An old-fashioned newspaper personal column, from a curmudgeon cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, with readers in more than 125 countries.-- Sunrise on the old Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Old one

Old one, 5 by 7 watercolor, 300 # deArches
This painting, comes from this photograph, and I don't remember where I saw me to thinking about old ones, old people, old tires, old trees. Thus the watercolor.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Real...religion, and ...

Are you real?
As I've told you, our "soul detox" group Sunday night, people trying to de-toxify their lives from much of the false religious "Thou Shalts" and "Thou Shalt nots " of modern day divided  Christianity, is studying Fr. Richard Rohr's "Falling Upward--a Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life."
Sunday we were discussing a chapter on necessary suffering, and this passage hit home to me, including Jesus' words in Matt. 16:25--"Anyone who wants to save his life must lose it."
Rohr: "...there is a necessary suffering that cannot be avoided, which Jesus calls "losing our very life, or losing what I and others call the "false self." Your false self is your role, title and personal image that is largely a creation of your own mind and attachments."
"It will and must die in exact correlation to how much you want the Real."

This reminded me of even more potent "Scripture," though I had the wrong reference, until a friend found it for me:

“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'

'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit. 

'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.' 

'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?' 

'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.” 
― Margery WilliamsThe Velveteen Rabbit

Sunday, July 20, 2014

'Watch where you put your words'

Thinking about speeches and writing in higher education, government, military, politics, 24-hour broadcast news and opinion coverage, sports commentators, and preachers--and how their many words show how fake the speakers  are, how witless they are, and their low opinions of their listeners, employees and citizens.

  • “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words."--Matt. 6:7, Jesus
  • "When elders speak, they need very few words to make their point. Too many words,...are not needed by true elders...If you talk too much or too loud, you are usually not an elder."--Falling Upward, Fr. Richard Rohr
  • "Watch where you put your words... .language is a virus..."--American Gods, Neil Gaiman
  • "If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out."--Politics and the English Language, George Orwell
  • "Brevity is the soul of wit." --Hamlet, Shakespeare

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Polka dots are back

My fashion sense has been awakened as I note more and more polka dot dresses and garb this summer adorning today's women, of all ages.
I admit, and I'm not sure where it comes from, maybe a long ago crush, but I have a polka dot fetish.
So I thought I ought to find a photo to illustrate this post, and I did.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Stifling Summer Sickness--III (Warning)--

(Warning, continued: Coffee with Clark is not a political column and rarely deals with politics because there is so much bs and whining out there that it's useless to add any more. Nobody is listening, nor cares. No opinions are going to be changed. I avoid politics as a subject except on those times when it crosses into my expertise, media--which is unfortunately often these days. Still, I generally hold my tongue, unless something really raises my ire. And then I've found the best way to deal with that is through parody or sarcasm or humor. I am a journalist and can't help it, because my entire experience and training makes me almost instantly skeptical, to where I challenge everything, whether in religion, culture, advertising, media, or politics--what politicians say, government officials --at any level--tell you. 
I have a built in BS-Detector, I want facts, and can easily spot bs, pr, and the biases and opinions that such like try to bilk the public with, regardless of political viewpoint.  I shudder when I see so many propaganda techniques uses in politics, by "public servants" deluding the public with trigger words and labels. I am particularly upset that so many people buy into those unthinking delusions. The terms "liberal" and "conservative" are so overused and misused that they are meaningless. 
The terms "liberal" and "conservative" are so overused 
and misused that they are meaningless.
The same goes for people and media who cannot separate opinion from fact as at Fox or MSNBC and much more cable cacophony. The Wall Street Journal and New York Times are "conservative" and "liberal" on their editorial pages, but deliver solid, factual news and information. Not to be able to tell the difference is ignorance. To label media "liberal" is an unthinking reaction to propaganda, especially since most media are owned by big corporations dedicated to the bottom line, and thus "conservative." If American media in general has any one overriding fault it is of being boring and irrelevant--which at least Fox is not. At the same time, many of the same blind believe  all journalism and journalists are opinionated, that they try to slant all the news, and that journalism is dying. Those people really have no perspective of history and role of journalism in this republic, or the scope and diversity of media in our society. Would someone, instead of blindly spouting what they've unthinkingly accepted,  just please ask, "Which 'media' are you talking about?"
Like an infection, they've needed time
to fester before coming to a head.
Next, Coffee with Clark also rarely discusses religion, for many of the same reasons already mentioned. The older I get, the more I've come to realize the importance of spirituality over religion. I believe Jesus came, not to set up a religion, but because religion wasn't working for the average person, and he wanted people to have a relationship with God, no matter what they called the Spirit. I also know that spirituality is much bigger than this western workaholic, Calvinistic, either-or, capitalistic society we live in. 
One size does not fit all. I am particularly proud of my four children, who, raised in a good fundamentalist household, each have their own diverse religious and spiritual beliefs. None of them believe like me, and I am pleased, though we share much. If that's true at home, it's true around the world. God--Spirit--is too big for any one specific kind of narrow-minded church house, or any one country, people, or set of beliefs. If not--God-Spirit--cannot be truely God as creator of the universe. Spirituality around the world takes many forms and involves the entire creation. I'm influenced in this by what I've learned by Native American beliefs and more. But what really sets me off is how little of the Beatitudes I see in American "Christianity," and much of the same religious hypocrisy Jesus preached against and tried to do away with.)
So, after chewing on this for two weeks, and reading Job in the context of what is a relatively minor, if stifling, illness, be aware that politics and religion, will come up, as I write. Like an infection, these thoughts needed time to fester before coming to a head. And as with most drug warnings, the warning may be longer than the dosage instructions, and this one has been rewritten and edited numerous times.)
(Side effects: If this is a "rant," it is just part of the warning for the dosage of the next posts on this blog, as I recount this stifling summer of sickness. 
If you don't like it, or think I'm crazy, or lost in sin, or whatever, just blame it on all my meds.  You're probably right. Especially since the most powerful medication I took has been a large dose of mortality. Read again the first part of this warning.)
The most powerful medication... has been a large dose of mortality.