Saturday, March 28, 2020

Being a Know--it-almost

Just posted the paragraph below on a discussion on Facebook and share it now here (I do that sort of thing a lot - lift paragraphs out of emails etc).

I grew up in Texas with fairly enlightened parents and I knew that almost everyone believed a lot of nonsense but they were mainly nice people and I knew to keep my perspective to myself - until I got older as in teenager and then more and more other things I believed I saw as being nonsense and harmful and it all started to fall away - tried to do good things like civil rights stuff and SDS but didn't really get in the grove till I became a hippie - and that was before Herb Caen coined that word. I think a pivitol moment came about when I was 19 when I read Rimbaud's "Everything we are taught is false." Oh cool - I just did a search to check my source and accuracy on that quote and got this from the late great writer Jim Harrison: "I think that I was nineteen when Rimbaud's 'Everything we are taught is false' became my modus operandi." Back to me DC - And now after a lifetime of seeking, studying the wisdom and practice of great sages, I have learned that also - Everything I teach is false.

Friday, March 27, 2020


I don't know how. I didn't ask for it, but I get a daily email from Quora with Q & A about various topics. It obviously has an algorhythm tuned into me because there are frequent questions about Indonesia. The answers tend to be good too, knowledgable. Today there was this fascinating question up top. I glance at them and usually just delete but this one got me. There are others below but I usually don't look further - read it quick and delete.

What are some recent archaeological discoveries that rewrite ancient history?

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Day After Nyepi Bloodbath

Last night in the total dark of Nyepi (see yesterday's post) getting up to pee, slipped on the Muslim prayer rug at the side of the bed (which I've stepped on for six years no problem), fell and hit my head and ear hard on the corner of the night table by the bed. I crawled to the bathroom as I thought it unwise to stand up but walked back to bed. I thought I might have punctured the right eardrum (after having punctured the left one last fall which took months of not swimming to hear) because I felt liquid - half asleep. Woke up at 5:30am - still dark, and realized the pillow and sheet and my tee shirt were all wet. Still thought it was ear fluid like had happened before.  Walked to the bathroom, turned on the light, and - gosh - I was bleeding - I'd been bleeding for hours.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


It's Nyepi. A day and night in the dark for fasting and mediation and it's illegal to go out and there are sentries who can catch you and herd you back home and arrest you if you resist. Only place in the world where the airport closes. The airport doesn't have a lot a lot traffic these days anyway but, living a half hour from it, I know there are some flights. I can hear one now - writing this the day before Nyepi. My favorite on Nyepi is to go out and look at the stars. Where we lived the first three years here there was a nice big swimming pool at the hotel next door we could use and it was a walk straight out of the door for about fifty feet.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Bali Report

I am pretty cut off from almost everyone now. My wife just left for America for six weeks and might not be back then. Her return flight is already canceled. Whenever she leaves I become a sort of hermit and stay home and work which is what I do when she's here too but with her I go out some. But now it's super hermit. House cleaner still comes. I love her and would miss her and she's got alcohol and water spray bottles around and wipes stuff off and we chat a little while she's here three times a week - in Indonesian - which is one of my favorite things to do. She brings fruit and flowers. I go to the beach with our doggy - it's pretty bare there now but even when it's busy it isn't that full of people. Pretty quite here. Much of Bali is usually a big traffic jam and now I hear it's the tourist, expat heavy places that are the quietest, that elsewhere it's closer to normal. Not much virus yet but I'm worried they'll be hit hard because people here don't tend to take anything seriously unless it's falling on their head. What's doing that now is that tourists can't get in so easy - no visa on arrival. Need a visa from a consulate or embassy. Poor planning. Live for today. Most people have little or no savings. It's mainly shut down. Bali's economy is 80% tourism. This will be far worse than after the bombings in 2002 and 3 because tourism grew little by little after that. There were many suicides then. I got a report from a neighbor yesterday who'd been out doing errands. She said everything's open, that the tourist places are almost empty but that the local traffic etc is pretty much the same. She said there were long lines at Immigration. I pray for Bali. And for you and yours - and please don't ask to whom - there is no whom in my view.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Trip to the bank

The highest bill in Indonsia is 100,000 which today is about six bucks. Usually it's more than seven. I've seen it at almost nine.

Nyoman picked me up in his VW bus like bemo today. I only use ATMs at banks with guards, having been phished twice necessitating canceling the card. Dogette Bandita in my lap we went to the BNI bank on Jalan Toba. The exchange rate had gone higher still. Friday it was a little over 16000 rupiah to a dollar, 2500 over a few weeks ago and higher than I'd ever seen it. This is a time to withdraw rupiah from an ATM and save it for later. I did so Friday, Saturday, and today. Today the official exchange rate when I left home was astonishingly high. I can see it by writing "1 USD to IDR" (Indonesian Rupiah) in the URL line of my browser. It came out 16, 785. Driving toward the bank, I noticed the money changers posted USD - 16,100. All the reputable ones did. The ones trying to lure people in always have it about 500 higher so I'd read 16, 599 and amounts like that - even up to 16, 999. Avoid them. When I saw that 16,1000, I thought the rate had gone down in the last few minutes. That's awful big jump that quick. Back home I checked the exchange rate again to see if it had fallen more but to my surprise it had only fallen a little. It read 16, 750 or so. I checked my bank records to see what rate I got and it was close to 16,100. I'd never seen a discrepancy like that. ATM rates are always the highest, higher than the money changers and just a little below the exchange rate. Somewhere the brakes are being put on. I won't complain. Gotta stretch money as far as I can now and that sure helped. Wonder where it's headed. - dc 

Indonesia borders closed over Covid-19

from Straits Times - Katrinka flew to the US a few days ago. Now here return flight for April 27th has been canceled by Eva Air. So far this is for a month, but the virus has hardly hit here in Bali. We'll see what happens.

This will be devastating for Bali which depends on tourists maybe more than anywhere in the world.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Gaslighting - at last I know what it means

I've heard the term "gaslighting" a number of times recently. You know how people in the media - pundits, reporters, politicians, entertainers - pick up on a new term? You hear it once and, in my case think, "What does that mean?" And keep hearing it more and more till everyone's using it. "Throw somebody under the bus" was like that but, unlike "gaslighting" it's pretty clear what it means, evokes an immediate image. and, unlike some terms which became a fad, has hung on. Maybe gaslighting will also but it's too soon to know. It seems to be used a lot with Trump. So I read it this morning and could no longer hold back the urge to search out the meaning. And here it is, from a 1938 play, Gaslight, made into a movie staring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman who won an oscar for her performance. From that link: So what does this word mean? "Gaslighting" is used to describe abusive behavior, specifically when an abuser manipulates information in such a way as to make a victim question his or her sanity. Gaslighting intentionally makes someone doubt their memories or perception of reality.

Friday, March 20, 2020

TP and Alternatives

Saw this link to a letter in the Columbus Dispatch posted on a Facebook page:

Tired of toilet-paper chase? Try a bidet instead 

There's a similar but more accurate solution that's an everyday thing where I am.

Living in Asia one can become accostomed to using water. In Indonesia, it's standard for toilets to come equiped with sprayers attached to hoses. Most Westerners don't use them or think they're gross or weird. For me and a lot of Westerners I know here, they work great and are superior to just the use of toilet paper. It pisses me off when I go somewhere that's trying to be modern and please Westerners and has toilets without sprayers. I use TP a little at first to get any excess then spray and then a little TP to dry. Most Indonesians just use the sprayer and I can do that too if it's called for by a lack of TP. In Japan it's normal for a toilet to come not only with a built in bidet but a built in bumm spray. They have the bumm spray built-ins here but haven't seen bidets. In India they tend traditionally to just use water and maybe a little newspaper and I've heard Indians say that just using TP is gross, saying that Westerners smear themselves. If I have to leave here someday which is likely, I'll bring a few sprayers with me. They're easy to attach to toilets.

The image is from an answer from an Indonesian to the question What are the most Indonesian things ever?

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Bali and the Virus

I know more about what's happening in other parts of the world than where I live. There are few reported cases here and one death I know of. But there's no testing that I know of either. I'm usually home working and get out some, mainly to walk to the beach. Kat's friend Alice came by and we walked our dogs to the beach. Still few reported cases here. Locals don't seem to be thinking about it much except as it effects business. I keep hearing things are shutting down and meeting canceled and a lot of restrictions on who can enter and I heard there's no visa on arrival now - but I don't know what's true or a rumor and I'm not trying too hard because I'll learn soon enough. Mainly I'm treating it like I was in San Francisco.

Got the following from

Current Covid-19 Numbers in Indonesia

Date: 19th March 2020

COVID-19 Infections confirmed: 309
New cases: +82
Active cases: 269 
Death : 25 
Fully Recovered: 15

Saturday, March 14, 2020


Was sent an Important Message via What's App today from a well-meaning friend. It was in Indonesian with seven points on the Corona Virus. I read the whole thing because it's fun for me to do so in Indonsian. Understood most of it and got some help from Google Translate along the way. Sent her the link to the left from a page which came up immediately when I threw the heading and first line in the URL line. I already knew it was not reliable for a few reason. The heading of Important Message, A sentence at the end telling the reader to send it on to everyone - those are both give-aways. And it was supposidly from UNISEF and not the UN body dealing with the virus, the WHO. One last sign is that it was a forwarded message. Bad thing to do. I'll stick with the pros in the regular channels. I know they'll make mistakes and be off to an unknown degree, but in the long run I trust they'll be the most reliable. - dc

Friday, March 13, 2020

Hunkering Down

Katrinka is flying the US next week to spend over a month with family. I'm stocking up on supplies so I don't have to go shopping and can fill any voids with deliveries. I mainly stay home and work as is but when she's gone I get closer to hermit life and with the present situation will be more so. But I'll still walk with dogette Bandita, meditate, do a little yoga, and swim - the beach is her favorite. Tourism is way down in Bali. It's usually not so busy near where we live but these days it's getting to feel almost empty. Decided not to go to the great Friday night jazz jam - will miss that - till the Covid-19 virus has passed. Not much reported here yet but jsut wait. We do not expect them to be prepared. Following more news than usual. Do not pass on emails, messages, posts about the virus or what to do. I stick with the pros. And I'll play a little guitar. May you and all beings be happy, healthy, free from harm, love life, and awaken.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

AA Most Effective Studies Show

NY Times Article reporting on recently released thorough studies show AA works better and leads to far fewer costs - it's free.

Friends of Bill (AA folks) I've known have a much higher rate of remaining abstinant than what this article reports as AA's average - 22 to 37%. But most of the people I'm around have some sort of spiritual practice and that definitely helps = even if it involves believing in nonsense. One statistic therein, that is typical of ones I've seen for decades is that alcohol kills more than 10 times the number of people that illegal drugs do worldwide - 3.3 million. I bet it's more but that sort of number must have a lot of guesswork in it. I call myself a friend of Bill's friends. This is the 16th year without a drop. I've been around the 12 steps in so many ways for so long, especially in the last 16 years, that it has infused into my system. Dearly departed bud Niels Holm called AA "America's greatest religion." It has been a most benefitial contribution to the world. It's an original harm reduction system. - dc 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020


“I don't like either the word [hike] or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains - not 'hike!' Do you know the origin of that word saunter? It's a beautiful word. Away back in the middle ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going they would reply, 'A la sainte terre', 'To the Holy Land.' And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not 'hike' through them.”

― John Muir  (thanks AM)

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Health is in the News

Top ten threats to Global Health released by WHO - Dengue's #9. That's the big fear here in Bali. Katrinka had it last year. They've got air pollution and climate change as #1. From what I've read, climate change looks likely to dwarf all others to infinity and beyond. But they didn't include war and threat of nuclear war. May all beings be happy. - dc

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Moneyya's website

My monk friend Moneyya has fallen in love with Tulsi Gabbard and started a website in her honor.

Bali for Tulsi do com

page for Moneyya

Opinions therein do not necessarily reflect those of managment. 

Monday, March 2, 2020

Civil Rights Movement Archive

This is a different Civil Rights movement archive from yesterday's post. Just received an email seeking funds for the Civil Rights Movement Veterans website run by Bruce Hartford in San Francisco. It's a substantial and accessible archive. I've been to one meeting that happened in Oakland about ten yeas ago and it was wonderful seeing the founder and inspiring leader of the 1964 Long Hot Summer, Robert Moses again. Here's  the  appeal for funds to keep the website going.  

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Archive of Civil Rights History in Mississippi needs help

Here's a message from Conversations Mississippi needing money to keep storing their archive. I'll send a small gift. They've got to get this archive with a University or the Miss. Civil Rights Museum, or Smithsonian but till they figure that out, they need to preserve it. Thanks for helping. - DC 

We need to let you know that the angel has chosen different priorities after March 2020.  So the archive of Mississippi civil rights history and the 55 years of progressive movements since Freedom Summer, preserved by Conversations Mississippi for 6 years after loss of a previous angel, is again in danger.