Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Lost a little off the old fastball.

    I looked in the mirror just a moment ago. It's funny because I saw an older man in a baseball cap. Not a bad looking dude for 60 plus years old but not exactly who I was expecting. That happens a lot lately. I still look out of these eyes with the same self I always have but the person looking back in the mirror doesn't have an unlined face or long light brown hair and the youthful gaze or even the silly "I'm gonna be young forever" grin that I remember so well.

 I was sitting outside now that the temperature in Alabama has decided to become bearable and the  sun isn't scorching my skin like Dracula at the beach. I pull out the old Kindle and start to read this old short story in a Stephen King collection. It's his first collection called "Night Shift" and the story is "Last Rung on the Ladder." You, unless you are a Stephen King nerd like me have most likely never heard of this one. No made for TV movies. It's not discussed as one of this best works. Mainly because it's not. No zombies or scary clowns or vampires or crazy writers possessed by evil ghosts from a haunted hotel. But, at the end of that little story I thought "Damn, he was good." Even back then he was good. I think my favorite writer has lost a little off his fast ball these days. He seems to strike out from time to time while agonizing over politics and a certain orange dumb ass in Washington. But, I have to admit that those of us who call him a dumb ass sure do give him a lot of free rent in our heads. Well, I personally don't but a lot of really liberal people lose their minds daily over Da Donald. Anyway, this isn't a political rant and so let me move on.

  I could run a mile in under five minutes in high school. Now, I know that's not track star fast but honestly? How many people can say they broke a five minute mile other than track stars. I was never a track star. But, I was young and healthy and loved that final kick towards a runners high. I couldn't run half a mile these days without the threat of cardiac arrest. 

  Well I'm running down the road trying to loosen my load...Glen Frey. 

I remember when Glen Frey sang that. He had to rake his hair out of his eyes and they looked a little smart alecky and he had that devil may care smile as the rest of the Eagles came on in harmony. Glen Frey from the band who wrote the soundtrack of my youth has passed on to that rock and roll heaven. How the heck did that happen? Just yesterday he was "Taking it Easy" and I was listening with a Pony Miller in one hand and the smell of wacky terbacky wafting through the air.

  I knew a girl who sang the blues. I asked her for some happy news...Miss American Pie.

  One thing about getting older though. You can finally say what you feel and not have to impress anybody or try to do the old mating dance of youth. I read where Oliva Newton John is 71 years old. My God  the last time I saw her she was looking at John Travolta in a certain movie with a come hither look on her young face. He was looking back with a "I'm on my way hither" look of his own. 

  I think I slept through the early 80's. Ether that or I got stoned and missed it. Now I have met a lot of people in my time. I've listened to preachers and I've listened to atheist and I've heard guru's explaining the mysteries of life. I don't do preachers or guru's and I am absolutely not an atheist. I have had enough experience to know that my being is more than my body. Although, there are times when I'm more sure than other times.

  I started this out with the mirror. I remember as a child looking in the mirror. I would think "who is that?" That's not me.. But, as the years passed I got used to "my face." Not pleased mind you but, used to it. 

  So maybe in some future time there will be a kid who looks in the mirror. Say around 20 or 30 or more years from now.That child will look in a mirror and think "That's not me." I don't know who that is but it's not me. But sooner or later the child will get used to it. Then before they know it it will become the "youth" from the past and he will miss it. Just a little. 

And dream of the soft look your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep....W.B. Yeats

  I really do wonder if what goes around comes around for real. I have no desire these days to smite my enemies. No "sweet revenge fantasies" I also have no real need to rush to forgive every bastard that ever hurt me either. I'm just at the stage where I live and let live and let God sort it out. It's not a bad place to be really. But, I'd love to run a five minute mile again. 

"When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead and the white knight is talking backwards and the red queen's off with her head...Jefferson Airplane

Grace Slick who was lead vocalist on that song by the Jefferson Airplane is 80 years old. It's unreal to this eternally young Baby Boomer who grew up with rock and roll. Did we ever teach the world to sing? Oh well. I can get inside my own head sometimes.

In the words of a young Grace Slick who is now eighty years old. "Remember what the Dormouse said. Feed your head. Feed your head."

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

I didn't come here (and I ain't leavin')

   So, there I was minding my own business and all of a sudden I emerge here on earth over sixty years ago. With some hazy memories of an old man walking down some stairs and sitting in a chair and then...

Right smack in the middle of the Bible Belt in Ala-damn-bama, U.S.A. to a teenage mother and an absent father and thankfully two grandparents who were happy to see me.  I'm not going to argue the merits of that old time religion because to be honest I have mixed emotions about it. While I have come to doubt the fundamentalist religion I grew up with. The faith and prayers I was taught as a child has saved my sanity and maybe my life on more than one occasion. Still, the false guilt and just so stories of an angry Deity didn't help my sanity. So, I'll call it even and keep going on down the road.

  I've gotten over the need to convince people of anything. So, I don't spend a lot of time trying to prove my beliefs or my political leanings to people. I have come to think of life as a journey and not a destination. This is one part of it. 

Now I've heard there was a secret chord. That David played and it pleased the Lord. But, you don't really care for music do ya? ...Leonard Cohen

  I sometimes think I've seen and heard that secret chord but then the earth rotates and I think I miss the beat. I spent a lot of my early life trying to play the tune that would please other people. As a child you try to say the things that will please your parents so they will give you what you want or at least not (as we say in the south) whup your ass. 

Then you try to please the teacher so you can get a passing grade and move up to the next level. You try to please the preacher so you can be "saved" and join the church. You try to please the girl or boy depending on your gender or preference so you can uhh, well anyway.
You try to please God so that you can get the right job so you can get the right girl so you can have the right uhh, anyway.

Wait a minute. Am I doing the male thing and making this all about getting uhh, you know. 

That's what she said...Michael from "The Office." 

Then this thing called social media comes along and everybody has to make sure that everybody else knows how great "my" family and friends have got it and did you see the picture I posted from my phone at the Olive Garden last night of my salad and bread sticks?

It goes like this the fourth, the fifth the minor fall, the major lift. The baffled king composing Hallelujah. ...Leonard Cohen

  Well, I admit I'm baffled alright. I'm not the king but still aren't we all the kings and queens of our little domains? I sometimes feel out of place and out of time. I think if I could just pop back to around the early to mid 70's I could find something I misplaced. 

  Must have been my hair. I haven't seen that in awhile. But, no that's not it. Maybe that feeling of youth that the road in front of me is longer than I can ever get finished traveling? No, that's not it because that road sure don't seem as long in front of me in this part of the journey. 

and dream of the soft look your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep...Yeats

I remember youth alright. It was an amazing and crazy and sad and exhilarating time.Some say youth is wasted on the young but I disagree. Because if I hadn't of had the silliness of youth then it wouldn't have been youth.

Don't bogart that joint my friend, pass it over to me...Little Feat

I do wish I had paid more attention though. Stayed a little more soberly focused. Not to be extremely serious because life is too important to be serious all the time. I knew a girl in the 80's. I swear I can't remember her name but back then I wuz in luv. Anyway, I remember that she was smart. She said once that she wished she hadn't done so many drugs in her teens because she felt she would be a lot smarter than she was. I understood. Still do.

Not that I was a drug head in my teens. I actually was pretty spaced out without the use of chemicals back then. Still am at times but that's another story.

I know what freedom means to me. And I can't give a reason why. I should ever wanna die...Eagles "Twenty one."

  I don't think we are mistakes so I really feel like we are on an eternal journey back to God, Source or higher self. I personally still pray and so I feel it's a journey back to a personal God or Ground of Being. But, if you don't then I don't think it matters. I highly doubt there is a petty old angry man somewhere marking your name out of a book just because you question reality. 

Sometimes to keep it together, you got to leave it alone...Eagles "Wasted Time." 

  So, I won't be voting for Trump and I don't care if it makes some silly macho type mad at me. Some of you think if you talk in a slow southern drawl and can pull a trigger that makes you a man. It doesn't. Any idiot can pull a trigger.

I also won't be voting for any far left wing social warrior who thinks I am some kind of scourge on the earth and have privilege. Child if you had of lived my life you would be over in the corner in the fetal position sucking your thumb. 
Also, just because I do speak with a slow southern accent doesn't make me stupid or less of a man.

So you can get on with your search  baby. And I can get on with mine... Eagles

  No matter where I go. There I am. 

Says she talks to angels. They call her out by name....The Black Crowes.

I try to listen to my better angels at least some of the time. I do have reason to think they are there. But, I'm hard headed. So, I have to hope my guardian Angel is merciful. Because some days I can feel the hope of forever but, other days it just seems like a play written by an idiot...Apologies to Shakespeare.

I was watching a youtube video recently. Stephen King was asked what he felt happened when we die. I don't know why but we seem to really put a lot of stock in what famous people say about life and death. But, I digress. I agreed however with his answer. He said that he believes we go on. Because we are so cool and it would be a real tragedy if we just stopped. So, he chooses to believe we go on.

I agree. I choose to listen in the end to my better angels. It may seem like a play written by an idiot on some days. But, that's just because the idiots grab the pen sometimes. But, in the end I have reason to believe that a master storyteller has already written an ending that is out of this world. 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  


Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Road Goes on Forever!

 I recently purchased the Prime video download of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I haven't watched it all the way through since first seeing in in theaters back in the day. One of the things I remember about that movie is the look some people had on their faces walking out. They kind of looked a little dazed or a little bit like "wow." I can hear the familiar tones in my head do,do,do,do doo tune even as I write this.

 I think that is one of the first times I really asked myself if I would go with an alien on what we often called a flying saucer back then. My answer was Yes, Yes I would. It would be years later that I read Whitley Strieber's account called "Communion" about what he at first thought was alien abduction. He has since been caricatured and dismissed by a lot of people. But, if you actually read what he says it's pretty damn deep and not about an alien abduction at all. At least not since he first wrote Communion. 

I'm married to a genuine Trekkie. She can tell you the dimensions of the Star Ship Enterprise and the different warp speeds and how the physics of Star Trek work. I can't and actually I find the whole Star Trek thing boring. Which will cause Star Trek fans to lose their collective minds and look at you as if you had cussed in church. On the other hand I know that look because music fans often give me the same look when I say Bruce Springsteen is horribly depressing and the Rolling Stones are far superior to the Beatles. 

But, why do I think Captain Kirk and the gang including the Next Generation and all the rest are boring? Well, in all honesty I don't think the show's themselves are boring. I really do think the overly dramatic William Shatner original is boring. Although I love the eye candy from the sixties. the set's always look exotic and have that cheesy feel. But, the over acting and the drama is a bit much. I really like The Next Generation and Voyager and DS9. So, it's not so much the show itself that I find boring. It's the philosophy of the show that I find boring.

 I've always thought that if we ever do meet aliens then I bet it will be a blast. Some people are stuck in the Star Trek mode of it will just be super smart humans that know science and math and will tell us how stupid we are. Or the old "why would aliens talk to us?" we don't talk to ants. But, ya know what? If we saw ants building tiny satellites and sending out signals then we might just  try to talk to them. So, that's kind of a silly argument in my opinion. 

I also see where people will say that religion would be changed and people would lose their minds. But, I often think that yes, religion would be challenged but so would science. We might finally learn that we are not simply brain farts or products of a meaningless universe. We might even learn about God although I understand that word has a lot of religious baggage. I think it would be fascinating to meet someone who is evolved not only technologically and physically but spiritually as well. 

I've always loved the romance and mystery of the open road. I think Americans in general and males in particular love the thought of the freedom and the mystery of just traveling an endless and fascinating road. Or it could just be me. I was born and raised in Northeast Alabama in Gadsden/ Etowah County. I can remember outside Altoona/Walnut Grove Alabama seeing  these black top country roads. The roads in the south in the summer heat simmers and you see the waves of it in front of you. In the winter that black tar or pavement looks cold and hard. But, as you travel down the country lane into the trees you get the magical feeling that you could go anywhere. 

I was always disappointed a little bit once I found the end of the road. It really didn't go on and on forever. It stopped just over the next hill or ran back into the highway and from there into the town and that was it. But, in my mind it could be endless. 

I read a book once about a guy who died. He woke up on a long road in the afterlife. It was great because he would travel and come upon people and places  from his earthly life. The childhood store from his old neighborhood. The girl from the sixth grade or the teacher or friend he once knew. The road went on and on. He could stop and live by the ocean forever or until he got ready to move on again. He could be in the country or city. It was endless and he could even leave the road and do something else. He did and had some other deeper stuff that I don't remember a lot of unless I read it again and don't think it would be something for me to blog about. 

But the concept was fascinating to me. So, aliens and open roads and thoughts of no limits existence are always attractive to me. I think I'll watch Close Encounters again on one of these rainy fall or winter days. It more than likely will hold up okay but it won't be like 1975 and I have a lot more miles along this road than I did then.

  I read once where an author thought that aliens had been involved in a galactic war and had come to earth and all our religious myths and belief's were started by them That they implanted some of their own seed in the prehistoric humans and that is why our brains grew and our species survived and we are at the top of the food chain. Now, do I believe that? No. But, do I entertain the thought that maybe we are being nursed along and watched and that maybe a culture that we would call angels or supernatural will show themselves? Maybe. I don't have to believe it as a religion to have fun and think "what if?" 

Whitley Strieber once said that the visitors (because he doesn't think they are from outer space but are inter dimensional beings) told him "We recycle souls." Now before you say how crazy that sounds do me a favor. Remember I'm quoting what somebody else said so don't blame me. Also, the scientist that the French Scientist in Close Encounters is based on is a real person. Dr. Jaques Vallee. He has done some research since the 60's and he also thinks a lot of our religious and Celtic and other world myths are based on actual encounters with a superior intelligence. Maybe inter dimensional. It's a really deep rabbit hole and once you start down it you realize that it's not so easy to dismiss it as quackery. At least not in total.

But, I still like the myth of the space brothers giving me a ride in their UFO and seeing some cool constellations and stars and planets and worlds within worlds. 

 Would I go on a spaceship if something like that actually existed? the older I get the more likely I would be to do it. I've found that when you get older. People kind of think you are in a certain box. They think they know your religion and your political views and your attitudes based on your accent and your grey hair and the wrinkles on your face. But, inside? Man, I'm still the kid looking out of these eyes waiting on the next great thing to happen and explore.

  So, if I had the chance and I could be sure my wife and son had all they need in this life to prosper. Then I could wait twenty more years or so until I'm really old. Then I would be glad to climb aboard that star ship. 

  But, while I really have fun with the old UFO myth and pop culture I think reality is even cooler. I think a great adventure awaits once we drop this mortal body and I am in hope that It will be endless. I think it already is.

I recently saw a youtube interview with my favorite author Stephen King and his son Joe Hill who is also a pretty good storyteller in his own right. They had a light hearted back and forth discussion at a library function somewhere in the Northeast. Probably in Maine knowing Uncle Stevie. 

One of the questions from the audience to Stephen King was "What do you think happens after death?" That's not a question that you think somebody would ask a best selling movie making mega rich author at a lighthearted "ain't we great?" book event. But, they did.

Stephen King said "I think consciousness continues. I think we go on. I choose to believe we do. Because if we don't then what a waste. We are so cool that it would be horrible if we just stopped." 

I feel really similar and that's why I am so taken by the concept of the road going on forever. With the journey never ending and the getting to know God or Source/ Ground of All Being and since we can never fully know then we keep learning and growing and playing for eternity. 

Now, you don't have to believe that. You can believe in your fire and brimstone. You can believe that science is a closed system and we just wink out and ultimately there will be nothing left. You can just ignore the question and that's okay in my opinion. But, in the night I find great peace in considering my eternal being and the eternal being of my loved ones and really of all of us. 

I was doing a meditation the other night. I find that guided meditations on Audible or Youtube or even Amazon Music help me to relax and fall asleep. The soft conversation like tone of the narrator as they guide me through relaxing my limbs and smoothing out the tension behind my eyes. I remember as a child I would listen as the adults talked in the other room after I was put to bed. The soft voices would carry me off to sleep. 

As I got older I would tune my radio to the far away cities in Saint Louis or Chicago and drift off either to the talk show host or the music from WLS in Chicago. I have always been able to drift off in front of the TV or listening to the radio. 

Anyway, back to my original thought about Meditation. The Meditation teacher asked at the start of this paticular meditation: Are you asleep or are you awake? 

I think I'm sleeping for the most part. But, one day that road will open up and I'll be fully awake.


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Dreaming Myself Awake.

Are you dreaming? Or are you awake?....Guided Meditation

  I've wondered about this over the course of several years. There have been times when I've thought "If I could just look intently enough I could see the edge of this reality." Sounds weird? Well, I was a weird kid growing up. There's a podcast called "Rune Soup" dealing with paranormal topics that I listen to on occasion and the host ask's every guest "were you a weird kid?" But, let me digress

Fly me high through the starry skies maybe to an astral plane...Dream Weaver

As a young adult I had a lucid dream some years ago. I became aware I was dreaming. I'm walking across a red tinted landscape. I have the thought "my bodies back there." I keep going since I'm obviously right here. I'm also aware there is a person walking beside me. I can't really see him clearly or I just don't look closely. This is a several year's old memory. 

I thought that they were angels but to my surprise. They climbed aboard their starship and headed for the skies...Styx "Come Sail Away." 

Well, he wasn't a space alien of that I'm sure. An angel? I don't know but I remember thinking he "knows." This person walking beside me right now absolutely knows the answers to the biggest questions in my life.

Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions. ...Stevie Nicks

My questions. Who or what is God? Which religion is right? What happens when we die? Do we actually have a spirit or are we a spirit? Why was I born and why do I die and where do I go when I do die?

Lot of questions about death right? Well in all honesty I have thought about that from my youth. But as an older adult? "@#$% gettin real." 

I read a book review the other day. An atheist I guess wrote it and he didn't like this particular academic's book that seemed to say everything is conscious. That matter didn't come first. The reviewer said that we die and that's it and he is happy about that and would hate to live forever. Really? I thought "Okay dude since life is so horrible to you why aren't you jumping off the nearest cliff?" The thing is his review got a lot of likes on Amazon. I have to be honest. I do want to live forever. I've heard well what if it get's boring? My response is have you looked at the cosmos? Have you considered how awesome and how incredible experience must be and how many places and things haven't even entered your earthly mind that can exist beyond these few wonderful tragic days that we have here? 

I fly a starship across the universe divide and when I reach the other side. I'll find a place to rest my spirit if I can. Perhaps I may become a highway man again...The Highwayman Chris Kristopherson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.

I had a good friend. No we weren't best friends. I was older and my friend was a rock star. Not an actual one although he played music. He was a chick magnet though. Must be nice. Anyway, he died at a young age. I'm not sure he was fifty but if he was it wasn't by much. We could talk about anything. I've had closer friends and people I grew up with but never anybody that I could just talk with the way I could with David. There was nothing off limits and no judgement. You said what you thought when you thought it and I still remember one of his sayings. "Fuck em if they can't take a joke." We connected again via phone before he died. He told me he was dying but I couldn't really get my head around that. In my minds eye I still saw the long haired musician ready to party and  rock all night. If I had just realized how close he was I honestly would have gotten to Birmingham to see him. Anyway, he said something to me that I absolutely understand and agree with. We talked some about religion. Both of us raised in a very bible thumping background and both of us pretty sure that most of the religious dogma was bullshit. But, I also felt and still feel that we are more than a cosmic accident. He had come to believe that too. He said he didn't know for sure what happened after death but he felt that something certainly did. That God must be more than the hypocritical angry old man of his childhood religion. I expressed my thoughts that we more than likely reincarnate but who knows? Anyway, he said one thing that has stuck with me. He said he didn't know for sure what the afterlife would be like but he did know one thing. He said "I like to be." I agree with all my heart. I like to be. Cause as long as "I be" or I am then there is hope.

"Ain't it hard when you're all alone in the center ring? Now there's no time left to borrow. Only Stardust. Maybe tomorrow. ....Desperado Reprise....Eagles

  So, I hold on to today but hope for tomorrow. I have reason to believe there is always now and tomorrow is always coming. 

So, back to my dream. I look over at this person walking beside me and I ask "What is the dream?" Meaning who is God? What is life? Is there life after death? What and who am I? He said "You ask too much."  I felt a tear run down my cheek. Then I woke up and I had an actual tear running down my cheek.

Sing with me, sing for the year, sing for the laughter, sing for the tear.Sing with me just for today. Maybe tomorrow the Good Lord will take you away...Aerosmith.

Lessons learned. Well, I have traveled a few more roads since that dream. I've had some experiences and at times I have felt my spirit rise to the heavens and other times I have felt like an automaton with no more purpose than a brain induced hallucination or chemical reaction. But, I've seen just enough even in those times to know that I'm not a brain induced hallucination. I've had those most recently after heart surgery. So, I know the difference. But, for some reason I still wonder what this is all about. I think it's a dream. 

If I had ever been here before on another time around the wheel. I would probably know just how to deal with all of you...Deja Vu...Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

The dream is one of the highlights of the journey for me. It changed over time or added over time to the way I look at life. I also heard about Steve Jobs on his deathbed saying "Ow wow, oh wow, oh wow." Rodger Ebert saying "this whole  thing is just an elaborate hoax." Ever since that night I have felt that life is kind of like a dream. I even saw a facebook meme that said "Maybe life is a dream and when we die we wake up." I suspect that is pretty close to the truth. I find myself hoping so.

So you can get on with your search baby and I can get on with mine. And maybe someday we will find. That it wasn't really wasted time...Eagles.

So, I continue my journey. I don't do a lot of religion these days and I don't argue or try to convert people. We all have our own dream to live. But, I do believe that God is sane and that the universe is built for spirit and for life. For love. I'll hold on to that during this part of the dream because there are days when it's hard to see the good and "love" is a word thrown around loosely that really means to most people "I'll love you as long as you don't piss me off." I think religion has made a living off that type "love." But, on the other hand my religion has gotten me through some dark times so I'm not angry at faith or those who still practice their faith. I'm just trying to be honest these days about what I really believe. 

I did my best it wasn't much. I couldn't feel so I tried to touch. I've told the truth. I didn't come to fool you.And even though it all went wrong I'll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but hallelujah. ....Leonard Cohen.

 If you read all the way to the end I am honored that you took the time.  Hallelujah and Peace. 

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Pilgrim Soul

  When you are old and grey and full of sleep,...William Butler Yeats

When I was still a young man and much more prone to "the feels" I watched an episode of "The New" Twilight Zone that has stayed with me all these years. I emphasize new because the New Twilight Zone is over thirty years old.

The plot started with two scientist that build a holographic projector. Out of nowhere it starts to project the image of a human fetus. Now, I had to check Wikipedia for the plot because honestly I barely remember where I put my phone from minute to minute these days.

and nodding by the fire, take down this book...Yeats

The fetus starts to age at the rate of ten years a day. The child quickly ages into a young woman named Nola. She has a past and can tell them where she came from. She tells them of being a young woman from the early part of the 20th Century.

and slowly read, and dream of the soft look your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep:...Yeats

So, have they captured the soul of a young woman? A wondering soul somehow caught in the technology of science? Or is she simply the projection simply by chance of their invention?

How many loved your moments of glad grace,...Yeats

Kevin who is one of the scientist has a strained relationship with his wife. Their marriage is on the rocks. Nola talks to him about her past life. He is falling in love with her. She ages and become pregnant with a child from her husband Robert. Kevin feels jealous even though he doesn't know any Robert.

And loved your beauty with love false or true...Yeats

They have had long discussions and share a love of the poetry of William Butler Yeats. Nola has a miscarriage. Kevin's fellow scientist Dan finds out that Nola died as a result of the miscarriage and Robert died himself out of grief and guilt.

But, one man loved the pilgrim soul in you...Yeats

As Nola is dying she somehow uses a voice modifier and posing as Robert calls Robert's wife Carol asking her to come to the lab.

And loved the sorrows of your changing face...Yeats

In her final conversation with Kevin she reveals that he is the reincarnation of Robert. Nola tells him that in his grief he drew her back to him to have this final moment. As Nola passes and fades away Kevin's wife comes in the lab.  A child's ball bounces out of the holograph and into her hands. They have a very emotional reunion. Maybe she was pregnant I really don't remember. Maybe she was Nola. That seemed to be the point of the symbolism.

And bending down beside the glowing bars, murmur a little sadly, how love fled and paced upon the mountains overhead. And hid his face amid a crowd of stars...William Butler Yeats

 This was my all time favorite episode of Twilight Zone. I had started to really explore my own childhood and life long memories. I still had and still have much to learn and discover. But, I had always had this feeling that maybe, just maybe there was something to this eternal being thing that had nothing to do with the contradictions of religion or the just so stories of Sunday school or even the just so stories of modern science with it's emphasis on the illusion of the soul being just a by product of the brain.

I don't mean to offend anyone that I grew up with who hold on to the faith of my upbringing. I understand. But, I have taken a long time to finally be able to say what I have long suspected. I have wrestled with these questions most of my life and I still can't say I am absolutely sure of where we come from and where we are going. But, I never forgot "Her Pilgrim Soul."

  I don't look to pop culture or movies or songs to decide what is true and what isn't true in this world. But, no matter how you look at it the Yeats poem is a beautiful work.

It was rainy and I felt like doing a blog and I thought of this poem. I'm not a big poetry guy but this is my favorite and even though it's a short list with me it's still an honestly beautiful verse. Anyway, I'll get back to horror movies and space aliens and even the evils of "The Donald" one of these blogs. But, for now...

Alas, he was the highway man the one that comes and goes and only the high-way woman keeps up with the likes of those....Stevie Nicks "The Highway Man."

  Again, thanks for reading my ramblings.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Fangs for the memories.

Haunting memory, veiled in misty glow, phantom melody, playing soft, and low. ...Shadows of the night (Quentin's Theme.}

I've been a horror novel and movie fan most of my life. I still remember watching old science fiction movies on the family black and white TV. My mother of all people loved the old horror movies and she encouraged my enjoyment. I remember watching the Amazing Colossal Man which was released the year I was born. Although full disclosure I didn't actually watch it until a few years had passed. I remember the old Dialing for Dollars afternoon movie and I would watch giant radioactive spiders and lizards and flying saucers complete with the local car lot commercials. Ah, the joy's of pre internet streaming services. Not even a VHR much less a DVD player. As with many people my age I would rush home in the afternoon from elementary school to see the latest episode of Dark Shadows and of course the greatest vampire this side of Dracula Barnabas Collins. Screw you Johnny Depp and the little pirate ship you rode in on. You made a travesty of a great character and series. 

  "We couldn't even hear you in the night...no one could. No one lives any nearer than town. No one else will come any nearer than that."
I know, Eleanor said tiredly"" In the night Mrs Dudley said, and smiled outright."  In the dark, she said." ...The Haunting of Hill House.

The Haunting of Hill House 1963 version scared me a few short years later as I was in front of the TV and for some reason no one else was around. I can't remember why but it was broad daylight and chances are I had come home from second grade or so and turned on the TV. I was paralyzed with fear and transfixed in front of the TV. Scared out of my young mind and having so much fun and yet..yet, what was that? I'm not going to move. Maybe if I just yell mother will hear me and come into the room. But, if I yell then "they" might hear me and then they will know I'm scared. Images of moving statues and little girls growing old and dying while beating on the wall with a cane and loud footsteps in the halls of Hill House while Julie Harris and Claire Bloom held each other in the dark and cowered as "Oh my God, who was holding my hand?" came from Julie Harris and I was enraptured with that movie. Even now it has the ability to chill me just a little.

Mid to late 1970's...Gadsden, Alabama Mall bookstore. I pick up a paperback called "Salem's Lot." A clerk comes up and say's "Oh, yeah. Stephen King. He's a young writer that people say is pretty good." ....

  Such is the hand of fate as a lifelong "Constant Reader" is born. I devoured Salem's Lot and then? Joy to the world he already had written a book called "Carrie." How had I missed that? Now, around 44 years later I have read and reread as many books as Stephen King has written. I would walk into the Gadsden Public Library and before I even said a word the librarian would say "Yes, you are already on the list for the new Stephen King book. 

  I also had the good fortune of growing up in a neighborhood with a drive in theater. Now, my mother and step dad had a rocky marriage at times. But, there were also some good times and memories. One of the best memories is coming home from school and pop corn would be popping and cola's would be sitting on the table and my mother would say "we are going to the drive in tonight."  Me and my sister would get in our pajamas and pile in the car and off we would go for the couple a mile drive to the drive in. If we were really lucky there would be (especially during Halloween season) a "Dusk till Dawn" Horror movie festival with Christopher Lee and Vincent Price, Peter Cushing and Boris Karloff. Dracula and Son of Dracula and Dracula's Daughter and the Wolf Man and the Living Dead. Back to back to back. 

Charles Grant, Alan Ryan, Dennis Etchinson, Jere Cunningham, JN Williamson. No, these are not household names. But, a few of the names of horror authors that I read "back in the day." I can remember having a drawer full of paperback novels in a drawer at my grandparents house. Books were an escape for me. I rarely read fiction these days. For one thing my 60 plus year old eyes don't adjust well to print. Although, my Kindle ereader helps. The back light and the font adjustment are eye savers. I also don't have the same ability to get lost in a book that I did in my youth. I wonder if fiction of all types will ever be quite the same. No, it won't go away. We will always love a good scare or a good portal out of the mundane. But, the medium will be more visual and intergrated with graphics and voice or at least I suspect that it will be.

One of my race crossed the Danube and destroyed the Turkish host. Though sometimes beaten back he came again and again then at the end he came again for he alone could triumph. This was a Dracula Indeed....Christopher Lee as Count Dracula.

I knew all the lore. Silver bullets for the werewolf and wooden stakes and holy water and a cross for vampires. Zombies? I hate zombies. 

Did you know a vampire can't cross running water? A werewolf can be identified by a unibrow. A ghost will tell you it's name if you ask it. Vampires don't cast a reflection in a mirror. Bat's may well be vampires just waiting to transform. I mean I knew stuff. Important stuff if I ever meet up with a member of the living dead. Zombies? I hate zombies.

Did you know the Mummy was buried in a tomb and a curse would be put on anybody who broke in? They would pull his brains out through his nose before burial so no wonder he was mean and cranky when he was disturbed. I knew all kind of stuff from my wide reading and movie watching about things that go bump in the night.

I'm afraid there is no alternative. In such a case, the planet earth would have to be...eliminated. Klaatu "The Day the Earth Stood Still." 

Oh great, now there were powerful space aliens to deal with. Oh well, at least the death rays will take care of those damn zombies.

I will always enjoy a good horror movie. Actually as I get older I really don't get as into horror as I did in my youth. I have zero interest in most of the slasher movies except for Halloween and the original Friday the 13th or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. These days I'm more comfortable with action and comedy and my reading leans more towards non fiction and the possibility that once I shake off this mortal coil the party continues. Honestly, if you read the research it's a real possibility. But, that's a different blog all together. 

So, even though it's hot as Hades in Bama right now on this August evening. Pull up to the fire and wrap yourself in your shawl or robe. I smell a hint of Autumn in the air and the corn has been harvested. At least that's what "He who walks among the rows" say's. 

Either way, I hope you enjoyed a little of the journey in Stevie's love of horror movies and books. 

I hope we can make it to the castle before dark. The horses are laboring and the sun is descending behind the mountains. But, up ahead I think that shadow is the turrets of the Castle. Yes, we made it.there's our host.

"I am Count Dracula and I bid you welcome, Mr Harker to my house.Come in, the night air is chill, and you must need to eat and rest....Bram Stoker ..."Dracula."

  As always, thanks for reading my ramblings and Pleasant Dreams! 

Monday, August 5, 2019

Early Morning Musings.

  Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too...John Lennon

  Do you ever imagine? I find myself at 2:30 in the morning just not getting there as far as sleep goes tonight/today. Even the old reliable guided meditation download on my earbuds isn't quite doing it tonight. I went to bed around ten and around 2:30 my body parts starting with my bladder yells "rise and shine" cause we are up! So, I sneak out of the bedroom hoping not to wake Cindy and go past the dog hoping she doesn't sound the alarm that something is moving in the house and head for the computer room. I then give my mind (not a worried mind just a busy mind tonight) permission to imagine and think.

Sing it sweet and clear
Oh mama, let me hear
That old rock and roll lullaby...B.J. Thomas

I sometimes wonder if my generation was the last to grow up on music. We didn't have the internet so we waited until our favorite artist would release an album. We didn't have as much segregation of our music back then. You might hear Al Green and then Jackson Browne and after that Willie Nelson or The Who on the radio. But, there was always an undercurrent of "rock." AM radio was the thing back then. There were giants on the earth broadcasting out into the night. I would be in my Gadsden, Alabama neighborhood or out at my grandparent's house in Altoona, Alabama and rock myself to sleep listening to WLS in Chicago with John Records Landecker playing the hits. Rocking me to sleep. I also would listen to talk radio such as KMOX out of Saint Louis. I still remember waking up and hearing my hometown stations in Gadsden, Alabama signing on the air. WGAD would sign on and I knew I had made it through the night and was back home again.

I'm young
I know
But even so
I know a thing or two, I learned from you..."Love Hurts" Nazareth

I was young but I had a lot more to learn. I just didn't know it at the time.  I think we miss youth is when we get older because it seemed like everything was out there and you were heading towards it. Now the road in the rear view mirror is longer than the road up ahead or at least from this limited view it appears so. But, I think there are more things in heaven and earth and to infinity and beyond (to mix the Bard with common pop culture) and I am optimistic that there are "Other Worlds Than These"  I know, but I had to throw a Dark Tower quote by Stephen King in there somewhere.

All We Are Saying is give Peace a chance...John Lennon

Peace. I find peace in stillness and meditation and prayer. Not because I'm devout. I no longer see God as a sky daddy to give me stuff because I found Jesus. But, because I've had enough experience along the way to be hopeful that this journey is meaningful and not simply a march towards oblivion or some sort of perverted hellfire and brimstone. Sorry, I don't mean to offend but I'm rambling about my thoughts here. Not trying to uphold or tear down religion or convert people as if I have the answer. I got questions though. 

The cup that I drink. You will drink....Jesus

I don't follow the religion of my youth anymore. The dogma just didn't survive my life experience or my prayers and questions. But, I still see in the person of Jesus the wisdom and hope and struggle of this journey. I remember when I was a kid and adults would take you to a funeral. I would see these old people with white hair go past the coffin. They would shake their heads in sadness as if the person in the coffin had been a poor unfortunate victim of a disease and they were spared. But, in my youth I figured out something. Everyone of them and everyone of us including me will drink that cup. So, is the hope of life after death as dead as my  faith in the religion of my youth? No, because I have had some personal affirmations that I and we are more than the body. But, I'm not interested in converting anybody to a particular religious proof. As Stevie Nicks sang "I keep my Visions to Myself.

I often see my old childhood friends post their religion on facebook and proclaim the faith. I don't have a problem with that as long as they understand that I don't want my government to be a "Christian" government. I don't want it to be an atheist government either or a Muslim or a Jewish or any other special interest government. I also don't want far left identity politics and social justice warriors running it. What if we just agreed that everybody has a right to health care regardless of social status. What if we stopped playing nanny to the world and cleaned up our own act. Not isolationism but simply work on our own stuff for awhile. Oh well, I'm not a spring chicken anymore so I guess that will be an issue for another generation in the coming years.

“It is not more surprising to be born twice than once...Votaire

I have my own reasons for suspecting that this isn't my first rodeo but, here is the thing in the United States or at least in the part of the country I'm from which is the Southeast or "The Bible Belt." You can proclaim Christianity and belief in certain dogma and be considered spiritually and morally and even mentally sound. You can say you are an atheist and even though you will get some funny looks and invites to church to save your sorry hide you will not be thought of as insane or mentally unstable. But, if you let it out of the bag that you suspect that you have made this journey before and that you are an eternal being having a human experience then you will be considered crazy at best. 

I've always been crazy but it's kept me from going insane...Waylon Jennings 

Writing thoughts down while sleep deprived is not the best way to have a coherent flow of consciousness. But, sometimes I just like to ramble and see where the road takes me. If you have come along on this ramble then thank you for giving me the honor of reading my blather.