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Wednesday, November 27, 2002

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  • Jerry Katz
    [Image] The sparrows Are playing hide-and-seek Among the tea-flowers. By Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), translated by R.H. Blyth in Haiku (Hokuseido Press)
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 28, 2002

      The sparrows Are playing
      hide-and-seek Among the tea-flowers.

      By Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), translated by R.H. Blyth in
      "Haiku" (Hokuseido Press)


      Issue #1271 - Wednesday, November 27, 2002 - Edited by Jerry


      The tea plant (Camellia sinensis) is one of the first
      camellias to flower, blooming as early as in October and
      continuing through November. Its small white flowers,
      about 4 cm wide, are packed with cheerful yellow stamens.
      Although it has no fragrance, it carries a drop of sweet
      nectar, which is food for small birds such as the
      tea-green mejiro (Japanese white eye). For humans, of
      course, the plant's goodness lies in the leaves, which
      provide us with vitamin-rich green or black tea. For
      green tea, the crop is harvested in spring, when the new
      leaves are tender. The finest shrubs, on favored slopes,
      are still harvested by hand, and only the tips are
      picked. They are quickly steamed, rolled and dried to
      preserve both color and flavor. The same species also
      provides matcha (powdered tea) for the tea ceremony, so
      dainty tea-flowers are often displayed at tea-ceremony
      gatherings in autumn. I remember visiting the old
      tea-growing area of Uji near Kyoto, where the steep
      streets were full of the wonderful fragrance of tea
      leaves being ground into matcha.

      The Japan Times: Nov. 21, 2002


      SUN BEAR
      from Daily Dharma

      "When humans participate in ceremony, they enter a sacred
      space. Everything outside of that space shrivels in
      importance. Time takes on a different dimension. Emotions
      flow more freely. The bodies of participants become
      filled with the energy of life, and this energy reaches
      out and blesses the creation around them. All is made
      new; everything becomes sacred."

      ~Sun Bear


      from Daily Dharma

      The (Zen) Buddhist Priests bow in gratitude before
      everything they do: before a person, before eating,
      before going to the bathroom - and upon leaving the
      bathroom (in gratitude that everything went well). This
      attitude of gratitude permeates every action of their
      lives. I wonder what would happen if we started to live
      our lives at that high level of conscious gratitude?

      What would happen if each day I awoke I felt genuine
      gratitude for my limber legs swinging out of bed and
      supporting my body for one more day - if each day when I
      brushed my teeth I felt grateful for every tooth and it's
      assistance in preparing my food for ingestion - if each
      day, like the Buddhist Priests, I bowed in gratitude for
      successful completion upon leaving the bathroom....What
      would happen?

      What would happen if we could wake up each day and
      experience genuine gratitude for the sun and the rain and
      the laughter of children? What would happen if we could
      become gratefully aware of the gift telephone solicitors
      give us in learning to say, 'No?' What would happen if we
      were grateful every time our clothing and roofs kept us
      dry during wet weather? Can we begin giving conscious
      gratitude for the commonplace things we normally take for
      granted?" ~K. J. Reynolds

      From the article,  "Conscious Gratitude," on the
      Spiritual Sanctuary web  site,




      He preferred to walk, carrying his precious apple seeds
      and the simplest of camping gear on his back. He also
      used a boat, canoe, or raft to transfer larger loads of
      seeds along the many waterways. Customarily, he obtained
      his apple seeds every fall. At first, he went back to the
      cider presses in western Pennsylvania where he selected
      good seeds from the discarded apple pressings. He washed
      the seeds carefully and packed them in bags for planting
      the following spring. In later years, as cider presses
      were located in the new territory, he gathered his seeds
      closer to home.

      There is no way to estimate how many millions of seeds he
      planted in the hundreds of nurseries he created in the
      territory lying south of the Great Lakes and between the
      Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. This was his service to


      Beatle's Son Completes a Swan Song
      Saturday, November 23, 2002



      Dhani, who bears a striking resemblance to the Beatle-era
      George, is imprinted with his father's artistic genes,
      but there is an inheritance he treasures more.

      "He taught me to believe in self-realization and to have
      a spiritual root," Dhani says. "The root of all suffering
      in this world is attachment, whether it's to your own
      ego, a person, a car or a project. I'm not saying don't
      be attached to anything, but we have to see a bigger

      "It's my little tribute, the least I could do as a son."


      from NDS

      From the book: "The Right Words at the Right Time" by
      Marlo Thomas and friends

      Mel Brooks, Director

      I was sitting in my director's chair, trying like hell to
      decide if beating up a little old lady was funny.

      The year was 1973, and I was on the set of my third film,
      Blazing Saddles.  As anyone who has seen the movie can
      tell you, Blazing Saddles has more than its share of
      outrageous moments: A man punches a horse; a bunch of
      grimy cowpokes sit around a campfire, eating beans and
      farting. It was a dangerous enterprise, to say the least.

      And yet, here i was, about to shoot a scene that left
      even me a little nervous. In the screenplay, a band of
      bad guys rides into the peaceful little town of Rock
      Ridge, firing off their six-shooters, tearing down
      hitching posts, and wreaking havoc among the locals.
      Included in this chaos is a quick cut of two burly
      cowboys accosting a little old lady: One stands behind
      her, pinning her arms to her sides while the other
      unloads a flurry of punches to her stomach. All the
      while, the poor old lady is letting loose a stream of
      oohs and ows, passing just long enough to look straight
      into the camera lens and ask, "Have you ever seen such
      cruelty?" Then the thugs continue to beat her up.

      On paper, the scene was a riot. But now I was having
      second thoughts.

      Mind you, i had never been one to shy away from off-color
      humor before. My first movie, after all, had been The
      Producers, in which two schemers mount a Broadway musical
      called Springtime for Hitler. Nervy, right? But back then
      i was more careful about the decisions I made. I'c
      occasionally consider an audience's potential objections
      in advance--which, in comedy, is a real mistake. Once you
      start trying to second guess the audience, you invariably
      misread them, basically because you're attaching your own
      fears to whatever reaction they may have. And you can
      never do that.

      Still, this scene in Blazing Saddles was making me

      "I don't know," I sadi to John Calley, who was then a
      senior production executive for Warner Bros., which was
      making the movie. "I don't mind the farting cowboys; I
      dont evern mind socking a horse. But punching a little
      old lady? I think that may cross the line. What do I do?"

      John just smiled and said to me, "Hey Mel, if you're
      going to step up to the bell, ring it."

      I instantly knew what he meant and, after a moment of
      reflection, yelled for the cameras to roll. Not
      surprisingly, the scene turned out to be one of the
      funniest moments in the movie.

      After that, all bets were off. The set of Blazing Saddles
      became a free-for-all, as we did one crazy thing after
      another. At one point, our hero gallops off on his horse
      and runs into Count Basie, conducting his full orchestra
      in the middle of the desert. We broke that fourth wall,
      bringing reality into fantasy at just the right emotional
      moment, and it was perfect.

      Or later on in the film, we shot a fight scene on Main
      Street in Rock Ridge that literally burst through a wall
      onto the set of another movie, a musical--being shot on
      the Warner lot. it was an insane, Pirandello-like moment,
      not to mention the bravest thing I've ever done in my
      life as a writer or as a director.

      It was as if John's advice had freed up all of this
      creative energy. As long as our hearts are in the right
      place, and as long as we loved our main character--a
      black sheriff coping with racial prejudice--and continued
      to care about his feelings, we could say or do anything
      we damn well pleased.

      John's words have frequently come back to me thoughout my
      career, each time allowing me to get past my fears and
      realize my vision--nutty or otherwise. In Young
      Frankenstein, for example, I shot a scene in which the
      monster ravishes Madeline Kahn--and she winds up loving
      it, breaking into the song, "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life at
      Last I Found You." It was risky, to be sure, and a little
      scary. But while sitting in my office, asking myself,
      "Can I actually do this?" I spun my chair around at my
      desk, and looked up at the wall where I had framed John's
      advice--"If youre going to step up to the bell, ring
      it"--and there was my answer.

      Ironically, I got the opportunity years later to pass
      John's words on to a new generation of creative artists.
      When we began rehearsing the Broadway musical version of
      "The Producers", directed by Susan Stroman, everyone kept
      asking the same questions I had asked myself thirty years
      earlier while shooting the movie. "Do we really want to
      put a Nazi swastika up there in front of real Jews,
      sitting in real seats in a real theater? Wont they want
      to storm the stage and kill all the actors?"

      But of course, we got nothing but cheers from our
      audiences because they understood that we were ridiculing
      Hilter and the Nazis. After the show opened, Stro
      credited me as having taught her to ring the bell, even
      though that advice originally came from John Calley.

      In the end, I've learned, the audience wants the best and
      bravest of you. They never want you to politically
      correct. They want you to be fearless, honest, crazy.
      They want you to do something that they wouldnt do--or
      even think of doing--themselves.

      Mel Brooks.


      You Better Shop Around -- Not!

      By Leander Kahney
      02:00 AM Nov. 26, 2002 PT


      In Canada, they'll be dressed as a "blind consumer
      sheep." In Japan, Zen-ta Claus will lead a group
      meditation. And in London, there'll be tables where
      someone will cut up your credit card.

      On Friday -- the day after American Thanksgiving and the
      biggest shopping day of the year -- and throughout the
      weekend, thousands of anti-consumerism activists
      worldwide will take to the malls to persuade shoppers not
      to shop.

      It's all part of Buy Nothing Day, a growing, global,
      grassroots protest against the holiday shopping frenzy.

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