Home | Links | Weblog

Tuesday, January 13, 2009
 New Yorker profile of Gary Snyder 
Zen Master: Gary Snyder and the art of life is the title of a profile of the West Coast poet in the October 20, 2008 edition of The New Yorker. Snyder is one of my heroes. It's hard to put into words what he has meant to me and how I live my life. He's a Buddhist, but as he says in the article "Being a Buddhist doesn't necessarily mean you have to be a good Buddhist."

Unlike a "good" Buddhist, he takes an occasional drink of alchohol (he likes boilermakers at dinnertime) and he eats meat, although he does not kill what he eats (he has "a twenty-five-year-old Cab I'm saving for venision—for when we get a deer again on the road. In the winter season, I always drive with a giant black garbage bag in the car and a hunting knife or two.")

His poetry is simple and descriptive; reflective of the simple life he lives in the woods of the Sierra Nevada north of San Francisco. He bought the place many years ago and while I get the sense that he travels often, he has remained in that place, getting to know the spirit of the land and being involved in making it a better place.

Inherent in Snyder's philosophy is the concept of place and community:

We are all indigenous to this planet, this garden we are being called on by nature and history to reinhabit in good spirit. To restore the land one must live and work in a place. The place will welcome whomever approaches it with respect and attention. To work in a place is to bond to a place: people who work together in a place become a community, in time, grows a culture. To restore the wild is to restore culture.

(0) comments
Saturday, January 03, 2009
 Dumb as we wanna be 
After reading Hot, Flat, and Crowded and From Beirut to Jerusalem I've become a fan of Thomas Friedman. I've added a link to his website where his Times articles can be found, including Time to Reboot America published in December. He's right on regarding the upcoming stimulus package:

My fellow Americans, we can't continue in this mode of "Dumb as we wanna be." We've indulged ourselves for too long with tax cuts that we can't afford, bailouts of auto companies that have become giant wealth-destruction machines, energy prices that do not encourage investment in 21st-century renewable power systems or efficient cars, public schools with no national standards to prevent illiterates from graduating and immigration policies that have our colleges educating the world's best scientists and engineers and then, when these foreigners graduate, instead of stapling green cards to their diplomas, we order them to go home and start companies to compete against ours.

In an article from The Chapter 18 Project he discusses the need for a price signal, a gas and/or carbon tax:

Producing new energy, or protecting the environment—in the Energy-Climate era, which is more important? Is it possible to do both? How we are going to do either without a price signal—i.e. gasoline or carbon tax—beats me. Consider this headline from CNNMoney.com on Dec. 22: "After nearly a year of flagging sales, low gas prices and fat incentives are reigniting America's taste for big vehicles. Trucks and SUVs will outsell cars in December, according to researchers at the automotive Website Edmunds.com, something that hasn't happened since February. Meanwhile the forecast finds that sales of hybrid vehicles are expected to be way down."

(0) comments