Wednesday, November 28, 2007

There is only one religion, the religion of Love;
There is only one language, the language of the Heart;
There is only one caste, the caste of Humanity;
There is only one law, the law of Karma;
There is only one God, He is Omnipresent.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Gerald Ollison's Ghost in the Machine

Experiences with the Sacred

Firstly, I don't have the luxury of nonbelief. I've had one (fucking profound) ufo sighting, various psychic flashes and several so-called ghost experiences (one notable experience which left physical traces I showed a friend afterward, and another which took place with another witness present).

I'm not defending this particular video. I wasn't there and I dunno. But when I hear people say they don't believe I feel a responsibility to chime in. I won't try to convert you; but I feel we are really doing ourselves and our collective experience of reality a disservice, if we don't at least cop to some of this mystery which is here.

I have to admit, because I've experienced some pretty bizarre stuff first hand, that I might be more gullible than the next guy because I'm, by default, willing to entertain the possibility more than many. Also though, if you have had these kinds of experiences it pretty much changes you in other ways. First, you are overwhelmed. At this point, you either deny it (because you need to live with a solid definition of things); or it moves you, inspires you, in some way. . . You are aware of the depth of the mystery of it all, because you have been touched directly by it. If you are stable, you don't so much as loose your footing as become comfortable with balancing amidst the uneasiness of it; and, if you are inquisitive at all, you will attempt to study it. You won't find any answers, but you'll see that there are plenty more experiencers out there who are attempting to ask more questions, and who aren't afraid of being ridiculed for showing their investigative results.

Specifically, Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) has been a pastime since the spiritualism of the early 1900s. Alexander Graham Bell was one of its most famous proponents. To this day, people go into graveyards, old prisons and condemned insane asylums with their tape recorders on, and they record (what seems to be) nothing for hours... but later, when they play the tapes back, they've recorded often eerily clear voices speaking and shouting all kinds of craziness. And since security cameras have become prolific, ghost video recordings have also become commonplace. Google EVP and you'll find many of these recordings online.

Generally, our culture chooses, for the most part, to abide by beliefs from within the context of a deductive, scientific perspective. We do live in a society of choices, so this is not the only context or perspective available to us, by any means. We are surrounded by churches and other alternative philosophical institutions, but livability with each other in our western North American society (and now the world) demands a way to reconcile our religious and philosophical pluralism. We seem to use science as a kind of uneasy, but mostly safe mediator; a peaceful neutral alternative to the philosophical differences which otherwise divide us. The proof in science is materialistic. It comforts us that we can touch it, show it to each other.

But ironically, our materialistic Newtonian Clockwork view of the world is actually a century out of date. It's no more than a mythical doctrine itself. Decades old experiments in quantum physics have already explained that we are either particles or waves, depending on what we expect to find when we go looking; and that we are all connected through the subatomic fact of quantum entanglement. In other words, the universe is what we perceive and expect it to be, and you and me and everything are literally one-and-the-same: We really are all One... and isn't this how many define God?

The result? While previous millennia may be accused of not having the correct (scientific) explanations behind their collective experience, we of the post-enlightenment era may be the first, because of our deference to materialistic science, to deny our collective experience altogether.

I'm not making an argument to be gullible (like me). I am making a case, for everyone I know and our society at large, to become less afraid I guess, and to become more openly accepting of, what I have come to call, experiences with the sacred...

And before you take that word 'sacred' and think I'm going all new agey on you-- believe me, nothing could be farther from the truth. I don't really consider myself of that ilk... at the same time, because of the scale, the magnitude, the bigness, of the possible truths these experiences infer-- and as a witness myself, what else can I call it?

And I'm not alone... Not nearly...

I know people don't like polls. I know, with some people they just don't trust them 'cause they think they're slanted, or it's just, like, Zzzzzzzzzzzz-snoozetime... But the actual population numbers these particular polls suggest have always floored me, and I know a lot of people don't know about these so I gotta bring this up. It really is going somewhere, so please bear with. I'll keep it short.

Firstly, I'm gonna note both UFO and ghost polls, because I'm not certain myself how separate the events are or how they divide up (and It's not widely known, but lots of people who are UFO experiencers also see their deceased acquaintances). Also, regarding mental illness (some of you think this is a mental issue). I'm just gonna throw this out there: It is determined that schizophrenia affects roughly one percent of the population; numbers for depression are higher, around nine percent, if I recall.

From a 2007 Associated Press-Ipsos Poll-- 23 Percent (that's roughly a quarter of everyone you know) either say they have actually seen a ghost or believe they have been in one's presence. Most likely candidates for such visits include single people, Roman Catholics and those who 'never' attend religious services. More who say they're liberals (31 percent), compared to those who consider themselves conservatives (18 percent) report actually seeing a specter.

In August 1997, in a survey conducted by independent researchers in five Canadian cities in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, the independent research consortium has found that 9.6% of all Canadians believe they have seen UFOs. This translates into nearly 3 million people who said they were UFO witnesses.

The present US population I think is approximately 301,139,947, so the following numbers I insert below are those you'd get if you extend the poll numbers throughout the actual population.

Dig this, from a September 2002 Roper Poll:

One in seven Americans say that they or someone they know has had at least one "close encounter" of the "First," "Second," or "Third" kind.

That's 43,019,992

One in five Americans (60,227,989) in general say they believe that humans have already interacted with extraterrestrial life; 57 percent of those (34,329,954) believe that abductions have taken place... And of those who believe in abductions..?

One-third of those who believe in abductions-- 11,328,884-- claim to have experienced, or know someone who experienced, a Close Encounter of their own.

Let's just for the hell of it, waaaaaay overcompensate, and let's do the incredibly inequitable thing, and minus our 3,011,399 schizophrenics from the number above and you get: 8,317,485 (02.76 percent) people in the US who we know are 'not' schizophrenic, who say they personally, or know someone who says they have personally, experienced a close encounter of their own.

That's like three percent of everyone you know.

Three percent of everyone you know, 3 out of every 100 persons you pass by when walking on the street, about the same size as the population of Los Angeles, who are not sick with dopamine imbalances, and who are probably trustworthy in about a thousand other ways that you know-- knows someone or has had, and may continue to have on a regular basis-- an experience with sacred.

Yet we deny it as a society. It's a cultural suppression of the wildest kind. It's an innate birthright of our identities as humans for all we know, and we are not allowed to share it, or feel we can acknowledge it in any meaningful way.

No wonder we have gone from spiritual adepts, to inepts. No wonder we're all so neurotic-psychotic.

These experiences may not be real the way we commonly accept, but this is not to say that they aren't as physical as the nose on your face. These experiences are often observed by multiple witnesses. It is not widely known that the 'revolving and falling sun' in Fatima was not only witnessed by 70,000 people in the vicinity of Cova da Iria, but also by others in the surrounding area of over 20 to 30 miles! These events often leave physical traces, though the collective wisdom won't often acknowledge this either.

They are part of our collective so-called myths, religions, fairy tales and legends. These experiences directly mark the bodies and the minds of the experiencers themselves, and indirectly mark us all, whether you choose to acknowledge it as real or not.

Happy Holy Days

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sathya Sai Speaks-Volume I

To a worldly man, a God-intoxicated person will appear mad
and he will laugh at him for it. But to the God-intoxicated man, the
worldly appear insane, foolish misled, blind. Of all the insanities that
harass man, God-madness is the least harmful, the most beneficial.
The world has suffered untold damage due to its "mad" rulers and
"mad" guides; but nothing but harmony, peace, brotherliness and
love have come out of the 'God-madness' of man!

Prashaanthi Nilayam, Mahaashivaraathri, 1955

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A remarkable blue visitor.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Oh. We suck again!

(A fear based letter I wrote to my pal Jeff this morning).

Got your message about the Dodgers and the hitter/s they need. I'm surprised. Of all people, you have been the one trumpeting the absolute need for the Dodgers to get a masher. You have been parotting that for years now. I'm curious what made you change your mind? When you speak of "two solid hitters", do you mean guys like Kent, solid average, healthy home run production and RBI's?

In any event, I firmly believe the Dodgers absolutely need a guy who strikes terror into the hearts of other pitchers. They haven't had a guy even close to this since Mike Piazza. I think that A-Rod does this, as does Cabrera.

After reading the article on Cabrera in today's paper, I am beginning to have an ominous feeling that the big winner this off-season is going to be the Angels. I now have them as the front runner for A-Rod and ALSO for Cabrera. Read the article in the Times. They seem to have enough to trade for Cabrera, although the Dodgers have the pitching. But that also suggests that the Dodgers will be asked for more, which they will most likely refuse. It's a double edged sword to have talent sometimes.

Yes, I can definitely see the LA Angels trumping the Blue yet again and land the two biggest hitters in the world this winter.

We'll see.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Who Dat?

It's me! Dodger Tony!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

You want some up in here? Bring it then!


Is this a dream? At the end of last season, the only real hope I had was to get rid of Grady Little. I thought that was impossible. But for THIS to happen is an off-the-charts Christmas gift from heaven itself. Granted, my celebration may be short lived once reality prevails. But what if this opens the doors to some extraordinary transformation of the franchise? What if McCourt actually continues to move the payroll up, even without a regional TV network (I mean, don't they get upwards of $40 Mil from Fox annually as well as the massive attendance and merchandising?).
As far as Colletti, I have to think he is on very thin ice as well. I heard on the Joe McDonald show on KLAC that he (Colletti) was virtually out of the loop on these negotiations with Torre and that is was all done by Frank and Jamie. It would not surprise me if he was kaput before spring. I mean, isn't John Shuerholtz out there, and Steve Phillips and the former Cards GM? Could you imagine if we could woo Bean to come here? The possibilities increase exponentially with this man (Torre) at our helm.
Honneycutt and Duncan are probably being retained because someone needs to be familiar with the terrain of the stadium, first of all, and secondly, maybe an entirely new staff would be too jarring to the pitching staff and team. Someone to smoothe the transition may be what they are thinking about. I personally don't care for Honneycutt, Duncan was a Crankie but maybe they are also on short leashes. Just as long as we don't have Donnelly at third, please lord.
If this team gets A-Rod, all bets are off. I have nothing to say in a derogatory fashion about a player who has won the MVP three times in five years in the superior AL. With the advent of the Wild Card, the post season is a crap shoot. Bring in A-Rod and the Dodgers get to the playoffs every year, in my mind.
Pitching is still the name of the game and we have a solid staff if Penny can figure out his second half woes. I have no problem with the remainder of the staff but, again, if we can add a frontline ace like Santana then the package is complete.
What about former Crankies Posada, Rivera, Pettite et al? I'm aware that Pettite says he will only pitch in Crankie stadium, but if Posada came here and we had a catching core, it would help the staff and Russ Martin to develop even more. Need I say anything about Rivera.
This is fun folks. I am still on the space shuttle right now.
Dodger Tony

Friday, November 02, 2007

In any case, here's some more on Torre. Alex Belth of Bronx Banter was kind enough to provide me with his thoughts about Torre, on and off the field:

Clearly, his greatest asset in New York was being able to handle (George) Steinbrenner - who, until recently, was as fiery as ever - the media, and the enormous egos in the Yankee clubhouse. When you consider how many managers worked for Steinbrenner before Torre, his longevity is truly remarkable (of course, it was Torre's great initial success that allowed him to keep George at bay for so long).

He's a hands-off guy. He doesn't come in early to study statistics on the opponents. He shows up, trusts his instincts, and lets his players play. In fact, I think that is why he was ideally suited for the Yankee job when he took over in '96 - that was a team stocked with veterans who essentially policed themselves. Unlike in the '80s, clubhouse disagreements didn't land on the back page any longer. When Buster Olney was writing his book, "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty," Jorge Posada told him about a beef he had had with Tino Martinez several years earlier. Olney, who was a beat writer when the rift occured, had no idea it ever existed. And Posada told him (I'm paraphrasing), "Exactly, that's because we didn't want you to know about it." It is also commonly believed in New York that Don Zimmer had an enormous impact on the in-game desicions during the early Torre years with the Yankees. They were a perfect match. Zimmer, the quintessential red-ass, and Torre, the stoic diplomat. I'd like to believe - though I don't know this for sure - that they were co-managers, at least during the games, with Torre constantly looking to Zimmer for strategy.

For the most part, I think guys liked to play for Torre. Sure, he had his whipping boys - Kenny Rogers, and Jeff Nelson, both stubborn bastards who didn't always throw strikes, come to mind - but the Papa Joe routine wasn't just a front, or a schtick. The players bought it. Who knows? Maybe if Torre didn't win the first season, the players wouldn't have admired him, and he would have quickly been out of job.

But the biggest deal, again, was how he dealt with George. How he was able to diffuse Steinbrenner's tantrums. He didn't sidestep the Boss. He wasn't intimidated. Torre was deferential to Steinbrenner, always praising him publicly, and privately, from what I've read, he was able to disarm Steinbrenner by gently busting his chops, without further antagonizing him. But then again, Torre is a pro - remember, he was a major presence with the player's union during his playing days. He sat in on a lot of contentious meetings during those volatile days of union v. management in the late 60s and 1970s. (Torre also worked on Wall Street during the off season during this time.) John Gaherin, the owner's legal counsel, once said that Torre was "the original Godfather, talking from behind a cloud of smoke." Gaherin praised Torre as someone who was able to keep his calm in charged situations. That ability served him well with not only the Boss, but the New York media as well.

I don't really know how things in Los Angeles compare. I don't know if fans are as obessessed with MLB in L.A. as they are in New York - though judging by the amount of comments you get, I'd say there are at least some bonafide fanatics. In NYC, we don't have college programs of any note, so it's Yankees 365 days a year. Torre understood this, and he was rarely ruffled. I mean, he did a weekly spot with Mike and the Mad Dog - the most popular sportstalk radio show in town, and the epitome of hype and histrionics - like it wasn't nothing but a thing.

I don't really know how Torre will do without a great club. For the first several years in New York, it seemed as if every move he made turned to gold. Then, the past few years, when he didn't stellar starting or relief pitching anymore, he made more wrong moves. I don't think anyone believes that he is a great tactician, or maybe even a great manager, but he was the right man at the right time for the Yankees. And the run the team went on from '96-'01 is an anomaly, something that likely won't happen again in our lifetime. I think Torre contributed to that success. It wasn't all because of him, but he helped.

Look, I think the term "classy" is as overused as most sports cliches, but it is entirely fitting when applied to Torre. The Yankees love to think of themselves as a class organization, but class is not something you can buy, and Steinbrenner never had much of it. I don't know if that class will translate to the Dodgers, but hey, at least he's Italian! So Lasorda has got to be happy, right?

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Ya gotta love it!