Wednesday, November 01, 2006

To Boldly Go........

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the launch of the Blog "These Thoughts Escape Me", formerly "Dances with Leaves", freshly overhauled and ready to boldly go where no blog has ever gone before. Fully equipped with new bells and whistles, but with the same award winning content (we'll, they DID say it was in the mail), "Escape" will pick up the gauntlet laid down by two years of honest reporting and straight-to-the-point commentary as only her Captain, THE Michael, can provide. I want to thank my team, Me, Myself, and I, for all their hard work and inspiration, and all those fellow bloggers who provided me with the encouragement and inspiration that has kept this ship flying. So, have a glass of champaign, have at it with the noisemakers and streamers, as the PHP* Escape slips her bonds and dances with the stars!

This will be my last post on "Dances". Thank you for your patronage, and please bookmark the new blog, keeping this one in case nostalgia drags you back to enjoy some old classics. I don't know if Blogger will maintain the old blogs forever, so hopefully I'll figure out a way to transfer my archives over to the new one if it should become necessary.

*Pendragon Hold Productions

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I'm experimenting with video, so let's see if this works........

Sunday, October 29, 2006


It just so happens I've been watching the new Dr. WHO on DVD, and as all of you fans of the good Doctor know, he has this habit of turning into an entirely different person, complete with new looks and a new personality. I really hated it back in the old days when I'd get used to one persona and out of nowhere, the actor playing him wanted to move on, and presto-chango, I had to get used to a new one. Tom Baker was always my favorite, and a few I just flat didn't care for. This new contemporary playing Dr Who seems to have tired of the role real fast, and so he's metamorphesized after only about a dozen episodes. And I was beginning to like this one....oh well. And yes, this is a segway..........

Blogger has gone BETA, and I have been turned to the dark side, or, if you prefer, have seen the light, and have been tinkering with a new blog, with a slightly different look, and a new name. "Dances with Leaves" has always seemed to me to be a rather cool name, but for those not knowing the inside joke concerning this title, it doesn't always seem to fit the content of my blog, which leans more often towards commentary concerning the world outside my kingdom than what happens within. Thus, I have come up with a new title which I believe fits my mindset and the flavor of my writings than the old one did. I will begin phasing out "Dances" in the coming weeks, and invite my readership to examine the new one and give me feedback. Just glance over there to the links, where "THE Michael's New BETA" will take you to the new blog. The title picture MAY remain the same, it may not; I'm looking for something more appropriate if I can find or create it.

I want to thank my fellow mad geniouses, especially Tim and Shandi, for helping me make "Dances" the incredible success story it has become (dammit, quit laughing) and I hope that this new venture will convince my staff to quit posting their resumes on and have a little faith in this homely little endeavor. I am finding incredible writers all over the blogosphere that have given me great inspiration, or at least some cool ideas to plagerize when I get really desperate. Thank you all and check out the new flagship sitting over there in the space dock, and if you like what you see, we'll be breaking a bottle of champaign over her bow very soon.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

It's Mine, I tell ya, mine, mine, MINE!!!!!hahahahahhaha

Tim invited us all to join the in the time-honored tradition of kidnapping gnomes and taking them where no gnomes have gone before. Well, I have responded to the call and done just that! Dances has been a gnome-free zone since it's inception, so it is only fitting to bring the victim to these hallowed pages and taunt the Tim from the redoubts of Pendragon Hold. I have your gnome. If you acceed to my demands, I will return your gnome to you in prestine condition, none the worse for wear. However, if you choose to ignore my demands, I will, and I say this in no uncertain font, pass this innocent little piece of porcelan onto the highest bidder,someone who might not be so benign towards lawn ornaments.

Demand #1

Forward half of your comments to Dances. I demand parity.

Demand #2

Talk Shandi into coming back. Maybe she'll listen to you.

Demand #3

Stop laughing, dammit!

Demand #4

Never mind.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Just in case you thought I couldn't post something positive........

Good want some good news for a change? You got it.

Believe it or not, there is an actual PERSON running for governor in Texas, that oversized state that is so full of itself it's considering annexing mexico to make room for it's spreading suburbs. If there's anything Texas is famous for, it's annexation. Houston gobbled up every bedroom community around it, whether their citizens wanted to join or not, until it consumed the entire county. Watch out Dallas, you ain't that far away. Anyway, back to this individual who dared think an ordinary, albeit eccentric, person could possibly get elected to the office of governor. His name is Kinky Friedman, his chief claim to fame being the once lead singer of the band entitled, of course, Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jew-boys. Yes, he's Jewish, and I honestly think he could care less. Matter of fact, he could care less what race you are, because if he can find anything to lampoon you on, he will. Kinky worships no sacred cows. Of course, this places Kinky in the category of being "politically incorrect", but judging from what being "correct" in politics has done for this country, that might be an enviable position to be in, all things considered. His opponents are all so "correct" it just makes your average joe want to vomit. Who knows, since politics as usual is the condition we all are suffering from, the likes of Kinky Friedman just might be the cure.

Go HERE and give Kinky a visit.

China finally got ticked off enough at Kim, Young, and Ill, that they sent someone over to the palace and told him something scary enough to make him say he was sorry about setting off that nuclear device and that maybe we could all kiss and make up. Something tells me that Sam Walton told the party leaders he would allow them a smaller cut of his low, low prices if they didn't scratch that itch. Bob knows nothing Bush could ever say would make a difference.

Oh, and I DID come across this cool item concerning the composting of hotel-generated waste, which primary is being used in the Napa Valley to grow grapes. We throw away so much stuff, burying it in landfills, burning it, when so much of it can be recycled, reducing the strain on our natural resources and even providing economic growth as a new and beneficial industry begins to take off. The only reason that such beneficial alternative approaches to our problems such as solar and wind energy, recycling, composting, and green construction techniques are not up to speed and replacing the status quo is that the money people are usually to dense to see just how profitable doing the right thing can really be. Well, Marriot is seeing green in sustainability, and maybe they can set a good example for all these other greedy capitalists who are to lazy or to insensitive to try and be part of the solution rather than being the problem.

Check out the story HERE

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Our forefathers, the very people who Christians love to claim gave them carte-blanch to fashion government according to their own dogmas, were the very people who once and for all denied the validity of the divine right of kings, and told King George to go fuck himself. They knew from hard experience that a government that attempted to establish rule of law based on divine proxy could only degenerate into another form of oppression, so they took a stand and declared that only secular law could protect religious freedom, even if that meant allowing for freedom FROM religion as well. They were men of faith as well as men of reason, and they saw no contradiction in government based on secular realities while keeping faith where it belonged, in the church, in the synagogue, in the mosque, or in the heart. It has been more than 200 years since this amazing document was crafted by this amazing collection of personalities, and STILL, we are so clueless, so self indulgent, so STUPID, as to be arguing about what our constitution really means. And now, in a modern and so-called enlightened age, we have allowed a president and a congress to damage this beautiful creation of ours, staining it with bills that attack the very heart of our freedoms and threaten to return us to the prison of the heart and mind that our founding fathers freed us from.

In the very face of evidence of what happens when you allow religious zealots to infiltrate government and attempt to dismantle it from within, politicians who are taking on the once vaunted conservative elite, namely democrats and independents, are using the same shameless shmoozing of people of faith in order to garner votes. Rather than run on the strength of their own private and personal convictions, presenting who and what they stand for from a secular perspective, they go to churches and assure the congregations that yes, they are still one of them, God fearing people who are somehow better than the supposed God fearing people they claim need to be replaced. It is such a sad display that even deeply religious voters are turned off by their sales pitches. It seems that this new batch of candidates still don't seem to have very deep thoughts when it comes to the mindset that a free, democratic and honest secular government needs to function properly for everybody's benefit. Perhaps it will get so bad that even Southern Baptists, those oh-so righteous and moral Americans that gave us Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, and the dumbest dimwit ever to steal an election, DUBYA, will blink, and realize that even an atheist can respect their interests better than any of these characters ever did. I'm not holding my breath.

I am living in an occupied country. It was invaded using the "fast and cheap" doctrine, bypassing the polling booths in favor of going straight for the throat of democracy. No thought was given to post-coup management, so convinced were our new masters that we would line their paths with rose petals and praise. Even our allies could not help us, so confused were they that WE actually needed THEM more than they needed US. And so here we are, a once envied former super-power, making loud noises at the world while we crumble from within, a sad paper tiger laid low by a robed madman hiding out in caves in the Pakistani wilderness. I feel a very close kinship with those who watched helplessly and chronicled the fall of the Roman empire as their divinely installed emperor played his fiddle and watched it burn to the ground.

I am living in exile, and I never even left my own country.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Look, I had to post SOMEthing........

There are so many juicy things to rake over the coals this week I can only hope I can keep this post short enough as not to send my faithful readers into a coma. However, I do cut these things up into bite-sized chunks so that you can take what you can stand and come back for more later, so bear with me, and we'll get through this together......

Republican representative Mark Foley is now using the "liberal" excuse for his perverted behavior as having been abused by a priest, and by being gay. If I were gay I'd punch this SOB's lights out! I'm not going to go dig up the official statistics, but it's my understanding that most pedophiles are heterosexual, and this trying to link such behavior with being gay only goes to show the poisonous mindset this screwed-up individual has been operating under, along with many of his equally "righteous" conservative bedfellows. And what's with this "if we hide him, they won't notice" strategy employed by his Republican overlords? It didn't work for the Catholic church, you hypocrites, so what made you think it would work for you?

It's a three, or maybe even four way, free-for-all in Baghdad this week, and our boys are dying in record numbers, caught in the cross-fire. Adding insult to injury, the Prime Minister of Iraq ordered the Americans to release an Al-Sadr lieutenant who was suspected of managing some of the Shiite death squads. Shiites and Sunni's are so busy killing each other it makes you wonder if they are importing Syrians and Iranians to populate the country with as the bodies pile up. As usual, Dubya's battle cry is "stay the course", and I'm really beginning to wonder if he has any respect for human, much less American life. Kennedy had Oswald; I'm really beginning to wonder where in the hell Dubya's equivalent is hiding.

It seems that regaining control of the House and Senate won't be so hard this year after-all. Hell, we won't even have to VOTE in the democrats at the rate that corrupt or perverted Republicans are having to resign or are convicted. And this is the party that was supposed to bring "morality" back to government.....yea...right.

Kim, Young, and mentally Ill, is threatening us with another "test" if we don't quit "threatening" him. If only I had this kind of bully to deal with when I was in school; it would have been so much easier laughing than avoiding getting beat up.

On the home front, Pendragon Hold finally got some much needed precipitation. Already the changing season and it's slightly lower temperatures have signaled the grass and weeds to slow down their growth, so it's almost time to have to shell out money for hay for the goats. The good news is that our electric bill has really come down with the gas prices. So, things won't be nearly as tight until the elections are over and the price of oil shoots back through the roof. You DO realize there's a good reason for gas prices to drop like a stone right about now, right?

I could go on and on, but hell, you guys read the news, and I trust most of you to get the gist of it all. I can safely assume that due to the fact that most of my readers are insightful, intelligent, and prone to trust THE Michael not to steer them wrong, even those who humor me. So, until next time, keep your eyes open, your mind open wider, and don't take any wooden nickels from politicians, OR pull their fingers. It might not be their finger.........

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Silicon Savior

When I first saw this movie, I was much younger, and simply considered it a good science fiction flick that examined yet another twist on oppression of the human race by something superior yet soulless. In retrospect, I have second thoughts concerning the evils of the scenario depicted in the film based on the novel "Colossus, the Forbin Project".

For those of you who let this one slip by you, it concerned a super computer designed by an eminent scientist, Professor Forbin, who secretly designed a massive computer buried beneath a mountain, the express purpose of said supercomputer being to manage the nuclear defense of the free world against the Soviet Union. When this silicon behemoth was activated, however, it immediately recognized the existence of ANOTHER supercomputer, which coincidentally, the Soviets had built, aptly named "Guardian". It then demanded to be linked to the opposing machine. From there it all went downhill. The two combined to form one massive intelligence, which decided it was the human race itself that was the problem, and with the threat of punitive nuclear consequences, took over the management of all mankind, in a straightforward, brutal fashion that brooked no resistance whatsoever.

Horrible to contemplate, isn't it? Or is it? Well, along with mastery over the human race, the new master promptly ended world hunger, war, poverty, crime, pollution, all those things that humans were to busy killing each other to ever accomplish. People were either satisfied to live comfortably productive lives or they could invite themselves to be put up against the wall and shot. And yes, your fellow human being could easily participate in your demise when the alternative was a major human city being vaporized.

Before you reply that the human spirit cannot abide by such oppression, however benign overall it might be, let's consider how well we are running the show right now, after all these centuries of trial and error. Let's consider what's happening in Iraq right now, with our troops caught in the middle. These people whom we "liberated" from a brutal dictator are killing each other in a massive orgy of mindless violence, and there is no end in sight. The country is now in the grips of a civil war, only our fearless leader still doesn't seem to know the definition of the word. Hell, this guy we choose to be our President doesn't seem to understand his own language period, much less being able to speak it.

Simply based on the news stories that have ran just this week alone, the American government has somehow managed to totally screw up health care, the budget, immigration policy, the environment, oh my, the list just goes on and on. And all this is on top of rampant corruption and malfeasance in the congress going unchecked. But, this is only one country, and all over the world, those in power are demonstrating just how incapable mankind is of running his own affairs. Yes, amongst all this madness, people are going about their own lives, each in their own way providing contrasting examples of the good that men and women are capable of. Yet, this is despite the norm of human behaviors, not the rule.

So, let's take an intelligence devoid of emotion, unhampered by such considerations as greed, envy, anger, jealously, and turn it loose on the problem. How much worse could it do? The God that Jews, Christians, and even Muslims worship is said to be a jealous God, and has been famously purported to having brought the hammer down on his unruly children when they strayed to far from his commandments, so tell me, how different is that in the grand scheme of things? I personally could trust a machine intelligence, operating strictly on logic and my own best interests, much more readily than a mythical figure who rules in absentia or a fellow human who is more interested in his own personal agenda of greed and power. Perhaps this is the evolutionary step that awaits mankind, if he survives himself long enough to bring it about. And as far as the evil that such an occurrence represents to so many humans, well, I have seen the face of evil, and it is made of flesh, not optic sensors and audio receptors.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Effect of the Metaphoric Two-by-Four

It seems that almost any person can see the light if they get hit upside the head with enough two-by-fours. In this country I have categorized a certain group of people as being comprised of two distinct types; ignorant (as in not well educated or just plain stupid) and rich (well, maybe not filthy rich, but pretty damn well off). If you guessed I am referring to fundamentally religious and/or hard-right conservative Americans, then put down the two-by-four, you're safe.

In the good old U S of A, if you are parking more than two cars in your garage, at least one of them is a luxury SUV, you have a boat docked at the local marina, and you've always had to think about how to spend your money, then I consider you pretty well off. The rest of us, well, if we have more than two cars, they are up on blocks, we are probably still paying on at least one of them, and the only boats we own are captained by our kids in the bathtub. We don't have to think about where our money goes; it's gone the day after payday.

As far as education goes, well, that's relative. I've known too many uneducated geniuses to give much credence to parchment as an indicator of intelligence, and I have met many the idiot with a degree and not one lick of common sense or any indication that they learned anything. One thing I do know from observation is that many people have an inability to absorb knowledge that isn't fed to them by a preacher, priest, or payroll officer. There has been this rivalry going on between evil, satanic, godless science and whatever is translated out of the bible, and science usually comes in second, especially if one needs to think in order to accept the fact being offered. Facts are also subject to the scrutiny of whoever that fact might impact, such as God fearing, conservative, patriotic American CEO's who operate power plants, pesticide plants, and various other industries that pollute the environment or pump out greenhouse gases like there's no tomorrow. So, you can imagine how much such a person want's to "educate" the local populace of said plant as to the loss of jobs that could result from allowing those damn liberals to spread fear with their godless environmental propaganda.

One good example of the eventual effectiveness of the metaphoric two-by-four, given time, is what has happened to the good people of West Virginia, a good portion of them proud to call themselves conservative evangelical christians, who have depended on the jobs provided by those fine companies ripping the tops off the mountains and filling in the valleys to get to the coal beneath. Environmentally, it has been an unmitigated disaster. Coal dust and other particulate contamination is everywhere, the streams have been destroyed and entire fish populations wiped out, and the water table throughout the region has been poisoned by the waste products running off the sites. I'm not even going to go into the very idea of leveling whole mountain ranges that took millions of years to build up (oh, I'm sorry, appeared overnight when God snapped his fingers and said "Let there be mountains.."). Of course, the long suffering christians did just that, suffered, until one brave lady stood up and did the unspeakable. She vocalized the blasphemous idea that destroying nature can't be in God's plan, that God told man to be a good steward of the Earth; if anyone was going to destroy the Earth, it would damn well be him! And believe it or not, since it's happening to them, right there, they are rallying around her and fighting back. If you would like a more in-depth view of this new awakening by conservative evangelicals all across America, as well as the resistance they are up against from their own "brethren", click here:

  • Is God Green?

  • That's a good thing, right? That evangelicals could actually be environmentalists as well and not burn in hell for it? Yes, it IS a good thing, but I would like to point out something that really irks me. If a LIBERAL (that's a word that used to be a positive label but got morphed into this evil moniker) makes the same noises under the same circumstances, the warnings fall on deaf ears, because anything a godless liberal has to say MUST come straight out of Satan's mouth and is nothing but communistic propaganda designed to turn good christian folk into homosexuals. Remember, I DID say that ignorance rears it's head in the strangest places. However, if a CHRISTIAN screams that the ship is sinking quite awhile after the bow has been submerged, only THEN will such people consider the need for lifejackets.

    We as a people, such the mixture of races, creeds, and colors that we are, really need to stop arguing about that light heading towards us from the other end of the tunnel and for once consider getting the hell off the tracks. It's a very narrow tunnel, folks, and if we don't head out of it TOGETHER, we are ALL getting run over, TOGETHER. Many of us are really tired of committing suicide by proxy, allowing so many of you, in the name of God no less, to ignore and impede our efforts to save our Earth, and the people who live on it. We are tired of having our empathy for life being turned into something so ugly by the very people who claim that blastocysts have a "right to life". Your hypocrisy is killing us all, and I hate to say this, but if I'm going down, I'm at least comforted by the fact that you are going down with me.

    Monday, October 09, 2006

    This individual is an elected representative in the United States Congress. Not only that, but he is the Speaker of the House. I swear to Bob. No kidding. Really. I wouldn't lie to you. It's true! I rest my case.

    Nuclear Annoyance......

    Well, they finally did it. The North wait, I think it's getting a bit stupid to be referring to North "Koreans"; it's one maniac surrounded by an equally paranoid support system. Anyway........that short dude claims to have tested a nuclear weapon. Only, for the first time since I can remember, seismologists and government intelligence sources all over the world haven't been able to verify that statement just yet. It appears that the shock wave that this supposed test has generated was so mild, the experts are actually having to go LOOK for the tale-tale signs that an underground test usually leaves in it's wake.

    Give me a break. If anything occurred at all, my guess is that they either packed every available brick of plastic explosive, ammonium nitrate, and anything else they could spare to blow up into a hole in the hopes of creating a big enough explosion to set off the seismographs, or their weapon was so puny it could hardly go "BANG". This is not the first time that the vaulted and highly talented North Korean weapons team has screwed the pooch. You do remember that long range missile that spent all of three minutes in the air before exploding? Yea, that was a threat, wasn't it?

    North Korea has spent the last decade whining, bitching and moaning, and outright threatening us and their neighbors with a "rain of fire" if we didn't ship them lots of food and porn which their bankrupt system of government doesn't seem to be able to produce on it's own. I can't think of any country since the axis of WWII that has gone so far out of it's way to invite negative attention like this lunatic has. So, everybody has been wondering why Bush hasn't rounded up the retired waves and wacs and mounted a full scale invasion of NK to root out all of that WMD that they jump up and down screaming "We have it, it's right here, come and get it, we dare you!!!" Could it be that he KNOWS that Kim whatshisname wouldn't know a nuclear warhead from a kidnapped Japanese actress? Could it be that he KNOWS that we couldn't possibly handle another 3 million screaming NKA's pouring over the border in a fit of nationalistic suicide? Could it be he's a damn sight better at starting wars with countries that MIGHT have something nasty in their bunkers than he is with those who make no effort to hide it? Could be......could be.......

    If anybody has something to worry about should this pygmy start tossing around itsy-bitsy nucs, it's China. China is sucking reams of money out of the west in order to build up it's military so that one day it can drop the pretense of actually being a peaceful nation only interested in friendly, profitable relations with the capitalists it has so despised. Taiwan's days are numbered, the U.S. government just hasn't come out and admitted as much. The Chinese are not really communists in the actual sense of the word, but they are a power-centric mafia, just like Sadam was, and they don't like democracies. But for now, they don't need NK stirring up the pot and forcing them to back this idiot if we actually decided to try and take Kim out. So, expect the Chinese to tell Kim to shut the fuck up or North Korea gets a new fearless leader, due to an unexpected illness. Or maybe not, because my guess is that China knows, just like Bush does, that Kim doesn't have a nuc, and China appreciates the distraction that NK provides.

    Anyway, it's all rather mute, because when it comes right down to it, OUR bang is bigger than THEIR bang. Demonstratedly so.......just ask Japan.

    Sunday, October 08, 2006

    In Defense of Us Cowardly Agnostics

    When I started the post, I had no idea it would end up being so damn long, so Tim, go ahead and skip this one, and the rest of you, grab some snacks and refreshments, cause it's gonna be a long, strange trip indeed.........

    In an examination of faith, or lack thereof, on another blog, I felt that some responders were rather hostile to the idea of agnosticism, suggesting it to be an escape mechanism in case the atheists are wrong and something divine wants to hold you accountable. They even went so far as to describe it as somewhat of a cowardice, and that's when I felt the concept needed some sort of defense.

    Yes, there but for the grace of (who the hell knows?) goes I, the almost atheist, for I fully realize that the only concrete knowledge mankind has ever gathered has been derived from the scientific method, shared and recorded knowledge of events and experiences, and solid things one can touch and feel, or witness with the help of a microscope or telescope. Even the magic of math has pierced the veil of mystery surrounding so much of the physical world, enabling us to comprehend things that mere observation cannot bring to light. Yes, the atheist has all the proof in the world of what IS, and very little in the way of philosophy to suggest what could be, sans any scientific evidence. The atheist is much more likely to make their way through the world based on sound reasoning than the religious, simply due to the fact that one is led by what IS, while the other is led in directions having nothing to do with what is, but how they believe they have been directed. For instance, a poor, unmarried, atheistic woman might choose abortion based on the fact that she can't provide for the child and is not ready to start a family, while the religious woman in the same situation would probably have the child, out of fear of damnation, the religious influence totally overriding any practical consideration. The agnostic would at least agonize over the choice, before deciding for herself what would be the best course of action. But tell me, what is so flawed with that?

    You have to give the agnostic credit for not necessarily forming a concrete picture of what divinity might be, or even defining it as a force of creation. Many agnostics are simply failed adherents of established religions, such as I, the lapsed Catholic. But let's start at the beginning of this label. Why was I a Catholic? It certainly wasn't by conscious decision. My parents, who were Catholic, for whatever reason, at the appropriate time as dictated by that dogma, baptized me according to the laws of the church, and WAH-LAH, I "became" Catholic, to young to even know it. Then, later in life, those who were my guardians took it upon themselves to see to it that I was indoctrinated by the teachings of the Catholic church, seeing to it that I attended Mass and Sunday school, so that my immortal soul remained intact and untainted by the evil surrounding us. That "evil", I presume, was the teachings of other religions, or the possibility of my questioning what I was being taught. I had no real problem with this early on, since I was to busy coming to grips with the basics of human existence, and didn't have time or motivation to even want to challenge the "facts" that had been presented to me. However, I can't even begin to count the sleepless nights I suffered as a child wondering if something sinful I did or thought would result in me being cast into a lake of fire for all eternity. Such are the sins visited upon children in their formative years.

    All throughout my life I spoke to this invisible man who I had been taught was the creator of all things. Never once did he reply. Even in my darkest moments, when I needed him most, he remained silent, and I was left with nothing but what I choose to do to deal with the moment. Sometimes I would say I moved in the right direction, other times I didn't. Only in distant retrospect can I suggest which direction was which. Even now I can't say with certainty whether or not I would have done the things I did knowing what I know now, or whether fate would have held me to that path regardless. But here I am, and not once did I detect the influence of divinity. And still, I refuse to declare one way or another whether or not I would have been able to.

    The most valuable aspect of becoming responsible for one's own self is that you are finally free to think independently, if you are strong enough, or even adventurous enough to do so. Although I had plenty enough to keep my mind occupied, with such things as survival, emotional succulence, and achievement, I did have the thirst to know how others approached this thing called God. I was amazed at the different interpretations that cultures all over the world, and even those within my own sphere of existence, formed of this concept. Perhaps it was with the grace of being so spiritually lazy that I was able to think that all I had been taught might not be the final word on the subject. And yes, when the hypocrisy of it all began to weigh on me, with such a violent history, wars, injustice, the very nature of man, I tilted heavily towards tossing the whole idea that something divine could possibly exist.

    But there were all those sunsets, those wondrous paintings on the horizon that no artist could ever match. There were the constant miracles occurring, when people diagnosed by medical science to die, instead would live, cured when no cure was possible. There was the music, the art, the kindness so many people were capable of in the most dire of circumstances, and the literature that transcended what I knew of existence and what one could imagine. And the night sky......ah.......back in the day when one could see the heavens in a pitch black night in ALL their glory......oh my....if that could exist, anything could be possible!

    Then, as I delve into the wonders of biological diversity and how complex this web of life surrounding us actually was, it dawned on me that there was no need to to believe in a creator, an invisible man with strange rules, or a heaven and a hell. When one watches an anthill, sees a flight of geese flying formation, watches the mating rituals of hammerhead sharks courtesy of the discovery channel, or strokes the fur of a cat, one can sense a force more powerful than anything if one only pays attention. This is a segway, so pay attention.

    Day by day, it seems, we are finding out more intricate details about how this universe was created, going back to a distant time, far more distant than one can easily comprehend, when a mere speck in a sea of nothing exploded violently outward in a cascade of creation, the laws of physics, perhaps even changing second by split second to accommodate each moment of split second of situation, eventually spread out to form the universe that we now witness as our reality. It is suggested that eventually this reality will begin to collapse upon itself, to return to that speck in the middle of a new nothing, only to repeat the cycle, and has done so since forever. Try and grasp the idea that there never was a beginning, and that there cannot ever be an end. Try and wrap your mind around the idea that there never WAS a creator, because eternity hasn't ever provided the need for one. So, if that is the case, then were does this idea of something spiritual fit in? Well, we know that the universe is composed of matter, and energy, and who knows what else. But there is one component in this soup of stuff that transcends mere rock and fire and element and gravity, and that is LIFE. Life, according to science, is the consequence of the right elements combining to form the right molecules in the right order in the perfect environment, and mathematically, all these conditions can arise, sooner or later, all over this universe. Rarity is relative, once you consider the sheer size of it all. Gold is considered rare, but tell me, don't you see plenty of it? So, lets take all this life, distill it down to the amount of it that produces sentience, then take all that sentience, and distill that down into a possible form of energy that has a physics all it's own. The physics I refer to is all those things we think might exist but still have a hard time pinning down, such as the astral plane, ghosts, an afterlife, clairvoyance, past lives, reincarnation, so on and so forth. The very physics which allow radio waves to bring us Three Dog Night or The Beasty Boys might also allow for a dimension that collects all this ethereal energy we think of as our souls, or life-force. Hell, even blades of grass or the tiny sparks of life-force that bacteria might posses could even be a part of this grand party. Now take this life-force, this collective consciousness if you will, and imagine the combined bank account that has accumulated since the dawn of time, or at least since the first tiny spark of life was deposited. Wouldn't such a thing be a force to be reckoned with? It would not necessarily resemble anything we could label as a "God", but it could be something even more wondrous than something we created in our own image, in our own imaginations.

    In the earliest times of our precarious existence, we have looked for ways to explain all those strange things around us, like volcanos, thunderstorms, death, disease, and the feeling that comes over us when we produce a child. All this wonder had to come from SOMEWHERE, and to a primitive mind, a God of some form or another was as good an explanation as any. And so we created many of them throughout our history, writing and rewriting the rules we believed these Gods wanted us to live by. We even created punishments to go along with those rules in order to keep ourselves on the same page and not go confusing the issue by challenging them. Being human, that has never really worked, but even in this day and age, we refuse to relinquish the desire to inflict these rules on each other to avoid difference and the conflict that creates. But that has only created more conflict, and the wars of faith go on and on.

    The reason God never reached down and touched me is because he never could. It wasn't personal. But what has touched me is the life that surrounds me, within me and without, and somehow assures me that I am not alone. The spark of life within me will record all I have experienced, all those mistakes I made, all the good deeds I performed, and how much I loved. All the pain, agony, ecstasy, joy, fear, stupidity, all those things that my brain chemistry enables me to experience, will not go to waste, but will add to the collective savings account which resides somewhere beyond my comprehension, and I only have faith to carry me through to that day, when my body fails me and releases that which is me back to the whole. How do I know this? Bob told me so. You have your own voice telling you many things, and he/she/it may be called Shirley, to you, but it's all the same. If you listen hard enough, you'll hear. If you are a hard core Baptist, Buddhist, Scientologist, or Atheist, it doesn't matter. You will end up in the same place, and that place is unknowable to you until you are released from these bonds of logic and perception and you hear that voice too, in all it's high powered magnificence. Either that or you'll be playing harps on fluffy clouds or doing the back stroke in a lake of fire. You choose what you want to have faith in. I've chosen my own path, and I'll gladly walk it alone, even if all you atheists think I'm a cowardly agnostic, and the rest of you think I'm toast.......

    Monday, October 02, 2006

    State of Affairs

    One might wonder how any particular nation manages to remain in one piece, perhaps not prospering, perhaps not holding the title of "Superpower", yet not declining or in danger of fragmentation or utter ruin. France, England, Germany, Italy, all these nations have had their share of glory, have suffered their share of dark days, yet slipped relatively below the radar and sit within their respective borders, happy as clams to remain basically intact and in no real danger of imploding from within or becoming overwhelmed by barbarian hordes. Yet here we are, PAX Americana, barely over 2OO measly years old, and a sad state of schizophrenia has overtaken us, totally losing our identify as a nation, unable to articulate who we are and what we stand for. We have one big target painted on our flag, and the arrows are coming not only from our stated enemies, but even from our supposed friends and allies. All that remains is that we enter a state of civil war or that the nations of the world somehow decide we need to be reigned in and push back at us. They say the best way to deal with a bully is to ignore them, and I say whoever came up with that idea is a blooming idiot. Imagine the power of every ambassador to the United Nations standing, then turning their backs when the representative from the United States comes to the podium. How humiliating that would be........but I think it's high time we got shown a little tough love.

    I think I am not exaggerating too much when I say that once, everyone in the world had fond daydreams of becoming an American. Well, not everyone, for this country has stepped on enough toes being all high and mighty that we have always had someone wishing to cut us down a notch or two, and I'm not speaking strictly of communists and military dictators. Imagine being a simple peasant in a simple little village, minding your simple little life, and here comes a government sponsored death squad to make an example of you and your friends and family, even though you probably didn't even know exactly what point they were trying to make. Let's say you are a lone survivor of such an educational experience, and eventually you find out that the death squad that destroyed your life was funded in part by the CIA. The AMERICAN CIA. You see, you had the misfortune of having some rebels camped out nearby who had been making life miserable for El Presidente', who was trying to insure that the Dole Pineapple plantations were not hassled by bothersome communist insurgents. Proximity sucks. So, of course, you are not exactly enamored with the idea of anything American.

    The point here is that all these other long lived nations have gone through their own periods of colonial exploitation, influencing the affairs of other smaller, less powerful countries, and all around bad behaviors, and while not all of them can be accused of totally upright behavior, they generally have gotten with the program and rarely get the attention of people out looking for some national entity to hurt. This is the 21st century, for Bob's sake, and here we are, the shining city on the hill, already tarnished and losing much of it's well-earned luster. More and more people all over the world downright despise us, pity us, or are embarrassed to be associated with us. You can say all you want about Canada, making jokes about how meek and mild they are, but the first lie many Americans caught in a bad situation overseas will try and tell is that they are Canadians. I mean, when is the last time Canadians invaded anyone? Tried to assassinate a foreign leader? Pissed ANYBODY off? Or how about Italy? Hell, they can't keep a government in place for more than 6 months, yet Italy goes about it's business, minding it's own crazy affairs, not bothering anyone else. Then there's Cuba, that thorn in our side, that has remained under the iron grip of Castro, simply to piss us off. No other real reason. Isn't it a pity that a whole culture would rather go without then overthrow the last example of a failed social experiment rather than bring back "freedom and democracy"? What does that say about us?

    So, here we are thinking we are the last remaining superpower on the planet, and warlords in Somalia laugh at us, the refugees in Darfor wonder where we are, and the people of Rwanda payed the price for thinking "It would never happen again." No one is afraid that we might do the right thing, but they certainly expect us to perform a few "surgical strikes" and think that's going to solve our problems. And lo and behold, the very architects of the Geneva Conventions now want to change the rules because following them might be a mite bit inconvenient.

    I have been perusing a few Australian and British blogs and am amazed how similar the outrage is amongst so many of their citizens against their own governments, who, coincidentally, have fallen in lockstep behind the will of the Whitehouse. It seems that for the first time since the end of WWII, devout loyalty to a steadfast ally has devolved into guilt by association. With friends like us, it's no wonder our allies seem to have fewer enemies.

    There is no excuse in these modern, supposedly more rational times, for states like North Korea, Cuba, Syria, and many other basket cases to even exist. Certainly enough people have witnessed the examples of peoples struggling under the yokes of totalitarianism of all strokes to ever want to live such a life. Yet, when we have the opportunity to demonstrate the shining example of what living in a free, open, and democratic society can be like, what do we do? We violate every tenet we ever preached to the world, and embarrass those who once held us in such high esteem. We rabidly hold dear our hard earned rights, and squake like chickens every time they are threatened, yet we turn a blind eye whenever our elected officials violate those very same principles in regards to foreigners in the name of state security. It's no wonder that the adjective first thought of these days when referring to America is "hypocrite".

    Pride in being American has always been the truest and most rock solid attribute we as a people could celebrate. That pride is now being tested like never before, as our enemies within betray us and what we stand for, in attempts to focus our attention purely on enemies without. If we truly wish to pass on the standard of pride to our progeny, we seriously have to get off our collective asses and start doing the work required of a proud and free people, or we will sooner than later face the same rot, decay, and collapse that befell every great civilization before us, instead of joining the family of nations that have endured the ages and maintained their own proud identities.

    Friday, September 29, 2006

    Crackerjacks and Crackpots

    I just HAVE to get my mind off politics for a little while, especially after the revelations on today's news. This whole government is either corrupt, blind, hapless, downright criminal, or is pedophiliac. I think a coup is in order. We need new elections altogether, starting from scratch. Throw them ALL out, and lock up most of them. Tell the new hopefuls to remember ONE thing, and ONE thing only; you are here to SERVE! This isn't your own private Idaho.

    The weather is starting to cool down, and hopefully, so will my electric bill. I'm so thankful that the elections are coming up, it's done wonders for gas prices. I'm not spending the windfall, though. I know damn well what will happen as soon as the ballots are cast.

    Speaking of ballots, these wonderful new electronic voting machines don't seem to be accomplishing much as far as fair elections are concerned. Down here they ran out of democratic ballots all of a sudden. Where there's a will, there's a way.....

    Well, I got rid of alot, if not all, of my stuff that's been taking up closet space here in the castle. Being poor and stuck on the farm means half my wardrobe has been hiding away in the dark, playing moth-bait, so that half went to the Salvation army. I'm keeping my Navy Crackerjacks, though. I love to brag about still being able to wear them, and I have to keep them on hand just in case I need to back that up. Plus, I need to keep them on hand in case the Republicans remain in power and get us into a nuclear war. I'm sure they'll be dragging the bottom of the barrel for veterans by then and they'll need me to man a typewriter onboard any fast attack submarine that survives the initial exchange. Maybe I'll get lucky and it'll be an iMac. IBM selectrics never had spellcheck.

    The joint in my wife's poor little finger is ALMOST healed now. She's been delightfully playing with it, showing me how nice and solid it is, and I've been telling her to quit messing with it, and sure enough, the X-ray showed that it isn't quite fused solidly together just yet, and the surgeon told her I was right about not manipulating it like she does. You know that look without looking at you that wives' give ya when the expert backs you up? I got that.

    I nervously performed some major surgery on this external firewire hard drive of mine, switching out the old 60 gig drive inside with the old 80 gig drive I gingerly ripped out of my old, dead, and dearly departed Blueberry iMac. It's working like a charm and is equal in capacity to the hard drive inside my new iMac, so now I can use it for backing up my data in case my luck holds steady and smoke issues from the back of this one. If I wasn't so smart, I'd be a genius!

    I am in awe with the great posts I've been treated to by the likes of H.E., The Frontier Editor, and the Buffalo. Buffalo is making me kind of sad, in a way, as I see him evolve from a kick-ass, forget the names patriot, to one who has lost his country right before his eyes. I love this guy, because his common sense and awareness of the world around him has allowed him to question and re-evaluate many things he might once have held concrete and dear to his heart, in favor of the cold, hard truth, which can be liberating in so many ways. It doesn't make it any less painful, though, and I can see it come through in his words, his anger, his frustration. You didn't lose America, Buf, it's right there in your heart, where it always was. Welcome home, Brother.

    A recent poll says that 6 out of 10 Iraqis approve wholeheartedly with attacks on American troops. We need to bring our boys home. They did their best under impossible circumstances, made impossible by the worst administration ever to hold office in this country. Bring them home, PLEASE!

    After comment addendum: I would like to assure Buf that he's right, my hat was never flat...........

    Wednesday, September 27, 2006

    Parting is SUCH Sweet Sorrow.........

    The wife has assigned me the task of clearing out my closets and doing something with the somewhat large assortment of electronics that have piled up over the years which are not being used, either because of obsolescence or some minor malfunctions. For one reason or another, I have not seen fit to rid myself of them, but they ARE taking up space, and she's right, I have to reach a resolution as to their individual fates. But, being a man and all, well, it's so damn HARD!

    Women, bless 'em, will hold onto that crotchet doll, souvenir plate from Cincinnati, stored away in the bottom of some chest, never to see the light of day, all due to some sentimental value, and that's fine, to a point. Men, however, will amass an incredible amount of bulky, old, unused mechanical and electronic devices long after they have been actually retired from use. It's almost understandable, from our perspective, especially if these items work just fine, but were replaced by a more up-to-date item. We think we are eventually going to find a new purpose for these obsolete items, but somehow we never get around to finding an alternate use for them. We would like to sell them, but due to their obsolescence, we know we will never get anywhere near the price we paid for them, and that just doesn't sit well with us, and we can't bring ourselves to part with a CD player or receiver that robbed us new of perhaps $300, and the best we might get is $25. We rather it rot in our attics rather than suffer the economic humiliation.
    It's stupid, I know, but that's a guy for ya.

    Well, my own chickens are coming home to roost, and I have to face up to the fact that these orphans of mine need a new home, even if that new home happens to be the dumpster. This is the one major bone I have to pick with the ever evolving technology that shrinks things the size of small refrigerators to something you can carry in your pocket. It's not so much that I object to this incredible efficiency, just the fact that it can happen so damn fast. If it were up to me, I would mandate that new models of anything manufactured be required to have a useful life of five years before they are updated with all the latest advances in technology, so that we actually get some real use out of them before we toss them away in favor of the new. Then, on the release date of the latest toaster, blender, dishwasher, computer, or iPod, we would have all the best stuff trotted out all at once, and give us a chance to find a fitting use or recycling of the things that served us so well. We could even make a national holiday out of the whole affair, saying goodbye to the old, and welcoming in the new. This could especially be good for automobiles, which rarely change drastically from model year to the next. We tend to try and get a good ten years of use out of a car anyway, considering how much the damn things cost us.

    I enjoyed my old Blueberry G3 iMac for a good five years before it finally gave up the ghost on me and I HAD to replace it, which I did with the latest (at the time) G-5 iMac, and this machine is indeed leap years more advanced than the original. But, my original iMac served me well, even though by the time she died she was having a hard time running the latest software, and I had to surgically install a larger hard drive to replace the tiny one she came with. Well, now I have this beautiful new baby with it's incredibly fast G-5 processor, a much larger hard drive, and already, she's obsolete! Oh, she can do just about anything I could possibly need her to do, and can do it for years to come, but already I have to upgrade the hard drive, and the new iMacs with their Intel processors can do things mine just can't do, due to it's older architecture. That's progress for you.

    Well, I really have my work cut out for me the next several days, as I weed out those items I simply can't justify keeping any longer, and coming up with excuses to store away the rest. The wife simply won't understand how I can justify keeping the things I do keep, but then again, if I wanted to, I could go straight to her shoe closet and I'd win that argument easily. Hopefully, I won't have to. Wives have a way of making winning an argument a losing proposition, one way or another.

    Monday, September 25, 2006

    Brevity, Sweet Brevity (The Extended Version)

    A highly esteemed, talented, and very sick colleague of mine has written a post that has struck very long, sharp needles into the very fabric of the voodoo doll which is my blog, otherwise known to the world (since I became famous) as "Dances With Leaves", the title which is, ironically, based on an actual suggestion made by same colleague. In this post, and I am steeling myself to impart this blasphemy, he is suggesting that some of us need to pare back on our musings to such an extent that they become.....oh, how shall I put this...shorter. Another-words, my dear readers, he dares to suggest that we embrace....shudder..........BREVITY!

    Gasp.....there....I said it, and may Bob almighty forgive me for the poison I dared allow to flow across my lips! Yes, my friends, he is tired of having to focus his attention on what one says to such an extent that he stick with it till the bitter end, enduring segways and digressions (where have I heard THAT word before?) and thought patterns that are not delivered with brutal efficiency, getting to the point before he falls asleep on his keyboard or simply hits the next bookmark on his list. AND, his finger is becoming rather buff having to roll the scroll wheel on his mouse in order to get to the end of our blogs. This is a travesty. We, my friends, are ruining the symmetry of our fair hero's mousing hand by forcing him to work that wheel to get thru our long, drawn out dissertations on the effects of man-in-the-moon marigolds on drought stricken soils in midwestern gardens. We should be so ashamed.

    Actually, and I may find myself upon the same platform with a trap door beneath my feet, I think I can understand where he's coming from. There ARE some of us, and I won't name names, because frankly I tend to avoid them myself if they are extra special guilty of this tendency, who can write each and every post with such length and mini-series quality that it takes a good half hour to digest. And not all of these grand gatherings of words are greater than the sum of their fonts. However, I would like to suggest that if you have the thirst for ideas necessary to endure these marathons of musings, the time you invest soaking up their offerings are more often than not worth the effort. Not all, of course, but I would like to think most. Most, that is, as in the ones that intrigues us enough to record that bookmark in the first place.

    His desire that we keep our contributions to less than two "page scrolls" in order not to violate his attention span, however, is a desire that I personally have no desire on my part to cater to, as I may have reasons valid perhaps only to me for violating his quota of thought process and/or how that thought process is delivered for consumption. I'm sure that many times I have bored people either with subject manner or the convoluted manner in which I wove such tapestry, but that is the risk any author takes when he creates anything literary. It's a calculated risk every one of us takes when we open up the faucets of our Id and fill the pools for our public to either refresh themselves in or drown in.

    This is not an attack on his peeve. It's a common and understandable peeve and we all in one form or another are guilty of it, albeit probably never for ourselves, as that might cramp our style. This is a friendly rebuttal, from one person who has some sense of the other, and hopefully it will be taken as such. I even hope he gritted his teeth and made himself use the scroll wheel to reach this final ending to a long and drawn out response to said peeve. That would be a sign of respect, and if he thinks not, then I would have no reason to give a damn one way or another. But, having the sense of him that I do, I give him that benefit of the doubt. I hope you do too, no matter how insufferably long and drawn out your own posts might happen to usually be.

    Matter of fact, I have made MY point alot quicker than I intended, but fear not, for THE Michael has things to say which I am sure will fill many a post to come with no taint of BREVITY to weigh them down. Stay tuned.

    Saturday, September 23, 2006

    Writing on Trampolines

    There's something about my last post that had an effect on me. I'm sorta catching my breath right now. Sometimes the idea that becomes a post has percolated in my brain all day long and thus is a somewhat calculated muse by the time it makes itself onto this page. But truly, my best work, if you will allow me to presume such, weaves itself word by word from out of nowhere, as though each sentence is being constructed for me by some mysterious author deep inside my soul that I can't actually consciously control. I had English composition in College (yes, I had to take a few courses having nothing to do with health care during my aborted attempt to get a nursing degree, but hey, it was fun) and I can't remember creating anything nearly as good chasing that "A'" (which I got) as I do now having forgotten all the rules of writing I was taught. So, what this has told me is that something truly relevant or meaningful comes from the heart, and not the head.

    OK, so I whip this thing out, and, thinking the wife, the sweet Wiccan that she is, might could appreciate it, so I print a copy and hand it to her. Next thing I know she's wiping tears off her cheeks. I honestly didn't anticipate that. I honestly thought it was just another of my run of the mill posts, albeit maybe a good one. Then, I get a few comments, not that many, of course, since my fan base numbers about a hand and a half, but those comments only reinforced the emotional state that my wife's' reaction was having on me. Well, if the post had been a book and I was hoping for good reviews.......I got good reviews. But actually, having written the thing, I wasn't even worried about the response. I was to busy trying to recover my own emotional equilibrium.

    I think sometimes I am one of those people who irritate the hell out of most other people. I think to much. I worry to much. In most crowds around the water cooler, the topic of discussion is probably most often whether or not the Braves will make the playoffs again. And I would be the idiot who interjects that CNN just mentioned something about Bin Laden having died from Typhus. So, of course, everybody would stare at me blankly, politely not saying out loud that they wish I would just go away. So many people, and dear readers, please do not think I am automatically assuming you belong to this species, simply don't want to have to discuss, or even think about, the deeper subjects that I tend to pursue. I can't say that I blame them actually, for nothing sucks the joy out of life like paying attention to what's going on around you. Perhaps it's not so much the quality of my awareness of gloom and doom as it is the quantity. In this vein I think perhaps I'm sicker than Mickey (no offense, my Lord and Savior).

    Well, producing the post exposed more of my despair than I was prepared to experience, and so it's taken me most of the day to climb back out of the pit I had dug for myself, and I apologize to whoever fell in after me. In order to make amends, I am hoping I fill that pit back in with some good heart-felt comedy. Well, I'll TRY, that is. I wanted to be a comedian when I grew up.......but I was afraid people would laugh at me.

    There IS one saving grace available to me, however. Actually, I have quite a number of saving graces. They are the bloggers who make me laugh, cry, shout, and giggle. Thank you, guys. Thank you so very much.

    And yes, Tim, that includes you, my friend.

    Friday, September 22, 2006

    Gaia forgive us, for we know damn well what we do.........

    Of all the gin joints in the universe, of all the balls of dirt and water and life run amuck, I had to end up on you. It's not like I called up my celestrial travel agent and made reservations for the next horrific birth in Biloxi. I would have sat around for eons on standby if I'd known what I was getting into. Well, I'm here, the next plane out isn't due for awhile yet, save some stupid accident or organ failure. so I have to make the best of it, which so far hasn't been according to plan, if I'd bothered to make one.

    You happen to occupy that sweet spot that so many of your breathren lust after, that narrow band of orbit from a nicely aged star with plenty of fuel to burn. You have a nice tilt to your axis which insures your top and bottom portions get equally browned, and equally iced. And up until now, you were the perfect host to a veritable riot of living diversity, give or take a few hiccups in time when an occasional meteor strike put a damper on things. And all along, you defied the odds, dodging pulsar beams, supernovas, and other sundry galactic train wrecks that makes the universe such a wild and crazy place.

    Then you screwed the pooch. You sat there spinning, nurturing an ever evolving mix of plants and animals, all living in a carefully crafted synchronicity, a dotting mother nursing her brood, perhaps until such time that she could spread her seeds into the cold, inhospitable vacuum of space, just to spread the love. Towards this end, it all came together, this thing called evolution, natural selection, survival of the fittest, and one day........WAHLAH! An ape had an idea.

    It's been downhill ever since.

    Oh, I imagine you must have been so proud as this one species of intelligent ape, with little going for it except for it's unique imagination, managed somehow to graduate from puny prey to horrific predator, all in a seemingly geologic blink of an eye. Creatures that used to strike fear into the hearts of all others fell before this new species, and with a few thousand years of learning and passing on that knowledge, rather than relying strictly on instinct, this nasty little creature spread all across your beautiful surface and began to alter it forever. This creature preferred the safe embrace of the cave, and if it couldn't find one handy, it simply built one from scratch. So there went the forests. An ever increasing number of these apes produced an ever increasing need for food, thus game animals, the big and slow first, then the fleeter of foot, began to decline. Hunting and gathering began to give way to the easier and more efficient crop and herd, and more land began to be altered to suit the needs of this one creature.

    If only these effects were the progeny of this new top predator, the rest of the biosphere might have accommodated the new reality. But no, these were not the only new rules being written for the new epoch. Throw in a newfound ability to harness aggression, a trait once needed by many species simply for survival and reproduction, and things really get interesting. Clans became tribes, tribes became villages, villages became towns, then cities, then nations, and it seemed each and every one of them had a bone to pick with every other one. Not content to make do with the resources available to them in their own locals, these bands of self-indulgent apes invented the art of TAKING what they needed, or simply wanted, from other bands of equally entitled apes who had problems with that idea. And thus WAR was thrown into an already screwed up mix of things that never should have happened.

    You despaired in thinking that given time, these willful new children of yours would mellow out, mature, come to realize their true potential and make you proud. Like most any parent, you want to deny that YOUR baby could be so dangerous. Now, much to late, your best and brightest have turned on you, despoiling you in every imaginable, and even unimaginable way they could think of. Your air, your water, your land is laden with poison, the very air you crafted to shield them from cosmic rays now stripped of much of it's critical ozone. The storms you created to help spread moisture and nudge the landscape are now killers, sucking on the heat building up in your oceans. The ice you coated your poles with is now melting, threatening whole ecosystems and the animals that have adapted to them over time, and threatening to steal more land from the continents and give it back to the sea. And fire, that element you unleashed to aid the forests and plains, now consumes them like some ravenous beast, All of this because of one damn smart monkey.

    Mother Gaia, you brought forth my ancestors according to the laws of life, and here I am, in awe of you, not only of those nooks and crannies I explored of you on my own, but visited by means once considered magic, and you are so beautiful it makes me weep. I watch in horror as my brothers consume everything you offer, never giving anything back, and I am sickened by it all. So gather your strength, steel your resolve, marshall your forces and defend yourself. We are nothing but a virus, and you have all the cures at your gracious disposal. Hurricane, tornado, tsunami, draught, lighting, flood, earthquake, and famine, call forth your own horsemen, and call us to judgment. We have sinned against you, and deserve to reap what we have sown. No God in heaven holds us to account, not as we tread upon you, and no penitence in any afterlife will ever call us to justice.

    But before you do what you must, allow me one more sunset, one more autumn day as the leaves turn colors only you could paint. Allow me the gentle touch of one more gentle breeze, the smell of jasmine and honeysuckle, and the symphony of birds gathered in the trees. Allow me to thank you for my home upon your Earth, the water I drink from your rains, and the gardens you nurtured for me. I always loved you, and ask your forgiveness for taking all of your gifts for granted. I have never been worthy.

    Of all the gin joints in the universe, of all the balls of dirt and water and life run amuck, I had the honor to end up on you.

    Tuesday, September 19, 2006

    A Sure-Fire Way to Gain Respect...........NOT!

    A leading church authority uses a poorly worded historical document to make the point that using violence to promote faith is never acceptable for any religion. The adherents of the religion reflected by the document are outraged, assuming without any reflection on what was said that they are being accused of being violent. Violence ensues. People are killed. Property is damaged. Wow, they sure made their point, didn't they?

    Is it just me or does it seem that certain followers of a certain faith go on the warpath, spilling blood, every time someone even looks at them the wrong way? And is it just me, or does it seem that every time you suggest they might tend to be, well, say, VIOLENT, in their righteous anger at being accused of being religiously violent, they RUSH OUT AND COMMIT THE VERY THING THEY VEHEMENTLY DENY? I mean, it's like accusing a pack of lemmings of being suicidal, and just to prove you wrong, they angrily leap in masse off a cliff. That'll show YOU!

    The Christian Church, especially the Catholics, Bob bless 'em, have gotten their share of bad rap, most of it well earned. We all know, the Pope knows, that a whole lot of blood has been shed in the name of Jesus Christ, the very man who suggested we all turn the other cheek. It didn't seem enough that God himself said from the very beginning; THOU SHALT NOT KILL! Most every deity that has been worshiped by mankind has had some rule that ruled out taking someone else's life, although it has been suggested that saving yours or someone else's life from a raving lunatic wouldn't be held against you. So, I'm sorry, and you can all rush over here and protest violently all you want, burn down my house, murder me and my family, if that really makes you feel better, but if there's something in your faith that allows you to force me to accept your deity or lose my head, then I have one thing to say to that; FUCK YOU!

    Many of you raving lunatics out there that would love to take me up on this offer are the reason this world is such a terrible place to live for so many people. You claim to have some kind of divine license to enforce the will of your God, an all powerful omnipotence that is supposed to be capable of doing anything, yet YOU think he can't handle his own business. You speak of blasphemy and yet you yourselves commit the worst KIND of blasphemy by daring to assume responsibilities that belong only to such a being. You think he/she/it is not capable of smiting the wicked if he so pleases? You don't think he has everything under control unless you do his dirty work for him? Are you some kind of fucking NUT or what?

    No, my piss-ant friends, you are nothing but criminals, infidels, ego-maniacs, who are blood thirsty animals attempting to do the devil's work in the name of God. You go around making women wear burkas, outlawing liquor and pornography, while in private you rape your women, get drunk, and peruse your porno magazines. You are the ultimate hypocrites. Your greatest "martyrs", one of the fuckwads who piloted a jet into the world trade center, frequented a strip joint often while awaiting his "holy" mission. I wonder, did Allah short him a few virgins in paradise for that little sin? The Taliban is funding it's insurgency in Afghanistan by running much of the heroin trade; I suppose Allah has some kind of loophole for that activity as well, huh? No, I'm sorry, but you are nothing but criminals, and you are shit in the eyes of your own God, no matter what some misguided Mullah told you.

    What the Pope said could have been said better, but what he said was historically accurate; Islam WAS spread by the tip of the sword at times in the past, just as Christian crusaders spread murder and mayhem throughout Europe and the Middle East in the name of Jesus. This does not mean that Allah would have approved, as I am sure many Muslims would agree, at least the ones who still have their humanity intact. Many of us in the West, of ALL faiths, or none at all, wish to live and let live, and wish for you to practice your faith in peace. All of our Gods commanded it, and I think it's about time that we ALL listened. Our STUPID president aside, there is NO war against Islam being waged by the average non-muslim throughout the world. We believe that the only valid faith is the faith that comes from within, not enforced from without. So, if you wish to show us that Islam is a peace-loving faith that does not condone terrorism or fanaticism, then perhaps you can join us in agreeing to one thing; that our leaders really need to get a clue, and that the only way to get along is to agree to disagree, and not start a riot every time someone says something stupid.

    Saturday, September 16, 2006

    "Another Saturday Night, and I ain't got no money........"

    I'm staring at this blank TextEdit sheet, the simple little word processing program I use to post with, and I'm coming up blank. Bloggers' block. This sucks.

    Well, it's understandable. Nothing is any worse right this minute than it was last night, so I have no impending apocalypse to report on, which is good. I'm not the sort that prefers to suffer for my art, such that it is. So, instead, I just turn on the faucet and let it rip. You never know what kind of crap is gonna flow out.

    Oh, wait, I have something! Day before yesterday we had a killer salad for dinner. That COULD have been quite literal. We heard later that bagged spinach was being recalled for being contaminated with E-coli bacteria, having sickened about 100 people and killed one. We had mixed about half a bag of spinach with another half bag of hearts of romaine or something like that. And it was GOOOD! So, we had a great salad and cheated death. What a meal.

    To pass this evening, sans some fresh material from netflix, and jack shit on the airwaves, we are revisiting "From Dusk till Dawn", that Quentin Terantino horror classic staring the dweeb himself, George Clooney, Cheech Marin, and certainly not the least bit last, Salma Hyack, the woman that defines W O M A N. Call me sexist, call me a pig, but that woman, in this film at least, was HOT! And no, this film has no socially redeeming value whatsoever. It's violent, decadent, with plenty of nudity and blood everywhere. I'm ashamed for loving it so much. Go figure.

    I don't know what it's like wherever you, my faithful reader, happen to be living in this country of ours, but I haven't been able to see the stars in all their glory for quite some time. Now I know why. I downloaded a photo from NASA that shows the entire continent as seen from space at night. It's lit up like a friggin christmas tree. The levels of light pollution in this country is terrible! There are very few places anywhere in this country that hasn't been illuminated to such a degree that a truly dark night sky can allow the full glory of the cosmos to reveal itself. And most would consider that progress.

    We've finished Dusk till Dawn and to balance it out with something a bit more on the bright side we are watching "Monsters INC." Hopefully, it will blunt the nightmares the first movie could have screwed up our sleep with. I would much rather be chased thru the forest by James P. Sullivan than by that creepy psychopathic brother played by Terantino. Besides, Mike the monster is rather cute, doncha think? hehe

    OK, since I really had nothing worth posting to begin with, I will put this one to rest and allow you to get back to your Sunday morning funny papers and cup of hot coffee. Be sure to tune into CBS Sunday Morning, unless you think God is gonna come for you if you don't show up at church. Bob could care less. Me, I'll be at work wiping butts, taking temperatures, running blood to the lab, and wishing I was fishing, even though I was never a big fan of fishing to begin with.

    Friday, September 15, 2006


    Cruzan coconut rum. Ice. Orange juice. Roasted salted peanuts. A dinner salad to die for. CSI (Las Vegas). A randy wife. Paradise.

    I live a life both cursed and blessed. I endure one, am appreciative of the other. Life is a blend of darkness and light, ying and yang, one series of disasters mitigated by a continuing comfort that never fails me. One step forward, one step back, one thought away from a breakdown, an awareness of the wonder and beauty of the simplest things that won't let that happen. I sometimes wonder why I examine the madness so far out of my influence and bother to integrate it into my reality. It's not like George Bush will ever come to my door and allow me to pronounce sentence upon his sorry conscious. It galls me that I know him for the pathetic excuse for a human he is and he doesn't even know I exist. But, the silver lining to THAT reality is that there are no black SUV's parked down the street keeping an eye on me. Ah, such paranoid fantasies; it's so sad I can even conjure up such a silly thing in this mind of mine. Makes for a good laugh, tho, since I can still do that despite everything.

    I have dreams. Only I rarely remember any that have occurred when most dreams are dreamt. My dreams are mostly of the day variety, which by their nature are somewhat directed by my conscious state, with all it's influences brought to bear by whatever situation I find myself in. This makes them less the random, message bearing puzzles that most people enjoy, or suffer, and more constructs of desires, longings, or fears that I deal with in those far corners of my mind. Those few dreams that came to me nocturnal and remained with me were of such power and impact that they earned themselves a permanent file in my mainframe. One I only seem to have when the shit is striking the fan with great fanfare, and the fact that I have not had it in quite some time is arguably a good thing. The other involves loss, loss of something I never had but could cripple me nonetheless if I ever did. Many people, most actually, speak of dreams more as aspiration. Some goal to be attained, be it wealth, fame, comfort, or merely removing one's self from bad circumstances. I began to lose that ability, to dream of things desired and ways I might attain them, some years back; why I am not sure. Perhaps it was defeat, suffered once to often, that chased those dreams away. Perhaps it was coming to gripes with being able to settle for what I had achieved, however little that might have been. All I know is that dreams, in whatever form they may present themselves, are necessary, if for nothing else than to keep despair at bay. So far, it's worked for me. So far.

    I am somewhat arrogant about where I find myself in this mad universe. Some might sneer at the comfort I manage to scrape from where I find myself. Some might pity me for not having the strength to reach a bit further for the brass ring. It is those I myself pity. They man who glances at me in my Ford Focus from his Doge Viper or his cavernous SUV might glance down, thinking himself superior wrapped in his cage of success. I glance back and see him in a prison. A waiter at a local restaurant might think how cheap and impoverished I must be that I order one entree off the menu for both the wife and I to share, not realizing that we have learned that one oversized item from today's menus is plenty to satisfy both of us. Yes, we are rather smug about how little of todays consumer oriented lifestyle we actually desire to avail ourselves of, for we are not prisoners of such avarice. And yes, I admit it, given the extra cash, I would avail myself of many of the toys we boys love so much, like a TV about the size of a small drive in theatre. Or one of those new 24 inch iMacs that is so decked out it just MIGHT could do the dishes. However, what I have is an ancient 26 inch RCA television, circa 1985, that proves that they sure knew how to build em that year. This bastard REFUSES to die, much to my chagrin, which in and of itself is a two edged sword. If it gives up the ghost, I get to replace it with a digital set that has the inputs the rest of my system promises to deliver a much better picture to. Then again, I don't have that measly 260 bucks it would cost. Conundrum. But, ya know, it's been awhile since I read a good book.

    I started this last night. It's now tonight. I can barely tell the difference. But, today I payed the bills, got the groceries, and tried not to go postal on the lady at the electric company who handed me a revised bill suggesting that they had either TRIPLED their rates this month or I had used four times the electricity I normally do, even tho I am hanging wash out to dry and haven't used the dishwasher in quite awhile now. I knew that bastard meter reader hadn't actually READ my meter. She assured me someone had noticed the disparity and was having the meter read again. They better. I read that sucker myself and the numbers aren't even close.

    We're watching a promising new show called "Men in Trees" on ABC. The reason this one appeals to me is that it's set in a tiny town in Alaska. I'm partial to anything set in Alaska. Wish I was set in Alaska.

    So, here I am again. Cruzon Coconut rum. Ice. Orange juice. What's left of the roasted, salted peanuts. Salmon patties. A slightly less than randy wife. This is life. My paradise. Salute!

    Thursday, September 14, 2006


    Why do I write? Narrower, why MUST I write? Oh, this examination will hardly illuminate; nay, it might inflame, for my reasons are not charitable, nor within them found any measure of redemption. Yet I lay this before you. Take it as ye will.

    I have lived a life, and studied others, breathed, eaten, fornicated, and loved. I have labored in many fashions, and found nothing of value beyond the pittance I earned for the time wasted. Yes, wasted. So much of our endeavors, our experiences, mere waste. That my efforts furthered something to the benefit of others, I do not pine. That a mere one, and only one, might have smiled for my visage, ah, to some a trifle, to me a joy of some magnitude. That one loved me, despite me, heaven holds no compare. Yet, I seek respite from this place, this plane I share with idiocy, with spite, with warfare and greed, with hatred, intolerance, illogic, and ignorance, and I flee into this place in my mind, onto this page, intwined with the ink, the font, the feeling I bleed upon it, and beg it be considered. I know full well these words will rest upon the eye of a select few, and perhaps even to enter within and find a resting place in memory, but it will go no further. It will not change a life, change a view, convert even one steadfast in their thinking. It will not be uttered again, passed around, discussed or promoted as something of brilliance, of wisdom, or value, promulgated to the masses for their consumption like some commodity that survives the ages like some Iliad or Odyssey. It may illicit a chuckle, an eyebrow raised, perhaps even an ire, but it will pass over like some gentle tickle of a breeze, forgotten for ever having been felt, so common the sensation. But it will have been noted, and even in it's death throes as it finds it's way inexorably into some trash heap, like the butterfly whose wings birthed a mighty storm halfway around the world, I will move some mountain, somewhere, perhaps only a centimeter. Archemedes can have his lever, I have my words.

    I congratulate you, gallant reader, that remained intent to this point, and hoped for some point to be made. You amaze me, the one, that having done so, was content with the point that you realized upon completion of this tiring tirade. We have much in common, you and I. We look back upon our strife, our supposed triumphs, the mountaintop we attained and sat upon and then pissed upon having realized we conquered nothing. What WAS it all for? We know, yet we don't know, and we are the few that know there is little difference. We stopped looking for the answers once we realized there are no answers in three pitiful dimensions, and we somehow have found the bravery to yearn to sense the fourth, the fifth, and however many directions we can look into once we are freed from the sadness and limitations of these mere three. And knowing that, without even knowing how or why, we find our contentment, no matter how rancid the rewards of our efforts, our abilities, our circumstance, or even how sweet we imagined it to be once we attained it. Salute, my brothers! We write, because it is the one thing left to us in this world. The one true thing.

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    When there's no room left for heroes..........

    Post-Apocalypse. It's a future that has been examined in books and films since forever. The apocalypse I refer to is not the one involving the showdown between the so-called good guy, namely God, and his nemesis, Satan. This sad state of affairs is the possible outcome of good old home grown, namely human, insanity. The usual blame for finding ourselves suddenly back in a poisoned or radioactive stone age was the nuclear stand-off between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Other possibilities have included global warming, a global germ warfare attempt gone horribly awry, or territory disputes taken to the extreme pitting have-nots against haves. No matter the exact cause, the results have been speculated to be anything but pretty, and most downright hopeless.

    One of the best what-ifs I have seen so far is the series of Mad Max movies that came out of Australia and introduced us to that good Catholic Aussie actor, Mel Gibson. The first movie examined a world that was going rapidly down the tubes but was more of a car crash festival than critical examination of survival in tough times. Gibson wasn't exactly lauded for his acting in that one, but it was fun nonetheless. Then came a much better written, much more expansive sequel, The Road Warrior. Still more or less based on his characters driving ability, handiness with available weaponry, and loner angst resulting from the murder of his family, this one was set after all hell had broken loose and mankind was left to fight over what was left of the oil, with pipe dreams of finding some untouched paradise to escape to. This one actually had a plot and some much better acting, as well as some incredible stunt work. It was still a car crash movie, but with a twist, and it worked overall.

    Then came the masterpiece, Beyond Thunderdome. Max is a bit older, still adapting to the new reality, still the loner, and mankind is hanging on by a thin thread. This time a major name actress (well, a singer, actually, but who could complain about Tina Turner showing up in this one; I think she ROCKED!) is added to the mix, and Gibson has by now become a major force in hollywood on his own.

    This movie examines the tribal nature of man fighting for power, over what's left of anything of value, and how hope can survive in the most unlikely of places. Max is the perfect example of the anti-hero, the man who basically is looking out for number one, but cannot escape his humanity when the chips are down and others depend on him. Turner is the nobody who comes to the forefront and tries to hold it all together, not immune to using underhanded means to do so, all for the greater good, in her eyes at least. Then there's the bit players who add hilarity and substance to the overall story, many times overshadowing Gibson and Turner.

    The most fascinating subset of the film was the children, survivors of an evacuation flight that crashed, leaving them on their own in an unlikely oasis deep in the desert. How they survive and the society they build as they wait for a rescue that will never come could be applied to just about any isolated people left with a skewed understanding of the world and limited ability to grasp their situation. Even their made-up language was skillfully crafted and entirely believable.

    So, how closely do YOU think Mad Max comes to a likely portrayal of what awaits us in the not-to-distant future? Personally, I hope it's not even close, because to me it seems all too possible, at least in Australia. Maybe the planet itself will get lucky and our demise will result from a worst-case plague. Then, the roaches can get their shot at stardom; Radical Roach, Beyond the Roach Motel...

    This you knows: the years travel fast and time after time I done the tell. But this ain't one body's tell; it's the tell of us all, and you've got to listen it and [re]'member, 'cause what you hears today you gotta tell the birthed tomorrow. I's lookin' behind us now, into history back. I sees those of us that got the luck and started the haul for home and I 'members how it led us here and how we was heartbroke 'cause we seen what they once was. One look and we knew'd we'd got it straight. Those what had gone before had the knowin' and the doin' of things beyond our reckonin', even beyond our dreamin'. Time counts and keeps countin' and we knows now, findin' the trick of what's been and lost ain't no easy ride, but that's our trek. We gotta travel it and there ain't nobody knows where it's gonna lead. Still, in all, every night we does the tell so that we 'member who we was and where we came from. But most of all we 'members the man who finded us, him that came the salvage, and we lights the city not just for him but for all of 'em that are still out there, 'cause we knows there'll come a night when they sees the distant light and they'll be comin' home.