Currently viewing the category: "Philosophers"

The offending ball

I bought a yoga ball the other day, to replace my chair with. I had heard they are good for posture, core strength, and kind of fun. So I got it, and I noticed on the box it was labeled “Burst Resistant” and I simultaneously thought “Awesome” and “Fooey”. Because I have the ability to think many things at the same time, which does get a little confusing.???

So when I got home and inflated it with the handy dandy little air pump that came in the box, I was overcome with the smell of the thing. I mean, it didn’t smell bad or anything, but just weird mix of rubber, mothballs, and something else. I suspect the makers package it with the gym smell pre-imbedded, so people who buy them for installation in a workout area aren’t wierded out by something that doesn’t smell terrible. In short, it’s a blast to sit on when doing anything, and I recommend it to anyone who sits at a desk for an extended period of time. I never knew that sitting down could be so exhausting. You can bounce on it, roll around, topple off it hilariously and giggle in a heap afterward. I’m not saying I did that, but I can vouch that it’s possible.

Then, while rummaging around my closet the other day, I spied the box the ball came in. The “Burst Resistant” labeling stood out at me again, and as I stared at the box, for about 10 minutes (I can neither confirm nor deny mind altering substances were in use) I took it as a challenge. “Alright, Bally Total Fitness 75 centimeter exercise ball,” I muttered, “we’ll see about this.” I threw a book at it, which bounced back onto my foot, which hurt. It was a big book.

One of my tools to destroy the ball

And from there I began to whale on the damn thing. When before I would absently bounce up and down when watching TV or writing or surfing the Internets, now I began to bounce as high as I could. I began to use it as a large soccer ball. Incidentally, it’s amazing how far the ball bounces, and how much destruction it can cause. In a short time I had broken a light, a small terra cotta warrior, three glasses, and nearly knocked my TV off the box it sits on like eight times. I’ve thrown it out the window a couple times, but all that happened there was I hit a bird on the bounce, which was kind of impressive. I’ve contemplated poking it with stuff, but that feels like cheating, right? I feel like only concussive force can be used in this “science” quest.  But the damn thing continues to not break. I am impressed with these Bally’s people. I must call their scientists, because this strangely scented polymer they’ve made the ball out of is seemingly invincible. Maybe a fat guy could help me.

I’ve tried rolling over sharp stuff, because that’s just incidental action when it comes to rolling around, but the thing is amazing in its resiliency. I even used it as a weapon against my little brother, but again its bounciness struck back at me, hitting me in the belly. Perhaps if I knew karate, I could chop it in half. But alas, I don’t have the time to spend years in the Orient learning from the Shaolin masters. I have a yoga ball to pop. I hit it with a hammer a couple times, but nothing. Really, I am at the end of my rope. I’ve been throwing playing cards at it the last couple hours in hopes paper cuts will wear away at it, but so far nothing. Maybe if we lived somewhere near trains, I could put it on a train track. But I have a sneaking suspicion it would just make the train derail, and I’d be back to square one. Maybe even square zero, because I’d have to deal with a derailed train.

If you have suggestions for me, email them to merritt@letspopthisfuckingyogaball.com. Together we can find success, and kick this stupid, core solidifying, good time creating, son of a bitch back to where it came from, or at least assert our dominance as human beings over it. I’ll not be stopped by this inanimate object. I’m better than that. Maybe I’ll try running it over with my car.

So last night I watched Michael Moore’s newest offering, Capitalism, A Love Story. Before I go any further, I know what hearing Mr. Moore’s name does to people, either they say “FUCK YEAH!” or “Dirty Commie.” He is not a moderate by any means, but then, he isn’t really a left-winger either. I had been meaning to watch it, and am really glad I got around to it. If you get a chance, it streams off of Netflix, so find your closest friend with said service and exploit them.

Anyway, simply put, it was a provocative movie. Mr. Moore has never been a big fan of big business, dating back to his first movie Roger and Me, when he tried to get an interview with the then CEO of General Motors Smith, who had shut down factories in Flint, Michigan, Moore’s home town. Incidentally, GM also started there, but that’s beside the point. So I watch this movie ,and the first half is a combination of showing how good the US had it in the middle of the last century, mainly because we had bombed our main competition (Germany and Japan) into oblivion. I’m not mad about that, they were evil regimes based on racism and abuse, and had no place in the modern world. But this movie got me thinking. One major point it made was how Ronald Reagan was nothing more than a spokesman for the banks, how he was essentially elected so banking and rich people could have a better life. Keep in mind that up until the 80’s, people considered rich (figure over $250000 a year) were being taxed at 90%, and still lived like kings. This left the idea of the American Dream open for anyone, because the playing field was relatively leveled due to regulation of various industries and the existence of unions and whatnot. Reagan broke these unions, starting with the air traffic controllers and moving through to auto workers and all that jazz. Also, did you know that pilots these days make less than $30,000 a year on average? AND they fly our planes.

Anyway, Moore spent most of the movie showing how capitalism is a good thing when controlled, and then was broken when the fatcats got their guy in power. Tax cuts and the idea of “home equity” to get you to buy yourself out of your house through loans and all that are all touchstones, and Jimmy Carter giving a speech in the late 70’s about how “what you have is more important than who you are” really struck a chord with me. Now, capitalism is a good theory, but really, the fact that it has become the overarching, controlling interest in our country, is really kind of messed up. Nowhere in our Constitution, Bill of Rights, or Declaration of Independence does it say that we must be a capitalist country. The only unalienable rights are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, nowhere does this include getting paid. Sure, people will say that they changed it from profit to happiness, but that’s what the Declaration says, so I’m sticking to it. But the basis of what Mr. Moore was saying, through the movie, was that democracy must prevail. That is the basis of the United States, right? We all get one vote, despite what Citigroup wants

We need to get back to this democracy. No longer should there be CEO’s that make 450% (on average) of what the average wage is in the United States. FDR had a great idea for a Second Bill of Rights. This has to come back, and we must be the change we want to see. Obama is a nice start, but the banks have too much power right now to do anything. And really, I don’t have an answer other than abolishing everything and starting anew. I want your feedback too. Say something, because otherwise I look like a crazy guy who wants to bring socialism and evil to our glorious nation. I am the first guy to defend America, because she’s a beautiful place that’s given us all, if nothing else, the access to a computer and the leisure time to cruise sites like this. But give me a hand here. I want to do something, but I’m one man, albeit loud, and only have one vote.

Obama said a lot about change, and hasn’t done much, because he’s beholden to certain people. That’s no reason to dog on him. He’s doing what he can, I would hope. vBut even though we have all grown up in various forms of privilege, there are people who have worked their entire lives, and I mean like 45 years (longer than most of us have even been a twinkle in our parents’ eyes) who are having their homes taken away because of predatory lending. We have poison in the gulf, we have caving in mines, we have a broken economy and broken levies, because the business came first. Read that memo from Citigroup I linked to, and remember the word PLUTONOMY. We like it here, right? America doesn’t need a savior, we need SAVIORS.

Like Jimmy Carter said, we need to move past conspicuous consumption and understand what we truely need to survive. My friend Dan is walking the Appalachian Trail, and has less than 30 pounds on him at any given time. Do we need all this stuff we have?

So I’ve lost myself, but the basis of this is understanding that the man next to you, regardless of how he smells or what he’s driving or who he is, matters just as much as you do. Don’t fuck him (or her) over because it will make you that much better. Capitalism is not the answer, democracy is. Capitalism should be a child of democracy, and not the controlling interest. Tea Partiers are against big government and so am I, but the shitty fact of it all is that that’s what is going to save us. Let me know what you think.

This is the last 20 minutes of a movie titled “Esoteric Agenda”. The film creator Ben Stewart shares his views and understanding of Consciousness, Energy, and Quantum Mechanics as it effects the reality of our daily lives. Enjoy, and feel free to watch the entire film, search the title on google videos.

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.