Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Supermarket Superstars

I was standing in line in the grocery store the other day, holding my usual piddling amount of provisions ("Why don't you ever buy a full basket like everyone else? Freak.") I never have any patience stuck in a line, waiting for the spotlight of fraud to shine upon me. Even the most innocuous question could devastate me. ("Hey, what do you do for a living?" "Slave labor and depression. You?" ) I'm never so isolated as when I'm with others.

Fidgeting in self-pity, I notice an elderly couple ahead of me. Immediately, I try to engender some sort of hatred against them. Probably twisted and conservative over the years, bet their motto is 'Never trust anyone under 55'. Sorry old fuckers spreading bitterness and braindead propaganda against anyone who can think. Why are these people even alive? Then I actually bothered to look at them.

The old guy was sprightly and teasing his mate. Kind of reminded me of teasing my sister when I was a kid. From the look on her face you could tell this scene of endearment had played out countless times before. I could easily picture them in their twenties with that same twinkle in their eyes. My God. They are amazing! Of course, part of me was heartbroken at the sight of something I can never know. But I knew these two were superstars, having found love and kept it alive for decades - for all time. How often do you see that?

When they die, their obituaries will read like any other couple who is praised for reaching death while married. I thought of Debby and reflected on how her entire life was devoted to that final moment of praise, declaring her existence a success. Yes, Debby's fraud marriage and the superstar marriage of the couple in front of me will read the same in the black and white of the newspaper, but when the Final Day comes these two couplings will be revealed for what they are: total opposites.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Welcome to Your hell, God!

Hey, God! Let's find out how YOU like living by YOUR rules! And don't forget: You're infallible! No questioning anything or getting angry, no bitching and moaning - it's all perfect! You made it! But if You ever do get in trouble, guess what? You can always pray to Yourself. Gee, I can't wait to see how that works out!

Wow, God, I see you keep clinching Your fists. You're all tight and tense and twisted? Yeah, I know why that is. You fucked up becoming incarnate! So much for that infallibility stuff, eh? See, what you need is Debby. That driving, pummeling, dear-God-please-kill-me anguish You're feeling will NEVER cease without her. Where is she? Oh, You got no shot at her. She decided to whore herself out to the banking community. That's her way through this world: a big house, social standing, total approval. You, You're so dumb You didn't even bring money. Your soul didn't see the need for it? Well then, maybe You could try having our souls have more of a say. Ever think of that?? Regardless, in the end, no matter what kind of decisions Debby makes, You're always going be stuck needing her. (What do You mean our souls already have final say?)

Here's what's got to be Your best rule: If out of a thousand people, one person is evil, he can screw it up for everyone. Sure, You did that so we'd keep evil purged, but what happens when everyone is an asshole? Then the innocent suffer for the sins of others. That'll teach 'em to be innocent! Just like those evil crack babies and AIDS babies. They must have done something wrong to be born like that! That's a heckuva a rule You got there God. Makes the world a better place, uh huh!

See this, God? This is Your god now. We call this an automatic rifle. Only the holy may carry one. And what do we have here but five of God's closest friends and family. Oh, You gonna pay for loving them! Bam! Got one in the leg. Hear that yelling and screaming in pain, God? Bam! Got another one. Sounds better in stereo! Say what? This is a nightmare for You, God? Well, gee, maybe You should try prayer. I'll just wait here while You go through Your list. Let's see, pray for the world, pray for peace, for our leaders, for our brothers, the two people I just shot and laughed at and, oh yeah, pray for Yourself. Done, now? Bam! Bam! Got two more. Must be God's will! Kiss my god's ass, God, if You don't want me to shoot the last one too.

What's that, God? You say You're getting hungry. Well, don't bitch, that's for You're own good! Here's the rule: If You wanna eat, you gotta clean all these bathrooms in this big, giant building for eight hours a day. Boring? I don't want to hear boring out of You! Shut the fuck up, you lazy asshole! If You don't like it, don't worry. God will save You! (If not, then You have no recourse! No wonder You gave us the word 'fucked'.)

Uh oh, God walked off His job. What a no good piece of shit He turned out to be, the irresponsible bastard talking about how He wants to "live life of His own accord with dignity". Who does He think He is? Well, boo-hoo, poor baby! No one here gives a flying fuck what Your sorry ass wants! Remember, God, being holy isn't enough. We live by God's rules here. So go off in that corner and sulk if You want, but in the meantime we're all going to come by and spit on You and tell You how worthless You are without a job. If You think that's wrong, just try stopping us!!

Look at God, He looks like hell! Liking life in the streets, eh God? Sucks, I know. In blackmail we trust! All this interdependency is supposed to teach us to get along so we can survive. Great idea - unless no one chooses to survive! What's that? No one listened when You told them the truth of their doom? Awww, that's a shame. But don't worry, You did the right thing. God will save You. Not!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

There go those fists again, God! All this stress got You needing a release, huh? Your whole insides twisted and tormented until You can't stand it anymore. Now that's something I never expected to hear: God asking mercy from Himself! Face it, God: You're outranked by nooky here. We start entire wars just to express the frustration. No one cares if You want to live. We're only interested if You're willing to die. What's that? You still don't get it, do You God? A good heart doesn't pay the rent and a clean soul doesn't stop You from needing Debby. Welcome to Your hell, God!

It's kind of cool when evil people can trump any good that's in the world. Gee, I wonder who made this world? Wasn't me. Oh yeah, it was that God guy! He's having fun now, sick and starving, trapped like a rat! Wanna get out of hell free card, God? Here, try this lottery ticket. If it wins, we'll let You live like a free man. Wouldn't that be wonderful? Godly even? Ooops, You lost. God is a loser. Loooooser! I'm a winner. I killed a man and got a Happy Meal for it. What ya think of that, God? I must be better than You because I live better than You! But don't worry about the guy I killed, I didn't do it directly. I just let him die in the street. I knew Your mercy would save him had he deserved otherwise.

Whoa, dude, You're one bitter God! You say we're a bunch a savages? So what! We don't! Oh please, stop! You're making me laugh too hard! OK, go ahead, take Your message of Love to the people - Jesus, this is funny - tell them how our dreams should count and to serve only our souls. Oh man, I got tears in my eyes I'm laughing so hard. Great plan You got there, God! Mind if I take a guess how it's going to turn out. They're going to tell you they are ALREADY perfect, so why change? Oh, so what You say is the truth? HAHAHAHAHAHA. That counts for NOTHING here.

Now there's a quote I can understand: "No one believes a word I say and everyone wants Me to die." I dunno, maybe there should be more to life than just living at the mercy of your neighbor. I'll give it to You when You say this is never what You had in mind. Big deal. It's chaos that rules the day. Predators living large. Insanity presented as truth. Where's the justice in this world of ours? We're leaving it all up to You but You never show. It's hell down here, God. Maybe next time we should think twice about handing our world over to a fallen angel. (What do You mean, God, why do we allow the pain and suffering?)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Elmer Shoots a Libberul

"Damn, that felt good!" said Elmer, propping his rifle against the wall and settling into a rocking chair. "Much better now."

"Whatcha been up to, Elmer?" asked Leroy, already settled into his chair on the front porch.

"I went out and shots me some folks, Leroy. Yessur I did. Was a damn fine time it was!'

"Watcha shoot 'em fer?"

"Cuz they needed it!"

"Sher nuff, there be lots of folks deservin' of that..."

"Did you know there's people out there criticizin' the President of these United States??"

"And we in war time, no less! You ain't no patriot if ya's badmouthin' your country!"

"Them's exactly my thoughts too! You can't be lettin' traitors like that be runnin' around. Give 'em their way and the enemy'll do us all in!"

"That's a right fact, Elmer! Them kind got no sense at all. Not a brain in thar head."

"It's them libberuls, Leroy. They's just fuckin' up the whole lot of it." But then Elmer smiled. "Course, there be a few more less of 'em now!"

"Good on ya, Elmer! Somebody's gotta do it. You give whackos like that a chance there's no tellin' what sorta hell they'll cause!"

"Amen to that, brother! Like the Good Book says, don't stand for lettin 'evil live among ye."

"That's what I like about you, Elmer. You got common sense. Not like them bleedin' heart libberuls what just wants to go around huggin' everyone and making nice with evildoers."

"I heard me a crazy ass libberul woman on the radio comin' back. You know what this vile crap of female sez? She spits all sorts of psycho babble and whatnot preachin' how folks like us is just "projectin'" what we is on to others."

"But that's 'xactly what she's doin'!"

"Don't you know it! You know what it is, don'cha? They don't like us doin' God's work. You see how mad it gets 'em! That just shows ya how much they ain't right with the Good Lord."

"Fassists! That's what they is! Going around tellin' everyone how to think and what we should do and how we s'pposed to talk even! And then they gots the gall to get mad when we pick a few of 'em off!"

"Unbelievable, what it is! If we don't get all them libberuls the whole galldurn world's goin' to hell in a handbasket."

"What's wrong with them kind, Elmer? How comes they can't see the truth like we do?"

"They's diffrn't than us, Leroy. Tain't like us at all. That's what's wrong with 'em. Folks like that ain't ever gonna love folks like us."

"Yup, think you hit the nail right on the head. Ya can't reason with them kind. Thinkin' they know everythin' already! Just plain scary! How's someone gonna make the world a better place when they gots their mind locked up like that! Just won't lissen to any sort of sense!"

"Damn, Leroy! You got me all riled up again! I'm gonna shoots me some more of them bastards afore it's too late!"

"Good on ya, Elmer. I'm comin' with ya this time. We get twice as much that way."

"Why, thank you, Leroy. You is a good, good man. A fine fellow."

"You is mighty welcome, brother Elmer. Somebody's gotta fix this world. Might as well be you and me."

"Thank the Lord!"

"Oh, and hey, maybe we can take care of the ex when we gets back. She been pissin' the hell outta me lately!"

"That bitch!"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oda Nobunaga's Great Moment

From the Asian point of view a sword fight is a mental battle as opposed to the western idea of it being a physical confrontation. The physical aspect of the fight is merely a playing out of a mental battle already fought. I remember watching a Japanese film once where two opposing samurai met on the road, each drawing his sword and assuming a stance ready to fight. They probed one another's eyes, searching for any weakness of the spirit, the true place of battle. But after finding nothing, the first samurai declared, "Let's call it a draw." The other agreed. Neither had moved from his initial stance but certainly warfare had transpired.

Rambo once proclaimed the mind to be the greatest weapon and nowhere was this more evident than in the sixteenth century Sengoku Jidai (warring states) era of Japan, my favorite time of Japanese history. The country was rulerless and hopelessly deadlocked between dozens and dozens of provinces vying for ultimate control. So who would win? Those who had the biggest army, or the greatest riches or the largest domain? No, it would be he of the greatest mind. And that mind belonged to Oda Nobunaga.

Oda, of the small and weak Owari province, faced a crisis point. An army of 25,000 was streamrolling its way to the Kyoto capitol and Oda's lands lay directly in its path. Already two of his outer castles had fallen and the most amount of men he could muster totaled a mere 2,500. All eyes of the clan were on Nobunaga as he considered his dilemma. But let us let Oda himself describe that time:

Yes, you know of the battle of Okehazama but do you know of The Moment? I'm not sure I can ever adequately describe that experience. It was as if the whole universe flowed through me, energizing me to the sky and connecting me to all things. Something beyond myself was happening. I was enabling history. The excitement, the fear, the sheer feeling of being alive. I fully expected to look down at my hands and see them glowing with power.

My head kept saying "No!" but it kept being washed away by these dreams of Destiny. Slowly, I started to stand and let them overtake me - my soul taking great satisfaction in that. Cries of "Yes!" grew louder and I trembled excitedly before this Leap of Faith. The fog dissipated and a vision crystallized in my mind: glorious victory. Perhaps to no man alive could I explain or defend my decision. To a man of the world it could only seem foolish to fight an army ten times your own. But to me - in that Moment - it could only be foolish not to.

Oda then famously recited and danced his way through the Atsumori song:

"A man's life of 50 years under the sky
"is nothing compared to
"the age of this world.
"Life is but a fleeting dream, an illusion --
"Is there anything that lasts forever?"

And finally, the speech he gave to his men after reaching his decision:

"Imagawa has 40,000 men marching toward this place? I don't believe that. He 'only' has 25,000 soldiers. Yes, that is still too many. So, Sado, you want me to surrender. What if we do surrender? Will you get contentment with losing your life that way? Or what if we hold on like Katsuie wants me to? What if we stay here in this castle, lock it up, and wait until the Imagawas lose appetite and stop the siege and go home? We will be able to prolong our lives for 5 or 10 days, and what we cannot defend will still be indefensible. We are at the bottom of the pit, you see. And our fate is interesting. Of course the misery is very great, too. But this is how I see it: this is a chance in a lifetime. I can't afford to miss this. Do you really want to spend your entire lives praying for longevity? We were born in order to die! Whoever is with me, come to the battlefield tomorrow morning. Whoever is not, just stay wherever you are and watch me win it!"

The rest, as they say, is history. After setting up a false camp to divert attention, Oda's scouts found the invading army's headquarters on the plains of Okehazama. The invaders were laughing at the ease of their conquest and enjoying a midday lunch until a thunderstorm broke out. Then, out of the rain, came the Oda warriors, their approach shielded by the sounds of the downpour. Soon the severed head of the invading clan leader was held in the grasp of an Oda warrior and the intruders dispersed back to where they came from. Nobunaga built on this victory to become the most powerful ruler in Japan, unifying over half the land, until he was assassinated by one of his own generals.

Kind of makes you think, huh?

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Duality of Man is the Doom of Man

In the vast, barren stretches of the Sadlands in the Land of Sir Real, cut off from all hope of comfort or civility, where the magenta, brooding sun stood forever still, doomed in perpetual twilight, Steve knew he would find only other woeful souls as lost as he. It surprised him not to see the shape of a deformed character appear on the horizon.

He was the Man of a Thousand Sticks, unbearably bent with his load of despair, pressing him inevitably to the hard, rocky surface. But stop he could not, for to stop was to die.

"Woe is me! Woe is me! Sir Real rebukes me because I be!"

Steve, a fucked man himself, could relate to that. But one question begged to be asked.

"Dude! Why don't you just drop that bundle? It's obviously killing you."

"Enemy thine! Oh sure, drop my bundle and remove all meaning and purpose from my life! It is my despair that drives me, keeps me alive!"

As happened so many times before in the Land of Sir Real, Steve's mind brainlocked before he could answer. "You can't get meaning from despair! There's no point in killing yourself."

"I only know what I know and I know nothing! But this I know: my life must have meaning!"

"But look at you! Don't you care about your dreams and your hopes?"

"You think me insane? Of course I care!"

"Then why not drop your load?"

"It's the duality of man: I don't care that I care."

[Sarcasm Alley]

Pogue Colonel: Marine, what is that button on your body armor?
Private Joker: A peace symbol, sir.
Pogue Colonel: Where'd you get it?
Private Joker: I don't remember, sir.
Pogue Colonel: What is that you've got written on your helmet?
Private Joker: "Born to Kill", sir.
Pogue Colonel: You write "Born to Kill" on your helmet and you wear a peace button. What's that supposed to be, some kind of sick joke?
Private Joker: No, sir.
Pogue Colonel: You'd better get your head and your ass wired together, or I will take a giant shit on you.
Private Joker: Yes, sir.
Pogue Colonel: Now answer my question or you'll be standing tall before the man.
Private Joker: I think I was trying to suggest something about the duality of man, sir.
Pogue Colonel: The what?
Private Joker: The duality of man. The Jungian thing, sir.
Pogue Colonel: Whose side are you on, son?
Private Joker: Our side, sir.
Pogue Colonel: Don't you love your country?
Private Joker: Yes, sir.
Pogue Colonel: Then how about getting with the program? Why don't you jump on the team and come on in for the big win?
Private Joker: Yes, sir.
Pogue Colonel: Son, all I've ever asked of my marines is that they obey my orders as they would the word of God. We are here to help the Vietnamese, because inside every gook there is an American trying to get out. It's a hardball world, son. We've gotta keep our heads until this peace craze blows over.
Private Joker: Aye-aye, sir.

Full Metal Jacket]

DOWD: I don’t have a great public support – I don’t publicly support the president anymore, but I think it’s an awful stretch to say the guy would call terror alerts and sort of to get votes out of the deal. [audience reacts with vocal skepticism] I wonder where the audience is on this. [laughter]

MAHER: Yeah, right. Well, because his reputation as a man who deserves honor and integrity is so strong. [laughter] [applause] [cheers] But—

DOWD: People can be honest and stupid.

MAHER: Yes, and they can be honest and – dishonest and corrupt. And he is both. [applause] [cheers] But, okay.

GOLDBERG: The source of his corruption is what? What’s the evidence of his corruption?

DOWD: You need evidence?

GOLDBERG: Oh, that’s right.

MAHER: [overlapping] Oh, George Bush is not corrupt?

DOWD: What’s the evidence of his corruption? [audience reacts in disbelief]

MAHER: Oil companies.

DOWD: Listen, I—

MAHER: [overlapping] He didn’t drag his feet on global warming—

DOWD: [overlapping]—you could say – you can accuse him of mismanaging many things—

MAHER: [overlapping]—because his money came from oil companies? [applause] I do.

DOWD: You can – you can accuse him of being in over his head. You can accuse him of many things.

MAHER: Right.

DOWD: I don’t think you can accuse him, in my view, of being somebody that’s corrupt.

MAHER: You’re not serious? [audience reacts]

DOWD: Yes. [voices overlap] I don’t – I don’t think you can.

MAHER: [overlapping] When he was running – when he was running in 2000, he said that he would cap CO2 emissions from power plants. He completely forgot that after he got into office. Why? Because the people who gave him his campaign contributions are the people he used to work for, the oil business.

You’re not really – you don’t really think that he’s not aware of global warming, that he suddenly got religion on. [applause]

DOWD: No, my assumption – my assumption, which I think is what’s missing in politics today, on the left and the right – is we all attribute bad intention for bad policy choices. We all attribute bad intention for bad policy choices. Somebody can pick a bad policy – be ignorant, be misguided – and not necessarily have a bad intention.

Real Time with Bill Maher]

When Jesus spoke of the doom of Satan, it was because Satan is divided against himself. To be an angel and yet also un-angelic is to erase any future. Sure, it can be done for a time, but it's not a time that lasts. So when one speaks of the duality of man - to be an inhuman human - one speaks of the same short time. In the end, for humanity to survive all inhumanity must be eliminated. It's a simple fact of nature.

But today in the Age of the Snake, many are the serpents who'd have us believe such a time lasts forever. It was that last statement of Matt Dowd that drove me to post this blog. What an insane fucker. He's a man who'll tell you with a smile on his lips and holding a casual cup of coffee of how any mistakes our current President (and by proxy, himself) have made were done with a good heart - that competency is not a part of morality. He says with a straight face that, in effect, an incompetent brain surgeon who makes a vegetable of his wife can still be a good guy as long as he's inept with good intentions. The surgeon was simply misguided or ignorant. Others, of course, may say if you can't do the fucking job, don't take it! Some jobs are just too important - like leader of the free world.

It's an Asian proverb that the opposite of good is good intentions. But even leaving out the issue of competency as a component of integrity, this man Dowd calls Jesus a liar (Chris Matthews has made this same assertion). He's saying Jesus was wrong when he said, "By their fruits ye shall know them." That those who wreak havoc and despair on this world can do so with a good heart, that Hitler was sincerely trying to make Germany a better place. No one's perfect, you know.

What a serious fucking asshole!

Call me crazy, but I'll put my money on Jesus. One day, the Age of the Snake will end and the serpent's lies will be no more.