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Sunday, February 27, 2011


     the peak, whitehead

Watched the race in Phoenix today with my friend Justin on a big wide-screen tv with big sound. I like a good race and today's was a good one. By good one, I mean it was a race. Jeff Gordon took command and never let go. Kyle Busch passed him close to the end and Gordon put the pedal to the metal and Kyle didn't keep his lead but a few laps. Gordon muscled his way by him and left him behind. The race had several caution flags from the changing nature of the track. I heard it explained the track is in the desert and the desert changes temperatures through the day, so the track changes temperatures too. Some temperatures are better at holding smooth tires at 150 mph than others. Each change in temperature required its own particular approach by the driver. Used to taking a curve one way for a hundred laps and then by surprise it's like black ice. A lot of banged fenders, minor crashes and spinouts on the lawn. No major wrecks. It seemed like only half the cars that started the race finished. At the end, Jeff Gordon was smoking his tires for the fans, spinning on the track, lost control and the car lurched off the track onto the grass and caught on fire. He missed Victory Lane. A fizzled testosterone rush. Like the joke, What were the redneck's last words? Watch this.

It feels like I have one ongoing theme these days, how to live in this world standing upright on my own feet. The time we're in doesn't appeal to me the least bit. Perpetual war to keep the war machine greased that keeps the economy flowing. The rich are bleeding the poor, vampirizing the working class and the management class. In America, the poor go to prison for being homeless, having no place to use a toilet, they go outside, get arrested for indecent exposure, put in prison without trial and left there to take the abuse of the inmate population. Don't let them out, because they have no place to go. The best part is nobody cares. This is America. Poverty is the same as illegal. Anybody who is poor deserves it. They're worthless people to start with or they wouldn't be poor. This an alarmingly common attitude. There is a lot about these times I don't like. Yet, on the home front, coming down out of the mind to the heart in the world of my friends and the people I know, I can't say it's ever been better. I have enough good friends to buoy me up on any kind of sea. I listen to excellent music quite a lot, watch some really beautiful films, read some very well written books, and enjoy my life at home with my friend Caterpillar.

It seems like all that I dislike about this world is happening someplace else. Of course, I came to the mountains 35 years ago initially to get away from the track I saw everyone around me taking. Basically, I don't like living in a world where money is the only value and the rich robbing the poor is ethical. But here at home, it's not like that. There are small pockets of people who would do anybody in for a dollar, but in a small community we know who these people are and stay away from them. I never see them, so they don't exist for me. When I bring my mind down out of the airwaves about dictators, criminals called politicians, the nightmare of soccer moms--sex offenders, baptists focusing their attention on who's going to bed with whom, I like my life so much better among friends talking about whatever comes up. Every time a politician is caught in a lie, the false indignation that rises from the smug media acting like this is brand new, from out of the blue that a responsible public servant would serve self first, I never know what to think or say. What is it that is such a mystery about the obvious?

All that mess is in the mind. In my everyday life at home and among friends, I have nothing but good times. When I pay attention to the people around me, I find subjects far more interesting than any on the news. A friend who is pregnant tells me she's nauseated much of the time and tired all the time, and other symptoms she's going through. I'd rather hear that than listen to a president talk in gobbledygook signifying nothing. What do I want for myself? I want people around who are not on the take. Dividing people up as givers or takers, I like best the company of givers. Givers give in the smallest of ways all the time and takers take in the smallest of ways, too, all the time. Givers are happier people. Takers feel like other people owe them what they want. I'd rather spend my time among people who are generous with each other, ready to help when needed, supportive. That word supportive is very important to me. I believe in supporting my friends, lifting them up when they're feeling down. The feelings among friends is much better to live with than the mental state of worry over the day's price of a barrel of oil. I think it's called thinking small.


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