Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.


by budr Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 01:55:52 AM EST

I lost my Dad a year ago today.  I had hoped to do a proper diary on this first anniversary, but things have been crazy at work the past couple of weeks and I never quite had the time or the energy to do it justice.  This is something I wrote for his memorial service.  Here it is as I wrote it, from the heart and unfiltered.

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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

by budr Sat Jan 13th, 2007 at 11:03:30 AM EST

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig is another of those books that mark a major waypoint in the course plot of my life.  It is an exaggeration, but not much of one, to say that the book saved my life.  It was the right book at the right time to show me the way out of a very bad place I had wandered into.

Thank you, Phaedrus.

What is in mind is a sort of Chautauqua ... that's the only name I can think of for it ... like the traveling tent-show Chautauquas that used to move across America, this America, the one that we are now in, an old-time series of popular talks intended to edify and entertain, improve the mind and bring culture and enlightenment to the ears and thoughts of the hearer. The Chautauquas were pushed aside by faster-paced radio, movies and TV, and it seems to me the change was not entirely an improvement. Perhaps because of these changes the stream of national consciousness moves faster now, and is broader, but it seems to run less deep. The old channels cannot contain it and in its search for new ones there seems to be growing havoc and destruction along its banks. In this Chautauqua I would like not to cut any new channels of consciousness but simply dig deeper into old ones that have become silted in with the debris of thoughts grown stale and platitudes too often repeated. "What's new?" is an interesting and broadening eternal question, but one which, if pursued exclusively, results only in an endless parade of trivia and fashion, the silt of tomorrow. I would like, instead, to be concerned with the question "What is best?," a question which cuts deeply rather than broadly, a question whose answers tend to move the silt downstream. There are eras of human history in which the channels of thought have been too deeply cut and no change was possible, and nothing new ever happened, and "best" was a matter of dogma, but that is not the situation now. Now the stream of our common consciousness seems to be obliterating its own banks, losing its central direction and purpose, flooding the lowlands, disconnecting and isolating the highlands and to no particular purpose other than the wasteful fulfillment of its own internal momentum. Some channel deepening seems called for.

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by budr Sun Jan 7th, 2007 at 05:07:56 AM EST

I can plot the course of my life by the books and authors that have influenced me.  Dune by Frank Herbert is one of those books.  I believe it will come to be seen as one of the defining books of my generation. So many tangled strands that were coming together as we came of age are exquisitely woven in this one astounding work of fiction.  It is a book about awareness.  Ecological awareness, awareness of the limits of imperialism, the false yet tantalizing promise of chemically induced forms of higher awareness, above all awareness of consequences.

Beyond a critical point within a finite space, freedom diminishes as numbers increase. This is as true of humans in the finite space of a planetary ecosystem as it is for gas molecules in a sealed flask. The human question is not how many can possibly survive within the system, but what kind of existence is possible for those who do survive.

 -Pardot Kynes
 First Planetologist of Arrakis

from the diaries. A timely - and excellent - review of one of the most fascinating books ever written. -- Jérôme

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A lump of coal and a bunsen burner

by budr Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 04:17:53 AM EST

According to the Energy Information Administration at the US Department of Energy, coal-fired generation accounts for 49.7% of total electric production in the US.  Gas-fired generation accounts for another 18.7%.  Other fossil fuels account for another 3% or so.  Altogether about 71% of all electricity produced in America today comes from the burning of fossil fuels.  Let me try to put that in perspective, in terms that all of us can relate to.

A thoughtful first diary by a longtime reader. -- Jérôme

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