The Annual Celebration of the Virgin Reptile and the Christmas Curmudgeon

I’ve never been much of a holiday person. I find they interrupt all sane and worthwhile endeavors with unwarranted obligations, anxieties and tensions.  It begins with Halloween as the first hint of Christmas carols waft through the air, ushering in a special day where children are taught fear and a sense of the macabre. The festivities continue, moving right along to Thanksgiving where from a very young age, we’re taught gluttony in celebration of the white man double-crossing America’s indigenous peoples (as if that was actually something for which to be thankful or proud.) Thanksgiving is followed by the high holy days of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber-Sunday, which launches a month long period of unexplainable madness and anticipation for the arrival of Christmas and the culmination of the mother of all mortal sensations: GREED.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are set aside for tomorrow’s broken promises and an artificial sense of renewal that ultimately leads to disappointment and failure, especially for weight watchers and anyone trying to give up smoking. If you’re not miserable and ready to slash your ankles by the end of the holiday season, then there’s always Valentines Day to look forward to. By St Patrick’s Day if you haven’t started drinking then you’re a stronger man than me. I’m not a holiday person.

Unfortunately there’s no escaping the holidays, especially the Christmas holidays. Year after year my senses are assaulted with irritating and repetitious Yuletide music, and the air filled with forced frivolity. Supposedly we’re all celebrating an alleged virgin birth that took place over two thousand years ago. As to how the Blessed Virgin was documented as being pregnant while “intact” has never been fully explained to my satisfaction. All we hear is “The Angel of the Lord did come down upon her.” That’s a bit vague to my ear. Did the good woman go knocking door to door parting her thighs to show the town elders her intact hymen and swelling belly? Or are we expected to just go along with this fable on “faith” as if it really happened? As far as I’m concerned, the only virgin births are artificially inseminated lesbians and certain species of reptiles, like Komodo dragons for instance. Are we expected to then draw the conclusion that the mother of the Prince of Peace was either an artificially inseminated lesbian or a lizard? Or maybe both? Historically more wars have been waged in the name of the Prince of Peace than any other single named cause. A disappointing legacy for an historical figure who otherwise seems to have been gentle and benign. Well, except for that nasty outburst where he upended the merchant’s tables in front of the houses of worship ruining all the pre-Christmas sales. So in His honor of His birthday we celebrate with gigantic retail sales and endless, obnoxious advertising.

We hear a lot about the “war on Christmas,” and the “war on religion,” but we never stop to take into account the war on people who’d simply like to be spared this entire cycle of madness and live in peace and harmony without having other people’s illogical mythology slammed down our throats. But there’s no escaping it. Christmas is here to stay along with all other competing religious holidays from diametrically opposed faiths, most of whom are faithfully committed to slaughtering each other in the name of peace. The human animal is violent and superstitious by nature. Perhaps we inherited it from our reptilian ancestors. But according to the “Creationists,” there was a time when man and dinosaur lived together in harmony. Now there’s a whopper that makes the virgin birth almost seem plausible.

This is going to be a long, long holiday season. As for me, I don’t want any Christmas presents. Not that I’ll be getting any, but if anyone out there is considering giving me something, give it to the victims of Hurricane Sandy or some other worthwhile cause and leave me out of it. The only part of Christmas I like, is an annual Christmas dinner with old friends where we’ve called a truce on gift giving and concentrate on good food and camaraderie. Once the holidaze over, we’re pretty much in the clear until the annual dying of spring dinosaur eggs which is celebrated with bunny rabbits in honor of executing people for believing in peace. Confused yet?

- Dissociated press, November 28th, 2012

It’s an ill wind that don’t blow somebody no good, and who among us ain’t blown somebody no good?

“It’s an ill wind that don’t blow somebody no good, and who among us ain’t blown somebody no good?”  Or so said my late friend, Sara, who used to clean and manage the laundromat around the corner from where I live.  Sara was one of the great unsung philosophers of our time, who, with the cadence of her own unique dialect and humor could slice through bullshit to the true core of any subject.  She could also fold fitted sheets so they looked exactly like they’d just come out of the package, for which she will forever hold my eternal awe.

We’ve seen a lot of “ill winds” of late, from hurricanes blowing to compounded troubles in the Middle East.  We’ve seen all sorts of no-good blowin’ – like the way General David Petraeus blew his job, and betrayed not so much US, but himself for a fool.  President Obama didn’t get a two minute victory lap following his decisive defeat over the far right, before everything outside of his control went wrong.  Obama is a good and righteous man who does his level best to do right by his nation and people.  But people in general, including four star generals have a remarkable talent to disappoint.  I don’t care who sleeps with who.  I don’t even care who tweets, emails or texts their torsos or gonads to whoever chooses to receive them.  Just put the obligations of your office ahead of your weakness for sexual adventure.  If America were half as fascinated by the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the ongoing catastrophe in Afghanistan as they are in the General Petraeus web of soap opera antics, we as a nation might begin to move forward.

It’s about time America got over our collective prudishness.  We are a nation founded on religious liberty.  Liberty, that can be traced back to well before the drafting of our Constitution, all the way back to the 17th century Puritans and other whack-job religious fanatics who installed a judgmental foundation we’ve passed along from generation to generation until it became a part of our underlying national psyche; which in modern terms distills down to a holier-than-thou fascination with other people’s sexual transgressions and humiliating public downfalls.  We’re also fascinated by hurricanes and disasters too, up until we become bored with them and move on to the next appalling Honey Boo Boo that comes along to distract our attention away from what really matters in life.  We’re better than what we’ve become as a people.  We have a president who is better than America’s obsession with seeking the lowest common denominator, so let’s take our lead from our leader.  Help your neighbor in need.  Make an effort to elevate the national dialog to be all-inclusive as we strive to get back on our feet by extending a hand to someone downtrodden.  Hire a veteran.  Send contributions of food, clothes and money to help our neighbors effected by natural disasters.  Above all, stop fixating on what other people do in their marriages and bedrooms.

Infidelity, in my opinion is the most uninteresting thing in the world.  It happens, and that’s that.  It’s always happened and always will.  So get over it.  We have a long way to go before America is set right again, so don’t “blow-it.”  Ill wind or fair skies, the reelection of Barack Obama has granted us an opportunity to be a better country, so let’s focus on what matters and take solace in knowing our national glass is still half full.  And while you’re at it, blow somebody some good.

- Dissociated Press, 11/17/2012

I’m glad it ‘s not victory for comedy

I’m glad it ‘s not victory for comedy.

I worked at our local voting poll station yesterday, and I’m exhausted today.  I’d have been exhausted any way as Pennsylvania doesn’t have early voting, and we need to get people processed and into the voting booth in as streamline a fashion as possible.  I’m one of those irritating people who does something apparently meaningless with the paperwork, stroke-counts and voter identification procedures.  It’s boring as hell, but we’re a good group who know each other and work well together.  We are both Democrats and Republicans working side by side, checking and double checking each other’s work.  And I’m proud to announce that here at our Philadelphia polling station, we found only TWO cases of voter fraud: A married Republican couple voted both by absentee ballot AND in person.  It was caught by one of the Republican team members and duly reported, resulting in the voting tally being correctly adjusted.  So much for voter fraud.

This morning, I’m moving a little bit slow.  I went into yesterday’s marathon already feeling depleted due to the exhausting challenges I was obligated to meet the day before, which included everything from legal meetings to multiple hospital visits to people I care about.  Basically speaking, I had two all-nighter’s back to back, and I’m spent.  Suffice it to say, I feel as if intelligent American have tipped the scale in our favor to the collective good of us all, including the people who refuse to recognize it.  Obama’s win, along with several senatorial races are a much louder message than the 2010 Tea Party sweep that ushered in so many crazies into the House of Representatives and gubernatorial offices.

Now we WILL see the Affordable Health Care Act enacted, along with Wall Street reform, and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts which so over-generously compensated the wealthy.  We’re not there yet, and President Obama will need all of our cooperation during the coming four years; and that includes VOTING in what appear to be “secondary” or less “crucial” elections.  When we fail to vote in large numbers during midterms and other elections which aren’t priorities on the public’s radar screen, we’ve failed to protect our star player’s back.  Barack Obama is our star player.  His calm, intelligent, even-handed approach has paid off.

Congratulations, and a job well done to smart and concerned Americans across the nation, and by that I mean ALL of you who cared enough to vote, without regard for your choices or party affiliation.  It’s your participation that makes our democracy strong.

Congratulations to our president, Barack Obama too.  I’m proud to be a witness to history under his leadership.

- Dissociated Press, 11/7/2012

Mother Nature herself has just cast an early vote and she didn’t need an ID. This time her alias was “Sandy” although she’s been known as “Katrina,” “Irene,” “Andrew” and “Floyd.”

Mother Nature herself has just cast an early vote and she didn’t need an ID. This time her alias was “Sandy” although she’s been known as “Katrina,” “Irene.” “Andrew” and “Floyd.”

After Hurricane Sandy http://www.redcross.org/ sandblasted the East Coast riveting the entire country into reality – up close and personal – we are all left to ask some pretty serious questions.  Questions like: What, as a people, are we doing to exacerbate nature’s fury?  How can we change course?   What role does government play in our collective safety and recovery?  And who is best to lead us in times of trouble?  Irrelevant presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney said:

“President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans… And to heal the planet.”  The conservative lemmings taking-up space in the auditorium all laughed on cue.

That quote will hopefully come back to haunt him at the polls this coming Tuesday, as the last thing we need right now is a regressive leader who wants to rollback environmental protections and privatize FEMA when Mother Nature herself has just made her vote public.  Mother Nature is her very own gigantic voting block that demands respect, even as people in many polling stations may not have the electricity to exercise their own power to vote.

One presidential candidate stands for exploiting the planet for short-term profits leading to long-term catastrophe in the process of lining pockets.  The other candidate is urging us to become the stewards of our planet and to lookout for the welfare of future generations.  If Americans are smart (and we haven’t always been) we’ll vote wisely, and rebuild devastated areas with an eye on harnessing clean energy alternatives and limiting construction that’s too close to dune lines.   In a perfect world, there would be no construction at all on the barrier islands, but that’ll never happen.

Here in Philadelphia, we were lucky during the storm, extremely lucky.   As the hurricane was in progress, no one was fully aware of the devastation until post storm photos of decimated areas like Staten Island started to sink into our collective psyche.  During Hurricane Sandy, I was safely hunkered-down in my art studio working on a commissioned painting, not even thinking about how fortunate I am to flip a switch and have the lights go-on, or touch the tap and get clean water.  I was hunkered-down, safe indoors with my dog curled-up by my side, fast asleep while people I know personally were cut-off from all communications, heat, power and even basic shelter.  Here in Philadelphia we were very fortunate to be spared.  The tree across the street came down, but it wasn’t all that tall, 24’ at best, and no one was harmed.  But Philadelphia is an inland port bordered on two sides by major rivers, and built on top of a network of underground lakes and streams.  Had the storm decided to center itself further west there was nothing stopping it’s forces from doing to us, what it did to Staten Island.  It’s something worth pondering…

I sent more money to the Red Cross than I should have, given I don’t have much to spare, still, I urge others to do the same at:  http://www.redcross.org/ – There’s a special block at the top of the page devoted to victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Meanwhile, a cold snap followed the storm.  This morning I saw a homeless man lying on an outdoor heating vent.  He was making odd and tortured sounds.  Taking out my cellphone, I called 911 and told them his location.  The dispatcher instructed me to ask him if he wanted help and he said he said “yes.”  I quick ran home and grabbed an old camel-colored Chesterfield coat I no longer wear.  Mice ate holes in the wool and the reweaving wasn’t exactly “invisible.”  I dashed back with the coat, and as I bent down to hand it to the man, he said: “No thank you, I’ve never cared for that color.”  I guess we can’t always help, but we can certainly do our best to try.  http://www.redcross.org/

- Disassociated Press, 11/4/2012