Monthly Archives: February 2011

Losing my Religion

It is starting to look a little like spring could come after all this year on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  I have had my doubts, I confess.  It is raining now, but, I had a small window this morning of dishwater sunshine, so I made use of it to clean out some perennial beds.  The peonies are poking their heads up, tulips too.  I filled ten big plastic garbage cans full of garden refuse and acquired my usual blister from the scissors.  It’s a tradition.

Gardening is a primary avenue of meditation for me.  I talk to myself and this morning I had a lot of things to talk about and a lot of questions that needed answers.  I made the mistake of watching TV earlier this morning.  The talking heads were on about how unions were killing America and the Governor of Wisconsin has become the golden boy of conservative thinkers for trying to break the unions of the teachers and public workers of his state.  According to him it’s their fault his state is broke.  They are just greedy.  He encourages us all to despise them for their greed and I thought about that while I cut ornamental grass stems and raked clear some daylily beds.

Don’t ask me why, but, that got me thinking about Ralphy Lipschitz  from the Bronx.  I admire Ralph.  I completely understand why he changed his name from Lipschitz to Lauren.  I think I would have done the same thing.  What troubled me this morning, as I cut back my crape myrtles, was how it was admirable of Ralphy to get people to pay $65 for a T-shirt and $89 for a bathing suit?  That got me thinking about NIKE sneakers.  I read the other day that the manufacturing cost of the most expensive pair of those babies, including the boat ride all the way from China, was $5… but, they retail for $150.  NIKE is a very admirable company, I’m sure you must agree.

As I sat there cutting back last years leaves of my “red-hot-pokers” I remembered a quote from an interesting character named Eric Hobsbawm.  He has written extensively on many subjects and is considered one of Britain’s most prominent historians.  He was born in 1917 to Leopold Percy Obstbaum and Nelly Grün.  A clerical error at birth altered his surname from Obstbaum to Hobsbawm.  He knows everything there is to know about Marxism and unlike Ralphy Lipschitz he kept the hand he was dealt.  Anyway, he said this…

Marxism is about leisure, not labour. It is a project that should be eagerly supported by all those who dislike having to work. It holds that the most precious activities are those done simply for the hell of it, and that art is in this sense the paradigm of authentic human activity. It also holds that the material resources that would make such a society possible already exist in principle, but are generated in a way that compels the great majority to work as hard as our Neolithic ancestors did. We have thus made astounding progress, and no progress at all.”

It was as I was pulling up the six foot brown stems of last years zinnias that I had the epiphany.  As I folded them to fit in the garbage can it occurred to me that I was a “stinking commie”. If there was any truth to what Eric Hobsbawm wrote I had no choice!  I don’t like to work if the definition of work is doing something you don’t really like to do, but HAVE TO, to put food on the table and a roof over your head.  If I have dedicated my life to anything it’s farting around, gardening, art and NOT doing things I don’t really want to do.  Is that wrong?  I have never thought so.

All at once something that I have been wondering about for weeks began to make sense.  Occasionally, just to see how the other half lives, I tune in to FOX News.  Whenever I do there is always a lot of talk going on about Socialism and Communism.  It seems, according to them, Democrats, Progressives and anyone who isn’t a Conservative Republican, like them, is really nothing but a stinking commie.  President Obama, besides not being an American, is a stinking commie too.  As a matter of fact almost anyone who isn’t a Republican voting Christian, proud to work in a non-union job and not the least bit envious of people who inherited millions or billions of dollars is… when you get right down to it… a highly suspicious character.

I never understood it before.  Now, it makes all the sense in the world.  I was foolishly under the impression that Communism was a dead duck.  I never knew any!  I thought Old Ronnie Reagan put the kay-bosh on what was left of Communism when he said… “Mr. Gorbachev, TEAR DOWN THAT WALL”… and down it came.  I thought even Red China was seeing the proverbial light and becoming more and more capitalist every day.  But, now I’m thinking I was wrong.

Glenn Beck is right!  Well, not “right” but he sure is getting the right message out there if you are a fat cat, a millionaire or a billionaire.  The unions have to be busted!  It must be a heinous sin to envy the wealth of another!  It must forever be a grievous mistake to ever think that there is more than enough in this world for all of us to share.  Government IS the problem if it gives ANYBODY the idea that that Sermon on the Mount baloney was anything but stinking commie propaganda.

I’m here to tell you, if food ever gets scarce and the gas stops flowing freely, what that Eric Hobsbawm guy has to say is going to start  making sense to a whole lot of people.   The only thing I can’t yet figure out is why Republicans want EVERYBODY to have lots of guns and lots of ammo.  I’m still working on that.  Lucky for me, I have lots more flower beds to clean out, but, so far, I’m thinking that could be just a mistake.



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A Tale of Two Cities – or, “Insanity is Our ONLY Defense”

I am putting the world on notice that TODAY I an officially giving up on any claim to sanity, any pretense to logic, clear thinking, rationality, common sense or sweet reason.  The artifice must end, the curtain on this charade has come down for me and I am free, perhaps, free for the first time in my adult life.  I feel great!

Now, before anyone gets to thinking that it’s time to call the men in the white coats, I assure you, I haven’t lost my senses, like Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning… “I’ve come to them”.  I have just stopped running from what I am, from what we all are.  I have decided to stop pretending that anything makes sense and, most of all, I have decided to stop wasting time and energy even trying.  I’m just going to have fun instead.  My epiphany has been, after a lifetime of searching, that “having fun” (without hurting or bringing harm to others, of course) is the only true purpose of human beings.  It’s so obvious to me now.

OK, before I get to telling you what the title of this essay is about I have to interject what I just heard on the morning news.  Politicians in Mississippi have just announced that they want to issue a license plate commemorating the life of the leader of the Ku Klux Klan.  In my new and enlightened state of mind I have no problem with that at all.  I think it is unfortunate that they missed the opportunity to announce this on Martin Luther King Day, but, better late than never I always say.

Now, to the real meat of this essay.  I have picked two cities I know at least a little something about.  Hollywood California because everybody knows about Hollywood… and Lynchburg Virginia because I live near there.

One, is the headquarters of “The Liberal Media” and the glorification of every depravity known to man.  “Tinsel Town” where the party never stops and bad publicity is far better than no publicity at all.  The other, the home of “The Moral Majority” where homosexuality remains a curable disease and nothing can cost you your good reputation faster than being caught dancing, or God forbid, drinking.  Both cities, though as far apart politically, socially, economically and philosophically as they can be, consider themselves the epitome of just what it is that makes America the great country it is.  AND THEY ARE RIGHT!

It is so clear to me now.  For so long I tried to put ducks in a row and force the jagged pieces of the puzzle of life to fit together as I “assumed” they must.  What a fool I was.

Here is a short list of people who are far more successful than me (and you) who live in Hollywood.  Tom Cruise, Chick Corea, Isaac Hays, Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley, John Travolta, Greta Van Susteren, Edgar Winter and Kirstie Alley.  Here is a taste of what they believe.

…”Xenu was the ruler of a Galactic Confederacy 75 million years ago, which consisted of 26 stars and 76 planets including Earth, which was then known as “Teegeeack”.The planets were overpopulated, with an average population of 178 billion.The Galactic Confederacy’s civilization was comparable to our own, with aliens “walking around in clothes which looked very remarkably like the clothes they wear this very minute” and using cars, trains and boats looking exactly the same as those “circa 1950, 1960” on Earth.  Xenu was about to be deposed from power, so he devised a plot to eliminate the excess population from his dominions. With the assistance of psychiatrists, he summoned billions of his citizens together under the pretense of income tax inspections, then paralyzed them and froze them in a mixture of alcohol and glycol to capture their souls.”…

I can’t give you a list, even a short one, of the famous and successful people who live in Lynchburg because, other than Jerry Falwell and his clan, I don’t think there were or are any.  BUT, there are thousands and thousands of Americans just like you and me that believe this…

…”An immortal, all seeing all knowing entity, lives in the sky.  He created EVERYTHING.  He did that somewhere between 6000 & 10,000 years ago.  Then he got incredibly pissed off and killed everybody and everything except for a few people he was fond of and two of every kind of animal.  He is starting to REALLY get pissed off again and will soon float up into the sky people whose sexual habits and “life Styles” he approves of, leaving their dentures and hearing aids and orthopedic appliances behind.  He is particularly pissed off at Democrats, Muslims and women who refuse to have all the babies he wants them to have.  Soon he will make all who did not believe in him VERY sorry.  Many of our politicians in Washington also feel deep in their hearts that this is true also, even if they have never visited Lynchburg.

Prior to today this kind of stuff made my head hurt.  John Travolta has his own 747 and Lynchburg airport isn’t big enough for him to land it there.  The Falwell Family has their own jet.  It’s much smaller, but, it is exactly the size the Sky Father wants them to have.  I drive a Saturn.  I can park it almost anywhere.

Thirty-thousand years ago our ancestors were drawing pictures of animals on cave walls that were so good that it makes many artists today embarrassed.  It makes me embarrassed.  They were burying their dead with flowers and elaborate gifts for them to make good use of in the next life.  A few things have changed since then, but, not really very much.  On the one hand we have a lot more stuff.  On the other we do a lot less dancing.  I see it as kind of a wash.

The most important part of the last sentence in that last paragraph are the three little words… “I see it”.

In the end it’s about farting around and laughing as much as you can.  It’s about understanding that absolutely ANYTHING goes provided it doesn’t make it more difficult to fart around and laugh.  [I’m going to write that again]

It’s about understanding that absolutely ANYTHING goes provided it doesn’t make it more difficult to fart around and laugh.

Alan Watts once wrote that Life is the “game” of Black and White.  He said that the biggest mistake anybody could ever make was to confuse it for the game of… “White must win”.

Forgive me for saying so, but… that guy knew his shit.


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