Tuesday, June 21, 2011


We live in challenging times. We may feel much pressure from our work situation, our family responsibilities, & the fast pace of modern life in general. Then there is the world situation & particularly the worsening state of the environment. The rapid pace of climate change is worrisome enough but then one nuclear power plant in one country can blow up & send it's toxic particles across the Planet! It could be very easy to become a pessimist about the future of mankind & the Oceans & all the species on the Planet.
One important mind-state that can help keep our sanity is having a sense of gratitude for our lives. We are going to die soon enough...whether 5 days, 5 months, 5 or 50 years from now we are going to pass away but WE ARE ALIVE NOW! It is a miracle to breathe & touch & smell & taste & & hear & look at the world around us...To feel the breeze on our skin..To take a walk in the neighborhood or ride a bike..(some of my friends can't do that & how grateful they would be if they could)
Some Buddhist teachings say that to be born as a human being is a precious thing & gratitude is a central teaching in all religions.
Whenever we find ourselves complaining about the little things in our daily lives try to change that mind-state to simple gratitude. Gratitude for food in our bellies, a dry place to sleep, a little money in our pockets, healthy bodies, & all the various people in our lives. From the slow cashier to the ones we love the most. What are you grateful for?...:o)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I am a Lazy Man

I have always been lazy. There is an old picture of me as a boy in my pajama's, laying on a couch reading a'Wonder Woman' comic. I don't wear p.j's anymore but I can spend hours lazily reading a novel or magazine.
In fact, I am so lazy I have not written a blog post in months. I can't say I have been working too much since I quit my job over 6 months ago. Now don't go thinking I am a 'welfare bum' (although I have admiration for a buddy in Australia who gets by 'living off the dole') I am just living off my savings now as I worked (740-430pm M-F)in a public school for almost a year. I am hoping to last a year 'taking it easy' before going back to 'the grindstone' of a job.
They say the average North American watches 4.5 hrs a day of television. I guess if I had one perhaps I would too but I know TV is the greatest 'drug' out there. Whenever I stay in a hostel/hotel with a TV in the room it sometimes sucks me in too & after channel surfing or watching some terrible movie I've already seen before I realize hours have gone by. No, my laziness is not the 'couch potato' TV laziness. It is more a mindset.
There is an old book called 'The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment' that pretty much sums up my philosophy on life. There is a vibrant world of 'Oneness' that includes us & is all around us & we don't have to move a muscle or believe any ancient nonsense to experience it. Also, that this 'Reality' is just a different form of whatever happens next. So why work so hard or get stressed out about things?
Of course if I had kids of my own my type of laziness would be out of the question. I sleep or stay up as late as I want & pretty much do whatever I want. Do some yoga, read some, eat some food, take a walk or ride a bike, spend some time on the internet, go get a massage...Whatever floats my boat.
There is a part of me that feels I should be 'doing' something to try relieve all the suffering in the world. So occasionally I'll pick up plastic trash on the beach, or hang out with an unhappy friend, or post articles I think are important concerning politics or environmental issues on my facebook page. I know it's really not much. I try not to 'should'on myself & realize I'm just one of almost 7 billion homo sapien species on this planet. That puts things in perspective.
I realize my full-time laziness will come to an end sometime. I can't keep quiting jobs every 1 to 1.5 yrs. & then taking 6-12 months 'vacation'. Eventually I am going to find a place & a woman I can live with for a long time. She may not like me taking a 12 month vacation. Even when I go back to 'work' I plan to keep that 'lazy' mindset in my off hours. 'Sloth' gets a bad rap but I think it is essential in our fast-paced workoholic culture.
Okay, I know I should rearrange these paragraphs but I am too lazy. It's time for my nap! :o)

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I've been called many names in my life. I was born Jeffrey, which according to various coffee cups & assorted novelty store items means "peaceful". In recent years I changed it to Jeffree to be a little different & honor a value I hold highly which is 'freedom'. Actually, the few years I lived in Hawaii I just dropped the Jeff & was 'Free' & my friends there still know me as Free.
'Otey' is my middle name. (Pronounced 'odie' like the Garfield dog) I was named after my Grandfather Bill Otey, a 33 yr.-old private in WWII in Patton's Army who was killed in the Battle of the Bulge. He left behind 3 young daughters, one of whom was Betty Otey, my Mom. One old friend calls me 'Otey' & I have tolerated it through the years.
'Pike' is my legal last name & the name of the late, great Charlie Pike, my childhood father. Charlie's claim to fame was being a starting point guard for the Florida Gators basketball team & it was ironic his 3 kids became Georgia Bulldog graduates. 'Pike' is also what my high school friends called me. I'm not sure why but we called each other by our last names. Instead of 'John' it was 'McGee' or 'Dryden' or 'Hannon'. It's a southern thing I guess....I did a tour in the Marine Corps & there it was 'Lt. Pike'. As a teacher in U.S. public schools I was 'Mr. Pike' & unfortunately never 'Coach Pike'. (Interestingly in Asia, I am 'Teacher Jeffree')
One of my favorite names, that I have recently reclaimed on my facebook page is 'Laughingman'. How I got that name is an interesting story. I was doing a solo meditation retreat on a friends land in north Georgia & towards the end decided to visit a bio-dynamic organic farming conference-gathering down the road. I had been in silence over a week & it was difficult being around the adults who were passionately sharing their intellectual knowledge of various farming techniques. Instead, I hung out in silence with the kids & had quite some fun. When a barefoot farmer named Jeff Poppen came by & asked me my name a kid told him, "That's the Laughingman!" Jeff proceeded to introduce me to everyone as 'The Laughingman' & the legend was born!
Soon after, I started going to Rainbow Gatherings & using 'Laughingman' as my name. Many beautiful,loving,free-spirited, alternative people know me as Laughingman. Of course, if you ever go to a Rainbow Gathering you may meet Riverman, or Forkman, or Caterpillar, or Hugger, or various other people with unique tribal names. If you meet me just please don't ask me to tell a joke to make you laugh. I'm not a stand-up comedian. Laughter is more of a feeling for me. If I'm in a good state of feeling-vibration I may help you laugh by giving you a hug or something. HA! Cheers for Laughter! :o)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Earl R. Davis 1927-2010

My step-father, Earl R. Davis, recently passed away peacefully at my parents home in Lawrenceville, Georgia. I had the privilege of knowing Earl for twenty-eight years & for twenty-five of them he was a loving husband to my mother Betty Davis. I would like to share a little of what I know about Earl's life in honor of the wonderful human being he was.
Earl grew up in the Depression & joined the U.S. Navy at 17, serving at the end of WWII. He went to college on the G.I. Bill & became an engineer for a boiler-making company based in Erie, Pennsylvania, but traveled all over the world with his work. He was married for many years with his first wife & had two children, my step-brother & sister Randy & Sandra.
Earl eventually was the southeastern sales rep for his company & was based in Atlanta, Georgia. Earl & Betty first met at a famous Buckhead (Atlanta) nightclub called 'Johnny's Hideaway' & always enjoyed going back there over the years.
Betty & Earl lived together in a condo for a short time before buying an old two-story house in downtown Lawrenceville. After a few years Earl designed a much larger house which they had built & lived in for over twenty years.
Earl was a loving son to his mother Esther (whom I remember fondly as quite a spunky old woman!) & had a good relationship with his younger brother Jim, who came down from his home up north for many visits & was there for Earl's final days.
Earl had many good friends & was an excellent tennis player, regularly playing guys twenty years younger. He eventually took up golf & enjoyed going on golfing outings with his buddies. Earl & Betty loved having parties & I was lucky enough to be at quite a few, enjoying joking with his friend the Mayor & other classic L-ville friends. Earl also enjoyed having family gatherings & Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday.
Earl quit smoking 'cold turkey' many years ago but did enjoy his 'spirits' & usually had a 'nightcap' on the front porch or back patio. I cherish memories of sitting with Earl on the front porch watching the sunset or on the back patio deck, hanging out in silence listening to the crickets at night.
Earl & Betty enjoyed their retirements & every winter rented a beach house in Florida at St. George Island on the Gulf of Mexico & invited friends & family to join them. For over ten years Earl had a dog (Lab) named Jake who made the St. George trip too & Earl enjoyed his walks with Jake.
Earl was a compassionate, intelligent, & friendly man. He outlived many of his friends but is survived by other friends & many loving family members. His favorite song was a famous Frank Sinatra tune & the words speak for themselves.
"..I lived a Life that's full. I've traveled each & every highway. But more, much more than that, I did it my way!"
Rest in Peace Earl. Thank you for being a special part of our lives.
much Love, J

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ground Zero & Einstein

Ground Zero- the point on the Earth's surface where an explosion occurs.

There has been a simmering controversy in the U.S. over a Muslim's group decision to build a Mosque(actually a community center) near the former World Trade Center's buildings, which is called 'ground zero' because it was the location of the Sept. 11th, 2001 attacks on the U.S. by a small radical Muslim group.
While many have defended the right of the group to build the center as a basic First Amendment issue, which of course it is, I have been wondering what Albert Einstein, considered one of the most intelligent human beings ever born, would have thought on this issue. Einstein's greatest regret was his encouragement to the U.S. during WWII to build an atomic bomb which were later used on two Japanese cities.
The original 'ground zero' can be visited today in the city of Hiroshima. From this spot the heat & fire from a nuclear blast radiated outward, instantly killing between 90,000 & 166,000 people (mostly women & children) & tens of thousands more in the days, weeks, & years to follow by radiation poisoning. A few days later another 'ground zero' blast was created in the city of Nagasaki, killing between 60,000 to 80,000 people instantly.
So, in a historical context the Sept 11th attacks with a death toll of about 3,000(almost all adults) pale in comparison to original 'ground zero' atomic bombings. But since 'ground zero' only means 'the point on an earth's surface where an explosion occurs' why should only cities (Japanese or U.S.) have memorials for explosions/bombs? The United States during the Vietnam 'Conflict' dropped more bombs & poison (napalm & agent orange) on that small country than were dropped during the entire WWII. There are tens of thousands of 'ground zero's' in Vietnam & unexploded U.S. bombs are still killing rural farmers & children in Vietnam & Laos.
In the past nine years since the Sept 11th attack the powerful U.S. Air Force has dropped thousands of bombs in Afghanistan & Iraq creating countless 'ground zero's' whose 'collateral damage' has killed thousands of innocent men, women, & children. The U.S. is even creating new 'ground zero's' in Pakistan with our dozens of air strikes from pilot-less drones(operated by an Air Force Officer sitting behind a desk somewhere) & of course the 'collateral damage' of bad guys to civilian deaths is quite high.
What would Albert Einstein think of all this? Of course, we don't know since he is long gone but perhaps one of his famous quotes would give a hint. Einstein, who lived through two World Wars, said "Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind." He probably would have spoken out against the horrific violence of suicide bombers & just as strongly against the politically calculated invasions & state-sponsored violence the U.S. waged against Iraq & Afghanistan the past nine years. Violence creates violence. Terror is terror, whether one experiences it from a fanatical suicide bomber on a city bus or a N.A.T.O. bombing 'mistake' on another Afghan wedding party.
Ground Zero. Which one would that be? When are we going to stop creating more 'ground zero's'?...

Friday, July 16, 2010

My little Dragon

I have a little dragon. It doesn't fly in the air but it is still a magical beast. I turn a key & push a button & it roars to 'life'. It is made up of metal & plastic & has two rubber wheels. Just using my wrist I can make the little machine (called a scooter] go quite fast. It is quite convenient when I am in a hurry or have a fairly long distance to go, to just put in that key, push a button & scooter away to my destination.
Of course, like all beasts it demands to fed. My beast, like most other dragons, requires oil & gasoline to keep going. Gasoline is an extremely toxic liquid that is refined from oil which comes from deep under the Earth. I have no idea where exactly the gasoline in my dragon came from. It probably was extracted by some multi-national corporation operating in the ocean, some poor nation in Africa or South America, or from some regime in the Middle Eastern desert. Much ecological damage was probably created in the local communities and/or ecosystems to extract that oil but hey, the dragons must be fed.
Ecological disasters in Nigeria or the Gulf of Mexico don't really affect me but after drinking all the gas my dragon has to fart doesn't it? Actually, it is one continuous 'exhalation/burp' that comes out the tailpipe. The dragon's exhaust is quite toxic & it is quite unhealthy to be sitting at a red light with many other dragons all around you farting continuously. Of course, if a city has millions of farting dragons that is a lot of toxic air pollution being created.(that especially sucks if you are a young child who runs or elderly person who walks & lives in that city)
So as a dragon owner I am aware of the positive & negative aspects of using my dragon. Whenever possible I take public transportation (big dragons that can take many people) or ride my bike. (except when I am extremely lazy) If everyone considered the positive AND negative aspects of using their (big & small) dragons we would have healthier cities & cleaner air. The End. Have a nice day!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Earth is Bleeding

The greatest ecological disaster in the history of the United States is unfolding as I write this. For weeks, 5,000 feet below the surface of the Ocean in the Gulf of Mexico, oil has been spewing out after a rupture in a British Petroleum pipe. Millions (nobody knows exactly how much) of gallons of toxic oil has contaminated the Gulf & soon will enter the Gulf Stream & start making it's way to other Oceans around the World.
There are strident calls to boycott BP & while I agree BP needs to be punished other multi-national corporations like Exxon are just as bad. The sorry thing is these bastardly corporations are doing what they do because we are a society of addicts who think like consumers instead of intelligent citizens of Planet Earth. We drive SUV's with "drill baby,drill" stickers supporting politicians who want to do away with all regulation of corporations. We eat 'fast food' from multi-national corporations who get their 'meat' from cows which grazed in former rain forests. We turn on our air-conditioners & hair dryers which get their power from coal plants & wonder why the sky looks hazy.
The Earth is bleeding & the human species is holding the knife. The materialist world view, that the Earth is a 'commodity' or dead matter to be disposed of, is the driving force of this destruction. It allows corporations to cut down 2,000 year old redwood tree's & sell them for profit, or lets Japanese fishing boats kill whales for 'scientific research'.
Corporations, which are created to make money & care little about community or environmental concerns, are a huge part of the problem but we cannot absolve ourselves from our ecological crisis. We are all responsible for the oil in the Gulf & for the pollution in our Rivers & Sky. Each one of us can re-examine our lifestyles to try to consume less energy & make the present a little less toxic & future a little brighter for future generations.
We also can enjoy the Nature that is still unspoiled. Go camping or hiking or biking instead of shopping for the latest fashion in the nearest Mall.
It's also important to grieve. Grieve for the Gulf of Mexico & the countless sea creatures & birds that will die a horrible death for our oil addiction. Grieve for the mountains that forever have been disfigured by our digging for coal & demands for energy....and Pray. Pray that they cap that damn hole in the Gulf so it doesn't poison the Atlantic...