Sunday, June 30, 2013


NYC Pride-Facebook
So this is/was Pride Weekend in various places around the U.S. and around the world.  I was going to try to do my first NYC Pride again this year, but this is one time that I feel odd going to the city alone.  Sure, LGBT people are, for the most part, incredibly friendly, especially those who come out for the big public events.  I've been a proud advocate for the community since right after high school.  But I still don't feel like I have enough street cred to be there without at least one "Pride buddy".

However, I did watch the live tweet that NYC Pride did with photos and Vine videos.  From my desk I cheered for GLSEN and PFLAG and Trevor Project and all the other great organizations that were out there today.  I smiled watching Dykes on Bikes lead off the march.  I loved how generous the community is to invite a douchebag like the mayor to their party.  Maybe some day his stuff straight friends will reciprocate the courtesy.  We don't care though.  Our parties are the best.

What really made my heart swell was photos of s-s families, especially after the momentous SCOTUS ruling this week.  So on this Pride weekend...44 years after the Stonewall riots started the road to equality...I ask all the opposition for INTELLIGENT responses to why YOU (personally) are against marriage and family equality.

Now here's some caveats:

If you're going to use the argument that it somehow demeans heterosexual marriage you have to tell me exactly how.  That answer is so vague it's comical.  How are two men or two women signing a legal agreement that will protect them and their families affecting your marriage?

You can't use any church arguments.  First, we have freedom of and from religion in this country and these laws are not affecting your church, it's congregation and/or how it worships.  You are still free to go to what ever place you go to fellowship with people who follow the same religious doctrine as you and pray and sing and do whatever else you do that does not involve the killing or maiming of other humans (sadly animals and vegetation do not have that same protection).  Also, LGBT people are not asking for WEDDINGS!!  They are asking for a legal contract.  A piece of paper, signed in front of and by a legally recongnized witness and sealed by a notary.

"It's not natural/normal".  Natural?  Look at the rest of the animal kingdom and you will find same-sex and bisexual behavior.  "Normal"?  Who said "normal" was good.  Just because cultures started and have continued on the premise that being a conforming follower is a good thing doesn't mean that is so.  If you're a follower then there are "leaders" and those leaders are not necessarily in those positions because they have your or humanities best interests in mind.  Most of them are manipulators.  They've learned and honed their charisma to use it against people.  They're all on power trips and you are just feeding their egos.  It takes far more intelligence and raw courage to be the individual you were created to be.  baaahhhhh baaaaahhhh sheeple.

"But what about the children".  This is addressed on two levels.  The inability for two people of the same gender to procreate and the raising of children by a s-s couple.  In an era of horrendous over-population, having alternative families willing to adopt kids, especially the harder to place children, this is an amazing option.  I know many gay and lesbian couples who have adopted or fostered children over the age of 3 (after they're not cute little babes and toddlers).  I also am aware of non-traditional families that have adopted special-needs and crisis kids.  With all the current bullshit from the "Pro Life" (read Pro fetus) folks, if they get their way and we have all the babies...someone's going to have to raise these kids because a large percentage of them will end up "in the system".  Today all the pics I saw on the streets of Manhattan of non-traditional families, those kids were loved and loved in return.  They were genuinely happy to be out and about with their two dads or two moms or mom and transgender dad or whatever.  They were dressed in clean clothes that were in very good condition.  Their hair and bodies were clean and brushed...ok except for the ones who had already had a popsicle, ice cream, candy or drink that dripped on them.  They were smiling.  They were happy.  Props to queer parents of little tikes because their kids were either riding on shoulders or piggy-back, holding hands or in a stroller.  How many straight parents I want to smack in the grocery store parking lot cuz their 5-year-old is running out into traffic and not once does the adult grab the kid's hand or put them in a shopping cart.  Next argument?

I will give credit where credit is due if you can actually give me a really intelligent argument as to why and how marriage/family equality is harmful to YOU!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Return to Neverland

Today I delivered my youngest child to a place we will always refer to as "Neverland".  This little oasis, tucked far in the woods is a one that the current loud-mouthed minority that claim to follow a certain prophet would call a community of subversive blasphemers.  I call them the truly spiritual.

"Camp" has always been a sanctuary and a place of spiritual growth.  The heart of its being is the "Jesus myth" but this place embraces the true heart of that myth.  Today, I used the "gender neutral" restroom.  Many of the buildings are now handicapped accessible.  When the campers come next week and for the following seven weeks they will be there to write, act, play music, climb ropes, hike, play volleyball and swim while learning about all their differences and how each individual is unique and special and has a role in the community.  Jocks, geeks, and arts kids all live together, in the smaller community of their conference and in the large community of camp.  Everyone is expected to clean up their mess and respect each others comfort zones.  There are competitions and there are "rewards" for winning but there are bigger rewards for challenging yourself.

As I have been doing at least 15 years, whenever I pull onto the main road from the camp's driveway, I beep the horn and yell "Good Night Neverland" as I leave.  I pray that the angels and spirits of peace, joy, kindness and love continue to watch over this place and all the people who spend any time there.  May they all heal and grow strong so they can come back in the world and help turn it around.  Places like this are where the possibility of the New Era is sewn and cultivated.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

You're so much cooler than the cool kids

I had already planned this post but finding the statement from A&F CEO Jeffries was the perfect way to make my point.  My last post I talked about the people who are bullied becoming the bullies.  Today it's about those of us who were the outcasts and how "different" is "better".

I'm a female so that already comes with its own issues of being made to feel "less than".  I was kind of lucky because my dad believed I could do anything, my maternal great-grandmother had been a rebel and renaissance woman and both my mom and her sister were very headstrong.  When "women's lib" came along the women in my family were half-way there.

Today the most prominent community we are trying to help is the LGBT, but they're not the only ones who get picked on.  The smart kids, the too tall kids, the too short kids, the too fat kids, the too skinny kids, kids with glasses, braces, curly red hair or purple mohawks, kids who shop at Wal-Mart and kids who shop at Hot Topic, arts kids, math kids, etc. etc.  And that just looking at the 5-17 year olds (K-12) and the crap they put up with at school.  Later on in life it is the adults of any counter-culture who don't have someone physically in their face every day but who get all the subliminal messages from TV, movies, magazines, the media that we just don't fit and that makes us somehow bad? wrong? TARGETS!

Here's the thing though.  Is the flock "right"?  I don't think so.  I think they're scared but societies and cultures have provided them with armor of physical strength, "beauty" and set goals so they feel like they are more "right" than you.  Consider this though...why are they trying so hard and why do they never feel like they've accomplished anything.  Going to their graves they will still feel like they have fallen short because that's how the game is played.  The people who run the game always have a twist that will prove that you're not quite "perfect"...yet.  Of course you never reach "perfect" before you die so you die believing you have somehow failed.  You know how you failed?  You failed at being YOU!

Look at people trying to live up to the game.  Are they ever truly happy?  None of them that I have met.  They're too busy trying too hard to fold themselves into a shape that The Fates never intended for them.  Those of us who seek to find out who we were born to be actually feel accomplished when we discover another talent we were born with.  Me!  I started writing when I was 14.  I didn't realize then what it released in me and how much it opened me up, allowed my wings to unfold and the joy that filled me with.  I got away from writing for a number of years and spent those years trying to fold myself into society's and my significant other's shapes.  It hurt...physically.  I smoked to much. I ended up with heart palpitations and anxiety attacks.  I cried a lot.  Now that I am free of that and not only writing but discovering my other arts and all the artists around me, I'm happy.  In fact I have found joy and peace on this plain.  I don't have to wait for some reward in the afterlife.  It is in the here and now.

Go find you bliss.  Go find you.  While you're young and stuck in the hostile environment of school, find the people like you who don't fit.  Create your own community. You probably have already-in the music or art room, in the shop, at math or science club.  These are sanctuaries where you can heal each other and give each other strength.  Remember you are emotionally stronger than your tormentors.  You're character in solid.  Theirs is weak because it depends on living by someone else's rules.  Yes, you have to still be nice.  In my house the rules were "No hitting.  No kicking.  No biting. No pushing.  No lying and no yelling"  Besides when you nice back, they don't know how to deal with that.  That's why they pick on you.  Because you don't play by their rules.  You can depend on yourself.  Your friends are real and you can trust them.  With you and your friends it is not about competition but about collaboration.  You know how to compromise...not your core self but when trying to meld two or more ideas.

You are the people who will change the world. You are the people who are creative enough to go searching for the best solutions to all kinds of things.  Because you refuse to let go of your imagination you will not just be a better artist but a better scientist, better mathematician, better engineer, better architect.  You will design the best green energy source.  You will find homeopathic remedies that actually cure without causing other problems, you will figure out ways for the world to work together. The sheeple have been trying it their way for a long time and it still doesn't work.  Divide and conquer, segregate and control lives everyone going to their graves unfulfilled.  They may have money, a big house, a fancy car and have traveled the world but they have neither joy nor peace.  The time for the "other people" to try it their way has come.  So be YOU!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Choose your battles wisely

Wisdom is something that has been deeply discounted over the past few decades.  Humans have been dumbed down to the lowest common denominator.  During the last revolution in the 60's and 70's that included the Vietnam War protests, the racial civil rights movement and the women's movement, for the most part these groups used some smarts in picking their battles and how to fight them.  Dr. King's marches were very effective.  Woodstock made an excellent statement for the peace movement.  Even things like the Kent State sit-in that resulted in the deaths of four unarmed students made bold statements about groups within the society that were over being at the mercy of a small minority of "powerful" people.  Yes, those years were violent times on our own soil.  They were kind of mini-civil wars that occured in Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia.  There were groups and people who were extremists but I get where they were coming from and they did do some good for promoting the common good of "their people".

Today people are not being wise and the zealots are more crazy then emphatic about their causes.  "Christians" are trying to force people to follow their rules which is unconstitutional.  There is a resurgence of white supremacy and attempts to completely undo the progress women had made in the 70's.  This is not wise.  Men need to realize that they can do a better job of living and working with women by their side rather than under their feet.  As far as the race issues?  This country, albeit stolen from its indigenous people, became a melting pot.  That didn't just mean of various euro-Caucasians. It meant we became a patchwork quilt.  Whites need to accept that they brought black people here against their will. In our conquering, we overran Puerto Rico and opened the doors to mainland U.S. to them.  Asians and South Americans, all are part of the tired, poor, huddled masses yearning for freedom.  Get over yourself.  This wasn't your country, nor was your religion part of the culture here to begin with.

But that's not my point here.  Today I read about a group of atheists in UT who are pushing buttons with local businesses trying to get their t-shirts printed.  People it's call respect and it is a key ingredient of freedom.  The shop that refused to print your shirts has the same freedom and rights that you do.  They have the right of freedom OF and FROM religion.  They choose OF!  Get over it and go find another shop that will take you job.  Don't waste everyone's time and money and make EVERY atheist in the country look bad because you're a douche bag.  The same goes for my LGBT friends.  I love you but bullying businesses to cater your wedding, book you the honeymoon suite or sell you a dress only makes the whole community look just as bad as they bullies we are trying to call out, trying to protect ourselves from.  Go find another business that will work with you.  Granny Christians Bed and Breakfast is not the only quaint little, romantic seaside inn on the South Carolina coast.

Listen, this country has gotten itself caught in the chokehold of mega corporations.  However, thanks to some new SEC rules, potential entrepreneurs can crowdfund their business ideas.  If you're a woman there are tons of resources out there for you.  "Minorities"?  Same thing.  Find the money and start your own damned business.  Go buy that big old Victorian down the street from Granny Christian's and make it the Big Bold Rainbow Inn - "the perfect honeymoon hideway for all your fabulous queers".   Atheists?  Come on there has to be people around you who excel at layout and design and others that either know how or can be taught how to run a silk screen machine.  This is the point...Don't waste time and energy beating up the people that are against you.  Go out there, do it better and you win.  What looks better in a headline?  "Gays take Granny of life savings in honeymoon suit" or "Larry and Al open swank b&b in Myrtle Beach"?  See what I mean.  Listen if you can't find someone to do it for you then do it yourself.  It helps you and it helps all the communities you are a part of.

Choose your battles wisely.  Are you helping or hurting the cause?  If its more hurting than help then sit down and really think out your strategy.  Don't be a bully and don't make people suspect me of being one too because I associate with you.  K?  Thanks.  

Catholics and the "marriage fight"

First and foremost, let's get specific.  The "marriage" that religious people are talking about and "marriage" that governments are talking about are two completely different things.  One is a rite that takes place, usually, in a religious edifice, presided over by a clergy person.  It, in and of itself, does not require any legal documentation.  All the rituals can go on and the two people can leave the rite "married".  However, they will NOT be able to file a joint tax return, put the other on their health insurance at work, be able to make any legal claims to property if they split, etc.  THAT is the "marriage" that comes under government/legal jurisdiction.  THAT is the "marriage" that results in clergy people also becoming Justices Of The Peace so they can sign the legal document presented by the couple and allows them to say "By the power invested in me by the state/commonwealth of where ever" at that end of the ceremony.  That legal marriage doesn't have to happen in a religious building.  It can happen at City Hall and all the couple has to do is agree that all the information on the license is the truth, sign the license and have it witnessed by the JOP and a notary.

That said, let's get down to the Catholics and their fight against marriage equality.  They've been talking a lot of pure, unadulterated shit!  "Biblical marriage".  "Natural law".  Do your research.  Biblical marriage by Catholic standards takes that "do not be unequally yoked" part to its extreme.  Example?  Even since Vatican II, my parents have been living "in sin" in the eyes of The Church for over 58 years.  Why?  Because my father had the gall to not only fall in love with a Methodist but he married her in her church.  They didn't have their marriage "blessed" by a priest because the minister who married them said if they were going to do that to just go get married in a Catholic church because what Rome was saying was that what the minister did didn't "take".  My mother had no intention of converting to Catholicism or even attending the pre-Cana classes.  So my folks were real rebels.  My father was excommunicated for marrying my mom.

Today my father is still deeply in love with my mother.  It is tearing him apart to watch her fail a little more each day.  In her way she still loves him but the dementia has her just trying to remember what time or day it is. It's hard on both Dad and I to watch the woman who always remembered everyone's birthday, anniversary, and name's day now have trouble remembering where she was yesterday.  My dad tries so hard to make her happy, comfortable and cared for but he gets frustrated because she's not there to make sure the bills are paid on time or cook dinner.  He wants the girl he fell in love with back.  But the church still says she is not his wife and that I am a bastard.  How sick and twisted is that?

My paternal grandmother never had an issue with this situation.  In fact she encouraged my dad to start going to church with mom and I but he had a very high respect for her.  Irish matriarchy and all.  Plus they had literally saved each others lives from my grandfather when he was still around.  But after Granny died my dad did start going to church with Mom.  In fact he joined the bell choir, went to study groups and eventually joined the Methodist church.  They found two nice plots in local non-denominational cemetery.  They decided since Dad's family is buried in a Catholic cemetery and my mom's family is in a different one, neither in the area where we live now they'd go local and be planted side-by-side.

So dear Catholic Church, come clean.  Your bullshit about same-sex marriage being non-biblical, against natural law is just that.  You're not about love.  You're about procreating your brand of religion.  I don't think "God" or "Jesus" have any real issues with my parents.  I think "Jesus" would have gladly presided over their wedding.  I know that The Great Spirit is giving my dad strength and that his love for my mother, me and my kids is still true.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The throw-away society

Yesterday I received yet another request to sign a petition to help out the cause the creator thinks is important and that they believe will make the world a better place.  Most times individuals and organizations target me pretty well.  Even this one on the surface sounded like a good idea to get behind.  Another case of the "little guy" getting beat down by "The Man".  Workers at Guitar Center are disgruntled since their employer was taken over by the evil Bain Capital.  Their commissions have been cut and their benefits have dwindled.

On the surface this sounds really bad.  Initially I was ready to support them in their effort to unionize and fight "The Man" and then it hit me...Guitar Center is just another big box store that has done serious damage to small business in America.  It is just another contributor to encouraging the "throw away society".  The one that has put so many tinkers, cobblers, milliners and tailors out of work and filled our dumps with tons and tons of materials that didn't have to be there in the first place.

Starting with my childhood, I remember Mom rounding up everyone's shoes to take to the cobbler for new soles and heels.  As long as my feet didn't grow too fast, my mother could make a pair of Buster Brown oxfords last an entire school year despite the fact that I walked about four blocks every day going to school, coming home for lunch, going back to school and coming home.  I also wore those same shoes to church every Sunday.  They took a pretty good beating.  Today I have a couple of pairs of shoes I really like but the soles are shot.  I keep holding onto them hoping I find a good cobbler to get them fixed.  It killed me when my kids were younger constantly throwing out shoes that were too shot to even put in the Goodwill box then having to go to the nearest Payless to buy more.

As far as repairing clothing, my Mom was fortunate to be gifted with the talent of sewing.  Not only did she fix torn garments she also made a lot of my clothes.  My friends moms were the same.  McCalls and Simplicity made a lot of money from parents and grandparents who were handy with a machine.  In fact, Wheeler and Wilson manufactured sewing machines in Bridgeport, CT.

Speaking of manufacturing in the U.S. sadly even the factories became throw-aways.  Today throughout my home state there are many vacant hulks that are in desperate need of demolition.  They are beyond repurposing as they have stood far too long with broken windows and failing roofs leaving the interiors unsafe for habitation.  My question is, how did the state allow the former owners to just bail and not take their buildings down or sell them?  Sadly many of these decrepit manufactories are in larger cities and only served to become hangouts and hiding places for gangs and drug dealers.  Some have been torn down but were replaced by retail spaces that sell tons of throw-away cheap goods manufactured outside of the U.S.  In CT, the huge Scovill brass mill became a mall and when the sponge rubber plant burned in Ansonia it became Target.  In the latter's defense the company did stay in CT and moved only two towns over and I'm as guilty as the next guy of shopping at Target.

Back to Guitar Center and why I didn't sign the petition.  Any musician worth their salt will tell you that most instruments are like wine, if well cared for they will improve with age.  One would much rather play and/or listen to a vintage violin, trumpet, piano or guitar.  Musicians who cherish their instruments will come to the stage or march down the street with woodwinds and brass that look like they just came brand-new out of the case.  Many of them still own the instrument they first learned on.  Would-be musicians in poor countries would give anything to be presented with the instruments we take to the landfill.  But big-box and mail order companies have hopped on the band wagon (pardon the pun) of convincing first world musicians at least in the U.S. that constantly replacing a worn or damaged instrument with a brand new (cheaply made) one is the way to go rather than having their current one repaired.  This puts all the great instrument manufacturers, repair people and musicians with a true knack for matching a person with the right instrument in the application line at the large-scale retailers.  The big box brick and mortars have also damaged the sheet music business too as they don't stock much and no one in these places knows how to special order anything.  If the musician or vocalist is lucky enough to have some lead time to secure their music thankfully J.W. Pepper is a great mail order company but if they're in a pinch, there are not many local shops that can help them.

I challenge Guitar Center employees to pool their resources, find an open space in the area (gods know there's plenty thanks again to the throw-away mentality), talk to a bank and do some crowd funding and open a new store.  A store that offers quality instruments and a wide selection of sheet music.  Let the staff that excel at sound production open a different store that sells mics, amps, etc.  Have the new instrument store offer high quality service and repair or open a third store in town.  Work with the music departments in all the area schools including colleges to educate kids and families on instrument selection, care and feeding.  Have a booth at area arts festivals.  Offer an exchange program that will get gently used equipment into the hands of schools or musicians on limited budgets.  As for benefits-there are insurance co-ops for small businesses.  Research options to be able to offer healthcare for the whole staff.  Prove to yourselves, the community and to large-scale retailers that your business is the better choice.

We've gone beyond trying to get "the man" to see it our way.  Now it's time to take this country back from Citizens United.  Small business and American manufacturing was what made this country great.  Now we are just a consumer society for the rest of the world.  We've even sent our customer service overseas.  Job creation should not be more minimum wage retail jobs.  We need to bring back trades.  Yes, you will pay more for things made here but considering some of that cost is to cover manufacturing processes are safer to the employees and the environment than in other parts of the world, put your neighbor to work in a job that allows him to pay rent and eat healthy and pays U.S. taxes...well you look at the benefits.  If I could actually find a piece of clothing manufactured in the U.S. and buy it in a local mom & pop store, I would save the money to purchase it over one made overseas. The same goes for TVs, computers, and phones.

I challenge you, at least once a month, try to find a local business to purchase or have something repaired at.  Avoid the big box store or buying it on-line.  As someone who works for a manufacturer...buying a product on-line may seem convenient and cheaper at the moment but if you have a problem with your purchase, taking care of it will become costly and time-consuming.  If you had bought it at a store, you could have returned to the store for help, repair or replacement at no cost to you and had it taken care of in a timely manner.  Let me share an example with you, not even of my employer's product.  A family member purchased their first new guitar at Sam Ash.  Admittedly Sam Ash has spread over 16 states since its humble beginnings in Hicksville, NY in 1924 but the beauty of this company from my experience is that they still operate like a mom & pop.  About a year after purchasing the student line of Ovation's, the guitar teacher noticed the bridge was lifting off the body.  The guitar was taken back to Sam Ash, the store more than happy to honor the warranty.  First they thought that it could be repaired but learned it could not so it was shipped back to Ovation.  Not only could the manufacturer not repair it, the model had been discontinued.  They shipped the current version of the guitar back to Sam Ash very quickly.  The family member was only without their instrument for a few weeks. I would be very curious to see how Guitar Center would have handled that with the Ovation 12-string the family member purchased from them or worse, with an instrument purchased from an on-line dealer.

Post your experiences and let me know if you take the challenge and how it turns out.  If you are contemplating starting a business or recently have started one, also post.  I'll help pimp you out and grow that business.  Peace out.


Friday, April 19, 2013

We need a minute to breathe

Let me start by saying, I'm not discounting anyone's grief.  Losing loved ones is awful.  It leaves a hole in our lives.  But this is the result of of a cultural that has raised us to be sad because the person is gone instead of celebrating the life they led.  It is programmed to cause us to take a long time to come around to remembering those people in a joyful light.

Leading up to 9/11, the media came the puppet of government and large corporations.  So when that event happened, mainstream media kept the fear at peak highs for months.  They added the bio-terrorism card that hadn't even been part of the attacks.  They pushed it so hard that they pushed someone in the country over the edge who had access to agents of bio-terrorism and used them.  That person killed someone who lived 2 miles from me.  That letter came through the post office my mail is processed through.  Since the opening attack, the rouge whackjob, and the war America has been kept in a state of heightened stress and fear.  That stress and fear is causing people to have emotional, mental and psychological breakdowns.  It is affecting our physical health.

We can't even get real recreation to breathe.  Movies, music, theater, books is all reprocessed crap.  We need to open the valve and release the pressure to survive.

America needs to spit in the eye of those who work to control us.  We need to just declare a day of celebration.  An entire day to dance in the streets.  To be utterly silly.  To put on our brightest colors.  Bring our kazoos, pots and pans and washtub basses.  Rejoice for the lives of those who can only attend our party in spirit.  To bring joy to wounded, injured, the sick and otherwise challenged.

My "people" used to dance on the bar around the casket at an Irish wake.  The beer and whiskey flowed and everyone raised a glass to the deceased. I remember slogging my way through "Angela's Ashes" and tried to understand how Frank McCourt could have maintained his wonderful sense of humor through all that.  Maybe because he came from a culture that celebrates life? Maybe because he came from a culture that knew how to let off steam through a party?

Listen, all I know is this-The U.S. has not been allowed to celebrate.  We are so keyed-up that even local celebrations for sports championships turn into riots.  The government keeps telling us "it's too soon", "we need to mourn", "never forget" which is always put with photos of horror.  We need to fight back by saying "No", "Now is our time to exhale", "Now is the time to dance", "Now is the time to laugh".  We need to take a day.  24 hours.  Nationwide.  And piss on their shoes and have a big, fucking party.  We need to breathe before we suffocate.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

It's more than guns

Especially being fifteen miles from Newtown, I've been getting battered on TV news and all over the internet with both sides of the gun battle (pardon the pun).  Let's start with my thoughts there...I'm with local CT legislators who were not happy with the Connecticut bill because it did not address the entire issue.  Guns are the smaller percentage of what the problem here is.

Back in the 70's the mental health/medical industry were blessed with some medications that would lower the use of horrible options like electroshock and lobotomies.  However, just like with nuclear weapons, psychiatrists thought they had the ultimate answer to mental health.  Yes, some drugs did and do allow some patients to be able to function in mainstream society who might have at least required a visiting professional to look after them in the past.  Some patients were correctly released from institutions thus lowering healthcare costs to municipalities.  When pressured by governments and insurance providers, more and more patients were released to the point that many institutions were shut down.  It is ironic that there was an abandoned complex of buildings in Newtown, until the town started repurposing the property in 2009, that used to be called "Fairfield Hills".  It was the state mental hospital.  

Now we have added HIPPA to the soup which prevents the communication to employers and educators the information that they may be responsible for someone suffering from severe psychological and/or emotional issues.  Yes, I understand no one wants to be stigmatized and the majority of mental health problems are minor and can be regulated in an out-patient treatment plan.  But when we put truly anti-social people into society with little to no monitoring we are putting ticking timebombs into the public domain.

Let's add the factor no one has talked about.  In fact something swept under the table for years and just keeps getting worse every day.  Stress.  What the hell is going on in this country that people are so much angrier, depressed and frustrated that they grab a weapon, run into a crowd, take out as many as they can before the cops show up then kill themselves?  We also have an out of control suicide rate even without the mass killings.  People have no respect for each other.  Sure there were bullie when I was a kid but they were not in the majority.  Most parents raised their kids "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything".  We got in trouble for picking on others.  We also had tight groups of friends we could trust.  Today kids are isolated even in a room full of other kids.   Parents provide cell phones with text and data plans for their children.  They become little spy networks passing information in ways the CIA does.  Anonymity on the internet is easy.  Bullying doesn't happen face to face but on-line.  Parents don't teach kids that being mean is not cool.  Look at the reactions to the sentences for the high school boys who sexually accosted a thirteen year old girl.  Even the media promoted the thought that these strapping football players ganged up on a single pre-teen girl got the raw end of the deal.  "How will this look on college applications?"  "What about their careers?" Etc.  Seriously would you hire someone whose characters are so weak that 1) they can't even deal with a problem as an individual.  They had to round up a pack.  2) Then took this all that muscle to teach their much smaller victim a lesson.  I don't want them on my payroll.

There are forces in this country that have come together to (I believe intentionally) turn it into a pressure cooker.  Medically, educationally, economically and culturally people are being encouraged to force themselves into situations that are counter productive.  Jobs sent overseas so people are under employed.  Consumers inundated with messages about all the things they need to own that they can't afford increasing their debt ratios to impossible.  Schools forced to teach to the test.  Kids told they have to have college educations they can't afford.  They come into the working world with an insane amount of debt.  People can't even get relief from a truly good song on the radio, a intelligently scripted movie or a book written by a skilled author.  Then strike the match with a government that has worked diligently to keep us in a state of constant fear for the past 12 years?  Yep.

So to turning the spotlight on the guns part of this is just another inning of the "bait and switch" game.  You are being distracted from the other part of the problem.  We need to build trust, stop being mean and call out all the contributing factors to this nation on the edge.  Criminals will always be around.  They're going to have weapons and yes they are scary.  But the issue that is on the table is not gang bangers, bank robbers or muggers.  The issues are people who hit that breaking point and take five or more people with them when they decide they can't take any more, couples in abusive cycles who have a weapon in the home and kids who feel so unloved that they seek and find a legally obtained weapon.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

He's baaack

Resurrection day.  You can't keep a good guy or the message that "we're doing it wrong" down.  The idea didn't die.  It took a few days off.  Let the bullies think they were still winning.  Let everyone let out a sigh of relief only to have it all come spring apart when the grave was open and empty.

There's so much flying around here today.  The sightings of people dressed to the nines.  Girls in their fanciest new outfits with new shoes and hats that will be like wedding attire...worn once and then sentenced to the Goodwill or the dress-up box.  Next week they'll be back in Sunday school in normal "school clothes".  It's pretty much the same with the boys except that their trousers and shoes are from their regular wardrobe.  The dress shirts, vest, jackets and ties will be hung in the back for the closet to wear to Cousin Sally's wedding, Spring concert at school or grandma's funeral.  Yes, I participated in this clothing ritual even as an adult but why?  What does it have to do with the "Jesus narrative".  Whether a great storybook prophet/villain/hero or a real person...even the people who came after the Ascension were the working poor.  They also didn't go to "church" and not just once a week.  They lived in fellowship 24/7.  They got together for impromptu meals, scripture readings and prayers.  So the dress up thing came a long time later and bears the markings of a "Spring celebration".  Nothing to do with Jesus but a pagan or even secular celebration of the change of seasons.

Of course most people, especially Christians, know that the other stars of the day have nothing to do with resurrection and are totally taken from pagan tradition.  The whole bunny, chicks, ducklings and chocolate thing?  Please fundies stop losing your shit over others calling this part of the holiday for what it is-a retail marketing blitz.

Other things have passed through my spirit this weekend but to put them here pulls me down.  All I'll say after seeing a Facebook called "Jesus please save America"... is maybe "he" is trying but you're not liking the answer or are so controlled you won't tap into it.  Read the Jesus narrative.  Humility, justice, truth, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, community.  He's not going to ride in on a big horse, with guns ablaze handing out weapons to you all and blowing up all the people you don't like.  He's calling out the lies, the avarice and greed that is in control of humanity.  He is revealing the poverty not only of your neighbors in regards to food, water, clothing and shelter.  He's revealing the poverty of your soul-your laziness, selfishness, intolerance.  You starve you mind of real knowledge.  You starve your heart with lack of empathy.  You look for a Jesus who comes riding on a giant steam roller that will destroy your "enemies".  The problem is, your enemies are his friends-the peacemakers, the meek, the opposed, the poor, the compassionate, the truthful and those seeking justice.  Do you just keep crucifying him hoping someone different is going to walk out of that tomb?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Of time, flight, wisdom and divinity

For those of you who read this blog but are not aware of the other rooms where I write all over and hang pictures on the wall, you will probably do better understanding this post if you take a look in The Tribes of Art.  There you will find some of my inspirers, spirit guides, conspirators and cohorts in crime.

Yesterday's walk included elements shared with me by my friends William and Hans.  For Sir William, my angel of music, it was about angels and the music of the Earth and of the Universe.  Actually the language of the Infinite is creaks and groans, squeaks and moans, whines and cries and the grating of stone.  If you mash that all together you will discover the most primal of music.  William takes the heartbeats of the planets, the stars and space beaten on multiheaded drums and mixes them with the deep harmonicas pulled and plucked from the strings of harps, violins and guitars.  Validation of this revelation came in the discovery of a small, pure white feather along the labyrinth path.  I choose to believe that a molting angel walk by.

Then there were all the other pieces contributed by The Bee.  Lately he's been focusing on feathers.  For him, it is his family heritage.  For me it was about rising above all the things and people seeking to pull me down and put me under their weights.  He's also back on the key theme.  He has unlocked a door in his life that has allowed for healing of old wounds.  All through the Lenten season and even before I've learned that other people's keys are not mine.  They have opened doors that I have been invited to walk through.

Keys also wind clocks and machines. They tune instruments. Hans has captured wisdom in due time with brush and pencil.  Owls
and clocks blend together on canvas and paper.  I drive off to walk, to meditate and as I drive I think about time and about the understanding that my spiritual goes from Vernal Equinox to Vernal Equinox.  My year dies as the snow that has congealed into dirt and gravel coated masses of ice melts away to reveal gray-green grass, and dead leaves and mud.  As the roadbeds fissure into ruts and potholes.  As the drapes become weighted down with winter's dust and the smell of stuffiness, longing to be washed and hung outside on the line.  Even though daylight began to stretch in December to become equal in March, until it gets there and then sunlight outlasts the night my new year has not begun.  The old one is still fading away.  My clock is winding down.  And that was when it hit me.  How to meditate this year's walk.  Finish running the time out on the walk in.  Let the gears slow to a complete STOP. Let the last grains of sand fall through the narrow opening and joint rest in the bottom of the glass.

Walking in I listened to William and the Harp on my iPod.  I physically felt my body and mind unwind.  I reviewed the past year and all that I had learned.  I had seen the Darkness on more than one level, face to face.  I had physically connected with some of my spirit family.  I had danced with sylphs, My children had taught me how to laugh again and we were family under one roof again for a short period.  I had experienced my mother moving into the last phases of life and teaching myself to be less selfish, spending time with her helping her hold onto as many memories as possible, even ones as simple as what day it is.  Being stabbed in the back and having the knife twisted.  Learning that what looked like the door that would get me away from that situation was not. Coming back around to my resolve to get the hell out of there.  Being invited to a gathering of the tribe.  Learning that I have a responsibility to them and to tell their stories even if only for those who come behind us.  Unwinding,  completely empty as I reached the center...and sat.

I put my root chakra into the ground to draw nourishment.  I opened my heart chakra, letting it break.  Letting love out, letting it in.  I opened my mind to wisdom that would help to rewind me.  I reclaimed by chi for the Light Spirits from the Darkness that twists my gut in knots.  The white fire must also burn inside.  I released my dragon so she could stretch and bask in the sun for a while.  I felt the voices of the wind and the birds.  Then I walked out, winding the clock as I went.  The piece playing on my 'pod included many metal sounds, gears moving, weights colliding.  Not only was a clock being wound, a large one, one that requires a person to grasp the chain and ride the weight to the bottom of the tower but a machine with all of the dragon army being cogs and gears, all manner of parts.  The machine is not complete.  Others will be added as we work toward the New Age.  Progress.  Moving forward.  As my feet on the path, moving through to something different, something better.  Pushing through that which has tried to hold us back for too long.  I even danced a little.  I felt like and productive.

When I reached the exit I was fully wound.  The batteries completely charged.  I turned to the labyrinth to say final thanks and to ask the Fates to wipe it clean for the next person to come and find their enlightenment. ..and that's when I saw it.  I've been walking this particular path for 4 years now but as with all their own time (oh there's that pesky clock reference again)...the center of this path is a keyhole.  Every year, I take my key and unlock something new...or old but to find new inspiration, wisdom or understanding whose time had not come until then.

Clocks and feather, owls and harps, angels and ravens and keys, locks and pens.  I take all of this into the tomb and sit quietly with it until tomorrow morning when the Spirit rolls the stone back and lets the sun shine on it again.  Once again "they" try to kill it.  Once again, we of the Light, die but with the knowledge that we will rise again much to "their" chagrin bringing back justice, truth, compassion, joy, peace and love.  We shine our lights on them and they scurry from it.  But today is the day of the tomb.  We have passed through Sheol and now sleep peacefully, resting our very souls.  Tomorrow with clocks fully wound we will walk out and continue this journey.  Blessed are the peacemakers, the humble, the poor, the artists, the laborers, the parents, all who are of the Light and work to move humanity forward into the Great Light.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The end of my spirit year

Hi.  I know.  You thought I forgot you.  No.  Just got really busy with other things. Plus this blog seemed to have lost its way a bit.  But now I have things to say.  Important things.  Enlightened things.  Scary things.  Subversive things.  Big things.  Little things.  Just things.

Today was Maundy Thursday.  Back when I followed Christian doctrine I would look forward to going to church on this night.  Where some people think Christmas eve is the holiest of nights I always found Tenebrae very mystical.  I took communion for the first time at a Tenebrae service.  We were invite into the "upper room" to share Passover with The Prophet and his closest disciples.  The ending of worship was a ritual that still speaks to something deep in my spirit...we left the table and went back to our seats in silence.  People stripped the altar, a black cloth was put on it. All the lights were turned out and then the candles snuffed.  We left the sanctuary in silence.

This is the point where my spiritual year still goes into the tomb.  Into that place of mystery.  According to the story our hero/villain Jesus goes to commune with the other world and the underworld before his spirit is allowed to reanimate the human body placed on the slab behind the great stone.  If he spoke of this experience, either the apostles never recorded it or "the church" has tucked it away along with other gospels and scriptures because they "don't think 'the people' can handle it" which really means that it reveals more of the true story which would weaken their control of 'the people'.  But we'll get there in a few paragraphs.  For now let me state where I am in my yearly journey through Lent.

As previously mentioned, I walked a mainline Christian path for a long time.  It was while still being active in the church that I felt the power of Lent in my life and made it a structured part of my journey.  This year I saw that even as a pagan, my spiritual year is different.  Most paths' years end in the Fall or Winter.  Mine ends with Holy Week and the New Year begins on Easter.  Palm Sunday's message of walking into a situation that is dangerous with humble confidence, that last parade before dealing with awful treatment at the hands of your enemies.  I find that day usually a positive one. Monday to Thursday is getting my spiritual house in order.  Thursday is that last drink and dinner with friends because Friday is the day when everything literally breaks off the walls.  Saturday is time for pancakes and keeping old close friends close while I process Friday.  Sunday?  The Hallelujah chorus!  A new year.  New life.  New Light.

Tonight was a phone conversation with my daughter. Take out food and a cheap rose while watching my favorite shows.  I conversed with a videographer friend in L.A.  and a music friend in Phoenix.  All three people I would so sit down with over wine or beer, chips and dip, sushi.  Now I'm sitting in the quiet.  It's not dark but it's quiet.  My altars are dark.  No candles burning.  I'll go to the garden to pray before bed.

Tomorrow is a ritual I started at least 6 years ago.  I walk a labyrinth.  I had walked before in a number of places and found it to be one of my best meditation tools.  So when I learned that another Congregational Church up the road a ways was doing a Lenten labyrinth in their parish hall, I went with my son.  It was so great.  They used small bottles of water to make the path. There were small worship stations around the room that were all water themed.  I had a good walk.  I came away calmed, ready to enter the new year peacefully.  The next year their labyrinth was outside with the path created with heavy rope.  I felt like I came out with more questions than I went in with.  The next year the church didn't do one so I had to search for some place to walk.  I was going to drive up to a retreat center in Litchfield but it felt like such a waste of gas for a 30-45 minute walk.  I found one much closer to home.  It's outside and permanent and also at a Congregational church.  I've been going there for 3 years now.  This year I'm going back to the church I started at.  It's inside and I just feel like I need to walk around in the tomb a bit even though things have been gearing up to get pretty intense.  I feel like inside I can keep my own spiritual shit together to handle whatever The Fates throw at me.  I also need those little worship stations because I know I'm going to have to walk at least twice.

12/21/12 marked the beginning of the New Era or New Age.  No you didn't notice any big change.  There wasn't one.  Not on the surface at least.  You saw visible changes leading up to it.  Those of the Old Regime have been drawing the line between Darkness and Light deeper and deeper, especially over the past decade until it became a chasm.  Some of you will still be able to make it across when you wake up and realize your not on your correct side.  Some of you think you are Light Warriors but you're really not.  Some are spies for the Darkness.  Some don't have the real courage to put your money, bodies and minds where your mouths are.  Then there are those who are over on the other side. You believed the lies.  You tried to "be good" but your true self has been trying to beat itself out of your and that Light is just screaming to get out and come over to this side and fight, or heal, or feed, or educate or bury with the rest of us.  You were kind of like Dorothy, just wandering through the poppies cuz they were pretty and never saw the trap coming.  The Darkness knew you were a bright Light to contend with and tried to take you out of the game.  If it was lucky you'd come to and be one of them.

What started on the Solstice was labor.  Very early stages.  We are building up the muscles so we are really strong when hard labor sets in and as one we start to push and birth this New Age of wisdom, compassion, justice, truth, and joy which will culminate in peace and love.  We are working on being more confident in our true, unique, free thinking selves.  We are worshipping by showing The Great Spirit that we have broken from the flock of hive-minded sheeple to be who each of us was individually created to be.  Yes, we will still live or visit in community.  We may stay with a tribe.  But that tribe fully functions because each member has their own skill and talent.  It works because we are each different not because we are all the same.

Some "christian" clergy jerk post a red and pink division symbol with a reference to the book of Luke and Jesus' statement about dividing people.  I love how people who claim to follow this prophet's teachings interpret that to mean that they are "better than", to be sequestered from, to judge others.  Even I was raised with that statement out of context.  If fact I didn't really get it till yesterday.  Here's the thing.  Biblical Jesus (there are no historic records that he actually existed) was an early version of Robin Hood.  No, he didn't steal but he did ask people for things and then gave them away.  The point is is that he is this villain/hero.  Jesus was not popular with the religious hierarchy.  He was telling off the clergy at his bar mitzvah.  Where the Pharisees and the Sadducees had done a great job of making up a gajillion rules that not even the best Jew could live up to, therefore having great control over the people, JC comes along and says "One rule-love your neighbor as yourself".  A spin on the Golden Rule...treat folks the way you want to be treated.  Allow me to interject here that you must go to YouTube and search "Kid President" and listen to his version..."treat everyone like it's their birthday".  Kid President is right.  If we did that the world would be awesome and in the New Era that's how it will be.  But back to our story about villain/hero Jesus.  The locals love this guy cuz he is taking ten tons of spiritual weight and legalistic monkeys off their backs.  BE NICE TO EVERYONE EVEN IF IT'S SOMEONE THE RABBI SAYS YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO LIKE...cuz their the wrong color, from a different town, worship a different god or have more or less money than you.  Remember that who story about the Samaritan.  The point of that story to the townsfolk he was telling it to was that Jews and Samaritans didn't get along, like at all.  So both the beat up Jew, who by the way gets passed over by a rabbi and a Levite...clergy and lawyer of his own race and religion, and the Samaritan have to give a lot of ground for the whole story to go down the way it did.  Jesus was such a hippie...people lived in kinds of communes around him.  He crashed on whatever empty couch he could find.  He probably had some pretty nasty dreds.  He was unemployed and he was the pied piper dude who was setting people free.  Of course they followed him.  THAT pissed off both the Jewish politicians and religious leaders along with the Romans who "owned" Israel.  The thing is with "controllers" they can't have real alphas around to screw up their game plan.  They either have to depose them or dispose of them.  Jesus got dealt the dispose of card.

A friend sent me an email earlier this week and short paragraph generated most of that last paragraph and will fit into other things I will write later today and tomorrow.  He told me how his 5 year old asked him "Daddy, why did Jesus have to die?".  He didn't give it as second thought and answered, "Politics".  In that one word answer is some very heavy revelation and will put more scripture and society and culture of the Old Era in very clear perspective.  I'll continue with that in my next post.  Blessings.  May these days be filled with blessings for all.