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metavlad
The longest distance in the world is from the head to the heart. We all know in our heads that smoking is bad for us. And yet some of us continue to do so. Why? Some call it cognitive dissonance. But I think Walt Whitman said it best,
"Logic and sermons never convince,
The damp of the night drives deeper into my soul. "

The ideas that are present within our brains have trouble coming down into our hearts. We're thinking people, but we act on our feelings and our emotions. So how does one really reconcile the two? From the brains point of view, the heart is an impenetrable fortress. "It's like talking to a wall, it just won't listen," says the brain. The heart meanwhile is oblivious. Until the next thrill comes around. Then it hijacks the brain along for the ride. And afterward the brain is left to try to make sense of it all. "That wasn't SO bad." Or better yet "That was definitely the last time I'll do THAT," the brain claims. "Yeah, right," mutters the heart, "Just wait until NEXT time. Then you'll see something really crazy."
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metavlad
Life is far simpler than we imagine and infinitely more complicated than we can ever know.
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metavlad
If you don't know what you're willing to die for, you don't know what you're living for.
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metavlad
Part 1 is recommended reading

Augustus stared at his watch. His reflection stared back. There was something in his teeth and he was glad he had bought a watch with a mirror in it. It was also good for deflecting the sun into enemy combatants eyes while trying to get the laser function on his other watch warmed up enough to zap them.

A sleek black sedan pulled up next to Augustus and Boris stepped out. The car rolled away. They stood side by side like the last two good french fries left in the container. All that was missing was the ketchup. The ketchup and Richard. And the Talisman. And their other dead friends. And dialogue.

"Well, say something!" Boris muttered.

"You and I and a little toy shop." started Augustus.

"Buy a bag of balloons with the money...we no longer have because Richard stole the Talisman and killed Jayjay, KC, T-Bone, and Margareet!" finished Boris.

"Yes. I know. And now I think we can find them all."

"Jayjay, KC, T-Bone, and Margareet are buried in various locations. We don't need to find them."

"I meant Richard and the Talisman."

The silence was deafening between them, as silence tends to be, because when there is silence you don't hear anything which is as if you are deaf, in an almost wierd sort of way in that silence is really lack of noise so it can't really be deafening but it was definitely deafening.

"What?" said Boris "I couldn't hear you."

"Sorry." Augustus pressed a button and turned off the the deafening silence application on his iPhone. "Come with me, we can't speak in public. There's too much noise."
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metavlad
King Solomon was the wisest person to have ever lived. But even the wisest among us can not know everything. "Three things are hidden from me," he says in Mishlei (30:18), "and a fourth I do not know."

Something interesting came across my friends page today that seems to shed light on this odd statement of Solomon the Wise. The fourth item on Solomons list is "the way of a man with a woman." It's interesting to note that the first 3 are hidden from him, while this one may not be. And yet this is one he does not "know". You must realize this is where the language gets tricky. The root form of the verb he uses is "Da'as," which is a deep intimate knowledge of something, something which you can feel through your whole self. An example: After eating a very large meal you know what it feels like to be full. I hope all of you have experienced that. To truly know something you must experience it fully.

The Gemara in Sanhedrin says that a person is called an "olam," (roughly translated as "world"). This is supposed to teach us the value of life. That if you kill but a single person it is as if you have destroyed the entire world.
And when you save a single life, you have saved the entire world.

Now here comes the part I found interesting. You see the word "olam," does not really translate to "world" as in Earth or Mars. It means world as in "all of the existence," not the solar system, or the galaxy, but even bigger than that. Perhaps clusters of galaxies would suffice as a proper translation.

For years people have speculated, hypothesized, and tested for the existence of Dark Matter. It's there the whole time, but it seems to surface when two olams collide. Masses and masses of energy that waits underneath the surface. "Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people in the whole world. I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.*

Solomon knew that. He knew that each person is an infinite world. So how can you know "the way of a man with a woman?" There's so much beautiful and unseen energy inside everything that when two people collide the whole cosmos shakes.


Call me crazy, I believe in love.







*Neil Gaiman, Sandman.

PS I fly to Israel for the third time in as many years in a few hours. Metavlad (at) hotmail.com if you'd like to contact me.
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metavlad
The petite woman with the black bonnet sat on a reclining chair in a central Warsaw nursing home.

The 94-year-old could not get the image of the skeletally thin children lying in the street of the Warsaw Ghetto, meekly whispering "bread," out of her mind.

It was 2004, nearly six decades after World War II, but the horrors of the Holocaust were still alive for Irena Sendler.

Sendler, who, with a group of friends, is credited with sneaking 2,500 Jewish children out of the ghetto, died on Monday in a Polish hospital from pneumonia. She was 98.

Sendler was one of the first to be awarded Yad Vashem's highest honor - she was declared a Righteous Gentile in 1965 for risking her life to save Jews during the Shoah - but it was only in her golden years that she received recognition from the Polish government, which, together with Holocaust survivor groups, nominated her for the Nobel Prize two years ago, after decades in which Communist governments frowned on her heroic actions.

Sendler's story - and her connections with the Jewish community - began on the outskirts of Warsaw, where as a young girl she was taught at home that people are either good or bad, and should not be judged based on race, religion or nationality, she recounted in the 2004 interview with The Jerusalem Post.

"Whatever I did had its roots in my family home," Sendler said, as she told her story through an interpreter.

When Germany invaded Poland in the fall of 1939, Sendler was just shy of her 30th birthday.

"The whole of Poland was drowning in blood, but the Jewish nation was suffering the most, with the Jewish children the most vulnerable," she recalled.

Sendler and a group of friends in the Warsaw municipality's social welfare department started producing false documents to provide Jews in the ghetto with monetary assistance that the Germans had cut off.

After 1940 the ghetto was closed off to non-Jews, and Sendler and her friends could not get in to distribute the funds.

She soon learned that one sanitation company was still allowed into the ghetto. Sendler got the Polish director of the service to employ her and 10 friends so they could continue helping Jews.

For the next two years, dressed as nurses, Sendler and her friends carried food, money, and medicine hidden in their dresses to ghetto residents. As conditions deteriorated, and the liquidation of ghetto began, Sendler came to the realization that the only chance for the children to survive was to escape.

In 1942, she joined the Polish underground movement, "Zegota," and, with the help of a dozen friends, initiated a large-scale clandestine campaign to save Jewish children. "You know the people, we have the money," the president of the organization told her, she recalled.

Acting on information provided by two Jewish policemen in the ghetto, Sendler and her friends went to Jewish homes in areas that were to be liquidated first and offered to save the children.

"We would go into the houses slated for deportation, and would tell the family members we can't help everybody, but we will help the children," she said.

When asked by the families what guarantee she could give that the children would survive, Sendler could only tell them that she was not even sure that she and the children would get out of the ghetto alive.

Sendler and her friends managed to save 2,500 children.

The children, who ranged in age from six months to 12 years, were taken from the ghetto in one of four ways: with bags of garbage; through the city court whose usually locked back doors were located on the ghetto's edge; hidden under the benches of the city tram, whose parking lot was just inside the ghetto walls; or through the cellars of houses that were adjacent to the ghetto.

To muffle the cries of the children from the Nazi guards as they were taken out with the garbage, the driver of Sendler's cart was always accompanied by a dog. When they approached the Nazis, the driver stepped on the dog to make it bark, drowning out the cries of the children.

Once outside, Sendler took the children to trusted Polish families, and later placed them in orphanages and convents. "The children," Sendler recounted, "had to go through three stages of tragedy. First they were taken from their homes, then they were taken from their step-families, and then they were put in convents or orphanages."

Sendler kept a listing of the children's original names along with their new Christian names and adopted families hidden in a jug in a friend's garden, knowing that was the only way the children would ever return to their religion and know their past.

In October 1943, Sendler was arrested by the Gestapo and tortured.

After failing to elicit any information, the Nazis ordered her to be killed by firing squad. But on the day of her execution, Sendler was secretly freed, after her underground companions paid a considerable bribe to one of the Gestapo agents; he listed her as "executed" in the Nazi records. Until the end of the war, she was forced to remain out of sight, but under a false name, continued working for the Zegota.

In a meeting with this writer two years ago, the ever-alert Sendler wondered aloud how anti-Semitism could be resurfacing in Europe just six decades after the Holocaust, and asked which prominent Israeli entrepreneurs assisted social services that helped the aging Holocaust survivors, as well as those groups that worked with people who helped saved Jews.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski expressed great regret over Sendler's death, calling her "extremely brave" and "an exceptional person."

"A great person has died - a person with a great heart, with great organizational talents, a person who always stood on the side of the weak," Warsaw Ghetto uprising leader Marek Edelman told Polish TV.

"I get mad when someone calls me a hero," she said at the end of an emotional interview, her face suddenly glowing. "I did a normal thing."

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1210668626978&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Current Mood: amazed

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metavlad
Every song does the same thing. They just do it in different ways. Zeppelin, Beatles, Marley (Bob and Jr Gong), Audioslave, Jimi, Miles, Tool, Radiohead, Matisyahu, The Mars Volta.

They all do the same thing.


Time to turn it off for a while.
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metavlad
If you don't believe the sun will rise, stand alone and greet the coming night in the last remaining light.

Current Location: Audioslave - The Last Remaining Light
Current Mood: contemplative
Current Music: Audioslave - Heaven's Dead

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metavlad
Theres an argument in the Talmud, or perhaps the Midrash, as to which is the most important verse in Torah. Rabbi Akiva says its "v'ohavta r'aycha c'moha" "You shall love your fellow like yourself." Rabbi Meir says its "These are the generations of man, in the image of G-d man was created."

Rabbi Akiva is saying that as much as every single person is constantly looking out for Number 1 and working to get themselves higher in this world, thats how hard you have to work for others too. Now, obviously you start with those closest to you, your wife, your parents, your siblings, etc. However, Rabbi Akiva says the goal is to be like Abraham. Abraham who gave himself a circumcision and while sitting and recovering from it RUNS after [what appear to him as] idol worshipers and begs them to come inside his tent so he can give them a feast.

Rabbi Meir takes it a step back. He says that it is very hard to see the greatness within a person and then act on that. We see people messing up all the time so how can we love them like our own selves? A man always has two rulers for measuring, one for himself and one for others, and for himself he rationalizes and gives excuses and everything possible to make himself think he is ALWAYS doing what is right, but for others it is very easy to see them mess up and assume they messed up. So Rabbi Meir says that theres two things that we need to think about: first that man is exactly that, human. He is fallible and will occasionally slip up. HOWEVER, the root, the essence, the most important thing about a person is that they were created in the image of G-d. Underneath all the materialism, physicality, dirt and grime is a SOUL. A soul that G-d breathed into man that is waiting to shine brighter than any star.

Sometimes we forget important things.
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metavlad
Everything in this world, everything, has two aspects. The physical and the spiritual. And every act has a parallel counterpart in the spiritual.

So now what?
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metavlad
There seems to be this interesting idea floating around in everyones head that they know what is best for them, and that naturally anything they have done and continue to do is not contrary to this concept.

I am not sure where it comes from, this I-as-All-Knowing creature that feeds on all the positives and blurs the negative. It must fulfill some sort of purpose but when I see people who are obviously hurting themselves in one way or another, whether it be an eating disorder or an addiction I wonder how this one aspect of a person can take hold of their whole personality and completely distort what the majority of people view as rational reality.

Not that I have a solution, just yet. It just seems good to be aware of whats going on inside and outside ones head.
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metavlad
A lot of people seem to have trouble "being happy."

I wonder why that is.
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metavlad
Chances are I'm going to get a job. And spend the 3 months as a working stiff. There are other options though.

I could go play poker for several hours a day and practice my blank stare in AC, and spend August in Vegas.

I could get a job for a while and then quit and drive off to the West. I'd like to visit the desert, and time is running out.

I could criss cross the US visiting different Jewish communities.

Suggestions?

Current Mood: awake

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metavlad
Its interesting how different parts of this city are such polar opposites of themselves. There's a few sidestreets in the center of down that seem straight out of a movie. You feel like you're in the center of the club district of a huge city...probably BECAUSE YOU ARE. There's a hippie drum circle and the huge chain coffee shop next to the tiny mom and pop coffee shop . Walk a little further down and the guys at the subshop shout at you to buy a sandwhich because they're bored at 11:30 at night and the club kids wont be coming around for a while. And there's a soldier with a rifle at every corner and right in the center is the baddest of the bad, the Anti-Terror crew. They wear all black leather and are armed better than paranoid redneck who thinks zombies are out to get him. Thats Ben Yehuda.

Then theres Mea Shearim. You walk down those ever narrowing streets and you get a sense that you're not seeing the whole picture. You feel like theres something going on inside those buildings that could never be conveyed simply with the words "Beis Midrash." You step inside and it hits you. In the clubs at Ben Yehuda every guy wants something, and they'll go through you to get it. And in the Beis every guy wants something, but they want you to come along with them. Theirs is a search for something far more distant than what the guys in the clubs want. Theyre looking for the ever elusive Truth.

Its hidden somewhere in this city. You just have to go searching.
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metavlad
There's seems to be a point in most peoples lives where they have to decide what their priorities are. I see quite a few of my peers hitting this stage, and it's like some one hits the slow motion feature on their lives. Why? Well, the transition point is key, and its also very hard to make. I'm not saying I'm doing any better, but moving to Jerusalem to learn for a year certainly helps if thats the direction you're going to go. The question then comes, what happens after a year?

One friend has a degree in one of the humanities he got from his liberal arts university. And when he got it a month later he was back home bartending at the restaurant he was waiting tables at while he was in school. Slow motion.

But, maybe its good to move in slow motion. Maybe thats really the way to go. Slow down and figure out what in the world the purpose is for your existence? Probably not waiting tables. Just dont wait tables too long. You might forget why you slowed down.
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metavlad
Hello livejournalists. How are you?

I am well.
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metavlad
Hey Livejournal! What's goin on?

Oh dont go, come on! Whats wrong? Listen, I know I havent been around much but I just needed some space y'know? And I thought you could use it too. And now that we've spent some time apart, I'm ready hang out again.

Whaddya mean you're busy? You were never busy before! What--what the hell is that?! Livejournal is that a hickey?! Who the hell gave you that?!

No, not nobody! Who gave it to you??

Frank? Who the fuck is Frank?!

He's obviously not "just a guy" if he's giving you hickeys, Livejournal!

You slut! I can't believe you would do this to me. Me! The guy who helped you kick your Yahoo habit. Me, the guy who stuck around while you were infested with whiny 12 year-olds. After all we've been through and you just throw it all away.

WHAT?! FRANK IS A GOAT?! You're SICK Livejournal. Sick.
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metavlad
Here's why I dont think this whole Google Earth thing is a good idea.


Terrorists please dont Read more...Collapse )
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metavlad
It is my personal belief that every single person on this planet has a soul. I think it floats in the middle of your chest and with one hand it holds up your heart and with the other it reaches into your mind. And if you look deep enough into someones eyes you might just get a glimpse of it, if you're lucky.

Peoples souls are the essence of who they are. When I watch my best friend Levi play guitar, sometimes he closes his eyes during songs and, to me, he is communing with his soul. Erin (usmcvixen) has one of the kindest, gentlest souls I have ever had the pleasure to have seen, but when she gets angry you can see in her eyes as the walls go up, the bridge is drawn, and her castle becomes a fortress. She needs to be able to do that, my girlfriend the Marine.

My grandparents souls are like beautiful quilts that will always keep you warm. My fathers soul is strong and sturdy like an Oak tree that blocks the wind for you.

I think its good to talk about souls.
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metavlad
Yesterday was the best birthday ever.
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metavlad
Scott Weiland is an addict. Some of you might know him as the lead singer for Stone Temple Pilots (STP). Others might be aware that he's currently in Velvet Revolver. But for a major portion of his life, he was devoted to heroin. Thats what certain drugs do to certain people. Sometimes people seek out these unnatural highs to expand their minds. And sometimes they get addicted. Because the drug does this thing to them that they have never felt before. Every person has a different reaction to drugs.

Scott Weiland spent a lot of his life feeling like there was a void in him. Like something was missing. Then he found drugs. Or drugs found him. Heroin was the ultimate. Here's what he has to say: "Complete warmth went all over my body. I was consumed...There's a golden glow that goes from your fingers all the way through every appendage and into the pit of your stomach. That’s what it felt like to me, slamming dope for the first time. Like I'd reached enlightenment. Like a drop of water, rejoining the ocean. I was home."

But these magnificent highs are not as high as the lows are low. You are swimming in the beautiful ocean, and you catch the fin of a dolphin. And right now the dolphins are playful. They carry you down a few feet and then they jump out of the water a few feet. You fly for a few feet. That was great, but just a few feet? You know dolphins can jump much higher than that. So does the dolphin.

So you let go of the dolphin and float. The dolphin swims deep down into the ocean, because the only way to fly higher is to pick up speed and to pick up speed, he needs room to build that speed. You see the dolphin coming back up and you’re ready to grab hold, and you try but he’s moving way too fast for you to get a grip. You watch as he soars without you.

The dolphin dips back into the water and disappears for a time. Then he swims back to you. You both know that to you have to be with the dolphin the whole time, or you won’t fly as high as you want to. You take a deep breath and grab on as hard as you can. The dolphin dives. You sink deeper. It feels like you’re falling into the ocean. You hold on tighter. You reach depths unimaginable. The weight of the ocean is encompassing and impossible to lift. Then the dolphin turns up and you rise. You rise higher and faster and the ocean is letting go of you, pulling back, parting for you. You can’t breathe but you don’t care. And just when you think your lungs and heart are going to stop you break through the water and you fly and you breathe the most beautiful air you have ever breathed and you let go. You let go. And float.
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metavlad
I've been thinking about death recently. Not in a "Oh no, death!" kind of way, just thinking about it. As in, death is this thing that none of us will ever escape. But hopefully by the time it comes for you, you will say "I've had a good run."

There's noble ways to die, like fighting for something you believe in. Which is why it saddens me when I hear about deaths in Iraq, because the only thing I see our troops doing out there is fighting for survival. In WWII we faught for ideals. I dont know what we fight for now.

There's stupid ways to die. The kind of thing that that is prefaced with "Hey y'all watch this!" is probably a stupid way to die.

There's gruesome ways to die. This is where I would link you to Ogreish.com but you have to type it in yourself.

But I think the best way to die would probably be in your sleep the morning after having made love to the love of your life all night long, and its been about 6 years since since you won the lottery and you've done just about everything. Thats probably the best way to go. I think by then you've had a good run.

What do you think is the best way to go?
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metavlad
Someone at work: "Maaan, I have a 10 page paper due this Friday"
Me: "I chopped 300 pounds of potatoes today."
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metavlad
I'm ok.

I am OK.

I feel good again.

Its ok.

24 hours ago, I was bottoming out. And I am fine now.


Life is good.
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metavlad
Here's something I wrote October 16, 2004.
"Its about trying to find someone who you can talk to into the dead of the night. Its about discovering a connection in this cold, detached, apathetic information age world."

The reason I fell in love with that girl, is because I thought I had found that. I thought I had found what I was looking for, a connection. But I am not what she is looking for. She is happier with someone else. I will move on now. And I'll be ok.



Sometimes I am analytical.

Sometimes I am eloquent.

Sometimes I offer no closure.

Somedays I feel magnificent.

Somedays, like today, not so much.
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