Monday, July 31, 2006

Iced Tea and Karma

The gang-banger had really fucked up this time. Any niga with a lick of sense would have known a narc when he saw one, but he needed cash for a new ride so bad he'd overlooked the obvious and met the dude anyway, with a bag full of coke, and blinders on. So, of course, he died that night, simply because the lack of common sense it takes to be a player is the same lack of sense it takes to think pulling a piece on a cop is a brilliant idea. The undercover brother he tried that shit with simply showed the peace sign and the SWAT team sniper put a nice hole right thru Jamail's forehead before he could even think of pulling the trigger on the nine.

Nice thing about head shots is that you don't suffer a hell of a lot. You go to sleep, so to speak, and next thing you know, it's the next thing. The next thing, in this case, was Jamail sitting on a bench in front of a fruit stand next to an old black man, a mason jar of iced tea in his hand, looking out over a field of cotton. Jamail was born and bred Detroit niga; had never seen cotton in the raw, so he stood up real fast and whipped around, grabbing for the usual hardware and finding nothing. The old black man with the white stubble on his face just watched him as though he saw young black men acting weirded out all the time, and raised his own mason jar of tea to his lips and took a draw.

It only took Jamail a few seconds to get over his instinctive rush and realize he wasn't in Detroit anymore, that the deal had gone south, and he was dead. Being dead meant he was now faced with what happens to people when they got no place to be, so he lowered his hands and calmed down and stared at the old fucker watching him calmly from the bench. "Hey, niga, who you? Saint Peter? I spected him to be some white dude, and you ain't very white. So what now? I going down?"

The old man lowered his jar and wiped his mouth with his sleeve, staring calmly at the young black man. Jamail was used to being looked at this way, those old black men with their know it all attitudes, their disrespect for a proper player. But this old man didn't seem to have that fear in his eyes he was used to seeing in his victims, which often as not were old black men on social security or disability, whose checks he often stole from them. But this wasn't the hood, so Jamail didn't try to bitch slap him for looking at him that way.

Jamail stared at him with wild eyes as the old man simply lifted up his right arm and stared at his wrist watch, like he was expecting something about this time. "Don't be staring at some fool watch, old man, I'm right on time, if you's waiting on some dead dude to show up. What's gonna happen now? You taking me to the devil to pay up?"

"No, son," said the old man, "I'm just seeing how long we got before you get over life and start feeling your place. I remember how it was when I came over, all scared and confused, not knowing what was gonna happen. Won't be long now."

"How long we got? What the fuck you talking about, old man? We taking a bus or something? Hell, I figured I'd go STRAIGHT to hell when I got capped. Instead I'm out in the middle of nowhere with some crazy fuck talkin' nonsense. If THIS is hell I don' like it much."

It was about this time that the old man looked up from his watch and stared into the face of the younger man, albeit a dead one, as if seeking some realization due to occur. He was not disappointed, for a gradual but definite change in demeanor had occurred in that face. They both stared into each others eyes until the young man's eyes began to well with tears and he tore his gaze away, his hands suddenly grabbing about his chest as though some cosmic heart attack had suddenly inflicted him. And no, this was not some invisible satanic embrace the young man was suffering, but something far more horrible and effective.......he was experiencing truth, realization, and knowledge.

The old man, wanting very much to reach out and comfort him, could only watch as the young man dropped to his knees, his body wracked with sobbing, every ounce of sass and arrogance having drained from his soul as something much more powerful possessed him. He was suddenly aware that there was no hell awaiting him, no devil waiting to punish him for all eternity, no God to account to for all his sins. His punishment, for the moment, seemed much worse than all he had come to expect from what little dogma he had payed attention to as a child being forced to attend the First Shiloh Baptist Church. There was no hellfire and damnation here, no, there was accounting for his life by knowing what his life had been for and what he had done with it, as well as what he had done to others. Yet, the horror of his lesson was balanced by an overwhelming joy, which was all-encompassing and equally painful in a way that could not be explained in human terms. He lifted his tear stained face and looked back at the old man, and look of understanding transmitted between them, a smile coming to the lips of both, sharing in this knowledge both had found in different yet similar ways.

The old man finally rose to his feet, rather spry for his apparent age, for his body was nothing more than a representation of him as he last lived, and he walked over and took the young man by the arm and helped him to his feet. "Son, we've both.......we've ALL been through this scene so many times, and each time we go through it, it's like a new flame searing our souls, something we can never forget yet will never remember each time we go back and try again. I'm sorry you fell behind so badly this last time around, but we both know it's the only way we learn the way, don't we?"

The young man wiped off his face with an offered, if not actually real, handkerchief, and nodded his head. When all is revealed in such a brutal fashion as this, it makes a crack high seem like a bad joke by comparison. He stood on shaky legs, legs which were only figurative, for he now realized that he was much more than a collection of body parts, bad or good behaviors, with a name. He was in reality one powerful being, individual, yet a mere speck of existence in a grand collective of consciousness, all knowing all, no one a stranger to another. He was as much a part of the old man he'd been cussing at a few moments ago as he was his own self, and any ill will he had visited upon the man had only been reflected upon himself when the mirror of truth got in the way of his ignorance.

" Guess I got a harder road than hell to travel on this day, don't I, old man?" said the young man, a wistful smile upon his face as he went back with him to sit on the bench and enjoy the view. "Yes, Son, it's one hard road, but we been walkin' it for one long time now, and we got miles to go, so's we best be going now, we got some resting to do, some love to make with old flames, some parents to apologize to, and maybe a few good books to read we never made time for. At least we know that what we headin' for is one fine place to be, and worth every step it takes to get there. You ready to get going?"

"Yes, Sir, I showly am. And thank you for not laughin' at me being such a fool."

"Son, I never did, and I never will."

Sunday, July 30, 2006

They're At It Again..........

Sigh......they're at it again, those pesky women. Here in America, it seems that certain Catholic women have the GALL to think they can be priests and offer up glory to their god in front of a congregation. How DARE they? The Pope, that holy dude who is said to be the very mouthpiece of God himself, and thus logically MUST be infallible, has threatened to excommunicate them if they try and sneak into this boys club. Excommunication is a terrible thing, because it means that you are no longer a chosen one and are going to have to wait tables in hell. Yep, if the Catholic hell is anything like the Catholic heaven, women are sure to be second class sufferers there to. Perhaps because they are merely women, they won't have to suffer much more than they already do what with periods, childbearing, and all those nasty things they earned for forcing Adam to eat that apple God was afraid of him enjoying. Yes, it is quite apparent that this weaker of the two sexes can be quite powerful when she wants to be, and while under the influence of the power of Satan, can force a full grown man to eat an apple. So, thank God the Pope is putting a stop to this. Next thing you know they'll be wanting to ordain GAYS!

Sigh.......I forgot, the Episcopalians ARE wanting to ordain homosexuals as priests. It's bad enough that they changed their name so that they could get women into those funny robes, but now they want to put funny men and women in funny robes. No wonder God is so pissed off he's sending hurricanes to select cities in order to solve the problem. No, wait, that's a Southern Baptist thing......sorry.

Which brings me to my point. Religion is so funny. If there's one thing religion is famous for, it's a long list of rules, and if there's a rule to be broken, you can bet some sinner is going to come along and break it, just out of spite. Since day one, just about every religion in the world has been written, produced, and directed by men, mostly men in power, to insure that ordinary (which back then usually meant dirt poor and ignorant) people, especially the female version, were kept in check, subservient, and pliable, made to fight wars and keep the holy ones fat and happy. Today, thru some miracle of social evolution, some of us, mostly "western" nations, have painted this canvas in nicer colors to give the illusion that women are actually respected, considered the equal of men, and are "given" freedoms that on the face of it are supposed to free them from the oppression of familiar rape, low wages, and other discriminations worthy of a weaker sex. Those of us with that even a quarter of a brain, know better, even if we happen to be male. Religion has made all this possible, even in this day and age.

Well, I have a clue for you, all you holy people, all you Popes, Bishops, Mullahs, Preachers, or whatever you want to call yourselves. You are scared to death of the idea of women walking beside you, not behind you, as equal partners. You know just how weak you are in the grand scheme of things. You have a lust for power, you are lazy, and truthfully, by any measure that means anything, you are fucking loony tunes. Yes, like any man, I fully agree that many women, thanks to their hormones, can be challenging to get along with. I would also like to suggest that men, with their testosterone overload, can be fucking animals. And yes, those animals just love to adorn themselves in fancy robes and claim that God has chosen them to run the show. They manufactured God, after-all. And we all know why.

OK, I can hear it now........"The Michael, you speak of being Wiccan, which is a religion, and you seem to be equally guilty of making up your own beliefs as you go along to suit your own agenda." You know something, taken out of context, you are exactly right! I am "exploring" Wicca as something to believe in, to practice, and hopefully upon full examination, will have made a choice that, as it calls for, "Does no harm". Being human and all, I might not be up to the task, as it requires that one go far beyond the human condition and attempt to actually be one with the world in which one lives. But I'm willing to give it a shot. What I am not willing to do is remain with the label I was given at birth, which was "Catholic", and ignore the hypocrisy required in order to be a good little soldier for Christ. The same Christ which was somehow said to give the OK to burning people at the stake and driving whole races of humans toward extinction. So, you go be a good Catholic, Baptist, Muslim, Scientologist, or whatever mishmash of rules and regulations you care to slap together, and good luck with your afterlife. Me, I'm going to make my life now somewhat bearable, and worthy to have been lived, if I can. Whatever comes afterward is out of my hands anyway.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

In The News.......

It's the middle of summer and your daughter comes up to you while you're blogging and pulls on your sleeve, "Daddy, why are the leaves falling off the trees?" Irritated, you get up to go look with her and explain the life cycle of leaves, only you stare in shock as the BROWN, dying leaves rain upon your browning lawn, which was perfectly green the day before. You are witnessing a rain of ultra-violent radiation killing your plant life as a major hole in the ozone layer passes over your area. You and your family will notice the sunburn later.

People are lining up on the banks of the river to witness the amazing fluorescent green thing it has become. The river-keeper has been complaining about fertilizer run off from river front properties for years now, and warned that last years' algae bloom was merely a harbinger of worse things to come. You and the other citizens of the River City believe him now, only now this river is dead save a bright green slime that is thriving on the overload of nitrogen. The lawns look nice tho, don't they?

The local business community is up in arms because their employees are having to choose between showing up at work or paying their bills. They have tried car-pools, tried to get the local transit authority to provide realistic transportation alternatives to people who can't afford the $5 a gallon gas prices, but government has been slow to respond. Disneyland is in danger of having to close down altogether; it costs far more to get there than it does to get in. And suddenly Walmart can't seem to offer low, low prices thanks to shipping costs. Exxon and every other Oil company in the world now have more money in the bank than the U.S. Mint.

Development of Southern states in Hurricane Alley has come to a virtual standstill. Not one new housing loan has been approved in the last two years. Politicians keep making noises about the need for affordable wind damage insurance, but all those insurance companies pulled out of these states. Failure of homeowners insurance companies to offer renewals prompted a huge increase in foreclosures until mortgage companies realized that NOBODY could get coverage and backed off till they could figure out how to protect themselves. In the meantime property values have plummeted, and homeowners have begun to think of their homes as HOMES rather than investments.

Using the common sense approach preached by proponents of free market forces but never practiced, the Solar Car company of Methuselah, Tennessee begins mass marketing of a truly practical electric car at prices no higher than your average economy car. Sales are booming as people flock to these dealerships to find a way to get to work that doesn't involve gasoline. By years' end, sheer volume of sales actually brings the company a profit in it's first year of production. Sales by the big three AND foreign juggernauts plummet.

Streets are flooded in major sea-side metropolitan areas as the promised rise in sea level brought on by global warming begins to make it's presence known. The Army Corp of Engineers is overwhelmed by demands by Congress to throw up seawalls to hold back the water. Immigrant Venetians rise to the occasion by having water-taxi service ready to go as the depth of flooding on fifth avenue averages three feet.

You don't have to be psychic to predict that these are the stories you'll be reading in the paper in ten, hell, maybe even five years. I hope you'll come back in ten years to tell me how wrong I was. I really do.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Idolatry at it's finest

My wife has been involved in an extreme spurt of creativity brought on by her pursuit of Wicca. One thing I can say about this belief system is that it utilizes symbolism that rivals most any other faith. Together we are working to surround ourselves with totems of our love of Gaia and the power inherent in the Earth we tread upon, in our home and out in our sacred space, the shade garden. So, I proudly display for your viewing pleasure the fruits of my wife's artistic efforts. You might think of this as "folk art", but however you view it, I think the quote, "I may not know art, but I know what I like" applies. My wife thinks I simply humor her. I don't. You be the judge.

Surviving the "Dark Side"

One of my favorite all time bloggers, who had gone into semi-retirement, returned to post that she has probably retired for good, and listed a litany of reasons for this, the gist of her abandonment from this medium being that it is rife with artificiality, soap-opera drama, and all around fiction being given as fact, amongst other things, many of these complaints being quite reasonable, others simply throwing out the baby with the bathwater. As disturbing as all this is, I find this not much different than just about any endeavor being abandoned for having some negative aspect. I respect her decision, but it saddens me nonetheless.

Way back in the day, when I had more time and energy than stuff to keep me occupied, I picked up model rocketry as a hobby. For such a "silly" endeavor, it sure took alot of time and dedication. Competitions were scattered all over the place, not just locally, and once I even drove in a '69 Honda Civic (those cars were not exactly designed to comfortably hold large or numerous human beings for extended trips) with my first wife and a very tall friend all the way from Houston Texas to Lubbock in the middle of winter to attend a regional championship. It could have been described as a truly miserable experience (and I KNOW my wife at that time thought it was) were it not for the records I captured and the people I got to meet. Lots of things can go wrong at these gatherings, such as lost rockets, exploding rockets, and irresponsible people doing dangerous things that could get someone hurt. Then there's politics, and yes, even a meeting of the NASA/ Houston Chapter of the National Association of Rocketry was rife with politics and squabbling and interesting clashes of personalities. You could pull out your hair or you could focus on what you loved about the sport and fly rockets. It's all relative.

I've been involved in chat rooms on the net, and nothing brings out the worst in people than these anonymous free-for-all meeting places where anything goes because it can. People come away from these places thinking the entire world is one big lie, simply because they failed to take everything they heard with a grain of salt. Chat rooms are a whole new ball game in the world of social intercourse, and we have not yet adapted to this new way of communicating, and yes, trying to tell which is which, and who is who. Look at it this way.......those of you who have, for whatever reason, watched an episode of Jerry Springer.........if you honestly think for one second that this is a real, genuine snippet of life, then you really need to get a clue! Just like "professional" wrestling, it's all one big comic opera and when you start taking this stuff seriously, you are losing touch with reality.

Just as there are all kinds of people in our social circles, so are there an odd assortment of people writing blogs that might be fudging the truth. For most of us, this medium is a new kind of journal, the kind we used to write solely to ourselves, and there wasn't much sense in making things up. That's what fiction is for. However, some people have such a strong need to be appreciated, to be admired, or to create some sort of life better than their own, that they have taken to using blogs to create these ficticious worlds in which to make themselves feel better. Yes, I suppose it is right and proper that this should anger us, since we come away with a sense of betrayal when these people fail us in this way, but perhaps pity would be a better emotion to waste on them. In the end they mostly harm themselves when their false worlds fall apart, and they lose their new found "friends". The only people they hurt in return are those that invest themselves in these characters, as I have said, without leaving open the possibility that what they read is not entirely the truth. I have a friend who blogs whom I imagine to be a certain way, but I am fully aware that I could one day discover she is nothing like she presented herself to be. I simply accept that as the price of present trust, something I'm not prepared to totally abandon just because there are bad people in the world. Besides, my life is not dependent upon the lives of others as I read in sucks sometimes simply of it's own accord.

My own approach to blogging has been a learning experience from the first word I typed, and will constantly evolve as I go on. I try to balance what makes for good reading with what is prudent to reveal, whether or not my own personal quirks and behaviors are approved by others or not. To reveal that my wife is a witch could possibly be considered an unwise thing by some. I do not. She is what she is and I love her very much. To reveal that our finances are a constant headache could be considered another misstep. I consider it honesty, nothing more. The fact that I bitch and moan and examine what's wrong with the world pushes some people's bad, go hit "next blog" and you won't have to suffer it any more. But then you won't get to laugh at me while I laugh at myself.

While I do spend a bit of time trying to produce material for my blog that keeps my readers interested, if I had other interests away from this computer which burned more of my time, then I would spend a bit less time here. But, to write about what happened to me doesn't have to take up more than perhaps a half hour, and I waste that much time trying to remember where I left my coffee cup. So, if you think that blogging is taking up all your time and keeping you glued to your chair, then lighten up, back away, drop the chalupa, and budget your blogging time accordingly. It needn't become an obsession that takes over your life. Just remember that it never took you two hours to write in your diary, it shouldn't take forever to tell us about the "A" your daughter got in chemistry, how the dog ate your slippers, or why you think The Michael's blog is insightful, interesting, and downright enjoyable, even if you think he's flat out lying about everything he types.

Which he isn't, my friends, although he tries to paint an otherwise dull life in fluorescent colors, just to make it interesting............grin.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"And miles to go before he sleeps......"

I've been following the Buffalo on his trip across America. I get the impression he hasn't quite found it yet. This is not to say he hasn't made quite a few discoveries along the way. Somehow he's managed to find differences along his route in a country that is busy getting rid of differences. The one thing that does seem to remain constant is weather that doesn't often cooperate with the moment, as well as motel's that seem to think you should pay mortgages for a nights rest.

I have yet to decipher whether or not Buf has decided that the trip was worth taking. He's met plenty of interesting people along the way, although it's not certain he would not have met the same sort of folk within 5 blocks of his home. Hospitality and inhospitable behaviors seem to be a hit and miss proposition; no one area seems to be able to lay claim to either. At least it's apparent that our intrepid developers haven't been able to level all the mountains and fill in all the valleys; there are still topographical features remaining in this country that are worth seeing firsthand.

I think it must be mentioned in all fairness that one cannot truly judge a place and the people who live in it in the short time you spend there just passing thru. Buf is not sucking at the teat of some rich daddy, thus he is hostage to economic realities which do not allow him to hang out in any area for very long. Most vacations of any length usually allow you to focus your attentions on all that one place has to offer, and sometimes even then you are only scratching the surface. So, I have to offer that Buf is probably missing as much as he's seeing on his two wheeled journey. It is nice that he managed to snag a companion for the trip to help keep his sanity. Bob knows there have been plenty of people along the way testing that.

Unless I missed that chapter, our intrepid hero has also avoided having to ventilate the barrel of his good buddy, Mr. Gun. I also failed to capture any episode that involved him scraping his arthritic knuckles on some miscreants face; purely by accident, I'm sure it would have been. Not to say that his demeanor has not been tested, for it is well known that all across this land there are people who could use a good dose of Buffalo. They have no idea how fortunately they are to not have encountered him on one of their particularly bad days, when people tend to go out of their way to invite a good hurt on themselves. Now, I know that Buf is not the kind of guy who would embark on such a venture with any express wish to get into it with anyone.....but.....stuff happens. The fact that it hasn't happened is, as I think he would agree, a good thing.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this trip with this talented writer and liver of life. Although I am probably reading everything that will be in his book, I will pay gladly for my own copy regardless. Buffalo is truly a talented wordsmith, capable of spinning a grand tale, whether it be about the noises he hears on the street in front of his house, or some misadventure he had many years ago in far away and unfriendly places. I hope that all of you who have been equally faithful fans of The Buffalo can find the time to use that all-powerful word of mouth to insure his book is a great success, for if any of us deserves to succeed in this dog-eat-dog literary world, I think he does, if for anything else, walking the walk before talking the talk.

Monday, July 24, 2006


I have always been of the opinion that according to natural selection, nature really screwed up with humans. In every ecology on this planet, there is a system of checks and balances, predator versus prey, populations thinned out according to available food supplies, etc, etc. Once that success story of all primates, the human, got a foothold, all bets were off. Over time, mankind overcame all resistance, subduing those creatures that could prey upon him, becoming capable of even totally altering his environment, until he was able to spread across the globe with no competition or control other than the overwhelming power of the elements and disease to keep his numbers in check. However, a second look has me rethinking this.

Imagine if you will what the population of the human race on this planet would be if it were not for the wars we have fought, if there had never been a genocide, a world war, a holocaust. Imagine that every one of those people that had perished in all those conflicts instead went on to procreate. Had we suffered losses only to pandemics, famines, and natural disasters, the impact on population would have not been nearly as significant as the deaths suffered at our own hands. Thus, it seems on closer examination, nature DID install a mechanism to at least slow our ability to reproduce. Let's call it the WAR gene.

This gene, this wiring in our brains that has remained with us throughout our evolution, has maintained within us a strong tendency towards aggression, be that by the gang banger in the hood, or the Texas borne silver-spoon fed rich kid power puppet residing in the White House. You cut off someone in traffic, unintentionally or otherwise, and chances are good he'll go ballistic and start an automotive war right there on the pavement. Look at a gang of young teens the wrong way in the wrong neighborhood and you can get dead real quick. The Iraqi's are proving just how violent an entire culture can become given the freedom and ability to exercise their demons. It has never been unusual for men of any culture to assault the people closest to them, their wives, and even vice versa. Boxing and other violent sports are still perfectly acceptable ideas of sport in the "civilized" world. There is a trial wrapping up right now in my locality involving 6 people and a dog getting killed over a misappropriated X-Box video game console. Now, you tell me, what better control could there be for an animal that has the capability to wipe out every other species on this planet? Seems Mother Nature at least tried to instill some fail-safe while we were evolving into the monsters we have become.

Yes, it would be nice to imagine a world devoid of all this violence, this mindless warfare, this horror that we as a species have inflicted on our home and the wild life that has survived us so far. However, removing this propensity for violence alone would not solve our problems. No, we would also have to have within us a heightened sense of empathy, and understanding of the intricate symbiosis that is woven into the fabric of all life. We tread heavily where ever we go, and we cannot continue to do this and have any hope of not ending up extinct on the surface of a paved-over planet, the air unbreathable, the water all poison, not a green thing to be seen anywhere. So, even though I must conclude that nature did her best when natural selection selected the human to reign supreme, she could not account for the power of intellect, which combined with aggression, has made us simply capable of violating every natural law laid down before us. Yes, ultimately, we WILL be kept in check, finally, forever, but quite possibly not without taking every other living thing down with us. I raise my glass to you, Gaia, as I mourn your passing, even as I witness my own. Better luck next time around.

Friday, July 21, 2006

La Dee Flippin' Da (An Undiscovered Country)

It is not very often that a comment leads me back to an undiscovered country, a hidden treasure, a silent symphony of sublime literary pleasure. Yet, it has happened, and I truly must share this discovery with that miniscule percentage of the blog reading population which has made Dances With Leaves the renowned unappreciated masterpiece that it has become. I have always been a firm believer that men are better at many things that women aren't, and vice versa, but when it comes to writing, well, that all goes out the window, as proven to me by Shandi, The Alley Rat, and other feminine literary geniuses. This girl is no exception. From what I have read so far, she does not come from highfalutin' academic roots, nourished by the ivory tower masters, yet I dare say she can spin a web of word with the best of them, in an easy to understand and grasp manner that befits the commoner, that being you and me. I think you probably agree with me, you minions of the 9 to 5, that there can be such a thing as too much eloquence and excessive use of as- yet- to -be- defined- words. Thank Bob we have the likes of Jessica to keep us on an even keel.

I was so impressed with her ease of blog-speak that it alarmed me greatly to discover that I was the only one to have read her blog and commented on it. THIS CANNOT STAND! So, my loyal readers ( I know, the check's been in the mail for quite some time now, but you will get your kickbacks, I promise) I besiege you, I insist, I DEMAND, that if you have any trust whatsoever in the judgment of the Michael when it comes to great ways to totally waste your time for a good cause, then you MUST rush over upon the conclusion of enjoying this great blog of mine and peruse through the artistic literary stylings of " La Dee Flippin' Da " and then come back and admit that maybe The Michael knows what he's talking about (Yes, I understand the percentage increase in the kickbacks required....). Tell her The Michael sent you, and she'll give you a ten percent discount on keychains. It's an inside joke.

Yes, I fully realize how shocked you all must be that The Michael has lowered himself to posting shameless promotions, but if I ever intend to dump this dead-end job of mine and find success and fulfillment in this world, I really need to get in some practice, and this is as good a time as any to do it. I'm not getting any younger, or better looking. Besides, some of us (ahem) seem to think (cough) that posting on a regular basis is nothing more than a hobby, a harmless pastime, an afterthought to their exciting, action packed lives, and have slacked off in their responsibilities, so we need fresh meat; young, impressionable and industrious newby bloggers who honestly think they can make a difference in the world with mere words. I admit it. She's already made a difference in mine.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Michael Gets All ECLECTIC Again

It's a very hot and moist afternoon here at Pendragon Hold and I just finished listening to Billy Holiday's rendition of "Blue Moon". I'm amazed at the kinds of stuff I'm hearing on this internet radio station. Listen to me, ditch your favorite pop or rock or alternative or country station and try out some of these eclectic offerings. No, you're not going to dig every song you hear, but common' man, expand your horizons, get in on all this wonderful stuff just begging to be heard and enjoyed!

So, welcome to Eclectic Post #39, brought to you by the good folks here at Dances With Leaves, the Blog that leaves (get it, l e a v e s? I'm just too funny!) you sated yet strangely wanting more! And no, we have no Chinese staff members; go figure. In todays episode, we would like to examine the socioeconomic underpinnings of that aggravating conflict over there in Lebanon. Notice I said want. We have decided instead to just let 'er rip and see what happens. We feel much more capable handling free flowing gibberish, rather than all that in-depth, philosophical ying yang that is required to make examinations of conflicts on the other side of the world seem relevant. Besides, it's hard to make comedy out of that kind of insanity.

The wife and I have been trapped in this double wide castle for a whole week now, and I keep hearing my wife say over and over again, "I'm bored". I think she hates the fact that as long as I have this computer and my playstation I can keep myself satisfied. I have hidden the baseball bat.

The money ran out several days ago, as well as the snacks, wine, and vodka. Pure sobriety sucks, let me tell ya! If it weren't for Netflix and new (although mostly lame) episodes of manufactured rock star shows, we'd have gone catatonic by now. However, we are waiting with bated breath for the paycheck to arrive in the checking account this evening so that we can replenish the stocks of comfort liquids and solids.

The dog got his semi-annual bath today out on the front porch. He hates that. Shiloh happens to be one of those models of dogs whose coat was designed to repeal water, probably for hunting moose in the snow somewhere in Norway, so it really galls him when I deliberately take the hose sprayer and FORCE healthy amounts of H2O into his fur, not to mention copious amounts of shampoo. But he does smell a lot better. Damn, now that I think about it, I could have moused him while I was at it to cut down on the shedding! However, the wife has just informed me of what a dumb idea that was. Wives have a way of keeping you honest. I could have been a friggin genius by now if it wasn't for her.

I was watching a show on NOVA (that's a scientific PBS show for those of you who never wonder away from reruns of "Friends") that attempted to provide the laymen's' understanding of string theory and how it has the very good possibility of explaining EVERYTHING. Well, they never managed to explain even the simplest concepts of basic algebra to me, and they think I'm going to breeze through Quantum Physics? Try throwing in some alien warships and time traveling hitch hikers with towel fetishes and I might make some sense of it.

However, some of the off-the-wall ideas advanced by string theory has given ammunition to my belief that their might actually be a real, scientific basis for magick, as practiced by witches. The mere fact that observation alone actually changes the observed, gives me pause to think that intent can actually be a force that can be harnessed by the human mind. Mankind all through the ages has harnessed forces of nature without completely understanding how those forces actually work, so it stands to reason that wizards can utilize powers that on the face of it seem mystical when in reality they are simply following rules of physics we have yet to fully understand. I myself can testify to the magick this woman weaves on me......grin.

Shandi struck a nerve with one of her posts concerning flaws she couldn't overlook in potential mates. Whether or not I was justified in the essence of my comment, it could have been less knee-jerk than it was. So I want to apologize to Shandi and anyone else who read the comment, and assure everyone that I hastily recalled the assassin I hired to avenge my hurt feelings. I must have been having an "Islamic" moment there folks; it won't happen again.

I have been following Buffalo's progress on his trip across America, and I am so thankful we have hardy individuals like him to take it on the backside so that we don't have to. Riding that many miles on a machine that vibrates at a frequency designed expressly to liquify your vertebrae really takes stamina! Just getting a Harley Davidson to complete that many miles without a fully loaded semi of spare parts is amazing in and of itself! On one page he has questioned ever taking the trip, while on another, attempting to describe the wonder of having done so. I fully understand. Such is the long, strange trip, my friend. No matter the route or time taken, it's a singular experience that can't be replicated by any other person. Savor it, even when it hurts. You did it..........we didn't.

And so I close out this edition of Dances with Leaves to the tune of "Black Bird" as performed by someone with a real jazzy tilt to it. It's good. The Beatles will not be offended. I wish you could have heard it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Manufactured Rockstars and Undiscovered Gems

Back in the day (for you youngsters out there, that's back when two separate channels coming over a radio was REVOLUTIONARY), we had no real idea where our rock stars came from, they were just THERE. There was no on-the-air evolution going on, these guys were hot right out of the gate. There were mysterious moguls behind the scenes selecting these bands out of the hinterlands and grooming them before they dared let them on the airwaves. And a DJ could kill you dead before the second note was uttered. Yep, DJ's were GOD in those days. It would be quite awhile before punk rockers could come anywhere near a radio station, because there were so many truly talented people fighting for the relative few spots available on the AM and FM radio dial. And, for the most part, there were no GENRE radio stations where you had to sound just like everybody else in order to get your five minutes of fame. EVERYBODY got a chance to strut their stuff, from the motown wonders to the psychedelic dreams to the flat out hard rockers, they all shared the same stage. One minute you could be listening to a Harry Chapin, the next, Steppenwolf. Harry Chapin wouldn't have a rats' chance in hell getting played these days, except perhaps on internet radio, and not alot of that talent is filtering thru to the airwaves. The corporate model has ruined FM when it comes to musical democracy.

Now, starting with American Idol and being copied with Rockstar (fill in the band) and The One, we have our rockstars being manufactured right in front of our eyes, no pretense whatsoever. Of course, the public is being led to believe that they are having a direct say in which one of these hopefuls is actually going to be declared a "rock" or "pop" star, but since the voting debacle that got Chris questionably kicked early from this last competition, I seriously doubt it's that cut and dried. And, it seems that no matter how "original", "fresh", or whatever "thing" these individuals are bringing to the table, they tend to get cooky cuttered before it's all over with, so determined are the powers that be that they be marketable to the biggest possible demographic. Taylor HIcks somehow survived Simon's efforts to have him dismissed as irrelevant and made it to the end, but whether we ever hear from him again, on the radio, remains to be seen. Anybody remember Clay Akin?

In my surfing thru Google to find pagan material, I happened to stumble over a band named "Gaia Consort", a group based in the Pacific Northwest that rivals any power group I ever heard on FM, only they write and perform music with a pagan flavor. They have been around for quite awhile now, and have produced about five albums, all of which you can actually purchase on the iTunes Music Store. The lead singer can often sound just like one of the lead singers of Bare Naked Ladies, and that resemblance adds alot of punch and smiles to many tracks. You might not exactly GET the lyrics to many of these songs, but if you really pay attention I guarantee they will speak to you on some level regardless. The main reason I mention this band in particular is that you will NEVER hear them on mainstream FM, simply because they decided years ago not to play the commercial game and went their own way, content to be really big fish in a really small pond, and have not made it BIG, accordingly. Which is a dirty rotten shame, if you ask me, because these are self-made artists who are every bit as talented as any I heard on FM, and I think the world suffers not being exposed to them more than it has. I'll include the link to their site, where they graciously allow you to download any of their songs you desire, with the hope that maybe you'll be impressed enough to do the right thing and buy and album or two. Try walking out of a music store with a free track from Metallica, I dare ya.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you..........

Tim made some really great points concerning who we are and who other people might THINK we are based on what we say in our blogs. He's right when he says that a person is greater than the sum of his parts, and you simply can't decode those parts as seen in a blog and come away with a proper and accurate understanding of that person. Sorta reminds me of singer/songwriters and the ideas people get into their heads based on the songs these people create. Some of the worst people personality-wise write the most beautiful songs. It's a shame, but that's life. Get over it.

Which brings me to my twist on this subject. They say that first impressions can make or break you when it comes to relationships. This can apply to lovers, friends, coworkers, you name it; just about anyone that you relate to in some fashion or another. Thing is, though, if you make your assumptions based on that first impression, chances are you've really gotten it wrong. This has been a real problem for me, as I was born with this perpetual frown, or rather look of seriousness, upon my face. It hasn't helped me when it comes to first impressions. If there's one thing I have heard more of than I'd really care to hear, it's, "Smile!"

Well, dammit, I probably AM smiling, but doing it behind a neutral expression that Bob in his good graces installed on my mug when I was born that most people interpret wrong. Believe me, I might LOOK angry when I'm not trying, but you'd DEFINITELY know if I really WAS pissed off. I'm truly sorry folks, but right now I can't afford to have a plastic surgeon install a nice, friendly neutral expression on my face.

I suppose that makes me one of those people they are talking about when they say, "Oh, he's pretty damn nice once you get to know him." I bet friends of bikers say that alot. This is not to say that everybody is going to like me or get along with me, because lots of personalities just don't mesh. There are things about me that I have come to recognize over the years that could use some adjustment, but remembering that when it's a good time to do so isn't as easy as I'd like it to be. My major flaw is a mouth that is far too motorized than it needs to be. If you see a vein popping on my forehead and a look like I'm about to explode, relax, it's just me catching myself talking to much and trying my damnedest to shut up and listen, even though I have this need to interject something profound into the conversation. And, no, chances are it's anything BUT profound; I just happen to think it is. Thinking too rapidly rarely does me any good, but does provide lots of regret later as I slap myself on the forehead and ask my incredibly amazing self, "what in the FUCK where you thinking?!"

Despite all of it, my personality flaws and an unreadable face, I honestly think I am a rather nice and caring person. But, like I stated up THERE ^, that's based on a possibly flawed and clueless self-assessment. So, in the end, I have accepted that what truly matters is how I am perceived and understood by those who deal with me on a daily and prolonged basis that really counts. I mean, you may not GET me in that first five minutes, but you will eventually, unless you are a slave to first impressions, and nothing I do is going to overcome that.

So, as you read my blog, please don't think for one second that you truly know me. Yes, I hope that in the end, you wish to believe that I am a good person worthy to know, but you can't really know that without knowing me in flesh and blood. In return, I am not going to judge YOU one way or another, based on what you have written, for I am well aware how equally unfair that truly is. Except for that dweeb troll I suffered awhile back that is......I KNOW YOU'RE A FUCKING ASSHOLE!

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Copyright 2006, TheMichael Inc., Ltd., & other various abbreviations........

The story you are about to read is true. The names have been fabricated, not to protect the innocent, but to place the blame on others who may resemble the characters in these circumstances.

Any resemblance to any persons, living, dead, or embalmed but hanging in there, is purely unintentional, as they have refused to pay the licensing fee I impose for mentioning them in this soon-to-be award winning blog.

This is not void where such things are not prohibited. If it IS prohibited, then I will plead ignorance, since ignorance is forgivable under the law, as is currently being demonstrated by our esteemed president.

The following is recommended for mature audiences. If you are not mature, but are in the audience, just make sure your guardians are not aware that you are reading this, as they might get very angry at me, and you wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

Violations of copyright law are punishable by some government agency, I don't know which, that prints dire warnings on DVD movies, as if some pimply faced kid pirating videos is the slightest bit worried they are going to get caught.

And now, our feature post................

Dammit, honey, I TOLD you not to touch that button..........

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Super Heroes

Super heros. Fodder of comic books and feature films. They intend to display the best virtues that humans are claimed to possess. Superman, who wasn't even from this planet, vowed to fight for truth, justice, and the American way. Honor, courage, strength of character, all these things were the shining example they strove to uphold. Some of mankind's earliest super heroes were the Knights of the Round Table, those mostly fictitious warriors who upheld the idea of chivalry under the wise leadership of King Arthur. But, really, we all know better, don't we? To be human decries any hope of being a super-hero, so flawed are all of us in one aspect or another. Today we are lucky to have police departments, or even combat units, that we can count on to live and perform their duties with honor and integrity. I am not saying that the majority of these men we depend on do not address their calling with the best intentions, but they are, like all of us, human, and sometimes they cross over to the wrong side of that line.

There are so many professions that are made up of individuals who fail to understand the depth of responsibility that comes with their chosen careers, or perhaps are incapable of really caring. Prosecutors are charged with dealing with those amongst us who threaten our peace, yet sometimes they get lazy and think that a body count is proof they are doing their jobs rather than putting away the animals that stalk us. based on true evidence. These people are not super-heroes, they mock the very idea. Teachers who gain tenure and sleep at their desks, or hide behind them, will not provide us with future super-heroes. Presidents who think the job is about power and wielding that power against critics make us all look bad. Reporters who spend their time chasing flash and hype, rather than seeking the truth we need to truly enjoy democracy threaten that democracy. And soldiers who think that an M-16 makes them judge, jury, and executioner might as well fight for the other side for all the good they are lending to their country.

I know why we need super-heroes. We want to think as humans, we have within us incredible powers for good, knowing deep inside we are much better at being villains. Well, I have known super-heroes, and I have found them in the most ordinary places, never to be celebrated on the pages of comics or the big screen. One is Holly, a critical care nurse. She is a devout Christian, but you wouldn't know that unless you asked her. But you would suspect it, if you knew her and watched her care for her patients, not because of the money, although I know she needs it as much as any of us do, but because that's how she performs her amazing feats, although she would never admit to that. Another is one of my new nurse managers, a rather plump and jolly lady who called me up at home just to thank me for not complaining about a certain work assignment. I felt like I was being respected, something I rarely feel these days, and that to me was heroic. Another hero I admire is Al Gore, a man maligned for his stiff character and liberal heart, who handled a questionable defeat with grace and dignity, and went on to do what he could to make us realize that the survival of the human race was at stake when all the nay-sayers were dismissing global warming as liberal hype. And certainly not the least of my super-heroes is my wife, who despite my ineptitude as a husband and provider, makes me feel like a super-hero myself, when I want to feel anything but. Now, none of these people have super powers, but they do have what it takes to be what we would prefer the definition of humanity to be. They have heart. Good hearts. And I'll take that over super-strength or the ability to leap over tall buildings any day.

The Continuing Saga of Recovery

It's day two post-op, and the wife's pain is doing better thanks to the Demerol. I used to tell my wife that one of the things that attracted me to her was how "bright" she was in just about any surrounding. As pissy as many shoppers can be, there ARE many nice people whom have been her customers, one of whom just sent her flowers and a note telling her to get well and that she is missed.

Under her learned tutelage, I managed to produce a most excellent pot of home-made chili, from start to finish. I snuck in some extra chili powder, and despite my fears I might have overdone it, I sighed a breath of relief as she announced it was very, very good. And I agree. It WAS! Of course, I'm no dummy. I know damn well that she has diabolically taught me how to prepare, and be responsible for, another favorite dish. She's no dummy either.

Putin and Bush; now aren't those two a pair? They hide their disdain for each other under this guise of being good buddies. Dubya, your good buddy, whose eyes you gazed into and pronounced to have a good soul, ain't no good old boy. He's an ex-KGB officer who misses the good old days, and he's going to, one way or another, bring back that Soviet Union, and we'll be right back where we started. As much as I hated Reagan, there's no way in hell he'd be performing a bad parody of "Broke Back Diplomacy" like you are with this man. Get a clue, Dubya.

NBC nightly news just did a spot on global warming, and it just occurred to me that I might have made an EXCELLENT real estate acquisition. When the sea level begins to rise as the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps melt, I may very well find myself in possession of an acre of beachfront property! If anybody is interested in investing, this parcel is just big enough to fit a nice beachfront condo on.......hehe.

Oh, and there HAS been good news today. The Discovery and it's brave crew are still alive. One must find silver linings wherever they can be found.

Until my next exciting post, be well, and blessed be.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Val Kilmer's Fat Face, Demerol, and the Fear of Death

Today I bought a small quantity of a higher quality vodka, or so the bottle insinuated. The cheaper stuff I'd been buying attracted me by it's promise of having been distilled four times, rather than the mere three times promoted by a more expensive brand. Then, this Swedish stuff topped THAT with no less than five, count 'em, five distillations. I bit. I bought. Now, I probably committed an atrocity by mixing this fine elixir with the cheapest store brand orange juice I could have gotten, but hell, all things being relative, this is one smoooooooooooooooooth screwdriver I'm enjoying as I type this post. I would also like to qualify all this by mentioning that this vodka was on sale. I am, after all, a caviar individual on a fish egg budget.

I was just watching a better-than-I-expected movie entitled "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang", starring Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer. Val has gotten a bit fat in the face. OK, the point. If you want to achieve a certain immortality or fame beyond your own accomplishments, raise a brilliant kid and name him Junior. That "Jr." tagged onto his name insures that in a roundabout you will not be forgotten for an additional generation, hopefully by his good works and not the trouble he gets into. Junior is as famous for his civilian hijinks as he is for his acting. So much for immortality.

I know there's no way in hell that I could be elected president. However, let's go out on a limb here and imagine I could, and that I have. What is it that The Michael wants to do that stands him apart from every other dickweed that has occupied that hallowed office? First off, I would (as far as I know) be the first American president ever to apologize to the world in general for what the last president did in the name of the American People. I would direct the Attorney General of the United States to find any possible reasoning he can think up to bring that asshole up on charges, and no, no amount of bribes would buy him a pardon. I would enact and shame congress into passing sweeping legislation to reform the corporate structure, and I would force the oil companies, or any company that sells necessary commodities, to charge what it actually costs to produce these products, plus a reasonable profit.
I would reform the credit system in this country so that you either get credit at reasonable interest rates, or you don't get it at all. No more of this piling debt up on the American people to prop up a wobbly economy so that people can pile up junk in their garages. And yes, I would expect to be assassinated during my first term.

As a young man, had I really had the capacity to contemplate living till my nineties, I probably would have thought it a worthy goal. Even now, I am not all that keen on the possibility of dropping dead with a heat attack at this keyboard, getting blindsided by an SUV tomorrow as I run errands in my Ford Focus, or dying for some other freak reason. However, I have reached this magic stage in my life when the idea of death doesn't have that horrifying texture to it that it once might have had. I suppose it's because I have worked side by side with death for more than ten years now. I suppose it's because it seems I have reached the end of my journeys for this trip around. I suppose it's because I have discovered so many more horribly worse situations to be in then dead. And, I suppose it's because I have been liberated from the fear of hellfire as promised me by those who tried to make me believe in a "loving" God. Whatever the reason, it may yet be early, but I am ready. I know that instinctively I am going to experience at least some minor terror should I realize that I truly am going to die fairly soon, but at least at this moment, I am not afraid. I wish I could convey how comforting that is.

Right now the wife is going through a rough patch. Her finger is really hurting her after her surgery. We had to call the surgeon and ask for stronger pain killers and he prescribed Demerol. It's an improvement, but I have been around this sensation long enough to know that the term "painkiller" is an optimistic term at best. Personally, I have only experienced a few episodes of extreme pain, once when my finger was crushed in a machine and another when my ribs were broken by another machine. Yes, I suppose machines have it out for me. Oh, and that bad case of shingles was no picnic either. So I am trying to empathize with The Wife right now having to hear her cry at night because the pain pills she was initially prescribed were not up to the task. I try not to allow my feelings of inadequacy overshadow my concern for her suffering. As a husband, there is some rule written somewhere that states I am to kiss it and make it better. You Moms know what I mean. That kiss helps, in some manner, but it doesn't make it better. I really feel so helpless right now. The new pills seem to be working at least a little better. I wish there was a pill for my own failures.

I'm beginning to wonder if having so much to write about is necessarily a good thing. Sometimes boring is preferable to having plenty of blog fodder, if you know what I mean. Please believe me when I say that in the grand scheme of things, if stuff like my wife is suffering and vodka distilled five times is really smooth and the world sucks and I'm not afraid to die is the best I can come up with for a blog, well, it is what it is. This is reality, folks. I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.

I have always been rather critical of Israel's "carte blanche" status in the Middle East, always supported by the U.S. no matter how heavy handed it has responded to those that threaten it. I understand you need to go after terrorists who wish to wipe you off the map, but bulldozing people's homes because their idiot teenage son was brainwashed into becoming a suicide bomber only creates more of the same, a never-ending cycle. I have always had this surreal pity for the Palestinian people, who had their homeland stolen to create the State of Israel, and have been treated about as badly as American blacks were in this country and almost as bad as the Jews themselves were throughout history. It's as though the Jews of Israel took to heart the fine art of persecution.

OK, we can poke fingers at both sides, but this latest fiasco is beyond ridicule. First, Hamas, having been elected by a clueless and angry populace in the Gaza Strip, demonstrates why Israelis hate them so much by immediately sneaking into Israel proper and kidnapping soldiers, as if Israel was going to immediately cave into their demands to get them back. DUH, where in the hell are your brains, you idiots? If there's ONE thing Israel has demonstrated time and time again, it's that it does NOT negotiate with terrorists and it bites back HARD. I'm sure the citizens of the Gaza strip are so impressed with your good governance....... Now, as if stupidity were contagious, Hezbullah, their terrorist brethren to the North in Lebanon, have done the same thing, and now the citizens of Lebanon are feeling the effects of such folly. Like I said, you fuck with Israel, you suffer the consequences.

What is really apparent about these people, is that despite their grievances, real and imagined, they cant seem to understand, or if they do, care, what effect their actions have on those they claim to represent. I can tell you one thing, Hezbullah does NOT represent the interests of all the citizens of Lebanon, yet the innocent are suffering alongside those with vested interests in this group. Lebanon has come so far from the civil war wracked wasteland that sectarian strife had made of it, and now their peaceful progress is once again threatened. Equally, the Palestinians had a good chance of determining their own fates with the withdrawal of Israel from the Gaza Strip, and now that has been totally wasted with the election of the worst possible kind of people to represent them. Almost sounds like our own elections, doesn't it?

The holocaust created a new race of Jew, a people that never again will meekly be persecuted by every other race in the world because people need someone to hate. This has had the effect of arguably turning these people into the very kind of overlords that once tried to have them eliminated. In many ways, Jews now think of Muslims in much the same way that American Caucasians imagined African Americans. It's easy to demonize a whole class of people when many of those people publicly vow to kill every last one of you. So, peoples of the Middle East, keep glorifying cowardly terrorists who claim to have your best interests at heart while incurring the wrath of a people who have survived time and time again the jaws of genocide, and believe me when I tell you that this war will NEVER end. Rise above your oppressors, disavow violence, seek peaceful coexistence, and you'd be amazed what could happen. We here in America know what can happen; and we have a holiday named after the man who showed us how; Martin Luther King, Jr.

Poor Man's Photoshop

With some time on my hands, I decided to see what I could do with The Printshop, a program I acquired awhile back for greeting cards and such. It has limited functionality as far as photo manipulation goes, but I suppose with a bit of practice you could produce some pretty neat stuff. I was just screwing around and came up with this. I think Tim is safe as king of illusion.......

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Pinkies, Pain, Promises, and Politics

I'm taking a caretaker holiday for the next week. The wife has had this finger problem for some time now, ever since I accidentally closed a metal gate on her pinky. The finger hadn't actually been broken during the freak accident (me not knowing she had her hand on the post as I swung the gate shut), but the trauma that did occur fueled the arthritis that she already has in her joints and the finger eventually became crooked and painful to touch, prompting a trip to the finger doctor who decided the joint had to be fused.

So, we are home now after the operation. The surgeon opened up the pinky, cleaned up and aligned the bones, inserted a small metal rod and wired it all together. She's sleeping right now with a bandage around her hand that looks like a boxing glove. I just hope the percocet keeps her from suffering to much while this finger heals. In the meantime, I have assumed the full-time role of chief cook and bottle washer, nurse, and distractor, all of which I am fully qualified to assume. In return, bless her, she's promised me a full day in which she is "at my disposal", and whatever you wish to assume that really means, I plan to take full advantage of it.........hehe. However, since full use of both hands are a minimum prerequisite for this particular job, it may be awhile before I can hold her to it, and no doubt I imagine she is hoping I forget all about it. Sly little devil, I do love her......grin.

Well, our experiment in power conservation has apparently paid off, as this month's power bill is $20 less than last month's, and I expected it would have been almost twice as much had we not gotten medieval with the electricity around here. It is still a terribly high bill, for us at least. As the price of fuel continues to skyrocket, it's going to hit everybody hard no matter what they do, and more money the energy sucks out of our wallets, the less we have to spend on things that keeps the economy healthy, or even our basic bills. I hope the stockholders in Exxon and other oil companies are giving at least passing thought to what their paper wealth is doing to the rest of us, but it's amazing what people can't see through green lenses.

Despite the efforts of many companies who are involved in commerce on the net, it seems that congress is being well payed by those lobbyists who what to cash in on access to the information highway, mainly by forcing those who want higher bandwidth access to pay thru the nose for it. Very soon we may well be forced to pay what we now pay for cable grade speed just to maintain a dial-up connection, while the well-to-do will have to pay higher subscription fees for the convenient access to movie and music downloads or even blogs like these. Frankly, this pisses me off, because this is just one more method of corporate control and censorship via capitalism, so only those who can afford that $5 for the first three minutes will get to express an opinion or expose something that needs to be known to the rest of us. Makes me wonder why any of us should bother to vote anymore when it's becoming apparent that it's not the people who are controlling our lives that we get to elect these days, and the ones we DO elect are simply bought and paid for by big business. China is already practicing the kind of corporate democracy we are steadily heading towards now. Yes, America, I know, we have what we are given or walk away.....and starve. Isn't freedom wonderful?

Now imagine if one day the highway patrol started pulling people over on the highway and asking for your ID, then shooting you right there on the spot if you happen to have the wrong last name. Suppose the Jones decided the Smiths all deserve to die. That's what life in Iraq is like these days. Pre-Sadam, Post-Sadam, what in the hell is the difference? Oh, I's now a free and democratic Iraq! Well, then, ain't that special?

Meanwhile, the Taliban, that awful bunch of Islamic extremists we were supposed to have toppled in response to 9/11 are back in even larger numbers. Seems they were on vacation in Southern Afghanistan while we were making Kabul safe for democracy. Now I know how to spell that word that defines the Bush Administrations foreign policy........FUBAR.

In the meantime I would like to thank all of you bloggers who have become such a blessing to my sanity, especially Tim and Shandi who have been somewhat prolific lately with their wonderful and hilarious posts. It helps to distract me from these weights on my shoulders, which I am so thankful to be able to bear so much easier with your able assistance, in words that rival deeds in what they do for me. Who in the hell needs a bible when a much more honest truth is available right here on this screen, courtesy of you very special souls whom I have come to have much affection for. Thank you.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Yippe Ki-Yay, Mother&*(&^(&^(*%'s

Some would think that comment on the redneck, conservative, fundamentalist mindset was a recent phenomenon, but believe me, it's nothing new. Probably beginning with the Nixon Administration, those with an educated, insightful, more progressive outlook began to point out, either thru parody or outright illumination, the inane way good-old-boy America approached being American.

One of the first singers I heard back in those changing times that really struck a chord with me with comic observation was not even an American, but boy did he ever get it right! There is a song on his "Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only The Piano Player" album that to this very day says it all, as far as I'm concerned. Do YOU know who recorded this?


I heard from a friend you'd been messing around
With a cute little thing I'd been dating uptown
Well I don't know if I like that idea much
Well you'd better stay clear I might start acting rough

You out of town guys sure think you're real keen
Think all of us boys here are homespun and green
But that's wrong my friend so get this through your head
We're tough and we're Texan with necks good and red

So it's Ki yi yippie yi yi
You long hairs are sure gonna die
Our American home was clean till you came
And kids still respected the president's name

And the eagle still flew in the sky
Hearts filled with national pride
Then you came along with your drug-crazy songs
Goddamit you're all gonna die

How dare you sit there and drink all our beer
Oh it's made for us workers who sweat spit and swear
The minds of our daughters are poisoned by you
With your communistic politics and them negro blues

Well I'm gonna quit talking and take action now
Run all of you fairies clean out of this town
Oh I'm dog tired of watching you mess up our lives
Spending the summertime naturally high

So it's Ki yi yippie yi yi
You long hairs are sure gonna die
Our American home was clean till you came
And kids still respected the president's name

And the eagle still flew in the sky
Hearts filled with national pride
Then you came along with your drug-crazy songs
Goddamit you're all gonna die
oh, lord
Goddamit you're all gonna die
yes, lord
Goddamit, you're all gonna die

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Madness, Musings, and Mickey

When one reads the rants and raves of another, there is a certain quality to the words they craft that either gets your attention or causes you to abandon them altogether. That can be a shame, for one day it may be drivel, the next, outright brilliance. I'm sure that Einstein, Plato, even Christ had their bad days, and to have been judged for their musings during that snippet of time would have changed the course of history. If Christ had fed the masses with one hotdog or bag of peanuts during a World Cup match, I doubt anyone would have noticed, quite frankly. Thus, I am glad I have returned more than once to see what Mickey has been blathering about.

Mickey's cache' is that he is Christ incarnate, a madman, both, or neither. That on the face of it would normally cause me to dismiss him altogether, for I am sure he is in insanely good company and I don't have all their blogs bookmarked. However, because I was paying more attention to what was being written between the lines rather than any premise, I sometimes feel as though I have struck literary gold. No, I don't really care that he hates his Sister's guts (I might have misunderstood in that regard but it hardly matters) or that he has issues with inanimate objects he suspects might be possessed by Satan. But I DO care that his eloquence at times could never be attained by someone of relative sanity. Perhaps his madness, much like my own, is an acquired taste, but believe me, pay attention and you GET IT, and find yourself grinning from ear to ear.

I don't really believe Mickey believes in Christ as the Son of God, much less that he himself IS the Son of God come back to us in a straight jacket, but as a schtick it works well for him. If I had the misfortune of hopping on the lithium express, I would go with Napoleon, myself, since we both share stature and a sense of unappreciated arrogance. Instead, in the throws of my sanity, I have chosen to pay homage to my imagination (a word that seems so much safer and superior to madness) by doing part time evangelizing for Bob the Almighty, who has enlightened me in many ways concerning the answers to life's nagging questions. My only saving grace is that I have chosen to accept this knowledge as personal enlightenment borne of my own ethos rather than blaming it on some hapless superior omnipotence who's just trying to mind his/her/it's own business. I'm sure Bob doesn't want to be blamed for the holocaust anymore than Ken Lay did for Enron, the later actually deserving to be, in my opinion. The day mankind takes responsibility for it's own atrocities, the sooner we'll stop committing them.

A man ensnared and held hostage to his own voices is a lonely man, which is why I am thankful for the likes of Mickey, as well as Tim, Shandi, and the Buffalo, and even the occasional peeps from darling gina. If Mickey were ever cured of what supposedly ails him, I think something weirdly wonderful would be lost forever, thus, shamelessly and selfishly, I dare hope no cure is ever found. I like Mickey just the way he is, at least as I know him on a monitor. In real life, I'd probably be practicing my restraint techniques on him, keeping him safely imprisoned in the hospital bed until the shrink showed up to decide what to do with him. May we never meet that way.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Our mental constructs are so much richer than the world we find ourselves in.  Our imaginings have created worlds and creatures that that arguably never were and, still again, may never be. Yet, It is already apparent that fiction can be a precursor to some future fact, as was so ably demonstrated by Leonardo DaVinchi and Jules Verne.  Verne foretold the submarine in a time when such a vessel was clearly an impossible construct, although he came very close to describing in great detail what would ultimately come to rule the sea.  DaVinchi imagined many great possibilities which are now hauling us around in the sky, were used as weapons of war, etc.  But the most powerful paintings of fiction are those of creatures of myth and legend such as the dragon, the wizard, and the monster of various configurations.  Which makes me wonder if the real creatures that inhabited the Earth with us were simply not terrifying enough, that man had to fashion even more incredible beasts from his imagination, such as those that inhabit the myths of the early Greeks.  The creature most famous in historical fiction is the dragon, a beast born of many distinct cultures, that breathed fire and terrified hapless villagers with it's nasty disposition till such time a heroes could be found to dispatch it to it's rightful death.  The Krakon probably was birthed from the wild and fearful imaginations of seafarers who could not process the glimpses of strange creatures such as the giant squid and the whale, who even in their terrible size and strangeness still were inflated to such capabilities as attacking and dragging down entire ships, or so the tales would tell.

     Where once we spun these tales on papyrus, parchment, and paper, we now consume our myths on televisions and big movie screens, the better to lend outrageous power to even more terrifying creatures and invaders than even the most imaginative of the ancients could conjure.  As we push our fellow animals towards extinction, we need new and more powerful enemies to be afraid of, if only in our nightmares.  Yet, I would suggest that there has always been one creature upon this Earth that has put all others to shame, one so innocent in construct, so evil in capability, that is real and genuine and is to be feared above all others, for this creature shall truly be the death of us all.  That creature has created this post and reads it upon publication; that creature being US.

Blogged with Flock

Monday, July 03, 2006

Birthdays, Birthdays, always another Birthday........

Eighteen took an eternity. Twenty one, well, it was about friggin time. Twenty-five, it was nice. Thirty, well, it snuck up on me. I never saw it coming. I looked back and couldn't for the life of me remember having been around that long. I was fully prepared for forty. Forty was good. And I still looked maybe twenty six at the most, although a few years earlier they had stopped carding me.

By the time forty-five ambled along, I'd had enough. No more birthdays for me, nosiree! The larger numbers were having some wicked psychological effect on my body. It was slowing down, and pains that used to go away weren't doing that any more. Strange hairs started growing in weird places. I started having this idea I was getting wise in some ways. Instead of knowing everything like I had back at eighteen, I was starting to realize there was a hell of alot I DIDN'T know about shit. So, forty five was about as old as I was willing to get.

That's when I decided to ditch the old tradition of adding another candle to the cake (which I hate, by the way; I prefer ice cream) and simply celebrate my annual forty-fifth birthday every year, much in the same vein as Jerry Lewis' Labor Day Telethon, the annual Thanksgiving day parades, etc, you get my drift. Since I don't appear to be aging, I can get away with it. If I shaved my beard, with it's sneaky streaks of gray in it, I could easily pass as 36 anyway. Sure, there's gray in my hair, which I have been blessed by these great genes to still have plenty of, but nobody notices it unless I point it out to them. When you tell someone how old you are and you have to resort to pointing out stealth signs of age to back it up, then you know you have it sussed. Still, coming home from work feeling like my legs have been beat with iron bars, and waking in the morning with my back on fire keeps me honest, at least to myself.

I always felt that I was meant to be delivered on the 4th of July to celebrate our nation's independence, but the stork got held up in a holding pattern for two days and thus I was late getting here. So, on this 6th of July, after all the smoke has cleared and the four day holidays are over, I get to celebrate my Sixth Annual Forty-Fifth birthday. Anyone who suggests I'm really 51 is a liar! We here at Pendragon Hold will enjoy the day as usual......which these days is nothing special. I don't do cakes, 45 candles are a fire hazard, and we can't afford anything I really, really want, so I will enjoy this day the way any sane man should; being glad I'm still alive, not homeless, and in relative good health, married to a woman who adores me in her own irreverent fashion. The state of Florida will give me the gift that keeps on giving, that being the requirement that I get my tags renewed, and AARP will make another attempt at convincing me that I'm a senior citizen in dire need of protection from those young whipper-snappers in Washington.

If there truly was a deity that answered prayers, it would be for this one gift; to want those things worth wanting, to be blessed to have what I do, and the smarts to understand the difference between that and that 56 inch plasma HDTV I feel so guilty at lusting after. But honestly, the special request I'd put in if He/She/It were accepting them would be that my wife would be cured of all those pains that have haunted her in most of these years I have known her. I've given her precious little more than my love, and that's all she's asked of me. That's what makes every birthday I've had these past 13 or so years so special, no matter how I calculate them.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Damned if you do............

OK, it is quite apparent that at least 50% of our fellow Americans just don't seem to "get it" when it comes to understanding just what it is that makes being American so special, something we have come to expect others to aspire to. The recent rash of bad behaviors by our troops over in Iraq are perfect examples of violations of principles we hold dear, exactly the same principles that were so baldly violated back during the Vietnam war. We EXPECT our enemies, namely those who hold no values that get in the way of their aims, to commit atrocities during the course of conflict, but in order to adhere to a higher calling, a standard of conduct that is required in order to claim to wear the white hats, we Americans must restrain those natural tendencies to lower ourselves to the level of those we consider inhuman, even as they test us by their refusal to play by the rules, for failure to do so lowers us to their level and makes us no better than them.

I keep hearing how this "war on terrorism" requires a different approach, a relaxation of the rules of combat, in order to defeat an enemy that fights from the shadows and can only be considered evil. Well, then, where may I ask does it stop, this dunning down of honor, of principle, of being able to sleep at night knowing you allowed yourself to abandon the principles you swore an oath to protect? Can you tell me with a straight face that your following orders that violated the Geneva Conventions were no different than those orders that were so faithfully followed by the average Nazi soldier during World War Two? Can you look a fellow warrior in the eye and declare yourself justified in committing cold blooded murder, because one of your buddies died having to drive a humvee down a road littered with IED's? That's no different than killing a Great White Shark because your buddy decided to dive into the water with one and became dinner for his troubles.

We also are trying desperately to justify this strange version of justice that Dubya, in all his dubious wisdom, has crafted and applied to insurgents and terrorists, by virtue of the fact that they can't afford and don't apply much necessity to uniforms. I am not saying that a goodly number of these pathological criminals should be regarded the status of "warrior" as is subscribed in the Geneva Conventions, but there is a damn good reason the international community came up with these rules as regards to warfare. So, think about it, one can either be judged a "warrior", based on what he does, how he does it, and what he's doing it for, or you can judge him a common criminal, no different than the serial killer, the violent racist skinhead berserker, or the mad dog maniac who slaughters a whole family. You either charge them with a crime, or you don't. You can't have your justice and ignore it too, at your convenience.

Now, it is quite obvious that we have a new generation of mad dogs running around the world committing the worst atrocities imaginable, and we call them terrorists. These individuals do not hide their identities, they proclaim from their hidden cesspools of shelter what their intentions are, and they make no pretense whatsoever of obeying any rules of decency. These individuals by virtue of there own declarations paint bright red, humongous targets on their chest and dare us to score a bulls eye. It's an invitation we have no problem accepting, and the rules in this case are simple; you hunt them down and kill them. They have already abandoned any pretense of deserving of any special treatment under any rule of warfare, totally voluntarily and of their own volition. No need to waste a good jury on deliberating their guilt or sentence. What more can a moral society ask for?

Well, apparently, this particular leader we happen to have been saddled with under questionable circumstances is to damn lazy to and to simple minded to understand that this special consideration does not apply to everyone that hates us and takes a shot at us. The arab guy walking down the street at about the same time that a marine patrol is ambushed or an IED has gone off shouldn't have to be resigned to the fact that he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. It should be a given that there was SOME evidence that he had something to do with this crime before someone pounced on him and hauled his ass of to Gitmo and held him there for years without even charging him with anything. Yes, it is quite possible that he had something to do with it, but then again, so does the average American caught in the vicinity of a criminal act, but that does not justify assumptions that rob a person of due process, not here, not ANY where. And what if it just so happens that this person whom we hauled off to hell because he was " walking while Iraqi" DIDN'T have anything to do with the crime? What have we done? Number one, we didn't get another terrorist or insurgent off the street. Number two, we just earned one more reason for the average Iraqi to hate our guts. Number three, a clear cut violation of internationally recognized human rights was committed by none other than the nation that was most famous for protecting human rights. The damage done by this "easy-button" method of dealing with enemies does us as much harm to us as it does our enemies.

This country has to stand for SOMETHING. If we continue to change the rules as we go along, applying them differently to one group as opposed to another, ignoring the principles laid down by our founding fathers, then we risk becoming the very people we claim to be holding the line against. Perhaps the qualities that are possessed by individuals who wish to lead include an allergy to having to rule according to the rule of law. And perhaps we have to reassess what kind of qualities we desire in our elected leaders. I honestly do not think that fully half the people in this country are so brain dead that they can't understand the corrosive effects that blind patriotism can have on the rights that we hold so dear, but sometimes it's hard not to think that perhaps to many people in this country are too comfortable in their comfort and righteousness, and need a real wake-up call. Let's just hope they wake up before we all find ourselves staring down the barrels of the guns of our own gestapo.