James Whistler's "Symphony in White." Or as I like to call it, "The Magnetic Bed."

James Whistler’s “Symphony in White.” Or as I like to call it, “The Magnetic Bed.”

Some folks practice meditation,
Adopting the cross-legged lotus position,
Wth spine straight,
Balancing heaven upon their heads.

I practice beditation,
Adopting a position in bed,
With body supine,
Feeling the weight of thin air upon my belly.

Some seek enlightenment.
Beditation is for benightenment.
But in a dark unknowing mind, like a dark night,
Tiny points of light are more easily seen.

The mind won’t rest, even in bed.
Mindfulness flexes its inner eye.
But the mind is shy and escapes to its own world.
It doesn’t like being stared at.

A successful sesshin of beditation
Is rewarded by sleep and wild dreams,
Followed by mind awakening,
Refreshed, reborn, and renewed.

Hiking Lessons

Be as solitary and quiet as the moon, when you hike.

Be as solitary and quiet as the moon, when you hike.

I’m going to teach you how to hike. I’ve stomped many a hill, so I know what I’m talking about.

First and foremost, hike alone whenever possible. Hiking partners either slow you down or speed you up. You can’t enjoy nature at your own pace when you bring along an extra pair of legs.

Hiking partners also have a way of talking, and this destroys one of the best things about nature. Silence. You can’t hear any silence when someone else is talking. It also scares away the wildlife.

Being quiet allows you to stumble upon scenes like this.

Being quiet allows you to stumble upon scenes like this.

If you must hike with a partner, get that person to agree to wear a gag. And keep quiet, yourself. Or hike only with deaf-mutes.

Begin your hikes about a half-hour before sunrise. Everyone else is sleeping at this time, making the trail yours, and yours alone. If you truly want to get away from it all, this is the time of day you must begin.

This is the best time of day to begin a hike.

This is the best time of day to begin a hike.

Get off the damn trail. This is another clever way to get away from it all. You hardly ever come across another human being when you hike cross-country. You may get lost. You may die. But at least your end will occur in a beautiful natural setting.

Take off, cross-country.

Take off, cross-country.

Don’t worry about reaching your destination. I hardly ever reach mine. The outdoors is your destination, and that’s good enough. Stop frequently and enjoy your surroundings, wherever you amble. Lounge beneath a tree. Sit in the sun on a rock. Don’t worry too much about time. Just worry about getting back to your car before twilight. Unless you enjoy sleeping beneath the stars while freezing your ass off.

Lounge beneath a pine tree.

Lounge beneath a pine tree.

Hiking alone has its risks. One day you could end up as buzzard food, and no one would be the wiser. But being in the belly of a buzzard, soaring high into the atmosphere and then being pooped back to earth ain’t such a bad fate. Isn’t it all about being one with nature?

If the worst happens, at least you'll get a beautiful sky burial, with the help of mother nature's coroner.

If the worst happens, at least you’ll get a beautiful sky burial, with the help of mother nature’s coroner.

Bipolar Bipeds


I think mental illness is the most expensive disease a person can suffer from. And it’s not because psychiatrists charge so much. Although if you ask me, anyone who pays the kind of hourly rate they charge has to be crazy. But mental illness can also cost people their careers, their freedom, their families, and even their lives.

It cost my daughter everything but her family. We stood by her, but she was bipolar and there was nothing we could do to cure that problem.

She could not hold down a paying job for very long. She made bad choices in men. She spent a year in jail. And then she began taking Seroquel, a powerful psych medicine. A potential side effect reported for Seroquel is blood clots. A few months after taking this drug, she was hospitalized with blood clots in her legs. And then some of them broke free and traveled to her lungs, killing her at the age of 32.

About ten million Americans have bipolar disorder. That’s a lot of bipolar bipeds. And about one in five adults suffer from some sort of diagnosable mental disorder. There’s a plague of mental illness in our world, exacting immeasurable costs on many people.

If you often have a difficult time making healthy decisions for yourself, you could very well be mentally ill. Don’t live in denial. Admit your problem and seek help.

Also, if you’re mentally ill, learn to take advice from those who care about you, and are better than you at making good decisions. When our daughter started taking Seroquel she was warned to get regular checkups for blood clots. She blew that advise off. The mentally ill must accept that they need help making decisions. People with good vision read for the blind. People with good hearing listen for the deaf. And those with stable minds can help the mentally ill with their decisions.

Many people manage their mental illness successfully. If you’re mentally ill, seek the help you need. It doesn’t have to exact a high toll on your life. You can turn your life around, and stop paying such high prices.

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