Talk of one of these Websites caught my ear yesterday as the radio played softly in the background at work. In the radio ad, one female teen was admonishing a male counterpart about doing good in order to avoid bad karma and suggested the listener go to GetGoodKarma.org. It was such a funky presentation; I had to check it out. What I found was a Website created by the Ad Council to encourage 18 - 24 year olds to vote! Sure didn't expect that.
The site takes you to Karmalot where you can gain points for answering a series of questions to see where you sit on their Karma scale. I laughed out loud when one asked whether Condoleeza Rice was a) the Secretary of State or b) an Asian side dish. The creators of this Website only subtly pushed getting out to vote--they also encouraged volunteerism, knowledge of current events and generally getting civically involved. Doing bad things brought the wrath of the heavens down upon the unsuspecting culprit as shown in a cutesy, animated video. Mind you, this is for 18 - 24 year olds who grew up with action figures and Nintendo. I have to give the Ad Council credit. Even though the law of karma was presented in a rather simplistic manner, it was a great avenue to introduce young adults to this fundamental principle and to illustrate in an understandable way how it could directly apply to them.
Speaking of karma, it cannot have hurt the New York Philharmonic's cache to have played yesterday in Pyongyang, North Korea to a crowd of 400 welcoming attendees. The Great Leader was not one of them, but the rest of the audience enthusiastically applauded each musical score, including our National Anthem. An impromptu chamber piece by four Philharmonic and four North Koreans musicians was a surprising success given the fact that the group had not practiced together. Lorin Maazel, the Philharmonic music director, was mightily impressed with the high level of musical ability shown by the North Koreans as he led a rehearsal of their State Symphony (AP News, 2-26-08.)
Seems the North Koreans have been doing something else besides creating nuclear warheads since they were ostracized by the civilized world so many moons ago. Although many Americans expressed a belief that this goodwill tour benefited the North Koreans exclusively, we would venture to say that Americans benefited as well. We may be looking at detente in the making through the universal language of music because Fox News announced last evening that Eric Clapton was invited to perform next, and he has tentatively agreed to do so sometime next year. What's more, the North Korean Symphony will commence a tour of England this fall.
Today is my birthday, and besides the day I turned 54, it will long be remembered as the day William F. Buckley, Jr. died. You remember him, that great conservative curmudgeon, whose turn of phrase and sharp brain kept politicians hopping for over 50 years. This often-controversial figure was born into a wealthy family and educated at the best of Catholic schools in England and France. I bet you didn't know that at the age of 8, he sent a letter to the King of England and demanded payment of the British war debt--I will add, probably as part of some writing class lorded over by a ruler-laden nun. Buckley also aided his country through low-level skulduggery as a CIA operative in Mexico, a job he called boring, and later advocated the legalization of marijuana.
Not adverse to name calling, Buckley was also called many names, one of which ended in a liable lawsuit that was settled out of court in his favor. I guess if you call Buckley a "pro-war-crypto-Nazi" you should expect to get sued--and that's what famous author Gore Vidal discovered. The eminent conservative had little time for popular counterculture and said of the Beatles: "[they are] so unbelievably horrible, so appallingly unmusical, so dogmatically insensitive to the magic of art, that they qualify as crowned heads of antimusic." Hey, Bill, don't hold back. Not being particularly humble, he is quoted as saying: "I am, I fully grant, a phenomenon, but not because of any speed in composition [although he could write an article in 20 minutes flat.] I asked myself the other day, 'Who else, on so many issues, has been so right so much of the time?' I couldn't think of anyone."
Beside himself, he had many fans, but non-fans got in their jibes too. In 1967, one of them scathingly penned: "You are the mouthpiece of that evil rabble that depends on perjury, dirty tricks, anything at all that suits their purpose. I would trust a snake before I would trust you or anybody you support." The late-great Bill Buckley, as always, had the last word: "What would you do if I supported the snake?" Rest in peace, Mr. Buckley, there will never be another like you. Thank heavens.
But, having said that, I'm sure that even celestial BB will always have the last word. He's most likely looking down at we mere humans with a measure of distain while lecturing CEO God on how to improve the place. I can just hear him droning in his best BB fashion: "Good God, you mean we have to co-exist here with liberals and COMMUNISTS? Not on my side of the cloud, please. On Earth we called that pollution." CEO God is smart to stay quiet. He knows this Earth-acquired grandiosity will wear off after a few millennia. It always does.
And finally, coming full circle to the new dimensions that are providing the opportunity for our spiritual awakening, I will sign off with an on-point quote from the book When the Soul Awakens--A Path to Spiritual Evolution and a New World Era, by Nancy Seifer and Martin Vieweg:
"To be alive now, and sensitive to the state of the world, is to realize that an old order is passing away. With every year of the new millennium, there are growing indications that a cycle of history is ending. Unfathomable as it may seem, we are actually in the midst of the Great Turning of the Ages that many religious and esoteric teachings have long predicted: the much anticipated moment when humanity will move out of an age of spiritual darkness and into an age of light."Make no mistake; the lighted age is indeed upon us, right now. There is no more time to prepare. Rome is burning, and we are the fire brigade. No celestial Beings are coming to save us for this is our gig--although They are watching to see how we do, gently nudging us here and there at opportune moments. Maybe Barack Obama's call "Yes We Can" is more than a trite campaign-rallying cry. It might symbolize a deeper, apolitical spiritual call to action that we all feel in our burning hearts and minds.
Of Note: The other-worldly photograph that showed air a-lighted with fire was a contribution of M. Huffman, my talented sister. Thanks from the bottom of my heart!
Today's Weather Report: This morning we awoke to 10 below zero again. Darn, I thought that was behind us, but apparently not. Later the day brought lots of sunshine and temps in the teens and that was much appreciated. My cold, which has dragged on unceasingly for two weeks, welcomes any warmth brought by the suns winter rays.