2010 bio

Why two bios?

Because four years have passed since I wrote the last one. In four years a lot can happen.

This site was established four years ago to market the book Murshid, which was published in 2006 by Peaceworks Publications in Seattle.

The book had a good run. All 500 special edition hardback copies of Murshid sold out, and 1,500 paperback copies followed. When it appeared that all the Sufis, and other friends who wanted the book, had a copy and sales slowed, Peaceworks didn’t want to store one thousand unsold copies. Rather than sanction a fire sale or a garbage dump recycle of these valuable books, I purchased the remaining copies.

As the author, I can say with confidence that Murshid is a great resource about Sufism in America.  My red shed is now the sole repository for the book Murshid. This website is one place to buy a copy. www.amazon.com is another. But a copy purchased from Amazon will not be signed. All the books that sell from here, I sign. Please help me empty my red shed. Buy a copy! 

 Also for sale here are the Murshid photos that Peaceworks marketed for years. They are offered here as Peaceworks photos of Murshid for sale.

See the Letters from Moineddin offering [December 10, 1970] for a reminder about how long the Murshid photo concession has been in business. 40 years!

Now it’s 2010 and the website created to market the book Murshid is being expanded to show and sell Photos from the book Murshid, Photos from the book In the Garden (buy In the Garden at www.ruhaniat.org), and a work in progress the book Letters from Moineddin, as well as the devotional photos previously marketed by Peaceworks. Please buy some! They can be downloaded immediately after purchase. That means the buyer pays NO shipping!

But on this upgraded website a more provocative question arises: Why do you continue to include on your website articles you have written about Colombia from 2002? They are 8 years old!

The answer is: Because Plan Colombia, mentioned or implied as background in both articles from the Arizona Daily Star [Tucson] and the Arizona Republic [Phoenix] is still going on without success. The same template, the Merida Initiative, or Plan Mexico or Plan Merida, as it is variously known, has been applied to Mexico since 2008. And in neither case is the “war on drugs” succeeding. There were a million displaced people in Colombia when I was there, and almost 30,000 people have died during President Felipe Calderon's administration, which amped up the war in Mexico in 2006. The United States has spent billions fueling this carnage in both countries. What a pity this war can't end.

OTEC update

The second Sufi Murshid my life has been entwined with is Shamcher,  Bryn Beorse. My book, Shamcher, a personal memoir of Bryn Beorse’s struggle to introduce ocean energy to the United States, is a download now for $4.95. It’s a good tool for citizens interested in the history of the struggle to develop OTEC, ocean thermal energy conversion.

Chapter 5 in the book Shamcher is called OTEC, Inc. On the first page of this chapter, there is the mission statements of the company I wanted Shamcher to spearhead back in 1977. He declined; then died. Reluctantly, in June of 2009, I picked up the mantle I wanted to give to Shamcher.  omimmiiiiiin inii

I made a business card for OTEC, Inc., which I described as a sole proprietorship since 1977. And I accepted the responsibility to build some OTEC plants, which, again, is what I wanted Shamcher to do. In December, 2009, I wrote a flurry of letters to a number of recipients with the sentence, “I want to build an OTEC plant in Cuba with Venezuelan oil money.”

When I interviewed Deborah James in Caracas in 2005, I found out she knew Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Around that time, I conceived of the idea to approach PDVSA, the Venezuelan oil company, to fund some OTECs. Meanwhile, Reine Orlay Cruz Diaz, Director of GEOPROP, a branch of CITMA, the Ministry of Science and Technology and Environment in Cuba, received my letter at the end of 2009 and ordered Dr. Julio Diaz Diaz, PhD head of the OTEC group at the University of Mantanzas in Cuba, to answer me tout suite, right away.

Mantanzas Bay was where Georges Claude the Frenchman demonstrated the viability of OTEC in 1929. What a fitting déjà vu if Cuba could do it again, at the same place, now, today.

Of course, I needed some technical expertise to accomplish my task. In 2007, I had attended an OTEC conference in Hawaii. I looked for a technical team which in my judgment was the most capable of building OTEC plants. I chose Tom. At the end of 2009, Tom was interested in the Cuba project.

Tom and I went to Cuba in March, 2010, and held three days of talks with the OTEC Group at our hotel and in Mantanzas. Each side made a key discovery.

The Cubans learned that I did not have 60 million dollars to build the OTEC Development Center that Tom’s partner had designed for them. We (Tom and I) learned that the temperature differences in Mantanzas Bay were not ideal. The bay wasn’t deep enough.

To deal with the insufficient temperature differences, Dr. Diaz wanted to use waste heat from the fossil fuel power plant next to the Georges Claude site to augment the temperature of the surface water. This, again, is because Mantanzas Bay is not 1000 m deep. [It should be stated for those new to this technology that a temperature difference between surface water and deep water is necessary to produce power from the temperature differences in the ocean.] Ideally, if the surface water is 72 degrees F. and the deep water is 3000 feet, the conditions are just right for an OTEC plant to generate power.

We thought it would be impossible to obtain funding for a renewable energy project that used fossil fuel, a form of power generation that we wanted to replace. But we had learned that the Cubans could manufacture a plastic pipe 1 meter in diameter. So we proposed building a number of small plants using a pipe size the Cubans could manufacture and install.

Key to the project was the backing of MINBAS, the basic industries, cabinet level department of the Cuban government. If MINBAS supported OTEC development for Cuba, I reasoned, PDVSA, because of their existing ties to Cuba, might be willing to fund the project.

We are waiting for their decision. The Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C. has received reports [including 8 pages penned by Dr. Diaz] of our meetings, and has not acknowledged any of it.

Starting October 4, 2010, I’m going back to work as a stage hand, after a year off when yours truly operating as OTEC, Inc. sought to create an ocean thermal energy industry in Cuba. I remain ready to go to D.C. to speak to the Venezuelans if MINBAS responds favorably, but for now I'm going to take off my entrepreneur's hat and start earning some money the old-fashioned way, by doing a job.