HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY, AMERICA


I missed Canada Day by a few days. So here’s wishing all you Americans out there a happy Fourth of July. The earliest Fourth of July I have any clear memory of was probably 1973 or ’74 in Nairobi. We went to the American embassy — the same one that al Quaeda blew up many year later — and hung out with bunches of other American ex-pats who lived in Kenya at the time. My mom and dad weren’t much for hanging out exclusively with other Americans, as were many of the Americans who lived there. So I can’t remember ever seeing any of those people again. But they had fireworks and watermelon and hot dogs. I remember learning that the closest equivalent to a hot dog you could get in Kenya was a Vienna sausage and that they were not pre-cooked as were the ones you got in the States. So you couldn’t just go into the ‘fridge, grab a hot dog and eat it cold.

When I lived in Japan I never bothered with any of the Fourth of July celebrations put on by the embassy. I tended to avoid contact with most Americans living there since they were generally kind of disgusting people. Loud, obnoxious, drunk. Wooo-hoooo!!! Look at me!!!! I can drink beer on the street and make a lot of noise!!!!!! Nobody stops me!!!!! Yacccccchhhhhhhh!!!!

Not my kind of crowd, really.

The Fourth of July before I went to Japan, which must’ve been 1992, I was attacked on the street for no reason. That kinda made me decide it was time to get out of the country.

Today I’m s’posta go to my friend Greg’s swimming pool in North Hollywood and hang around. That sounds like fun.

When I went to Japan I was completely disgusted with the USA and wanted nothing to do with it ever again. Now I don’t feel like that. The USA has some good points. For one thing you can eat hot dogs right out of the ‘fridge. Though I don’t eat hot dogs anymore and I guess it wouldn’t matter if you ate a raw soy dog anyway.

Interesting diff between Japan and America: In Japan, fireworks displays are an on-going thing all Summer long. Sometimes they’re tied in with holidays like O-bon. But sometimes they just decide to have one on some random weekend night. But over here we only do fireworks on one particular day.

The graphic today is from a CD I bought yesterday by a local Los Angeles experimental duo called “ing”. Apparently they put out a new CD every month. I love the cover of this one and bought it having no idea what the music would be like. I still haven’t listened to it.

41 Responses

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  1. Mysterion
    Mysterion July 4, 2007 at 12:20 pm | |

    A tax cut caused the Revolution!
    Everything was relatively peaceful until 1773. The British East India Company (a large Multi-National Corporation) was seeing profits squeezed, partially due to competition. The East India Company convinced Parliament to refund the duty tax on the tea to the East India Company, thus enabling them to charge less for their product than their Dutch competitors. Unfair competition!

    So Americans threw the Brits, their Multi-National Corporation, their Church, and the Loyalists OUT!!!

    Happy forth of July!

  2. keishin.ni
    keishin.ni July 4, 2007 at 2:25 pm | |

    rich white guys didn’t want to pay taxes
    that was then
    still holds true
    back then their ‘reasoning’ was No Taxation without Representation

    I say I don’t mind giving money to help fund services that benefit us all–I just want to be able to choose which of the many possible places it might go to.

    I say No Taxation without Designation!!

    I’ll list my choices by priority, and by percentage of my tax total. Let’s all do that, what do you think?
    It’s an effective way to vote with our dollars: It wouldn’t take that long for the things we really want to be fully funded.

    We just have to designate where we want that hard earned money of ours to go when Uncle Sam takes that slice out of our pie.

    The power of the purse strings!

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous July 4, 2007 at 2:28 pm | |

    can’t help but notice there is something veddy veddy different about the blog visuals

    could it be the dinosaur that bit the hand that preceeded it??

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous July 4, 2007 at 2:29 pm | |

    yup
    it’s dinos all the way down!

  5. Jinzang
    Jinzang July 4, 2007 at 2:51 pm | |

    Since it’s the anniversary of the American Revolution, I thought it would be appropriate to quote another revolutionary, Karl Marx:

    Catch a man a fish, and you can sell it to him. Teach a man to fish, and you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.

    I’m back from a computer conference last week and it confirms what I think is the difference between a good and bad teacher. A bad teacher will tell you all about the fish they’ve caught. A good teacher will tell you how to catch a fish yourself.

  6. Mysterion
    Mysterion July 4, 2007 at 3:17 pm | |

    Your quote is from GROUCHO Marx. He also said: “If it weren’t for electricity we’d all be watching television by candlelight.”

  7. Grace
    Grace July 4, 2007 at 4:37 pm | |

    This isn’t really relevant to the post at hand, but I just wanted to say that I was excited when I ran into Borders yesterday to escape a rainstorm and found several copies of your new book up on the shelf.

    I honestly wasn’t really expecting you to write another book after Hardcore Zen, so I was definitely greeted by a colorful surprise. I’m about 50 pages in so far and I definitely feel like it was a worthy followup.

  8. Jinzang
    Jinzang July 4, 2007 at 4:58 pm | |

    I should know better than to trust what I read on the Internet. My apologies.

  9. Anonymous
    Anonymous July 4, 2007 at 5:15 pm | |

    jinzang….. :)

  10. some guy from new jersey

    I must say the American experiment, truly revolutionary at the time, needs an overhaul today.

    The consent of the people, to be governed , has been turned over to the few, political quasi-corporations that we call parties and their lobbying, pocket-lining, what can you do for me members.

    The rest of “us” watch from the sidelines hoping that our furrowed brows and blog posts will catch their notice and that “they” will have a sudden turn of heart and actually represent us and our best interests.

    >end of rant.

  11. Anonymous
    Anonymous July 4, 2007 at 6:57 pm | |

    some guy – do something besides worry.

  12. Imperatrix
    Imperatrix July 4, 2007 at 7:03 pm | |

    Happy Fourth of July, dollinks! As far as I can tell, no place near Sherman Oaks is doing fireworks tonight, so I think I’m just gonna have some iced tea and pizza and watch a movie with the husband. Hope you all enjoy your evenings!

  13. Mysterion
    Mysterion July 4, 2007 at 7:06 pm | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Marc Keen
    Marc Keen July 4, 2007 at 7:38 pm | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. ramenzuki
    ramenzuki July 4, 2007 at 7:39 pm | |

    getting ready myself to enjoy me some fireworks here in Japan and maybe a tofu-dog..i must say the fireworks here KICK ARSE. And right on point with the loud obnoxious Americans over here, but some are not so annoying. I find drunk Australians to be much more so, albiet funnier!

  16. Anonymous
    Anonymous July 4, 2007 at 9:27 pm | |

    *Happy* Independence Day?

    We’re still being oppressed by
    a King George.

    Too bad Tom Paine isn’t still
    around. I miss him.

    “Flowers, while loved, fall;
    weeds, while hated, flourish.”

  17. Anonymous
    Anonymous July 4, 2007 at 9:46 pm | |

    “We’re still being oppressed by a King George.”

    For sure. Pardoning criminals (Libby); tearing up subpeonas, torturing people while a milquetoast Congress sighs heavily and looks cross. Thye can’t seem to even impeach Gonzo, who is disliked even by Republicans.

    And, across “the pond” truly evil psychopaths try to blow up London so their leaders can destabilize (further) the Middle East and grab that Black Gold everybody seems willing to fight to the death over….

    My local 4th celebrations are very low key, and non-”Rah-Rah”. I had a good day

  18. Anonymous
    Anonymous July 4, 2007 at 9:49 pm | |

    For those unhappy with American
    policy both foreign and domestic,

    Endless War against manufactured
    enemies and Homeland Security
    curtailment of civil liberties,

    9/11 is the lynchpin holding the
    whole damned thing together.

    Get to the truth and it all falls
    apart.

    “Sentient beings are numberless,
    I vow to save them all.”

  19. door knob
    door knob July 5, 2007 at 1:50 am | |

    What is Independence Day? Is that the American version of Canada Day? (A little inside joke that Canadians might appreciate.)

    BTW, if your forefathers had just waited 90 years, they would have received their independence without a fight just like my Canadian forefathers. Word is that the Brits couldn’t leave fast enough because they were bored with our terminal blandness.

  20. Anonymous
    Anonymous July 5, 2007 at 2:09 am | |

    to the anon conspiracists.
    go to

    http://forums.randi.org/forumdisplay.php?f=64

    and debate them there. remember to provide real evidence and answer questions properly. have fun

  21. other
    other July 5, 2007 at 2:46 am | |

    “The Fourth of July before I went to Japan, which must’ve been 1992, I was attacked on the street for no reason. “

    Was this the same incident where you were attacked on the street and knew somehow that you were the cause?

  22. Blake
    Blake July 5, 2007 at 7:01 am | |

    Watched Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II last night. My fiance kept yelling, “YESSSSSSSS!” at the awesomeness that is Mechagodzilla. But then she started “awwwww”ing because poor Godzilla only wanted her baby. And Rodan helps G! We can all learn a lesson there!

    HAPPY 4TH!

  23. Mysterion
    Mysterion July 5, 2007 at 7:20 am | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Jared
    Jared July 5, 2007 at 12:20 pm | |

    >>Anon:

    And, across “the pond” truly evil psychopaths try to blow up London so their leaders can destabilize (further) the Middle East and grab that Black Gold everybody seems willing to fight to the death over….

    It couldn’t possibly be that the Big Wig Richy-McRich countries who divided up the Middle East (and Africa, coincidentally) might be the cause of atleast some of the social unrest…No, it’s got to be that those damned fundamentalist Muslims are starting trouble because they’re greedy. Yeah that’s it. Forget fueds older than the Bible, it’s definitely oil!

    If we spent more time and money helping the homeless, starving, and illiterate in America instead of killing the homeless, starving, and illiterate in Iraq then we might be in a better place to play Global Police. But as it stands now we’re traveling the world slapping dictators on the wrist for wanting to join in the arms race that we began and continue to perpetuate.

    -Jared

    P.S. According to Bush, the USA isn’t a free country!

    “Free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don’t attack each other. Free nations don’t develop weapons of mass destruction.”

    -G.W. Bush

    Good point, George. Especially coming from the President of the only country to ever use an atomic bomb on the enemy during wartime.

  25. Anonymous
    Anonymous July 5, 2007 at 1:03 pm | |

    @brads post:

    im still kinda disturbed with this hilarious 80s straight edge attitude that brad utters every now and then.

    goth chique pr0n = THAT OK!
    beer = EVUL!

    if it fits well with lay buddhism for him – “right on”, spoke the zealot…

    i guess its just HIS story and HIS getting over something. different story for different people, no?

  26. Mysterion
    Mysterion July 5, 2007 at 1:12 pm | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Mysterion
    Mysterion July 5, 2007 at 1:23 pm | |

    Hasegawa Yutaka is another “red thread” fan. Read his Haiku at:
    http://www.worldhaiku.net/poetry.htm

    I’m uncertain about your training, but you are getting a glimpse of an education here.

  28. Blake
    Blake July 6, 2007 at 7:43 am | |

    Sex is more natural than walking upright but nobody ever tells you to stop doing that.

  29. Anonymous
    Anonymous July 6, 2007 at 9:29 am | |

    “But as it stands now we’re traveling the world slapping dictators on the wrist for wanting to join in the arms race that we began and continue to perpetuate.”

    i’d change that to ‘But as it stands now we’re traveling the world smackin fools upside the head just for living’

  30. Anonymous
    Anonymous July 6, 2007 at 9:30 am | |

    also dont bring nature into any argument. ever

  31. Blake
    Blake July 6, 2007 at 10:51 am | |

    you walk too much

  32. Anonymous
    Anonymous July 6, 2007 at 1:16 pm | |

    i didnt invent old-school buddhist ethics with celibacy and stuff. i didnt make it up either.

    funny though people tend to claim:

    a) forget about the dont-shag regulations with theravadins. it’s not neccesary today. and would sooo hard, knick knack…

    b) but be 100% dedicated with refrainin from meat and booze, that was meant serious by buddha himself, really!! EVUUUL!

    i ask you: have you ever tried to refrain from sex for 90 days (self-relief included)? its not everybodys piece of cake but to pretend it doesnt have any effect on you would be untrue.

    alcohol and drugs a lot of shit with you, but so do lying, being nasty to people, materialism, greed, anger, envy etc.

    i always find the same: zealots everywhere stick with the easy stuff (veganism and no alc) and skip the hard stuff… it’s so easy to blame other people for breaking superficial rules…

    damn, not blaming other people was also some rule. *grin*

  33. Mysterion
    Mysterion July 6, 2007 at 3:02 pm | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. Jared
    Jared July 7, 2007 at 6:39 am | |

    >>Anony

    The precepts, which you’re referring to, are meant as guidelines to avoid situations that pretty much always generate suffering for you or others. They aren’t commandments, and sometimes it is the right thing to do NOT to follow them. As for your issue with people following the “easy” precept of not drinking while ignoring the one about boning, that’s not really the case. The precepts in question are to 1.) Abstain from intoxication and 2.)Abstain from misusing sexuality.

    They aren’t absolutes. There is nothing wrong with a Buddhist taking her boyfriend out to dinner, having a glass of wine, then going back to their apartment and playing walk-the-midget with his cigar-vendor. The precepts reflect the over-all message of Buddhism, and that’s the MIDDLE WAY. Drinking is fine, so long as you don’t get so plastered that you make shitty decisions. Sex is fine, so long as you don’t get so obsessed with it that you make shitty decisions. It’s all about moderation.

    Also, different things are easier and harder for different people. I have a hard time not drinking because I used to have an alcohol problem. I find it much easier not to slander than I do not to get fucked up. So watch what you call easy, please ! :-) We’ve all got our struggles

    >>Mysterion

    We also share about 50% of our genes with bananas, so don’t get too excited.

  35. Anonymous
    Anonymous July 7, 2007 at 11:45 am | |

    @jared, thanks for ya post

    i agree with you. i was provocative indeed.

    i recall a talk to a buddhist nun about wine. she said that its generally bad. i asked her how drinking no wine could be a middle may. she said “the middle way is only a state of mind”. and i was not relating to being totally drunk every other day.

    must be the same like the old-school tradition of eating only one meal a day, having no possesions, well read the whole vinaya pitaka… and THEN calling that non-ascetic and middle way. ROFL. yes, compared to starving yaself to death and cutting your limbs it is probably luxury…

    individual results may vary -addiction shows in many ways. i have friends with alcohol problems. i do understand. i apologize for my “easy” statement.

    but jared, so you give buddhism a new interpretation. thats beautiful. so do i. but is this the buddhist tradition anymore?

    how can i help people if i dont know and live at the dark sides of the world? i have to avoid to get sucked in personally, YES INDEED, but i have to sleep with the devil.
    saving pretentious holy people is a job for lazy moralists. theyd better go watch the life earth stream and pay for co2 indulgence.

    didnt jesus and gotama focus on the bums, criminals, and whores?

    nil humanum alienum est mihi

    nothing human is alien to me

  36. Anonymous
    Anonymous July 7, 2007 at 5:02 pm | |

    “i didnt invent old-school buddhist ethics with celibacy and stuff. i didnt make it up either.

    funny though people tend to claim:

    a) forget about the dont-shag regulations with theravadins. it’s not neccesary today. and would sooo hard, knick knack…

    b) but be 100% dedicated with refrainin from meat and booze, that was meant serious by buddha himself, really!! EVUUUL!

    i ask you: have you ever tried to refrain from sex for 90 days (self-relief included)? its not everybodys piece of cake but to pretend it doesnt have any effect on you would be untrue.

    alcohol and drugs a lot of shit with you, but so do lying, being nasty to people, materialism, greed, anger, envy etc.

    i always find the same: zealots everywhere stick with the easy stuff (veganism and no alc) and skip the hard stuff… it’s so easy to blame other people for breaking superficial rules…

    damn, not blaming other people was also some rule. *grin* “

    wait…. what was you point? seriously

  37. Jared
    Jared July 8, 2007 at 7:05 am | |

    >>Anony

    but jared, so you give buddhism a new interpretation. thats beautiful. so do i. but is this the buddhist tradition anymore?

    There are millions of people who practice something they call Buddhism but that has nothing to do with what Gotama Buddha supposedly taught. Is that the Buddhist tradition? Who knows. Who cares? Call what I practice Buddhism, call it anything you like. The practice is what is important, not the name.

    Also, what Gotama taught wasn’t messianic, it was proselytistic. The difference being that the former intends to save while the latter intends to inform. The way you can help people, Anony, is by sitting. As cheesey as it sounds, you gotta be like The Shadow: “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” Buddhists do! You don’t have to sleep with the devil because all that’s “good” and “evil” with the world is inside every human being. Once you see it in yourself you can know better how to help others with it.

    Jesus taught to those that society rejected. Buddha taught to anyone who would listen.

  38. Anonymous
    Anonymous July 8, 2007 at 8:31 am | |

    @jared:

    i dont know if we really differ, but anyway i enjoy your statements.

    not being part of a self-identifying tradition makes it harder to get summarized within the terms of buddhism after all.
    i guess i should stop refering to buddha after all, still i refer to the scriptures every now and then.

    i feel a little puzzled that you imply i dont sit or dont know what its merits (or whatever super-non-dualistic readers will call it) are, but anyway, i agree also in this regard.

    there is no objection to what you say, its just meaning you give to my words that might sound like a conflict. sleeping with the devil is exactly what you are talking about. metaphors. symbols. words.

    still, i dwell in rotten cadavers and drink whiskey with them. am i free to call that buddhism?

    no historian battle, but both religion founders had both, people out of society and from within.

  39. Jared
    Jared July 8, 2007 at 7:40 pm | |

    >>Anon

    You can call whatever you want Buddhism. We call my uncle Larry and his name is actually Todd. But that doesn’t make him Larry. Or, to get metaphysical, because society dictates what is and what isn’t (in the eyes of the people in that society), it DOES make him Larry, but it does not change the truth of his being. Shuh-SHAW!

    I wasn’t trying to imply that you don’t sit, or that you don’t know the benefits of it. I was just saying that you don’t need to go out on a mission to help other people. It starts with you.

  40. Anonymous
    Anonymous July 9, 2007 at 12:57 am | |

    not go out and help other people…
    is that what the boddhisattva ideal is about?

    yes, it starts with me, but i didnt chose the cave so there is interaction with the world. i cant deny social implication of my practice.

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