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July, 1999

7.14.99-It's amazing that a half a month can go by and I've
not written anything at all here since then. I would like to write every
day, but that's probably impossible for two reasons. 1) With the book-
store, I've got very little energy left to do much of anything. 2) I don't
have much to say, even if I had the energy to say it.

Take right now, for example. I'm taking a break from work. I have been
busy for the past 2 hours making books 30% off. Overstocks. We have
a lot of them. I just needed a break. That and I just wanted to write. I've
been basically running the bookstore full on for the past 2 weeks. Even
making business decisions like whether to run radio ads for this weekend's
sidewalk sales. I also made an ad for the local paper. It looks pretty nice,
I think.

But the second reason I've not written in so long is not valid today. Today,
in Srimad Bhagavatam, I read Sukadeva Goswami's retelling of a part of
the Mahabharata where Bhishmadeva is lying on a bed of arrows,
breathing his final breaths. He was going to die, no one could survive that. It was very
painful. Bhishmadeva was then surrounded by his grandchildren as he prepared
to die. But, on the coaxing of Krishna, Maharaja Yudistira asked the dying Bhishma
about the principles of religion. Normally, to a person in this condition, no one
would be inconsiderate to ask them anything. Just let them die in peace. But,
knowing that Bhishma was a devotee of the Lord, Krishna wanted to demonstrate
to everyone that no matter what condition the devotee is in, he will always talk
about the glories of the Lord. A devotee will endure all hellish conditions of life,
anything this material world will throw at him simply to talk about Krishna
conscious philosophy. That is the meaning of the devotee's life and the highlight
of every one of his days. That is what the devotee looks forward to, and everything
else, when held in comparison seems, at best, inadequate and awkward. Not only
inadequate, but degrading. As if to even think of doing anything but talking of Krishna
humiliates the self. Awkward because our natural position is one of Krishna conscious-
ness. We long to again be in the constant association of the Lord. Since Krishna is
absolute, even talking about Him is associating with Him. So the devotee, out of desire
to associate with Krishna, speaks about Krishna and in that way, he associates with Him.

At the bookstore, we sometimes hold different classes and different organizations meet
in our community room. We let them use it for free. In the fall, after Bucknell University
starts its fall semester, I was kicking around the idea of maybe doing a Bhagavad-gita
class every week. But how could I, neophyte that I am, give a discourse on even one
verse, one stanza of the Bhagava-gita which is the conversation of Krishna to Arjuna.
These are the very words of Krishna, how am I qualified? How could I be able to even think
about such topics? The answer came to me today while I was reading about Bhishmadeva
lying on the bed of arrows, suffering, dying, but still talking about Krishna consciousness.
In any and every condition, the devotee will want to speak about Krishna.
It's almost like it is compulsory. How can I speak on Krishna? How could I NOT?!

The logistics will be worked out in time. Exactly what I'll say will be prepared before I
would even dare to announce that I'm going to give classes on the Bhagavad-gita. But
the most important part, for me, has been settled. I am in no real pain, as far as I know,
I'm not on my death bed, I'm a rather healthy fellow. Bhishmadeva was dying, still he
spoke at the request of those who wanted to hear. I feel there are people in the area that
actually want to hear about the Bhagavad-gita. There is a desire, and I, in my good health
will do my best to fill that desire. "I offer my respectful obeisances to the Vaisnava devotees
of the Lord, who are just like desire trees and fulfill the desire of everyone."

7.26.99--well "it's" over.  somehow this was supposed to be
the big one.  i think it was smaller than the 25th. i've heard no stories
of ppl being let in for free.  so  looks like all however many of them
paid the $175 ticket fee.  no only that, but the venders were charging
$4 for a bottle of sun warmed (hot) water.  over 2000 people
went down with the heat.  that number would have been lower
if the prices would have been lower. free ice should have been given
to everyone who can grab some.  very much less percentage
goes down in the heat because that. i'm saying all of this to vent mostly.  

i've read in the paper today that ppl there were complaining about the
lack of politics today.  kids and old hippies alike didn't just mention
it, but made it a point to stress this.  there were a few ppl who attended
the original one. mixed responces.  remember: 
 not all hippies actually gave a shit about anything.  by 1969 it was the trendy
thing to do.  

where am i going with this?  i don't know, i guess i'm just upset that i
was born too late.  or maybe i just wish that some of that spirit would
come back.  back in 1993-94 i thought it was.  i thought that maybe
the whole pc thing might tone down a bit then level off and a nice active
stance. nope.  it dropped and is still dropping.  not that political 
 correctness is actually what i'm after.  that's illogical and mostly
annoying.  but i thought maybe it would bring rise to a nice activist culture. 
It's better than wallowing in the slime of materialism.
 no luck.  

so where are we now?  music is the medium of every  generation's
youth culture.  and there have always been trendy, silly, pointless
bands.  when i was growing up, it was new kids on the block, today it is
backstreet boys and britney spears.  the difference?  people ..
everyone except the teeny bopper fans could see through them. 
 they knew they were just some phase and we'd be rid of them soon .. 
 but today EVERYONE seems to be biting on to this top   40 nsync thing.  
hell, even my MOM is wearing silver toenail polish!!  what does all this
add up to?  everyone from the 5 year olds to the 50 year olds is
caught up in the mass marketed DUMBING down.


what we need to start doing is reaching these "artists"   we need to
turn the britney spears of the world (ppl who  are already famous)
into people who care about what's going on.  PETA's been doing  that
with some luck.   or we need to get to the fans of these bands.  explain
to them why this boneheaded worship of this music performer and this
so called culture are destroying some VERY  important things.  

which will work?  i don't know.  

there is sometimes in some cities a gun exchange.  if you turn in your
guns, you get something..  i think Booksellers should run something
where if you turn in a teenie bopper CD, you get a free book.
that sounds like a GREAT idea to me.

woodstock : three days, many many more ppl, free food, free water,
no cops, no violence, no corporate sponsors, no mtv, free (or $18 if
you one of the few who paid)

"woodstock 99": three days, not as many ppl, $12 pizzas, $5 hot dogs,
$4 bottles of water, a LOT of cops, a shit load of violence, corporate sponsors,
mtv, $175 (there was no getting in free)

the sixties generation was supposedly the generation of youth rebellion.
why is it that they could police THEMSELVES and "we" [i fucking hate
to group myself in with these horrible excuses for human beings] simply
cannot? and there is MUCH less to be pissed about today. we're not
being forced to blow vietnamese ppl's brains out.

"your generation has to learn how to feed each other or you will go to
hell in a handbasket" -the guy who directed the woodstock movie.

he's right. we are all starving and have NOTHING to feed each other with.
materialism has overtaken every aspect of our lives. we don't even care
about each other.

"500 took part in the violence as 1000's cheered them on"

let me off.

7.27.99 part 2--I've been very lax in writing. But what can I do? What
I put up today about Woodstock was actually an email I sent to an email
list I am on called WWWDWOU (go here to take a look at it). To be honet, the ppl on this list have kept me very sane.
All glories to them!

7.28.99--hell night. so shelly has been gone for four days
on a trip to florida to visit her folks. I was supposed to pick her
up at 6:15pm. I was a little late getting started, and got lost in
this really neat town, took a chance on a back road, and somehow managed
to get to the airport on time. however, I was the only thing to arrive
on time. I get there, check to see if she's at the arrival gate.. NO ONE
is there. crazy. so i go to the desk to check out when her flight is really
supposed to get here.


WHAT?!?! so i approach the desk to be greated with a phone call from my dad.
that was weird. good timing though. he was calling to tell me to call shelly
in pittsburgh. so i get the number, figuring i'll just use one of my two
prepaid calling cards. tried the first one, EXPIRED! what? how the hell?
i've never used that EVER! ok. minor set back. tried the second one. EXPIRED!!
my heart dropped. now what? so i get out my Working Assests calling card.
dial everything, and BAM! i forgot my PIN number! now what? i was baffled. so
i called my dad collect (1-800-CALLATT) and the conversation is something to look
back on and laugh:

me: Dad, I need your calling card number
dad: i don't have a calling card.
me: yes you do, check your wallet
dad: [checks his wallet] ohhh, but this is MCI, are we still on MCI?
me: yes, you guys are.
dad: well, then this is an old one
me: well.. lemme try it
dad: no wait! this is new, it has our new area code on it!
me: ok. well.. give me it
dad: [tells me the card number and pin... hehe. you thought i was going to give it to you!!

me: alright, thanks a bunch.
dad: wait.. um.. .... ....
me: ....
dad: ... ok, nevermind, that's for international calls..
me: ok. um.. thank you . bye
me: WAIT!!!!

he forgot to give me the number to call to access the card. or really, i forgot to
ask. so i call him back and get that. this all took about 15 mins. which seemed
like much longer.

so i call this number he gave me where shelly could be reached. it's some airport
desk somewhere. she's upset, crying, airsick and just totally fried out. i try
to impart some wisdom and calming words. i tell her to check out the pittsburgh
airport, it's pretty cool. i don't know if i calmed her, but hey, i tried.

her next flight was coming in at 11. It was now 6:30. 4 1/2 hours in state college.
I caught a movie (the haunting, which, if you're into the movie thing and scary stuff
it's pretty good) and read at the airport until she got in. we drove an hour and a half
in the dark to get home. and home was *very* nice.