Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Eve

I'm cooking up a new batch of Together Friends lentils, having served them at the Solstice Party last week.  I been to the corner grocery store a number of times today.  It's a two floor store, maybe bigger than you're picturing, try Google Earthing the corner of SE Hawthorne and Chavez, Portland, State of Oregon.

Speaking of states and state relations, short of actually forming treaties, which is a right reserved by the DC diplomatic corps (no, not DC comics), there's studying one anothers' institutions, academically, anthropoligically, and if necessary undercover and/or incognito (you might think up some reasons for this).

Some of Portland's school teachers have been sojourning in Finland lately, which is a northerly culture, meaning we look North over the pole.  Looking back at us:  Japan, Korea, China, a lot of Siberia, Russia, Scandinavia, the UK, Iceland, Greenland and you're back to Canada.  Cold country, though with global warming maybe not so much.

I'm starting to hear more about Bucky's mysterious boat flippers, the ones that would flip their boats over, to make the hulls of their halls. Haul a boat (big boat) up on land and flip it up on a boat-shaped foundation and you've already got your essentially leak proof shelter.  Put it back in the water again when you're ready to move on.  This was the practice, according to storytellers, of the walrus-based ecosystem.  They were hunted much as the buffalo were hunted by the plains dwellers of North America, except over an open ocean.


The potluck will partially overlap with Wanderers, in terms of roster.  I may ferry back and forth, as plans materialize.  Nothing's too tightly scripted.

I wish all road people well tonight, one when, historically speaking, poor judgements add up and karma rears an ugly head, sucking souls from the liquor filled veins of the victims, including many not liquor filled.  My thought is to take only back streets and go slowly, and not very far.

Of course back in those walrus hunting days, the people didn't divide the planet mentally in the same way they mentally do today.  If the oceans develop more cities, beyond the ones we call ships, we might see countries growing there too, though I expect it will be mostly about networks from now on.  The contiguous landmass jig-saw puzzle piece just doesn't mean as much as it used to, though unobstructed travel without a check point is always nice and to be celebrated.  Hooray for the interstates (the check point free ones) in that respect, though toll booths are a kind of check point, and I'm not talking about weigh stations as quite the same either, more a sub-category.

I think about the cult of freeway driving and North America and how appealing a freeway system through Iraq was looking.  The old Persia trade over land is still quite a reality.  Overland trucking is not some exotic just-invented idea where Afghanistan is concerned.

Were the Harvard Business School or one of those to offer academic credit for programs in that setting, working with that infrastructure, I think that would help with civilianization of transit corridors, needed both on land and on sea if check point free trade (fast and inexpensive) is to stay a reality (which isn't to say there can't be substance control and monitoring, checking for illegal ivory).

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Re: Concealed Weapons

Clearly the Quaker policy would be biased against bringing weapons of any kind into a meetinghouse.

The Code of Conduct would be similar to those adopted in theme parks and universities.  Private property rights apply.  But are these respected?

Another approach might allow for concealment, a private matter of conscience.  Showing a concealed weapon in the meetinghouse would constitute a kind of indecent exposure however.

Having a gun clatter to the floor would be at minimum a social embarrassment, a wardrobe malfunction.  Even just letting one be seen in one's purse would be inappropriate.

If it went off (when clattering), reckless endangerment charges would apply (at a minimum).  Law enforcement might be called.

USA folk do not always respect property rights, including those of other sovereign nations, and may wish to openly flaunt what they consider to be protected civil liberties.

If a member of the public wants to make a 2nd Amendment argument and flash a gun in its holster, while insisting on entering, this might trigger Friends to proceed calmly to the nearest exit, fire drill style.

The building could be vacated until such time as the integrity of the space had been restored.

I don't see that Quakers should be obligated by the surrounding society to provide lockers or hat check type services for gun toters, although I could see some hotels doing this.  Other hotels might advertise a Code of Conduct that say no weapons allowed (a market niche).

Adding TSA style screening to Quaker meetinghouse entrances would be expensive and unwieldy.  Nudist colony Quakers would have an easier time of it.  Quaker meetups of two or more are easier to arrange with the new apps.  Compromised meetinghouses a less of a strategic problem.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Season's Greetings 2012

Dymaxion Necklace

 Thank you to Laurie and Terry for hosting their wonderful Hanukkah party, to which we've been invited over the years.

Carol was able to join us this time, a first.

Season's Greetings to readers of these Grain of Sand blogs.

Here's a toast (a nod with nog) in your general direction (with eye contact if feasible).

Thanks to all.  Merry wishes to sentient beings.

Wishing you well in 2013.

A shout out to Bill Lightfoot who showed up for a good dinner at The Bagdad.

Love, Kirby

@ Greater Trumps (in good company)

Canine in Disguise

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Wanderers 2012.12.4

Tonight we were graced with the presence of Sylvia Benner, along with David DiNucci, both legitimate spokespeople for the atheist and secular humanist community in Greater Portland.  Both were articulate and informative.  Wanderers are very receptive to these subcultures, having no set in stone doctrinal dogmas (we have a coffee fund).  Bill Shepard despised telling children about Santa Claus (in the sense of tricking them into false beliefs).  A lot of atheists are refugees from various religions, some disowned by their families.  Until recently, admitting to being an atheist was like committing social suicide.  You were a "godless commie" or whatever.

Both principals spoke with experience about the stresses of creating community.  People come in various stages of some progression.  Some feel deeply scarred and are angry at a particular religion.  Others seek low voltage interactions, nothing melodramatic.  The mix of characters may prove volatile.  A kind of alchemy goes on.

I could identify.  I was sitting way in the back, in a nice comfy chair, mostly sitting in rapt attention, engaging in the discussion ("is the Dalai Lama an atheist?") but also focusing on a Quaker blog that had been brought to our attention by one of our members.  Once again (like in those movies), rape was an issue.  Various brands of sex offender want community too.  Why not check out the Quakers, as they're probably not armed and likely not dangerous.  Sometimes it's tiring to have to watch one's back every day.  We get our share of tourists, looking for something more permanent.  Just like the humanists do.

Sylvia was on the whole upbeat about the future.  The fact that so many young people were not bothered by atheism as a position, had no bigotry against it, felt encouraging.  Maybe the world was growing more rational and intelligent?  Some statistics seemed to show that.

In some followup conversation I mentioned about being a Quaker animist.  Like many humanists, I'm not that sapien-centric in that I respect and celebrate the nonhuman crew members aboard Spaceship Earth.

One of my themes for the Wanderers is we admit nonhuman members, and sure enough we had a dog present for this meeting, at the cost of come controversy given it snored loudly enough to interfere with some humans' hearing of the other humans.

Duane Ray was by, haven't seen him in awhile, among other prominent movers and shakers.  We weren't all in totalitarian agreement on anything.  The discussion revealed rifts, but then consensus regarding belief systems was never the game or goal.

Labeling and taxonomy were a core focus.  Are polytheists atheists?  The obvious answer is "no", but then if you've never believed in "one god" that seems somewhat atheistic to any God promoted as the one and only.  "Apathist" was another term bandied about.  Unlike the "agnostic" who either "doesn't know" or thinks people "can't know", the apathist just "doesn't care" one way or the other.  If one's commitment is to live an ethical life irrespective of stated beliefs, then "knowing" (in the sense of indulging in metaphysical belief systems) may be unnecessary.