Wednesday, June 24, 2015

This Is The End

No one mourns the unknown dead

"I don't have time for you!"

I've had that literal phrase screamed at me before. Not entirely personal. I'm sure many who passed by Jesus on the cross said the same thing. Only he knew his fate just as Judas knew his. Both dead but different outcomes.

The phrase came from a friend, not a lover. God, the most ruthless and jealous of all beings in the universe, without exception allows time only for lovers. All else must die. Friendship is an illusion, a promise that cannot be promised.

I threw away my watch as a kid. Since then I've always been dependent on the kindness of strangers for time. But that can only be done for a time. Time is up.

So the nightmare is complete. No one has time for me but for my act. My act, of course, never has time for me.

I read where someone described depression as the inability to construct a future. I think it is more accurate to say that not having a future is highly depressing, Sherlock. I've used up all my future days in the past.
The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle,
so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness,
where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time,
out of the serpent's reach.
Thank God for that. She must be kept safe.

We like to think we are in control. We are not. Our fate is sealed with every opening of the seven seals, just as a person jumping off a cliff cedes final say in his outcome. If we survive as a planet, it will not be by our own hand. This has been foretold but any idiot can see it who chooses to look.

The song remains a stain, even after all these centuries and histories before.

Hey Jude, don't make it glad
Take a sad song and make it sadder
Remember to get her from under your skin
And then you begin
to make it deader.

Sitting in a Danish oven
Waiting for the sun.
If the son don't come
Gonna feel the heat of a thousand frys.
I am the dead man. They are the dead men.
I am the Walmart, boo-hoo, boo-hoo.

If I can get everyone to want me dead, then dying becomes a virtue. Asshole.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

News Of The World, Part 5836: How To End Cerealism

The cereal killer awoke before dawn. He filled his bowl with Cocoa Puffs. He knew others were out there. Frosted Flake. Fruity Pebble. Lucky Charm. Today, he made the decision to kill. This must be, there is no other way.

He walked by a breakfast nook in the woods, spotted Raisin Bran, and shot him dead. "I'm cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs! I'm cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!" The killer repeated this many times deep in his fear.

In the suburbs and city he found more deadly enemies. Left to their own devices, opposing cereals would crush his beloved Cocoa Puffs. It's a kill or be killed world! To hell with the wailing of the survivors! But finally, General Mills stopped him cold, taking his milk and gun.

Many professed outrage for the killings. "He hates us for our cereal! Why can't hate us for something real, like the color of our skin?"

The leader of the Nation of Cereal felt compelled to speak.

"I've had to make statements like this too many times. Communities have had to endure tragedies like this too many times," he continued. "Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. ... We as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries."

Listen to me when I tell you who the enemy is!

Much philosophizing ensued. "If everyone ate the same cereal this sort of tragedy wouldn't happen." "If we sold crossbows instead of guns this sort of tragedy wouldn't happen." "One thing certainly is obvious: we should never eat Cocoa Puffs again so this sort of tragedy won't happen."

Righteous rallies rode on many a high horse denouncing the eating of Cocoa Puffs. "If we can bury cerealism we can end it!" Campaign buttons declared "No more Cocoa!" Anyone found eating Cocoa Puffs was mercilessly attacked. Finally, the march to morality was victorious, not a single puff remained on grocery store shelves. No longer will the hearts of men hold hatred. Amen.

But the killing did not stop, for today, the Nation of Cereal made the decision to kill. This must be, there is no other way. Out of the deep blue sky like the wrath of heaven came the whistling roar of terror to blow families to bits. Many survivors wailed in unbearable pain.

"Our communities have had to endure tragedies like this too many times. Other countries do not attack us like this. Only the Nation of Cereal does. This happens because they have too easy access to drones!"

But the drone killers cared not for the wailing of the survivors. "The Nation of Oatmeal are bad guys. I see all these dead bodies and I think: this must be, there is no other way. I know that's what Grandpa said anyway when he loaded bodies into the gas chambers."

The cereal-eater killer awoke before dawn. He filled his bowl with oatmeal. Today, he made the decision to kill. This must be, there is no other way.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

"So this is me."

No other woman - or man - in all of San Francisco (or maybe even California) was as nervous unloading a bag of groceries as she in this moment. Every corpuscle was conscious of its movement, she watched her hands as those being of another. Something was supposed to happen. Something bad, or apocalyptic, or suddenly like lightning to strike her down. Nothing did in the late afternoon sun she'd come to love in this coastal paradise.

Life after divorce was supposed to be a literal fate worse than death, a sort of a living torment dropped into an abyss. But that hadn't happened. Not yet, anyway. She was back to budgeting her money, doing for herself and deciding her day. Most of all she was living with herself, which had become a bogeyman of sorts over the decades, a merciless flesh eating monster to devour her soul. But so far she'd come to realize it was her fear of that bogeyman that had eaten her soul.

Maybe I'm not as weak and helpless as I believed. I feel a strange calmness. Where is it coming from? I haven't stood on my own two feet since college. It's as if I'm a veal calf getting up and walking out of the pen. Am I really this strong? God, I hope this is real. So much madness has been removed from my mind! Is there more to my future than I feared?

After putting away the groceries she sauntered to the living area and sat in silence. Times like this she expected to be swallowed by a great void, losing her grip as she slid down an ice smooth tunnel straight to the depths of hell. Funny, but this fear before that was so vivid and real and certain applied more to the alone times in her marriage than now. She recalled thinking, "If it's this bad being alone married just imagine the hell of being alone unmarried!" Instead, the stillness of the room welcomed her, like a long lost friend. Who knew?

For the first time in forever she remembered the early days of her marriage while her husband's career soared as she stayed in her pen atrophying. The surge of youth swelled in her bosom, deeply fantasizing of her husband and his friends taking her one after the other in irrepressible desire, making her useful at last. She would have denied them nothing, performing any act they called for. If only someone had asked! But these secrets had never been divulged as she withered denying her passions.

She was curious why these thoughts had suddenly come back to her now.

This time last year she had been madly clinging to the long dead feel-good drugs of the past. Her 30th class reunion was coming up this year and she was planning her attack with all the detail of the Normandy invasion. She had to come out on top. Her friend's remark of calling it a "I've peaked and I'm kidding myself party" infuriated her to no end, burning her to the core. But now she could see no importance to attending or even understand what it was she thought she was accomplishing. She'd been chasing a mirage.

The other minor miracle was her family's support. It was almost as if they knew all along she'd been running away from life! Or maybe the fog had cleared from their eyes as it did with hers. She was no longer married to her childhood sweetheart as her parents had done. She never felt anything less than that could be acceptable. It was a brutally rigid and choking standard but one she had pulled off, taking the glory and accolades that went with it. No one called her out for that. She'd kill to have a completely open and honest conversation with her parents.

How surprising to find some stirrings of youth left inside her. How surprising to find a future not so bleak, one that even - dare she say it - excited her in a distant way. How surprising to find herself capable of dealing with a drastic drop in lifestyle, her previous lifeblood. How surprising to find her biggest fear was in realizing on how much she'd missed out.

Over the years her morality had twisted into self-denial, of how God didn't want a worthless wretch like her to express herself. As she stared upon the mountain of bad feelings she'd piled up she was overwhelmed by the debt she'd incurred. She'd always called herself "saved" but even she had to let out a small snort of disgust at that statement. She was a long, long way from anything even close to that. It was God whom she'd been denying, rebuking her responsibility to herself. Damn.

"So this is me."

Friday, June 05, 2015

What's Good For The Goose...

Of all the dark corners of the universe absent light and hope, there is none more godless and soul-less than in a courtroom of Man, a place where the sinless are condemned for the sins of those who judge them, a place where saints are tortured then systemically murdered; blindly sanctioned by a stubborn society the entire proceedings are wholly absent of God in a surreal nightmarish circus of unleashed socialized savagery. Yea, I say unto you the only light one will find in a courtroom is the light you yourself bring.

In Texas, we have some progressive laws towards mandating truth in a courtroom (a wonderful place where witnesses are sworn to tell the "whole truth" but those who try the cases are not!) But these laws are not on the books because of a love of justice but rather for our wildly egregious contempt for it in the past. Because people need the air of morality more than air itself, we have been forced to address our outrageous behavior and of these was the Michael Morton Act.

Michael Morton was railroaded in the killing of his wife as exculpatory evidence was withheld by the persecuting attorney. This allowed the real killer to remain free and kill again! After fighting DNA testing for years, it was finally ordered and Morton was cleared. He found God in the big house, but God did not set him free. God puts no man in jail nor frees any man. It's all on us. Ergo, the Michael Morton Act, which makes it clear evidence must be shared with defense attorneys. Anti-christs of the court are whining, however.

"I'll spank you every time you catch me in a lie. 
I must maintain moral authority!"

As reported by Grit's justice blog, there are a series of issues cropping up, among them: Improper redactions, Trouble accessing law enforcement files, Timing of Discovery, and Illegal waivers. I find the waivers to be a particularly vicious instrument of torture by these modern day Spanish Inquisitors.
At least "50 jurisdictions across the state produced a form that a defendant would sign waiving at least some discovery rights." Some counties leave production of discovery at prosecutors' discretion, ignoring the Morton Act mandates. Others "require defense attorneys to waive objections to evidence in exchange for access to particular materials." And some "ask defense attorneys to waive the right to make certain applications to the presiding court as a condition of receiving discovery." Such "discovery contracts are not only problematic, say the authors, they also are illegal and unethical."
This behavior requires no comment. Instead, I propose a waiver to be signed in return by the sociopath who makes such a dastardly request to a defendant. To wit:
I, _______________, do freely and wittingly declare myself to be a dirtbag of the highest order. I condemn any truth that gets in the way of my career and BMW as I seek to further myself by trading on the misery of the accused who must suffer my treachery. Punishing others for my own sins makes me giggle. My life amounts to nothing more than having the heart of an over-educated rock. Furthermore, I hereby certify that I break the heart of my mother each day I continue down this evil path.

I also admit of my own free will that I am a dedicated tree-hugger who hates the oil industry, am committed to be a permissive liberal parent, I crossdress on weekends, that Republicans are rebel scum, and I should get me to a monastery forthwith for the good of my soul and the safety of society in general.

Court is now in session. Guess who the defendants are.

Yes, one may pray in the courtroom, but to whom? One cannot pray oneself off the cross. If so, such a direct rebuke from God to the rascals in medieval robes would expose our justice system for what is truly is: a legal system no better or worse than what we make it. What sort of hell's hell is it where monsters seek to throw your life away for personal profit? Why are these waiver weasels not incarcerated for general endangerment? Isn't that purpose of law, to protect the general welfare?

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Part 10 (Finale): The Gravity Of Money And Black-Hearted Pirates

We erect statues to oil men who keep our lies alive

"Never bet your own life on other people choosing to keep theirs."

My father was a self-made man in the oil industry and that was his mantra. He dedicated his life to oil, driven to its total understanding, willing himself, and failure was not an option. He viewed the world as simply one thing: a threat to his existence. In his eyes, this was not a planet that had chosen to live and dream, and since he couldn't fix that he was bound and determined not to "let the assholes take me down with them."

He correctly recognized oil as the key lifeblood to the earthly societies we build around the world and that we'd literally have our children die for it before we give up our dependence on it. He died not long after the Iraq invasion happened and, in fact, I think that contributed to his death because that naked grab for resources verified his every worst fear for the hearts of men. "What possible future can we have now after committing an act so horrible and terrible? Mass murder for oil and money. It's true, it's true. We'll kill before we'll change."

It took a long time for me to understand my father's mantra growing up. I thought it stupid. Of course everyone wants to live! Are ya nuts? Later, that conviction got hazy and blurred. Now I understand. Exposing wrongdoing that will result in a person's - or a society's - doom does not mean that entity will change its behavior. And if you start betting your own life thinking that behavior is going to change then you go down with them right to the bottom of the ocean. People said my father was cold-blooded but he never wanted anyone to die. He just wasn't going to lie about the consequences of their choices. He wasn't a false friend who patted an addict on the back telling him he's doing just fine with that needle in his arm.

So I was to be spared this victimization at the hands of the death dwellers. He beat them at their own game by recognizing it as a game and not some so-called act of social responsibility that people associate to gathering money. If I told you a naked man went out on his balcony and peed on people's heads your view of the act would change if you found out it was a billionaire doing it as opposed to a hopeless wage slave in a bad part of town. We'd see the second man's act as one of social commentary with our guilt-laden eyes and then persecute him for that very same guilt. What a bunch of faithless monsters we are posing so proudly in our robes. Werewolves of the world draw blood.

So the tools of control and the chains of despair never applied to me. Consequently, I've lived in a spreading fear of what it is I'd do with my life if I had to do something. In the duality of my father, the anger in him encouraged my irresponsibility as a thumbing of the nose to the world we've created. "See my son! He does nothing yet the world waits on him hand and foot! Do you not see the insanity in that?" Most of what I've learned about the oil industry is through osmosis from my father's dealings. He never tried to bring me into the office. He'd rather I spent the weekend on the French Riviera in a $10,000 a night rented chateau. After a while, I accepted that.

But my guilty secret of worthlessness did me no favors. I hung out with other rich worthless playboys in order to hide in a group but I was the only one who felt it was his duty to be a lazy, no-good bum. Everyone else had to put up some sort of fa├žade that they were contributing to society. That's what their fathers pressured them to do. I don't know if my way was better or worse. I tried to sell myself that it was a "more honest" corruption. But fuck, corruption is corruption, you always pay in the end.

Goddam, did I ever pay...

More than two-thirds of Americans with incomes of less than $40,000 say they would sell something or borrow money in the event of a $400 emergency expense, according to a new survey by the Federal Reserve.

One thing I have noticed is how easy it is to make money if you have money. The whole system is rigged that way just like Dad said. Reminds me of the story of a local finance guy who bought a Picasso for 6 million and immediately flipped it to a sheik in Dubai for 12 million, a deal not available to 99.9% of the population and really contributes nothing to society. A night janitor does more good. The gravity of money weighs heavier each passing day. At some point it will bury us all. I know that's a fact few will face. It makes too many lives - both rich and poor - to be without meaning in the eyes of the beholders. Never bet your own life on other people choosing to keep theirs.

Deals come my way all the time because people know of my massive capital reserves sitting around doing nothing. (Or at least they used to. I don't keep contact with that crowd now.) I got this excited email from a money sycophant at an old hotmail address about a new app for investment funding: How would you like to get a 5% tax free return on your money in a market where savings accounts currently pay less than 1%? You can easily - if you can prove you have a million dollars in assets. It's a common rule in hedge fund investing. We don't want new members to the club!

Black-hearted pirates rule the waves. We create TV series and movies glorifying them, living vicariously through their treachery and betrayal. But with virtually unlimited money at my disposal, it's easy to have my own black heart. In traffic I've thought about wrecking the car of someone who's pissed me off. No skin off my nose but it could seriously derail a working person's life. I've mused on how I could have little people killed and be untouchable. Why give a fuck about anything on a doomed planet, Dad?

There was another side to my Dad no one knew and even I could only infer. He was a man of stillborn dreams. He'd speak wistfully of a writer's life and he knew no greater joy than sitting with a tumbler full of scotch and an ashtray of devoured cigarettes regaling me young eyes with tall tales of the Lost Dutchman's Mine and other historical myths that told of how there's more to life than meets the eye. Dad never saw that firsthand but that was certainly his innermost dream of dreams.

Alas, I have followed in his footsteps. All the money in the world won't buy me a career in the arts, the gift/curse of our family heritage. The Bible speaks of those who get too caught up in the thorns of the world, never taking root. Our family will end as dry tumbleweeds blown in the wind; a fleeting legacy of no value. From fear and anger we made money. When it came time, though, to face any possible talent with the Woman Of Fabric, I sabotaged it and ran away into my current suicidal state.

I should wrap this up by reiterating my first conclusion when my life splattered across the sidewalk from on high: real wealth is determined by what you have to offer. Apparently for me, that is nothing. Goodbye.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Rain, Rain, Rain, I Don't Mind (Photo Essay)

The rain has stopped. It is no more. Like a minor miracle, Texas has been rescued from its years long drought in the span of the last 60 days. Lakes are brimming and spillways are spilling. I must say, I enjoyed every minute of it. It was a wild ride here in the wettest May ever recorded in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. First, a little perspective.

There's a levee system that runs through Dallas and just south of downtown - the one referred to in Bonnie Parker's poem regarding the divide between Dallas proper and its underbelly on the other side. Here is what it normally looks like:

Calatrava Skyline

And after the rains, like this:

Flood 39

Part of the problem is the Trinity River which runs through the levees is also the outlet for lakes when they overflow. All that water has to go somewhere and go it did. Major thoroughfares were shut down in the metroplex, many for the first time I'd ever seen. I did some investigative reporting to see just how bad it might be. Let's just say it was a bad day for service roads.

Flood 36

Flood 90
Sort of reminds me of those dioramas showing a dinosaur stuck in a tar pit 

Flood 91

Yes, there was more than one moment I spent a good deal of time in reverse. Scenes like this were replicated in multiple locations. How many in total I don't know but one certainly had to pay attention and be prepared for detours. Next I went to the Sylvan Bridge which looks back at the Calatrava arch bridge. Turns out many others had the same idea as cars and cameras were lined up wherever I went.

Flood 75

I wasn't even aware of this offshoot from the bridge leading down into between the levees.

Flood 79

Not that I was going to be able to access it today (by car anyway).

Flood 66

But on foot I headed on down.

Flood 67

Flood 80

Some of the signs took on an ironic tone.

Flood 77

Flood 87

Flood 88

There was also some commentary on us of a different sort.

Flood 83

This was the view to the west:

Flood 63

And back towards downtown:

Flood 89

I decided to head over to the Calatrava. That place was jam packed.

Flood 59

Flood 57

Flood 56

Flood 49

Flood 51

Flood 42

See this row of pre-war, no garage houses appraised under $50,000? Some of them have amazing views now. One is for sale. I'll show the price with the view.

Flood 41

I decided to come back that night to see what I could see with the reflecting waters. The sights were amazing. The mosquitoes, though, were even more amazing, eating me alive! Better show up with a good supply of repellent or you'll easily end up with over a dozen bites on your body.

Flood 28

Flood 26

Flood 24

Flood 3

Flood 21

Flood 14

Flood 11

The houses in the La Bajada area west of the bridge suddenly find themselves in some of the hottest real estate development in Dallas. The plan is to move them out and yuppify the place while trying to retain some character. Whatever. This first house has a backyard with a bridge in it.

Flood 33

The house that is for sale has this for a view from the front porch. Asking price? $275,000!

Flood 32

I have to admit from a real estate perspective the bridge has been a good thing. Turning the old bridge into a walkway was genius and one can feel the vibe in the area growing. So I'll have to eat a few of my words on what a boondoggle I thought the bridge was. The rain, the waters, the smells, and the people called out to me to stay and enjoy the evening. I hope I have good news to report on La Bajada down the line.

Click here to view the entire set.