Monday, May 20, 2019

I was doing a Christian meditation. I often will do a mediation that has nothing to do with any religion but every once in awhile I like to go back to my own traditions and heritage. At the end of the meditation of silence the narrator came back on and said to recite the Nicean Creed. I didn't and knew I couldn't because I don't beleive that God is going to burn people up and cast people away from him based on whether they recite the sinners prayer. I also don't believe a physical body will be knit back together and DNA and bones rejoined in a physcial ressurection. I also can't say that I believe virgins have children. So, I had to remain respectfully quiet through the creed and then end the meditation.

But, then I came across a post on facebook from a near death survivor. He linked to a young woman singing "It is Well."  Here is the link if you are curious. They do an awesome job. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNqo4Un2uZI 

It took me back to my day's of worship at the Gadsden Vinyard Church from the late 80's and early 90's. I realized that although I may not still share the dogma I still have my faith. I miss Communion and I miss worship. Not because I think that God is a meglo mainiac sitting on a throne encouraging people to heap praise and bow and scrape for his favor. But, because I miss the feeling of being in the midst of something bigger than myself and tapping into the power and uncondional love of that something/someone.

It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men. ...C.S. Lewis

So, when we really find a source of worship it's the way God communicates his presence to us. Which lifts us up. Back when I was a practicing Christian it was this back and forth that I loved so much in the worship of God. I was getting so much attention from God through worship. So, it wasn't like I was heaping praise on a meglo maniac. I was reieing something that would carry me through the whole week. That's what I miss. Not the "I am but a worm" type sacntimounisous b.s. of the fundamentist. But, the feeling that I am known to the source of all creation.

I don't believe much in religion anymore. I also don't beleive the world is meaningless and I'm not into the cold sterile athiethism that would reduce all the people and actually all the creatures that have come before into nothing. but a brain fart.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

 I'm a Baby Boomer but a later one. Born at the end of the so called Baby Boom. I don't remember Buddy Holly or the Big Bopper and I was really young when the Beatles were a thing. I think my first real exposure to Rock and Roll was when I was in Junior High. That's what we called middle school back in the dark ages. 

My sister had a childhood friend named Tonya. She was a friend to both of us growing up and honestly it was as if we had known each other in a past life. It just seemed like we had always known each other. Even years later when I would see Tonya it was like seeing a long lost sister.  Hard to explain but on the other hand I came to the concept of past lives in a two steps forward one step back pattern. I was not born into a culture that accepted such things and even now I'm not trying to convince anyone that reincarnation is a thing. I suspect that it is but I don't have any urgent need to convince anybody. Reincarnation might be like evolution. It just happens and doesn't really rely on how many people agree that it happens. 

But, this isn't about what I believe as far as the reason for existence. I suspect that the reason for being here is much deeper and wonderful than any short sermon or dogmatic apologetic. This is more about pop culture and the things that are fun or make life a little more interesting during this short furious race into the infinite distance. 

So, I was in General Forrest Junior High in Gadsden, Alabama and I think "Badfinger" was being played on the sound system in what was then the "new gym." My childhood friend Tonya was on the other side of the gym and for some reason during that song she seemed a little cooler and a little more interesting to my young eyes. The power of rock and roll. 

My mother sang and my step dad played the guitar and Country/Western was the music that blared in my childhood. Not today's Taylor Swift or Luke Bryan lukewarm piss that they call country. No, I'm talking Loretta Lynn and George Jones and Meryl Haggard and Dolly Parton and Porter Wagner and Buck Owens. Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. But, full disclosure. I hated country growing up. It was my mother's music so for me Rock was king. I have since come to really appreciate the music and the ability to tell a story that Hank Williams had. Listen to an early cut of "Faded Love" by Patsy Cline. Right at the end of the song Patsy has a little hitch in her voice. A held back sob. I read where that was real y'all. That's soulful. She put her heart into it. She was singing to somebody that she pictured in her head. It wasn't just a plastic performance. How  can you not respect that? Here is a reference to it from another site:

I've read on the internet (It must be true.... right?) where at the end of this version of "Faded Love" that you can actually here Patsy Cline's voice quiver because she started crying. 







But, for me the steady driving force of "Slow Ride" by Foghat and the beery nights of listening to Skynard singing "Whiskey Rock and Roller" along with hearing Styx or Queen was the stuff. God help me I thought "Destroyer" by KISS was brilliant back in the day. Doesn't hold up well. But, then again these day's I'm not 18 and full of teen age angst and Pony Miller beers either.

I think one of the best parts of youth was the sheer innocence and passion of being young. It was also what made it hell for me. The Eagles wrote the soundtrack of my youth and this was while not a top forty radio song was one of my favorites. Seemed to symbolize those day's for me. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gva5QAZDgiA


But, I didn't spend all my time feeling sorry for myself and getting high and listening to rock. I also have always loved horror. Novels, movies and stories of things that go bump in the night. I remember when I first discovered Stephen King. I was in the Gadsden Mall and I came across a book called "Salem's Lot."  I asked the clerk if it was any good. He said that the author was still a young writer but people were saying that Stephen King was going to be a good writer. He thought I would enjoy the book. The rest as we "Constant Readers" say is history.
https://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=6BbeXN-uMM2-tQWAzrHwDQ&q=book+salem%27s+lot+&oq=book+salem%27s+lot+&gs_l=img.12..0i8i30l3.47421.52182..54685...0.0..0.244.1105.1j7j1......1....1..gws-wiz-img.8aIDZJ30HEM#imgrc=_riWnsw_Feiw8M:


Movies have always seemed to be bigger than life to me. We had a neighborhood drive in when I was growing up called the Rebel Drive In. They would have dusk till Dawn marathons of old Dracula movies with Chrstopher Lee and other horror shows with Boris Karloff and Vincent Price. I was in the back seat of the family car with popcorn and hotdogs and watched in gleeful horror as Dracula turned to dust in the sunlight. His body decomposing right before my child's eyes in living color. I saw the bosomy chest heaving "Brides of Draccula" as they tore the throat out of an unsuspecting poor slob in the lower levels of the castle. But, on the other hand "what a way to go."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LR8CaOgSSuc

I think the horror movie that scared me the most was an old black and white movie called "The Haunting" by Shirley Jackson. The book not the movie was by Shirley Jackson. But you know what I mean. I have a little Halloween tradition in that every few years on Halloween I will pull this movie out and watch it again. It still holds up after all these years. Still scary and still you never see the ghost it's mostly psychological but so laden with atmosphere and you can feel the terror and the dread of the characters.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeAzGxWlEcg


I really think the best movies take you out of your everyday life for an hour or two or three and it you still think about them years later then they must have worked on some level.  The following movie was already an older movie by the time I saw it at the drive in as a kid. But, back then at about six years old or a little older this was etched into my brain. Thanks Mom. No, really thanks. I love horror.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssvgMHCa45s


Anyway, it's been a fun romp down memory lane that turned into a horror movie memory fest. Until next time kiddies. Unpleasant dreams. Bahahahahahaha!







Patsy Cline Faded Love Best Quality Audio

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

I wanna get lost in your Rock and Roll.

Some researchers say that smell is the strongest trigger of memory. But, I don't have a strong sense of smell. So for me the strongest trigger and connection to the past is music. Where I was at a certain moment when I first heard a song. Who I was youthfully in love/lust with at the time. Where was I and what was I doing. Songs take me back and trigger memories of teenaged angst and youthful dreams and thoughts. I'm not one to play music all day long. I love having a quiet moment or several where I don't have anything not even a computer or TV screen blaring at me. Now, don't get me wrong. I love technology and I am often absorbed in my phone looking up facebook or video or checking messages and email. I even had a young nurse laugh one day when I was having a medical appointment and she said I looked like a teenager with my face in my phone. So, I don't want to mislead as if I'm this quiet stoic deep person. I can be at times but I also have  Late onset Adult Deficit Attention Disorder according to my wife.

Music was (along with beer and chemicals that are better left in the past) an escape for me from the mundane in my youth. Music and books. But, it's the lyrics I hear every once in a while that take me back. I can be 17 and watching a Tequila Sunrise with the Eagles or getting on a Midnight Train to Georgia with Gladys Knight and the Pips. I can be 14 and looking across the General Forrest Junior High gym in Gadsden, Alabama at a neighborhood girl I grew up with and all of a sudden noticing her in a different way while Badfinger plays over the P.A. system about "looking out of my lonely room"

I can be transported to a car and looking over at the most beautiful girl that ever walked out of Altoona, Alabama while Foghat sings "Slow Ride" and I can remember my first ticket when Creedence Clearwater was rocking on my 8 track and my foot got heavy while they were blaring out "Lookin' out my Back Door"

I can go back and all of a sudden my hair is long and thick and my body is full of energy and I can hear Linda Ronstadt singing "Desperado" in a way that not even the Eagles can quite match. At least not in the version where she ends the song and those huge brown eyes look into the camera at the end. Talk about "Mike Drop" That was awesome.

I read where Peter Frampton is having to retire because he has a disease that is causing his muscles to go slack on him and he can't play the guitar. I still remember the album "Frampton Comes Alive." I didn't care for the album and I traded a great Steve Miller 8 track for the darn thing. But, still it's hard to think of the long haired youthful Peter Frampton not being able to play the guitar. Old age is certainly not for sissies. Still, I'm thankful to be on the outskirts of it and looking forward to ever how many more miles my source allows me to travel.

I grew up with country music. My mother sang and my step dad played the guitar and the old Country/Western stuff filled the house. I hated it. I did grow up to appreciate the genius of Hank Williams and the beauty of Patsy Cline and the hard headed courage of Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. But, back then Porter Wagnor and Buck Owens and George Jones were not my thing.

However, I do have the "odd" ability to sing along with the lyrics of just about any country song you can name that was sung by George Jones or Loretta Lynn or Porter and Buck. You can't grow up around music even if it's not your music without it rubbing off on you.

So, I'm older now and I don't listen as much as I once did. I still pick up my ole six string and strum on good days when my hands don't get tired and my limbs and breath are good. It takes me back. I sometimes wonder if the coming generation will be as musically gifted or as taken away to a different place as we were. It's kind of odd but this new "tolerant" generation seems more segregated in some ways than we were. They get into their safe spaces and can't be bothered by anything that is different or alternative to what they are comfortable with. Oh well, maybe that's just an old fart looking back and judging the youth. It's been going on ever since the first kid put on a rock and roll record or a soul singer came on the radio and white bread America had to come to terms with the fact that there are different voices in life. Maybe the kids today will be alright in the long run.

So, most days you won't find me listening to an endless playlist of songs on my phone. Most of the time I'm listening to a book on Audible or a podcast about the paranormal or sports radio. But, some days the mood will hit me. My hands will feel good and breath will come easy and I'll pull down my old guitar or I'll turn up my sound system and go back for just a minute or and hour and get lost in Rock and Roll.

Peace!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

New York Minute.


New York abortion law: First I Want to try and say this without looking for “links” to justify or beat down anybody else. Left or right this one is from my heart. First to my fellow liberals and left leaning moderates and to the far left fellow travelers: Abortion is not a holy right of womanhood. It is something that should be treated with extreme seriousness and honestly if you are doing it to make sure you have a career or higher pay or because it’s easier then you (in my opinion ) have something missing in you. Still, if somebody rapes a woman or impregnates a child or if in the early stages somebody finds out that the pregnancy is life threatening then it’s up to them to carry or not carry the child. Honestly, it’s always up to the mother in my opinion. But, to act as if it’s a right of passage. To cheer and paint the town pink because a child will be ripped from the womb is sick. Let’s call it what it is and then we can honestly talk. You have decided that the potential human in your body is not a responsibility you wish to have and you choose  to kill the being in your body instead of carrying it to term. I’m going to say that I believe it’s a woman’s right. But, I don’t believe in not calling it what it is which is killing the potential (because we don’t know if it would have been viable at first or if it would have a good life) but killing the potential flesh of your flesh and blood of your blood. As a child of parents who were not really at that time able to maturely approach child bearing and care I can tell you this. I love both my parents. I have had issues with both my parents. But, I will always be their son and they will always be my mother and father. So, that is what you are killing the potential of. So, no I don’t celebrate or paint the town pink with the stupid ignorant governor of New York today. 

To my conservative travelers and friends:  How dare you! You say collateral damage when bombs fall on children in Iraq and Palestine. You say “their parents should not have brought them here when kids are detained at the border and put into camps and sent back to poverty conditions. You say “hell no, I’m not going to pay my taxes to expand Medicaid or childcare or healthcare. That’s my damn money! You make it harder and harder for somebody to care for the child and raise the family and not be in poverty in a health crisis. You pass laws that keep poor people in a prison for smoking a weed that grows out of the ground while making excuses for a creep that hasn’t paid income taxes and lives in golden towers. You are not Pro Life you are Pro womb. After that you have little to no use for anybody that doesn’t fit your profile of what a person is.

So, in the words of a recent movie producer to a couple of reporters I say this to both the liberals and the conservatives. The religious and the anti religious.  Ya ready?

F..k  you guy’s.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

New Years Walk!


To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven…The Byrds

 

I remember around the late 70’s or early 80’s I started a personal tradition. I called it my End of Year Prayer. I would take an early morning walk in the woods every New Year’s Eve. My favorite spot was Noccalula Falls in the city of my birth Gadsden, Alabama. The falls are a 90 foot waterfall and the park and campground surrounds it In the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain chain. Last time I was up there the city had of course screwed it up. But, back in the day you could go up under the falls and you could follow Black Creek and explore and when the water was rushing the narrow creek made a really impressive noise as it rushed ahead to the falls.

 

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep…the Byrds

 

Back then I was struggling with whatever young adult males struggle with and also with my own unique struggles and journey. So, I would take that day to look back at the year just past and look forward and make my case to “God” for the coming year. I saw some things as incredibly important back then that I can’t even remember now or I assume they were important since I say I can’t remember. I was still learning that there would be a time to plant and a time to reap. I’ve never actually killed a human but I’ve had relationships die and wither on the vine while I passed the time.

I really did find a time to heal back then. My worldview was different and still being established and even now is in flux but I do have a more steady philosophy of life than I did then. Prayer has always been important to me. It’s how I clear my thoughts and my head. It’s how I find balance. The particulars have changed. I no longer have such a fundamental Christian view of the world. But, the healing and the real experience of prayer now combined with meditation has kept me sane. Kind of odd when you read and hear about the religious excesses of people but the truth is I became more spiritual and less religious through prayer. I stopped taking the bible as the absolute text book of God after I read it. Sometimes it just works that way.  I’ve found different  times to weep and different times to laugh. I sometimes mentally tremble at how blessed I am. How many bullets I’ve dodged. I also struggle at times with how much I’ve gone through and especially when I hear some millennial idiot of about 25 years tell me how “privileged” I am. I always think “Child if you had of had my life your young ass would be over in the corner in the fetal position instead of standing there making sure you are counted as a victim of oppression. Which of course doesn’t negate at all the fact of people who have been oppressed throughout history from slavery to the holocaust and beyond. It’s just that some people try to make excuses for being angry by playing on the misfortunes of others. But, I don’t really want to get in a discussion of the pros and cons of political correctness. Because both pro’s and con’s exist. I think it’s wonderful that some words that defame others are no longer accepted in society. But, I also think people need a little thicker skin and less “safe places” to deal with the world.

 

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven…The Byrds

 

I really do think there is a purpose and a reason why we take this journey. But, I also believe shit happens. It’s how we deal with it and how we bring meaning between ourselves and our own spiritual connections or how we choose to look at life that matters.

 

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing…The Byrds

 

I think in the end we each have to be honest with ourselves. If you love then say you love. If you hate then admit you hate and take it to your own source be that God or scream at the sky or whatever works for you. But, don’t wallow forever in the hate. It can cause you to wither from the inside if you let it.

 

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late…The Byrds

 

I’ve tried so hard to be things I thought other people needed me or wanted me to be. One of the good things about getting past the big 6-0 is that I no longer worry much what everybody else thinks I should think. I’m not trying to step on anybody else to get up the ladder. I’m not trying to get the girl or impress the preacher or the boss at work. I’m kind of looking at things from a little more mellow perspective. I’m thankful for the years in my face because everybody doesn’t get the privilege of growing old. Not that I feel old but the road behind me is now much shorter than the road in front of me. At least where this life is concerned. So, what’s beyond the next hill or the next curve?

 

To be or not to be.  To die — to sleep. To sleep — perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub!...Hamlet (Shakespeare.)

 

That’s always been the point of it to me. What is over the next hill? I’ve always felt and still do. That this world with all of it’s beauty and tragedy is just a pale imitation of my real home. If I could just meditate hard enough or look more clearly at the world that I could see the real world right there at the edge of this imitation one. I know I may sound a little loony tunes there. But, isn’t that what faith is about? The hope of an eternal home after the wandering through this land?

 

 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Warning: Not rated for general audiences.


WARNING:

If you are my friend and a conservative republican just skip this part. It will only anger you and cause you to either unfriend me or at the least think of me as a vulgar little left wing commie:

God! Dear GOD! This fucker works for DHR as a food stamp worker and pastors a church where he will proclaim the love of Christ. The other one is a staunch republican and loves the reason for the season!  Both of them are as mad as wet hens (as my grandma used to say) because the state is giving poor families an extra $700 dollars in food this year.

They were not just irritated they were MAD! They were trembling in the hall with rage that people who got food stamps would sell them. Now, I’m not saying some people don’t sell their stamps. I’m not stupid and I may have rode in on the turnip truck. But, I came in the cab. I didn’t fall off the back. But, really if you have 10 hungry children and three  adults sell their stamps for money but the 10 hungry kids get fed then yep I’m good with that. If you begrudge the poor but you voted for a man who has paid women to get an abortion and evicted people and not paid his taxes and not paid his debts then what the fuck is wrong with you?

I pointed out to the good reverend that Gov’na Bentley and the GOP machine for the past 8 years regularly used state money for trips to Vegas for Bentley’s mistress and made sure her and her husband had cushy taxpayer funded contracting jobs for hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. But, that didn’t’ bother the good reverend because Bentley is anti abortion don’tcha know? Doesn’t matter if poor people go hungry as long as we don’t allow even one or two scum bags to sell their stamps. By the way I’ve been on food stamps in my life and I needed them to feed my family. But, ya know what? I was desperate and yes I did go back to work and I was blessed to get my state job again. But, what if I hadn’t? Should my child have gone hungry?

Look I understand getting mad about welfare cheats. I understand that we have to have borders in this nation and I understand we have able bodied people on disability. But, most of them really are not able to find and do 40 hours a week and feed themselves and their families. Do we begrudge the next meal a child gets because of some scum who abused the system?

My main issue was that these right wing gawd lovin folks were not mad at government abuse or waste. They are not trembling at congress having lifetime benefits and a huge pension for the rest of their days. They were trembling (and I’m not exagaratting) in rage because a poor hillbilly from North Alabama or a person in the hood in Tuscaloosa was going to get a little extra food this year.

Finally, using God’s name in vain is not saying G…amit. God’s name in vain is getting behind a pulpit and preaching the love of Jesus while begrudging the food a poor person puts in their mouth.

Jesus Wept!