Monthly Archives: May 2013
She met the Old Man when he rescued her from the cult. Well, rescue is such a—what’s the word? Subjective. Yeah. Rescue is a subjective term. She was broke, see? And living on the road like so many were in those days. In those times, right after everybody admitted to themselves that things weren’t going to get better, people finally stopped looking to the governments or corporations to save them and hold civilization intact. Those were dark times. Depressing times. Brutal and terrifying times. Whole cities burned to ash. But they got what was coming to them in the end, I suppose. So it was no big thing for a pretty young girl to be a broke vagrant scamming for a few bucks and a hot meal.
Cults had started popping up in those days like pimples on a fry cook. Something to do with the last cries of the desperate to a deaf and apathetic God, I suppose. Lots of cults offered signing bonuses. $50 dollars and a ham sandwich is what she sold her eternal soul for…or tried to anyway. Before the pen was slapped from her hand and the needle for the blood sample deftly snatched and shoved into the cult nurse’s arm. Howled like a stuck sow, too. This caused the Old Man to chuckle.
The girl wasn’t laughing though. She turned on her would-be savior, eyes blazing like a chemical fire. “What the hellz with you asshole?”
The Old Man shrugged and fished around his patched coat pocket, producing a half-smoked cigarette. “Just saw you about to make a mistake and I couldn’t let you do it. You gotta light?” he begged.
“Fuck off, mister.”
“Ya know what they want your blood for, right?”
“It’s fifty bucks and a ham sandwich! Who cares why they want my blood? I haven’t eaten in two days!”
He shrugged again, his eyes glinting beneath the wide-brimmed hat that shadowed his face, even in the light. “Suit yourself. I’ll tell ya what. I’ll give ya $100 and a free meal, that’s right a whole meal, if you walk with me to the diner across the way there and let me explain a few things to ya.”
She eyed him warily. Rape and murder were daily threats for any vagrant, much less a 21 year old girl. But it was only across the street and it was in a public place.
“I ain’t gonna do nothin to ya. Hellz, you were about to sell yourself over to this kooky band of bullshit artists.” The cultists grumbled. “What have you got to lose?” He pulled a crumpled hundred dollar bill from his ratty jeans pocket and showed it to her. “See? Got the money. Now let me buy ya dinner, girl.”
She looked to the cultists who began protesting and forcefully urging her to sign. The she looked to the Old Man, eyes glinting and flashing a $100. “Sorry,” she told the cultists and broke from their grip.
They started after her, but a look from the Old Man stopped them in their tracks. “That’s right, you bloodsucking bastards. You see me. Now back off and go find some other vagrants to swindle.”
They backed away slowly, hands raised in surrender.
“Who are you?” wondered the girl.
But the Old Man didn’t respond. He grabbed her by the arm, leading her to the diner. “C’mon. Let’s get some food in our bellies. Could be the last cheeseburgers in the whole damn state.”
Thanks Eric Keys for thinking I’m Epically Awesome enough for an award. I suppose I better make up…er, I mean LIST 1o awesome facts about myself.
1. Once, in the days before cellphones, I got a flat tire in the middle of the night. I had to walk to the nearest house and use the only phone they had: in the master bedroom which mom, dad and a whole gaggle of kids were sleeping in. No one even got out of bed.
2. My favorite baseball team is no longer a team. R.I.P. Montreal Expos. When I was a kid, I’d scour stores for Expos gear and hardly ever found any. Now, it’s apparently the choice gear of young thugs and I see it on every little miscreant with his pants sagging to his knees. Go figure.
3. I fix computers for a paycheck; but secretly, I hate computers.
4. On a road trip to Reno my buddies and I were running low on gas money. So when we stopped in Vegas on the way back, we elected the best gambler in the group to take the remainder of our funds and win us more at blackjack. He lost.
5. On another trip to Vegas I was harassed by hookers when my friend mistook a business card for a “Private Exotic Dancer” to actually be a Private Exotic Dancer. When he figured out what was going on and sent the…uh…Private Dancer away, the agency kept sending more to the room on a sliding scale of looks. The final one looked something like a Norfin Troll.
6. Sometimes I cry at movies.
7. I believe in magic and miracles. Or the magic of miracles. Or the miracle of magic.
8. While at a bar in Chicago, I was approached by a Bachelorette Party on a scavenger hunt. They asked for my boxers. Thinking I was clever; I went into the bathroom, took them off and dipped them in the toilet. They took them anyway and bought me a drink.
9. I enjoy ghost hunting/ paranormal investigating.
10. I believe in the power of the human imagination to either create the future or destroy it.
I hope those were epically awesome enough for ya’ll. Thanks again to Eric for nominating me. Here’s three to send on down the line:
Moments With Millie: Great poetry and insight. Good blog to read with morning coffee. 😀
Mere Inkling: Cool stuff and well written.
Words of Birds: Great poetry blog.
I’m fairly sure some of you have heard of Robert E. Howard. I’m sure all of you have heard of Conan the Barbarian. Conan was Howard’s most popular character though he birthed many others. He’s also credited with single-handedly creating the genre of “sword and sorcery”. Where did this pioneering writer see most of his works printed? Strictly in pulp magazines. The junk mags of the depression era. He, sadly, never published an actual book during his life. Today’s anecdote comes from a conversation he had with Novalyne Price Ellis, the local English teacher.
Ms. Price commented that she wanted a side job writing for the pulps like Robert did.
He looked her square in the eye and said, “It’s one or the other. You can’t do both.”
—taken from “One Who Walked Alone.”
And isn’t it true? There’s this line. This unspoken step in the proper social progression. See, when we’re young, we have all these grand ideas for the legends we’re going to make for ourselves. We’re told over and over that we can be ANYTHING we want to be. So we want to be things like painters, actors, astronauts, writers and pro athletes. These desires ultimately shape who we become. But here’s the kicker: Somewhere along the way these dreams get abandoned.
Artists end up architects. Actors become politicians. Writers become English Teachers. And pro athletes sell cars. This happens in almost every instance because at some point most people abandon the search for their dreams and become comfortable in a “practical lifestyle”. But why?
“It’s one or the other. You can’t do both.”
So what about the intrepid fools who don’t give up? Some people never lose sight of their dreams. Some people can’t. No matter how hard they try to fit in, to become comfortable and complacent. Sure, these passionate fools cross the line from time to time. Even starving artists have to eat. But they never stay. The pull of their dream is too strong, their passion too great. For these daring individuals, life isn’t about seeing how high you can “level up” your material junk. It’s about creating. It’s about leaving behind a legacy that will live on and inspire lives long after they’ve passed.
Novalyne Price never wrote for the pulps. She was an English Teacher for most of her life and her only published work was a memoir about her experience with Howard that was written after she retired. And Robert E. Howard? He never crossed the line into proper social progression. He committed suicide at age 32 and his legacy survives to this day.
Tags: astronaut, career, celebrities, Conan, creativity, dreams, english teacher, Entertainment, jobs, life, literature, One Who Walked Alone, painter, passion, pro athlete, Pulp. magazines, Robert E. Howard, social progression, Society, sword and sorcery, unhappy, videogames, work, writer, Writing
before they are
screwed or blued.
Nothing to talk about
talk about nothing.
crying to mother
(her stolen mascara
running down smooth cheeks
in rivulets of watery night)
because coffee was cold
and life’s unfair.
She’ll make it alright
with hugs and promises.
No more tears.
Only smiles now.
tomorrow is always a new day
for cool hipsters.
Dear Frito Lay,
I recently purchased one of your 99 cent bags of Nacho Doritos. Imagine my surprise when I opened the bag and discovered it to be less than 1/3 full. Really, Frito Lay? Really? What in the hell is going on? You fill the bag with air to give it the impression of being full. I understand the necessity from your warped and evil corporate world view. No one in their right mind would pay for an empty bag of chips. But that is exactly what we’re getting. I know that chip companies have been employing this shady tactic for some time, but this doesn’t make it right.
I know times are tough and the economy is shit. But you can’t tell me that your product costs so much to manufacture that you have to cut portions and raise costs to make a profit. That’s just greedy. That’s just you wanting to take every last cent from the John Q. Publics that devour your unhealthy chemically concocted chips. Is it really that necessary to rob good, honest people of what little money remains to them?
Honestly, your products aren’t all that great. And to pay 99 cents for what amounts to a 25 cent bag of chips is more than a little infuriating. It’s deplorable. I won’t bother asking how you sleep at night because I know: on your king-sized mattresses stuffed with the profits of your ill-gotten gains. All the while wallowing in Cool Ranch and Extreme Nacho crumbs and relaxing to the aromatic therapy of a Buffalo and Bleu Cheese scented candle. Yeah, Frito Lay, that’s how you roll, alright. And that’s fine. We still live in America and you still have the freedom to roll any way you want. But I won’t be rolling with your cadre of thieves and marketing con artists. Keep your overpriced bags of air. I won’t be buying them any more.
I stopped in at Wal-Mart on my lunch break today. I needed to pick up a few things to make a smoothie. I scurried around the store, collecting my few items and then rushed to the self checkout lane. I got:
1 Navel Orange
1 half-gallon of milk
1 little container of strawberries
1 container of Greek yogurt.
In all, the visit was less than $10. I paid and waited for my receipt. But before my receipt could finish printing the lady manning the self checkout area comes over to me and says,
“Let me see your receipt,” she demanded, snatching it from the register before I could get it.
I said, “Are you serious?”
She nodded and started digging through my groceries.
“What are you doing?” I said angrily. “What are you looking for?”
Her answer was to point to my container of Greek yogurt and claim, “I thought that was a thing of red chile. My bad,” before walking away like nothing happened.
So seriously Wally World? WTF? What was it about me that peaked your invasive interests? The clerk totally ignored the very ominous looking man in a white muscle-shirt, khaki shorts and covered in gangster tattoos eyeing the candy rack while he thought no one was looking. But that would be profiling, and profiling is wrong and socially unacceptable. I guess walking around Wal-Mart in pants and a work shirt is a little too suspicious for the lunch time crowd. But that’s profiling. And profiling is wrong and socially unacceptable…except at airports and now Wal-Mart.
And in case you were wondering, the smoothie was freakin’ delicious!
Counter Girl: Welcome to Big Booty’s BBQ. What can I get for you today?
Vegan Man: We’d like a pound of chopped meat.
Counter Girl: You’re aware that our meat has meat in it?
Vegan Man: Excuse me?
Counter Girl: Our chopped meat is made with meat cooked in our BBQ sauce.
Vegan Man: Wait, what? We came here for the vegan cuisine. We’ve heard wonderful things about your vegan brisket and tofu honey ham.
Counter Girl: We don’t have that.
Vegan Man: So what you’re telling me is that your meat has actual meat in it?
Counter Girl: Yes sir.
Vegan Man: This is unacceptable. I’d like to see a manager.
Manager: (After a brief moment) Hello sir. I’m the manager. How can I help you?
Vegan Man: I was wondering if you were aware of the meat content of your meat?
Manager: I am sir. Our meat is made with meat. Copious and unapologetic amounts of meat.
Vegan Man: Well what are we supposed to eat then?
Manager: I’d suggest the chopped meat. It’s delicious and simmered in barbecue sauce.
Vegan Woman: But we’re vegans!
Manager: I’m sorry to hear that.
Vegan Man: Excuse me?
Manager: Are you illiterate vegans too?
Vegan Man: Where do you get off?
Manager: Usually in the privacy of my own home. But I was asking about being illiterate vegans because that big sign outside says “Big Booty’s BBQ”.
Vegan Woman: We can read, thank you very much.
Manager: Then what about blindness? Are you blind vegans?
Vegan Woman: Why would you ask that?
Manager: Just trying to understand you. I don’t have your particular affliction. Maybe you went blind from vitamin and mineral deficiencies? The reason I ask is because to either side of the words “Big Booty’s BBQ”, which you seem to be able to read, there’s a picture of a smiling cow and pig. Now if were a picture of a smiling broccoli and tofu I could understand your confusion, but…
Vegan Man: Look. We’re vegans. And we–
Manager: Yes. You’ve mentioned that. And then mentioned it again. And again. I get it. You stuff yourselves so full of tofu and unfermented soy that your voices soften and your bodies get all plump and squishy. You know who else is a vegan?
Vegan Man: Who?
Manager: The cows and pigs that become our delicious chopped meat. Grain fed vegans from day one. Really adds a flavor to the meat…
Vegan Man: Why are you looking at me like that?
Manager: Like what?
Vegan Man: Hungrily. Almost like…
Manager: I was wondering how you’d taste as a cow? Because to be honest…
Vegan Woman: See? I told you we should’ve went to Vegan Town!
Vegan Man: Enough woman! You know that place is full of hipsters and wannabes! And their tofu burgers are shitty at best.
Vegan Woman: At least they don’t want to eat us!
Manager: Hey! I resent that! Just because you’d probably make delicious barbecue doesn’t mean I want to eat you! I was just wondering. It was purely academic. Now, what would you like to order?
Vegan Man: We were thinking about the chopped meat…
Manager: You know our chopped meat contains meat, right?
Vegan Man: You’re kidding…
Tags: barbecue, barbecue sauce, bbq sauce, chopped meat, Comedy, cow, dining, Drink, Food, humor, manager, meat, meat manager, pig, Play, restaurant, restaurants, script, soy, tofu, vegan, vegan cuisine, vegetarian, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, Writing
The Pauline Christians tried to obliterate and discredit those they saw as Gnostic pretenders. They really did. But even the canonical books of the bible are full of Gnostic references. The entire Gospel of John, for instance, is seen by some to be a quasi-Gnostic tract that was written to combat Gnostic teachings. A Gnostic-Pauline text, if you will. Despite the battle between factions, the living truth can never be hidden. The Apostle Paul alludes to Gnostic teachings in his letter to the Ephesians. Enjoy!!
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age and against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)
Now understand that Gnostics talked quite frequently of the “principalities”, “powers”, “rulers of darkness” (i.e. human agents of evil) and “spiritual hosts of wickedness”. The difference was, they talked about them in different ways. Ways that other early Christian sects didn’t like. For instance, Gnostics thought that these principalities created our universe. They believed the real God existed in a realm apart from the gross material world and the principalities were warped reflections of His Glory. Being a reflection of God (warped or no) these entities tried to create. But they could only shape matter, not infuse it with life. It only gets more interesting from there.
Easy to see why the early Pauline sects didn’t like the Gnostics. They told the same story in a different way. They accused the Paulines of worshiping the false creator gods (or the principalities) and not the true God. This infuriated Paul (who reportedly had an already short fuse) and he and his followers lashed out. So like they did with so much of the world’s spiritual knowledge and practices, the Pauline Christians claimed what bits and pieces of Gnostic teaching they liked and then after demonizing the rest, threw it out.
When Emperor Constantine had his “conversion” on the battlefield and called early Christian leaders together to forge a new state religion, Gnosticism’s fate as heresy was sealed. Nobody said the struggle against the rulers of darkness of this age would be easy…
Tags: Bible, Christianity, church, Constantine, early christian sects, emperor constantine, Ephesians, Gnostic, Gnosticism, God, Holy Bible, Paul, Pauline, principalities, Religion, rulers of darkness, Salvation, spiritual hosts, Spirituality, theology, truth, Universe, wickedness
“They”. “Them”. “The Establishment”. “The Machine.” Whatever it’s called, it’s the same thing: The ultimate force plotting the sinister downfall of humanity. PKD called it “The Empire”. This force is always illusive and only seems exposed through “glitches” in the system. Fighting the system is futile, because even if you win, you lose.
“The Empire is the institution, the codification, of derangement; it is insane and imposes its insanity on us by violence, since its nature is a violent one.
To fight the Empire is to be infected by its derangement. This is a paradox. Whoever defeats a segment of the Empire becomes the Empire; it proliferates like a virus, imposing its form on its enemies. Thereby it becomes its enemies.” —-Philip K. Dick, “Valis” p. 235
Now think back to every movement that has challenged the system in the past 100 years. What’s happened to them? What happened to the hippie movement? To the Tea Party? To the Occupy movement? Each one was infiltrated and co-opted by the “Empire”. Each one mutated into what it so desperately fought against. And there you have the paradox.
Tags: awakening, awareness, Christianity, Empire, Exegesis, Gnosticism, hippie movement, insanity, inspiration, Occupy, paradox, Philip K. Dick, Philosophy, politics, quotes, Religion, Spirituality, Tea Party, Valis, virus