Dedication (2007) by Justin Theroux

Rudy: That’s life Henry.
Henry: Yep.
Rudy: You know what life is?
Henry: Life is a horrible little giggle in the midst of a forced death march towards hell.
Rudy: No it isn’t.
Henry: An interminable wail of grief…
Rudy: No! Life is a single skip for joy.
Henry: (sigh) I know…

A realist, two feet planted firmly on the ground, looks down and pronounces that this, here and now, is life. A poet instead dreams of flight, and bravely leaps up into the air…

If life is a skip for joy it requires one to enjoy, remember the time we spend in the air, rather than dwell upon that spent on the ground. Or in the ground for that matter.

These are the Newtonian laws of happiness—the ipso facto necessity of optimism and hope instead of pessimism and doubt, for life is a cup both half-empty and half-full, poison-laced and nectar-brimmed, a meal we cook either satisfying or not by our very perceptions and attitudes.

Dedication Movie PosterHenry Roth (Billy Crudup) is a character who sees nothing but the landing at the end of life, the death awaiting him when his skip—more leaden-footed stumble—touches the ground.

Dedication begins with Henry as a realist, but his realism really an excuse for an all pervading, bleak without respite pessimism, a pessimism which, in an endless circle of causation, justifies his fear and perpetuates his misery.

Henry ends the film taking a leap of faith, dares blindly to hope against “facts” or “proof,” chooses no to longer look down.

Pessimist, Optimist, Realist

A pessimist is he
Who shuts his eyes
To the rising sun.

An optimist is he
Who looks up and sees
Through the teeming clouds.

A realist is he
Who faces the clouds
And adores the sun.

Sri Chinmoy
The Wings Of Light, Part 3

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Awwwwww! King-sized cute more like it!

An African lion in Colombia meets the woman who rescued him six years previously, bonding human style with a hug and a kiss.

Tell me which animal is the “king of the beasts” again?

Found poetry is the rearrangement of words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages that are taken from other sources and reframed as poetry by changes in spacing and/or lines (and consequently meaning), or by altering the text by additions and/or deletions. The resulting poem can be defined as “treated” (changed in a profound and systematic manner) or “untreated” (conserving virtually the same order, syntax and meaning as in the original).
Wikipedia on Found Poetry

Basho’s Crow by Marie TaylorI am not new to search engine serendipity—Through the Google Glass and Follow the rainbow both exercises in found poetry and random prose, and among the most read articles on this site—but Sumangali.org has gone one better and invented “Keyword Haiku,” the random, zen-esque art of creating poetry from Google-generated keywords.

Poets of yesteryear took words out of the ether or dictated disembodied voices in their heads. In this 21st century approach to inspiration, the creative process is aided by the random chatter of a million computers. With chance and serendipity the goals, surely both approaches are equally valid.

The rules to Keyword Haiku are simple—take your top 25 keywords and arrange them in any order to create a poem:

A Sensitivity to Things Keyword Haiku

the smallest of you knew
how interesting
in world and weight

things sensitivity to
o being needs
a meditation sun

supergiants
are much light me

Keyword haiku yes, but is the above really haiku?

Technically no. While haiku is conventionally termed as poetry comprised of 17 syllables arranged in 5-7-5 form—length and structure somewhat different from the rules of keyword haiku—when written in Japanese haiku uses not syllables but rather ‘on’ or sounds—a unit of language close to but not exactly the same as a syllable.

This fact combined with words in Japanese being polysyllabic—that is composed of multiple, very short sounds (like ‘radio’ in English)—means that haiku should more accurately be written with 10-14 syllables in English.

Whatever.

Haiku or not, it is probably safe to say that poet and father of the 17 syllable form Matsuo Basho, who wrote, shortly before his death and with spirit heavy, “disturbed by others, I have no peace of mind,” would find little peace still in this search-engine spawned derivative…

now then, let’s go out
to enjoy the snow… until
I slip and fall!
Basho (1688)

Keyword haiku elsewhere

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Backyard air travel available to all Indians

Backyard Indian AirBusIn India air travel has never been so popular or affordable, an estimated 100 million traveling aboard this modern antithesis of the traditional bullock cart last year, but yogic flying and astral traveling aside, only a few of India’s 1.1 billion masses ever make it into the air.

Which gave retired Delhi aircraft engineer Bahadur Chand Gupta an idea. Why not bring the air down to ordinary Indians?

When he became an aircraft engineer, Gupta was flooded with requests from friends and neighbours who wanted to see inside a plane. “I was the first aircraft engineer in my village.” he said. “Back in 1980, I was treated as if I were the prime minister by the village folks who all wanted to see a plane.”

Security concerns made their wish impossible, so in 2003 Gupta had a very big Christmas—he bought a decommissioned India airlines jet—a 280 seat Airbus A300 cut into four pieces to make transportation easier—and mounted it on concrete blocks almost literally in his own backyard, the plane grounded between residential buildings and farmyard beasts, a final home in a suburb near Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Now every week hundreds visit, and the experience—deep vein thrombosis, dehydration and bad movies aside—is just like flying.

Plane-struck youngsters, eyes firmly, dreamily on the clouds, get to check in their bags without three levels of security, and are welcomed on board by smiling, pranam offering air hostesses—21st Century goddesses from a higher world, but conducting emergency drills and serving drinks in regulation airline skirt and jacket.

The entrance fee to board the plane—for which you receive an actual ticket and meal—is 150 rupees, and flights—over-enrolled with children bound on the flight of their dreams—depart five times a week. The trip into near thin air is free to charities and the poor.

Seatbelts must be fastened before the in-flight meal is served—whether to protect from turbulence or over excitement of little difference.

Says Gupta’s wife of the near endless stream of elated, infrequent flyers: “They may not have shoes on their feet, but when they come with such a happy face, the moment they enter in the gate and they see such a huge plane standing in front of them, and they just climb the stairs with such a big smile, their happiness gives me the uttermost pleasure.”

And the final call before departure? One awe-struck child-passenger, an afternoon spent in heaven instead of a nearby slum: “I used to wonder would I ever get to sit inside one. Today my life's dream is fulfilled”

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I normally try to be inspiring on this site. I write about topics like ‘meditation,’ ‘meditation and me,’ and sometimes ‘meditation and the rest of the world.’ I guess I like meditation—I've been doing it for near fifteen years now—and I assume that it likes me. But as a chap named Monty Python once said, now for something completely different.

Perhaps the following video clip is not implicitly inspiring. But it is explicitly funny. Though neither sophisticated nor sarcastic, I was laughing out loud as late night American television hosts Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Conan O’Brien staged a mock fight on the set of Late Night with Conan O’Brien last night—baseball bats, bricks, ice skates and a tumble down the stairs—and there was even a surprise appearance from Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee at the end of the blows.

A little juvenile maybe. Slap-stick humour definitely, the way only Americans know how and do absolutely the best.

What is really great about this clip, the in-joke that informs, underlines everything you see, is that these are three very famous people, working in exactly the same field, competing directly for television ratings and advertising dollars, who should supposedly have very large egos, making fun of all of that, and revealing—wait... is that irony, on American TV?—that they are probably very good friends, having a very good time.

Yes, it isn’t meditation, my usual, “inspiring” topic, but then what is meditation, when practised correctly, but pure joy? Which is in my opinion is exactly what pure humour is as well.

I find that pretty inspiring.

Sri Chinmoy on humour

Humour comes directly from God. Why? He needs humour. It is the salt of life. Fortunately or unfortunately, consciously or unconsciously, God has done something. He has created this world and every second He is getting a headache, a stomach-ache and a heart attack. Now, He feels that there should be some way to get rid of His fever and pain. When we suffer from anything we need medicine. In God's case there is only one medicine and that is humour. It cures the disease that He takes from the world.

From God the Supreme Humourist Pt.2