An Easter Requiem for Squeaky Fromme*

Spooky Action At A Distance

Charlie-mansonThere’s a savior that’s here today, and they call him — Charlie! A different savior that thinks your way, and they call him – Charlie! Kinda young, kinda now, Charlie! Kinda free, kinda wow! Charlie! The kind of savior that’s gonna stay, and he’s here now — Charlie! – Paraphrased 1970s Revlon Commercial

Since today is a day on which honoring risen Messiahs is nearly obligatory, I thought perhaps I should contribute to this theme with an homage to an oft-overlooked but still very much alive self-proclaimed Son of God: Charles Milles Manson. To his naïve and drug-addled disciples, Manson had just as much divinity as Jesus Christ himself. And much like Abraham was able to drum up sufficient enthusiasm to murder his own son in the belief that it would please his God, Charlie’s band of devout death hippies were pleased as punch to carry out the carnage at…

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Catching Up With Curmudgeon

NO-VACANCY

Geography quiz: What’s located between the cities of Santa Fe, NM and Denver, CO?

If you answered “nothing”, you are smarter than a fifth grader. Two-lane blacktop cuts through miles and miles of dirt and rocks as you dodge tumbleweeds and elk carcasses at 80 mph. A complete lack of any signs of life always makes me feel like I’m being watched, adding a touch of unfounded fear to the deafening silence.

By the time I reached Denver, I’d forgotten how to drive in traffic. From there, Boulder’s just a quick hop to the northwest, the terminus of my roughly 500 mile journey.

Jesse and I settled into our cabin in the mountains and then I drove downtown to patronize a most unusual establishment called Terrapin Care Station. This is a store where you can walk in, hand some cash to the chirpy hippie gal behind the counter and in return, she’ll hand you a container of weed. For a moment there, I thought I was falling in love with the chirpy hippie gal behind the counter until it dawned on me that I was simply falling in love with the notion of someone being so happy to supply people with marijuana. It’s a glamorous job.

There are also, if you know where to look, a few of the most endearingly odd chickens currently walking the earth. One of them pecked Jesse in the nose because he just couldn’t keep it out of their coop. They look like this:

chicken

 

I met two friends who were already friends but now they are friends in the un-virtual sense. And they are both far more wonderful and hilarious and warm and just plain awesome than their blogs would lead you to believe, and that’s saying something. So if you don’t already, I highly recommend that you give their pages a read:

Brooke:  Summoning Magic: A Gypsy’s Tale

and

Tanya:  The Incurable Dreamer

Jesse proved himself a perfect travel companion on our first ever road trip together since I sprung him from the pound.

I was offline for 4 days and as my little cabin/motel was surrounded by mountain trails and rushing creeks, I didn’t take in much TV. As a result, I didn’t find out that Charles Manson died until I arrived home yesterday, a tad too late to get on here and knock out a tribute post. A shame, really, since I’ve more than once used him as my muse in composing blog posts; it almost seems ungrateful of me to not give him a proper send-off. But life happens sometimes, even to me, so I’m afraid Charlie will have to make due with my Easter tribute that I will repost shortly.

In the meantime, here’s this:

A Deity Yawns

sleeping-buddha

When I awoke this morning, it felt as though my mood was predetermined. None of us really knows how to discern from whence a mood arises, but we spend most of our time attempting to do exactly that every waking moment of our lives. After all, what is a “blog” but an open-ended dispatch of such ego-driven after-the-fact explanations? Whether our cat died or we got a promotion at work or we suffer from clinical depression or we took in a beautiful sunrise, we are constantly reporting on the events and situations we erroneously identify as the primary drivers of our current mood. But today, I feel like a pendulum at rest. I feel no dread or hope, shame or pride, anger or adoration. My emotional thermostat is set to lukewarm. This hardly seems an ideal time to publicly express myself, yet here I am typing into the ether. I wonder what I’ll say?

Knowing me, I’ll probably try to spin this dull equilibrium into some kind of self-congratulatory metaphysical gibberish. Yet I know full well that the appeal of conceptual experience occasionally and necessarily goes into a sort of remission to ensure my continued interest in this self-penned drama that I call “my life”. But even in the process of offline recharging, I am online for the sole purpose of attaching concepts to my tepid disinterest. This is when I start to wonder how life would feel without language. If we did not have the capacity to analyze our situations and run each of our experiences through the prefrontal cortex, we wouldn’t bring the questionable qualities of logic and reason to bear upon them and we would simply experience without the obscuring effects of scrutiny.

We would have no stories to tell because we would be incapable of concocting them. And perhaps we’d capitalize on this inner quietude by resuming the long lost art of spiritual evolution with perfect purity, untarnished by ego fantasies and expectations. Our blogs would disappear along with the devices upon which we compose them for the simple reason that such self-absorbed communication would be as unnecessary as it is impossible. Speechlessness is next to godliness. We are all gods who have sold out our real significance in exchange for the false comfort of analysis. Sssshhhh. Reclaim your true essence and dance silently with the world you project. For gods and goddesses, nothing is predetermined.

Alabama

roy-moore

Big wheels keep on turning.  Carry me home to see my kin.  Singing songs about the Southland.  I miss ole ‘Bamy once again and I think it’s a sin. – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Alabama continues to distinguish itself as America’s genital wart.  This week’s crescendo of angry drawls raised in defense of a disgusting caricature of a Deep South judge with a predilection for girls that are too young to understand why it’s ridiculous for a grown man to wear a cowboy hat in the course of his political duties just leaves me dumbstruck.

I’m not going to use this post to vent my frustration and disgust about this situation because countless others have already done so.  Instead, I decided that I wanted to scour the web for something — anything — positive about this puzzling backwater haven of incestuous bible-thumpers.  As I’m sure you can imagine, it was quite an exhaustive search but it was not in vain.  So in the interest of doing a little damage-control for the image of the state that “dares defend its rights”, I give you this, the most wonderful thing ever produced in The Heart of Dixie:

A Blessed Day

sky

Annually, the Catholic Church observes six Holy Days of Obligation, in addition to 52 Sundays on which practicing Catholics are obliged to attend Mass, bringing the grand total to 58 days per year on which the Pontiff-led faithful find themselves spectators to a bizarre transmogrification ceremony that culminates in a cannibalistic feeding frenzy whose main course is the flesh of their Messiah.

In stark contrast, the Church of Curmudgeon only recognizes one Holy Day of Obligation in any given calendar year and that day is today, the Solemn Feast of November 13th. Most of you are probably unaware of the significance of this holy observance and that’s okay. We’re all about forgiveness here and the only thing that matters is that you are here right now to join in this blessed celebration. All you need to do to be considered in good standing with the Church is watch this short video explaining the mystical origins of this most sacred of days:

Gesundheit!

2742538-supersneezeae9

Every time you sneeze, somebody dies.

In the unified field that is the phenomenal Universe, every action is significant and bears directly upon every other action initiated at that moment in time and ever after. Does this mean that those suffering from hay fever are effectively serial killers? Of course not. All I really did in putting forth that idea was manipulate our conveniently imperfect language to make an absurd proposition sound theoretically plausible. But the reason the statement was absurd is probably not what you think. In a very real sense, somebody does die every time you sneeze. Likewise when you fart, masturbate or scratch your elbow. But even if intentionally avoiding such behaviors were possible, their very lack of performance would result in the end of someone else’s life. It would also necessarily bring about someone else’s conception or birth, a compensating factor that would surely bode well for a criminal defendant, not to mention the lack of malice aforethought in the execution of the sneeze (or stifling of said sneeze). Finally, the infinite number of “compensating factors” contributing to anyone’s death or birth negate the appropriateness of blame or praise being leveled upon any single organism. My sneeze resulted in the death of some fisherman in Pago Pago only because you yawned at the same moment that I sneezed and because everyone and everything else in the Universe did whatever it did in unison with my sneeze and your yawn. The unfathomable multitude of specifics at any given moment creates a fateful perfect storm for somebody, somewhere.

I imagine that astronauts orbiting the planet experience a god-like feeling as they gaze down upon the earth whose only movement from that perspective is that of the shifting strata of the upper atmosphere. From that far out, the frantic non-stop hive movements of the organisms upon the planet could not be discerned even if they were unobscured by clouds. So for as long as an astronaut inhabits a vessel in orbit, the only activities of life he can discern are his own. God-like. Our normal lack of such panoramic perspective is the reason we had to invent God in the first place. Our extremely limited and specialized sense organs are the only obvious windows of perception at our disposal. We navigate our lives with the aid of extremely narrow spotlights that illuminate only one very small feature of our environment at a time. The more we try to widen our perspective, the less clear become its constituent elements. Therefore, compared to those of us currently tethered to the surface of the earth by gravity, our intrepid space traveler truly does have a god-like view of our spherical habitat.

But that, again, is just a matter of perspective. In a Universe that is suspected to have existed for almost 14 billion years and that expands its parameters ever further with each passing moment, the only entity that could possibly be afforded a complete singular view of a field on such a massive scale would have to be something that exists outside of it and this is where the notion of god comes in. Yet the whole notion of god as some kind of creative spirit that resides on a plane beyond phenomena and from which our lives were conjured is as patently absurd as believing that you should send a sympathy card to every household in the world every time you sneeze. If a singular force is indeed responsible for the creation and sustenance of all that is, it would also logically need to be all that is. So this thing we so quaintly anthropomorphize in scripture is us. Reading the bible or any other monotheistic religious text is similar to re-reading one’s own diary.  And like most diaries, it is fundamentally dishonest and self-absorbed in its tone. It assumes a split, a separation between us and our creator and this makes each of us feel separate and unique…and anxiety-ridden. Replacing our egotistic sense of self with the more accurate feeling that each person is just a movement within the whole threatens our erroneous sense of what we are. It reminds us of our utter insignificance as imagined “individuals”. But at the same time, if this really were how we understood ourselves and our place in the larger field, there would no longer be the residual fear of self-preservation. The Self as imagined correctly doesn’t need preservation — it just is unless and until it isn’t.

I’ve spoken of a human being or any other life form as a unified field as opposed to a self-contained system, taking into account all of the “external” environmental factors necessary for life as well as our symbiotic impact upon those factors. From a strictly biological perspective, this is accurate. However, any description of a specific “part” of the whole is like describing a field within a larger field and thus inaccurate. The “field” that is me is illusory for the simple reason that one can never draw a definitive border around my sphere of influence. The entire Universe is its own singular field of influence and I as an infinitesimal energy knot am inseparable and indistinguishable from the vast fluid Singularity. I chose that word, incidentally, because it dawns on me that when astrophysicists use it to describe the extremely pressurized theoretical point that allegedly exploded into the rapidly expanding Universe, they inadvertently trap themselves in a linguistic double-bind. A “thing”, in this case the mysterious pre-creation singularity of Universal potential, cannot be discerned without space around it and other “things” inhabiting that space creating the possibility for distinction and discrimination. And if something cannot be discerned even theoretically, that is tantamount to saying that it didn’t or doesn’t exist. Perhaps the real source of confusion is the same old culprit — language. The words “beginning” and “end” are inapplicable to reality yet they cause us to assume that every event and every process must have the quality of these arbitrary bookends even though every “end” is a “beginning” and vice-versa. Our minds are incapable of intellectually grasping anything that does not have a finite span, so in the absence of suitable answers to life’s mysteries, we imagine an impossible being that lives unencumbered by the physical laws which bind us. Really, that’s just our way of throwing in the towel in our collective and ongoing search for truth. It’s our reaction upon reaching a seeming exhaustion of natural explanations to assume such things can only be explained by the existence of something super-natural, as big a load of semantic horseshit as has ever been proposed. Supernatural is a meaningless fucking term. Or as Love and Rockets once put it, “You cannot go against nature because when you do go against nature, it’s part of nature, too.”

For as long as we continue to feel like temporary skin-enclosed biochemical systems wrapped around an etheric immortal soul, we can never hope to achieve anything more than our familiar neurosis-breeding false view of reality. At the same time, it is precisely this stunted perspective that allows us to discern small patterns within slightly larger patterns in day to day life. For instance, a spectator in the bleachers of a football game would have a much harder time keeping track of the interplay between 22 participants evenly divided in their goals without the aid of panoramic images being transmitted from the dirigible floating above the stadium. However, from that vantage point, the colors of the uniforms being worn by the two teams wouldn’t be nearly as visible so if the action on the field isn’t occurring in an obvious directional trajectory, the pilot of the blimp couldn’t tell you who was winning or even which team was playing offense or defense. So a collaboration of perspectives takes place — the overhead footage from the zeppelin, the in-the-action perspective of the referees, the slightly elevated viewpoint of the fans — all combine to provide us with the most complete picture of the play possible, but this can only be pulled together after the fact. What you witnessed at the moment the last play was executed is entirely dependent upon where you were located and as such was woefully incomplete and inaccurately understood. This analogy was meant to be infinitely expandable so that you understand there is absolutely nothing that can be understood without the correct understanding of our utter inability to understand anything at all. A Universe that conjures itself from moment to moment does not stop to contemplate its own meaning or purpose, and that is why it can paradoxically be said to understand itself completely. It understands, quite simply, that there is nothing that needs to be understood.

I am far from enlightened and therefore, I entertain just as many silly notions having no basis in truth as anyone. It’s what we call wishful thinking. And I’m going to engage in a bit of that right now just to illustrate its impracticality. One, two, three…AH-CHOOO!!

Nope.  I just waited 10 minutes and apparently, Donald T***p is still spreading his noxious fumes across the Asian continent as we speak, so my deliberate sneeze was predictably impotent. I wonder if that unnecessary experiment was worth the life of a poor fisherman in Pago Pago.

Friday Funhouse 13: What Is Inspirado?

Charlie-brown-1-sad

Come one, come all and waste some time at The Funhouse!

The theme for today is inspiration. Over the past year, I’ve read many blog posts that seemed to be fishing for inspiration from other bloggers for good topics or graphics or ways to attract more readers to their pages. Having encountered writer’s block more than once in my 47 year history, I can sympathize with their plight but I’m afraid they’re barking up the wrong tree. You see, true inspiration comes from within and pilfering second-hand ideas may end up yielding something that has all the appeal and passion of a book report or a letter to the editor of Cigar Aficionado.

shat

 

Before I cede the floor to Jack Black and Kyle Gass for their exhaustive illustration of the search for the elusive inspirado, I must regretfully announce that the Funhouse will be closed next week as I will be leaving on a road trip next Friday morning. That is, unless Merbear74 would like to fill in for me and compose next week’s installment. Mer? Can you step in and keep the Funhouse run unbroken? It’s quite simple and I’m sure you’ll do it justice. Just type a bunch of nonsense until you’ve got a couple of paragraph’s worth of it, then finish up with some shit you ripped from YouTube. Got it? Good.

But if you still find yourself at a loss, allow the mighty motherfucking Tenacious D to virtually bludgeon you over the head with inspirado: