Thursday, November 19, 2009


The day after I read these lines in the Wall Street Journal “The average American family of four uses roughly 400 gallons of water per day at home,” I read these words: 1 billion people do not have clean drinking water.

I grew up in a three-room apartment in the Bronx. We had one bathroom for four people and an unspoken order for morning showers. No one dallied in the bathroom— get in and get out. But living in the city in an apartment building meant that we weren’t concerned about the toilet’s ability to consume vast quantities of paper— or even aware of the gallons of water consumed by our laissez faire attitude.

"• Close to half of all people in developing countries suffer at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits.
• Millions of women spending several hours a day collecting water."
global issues web site

“The USS New York is 684 feet long, cost $1 billion to build, and can carry up to 800 Marines. The Navy assault ship also has 7.5 tons of steel recovered from the World Trade Center forged into its bow.”

One billion people do not have clean drinking water.
It cost one billion dollars to build a warship.

An addendum:

"A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved."
-Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Metaphor

It's a sink hole? Sometimes called a swallow hole.

It made me curious. I had read of a sink hole swallowing a car in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

How close can you go before the sands suck on your heels? Is this a metaphor for life?

Poverty is a sink hole. Sometimes people can't climb out and they choke on the debts, the futility.

War is a sink hole—swallowing combatants— sending those who live home with pieces missing.

A sink hole opened and Lake Jackson disappeared—it lost its water, its fish and its alligators. The people of Tallahassee, Florida lost their favorite lake for fishing.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Giving Thanks

"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD..." Psalm 100

People whose names I know
whose faces I've never seen
People who lived thousands of miles away
joined in prayer

and the prayers were heard

today the words
spoken last week
lost their bite

today is the beginning of tomorrows
thank you for every word
every prayer
every amen

Keeping Up

My local CVS doesn't carry wristwatches anymore. You can't find analog televisions on the shelves. It's even hard to scope out a tape for a VCR player. Keeping up with changes requires a keen mind. Just when I learn the lingo, that technology is on its way out. Everything is replaced by a newer, brighter, more streamlined version.

Some things don't change. They trudge along— often seen as inevitable and out of sightlines, save on occasions. Yet, some folks wear these afflictions on their hearts. They speak of the homeless, of children with distended stomachs, of divisions of land, of people, of faiths, of the earth's needs, of children who will not grow up, of children who die before they reach a respectable age for dying, of crops that burn up in a soil hard to till, of water too polluted to drink, of blindness, of metaphysical blindness.

In today’s newspaper: blu-ray disks may not be the cause célèbre because soon we will all be streaming video. I've never held a blu-ray disk, yet it may be living on borrowed time. Perhaps I should seek out a disk so that I experience its feel before forced obsolescence?

I've never touched a dolphin, or felt the texture of sand in the Gobi Desert, or ran my hand across the stones on the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

I loved my old wristwatch. It didn't do anything except tell time. It never glowed in the dark or acted as an alarm, timer, and lap counter. It liked a dry environment. It didn't stop working. I lost my watch.