December 21, 2012…and all is well.

Okay, it’s been a pretty windy day, rainy too…but I don’t think that qualifies as the world coming to end. And so…now what? We went through the seven stages of accepting this world’s end, and the planet’s still here. Newfoundlabrador2010 094What are we going to do now? There are so many battles remaining to fight: getting rid of guns, taxing fairly, bringing peace to Syria, Congo, Palestine, Afghanistan, dealing with our collapsing planet, being honest and decent to one another. I mean, really, are we up for this? Or is to be same old same old? I would like to suggest some things to get us on the right track. Not only is Sufjan Stevens’ voice delicate; so are his words. Listen to Seven Swans.sufjanAnd will I be a part of what you’ve made?/ And I am throwing all my thoughts away./ And I’m destroying every bet I’ve made/ And I am joining all my thoughts to you/ And I’m preparing every part for you

The Partridge Family: Season One is worth watching too. Yes,The Partridge Family. No one gives better moral advice than Shirley Jones. partridgePeople aren’t as different as we think. We may have different beliefs, but we’re all pretty much alike.

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov is a fascinating examination of free will and morals, and it’s only 796 pages.You’ve got the time. brothersLove children especially, for they too are sinless like the angels; they live to soften and purify our hearts and, as it were, to guide us.

And finally, if you’re in New York this week, think about attending Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace event in Times Square. It is on every night 11:47-12:00 midnight until December 30.imagineWhat better way to spend the apocalypse?

Survival Guide: The Last Day

Today is your time for measured reflection. During this, the last of the seven stages before this apocalypse, you must learn to accept the reality of your situation. Acceptance doesn’t mean happiness, but rather a way forward…even though the world is going to end. There is no better guide than Martin Luther King Jr. His final speech in Memphis, Tennessee (April 3, 1968) is an incredible collection of ideas and moments, all of it delivered without notes. mlkAnother reason that I’m happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we’re going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demand didn’t force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them. Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it’s nonviolence or nonexistence. He was assassinated the following morning.

Watch My Dinner with Andre, written by Wallace Shawn and directed by Louis Malle. Two men talk over dinner, just that, but remarkable so, reminding us that a good story just needs to be told. andreI wouldn’t put on an electric blanket for any reason. First, I’d be worried if I get electrocuted. No, I don’t trust technology. But I mean, the main thing, Wally, is that I think that kind of comfort just separates you from reality in a very direct way.  wcwRead the poetry of William Carlos Williams. Yes, poetry! He was a doctor by trade, which provides great insight into the good old human condition. It is almost impossible to state what one in fact believes, because it is almost impossible to hold a belief and to define it at the same time. IMAG1989It’s time. Take stock of your life. Are you good? Until tomorrow then.

Post-Sandy: Reconstruction and Change

Post-Hurricane Sandy Reconstruction continues. Flying Point Beach in Southampton is beginning to look like itself again, returning to its previous width and color.

Flying Point Beach, November 2012

Flying Point Beach, November 2012

Flying Point Beach, December 2012

Flying Point Beach, December 2012

And on Maiden Lane in Downtown New York, while the external generators do remain, IMAG2024the Toyota Prius is gone.

December 8, 2012

December 8, 2012

December 19, 2012

December 19, 2012

It had been parked there for over 50 days, which has got to be a record.

Survival Guide: Two Days to go

Today is a day for personal reconstruction and working through to make sense of this Mayan Doomsday. Your mind should get back to work, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by the upcoming apocalypse, such as collecting firewood.IMAG1778 To Hear: Transient Random-Noise Bursts (Stereolab) Looping moments to think and plan. stereolab_transientTo Watch: Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica) It’s sad and beautiful story, and although things don’t work out like you hope, there is promise at the end. bike thiefTo Read: To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee) Compromise and sacrifice from innocent eyes.tkamTo Do: Reach out to somebody you haven’t been so kind to in the past and try to make good. It’s worth a shot.

Survival Guide: An Upward Turn

As you start to adjust to the imminent end – now just three days away – your life should become calmer and more organized. You are in the upward turn. (That was quick!) Your physical symptoms lessen, and your depression begins to lift slightly. The closing of Mozart’s La Nozze di Figaro just might be, as artist Ragnar Kjartansson suggests, the most beautiful minutes of music ever recorded. Put it on a loop and listen again and again. Phone 167Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox is an absolute treasure, combining sophisticated story-telling with joyous detail and wit. I guess my point is, we’ll eat tonight, and we’ll eat together. And even in this not particularly flattering light, you are without a doubt the five and a half most wonderful wild animals I’ve ever met in my life. So let’s raise our boxes – to our survival. mrfoxThe Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, is also something to behold. It’s short and lovely and there’s pictures too. All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.princeIt’s time to get out there and do something active. Ride a bike, go for a walk or a swim, do anything but a run. That’s bad for your knees and hips.

Apocalypse Survival: We Must Change

We must change.” So pronounced President Obama at a memorial service on Sunday for the families of victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. obamaHe is right. There is no doubting that. We are an extremely violent species with an unconscionable past. And we must change that. But can we? Is there really any way to do this? My money is against. The fourth stage of accepting the oncoming apocalypse is a day on which depression, reflection and loneliness dominate. This is supposed to be a long period of sad reflection, but you’ve only got the day. You realize the true magnitude of your loss, and you isolate yourself on purpose. William Basinki’s The Disintegration Loops is ideal for this state of mind. Created in Brooklyn on 9/11, these CDs document the disintegration of sound on reel-to-reel tapes. loopsThere are five CDs in all, but Disintegration Loop 5 is 52 minutes well worth trying. Michaelangelo Frammartino’s Quattro Volte evokes a similar feeling; it is a film with a disintegrating narrative of sorts, using an old shepherd, a baby goat, a tree and smoke, in that order. quattroIt’s a remarkable film for contemplation. Jose Saramago’s Blindness is far more harrowing, starting with a plague of white blindness that gets worse and worse and worse. It is next to impossible to put down. blindnessPresident Obama concluded his speech with the following: “We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we are powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?” What are you prepared to do? Genuinely. What? It’s something to think about and act upon. We must change.

Survival Guide: Time to Get Angry

You only have five days before the Mayan Day of Doom, and it’s time to get angry.  finchThe world is fraught with injustice, much of it self-imposed. What is wrong with us?! It is exhausting to consider. It’s so stupid! What have we done!? Arghh. You may also need try to bargain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair (“I will never eat Lucky Charms again if this world won’t end”) even if you know that none of it will work. luckyIt’s a process, one step at a time. There is a lot of angry music that might help get you in the mood, including Nine Inch Nail’s The Fragile and Rage Against the Machine’s The Battle for Los Angeles, but Sinead O’Connor’s The Lion and the Cobra captures this deep-seeded emotion most profoundly. You’re still spitting fire/ Makes no difference what you say/ You’re still a liar! sineadThere are far too many angry people-with-guns movies, and I am sick of those. Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, Wrath of God is a much better tonic. Aguirre is as angry as it gets, none other than the self-proclaimed wrath of god. aguirreYou should also read Dee Brown’s Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee, a chronicle of the systematic destruction of the Native Indians in the western United States. It underlines the errors of our ways with depressing clarity. bury my heart After that, physical labor will do you good. Burn your anger off. And if it’s still boiling, get a punching bag and have at it. daffy