Saturday, June 30, 2012

Meanwhile, Back at the Goat Farm . . .

Third and last set of pictures from last weekend's Big Band Ball at The Goat Farm.  Between the bands, the life-size puppets, and the wrestling, there was also a combination trapeze/burlesque show featuring a jazz combo and women aerialists.  The act exists somewhere near the intersection of dance, acrobatics, striptease, and music.

I've seen the Imperial Opa Circus perform variants of this act before, but last week's performance was notable both for the quality of the performamces (musically and gymnastically) and for the venue itself.  

The first performance occurred between Adron's set and the band Cute Boots.

The second performance followed Cute Boots and preceded The Villain Family Band.

The third and final performance occurred after Lera Lynn's set and before Blair Crimmins and his Hookers.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Place Neither Hot Nor Cold Is Still Hot

They got it right today and are threatening worse for tomorrow.

I wonder if 102 will feel "cooler" after a whole weekend over 105 degrees?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Happy Obamacare Day, America

Not to tell you what you already know, but today the Supreme Court upheld President Obama's signature legislation, The Affordable Care Act.  This means that:
  • Children will no longer be denied health insurance due to a pre-existing condition, effective immediately. 
  • Young adults can stay on their parent's health insurance policy until age 26. 
  • Adults will no longer be denied health insurance due to a pre-existing condition, effective in 2014.
  • Health insurance providers can no longer cancel your policy because you get sick. 
  • There can no longer be annual limits to health coverage. If your illness is incredibly expensive, you won't have to worry about reaching a limit to what your insurance company will pay.
Nearly 30 states, including Georgia, sued the federal government over this legislation. With the Supreme Court deciding in the Obama administration’s favor, it signifies a strong rebuke to Georgia Governor Deal’s persistent attempts to undermine health care reform.

But Republicans are going to use today's decision as ammunition to fire up their far right base just four months from Election Day. They're going to campaign hard against President Obama, against Democrats, and for repealing the health-care law. And if they win in November, they're not going to stop until they've stripped tens of millions of Americans of their health-care coverage and turned Medicare into a voucher program.

We can't let that happen. We need to stand up for the reforms that we've made and keep working towards providing universal health care for all Americans. The Republican voucher plan is bad policy and bad politics and Republicans are doubling down on it in light of today's decision. Turning Medicare into a voucher plan will destroy Medicare as we know it and will throw millions of America's seniors into poverty. It's also a huge loser for Republicans - an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose turning Medicare into a voucher program.

It's more important than ever that the Republicans are beaten back and good Democrats get elected in November. We need to work harder than ever to take back the House, keep the Senate, and reelect President Obama.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I can honestly say that before last month's heavy-metal Monsterfest at the Starlight 6 drive-in movie lot I had never seen a professional wrestling match before, but now I've seen it not once but twice, after someone set up a ring at The Goat Farm during the Big Bang Ball.

The little kid below was loving it, and was so excited after each takedown, each body slam, after each piledriver.  His enthusiasm actually increased my enjoyment of the matches.

Might wrestling become the next so-bad-it's-good hipster enthusiasm?

The matches went on and on, even after the sun had set and darkness set in.  For all I know, they're still out there wrestling now.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Went and saw the film Prometheus last night.  Verdict:  a visually stunning film with a few intriguing ideas but that ultimately didn't make a lot of sense.  The kind of film that the more you think about, the less you like it.  So rather than talk about it, let's just enjoy some of the visuals.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Night Zazen

Sangha practice instead of dharma practice - after an hour of meditation (buddha practice) we all went out and celebrated the summer solstice by enjoying some ice cream together (actually frozen yogurt) instead of sipping tea and reading from Dogen.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I just read the sad news posted by Adam Tebbe at the Sweeping Zen website that husband and wife Zen teachers Shin Getsu Fern McGuire (far left) and Hogaku Ken McGuire (middle) have both passed away.

The couple had been married for 55 years. Fern died two days ago (June 22, 2012) on her 75th birthday, and was found laying behind a truck in the couple’s yard in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It is believed that she had suffered a massive heart attack.

This morning, Hogaku Ken McGuire, her husband, also died of an apparent heart attack, just two days after his wife’s passing.

Fern and Ken were both disciples of the late Rev. Soyu Matsuoka, Roshi, my teacher's teacher, so they were in effect my dharma aunt and uncle.  Although I never met them, I recall hearing Taiun Michael Elliston, Roshi, my teacher, speak fondly of them on many occasions. They had both been ordained as Soto Zen priests by Rev. Matsuoka; Ken was additionally given the title of Roshi. The Matsuoka lineage in the United States is very small and this loss makes it smaller still.

Harvery Daiho Hilbert (far right in the photo above), Hogaku Roshi’s dharma successor, said, 
“Ken-roshi was my teacher, friend, and sometime adversary. While we often did not see eye to eye on matters of consequence, through our dharma combat, we found a deep respect and admiration for each other. I spent the last two afternoons with Ken-roshi offering my support to him and planning Rev. Fern-roshi’s memorial. It was quite a shock, then, to get the news this afternoon of Ken-roshi’s death this morning.” 
"Born in the morning and dead in the evening, a person we saw yesterday is no longer here today," observed Zen Master Dogen.  "These are the facts we see with our eyes and hear with our ears. This is what we see and hear about others. Applying this to our own bodies and thinking of the reality of all things, though we expect to live for seventy or eighty years, we die when we must die. During our lifetime, though we may see the reality of sorrow, pleasure, love of our families, and hatred of our enemies, these are not worthy matters. We could spend our time letting go of them."

In Zen, it is not unusual to see two closely entwined individuals pass away so soon one after the other.  According to legend, one day when Layman Pang (740 - 808) was very old, he announced he was ready to die when the sun reached its midday height. He bathed, put on a clean robe, and lay on his sleeping mat. As the hour approached, his daughter, Lingzhao, announced to him that there was an eclipse covering the sun.  The layman stepped outside to see, and while he watched the eclipse, Lingzhao took his place on the sleeping mat and died.  When Layman Pang found his daughter, he sighed, "She has beaten me once more."   He then postponed his departure from the world by seven days.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Meanwhile, Back At The Goat Farm

The heatwave which had been baking the northeast US finally reached Atlanta on Saturday. By afternoon, the downtown skyscrapers were shimmering in the heat and people sought refuge indoors and out of the scorching sun.  

What relief was available could be found in the shade of the nooks and crannies of the photogenic Goat Farm.

The cool shade was not only appreciated but also appropriate, as The Goat Farm was preparing itself for a party.

The occasion was something called The Big Bang Ball, a Modern Dustbowl Carnival.  Among the many performers were Picasso the Gorilla, below.  There were also many musical performances, but since I've bifurcated, the pictures of those offerings are over at the Live site.

Alert readers may recall seeing the lady riding the pink emu from the East Village Strut pictures over on the Live site (look under the Imperial Opa Circus cut).

In keeping with the Dustbowl theme, the carnival featured a theatrical huskster promoting questionable elixirs and potions.

Walter the Lion was a bit of a show stealer, even when he was just wandering among the audience.

Without even showing the musical performers, these pictures describe barely a quarter of the day's activities.    More posts on other Big Bang Ball attractions will follow.