Thursday, 29 August 2019

Ego Kyôsaku

"The biggest ego-trip going is getting rid of your ego."

Alan Watts

(Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Wikimedia Commons.)

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

WW: Starfish report, 2019

(Well, here we are again, on the same beach as last year. This summer I had difficulty finding any Evasterias – the photo above is full half of those I counted – while Dermasterias, which is resistant to the starfish plague, continues much in evidence. I didn't find many Henricia either, but they're not technically intertidal, and the tide wasn't as low as last year. And as in the past, not a single Pycnopodia, profuse in these quiet North Coast waters when I was a kid.

The lack of Evasterias compared to recent post-plague years, and the small size of those found, continue to sound a knell for this species. However, there remain two slim hopes.

First, the very low census still adds up to more than
Pycnopodia or Pisaster, now apparently extinct here.

And second, though it appears that all our young
Evasterias still succumb within a year or two to the plague, so far a handful are still turning up on the tidelands each summer.

So a healthy breeding population must survive in deeper, colder water. With any luck they'll outlive the virus, and eventually repopulate the bay.)

Thursday, 22 August 2019


Cloak of Conscience Side View

"People who don’t have a sense of shame have no future."

Thích Nhất Hạnh

(The Cloak of Conscience courtesy of Anna Chromy and Wikimedia Commons.)

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

WW: Baby barn swallow

(I was climbing down to the beach the other day and happened on this little guy [Hirundo rustica] in the tall grass, newly kicked/fallen out of a nest in the eaves of an old boathouse. His hovering parents became hysterical at my approach, but as you can see, the kid himself was game [or naïve] enough to meet me head-on.)

Thursday, 15 August 2019

There We Go Again

Guitarist girl In 1962, the number of playable guitars per million inhabitants on this planet was 200. By 2014, that figure was 11,000.

In case you thought guns were the only thing that was proliferating here.

(Statistic from Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World, by Hans Rosling. Photo courtesy of Istvan Takacs and Wikimedia Commons.)

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

WW: Blue elderberries

(Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea.)

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Good Video: Suic!de and Ment@l He@lth by Oliver Thorn

As I've mentioned in past years, August has by a series of dependent co-arising become Suicide Month here on Rusty Ring. Along with depression, isolation, and alienation, it's a topic I often contemplate, as being an epidemic our culture both militantly ignores and wilfully misattributes. (That is, refuses to take full responsibility for.)

So, this being August, and a sangha sister having some time ago alerted me to his worthwhile and relevant talent, I rate it time to introduce readers not yet privy to my man Oliver Thorn.

Olly, as his legion of fans call him, has earned a legion of fans through his Philosophy Tube channel on YouTube. I suspect I'm not alone in appreciating his steady, well-informed leftist responses to the rightwing conventional wisdom of our era. Olly's commentary is better than balanced; it's rational, amiably sardonic, and self-mocking.

And I never trust a person who trusts himself.

Also – big surprise – it turns out Olly has a history of suicidal tendencies. Because the dumb and brutal don't suffer from that. Which tells you most of what you need to know about that responsibility I mentioned above.

Olly's admirers learned about his relationship with despair something less than a year ago, when he uploaded the above video. The man's raw courage is breath-taking, and while this particular post bears little witness to the research and humour that's earned him his rabid (and apparently largely male) following, I suspect I'm not alone in considering it one of his best.

If you've had suicidal tendencies, or someone you care about does, by all means treat yourself to Oliver Thorn's globally public self-interrogation.

Which is all of you. So hop to it.

For the rest, bear in mind Robin's Rule of Reason: "Killing yourself because everyone else is crazy is unskilful."

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

WW: Radio road trip

(My QRP rig set up in a friend's back garden.)

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Koan of the Heroic Fish

Mauritania boy1

A Western Zenner was visiting sacred sites in the mountains of Korea, when he happened upon the hermit Hyung meditating beside a stream.

"Why, you must be the great Hyung-roshi!" said the hiker. "Is it true that you live in perfect harmony with nature, never wanting for anything?"

"Yes," said Hyung, equanimously ignoring the Japanese honorific. "The living things of this mountain are my sangha, and they support my practice without fail."

"Give me a story to take home!" the tourist begged.

"Well," said Hyung, "a fish once saved my life."

"Wonderful!" cried the visitor. "How did this miracle happen?"

"I ate him," said Hyung.

Wu Ya's commentary: "Heroic fish gives his life for the flowers."

(A similar tale can be found in the teachings of Nasrudin.)

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