Friday, December 16, 2011

PS from JC

PS Dude,

     Sorry to see that your Jets won. Geaux SAINTS!  :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Dear Russ,

     Sorry that I've taken a while to answer your letter. With my BD coming up, and all, things here have been kinda hectic. Not the Buy One Get One stuff, mind you, more in the O Holy Night range. Fun, but busy. Plus, I've been spending a boatload of time helping ease quite a few aching hearts. This season seems to really eat at some folks' spirits, for any number of reasons. I'm finally sitting down for a sec, at Ye Heavenly Coffee Shoppe. Yup, we have 'em, too. Only much better blends than you all have. None of that Grande, Vente nonsense either, just big mugs!
     So... I enjoyed your letter. And your questions. I LOL'd @ the Josh, Son of God bit. And the OCCUPY THE TEMPLE line was both hilarious, and historically accurate. I was truly PO'd with all that commercial crap going on in my Dad's house. BTW: That was the second OCCUPY moment in my life. First time was when I was a kid and had the pleasure of lecturing the old dudes. Mom was NOT happy. Nothing like a Jewish mother, and her gift for guilt trippin' to make a boy hang his head. Days and days of rants about shaming the family name. Go figure!
     Your observations about organized religion seemed pretty much on point. It was never my plan, desire, or intention to create a formal structure where grown men, and sometimes women, dress up in Broadway costumes, and chant Hummuna Hummuna Hummuna, while burning insense and crafting rules for everyone to obey. And I mos' def' did not wanna see people fighting and dying to prove that their deity has bigger cajones that the other guy's. Not    at    all.
     I only ever had two rules. 1. Love God above all things. 2. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
     I'm thinking that #2 may have been a mistake. Too many people fail to love themselves appropriately, so the odds of them loving anyone else are slim. And I've had a coupla thousand years to ponder that.
     So, I'm changing #2 somewhat. It now goes: Love yourself totally, even if you're a total screwup
knucklehead who just can't seem to get anything right, ever, because you are SOOOOOO innately good anyway. Then, love everybody else just like that.
     It's a bit wordier, but I think it nails the heart of the matter pretty well. Feel welcome to let me know what you think. If you do agree, I wouldn't  mind you getting the word out. The NEW GOOD NEWS! No other rules, just love. God. Yourself. Everybody. Not necessary to love everything God, you, or they DO. Just love the persons. Even the deific ONE.  :)
     Just for the record, God does NOT hate anyone. The truth is he's got far better ways to expend energy than to waste any on hatin' ons. Keeping a universe intact, moving, alive, and, loving each and every single subatomic particle in it is quite sufficient. Here's a lil secret, but you can't let it out, yours ain't the only universe in town, bro. The actual number is so whoppery, I'm not even gonna tell you the word for it. Settle for : LOTS.
     I hope I've addressed your basic concerns. If so, you're welcome. If not, please share. I'll msg you my personal J-Mail tag.
     Mom and Dad both said to tell you Hi, and remind you they love you. The Spirit, is, as always, out somewhere, but I'm sure he'd say the same.
     Have a Merry My Birthday!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Dear Jesus,
     Good morning! I'm sitting here enjoying my Sunday morning pot of cinnamon-laced coffee and thinking about you. I don't often go to church these days, but your official followers have been making headlines, again, and not much in a warm, spiritually encouraging way.
     And, I have questions. Lots of 'em. In as much as you seem to be a pretty welcoming sort with a decent sense of humor, I thought I'd run 'em by you, just to see what you think.
     I' ve read, on a number of occasions, that your actual Hebrew name is Yeshua, or Joshua, and that the name Jesus is, in fact, a Greek version of it. Kinda neat! Josh, Son of God. I  think it's pretty cool!
     My first questions concern religions. What exactly, is your take on formal, organized religion? How do you feel about that Muhammed fellow starting another one, in competition with Judaism and Christianity? Any thoughts about all the blood that's been shed in the name of religion?
    What's your take on that Luther guy and his nailing those ninety-five theses on the church doors in Wittenburg, and the HRCC booting him out? How about the pudgy king, and his lust-driven foundation of another branch of Christianity?
     I'm thinking that all the stuff the Muslims are doing to each other lately, like blowing up the opposite branch during religious festivals might seem pretty strange to you, too.
     But the bit that continues to puzzle me is the folks who claim to be your followers continually dumping steaming piles of doodoo on just about everyone else, especially Muslims and gays. Have you caught the pastor in Florida who planned to burn copies of the Koran, or Rick Perry's pal who described the Muslims as being satanic?
     How about that Baptist church in Kentucky this week, declaring that interracial marriages are forbidden?
     Have you seen the news about the Catholic Archbishop of New York pitching totally apoplectic fits about gay marriage? Or the Anglican Archbishop in Nigeria praising the laws which would incarcerate gays, or people who speak out for gay rights?
     Loads of crap being slung, all in your name!
     So, diligent fellow that I am, I decided to take another look at the old New Testament, just to see what you've actually said about this kind of thing.
     All I was able to find were instances where you spoke about prayer, about serving, turning the other cheek, loving one's enemies,and forgiveness, and the bit about the lameness of self-exaltation.  The only times I saw you truly ticked off, you were yelling at the Pharisees, calling them "whitened sepulchres", a pretty nasty bunch, indeed! Then there was the time you went ballistic about the cheating money-changers, and did your own  "OCCUPY THE TEMPLE" gig! Pretty cool!
     Nowhere did I see anything about you hating anyone, ever. So, I'm thinking that the folks who claim that God hates fags, and Muslims, and anyone at all, are probable just angry at their own lives, and that taking it out on others is the easy path for them.  Maybe they're just tryna establish their own props at the expense of others, kinda like Hitler did with your peeps. Jus' sayin'.
     Anyway, I'm gonna go watch the NY Jets play some football.
     I want to thank you, in advance, for taking the time to read all this. I would greatly appreciate a response when you have a chance.
   Meantime, I want to wish you an early Happy Birthday! Also, please give my warmest regards to your Mother, Father, and of course, to my friend, the Holy Spirit!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Not So Merry Perry

GOP Presidential candidate and current Texas governor, Rick Perry this week ran an ad in Iowa claiming that it's a shame that gays can serve openly in the military while Christians cannot openly celebrate Christmas, or pray in public schools.
Gotta love the BIG LIE strategy!
There is absolutely no prohibition regarding prayer in school. Anyone who wishes to do so, may do so, in any faith or language, openly or obscurely. The school may not lead or conduct the prayer, but any student or staff member may freely participate.
The last time I checked, there were no laws prohibiting the "open" celebration of Christmas either. Society at large, having concluded that there are actually citizens living here who do not hold the belief, has apparently deemed it reasonable and appropriate to share the somewhat more inclusive Happy Holidays greeting with strangers.
Mr. Perry, in his quest for the glittering crown of power and glory deems it appropriate to demean, dismiss and continually denigrate others, so that he may climb upward on their broken spines. He is clearly in the middle of Seinen Kampf.
So, Merry Christmas. Happy Channukah. Happy Kwanza. Happy Holidays.
Unless, of course, you're gay.

Friday, November 25, 2011


   The clan gathered yesterday to give thanks. Irish Americans, Korean Americans, Asian Indian Americans. Old folks, young kids. The younguns helped whip up four different flavored whipped creams for the pies and cheesecake. Rob kidoed, spoke the prayer. We inhaled turkey, kimchi, goat. We laughed, drank, ate and laughed some more. We gave thanks.
   America gathered last night, at the entrances to malls, stores, shopping centers, large and small. America gathered to snatch, grab, yank, shove, take, get, punch and pepper spray the competition, in a turbulent paen to consumerism elevated to the status of National Holiday of the First Order.
   Bleak Friday has replaced Thanksgiving. You don't ever see ads or announcements celebrating the simple warmth of family, gathered in the enveloping joy of deeper things. Starting in August we've been treated to the siren announcements of garish holiday displays, luring, enticing, enchanting, inviting, drawing us into the perfect maelstrom of a Daffy Duckish mine mine mine moment.
   We ended our gathering yesterday full, content in the goodness of our enduring familial bonds, and the joys of all those F words: Family, Friends, Food, Football, Fun, Fantastic Flatulence.
   America ended Bleak Friday with stuff.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Homiez n Da Rulez

   I have had, during the course of my course, of course, three unique homiez, Shakespeake, Plato, Jesus. Not in any particular order, mind you, but each holding equal weight, they have, along with dear old Mom, given this boy all the life lessons one could hope for. Others along the path have contributed to the goodness, but these three are my deep homiez.
   One spoke indirectly, through drama and poetry.  One spoke directly, through speech and example. One spoke largely by telling another's tale.
   The Bard, after whom I name my online selves, taught me that it's all on me, that there are no vengeful gods pissing in my soup. JC was all about feeding peeps, curing peeps, blessing peeps, loving peeps, and never, ever hatin' on peeps. Plato, the most removed of the three, reminds that although we are not perfect, we are truly eudaemonistic, that is, moving towards the one good. Pretty much what Mom said stuff.
   If asked what I'd like to be when I grow up, I reply that I have no plans to grow up. Older, hopefully.  But not up. I want, always, to view the world through hopeful, wistful, wondering eyes, open to all the lovely possibilities.
   My real deal, no-shit goal is, and for many years has been, to meet, and play, with as many people as I possibly can, before I die.
  There's a reason.
   Ever watch two three-year olds, sitting in a nasty puddle, making mud pies, all the while laughing their asses off? At that moment, they are moving toward that Platonic state of eudaemonicity. They are being godlike.
   What's a fancy word for play? Recreation. What's the big whoop power we usually ascribe to the deity? Creation. What are we doing when we play? Re-creating ourselves. Yup. Godlike in all respects.
   So, the life lessons, garnered through careful observation, and application of The Wisdom of the Homiez,
basically boil down to this: Take Care of Business & Play Nice in the Sandbox.                                   
   You will, I am certain, have noted that there are no subordinate clauses in the lessons. It's not "take care....unless my ass is tired or cranky". It's mos' def not "play nice...unless she called me a name."
   Jus' sayin'.
   Like Mom. And my homiez.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Stroke of Luck

   Mayhap you've read my short essay, Reflections of a Repentant Stroke Victim, mayhap not. All things considered, pretty funny scheit. This Friday, October 21, 2011, exactly two days hence, I shall mark the one year anniversary of waking up to falling on my face, trying valiently, but vainly, to chat up the handsome ambulance attendant, staring up at the lights in the emergency room at Good Sam, politely nodding at the clearly indifferent doctor who asked me about a DNR order, wiggling my left thumb the next morning and coining what would be, for a while, my personal mantra, "One New Trick Every Day", having my urinary appendage directed by others than myself, the portable peepee purse with its brilliant condom catheter, tormenting the lovely nurses in rehab for two weeks, working with a very handsome speech therapist, who turned out to be the partner of a softball buddy, meeting a lovely German family with whom I could practice the wonderful language I'd learned in Xavier High School, eating diabetic-death-dealing dietary fodder, personally prepared and provided by the evil dragon woman troll, having my driver's liscense suspened by DMEFFINGV,coming home in a wheelchair, having my twin nephews name my jacked up left arm Bob, as they climbed into my wheelchair, smacking me in the face with Bob, because, they smilingly explained, I couldn't defend myself, then, once out of said wheelchair, running into me full tilt to see if they could topple their uncle, nearly setting fire to myself in the kitchen as I tried to stand up, out of the wheelchair, and cook breakfast only two days after returning home, forgetting to remove the damned snuggie thing, thereby having it rest a while on the burner before flaming up slightly, learning to wash my own balls again simply because having my wonderful sister-in-law continue to do it had rendered us both weak and spasmed from giggling, working on simply walking, with a walker, then a cane, then neither, getting back into the kitchen so as to exert my mad baking skills once again, particularly enjoying baking dates with the loveliest niece evah, then with the young bros, making loads of cakes, breads and doughs, selling and sharing such, going to the kids' softball, baseball, soccer, and soon basketball games, all the while working out in my head, heart and soul, exactly what it means to be fully alive. Still!
  This Friday, in classic Warren tradition, the fam plans to observe this anniversary by coming to my house, where I, at the request of Elijah, shall prepare my legendary, classic Peanut Butter Chicken, and the kids shall make and bring dessert. The after dinner plan will see them festively festooning the walker, much as they have my Christmas tree for many years. I will have not only the pleasure of their company, I shall also once again proudly don the Halloween golden pimp hat they brought to me in rehab. The One Year Anniversary Stroke Party!
   Sum, ergo sum! Adhuc! Nondum!!! And, it does NOT mean I am not dumb. Although...
   Ich bin, deshalb, ich bin! Noch!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Advanced Inequalities

             Song for a Revolution: Advanced Inequalities

Get a job, stop cluttering, littering up this street

            Cried the bankers, traders, supply side down-tricklers
While they downsized, outsourced, laid off, pink slipped
Teachers, carpenters, baggage handlers, clerks, mothers,
Sisters, brothers, and fathers who fought in their wars.

You’ve got no voice. No one hears what you say.
We have the power, the money,
No point in fighting when you need the DJIA.
Go home now, while you still have one.

Crumbs for your tables, meager meats for your stew,
Praise God, thank your mortgage bankers
We’ve left remnants of that dream
To trickle slowly down to you.

Get off our nice streets now
‘fore the cops take you in.
Protesting our wealth will earn you
Just the just wages of sin.

You have no place here,
On this street, called the Wall.
Close to that harbor, with a great Lady, who calls
For tired, huddled masses, yearning to breathe free
For you’ll be arrested if you march on our street.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Let Them Eat Pizza

   In response to the recent Occupy Wall Street movement, businessman, Herman Cain, former Godfather's Pizza Chairman & CEO, current contender for the Republican presidential nomination, and all-around swell guy has declared war on the protesters. Calling them "jealous", and accusing them of "playing the victim card" while "looking to take someone else's Cadillac", Cain has broadened his appeal to the virulent, extreme right wing ( is there any other wing, these days?) of the Republican Party.
   Cain claims that they are anti-capitalist because they are protesting against the bankers and Wall Street. You know, the good folks who, through sheer avarice, created the broken, outsourced, bankrupt, foreclosed economy we're all living in today. The ones, who, along with coroprate CEOs, are still in the midst of the "good times", while the nearly dead middle class struggles to meet the bills, and put food on their tables, and into their childrens' mouths.
   Mayhap, he could borrow a line from Marie Antionette's alleged response to hearing that Parisiennes were starving. Yesterday's "Let them eat cake" can be today's "Let 'em eat pizza."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Designated Deities

   A rather funny, if not altogether unanticipated, conversation has now arisen, sharply, amongst the rank ranks of Tea Party panderers as to which of them is more morally acceptable for the highest office based on his or her religious subscriptions.
   Texas Mega church pastor Jeff Jeffers has claimed that Governor Perry is the most suitable candidate because he, unlike former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, is a true Christian, rather than a member of the "cult" of Mormonism.
   I distinctly recall, from my own religious instruction in Catholic high school, being taught that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is, indeed, a cult. I also distinctly recall being taught in Catholic elementary school that it would be a sin to enter another religious group's church. I remember wondering, what exactly the hell did those damned Lutherans actually DO in their not-ever-to-be-entered church as I passed it each day on the bus on my way to Catholic school, and my personal, mostly, compliant salvation.
   So, I thought I'd do a quick check of my own to determine which of these good folks was indeed most worthy, based on religious beliefs, and practices.
   First up: Sarah Palin. Although she officially declared out of the running this week, I figured we would all benefit from knowing more about her ethereal understandings. Paling was born Roman Catholic, then, as an adult, switched her allegiance, and tithings, to progressively more fundamental-leaning churches. Like the one where they were big on glossolalia, speaking in tongues. Clearly, Ms. Palin was a successful convert.
   Herman Cain is a good, old fashioned, regular sort of Baptist, and an associate minister at his church.
   Ron Paul, Representative from Texas, was born Lutheran, converted to Baptist, whose five children were all baptized in the Episcopal Church. You know, the American version of the Anglican communion, the one that used to be Catholic, but was started  by Henry VIII when he deemed the rules of the HRCC to weigh too heavily on his throne. And libido.
   Newton Leroy Gingrich, born Lutheran, switched to Baptist during grad school, converted to Roman Catholicism,after marrying his third wife, and experiencing the "happiness and peacefulness" exhuded by Pope Benedict. (More thoughts on the actual meaning of the name Benedict in a future blog. Just because.)
He recently said, "In America, religious belief is being challenged by a cultural elite trying to create a secularized America, in which God is driven out of public life."
   Michelle Bachmann, my personal favorite candidate, because I also simply adore Daffy Duck,
 was "a longtime member of Salem Lutheran Church in Stillwater. She and her husband withdrew their membership on June 21, 2011, just before she officially began her presidential campaign." Word is, that this particular group regularly denounces the Pope as the Anti-Christ. Ms. Bachmann claims otherwise. She and Marcus now attend an evangelical church near their residence. Several religious writers state that the Bachmanns are members of Dominionist groups. 
   Former Senator Rick Santorum, who very recently advised "Values Voters" that they should pick a candidate based on "who they lie down with at night" was raised Roman Catholic.
   Santorum and his wife now attend a church in the old Tridentine, Latin rite version of Roman Catholicism. As in, the "we don't really like the post-Vatican II, "modern" version. They like their church the old fashioned way, where no one knew what the prayers even meant. I know, 'cause I was a Latin-spewing altar boy back in the day.
   This then, is the list of currently contending contenders, and their religious views and practices. Lotsa Lutheran stuff going on, so maybe the nuns were right! Then again, lotsa "my god is stronger, smarter, holier, more smiting than thine, so watch your ass, or my god will stomp on you and yours."
   Yup. Nolthing more fun, or chilling, that a nation prepared to move "forward" based on their leaders' adherence, or lack thereof, to unprovable deific beings and the "laws" thoughtfully given unto us by said deific beings.
   I thing I'll just go burn some insense in praise of Ralph the Wonder Puppy. And vote for whomever does the same. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Can't Run, but Sure Can Hide

Today, despite national concerns over the frightful paucity of intelligent, viable, non hate-spewing candidates straining and struggling to ascend the Republican/Tea Party throne, the Governor announced his intention to remain tightly bound by the weighty ropes of inertia.
"If asked, I shall not run. If begged, I shall not trot. If cajoled, I shall not sprint. If threatened, I shall not walk at an unusually quick pace."
Thank you,Chris Christie.

Look at all the silly little children

If you caught Erin Burnett's Monday evening opener for her new OUT FRONT spot on CNN, you might have wondered if you were hearing correctly. I know for sure that I had to double, then triple check to be sure. And, yup, the hearing was just fine. What appears far less fine was Ms. Burnett's depiction of the Wall Street protesters as silly, oafish clowns. She actually referred to one as " "Hero" Vincent, suggesting that he had a self-aggrandizing view of his participation in the protest.
Basically, she clowned on him. And, on all of them. Totally.
But, I get it now. Mainstream media is absolutely OWNED by big $$$, and will, in no way, take the side of the little folks.
A Huffington blog this morning higlighted the inconvenience the protesters were causing local shop owners.
Maybe she should rename her blog, the Tory Times.
BTW: In case you might think that I am capping unfairly on Ms. Burnett for her skewed piece on the protests, please be advised, she has just announced her engagement to Citigroup exec David Rubulotta.
Nice reporting job Mrs. $$$.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Another BASE note

   So, lemme see if  have this business aright.
   A bunch of young Republicans at UCB held a bake sale. The price you paid depended on your claimed etnnicity. Whites paid $2, Asians $1.50, Latinos $1, Black $.75, and Native Americans $.25. Women got an additional $.25 discount.  No discounts were asssigned to persons claiming Gay as their subgroup, mostly, I guess, owing to the fact that Gays are, in the larger social context, not permitted to have the same cookies or cupcakes as non-Gays.This event was purported to be a protest against proposed laws which would take into account race, gender and ethnicity in collegiate admissions policy.
   Interesting form of protest, especially when you consider that ethnic, racial, and gender subgroups often needed to use bake sales, rent parties, and various other subgroup methods to afford tuition, housing, and food costs in a social structure which had/ has for so long denied said sub-members access to all of the above.
   For the very life of me, I am hard-pressed to recall events in which groups of Republicans anywhere have held bake sales in support of anything, or anyone at all not White, Straight, and mainstream Protestant.
   Mayhap someday, after they have a chance to get to know a few of those other folks, who might actually be enrolled in their schools.

Monday, September 26, 2011

B.A.S.E. Bad As Slimy Entrails

Pretty much the polar opposite of GIMMIE, a thing about which I shall rant and rail.
Tonight's topic for scorn: TERRA NOVA,  the "new" sci-fi show about a family transported back to a prehistoric setting.
It contains a plot line with a surly teen son, a formula-spouting brainiac daughter, a tough and tumble pop, a practicing MD mom, bad guys galore, hi-tech weaponry, and loads of JurassicParkasaurs.
None of this will carry this show much further into the programmers' scheduling future.
Nihil sub sole novum!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

At The Moment

                                  At The Moment

                          At the moment of your death
                          Did you perhaps not see,
                          Each and all that signifies,
                          Of love, to you and me?

                          When closed at last, that one last time,
                          Your now unblinking eyes,
                          Held you thoughts of my dear heart,
                          And our eternal ties?

                          And will you now that you have gone
                          Still wonder at our troth?
                          As I remain, forlorn this night
                          For all that love hath wrought.

Friday, September 23, 2011


                                               Rainbow, Dark

                              Come thou with me hither.
                              See colors and prisms
                                    of sky-tossed wonder as they
                                    radiate now, soft in glowing tendrils.

                      Marvel while this wonder makes its way,

                                             Cascading now in day, where
                                    Scorpio, Libra and Gemini shall in the
                                    Dark hours of the night dance and sing.
                                    Hiding there a darker skin, one ne’er seen,
                                    Nor seen, bidden enter.

Thursday, September 22, 2011




      Could be that I am slow to comprehend. Could be that British law is slower on the upturn. Could just be that Equality Minister, Lynne Featherstone has inadvertently misplaced her copy of the Magna Carta.
   Some things are so terribly complex. Others, however, proffer no Gordian Knots requiring lengthy unravellings.
   Please, someone, whip out Alexander’s sword.
   Ms. Featherstone has, according to gay-rights activist, Peter Tatchell,
“postponed” the planned government consultation on the issue of civil partnerships and same-sex marriage. She portrays herself, and her Liberal Democratic Party, as champions of LGBT rights, seeking to “ensure that there is full implementation across Europe, of the Council of Europe’s measure to combat homophobic discrimination”.
   Not being, myself, a Brit, I confess ignorance as to the machinations of British legislative action.
   But, I’m thinking in my slow little brain, that a “conference” is an altogether mild view of her obligations to ensure full equality under law for all British citizens.
   At this exact moment, a full six months removed from Spring 2012, thousands of ostensibly equal citizens in Britain, are excluded, based solely on account of sameness of gender, from entering into binding legal contracts with other amenable, competent adults.
  Specifically, they are enjoined from entering into that historically rights-granting legal state known as marriage.
   Marriage has, after all, always been, a simple matter of agreement between amenable (sometimes), competent (usually) adults (well…).
  As in, you may have my daughter, in marriage, if you agree to give me ten goats. Or, you may have, in legal matrimony, my middle son, if you agree that he shall have hereafter, and forever, free, full title to your herd of swine.
   Simple, civil, agreement. Terms of partnership, if not endearment. A civil partnership, if you please.
   So, why a delayed conference? Why any “conference” at all? Is there a lack of clarity on the matter? What is there, exactly, that requires lengthy discussion, debate, chatter?
   Though penned a fairly long time ago, the Magna Carta was indisputably written in English. Even my slow wit can comprehend the intent of Article 29, in the updated version, circa 1297.
   “No freeman is to be taken or imprisoned or disseised of his free tenement or of his liberties or free customs, or outlawed or exiled or in any way ruined, nor will we go against such a man or send against him save by lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land. To no-one will we sell or deny or delay right or justice.”
   Really? Conference? March 2012?
   Sword, please! Madame, lay the scissors down!


 Photo from Google Images

Monday, September 19, 2011


Having established a Twitter acct, I invite you to follow!

Friday, August 12, 2011

We, Too, Would Gladly Sing, America

I woke up today, after listening to some of the "debate" in Iowa, and realizing that the main qualification for elective office most of these sorry souls is their determination to rise to power at the expense of others, whom they habitually, viciously villify, decided to respond with my take on Whitman and Hughes.

                   We, Too, Would Gladly Sing America

                We, too, would gladly sing, America,
                But for those who tell us
                Our voices will never be welcome.
                We, too, are carpenters, and masons.
                Teachers, astronauts, soldiers, police,
                The darker brother, the lighter sister.
                We, too, pay taxes, and serve on boards.
                Our children play in the schoolyard with yours.
                They do the same math, and tell adjective from verb.
                We, too, shiver, as you stand in your pulpits
                Preaching that your god hates us
                As did the Jews when Hitler rose,
                Climbing to power on their bones
                Drinking blood mixed with ashes.
                We, too, would gladly sing, Amerika,
                But for your insistence that our voices
                Are not worthy to be heard.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Departure from this LIfe of Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden...

 The Apparently Unanticipated Departure of Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden from this Life and World Whilst Enjoying the Cozying Pleasures of Pornography: Death of a Malevolent Grandpa.

   In the relative cool of the early night, in Abbottabad, a moderate-sized city of a bit under one million residents, about the same number as you would find in San Jose, California, a T.V. set threw its flickering light on the walls of a shabby, threadbare room and, upon its sole occupant, an elderly- seeming man, grey-bearded, hunched forward upon a throw pillow. Eyes riveted to the images displayed on the old, coat- hanger- for- an- antennae- technology television before him, with its myriad of electric cords binding together a small array of electronic devices, he saw and heard nothing but himself, a few years younger, standing tall, beard darkened, his eyes vigorous and alert, looking softly into hell as he called upon his followers to wreak havoc on those he had so often deemed, and thus declared, to be the minions of evil.
   Abbottabad, a city whose main industry is its military institutions, with multitudes of officers, active and retired, a mere thirty-one miles north-east of Pakistan’s capitol city of Islamabad, where the common language is Hindko, and whose only professional sports team is the cricket- playing Abbottabad Falcons, had harbored the world’s “most wanted” man, probably for several years.
   Ironic, for certain, that he would take his refuge, not in the harsh, romanticized mountains of Tora Bora, where the major floral growth is poppy flowers for opium, and, scraggly jihad beards, but in a city founded in the mid-1800s by then Major James Abbott, a member of the British Raj, and author of the poem Abbottabad in its (his??) honor. Possibly the most horrid, sappy, honey-dripping poem in the English language other than Joyce Kilmer’s Trees, Abbottabad, the poem, stands forever as a less-than-grand example of the lasting cataclysmic effects of colonialism on culture.
   But I digress. It happens. Actually, rather frequently.
   What, you ask, sagely, could so distract this wily, ever-alert leader of hordes of jihadists from the sounds of a very large helicopter crashing down into his eighteen foot high walled-in compound with barbed wire trim, and no internet connections or phone lines?
   Well, apparently, when he wasn’t rocking back and forth, mesmerized by his own days-gone-by image and memories of murders undertaken, he took further refuge in the pornographic images stored on several of the compound’s computers. The man who had condemned America for “ selling your daughters with no clothes on without shame in order to sell your products”, sat now, in the warm embrace of Pakistan’s military heart, warmly embracing himself, visually and venially, and failed to notice, until just a bit too late, that a wife lay before him and a bullet had unceremoniously entered his head.
   Oh, Abbattobad, we are leaving you now
   To your natural beauty I do bow.”

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Not-So-Very-Mysterious Life of a Grain of Yeast: Quest for Perfection

       The Not-So-Very Mysterious Life of a Grain of Yeast:
                               Quest for Perfection                                            

       So, I got it into my head that I would tell the story of the life of a grain of yeast, and that in order to do so I would need to actually measure a grain. Not overly clear about what I’d be measuring exactly: its size, its height, weight, mass, density, hardness of outer casing (whatever that may be), permeability (because a 6 syllable word is always fun), color, reflectivity, its very yeastness.
   Fact is, it doesn’t have much of any of that. Except, perhaps, the yeastness bit. Other fact is, I lack any nano devices able to examine objects so amazingly small. I attempted to weigh one teensy gram of instant yeast on a glass-topped baking scale. One gram is, for certain, the smallest unit of anything you or I will ever need to measure out for any purpose in our lives.
   Ever peep a grain of yeast? It’s the color of a single camel hair, bleached by the sun. Not bright, just camel. Bleached. I’ve now poured some into a mini-baking cup, the very small ones I use for Chocolate Cheesecake bites. I’m thinking I might have one- tenth of a gram. Maybe. And in that ten percent of a gram you can see quantities, such that thoughts roaming toward the countless grains-of-sand on the beach, or stars- in- the- universe kind of hyperbole  seem not at all perverse.
   Oh, smell! Nearly forgot to scrutinize the smell! It’s basically, discernibly, yeasty. If you’re unfamiliar, $2.39 will getcha some, instant, in a vacuum-sealed bag at Smart n’ Final. It’s a pleasing smell, wholesome, rich, promising. Just don’t snort it.
   So, there they sit, scribillions of the bitsy suckers, at the bottom of the cup, gazing up at me, as might the countless denizens of an infinitesimally small world, staring in awe at the reigning demi-god, not at all sure where they’re headed.
   And of course, you have, this very second, said,” Pshaw”, or your personal equivalent, to proclaim your disbelief that you just read that yeast might feel, and perhaps, express, concerns about their immediate future(s).  
   But are we not examining the life of a grain of yeast? And is not one of the most telling qualities of life the ability to reflect, to some degree, upon one’s own existence. So, for the purpose of this happy reflection, we shall, henceforth, accept as indubitable truth, that this single, singular, miniscule grain of yeast, can reason and reflect!
   Upon what, you may, and should, well inquire, might this insignificant living entity dwell? What deep thoughts waft through its reflective pools of contemplation?
   It would, in the truest Dulce et Decorum mode, seem only sweet and fitting for our little yeastling, whom we shall call by his given name, Kor, to undertake deepest thought and ultimately to surrender his life to his raison de etre, the creation of the Kwisatz Haderach , the ultimate, the finality, the uber bread!
   Basically, yeast, including Kor, do for bread what money and sexual conquest do for the human ego: puff it way the hell up!
   Yeast, when properly handled and used, acting as a leavener, causes a bread to rise, becoming in short time, an object of olfactory and culinary delight. When improperly employed, or when heated beyond 125 degrees, or when cooled to the point of dormancy, or when tainted by direct contact with salt, when any or all of these, or other, adverse conditions come into the mix, yeast will fail to leaven the bread.
   Little Kor knows this instinctively, with a deep intuitive wisdom, passed down from matriarchal ancestors for untold millennia. (A deeper examination of yeast genetics and heraldic coats of arms may someday appear in a further scientifically and historically mangled accounting).  Pretty much any damned thing could royally screw up his mission, so he undertakes to be THE most effective, leaven-producing yeast unit in the only way he can imagine.
   He allows the other yeastlings in the mix to get themselves all stirred up, moving in a near-violent swarm, burrowing deep into the flour as it begins to glutenize, or frothing mightily in the tepid water to bloom, like brown pond scum bobbing upon the surface of the water in the mixing bowl.
   These energetic yeast, he full-well knows, will soon expire from their frantic exertions, rendering them incapable of exhaling their potent, gluten-expanding, air pocket- creating breath into the loaf.    
   He sits. Holds back. Waits patiently for his fellow yeasties to fail from their exhaustive labors. HE and he alone will be THE ONE. By dint of HIS prodigious genius and mighty puffy powers shall THIS loaf rise to the never-before-attained status of the KWISATCH HADERACH OF ALL BREADS  EVER!
   The Demi-God, Chef by name, to whom Kor and the other yeastly minions have long bobbed in supplication, now swoops down from above, scooping the shaggy dough deep from within the mixer, to be punched and rounded prior to fermenting.
   Alas, the ferment will take place without our little friend, who, having most successfully held back from the seething, bleached camel haired masses striving for perfection, sits forlornly on the rim of the bowl, having been missed in the heavenly scoop!
   Kor dies ten minutes later, victim of the heat from the bakery’s dishwasher.
   Moral of our narrative: Good shit will not happen if you sit back on your ass waiting and wishing. Not even for a grain of yeast.
   And, you know you counted the syllables earlier!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

First Blogs First

I've BEEN wanting to BLOG. You know, throw all my mental ramblings into the NETherworld and let others entertain themselves with it all as they choose. I've decided to name it: G.I.M.M.I.E., Good In My Mind's Eye. Having long since wearied of the standard "NEWS AT 11" world of murder and mahyem, I thought I'd spend my ramblin' time and energy on those matters which seem to me to be praiswworthy and ultimately, redemptive.
I invite you, if you have made this brief journey with me, to offer up any comments, notes, observations, or items of agreement or disagreement as you deem fit, funny or fantastic. I do, however, insist that if you find my musings to be egregious and just plain stupid, that you share your thoughts in a distinctly courteous manner. It's always OK to disagree. It is NEVER OK to be disagreeable.
That's it. The ground rules. I blabber. You get your say. Heckfire, this could even become a conversation.
I've decided to pst, as my first-ever blog, an essay written a while back. Don't let the sub-title or first few lines throw you. It's ultimately ALL about redemption

                                                  Sage Against the Machine:
                                    A Set of Snarly Reflections on the State of Things in General

So, I’d like to do that very thing against which I so often complain, namely… complain. And it serves us all well, I believe, that I take special pains to eschew the voice of an elder who, looking aghast at the misbehavior and slackness of youth, pines for the better days of his own youth, or times more distant.
In the eleventh century, Ch’eng Hao, a philosopher during the reign of Sung Dynasty Emperor Sheng-tsung, wrote and presented to the emperor, an essay titled Ten Matters Calling for Reform. In this treatise, Ch’eng largely outlined those societal issues which he believed stood most sorely in need of amendment. None of Ch’eng’s issues would surprise any of us today. He stated that the Sage Kings had established laws based on human feelings and the proper order of things. He also noted that although laws change naturally into systems suited to current conditions, there remain, nonetheless, certain underlying fundamental societal principles, which, directed toward the good of all, never change.
            The first of these principles is the need for all classes, from the Sun King to the commoners, to have teachers in order to perfect their virtue. In his time, Ch’eng believed that this role was no longer filled, leading to the loss of respect for virtue and the enjoyment of doing one’s job well.
            His list of concerns includes government appointments not being made based on competence, and education failing to inculcate clear, moral obligations. He further stated that the arrogant display of military power had exhausted the national resources.
            Ch’eng also noted that natural resources, such as the fish in the streams and the beasts in the field, were being cut short in their abundance.
            Throw in a few observations about loss of proper ritual, and food and land distribution, and you pretty much get the picture.
            Our picture.

            Mind you, Ch’eng held out hope for reforms which could be put into practice.
Hence, his hopeful submission to the King.

            I  served for twelve years as Dean of Students at a northern California high school. All things considered, a fairly good one.  Good kids, good staff. Great view of the hills.
            And day following day, I found myself in contact with people, while seeing others in the news, about whom Ch’eng might easily rail.
            The thing that got me snarly the other day was the piece about the middle school students on Long Island who beat another girl badly, while the beating was being video phoned.
            I’ve not gone out of my way to garner a whit more information on this incident. Don’t need to really. I’d seen enough Jerry Springer-like behavior on my day job. This mostly involved parents who told me that I was picking on their kids, for no good reason. Or, that I’d lowered their self-esteem by indicating that something may be amiss with their current behavior.

            I fear greatly for this generation. Not that they don’t often read, or spend time examining the world around them, as much as  they are lacking diligent elders to school them in the ways of virtue, or the joys of a job well done.

            All of this puts me in mind of King Lear and Mickey Mouse.
            Lear, sighing at his aching bones, readily gave the keys and prerogatives of power to those who were neither ready, nor worthy. The end result, as so often occurs in Shakespearean tragedies, is that at the end of the story, everybody’s dead.
            His kids simply had not been prepared to assume responsibility.
            In The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Mickey blithely creates chaos by animating a horde of angry mops, which make a serious mess of the castle. Enter the Sorcerer, grim and unsmiling, to set things aright, and whack Mickey in the rear with a soggy mop. Linger a moment, or pause the video and look at the Sorcerer’s eyes. You’ll see the affection, and the hope the Sorcerer has, for his not-yet-worthy apprentice.
            Today, I had lunch with my brother, his wife and identical four- year old twin boys. Their sister was in her 2nd grade class, and unable to join.  I asked her dad to tell her that I would make up the missed lunch to her. She later told her mother, that I didn’t have to do anything for her, that she already knew I loved her.
            A seven year old who doesn’t demand “stuff”.
            Who understands the deeper meaning of the word, no.
            Who will never be seen on a video- phone treating another person badly.
            Who will, someday, be worthy of receiving the keys.
            Whose elders have raised her well.

            Ch’eng would be pleased.