Deluded Warriors

whose propaganda is it anyway

Isn’t it hilarious how those crazy Islamic terrorists brainwash young recruits, transforming them from disillusioned urchins with no hope of bettering their miserable life into heartless suicide bombers doing “God’s work”? The boys are promised martyrdom and dozens of virgin lovers waiting for them in the hereafter. By killing as many of the enemy as possible when they explode, the pitifully bamboozled jihadis believe that they’re leaving this world better than they found it.

Ridiculous isn’t it?

Conversely, it’s not ridiculous at all to tell similar stories to our brave boys in uniform. The bad guys are dishonorable. Our good guys are honorable – and it’s an unmatched honor to serve your country, whether it costs a leg or a life. You can’t call it brainwashing or propaganda when what you’re feeding your youngsters is the unvarnished truth. That’s why most of us can say we “support the troops” with . . . → Read More: Deluded Warriors

Poem: What’s in There?

kid-with-cellphone2

You could say our addiction to convenience and comfort has been successfully repackaged as the highest end for our brilliant technological means.

Or, you could say that we’re in the grip of a nationwide plague. Of…A.D.D.

Or, you could say we’re simply a country of poorly developed adult minds with the collective attention span of squirrels during mating season.

Or, you could look up, my fellow fool – if you can tear yourself away from the sacred screen.

You’ll see discontented Americans waddling morosely to their cars, wondering why having more of everything hasn’t yet made them happier about anything.

No one smiles at me on the street, anymore. Yeah, that bond has been broken. We can’t look each other in the eye.

Because we’re all face-down in our palms, making marvelous use of the opposable thumbs God gave us and our fellow monkeys. They’re digging for grubs. We’re digging . . . → Read More: Poem: What’s in There?

Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey

cosmos TV show

What happens when one of the best series ever to appear on American television is remade with 2014 CGI technology? A cheering glimpse of What’s Possible — on television, in our brief lives, out there in the distant ether. We’re exposed to one compelling version of The Truth. “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey,” recently broadcast on Fox and now streaming, is a brilliant celebration of Science, of the scientific method, of Reason’s triumph over Superstition. Hosted by the Carl Sagan of our time, Neil Degrasse Tyson, the series escorts us laypeople to the most distant reaches of our universe (and beyond), in both directions, inward and outward, answering many profound questions yet still marveling at the mysteries we’ve yet to solve. “Cosmos” is the best thriller series on TV.

Honoring Our Laborers

Laboring

As we make final preparations for the most solemn American holiday, Labor Day, our mind turns to ways that we, and perhaps all of us, can make Monday’s national celebration of workers into a perfect expression of how we all really feel about laborers.

Vegas, baby!

Disneyland?

Another less exalted way of honoring those of us who actually work is to take a small slice of time out of our vacation – thirty minutes maybe? – to ask ourselves a simple question: Why do I believe what I believe?

It’s a useful line of inquiry. Had the millions of Americans . . . → Read More: Honoring Our Laborers

Is the Tall Man Happy?

is_the_man_who_is_tall_happy_an_animated_conversation_with_noam_chomsky

Driector Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) is currently flummoxing viewers with his persistently inventive “Mood Indigo.” But of all his blazingly original creations, the 2013 documentary “Is the Tall Man Happy: An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky” might be his most densely wonderful work. Gondry and the indispensable linguist and social critic Chomsky have a wide-ranging chat. But instead of filming the discussion, Gondry animates it (beautifully and strangely). The result is simultaneously light and trippy, heavy and profound — and consistently mesmerizing.

Encouraging Suicide Note

noose for death

I’m hoping something good will come of my early exit. So it won’t have been a big waste.

I’m optimistic, but I’m also realistic. Jesus Christ died for all our sins yet we find increasingly perverse ways to thank him and his Father. He just wanted us to love each other. That’s the challenging part for us, right?

You could say “some things never change.”

Or do they?

Will they?

That’s up to you. If you’re reading this, you’re one of the people who can change the world.

You won’t let my death be in vain.

If you think I’ve done a good thing for our world, if I’ve left the home nest a little better than I found it, a little more secure for everyone else, then I shall depart this planet with a humble request.

Honor my memory by loving each other.

Honor my “sacrifice” by taking care . . . → Read More: Encouraging Suicide Note

Additional Golden Rules

golden rule

The original Golden Rule — “treat others as you wish to be treated” — sounds fantastic in theory, but isn’t really possible to apply practically, as evidenced by the lives each of us lead. Or maybe it is being applied and is difficult to recognize. Maybe how people wish to be treated is “horribly,” which explains all the reciprocal cruelty and malice that comprises standard treatment.

Perhaps the Golden Rule is just too darned complicated, too nuanced, an ongoing invitation to misinterpretation. We need something simpler. More concrete. Less subjective.

Like these.

 

1) Be an encourager, not a discourager.

2) Make love — with everyone.

3) Be generous — with everything.

 

Maybe we should stop trying to treat others as we wish to be treated. Maybe it’s more important simply to be an encouraging, loving, generous person.

. . . → Read More: Additional Golden Rules

I Am

i-am-02

For anyone who suspects (or has figured out) that much of what is commonly understood to be The Truth About Life is actually a series of mistakes, lies, and fantasies, the film “I Am” is a powerful affirmation that we’re onto something. Director Tom Shadyac used to be Director: Tom Shadyac, the auteur of big-budget Hollywood comedies starring Jim Carrey and Eddie Murphy. Addicted to more of everything, Shadyac acquired and consumed and wondered why the hole he was trying to fill never seemed complete. After a serious illness, he switched paths. “I Am,” made with the craftsmanship of an old pro, chronicles Shadyac’s exhilarating journey toward enlightenment. Desmond Tutu, Howard Zinn, and Noam Chomsky are some of the thought leaders interviewed, along with a menagerie of brilliant authors and scientists speaking plainly and clearly. What they — and the New Tom . . . → Read More: I Am

Poem: A Brief Autobiography

clitboys_1

I was a punk rocker. A real one. Original Midwestern Hardcore Punk Thrash

loud and fast and angry enough to convey the depths of agony

residing in our adolescent breasts, the unspeakable (only screamable) pain

of being trapped like a bear in a sharp leg clamp,

tortured by the knowledge that we were ensnared in a system

we wouldn’t choose except under the threat of torture, and maybe not even then.

Not having a choice: “I want to have high ideals, I want to love mankind,

trust my fellow man, be loving true and kind – but everyone tells me ‘No!’ Everyone tells me

‘No such thing!’” That’s what upset us so in those naïve days before

we figured out how it’s all arranged.

 

For a minute or some decades of my life I learned

to play the game, the same one I . . . → Read More: Poem: A Brief Autobiography

Poem: If One Could Add the Entirety

Godhead of the light

If one could add the entirety

of what we can see

and what we can’t —

the supplicant on a rant,

the matter dark, unknowable,

a bitterness that’s stowable –

what we would have to examine

are children wrenched by famine,

a panoply of catastrophes,

like man-made war, and disease.

 

We would also deign to look

at an ancient antiquated book

imparting wisdom, dispensing lessons,

doling out her meager blessings

to those who care to think

that knowing God demands a link

to better angels, vibes much higher,

illuminated by your fire,

the one that burns within

where there’s no hell and there’s no sin.

When you glow the healing starts

proving science doth love the arts.

 

We know the good resides all ‘round,

that humble plots are sacred ground,

that if you focus on the light

you’ll develop . . . → Read More: Poem: If One Could Add the Entirety