December 2007

The wood splitting maul I am using is on the handle transplant list.


Fortunately, due to an alert from an early warning detection system ( my eyes) I already have on hand a new handle and an extra wedge in case I can’t recycle the one that is currently securing the handle in the head.

The primary cause of handle failure is to overhit the target block of wood. Which is to say to swing past the block so the head of the maul never hits the wood and the inertia of the head isn’t transfered into the wood but instead is stopped and absorbed by the handle.

Overhitting is a common neophyte error, even when explicit instructions are given to err on the side of missing short instead. It is often caused by thinking that a longer stroke is better, so the newbie starts the arc of the swing with the maul head behind his back down by his ankles somewhere.

Instead, the power in the stroke is generated by flexing the knees at the moment of impact so the full weight of the body is brought down on the wood. Speed is generated by pushing with the upper hand on the handle and pulling on the bottom simultaneously immediately prior to striking the wood.

Enough overhitting and eventually the handle fails. Just like if an institution has the correct theory (maul head) but overemphasizes the wrong striking points, eventually it fails and becomes useless.

Even though I have the handle for the transplant, I continue to use this one out of curiosity to see how long it will last. When I look at it, it seems as if at any stroke, it could go. I am fairly confident that the next overhit and it is finished, so I feel like I am walking on the wild side using it. Sometimes, given my religious and health limitations, I have to get my thrills where I can. :-) Woo hoo! Extreme wood chopping!

The problem with using the maul in this condition is that I have to adjust my swing in order that the head hits the wood at the correct angle. As the front of the handle is the part broken , the head is slightly bent back. This does make for an awkwardness that may diminish the overall impact and effectiveness of the stroke, but my curiosity is outweighing my common sense.

It is the same reason I continue to be involved wilh an institution that I feel is fatally flawed in its current configuration, will eventually completely break down, and needs an overhaul, which is doable, that it is currently resisting.

Nurse, stand by with the handle.

The Temple has canceled their New Year’s Eve Party.
Thakur and Tommy don’t have a gig that night so sounds like they will be here with instruments.
Please park in the field on the other side of my wood pile. If you do end up parking along the lane, it is important to keep it open as others live out there so get competely off the road.



Published: December 22, 2007

LAKELAND – Public floggings hurt, even when administered by satirical sacred noodles.

Ask the Polk County School Board. The panel made news last month when five of its seven members declared a personal belief in the concept of intelligent design, the religiously based explanation of the development of life believed in by many Christians.

Four of those five sympathetic board members said they would like to see intelligent design taught in Polk schools as an alternative to Darwinian evolution, at a time when new state standards mentioning evolution by name for the first time are under consideration.

Just like that, it appeared the Darwin wars had found their newest battlefield.

Yet a few weeks later, the controversy is dying with a whimper. There’s no board support for a challenge to the proposed standards. Some of the five school board members blame the local newspaper for trying to start a fight.

“It’s not our agenda,” said Tim Harris, one of the board members. “My personal opinion and how I vote don’t always jibe.”

What happened? You can start with the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The satirical religious Web site asserts that an omnipotent, airborne clump of spaghetti intelligently designed all life with the deft touch of its “noodly appendage.” Adherents call themselves Pastafarians. They deluged Polk school board members with e-mail demanding equal time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism’s version of intelligent design.

“They’ve made us the laughingstock of the world,” said Margaret Lofton, a school board member who supports intelligent design. She dismissed the e-mail as ridiculous and insulting.

That’s the point. The Pastafarians are part of an informal online network that can rain scrutiny and ridicule on school districts flirting with intelligent design. In Polk County, where leaders are working hard to start a polytechnic university campus and talk about attracting high-tech jobs, that’s unwelcome attention.

“I imagine the school board was surprised by the speed and volume of the response,” said Bobby Henderson, founder and operator of the Spaghetti Monster Web site. “They saw it as a local issue, but it didn’t take long for word to spread on the Internet.

“I think all of us have a vested interest in not seeing science standards lowered – or in this case having the definition of science changed to allow supernatural theories.”

It started innocently enough…

Read full story here.

The spiritual athelete often changes the color of his clothes,
and his mind remains gray and loveless.
He sits inside a shrine room all day,
so that the Lord has to go outdoors and praise the rocks!

Or he drills holes in his ears, his beard grows
enormous and matted,
people mistake him for a goat…

He goes out into wilderness areas, strangles his impulses,
and makes himself neither male nor female…

He shaves his skull, puts his robe in an orange vat,
reads the Bhagavad-Gita, and becomes a terrific talker.

Kabir says: Actually you are going in a hearse to the country of death,
bound hand and foot!

(Update: the actual essay is included in the comments)

As even casual readers of my blog will have noticed, I am a fan of Thomas Merton. As a Trappist monk, he lived the Vaisnava lifestyle in the West, and had a lot of spiritual insight. Although in the past I have read some of his books, my study of him now consists of an email Weekly Reflection I am subscribed to sent out by the Merton Institute.

I feel that while his religious expression and culture may vary from that of hari boling dhotied up devotees, on a spiritual platform his realizations are well worth considering.

He is frequently quoted in devotee presentations of reviews for Prabhupada’s Gita:

“The Gita can be seen as the main literary support for the great religious civilization of India, the oldest surviving culture in the world. The present translation and commentary is another manifestation of the permanent living importance of the Gita.”

Thomas Merton

He wrote a essay for Srila Prabhupada’s translation that is included in the soft back Macmillan purple Bhagavad Gita. For some reason this was not included in subsequent editions of the BG. This creates two desires within me.

First, I am curious as to why it wasn’t included.

Second, since I don’t have that edition of the BG that contains it, I would like to get a digital copy.

I searched extensively for it online but only found a couple of truncated PDFs here(starting at page 348) and here. (For some reason the link takes you to below the article so even though it says p.58 above, you have to scroll up to find it.)

As I am a pathetic typist, I hesitate to undertake the task of transcribing from the PDFs so I am taking a long shot here and asking if anyone would be interested in doing so. That is I am requesting if someone could go to the aforelinked PDFs and type them into a computer, or use OCR software to do so and then send it to me — I would appreciate this.

I think that even with the different portions included in the two differently truncated versions, some part will still be missed, but then I could track down the purple Gita and fill in the blanks.

UPDATE: Since I wrote the above, someone has emailed me and offered to transcribe the essay and she has the purple Gita. She says it was the first SP book she received and has hardbound it.

I am just mentioning this to avoid the long shot that there might be someone else who would have considered doing it.

FURTHER UPDATE: I have an older version of the VedaBase which I have never updated. Apparently in the newer versions the essay by Merton is included (or else I am so lame I missed it in my own version) and someone has kindly emailed it to me so I have included it in its entirety as a comment on this post.

From The Onion.

NEW YORK—In what is being called a seminal moment in Internet history, a rare weekend post by 25-year-old blogger Ben Tiedemann on his website rocked the 50 million-member blogosphere this Saturday. The landmark post, which updated nearly every member of the global online community on the shelf Tiedemann was building, was linked to by several thousand sites, including Daily Kos, Digg, and The New York Times.

“Wow, what a special treat this was for all of us,” said Talking Points Memo head blogger Joshua Micah Marshal, who, along with all other bloggers, checks Tiedemann’s site every day just in case something monumental occurs. “I thought I was going to have to wait until Monday to find out if Ben decided to put [the shelf] in his bedroom or the living room. The pictures were great, too.” Within two hours of going live, Tiedemann’s 15-word post received 34,634,897 comments.

The choices were watch the San Diego Chargers play the Denver Broncos or go to Tejo’s house and hang out with devotees I have known for over thirty years and their kids whom I have watched grow up. We chose the latter.

Others were there as well, including a friend of Marken’s from his middle school days whom I had blamed for the first virus I ever received on the internet because it came from his email address and I didn’t understand at the time how addresses can be hijacked.

Vrindaban Candra was also there. He is the son of the late Parambrahma das and Mankumari dd. When he was about 12 years old, he lived with us for a few months.

At our house, Manjari is here with granddaughter Sydney and her 30 + word vocabulary, bright eyes and paraphernalia scattering lifestyle. The floor is now her canvas and anything within reach her brushes.

Uncles Marken and Tulasi are in town from college, and catching up on what seems to be all their laundry since the last time they visited.

It’s not a white Christmas, unless you count the frost this morning, but the sun is shining and that is a rare treat this time of year so no complaints here. Off to Advaita’s for Christmas Day meal and that will be a packed house again.

For those who want to remember the reason for the season and still do your patriotic duty of being a mindless consumer, here is another Jesus action figurine option:


Jesus plays soccer

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