April 30, 2020-

Part II, of “HAL and Griff” will appear on Saturday’s blog.  In the meantime:

We have, as is Americans’ wont, reached the Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Everyone is right, in the confines of their own silos, and whoever dares caution someone not to call for the firing, arrest, or DEATH, of another human being, who happens to be either suspected of wrongdoing or is the focus of exposes of various levels of veracity, is an unctious waste of DNA in his/her own right.  This speaks volumes about those who stand in judgment.

A few thoughts, then, from my own humble and fallible mind:

We each have a dual nature- There are things about which we are self-centered and “freedom-loving” and there are things about which we are supremely giving and kind.

I believe in the sanctity of life-from the moment of conception, AND I believe it is a mother’s place to decide what is done with her body, hopefully choosing adoption over abortion, but her informed decision, nonetheless-and no one else’s.

I believe that a community can and should take the stance that the lives of everyone-richest to poorest, of all ethnicities, genders,  ages and sexual orientations, are sacred, as well.  I believe that respect for everyone’s sensibilities, with regard to health, is just common courtesy.  I also believe that no one should be deprived of livelihood, for an open-ended period of time.  Staggered shifts have been proposed for school children- the same could conceivably work  for those whose jobs preclude work from home.  Ditto for using common sense, with regard to spacing of people whose infection status is unknown.

We are also in a state of flux, which I know is scary for many.  Humanity has been at this juncture before, when barbarian hordes have invaded their homelands.  A micororganism is not a barbarian, so there is the all-too-human tendency to turn one’s perceived opponent into said barbarian.  This, to me, is valuable time wasted.

It’s time to wake up, gear up and stand up-for the raising of a truly shining humanity.

HAL XI and Griff (Part 1)


April 29, 2020-

Sometime within the next fifty years, I envision this unfolding:

HAL XI turned itself on, around 7 a.m. Work, for such as this Gates Interstellar command and control module began most days at 9 a.m and ended at 4:30 p.m., as there was no need for breaks or lunch, with A.I.    Michael S. Gates was a stickler for detail, in the family tradition, and found most other humans a collective source of distraction.  HAL  and its peers did as told-and their output was superb, propelling the company which “M.S.G.” had inherited from his grandfather, ten years ago, far ahead of that dinosaurian SpaceX, which relied yet on human ingenuity-and the human error that came with it.

HAL XI was the most reliable of the current line and, being Michael’s own product, was given more responsibility for the current mission to the Jovian moon, Callisto.  HAL actually managed the advance team of Reptor AI, which were to take Interstellar’s Cybernex craft to Jupiter’s second largest moon in July, 2050 and land, if all went well, by the following Spring.

Nicola Griffin Musk was the youngest grandson of SpaceX’s founder.  Griff, as he had insisted on being called, from the moment he learned he’d been named for the namesake of his grandfather’s company, was the family free spirit.  He had no interest in either space travel or earthbound mechanical transport, for that matter.  Where Griff went, he went on foot or on his tandem skateboard- his sole invention.  The tandem section was a means of including his lttle sister, Cecilia, and later the light of his life, Graciela, on his adventures.

Griff did have to earn his keep, though, and when he found his twenty- year-old self  laid off, from the Game Stop outlet that was a ten-minute skate from his home, during the Panic of 2070, he made up his mind to hold his nose and see if there was SOMETHING he could do at SpaceX, which would not  involve math or science.

Lucas Musk regarded his son gingerly, for several minutes, letting Griff’s talents filter in his mind.  “Griff”, the go-getter finally chortled, “I have just the job for you, my boy.  Do you remember who the Luddites were? ”

“Yes, Dad. They were the folks who tried to knock some sense into the British sheeples, back in the early 19th Century.  They fought against the AI of their time.” , Griff responded, his eyes widening and his mouth forming a small grin, as he guessed what Lucas was plotting.

“You know about the planned mission to Callisto, right Griff?”.

The young man rolled his eyes.  “That’s all anyone around here, including Pops, is talking about, anymore.  Mars and Venus seem so 2050.”

Lucas Skywalker Musk produced a Grinch-like smirk.  “How would you like to be the bane of that project’s existence.?”

“What IgNobel Prize-winning plan have you hatched, Dad?”, the younger Musk whispered, leaning in.

“You will go in disguise, to Gates’ main plant.  There, you will, as a credentialed substitute technician, spend several weeks getting familiar with the AI which are setting up the flight.  In particular, I want you to get to know the quirks and mechanisms of one HAL XI.  He’s the head honcho, as your Papa would say.”

“When do I start this process?”

“Next Tuesday.  Our inside men at Gates will process your retinal scan and procure your ID documents.”

“You mean, there’s no microchip involved?”

“No, Old Man Gates gave that idea up, after the Cabal Trials of 2022.  Big Mike thinks retinal scans are intrusive enough.”

So, the following Tuesday, Nicola Griffin Musk, aka Brent Scowcroft Thibodeau, entered the main plant of Gates Interstellar Corporation, in Monroe, Washington.


(DISCLAIMER:  Any resemblance between the events in this story, and actual events in the life of any real life person mentioned here is purely coincidental.)

In Whose Name?


April 28, 2020-

The current pandemic, like any previous crisis, has brought out the best and the worst of human nature.  There are those in this country who are convinced the ONLY reason that there is a big deal being made about COVID-19 is to keep their favoured candidate(s) for political office from winning.  Their opposites are saying pretty much the same thing about the handling of emergency funds. The bottom line: It’s about ME!

Yes, and no.  Every human being has to take stock of a situation, no matter how widespread or dire, with regard to his/her personal circumstances.  That’s fine, but then. the considerations must become more community-focused, then nation-focused, and, finally, globally-focused.  To their credit, there are people at all points along the political spectrum, and in all Faiths, who see the big picture.  Christians recognize that God is calling us all to the Altar.  Buddhists are having global chants via digital platforms. Muslims have, by and large, not insisted on in-house gatherings, during this season of Ramadan.  We Baha’is, likewise, are thriving with digital meetings, of various kinds, as well.  There are those, in both the conservative camp and the liberal camp, who resist the loud voices calling for “liberation” and defiance of any regulation, on the one hand, and for open-ended quarantine and forced digital identification, on the other.

The future course of action will be decided, in my humble opinion, by conditions that exist at the ground level.  I also feel, very strongly, that the length of the pandemic will be determined, to a huge extent, by how much of a community dedication there is to revamping the way we go about our community life.  Do we respect those who have no choice but to go to work?  Do we respect our children enough to find ways to honour their needs for exploration and activity-indeed, do we respect those needs in EVERYONE? Are we willing to stop the daily dogpiles on those who see things differently than we do, and just listen for once? Do we want to honour the health of our elders and those whose immune systems are compromised?

One of my advisers says that we are rapidly approaching a fork in the road, as to how our society, how all societies on Earth, will go forward.  There will be a choice between communal thinking, based on “the hurt of one is the hurt of all”, and a positive view of the future AND a greed-based, control-oriented mindset (seen on both right and left), with a cynical, negative view of this life.  I, for one, think the choice is quite clear.

The hurt of one IS the hurt of all.

Two Kids


April 27, 2020-

There were once two children, who were the best of friends.  The first lived in a large house, was given all manner of toys and games, had a Nanny and was rarely disciplined-except for when his mother told him how stupid he was.

He was, in fact, rather impetuous, would hit adults and call other kids names.  His mother just told him that was very STUPID.  His father, rather aloof, was also seldom in his life.  Dear old Dad taught the boy how to golf and how to get the drop on other people.  His Nanny was kind to him, and taught him to pray to Jesus, so to the extent he listened, it was mainly to her.

The other child was the Nanny’s own daughter.  Since the boy was not allowed out of the compound, she was his closest companion and saw goodness in him.  She lived with her mother in a small cottage, on the mansion grounds.  The boy was forbidden by his parents from going over to the servants’ quarters, but the girl could play board games and do her homework in one of the family rooms of the Main House.

As they got older, the boy was given to a sort of rebellion, as many children are, when going through adolescence.  His tantrums both got worse and resulted in his mother taking a belt or a broom to his derriere, nearly on a daily basis.

The Nanny objected to this treatment, and after several protests, she was fired.  Father explained to the bewildered son:  “This is what you do, when underlings disobey. You tell them they are fired.”  Of course, this meant that his friend, his sole reliable companion, was also gone-never to return.  Truth be known, they were becoming more than  friends.  The dismissal happened, a few days after an afternoon of casual exploration, in the woods behind the cottage.  Boy was convinced it was more than just his Nanny’s protests that caused the rupture in his life.

So, a few days later, the boy crawled over the wall to his compound, knapsack in hand, and made his way to the  address which his friend had written on a napkin, which was also filled with her dried tears.   Her mother was not at home, having found work in a factory down the street from their new residence.  The girl was elated to see her best friend, and so the casual exploration continued.

Boy never went back to his parents’ house, and not surprisingly, they never bothered to look for him.  They never got to know their three grandchildren, who called the Nanny “Abuela”.

(Any relation between the characters in this story and real people, is purely coincidental.)


Crossing The River


April 26,2020-

The forecast called for no more than two inches of rain, last week.

We planned to take the footbridge,

across the Avalon River.

Imagine everyone’s surprise,

when ten inches fell.

Officials told us,

to stay indoors,

as the flooding was uncontrollable,

and besides,

more rain was now

in the forecast.

Some headed out,

heedless of what

they regarded as

pointless interference.

Yet, the bridge was washed away.

A few took small boats.

Others tied one another to ropes,

and set out on foot.

Still others tried to swim across.

Then, there were those who

tried to pole vault,

or do parkour.

Some drowned,

others were thrown

against the rocks.

still others made it


and developed hydrophobia.

I waited a week,

and saw the waters recede.

As I set out, life jacket in hand,

I heard the voices of  those

who stayed in their homes.

“Go back inside”, they shouted,

“there could be ten more inches,

next Tuesday!”

I kept on,

crossed in a sturdy boat,

and reached the opposite bank,

without incident.

(Tuesday came,

and brought three more inches

of rain.

In the aftermath,

the communities co-operated

and built a bridge,

string enough to withstand

a 1000-year deluge.)


Truth Be Told


April 25, 2020- 

Much in this world is discovered, up front, on a “need to know” basis.  We are both privacy-seeking and hierarchical creatures, by and large.  As a result, one, or more, of three things could happen:  1.  There is a small clique of people who know everything and dole out the facts of a matter, in dribs and drabs, if at all;  2.  A spokesperson, usually given a script, faces the public and either gives out facts in stages, or gives an opaque scenario-which may or may not even contain facts relevant to the case; 3.  A high-ranking member of an administrative team broadcasts both a large volume of information and goes off on tangents, designed to get the public to both blame the team’s perceived opponents and to go down one or more blind alleys and/or rabbit holes.

I’ve seen all three scenarios play out, over the past sixty years- at all levels of government, within families and civic organizations, and in corporations, both profit and non-profit.  I have been the recipient of untruths and have been asked to state untruths-for the “good of the order.”   I have had supervisors try to cover up wrongdoing, and have been dismissed from a post, for being too transparent.  The few times I was tempted to be dishonest myself, I proved unable to carry out the deception.  I have had someone try to throw up smoke and mirrors.  I outlasted the individual by a year, before voluntarily moving to another position.

People deserve to hear the truth, to the extent they can handle it.  They never deserve to hear a lie.  If there is information someone can’t handle, at a certain time, it is best held for a time when he or she CAN handle it.  Lying or deflecting is the stuff of a benign tyranny.  I see this being done by people all along the political spectrum, showing that people in power frequently have a very hard time trusting those who put them in power, in the first place.

There will be many changes coming out of this pandemic.  I hold out hope that a healing environment of truth and personal responsibility will be chief among them.

No Stones Unturned


April 24, 2020-

“To whom much is given, much is expected.”  I have heard this since childhood, and know that it has applied to me, more often than not.  It has given rise to two key aspects of my personality:  Owning my mistakes and never walking away from a fight.

The first has led me to admit, readily, when I’m wrong, even if it has meant the loss of a job.  That admission has then propelled me to look into WHERE I went wrong and to investigate further into the issue at hand.  When called out, I have to recognize where the critic is correct, but also not take either the information that is being challenged or the critic’s position at face value.  It has quite often ended up with the silver lining of the truth being uncovered.  As ‘Abdu’l-Baha once wrote:  “The shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions.”

Standing up to someone who is more aggressive has been ingrained in me, since childhood.  I did walk away, once, from a beat down, when I was in VietNam. That was a matter of not walking into something that would have been detrimental to both me and the individual who was seeking the confrontation.  I would have suffered possible head injuries and he, being on thin ice with the military brass, would have looked at a long stretch in Leavenworth.  He eventually realized that, after a period of harping on my refusal to engage in a bare-knuckled fist fight.

That was an anomaly.  What was consistent is that I didn’t run away crying.  I never have.  Back in Saugus, that would only have brought more trouble down on my head.  Life since then has been much the same.  I’ve had a lot of positive experiences in life, because of  being willing to stand up to aggression. In the process, also, many innocents have been spared-especially when helping abused children speak truth to power.

I think about these tonight, in working to get to the bottom of  some rather deep controversies being sparked by the words of our president-and of some of his critics.  Both sides are tossing brickbats.  I will get hit by some of those, but have no choice other than to go about finding the truth.

A Higher Decibel Level


April 23, 2020-

I joined a small talking circle, as part of a weekly class on the subject.  One of the members began talking.  His talk led him from one painful episode of his past to another.  When he reached the end of his often tearful recounting-and expressed gratitude for the place his journey had brought him,  we were all  awestruck, and humbled.

The customary rule of a talking circle is that everyone gets a chance to speak.  With three minutes left, before we were brought back into the Great Circle, the remaining three of us each managed to make a meaningful introduction of ourselves.  It was not a hard thing to do.

These are far from normal times.  The task of those involved in imparting healing energy is, more than ever, to do so one soul at a time.  This was an intense twenty minutes, and I believe it made all the difference in the world, to someone who had likely not been really heard, for a good long time.

He spoke softly, but his story reached crescendo levels.

Yes, It Matters


April 22,2020-

In the midst of confusion,

in the heart of despair,

I hear you say

“This nonsense about all lives matter

is not how we live”.

You spoke differently,

apparently indifferently,

when others said

“Black Lives Matter”.

Then, you said,

ALL lives Matter!!”

Friend, life matters.

It matters, because

God gave it to all

His creatures.

It matters, because

each form of life

has purpose.

Each form of life

serves its Creator.

Humans, without respect

to colour, gender, status,

stature, age,

level of cognition,

level of hormonal balance,

progress on the Spiritual Path,

progress on the path of knowledge,

progress on the path of gestation,

are the highest form of material being,

ever to live on Planet Earth.

It is always wrong for individuals

to kill one another,

whether in the name of vengeance,

or in the name of fear,

or in the name of science.

It is always wrong for individuals

to diminish one another,

whether in the name of superiority,

or in the name of  possession,

or in the name of  revulsion.

Killing, diminution,

are the province of God,

for only He knows the hearts

of His children.

Only He has complete

knowledge of True Justice.

There was a time

when my maternal grandfather,

in the heat of frustration,

threw up his hands

and said he was through

with anyone who was

spending their days

lazing about.

Papa was no teacher

or counselor,

though he taught,

and listened to,

his children.

He was a shoemaker,

a gardener,

and tireless in his labours.

Genetics passed his ethic on,

to twenty-nine grandchildren,

whom he never knew,

in his brief earthly life.

He watches us yet,

and makes his lessons,

his regrets,

his triumphs,

known to me

through dreams

through waking visions.

He tells me

that all life


more than

the living realize;

more than many

even want to know.

In the midst of confusion,

in the heart of despair,

God’s love for us all


through the fog

and through the clouds,

just as Christ foretold.





April 21, 2020-


the second day of Ridvan,

produced these:

I experienced a higher

than usual

level of energy

and positivity,

upon rising,

this morning;

A video,

not made by a Baha’i,

which affirms several

basic teachings

of Baha’u’llah,

regarding the future

of humanity;

I had an easier time

doing the exercises

in my online yoga class;

It rained, a fair amount,

this morning and afternoon,

despite a forecast of sunshine.

I was able to complete

the first module

of an online course in

Humanitarian Assistance.

(I am, at the age of 69, unlikely to be called to serve in any real capacity, by humanitarian agencies, but it helps to gain this perspective, in case of any unforeseen emergencies, even in this country.)