IT’S THAT ANYTHING I CAN do, he can do better. It’s his unaffected, artless prose. It’s his vast non-dualist scholarship and experience. It’s his light touch. It’s his unpretentiousness. It’s that he neither talks down to or over the heads of his audience, but speaks directly to their hearts. It’s that he makes what he does look so damned easy. It’s his open-faced sense of humor. It’s his genuineness. It’s that he knows a lot, but doesn’t come off as a know-it-all. It’s that I’ve been avidly following his career almost since he began writing professionally. It’s the anticipatory glee I get when I see his byline.
TO THOSE WITH LITERALIST SENSIBILITIES, the phrase “ridiculously beautiful” may suggest mere hyperbole and labored contrivance. But take dawn by the western bank of an iridescent river – black sands washed by rippling indigo sparked with silver and rose – with a golden mist muting the eerie calls of magah-birds and other early risers, add the clean smell of a cooking fire, and words will fail utterly.
Prosatio Silban was, at least for the moment, content. His previous client had paid him well enough to obviate immediate further employment, and the beefy cook had taken the unusual opportunity (and the lesser-traveled of two roads) to bumble along with no plan other than to see if one would occur to him. So far, one hadn’t.
1. IT’S ONE THING TO LIKE something. It’s something quite else to know why you like it — and how it came to be.
2. “Informed appreciation” is the key to that knowing. Only when you can comprehend the effort, expense, skill and moxie involved in making anything — dance, music, sequential or static art, acting, a useful tool, a good meal — can you be said to have truly grasped its essence.
3. This is especially true of those things that are done so well that they look easy. Take Dick Van Dyke’s 1960s-era physical comedy, or Gene Kelly’s soft-shoe; it’s as though their bones are made of rubber, if indeed they have any bones at all.
THE SHEKHINA, or “Presence (of G?d),” comes from the Hebrew root meaning “to dwell” (it’s the same root as “mishkan,” the portable desert G?d-tent AKA “Tabernacle”). There’s a seamless distinction between the Presence of G?d and G?d Itself. Tradition teaches that G?d is everywhere/when — but that doesn’t mean we always feel that. Shekhina is that closeness. With attention and practice, G?d’s Presence can be easier to experience in some places and times than others (e.g., the Western Wall, a maternity ward, or an observatory for the former; for the latter, Shabbat and other holy days, solar or lunar eclipses).
– Definition (per SubGenius usage): adj. Happily and/or militantly vapid and mediocre; commercially soulless n. One who or that which exhibits these traits.
– Used in a sentence: adj. “I’m surprised to see the otherwise excellently talented Tom Hanks in a movie as Pink as Forrest Gump.” n. “Spank the Pink who tries to drive you nuts.” (DEVO)
– Why: Not so much a WTBB as a word deserving of greater currency. It’s a genuine and succinct Four Letter Word as nasty as any of its once-taboo brethren or sistren.
The only difference between a madman and myself is that I am not mad.”
— Salvador Dali
IN THE ABSENCE OF A national social-service corps, and for proper character-building, everyone should work in retail sales for a year. (Especially during the holiday rush.)