December 2010


(I am from North Dakota originally so people send me ND stuff)

The North Dakota Department of government offices claimed a small Bismarck farmer was not paying proper wages to his help, and sent an agent out to investigate him.

ND Govt employee: I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them.

Farmer: Well, there’s my farm hand who’s been with me for 3 years. I pay him $200 a week plus free room and board.

Then there’s the mentally challenged worker. He works about 18 hours every day and does about 90% of all the work around here. He makes about $10 per week, pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every Saturday night so he can cope with life. He also sleeps with my wife occasionally.

ND Govt employee: That’s the guy I want to talk to…the mentally challenged one.

Farmer: That would be me.

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by Bhakta Ed

Greetings to all of Gosh’s Blog-fans. I haven’t done a guest post since the “Poop” post about a year ago.  I guess I need something as motivating as poop to get me to write. And here it is, January 2nd. Yes, that’s correct January 2nd, the Un-Holiday.

Let me explain, please. I wrote an email to Gosh on Dec. 25th and received a reply the 26th. However, not all reply’s are equal. As we learned in Animal Farm (click here to link to this fine piece of literature), some replies are more equal than others. I poured my little heart out to him thanking him for introducing me to Krishna, Srila Prabhupada and Krishna Consciousness way back in the early 70’s. I practically begged him to remain on this planet till I am initiated since I owe my spiritual life to him in a sense. I asked him how the liver was doing… an important factor in his being present at my initiation. I explained how I have diligently worked through some of the problems that ISKCON has had since Srila Prabhupada left the planet in 1977. It was a nice, personal and fine little bit of communication I sent him. Yes it was.

But what did I get in return? Really, what did he send back, after I bared my soul to him? Gosh, my contemporary yet spiritual senior replied thusly and I quote: “Merry Christmas to you too. :-}” I made no mention of that horrible and dreaded holiday. I was not being festive, Christmasy or cheerful. What brought on this attack of holiday poison? I have no idea. But I am forced now to reveal what January 2nd is and how it became the Un-Holiday”.

I confess, I hate what our culture calls the holidays. From Thanksgiving till New years I am nervous and on-guard. “Will you be with someone for the holidays? You won’t be alone will you? What are your big plans for Christmas? How was your Thanksgiving? What did you get for Christmas? How was the holiday season for you this year? Did your kids come home for the holidays?” And on and on and on… Not to mention dead birds at the dinner table, trees inside the house, candy and other junk food everywhere, silly awful holiday songs everywhere and blatant greed surging across the land.

So, I single handedly created the Un-Holiday… the day the (insert expletive here) holiday season is over. Yes, January 2nd: no theme songs, no cards, no gathering with relatives you never see otherwise, no dead turkeys or dead pigs, or worse yet dead cows, no trees in the house to shed and create a fire hazard, no traveling and nobody asking you if you are happy. Sheeeeesh!!! Leave me alone! Thanks… :-}

On January 2nd, humans all over the world now celebrate the end of the holiday season by… by… by… DOING NOTHING! That’s right. Nothing. At the most a very slight nod to someone is permitted. But no greetings, t-shirts, presents or songs. No official day or postage stamps. No guest appearances on Letterman. No. Not like that. It’s the Un-Holiday. We do nothing and bother nobody. Let’s leave it at that. And Gosh, the next time I send you an email around this time of year, please don’t assume it has anything to do with Thanksgiving or Christmas or New Years. It doesn’t. Love ya brother…

For the last 15 or 20 years Vidya has been hosting a New Year’s Eve Party at our house. This is an open invitation for anyone to attend.

New Year’s Eve is Friday, Dec. 31st.

Everyone is invited, tell your friends.

Come anytime after 6 PM.

This is a family oriented party.

Please park on the field by the woodpile.

Come and go as you please, put us on your itinerary if you are party hopping.

This is a potluck party so bring a dish to share, but don’t stay away if you can’t.

Bring musical instruments.

Hare Krishna

Children under, say, ten, shouldn’t know
that the universe is ever-expanding,
inexorably pushing into the vacuum, galaxies

swallowed by galaxies, whole

solar systems collapsing, all of it
acted out in silence. At ten we are still learning

the rules of cartoon animation,

that if a man draws a door on a rock
only he can pass through it.
Anyone else who tries

will crash into the rock. Ten-year-olds
should stick with burning houses, car wrecks,
ships going down—earthbound, tangible

disasters, arenas

where they can be heroes. You can run
back into a burning house, sinking ships

have lifeboats, the trucks will come
with their ladders, if you jump

you will be saved. A child

places her hand on the roof of a schoolbus,
& drives across a city of sand. She knows

the exact spot it will skid, at which point
the bridge will give, who will swim to safety
& who will be pulled under by sharks. She will learn

that if a man runs off the edge of a cliff
he will not fall

until he notices his mistake.

Got this from Jiva Goswami:

“Now recovering from open heart surgery, look at this nice video with me! (Or “else?”) I won’t be bowling for a while! :) Thank you for your fine good welcome and needed best wishes! Merry Christmas!

“http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=2539741

“jiva on Big Wheeling Creek”

The video he is linking to I had never seen but had heard about (that he is in it is a joking mood).  This guy went around the world recording street musicians and then synced them all up.  Wouldn’t it be interesting if someone did it with chanting Hare Krishna?

Older devotees would remember that Jiva did the town runs for New Vrindaban for years and also spent a of of time as a pujari.

Here are the search results from the Brijabasi Spirit for “Jiva Goswami” most of which are articles he wrote about his time in NV.

We are having a white standing seam metal roof installed on our house. According to experts, Reflective White Roofing Cuts Energy Costs 20%. Our savings won’t be that great because we don’t run an air conditioner in any case, but it will certainly contribute to the comfort level of our home during the hot parts of the year.

Because of the energy savings, there is a Federal Income tax credit of 30% for going white roof. That means I can deduct 30% of the cost of the roof directly from the bottom line taxes owed, ergo means a discount on the roofing of 30%.  We usually don’t make enough to owe any Federal income tax but this year is the exception because we did get some gas lease signing bonus money so we decided to spend that money on a new 40 year roof and use the tax credit.

A 40 year roof means it will outlive me and so no more worries about the roof needing repair when I am too old and broke to do it.

The 30% tax credit also applies to solar installations so we are having a solar thermal collection system installed to provide our hot water.  The roofers should finish today and the solar guys are coming tomorrow.

We shopped around for the best price roofing price and ended up hiring a young Amish guy. He is in the rumspringa stage of life which means he drives a van, has a cell phone and an gmail.com address.  He is the youngest of 16 children. 1 has moved away, 14 are married and doing the Amish culture thing, and he can still go back. Pretty good retention rate.

They hired a guy who came and formed the roofing right on site.

It forms it by running the flat sheet through a series of rollers.

It has a punch to make the holes for the screws and a shear at the end to cut it off at the measured length.

The roofers tell him the length and he forms what they want so there is no end waste. There is some as they go around smokestacks, vent pipes and sky lights but it is minimal.

They had some really grippy rubber overshoes because there was ice on the roof but managed 3 days of work without falling off the roof even once!

They would speak English to me but between themselves they were speaking Amish.

I have been working on getting a solar photovoltaic (PV)  installation put in on the garden shed in the temple garden by the state road. It will be a 2.6 kilowatt size that will provide all the electric for the garden, house, tool shed, and repair activities that go on there.

I am also looking at several other locations around New Vrindaban.

While I think PV in and of itself is attractive looking, considering the past history of art in New Vrindaban and the normal inclusion of art in Vedic culture, I have found some applications of PV that are more than simply utilitarian.

Here is one example:

It is a ventialtion tower for an underground building. Here is another example of mixed stained glass and PV from the same artist, Sarah Hall.

Here  are several artists who integrate PV into their works. I hope somebody reading this “gets it” as I hope someday to have artistic PV installations in New Vrindaban.

I like this guy’s stuff.

Imagine the possibilities using Krishna centric themes for art and in architectural new construction and retrofits.

There are flexible plastic substrate PV cells so we aren’t limited to flat surfaces.

Even just for roof top applications, there are more substrate colors than just the normal blue. I have seen pictures of red PV panels, which could be integrated with the blue ones to create a pattern or picture.

Here is a company making ceramic substrate PV roof tiles in a  variety of colors.

Freedom from fossil fuels for energy AND aesthetics? Feel the hairs of your arms standing on end? Then start thinking about how we can utilize this in New Vrindaban or any ISKCON project (or nonISKCON project as far as that goes).