Rainstorm

There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you will still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything.”
― Tsunetomo Yamamoto, The Hagakure: A code to the way of samurai

Photo: Benn Bell

Camp Hope

Jefferson Square, Louisville, Kentucky

Thirteen homeless individuals had taken up living in Camp Hope. This camp was cleared out Monday as part of Greg Mayor Fisher’s new revitalization program. The team is comprised of 67 business and community leaders. Their main topics pf concern are litter, safety, graffiti, and homelessness.

The hotel and tourist industry has been in freefall since the pandemic struck. About two thirds of the city’s 65,000 hospitality workers are out of a job, much of which was concentrated in downtown Louisville.

The city has committed to increasing police presence and adding $1,000,000 to the effort to dealing with homelessness.

This is all that is left of Camp Hope

Galveston, Day 5

The continuing saga…

Ghost Dog and Buddha went on a road trip to Galveston, Texas from October 1, 2020 – October 8, 2020. This is their story.

Early morning run
On the Rocks
A Fisherman of men
The Old man and the Sea
The Sand Piper
The Rising Sun
Gazing at the Gulf
On the Ferry to Bolivar Peninsula
Meanwhile back at the pool for drinks
Bishop’s Palace
Sealy Mansion

Sacred Heart

Rumor has it that this statue point the way to the best gay bar in Galveston

The 1940 Sears Building

Thanks for watching! Meanwhile, stay tuned for further adventures of Ghost Dog and the Buddha.

Galveston Day 4

The Further Adventures of Ghost Dog and Buddha

A New Day Dawns
All is Emptiness Under the Moon
Breakfast at the Gumbo Diner
The Shrimp and Grits were delicious!
Eat the Rich
Downtown Galveston
Interesting Architectural Features
All my Truffles seemed so far away…
Galveston Square
I promise to learn from my mistakes
Come blow your horn…
Macao Spice Co.

Galveston Day 3

The Further Adventures of Ghost Dog and Buddha

Sunrise over the Gulf

Every morning upon arising I would walk across the street from where we were staying and catch a sunrise.

Voted Best Pool on the Island

We stayed at Gaido’s Seaside Inn. Pretty decent place with easy access to restaurants, pool, poolside bar, and the beach. Served a full sized breakfast every morning which came with the room. Friendly staff. Everybody was masked up and socially distant due to covid-19. As we got there on the weekend it was pretty crowded.

Where the Crawdads Sing
Poolside
Where the Girls Are
On the Beach
Sand Trap
Pleasure Pier
My step daughter Kim and her husband Tony

My step daughter Kim and her husband Tony came down from Houston to visit. We had dinner in a seafood restaurant and then we went for a walk along the seawall.

RUN FORREST RUN
You only go around once in life….

We stayed in Galveston a total of five days then headed back on the sixth.

Stay tuned for day four of our excellent adventure.

The Coral Ridge Trail

Hiking in the Jefferson Memorial Forest

My favorite trail in the Jefferson Memorial Forest is the Coral Ridge Trail. It’s a little more challenging, a little longer, and a little rougher than some of the other trails. I only try it when I’m feeling my oats, and today I was feeling my oats.

View from the top of the ridge. In the winter you can see for miles.
It’s kind of hard to see the trail in some places but in other places like this one, there is a light dusting of snow on the trail that creates a bright white line through the woods you can follow.
I had to crawl through this mess to get to the other side to the trail.
A tree falls in the forest. Does it make a sound?
Snow accumulating on the fungus on a fallen log.

Here the trail opened up. The walking was much easier. The temperature went from 15 degrees to a glorious 25 degrees. I was trying out a new article of clothing that my daughter gave me for Christmas. it was a shirt that wicks the moisture away from your skin. Worked like a charm

The Misadventures of Ghost Dog and The Buddha

Road Trip to Galveston Day 1 & 2

Gassing up

Thursday October 1

I drove to Owensboro (117 miles) and arrived at Buddha’s in the early afternoon. We watched TV until about 5:30 pm when his daughter arrived to fetch a key. After she left, we went out to get a bite to eat at Owensboro’s one and only Sushi place. I knew it was going to be a problem when I noticed the chefs behind the sushi bar were Mexican. I had the Hibachi Chicken. It was terrible.

We went back to Buddha’s place for drinks and more TV. Lucked into a Harold Pinter play on YouTube I’ve been wanting to see: “The Birthday Party”, starring Harold Pinter himself and Joan Plowright, in a BBC production. It was pretty good, but you have to be into Pinter to enjoy it. Buddha wasn’t so he went to bed to read while I watched the rest of the play.

Friday October 2

Cracker Barrel – The Breakfast of Champions

Owensboro. Woke to the news that Donald Trump and Melania Trump both have contracted the corona virus. Is that karma or what?

Got packed and loaded the car. Had to make a pit stop in Evansville so Buddha could see his psychiatrist and check up on his meds. Apparently, I am traveling with a madman. That’s OK. We’re all as mad as hatters here. All the best people are.

We finally got on the road and headed west. I figured to push as far into Arkansas as I possibly could before stopping for the night. We made it to Hope.

We checked in to the Best Western Motel. The maskless clerk kept asking us if we wanted one bed or two.

“Two beds, dammit!” Buddha muttered shaking his shaggy head.

“Do we get a discount?” I asked. “AAA? AARP?”

“Yeah, I’ll give you a discount alright,” the clerk snapped.

“Well, what’s the rate?”

“$75.00 including tax. Do you want one bed or two?”

“Two beds, dammit!”

“OK! Can I see your credit card?”

“Any restaurants in the area?”

“You can Google them and they will deliver.”

“OK. What room?”

“105. Right around the corner.”

Buddha was already heading out the door on his way to the room on foot. I drove around. We unlocked the door and unloaded the car, then took a moment to get settled. Buddha went to get ice.

I Googled the restaurants in the area and found a Pizza Hut and a Dominos. I called both but got put on hold at both places. Well, what could you expect in a little town called Hope, deep in the Arkansas interior? Bill Clinton territory as it were. The town sucked just like Monica Lewinski. Finally, Dominos answered.

“I’ll have a medium Supreme delivered to room 105 at the Best Western Motel, please. When will you deliver it? One hour? Wow! Well go ahead. We will just have to wait.”

While waiting for the pizza to arrive we made the drinks. We had picked up some liquor a few exits back. We got separate liquors because Buddha always buys cheap booze and I can’t stand the whiskey he usually gets, so I get something a little better. Turns out he got Ezra Brooks and I got Jack Daniels.

“Well, hell, if I’d a known you were getting Ezra Brooks, I would have drunk your booze. Ezra Brooks aint bad!”

“No, you wouldn’t! You’re not drinking my booze! You just drink your Jack Daniels!”

“What the hell Buddha? You don’t think I would have replaced your whiskey? You mean to tell me you wouldn’t have shared?”

“I don’t want to have this conversation right now!”

“Why not?”

“Just don’t.”

“OK.”

We drove the rest of the way in silence.

Meanwhile, back in the motel room, we decided to watch a little TV while waiting for the pizza. It was 9pm EST and 8pm Central. Buddha grabbed the remote and engaged the “on” button. TV said, “No Signal.”

“Call the front desk and tell them the TV doesn’t work,” I said.

Buddha grabbed the phone, listened intently, punched the dial hooks repeatedly, looked up wild eyed.

“No dial-tone! Motherfucker don’t work!”

“Call him on your cell phone.”

Buddha stared at the black desk set and started stabbing the numbers into his cell phone.

“Hello? Yeah, this is Buddha in room 105. The phone don’t work…. I’m calling you on my cell phone….OK…OK…Ok. That’s not why I’m calling you. The TV don’t work either…OK….OK…Ok.”

He hung up.

“What’d he say?”

“He said he would come down and try to reboot it himself.”

“Well OK then.”

So, we waited a few minutes, freshened our drinks and munched on some smoked almonds. Pretty soon there was a knock at the front door.

Buddha let in the night clerk, who again was maskless, but he was at least pretty friendly. He took the remote and began trying to reboot the TV.

About that time, we got another knock at the door. It was Dominos. Buddha answered the door. He paid for the pizza, $20.00 including tip.

The smell of the pizza filled the room.

“Wow, if you are getting pizza, I’m getting hungry.” This from the maskless night clerk.

“You want a slice?” I asked.

“No. No.”

The clerk didn’t have any luck getting the TV to work either.

“Let’s see, the TV don’t work, and the phone don’t work. Don’t you think we should get another discount?” I asked.

“Yeah, I’ll give you another discount. I’ll give it to you right now.”

And with that he left.

Buddha and I just looked at each other and shrugged. Then we devoured the pizza.

A little later on that night the night clerk showed up with our receipt which included our discounts. All in all, an $85.00 room ended up costing us $65.00. Not bad.

We got up early the next morning and hit the road again right after breakfast. It was around Texarkana when the drugs started kicking in.

Next Stop: Galveston

Greetings From Galveston

The Three Dharma Seals

Buddhism by the Numbers

The Three Dharma Seals

Impermanence, Non-self, Nirvana

  • From the point of view of time we say “impermanence” and from the point of view of space we say “non-self.”
  • It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent.
  • Nothing is ever lost. Nothing is ever gained.
  • The second dharma seal is non-self. Nothing has a separate existence or separate self. Everything has to inter-be with everything else.
  • When we see that everyone and everything belongs to the same stream of life, our suffering will vanish.
  • Non-self means that you are made of elements which are not you.
  • Nirvana is the third dharma seal. It is the ground of being.
  • “The dharma I offer you is only a raft to help you cross over to the other shore,” said the Buddha.
  • Nirvana is the extinction of all notions.
  • Happy Continuation
  • Eight concepts: birth, death, permanence, dissolution, coming, going, one, many.
  • The practice to end attachment of these eight ideas is called the eight no’s or the middle way.
  • Experience always goes before ideas.
  • Any teaching that does not bear the mark of the Three Dharma Seals, the Four Holy Truths, and the Eightfold Path is not authentically Buddhist.
  • Two Relevancies
    1. Relevance to essence – The three dharma seals: impermanence, non-self, Nirvana.
    2. Relevance must fit the circumstances.
  • Four Standards of Truth
    1. The worldly
    2. The person
    3. Healing
    4. The absolute – No self
  • The Four Reliances
    1. Teaching
    2. Discourses
    3. Meaning
    4. Insight

Based on the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh

Photo credit: Benn Bell