Archive for March 27th, 2004

Stay on the Path and Keep Off the Grass


Those who embark on the Way discover very early that
there are two distinct ways to approach the goal. There is the Path of
Contemplation, delving deeply into disassociation, aestheticism, abolition of ego and transcendance
of desire. And there is the path of involvement, throwing oneself
full force into the flow of worldly events, striving through action to
bring enlightenment and liberation to others.

The first path tries to wend its way through life leaving no visible footprints,
disturbing as little as possible, and so becoming increasingly aware .
The second embraces subjectivity, action, human emotion and divine inspiration
to try to make a positive difference during the time each individual has
been given .

Both paths lead to the same place; nirvana, satori, call it what you will,
and in the final stages of the approach the paths are almost indistinguishable
because that close to enlightenment time and space are distorted, just
as they are when one approaches the speed of light, and the distinctions
between action and inaction, cause and effect, start to break down.

A lucky life is one that grants sufficient time and personal freedom to
spend significant stretches on each of these paths. Most of our lives,
however, are lived on the swampy wasteland that stretches between the paths,
wandering onto one or the other occasionally but without real direction
or appreciation.

What has inspired this intense spell of navel-gazing in the initial phases
of a life-and-death adventure of the first order, and after a day spent
dealing with cat people and the surly hellions of U-Haul?

Well, it seemed a natural seque to a change some of you may have already
noticed. The nature of the Dowbrigade News is going to change for a while,
and instead of being basically contemplative, collecting and commenting
on events in other parts and involving other people, searching out connections
others may not have noticed, we are going to be writing about our experiences
on the road, first at a conference in California and then, hopefully, if
we find someone to care for our cats, for three months on the Pacific coast
and in the mountains of South America.

Partly this will be because we will not have our now-customary access to
the news and views of the blogosphere. But equally a factor, such interesting
things seem to happen to use when we are on the road. We meet famous people
by chance, get involved in revolutions and captured by guerillas, discover
things about fascinating places, and about ourself and our home country.
We talk less, listen more, watch everything, and hopefully write about
it well. Never before have we had an outlet for our roadwork, other than friends, lovers and family.

Finally, we are thoroughly convinced that if this vestigial virtual vision
of using technology to make Democracy relevant again is to have any hope
of success, the movement MUST be global. No single nation, even one as
powerful and pervasive as the United States, can pull this off alone. Everyone
should visit a few different parts of the world and stay long enough to
really wrap your mind around another world view.

We promise to try to keep up with the news and post a funny photo from
time to time. And we are committed to coming back in the summer and teaching
at the law school. We are mad-anxious to blog the Democratic Convention
in July, and the Republicans in August. Meanwhile, expect more personal
stuff, weird stories, action photos, bemused beach briefings, impromptu
reviews of the digitalia we are schlepping around in our iBook, and assorted
notes from the road. Good to have you along for the ride.!

Kitty Update


Somewhat surprisingly, our “Kitty Call” has generated more comments than any other Dowbrigade posting ever. We would like to sincerely thank all of the people who offered to help. Many of them were too far away, like in other states, but we firmly believe good intentions are rewarded somewhere, sometime. What goes around comes around.

Then there are the people who seem to be trying to make a little profit from our misfortune, offering to “help us out” for $25 or $30 dollars a day, which would be OK for some folks, but for us right now $2,000 is a mountain of money, and one of the reasons we are putting all of our stuff in storage is to save a couple of months rent and utilities and try to pay off some of our back bills. Such is the life of teachers and “lecturers”.

Finally some unfortunate readers have been quite rude, telling us either that we are cruel monsters unfit to own animals, or that we should “get over it” because they are “just” dumb animals and should basically be seen as disposable.

We still don’t have a solution but have two possibilities who are coming over tomorrow to meet the kitties and talk. We will update the situation when something is resolved. Thanks again to all who care.

Can This Cat Be Saved?


the Great Experiment has yet to begin and we are already in crisis mode.

All three of our failsafe offers to care for our two lovely
cats while we are out of the country have fallen through at the last
minute. One
has gotten a new job in another city, another’s mother has just had
a nasty fall and needs constant care, and the third says her roommate
threatened to kick her out if she brings home two cats, now matter
how smart and well-behaved they are.

Poor Norma Yvonne has been crying all night. Two of the three retracted
offers were from her students. Today is moving day, we are off to rent
a U-Haul, and the poor cats are wandering around the boxes and bags
wide-eyed and anxious. They know something is up, and its not looking

We can’t afford professional boarding. Besides, it might be an option
for two weeks, but for the two months we are going to be gone our cats
need human contact and companionship. That’s too long to be in a cage.
We have purchased a mountain of cat food and kitty litter for the woman
we thought was our savior, and now they are piled by the back door.

Our options at this point seem to be a) cancel the trip, b) leave them
in the back yard to fend for themselves, or c) Angel Memorial, the ASCPA shelter where unadopted cats get sent to swim with the fishies. There is a no-kill shelter on the North Shore, but they have a tow month waiting list.

Our first plan was to take them with us, and we went so far as to buy the carriers, advised the Airline, got their physicals, shots and get the US papers they would need to travel. However, there were requirements of the Ecuadorian government we couldn’t complete without being there.

We have been to the ASPCA (they run Angel Memorial) and had signs up at the Unviersity where I work and at 2 vets, although we took down the vet signs when we “thought” we had a committed caregiver.

are the sweetest and calmest cats we have ever had, and we are at our wits end. Why does love have to be so sad?

Honey, the svelte female, looks over at me reproachfully, then turns
back to stare out the bare window at the rain-soaked back yard. If
we ever needed to believe in the power of miracles, now is the time.