7.31.2007


They are
So cute
Anybody's
Mom & Dad
Grandmother
Grandfather
Uncle Paul
Aunt Jan
So very cute
But one day
They will rule the world
With their satellites
And their false doctrine
On that day
You will beg
You will plead
"Somebody...
Please...
KILL ME!"
And they will still be
Just as cute
as
they
always
were...

"Celebration"'s back (and Joni with it!)

Maybe I've just missed it...maybe Marcus and Joni haven't been on vacation...if so, maybe they just returned. I do know, however, that they're back!

Yes, the apple of my eye, Joni Lamb is back on TV singing with the Daystar Singers and trying to get a word or two in between Marcus' hogging of the interview segment (and I must apologize to him here and now for mistakenly referring to him as "Charles" in the last couple of posts I've done about dreamboat Joni...don't know where I got 'Charles' from, but I suspect it may have something to do with the subliminal powers of a certain episode of "M*A*S*H"...so sorry, Marcus).

The "Celebration" program for today was a delightful blend of evangelism, music and comedy. The latter supplied by Pastor Rod Parsley (who now goes by the surname of DR. Rod Parsley...who knew?) and the ceaseless promotion of his most recent book, "Politically Incorrect". The bulk of the evangelizing on the show was also done by DR. Parsley. Unfortunately his is a message of spiritual segregation combined with a staunch attack on post-modernism (with a very limited understanding of what post-modernism really is). If that weren't bad enough, the whole thing becomes diluted to the point of irrelevancy by his tireless pitching of "Politically Incorrect", which Marcus Lamb, in a grand gesture of Parsley ass-kissing, goes so far as to suggest should be used as curriculum in schools...for what kind of class, I don't know, but the day my son brings home a treatise by Rod Parsley and says it's a textbook, that will be the day we will be looking for another venue of education.

Now, I only caught the last 20 minutes of the show, so I don't know what kind of camera time my sweetheart got during the first half. But I'll tell you this---it surely had to have been more than she got in the second. And that, my friends, pisses me off. The ONLY reason I watch this show, it should come as no surprise to my loyal readers, is for the uplifting glimpse of Marcus' better half. There weren't NEARLY enough of those in today's installment. Even the Daystar Singers spot was focused on two of the second-tier vocalists and showed Joni a scant few times. What's up with that? Don't they know that Joni is the STAR of that ensemble? Well, she is, so those cameramen and producers had better get their shit together or I'll boycott "Celebration" and only watch "Joni"...uh...naw, I don't suppose I'll boycott any show that Joni is on.

As for Marcus...if I had a dog that was as ugly as Marcus Lamb is, I'd shave his ass and teach him to walk backwards!

No, no, no...I was only kidding. Nothing against Marcus (other than the fact that he stole my girl)...I was only looking for an excuse to use that joke. Marcus is not in the least bit ugly, although he does exhibit an aspect of femininity that is at odds with the kind of attention, affection and pure, uninhibited passion that Joni requires and which only I can provide.

7.29.2007

"His Was a True Heart"

His Was a True Heart (A)
His Was a True Heart (B)

Her majesty, Ms. White


She radiates a phosphorescent glow of pure white light that shines bright as a distant sun and cuts through darkness like a sharp knife. Slicing the curtain of sky, with a precision and swift delicacy that the fiercest warrior stands in envy of, she shatters the fetters of time and space to reveal the transcendence of heaven.

Marble statues of her majestic figure are erected and stand, as they have for billions of years, on the surface of the seven planets which revolve around the ever-ovulating universe of undiluted love.

Her words, many of which she has gleaned from various scripture to be found in the Holy Bible, have been recorded on stainless steel memory discs that can be played by any intelligent being with the aid of simplified instructions along with a media player that was sent with various other identifying objects from the planet earth inside a space ship which was blasted into the ether, having no coordinances and no hope of ever returning. Yet, it is hoped that her words will bring comfort and enlightenment to those who discover the care package and manage to figure out the puzzle of getting the thing to work. The calming sound of her smooth voice, alternating with the authority of her exhortations will hopefully proclaim to all potential universes that the earth is no enemy to any of them.

Her connections on this planet, as well, fill the common man with awe. All those who saw her interview with Donald Trump on her fantastic TV show, "Paula" will certainly agree that, even though she could rule the world with a blink of her charming eye, it is still good to have "friends in high places".

In conclusion, let it be known that even though Mr. Trump may be a good fellow to know, my dear Paula White has a "Friend" in the "Highest Place".

...and I ain't talkin' 'bout Willie Nelson.

WMFU's version of creepy.

Regular readers of this blog (all three of you) will surely recall my delightful exposition of "The 10 Creepiest Songs I've Ever Heard". And if you've ever heard any of them you'd have to agree that they are creepy as hell.

So I did a little googling to see if anyone else had heard any creepy songs and if their opinion jibed with mine in any case.

The only thing I found was an entry in radio station WMFU's blog dated August 4, 2006 simply entitled "Creepy Songs".
Surprisingly, none of my songs were on their list, and consequently vice versa. I guess our definitions of "creepy" are different.

Anyhow, this is their list...you'll have to go to their blog to find out just why they're supposed to be so damned creepy.

~~~"Dead Man's Curve" - Jan & Dean
~~~"I Ain' Mad At Cha" - Tupac
~~~"Violet" - Hole
~~~"Needle in the Hay" - Elliot Smith
~~~"PYT (Pretty Young Thing" - Michael Jackson

I will concede that there are definitely some creepy aspects to the above 5 songs.

But still I maintain that the 10 I listed are on a higher plane of creepiness.

For one thing, it's only the lyrics to WMFU's picks which are creepy (and a couple of those are only moderately so). My picks are not only lyrically creepy, but musically as well. This is very important, IMO.

Furthermore, all the songs on their list are only creepy if you know the "back-story" of the artists and how the song relates to them (with the notable exception of "Dead Man's Curve" which passes the "creepy" test in all respects). My tally is of songs that are creepy on their own merits. You don't have to know a damn thing about these groups to be creeped out listening to their songs. That means a lot.

Obviously I'm interested in what other folks consider to be creepy songs. So why not leave a comment and tell me what your favorite creepy song is and why it's so bloody creepy. When I get enough suggestions (if I get any at all) I will post another article on the subject, so what are you waiting for? Let me know what I'm missing.

I do so love to be creeped out!

7.28.2007

Joni, where are you?

Joni Lamb with Kirk Cameron


Joni, oh Joni, where have you gone?


After posting my loving tribute to Mrs. Lamb I have checked Daystar on a daily basis, hoping for a glimpse of the angelic television host. I have been in the mood to hear the Daystar singers (and to see her ample leadership of that fine musical ensemble), but there's no sign of them, and hasn't been for the last few weeks.


I'm going crazy, as you can only imagine. I've elevated the woman to the status of a goddess and then she disappears.


The only thing I can figure is that perhaps they're all on vacation. After all, July is a very popular month for vacations. A lot of people like to go to the lake, go water skiing, swim a little bit, maybe just work on a tan.

I can only hope this is what's up with my favorite TV personality. I noticed that the whole "Celebration" show has been missing from the line-up, so it very well could be a vacation absence, since I doubt very seriously that Daystar is going to cancel it's flagship show.


So Joni, if you're out there, catching some rays in a skimpy bikini, suntan oil dripping down your back, glistening in the sun, showing off what you've got, even if it's only to that weak husband of yours, know that you are never far from my thoughts, nor from the thoughts of all the fans you've got (although it must be noted that my thoughts of you are likely of a much more explicit, graphic nature than anyone else's...maybe even Charles'...).


Now that I think about it, you have worked hard and you deserve a vacation. You deserve the chance to kick back on the beach topless (hey, there's nothing wrong with that, it wouldn't be a public beach, the only one who could possibly see you would be Charles, the lucky bastard), maybe run into town for a few beers or wine coolers, smiling as the store clerk's eyes are irresistibly drawn to the outline of your hard nipples as they press against the wet, almost transparent, cotton t-shirt that hugs tightly your incredible upper body, the desire of nations.


But though it is pleasant to fantasize about serving you, waiting on you hand and foot, fulfilling your every need (at least the one's that Charles can't fulfill), placing myself at your every beck and call, sliding an ice cube slowly down the length of your steamy, flushed body, marvelling at how quickly it melts at the touch of your blazing hot skin, begging you to let me lick it up before it dries, being told "no" and yet nevertheless feeling strangely satisfied just to know that you even considered it for a moment, that you entertained the notion in your mind long enough to decide that the prospect would not be acceptable under the circumstances, leaving me to pretend that, had it not been for these circumstances (the ominous presence of Charles, a jealous and extremely possessive man), your answer might very well have been in the affirmative and all my dreams would come true, I'd die a happy man with a satisfied mind...yes, though it is nice to fantasize about these things, the important thing is that you get your rest and get your ass (your sweet ass) back to the Daystar studios, to the set of "Celebration", or even better, the "Joni" show.


I miss you, and so do your legion of devoted fans (though there's no way they could miss you more than I do). Channel-surfing is just not the same without you.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++




On a serious note, I just wanted to say that Tammy Faye Messner will be dearly missed. She may have seemed like an oddball, but you could always tell that the joy she seemed possessed by was the real deal, sincere and genuine. A most unlikely icon, yet she leaves this world enshrined in the mythology of pop culture.

7.25.2007

The 10 creepiest songs I've ever heard...

Okay, maybe they're not the creepiest songs I've EVER heard...there's none of Diamanda Galas' work here...and there are probably creepier songs out there...but these are the creepiest songs I can think of at the moment. And they ARE creepy, that much I can guarantee.

"Frankie Teardrop" - Suicide...Well, with a name like Suicide what did you expect? This song is, IMO and without a doubt, the creepiest song ever recorded. Alan Vega and Martin Rev's 10+ minute epic is a minimalistic saga of a young man who, discouraged by his inability to make ends meet, decides to shoot his 6-month old baby, his wife and then himself, all the while Vega exhorting "Let's hear it for Frankie!". The gunshots are symbolized by hellish screams that will make you shudder. This is anything but normal entertainment, if it can be called entertainment at all. But it is an astonishing song, creepy though it may well be, and I like to listen to it a couple of times every few years.

"D.O.A." - Bloodrock...There is somewhat heated debate amongst Bloodrock fans as to whether the incident described in this song is a car wreck or a small airplane accident. I always leaned to the former, even though the lyrics do say "We were flying low and hit something in the air". I mean, to "fly low" could conceivably mean travelling at a high rate of speed, hitting a sharp incline and leaving the ground for a couple of seconds...I dunno, the airplane theory does make more sense, but I'll bet the song spooked more motorists than it did pilots. What makes it so creepy is the intricate detail with which the narrator describes his final moments, even to the point of the attendant saying there's no chance for him. He tells of how the sheets that cover his body are "red and moist" and how his girlfriend, sprawled out next to him in the morbid scene, "has such a distant stare". To top it all off, the end of each chorus is punctuated with the sounds of a real ambulance, which delighted me as a young child but freaked me out with paranoia when I grew older and became a stoner. Macabre stuff, people.

"I Love the Dead" - Alice Cooper...What a lovely subject for a song, I'm sure you'll all agree. NECROPHILIA! "What?" you say? Indeed, the Coop pulls out all the stops here, even topping some of his most creepy songs like "Dead Babies", "Sick Things" and "Killer". Not one to play at a dinner party, the opening lyrics proclaim, "I love the dead before they're cold, their rotting flesh for me to hold, cadaver eyes upon me see...nothing". It's a bold confession of passion...TO A DEAD BODY! Many is the time when I've sat up all hours of the night and wondered if, perhaps, maybe Alice took things too far with this one. I thought for sure this wouldn't be a topic he'd ever explore again, unsavoury as it is. Then, a few years later he put out a song called "Cold Ethyl", an upbeat ditty sporting the catchy phrase, "She's cool in bed, well she oughta be CUZ ETHEL'S DEAD!" Alice, oh, Alice...

"Message to Harry Manback" - Tool...Basically a recording of a telephone answering machine message from Satan. Okay, maybe it's not from Ole Slew Foot himself, but this guy may as well have been taking lessons from him. A menacing feller who has obviously been slighted in some way by Harry Manback. I'd hate to think Mr. Manback was recieving such threats and verbal abuse for nothing. Prime examples of the caller's hospitality: "You're gonna die of cancer, do you know that?" "Hope someone in your family dies soon, piece of shit, die!" It's not only his words that will creep you out (though that's all that is neccesary), it's the weird, unrecognizable, English-as-a-second language accent he's got going on. If this doesn't scare you at least a little bit, please stay away from me.

"Come to Daddy" - Aphex Twin...To get the full creepy effect of this song it helps to watch it's video accompaniment, which features a genuinely frightening alien blowing a thick foggy exhaling breath in a little old lady's face (among other bizarre images). Still, the song alone is weird enough to spook a man. Set to an incredibly frenetic bass and drums backdrop, a voice that sounds like it could only come from the throat of a demon makes a request: "I want your soul! I will eat your soul!" If a soul is capable of being eaten, this guy will no doubt munch on yours till you beg him to stop. More braindance ensues and next thing you know there's a twisted pervert beckoning, "Come to daddy...come to daddy...come to daddy..."...That's okay, dad, I think I'll stay right where I am, thank you.

"Death Disco" - Public Image Ltd....If memory serves, I recall hearing something along the lines that this song was written about the passing of John Lydon's mother, after a long illness, I believe that's how the story went. I don't know. Not that it really matters. The main "creepy factor" here is Lydon's voice, which sounds like a cross between a sneer and a particularly cathartic session of primal scream therapy. I can't understand a single word he says, except "Fire in your eyes". That's enough, Mr. Rotten, that is enough, indeed.

"Season of the Witch" - Vanilla Fudge...Donovan's original was sort of creepy, at least lyrically, what with all the hoo-hah about witchery and rubbing stitches in ditches and the like. But when Vanilla Fudge got hold of it...boy, oh boy, they redefined it as horror show madness. The Fudge's claim to fame was taking hit songs and re-arranging them into organ-heavy dirges with thick, vibrato buzzing vocals. They scored pretty big earlier with a version of "You Keep Me Hanging On" that sounded like the theme song from a vampire film. "Season of the Witch" shoots for a similar goal, but winds up authentically frightening, with crying men being tortured and a poem that sounds like the one at the end of "Nights in White Satin"...but where the Moody's come off like a Hallmark greeting card, this is more like one of Baudelairre's throwaways. And for all of that, it is a creepy endpiece to a creepy album ("Renaissance").

"The Rubber Room" - Porter Wagoner...This is not exactly what you'd expect from the guy whose biggest hit was "The Green Green Grass of Home". "The Rubber Room" is a surreal account of a psycho locked up in a mental institution. You never hear this kind of stuff in country music anymore, and that's too bad. Admittedly there is something distinctly laughable about this song. But once you've had your little chuckle and you start thinking about what the man is laying down here, I promise your shits 'n' grins will vanish in a heartbeat. If you have any sense in you, that is.

"The Eternal" - Joy Division...You'd think that a lot of Joy Division's songs would qualify as creepy, what with the aspect of hearing the last words of a man who hung himself. But surprisingly such is not the case. Ian Curtis was just a realist. Nothing too spooky about that, even coming from the grave. But "The Eternal" is the exception. Even without the lyrics the music of this song is haunting. When you add the words you've got a dirge that you don't want to listen to on a cold October night prowling around in a graveyard with a boombox in your hand or an iPod in yer ears. It's like the Grim Reaper busting out a song before swinging the scythe in your general direction. This ain't no death metal Grim Reaper, either. When the real deal decides to serenade you it's gonna sound like Swingin' Ian...a vaguely melodic death rattle uttering praise to the glory of loved ones now gone.

"What's Become of the Baby?" - The Grateful Dead...The baby? Which baby is that, Jerry? The one you abandoned earlier this morning so you could wait outside the Haight-Asbury laundromat and score some heroin? Now that you've got smack in your veins you come home to find that the baby is gone, and you have the audacity to ask what's become of it? Then, to make matters worse, you sit down with some kind of echoplex reverb stereo chorus gizmo and record this eerie glossolalia? I'll tell you what's become of the baby...CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES! That's what! And good for the baby, if you ask me.




7.24.2007

Last night's wonderful visit to Barnes & Noble.

A rather unexpected financial windfall came our way yesterday so I thought I'd make the best of it by taking the family to Barnes & Noble in OKC. I could spend hours and hours in that store, but the wife is not quite as smitten with it as I am so the visit was not quite as long as I would have liked.
Notwithstanding I was able to find a few items to buy last night and saw a lot more that I ear-marked for future purchase.
This is what a weblog is for, right?

I'm currently on a quest to find a certain book I had when I was a teenager. Unfortunately I have forgotten the title and the author's name, so I've been checking the new age section of every bookstore I go to, hoping to locate it by the unique artwork. Which has very little, if anything to do with all this, but I thought I'd let you know what I was doing in the new age section (which has lately become primarily a clearinghouse for Wicca books and the unbelievable number of tomes that have been put out by Sylvia Browne (who should thank Montel Williams for all the exposure).
As I expected, the book I'd been nostalgic about was not there, but I did find a nice, not-too-expensive paper bound copy of "The Urantia Book", which is something I've found fascinating since first perusing a copy at a junior college library 27 years ago. It's difficult to explain what "The Urantia Book" is all about. It's supposedly written by beings from another world, a message to "Urantia" (their name for earth) concerning some lofty topics I won't go into right now.
No, it's not science fiction, even though I kind of read it that way. It's over 2000 pages long, a huge extraterrestrial bible, of sorts. I don't imagine I'll plumb it's depths during the years I have left here on Urantia, but I will find it to be interesting reading, for what it's worth.

My ongoing fascination with Eastern religions (especially Hinduism) rolls on, having recently read "Bhagavad Gita As It Is" by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and I've also been regularly reading the Srimad Bhagavatam online. The online stuff is great (especially since the print version is WAY out of my price range), but I wanted something good in book form (I'll always prefer the page to the screen).
So I snagged this translation of excerpts from the Upanishads. It was also available in a nice 3-book collector's edition, packaged with the Bhagavad Gita and the Dhammapada. I would have picked that one up, had I not just read the Bhagavad Gita. As it was, I saved a little money and put the set on the back burner.

For two straight months I've looked for "Art in America" magazine at Barnes & Noble. You'd think they'd have that one in stock...it's the store where I bought my first copy several months ago. Alas, for whatever reason they have not had it. But this time I wasn't too awful disappointed, as I perused the art section of the periodicals and found "ArtForum". A mammoth publication (over 500 pages on thick, glossy paper), it is stuffed with reproductions of contemporary/modern art, the stuff I like the best. Some of the material is a bit more "confrontational" (read: disturbing) than what I'm used to from my main art magazine, "ARTNews", but that's okay. I can deal with some of that...even though I don't think I'd want TOO much of it regularly.
I don't think "ArtForum" publishes all that often, probably a seasonal thing, because it's just too massive, but at 10 bucks it's really a bargain and I highly recommend it.

Finally I thought I'd pick up a copy of "mental_floss" magazine (actually I got this at Target, having left Barnes & Noble at my wife's prompting). I'd seen this thing over the years at various newsstands, but I figured it was just for Mensa initiates. But looking through it yesterday I found several articles that seemed interesting (and certainly not above my level of intelligence, not being of the Mensa clan). Flipping through it last night I was actually reminded of the National Lampoon in quite a few places. Which is a good thing, since I've missed the Lampoon for a long time. We'll see what "mental_floss" is all about and if it doesn't turn into a "scholar-snob" rag I'll check it out again.


There are literally hundreds of items that I'd like to buy at Barnes and Noble, but I have not won my million dollars on "Deal or No Deal" yet, so I have a list of things I really want the next time I go there, and these are at the top of that list:

Neale Donald Walsch has written several books since the time I drifted away from regularly reading them. I want just about all of them, but this one, "Tomorrow's God" is the one that I'm especially interested in at the moment. When I first saw it a couple of years ago I figured it would be an affront to my Christian beliefs. Now that I'm dead set on challenging those beliefs I can't wait to spend some time in this book, and to re-acquaint myself with all of Walsch's writing.



I hadn't seen this DVD anywhere before, a 4 disc set of "The Best of the Electric Company". Wow, what a blast from the past this is going to be! Younger folks may not remember "The Electric Company" but it was sort of a "Sesame Street for older kids. The nostalgia factor alone guarantees that I'll be getting this next time I go to B&N (unless it's a LOT less expensive from Amazon). This one has just replaced the 4 seasons of "NYPD Blue" that are currently available as number one DVD priority.

Just a really nice, inexpensive copy of "Bleak House", which I haven't read in about 20 years. I've been searching on eBay for a nice set of Complete Charles Dickens works, so if I'm successful in that quest I obviously won't need to pick this up. But it is the next Dickens novel I want to read.

After reading John Irving's excellent "A Widow for One Year", noting the numerous references to Graham Green, I thought it would behoove me to investigate his work (something I probably should have done a long time ago, but I'm ashamed to say I'd been ignorant of the man until reading "Widow". Penguin has a nice introductory sampler in "The Portable Graham Greene" which looks like a pretty good starting point.

Irving has a newer book out ("Until I Find You"), which I do want, but right now I'm interested in reading what he wrote right after "A Widow for One Year". I should have picked it up long ago, as Irving is probably my favorite contemporary author. I put off "Widow" for the longest time, saving it for a time when I didn't have anything I just REALLY had to read, knowing that it would be so much better than the other modern fiction out there. And it was.
I've put off "The Fourth Hand" far too long and I mean to correct that soon.

7.22.2007

"The 'Sucking' Bee"

I hate to be so negative, folks, I really do. It's really none of my business to be trashing a television show when I can't stand practically ANYTHING that's on the tube these days (and such has been the case for a long time).

But last night I witnessed something so horrendous, so excruciatingly bad that I have a difficult time coming up with a description for just how dismally awful it is.

I'm talking about NBC's latest foray into the already saturated "talent show" genre, a karaoke inspired half hour of aural pain called "The Singing Bee". Obviously a twist on the grade school staple known worldwide as Spelling Bees, this goofy show substitutes 'letters' for 'words from song lyrics', the music for which is cranked out by a house band a la "Name That Tune" (a reference I throw out specifically for those of you old enough to remember that classic).

They're picky as fuck about getting the lyrics EXACTLY right, too. Last night there was a woman who needed to remember the first line from the chorus of John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" to win the round. But she lost it all when she sang "country road" singular instead of the plural of the title. Now I've seen more than my share of bar bands butcher that song (including a couple that I played in) and if I had a dollar for every time the singer sang of one particular road instead of a whole map of West Virginia, well I'd be a wealthy man, I would.

Which is my roundabout way of saying that they are a bit too strict on that aspect of "The Singing Bee".

What they are decidedly NOT strict about is the vocal talent required to be a contestant on the show. Maybe the idea is to maintain the "karaoke" thing, at which spectacles there are not a few participants who lack the ability to belt out a melody. The problem is that these "Bee" contestants are the kind who would get booed off the stage at a dive-bar karaoke by a nice crowd.

In other words, these people they had on the program, in addition to jumping about to the rhythm of the songs like hopped-up monkeys, couldn't sing their way out of a paper bag. They don't even have the excuse of being drunk, which is the saving grace of those who embarrass themselves on the "sing-along-to-the-lyrics-scrolling-at-the-bottom-of-the-TV" stage.

Okay, okay, as my wife reiterated, the whole point of the show is remembering the lyrics, not how well the contestant sings them. This is true. But why, tell me, would anyone want to endure such god-awful singing just to see if someone can get the words right? Why would you put your ears through such an extremely cruel ordeal?

From what I've googled about "The Singing Bee" it would appear that this terrible show is fairly popular (though I'd bet that NBC's promotional hoo-hah about it being a "Summer Hit" is overstating things a bit). It is losing some steam after it's debut...but that's to be expected. After all, you've got to see a show at least once to know how wretched it is. Likely at this point it's just cruising on the tail of "America's Got Talent", another "American Idol" knock-off, the popularity of which can only be truthfully ascertained in relation to my loathing of it.

So don't take my word for it. You might just love "The Singing Bee". I won't be condedcending or look down on you if you do. I won't question your entertainment choices. But as for me, I've got a couple thousand CDs as well as XM radio, so if you think I'm going to waste another precious moment enduring such irritating crap when I could be enjoying GOOD singing...

Inside the Soldiers Mind---a story, of sorts.

We walk in circles, feet shuffling rhythm in the cold, sterile breeze. Staring directly ahead in a straight line, five columns of four, spaced out in divisions of nine beneath a series of seven moving fluently parallel to spirit brigades of nineteen. This mathematical precision is mind-numbing but they tell me it's necessary.

Necessary for what, I wonder?

"You must get used to the noise," says a wobbly man in a hand-me-down black leather pilot's jacket, ragged patches signifying some sort of rank. "Thus patience is instilled."

I remain unconvinced. The light is hurting my eyes...I'm not accustomed to being outdoors and the sun is a brutal bastard. I miss my cell already.

"It won't be long now," barks the flyboy in charge.

Do I even have to tell you I'm clueless?

Behind me I can hear the sound of heavy breathing laced with emphysema, a pre-death rattle from the throat of one who will not complete the drill. At any moment I expect to hear the sound of his burden dropping with a thud to the tarmac. Could be any second now he'll be out of the game, down for the count.

...And I will not turn around...

...And I will march on...

...And I know, as surely as I know my own name, that I could be next.

I swallow hard. My head aches, the pounding of kick drums getting louder and louder in my cerebrum, a precise tattoo inherited from some savage native residue.

What am I doing here? How did I get here? Such a heartless taskmaster who cracks the whip and keeps the procession in perpetual motion. I am ordered. The entire population is disordered. Or is it the other way around? I've stopped wondering if it even matters anymore. My slate is almost clean. Soon understanding will replace confusion. Soon chaos will metamorphosize into a sharp, mystical precision.

On the other side lies the prize of perfection. The mythical resolution to the inifinite mystery. This is the abyss the poets dream of plunging into. It is the bottomless ocean of cabalistic oxygen, glimpsed rarely in dreams and visions but too pure to hope for in this incarnation. Mountains here are easily moved, but it is understood by all that mountains are just as they should be in the space the occupy. Therefore noone would think of moving them.

Here, to the left, all is pure. To the right there is nothing that is not immaculate. Behind no past, ahead no future...the moment is everything you need it to be, and the moment is never-ending...

...On the other side.

But the jet-lagged professor of patience wonders if even his most qualified grunts can tough out what seems to them like an endless waiting game. He knows that they have no conception of the goal he drives them toward.

I wonder if he realizes that I do?

But do I? The shimmer of enlightenment I was blessed with on the day before my father died was but a syringe-full of the ideal, and as it wore off I knew, even then, that a transfusion, such as the Messiah offered, wouldn't be enough to last until infinity caught up with itself (at which point the eternal explodes into another "big bang", resulting in a billion new uninverses).

Oh yes, I know, but only as a child knows the meaning of life.

I know, but only as one who has been teased with a foretaste of euphoria, told by the one who held me under the water that the best was yet to come (and I wondered how it could get any better than this...Until I comprehended that on the other side it may not get any better, but that it never gets any worse, and this understanding was the conception of hope within me).

So what, then, if the man in the dirty leather jacket thinks I'm just another one of his sheep? What do I care if he knows that I know that he knows? It doesn't really matter, does it? Let him go on believing that I play this game for his amusement. I have more patience than he has ever dreamed of possessing himself. What's more, I have no doubt that I understand our destination much more thoroughly than he ever could.

I suspect this because I have seen his badge. It is silver with 6 numerals engraved near the bottom, directly beneath a holographic image of a beast with seven heads and ten horns.

Signifying nothing, mind you.

7.20.2007

"Nausea & Bliss" gallery..third installment.

Here are a few new images I wanted to share with you. I did all of these today.

Blogger
Refuse

Balthazzar

Dissection

Ariel

Account Holder

7.19.2007

"Delicious Pies"


She walked into the room just like a prophet
She told the people lies and they believed
She had no power by that time to stop it
And so it came to all as some relief
That she made delicious pies
She made such delicious pies

She thought herself a zealot and a martyr
In the valley of the shadow showed no fear
She always thought of me as her King Arthur
And I believed she was my Guinevere
She
Yes she made delicious pies
Such delicious pies

It may come as some surprise to you
But she might sell her pies to you
So if you buy her pies, my friend
Please let me have a slice, my friend

She once confessed she felt a bit outdated
A relic or a book upon my shelf
No, I don't think it's all so complicated
She may not think she's good for nothin' else
At least
She makes delicious pies
She makes such delicious pies
Not too sweet
Ready to eat
Yeah she makes 'em
Such delicious pies

Hit me!

7.18.2007

Toni in the Rain (a story)

Tami.

No, I think her name was Toni, though it's a wonder I remember anything at all about the quiet, mousy little girl in our high school band.

Never once did I see her with a friend, and I never heard her utter a single word. Not even when she was spoken to. The teacher would ask her a question and she, like a deaf-mute, refused to answer him.

It's a wonder any one of us even knew her name. And it was a marvel how her name suited the person we saw, uncommon in our small-town confines.

She sat in the "third clarinet" section, holding her instrument, gazing at the sheet music in front of her. What she saw there must have transcended the notes and staffs printed on the brittle, yellowing paper. The sounds she made with the school-owned, fourth hand clarinet were barely audible above the racket we made. But I could hear the songs she played. They bore little or no resemblance to what the composer had written.

It still amazes me how vividly I can conjure up the memory of her. How aloof she was from everyone...I was no different---she never spoke to me, either. That was just as well, as far as I was concerned. She never even once looked at me.

But now that I think about it, I believe she DID look at me once. She gazed into my eyes and cast her spirit into mine, tortured and ecstatic. The transaction shook me to my foundations, even though I felt nothing at the time.

She planted her seed of alienation into my life.

Not love.

Not lust.

Not even a better understanding of why she was the way she was.

Those seeds took many years to sprout and blossom. but bloom they did.

I confess. I could have cared less about Toni. As hardened to her plight as the rest of my classmates were, I dismissed her strangeness as possibly drug related.

Maybe we were all right. Maybe she WAS a fifteen year old junkie floating out on the mainline. Who knows but that she'd dropped so much acid that it became impossible for her to relate to other people. So she'd crawled into her shell with her pills, needles and powders.

For some reason I could not bring myself to accept the "drugged-up" theories, the nasty rumors that floated around the entire school about Toni...weird, shy Toni.

Today, running it all through my mind again, I am even more confident that it was not drugs, that it was something else. Now the seed that she sowed is ripe for harvest. The alienation she planted within the virgin soil of my heart has become manifest in countless ways...

The most vivid memory I have of Toni is probably the ONLY thing my classmates remember of about her.

It was early morning and our marching band practice had been cancelled due to the rain that had begun to fall. The entire band was crowded together in the rehearsal room, creating havoc and generally having a good time.

Our attention was diverted when one of the guys, laughing, pointing out the window, called out, "Hey! Come and look at this!"

There, in the center of the practice field, stood Toni, soaked and dripping, her arms raised to the sky like she was praying to some Rain God. She seemed so naturally in place out there, alone in the downpour. It was the first time I'd ever seen her smile.

A sight so bizarre that it frightened me. To this day the recollection gives me goosebumps.

I think it was the smile.

The other kids laughed, mocked her, called her names, yelled scornful taunts at her through the window.

That was the day people started saying she was legitimately crazy.

That was also the last anyone ever saw of her. It was as if she'd vanished from the face of the earth. Her disappearance was mysterious, especially to us children who had spent so much time in her silent company.

It was not so mysterious, however, to the policemen who drove her away to a place we had no conception of. A place where noone, not even Toni, could feel at home.

Toni, if you were here with me right now, oh, how I'd like to talk to you. You wouldn't have to talk back...talking was never your style, anyway, was it? Just listen to me, because I've got so much to tell you now. So much I've learned in the thirteen years since I last saw you (a statue of wet flesh in the rain, praising the emptiness of sky that you called your own).

Maybe...just maybe, if I could treat you now with the dignity and respect you were denied all those years ago...you might speak to me, tell me all the thoughts trapped within your mind, be they mundane or twisted like the tunnels of time. You might share your understanding of the universe.

The secret of YOUR universe.

That would be enough for me.

Elizabeth Frasier

Kahlil Gibran

7.16.2007

A justified complainer.

LEAVE ME ALONE, GODDAMNIT! YOU SAID I HAD 30 MINUTES AND THEN YOU COME UP TO ME WITH YOUR PLASTIC SMILE AND ASK ME WHEN I'LL BE THROUGH? CAN'T YOU SEE HOW SLOWLY I TYPE? FOR CHRIST'S SAKE, I'LL NEVER BE THROUGH! WHY WON'T YOU LEAVE ME ALONE? IS IT SO IMPORTANT THAT I VACATE THIS TYPEWRITER SO SOON? YOU SAY SOMEBODY'S WAITING TO USE IT? WELL LET THEM WAIT! JUST LET THEM WAIT! THIS IS MY TIME AND IF THE BASTARD IS IN SUCH A HURRY TO USE IT THEN WHY DOESN'T HE ASK ME HIMSELF INSTEAD OF SENDING YOU TO DO IT FOR HIM? IS THAT YOUR JOB? IS THAT WHAT THEY PAY YOU TO DO AROUND HERE? WELL YOU CAN KEEP YOUR FUCKING JOB, CAUSE I SURE AS HELL DON'T WANT IT.


22Feb94

"Conversations With God" recomendation w/ bonus rant.

In 1998 I read this book, "Conversations With God", by Neale Donald Walsch. It was a real mind-blower and prompted me, an agnostic at the time, to reconsider the possibility that God might be real and active in people's lives. I went on to read several of the "Conversations" series, and thought they were all very inspirational.

A few years later I began to question certain aspects of the CWG "philosophy". I felt that it might be a bit too open-ended, too postmodern, but mainly "too good to be true". If you've read the book I'm sure you'll know exactly what I mean. I had this overwhelming conviction that it just couldn't be true because it was too obvious, too simple, too eager to forgive the human condition.

I moved away from what I'll refer to as CWG and embraced Christianity. For 5 years I have read and studied the Bible. I've read enough books about the subject to fill a small library. I attended church services for a good part of that time until I came to the conclusion that most of the people in the congregation were more concerned with their status within the church and how good they looked in their "Sunday Best" than with anything else. Still, I tried to proclaim the message of God's love and forgiveness in various ways according to my abilities.

But increasingly I found myself at odds with certain aspects of, if not Christianity itself, then with the way in which it was practiced and defined by the majority of those I knew and those I'd heard on Christian radio (I don't even take the vast majority of "Christian television" seriously...except, of course, for my crush on Joni Lamb...he he).
The TBN stable, for the most part, are serving mammon, as anyone with a shred of discernment should be able to see. The radio preachers are mainly a more respectable lot, but most of them teach a rigidly conservative point-of-view with a very literal interpretation of scripture.
Too many evangelical leaders want to "save souls" and bring them into the "body of Christ". But they try to turn the "body of Christ" into a club that reels 'em in with talk of forgiveness then does it's best to strip 'em of their personalities in hopes that they'll fit the mold of "model Christian". The fact that there is actually a "Christian subculture" should give you a clue as to just how separatist the whole game has become.
It wasn't long after my "return to Christ" that I was overwhelmed by how many denominations claimed exclusivity to the "keys to the Kingdom". I saw so many divisions that they nurtured about ridiculously trivial things. For instance, there are many out there who insist that the King James version is the only authentic translation of the Bible. All others, they would tell you, are faulty and not to be trusted
My long held fascination with the Catholic church crumbled when I found out the Pope had returned to teaching that his church was the ONLY legitimate one.
My God, what a population overflow there will be in hell if all these excusivists turn out to be right. And what a small town Heaven will be.

It's this bullshit that irks me about what human beings have turned the teachings of Jesus into, how they've completely ignored the REAL meanings of FORGIVENESS and GRACE. Shouldn't those two attributes of God give a man (or even a whole culture or race) liberty to embrace Him and accept Him in whatever manner He has chosen to reveal Himself?
And where's the grace in homophobia, a hallmark of the conservative faithful? It's not just the kooks from that Kansas based Baptist church who protest military funerals, secure in their belief that our casualties in Iraq are the proud accomplishments of a God who is angry at our country for "tolerating" gays and lesbians. One would think that "tolerance" would be the logical extension of "forgiveness". But these guys aren't out to forgive or to do unto others as they'd have done to them. They want a witch hunt. They want an Inquisition. They would be proud to exterminate each and every homosexual in a holocaust that would make even Hitler look like a part-timer.
Maybe that's a bit harsh, maybe such vehemence is only applicable to a certain demographic. But for all the talk of acceptance, you'll have a hard time finding an out of the closet homosexual in the congregation of just about any denomination in America, with the exception of the Episcopalians.
Such hypocrisy how one man can see another as subhuman based on sexual orientation, all the while believing that such discrimination is sanctified by the Bible.

But I seem to have veered from the subject I began with, namely "Conversations With God". What I meant to say was that even in the last few years as a professing Christian (alienated from today's Christendom as I may well be) I have, consciously or subconsciously, filtered my understanding, beliefs and faith through what was revealed to me through CWG. The freedom I've felt to explore other belief systems, like Hinduism and Zen Buddhism, has been encouraged by what I took from CWG. I will always follow Christ and serve God, but the truth is that I wouldn't even BELIEVE in Him if it weren't for CWG. CWG has helped me to see through all the bullshit propagated by the modern church and shown me the real meaning of the Gospels.

So you can look at this post as a hearty recommendation of not only the initial "Conversations With God", but also all the books that came after it.
Some will say that the only "God" that Neale Donald Walsch ever conversed with was the one in his own mind. To which I could only respond that if such is the case, well, his mind, when he wrote this stuff, must have been on a whole other wavelength, a dimension, even, of prophecy (if I may be so bold as to use the term).

CWG is not for everyone. It will probably make a lot of people angry as it challenges their perceptions of who and what God is. Unlike much of the church crowd, however, it does not demand that you accept it or else be damned to hell. Undeniably it's a wonderfully thought-provoking book and so, with that, I leave you with the 5 Steps to Peace from CWG's most recent weekly newsletter:

5 Steps to Peace

Step 1.
I acknowledge that some of my old beliefs about God and about Life are no longer working.

Step 2.
I acknowledge that there is something I do not understand about God and about Life, the understanding of which will change everything.

Step 3.
I am willing for a new understanding of God and Life to now be brought forth, an understanding that could produce a new way of life on this planet.

Step 4.
I am willing to be courageous enough to explore and examine this new understanding, and, if it aligns with my inner truth and knowing, to enlarge my belief system to include it.

Step 5.
I choose to live my life as a demonstration of my highest and grandest beliefs, rather than as denials of them.


ReCreation Foundation (CWG.org)

7.15.2007

Plague of relatively trivial misery.

If there is any credibility in the concept of Karma, then I'd like to get my hands on the bastard from my previous incarnation who racked up all the negative shit I'm dealing with today. I'd punch him in the nose.

Oh, it's not so bad as all that...not as bad as it could be and one day surely will be. But I'm feeling pretty miserable this morning and it's been going on for 3 or 4 days with this sinus headache and all the allergic reactions. They're making my eyeballs itch, burn and generally feel as if they are about to explode and burst from their sockets. Add to that a wax-stuffed left ear and a sore right ear...So there's two senses assaulted by the hateful things I was saying and doing when my soul was taking residence in the body of Caligula or Jack the Ripper or maybe just that guy who liked to put boogers in the blue cheese dressing on the salad bar at Kenny's Red Devil Cafe...No, wait. It couldn't have been him because he was younger than me. I saw him do it myself.
I bet he'll have some misery trying to work that off in his next life. I don't envy him.

I think that the eye-itching problem is a direct result of an allergy to mold spores, which have been up since the endless rain we've been experiencing of late. I always really liked the rain. During dry spells in previous summers I would be miserable. When the rains came, you would have found me celebrating, dancing like a fool, wet and shivering but happy as a hobo who hasn't had an opportunity to take a shower in weeks.
But this year I can't wait for the rain to stop. It's just become ridiculous. I don't want sweltering heat and I sure don't want the oppressive humidity that sometimes makes this state hard to live in, but I've seen enough rain for a few months...If I had my way the temperature would stay at 69 degrees perpetually and a cool breeze would blow. That's unfortunately not going to happen, so I'll just settle for a cessation of the rain for right now.

Damn global warming.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A couple of days ago, driving home after taking my son to see the new Harry Potter movie, I saw a bumper sticker on a car in front of me that read:

"It's God's job to forgive bin Laden...
It's our job to ARRANGE THE MEETING!"

I don't know if I would have used the word "Job", but I guess "prerogative" was a little too big to fit on the sticker.
At any rate I thought it was kind of funny.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I'm flip-flopping on which Sigur Ros album is my favorite.
I had been putting "Takk" in the nunber 1 slot, but I'm beginning to think that was on the strength of "Glossoli", which is simply one of the most intense songs they've ever recorded.
"Takk" is a great album from start to finish, but after listening to "( )" a few times this past week I have to concede that it is the most consistantly excellent thing they've done.

7.14.2007

I have just today been made aware of what is known as the USARPS, the United States Rock Paper Scissors team. I saw one of their events on ESPN this afternoon and I thought it was a joke. But, seeing as how that particular network isn't known for comedy shows I just don't know. Truthfully, I still think it's a joke, and not the kind that stays funny for very long.

Therefore I feel duty bound and obligated to state, for the record, that this blog, "Rock Paper Scissors" is in no way affiliated with the USARPS or any of it's subsidiaries.

I even thought about changing the name of my blog as a preventitive measure to avoid confusion of the millions of my readers who might think I have anything to do with the whole thing. But I put too much work into the header banner, I'm not going to let a quacky game show presented as sport on ESPN push me around.

Oh no, not me!

A strange attraction from "GLOW"

I was channel surfing last night (as I am wont to do since there's so precious little on TV worth watching) and happened to catch a little bit of a female wrestling match on the Friday night edition of WWE (you can tell I'm not a regular viewer anymore because I can't even remember if it's still called "Nitro" or if it's something else now). There was a time when I found pro wrestling to be a fun bit of mindless nonsense. The "fighting" matches were a bore, IMO, but the storylines and the over-the-top personas of the wrestlers were often entertaining...it's like the "Weekly World News" tabloid...noone in their right mind would fail to recognize that there is absolutely no news between it's covers, but it's still worth reading because it's so funny, like one of the old National Lampoon newspaper parodies, only it comes out every week.

Like I said, I don't watch the stuff anymore. Not because I think I've grown out of it or anything like that (though that's part of it, I'm sure). It's mainly because I just got tired of it. There's only so much of that you can watch before you start considering that there very well be more constructive ways to bide one's time. Like maybe alphabetizing your extensive Chia Pet collection or camping out by the traffic lights and watching the cars go by.

The female wrestlers of today, each one of them from what I've seen, are created for and marketed to adolescent boys and 40-year-old men who lack what some would term "a life". Every single one of them are slightly beefed-up Maxim girls wearing tight, sexy outfits, more often than not made from latex that accentuate their always erect nipples (I'd guess that these gals get turned on by all the mock violence, but maybe it's just that the air conditioner in the backstage dressing room is set to a low temperature). Doubtless there are countless men out there who think that there's nothing more exciting (maybe even arousing) than watching a couple of centerfold models pretending to beat the shit out of each other. The only thing better than watching a fake catfight is watching a REAL catfight, but the venues the latter are usually to be found at are generally a bit more dangerous than the comfort of your couch.But it wasn't always like that. Oh. no. Back in the 80's we had our own version of "girls gone wild". The show was called "GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling". These gals didn't play second fiddle to a stable of male wrestlers. The whole lot of 'em were vixens...okay, perhaps several of them weren't what you'd call "vixens". In fact, a few of them were downright ugly (Attila the Hun springs to mind). But at least there was a little variety, which is much more than you can say for today's bunch.

"GLOW" was campy even at the time it was airing. It didn't require the benefit of age or the passage of time to earn it's status as kitsch. It was recognizable as such from the first episode to the last. The matches were unabashedly scripted...of course everyone knows that all the WWE matches are scripted to, but the "GLOW" fights had no pretensions of even being considered as "real", even to the most gullible fan. Furthermore, in addition to the traditional staple of the wrestlers taunting and "talking shit about their next opponent" (of which the GLOW girls were very good at), there were also comedy skits a la "Hee Haw". Top it off with an introduction every week featuring all the girls dancing and rapping about their individual skills and good looks and you can only imagine how gloriously corny it all was.

Yes, it's true, the biggest portion of the "Gorgeous Ladies" were in the same vein as today's female wrestlers. Most of them were dolled-up pretty girls designed to tickle the libido. It was usually the pretty gals who had the fans on their side.

But me, I didn't give a rat's ass about pretty gals in the ring. If it was "pretty gals" I wanted, well there was always Playboy and Penthouse. I preferred my "pretty gals"to be unencumbered by clothing.

So whenever I tuned in to "GLOW" there was only one wrestler I watched for...only one "Gorgeous Lady" that I cared anything about. The only one who made it bearable to sit through all the "fluff 'n' puff" of all the other plastic beauties. Only one who could make my heart race while simultaneously forcing me to consider how fucked up I must be to find her so strangely vivacious...

DEMENTIA!!!!!

She was obviously mentally ill, most likely criminally insane. Perhaps it was the catatonic state she was in that struck up the spark within me that would eventually be fanned into a flame of the well-hidden desire I had for Dementia. Maybe it was the sympathy I felt when the other wrestlers would take her baby doll away. Maybe I liked the way she blew bubbles in the ring before a match and wore a hockey mask (like Jason in "Friday the 13th") as she was escorted to her fights in a cage wheeled in by heavily armed security guards . I liked her frazzled hair, I liked the tattered dress, I liked the white face paint...hell, I even liked the axe she brought with her but never got the chance to use. Most of all, very possibly the one thing I liked the most about Dementia was her awesome cleavage, the way it was so tightly packed into that worn-out dirty drab dress. Something so sexy about that, don't you think?

Okay, seriously now...the character of Dementia was played by two different women. In the early days of "GLOW" Nancy Daly took the part. I don't know what happened to her but at some point she was replaced by Michelle Damon...It is possible that I have them mixed up, that Daly came after Damon, but I don't think so. I only even consider it because Damon went on to change her persona to Sugar and I don't think Dementia ever left the stable. If you look at Sugar you can pretty much tell that she's NOT the Dementia who was fighting in the matches when there couldn't have been more than 100-150 people in the audience (the low numbers seeming to suggest that they were held in the early days of "GLOW"...by the way, the majority of those in the crowd were cheering for Dementia).

So if, indeed, it was Daly doing the Dementia character in those formative years, then I've got to say that she was the better of the two, by far. But you can make your own mind up by watching the following YouTube videos of 3 separate Dementia pairings (thank God for YouTube...it's so helpful in the replacement of lost memories).
The first two are from the early days (which, I think, are Daly)...the 3rd one, as you can tell by how relatively larger the audience is, features Damon (if my theory is correct, and I think it is because Sugar does kind of favour the second Dementia.

No matter, these are some fun clips and a reminder of days gone by:


Dementia vs. Little Egypt

Dementia vs. Tara

Dementia vs. Roxy Astor

7.12.2007

I heart Joni.

Sometimes I think I must be deranged, maybe even a tad perverted. What other reason can there be for the attraction I feel for this supremely beautiful woman?

It's bad enough that she's married, even though my feelings for her are hardly lustful. They are as innocent as a young schoolboy's crush. As harmless as the affection a brother shares with a sister.

More or less, the whole thing is as if I were infatuated with a TV or movie star...you know, how some guys get with Angelina Jolie and some gals are with Brad Pitt.

Yeah, that's it! She's my favorite TV star! I can do without all the Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover girls. I'm long past the age where air-brushed nude Playboy centerfold vixens take my breath away. The runway models with their heroin chic absolutely leave me cold.

What I like in a woman is class. Integrity. A real lady who is not afraid to put herself out on the line if the cause is right. A woman with talent but enough modesty not to flaunt it.

And that exceptional woman is...
JONI LAMB!!!
Joni is the star of her own television talk show on the Daystar television network. In case your local cable or satellite provider does not carry it, Daystar is a Christian religious TV station. It's more or less a snazzier version of TBN. I'd say the ratio of quacks to genuine evangelists on TBN is probably 95 to 5. With Daystar it's a little bit better, they maybe have a 75 to 25 differential. Unfortunately some of the biggest goofballs are on BOTH networks. Benny Hinn, Rod Parsley, the downright frightening Mike Murdock, Perry Stone and one of the creepiest guys in western civilization, Steve Munsey.

The only competition Joni's got in the looks department is another woman who buys up airtime on TBN, the sexy and sensual Paula White. Paula used to do a lot of conferences with T.D. Jakes and she could hold her own with the man. Anyone who has seen Jakes at work can testify that this is no small praise.

Now the sassy Ms. White (who sometimes comes off as religious TV's answer to Oprah) is indeed a hottie, especially when she gets all riled up. Her petite figure and radiant, short cut platinum blonde hair are a wonder to behold. Some of the younger male TBN viewers could easily be tempted to think improper thoughts while watching Paula. I'm 45 and I have...(just kiddin' there, folks).

That's all fine and dandy, but for my money, Joni Lamb is the cutest gal on TV. I detest almost everything about "Christian TV", but I find myself checking to see if Joni is on. There's one thing Daystar has going in it's favor...I doubt you'll find too many guys tuning into TBN for a good look at Jan Crouch.

10, maybe 15 years ago I would have been a Paula White groupie. It is very likely that I wouldn't have found Joni Lamb nearly as good looking as I do now. But, mister, let me tell you I have come to see the light. When she's up there on that stage performing with the enormously talented Daystar Singers it makes me happier than a cop in a donut shop.

Now her husband Charles is not quite as charismatic as his wife (obviously I don't mean that in the sense of the "Charismatic" branches of a particular denomination), but he seems like a nice enough guy. His goatee is kinda funny, but that's no crime. I don't know how such a timid guy can tame a queen lion like Joni, though. Maybe he takes on another, more aggressive persona when he's off-screen. Who knows, he might beat her on a regular basis. I'd like to think not.

I will say this about the feller. There's no way he can begin to know how lucky he is to have Joni by his side. Like Gillette, she's the best a man can get.

Who loves ya, babe?

7.11.2007

7 reasons why I'm glad I stopped smoking marijuana.


1. My wallet...I wasn't even buying the killer bud, but I was still spending over $100 a month on dope. That might not seem like a lot to some folks, but within MY economy it was inexcusable. Now that I'm not buying weed anymore I often wonder where all that money came from. I sure don't have it to spend now.
2. The uncertainty of hook-ups...I never really had what you'd call a "solid connection". Some of my connections didn't even have "solid connections" themselves, so hooking up was usually a hit-or-miss affair. I'd become so dependent on pot that I'd stress like the devil when it looked like I was out of luck and my elation upon receiving confirmation that the hook-up was a done deal was ridiculously jubilant. I don't miss that at all.
3. Travelling paranoia...Now this is probably the main one that made me quit smoking (though I'll not go into the details of the particular incident that inspired the decision). Basically it's pretty much what it sounds like it is. Excessive (and unsubstantiated) fear of the things that could conceivably go wrong while driving. For instance, I was scared of high speeds because in the back of my mind I would be thinking of just how fast I was going and what would happen if I ran the car into a tree at 70 mph. Crazy, I know, but that's how the weed affected me.
In addition to that I was terrified of other motorists. I just knew that one of them was going to run me over and it would probably be one of those monster 18-wheeler semi trucks. Oh how I trembled when someone passed me.
Now that I'm drug free my driving is back to normal. I really don't know how I ever drove stoned, and I swear to you that I'll never do it again.
4. Post hook-up homeward bound driving anxiety...The only thing worse than actually not hooking up was the drive home after hooking up. I'd been known to drive over 100 miles and back to buy one sack of pot and all of my "connections" (all TWO of them) were from 30 to 60 miles away. So the trip back, with the sack stuffed in my sock was a tense one as I obsessed over the possibility of Johnny Law catching me. I was always lucky and I never got caught with weed but I exhaled a relieved sigh of relief and said a prayer of thanks as soon as I pulled into the driveway. There were three times when I was pulled over for whatever reason, but I guess I didn't look like a trouble maker to the cop and I got off with warnings for my infraction of the law. They never even suspected that I had marijuana on me. The last time it happened I thought for sure I was gonna get busted because the inside of the car smelled of pot smoke. The officer must have had a stopped up nose or something because he didn't appear to notice it.
5. My physical health...You know you're a hardcore stoner when you begin to hack up dark, grey phlegm and you decide that that's an acceptable price to pay to keep getting high. Same goes with wheezing like you have emphysema. I suffered from both of those maladies and chalked it up to something every pothead probably goes through. It got so bad that I would buy Primatine mist, even though I don't have asthma, and use it to get some relief. I wasn't the only one, either, as I recall one of my friends asking to borrow it. Since I gave up bud I've been able to breathe much easier.
6. I like dreaming...Yes, I do like to dream. Doesn't everyone? All the time I smoked pot I could not remember my dreams upon waking. The times when I didn't have any weed (like when it was a dry spell or when all of my hook-ups went belly-up) I would have the most vivid dreams and retention was good. Then I'd start toking again and, POOF, they were all gone. I realize that everyone dreams every night, but in my case I couldn't remember a damn thing about them, and that, my friends, is just as bad as not dreaming at all. I am presently enjoying my dreams very much, thank you.
7. My mental health...Who knows how all that grass affected my bipolar disorder. Funny thing, I thought I was having to smoke more and more to get even a little of the same effect that I wanted (and was used to). Then I figured it out. I was taking mood stabilizing medication and it was keeping the marijuana from doing it's mood elevating job. God only knows how much money I wasted trying to keep up with this imbalance.
More insidious, IMO, is "the burn out factor", which, of course, I had convinced myself would never happen to me. With pot every thing you do is a unique experience, the weed only intensifies it. Now that may sound just great, but before long you find yourself yearning for something fresh and discarding the things you've already done. For example, there was nothing I liked more than to get high and listen to music. At one point I listened to the Beatles entire catalogue and it was mind-blowing. Just awesome, as you might expect it to be. But over the course of the next few years I had no desire to listen to any of their records because I'd already "experienced" them and I wanted "new experiences", even though I knew it would be great listening. Maybe I was just afraid that a repeat "experience" wouldn't live up to the first one.
As you may imagine, I went through my CD collection pretty quickly (and mine is a formidable one if I say so myself). There was nothing I wanted to hear anymore. Even my XM radio became boring because with it I would get tired of genres instead of bands.
Obviously this is unacceptable for someone who loves music like I do. Now that I'm "clean and sober" I find that I listen to music for it's own sake, and even as I'm listening to one album I can't help but think of what I want to listen to next. I'm hearing things I'd never heard in songs that I've heard a hundred times before and I'm surprised to say that I'm enjoying music much more than I ever did while high. The pot had me convinced that I would find it boring without that warm and fuzzy high.

I could give you more than 7 reasons why I'm glad I quit smoking pot, but that's enough for now.
I'm not out to preach, to try to convert dopers into a lifestyle of abstinence. I'm only relating my own personal experience. I'd be lying if I said that no one should smoke...I know people for whom it is a therapeutic drug. But I thought it was that for me, too, and now I know better.
I'd also be lying if I said I didn't get just a bit of a craving for it now and then. I suppose that's natural for someone breaking a long-time habit (15 years). Regardless, I am never going to get stoned again.
You can bank on that, my friends.

Lottery, Hokey Pokey, Etymology

Please remember me, because I'm worth remembering first of all, but also because if you remember me you'll have a better chance of winning the lottery. Don' t ask me how I know this, just accept it as the truth and you will not be disappointed. The lottery is a rigged game, and it's really not all that hard to win if you just follow my simple 3-step, fool-proof method:
Step one...place your hands on your hips
Step two...shake it all about
Step three...Do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around
And that, my friend, is what it's all about.
You don't have to trust me on this, but if you do I really think you'll win the lottery. Even if you don't win the lottery you'll have had yourself a jolly good time doing the Hokey Pokey, eh?
The etymology of the words "Hokey Pokey" is actually more interesting than the game itself (if that is possible).
"Hokey" is derived from an ancient Egyptian term 'Hokelemus' which means "one who enjoys cleaning septic tanks". There is also a second, subliminal aspect to the word which is rendered. "Please let me give your mother a bath, she look so sexy covered in all those bubbles, the warm water dripping down her flushed pink skin. I'll give you a quarter..."
As for "Pokey", the root word is from the Spanish/Mexican 'el Pokeleskaleflatillacasasenoritaiwouldverymuchenjoyanotheroneofyourdeliciousburritosita'. The meaning is not easily discerned, but scholars in many institutions of higher learning are fairly confident that it translates as:
"Please let me give your mother a bath, she look so sexy covered in all those bubbles, the warm water dripping down her flushed pink skin. I'll give you a dollar..."
So, now that you know all you need to know about the Hokey Pokey, get out there and buy up those lottery tickets.
And good luck!

7.10.2007

Typing practice: Cocteau Twins

I am very anxious to see my typing skills improve, as I don't think it will take too much longer if I can just apply myself, not get too discouraged when I make a mistake. If I can get a feel for the top keys I should be okay.
So I was practicing earlier and wrote this fairly insignificant bit of whatever you might want to call it...figured I'd post it here instead of just deleting it:


I can very well remember the first time I ever heard the Cocteau Twins music. I was living what was sort of a "halfway house" in a town called Burns Flat. A woman named Ruth Fillmore, the owner of a record store called Shadowplay, was a "pen pal" of mine (that kind of thing has more or less vanished with the advent of e-mail). She used to send me cassette tape compilations, as she knew that we shared an eclectic taste in music and I guess just because she was a nice person.
One day I got a package in the mail from her...it was a surprise because I wasn't expecting anything.
It turned out to be another tape compilation from Ruth. This one was a collection of songs culled from what I'm sure was her extensive collection of Cocteau Twins albums.
I had never heard any of their music before...in fact, I don't think I knew them at all (which was odd, since I'd heard of and/or read about so many different groups).
I only had a ridiculously small tape recorder, which I had stolen from an old abandoned school building that had a gym we used sometimes. So it wasn't exactly with the highest of fidelity that I first experienced the Cocteau Twins.
It didn't seem to matter, though. The music was unlike anything I had ever heard. I've had this reaction to certain bands and music since then (My Bloody Valentine, Sigur Ros, especially Autechre), but I think this was the first time that I was totally blown away by the originality of instrumentation and vocals of any band.
It was an excellent compilation, obviously put together with a lot of thought. I wish I had a list of all the songs that were on it, so I could replicate it on CD. I recall that it included "The Spangle Maker", "Lorelei", "Aikea-Guinea", "From the Flagstones", "Hitherto", "Beatrix", several others.
Later, after I'd left the "halfway house" I spoke of, I visited her at Shadowplay. It was always the coolest record store in Norman (and most likely in all of Oklahoma). While there she gave me a promotional copy of "Blue Bell Knoll" which I loved just as much as I did the compilation.
The Cocteau Twins remain one of my absolute favorite groups.
So thanks, Ruth, wherever you may be. You introduced me to a lot of great bands. Your store was great. If we were still "pen pals" I would write you a letter right now to tell you that I think you're tops.

A critter in the hedges. Big fun.

Sometime last week the rain let up for a few days so I got out and mowed the lawn Sunday evening (the break in the rain lasted only a couple of days...it's been raining pretty steady now since last night).
So, anyway, I'm out there mowing the lawn, much like I always do. I was about 1/3 of the way done with the backyard when the noisy push mower knocked a hedge. I stepped back a little bit and was quite surprised to see a rather large snake emerging from beneath. That sucker had to be at least 4 feet long and he slithered slowy across the length of the lawn. His tube-like body made a continually shifting "S" shape as he crawled across the tall grass, head raised up like a periscope on a submarine, shiny red tongue darting in and out of it's mouth.
It was really something to see, so I called to my wife and son, "Come look at this!" Of course I knew my wife is terrified of snakes, so I expected her response would be a source of humour for me...I wasn't too sure what my son would think. As it turned out, he was actually rather non-chalant about the whole thing. But he wouldn't come near it.
As for me... I was fascinated by it. It's path out of our lawn wasn't too long, but it wasn't exactly travelling all that fast. I came up behind it, took off my hat and tried to "shoo it" back in the other direction. No luck, but now I think about it, I seem to remember hearing somewhere that snakes rely on the sense of smell...not sure if they're actually blind, but this one sure didn't pay attention to my waving hat.
"Do you want me to get a box and put this thing in it?" I asked, already knowing full well what the answer would be, "Maybe keep him for a pet?"
Ha Ha Hardy Har Har, what a joker I am, eh?
I watched him glide to the corner fence then through it, wishing I'd had the guts to pick it up and play with it for a little while before he returned to his abode in Mutal of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. I had a strong urge to pretend I was Alice Cooper for a few minutes, but even though I'm not particularly frightened by them, I don't relish the idea of picking them up and holding them.
He should, however, count himself a very lucky snake...for a moment there I seriously considered performing an impromtu re-enactment of an early scene from "The Passion of the Christ". You may remember the one...where Satan sends the serpent to Jesus and it crawls to His feet, at which time He fulfills, in a symbolic manner, the prophecy of Genesis 3:15.
But that was not to be...but I'll tell you this: if the thing decides to return and I catch him out in my yard, I seriously may have to get all "Jim Caviezel" on his ass.
He's been warned.

7.09.2007

Meme: MUCH more than you should want (or need) to know about me.


Full Name: James Arthur Casey
Eye Color: A color yet to be classified and/or given a name
Hair Color: Brown with a dignified splash of grey
Height: 6'4"
Shoe Size: 13 (why? do you want to buy me some shoes?)
Ring Size: I have no idea
Heritage: Caucasian of Irish descent.
Graduating Year: 1980
Birthdate: A long, long time ago...okay, I'm not modest. It's 18April1962
Zodiac Sign: Astrology is for idiots
Firsts
Concert: Little River Band (a band that I cannot stand these days and didn't really like when I went to the show...free tickets, free ride, young and restless, you know how it is)
Best Friend: David McCurley, Richard Shreves (they both turned out to be assholes), Steve Duncan, Gary Affentranger
Crush: Starla Ring (in kindergarten, no less)
Pet: Snookie
Sport: Sleeping
Have You Ever
Sky Dived: No, but it sounds fun...it's not so much a fear of heights (which I do suffer from), it's more a fear of a poorly packed parachute
Bungee Jumped: No. That doesn't even SOUND fun
Gone out of the Country: Once in Mexico for a few hours
Beaten Someone Up: Once, I think
Gotten Beat Up: Nope
Killed an Animal: 'Fraid so. Especially those who stand between me and the next few feet of highway
Swam in the Ocean: No
Broke the Law: Countless times, but most of those times it was the same law I was breaking
Smoked: Lots of pot. See above question
Chewed Tobacco: Tried to dip Skoal when I was in high school. I learned my lesson very quickly
Drank: Not as much as I could have...I much preferred the ganja
Been Kissed: I hope so
Been In Love: Yeah, I think it was/is love
Dumped Someone: A few times
Been Dumped: Can't say that I have, unless you count a 3 night sex spree in which the gal didn't show up for a 4th night as "being dumped". In that case, yes
Broken Someone's heart: Probably
Had Your Heart Broken: Yes, once or twice (not even counting the "4th night no-show described above
Liked Someone Who Didn't Like You Back: Probably
Broken A Bone: A small, insignificant one
Had Surgery: Yes
Had an X-ray or MRI: A few...how do you think I got this radiation poisoning?
Failed a Class: Yes. A couple, to be honest
Favorites
Color: I've never had a favorite color...never saw the point of it
Food: Mexican
Drink: Monster
Snack: I don't really eat "snacks"
Cereal: Count Chocula
Ice Cream: Chocolate Almond
Candy: Heath
Restaurant: Rudolphos (great Mexican)
Fast Food Place: Taco Mayo
Store: Barnes and Noble
Animal: The ones that don't bite
Quote: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"
Sport To Play: Sleeping
Sport To Watch: Baseball
Movie: Too many to mention
TV Show: NYPD Blue
Type Of Music: Whatever I happen to be in the mood for at the time, everything from classical to metal
Band: Sigur Ros
Singer: Mark Kozelek, Jonsi
Song: Too many to mention
This//Or//That
Pepsi or Coke: Pepsi
Vanilla or Chocolate:Vanilla
Cake or Ice Cream: Ice Cream (I hate cake)
McDonalds or Burger King: Burger King
Love or Money: Love (though money does come in at a VERY close second)
Music or TV: Music (TV sucks)
Cat or Dog: Dog
Mom or Dad: How could anyone choose?
Truck or Car: Car
Ocean or Lake: Ocean
Yahoo or Hotmail: Yahoo
Google or AJ: Google
Light or Dark: Dark
Country or City: Country
Rain or Sunshine: Rain
The Opposite Sex
First Thing You Notice: Eyes (how original, eh?)
Personality or Looks: I know it's unfair to NOT choose one or the other, but I can't do it. Both
Hair Color: Anything natural...none of this light blue, blazing orange or hot pink bullshit
Eye Color: Red... no, really, who cares?
Short or Tall: Somewhere in the middle
Romanic or Spontaneous: Lethargic (ha ha)
Sense of Humor or Sweet: Good taste
Hook up or Relationship: uhhh...May I introduce you to my wife?
Currently
Feeling: Frustrated that my newly learned typing skills have yet to reach the "amazing speed" level
Listening To: Nothing right now, actually, though that is the exception to the rule
Wanna: Go back home
Doing Besides Typing: Breathing, occasionally heaving sighs
Thinking About: How it's so hot and how my air conditioner is on the fritz and how much I really hate to sweat
Wearing: shorts and underwear (preferred manner of dress: birthday suit...if I could talk my wife into it, we'd be members of a nudist colony)
In Love: Yes
Single: No
Best Friends: Daniel Baldwin Newman, Mike (Warty) Hardwick, Mike (Red) Christian
The Future
Career: writer
Marriage: a couple of times
Kids: a couple


There you are.