Friday, February 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Harrison!

In honor of the birthday of the greatest Beatle...here are the lyrics to the four George Harrison songs that changed my life. And I'm not kidding.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps
I look at you all see the love there that's sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at the floor and I see it need sweeping
Still my guitar gently weeps

I don't know why nobody told you
how to unfold you love
I don't know how someone controlled you
they bought and sold you

I look at the world and I notice it's turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps

I don't know how you were diverted
you were perverted too
I don't know how you were inverted
no one alerted you

I look at you all see the love there that's sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at you all
Still my guitar gently weeps

Oh, oh, oh
oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
oh oh, oh oh, oh oh
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah yeah

Within You Without You
We were talking-about the space between us all
And the people-who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion
Never glimpse the truth-then it's far too late-when they pass away.
We were talking-about the love we all could share-when we find it
To try our best to hold it there-with our love
With our love-we could save the world-if they only knew.
Try to realize it's all within yourself
No-one else can make you change
And to see you're really only very small,
And life flows ON within you and without you.
We were talking-about the love that's gone so cold and the people,
Who gain the world and lose their soul-
They don't know-they can't see-are you one of them?
When you've seen beyond yourself-then you may find, peace of mind,
Is waiting there-
And the time will come when you see
we're all one, and life flows on within you and without you.

My Sweet Lord
My sweet lord
Hm, my lord
Hm, my lord

I really want to see you
Really want to be with you
Really want to see you lord
But it takes so long, my lord

My sweet lord
Hm, my lord
Hm, my lord

I really want to know you
Really want to go with you
Really want to show you lord
That it won't take long, my lord (hallelujah)

My sweet lord (hallelujah)
Hm, my lord (hallelujah)
My sweet lord (hallelujah)

I really want to see you
Really want to see you
Really want to see you, lord
Really want to see you, lord
But it takes so long, my lord (hallelujah)

My sweet lord (hallelujah)
Hm, my lord (hallelujah)
My, my, my lord (hallelujah)

I really want to know you (hallelujah)
Really want to go with you (hallelujah)
Really want to show you lord (aaah)
That it won't take long, my lord (hallelujah)

Hmm (hallelujah)
My sweet lord (hallelujah)
My, my, lord (hallelujah)

Hm, my lord (hare krishna)
My, my, my lord (hare krishna)
Oh hm, my sweet lord (krishna, krishna)
Oh-uuh-uh (hare hare)

Now, I really want to see you (hare rama)
Really want to be with you (hare rama)
Really want to see you lord (aaah)
But it takes so long, my lord (hallelujah)

Hm, my lord (hallelujah)
My, my, my lord (hare krishna)
My sweet lord (hare krishna)
My sweet lord (krishna krishna)
My lord (hare hare)
Hm, hm (Gurur Brahma)
Hm, hm (Gurur Vishnu)
Hm, hm (Gurur Devo)
Hm, hm (Maheshwara)
My sweet lord (Gurur Sakshaat)
My sweet lord (Parabrahma)
My, my, my lord (Tasmayi Shree)
My, my, my, my lord (Guruve Namah)
My sweet lord (Hare Rama)

(hare krishna)
My sweet lord (hare krishna)
My sweet lord (krishna krishna)
My lord (hare hare)
Isn't it a Pity
Isn't it a pity
Now, isn't it a shame
How we break each other's hearts
And cause each other pain
How we take each other's love
Without thinking anymore
Forgetting to give back
Isn't it a pity

Some things take so long
But how do I explain
When not too many people
Can see we're all the same
And because of all their tears
Their eyes can't hope to see
The beauty that surrounds them
Isn't it a pity

Isn't it a pity
Isn't is a shame
How we break each other's hearts
And cause each other pain
How we take each other's love
Without thinking anymore
Forgetting to give back
Isn't it a pity

Forgetting to give back
Isn't it a pity
Forgetting to give back
Now, isn't it a pity

(6 times, fade the 6th:)
What a pity
What a pity, pity, pity
What a pity
What a pity, pity, pity

I think it's because Harrison is the only artist I know of who is capable of making Love seem so understandable and so simple set amongst lyrics that aren't lost in trying to be something they're not. Within You Without You just knocked me off my feet when I sat to actually listen to its words, and is a driving force for my desiring to understand the beauties of the contradictions of the human race. Life goes on within us, and without us. I think that could be one of the greatest understandings we take from a life well lived and connects so perfectly with the idea that humans are grains of sand in the ocean but also the sun of the universe. Life goes on within us, let's make the most of it, Love as much as we can, and change the world for the better, because it can end in a second, and the fact is, life also goes on without us.

And of course, My Sweet Lord. Never have I felt so spiritually connected with someone who wasn't of the same religion with me, who, in listening to his music, helped me to a better understanding of God. It was from Harrison's music and studying that I found specifics really are cast away when we find what Love truly means, and that that Love is the Lord's.

Like many of the world's finest, he was an artist gone too soon.

Let's pay homage to the quiet Beatle today by not only listening to, but experiencing and understanding his music.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nationally Unfunny

Seriously, today I'm goofy. It's not always me talking about the importance of your inner energy in relation to the grander workings of the universe. Right? Maybe I've put myself in a corner...
That prank call to Scott Walker by Ian Murphy was a let down. Immitating David Koch didn't really consist of immitating so much as just talking in a deep voice and saying four or five word sentences. "Walker! Koch. Rundown. Go." And Walker spilled his beans like a giddy school girl gushing over her first crush. I was glad to know, however, it wasn't really a skeletons in the closet call though. I don't think Walker gave them what they hoped he would in terms of the discussion rapidly shifting to Walker revealing he's got a fleet of hookers on a boat awaiting him in the Cayman Islands, or stacks of laundered money he got for distributing meth in the underground. Nope. Pretty much everything we already knew...he said. And he talked their ear off. It was information yes...but since we knew it all, it was superfluous and boring. I mean, this is a guy who is "Prank Calling" the Governor of a major state, involved in a major issue, and doesn't even pull out his funny guns. It has honestly become the nationally publicized equivalent of this conversation:

"Walker. Koch. Is your refrigerator running?"

"Yeah actually. Little too cold. I should turn it down. Getting a little ice in my milk. I've got these apples in the crisper drawer, been in there for five weeks, still fresh! Still crispy. It's unbelievable. But really other than that there's just some leftovers, little bit of soup, this campbell's low sodium stuff, boy is it good. The freezer is great. Lot of ice. Ice production is good too, quick, you know. I just stick that cup in there, BOM! Ice."

"...That...that's great. Any...you know...news? How's the 'rotting veggies'?"

"My sister came over yesterday to watch the game, brought these avocados for guacamole. Jesus, she's the master of that. You've got to try it some time. Little lime, salt, etc. you know? Throw some hot sauce in there, BOM! Guacamole."

"...Hey, look, I gotta' go...just wanted to, you know, check in on the fridge."

"Hey I was thinking of taking my wife out tomorrow night for a date night kind of thing, and my son is 12. Do you think he's old enough to stay home by himself? I don't know. When I was a kid my parents always left me home alone, but, you know, he's generation Y. I'm a little protective. I guess these video games will keep him busy, maybe leave some snacks for him. He loves bugles. Dip them in ranch --"

Click.

This call is all over the news and it's not even good. It's not even a prank call. I hope Murphy's friends are letting him know that he's the eight year old hanging out with his twelve year old brother and all his friends.

"Nice work there Ian but who the hell is Dave Koch? I thought we all agreed on Mike Ocksmall! MIKE OCKSMALL! Say it fast, say it fast Ian, what does it sound like! See!? That's funny! Dave Koch is not a funny name! Dave Koch doesn't sound like anything!"

I feel like if we're going to live in the world we live in, where things are just getting more and more ridiculous by the second, shouldn't we try our hardest for some solid jokes when we're going to mess with people? I mean, if you had the chance to fool a state Governor into believing it was someone else, you want him to believe you're Dave Koch? And if you're going to pick someone real, shoot for the moon. You had a chance to be Muammar Gadhafi, or Nancy Pelosi, or American Idol season 7 winner David Cook.

And you didn't go for it.

The situation is to the point where even legitimate news makers, news sources, and politicians would have been able to appreciate a good prank. Seriously. Don't you feel like there's so much stress, maybe tensions would be alleviated if someone clicked the fart machine button while Obama was giving his little YouTube update? Then we'd have that funny awkward silence, and Obama would slowly crack a smile, and everyone would laugh and then they'd put it online, and we'd all laugh, and for three minutes we'd all forget there was slaying and chaos in the streets of the world because we'd all be enraptured in the hilarity that we thought during his National address, the President let one go.

Come on Ian. Let's try this again. Call Jerry Brown and pretend to be Mickey Rooney, who is equally as unfathomably old. Now THAT! Would be funny.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hyppos

Ever know that person that has their opinion, which we all do, and is in a position in which they are in the minorty, the recipient of negative thoughts, the recipient of hate, and the person who has to try incredibly hard simply to justify why they should be allowed to be themselves?

We all know someone like this. We all love someone like this. We all deserve the chance to be ourselves, and to voice our opinions.

But then, has that person ever, in their opinions, treated those around them who don't "understand" with the same intolerance as has been shown unto them?

That's called hypocrisy.

Practice what you preach, and I couldn't be more serious about that. You have something you want to say? Say it. You want peace, you want happiness, you want equality? Fight for it. You want respect? You want acceptance? You want the freedom to your own opinion? Go for it. But give others the same courtesy. If you can't do that, don't open your mouth.

I might not always see eye to eye with this man, but he sure hit this nail on the head. "Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Remember, our words hold weight to many who hear them. You've got to be responsible for your actions, for those words. If you're going to offend people, be prepared to discuss it, be prepared for someone to say something, and be prepared not just to tolerate the fact that sometimes you may be wrong, but that just as you are free to be you, so are others free to be themselves.

Practice. What. You. Preach.

Some days I like to joke around.

Not today.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

No Work, Please Help, God Bless

Saw a man with a sign yesterday that read, "No Work, Please Help, God Bless."

I've seen him before. From looks alone, I though he appeared an  honest looking man. I'm not saying all with signs are not to be trusted, but times come when you notice some who appears more genuine than others, you just get a deep sense. And those are the ones who, if you offered to buy them food, they would be grateful and happy, and say nothing more not, "Where's my french fries?" As I was told by a homeless drunk man I bought food at Jack in the Box for a few years ago.

So, that was my first assessment. Nice looking guy. I felt bad last time since I didn't have any change on me. So to see him again yesterday, I thought, "I think I should give him something." I had some coins next to me I keep on hand for meters, and started to reach toward them as I heard him start to talk to the driver of the truck in front of me.

Both my window, and the truck in front of me, has our driver's side windows down. So, as I heard him talk, I turned down the radio and, like all good snoops do, listened in.

The driver of the truck was a Mexican man, seemingly minding his own business, who didn't really respond much when spoken to, likely because the comments made to him started to get awkward. The man I thought appeared a genuine disheartened soul started rubbing his belly, and though I can't recall every word verbatim, it went close to the following.

"Do you know what it's like to have no work? You think people are going to hire you? To do their work? No one is hiring me. You think you'll be able to find work here, you and your Mexican friends. You won't. No one is going to hire you."

Then our light turned green, and as the truck in front of me began to drive, the fellow with the sign closed by saying, "You piece of shit!"

I made a comment to him as I passed as well, which was instinctual, because I wasn't sure what else to do, but I wasn't prepared to just be satisfied with him being so unkind to the man in front of me. I said, "God blesses those who are kind to others."

That's the first thing that popped into my head. Especially because, as I was considering giving him money, I heard him begin to harass the guy in front of me and thought, "What's this guys problem?"

Then, as I was a little further down the road, I recalled his sign.

"No Work, Please Help, God Bless."

Hypocrisy runs rampant among us. The fortunate and the poor alike.

How often do you see people with signs that use God, Help, Peace, Love, etc. to ask for your help, and you wonder, "Do they really believe those things? Or is it just a ploy to get me to try and give him some money. And what will that money be used for?"

We can't really know unless we stalk the person to find out, but who's going to do that?

Sometimes we feel like we're pretty good judges of character based on first impressions, and then you find out how wrong you were. I thought this guy was a kind looking, genuinely down on his luck man who did need help.

And then he calls someone else a piece of shit, harassing him, and I think, God bless indeed.

You know that phrase, "I want to help those who want to help themselves" etc. or "God helps those who help themselves." I really do agree with something like this. And it's not to the extent where a lot of people will say "Well some people just can't!" I know. I get it. Some people really are down on their luck and without help, or motivation. So can't it be our help, that rekindles their confidence, that promotes them toward learning how to help themselves again?

Kindness really does show in a person. And beyond the idea of we help those who help themselves, or God helps those, is the idea of saying "God Bless" or even just "Bless you."

You don't have to be religious to know that a blessing can be a beautiful thing. It doesn't have to come from a preacher or a priest or a cross or a book, as it can come from mankind day in and day out.

But don't say "God Bless" or "Bless you" (not in a sneezing context) if you're going to choke on those words by calling someone else a piece of shit and appearing to be a racist. When you say "God Bless" to us with your sign, and call a fellow man a piece of shit, truly we must believe your blessings are true.

In desperation, we say a lot of things we don't mean. When we're hurting, when no one's helping, we can open our mouth and let flow things we regret moments later. Perhaps that was the case here. Maybe as we drove away he thought, "I shouldn't have said that."

But regardless, know when you want others to think that you are, in good faith, hoping God blesses them, or blessing them yourself, you've got to be aware that those are not light words. To me at least. Giving a blessing to someone is an incredibly important thing, more powerful than a promise. If you wouldn't dream of breaking your promises, don't break your blessings.

And if you're not sure that you can stick to the blessings you issue to others, don't give them. Don't make the promise you can't keep.

The words, "No Work, Please Help, God Bless" in this scenario I think don't really apply to us. They're meant to, but if this sign is meant to instigate our helpful hand, don't bite the hand that feeds, don't insult those who are living their lives trying their hardest to get by. We're all in this together.

It's with people like this, in situations like this, though we may not carry extra change in our pockets, we carry blessings at all times in our hearts. These we can give out freely, but never forget, when it does come from the heart, it means you're giving someone a piece of yourself. You're trusting them with the goodness that lies within you.

Be prepared to find the hard work it will take not to become a hypocrite to your blessings. But if you manage through the difficulties of this, then be prepared to be overwhelmed with joy, for the rewards of a life lived in kindness will be repaid in full. If even you receive just one blessing from a stranger, sometimes that's enough to right the world again. Especially when you don't just hear that blessing but feel it, and know a piece of that person's heart, a piece of their kindness, is with you for life. And no matter what you do from here, no matter the mistakes, you can always return to the kindness you've been given. And more importantly, those around us can always return to the kindness we've given them. Because the longer we live in this world, the more people we see who are hurting, who are struggling to survive, but who continue to be kind despite the hand they've been dealt, we see that without them knowing it, they're holding a sign that, when we read it, we know they truly mean it.

No Work, Please Help, God Bless.

And in our own ways, as we make our own personal struggles each day, it will become more and more clear that every one of us is holding a sign.

So who's going to give out the blessings when the pockets are empty?