Thursday, November 10, 2016

Everyday miracles

Everyday miracles

Life is a continuing miracle, from day one to whatever comes after this life. We've come to think of miracles as not requiring any work. We think of them as coming from elsewhere - Heaven or God or scientists. But the miracles come from the heart, and acting from the heart; that's how the Universe works.

I remember my Mom (an everyday miracle who raised 7 sons) singing that old song that goes "Well you laid around and played around this old house too long; summer's come and gone, winter's comin' on." Well, with global average warming, and its interacting with so many other environmental changes at this point in history - we may not get winter any more. Some say we waited too long to cut greenhouse gases to stop the catastrophe that's unfolding. I'm growing the tropical fruit tree papaya to contribute to a better future. There are others faithfully continuing positive work, such Rev John Creasy of Garfield Community Farm, where they're growing unexpected tropical fruits lemon, guava, and bananas. We have no reason to want to just lay around telling ourselves we're helpless.

We need to focus on all the things we can do to make the future better. Paramahansa Yogananda of India said, "Govern your mind well by dwelling on the positive aspects of life." Some Americans (self included) believe there are miracles associated with the lives of Christian saints. Yogananda's life (he passed over about seventy years ago), was full of travel (including to the United States, where he met with agricultural pioneer/wizard miracle-maker Luther Burbank). His early life in India was full of wonder, learning, and witnessing miracles. Traveling in Europe learning he met with and witnessed miracles of now-canonized Catholic saint Therese Neumann. His book Autobiography of a Yogi, free online, delves into thinkers alive at that time such as Einstein and concludes that not only is all reality miraculous, but that the laws of physics are more flexible than we realize. If you want to better understand modern science, read in this book his synthesis of both spirituality and scientific thought - quantum physics, and his integration of both Western and Eastern belief. Every checkout counter scanner uses applied quantum mechanics; But the logic that we're getting from from the math and the experiments seems paradoxical, impossible, magical thinking even to scientists today. But time and space ARE relative, and they DO bend and stretch; and we humans are learning to see this (apparently some few always have).

My core belief is that God is Love. It's that simple, and that beautiful. That is the original miracle, creation. Love is God. We can talk about self-organizing principles and emergent patterns and causes for this and causes for that, and how everything is connected to everything else by causes and effects and...but what about the original cause? What caused things to start happening in the first place? I say Love.

Another agricultural pioneer leader miracle worker was George Washington Carver. He talked with his plants. They told him what they wanted. It's gonna take the biggest miracle we've pulled off yet to help birth and co-create this new age we're all dreaming when we really sleep well. When was the last time you really slept well? My mom used to tuck us in with "Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite." Well, that particular bit of wisdom my generation wasn't ready to learn...until now with the failure of all our wonderful weapons to wage war on nature such as ddt to kill bugs... bedbugs which had been pretty much eradicated in the United States...are back. Now I get it. Sleep tight meant keep the sheets tight. By the time we 7 boys were born in Greenfield, Catherine McCue had seen the more or less complete eradication in the United States. I had thought bedbugs were just some mythical scary tale.

The basic computer code 0 and 1 yin yang on off bad good up down love hate...dem repub,...They all spiral down to one decision: Do I love or do I fear? It's that simple and clear. If you fear you help make your own fears become a reality; this is a co-creation we live in. We have self-fulfilling prophecies in our individual spiraling tunnel realities. All our reacting in fear has helped create the bed bug problem by effects of all those pesticides has killed what birds didn't starve for lack of bugs to eat. Now there are not as many birds to eat the bedbugs and mosquitoes and other bloodsuckers . If you love, you attract the miraculous and, though you've a life full of work, struggle, wresting in this world of changes, you'll be happy, just one moment at a time.

Sunday, October 09, 2016


Our human culture has become so full of arrogant self-delusion that what we believe has become biased. Take our history books, for instance. Human society flourished in the area of the Earth's surface now called The United States for ( at the very least) thousands of years. Yet we have a statue right here in Pittsburgh that says that Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492. Aside from the absolute (and obvious, when you think about it) absurdity of this claim (which my generation was taught in grade school), research into the ACTUAL history of this country reveals that this man (aside from surely some good things that can be said about him) - when he first encountered native peoples here - wrote about how superior technology (such as metal swords) would allow him and other Europeans to enslave these indigenous peoples.

Our believed histories are also full of other distortions of fact that we were fed in school, such as that Guglielmo Marconi invented radio. In fact, the much more idealistic and conscientious Nikola Tesla was the real inventor of radio, while Marconi stole patents from him. Tesla's name is rarely mentioned in the history of invention, despite the fact that his work was instrumental - wholly or in part - for the creation of: the flourescent light bulb; radar; radio; the electric motor; television; and the electric grid that now covers the planet. Tesla's whole life demonstrates the miracles possible when we human beings align ourselves with higher values. Thomas Alva Edison was also a great good person...sometimes (not so much when he reneged on a verbal promise to pay Tesla $50,000 for some work Tesla did for him).

The fact is, none of us creates anything - we are only inspired by a Higher Power to co-create what comes into our hearts and minds. And every co-creation brings with it responsibilities along with its privileges. An honest recognition of the side effects of our technologies makes it clear that we have to shut down the combustion industry. We have to go to not only carbon-neutral but carbon-NEGATIVE activities such as nurturing photosynthesis. And to using co2 and methane in non-combustion production. And we have to eliminate all financial and legal hindrances to gearing up the better technologies, which have been suppressed on behalf of the status quo for over a hundred years. Tesla was thinking about pollution all those years ago and had an electric car. Why are we only now coming out with an electric car?

Alongside of the exploding quantity of catastrophic things going on now on Earth at this moment in history is an equally explosive amount of constructive scientific application and positive social change. Let's align ourselves further with the REAL power on Earth, the power of Love (with a capital L). This is how we will together co-create the Heaven on Earth we all know in our hearts is possible.

Monday, September 12, 2016


I've learned to be careful when I write. Each word you write means something different to each person reading. If I write, "dog", for instance, every reader will see a different dog in her or his mind. If I write "So many things are changing in the world.", I guarantee you each reader will think of a different change. Some will think the changes bad, some good. Some will say nothing major is changing and go back to sleep. Here are some of what I think are major changes I think are happening, and some I hope will happen:

There are people all over the world (including in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Hazelwood) preparing for impacts of the increasing rate of climate change that's happening by gearing up the local growing of food. The wiser of them are learning to grow more in harmony with the other life forms rather than fighting e.g. mold, grubs, "weeds", "pests", "varmints", "groundhogs "(woodchucks), and insects. We are learning to be more friendly with the other creatures; we have to stop making chemical warfare on Nature.

Hazelwood is blessed to be one of the most vegetated neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. And Pittsburgh is one of the most vegetated cities in the United States. Honeybees and other pollinating insects are flourishing here; they need to be protected and nurtured. Other insects ("bugs"), including flies, pollinate the flowering plants; we should appreciate their beauty and importance rather than be afraid of them.

And yes, flies are beautiful, and there are many incredibly beautiful varieties of them. In a healthy (complex) ecosystem there are not too many of them because they get eaten by birds and frogs and toads. They and other insects have their roles to play. If all the bugs die off, what will the birds eat? The quantity and variety of birds, insects, and many other life forms are in overall decline at this time on Earth.

If we want to be a destination, we need to be welcoming - not only to all different types of people but of the diversity of life.

The web of life on this planet (Mother Nature if you like), has been providing its human part with clean air and water and food all these centuries. We have to grow up as a species now and think much more about how to nurture all the other species. We should, for instance, think deeply before cutting down a tree. Do you really need to cut that particular tree down? There are forest fires burning out of control all over the world now because of the increasing global average temperature. You might find yourself grateful for the shade that tree provides some hot day in the near future.

There are many changes coming now, and the rate of change is increasing daily. Only by cooperatively managing these changes on behalf of life in general rather than only for individuals or groups of humans can we expect to thrive.

Jim McCue
composter and biotech researcher 412-421-6496

Tuesday, August 09, 2016



What am I doing in this world full of crazy blind beautiful people? They don't notice their own or other people's beauty. They call ME crazy.

Remember that saying we say about a person that "ain't wrapped too tight"? Well, I've described myself as "wrapped a little TOO tight". I have so many beliefs that limit what I can do I feel imprisoned.

What if all of us, who have been so desperately trying to be whatever has been described to each of us as normal, just decided to stop being afraid and be ourselves? We have gone insane. We're driving off the cliff and we're ACCELERATING. It's time to wake up into the REAL world again, see that we are part of it, and see that it is Heaven Becoming...eternally getting better (through catastrophe after catastrophe after catastrophe).

Let's declare, all of us, to the world: "We're free!"

Things are not the same. We have to consciously work to grow trees now; they're not going to just grow by themselves any more. We need to work together to feed the trees and slake their thirst. That's where we are. Go to work saving the ecosystem and replanting it, or die. It's like on or off; are we on?

The one-celled plants called algae in the ocean (the base of the water food chain) are in decline. We have to nurture them. We can culture them in clear fermentation tanks like fish. They or their byproducts can be used for non-combustion fuel. We have to nurture/domesticate/befriend animals we have been eating and start feeding the wildlife because they're dying of heat and fire and acidity and they're going extinct if we don't wake up and see their beauty, their value, their living presence, their sacredness.

Living things are going back to the ashes they were made from. They'll come again in new living things. Let's us look at our role in this ecosystem death. Those of us who are awakening are starting to create the better future now, even as we're slowing down our own destructive habits.

There are technologies capable of extracting energy from the dynamics of the environment. We don't have to burn anything for energy any more. I yearn for this wonderful new world we each are co-creating with the rest of God/Love.

Maybe we're ALL awakening. What do you say?

Friday, July 15, 2016


From the dust of the earth, the minerals, everything that lives is made. Single-cell organisms - microbes such as bacteria and fungi - eat the minerals - calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, selenium, copper, and many others. Larger, multi-cellular life forms - plants, whales, bugs, rabbits, toads, etc. - are each themselves communities of microbes that have learned how to get along and work together.

A healthy planet's ecosystem would have a diversity and quantity of life. Some times on Planet Earth things are more peaceful, on the whole, than at other times. This is not one of them. This is a time of great death and birth.

By focusing on the new age being born from the remains of the old, we can see a blooming of our civilization. Think about it; we are in the best and the worst of times. At the same time as we are experiencing the collapse of much of our living Earth's life-support systems (losing our up till now automatic ecosystem services which provided us with food, water, air), we are also advancing so rapidly technologically that it is beginning to look as if we could establish a literal Heaven on Earth.

The flowering of our human civilization is visible in all the high-tech wondrous settings such as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Here some of us can afford (are blessed) with: comfortable ways of making a living; inexpensive water; relatively sane leaders who have enough sense to see that helping others is the only effective way of making yourself sustainably happy; many square miles of urban green to clean our air and water while moderating the climate; communications and other technological systems which function relatively reliably; and a work force which takes equality, honesty, and responsibility seriously.

To see that the flowering of our civilization, which is as advanced as it has ever been in the history of our species, brings new challenges and responsibilities, we must recognize that that flower must die. The new civilization to take its place may not look at all like our present one. Like the dinosaurs, who bowed out for another newer ecosystem which only included changed remnants of them, we also are being called, commanded, to accept the principal that, regardless how good or bad these times seem, This too shall pass.

Life progresses eternally, from success to frustration to new and bigger success to frustration to new and bigger success to frustration to... All our wonderful achievements are leading to a great new frustration, a new wall. To get over this wall, we will have to change the human heart. We must get bigger-hearted, not just smarter, to survive this great moment in history.

As simple, silly, and impractical as it seems, it's love and love only that will carry us through this most difficult time in human history. Those beings alive in the new better world coming will be both technologically and socially advanced of us. If there are not humans in this new stage of evolution, it will be because rather than taking the path of love (and all it's difficulties) we chose rather fear and all it's effects - war, environmental collapse, disease - all those wasteful and unsustainable and ultimately suicidal actions.

Jim McCue
composter and biotech researcher

Saturday, June 11, 2016


So what's going on at Everybody's Garden? Well, plenty. Children play and tear up and learn and have fun. Watering the garden on a hot early evening can become an excuse to get wet. A couple rabbits have been spotted. Frogs or toads are also in the neighborhood as in past years and they're certainly welcome in this garden.

We have high hopes for the play area and community space to be built across the street by the Kaboom Foundation. Our efforts at the corner of West Elizabeth and Lytle Streets will harmonize well with that.

Little by little, I think, we are all learning to re-connect with the rest of Nature. Early this Spring a child asked me if I would be building plants again this year. Rather than put on my teacher hat and deliver a lecture about how I don't build plants Nature does, I just said "Yeah", knowing that regardless of what I did, many plants were going to grow in this garden. And grow they did:

There's horseradish coming up all by itself; I potted up one in case anyone wants to grow it in their garden - just come and get it. There are daylilllies in bloom, and roses, and a whole living fence-row of rose-of-sharon. The peach and apricot trees flowered and got hit by a late frost; this seems to have doomed the apricots to no fruit this season, but the peaches are coming on. The fig trees - ever optimistic - always survive the winter regardless of whether they get protected from the cold or not; but they would really rather be living somewhere warmer such as southern Italy. Basil - welcome to all to come harvest. "Volunteer" tomatoes (ones that come up on their own from tomato seeds that fell to the ground last year). There are a couple pepper plants I wish people would let get completely ripe before they pick them. Garlic is such a healthful plant that I've put it everywhere in the garden; it's pretty much ready now, so help yourself if you know how to pick it - the bulbs are under the ground and so have to be dug up. There are a few raspberries and we had a few small strawberries. Maybe we'll get a few black currants this year. We're overflowing with oregano, chives, catnip, thyme. Volunteer squash is fixin to go climbing over the roses and rose-of-sharon (with my help training it so it doesn't bury the walkways). Various mints - peppermints, apple mints, spearmints, and others - are intermingling and spreading (and where they're not wanted I pull them and use them for mulch to improve the soil as they rot down in the walkways or compost). Sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) are becoming a weed and I'm mostly pulling them up since few know about them; they're a small tuber that are expensive if you find them in a grocery store. Cilantro (coriander) is growing in various places. Arugula is a peppery salad green I like. The one pine tree gets bigger every year. Collards re-seed themselves from previous years' plants so I never have to plant them. The same with chamomile, which provides a pretty little flower for tea. The irises (also known as flags) have already jumped up and flowered on a couple of edges of the garden and are now just green stalks waiting for next year to flower again. Potatoes are growing under one of the peach trees. The tough, fragrant fern yarrow comes up and spreads a little each year right nearby; it's an extremely bitter-tasting medicinal with a pretty small yellow flower. The insects - bumblebees, honeybees, and others - have not been super-abundant this year but of course they and their pollination services are most welcome. I've had to pull out a good many sunflowers that have sprouted up from seeds from last year that fell to the ground; they're beautiful, but there's only so much room. Purslane and lambs quarters ("edible weeds") spring up everywhere; people have been eating them for thousands of years and they are both very nutritious. As usual, radishes I planted shot up (they only take 25 days to grow) and they got tough before I got around to picking them. People don't know you can eat radish leaves since the green part has the same taste as the radish itself which grows under the ground. It's always nice to turn people on to chives as it's bud and flower is a beautiful purple and can be eaten the same as the stems; they're in the same family as onions and garlic, come back every year, and can be eaten raw or cooked in soups or salads. All the allium family - onions, garlic, leeks, scallions - are both food and medicine (as are all food plants, for that matter). Birds are always passing through having something to eat. Most everybody likes the high-vitamin c taste of French sorrel (named by one of the children "lemon plant"). And most everyone likes the taste of fennel, which has a feathery leaf. We have hyssop growing here too. Both fennel and hyssop have a sweet taste - similar to anise seed and licorice root.

It would be nice to have a little pond at Everyone's Garden some day, with: underwater plants to put oxygen in the water; snails to keep the algae down, and fish to eat any mosquito eggs that get laid on the surface or mosquito larvae that hatch into the water. You wouldn't necessarily have to have any expensive electric aeration system, as natural water ecosystems did just fine for millions of years before we humans invented all our fancy technologies.

Jim McCue
composter and biotech researcher 412-421-6496

Friday, April 15, 2016


Some are bored or afraid of the world around them. I'm in awe. So many things that have happened, or that people have done, leave me stunned. How did they build that building? How come it doesn't fall down? How did that tree get so big? Where in the world did all those flowers come from? And all that huge machinery moving mountains of dirt and pipes and stuff on the ALMONO site - how's that work? Trains coming through, trucks, ducks on the ponds, people working in gardens. How do we human people manage to get along so well most of the time? And the birds, how do they do THAT?

There is so much evidence of the beautifully miraculous all around us, we shouldn't need to be reminded.

Yes, the planet is full of tragedies also. Why? What is the meaning of all this suffering? What is it about life that it makes it so dam contradictory and complex? Why can't you just separate all the bad guys from all the good guys and then just get rid of the bad guys and everything'd be fine? And why do I have to be so open-minded all the time and try (or pretend to try) to see other peoples' points of view?

One thing that keeps ME breathless is Nature's recycling. Here you have paper, cardboard, orange peels and seeds, old cole slaw, baked goods starting to get moldy, coffee grinds, grass clippings, dead animals, chicken bones, used vegetable oil and grease, banana peels, manures from countless species of animals large and small, dead tree branches, etc. They fall to the ground and the next thing you know they're gone. The hungry soil (the hungry creatures great and small in or on the soil, to be more precise) eats them up and turns them into carbon dioxide, water, and mineral plant and animal nutrients. Is that not magic?

Oh, there's scientific explanation for all this transformation of waste, all right. But scientific advances at this point in history are pointing to the most jaw-dropping conclusion - Anything, absolutely anything, is possible. If you can imagine it, it is possible. When we were growing up my mother used to say to us things like: "You can do anything you really want to." Now every time I hear about some terrible massacre or environmental catastrophe in the world I remind myself of the Dick Tracy hand-held communication devices so many people carry around. And I think of the many thousands of scientists and inventors and activists around the world; they are gearing up to not only turn around this vast industrial destruction machine we are a part of but actually re-purpose it, using robotics and computers and human cooperative labor to regenerate, re-enliven the Earth's ecosystem.

So, with a can-do attitude (rather than focusing exclusively on the problems), we can set to work on solutions to the difficulties all around in this time of great change. They are solvable, just as so many seemingly insurmountable problems before were dealt with - with faith. You take one thing at a time, break it down, see what it's connected to, figure it out, and see how it works with the whole. When I was a kid and my bicycle wasn't working, my Dad made me work on it till I fixed it...Day after day that was my job, just work on that bike till I fixed it. And after a while I did finally figure it out and fix it. That was empowering.

So here's a problem we can work on. In fact (like that time with my Dad), this is a problem we HAVE to work on. We don't get a choice. We can't put it off and do something else; we have to deal with it:

We in our modern society have gotten into the bad habit of making waste out of once was resources - our dead animal and plant matter, and our manures. We invented the concept of "waste", meaning we came to consider certain things as useless and needing to be disposed of. Eat that chicken and throw the bones away because they're "waste". Makes sense, right? I mean, you don't eat the bones, they're no good.

But bones ARE good. Not for people food, but for plant food. You can pay several dollars a pound for natural bone meal fertilizer for your garden. Or, IF you know how to do it properly, you can turn your own chicken bones into bone meal fertilizer. You could grind them up the way the companies that sell bone meal grind them up. Or you could nurture the soil organisms that eat bones in an enclosed composter that did not have openings wide enough for any animals to get into.

The same with dead plant material. Feed it to the soil life - bacteria, molds, earthworms, bugs, etc., and the waste becomes plant food.

Manures also properly are a resource rather than a waste and should be fed to the land via the community of life in the soil. Manures and composts properly handled don't have to stink and they don't constitute health hazards. Let's be logical. Diseases may be CARRIED by certain what they call "vectors" (things they grow on), but the vector (be it a live plant or animal or dead organic material) is NOT a disease. A properly-run enclosed composting bioreactor nurtures aerobic (oxygen-using) organisms which compete with and so suppress disease. So an ecosystem (including the people in it) is more resistant to stresses from disease when it's inhabitants (including it's people) are more well-fed and live in a diverse community.

Kind of sounds like the best of Hazelwood to me. For all the (legitimate) complaints about our problems, and our very real pollution problems (including in the soil), there is a health to living here that comes from openness to have friendly relations with people from all over the world and all cultures. Our industrial history - condnecting commercially with all the rest of the world - has given us an open-mindedness an open-heartedness to all peoples. The high-tech company Uber has chosen to locate here because they think of Pittsburgh as the next Silicon Valley.

We're a city that values education and cooperative work. Let's make good livings fighting the REAL enemies - poverty, pollution, abrupt climate change, overpopulation, loss of biological diversity in our soils and environments generally, deforestation, overfishing, dying coral reefs, inequality, hunger, the loss of our soils' water-holding capacity, emerging infectious plant and animal diseases, ever-increasing earthwide refugee crises, wars, terrorism. And let's understand that all these problems are connected by both cause and effect. If we are to solve any, it must be by solving all - with whole system, big picture, long-term, wide-angle, all-inclusive, really democratic solutions. Nature used to recycle organics back to feed the community of life. Part of the way out of the hot water we're in now is to go back to that.

Jim McCue
composter and biotech researcher 412-421-6496