Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Archive is Open.

I've left the building, but the two years of information, opinion, and photos are still here for your delectation, edification, and outragification. Meanwhile, my slower and longer projects are available at:

I'm still encouraged by the fact that you were curious enough to read this, and that some of you wrote to me. Take care, don't fall while surfing, and do keep in touch!

--E. Heroux

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Final Zen Paradox

"The most profound reality in Buddhism is that there is no final, ultimate reality." --Master Sheng-yen, in Dharma Drum

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Poverty-striken witty drunkard friend


The high-class families
Teach their virgin daughters
English, flowers, and Tea;
Culture of the East -- poor girls
Ride boys' bikes balancing noodles.

Brutal sergeants, vicious aesthetes,
the meeting
Of the worst of East and West,
Silly priests in temples
Far too fine for now.
Discipline for what end?
We gave up wisdom long ago,
Enlightenment is kicks
--but there is better.
Cold smooth wood floors
And doves, stone pools, moss
Under maples, silent frosty rooftiles
Slanting high -- what sense
The old boys made --
Confucius, Lao-tzu, Tu Fu, Sesshu
and the rest,
Through the centuries, peed off
By politicians in their robes.
Perhaps some flame remains.
I hope
Again some day
To hit the night road in America
Hitchhiking through dark towns
Rucksack on my back,
To the home of a
Poverty-stricken witty
Drunkard friend.

--Gary Snyder from Left Out in the Rain

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Mother of All Peoples


Roots of Human Family Tree are Shallow

Whoever it was probably lived a few thousand years ago, somewhere in East Asia — Taiwan, [!?] Malaysia and Siberia all are likely locations. He — or she — did nothing more remarkable than be born, live, have children and die.

Yet this was the ancestor of every person now living on Earth — the last person in history whose family tree branches out to touch all 6.5 billion people on the planet today. . . .

"It's a mathematical certainty that that person existed," said Steve Olson, whose 2002 book Mapping Human History traces the history of the species since its origins in Africa more than 100,000 years ago. . . .

Furthermore, Olson and his colleagues have found that if you go back . . . about 5,000 to 7,000 years ago, everybody living today has exactly the same set of ancestors. In other words, every person who was alive at that time is either an ancestor to all 6 billion people living today, or their line died out and they have no remaining descendants. . . .

It also means that all of us have ancestors of every color and creed. Every Palestinian suicide bomber has Jews in his past. Every Sunni Muslim in
Iraqis descended from at least one Shiite. And every Klansman's family has African roots. . . .

{the fairly simple math of this is explained at the link above}

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Exiled to the End Zone

"Of all the aspects of exile, silence pleased me least. Other things were not so displeasing. Exile compensates the banished by offering certain opportunities. Each day, for example, I spent some time in meditation. This never failed to be a lovely interlude, for there was nothing to meditate on. Each day I added a new word to my vocabulary, wrote a letter to someone I loved, and memorized the name of one more president of the United States and the years of his term in office. Simplicity, repetition, solitude, starkness, discipline upon discipline. There were profits here, things that could be used to make me stronger; the small fanatical monk who clung to my liver would thrive on such ascetic scraps. And then there was geography. We were in the middle of the middle of nowhere, that terrain so flat and bare, suggestive of the end of recorded time, a splendid sense of remoteness firing my soul. It was easy to feel that back up there, where men spoke the name civilization in wistful tones, I was wanted for some terrible crime.

Exile in a real place. a place of few bodies and many stones, is just an extension (a packaging) of the other exile, the state of being separated from whatever is left of the center of one's own private history."

--Don DeLillo from the novel End Zone, 1972.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

In the End Zone

"Let me ask. What's the strangest thing about this country? It's that when I wake up tomorrow morning, any morning, the first bit of fear I have doesn't concern our national enemies, our traditional cold-war or whatever-kind-of-war enemies. I'm not afraid of those people at all. So then who am I afraid of because I'm definitely of somebody. Listen and I'll tell you. I'm afraid of my own country. I'm afraid of the United States of America. It's ridiculous, isn't it? But look. Take the Pentagon. If anybody kills us on a grand scale, it'll be the Pentagon. On a small scale, watch out for your local police. Look at you looking at me that way, some of you. Question. Will two polite college-educated-of-course friendly agents of the brainwash squad knock on my door at three in the morning? You see my winning infectious smile and you know I'm not worried. This is America. We say what we want. I could talk all day, citing chapter and verse. But when the true test comes, I'll probably go running to a beauty shop, if you can find one in this neck of the world, and I'll get my hair dyed blond so everybody will think I'm one of those small blondie boys with the faraway look in their eyes who used to be so big on the Himmelplatz three or four decades ago. . . . I have a deep thought for you. Science fiction is just beginning to catch up with the Old Testament. See artificial nitrates run off into the rivers and oceans. See carbon dioxide melt the polar ice caps. See the world's mineral reserves dwindle. See war, famine and plague. See barbaric hordes defile the temple of the virgins. See wild stallions mount prarie dogs. I said science fiction but I guess I meant science. Anyway there's some kind of mythical and/or historic circle-thing being completed here. But I keep smiling. I keep telling myself there's nothing to worry about as long as the youth of America knows what's going on. Brains, brawn, good teeth, tallness. I look at your faces and I have to let out a controversial little grin. Some of you in nifty blue uniforms here to learn about outer space and how to police it. Uniforms, flags, battle hymns. I offer you my only quotable remark of the entire fall semester. A nation is never more ridiculous than in its patriotic manifestations. Why should I be afraid of my own government? There's something wrong here. But I'm not worried. Fortunately I'm good at ducking. I can bob and weave with the best of them. It takes a lot to stop a little man."

--Don DeLillo from the novel End Zone, 1972.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Whitman & Wittman & Sons

Trippers and askers surround me,

People I meet, the effect upon me of my early life or the ward and city I live in, or the nation,
The latest dates, discoveries, inventions, societies, authors old and new,
My dinner, dress, associates, looks, compliments, dues,
The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love,
The sickness of one of my folks or of myself, or ill-doing or loss or lack of money, or depressions or exaltations,
Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the fever of doubtful news, the fitful events;
These come to me days and nights and go from me again,
But they are not the Me myself.

Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am,
Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary,
Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest,
Looking with side-curved head curious what will come next,
Both in and out of the game and watching and wondering at it.

Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog with linguists and contenders,
I have no mockings or arguments, I witness and wait.
~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~
--Walt Whitman Song of Myself, section 4. Bold phrases are used as chapter titles of a novel by Maxine Hong Kingston, Tripmaster Monkey. Another chapter is titled after the poem below also by Whitman:
~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~

A Song for Occupations
In the labor of engines and trades and the labor of fields I find the developments,
And find the eternal meanings.

Workmen and Workwomen!
Were all educations practical and ornamental well display'd out of me, what would it amount to?
Were I as the head teacher, charitable proprietor, wise statesman,what would it amount to?
Were I to you as the boss employing and paying you, would that satisfy you?

The learn'd, virtuous, benevolent, and the usual terms,
A man like me and never the usual terms.

Neither a servant nor a master I,
I take no sooner a large price than a small price, I will have my own whoever enjoys me,
I will be even with you and you shall be even with me.

If you stand at work in a shop I stand as nigh as the nighest in the same shop,
If you bestow gifts on your brother or dearest friend I demand as good as your brother or dearest friend,
If your lover, husband, wife, is welcome by day or night, I must be personally as welcome,
If you become degraded, criminal, ill, then I become so for your sake,
If you remember your foolish and outlaw'd deeds, do you think I cannot remember my own foolish and outlaw'd deeds?
If you carouse at the table I carouse at the opposite side of the table,
If you meet some stranger in the streets and love him or her, why I often meet strangers in the street and love them.

Why what have you thought of yourself?
Is it you then that thought yourself less?
Is it you that thought the President greater than you?
Or the rich better off than you? or the educated wiser than you?

(Because you are greasy or pimpled, or were once drunk, or a thief, Or that you are diseas'd, or rheumatic, or a prostitute,
Or from frivolity or impotence, or that you are no scholar and never saw your name in print,
Do you give in that you are any less immortal?)

~~~ ~~~ ~~~
{continues for 5 more sections...}