Monday, August 13, 2007

How should I say this?

==> I'm taking a sabbatical.
==> I'll be away on a quasi-vacation.
==> It's summertime, and I need some sun.
==> I'm bored with this blog format, and, besides, I need a break.
==> I've developed other interests... other than internet marketing.
==> I'm selfishly devoted to my own amusement.
==> I'll check back in when I'm ready.
==> See you soon!

I want to archive these posts and recover the comments in Word Press. The plug-ins I want to utilize are easier to install and implement than what I've found can be made useful in Blogger.

So there you have it.

BTW... I'm still somewhat active at Dallas For Ron Paul


Monday, July 02, 2007

Health Care Reform | Governance | Law | The Golden Rule

Charlie Green, in his web log, Trusted Advisor, has invited comments concerning health care and trust. As I like Charlie, and respect the insights he shares - not to mention, the good work he puts into the topic of trust in general - I've become a faithful reader of late.

Here's where you'll find Lark's latest comment - a rant really - which I posted in response to all the chatter related to our sick health care system and its need for reform.

I suspect Charlie likes my sometimes off-the-wall remarks, and I'm grateful he puts up with me. Likewise, I appreciate his digging deep into matters of trust, since I consider it one of the most worthwhile topics in the blogosphere.

And all of us have a voice in this debate regarding health care reform - beginning with that inner voice inside.

What follows is my response to Charlie's response to my rant - that I strike him as "a walking anti-ideologue" - one label I'll proudly wear as a badge of honor.


As it concerns governance and the rule of law we must be mindful of our individual concepts of free will and the needs of society as a whole.

This is, of course, quite a deft balancing act for mere mortals to achieve - in one lifetime, or from one generation to the next.

In law we have only universal, scientific and man-made laws to consider... followed by moral and ethical codes of behavior.

Reason dictates we employ critical thinking and basic logic to the best of our abilities, and strive to get along.

When any of these conflict with one another we must logically infer we have a problem demanding a more proper solution.

I grew up believing, rightly or wrongly, in The Golden Rule. In fact it's the only thing, in my view, worth remembering about the whole discussion surrounding religion.

We were born into this world naked and without language. Thus, most all knowledge defined in language is borne from false beliefs - lies and factual distortions - or via indoctrination, otherwise informed by authoritarian constructs, which are often little more than lies and distortions built upon other lies and distortions.

And since our knowledge about law is generally derived from empirical evidence, based upon the facts on the ground before us, and our common consensus of learned opinion, we enact man-made rules-of-the-road for all of us to follow.

The framers of our Constitution were painfully aware that men were not created equal - though they bravely deemed it so - and our fortunes as free men were tied to an economic order which presumably rewarded hard work and fair play.

This is precisely where everything begins to unravel. Our assumptions about "the way it is" should always be logically subject to change - as change, for all intents and purposes, is a constant condition within man, nature and the universe.

One wrong turn which discounts natural, universal or scientific law - or ignores The Golden Rule - and man-made law becomes suspect... as just another authoritarian construct... which, sooner or later, will only compel us to enact forcible change... for the benefit of the larger society.

What must also be given a voice in the halls of government... is the air we breathe, the nourishment we take, the water we drink, and the ground we walk on. These things, after all, are as basic to our survival as they are to all other living things.

Healthcare, medicine and law, and those we entrust to administer it, is just as important to our survival as any of these.

Tyranny, as brought about by cognitive dissonance, our common attention deficit trait – even a kind of tyranny-of-words – is anathema to social order, our supposed right to happiness, and our very survival as free-thinking human beings living in a healthful environment.

As social beings cognizant that certain inviolate laws do exist which supersede others... we Americans assume man-made laws will sustain a social and economic order… envisioned by those who crafted the words... in our Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Constitution itself, and the Bill of Rights.

Therefore, I grew up believing - again, rightly or wrongly - in the Hippocratic Oath; and the vision of our nation's founders; and my right to agree or disagree with whomever or whatever I encounter… which seeks to enslave me or force me against my will… or seeks my cooperation in a collaborative scheme or arrangement.

I'm not so hard to fathom really. I simply hate tyranny and injustice. And I love pleasure... and the plain and simple truth... wherever and whenever I'm privileged to marvel at its beauty.

Like you and everybody else… my everyday wish is to experience life on reasoned practical terms... which doesn’t harm others.

And God help those who’d refuse to help themselves – as the old saying goes – and anyone who would deign it in their power to rule over me.

I stand for truth and justice – and not much of anything else – which is why I enjoy listening to what you have to say, man!

Though none of us can claim to own the truth entirely, we can at least trust that good common sense and wiser heads seeking of justice will prevail in the end.

As for tolerance... one can only be guided accordingly...

... Because sometimes, without speaking truth to power, we risk leaving it to others to decide our fates.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Teacher's Pet Monkeys

TEACHER: Maria, go to the map and find North America.

MARIA: Here it is.

TEACHER: Correct. Now class, who discovered America?

CLASS: Maria!


TEACHER: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?

JOHN: You told me to do it without using tables.


TEACHER: Glenn, how do you spell "crocodile?"


TEACHER: No, that's wrong

GLENN: Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.


TEACHER: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?


TEACHER: What are you talking about?

DONALD: Yesterday you said it's H to O.


TEACHER: Winnie, name one important thing we have
today that we didn't have 10 years ago.



TEACHER: Glen, why do you always get so dirty?

GLEN: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are.


TEACHER: George Washington not only chopped down
his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Louie, do you
know why his father didn't punish him?

LOUIE: Because George still had the ax in his hand?


TEACHER: Now, Simon, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?

SIMON: No sir, I don't have to, my Mom is a good cook.


TEACHER: Clyde, your composition on "My Dog" is
exactly the same as your brother's. Did you copy his?

CLYDE: No, teacher, it's the same dog.


TEACHER: Harold, what do you call a person who keeps
on talking when people are no longer interested?

HAROLD: A teacher?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Resplendent Noise

Dave Lakhani has received a link to an interesting article over at The Washington Post from Ben Mack, and he's generously shared it in his blog at Bold Approach.

Entitled Pearls Before Breakfast, Gene Weingarten, in the April 8th issue, says

"Can one of the nation's great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour? Let's find out."

In the article the Post writer documents a social experiment in well-written detail, which was a marvel to behold.

His conclusions are powerful... and instructive. And the article... was a joy to read.

Dave suggested it is a "direct reflection of your audience and the reaction to your performance" - meaning, at least partly, a reference to its lesson for furthering our marketing efforts, I took it.

So, as a marketing noob, of course, I checked it out.

Then I felt compelled to weigh in, to expand the dialog, so to speak - so as to release my inner chatter!

And in case you don't already know, we wannabe writers like to kick this stuff out a lotta times anyway - which is why we live like hermits. :)


Dear Dave,

My hat's off to you and Ben for sharing this article.

I thoroughly enjoyed receiving the vibe - that's New Age-speak for telling me about the noise!

It's no wonder we tend to tune out noise - even the so-called good noise - as we have so much noise going on inside our own heads... we must necessarily filter out... the competition from outside... to be heard.

The article you and Ben cite is a perfect illustration of this phenomenon.

It seems much of what we employ as influence and persuasion tactics today must be focused on how it is we can appeal to people's finely-tuned sense of self-centeredness and conscious greed - as most of us are hell-bent on getting heard...

... By that selfish inner chatter... which resides within... all of us.

[Bottom line: Hey, it's still only about survival, baby!]

And so people wrapped up in themselves... with their problems... their seeking of everyday pleasure and fulfillment at every turn... is where we often begin.

Especially if our aim is to target them... to illustrate an object lesson... as is the case in the Post article.

However, another way might be to start by realizing this kind of epidemic behavior is actually a good thing... and the way to penetrate this mindset... is to reverse engineer our thoughts... of constantly thinking... in order to make a more valuable and calculating appeal... to this, our common affliction.

Though we instinctively know we must start with emotion and sensory perception, it's not always from a commonality of meaning or purpose.

Then we start to question whether appealing, objectifying, and targeting is really the best strategy in the first place.

So let's consider this beforehand.

"Children accumulate virtually no memory until they have language."

"Consciousness is self-awareness... characterized by language... which facilitates inner narration."

"Consciousness IS language. Like with certain words, images, feelings and perceptions... good music is thought to be useful good noise - as it supposedly emanates from the same natural vibratory impulse as sensory stimulation + conjured immediate thought = emotional desire, followed by the desperate want, then the perceived need to control."

History is replete with examples, ad infinitum, of all the ways we've put into place... and attempted to implement... control over others.

[And I wonder: Will this forever be so critical to our economic survival?]

When communication professionals become accomplished, then sullied by these many infectious words - marketers... admen, public relation, media and brand specialists... propaganda experts - are they put on this earth to zero in on those certain flaws in our human character, so all the others now become our targets?

And these many more others - likely referred to as informed consumers - really do eat up all this attention... because all of us, it turns out, really pine for these... same dirty words!

But we all have our crosses to bear, and someone has to dish out these dirty words we love so much... because burning desire, like for more money, or certain pleasures, has crept up on us all, hasn't it?

Earth + Air + Water + Fire = LIFE

It's part-and-parcel of our capitalist system... and T-I-N-A... THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE (Margaret Thatcher)... still stands as our universally accepted credo.

[Though nothing has fundamentally changed... maybe we can at least be awakened to new possibilities... if it's true our survival hangs in the balance.]

So for the sake of our own amusement, disregarding for a moment all other motivating factors, let's assume we really are brainwashed.

Submitting ourselves... to conscious-driven... incessant... dissonant... inner chatter - right from the get-go!

Have we come to accept this observation to be a part of our basic instinct for survival and self-preservation - as evidenced by our common behavior patterns - to blithely be seen walking around... talking to ourselves?

Isn't this what is characteristic of hapless patients in insane asylums?

[Just wondering... if it's not okay... just say so. But can we be completely honest with ourselves?]

Anyway, without digressing further, let's make a determination.

Do we want to approach this issue as one of war, like what is studied at war colleges, or from what we learned in The Art of War (Sun Tzu)?

Or do we want to try a less aggressive, maybe more feminine, non-judgmental method instead?

Wherein might lie the clue... in our determination... for fresh and bold approach?

Should we tally up all our common emotional and sensory attributes... and begin redeployment? In preparation for another more all-encompassing assault on the senses?

Rather than... just one... of resplendent noise... shown, by example, in the Post's experiment?

Must we also consider bringing on some assorted jugglers, mimes, slapstick comedians, carnival barkers, town criers, unclothed bodies, compelling objets d'art, even free food and drink to add to the mix - just for teasers - in order to gain this promise of requisite attention?

Then tweak and test the mix for desired effect?

[Why the hell not? Sounds like a party to me! Can I come? Can I? Can I?]

Could it be if we stop to unthink... then re-create the conditions for a “stiller” serenity – uncluttered by foolish inner chatter... the falsely-perceived ravages of time... not spent in the here-and-now... and disparate stupid pursuits... always running to-and-fro – we might more easily cause the violinist gainful notice... to get the worthy gentleman... some damn attention please?

Or perhaps we should search for the single common thread of least resistance - at the very least - first?

Mind reading

For what useful purpose does it serve if we ill-consider empowerment and enrichment, the same energy which allows us all to be present... and so motivated to go on about our busy-ness?

And where might these conditions best be perfected – or exploited?

The public square (in the case of the author’s article you shared, L'Enfant Plaza, near the Metro, in Washington D.C.) – or in individual hearts and minds?

Where does critical thinking, preconceived notions about acculturative value equations, or propaganda fit into this scenario?

Are we not fighting a losing battle?

Have we thoroughly examined our assumptions – or questioned our motives for self-aggrandizement?

And what is the highest, most noble good we can derive from all this, our amusement and our chatter... our exquisite enrichment... and longing for ecstatic experience - even if the meaning of meaning is held over... for another day?

Finally, shouldn't we reconsider... an examination... of thoughtforms... egregores... s'more memes... to further explore?

Then determine if, by their alignment, we can be made to feel more useful... by virtue of our newfound purpose... after that?

Some innocent things... always beggar us for answers...

... Which is why... I'm glad to be... on your mailing list.

I know... like Ben... you entertain these foolish questions too!

All the best,


[Notes: Perhaps the social experiment described in the Post article would have drawn different conclusions from the author if the musician selected was a viola (more masculine tonality) player instead of a violinist (the violin being higher-pitched, with a more feminine tonality).

A lone youngish professional woman, Stacy Furukawa, was Joshua Bell’s most-attuned and active audience participant - and his best customer. (Is this what the author meant by "... cute elides into hott", an added impetus for Ms. Furukawa to notice his playing?) Near the end of his performance she cheerfully laid down a twenty... into his violin case... amazed by the scene around her!

Previously, John Picarello, "a smallish and baldish man" - and a true classical music fan - took no note of Joshua Bell's celebrity. After watching and listening appreciatively - for nearly ten whole minutes - he tossed a fiver in the case.

This is but one example of how we can learn more about ourselves by performing similar exercises.

See the plot details in Shakespeare’s comedy, Twelfth Night, or What You Will - particularly the antics of Feste, the resident fool! :)]

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Niquette,

What monumental works the two of you have gifted this world!

I’m happy I discovered your site yesterday at – particularly your A Certain Bicyclist: An Off-Beat Guide to the Post-Petroleum Age e-book!

To commemorate this fortuitous day – April 14, 2007 – the day of Step it Up 2007, I found it in me… to want to thank you… for letting this stranger take a peek into both of your lives.

Paul, please tell Brigitte I’m anxious to share recipes with her sometime. Tell her I once worked with a great chef from Brittany, and would appreciate her divulging something from her secret files to me!

Brigitte, don’t forget to tell Paul, what a great writer he has become!

One day, perhaps, we can trade war stories… or recipes... maybe both.

But anyway, just for sharing your special gifts, here’s a little story... not entirely my own.

Consider it incomplete... and unedited... if you like.

I know you’ll understand...

... That I’m only writing to say, “Thanks for inspiring me to write The Unicyclists.”

Kindest regards,



The Unicyclists

I once had a childhood hero in Okinawa, Japan, about 1962, named Simon Simon, who was an accomplished unicyclist.

I was eight and Simon was around eleven or twelve.

Not only did he have an unusual name and an unusual way of getting around, he was famous for having… his own secret fort.

And all the little kids… like me… were obsessed… with finding Simon’s secret fort.

Every day I would see Simon going to school – or places unknown – on his unicycle. And I wondered what was in the mind of this carefree figure… that he just couldn’t care less… of what other kids thought… or that other people were talking… and saying things… behind his back.

He was a person nobody seemed to know – somewhat eccentric… and aloof.

Not only the other neighborhood kids, but their parents, were in awe of Simon… and wondering of his parents too.

Who would name their boy… the same first and last name… only Simon?

The Simons didn’t have a mailbox we could see, or they kept their comings-and-goings to themselves. And they didn’t know their neighbors… and their neighbors didn’t seem to know them either.

And their boy was, like them, the same.

The rest of us had two names… or more… at most. And we rode around in ordinary things… with two wheels… three or four wheels… at least.

But Simon had two names too… just the same… and a funny bike… with only just one wheel!

Some of the older neighborhood kids liked to tease Simon, and they would taunt him with lines that contained the words “simple Simon” or “Simon says”, and the like…

… But all to no avail. For all these taunts would fail… because Simon was deaf… and mute.

Anyway, as kids are wont to do, we liked to go exploring. Near the boondocks… near our home on Kadena Air Force Base… all of us – our parents and us kids alike – went about our busy lives.

In those days one could still find WWII artifacts – like helmets, uniform insignia, and parts of rifles – in the many caves which dotted the island. Many of these caves had the cremated remains of fallen soldiers… in cool-looking urns. And piles of bones… behind piles of rocks… near the cave walls.

Our parents were all in the military. And on this sixty-mile-long island, not more than three miles wide at any one point, was at least five military bases – one for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines… and one, for what, I don’t remember.

So it was only natural… that for us kids… our play was like combat. And we played war games… much like our parents.

A lot of times, Bob, my little brother, and my sister Lori, would go off playing, exploring or fighting with me. But more often than not, I was alone… just like my hero Simon… seemed always… to be.

I pretended to be undercover – and secretive – like a spy… or a government operative of sorts… with the FBI!

And you better believe I was determined to find Simon’s fort… so I could blackmail him… to teach me… then let me ride his unicycle. And I would not be denied… for I was going to capture the secret… that was the mystery… of this “Simple Simon” guy.

I would threaten him if I had to… by telling all the other kids… or triumphantly leading them myself… to his secret spot… if he didn’t.

Now you must understand that Simon didn’t want to have anything to do with little kids like us; after all, he was practically a teenager – chronologically, a few steps closer to being a real man… than were we… just mere kids!

And his unicycle was off-limits – to everyone – as he guarded it with his life, and no-one was allowed on it… but Simon.

To find his fort would take me much effort and many months, almost a year. Rumors were rife that marauding neighborhood kids several blocks over were also trying to find the mystery fort.

As you can imagine, this was definitely a hot topic… and I had no idea how far it had spread… for all the whispering and scheming… never ceased to end!

I had found my own secret spot in the boondocks – like it was actually mine – and it was way too special to be trampled on… by intruders… who might spoil its magic for me. It was about a mile and a half down… from a tiny little stream – never more than four or five feet… or less than six inches wide in places – that all the other kids would often play around… and the brave amongst us… would even drink from… when we got thirsty… running races.

Its banks were wet and muddy, shaded by thick stands of tall bamboo. And so most of the kids were wary… to slip and fall in… or follow its trajectory… to that secret spot I’d found.

As the stream winded its way… deeper into the forest… it got darker… and quieter… save for the sound of locusts and birds… and the occasional stirring of varmints.

I really wanted to know where the beginning of this stream was… and how it could be, for instance… that its water tasted so much better… more alive… than the water from our tap… at home.

My secret was marked… by a kind of rocky spot… which contained a tiny pool – a rushing eddy and a three-foot tall… waterfall – so perfect for a boy – so cool!

And I loved how I felt majestic… so grateful that this spot… was itself just so majestic... like me.

Or, besides the fact it was little… and hidden… it was mine… to protect… and defend… from intruders.

Anyway, around about this time… I’m happy to report… the great day finally came – when I discovered Simon’s fort!

A magnificent tree house it was – far from our neighborhood. As far away as anyone… would care to venture… or want to see.

It was only… maybe ten minutes away… from my own secret spot… near the end of the stream… far from wondering eyes it seemed.

While I stood in awe of its design… of camouflaged straw and scraps of wood… its hidden rope… and the ingenious ladder he’d nailed… right to the side of the tree…

… It appeared as a Japanese sniper’s nest… but it was Simon’s… and he might be inside that tree!

So I was afraid… and when I was not… I was proud. For me… my adventure… had brought about a feeling… of great personal triumph. And my secret… of a magnificent discovery… was truly hard to keep… for me…and me alone.

But then too, I felt sad … for it was like this was sacred territory… a whole lot like my own.

This fort would have to stay a secret – and I never told a soul!

In that moment of conscience… it couldn’t be allowed… no matter what, I had vowed… but I’d go to my grave… with this secret I would save… in silence.

A few months later, I was terribly involved with other adventures – of combat and war games and such – and I’d almost forgotten the secrets I held. I saw Simon doing some maintenance on his unicycle – and I somehow found the courage… to do… and say… the unthinkable.

I rode my bike over… and simply said hi to the guy.

Whereas I normally kept my distance, as I was too fearful and respectful of him, I forgot he might lump me in… with those others… who had taunted him. Or he might decide to fight me… shoo me away… or ignore me.

For in that one split-second of a moment… like in the blinking of an eye… I had dared NOT to think.

I’d forgotten… the consequences… of what could happen… if Simon knew... I knew the whereabouts… of his not-so-secret fort.

Did he understand... I wanted him to show me… how to ride his one-wheeled bike?

But he looked over at me and smiled… and was suddenly talking to me – in his way, a bit peculiar.

He was no longer a distant hero. Nor was I anymore insignificant… just another neighborhood kid.

We became friends in an instant… when the courage was mustered… to hazard a brief hello.

Over the course of an awkward hour… I was riding that one-wheeled bike… and Simon rode mine alongside me.

Can you hear the good laughter… the two of us shared?

In spite of our difficulties… the differences… and uncertainty sometimes, these moments almost missed… still do exist… in our tale of the unicyclists.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Head Docs Live!

Judith & Jim | Alex Giorgio

These online surveys and Ask-style marketing campaigns are sometimes irresistible to me - after all, why wouldn't a know-it-all like me not relish the idea of providing my stupid opinion, or possibly helping somebody out with some dumb answer I might could provide?

But then I also make it a rule to participate only with those who more-than-likely won't get bent-out-of-shape by my responses either!

Cases in point are husband-and-wife psychologist team Judith Sherven and Jim Sniechowski; and Alex Giorgio - all three more than up-to-the-task of entertaining someone as lazy and stupid as me.

Tomorrow night they'll be holding forth in a 2-hour online tele-course entitled, "How Do You Know Your Soul's Calling?"

Check it out! You'll find these head docs are not so much into psycho-babble so much as they're genuinely motivated to inspire others to greatness.

And this is something I can get behind - especially since I want everyone I know to be great, including Mark!

Now Mark doesn't know this yet, but I'm gonna let Mark foot the bill on this one too... just you wait and see... as they're asking for a wee bit of funny money for this... and it'd be my guess to be a bargain at that!

[P.S. - Oh yea, I had already responded to an earlier Judith and Jim campaign before this one, included below. Naturally, for amusement purposes only. <<{{:>)]


"If you had just one question to ask about your soul’s calling, what would that question be?"

I submit laziness and stupidity - framed properly - can sell... since these attributes have been maligned for too long in our capitalistic society.

These are appellations which hardly apply to anyone I know or have ever known, mind you. It’s difficult to be slothful and idiotic, even to barely get by in this world.

But, hey, I’m living proof it works for me!

Would you agree? Given the disaster many have made of their lives - with all the wrong turns, false starts-and-stops, emptiness, and resultant stress, etcetera - this news may come as welcome comic relief for many others.

I like being lazy and stupid because I feel I live life more playfully and joyfully and experience just as much, if not more, than when I was industrious, in a hurry, and always felt compelled to be "smart" about every action I chose to take.

This, for me, was a startling revelation, one which has allowed me to be quite productive in realizing my ambitions nevertheless... and, all this, despite the naysayer inside me who finds this notion preposterous.

Nowadays, this naysayer (Mr. Chatterbox) exists in my mind to keep me amused – much like the court jester (“talking head”) entertains the kings and queens of commerce and polity to this day!

I find my connections with everything and everyone contained in my daily experiences to be more vivid and exponentially more real.

If I never sell this idea it will have all been in good fun; and I will leave it as my legacy...

... As I insist it's good for the soul to slow down enough to enjoy life and save my focus for a more meaningful contribution... true to my “soul’s calling”.


Mark and


Judith and Jim

"What would you like to have known when you first started marketing on the internet that would have made everything less frustrating and more profitable right from the start?"

Statement of clearly-defined, self-directed principles - grounded in unimpeachable evidence for the personal values of faith and self-reliance - meant to pave the way ahead for purposeful action.

After this is accomplished successfully, because it was created by me, with guidance from a participatory group effort, I'd want to be self-directed to synthesize what I’d learned into as few words as possible, and write them down into a personal guide - or outline - of sorts.

The same exercise format would inform me as to the path I would take as a beginning internet marketer.

And what I'd be left with is a series of step-by-step action plans... within a formal step-by-step business plan... to include sales projections and an exit strategy for each step along the way.

Utilitarian principles - with a solid understanding of authoritarian constructs - would inform every action... and passion would serve as my inspiration.

At this point I’d study persuasion strategies.

I'd be reminded of the futility of swallowing an elephant whole; but this would be balanced by identifying what my life's purpose is, and what stories I want told about me and/or my products and services.

Before creating the business plan I'd want to know if my intention is for my work to live on in others after my life's journey is done.