Archive for April, 2014

30
Apr
14

Why I Got Kicked Out of the NRA Convention pt. 2

nra2

I zipped past quick before the red coats could stop me and merged right into the flow of traffic: I was a young teenager the last time I had been to a gun show. My stepfather was a gun enthusiast who occasionally drug me to these things – and not just as a spectator. Him and his friend ran a booth selling weapons which meant I had to spend the entire day with them sitting behind the table while men gabbed about guns….all fucking day about guns so you can see why I held no fascination or horror at this spectacle.  Granted back when I went these things didn’t have the sideshow antics they have now days. Ted Nugent in all his fury was there to sign autographs and strut his defiance (but I missed him by a day). The Honorable Rick Santorum, LtCol. Oliver North and that old buzzsaw Donald Rumsfeld also made appearance but that was back on Friday and this was the final day of the event…so what guest celebrity was I stuck with seeing?…Eddie the Gun Safety Eagle.

Eddie the Eagle is the friendly mascot of gun safety that parades around these shows teaching kids to stay the hell away from guns and find a grownup to solve the dilemma should they find one. This seemed like a mixed bag of frustration for any small kid attending this show because on the one hand you had Eddie telling then they should stay away from guns yet no more than fifty feet away they were playing videos on large screens that showed watermelons being split open in slow motion from high octane weapons, hard country rock overtures playing and muscled guys with tattoos of eagles giving the rough stare. What young boy jacked up on Mountain Dew wouldn’t want to emulate these heroes? The absurdity of this false sense for patriotism mashed into the need to own a firearm had me going. It’s just a fucking gun show folks. This could have easily been a boat show or a flower and patio show….it’s a huge arena where people peddle their wares. Granted you won’t find many things at the flower and patio show that can wipe out a crowd of people with semi-automatic precision but in my mind, it still just boils down to being the same gun show I saw years ago. People buying and selling guns. Vendors coaxing you to buy now and support the NRA because any day now the government will try to take away your rights to own and bears arms. Gun enthusiasts have been saying that at least since I was twelve; I am now fifty eight…I think the government, or whatever clandestine organization actually runs this country, have found a much more seductive way to take away our rights and freedoms and they’ll do it without firing a single shot.

I couldn’t help myself at this point. I went over to Edie’s booth where a few families were gathered with their wild pre-tween boys getting stickers and coloring books. One boy in particular was really jacked up on sugar, barely maintained by his single mom who was trying to get him interested in the merchgandise. I leaned over to him and said “Hey, what if someone shot the bird?” This stopped his jumping around and he took a moment to register what I had said, then started laughing and jumping up and down.
“Yeah, let’s shoot the bird!” He kept laughing as if I had made the most hilarious joke of all time. His mom turned and gave me a look, then tried to contain him but I just egged it on. I pumped my fist in the air and started chanting “shoot the bird, shoot the bird” and the kid laughed even harder. Now his mom was really upset with me and I suppose I can’t blame her but creeping jesus, the kid was already two hours behind on his Ritalin prescription. Not only did the mom start to lay into me but the people monitoring Eddie’s booth did as well and within a few moments there were red coats and troopers by my side to escort my ass out. They finally discovered that I had no entrance badge and were kind enough not to press the issue and have me hauled away to jail or something, but saw me to the outside of the convention center and warned me not to return.

So my intent is not to prevent people or encourage people to buy guns; that is another issue that would take a few posts to get into. My intent on telling what happened to me is to point out that these events sponsored and put on by the NRA are not much more than a decorative sales arena to buy goods, see iconic self proclaimed celebrities and eat pulled pork…..last thought to ponder………why did I not see even one African American attending?

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27
Apr
14

Why I Got Kicked Out of the NRA Convention pt. 1

nra

I really hadn’t planned on  attending this shootfest but since I was in the neighborhood I thought why not? Perhaps I could get the skinny on how the National Rifle Association threw a party. This was the last day of the convention here in Indianapolis so I wasn’t expecting any grandiose hoopla. I had been told there was a protest movement Saturday by Moms Demand Action protestors but I had prior commitments that didn’t allow the possibility of going to that event; so here it was, Sunday afternoon and my search for a place to eat lunch led me close enough to the convention center to see the huge banners outside announcing “9 Acres of Guns and Gear”…..that sold me. I couldn’t resist seeing that much harbored weaponry and bad social skills in one place.

The first obstacle to overcome was the twenty dollar entrance fee, which I wasn’t about to pay. I mean I was definitely curious about what could be going on inside but money is money-I wasn’t about to shell out that much to feed my curiosity. Nevertheless I decided to see how far I could get inside before being turned away. As I wandered up to the entrance I viewed a convoy of tour buses parked along the street with huge graphics of a Bald eagle flying in front of the American flag and the barrel of some high performance rifle pointing skyward. They came to pump up the excitement factor of attendees with bold imagery and aggressive slogans; “100% Accurate. 100% Rugged. 100% American”….what a shill. I casually strolled further into the convention center, right in front of this usher in a wheelchair who tried to stop me but he was in a wheelchair so…I took full advantage of my leg up on him and sped up my pace leaving him behind me somewhere still calling out. Once I got in the main thrust of activity I kept pushing the limits to see how far I could get into the bowels of this event before they discovered me. Lines of people stood at the counters to get your membership money to the NRA, a paltry fee of five hundred dollars to become a lifetime member. You could scale down and get the five year membership for one hundred dollars as well as add and upgrade to your lifetime membership, which I had no idea what privilege that might get you. Regardless I pushed on, hiding in plain sight, deeper into the event’s epicenter.

I strolled through the dining area where folks were feasting on pulled pork and things covered in runny cheese and started spying out my next barricade to get through. Up ahead were the doorways into the main acreage of weapons that was being monitored by a host of red jackets that were backed up by various law enforcement personnel, checking entry badges for all men women and children entering the main floor. This became my personal dare, to see if I could manage to get in there without being stopped – reminded me of the yesteryear times my friends and I would crash the gates at concerts to get in for free. I had to wait for just the right moment so I meandered about the assorted booths and tables set up just outside the main arena; displays of lethal looking rifles to view and hold on display. I walked over and picked up a AR-10A Free Float Carbine from one of the display tables. This attendee standing next to me said “you could really kick some ass with that thing, couldn’t you?” I glared at him with a smile and said “I wouldn’t know when to stop!”…..I hope he appreciated my sarcasm.

I couldn’t believe I had gone this long without being questioned for my credentials. Then again I filled the criteria of being just another fan in the crowd. I don’t throw up any red flags until people start talking to me – that’s typically when the problems arise…today would be no different. I heard a toned down microphone announcing to buy a raffle ticket up ahead and get in on the chance to win a free gun. “Ladies” this carney voiced fellow was rambling over the loudspeaker, “you know you want a gun – more than you want a husband. Come on by our booth for your chance to win a free gun.” Just then I saw my golden opportunity. Both red jackets were off their door and talking with some family asking for help which left that particular entrance open. I put on my best cool and strolled inside.

23
Apr
14

Vampire Chronicles: First Bite

vc-4 Searching for contact with a vampire has been like trolling for fish in an unknown lake; you’re not really sure where to drop the line so you end up darting all over until (if you’re lucky) you get a hit…and I got a hit.

I made some broad inquiries and got caught off guard by a 27 year old female vampire – sanguinarian as she terms herself – who has agreed to educate me a bit on the lifestyle of vampires. This filled me with anticipation to continue my research on this lifestyle so now my glass is hit with two fingers of scotch on ice and I begin the slow study. This has not been an easy plight as I have struggled to make initial contact with anyone connected to this clandestine tribe, all the while being bombarded with emails and messages from strangers and acquaintances who felt I had gone off the deep end. Saying I wanted to find vampires to talk with was like saying I was going to speak with faeires or Bigfoot. I sat through the guffaws and continued to set my line out in hopes of making contact though and for now it seems to have paid off. You see, what a lot of people failed to take into consideration is the broad range of interpretation to the term ‘vampire’; I don’t believe there are soulless creatures out there who have been characterized in old Hammer horror flicks or more recently in the Twilight films. What I do feel is that there is enough criteria to warrant me looking into the lifestyles of individuals who classify themselves as vampires to see what it means to them, what it’s all about. This is my task for now, mixed in among with all the other pablum I drool out on this blog.

I hope to obtain stronger leads to this secretive community but for now, my first lead has placed me in communique with a female Sang who I call Red-that’s what her father called her because of her hair color. My research continues as Red has provided me with some good leads; my glass runs dry and I will update my chronicles as I become more informed. I have sown more seeds and wait to see if I get any bites (no pun intended) or takers to help me along with my research.There is no hurry in this venture-remember, I followed a group of political zombies in Denver around for a year so to get a good take on what their movement was all about. I plan to devote the time needed to study this group of outcasts and present you with my findings.

 

15
Apr
14

Mark of the Beast Musings; Sympathy For the Devil

sympathy

Public transportation continues to be a never exhausting source of entertainment and insight to me. Drama to watch, empathy to experience; you can engage in conversation with total strangers or simply sit back and let them feed you food for thought. Three people got on board the bus a few stops after I had already sat down for my evening commute. First to sit down was this girl in a denim jacket sporting a Michael Jackson fedora. She was followed by another young woman who had her ear buds in, focused on her Iphone. The last to get on was this elderly black gentleman that wore a coat of hard dust and a ballcap that read Leave Me Alone; advise I’m sure he would be the last to take. The girl with the phone was chatting to a friend, bragging how she could purchase tickets for some show right off her phone. “lemme call you back” she said and started tapping away at the screen – I assume to buy tickets-maybe she was texting, I wasn’t sure. The older man engaged her immediately by speaking up.
“You know what you got there….the mark of the Beast!”
“What are you talking about, crazy old man” – but she didn’t call him ‘old man’. What she called him rhymed with ‘bigger’.
“That phone you got there. All that technology is what the Devil will use to control us all.”
“Now how’s the Devil gonna control me on my phone?”
He gave up and shook his head and said ‘mark of the beast’ one more time…and that was all he would say on the matter.

That small exchange of words got me thinking back to recent online material regarding the boogyman tales evangelists and doomsday theorists thrive on; 666, the mark of the Beast. I’ve heard some rare beauties when it comes the conspired tales of those trying to warn me about how the Devil/AntiChrist plans to suck my soul down his tunnel of  eternal damnation. Those stories have died off though, just like theories on the Kennedy assassination or the Roswell Incident. The lack of any new evidence leaves those discussions collecting dust in the corner…what has popped up more and more to take their place is talk on the Singularity. The point where human and machine converge with one another seems increasingly more believable and certainly holds closer semblance to what doomsdayers predict than the old mark of the Beast tales. We let the ease of technology lead us around by the nose and gently tug toward having us assimilate to an easier way of communicating our thoughts and actions. This has me wondering whether we should be blaming the Devil or ourselves for the path we seem to be following toward a new realm of existence. It’s a wonderful new world, and a frightening one as well, but knowing we can no longer go back, how will we advance into the New World Order….kicking and screaming or merely punching in our dislikes on a tablet? We haven’t lost all our qualities of humanity, not yet. Even though that girl continued tapping away on her phone, the girl with the Michael Jackson hat sat behind me writing in a notebook of paper with a pen; old schooling it. I poked my head over and politely asked her what she was writing.
“Just my thoughts” she said and that made me smile.

08
Apr
14

Where Hipsters Thrive Like Horse Thistle

hipsters

My search throughout the bowels of downtown Sleepytown led me onto the old Arts Culture Trail known locally as Massachusetts Avenue, the one time hub of street artists and the avante-garde. It’s been decades since this stretch of the city hosted the cultured wine and cheese crowd and I was curious to see what had happened to it since those days back in the 80’s and 90’s. Although I balk at the way this city is run by the governing owls in charge, the one thing I give high marks to it for is the artists and performers here. Some of the most fantastic sculptures I’ve seen throughout the states reside here; visual artists as well as musicians rank high on my list by comparison to other cultural pits. There are a lot of fucking great artists here and a hell of a lot of great musicians.

I began to cruise down Mass. Avenue and noticed the area had become depleted of most the starving artist studios it once supported. The tides had shifted on this area and now the happening spot for art is south of here in Fountain Square. The once popular scene for critics and mavens of the visual migrated to a different locale, possibly the result of the scene on Mass. becoming too homogenized for true supporters of the arts. The takeover by developersd – hungry for money – has churned a new set of supporters for this area; a plethora of wombs to host hipsters in search of designer ale and staunchy food products.  Even the gay community seemed to be overlooking this stretch of sports bars and yogurt parlors. An iconic image of Kurt Vonnegut Jr. looms over the street, a brilliant piece of mural work that must now suffer through the hell of watching the ranks of a younger generation at his feet who might very well look up at the building wondering who the old mustached man was.

I can’t brood over the changed course of what has happened down here on Mass. Avenue. All cities change, all things grow and move on. Hipsters and their like (when even they will take on a new monniker as the title ‘hipster’ will become too…..hipster-esque) will continue to shadow behind the truly gifted and seek to buy their membership into being ‘cool’. The full force of creativity that has sparked a fire in Fountain Square will flourish and then die down one day only to sprout up again somewhere else. The hipsters will continue to thrive like horse thistle amid the scattered remains left behind by the forerunners of the arts. They will always be one step behind getting ‘it’. I am grateful that the arts continue to be magnificent here and applaud the efforts of those artists here who create for our enjoyment and usually end up getting very little support for it….so go out there and support the arts people. Leave the sports bars for those that deserve no better.




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