Monday, August 31, 2015





Gun control doesn't mean taking guns from gun owners.  It doesn't mean that we shouldn't own guns to protect our home or hunt or shoot competition.   It means that no civilian needs to own military type weapons or guns with extended clips.   It means that background checks would keep a lot of violent and crazy people from purchasing guns and ammunition.  

No one really needs to be packing an AK-47 into a restaurant, store or other public place where it will intimidate people.

What we see now is not sensible gun ownership, but people on the down side of the IQ curve open carrying weapons for attention.  

I own weapons.  I was on the the US Navy Pistol Team and am probably more skilled with a pistol than most.  

I am not scared of terrorist; I am not scared to go downtown unarmed; I am scared as hell when I see some functional retard with a pistol on his belt or a rifle on his shoulder at some public venue.   

The Second Amendment was written when there was no standing army and it was necessary to call up a militia when the need arose; and each citizen soldier was expected to provide his own weapon. 

We now have a standing military and military reserves, and an armed militia is no longer necessary.

The Second Amendment needs to be redefined.

We now have these soldier wannabees, these military ass sniffers that are too insecure to actually join the military and place themselves in harms way; so they dress up and play militia. You talk about keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill - these people occupy that grey area just this side of rational.

It is not guns that kill people
It is people that kill people
People with guns.

the Ol'Buzzard        


Buddhism is more than meditating.

Here in the west we hold ideas of how things ought to be and how we ought to live.  We are constantly at war with our environment trying to make everything fit into our desired outcome – and when we fall short, which we most often do, we carry the stress of failed expectations.

We hold a fixed idea of who we are and how we want to be perceived.   But there is no fixed I or Ego because everything changes – new causes produce new effects. 

One and the same human being is, at various ages, under various circumstances, a totally different human being.
Solzhenitsyn:  The Gulag Archipelago

The Buddha realized that most often people were carrying stress, and that this stress prevented them from appreciating the refreshing taste of cool water – the beauty of a young girl – or the satisfying taste of rice (his awakening.)   

Buddha also realized that the stress is most often self-inflicted.   He addressed this in The Four Noble Truths.

The Four Noble Truths

1.     Duhkha*: Life is often like a wheel out of kilter. We are constantly dissatisfied.    We feel we have to fight for control.   We move from one crisis to the next – reacting – never satisfied with our outcome. 
2.     Our dissatisfaction originates from our own expectations and desires.
3.     By focusing on, and being content in the present, instead of fantasizing on future or the past, we can alleviate much of our dissatisfaction.  
4.    The Eight Fold Path is the Buddha’s teaching – a suggested path toward a fulfilling and contented life.
*(Spelled Duhkha in Buddhism Plain and Simple; spelled Dukha in The Essence of Zen; spelled Dukkha in Intro to Buddha – and probably other spellings.   There are four major sects of Buddhism: Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana and Zen; this probably creates confusions in spellings and definitions.  It is the concept that is important.)


1.    RIGHT VIEW:  accepting the way your world is, though not necessarily the way you would like it to be.  Understanding that nothing is static and everything is changing. 
2.    RIGHT INTENTION: address each problem in your life with resolve; but always choosing the noble path – you instinctively know what is right and what is wrong: for the good of all – unselfish centered.
3.      RIGHT SPEECH: speak the truth; but never to injure.
4.     RIGHT ACTION: act from a clear mind, not from preconceptions or prejudices.  
5.     RIGHT LIVELYHOOD: we should strive to choose an occupation that benefits others, and one that satisfies our needs; but we should apply ourselves in whatever endeavor we occupy.
6.    RIGHT EFFORT: live in the NOW.
7.    RIGHT MINDFULNESS: conscious of how we are actually engaged in the world from moment to moment.
8.    RIGHT MEDITATION: practice zazen regularly

Notice that the Buddha does not give commandments – there is no ‘thou shall not…’   These are the Buddha’s suggestions – his clarity.

Buddhism is not a belief system.  It is not about accepting beliefs or following rituals.   It is about seeing the world clearly.  

It is said that at his death the Buddha told his followers ‘Look not for refuge to anyone beside yourself.’    

the Ol’Buzzard

Saturday, August 29, 2015

George Bush visits New Orleans on the anniversary of Katrina.  


You have to ask yourself where was Hell Of A Job Browny?

Jezus: how can they show their face after the disastrous eight years - and even more unbelievable Bush and his minions were voted in for a second term.  

American exceptionalism - that is an oxymoron.  
the Ol'Buzzard


Meditation is the vehicle of Zen.

When I attended a Zen teaching I realized that meditation was not being practiced as a refreshing reset of the mind but an endurance sport.  My legs went to sleep, my butt ached and my back hurt.  It was a grand effort to keep my mind empty while my body was expected to remain in a stress position.   After what seemed an eternity we hobbled up and did walking meditation around the room and then back to the torture.  

It is said that during Japanese Zen meditation in monasteries Zen masters walk around with bamboo canes and whip the backs of neophytes that are flagging in their meditation zeal.

I can’t believe that this is what the Buddha expected.  

The Buddha’s awakening was that cold water from a well was delightful and refreshing; that a young girl was beautiful and that simple rice tasted delicious.

After searching for the meaning of life the Buddha realized that the meaning had always been surrounding him, but he had been too distracted to see.   Being alive is being in the moment and the ability to put aside distraction and enjoy the Now. 

Meditation helps us to control distractive thoughts and to focus the mind.   There are monkeys in our minds and they swing from tree to tree and constantly chatter.   Through meditation we can learn to calm the monkeys and take control of our own thoughts.

Joan Sutherland said it best in This Floating World: “Awakening is not a destination and meditation is not a bus ride.”

Meditation is simply a tool to empty your mind and relax your body – to empty your thought process so that subsequently you can focus on the present without distractions from the past, or the future or fantasies of how you would like things to be. 

Zen meditation is known as Zazen.

Zazen aims to develop the individual’s power of concentration.

  1. Find a quiet pleasant place to meditate.
  2. Provide a cushion or pillow to raise your butt allowing you to comfortably cross your legs in front of you.
  3. I place one hand in the other in my lap with thumbs touching (I find that after practicing this a while it becomes an automatic indicator to the mind that it is time for meditation.)
  4. I prefer to close my eyes at the beginning and begin focusing on my breathing while consciously relaxing my body, but at the same time keeping an upright posture.
  5. Some people count their breaths but I find that distracting; I prefer to visualize the air going into my lungs and then expelling.  I visualize this process over and over while slowing down the breaths as the body relaxes.  
  6. The monkeys will try to run through your mind and distract you with random thoughts.  When this happens you don’t give them pride of place, but refocus on your breath. 
  7. You might start with five minutes; but stop if you become uncomfortable – you can increase time with practice
  8. When you are done, sit for a few moments and continue to regulate your breathing while you look around – come out peacefully.

“A thought rises.  A thought last awhile. A thought goes away.   What a relief it is when every passing thought or reaction doesn’t automatically take pride of place, doesn’t need us to bend the world according to its whim”     Joan Sutherland

I can have my blood pressure taken, then place my hands together with thumbs touching and clear my mind and have the blood pressure taken again, and it will have dropped at least ten points.

Meditation works in the moment to calm you; but with constant practice it helps your ability to stay focused on the activity and surrounding of each moment. 

The beauty of life, the meaning of life is happening in the present moment if you can only take the time to see it. 

the Ol’Buzzard  

Thursday, August 27, 2015



We modern day humans are the human equivalent of an asteroid strike.  We have fouled the atmosphere, acidified the oceans, deforested the rain forest and introduced invasive species around the world to the result that humankind will, at some point in the not so distant future, pay the price.

Excerpt from Los Angeles Times article: 
Ancestral Diet Gone Toxic

By Marla Cone

The arctic Inuit are being contaminated by pollution borne north by winds and concentrated as it travels up the food chain

About 200 hazardous compounds, which migrate from industrialized regions and accumulate in ocean-dwelling animals, have been detected in the inhabitants of the far north.

The bodies of Arctic people, particularly Greenland's Inuit, contain the highest human concentrations of industrial chemicals and pesticides found anywhere on Earth -- levels so extreme that the breast milk and tissues of some Greenlanders could be classified as hazardous waste.

1987, Dr. Eric Dewailly, an epidemiologist at Laval University in Quebec, was surveying contaminants in breast milk of mothers near the industrialized, heavily polluted Gulf of St. Lawrence when he met a midwife from Nunavik, the Arctic portion of Quebec province. She asked whether he wanted to gather milk samples from women there.

Dewailly reluctantly agreed, thinking it might be useful as "blanks," samples with nondetectable pollution levels.

A few months later, the first batch of samples from Nunavik -- glass vials holding a half-cup of milk from each of 24 women -- arrived by air mail at the lab in Quebec.   Dewailly soon got a phone call from the lab director. Something was wrong with the Arctic milk. The chemical concentrations were off the charts. The peaks overloaded the lab's equipment, running off the page. The technician thought the samples must have been tainted in transit.   Upon checking more breast milk, the scientists soon realized that the peaks were, in fact, accurate: The Arctic mothers had seven times more PCBs in their milk than mothers in Canada's biggest cities.

It is one thing to be ignorant; it is another to be Georgia Republican Paul Broun and head the House Science, Space and Technology Committee in Congress.    

What hope is there to avoid the Sixth Extenction?
the Ol'Buzzard


Coming out of sleep I lay in bed
The fan blowing a gentle breeze across my body
I kicked off the covers and stretched
I cleared my mind from monkey dreams
And listened to the quietness of the house

I have been to a Zen sangha – a Buddhist teaching community – and have read extensively; and one lie that is promulgated throughout, is that it is necessary to have a physical teacher in order to achieve enlightenment – to become a Buddhist.
Buddhism, and in particularly Zen, in its most basic teachings is not about teachers or chants (Koan), not about robes, bells, whistles, icons or timed meditation.   Buddhism is simply a path to help a person achieve contentment by appreciating every conscious waking moment; and Zen is a path to achieve that consciousness through meditation.

The Buddha found enlightenment by himself and each of us have a Buddha nature.  When we are seeking a more contented nature me can distill Buddhist writings and lectures to a basic path that fits our own individual needs.
Christianity became a religion in 325 AD at the council of Nicea (Nicaea) when men decided that Jesus was a god, and what writings would compose the bible, and what the laws and teachings should be.

Likewise after the death of the Buddha, men who had been explaining the simple concept of achieving contentment through focusing on the beauty of the Now, began adding trappings and rituals and requirements that was not the intent of the Buddha.   Teachers venerate themselves, they set themselves up as somehow superior to us – again not the intent of the Buddha. 

If you are interested in alleviating stress and living a more conscious life I would suggest you read Buddhist materials – but not take them as gospel.

 In my opinion, the best Buddhist (Zen) teachings, the most distilled and easiest practiced and understood can be found in two books by Steve Hagen:  Buddhism Plain and Simple and Buddhism Is Not What You Think.
Buddhism is not about beliefs and practices… it is not a religion.   It is about the teachings of awakening – about examining the world clearly.
Steve Hagen

The Ol’Buzzard

Wednesday, August 26, 2015



How many times I have come back
The crazy world
I find myself wandering in a forest of anxiety
Dashing about in frustration
Seeing no way out
Never noticing the path I am standing on
And the beauty of the trees around me.  

This morning I got up, did some stretches, weights, and then meditated for five minutes.
I have fallen away from the beauty and contentment of the path less traveled, and become lost among the masses that trod the well-worn road that inevitably leads to anxiety and discontent ((Duhkha.)

I am over the hump of my seventies and seem to be aimless.   I am reacting instead of acting; I am focusing on things I have no ability to change; the stream of the world is flowing by around my ankles and I am stomping at the waves; I have lost my mindfulness – and it is time to return…  to Zen.

It is not a distant journey; it is only one step.
As I move back to mindfulness, I will post the journey.  

Zen reminds us that if we don’t see the beauty and mystery of our present life – our present moment; it is unlikely we will live in the beauty of any moment of life.

NOW is holy

the Ol’Buzzard

Sunday, August 23, 2015


It’s Deja’vu all over again.

A news commentator this morning used the old phrase ‘history repeats itself.’  Actually history does not repeat itself, except perhaps in some parallel universe. 
The thing that does repeat itself – the thing that never changes - creating the same or similar outcomes - is the persistent nature of mankind.
Man is a pack animal.   We gather and identify and organize in bigotous (if that is not a word it should be) units of family, religion, race, politics, nationality, nationalism…    We join together with people like us, with people that think like us, and our group becomes an avatar – a group or mob incarnation with all the attributes of its human members. 

The attributes of man never change; thus the attributes or our avatars never change.   We believe in our own righteousness and our rightness in all things.  We are self-centered, insensitive, self-absorbed, bigoted and prone to violence.   In our group are war like, distrustful, and are capable of justifying the most heinous actions for the better good.   We believe we act for ‘the better good’ - and the better good is whatever we define it to be.

However, technology changes dragging us along with it.  Transportation improves, communication improves, longevity improves and weapons improve….    But all of this is in the hands of our various avatars – and our avatars never change.
History does not repeat itself; but our avatars use the new tools in the same old ways producing new situations but always with similar outcomes.

Thus we say history repeats itself.

the Ol’Buzzard

Friday, August 21, 2015


Today on my way back from the veterinary after an appointment for our cat, I was behind a truck with a sticker in the back window proclaiming Adam and Eve – Not Adam and Steve. 

That is self-centered ignorance on so many different levels, not the least of which is, that decisions people make in their personal life that don’t affect you are really none of your business; but also, Adam and Eve – Really?

If you want to go back to the original mother of the human race it would be more appropriate to name Lucy than Eve.  Our original mother was more than likely a young female Australopithecus africanus walking the savanna of central Africa with a small harry bipedal baby suckling at her breast

 – not a beautiful pale white naked female talking to a snake under an apple tree in a make believe garden.

Sometimes it is necessary for a whole generation of self-appointed, ignorant, holier than thou bigots to die out before humanity can advance.
the Ol’Buzzard


One wittle wee wee - every mouse has a weenie - if we could catch a little mouse we could see some little feet too!

the Ol'Buzzard

Thursday, August 20, 2015


We has a large old farmhouse in Kentucky, and when we moved back to Maine we wanted to pare down.  We bought a small post and beam camp in the rural western Maine mountains.  

The camp was sitting on two huge spruce logs directly on the ground.  We had the house jacked up and a concrete pad with a two foot crawl space poured. 

There was an 8x14 porch on the back of the house and because porch weather is short in Maine we closed it in to add an additional room.   Part of the room I patrician for an extra closet for my wife.  We laid linoleum on the floor as the room makes an ideal entrance during snowy weather.   Now fifteen years later we were tired of looking at the linoleum pattern and decided on a new floor. 

We wanted something that looked good, something that was water resistant – and though we preferred real wood that wouldn’t work well when snow comes.  

We settled on allure Resilient floating flooring in a wood grain, which is water resistant and guaranteed for 25 years.  

The floor took me one day to lay and my wife and I are pleased with the results.   Winter will be the proof of the pudding. 

Of course, I knocked down one of the wall sconce lights when I took off the closet doors - so another trip to Home Depot for a new lamp is in order.

the Ol'Buzzard

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


“Vern, Vern, Vern when will you learn?”

Years ago I closed in a porch on the back of our house to make a mud room (porches are like swimming pools in western Maine – can only be used a short time.)    We had linoleum on the floor and both my wife and I were tired of looking at it. 

A visit to Home Depot’s flooring section down in Augusta showed us options.   After bringing home samples and watching videos on YouTube we decided on Allure Resillent Flooring.  This is a vinyl product that comes in board length and width with a wood finish and it carries a 25 year warranty. 

The videos show an ease of installing that looked simple and quick.   Lay down the strips and they glue themselves together.  

A 14x8 room: a piece of cake – a two hour installation – three max.   My wife laughed when I told her that, but what does she know about DYI?

Eight hours later I finished the installation – somewhat.  I still have one more strip to lay in the closet and quarter-round trim to install; but I just flat ran out of steam: I was tired after three hours and exhausted after six: my knees hurt, my legs hurt, my back hurts – easier to list what doesn’t hurt; but hell I am on the down side of seventies – that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it.   

I have got to say the actual installation wasn’t difficult.  Of course I measured twice and cut the first piece wrong.  The time consuming part was cutting the pieces to fit.  The tiring part was working on my hands and knees for eight hours.   

The installation, I must say, looks good.   However, there is a strong smell from either the vinyl or the glue strips – hopefully this will dissipate in a day or so. 

So far, I will say I am pleased with the results.   

The Ol’Buzzard

Monday, August 17, 2015


Politics, Democrats, Republicans, Socialist, Hillary, Bush, Trump, Fox News, Police Brutality, Black Lives Matter,  MSNBC, The Market, Isis, Iraq, Iran…   Give me a break.

Check out from the monkey brain and chill out.   Disconnect.

Pop popcorn, open a beer, enjoy a glass of whiskey, open a bottle of wine or just smoke a joint – and spend the next hour watching an old TV series:
Kolchak, the Night Stalker

You are welcome
the Ol'Buzzard

Saturday, August 15, 2015


I have a fairly fast computer but lately it seems it has been slowing down.

Yesterday I switched on the computer, brought up Internet Explorer and checked some of my regular sites.  After a few minutes a pop-up appeared that took up most of the screen.   It said there was a problem with my Microsoft programs.  The pop-up listed a telephone number to call and also asked me to click on a link promising to explain the problem.

I could not get rid of this pop-up even when I shut down and restarted the computer.

I noticed that my Norton virus icon was not showing on my desktop – so I called Norton.
It turns out this was a virus scam and I was well advised not to have called the 1-855 number or hit the button to open the link.
Norton fixed the problem for me in about fifteen minutes.
I have also been getting calls on my telephone from someone with an Indian accent identifying himself from Microsoft and stating that there is a problem on my computer with a Microsoft program.   I never engage with this caller – simply say I don’t accept non-solicited calls and hang up.

So be warned
The Ol’Buzzard


Thursday, August 13, 2015


Thanks to Nan's blog - ALL THE GOOD NAMES WERE TAKEN - I have rediscovered Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show.

Light up a joint if you have one, pop a beer, kick back and enjoy: because life is short and you shouldn't take things seriously.

I would love to be at this party.
the Ol'Buzzard

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


We are all of the same mentality, and the fact is we do get use to our own stink.
When we first got to Alaska my wife and I both smoked.   The Native kids would come over to the house and tell us ‘your house stinks.’   Native kids are refreshingly unabashed - they say what they think.

Our house was always clean, and at first we were somewhat resentful; because when we visited the Native houses there would be dried, smoked salmon on the counter, a chunk of moose quarter sitting on the floor in a cold corner of the room and perhaps muskrats being skinned in a tub in the kitchen floor.
It is the same thing in politics: our own opinions are reasonable and everybody who doesn’t agree with us is actually stupid or else conniving – looking out for themselves at the expense of others.

So where does that leave us?

I actually do believe that most people that vote Republican are on the down side of the IQ scale – or looking out for their own personal interest at the expense of others.
I know that what I think is true, because my shit doesn’t stink as much as everybody else’s.

the Ol’Buzzard

Monday, August 10, 2015


At 11:02 am on August 11, seventy years ago today, the United States dropped the second atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki, Japan killing 70,000 civilians of the 270,000 population. 

We easily call similar atrocities genocide, mass murder or terrorism.   In our case we search for justification for this slaughter claiming a high ground that it saved American lives, and we are always the good-guys – manifest destiny. 

We must remember the winners get to write the history; and it goes down as genocide if you are the looser but justifiable if you win

If you are logical you could see how some middle-eastern nation exploding nuclear weapons in New York and Chicago could use the same argument of justification that we use for Japan. 

 It is human to personalize a vendetta as justified when it might affect us.   My mother was a Navy Hospital Corpsman and a member of the very first group of Waves sent into a war zone in WW-II: she was deployed aboard a hospital ship in the Pacific; and my stepfather was in Pearl Harbor when it was bombed.  Their loss would have been traumatic for me but I cannot justify the mass extermination of almost a quarter of a million men, women and children (non-combatants) in an act of racial genocide perpetrated by my government. 

I do understand emotion and war time mentality; for in Vietnam I readily bought in to the notion of KILL’EM ALL AND LET GOD SORT IT OUT.


This is a poor statement for the human race that we are readily capable of looking for justification for the butchery of our own kind.  

the Ol'Buzzard

Saturday, August 8, 2015


I am a combat vet.  I know the kill or be killed mentality - I had it.   I was willing to kill women, children, old, young... if they posed a danger.  Kill'em all and let God sort it our.    Fortunately the necessity did not occur.

But: it doesn't make it right.

Between Hiroshima and Nagasaki the death tole of civilians - women, children, old people, babies, fathers, mothers, noncombatants - is estimated at 420,000 - nearly a half-million. 
And no birds sang!
We can't justify that.
Dropping these bombs was a crime against humanity...we get to write the history and we have tried to justify our actions - to white wash the carnage by claiming unknowable statistics as justification. There is no justification for mass murder of civilian populations.
the Ol'Buzzard

We cant justify this claiming we are always the good guys. 

What if Germany had had the bomb first and dropped it  on New York and Chicago?   It is a good bet that they would have used the same justification when they wrote the history.  


Thursday, August 6, 2015



For decades the Republican Party has placated Christian fundamentalist with platitudes and promises they had no intention of acting on.   The same can be said for the gun owners and militia obsessed – the Party found it easy to vote down gun restrictions and give them lip service.   They have also played to the racial prejudices of the white southerners. 

As a result, the Republican Party, the party of the wealthy and privileged, for years was able to manipulate these groups and lock in their vote.  

Then something happened in 2008 when a black democrat was elected President of the United States.   The Republican rank and file encouraged the hitherto silent majority of their party – the far right radicals and wingnuts – to organize and to become a vocal, visible, angry demonstration – the Tea Party – against what they viewed as liberalism gone too far.  

The thing that the GOP did not count on was their inability to put the genie back in the bottle.  

Once embolden, the inmates took over the asylum.    In 2012 the Tea Party Republicans fielded a clown car of wing nuts to run in that presidential election.   This year the leader of the Republican Party may end up being Donald You’re Fired Trump.

It is their Frankenstein monster and “It’s Alive.”

the Ol’Buzzard


At 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945 an American military bomber released an Atomic weapon on a civilian population.   The bomb detonated at 1900 feet above Hiroshima, Japan killing 140,000 of the 350,000 inhabitants.

Don't give me any shit a about ending the war early or collateral damage.   War is between military combatants.   An attack aimed at a civilian population is a war crime.  

Winners of wars get to write the history so you will not see this in a high school American or World history book.

A crime against humanity - but begs the question: are humans capable of humanity, or so egocentric that we can justify something as heinous as this.

Have a good day

the Ol'Buzzard