Archive for February, 2012

29
Feb
12

The Artifice of Stars,Bars and God

I read the story again as I sat in a local Asian restaurant eating some Kong Pao chicken that had been steaming in a broth of salt and MSG for hours. A 17 year old kid shot a bunch of schoolmates in Chardon, Ohio. I had read the story the other day but the subject popped up on an AM talk radio program this morning  and left me bereft all day long. A few callers blamed the incident on the fact that we (our nation) had taken God and the Pledge of Allegiance out of our schools. Aside from the taking away the Pledge of Allegiance statement being a bald-faced lie (unless they did away with it last week-my kid had to go through it every day in school not more than four summers ago) I felt the simplicity of their solution to the problem was infantile, to say the least. Say your prayers and salute the flag and no one gets hurt.

The phrase “Under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” remains in the pledge here; perhaps in some states it has been removed. If so, they should go ahead and stick it back in. Why not? It makes about as much sense to a kid as saying anything else. I felt the pledge was a droll ritual, a silly thing that parents and grownups made me do. National patriotism comes later in life as we realize the sacrifices that have been put forth so that we may enjoy the luxuries of life given to us as Americans. Kids don’t care about that shit and it certainly doesn’t affect whether or not they are going to decide to pick up a glock and start wasting their fellow students. God isn’t going to stop all the bullets. Whenever a kid goes nuts and starts shooting, it’s either as an act of despair or true mental sickness. Throwing up a picture of Jesus praying on the rock is not going to fix the isolation. Who’s watching the kid? Who helped that kid or just talked to him when he needed an ear to bend? There are a dozen different reasons a kid can go off his (or her) nut but I can’t allow my faith or patriotism to be the do-all, end-all solution to prevent massacres like this from happening again.

We have to face the fact that the box of Pandora has been opened. Getting a firearm is a very doable thing in today’s society. I can walk down Colfax Avenue and within two hours time have all kinds of weapons and drugs and I know a teenager can do the same thing. It all depends on how driven they are by their problems to do it. Are we forcing them into insurmountable amounts of stress by insisting they use every waking moment to achieve rather than allowing them just to be kids? Are false academic curriculum forcing them to feel like failures? Maybe if we worked harder at making this a country to have pride in they would feel some self respect and worth. Maybe if we gave each other the respect to be individuals and quit broadcasting reality based programs that stress the importance of dissing your opposition to the point of bitch-slapping one another we could bring some tolerance back into our society. Maybe if the God you want to bring back to class was a God that accepts a kid for who they are, regardless of color, race, sexual persuasion, etc. we might find a larger wave of peace emanating from our children and the shootings would lessen. There is no permanent cure, there will always be nutjobs out there (I don’t believe nutjob is a clinical term but I’m sure you get the picture). Rather than relying on an image of God or a pattern of stars and stripes, we should look more toward one another for support.

Peace be with the community of Chardon.

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27
Feb
12

The Satroum Sanitarium: Mythos Arcanum from a Deranged Politician

“There are two kinds of people in this world I can’t stand. People who are intolerant of other people’s culture and the Dutch”

-Nigel Powers, Goldmember

 I almost blew some really fine tasting scotch out my nose while watching footage of the latest blunder statement from Rick Santorum. The man wasn’t happy attacking our president or those politically oriented to the left, he had to go after the Dutch. This is a thing of beauty folks, like a strip club performance where every drunken sot in the place is waiting for the money shot, and when it comes the joint is speechless. Yes Rick Santorum just gave me a money shot, a naked view of his shaved insanity.

 For those of you addicted to the political campaign as I am, we never find ourselves truly surprised by the absurdity spilling from a candidate’s mouth. We witness all those bi-partisan promises every four years about how electing a particular man or woman will give us lower taxes, bring our troops home (or send our troops somewhere, depending on which way the winds of war blow), fix our roads, improve our schools, cut our meat for us and stand on patrol over a woman’s uterus. This year’s melange of dribbling pablum has jumped back to the times of Jerry Falwell and his Moral Majority to once again try and put the fear of Yaweh in us. Santoum is proving himself to be a suitable candidate for the job and has taken it a few steps further with a brand new selection of designer sins to cast before the bloodshot eyes of his flock. Weeks ago he was questioning Obama’s religious values-but why stop there? He had to make it a point to attack the Dutch and accuse them of euthanizing their elder citizens. Rick even gave us a nightmarish vision of old Dutch people running for the borders pleading for their lives as if the Netherlands had transformed into some dystopian society straight out of Logan’s Run. It’s an all or nothing crap shoot and the Bible thumping Pennsylvanian is going for broke, relying on a swarm of ex-PTL watching mutants to come crawling out of the woodwork to pull the lever and place him in the White House.

 The circus just keeps getting crazier folks and I’m digging on the performance knowing full well that more than half the promises made by any presidential nominee will never surface into existence. Our leader, the Great Hope and Change, found out it was easy enough to say he was going to end the war but when it came down to actually bringing troops home the best he could manage was to divert them from Iraq to Afghanistan. Santorum keeps plugging away and still needs to knock Mitt Romney out of the way for good, but right now the stats play into his favor. This could be the most entertaining kind of showdown to witness. Rick on the pulpit with a Bible trying to cast out the evil Muslim (alleged and totally false) man that has taken our country to the brink of destruction, then he can cue in all the women in the audience about how the black man grows a tail and horns at midnight, that epic superstitious rumor once started amongst white servicemen to give them a fighting chance at getting some foreign tang. Yes this would actually be a more rousing fight to watch. Romney would probably just babble on in that meek monotonous voice of his but Rick….that boy is full of the Spirit and ready to start speaking in tongues and tossing the Holy Water. I paid for a good fight damn it and I want to see blood.

25
Feb
12

An Evening with the Crazy Jesus Lady

Downtown Denver never seems to disappoint me, especially on a weekend. I hopped the light rail to LoDo (Lower Downtown) Friday night to search out the buildings listed as meeting spots for the Denver Young Republicans Group, a sideshow event coming soon I don’t want to miss. After spying out the location  and marking it down in my notes for future reference I made my way via shuttle  up the street toward Colfax and Broadway to catch the bus back home and spy in on the Occupy zombies to see what they might have rumbling on the streets. As I neared that idyllic setting of homeless bastards and zealous protesters I noticed half a dozen police lights bouncing off the buildings right in the middle of the Broadway/Colfax intersection; a fire engine raced along a street parallel to mine and beat me there as I jumped off the shuttle and forged ahead to see what the problem could be. This looked different than the police riot geared assaults that  typically  show up to this locale. I had no time or patience to stop and pay attention to the three kids handcuffed by cops outside McDonalds, my interest was drawn to this mess of police cars, fire engines and EMT trucks up ahead.

A man who appeared to be in his 70’s was hit by a turning car, right there at the meridian of downtown, his clothes still in the street from where the paramedics had cut them off to attend to any unforseen bleeding injuries. His head was gashed open and spewed a large amount of blood and brain fluid on the asphalt; in typically poor taste fashion, a variety of onlookers raced to take shots with their phones and post it on YouTube.  I pulled in closer to get a good look at the actual scene of the accident and there she stood on the curb next to some spectators-the Crazy Jesus Lady. She has become a familiar face to me, has warranted a few blog entries from me in fact. I walked up and started chatting with her as if we had known each other all our lives. She filled me in on more details about the accident which she fell privy to from her canvas tent across the street. After a small briefing on the particulars of this tragedy she asked if I could spare some change for a cup of coffee. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to get inside her head a bit, find out what drove this person to be part of the Occupy tribe. I told her I’d buy her a large coffee and a pack of cigarettes which held her attention. The one common denominator I’ve found with the street folk is their constant pursuit of a smoke. They always have a half (or less) a butt tucked somewhere to ward of the nicotine demon and smokes are as good as gold in Occupyland.

We both shuttled back down 16th Street to the Seven Eleven where I purchased her a huge coffee and a pack of Pall Mall. The sun had long since gone down and the cold began to set in on our bones. We were both bundled well for the streets but layered protection will only take you so far in the fight against the elements. It seems all the regular folks on the street know here and she knows everybody out there. We were constantly stopped by hugging compadres she sees on the streets of downtown. A closer kinship is hard to find in most circles.

I told her about the bust I almost paused for outside McDonalds (there are three McDonalds restaurants along the 16th Street walk).  “Doesn’t surprise me” she shrugged. “That Micky D’s there I call McPot, the one down there is McCrack and the one and the very end I call McPills.”. Apparently some new menu selections I was unfamiliar with in the LoDo eateries. I tried to guide our conversation toward the Occupy movement but we continued to be interrupted by street hustlers, drug dealers, cigarette moochers and other street vagrants. What a colorful assortment of people I was introduced to by my street hostess. I became involved in a variety of lives, old wandering souls that I won over with no more than a stick of gum, an insanely talented man who played blues guitar in an alley between buildings who had fingers like oiled stone, bicycling pot dealers who gave me their trust simply because I was in the presence of the Crazy Jesus Lady. Between the interruptions we did manage to converse back and forth. She asked me my purpose behind coming down and infiltrating the Occupy scene She cocked that semi-crazed gaze my way and asked “What drives you-God or the Devil?” Before I could respond she said “You know what Devil spelled backwards spells, don’t you? Lived.” I had no fucking idea what that meant so I replied “You know what God spelled backward spells?” She smiled and said “Yeah, dog, which means he must be a real bitch at times.” That was the end of my philosophical/religious viewpoints with her.

We talked a bit more as we worked our way back to the scene of the accident which was still being combed over by crime lab techs and police officers. She told me she was originally from Las Vegas and if she had the money she would get a ticket and go back there but for now she was stuck living on the street. A lot of the people at the Occupy encampment are caught up in trying to find a better life and are now stuck in the vortex of protest which leaves them stranded. Their most immediate desire is for warm blankets and food, clean water and cigarettes. When I parted ways with her to catch my bus she promised the fight would continue and her hope was that the movement would gain more support soon. A lot of people there are losing faith and wonder if anyone out there still believes in them. I still believe in them, I must because I continue to venture down to Broadway and Colfax with sticks of gum or assorted snacks, coffee and smokes. I tell myself it’s not just for the entertainment value, I have to believe in them. Someone has to.

24
Feb
12

Pt. 2: Andrew and the Captain

My preference swings toward drugs over liquor. Liquor tends to leave me thirsty and that leads to more drink, which leads to more thirst; a vicious cycle that usually ends up with me running out of liquor and still thirsty. The conversation with Andrew and the Captain (Kenny) went on for a while but soon the one twenty one bus would be chugging up the street and I needed to get back to rest after a day’s work. I still hadn’t been able to pin down enough of their political philosophy on all the candidates, all the political mumbo jumbo so many of us hold in such high regard as being life important matters. All three of us left the Coffee Beanery and headed toward the bus stop, this time I took Andrew up on is offer of a shot  in my now empty styrofoam coffee cup.

Andy was tilting his head back and squinting his eyes even though the sun was below the mountains to the west. I had no idea how much he and the Captain had finished off but you could tell they were feeling good. They were very much in control of their facilities but certainly buzzed. They were anxious and street jumpy. They reminded me of some aging version of Jay and Silent Bob, witty and dumb as fuck at the same time.  We continued to hit on some key political points of view and what they left me with was an evaluation from the man on the street as it compared to the more tempered social group I have been accustomed with. My observation showed that these two were very similar in their opinions to most people I have spoken with recently. Everyone sees the problems out there, few have valid solutions. Everyone points their finger at the current ball busters in office and claims everything would be hunky dory if only they were ousted.

No valid candidate stands out as a savior; Santoreeum wants us all to be Christians, Gingrich will drive all the niggas to Cuba….what the hell. I’ve heard crazier theories and accusations from the mouths of a more learned culture. Master Okawa of the Happy Science Church, (a multi-million dollar religious group) claims to channel into all current American political figures and tells his followers that Barack Obama is the reincarnation of Montezuma, who wants to bring down the white man. Large groups of people dress in suit and tie, have six figure incomes and hang on this grapefruit’s every word when it comes to political decisions; who’s the crazy one out there?

The bus finally arrived and I quickly polished off the remaining drops of that nasty bourbon, thanked Andrew and Kenny for their company and went on my way leaving them standing there going right back at it with one another. I do hope I run into them again on the one twenty one. A lot of people might look at these two liquored up roosters and cross the street to avoid them. I say they aren’t the frightening ones out there folks. They are salt of the earth people who’ve just learned to unwind. The real frightening people aren’t the loud drunks on the bus, the real monsters are those that hide behind their doors and wouldn’t offer to buy you a cup of coffee if their life depended on it. The real troublemakers are those that would plot us against one another in the name of uniformity and control. Too many people want to buy a gun and point it at a woman’s uterus or threaten a man in a turban because they have no idea what a Sikh is and mistake said turbaned man for Osama Bin Laden’s mole in hiding waiting to bomb their schools and rape their children. Fear stems from the unknown and if you refuse to talk to or learn who your fellow man and woman are, you will remain in a state of fear until your dieing day.

Via Con Dios, Andrew and Silent Kenny.

23
Feb
12

The Gospell According to Andrew and the Captain

You know, I think this bus,

is going to take me,

to where I want to go

-Pete Townshend The Magic Bus

 The typical chatter and groan on the after work bus helps pass the time on board. A lot of people try to disengage from arguments and senseless prattle but you can look in their eyes and tell it’s sinking into the cortex. Your only escape comes at the hand of a set of ear buds cranked up full volume or some heavy shut eye meditation but even those techniques were hard pressed to work for anyone on board my bus this evening. Two elder gents were going at it in a verbal tennis match to the delight of all. My initial reaction was to pull out my Ipod and dowse my ears with some Stone Temple Pilots jacked up full blast but their banter sucked me in. I listened in on some back and forth remarks about the President and that piqued my curiosity.

These two were quite a pair. One was this mature, medium build black man with a demonic looking short white afro. His debate partner was a thin framed white man with a permanent wrinkle for a face that looked the same whether he was laughing or grimacing. The white man asked Demon Afro what the President had done for him to make his life any better. Verbal jabs were thrown back and forth with a friendly nature and before long they noticed me gazing in on them. This was the black man’s cue to drag me into the conversation. Why not, I thought. I can listen to the Temple Pilots anytime, this could get good. I’m not one to shy away from crazy as I’ve been around it so much now days that it seems as everyday to me as the bus ride itself. We traded some small back and forth and out of the blue the man leans over to me and says “look here, why don’t you join us for some coffee and we can talk some….maybe you can fill me in on what the hell’s wrong with this country.”

“If you’re buying I can talk for a little while. I’ve got a transfer and can catch the next bus.”

All three of us get off the bus next to a small coffee bar called the Coffee Beanery and stroll inside as we exchange formal greetings. The black gentleman, who was the more assertive in conversation, reached out to shake my hand. “My name’s Andrew and this is Kenny-but everyone calls him Captain.”

I hate shaking hands but didn’t want to seem impolite. I looked at the thin white guy. “Why do they call you Captain? Are you a Captain?”

“I was” he said. “I used to run a boat down in Louisiana but moved up here years back to take care of my brother. He died and I never went back.”

After five minutes of conversation the bottle came out and they both poured some cheap bourbon into their coffees. They offered me some but I passed.

“I’m trying to slow down on liquor because of my heroin problem”. I meant the remark as a joke but it was taken at its word. “You need to quit that shit “Andrew warned me. “That shit will kill you. I had a cousin that started that stuff and it killed him. Took him down a piece at a time.” The Captain nodded in agreement, his face a highway of lines. Most people would back away from these two and maybe I would have if I had less tolerance of the street crazy, so I got the conversation back on track of politics. I wanted to know their perspective on the upcoming election. The Captain seemed more apathetic, he didn’t think anyone was going to do anything for him. Life was full of useless bullshitters in office and none of them told the truth. Andrew held hope that someone would do something, but he wasn’t sure who that someone was. He brought up the president’s name but there was no homage, no strong affiliation to the man. It was as if he felt he had to say he supported the president because to deny support meant failure to his entire race-a misconception if there ever was one. He felt white people want to call out black people because Barack Obama isn’t living up to 100 and ten percent of his campaign pledges. What the hell does Andy think has been going on in this country prior to Obama being elected? How many past Commanders have we had that swore they wouldn’t cum in our mouth and then wham-jizz sandwich. Anyone who expects any elected official to do everything they promised-50 percent of what they promised-needs to re-evaluate true statistics and know that it’s just not possible.

So what did Andy and the Captain think of the Republican hopefuls. Andrew’s eyes widened which made him look even crazier. “That man, Rick Santorium (that’s how he pronounced it-San-Tore-Ee-Um) is a crazy motherfucker that wants to make this whole country Catholic.”

The Captain’s face winced (I think). “He ain’t no Catholic you dumb-ass, he’s like a Baptist or something.”

“Well he still wants to change everyone in this country to a Christian or something.”

“Well you’re a Christian, what the hell’s your problem.”

“I ain’t no Christian. I converted to Islam.”

Kenny cackled at that one. “You ain’t no damn terrorist. You don’t even go to church.”

“All I know is that Santorium is dangerous…am I right Dave?”

I sipped on my coffee. “They’re all dangerous. Look at Gingrich.”

Andrew’s eyes grew into golf balls. “That motherfucker is crazy. If he ever got elected I would be the first nigga out of this country and on my way to Cuba.”

“Cuba don’t want your black ass” the Captain smiled.

“Who the hell you think lives in Cuba dumb ass? You ever seen Cubans? Them motherfuckers is black as me.”

I was busy scrawling down key points of our conversation on napkins for later reference, trying hard not to lose focus. The bus would come soon and I felt I hadn’t yet captured their whole take on the political scene.

21
Feb
12

President’s Day and Other Worthless Junk

Here it is, that favored among holidays, President’s Day. Families and schools all work extra hard on this hallowed national celebration to educate, honor and inform our youth with stories of valor and-wait a minute, I think a monkey just blew out my butt. This long dead homage to the forefathers of our nation has long since been whittled into nothing more than another day the banks are closed and one more sale on furniture. No one seems to pay attention any longer to this day, a few piecemeal gatherings in our nation’s capital, maybe a small bake-off in some small town church but for the most part our country has turned it’s back on honoring the leader of our country. Put their face on a dollar coin and leave it up to Uncle Fred to tell the kids all about the old days when President (fill in the name here) used to (fill in the achievement here).

With all the availability modern web search engines place at our disposal to convey, educate and inform the public on the subtle nuances our leaders have brought forth, the good, the bad and the ugly, giant moguls like Yahoo chose to carry these stories on their news banner:

Rihanna wows red carpet in daring gown.

Phillies player Roy Halladay arrives at spring training in a classic car.

Golfer Phil Mikelson shares a funny moment with a spectator after his tee shot rolls into an unlikely place.

90 year old Jeanne Harr honors Whitney Houston by dancing to the song “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”

Jesus, take me now. Just have a big truck hit me at about 90 mph and turn me to sludge. What the fuck happened to a little thing called news? On this day of all days they should be painting our laptop screens with images of George Washington crossing the Delaware, Roosevelt with is fiery finger in the air, John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan-any of the Presidents we’ve elected to office but what do we get? We get “Oscar winners most embarrassing roles”. I wouldn’t worry about our politicians taking this country to shambles, I think we’ll do it alone.

On a very basic level, search engines hunt out stories that get the most clicks online. The more hits, the more likely the story is going to go viral and turn up on everyone’s computer for the next few hours. Granted there will be the kid factor; children view and operate laptops and go online but they can’t be the resource that bumped the popularity of that 90 year old humping it to a Houston tune. Kids are scared of people that old. Someone, somewhere has to be the filter, the point at which these stories pop up. Over and over again, some group of Neanderthals out there continue to click on Hollywood trash stories to see what their favorite star wore yesterday to some event no one ever heard of, and as a result, we have no story on the war in Afghanistan, we have Rhianna shaking her ass on the catwalk. Rather than inform the public on the latest news update tracing the billions lost in the Iraq war, we have a golfer shaking his stick. Rather than educate your kid and anyone else in your household who has no idea who the current Vice President of the United States is (go ahead, ask a kid under the age of twelve, I dare you), we have George fucking Clooney telling us his most embarrassing job; I’ve got an embarrassing job for you right here George.

If we really want to dull our senses to the point of being stimulated by nothing more than flashing lights and funny sounds, we’re well on our way folks, but just remember. There is an entire world that we are but only a part of. If you want to stand up and be proud of your country, as so many are fond of saying, then why don’t you work at making it something to be proud of. If you cherish the idea of having a democracy where you are allowed to elect your country’s leader, and pledge an allegiance to the ideals this country set forth to be governed by such a leader, then why not show at least an iota of support for the individual who wakes up every day and faces a shit can full of obligation, war, hunger and economic chaos on behalf of us all.  I’m not asking you to give your undying support for the President of these United States, I would just hope you could give him a moment on Yahoo news, a blurb as equal in size to Rhianna’s red dress story. Teach your children about what a President stands for in our nation, let the 90 year old dancing granny story die.

19
Feb
12

A Mad Stone’s Effect on Saint Torum

Following the political scene reminds me of smoking pot. If you do it every day the total buzz effect is not as enriching as if you wait a few days to partake. You tend to forget that when you’re caught up in the middle of it but once you restrain from it and jump back in, the high is so much more enjoyable. I gave myself a break from the campaign scene for a while and kept distracted with sickness and other acts of violence before jumping back into the realm of the Republican fiasco taking place throughout the country as the undecided voters wrestle with the decision of who to put before the voting populace.

Mitt Romney seemed to have the Republican nomination in the bag and the Democratic warriors took sword in hand ready to strike at the beast when all of a sudden, the hydra turned it’s head and we were once again faced with the daunting Pennsylvania political pundit, Rick Santorum. Every time I feel a candidate has turned up dead in the water they resurface to scare me once more. That energy a re-emerging candidate gets from any reborn interest (fabricated or real) thrown in their face tends to quell the desperation of fighting for pole position and lulls them back to their personal political agenda, like a mad stone taking away the effects of rabies in a bitten man. Each candidate will momentarily slip into a realm where they actually believe they are the Commander of our nation and begin to spew forth a litany of dogma and visions for the future that can knock them back down in the polls or increase their popularity. So far none of the GOP front runners has held the latter that long. The initial reports that showed Newt Gingrich in the lead weeks ago went down quick once he declared his desire to make the Moon the next state of our union (I can’t believe he actually said that-fiction doesn’t get any crazier…).

So at the moment, Rick is riding high on the numbers posted to bring him in the lead. He’s been busy reiterating the Gospel according to Saint Torum and adding to the flavor of his speeches with new found accusations and superstitions. He bravely proclaimed the President’s agenda to be based on “some phony theology” and accused Mitt Romney of ear mark financing to bail out the Salt Lake City Olympic Games; a typical political move where you point your finger at your opponent’s faults yet leak out very little of your own political plans…and what are Rick’s political plans for a Santorum Administration? We’re beginning to see more and more of the type road he may choose to walk down by listening to his supporters. A top follower of the Pennsylvanian suggested women use aspirin as a means of birth control (hold the aspirin between their legs to prevent pregnancy) and I’m confident that more screaming banshees will come out of the woods to give Rick and the world their two cents on how this country should be run. On top of that you can be sure that the Chicago mob boys that swing bats for the Obama team will be busy thumbing through the fine print to bring out any new dirt on Ricky; his 2005 book, It Takes A Family, will certainly bring out some hard core ‘keep’em barefoot and pregnant’ mentality to slide Santorum back down in the polls again.

So which head will the hydra present to the voting nation once Santorum is defrocked? Another round of Romney? Ron Paul showed a momentary burst in the Maine polls, perhaps he will have his turn as the threatening head of the beast. Can I bear to put the political bong down for a few days to get a really good buzz or will I mindlessly follow it daily like a bad joint habit? My God it isn’t even spring yet and already my arms itch.




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