I wish all readers of this webpage peace, happiness,
freedom, and good fortune in their life's journey!
Welcome to my web page! Inside this website can be found more
information about me than surely a person would ever want to know.
Why would anyone
want to know all this stuff about me? Well, I don't know! Perhaps
it is the voyeur in me, but I myself enjoy reading about other people
and their thoughts and experiences on the World Wide Web - probably enjoy
it more than I would in meeting them personally. I have therefore designed
my home page to reflect what I like in other people's webpages. At any
rate, feel free to browse and view what you like.
What else about me? I am a lover of books and
reading and writing perhaps more than anything else; there is no holier
place in the world for me than a bookstore. I believe in manners and
in being a gentleman until given no other alternative. I believe in
the common man in the Walt Whitman sense who is a comrade of all free
men and women "who shake hands and welcome to drink and meat." ("a
learner with the simplest, a teacher of the thoughtfullest"). I
think that no matter who you are or what you do you should strive to
be the best - or at least do the best you can do (it is the school
teacher in me, I guess). I truly think mankind is an irreparably fallen
creature, but I am continually amazed at the kind and generous individuals
I meet in this world (both online and off). I have good health, a loving
family, and loyal
friends for which above all things I consider myself a lucky man.
Although I have only just celebrated my 32nd birthday, I have seen
some pretty strange things and been to some crazy places so far in
Come check it out!
Some personal photos
The man behind the domain: put a face to the words.
Come check it out!
to This Site
Recent updates and new URLs.
Per reader demand.
Oh, yeah, I'm a geek. Not in the coke
bottle glasses or pocket protector sense of the word but in the common
of today's digital generation. The geeks will inherit
the earth, so you'd better watch your step, pal.
Are you a geek? Do you find yourself
discussing computer operating systems with your friends over dinner?
Do you get
excited about the newest releases of software applications or the
hottest blazing fast processors on the market? Do you forgo sleep
challenging computer problems or to navigate unknown corners of
cyberspace? Do arrogant politicians trying to extend speech codes
onto the Internet
drive you to distraction? Well, then you too may be a geek.
I am a believer in the "digital revolution" that
is occurring today in the United States and throughout the world. I
don't subscribe to all that futurist "your-life-will-be-so-much-better" or "life-as-we-know-it-will-change" stuff,
but I do think networking computers has the potential to facilitate
communication among us humans and make
the world a smaller place. However, people (you and I) are
going to have to convert what is by itself only an artificial aggregate
silicon chips and optical fiber into an environment full of all
the richness of real life. Putting up this webpage is my own small
towards making cyberspace a truly "human" medium.
We all hear what the politicians, journalists,
religious authorities, celebrities, and "experts" have to say;
I am curious to hear what you have to say, and I would like to
you what I think. As Henry David Thoreau described, "It takes two
to speak the truth - one to speak, and another to listen." In this
manner, I am optimistic that the World Wide Web can foster democracy
of thought and greater understanding amongst peoples.
I am an admittedly opinionated person and
I strongly believe in certain things - growing up in my household it
was encouraged to take a position and argue and defend it well. Don't
agree with something I have to say in my webpages? Reason out an argument,
write it down carefully, and e-mail me your thoughts. Who knows? You
might just change my mind! I am fully ready to admit error if so convinced
by thoughtful and insightful persuasion, and I bring an open mind to
all issues. Opinion is free, and disagreement is legitimate; ready
to refute, I stand ready to be refuted -- and so I hope to learn from
my readers of this webpage, whatever it is they have to teach! When
it comes to the most important questions in life, there never will
be a "last word" beyond which nothing more can be said.
In this spirit, I encourage you to make
your own webpages. I greatly enjoyed creating this website through
a thousand careful modifications, additions, and clarifications.
And probably nobody visits it as much as I do - to often read some
literature, poems, and other works of art which hold special importance
for me, re-live some
of the happier moments in my past, remember the
lives of particularly inspiring persons, or look at photos
of my recently deceased mother, etc. in a private moment of reflection.
I would have written these webpages with pleasure even if I were the
only person to ever see them; creating them forced me to organize my
thoughts and define exactly where I have been, what I believe in, and
where I want to go in the future. They contain a good portion of what
gives meaning and purpose to my life. Create your own website, and
don't just put up fluff with no real content like many do but make
it an insightful and unique expression of yourself and your beliefs.
As Bertrand Russell's last lines written for public consumption, written
three days before his death, claim: "There is an artist imprisoned
in each one of us. Let him loose to spread joy everywhere!" Benjamin
Franklin, in his own way, similarly tells us, "If you would not
be forgotten, as soon as you are dead & rotten, either write things
worth reading, or do things worth the writing." Partake in the
joy of creation and do or make something beautiful where before there
was nothing. Turn off your TV before your brain turns to guacamole
and do it now!
One of the many reasons I cannot
stomach to watch TV is that I truly think the television, motion picture,
and record company executives have contempt for the viewer/listener.
They don't care about you as a human being or about the quality of what
they show but only care about you as a consumer. They want to make money
off you. I think they would put mud and sewage in cans and market it
if they thought it would sell. In my webpages, I want you to read and
think and hopefully find something useful or beautiful (and it will be
a cold day in hell before an advertisement appears on one of my pages).
I fully agree with the Abbé Suger who claimed back in the 12th century: "It
is only through symbols of beauty that our poor spirits can raise themselves
from things temporal to things eternal."
Writers crave thoughtful attention, and
I am sure any reader who patiently delves through my various sections
will find nuggets of gold worth their time and effort. If even
a minority of those who visit my pages find something that pleases
or prompts them to think, then I would consider it well worth my
time and money to have created this site - the product, in one
or another, of literally years of work on my behalf. Please enjoy
it in this spirit. :-)
I have tried to write these webpages
- especially the Thoughts
Worth Thinking and Heroes sections
- as something that human beings would find interesting 50 or 500
years from now: some famous art, poetry and epic ideas from history,
as well as the thoughts, times and trials of a man who loved, lost,
learned, was embittered in life, but ultimately greatly appreciated
his time on this earth.
"The man is only half himself, the other
half is his expression."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
COUNTDOWN UNTIL NEW PRESIDENT:
I am a moderate
and pragmatic Republican who will vote for anyone from any party
who I think speaks
common sense. Without any good alternative, I voted uneasily
in the last election for George Bush; how I regret that now!
never regretted voting for a president as much in my life. It
seems whoever comes after George will have to spend much of their
trying to clean up his mess -- no worries, and please focus on
the below countdown clock --
-- left until we have a new president and a new era
in American politics can begin.
Still I wonder if a new president
will make any difference. There is a shrillness and stridency to
those who would wage "cultural
the name of their vision of America, and it bodes ill for a nation
ability to build consensus have yielded a political
stability rare in modern times. Let's take the relatively few religious
on the far right and the "race-class-gender" bozos
on the extreme left and let them yell at each other
-- ignored by the rest of
Disagreement among ourselves is neither
a vice nor a source of weakness; however, caustic
incivility and dogmatic
intolerance in the public discourse are poison to
a democracy. In my opinion, too many people yell at each
other in the United
States today. People yelling at each other solves nothing.
"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes,
exhausts, and murders itself. There never was
a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
Rich Geib words to live by:
"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read
a good poem, see a fine picture,
and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words."
- Johan Wolfgang Goethe
The time is
here in Southern California.
What time is it where you are?
love for you to let me know you were here, and I've made it
as simple for you as I can by offering a small comment
card. If your web browser doesn't support forms, or you prefer
standard e-mail, you can send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I enjoy receiving e-mail for just about any reason. I get about
10 or 12 unsolicited e-mails a day off this webpage from all
world, and if for no other reason this makes having constructed
it worth the trouble. Feel free to drop a line just to say "hi" and
tell me how
life is treating you.
I respond happily to persons
who e-mail me requesting specific information and/or help.
However, the quality
and extent of my response corresponds directly to the thoughtfulness
and/or extent of the question. Requests for basic information
and/or facts that can easily be found elsewhere on the World
Wide Web, if
the correspondent were not so lazy, will be ignored (Memo
to such persons: SEARCH ENGINES! Use them. They work). Requests for
me to outline the effect of the French
Revolution on Western Civilization, the legacy of Thomas
Jefferson on subsequent American political life, the ramifications
of the Reformation on European political organization, or some other
similarly extensive topic will be ignored since any reasonable answer
would take hours of work and I am as busy as anyone else. Yet another request
by a student to analyze a simple poem immediately ("My teacher
wants it by tomorrow, so please respond soon!") will join the
10,000 other such requests unanswered. And the occasional e-mail
asking me to send a total stranger a fully completed term paper will
be deleted in disgust! Conversely, a thoughtful, brief, and interesting
question will provoke an answer of similar nature on my behalf -
that is if I know the answer to the question! I am not an encyclopedia
but sometimes I think people think otherwise. Pique my interest and
you will get a good response. And be polite. Please.
I get some pretty
strange e-mail. If you send me something
strikingly stupid, be prepared to have your eyebrows singed
by epochal flaming and to be held
up to public ridicule. With such an churlish
e-mail, you will deserve
it (although I will change your name and e-mail address before
posting). Take some time to write clearly me your thoughts with
something approaching artistry and insight, if at all possible.
As Dr. Samuel Johnson poignantly observed, "What is written
without effort is in general read without pleasure." That is
an observation worth keeping in mind. "The opinions of most
people," claimed the ancient philosopher Heraclitus, "are
like the playthings of infants." Prove yourself to be different.
I spend maybe an hour
or two on-line everyday. This includes checking and responding
to any e-mail, listening
to the nightly news at National Public Radio and The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, while I routinely check the latest
breaking news at CNN.
I then quickly check out the op/ed page at the New
York Times to get the East Coast perspective. Next, I cruise
over to Intellectual
Capital or PBS's
Frontline for interesting investigative articles and analysis
and to Salon for
any op/ed pieces that catch my eye from the quirky Web perspective;
I almost always find something well worth reading in those outstanding
periodicals. There is no need to check out the local L.A.
Times site since I religiously read that newspaper (the actual
newsprint copy) cover to cover every day. The real reading of my
day, however, comes when I sit down after dinner and focus my full
concentration on the most recent editions of the New
York Review of Books or London
Times Literary Supplement; subscriptions to these two
publications together equals almost $200 per year but it
is worth twice that
amount to me! Unlike other magazines that try to cover profoundly
world events in a spare eight paragraphs, they perform the
lifting" required to deal with such phenomenon in all the
sophistication and complexity they require. Good stuff! Any
remaining time I
usually spend writing more of this webpage, an activity that
just eats up
the hours. Finally, I settle into bed to read a book that
has been waiting for me since I left for work in the morning.
know a good
book awaits me at the end of the day makes more supportable
the frustrations and hardships life inevitably brings with
it. "I've never known
any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage," claimed the
Baron de Montesquieu. Neither have I known such a trouble, nor in
my life regretted the hour spent in reading and thinking.
But in adult life I have
found time (or the lack of it) has become very important to
me, and so I try not
to waste it. As Benjamin Franklin poignantly put it, "Dost thou
love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the stuff Life is
made of." The mantra of America is that winning is everything
and time is money so don't squander it. But time is love, in my opinion
- it is your treasure! So isn't it best spent on what you love and
treasure? As you have been given only a certain amount of heartbeats
in this life, how you spend them is everything. People often complain
to me they would like to read a certain famous book or write the
Great American Novel, if only they could afford the time! It is not
about affording the time; it is about choosing to afford the
time. It is about deciding what is most important in life, making
priorities, and then sticking to them. It is about actively taking
charge of your life and figuring out what you believe instead of
being a passive, empty vessel to be filled by others.
If you were given only a week left to
live, what regrets would you have as you reviewed your life? Have
you lived the life you always wanted to live? Of what would you be
proud? Of what ashamed? Did you become the person you always wanted
to be? I think it medicinal to live with your demise and death never
far from mind, and to live in such a way as to regret as little as
possible when that moment arrives -- as it will, sooner or later.
Think of your epigraph, and then work backwards. If you want to be
an good person, be a good person. If you want to be an interesting
person, be an interesting person. Live as if you were always in the
presence of a great and admired figure, and conduct your affairs
in such a way that when it comes times to die you can truly say you
have not lived in vain. But do you even want to be a "good" person?
Do you want to be "interesting"? Who are your heroes? The
Oracle at Delphi commands: "Know thyself!" But who are you? Who am
I? These are not idle questions.
Nowadays we are literally
bombarded by media advertisements and queries telling us who
we should be, what
we should buy, and how we should live. Everyone has something
to sell whether it be a product, an image, or a message; and
most importunate in seeking your attention and letting you
know it. "This" is
the music everyone listens to, they tell you, and "that" is
the show the "in crowd" watches -- and pay attention, for
everything will change tomorrow if not sooner! "This" is
the "cool" lifestyle everyone wants, and "that" is
what you need to fit in and be "popular." This
politician is selling himself, and that
think tank is promoting its pet points of view -- be
informed, stay on the cutting edge! Junk mail, snail mail,
network sitcoms, newspaper editorials, radio jingles, roadside
billboards, flyers left on your car windshield, sales inducements
left at your
front door, raw information free by the reams on the Internet,
a thousand different points of view over the World Wide Web!
The modern "digital" American,
it has been estimated, is exposed to more information in
a single day than a medieval European peasant was in a lifetime;
our culture seems to have accelerated in the past few years,
so has our
confusion and sense of disorientation. What to buy? What
to do? Where to live? Who to trust? What to believe? Who
Who to be?
Access to information brings to a person choices which means
the inevitable decisions -- and too many choices and decisions
as stultifying and enervating as too few! Managing the barrage
of media bits that bounce off of my brain every day is just
one of the
challenges I face in trying to live a responsible and fulfilling
life; and as the speed of the barrage increases and info-glut
threatens to overwhelm me, so increases my responsibility
to manage it all
effectively. But it takes time and energy to manage, and
time and energy are the precious currency of our lives.
Ah, being alive today
can be so difficult! Technology and the prickly hurly-burly
of the outside world can overtake
and control your life, if you let it. But you always have
the option of unplugging the phone, hiding your beeper, turning off
and throwing your television out the window -- if only for
few hours! You can choose to go for a walk in the park, meet
friends for dinner, or crawl into bed with a good book. You can look
the here and the now to find what you need. You can choose
refuse to let others define you. So in facing a sometimes overwhelming
of choices on how to spend my time and energy, I make the
choices I am explaining right now -- no complaints! I strenuously
to keep my life as simple as possible, holding close to the
without anything to do, rarely do I let myself be rushed.
Often alone, seldom am I lonely.
Certain visitors to my webpages have
complained that modern music and "popular" culture seems to play
little or no role in my life, and they are correct in this. Let me
be frank in that I care little or nothing about the opinions and
personal lives of vacuous actresses, rock stars, or celebrity athletes
and all the gossip-mongering and thrill seeking that surrounds them
like flies swarming around garbage and which litters the newsstands
and crowds the broadcast airwaves -- seemingly occupying so much
of our society's attention in a commercial culture which could hardly
be more intrusive or annoying. In short, I scrupulously ignore what
I think is trash, a skill I have honed over a lifetime. In my heart
I have gone into a sort of self-exile from my own country and its "consumer" culture,
although I do not tilt at windmills in open rebellion as do some.
I try to go about my business quietly in seeking that which gives
meaning and dignity to life. I would (if I could find the skill!)
choose to live so as to make myself worthy of happiness (and maybe
even be happy!). To try to live this "good life" (as the
ancient philosophers defined it) is a never-ending struggle,
but it is
a struggle well worth while. And therein I don't believe
I live so
differently than did those I admire most from 200 or 2,000
years ago, notwithstanding the obvious changes in our external
even if I live with so much less distinction and success
than did they. In the early 17th century, Ben Jonson wrote
the following: "What
a deale of cold busines doth a man mis-spend the better part of life
in! In scattering compliments, tendring visits, gathering
and venting newes, following Feastes and Playes,
making a little winter-love in a darke corner." I hope
never to live that way, unless it is quite unavoidable. "Don't
follow in the footsteps of the masters," advises the Zen
saying, "but seek what they sought." That
is good advice.
And so I conscientiously
avoid aimless Web wandering, as it is a rapacious time devourer
and hardly any
better for you than channel surfing the idiot tube (AKA the
TV) or breathing in opium. I do check out, however, the web pages
and all persons who e-mail me in an attempt to know more
about with whom I am communicating. :-) But I keep my on-line time
and spend as much time as possible curled up in bed relaxing
with a good book. To relax and enter into the narrative of
a good book
is for me a pleasure rarely surpassed! It is to escape the
prison of one's self, the tyranny of the here and now. It is to understand
today better through the prism of yesterday. Good books are
the dead speak to the living, and their reading is how you
and I participate
in the great conversation of humanity. To read is to travel
across time to hear the voices of the sages and bards, to pronounce
judgment on the high and mighty, to succor the afflicted, and
wicked. It is to be alone never and bored rarely. Enough said!
the record, Windows XP is my operating system. The older and
busier I get, the less I care about the minutiae of computers and
even less interested in learning them. I want to get my work
done as quickly and painlessly as possible; and whether the computer
running on Linux, Wintel, or Mac OS is strictly of secondary
importance. (I have always esteemed much more the ability to construct
prose or verse than to code software, anyway.) I have little
invested personally in the caustic "holy wars" between Apple
and Microsoft machine advocates. (Is there anything more obnoxious
than a militant
Mac fan? My roommate is a perfect example of this!) I personally
prefer Wintel machines because of the naked power it offers and
the relative stability, but software preference has a lot to do with
personal taste. Ultimately, I see not much difference between
two platforms - they are just stupid command obeying machines
in the end! Please just give me the latest most powerful model of
type. 'Nuff said.
COMPUTER vs. MAN?
Everyone made a big deal about IBM's "Big Blue" computer
defeating chess master Gary Kasparov
in New York a couple of years ago. I was relatively unimpressed
and strongly suspect this feat had more than anything else to
do with the skill of the computer programmers coupled
with massive number crunching
Impressed? Let a computer come teach
one of my classes full of contumacious 13-year olds. Let a computer
solve a marital dispute or fix the Los
Angeles city public school system. Let a computer come up with
an original idea. Let a computer write a poem worth reading. Let
a computer console an old man on a cold winter's night. Then we'll
talk about being impressed.
This page and all
my others are best viewed with Netscape 3.x or higher, although
I grudgingly admit they look just fine with MS Internet Explorer.
However, I've determined that browsers like Mosaic and or, God forbid!,
the AOL or Prodigy browsers, or the Netcruiser trash simply don't
it justice at all. It frankly frightens me when I see how
many America Online people visit my website each month
speculate how badly my pages must look to them!
If you are using
Firefox or MS Explorer and it still doesn't look right
to you, try matching my
by using a 800x480, 16-bit monitor. Most of my pages are designed
to float in at least 800 pixels of width, but larger layouts should
also work just fine.
Mozilla to Firefox!
are visitor # to
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