Outward Bound Ideas

Ideas from Bookgleaner@gmail.com - Also: http://Inwardboundpoetry.blogspot.com - http://Onwardboundhumor.blogspot.com - http://Homewardboundphotos.blogspot.com - And http://davidthemaker.blogspot.com/

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Location: The City, On the edge

Sunday, October 09, 2005

8. Answers, Limerick, Pizza

The Answers to
Two Important Questions
You Never Knew You
Needed To Know

Q: Why can angels fly?
A: Angels can fly because they take themselves

Q: How many angels can dance
on the head of a pin?
A: As many as want to.

Little Willie Limerick

Little Willie raising hell
Threw his sister down the well.
Said his mother when drawing water
“It’s so hard to raise a daughter”

Great Name For A Pizza Restaurant

Ram Dass talked about the nature of gratification, the difference between
the first and the second bites of the pizza. He thought that perhaps this
generation of Americans, the children of affluence, was in a better position than others to realize that desire was a desert mirage that receded as you approached it, that gratification in the material world was an illusion.
All of which doesn't mean, Ram Dass concluded, that you refuse to eat the pizza and enjoy it. It means that you eat the pizza with full compassion for the predicament you're in. Then it becomes just one more pizza on the Path.


If this title is ever used I expect a lifetime award of one free pizza a month. You can reach me at Bookgleaner@aol.com.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

7. BI#3, Repository Of Family Photos

Brilliant Idea Number Three

Occasionally the San Francisco Friends of the Library Donation Center will find photo albums included in a box of book donations. The impression I have is that the last of a family line has died and the person in charge of distributing their possesions has no interest in keeping the photos.
Someone should start a non-profit organization that would receive these albums and store them. Nothing complicated. Store them in boxes in a secure dry storage area. The purpose would be for future historians to be able to use them for research. The older they are the more important they would become. A hundred years from now people will be saying, "Imagine, they wore clothes made from animal hair and plant seeds." Maybe charge a small initial storage fee. I recently read an article that the Smithsonian is interested in obtaining large sets of family photos but my organization would not discriminate, it would accept all donations from a few photos in a shoebox to large albums.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

6. The Pet Diaries


From a cat's daily diary:
Day 183 of my captivity.
My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.
They dine lavishly on fresh food while I am forced to eat fishy-smelling
The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild
scoldings I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture.
Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant.
Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while
they were walking almost succeeded; must try this at the top of the
basement stairs.
In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again
induced my self to vomit on their favorite chair; must try this on their
I continue to lurk atop high places, such as above the kitchen cabinets
and atop the armoire. I glare down on them, and I can see it makes them
leery, as they always force me to come down.
Another way I make them nervous is to disappear completely for hours,
and as I watch them searching and calling that stupid name they gave me,
I detect a great sense of worry. I will continue to do this.
Another way I have discovered that they do not like, is to stand
backwards in my toilet (they call it a litter box, what the hell is
that?), and shoot litter out onto the floor, along with an occasional
sampling of feces.
Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body in an attempt to
make them aware of what I am capable of, and to strike fear into their
hearts. However, they only cooed and condescended about what a good
little cat I was. Nothing is going according to plan.
There was some sort of gathering or meeting of their accomplices. I was
placed in solitary confinement throughout the event. However, I could
hear noises and detected the smell of good. Most importantly, I
overheard that my confinement was due to my power of "allergies." I
must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.
I am convinced that the other captives are flunkies, or perhaps even
informers. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to
return. He is obviously a half-wit.
The bird, on the other hand, has go to be a key informant. He speaks
with them regularly, and I am certain that he reports my every move. Due
to his current placement in the metal room, however, his safety is
assured. But I can wait. It is only a matter of time.
I will do better tomorrow, day 184.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

5. BI #2, Neighborhood House Photos

Brilliant Idea Number Two

I have a very strong sense of the future looking on the present as the past. The house I live in is about 125 years old and I would love to see photos of it when it was first built. There are probably photos out there somewhere but only Who knows where.
So here’s the plan. Have available on the web a photo of every house in your neighborhood by address. This would be a great retirement hobby, taking a photo of every house block by block, with address, in your neighborhood. Who wouldn’t love to be able to see what the house you lived in as a child looks like today? Or, looking at the house of a friend you haven’t seen in twenty years. Historically; let your future great greats see what their ancestors lived in. A town historical society could hire high school kids to do it and repeat the photos every five years. Give your kid a camera and tell him to go to it. What a great record it would be to see how the colors, vegetation, and shape of the buildings have changed. Illegal building could be caught this way. This could be a great useful individual effort without the thought of making a buck. They don’t have to be a work of art, just a common sense shot to show the whole house. Use a digital camera of at least six megapixals so a good print could be made. If someone started a web page that would accept and track the photos it might be successful.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

4. The Travelling Out by Lucile Adler

I wonder, since we are both travelling out,
If we may go together? Thank you.

You may be sure you will be alone
And private as though I were no one.
God knows, I do not wish to increase your burden.
Naturally, these airports, blinding cities,
And foundry lights confuse you, make you
More solitary than the sight of one lost lamp
Across a bare land promising life there—
Someone over that field alone and perhaps
Waiting for you. That used to be the way.

Feel perfectly free to choose how
You will be alone, since we are going together.
Of course, I never move, I merely hold you
In my mind like a prayer. You are my way
Of praying, and I have chosen you out of hordes
Of travellers to speed to silently, on my own.
I will be with you, with your baffled anger
Among fuming cities, with your grief
At having lost dark fields and lamplight.
It is my way of moving, of praying—

Monday, October 03, 2005

3. A Message From John Clease

To the citizens of the United States of America:

In light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and
thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties
over all states, commonwealths, and territories (excepting Kansas, which she does not fancy).

Your new prime minister, Tony Blair, will appoint a governor for America
without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following
rules are introduced with immediate effect: (You should look up"revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

1. Then look up aluminium, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be
amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.

2. The letter "U" will be reinstated in words such as "favour" and
"neighbour." Likewise, you will learn to spell "doughnut" without skipping half the letters, and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise".
Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable
levels. (look up vocabulary).

3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such
as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter "u" and the elimination of -ize. You will relearn your original national anthem,God Save The Queen.

4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers,
or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.

6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more
dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler%2

Sunday, October 02, 2005

2. Beethoven's Late Quartets by Robert Mann

The inspiration for this expedition up the front face of Op. 131 of Beethoven arose like the phoenix out of the ashes of two separate meetings. The first has been simmering for years since the moment my non-musician brother challenged me to prove that the Lento assai movement of Beethoven’s Op. 135 was of more import to the human race than the popular melody, “White Christmas.” Unfortunately, no one yet has set up a foolproof standard of measure for a musical composition that avoids value judgments involving subjective or cultural attitudes.
The second reaction was the result of a green tea discussion in Wei Ming Tu’s Berkeley garden a month ago. Wei Ming is a remarkable Chinese scholar, so when he spoke about Mencius and the application of this great Confucian’s analysis of human nature to the aesthetic realm, the very idea inspired a continuing internal dialogue of my own on how Mencius might have regarded a late Beethoven quartet.
The philosopher, known today as Mencius, was Meng-Tzu or Master Meng, born a little over 100 years after the death of Confucius in the area of modern Shantung province. He became, after the master, the greatest influence on the school of Confucianism in China. He believed that human nature was essentially good and evil, evolving only as one strayed from his original ability to love and commiserate, to distinguish right from wrong.
I would begin the farfetched connection by stating that Beethoven shared Mencius’ belief in man’s inherent good nature. Up to the year 1823, Beethoven commanded the serious respect, love and admiration of his fellow musicians and the entire European musical community. However, as his deftness increased, he retreated into the silent places where his incredible imagination roamed. The musical world found it more and more difficult to follow him. Thus, that extraordinary musical mountain range known to us as the Late Quartets came into being, lifted into dizzying stratospheres during the four last years of Beethoven’s silent existence. Noise, spoken words and other musicians’ music could not reach him and his inner him and his inner creative furnace, like that of the uninhibited Hawaiian goddess Pele, forged into musical reality, terrifying peaks: teeming with unscalable cliffs, well protected by strange foothills of mystifying musical material that even the experience musical explorer and climber could not easily traverse.
It took only three years for Beethoven to create five separate, unique musical mountain massifs with at least one unclimbable
Everest, the Great Fugue. The year 1824 saw the composition of Op. 127. Op. 132 and Op. 130 with the fugue were completed in 1825. Op131 and 135 and the last Rondo for 130 were finished in 1826 a few months before Beethoven’s death in early 1827.
Everyone was awestruck or mystified as to how to approach these works. The first attempt on Op. 127 by Beethoven’s Schuppanzigh Quartet failed. By the time Beethoven died, he had watched (he could not hear) the attempts on Op. 127, 132, and 130. By the year 1875 there is evidence of at least 1039 expeditions up the various late Beethoven peaks, 260 on Op. 131 alone. Even New York City had witnessed three attempts on Op. 131. Boston two.
But while the musical world has become more and more involved and obsessed with the meaning the late quartets and their challenge to the human body and spirit, the comprehension and success remains almost as elusive and unique as when they first appeared on the human horizon. Out of my over 40 years of grappling with these five giants has come my deep conviction that they represent the most important influence of my musical life.
Yet I would be the first to disclaim that I comprehend what Beethoven intended. It is possible to suspect that even Beethoven didn’t fully comprehend what he had wrought. That is why I turn to the ancient sage, Mencius for help. Mencius postulated six exceptional steps up the ladder of “self-cultivation.”
He who commands our liking is called (Shan) –– Good.
He who is sincere with himself is called (Hsin) –– True.
He who is sufficient and real is called (Mei) –– Beautiful.
He whose sufficiency and reality shine forth is called (Ta) –– Great.
He whose greatness transforms itself is called (Sheng) –– Sagely Profound.
He whose profundity is beyond our comprehension is called (Shen) –– Spiritual.

Wei Ming Tu wrote that Mencius maintained that this spirituality, this greatness that transforms itself that is beyond comprehension, represents a symbol of a higher station of being on the very same path as good, truth, and beauty. He believed that while few might attain spirituality, it was a potential for all. I might paraphrase this to say that while few might create, as Beethoven did, the path for the interpreter, performer, and the listener is potentially the same path that Beethoven traveled.

Mencius reveals a clue in the approach to late Beethoven when he emphatically states that the way of learning consists of none other that the quest for the lost heart, when he holds that the body can hardly express the feelings of the heart even though it is the proper place for the heart to reside. The Mencian heart is both a cognitive and an affective faculty. It not only reflects on realities, but, in comprehending them, shapes and creates their meaningfulness for the human community as a whole.

For Mencius aesthetic language (such as embodied in Op. 131) was not merely descriptive, but it suggested, directed and enlightened. To respond to such a work, both the performer and the listener must bring to it what Mencius viewed as the vital spirit endowed with what might be termed matter-energy, a power connected to breathing and blood flow. Authentic music therefore does not create a fleeting impression on the senses but possesses enduring virtues. By looking again at Mencius six stages of human self-cultivation, we may find in them just that elusive standard of measurement for artistic value.

Stage 1: That music which commands our liking is called good. That music is good which is entertaining, which is understandable, that pleases. That music is good which you wish to experience again, that intrigues, that does not offend. That music is good which one may not like but which is liked by others.

Stage 2: That music which is sincere with itself is called true. That music is true which delivers what it promises, which is consistent, logical, unassuming, which speaks in its own voice, adhering to its own way whether it be pleasing or not.

Stage 3: That music which is sufficient and real is called beautiful. That music is beautiful which is both substantial and conclusive, which stands for something no matter how big or small. That music is beautiful in which the emotions of affect may strain or challenge the boundary of the form, but never distort or destroy it.

Stage 4: That music whose sufficiencies and reality shine forth is called great. That music is great which arouses tingling of the spine, open breathing, the formation of tears. That music is great which not only stands apart from other music of its kind but contains special magical moments or lucky accidents (as Stravinsky calls them). That music is great which one is drawn towards and held a willing captive no matter how much one has experienced it previously. That music is great which, when experienced, remains enduring and memorable.

Stage 5: That music whose greatness transforms itself is called profound. That music is profound in which the whole is greater than each part, which in effect transforms the person experiencing it. That music is profound which, when it is simple, appears complicated, and when it is complicated appears simple. That music is profound which, as it appears to become something new or other than it has ever been previously.

Stage 6: That music whose profundity is beyond our comprehension is called spiritual in which the vital force does not drain but recharges the emotional state of the listener. That music is spiritual which mixes the logical with the illogical, the rational with the irrational, whose physical manifestation is always ingenious. That music is spiritual in which one can know every sound and silence, may even have an understanding of its physical properties, yet whose effect while spellbinding, powerful and entreating for comprehension, nonetheless, in the last analysis remains unfathomable, mysterious, elusive and tantalizing.

I submit to my non-musician brother, that while “White Christmas” possibly creeps up to Stage 3 on Mencius’ scorecard, Beethoven’s Op. 135, and indeed all of his late quartets pass every test of greatness and spirituality, hands down. While Op. 131 might be beyond our comprehension, Mencius certainly described Beethoven when he wrote “The great man does not lose his childlike heart.” Beethoven pronounced each of his last creations great, “each in its own way,” but later was quoted as saying that Op. 131 was his very best.

{Robert Mann, founder of the Juilliard Quartet in 1948, and its first violinist, is one of America’s most distinguished chamber musicians. The article, “A Confucian’s View of the Late Beethoven Quartets, is based on a lecture he gave early last month at the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, preceding a performance by him and three others of Beethoven’s Op. 131}

Saturday, October 01, 2005

1. Statement of Purpose

Over the years I have given my friends the benefit of my brilliant ideas but for some unknown reason no one has ever taken them seriously. Therefore I have decided to give them to the world in the hope that someone will recognize the unique possibilities of these ideas and have the financial resources to see them to fruition.
Additionally, over the years (has anyone registered overtheyears.com?) I have accumulated articles, jokes, and poems that I enjoy and hope others will as well. I do not know how often these missives will be issued as I am subject to invasions of laziness but I will try for a once a week minimum.

Brilliant Idea Number One:

Funerals; the popularity of cremations has gone too far. I propose a new type of funeral where you can take it with you. Instead of coffins funeral homes offer cargo containers! The benefits are unlimited. You will be able to take all the stuff you have accumulated and be buried with it; your car, clothes, furniture, kitchen utensils, bikes, etc. You can be buried in your own bed or car with the stuff stacked around you from all those years of shopping. All this stuff will now become artifacts that, in a thousand years, archeologists will study and exclaim over. I do not know how long a steel container will last but I suggest funeral plots be established in the desert and the hole be very deep to discourage grave robbers. Funeral bulldozers could easily prepare a hole.
Other positive results, your kids will not fight over your stuff because it’s with you. Think of the national economic benefits, all that stuff is now taken out of circulation so that more stuff will have to be produced. I can envision a time where, if everyone takes up my idea, there might be a shortage of stuff so there will be no unemployment everyone will be kept employed making new stuff. Shipping firms will benefit and interior designers will have a whole new area to compete in.
So there it is. Someone out there please go with it.

All positive comments may be sent to Bookgleaner at aol.com
All negative comments may be sent to renaelgkooB at aol.com