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Thursday, November 30, 2017

I Love My New Mop!

I'm serious. I mean, I'm not a product endorser, but I am a believer...

You think, wouldn't it be great if you heard a voice in the burning bush. Or what if the Red Sea parted in front of you? Or you were touched by the hand of God. Or Aliens abducted you and took you for a little ride. Or your life was filled with Angels or Flying Monkeys, or Little People, etc.

You wait for the big moment that will change your life. But slowly, over time, you begin to realize that's not how it works. Instead, there are all these little things that accumulate, add up, and transform you.

You know things like discovering Questlove's book (see previous 3 posts), or coming across Father John Misty's "Pure Comedy," or Roger Water's "Is This The Life We Really Want," or Lucinda Williams "The Ghosts of Highway 20," or Trader Joe's Vegetarian Chili, or Harbinger Coffee Beans, or a great new pair of Timberland boots (every step counts), a new pair of socks (ditto), a new travel mug, a fresh pair of black Levi's, or a new Diety to worship:  Ganesha! 

Or walking along the lakefront with a little doggie, wearing earbuds, your iPod playing U2's "One Step Closer," and a moment of pure good feeling and connectedness sweeps over you.


Getting a new Mop! Yes. The Tornado Mop! Suddenly your chore is transformed. It doesn't seem like labor at all, no, just pure, unadulterated pleasure. You wield that mop like it's a sword made of Valerian steel. Dirt and grime just disappear. Really. 

Small things have big impact. And a life is transformed.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Questions... Questions... and More Questions...

I haven't even finished the book yet, and I'm already on my 3rd post (see 2 previous posts),  about Questlove's great book "Mo' Meta Blues."

Why do I love this book? It's over-stuffed with ideas. It has gotten me thinking. It has inspired so many thought-trains. Lots of intriguing ideas. Questions. Many questions to ponder and ruminate over. What more can you ask from a book?

Questions? Yes, questions like:

What is a memoir? What is a man? What does it mean to be an author? How does memory work? What do we choose to remember, what do we choose to forget? How do you tell the story of your life? What is identity? 

What is music? What is authentic? What is Art? What is Commerce? What is success? What is critical acceptance? What is artistic integrity? How do we all live a fruitful, balanced, sane life?

What is R&B, Rap, Soul, Hip-Hop, Neo-Soul? What's good? What's not good? What is enough, or not enough? Is it OK to question everything? What do we know? And how do we know it?

Is Questlove black enough? Are the Roots black enough? If a black act sells lots of records to white people are they less authentically black? What the hell does that even mean?

What a great book...

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Ahmir Thompson = ?uestlove = Questlove!

Some folks, you read their stories (see previous post), you listen to them relate the facts of their lives, and it seems like it all rolls out like "destiny"a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency.

What is happenstance? What is circumstance? What is fate? What is luck? 

A 2 year old Ahmir Thompson remembers a plastic drum-kit, and Curtis Mayfield's "Freddie's Dead" playing on the radio, and it almost seems like the hand of fate grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and propelled him forward. It is an awe-inspiring origin story.

Ahmir Khalib Thompson (born January 20, 1971), known professionally as Questlove (stylized as ?uestlove), is an American percussionist, multi-instrumentalist, DJ, music journalist, record producer, and occasional actor. 

You think the story could only roll out one way. You know, the way that it actually rolled out. All the twists and turns are just part of the greater narrative trajectory. We are lucky to have a Questlove. Really, we are very lucky indeed. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Questlove's Universe - I Want In!

I am so happy I recently purchased Questlove's "Mo' Meta Blues."  I'm reading it now. What a great memoir. What an amazing musician and human being. I just love this man. A copy of the above photo is affixed to our refrigerator. Every morning I am greeted by this wonderful moment captured by the camera, such a big aura, such an infectious smile. Opening the refrigerator door, reaching in for the milk, that photo flying by me, it's always a great way to begin the day.

Soulful. Funny. Brilliant. A maestro. Questlove is ubiquitous: "existing or being everywhere at the same time." I am about 1/3 of the way in on the text, what a great education on music. Questlove is a music-obsessive. A total music Geek for sure. He's also one of the great drummers, a supreme music-obsessive. Reading the book, I am learning so much about some of the music that I'm not all that familiar with: Rap, Hip Hop and Neo-Soul.

Of course, I am quite familiar with one of his great collaborators D'Angelo. I have also lately been obsessed with D'Angelo's two fabulous records, "Voodoo" and "Black Messiah." They have been on heavy rotation around here for quite awhile. Just the finest stuff imaginable. Questlove's book is a revelation. I must say I have a boat-load of new albums that I've added to my wishlist.

Questlove and Mo' Meta Blues, highly recommended!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

What Am I Selling?!

I don't go to the Mall when they tell you to go to the Mall.
I don't shop when they encourage you to shop.
I'm not interested in joining the herd, standing in line with all the others.
I'm always marching to a different drummer.
The drummer inside my head.
I like to be obsessed with the things that obsess me.
What am I selling? 
Hope. I sell it every day. To myself and everyone I know.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Play Misty for Me!

"Mara taunts me 'neath the tree
She's like, "Oh great, that's just what we all need
Another white guy in 2017
Who takes himself so goddamn seriously."
She's not far off, the strange thing is
That's pretty much what I thought when I started this..."

Father John Misty (see previous post) has lots to say about a lot of things. He is oh so quotable. His record Pure Comedy got me interested enough to check around to see what else is on his mind. He is a glib, intelligent, articulate Messiah. Hell, I look for wisdom, humor and insight wherever I can. Father John Misty is what they call in the Newspaper Biz "a good interview."

Evangelicals & Trump (his parents are Conservative Evangelicals)

"Over the past 20 years, we've thought of conservatives as being these Buckleyite, moralistic, financially austere people who believe in dignity and free speech. With Donald Trump, we've seen none of them really give a shit about all of that. They're applauding him dumping a trillion ghost bucks into the economy and expanding the military and cutting taxes for the wealthiest. He is clearly not a Christian. What it shows is that the center of their worldview is a culture of resentment. That's the humming dynamo at the center of all of it.

What a crazy coincidence that the teaching of Christ sees to be so compatible with late-era capitalism, suburban isolation, rampant consumerism. And so I am not ever surprised when I see evangelicals contort themselves to justify supporting Donald Trump. There is so much animosity for Hillary Clinton in that world that people like my parents voted for Donald Trump."

Women in Pop Music (he has written songs for Beyonce and Lady Gaga)

"There's just so little dignity. I know half a dozen women in the industry, and it does treat them like human cattle. Around the Nineties, the industry decided it didn't want to work with artists anymore because they're a pain in the ass. They realized, "We just need people with dreams of being a pop star. Not people who work to make music – people who submit to anything it takes." This hilariously incoherent idea that feminism is the byproduct of that world drives me insane.

Also, a lot of them tell me that they look at my experience in the indie world and they go, "God, I would give anything to be able to do that, to have the freedom you have."

Friday, November 24, 2017

Father John Misty - The New Messiah?!

Our brains are way too big for our mothers' hips
And so Nature, she divines this alternative
We emerged half-formed and hope that whoever greets us on the other end
Is kind enough to fill us in
And, babies, that's pretty much how it's been ever since

Now the miracle of birth leaves a few issues to address
Like, say, that half of us are periodically iron deficient
So somebody's got to go kill something while I look after the kids
I'd do it myself, but what, are you going to get this thing its milk?
He says as soon as he gets back from the hunt, we can switch
It's hard not to fall in love with something so helpless
Ladies, I hope we don't end up regretting this

Comedy, now that's what I call pure comedy
Just waiting until the part where they start to believe
They're at the center of everything
And some all-powerful being endowed this horror show with meaning

Oh, their religions are the best
They worship themselves yet they're totally obsessed
With risen zombies, celestial virgins, magic tricks, these unbelievable outfits
And they get terribly upset
When you question their sacred texts
Written by woman-hating epileptics

Their languages just serve to confuse them
Their confusion somehow makes them more sure
They build fortunes poisoning their offspring
And hand out prizes when someone patents the cure
Where did they find these goons they elected to rule them?
What makes these clowns they idolize so remarkable?
These mammals are hell-bent on fashioning new gods
So they can go on being godless animals

Oh comedy, their illusions they have no choice but to believe
Their horizons that just forever recede
And how's this for irony, their idea of being free is a prison of beliefs
That they never ever have to leave

Oh comedy, oh it's like something that a madman would conceive!
The only thing that seems to make them feel alive is the struggle to survive
But the only thing that they request is something to numb the pain with
Until there's nothing human left
Just random matter suspended in the dark
I hate to say it, but each other's all we got

Are you waiting for a New Messiah? You know, the "smeared" or anointed one? If you, like me, were brought up in the Catholic Universe, and then rejected it, and then moved on, inexplicably, you are attracted, and sort of predisposed to the search for a New Anointed One. Yes. It's a failing. Either a lack of Imagination. Or maybe a manifestation of a tainted, over-active Imagination. Whatever.

You need to find a Charismatic Figure. It could be a Woman, or a Man. If it's a Man, it helps if he has long hair, a beard, an appealing voice, a way with words. The gift of gab. Maybe he sort of sounds like a 2017 LA-based Elton John. You also need a good origin story. For instance: 

"Amid interpersonal discord, creative frustration, and turning-thirty discontent, he split town in an Econoline van, with a big bag of mushrooms, and meandered down the coast. One day, he went for a hike, and, as the psilocybin kicked in, he began to shed layers of clothing, until he found himself perched on a limb, stripped bare before an indifferent universe. Scratching himself, he thought, I’m an albino ape, and I can do whatever I want. He realized that he didn’t have to identify himself exclusively with his disappointments as a musician or with his bitterness about being in someone else’s band: “I should just be myself.” “Myself” was a funnier, more playful, more self-lacerating—and just plain lacerating—version of whoever he’d tried to be as J. Tillman. He returned to Seattle, packed up his things, moved to Los Angeles, and started working on a novel. He recognized his voice in it, in a way that he hadn’t in his music. After a while, he picked up a guitar and started writing songs again, and these, too, seemed different. One of the songs was a country-rocker called “I’m Writing a Novel.” The hook went, “I’m writing a novel, because it’s never been done before.” This is when he invented the alter ego of Father John Misty—or, in his rendering, discovered a truer self and gave it a name."

Yes, Father John Misty. I just discovered his 3rd record "Pure Comedy." I have only listened to it 3 or 4 times. I don't care what anyone else says, I am a believer. Count me a follower. I am in the Father John Misty Flock. I immediately put his other 2 records on my wishlist. I must get down the the root and core of the Father John Misty creed.

He may be a False Prophet, a Fraud, I suspect even he doesn't know whether he's for real or not. But that's the kind of Messiah we need in this oversaturated, Social Media Mad time. Self-Reverential to a fault. Too smart for his own good. Too Self Aware. So self-aware, he's aware of his own self-awareness. He makes that a feature. A Man willing to prostrate himself on the Alter of Self. A Self-Made Shrine and Sacrifice on the Altar of Self.

There is comedy, and wisdom to be found in Father John Misty's vision, plus the record sounds amazing, rich, layered, well done all around... I believe. Yes. Indeed.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Yes, I'd Go with Sunny Side Up!

This is funny. And true. I have been doing some outreach efforts for our band and have been in communication with various folks in the Music Industry...

I traded emails with a "Music Industry Professional." He told me that our band whitewolfsonicprincess has a "Scrambled Egg Appearance," which he could help change for some $. 

I told him to forget it, that we consider our band appearance to be "Sunny Side Up!"

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Partisan Asshole Gap!

I do think there is a massive "change of consciousness" on Sexual Harassment and Abuse happening at the moment. It's an amazing time. As Rose McGowan (the "Joan of Arc" of the movement),  puts it: "This is the FIRST TIME IN HISTORY that women have been believed. I am proud."

I say let the chips fall where they may. We are watching major figures in Business, Entertainment, Politics getting rocked. Lots of bad behavior all around, and finally Women feel empowered, willing to speak up. 

Seems like a necessary cleansing. Still, as Kevin Drum points out there is an "Asshole Gap" between the Left and the Right, between Democrats and the Republicans.

Kevin Drum: "There’s a partisan issue here, but there’s also, for lack of a better phrase, an asshole issue as well. If you’re fundamentally a decent human being, like Franken, you apologize. Then you get investigated. Then you might resign, because lots of your fellow decent human beings think you should. But if you’re an asshole, not only do you deny the charges, you do your best to smear the accusers. That’s what Moore and Trump have done. This gives your fellow assholes the cover they need to back off while they “wait for more evidence.”The result is that the more decent you are, the more likely you are to pay the price for your sexual misconduct. The more of an asshole you are, the less likely you’ll pay any price."

Yes, the Asshole Gap. Leaves us with the "Grab Them By the Pussy President" in office. It's a problem. But I don't think it will last.  I do think the Assholes will ultimately pay a price. I guess we shall see.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Song Exploder is a Revelation!

A musician friend of ours turned us onto Song Exploder. What a cool Podcast. A musical artist discusses one of their songs, explains how it was created, and takes you thru the elements of creation. 122 Episodes and counting. If you are interested in music, if you listen to it, or create it, you will be inspired and informed by this show. 

About the show: "Song Exploder is a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. Each episode is produced and edited by host and creator Hrishikesh Hirway in Los Angeles. Using the isolated, individual tracks from a recording, Hrishikesh asks artists to delve into the specific decisions that went into creating their work. Hrishikesh edits the interviews, removing his side of the conversation and condensing the story to be tightly focused on how the artists brought their songs to life." 

Listen to a few episodes and I assure you, you will find that you start to listen to music with new ears. We have been jumping around listening to various artists, for instance, some that we know well, own some of their records, including: Iggy Pop & Josh Homme, Byork, Spoon, My Morning Jacket, Wilco, Norah Jones, Angel Olsen, Andrew Bird, U2, Will Butler (from Arcade Fire), The National.

And some artists that we don't know well at all, but after listening have put their records on our wish list, including: Courtney Barnett, Fleet Foxes, Sleigh Bells, Natalia Lafourcade, Tune-Yards, Garbage.

Since we are in the middle of our own musical project, this is all so fascinating. We've learned so much. Can't wait to do some more listening. Highly recommended!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Appreciation is in the eye and ear of the beholder.

This column in Vulture on Louis C.K. ("Louis C.K. is Done"), touches on something that I have been wrestling with a bit.

"When disturbing stories about respected artists come from the distant past, we treat them dispassionately, as just one detail among many. Present-tense or near-present-tense revelations hit us differently because we share the same world as the artist, breathe the same air, feed the same economy. We think of them as contemporaries, even as people we know. This kind of revelation changes the relationship between the artist and the art, in a way that places an unasked-for, unfair burden on the audience. This is what’s happening culturewide. And it’s not the fault of people who didn’t report it, or audiences who aren’t sophisticated enough to separate the art from the artist. It’s the fault of the artists for being secret creeps or criminals, and the fault of the system for making it possible for them to act this way for years without being punished."

How to separate the Art from the Artist? Not sure it can be done. Or I mean, I can't do it. If I find out that an Artist I admire is a horrible person, or has horrible qualities it does destroy my appreciation of the Art. 

I mean, I know all Artists are only Human. Human Beings. And all Human Beings have flaws. Really there are no Saints. Even the Saints, if you probed deep enough, well, I'm sure you could find some creepy, disturbing or disappointing things about them. That's the Human Thing.

Humans are complicated. Confounding. I am always amazed and inspired by the Art that can emerge from Humans. Sometimes the best work is channeled from difficult circumstances. Sometimes that is what gives the work meaning, gravitas.

But there are some things that just can't be overlooked. Sexual Predator? Secret Nazi? Mean to kids and animals? White Supremacist? Racist, Misogynist, Homophobic, Xenophobic? 

Maybe great work can emerge from a Horrible person, yes, I'm sure it happens all the time, but it certainly destroys the connection I have with their Art. Some flaws are just not acceptable. So the "great art" becomes not so great. Appreciation is in the eye and ear of the beholder!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Of Course, There Are The Retro-Thinking Ones Too!

Hey, this is funny. I wrote a couple posts (please see previous two posts), feeling pretty good and positive about how Women are the solution to some of our current problems.

But, then, yesterday, I paged thru a copy of the New York Times and came across this photo. Sometimes a photo says more than a thousand words, right? Ideas and visions are always in conflict. Take any position and you can find plenty of folks rallying around the opposite proposition too.

Not all Woman are working towards a solution. Some Women are also clinging to an old picture, they are actually part of the problem. 

There are the forward-thinking ones, and the retro-thinking ones. Here's hoping the forward-thinkers outnumber and out organize the retro ones...

Saturday, November 18, 2017

It Will be the Women Who Pull Our Asses Out of the Fire!

Words of advice from Michelle Obama: 

“Focus on what you can control. Be a good person every day. Vote. Read. Treat one another kindly. Follow the law. Don't tweet nasty stuff.”

I love this Woman. If there is any hope for us as a Species, as a Planet, as a Country, as a Society, it will be the Women who pull our asses out of the fire.

Yes. It will take a Village. Cooperation. Respect. Cool-Headed-Ness. Dignity. Intelligence. Grace. Oh, yeah, and Love. Deep, Soulful, Healing Love.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Patriarchy Crumbles, The White Goddess Rises!

The Season of the Witch.  If I remember my Wizard of Oz correctly, there are good and bad Witches. Witches are women with magic powers. Also think of a "Woman or Girl who is Bewitchingly attractive."

All this hurly burly, toil and trouble in Social Media. Seems the Patriarchy is imploding. The White Goddess is rising. Some folks, for instance, that Alabama candidate for Senator dodging sexual harassment/predator claims, is calling it all a "Witch Hunt." 

Funny thing, it is, but not in the way he means it. No, they are not searching for a Witch that doesn't exist, yes, the Witches (the good and bad, the bewitchingly attractive) are doing the hunting! And they are calling out the bad actors amongst us.

So what happens when the Patriarchy falls? Do we replace it with a Matriarchy? I don't think so. Concentrated power, whether it's male or female is just not a good idea.

I propose a Meritocracy(merit, from Latin mereō, and -cracy, from Ancient Greek κράτος kratos "strength, power") is a political philosophy stating that power should be vested in individuals almost exclusively based on ability and talent.[1] Advancement in such a system is based on performance measured through examination and/or demonstrated achievement in the field where it is implemented.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Believe in the Amorphous!

True Believers. I do think we all need to believe in something. Maybe believe in believing? But I think it works best if we choose to believe in big things, things like, "A Better Day." You know a big, amorphous, inclusive idea that gives us hope, motivates us to put our boots on and face the day. A big idea that's not specific, it's open-ended, it is easily adaptable in the face of conditions on the ground. Conditions on the ground are always in flux. Your big idea needs to be able to adapt, to incorporate, to include these conditions. As they say, "Reality has a way of catching up with you."

You don't want to cling to very specific things like this book, this person, this political party, this theory, this religion, this way of doing things. Too narrow. Too easy to mislead you, too easy to disappoint you, to lead you astray. 

Maybe believe in small things, like a varied diet, a good night's sleep, walking, speaking softly, being gentle and kind. Believe in listening, empathy and compassion for all living things.

Believe in the wonder of the world. Believe that everything you know could be wrong. Believe in a better day, a better idea. Everything else needs work, verification, a testing of hypotheses. We need to sift through data, check our sources, be open and willing to change our minds. Daily.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Sea of Guilt!

Guilt. It's useful. Living in the material world, there are so many facets, angles, interconnections. So many reasons to feel guilty. Look at the food on your plate. Or the vehicle you drive. The place you live. Where you work. How you spend your free time. We are all complicit in crimes and misdemeanors of varying degrees. That's modern living. That's what being engaged with the world means. We are complicit. We are responsible. We are responsible for all that we do and think, and all that we don't do and think. It's that classic Existentialist idea, we are responsible, accountable for everything. Everything counts. It's a heavy duty thing. A burden and a mission. It's not fun or entertaining. It's a life, bounded, surrounded, swimming in the Sea of Guilt.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I Have Walked with a Zombie!

I think some of us are fascinated by Zombies because we recognize ourselves. Maybe to our own horror. We recognize that pure, unbridled, unquenchable appetite. Driven by hormones, driven by forces in our bodies, in our heads, that we can't control. All that mindless Needing, Wanting, Grasping. Raw, Unwashed Consumers. Consumers of flesh, of life, of blood, of sex.

Scary to see in another, wakes up something in our consciousness that implicates us too in that Zombie Drama. How often have we lived on automatic pilot? Without thought? Pure action, pure motion? Mindless? Without reflection. Without understanding. Without restraint.

Go to any bar or night spot. Watch your fellow human beings fill their bodies with intoxicants. Watch them dumb themselves down, watch them numb themselves, watch them Zombify. Reaching for a certain Oblivion. I have been a Zombie too. I have walked with a Zombie. Haven't you?

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Life, Well-Lived.

Still thinking about Sin...

I learned long ago, in a time and place that no longer exists, that there are Mortal Sins (a gravely sinful act, which can lead to damnation if a person does not repent of the sin before death.) And Venial Sins (a lesser sin that does not result in a complete separation from God and eternal damnation in Hell).

Heavy shit, indeed. There are so many ways to go bad, right? Moral, Ethical, Legal...

Infractions, transgressions, indiscretions...

The Catholics believed that you can confess, you can be forgiven, you can wash your sins away. Not sure about that. I think if you do believe in Sin, those Sins never go away. You carry them, always. 

I do remember going to Confession a few times, "Bless Me Father for I have sinned, my last confession was..."  It always seemed like a hollow ritual, one that usually just compounded the sins, and never really felt like a cleansing.

A life of Sin? We call that a life, well-lived. 

Most of us want to do Good. To be Good. But there are a million ways to stray. In our world, straying is where the action is, it's where the fun begins. It's hard to be a Saint in the City (hat tip to B. Springsteen)...

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Original Sin as Metaphor!

I'm trying to remember being a young lad in Catholic grade school. The Nuns taught us about "Original Sin," which if I remember correctly had something to do with Adam eating from the Tree of Good & Evil. I was taught we had "souls" which I imagined were kind of like an invisible t-shirt, which was marked every time we committed a sin. Sins were committed frequently. Sometimes thought by thought. So yes, my little invisible t-shirt had lots of big black marks scrawled across the front.

I suppose I took this literally when I was a child. Briefly. Or maybe like for a few years, until I began to suspect the whole Catholic enterprise was just an elaborate trick to try to instill guilt and fear into my being. I later understood all this indoctrination as a way to make me obedient to the power structure of society. It didn't really work, later I rebelled pretty intently, but on the other hand, it all worked quite well. It helped form my internal universe which I carry with me to this day.

I now can look back and see all that Bible study thing as a story, an elaborate myth. Not to be taken literally, but which can be read "metaphorically."  Interpreted like a poem. Read like Shakespeare or Blake.

So yeah, all of us are born, and all of us are capable of "good & evil." Every moment of every day, we make decisions, we have thoughts, we contemplate and act.  Everyone of us is capable of everything  and anything we can imagine. The great and beautiful, the sordid and ugly.

Why? Because we are Human Beings. Flawed. Imperfect. Complicated. Every day, human beings prove this to each other. It's a weird story. We have been banished from the Garden of Eden. We live in our own Heaven & Hell. That's our world, baby. 

This doesn't let us off the hook. It's put us squarely on it. We are responsible, we are held accountable for everything.  It's kind of an Existentialist thing.

I do think having a sense of guilt, a sense of sin, a sense of responsibility and having a conscience are all good things I retrieved from my Catholic upbringing. All that was successfully transferred to the core of my being. I carry that shit with me. Even if I do believe it's all metaphorical, symbolic. 

It's actually useful, has made me a better being, because I know that I'm no better than any other being, I'm flawed, just like everyone else is flawed. So some of this shit emerging now is not surprising, even though it is surprising. You know what I mean? Welcome to Human Paradise! Welcome to our Human Hell.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Losing Their Way, Day by Day!

"Now people just get Uglier, and I have no sense of Time..." - B. Dylan

Yeah, this lyric has been ringing in my head the last week or so. As the Patriarchy crumbles, lots of ugly stuff coming out about lots of folks. People are complicated. Capable of the the best and the worst. 

There is no "Normal," just degrees of "Abnormality:"  deviating from the normal or average person. 

What of civility? Respect? Simple Common Decency? Restraint? Grace?

Lots of deviating going on in the world. Sometimes you think, "We have lost our way." But then, if you look at History, it seems to be a long, rambling story of folks losing their way, day by day.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Unwatchable Movie.

You are in this big, sprawling movie. You came in late, and you realize you will be leaving, (not really voluntarily), before the thing ends. You are a character in the thing. For awhile, you think you are the main, leading character, but as the movie rolls out, it dawns on you that there are no lead characters, or maybe every person on the planet is a lead character, so, basically, same thing.

You are peripheral, marginal. Just one in the vast sea of faces. Then later, as you go, you begin to realize that you are even peripheral to yourself. This is kind of a paradigm-shifting insight. You are important, unique, but everything that lives is important and unique, so at the same time, not so important or unique.

And you go. You will leave. Probably at a time and place beyond your own choosing. So yes, here, and then, not here. That is the basic story.

At the core of your being is Paradox: "having seemingly contradictory qualities or phases," that is your nature, that is your true name. So who you are is sort of nebulous, a mystery too. A shadow of a shadow. A ghost of a ghost. So you live in the movie. You watch yourself, but there are no hard edges. Moment to moment is a constant shuffling. A living and dying.

It's a weird movie. Who would make such a thing? Unwatchable. Too big, too rambling. Too much thunder. Too much death. Overstuffed with life too. Weird.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

The Major Issue Underlying All the Other Issues?

You know it's like that "Let them Eat Cake" thing on a Global Scale. Global Wealth Inequality. Maybe it's the major issue underlying all the other issues? Just thinking out loud. Too few Folks own too much $$$. Wealth creates wealth, and it's getting more and more concentrated. 

Check it out: 

1% of the Global Population owns about 50% of the Global Wealth...

10% of the Global Population owns about 90% of the Global Wealth...

And according to the Paradise Papers these wealthy folks/companies are socking away, hiding and hoarding their money. Not only do they don't want to share, they don't want to pay their fair share of taxes either.

Sounds unsustainable, inequitable, unconscionable, I mean, like Totally Fucked Up. Of course, the Filthy Haves also control most of the levers of power in Countries around the Globe. So what to do?

We all need to sit down and talk about this issue!

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Is Apple Betraying America?

The Paradise Papers are already bearing fruit. You love Apple right? You love your iMac, iTunes, iPhone, iPad, and iPod, right? You look at Apple as one of the great American success stories. You know all the details of the story of Steve Jobs and Apple's dedication to innovation. Yeah, me too.

Did you know that Apple is parking major $$$ offshore to avoid U.S. taxes? Which means that the great American success story, you know the company that benefited from being headquartered in Cupertino, CA, USA, that benefited from our Education system, our roads, our Fire Departments, our Police Force, our Armed Forces, our System of Government, our Department of Justice, has a team of lawyers and tax accountants working furiously 24/7 to avoid paying taxes to help fund all those things they benefited from all those years.

Not exactly a heartwarming story. It almost seems like some kind of deep betrayal of America, right? A shiny, successful U.S. Company turns their back on the country that birthed them, and hides their profits offshore.

From the NYTimes: 

"Apple has accumulated more than $128 billion in profits offshore, and probably much more, that is untaxed by the United States and hardly touched by any other country. Nearly all of that was made over the past decade. Previously undisclosed story of Apple’s search for a new tax haven and its use of Jersey is among the findings emerging from a cache of secret corporate records from Appleby, a Bermuda-based law firm that caters to businesses and the wealthy elite.  The records, shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with The New York Times and other media partners, were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung."

Pay attention people. This seems like a scandal worth following!

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Russia Helped Trump - Fact!

Yes. We must try to stick to the facts. Wade through the lies and misinformation. Daily. It's not easy. Not necessarily fun, but necessary. So, yes, just a reminder, that "Russia was behind the 2016 email hacks." The Associated Press confirms it. Don't let anyone lie to you, or try to spin you...

"It wasn’t just a few aides that the hackers went after; it was an all-out blitz across the Democratic Party. They tried to compromise Clinton’s inner circle and more than 130 party employees, supporters and contractors.

While U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia was behind the email thefts, the AP drew on forensic data to report Thursday that the hackers known as Fancy Bear were closely aligned with the interests of the Russian government….[This] helps explain how a Russian-linked intermediary could boast to a Trump policy adviser, a month later, that the Kremlin had “thousands of emails” worth of dirt on Clinton."

Monday, November 06, 2017

The Filthy Rich Haves Vs. Everyone Else!

Sometimes, when I'm in a feisty, conspiratorial frame of mind, I think everyone is at war with everyone. You know, as in, "People, can't live with them, can't live with out them."

The Young at war with the Old. Women at war with Men. And vice versa. And don't forget the Rich at war with the Poor. The "Have's vs. the Have Nots," or maybe the Filthy Rich Haves vs. Everyone Else. 

Seems the Filthy Rich Haves just don't want to pay taxes. They just don't want to contribute their fair share back to the governments that allowed them to live and work safely and productively in their respective countries. They don't want to help pay for schools, roads, armies, government.

By parking their $$$ offshore they are skimming off the top and hiding it. Doesn't seem right. Or moral. Or legal.

Those with money, clinging to it, socking it away, hiding it from anyone who might want a rightful share of it. There is a big story percolating right now. "The Paradise Papers." Another hack. The Hackers are at War with Everyone too. And a leak of 13.4 Million documents shows the scale of the offshore empire, and involves everyone from Queen Elizabeth to Facebook. Some of the Trump team is implicated and, wait for it, Bono too?!

From the Guardian:

"Money flows into the offshore world from everywhere. It's often very hard to identify the people and companies behind it. Among the documents in the leak is a database of Appleby customers from 1993 to 2014. It contains the names of more than 120,000 people and companies. Not all are connected to a company registered offshore. It has been an impossible task to check whether the customer is just a contact or if they have used Appleby services over many years. But it gives a good indication of where demand for Appleby’s services originated. Many clients come from the UK, China and Hong-Kong, but the largest number, more than 30,000, are from the US."

Think we will be hearing lots more about this story in the coming months:

"How many media organisations have been looking at the data?

The Guardian is one of 96 media partners in the project. A total of 381 journalists from 67 countries have been analysing the material.

Who got the documents – and how?
The leaks were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which also received the Panama Papers last year. Süddeutsche Zeitung shared the material with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a US-based organisation that coordinated the global collaboration. Süddeutsche Zeitung has not, and will not, discuss issues around sourcing."

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Burn Down the Patriarchy!

Burn down the Patriarchy: "a social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line; broadly :control by men of a disproportionately large share of power."

Yes, it's time. I say this as a Human Being of the Male variety. I have no problem admitting that giving men a disproportionate share of power is a bad thing. For all of us. Just check out the last 10,000 years or so.

I do think the elevation of the "Grab Them By The Pussy" President was the last straw. Not the beginning of something, but the end.

It was followed by the Woman's March January 21, 2017. A huge outpouring, and empowering moment. Then there was the #MeToo Movement which recently took social media by storm.

Now there is "The (incomplete) list of powerful men accused of sexual harassment after Harvey Weinstein."

Woman are speaking up. So many brave souls, speaking truth to power. It is inspiring. I posted a picture of Rose McGowan, at the top of this post, she has emerged as one of the most powerful voices out there. It's time to open our eyes and imagine a new way forward.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

"As a White-Supremacist, Colonialist, Capitalist, Patriarchy Dies..." - Chani Nicholas

You look for "wisdom" where you can find it...

I have a good friend who follows Chani Nicholas religiously. I guess I follow vicariously...

An important week in Astrology! I was looking for some good news this week, and here it is (emphasis added)...

"As white-supremacist, colonialist, capitalist patriarchy dies, the traditions that it has tried to obliterate experience a resurgence. An awakening. A renewal. Every culture on earth has its own systems of healing. Each one of us can dig into our lineages to better understand what kind of magic we might come from. Each one of us can call on the protective forces that we need at any time. Protective forces that look, sound, smell or feel personally resonant for us. We are free to reorganize our own cultural rituals to be more inclusive of ourselves and our communities. We are free to connect to forces that have not been previously named or recorded. We may very well need to reclaim the forces, deities and practices that have been misnamed, misrepresented, and misappropriated." - C. Nicholas

Friday, November 03, 2017

Hilary Clinton - Lord of the Flies!

We attended a dinner party on the evening of Halloween 2017 - also known as Allhalloween,[6] All Hallows' Eve,[7] or All Saints' Eve,[8] is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide,[9]the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.[10][11]

Great conversation with folks from Texas, New Jersey, Illinois. Topics ranged from Science, Art, Religion, Pop Culture, and of course, Politics. We discussed the 2016 Election. Discussing Hilary Clinton I noted that she was not well-liked by lots of folks, but "I mean, it's not like she is Beelzebub" - In theological sources, predominately Christian, Beelzebub is sometimes another name for the Devil, similar to Satan. He is known in demonology as one of the seven princes of Hell. The Dictionnaire Infernal describes Beelzebub as a being capable of flying, known as the "Lord of the Flyers", or the "Lord of the Flies".

A day after I spoke those words, I came across this photo. I guess... I... was... wrong...! 

I Googled "Army of Jesus" they tell us: "We believe that if you go back to the mud after being washed, you must wash yourself again and come back to seek the Lord."

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Hilary Clinton Has Horns?! Why Did She Hide Them? I'm Sure There is an Untapped Voting Bloc for a Woman With Horns!

As I understand it, a Russian Troll factory hi-jacked many of our social media platforms to spread disinformation and chaos during the 2016 election. Fanning the flames. Muddying the waters. Trying to confuse and influence people they targeted as easy to confuse and influence.

Seems there are lots of folks out there easy to confuse and influence. Please see the results of the 2016 election.

Exhibit A:

Damn. I voted for the serious looking Woman with the horns. I wish I would have seen this in my Facebook News Feed. I think I would have even been more enthusiastic voting for her if I knew she had horns and she was taking on "Shirtless Guy." 

I mean, I think I actually sort of kind of prayed for her to win. If you wonder why, please refer to the last 10 months of our current "Grab Them By the Pussy Prez." 

Anyway, no such luck, even though she ended up with 3 million more votes than Shirtless Guy's Guy. Just why the hell Shirtless Guy would be for the GTBTP Prez is anyone's confused and easily influenced guess. 

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

"A Classic Anti-Mafia Playbook..."

News sources like the Washington Post and the NY Times and Vanity Fair tell us that "Everyone is freaking out" in the White House over Monday's indictments. I do think we all need to be careful what news sources we use. We want good journalism, multiple sources, verified facts.

Less opinions, more facts. And remind ourselves that opinions aren't facts. Too much of the news, especially on TV and Radio, is actually opinion masquerading as fact. Anyway, I do trust the Washington Post and the NY Times. I mean, maybe once in awhile they get a story wrong, but most of the time they do an excellent job of getting their facts just right.

Here's Vanity Fair on the latest "bombshell" revealed yesterday, in the Mueller Investigation...

"Papadopoulos’s guilty plea, and subsequent cooperation with the F.B.I., could upend that timetable—as could the arrests of Manafort and Gates. The overriding assumption is that Mueller believes that the pair have information relating to Trump, which he intends to leverage. As legal experts have told Vanity Fair, the special prosecutor appears to be following a classic anti-mafia playbook: begin by targeting lower-level staffers, then work your way up, using compromising information or legal threats to compel testimony against their higher-ups. Gates, apparently, is a point of particular concern. Possibly facing years in jail, he has a young family, and continued to be involved with the Trump administration after the president was sworn in.

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