Zen Spot #78 — Mindfulness, meditation and Waiting for Columbus January 31, 2018 00:05

Little Feat’s manifesto

Six words: Fat Funk Silk Weasel Cash Blast

This concrete poem doesn’t need to make sense right now, especially because it’s not a concrete poem, but it might after you’ve listened to all four sides. If not, you’ll conceive your own set of six unrelated words to describe the visceral experience of Little Feat.

Butcher Holler meets The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Folsom Prison meets Walt Whitman. Billy Holiday meets Van Halen. Miles Davis punches Frank Zappa square in the jaw, brawling at the intersection of Beale Street and Bowery.

The title

I was the first of my friends to figure out how the cover illustration, shown above, related to the title. The explanation: In the background, to the right of the tomato in the hammock, is a relic from the new world — a cultural icon that could never be found in Europe. And, until Columbus returned, the tomato, at least by legend, didn’t exist in the Old World. The tomato is, thus, happily and seductively…waiting for Columbus.

Other people’s turntables and column speakers

I’m not an audiophile. Neither am I a musical elitist. My taste does, however, run to the slightly esoteric. Where it’s not esoteric, my favorite audiophile refers to my taste as schmaltzy. Hardcore music lovers, especially elitists, might drop the gloves if accused of such heresy. I laugh it off because I’m just a guy. Labels mean nothing.

Ten inches

I subscribe to the school of vinyl. Not necessarily because of the difference in fidelity but because I believe in the whole story told by an album. Whether part of a concept novella or simply the sum total of disparate tracks cobbled together, every vinyl LP tells a unique story. The latter can be as personal as the former. Vinyl demands patience.

In a world where media — a song, a video, a blog, a vlog — is judged in 15 seconds or less, and we invest 3 minute increments in those that pass muster, the time needed to live inside an artist’s mind for forty-plus minutes is now the equivalent of reading Tolstoy. One needs to be smart , and creatively curious in a rare way, to read War and Peace.


I don’t listen to the album much anymore. For it to remain transcendent — and therefore leading to the transcendental — it must remain silent for long periods of time. Like a two-ton cast iron bell, it is always hanging, waiting to be rung.

Unlike the bell, it is hard to reach a clear mind while it rings. Instead, the story must be finished, leaving my mind ringing, relaxed and ready.



About DharmaMechanic

An artist, entrepreneur and writer walking the Buddhist path, his art focuses on the Dharma Wheel. The four wheels shown above are among over 600 DharmaMechanic has created over the course of his career. Each has a unique story. If you’d like to read the story of these wheels or purchase a framed 20" x 20" ready-to-hang print, visit SilkDharma.com.

What are The Four Noble Truths?

  1. The truth of suffering
  2. The truth of the origin of suffering
  3. The truth of the cessation of suffering
  4. The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering

What is The Noble Eightfold Path?

  1. Right view
  2. Right intention
  3. Right action
  4. Right speech
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

What is a Dharma Wheel?