WWSP's "The Alternate Boot!"

Saturday, April 20, 2019

"...no one is in charge, nothing is true, and chaos rules each day." - Rick Wilson

Rick Wilson, GOP strategist, stalwart "Never-Trumper," author of "Everything Trump Touches Dies," has all the best lines... 

"... an administration where no one is in charge, nothing is true, and chaos rules each day. All are borne out in the special counsel’s report."

AND

"As I anticipated just before the report’s release, Americans now have confirmation for the history books of the most crucial in-kind donation to an American presidential campaign, ever. We see in black-and-white the degree and depth of the Russian active measures, propaganda, and intelligence warfare efforts that were the secret sauce of Trump’s 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t just MAGA or the Wall or celebrity bullshitting. An essential element of Trump’s victory was the work of Putin’s Little Helpers.And we have confirmation that at this critical moment, we had an attorney general who put Donald, not America, first."

Friday, April 19, 2019

Great Presidential Quotes!

Hah... this is an actual quote from page 290 of the Mueller Report

President Trump upon learning of Mueller's appointment: "Oh my god. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I'm fucked."

If only!!!  

I mean, this will go down as one of the greatest Presidential quotations of all time. Up there with Nixon's "I am not a crook!"

Of course, ufortunately for us, that lying, compromised, pissed-off, Putin-friendly, frustrated, raging, ignorant fat man depicted in Mueller's report is still in the job. 

What to do? The Democrats are always the ones who have to do the clean-up. It's ugly, unsatifsying work... but shite, someone has to step up for the good of the country.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Democracy Dies By Redaction!

This Barr/Mueller charade is such a freaking con-job. The Washington Press Corp is being jerked around, played like a fiddle. The rest of us are in the dark, being hustled, lied to, played with. What a freaking joke.

We've all watched it unfold. Today, maybe, finally we get to read some of the actual Mueller Report. But who knows? This has all unfolded like a really cynical, tortured, cheap-ass, PR scam. There are some folks who really, really, really don't want to the truth to come out.

These folks are working over-time, "setting expectations," trying to "mold perceptions," trying to contain the scandal, shape the news, etc.

It's all a load of shite. More freaking lying. A grand lying exercise. It is so obvious, all these sober-minded creeps in fancy suits selling a load of shite. We need the real thing. Not the spin. Not the redactions. Not the tortured explanations. Not the stupid excuses.

The plain, bald, truth... un-redacted... there is a blatant, corrupt, coverup going on in plain sight, and we are all being hood-winked...

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Something Happened...

"Something Happened." 

It's one of Joseph Heller's novels. Most folks know Heller from "Catch-22" which is an amazing read, one of the all-time great novels, but "Something Happened" is also a brilliant, captivating, disturbing, & mind-bending book.

I think of it often, even now, so many years after reading it. It captures the vast uncertainty, and unknowingness of our moment to moment lives. There are big things going down, all the time, and we are swimming in a vast sea of possibilities. Something happened. We wander around wondering what.

Sometimes we just float along, going with the flow, then we look up and big portions of our lives have flashed by. What happened? Something happened.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Numbers.

Numbers.

More numbers to confound me.  I don't want to think about numbers. I just don't. I would rather live in contented, ignorant bliss about certain subjects. You know, you pick and choose what to track with, you track with what you track with. There are some numbers I just don't count.

Monday, April 15, 2019

"You Can't Trust the Weatherman, Man!"

Math (see previous post). My aversion to math has probably stunted my potential. Maybe. Probably. Aye there's the rub. A very smart person I keep tabs on, tells us most of us don't really understand how probability permeates our everyday existence:

"the ratio of the number of outcomes in an exhaustive set of equally likely outcomes that produce a given event to the total number of possible outcomes."

Right. I'm one of those people who figures whatever happens is whatever happens, whatever actually happens, is what happens, without really understanding the "ratio of outcomes..." and how arbitrary or contingent, or random it all may be.

The last few days in the heartland have been a wild ride; fairly warm and sunny one day, furious blizzard the next, sort of mild the next. I coined my own phrases about the situation...

"You can't trust the weather, man."

AND

"You can't trust the weatherman, man."

Maybe if I knew a bit more about probabilities, computer modeling, and prognostication it would all be so much clearer, but who knows, probably not.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

I Am A Mystery To Me!

Yes, it's true. I don't like to count the years. I just don't. I try my best to live in the moment. I don't want to add up, or total, or divide, or subtract the moments, the days, the years. I always, always hated math. I know it's useful, and an important tool in making sense of our world, but I'd rather not. I just don't want to math my life. My life does not add up. Not even to me. So instead, I'd like to swim in the poetry of my time. No summing up. Always try to deepen the mystery. Because it is all pretty much a mystery to me. I am a mystery to me.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Electromagnetic Patterns - Connect to Everything!

Yes. I suppose that it isn't that we are just too stupid. We are the "clever monkeys" don't you know? We are also small-minded. Narrow-minded. Parochial. Tribal (see previous post).

One of my Gurus once counseled to "run the gold," you know, imagine you have a crown chakra, and turn it to gold.  Is that what all those folks were doing in those old biblical paintings?


What happens when you "run the gold?" You transcend your tribe. You have a chance to see "the games" that humans play, and you rise above. Is that really possible? I don't know, certainly, a worthy goal. And if we transcend, where do we go? How about to a Universal Mind?

"Universal mind or universal consciousness is a concept that tries to address the underlying essence of all being and becoming in the universe. It includes the being and becoming that occurred in the universe prior to the arising of the concept of "Mind", a term that more appropriately refers to the organic, human, aspect of universal consciousness. It addresses inorganic being and becoming and the interactions that occur in that process without specific reference to the physical and chemical laws that try to describe those interactions. Those interactions have occurred, do occur, and continue to occur. Universal consciousness is the source, ground, basis, that underlies those interactions and the awareness and knowledge they imply."

You know, maybe we need to "become the Universe, become God-like, but you know, lose the Ego?" You know God as a constellation, a force field, an ocean, a ray of light (hat tip to Madonna). Sounds a bit heady, I know, but maybe the only hope for the Species? Can we really function as an ephemeral constellation? Think of it as aspirational

Mind and Universe - "They differ only as a drop of water differs from the ocean. They are the same in kind and quality, the difference is one of degree only."

Maybe instead of thinking of ourselves as Human Beings we need to think of ourselves as "electromagnetic patterns" with a mission. Connect to everything!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Another Double-Edged Sword.

I suggest you check out this story from Morning Edition on NPR: Should We Have Empathy For Those We Hate?

Turns out even empathy isn't what you think it is. It's actually a double-edged sword. Just like just about everything else. We use empathy to love those we love, and to hate those we hate. How to expand the circle? How not to hate?

Seems empathy for those we describe as "the other," is on the down-swing. What does that portend? Tribe against Tribe.  Check out the headlines. You can see where this is going, and it's not pretty.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

What's the Narrative?

Not sure.

What's the narrative? Is everything going to hell? Is everything gonna be OK? Last night my friend recapped world events as she heard it on public radio on the long ride home. A gruesome catalog of dysfunction, disinformation, chaos, bad blood, bad actors, craziness and stupidity. Our fellow human beings; a motley crew.

Just a typical day in paradise. The best of times and the worst of times. What to do? What is the narrative? Should we be mildly amused, deeply horrified, zoned out, whatever? I decided to go to sleep. Turn down the lights, hit the pillow.

Maybe today will be better?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The World and Wonder of Blue.

A beautiful spring day yesterday. Lots of sunshine. Late afternoon, sitting on a bench, looking at the lake, big, beautiful, very still. My friend and I spent lots of time contemplating the color blue. Shades of blue. How many shades of blue are possible? It seemed like an essential question. There was an amazing spectrum of blue. Infinitesimally light blue, to super dark midnight blue and everything in between. There was something profound about the blue. It opened us, soothed us. It seemed important to take it in, experience it, let it wash over and thru us. Blue. The world and wonder of blue.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

The Mill of Now...

I hate to go back, to look back. I tend not to be wistful or nostalgic. I mean, I am so much about living in the moment, always onto the next thing; the next song, the next show, the next meal, whatever. I have the voice inside of me always: "There's no turning back."

Right.

At the same time I do love reading history. First-person narratives of other lives. So, really, I am often time-tripping, but usually in someone else's head. So in that way, I do often go back. I wade thru other eras, other times, other places. But still, even then, it's all just grist for the mill, the mill of now. What can I learn? How do these stories reflect and enlighten my life now?

What to do today?

Monday, April 08, 2019

Counter...

Counter to the trend...

Being hopeful.
Happy to work.
Tuning out the noise
Working thru the lies.
Open-minded.
Sense of wonder.
Not bitter.
Not cynical.
Trying to tone down the sarcasm.
Not afraid to say, "I don't know."
Not bored.
Happy to sit in silence.
Or sip coffee listening to Sting's very inoffensive, almost sweetly coma-like, "Nothing like the Sun."
"Soft Rock?!" OK. Whatever.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

What To Do?

The Human Being thing.

On your best days, you try to be the best Human Being that you can be. It's not easy. "It's not easy being green!" We are all nature's experiments. We are all a bit arbitrary and unfinished, and soon to be obsolete. You look around and realize most of the worst shit in the world is instigated and promulgated by your fellow Human Beings. Sometimes you just have to give them the benefit of the doubt, you know, maybe they just don't know any better? And of course, you are totally and thoroughly implicated in this assessment too. Still, there's no escaping. And maybe no excuses either. If you are a Human Being, you have to step up and admit that you are part of the problem. I suppose you can also try to be part of the solution, but, it's funny, the problems we create seem to loom so much larger over us all. The solutions usually seem pretty paltry, temporary and probably a bit misguided.

What to do?

You don't want to disown your species, (although, there are times it seems the only sensible course),  but you have major doubts that we can ever really get our shit together. People are so disappointing, and often appalling. You wonder where it's all headed, but, then again, it's probably out of your hands. So, on your best days, you just try to do your best to be the best Human Being you can be, knowing it's not enough. I mean, just probably not good enough. But it will have to do. You must try to live with a bit of intelligence, a bit of grace,  a bit of humility and hope for the best. And encourage other folks to do the same.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Serene in the Midst of Sorrow...

Is there something to be said for just hanging in there?

You know, just enduring - "to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding?" Quiet, graceful endurance. To remain firm, but maybe not too firm...

Lao Tzu tells us it's better to "be like water." Soft, yielding, gentle...

Nothing in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.

The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.
Everyone knows this is true,
but few can put it into practice.

Therefore the Master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow.
Evil cannot enter his heart.
Because he has given up helping,
he is people’s greatest help.

True words seem paradoxical.

(Tao Te Ching, chapter 78, translation by Stephen Mitchell)

Also from Stephen Mitchell - "We need to remain serene in the midst of sorrow. Then, evil will not be able to enter our heart. The things the world loves, and the things the world hates, are counter to the Tao. It doesn’t seem to make any sense, yet it is true; and, we know it is true."

Friday, April 05, 2019

Details and Truth!


This "screen-cap" from Twitter-land sort encapsulates the weird PR/Spin/Disinformation world we live in. There are those spinning public narratives, trying to influence our perceptions, trying to obscure the Truth, confusing us, and filling our heads up with mush. This is how you sell shit that no one wants, it's how you fool people, how you waste our fucking time with idiocies, and keep us confused about what's really happening all around us. It's also how authoritarian strongmen, governments, and corporations keep power, keep the people in the dark.

Often folks just throw up their hands, give up, on what is true or not true. They just believe whatever they want to believe. The world of perception is reality. Truth is whatever you want it to be. There are also those who know that lies, disinformation and spin are great tools to obscure, the deceive, and to keep power. They do not care about truth and lies unless it helps them maintain their power, their position, their advantage. They have learned you can "hack the press," they also have their organs of propaganda that pump out disinformation 24/7. Noise. Fucking noise.

It is better to keep our heads, to focus on the details, to get to the essential truth. I believe it is possible. I believe it is essential. Takes a bit of determination to cut thru the B.S. To call out the liars, the spinners, that bad actors, but it must be done. What happened? What actually, really happened? Not what people think, not what people say. What fucking happened? What did they do? What are the facts? Who did what to whom? Who, What, Where, When, How... and then, maybe, Why? You know, simple, verifiable questions.

It requires us to be aware, be awake, to always be questioning, always trying our best to verify...

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Paranoid & Psychotic!

“A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on. A psychotic is a guy who's just found out what's going on.”William S. Burroughs

Right. 

So if I am feeling a bit paranoid and psychotic, it's just that I have my eyes and ears open wide. Not surprisingly, I am actually sort of relieved to find that that portly, sober-minded, logical-sounding Attorney General that got all that attention last week, by releasing his weaselly "exoneration" memo, the guy who I thought was baldly and badly lying to us, is almost certainly baldly and badly lying to us. I am relieved because even though I'm feeling a bit paranoid and psychotic, I'm not wrong. I am seeing clearly.

Funny. This AG must be playing for time. Hard to believe that the man could seriously believe that his blatant B.S. would stand up in the clear light of day. Why would the guy risk his reputation and supposed integrity for the lying, criminal abomination who occupies the White House? Seems the obstruction of justice train is still rolling on. I thought I was tracking with the story, and then it all seemed to derail, but now I see, it's still the same story, just another chapter we weren't expecting. Our current President is a deeply corrupt and compromised figure, there is a trail of crime & lies still to be reckoned with, the day of reckoning still awaits.

I do believe it will arrive and justice will be served. Hope it's sooner rather than later.


Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Is It Even Possible?

Maybe it's all in my head?

Is it possible that being a long-term meditator, a person dedicated to meditating, dedicated to stilling the raging inferno deep inside has made me more sensitive, more perceptive, more aware of the rushing river of my passing life?

Is it possible that my sense of smell is much more acute than ever before? I mean, I started to notice that I was noticing all the odors floating in the air around me. It seems my sense of smell has become four dimensional. I can see odors in technicolor. Is that even possible?

My "bullshit detector" seems much more acute too. I see and hear the lies. I get really uncomfortable almost instantly when someone is lying to me. It is sort of like listening to the radio with an undercurrent of static and white-noise undercutting the lying, weasel-words. Very weird. Makes me very selective of who I end up spending time with. I want to avoid the annoying noise.

I find that my life is now a long-form improvisation, a "process of weeding out." My life is getting more stream-lined. I am aware of being aware. Watching myself, as I watch myself, without being self-conscious; in the moment, aware of the moment, forgetting that I'm aware of moment. Pure experience.

I am much more sensitive to the food and drink I put into my body. I experience the inputs. My body reacts almost instantly to healthy, wholesome food. There is an ease and comfort that comes with a good meal. I find I can add huge helpings of garlic and cayenne pepper to soups and salads. These herbs light me up, open me, make my life more edible.  Alternatively, heavily-processed foods don't sit well. I get nervous, edgy. I react especially badly to sugar. Funny. Early in life I was addicted to drinking Coca-Cola. Now that seems impossible.

I am also more aware of, and sensitive to, my emotions , internal thoughts and energies. Worry and doubt are dark clouds, anger is a toxic, debilitating energy, opens wounds; joy is overwhelming, floods into me, for instance, picking up my acoustic guitar and playing an open chord, lights me up. I experience joy as a healing golden light.

I am super-sensitive to light. A low light, or candles, are better. I am also super-sensitive to the gloom. Dark clouds sit on my shoulders like a heavy overcoat. I don't just experience the weather, I become the weather. I am weather. Strange.

Can it be, that as the years pass, instead of getting hardened, and set in my ways, I am softening, getting more sensitive, more aware, more permeable? I have to work hard to keep my space with the world. Not an easy thing to do. I try to be aware of everything, fully awake, but I do my best not to let the world overwhelm. That's the trick. Meditation! I recommend it!

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Not Easy...

It's definitely easier to give advice. Less easy to listen to someone giving advice. Easier to see bias in another person, less easy to see it in yourself. Maybe that's why it's edifying to read stories, to watch films and observe other folks living their lives. You can put yourself in someone else's shoes, try on someone else's hopes and worries, float outside of your own narrow corner of the Universe, and try to imagine what it's like to be someone else. Maybe you can learn who you really are by imagining being someone else? Is that how we develop empathy? And compassion? For others? Maybe.

How we choose to live, who we choose to live with, what we tolerate, what we don't tolerate. What we imagine. Where we put our intention. Who we decide to love, who we shun. This is all just long-form improvisation. How do human relationships work? Why do some relationships flourish over time, over a life, and some don't?  Why do some relationships work, and some decidedly don't? Beats me.

We all have to live with people. Not an easy thing to do. We have to live with ourselves. Not an easy thing to do either.

Monday, April 01, 2019

The Virus of Bad Ideas...

There was that famous question: "Can't we all just get along?"

Of course, unfortunately, the answer is: "No, we can't!"

There are some really bad ideas floating around in the history of human consciousness. Pernicious, vicious, terrible, anti-human ideas. Think of them almost like debilitating, brain-destroying, viruses. Diseased ideas. Ideas that are repellant, ideas that healthy-minded folks can't just go along with.

Many of these diseased ideas revolve around domination and racism. Look at the long march of history - genocide, slavery, oppression. Often the bad ideas float to the top and captivate big swaths of humanity. Why is it that human beings are willing to sabotage themselves, and sabotage other human beings just like them?

You hope that the best ideas, the life-affirming ideas, will win and carry the day. But it seems to always be a battle. A battle of ideas propelled by fear, hate, love, compassion, etc. All the contradictory human emotions swirling around each other.

So, yes, we like the idea that we can all "get along," that's one of the nicer ideas floating out there, but there are some folks walking around with bad shit in their heads. They need a rethink, a reprogramming, a detoxification. Or maybe they should just be ignored, or shunted to the side?

Maybe we can try to reason, or persuade them of the better ideas? Or is that just a bit of wishful thinking? Some of these bad ideas never seem to die, they just lie in wait, ready to inhabit, the next host. Bad shit on the rise.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Meditating on Meditation.

Thinking about meditation this morning.

Meditating on meditation. I am for it. Finding the calm center in the vast storm of our existence is sort of a revelation. A simple, little thing that has major ramifications. Sort of like the flap of a butterfly's wing that turns into a hurricane.

What to say?

If you sink deep enough you realize you are more than your thoughts, more than your feelings, there is a realm inside you where thoughts and feelings are just passing clouds, not as substantial as they sometimes seem. You can still your inner voice. There is a realm below or beyond your inner voice. There is a realm of silence.

You can inhabit that silence, and it can overwhelm you. In the stillness you find a stillness. In the silence you find a silence. In the deep calm you find a profound calmness. You don't have to claim any of it. You can let all these things just pass over and thru you.

There is a point where all the human needing, wanting, grasping seem like little traps that we set for ourselves. We can sidestep the traps. No need to cling. No need to linger. No need to bind ourselves. There is an easiness of letting go. A calm, silent, awareness. It is one of the pathways to healing.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Music as Religion - Trane!

We watched "Chasing Trane" last night; enlightening, inspiring, beautiful. A knockout film about one of the truly great artists, and one the most inspiring, insightful and soulful human beings that ever walked the planet. Music as Religion. Coltrane shows us that music is one of the most powerful, direct and phenomenal pathways to the Divine.


"My music is the spiritual expression of what I am — my faith, my knowledge, my being...When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups... I want to speak to their souls." - John Coltrane

Friday, March 29, 2019

Message in the Music!

I spent a few days staying at a friend's house. I was watching over his little pack of dogs. I was the lead dog for a few days. It just so happens my friend is a musician too, and as he tells it, (just like me), "Music is my religion." He owns an amazing collection of long-playing phonograph records and little shiny compact discs. So I loaded up the music player and luxuriated in listening to albums I don't happen own myself. I played the records over and over. I lived and breathed these sounds, these songs, these albums, consumed them like high sacraments.

There seemed to be a some grand theme contained in the titles and the music of the records I listened to... I just grabbed these randomly without any forethought... but something tells me the music was speaking to me, sending me a powerful, healing message.

"There's a Riot Going On" (Sly and the Family Stone), "Stage Fright" (The Band), "Helplessness Blues" (the Fleet Foxes), "Oh Mercy" (Bob Dylan), "Smile" (Brian Wilson).

Yes, dare I say it, quirky & inspiring, masterpiece records all... plus the grand theme, the implied, unspoken message contained in the grooves and the titles...

Thru the riot, thru the fright, thru the helplessness, you must show a bit of mercy, smile... and... endure...

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Obvious Liars!

I hate seeing the Obvious Liars seemingly on the ascendant. I think it's an illusion, a blip on the pop cultural radar, and it won't last, but I also worry that much of our media-obsessed citizenry can be fooled, at least for awhile, and in those moments of confusion, there is an opportunity for the Obvious Liars to fuck things up worse for the rest us.

We don't need to fuck things up worse. We have too much work to do. And we are wasting time.

The Zen Masters tell us: "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." Yeah. We need a few less experts, and more beginners. I for one am comfortable in thinking I don't really know what I thought I knew. No worries about trying to see clearly, with new eyes.

I do know we need to stop listening to the Obvious Liars. They are a dead-end, leading us into the abyss. They make lots of noise, sound and fury, signifying nothing. We need to move on from nothing and into a new positive, truth-telling, life-affirming something.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Democracy Dies in Darkness - Release the Full Mueller Report!

Yes. I do think we are being lied to, (see two previous posts), I don't think the "Barr Memo" is a decent stand-in for the full "Mueller Report." I do not believe our President when he tells us, based on a quick, sketchy summary, concocted by his hand-picked Attorney General that he has been "totally exonerated." We are being lied to, it's an educated guess, but it's also an overwhelming feeling, one that I am not happy about. We know nothing. We don't even have any idea how many pages make up the full Mueller Report.

Will we ever know the truth?

I suppose this President and his henchmen will do all they can to make sure that we don't ever get a chance to see the full Mueller report. This is something I just did not foresee. I didn't realize it was even possible. All this time tracking with the Mueller investigation from afar, expecting that when it was done we'd finally get the facts. Everything would be laid bare. I was working on an old model, I recall my days as a wee lad, watching the Watergate scandal unfold. I still kind of believed that our systems of laws, our political system could work. I guess not. It's a bit scary, leaves me uncertain, unhappy, queasy stomach, a most confused citizen.

I mean, actually it's worse than that, I have a sinking feeling that the country I thought I lived in all these years is not the country that I am living in. I mean, I know that's a strange thing to say, my country is often failing, people never cease to disappoint, every day there's an outrage, an insult, a crime, an instance of injustice, bad guys thriving, good folks suffering.

Still, it's strange to watch my fellow Americans, pundits and journalists all just nodding their heads, going along with this odd charade. This is just another chapter in the great hustle that is this Presidency. We are all being lied to, bush-whacked, fleeced, robbed, robbed of our crazy-ass ideas that this was a special place, one of the few countries where we could face the music, reconcile our flaws, work on trying to make a more perfect union, knowing that there is no perfection, and we are always pulling apart, always short of our ideals.

There are bad actors amongst us. Our political adversaries. They just don't care. They wield their power. They are audacious, rapacious, they don't play by the rules. They play dirty. It's an unfair game, a stacked deck. They have no shame, they are hypocrites, they are arrogant, they do whatever they think they can get away with. They have no respect for us. They do not fear us. They see us clinging to certain ideals and they see it as weakness. We are losing. We just aren't as ruthless. We are losing everything we hold precious. I still hold a slight spark of hope deep inside me, but it's a hope beyond hope. I shudder at the thought that maybe even hope itself is just another weakness that can, and most surely will be, exploited in this dark, forbidding, sadly-sinking empire...

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Something Does Not Add Up...

"Something's happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear..."

I'm still in a state of confusion. Something does not add up. There seems to be some elaborate kabuki dance intended to confuse us. I think we are being lied to by powerful people to protect powerful people. Not sure. Either there is more to the story coming soon, or folks are trying to deep-six the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and we are watching it happen in real time. Disorienting! I am not a conspiracy-minded person, but the story I thought I was following has taken a really weird, unexpected and fishy turn. Wonder. I wonder what happens next? Will we get to the truth, or are we stuck in a vortex of lies and coverups?

Monday, March 25, 2019

A Riot in My Head...

All the news this morning leaves me speechless.

I just have no idea what to think. I have no opinion. No hint of what to think. I am confused. I feel stupid. I think someone is lying to me, I have this distinct feeling that the truth is being buried out in the backyard.

I think there is more to the story, and it will emerge, but who knows?!

Something is going down. Something I just don't understand. I think folks are lying, lying to all of us. Maybe best to just wait, tune out the noise, or put some glorious noise on the stereo and chill with a good cup of java.

Yes, good idea... this morning it's Sly and the Family Stone's "There's a Riot Going On," (1970-1971), truly one of the greatest albums in the history of albums. It's a riot, a party, an over-stuffed musical cornucopia of super-funky and musical sound. There is a riot going down in my fricking head... a riot of confusion... but it sounds so damn good, so damn funky, there's even a bit of yodeling, yes, I kid you not, yodeling...  it's a masterwork, a glorious, seriously beautiful, riotous noise!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Experience the Experience.

We all probably know this, but maybe the things we all know are the things we should notice and acknowledge. The obvious.

So, sleeping, madly, sweetly and deeply, this sentence comes to me: "Don't judge the moment, just experience it."

This seems like revelation. Like something really important. Maybe I knew this, but didn't really know it? Can I live it? Be it? Totally subsume it into my moment by moment existence? Can I experience the things of the world, the moments of my life and save my judgements for later?

I mean, maybe that's actually how it really does happen. Smart people tell us we experience something, then we decide to judge the experience, we think the judgement is it, the ultimate thing, and forget to absorb the experience, maybe it's an impossible task, to experience the world with no filters, but it's really the experience which transcends, is bigger, more profound than any judgement or later reflection we can attach to it.

Right. It's a little thing. A small thing. Maybe everything. Experience the experience.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

A Liberation!

Spring is in the air here. 

Still cold. Brisk. But yesterday was all blue sky and sunshine. The lake was alive, wave after wave crashing into the shore. It was ordinary, the same lake, see it every day, but at the same time it was gorgeous, breath-taking.

I bought a classic old road bicycle yesterday. Everything works, brakes, gears, has a cool rack on the back. Riding along the lakefront felt like a liberation. Total freedom. Waves crashing, sunshine bathing everything.

A good day to be alive.

Friday, March 22, 2019

"Soul beats Money every time."

"It's all about the Benjamins." 

It's a line from a Puff Daddy song. That line got one of our freshman congresswoman in hot water. Of course, she's right, in our version of civilization, our over-stuffed empire, driven by the voracious beast known as capitalism, it's always about the Benjamins. But in the context of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict its a highly contentious statement. Anything even tangential to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is pretty much politically toxic. Is that line "an anti-semitic trope?"

It depends. Who is using the line? Puff Daddy? Your Mother? A Muslim Woman in a head-scarf? Jesus? Does that change the meaning of the line?

I would say it's a essentially just a super-cynical statement, right? A line that mirrors and reaffirms the religion of free market capitalism. Cynical, derived from the Cynics and the philosophy of cynicism:  "a Greek philosophy of the 4th century B.C. advocating the doctrines that virtue is the only good, that the essence of virtue is self-control and individual freedom, and that surrender to any external influence is beneath the dignity of man."

"It's all about the Virtue, Man..." I mean, all those thriving, seething, needing, wanting capitalists will  surrender it all, virtue, dignity, soul for the Benjamins. As they say, "Everyone has their price."

Ah. So maybe not a just an anti-semitic trope, a much more all-inclusive and damning idea. "It's all about the Benjamins" pretty much describes the economic engine of all modern man's empires. As soon as money was invented, ("The invention of money took place before the beginning of written history"),  human beings totally lost their shit. Yes, no doubt, gladly, willingly, "beneath the dignity of man."

From the King James Bible: "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." Yes, so if, as they say, "capitalism won," the selling of souls, virtue and dignity is a fait-accompli. We did it on the cheap.

There are exceptions, but, those exceptions pretty much prove the rule, who didn't/doesn't live by the Benjamins? Think of the indigenous people who inhabited America before the White Hordes invaded. Chief Joseph told us you can't own the land, you can't own the sky. That we all answer to higher powers. Well, we stole the land, sold it off, and moved Chief Joseph and his people aside, in the blink of a greedy eye. Also think of the Amish. Those grim folks kind of work outside the paradigm of celebrity-mad, money-crazed, pop culture.

So. No. I don't think it's an anti-semitic trope, or at least, not only an anti-semitic trope, and I wasn't offended when our new congresswoman used the line. It's the human story. Right?! Now, of course, some of us aren't only, or mainly, motivated by money. We value other things like Life, Love, Art, Poetry, Music, Soul. But we get tarred with the same slimy brush. "Everyone's a whore!" Anyone working outside the boundaries of the $$ is suspect. We are the "bad machines," who are working for other meager rewards.

Still, I would like to turn Jim Morrison on his head  and assert that "Soul beats Money every time." But of course we can't buy bread or pay the rent with Soul. We need those Benjamins, dude. Brother, can you spare a dime?! So, I mean, there's that. It's a tangled, sticky web. And we are caught right smack dab in the middle of it.

So yes, it's all about the Benjamins, except when it's not. And we get to choose when it is, and when it isn't, we get to choose what we value and when. We don't have to choose to value what everyone else chooses. Some of us can essentially "do the right thing." But of course, it's gonna cost us. You always have to ask, what's it gonna cost?! And who is gonna believe you when you say you "don't do it for the money, Man, I do it for the love?" How many Benjamins to buy your love?

Then again, laying on our death-bed, running thru last thoughts, how many of us will be thinking to ourselves: "Boy, I wish I worked harder, spent more time working, saving more money, yes, wow, wish I had more money, wouldn't that be great?" Soul!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Harder Streets...

I found myself in a very sketchy part of town. Maybe one of the sketchiest in the City. It's not far from where I live, but this "hard street" neighborhood couldn't be more different from the one I live in. Worlds away. I was looking to buy a bicycle. I ventured into the neighborhood, trying my best to be invisible. Hard streets. The kind of streets where anything can happen. And where anything does happen frequently. Gangs. Drug deals. Drug deals gone wrong. Drive-bys. Stray bullets. Dead people. This is a very poor, African American neighborhood.

Everything seemed shabby, broken, falling apart, slapped together. The buildings and the pavement pockmarked, old, beat, lots of rubble and cheap trash strewn about. Everything bleak and going to seed. Disorder. Entropy. No money, no neighborhood development funds here. Poor. A really, really poor, hard, raw neighborhood.  I felt on edge. Alert. Expectant. A blank queasiness in the pit of my stomach.

I was standing on the sidewalk with another white guy. Two uncomfortable white guys looking very much out of place. We were waiting for someone to come to the shop door, to let us in to check out bicycles. Minutes ticked by. No one showed up. Very Samuel Beckett-like. Standing around. Waiting. No Godot. Wild goose chase. A futile trip. It really did seem like we intentionally put ourselves in harm's way for no good reason.

Random. Stupid. Wrong place. Wrong time. What could happen?

A few minutes passed, seemed like forever, we both decided it was time to high-tail it out of the area. We took our uneasiness with us. Headed back to our more comfortable urban neighborhoods. Yes, the hard streets. People live there. People spend their whole lives there. They call it home. Do the best they can.

The bleakness, the futility, the weird, disorienting uneasiness, hung over me like a dark cloud. It only slowly dissipated once I arrived back at my place. Safe and sound. Relatively. Still, a bit of a hangover from the harder streets.

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