the WEIGHT of TIME passing…

Nothing happens only once.  If it happens once, it will happen again.  And again.  Everything in the known universe (and likely in the unknown universe) is cyclical.

The phenomena that we call TIME defines our experience as a civilization. We cannot escape the passing of Time. We may deny, divine, design, invent, prevent, medicate, pontificate, self-delude, and mass collude – and certainly humans have gone to every length, spared no expense and enthusiastically sacrificed entire generations to mitigate the effects and consequences – but the omnipotent force of Time will not capitulate. Time passes. We pass. All things come to pass.

But consider that what we call Time, or our concept and perception of the phenomena that we call Time, may be an oversimplification and profound misunderstanding of the phenomena. Consider this… Everything in the known universe (and likely in the unknown universe) is cyclical. Whether organic, mechanical, atomic, astronomical – whether nano-minutia or galactically enormous – nothing happens once. If it happens then it happens again. And as everything goes on about its own particular repetition it is in fact a pattern of some sort. Simple or complex, moving at the speed of light or keeping the imperceptible slow pace of evolution, everything in the world is occurring in a pattern of some sort – all things have a rhythm. All things have some sort of wave form. All things have a unique frequency vibration. And all these elements occurring together in a grand juxtaposition, the spacial arrangement and motion of all these elements, create an infinite expansive conglomeration of objects, gases, beings and events that are the stuff of our universe. Every thing in our universe has a pattern. All things come to pass, rhythmically and logorythmically  metering space as they define the characteristic parameters of one dimension or another-each pattern a counterpoint, a theme or foundation or tone color – all parts of an incomprehensibly immense cacophony that is our universe. We are fairly limited, in terms of how much of this we can actually hear, by the technical specifications of the human ear. But if we placed greater value on the act of listening we would hear alot more  – of each other, our selves and the world around us. What I am trying to inspire you to imagine, the conclusion that I am proposing to draw, is that this phenomena we call time is actually music. Time is not passing. Music is playing. We as a civilization are preoccupied to the point of obsession with Time and its quantitative as well qualitative value. Thus we are driven mad trying to control it:  stopping time, turning back or forward the hands of time, managing time, scheduling time, wasting time, passing time, killing time, losing time ad nausuem. But think how it would seem almost absurd to consider such notions as killing music or managing music. Passing, scheduling, wasting or losing music? You can imagine, however, controling music – in so much that you can imagine an accomplished musician having mastered her intrument articulating with fluid, tonal and rythmnic accuracy a musical phrase. What if we didn’t live locked to the clock trying with desperate futility to manage and beat time? What if instead of time passing it was music playing – and we are part of it. What if we kept musical time to the rythmn of life’s musical clocks? There is an opportunity here for a fairly profound paradigm shift in terms of the way we experience the reality of our lives.

So let’s take the idea a step further. Even if you dismiss this all as a bunch of half baked baloney and a flimsy premise -even if you mock me, disassemble and discredit my ideas, rip my writing, denounce my style, correct my grammar with arrogant condescension, kick the bricks out from under my sentence structure, and even defame my character in the comments ten minutes from now – for the few minutes it takes to read this suspend preconception and established world view of your superior intellect – and accept as an article of faith that this “theory of music” of mine is not only true but as basic to the cohesion of our universe as gravity.  If the world is sound, the movement of our existence through space and reality (I think you get what I’m saying in a very basic layman’s terms) is not Time but Music – then humanity and all we are – all the vibrations we create with the energy of our thoughts, the actions we take and the sounds we make (not just the words we utter but all the noise we create) are the parts of that music – the melody, the harmony, the rhythm, the bass – and especially the feeling, the inspiration, the muse that inhabits an arrangement of audio waves to make it not just noise but music-much as the soul inhabits an evolved formation of organic matter to make it not just a biological specimen – but life. And if you can begin to perceive, experience and hear the world with all the profound mystery and abundance of life in this context – then the calculus of the quantum unknown reveals itself as equations, processes, principals and formulas that are natural, intuitive, relevant and most of all vital – as fundamental, universal truths that provide coherence and purpose to a world that is increasingly incoherent and void of reason. And in that context,  the deeper you listen and the more you understand music; i.e. counterpoint, key center, dissonance, consonance, resolution, meter, dynamics, tone color, phrasing etc. one can begin to master the reality of life as a dedicated musician in time begins to master their instrument. And as the maturing instrumentalist begins to interpret the music, not just play the notes, so a person can begin to make the ‘time of their life’ more than just ‘time passing by.’

Think about this as you explore the images, sounds and ideas in this weblog. Follow these links to sites which in some way or another consider and/or inform our profound relationship with time. Listen to the world around you. Listen to what people are really saying – not just with their words but with all the ways they communicate. Listen to the non-human life – what is being urgently conveyed? Are we listening? To each other? To the world? Are we listening to ourselves?


hey kid – what do you believe?

praying to a D.J. and DANCING on your GRAVE

hey kid – what do you see now?

mr. monday morning prophet with your head between your knees –

What is the weight of the time it takes to take the time to make the time of your life more –

than just time passing by?

I come to terms but they contradict,

but in so much that I am stuck in a sketch –

my own conclusions can be difficult to draw…

So what is the weight of the time it takes to take the time to make the time of your life more –

than just time passing by…

plaisir partager
Liked itThis is relevant, vital, really beautiful – and somewhat un-nerving. There is something about these simple, yet exquisite sculptures, so carefully formed and then literally choreagraphed – beneath the sea?  A sculpture garden on the ocean floor? For who? Why? There is within this video an opportunity for transformation. There is a paradigm shift here – upon realization that this is us. This is a snap-shot of who we are – as people. This is the human species. This is our civilization in a moment captured then suspended indefinitley – for someone to see something simple and substantive about who we were – the way we lived. And it my use of the past tense that is puts this into the context that I believe makes this such powerful and critical work. This depiction of humanity carved in stone and placed beneath the waves is meant to survive long after we are gone. This under water sculpture garden is for whoever comes behind us – whatever evolves, visits and/or populates in our wake – so that they may know something about who we were – how we lived… An epic manifestation of one man’s artistic vision, this monument, to us after we are gone, delivers with intoxicating clarity a prayer for humanity.
What should be disturbing actually has been made hauntingly beauty. The way the music juxtaposes against the video footage compressing 41 hours of what were obviously agonizing, tortuous hours with a profound crescendo of stasis and doubt makes for a sort of existential, post-modern requiem for our humanity. Simple and powerful.
Phillip Toledano – Days with My Father
Surfing the net is rarely as emotional, spiritual or transformative as this site. Wow. This really sort of broke me… I don’t know what more to say.

No Ordinary Moments…

I had a rare day where ordinary moments were made extraordinary – and these images in some esoteric, intuitive way describe some of what made it that way. What a beautiful blog. Thank you.
Where breath goes when taken away?

YouTube – Deep Dish feat Morel –Driving to Heaven ( Escape)

We The Corporations…

Perhaps the Supreme Court decision with the most potential to change the nature of our democracy and the way our country is run is the January 21, 2010 ruling Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which the high court ruled that corporations have the same rights as individuals, and are thus entitled by the U.S. Constitution to exercise unlimited financial influence on elections and other processes of government. This decision moves us dangerously in the direction of becoming an oligarchy. An oligarchy is a form of government in which all power is vested in a few or dominant class.

There is a movement under way to amend the constitution to establish that human beings, not corporations, are persons with constitutional rights. It would also establish that money is not free speech. We must act to guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our vote and participation count. We should act to protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate “preemption” actions by global, national, and state governments.

To sign a petition to support such an amendment go to

The President’s Speech

As the country appears in danger of a double dip recession with unemployment hovering around 9.1 %, President Obama went before a sharply divided congress to propose a $447 billion dollar plan to get the country’s economic engine humming. The President was at his best as an orator as he forcefully sold his plan as containing ideas that both parties have supported, and demanding that we as American’s rise above the acrimonious debate that has dominated the political landscape for most of his term. Obama is proposing substantive cuts in payroll taxes that fund the U.S. Social Security pension fund – something even Tea Party loyalist will find hard not to support.  The President says that his plan will work without pushing the U.S. further into debt. This is likely to be a point of contention as congress debates the proposal in coming weeks. If congress does not act on the bill, he promised to take it to the people directly.

“This plan is the right thing to do right now,” Obama told legislators on Capitol Hill. “You should pass it. And I intend to take that message to every corner of this country.”

Getting House Republicans on board for any plan he may propose will be difficult at best.  Against such odds, the president framed the proposal as one in which only counterproductive partisan politics would keep the bill from passing .

“The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy.”  Barack Obama, U.S. president.

The payroll tax cuts included in Obama’s package account for the lion share of the total jobs plan — about $240 billion of the $447 billion.

In addition, the package also includes:

$105 billion in public works spending, $49 billion to continue unemployment assistance to millions of Americans who are receiving extended benefits, $35 billion in local government aid to avoid layoffs of emergency personnel and teachers, $8 billion to fund a $4,000 tax credit for businesses that hire workers who have been out of work for more than six months.

Obama said the payroll tax cut alone would save an average family making $50,000 a year about $1,500.

White House officials said Obama would formally send The American Jobs Act to Congress next week.

Trusting Too Much Too Luck

Moving to L.A. with my band in my early twenties, we stopped outside Albuquerque for lunch at a greasy spoon Mexican food restaurant. After the meal they brought us fortune cookies. How odd. I was superstitious about fortune cookies and believed that mine was the last one left on the tray. So after everyone else took one, I took mine.

“You have the reckless habit of trusting too much to luck.”

Let me tell you something of what I have learned about that fortune – clearly mine – written on that little slip of paper inside the cookie.

To tell this story, first let me rewind a few years. It was the summer between tenth and eleventh grade. It was hot as dickens. 100 plus temperatures for weeks on end were the norm. But the resiliency of youth makes one somewhat immune to such phenomena.  The resiliency of youth does not make one immune to what consequences one may experience as a result of one’s youthful folly. I don’t mean so much the consequences of each act – but the consequences of established patterns of behavior.  The result can often be the breeding ground for superstition.

For example, when I was about sixteen, I remember being in the car with two friends on the way home from a movie. Someone said “never pass a cop”. We weren’t drinking, speeding or breaking any another law, so why subscribe to something so irrational as “don’t pass a cop.” Well, we did pass the cop. And the cop pulled us over for a broken tail light. It turns out that Carl, who was driving the car, had purchased a decorative Samurai sword earlier that day. It was still in the bag with receipt and price tag. But it was over a certain length, and thus considered a weapon. Carl, who was eighteen, went to jail. Steve and I, still juveniles, were given a ‘complimentary’ ride home by the police. Ergo: never pass a cop.

The consequence, as such, was so minor, as to insure we learned no real lesson. Only that a superstitions was established. “Never pass a cop.” Consider another more dramatic misadventure from my high school years. Again, there were three of us. We were traveling in my friend Steve’s ‘custom van’. The van was one of those hideous icons from the late 70’s with a funky paint job, bubble tinted windows and wall to wall shag carpet. It was the coolest ride of anyone we knew. We decided on a road trip to College Station, Texas for a midnight pep rally. Carl was s freshman there while we were still in eleventh grade. As was our M.O.,  we stocked up with an ice chest full of beer and a big bag of pot. By the time we were passing through Bryan, Texas we all drunk and stoned. I was riding shotgun. When the cherry red lights of the police popped on behind us we were thrust suddenly and unexpectedly into reality. When they opened the sliding side door of the van, Marvin rolled out along with the “chink-a chink clink” of over a case of empty beer bottles. As they walked Steve around the back to a squad car for some intensive questioning, the young police officer took his eye off the ball just long enough for me to reach into Steve’s trumpet case and grab the bag of pot, which I stuck out the window and turned inside out into the dry Texas wind gusting along the highway.

For the next two hours the cops scared the hell out of Steve, threatening to take the van apart down the axle, to call his folks, to lock him up and throw away the key. They knew we had pot because of the reek of the van, as well as our considerably over sized novelty bong. Steve broke easily and told them what they wanted to know. And while Marvin gurgled drunkenly I confidently denied all. I knew there was no pot and that they would never find any. The entire Bryan police force showed up for the search. As it turns out, the consequence for driving drunk and underage with no hard evidence for a possession charge, is that they let you go with scarcely a slap on the wist. I’m sure today it would be a different  story – or if we had been black or defiant. But we were polite, good ole’ boys (at least that was our pretense), so they sent us on our way. They even let us keep our beer!

And so what is the misguided lesson here ? It was the superstition that somehow I was immune from consequence if I simply ‘thought on my feet.’ That luck was on my side. That I could wing it and stay out of trouble because I was smart.  In the wake of the myriad decisions, actions and reactions that dot one’s lifetime, I realize now that all my life I was ‘winging’ it – getting off easy, so to speak. I wish now that I had learned some harder lessons earlier in life. Instead, I always trusted too much to luck and laughed off all the near misses.

Now, I find myself a middle-aged man caught in a check mate of consequences, like unpaid debts that finally catch up to the cavalier spendthrift.

I’ve lost more than I can bear to account for to my careless whims and reckless ‘trusting too much to luck’ ways. Most significantly, I will now lose my life. There is no way out of a terminal illness. I cannot laugh or shrug off advanced stage cancer. It doesn’t leave any wiggle room. Advanced stage cancer cannot negotiated with. It may be slowed with excruciatingly unpleasant treatments that compromise one’s quality of life in every way possible, but it’s featured consequence will not be denied. At an earlier stage, if I had paid attention to the evidence that something was wrong, my cancer could have been arrested.  If only I had seen a doctor when I saw the signs. If only… If only my superstitions had me pay more attention to that fateful fortune cookie rather than illusions of invincibility.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

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A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks […] English […] becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.

George Orwell

The Hidden Costs of Ballot Measure J

The debate over competing Hotel Tax Clarification Ballot Measures J and K focus almost entirely on their impact on tourists and the nuances of hotel tax code, while failing to consider how they will affect many of San Francisco’s poorest residents.  The City Controller estimates that both measures will generate approximately 12 million dollars in annual revenue for city coffers (J purportedly raises 38 million annually, but The Controller indicates that the amount will be closer to 12 million after “clarifications”).  It is important, therefore, to evaluate the two measures based on other criteria.

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Incentive To Listen

Pay attention the next time there is a crisis.  Try to identify the elements of cause and effect.  Regardless of whether the crisis is interpersonal or international in scope, odds are good that broken communication gave crisis the opportunity.  Effective communication requires effective listening; the cause of most broken communication is ineffective listening.  Why are we such poor listeners?  Few people actually know how to listen effectively because few people learn how.  While teachers and parents may tell students to listen, they do not teach them how.  A directive to “LISTEN!” is no more instructive than an order given to “READ!”   The reason that schools do not teach effective listening skills is, perhaps, not immediately obvious.  Consider, though, that where there is a deficit of interest and poor performance there is often a lack of incentive.  Where is the incentive to listen?  Where are the role models of excellent listeners? Everyone, it seems, has something to say.  Too many have more than a mouth-full.  But where are cultural icons who make listening so sexy and cool that teenagers dream of becoming the ‘most awesome listener’ on the block?   Until we as a society recalibrate our value system to prioritize listening with quantifiable incentive, we will continue on the path of a civilization in decline.

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The polls are now closed… In Memoriam. Susie Roff

Hadley Roff, Nancy Pelosi and Susie Roff

Hadley, Nancy and Susie

June 8, 201o

Today is election day and its not OK that Susie is not here.   Susie Roff is to life what Cal Ripken Jr. is to baseball.  She shows up.  Period.  If Susie Roff is absent on election day, I can say with certainty that something has gone terribly wrong.

When I step outside of the garage beneath the Roff residence at precisely 7:00 AM to announce that “the polls are now open”,  I try to pretend that everything is business as usual at Precinct 3218.  Composure is a trait to cultivate for days like today.  Election day, for a poll-inspector such as myself,  is a long  day on public display.  There are dozens of critical tasks with narrow, non-negotiable terms for insuring the integrity of our democratic process.  With errors and emotions impermissible, a typically low voter turnout cast the hours as long and morose as the afternoon shadows on this first Tuesday in June.  I could take a cue from the voters and simply go through the motions, which is as normal as a normal  job requires.  Susie always sees through any airs of normalcy.  Susie would snap “Drop the act!” –  or some equally terse emphatic  – and then proceed to put you at perfect ease with her wide warm smile and easy banter.  Being any way other than yourself is an option ONLY when Susie is not present. In her absence, simply breathing feels awkward.

As polling commences,  Precinct 3218 plays host to a dual procession of voters and ghost.  This attendant stream is a steady reminder of  the vacancy Susie Roff leaves behind.  It is also a reminder that these are all cameo appearances.  No one is here that long.

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