Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Extemporaneous Extravaganza!

One day I decided to do something different as I was walking around downtown Dallas - and I got the most disturbing reactions!

"You have no idea what you're doing! You think you do but you don't!"

"You can't expose me! I'm too clever for you!"

"Hypocrite! Fool! Moron!"

"There's just no living with you! You're going to get us all killed!"

"Your children don't love you. I can see why!"

"You're a lonely man and you need much love."

"Ha! Sucks to be you, loser!"

"There's no profit in what you do. Change your ways!"

"That's simply not the truth. That's not anybody."

"Who the hell do you think you are! Reflecting on people like that!"

"Not funny."

"You are my worst enemy and I'm going to get you!"

"You think I would love you? Never! Never!"

When I got home I took off the two mirror sandwich boards I was wearing and wrote down everything I heard that day:

"I have no idea what I'm doing! I think I do but I don't!"

"I do expose me! I'm not too clever!"

"See a hypocrite, a fool, a moron!"

"There's just no living with me! I'm going to get us all killed!"

"My children don't love me. You can see why!"

"I'm a lonely man and I need much love."

"Help! Sucks to be me, a loser!"

"There's no profit in what I do. I must change my ways!"

"That simply is the truth. That is everybody."

"Who the hell do I think I am! Deflecting on me like that!"

"Not funny to see me."

"I am my worst enemy and I'm going to get me!"

"You think I would love me? Never! Never!"

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Simone The Cat Doesn't Understand

Simone doesn't understand why Amelia and I are not friends anymore. I thought I knew the answer - until I tried to explain. Like an apparition in the night, it vanishes when the light comes on. But it seems so real in the dark. So I could say nothing.

Then she asked why do I sleep on a bed of nails. I didn't want to say just nothing again so I said it was to make up for losing Amelia. But the minute I spoke the idiocy of that was obvious.

Simone asked that I not sleep on a bed of nails so she could crash with me at night. Unable to accommodate her, I decided to be clever and lie to myself, saying I knew she didn't really mean that. "Aha, I got out of your request!"

Then she asked why I hit myself in the head with a hammer. I gave the answer so loved by the terminally vain: "I'm trying to knock some sense into me!" Then I felt really stupid as I had a sudden urge to run for office to prove my worth.

Fearing the fate of the stupid, I haltingly, desperately, futilely tried to explain my dilemma to my non-understanding cat. "I didn't actually deserve her...I was afraid...How could she respect me..." Around and round I went, no answer standing the test of light. Damn, no one's going to elect me, are they?

So I had to let it go, watching the shadows of a windswept tree dancing on my wall. Like some old time priest who lashes himself in the night I wondered if sleeping on my bed of nails really does make up for losing relationships. These were people I wanted to know for the rest of my life. I have to do something.

I read this story today of how corrupt DA offices around the country are outsourcing bounced check cases to third party enterprises with a license to kill. Anyone who bounces a check these enterprises falsely threaten with jail time and prosecution unless the person pays exorbitant fees. People are confused, thinking it's actually the DA office threatening them. Once they found out they were being duped they filed class action suits - and won.

So the companies got a law passed to make their illegal behavior legal, deeming their deception suddenly moral. We allow these predators to live among us because of our lust for false morality. "I have the right to fuck you because you made a mistake!(?)" They too can't explain why they do what they do. Simone just doesn't understand.

I get up to lock the front door, to make myself safe from my stupidity. "We must seal our borders to ensure security!" I boldly declare, still hoping for lost votes. But I can't hide my prying eyes. I must make amends for your sins. The reins of life I throw to the winds.

Simone purrs and rubs up against my leg. I pick her up and hold her, feeling smart. Then I put her back down to return to my bed of nails, feeling dumb. Simone doesn't understand. Neither do I.

16 Fables Of The Japanese Garden

Hidden history surrounds us!

The Hosokawa Tree
The Hosokawa Tree

Planted in memory of Gracia Hosokawa, samurai. When the dastardly Ishida Mitsunari attempted to take her hostage in order to force her husband to ally with him, she instead chose suicide - a knife through the throat - after ordering her maid to burn the building down afterwards. Not only did she thwart Ishida on this attempt but stilled his plans for further kidnappings with the outrage it brought over the loss of the very popular and intelligent Gracia.

Abandoned Buddhist Temple Grounds
Abandoned Buddhist Temple Grounds

With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Buddhism was frowned upon by the new state government as Shinto was made the state religion. Many temples were closed leaving us only to imagine what once was.

Ane Riverbed

Ane Riverbed

Now dry from the famous bloody battle between the Asai clan and the warlord Oda Nobunaga (first of the three great unifiers). Oda had not obtained a commanding power at this point but his rising reputation caused surrounding clans to organize to defeat this upstart. It was the fierce attack of the Asai that caused so many casualties the river ran red with blood. Only by a fearless rear guard action by general Toyotomi was Oda able to preserve his army.

Afterwards, the peasants were so horrified by the red river they rerouted it to remove its stain from their memory.

Tree For Asano-san, The Loyal Ronin
Tree For Asano-san, The Loyal Ronin

Asano had been made ronin (samurai with no clan to serve) during the hell of the Onin wars. When clan after clan turned away his services he offered to serve for free in order to prove his worth. On the exact spot of this tree he was lookout when an attack came. He did not run, however, as the others did but stayed to light the signal fire even though it ensured his doom. The clan was saved by his warning and made him a posthumous samurai with this living memorial.

Marker From The Tokaido Road

Marker From The Tokaido Road

The Tokaido was the most important road in Japan, connecting Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto (the ancient capital). Restrictions were many with dozens of post stations at various intervals to police the traffic. Although disused now by the shifted path, this marker once denoted the outer limit for a traveler to deviate from the road. If a traveler was found too far off - therefore trying to bypass the government station - he was executed as a warning. It was not uncommon to see heads on posts at certain way stations.

The Yuki Trees

The Yuki Trees

Princess Akizuki Yuki is said to have escaped through these trees along with her faithful and very capable general Makabe Rokurota. The trail has long since disappeared but on the other side lay a hidden fortress where she found temporary refuge before a long and arduous escape to friendly territory. Her heart was heavy, however, when she found out her retainers had used a 16 year old look-alike as a decoy whom the invading army killed thinking she was the actual princess.

The Spy Rock

The Spy Rock

Spies and spying were always popular in Japanese history but none more so than during the Sengoku Jidai (Era of warring states). With no real head of state, the country was plunged into chaos with the various warlords vying for ultimate power. Never had intel on an opposing clan been so vital. Rock hedges like these were often used as the equivalent of a modern drop box to relay information. This particular stone having been discovered was left purposely out of place to let its users know the game was up.

Night Of The Ninja
Night Of The Ninja

Even untraceable Ninja can leave a trail if the roof is weak enough. This was discovered after an assassination attempt on Oda Nobunaga inside his famed Azuchi castle. It would take four years before the ninja was caught. He died a slow and ugly death through torture.

Tokugawa's Monkeys

Tokugawa's Monkeys

Tokugawa Ieyasu (who was later to become Shogun) lost only one battle (to Takeda). He sought refuge in a village but was hastily denied and sold out by the frightened farmers. This forced Tokugawa to retreat with his few men back to his castle - where his pursuers were sure to come. He saved himself only by his wits, ordering all gates to be opened and the road leading in to be marked with bonfires to show the way. When the pursuing troops saw this they presumed it was a trap and refused to enter the castle.

Later, Tokugawa commissioned these monkeys on "steps to nowhere" as a mockery of the frightened farmers.

Smugglers' Grotto
Smugglers' Grotto

Even under the highly organized and repressive governments of Japan, criminality flourished. In fact, Japanese pirates were so successful at badgering Chinese vessels that the Chinese refused any trade with Japan. In order to get the silks needed for their kimonos, the Japanese were forced to use the Portuguese as intermediaries. It was in grottos such as these where pirates would stash their loot to be retrieved later right under the nose of the authorities.

The Secret Path Of Osaka Castle

The Secret Path Of Osaka Castle

Castles were Byzantine labyrinths full of dead ends and winding paths leading to traps. To wander around aimlessly was fatal. Osaka, with its ability to garrison tens of thousands of troops, was considered impregnable in its day. Only by the introduction of cannon years later was it breeched. But if you had knowledge of this road, you knew the way to safety.

Seat Of Sei Shonagon
Seat Of Sei Shonagon

Sei Shonagon was a lady of the court during the Heian period around 1000 AD. With the writing of the Pillow Book, one could call her the original blogger with her tidy stories of courtly life and her witty observations. From this bench she often composed her daily musings as she looked out over the inspiring waters. It is said her list of "Things that cannot be compared" was written here during a rain storm.

Oda's Bricks
Oda's Bricks

When the Portuguese arrived in 1543 they brought not only the new invention of guns but also the technology of bricks. Warlord Oda Nobunaga was quick to adapt to Western conventions, often amusing himself by observing the sour expressions on his guests' faces after he introduced them to European wine. So while also a pioneer in the use of guns as shown at the Battle of Nagashino, Oda also demonstrated the usefulness of brick by commissioning this walkway.

Protective Bamboo
Protective Bamboo

Bamboo may seem a weak protection but it was thickly planted like this around many castles to be observed from the towering keep. Even the slightest movements would disturb and rattle the tops in a dead giveaway of an intruder's position. Only in the highest of winds was passing through attempted but even then considered extremely dangerous.

The Forbidden Garden Of Emperor Jimmu
The Forbidden Garden Of Emperor Jimmu

Japan started out as a traditional monarchy but when unruly peasants failed to recognize royal authority, samurai (meaning 'to serve') came to the rescue. But soon the samurai realized they were the true power and decided to serve only themselves, inducing centuries of warfare for final power. This left the emperor powerless except as a ceremonial figure.

Even so, his reverence as a divine figure loomed large in Japanese society. Even the ruling Shogun dare not enter this reserved garden without risk of nationwide outrage that could instantly turn his supporters into rebels. In 1868, power was returned to the emperor until after WWII when Japan became a constitutional democracy.

Serenity Island
Serenity Island

The warrior monks were a constant thorn in the side of the warlord Oda Nobunaga. Finally fed up with their dogged refusal to stop, he burned their mountainside monasteries to the ground - men, women and children alike. The monks later rebuilt but never reconstituted their armies, instead creating this moated island of peace of which they proudly proclaim no samurai has ever stepped foot.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Van Gogh: The Life (Book Review)

Vincent Wept.

Van Gogh: The Life is in the vein of other 21st century bios I've read on Bonnie and Clyde and John Lennon: exacting, detailed accounts thoroughly researched with a fresh eye. Litanies of facts alone, however, cannot tell a story unless they are placed into proper context and perspective. That is what separates the great from the not so great. Judgement on that can be subjective but I certainly place this book among the greats in what is by far the most intimate portrait of Vincent ever created.

My first introduction to Vincent was the 1956 film "Lust For Life" (a quote taken from a Van Gogh letter) but even in my ignorance I knew the film to be hopelessly incomplete of a figure too tragic and towering to ever be fully captured, especially in the limited expressions allowed in those times. What the film did do, as all movies should, is try to tell the spiritual life of Vincent in which case the story is more important than facts in getting to the truth. The feelings I experienced from the film were only backed up by the mammoth research done in "The Life" book.

First let me start with my criticisms. What I loved about the book was the necessary dive into Van Gogh's psychology and how Vincent's paintings told the story of his inner life and mind. The picture of "the sower", of planting seeds for later harvest, was both a family and personal favorite of his, a theme he returned to all his life. And who planted more artistic seeds in his life than Vincent? The tragedy was Vincent never got to reap the fruits of his labor and in this book I sorely missed that as well.

After reading about how a grand seven course meal is meticulously prepared and painstakingly presented for dining, I would most certainly like to know the reactions of those who finally ate it! So a coda on the gradual appreciation and recognition of Vincent after his death would had been greatly satisfying after being starved of it for over 800 pages of a horrid, struggling existence. At times, it was only the thought of that that kept me going through the many, many rough patches of suffering.

Also, the authors in their enthusiasm felt the need to explain everything. "Vincent at four o'clock on a Sunday took a dump because of this drawing he revered and this past experience he never forgot." It's sort of interesting to know that. I mean, I loved all the background Lennon gave on how the Beatle songs came to be but the story lies someplace else. If a man closes his eyes and starts walking, something bad is going to happen. He'll fall into a ditch, run into a wall - whatever - but that's not that story. The story is why did he close his eyes in the first place.

So there is a bit of drowning in detail that gets exhausting over time - oh, but for how long we've been denied such detail! The authors do a good job of not pressing their opinions too far into the narrative. They simply lay out his life and let you decide on what kind of person Vincent was. For myself, I took special delight in the details of how Van Gogh (and his paintings) were a walking Rorschach test on those he encountered. With our God-like view of knowing the final outcome and vindication, every small mind and petty remark is revealed for all its ignoble glory of those who seek only to muddy the waters of everyday life. Fuckers.

John Lennon (1980) "But I had lost the initial freedom of the artist by becoming enslaved to the image of what the artist is supposed to do. A lot of artists kill themselves because of it, whether it is through drink, like Dylan Thomas, or through insanity, like Van Gogh, or through V.D., like Gauguin."

Vincent spent his entire life in a self described "hole" from which he never escaped. The authors did a brilliant job of detailing that hell, of the oscillations between delusional ecstasy to self-beating agony that Vincent soared between like an emotional heroin addict. Vincent's gift was an awareness he could not escape, a rare awareness shared by very, very few. But having that awareness made it no more easy for him to face than anyone else. In the book is described endless cycles of highs and lows as Vincent knowingly lies to himself to push forward in misery while fearing the inevitable collapse of those lies.

Over time the strains of his life withered him. Would salvation had come had he lived I do not know. You see, oftentimes for Vincent, getting what he wanted was the worst possible outcome. For then he could no longer idealize it as the panacea for his every ill. In the few successes of his life, freedom fighter Vincent walked away from them and allowed no praise (unless it suited his manipulative ends). Praise to he who feels himself a fraud is a prison. Deep down inside, Van Gogh knew no amount of professional success could ever substitute for that which he longed for the most: a family life.

The greatest service the book undoubtedly does is dispelling the myth of suicide. Vincent was shot by a tormenting teenage boy - one of many boys who teased and threw rocks at him his entire life. Whether accidental or intentional, it was certainly malicious, done most likely in a fit of burning hatred that genius often provokes. But the fact the death comes at the point in which it did points towards more than a mere coincidence with Vincent's mounting psychological troubles. He was, at that time, open to death and thus death came. That's why the suicide story is so compelling.

There was a time in the Beatles' career just before they took off into fame where they would fall into despair, sensing they were on the right path but seeing no payoff to it. Vincent never made it past that point. The guilt over having to guess, to live his life in theory at the literal expense of his brother Theo, to have brought embarrassment to the family name (not that his family deserved much kudos outside of Theo) and at having no tangible proof he'd done anything with his life was a crushing burden that drove Vincent to his final escape.

Reading of his final few moments on his deathbed with his ever-loyal brother, I wept. Someday this wounding world of ours will die and I cannot wait. Vincent was often his own worst enemy with his attitude and unfaced fears but in a world of truth his life would have been vastly different. As one truth-teller said, "By their fruits ye shall know them." And by that we know - and love - Vincent forever.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Ship Of God

From the safety of my ship I saw theirs. I read the name on its bow: "The Ship Of God". All around the edges were crosses crucifying men, women and children alike. The ship's captain was livid in his lecture to them.

"God damn you people! Just who do you think you are to ruin the lives of others? Who the hell are you to think it's OK to take lives just because you see fit? Who can live with people like that? Nobody, I tell you! You are monsters!"

As further penance for their treason the crucified were also gagged to "prevent them from spreading further poisonous lies."

"For your militant and obstinate ways you now pay! Who are you to insist how we are to live at the expense of my life? We shall not let you bring death to us! God will not allow it!"

Wild cheers overflowed the ship from the uncrucified. The newly elected captain had come to take charge and save their sinking ship at last. One child had yet to be educated.

"Captain, sir, how do we know you're right and they are wrong?"

"Son, we live on a free ship and the citizens have spoken! It's time you learned the value of voting. It's your civic responsibility and without it this ship would sink."

"But doesn't the idea that voting alone will save us presupposes that the people voting are not assholes?"

"First mate! Prepare another cross!"

The boy was gagged, crucified and educated under the hot sea sun.

"We've heard enough from the traitors, always tearing us down, always hurting our feelings. We're not going to take it anymore. We shall be loved!"

Nobody wanted the party to end

The captain was of the Hole Driller party ("Drill, baby, drill!" their slogan) and for years had been drilling holes through the hull in great glee. But they'd had enough of the "fascists" telling them they couldn't have their holes and ship too.

"Look at them! These people would prevent us from living our lives as we see fit. We shall keep our godly ways! Are we not named the ship of God? We bless ourselves!"

The Hole Drillers were celebrating the era of a new dawn, glorying in their victory. "They said we had to change. They said we weren't good enough. But who's sorry now? It's drilling that makes us great, that proves we are above nature. Our ship is not sinking from the drilling we've done. It's sinking because we've not drilled enough!"

Horrid debates had raged between those who were for sinking the ship and those against it. In the name of fairness, both sides were given equal time to ensure an honest and objective outcome. In the end the media declared themselves the winner for pretending to not know the truth.

But the captain was of a new breed, uniting the ship as one (except for those on the crosses, of course). He bewailed the effects of drilling while yet even increasing its practice. This appeased both sides: those who wanted to drill and those happy giving mere lip service to change. The captain crowed in his victory.

"Let the naysayers be heard to be wrong! We are a great ship and we are going back to the great days when he had fewer holes and our ship rode high in the water! Rest easy, good people. The debate is over. We shall continue on. We have protected our future!"

As I watched from my own ship I knew it wouldn't be long before they reached the point of no return. In their haste to "prove" their morality, all the life boats had been burned, deemed unnecessary on such a perfect ship. Soon, reality trumped all debate as water levels rose beyond what the pumps could handle (even though they had promised technology would always save them). As the ship sank, I heard one lone voice cry out: "There is no God!"

I could only shake my head in refusal. "Just because there's no God on your ship doesn't mean there's no God!"

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

This Boy

Carefree locks split down the sides of his head, he picked up his acoustic guitar in serene anticipation. His chair was not far from hers. He wanted to be able to gaze into her eyes. For years he had scaled the heights of self-expression and these honest moments he now relished as great as any feat he had ever accomplished. He sang to her a tale of two boys:

This boy ran from his heart,
But this boy runs to light from dark;
This boy has nightly screams,
But this boy held fast to his dreams.

This boy cowers in fear,
But this boy holds you near;
This boy is crippled alone,
But this boy has found his home.


I awoke to that dream scene above this morning. I didn't hear the actual words, just the feeling of them, the openness of them - the opening of a heart. And in the moment, I knew which boy I was.

After reading the (mostly awful) bio on John Lennon a few months ago it bugged me I was not familiar with the Beatle song "This Boy", a song John originally penned as a teenager. It was referenced more than once and he sang it his whole life. Still, I was too preoccupied to ever look it up and just let it fester - as so many things do with me.

I've let me hair grow out a bit lately and that drew a hesitant comment when I was at the Hotel Zaza bar: "Hey, man, anyone ever tell you you look like John Lennon?" He was a kid so I was impressed he even knew what John Lennon looked like as a mid sixties mod-rocker. I think perhaps he was making his own joke at my expense but I hastily assured him Lennon was my favorite singer and any comparison was appreciated. Then I duly walked away.

That's when it all came together: the unfun at the bar, John's open heart and my wondering about that damn song. I don't know why it hit me that dawn but I came to realize it was a song about two boys and that somehow gave me a bit of peace as I had felt repressed by my previous inferences of it. It was truly devastating to realize I was on the wrong side of the song but then I had the thought I'd just had a visit from Johnny boy to clear the air and that made me smile big time.

So first I imagined it, then I dreamt it and now you can hear it:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Debby Is No Friend Of Mine

Debby Is No Friend Of Mine,
No Friend Of Mine,
No Friend Of Mine,
Debby Is No Friend Of Mine,
"With you I can't be fine!"

Debby Is A Friend Of Yours,
A Friend Of Yours,
A Friend Of Yours,
Debby Is A Friend Of Yours,
"My tongue will lick your spurs!"

Debby Is No Friend Of Hers,
No Friend Of Hers,
No Friend Of Hers,
Debby Is No Friend Of Hers,
I Took The Needle From Her Purse.

Debby Is No Friend Of Mine,
No Friend Of Mine,
No Friend Of Mine,
Debby Is No Friend Of Mine,
"With you I can be fine!"


She crawled slowly from her room to find footsteps on the moon.

"There's no getting away...there's no getting away..."

She painted lipstick smile clown upon her wedding goon.

"Cover your dismay...cover your dismay..."

Her killer drove through the night to make his presence soon.

"I must run away...I must run away..."

Insect rabid roaches gnaw her gold festoon

"I'm too sick to say...I'm too sick to say..."

Before the killer's cup of life she did fairly swoon.

"Death's the only way...death's the only way..."


Reynolds swept his second floor apartment balcony nude and completely erect in the chilly wind. Mrs. Johnson pulled into the parking lot with her daughter. They noticed Reynolds right away as they made their way up the stairs.

"Good evening, Mr. Reynolds. Feeling a bit randy, are we?"

"The chilly weather drives me out, sure enough. Thank God it's not like the old days when we had to hide everything."

"Yes, indeed! Liberté! Liberté! The past has gone away."

"I heard they finally demolished the last prison. I shudder to think of them!"

"My daughter Annette had a role in "The Funny Money Play". She says she can hardly believe it was ever true!"

"Ah, you mean the play where people cut up pieces of paper and pretend they're worth something - even to the point of killing one another!"

Annette was adamant: "There's no way to survive that! They wouldn't even let children eat. The monsters!"

"It happened, my dear, it happened. It was a holocaust of souls."

"I just don't understand it. Why would people do that to themselves? Why not be free?"

"They did not believe they could be free, not realizing that only that belief imprisoned them. Mad times, certainly."

"I sure am glad I live now! Dishonesty is no one's friend."

"We all are! Those who made an enemy of truth are gone forever. Time cleanses all."

Saturday, February 09, 2013

I Got A Blow Job From CIA Nominee John Brennan!

Mouth open and ready to serve!

"And Ye Shall Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free"

That quote is carved in the front lobby of the CIA in probably the most misplaced spot outside of the KGB. Oh, I understand all about lying to get to a greater truth, or to protect the greater good. But those instances are very rare and about as ludicrous as all the "CIA trained assassin" supermen we see in the movies - and let's face it, most of our notions of national security are based on such fantasies.

But who am I to doubt the wisdom of an organization tagged with defending us? These are men for the truth! So I was wholly dismayed to find out a man nominated by our President-Messiah did, in fact, "not know what the truth is".

On the question of waterboarding, Brennan said that while serving as a deputy manager at the CIA during the Bush administration, he was told such interrogation methods produced "valuable information." Now, after reading a 300-page summary of a 6,000-page report on CIA interrogation and detention policies, he said he does "not know what the truth is."

What? Say it ain't so! I for one am not believing it! Roaming nowadays both in the streets and in halls of power are too many souls claiming to be unaware of the truth. These troglodytes say such things as, "The truth is unknown! No one can know the truth! There is no such thing as truth!" But never could such a godless and lowly man be selected by our President-Messiah! So, Mr. Harry went to Washington, home of the truth-seekers and truth-speakers, to find out.

"Open your mouth and close your eyes and you will get a big surprise." I'll admit that line hasn't worked since 11th grade but then so few ever mentally leave high school. Sir John attempted a protest.

"I shall not do such a thing! My mouth is for other uses!"

Dear Lord, what a tempting line of questioning that opens up! Shame I don't have time to go down that path. "Do it! And do it now! Your government demands it and I say this with authority!"

"I'm a good boy! I do not defy authority! Want me to say "ahh" too?"

My my, somebody didn't get laid in high school. Gawd, hope he doesn't goad me into pity. Anyways, bombs away!


"Yes, yes I know. Hard to talk with a dick in your mouth. But try harder, your country and President-Messiah demand it - and watch the teeth!"

"Yesm, sir!"

"Now I ask you: do you have a dick in your mouth or not?"

"Yesm, I do!"

"Liar! Admit you do not know if you have a dick in your mouth or not! It may be a cucumber or link sausage perhaps."

"Good points! I do wish to remain open-minded." (And open-mouthed!)

"What if I were to tell you I have special secret knowledge that only I can know. So how then could you ever definitively state there is, in fact, an actual dick in your mouth?

"I'm just saying it's a possibility, sir."

Plenty of other nominees to take your place, John Boy!

"Just don't go too far. I have here reports for you to read unequivocally stating that not now nor ever has there been a dick in your mouth!"

"Boy, I sure am glad to hear that! It is my personal position that I would be dismayed to find a dick in my mouth."

"Lucky you, you have these well-researched findings to prevent such dismay. But surely I hope you don't think there's anything wrong with the unwilling penile penetration of your mouth!"

"I am a man of principle, sir. I do feel I must stand my ground regardless of what it may cost me and I say never should there be unwilling penile penetration in any case whatsoever. On that I would stake my life!"

"That's quite an impassioned speech for a man with his mouth so full. But I want you to meet Freddy. Freddy has been to - gasp! - LAW SCHOOL and therefore knows how to determine RIGHT AND WRONG for everyone to live by! Impressive, eh? Freddy, read to him what you just WROTE ON A PIECE OF PAPER!"

"I, Freddy, hereby declare forthwith any and all willing or unwilling penile penetration is to be considered duly authorized and sanctioned Law Of The Land in the name of national security and personal horniness."

"Hear that, John Boy? It's actually legal! What do you say now to nonstop dicks in your mouth??"

"Oh, OK."

"But some people have told me you have a problem taking the truth and might let it leak."

"I vehemently deny that!"

"Good, because the last word I have to say to you is: swallow!"

Funny people, these non-truthers! Not much good for anything in a practical sense but sure are handy for a quickie BJ!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Drone

I knew when he said he couldn't come to the embassy something was up. As the Political Man it was his job to carry no delusions or ideologies (though he'd pretend otherwise, of course) except for the practicalities of executing power. And I knew from times before this was one clear eyed son-of-a-bitch.

We gathered in the back room of a temple - his territory - as is so often done here in the Middle East. The room was a place normally reserved for High Discussions, where local leaders would line the room and vie for justification. "Baby tremors" I'd call them. Get enough and you've got a full blown earthquake. The Political Man got straight to the point.

"We're calling off the Festival of the Harvest."

"But why? You can't! It's the most important event of the year. The people will not stand for it. You don't need me to tell you that!"

"We must, because of your bombing policy."

"What? You think we'd bomb that? We have no intentions of ever doing that - and that's both on and off the record. Even we couldn't stand that many civilian hits."

"Yes, that is exactly why you must bomb it."

"That's absurd!"

"These are absurd times."

"Look, doing something that stupid would endanger our entire droning program. There are voices of opposition, you know."

"Weak voices, simple voices, disregarded as we would the thoughts of children. But we are, as you say, "old school" you and I, and know we must never harbor an open mind."

"Argue all you want. It's never going to happen."

"You realize, of course, we'll have to blame the festival's cancellation on somebody. Not going to be us! We will lay it directly at your feet. Who would disbelieve us when we say your out-of-control drones force us to cancel to protect our loved ones?"

"I see. So you plan to blame us for an outrage one way or the other."

"Precisely. Your policy has been profitable to both sides, no? You get your so-called terrorists and we keep hate and fear alive. Do I need tell you those two emotions are the bedrock of power?"

"We can only tolerate the generation of so much resentment. We're not completely insane. How much more power could you possible need?'

"'Resentment', such a mild word. Let me ask you: In your country, do you only seek limited power? Do you wish to control only so much? Are you going to say to your unreasonable people who demand absolute safety your hands are tied and nothing can be done?"

"You are a devil, aren't you?"

"Even a devil can serve God. We will provide rich targets for you, headlines for your paper. Do you want history to record you had an opportunity to destroy your enemy but refused? What happens when those same men come to your shores? We can make that happen."

"All this, killing your own people, making this sordid deal, just so you can have a little more power."

"Each life must have a purpose. Look at our streets. Do you see purpose? We provide a cause, a direction. Pointless lives will rally. This will give us the control we need. Do you want the extremists to take over our government? Either we point them towards you or they point towards us. I would think two strikes would be sufficient for our needs."

I marveled at his slow tightening of the noose, of using our duplicity against us, of pulling us further and further down the slippery slope, daring us to refuse. I'd faced this sort of serpentine logic before, but I knew in the games of power today's outrage would be tomorrow's standard operating procedure. But what bothered me most was I'd heard this same serpent's voice before, giving me the same sick, sinking feeling. Except that voice was on "my" side.

"Look, we're not going to set policy according to yours or anyone else's agenda. Any concerns you have will be addressed as we see fit. You presume too much, sir."

"Do not insult me with fantasy. Your hearts are as clear to us as ours are to you. On both side are fools who believe they serve God. But they are not the decision makers, these public face puppets. If you wish to play that role, so be it. We'll go on without your say. Our voices victorious in the end."

I was reduced to throwing blind punches. "A victor leading an army of anger? Who's being short-sighted now? They'll turn on you like anyone else."

"Let me put this another way. I shall tell you a story of a man who rose up among us. He had - what's the word - charisma, yes. He was very popular both high and low and he was named head of the harvest festival.

"But this charming man was naive. He starts the ceremony dressed in red and protests with the Walk Of Rape. This is very inflammatory, very daring. He says women should be able to live without fear and our boys have gone too far. But this man, he puts our boys who protect us in danger with these words."

"Not to mention your power."

"Precisely. Good of you to understand. We were forced to silence this heretic and that night some angry youths obtained his address and burned his house and family to the ground. Naturally, we blamed outside agitators. The man served a useful purpose, after all. Are you understanding what I'm saying?"

"I understand but I don't like where this is going."

"As I said before, we are "old school". We do not tolerate criticism nor tolerate weak points of view. We are here to maintain order, to preserve the status quo - at any cost. To do elsewise would be to admit we are failures as a society."

The ice had cracked under my feet, I just couldn't fight anymore. My balance teetered under the weight of his infuriating logic. He knew he'd stripped me of my armor, leaving me as exposed as a newborn baby. He looked quite pleased with himself, this crafty scorpion. Fuck it.

"Oh, I get it. You're an asshole. And you can go where all assholes go!"

"Did you not stop to think why I picked to meet with you when so many others of higher ranking are available? I know of you. I seek to know of all men dangerous to me. You spoke against your drone policy - and spoke well. But then that's how you got ejected from your capital and posted to this faraway outpost. Your house, so to speak, was burned to the ground."

It's true. I'm a man without a country, isolated and powerless, the perfect pawn in a chess game I cannot win. This odorous little man delighted in my squirming. Maybe even he made up all these demands just as some sort of twisted mind game. I was stuck reporting back to my masters with a message I'd choke on. God damn these political people - please!

Paralyzed, not wishing to move or have the moment end, my head was spinning, my stomach burning and my heart sinking. His final face was one of stone, impenetrable like he posed his heart to be. Time to slide in the final knife, he supposed. Time to take the pawn off the board and put it in its place. All because I wanted to make a difference.

"There's only one way, isn't there?" His eyes failed to blink. "Look throughout history and tell me you see anything else." His head swiveled like a robot's, with a hideous Mona Lisa smile. He knew he ruled men who'd refuse a mother's love.

But that's when I snapped with a small smirk of my own. These men of power think they own me. They want me to fight useless battles, filling my heart with rage. Countries are an illusion of the past. It's only people living alone here; some filled with hate, some not. These men who've climbed to high places know they will fall, be exposed as traitors, when we come together as one. A foul fisher of men's souls this eternally arguing snake be!

The decision was obvious: just let it go. What a relief! The weight of the world lifted as I freed myself. I couldn't help but smile a winning smile - and that's when he knew he'd lost me. The man literally toppled forward as if to reach out to grab me. I'll never forget the look of terror in that terrorist's eyes. No bomb attack would he ever fear, but to be left to himself...

Stepping back into the noisy dusty street, it was as if I were stepping out of a movie theater as I faced this burst of reality. Damn, it felt good to be back in the sun!

CODA: I never did return to the embassy, instead booking a flight directly home, leaving the world to those left behind.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Dear Diary: All The World's A Rage

"Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain,
"And all the children are insane."

Things are going well on my latest campaign. No one suspects a thing.

Making all these household improvements really gives the look of someone planning on living. Dropping two grand on the new tub and shower area really hurts but it is something I enjoy on a daily basis and gives me a chance to talk about how it improves the resale value of the condo and blah, blah, blah for when I allegedly move. I, of course, know I won't get out of here alive.

Getting the place finally organized with the new furniture helps too. Gawd, the clutter! Was driving me nuts. It also allows me to more easily pretend an actual interest in my life. So everything is being put in order, aka putting on me dress blues, making it look good for final departure. These idiots actually think it means I'm being successful!

The screws just keep getting tighter and tighter at work. Corporate knuckle draggers are having a field day taking lives and backstabbing. Lots of nervous laughter going round along with low whispers of concern. We'd all fucking leave the insanity if we could but how does one leave the Roman empire? Rotting Romans are slaves to their slaves. It's all consuming, as pointless as changing positions on the Titanic. We're supposed to call that freedom. What nasty little perverts we are, getting everything backwards. No way out of that.

Everywhere you look, another capitalist

Health continues to decline alarmingly. Longer I stay here, the more I'm punished. Emily was my last chance to connect but I snapped under the weight of guilt and paralyzing fear. So I pulled the plug on even trying, which I know is fatal. The nightmares caused by the constant lying swirl into my head the minute I close my eyes. I dropped from exhaustion into a daymare and dreamt I had just been launched into space. The radio was crackling. I couldn't tell if it was saying there was a problem or not. Would it be the Challenger all over again? Was I about to die? I woke up terrified and heart pounding, my body burning up. Another typical restless dream.

The hounds of war are never far. One slip up and they'll cut your throat. My psychotic sister is still laying low in the weeds, rabid with anticipation, salivating for me to publicly stumble so she can "excusably" shank me again. To outsiders she's rushing to prop me up but they don't see when she sticks in the knife. Un-fucking-believable. "Just trying to help!" Never trust a woman who lets herself be raped. She'll be the first one to rape you when she gets the chance.

Of course, the worldly assassins are no better. Authorized kidnappings, torture chambers, drug induced insanity. "Just trying to help!" They can't stand it if you're not happy in their precious little lie of a society. Must be something wrong with you! The witches wage perpetual witch hunts and they can never burn enough souls. Man, the pressure is overwhelming, like walking forever in a mine field. Doesn't matter how much you hate it, how wrong or unfair it is or even how tired you get, the rule is still the same: one wrong step and you're dead. I'll be damn fucking glad when this goddam world is dead.

I'm starting to stumble in my act. Part of it really is being too tired. Part of it is a lack of interest. People really can't believe you can see right through them. I'm just telling you what you think you want to hear. It's funny when I catch them doing the same to me! Just more meaningless chatter cluttering up the world, choking out the truth. Everyone's got a hair trigger and wrongly takes the truth as an insult. That was one of the great things about Emily, she never made me lie about my intelligence.

I dream about buying the gun, the only true hope. Emily wouldn't let me live that dream, tethering me here in irresistible desire to live. But we all need hope. Heard a story about an elderly woman who went to a gun store, passed all the bullshit tests we use as a pretense for giving a damn, walked straight to her car in the parking lot and blew her brains out. Awesome! Store owner was all upset at his conscience being exposed. Hope I think of something that cool.

What would happen if everyone's act were stripped away? People talking about their grandkids' lives and other bullshit as if we're not in permanent decline. Fact is, they'll kill them in the name of love. No one wants to admit we're fucking up. They're either turning a blind eye or just grabbing all they can before the ship sinks. But ain't no grandkid gonna love you when they're stuck with the undeniable mess! So assholes walk around all prim and proper like well-dressed freaks of deformity worthy of love, defending the status quo because that's what good people would do, ensuring the very doom they say they are preventing. (Hi, Mr. President, whoever you are!)

We aren't going to stop reproducing
and carrying on

The bad guys are winning. They always have. Problem is there just aren't enough bullets to kill all the people needing killing. When killers rule, everybody dies. I abandoned my destiny. Could I have saved lives? It's very real to me the answer is yes. Saved the world? Absolutely not. But to lessen the violence, open the doors of communication that permanent peace uses as a foundation, to pass through the door that changes you forever, that's how paradise begins. I was not good enough to defeat the masked madness. Another day in hell as the bird of prey slowly picks away.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

My Dress Blues

"God never loved me."

Order. Discipline. Purpose. These were principles Major Kendrick lived behind. And died behind. A thousand million thoughts breeched his mind's defenses as he retreated once more into the familiar safety of securely buttoning his dress blue uniform in proper fashion.

It was on maneuvers, staring into a forest of scraggly forlorn trees, when he first felt it: that lost, drowning feeling of finding no earth beneath your feet, the world an illusion. But he "carried on". "Follow orders! Follow orders!" Kendrick desperately beseeched himself. Every man must place his faith somewhere. Was it fool's gold he'd purchased?

In these final few moments the answer was painfully clear: Yes.

"Ordinary". Kendrick never used that word, fearing it more than any mortal enemy. Escaping from the hell of being ordinary his life's one goal. He couldn't sing or dance or woo the ladies in dashing valor, play sports or deliver bon mots with rapier wit. This ordinary boy could only marvel at the gifts of others as he shriveled ever smaller inside.

Order. Discipline. Purpose. Where would he find these treasures in his useless life?

Maybe he really should have let love in the door. But these dress blues radiate so wonderfully! A special uniform worn for special occasions by special people - "Special" being the word Major Kendrick loved most. But his secret plan to live long enough to be thought of as special and die before anyone found out differently had exploded in his face, denying him final victory.

For in his life - as in all lives - happened an Incident, a time of revealing truth.

Kendrick straightened himself in the mirror. What a sharp dressed man! Even now, knowing the illusion of it, his eyes followed the precise creases, inhaled the deep richness of the color and marveled at the impressive figure he cut. How intoxicating still this glorious image! For that he would gladly die. But for nothing would he go on living.

The Incident had drudged up every little boy nightmare he'd failed to conquer. Oh God, had he really made no progress his entire life? The spotlight of truth was shining its way to him; time to jump ship. Kendrick deemed there could be no life after truth. Bullets of men he could face - had to face - bullets of truth posed a danger beyond reckoning. Would they think him a suicide coward even with his braving hot lead in combat?

Order. Discipline. Purpose. Where were they now as he was about to chuck his life overboard?

The religion for which he fought of Kendrick's carefully calculated life abandoned him. All the congratulations for his blind obedience rang hollow in the echoes of his memory. The sanctioning of the mission by other angry, lost men meant nothing to the Laws of Heaven: there was no "greater good". Major Thomas L. Kendrick realized too late to which true superior to give his blind obedience. Because he refused to stand up, refused to risk his career, refused to show his "ordinary" feelings - innocents had died. A Court of Inquiry demanded to know why. He'd have to swear before a God who already knew the truth.

"That's great news, Tommy!" Telling his father of his decision to join the Marines had been the one high point of Kendrick's life. At last, he had something special to point toward. Didn't they understand he could never risk that? But in hearing the screams and wails in the aftermath of the Incident, Kendrick's pathetic existence could be hidden no more. Could it have been any other way?

The red stain bled into the pristine uniform lie, first turning purple, then into a dark muddled brown. "Respect this uniform, motherfuckers!"


Chris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL and author of the best-selling book American Sniper, and a second person were shot and killed Saturday at a gun range in Erath County, U.S. Marshals said.

Late Saturday, Lancaster police arrested a man who they say matched the description of a man wanted in connection with the slayings. After a brief chase, officers arrested 25-year-old Eddie Ray Routh. WFAA-TV (Channel 8) reported that Kyle was shot point-blank while helping another soldier who is recovering from post traumatic stress syndrome. The suspect was believed to be highly trained with military experience. The shooting location is 53 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

Kyle grew up in Texas and spent much of his time riding horses and participating on the school rodeo team. His life quickly changed when he decided to go into the military and became a Navy SEAL. He deployed four times to Iraq. Kyle held the record for number of kills by an American sniper. The Pentagon has confirmed more than 150 of his kills. The previous record was 109. For his service, Kyle was awarded two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars with Valor. His autobiography, American Sniper, was released last year.

“It is so hard becoming a civilian. When you are in the military, everything you do is for the greater good. And as a civilian, everything you do is for your own good. When you’re in the military, you are facing life and death every day. And then you come home and hear people who are unhappy about the little things. And you think, are you kidding me? Two weeks ago, I was shot. And this is your problem. …They train us how to become warriors, but then they don’t teach us and train us how to become businessmen.”

There are those who say the word rape is "diminished" when referred to anything other than a physical violation. It's time we put an end to such sanctimonious garbage and face the fact we rape our members of the military with each and every arbritary assasination, misguided mission and commercial killing. When will the madness end?