Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Flags, Marriages, and True Believers

The Confederate flag represented many Southern white mens' desires in 1850 to exploit and enslave people of color, to institutionalize slavery, to revolt and kill, and to separate from the United States of America.  In 2015, flying the Confederate flag over governmental buildings in these United States of American is inappropriate, since most people today do not support the Confederate ideology.  Numerous Federal Constitutional Amendments and many federal and state laws attempt to reduce discrimination and reduce racism.  Most people consider the Confederate flag a symbol of racism and destructive rebellion.  Such a flag has a place in a history museum, but not flying over a U.S., state capitol building, courthouse, or a university.

I was pleased by the recent United States Supreme Court decision to remove restrictions on marriages imposed by various States.  Marriage between adults of different races, different religions, or of the same sex seems to me a private matter and personal preference.  I am comfortable with letting adults chose the person they wish to love and marry.  Of course, you can be sure that States like Louisiana and Texas, ones that still fly the Confederate flag, and have statues of Confederate rebels everywhere, will still refuse to grant marriage licenses to those persons that authoritarian politicians and religious bigots arbitrarily chose to disrespect and harass.  

It is interesting to see the current GOP candidates, scurrying to gain the favor of the religious conservatives, waffle on the fundamental issues of liberty, and support the need for "State's Rights."  Do these candidates mean to say they would have no problem if the majority of the citizens of say Louisiana voted to ban and criminalized same sex marriages, interracial marriage, and abortion; established Baptist Christianity as the State religion to be taught and prayed about in public schools, allowed persons to carry handguns and rifles into churches and supermarkets, flew the Confederate flag over all governmental buildings, did not pay taxes to the Federal Government, used Federal land for private purposes, encouraged alcohol and tobacco usage, built a wall around their State to keep Mexicans and other undesirables out of their State, did not allow women or dark skinned people to vote, etc.  These GOP political candidates don't have the courage to defend a position in defense of liberty and individual rights, and shuffle the issue off onto the plates of local or "State" issues.  I used to be a Republican until the religious fundamentalist Moral Majority stunk up the scene. 

I favor a government where the laws are generally consistent and uniform between all the States of these United States of America.  I favor a government that encourages liberty and justice for all.

I do understand that disagreements between State governments and the Federal government in the U.S.A. are complex, difficult, and ongoing.

I don't find the Bible or Koran very useful to living a good life, their histories are boring and uninstructive, and their rules and social customs often irrelevant to current world circumstances and diversity. Also, believers and preachers of these two creeds have a long and bloody history of forcing others to obey their arbitrary rules and convert to their religions.  They do not believe in individual freedom and liberty, and are opposed to and want to oppress others favoring modern values, and often are at odds with a scientific and pragmatic world view.  

"True Believers," in Eric Hoffer's sense, are dangerous to civil peace and prosperity.  Whether they be Christians massacring Native-Americans and enslaving Africans, Islamic Jihadists massacring tourists in Tunisa or mosque-goers in Iraq, or dumb drug addled white supremacists waving a Confederate flag and then murdering nine people in a church in South Carolina, black rioters in Los Angeles, Nazis, KKKers, or the Timothy McVeighs or Jim Jones's of the world ... all were true believers in theivery or murder or terrorism "justified" by religious or ideological dogmas or revenge.  

A Portrait of another sullen True Believer, Dylann Roof:

"Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton,
Old times there are not forgotten."

Monday, June 29, 2015

Well, It's All Right ... It's a Gas

When I start feeling a bit down, I play the song "Jumpin Jack Flash" by the Rolling Stones created in 1968. 
We all have past and present difficulties, problems, negative experiences, frustrations, friends and family that get sick and die, we get old, people fail us and we fail others, disappointments mount, sadness pervades...  BUT don't WHINE.  Jump Up, Jump Up.  Let go of the past.  Be like Jumpin Jack Flash.  Resurrect Yourself!  Count your Blessings, today!  Onward!

Life is, for me, generally, a GAS! It's a gas, gas, gas!

"I was born in a cross-fire hurricane
And I howled at my ma in the driving rain,
But it's all right now, in fact, it's a gas!
But it's all right. Im jumpin jack flash,
Its a gas! gas! gas!

I was raised by a toothless, bearded hag,
I was schooled with a strap right across my back,
But it's all right now, in fact, it's a gas!
But it's all right, Im jumpin jack flash,
Its a gas! gas! gas!

I was drowned, I was washed up and left for dead.
I fell down to my feet and I saw they bled.
I frowned at the crumbs of a crust of bread.
Yeah, yeah, yeah
I was crowned with a spike right thru my head.
But it's all right now, in fact, it's a gas!
But it's all right, Im jumpin jack flash,
It's a gas! gas! gas!"

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Wild Goose Chi Kung

Dayan (Wild Goose) Qigong Exercises

Bibliography, Links, Quotes, Notes, List of Movements
Research by Mike Garofalo

The Wild Goose Qigong form is one long continuous sequence of movements, much like a Taiji form.  There are many aspects of the Wild Goose Qigong system as presented by Dr. Bingkun Hu of San Francisco.  

"Wild Goose Qigong claims that “there are no intentional movements without awareness. Wild Goose Qigong advocates “wu-wei” (or “doing nothing”) and “tuo-yi” (“reduce one’s awareness to the minimum”). A good example is Wild Goose-1 (the first 64 Movements). We often tell our beginning learners that the movements in this set of qigong are supposed to describe the daily activities of a wild goose. There are three parts to this qigong.  Part One is “The Goose Wakes Up”. It stretches itself, it brushes up its wings and shakes them. It plays innocently.  A made-up story is even included: “Then the goose looks at the moon, which is reflected in the water and tries to scoop it up."  Part Two is “The Flying Goose”.  Flapping its wings, the care-free wild goose skims over a smooth lake.  It looks at the water and dips down to drink the water.  Then the goose is playing with he “qi”.  It tries to grasp the qi.  It holds and rotates the qi-ball.  It pushes out the dirty qi, and tries to receive the fresh qi from its lower back.  In Part Three, the goose is first flying up into the sky. Now it is flying over the water.  Then it is looking for some food.  After that, it is looking for its nest. At last, the goose goes to sleep.  When beginning, learners are encouraged to be pre-occupied with the daily activity of an innocent wild goose, when they are imagining that they are “flapping their wings” beside shimmering lake under a full moon, their heart beat will be naturally slow down, and their mind will gradually be quieting down too. At the same time, they will be more responsive to the instructor’s words on how to relax themselves through the shifting of body weight. Wild Goose Qigong is a medical qigong. We practice it because of its health benefits. When we have better qi flow, our blood circulation will improve. We will have more oxygen supply to our brain. Our mind will be more alert. We will get stronger, and we will have more physical strength, etc.."
-   Bingkun Hu, Ph.D., A Safe and Delightful Approach to Good Health   

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Summer Work Projects

I have been working each morning since late May on renovating our back porch.  About 25% of the porch roof needed replacement.  Old screens and doors needed to be removed and then replaced.  It porch roof support wood needed to be cleaned, fixed, and repainted.  The side walls of the house needed to be cleaned and repainted.  Roof gutters needed cleaning.  Branches hanging over the house roof needed to be removed.  It has been a big project!

My ailing shoulder has slowed my pace somewhat; but, I continue to make progress.  Since temperatures in June have been well above 100F every day, afternoon work is not possible for me.

Karen has helped as time and energy permit.

I walk and do Taijiquan in the morning from 4:45 am to 6 am.  Then I begin work on home improvement projects.  Around noon, I quit outdoor work, and come indoors to read and write.  Because of my shoulder problem, I've not done any heavy weightlifting at the gym during the entire months of June.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Tao Te Ching: Selected English Translations

A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes 20 different English translations or interpolations for that Chapter, 3 Spanish translations for that Chapter, the Chinese characters for that Chapter, and the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin Romanization of the Mandarin Chinese words for that Chapter.  Each webpage for one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching includes extensive indexing by key words and terms in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization.  Each webpage on a Chapter of the Daodejing includes recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, and other resources for that Chapter.   

Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

English Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index

Spanish Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

One Old Taoist's Final Journey  

Chapter Chart Index for the Daodejing

Here is an example of some of the translations and/or interpolations for:

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Daodejing by Laozi

Chapter 9

"It is advisable to refrain from continual reaching after wealth.
Continual handling and sharpening wears away the most durable thing.
If the house be full of jewels, who shall protect it?
Wealth and glory bring care along with pride.
To stop when good work is done and honour advancing is the way of Heaven."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 9 

"Let Heavenly Love fill you and overflow in you,
Not according to your measure of fullness.
Prove it, probe deeply into it,
It shall not long withstand you.
You may fill a place with gold and precious stones,
You will not be able to guard them.
You may be weighted with honors and become proud.
Misfortune then will come to your Self.
You may accomplish great deeds and acquire fame,
Retire yourself;
This is Heavenly Tao."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 9  

"Stretch a bow to the very full,
And you will wish you had stopped in time.
Temper a sword-edge to its very sharpest,
And the edge will not last long.
When gold and jade fill your hall,
You will not be able to keep them safe.
To be proud with wealth and honor
Is to sow seeds of one's own downfall.
Retire when your work is done,
Such is Heaven's way."
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, 1955, Chapter 9 

"Holding and keeping a thing to the very full - it is better to leave it alone;
Handling and sharpening a blade - it cannot be long sustained;
When gold and jade fill the hall, no one can protect them;
Wealth and honour with pride bring with them destruction;
To have accomplished merit and acquired fame, then to retire -
This is the Tao of heaven."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 9  

持而盈之, 不如其已.
揣而銳之, 不可長保.
金玉滿堂莫之能守富貴而驕, 自遺其咎.
-  Chinese characters, Chapter 9, Tao Te Ching

ch'ih erh ying chih, pu ju ch'i yi.
ch'uai erh cho chih, pu k'o ch'ang pao.
chin yü man t'ang mo chih nêng shou fu kuei erh chiao, tsu yi ch'i chiu.
kung sui shên t'ui t'ien chih tao. 
-  Wade-Giles (1892) Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 9  

"Is it better to hold fast to filling, and fill when fullness is gained?
You may handle the point that is sharpened till all the sharpness is gone,
You may fill your halls with gold and gems, but thieving is not restrained,
And wealth and place, when linked with pride, will only bring ruin on;
When the work is done, and reputation advancing, then, I say,
Is the time to withdraw and disappear, and that is Heaven' s Way."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 9 
"Keep stretching a bow
You repent of the pull,
A 'whetted saw
Goes thin and dull,
Surrounded with treasure
You lie ill at ease,
Proud beyond measure
You come to your knees:
Do enough, without vying,
Be living, not dying."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 9  

"Tensa un arco hasta su límite y pronto se romperá;
Afila una espada al máximo y pronto estará mellada;
Amasa el mayor tesoro y pronto lo robarán;
Exige créditos y honores y pronto caerás;
Retirarse una vez la meta ha sido alcanzada es el camino de la Naturaleza."
-  Translated by Antonio Rivas Gonzálvez, 1998, Capitulo 9

"Going to extremes is never best.
For if you make a blade too sharp, it will become dull too quickly
And if you hoard all the wealth, you are bound to be attacked.
If you become proud and arrogant regarding your good fortune, you will naturally beget enemies who jealously despise you.
The way to success is this: having achieved your goal, be satisfied not to go further. For this is the way Nature operates."
-  Translated by Archie J. Balm, 1958, Chapter 9 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bear Frolics Exercises

To experience the Five Animal Frolics we need to keep in mind the "Frolics" aspect of this movement art: being playful and exuberant, freeing up our time for fun, delighting in bodily movements, enjoying games of imitation, taking pleasure in the moment, and delighting in the exercise of fantasy and imagination.  We should be smiling as we enjoy our playful frolics.  We should strive to return to our youth, and rekindle those memories of our joyful childhood games, innocence, freedom of fancies, and silliness.  We are never too old to embrace that precious child within each of us.  

Bear Frolics: Lessons, Bibliography, Notes

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh.  By A. A. Milne.  With decorations by Ernest H. Shepard.  New York, Dutton's Children's Books, 1994.  344 pages.  Color illustrations, hardbound.  ISBN: 9780525457237.  Originally published in 1926, 1954.  This book includes: Winnie-the-Pooh, and The House at Pooh Corner, VSCL.  
The Te of Piglet.  By Benjamin Hoff.  New York, Penguin Books, 1992.  257 pages.  ISBN: 0140230165.  VSCL.  

The Tao of Pooh.  By Benjamin Hoff.  New York, Penguin Books.  VSCL 

The most famous literary Bear is Winnie the Pooh.  Over 26 million English language books by A. A. Milne about the Pooh Bear and his friends have been sold since 1926, the books have been translated into scores of languages, and Disney Films has made him even more famous and a lucrative commodity line.  Benjamin Hoff has explored how Pooh Bear is a quintessential "Taoist Bear."   

So ... it is just fine for you to Dance like a Bear.
Become a Silly Bear for a awhile.
Enjoy the real honey of just being right were you are,
   here and now, content,
   Pooh, it is quite easy.


"Christopher Robin and I walked along
Under branches lit up by the moon
Posing our questions to Owl and Eeyore
As our days disappeared all too soon
But I've wandered much further today than I should
And I can't seem to find my way back to the Wood

So help me if you can
I've got to get back
To the House at Pooh Corner by one
You'd be surprised
There's so much to be done
Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky
Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh."
- Return to Pooh Corner Words and lyrics by Kenny Loggins, 1969, MCA Musi

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hot Stuff

The late Donna Summer brings us back to the disco days of bad girls and Saturday night fevers.  One of the great Queens of Disco!  Hot Stuff!!  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Reiki Energy Work in Red Bluff, CA

Karen Garofalo, Reiki Master, Third Degree 

In the Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Tradition
Valley Spirit Center
Red Bluff, California

Schedule appointments with Karen by telephone.  

Reiki: Bibliography, Quotations, Information, Resources 
Karen's Reiki Homepage

Reiki Research Group, Gratitude Center in Red Bluff, California

Karen's husband, Mike Garofalo, has studied the Chinese energy art of Chi Kung for over 30 years, and has taught Chi Kung (Qigong) and Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan) since 2000.   You can make arrangements to study with Mike in Red Bluff. 

Both Karen and Mike are active gardeners

Monday, June 22, 2015

Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan Form

There are many T'ai Chi Ch'uan exercise forms which make use of a fan.   Most are shorter forms, under 25 movements, but some, like the famous Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan Form have over 50 movements.  Most are done slowly and softly, but some include vigorous and fast movements.  The majority favor the Yang Style of Tai Chi Chuan.  

Tai Chi Fan: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Notes, Lore, Quotations. Research by Mike Garofalo.  I welcome any comments, suggestions, additions, or ideas regarding this webpage. One of the most popular Tai Chi Fan forms was created by Professor Li Deyin (1938-).  It has 52 movements.  I includes slow and gentle movements in the first half of the form, then the second half is much more vigorous.  This Tai Chi Fan form is for athletic and intermediate Tai Chi students. 

Here are some instructional resources for learning the Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan Form.  

Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan. Routine 1, created by Grandmaster Li Deyin (1938-). Instructional DVD, 65 minutes, by Master Jesse Tsao. Tai Chi Healthways, San Diego, California. "The most popular Tai Chi Fan form ever practiced in China. The routine was created by Grandmaster Li Deyin, Jesse Tsao's teacher since 1978. There are 52 movements in the whole routine based on the characteristic Tai Chi posture with the fan's artistic and martial functions. Master Tsao presents demonstrations at the beginning and end. He teaches step-by-step in slow motion, in English. There are plenty of repetitions of movements in both front and back view. It is a good reference for home study, or a resource for instructor's teaching preparation." Cost: 35.00 US. Demonstration.

Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan Instructional DVD by Professor Li Deyin. Narration in English. "A fan routine, created by Professor Li, which combines the gracefulness, centrality and continuity of Taiji with the power, speed and fierceness of Wushu. It is designed as an addition to the exercises for health, and has received massive interest and support throughout the world. In this DVD, Professor Li provides in-depth teaching with Mrs. Fang Mishou performing detail demonstration." Vendor 1. Cost: $35.00 US.

Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan, Form 1. List of 52 movement names, directions, instructions, and notes by Mike Garofalo.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sonoma County Trip

Philip and Margaret, Janet and Paul, and Karen and Mike all met last Thursday morning in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California for a vacation trip.  We visited the Luther Burbank house in Santa Rosa, enjoyed lunch in Occidental, came down Coleman Valley Road, walked the trails at Bodega Head, and stayed two nights in Bodega Bay.  On Friday, we went up the coast up to Salt Point State Park, toured Fort Ross State Park, and returned to Bodega Bay.  Much fine dining and delightful Sonoma Valley wine to drink.  Beautiful weather!  A very enjoyable trip for Karen and I.  Great to visit with my brothers and sisters-in-law.

Karen and I drove down on Wednesday, via State 20 by Clear Lake, and went shopping in Sebastopol, and then stayed overnight in Windsor.   We came home on Saturday back to the hot North Sacramento Valley.  I miss the cool ocean breezes already.

Happy Father's Day to all the decent, hardworking, kind, and responsible fathers.  A job well done, men!  Keep up the good work!   A father's job is never done. 

"Hotel California" by the Eagles band.