Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Evolution

"...Consciousness tends to focus upon what we lack rather than what we possess.  From the moment we are born we struggle to achieve the things we lack , or think we lack: food and drink, possessions, the esteem of other people, security, personal fulfilment.  It is only when we are faced with some threat or crisis that we grasp how lucky we are, how much we already possess.  Then, suddenly, consciousness ceases to focus upon what we still want and focuses upon what we already have...."--Colin Wilson

I remember when I was a freshman in high school I embarked on the writing of a Lord of the Rings  inspired fantasy novel.  My brother and I conceived the characters and story together, and we called it  Goldfire.  It was pretty much what you would expect  such an effort to be; although in light of the flood of other such works that have come out since then ours was not too bad.  It is one of many unfinished novels of mine, but the thing I remember most about slogging through the 500 some odd (some very odd) handwritten pages of Goldfire  was the intense longing I had for a manual typewriter to help me in my efforts.  I got a job at a local supermarket bagging groceries, and eventually saved up enough money and purchased the much anticipated typewriter.  You would think I was in heaven.  Well, I was.  For about two days.  Then I started thinking about how I really needed a good desk to work at.  After much begging and wrangling I was able to talk my Mom into letting me use a dresser as my beloved desk.  Then I needed a good light.  Then a good workspace.  There was always something else that I needed to acquire in able to become the successful author I so longed to be.  
Well , my dissatisfaction kept me acquiring until I had everything I should need to do the job, but somewhere in the chase I lost the fire for Goldfire.  
I realized then that no matter what I was able to acquire or achieve, I would always be unhappy, because I was more focused on doing the next thing, rather than making the most of what I actually had.  I had unwittingly stumbled on the Buddha's Second Noble Truth, Samudaya , the origin of suffering is craving.
Certainly an argument can be made for the dynamism of consumption being the dynamo for effort, warding away stagnation; etc.  After all, we must provide what we need to survive.  
The moments that we are able to see what we do have, and we are able to count our blessings, are typically rare and usually a peak moment of bliss or produced by the  threat of losing what we have.
I'm certainly not going to be a hypocrite about it.  I haven't changed much since my Goldfire days.  I just got through badgering the same brother that collaborated with me on the book into getting me a leaf blower ( that I had no money myself to purchase but just had to have) as a late Christmas present, and am already contemplating what I will just have to have next.  
But I think almost everyone can agree that 2008 was a pretty rotten year overall.  The economy is in a shambles, the globe is still inflamed in turmoil, etc.  Today is New Year's Eve, and we are about to put this terrible year behind us, and at least embrace the perception that with a new year comes new opportunity.   The truth is, of course, that every day is a new opportunity, but we, as a species, take this day to contemplate our lives and progress as a civilization.  
There is no telling what we might be saying about 2009 at this time next year.  For now, I think it is good to take stock of what we have, what is worth fighting to keep, and what we can afford to get rid of.
The main thing I could afford to get rid of is my desire for new stuff I cannot afford.  Oh, and about 75 pounds...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Absurd Good News of Great Joy

"I look at the side of your face as the sunlight comes

streaming through the window in the autumn sunshine

and all the time going to Coney Island I'm thinking,

Wouldn't it be great if it was like this all the time?"--Van Morrison

The last hour of Christmas Day is ticking away as I write this, family tucked in and drowsing off after a full day of fellowship, food, and of course fun presents for the little ones. All the usual stresses of the pre-holiday madness melted away with the early morning unwrapping, and before the melancholy duties of dismantling all the decorations begins , I wanted to reflect on an interesting phenomena.

Colin Wilson often refers to a state of consciousness that he calls "the holiday effect." I think most of can understand his thinking here based on personal experiences: it is the feeling that we sometimes have when on a holiday from our usual routine, that life is much bigger, more magical, and much more brimming with possibilities than we usually perceive . I suppose it is the very goal of taking a holiday for many of us; not so much the physical destination as the mental one that we journey towards to "clean out our systems."

Most of us when asked about favorite childhood memories will recall holiday events, or birthdays, or vacations, those occasions when time seemed to slow down and become less "in charge".

Then there are the peak moments. Not so much the moments of achievement or accomplishment, although these can of course be very important to us; but the small moments wherein somehow, unsought after or expected, life glows with the meaning, vibrancy and possibility that we feel on holiday. Whether it be a particular bright day, or a moody storm, or any of countless small moments that could have been forgetful , but instead became part of the parcel of joy that you carry in your spirit forever.

What is it that causes these moments, this "holiday effect"? Can we produce these consciously, or are we only to catch them when they arise?

Obviously the feeling is a perceptual phenomenon. Two people standing side by side experiencing the same environment may not necessarily get the same effect from their surroundings. It occurs within the beholder; the filling in of significance at an unconscious and super normal speed , washing over the beholder as an experience that occurs to him rather than by him. Rather like a dream, only in a waking state. So it would seem that the short answer to "can we consciously evoke peak moments?" would be "no."

It is probably wise that our Creator made it difficult to summon peak moments; after all , they would cease to be peaks if we were allowed to be there all the time; which is probably what we would do, like the lab monkey that repeatedly stimulates his pleasure center without nourishing his body and ends up dead.

However, we can make things conducive for them. Have you ever had the experience of waking from a dream that you were enjoying and being able to talk yourself into getting back into that dream? It doesn't work all the time ;but occasionally, while still in that receptive, relaxed mode, you can will the dream to go on. I think by actively exercising our perceptive abilities we can increase the chance of having these spiritual, cleansing moments. Take the time every so often to really look at your surroundings; listen to what is going on all around you, use all your senses to help you take in just what is going on in your life. The robot that gets you from point A to point B, so you can earn your daily bread, needs to be turned off from time to time, so that you may connect with the real you in the real world...

Doing these things will help us feel like we do on those really meaningful holidays: connected to each other, to our world, and most importantly, to the Creator of all things...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

E Spiritus Unum

"You should undoubtedly bow before all views. But there is a thing called unswerving devotion to one ideal. True, you should salute everyone. But you must love one ideal with your whole soul. That is unswerving devotion." ---Ramakrishna

"They call you Christ, Vishnu, Buddha, Jehovah,

Our Lord

You are Govindam, Bismillah, Creator of All."---George Harrison

Have you ever had the experience of reading an article concerning a subject that you had first hand knowledge of and being aghast at how skewed the facts had become between the happening and the reporting? Or if some media figure dips into a realm of your expertise and reports something as the gospel that you happen to know they got completely wrong? The experience inevitably causes you to wonder, 'Gee, if they got this all wrong, how much of the other stuff are they getting wrong that you just accept as truth?'

In an earlier post I talked about the difference between fact and Truth, and the impact that a confusion of these two principles have had on modern humanity's "buy in" on certain religions. When we read stories concerning events that occurred thousands of years ago, we know that they were written themselves mostly long after the fact, mostly by people not remotely attached to the subject matter, and mostly from what one may call a political agenda. There are different levels of objective at work at all times; edification, indoctrination, etc. And yet there is often the bones of what we may believe to be the source material there, enough to gather the essential wisdom of the many prophets and pilgrims of spirituality that came before us.

When I first heard the lyric that I quoted near the top of this page in the George Harrison song "Life Itself" back in 1982 it opened my eyes to the idea that many of the world's religions were only separated by vernacular mythology, that all were paths to homage for the same Creator. They were what Joseph Campbell called the "Masks of God". And the further down the road I go the more I see that this is so, and there are many bones of the source material to be found in the works of world religion.

One of the tough things to square with this viewpoint as a Christian is Yahweh's insistence on strict adherence to shunning all other gods except Him. If there was no other lesson to be learned in the Old Testament it was that one. I know you can rationalize your way out of or into anything, but I believe since Yahweh's plan was to set aside the Hebrews as his Chosen people so that he could eventually incarnate into a man and be among his own creatures for a time in order to bring us to the next stage of spiritual evolution , it was necessary to demand this from his people. If many of the gods are different aspects of one, then no other gods are being put before the other. So, I think this can be squared .

In future posts I will go into more detail about my thoughts on Christ. I have issues with some of the attributions concerning his birth and activities after death; but the bones of the source material, his teachings and so on, are to me the pinnacle of spiritual wisdom and a great boon to Mankind. It is in his teachings that I have placed what Ramakrishna referred to as "unswerving devotion", and though I find wisdom, joy, and enlightenment in many sources, it is to Yehushuah that I turn for ultimate spiritual guidance.

What is your source for "unswerving devotion"?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Underlining Truth

"There is only one journey. Going inside yourself..." --Rainer Maria Rilke

I bought a book I had been wanting to read for a long time the other day. It was secondhand , but in good overall condition. However, when I set upon reading it , I noticed with some annoyance that it's previous owner had underlined many lines and passages in the first half of the book. It's not so much for the aesthetic marring of the pages that this bothers me , so much as the fact that as I read along I always pay special attention to what was underlined. After all, if it was important enough for the previous reader to take pen in hand, it must be more significant than the other stuff. As I went along though, it seem to me that most of the marked passages were random, oddball, and not in any obvious way to me more relevant than unmarked passages. I began to wonder about this reader. Here was an eloquent work with pearls of wisdom sliding by left and right, and yet the oddest, almost throwaway items were being tagged as significant. I began to make a mental profile of Reader X. I determined that he/she was probably a student forced to read the book and really didn't know what to look for. Reader X could not have had much of a feel for the work because only half of the book was marked up, and hey, they sold it off to a used bookstore, so there could not have been much of a bond there. As I pushed on into the parts that Reader X had left unmarked I'd come across some stray item that seemed random enough to have been underlined by their busy pen, and I would laugh to myself that they missed out on that one.

And then it occurred to me. There really was no telling what this reader had in mind. The stuff that I considered important might seem as offbeat to them as theirs seemed to me. They might have been at a level of journey were they needed those particular thoughts to help them along. Or perhaps they were so far in their journey that they saw relevance in things that I could not. I am not much of an under liner myself by habit, but I wondered if I re-read a book that I had underlined passages in, say, ten years ago, would those items still be the most significant things in that work to me? I think we are often exposed to things when it is not time for us to "see" them and they have a tendency to "bounce off." I had read Christ say "Let he who has ears hear," for years before I finally had "ears" to really here what He had to say. So it was not right to judge poor Reader X too harshly. In fact, I paid closer attention to things I would have glanced through otherwise, and perhaps had a fuller, more rounded read of the subject matter than I otherwise would have.

And at least Reader X didn't use a highlighter pen... Those are just annoying!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Angels in the Architecture

"Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?"--Hebrews

"Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light."--2nd Corinthians

While perusing the new calendars at a book store the other day I noticed many different versions in an "angel" theme. Most seemed to be of the maudlin or romantic variety, some culled from the works of the great masters of art. But it got me to thinking about the nature of angels, and their place in spiritual practice. I remember reading somewhere that a great majority of people who were polled on the subject professed to a belief in angels. Certainly anyone raised in the Christian faith, as I was, has been so steeped in the presence of angels in Bible stories that a belief in them is in some ways less challenging than a belief in God himself.

I can certainly see why Yahweh would choose the form of an angel to address mortal men, as He seems to have when approaching Abram. There is no doubt that their appearance is majestic in some way, exuding an awesomeness that makes them typically tell whoever they appear to to "fear not!" Even to Moses, the closest man God ever had to having what you might call a "pal" , the most he got to personally see while still in his mortal incarnation was the majestic backside of the Creator, lest he be overcome by the awe of seeing any more.

The angels that approached Lot also seemed to be aspects of Yahweh. It seems clear that in the Old Testament much of the activity of angels was as God's helpers, and as things progressed they became Man's helpers.

This all smacks of the kind of "parlor game theology" that I have previously eschewed but stay with me. I know it can be theorized that EVERYTHING is an aspect of the ONE, and this is probably true to a degree, but other than as tools to help us understand the enormity of an almighty Lord , I don't see the necessity, spiritually speaking, of all this angel hoopla. I am not saying necessarily that I do not believe in them myself, if I do have a guardian angel than I am glad to have as many friends as I can, but to me , it is like over emphasizing middle management when you can have the ear of the CEO whenever you want it.

There are all kinds of layers and layers of angel lore, different names and powers, etc. , mostly created by the Catholic faith. And on the flipside, there are lots of detailed descriptions of demons and devils , too. This all seems to be an effort to restore the colorful demi-gods to a place in Christian belief that had been dumped back in the days when Moses and Joshua were ordered to wipe out anyone who had household gods or worshipped in high places. So why bring them back? Probably for the same reason that Mary was elevated to an intercessory position, restoring , at least partially, the Goddess of old back into what was a decidedly strict Semetic patriarchy. The colorful characters were familiar to the "pagan" masses that were being indoctrinated into the Faith, and it made for a more seamless union.

And that is all very well and good if that is your thing. But does it help us any to worry or think about any of this? As I see it , our world is populated by many spirits, both incarnate and disincarnate; but the only two that I need to truly invest in are my Creator's and my own. Certainly I hope to help guide my children and anyone who cares into a good direction, but then it is up to them.

Still, they do make for some very lovely works of art...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Say What?

"Language was made to express concrete facts and ideas: it is helpless to describe even the difference between the smells of an orange and of a lemon..." -Colin Wilson

One of the difficulties in communicating about subject matter that could be considered "way out" is that it is often very challenging to capture the ineffable in terms that can be easily comprehended by anyone. Sometimes I get the impression that certain writers overload their compositions with heavy duty metaphysical-speak to cloak the fact that they don't know what the hell they are talking about. Usually if you break everything down there is a meaning, but deciphering it is such a tortured process that only the brave or foolhardy stick it out long enough to see whether the idea is cogent or not.

It is somewhat unfair to blame these writers for being obscure, because often times language is just too limited to do something of unusual depth justice. Here is an excerpt of Franklin Merrill-Wolf trying to describe his experience of Nirvana:

"I abstracted the subjective moment- the 'I AM' or 'Atman' element-from the totality of the objective consciousness manifold...Naturally, I found what , from the relative point of view, is Darkness and Emptiness. But I realized It as Absolute Light and Fullness and that I was That. Of course, I cannot tell what It was in It's own nature. The relative forms of consciousness inevitably distort non-relative Consciousness."

Okay, not completely incomprehensible, but it took me a couple of times to get the complete gist of what he was trying to express. It ain't easy. That is why the visual arts, and such forms of communication as poetry and mythology are so often utilised; they speak to us on a deep level that is not lost when delivered. Sometimes meaning is sacrificed when a profound idea is dissected into cold hard words. And then you come across someone who speaks to you, like a C.S. Lewis, say, who manages most times to keep the gossamer intact. You realize IT CAN BE DONE! Of course, the ultimate example would be Christ, who in beautiful and poetic parables taught the world some its deepest lessons.

Still for all that I know many people don't have patience with poetry and art; and yet they hunger for Truth, too. There is many a pitfall in writing about this subject matter: no matter how you put it , much is cliche; or if you get too carried away you run the risk of sounding like Merrill-Wolf , and lose everyone in a metaphysical fog. Worst of all you can come across as some sanctimonious Maharishi , who has got all the answers, and expresses them in mysterious riddles and questions.

I certainly don't claim to have answers;I am a pilgrim inviting other pilgrims to join me on my journey. I will try to speak from the heart, always, and as clearly as I can with my limited tools. I write this as both a Mission Statement of sorts, and as a request for mercy from my readers for the inevitable times in the future when I may fall into any of the pits I have mentioned! Bear with me, correct me when I am off base, and let us journey on...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Common Myth Conceptions; or, Jung At Heart

"Myth is the natural and indispensable intermediate stage between unconscious and conscious cognition." -C.G. Jung

In my post entitled "Questions, No Answers" I posed a series of questions concerning the soul, its' nature, and the central proposition of whether it was something that was truly believable or not. It may have seemed a bit psuedo-mystical or too cute by half, but my primary aim was to try to slap enough questions together concerning the soul to jolt the reader into truly thinking about his spiritual self; not as some philisophical parlor game, but as a real force within, an essential part of our selves that by its' nebulous nature is often ignored or not even considered to be real.

I can remember the first time I felt "aware" of something within me that I later came to regard as my soul. It also happens to be the first peak experience I can recall. I was around six or so, playing alone in the back yard of our old family home on a fine autumn day. It was cold and windy, but the sun was shining brightly in a blue sky. I was wearing a red fuzzy sweater which kept me quite cozy, and lying on the tin roof of a homemade doghouse, watching the amber leaves blow around against the blue sky, full of expectation of a trip to some relative's house that we were going to undertake later that day. I felt a huge welling of joy at the beauty, the promise, and the security of the moment , and I thought to myself, "I will always remember this moment of this day." And of course I have. I have felt all of those emotions at various times before and since that moment, but that moment was so unique because I felt a one-ness and some kind of cosmic approbation that I have only felt on rare occassions since.

These are the moments where we glimpse something of the infinite, when our "higher consciousness" speaks to us. Colin Wilson is a very interesting and provacative author who has synthesized much of the thinking of the philosophers, artists, and mystics who have grappled with the "Big Questions" of humankind, and he posits a very interesting theory about conciousness. In essence, it is this: There are three aspects to our conciousness; the conscious, our thinking, left-brain, everyday awareness that you consider you; your subconcious, that primal, right brain , involuntary area that can only communicate to you in dreams, symbols, and hypnogogic states, and what you might call a superconscious, the higher force that is considered your soul, the spirit that incarnates the flesh and bone machine of your body, and perhaps the immortal fragment of the infinite spirit that comprises the universe.

Absurd Good News is the way the regular consciousness momentarily grasps some notion of the superconsciousness, all the aspects of our "self" align like some astrological event and we feel ourselves in our full potential. I feel our spirit and our relationship with it are the starting point of any quest for "enlightenment", because only if we are in tune with that part of ourselves can we begin to examine our spiritual relationship with God.

On the subjects of God and religion I hope to explore in depth as this blog unfolds, but for now I would just like to say a word on belief, because this is key when discussing matters of the spirit. In our scientific rationalistic world there has been a great schism that has occurred because so much of the content in the great religious works clearly could never have factually happened as recorded. A confusion has occurred that has done a great disservice to spirituality. Much of what is contained in spiritual literature is the Truth, even if it never happened. Material that was meant to instruct in that deep, symbolic language that works on different levels of conciousness has been either fanatically accepted as factual , or discarded as superstious bosh; both of which throw the baby out with the bath water. I will often quote things that I have found to be true from different faiths; this doesn't mean I have endorsed all the dogma of that faith; it means that I believe in Truth when I hear it. No particular faith is true, but all faiths are a path to Truth. I don't think that it is so important what you believe ,as it is important that you believe. As regards the soul, a big positive "yes" of belief knocks down all the barriers and greenlights progression much better than the halting "maybe" of a coy dabbler , waiting to be wooed into acceptance.

The question becomes: if we know that peak moments are our best moments of communion with our spirits, what can we do to have more of them? Is there a way, or do we just have to take them as they come? Where do we turn to? Inward, through meditation, maybe? Or outward, through consulting the mystical wisdom of all the pilgrims who came before us? Perhaps go right to the souce: prayer...Or all of the above?

We'll take a look in future posts...

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Fish Called Wisdom

"I was born here and I'll die here-

against my will-

I know it looks like I'm moving-

but I'm standing still."

-Bob Dylan

I had a dream last night that I had come home to find that the light/hood thingy that covers my small aquarium had somehow fallen into the tank, pinning Oscar, my beloved bottom feeder , and it looked like he was dead. I quickly reached into the tank and plucked him out. His lips moved slightly so I began to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in hopes of reviving him, and then I woke up. It was dead serious in my dream, but kind of bemusing once I was awake. However, it did not even strike me until later in the day how absurd the act of trying to administer artificial respiration to a gilled creature was. Sort of like pumping water down the throat of a drowning man in hopes of saving him. And it got me to thinking; was this significant in some way? If so, what was my dream-consciousness trying to tell me? Having just embarked on The Absurd Good News Network , and taking in the daunting challenge that documenting a spiritual quest entails; the pessimist in me couldn't help but think: "Maybe it means that launching such a dubious venture is futile; trying to break down all the questions, longings, insights, etc. is as pointless and perhaps harmful as trying to puff life back into a dying fish. " I quailed at the thought; re- spun the interpretation a few times, but the pessimist always ended up winning. This troubled me for awhile even though I kept reminding myself of Freud's "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." Then I remembered that right before I woke up, it seemed that Oscar was coming around as I worked on him. And, as absurd as it was, it made me feel better. Maybe it means that unconventional methods can be beneficial as long as the giver and receiver are both sharing the goal. So I will continue my journey after all with that in mind. And I can be bemused again...Until I think of what our friend Freud might have made of my going lip to lip with my pet bottomfeeder ...I prefer my interpretation, I'll stick to it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Questions, No Answers

"There never was a time when I did not exist, nor you...Nor is there any future in which we will cease to be...That which is non-existent can never come into being, and that which is can never cease to be..." -The Bhagavad Gita

Do you have a spirit? How can you be sure? What is its nature? Can you communicate with it? Are you doing good by it? Is it doing good by you? Is it distinct from your conciousness? Is it immortal? Is it part of God? What is its purpose? Are you helping fulfill it? Is it leading you? Are you leading it? Are you on the same page? Do you really know anything about it? Are you interested in finding out? Is it even possible to explore it? Do you look within? Do you seek without? What is this force that lives inside us, is more our true self than we are, and yet is virtually ignored by most of us most of the time?

It seems like a good time for a proper introduction...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Declaration of Interdependance

Absurd good news...This is how writer/thinker/all-around wise man G.K. Chesterton described those moments when for no good reason, for no apparent purpose, something occurs to remind us that life really is great; there is more out there than we generally regard; we are connected to each other and the world and the universe in a moment of stabbing beauty and intensity; what Maslow called a "peak experience". For that moment possibilities are opened before us; solutions seem absurdly simple; time seems to stop momentarily and allow some higher part of ourselves to see not just the "forest for the trees" but the whole countryside, the continent, the planet, even beyond. The problem, of course, is that these are only moments, and before long we re-settle to our state of "normalcy" and the only thing left of our peak moment is a warm emotional imprint. Most people have these moments from time to time. It is said that if we make a point of recounting, sharing and thinking about these moments that they are likely to occur more frequently. The aim of this blog is to detail information that is conducive to the nourishment of this "higher part of ourselves" . It is not necessarily a self-help blog , although hopefully its' content will be somewhat helpful. It is merely a counter to the squalid catalogueings of death and misery that we receive as "news you can use" . Nor will it present "happy" news stories of firemen rescuing cats and so on. This blog aims to represent a cafeteria of "food for thought". I intend to travel far in my investigation; some entries may be "absurd good news" some may just be absurd, but I wish to share this journey with all of you ,for in my peak moments I am not alone; I am with all of you, too. So let's set forth together and see what we can see...

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Desolation of the Obama Nation

Some time ago I found myself going down the grocery aisle of presidential contenders that had been coughed up from the inky pits of party politics with a totally open willingness to eschew any old resentments or prejudices (politically speaking) in an effort to find someone, anyone, who might right our mighty ship of state, and guide us through the troubled waters we have found ourselves in as a nation. Alas, even with this receptive search mode pickings were alarmingly slim. I won't dwell on why the rejects were rejected; most of the decisions were quite easy ;(President Kucinich, anyone? I think not). But then there was Barack Obama. Once you got past the name (and it is not too difficult in our great polyglotinous melting pot), and started looking at the man, you had to consider deeply. My first reaction was that he was sent right out of central casting: young, black, not too good looking but not too bad looking, family man, not a bad speaker, (not as great as everyone seems to think he is, but then everyone always said that sonorous bore Clinton was eloquent as well). Okay, but was there any there there? Well, he was short on Senatorial experience, but he did make a good call on Iraq (as it turns out). But it was in his biography that there seemed to be the greatest hope. As a son of mixed race parents he represents the embodiment of a long held dream of this country: the healing of the wounds between black and white. And as a Christian man with a Moslem heritage he represented a potential bridge in the understanding of these two poor misrepresented and ill-abused faiths. We could hope to have hope, which is about as good as we can expect in our cynical times. But maybe it was unfair to heap so much hope on poor Barack. He reminds me of a syndrome that has occurred to me several times over the years, and may have occurred to others: you see someone intriguing; beautiful; wise looking; full of mystery and power: you fantasize about the greatness of this person if only you could connect with them; and then finally you chance to hear them speak and from their beautiful sculpted lips comes the braying voice of a trailer park madonna: fantasy dissipated...So too with the Great Black Hope; the more familiar we become with him the more it becomes clear that he was chosen in the modern equivalent of the smoke-filled room: the smoke-free room, by the same gang of hucksters that have coughed up every other sorry hairball for our consideration over the last generations. He was burnished with a brilliant patina of bullet- proof cover: you can't criticize him without risking being called anti-
Black, anti-White, anti-Christian or anti-Muslim...Wow...It really makes you disgusted with how candidates are selected at all. We are all so addled by the over -influence of movies in our culture that we treat the selection of our nation's leader like we are casting a role in a big budget blockbuster that we are going to be forced to watch for 4 to 8 years. In past times you were expected to have actually done something to deserve the opportunity to run for president, like, I don't know , lead in a war that we won (are you listening, McCain?), or craft a Constitution or something. I know Yoda says that wars do not make one great, but winning a war would be nice for a change and I think would show some greatness. But what we get to choose from at this point are only the greedy homunculi spawned by spotty party bosses to be their face to the world. We gotta do better. Only the rich seventh lawyer's son of a seventh lawyer's son can even dare to think he can engineer the money for a run. (It helps if one has a rich 18th century forbear) . Here's my suggestion, and please don't pooh- pooh it out hand. Keep the system as is: don't even waste a cent trying to undo two and a half centuries of gerrymandering. Instead, throw up a third party candidate from the Reality Party. That's right, let's hammer our Nielsons shares into swords! Let's use the very thing that has been poisoning our minds for these last years, Reality Television, to select a third party candidate and let democracy reign. So You Think You Can Run the Country can sweep through thousands and thousands of Presidential wannabes across the nation , narrowing the choices by putting the candidates through grueling tests and scenarios until we find the best person that our 33 cents a minute phone votes can select and then throw them in the faces of the two- party puppet people. Can we do much worse?It sounds a little ridiculous until you see Mitt Romney flipping pancakes in New Hampshire and realize that the circus is in town anyway. Let the contestants prove they care by visiting schools, prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, foreign countries, etc, and work through microcosmic solutions that would mould their mettle for the big job. At least you'd have an idea of what you were getting before the trailer park madonna brayed. It would be fun to watch too, might just be a ratings hit. If we do try it, though, let's just hope we can have a better impact on the political world than American Idol had on the music world. (Fantasia, anyone? I think not.) Okay, you can pooh-pooh it now if you want to.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Press Release from John O'Khan/A-1 Party Leader

I have been catching a lot of poo lately about our party's position on the situation in Iraq. In brief I believe that we should exit the Iraq theatre altogether to allow local powers to hash out who is going to be top dog; a situation that is bound to occur whenever we end up leaving, whether it be tomorrow or in 50 years. If the outcome is intolerable to us we can reserve the right to bomb the fritters out of 'em, but I personally think we have done enough to those poor people. Now, there is a lot of fallout that will occur in the region no matter what we do;let's do what is best for us here and now, apologize, and get our heinies out of the mix. You know, when this whole mess started, 9/11 was fresh in our hearts and minds. I don't really believe that we wanted to go there for revenge so much as to take down the most vulnerable of the bad dudes over there that was always giving us the finger and flaunting all his bad ass killer toys which we came to find out later he either gave away, let degrade away, or he never had them to begin with. We couldn't trust the UN inspectors much more than we could trust Saddam, so we did what we had to do to deal with the situation; we HAD to know. Well, what's done is done, and now we know. Now we've been struggling for years to put something together that doesn't really want to be put together, and it's a mess. I may have put our parties support behind the effort if it looked like we had the expertise to pull something off there, but after a coupla years of sucking wind we had our best and brightest come up with the brilliant strategy called the Surge. What was the great plan? Send in more troops! Wow! How Douglas freakin' MacArthur of them! Oh, and you hear them all bragging about the success of the Surge! OOO! Here's my even better idea-send a Super Surge! Even more troops! All the troops, send 'em all! I guarantee you'll see less fighting back if there's 10 US troops for every Iraqi. And then when we finally leave, what's gonna happen? Gee, hard to say. Now if the unspoken strategy is that we stay there forever somebody best speak up and let our democracy have a say on what we should do. I am a patriot in that I love our silly, grumpy, lazy, unimpressed people,; we're far from perfect,we're not as tough as we think we are, or as good, but we are all right at heart; mainly our folks want to be let alone and leave everybody else alone despite what our government does. Here's my real proposal:leave everybody else alone unless they muck with us, and blow 'em up real good if they do. What the hell is wrong with that?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Love In the Time of Cholesterol

DATELINE-Bangporajum, India-When you were a child your mother probably warned you a thousand times about playing in the street , not jumping off of houses or teasing viscious animals. Well, it turns out you were right; your mother was full of crap. Recent studies coming out of the Om Shanti Stress Institute indicate that doing things that one may consider dangerous, foolhardy or downright stupid may actually be good for your general health and welfare, provided you survive. "Our alleged instinct for self-preservation has actually had a reverse effect ," explained Dr. Nop Bhoviindajapradaparad. "For many countless millenia before we developed into the placid machine-operating, money-counting, plant -harvesting hominids that we are, we were ruthless hunters duking it out with mother nature, red with tooth and claw. We became highly skilled killers, the top of the food chain, by centuries of pulse pounding battle and flight, and our bodies became hard-wired for that. But now-" Dr. Nop gestured towards the window of his 20th floor window, "if you look at your average person, he or she fights to avoid any and all stress, their bodies have turned on them, filling with fat, cholesterol, cancer, etc. What many consider stress today; say , traffic jams or office politics, is a walk in the park compared to taking on a one and a half -ton cave bear with a rock lashed to a stick!" So his recommendation? "Seek out danger! Doctors tell you to opt for the stairs rather than the elevator for your health--I say, climb out the window and scale the wall! Jump those rhino barriers at your local zoo and see if you can make it to the other side! Crosswalks are for corpses! Jump out there and zig-zag your way through traffic, you'll feel like a million dollars if you make it to the other side! Many people have instinctively caught on to this already, jumping out of planes, bungee jumping, climbing mountains, etc. I say they're on the right track, but should take it up a notch." Sounds kind of extreme, but Dr. Nop has some true believers among his volunteer subjects. Gerry Gundt, a volunteer from Australia, swam naked among the great white sharks haunting the Great Barrier Reef. "What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger," Gundt said via a voice synthesizer shortly before expiring in his hospital bed. So will this just be the latest health fad to totally reverse itself in 6 months? We all recall how margarine was supposed to be better for you than butter, only to be villified as poison later; and coffee once thought to be bad for you is now considered to be one of the best things you can drink. "No, this is no fad," Dr. Nop assures us. "some have sought to poo-poo my theories, derisively calling them the " Jackass Treatment," after some silly show in the states; but I challenge anyone to jump into a pen full of pit bulls and not feel a real lust for life." So there you have it. Try to ignore the voice of your mother in your head;eat butter, drink coffee, and do it in the middle of the freeway! To your health!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cool Reading For a Hot Summer

Well the dog days of summer are here, and there's no better time to relax on the beach, or sit under a shady tree, or just curl up inside under the ice cold AC and catch up on your reading. Here are some suggestions to make your Summer Reading most enjoyable...From the good folks at Penultimate Press comes the latest tome from prolific author Fabian Frobias entitled The Cutting Remark, taking up where he left off with running character Jack Barker. This story covers the next phase of Barker's many adventures, this time around as a barber in Baltimore in the early part of the 20th century. Taking up where we left him in the last volume, Body of Work, as a mortician's apprentice helping to embalm the late President Mckinley, the young protagonist has a nervous breakdown, and fleeing the mortuary with the possesed heart of Edgar Allan Poe in a jar, heads to Atlanta to make his fortune as a barber. Before long he meets Celia Freud, neice to the visiting Dr. Sigmund Freud , and falls madly in love with her. But alas, this was not to be; Celia is murdered before their love is consumated by a madly jealous Englishman, who may or may not have been Jack the Ripper. Wracked with grief, young Barker flees to Europe hoping to trim the Crowned Heads,only to find himself desperately broke and shaving bums in a poorhouse in Vienna. In a deliciously brilliant chapter Barker meets a sensitive young artist whom he persuades to be the subject of his tonsorial experiments, inducing him into letting Barker cut his strong Bavarian style moustache into a toothbrush patch. "Ja, this is gut!" exclaims the young man , who advises Barker to remember his name-Adolf Hitler! WWI beaks out, and unable to join the fight or maintain steady employment, Barker hops a steamer back to the U.S. via England. While on board he gives the toothbrush trim to the moustache of an aspiring young English comedian that he befriends named Charlie, who , amused by the strange waddling walk that Jack, who had contracted ricketts, had, asked if he could use the mannerism in his comedy. Once back in the States Jack Barker learns that he has the share of a fortune from distant uncle J.P. Morgan, and gambling it all in the stock market, becomes a very wealthy man. Shortly therafter the market crashes and the Great Depression is underway. A ruined man , Jack ponders suicide until the possessed heart of Edgar Allan Poe , that he has kept so long in its jar, convinces him to take another path, undoubtedly the next volume to come. Frobias hints at what is to come, and we won't spoil the fun, but it seems to involve FDR and a magical leg salve. A witty and romantic romp, you will marvel as history comes alive in an entertaining way...Our next selection Drexy Dunlop and the Witch's Titty, is a fantasy story for children of all ages. Accused by some of cashing in on the Harry Potter phenom, author Winna Stonecroft Wilson , nonetheless weaves a magical tale that is sure to entertain and empower its readers by following the quest of young witch-in-waiting Drexy Dunlop. The beautiful edition put out by Schoolmarm Press boasts many colorful paintings that will thrill even those who can't abide the printed page. The tale tells of Drexy's flight from her puritanical parents who are hardcore members of a Christian cult called Yahweh's Avengers, and her ascent into the wondrous world of pagan pageantry via the guidance of Mother Buttwart, a hideous but lovable crone who is the headmistress of the Sweet Satan School For Girls. With friends she meets along the way Oliah Oldfat and Butter Kumquat, it's up to Drexy to find the titular Witch's Titty ("Titty" being old English for "purse" in case your parental spidey sense is tingling) to save the school from wandering evil evangelist Toobigga Fourbrecches. It's all good clean fun and we can see the beginnings of a great franchise for those muggles who have been going through Harry withdrawal. Here's hoping that the "familiar" toad character, Turdy Hoptaker , gets his own spin-off at some point! Our last recommendation is from a genre that is finally getting the respect it deserves:the graphic novel. Eat...Poop...Eat Again is the latest effort of veteran graphic novelist Erwin Skyler, who has perfected the art of the mundane becoming revelation in his comic career. Stricty autobiographical, Skyler uses his bout with chronic constipation as a framing device to ruminate on stories of his childhood behind the Iron Curtain in Warsaw, his failed relationships with all the women in his life, from his superstious Polish Grandmother to his eleven year marriage to fellow cartoonist Greta Cobbel. As he strains to make poop he also strains to come to terms with his feelings of alienation as a liberal Democrat in conservative Texas,ans as a deadbeat dad to a 9 year old boy he thinks is possesed by the spirit of Richard Nixon. The spare black and white pen and ink work is powerful and expressionistic , and lest the subject matter makes you fear being overcome with despair, just remember that Eat...Poop...Eat Again is sidesplittingly funny; another instant classic from Bad Karma Press...Well there you have it, hours of engrossing reading awaits you so, pack up your beach gear and folding chair and enjoy!

Sunday, July 6, 2008


As millions of Americans are piling into their hover cars and hitting the International Moon Resort for the two week MLK B-DAY holiday season, I think it is only appropriate for us to belay the traditional tofu log and exchange of holo-tatoos just long enough to pause and recall the remarkable man to whom we are supposed to be honoring during this joyful time of year. Few people pause to consider why it is that we don black suits and pencil moustaches on MLK's day eve, or take our children marching down the streets singing protest songs and getting candy door to door. One only needs to zap load into Wikipedia and learn about this unique man; for instance, did you know that MLK stands for Martin Luther King? He was a hero of the Civil Rights movement in the early to mid 20th century, widely credited with having had a dream about freeing the slaves. He heroically helped elderly women find seats at the front of terrestrial mass transit vehicles. Along with the 35th president of what was then called "The United States of America", John F. Kennedy, early sound recording legend Frank Sinatra, and 2D star John Wayne, MLK formed what was then called "the Rat Pack". After many struggles MLK was shot as he was looking over a balcony by lone gunman James Earl Carter. As he fell from the balcony much of the country erupted into rioting. Even though the Man was dead, his legend lived on; and his crusade carried on by the next generation of Civil Rights warriors: Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton the First, and Don Imus. Many have widely credited MLK's efforts for the unprecedented six terms of President Barack Obama. So this year, before you round up the kids and Grandma to go surfing at the South Pole resort, stop and contemplate why we are celebrating; help keep the MLK in MLK B-Day...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Hey Kids! Check This Out!

The time...Sometime in the early 70's...The comic...Probably a Disney, or Man-Thing, or, God only knows what ...The comic has been lost to the mists of time, but the experience of stumbling over this little ad amongst all the sea monkeys, ugly hands and X-ray specs remains; the wonder of such a magnificent and generous offer-two whole Roman armies for a couple of dollars! It was enough to set a clutch of greedy brothers to dreaming- ah! the magnificent carnage of 132 roman soldiers with spears, catapults, chariots tearing into each other for victory or death! Well, I'm sure you know the rest of the story, you probably had one of your own, whether it was the 6 ft Frankenstein or the flying ghost, or those stinkin' sea monkeys; you begged borrowed or stole the couple of dollars, despite parental warnings that "those things are all gyps!" , you had to see for yourself...After all, the only plastic figures to be had in stores were the same tired sets of jungle animals, farm animals, dinosaurs, and the ubiquitous cowboys and indians...They would change the size or the color of the plastic but they were always the same, sometimes with very crudely painted details that made you wonder why they bothered ...(I remember an elephant with very tiny eyes on the figure being painted with huge splotches of white and yellow making it appear as if two huge fried eggs had been dashed against its face.) So something as exotic as roman soldiers was just too much to pass up...Besides, on the order form it said "Gentleman- enclosed is my order for-"...Now these were Gentleman, they would never dash the hopes of red-blooded American youths by gyping them, would they?Well,after months of waiting and dreaming the soldiers finally came marching in; in a box the same size as the kind kitchen matches come in...Yes, they were tiny, really small, you'd have to use tweezers to play with them...The other batch we had ordered at the same time were bigger but were flat! They were equally sucky in two very distinct ways...Needless to say we were embittered by the whole experience , when you could consider that our mighty Roman legions could be defeated by a wayward line of sugar ants...I think we had one or two half-hearted attempts at playing with them before giving up and admitting defeat...Those guys were no gentleman! You could imagine the greedy turds smoking cigars and laughing as they hauled the pitiful envelopes of hoarded dimes and quarters to the bank...Then the scales fell from our eyes,; we lost our innocence; we could see the rip-off behind every offer: the six foot Frankenstein, a mere paper cut-out; the flying ghost, a wad of tissue on a string; the horrible hands, green dishwashing gloves; and of course we all know the sea monkeys are spiky little brine shrimp...Looking at the ad now I can see the tiny print indicating the figures size, but we were looking at the ad through dreamy kid's eyes and didn't foresee the burn, one of those burns that sticks with you... Now, all these years later , I have finally learned to forgive...Because the thing that we really bought for $2.25 plus shipping and handling was wisdom-let the buyer beware! A good healthy dose of scepticism can keep you out of the poorhouse, steering you clear of miracle weight loss programs, hair growth treatments, and quick and easy refinancing offers...It's also helpful when examining religious beliefs, political philosophies and even relationships...So, maybe these were gentleman after all...Oh, and I don't know for sure, but I bet those X-ray specs really did see through clothes; man, I should have gotten those instead...

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Clear and Presidential Danger

We sat down with Mr. John O'Khan in the boardroom of his massive San Antonio, Texas headquarters to discuss his recent foray into national politics with the launching of his own third party, the A-1 party...Mr. O'Khan is slightly intimidating at first sight ; a 6'6" 300 lb. Texan with intense blue eyes and a shock of unruly white hair that reminds one of Andrew Jackson; but after a firm handshake and a massive clap on the back one is put at ease and reminded more of one's asshole uncle...We got right down to business drinking Big Red and eating cold BBQ supplied by a nervous female staffer...

Mr. O'Khan, are you serious with this third party business? They haven't had a particularly strong track record in recent centuries...

No, not particularly serious, in fact you can leave now, I won't waste anymore of your time...Of course I'm serious! This damn thing is costing me money! And of course I care about the country and all that crap.

I'm just wondering because of the name, the A-1 party. Sounds more like a plumbing venture..

Well, that's an astute observation, 'cause that's exactly my intention. The A-1 party wants to perform a service on the country, it needs a good roto-rootin' don't you think? I could have named it anything ,it doesn't matter what; it's a new approach to getting things done that I think most folks will go for if they ever get a chance to decide for themselves.

Let's get down to it, then. Energy prices are obviously on every voter's mind...Does your party have any new ideas to bring some relief at the pump?

I've got a bunch of ideas, of course. First, we got to treat the situation with the same urgency as a Pearl Harbor or 9/11; the comparison is justified, you got foreign countries assailing our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of driving wherever the hell we want to. We got to take a multi-pronged attack. All this bullcorn about it taking years to tap into our domestic reserves is just an excuse to give the big oil companies time to boondoggle the hell out the situation and soak us all, as usual. It's our land, our oil, let's get it ourselves. If every one of the the 200 million or so motorists would pony up the round about average cost of a tank of gas, say 50 dollars, that gives you 10 billion dollars, a pretty good start to our own oil company. We own it, we tap it, we use it, at a deep discount for owner-users.


Yeah, I know it's a little out there, but heck, if we pumped out a zillion tanks, planes, and battleships to go kill a bunch of people in WWII, we should be able to get our crap together enough to draw some oil.

How about alternative energy?

How about it? Ain't nothing saying we can't develop alternative fuel sources while we're tapping what oil we have left. Heck, my ultimate goal is to have our country running off fuel generated from our own poop! Talk about an unlimited supply! I think we should mine through all our old land fills for salvagable materials and burn the rest for energy...There's a great job for prisoners given life sentences, to sift through all that crud for us.

And nuclear energy?

I'm all for it, the more plants the better, but with an eye towards making them terrorist-proof.

How about the nuclear waste they would produce? Would you make the prisoners take care of that for you to?

In a way. I would dump the waste along our border with Mexico. That's two birds with one stone. Anybody who'd come across the border illegally then would have to know they could grow extra limbs or something. Maybe I'd have the prisoners dump the waste.

I guess that gives us an idea where you stand on our borders. And criminal justice. Are we safe to assume you are pro death penalty?

It is not safe to assume that. I am against the death penalty. The greatest being to have ever graced our planet was wrongly executed; that's Jesus Christ. But I am not for being easy on the hard cases,; hard labour for hard cases.

So you would just have put Christ to work in the dump?

Well, uh, yes...

How about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? How would you handle the situations there?

Ehh, you're talking about a real mess. I think the only thing we can do there (in Iraq) is get the hell out and let them fight it out and figure out who's boss. Probably won't turn out the way we'd like, but if get our domestic energy revolution underway, who cares? We already blew that one, and there and no way to make it right for those people except maybe give 'em free American TV and movies for 100 years. Now in Afghanistan, we got to figure how much money we've blown over there to date, I don't know, let's say 50 billion dollars, and offer that as the bounty on Osama bin Laden's head, and get the hell out. I guarantee you'd have a taker before too long. But it would have to be legit, you know, carcass presented and verified, etc.

What if the person who offs Osama is just as bad, say, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Well, that would be a hell of a thing...I don't know, maybe we'd pay him in pennies?

Okay, new topic. Health care. A lot of talk about nationalized health care has been going around. What's your take?

Everybody should pay so and so much every month into a national health fund that pays all the doctor bills, hospital fees and such unless you are sick; then you pay nothing. That way, the only way the system makes money is if you are well, not sick like it is now. Incentivize them keeping you healthy for God's sake. Get rid of all health insurance and set up the Wellness Fund instead.

Gay marriage?

Excuse me?

Are you for legalizing gay marriage?

No. I'm for legalizing gay shmarriage. See, it could be all the same in the eyes of the law, yet you can preserve the tradition of a marriage being between a man and a woman. Everybody's happy.


Or whatever you wanna call it

"Will you shmarry me?" Sounds weird.

Well, it would be a little weird no matter how you slice it, but hey, whatever floats your boats! I mean, we can come up with a better name, I guess.

So you are pro gay rights?

Well, yeah, everybody should have the same rights, God gave us our rights, just like he made us straight or gay... I admit I don't know much about gay culture or anything, but, you know, I always thought that that guy who played J.R. Ewing on Dallas was a handsome man, so, you know, it's all good...

Some quick takes. Education?

Free. For everybody. Through college or specialty training. Are we crazy making it so expensive and hard for our people to better themselves?


Well, I'm afraid all them "free" educations'll have to be paid somehow. I'm afraid I would still have to tax everybody, but I'd like to think you'd get more for your money.

Election reform?

And how. One person, one vote, amen. I know all the arguements for the electoral college, but in the end one person one vote is the only way to really be democratic .

The environment?

Take care of what we can, but let's make sure we prioritize what we're doing. Let's not give the Middle East all of our blood and treasure just so the elk can have a place to hump. and I'm all for recycling and stuff, you remember my landfill plan.

Thank you, Mr. O'Khan, and good luck with A-1.

Thank you, I just hope the steak sauce people don't come after me for naming my party that!

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Exciting news from the Entertainment Desk!!!Hollywood has been doing such boffo box office with comic book adaptations such as Batman, Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Ironman, etc., that Lupis Arts Entertainment has announced a forthcoming big budget extravaganza based on the hugely popular Little Lulu franchise! Details are top secret but our Hollywood Source has gotten the first scoop on the exciting production.SPOILER ALERT! Here's the poop: Director Ang Lee helms the project and has promised a darker more complex approach to Lulu and her neighborhood pals. Through the wizardy of ILM adult actors will be portraying the beloved moppets with such masterly casting as Angelina Jolie as the eponymous heroine, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Tubby; Steve Carrell as Alvin; in an artistic coup Iggy Pop has been tapped to play the character Iggy; and (this we gotta see!) Lulu's parents are both to be total CGI figures voiced by veteran actors Sir Ian Mckellan and Dame Judy Dench! Here's the Spoiler stuff-(2nd warning!) Tubby deals with the effects of a botched lap-band surgery, Alvin goes on a hilarious spree after his Ritalin prescription is mixed up with his dad's Viagra, and Lulu herself has to compete with an Ethiopian girl that her parents adopt(to be played by Beyoncee Knowles). "We wanted Lulu and the gang to come out of the 50's or 40's or whatever the hell decade they were stuck in , and be contemporary kids with contemporary problems, " director Lee told our Source. This darker , edgier take is just what the old franchise needed, and in the capable hands of this talented crew we can expect big business and many more chapters to come...The Little Lulu Chronicles, as the still -in -production pic is tentatively called, is set for a Christmas 2008 release and we can't wait, after all, Little Lulu we love you-lou just the same!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Ages of Man

I have decided to use my first post to put forward an observation that has fascinated me for some time now...It seems to me that the "baby boom" generation has had such a massive effect on its times that one could look at the decades that it has occupied and see a correlation between the decades themseves and the stages of the boomers lives...To illustrate: The 50's: Childhood: Strong paternal figures like Ike and Walt Disney; a sense of innocence and relative isolation...Even the War of the Decade in Korea, as nasty as it was, in the end could be compared to neighborhood kids fighting over a street border..The 60's: Adolescence; trying new fashions and rebelling against parental mores, experimenting with different cultures and beliefs all in a sweaty attempt at individuation...Vietam, The War of the Decade: relatable to the High School Experience: nobody wants to be there and the achievements were dubious at best...The 70's: Early adulthood: Nixon is the A-hole Boss at your first real job, the music was more tied into the mating ritual, dancing, making out, etc., after the fade out of Vietnam, no real War of the Decade here, after all, with all the dancing and making out, who wants to fight? The 80's: maturity with all of its implications set in, the making of money and children...Every other movie that came out had a baby at its center, and the Greed decade, as it was christened by the same media that coined the term baby boom, was in full sway under the watchful eye of the decades' patron father-in-law, Reagan...The Cold War was won like a hostile business competition where one - company , the USA, had , and used ,a bigger line of credit and forced its rival company, the USSR, into bankruptcy by trying to compete...The 90's: mid life crisis...Prosperity and routine leads to temptation and speculation...The desire to gamble one's fortune in the stock market; one's marriage with adulterous affairs that boost aging egos...Clinton is the embodiment of this era, and he and Papa Bush both waged their wars more with an eye on proving that we "still got it" than anything else...The 2000's : this is where it really gets worrisome...The beginning of old age...The spectre of Y2K was the first real intimation of our mortality; like getting the news from your doctor that you only have a few more years to live...The 2000 election had all the squabble and drama of a family's having to decide what to do with an elderly member, and then came 9/11, the fall in the shower, and Hurricane Katrina, the dreaded broken hip...Our wars are more like desperate attempts to ward off the pneumonia and flu that we know will be our undoing, and we are presided over by Young Bush, who inherited the family firm and who we know we could do better than if we had only had his connections...The Next Decade my friends , if my projections are accurate will be decrepitude...Therefore I am making my prediction here and now that John Mcain will be our next president...I thank you...