Category Archives: writing

Experience of gold

I’ve been so free,
          For years,…just me,
Turning down many invitations,
          Those tempting me into relations.
Unwilling to sacrifice the freedom I selfishly behold.


Suddenly,…who is she?
          What could this feeling be?
I saw something in her eyes,
          Her face, her smile, each time a surprise
Wanting to capture,…to have,…to hold.


For the first time ready to share,
          A part of me I didn’t know was there,
Something kept telling me she was the one,
          A constant urge to give here everything,…the sun,
Willing to be true to her if I could be so bold.


But she always stayed far enough away,
          Confusing the direction, keeping me at bay,
Wondering how to control the passion,
          Caught in the grips of a strong attraction,
Sensing we were both of the same mold.


A compulsion had bloomed which was amply fed,
          Obscuring the path on which I was led,
Melting every time I felt her near,
          Uncertainly sure I could see things clear,
Suppressing the thought that I’d ever fold.


I started to question my lack of discipline,
          Thinking I’m crazy for this situation I’m in,
Was I deliberately not looking at the obvious?
          That she has her own agenda,….not this,
Unwilling to accept that the allure would grow old.


So many times I wanted to quit,
          Succumbing to a weakness I wouldn’t admit,
Blindly bending in any direction,
          Yearning for the next emotional erection,
Feeling the temperature warm-cold, warm-cold.


But it's time I let this dream alone,
          And try to understand what I’ve been shown,
Conceding that the trail is too elusive,
          The entrance too guarded, exclusive,
Hoping I’ll listen to what I’ve been told.


I’ve been captured by my own liberty,
          Unprepared for what the next curve would do to me,
The desire building from my imagination,
          A delusion of its own creation,
Alas, an experience I’ll treasure more than gold.


Freddie Spaghetti 
April 9, 1995

What inspires

What inspires
     fills the soul
          transpires
makes us who we are.

And the wonderful (aspect)
      of humankind
      is our ability
                     to acquire
          in our mind's eye
   the agility
          the opposite of fragility
                    to decide.

  We only need to recognize
     out of desire
               ......not on a high wire.
Freddie Spaghetti    
Medellin, CO  February 10, 2006

 

Las semillas

Hay unas semillas creciendo
     Y hay otras muriendo
Hay unas que durarán largo tiempo
     Y otras que vivirán solo para el momento.
Hay unas semillas que serán unas flores
     Y otras que no tendrán colores
Hay unas con buena alimentación
     Y otras clamando atención
Hay unas que saben la dirección hacia arriba
     Y otras completamente perdidas.
Así estamos, en el mismo jardín
     Luchando para existir
Sin saber, cuando vamos a partir.
Freddie Spaghetti, March 11, 2007

Time off

It will make a dandy post topic, time off.  And I promise a talking point on this subject soon.  

Unfortunately, this week’s title is due to catching unwanted downtime, along with a tad of unpreparedness.  There is no good excuse for not doing something you’ve committed to do.  So if you check this blog with any frequency, then I’m honored and thankful.  And I also apologize for skipping a week, due to time off.

P.S. I’ve started wearing a tie while writing posts, invested in a new hairstyle, and had 30+ years of wrinkles removed from my forehead.

The Hacking of the American Mind — a review

Some may know the author from his book, Fat Chance, or one of his many youtube presentations about the compelling dangers from the dramatically increased sugar consumption in our diets.  In his new book The Hacking of the American Mind, Dr. Lustig takes a different tack exposing not only the complications of sugar and why we want more of it but also our appetite to stimulate the biochemical receptors that give us pleasure.  More specifically, the book is about the science behind pleasure and happiness, how most of us confuse the two, and how government and business knowingly blur the difference between them at our expense.

In January, I wrote a post entitled Accumulating Pleasure Moments.  At the time, I was treading the hazy space of fusion between pleasure and happiness without realizing the difference.  Pleasure, I deduced, could be the opposite of pain.

It could be a pleasure spending a day, or days, lounging on a beach. Or is that happiness?

Dr. Lustig goes into great detail to explain the chemical differences between the neural pathways that pleasure and happiness take.  Pleasure, it seems, evoked by a dopamine response, can fool us if we are not careful.  One of the downsides of constantly seeking pleasure, he says, are addictions, which in turn decreases our happiness quotient.

I’m not sure I agree with the author’s point that pleasure moments last for one hour then they are gone.  I was recently upgraded to first-class on a trans-pacific trip. The resulting pleasure lasted well over 16 hours.  Then again, perhaps I was interpreting the delight of the flight incorrectly.  Now I know to be cautious least the anticipation of an upgrade happens too frequently or I could become addicted.

In narrating, Lustig has a somewhat peculiar way of emphasizing prepositions at times, especially “the.”  But his passion for the subject is evident, and the net effect of his reading the book is a plus.  It was also reassuring to hear that even he has fallen prey to the grips of pleasure, i.e., coffee (daily) and ice cream (on rare occasions).  In fairness, he explains, pleasure isn’t all bad, and at times, even intersects with happiness (contentment).  But given that the dopamine effects of pleasure are so powerful, it behooves us to recognize its intoxicating influence, both physically and emotionally.

In short, I found the book highly informative and well worth the read, or listen, for anyone seeking to reap the benefits of pleasure and happiness by managing them so that the former does not dampen the latter.

Meanwhile, when I make it from point A to point B on my new commuter cruising skateboard without landing on my ass, I’ll be satisfied to be pleasantly content.

Faint Winds

Faint winds blow warm, cool; warm, cool,
No sign for the reason why,
Captured by welcome fascination,
With moments of sparked elation.

Circulating, embracing, raw, and fleeting,
Drawing on colored boundaries,
Subject to induced reception,
Growing in an instinctive direction.

Words

Before school age, dear ole Mom made sure we understood the sticks and stones children rhyme, that words can’t hurt is if we don’t let them.  Words, whether intended as harmful or helpful, are as real as our imagination, and left open to interpretation.  As Bill Clinton famously said, “it depends on what the definition of is, is.”

But only when we give it to them

Some of us use few words, others lots of them.  Some of us carefully construct our words, others don’t give them a second thought.  Yet most of us don’t write, read, listen or talk with dictionary precision.  Even if we did, we form and develop our own pictures.  The words we sting together form an image in the receiver’s brain which is different from the picture of the brain that constructed the string.  The meaning behind every strung together jumble of words is unique to the eyes and ears of the beholder — resulting in distinct mental images.

When we give them permission

We also tend to fill in the blanks with the stuff that isn’t said, the juicy sub-text.  Lawyers try to eliminate blank-filling with terms, conditions, and agreements we’ve all got to check or acknowledge when we commit to something.  A mumbo jumbo of words most of us never read, nor would understand.

The subliminal messages we send and receive through facial expressions help fill in what isn’t said, so when the face is absent, the meaning of words is especially elusive.  Within families, those close enough to conceptualize similar images, many times utter “what I meant was.”  Throw in different backgrounds and cultures and our imaginations slip and slide all over the place.

We all have times when we choose our words carefully, least they be taken unintentionally.  Still, they can come back to bite us, because our image of those constructed words didn’t match the receivers image of those same words.  How could they?  They will never match.  The best they can do is point in the general direction.

Yelling “the house is on fire” means something with an immediate call to action.  But most of our dialogues are filled with much less life-threatening urgency, where we each paint as we go, with different brushes, stokes, mediums, backgrounds, and imaginations.  No two pictures are ever the same.

Post message?  Don’t take words too seriously, or at least give them plenty of leeway.  They are concepts.  And they will never hurt us, unless we give them permission.

fuck

Just an innocent four-letter word, fuck has gradually worked itself out of the shadows and into the mainstream.  Like tattoos, saying fuck was once reserved for those daring enough to show a toughness or an edginess to make a point.  No more.  Fuck has marched right into conformity.

It’s a word that has lasted generations and gotten so much use, as a verb, adverb, adjective, noun and everything in between.  A quote I remember from a mechanic who could not loosen a bolt on a car engine demonstrates a portion of the word’s flexibility: “I couldn’t get the fuckin fuck to fuck.”  Of course, we all know fuck means all those things and so much more.

The prompt to write this post was during an exercise routine recently in a calisthenics area of Lumpini Park in Bangkok when a small gaggle of young girls stopped to play on the monkey bars.  One, all but ten years old, was wearing a tee shirt with fuck printed all over the front; fuck it, fuck you, fuck this…,fuck all.  When I asked if I could take a photo of the shirt they giggled as none of them understood english.  She had no clue about her ‘fucking’ shirt.

the 10-year old running around Lumpini Park had no problem with the word

the 10-year old running around Lumpini Park had no problem with the word

Then yesterday as I was looking for a new book to read, I floated through iBook’s bestseller list and came across Hard F*ck.  Sure, the publisher won’t print that one extra letter because the book would then be relegated to a speciality (erotic) genre.

We say “the F word”, use an asterisk in place of a letter, and we hide it in acronyms in mainstream print like, SNAFU  (Situation Normal All Fucked Up) and WTF (What The Fuck).  We love using fuck, especially behind a comfortable smoke screen.  STFU.

Words are just a jumble of consonants and vowels that we’ve constructed images around.  The letters that make up fuck don’t do physical damage to our senses, but we’ve been conditioned to use the pronunciation of them behind closed doors.  As parents, we don’t want our children to say fuck (or get tattoos), at least until they’ve reached the age of reason.  We can say fuck in front of them, but we don’t want our little fuckers to say fuck.  It sounds too grown up.  Oh yes, it’s a grown up word.

This Chinese woman may not have known what she was wearing, and may not have cared

This Chinese woman may not have known what she was wearing, and may not have cared

The word has so many flexible uses and most of us know most of them.  We use fuck no matter what form of speech it takes:  “Fuck you” or “fuck them” makes little grammatical sense, but we all know the expression is meant to convey warm, sweet feelings to the person(s) it’s hurled to.

We use it for impact and to add clear emphasis:  If someone asks you to do something that you find outrageous, you might say “no way,” or “hell no,” or “fuck no,” or “no fuckin way.”

As a form of astonishment we might let out a long drawn out fuuuuuck to ourselves upon seeing or hearing incredible news.  (I catch myself once in a while using that same drawn out form if, for example, food or coffee finds its way to the clean shirt I’m wearing.)

Documenting all of its uses would make this post much too long.  Point is, fuck seems to have eased itself out of the curse-word category and become a more accepted evocative expression.  But we should be careful.  Overused, like “like,” and fuck becomes tedious and boring.  It’s a word best used sparingly, like a pungent spice.

ready for purchase

ready for purchase

The Indian sage and guru Osho sums up the “magical” word nicely in this video.  For those who know him, Osho is a deeply spiritual teacher, not a comedian, but he nevertheless knows the power of fucking humor.

While there are certainly more creative ways for the car mechanic to describe his inability to loosen the engine bolt, it would be hard to argue that fuck does not add color to our vernacular.  So who knows, maybe keeping fuck in its profanity box contributes to its colorfulness.  But then how profane is it if 10-year old girls are shouting the word on tee shirts?

Maybe because it needs to be shouted out.  Perhaps voicing a solid fuck once in a while is healthy for the soul.  So you go girls, help spread the zestful expression.  And thanks for meandering into the exercise area, because now I want one of those fuckin tee shirts.