Deep Thoughts on the Afterlife
I am deeply indebted to many people who have loved me, taught me and inspired me. I constantly collect wisdom in order to live it and to pass it on.
From my early childhood on, my mother took me with her to many funerals of relatives, friends and neighbors. From an early age, I learned life is not certain. Tomorrow is not guaranteed to any of us.
My mother taught me that we can never say for sure that we will do something or go somewhere next week, or five years from now.
I aim to be humble in all of life. I often say I aim to do or to go ... or, if I am alive and able. In one moment when we least expect it, our lives can end and all of our future plans evaporate.
Forty-three years ago as a young Mennonite pastor, I sincerely preached about life beyond the grave. I had not yet learned or dared to question deeply. Now as an agnostic, I belong to no religion. From the beginning of the human family, people have swallowed and believed all kinds of weird stupidity, attractive lies and myths.
We all often can feel like shipwrecked orphans on the cosmic ocean on a dark and stormy night. I understand well why people grab on desperately to religions for meaning and security.
No one on Earth wants to be reunited with his/her loved ones and all people in a much better world beyond death more than I do.
But wanting something fervently does not make it so. I do not know! One thing worse than not knowing if life continues beyond the grave would be to pretend to myself or to others that I do know.
I focus my attention on the here and now—nonviolence, forgiveness, living simply, war tax refusal, natural health, gardening, close friendships, nature, passionate sex and romance, sunshine, deep conversation, vigorous exercise, heart-touching music, naked body freedom, compassion, and fairness for all people on Earth. These I have begun to know!
Cognitive Dissonance in Politics
Dear Alibi ,
There are some mistakes in Jerry Ortiz y Pino's " Sleight of Mouth" article [Opinion, Aug. 5-11]. Since the Great Depression, budget surpluses occurred under the Eisenhower years. Remember him warning Americans about the military-industrial complex? He was not only a Republican but a military man.
Any president since bring up this obvious fact?
Also, Mr. Ortiz y Pino says the GOP tricked Democrats into supporting the invasion of Iraq. First, political parties don't play tricks. Individual human beings do. Who was doing the lying? The neocons. Ron Paul and other Republicans voted against the invasion. They even warned America about the neocon agenda. Their traitorous agenda was well known in D.C. Mr. Ortiz y Pino forgets to mention that some of the biggest supporters of that military operation were Democrats. Notably Sen. Lieberman. Sen. Clinton supported it. Governor Richardson, too. I saw no outrage afterwards from these Democrats. Of course, it wasn't their children doing the fighting and dying.
Modern Republicanism is corporate-militarism. A far cry from what it was. But what Mr. Ortiz y Pino proved is that cognitive dissonance is a trait common to members of both political gangs.
2012 Edible Gardens by 2012
[Food, “Urban Gardens Flourish in the Duke City,” July 29-Aug. 4] For those of you who grow some of your own food, or wannabes like me, you might check out a sister project. The ABQ Backyard Farms Collaborative is hoping to inspire Albuquerqueans to create and register 2012 Edible Gardens by the Year 2012. To kick it off, a garden contest is happening this summer with prizes in 12 different categories. The whole event is free. For more information see 2012abqgardens.ning.com.
I have enjoyed the “Trail-a-Week” columns this summer and thought that they were doing a pretty good job of describing the extensive multiuse path system that the City of Albuquerque has built. But there are two inaccuracies in the column about the Tramway trail [Sports, Aug. 5-11]. First, you cannot turn from Tramway / Roy Road onto Edith. I wish this were true, but you have to go to Second Street, then make your way east to Edith and/or the multiuse trail system of Paseo del Norte or the North Diversion Channel path.
The second problem is the inaccurate rationale given for why cyclists ride on Tramway Boulevard instead of the multiuse trail. Consider the many intersections that must be crossed when traveling north or south on Tramway, bike path or boulevard. When I as a cyclist am traveling as a vehicle on the road, my passage through those intersections follows a predictable pattern. I stop at the light if it is red, move over for right turning cars, and proceed on a green light with traffic, just as any other vehicle on the road. Navigating those same intersections from the multiuse trails is different. Even if you wait for the light, because north and southbound traffic is on the same side of the street, motor vehicles turning right or left need to monitor both directions for the multiuse path traffic. For example, if I am driving south on Tramway and want to turn left onto Menaul, normally I watch the northbound traffic and turn when it clears. As a driver, I am not thinking about the southbound cyclist (or rollerblader, walker, jogger, etc.). It is the same if a driver is westbound on Menaul and wants to turn right onto Tramway. This is the reason that riding the wrong way against traffic or riding on the sidewalk is so dangerous. This situation is one of the leading causes of cyclist injury out there.
So, for many cyclists who want a safer ride, we use the shoulder. This choice isn't for everyone, but those who choose the multiuse path do need to be aware of this additional problem and on the lookout for drivers because the motor vehicle drivers are unlikely to see them. All the multiuse path users also need to be very aware of each other. Just because you are not traveling with cars doesn't mean that you should let your attentiveness fall. Turn down your iPods, look around, use courtesy and pay attention; your time on any of Albuquerque's multiuse paths will be safer that way.
The Definition of Weasel
From the Merriam-Webster dictionary: weasel—noun; a sneaky, untrustworthy or insincere person.
Our airwaves have lately been inundated with spokesmen who have dusted off their "down home" accents to tell us all about what BP is doing to mitigate the effects of its record-setting Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Their statements are upbeat, rosy, reassuring and utterly fictitious.
BP is currently engaged in many underhanded activities. They are contributing to university oil drilling research centers. These donations come with strings to ensure that experts at these facilities do not give statements or testimony contrary to BP's interests. They are offering hard-pressed businesses with claims for damages due to the spill one-time payments in lieu of the right to sue. They are nit-picking claimants' paperwork in order to deny or reduce payment amounts.
Their cleanup efforts have been more for show than effect. Booms have been deployed ineffectively and improperly maintained. Millions of gallons of toxic dispersants have been used to disappear millions of gallons of toxic oil form our cameras' view. The live feed video of the leaking well head was disconnected.
Merriam-Webster will soon be able to list a new synonym for weasel—BP.
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