Thursday, May 04, 2006

What I want...

I want a world where nature and man coexist. Where man doesn't beat the crap out of nature and overwhelm it. A world where man only has a place, not a preponderance. I would like to see a world where we are not the dominant species, but just one of millions.

The irony is that until man evolves past our animal heritage, with it's predator/prey relationship, we won't be mature enough to make this come about. Until then we are just like yeast, or bacteria: a mindless growth that cannot stop consuming everything about it until all is consumed.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Making of a Japanese Sword

Iron is a great metal. You can make anything out of it... well, anything heavy, that is... and it lasts forever. Iron swords were the weapons of choice for many centuries, but then someone discovered something better than Iron: Steel.

Steel is simply iron with all the impurities taken out. It is stronger, lighter, and more flexible than iron, and it lasts even longer. The problem is to get the impurities out of the iron to turn it into steel. Ancient sword makers developed the technique of 'forging'. Forging simply means that you heat the iron up to the point where it is almost molten and you beat the crap out of it with a hammer, on an anvil, until it cools down too much, then you heat it up and do it again. Problem? There are still impurities in the center of the steel.

The Japanese (and others) found that if you folded the near-molten iron over itself several times, you could thin out each layer to the point where the impurities were beaten out. Also, the layers were welded to each other in such a way that the crystalline structure of the sword would run back in forth in different grains, much like the grain of a redwood burl, and make the steel even stronger. A good Japanese sword is folded like that so that there are 200 layers in a single blade! An excellent blade will have as many as 400 layers, and I have heard of a master blade that had 600 layers in it! I don't know how many times you would fold an ingot to get that kind of layering (I'm a word guy, not a math guy) but it is a lot, and in the past it was all done by hand and it took a long time.

So, what's the big deal about swords and life experience? Well, think of it this way: each time we run into trouble in our lives, it is comparable to being heated and then beaten on an anvil. We are brought to an agitated state (heating) and then hammered with a problem until we cool down. This can happen over and over and over again. If we are real lucky, we also get our lives flipped over, under, and absolutely trashed. That is the folding process. Then we get hammered some more. The more heating, folding, and hammering we experience, the stronger we become.

In the end, we get sharpened by something even harder than us, and then polished with a fine polish.

Okay, I took that analogy about as far as it could stretch without absolutely snapping, but that's enough of that. All I'm trying to say is, hang in there. It's not over yet, and it never will be. Oh, yeah... Things will work out... But then you'll have problems with something; an employee, or a lover, or a neighbor, or the government, or God, or your kids, or nature, or... Anything! And all these things work together to make you a stronger, better person, even if you don't want to be! The only thing to do is look for the best, head that direction, and enjoy what you can for right now. You see, it's all good... Even the bad. Sometimes it's a little too much but it all works out to make us the best possible person we could be. That was a grammatically screwed up sentence, but a spiritually rich one.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A futile gesture...

I would say that I am sick and tired of people whining, but that would be whining...

But, here we are, in one of the greatest economies in the world, where we only have 5% unemployment, where people are really free to work and earn fairly good money... enough to have their own car, a roof over their head, and enough food to actually pay people money to help them lose fat.... and all they seem to do is complain about how tough their lives are. HEY!! TAKE A LOOK AROUND THE WORLD!!

Nobody is shooting at you (for the most part... people in Oakland and L.A. excepted), you are not facing starvation with 95% of your neighbors and the government is not actively oppressing you, when they're not trying to outright kill you.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hello.... and a thought

This is the first blog I've ever done... big deal. My cherry has been popped. Now, down to business.

Illegal immigration.... what in the hell is that? "We got here first so it's our land" say the so called "legals", but that is simply bullying and thugery, which sounds like normal human behavior. And with it goes that very special quality of Blindness of History, which is also a very human trait.

Ask the Native Americans: Did that Columbus guy have a passport? And did they check the immigration visas of those people at Jamestown or Plymouth Rock? Too bad... although I think if they get the right laws passed they could have the descendents of those first illegals thrown out for good.

But then again, who would patronize all those casinos?