Thought provoking exchanges on Taoism, Chinese Astrology, Mathematics, Education, GAIA -- our planet, and of course, Sillyness.

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Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Kid and the ShoeMaker

A kid is watching the shoe maker make shoes.
He asks "What are shoes made of?"
The shoemaker replies "Hide."
The kid asks "Why?"
The shoemaker replies "Hide, hide. You know, the cow's outside."
The kid asks "Who's afraid of a cow????"

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The Cost

If you think education is expensive -- check out the cost of ignorance!!

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Monday, February 05, 2007


London, Ontario, 1997.

D. and J., my friendly neighbours and I, live in adjacent townhouses down by the woods bordering the north branch of the Thames River. We're all three from small towns, so we love the natural setting in which we're privileged to live. We see more squirrels, geese and raccoons than we do people, and that makes us very happy.

Though D. and J. both love kids, they have none yet, but sometimes they're visited by their friends' children. In particular, they're visited by a four year old who has spent most of his short life lost in the electronic wonderland of TV and video games. This child has absolutely no inkling of how to relate to nature.

One evening in early fall, when this little lad was visiting, D. and I were outside with him and we were talking; both of us pleasantly aware of the song the insects and frogs in the woods and river were singing. Suddenly the kid went rigid. He asked "what's that?" "What's what?" D. questioned. "That noise" he said. "What's that noise?"

When we realized that he was referring to the sounds of nature we so enjoyed hearing, we explained that it was the sound of insects in the woods and frogs down by the river singing their sunset song. "They always sing at sundown," we said, and waited for his reaction.

"Well, turn it off " he commanded. "I don't want to hear it any more." As if we could pick up a joy stick or remote control, push a button to mute the sounds of nature.

I find this pretty damn scary! What message do you think dwells in the psyche of this four year old human being? Can you imagine that he has any respect for his home planet or do you think he believes himself to be "Master of the Universe" in control of it all? At his young age, he is convinced that some inane human activity such as flipping a switch, can effect change in the world to make it more to his liking. And can you imagine what his reaction will be when he grows up, fathers a sensitive, fussy child and no longer wants to hear his baby crying? What action might he take to rectify that situation?

Too many youngsters today experience the world in two dimensional cyberspace and have no concept of natural reality or how to live with it. They're like the first whites who came to North America. The Indians called them extraterrestrials because they seemed to have no inkling of how to relate to this planet. The natives concluded that they must have come from some other one somewhere, and in a way, they were right. The same is true of our kids and many adults today.
We spend so much of our working time manipulating data and artificial resources, that we can't help but create humongous superiority complexes. We convince ourselves that we are in total control of it all, then we run into an ice storm or tsunami and we're powerless. We condone actions such as pumping poison into Mother Earth in order to rid ourselves of those pesky dandelions that grow on our perfectly green lawns, without thinking about the dire consequences of such actions.

At one time, we'd keep a family pet to teach our kids responsibility towards other living beings, however today we give our children "virtual" pets -- manufactured in Japan out of plastic and metal, with little buttons that must be pushed in order to feed and comfort them. And when they "die", we create virtual pet mortuaries and cemeteries -- I kid you not -- in order to give them proper burials.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't introduce our kids to modern technology, but we've got to strike a balance between the natural and man-made world if we hope to survive. Our kids have got to experience first hand the wonders of nature. They can't know it solely through the Discovery Channel. It's amazing! We human beings are the only species on this planet that understands that it is the only planet upon which we can survive, yet we're also the only species on this planet out to destroy it.

Sure it's easier to relate to and control the man-made universe but we must teach ourselves and our kids to love and respect nature or this planet will become uninhabitable in the near future.

It's almost spring. Take your kids on a nature walk this weekend and teach them to love their home planet. You'll be doing them, yourself and the world they hope to inhabit, a favour.

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The Real Tragedy

On Saturday, February 3 the Rod Roy Ski School of Montreal dispatched 14 buses carrying 40 students and one driver each, to travel 200 kilometers north to a ski hill for a day of alpine skiing. The great majority of these ski students came from the west end of Montreal, from homes wealthy enough to afford the expensive ski equipment, lessons and transportation involved in this activity. One of these buses crashed and rolled into a ditch. The police suspect the accident was due to excessive speed on the narrow winter highway. The 46 year old driver was killed in the crash. Some of the students were injured, and all of them were traumatized by the experience.

Everyone I've spoken to since the event has said what a tragedy it is that the driver is dead. I vehemently disagree with them!!! To me the tremendous tragedy of this event is that, in a world where we have just come face to face with the dire state of our home planet, and our human effect on it, we still think it's OK to dispatch 14 fossil fuel burning vehicles carrying 560 ski students a distance of 400km in a day – for a total of 5600km – just so they can amuse themselves in fancy-shmancy clothes and get some exercise.

I live in west end Montreal. So, I know that every one of these 560 ski students could have put on a pair of cross country or alpine skis within 5km of their home and spent the day skiing on a golf course, in a public park, or even on groomed alpine trails on Mount Royal. They could do the same on trails down along the Lachine canal.

So why??? Why do we continue burning fossil fuels just to amuse ourselves or to get to the place where we exercise? Why doesn't each and every single human being on the face of this poor, abused planet make immediate adjustments to their attitudes, lifestyles, and habits? We hate it when our politicians ignore crisis issues, or shovel the bull shit at us about them, but what do we do as individuals when put to the test? We ignore, or more correctly, pretend to ignore the issue.

Global warming is a human problem!
If you are a human, you have to do something – and you have to do it now!
If you're not a human, and you're reading this, I'd like to meet you!!

It's time we stop fighting over our rights and start thinking about our responsibilities. Every single one of us must become part of the solution no matter what the personal cost. We can no longer believe that technology and science are going to save us. In many ways, technology created the problem. We are the only ones who can save ourselves, our planet, our very existence.

Big daddy in heaven is not there. He's not looking after us! Doesn't matter if you call him Jehovah or Allah. He never existed in the first place; and if he ever did, he has become so disgusted with us by now, that he has abandoned hope. I believe he was invented by Jewish men because they didn't have the sensitivity to deal with the female spirit of GAIA, our home planet. So, they split the Tai Chi, separated the compliments of Yin and Yang, to create heaven above – beyond reach until you die -- and hell right here below – to endure throughout your life.

We should all be suffering species shame – a phrase which Martin Amis coined during his interview with Bill Moyers as part of the " Faith and Reason" series run on PBS last year. I know I am, and I have been suffering this interminable disease for a number of years now.

It's enough! Humans must stop procreating at will just because they have functioning genitals! We have to stop believing the idiotic myths that tell us there's a big old guy in heaven who will make everything right if we just light enough candles, say enough prayers, and stone enough adulterers! Time to grow up people! Stop using the car to get to the corner to pick up a DVD for the evening. If it's too cold or nasty to go out on foot, then don't go out. Find a good book, curl up under a warm blanket, and expand your mind rather than pollute your world. Or download a flic from the net and watch that while sipping Oolong Tea.

Listen up people! It's shit or get off the pot time – right now! There should be hordes of parents and grandparents and brothers and sisters screaming blue murder in the streets all over the world to force our leaders and ourselves to take action to save the divine being we call Earth. Ignorance, indifference, and intolerance will not save the day. Every single human being alive today must take action in their personal lives, their work life and their political life.

One easy way to start the process of attitude adjustment is to stop saying thank god and start saying either thank goodness or better yet -- thank GAIA. For she is the mother of us all – she feeds, clothes, and houses us. If we kill her – and it looks right now like we have a very good chance of doing so – we kill ourselves.

I'm sure the parents of those 560 ski students told their kids not to smoke cigarettes out of concern for their health in the future. Well if we keep it up -- there ain't gonna be no future!!!
It's time those parents told those kids not to burn fossil fuels for no essential reason – with emphasis on the word essential. We have to stop being the spoiled brats we've become because we have lived in comfort for too long. Time to grow up humans! Take responsibility for every moment, action, and choice in your life from now on, with only one thing in mind -- it's effect on your world – not your pocketbook!

Many of those I spoke to about this responded saying the ski school operators couldn't just close their business or stop operating at a moment's notice. I wonder if they could do it if they knew a force ten hurricane was approaching at a great rate? Well that's exactly what's happening right now guys! It's coming! And it's coming fast! Do something! Not tomorrow, not next week, right now! Figure out fast how to harmonize with mother nature because she won't tolerate much more of our shit! She's going to wipe us out! And to tell you the truth, I hope she does it soon. Species shame is a horrible disease. Right now, I'd rather be a grasshopper than a human. And that's a real tragedy.

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