‘Tis Tesla’s Day! May the (Alternating) Current Be With You!

Nikola Tesla, engineer both electrical and mechanical, physicist, futurist, and inventor was born on this day in 1856 in the village of Smijian, in what is today Croatia, although at the time a province of the Austrian Emprie. His father was a Serbian Orthodox priest as was his mother's father. After a number of adventures, most of which probably happened, he entered the Austrian Polytechnic in Graz. There his brilliance became apparent. However he quickly found himself in several conflicts and … [Read more...]

Alex Chrum’s List of Eight Unbiased News Sources

A part of the problem with trying to be engaged in today's world is the flow of information. We have access to more sources than ever before in history. And, sadly, much, I would hazard most of it comes packaged with so much bias, hidden agendas, or, flat out lies that what we are awash in is a sea of misinformation. Of course the problem with bias is that it is how we see the world, and so it becomes wildly difficult to pull back and get a larger perspective. I am on a quest for a manageable … [Read more...]

Recalling the Frontier Zen of Philip Kapleau and the Rochester Zen Center

As the Rochester Zen Center celebrates its 50th anniversary Lion's Roar asked me to update the chapter on Roshi Philip Kapleau from my book Zen Master Who? Which I did.For the story, please go here. … [Read more...]

Raffi Sings a Song

Raffi Cavoukian was born in Cairo to Armenian parents on this day in 1948. At ten the family immigrated to Canada and he came of age in Toronto. Possibly the world's most famous and beloved children's musician. Here's a little of why... … [Read more...]

On Not Knowing as a Subversive Act

I'm pretty sure most people think they're the exception to Dr Fanon's observation. I am not in the business of reading other people's hearts. But, I fear I am not an exception.And so with that the ever renewed vow to not turn away.What I have found is how this vow and its observation creates something. It opens something. And I've found how it is at this fertile moment of letting go of my certainties, of not knowing, that I discover the spiritual path to which I've devoted my life and … [Read more...]

Robert Heinlein Turns One Hundred and Nine!

Actually this is quite the day in the great calendar. Among many other things it is World (or, International) Chocolate Day, as well as, as pretty much any flying saucer enthusiast can tell you the day in 1947 when a flying saucer crashed near Roswell, New Mexico. ‘Tis also in 1954 the day Elvis Presley was first heard on radio, when his freshly minted “That’s All Right” debuted on WHBQ in Memphis.Some ugly things happened on this day, as well.But, I have to go with the fact it is Robert … [Read more...]

Wishing a Happy Eighty-First Birthday to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Lhasa Thondup was born in Taster village, in Amdo, Tibet, on this day in 1935.Leter he would be given the names Jetson Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, often shortened to Tenzin Gyatso, but more commonly he is known by his title as the 14th Dalai Lama. Some of us prefer to call him His Holiness.A more singular person to stride the world stage in our times is hard to conceive. The winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize and hated by the Communist tyranny in China, the author as … [Read more...]

Oh, My! There’s Actually a National Fried Chicken Day…

My vegetarian and vegan friends might wish to avert their eyes on this posting.As it turns out this is Fried Chicken Day in the United States. 'Tis a holiday of mysterious origins, a factoid which I kind of like. Although I do suspect the machinations of the fried chicken cartel are behind it.Me, I shall not be celebrating it this time around. (Down nineteen pounds as of last weigh in, thank you for asking) But my tastebuds are with all those who do indulge. It is a dish that ranks up … [Read more...]

And then there was Spam

To the eternal joy of Hawaiians and other lovers of fatty mystery meat products, it was on this very day in 1927 that Hormel Foods introduced Spam to an unsuspecting public. According to Wikipedia, and who doesn't count on Wikipedia these days for such things, "Spam's basic ingredients are pork shoulder meat, with ham meat added, salt, water, modified potato starch as a binder, sugar, and sodium nitrite as a preservative. Natural gelatin forms during cooking in its tins on the production line." … [Read more...]

One and Many: A Small Meditation for the 4th of July

I have been blessed with a weak sense of the crowd. It absolutely isn't absent, just weaker than that which beats in many human hearts. I very much feel the tug of various sorts of connections beyond the barrier of skin and gene. But for me, as an easy example, affiliation with a sporting team barely exists. We lived in Boston when the Red Sox broke the "curse," and I felt enthusiasm about it. A lot because my spouse enjoyed it so much. But, I never, ever took a moment of it seriously. Just a … [Read more...]