make-a-crane

Category: Meia Giving Her 2 Cents

“The Robber, the Judge, and the Case for Leniency”

Two quotes from former bank robber Shon R. Hopwood, who recently won a prestigious clerkship:

“Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason,” Mr. Holder said.

“From my experience,” he wrote, “sentences over five years do little to help society or the prisoner.” 

Read the article.

Advertisements

No Man’s Land (2001)

What do you get when you stick a Bosnian and a Serb together between the front lines? Plus one Bosnian stuck on a mine? Absurdity and allegory abound in No Man’s Land, set in 1993 during the Bosnian War. Consider watching this very funny and very moving Oscar-winning, debut film from director Danis Tanovic. BTW, it beat Amelie (2001) for the best foreign film Oscar–which is saying something.

Future Conflict Risk

Read this article on a study by the National Intelligence Council. The study is fascinating. The future condensed! Let’s remember to look back at it and see how accurate it is. Here’s an excerpt (vague though it may be):

About 50 countries around the world will be at risk of internal conflict or wars with neighbors, the study says, most sparked by increasing nationalism and border rivalries fought out in the absence of any regional security architecture to resolve them.

The risk of conflict within a state — like a civil war or an insurgency — is expected to decline in Latin America, but will remain high in sub-Saharan Africa, in parts of the Middle East and South Asia, as well as in some Asia-Pacific island hot spots, the study warns.

“A more fragmented international system increases the risks” of conflict between states, the study also cautions. “Additionally, increased resource competition, spread of lethal technologies and spillover from regional conflicts increase the potential for interstate conflicts.”

Most worrisome — and already part of the global security dynamic — is an assessment that future wars in Asia and the Middle East could include nuclear weapons.

Powerful Images

Be ready to be moved.

“Gifts that Change Lives”

Listen to Nicolas Kristof! Here are organizations that he mentions in this op-ed:

Heifer International
International Rescue Committee
Shining Hope for Communities
Vital Voices
Polaris Project
Fair Girls

Cease-fire in Syria

If only every day were a holiday! The Syrian Army has announced a truce for the most important Muslim holiday of the year. This reminds me of WWI’s “Christmas truce,” though the happenings in Syria are less heartwarming. Here are some details about the Christmas Truce:

It began in most places with nighttime singing from the trenches, was followed by shouted overtures and then forays between the lines by a few brave men. There followed, in daylight, a burying of the dead that had lain for weeks on the denuded ground called no man’s land. After that, large numbers of soldiers poured over the front lip of the trench.

Throughout the day they exchanged food, tobacco and, in a few places, alcohol. Some chatted, usually in English, a language enough German enlistees spoke to make small talk possible. In several places, they kicked around a soccer ball, or a stuffed bag functioning as one, although contrary to legend there appears to have been no official, scored matches.

Mostly, the soldiers survived, which is what they wanted from the day. They did not shoot each other.

Instrument of Peace

Definitely watch him play “My Guitar Gently Weeps” here.

On Compassion

An especially good observation, one that I hope this blog communicates–compassion is more than charity:

“True compassion does not come from wanting to help out those less fortunate than ourselves, but from realizing our kinship with all beings.” –Pema Chodron

Dalai Lama

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, brought his laughter all the way to Providence to give the 86th Stephen A. Ogden, Jr. ’60 Memorial Lecture on International Affairs today. The speech was called “A Global Change: Creating a Culture of Peace.”

Funny memory: His humor is beautiful — particularly memorable was his talk of baldness. He prompted laughter from the audience over explanation of the two competing tufts of hair on either side of his head.

Nice memory: I wasn’t taking copious notes, but I recall that he said something like, “This 21st century should be the century of dialogue,” which I liked a lot.

Awkward memory: Unfortunately his last two words sounded too much like “F*** it,” though it is safe to assume that he intended to say “Forget it.” Oddly enough, the translator writing subtitles for the audience chose the former… I am sure the Dalai Lama would laugh very hard at that one.

1000 cranes

Make-A-Crane has donated a string of 1000 cranes to Half the Sky for their silent auction 🙂

Half the Sky

Just saw New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof speak at Brown University! Wonderful, invigorating presentation from a man doing a lot of good in this world. Kristof spoke of numerous women he has encountered through his work, expressed hope that us students would challenge ourselves to experience the new despite fear of the unknown, and presented a very nuanced reflection on just how much a difference we can make. We’ve won “the lottery of life,” he said — we’ve got a bit of responsibility to those who have not.

Generosity

One might be generous with:

time
smiles
encouragement
positivity
love
letters
emails
text messages
compliments
kind words
touch
art
advice
songs
wisdom
recipes
friendship
reading material
handpicked bouquets
(Money isn’t even in that long sentence!)

Let me know if I forgot anything.
Oh and comments and likes 😉

Realizing Peace

“When you produce peace and happiness in yourself, you begin to realize peace for the whole world.” –Thich Nhat Hanh

I really like this quote because it bridges what appear to be two different conceptions of peace, the internal nature of our own individual worlds, and the external nature of the entire world. Like the quote, this blog is all about showing how the two are inseparable. To change the consciousness of a world, one must start with those who inhabit it.

Henry David Thoreau

Here is a wonderful 3-part series on Thoreau, a great thinker who lived peacefully, with integrity, and in harmony with nature. He stressed the importance of individual reflection and thought.

 

 

One Lovely Blog Award Nomination

Thanks to Stacie for the One Lovely Blog Award nominations! I have finally gotten it together to write a post of celebration.

The requirements of the Lovely Blog Award are to mention who nominated me and link back to his/her blog, display the award image, reveal 7 things that you may not know about me, nominate 15 blogs for the award and tell them of the nomination (linking their blogs in this post) including a link back to this post.

7 things:

1-I will not kill bugs and other creatures if I can help it.

2-I’m into writing, photography, and journalism (sorry that counts as 3 things).

3-I admire the Buddhist approach to life.

4-I interned at an online news platform this summer, GoLocalProv.com.

5-I make a crane in about 1 minute.

6-Reading sources include Ode, The Sun, Google News (individualized of course),  GoLocal, Fast Company, Good Reads, Mother Jones,  NYT, BBC, Tweets, WordPress, etc. (Er, books too.)

7-I’m interested in social entrepreneurship.

15 nominations:

1-Hardly a blog it’s so beautiful: http://stevemccurry.wordpress.com/

2-Gorgeous all around, with words and images: http://carolwelsh.wordpress.com/

3-An inspired idea: http://5thingstodotoday.com/

4-A collection of “all things beautiful” from two architects: http://hovercraftdoggy.com/

5-This blog has been nominated for everything, it seems!: http://thewondrousdharma.com/

6-Some good nature photography: http://toddnaturepics.wordpress.com/

7-Some solid quotes can be found here: http://flashfirephotosblog.wordpress.com/

8-H2O: http://h2obyjoanna.wordpress.com/

9-You can never have too many quotes!: http://christinappolo.wordpress.com/

10-The writing is as clear, crisp and engaging as the site’s format: http://patrickobrien.wordpress.com/

11-Hoping to see more…http://laurensorigamiproject.wordpress.com/

12-Sincerity at its best: http://projectexpansion.wordpress.com/

13-Who can resist joyology?: http://joymoves-cincy.com/

14-Inspiring quotes!: http://inspirationrevelation.wordpress.com/

15-The title is self-explanatory!: http://exploresmilelaughlovelive.wordpress.com/

Brain Pickings

Brain Pickings is a must-read from Maria Popova for those who care about anything interesting! Subscribe for emails, check out recommended books, find some wise words, enjoy learning about life, love, writing… Here is the websites’ description:

Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, culling and curating cross-disciplinary curiosity-quenchers, and separating the signal from the noise to bring you things you didn’t know you were interested in until you are.

 

See this:

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. Very inspiring. For artists and thinkers.

Self-described as “a brand for liberal thinking and individualism…”

 

Pinterest

Creators, artists, idea-lists (people who like ideas), check out Pinterest! I recently tried it out and found why people love it. Here is my page. I think of it as Twitter for artists. But it’s important to remember to take some time out of the day to take pictures, not just pin them…

Eyes and Names

Make eye contact with people, often.

Remember people’s names.

Ask lots of questions.

Share yourself.

Listen.

These are basic but sometimes forgettable motions of daily life. They are good. Do them more.

Deceptive Peace

Maybe a zoo, like a prison, creates an atmosphere of deceptive peace — there is much screaming involved, but in a language we do not understand or do not bother to listen for.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pise Con Cuidado

Literally translated thanks to Google, this means “Step with care.” The sign is on the bus I ride on each day, and there is no English version. It reminds me of the beautiful religion, Jainism. Followers of Jainism (ideally) tred with care, mindful of the creatures on the ground who might be hurt. I try to in daily life as well. Construed more broadly, “Pise con cuidado” could be applied to any kind of interaction and approach to life. Be mindful of those around, be kind.

DonorsChoose.org

Just like Kickstarter, this is “an online charity connecting you to classrooms in need.” Great idea!

Here is some background from the website:

“DonorsChoose.org grew out of a Bronx high school where teachers experienced first-hand the scarcity of learning materials in our public schools.

Charles Best, then a social studies teacher, sensed that many people would like to help distressed public schools, but were frustrated by a lack of influence over their donations. He created DonorsChoose.org in 2000 so that individuals could connect directly with classrooms in need.

Our mission: DonorsChoose.org engages the public in public schools by giving people a simple, accountable and personal way to address educational inequity.

Our vision: We envision a nation where children in every community have the tools and experiences needed for an excellent education.”

Coca Cola Captures Happy Moments

Life is more than theft and violence! Ads have an opportunity to be enjoyable experiences!

“An online word-sculpture protesting the prison-industrial complex”

This is a wonderful idea:

“I Am Writing A Letter Each Day to My Brother Who Is In Prison For 4-15 Years” 

Here are posts.

Phatic: Word of the Day (May 19, 2012)

phatic \FAT-ik\, adjective:

Denoting speech used to create an atmosphere of goodwill.

We conduct phatic discourse indispensable to maintaining a constant connection among speakers; but phatic speech is indispensable precisely because it keeps the possibility of communication in working order, for the purpose of other and more substantial communications.
— Umberto Eco, Travels in Hyperreality

They’re just filling the air with noise. This is what’s called phatic speech. “How are you?” they might ask.
— Adriana Lopez, Fifteen Candles

Coined by the anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski, phatic was first used in 1923. It probably comes from the Greek word phatos meaning “spoken.”

Meia’s sentence: Negotiations for peace necessitate phatic discourse, though sincerity ultimately maintains the dialogue.

Geography

For those of us who’ve neglected our geography lessons and/or live in an egocentric society that emphasizes our own little part of the world, here is a useful site for life.

Genocide

Do other animals besides humans commit genocide? Engage in war?

The Peace Book

This was a great Kickstarter idea.

The Environment and the Law

“An Inconvenient Lawsuit: Teenagers Take Global Warming to the Courts”

An inspired strategy, hopefully one that won’t backfire and trivialize the issue…? Here is a nice tidbit nestled at the bottom:

“It may seem ironic that the hyper-focused Loorz is one of the more than five million youth diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. In this case, however, Loorz contends that it’s the grownups who are suffering from disabling distraction. He argues that US politicians are so preoccupied by the lingering economic crisis and this year’s presidential campaign that they’re ignoring an environmental threat that could ultimately bring about devastating consequences.”

“Beauty”

This was in the category “beauty” on best of youtube and aptly!

“Tunnel of Love”

There are lots of great photography blogs. Here is a beautiful picture taken in Ukraine called “Tunnel of Love.” Here are flower pictures. Such beauty about this world! (What if the world were covered in flowers? We’d sneeze a lot.) Steve McCurry. Canadian Hiking Photography.

TED Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading

Everyone needs to know about TED Talks. Great idea in itself. Here is one by Michael Pritchard on his water-cleaning filter. Here is one from the wonderful Jane Goodall, “legendary chimpanzee researcher.”

My take: we are all connected.

“Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry”

Love these investigative multiple-page articles.

“A poem is a sword.” -Saheera Sharif

“Making love to an old man is like

Making love to a limp cornstalk blackened by fungus.”

-Gulmakai, 22, an Afghan woman whose father made her marry an old man at 15

Kickstarter

Entrepreneurship at its grassroots best.

Ecotopia

Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach. Definitely going to read this.

Obama: “Warrior In Chief”

This portrait of the Nobel Peace Prize winner is disheartening.

On Air

Today I saw my first published poem in VISIONS, at their release party! Here it is:

On Air

What if the world was a feather and we were lost on a piece of dirt?

Infinite landscape of bushes and rough-leaved trees.

What if my breasts could kiss the clouds?

Wet air clinging to warmth.

What if my tongue were to lick the dusty sweet surface of the moon?

Stars setting fire to my skin as the Milky Way wrapped me up with black softness.

What if a melody of light filled me with deep strokes of night sky?

Dimension becomes a synonym for displacement.

What if gravity melded me heavy to the raindrops so I became the sum of my falling?

A weighted speck of dust, lying on the landscape stretched out.

“Urban Nirvana”

I love all these articles that keep popping up about chickens! Here is one published today. Here is one  that mentions the joy, fun, and wonder of chickens. Another old one. Some advice on raising chickens in one very practical article. One on raising chickens in tough times. These are some photos of chickens I’ve taken in the past:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Go Smell the Flowers

“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.” -Iris Murdoch

Conflict Photography

Here are amazing photography and explanations tagged as “Conflict Photography” from the New York Times.

So Much More Than a Tasty Meal

Beautiful! Definitely worth watching:

Poetry

Maybe poetry is the closest thing to experiencing life again and again. And photography and creating and writing and synthesizing. So maybe experiencing life is a life experienced over and over again. So maybe, then, as all the Buddhist philosophers remind us, living in the moment is the only true way to experience life.

Giving What We Can

Interesting choice of recommended charities to give to.

Essays on giving.

Some quotations on giving.

Very interesting decision to place names of members (those who pledged 10% of their income) on this list.

Givology

Great idea on giving.

Free Documentary Site

This is a wonderful site! You can watch documentaries ranging the spectrum of possibilities.

Obama Signs Indefinite Detention Into Law

Read this, on the American Civil Liberties Union website page.

Too many politicians talk the talk and neglect the walking part.

Steve McCurry’s Photos On Afghanistan

This is a beautiful photo essay by Steve McCurry, a worldwide photographer. It is called “Afghanistan: A Look Back.” Subscribe to his blog to get these kinds of posts by email.

Davis Projects for Peace

Check out these Projects for Peace. So many creative proposals, from empowering women with computer skills and workshops to establishing community gardens and bringing in guest lecturers.

Buddhism and Mosquitoes

I cannot bring myself to kill mosquitoes (which, in part, draws me to explore Buddhism and Jainism), so in China – where there are a lot of mosquitoes – my housemate would always be the one killing them.

Below is a fun video (the title of which is awfully misleading). I dislike that Bill Moyer/others sort of suggests that not killing mosquitoes is a radical and unnecessary extension of environmentalism. While both are based on empathy and respect, I believe that the consciousness in not killing a mosquito more closely and specifically represents the Buddhist way of living a peaceful life. It is not an extreme tangent of the more general save-the-environment attitude – which of course is a good attitude to have, but one that seems somehow less conscious if it does not embrace all of life…and so we must have the consciousness of not killing a mosquito in the same way we approach the environment as a whole, applying the very basic principal of recognizing a small being to recognizing the whole being of the earth and all around…and so environmentalism could in fact be seen as an extension of our attention to a little mosquito and all other little and large lives.

I lately have loved to learn about the Buddha’s original teachings and have compiled a list of various things/characteristics I now associate with Buddhism. I am typing this up having, in the last few weeks, heard a talk introducing Buddhism at the local temple, read the chapter on Buddhism in Huston Smith’s “The Illustrated World’s Religions,” and seen PBS’s two-hour documentary “The Buddha.”

-the miracle of life – there need not be any other miracle greater (i.e. magic, etc)
-living in the moment
-being aware
-compassion for all creatures (bugs included)
-interconnectedness
-impermanence
-mindfulness of all
-reason/rationality/freedom to debate (the Buddha wanted followers not to blindly follow, but experiment for themselves and challenge things they disagreed with)
-lack of ritual (original Buddhism)
-generosity
-wisdom
-having humor
-humbleness
-the path, not the end
-hopefulness (the end of suffering* is possible, in recognizing and addressing the cause of suffering, desire*)
*suffering = along the lines of dissatisfaction
*desire = many forms, and not necessarily bad, like the desire to attain enlightenment; the kind that causes harm is what we want to end
(these are two words that are often misconstrued and taken too literally in the simplistic teaching of the basic Four Noble Truths; the words turned me off at first)

Miss Saigon

I was moved by this tragic love story between a Vietnamese bargirl (Kim) and an American GI (Chris). The context is the Vietnam War and it (in part) demonstrates how f****d war and all associated with it can be. It has a beautiful, powerful musical score. Below are two songs, “The Movie in My Mind” and “Sun and Moon,” with lyrics:

[GIGI]
They are not nice, they’re mostly noise
They swear like men, they screw like boys
I know there’s nothing in their hearts
But every time I take one in my arms
It starts:
The movie in my mind
The dream they leave behind
A scene I can’t erase
And in a strong GI’s embrace
Flee this life
Flee this place
The movie plays and plays
The screen before me fills
He takes me to New York
He gives me dollar bills
Our children laugh all day
And eat too much ice cream
And life is like a dream
Dream
The dream I long to find
The movie in my mind

[KIM]
I will not cry, I will not think
I’ll do my dance, I’ll make them drink
When I make love, it won’t be me
And if they hurt me, I’ll just close my eyes

[KIM, GIRLS]
And see they are not nice, they’re mostly noise
The movie in my mind they kill like men, they die like boys
The dream that fills my head they give their cash, they keep their hearts
A man who will not kill but every night again it starts

[KIM]
Who’ll fight for me instead
He’ll keep us safe all day
So no one comes at night
To blow the dream away
Dream
The dream I have to find
The movie in my mind

[ALL GIRLS]
And in a strong GI’s embrace
Flee this life
Flee this place

[KIM]
A world that’s far away
Where life is not unkind
The movie in my mind

[KIM]
You are sunlight and I moon
Joined by the gods of fortune
Midnight and high noon
Sharing the sky
We have been blessed, you and I

[CHRIS]
You are here like a mystery
I’m from a world that’s so different
From all that you are
How in the light of one night
Did we come so far?

[KIM]
Outside day starts to dawn

[CHRIS]
Your moon still floats on high

[KIM]
The birds awake

[CHRIS]
The stars shine too

[KIM]
My hands still shake

[CHRIS]
I reach for you

[BOTH]
And we meet in the sky!

[KIM]
You are sunlight and I moon
Joined here
Bright’ning the sky
With the flame
Of love

[BOTH]
Made of
Sunlight
Moonlight

[KIM]
Tomorrow will be the full moon
I can bring friends to bless our room
With paper unicorns and perfume
If you want me to

[CHRIS]
Unicorns? sure. . .