender neutral sense). I’m not going to tempt fate, however, so the reference to “Besom” (just then) is the last time I will use the term. Next time I hack into the akashic record files I’ll try to erase any evidence that I’ve violated anyone’s rights in this matter.

Pray for me. And, while your at it, excuuuuse me! too.


Anyway, it seems that this approach that I discovered by happenstance has some parallels with our own beloved craft. And, since there is a growing interest in gadgets and other things to do in the group, I also thought this new approach being built as it is around an electro/mechanical device, there would be some interest, particularly among those advanced practitioners working at the leading edge in our field. You know who you are.


The device in question is worn on the body, in the back. It is composed of a long hardwood dowel with some sort of stiff flexible fibers attached to the bottom. The closest I can come to telling you what it’s like is to have you imagine . . . a broom.


The original way this worked was by strapping the thing onto one’s back with the shoulder of the business end of good old fashioned hand made broom right over the sacrum. The handle was positioned to align with the spine. In the early days they used good old duct tape to attach the broom to the pelvis, around the chest, and around the head. Evidently wearing this contraption over a prescribed number of weeks (10 was originally recommended. Can you believe it! Talk about synchronicity!) showed some remarkable improvements in posture among many of whom are called— as we used to say in my old marketing days — “early adopters.” As near as I can discern the core concept has to do with some sort of resonance at the level of the parasympathetic nervous system and the causal body with the vertical arrangement of the wood fibers in the dowel itself. No “spare the rod” in this crowd — tough love if you ask me.


It seems that this is not a new field at all and that there are now several schisms developing out there, each with a slightly different spin on the basic technique. There are, naturally, the traditionalists who hew to the old man’s original ways — old fashioned, hand made broom and duck tape and off you go.


Some thought there could be room for improvement. Obviously, the one thing that always seemed to come up was the issue of pain. Getting that duck tape off was painful and no amount of pussyfooting around that fact seemed to dissuade anyone.


There is naturally the group of young turks who feel there is plenty of room in the field for experimentation/improvements. They now say it’s gentle. In fact, they talk about how it is also "new and improved." (Now, as a former marketing guru, I don’t get the wisdom of saying that something is new and improved when the people who you are offering it to don’t have any clue what the heck the thing is in the first place. I’m just not enough of a philosopher to understand that.)


The "gentle" technique seems to involve wrapping the areas of the body where the duct tape goes with some soft felt straps. This, even to me is an obvious improvement for any number of reasons which I won’t get into at this time. It may even be the precursor to the technique going around now called, "Fascial Wrapping". Just saying.


(There is an intense debate within the group of professionals practicing this approach. The traditionalists feel that the direct tape-on-skin makes for what they call the experience of “purchase.” But the innovators aren’t buying it. The “trads” subject the "new-bees" to stinging mockery and call them “kid glovers.” You could say that the gloves are off on this one. Let the marketplace of ideas decide.)


It doesn’t end there; even if you decide to stop reading this report. The originator did his homework and learned a few things from the experiences within our SI community. He anticipated that some folks would want to put a few new spins on the old man’s basic approach. For instance, if you wonder whether there might be sufficient attention paid to the psychological factors, suffice it to say, and, as you could imagine, walking around with what for all practical purposes looks like a broom strapped to your butt sure does bring up some embarrassing issues.


As far as the 10 weeks that you’re supposed to wear the device, the original instructions suggest 10 weeks but leave it to the wearer to decide. Less or more, depending on results and/or peer pressure factors. This way the newly minted practitioners would be spared splintering off into a new school(s) every time someone decided that the system wasn’t sufficiently holistic or that this or that many weeks were just right or that the old man was, as it is put, "characteristically" full of it. This guy made sure that the path was swept clean for as far as anyone could see.


There have been some new developments in the field which portend to raise this work into the truly holistic dimension. This is where we leave your basic physics and enter the realm of your metaphysics. (My mother told me every time I got cranky that what I needed was a good “physic.” I only mention this.)


The very latest method uses your basic broom. Store bought is fine. (See here for the best, and perhaps, only, broom you will ever need to own. That link goes to Lehman’s, a good source of all kinds of good stuff. Check it out.) Size and type of broom should be determined depending on height and build. Just under the shoulders of the broom bristles are wrapped three layers of medium steel wool each sandwiched between layers of wool felt. This produces an Orgone effect at the base of the spine. Around this two copper wires are wound in opposite directions and the winding continues up to the very top of the broom handle. At the approximate points of each of the chakras the wires are wound three times. Also at the broom shoulders where the wire is started there are attached two copper wire leads that affix to copper bracelets on each wrist. Please get your copy of The Eating Gorilla Comes in Peace off the shelf and look up “Eemen Screen”. This is a devise for balancing the energetic polarity of the body, also referred to as a harmonizing bio-circuit screen.


Sounds like they’ve done their homework to get this concept together. The theory is that there is a phase coherent sine wave generated at the base of the spine which resonates in sympathy with the Sushumna Nadi along its entire length integrating with the Idala and Pingala via the left/right sympathy (their term) evoked (our term) by the connection to the wrist bracelets and the corresponding phase shift, especially when walking. I’m not going to even hint at what kind of effects are possible when walking fast and/or running. You must be certified to even hear about it, and they never write it down. Heady stuff, huh? Kind of makes you want to go and reread someone's* massive missives [name removed to protect the guilty] just to clear your head. (That was a little ribbing. Sort of like the kind he gave me — literally — in a workshop we did together. Simmer! Whoa, boy! *You should know** who you are.) **Actually, that is recommended for everyone; knowing who you are, that is.


There also seems to be a few other refinements. Like using some sections of tissue paper tube encircling the broom handle as a better way of connecting the tape. This supposedly offers more mobility. And then there’s the radical idea of cutting off most of the bristles to enable the wearer to also sit comfortably. Both these ideas are being strenuously debated in their professional journal. Seems the bristles on the buttocks was originally meant to stimulate cranial-sacral respiration. For many it’s a sore point, however. A real pain in the butt. Makes some folks bristle. Literally.


Like you are probably thinking right now, I thought this guy was putting me on. I asked him how well this rather, ahem!, folksy/new-agey approach was making it with the scientific/medical community. “Of course there is the usual resistance to new technology,” he said. “Just remember though, those are the guys who sew metal rods to your spine.” He had his point.


There is obviously much more than what’s in this cursory report. I have the fellow’s name and he has assured me that any sincere inquiries will be addressed when he gets around to it. And then, of course, there’s the next workshop. I’m told that bona fide practitioners from the other schools, after some refresher classes and a peer group review, will be able to be trained and certified, at a price.


Yours as always,

Ace*

*In some elite circles, yours truly, David D. Wronski, is known affectionately as GravityAce . . ."Ace" to his friends. (Please, don't get cute and offer alternative spellings.)

TAXI CAB STORIES 2017






It's my annual evening job driving a taxi in the Big Apple. Marching up to Halloween, there are quite a few stories to share.



Please! ... I'm wearing it ironically.


"Step on it, bub! I want to lose that guy!"



Rocket Man! I may be Polish ...
but that's not my kind of Mushroom!



"Are we there yet? Now? Now? Now?"



"Look what you made me do!"
(Way to take responsibility, girl.)



She said my driving was "deplorable".
So I reminded her that she chose her own course.



"Would it kill you to just drop me off there, 
... at the 'curb'."



"No!!! Not the Bridge!!!"



"Make a hard right!"



... The Aristocrats!

"That's funny! Let's get some Coffee."




That's the girl next door.

And, I like her just the way she is. 

Literally ... Next Door.



"I'm gonna sine yo pitty on the runny kine."




"Shore is built up around here!"




Oh, you say, "Namaste"? You must be so calm.





Hey, aren't you that Susie Essman from the Larry David show, Curb Your Enthusiasm?



"Exactamundo! And, on those cobblestones it feels like Déjà vu all over again."


I don't care what your name is! 

I'm not looking under the seat!




"It doesn't matter where we're going. Everything is nothing. And nothing doesn't exist. So, If I'm not real, who am I? The one who asks, isn't the one! And neither are you. But, who am I talking to? There's no meaning except what you give it. Whoah!"

(I hope I still get paid ... in cash.)


Trust me, Mr. Mayor. It's the fastest route.



"So, now I'm out on my ass. And he's President! 

Some apples!"



"No self! No charge?"



Sure, Your Holiness. 
I'll try that when the rent's due. 



"Nice cap driver."


Thank you Mr. President. But, I wear it 'ironically'.




Hey, what's with the straight face?

[Memorable line from Lost in Translation.]




"You Tweet your meat, you get some heart!"


Yah. And now you have 21 months to cool off!



"It's the next, next thing.  It's called 'Jiffy Jeff''."

Looks pricey!



"Let's not have any drama! Okay driver?"


[Look who's talking.]




So, lady, tell me ... How long do you have to live in Bologna before you're full of Boloney?




"I'll be jammin' with George and Roy from now on."



Well, look a you! Little Raggedy Ann, all growed up!

[That's fashion designer Betsey Johnson. I actually said that to her once when she showed up with her hair in pigtails. She was not amused.]



Some coincidence, huh, Mr. Secretary? 

Manning the helm of the Ship of State.
 Get it? 
"Ship" ... "Tiller"(son).

"And, you're a f#cking moron too!!!"



"And, the taxis were bigger too!"

[Oh, Norma! Always with the drama!]



Hey, Mr. Farmer Jim. Are those Apples you're selling sweet?

"As sweet as I am!"


[That's Farmer Jim Matarazzo, one of the great independent farmers in the Garden State of New Jersey. We have that exchange rehearsed. I asked a women shopper at the Farmers Market to ask him that. When Jim said, "As sweet as I am" the young woman tartly* said, "I don't know what that means. I don't know if he's sweet". Not everyone is your customer. Even for humor. * "tartly"  ]



Where to, Mr. Weinstein?

"Stop the world, I want to get off."



"Now, don't YOU start with me!"


"Just keep going right, until someone tells me to stop."


"I know nothing!"

[You, and everyone else, evidently.]


"Greetings, my Caucasian!"



"My pronouns are 'it', 'what!', and 'who?'"



"I think the heat is off."

[But, just for the time being.]





Cab driver: “There’s something that I’ve been wanting to ask, but I don’t want to offend you.”

 Nun: “I'm sure that there's nothing you could say, or ask, that I would find offensive."

 "Well, I've always had a fantasy to have a nun kiss me."

Nun responds: "Well, let's see what we can do about that: #1, you have to be single and #2, you must be Catholic."

 The cab driver is very excited and says, "Yes, I'm single. And, I’m Catholic!"

 "OK," the nun says. "Pull into the next alley."

 The nun fulfills his fantasy; with a kiss that would make a hooker blush.

 But when they get back on the road, the cab driver starts crying.

 "My dear child," says the nun, "why are you crying?"

 "Forgive me but I've sinned. I lied and I must confess, I'm married and I'm Jewish."

 The nun says, "That's OK. My name is Kevin and I'm going to a Halloween


"What he* said. Only, I'd put it as ... 'FLAMING'."

[*Referring to Rex Tillerson's closed door observation.]


"Any questions?"



I'm feeling nostalgic for a certain time in the Big Apple.


DRUKPA KUNLEY

The Divine Madman introducing Himself:

'Dancer in the indestructible stream of magical illusion,
Unifier of the welter of inconsistencies and absurdities,
Power-holder turning the Wheel of Bliss and Emptiness,
Hero perceiving all things as deception,
Nauseous Recalcitrant disgusted with temporal attachment,
Little Yogin piercing others' illusory projections,
Vagabond selling Samsara short,
Light-traveller making his lodging his home,
Fortunate Wayfarer perceiving his Mind as the Lama,
Champion understanding all appearance as the mind,
Diviner of Relativity knowing unity as multiplicity,
Naljorpa tasting the one flavour of all things —
These are some of the masks I wear!'



Where to, Senator Flake?

"The White House. But, take your time. 
I want to arrive exactly on January 20, 2020."


"I'm David S. Pumpkins, and I'm gonna scare the hell out of you!"



That's my deal*! 

Any questions???

*[The Skeletons: They're part of it.]



Let me guess ... Fatwa?

"Yes!!! Fatwa!!!



"Take me to Halloween!"


"Don't be a'scared. I'm not real!"


"Any questions???"

_________________

CLICK to see other iterations from 2016



And, still more ... (The beginnings)