October Facebook Status Updates

Will Beethoven’s incomparable ‘Symphony No 9 in D minor’ outlast Lady Gaga’s say ‘Paparazzi’? Or will people 2 centuries into future, make a Beethoven of Lady Gaga?

For knowledge to be received, you got to make two assumptions 1) You exist 2) The Creator of Knowledge exists. Without these assumptions, there can be no study of knowledge.

Oh, Cold Houston! I don’t like you! You make it difficult for me to ride my motorcycle. I don’t like driving my car. 😦

I am sure Heaven will have have ‘golden sunsets’… the rays of the orange sun painting a golden lining round the glowing mass of floating moisture.

Well, actually the point of all questions that arise in the course of human existence is whether we want to be grateful or we want to grumble.

Isn’t it an irony that the I-pod, I-phone, I-pad the hallmarks of modern materialism should be envisioned by a Zen Buddhist.

Well, time is precious. Time is where the essence of being is reckoned. In that sense ‘time’ limits our experience of the essence of our being. Heaven being truly ‘timeless’ is where we’ll truly get to experience the essence of our being.

Well, the nights that are truly timeless… when I am trying to find an answer to a question I can’t quite put in words. I wish this was a weekend night when I could and go have a 2:00 AM Starbucks coffee and think through the question, but alas! this isn’t. Well, life is good! It is good to ‘have time’ to think. Not many have this luxury. Thanks be to God!

The man that has found the one thing that truly fills him with perpetual joy, eternally, has found himself. Until he finds it he is still ‘looking for himself’

I would rather appear foolish than be a fool.

With the I-phone 4G having the AI enabled Personal Assistant ‘Siri’, you’ll probably be talking more to the phone than using phone to talk to someone else. After all, we are evolving away from the long-talking Ents of the Lord of the Rings… Of course, it is all about efficiency!!!

Well, OWS would do better if they could articulate their policy positions without using the word ‘greed’, after all you can’t expect to jail the entire human race, can you?

Oh, I don’t like cold weather 😦 I miss the warm sunny hot Houston already!

True freedom is not just freedom from external tyranny, it is freedom from self. To be caught up in the cob web of the self is a subtle form of tyranny that is too ubiquitous to even be noticed, much less diagnosed let alone being mitigated.

Just finished filing my 2010 tax returns. Thanks to TaxAct Online! It is indeed exciting to pull things off close to the deadlines! It makes you feel free and strong. 🙂

What would life be without words… after all, didn’t someone say words are the vehicle for meaning… If none said, I just did. I think it probably was C.S.Lewis.

Is this how people feel when they come down from a mountain top experience… overflowing with words that probably makes sense to none… Oh, well!

Actually, life is just as good even without facebook. Facebook isn’t even icing on the cake. Facebook is just a lens through which you get to see the icing on the cake… There are many lenses, BTW. 🙂

I think I have decided to come out of my facebook hibernation. 🙂

Oh, if only emotions can be remembered like words… life would be a lot more enriching… Especially the emotions associated with pain and failure for they are the ones that bring a DEPTH to life besides making the emotions of joy and success, meaningful.

‎A man who isn’t a tad bit ‘mad’ enough to risk some can’t be a man, period.

‘Fight Club’ is a movie that is about so many things that I am at loss for words to describe it. It is the anti-thesis to the ultra-modern platitudes that are so ubiquitous and are seldom noticed anymore, the key platitude being, “Hey, you are special!”

Why am I not infatuated with facebook anymore? I never thought this day would come.

Anything with just a 7 inch screen cannot compete with I-pad, ‘Kindle Fire’ included.

Anything with just a 7 inch screen cannot compete with I-pad, ‘Kindle Fire’ included.

A Story of a Strong Father – Brings a Tear to My Eyes

I was reading an article on Vanity Fair about one of the most defining personalities of Great Britain, its only woman Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2011/12/margaret-thatcher-201112 I admire women that exhibit very strong masculine attributes. Below is an excerpt from that write-up.

Margaret Thatcher’s father was the single biggest influence on her life. Alfred Roberts was a grocer who ran two fairly successful shops in Grantham. He was also a Methodist lay preacher, well known for the quality of his sermons, and an alderman, a type of local politician now obsolete. Alderman Roberts had no sons and appears to have harbored for Margaret, the second of his two daughters, many of the ambitions which, had he been born to a higher level of society, he might have been able to fulfill for himself.

Roberts impressed upon young Margaret the importance of knowledge, duty, and hard work, the power of both the spoken and the written word, and the value of public service. The Roberts girls had to borrow and read two books from the library every week, at least one of them nonfiction. They attended church twice on Sundays (where Margaret sang notably well), and Margaret often accompanied her father to political meetings. Because the family lived above one of the shops, Alderman Roberts usually came home for meals with the girls. He and Margaret discussed public events, including the coming war with Germany. Of her mother, Beatrice, Margaret Thatcher said, “Oh, Mother. Mother was marvelous—she helped Father.”

When I read the excerpt above, my eyes were getting filled with tears, quite inexplicably. I think there is something wrong with a man who cries for himself. But here, I wasn’t crying for myself. Being human beings, when we see something that signifies something that is exquisitely beautiful or deeply profound we feel ‘moved’ deep within and some of us that have sensitive souls easily get mushy. Something about the excerpt above ‘moved’ me very deeply. So I stopped to think through…

There are a few noteworthy points in the excerpt.
1. The father is an industrious man who is also deeply religious, obviously intelligent, capable of giving ‘high quality’ sermons.
2. He is a father who really understands his kids, tries to bring out the best in them and has BIG dreams for them.
3. Even though he is intelligent, industrious and gregarious, his not being from ‘high society’ put a glass ceiling above him. But that doesn’t make him cynical. He INVESTS in making his Kid’s life more fulfilling than his is.
4. The father INVESTS in nurturing his kids with good values, education and real life experiences.

I couldn’t help but wonder how Alderman Roberts seems such an anti-thesis to much celebrated men of the likes of Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison. Steve Jobs made it BIG in life, but he was not in good terms with any of his daughters. In fact, one of the reasons he attributed to wanting to have an authorized biography was in his own words, ‘to help his kids know who he really was’. Alderman Roberts on the other hand was someone who remained small in life, but he ‘poured himself’ out into the life of his kids.

There were two reasons I got mushy…
1. The article started off stating Thatcher’s political accomplishments and suddenly took a dive in an moving account of a personal nature, it sort of took me by surprise, my emotional guard was down.
2. Alderman Roberts’ life depicted a profound masculine strength which is not valued much in the society we live in. Robert’s Strength is in not living his life for himself (to chase his ‘American Dream’, ought I say ‘British Dream’??? :P), but in ‘pouring himself’ into the lives of his kids. The beauty of the relationship between him and his daughter and how it impacted the course of History of Western Europe, brought a tear to my eye. All because one man decided to really understand his kids and pour into their lives.

Contrary to what we are led by our cultural-conditioning to believe, a man’s Strength is NOT in what he has achieved in his life, NOR is it in the legacy he leaves behind. A man’s true Strength is in how he has been able to pour into other’s life, especially those close to him. This sort of Strong man often pours himself out at the cost of losing his chance to prove to the world that he is somebody to be reckoned with. He is the true revolutionary.

Margret rightfully calls her father the greatest influence in her life. Her father poured into Her by being her TEACHER. As per the Biblical model, it is the duty of the Father (also) to be his kids’ Teacher. God command Moses and other Prophets that they are to teach the commands and statues to their children and children’s children….

Exodus 10:2 that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD.

Exodus 12:26 And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ 27 then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” Then the people bowed down and worshiped.

Any parent would know that teaching kids is not a easy job. It is a 24/7 ‘work’. Frank Schaeffer said, “the man who said that parents need to spend ‘quality time’ with kids is a fool. Parents need to spend LOTS of time with kids”. Alderman Roberts did precisely this. In a world where the fathers are busy with work, else are occupied with their own recreation whether in the form of music or gym workouts or garage projects or watching NFL or hanging-out with buddies at the bar, Alderman Roberts depicts one important facet of true masculinity – that of being his kid’s Teacher instead of outsourcing teaching to someone that wouldn’t care less for his kid.

Being your kid’s Teacher is a reflection of an aspect of God’s relationship to man too. Christ was primarily called a TEACHER. He poured out his life in teaching and leading people to life transforming Truth. His work is continued by the Lord the Holy Spirit in our hearts as He counsels us and reminds us of the Truth. If a man is not inspired in his Spirit to be Christlike and be a good Teacher to his kids, his negligence will affect his generation and the next one and the next one.

Exodus 34:7 Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.

What Roberts did to his kids was the right thing for the father to do. In a world where more than a third of the kids are born to single-moms and irresponsible fathers, in a world that is so bereft of good models for true masculinity, reading Roberts story feels like coming across an oasis in a desert. It is a story of how one man, a Strong Father who lives not for himself but for his kids; and in reflecting Christ-likeness pours into them and nurtures a personality who impacts lives of millions. It is something that is beautiful and profound that it brings a tear to my eyes.

Anonymous – Words: Voices and Pictures!

‘Anonymous’ is a movie http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1521197/ about the theory that Shakespeare didn’t write the plays which are attributed to his authorship. ‘Anonymous’ claims that the plays were written by the 17th Earl, Edward Oxford and because he wanted to avoid political repercussions of being a playwright he needed to use someone else, the someone else being Shakespeare. The movie doesn’t do a great job of selling this theory, it is probably not worth anyone’s money unless one ardently loves historical dramas with a conspiracy angle.

I saw something in the movie that I admired. The 17th Earl is a guy who loves words so much that he was willing to relinquish authorship just to see the words come to live. He is the true artist who had not vested interest, except to see the effect of his words on the ‘mob’. He often mentions in the movie that words are powerful weapons. He even tries to use the power of his words to control succession plans of English monarchy.

He depicted a strength – strength to relinquish control for the sake of beauty – a strength to become lesser for a greater cause the cause of ‘words coming to life’. He depicted a strength in being himself – an artist instead of being the Earl attending to his investments. In fact, he loses his great wealth and is close to bankruptcy. His exasperated wife, justifiably gets mad at him and asks him why he keeps writing.

The Earl replies, almost helplessly, but with a calm conviction that he hears ‘voices in his head’ – the cry of the soldier in the battle field, the thoughts of a prisoner in dungeons, the words of a lover to his maiden… and if he had to be sane, he had to write them down. I felt I got my money’s worth and some more with that line. After all, don’t we all hear ‘voices in the head’.

Writing is sort of like painting, but the picture is not on canvas. The writer if he is good will be able to get the reader to paint the picture of the story in his/her mind, many many pictures… Words, are voices in the head of the writer, and pictures in the mind of the reader.  

Joe Frazier, the Papa Gorilla!

I admire men that are strong. That can put themselves in harm’s way just to measure the strength of their will. In some ways, Professional boxers are such men. Boxing is a brutal sport. I don’t usually watch it. But I like the idea that a man is willing to risk all he has got just to make a claim for raw brutal power. Strength in any sport is admirable.

Since the legendary Joe Frazier’s death yesterday, I have been reading bits about him and his famous rivalry with Ali. Joe Frazier has the distinction of being the first boxer to ever defeat Ali. Joe wasn’t charismatic as Ali. He was far from good looking. Joe hated Ali for the way Ali taunted him. Prior to the famous trilogy between Frazier and Ali, Ali had called Joe a ‘gorilla’ and then ‘uncle tom’ and then many other derogatory names. Apparently, Joe never got over it.

To Joe’s credit, Joe helped Ali at one important juncture in his boxing career. When Ali was stripped off his title and banished from the boxing league for refusing military service, Joe helped him get back into the boxing league. Joe even met with President Nixon to further Ali’s case. After going through all of this, it really hurt Joe to be taunted by Ali.

I understood where Joe was coming from… but still it seemed odd that a professional boxer should allow such taunts to bother him so much. After all, boxers do that to each other as a ‘sales pitch’ to get media attention and increase ticket sales. Joe should have been aware of this. Ali had a great sales acumen. It was common knowledge within boxing circles that Ali had a lot of respect for Joe as a boxer.

Given all of this, it was still lost on me why Joe hated Ali for the way he was taunted; until I read an article where a close friend who knew both Ali and Joe explains…

“I told Joe years later that Ali was just trying to sell the fight, but Joe said to me, ‘How do you think I feel when he calls me an Uncle Tom? My kids come home from school and tell me the other kids told them their Dad’s a gorilla.’ Joe just couldn’t get over it.”

Now, I understood Joe better… Joe didn’t mind taking a punches Ali, he got loads of it to the point that he couldn’t see with his left eye in the last match with Ali. But he DID mind his kids being affected by Ali’s ‘sales pitch’. He did not want to make his kids pawns in a sales pitch. He wanted to protect his kids from the taunts of other kids.

Joe Frazier was the ‘Papa Gorilla’… We often speak highly of ‘Mama Grizzlies’ but we seldom speak much less understand the ‘Papa Gorillas’ – the ones that go out into the world with the sole purpose of creating for his kids, a better life – a life where his kids would be proud to have been his kids. Not to take the thunder away from Joe Frazier… Even the most narcissistic guy Steve Jobs, towards the end of his life, when he was asked by Brian Williams of MSNBC as to what Jobs considered the most valuable contribution of his life, he thought a bit and then answered with conviction, “his life with his wife and kids”. Brian Williams was a bit surprised but he pressed on, “what about public contributions?”. “Well, that is for others to decide” was his terse reply.

As I stated, I admire strong men. But I have a great adulation for strong men that have a soft, sensitive soul. Joe Frazier in spite of being the strong man willing to get punched in the gut and plummel the other guy with powerful jabs, seemsat his heart to be a man with a soft, sensitive soul. It is said that he lost his fortune by his generosity and naivety. When asked, what he did with all the millions he earned as the heavy weight champion, why he wasn’t a millionaire as his peers Ali and Foreman, he replied, “In a sense I am rich… I have a family… I have a stack of a few 100 dollar bills”. Joe built a close knit family, he trained two of his children to be boxers. He played the guitar. He loved his family.

A man that is a ‘Papa Gorilla’ will die a rich man, it doesn’t matter how much money he has. Riches is in relationships, it takes hard work to build long lasting relationships. Strong relationships are by their very nature, an end in itself. The ‘Papa Gorilla’ needs nothing more than the satisfaction that he has done for his family what best he could do – he has fought a good fight, run a good race. In an era bereft of traditional values, at a time where most men tend to shun responsibility and commitment, ‘Papa Gorillas’, rock! They live forever!