WWSP's Shadow of th Marigold

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.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Injustice...

What drives me bonkers? Injustice...

Injustice: "a quality relating to unfairness or undeserved outcomes. The term may be applied in reference to a particular event or situation, or to a larger status quo. In Western philosophy and jurisprudence, injustice is very commonly—but not always—defined as either the absence or the opposite of justice.

The sense of injustice is a universal human feature, though the exact circumstances considered unjust can vary from culture to culture. While even acts of nature can sometimes arouse the sense of injustice, the sense is usually felt in relation to human action such as misuse, abuse, neglect, or malfeasance that is uncorrected or else sanctioned by a legal system or fellow human beings.

The sense of injustice can be a powerful motivational condition, causing people to take action not just to defend themselves but also others who they perceive to be unfairly treated."

Saturday, September 29, 2018

These Voices...

Let's put a name and a face on these two brave women who confronted a Senator. The powerless, appealing to the powerful.

Anna Maria Achila & Maria Gallagher.

If you haven't watched this video of two women confronting Senator Jeff Flake in an elevator, you probably should, I mean, I strongly recommend you do so. Two very brave women speaking their truth. And they did have an impact, later Flake stipulated there should be a one week delay in the confirmation vote of a Supreme Court nominee, so the FBI can do an additional investigation.

“You have power when so many women are powerless...

This is one of those moments, I think of the black woman who refused to give her seat up on a bus in the south, or a young MLK dodging bricks in Bridgeport, events seared into our consciousness. Hearing from women who have been afraid to speak up, who have been told to keep quiet, who have been ignored. Let's hope and vow to ourselves that they will never be ignored again...

Friday, September 28, 2018

A Tsunami of Clusterfucks!

I don't have a lot to add to the thunder, the hurly-burly of the Supreme Court clusterfuck. Add it to the list of clusterfucks that are accumulating all around us. A tsunami of clusterfucks.

I guess, I would really be surprised and disgusted if this man makes it to the Supreme Court. It could only happen if the GOP decides to play dumb in a display of raw political power. Oh yeah, that is pretty much the theme of this era.

How low will these folks sink? We shall see.

Ugly shit. I think putting this man on the court pretty much discredits the Supreme Court as an entity. Another result of having Little Baby Man, King Idiot in charge. We all get slimed. Each and every one of us. Each and every day.

I do hate this shit. "Dude, what happened to my country?"

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Finding Connections and Meaning Between Unrelated Things! Is that Bad?!

I found a new word, a new concept today. I was researching (Wonder why? Check the headlines this A.M.)  the phrase "confirmation bias" - the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's preexisting beliefs or hypotheses. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. Confirmation bias is a variation of the more general tendency of  apophenia."

What the heck is "apophenia?" - "The tendency to mistakenly perceive connections and meaning between unrelated things. The term (German: Apophänie) was coined by psychiatrist Klaus Conrad in his 1958 publication on the beginning stages of schizophrenia. He defined it as "unmotivated seeing of connections [accompanied by] a specific feeling of abnormal meaningfulness" He described the early stages of delusional thought as self-referential, over-interpretations of actual sensory perceptions, as opposed to hallucinations.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

"Fun is Not What It's Cracked Up to Be!"

"Wisdom, sapience, or sagacious, is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. Wisdom is associated with attributes such as compassion, experiential self-knowledge, non-attachment and virtues such as ethics and benevolence."

As an aspiring Wise Guy myself, I say, "Fun is not what it's cracked up to be." That is a big idea right there. That is a bit of my own hard-earned wisdom. Once you realize that what most people think of as fun, is actually a lie, a waste of time, a soul-killer, it frees you up to choose a completely different code, and way to to live. 

Sitting in a room, drinking to excess, killing brain cells one by one is not fun.
Going to a party, making small-talk is not fun.
Driving down the highway at high speed is not fun.
Riding an amusement park ride until you want to puke is not fun.
Doing what everyone else is doing is not fun.
Pretending to have fun just like everyone else is not fun.

Basically: Fun isn't fun. It's pretty much pointless, useless and not what it's cracked up to be. You should not be trying to have fun. Instead, throw yourself into a task, use all of yourself, do something hard, challenging, difficult, totally lose yourself in the doing. 

Yes. Do something hard.  Do something pointedly not advertised as fun. Do it first, do it before you do anything else. Clean the oven. Wash the floor. Take out the garbage.  (Hah. Earlier in my life if someone told me I would be counseling others to do something hard, and to do it first, I'd think they were nuts.)

Remember when you misbehaved in school, and the Nun made you sit in the corner all by yourself? That was a hint, a key to a different door.

Forget fun. Instead, sit in a chair, in the corner, silently; eyes closed, take deep breaths, one breath at a time. Sink into the silence, the quiet, the calm center, sink deep below the surface. Let the thoughts wash over you, let the visions come. Do this often, do this every day.

Forget the word fun. Forget it exists. Banish it from your lexicon. I assure you, it's not what it's cracked up to be!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Alcohol and the Lizard Brain in All of Us!

I have a friend who has been in "recovery" for a long time. Many years. She talks about how she almost died from "substance abuse." Especially alcohol.  She wrecked her life and ended up in a hospital room, nearly dead. She miraculously "recovered," pulled herself back together and has lived a life of sobriety for many years. She is an amazing and inspiring singer-songwriter now.

She recently pointed out that when Anthony Bourdain killed himself, no one was talking about his abuse of alcohol. It was one of of the missing pieces of the puzzle. If you watch some of the past episodes of his show, you realize that alcohol makes an appearance in almost every episode. Drinking to excess is not a bug, but a feature in almost every show.

It's sort of painful to watch. Once you are aware, and look for it, you can't miss it, and you begin to think that the abuse of alcohol could have been a major factor, if not the major factor in Bourdain's demise.

The cameras were rarely on the morning after, but sometimes they were, yes, and Bourdain would often refer to feeling lousy, down, and yes, even suicidal. That isn't unusual for some one who abuses alcohol. What's amazing is that almost no-one even noticed. Alcohol abuse is so pervasive, so accepted, folks can watch his show and not even notice.  All that drinking was just someone living "the good life."

The great writer David Simon writes eloquently about his good friend Anthony Bourdain in this amazing post simply titled "Tony." It is a beautiful portrait of an amazing human being:

"A lot of people will tell you that on meeting Tony – despite how extraordinary a being he was – they somehow felt as if they’d known him for years. In part, this was the natural result of having so much of his wit and intellect bleed across our television screens. But just as elemental, I believe, was the man’s almost unlimited capacity for empathy, for feeling the lives and loves and hopes of others. He listened as few listen. And when he spoke, it was often to deliver some precise personal recollection that was an echo or simile on what was still in his ear. He abhorred a non sequitur; for him, human communication — much like his core ideas about food and travel and being – was about finding the sacred middle between people."

But even Simon's post ends with a night of prodigious, nearly black-out drinking. And afterwards Bourdain, deeply hung-over is on an airplane winging to another destination. Sounds exhausting, and debilitating, and problematic.

Why am I thinking about Bourdain and excessive drinking, and suicide and recovery this morning? You know, it's that Judge in the news now, hoping to be named to the Supreme Court. Alcohol figures in his story too. A young, repressed, Catholic, "virgin" drinking in high school, drinking in college, he joins a fraternity and undergoes and an extreme program of alcohol abuse.

Demon alcohol again rears it's ugly head, and it's almost not even a back story to the story, but probably should be. Here's one of the Judge's roommates from Yale:


Does the Judge's excessive drinking then, disqualify from this prestigious job now? I'm not sure. Maybe. But certainly it seems like the Judge isn't being fully honest with us or with himself. And no one seems to be trying to get to the nub of the issue: the abuse of alcohol and the lizard brain in all of us. Sexual repression, sexual aggression, alcohol, and a macho, frat-boy environment. A potently bad concoction. For sure. And really, the Judge is giving us a "holier than thou" schtick, which seems like the worst hypocritical kind of lie. This moralizing conservative is not being honest. Does he really deserve to judge anyone?

I keep flashing on Animal House, one of the great comedies of our time. It pretty much exposes and celebrates the life of crazy inebriation. Unfortunately probably most folks see the celebration, not the life of dysfunction. Another brick in the wall of the mythology of Demon Alcohol. And the wildest, craziest, character in the saga? John Butarsky played brilliantly by John Belushi. At the end credits, the film reveals that Butarsky goes on to be a United States Senator.  Funny. Right?! Maybe he could have been a Supreme Court Judge too?! Of course, the real-life Belushi, didn't get to live a life like his fictional character, instead, he went over the cliff of extreme substance abuse. Ended up as another casualty of the "good life." Another divergence from the myth. The Demons + our Lizard Brains = Death & Destruction, one Brain Cell at a time.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Frat Boys Gonna Frat...

White, privileged, Catholic Frat boys in the 1980's are gonna Frat, right?!  Drinking to excess and acting like a schmuck, isn't that what being in a fraternity is all about? Maybe, today in 2018, we don't need this Frat Boy on the Supreme Court? A lifetime appointment? How badly do the Republicans want to ram through this nomination? I guess we shall see. I think the times they are a changing. But not fast enough for some of us.

I knew lots of white, privileged and not so privileged Catholic boys in grade school and high school. I hated my years in Catholic schools. Not exactly the holiest of the holy, for sure. Lot's of sexual repression, lots of aggression. I remember mean-spirited cliques. Kids lording over other kids. Something about the Catholic experience in America, you see those stories that the Catholic Church was basically a criminal enterprise. Not surprising. Except maybe the depths of the corruption and the coverups.

Sad and sick, and twisted.

Maybe it's something about the religion? People thinking they are different, better than others? Lots of Catholics I knew had that thing going on in their heads. Maybe that spirit/body duality thing. Leads to fractured, broken, repressed psyches?  Paging Dr. Freud!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Consolations of Art.

Consolations of Art.

That phrase kept ringing in my head all day yesterday. Brain-addled? Maybe. Maybe not. Funny. It is music, art, literature, poetry, theater that I turn to when things look dire.

Things often look dire. So I bury my head in books. I'm always spinning music. Seeking out poetry and theater. Last night we went to a party. That phrase was still swimming in my head.

We entered a classic Chicago apartment building. Old brick, classic floor plan. One uncommon feature: a long, an impossibly long, fantastically long, improbably long, hallway that ran thru the apartment from the front door to the back door.

How long? I'm not sure. My sense of space is not reliable. 40 feet? 50 feet? 75 feet? 150 feet? Let's just say it seemed like a never-ending hallway and every inch of it was filled with art. Paintings, sketches, prints. Big names like Chagal, Picasso, Dali, Renoir. Many other names too, names that I didn't know.

Beautiful, improbable, thrilling, amazing, funny, inspiring work. A lifetime of collecting art, displayed in this strange, fantastic, hallway. A hallway of art.

Incredible. It was stunning. Thrilling. Overwhelming. I never saw so much art in someone's home, in a place where someone actually lived. An embarrassment of riches. Art. Overstuffed with art. Consoling. Yes. Healing too. So much energy radiating from the walls. A magic hallway. Unexpected.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Surfers of the Vibe!

Lux et Veritas - "Light and Truth." Or is it "Clarity and Truth." Can we handle the Light? Can we handle the Truth? We didn't make the world, but we must do our best to make it in the world. Can we fix the world, or does the world fix us? Can we heal the world, or only ourselves? Is healing even imaginable or possible? Sometimes it feels like it is our task, our mission, to just endure. To carry on against all odds.

All odds against us.

So many questions. So many competing visions. So many contradictory narratives. We pick and choose. What works best for us? How best to live? How best to live with ourselves?

I hate the Politics of our world at the moment. So corrosive. I hate that we are destroying our Planet and all the living things on it. It's seems so ignorant and arrogant. I hate that ignorance and arrogance rule the world. I hate that there is injustice. And that people lie all the time. I hate that we lie to ourselves and to each other.

It is hard to admire my Species. 

We seem so determined to destroy ourselves and everything else too. So contradictory. We know life is good. We want to live. But we destroy, and kill, and treat each other terribly. And some of us act like we are better than others. We act as if we hold some secret knowledge, and we use it like a weapon to beat others down.

It's a sad story. The Human Comedy. Tragic too. We spend lots of time talking things thru, lots of time trying to solve the unsolvable. Finally we just unplug. Sit in silent meditation. Is it the best way forward? Is it a retreat? A necessary strategy? An attempt at a better life? 

Try not to judge. Try not to be a judge or jury. Maybe we are just like surfers, surfers of the vibe. The surfer can't choose the wave, the wave chooses him/her, but the surfer rides that wave for all it's worth.

"Chaos surrounds us, baby... please pass the condiments." - Sunny Jimmy

Friday, September 21, 2018

"All White Boys Look the Same!"

We are watching the Republican Party destroy themselves. It's funny. They are doing it while they hold the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. They are doing their best to ram thru another Supreme Court Justice. Damn the torpedoes. A very unpopular figure.

My biggest beef with the Republican Party? They don't believe in Democracy. They are doing their best to work against the majority of the people. They they have actually developed, honed, perfected ways to prevent folks from voting. They use every trick in the book, to lie, deceive, and scratch and claw to keep power.

The latest Republican message: "All white boys look the same." They are actually floating the absurd claim that Brett Kavanaugh is being confused with his Doppleganger.  Our white boy is being confused with another white boy. Maybe we should all just move on. Lunacy. Hah. What a joke. So funny. So ridiculous.

We are watching the Republicans desperately cling to power at all costs. The tighter they grip, the more ridiculous they look. I do think it's a fatal embrace. They are holding so tight they are killing their own movement, their own relevance, they are blocking oxygen to their own power-gorged brains. There is no sense. No decency. It is a brain-dead, Zombie Party. Beyond saving.

I do think there will be a reckoning. I mean, I think and hope that the rest of us will vote these lame-brain, power-whores out of Washington D.C.!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

"Why Having a Conscience Can Be More Evil Than Being Beyond Good and Evil."

This flicking on the radio first thing in the morning might be a mistake. Murder. Mayhem. Bad blood. Climate change. Mass ignorance. Power plays. Injustice. Corruption. Ridiculous shit. Uncontrollable, Tourette's-like swearing is now a daily occurrence.

I think I have lost that good feeling for my species. Or let me put it another way, I am greatly disappointed in my species. I just don't think human beings are up to the job.

Something is deeply, seriously, wrong with my species. I have spent much of my life in an optimistic frame of mind. And really, there is still some optimism to be found in my desiccating corpus, but I begin to wonder if I am heading down that terribly disappointing road: The Disillusioned Idealist.

"Usually the disillusioned idealist is a woobie, destroyer of worlds, a knights templar and a person who is the complete monster just because of his conscience, he still has it. This is a rationale why good creates evil and why having a conscience can be more evil than being beyond good and evil."

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