Monday, November 30, 2009

Yin and Yang: World of Opposites

Yin & YangImage via Wikipedia

A much maligned and misunderstood symbol is that of the Yin and Yang. You see it on posters, buttons, T-shirts and dangling from the necks of obscure, long-haired youth.

Before I ever understood it, I saw it from an artist's perspective. a beautiful and powerful design, stunning in its simplicity.

To learn that it symbolizes two fish, one white and one black and that each form defined the other was eye-opening.

That it represented a view that life is created of opposites, night and day, up and down, love and hate, right and wrong, good and evil, Satan and God, justice and injustice, negative and the positive and that one could not exist without the other was dumbfounding.

The Western view of life is that we must suppress the negative forces in favor of the positive ones, that they are mistakes and have no place in our lives. How can we re-learn that to completely know love, we must also embrace hatred, that these opposing forces are inextricably bound to one another, each with equal value?

Dualism is embraced by many cultures in the world. There is no place for the Third Eye, I would suppose.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Greater Love Hath No Man: Martyr or Coward?

'Image via Wikipedia

The word Martyr conjures in me images of fear, ecstasy, faith and terror. The Christian stories of the martyred saints, Peter, Paul, Stephen, and Joan of Arc are both inspiring and chilling.

Especially the supreme sacrifice of Jesus.

I have never really had the courage to stand for anything I believe in and the thought of dying for a principle frightens me to death (no pun).

However, it seems to me that the crux of Martyrdom is the giving of one's life for one's belief.

Perhaps the most ominous example is that of the early Christians who chose to face Lions rather than denounce their faith in Christ.

In all religions, faiths, cultures there are probably stories of people who have died for causes. They have killed and been killed "In the name of God."

Legions have given their lives for causes worthy and unworthy, just and unjust.

Witness the recent debate over whether Jihadists who strap bombs on themselves killing dozens of infidels, including women and children, for the sake of their Deity, presumably assuring themselves a special place in heaven, are martyr or terrorist.

But we have a new ingredient in the mix. The martyr is supposed to die!! What if he screws up and lives after killing others in the name of God? Shouldn't he ask for a tighter noose, a sharper axe or sword, a second bullet, a hungrier lion and submit to dying?

Or will he say "Ooopps, God, I'm sorry I really didn't mean it!? Epecially, after he has taken the lives of a dozen poor souls?

Point in question: the recent massacre at Fort Hood, Texas. While no one knows for sure, the media talk is that the act for Nidal Malik Hasan was one of Jihad. If it was, he should have died, yet he lived. He should therefore request immediate death, and not accept another breath of life.

Yet today on CNN, his lawyer is saying Hasan is considering a plea of not guilty for reason on insanity!

Doesn't that automatically negate the act as one of Martyrdom? You can't have it both ways! Unless, of course, he means that Jihad is insanity.

I wonder where failed Martyrs go, Heaven or Hell? Or Limbo? Or whether they even go at all?

747: Join Your Local Campus Atheist Club

Thomas AquinasImage via Wikipedia

Just read about a girl in a campus Atheist club who said "very few people know we exist."

Funny, that's exactly what God says.

I wonder what they do at their meetings? Convince one another of their non beliefs?

If they fund raise, what do they do with "In God We Trust" engraved on bills?

I hope they give them back.

I wonder if they proselytize? Pass out flyers on corners? Baptize? Preach? Take up collections at their meetings.

Have they ever read Camus, Sartre?

There's still the old argument that the chances that life is just one big accident are as good as tossing a boxful of nuts and bolts into the air and having them fall to the ground as a 747.

I Read a billboard once that read: "I'd rather believe in Hell and be wrong than not believe in Hell and be wrong."

We really don't have much to lose if we lived our life believing in a God that doesn't exist. We just might have lived better lives, who knows?

But we would have missed a lot of parties....

I've always wondered if there is any difference is in asking "Do you believe in God?" or "Do you believe in a God?"

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Winds of Change Are Blowing: Adios, Senior Dobbs

Lou Dobbs TonightImage via Wikipedia

The announcement of Lou Dobbs' retirement from CNN comes really as no big surprise. For some, it was long overdue.

His reasons for leaving are indeed noble: "to seek a more activist role" because "the strong winds of change have been buffeting our country", which must be engaged with "constructive problem solving". I like the "buffeting" part. Whew, the Vato waxes almost poetic here.

Dobbs is well known to Latinos and Hispanics for his tirades against the menace "immigrants" and illegal aliens pose to the American middle class ideal. His mockery of Mexico's government would be downright insulting if one were to ignore our own government and its shenanigans as the supposed role model.

If he would have had his way he would round up the whole bunch (12 million), and ship them back to their own country. Trouble is we tried this in the 30's and "Operation Wetback" became an embarrassment to the U.S. exacerbating racial profiling, as "legal" Mexicans were deported right along with the illegals! Oops. Rousting of bars and restaurants was common, harassing dozens of "legals" to net only one "illegal". It wasn't wise to eat at a Mexican restaurant.

The U.S. even paid Mexicans, legal or not, to go back "to where they came from". Problem was some of them came from "here", and their lineages could be traced back to before the arrival of the Mayflower!! Another problem was once illegals were deposited on the other side, they just swam back. The U.S. then tried dumping them off way down around Mexico City. This just made it a little harder for them to come back.

I suspect this is the probably "independent" "constructive problem solving" he refers to. Yeah, but we've heard it all before.

He tried to demonstrate his wit and rhetorical skills in a televised "debate" with Univision's "Noticiero" anchor woman Maria Elena Salinas. At worst, it was like a bully picking on a neighborhood pest. At best it was a draw.

His "no holds barred... acerbic... tough... relentless... independent" style sounded pretty much like just another right winged Republican to me. But it did catch the ire and attention of Latinos and Hispanics. So much so that groups across the country have recently united in calling for Sr. Lou's resignation (or firing) from CNN.

Of course, his retirement was not in the least, prompted by these protests. When one feels "the winds of change", he must of course, change. But isn't this a darned coincidence?

Bob Dylan said it best in the 60's: "The Times They Are A'Changin".... Si, they are changin'.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

It's The Same Old Cancion Jose, I Mean Joe!

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13:  Elaine Porko, ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Ruben Naverette, columnist recently wrote about a hotel owner in New Mexico who recently fired some of employees for speaking Spanish on the job. Hijole.

The employer also demanded that those employees with Hispanic names anglicize them, the old "Jose" to "Joe", and "Maria" to "Mary" pedo.

He said of course, that this move was "not at all racist" and that he was thinking only for the well being of his customers. Don't some of his customers speak spanish? Maybe not, after all this is New Mexico; why should they?

"Nececito mas Bacon!", rings out from one of the many Hispanic servers to the kitchen area at Hometown Buffet. I am offended! Dang it, how could they run out of Bacon!

I am doing my part. I speak spanish only in bathrooms and in bed with my wife. They say Spanish is a Romance Language. It came from Rome with deep roots in Latin, hence "Latino". I've always wondered why English is not very romantic.

Cesar Chavez used to say that that Spanish is the "language of Love", and English the tongue "you do business with."

When I was a kid, my mom refused to speak English. Mostly she was embarrased by her limited control. So I was the translator. I hated it. When I translated her requests to the teller at Bank of America, I felt ashamed. We were made to. People in line behind us fidgeted, and tossed stares of indignation at the walls and cielings. You could just feel it.

An old employer once asked me not to speak spanish on the job to another employee because his wife and he felt like we might be "talking about them." Sometimes we were!! However, it's interesting how when a Mexican customer entered the store, I was "asked" to go out and wait on him. Hmmm. Somehow, the Spanish was not a bother then.

I also did my part by changing my name "Ricardo" to "Ricky", and "Rios" to "Rivers". I even accepted "Dick" which I hated! I mean what more did they want from me, Blood?

I used to have to hide the bean tacos and chorizo can huevo burritos my mother made me for lunch in elementary schools until one day one of my Gringo pals asked to trade his white bread and "baloney" sandwiches for a taco. We both loved it. When the word spread and the trading was on, I never ate bean tacos again for lunch. But thanks to Taco Bell, I can now eat them shamelessly and openly in public, and not have to make that tedious "run for the border."

But if it's a cleansing of Spanish you really want, you'd better think it over a lot more. Let's see where to we start? Change tge names of States? Colorado, New Mexico, Florida, Nevada, Montana, California? Names of cities? Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, El Paso?

Names of cars, Bronco, Cadillac El Dorado. Names of restaurants, El Torito, Taco Bell?

But don't you think we've had enough of this nonsense? Basta. Hasta la vista with this stuff?