A Personal Life??

[Last updated: 04 August 2010]
I have been asked to include something “personal” about myself. It’s actually hard to do, since so much of my life is consumed by my quest for a world that works for all. I feel “destiny-driven”. I’ve felt that way since I was 7 or 8…

But, I think self-revelation is good for the soul… literally. I’m not “hiding” (as I’ve been accused). There just doesn’t seem to be much CONTEXT in which to talk about my personal life. (In the middle of a talk about climate change, I could blurt out, “By the way, I’m 59 years old and live in a rented studio apartment”…) But, most “about Person X” websites contain a “personal” page, so here it is — my context.

A couple of years ago, I filled out a “profile” for one of the online dating services… I think it still works as a personal introduction (with some necessary editing)…

WORLD TRAVELER… BUT PORTLAND IS HOME.

I really, really want to be Rick, but I'm afraid I might be Victor Lazlo. (If you didn't get the reference to "Casablanca", rent the movie, quick.)

Because of the work that I do, there are literally thousands of people who know ABOUT me, but very, very few who actually KNOW me. Thousands know my social/political/consciousness positions, but few know my favorite hiking spot in the Gorge, or that I string prayer beads for relaxation. I speak confidently before hundreds of people, but few know that I stuttered (and was teased) as a child and I am always afraid that I will start stuttering again in the middle of a speech.

My family: My immediate family consists of my three adult daughters and my three grandsons, who think they are adult. I'm not providing a lot of information about them, since I'd like to preserve their privacy.

More (Moore) Family Matters: My famous grandfather, William Moore! An early pioneer of the blues, and one of the few African-Americans to have a major label recording in the 1920’s! Of the 100,000+ websites on him, click here for a biography, and click here to hear him sing and play! You can actually buy his recordings on Amazon! (I only “discovered” this side of him a few years ago…)

My Need for Sanctuary: I travel a lot, and to some dangerous places. It's important to me that my personal surroundings and an intimate relationship provide comfort from the free-floating crap that's out there in the world. “Home” must provide that sense of sanctuary. Together, we can be IN the world but not OF it (and not covered in crap, either.) This photo is of my "Yin" Garden in Sri Lanka: Labyrinth, Well and Bodhi Tree.

My Image: People think of me as super-confident. I have no idea where they get that. True, I have no fear of getting on an airplane and getting off in a country where I don't speak the language, have no contacts, and where they haven't seen a black person since WWII. But, that's just surface stuff. Inside, in the tender areas of the heart, I am not so confident. I have a desire to share, but my formidable vocabulary sometimes fails me (or worse, gets in the way…).

My religion: Spirituality is a very important aspect in my life, but not tied to any religious dogma, nor tied to any airy-fairy fad/pop stuff. My spiritual tent is held down with four tent-pegs: Lao Tzu, the Buddha, Jesus and Rumi. (Their teachings, not what their “followers” have done to them.)

I try to actually PRACTICE my spiritual connection, not just talk about it. I make an attempt (usually successful) to actually treat others the way I wish to be treated (and not just when it's convenient). This is a personal quest for me, one that runs me afoul with “friends” who want me to take their “side” in a dispute — I don’t see “sides”.

George Leonard said that your “practice” is what you intend to get good at. From my observations, most of the people in this country who call themselves “Christian” have absolutely no intention to practice the way of life that is called for by Jesus. (This is true for every other religion, also.) This is why I cannot refer to myself as “Christian” or “Muslim” or anything else. I take my practice seriously...

my fun... what I do for fun depends on what continent I'm on, and who I’m with.

In Europe: hanging out in a small, old coffeehouse in the center of the city (Prague, Krakow, Frankfurt…). Photographing architecture and people.
In Asia: walking through crowded markets. Going to the various temples, for prayer and photos. Or, walking on the beach, eating some of the freshest fish in the world.
In Portland: coffeehouses and movie-watching (at home, or in the 2nd run theaters).

My job... my job is to save the world... despite the fact that most of the time, it doesn't seem to want to be saved. My personal and organizational goal is "to create a world that works for all". I’ve given myself 200 years to accomplish this… then I’m going to give up, if there’s no progress. (Actually, my goal is to put a transformed society in motion, go ahead and die, then come back and reap the fruit!)

Favorite hotels and other places: The Hotel Equitoria in Kampala. You can ask for a room in either the North or South Hemisphere!

Hotel Olga in Prague: Nothing fancy, no frills (a scary elevator with 3 walls), but it’s near everything and doesn’t cost a lot.

Royal Hotel in Bangkok. Way too big, so they rent the rooms out cheap. More costly than the backpacker dives… but I’m not a backpacker, bragging about how little I can pay for a room, then complaining about what I get. Near some great temples…

Keong Saik Hotel (Singapore - Chinatown) Good, cheap hotel. No frills. Breakfast = box of corn flakes and tea.
 Albert Court Hotel (Singapore - near Little India) Very, very nice "boutique" hotel. Nice frills. Exercise room, hot tub, great lounge, ok breakfast (not included). Book via www.asiarooms.com (The Albert Court website never has any rates).
Sylvia Beach Hotel (Newport, Oregon) The “hotel for book lovers”. Every room decorated in the style of an author’s writing. Tell Goody Cable I said “hi”.
Latourelle Falls, Colombia Gorge, Oregon: What can I say? Of the hundreds of waterfalls, that’s the one that captures me.

favorite things:
I read a lot. LOTS of science fiction, as well as writings by anyone seriously addressing societal transformation. I generally read 5-7 books at the same time. (I don’t spend much time reading about the problems — it doesn’t get you anywhere…)
Lots of movies. Because of how “heavy” my day work is, I usually reserve my movie time for seriously “escapist” work. One of my favorite actors is… Arnold Schwarzenegger! Seriously! An actor so bad, he is famous for playing ROBOTS who are pretending to act like humans! Only in America!
Favorite thing to do before going to bed (when I'm alone, of course) depends again on what country I’m in:
Asia: play a game of soduku while listening to some jazz.
Africa: take a walk in the still night air.
Portland: have a glass of red wine and write in my journal.

last read:
I just finished "Anathem" by Neal Stephenson. Wow! As I was nearing the end of the book, I was purposely slowing down my reading, just to stretch out the flavor...

Stephenson writes some whopping epic books (his "Diamond Age, Or A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer" is another must-read). Anathem is really hard to get started, because you have to learn a whole new language in order to grasp what's going on. This was at first off-putting to me, so much so that I put the book down. But, after talking to an guy who swore it was the best book he's read, I picked it up again. And, I'm very glad I did.

UPDATE: Since I wrote the above, I have read a LOT of other sci-fi... NONE of it in the same class as "Anathem". I read the entire book through twice, and I'm thinking about reading it AGAIN (even though I know how it ends!)

relationship:
One piece of excellent advice my mother gave me many years ago, “You can be completely miserable by yourself… you don’t need help.” A relationship should definitely not ADD to one’s misery index.

I am not in a committed intimate relationship as of this writing. After a year of long-distance relationship, I find myself single again. (At least my near-decade of involuntary celibacy is over!)

Once again, stay tuned for further news...

music:
Most of the time, I listen to classical music while working, mostly favorites that don’t require a lot of thinking. Favorites: the big “B’s” (Brahms, Beethoven, Bach), Mozart, Albioni… very little of the 20th Century.

In my “relax” time, I listen to jazz and world music (especially from those countries and cultures I have visited). Favorites: Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, lots of Cuban music, Balinese gamelan...

My daughters have accused me of being stuck in a time tunnel regarding my liking of the music of the Sixties, so I’ve eased off for a few years to test my musical tastebuds. What I love: Sly and the Family Stone, Four Tops, Temptations, Stevie Wonder (early stuff), virtually anything Motown.

I don’t particularly like blues music, which is inconsistent, given my illustrious ancestor, my grandfather William Moore (see photo above). However, since learning about my grandfather’s musical career, I’ve learned to love his music and his incredible guitar style.

No, I don’t consider “rap” to be “music”. Even as an early supporter of “The Last Poets” (bringing them to Clark University as an undergrad), I put the genre in the “poetry” or “spoken word” category. (And, most of that is rubbish.) This is true for two main reasons:

Rap is (in general) not “creative”. By sampling the works of others, the rappers show their skills at BORROWING the creativity of others. (Yes, I’ve heard some creative and inventive rap — however, so few and far between, it proves my point.)
Rap is (in general) not “emotionally expressive”. Rappers tend to be stuck in anger and negative thoughts. Think back to the Sixties: you can’t even THINK of an emotional state that was not expressed in the music of that time. Rap expresses anger and negativity VERY WELL. It’s just that I don’t think that a steady diet of that is healthy, for either the individual or the society in general.

JOKES
Jokes I found funny enough to write down...

Last night I dreamed I ate a ten-pound marshmallow, and when I woke up the pillow was gone.
Tommy Cooper 
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One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. 
Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly.
 Woody Allen
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 The Senility Prayer
 Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
and the eyesight to tell the difference.
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Friends
 Two elderly ladies had been friends for many decades. Over the years they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures. Lately, their activities had been limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards.
 One day they were playing cards when one looked at the other and said, "Now don't get mad at me... I know we've been friends for a long time... but I just can't think of your name! I've thought and thought, but I can't remember it. Please tell me what your name is."
 Her friend glared at her. For at least 3 minutes, she just stared and glared at her. Finally she said, "How soon do you need to know?"
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The word 'politics' is derived from the word 'poly', meaning 'many', and the word 'ticks', meaning 'blood sucking parasites'.
  - Larry Hardiman