"One second you're here; the next second you're not."
That's what I was thinking as I stood looking down into a casket at that good, good friend of mine who was not there, just a stone replica of him--he didn't feel as fleshy as he really was as I patted his stone replica on the shoulder and said a perfunctory "So long, pal." Then outside on the sidewalk after the wake and I saw my good, good friend's distraught best friend, and I walked over to him and hugged him, and while we were embraced, he said, "It's a second-to-second ballgame, man, a fucking second-to-second ballgame," and then I knew we were on those famous parallel lines and now I'm thinking about looking upon a dead friend and reminding myself how you really are here, and I'm speaking self-awareness, one second and off the coil the next second. Like the pregnant woman who was walking along East 37th with her friend after work on their way to the subway to go home and this big drunk horny dude driving a shaggy looking white van (there are tons of wrecked-looking vans racing and rattling about the streets of New York City driven by guys under some kind of rage, guarantee you) and this drunken self-proclaimed prince of men suddenly spotted this pregnant babe walking along with her friend, this mother of three children, this pregnant mother, and suddenly he went, "Hot damn," backward thinking in his superior male brain, "a pregnant mama...they say that's when their pussies are sweetest and they want it sooo fucking bad...that's why they call it an oven when there's a baby in there" and so he puts the van in slow cruise and he leans drunkenly over and opens the ride-side door and starts cat calling at the babes, but especially the pregnant babe, you know, a typical male seduction method, "Hey, baby, you, pregnant mama, yeah, like hey sweet baby, how'd you like to come take a ride with a real daddy?" The male superiority rap--it's called "machismo" in the street--it's a part of a male's drive--all male's have it--even I have it walking along Manhattan streets sometimes, I mean there are some wonderfully beautiful women sashaying along the streets of Manhattan almost 24/7--even the prostitutes are the best (ask Elliott Spitzer), and, yes, I, too, know about the male legend that says pregnant women are supposed to be the hottest and the wantonest at that time, you know, really "great" (a male sexual bragging term) in the sack! All us males have heard it first hand from our older male brothers or our friends who get married before us and have babies right off the bat; and we've all heard male stories about "gettin'" a pregger and how "great" it is. And suddenly, our drunken superior male macho man falls toward the open door and in an attempt to save his ass from falling out he grabs the steering wheel turning the van hard to the right at the same time he presses his foot brace like against the gas peddle--and zoom goes the rickety old van up over the curb ripping across the sidewalk to crash into the side of a building. In the process of saving his drunken ass, which he did, he came out of the crash unsoiled and uninjured and unbothered about the whole thing, the van hit the pregnant babe dead on, slamming her and her friend into the building, the friend badly injured was thrown away from the wall to allow the van to drive the pregnant babe straight slam-dead into that brick wall of that building. One man who ran to help these women said when he looked at what was once the pregnant woman, he began to upchuck. He said he couldn't bear to look at that bloody, pulpy, meaty, gutty mess. The pregnant mother of three was ground up like sausage meat by that killer van. All because males are animals like any male animals. They have drives that are sometimes uncontrollable; they are mentally scared already by who knows what kind of growing-up male experiences and legends he fell under. In the old societies a male accidentally killing a pregnant woman wouldn't have made much of a splash on the evening news, unless it was an inferior male accidentally killing a superior male's woman--then of course, the inferior male would be headed toward the noose or the chopping block.
I was with my feminist wife at one of the first meetings of the National Organization of Women here in New York City. My wife was a charter member of NOW. And one day she ask me to go with her to a meeting. At that time NOW was letting males, spouses and boyfriends and those into the cause, come to their meetings. The one I attended was the last meeting they allowed this to happen. The reason they banned men at NOW meetings after that? Because the men tried to interfere in their plans and TEACH them about what plans they had that were progressive and what plans they had that would hinder their progressness rather than aiding it. And this meeting discussed one such controversial stance NOW was taking: that of defender of a woman's right to decide what to do with her body, which meant, her right to decide whether to get an abortion or not, a right, the Fems said, should be hers alone and not the decision of some superior male moralist. Rowe vs. Wade was before the Supreme Court--and the Equal Rights Amendment was being offered for Constitutional status among the 50 states where it was looking for ratification (poor confused Rowe would years later become a fundie Christian and rebuke the sin she had committed against the Holy Jazzu, Jesus X. Christ, who, by the bye, was probably gay, all signs point to it: excessive love of his mother; never marrying; women hangin' with him; him hangin' with men, muy macho men. But Old Jesus the Essene Jew did support whores, and mothers, and women with blood-flow issues, and fallen women--as long as they ask him forgiveness for their sins and gave up their worldly possessions and became his possessions!).
"Thou shalt not KILL," the stupid Ten Commandments yells, and yet God Algoddamnmighty killed at will and over nothing and big-time when he killed; and the Jews killed--hell, the Jews according to the Holy Book of the Holier-Than-Us Christians killed their own Messiah, dumbasses! But, nope, not the just plain ole workingclass folk. They are forbidden to kill. Nor can they covet their neighbor's wife either, nor his land, nor his cattle (and isn't it ironic that the Ten Commandments are written as though guides for superior males?--not really aimed at any women--male rules written by the biggest male of all and handed down to Brother Moses, a macho male, who pitched the Big Stones down and broke 'em to smithereens when he came down off the Holy Mount and saw his bro Aaron with his Rod out whipping it at a bunch of naked Jewish babes dancing around a Golden Calf, GOLD being the true Messiah, fuck the Ten Commandments).
And these religious sons'a bitches, these backers of the coat-hanger back-alley abortionists (those approved by the AMA and the Supreme Court), said, based on the Ten Commandments, based on Holy Father Laws, based on Male-to-Male Power Elite rules and regulations, going under the ancient assumption that women are the possessions of men, same as cattle, same as land, they holier-than-we decided vacuuming out a fetus, an undeveloped human monkey (and a monkey fetus looks just like a human monkey fetus), not even in the tadpole stage yet, is murder in the first degree. Abortionists should DIE, some fundie Christ promoters screamed; and some fundie rads really did take their orders straight from the big male God and they went out and murdered abortion doctors in the name of the Father, Son, and Holier-Than-Thou Ghost, and they blew up Planned Parenthood offices and shot up abortion clinics and relentlessly harassed women coming to those clinics to save their lives and save having to have an unwanted baby, not necessarily an unloved baby, but an unwanted baby--a baby to be one day abandoned and left alone like the monkey tribes leave abandoned baby monkeys alone and on their own after their mothers are killed for bush meat or sport and their fathers are long gone up the trail of another female monkey coming into heat. Ironically, when these fetuses develop into hearty, rampantly horny 18 year olds, we round them up and send them off to wars to die in for the freedom of a bunch of senile old farts with invincible White Male ruling powers and the salvation of the next batch of fetuses that will produce another half-a-million or so more replacement troops for the wars our elders need to keep going into order for them to enjoy the many sports one gets to play in life when they are rich as sin, the 1% owners of 99% of our wealth; therefore the owners of all of us and all of our children; therefore the masters of us all; therefore....
"Here today, gone tomorrow"
TAIPEI (AFP) — Venerable Master Sheng-yen, one of the most respected Buddhist monks in Taiwan, died Tuesday aged 80, his temple said.
Sheng-yen, who had kidney disease, died at around 4:00 pm (0800 GMT) at the Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist complex in northern Taipei county, the temple said.
President Ma Ying-jeou said in a statement he was "saddened and shocked upon hearing the news" about the death of Sheng-yen, who the president said is "good at the use of language to touch people".
"The concept of spiritual conservation he advocated is not only religion but philosophy and attitude of living," Ma said, referring to the monk's relentless efforts to press for peace and a simple way of living.
In 1998 Sheng-yen was named by the popular CommonWealth Magazine among 50 people who have had the greatest influence on Taiwan over the past 400 years.
As a Buddhist Zen school master, he taught a number of celebrities, including Chinese martial arts actor Jet Li as well as Lin Hwai-min, founder and artistic director of Taiwan's Cloud Gate Dance Theatre.
The master was born in China's eastern Jiangsu province and became a Buddhist monk at the age of 14. He joined the Kuomtiang army in 1949 and fled to Taiwan with the Kuomintang troops after they were defeated by the Chinese communist forces at the end of a civil war.
He became a monk again in 1959 and trained in solitary retreat for six years in southern Taiwan. He completed a master's degree in 1971 and doctorate in Buddhist literature in Japan in 1975.
He became abbott of Nung Chan Monastery in suburban Taipei in 1979 and in 1989 founded the International Cultural and Educational Foundation of Dharma Drum Mountain.
Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved. More »____________________________________
Dharma Master Sheng-yen has been on New York City cheap-channel, after-midnight teevee here for years. I liked watching him because each program he was introduced by a cute Chinese woman who before he lectured explained Master Sheng-yen's Zen philosophy (I had listened to Alan Watts lectures on Buddhism out in California and had read Alan's book on East-West psychology, plus who hadn't read Professor D.T. Zuzuki's Zen books? or Paul Rep's Zen Flesh! Zen Bones! (isn't that where the one-hand clapping comes from?--it's been a long time, folks)). Master Sheng-Yen then would lecture in Chinese with English translations crawling along at the bottom of the screen. I never read the translations--I hate trying to do that and watch the action at the same time--even at foreign films I watch the picture, fuck the translation--I can pretty much understand what the actors are saying by the screen images and actions--so I'd watch Master Sheng-yen spin out his bullshit in his native language. Master Sheng-yen had escaped with his mortal god, old sorry-ass, murdering asshole Chung Kai'shek, the Big Daddy of the Taiwan Chinese, who by the bye easily massacred the Formosans who once knew Taiwan as their sovereign nation: Formosa (beautiful island), their native land--but, oh no, Chunk-of-shit Kai'shek knew the Final Solution to this sort of human problem. But Master Sheng-yen, once he got set up in the keiko-muckity-muck ranks of the Taiwanian Buddhist World of Shenanigans, he became a Dharma Master, a Zen Master! And Master Sheng-yen was a master drummer, too. I've seen him drumming on his teevee show. And he lived on Drum Mountain in Northern Taiwan. Master Sheng-yen, by the way, is the source for the character Master Pi of Shangra-La on the PBS kiddie show Cyberchase--Master Pi's voice is that of Geoffrey Holder. That's a good kiddie show--about math--well written and produced, too.
A few days after the death of Master Sheng-yen (from kidney failure--teadrinker?), his rich patron in Hong Kong, the guy who paid for his cheap-channel teevee show here in NYC, up and died. Thus, I was sad to hear the nice-looking Chinese lady on the last Master Sheng-yen show I saw say it truly was the last Master Sheng-yen show now that Master Sheng-yen and his el patron were off the mortal coil. On top of Drum Mountain one day; 6-feet under the next; except I'm sure Master Sheng-yen was cremated! Aren't Buddhist monks cremated?--funeral pyred and set loose to sail off to Nirvana on the Yangtze or something?
for The Daily Growler
Are Artists Maybe the 21st Century Messiahs? Check Out What They're D0ing in Detroit
Artists, Foreclosures and the Ruins of the Unsustainable
Although it is small consolation in the face of overwhelming economic strife in Detroit and elsewhere as the foreclosure crisis continues, this story gave me a real feeling of hope and renewal. To me, this example and other corresponding cases – like the artist-driven re-imaginings of shopping malls and big box stores seems symbolic of an even larger cultural shift. The arts community isn’t just moving into one downtrodden urban neighborhood; rather, they’re taking on the ruins of the unsustainable. They’re taking on big box stores, shopping malls, and grid-connected homes in the car capitol of North America. And they’re not just creating new art. They’re seizing the opportunity to turn old shells of buildings into independent, renewable energy-powered, 21st century-ready spaces.
What I’m most eager to hear next is that creative pioneers are conquering McMansions in the suburban hintersprawl. As Bryan Walsh wrote recently for Time Magazine, “The Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech predicts that by 2025 there will be a surplus of 22 million large-lot homes (on one-sixth of an acre [675 sq m] or more) in the U.S.”
Will subdivisions be turned into workshops and performance spaces? Or possibly into small-scale agricultural communities, or enclaves for artisan food-production? At the very least, will they become denser, transit-connected and less car-dependent … and what will drive that?