The older I get the less I know. With age comes wisdom.
David Blaine [8:42 AM]
Consider. In the next two posts are vignettes I've pulled from my own life. You probably have similar. At first glance they may seem mundane, boring even. There is no one point to each, instead, each has several points to make about how we might better live our lives. If you read one and nothing comes to you, read it again, by itself, and think about the cause and affect. There are at least two in each example, most have three. You may even find something there that hasn't occured to me.
David Blaine [5:43 AM]
Consider this. When we built our house there was one large tree on the land. We situated our home so we can watch this tree out of the dining area as we eat. The tree was old and in declining health. There were a lot of dead branches. We put up bird feeders. The large tree was a protective canopy for the small birds, keeping hawks and owls at bay. I wrote a few days ago about all the types of birds that come. When you provide food, water, (there is a creek behind the tree) and protective cover, it must be like heaven for the birds. Two different kinds of woodpeckers visit the suet feeders every day now. After they eat some suet they fly up into the tree and drum for insects. We have been here over 10 years now. The woodpeckers have cleaned the tree up. Storms and wind have broken out the dead branches, and fresh branches have grown in. The tree is strong and healthy again. I hope it is still protecting the birds in 50 more years after I'm dead and gone.
David Blaine [5:36 AM]
Consider These. When I was young I helped grandfather pick the vegetables in his garden. He would go back out to the tomatoes I left, which were still too green, and pick them so the frost wouldn't get them. He took them inside and put them on a windowsill facing the sun. In a few days they were as good as the rest, they just needed a little extra attention.
When I learned to drive I didn't do so well, but once my mother told me that my father had confided in her that I was doing very well. I did much better after that.
As an adult I wanted to learn to shoot a bow and arrow. I took classes. The teacher would show me some things, and I would practice at home all week, then go back for another class. After a long time I got to the point that all my arrows hit the same mark. Only at that point did the teacher admit that, in the beginning weeks, he thought I would never learn.
I met an elderly man, over 100 years old. Still quick and bright. His family was all dead. He had lived in my area his whole life. I was able to ask him all the questions about the history of our area that no one else was able to answer, who had lived here and there, what business was in this building before it was a store, how did this road get it's name. He was a treasure chest.
David Blaine [8:31 PM]
If you recall the poem I wrote a short time ago regarding nine eleven, I found the most perfect picture to go with it.
I direct you to (gulp) Little Green Footballs. If you would like to re-read the poem it is viewable in the archives here.
Note: You will need to scroll down just a bit at LGF to see the photo I'm talking about. I am in no way referring to the discussion, it has nothing to do with the poem, only the photo.
David Blaine [11:45 AM]
Hate begets More Hate Yesterday about 70 Israeli tanks were reported to have attacked in northern Gaza, moving into Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahiya, and the Jabaliya refugee camp. Israeli military had no comment on the action.
This virtually on the eve of Israel and Palistine having the first meeting between leaders in three years. Pray for peace.
David Blaine [8:41 AM]
Hate begets Hate. I am truly sad to see it come to this, but according to an article in my local paper a suicide bomber killed 13 Muslim pilgrims in Vladikavkaz, Russia. The killer was a 46 year old woman, herself a Muslim, who set off explosives in a crowd of thousands. It is reported that she was trying to kill Akhmad Kadyrov, a Chechnyan politician. Kadyrov was not harmed, but two of his bodyguards were among over 100 wounded. I hope that the people who have been joking about suicide bombers killing Muslims are ashamed of their jokes now, and I hope that extremist Muslim groups will not try to retaliate against innocents who had nothing to do with this latest incident.
David Blaine [8:36 AM]
Beautiful Writing is a wonder. Just as much a treat as a painting or a sculpture. I would like to share a credo written by Elbert Hubbard. You may not agree with all of it, but you will appreciate his gift for the written word. Hat tip to Laura for sharing.
I believe in the Motherhood of God.
I believe in the Blessed Trinity of Father, Mother and Child.
I believe that God is here, and that we are as near Him now as ever we shall be.
I do not believe He started this world-a going and went away and left it to run by itself.
I believe in the sacredness of the human body, this transient dwelling place of a living soul,
And so I deem it the duty of every man and every woman to keep his or her body beautiful through right thinking and right living.
I believe that the love of man for woman, and the love of woman for man is holy;
And that this love in all its promptings is as much an emanation of the Divine Spirit as man's love for God, or the most daring hazards of the human mind.
I believe in salvation through economic, social, and spiritual freedom.
I believe John Ruskin, William Morris, Henry Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and Leo Tolstoy to be Prophets of God, who should rank in mental reach and spiritual insight with Elijah, Hosea, Ezekiel, and Isaiah.
I believe that men are inspired to-day as much as ever men were.
I believe we are now living in Eternity as much as ever we shall.
I believe that the best way to prepare fore for a Future Life is to be kind, live one day at a time, and do the work you can do best, doing it as well as you can.
I believe we should remember the Week-day, to keep it holy.
I believe there is no devil but fear.
I believe that no one can harm you but yourself.
I believe in my own divinity - and yours.
I believe that we are all sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be.
I believe the only way we can reach the Kingdom of Heaven is to have the Kingdom of Heaven in our hearts.
I believe in every man minding his own business.
I believe in sunshine, fresh air, friendship, calm sleep, beautiful thoughts.
I believe in the paradox of success through failure.
I believe in the purifying process of sorrow, and I believe that death is a manifestation of life.
I believe the Universe is planned for good.
I believe it is possible that I shall make other creeds, and change this one, or add to it, from time to time, as new light may come to me.
David Blaine [7:11 PM]
Welcome Korea. I have noticed what I think is the first Korean visitor to Smile At Me yesterday. I don't know if they were from North or South Korea. In todays Wall Street Journal Jay Solomon and Carla Anne Robbins report about president Bush and Roh Moo Hyun of South Korea meeting to discuss the nuclear standoff with North Korea, and aid groups also joined to discuss food aid to the North Koreans. Sadly food aid may be discontinued because it is being diverted to the "million man" North Korean Army rather than the Koreans who need it most. If Kim will allow aid workers access to ensure the food is used as intended, the aid will continue. The chances for that permission don't look good. "I was hungry, and you fed me"
David Blaine [8:50 AM]
Frustration. It is clear that Steppenwolf is a frustrated Iranian. When you read his blog you will see why one person referred to him as an "Iranian rapper". When I read his post yesterday I thought it was about Ayatollah Hakim returning to Iraq to set up an Islamic government there. I commented and was taken to task by Sajah for missing the point, so I went back and read again, and then I saw the source of irritation. Iran has to watch these Iraqi people, just handed the gift of freedom from an oppressive dictator, throw the freedom away for another, religious dictator.
And Iran knows what it's like to live under religious dictators. I am thankful to live in a country that not only separates religion and law, but has laws allowing me to make an ass of myself if I want, say what I want, go where I want, marry who I want... well you get the point. I hope someday everyone will also get this freedom.
David Blaine [6:39 AM]
For those who may need it. If you live or work someplace that blocks certain addresses from your internet browser, there are ways to surf to those banned pages anyway. If you need help doing this I would suggest visiting Me in Chicago & Sassan in Canada where Sassan can walk you though it.
David Blaine [6:29 AM]
Titles: Tools to De-Humanize The bard once asked "whats in a name?" Well with some names, not much.
Think of the title "Palistinian" or "Israeli", do you see anyone? Now think of the name "David", you don't know me but you probably know lots of Davids. I imagine you thought of one of them. Names mean more than titles. When you hear about terrorist attacks the news usually reports something like "72 Elbonians (thanks to Dilbert author Scott Adams) were slaughtered in a rebel attack today" If you live in Elbonia you feel terrible. If the Elbonians are your enemy, perhaps you celebrate. I would like to see what would happen if newspapers were forced to give the names and details of each individual killed in these types of attacks. I don't think anyone would have a stomach for terrorism if they had to read news reports like this: Terrorists killed 16 in a car bomb blast today, dead are Art Hyden, 27, father of 2 daughters aged 7 and 4. Art and his wife Judy lived in Elbonia. He was a plumber. Art liked to take his daughters fishing and he was a trombone player in the community orchestra... Imagine going on for pages doing that for all 16 killed, then , on to the next report of another terrorist incident in another country. Next time your children are with you and see or hear about terrorists killing people, explain to your son or daughter who got killed. In terms like mine. If we are going to make our world a better place, we need to start with the children. I know we have done a good job in the past of teaching them to hate. Perhaps we can do a good a job teaching them to be tolerant.
David Blaine [2:37 PM]
Where's the love? Gil posts over at Israeli Guy that some Israelis met with some Palistinians, and an Israeli girl named Yasmin was asked to cover her legs, her shorts were considered permission to be raped. I'm not Muslim, but I find it hard to believe that Islam permits men to rape strange women under any circumstances. As I was raised, a person of God would not succumb to such temptation, even if there were a consensual offer. What gives?
David Blaine [5:34 PM]
Thank You All. Sometime over the last two days my 2000th visitor came to "Smile At Me"
To celebrate I share with you a photo by Dayle Ann Clavin entitled Flute.
I hope you like it.
Update: Dayle Ann Clavin has requested that I not link directly to this photo, but you can visit her entire online portfolio at the link highlighted with her name above, and view it there along with others by her.
Sorry I didn't ask first Dayle. I hope you like this better.
David Blaine [3:48 PM]
Peace is Possible Right now outside my kitchen window are 3 bird feeders. There are woodpeckers, robins, blue jays, cardinals, mourning doves, nuthatches, finches, blackbirds, orioles, sparrows, chickadees, grosbeaks, martins and some other birds I don't recognize. There are also rabbits that come out to eat the grass under the feeders. All these different animals co exist with a minimal amount of friction. And they are what would be termed "dumb animals". I'm sure we can do as well, if we want to.
David Blaine [11:30 AM]
How free is "free speech"? From time to time in posting feedback at other blogs I'll get into a position of disagreement with another blogger. I have taken people to task when they were not necessarily wrong, but when I thought what they added was inflammatory, insulting, or not in the interest of peaceful discussion. I have been told I must be against free speech. Free speech does have limits. The classic example would be yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre. There is also a point where you could be charged with inciting a riot. With those examples shown merely to point out that there are limits, I wonder where an individual should draw his personal line. In a discussion about gun control, a thread started pointing out that criminals kill people with or without guns, and guns by themselves don't commit crimes. A few posts later the thread degenerates to talk of shooting people. I pointed out that talk like this caused gun control laws to be written in the first place. A "cost" of "free" speech, as I see it. Another thread had to do with foreigners not understanding our American celebration of Mother's Day. One blogger wrote that these foreigners don't know who their fathers are. When I pointed out that his remarks weren't helpful, I again got an earful about free speech and defending the American way of life. There will be costs if we continue to alienate foreign cultures, and if we reinforce the negative stereotypes foreigners hold of us. The problem is that the person who pays the tab is seldom the person who has exercised his "right" to free speech. I think the mark of a great person is when he defers his individual rights for the benefit of someone else. So, feel free to write what you like. I hope you never have to pay the price later on.
David Blaine [1:55 PM]