Phillip Glass and Lee Broom

I wrote this back in October of 2011 as I recall but since it appears that it never got posted, here goes.

“8:00 am

So here I am, doing my Saturday morning crossword puzzle. I do the United Feature grid because it serves a much greater purpose in my opinion, than all those puzzles that can only be solved easily by Mensa members or by ordinary people like myself with the aid of brilliant search-engines. I have just returned from a breakfast gathering of Recovering Orphans of the Great Hazy and I am ready to greet the day.

Usually by this time of the morning I have made a list of ideas gathered from the crossword and added to my growing list of human traits and attributes but today I discover I am still in Yesterday. In searching for that niggling, invisible tap on the shoulder I run across an email from fellow orphan Fred who is talking about the composer Phillip Glass. Since I already had a list of keywords for my morning rabbit hunt, I made Phil the head rabbit and put him at the top of my list.

I enjoy discovering from time to time, new ideas from earlier role models. But I was stunned (I stun easily  but this was serious). I had no idea how much my life had been influenced by Philip Glass. But the greatest shock of all was the amount of work that I discovered and filed under the heading of Composers and Filmograhy on behalf of  Phil Glass in five minutes time. I then spent a half hour or so listening to some of his creations, closing my eyes and creating go-with scenes from nature and not so nature (last week it was Rachmaninov, the week before, Debussey, the week before that was Ravel.)

And, then I began to read something from yesterday’s post about how I had spent 50000 hours over a period of 35 years creating a body of work that could be studied in its entirety in a week. And my shoulders slumped. My head was hanging down. Fortunately this arthritic body of mine could not tolerate that postion for long so I got up and fixed a bowl of home made soup, the last bowl from the week’s supply. And I thought about why Phil could set down to a compose a masterpiece in fifteen minutes.And yes I know that it is illogical to compare the likes of me with such a genius but I could not resist.  My genius is in my perfectionism. And the destructive relic that I brought with me from the Big Hazy is also my perfectionism. I too, can create a masterpiece in fifteen minutes. Whether it is enjoyed by one person or a million is not the point. The fact remains that in order to make that new creation ready for publication takes from one to eight hours. And if the idea is worth the trouble and I have the nagging feeling that something is missing, I will spend an entire week if necessary editing, reading it aloud, editing some more, reading it to a trusted friend and yes, more editing.

I honestly do not know if I discovered a strength or a weakness, But even if my Gift is garbage the most important discovery is of myself. Good or bad this is who I am. Thank you reader for sharing the moment.”


The Cowardly Lion Lives On.

Today I was admitted for cataract surgery. I perceive this to be a very dangerous surgery, considering my problems of macular degeneration and glaucoma. Fifteen years ago I saw what a well intended surgery did to my left eye: this morning I bailed at the last-minute.

My life has been devoted to the arts.  I began as a child, learning about my world by drawing it. I learned more about life by singing about it, writing about it, dramatizing it, rhyming, strumming, carving pieces of it away. All of the arts are special to me but none, not even the near total of all can compare with the beauty as beheld by those who still can see. I have been a volunteer in support of those who without eyesight for thirty years. Most of them were born with fairly normal vision.

I still have two choices. I can run the risk that my right eye if tinkered with by one of the world’s best surgeons will provide me with the best vision I‘ve ever known or that I will lose it. One small advantage is that if the surgery is a success I can continue to drive, a daily task which in a city with primitive public transportation is vital to all of my work. Ah yes; the work.

Tomorrow I will spend in meditation. Today I am ruing the cowardly decision with which I greeted the day. I am not saying that I think the decision was wrong; only that I was wrong.

Today, I forgot for a moment, the prayers of friends and family.

Today I was given a few more days to gather additional information.

Today, for that I am grateful. Perhaps those prayers are being answered.

The Gifts of Love and Knowledge.

True Knowledge

True knowledge is not a list of facts; it is a set of instructions. That is my gift to you, Grandson. Happy Birthday.

Great Grandmother Lena Belle Broom to Lee Broom on his fifth birthday as she handed over a brightly wrapped package containing a Webster’s Dictionary.

True Love

True Love is not simply the feeling that we get when someone is doing something really great for us. True Love is the Healing taking place, the very Face of God emerging in both them and us.

Mother Teresa.

Everyone is gifted – but some people never open their package.



Opinions are a poor substitute for knowledge.

If we don’t understand what we’ve learned we haven’t really learned anything, have we?

True knowledge results from asking questions of one’s self and then by doing the work. Asking others for answers is rarely an honest path to the truth.

When we ask others to provide a solution to our puzzle and in so doing are given new facts, we encounter certain risks. We are placing our trust in an undependable source. We are also giving them an undeserved influence over the most personal part of our lives, that private space which resides between our ears. We have appointed someone to assist in all future decisions. Their influence may reside within us for the rest of our lives even if that other person disappears, never to return.

As seekers of knowledge we as a species tend to cling to members of one of two basic groups:

Group (a) members prefer to seek solutions from testing, from empirical data mining and from their own efforts.

Group (b) people are more likely to seek answers from others of their own kind. The rewards for doing so are energy conservation and validation by the group. There appear to be no other substantial benefits and certainly no dependable knowledge is acquired in such transactions. This is how social systems are built.

Group (a) members possess greater access to knowledge but are basically studious types who spend much more time alone than (b) members. Though these (a) people don’t require as much validation as the (b) group, they do require a social life. They obviously have a much more difficult time in getting the social strokes they need because this group is almost immeasurably tiny by comparison to the much larger (b) group. The herd instinct is much more powerful than the curiosity instinct. That is not to say that this is an argument for being a (b) person. It is larger because of the mechanics of behavior. (b) types once established as such are very territorial and will go to considerable lengths to dissuade those friends and acquaintances from demonstrating (a) tendencies and to abort all self-indulgence in favor of the group.

Roger is an (a).Roger is also a member of a very large (b) group. Though he is often at intellectual odds with this group, Roger nevertheless places a high value on the group’s  high sense of ethical behavior. Roger withstood the group  pressure  by writing and publishing his ideas. he found it necessary to select his words carefully when in contact with most members of this group. His unique view are expressed  only when appropriate, taking great care not to criticize others for their methods of inquiry.

Roger questions everything.

Roger is a practiced non-conformist and regards this particular ethic as his highest calling. he .is frequently and probably unfairly described as anti-social and rebellious. “I am neither”, he says. “I simply intend to protect my brain from invading usurpers of reason.” (So there. ).

Roger goes on to say “I prefer to ask others for answers only if they are experts in that particular field. I then ask them for source material. Often the source material is freely offered. In this particular group the source material lacks objectivity. I do not disregard information in these materials because this is information built on personal experiences and difficult times and as such deserves at least my respect. It is possible for mutual respect to exist among people of varying points of view. Difficult yes, but definitely possible.”

empirical, influence, knowledge, opinions, puzzle, social pressure, social systems, solution, territorial

Convenience, Thrift, Fairness, Freedom? What are you willing to lose?

Convenience vs. Thrift

Convenience vs. Freedom

Fairness vs. Freedom


What are we willing to give up in return for a life of convenience?

At what point do we begin to believe that convenience is a birthright?

What are the conveniences that we expect? A home? A new car every three years?  A guaranteed income? Free healthcare?

Who do we blame when our credit cards no longer work? When our student loans default? When we can no longer pay the mortgage? The government of the people? Market driven Wallstreet? The rich whose wealth is the end result of the purchases made by the rest of society?

When things go wrong in a country known to guard Freedom, who is to blame. The government? The government is you and me. The corporations? The corporations are you and me.

Is the guarantee of all these conveniences, home, dependable transportation, higher education, income, free healthcare important enough to us that we are ready to swap our freedom in order to guarantee that we will always have these things?

Who then, will be the keeper of personal integrity, honor, responsibility, service to our brother’s and sisters?

Are we really ready to give up our freedom for these conveniences?

Are there a few holdouts?

Perhaps a membership in a government run house of prostitution with sex servants representing all of the various sexual proclivities? No more having to struggle with relationships, ever again.

Who will tell you what to read? Who will tell you what to think? Who’s doing it now?

Okay, are you ready? Let’s all go find a downtown street corner to occupy. Let’s all go take a dump in Patriot Park. I’m just sayin’…………………………..

I saw it all, I did.

A moment ago I detected a blur of movement on the patio, a closer look revealing a sight the likes of which had not been met by these well-worn eyes of mine in any previous event. I will be having a delicate eye surgery on Tuesday. If the five-second adventure witnessed by these eyes of mine moments ago is a prophecy of brighter vision yet to come, I am prepared for that, I am.

If in fact, I lose that eye and am left only with the one that is splattered with glaucomic fields of grey, then I shall endeavor always to remember this tiny baby birdlet who ran across my white-tiled patio, bumping into the glass door, quickly recovering to race back on strong, if somewhat spindly legs to its Gamble Quail mom.

I saw it all, I did.

The family of Mom plus Five minus Pop was suddenly minus one quintuplet in response to the roar of the early morning trash hauler as it lifted its load higher than any member of this quail family would probably ever fly. Mom and the Fully Focused Four scrambled toward the oleander mini-forest as Number Five, their tiny, confused sibling, shot in my direction. I scrambled for my camera, unequipped with the sort of skills necessary for such a feat. When I turned back two seconds later, the little 2 inch high, fluffy-feathered goblin was slipping under Mummy’s wing.

If I can still see on Wednesday I shall investigate the Scottsdale Public Library stacks in search of advice for late-blooming photographers.


Win, Lose or Draw. How to Be, What to Do.

Winners Lose, Losers Learn and Those who  Draw are Turning it Over.

Competition is self-defeating.

Winning is deceiving.

Losing is a misconception.

The only losers are the winners.

The person who “loses” is given an abundance of information about how to improve. “Winners” know only that they set a new record;  perhaps they have a trophy to attest to that one insignificant fact.

The real winners are those who share what they have and are grateful for what they receive.

Competitors are those who try to take what others have. These are the real losers for they miss the opportunity to think well of themselves. The way we feel about ourselves is linked to the way we think about “doing” vs. “being”. Competitors believe that the nicest thing they can say to someone is “good job” and would never, ever thank anyone for anything. If someone thanked a person of this ilk, the response would be “no problem” which is inappropriate because the person who says this is the only one who thinks a problem must exist.

The person who thanks someone is expressing gratitude. The person who thinks in terms of doing a good job and who believes that competition is a good thing knows nothing of Being; their whole lives are tied to Doing. They believe that the expression of gratitude is a way of vocalizing an IOU when it is really an expression of appreciation. These people are easy to spot. In addition to the clues given in this report, they also frequently fold their arms over their chests and talk in a monotone.

I know because I was once very competitive. Someone led me to an easier, softer way, half a long, lifetime ago. It was on my mind this morning because the old way of thinking has been creeping back into my conversations today, with civil servants of all people. I can’t change them. I can’t teach them to suddenly start thinking logically. But I tried.

I accomplished nothing but tight abs and a furrowed brow.

Thanks for allowing me to take a quick look at myself.

Enjoy your day. I’m headed for the gym.