Category Archives: Inspiration

Free Home For Anyone Who Will Take It

Found this good story on Facebook and like to present it here…

I was in my neighborhood restaurant this morning and was seated behind a group of jubilant individuals celebrating the successful passing of the recent health care bill. I could not finish my breakfast. This is what ensued:

They were a diverse group of several races and both sexes. I heard the young man exclaim, “Isn’t Obama like Jesus Christ? I mean, after all, he is healing the sick.” The young woman enthusiastically proclaimed, “Yeah, and he does it for free. I cannot believe anyone would think that a free market would work for health care. Another said, ‘The stupid Republicans want us all to starve to death so they can inherit all of the power. Obama should be made a Saint for what he did for those of us less fortunate.” At this, I had more than enough.

I arose from my seat, mustering all the restraint I could find, and approached their table.

“Please excuse me; may I impose upon you for one moment?” They smiled and welcomed me to the conversation. I stood at the end of their table, smiled as best I could and began an experiment.

“I would like to give one of you my house. It will cost you no money and I will pay all of the expenses and taxes for as long as you live there. Anyone interested?” They looked at each other in astonishment. “Why would you do something like that?” asked a young man, “There isn’t anything for free in this world.” They began to laugh at me, as they did not realize this man had just made my point. “I am serious, I will give you my house for free, no money what so ever. Anyone interested?” In unison, a resounding “Hell Yeah” fills the room.

“Since there are too many of you, I will have to make a choice as to who receives this money-free bargain.” I noticed an elderly couple was paying attention to the spectacle unfolding before their eyes, the old man shaking his head in apparent disgust. “I tell you what; I will give it to the one of you most willing to obey my rules.” Again, they looked at one another, an expression of bewilderment on their faces. The perky young woman asked, “What are the rules?” I smiled and said, “I don’t know. I have not yet defined them. However, it is a free home that I offer you.” They giggled amongst themselves, the youngest of which said, “What an old coot. He must be crazy to give away his home. Go take your meds, old man.” I smiled and leaned into the table a bit further. “I am serious, this is a legitimate offer.” They gaped at me for a moment.

“I’ll take it you old fool. Where are the keys?” boasted the youngest among them. “Then I presume you accept ALL of my terms then?” I asked.. The elderly couple seemed amused and entertained as they watched from the privacy of their table. “Oh hell yeah! Where do I sign up?” I took a napkin and wrote, “I give this man my home, without the burden of financial obligation, so long as he accepts and abides by the terms that I shall set forth upon consummation of this transaction.” I signed it and handed it to the young man who eagerly scratched out his signature. “Where are the keys to my new house?” he asked in a mocking tone of voice. All eyes were upon us as I stepped back from the table, pulling the keys from pocket and dangling them before the excited new homeowner.

“Now that we have entered into this binding contract, witnessed by all of your friends, I have decided upon the conditions you are obligated to adhere from this point forward. You may only live in the house for one hour a day. You will not use anything inside of the home. You will obey me without question or resistance. I expect complete loyalty and admiration for this gift I bestow upon you. You will accept my commands and wishes with enthusiasm, no matter the nature. Your morals and principles shall be as mine. You will vote as I do, think as I do and do it with blind faith. These are my terms. Here are your keys.” I reached the keys forward and the young man looked at me dumbfounded.

“Are you out of your mind? Who would ever agree to those ridiculous terms?” the young man appeared irritated. “You did when you signed this contract before reading it, understanding it and with the full knowledge that I would provide my conditions only after you committed to the agreement.” Was all I said. The elderly man chuckled as his wife tried to restrain him. I was looking at a now silenced and bewildered group of people. “You can shove that stupid deal up you’re a** old man, I want no part of it” exclaimed the now infuriated young man. “You have committed to the contract, as witnessed by all of your friends; you cannot get out of the deal unless I agree to it. I do not intend to let you free now that I have you ensnared. I am the power you agreed to. I am the one you blindly and without thought chose to enslave yourself to. In short, I am your Master.” At this, the table of celebrating individuals became a unified group against the unfairness of the deal.

After a few moments of unrepeatable comments and slurs, I revealed my true intent. “What I did to you is what this administration and congress did to you with the health care legislation. I easily suckered you in and then revealed the real cost of the bargain. Your folly was in the belief that you can have something you did not earn; that you are entitled to that which you did not earn; that you willingly allowed someone else to think for you. Your failure to research, study and inform yourself permitted reason to escape you. You have entered into a trap from which you cannot flee. Your only chance of freedom is if your new Master gives it to you. A freedom that is given can also be taken away; therefore, it is not freedom.” With that, I tore up the napkin and placed it before the astonished young man. “This is the nature of your new health care legislation.”

I turned away to leave these few in thought and contemplation and was surprised by applause. The elderly gentleman, who was clearly entertained, shook my hand enthusiastically and said, “Thank you Sir, these kids don’t understand Liberty these days.” He refused to allow me to pay my bill as he said, “You earned this one, it is an honor to pickup the tab.” I shook his hand in thanks, leaving the restaurant somewhat humbled, and sensing a glimmer of hope for my beloved country.

Use reason,
Clifford A.

Making a House my Own

We found a real nice house that is more or less perfect in many regards:

  • big enough
  • lower priced because it needs a bit of work
  • close to friends
  • quiet area
  • big RV garage to be used as storage for business
  • owner very motivated
  • owner open to creative financing
  • open space
  • big property – third of an acre

Altogether, it just feels right, we all like it – so we want it.

Now we just have to create the reality that within a month we move into this place and one of the reasons for this blog post is for you all to help create this reality.

So, now altogether please – create the picture of us being in this house with plenty of money left over from the sale of the old house. Oh, yes, and the old house is bought by a friend for whom it would be real good as he wants to have a family.

Seeing Without Your Eyes

I used degrading eye-sight as an excuse to replace my 24 inch monitor with a 32″ TV – and I love it. Now, when I am at the other office with only a 24″ monitor I sometimes have to put reading glasses on to see the smaller part of the photoshop interface.

The idea that, as we get older, our eyes get weaker and we accept to use glasses. There seem to be a strong correlation between the eyes and seeing.

But I have been suspicious for a while that this is not the whole story. Simply because sometimes – and I have not found the pattern – my vision is just perfect. And if it would be weaker eye muscles and less elastic lenses would be the only reason for declining eye-sight, then this would not make sense.

The following video of a painter, born without eyes (!), gives more fuel to that line of reasoning. Now, what really is seeing?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3AgO6H0H98

Size Does Matter

Usually ‘size does matter’ has something to do with bigger is better. Here I mean it the other way: smaller is better. At least that’s the idea of the tiny house people. I ran into this idea a few years back and it just fascinated me then and now that I am re-visiting I thought I better put it up on my blog so that I don’t forget.

So, here it is…

If I combine this with my idea to have a property where it takes me half an hour to get from the entrance of the property itself to the door of the house, it becomes even more unusual – have a 20 acre property with a 200 square foot house. Maybe I can have a few houses on the property though.

Good Public School

After avoiding public school for my son for many years, he is now demanding to attend high school in a ‘real’ school – – as if home schooling is not real!

I certainly will not oppose this, because it is his decision to experience it, but I am allowed to feel reluctant that this is the right course to go.

After seeing the following TED talk by a public school teacher my reluctance has diminished and made way for the feeling that you can actually find good teachers anywhere…

Creativity and Felicia Day

FeliciaDayWe all know that in order to create a successful web series you have to hire Felicia Day (of ‘The Guild’ fame) but today I found out that it is also advantageous to listen to her new video Blog Geek & Sundry.

She recommended a book “If You Want to Write” by Brenda Ueland and somehow that resonated with me. Thanks to Amazon and Kindle books I was in the possession of that book one click later. OK, it were a few clicks first to find the book on Amazon but after that it really was only one click and four bucks later that I could start reading this amazing book.

Try this:
“So remember these two things: you are talented, and you are original. Be sure of that. I say this because self-trust is one of the very most important things in writing…”

“This creative power and imagination is in everyone, and so is the need to express it, i.e., to share it with others. But what happens to it? It is very tender and sensitive, and it is usually drummed out of people early in life by criticism (so-called “helpful criticism” is often the worst kind), by teasing, jeering, rules, prissy teachers, critics, and all those unloving people who forget that the letter killeth and the spirit giveth life. Sometimes I think of life as a process where everybody is discouraging and taking everybody else down a peg or two.”

”…the only way to love a person is not, as the stereotyped Christian notion is, to coddle them and bring them soup when they are sick, but by listening to them and seeing and believing in the god, in the poet, in them. For by doing this, you keep the god and the poet alive and make it flourish.”

All this reminded me of a ‘decision’ made many, many years ago. During my last high school years I loved the natural sciences including math but also art. Physics was the strongest in terms of appreciation by others.

Now it was the custom that the local news paper (it was a smaller town in Germany) published a list of all the high school graduates with their intended carrier. I was really honest for a moment there and answered the survey’s question about my intended carrier with a simple ‘Artist.’

Unfortunately this honesty did not last that long because after summer and some brain storming I entered college with a major of physics. That was more more ‘realistic’ choice, one that would allow me to ‘make a living.’ Fortunately this field was also something I loved and it got even better when I was done with my masters because those were the days when the field of computer science really started up and needed contributors. There was no major of Computer Science yet, so mostly mathematicians and physicists started to bootstrap this field and I was happy to pitch in – probably partly because in those early days, writing software was more of a creative and artistic activity than an engineering one.

I am glad that the ‘pure’ art also remained in my life even though I had chosen a real money-making carrier as my daytime job. Photography became my medium of expression and somehow musicians were always in my life, sometime to the extent that I was the only ‘audience’ in a big group of musicians.

But I do want to do more writing and so Brenda Ueland’s book came just at the right time.

Thank you, Felicia, for bringing it to me!

The Idea of Freedom is definitely not new

I always equated Charlie Chaplin with comedy, but when I look back, the most memorable scene I remember, is a bitter-sweet scene from City Lights. In fact, beside some shorter clips on TV I did not actually see much of his work.

But after seeing his speech in The Great Dictator I have to change that. I was surprised that this movie is actually not available on Netflix.

House with Bodhi Tree for Sale

Some 25 centuries ago, on the morning of December 8th, by the Japanese Buddhist
calendar, one Siddhartha Gotama Shakya, while sitting in meditation under a fig tree, woke up to the reality of life and the world.

This waking up to reality made him the Buddha Shakyamuni, the “Awakened Onesage of the Shakyas”. The specific type of fig tree under which he sat became known as the Bodhi Tree, in good old Latin – ficus religiosa.

In the good old tradition of Tony Robins many people then tried to imitate the Buddha’s actions and sat under a Bodhi Tree for hours on and, often falling asleep instead of waking up. One of the problems with sitting under THE Bodhi Tree was simple logistics – there is just finite space under one fig tree, even a special one.

So what to do?

The principle of homeopathic was adopted that the essence of this tree could be passed on even in very high dilutions. So, the essence of this one tree in Bodhgaya, India was taken, in form of a leaf, and planted in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. A branch of that tree was then given to a Mary Foster to be planted in the Foster Botanical Garden in Honolulu, Hawaii.

A branch from that tree was given to the University of  California, Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.) and grew joyously in its botanical garden.

Now the camera zooms in on Max, who, some dozen years ago, was in charge of part of UCLA’s computer systems, and who enjoyed his lunch break in that very UCLA botanical garden. This is how one little branch of that 4th generation bodhi tree ended  up in a glass of water in your’s truly house – with the plan for this branch to sprout some roots so that it could be planted and supply the space – in some twenty or thirty years – to mediate under, in order to finally awake.

It was a very difficult birth and early childhood for this fifth generation of bodhi tree indeed. Only with the greatest care was there finally a five-inch baby tree growing in a planter – only to be used by painters as a weight for their tarp when slapping paint on the house. The poor baby tree was beaten up, splattered with paint and almost died.

I nearly gave up there, but we started one last attempt, and this attempt coincided with the birth of our son Zen, who apparently chose his name because he had none of it and it was the goal of this life to gain some – Zen, I mean.

Surprisingly, growing up together, Zen and the bodhi tree, worked like a charm and after two years the tree had already surpassed the child as the picture above shows. The gap in size increased over the years and ten years later the child made to a bit over five feet but the tree grew to at least twenty.

I now have doubts that I will ever sit under this tree to suddenly awake, as the house might have to find a different owner and this tree can certainly not be transplanted. We also learned that by the type of Buddhism practiced in Thailand we made a mistake in planting this tree in our yard – these trees are reserved for temples and monks! But we did some ceremony/exorcism so smooth the waves. The tree is now wearing come colorful clothes around its trunk and all is OK.

Now your call to action – if you always wanted to have a house with a Bodhi Tree to sit under and meditate, now is the time to get in touch with me – going once, going twice, …

Living up there in the Trees

I could not possibly imagine a kid that is not dreaming of a tree house. I certainly was, but I never actually had one.

Some of us remain this kid and can’t wait to have a kid with the same dream and then finally fulfilling that dream, as now the resources are available.

The closest I ever was at a tree house was actually a tree deck – the dad of one of my friends, a welder, had built a deck for his son – maybe himself. As a welder he used the materials he was familiar and so the stairs going up the tree were a steel spiral staircase. And the deck itself was constructed from steel as well. So, I was not quite sure if it was actually the tree supporting the deck/house or vice versa.

Deep down inside me the idea of a tree house must have always been in a slumber, because when the pictures below reached my inbox – thanks, Beverly – a dream woke up…