WWSP's "The Alternate Boot!"

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Light & Shadow!

Candle [512-1] by Gerhard Richter


I found this Ursula K. Le Guin quote in Liam Heneghan's book, "Beasts at Bedtime,"  a handy source for insight & wisdom.

The quote has been resonating with me for the last few days...


“When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.”

― Ursula K. Le Guin


Yes. Light and shadow. Think balance: ecological, physical, psychological, spiritual. Equilibrium. Yin/Yang. The inability to do only one thing. Every action has a reaction. Everything we do has consequences; the intended, and the unintended. The complexity of our human condition.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Tolerating the Intolerant, it's Intolerable...

A good friend of mine posted this quote from "philosopher of Science," Karl Popper:

"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them." --Karl Popper

I commented that it was a conundrum: "an intricate and difficult problem." This concept of tolerance: "sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own."

We have been taught that tolerance is a social good, that we should be sensitive to beliefs or practices of others, even if, and when, those beliefs and practices differ or conflict with our own.

But there are limits, right? Unlimited tolerance can destroy the foundations of a civil society. This social good can lead to deep social bad! Lately, we are seeing folks hype the hate, and that hyping leads to murder, domestic terrorism, fueled by deeply irrational and destructive anti-semitism, racism, anti-immigrant hysteria.

Of course, there are norms, there are laws. But when we start getting to specifics, things get a bit complicated. When does your tolerance lead to intolerable actions? When does your freedom to think and to speak, lead to the unthinkable, the unspeakable?

It all works better on a personal level. I don't tolerate racism, anti-semitism, anti-immigrant views in my personal life. If you are a racist, if you are an anti-semite, or an anti-immigrant, you are not a friend of mine. I have no problem cutting off these people in my life. I don't need friends like that, I don't need to hear from them, or hang with them. Life is too short to spend time with assholes.

But then, in the larger world, in our society, in our country, who decides what is tolerable and what is not? What views, what words, what thoughts are just not acceptable? Quoting a line from a Woody Allen movie: "If you become too different, you become a subversive Mother." When is it acceptable, when is it necessary to be a "subversive Mother," when is it not?

I guess I'd say we should not tolerate the intolerant, we must be become intolerant of the intolerant, anyone who intentionally will hurt another human being. That is just not acceptable in any way, shape or form. We are all human beings first. In that way, we are all the same.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Massive Blue Wave Next Tuesday! Please!

My friend and I voted early this weekend. It felt good. We are in the bluest of blue districts in America.  Two votes for Democrats up and down the ticket. Two tiny drops, almost infinitesimal. Seems like such a little thing. But it felt good. It felt necessary, it felt essential. The essence of democracy. I highly recommend it.

Here's hoping for a massive Blue Wave next Tuesday...

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Main Event.

I first wrote about my "Shaman Experience," here. That was the practice session. Last night was the main event, it was called "The Wild Hunt." It was performed in a church basement. A plain, friendly room. Filled with Shamans from many places, Illinois, Missouri, Virginia.

There was a cairn in the middle of the floor, a cairn built with trinkets, amulets, talismans, written prayers, various odd & ends, rocks and bones.

I was one of the musicians, there were four of us, I was a drummer, but because of my long experience meditating and conjuring images in my mind, I felt sort of like a bridge between the musicians and the Shamans. There were at least 25 Shamans. The room vibrated with expectancy and intelligence. It was extraordinary just to be in a room with these folks.

Once the hunt began I drummed and visioned. It was intense, indelible, powerful, unexplainable. I easily fell into a trance state. Yes, I went on a little journey, propelled by the drumming, everyone in the room was either drumming or shaking shakers, or spinning, or moving in some ritualistic way. We were all propelled by the music - drums, double-bass, ethereal washes of electric guitar.

Did everything go the way it was supposed to go? I suppose so. I can only speak for myself, I went deep inside, my whole body seemed to vibrate, every nerve in my body seemed to be re-lit with life and energy. I conjured up some striking, improbable, indelible images in my mind. That was pretty amazing, satisfying and intriguing.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Words Have Consequences.

Words have consequences...

Ask a poet. Or a Magus. Those folks who pray, who chant, who cast spells. If you paint the air with Hate, Hate will materialize. If you paint the air with Love, Love will materialize. I know it's sounds like Magic. It is.

Words. They are a conjuring. A prophecy. A spell. I believe in the power of words. We should all choose our words, speak our words, carefully. Always. They carry meaning, the have gravity, they create and convey energy.

Friday, October 26, 2018

"You will know what it is to have been wild, and you will know what it is to have been free." - Liam Heneghan

I am reading Liam Heneghan's extraordinary and brilliant book, "Beasts at Bedtime: Revealing the Environmental Wisdom in Children's Literature." The title is evocative, but doesn't really capture this multi-hued, multi-layered, multi-headed, many-feathered, multi-clawed & fanged, mind-expanding, beast of a book. Captivating. Enthralling.

I am only on page 128, and I am sure I will have more to say about it when I finish reading it, but so far, every page is illuminated by a charismatic, enchanting intelligence; suffused with humor & wisdom. I would have never guessed how much I would love spending time buried in this book.

Yes, children's lit, fairy tales, myths, bed-time stories, anthropological insights, philosophical star-bursts, a bit of magic and conjuring in these pages. It puts me in mind of Joseph Campbell's "The Hero with a Thousand Faces," no, not it's subject matter, just in the unexpected brilliance, the way connections and leaps are made to include everything it means to be Human. It's the kind of book that makes you think you are smarter, just by reading; every page illuminates. Reading it deepens your spirit, your heart, your head.

Anyway, I just came across this passage on page 118, the chapter about Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are," a chapter entitled: "Where the Wild Things Always Were." This paragraph literally took my breath away in it's beauty, sadness, breadth and scope. I leave it here for you dear reader...

"Yes, you, too, must leave the fireside, as humans have always done; you too must make your way in the world like the Puss in Boots that you are; you must overcome obstacles, encounter fresh wonders, fail, pick yourself up, and maybe even fall again. But you will be rewarded by the beauty of the world as you encounter it, by the love you find along your way, and, yes, by the baubles of success, fleeting though those trinkets may be. Though nature will claim you in the end, and your atoms will be scattered beneath the soil and into the winds, if you've attended well to life's necessary tasks, you will know what it is to have been wild, and you will know what it is to have been free, if only for a few moments." - Liam Heneghan - "Beasts at Bedtime"

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Calculus of Hatred.

Yes, Hyping the Hate, has it's consequences. Some crazy person/domestic terrorist is sending pipe bombs in the mail to the press and to prominent Democrats? Horrifying, but not totally surprising. There are folks who have been stoking the fires, trying hard to divide us, hyping the hate every day. I can think of one person who has been hyping the hate one tweet, one press conference, one campaign rally at a time. Words do have consequences. Speak hatred and hatred becomes a real, tangible thing. There is an inevitability in this calculus of hatred.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

"Some folks are born, silver spoon in hand..." - J. Fogarty

I found this little video quite thrilling and energizing. Kind of embodies a bit of the enthusiasm, the commitment and the vision for Democrats running for office across the land. VOTE.

It's important...


Excellent song too...

"Fortunate Son"
Some folks are born made to wave the flag
Ooh, they're red, white and blue
And when the band plays "Hail to the chief"
Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no senator's son, son
It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, no

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand
Lord, don't they help themselves, oh
But when the taxman comes to the door
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes

It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no millionaire's son, no
It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, no

Yeah!
Some folks inherit star spangled eyes
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord
And when you ask them, "How much should we give?"
Ooh, they only answer More! more! more! Yo

It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no military son, son
It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, one

It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one, no no no
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate son, no no no

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Hyping the Hate!

We have to tune out the noise. Listening to music helps. Lately, I've been listening to lots of instrumental music. No lyrics. No words. Or if there are lyrics and/or words they are in a language I don't understand. Give my brain cells a bit of space and breathing room.

We are hurtling to the midterm elections and the noise level is just getting unbearable. Especially from the "political opposition." Yes, it's really the GOP, the Trump lick-spittles & boot-lickers that are getting hysterical, trying to whip us up by playing on racism, and any other irrational fears they can conjure up. They want to hype the hate, flood us with lies, disinformation, propaganda. Confuse and inflame their followers.

It works. Right? Emotion. It overrides intelligence.

At some point you can't engage folks riled up by unjustified, irrational fear. You have to tune those crazies out. And just go vote! It doesn't seem like enough, right?! Voting. Seems sort of like a paltry, mundane thing to do, but in our Democracy (remember, it's still a Democracy, at least in theory), voting is key, essential, the one sure way the folk can have their voices heard. Like I said, "at least in theory." Let's test the theory.  Things look grim and a bit crazy, and the loud fat man in the White House is just playing on all of our worst instincts. We can tune that ridiculous, toxic, noise out. And be smart, sensible, rational. Come on folks! We can do it!

Monday, October 22, 2018

We Need Better Lies, Better Liars!

I suppose if the people in positions of authority, in all walks of life, are going to lie to us, we should at least ask them to do a better job of lying. Lately the lies are so bald-faced, so lame, so tissue-thin, so implausible, so transparent, so insulting to our collective intelligence, that it makes one think that the people in authority no longer have any respect for the rest of us. Could it be they just don't care, and they are just rubbing our faces in it? They know, that we know, that they know, that they are lying. And they are almost daring us to do something about it. Sheesh. Come on you bald-faced liars. It's impossible to take your lies seriously. Do better?! Are you daring us to "storm the Bastille?" To vote you suckers out? To turn the tables? To knock the game board to the ground? To tilt the pinball machine? What's up, Liars?!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Official Lies, Paper-Thin, Unbelievable.

I didn't expect the leadership of my country to support murderers. I didn't expect them to help in the coverup of a murder of a journalist. I didn't expect them to be more worried about arms sales and "business as usual," than the extinguishing of a journalist's life, (Although now that I think about it, it was almost predictable and inevitable wasn't it?), I didn't expect them to go out of their way to further blatant, easily disproven lies.

The raw brutality. It's hard to digest. The official lies, paper-thin, unbelievable. We are asked to believe the unbelievable and just move on. It is hard to do. Doesn't feel right. Doesn't seem like the kind of country I imagined I lived in. I guess I am in for a re-think. We need to be hopeful, idealistic, but pragmatic too.  This is just mind-boggling... disappointing, maddening...


Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser, has been urging the president to stand by Prince Mohammed, according to a person close to the White House and a former official with knowledge of the discussions.
Mr. Kushner has argued that the outrage over Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance and possible killing will pass, just as it did after other Saudi errors like the kidnapping of the prime minister of Lebanon and the killing of a busload of children in Yemen by a Saudi airstrike.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Chocolate Cake.

It wasn't mine. It was sitting on the counter. A half of a chocolate cake. Sitting in it's container, looking fresh, delicious, luxurious, a dark chocolate ganache, mini sheet cake. The label said: "moist, flavorful cake with a smooth ganache cream cheese frosting." Really? Decadent. I kept looking at that cake. It really, really looked good.

Of course, I "watch what I eat." I don't just sit down and wolf down a half of a chocolate cake. Dead Souls are calling me (see previous post), and that chocolate cake was calling me too.

"Maybe have just a little slice?"

I have incredible will-power, I really do. Until it crumbles, and then when it crumbles no will-power at all. That's kind of the addict's way, right?!

Oh man. I grabbed a knife and fork. Delicately, precisely cut out a little slice and devoured that in an instant. Pure pleasure. Right? Can't describe how perfectly that went down. Tantalizing my tastebuds, flooding my body with sweetness and goodness.

Oh hell. I cut another slice, and another, and another.  Devoured the whole thing. That whole half a cake disappeared. It was satisfying. The container fully empty. A void. Void of cake.

That's how you do it. You eat that chocolate cake. Yes, you do. Damn the torpedos.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Dead Souls - They Keep Calling Me.

The longer you live the more you are surrounded by the dead. You are alive in the midst of Dead Souls. Maybe that is really what it means to be older. You know and think about people who are dead. Some long dead. Some newly dead. The dead accumulate every day. I guess it seems a bit morbid, but on the other hand it's just the truth. You lose so many people along the way. Some you know personally, some you know from afar.

You read their books. You listen to their records. You remember their exploits. You imagine conversations with them. You have dreams where you converse with them. You are influenced by their lives, their thoughts and philosophies. The Land of the Dead is a real place, it's a land that we can visit at any time, and we do it all the time.

You don't want to become one of those human beings who only look and listen to the dead. You want to live with the living, but you can't help also living with the dead. That just the truth.


Joy Division – Dead Souls 

Someone take these dreams away,
That point me to another day,
A duel of personalities,
That stretch all true realities.

That keep calling me,
They keep calling me,
Keep on calling me,
They keep calling me.

Where figures from the past stand tall,
And mocking voices ring the halls.
Imperialistic house of prayer,
Conquistadors who took their share.

That keep calling me,
They keep calling me,
Keep on calling me,
They keep calling me.

Calling me, calling me, calling me, calling me.

They keep calling me,
Keep on calling me,
They keep calling me,
They keep calling me.


Songwriters: BERNARD SUMNER, IAN KEVIN CURTIS, 
PETER HOOK, STEPHEN PAUL DAVID MORRIS

Thursday, October 18, 2018

"... the Tension Between the Angel and the Beast..." - Wayne Kramer

I just finished reading Wayne Kramer's book "The Hard Stuff." Words to describe it? Harrowing. Unflinching. Brutal. Confounding. Frustrating. Honest. It's a conjuring and a cleansing. Wayne was one of the founders of the MC5, a seminal r&r band, a politically-conscious band, a powerful r&r outfit that came to life in one of the most politically contentious times in contemporary America. Yes, they were the only band that actually played a set at the Democratic convention in 1968 Chicago. Before the police riot in Grant Park.

The Guardian describes Kramer as a "self-saboteur." That's good. Kind of captures much of the tone and explains the long cascade of missteps in his r&r life. How does a young guitar-slinger end up working full-time as a drug addict, a small-time criminal and a long-time prisoner? It's another r&r saga where a talented musician basically surrenders his life to substance abuse and deep addiction. A talented, intelligent, idealistic human being renders himself a total slave to drugs. Not much of a revolution or utopia.

Seems that credo: sex, drugs & rock and roll is a great rallying cry, but not a very good way to live an ordered, fulfilling life. The book is a record, a chronicle of a life as a series of train-wrecks; a sustained, out of control, wreck of a life. If you were looking for further proof that drugs can derail your life, well, be sure to check out Wayne's compelling testimony. Somehow, inexplicably, after decades, Kramer emerges on the other side, and decides to atone. And yes, he finds a new ethic, a road of redemption, a life of clear-eyed sobriety, a determination to live a principled life. I guess, you can say it's never too late. Wayne survives to tell the tale. That's the payoff.

No sense trying to review the book, it's a vivid story of a life, really. It's worth reading. Worth experiencing. It's the life-story of a fiercely intelligent and complicated human being.

"I still live in the tension between the angel and the beast, that is my lot as human. This struggle will continue until the day I depart. Mine has been a painful and beautiful experience, and I wouldn't change any of it, even if I could." - Wayne Kramer

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Ones Who Get in the Way!

Not feeling the love from the 1%. You know, those folks at the top of the pyramid. Those who run things all around the world. The rich getting richer. Every day. Money loves money and money + money = money.

The rest of us look up at the top of the pyramid, some of us hope to be up there too, some of us hope those at the top will show a bit of kindness and mercy for the rest of us. But really, that seems foolish.

Yes, the 99% greatly out-number the 1%. You'd think that would be in our favor. If we all got together and decided to slice the economic pie in a more progressive and fairer manner, a little creative re-distribution, we could make sure that all of us could share in the bounty and the beauty of life, that we could all live better and more productive lives.

You wonder why some of us live in pain and squalor. Why do vast swaths of the world's population live in bleak and utter poverty? And why do the 1% just look for tax havens and more elaborate tax-avoiding schemes to park and hide their money?

Sure seems like a rigged game. The 1% buy their politicians, their armies, their police forces. They buy their way into the rule-making game. They make the rules for the rest of us. Surprisingly the rules always favor that 1%.

Money sticks with money. That's the way of the world. And no one wants to share their money or power. Really. We count on the kindness and intelligence of the 1%, we look up to them, hands extended, but really we are the invisible 99%. The ones who get in the way.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Paging Through the Newspaper.

Paging through the newspaper is a bit better than surfing the web. The stories are a bit more coherent, there's a beginning, middle and end. Easier to digest. At least the form of it. Not so much the content. The content is disturbing, troubling, confounding, maddening.

Do you love life? Do you love your life? Do you love humanity? Do you love mankind? Do you love?

Paging through the newspaper it's hard to find love. Instead the pages are filled with all the maladies of life. Is it better to tune in? To tune out? To embrace, or to reject the world? What's better for your head, your soul? Your conscience? How to live with all this chaos, this madness, this uncertainty, this collective pain and suffering?

Big questions. Maybe too big. It seems freedom is under attack. Facts too. Honesty too. There are so many competing forces, competing narratives, collisions all across the newspaper. How does anything work? How do we make it? Where the hell is this all going?

You think of yourself as on the side of enlightenment and light, but often you are confused and stumbling in the dark.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Broken!

I have a friend who tells me no matter what happens, there is always a Gilmore Girls episode that was there first. Everything goes thru Gilmore Girls. I don't know if it's true. Never saw the show.

For me, there is always a Dylan song for everything... all history is reflected and highlighted, referenced and illuminated in a Dylan song. His song book is one of our great human resources. Dylan has written a lot of songs...


Everything Is Broken
WRITTEN BY: BOB DYLAN

Broken lines, broken strings
Broken threads, broken springs
Broken idols, broken heads
People sleeping in broken beds
Ain’t no use jiving
Ain’t no use joking
Everything is broken

Broken bottles, broken plates 
Broken switches, broken gates
Broken dishes, broken parts
Streets are filled with broken hearts
Broken words never meant to be spoken
Everything is broken 

Seem like every time you stop and turn around
Something else just hit the ground 

Broken cutters, broken saws
Broken buckles, broken laws
Broken bodies, broken bones
Broken voices on broken phones
Take a deep breath, feel like you’re chokin'
Everything is broken 

Every time you leave and go off someplace
Things fall to pieces in my face 

Broken hands on broken ploughs
Broken treaties, broken vows
Broken pipes, broken tools
People bending broken rules
Hound dog howling, bullfrog croaking
Everything is broken

Copyright © 1989 by Special Rider Music

Sunday, October 14, 2018

I Turn to Tom Joad.

I turn to Tom Joad in John Steinbeck's  & John Ford's "Grapes of Wrath" this morning...

Tom: Then it don’t matter. I’ll be all around in the dark – I’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look – wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they build – I’ll be there, too.

Ma: I don’t understand it, Tom.

Tom: Me, neither, Ma, but – just somethin’ I been thinkin’ about.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Friday, October 12, 2018

Come for the Music, Stay for the Owls!

Our band whitewolfsonicprincess is running an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to help finish and promote our next release: The Alternate Boot Vols. 1&2.  We made a new music video to help promote the campaign and the album. Check it out. We need all the help, and support we can get! You can really make a difference with your $.

The video features our new song "Brown Eyes," and some live performance footage intercut with some cool imagery. Owls. Some really cool owls. We posted it on YouTube and Vimeo. Be sure to check it out. Come for the music, stay for the owls!




Thursday, October 11, 2018

Not a Presidency, A Very Public Nervous Breakdown!

"A nervous breakdown." - Bob Woodward

That does explain it right? It's not really a Presidency. It's a long, drawn-out, 24/7 totally televised nervous breakdown.

Read Olivia Nuzzi's interview with Woodward and also her: "My Private Oval Office Press Conference with Donald Trump, Mike Pence, John Kelly, and Mike Pompeo."

What a freak-show. A country and an administration held hostage by a very unintelligent man in the midst of a very public nervous breakdown. And the people around him are helpless, complicit.

It's pretty ridiculous. Horrifying too. Of course.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Blood. On. Our. Hands.

A chilling headline: U.S. Knew of Saudi Plan to Seize Missing Journalist...

"U.S. intelligence services intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture Saudi journalist and government critic Jamal Khashoggi, whose disappearance in Turkey last week threatens to damage the warm ties between the kingdom and Washington."

Journalists are being murdered all around the world. That is scary, anti-democratic, inhumane. That is the world we live in. We all should be horrified. The killing of journalists is an attack on truth, transparency, democracy, freedom. There are powerful people who are afraid of the truth, and they are willing to take extreme, unthinkable measures. This is unacceptable.

If it's true that the U.S. authorities knew that this Saudi Arabian Journalist was a marked man, and did nothing, our government too has blood on it's hands.  They say, "it can't happen here," how long before U.S. journalists are targeted? Who will stand up for them? This is Not Fake News, it is all too real.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

"People have the Power." - Patti Smith

I have always voted since I could vote. I figured, since I'm always popping off about political things, I better vote, otherwise, I should probably shut up, so that voting thing is quite powerful, suddenly, I have lots of things to say about politics, and I have no problem speaking up about them.

I have always voted for the Democrat. Never voted for a Republican or an Independent. I have voted for a few slime-balls, probably the worst person I ever voted for was Rob Blagojevich who was Governor of Illinois, but who ended up going to jail for trying to sell an Illinois Senate seat. A corrupt slime-ball, with no ethics or smarts and a really bad, improbable hairdo. Sort of reminds me of another prominent political figure.

Anyway, I am on the Democrat/Progressive/Liberal team. Always have been. I do wonder about some of my fellow Progressives. They are an excitable lot. Lots of Chicken Littles on my side of the political divide. Lately they are almost hysterical, screaming that the sky is falling, fretting about pretty much everything. I know, I do lots of fretting too. We all have good reason to fret, but I don't know if publicly fretting is really all that helpful.

I say, take a deep breath. Don't worry. Don't fret. Don't just rage. Use that energy. Organize. Vote. March. Do something constructive. I am sorry, I have to quote the Coach, the great Vince Lombardi (I fear he was a Republican, but if he was, it was in an era when Republicans weren't as heinous, craven, and corrupt as they are today), "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."

We need to buck up people. The Supreme Court isn't gonna save our asses. Don't look to those robed figures to be the shining, progressive champions. And don't look to the House, or the Senate, or the President. The politicians are always last to jump on the bandwagon. It's us. The people. We the people who need to show the way.

It has always been "the folk" who lead the way. They do the marching. They do the protesting. They stand up to be counted. They demand equity and justice. They are the ones who will vote the bastards out. We can do it. We have done it. We always do it. There is power in a united and determined "We." It has always been us. Those who refuse to give up their seat on the bus because of their color, or those who marched with MLK in Bridgeport dodging bricks, or those marching to Washington D.C. to demand Civil Rights for all, or for Gay Rights, Women's Rights, Human Rights. Those who marched against the Vietnam War, and the Iraq war and those who shut down Lake Shore Drive in protest.

Equality, Justice, Freedom, Fraternity.

People have the power. Bad shit is going down, bad shit is always going down, but the sky isn't falling. We can fight the backward-lookers, the forces of reaction. We can handle this stuff. We really, really can. We must stay positive, we must not sink into a lethargic cynicism, we must not panic, we must not sit and whine.  We have to be tough. Tough-minded. If we all pull together, pull forward, we can make it a better world, day by day. We can do it progressively, inclusively, with a full, complete, compassionate humanity! As my Barack Obama used to say, "Yes, We Can!"

Monday, October 08, 2018

Not Quite Supreme!

In light of recent events, I think we need to rename the court.

How about...

The Not-Quite So Supreme Court.
The Not Even Close to Supreme Court.
The Are You Kidding Me Court.
The Majority Right-Wing Ayatollah Court.
The Frat Boy in Robes Plus RGB Court.
The WTF Not My Country Court.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Sometimes Not Knowing is the Best Knowing!

My first attempt at a post on my Shaman experience this morning was a lost cause. Computer problems interfered. Written on the wind. I am not going to try to recreate it. It was probably brilliant and insightful, but it is lost, gone, vanished down the rabbit hole.

So let me just cut to the chase...

I had a deep, and powerful Shamanistic experience yesterday afternoon. It was unexpected, totally suprising and unforeseen. I said "Yes" to something, and it led to something else. I sat intently beating a drum while 7 Shamans and 4 extraordinary musicians created this amazing vibration. I was totally transported, transformed. Believe it.

I forgot how much I love drumming. I don't do it often. It has been many years since I sat in a circle with other human beings, beating on a drum. And I forgot how quickly I can let everything go to the beat of a drum. Almost instant trance. We settled on the Shaman Rythmn, about 120 beats per minute. And this rag-tag collection of Shamans did their thing. Not exactly sure what they do, they conjure other realms and make connections, friends, and neutralize enemies.

 It's hard to explain exactly what was going on in that room. It's hard to explain the energy that encircled, and transformed that room. I can't really convey what the experience did to me either.

My head, my heart, my body vibrated, and... well... everything changed, in an instant. An incredible peace and calmness overcame me. And an expansive connection to unseen things. That's pretty incredible. The most strange, unique and powerful events can just come out of nowhere and lead you somewhere new. It's sometimes the common, easy, and natural things that have the most profound effects. Amazing. Sometimes it really pays to say "Yes," even if you have no clue where that "yes" will lead you. Maybe especially because you don't know where it will lead. Sometimes not knowing is the best knowing.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Everything is Tainted!

A good friend of mine: "I hate it. Everything is tainted!"

Me: "Yeah."


taint verb

\ ˈtānt \
tainted; tainting; taints

Definition of taint 


1: to contaminate morally : CORRUPT scholarship tainted by envy

2: to affect with putrefaction : SPOIL

3: to touch or affect slightly with something badpersons tainted with prejudice

Friday, October 05, 2018

People Just Don't See Eye to Eye.

I wonder what's gonna happen? 

Maybe that's the best response to the latest craziness. I feel like I'm watching a car crash in slow motion. I can see there is going to be a terrible crash. There will be injuries. People will be dazed, hurt and angry. People will dispute what actually happened. It will all depend on which side of the street you are on. Who saw what, when? Something happened. What happened? People will decide to see what they want to see. Everyone lines up on one side of the street or the other. We yell, and point, and make shit up to justify our own opinions. We wallop each other with our opinions. It's kind of ugly. Counter-productive. But maybe it's inevitable. People just don't see eye to eye. While I type these words, Amy Winehouse is on my music player, asking, "What kind of puffery is this?" Yes. Indeed. What kind of puffery?

Thursday, October 04, 2018

I'm Sure He Will Be Measured, Honest, Fair - NOT!

Well, he admitted he "likes beer." It sounds like he was sort of an aggressive, mean drunk in High School and College. He definitely hung out with a hard drinking crowd. Toga! Is that disqualifying? Depends. I hope he doesn't drink Bud.

He cried and ranted in his speech to the Senate. Is that disqualifying? Pretty impressive. Crying.

He yelled at the Democrats and accused them of conspiring against him. Is that disqualifying? Sounds like just about every Republican we know. They think those mean old Liberals are always plotting and conspiring at every turn. Those Liberals want everyone to have Gay Sex, and to have Abortions (I know, those two things don't go together), be Multi-Cultural, and Believe Science, and Facts, and actually celebrate our melting-pot experiment. Oh yeah, Hilary! She's totally diabolical!

He wants a life-time appointment on the Supreme Court so he can show those Liberals what's what. Yeah, karma is a bitch.

He promises he can be fair and independent, and honest. Really?! I don't think so!

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

"Disgusting, Vile & Soul-less!"

A loud, fat man stands in front of a boisterous, rabid crowd and mocks a woman who has accused a Judge of sexual assault.

The woman's lawyer responds to the fat man's performance & comments like so: "Disgusting, Vile & Soul-less!"

That is the Trifecta for sure. Seems pretty accurate. Disgusting. Vile. Soul-less.

Who could that loud, fat man possibly be? We all know him. Too many words have been devoted to him. Too many eyeballs have watched him. Too many brain cells have been wasted thinking about him.

Disgusting. Vile. Soul-less. That should be that man's epitaph. It should be tattooed on his fat ass.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Strangling Up Our Minds.

"Now the rainman gave me two cures
Then he said, “Jump right in”
The one was Texas medicine
The other was just railroad gin
An’ like a fool I mixed them
An’ it strangled up my mind
An’ now people just get uglier
An’ I have no sense of time"

Yeah, strangling up our minds, has been a human thing since the dawn of consciousness. Some folks even think that consciousness itself came about when our ancestors started experimenting with psychedelic mushrooms.

And consciousness itself is a double-edged sword. We are alive and conscious to the world, and at the same time we are alive and conscious to the suffering, the pain, and reality of our own mortality. It's kind of a heavy bargain.

So as species we have always looked for ways to alter our consciousness. We ingest all kinds of substances to change our chemistry, to mess up our heads. Some of us like to dull things, some to sharpen, some of us are trying to slow down, mellow out, some of us are hyping ourselves, goosing the system.

There are those drugs that tend to mask and shut us down, there are those substances that open our heads, that expand our consciousness. Alcohol (see previous post), is one our favorite poisons, but there is a long list of substances we are happy to indulge in.

If you go thru the list, you will be lucky to avoid the wreckage, the carnage, the deep, and difficult addictions that await. In a post-substance world, in recovery, in that 12 step utopia, you hopefully awake to a cold and bracing reality, alive in the moment, in the glow of clarity. Think: meditation or prayer, or chanting.  It's a different strategy, an alternative road, almost like hypnosis. Yes, you can change your consciousness by delving deep into it and noticing what you find in the deep, calm center. It can be done.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Clarity is King!

You know, there is that whole "stupid drunk culture." It usually involves lots of alcohol, and watching sporting events. Go to any college town. Go to any big or small city. There are the endless meccas to excess drinking. Go to any neighborhood bar, or favorite upscale watering hole, or to any VFW or American Legion post in Anywhere Town USA. Oh yeah, go to Las Vegas. Drinking to excess there is a goddamned religion.

Blackouts. Vomiting. Acting aggressively. Doing stupid shit. That is all part of the alcohol culture. It is everywhere. It is in the air we breathe. Remember all those stupid comedies about drinking, and drunk people? Remember how we laughed when John Belushi crushed beer cans on his forehead? Remember when we were in awe and amazement when famous and not so famous people overindulged in public? Not drinking to excess is going against the stream of the culture. Not drinking at all, being a tea-totaler, being totally sober? That is a major radical divergence from the broader culture.

Drinking alcohol has been sold to us as a "social thing." How one relaxes, how one unwinds, how one "gets to know someone better." Hey Buddy, have another drink, loosen your collar, right? That message is everywhere, comes from every direction.

I have been on both sides of this cultural divide. As a young lad, I was deeply influenced by those two-fisted, hard-drinking writers, think heavyweights like Faulkner & Hemingway, but also, and, especially, Jack Kerouac, Hunter S. Thompson and Charles Bukowski. I kind of fell for the "romance" of the hard-drinking, balls to wall, over the top, gonzo writer. Of course, it was total b.s. Not romantic at all. Bad for your liver, bad for your head, bad for your soul. Not an aid in writing in the least. A certain bleary-eyed, dead-end. Serious hang-overs, broken relationships, nervous breakdowns. An endless stream of broken things and bad news.

Demon Alcohol, the great destroyer.

It's all so much clearer on the sober side of the divide, and once you are on that side, Clarity is King. Drinking to excess just seems like the most pointless, destructive, corrosive and addictive activity imaginable. A soul-killer. The deadliest of poisons. And it is insidious, because it is so accepted and acceptable in our broader culture. To choose not to drink marks you as someone outside the herd. How many lives have been ruined by Demon Alcohol? How many broken men and women? Generations. Uncountable generations.

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