This is becoming my occasional web log where I stash brief tidbits to read on rare occasions. These short essays are not in any particular order.

Honey Bee on the Brink of Death
In my dream world, there are flowers everywhere. And I cannot think of who I'd thank for that more than the bees. They pollinate the planet. I'm a bee hugger. I boycott all bug sprays. When a bee comes flying near me, I know the bee is usually harmless and perhaps exploring a scent. Meanwhile bees have been in the news in recent years. They've been dying in droves. Perhaps all the needless insecticides and human paranoia are chasing them to extinction along with acid rain and mercury from coal-driven electrical plants. Or perhaps we have been stealing too much of their honey. That is also the topic of an animated film called Bee Movie involving Jerry Seinfeld.

Just yesterday morning, I was out on the back porch looking yonder into the woods, eating my breakfast when I damn near swallowed a bee. It was in my tomato juice. I tasted it when I took a swig. Luckily I stopped myself from swallowing just in time. Upon realizing it was a bee, I launched an operation to save the bee. This began when I spit the soggy bee back into the cup of tomato juice. I then went to the sink and drained the cup slowly to get the lifeless looking bee onto a paper towel since no emergency bee stretchers could be found. I then showered a few drops of lukewarm water over the bee to remove the tomato juice, fearing the acidic content may have harmed the bee. Nonetheless, the bee appeared possibly drowned. I took it back outside on the damp fold of paper towel.

Once outside, I placed the paper towel bearing the bee onto the wooden rail of the porch. But it appeared to be perhaps dead. I put myself into the bee's frame of mind, asking myself what I would want done to me if I had just been dragged lifeless from a vat of liquid. There was no way to give the tiny bee mouth to mouth rescuscitation. So I just pressed on the bee very gently with my finger several times, hoping this might somehow revive it and help it to expel any liquid. At first, it remained lifeless. Then it moved, but not enough to indicate survival. It was just a bit cool outside. So I breathed on the bee to warm it. All I could see was the appearance of a dying bee. Then I got another idea. I promptly grabbed a toothpick, a tiny bit of a date and my jar of acacia honey and made a diluted sweet solution, carefully placing a small dab of it at the mouth of the bee. At first the bee remained lifeless. I continued to coax the bee into the diluted honey and used the toothpick to assure that it did not get smothered. By now I realized that I had done all that I could do unless something else might come to mind. I resumed eating my breakfast, having nothing left for the bee except a prayer. Suddenly the bee came to life, buzzing its wings. And within a moment, it became animated and flew off into the sunny blue sky. I felt a sigh of joy. I have no idea what the bee thought of this experience. Perhaps it will communicate my scent to the hive and tell how it was saved from the brink of death.

We practically owe our lives to the bees. If not for them, I don't think we'd have much to eat. Countless fruits, vegetables and seed plants depend on bees for reproduction. All I did was to give back some of the honey that I had taken from the bee's world. Seeing the bee survive made me feel really good inside. But I still kept most of the honey.
- 2007 October 31 Wednesday

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Mister God Wrench - In the old days, when your car backfired through the air intake and you were good with a toolbox, then you knew your distributor cap needed a bit of adjustment or you had a valve stuck open. Or in rare cases a slipped timing chain. Today, it's either any of those or you need an ignition control module or a crank position sensor or a camshaft position sensor or the big expensive master electronic control module. Some experts even say it could be the manifold absolute pressure sensor, the mass air flow sensor, the throttle position sensor or a ground short caused by frayed or melted wires. Or your injectors could be clogged. All of these things are theoretically designed to protect the environment and assure good gas mileage when they actually work. And so suddenly you realize that a fragile delicate electronic octopus has turned your car into something you are no longer authorized to fix if you can even see in there under the hood. You hook up your cheap error code detector module and get no information, exactly as the car manufacturer intended. So then you get on the Internet and Google "backfires" and similar phrases. You discover ten thousand poor bloggers just like you. And a zillion so-called "experts" who gave differing answers to the same problem. But most of all, you find guys who replaced multiple sensors after being confounded as to which one failed. So you tow it to the garage with the big computer and they replace everything at four times the cost of parts or half the cost of a good used car. Mountains of removed parts and unfixable cars end up in landfills. Congatulations! Your energy efficient gas powered car is now working again. And you're doing your part for the environment. Your car is now a money machine for dealer garages and auto parts retailers. Your new pimp's name is Mister God Wrench.
- 2006 March 17 Friday

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The Buddhist Meeting - One evening in the mid-1970s I walked out of the Carnival Cafe in Boulder onto the Broadway sidewalk after eating a nice vegetarian meal. A young man my age was handing out pamphlets and asked me if I would like to come to a Buddhist meeting. I looked him in the eye smiling sincerely and told him very calmly....... "I am at one."

© Vincent B. Rain

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