Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Most Indispensable of Duties

On Sunday, October 13th, I proudly participated in the Million Vet March. I'd never been witness to such insurrection, and I returned with a great appreciation for Lafayette's "most sacred of the rights."  Subsequent news coverage has been limited and warped, and I want to commit a firsthand account to writing before it fades: 

The first thing that struck me on my walk to the World War II Memorial was the maintenance being done on the Washington Monument. It took a beating in the 2011 earthquake, but steps are well underway to ensure that future generations will be able to shut it down, too. The sky was overcast and my mind wandered back to long marches on Lackland. Those early steps were links in a chain to my present ones, I reasoned.

I had to use the facilities, but 1.) they were all locked, and 2.) I'm not an illegal immigrant, so I'm not worthy of basic sanitation. I made do, but what of the elderly and disabled Veterans? As petty and pernicious as ever, the administration turned away privately funded porta-potties. Can there be any doubt as to the contempt with which you are held?

A sizable crowd was already in place when I arrived at the Memorial. There were people of all ages and genders, and more than a few were assisted via wheelchair, cane, prosthetic and/or a steady arm. The barricades were in place at the entrance, but some had skirted around them and started touring the site. Within the hour, all obstacles had been forcibly removed and the Memorial opened.

I stood alongside men and women from Bastogne, Chosin, Khe Sahn, Medina Ridge, Tora Bora and Fallujah. Then I learned with mixed emotions that Sarah Palin was arriving. Shortly thereafter, Senators Cruz (R - TX) and Lee (R - UT) also spoke briefly. The support was appreciated, but it's now become fodder for the American state-run media. This was not a GOP or Tea Party rally; per the organizer's own description and follow-ups, it was a non-political, non-sponsored event.

(I may not be a real reporter, but for transparency's sake, I am a registered Independent who served honorably in the United States Air Force.)

In typical fashion, propagandists like CNN's Don Lemon have described the "shameful" event as racists toting Confederate flags (I saw ONE the entire day). Not Veteran's, not the men wounded in combat, not the nurses who mended their wounds half a world away - "these people" were miscreants en masse for having the temerity to oppose Barack Obama. Not for his myriad Constitutional usurpations, not for arming the Mexican cartels, not for Benghazi or the IRS(chutzstaffel) or for calling us terrorists, but because of his mendacity and contempt for the very best of us.

Similarly, the New York Daily News reported that protesters were trying to scale the White House fence. That is an outright fabrication, and truth is indeed treason in the empire of lies.

Bear in mind, this is the same negligent news apparatus that did not do its duty on NAFTA, GATT, The Patriot Act, NDAA, the Federal Reserve, etc. Why would this be any different?

The much-maligned "Truckers Ride For The Constitution" then arrived to show their support. One driver wept as she held her airhorn open. Another stopped his truck, exited and shared an embrace with a Vietnam Veteran. Cars were interspersed throughout, some filled with families whose children waved flags and raised their thumbs in encouragement:

DC Metro Police then blocked off 17th St. SW, preventing all other trucks from entering the area. In doing so, they also blocked the incoming Honor Flight buses. The Veterans did finally make it to their Memorial, despite having to be walked/wheeled five hundred feet to do so.

A sizable group then proceeded to the Lincoln Memorial. By the time I arrived, all the barricades had been removed and the site opened. A helicopter circled overhead, two persons in uniform sitting with their legs out the side. Marine 1 then took off from the west, flying over the reflecting pool. What happened then? No one defecated on a car and no rape tents were erected. We policed ourselves and the area like free men and women, and we sang:

The barricades were then heaved atop shoulders and the march to the White House begun in earnest. To reiterate, there were no politicians or talking heads leading the way (or even present at this point, from my perspective). This was an organic, peaceful and principled endeavor borne by We The People.

The camaraderie throughout the day was amazing, but it shone especially bright during this phase. Total strangers stepped in to relieve the tired men and women, while pedestrians and motorists honked and cheered all along the way.

I'll admit it, this was the first time all day that I felt fear. As if on cue, two DC Metro trucks pulled up on either side of me and the Brother carrying the barricade. The officer was even-tempered and non-aggressive, saying, "Hey, fellas - stop for a sec and let's talk." We declined respectfully and continued on. He must have grabbed the barricade, because it became incredibly hard to pull (I did not turn to look). We plowed onward, around the rear of the front truck, undeterred for the rest of the march.

Upon arriving at the White House, the barricades were stacked nearly to the top of the fence. 

(Photo by Ben Swann and Sonya Sandage)

Snipers and spotters emerged on the roof of the White House. Men in black fatigues with dogs and automatic rifles stood poised to the right of the facility, a car idling with its back door open. Pennsylvania Avenue was blocked off on either side, and DC Metro arrived with a riot squad, an armored vehicle and mounted officers. Some of them were belligerent, the majority were restrained.

I'd never gotten involved in things like this before. On the ride home, however, it struck me that there really was nothing like this, at least not in my lifetime. It seems people of good conscience and character aren't going to sit on their hands anymore, and that's always a good thing. So, while the corrupt media distorts and forces its narrative onto the event, please know that it was not what some are making it out to be. I was there, I was right in the thick of it, I saw it with my own eyes. It was a cadre of brothers and sisters in arms honoring their oaths.

You can discern something's value by what it brings forth. What kind of leader purposefully inflicts maximum pain onto the People he is elected to serve? Is this the America you were born into, and is it the one you want to die in?

Until then, Barack Obama will blockade the memorials again, and we're left to wonder what evil schemes these "terrorists" have afoot:


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Top 9 Funniest Movie Scenes In The History of Ever

9. Will Ferrell takes a tranq dart in the neck in "Old School".

8. Jim Carrey is born again in "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective".

7. Inspector Clouseau gets into the nitrous in "The Pink Panther Strikes Again".

6. Speed ahead to 3:16 here to see Harvey Korman's vampire in "High Anxiety" (I couldn't find it on the Tube of You's).

5. The Backwards Bookstore in "Top Secret" was genius.

4.  "Ted" could've filled all ten spots. "Put the ring in her ass... let her fart it out."

3. Eddie Murphy asking for the Sacred Crossed Dagger of Ajanti in "The Golden Child".

2. The 2004 Red Sox hand the Evil Empire the worst. collapse. in. baseball. history.

1. Nicholas Cage scraping his knuckles on the ceiling in "Raising Arizona" here.

0. Don't worry about the numbering, Scro. It's "Idiocracy".

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Don't make a sound, just move out."

I had Yazoo's "Situation" on constant mindloop for three days. It mercifully replaced Lita Ford's "Kiss Me Deadly", but after 753 trips up and down three flights of stairs, I hope to never hear it again.

Based on some rough calculations, I ascended the equivalent of Mt. Everest moving out of my one-bedroom apartment. I pride myself on traveling light, but what the hell happened? Stuff had accumulated, and with it a disproportionate amount of crap.

I'd moved there in 2009, life as I'd known it aflame. It was both a safe zone and a cell. It was entirely too small and smelled of curry. I fell asleep beneath the stars. I was raised, dusted off the ashes of Life 1.0 and started the next leg of my journey with one helluva lady.

The most immediate lesson? Throw shit out! I'm a closet pack rat, apparently. I had reams - I mean this literally, reams - of paper stacked, stored and hidden for posterity. It got to the point that discovering jars of urine would've been totally plausible. When your precious son puts his heart and soul into a barn drawing that looks like a Sanskrit receipt, how can you throw it out?

That's when I decided to carpe diem that m****r f****r. I threw shit out that pained me. I watched its arc into the dumpster and believed I could jump at the last second and avert disaster, a la that cheater par excellence, Dwight Clark. Nevertheless, it was necessary and cathartic. Microprose's F-117 Nighthawk was a seminal game, but I will never, ever own another IBM 386 capable of playing it. I'm all for savoring, not choking.

Just to balance the scales, I did keep a bin of cassette tapes. I'll never be a part of the next Kraftwerk, but there are recordings in there that comprise a very special part in my life. Maybe it's vanity, I don't know, but I just got out of the Air Force and really needed to reconnect with a Me unencumbered. I hear finished products in demos and it's a delusion I'm willing to endure.

I also came across my very first copy of Achtung Baby. Talk about a holy grail - this tape could tell more stories than Mark Twain. For as much as I'm a devoted member of the Black Swarm, this is the greatest album of all time. I listened to "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?" practically as a child, having no comprehension whatsoever of the demons they were exorcising. Wow.

Anyway.... around 2010 or so, I had an undying need for silence. As luck would have it, the gentleman from Bangalore living below me liked to blare Bollywood show tunes at 2:39 am. Now? I hear children stomping above me and relish it. It's no disturbance, it's my sons saying hello. It's a welcome break from the black hole of solitude that I've simply no taste or tolerance for anymore.

I finally hung my Father's pictures. There's one of him in 1953 or so, judging by his stripes. He was a mechanic whose favorite Air Force activity was flooring heavy machinery over dunes in Saudi Arabia. He  went on to become a mechanic for American Airlines, and was then accepted into their Flight Engineer program. He flew in that role for 39 years, and with a disbelief/humility I swore to never forget.

I have a picture of us together at a cabin in Pymatuming, PA, in 2001. He's proudly holding a huge carp on his line, and I'm soaked. He'd put his pole down for some reason or another, and as a matter of course Orca struck. His pole careened into the water and there wasn't a decision to be made.

Father's Day came and went and I hadn't a spare moment to acknowledge it. How's he been gone for almost 8 years now? "I remember only for an hour."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

►▲▲ : Delta Machine

I'll never forget the first time I heard one of their songs: I was on Route 28 in Branchburg, N.J., late for class at Raritan Valley Community College (where I'd either play "Pole Position" or sit in my car and read The National). Some pervert was breathing over top an Ennio Morricone Nintendo song, and I'll be damned if it wasn't the greatest thing I'd ever heard.

They've provided the soundtrack to my life ever since, and if all they did now was play skiffle on a colander, I'd listen. But something weird happened after Songs of Faith and Devotion: I stopped enjoying their work.

When I heard they were back in the studio, I likened it to the Mets being back in spring training. I heard the usual marketing ploy, "This is the next Violator", and filed it away. Then I heard "Heaven" and I was truly apoplectic. It's like they're doing everything in their power to NOT sound like Depeche Mode!

I wasn't sure if I would share this, because who really gives a rat's ass? I'm sick of writing about the usual stuff, though, so here goes:

Status Crow's Semi-Serious Review of Depeche Mode's new album, Delta Machine

"Welcome To My World": They really roll out the welcome mat for you on this one. Either that or you're walking into what a Hideo Kojima nightmare must sound like. There's Ol' Scratch and "One Caress" strings telling of life and love and hard-earned peace. It's already my favorite song on the album.

Favorite line: "Watch the sunrise set, and the moon begin to blush. Our naked innocence translucently too much. And I hold you in my arms and keep you by my side, and we sleep the Devil's sleep just to keep him satisfied."

"Angel": A 33rpm "Condemnation" played at 78. They seem to have forgotten what middle eights are, but it's the greatest @#$% song so far.

Favorite line: "The angel of love was upon me, and Lord, I felt so clean. Like a preacher on Sunday my heart was serene. I waded into the water, I was bathed, I was drowned. Like the sinners before me, I knelt down on the ground."

"Heaven": The songwriting and vocals are superb. But do you recall how the intention for "Enjoy The Silence" was the harmonium version until He That Shall Not Be Named (Or Linked To) turned it into their most sublime achievement? Like "Peace" and "Freelove", this arrangement deserved a similar fate. This is my second-most favorite song on the album.

Favorite line: "I will scream the word, jump into the void. I will guide the herd up to heaven."

"Secret To The End": It's like "Sister of Night" giving the finger to that Some Great Reward couple. What assholes - this isn't a song about the altar, it's about the courthouse. It's the other 50%, the fine print you don't bother to read and therefore you don't have anyone to blame but yourself. Its the official theme song of divorce, and its closing is a relentlessly fitting dirge. I love this song. It's my favorite.

Favorite line: "When I look around this room, there must be something that I can do. Can I convince you that it isn't true? We've come to the end. Did I disappoint you? I wanted to believe it's true. Our book of love was not enough to see us through."
"My Little Universe": This one really is a Nintendo song, until it turns into my favorite song on the album. If its overall theme was bytes getting the blues, then this is the very heart of the machine.The syncopation is difficult, the Gahan-Gore tandem lead vocals finally giving way to a modular synthesizer having an orgasm. I can't believe what I just heard.

Favorite line: "Limited consciousness preserves me. It protects me and just connects enough to keep the wolves at bay. My little universe is expanding slowly, and those who know me say I’m growing every day. Here I am king, I decide everything. I let no one in. No one."

"Slow": They turn on their heels. There are no machines here, only the Delta and an occasional 104ยบ breeze. And seeing as how there's really nothing else for us to be doing right now...

Favorite line: "Let the world keep its carnival pace, I prefer to look into your beautiful face. What a waste. Let the stars continue to fly by, I don't have one desire to understand why. I don't try. Slow, slow, as slow as you can go, I want my senses to overflow. And doesn't it show?"

"Broken": Imagine a "Lie To Me" that stops, turns around and says, "You know what? You suck, but I'm better for having endured the pain you put me through." It's the forgiveness and grace that only the years can give. I hear Marty Balin's "Hearts" in there somewhere, which is nice, but he's not my favorite Martin.

Favorite line: "When you’re falling, I will catch you. You don’t have to fall that far. You can make it, I will be there. You were broken for the start."

"The Child Inside": A Timothy Burton script got into their lyric sheets. And they recorded it anyway. It's seriously disturbing, and Johnny Depp is probably listening to it right now thinking, "This is the greatest song ever." Which it damn well is.

Favorite line: "I've spent so long in the darkness, I'd almost forgotten how beautiful the moonlight is."

"Soft Touch/Raw Nerve": Ladies, imagine "A Question of Time" tearing into the parking lot, only now he's a little older and a lot smarmier. And you go home with him anyway. The song fittingly fades with that low synth part in the build-up of "Stripped", which automatically makes it my favorite song on the album.

Favorite line: "Am I on the right track? Have I picked a bad time? It's seeming that you're dreaming through my eyes. Why protest when your success is my prize?"

"Should Be Higher": It's a bawdy strut. The cadence is Gahan's "Walking In My Shoes" prowl from Devotional, only this time he's not pleading with a jury. His range and delivery are all over the place here; dare I say it's his best vocal ever? It's certainly the best song on the album.

Favorite line: "I dream of a day when I dare to believe you're the answer. When the shame and the guilt are removed, and the truth appears. With the touch of your hand I lose who I am if I want to. I try to resist, but succumb to the bliss of your kiss."

"Alone": By the time you realize this is your favorite song on the album, a bittersweet "Any Second Now - Voices"  sends you on your way. Alone, of course. There's a lot of old Depeche Mode lurking in this album, and it's never more evident than on this track. It's their finest song in 20 years.

Favorite line: "I was there when you needed me most, I was there when you wanted me least. I was your father, your son, and your holy ghost and priest. Through your failures and success, through your losses and gains, I didn't see much happiness or pain."

"Soothe My Soul": Who got their Violator in my Songs of Faith and Devotion?! This is their greatest anthem since "I Feel You", and has a similar structure throughout. The lyrics read like an Ike Turner rap sheet and there's no discernible synth or guitar lead/break, but it's still my favorite song on the album.

Favorite line: "I'm coming for you when the sun goes down. I'm coming for you when there's no one around. I'll come to your house, break down the door. Girl I'm shaking and I need more."

"Goodbye": Dead men walking. The chains clank as you trod along, one man in front of you, another behind. The sun's in your eyes whichever way you look, and you're so thirsty you'd stoop down and drink the dust. Why does it have to come to this?

You reach the platform, make an abrupt turn and start up the steps. The three of you face the crowd, and a man emerges from behind. He carefully places a noose around the man to your left's neck. You hear him whimper, then mumble a prayer. The man to your right starts bellowing curses, and looses his bowels as the knot is tightened around his throat.

Then the man stands in front of you. He looks you dead in the eye and reaches behind his back. You can no more run from this than you could a train, and how you wish you would have realized this years ago. Just think of how easier life would have been, how different, how many would have been spared. You reach out and touch the Book, marked to Micah just like you'd asked. You read aloud for all the condemned the unwavering requirements of justice, mercy and humility, and no matter how quickly you walk away, you always hear the trapdoors fall. That's why this is my favorite song on the album.

Favorite line: "If you see me walking to the Golden Gates, turn around, start talking, stop and hesitate. I'll be waiting up there with my fate in the air for you. Goodbye, pain."

I love Delta Machine. It's a stripper pole in a church, with Leonard Cohen and Tyler Durden doing ecstasy in the confessional. It came to America, sold out the Rose Bowl, caused a riot in the streets of Los Angeles and died the rock 'n roll dream. Then it got resurrected, divorced, battled cancer and finally found peace:

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

There Was This Bomb In Boston

What a messed up few weeks, eh? You had these innocents, hanging out all happy-like, and BAM, razor-sharp metal comes ripping out of nowhere, tearing into their skin. Universes, lost. What could these people have done to deserve such a sentence? In an instant they were deemed unworthy and erased, all because they happened to be in a particular place at an unpropitious time.

Oh, and there was this bomb in Boston.

If abortion is made illegal, an argument goes, it will slide into the shadows of back alleys and butchers. How, pray tell, is Kermit Gosnell's monstrosity of a practice any different? Murder on Main Street is somehow not murder?

Where is the coverage of this abomination? The marathon and the fertilizer plant relegated it to a non-story, thanks to our state-run media, and some journalists have even flat-out refused to cover it.

Three of the nine charges detailed in the grand jury report have been dropped. Nevertheless, the remaining accusations are enough the make Josef Mengele jealous. Is this really what women want? What power is there in choosing to be abused? What virtue lies in beheading "little aliens"? Curiously, why so shrill about the rifle and yet so diffident about the scissors? 

Per usual, I've more questions than answers, and concur with the good doctor, both on principle and the federal government's role in such matters:
"If you can't protect life, then how can you protect liberty?"
Speaking of keeping dead babies in jars, we finally met Mrs. Stannis Baratheon. She was just as touched as I'd imagined, and it cemented the rightful king's dour, ever-present anguish. We were also introduced to their sweet , greyscaled daughter, Shireen, and it hit me just how large Westeros really is. Like Tolkien, how could such an expansive world, replete with so many rich characters, arcs, plots, religions and locales all stem from the mind of one man?   

Having already become invested in the characters from seasons one and two, I'm astounded by the depth of the new ones. How and where is there even room?! Beric Dondarrion, the Lightning Lord. Vargo Hoat. Mance Rayder. The amazingly erudite and dismissive Kraznys. But my favorite? Lady Olenna, the Queen of Thorns. Her exposition on the mottoes of the various houses was superb, and "Growing Strong" is ironically pertinent to this entry:

As with last year, episode nine ("The Rains of Castamere") may set a new standard for holyf*ckingshit. George R.R. Martin definitely has a way of making this fantasy world very, very real. As Ned Stark proved, sometimes it's not enough to be good. A little guile can go a very long way...
And who are you, the proud lord said,
that I must bow so low?
Only a cat of a different coat,
that's all the truth I know.
In a coat of gold or a coat of red,
a lion still has claws,
And mine are long and sharp, my lord,
as long and sharp as yours.

And so he spoke, and so he spoke,
that lord of Castamere,
But now the rains weep o'er his hall,
with no one there to hear.

Yes now the rains weep o'er his hall,
and not a soul to ear.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"There's some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for."

I've thought long and hard about writing this. There's nothing really new for me to say, after all, and it's not like people are suddenly having little light bulbs of liberty flash on above their noggins. But then I'm reminded of one of my hardest-won lessons, especially with the door to Middle Earth re-opening next month:

The 2012 Presidential election was going to be a disappointment either way for Constitutional Libertarians (i.e., the very essence of Americanism), but I'd at least hoped for a repeal of the mandatory tax that is not a tax but is a tax. Sadly, tyranny won the day. Largely uninformed and decidedly racist, extremists put their ignorant seal of approval on the indefinite detention and torture of Americans without charges, representation or due process. They sanctioned Al Qaeda's  9-11 anniversary attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, the rape and murder of ambassador Christopher Stevens, and the subsequent cover-up and diffusing of accountability. Twice. They blessed secret kill lists and the nationalization of finance and automobiles as if we were some sun-burnt banana republic on bath salts. These are but a few of the virtues my intellectually dishonest "peers" found agreeable.

I'll freely admit, I'm having a hard time relating to friends who would lock me up and throw away the key based on nothing more than whim. How is such a thing even part of one's decision process? What accord could I ever have with such a person? What is this, 1312? Some of them are atheists with a curious concentration on Christianity and I find the irony, well, ironic. Just as curiously, many are of the mind that all discourse must cease now that the quadrennial American Idol voting has ended.

If nothing else, I'm no summer soldier or sunshine patriot. That's the gist of it for me: on election night, a post-Sandy Nor'easter was adding insult to injury in my home state. If there was any other place I would've been, it was Washington's Crossing. On a night far worse, tired men with no shoes and seemingly less hope languished on the banks of the Delaware. They didn't quit, they didn't wait for a bailout - they pressed on regardless of discomfort or the odds. General Knox moved artillery through mud that would make a sow think twice, and that has always amazed me. 

Now there's talk of secession, and I couldn't be happier. What, pray tell, would be the next logical move other than this? I've said it before, and probably too much: the federal government does not dictate to you, they operate at your behest. Despite its loathsome largesse, it is not bigger or more important than YOU, the citizen.

While for the most part symbolic, the petitions speak volumes. Extremists do not have the right to denigrate, dictate, disregard the Constitution and then cry, "Can't we all just get along?" It doesn't work that way. If you walked into a KFC and ordered a Whopper, what would they tell you? If you brought 20 of your friends back and demanded 21 Whoppers, what would they tell you? Extrapolate the numbers out as far as wish, and the truth remains the same: there are core American tenets that will not be compromised by any person or party, particularly at the expense of those who hold them dear.

Let's say Merica was not a star, for the sake of debate, and let's presume yet another undiscovered country awaits in the west: Corvidia. It's a lush, green land, bountiful to the point of embarrassment. It's a clean slate, a new-new Jerusalem, a chance to loose the chains and start anew. No church or king telling you what to do or think or feel. In the words of Godfrey of Ibelin, "You are not what you were born, but what you have it in yourself to be." What might the founding principles be?

1. Corvidia shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

2. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed

3. No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

4. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

5. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

6. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

7. In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

8. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

9. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

10, If you molest, or kill a child with intent, and are found guilty in a court of law, you will be sentenced to death.

11. If death is the cessation of a life form's evolution, then life must logically be the very first stage of that evolution.

12. All law-abiding, tax paying citizens of Corvidia have the right to marry whomever they wish.   

13. Easily my favorite, it's the wild card which asserts, "OK, I know there are some cagey f@#$%^s out there who like to dabble in clever wordplay. To prevent their commendable erudition from subverting this entire endeavor, We The People put forth: The powers not delegated to Corvidia by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Alas, what next? Rep. Ron Paul bowed out not with a whisper, but with a broadside. Was there ever a finer President who never was? For hope's sake, I will not lament his unfortunate but well-earned absence. Rather, I will look to the thousands who've heeded his call and picked up the banner of Liberty. I've included the transcript below, as it should be required reading. Et in Corvidia ego:


Monday, October 22, 2012

I Really Do Hate The Decision You've Made

Hate is a strong word, isn't it? I initially cringed. I'm no ogre, no hate monger. I aim to go through life like the most unremarkable of streams: avert a stone here, a dam there, and sustain whatever I can along the way. No Mississippi or Nile, simply content to flow quietly amidst another gathering of trees until whatever sea awaits.

But the truth be told, I really do hate the decision you've made. You're not letting me flow, per se. You see, a man who campaigned on transparency and change wants to lock me away in an undisclosed location for however long he likes, without charges, representation or due process. It's called the NDAA, in the land hewn by Jefferson's quill and Hancock's defiance, no less. That you would be so ignorant and star-struck as to let him further prune the Tree of Liberty is nothing short of abhorrent. Nay, seditious.

Meanwhile, you feted him as the trigger man, but didn't say a word when the actual operators were coincidentally killed. You glom onto Big Bird and binders. You're selectively indignant over a politician's photo-op, you're beside yourselves over Michelle Obama's dress, but there's nary a peep over Dark Ages-style tyranny. To paraphrase Ridley Scott, please stop acting like such @#$% ingenues. Insa to you for conveniently looking the other way as an overlord targeted Americans via a secret kill list based entirely on whim. Are you on it? How would you even know? Oh, wait - OMFG didja see Steny Hoyer's suit?!

The aforementioned 18th century names are not  just random text to me, by the way. I wondered long and hard about the roots of my distaste. Brothers waited barefoot and bloodied at Morristown. They took King George's tea tax and threw it in the river, they tore down his statue and melted it into musket balls. Now what? I'm to attend more funerals than raisings and comment blithely? Stay mum and lay low while the land Bro. Revere dared to alert burns? No. Hell no. The Green Dragon Tavern still stands, and with it the timeless ethos of American liberty.

You can take your fiat empire and shove it. You do not have the right to turn my key. When did I or anyone else consent to 30,000 drones over U.S. soil? You do not dictate to someone free how you'll deign to govern, they will tell you how you'll serve. I am only one free man and I can't change the world, but I can change the facts. And when I change the facts, I change points of view. When I change points of view, I can change a vote, and when I change a vote, I may change the world.

The gloves are off. Who gets backed into a corner and doesn't bare their teeth? If not for me, then for the Republic my sons should inherit.

Lest anyone think this entry an RNC talking point, rest assured their representative should be fitted for an equal amount of tar and feathers.

If the quintessential American value is "extreme", as Obama has pointed out, then so be it. I know of no gloaming between liberty and tyranny -  there is only liberty or death.

Monday, August 27, 2012

"I saw a deadhead sticker on a Cadillac."

My sweetheart bought me a Keurig for my birthday. It's silver 'n black and looks downright menacing, so I considered naming it Lester Hayes.

Remember how low he'd crouch at the line, all covered in Stickum, bumping-and-running the NFL's best receivers into irrelevancy? The rule banning the adhesive bore his name, and he had one of the best sports nicknames ever.

The Keurig is decidely sci-fi, however. USCSS Prometheus would be most fitting, especially considering the blue Quasar Propulsion Drive (QPD, or "Cupid" as it's colloquially known in space-geek circles) it uses to brew the coffee. Heck, this system is probably what they'll be using to make their joe aboard the actual craft in 2089.

Then it hit me:

My loyal murder, I am now the proud owner of my very own Wave Motion Gun. Even their sounds are somewhat similar, along with that pregnant pause between activation and overwhelming output. I drink coffee like it's water now. Really hot, awesome water. I'm now in a constant state of caffeination. 11:42 PM? @#$% it, let's show the Gamilons we mean business.

Star Blazers was hands-down my favorite show as a kid. It wasn't just the usual pew-pew-pew trappings, it was the characters and the context of their story. Alex Wildstar's sacrifice? Captain Avatar's declining health? That was riveting stuff to an 8-year old. At the end of every episode, a warning was displayed: "Only x-amount of days left..." No other cartoon had an expiration date like that. Even if they did make it to Iscandar, there was no guarantee they'd even make it back to Earth, let alone on time.

I won't spoil the ending for you, because I'm sure you've already opened another tab and can't wait to see for yourself. All I'll say is that, 33 years later, I've finally started to understand and incorporate this ethos into my life. In enough time, everything I own will be dust. How important, then, is the material? All that will remain is the affinity and regard I've had and hopefully received. How you lived is so very much better and enduring than what you lived with, or when, or where...

As for the "who", my relationships are certainly the better for it. If you can judge a man by the company he keeps, then I'm in good stead. This year has been a whirlwind of change and growth, one of those watershed periods that blazes by only a few times in life. At the very center of it now is love, appreciation, laughter, communication and understanding (and more coffee). There may be a great woman behind every great man, but the truly Great Ones stand right by your side.

Department of Randomness: 

Why was God using the plural here? If I've posed this question before, please feel free to contact the Department of Complaints at the number provided below.

American politics is entirely retarded. I won't split hairs or apologize for using the term, for that's precisely what it's become. Imagine getting a clogged toilet, calling a plumber and then watching him stand in the bowl with the plunger. By and large, Democrats and Republicans are not problem solvers - they are the problem. Look no further than the McCain/Graham/Obama NDAA, and listen to this:

When did believing in liberty become the kooky exception in a nation whose cornerstone was precisely that? Naturally, Ron Paul maintained his integrity right to the very end by declining Romney's conditional offer to speak at the convention. Alas, it's only August and already the party line-spewing ignorati are out in full force. I'm heavily relying on ear plugs, waders and vodka until November.

I like Neil deGrasse Tyson, but I want to hear his ruminations on politics about as much as I want to hear George W. Bush talk about asternom- astronautom-- THE @#$% STARS. It's like actors singing or basketball players trying to hit a curve ball. As for his point, the Muslim world did indeed have names for the various heavenly bodies, but the religion wasn't founded until the 7th century A.D. Is he suggesting that the Greeks and Romans were entirely ignorant of astronomy? You could take it all the way back to Sumeria, I suppose, and who knows how far before that?

Department of Complaints: 973-474-9050

I felt it yesterday, that first late-August breeze that carried more autumn than summer. This time of year is always my favorite, but I've so many wonderful memories this time around. The Carnival. Watching a foal at White Oak. Actual adult time "down the shore". Hours upon countless hours simply talking. Spying the Ring Nebula from the Paul H. Robinson Observatory. Eating, imbibing and retiring like a king with his queen for a day. Infinite "Ready Spaghetti" and "Flipper McGee" child tossing at the pool. Second breakfasts and elevenses at my sweetheart's Bag End. The Mets in a dogfight for last place.

My kids started school this morning. Summer ended right then and there, for all intents and purposes, and I hummed Don Henley as we approached the front entrance. My oldest has been through this ritual four times already, so it was decidedly old hat. Approximately 20 feet from the door, however, my kindergarten-bound youngest trembled, turned grey and vomited into my hand.

It broke my heart to see my tender little tornado, my irascible, daredevilish mustang, so affected. After calming him down and his teacher assuring us we could try again tomorrow, he let me carry him to the car. I could tell he was embarrassed, perhaps worried he'd disappointed. I told him my love for him will still be strong after the boys of summer have gone, then went home and made more coffee.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"The absence of the light is a necessary part."

I'm down to single digit days of indigence. Since January of 2009, I've gone without many of the simple things I'd taken for granted in my past life. I learned and accomplished quite a bit along the way, thankfully, and I think I finally understand Solzhenitsyn. When you don't have anything, everything's a blessing. When you can't afford to do anything, nothing is too mundane.

I've walked in the woods nearly every day. I'm in better shape knocking on 41 then I was at 30. I've read voraciously, listened to countless lectures and researched topics that have long interested me. It was a journey inward as well, and for as odd as it seems to write, I will miss this chapter. There is dignity to be found in desolation, for sure, and I'll never forget those who offered a shoulder along the way.

That being said, in a few weeks I'm taking my sweetheart out and ordering the biggest steaks in the city. My restraint is going to give way to a bacchanalian release not seen since 49 B.C. and I won't pretend we don't deserve it. The pendulum will swing back and settle somewhere in the middle, rest assured. My pursuits may be, in no particular order, Kundalini, live music, language and travel.

Back in the moment, everything is breaking. A storm fried my modem, cable TV and bedroom flat screen. My iPod touch, which was probably the greatest thing I'd ever purchased, hasn't worked since one particularly hot afternoon at the pool. I've never broken a bone (and it will be the kiss of death to type this), but if I'm writing my next entry in a plaster cast, it will be none too surprising.  

In other news, the Earth recently deflected another solar storm. How fragile and formidable we are, how intricate our design must be. We're so biologically linked to our star that it's our body's only reliable source of Vitamin D. Our planet could not host life as we know it without the sun being precisely 93 million miles away, and the next time you feel its warmth on your face, consider it a blast from the past (literally): the light took 8 minutes and 20 seconds to get here.

Our atmosphere permits its life-giving rays, yet features a shield which limits our exposure: the magnetosphere, which is generated by the undulating liquid metal outer core of our planet. If the inner core were larger, the mantle deeper, etc., would the outer be smaller? There's only so much real estate to go around, I presume, so if the resulting field was a different size, might it permit these solar storms to harm us?

When I lived in Washington, DC, I enjoyed attending mass at St. Matthews Cathedral.  In one out-of-the-way section, there were engravings on the stone walls. Lo and behold, it was Assisi's Canticle of The Sun. I'd memorized my favorite part:

"Thank You, Lord, for Sister Moon and the stars, which thou have set in the heavens clear, precious and fair."

She's a little closer to home, but no less intriguing. In fact, perhaps even more so. The ancient stories are fascinating, and like the sun's effects on our planet, we'd hardly be the same without our nearest neighbor. The Earth is tilted at 23.5 degrees, which would be wildly unstable save for the steadying influence of the moon on our axis. Our tides are ruled by its call, as are the breeding, migration and hunting patterns of countless animals. That it may very well have been the Earth is unfathomable.

From a sentimental standpoint, I fondly recall sneaking a peek to the heavens while marching lockstep in San Antonio. There she was, and there she still is. No matter how far apart you are from someone you love, you're staring at the same thing. I find that equal parts obvious and consoling.

What vexes me is the cosmic chicken vs. the egg: Are we the product of this extraordinary design, or was it designed specifically with our species in mind?

I was craving chocolate one night last week, but nothing happened. The next morning I bought some brownie mix, but again nothing. The following night I got out the eggs, oil and a baking pan. Still nothing. The next night I mixed it all, but there was no change. Then I turned on the oven, thinking I'd finally solved the riddle.

You get one guess what happened next:

1. Nada.
2. The Mets fulfilled their yearly promise of dipping below .500 after the All Star break
3. There's a sixth Tolkien film in the works!
4. All of the above

Finally I put the rigamarole in, and voila! It was no Atlantic City treat, but it did the trick.

If everything below is akin to that above, then perhaps this is a decent analogy to our presence here. The complexities of the most delicate flower are the same design as the most distant galaxy. Everything is laid out before us, every last machination and possibility, but it's up to us to do the work. It's as though we've been handed the blueprints for everything we've ever needed. What a gift, eh?

As I start out on my next adventure, I can only see as far as my light will reach. I long. I don't know what's in store a year from now, or what lies around the next hour's bend. All I can do is walk onward with hope, persistence and love. They've gotten me here, to the greatest point in my life, so how could I go wrong?