Doomsday: Wop Bop Baloo Bop A Wop Bam BOOM!

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end
It hurts to set you free
But you’ll never follow me

– The Doors

Hark thee heathens! I’ve been told that this will be my final post, especially since I probably won’t be able to post again until after May 21st, the advent of ‘End Times’. Oh, you haven’t heard? May 21st is Judgement Day. The doomsayers want you to trust that this time they have done the math. OK, but don’t panic because it won’t really be the end of the world, at least not yet; that won’t come for some five months. Yes, the end of the world, and technically speaking the entire universe, will come to an end on October 21st. Mark that day on your caledar for the foremost forecast is for fire, lots of fire… the ‘hell on Earth’ kind.

Now in all honesty, I really don’t want to make light of some folk’s fervent beliefs, but I do have to admit that in terms of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic prophecies a lot of us have been there and done that already. Many a false prophecy has come and gone, and many a bible thumper cum humper has reset his abascus and cancelled his Ebay listings.

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Earthquakes, Tsunamis & A Small World, After All

Over the last century, people have observed that due to technology, the world has gotten a lot smaller.

  • In 1903 the first public transatlantic two-way wireless communication between Europe and America occurred.
  • In 1924, the first around-the-world airplane flight was achieved.
  • In 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnick 1, the first satellite to orbit the world.
  • In 1982, the term Internet was coined, and in 1991 the network went public. Since then electronic communication regularly circumnavigates the globe in seconds.

In 2011, Mother Nature threw her hat into the ‘ring of fire’ as well. Yesterday, March 11th, at 2:46pm, a devastating Earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale ravaged Japan’s northeast coast, triggering a 23-foot tsunami sweeping residents, residences and tons of debris miles inland. The quake also spawned a flotilla of tsunamis threatening almost 20 countries across the Pacific Ocean, including Mexico, the United Stated and Canada. Hours later, in California and Oregon, many boats and harbors were extensively damaged by these wild waves. It was reported that a man had been swept out to sea.

Thus far, as of this writing, the enormity of this natural disaster has yet to be tallied. It is revealed only in the acres of mud, scorched earth and large swaths of wreckage that blanket the land. The Earth has yet to give up her dead in the large numbers that have only been speculated at.

The global unaffected gather around televisions and computer monitors to gasp at the horrifically surrealistic images that affront their senses and to grasp at their significance. But, to be honest, who among us can say that anyone is truly ‘unaffected’ in this day and age of transglobal communication and sensitivities? It’s one thing to see pictures and streaming video, and to share in the communal melancholy. It’s another to fathom how we are all linked to the fragility of our ecosystem that reminds us that we are all victims of the Butterfly Effect. We are all sensitive dependants of chaotic world events, and living examples of the concept of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in Chaos Theory. One needs not be versed in applied mathematics to know that misery loves company, or that empathy breeds altruism, or that one large asteroid hitting home may doom us all. Just ask the dinosaurs.

In 1990, our planet was photographed by the Voyager 1 spacecraft. The photo, dubbed, The Pale Blue Dot revealed just how small the Earth is in comparison with the rest of the universe – a point which was further driven home by the late famed astronomer, astrophysicist, and cosmologist, Carl Sagan, on whose orders the photographed was taken. In his book, Cosmos, he wrote “The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent to the concerns of such puny creatures as we are.” This may be true. Yet, the one thing that has become increasingly clear is that despite our smallness and that of our shrinking planet … we are all in this together.

PS. Thanks for reading. My prayers go out to the victims of this tragedy. For those who would like to help, please find below a list of credible agencies that are currently taking donations for a relief effort for Japan.American Red Cross            Convoy Of HopeSave The Children                International Medical Corps

Global Giving                       More Information:

Suggested Reading:
Cosmos Chaos: Making a New Science Loving Each Other The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society
How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Family Safe in a Crisis Wright's Complete Disaster Survival Manual: How to Prepare for Earthquakes, Floods, Tornadoes, & Other Natural Disasters Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family

My Morning Constitutional

On more than many a morning, I wake to find the silence deafening. I sigh, acknowledging the cliche. All the while, the tension mounts just beyond my window, resonating off people, buildings, technology and wheeled transport – works in progress all. Yes, there are delights unseen awaiting, broiling us in microwaves of undulating currents, modulating the air we choke on.I’ve yet to rise, but I’m already on my way. My eye stings, my nose runs, my breath already soured from stale sleep. A short while later, the comfort of breakfast soothes and then bloats.

I am hurried to venture nothing with nothing to gain but the unholy pursuit itself that drives me to distraction. It’s a sacred ritual for some; it’s death to me. The loss of precious moments, youth, exuberance and creativity.

I think that I am, but perhaps I’m not. Eager to purge this allergen, I scratch, but the irritation persists. There is no ointment for this inflammation. No creams. Not even a poultice or a vapor rub.

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Social Networking: An Exercise In Irrelevancy

In the 1973 horror classic, The Exorcist, a priest asks the demonic squatter “who are you?” The pea soup spewing demon replies “I am no one.”  Of course, the demon was speaking backwards so it took Father Damian some time to understand that it wasn’t speaking in tongues.

By the same token, it took me awhile to understand that Twitter is a bit more than a poor man’s Facebook. In fact, as I now understand it, it’s even more than a generic equivalent of the old MySpace Status Update feature. Yes, I now clearly see that the pseudo psychosocial role it plays is to confirm what apparently everyone else seems to know … except you and me. And, that is that we are completely irrelevant.

Ok, I know the truth hurts, but let’s face it, it’s true. Unless your last name is Lohan, Hilton, Spears, Pitt, Jolie or Bieber, you are no one – especially if you have ever attempted to conquer the Triple Crown of social networking platforms: MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. If you don’t believe me or refuse to admit to your social irrelevancy, consider the following evidence submitted for your review (tick all that apply):

MySpace: Keeping Up With The Olsen Twins

You sign up for MySpace and quickly discover that the rules of the game seem to be that the one with the most friends wins. You try valiantly and vainly to keep up with the a host of celebrities and other strangers who keep asking you to “add them” feigning the promise of real kinship, but offering only a once off “thanks for the add”. You eventually begin to wonder how the public at large might perceive the long parade of these sentiments in your comment stream. In time, after approximately hitting the 2543 friend  mark, it dawns on you that your actions have revealed you to be nothing more than a pathetic voyeur-like slug trolling for some confirmation of your cyber existence.

At some point, you most likely attempt to show your static legion of who’s noones that you are a “people person” worth getting to know. And so, under the delusion that positive energy attracts positive energy, you begin updating your status with daily positive affirmations such as “I feel great today!” or “Happy to be alive!” or “Today, I’m walking on sunshine!” A response to your pie in the sky proclamations  include a note from “The Raging Prune Spirits”, a Psychobilly music band outside of Saskatchewan, inviting you to come “punch the monkey” with them at “Manvir’s Hideaway”. Another response comes in the form of a pugnose Pekingese dog sporting a yellow bow named “Barf” that comments “better than walking on what I left behind”. Hope begins to build with the arrival of a message in your inbox with the title: “You Are The Best!” …. it’s from a dead rockstar you admired exclaiming how much he values your and his other 120,642 friends’ friendship, while also reminding you that he has a new “Best Of” collection out on iTunes.

Disheartened, you eventually abandon updating your MySpace page. Even three months later when you check in to see if in your absense you were missed, you discover to your chagrin that only Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrtets, America’s Next Top Model, Judd Jugmonger, Glenn Beck and a friend of Shane Dawson wants to be your friend… so does a Faust quoting cyborg named “Kilroy 3.0”.

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Profundity In 50 Words Or Less

I was told the other day that although I am a “good” writer, my posts are wearisomely verbose. It was suggested that my long winded rambling ruminations required compression, lest I risk losing my audience.

I was therfore advised to tame my wild thought processes and repress that which comes naturally to me. I believe other words included in the conversation were: sanitize, censor, abbreviate, emasculate and whittle.

In compliance, and as such, I will endeavor in earnest to wrangle my stream of consciousness in order to attain literary profundity in 50 words or less. [Enter pregnant pause here] CRAP! I’ve already written double that! Well heck, at least I gave it a shot. Ramble on …


PS. Thanks for reading. Do you write what you think, or do you just think too much? Does having a brevity of words suggest self censorship? Let me know.

Suggested Reading:

Henry Miller on Writing (New Directions Paperbook)  Edit Yourself: A Manual for Everyone Who Works with Words  The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourself  How to Write a Damn Good Novel: A Step-by-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling
Dada and Surrealism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)  The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Well  Writing With Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process  Living the Writer's Life: A Complete Self-Help Guide
Suggested Listening:
Subterranean Homesick Blues  I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself  Ramble On

What Time Is It?

When explaining to students the difference between a wish and a hope, I like to say that we hope for things that are possible, but we wish for things that are impossible. The question of the day: do we wish for more hope or do we hope for more wishes?

We spend barrels of time looking across the street or out the window, staring at what we wish we had. We desperately need to know what’s going on “over there” and muse whimsically on the green grass that grows way over yonder, over the hill. Time flies as our eyes wander, sometimes even seeing right through that which is right before us. We’re fixated on what we don’t have … especially time.

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Another Radio Accident – Neil Rogers (1942-2010)

Neil Rogers (R) and the “Bird” (L)

One of the opening scenes of the movie “The Boat That Rocked” is a little British boy, in 1966, going to bed listening to a little muffled portable transistor radio tucked under his pillow, enthralled to the sounds of devilish delights in the form of Rock and Roll. The scene took me way back to my youth. I could relate to a point, for somewhere … somewhere way across the pond, I too went to bed with a little transistor radio tucked under my pillow listening to the same rhythmic art of the muses that breathed life into me. However, as Judd Jugmonger might say, I didn’t know no nothin’ ’bout no devil.

Now, Anita Bryant, a former Oklahoma beauty queen and fundamentalist gay rights basher would most likely say that the devil eventually made his way to South Florida some years later and raised his ugly head in the form of Jim Morrison’s member…. which of course she never really saw, nor did anyone else for that matter. She, a spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Commission and yelper of “breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine” nevertheless, spearheaded a smear campaign and decency rally against the Lizard King. Six warrants on obscenity charges were issued for Jim Morrison. Despite a lack of evidence, a jury eventually convicted Morrison of only two misdemeanors of indecent exposure and open profanity. It was a crock; there was never any cock.

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I think, therefore I am distracted.

Photo source

More than occasionally, I get distracted by things I take more than a passing interest in. I’m working and then somehow “tele-pathetically”, my attention and thoughts have been teleported to some obscure webpage which I micromanage my way through. It just takes one stray thought to hijack my stream of consciousness. It could be about something trivial I read in the news that morning, or something profound I thought about the day before, or even something ethereal I dreamed about … or daydreamed about. Whatever it is, I pursue this new found interest with behemoth vehemence, almost as if I’m championing some cause.

It could be, I think, a coping mechanism of some sorts that I inherited genetically from my father. You see, he was a real estate appraiser, and a reformed mathematician. Half the day he spent driving around different neighborhoods looking at “comparables” (houses that had previously sold) and trying hard not to look like he was casing said neighborhoods for a future home invasion scheme. The other half of the day he would write up his appraisal reports: monotonous long and short forms to be completed with data and figures that mortgage lenders would eventually rip borrowers off with. When completing such forms, my father needed distraction to break up the stress of monotony. If at home or at the office, he’d listen to talk or sports radio. Usually though, he liked to sit at busy places so he could  look up at the all the hustle and bustle and watch people and the world go by. Really! You’d find him sitting at a mall, at the airport, in a hotel lobby, etc. Had Starbucks been around when he was working he most likely would have been a fixture. He had an active mind… so he needed distraction. I’m pretty much the same way … (pensive pregnant pause entered here) … though most likely due to the raging modicum of my mom in me as well, I fear that a small part of my willingness and penchant to be distracted might also betray a much needed break from reality.

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Yesterday, I ate meat!

Yesterday, I ate like a pig. I mean, really, what’s the point of starting a diet without having a last hurrah? In a similar vein, what’s the point in making New Year’s resolutions without breaking one right from the get go? Given the choice between bacon and eggs versus a banana and tea is a no brainer – and on New Year’s Day of all days. I reckoned that my gastronomically poor choice of breakfast items could be justified in my delighting deliriously in the sheer amusement of knowing I was still just a non-conformist at heart. Principles trump resolutions. By the way, I ate the banana, too.

Yesterday’s menu included roasted chicken and potatoes, honey glazed ham, cornbread stuffing (from scratch!), candied yams, green bean almondine with bacon and red peppers, and carrot cake. All washed down with leftover Martini & Rossi Asti Spumante. I decided not to make pumpkin pie as that would have been excess. Didn’t want to send the wrong message to our guests.

Yesterday was yesterday; today is today. I took one of those purple pills for indigestion and began my diet in earnest. Despite the come hither beckoning of some garlic and chives cheese spread, I revelled in my banana and tea. Hooray! Soon, I’ll take a healthy stroll down the waterfront. I’ll walk as far as the local Starbucks and resist the taunting temptation of a Toffee Nut Latte with Caramel Syrup and Whipped Cream – and be proud of myself for doing so! You all should be proud of me, too, for such intestinal fortitude does not come easy to weak willed lovers of comfort food. After all, what’s the point of being a non-conformist if you have to conform to your own principles all the time?

Yesterday was nice, but thank God for January 2nd!

God speed to you all.

PS. Thanks for reading. What resolutions did you break and how quickly did you break them? Let me know. There’s strength in numbers.

Suggested Reading:

Cyrano De Bergerac  Dieting For Dummies   The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World

Suggested Listening:

Damn Right, Rebel Proud  Song Up In Her Head

In with the old, out with the new ….

In a conversation with my mom last week, she mentioned that it was easier to talk to me about “wooly things” than “straight things”. I asked what she meant by “wooly”; she had no response. It was just one of those sort of non-sequiturs that come along in conversation from time to time. The truth is I knew what she was talking about, even though the conversation’s subject matter was anything but “wooly”. It was about life and death, the passage of time and friends … but not so much about the meaning of life. As usual, what you see is not what you get. Yes, such is life.

I hung up on her and put on a cozy wool sweater that was unravelling. Again, such is life. All that we tether to us, eventually tatters and falls away.

Maybe my life would be better spent picking up the pieces of life’s daily dander, rather than incessantly scratching the itches of whims that come and go. Maybe not, but then since it’s New Year’s Eve, it’s a good time for pensiveness. That’s why I started this blog today. This coming New Year threatens to be a pretty bleak one. Yet, onwards I plod, sparkling wine in hand, surging forward to face it, not unlike a deer caught in a pickup’s headlights.

Time for some resolutions:
– Lose weight
– Make money
– Practice guitar one hour a day
– Write a blog
– Figure out what it all means

Being fairly realistic here, don’tcha think? Then again, maybe I’m just pulling the wool over my own eyes again… as usual. At least it’s better than sticking my head in the ground. After all, ignorance is bliss, but denial is just plain stupid.

Happy New Year.

PS. Thanks for reading. Some days you get philosophy, some days you get cornbread stuffing recipes. That’s just the way it goes.

Suggested Reading:

Tropic of Cancer Living Loving and Learning Mark Twain's Helpful Hints for Good Living: A Handbook for the Damned Human Race The Cornbread Gospels

Suggested Listening:

Already Free  Eli And The Thirteenth Confession  Smile  Jugmongers: Live At The Hootenanny