Archive | October 2011

Bad is the New Good – Zuccotti Park revisited

Seeing things at the source is important to me.  Justice is important to me.

Actually I’ve got it backwards…Justice is important to me so seeing things at the source is really important to me.

I really think the only thing we need ( at least at this point in humanities quest) to begin to transform our world is Justice.  Justice from the very top to the very bottom.  There would be minimal need for laws, regulations, bureaucracy, government.  If the president of the USA committed violence against another person he would be held accountable, if a homeless man stole a piece of bread he would be held accountable.

Justice makes money not matter, how much  you “have or don’t have” doesn’t matter.  That’s why Justice is such a vital part of whatever solution we are searching for and that’s why if we could create a system of Justice everything else would fall into place around it and we could begin imagining a beautiful future.

I challenge anyone, PLEASE, to disagree and present and argument for debate on this.

In the meantime, in between time, there’s something’s happenin’ here and what it is ain’t exactly clear” but it started in Zuccotti Park, NY and I wanted to know more about it so I traveled to the city and traveled to the park, I occupied because it was time for me to take that action in my life because seeing things at their source is important to me.

Here’s a pic from Zuccotti Park.  I couldn’t help thinking when I saw this kid and his crew and his sweatshirt that these kids have been raised, partially, by electronic teachers, video games, TV, music…what impacts will this kid have on OCCUPY?  How seriously does he take his own message?

Is it true?

Thank you

Who is OCCUPY? You can tell a lot from a person’s shoes.

Zuccotti Park in NYC two weeks ago.

Occupy Albany – Zuccotti Park Pics still in limbo

I haven’t figured out how to get my Zuccotti park pics from my trip two weeks ago to the place where it all started.  When I do, I will post with comments. But now as the “heavy, wet, damaging snow” begins to fall in Albany I am getting warm at a little restaurant with Wi-Fi […]

Bad Is The New Good

Watch The Watchers

So I’ve had some bumps with my pics from my Zuccotti Park visit two weeks ago.  I am just getting to pics tonight and I’m going to present a perspective of who’s there, who’s on the ground as well as give you a feel for what it’s like…

One of the interesting things I’ve heard (from NYT writer David Brooks) is to “watch the people who are watching the Occupy movement if you want to know what’s going to happen”.  That statement is going to become even more poignant as we go on.

There are a lot of people watching.  I was watching when I went with my son.  I wanted to see and feel what was happening, and I got my little piece and that’s what it is, I think, for people…it represents a piece of something, something you want more of.  It also represents pieces of me that I don’t want anything to do with.  That’s what’s happening with the movement.  And the watchers are joining, and continuing to watch.  It’s not who you think it is, or maybe it is…

So Pics will come later tonight, if you want to see who is wearing the “Bad is the new Good” shirt check back.  I am going out for a walk in the pitch black of this pre-storm night.  Also heading to Albany tomorrow, there’s an OCCUPY event planned and I want to “Watch”.

Watch The Watchers

By Vincent Paul, Oct 11, 2011, Zuccotti Park, NY

Thoughts on Occupying

“…if you want to feel alive then learn to love your ground” – Mumford and Son’s

I get emotional when I hear the words above sung.  I think to myself, what does it mean to love my ground?  The song line makes sense to me but it’s like it makes sense at a level where words become almost in-effective in describing it.  None-the-less I relate to the lyric and I think my attempts to understand it are good for me.

Today I can’t help but relate those words to what I see, from the warmth and comfort of my perch, happening around the United States.  Occupy.  Occupy.  Occupy.  Tear gas, rubber bullets, fakers, posers, militants, authoritarians…it’s almost like with all the “action” it’s easy to get distracted from the truth.

What is the truth?  Ha!  What is it for you?

For me it is that all the beauty and freedom and technological and social advances, all the compassion, all the work, all the caring, all the selflessness, all the love, all the commitment that Americans demonstrate and have demonstrated does not justify the brutality of the world we live in today.


A morning with my son…

James Arthur and I left the house at 7:30. It was time for daddy to take the child out of the house so the girls could get some sleep. Time for daddy and son to have a little adventure time. Not sure what it is but there is something, for me, about going out to breakfast with my son. It’s not like lunch or dinner. It’s quieter, it’s the beginning of the day and if I’m prepared I get to treat myself while sharing time with my son.

The diner was typical, that’s what makes it great. Stainless steel, mushroom like counter stools with vinyl toppers and crowded booths. But the best part is the people.

I couldn’t help but listen; even when there is no one sitting around you – diners are like giant listening tubes. Two men sat at the end of the counter, old men, whom if they sat quietly would give off the dignity of age. One was trying to sit quietly but it wasn’t quite his nature and the other was proclaiming “that if he were president, when the troops left Iraq he would leave a big sign that said, ‘We’ll be back’ because it’s just not right what’s happening over there. We should wipe em, wipe em clean. They’ve got these families and they all live together and they fight and we can’t attack them. Wipe em clean, I say, wipe em clean”. The old man brayed with the kind of laughter that makes you wonder if something’s wrong, even after you’ve heard it a few times.

The quieter man, I think, felt it was his duty to sit and listen. He gave a couple of resigned “yes’s” and “Yup’s”, as if he had nothing better to do with his time and he understood that any other response would prompt a reply he really wasn’t ready to address. He was comfortable where he was.

Another old man came in, alone. He asked to no one in particular but with the assumption that it was me “why is that car getting so excited out there?”. I looked at him, looked at my son and looked at the car keys in his hand. “My son likes to play with the buttons on the key, he’s the one exciting the car”. The old man laughed. His good, stoic nature coming through. He had gotten a jolt when he stepped peacefully and un-interrupted from his car this morning, perhaps thinking of his day or of the pancakes and sausage he was about to enjoy in peace. What does a random honk and flashing lights from an unmanned vehicle to do your state when your state is peaceful pancakes? It must have jared the man and he brought with him the remnants of his fight or flight reaction to his question but seeing it was a beautiful, smiling, rosy cheeked child who was responsible for the disruption of his world, his good nature took over with a smile and he was back to pancakes in peace.

We ate our breakfasts. Yogurt shake with blueberries (or in Babyspeak “Yohgit sheek”) and omlettes with diner veggies, potatoes and rye toast, a hot, black coffee and ice water. The two old men continued in their way. The bray-er and the comfortable one. And the solitary man waited for his pancakes, he wore a hearing aid in his left ear, a winter flannel and horn-rimmed glasses that all the hipsters are wearing today.

As much as I got the feeling of a terrified child when listening to the old, braying man, I got a feeling of deep, solidity from the pancake man; he was a man who had worked earnestly all his life and in his older years his confusion at the world was tempered by his understanding of himself and his values.

And so there we sat, a young, curly haired, bright-eyed child, an in love father and three old men living in the world their way. James-Arthur stood up in his high chair and proclaimed “Tractew, daddy ah see tractew” and I knew it was time to go. I smiled at my amazing depth of fortune and of the blessed life I’ve chosen to live, picked up the check and said “Good Morning” to all. I lifted my son in my arms and all eyes followed us out in silence…wondering. As we stepped into the blowing cold of a coming New England winter we both saw what we had really come for, what we had waited, patiently, to see. The old, yellow bulldozer sat across the lot. That was the the “tractew” and off we went into the wind and the world to see it.


What is Occupy Wall Street?

I’ve been thinking about this question since I began reading about Zuccotti Park a few weeks ago.  It was something about the word “Occupy” I think…something that struck me differently than other words used to describe other things.

“Occupy…Occupy…Occupy”.  What the hell is going on down there and how can I find out more?

Well I’ m not totally sure but I think the answer to the question can be found in the reason I gathered up myself and my young son, kissed my comfortable familiarity and my wife (are they the same?) goodbye and headed down to the very epicenter of the financial world, Wall Street.  I wasn’t going to sleep in the park, I wasnt going to hold signs or yell slogans or march, I was going because I have the sense that I have awoken as a product in a world I did not create.  I have a sense that I am watching as my humanity circles the drain, looking and feeling dazed amidst the sucking sounds as I stare blankly at the drain stopper in my hand.

I’ve been waiting for someone to do something all my life.  I’ve been waiting for someone to get serious, stop joking around and admit…”ohh it’s all a joke, we didn’t mean it, this isn’t the way life is supposed to be on earth, we made a mistake, sorry about that and here’s how it’s supposed to be”.  Yup.  It hasn’t worked out real well for me in that respect.

Sure I’ve participated, quietly, safely, in my own insurrection, avoiding corporate work and products when I can, making more holistic choices, bringing my own bags to the grocery store.  I engage people in questions when I think questions might help broaden their perspective.  I write and share how I feel about injustice, children, bombs, love and death.  I focus on my son and raising him with a different level of awareness.  I tell myself I’m doing my share.  I tell myself I’m doing what I can.  Both of which are true.

But what I am coming to realize is:  So What!

So what if I’m doing my best, doing my share, so what if I don’t agree with what’s going on, so what if I write or have bag consciousness at the market?  So What!

And so far, that’s what the Occupy movements mean to me.  They are, or at least the original Occupy movement in Zuccotti Park is, an example of a deed not a word.  This last sentence is a very important sentence…

What is left to do?  What is left for a person who recognizes their own humanity by recognizing that they are becoming less human?

Occupy?  Occupy.  Occupy!

I am going to continue to write on this topic because I recognize that this life, today, October 20th, 2011 is not the best we, as humans, can achieve.  Today with our front pages all full of death, sugar and sex, today when I look at my son, today when I listen to my own small voice that is still calling out to me, more, more, more…you can be more, more, more, today I realize that I am not the best that I can be.

What is Occupy?

I don’t really know and I think that’s the best possible thing.  But I have more to say about it, I was there for 2 days this week, I’ve got photos, I talked to some folks and I’ve been avid about watching the watchers of the movement (Thank you Friedman).  I can tell you it’s not what you think it is…or maybe it is and maybe that’s the problem?  What do I know about it!

Well one thing I know is that I am disgusted and ashamed of how we celebrate death and violence in this world.  It’s not what I teach my own child and it’s now what I think other parents want to teach their children so how did we get here?

I’m gonna find out and I’m gonna write about it.  And I’m gonna start by thinking about what it would mean to Occupy my own life…

See you next time – Veritas Vincit.

If they are a bunch of hippies…why do the police need so many guns?

Naomi Wolf writes a pretty clear account of what happened here…

The areas surrounding Zuccotti Park are cordoned off as if it’s 9/11 all over again.  The pre-emptive measures that have been taken make it next to impossible for any growth to happen without significant battles for territory with armed police on horseback.  Essentially the protesters, no matter how you feel about them, are boxed in, surrounded, insulated by a wall of armour and guns. 

Who the fuck pays for this?

This is our America today.  And I say to you, especially if you think the protestors are silly, out of work, entitled, hippy types…If they are just a bunch of hippies then what’s with all the guns?

What does this response say about how the people pulling the strings feel about the protest?


First Glance – Zuccotti Park…more to come

I went to Zuccotti Park today because I had to see what is going on with my own eyes (I guess paranoia is party-less!).  I’m going to write on it, I’ve got what I think are some great photos that will give the curious a better idea of what it’s like and I’ve got another day or two to explore.  If you want a better idea of what’s happening in Lower Manhattan, who these people are and why they’re doing what they’re doing maybe tchewn in here for the next few days.  I’ll be posting what I sense along with photos.  Day number one started with an out of the blue face to face photo of a big time player (maybe the biggest) in the American Protest world and then just got weird and inspiring.

My first glance as I rounded the corner and laid eyes on what I’d been hearing for blocks was…Street Fair!  My second glance was…Weird Hippie Freaks (three separate words – three separate stereotypes).  My third glance was…Humanity.  Everyone is here, even if I didn’t see them, they’re here, you’re here, whether you know it or not.  One thing is for sure…maybe three things.  The first is that there is a gleaming clarity that exists underneath the differences that divide us, this is vital, I think, to understand and I’m not sure if I do but I get the sense that it’s important.  The second is that the revolution Will Be Televised – but not by the networks.  The third is that these people have no idea what they are up against.  No matter what you think of the movement, what your views are, whether you have a job or don’t, whether you can pay your bills or not, the noose is tightening around the necks of the people in the park, there is a tipping point coming and ohh how interesting it will be to see who flinches first and just what it is that constitutes a flinch…until then..

Tchewn In, there is A LOT more coming…!

**Ahhh…really?** GEs Immelt–Restoring Confidence Key to Recovery –

This guy is the head of one of the largest companies on the earth and is the top advisor for business to the “leader of the free world” President Obama.  Arguably there is not a more powerful man alive.  And his wisdom, his idea, his contribution is to “restore confidence”.  I think I have to check with Pfizer to see if there is a pill for that.

GEs Immelt–Restoring Confidence Key to Recovery –

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