Wednesday, April 27, 2005


I was thinking this morning about how I am frequently getting my knickers twisted about the things people don't do that I expect them to. I send people e-mail and they never answer or even acknowledge receipt, I lend people stuff and they never return it etc. Today I realized that it's all about expectations . When I give someone a gift, my ownership ends at the moment I give it. What somebody does with that treasured bottle of wine, book (read it or not) is not under my control. The recepient of the gift is totally free to do exactly what he wants to with my gift.
The same is true of letters, e-mails etc. If I choose to send a message, that's my privlege and if the recepient chooses not to answer that's his.
We clutter up our lives and our peace of mind with expectations and they are really only simple manifestations of that old devil- ego. Letting go of expectations is a step towards diminishing our own egotism (note, I didn't say eliminating, just diminishing - let's be realistic)
Just as spontaneous acts of gratuitous kindness & generosity are good for your spiritual health as the devine Surgeon General has declared so are expectations a serious threat to our spiritual well being.
I'm going to try to reduce mine immediately

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Letter to Jerry


Dear Jerry,

Once, a long time ago, I told you that you were my best friend and whether you believe it or not, I want you to know that you have been my best friend, for over forty years and you will always be.

We disagree about a number of things, ideologies, religion, politics among others but over the years none of these have interfered with our friendship. You have been generous, understanding, patient and compassionate with me, often when I didn’t really deserve it. You have shared your home with me, put up with a lot of dumb tricks, shared your friends and your ideas. We have skied together, peed together and laughed together. You have taught me more about myself than any one else could ever have done.

If there ever was a real Odd Couple, it must have been us but I think it was our different backgrounds that made us such a good fit. Our personalities clashed a little too. You the frugal shopper and the guy who taught me how to get the most out laundry, bar soap and so many other things and me, the guy who was always one paycheck behind (I can’t imagine what you could ever get out of that).

Neither of us have ever what could ever be described as “demonstrative” and I don’t think I’ve done enough to convince you I cared but I do want you to know how much you’ve meant to me and always will.



Monday, April 18, 2005


Saturday night my wife and I watched a movie. It had gotten a lot of publicity and sounded like fun since it was set in a place where we had lived for almost twenty years and was focussed on a subject that interests both of us.
The movie was "Sideways" the place Santa Barbara and the subject was wine. She collects and I drink it. (sometimes our approaches clash.

He: "Let's have the '80 Mouton Rothchild with the lamb on Sunday."
She; "We only have one left. Do you have any idea how much it would cost to replace it?"
He: "Ah c'mon, life's for living and wine's for drinking"
She: "You're crazy."

Anyway, you get the idea. So we watch the movie and at the end I tell my wife that the movie was lousy and how come they don't make good movies any more. On Sunday, I tell some friends how much I was dissappointed in "Sideways" and this morning I look up to see what the critics said about it.
They said it was good/great.

I thought about that for a while and then I realized that I wasn't reacting to the screen play, the directing or the performance of the actors. I was reacting to two over the hill L.A. guys who were fighting the onslaught of middle age and trying to be hot shots. One was looking for a last fling before his immenent marriage.
The other, a wannabe novelist and the ultimate wine snob couldn't get over his divorce and the rejection of his novel. So totally engrossed in his own self-pity he didn't even realize that a woman he had just met was really eager to have a relationship him - self pitying slob not withstanding.

It was the characters and their actions that upset me. "Sideways" may very well be a good movie I just don't like the shallow, selfish world it portrays. I really like movies about heroes. Even "The Clearing" with Robert (Stoneface) Redford and especially the recent "Motorcycle Diaries" . We need heroes more than ever these days.
Real life isn't producing any at all

Friday, April 01, 2005

Ratios, Connections and Relationships

I discovered ratios in HS Algebra - it was the only thing I got out of the course but it was worth the pain. Ever since I 've been old enough to put two and two together I've been fascinated by the relationship of people, places and things to each other. I learned later in my college philosophy courses that: "Many people distinguish between two basic kinds of argument: inductive and deductive. Induction is usually described as moving from the specific to the general, while deduction begins with the general and ends with the specific; arguments based on experience or observation are best expressed inductively, while arguments based on laws, rules, or other widely accepted principles are best expressed deductively.
Later psychological testing indicated I was significantly oriented towards the deductive method. My understanding is generally based on observation and rarely on theory or rules.

The ratio that has intrigued me lately is the reationship between Compassion to Companionship and Competition and Control.
Obviously. we can arrange the components any way we want to but I believe it's most appropriate. So let's say that x= Companionship, a= Compassion b= competion c= control.
or compassion is divided by compassion and control by competition
The success or validity of a relationship is controlled by the degree of compassion expressed by both parties.
And the final product would be a relationship strengthend by compassion free of control or competition.
As people often tell me,
It's just no as simple as that
but my observation seems to indicate that it is.
There is no such thing as competetitive compassion or controlling companionship
and yet how often do I see intense competition be tween husbands and wives: controlling parents.
Competition thrives in the work place and the sports arena. Control must be excercised by the police and the government but how do they fit into the marriage bed?