Grateful for having been given the gift of life 365 days ago

A year ago parts of the muscular organ that is the center of my circulatory system were about to give me the scare of my life because doctors neglected to heed signs they saw on test results that should have called their attention with great urgency. My advice for everyone: 1) Ask for reports when doctors order tests and 2) READ them and 3) ASK QUESTIONS about what they say. If I had done these things sooner I would not have had to pull over in the dark and rain on I-95 and call an ambulance and, without going into all the details, I would not have had the terrifying emergency situation I had.

I thank God for, well, God, my wife Rachel, my surgeon Dr Abeel Mangi, his surgical team, Yale’s cardiac intensive care and recovery units, Yale’s ER, Madison’s emergency medical response team on duty last Jan 3, my friends and family. I think of them all every day and that’s not an exaggeration. I honestly feel that most things I’ve said and thought and have done this past year I’ve done only because of all of them, all of you.

This experience of surviving, albeit not my first, has been a most profound lesson in gratitude and love and living. I’ve never before felt as blessed with as real a gift of life as I have this past year or as grateful for those in my life and all that I have. Happy New Year, and as a dear friend used to always say, take care of you.

It’s high times as California makes recreational use legal — LA Times — But what about all those imprisoned because of pot?

Q: Are they releasing all the prisoner who have been imprisoned because of pot? 

“Groove on! Groove on!” blared from speakers outside a gray warehouse in Santa Ana. Inside, a line of 60 people snaked through the shop, waiting to be helped by a budtender.

Source: For marijuana users, it’s high times as California makes recreational use legal – LA Times

Lyrics become more poignant over time

After having something life threatening happen to me, lyrics I’d never think twice about become more poignant: “Don’t tell me your troubles, I got enough of my own, Be thankful you’re living’, Drink up and go home.” (lyrics by the old country singer Freddie Hart)

What are you grateful for and what makes you happy?

I have friends in real life and on Facebook who ask the question daily “What are you grateful for and what makes you happy today?” 

What I am grateful for and what makes me happy is the profound, usually unexpressed, life-sustaining love between people — family, friends, co-workers, bosses, neighbors and even those we don’t know and haven’t met yet — on whose existence and livelihoods we in part depend every day.

Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book Silent Spring was published on this date in 1962 | The Writer’s Almanac

Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book Silent Spring was published on this date in 1962 (books by this author). Carson was a marine biologist, but she was also a crafter of lyrical prose who contributed to magazines like The New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly, and who had already published three popular lyrical books about the sea. One of these — The Sea Around Us (1951) — had won the National Book Award. In the course of her work, Carson became aware of the ways that chemical pesticides were harming plants and wildlife. She felt it was important to make the public aware of this, but she was not an investigative journalist and didn’t feel confident enough to write what she called the “poison book.” Continue reading “Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book Silent Spring was published on this date in 1962 | The Writer’s Almanac”

“Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.” ~ Thomas A. Edison

A 30 SEC READ: A story by Kahlil Gibran

I was strolling in the gardens of an insane asylum when I met a young man who was reading a philosophy book.

His behavior and his evident good health made him stand out from the other inmates.

I sat down beside him and asked:

‘What are you doing here?’

He looked at me, surprised. But seeing that I was not one of the doctors, he replied:

‘It’s very simple. My father, a brilliant lawyer, wanted me to be like him. My uncle, who owns a large emporium, hoped I would follow his example. My mother …. And the story continues. … read the ending here: 30 SEC READ: A story by Kahlil Gibran

[Memento Mori] | John Ashbery (1927–2017) | Harper’s Magazine

Over the weekend, Pulitzer Prize winning poet John Ashbery passed away at the age of 90. “Part of what makes Ashbery so absurdly good is his faith in the essential goodness of the absurd,” wrote Matthew Bevis in the June 2017 issue of Harper’s Magazine. “He’s one of our most truly encouraging poets on account of his willingness to let himself go, to let the social self (call it ‘character’ or ‘personality’) deliquesce into the anarchic, labile, inner chemistry of selfhood.” Below is a selection of Ashbery’s work, which began appearing in Harper’s in 1969.

“Whatever the Old Man Does is Always Right,” “Commotion of the Birds,” “Featurette,” and “But Seriously” (with an introduction by Ben Lerner), August 2016

• “Absent Agenda,” October 2010

• “The Water Inspector,” February 2000

Source: [Memento Mori] | John Ashbery (1927–2017) | Harper’s Magazine

Violence is unable to change anything for the better

“One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favours such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better.”  ~ Daniel Berrigan

Today, Aug. 28, is also the day in 1963, more than 200,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C., for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, now known as the March on Washington. It is also the day the world first heard Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which was delivered during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. In the speech he called for an end to racism in the United States and called for civil and economic rights. If only we could be proud of how far we have come.

I’ve decided to include quotations that I like and that I receive from Pace e Bene here on my blog. This is another one of those.

Why is the reaction to a solar eclipse such an anomaly?

If only people watched, sung about, and worshiped the Sun and Moon and the Earth and the rest of Nature and the universe everyday as much as they do on days when they happen to align for a couple of minutes like they did yesterday, Aug. 21, 2017. A cosmic testament to the ancient short attention span of the human race.

During the eclipse, you’ll be able to see and photograph the structures in the Sun’s corona. Credits: Miloslav Druckmüller, Martin Dietzel, Shadia Habbal, Vojtech Rusin

An anomaly is defined as “something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.” An eclipse is to be expected. Even surprising things are to be expected from Mother Nature, Earth Mother.

#eclipse2017 #totaleclipse

Happy Birthday to Robert Stone

According to today’s Writer’s Almanac, Stone wrote:

“Writing is lonely. […] But most of the time you are in a room by yourself, you know. Writers spend more time in rooms, staying awake in quiet rooms, than they do hunting lions in Africa. So, it’s a bad life for a person because it’s so lonely and because it consists of such highs and lows, and there’s not always anywhere to take these emotional states. […] It’s a life that’s tough to sustain without falling prey to some kind of beguiling diversion that’s not good for you.”

Can you relate?

Picture taken at Lavender Pond Farm in Killingworth, Connecticut

Take care of yourself and each other. Take care of your father and your mother because they’re the only ones you’ll ever have. Take care of your brothers and sisters, they, too, are unique to you and will usually be there when you need them most, just as you should be there when they need you. Take care of your friends because they, too, are unique to you and you’ll never have any others just like them. Take care of your home, because it, too, is unique to you and you’ll never have any other just like it. ~ cjzurcher

Picture taken at Lavender Pond Farm in Killingworth, Conn.

“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ~ Haruki Murakami

Brian Williams? Mass Media war poetry on national television?

This is f—-ed up!

What is he thinking?

Is that what people watch on their living-room-wall-size tv’s?

Brian Williams: “We see these beautiful pictures at night from the decks of these two U.S. Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean,” Williams said.

“I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen, ‘I am guided by the beauty of our weapons.’ And they are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments making, what is for them, a brief flight over to this airfield.”

Why not quote MLK?: “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” MLK, Jr. Let’s get a grip, people.

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