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.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Blogging While Famous

Being famous carries with it much responsibility. As a celebrity of dubious influence, it is incumbent upon me to examine closely the state of affairs of this world and make public my observations, as seen through the eyes of one who sees things sometimes just a tad differently than most. If my observations seem obvious to you, then go to the head of the line and collect your prize. If not, then think a moment, evaluate what I have said against all available evidence, and go from there, secure in the knowledge that you have been exposed to a possible epiphany. Am I right all the time? Is my outlook gospel? Of course not. That would be incredibly boring, if for no other reason than I know everything and have nothing left to do and might as well off myself. Besides, you soaking up what I have to offer and providing your own interpretations help me to fine-tune my wisdom so that the truth I do claim to know is somewhat closer to the ACTUAL truth. I already know that 4 plus 4 equals 8, but 4 of what, and what effect does the nature of the 4 things I added to the other 4 things have on the actual sum of the 2 sets? Ya never know..........

Now that I have that peculiar disclaimer out of the way, I can proceed to illuminate the dark corners of todays' occurrences, the state of matters as they exist, and how all these things might kill us all in some unknown future.

One thing I'd like to mention with a bit of smug hilarity is the fact that if I get pulled over for a DUI, not many people will know about it. So, Paris, you go girl! Be FAMOUS! Me, I'll just rest in the comfort of my second rate infamy. And drive my vehicle sober.

The space shuttle FINALLY got off the ground today. I personally do not mind if a launch is delayed, because I'm in no big hurry to see another group of brave astronauts get fried because someone was in a hurry to get things going. We still have a long way to go before we come up with a way to get from here to there as easily and carefree as we here down on the ground do with our automobiles, and even vehicles stuck to the ground have a sad habit of killing us, so safety first, I say.

We are coming up on the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, and Osama Bin Laden is still safely hidden away in some decked-out cave in Northern Pakistan. The man who claims to be president is still trumpeting how safe he and his cronies have kept us since that horrible day, despite the fact that we have now lost more lives in Iraq than we did on 9/11. Tell me, don't you normally lose more lives fighting a war than you do cleaning up the mess afterwards? Is Dubya reading the "how to fight a war" manual backwards or something? He did say, "Mission Accomplished", didn't he? Well, didn't he? I was asked how history would look back upon these days and describe them. Well, you have to remember that history is written by the victors. Only when you go back and dig up private memoirs and hidden accounts of events are you able to truly assemble an account of events untainted by political distortions. I remember the pap I was fed in school back in the 60's, history that left out the trail of tears, the oppression of segregation, the radiation that drifted throughout the country from the nuclear tests. Even now, if you tune to talk radio with a clear partisan bent, you will hear such a twisted and one-sided description of current events you might be tempted to wonder what planet these people are on. When you listen to the news my friends, please remember that there are always two sides to every story, and you usually have to blend the two accounts together to arrive at any semblance of the truth. One day, white haired old veterans of Iraq are going to tell stories of what happened there to their grandkids. I suspect those stories are not going to be pretty. But they will be the truth.

The man who claims to be president actually came out and admitted that there are "secret prisons" scattered about, places where we can interrogate terror suspects without having to worry about all those inconvenient rules against torture, circumvention of due process, etc. I suspect he must have been convinced that smoking gun evidence was about to be leaked and so he beat them to the punch, acting like it was no big deal. This man is pissing me off. Bill Clinton was impeached because he got a blow-job. Dubya is making a mockery of everything this country has stood for. Am I the ONLY goddamn American who thinks this son-of-a-bitch ought to be charged with treason? Sigh, I must be fucking mad if that's truly the case.......

With all this acrimony over terror suspect detentions in places like Guantanimo, I would like to bring up an observation which threatens the complexity of the whole process. Look, since time immemorial, it has been understood that the only people who have any carte-blanch to carry weapons and attack other people are those sanctioned as warriors or policemen by an established government of a sovereign state. Any one else who acts to kill people, be it by machine gun or bomb, is outside this definition, and are simply criminals, or more precisely, murderers. Terrorists fall easily into this category, whether or not they are supported covertly by some state or are harbored within them. If the guy you capture shooting at you or setting off bombs in market places does not have a military ID, then you haul his ass to jail, you put him on trial, you find him guilty based on the evidence, and then you put him away forever or fry his sorry ass. It's that simple. Just because he's crazier than your home grown gang banger, has access to heavy weaponry, whatever the case, he is still outside the code of military justice, but falls under civil law, and can be dealt with just as easily. You don't have to torture him to get a confession, you don't have to hide the evidence that proves him guilty, you don't have to keep him hidden away incognito without access to a lawyer. The only reason you would want to go to such extremes to deal with such people is some kind of desire not to have to abide by the rule of law, which is the only thing which separates people like us from people like them. By acting this way, you BECOME them. And we don't want THEM running this country of ours.

I hear alot of people are upset that Pluto has been downgraded from planetary status to mere planetoid. Well, it makes perfect sense that a celestial body barely the size of a moon should not be considered a planet in the truest sense of the word. There are plenty of objects that orbit this star that are just as worthy as pluto if you want such things considered as planets, and there are just to many of them to invite them all in for no good reason. I suppose the scientific department of naming things should have thought about all that before they allowed Pluto to be considered a planet to begin with. Well, I say let's just keep cute little Pluto in our hearts as a favored celestial body and leave it at that. I'm sure it's not going to effect the astrologers all that much.

I'm already late with this post so I might as well shut up now and get it published. Thank Bob I'm not being paid for this, having to meet deadlines and having my content picked over by lawyers and bean-counters. That would REALLY derail my train of thought, and believe me, you wouldn't want a train loaded down with what's in MY brain running off the tracks! Till next post, merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Epic announcements and other such nonesense......

Well, let's see, what can I come up with tonight? The news was pretty interesting. Pakistan has announced a deal with the Taliban, Al Quida, and any other terrorist miscreant who can agree to behave themselves, by resting comfortably in a remote and so-far unsuppressed mountainous region between Government controlled Pakistan and Afghanistan. It's a sort of "we'll quit coming after you and getting killed doing so if you'll agree not to keep killing us for trying to bring you to justice and establish the rule of law in our own sovereign territory", kind of understanding. Wow, is that a deal or what? I'm sure Dubya will come up with some good-old-boy euphemisms to explain to us, the victims of the worst terrorist attack in history, why our partners in the war on terror really know how to fight terrorism. No, folks, I'm not kidding, this was on the news tonight. Really. I swear to Bob.

In other news, NASA has introduced the winner of the new, state of the art manned mission vehicle that will take us to the moon, and who knows, maybe even back again. Utilizing everything we've learned since the Apollo moon missions, shuttle technology, and advanced materials and electronics advances, we have...........Apollo. Yep. The exact, in most respects, same vehicle. One big cone-shaped capsule on top of big tanks of rocket fuel. Only THIS time (get this, it's good), the capsule will land not in the ocean, but on DRY LAND! That's right, folks, having watched the Russians land their spheres on the tundra with the assistance of air bags and/or thruster brakes, NASA has decided to forego the expense and relative softer landing in the ocean in favor of just dropping them right back where they started, saving all that jet fuel from out West hauling the craft on a 747. And, apparently instead of making it out of aluminum foil, only good for one shot, they will make it out of HEAVY DUTY aluminum foil, good for at least several more hauls back to the moon. Don't you just love advanced research and development? The Starship Enterprise is JUST around the corner folks! Just try finding that corner.....Oh, but there WILL be significant advances on the moon buggy we'll use to scoot around the moon. Same go-cart, except THIS baby will have air-bags, anti-lock brakes, and cup holders, not to mention an iPod adaptor on the dash board.

We watched Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome, last night. My take on that movie requires a whole post, so stay tuned.

My friend HE just had an excellent post concerning everybody's chance to be a star, thanks to the blogoverse. Which segways me into my announcement.......

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am now famous. Yes, I, THE Michael, have embraced my fame and am running full-tilt boogie with it! WHAT, might you ask, makes me think I am in any shape or form worthy of fame? Hell, that one's easy! I said so. Just like someone somewhere, it might even have been her, hell, I don't know, declared that Paris Hilton was famous. Without even mentioning why, exactly. Because she was rich? An heiress? Skinny? And downright dimwitted? Who knows; it doesn't seem to matter. There she is. Well, so am I! Here, that is. Only I am introducing a kinder, gentler sort of fame, much more energy efficient and far less arrogant. Nope, I will not be making the rounds of all the talk shows, jumping up and down on couches like a monkey, having my mug plastered on the sides of billboards or buses, or even starring in an action packed special effects extravaganza concerning aliens or penguins. All I'm going to do is rest here on my laurels, comfortable in the knowledge that for no logical reason whatsoever, the word of my sudden fame will sweep the net like wildfire, as one blogger passes on the exciting news to the next, then the next, and so on. But, relax, my fans, this will be an easy idolatry. You won't have to rush out to buy a "THE Michael" action figure for the kids, or a lunch box or backpack with my picture on it, nor will you have to suffer the embarrassment of sneaking peeks thru the National Enquirer or other gossip rag while in the supermarket check-out counter to find out what fatal disease I am suffering from at the moment. You won't have to download my custom ring-tone, buy an autographed "The Michael" iPod or Razor cell phone, nor will you have to vote for me by text messaging BLOGSTAR SUPERDANCES. All you'll have to do, and you don't even HAVE to do it, it will just occur naturally like a stupid song that gets stuck in your head, is know THE Michael as someone who is famous for something or another, without having to explain why (just like Paris). Now, wasn't that easy? Never let it be said that THE Michael asked more of his fans than they were willing to give! In return for you love, loyalty, and support, I will do what I have always done, which is nothing more than being "THE Michael", whatever that might happen to mean to you.

P.S. I already have you covered, guys! Please send all hate-mail to As my newfound publicist, she'd LOVE to hear from you!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Sins..........Part IV

Presley had everybody crowded into the Officer's mess, and was standing at the head of the table trying very hard to calm down before he unleashed his frustrations upon the contact team, all of whom were standing at attention and staring straight ahead, perhaps hoping that the most rigid amongst them might not get singled out by the Captain for blame.

Finally, Presley spoke calmly and evenly.........."Fuck it, just sit down, except for you, Owens."

No one dared issue a sigh of relief as they all sat down and glanced sideways at the hapless Flight Officer who had been chosen to be raked over the coals first. The lander pilot remained at attention and stared straight ahead, his face as blank as he could possibly make it, not daring to express any emotion.

"Owens, first off, both you and your copilot were in charge of the base camp while we were away, and I distinctly remember saying out loud before we headed out to keep an eye on that fucking Chaplain! Second, I know damn well that a head count is called for, if nothing else than for weight and fuel management. Did you honestly expect us to do your God Damned checklist FOR YOU?!"

The Flight Officer stared straight ahead, and simply replied "No Sir!" as any good officer not looking to volunteer his faults would do. However, this particular pilot, whatever screw-ups he was responsible for, was damn lucky to have Presley for his Judge, jury, and executioner.

"Sit down Owens. Look, guys, I am responsible for the outcome of any mission under my command, and it's MY ass that's on the line if we lose the Padre. You know as well as I do, and it was aptly demonstrated down there on the planet, that the first thing that happens to any well thought out plan is that it falls apart as soon as you implement it, but that does NOT mean that we lose sight of the basic details, and that includes being responsible for one another. Not ONE of you looked around and noticed that the Chaplain was not with us when we lifted off, but neither did I, but even though you might think that means we're even, we are NOT! I know that each of you have specific responsibilities during this mission, but for Christ's sake people, let's not overlook the fucking OBVIOUS! Do you understand me!?"

A loud chorus of "Yes SIRS!" issued from the sullen ranks, and Presley moved on to the problem at hand. "OK, let's see if we can salvage this situation. "Townsend, did the drone catch any video of the camp that's of any use to us?"
The surveillance officer cleared his throat. "Ah, 'fraid not, Captain. We had it orbiting you guys while you were conducting the contact, and then we parked it at a higher altitude until and if we needed it again. We studied the archives and there's no record of what was going on back at base camp before you lifted off. Sorry, Cap."

"Shit", thought Presley to himself. That left them with two choices, either going back to the landing sight and tracking the Chaplain from there, if it was possible, or simply trying to contact the natives directly and inquiring about the human's whereabouts, which Presley was loath to do considering the natives' allergy to their presence altogether. "OK, then, I guess the best thing to do is program the drone to scan that road and see if we can either pick up some tracks or if we're lucky, the Padre himself. In the meantime, I want you, Gunny, to assemble a rescue team, only this time just forget about the optic camo, since it doesn't seem to work. We'll assemble in the dock in one hour. Townsend, I want every sensor you have locked on us at all times. And be sure to let me know immediately if the natives make any contact; I want to avoid any misunderstandings they might infer from us returning to the planet. I just want to get the Padre back in one piece and get the hell away from this side of the planet. We can worry about a second attempt at negotiations once we fix THIS mess we got ourselves into."

Presley dismissed them and headed for his stateroom to make a log entry concerning the day's activities, as was required by regulations. He didn't try to dress up the fiasco or try and place blame on any person under his command; he knew that if heads were going to roll it was going to be his, so he reported the facts, dry and without any window dressing. Hopefully, the next entry would negate the effects this one was sure to have on his career.

The Captain showed up at the dock precisely an hour later, and the Marine had his team assembled next to the lander as ordered, this time made up of a squad of 12 marines, all wearing the standard digital camo common to any land based grunt. Instead of the standard light weaponry, most were equipped with medium range stun weapons, and several of his best snipers were included. They were not out to start a war, just recover a man. Marines NEVER left a man behind, not even one who couldn't preach and chew gum at the same time. The Flight Officer, still chaffing from being chewed out by the Captain, gingerly briefed Presley on his flight plan, which would bring them down much further from the landing zone, in hopes of not alerting the locals of the town to their return, which would be much more visible in a night sky. He would fly them in low over the tree tops to the meadow and set down only several hours before sunrise. The Captain nodded his agreement, for lack of any better ideas.

As the hatch on the frigate opened and dropped the lander a second time, the object of their wasteful fuel expenditure was sleeping in a nice bed in the company of an alien race, having just enjoyed a strange and wonderful dinner served to him by his native hosts, instead of being shackled in some dungeon as he might have expected. As he slept, he dreamed of bringing Jesus to a world that didn't seem to know him. He slept the sleep of ignorance.

Friday, September 01, 2006


All hath dominion over all beneath it, yet all above toters on foundation, and you and I and every blade of grass and every wisp of fog is foundation, and thus is it's own dominion. As a solar flare might sear a moon, as an earthquake might turn to dust a pyramid, as a drop of water might bore a hole thru a mountain, thus will your spirit and those of all those who have passed and those yet to come, witness it all in all it's glory. Time is past, is now, and will be, thus is one thing known to the watchers. Life is unseen all about us, or is mammoth and imposing, yet it is all the same. A tree that knew your ancestors, an insect that lives, breeds, and dies in a mere moment, both have lived. Death knew drunks in gutters, sick babies in the helpless arms of poor mothers, and Pharaohs, for all have, and will, die. And the vacuum and darkness of space knows only things unseen, yet they are there.

Do not presume to know thyself, for you only know the moment and that kept in memory, but not what came before, nor that which comes afterwards. It is a precious puzzle given you to solve. Do not presume to know others, for what you see of them, hear of them, and suffer of them are mere illusion, for they are only passing whims in a greater show. Do not presume to want, for you can barely grasp what you have, or what it means to have. Having is fleeting, and will only become wanting once again. It is amazing simply to be.

Far beneath is a world grander than all the sky above you. Further beneath even that, the laws we live by are laughed at, twisted, ignored or altered altogether, and yet it all works just fine. There a language remains to be spoken, and here we strive to learn it. It is a all glorious gibberish.

If you think this wisdom, think again. And again. For wisdom comes to those who gather it from their own labors. I stand upon the world. Beneath my feet is the sand. I do not know this for having been told. I know things you cannot, for they are born of my own perspective. You know things which are meaningless to me, for you gathered it to yourself via your own perception. A wise man wills the nail into the wood. A smart man uses a hammer. Are we asleep yet?

These words were not crafted in the great beyond. No prophet delivered them from the lips of the divine. No bush combusted and introduced the art of stone tablet calligraphy. And no one proclaimed these words as anything but words, strung together in a fashion designed to entertain more than enlighten, for what is enlightenment other than coming across a series of ideas that may or may not speak to you for some reason only known to your outer cortex?

Thank you for your endurance. A better man or woman or curious child would have dismissed such drivel halfway thru act one. An even better man, or woman, or child which should not even be reading this, will leave a comment, hopefully a kind one.

Bob, is that you?

Assimilation Damnation

People love, nay, I dare suggest they need, to gather beneath banners, to wear labels, to identify with a group, a tribe, a nationality, a religion. Going one's own way, content in their private beliefs, satisfied with their personal identity independent of of any one institution or political entity, seems to be difficult for a human being to live with. It seems we just simply have to belong. No man is an island, it is said.

Being an integral part of the collective can have it's advantages, as well as disadvantages, both for the individual, and the collective. The effects of this on the individual can range from the mildly bothersome to the downright oppressive, depending on the form of government the particular collective has found itself governed by. I say "found itself", because in most cases you are born into an established society that was formed long before you came along, in which you as an individual have little impact on, save for your individual vote, if you are fortunate enough to enjoy the relative joys of living in a democracy. However, your comfort level, being a part of this collective, is largely dependent upon how strongly the rule of law is obeyed, for selective enforcement of the will of the collective can have a disproportionate effect on you if you have chosen or have otherwise unwittingly found yourself belonging to the wrong subset within that collective. I think Jews, African Americans, homosexuals, and other distinct groups can testify to this fact.

So why in the hell would any one individual want to risk being identified with any one group within a collective, if the risk of being in the wrong one can cause you to have a somewhat difficult life, if not a downright short one? Well, it's a form of gambling, actually, that you have identified the right group to belong to, thus enjoying the power, prestige, or whatever protection belonging to this group can afford you. Now, this only applies to those who have the good fortune to have the credentials necessary to belong to these groups, such as skin color, socioeconomic status (most often times passed down to you by ancestry), or religious affiliation. If you don't have these basics, you are shit out of luck. However, presently, in this country at least, being white, rich, republican, and Baptist, you hold the keys to the kingdom. This will not always be the magic recipe, of course, for eventually the manner in which you handled your ownership of those keys is going to effect you, or your offspring, in ways that are proportional to the pain and suffering your stewardship caused others. Kenneth Lay, I believe, might be able to shed some light on this particular side effect of stewardship gone wrong. If he were alive, that is. The stress of an impending relationship with a cell mate named Bruce was probably to much for his heart to bear. So much for belonging to the right club.

So, what is the point of all this fanciful illumination? I have a suggestion. Exercise the power of ONE. Believe whatever you wish to believe, live your life according to any set of laws that float your boat, or at least keeps you out of trouble, but if you really want to enjoy the fruits of your own good sense of direction, avoid rock solid affiliation with any established group whatsoever. Oh, you can support a cause, talk up the good points of whatever philosophy makes most sense to you, but other than that, burn any card you might be carrying in your wallet, disincline to answer any question designed to pigeonhole you group wise, and keep your own counsel. When the lynch mob makes it's rounds, you won't have a big red target painted on your chest. When the trials begin, you won't have to attempt to parley that age old excuse, "I was only following orders." And last, but not least, you'll cut down on alot of junk mail, since no group will know you exist.

Till next time, this is THE Michael, brother to all, related to none..........