Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Dead!

I am no deadhead, and remain therefore utterly disabled from offering up any opinions about whether they remain Grateful or not. The only time I met Jerry, I was toasted beyond oblivion, and I still retain my preference for small venues toward that crescendo mind orgy which well orchestrated stimulation can provide. A jamming blues band, say, with only alcohol to dampen the boundary crashing. When they rock, so does your soul!

But the Dead is still the Dead, most amazingly because they absolutely must be older than I am. And they do manage to mediate the electricity among a really large crowd, somehow retaining rights to feedback and sending out again those hard hitting ear splitting percussive not quite wailing vibes. I have this on good authority.

Still, it does remind me of Yankee stadium and excess of all sorts. It reminds me most of lookings up toward God, and expecting that the response, which is always for the crowd, could possibly be for me alone. No matter how amped, this venue is too large for the kind of orgy those rockers all around me were striving for in their minds. Alone, it seemed, all focused on the stage. And drawing way too many hits for simply getting stoned. This bordered on obsessive. A bit too much like holy rolling in some Church.

I "get" the thrill, don't get me wrong, but I don't think I'd work for this (I was someone else's date, just as I always am at sports events). This must simply make me deficient. I lack that enthusiasm complex. But then I do contain some kind of hypergraphic temporal lobe cosmic overstimulation. Barely. How could this make sense? Or are they always paired such. In just the way that I am bothered by phone calls from that very region of the globe where my heart lies. Even though the person there is off on silent Buddhistic retreat, and couldn't possibly have that number. The mind gets redirected.

So yes, dull affect must be paired with inner bursting, except that my smiles never ever get returned while dancing. There are cosmic stimuli, and to ignore them would be perverse. Inward glows, jack-hammered split eardrumming twang, still cannot dull mind's redirecting to where the truer heart would go.  And still, I am always thrilled by the very existence of these crowds, and whatever gets them together. Not so much by sports, which rehearse such a martial enthusiasm; a redirected anger. 

This Dead enthusing feels so awfully and purely American, and somehow when the Man looks carefully over and around and through all the lightings up of pipe-dreams, it makes me glad.

I do maintain that there can be no monologic heart. There is no center without its emotional wanting. There is no proper consciousness without the internal brain-split divided mind, at first, and then some dialogic spin toward culture. The mind cannot exist alone. This would leave God not only quite alone, but actually, well, impossible without some adoring crowd.

Though many impostors can be proposed. These get defined as fallings back from pure abstraction. Some attempt, short of metaphor, to delineate God's character, as it were. To true his Name with words.

But, now here's the rub, it's the pure abstraction which creates the problem in the first place. When there's no there there, then there's hardly anything to focus the adoration. You need a Christ in Man. 

But what you want is a Grim Reaper. A Dead. Someone to pound your senses silly, when renderings up to whatever Man, cannot ever take a joke. There was that teabag party, got sent up so utterly and without ruth. There is that Chinese Grass Mud Horse joke, where yo mama is a whore.

The only way these days, it would seem, to speak truth to power is by means of some court jester. Oh, yeah, wait, hasn't it ever been so?

Well, that's my point too (although I really really can't tell a good joke). The pairing of God with Mother Earth renders silly all the God talk.

Rock on Mama!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Should we all just throw in the towel?

Should I?  I think so.

But we should at least ask ourselves what it is we want to do with all the power we still so desperately seek. What do we want?

Their timing down in NYC, at least, has to suck. Building a brand new stadium where the best seats cost $2600 just for one game!? I must have read that wrong, but I fear not. If you build it, what will they do? (That film was done here in Buffalo, at what used to be called the "Rock Pile", where I saw Jack Kemp before he went quite daft, the first time the Bills made champions). We used to walk there from church on a Sunday. I doubt it cost very much.

The rich will watch the rich and the rest of us should really just walk away. We will not stand for games, please Cheesits give us at least a place to sit. If you build it, we'll go dumb (doubtful, but some of us sure will).

People are still  empowered to try for better understanding of our illnesses, but what happens once we cure them all? Will there be nothing left to try for? To reward? (Must we grow up in abject poverty to make of baseball our very life? Or can we be good enough from privilege alone, and lots of expensive lessons?) What, after all, can be enough when the very richest among us can never quite leave the game. There will be blood. There will be God, and I will not let you kiss your partner in public. There will be want, and I decree it.

We seek some replacement for oil, which is extremely unlikely, but let's say we get cold fusion, or even hot fusion, what will we want to do with it? Do we want to live in DisneyLand? Do we want to share all the wealth, or would we really like someone to bring us the drinks in our climate conditioned greenhouse? Perhaps we need always to be reminded that we've won. But against whom, pray tell.  I mean really, do pray tell!

Would we know enough to stop before the climate becomes completely out of whack? This time not from greenhouse gasses, but just from too much new creation of too much new heat. Shall we never go out of doors again, to hack out understandings for ourselves? What will be left to explore? Our minds? Will anything be left of them?

I think it might be time at least to ask those questions. I've spent my life an absence - I think this might literally be true. I look for myself, as we all do, in mirrors and albums and other people's recollections, and I am not there, except as a kind of outsized absence that is exactly what I've always wanted anyhow. I never do feel lonely. I've worked hard for my anonymity. I want to have no impact, simply so that I may remain free.  I think people wait for my invitation, which is why I get none myself. And I'm not really an inviting kind of guy, you know?

But I am quite implicated. Struggle though I might, I find to my amazement and beyond anything I deserve that people love me. Even though I lash out. Even though I bite. I am not free.

Still I resent the fact that even having no disease I must indenture myself to medicine, just in case. Without any job now, I must find some means for health insurance, just so as to not burden those who love me, who might need me to live beyond my natural term, whatever meaning that might have.

I resent the fact that even though it was I who chose to leave my wife, the absence of those ties has become a more certain trap to keep me from myself. She's owned me now for as long as it's taken my children to grow. She has the law on her side (like some waterboarder?), and so I must remain indentured, knowing full well that it is me myself and I who have betrayed my true art. I could have remained the starving artist had I chosen differently. I wanted in to my womb with my view, and I chose to leave rather than to engage that perpetual struggle when it was clear what was wanted in return. Or more like what was not wanted. Some boundaries are more difficult than others to find and to negotiate. Some make more permanency than others. I've made my choices.

Art too, is for me an absence. I marvel at all my students who once might actually have looked up to me; at how accomplished they've become. I taught them well, or rather played my small bit part, in encouraging their exceeding me. Even if by nothing more than my own recession. What could I have become in someone else's mind?

I starve for nothing at all, indentured to the love I have repudiated. We should at least ask these questions. I've made my choices, among constraints, taking that fork which seemed to hold the least constraint if not the most promise. It looks like I must have chosen wrong, but, as Buckaroo Bonzai might have been the first to say on screen, "no matter where you go, there you are!"

So, what the hell, right?

Shouldn't we simply be asking about the waterboarder's own personal motives? Who would want that kind of permission? Who would need it? What possibly could be the greater purpose one is so infernally certain of? Should we really always delegate up those choices? Why should we even care what goes on behind closed doors, or in the recesses of someone's inner mind? And what can drug tests reveal that performance evaluations can't? Can steroids make the man, or only just destroy him?

(Why does the Obama administration also not understand that it's not just the use of the ill gotten information, it's the getting of it which crosses the line?)

I want you out of my head, and I will perversely continue to put my own words together for my own good reasons which rehearse that flight I plan to make toward white light and ecstatic release. Moth from my cocoon. You may take your interpretations and shove them. Of God, of me, of even you, and surely of the earth, the planets, the ants and those by definition all not just identical but not even enumerable subatomic particles. I'll rehearse what turns me on, productive though it may not be.

Why must we predict the weather anyhow? Sure, in the days of wooden ships without electronics we might have needed to, in preservation of our various natural spans. Now, it's become entertainment, except where Mama gets up to dance again, to show us what she's made of. And then our models for prediction seem to run behind the actual weather. Always will?

I don't think you can get inside of someone else's mind except for purposes of fact. Encryption can only ever protect the stuff which wouldn't matter if we were all in this thing together in the first place. Name, rank and serial number, but you'll never know what I really think of you. Or at least it can't take torture to find it out. Why don't you make me like you just as you are, without silly cone projections which energize only my inner fear-o-moans?

I know there is something to love beyond the progeny. Inconstancy, once the seed's been planted. Where does this evolution go? What are its entailments? What are we keeping ourselves alive for?

Or is that just the wrong question, always?

I know there is some sense to life beyond my need to "get it". I know love liberates as well as ensnares. I know there is an actual boundary to all good things, and I know when it gets crossed. But I don't even know my own heart's secrets. I don't even trust myself. The one thing I cannot know is what I want.

It is that thing for which I live and love and tell lies. What I want. What has conspired beyond my ken for sure, to make me white and male and over twenty one, and therefore without excuse to try - at least to try - to stop the madness. 

Trapped without artistry, all I've got is good engineering prose to tell the design of no design; the plans made up of only details - the rest to be filled in by skilled experience. There is nothing you can torture out of me except my life, which is itself sometimes torture enough. And I'm free and white and over twenty one. What have I got to lose? Surely I have enough courage to make this tiny leap.

I do not starve yet. I have not been diagnosed yet. I have not betrayed any true love yet. I exaggerate. I lie. I do have my very own diagnosis. I have betrayed many loves. But I do not starve. The bastards have me against no wall, so why do I let them grind me down? 

Oh, yeah, that's right, I guess I don't. I forgot that I'm no victim. I actually am the man (how YOU doin', I asked some black kid the other night who likely wanted to intimidate me, but I was too drunk to know what I was saying back). Reluctant and no good at it, but for sure I am the man.

So, here's the deal:  On this particular fork of this particular road, there is only one criterion for success. I've been made so well, that like my favorite incredible one horse shay, or that 21 year old VW fox which I do aspire to drive bald tires and empty gas tank right downhill into the junk yard so that someone might at least scavenge it's new bearings which I won't be able to wear out, I think I should plan to wear myself right down, keeping my bearings if at all possible, and roll out in flame, sparks flying from beneath my seat, right out my greenhouse flammable gas emitting ass. 

I think I should keep trying to tell people, even when they really don't want to listen, that the Tibetan quest for the onion's pearl always finds nothing at all there in it's center. That the quest is all there ever is. That the story is the whole thing, and the conclusion always a let down. Because the story's over. And the only thing the climax was ever good for was to keep you reading. It made you want to turn the pages and shrink the intervals until you could inner words without even moving your mouth and now and again outer them beyond even the speed of Selectricity, and into your hands, as it were, I commend my thoughts (I'm not that grandiose - the words just popped out like that, for goodness sake!). Endless thoughts. Not Jesus who was lunatic projection onto someone just a Man. But the projection was a good one, and why not make it true, huh? Why not torture out from each one of us that thing which binds us each to other? That secret held perversely back at the center of our still hating fearful fulminating minds. That nothing?

Yes, I do think it's time to throw in the towel. To train our sights on better things than to reconstruct our world in our own image. The scientific enterprise now is modifiable by wisdom. Let's throw in that towel and dance with Mama who always owns our beat. Admission free. She'll have all takers. The contest's already won. And you can sleep with anyone at all without transgressing anything so long as you truly love them. So long as your love has been trued. So long as you accept the implications. 

So long, dear reader God. I throw in that towel. You are not there nor ever will be.

(sucking his thumb, Buckaroo Bonzai returned to his batcave, nursing invisible wounds earned in service to his conscience alone, which nobody really cared for, since they wanted only his body, which had travelled right through the ground under our feet, and he could play a mean  guitar, and was impossibly cool, but to himself not even real, which is why he went through the ground under our feet, to prove himself)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Howling at the Ether

It's about a half moon now, full or empty, and I hardly howl. Ether is what's not there. But there remains a lot of silliness up here in Blogojoland, with people twittering their way to stardom and offsite to reality TV for playings out of vacuity in public. It's almost as if there's something there to howl at. But there's not.

Plenty of people - I guess actually most of us - refuse to let go of that merry-go-round reach for the gold ring, as if only that can make the swirling fun (I don't think anyone allows it anymore anyhow, because of insurance rules). We really have bought in to this more is better and enough is never enough kind of rendering up of good ideas to great ones. Wanting so terribly much to be the one to patent the one great invention, the one great turn of phrase, to seed the one great love, all in stark imitation of that Jesus who turned his back only when we turned ours on Him. A house of mirrors for certain.

(Risk mitigation efforts must prevent that leap which could so easily crash)

There is only tilling of the soil. There is only collective conservation of our commons, and its protection from despoiling by those who would exploit it when no-one's looking.  Which is so very different from heaping praise upon praise they way that teenagers do in the lunch room and then cut each other down behind backs with text. Rehearsal of life's drama. Trust is such hard work.

No one quite realizes that it's in the earnest effort to get noticed, even or especially when the stylistic requirement is for irony alone, which raises consciousness as the very thing we are in common, and which must be preserved. 

I look for Christ there, in the ether, lunatic though that must be, because Christ never was actually Christ either, except as everyone started looking in that same direction, and likely howling. Christ was just a Man, caught up in our projections. 

And now the Church, which is become so very opposite to a humane institution. Try it out. Abortion is often the humane alternative. Divorce. Merciful death. But these things are strung out on the cross of abstraction, making them, by projection again, horrific because we imagine them done to us as conscious beings. There is no human but in the making. There is nothing without touch. Abstraction is by definition patriarchal, and can never be humane. It was the Church invented waterboarding, to rectify wayward souls. Extracting information came much much later. And having law on your side is never a good excuse.

I look for Christ up in the ether, distorting the otherwise perfect angles to that grid, with improbable love, never for me alone, though it might feel so. I expect real touch down here. I reach out for no gold ring, and try to spend most of my time walking. Try, but fail miserably, I must add.

There is no touch here in the ether. It is the wrong aspiration. The ether will quicken when we find Christ in one another here below. I am a trued believer in Nothing that is not There. You. 

Yoohooo! Hello out there? ooooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Excuse me now, I have some work to do.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

We're all so Microsofted

This new verb I share will get me in trouble I'm sure. Everyone knows what it means - needless complexity tied to some proprietary core such that the knee jerk response to lockings up is reboot. Hang reboot. Lift by bootstraps. Hang. I guess it too rehearses the Jesus story.

The great idea Bill Gates had was to move power to the desktop, which meant complexity in our laps. This was meant to be away from mainframes, those master control central so called Big Iron processing mills from which we could only manage a dumb terminal. 

I do remember how exciting it was, especially when color arrived, to move the mouse and process pictures. Yes, I even remember my very first naked lady, saved for her by too much boy scout shame from youth (now that could cut both ways, but I had no private collections). The idea was to distribute the code, which made the outrage almost quaint when users found only a single line to distinguish an expensive Windows "Server" from a much cheaper "Workstation."

Well, it depends what you want to do with it, right? I'm not going to blame Microsoft for what's happened across the years of its dominance. A Microcosm, rather, of what has been happening in the world. And as we now should know, perhaps we've gone too far? I'd say almost exactly twenty something years too far (when did Reagan first get elected?).

Yesterday, I went on a treasure hunt along the shores of nearby Canandagua Lake, looking for a likely home for my aging  rotting sailboat. There's almost no room there for a boat so large,  but, as I think I've said some elsewhere here, it could make a fitting end to life. I was reassured that at least one or two places would be willing to handle the weight, and might try to find a way to step the over long and heavy mast. But there was almost no equipment, as compared to Lake Erie or certainly the Sound, where enough critical mass of wooden boats did once exist that some familiarity still lingers. 

But what killed the option in the end was just the cost. I hear that real estate taxes along this lake exceed those along Lake Tahoe. For frontage. 

Without any irony at all, the one veteran boatyard owner told of how the lake had emptied across the 30 years he and his brother had owned his place. He'd screwed up his face in real discomfort at the thought of an old and wooden boat, but in the end warmed a bit and did seem willing. He'd trimmed some equipment at its outrageous cost, and compressed his space for taxes. But I guess he'd go along. But the cost for me would be absurd, so there may be a bonfire in the old girl's future (Stop me now. Lash me to that mast!).

His reasoning was straightforward and simple: families operate differently now. Mothers work in service to their aspirations for children. Fathers golf for networking. There simply isn't time.

So, metaphorically, at least, the hearth has been distributed, and any central activity disbursed. I imagine gatherings only around the flatscreen, for SuperBowl, say, or when the Sabres make the playoffs toward some happy ending. 

But if you follow off the tendrils, there's still more going on than this. This power to the desktop has meant the same ghosted productivity gains which powered our recently popped bubble economy. I say ghosted, because in direct contact with users it's really hard to see what they do apart from messing with the software to the point of wanting to throw it out the window in self-referential uroburos final healing.

And we all should know that it was the very trade in the hardware and the software itself which powered much of these gains. To where at the school I once did run, the cost of a first word processor for my incredibly productive secretary would easily break the budget. Where now each student must own a laptop before any learning can even start, though in absolute dollars these now cost less than those wonderful IBM Selectrics used to.

And the software is and must be free. Is that why our economy deflated? I sure do know that I would never again consider those five thousand dollars I once shelled out to own my first PC. It would seem crazy now, and the one I use seems just fine after 5 or 6 full years of occasional use as an elaborate typewriter. Well, there are my taxes.

I do remember my own amazement when as a freshman engineering student, I got my first programmable calculator. My uncle is a noted electrical engineer, responsible for the mathematical methods which made the design of integrated circuits possible. He's limited in his emotional range, but I do remember him enthusing in his University office once back in those days, about the computing power now on his desk.

There were these few power users then and now who exploited this tremendous calculating power to design things. Like complex derivatives, as well as chip designs or complex stealthy fighting machines. These folks, I'm sure, never do feel the urge to hurl their machines through any window. 

But later on, while the rest of us had found graphics processing and complex formatting for term papers and resumes, the real power users discovered that they couldn't do what they wanted to do on Microsoft's mass market boxes. My first view of the internet was over the shoulder of a Chinese language student of mine, whose field was that sort of math which required fifty thousand-ish dollars of workstation and graphics processing to reveal results from a kind of math whose workings could not even in principle be proven. He'd watch in awe and curiosity at his results, in seeming living color on a for those days impossibly large screen.

A tiny offshoot of this power was to render graphics from across the void, traded in those days alone among afficionados in universities across the globe. My mind reeled.

So, now these commodity workstations, for work, are being tucked back into bed on some virtual mainframe back in some central office. You own a dumb window to a virtual session again, as it makes no sense to manage distributed complexity. Soon, all applications will be free across the cloud. What then, Microsoft? Will you go the way of the news?

It's only the metaphorical sense which interests me, can you tell?

So, will we also return to hearth? Is there still some chance that mothers can be relieved of their dull chasing after junior's projected ambitions? That fathers can spend some time at home too? That there need not be one car per person, stuck in traffic most of most days, seeming not too far away at all from those blobbish scooter bobs in Wall-e. That kids won't be caught dead texting in some face-off with a truck, like happened right around my country corner. Or tangle with some spooked horse, where the roadside cross remains polished right over there. 

Maybe we can return to times when the notion to go sailing wouldn't cost an arm and a leg - Ken Kesey flashbacks here from both Oregon and Alaska - and moorings would be nearly free.

Maybe our kids can play outdoors. Maybe we can stay put a while and get to know our neighbors, strange though they may be. Imagine now, the ether's down, and everybody walks outside to see.

For me that's how this all got started. I was asleep in my apartment on the wrong side of town. The bedroom lit up. I know the clock read 7:47, though I can't remember just dusk or nearly dawn (I can't have gone to bed so early then, though I sure do now). We wandered out in awe and terror to watch an old and luckily abandoned building go up in flames. I think it was in process toward rehab. I knew that it forshadowed something. All houses for miles around were emptied as a neighborhood in bathrobes gathered. It must have been the dawn.

Now at the start of the stupid documentary I'd rented, I had to endure this ominously soundtracked likening of purloined downloads to outright theft. I suppose you've seen it, though this time was my first:  "You wouldn't steal a car. You wouldn't steal a DVD. So why do you steal ripped off movies? It's illegal!"

Well, in a world where it's legal to patent DNA, I'm not sure how unreasonable it truly is to snag the bits which might brighten up your day for free. It's only the publishing house that suffers. Except for super stars, most performers would be thrilled just to have you witness their work. Isn't that what YouTube's all about, not to mention blogging. Please take my songs, I just want you to know me!

I think the money can and should be made for live touch and live performance. What would be so wrong with that? Please take my words for free, I only want you to want to know me, and then you'll pay me to be me. 

I know the place where I still work remains unwilling to calculate their cost to lose me. A modest raise was on the table, and then got pulled back off. It might have been enough to turn my negative cashflow positive, but there's always the same claptrap about how we all must tighten our belts and work a little harder because, in my case it's literally true, we do this for Jesus.

Bullshit on that! These people I serve prove time and again that they can't endure no downtime. I must make their data redundant and distributed, which I actually do very skillfully, and can and must extort money for new hardware simply by calculating the cost of a single demonstrated day of no worker productivity. Twenty something people twiddling thumbs get really expensive, so bring on the hardware. Bring on the software costs if it keeps Father Difficult, friend of the Vicar General, happy. 

But not one red cent for you, dear worker, who must be near the bone to be justified, as proven by your willingness to stay. Fuck that. I don't work for Jesus. Well, maybe I just do, since I know that this is not what Jesus wants for me, and you sure as hell will never earn my trust as his interpreter. 

My character, which is defined by what I do when no-one's looking, is full intact. You will soon know the cost of my absense which would have been so trivial to match, and then I will advise what you must pay to replace not only me, but to keep my very excellent staff plus that additional one we so desperately require. I don't run in a rat cage for my living, thank you very much. Ooooh. Burn baby burn. And thank you God for not inspiring what little they would have needed to keep me.

What can we not afford exactly? I'd say it's the way we keep on doing things, without leisure.

I have a very simple dream, and have even drawn up the design to enact it: Google's stuck on it's brain power. It's hired the best, and racked up more computering power than the rest of the world combined. But it will never crack this one simple code: that people, no matter how unschooled (well, I'm not sure I want to get into that one) can instantly recognize the differences between this and that, which computers can't even begin to. Computers don't do metaphors, which is why they're so easy to outwit.

Computers don't do touch. People do touch, people do metaphors, since metaphors are built on touch; the differences between inside and outside, bounded by touch sensitive skin. Metaphors are built on as ifs for things we know but cannot see. And the future, for sure, is built on our desires.

Once, at a Rainbow Homecoming, way back at my beginning - it must have been just before that fire, I heard a prophecy, attributed I think, to the Hopi, that the world would soon be covered by a great web. I imagined the power grid. No-one could imagine this inter-network. Not then.

So there must be those people who can see ahead. Whose vision is not clouded by too many words. I'm not one of them. I need signs and tellings and hidden code. Perhaps dyslexia might encourage such second sight, if only the television were not so hard at work to own, proprietarily, our souls.

We're all Microsofted, like my computer when it needs a boot. Like the recent cover of Time Magazine. Too much distributed complexity. Too much is owned by too few. I say take the downloads and screw the man, but then I do digress, always and anon and on and on.

So here's my simple idea, and for those except my friends who try to patent it, I'll say it's public domain already. I mean there has to be something left that's common property. Something noone can own, right?

So these clicks you all make, choosing this and avoiding that. They are a kind of transaction, no? All the network needs to hand you back is some simple map of whatever dimension it is you navigate, so you can tell if you move closer or farther away. Think geography of the mind. Now ads can be placed just where you'll pay attention, because you're not looking for that kind of black hole detection (there's the network kind and then there's the cosmic kind). 

These ads could represent actual things made with quality, and even through some other geographic mapped dimension, quickly orient you among those you trust. The background techniques are trivial. But the idea cuts directly against the grain. Because the capitalist system actually wants you against the wall, and the only way to do that now is to own the ground on which you stand. DNA patented for your relief from environmentally engendered diseases. Fighting titans to protect you from some poor non-lexic raghead. Wanting yourself a superstar like that one on the screen. You've sold your soul, that deal's been done. Now we're only negotiating price.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Womb with a View, and other cliches

Likely, I won't have time, because a server has gone down. No surprise there, since it's about ten years old, and they've been warned repeatedly, but the responsible person, who works for me, is on an impromptu break in anticipation of my departure, and so it fails on my watch. I guess that's how it should work, no?

So, away from Easter, after writing this really long dense blog about resurrection and thinking about cracks in eggs and peeps and peepers and spring and rebirth and stuff, and after watching What the Bleep because I was too tired to drive back home from my city apartment Easter night, I'm driving across my cosmos (which is really way too big) listening to the radio for more clues, and they are talking about brain stuff, as they often seem to do these days.

So they make some pronouncements about how brain scans show that thinking about something excites the very same patterns as does actually experiencing it. Or was that the Bleeping movie?Not really important, since in either case the proper response is, well, duh! They make it sound as if there's no inside/outside difference. Hello! Have you heard about dreaming? Did you remember your skin? And then they get all excited as though this were some great revelation. What did they think "mind" meant?

I think it was on the radio that I heard some talk about empathetic reactions, and how our brain gets excited the same way whether something happens to us or to someone else. The cringe reaction, I think. Or how my balls scrunch up just watching a football fly from camera perspective.  Isn't that just another big duh? Do we really need instrumental readings to tell us these things? I think that's what's meant by heart and mind; innering of patterns out there.

I don't know, but these things are not all that exciting to me. Of course there's more goes on than my lame brain can process. Of course I sort and sift and stir, just so I can be amazed at what only seems to be some powerful coincidence. Of course I move to rhythms beyond my ken. So what? Isn't that what living is? Or did I really plan myself. The idiocy of Intelligent Design will never stop appalling me.

Isn't it more amazing that we all still choose to keep that television on? The one which numbs us to all cringe reflex, and drives us sociopathically away from any fellow feeling? That some among us actually do enjoy watching angry talking heads which construct perfect fundamentalist squared reality to hold against almost everybody else out there? That young near naked girls are more of a turn on than actual touch? That killing can be a game?

I'm not saying "ain't it aweful", because I really don't think it is. These wombs with view are comfortable, and I like my showers hot. But if only we would step out a bit, we might find that our neighbors don't stink any worse than we do ourselves. We might even let our kids outside so that we can take those furtive breaks we need (some other spot on the radio talked about how Moms have a website where they can share their ridiculous secret tricks and habits for some time off from dealing with kids - hell, when I was little, Mom opened the door and didn't expect to see me back until dinner time. We all knew who the perverts were.).

Crescendo pop, I do wonder if there might be an end to all this projected reality. A good end, I mean. Something to make the death of networks and newspapers OK, because these were not necessarily all entirely good things. Concocted wars. Impacted hearts. Stoppered outrage.

I don't know that it's this newer Inter-network. I don't know that its not. I do know that removes from touch are too dangerous to be as safe as they feel. 

Where's Marshall McLuhan when you need him? If the medium is the message, then this one's all about what's not there. Ether.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Resurrection is the hardest part of the Christ story to get one's head around. Why so extravagant? Why so inconceivable? It's paired, quite magically, with the virgin birth as those things which are at once perfectly beyond the reach of science to touch, and which present such great taboos when science does approach.

There's cloning on the one end. Frankenstein monstering. And at the other a kind of fever dream of robots or zombies or uploaded souls. Still with the full knowledge that these could never approach the absurdity of Christ's resurrection, and before that His virgin birth. 

And people do aspire to believe these things, quite "literally," or so that term does get abused. These, of course, are people who by definition can't read, and so you're left to wonder what literal could possibly mean here. You can find it in the Left Behind series, which does earnestly and without apparent effort that which Saturday Night Live can only accomplish with heroic labor. You find it in Ray Kurzweil's absurd celebrations of man's dominion; a scientist overcome with himself and the manic dream of creating the one thing nature never will endure - a geometric expansion which sustains rather than destroys life. 

I say, imperiously, that they can't read, so we'll have to wonder just what reading is along the way toward resurrection and creation out of nothing. Let's just say, for now, that to read is reliably to place a set of words in their proper context. A joke occurs along with the jarring of words quite out of context. A joke on oneself when words are misread and contexts traded. People lounging on chaise, say, or when liberal education is thought to relate to books and liberaries (sic). We all do this, and manage to endure, despite the ridicule of our betters. 

But when you extrapolate full out, you gain a sense of just how difficult reading really is, and how absurd such phrases are as "absolute truth" or "faith".  And how unlikely, at the fringes, that anyone really can read another soul. Or in my case, that I can even read myself. 

So "Left Behind" and the "Singularity is Near" are cosmic pratfalls among people who simply don't know how to read. They are those roobs who fall for the magic trick and then want to buy it for use at home. "Disappear your wife" in five simple steps. 

But I guess the Jesus story endures because it does provide, somehow, that limit. That end beyond which there must and can only be God. A cosmic joke for sure, but also a true endpoint to what we can and should and will ever read and true against what can only be very personal and limited experience.

Science provides a trueing along the way, of readings we must share. I mean this ever so simply, as to describe those things, like knowing that the ground underneath our feet will support us, on which we must agree. By abstractions to the max in our mathematical descriptions, and reductions to the very most economical structures, we seem able to arrive at many many understandings (English is so punny - but not, I assure you, as much as is Chinese) which have that wondrous quality to be universal.

These understandings describe the same reality in any cultural setting, and presumably across the cosmos, though we may not be quite ever finally confident in our ability to translate these to technological controls. There's so much confusion between these two pursuits, especially now that we have become so overcome by our own technological prowess, that we have almost forgotten the science. Scientifically now, our wonder at ourselves will ecologically if not by geometric release of nuclear fissions or fusions (same thing monkey boy) only destroy us.

There can be no question now that the scientific enterprise not only did not but could not have developed in some other culture from that of the Christian European West. Post modernists can and do go fuck themselves, but this trivial observation (that science is culturally grounded) takes nothing from the universality of scientific conclusions, properly made. (It's the "properly made" part which makes those post modernists right almost all the time, but their language is just so damned annoying, and itself always a parody of what they rail against).

So faith starts there, with feet on ground, and finally gets rendered up to what it is we confront in contact with another human being. How much can or do we know that person? Or a book. Or perhaps an entire ideology (what a word, that one!). God?  I think not! (therefore I am)

It's never so trivial to trust that to which we're attracted in another soul. They might turn out robotic, like that sociopath next door. Or we might discover that we're turned off by their feet when we do finally get in bed together, and then the thrall is done for. There's divorce and much worse utter foolishness to pay for these mistakings.

But hanging back from ultimates, many many friends if not lovers do prove true. I guess because the expectation is so much less. The navigations and negotiations so intermittent; the in and out from other's lives so much less quickened. And friendship is capped by that fine taboo at end of day that you never ever will or would get in bed with one another.  Sure, in a pinch, you might for survival, or even intimately resuscitate, mouth to mouth. But if there were a quickening there in bed, I think the friendship must end, don't you? Or blossom. 

But it is that impossibility in principle which defines friendship at its limits, and enables a kind of constancy. Don't worry chum, I'll never stop at your home for more than a few weeks at a time, along the road to somewhere else. But we'll share better times than you will ever have with your wife - that much is certain. And our souls will come much closer and merge more fully simply because there is that boundary to define, contain, and shape our perfect pairing. Nothing lost, but geometric expansions and progressions gained in that most true conspiring. There need never be any subordination at all. There is perfect parity, and no struggle between and among, say justice and relating, the male and female roles, however sexed.

But the ultimate faith, of love, of marriage, in God, just for a few examples. That one is a leap so long that only fools attempt it. The rest of us find ourselves pinnacled and without place to go but down down down, and still along the way there has never been worse terror than to lose oneself that way. It would be so utterly foolish. So like the man who would dive right through the ground. Buckaroo Bonzai!!!! And away. . . . 

I must and do confess that I am terrorized by the act of sex. Not quite in the sense you think. I am not nerdy sexless, nor timid in the act, and would some safely aloof former partner quite allow it, there are no limits to what I wouldn't like to try (hohohaha!). None. But it's the implications terrify me. They are so much forever. Not just disease, but possibility for hurt and misunderstanding, and fallings out, no matter what the interval. That moment is sheer terror. That aloof moment where you realize that yes, it was only physical. Or chemical. Or instinctual, and in any case not forever or even a day. Or far worse, that the deal you'd meant for a moment won't ever stop. Ever. The deal does not get any simpler, young friends, as you grow older.


In that interval right there, gentle reader, in service to writing's worst enemy (necessity for taking a dump) and on the toilet reading the New York Times while I still can (yes, it was on my phone, OK?? So, put me in jail already! Throw away the key, I both read on the toilet, and don't pay any attention to internet ads. At all!) before its also necessary demise, I am saddened almost beyond reason to learn of the death by suicide of Sylvia Plath's son sweet Nick sweet son. I know nothing of either of them, yet enough to understand the dimensions of this tragedy. And I must apologize to you that I have been diverted from this writing in and by the act of writing species of love letters toward human contact of the sort which terrifies me more, apparently, than to be alone forever and anon. You just aren't there, you see. I have not yet, and despair I ever will, that kind of faith. That there is a reader.

But I still do make this pledge: That my writing and living and direction will never tend in that particular direction. I will never make that secret pact to end on some high note because I fear my ability to endure the lower lows. It is to life and love and light alone that I direct myself. Alone. All one.


Now where was I? That faith which is so hard to conjure. I do actually believe, you know? That in extremis, when finally I must leave my job because there is no more room for me there. Up against that wall where, let me now enumerate, love is not possible across the taboo of workplace, though that's the least of it. Where faith is superstructured by the only living remnant of medieval monarchy to outlast enlightenment (though I actually have no problem with that, it's just that this particular institution's perversions remind me much too much of the Sadean version). I cannot live in public any longer what I mock so hard in private. 

And I will surely never trust myself in love again, after once tripping over my own feet on the way toward what became a lifetime of indentured servitude, and another time in pursuit of what never was in the first place attainable. These twinned poles represent for me all that is possible in the falling out from sense and good friendship's underpinnings. I retreat now and again for long intervals into some sort of mild cocooning, and I'm not even sure that it's time yet to molt again and again and again. 

But I do trust - have faith even - that it's the right time now to refuse any more work or love in which I am not quite myself. Extravagant though that is, and I'm not after "authenticity." I want only to be just one me, cliched and ordinary dull though my character might prove to be.  I must strap myself to whatever mast I have (it's rotting) or can find, to resist temptations for comfort and repose and six figure rescue from the necessity to disburse a lifetime's debris of bicycles, boats, books and papers papers papers, though these I can and do and have uploaded to that proprietary cloud whose stewardship I perversely trust so much more than tangibles in my possession. 

I refuse, I do, any further servitude in maintenance of my slack body and it's sprawling messy dishevelled extensions. (The real estate lady demurred a bit when she came for a visit, that perhaps we can start showing "next week" after I manage to dispose of a few more things which make it difficult to navigate the space. Not so bad, please, as those left behind houses of demented souls having pathways through piles of newsprint and garbage to some inside nest you can't conceive.) Just the look of a house vacant all weekends because in the end, my remaining at-home daughter just cannot endure teenage occupancy alone with Dad in the wilderness. That is not a sentiment I care to contest. At all. And so I write only weekends, apartmented in the city. Wondering where and when and how I'll find either the time or energy to wash the windows and overall brighten up my latest silly womb with but dim view. My house in the country I now must leave, in preservation of what time I've left to write my way out of this ethereal paper bag.

So, that's the faith I have. That at this post-half-century turning point, I have become proof against ever taking another day job act. Against ever again so energetically pursuing love that I shave my beard and trim my hair and my rhetoric too and wear other more presentable clothes, or God help me, endure the indignity of a younger babe so easily mistaken for my daughter. These things make me just cringe anymore. I cannot but be myself. It's less the finding of my authentic self, than the drooling paunch of no more choices, but I'll take it.

Sure, it does help that my hormones no longer rage. Not quite so old as "brother" Cohen, I still have no real regrets for leaving that garden I never did quite enter and therefore won't have to leave. It was only ever thorny for me. (Well, OK, so invite me in and we'll just test my resolve)

It helps also that my mind is aged by cigarettes and wine and never enough time nor energy to read the things I really should. Not near so much capacity in dissipation as say, that self-same Leonard Cohen, but I feel the same dimming he talks of but does not show. The structures for mind's youthful blooming recede, and I haven't the energy, even in principle, to elaborate just what I mean when I talk about particle physics or Chinese poetry or other pursuits on whose trail I once was hot.

I doubt I will ever have that energy again, though I guess it's not impossible. I mean, if someone were to pay me for it, I surely would re-systematize my knowledge. But the university is not open to my paltry accomplishments. I don't own those degrees of freedom, and even if I did I'm just not so sure that there wouldn't be still more constraint there than on my own; with political pathways up, and narrative trueings so much more constrictive and less open to surprise than even the most extreme cases of anti-global-warming-conspiracy-of-dunces-theorizing.

I must remain unbounded. Promethean in my reach if surely not my grasp. But I am so lost with torch burning down and noplace yet to alight my spark.

You see, these folks are quite right in at least one reductive sense. (I had dinner finally just the other day for the first time after almost seven years with my good friend and ultra conservative Catholic neighbor, and had to endure, though it cost me absolutely nothing in good humor, his fulminating rhetoric about the global warming hoax) Approaches to scientists will automatically fall flat and dead at that point where you wish to implicate them in their research.

I do believe that there is one most false branch to science; cosmology. It is there alone that science cannot go, but demands to still. It is there alone that science will and does and has, would it but wake up to that fact, find that it is measuring only the mind of the observer.

Oh, I hate these personifications, as though "science" were some "them." Science does not "say" anything, and scientists, surely at the limit of cosmology, are so unlikely to have read the stuff they really need to comprehend before they peer off into the readings out from instrumentation at least 17 miles in diameter (was it circumference???) and declare any findings.

I do know from hard experience, that it is equally difficult to talk to - just for example now - a disbeliever in global warming, about science, as it is to talk to a scientist about the end(s) of science. They are simply not prepared for that particular surprise, so invested must they be in towering edifices of accumulated understandings and trued arcane verbiage and degrees of distinction from everything and everyone here below in the muck of direct experience.

So I was and remain chastened now, this Easter morning, by last night's meeting with my former student. I'd tried to teach him Chinese once so long ago (though I was and am a fraud, I did have and could teach, at least, perfect pronunciation, and build a good foundation, demonstrably, for more native ministrations), and then as headmaster, by the skin of both our teeths, to get him some degree. 

He surprised me to tell that he never did earn any single degree. Not high school. Not college, though he often teaches theater there. And I am chastened, not just because I feel so lucky proud to have pulled what degrees I own back from the temptations, always, to chuck it all (it took three rough passages through Yale before they let me out. Sanctioned my outing, is more like it). I am chastened because he has become so fully my teacher now. And because my failure was not his.

I came to him for help to stage my "Womb with a View" (working title, please) monologue. And he, upon only the very briefest hearing, shot back authors and plays and readings so erudite that I had to beg him please to email the names, since I had no hope of recall. 

I held his door last night - the house was absolutely packed with only one last seat for me. I only snoozed a moment this second time to witness his terrific play. I think I snoozed because I felt the beginnings of some relaxation to my quest. There will be those who know so much more than I do, can help to true what words I have. There will be help along the way. 

And so I think it time for me to de-cocoon once more. I don't know about spreading any wings of Icarus or surfactin-stimulated butterfly, as was the manner for my little peanut daughter to survive her own way-too-early escape from her mother's womb; butterfly wings and kisses. It must be the same substance. For my daughter, at two pounds she was very lucky that her mother's doctor missed the textbook case, and left her and mom both traumatized in the womb so that when she finally was hacked out (it was that bad - I was there), her lungs would not stick together which is what is the worst for preemies.

Lucky for me, I should properly say, since she would be her no matter what had happened, but now she provides me such bright pride and joy and even company. She listens to my words and claims they make sense to her, which is way more than a father ever could deserve, since the obligation is so much the reverse. And she never did try me that way. Always so easy to understand. Such a joy.  So perfectly articulate.

So, it must be this same substance on butterflies' wings, which must get discharged in some precise quickening before the molt. Why cocoons must never be warmed. Why term is at all costs to be allowed before the labor is begun. Why sometimes, with luck, too early de-cocoonings, like even that one for me from boat so long ago, can still be survived provided further artificial incubation. 

For me, all artifice has ended (Well, lash me to some mast, we'll see). Perversely, I will endeavor to refuse all offers of comfort - at least those even where I only have to torque my soul a tiny bit (metaphorical, since I don't have faith now in the literal one) to represent someone else's brand. Not Church. Not government. Not China which does not know herself at all. Not startup internet business even, unless it wants me as I am. I'll whore for anyone, provided the deal is honest. Now there's the rub.

It is only you, gentle reader, that I can or will but also surely must have faith in. It is you must be resurrected here. Your context for some reading. Your willingness to make that effort (I do know that it is extreme, and beyond all reason what I ask) to read. To listen. To watch. To make some sense. Not of me and what I write (don't be a fool!), but of what is now so out there. You really have to be perverse, and bound to rigid stupid absolutist words - I guess simply because you're so afraid that you might be fooled? - not to read it. Right off the web, the wall, the street, the news. Just learn to read is all.

And you, gentle friends or daughters, who must trust that Howie or Dad has not now finally lost his mind for good and ever, and isn't marching off perversely into some chip-on-shoulder spiting of himself. That I will never refuse love when offered, nor to offer it to my full capacity, which might not be very much. But I'll try. I do try. I am very limited is all.

Let's hope it's true what says AARP, that there is life after 50. I sure do hope so. My younger daughter is my very best companion. And yet I want her so much to be free that I hang back criminally from enough guidance. I offer no discipline. She does far too much what she pleases.

But I do, I guess perversely, still have faith that it's the love that counts. Love expressed in seasons turning, a conspiracy of life entire, which guarantees that the moment for the peepers is just the right moment for decocooning. That there is more than just her father to mediate her growth. And that what she needs most from me is more gentle than those stern and fearsome words I got, which still did no good against my own transgressions and fallings short. Though I won't blame them for that. Nor their deliverers. The times were different, is all.

If Dad has lost his mind, he might yet be in good company. There are readings all around (I'll get them shortly by email) which move in the same direction. I guess there might be enough surfactin now that I can fly myself, alone, flittingly, for just a moment before the season turns again. 

I do believe, you see, that there is so much more to life than what can be accomplished alone. That mankind's flight is made of words, though words alone, whether those of science and its instrumental extensions, or the true distilled and very litterary great essence of our greatest minds, cannot describe the flight. For that there must be face to face and much more quickened turnings.

And as my young former student (and now my mentor) did so charmingly wonder, why is it that actual presentations must be lower on some scale than literary readings?  He had become somehow aware that in our past - and I think this is true - those who could read were regarded with suspicion. Those who could read silently to themselves were thought possessed. Out of commerce with where life actually quickened, and where profundity could be found first hand. Only priests were sanctioned to read, leaving witches, demons, perverts and other outlaws as the only other possibilties. More dangerous than revered for what they might know. 

And now this equation is so fully reversed. To where televised presentations cannot, and likely do not, even potentially possess anything near the power of the written word. But why not? Why not YouTube? Why not theater again? Why must it be contained in and by words, this truth we would approach, though never, because it would blind us and melt our wings, quite touch?

Well, because the metaphor is wrong is all. Truth is not a thing can be approached. There is no Omega endpoint to this questing. That's misplaced words. There is no absoluting truth. There is only trueing, and for that we need each other, alive and stimulating and responding and being and here. And there.  Which is neither here nor there, silly reader.

Do I leave you now, alone. Having fallen this far short? Were you expecting some great final revelation through these words? (If I did not doubt it, then I would not dare to write it, surely!) Well, if so, here it is. That punchline I never can remember, or even reconstruct. That final turn of phrase which captures, just right, that moment of apprehension you used to go to Church for. That apotheosis of the Word. Made flesh. Was God.

Well, here, then, it is. Here it is. You'll have to read it all again. And again and again and again and anon. 

There's really nothing more to say, though I will keep trying, poor gentle reader. For life. For love. For my daughters. I will make you pay me, too, since what choice do I have? What choice do you have?

Well, Happy Easter, and I do pray for your resurrection. I really do. Turn off that one-way television. Turn the projector on yourself, and YouTube it to infinite regress. But then please do go outside. It's a beautifuly day to be alive!

Happy Easter, you nonexistent fool you. Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April Earnest

Damn, I missed the fool's day! It's where I belong, but I'll take the morning after. Seeking to avoid any and all need for another day job. I'm an April fool for sure.

I did nearly fall into Google's annual trap. This one was about a mind indexing application for download onto my mobile device. Hunh? What? You've got to be kidding. Oh. Check the date. 

I heard Edward O. Wilson yesterday, that politically incorrect dude from Harvard (not the one who's helping out in the White House now) chuckling on stage about his own little April Fool's joke on an ant. He'd sprayed the thing with the pheromone of death; the corpse scent which triggers all good ants to truck him away to the graveyard. Reminds me of that scene in some

Monty Python film where they're trucking away the corpses during the plague, and some poor guy's not dead yet. They club him to death for being so out of place. He's not dead yet, but will be, so they save themselves a lot of trouble and paperwork and wasted effort to haul him back away again.

It's so wrong to laugh. But it's funny somehow to think of ants just simply responding to the pheromone code, even though their comrade still kicks. And I guess the dead-scented ant keeps getting up and trying to clean himself off, and move back among the living.

Edward O. Wilson offends too, by likening humans to social creatures, whose collective intelligence is so much superior to their individual automata reactions. But can't we at least aspire to that? I mean, who among us wants Obama's job (and they need to be put in jail, most of those that do). A man whose only actionable sin is to have the middle name Hussein and smoke a tad wee bit? Who among us is that safe from what the powerful might use against us? And who could make sense enough for good decisions among not just the clamor, but the toughness of all those intersecting vectors of metaphoric war and meltdown and inertial greed. I've lost my mind for less!

OK, so, yeah, he's my queen and I'll be his worker bee. But the cool thing is I get actually to decide and follow my own heart into the battle. I have a name. I've overcome those pheromones (well, I did have to lash myself to the mast). I am even queen in my own little hive.

We are so not insects, though when stirred to fear by talk show loudmouths and idiot Skull and Bones presidents, the pheromones do overwhelm us for sure. We become the soldiers then, just like those Chinese patriotic and oh so well educated students who mouth their government's arguments without even checking the facts. Without adjusting that apparatus through which they resolve what's out there in the world, so identified with the instrument of their knowledge that they become it. Instrumental dweebs.

Wasn't there a movie about this? Ants, right?

Well, so welcome in you cruelest month. I'm running that gauntlet of warnings about my duties and responsibilities to my hive, as I march away from gainful employment. But I am pretty much alone, having shed that sense of want, and having given at least a hand in the raising of some pretty wonderful young ladies. I guess that makes me dangerous, at least insofar as I won't be rallying to any flag. But I'm not so young to get whipped up either, and I did have the great wisdom to be born white and male and American during the 20th century, right? So, I think I've got no real complaints in the first place. 

So, I'm in danger of speaking some truth is all. But it's not a very real danger, since I remain pretty sure no one gets the joke. I never was very good at telling jokes. 

"There was a bishop and a governor and a prostitute, see. Now, the bishop needed the governor to stop prosecuting his Church for the sins of it's pederast priests' past. And the governor really wanted some hot young ass, but was too honorable to take advantage of misguided groupies, see? And then this chick who's decided to peddle her ass makes buttloads of money, and gets a deal for latenight

They all end up in hell somehow, and there they are asking one another how they screwed up, because they each still thought somehow they'd done the right thing, up above. 

OK, so it's a Saturday Night Live skit, say, and that's the setup, and these three are all there together, acting out this usual kind of barroom scene before they go back home, after they come off the stage.

And then there's this little kid at home wonders out loud to Mommy when they're all up there telling their stories, you know, kind of vaudeville on stage telling their jokes, these three, but you don't really have to wonder why a little kid is watching vaudeville, because it's all on TV, so this, sort of, happens in private, but you're watching, because it's a Saturday Night Live skit, and the kid, who's like a Lily Tomlin adult kid, wonders why the only one with normal clothes looks hurt, see, and she wonders, out loud to Mommy, umm, I thought he was the one in charge? Because he looks kind of like he's peeing his pants.

And Mommy, who's wondering about Daddy just at that moment, you see that bubble above her head, where Daddy's not home yet and that's why they're still up because Daddy's bringing home a surprise, looks down at her little girl and says, no sweetie, the one with the big boobs, which are bigger than Mommy's because they're fake, sweetie, the one with the big boobs has always been in charge, because it's what they feed you from the start. See?" Mommy's got a glass of wine.

But the little girl says, "Mommy, she's not in charge. She's really dumb. No one listens to her." And then Mommy says, shhhhh. And then the little girl steps on an ant, and doesn't want to grow up to be anybody, you can see right on her face, but she looks up at Mommy, and says: "Oh, I see Mommy. Is that why Daddy never looks at the babysitter's face when she comes over?" 

"No sweetie. That's because Daddy's thinking of what he'll do to me after he takes the babysitter home if I haven't been a good little girl."

And the little girl looks up again, and she says, Does he spank you too, Mommy? 

And Mommy says, "no sweetheart, he just calls me his little princess." And the little girl thinks to herself. "Poor Mommy" that bubble over her head this time.

Then Daddy comes home and turns the TV off and he's making popcorn and they have a really nice time watching Ants on TV, which was his surprise because his daughter really likes those kind of cartoon movies.  

This is the night before they go off to their new little church, where the pastor's a woman and not so hot. But the service is really good. The service is really fine. You find this out in the conversation before the bishop with the red beanie hat and the prostitute dressed like a little girl, or Barbie because you can't tell the difference any more, and the governor with the really nice suit, get up on stage. 

You find out that they had to leave the old church because too many people, including Mommy, had the hots for the young preacher, and you saw this family turning away from the swoons, holding hands and frowning because the preacher's gyrations up at the pulpit were way too much like Elvis or something, for their comfort zone (This is Saturday Night, remember). You've already seen that little setup scene.

And the next morning, the pastor, this chick in dark robes, gets up there in the pulpit, plunks her little Barbie Doll down on one side, and a kind of Bozo the clown doll down on the other, to set up her sermon for that day. And the opening line is, get this, "What does it mean to be a Christian soldier?"

And the little girl says, OK now, hold onto your lunch here, the little girl says to her Daddy, she says "I know! It means you dress like a little girl so you can tell the guy with the beanie the secret of how to screw the governor".  And Daddy says, "shhhhh . . . " because he didn't think the little girl had overheard him saying that last night, and was getting really embarrassed. He'd been making fun of Catholics, and that was one of the jokes on the vaudeville stage, up on Saturday Night Live, and the little girl was showing off, because she got the joke when he told her Mommy, "I'll be your little ant soldier if you'll be my queen." and she, the little girl, was still thinking about Christians from the other skit.

"I want to know how Barbie's a clown", he tells her to explain his rapt attention. And the little girl thinks to herself, "because she's got relatively big boobs and dresses like a little girl?" Although little girls don't really say out loud to themselves anything like "relatively".  But the little girl snuggles up to Daddy and falls asleep to the soothing words of the pastor, who's intoning, "it means that you have to make a fool of yourself." 

And so she puts the clown clothes on Barbie and the Barbie clothes on the clown, and everybody's scandalized for a moment, not because the dolls are naked, because everyone's seen that already, but because there's a kind of cross dressing going on up in the pulpit, and then the little girl wakes up and the woman preacher is holding up the little clown doll all dressed up in Barbie clothes, and then the little girl gets scared that someone is going to get angry with her Daddy because she saw him once in Mommy's clothes which was really silly, but he looked kind of scared, and so she's scared, and then the preacher takes off her black robes and underneath there's a really old fashioned bathing suit, the kind where there are bloomers and a skirt, and she opens a parasol above her head and she says:

OK, are you ready?

She says, "What's so Damned funny?" But she's got a smile on her face, and so everybody laughs, because it's a liberal church where it's OK to laugh and say swear words as long as they're in quotations, and the kids are already in on the joke, and so the little girl looks up at her father on the one side and her Mom on the other and she's really glad that it's all funny, and that the pastor's got her bathing suit on.

And then, back to the joke up there on the virtual vaudeville stage, which is really just off stage, say after death on what they'd thought was the way to see St. Peter, or in the barroom after they come off stage, but are still in costume, say, and they find out they've gone the other way. The Governor asks the bishop, "What are you doing here?" and the bishop says, "I'm sorry, I sinned when I made them jump on your goof. I'd thought I was doing God's work, and now I find it didn't pass muster" 

And so he turns to the Governor, in some surprise, and asks; "Do you really go here for that?" And the governor says, "hell no, I paid fair and square. No, I guess I'm here for that other thing I can't tell you about." And the bishop says, "what? What possible harm could there be in telling the truth now?" And the governor whispers over to the Bishop, "no, I don't care what they do to me, I'm just trying to save her ass" pointing his thumb over to the prostitute. 

And you're not sure for a little moment, if he wants to save her ass for him there in hell or if he's doing the noble thing, but you can't quite imagine, first of all, that there's any place in hell for screwing around, and second of all, the same problem gets perpetuated, since, presumably, the prostitute's here for good and all, and there's nothing he could do to save her ass, since her ass is already cooked too.

And they both look over, sort of scared and sort of awed, because they knew who had the goods on them, and you knew they knew, but the bishop was still off his guard, and so he wondered to the prostitute, "so what are you doing here, sweetheart?"

And she said, "I'm God's agent."

"But I trusted your discretion," wailed the governor, "you were so sweet!" 

"Yes, well you were just a prospect then, dear heart. Didn't you know I always wanted us to be together etenally?"

"But I have a wife! I thought we were just negotiating price!"

"We were - I was only testing your resolve - enjoy!"

And she disappeared in a puff a smoke, and then the bishop and the governor looked at each other, and said "Damn! Busted!"

And so the moral of the story is never pay for what you can get for free. You'll get screwed every time!

But you still don't know what they got busted for.

It was for keeping their secrets in hell before the one who already knew them. Their secrets. 

OK, it's not funny. It's not even worth a laugh. Damn, I wish I were any good at this.

Please leave your offerings at the door.

And that's how the prostitute got saved for heaven, because nobody knew the things she knew, and even in hell she wouldn't tell how the Governor dressed up like a bishop, and the bishop dressed up like a Barbie doll.