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Feng-Shui Mentally Unsound
 by Michael O'brien, Tillamook Headlight-Herald Staff

(OMED: What happens when a shanty Irishman meets the architectural neo-sage of the East?  Read on and discover that what Vikings themselves created, no mere Asian philosophy can put asunder. That is Mr. O'Brien in the photo, though it was taken during his days in Hollywood.  At present, he resembles a stone gargoyle used on the parapets of old hotels to ward off evil spirits.)

   In recent times, it's been much ado about Feng Shui this and Feng Shui that. For a sportswriter from the Oscar Madison school of Harmonious Pile Building, I've turned a somewhat hopeless and deaf ear to the sensation of minimalism. I've got too much stuff.

   A recent journey to the lovely Chinese Gardens in Portland, a glowing example of Feng Shui, which includes a gift shop selling the little red book (probably little so it can be hidden in a drawer - keeping the environment empty) which explains the phenomena, was an interesting and peaceful stroll, but after sitting in the harmonious "gathering room," the Chinese minimalist equal of our living rooms, I realized how culturally devoid I was. 
   I would sooner eat barbed wire than spend more than 20 minutes in the "gathering room," should it have been mine. There were two concrete floor benches about 10 feet apart, facing each other, a rug in the middle, and lovely carved wood along the ceiling, with dragons and such carved out of red mahogany. That's all, folks.

   No tables, no lamps, no TV, no stereo, no newspapers, no pictures on the wall, no plants, no dog toys in a basket, no pile of laundry waiting to be sorted, no wood stove (actually, no heat of any sort was evident). Two cement floor benches and a rug. Not wishing to be untoward, this room would be better named "pre-divorce room," imagining the oppressive time one would pass in it, staring at one's mate across the room on a concrete bench. Somewhat of a dreary existence in these times one would think. But again, an Ethiciun Feng Shui master would probably label me as either "Exhibit A," or "Little Satan." 

   Speaking of Ethiciun Feng Shui masters, according to an e-mail I received from Ethicius 1, there is only one qualified master. He is available for consultation and all your fees (which are considerable) are donations to the Wilderness Cathedral Mission of the Universal Ethiciun Church.  Ethicius 1, (a.k.a George Russell), will visit your place, if it is appraised at over one million dollars (lesser domiciles need not apply), and for a mere $10,000, (based on a 10-hour overview, including travel time) read the spirit of your house and the soul of you, the owner. Thus determining a compatibility factor.
   George, (a.k.a Ethicius 1) will also assess the surroundings and the relationships between trees, shrubs, grasses, vines, forbs, fungi and other native plants and their dependent birds, insects, mammals and other native creatures. 

   Now, and this doesn't surprise me because of some of the dumps I've inhabited - the architecture of your building may contribute to its own mental health. If your house or outbuilding is despondent, call George.  The good master issues a disclaimer with the service, citing that Ethiciun Feng Shui is "all inclusive and not based on formulae written in stone." But George claims to have a pretty good track record of finding disharmony.

   Some of the syndromes Ethicius 1 cites regarding unhealthy essences within buildings are: 1) Toxic aesthetic views from windows; 2) House in a hole syndrome; 3) House as a tumor on the landscape; 4) (My favorite) White trash with too much money syndrome, and, 5) the all encompassing "Hubris with ignorance syndrome."

   Finally, George/Ethicius 1, says, "Obviously, one cannot defend in court an Ethiciun Soul Reading, thus the client must be totally comfortable with the fact Ethicius 1 is absolved from any and all liability associated with a Feng Shui assessment of your property." And, being the harmonious dude that he is, Ethicius 1 will pay a $1,000 referral or finders fee to each person providing a client to his service. Information is available at Info@cyberclone.com., which lends even more credibility to the good master's endeavors.

   Having recently asked a friend about Feng Shui and been told quite brusquely, "You're a pig, forget it," I was delighted to find this information sent to our newspaper. The first step appears to be getting a $1 million dollar home. That sets the table for doing business with Ethicius 1 (a.k.a George} and launches one on the road to spiritual and architectural harmony.
   My current belief system, for which I have allowed myself the moniker "Packratcia 7," came to me from my days at another newspaper, The Oregonian, where the sportswriters have enclosed themselves in self-constructed cubicles, made of 5-foot piles of newspapers, press books, statistic sheets and old pizza boxes. 

   The overall Feng Shui brings to mind piles of shingles, at a not-yet-begun roofing job at a warehouse site. 
   My guess is that if I called Ethicius 1 to drop by my place and do a reading, his ticker would explode upon entry. The sight of a garden rake leaning against a tasteful painting of dogs playing poker would cause a systematic overload on poor Ethicius 1. The utter disharmony would be more than the good master could bear.
   So, although unable to qualify financially, for the holistic environmental harmony reading which George suggests, and knowing there are others like me out there who could use a little environmental mental health (never can have too much of that, can we?), might I recommend an Oscar Madison reading, provided by this reporter and his associates?

    Fifty bucks- one time fee. Operators on duty now.

Michael O'Brien is an Oregon Magazine Contributing Editor.  
©2003 Michael O'Brien  Feng Shui Institute graphic is a hot link to their website.

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