New Site!

14 03 2020

Please visit for further information, or follow the link to buy a copy of a book.

Food and Freedom

19 07 2019

I am making a go at having a ‘FareStart!’ By joining the program there, where everyone has a respect and appreciation for food as ‘the staff of life,’ I hope to surround myself with a lot of people who enjoy eating as much as I do.

Since it is a non-profit, I believe that many of the people there are making a professional decision which also reflects personal ethics about money in ‘Merica. As Robert Livingston says in his song ‘Food,’ ‘without it, you’re in a devastating mood.’ The devastating mood can also be caused by poor morale in the workplace, since many work places in the United States aren’t placing the physical health of employees first, the need for unions in those environments become strongly apparent. Especially when we consider that food is healing. In other words, as the most consistent source of energy that everyone participates in, food is the foundation of freedom, fiscal, spiritual and philosophical.

I apologize for the brevity and hurried theme of the current post, there are just quite a few changes which I am going through. For those of you keeping track, it has certainly been more than a few weeks, and I apologize for being late. It certainly was within my ability to continue, though the time I have to listen to new music these days is limited. Right now, I am unsure of my intention regarding the blog, and will make a determination by All Hallow’s Eve.

Thanks for your patronage.

Sabbath? – Killing Yourself to Live

2 07 2019

It is obvious what Third Eye Blind means, so it isn’t much of a mental challenge to get that some of their lyrics may be about chi/energy and chakras. It has taken me a bit of time to realize that Black Sabbath essentially means the same. A blind third eye. Sabbath is of course a day of rest, and Black is a veil that you are not able to see through, so according to the mystery school of ‘Poetic Phonetics,’ Black Sabbath is the rest that one receives when faith becomes part of your thinking. Guessing, or planning ahead in ways which only mean gain, or victory, absent compassion or wisdom just lead to desolation, or Babylon’s arrhythmia. A separation of heart from the vibration of the land, leading to less and less effective stewardship, friendship, and for those of us who listen, music.

Curiously, in my somewhat addled neuron matrix, I am reminded of Matthew 6:26 , in which we are reminded that we are taken care of because of how much our compassionate creator cares for us. (Yes, once again, from a Black Sabbath song.) How could you read the scripture that Matthew has written about and not be reminded of what was sung in the Sabbath psy-alm Killing Yourself to Live?
‘You work your life away and what do they give?
You’re only killing yourself to live’

Today, remember that many of us are all feeling the same, our work here is not done, yet, we are taken care of.

We Sing for the Children

18 06 2019

There are so many songs which reference the sacredness of music. ‘The Secret Life of Plants,’ from Stevie Wonder ‘In Bloom,’ from Nirvana and too many more to really list here. Music can be considered a mathematical interaction, and there are many studies revealing what western science perceives as special about music. So, when I listened to Rupert Sheldrake’s TEDx talk, “The Science Delusion,’ which apparently was ‘banned’ from TED, I was interested in more of his philosophy.

Since he described himself an atheist, and a scientist, it was very interesting to read Sheldrake’s essay on Sacred Song. Being a poet, musician and a wanna be shaman, who has a ceremonial name based on the importance of sound, anyone who has written a book entitled Morphic Resonance probably has ideas that I would find interesting. Since musicians are one of the few scientific and artistic practices which describe the interaction of two waves as harmonic, the third note being created as the two emitted notes ‘morph’ together, there is a direct correlation between ‘Morphic Resonance ‘ and harmonics in my brain.

Considering especially, that as Sheldrake mentions, that the mind is outside of the body, that our memories are actually kept within the realm of spirit, the idea that song, art and creativity are brought into the world through ‘muses,’ begins to explain why some songs are prophetic. When considering what sacred song means to cultures of first nations, these ideas bring a perspective which makes a great deal of sense. As first nations used song and dance to pass stories of their ancestors to each other, using song in a sacred way, then it makes sense that the sacred would be open to listeners in a way not practiced today.

As many artists and musicians attest, often they don’t know why they wrote the words or use the images they do, the results of these creations are in my mind, specific creations of the muses, who may be using the songwriter to bring a message to societal consciousness, without having had the experience themselves. Sorta like ‘channeling’ chants. I find a Grateful Dead song, ‘Sunrise’ speaks as one who has had ‘been experienced’ with the lyrics ‘ I’ll sing to them this story and know why.’

Of course, knowing is about feeling as well, as Rita Marley reminds us, ‘Who Feels it Knows it.’ Yet, in my heart, I listen to the musicians who can show me they have been to the places I have, and still celebrate creation with song. Sacred.

“The Sound’ Neville Brothers

Quantums, MFIs and Elfman

9 06 2019

Being Blessed upsets people. It isn’t ‘normal’ ‘you aren’t flowing the rules.’

They say hindsight is twenty twenty, and after yesterday, I see a few things. I have quoted a certain psy-almist Danny Elfman a few times before, and one of his songs says ‘wake up, it’s 1984, but we’ve been here before.’ Which, if you consider the MFI pathogen discussed in the Bride Ministries interview with Natalie Morris and Linda Craig and is SO true. A pathogen with the ability to be invisible? Whoa, is it Sci-Fi? What else could a pathogen like that be capable of doing to someone’s body? So, the MFI pathogen like the one described by Natalie would be of extreme interest to ‘Big Brother.’

Other elements in the song lyrics which seem to be directly related to the type of society that the MFI pathogen could create are the lines:
Big brother’s watching, we watch him back 
We see right through his disguise 
He tries to scare us, with angry words 
But we all know that they’re lies 

If there is a pathogen which is able to receive and transmit data, then any one with the proper radio would then be able to receive any type of data collected by the pathogen, and from what she describes, would also be able to broadcast to the pathogen, or effectively, have the possibility of controlling the way that someone responds to visual, or audio data, and potentially regulate their emotional response.

Of course, in this scenario, the people are able to watch back, which is not able to happen in the 1984 that is described by Orwell. As the higher up someone is in Big Brother’s game, the more they are able to step outside and turn off the TV.

More from the Elf:
Whole world is watching, observing every move 
Is it beginning or the end? 
Just like a chess game, but so intense .

With precision responses to any type of behavior, I can only imagine that there could be people who have an agenda of control, and not of truth.

Since it has been some time since I have blogged, I will get it if there are not a lot of responses right away, since as Leslie Stevens says,
We will control the horizontalWe will control the vertical.


30 05 2019

I just read Allan Moore’s in depth book for Bloomsbury’s 33 and 1/3 imprint. Quite amazing, at the depth which he deciphers the lyrics, and relates them to Barre’s and Anderson’s playing. For that level of intention to be present during each session makes the album process equivalent to the Sistine Chapel.

Though I am of course familiar with Aqualung, and Tull, Moore has provided a new dimension to listening to their music, and now I am keen to return to some of my favorites with a new ear. Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day, Christmas Song, The Witch’s Promise, all will have a new dimension added.

Though I haven’t utilized the blog in some time, I plan to continue to write here in the spirit with which I began the blog.

Please enjoy:

The Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness

17 07 2018

In his book, ‘The Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness,’ Ryan Dowd provides insight and practical tools for anyone (but especially librarians) who encounters people living with and in the stress of homelessness. The levity and clarity of Dowd’s writing provides a functional wisdom, which he refers to as the “tools” he uses at Hesed House, the second-largest shelter in Illinois. Dowd began there as a 13-year-old and now serves as executive director.

These balms or alms for the mind are as mad as a methodology used to corral a catalog as large as the Library of Congress, though with much cooler names.

Praying Ninja, in which you keep your palms together in front of you and use them both to point and gesture, demonstrating an openness and showing you are not threatened while still being able to defend yourself if necessary. Jane’s Addiction (not the band), in which visualizing that you are talking to a person trapped in a body hooked on a substance allows you to express empathy more easily than in some situations. There is also The Oprah, The Barack Obama and The Marijuana Plant tool, which it seems a lot of people in Washington use daily.

The ‘Psy’ alms (the Greek word for “mind”), or psalms, are perhaps not as poetic as the ones belonging to the desert wanderers of the Judeo-Christian tradition, yet the compassion, clarity and wisdom found within demonstrate the calming effect that empathy-guided interactions have on a stressed and emotionally drained patron of the biblioteca, or library.

I had an opportunity to ask Ryan a few questions.

Topaz: What in your experience do librarians not understand about homelessness?
Ryan Dowd: So it’s less what librarians don’t understand and more what people who have lived a middle-class, suburban, semi-privileged life don’t understand, which librarians are no better or no worse than anybody else. In our country we do such a great job of what I call “economic apartheid,” which is keeping poor people in certain areas, having middle-class people have their run of the land and having rich people behind walls.

There just aren’t many places where people of different socioeconomic backgrounds meet and physically interact. And that’s kind of what makes libraries so fascinating and so honestly volatile is that public libraries are one of the last places in our country where all the socioeconomic groups meet in the same building. They’re super critical to the future of our democracy.

T: I really like the phrase you used, “economic apartheid.” We live in Seattle and one of the names of Seattle is The Emerald City. Your book mentions Oz. It’s almost like there is a wizard, an “Ignore the man behind the curtain.” By these economic apartheids, we’re not allowed to speak or interact with people outside our social economic realms, and therefore no change is actually going to be made.
RD: Exactly. Exactly. But libraries go against that trend. Because there’s not a rich person’s library, a middle-class person’s library, a poor person’s library. There’s one library. And that makes libraries super important to our country, but it also means a lot of ticked-off middle-class people.

T: I think that’s a really excellent observation. I remember when libraries had card catalogues. If I were to look up an Ursula K. Le Guin book, “A Wizard of Earthsea,” then I would get the same answer as any other person in the library. These days, we can get different answers than people who have different ages, who have different economics, different search engines. And that’s a way economic apartheid is unwittingly being continued.
RD: Not only do you get different answers, the more money you have you can get better answers you get. You can pay for better answers basically with a faster phone, a better phone, better subscription services you have. The disadvantage for people who don’t have access to resources like that is even greater.

T: What are some of the ways you believe body language enhances or discourages communication in libraries?
RD: It’s not just libraries. Body language is so key. My day job, by the way, is I’m the executive director of the second-largest homeless shelter in Illinois. So most of my experience is in the context of a shelter, not the context of libraries. I don’t know how many times where there’s some kind of blowup. Either a guest yells at a staff or takes a swing at a staff. And I’m debriefing with the staff member afterwards and they tell me what they said, y’know, “I said this, and he said this, and I said this.” And then I go pull up the video camera and I say, “Wow, you might have said that, but your body language was aggressive and dismissive all at the same time. So you might have said something nice, but your body language was really nasty.” We tend to focus on using the right words. We say nice words, but our body language is just projecting contempt and dismissiveness and aggressiveness and all these nasty things, and then we pretend, “Well I said the right things. I said nice words, therefore I was nice.” And we dismiss the fact that we rolled our eyes, that we had our hands on our hips, that we were glaring at the person — all these things that send a message of nastiness.

T: I’m honestly completely guilty of that.
RD: Oh, everybody is.

T: It’s one of the ways we’re taught to be socially nice, but my tone of voice is chisel or blade.
RD: Nonviolence is something I’ve spent a lot of time studying, and one of the things I’ve kind of realized here is that nonviolence teaches you how to speak truth to power, if you’re the oppressed and someone else has the power. You’re the Middle Eastern Jew against the Roman Empire back 2,000 years ago. If you’re the Mexican immigrant standing up to the United States government. If someone else has the power and you don’t, nonviolence is how you speak truth to that power. What I try to teach is how to speak with power. What do you do when you’re the Roman Empire, when you’re the United States government, when you’re the shelter staff and you have 3,000 times as much power as the person living there? Or you’re the library security guard and you have 10,000 times as much power as a patron? How do you ethically deal with someone who have so much bloody less power than you that this is not a contest in any shape or form?

T: These laws that have created homelessness, essentially are nothing less than the extension of the laws that were used to justify the annihilation of all the Native people of the country. We’re not enslaving people any longer, but this economic apartheid is a form of forced servitude and so, when you have the power and a position of authority, you are by definition practicing the side of the aggressor. At least in my opinion.
RD: There’s nothing inherently wrong in being the one with power. It’s how you use it. Somebody is going to have more power in any interaction. But if you abuse that power, that’s a problem. If you use your power to crush poor people, when you use your power to kick poor people, kick homeless people out of libraries, that’s not an ethical use of power.

T: Have you studied martial arts? Some of the phrases in your book reminded me of Sun Tzu and the philosophies espoused in “The Art of War.” “When you have power, appear weak, and when you are weak, appear to have power.” I believe that directly speaks to the ethics of “I’m the authority here. I’m the one with power. How do I show this person humanity without being threatening?”
RD: Just because society’s told you that poor people are lesser than you — which just, by the way, is just not true — you don’t have to make someone lesser than you. The irony of this all is when you treat someone like a human, they treat you back like a human being more often than not. But when you treat someone like they’re inferior to you, they tend to lash out.

We think that the best way to have a calm, safe library; a calm, safe homeless shelter; a calm, safe whatever — fill-in-the-blank — is to use our power to force people into compliance, and to really make sure that they know who’s in charge and who’s in power and who carries the biggest stick. And that’s just not true. The best way to a calm, safe library; a calm, safe nonprofit; a calm, safe homeless shelter — whatever — is to actually treat people with human dignity. And when you treat people with human dignity, they tend to respond in kind. One of the things I try to teach in the training is lead people into the behavior you want from them, don’t follow them in what you don’t like about what they’re doing. This idea that if you’re a jerk to people, they tend to be a jerk back. Regardless, homeless, non-homeless, millionaire, non-millionaire. If you treat them with human dignity and you treat them like they’re of equal value to you — which they are — they tend to respond well. I had a librarian say, “I can’t believe I flew you out to tell my staff how to be nice to homeless people, but I guess I had to.” It’s more nuanced than just how to be nice, but the essence of what I teach is, if you treat people with human dignity, more often than not they will follow your rules and not cause trouble. It’s a pretty simple message but it takes me three hours to say it, or 250 pages of a book.

T: Where did you find all the quotes at the beginning of the chapters?
RD: Purely I just googled librarian quotes and whichever ones I thought were totally badass I just wrote them down.

T: You said homeless people are just like people.
RD: In almost every way, people experiencing homelessness are identical to everyone else. But there are some differences, but those differences come out of injustice. It’s actually dangerous, the idea that everyone is exactly the same. Here’s why that’s dangerous: It completely glosses over the massive disadvantages and massive injustices that have been perpetuated against people. If I say everybody is exactly the same, what it means basically is you and I had the exact same opportunities in life and you screwed it up and I didn’t. And it completely glosses over the fact that if you were raised in poverty, you are much more likely to be poor as an adult than an individual who was raised — you know, Paris Hilton is not going to be poor, no matter what she does. Someone raised in the middle class statistically speaking is almost certainly going to grow up to be middle class. And statistically someone who grows up poor is probably going to grow up to be poor, because you’re at a massive disadvantage. So we have to acknowledge the real differences, because the differences, those differences don’t make homeless or poor people bad. It acknowledges the enormous disadvantages that people are at. When we discount the enormous disadvantages that other people might be at, whatever those disadvantages might be — race, gender — when we discount those disadvantages, when we say everybody is the same, we empower blaming the victim.

T: You mentioned a couple specific characteristics of vocalization during emotional moments or arguments. And that was one of the things I thought was really curious.
RD: Poverty is inherently loud. I was in our shelter just last night and it’s freaking loud, because it’s a lot of people jampacked into a tiny room. If you want to be heard you have to be loud. The research suggests, if you’re born into poverty, you tend to talk louder. It’s not wrong; it’s just different. And it scares the hell out of middle-class people who were born in the suburbs where you don’t have to talk loud and they’re not used to volume. Now not every homeless person talks loud, not every person born into poverty talks loud, but many do. There’s nothing wrong with being loud; there’s nothing wrong with being quiet. The problem arises when you have a middle-class person who doesn’t understand that many people in poverty talk louder because poverty is loud and then they’re terrified when somebody is talking loud to them.

T: Your book seems to be predisposed toward empathy-driven tools, which you call “water tools.” Can you describe why you think that is important?
RD: Probably the biggest central idea in the book that I really try to push is this idea that there’s two parallel systems for trying to get people to follow the rules: punishment-driven enforcement and empathy-driven enforcement. Punishment-driven enforcement — or the “fire” tools — you get people to follow the rules by threatening punishment. Return the book on time or I’ll give you a fine. Don’t speed or I’ll give you a ticket. I tell my kids don’t break curfew or I’m going to ground you. It’s the threat of punishment that keeps you in line. Those are your fire tools. Empathy-driven tools are, if I’m nice to you, you’ll be nice to me. If I do you a favor, you’ll probably do me a favor. If I smile at you, you’re much less likely to cuss me out. If I ask you nicely to do something, you’re much more likely to do it than if I’m a big, fat jerk about it. And there’s a whole psychology behind that. I’m grossly oversimplifying it. And what I try to teach people is that yelling at people, threatening them, punishing, is not the only way to get people to follow the rules. Being nice to them, doing them favors, treating them with human dignity, is a whole parallel system for getting them to follow the rules, and it actually works better.

T: I saw your TEDx Talk at North Central College, and you summarized that by saying, “Be who you are.” Could you expound upon that a little bit?
RD: It was about — figure out what your deepest, most cherished values are and live those values. To figure out what your truest values are is the times you’ve failed them. Because, when you fail one of your deepest-held values, you feel like garbage. Think about the times you were really disappointed in yourself, and use those moments to realize what you hold most dear. For me, standing up for the vulnerable is one of my most inherent core values. And every time I’ve failed to do that, I’ve lost a little bit of me. It’s not just about being who you are, it’s about figuring out what are your most cherished values and live that to the fullest.

Book Review: ‘Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America’

31 05 2018

Is there a conspiracy to keep cash from the common folk? Or does it just seem like it? In her book, “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America,” author Nancy MacLean describes the division of dollars between the haves and have-nots to the detriment of democracy. She was recently at the Greenwood Senior Center as part of the Town Hall lecture series, and there was an interesting age range of people present for the hourlong talk. The subject matter of the book, along with its academic language, appealed to a very specific demographic, though the unfortunate truth is all U.S. residents are affected.

In “Democracy In Chains,” MacLean draws a connection between billionaires, politicians and the practice of law in America and how all of it is weighted heavily toward the side of property owners using ideals that were in place when slavery was still legal. She is a professor of history and public policy at Duke University and author of four other books. She has researched how Nobel Prize-winning economist James Buchanan’s legal interpretations are used in a way that has eroded many of the checks and balances put into place by the original writers of the U.S. Constitution.

Colgate Darden, the president of the University of Virginia, hired Buchanan in the mid-1950s to plan a legal strategy for states to defend against the recent Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education. The Brown case established that separate schools for Black and White students were inherently unequal, and thus unconstitutional. But Buchanan and Darden’s concern was for states’ rights, because they feared states would lose much of the authority they previously enjoyed. Though the intention was merely to protect the Southern way of life, which happened to include the oppression and slavery of others, the phrases “individual liberty” and “economic liberty” began to be applied only to ownership of property as opposed to actual individuals. It is through the bureaucratic tangle of law that MacLean provides an excellent narrative on how the subtle changes in perception of law led to a difference in practice and enforcement of law.

Buchanan was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics in 1986 for his work in building the Public Choice Theory of political economics. He called the theory “politics without romance” because he said promises made in politics are intended to appear concerned with the interest of others, but in reality are the products of selfish ulterior motives. Political decisions, by politicians and by voters, are rarely made with the intention of helping anyone except the one making the decision.

It is rather obvious that to alter the perception and practice of law, altering the perception and practice of lawyers is an essential step. Through the members of groups like Mount Perelin and the Cato Institute, pairs of lawyers were invited to lectures and conventions that outlined the interpretation of law, which would provide the leverage for states’ rights to resist federal rulings as unconstitutional. The Koch family financially backed these events, and they have funded many of the institutes that utilize Libertarian philosophy and Buchanan’s ideas in their practices, including the Center for Study of Public Choice, The Institute for Humane Studies and the Reason Foundation.

There is a Bob Marley song that parallels the road paved by Buchanan’s ideas and the theme that MacLean draws out in the book. “Slave Driver” includes the phrase “only to be chained in poverty, good God I think it’s illiteracy,” which was an actual fear of property owners when federal laws removed polling taxes ­— that illiterate voters would outnumber the conservative constituency. The lines could also be a reference to the fact that many U.S. citizens are unaware of what the laws would actually mean for their lifestyle when enacted. Over and over again, these economists are faced with the task of getting laws passed that they know the majority of people would disagree with if they were not implemented in a stealthy manner.

MacLean reveals an impelling narrative regarding how the Koch family — using the practice of law, properly placed propaganda and millions of dollars — has influenced the public perception of policies that had previously been able to withstand presidents from each party. Social Security, for example, is a successful program that millions of U.S. people rely on. Yet now, as privatization is talked about more and more, the ideals which were venerated when Social Security was enacted are being challenged. The unfortunate truth is that the dollars being used on global warming, economy and liberal business practices are working in the favor of corporations: In 2007 71 percent of Americans believed that fossil fuels altered the climate, and in 2011 only 44 percent held the same belief.

MacLean notes that the practices that the Koch networks are engaging in have been used before, most notably in Chile, where General Augusto Pinochet was involved in a coup that overthrew an elected government, and installed a junta which ruled in the name of economic liberty. The Chilean Constitution of Liberty is said to be virtually unamendable, and it is written essentially to protect economic liberty while restraining majority power. Curiously, Buchanan did not mention his involvement with the Chilean document in his resume afterward.

That a Nobel Laureate would be able to influence the Western world in such a manner, without most people being aware of how his agenda would affect personal liberty, not just economic liberty, is a scary story indeed. MacLean’s “Democracy in Chains” demonstrates that the stealth plan that the right has used may actually be too far gone to reverse.

Real Change

29 05 2018

Those of you keeping up will notice it has been a few months since I have updated the blog, I will keep things going for a while starting today. I am being published! A review of Nancy MacLean’s book ‘Democracy in Chains,’ will be published in The Real Change newspaper tomorrow! I believe it will also be online at so take a look.

There are a lot of things going on in the world these days, and I am happy to be a part, Real Change takes time, big changes are happening. Stay tuned to for more writing.

Thanks again!

Wonderful World

30 08 2017


Have you watched the video? Louis Armstrong! Amazing as the melody is, the lyrics are also an incredible insight. Unlike Hendrix’s Axis Bold As Love, Louis does not provide chakra correlations for each of the colors as they are presented in the song, however, in the second rhyme of the first quatrain, the lyrical statement speaks to true alignment of the chakras: ‘I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do, They’re really saying I love you.’ Which, by most definitions of the sacred and the chakras, is the intention and point.

While he speaks to the logic and order, he is also speaking to the source and balance with the line ‘The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night,’ obviously, the music sets the tone for the song, a relaxing melody inspiring dreams, visions and summer time picnic baskets of happiness. Specially curious is the line ‘And I think to myself what a wonderful world,’ because while he is demonstrating happiness and positive thoughts, he is also illuminating that he is still essentially alone, so in spite of the ‘Wonderful World,’ and the happiness it provides, there seems to be no one to share it with.

While the last quatrain speaks of birth and generational knowledge, ‘I hear babies crying, I watch them grow, They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know,’  is it possible that the last lines of the song, essentially a duplicate suggest that the loneliness implied by ‘I think to myself,’ cannot be balanced by the colors of the rainbow, or the people going by? How much happier can one person be when all the information of the galaxy is at their fingertips, yet they are not allowing themselves the experience of being in the moment? Look at Louis expressions while he is singing ‘Wonderful World.’