Friday, June 28, 2019

Ripped Off

I was talking to Wayan, a local person here today in Sanur and somehow the topic of getting ripped off came up. I said, yeah - we got ripped off by someone in a position of authority and it ended up costing us about 10K. That person did that to a bunch of people - her superiors caught her and transferred her to another department. Wayan deals with foreigners a lot and said he hears that all the time. Most people who've been around a while have some story like that. Locals have them too. Our visa agent got ripped off twice by visa agents in Java when he was trying to get a visa to go to US - first time for $2500 and next time for $1500. Then he gave up trying to get to US. Wayan said it made him feel so bad to hear stories like that, embarrassed him. I said that we were even more embarrassed by the behavior our homeland. I also told him it's still way cheaper to live here than back there and at a higher standard of living. But there are trade-offs.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Thumping the Head

Teresa from the Midwest has been living in Japan for almost thirty years. Back in her first year, she worked with Elin and me teaching English. She's an excellent artist. She said she never studied for tests in school, that she'd just listen in class and when she looked at the test question, if she didn't know the answer right away, she'd visualize a file cabinet in her head and finger through the files looking for the answer. She demonstrated tapping the fingertips of her right hand on the top of her forehead - like one would do if playing a piano or typing. She always passed.

Mudik was here today at our Sanur home to adjust or figure out why our on-demand water heater was intermittently a problem. I made black tea with milk and honey for him and his cohort Rahim,  I keep Bandi in her crate when Mudik is her because he's a Muslim who doesn't want to be near dogs. Bandi likes it in there so no problem. I asked Mudik how in Indonesian would one identify an on-demand water heater as opposed to one with a tank. How to call it. He tapped his fingers along his forehead while thinking of the answer.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Steve Frost's latest art

Steve Frost is a Catholic priest with quite a web presence. He comes out with new art or writings quite often. Here are some new brushings.

Friday, June 21, 2019

June Solstice

Shortest day of the year here today, the exact minute of the solstice being 11:54pm.

Sunrise at 6:31. Sunset at 6:10pm.

The longest day of the year next December will be one hour and one minute longer. 8.3 lattitude.

When you get really close to the equator like Singapore at 1.3 it's only about 8 minutes difference.

That's from the beach near us - Pantai Mertasari

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Mealtime for Monsters

Fed dogette Bandi and feline Kuci at four today. Their mealtime is supposedly five but they start sitting in front of me and staring around four so I was up and weakened.  I would have been feeding them in the morning but Katrinka started them off at 5pm so it stuck. Now I'm glad it's later in the day because that means they won't be waking us up and bugging us early before we're ready. But if 4pm becomes the new norm then will they start bugging us at three and then gradually get it down to waking us up and bugging us early in the morning? Must practice tough love if that starts happening.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Captain Beefheart

Here's to Captain Beefheart! - Rolling Stone choice of ten songs. I met him at one of his last concerts (I've heard) backstage - at the urging of Taj Mahal who used to play with him and Ry Cooder. God I loved his stuff.

- thanks Katrinka

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Be good or Die out?

Last episode of Billions season two tonight. That show is rewiring my brain. It's got such complex and interesting writing and acting. I'm seeing a lot these days in terms of the selfish and altruistic dichot, the former getting individuals ahead within a group but the group needing more of the latter to succeed and survive in the long run. So that show feeds into that sort of thinking. The way I see it now is that for a species on a planet, with advanced life like us that gets into technology and progress, to survive, it has to excel in altruism and co-operation, be low on greed, hate, and delusion. The odds are against that but it happens in my mental modeling. We're looking like an almost made it case. But the story's not over yet.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

While it's cooling in some places...

Africa will suffer more earlier from the uncontrolled excess of the big carbon burners in Asia, America, Europe. But the others will catch up.

Voice of Bali

We just went to hear the Bali Chorus, our third concert with them. Have a good friend in it and we know people who go.  Bhikkhu Moneyya went with us. He's got the same friend in there.  It's sweet and corny stuff, well done with a chorus of adults middle age and older. A retro experience.

The Voice of Bali Chorus did the 2nd half of the show after intermission and were they great. Indonesian and Western pieces. Young people in striking Balinese dress walked up all with parlms together in gassho - they were choreographed. Trey cool.. 

Thursday, June 13, 2019


I've read a few articles on studies on cooperation and selfishness. The results seem clear: selfish individuals tend to profit over cooperative ones within a group, but groups with more cooperative individuals win over groups with more selfish individuals. Here's a piece on how cooperation wins out in the long run and "We found evolution will punish you if you're selfish and mean," said lead author Christoph Adami, MSU professor of microbiology and molecular genetics. "For a short time and against a specific set of opponents, some selfish organisms may come out ahead. But selfishness isn't evolutionarily sustainable."

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Let's Eliminate most Imprisonment

Ever since high school when I read George Bernard Shaw's The Crime of Imprisonment,  I've been against imprisoning people who are not dangerous. The knee-jerk response to criminal wrong-doing on the part of most people is to see the perpetrators in prison. When Jerry Brown came to Tassajara I gave him a copy of Kind and Usual Punishment by Jessica Mitford about the counter-productive horrors of the prison system. How about community service instead? Crooked politicians, as long as they're not dangerous personally, could be required to clean the streets, work in hospitals, or whatever. Those who start wars could be required to work in veteran's hospitals for the rest of their lives. People who cause harm or damage could work to compensate their victims in a productive way. There's an old woman who's been working on this a long time. I can't find a link to her now. There's a lot on this sort of idea on the web. Like this on a judge who advocates eliminating most prisons. 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Bandita and Kucita

That's Nyoman, our trusty bemo driver with Bandi in photo.
Bandi just went off to the Bali Kennel for her regular Saturday play time with other dogs. There's a an area for big dogs and one for small dogs and she goes to both, loves to wrestle with the bigs, some of whom are quite fond of her. They show us video clips sometimes. Super nice place owned by a Swiss guy. Five bucks for day care or overnight and ten if salon treatment is included which Katrinka now wants Bandi to have every Saturday rather than every other to keep her critter free and not transferring her aroma to bed etc. They called yesterday. Had cleaned up a small wound on an ear. She'd been attacked by two street dogs when I was walking her back from the tennis court. That's never happened before. My racket put a quick end to that. She loves it there but is like a kid who doesn't want to go to camp when Nyoman comes to pick her up. Alan who owns it and Yoni who helps run it are in love with her, say she's fearless and good with other dogs and people, loves to play but never gets too rough. If she did they'd ban her.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Handy Tip

I left the top off the liquid soap. I was worried some dust had settled on it so I washed it.

Monday, June 3, 2019

A Poem by Lawrence Burns

On a Wing and a Prayer

Can a poem speak,
angel or arrow,
soft truth or swift answer—unavoidable?
Imagine the flight of a faded pink diamond kite.
Aloft by a string. Balanced between Icarus’ youthful illusions  
and Bellerophon’s bitter regrets.
Oft admonished, we are extolled, “focus on being in the present.”
How best to do this?

I want [to] fall in present (sic).  As in: to fall in love; not to fall in line.
The kite in my mind—it trembles in the breeze, painfully alive: albeit, aloft.

I’ve long imagined that I’d emerge, epiphany-like into the present
as if it were the epicenter of some to-be-determined, right moment.
Arriving concisely with some precise insight; Aretha Franklin shattering my illusion with a song?
A shattered egocentric exoskeleton: freed self, [finally] enjoining with life’s melody.
And still, I meander, discovering multiple epicenters, all falling in to the present. Alive.
The creek bed is still and yet the waters meander. 
There is no “it”. No “moment.” Only melody. Wafting. Forward.

A soft pink kite flutters. Almost errantly. Aloft and rising slowly,
while the waters move swiftly
in the dawn.

May, 2019
Lawrence Burns 
(son of Marilyn McDonald who wrote A Brief History of Tassajara)