Monday, October 28, 2013

Peyton Manning & Martin Heidegger

Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) is perhaps the most influential philosopher of our time. The fact that his work has been written about so extensively by the other great contemporary philosophers I believe bears this out. But there is a flaw in Herr Heidegger's resume, he was an early supporter of the Nazi party in Germany. Now whether he later refudiated those early positions, which he most certainly did in private and equally as certainly did not do so in public, he still was at some point a supporter of National Socialism.

The enduring question for many scholars is: How does a personal or political belief reflect on one's life work outside of the political arena?

In the case of Martin Heidegger, the question may never be answered. Despite his influence over areas beyond esoteric philosophy, in psychology, art, political theory, design and anthropology; he still somehow was able to embrace the Nazi agenda.

So why discuss this today, one might ask? Professional football and pizza, I say.

You see Payton Manning, formerly the quarterback and savior of the Indianapolis Colts and now record-setting leader of the Denver Broncos has a similar questionable flaw in his non-professional character. Despite being beloved in Indianapolis before the vagaries of injury, the draft and the incessant drumbeat of money in the NFL forced him out; Peyton Manning is the chief celebrity spokesman for Papa John's Pizza. The owner, CEO, founder and 'ah shucks' advertising face of Papa John's is Papa John Schnatter. The founder of the 4th largest Pizza franchise in the U.S. is an entrepeneur of some note and a right wing ideologue. He was one of the first corporate CEOs to speak out against the cost of the Affordable Care Act and suggested he would be likely to make this staff part-time workers to avoid providing them with health care.

During that political dust-up pictures of John Schnatter's 24,000 square foot home modeled after a Roman villa began to appear juxtapositioned with his whining that he was going to have to raise the price of his pizza by 14 cents. Regardless of the politics of the Affordable Care Act or John Schnatter's political bent, how does this reflect on Payton Manning's decision to become a franchisee and owner of 21 Papa John stores in the greater Denver area?

Does the NFL star under contract for $21.5 million a year have any obligation to anyone but himself and his family or might he have some connection to the fans who not only are expected to patronize his restaurants but also in many cases work there without health insurance for a boss who doesn't think he should provide them with benefits.

Where do we draw the lines around celebrity and greed? Profit and poor labor conditions? And does supporting a clearly evil political agenda have any effect of your existential philosophy or your ability to throw the deep fade route?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Winter Fog

The Farmer's Almanac predicts a wetter than normal winter here in  the Bay Area. This is good news, we've had a couple of dry ones of late and the reservoirs could use a topping off. A wet winter means more fog and unlike some I really enjoy the gray atmosphere.

The picture above is a morning shot from the Marin Headlands through the Golden Gate and back towards San Francisco, not exactly my perspective but a nice shot. I live just about eight miles left of those two bridge towers, sort of out through the upper left hand corner of the picture. Each evening this week from my perspective the sun is setting directly behind the Golden Gate Bridge. There are times when the view out my window is a complete distraction from my writing but I find it impossible to complain.

I like the gray weather in all it's shades of grey.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Random Quotes on Our Condition

Just some utterances that struck a chord recently:

"Doesn't it seem sometimes 
that the darkness is winning."

"If a family member is having an emotional breakdown and holding a knife, calling the police is probably just going to get him/her shot. Cops are not counselors. They have only one tool: violence."

"A new state law in Arkansas will result in police collecting saliva during routine traffic stops. This is the latest tool they will be using in fighting the oppressive and unjust War on Drugs."

From the Bradley Manning trial: "Armed military police peering over journalists' shoulders, no Internet access in the remote media room, Army staff frisking everyone for phones -- those weren't the only obstacles for reporters covering the trial. The military also refused to publish key documents the government used to build its closing argument."

It's getting better all the time

I used to get mad at my school
The teachers who taught me weren't cool
You're holding me down, turning me round
Filling me up with your rules

I've got to admit it's getting better
A little better all the time
I have to admit it's getting better
It's getting better since you've been mine

Me used to be angry young man
Me hiding me head in the sand
You gave me the word, I finally heard
I'm doing the best that I can

I've got to admit it's getting better  (link to the boys singing this little tune)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Films for Action

I have been wandering in the world of documentary films lately and recently discovered Wall of Films. These are 500 documentaries "hand-picked for change in the world." Some are depressing, some upsetting, but you will also find the uplifting and the enlightening. There are calls to action and cries to desist. As time consuming pasttimes go, these rank right up there with meditation and finding ever more exotic recipes for Death by Chocolate.

You're welcome.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Ipe Trees

 As fall settles in and many of us experience the changing colors of autumn, I am reminded of the Ipe trees found in tropical climates from southern Mexico to Brazil.

These can really give a whole new meaning to fall colors.

They tend to "burst" into color over just a day or two.

Monday, October 07, 2013


Back in 1996, I traveled to Bali with a small group of like-minded individuals. It was truly a magical journey. After several weeks together, the travelers dispersed to their own private adventures, I hopped a plane to Java to visit the Buddhist temple at Borobudur. This photo snapped at dusk remains the enduring image of myself from all those years ago. Next year I plan to seek another iconic photo or two.