Saturday, April 30, 2011

Masturbananda -- The Problem Of Depressed Libidos

In the face of all modern problems, we look for guidance to our guru, Swami Sri Masturbananda.

Recently, he's found himself teaching more and more on the problem of depressed libidos, and how it's had a negative effect on people's drive to seek out experiences of the Divine. While it hasn't had a discernible impact on his closest followers -- those constantly at their devotions -- for many of us in the hinterlands, and certainly for society as a whole, it's been troublesome.

We've been reading of the phenomenon of many more married couples sleeping in separate bedrooms. That's what's reported. And while there's been little data on unmarried couples, because of the obvious shame involved, it is widely suspected that they too -- even they -- have been less sexually active. And what is most unbelievable is that even teenagers have essentially given up. They're now keeping their hands busy texting.

There was an interesting article recently in the New York Times on "The Sex Drive, Idling in Neutral." We will never forget the stunning lede, a woman saying she wished she could pay someone to have sex with her husband -- since she's no longer into it -- but apparently there have been no takers, presumably leaving him to seek out other interests and hobbies.

This is all quite distressing, but Sri Masturbananda is leading the way with his teaching. He recommends constant exercise, constant diligence in our devotions. We must not give up, we must press on, and overcome our depressed libidos, if indeed that is our problem. Those of us who have been faithful know he speaks the truth.

The swami likens depressed libidos to flat tires, deflated basketballs, and shrunken heads. If we're going to make a journey, and we want to get from Point A to Point B, of course we can't do that on a flat tire. To do so would eventually shred the rubber from the wheel and the noise of driving on the bare rims would make the kids cry all the time. In basketball, were they to use a deflated ball, imagine how it'd slow the game down. Every dribble would go splat, meaning every time they picked it back up, they'd be called for double dribbling.  And as for shrunken heads, there is some value to having a smaller head; it keeps your brain from clunking around; but by and large, we want to keep the extra space for possible expansion.

Sri Masturbananda calls on us to remember our closeness to God, or rather, God's closeness to us. The opening of the fellowship we can have is seen especially in ecstatic glimpses as we await the final consummation. In this, our guru's teaching is frequently to pull away, then pull away. Ever looking upward, while periodically looking down to check our progress, we are to seek out the bliss of the heights.

(For women, it is said there is a corollary experience. Our counsel to women is to guide themselves after their own lights.)

The truth is, depressed libidos take us farther from the Divine. Because every time we give up, it makes that much more distance between us. And since we are looking at millions of incarnations before most of us have the full possession of blissful fellowship, anything you can do to cut that down is to your benefit. As for me, the night's still young...

But let's say you're just not in the mood. Yes, of course, that goes along with what we've been saying. That's what Masturbananda's teaching on the subject is meant to address. Even with depressed libidos, we can heed the guru's call and remember the actual closeness of God, then bear down and work on it. And who knows, perhaps the beginnings of stimulation will provoke a genuine interest in you that will only build. Then you're closer and closer to those climactic glimpses of the Divine and you're much happier.

His teaching in essence is, Be your own best friend until you find your best friend, in the Divine.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Bottled City Of Heaven

I don't know the whole story of the bottled city of Kandor, from Superman comics. The last time I remember reading about it was in the '60s, so I guess I forgot this panel about Brainiac having shrunk it to microscopic size. Of course, if your city is suddenly microscopic, it had to get that way somehow.

But I do remember Superman having custody of Kandor. Presumably he drops in an occasional gram of food, like we used to feed Sea Monkeys, and everyone there lives happily ever after. If you need someone to look after you, Superman would be a good guy to do it. Superman as I remember him, that is. Now that he's renouncing his American citizenship after all these years, it sounds like he's changed.

Maybe Superman's no longer an American for some greater good. I hate to question his motives when I have no idea what they are. It's not like I'm a Republican or something.

The only thing I know about Superman anymore is what I read in the papers. Just going by some of the pictures they show of him from the comics, he looks a lot tougher and grittier than he used to be. It probably has to do with a more jaded society, where we (not me) like more ambiguity than good versus evil in our super heroes. If I had my way, I would've shrunk him and kept him in my own miniature Kandor, still in his '60s incarnation. But two things would kill Superman, kryptonite, and not being allowed to change with the times.

That's enough about Superman.

I've been thinking about spiritual matters lately, and a couple weeks ago I was thinking, What if Heaven's like the bottled city of Kandor somewhere? Let's say the souls of everyone are microscopic or not even material, just very subtle, indiscernibly small to even the most powerful electron microscope. You could have billions of them in a square inch. Like billions of bacteria under your fingernail. And so, with a regular bottle, about the size of Kandor in relation to Superman, you'd have quite an expansive place for us to romp, roam, and explore. You would travel a million years just to reach the side of the bottle.

Or the bottle could be about the size around of a sequoia tree. That'd give a microscopic soul virtually endless room for venturing into vast uncharted territory. Every time a piece of Sea Monkey food fell in, which is very small stuff, it'd be like the size of the moon crashing around us. Each little quadrant would be provided for like that, plus some other goodies, like a granule of sugar (to us the size of Mt. Everest) every few days, scratch that, every couple thousand years.

I'd be happy in there. Look at it this way, it'd be like what we have now. We're more or less restricted to the ground and don't have infinite room to roam. If there were a big bottle enclosing us, that'd be reality, we wouldn't have known anything different, and we'd be happy. Conserving the environment would be keeping our bottle clean. If Heaven's just a big bottle, and let's say we still have our 'trashing the environment' ways, God could just use a transporter to move us to a new bottle. If God had a big roomful of spare bottles, we could easily live there forever. A bottle, Sea Monkey food, and sugar, I'm happy.

The fact is, God could be microscopic, and big things just one of God's jokes. That'd be relatively funny.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Put Me Over The Top

I've always got personal goals, a lot of stuff that probably doesn't matter in The Grand Scheme of Things, but it always matters right now.

It's been that way forever, now that I think of it. Like the personal goal of running faster than the other kids in 4th grade. That's one that doesn't matter much now, but it was a big deal back then. How about this, always trying to beat your time? I don't do much timing of myself because I don't want to have to be thinking about it the next time. But I just glanced at the clock, so I'll be thinking about it now.

What's the next mountain I need to climb, in a figurative sense? Will I make it over the top? And once I made it, will I just see higher mountains in my way? It seems scary. But it helps to have confidence that you can face whatever is out there. The past is prologue, and I've kicked ass so far, so to speak.

But that's Grand Scheme stuff. I've been thinking of the idea of putting me over the top in terms of trivial stuff. Like on Twitter. I see a lot of people, let's say they've got 590 followers, wanting that extra 10 to make it 600. Pretty trivial, especially when you consider what it's worth to have Twitter followers; I wouldn't say it's less than zero, but very close. Still, when you're close to a goal, oh, you want to be put over the top.

A thousand this, or two thousand, whether it's dollars or dimes, it's never enough, got to press on for more!

You know how money always evaporates? I think about that. Say I have a thousand dollars. You have to spend a hundred for something, that's 10% gone, a pretty good chunk. But if it's only a hundred gone, you're lucky, because it's more likely to be three hundred or more. If you're like me, it's the truth that your expenses always rise to match your income.

That's useful for mowing my lawn. Because I start thinking: This lawn is money, and I've just mowed 10% of it. It's a psychological trick that seems to make the job go faster, as I watch my "money" evaporate. Then, going along with the put me over the top theme, I'm thinking, I hope the gas doesn't run out, I don't want to have to stop and fill the tank, whatever's left, please put me over the top, let's get this job done!

Pitbulls, Sex Offenders, And Jake Brakes

There are three who are not welcome anywhere. They make up an Unholy Trinity, even though they technically don't have anything to do with each other. The only connection I can think of would be a sex-offending, pitbull-owning, jake-braking truck driver. If you see one, run.

The Pitbull -- The pitbull is the terrorist of dogs, a killing machine on four feet. It's the dog of super villains who would take on James Bond. It's bred for only one thing, saving money on dog food. It's bred to be self sufficient, to find innocent prey to satisfy its appetite. It'll take down any other animal, child, or even a man, to satisfy its epicurean urge. Worst of all, whether out of blood lust and meanness, it takes its half out of the middle and moves on, leaving behind many half victims, human beings left as paraplegics, and animal heads to adorn dens and lodges.

The Sex Offender -- Here we have the primal sex instinct gone wacky, seeking fulfillment while going against society's standards. And standards change, so they need to be on their toes. They live in the shadows, cultivating fantasies until they reach the inevitable breaking point, then they venture out to strike. Few things cause such fear in the hearts of the rest of us, basically just pitbulls and jake brakes. But the sex offender has what the pitbull lacks, no chain.* And while the jake brake must stop for satisfaction, he's ever on the move, never really satisfied.

Jake Brakes -- The jake brake is a self-stopping offender. That's its whole point. Where the pitbull would eat its way to China, and the sex offender would molest its way to China, the jake brake stops in its tracks. And that is its downfall; when you hear it stop, you've got it; were it to keep going, ever on the prowl, we'd never know it was there. But with the great noise it makes, the air rushing forth from a massive diesel engine, its cacophonous clattering lets everyone know there will be no rest tonight. It's like trying to put pig iron through a meat grinder, it's a demonstration of shamelessness.

We figure sex offenders at least have an occasional ounce of remorse, and pitbulls pull away from the pack after a kill when their whole head is bloody, but jake brakes would spit and sputter till doomsday, on the move till they stop. And stopping is their offense.

*Admittedly an odd sentence. Meaning, the sex offender has no chain, but the pitbull lacks that luxury (of not having a chain.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Meet The Government's Top Shadow

It might have been a bad idea for me to run the post, "The Government Is Keeping Track Of You." Just because it's true, and just because everyone knows it's true, doesn't mean they like us talking about it. With the constant surveillance I'm under, it only took them a week to track me down.

They made arrangements to meet me, they thought. A car would pull up and I would get in. The signal of my agreement would be a potted plant in my yard. Sounds simple enough, except I always have a potted plant in my yard, several of them. I saw the car pull up, but I tried to hide. I backed into the shadows and suddenly felt hands around my neck.

The next thing I knew they had a black bag over my head and I was going on the ride of my life, as they were going at least three miles per hour over the speed limit at all times. I had no idea where we were headed, except my innate sense of direction told me we headed for the northeast part of town, probably an old warehouse I know out there.

They were a friendly bunch, because they took the black bag off just long enough for me to catch a sporting glimpse of the door, giving me the chance to snap a picture of it with the micro camera I recently had embedded in my left eye. It was painful as hell, but I get some great shots, mostly cleavage you'd never get with an ordinary camera.

Inside, they put me through several metal detectors, extracted the last four digits of my "Social," and even managed to worm out of me my mother's maiden name, a matter of public record. The weirdest thing they did was frisk me for flashlights and searchlights. I was to find out why very shortly...

Naturally, I thought they'd haul me in front of a strange bureaucratic figure, a guy with a greasy curl on his forehead, rotating Chinese gong balls in his hand. But that wasn't it at all. Instead, this was nothing but a shadow sitting in a chair, occasionally shifting and moving the chair to let me know he was really there. He had a hat on the desk that he moved once in a while to let me know the chair shifting wasn't just an effect. I came to discern that his various movements expressed his moods: 1) Up and down, good terms; 2) Slammed down, upset; 3) Totally crushed and frisbee'd into the fireplace, more upset.

Of course he was saying things, asking me obscure questions about what I knew and how I knew it. I was sweating, going out of my mind about my possible offenses and whether they knew them all. I knew a polygraph test would sink me, a lie detector would be my end. Mentally, I ran over the full list making up my guilt. Good God, was it that bad? That time ... and that other time ... and, worse, the other time, very major. And that was just the harmless stuff.

He questioned and I was evasive. The hat went up and down. He continued, more persistently, but I refused his inquiries. He slammed the hat against the desk. He huffed and puffed and really questioned me, but I figured, this is the time to clam up. And there went the hat, with a puff of fire flaring up.

Maybe he had me, but maybe I had him. But my confidence was starting to drain away, because I had the thought, There's no way these guys are going to give up. With my confidence leaving, I felt a ton of paranoia settle on me. With a shadow in the chair, I couldn't be sure that other shadows in the room weren't conscious, even the ones my own legs made; they could be extensions of his, or leakages. He might have been full of shadow spores, being propagated left and right. I felt darkness coming over me, thanks to there being no real center to him.

Then it was nearly over, although I didn't know it at the time. He dropped the questioning and just chuckled. Then he spoke again, but now in "uhs" and "duhs" and "tut-tuts" -- verbal filler -- giving me very little to go on as I mentally searched for any kind of meaning.

Finally, we came to an understanding, that I wouldn't mention any of this to anyone, that I wouldn't write about it on my blog, etc. If I would agree to those simple terms, we would resume our stalemate. I agreed to his terms.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Problem With Raptures

We have another prediction for "The Rapture," this time for May 21. Hope springs eternal, I guess, as does disappointment. And there's no reason whatsoever to expect this time will be different. Come May 22, there's going to be some well-intentioned people who are going to discover what it means to be let down.

The main man at the center of the current round of folly, Harold Camping, a radio minister, might be well-intentioned, too. But he'll be more to blame, because he should've learned his lesson the first time, having predicted the same thing for 1994. Guess what, he was wrong. Wisdom and years, he's fairly old, are not to be confused!

Let's just express the biggest problem with Raptures and the whole way of Bible interpretation behind it. It's not bloody likely that reality works that way. That's huge. But putting that aside, the big problem with Raptures is they always use arbitrary numbers. Like when Noah's flood was. That's the key date behind this one. That it was supposedly 4009 B.C., and adding up a few other numbers, you come to 2011. But it's strictly a matter of garbage in, garbage out. Because what if the flood, setting aside any argument to it ever actually happening, wasn't that year? Check out any Bible chronology. Notice anything unusual? That's right, each one is different!

Anyway, adding up arbitrary numbers based on arbitrary combinations usually comes up with a total. It just so happens, though, that it never matches up with anything that ever really happens. It's all fantasy.

You may as well buckle down and do good here on Earth. There's no Rapture escape. This is reality.

The Robotic Voice Of Life

I'm always getting the robotic voice of life, like everyone else, what you get when you dial phone numbers. "Our menu has changed, please listen closely to the options. If you know your party's extension, you may dial it at any time. Please press 1 if you'd rather not listen to me." If only they said that!

The fact that everyone's menu has changed, maybe that's not a fact. I've heard it so often that I'm starting to think it's just a psychological ruse to get you to listen to all the options very carefully. Personally, I'm so pessimistic that they're going to have an option that matches up with my needs that I'm likely to just start pressing random zeros and nines, anything to bypass the crap. I did that today with a zero and it just started over at the top.

It's amazing that it can be (or sound like) an actual human voice, but you're not fooled for a second. Because of the unresponsiveness, for one. But then there's the one that's reciting back numbers you've entered, etc., which is so obviously robotic that there's no question.

Whether all of this is a good idea to those who shove it on us, it's not a good idea from my point of view. I'm sure I'm not alone in hating it. Because there's certain places, I don't know if you can ever get someone on the line. I had a phone company once, I'm sure there's no one who actually works there. It's just computers and robots everywhere and no people, except the guy who turns it on.

They try to make it sound normally human. I'd rather they just made it sound more robotic, like the voices on TV and in movies, where there's more insistence, "Your phone will self destruct in five seconds if you don't make a choice." And he really means it! They could get the voice so malevolent sounding that it'd get your blood flowing. You break out in a sweat because he's already up to "9" and you haven't heard your choice yet.

I've also got the robotic voice in my head. Not on a daily basis, but still... I was driving by a church one day and heard this beeping alarm, an insistent "Uhhht, uhhht, uhht..." like that. The robotic voice I heard was "Baptismal overflowing in Quadrant 4." Of course ministers would be rushing from their prayer closets with buckets. Or at the library, "Intruder entering Door 8." Librarians are dropping their books and running.

Here's a bad robotic voice, the self checkout station at the grocery store, "Please place your item in the bag." Then if you don't, it gets upset, because under the bag is a scale that lets the machine know that you've been non-compliant. I've seen some real screw-ups with these machines, enough that I don't go to them anymore than I have to.

I'll leave you with this happy robotic voice, "Your call is important to us. Estimated wait time is 27 minutes."

Monday, April 25, 2011

As Of This Writing

As of this writing, it's 6:39 in the evening, April 25, 2011, and, there it goes, it's now 6:30 p.m. Meaning I must've started the paragraph at some point mid-minute.

But it's fresh, that's for sure. That is to say, as of this writing, it is the present moment. And just so you'll know I'm not writing it two weeks ago, I'm holding up a copy of today's newspaper, like Castro always does, who, by the way, as of this writing, is still alive. And his brother, too.

Most of the posts I write have an evergreen quality to them, that's been pointed out to me by others, and as of this writing, I agree. But this one might be different, since time is advancing on, it now being 6:42. Gotta chug along, so I'm not still writing at 7:00 p.m. I don't want anyone to get the impression that I labor over these posts for hours at a time.

It's a matter of minutes, like that Madonna song, "4 Minutes," which, as of this writing, is about what it's been since I started. I've only got four minutes to save the world. I just saw that CD yesterday at a store for $1.00, and to think I paid that a few years ago just for the title song! I could've waited and had the whole album. But I didn't want it anymore. As of this writing, my interests have shifted.

Speaking of albums, guess what, I bought the New York Dolls' LP yesterday for $10, then when I came home and played it, there was a terrible skip on the second track, "Stranded In The Jungle." It didn't skip ahead, but kept backtracking on one line toward the end. So I tried some stupid internet theory for fixing skips with a sewing needle and a paper horn. Naturally, as of this writing, my record is all scratched to hell from the needle. It seems there's no way to guide it and actually find the scratch with a needle. So instead of having a nice LP, I've got it shoved in the case and will probably throw it out in Wednesday's garbage. As of this writing, I'm bummed out about it.

6:47 p.m. - I might have dawdled a little too much on that paragraph. I don't know if you realize it -- you probably do -- but "Stranded In The Jungle" is an old '50s song, recorded by several artists. We had the 45 of it by one of the groups when I was a kid and always liked it. As of this writing, it's still one of my favorite memories from childhood. My mom had some good records, but as of this writing, she probably doesn't.

All kinds of things, as of this writing, are either banal or profound facts. If you're reading this on some kind of super internet archive in 2050, most of the things that are true right this minute won't still be true then. As for me, as of this writing, I'm alive, but in 2050, unless I'm extremely lucky or unlucky, will be dead. At that point I won't have a favorite song from childhood.

Even big facts, of course, will no longer be true. Things as of this writing that we take for granted -- like who the president of the United States is -- will be easily outdated, and, if we still have presidents in 2050, it will be someone else. Maybe one of Barack Obama's daughters, who, as of this writing are still children.

Well, sorry to everyone in 2050, but I have to cut this little exercise short. Because as of this writing I have duties around the house I need to complete. As of this writing, to put the big finale on it, it is 6:51 p.m., and it just switched over to 6:52 as I was saying that.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

She Had Hair On Her Chest

I went to a restaurant today, not that famous but bound to become more famous over time.

Their slogan is "Our New Yorker Will Put Hair On Your Chest," which just happens to be what I want. It's two birds with one stone, a nice sandwich and a lasting benefit.

But I also want it proven true before I waste my money. So I said to the woman taking the orders, "Have you ever had a New Yorker?" She said she'd had many.

Having that assurance, I demanded to see the proof, asking her to remove her shirt and bra. She immediately granted my request, showing me the loveliest display of hair, really fur, that I could ever hope to see.

Naturally, I had the New Yorker, and now it's just a matter of time.

Z And Nothingness

A little nothingness to get your nice Easter morning underway.

There's a dog I know whose name starts with Z.

Real terminal stuff, barely got a name at all. She got named in just the nick of time. The alphabet was running out. It felt the breaking point at X.

I'd hate to be out calling a dog whose name went beyond Z. She'd be...huh? That's the sound of silence.

But she's a smart dog, and she'd learn to listen carefully to hear what I wasn't saying.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Easter Craft Sale

Greetings from the Shopping Center Easter Craft Show, where I've got my Styrofoam bunnies for sale for the fourth or fifth year in a row. I'm got an 8-foot folding table, like usual, and I'm looking for big profits.

Unfortunately, the bunnies aren't moving like they did the first year or the second. There's been a drop-off in people's interest, but I decided to keep them for at least another year. I had over 50 left over from last year, out of 100 total, so that's a lot of inventory to just eat.

Still, I kept thinking about making something else, starting in about February it was constantly on my mind. But I sort of had a mental block, all I could think of was something like bunny tales on walnuts, for whatever reason.

By now, though, and a few people pointed it out to me today, I'm known as "the pipe-cleaner bunny guy." It's nice to be known for something, and I had to smile when they recognized me. So I might have to keep doing it. Little do they know, I've been tempted to burn the damned things, since they're in the closet all year wasting space. But I just say, "Oh, yes!"

As far as the craft sale goes -- and we're about halfway through -- we're seeing the same old problems. And that's true across the board, they say. Craft sales aren't what they used to be. People are jaded these days and they've had it up to here with cutesy stuff. It comes out of the general truth that we're a polarized people, losing touch with the old traditions, which, frankly, are supposed to comfort us, but instead we're revolted.

I try to put the sociological thoughts out of my mind and grin like everyone else. The other crafters do a lot of scowling when no one's at their table, then a lot of grinning when "fresh meat" comes by. It'd be fun to get some pictures of it because it's just like night and day. There's no one quite as forlorn and pessimistic as crafters. They're basically only happy, or seemingly so, when they see each other on the circuit. It gives them someone to grouse with who totally identifies. (These guys go to sale after sale but I only go to this one local sale.)

I saw this one big guy in bib overalls I always see -- fresh off the farm with his wooden goods. If it's wood, he sells it, little benches, shelves, paper towel holders, etc. You can spot his stuff a mile away, because he always has these rounded hearts on the ends of everything and nothing's painted. And I saw others I recognized, ladies selling handbags, jewelry, etc., and a new one this year, some guy who cuts LP covers apart and makes spiral notebooks, with the front and back covers. They're $13. It's sad to me to think of an idiot laying waste to all these albums.

Our setting this year is bad, even worse this year too. Once again the shopping center has us down at the far end, but now with several newly empty stores around. Most people who come down here are headed for the bathroom and that's it. I've been watching them and noting the ones who -- thanks to the short timing -- couldn't possibly have washed their hands afterward.

(I just had some people come by and look at the bunnies, so I had to quit typing and stand up and grin. They obviously didn't want to make eye contact with me, which is always the first clue they're not going to buy anything. I tried to prompt them by saying, "Nice weather we're having," but the woman just kind of grunted something and went on. Our customers can be such garbage, note I said can be, because some of them -- the buyers -- are great folks.)

And it's not like I'm asking an arm and a leg for the bunnies. I didn't raise the price from last year, even though the cost of living has completely gone up. So I'm losing money just by setting up. They're still $5 per bunny or 2 for $9. I have to give a deal like the twofer thing even though I'm losing money hand over fist if someone takes advantage of it. The materials cost me full price -- they're not giving me a price break if I say I'm making two!

Pardon me, when I started typing I said I wasn't going to grouse. But it's contagious. It's all I hear around me, when we're not standing and grinning and asking about the weather. The table price went up, the price of gas is through the roof, the economy's crap, people are out of work, and of course they won't waste money on crafts if their families are going hungry. But why aren't they thinking of us? We have to eat, too...

It's frustrating, and I may as well take off the gloves and say so. I think of the bunnies as being kid friendly, made to appeal to the spirit of youth. But what do you get? The kids have the same jaded attitudes the parents have, and worse, because they go to school. If you go to school, your jadedness is multiplied because of your contact with other kids. Imagine what that does for my bottom line.

They're walking by with iPods and handheld games, iPads, ham radio sets, remote controlled cars, etc., and they're loving their little luxuries. It seems like pipe-cleaner bunnies are just no longer good enough for them. I see them yawning, with Mom looking discouraged and saying, "C'mon!" So they mess up my table and don't buy anything. I'd like to give them one of those Italian arm curses, hit your hand on the inside of your elbow and raise your arm quick. But I just roll my eyes at the guy at the next table.

Of course we crafters are all still paranoid about people with cameras, sketch artists, and people with photographic memories. Because the last thing we want is competition. These are our own designs, intellectual property, and I for one don't want to see a table of knockoffs next year. You can probably guess, cameras are the worst danger, because you get an exact picture of the item. And there's cameras everywhere, built into phones. Most people are carrying several cameras at all times. I need a sticker that when you buy these they're for your own personal enjoyment, not to duplicate and sell.

My sales -- you can tell by my poor attitude -- are very low this year. I think I've sold maybe 12, somewhere between 12 and 16. Several of those were at the $9 price, so I lost several dollars right off the bat, which can't be helped if I want to sell anything.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Just Another Manic Everyday


Thank God for mornings, when everything is uppermost and intense. I'd like to can it and have it on the shelf. That's where the real gold is, mornings. The sky's in reach.

My coffee pot was provoking me. It changes from benevolent to menacing just like that. When it's benevolent, it's hot, as I take the first sip in the morning. Then I realize I forgot to savor it, so I have to take a second sip, which is a second and not the first, therefore not as propitious and so menacing. I can't believe a coffee pot -- a French press thing -- can go from hot to cold so fast. If you were trying to set out a warm cup for baby that started out hot, you'd be waiting till he cried himself to sleep.

The first sip out of the way, I surveyed the wondrous cross, since it's Good Friday.


Actually, that's not true, because I forgot it was Good Friday. So now I'm going to have to backtrack, with that experience somewhere down my list, a couple rungs down after eating a Russell Stover peanut butter/chocolate rabbit. The surveying should've been done when it was morning. Now that it's afternoon, I'm looking at the afternoon doldrums, but I'll overcome them in order to study and localize the Good Friday truths.

I want to avoid my usual analytical pose, and dig it out of the dirt, applicable for baseball and thinking.

I was checking out my fingerprints, I don't know, the holiest part of the finger? I traced to the middle whorl and touched one of them with a toothpick. That tickled maybe a million chakras nodding in agreement. Smiling with gratitude. Everyone wants to be recognized.

Have you noticed, speaking of fingerprints, at banks you're always a criminal? I have a self image as the most honest guy I know -- when I die the world's going to lose me. But at every bank they know you're a criminal. Your fingerprint always means something else to the suspicious.

With this fingerprint/toothpick thing, don't press too hard; you're not trying to injure yourself. A touch can be a ton. You're there to transcend the touch itself, which your finger is happy to accomplish with you. That place becomes heavy. And there's some sense of mild pain, because your finger thinks it's going to go through, pierce it. But is that reasonable without greater pressure? No.

Inside the head, looking for complementary points, sympathetic points, just the right corresponding places. This is free, like a mental candystick.

Mark 15:37 -- "And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost." Sit and see if you can hear your loud voice. Probably would sound very rude to the dainty ear. Not to trouble us -- those who mustn't be disturbed. A cry like taking a header against a cement wall. Melonable. Listening, listening -- too loud to hear? Pardon me, I'm putting this on pause.

Elvis played 29 shows like that, baby. Could move just his little finger. "You ain't nothin' but a hound dog!"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Government Is Keeping Track Of You

We all know one of the most famous cases of paranoia is to think the government is out to get you. As though they haven't got anything better to do!

I would make the argument that paranoia like that is usually a personal problem. The person has something seriously wrong in the head, and for all we know probably hears voices and has imaginary friends. They seldom check themselves in, feeling that their personal delusions are objective reality, so what we really know about them is more or less limited to guesswork. That's not to say we can't make very educated guesses, since we have some actual casework, in addition to ourselves suffering the same affliction.

But really, if you think about it, how hard is it to believe that there is what we might call an exoteric and an esoteric government, or those aspects of the same government? Who hasn't heard of secret agents, double agents, and stool pigeons? There's no way those of us on the outside can guess the full extent of the government and what they're up to. Certainly the mind suggests that something's going on that is above and beyond what is commonly reported.

A guy doesn't have to be crazy to realize that the government has secret installations all over the place. I'm thinking of an article I saw somewhere recently about the places where the government would meet if there was a nuclear attack. They have places for the Congress and the President, and there's even a swimming pool for recreation. In addition, everyone has his own personal bunk and enough good amenities that we can't be too sure they wouldn't provoke a major attack just to live there.

It's serious business. But of course having a place to go in the event of an attack is far different from the irrational fears of the average guy thinking the government is keeping track of him. Although, honestly, can we be too sure? Why wouldn't they be checking up on the average guy? It stands to reason they wouldn't leave anything to chance.

My basic opinion is it pays to be vigilant. Like today, I was out and about around town. And I couldn't get rid of the sneaky feeling that I wasn't alone, if you know what I mean. It's that creepy feeling you get when you starting thinking there's cameras is in the bushes, an agent on the roof, and that everything around you is bugged.

I was at the library, which is a hotbed for this kind of activity. Because anyone going for real information is going to keep track of what you're looking at at the library. You have to be pretty naive if you think your trips to the library aren't monitored. I know I felt it right away. I walked in the door and the first thing I saw was a "librarian" picking up the phone. It couldn't have been more blatant.

Still, I thought, I'm not doing anything wrong, yet, so I didn't flee. I went in and took my seat and tried to gauge my surroundings. They have a row of tables up the aisle, and, conveniently, all the tables had one person at them except for one empty table. I say conveniently because of course that's going to be the table I'm going to sit at. Anyone could predict that. Giving them plenty of time to arrange the cameras and recorders. I had to smile when an cast of extras occasionally walked by like they didn't see me.

I sat for a while, trying not to look too suspicious. Then I tested the whole system by getting up and going over to look at the theology books. There just happened to be someone, a woman, who needed to squeeze behind me. I almost said, "Why don't you just ask me what I'm looking for?" But I played it cool and pulled in my butt so she could pass. One thing I didn't do was make eye contact -- I contend I wasn't doing anything to feel guilty about. And even now, in hindsight, I still feel that's basically true.

Anyway, I didn't get anything but returned empty-handed to my seat. How strange, but I thought I'd cross them up a bit -- heh heh. I sat for about 38 seconds then immediately went back to the same stack. The woman was long gone, probably in the dressing room or being debriefed in the backroom. This time I saw just the book I wanted, somehow put there, by an author I first heard of approximately 21 years ago. I hadn't heard of this particular book before but this was an author I respect, so I picked it up.

Getting back to the table with it, I looked at my stuff, my jacket and a couple of books I brought with me. They seemed to be undisturbed, but I started thinking, Wasn't this on the left side before? Now it was on the right. And my jacket, Did I really bunch it up and leave the pockets inside out? That was a new one on me, since I'm generally quite fastidious about my clothes.

It went on like that, "librarians" who were going out of their way not to make eye contact. And something else, something weird, they had this one extra -- and this is absolutely true -- he must have walked by my table 25 times! He always turned at the exact same place, apparently went around a table, then walked back by me the other direction. I didn't mind it so much -- even secret agents need to get their exercise -- except when he was nearest my table, at which time I covered with my hand what I was writing, which was the rough draft of this very post! (If you're reading this, a hint, you might at least try a costume change every 10 trips or so!)

After a while, I needed to get out of there. I was going to check out the book I mentioned. But just to throw these bastards off the trail -- even though I know they'll get this detail when I post this -- I picked up several other books at random to check out. The titles included one about vampires, a subject I absolutely hate, but I thought I'd just mess with their heads. If they're trying to fill in a puzzle about me, that would throw them!

And that was just inside the library. Once I got outside, good grief, it was a real production! It would have been fun to be behind the scenes and see them sending out all these agents one by one, the big boss standing there with a stopwatch. A guy limping went by my car. Another guy going by slowly on a bike magically appeared after him. It was a rich assortment of characters, no two quite alike. I even looked over and saw a tiny orange utility flag fluttering in the wind, probably something to mark the coordinates for a camera. Funny, I didn't notice that going in!

I know, this sounds like there's no escape. But there could be. Just going by what we see on TV, the government seems incompetent enough. So there's every likelihood that you could disappear in the woods, at least briefly. But if you're like me, you'll want a good cover story for why you were there. And if you say something like you had to take a pee, you better have peed, because that's easy enough for them to check.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It Pays To Read My Blog In A Year

There's been a ton of excitement, and many tons of interest since yesterday when I invited everyone to "Read Through My Blog In A Year." My email inbox has been stuffed, enormous reams of paper are sticking out everywhere. The increased traffic I got on the blog was so immense that it completely shut down the internet around the world. Most countries are still very mad. Closer to home, I had to call the sheriff because local readers were scraping dirt off my license plate.

The lesson I'm taking away from it thus far is simple, Give people a reason to hope, a reason to live, and they'll snap it up like that! I'm just kicking myself that I hadn't thought of it before. If people are approached with kindness, and treated like their kindergarten teacher used to treat them, there's no telling with interesting locations in their psyches they'll reveal. I swear, it's like I rang just the right bell and everyone started drooling.

And why not? Because what I have to offer on this blog is obviously the kind of information that you can't get at other sites. I really believe that, and if I didn't, I would immediately quit, delete my formidable archives, and retire to a one-man island somewhere. I've squirreled away the money I've gotten from years of Google Ads, so it's not like I couldn't afford it. Look at the layout of this blog, no Google Ads, because I know when I've got enough.

OK, a lot of you have expressed an interest in reading the blog through in a year, but you're looking for more. Quite a few said it would be very helpful to have the full list of posts with the boxes to check. I hear you! And I'm sympathetic, knowing that indeed those would be very helpful. If I were in your shoes, I'd want the check boxes, too, and the list. But as I explained yesterday, I'm very busy and just haven't got the time, energy, or frankly, the interest to do that. If you're interested enough in reading through the blog in a year, I seriously believe you'll be able to manage it without me holding your hand.

Now, does that mean I'm not willing to raise a finger to help you? No, not exactly. I may not get it done right away, but if I ever do I'll announce it. I'm talking about a system of pledge cards. I might make a pledge card and post it. Then you could download it, print it out, scan it, and email it to me.

Then if that was a success, I might offer a system of recognizing various milestones along the way, like when you've read 100 posts, 200, 300, etc. Let's say you got up to 1,000 (we'd be using the honor system, more or less), if you sent me a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope), I might take pen in hand and jot you out a personal note. That'd be a nice keepsake, although I'd hate to see them for sale on eBay...

Let's say you passed all the milestones, and you got the personal note, what would be left? The grand prize might be a magnetic bookmark. I know a place where I could get a gross of them for around $10. If you qualified for the bookmark by having read every blog post -- with there being sufficient amount of time from the time you started and the time you finished (I'm watching) -- I would send out the bookmark, again with a SASE (self-undressed stomped eunuch) and a minimal handling fee, assuredly less than $10.

In a way, it's a pity that I need pledge cards, the recognition note, and the bookmark. Those I really respect would simply read through the blog in a year and consider that reward enough...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Read Through My Blog In A Year

I appreciate so many of your comments about the quality of my blog and the devotion many of you have toward it. It does my poor heart good to know that you're out there and that you're benefiting from it in such deep ways.

A few of you, admittedly under 1000, have written in asking if I had a systematic way for you to read the whole thing, a question I've neglected to answer for a while. Because I thought, What's the problem? Just go back to the beginning and start there. But then the more you think about it, even with the greatest devotion things can come up, we lose our place, or we feel frustrated with our progress.

I was working on a checklist of titles and the publication date, but I'm also a very busy person and it turned out I didn't have time to finish it. But you can see I made an effort with some of my early posts from 2009. Like you, no doubt, just reading the titles gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. I'm looking at it and trying to remember what "Mental Prisoner Eats His Own Eye" was all about; obviously he was mental, and if he chooses to read my blog through in a year, I'd love to hear from him, if he can read that much with only one eye, assuming he hasn't eaten it in the meanwhile.

Ah, what memories, for me ... and you. But they're more than memories, of course, since in the course of this blog's lifetime it's come to mean so much to so many. I'm trying to think of this one guy's words, something like, "I've read many sacred writings in my life, and I've only burnt a few of them, whatever I didn't like. But I would never burn your blog, kind sir, because to me it is a modern devotional classic. People in far off lands attack and kill one another when their sacred writings are burnt on a far away shore. If any foolish individual chose to print out and burn copies of your blog, that would be the end of the world. Mankind would refuse to exist until he [Mankind] was killed and utterly extinct. Like the Dodo Bird."

I appreciate words like that, because I can see that it's thanks to me that he's stable enough to go on. Maybe I'm the only reason he still hasn't eaten his eye. So I'm justifiably proud.

Anyway, getting to it, how would you read through my blog in a year? With today's post, I think we have 1149 posts. And I'll probably write something tomorrow, so let's just round it up to 1150. Leaving out leap year, just for the sake or argument, we have 365 days. Dividing 1150 by 365, we come up with 3.1506849, a fairly cumbersome number. The easy answer, then, is, Go back to the beginning, by working down through my archives. Then make a chart and proceed along reading 3.1506849 blog posts a day. At the end of the year, if I figured it right, all you'll have left are the 365 other posts I would have written in the meantime. And since I'm no good at math, I'll leave you to factor those in somehow. I guess it'd technically be, 1150+365, then divide that by 365, so 1515/365=4.1506849. So it's just over 4.15 blog posts you'll need to read. And sometimes I write two a day! The crazy thing about this, though, is if you want to read it through each year, there'll always be at least 365 more to add on to the previous year, meaning, eventually, if I live long enough, you'll be doing nothing but reading this blog! But there are worse things you could be doing!

Why don't I miss very many days here? Because, quite frankly, I don't want my followers to see it as a completed canon, because then I wouldn't be able to add more.

Confidential to Pat in Pittsburgh: I'll consider highlighting my deeper thoughts in red, if you really think it'd help in your personal devotions. Please let me think about it a little while.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Edge Of Everything

I probably shouldn't speak. I know it's wrong. Those who know never speak. I'm already kicking myself, because when this gets out there ... oh boy! ... I don't know what might happen. The world might be squeezed into a dot just to teach me a lesson. Probably not, there'd have to be some advance warning, wouldn't there?

But I'm bustin' ... I gotta tell someone, anyone, even if it's just you ... you're a representative of the human race, right? Then you have a right to know what's going on. But it's going to kill you, mentally. You might end up calling in sick forever and then find you've lost your job when you finally wake up from your revery. I can't be responsible for that -- This blog is for entertainment purposes only. Reading the blog implies agreement to my terms, that I'm not responsible for any boneheaded thing you do as a result of reading something here that was "for entertainment purposes only."

Really, though, maybe you won't be entertained, maybe you'll be blown away, in which case, I'm not responsible.

OK, here it is, and this is fuh-reaky, I know. I've been messing around out at the edge of everything. I seriously have. I'll tuh-weak my words there, not messing around. I've been hanging around, accepting a place, blessed like a graced pig, peeking into the edge of everything. Even the phrase the edge of everything might not be the best, but it's what I'm working with in this rough draft about the place that has no designation that I know of.

And guess what, it's not that hard to do. I barely had time to be poking around out there, since I have plenty of other responsibilities in life and have to be on my guard every minute, because I seriously have to keep it real. I'm as crystal clear, level-headed as they come, and that's what ultimately makes this the more weird. Notice I'm making use of some funny language, like fuh-reaky and tuh-weak? That's a defense mechanism, just to be honest with you, because what I'm talking about is really happening. And it's hard for me to be honest about it.

No, no, no, this blog is for entertainment purposes only, nothing I say is meant as real or serious. I have to keep the disclaimers coming because I'm very protective of my viability. Anyone who can just lose themselves, that person I don't understand. I keep coming back with the protective stuff. Read the disclaimer and heed it.

If I were reading a blog like this, I'd say the guy can't be serious, and I would've left before getting this far. It really ticks me off to see so much preface for so little book. Either get to it or you're wasting my time. I went through a phase there, still not entirely out of it, when I saw all books explaining things as frauds. So if I was that way with entire books, imagine what I'd be with a blog like this where the guy seemed crazy, was saying it was for entertainment purposes only, then saying it was entirely serious and real, etc. I'd be long gone.

Which is OK, because, like I said, I shouldn't even be saying anything, for various reasons, and I don't know that I will. Which leaves this blog as a truncated piece, that ultimately says nothing. And if no one gets it, that's OK too.

On the other hand, no one's likely to believe me anyway, so if I get in trouble from it -- the Inquisition -- I have a ready explanation, it's a humor blog, and one of my voices is the apparently crazy guy with more on his mind than could possibly be true.

Anyway, here it is, I've been to the edge of everything, and guess what, everything out there is so small, so minute that you can't actually see it. It's like the dots in the picture, except the dots you can see. They're not infinitesimal, they're not subtle whatsoever. There's no comparison.

Further, at the heart of everything, it's not simply One like you might imagine, but it's in multiple locations, as a community of knowing energy, interrelating. That's not to say everything isn't One -- I believe it is -- it's just the expression of it is multiplied.

To continue, absolutely everything of this ultimate reality could be contained locally, in a small place, even on my Grandpa's half acre, where I live. But anywhere you go, even if you stay home, you'll find it.

In addition, the revelation of this reality is so tricky that you're not likely to get it, but you might. All the striving we do helps but isn't near the final step, which finally has to be taken for you. As for me, I can't systematize something I can barely comprehend. So take all this with a grain of salt, which, by the way, is very large in comparison.

In conclusion, This blog is for entertainment purposes only.

Epilogue: The next chance I get, if it's allowed, since I probably screwed up by posting this entertaining blog -- although in my defense I was bustin' -- I'm going back out there, and, if you knew me and my mother, you'd know I won't be taking no for an answer.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Teens Reject Rigor Mortis

Rejection never felt so good! But today it was heavenly, as I personally witnessed a roomful of teenagers reject the Rigor Mortis lifestyle for that of Vigor Vivus.

I was nervous going in, knowing I had the truth but not knowing how they would respond. The way I remember teenagers -- and maybe it's mostly my imagination -- they're a bunch of idiots who will reject anything good for them in favor of the detrimental. But I was pleasantly surprised to see them give rapt attention to my teachings and celebrated the good choices they made.

This was a Sunday School class, I should say that going in, because of course in Sunday School you're going to get the kids who are more likely to seek the good. They're not just hanging around on street corners, cigarettes rolled up in their T-shirt sleeve, spitting in gutters, and breaking windows. They've already got enough idealism in them that you can have hope for the future, not like the kids I've seen standing in front of the tattoo shop, one leg up against the building, sunken chests, bloodshot eyes, dumb grins, yellow fingers, who run like scared cats any time an adult approaches them.

If it weren't for the Vigor Vivus lifestyle -- the life of confidence, optimism, believing in yourself and higher things, and rejecting the difficulties of the Rigor Mortis way -- I might very well find myself filled with despair, I'm sure I would. If you can overcome that, you're miles ahead of the rest. Of course I still have a great deal of sense. If it were a matter of trapping some of these teenagers at the tattoo shop and trying to deprogram them, I'd naturally want to use every means of preventing the spread of infectious disease. They'd have to be clinically deloused and scanned with one of those black lights that reveals germs.

Fortunately, the kids at church have been raised in a more proper way. Their parents aren't wolves in the forest, running wild and fighting over a piece of raw meat. They're not ferreting through public ashtrays looking for half-smoked ciggies. They're not rocking ATMs. Instead, they're responsible, taking care of their families, budgeting, and shunning evil. That's the way I was raised, and, look, I turned out pretty darned good, if I do say so myself. I shudder when I think how it might've been if I'd been raised by these losers, I'd definitely be living the Rigor Mortis lifestyle. I'd probably be in prison, where I would belong.

But we're trying to turn out good kids. It's the best thing. It's the only Vigor Vivus choice!

So today my report is that Sunday School went great. I opened with the thing about the zombies, staggering around in Rigor Mortis, and I explained, like I said I would, that there are a lot of "dead men walking." I used the example of Adam and Eve, just like I said I would, and we were off. All that, of course, constitutes Rigor Mortis, springing out of the choices we make and what we settle for. I got them to name names, too, kids they knew from school or the neighborhood who are into Rigor Mortis. I jostled their memory by specifically mentioning the tattoo shop, as above, and that brought out a few knowing chuckles.

It was at this point that a couple of boys in the back thought they would do some cutting up. They used some phrases and language that indicated that they thought that lifestyle was pretty cool. I looked out and saw some other smiles and knew that if I didn't stanch it right there, the others would slide off the deep end. I looked at them with a stern look, yet one that was filled with compassion; I had direct eye contact, and that always makes a recalcitrant little squirt squirm. No smile, just a compassionate sternness. I said that was the way of death, the way of Rigor Mortis, but we have a better option, which, to get them on my side I said, "Most of you are following it, even if you don't realize it," the way of Vigor Vivus. A little praise primes the pump.

Not to rehash every single point, I made the points about Vigor Vivus from my blog, and held up some pictures of well-known athletes. While not endorsing everything about their lifestyles -- especially Tiger Woods -- I said there were indicators, sometimes fleeting, of Vigor Vivus in their lives. Such as the confidence to get things done, the wherewithal to stick to a task, the alertness, drive, optimism, etc. You can see I'm excited, that's why I'm going for all the synonyms I can think of. Word of advice, Don't get me started! LOL!

The class settled down immediately after that one disruption, and I went from one victory to another with them, receiving commitments from each one that they'd practice the Vigor Vivus way. And for that, I'm very thankful.

How About You? -- They say life doesn't come with instructions. That's not true. The instructions are written clearly in our hearts, even if not in words. There is the way of death and there is the way of life. Death is an end, an end that we can submit to all along the way. That's the way of Rigor Mortis, which hardens us, slows us down, and in the end literally stiffens us to the point that we are no good, we are dead. So many people have chosen that way, not just teenagers, even old timers like me.

But the way of life is also before us. And we can submit, rather, share in, the way of life all along the way as well. That is the way of Vigor Vivus, which keeps us supple, allows us to advance, to progress, and all along the way to raise our good cheer to levels that increase, eventually beyond anything we had imagined. We are alive, alive, alive -- fully alive. That is something we can choose, too. That is something you can choose today, to live ... the Vigor Vivus way!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Teen Talk: Rigor Mortis Vs. Vigor Vivus

It's Saturday night and I'm feverishly working on a little talk they asked me to give tomorrow. Of course I mean at church. I told Pastor Wadd about Vigor Vivus, which he hadn't heard of before. I wrote about it a few days ago, and I guess he doesn't read my blog.

He thought it sounded like kind of a weird word. I told him I've been spelling it as two words, but he thought it still sounded weird. Then I sketched it out as simply as I could, that it's the opposite of Rigor Mortis. Rigor Mortis and Vigor Vivus have been butting heads forever, even if there hasn't always been a term for it. He was curious to hear more, probably figuring he can give it a sexual spin, since that's his ministry specialty, addressing sexual addictions.

Anyway, I kept it all non-sexual, telling him that the way I've been conceiving it, it has to do with a person's attitudes, whether they're living a Rigor Mortis lifestyle, or, with attention to themselves and their possibilities, they're living the Vigor Vivus way. Of course I also gave it a religious spin especially for him, that God gave Adam and Eve the Vigor Vivus lifestyle to live, but they ate the forbidden fruit, God told them they would surely die, and that's very similar to the Rigor Mortis way.

He loved it, and I hate to be presumptuous, but wouldn't it be wild and fantastic if he did incorporate a RM vs. VV theme in his teaching and counseling, whether having to do with sexual addictions or not? Since he's a man of the cloth, it might go all the way up to the mega churches, then demand will be so high that I'll be doing satellite hookup meetings with churches all around the globe, coming out in my $1,000 suits, chatting up the audience, and changing lives with this simple, yet profound, message. Then I'll make money on all my books, "The Vigor Vivus Life," "More of the Vigor Vivus Life," "Viva Vigor Vivus," and so forth.

It turns out he loved it so much that he asked me to come talk to one of the teen Sunday School classes tomorrow. So that's why I'm working feverishly tonight, trying to work up a talk that interesting enough to keep them quiet, and relevant enough to their way of thinking that they'll listen ... and apply it to themselves.

I'm really kind of nervous about it. I'd much rather talk to the old folks' class, because I know they'd definitely be quiet, and of course they'd compliment me profusely, since that's the way it always goes with them. They're happy with anything if you offer it in a cheerful, friendly way, which is the only way I know. Or I could present it to the younger adults, whose brains are fully developed after 25, so they would sit still and be nice about it. And they're the ones who would really need it, since the demands of life are so much greater. Rigor Mortis might be their constant choice, like it is with anyone so stressed out that they feel they need an energy drink. You don't need an energy drink! You need Vigor Vivus! See, I'm excited about it!

But to do it for a roomful of teenagers...oy vey. You might not know this, but if there's just one cut-up in the class, most of the others will rebel. It's only the two or three who've done extracurricular activities who are semi-mature enough to be good. I remember being a teenager, and, more importantly, I've been privy to the ways of teenagers even in church. Why do you think this opportunity opened up for me so easily? Because the regular teacher has sent out the word that if there's anything else they might do, accept it without question, because he needs a break. He's probably drinking to calm himself. He needs the Vigor Vivus teaching, because he's obviously dwelling in a Rigor Mortis state of mind.

What, though, can I say to the little hellions? If they hear words like Rigor Mortis and Vigor Vivus, being idiots whose brains aren't even 10% developed yet, they're going to go blank, then they'll cover their tracks with cutting up. But those are the words I have to use. So, just thinking out loud here, I'll speak of Rigor Mortis as the ways of "a dead man walking." They'd like that image, the staggering of a zombie, which I might even do as an icebreaker. I can put my hands out like a zombie. Then Vigor Vivus, I can speak of it like a guy getting ready to ride a hot air balloon, or drive in the Indy 500, or pump iron. He's a man who lives on the edge, who went for all the gusto and has lived to tell about it.

As for popular references -- that's always important for teenagers, to let them know you're hip to their culture -- naturally I'll have my cellphone there for them to see and examine. And maybe when I'm looking for something, I can accidentally pull my iPod out of my pocket, "Oh, there's my iPod, I've been downloading an awful lot of cool MP3s. It's getting heavier all the time!" Among my other gadgets, I have a portable scanner, a camera, and at least 500 of the best CDs of the '50s, '60s, and '70s. I really do, but I kid. I also have some from the last few years, Natasha Bedenfield, Daniel Powter, Gwen Stefani, and Rihanna, although not her new one. And Lady Antebellum, I have that one.

But much more importantly, I have the timeless teachings of Vivor Vivus, using your willpower and stimulated awareness to live life to the fullest, thwarting and destroying the works of Rigor Mortis. Plus I'll throw in a few things about the Lord, the piece about Adam and Eve, and I think it'll go great.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Planes And Paper Towels

It's raining again and no one's doing a damned thing about it!

I mentioned that to someone, and they're all like, "What do you expect them to do about it?" Do something to get rid of it! Good grief, man, you're telling me that with our current level of scientific know-how -- we're able to look out at the beginning of the universe and, closer to home, sync an iPod in under a half hour -- that we can't do anything about the weather?

I remember they were talking about controlling the weather way back when I was a kid. What happened? Everything else they predicted came true: Putting a bean on a plate and having it blossom into a full meal; our own personal one-man helicopter; dial-up internet; and four slice toasters. Is weather the one thing they got wrong?

Maybe it's understandable that they screwed up weather control. Weather's really big, encompassing millions of acres at a time, spread out across the country like The Blob. We tried No Trespassing signs but that didn't do any good. The wind blew them all away and the rest of the weather never saw them. I personally like the idea of putting the weather in jail. Lock up a few jars of rainwater to set example for the rest. Or confine a few waves of a tsunami in a swimming pool and send a message, Quit messing with us!

The way I remember it, they were going to seed the clouds. Whatever happened to that? They were going to have big planeloads of men up there doing unspeakable things out the bomb bay. That's why they painted all the bathing beauties on the planes, a little encouragement. But it never did any good, except maybe for the men. Like I said, weather's just too big, and we don't have the men with the size to match. Anyway, seeding the clouds was meant to make it rain, not make it stop.

Of course we want rain. When the fields are struggling to choke down the dust, they need a drink. And there's other benefits of rain, I guess, like giving lifeguards a break. But we don't want endless quantities and oodles of rain spoiling everything, especially on our days off. People plan outside events for months, just to have them ruined by rain. I know today I was hoping to sit outside ... but nooooo.

The idea I've got is to send up millions of planes with millions of rolls of paper towels. Get them up in the sky and start soaking up the water before it falls. Then we'll have to think of what to do with the wet towels. Maybe drop them in big bins over lakes and wring them out with a big press and rollers and haul them away. It'd give the paper towel companies a great chance to test their claims, like "The Quicker Picker Upper" and "Our Towels Really Suck."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Waste Of Time And Space

My blog avatar, Cutie Pie, is in a bad place. His self-esteem is at an all time low. He's off in the corner with the dust bunnies and dirt specks, refusing to be consoled. He's sad that the traffic at our blog has bottomed out -- I include him in the ownership of it since that usually makes him happy, even though I'm the only one who knows my letters. I'm a little bit sad about the collapse in visitors, but Cutie Pie's a whole lot sad.

What exactly is the problem, that's something of a mystery to both of us. I haven't even hinted to him that maybe my writing sucks. He's my biggest fan, and I'm my second biggest. All this time, I thought I was some kind of humor genius, that I had a lot of big laughs to share with the folks. That's the way it was way back in high school. When I was a kid. I could write stuff so funny they had to bring in oxygen tanks just to stabilize people so they could get them on a full ventilator. But times have changed, humor's moved on, and I guess I failed to keep up.

That's the most plausible explanation I can think of. That and the bad economy. People aren't even smiling, let alone laughing. They haven't got time for an old has-been like me, who, yes, had a good run way back when, but with the economy and the changing dynamics of humor, I've been left behind, left to shrivel and die, unwanted, without a friend in the world, a pathetic sight.

But I try to buck up his spirits. "April's not usually a good month for the blog, everyone's out for the first barbecue, students are in class, and in spring, that's when everyone's involved in pre-planning their funeral," I tell him. But soon it'll be May, then what?

I can see what's going on, everyone's literally moved on. You might not believe this, but when I had 150 friends on Twitter, I got three times the traffic. Now I have 3,000, and it's dropped that much. Why did I befriend so many marketing robots who don't actually read my tweets? Maybe more importantly, Where did the 150 I used to have go? Come back, ya schmucks! I'm dying here! My avatar's dying!

I honestly didn't see it coming. I figured we'd go from one victory to another, always getting bigger and better, until eventually I'd take over the world, then they'd be making collectible plates with Cutie Pie's picture right in the middle. T-shirts, souvenirs, coffee cups, etc., with his picture on them, and me getting the royalties. Instead, we're sitting in dusty corners, up against the wall, wondering what happened...

If I could regain your trust and patronage somehow, I swear I'd really buckle down and write better, write funnier stuff. A few fart jokes, maybe that'll bring the folks back. More pictures of funny cleavage, like fat men shaking their man boobs. There's a lot of people for that kind of low humor. But, alas, not that many for my high-brow, pun-laced, intellectual humor. To me, it's funny. But I'm educated, I'm not a dullard, I know what funny is. I wasn't raised by wolves or apes. I was raised by people who knew the value of a good laugh. They didn't scratch themselves during every meal and mate in public. They were discreet. You couldn't even hear them through the wall in their bedroom, that's how discreet they were. If I'd have been listening a little closer, and had made it known, I would've been an only child.

I confess, this isn't a new problem for the blog. The traffic's been down since the first of the year. But I've been doing the best with what I have, although you might say I've been winging it. Throwing out anything I think might stick. And, like Cutie Pie, I too have a sensitive spirit. So it's been very disheartening to see the whole thing go belly up. I've started thinking, maybe this is just a waste of time, maybe I personally am a waste of space. If I dropped off the face of the earth, no one would notice. That's literally true. Already, I walk through town, like downtown, and no one recognizes me, no one gives me high fives for my blog.

I've heard from folks, don't get me wrong, but it's mostly harsh criticism. A couple brazen critics took me to the woodshed for "wasting bandwidth." I frankly don't even know what that means. But if it means what I think it means, it seems irrelevant in this age when we've typically got at least 10 meg/second downloads and uploads. What's each blog post, like 1 meg total? How's that wasting bandwidth?

Well, apparently I've got it wrong, because when I've responded, they've told me the true situation, that there are bandwidth miners in the depths of the earth, and it's getting harder everyday for them to find new bandwidth. The world's running out. So if I waste even 1 meg, miners are down there dying for my sins at an astonishing rate. Like maybe three miners for every two posts, I don't know the rate. But they're leaving entire families behind, children who have nothing to eat, just because I'm vain enough to put my idiotic posts on the internet.

And you want to know something, I think I was happier without it. I was writing humor on bathroom walls, no one was dying, unless it was the guy who had to constantly scrub it off. And people would actually leave comments, unlike on the blog. I always got more comments and follow-ups doing graffiti than this, which is an odd fact. Still to this day, I miss that whole scene. For a while -- seriously -- I was going in with one of those portable scanners and preserving it all, because the cleaning guy would take away historic stuff. Now I write historic stuff, and it's lost on Google, it's lost in plain sight!

Anyway, that's my lament, that's Cutie Pie's lament. I'm sitting here typing my lament, while Cutie Pie's off in his corner, and it looks like a dust bunny has mounted him and is pumping away. Sex has changed since my parents' day: People, avatars, and dust bunnies don't care where they do it. It's a terrible sight, but what else has he got at this point?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rigor Mortis Vs. Vigor Vivus

Man suffers the death.

Death comes on us, after stalking us from the time we're born. That's the death that results from the failure of systems, the hardening of arteries, the clogging of conduits, the wasting away of vital tissues, muscles, sinews, and nerves, not to mention the skeleton.

With death, if you've ever seen it in action, you've got the full complacency of inactivity, a complete cessation of movement and functions. You wouldn't know to look at it that anything was going on. The only thing that is going on, so far as I know, is what would result from gravity or just the natural consequences of liquids and tissues giving way. All of it has to go somewhere.

To the naked eye, though, you're as still as you've ever been. To the observer looking down, you think nothing could be that still. A fan blowing overhead might disturb some loose hair but that's about it. Any other movement is strictly imaginary, unless, again, there's something internal giving way, which I've never witnessed. I have heard of movements, freaky, of course, but very harmless. It's like a neglected house settling. Eventually it all caves in.

Rigor mortis doesn't just happen; it has to get there somehow.

But this isn't a scientific tract on death and the hardening up of what once was soft and supple. I'm thinking instead of the death we have in life, being bunched up, tightened up, wound up, and inactive, shrunk up from the life that's truly within and all around us. Rigor mortis is a good term for it, with the opposite being what I shall call vigor vivus. I suffer and enjoy a little of each, respectively, but I want the balance to tip more toward the vigor vivus side.

Vigor vivus. What would that be? A pun? Actual Latin, maybe pidgin Latin, simply made up, I don't know. I wouldn't worry about it. You can easily see what it implies. You've got rigor and you've got vigor. Mortis is death, literal or otherwise, rigorously present -- nothing is stricter! -- and just to come up with something sort of similar, we're throwing out vivus. Like vivacious, viva, Vivian Vance, viaduct, valor, Vlasic pickles, Vlad the Impaler, etc.

So I can be sitting in a rigor mortis posture, waiting for or mentally hastening on the hardening of my mental, spiritual, psychological, and even physical arteries and channels. Or I can be demonstrating that there's more to me than giving up and falling apart, with vigor vivus. Taking life by the nuts and not letting go. Sending up the flag of life and saluting it. Everyone's got the rights of first refusal if you have any life and sentience at all. So why refuse?

If you haven't got goals, get some! If you're not up and with it, you're dying. Get up, get going! Vivus is for the viving, so vive with all your might! That's the best revenge, to vive vell...

Today, I vill practice vigor vivus!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bowling With Bricks

Bowling balls are expensive. And the whole thing with drilling holes in them to match your fingers and thumb, it's all too much. You make one little mistake, like a hole too big or small, you're out $400 or less. And since I'm all thumbs, the added drilling costs are very high.

But bricks are not only economical, they're downright cheap. Meaning you'll never see a rich brick maker, unless they make up for the cheapness on volume. Which could very well be, because usually if you need one brick, you need a thousand.

That is, if you're not buying them for bowling. If you're looking for a bowling brick, you really only need one*, if you find just the right one, or you might get a few, like some smaller, more supple bricks if you want to go for a tricky spare.

You might raise the objection that bowling balls roll, and that's what gets them from one end of the lane to the other. You're depending on the circular shape to keep it moving as it seeks a place of stationary rest but never finds it till it meets with an immovable barrier. Sure, those are true points. But anyone can roll a bowling ball, there's no challenge in that. How about heaving a brick down the lane for five or six games. By the time you get through, you'll be sweating, your arm is sore, and your fingers are more or less torn to shreds. (A glove is good, for wimps.)

There's definitely one thing a brick has over the ball, even if it's a matter of storage. And that's this, when you put your ball in your carrying case, if you set it down it'll roll away. But not a brick. You set it down and it stays right there, because the generally square or rectangular shape doesn't have any give. When I had a bowling ball, I'd put the case in the closet, and, guess what, the next time I needed it it may have rolled all the way to the garage, and that's up hill. It was very frustrating to be looking all over the neighborhood for my ball. Now, with a brick, not only does it stay in one spot, it's harder to get to the car, since you can't drag it as easily as a ball.

Of course, if your experience is like mine, it takes some persuading to get the typical bowling alley owner to let you throw a good size concrete block at the pins. It seems they're a little put out, saying the bricks cause damage to the floor, which may be true, although I'd simply say, "Use it or lose it." If you can't offer the service your customers want, you might just go out of business. Then what? You're sitting there with an empty bowling alley, your kids are hungry, and your bills go unpaid.

The first time this happened to me, we were at one of the bowling alleys, and I guess the guy wasn't paying that close of attention to what we were doing. But a bowling alley is about the size of a mall. If you're off at the bar, or by the vending machines, or at the other end polishing lanes, you don't necessarily know what's going on at the other end.

Anyway, we're down there heaving bricks. And sure enough, the floor was taking on some damage. I don't know if it was faulty wood or what. But after only about five games, a big hole started opening up on my lane, and you can guess what happened next. I had to go searching for the manager and asked him to help me: "Could you help me get my brick out of the basement?" He came running and, I must say, he was less than gracious.

*I should add one pointer for any brick newbies out there. Since the bricks don't roll back, it's helpful to have several on hand. And maybe a wheelbarrow to collect them when they've piled up. Or, if you like a bigger challenge, you could replace the wheel with a big concrete block and just push it back on the next lane.

Monday, April 11, 2011

You Left Your Father's House

Did you leave your father's house? Shame on you. But birds gotta fly, and if you left perhaps it was for the best.

It's a matter of outcomes, which we can't always foresee, and circumstances. Was he left alone with no one for company, no one for errands, no one for tasks he couldn't do around the house? For that it seems like condemnation is the appropriate judgment. But was he surrounded by neighbors, other family, friends, a doctor or nurse? And did he have a substantial nest egg so he would want for nothing, fitting in a periodic vacation, maybe a trip around the world? In those cases, the judgment would have to be a little more lenient. More power to you.

Judging those who've left their father's house is a job for an old greybeard prophet, one who would walk the perimeter of the town, staring at the sun and hearing the still small voice from above. It's not hard for me to picture him going about his work, with the people of the town gathered on the wall, waiting for his infallible verdict. "Did I betray my father?" ... "Am I a shame to my family, to mankind?" ... Or, "Was my father left wanting for nothing, thereby thankfully letting me off the hook?" ... Or, let's say your father died and you provided for him, "Did I pay the bill for the nurse or doctor?" ... But what if he died in shameful circumstances, crawling the streets, calling out for you. In that case your question should be, "Shall I submit to my judgment and bow before the old prophet?"

The old prophet walks with an old gnarly stick, sometimes losing the top end of it in the face of the sun. It's quite a sight, it curls my hair. He's able to gauge things by instinct, seeing right to the heart of guilt or your plausible defense. "Father, O father, unlock the door and let me back in! Let me make things right!" Your howls go unheeded, and there's nothing more stark than that, a guilty man howling into the void, his pulse throbbing in time to the heat. "Boom chicka boom," like that...

You think back to the days before it was too late. You think of the old home place, a modest little house, never enough for you. You fought your father tooth and nail everyday, trying to make your own way. The walls were assaulted by the filthy language that streamed from your mouth, when you spoke to his face and broke his heart (1), and (2) when you were alone in your room, still seething, your mouth vomiting forth a stream of invective as big as Bunyan's ox and twice as blue. Shameful.

You think the ways your father did things, how he might pause and stutter, then accomplish his task. It was never good enough for you. Not you, who knew it all at 13, but now, looking back, you break down and realize, pausing and stuttering was just another way of thinking, cogitating, gathering up and arranging the steps of the task in a particular sequence, the kind of planning that makes something easier. But you didn't think of that at the time. All you knew was your father was a foolish old man, someone who didn't know his way in the world, a man of folly. What would you give to take it all back, now that it's too late? What would you give?

You think of the hopes he had for you. And they were huge. I'll turn my head while you think on your own. Pitiful.

Maybe you had a problem of Dad versus Mom, the old pair of opposites known as the rational side versus the emotional side. Mom was easier to deal with, but is easy always best? You tipped the balance to the emotional side, when the proper course would've been to keep it in equilibrium. If anything, you should've tipped the balance to the rational side, because Dad was right, Dad was so right.

I can imagine how it must have been, him sitting in his chair waiting for his wayward child to return, as the child sowed his or her wild oats, wasting the last bit of vigor and substance. It's a sad picture. Then finally you buckled down, got a job, got your own place, then had kids.

But somewhere, here or in glory, there's an old man in an easy chair, deep in thought, wondering, "Will the old prophet carry my message to my children. At long last, will they hear?"