Monday, August 31, 2009

Same But Not

In Minnesota with my sister and my mom, did a little shopping, talked and talked, ate too much at dinner, talked more until we couldn't keep our eyes open, doing my nails, eating fresh fruit, reading a magazine, even a little solitaire on the old laptop. It sure has a lot in common with the old days at Star Lake, on fabulously fun and restful annual vacations. Except this time it is different. We are in a different Minnesota town for a different reason. Rochester, in a hotel a pebble's throw from the Mayo hospital where she will have major surgery in two days. We talk, we laugh, we enjoy stories about the kids and relatives and current events. It is just the same as always. But different. Can you still have fun when you are scared? Is that an okay thing to be doing?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Self Interest

Adam Smith:... "Every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By…directing that [labour] in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention."

This is saying that everyone is guided by self-interest and nothing else. I want to work for the environment not out of altruism, according to this thinking, but to make a good place for my kids because my kids are my accomplishment, my achievement, so I do better by them doing better. I promote parks and walking trails to have them available for my use and the use of my own family. I promote gay rights . . . because I have gay friends? Because I want to be seem as fair and open-minded and a little radical? A politician gets in the game for the job stability and the fame and so in general acts right to keep up the fame and to get re-elected? When an elected official is in their last term and re-election is not longer part of their self-interest, are they more likely to do corrupt things for more money? It was said many times that George W only did things in view of how his legacy would read. The more closely a person defines themselves by a religious organization, the more likely they are to promote the organization's goals because "self=organization" so things in the interest of the organization are self-interest? What self-interest is there really in the things you do that you think you do for others? Is there anything you do for others that has NO benefit to you, but only to the other? Do we delude ourselves in claiming that there is anything BUT self-interest operation for anyone? And indeed, those who give up too much self-interest to a job or cause often have families that suffer. Or taking care of a relative with an illness but not making sure you are eating and sleeping merely results in you being a less effective caregiver, so isn't it necessary that evolution shaped us first for self-interest? A parent must be strong and healthy to care for young, so cannot give up too much self-interest in their care. We care then, after self, about a hierarchy of others: Immediate family, extended family, those in our social group, those in other similar social groups, humankind, mammals, animals, and on out, which may explain why we have done so badly to the plant and mineral world, allowing such damage to ecosystems. The plant world is seen as to far removed from us to warrant out care? What would we do differently if we assumed self-interest was the sole and only motivation? If we were more honest about our motivation and made choices consciously in this regard? Just asking. Discuss freely among yourselves.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Shamelessly Lame Quoting of Song Lyrics

Sometimes when things crash around you, all you have to do is ask for help and help is there. That is one of the best things about friends and family and life. "You don't always get what you want . . . " but "you get what you need" and "you get by with a little help from your friends" and family. Yeah, life IS good.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Man In The Gallery

He had to have been able to tell I was trying to close. It was long past five o'clock and I was outside taking down my flags and bringing in my "Open" sign when he wandered in. He was rude. He was impatient. He dallied among the beautiful and amazing works of my two dozen talented artists talking only and endlessly about himself. I wished impatiently for him to go. He irritated and aggravated and annoyed me with his arrogant and self-absorbed attitude. When he finally moved on, I followed him out and locked the door behind me to go find dinner. I met up with a fellow shopkeep, and relayed the story of the annoying visitor. After exchanging a few details of physical description, she told he "Oh, he's famous. They are reading his play down at the theatre right now." And it struck me then: It does not matter what you have done or achieved or accomplished. It really only matters what you are. If you have published books or won awards or saved lives, no one can tell, unless you tell them. But if you are nice and kind and interested in others, they can tell that right away. And you will be liked rather than disdained like my 'visitor' was.
Life really is less about what you have accomplished and mostly about the kind of person you have made yourself into and how you treat others because of the kind of person you are.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Sometimes things that make you very very happy can also make you very very sad.
The boys and I had this CD once and it had this song. It was called "How Can I Keep From Singing" by Ken Brown and it pretty much captured how I felt about being with my kids on vacation in the beautiful places filled with amazing nature that we visited on our vacations. Okay, it pretty much was my theme song about how I feel about everything. I played it so much that I wore it out. Well, the musician was one of those singer-songwriter types that travels around to festivals and small venues so I couldn't just go to the store and buy a replacement like when I wear out a Mick Jagger CD or a Dave Matthews CD, and I had searched on line a number of times to no avail. The other night, I got what you call a hankerin' to hear that song again. I was kinda in a bum mood for no logical particular reason and thought it might remind me of happy times and cheer me up, so I started to look around, And lo and behold I found it! Not the CD, but a blog by the artist with links to a few of the songs from the CD, including the coveted one. And I also found there some really lovely new songs that made me pretty happy too.

And I found this little poem by the artist:

The wind makes no sound until it wraps itself in the leaves of the trees
and that sound is just a noise
until it makes someone feel something
then it’s music

Well, I titled this post 'bittersweet' and at this point you might be thinking this is all pretty good 'sweet' happy wonderful news, to have found the artist and the songs and some bonus good writing, so where is the 'bitter' part? Oh, it is there, because you see in my reading around the website, what I found out is that Ken Brown is 'retired' for health reasons and not touring anymore really, and that makes me a little sad that I probably will never hear him in concert anymore and that is a selfish reason, but mostly it makes me sad for him, that such a talented person that brought light to my life should suffer misfortune. That makes me very sad, even in the middle of the great joy of finding the old songs and the new songs and the sweet writings.

There's a lot of that in the world, isn't there? Sweet joy all entangled with bitter sadness.

Songs by Ken Brown

I never do this, copy stuff from other blogs or just post a link, but never say never, because here is an exeption. I have been wanting to hear this song again for years and finally found it:

the song –>How Can I Keep From Singing–from the CD ‘letters from home’, 1997 (NHC 401)

But before I found that old song, I found this wonderful new song and want to share it with you too:

the song–>These Are the Times from the CD ‘The Long View’, 2006 (LV001)

This is the blog entry where the first song resides: Songs and Tunes–How Can I Keep From Singing . You can click on the 'songs' tag at the bottom and follow it to other songs, new and old, by Ken Brown and pretty soon, you will be a 'huge fan' too!