The Two Pots Story


An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After 2 years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. ” I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.” The old woman smiled, “Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.” “For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.”

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You’ve just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

To all of my crackpot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers, on your side of the path.

(from forwarded email rounds)

I post this for 4 reasons. 1) Others, and I, probably need, lightness to hold us over to April Fools Day
2) I am inspired by the perspective of David St. Lawrence:

I’ve always noticed patterns in life and in the world around me and tried, often without success, to communicate to others what I saw.

It was only a few years ago that I realized that my error lay in not choosing my audience carefully.

I hadn’t realized just how many people were steadfastly trundling along through life with head held low and grim expressions on their faces. Their burdens were great enough to bar the addition of any more information.

Even people I knew who were most aware were often completely absorbed in handling the immediate problems of life. Trying to get their attention was like offering a sandwich to a man fighting off a swarm of bees.

From Blog mission statement of David St. Lawrence

3) Because it bears repeating.
4) Because content production is overrated when one could be just repeating. :-p. So, to pass along more good…

Support Victims of Noassatol

Guy: …so then she tells me she’s a call girl.
Girl: Oh, I did that for a while. Back in high school.
Guy: You were a call girl?
Girl: Yeah, for a little while. It sucked.
Guy: Um…yeah?
Girl: Yeah. Pay was okay, but it just wasn’t worth it. Everybody always yelling at you and hanging up on you.
Guy: Hanging up on you?
Girl: Yeah.
Guy: Because you were a call girl?
Girl: Yeah.
Guy: Like a telemarketer?
Girl: Yes!
Guy: Oh. Well, this girl wasn’t…that kind of call girl.

–F Train
Overheard in New York

Lastly, I caught an interview on CBC radio with Haydain Neale, the singer of Jacksoul an R&B Juno award nominee this year. He’s got a lovely bit of peacework going on in lyrics and in sound. The personable young man said he’s not interested in being pulled into ghettoization-sound box, with too much machisimo constraints nor does he see the point in free jazz that has too little constraints. He’s got a wide vocal range and and is coming from a wide influence range of singers, mentioning growing up with music. His mom sings part time, involved in Opera and Carribana, and demonstrated how much of a difference practice makes in what you can do. His music coming from a need not to be popular or be centre stage but a need to produce, coming out of writing stories, song, poems, lyrics, musical notes. He’s drawn to the muse in music.

How to: Catch a (credit card) thief,
Behave in a homelss shelter
Download classical music files from live performances,
play a virtual kalimba
think: i.e. a great equal marriage rant

Words of the Day: pundits, plaudits, panache, eclat, elan, eclair, cream puff

27 Mar 2005, 12:10am
Music Positive News

Sarah McLachlin

• Running street children’s hospital in India for a year • $11,050
• Schooling for 100 street children in Tanzania • $2,500
• Building of 6 wells in S.E Asia, Latin America & Africa • $10,200
• Helping 100 widows to develop income generating activities in Afghanistan • $5,400
• Total running costs of orphanage in South Africa • $16,500
• Improving the lives of 10 elderly people in Eastern Europe • $3,500

And this is less than 1/5 of what one person enabled.

Sarah McLachlin’s got my attention now, and I finally should be able to hook something onto her blank name. Apparently (according to her website) Sarah has sold over 22 million records worldwide since her recording career began with her debut release, Touch, in 1988 and she is a 3 time Grammy Award winner. Which are just words that don’t resonate beyond, oh, other people have heard of her. But what impresses me is that she saw to it that a million people are being concretely being helped through distributing cash through 11 organizations.

Her “new music video, World on Fire, cost $15 to make, instead of the usual $150,000. As the camera shows her singing, barefoot in a bare chair, intercut graphics and clips show where the rest of the money went. Instead of paying $11,000 for post-production costs, McLachlin’s company donated $11,000 to run a street children’s hospital for one year. The $500 that would usually go to make-up and hair will fund a year of school for 145 girls in Afghanistan. $3,000 could pay for one day’s catering in LA — but this time it bought nearly 11,000 meals for Calcutta street children. And so on. The song is good, too!

This quoted info on is courtesy of Straight Goods Indie News

Happy Easter Sunday to those celebrating today.

Soundtrack: Beyond this song, Seventh Chakra by RhythmWorks has some drumming I enjoy and Michael Young‘s playing some fine guitar between lapses to “silence”, wind, distant traffic, squeak of chair and pops of shoulders rolling until I embrace the quiet solitude as much as I had the music.
Movie Recommendation: The Attractive One Sun giu yu gwai (Hong Kong, 2004) from first to last second a heart warming romantic comedy. Goofy, light but rewarding.

26 Mar 2005, 4:22pm
Photos Poem Drafts

Haiku Drafts

I suppose the title name of haiku drafts could eventually be as poor for filing as it would be to just call this misc or other directly, but it’ll have to do for now. I’ve done in the range of 70 new poems this month, numbers buoyed somewhat by haiku among them but a number are longer and edited bunches of times too. Anyhew, two from today,

incidental touches
the dusty glass
collects clear streaks

clover petals fold
touch themselves
to sleep


pineapple and strawberry

“Using up the last of” is never so good as when the last of is yogurt, angelfood cake, strawberries and pineapple for two. (Another plate is offstage left)

Link Finds: Barnes and Noble University has free classes on books and various community continuing education type subjects, found thanks to Out in the Wood’s blog, and Accidental Happiness a short story of life journey, found courtesy of House of Style
World Finds: Have you seen at a magazine store that dozens of titles now come in plastic with a music CD of editor’s pick selection or features artist, or video DVD of behind the scenes concerts? Great multimedia marketing, Batman.

26 Mar 2005, 12:56pm
On the Peace Path
1 comment

Canada is Peaceful: Debate

Allowing myself to occasionally mudwrestle with feelings of being perplexed with people and priorities, allowing myself to be half nelsoned by the dynamics, denials and appeals of ambivalenceis of hard questions and part of what makes The Warrior’s Honour so absorbing. As Bertrand Russell said,“In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” Canadians are peaceful. Ethnic wars have never happened and will never happen here because our culture is founded in valuing diversity and peace. (Or at least has been since Prime Minister Trudeau).

Human nature being as it is, we could maintain peace or devolve to defensive regions of war as groups that now are “unmarked” become “marked”. Culture is renewed and potentially pivoted with each birth and each breath. We could potentially groundswell against any group, or marginalize any group that appears integrated with the ferocity of bullies. It could be as silly as people with bumps on the head. Phrenology was trial for prisons once. That doesn’t mean be vigilant because it will happen. But to pretend it couldn’t is equally folly.

It just becomes “the thing to do” as when “we” interred those with German blood, confiscated all good and accounts of Japanses and forced removal, refused right of voting from natives as a matter of course until the mid-60s. Two generations who experienced these things first hand are still alive. Being Canadian does not put us above the group mania. Potshots at Americans is “not serious”, “just joking”. How much humor is based in groupism of lawyers, blondes, women, etc? I’m not saying the solution is humorlessness. Or Political Correctness. Or to insist on sensitivity training. Or for people to laugh along. There are groups but they are not in many senses representative of any one or even any member. We owe it to ourselves to meet people, not groups day-to-day.

One of the biggest struggles I feel is groupism, both positive groupism and negative groupism. Basically, any sentence that has the word all or always has my guard up. All X group do/think/feel/beleive/are/ and I immediate scan for the exception to invalidate and pick it apart. It’s immature. It’s kneejerk. Its at cross purposes of listening but hopefully I’ll grow out of it, tomorrow. Or when it’s no longer useful. Whichever comes last.

It is easy to be made nauseous by someone saying the word gay or Jew or bitch (or what have you) then spitting (all of which I’ve witnessed multiple times). It’s easy to see how that’s wrong and intended to sting and how to play nice in the standbox, no one should do that. Ever. It’s inexcusable as insults to use group-words as a denigrating snarl. To ban words get us no where because then there are those knowing looks exchanged between two people who share a common “enemy” group. We can hardly blindfold anyone. And restrain as we like, a twitch, a chemistry and electricity would still be emitted off the skin or disgust response. Systemic excuse non-hiring, or firing, no-room-for-rent, would still happen. So it’s a bandaid solution and doesn’t root out the cause. Challenging straight on could increase it, calling someone on something they don’t feel strongly can intensify. It draws a line of you on the other side nd reinforces the reality.

It’s harder to begin to think of the hows and whys of dissolving that wall of intolerance that has most likely been erected for good reason. (That is to say people need a scapegoat to project frustration, aggression, and guilt to to deflect from self to avoid self-destruction or damages to more critical personal relationships. An individual-less group of strangers or type is a “safe” outlet. Does that make it someone one should overlook? No.)

Even more daunting to oppose than the vituperation of self-protecting negative groupism is positive groupism. It looks less “dangerous” but it still builds the fantasy that people’s character is formed by one relevant identity and the other identities can be safely chucked. It too says that if you know one, you know then all and you can ignore the individual. “Oh, you adopted a Chinese baby. I bet she’s smart.” or “Why do you say that against Ted Nebbeling? No, that’s not fair. All gays are very nice. My friends in university were gay.” You can chide someone’s hostile language as being nasty but how can you tag nonsensical “positive” language and not appear sour and maker of hostility rather than let a peaceful dog sleep.

Some people channel themselves into being the best gung-ho embodiment of the ideal of one identity, put a lot of their energy into being solely one mold of say good Christian housewife or federal conservative politician. Some hide behind the group identity and spread culpability for their actions by saying they are only doing what is required of them as a group member of religion or region or politics or history. It’s a way to contextualize yourself, make sense of your world. If you insist on putting most of yourself into one box, you may assume others are doing the same, like a mime and you only have to figure out which role play they are acting out and tag it. Great fun.

And identity is more than what you actually experience first hand and more than the identity tags people foist at you. As Arethusa points out, your self is partially formed by the group and the shared experiences and understandings of history. I guess part of the conflict of greoup identity comes when the group is larger than an elephant and we grope like blind men each at our part of the elephant, using the same word, but experiencing different parts. All of us are right but none complete in understanding.

Does it matter how you self-define if you let me self-define respectfully as well? Does it matter when I say Canada, I visualize something different than you, so long as you agree to not attack me nor I you?

Link Finds: FreeCycling where you swap for free what you don’t need anymore with about 400,000 people particupating worldwide, but it’s divided up so you swap with your local neighbours.
Words of the Day: discrete, parakeet, parquet, parachute, motorscooter and moot
Next Activity: Exploring the gorgeous balmy sunny 8 degree days in a jacket(!) not coat, get some sun, conversation and exercise and take in some sights
Menu: Hard tacos with tofu-simulated beef and 4% M.F. Allegro cheese
Comics:Off the Mark comics for Easter
Soundtrack: Malaika a capella clips (their CD is in the mail)

26 Mar 2005, 12:48pm
On the Peace Path
Comments Off on When is Difference Significant?

When is Difference Significant?

The book stirs up all sorts of unresolvedness. He’s after not the war but the very first shifting from neighbours to the process of how we go about redrawing them in conflicts. It’s admittedly heavy reading, but not a tiresome slog by any means, full of exciting concepts and generally phrased in a compelling way. I don’t know how long I’ll tug out particular paragraphs but for today, these stands out from Warrior’s Honour. The worst case scenario of groupism misused to the detriment of the individuals in the group.

(p. 60)What both nationalist consciousness abroad and some forms of ethnic consciousness at home [can] have in common is the proposition that listening to strangers is worthless, since no one can actually understand you but your own group. What is denied is the possibility of empathy: that human understanding is capable of penetrating the bell jars of separate identities.

But social peace anywhere depends for its survival on just such an epistemological act of faith: when it comes to political understanding, difference is always minor, comprehension is always possible. Once this conviction– this basic faith in the possibility of human communication as such – is lost, then politics becomes nothing more than an exercise in the ethnic clans who communicate only with each other in the language of collective threats and ultimata, it is on the brink of civil war. What prevents such a breakdown is not just trust but the kind of individualism that can survive only in conditions of trust: when individuals feel sufficiently free of fear that they do not need to depend exclusively on their ethnic, religious, or tribal groups to secure their basic interests.

So, all delicious and exciting conceptually but applications? It can be on any level, the Quebec independance issue to any contentious political issue that we want a hard and fast rule for such as abortion, equal marriage or legalization of marijuana to personal of “you don’t get me and can’t” because we are coming from different perspectives. Not that telling the other will clear the air but grasping where you each are to get your bearings and hopefully empathy. Empathy includes accepting isolationism as ok. Permitting the individual to wall off. Being aware that sometimes you are not seen except as by collective group and that talking or acting may or may not get through. One doesn’t need to assume the worse or the best, just do what you feel you have to.

Anything that has sides is at risk of them vs. us. Michael Ignatieff looked at what was happening behind the lines in the former Yugoslavia for a particular case,

(p. 38) Before the war, he might have thought of himself as a Yugoslav or a cafe manager or a husband rather than as a Serb. Now as he sits in this farmhouse bunker there are men 250 yards away who would kill him For them he is only a serb, not a neighbour, not a friend, not a Yugoslav, not a former teammate at the football club. And because he is only a serb for his enemies, he has become only a serb to himself. nationalism is a fiction: it requires eh willing suspension of disbelief. To believe in national fictions is to forget certain realities,…

(p 37)the contradictions float around in his head. in the watches of the night, he waits tense and restless, for the next mortar round. firing off a few rounds may be a way of resolving the tension. to hell with it, he may curse. They don’t pay me to think. Let’s keep it simple. Violence does that, at least: it keeps things simple.

The violence in other applications may not be a visible as mortar rounds hitting target but an explosive curse, a label tossing to release and closure. The them and us, did it start in that moment? Perhaps. People say what they don’t mean, under threat grab blindly for anything at hand to lash with. Before it may have been a flashlight or neutral word and now it is a blungeon.

As Arethusa said in comments, differences don’t have to lead to wars and Third Reichs. In Yugoslavia they lived in peace as one nation, intermarrying, working together in peace. They had different religions and names but it was on paper only. They lived as individuals and chose to keep seeing the whole mix of identities each had with none becoming a trump card. Why wasn’t that maintained and how in only a few years did society unravel to ethnic war? Well, if you know, provide a spoiler please. Meanwhile I’ll just stay tuned and see if the author has any answers on this human capacity for unsettling affairs in such a hurry.

Link Finds:feeling squirrelly?, Offbeat Easter comics, romance novel cover farces or Eggcorns like misheard lyrics but only one word or phrase at a time.
Menu: Leftover hawaiian pizza for breakfast, cold cereal for lunch, fruitcake baking in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. More to come but I haven’t the foggiest yet
Soundtrack: Miriam Wynn’s demo cover songs

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