Friday, July 31, 2009

Will War Ever End?: A Soldier's Vision of Peace for the 21st Century

What does an active duty soldier have to say about war?
Quite a lot, actually. In an era where the greatest fans of war are those who dodged it whenever possible, this book is a quick and necessary read.

About the book itself, let me simply quote from the publisher; I'll then add my own remarks.
"Once in a great while, a book is written that substantially changes the way people think about a particular subject. Will War Ever End? is such a book. Written as a "manifesto for waging peace" by an active duty captain in the U.S. Army, Will War Ever End? challenges readers to think about peace, war and violence in radically new ways.

"Are human beings naturally violent?"

"What is hatred?"

"How can love overcome the power of hatred?"

"How does nonviolence overcome the power of violence?"

"How can we prove that unconditional love makes us psychologically healthy and that hatred, just like an illness, occurs when something has gone wrong?"

"How does violence against the natural world relate to violence between human beings?"

These are all questions that Captain Paul K. Chappell leads us to consider in a strikingly new way. In Will War Ever End?, Chappell demonstrates that human beings are naturally peaceful and that world peace can become more than a cliché. He lays out a practical framework for transforming the way we think about war and violence, enabling us to begin the real work we must do in order to achieve true peace for mankind.

Will War Ever End? is a deeply personal story of a soldier's search for human understanding that will lead to universal transformation. Its message is one of hope, offering practical solutions to help us build a better world.

We can all make change.

Now is the time to begin."
I read this book after hearing the Captain on the radio. He seemed to make a lot of sense, and to have the chops to back up his claim.

Many people dispair of an end to war. This dispair is cripples our ability to think rationally on the subject. Perhaps we can overcome this dispair by comparing war to a similar phenomenon that Chappell points to in his book: slavery.

For most of human history, slavery was considered normal and even beneficial to all involved. However, withint a relatively short span of time (one or two centuries) slavery was relegated to the criminal margins. It is far from completely eradicated but we have universal conscensus that it is wrong and no civilized nation allows it.

Likewise, war. Throughout much of my culture's history is has been simply part of the background, and widely praised for bringing out virtue, or some darn thing. We are rapidly coming to the conclusion that this is an error.

The problem remains that we want instant success. When we don't get it, we are tempted to give up. Those persons still sickened by the mind virus of warmongering mock those who think the sickness can be cured.

That's o.k. Nothing good comes easy. If ending war was easy, it'd be done already.

For some of us, that is all the more reason to take on the challenge!

Read the book. Then join the community. You'll like it!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beer Diplomacy: Why Not?

Yeah, I know.

The Gates arrest was wrong. Up until the moment that the cop cuffed him, he was just doing his job, responding to a call and making sure the guy who had been reported as having broken into the house was actually guy who lived there.

But when the cop asked the civilian to step out on the porch so he could cuff him, he stepped over the line.

But sometimes you should not fight things out in court.

Just have a beer and talk it over then walk away.

Wouldn't it be a better world if we dealt with more problems that way?

Wait a minute! Obama had a Bud Light!

This changes everything. Budweiser is an o.k. drink, a little hoppy and a little watery, but a good utility beer.

But light? Bud Light? A Light Beer?

Mr. President - with great respect:

If you want to drink water with your beer, go ahead and have a glass of water. Then have your beer.

But, for the sake of all that is holy, man, don't pour the two together and call it a "Light Beer!"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Grilling a Pizza

If you've never grilled a pizza, you're in for a treat!

Grocery-shopping yesterday at Costco, I picked up a 3-pack of thin-crust pizzas. It's our favorite prepared food; if we're too beat to cook from scratch, and all out of leftovers, we tart up one of those bad boys with extra cheese, garlic and whatever we find in the fridge, and 14.5 minutes later are on the road to satiety!

We always get thin-crust pizza; the puffy-dough is just a waste of time and carbos.

To might surprise, delight and doubtfulness, the pizza at Costco now had grilling directions on the back. We absolute HAD to try it ... not only because of the inherent outrageousness of the concept, but also because our Seattle area's having a heat wave and we don't want to fire up the oven.

So up to the roof we went, and got the grill cranked up to a crazy hot temp. On went the pizza; in a few minutes we turned it, and soon it was done to a crispy tasty goodness!

We enjoyed this newfound delight with our friend Gail Gorud, who had stopped by to talk about some interesting "Reddy Kilowatt" printers' blocks she has. We were able to tap her knowledge of housing and gardening to further our quests on those matters as well. She, too, had never heard of grilling a pizza but joined in the general verdict: Tasty!

If you were looking for a life lesson or a deeper bit of wisdom, I'm afraid I have nothing today. Please check back later! sometimes, you just have to sit back and enjoy the 'za!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Give Yourself The Gift of Space

Everything takes up space. I am told that Wolfgang Pauli explained why this is but I don't understand the explanation; still, it's a basic fact that has consequences.

If you rent, you pay rent on that space. If you own your house, you still pay your mortgage or maintenance costs on the space.

When you give away stuff, there's an empty space left where the stuff used to be. Think of it as a gift to yourself!

Many people urge us to give stuff away:
I suggest: do it for yourself! Give yourself the gift of space!

I looked around my place, and tried to think of about everything there in terms of the rent I paid to keep it. Figuring I pay $1 a month for each square foot, a couple of bar chairs I never sat on, that occupied a 2 foot by 3 foot space (about 6 square feet), cost me $72 a year just to keep and never use!

There was no way that those chairs worth paying $72 a year! Knowing that, it was much easier to give them away to a thrift store.

Dare you try looking around and giving yourself The Gift Of Space?