Monday, February 29, 2016

Intermission in the green room

On the subject of cell phones and the way they improve our lives...

I attended an intermittently-delightful board game session recently. There were four of us and I observed what seems to be a new phenomena in cultural etiquette, perhaps, where, if a participant must divert his attention to his cell phone, then the others just politely wait. At one point I just sat there completely non-engaged for literally five or ten minutes while all three were staring, mesmerized at their phones. Critical matters must have been at hand. I didn’t ask. It’s possible they all live secret lives as on-call brain surgeons and international spies. I don’t know.

So entirely engaged they were and completely unaware of my presence, that I might or might not have entertained myself by picking up each of the game pieces in turn, and cramming each one up my nose for a twirl or two before placing them back on the board, all while they were oblivious.

I shall not confirm nor deny that this did or did not happen. Aside from me, the world will never know.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

I have corrected the Mona Lisa

I have embarked on a mission to correct all the so-called masterpieces of art which have become impossible to relate to. Now that technology has made it so easy for people to stay connected, we need our art to demonstrate the beauty of our modern superior human connection.

Look at the superior radiance Mona Lisa now emanates as she is now more properly in tune with humanity thanks to her cell phone. I know. It makes me teary.

I will be in touch with the Louvre to let them know they can throw out the old one finally.


Saturday, February 27, 2016

Improving your word power!

Okay, here's what's wrong with your vocabulary! You are not using the following three words enough:


I was getting my hair cut at Ye Olde Hairdressing School when I noticed the teacher using this word a lot. Scragglies are the little occasional strands of hair which avoid the initial power mow of the hair-cutting process, which then need to be agonized over for ten minutes in order to make your head HD picture perfect. Scragglies are why they can charge $19 for a haircut that should have ended after 90 seconds according to my priorities. Mind you I only pay $6 at the school which is a great deal. About a dollar per hour.

speed wiggles

Best I can tell, mostly from watching fail videos (my secret guilty pleasure), this is when you're coasting down a steep road on a skateboard and your speed increases to the point of control loss and you find yourself rapidly swinging left and right, trapped into overcompensation basically. Like when you drive reverse in a car too fast. Speed wiggles are the first step in the extended face plant process.


I just read A Tale of Two Cities in which Charles Dickens uses this term twice, both referring to bouts of gruff masculine social drinking. I'm going to assume this stems from the word buccaneer which is a charming idea! Don't anyone tell me that's wrong. I don't want to know.

So there you go. Enjoy.

Reflekting on music: Locks and keys?

So a fascinating thing happened. I received the Reflektor album by Arcade Fire and immediately loved it. Until then I’d considered the band likable enough to hold onto three of their albums and listen to them now and then. Reflector, in general, seemed to blow the others away, and I listened to it quite a few times over the next few weeks. And then…

I listened to The Suburbs again, previously my marginal favorite, and quite wonderfully, most of the songs now sounded significantly better! I had to re-assess my opinion of the album. And then I went back to Funeral and Neon Bible, and suddenly enjoyed most of the songs much more than I had previously.

While Reflektor easily remains my fave, it did something hard to understand. It suddenly unlocked something which enables me to connect better with all – or at least most of – the band’s music. That’s challenging to wrap my head around. Every track exists independently of the catalogue… right? So what is it that became unlocked? What did Reflektor allow me to move past? Some kind of single weird prejudice in my psyche? Or some element of style common to so many of their songs?

Now – this has happened before a couple times but never to this degree, at least that I’m consciously aware of.

I have never thought – at least for as long as I can remember – that there is anything inherent in any song which truly makes it good, bad, genius or otherwise; that all these judgments we arrogantly spray at songs reflect only on our personal instinctive connections to them. That the songs which society generally approves of are only chosen because they happen to connect well with a greater number of individuals, which says nothing of inherent quality. So of course patterns emerge; common well-received elements which artists try to emulate out of awareness that these elements are generally well received. But our judgments of songs – or most art – reflect almost entirely on our own instinctive mind, and judgments from professional critics reflect academic success or failure based on patterns which does nothing to illuminate the true value of music which still remains clouded in the depth of instinctive mind.

How much of this great variety – or discrepancy – in the appreciation of specific music is due to individual barriers in listener’s minds? Doors which can be suddenly unlocked?


Tuesday, February 23, 2016


I worked, by contract, in the criminal justice system for a few years and now I work, by contract, for a corporation which commits terrible crimes daily but they are crimes that are not detailed in the criminal justice system of this nation because they are crimes which injure everyone and everything – BUT – those of the injuries which are inflicted on you and me and the rest of Western society are delayed enough that in our collective insanity we can easily ignore them – or – for most people I suspect, remain consciously unaware of them.

I still do volunteer work in the criminal justice community and I don’t think of myself as being any better than the murderers and child rapists I have worked with, And I don’t mean that in the bullshit phony way that many others might delight in saying. I am in fact no better. I’ve never directly killed a human being nor had sexual contact with a child and I’m pretty damn confident that I will never do either of those things. These are not my areas of weakness. There is no appeal.

However I regularly inflict death and violence upon the Earth and its mammals and even upon human beings who don’t live around here. I do it all the time. Daily. I do it when I eat many of the things I eat. I do it when I buy a new laptop. I do it when I fill the tank with gas. I am an extremely harmful person. I know this with perfect clarity on my best days and on those best days I also reflect upon my total insanity of the previous days wherein my instincts had been duping my consciousness or when I’d been rationalizing my way to a benign self image which is bullshit.

I am no saint. I was not made “in His own image” and neither was anyone else. Humans are beasts the same as wolves and trees and mosquitoes and precisely like wolves and trees and mosquitoes, just about everything we do satisfies our instinctive survival instincts which, besides food and sex and protection, has evolved very largely to manifest as survival within the society which equals REPUTATION, which often includes MONEY (for money is simply a ledger of reputation). Just like the wolf, tree or mosquito, nearly everything we do is bent on our own needs at the expense of any other species. Wolves, trees and mosquitoes – and bunny rabbits and petunias are all, if you open your eyes and pay attention – entirely evil. They kill in order to live. Just like us. And just like the peacock’s tail and many other phenomena of evolution, we have our own unlikely elaborate errant evolutionary feature. It is in the human mind and it encompasses our cleverness, our perversely social infatuation and our illusion of consciousness.

When I keep that in mind I look around at all the nice things we are doing on the surface and it’s very easy to realize that these nice things do not make us angels; do not make us benevolent; do not make us innocent and certainly don’t make us better than murderers and rapists except within a childish viewpoint. Because all the nice things we do reward our vicious survival instincts. They improve our reputation. Nice deeds that we do, feed our own greed.

Now – does every single nice thing we do necessarily come solely from selfish desire or from the master instinctive mind’s need to fool our own consciousness (for we have to fool ourselves in order to effectively fool others)? I won’t suggest that. I like to imagine otherwise but the fact is, it is very simple to map all our good deeds to greedy beastly motives and pretty much impossible to prove otherwise…


So what?

I’m not trying to say that we are all terrible. Oh, I felt that way for a while, years ago. I thought we were all devils. All Satan. Satans in drag as gods. And for the record I suspect that the God mythology stems from that idea; that originally this personification of the source of the universe was set up like that: that Satan is the creator and God is his disguise. But that doesn’t matter. And I’m not here to slag religion today, even though it has perpetrated two of the primary nails in the coffin of humanity – the twin omnipresent fatal ideas – and I mean fatal to our species, literally: one, that we were made in his own image and two, that Earth is not heaven, that some improved heaven resides somewhere else. This is why humans do not understand that we are killers – we are killing machines above all else and why we don’t understand that Earth is the paradise and that we are mercilessly killing it and there is very little time remaining. By Earth I really mean the biosphere, not the crust, mantle, core and all the other bits and pieces. I mean the forests, wetlands and top soil and water systems and air and underground filtration – all of which we have massively crippled or destroyed in a tiny infinitesimal blip of time by any real (universal) perspective or context outside the illusion of our puny lifespans.

Look – all of this is natural. This is the natural state of humanity. It’s nothing to cry or rage about.

And it is okay to wake up from our insanity. It is okay to face up to the beasts that we are. We have every opportunity to evolve. We can close the gap between instinct and consciousness; between the devil and angel if you prefer. I have reliably witnessed this functionality. We humans did not ask for this circumstance. We were born into it without choice. We did not ask for this illusion of consciousness which is – in a sense – an evolutionary precursor to genuine consciousness. We learned to kill to survive because we had to. We are beautiful for this opportunity to become the first species of harmony. We are beautiful for this terrible struggle that we must endure. We are beautiful for our potential and for the suffering we inflict upon our selves.

I am human and I am okay with that. I am not a single entity. I know that. There is a beast in me and there is a weak pitiful beautiful consciousness as well. And when I look around I don’t see single human creatures. When I look at you I see two of you. It has become my normal everyday perception. Unfortunately when I talk to you I must talk to both of you at the same time and that makes things tricky and I confess, I don’t often treat that challenge with utmost diligence. Generally I am not keeping track of what I want each of you to hear; you and your evil twin! Creeped out? Still want to do lunch?

So this piece (if anyone is still reading it) was not planned in any way. It’s strictly a stream-of-consciousness ramble which was intended for one reason only:

I have many associates who open up to me and there is one who is trying to get together with me, largely to express something which they find terrible to contemplate; a suffering. A couple hints have been dropped and I am going out on a limb and I am suspecting that some kind of molestation has been brought to light. I am going to guess a child molestation which has severed – or potentially severed – close relationships. And while it can be very difficult for me to express certain ideas to someone who is looking to me for comfort, because they may not want to accept them and may be looking for other comforts which I regard as artificial comforts, and I may not play the blame game to their liking, I am safe in ruminating here in this anonymous space.

And to anyone who is watching their family break apart because someone they loved has been revealed a victim and another revealed a monster and just can’t wrap their head around it and just doesn’t know what to do or who to support in what way…

The answer, by my accounting, is not difficult to conceive:

You forgive because forgiveness is the only sane option. To forgive is to confess that what has happened was inevitable. All of causality is connected. All happenings are inevitable. There is no logic with which to escape this certainty.

You forgive the conscious entity in the perpetrator. It was the beast which was compelled to act, not the conscious person whom you loved and whom you can still love if you are strong enough; if you understand enough; if you are on board with these understandings enough.

You forgive but that forgiveness is not with impunity. You forgive but you do not forget. You accept that there must be consequences for the instinctive presence whose survival mechanisms dictated the act (probably multiple acts) while fooling the consciousness or rationalizing. For the sake of community safety and the victim’s well-being, there must be consequences. Those consequences could ideally take many forms but for most of us we don’t have the opportunity to manufacture ideal justice and we must trust the police and courts and prison system – as horrifically flawed as they are – to do the best they can.

You love and support the conscious perpetrator if you are strong enough – perhaps after a required hiatus from them – or else you tell them honestly, “I wish I could support you but I am not strong enough. I am only strong enough to try to support the victim if I can. If I grow in strength in the future, then I will return to you. For now I must abandon you for my own well being.”

You also have to support yourself by understanding the above ideas and remembering that we are all molesters; we are all killers; we all leave victims in our wake: the Earth (our only conduit to the survival of our children and descendants), the animals, the people of poor countries whom our masters have brutally exploited through the Western imperialism which gives us our impossible cars and furnaces and iPhones which we gladly accept; blindly or deviously or otherwise.

You support yourself by suppressing the urge to see yourself as a collateral victim.

You support yourself by looking at the victim and remembering that we are all victims and we all create victims and that what has happened to your beloved is not outside the normal mode of life. We all live by creating victims and for all of us our time comes when we are victimized; eventually to the extent of our death.

You support yourself by looking beyond the instinctive desire to see the victim as a tragic aberration though your instincts push you to see it that way. What has happened is essentially normal. (Do not think that this means that I suggest throwing in the towel. It can be our purpose in life to improve; to seek harmony, to reduce victimization of all sorts. We must endeavor to improve; of course.)

Unfortunately it is hard for me to suggest how to support the victim. The victim will have heightened instinctive survival forces working on her – or him. The ideal support is to absorb the above understandings but every victim will be in a different place psychologically and not ready for most of the above material. But ideally I would want to work toward those concepts as gently and patiently and slowly as required. Unfortunately it might be often best in the short term to trust the psychology community for help though that is far from ideal in terms of getting at the one true comfort in life; the comfort of truth; of genuine reality. Psychology will not rescue anyone from the Matrix but often they can do a decent job of navigating the Matrix.

The most valuable thing probably, for a victim to understand is that the victimization happened in the past and the past does not exist. The acts happened to a person who existed in the past who is no longer “you.” The only reason we seem eternally harmed by victimization is because we internally choose to. Our instinctive ego chooses not to let go of it because the pain of victimization becomes our identity and we cannot conceive of letting go of our identity – because we are all in the business of manufacturing identity instead of being real; a bi-product of the survival-by-reputation-and-denial game which the instinct forces upon the consciousness.

I suppose it is probably in actions that we can most-accessibly help victims: simply doing the things that demonstrate they are loved and without condition. But other than the pursuit of true consciousness and the resulting enlightenment which dispels the spectres of lasting pain and victimhood, which is evidently rare to achieve, the area of victim recovery is not my area of privilege; of strongest insight.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Love is a Masterpiece

And here's another story by a Scooterville associate of mine, Chris Kelworth; again along the Valentine's Day theme. This one is decidedly edgier. It's published at the Gallery of Curiosities as a podcast. You can listen to it on iTunes or here on Soundcloud.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Enchanted Conversation

artwork by Edmund Osthaus
artwork by Edmund Osthaus
Enchanted Conversation is an online Fairy Tale magazine. They have here published a brief story; an elegant and gently sophisticated piece, by excellent author (and excellent pal) Elizabeth Twist. It's called The Bird Marriage and it is a treat!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

More EPUC fun

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

David Attenborough & Tim Flannery on Climate Change

It's deeply troubling to me, how much hope we put into technological solutions, none of which help the planet but only demand more industrial degradation to implement and maintain. It's entirely delusional. It seems the entire population is divided between the deniers, the paralyzed uninformed and the delusional. The more we close the gap between industrial civilization and the natural reality and limitations of Planet Earth; currently our only conduit to survival, the more we still slide in the wrong direction toward a finite conclusion which is growing alarmingly imminent.

+New Day Rising -- So, what is your solution that is not denial, paralysis, or delusion?

+Kim Cooper : Great question with many answers depending what you want to solve. If your solution must maintain this fantasy industrial civilization for longer than the infinitesimal blip of time for which the Earth can make it possible then we need to mine the asteroids, planets, stars etc in an ever-expanding scope until we have become such masters of physics that we can achieve a 100% recyclable life-system of some kind (which I personally doubt the universe would ever support. The universe itself is a recycle system which fails to achieve 100%. All current Earthly recycling technologies are practically futile in their inefficiency by the way). Population control could register an expansion rate aligned with the life of the universe itself, removing the recyclability requirement.

If your solution must demand an eternal humanity then the problem is entropy and I don't think anyone has ever imagined a solution for that. We had the opportunity to get on the above path but human greed, including my own, has probably killed it. I can't imagine we have enough time to make extra-terrestrial mining a reality but some big minds out there suggest I am wrong. 

If you simply want to maintain human life on this planet alone for the millions of years it had the capacity to support it, then you need massive population decreases and a return to hunter-gatherer societies. Fact: The biosphere can support NO permanent industry without some miraculous tech evolution which no competent mind has ever publicly theorized. The functionality for the hunter-gatherer solution barely remains possible because of the massive degradation already happening. I imagine that the total human population would have to drop into a tiny range. Wild guess: a hundred thousand? I have no hope for this solution because of human greed and our proliferation of societies smothered by a corporate-industrial-political-religious-media-education complex which inexorably steamrolls human intelligence and consciousness with pristine efficiency.

Whatever you wish to solve on behalf of the race it would have to include a near-total stoppage on having babies and an epic cultural shift ending cell-phone dronism and normalizing contemplation and solitude that the consciousness-instinct gap be significantly narrowed, ending these lives of 99% illusion and thus: an end to Western imperialism and all of our mislabeled forms of slavery and also the horrible perversions that have infected once-wise religions. Personally I can't imagine any of this happening on a wide enough scale to defeat the current delusional paradigms of control by corrupt elite.

Perhaps there is a solution in which our race could learn to die with dignity instead of the almost certain horrors I've been choosing not to imagine.

Perhaps denial, paralysis and delusion are themselves the only realistic mainstream solutions. I just can't participate.

I would like to say that mass population decrease and a return to hunter-gatherer society looks inevitable anyway, but in the bleakest and harshest of circumstances as the elite survivors embrace it too late, without choice. So perhaps the solution is simply to eliminate these hundreds of nuclear energy sites, which were a brilliant energy option but with the potential to mass melt-down in the wake of inevitable social collapses. Would resulting radiation effectively sterilize whatever elite tribe of humans remain? I need more research here. 

My only real suggestion is for a personal solution which I know with perfect clarity is possible: Outwardly we may pursue any of the half-baked solutions out there because they do help a little, while inwardly we can each end our own illusions and discover our very real capacity for genuine harmony, and live in the present and fully realize that Earth is still a heaven for now; that human individuals are unbearably beautiful as much for our errors and self-inflicted suffering as for all the good we try to do in our own little ways, some brilliant and many misguided. All our little goodnesses are great victories in the face of our brutal instincts which our survival once necessitated but which created all these problems; the inevitable side-effects. And we can celebrate every day our participation in this miracle, and show others by our example. It truly is staggeringly beautiful to fully contemplate, if you can disconnect from these wires long enough. We're the wonder of the universe, however brief we are. Nothing is forever. Our radiance is all the more for our impermanence. Sincerely, much love to you.

Monday, February 08, 2016


It may have largely to do with the recent reading of an extremely inspirational book (more on that later) that I have become so appropriately “generous” of late; generous in a very personal sense. It might be better to say accepting or tolerant. Perhaps even detached or unencumbered, or simply present.

Specifically I have found myself dismissing concerns around the dynamics of close relationships. The various ways, for instance, that some friends, through no conscious intention of their own, cast a force upon me which tries to draw me back into my old ways, or into the more socially normal behaviors which seem to pose a threat to me. Or the ways that they underestimate me so that they can perceive needs I do not have, so as to satisfy their loving nature by tending to them. (Do I do that too, to some?) Other things: Grandpa Munster’s poor choices and consequences. The apparent disrespect of bread-and-butter friends forced to think me pretentious in order to deny their own suffering. (How much of that is in my head?)

All these apparent little hurdles, suddenly they are nothing! I have read passages which sound like my own voice, reminding me of lessons I once learned and like magic I am experiencing greater freedom. These little hurdles do not matter! I need not plan my way around them. I am full of love and strength. Everywhere I look my associates are suddenly more beautiful and harmless.

Generous may not be the best word for this; this mentally letting them be who they are, whatever they are, however I perceive them. But I like that word right now. I like it because generosity has been returned to me these last few days but tenfold. My old car bit the dust in spectacular fashion; the suspension crumpling beneath me. My friends were quick to offer counsel and rides. The Ponderer actually loaned me her car in order to get to work for two nights. Dog Whisperer offered the same. Peter Pan offered me a $1500 loan to help buy a new car. I accepted $1200. The purchase emptied my bank account. The new car has a battery problem which I believe will be worked out. Friends all over have come to my rescue. The Ponderer and Healer have fed me dinners this weekend. All these gifts have arrived without my asking. Mom, too, has offered money which I have declined. 

As I said to Dog Whisperer earlier, “I am blessed.” May I have the opportunity soon, to give as generously as I have received!

I have committed to myself to repay the loan swiftly. Unfortunately this will probably mean further delays to seeing Skeeter Willis or Renaissance Kid and that I will not visit Neo down at his new home where he goes to school, as soon as was planned. (He’s grown up so frightfully fast.) I want us to just have fun for a day, without the sobriety of sustained serious conversation that has long been our mode; to perhaps hit book stores, music stores, antique stores… to explore… make a short film perhaps…! and definitely go over his latest brilliant music album production and provide feedback. I want to give him a wok and show him some great cooking options that I think he’ll enjoy and which are easy, healthy and efficient. I do worry about his nutrition.  

I’m willing to bet that without the pressure to maximize efficient conversation over dinner or coffee, that we might actually make more useful connections naturally, while just doing what we enjoy. What I would really like, I think, is simply for us to laugh together as we once did.

Yes the universe seems to have done me wrong; monkeyed terribly with my car and then, with my bank account emptied and me thinking it owed me some good luck at least until next payday, it monkeyed with my new car! But it also showed me how much love there is around me and reminds me how much I have to give.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Orbiting bodies

According to all you students of heavenly-body rotation out there, a forty-seventh orbit of the sun is now complete since the day when I was expelled from my excellent mother’s insides. Thus I am now considered age forty seven, or in my “forty-eighth year”. All you ninety five per cent of struggling writers out there who get this wrong every time: you may want to take note of that difference! The age your character is and the year he or she is in – is always different! Never the same! A baby turns one year old after – not before – their first year, first summer, first annual everything – is entirely done!

I don’t truly subscribe to the idea of anniversaries of any kind. I will concede that it is a convenient way to schedule celebrations of people and relationships but I hold that ideally we should be celebratory every day. I feel the anniversary crutch is a string around our fingers to remind us to be nice to someone once in a while because at our core we humans are not naturally nice enough. I hope that people judge me for how I treat you every day, not how I generally ignore your birthday.

I do participate in birthday celebrations from time to time as a matter of choice, the same way a non-Jew might lack regard for the bar mitzvah concept yet attend said celebration out of respect for their Jewish neighbor. I don’t do it for the tradition but for the component activities for their own sake. Thus I often give cards to birthdayers which say nothing about birthdays.

As for my own birthday I would be perfectly delighted if it slipped by without being noticed by anyone.

As it stands, there are usually a couple people who insist on doing something about it and it’s really not a hardship to go along! Grandma insists on giving me a cheque every year. What can I do? She’s Grandma. She’s in charge. And this year Peter Pan, unexpectedly handed me a fifty! He was going through his safe looking at old legal paperwork, some of which still bears my name.

He told me to come over after work and he would make spaghetti to celebrate the occasion, and who am I to turn down food? Especially Italian food made by a bona fide Italian! And then he would take me out for lunch at a nifty Asian grill the next day!

As we sat, enjoying the dinner, I marveled once again at how easy it has become to be around him; at how peaceful he seems of late. He seems to have literally recovered from no less than three addictions. He seems not to need to be the centre of attention at every moment. The ADHD has softened. He seems less like the literary Peter Pan and at age 51, so much like an adult finally. 

Our lives had once revolved around each other, and then through years, spun gradually out of control. We have now been apart for as long as we'd been together - whatever those words mean.

Some casual reference to our past bubbled up.

“You know,” I said, “I’m vaguely aware that we had a long history of treating each other terribly. But I never recall any of that. I only remember the good times.”

“Same here,” he said quietly; so remarkably present for a change. In our very different ways we have each found equilibrium.“Life’s too short to have it any other way.”