Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mr. Washington Goes to Smith

Of all the preposterous things Mr. Washington ever did, defrauding Nedward Smith was the worst. Because of this, Ned's debts came back to haunt him; those schoolyard punks broke both his pinkies. Worse still, when Mrs. Smith found out that their self-storage empire was far beyond Section 8 bankruptcy, and that the initial blow of debt was accumulated not in one lump sum from Ned's nervous poker twitch, she promptly divorced him. Later that year, on Halloween night, Ned offed himself.

As we all know, nothing gets you to hell faster than the ol' suicide route. Nevertheless, even self-killers like Ned get their day in court. For Nedward Smith, it seemed that his ever worsening fortune was not about to relent. Upon receiving his nearly instantaneous judgment, he appealed twice only to be shot down directly by the judge himself. You see, there's a wrinkly in the courts of afterlife that allows for the suicider's infinite deferment of his eternal form to the one who's actions directly caused the suicide. 99.9% of the time, the suicide victim is himself the very cause of his horrible imposition. 100% of the time the suicider earnestly believes the fault of his non-livingness lies elsewhere. So it was in this case.

At first, Ned appealed to the appalling manor in which his wife treated him. Spousal dis-allegiance never flies in court. It was swiftly rescinded. Next he petitioned the court that it was the indwelling of a demon that did it -- the dreadful celebration of all things macabre alighting the pestering specter within him. This, like every other demonic appeal was refuted on the grounds that there is a direct appeal offered in life to any suffering soul tormented with spirits unseen -- a higher name by which all are vanquished.

Knowing that the road to salvation was fitfully and irresolvably tailing forever away from him, Ned threw up a Hail Mary (this phrase, of course, merely being used as an idiom; Ned did not offer prayer to Saint Mary, nor did she respond). He claimed that the responsibility for his forsaken mortal shell lies chiefly with a one, Mr. blank Washington (blank because no one actually knows his first name, though my suspicion is that it's 'Jimmy').  It was Mr. Washington who stole away the last of Ned Smith's loans, thus landing Ned bottom-up with his debts, which in turn got his pinkies busted, which added to his wife ousting him from their marriage covenant. This, at long last, caught the attention of the honorable court.

Nedward Smith was heretofore summoned to allocate his eternal form in order for it to be held until the hour that Mr. whoknowswhat Washington would vacate his Earthly copy. Ned then, being left eternally without bodily form, does what most mass-less entities do, float around miserably looking for someone to listen to him.

So it was that sixteen years later, Mr. darngoneit Washington's liver gave out and there was none found to replace it. You can find him to this day walking the halls of hell asking every comer-and-goer (there's quite a bit of commerce down there after all) if he can make a trade for a pair of of unbroke little fingers. When they reply, "No," as everyone in hell always does, he follows up by asking if they've seen a body lying around, one with a dysfunctional liver that goes by the name Mr. Washington. The response in hell is always the same:


Saturday, December 8, 2012

In Haste: Knowing

It's a rare experience, but it leaves your life well affirmed as you snuggle into a deep vat of being understood -- this experience as I call it is known generally well within the first ten minutes of the film -- it starts subtly, as an aura of excitement whispers it's first comforting syllables -- next comes a line or two that you know, you just deep down know, 'I couldn't have said it better myself' -- then, right at that ten minute mark, you know the rest of the movie will be a thrill, it doesn't matter what happens, you know that this film was made for a fella just like you.

You've embraced your leader, and are ready to take orders.

After eight or so minutes of Alex Proyas' Knowing, I much hoped that the film would fall into the aforementioned category.

It did not. I should have realized it when I was still pondering this question twenty and thirty and forty and fifty and sixty and seventy and eighty and ninety and one hundred minutes into the film. I should have realized...

Nevertheless, it was a hell of a thought.

In conclusion, what a thing to do; to base a suspense film on Ezekiel 1:4:

As I looked, behold, a storm wind was coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in its midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Theory of Dark History I

*All illustrations in this post by Gustave Dore.

This is mere speculation -- mere momentary agendizing... I feel propelled to believe that the world as we see it now, hasn't always been like this. Though it may smell the same, tomorrow is not the same... surely Solomon is right when he stated, "There's nothing new under the sun..." also right are Peter's words in his second letter (3:3-7):
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.


In the manner that God was later to create human beings and all of the universe, he created the angels and the angelic realm. His motive in creating can not be broached as far as to even speculate, besides stating that this is a means by which God is glorified. Any further postulating on this would lead to vain preposterousness.

In a given place in space-time, God made known his plan of earthly creation. One angel, chief above all, whom we will refer to as the Serpent, disagreed intensely with this plan. We do not know his argument for dissension, beyond that it was a matter of pride. I propose here; the Serpent's aim was (perhaps remains) to show God that he was in error for creating man as his creation, chief above all others; that man is a useless vessel from which to receive glory. The Serpent's insurrection led to his position being ripped away, his and the third of the angelic rank that chose to follow him.

Man, along with all creation, was created. Man was indeed given the highest rank, with a stipulation that he was not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This, of course, would sound quite queer to any reader present had we not all been inundated with the story of Adam and Eve. But chief among these trees was the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life was not illegal for the creation to eat of, yet we see in Genesis 3:23, God says to himself (already God being three persons): "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever..." For it was in the Garden of Eden that these trees really did to their eater what they were made to do. There was, in that place, many giving trees. Perhaps there were more trees of substance than merely the two already stated. Perhaps there was a tree for speaking, a tree for sleeping, a tree for flying...  perhaps.

Of course, as now seems inevitable, the Serpent came and seduced Eve with his reasoning to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam did so as well. Thusly, Adam, Eve, and the Serpent are cursed, leaving the Man and Woman banished from the Garden, left to live out the remainder of their earthly days east of Eden. Left to guard anyone from eating of the Tree of Life was a Cherubim angel (Gen 3:24), and to remind the world that Eden is a physical place (see Gen 2:10-11 for a physical description/approximation). Let us remember, a real-life angel stood surrounding the Tree of Life holding a flaming sword. The world was different in those days.

Let us further speculate on the Serpent's curse. In the midst of God's words to the beast, He states, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed..." (Gen 3:15a). Many-a-sermon has taught me that the seed of the woman is Jesus. So the question remains -- who is the Serpent's seed? --

Here's where today's speculation can perchance edge into the realm of controversy. This Serpent becomes the prince of the air (Eph. 2:2) and apparently later in history has the power to give Jesus power over all the cities of the world... this dude left Eden, worked havoc, and accumulated power. How?

We don't know what the rulebook is between Heaven and Earth; we don't know what the Serpent is allowed to do (or has the power to do) and what he doesn't. Nevertheless, where God is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent, the Serpent is not. In this then, there was sure to be a scheme, as all who are fighting with limited resources must scheme.

My extrapolation here is largely borrowed from a thought of G.K. Chesterton, in which he made the case that (and this argument comes through the historic lens of Chesterton examining the Punic Wars) the world needed first be saved from worship of demons, for a lighter paganism before Jesus could appear on the stage. What if this first age after Adam, and indeed, for the vast majority of human history, the Serpent and his legions have roamed about the Earth devouring men by establishing themselves as gods?

Cain spoke to God, and God to him. In those early days perhaps too the nemesis spoke. Sin became common place and demons became gods. Indeed, in those days God spoke to man in an intimate manner that is rare to hear in our modern world (Gen 5:22-24, Enoch walking with God). Aside from Enoch and a few others, the world was not well. It was quickly being overran by mischief.

The Bible is cloaked in mystery around this era, when the strange "Nephilim" peruse the Earth (Gen 6). The Semitic root for Nephilim likely comes from the word "to fall" and here we will, for the sake of argument make the giant leap that Nephilim are a sub-species, taken as the offspring of demon and woman. Genesis 6:1-4 talks of "Sons of God" mating with the "Daughters of Men". This commingling seems to produce the "mighty men who were of old, men of renown." (Gen 6:4). The word Nephilim shows up again when in the book of Numbers 12 spies of the Israelites visit the land of the Canaanites, only to spot giants in the land aka Nephilim. The famous warrior Goliath, or Canaanite lineage, was said to be nine and a half feet tall when David slayed him. Perhaps he was an ancestor of these Nephilim.

This phrase "Sons of God" is given some context when we match it up to Job 1:6, "Now there was a day when the Sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them." If we match "Sons of God' with the demons, then a ghastly picture is filled into what is occurring on Earth in the antediluvian era.

The Serpent left the Garden, inclined to conquer the world by force. He and his army make themselves vessels to be worshiped and sacrificed unto. Many greats 'gods' are made in their image. Perhaps chief among them is Baal, a ravenous god who was worship by various Semitic peoples. The worship of Baal included the sacrificing, through fire, of one's first born son at the rip age of nine. This name, or a version of it, Beelzebub (Beel being an aramaic version of Baal), is linked with the Serpent by Jesus himself.  Matthew 12:24-28,

But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.”  Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you

So perhaps it was in those days, that the Serpent took these various positions, and in relations with women, certain demons were indeed able to create an offspring, or rather 'seed', which would populate the Earth as giants. This was the scheme in those days of the enemy to destroy humanity.

But God is not mocked. It would appear that at the right time, God limited the power of the Serpent and his tribe. Jude recites the story that is further documented in the pseudepigraphal Book of Enoch, saying in verses 5-7:
Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
Now then there was punishment for those haughty Serpent followers who bent the rules of the game, playing out of position.

It would seem then that the Serpent nearly won the day, for Noah and his family alone survived the flood and lived to carry on mankind.

What then did the Serpent do? At halftime did he change his gameplan?  I know not... but it would yet appear that God would be the first to make a game-changing play. At the right time, God calls one of his faithful, Abraham, to go and sacrifice his son. Abraham had had a son out of wedlock, Ishmael, but it was his son Isaac who was to exude the fulfillment of God's promise to the elderly Abe and Sarah.

Abe probably thought God was calling him to burn his son in the way that the demons of the day were asking of their servants. But then, at the climactic moment wherein Old Abe has his dagger raised above his head, a thrust away from plunging into the blood and guts of his young son, God sends a messenger to stop him. Game Changer.

That moment, and Abraham's life in general, was the tipping point of the twist in game play. With the non-sacrifice, God was foreshadowing the game winning score in his sacrifice of Jesus, his only begotten son, whilst simultaneously mocking the cruel modus operandi of the Serpent's method, AND moving the first pawn that was to be Israel.

So then, Israel.

Israel was to be the people through whom God would make himself known to the world. The Serpent knows this. He surely was aware of the plan. Why else would he try to steal Moses' bones away?
Jude 9:
But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Now then we see the rise of the nations. Cities amass wealth, gates, technology, and kings. I do not know how either the Serpent or God Himself has chosen to interact with those early peoples who did not come in contact with Israel, but there does appear instances of people from far off places that somehow knew God.

I also do not know if the Serpent took kings and nations for himself as to raise enemies against Israel... but this very well might have been the case. As the Serpent works to destroy God's pride and glory, God uses that to show that He is made strong in the weakness of man. He is glorified by man in ways the Serpent can't comprehend. It is this confusion on the face of the Serpent that leads him to commit evil and yet good comes forth from it. Example one is Job. Example two is straight out of 1 Kings 22:19-23
Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the Lord. I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left. The Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this while another said that. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ The Lord said to him, ‘How?’ And he said, ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then He said, ‘You are to entice him and also prevail. Go and do so.’ Now therefore, behold, the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and the Lord has proclaimed disaster against you.”

Perhaps it is also in this stage of history, wherein the eyes of the Serpent positioned himself on the rulers and strongmen of the nations. And as these demons once worshiped begin in some cultures to fall into old traditions, "Lenin went underground." The Serpent and his legion, rather than being an outside entity, becomes a possessor of men and women. By Jesus' time, the Serpent's tactic seems to be about physically possessing people. Demons run amok when Jesus is begotten unto birth. Every other door holds a demon controlled person. 

And then Jesus. Mark 5:5-13,
Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones. Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; and shouting with a loud voice, he said, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!”  For He had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”  And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”  And he began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain.  The demons implored Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.”  Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea.
Those demons never had a chance. 

We see that the stakes are high as the devil himself comes to dissuade Jesus from fighting the good fight. He fails at this miserably. And then, at the end of his worldly mission, Jesus breaks the bank. He finishes the opponent off. Game Over. 

On that day the bet ended. There was no more to do. From that day forth the Serpent had nothing left to win. He's bankrupt.

But despite the fact that the game's over, history rolls on. The Serpent, in those first few years after Jesus' resurrection, probably tried desperately to assassinate the first century Christians. If he can annihilate all those who knew/met/touched Jesus, then perhaps he thought he could squish the consequences of his losing the game. So he raised Herod, Nero, Trajan and others to murder and uproot the Christian movement. He failed at this. 

Roughly three hundred years later, the Serpent sipped the drink of, "If you can't beat him, join him." Christianity became the religion of the Roman Empire. What surely seemed like an advancement for the Christian brothers and sisters living under persecution for generations, the Serpent used to bring about a connection between religion and cruel power. The possessions of the Western world went into recession as a thousand years of power hungry priests and robbers grew up within the shadow of their ever towering cathedrals. 

Fast forward another three hundred years to the 600s. Among the Arabic people, a sour perversion arises. The Serpent takes Abraham, the father of blessing, and the vessel through which God chose to foreshadow Christ, and pervert the thoughts and minds of generations. The Serpent raises Mohammad in his name. And through the teaching of Islam, men, women, and children are taught that it was not Isaac who God spared on that mount of sacrifice, but Abraham's other son, Ishmael, the child born out of wedlock and out of faithlessness. Could there be a more ironic sign that Islam is not of God, then to have it birthed from the fruits of lawless faithlessness?

The Serpent has twisted his tactics over the years to that of isms and mammon, rather than the old brutish carved images... be he remained unrepentant in his desire for destruction all through the middle ages. 

The story continues onward, and there is much more that history has to share, but for now I stop.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Kubla's Poet

My wife (ahh.... wife!) leveraged a fantastic passage from Isaiah in one of our weekly newsletters; 
it reads,

Because I love Zion, I will not keep still.
Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent.
I will not stop praying for her

until her righteousness shines like the dawn 

and her salvation blazes like a burning torch. 

-Isaiah 62:1

It reads, it reads, it reads... how beautiful those words -- how comforting to my sad spots -- how refreshing to my inner being --- all these and more.

For the past year, I've been using an ESV journaling Bible as my main place of Bible. What I've found is that my chronic question-marking and paraphrasing on the side of the Bible slows down my speed of read. This is good. I'm seeing those words in a new way. They crystallize a little bit more.

And that's perhaps how it works.

I shall explain this by the following proclamation; our generation is dumber than those preceding. I think it rather easy to validate such a statement (and because of this supposed ease, I will skip its proofs entire). The real question then remains, 'how can this be?' How can we be stupider when we live in the age of information? My modest proposal: more information means less meditation.

We have so many answers at our fingertips that we now rarely indulge in the deeper knowing of things. Think on the rise of the mega novels: Twilight, The Hunger Games, Fifty Shades of Grey... and surely there will be more to come. These novels are not meant to be waded in. They are, rather, meant to be skimmed, brushed through as quickly as one can transpose the words into relevant story. 

Why does Shakespeare stay with us? It's not that his stories were novel.

Maybe the secret, the true knowledge with permanence, does not come from the text itself, but rather, our relationship with the text. It comes from the deep place -- the thin line between conscious and sub, between heaven and hell.

I liked The Amazing Spider-Man. I liked the reshaping of the origin story. I liked the mirror image feeling I got watching Uncle Ben die again. I liked that the villain was green again. 

Maybe this recasting of old stories, this remolding of things known is a good thing. Maybe there is hope. 

Maybe the remake is something a kin to a meditation. It forces us to examine the same perimeters again. It forces us to make something new out of something worn. Solomon told us there's nothing new under the sun, therefore, all that's left to explore is our ever evolving relationship with that which remains old. 

And now to meditate.

What makes Xanadu special? 

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

In Haste: The Babe

Certain vague one-liners stick with me.

Remember the day Michael Richards drowned himself in infamy. His racial slur rant concluded with a repeating and repeating of a strange little phrase; "these words, these words..." He was, in one fatal swing, taking down his worth, tossing aside his public image. It seems to me that he somehow knew that he was enslaving himself by a resounding anthem of utterances. "These words, these words..."

The Babe is not a good film. It seems a victim of the early nineties. Despite its shortcomings, it ends on a resonant tone.


He hit three home runs that day. He could barely trot, but he could hit. He was a whale. A mammoth. A titan and a genuine fatso.

He hit three home runs that day. His days with the beloved New York Yankees were over. His return to Boston had come, but not to the infamous Red Sox, that plagued team who traded the Bambino to their worst enemy. No, his return was to the unknown Boston Braves.

He hit three home runs that day. No one had ever hit a ball outside of the park there. No one. He hit three home runs that day and one of them was out of the park.

As he slumped off the field, a fan ran up to him. The fan wanted some attention, and, seeing the sloppy disposition of his icon, summoned the courage to encourage the Babe. He reminded him that he hit three home runs. He reminded him that he was unparalleled in baseball. He reminded him that he was the Great Bambino, the Sultan of Swat.

And the Babe replied, "I'm gone... I'm gone."

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Instances of the Epic

I dreamed the wife and I had just moved to somewhere in South America. 
Somewhere in the jungle lands. 

Many bizarre things were happening around us, and I was uneased.
Could I make life work here? Could I be content? Could I find harmony with God?

Then, I forget from where precisely, I understood.

That voice, from whomever and wherever, said gently, 
"All that you need is here. 
Look to the birds, the fish, and the wild animals."

When I am close to God, I am in awe of his creation. 


I just finished an eight hour lecture on Dante's "The Divine Comedy". Along the way, Dante more or less runs with a popular medieval thought that there have existed three epochs in history: the old, the new, and the now. Each epoch shows off the manifestations of one of the three members of the Godhead. Furthermore, to that end, each epoch has a book that corresponds with it. The Old has, obviously, the Old Testament in which the manifestations of God the Father are on display. Similarly, the New has the New Testament that gives the biography of Jesus, the Son. This of course, leaves one wondering what we have during the era of the outpourings of the Holy Spirit.

Dante was a bold enough lad to suggest that he himself was given the vision from which the book of the Holy Spirit would emanate. Perhaps Dante was merely making some sort of literary sport out of his literary prowess, since in fact the claim come from a canto within the Comedy itself... Or perhaps the man was indeed just as bold as the text would lay claim to. This leads to the question: did Dante actually believe that he was given this vision? Were Virgil and Beatrice his celestial companions?

No matter what we conclude; Dante reached for the infinite.


I watched a very long trailer. A very long trailer indeed. The stream of images came from many places and many times, the movie is called Cloud Atlas. Upon viewing, having heard that this was all based from a novel of sorts, I immediately purchased it. I'm a third of the way through the book.

I do hope that it is everything I've ever wanted anything to be. That is to say...

I hope I meet God somewhere between the letters.


I sing the same two lines of a dumb remixed song to my wife. I can't stop myself.
What does it mean, what does it mean?!


I need to know more.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

13 (non-literal) Log Flume Rides

Sometimes I don't understand stuff. Well, I guess maybe most of the time I don't understand what's going on... hmm... it's probably fair to say that at a very fundamental level, I don't understand much of anything.

So with that in mind, here's my list of stuff that makes me feel like I'm just floating along waiting for the next curve to throw me somewhere I couldn't quite visualize, but somehow knew had to come nevertheless. These are things that don't necessarily have twist endings or all together outlandish plots (though they may), but they somehow leave me feeling like everything was preordained this way, and yet, I had no idea that it was preordained quite like this.

Anyway, perhaps my list will make more sense than this intro... but then again, if my point is that I don't understand stuff, then why should I be very good at explaining that?


13 A Serious Man film 

A Serious Man prides itself on the activity of passivity. Our humble protagonist wins us over by his sheer confusion at every step of the game. Is God a master puppeteer, or is Professor Larry Gopnik somehow making decisions that twist into these strange consequences? Is life a series of non sequiturs, or is the tapestry just too complex to perceive?

12 Nolan's Batman Trilogy films
Batman and company may seem to be putting together a series of coherent action sequences, but overtime, there's a certain numbing effect that proceeds from his methodology. After awhile, I start feeling sloshed around. I don't know where I am or how I got here. Look intently, and you'll see that just like Nolan lays out for his dreams in "Inception", every scene in the Batman films starts in the middle and leaves before the end. We never see the entirety of a moment. We enter and leave somewhere in the middle. It takes the foundation out from under you. It make you swim. Down and down.

11 The Films of Terry Gilliam 

I don't feel like much needs to be said here. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. 12 Monkeys. Brazil. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. But for my money, the log flumiest of the lot, and subsequently worst, is Tideland. Here, we get swept into a disturbing world that alternately makes no sense, and is no fun. Wonderland never followed Aristotle's rules of logic, but at least we had fun there. Tideland just makes me seasick -- to the point where my vomit is the liquid our log is floating on. On. And on.

10 Narwhals
Yes, we're talking about God's very own wacked-out creation. Alright, hear me out on this one... yes... hear me out... I MEAN JUST LOOK AT THEM! They're friggin' unicorns of the sea! Unicorns! But the thing is, we don't actually have unicorns in this world, but for whatever reason, God gave us narwhals. Whales with super long horns attached to their heads. That's like something Dr. Evil would have asked for in the middle ages. Instead of "sharks with friggin' laser beams attached to their heads," he be jabbering on about "whales with friggin' horns attaached to their heads." You see? You see the symmetry? You should.

9 Interview with a Vampire film

I appreciate this film on behalf of its seeming dullness. Recent adaptations of vampires has taken the age principle out of their character. Why does Edward not think like a learn-ed age-d man? Seeing Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt fall through the centuries like bowling pins as unnerving as it is refreshing. Time keeps us sane. Immortality dulls the senses in time.

8 Parting of the Sensory song by Modest Mouse 
A song that begins with a series of loose angry questions plummets into a whirlpool of cacophonic round of the line,
one day you will die and
 somehow something's going to steal your carbon
It's the whirlpool at the end of the world. But no one is ever quite too sure what's at the center of one of those monstrosities.

P.S. A few months ago I read an Edgar Allan Poe short story about a terrifyingly intense whirlpool in Norway. Since then, I've thought about them from time to time with a certain timidity had not had before. 

7 Shel Silverstein Poems
The thing is, so many of them are so darn quaint and small and simple, that you begin to be eaten up by them. For example, from "Every Thing On It"
If you rode a turtle
And I rode a snail
And we raced to the equator,
One of us would come in last
And one of us would come later

It won't happen all at once. But heed my warning, little by little, piece by piece, he'll devour you. You and everyone you love. Over and over.

6 The Scream painting

The fame of this work minimizes its bravura and stare factor. Nevertheless, I heretofore include this painting because it makes you feel wobbly not while you're looking at it, but some indeterminate time in the future. It's the same feeling one gets after jumping off the log flume, where you realize that during the course of a four minute ride, you've developed sea legs that aren't quite too keen on being reanimated to earthen life. And those people in the back; who are they? They just walk and walk and walk... always nearer, always.

5 The Crying of Lot 49 novel

This novel encapsulates the the ever expanding (and breaking) neurosis of the paranoia of conspiracy theorists. The novel follows a woman's exploration of a mysterious mail service that had gone underground somewhere in the course of history. This closet mail service resides as some sort of cultic principle of subversion to the government. But anyway... the novel's effect is found in its bizarre momentary reflections. For instance:

"It comes into your dreams, you know. Filthy machine. Did you ever see the one about Porky Pig and the anarchist?"

...while a headache began to flower behind her eyes...

He was a disk jockey who worked further along the Peninsula and suffered regular crises of conscience about his profession.

"The pin I'm wearing means I'm a member of the IA. That's Inamorati Anonymous. An inamorati is somebody in love. That's the worst addiction of all."

Day by day, Wendell is less himself and more generic.

Each couple on the floor danced whateer was in the fellow's head: tango, two-step, bossa nova, slop. But how long, Oedipa thought, could it go on before collisions became a serious hindrance? There would have to be collisions. The only alternative was some unthinkable order of music, many rhythms, all keys at once, a choreography in which each couple meshed easy, predestined.

If these various subject matters rattled on an wrapped into the core themes of the book, well then fine. But the hell of it is that the theme of the book is wrapped into these passing fancies. They are the absorbing force. More and more.

4 Who Framed Roger Rabbit? film

I weep bitterly when he murders those shoes.

3 Blood Meridian novel

The bloodiest thing I ever trudged through. The book spins and spins on what seems to be an illusory orbit just beyond our grasp. We follow, 'the kid', as he joins a band of marauders in the 1800s through Texas and Mexico (mainly). We are pulverized, page after page, by horrendous fashions of violence. And then we too are taken out. We, the readers exhumed of grace and dignity, are finally (perhaps mercifully) undone and undid. The novel, in my estimation, would be a dud if it did not include its last few breaths. Those are the crystallizing agents of a ride that should continue to haunt us, as sin and evil always tend to do on this earth.

2 Eyes Wide Shut film
The dreamy red, white, and blue cascade of colors throughout the film alone sets the viewer up for an enterprise in surreality. The events of one faithful (almost unfaithful) night of Dr. William Harford are not so strange that we can't imagine them happening. We can. But it's rather the awful sensation of, 'once this ride starts, we can't get off!' that drives this boat to madness. The film sneaks into the bloodstream the carnal knowledge that sex is transcendent in potency and power -- the point being: none of us have a clue what we're getting ourselves into when we engage in that play. You don't know what's around the bend, but your stomach is already dropping. Dropping and dropping.

1 Apocalypse Now film

Don't watch the Redux. It kills the ride. The film breathlessly tops the list because it would make the most badass Disney ride ever... and it would translate so very well. Actions on the edge of reality, such as war, spin our sense of self, dwarf our approximations of morality, and contort our inner child into something we can't grasp.

Apocalypse Now teaches us through its drift up the river, that we neither know who we are, or what we can become. The slippery slope of this log flume is that we are, as both species and individuals, ever-changing... but we really don't know what it is we're becoming.

Colonel Kurtz' monologue: I've seen horrors... horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that... but you have no right to judge me. It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror... Horror has a face... and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies! I remember when I was with Special Forces... seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate some children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn't see. We went back there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms. And I remember... I... I... I cried, I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out; I didn't know what I wanted to do! And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it... I never want to forget. And then I realized... like I was shot... like I was shot with a diamond... a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought, my God... the genius of that! The genius! The will to do that! Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we, because they could stand that these were not monsters, these were men... trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love... but they had the strength... the strength... to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral... and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling... without passion... without judgment... without judgment! Because it's judgment that defeats us.

Be careful. It's ever so easy to slide down that ride and end up a monster.
Monster and monster.
And monster.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Novelization of the Thought

 The Institute for the Mentally Overcapacitated
led by leading practitioner Dr. Irina Rabashab

There's the usual roundtable. A definitive smorgasbord of sufferings. These creatures, these very desperate men and women, have come to a place where they want reprieve. They're willing to endure the screwdriver through the temple if it means salvation is again created in ignorance reborn. In many ways, as Dr. Rabashab has diagnosed, the first hurdle is that of pride. Although they all hate what they've become, what obvious obsession their lives have become infused and embodied within, they nevertheless feel that they are the Ones. They are the very singular specimens entrusted with the ultimate great truth that will somehow serve all. There is a great egocentrism in this perversion that must be broken before there can be progress. They must reach the angle of repose wherein there pride is busted by self-hate. Rabashab wished there was an easier method, but extreme cases call for extreme measures. First, you deal with the ego, than the desire for suicide, then the id, and then, after the last of the perverse actions based on carnal desire are flooded out, then and only then, can normalization take place.

Now however, the good doctor herself was beginning to unwind. Those vultures have talons, and they dig -- deep.

A rundown on the who's who at the Institute:

Devon Moreland: An ex-football player plagued from severe migraines and murderous/suicidal fantasies which surely have come from years of head trauma and concussions. He is as meek as a dove in conversation, but claims that at every moment there remains with him a dark presence that manifests for him and him alone, the most gruesome outcome to any situation. He hates to sleep, for in his dream-state he swears the dark one becomes "interspersed within me"; meaning, while his daydreams are focused on the potential gory outcomes of others, it is in sleep that his devilry turns inward, showcasing the myriad ways he could end himself. The dark one talks to him audibly in his sleep and promises that "our temporary separation of souls" will be no more once he offs himself. Devon does not like to talk about his problems, he'd much rather ask about others and speak of mild things, but if he is self-focused, he continually harps on how his name is but one letter separated from the word, "demon". He asks everyone, "That can't just be a coincidence, right? Not the way I am..." His only respite from the terrors comes to him in the form of coffee mugs. He derives a deep pleasure from collecting them. He buys them everyday (and not just for himself, he gives them to friends rather often --- but, strangely, he only gives out mugs he's already owned for some expanse of time), and enjoys placing them around his house. He is constantly reorganizing them.

Sinjay Singh: Mr. Singh worked as a freelance editor, mostly for tv, until two years ago when he suddenly quit work and broke up with his girlfriend. Apparently, he is quite independently wealthy, for he hasn't yet fallen into any sort of poverty. He has become wholly absorbed in a french film called, "Cache". He is convinced that there is some deep, untapped truth presented in the film, but admits that he can't quite comprehend it. He says it feels the same as when a word is on the tip of one's tongue, but yet, the word never comes. He spent a season of life watching nothing but the film over and over again, but now says he won't watch it anymore. He says it's too demanding and too shameful to revisit. He initially saw the film on dvd, but quickly made a closet full of vhs copies. He's working on some secret project regarding the film, but refuses to explain his plan.

Dr. Rebecca Torres: A neurosurgeon at Scripps Medical Hospital. Five months ago, in an attempt to remove a brain lesion, Dr. Torres swears that she saw a physical (ghost-like in form) substance rise up from the brain of the sleeping patient. She says (still being quite incredulous of herself), that she knew in that moment that what she saw was the physical property of the patient's thought. She is angry at herself for this quote-hallucination-endquote, but can't move beyond it. She says she now can't deny this ever growing compulsion to want to see such a sight again. This compulsion compels her to fantasize about the physical properties of intangible ideas. If someone speaks to her, she imagines both the thoughts of the person rising into space from the head, as well as the physical soundwaves protruding from their mouth. Last week she said she fantasized all night, and was unable to sleep, when she began to think about the physical properties of the concept of 'courtesy'. She has not told her colleagues or her husband about her fantasms, but remains evermore fearful that this 'new door' will overtake her, and leave her to be merely 'a spectator of life, rather than a player'.

Dolores Burden: Two years ago, Dolores cut off her hand. She stares at her other hand, wanting also to cut it off. Through exhaustive interviews and clinical counseling sessions, hundreds of theories as to why this desire is within her have come to the surface. Nothing sticks. Besides the decapitation disorder, Dolores appears perfectly rational, calm, and intelligent. She is 72 years old.

Frank and Scout Lang: Frank is a watch maker. His family store has been passed down for five generations. He says he loves the work. He says his father loved the work. Scout is a schoolteacher. They have a ten year old daughter and twin eight year old sons. Nine months ago Frank read aloud an article in the paper in bed to Scout regarding sub-atomic particles. Immediately, they both became enamored with the concept. Both are yearning to quit their jobs and focus on further sub-atomic exploration. Neither of them have any traditional education in that field. They were told by their pastor to get counseling on the subject before making such a life change. After three months of Christian counseling, they were recommended to the Institute. They see no problem in their sudden fascination with the molecular world and are only participating at the center to do 'good prudence to our church leaders'.

It's the mugs. That's the thing; those damnable coffee mugs. That's the one that's causing all the anguish in Dr. Rabashab's mind. If it weren't for the mugs, she'd be fine. Of all the things...

She had read many articles about how the doctors in her line of work all end up burning out or going mad themselves. And yet, she wonders, "Why is this the thing that's breaking me?"

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In Which I Meet Woody, Remi, and Nemo

Wake up. Angry.

Put on a robe. Brew coffee. Brush teeth. Pour coffee. Feed the fish. Sit at table. Drink coffee. Curses, it’s hot. Look for newspaper. Realize I haven’t got it yet. Go to front door to fetch it. Open door. 

There, standing at the door, awaiting me, is an old man. On his bald head, save a few scraggly white hairs that sneak out the sides, a dusty cowboy hat sits firmly, unmovable. The man’s face is grizzled tight to the skull– his features all caked on, rigid and eternal.

With his studded boots he passes the threshold into the house; this, the first step. I volley my body to the side. He walks in. He takes a look around, eyeing the place for something yet unknown to me. His gaze holds on the fish tank for a moment, then his eyes move on. I stand still, not quite scared, but rather dubious that I’ve really awoken to such an odd spectacle. The old man casually struts to the kitchen, wherein he takes a knee to sport a keen look underneath the fridge.

He rises and asserts to himself; “Three then.”

“Excuse me?”

The old cowboy ignores my question and finds a snug seat for himself to sit bowlegged on the couch. The fellar looks up at me.

“Ummm… yes?”

He motions solemnly with his head. I’m inclined to do what he tells me to do, so I sure enough sit beside him.

“Well then, let’s have at it.”

“Have at it… of course, that’s what we should do.” I’m too uneasy to infuse my words with the degree of sarcasm I normally would acquaint myself with.

“You are an unfaithful sonnavabitch.”

“Alright… okay… I think this makes sense now. You’ve got the wrong house, Mister.” Mister? When did I ever refer to somebody as Mister?

“No.  You’ve poisoned the waterhole, sure as day.”

“Look sir, I don’t have a girlfriend. My parents are dead. I’ve got no siblings; there’s nobody for me to be unfaithful to.”
The grizzled cowboy made a sound not unlike a frustrated ‘neigh’ of a horse. He followed that up with a grimace and a dead stare right into the whites of my eyes. I couldn’t help but find myself being somewhat entertained by this queer situation. I knew that this was not the time to take things lightly, but I found myself smirking unconsciously.

The man smirked back. Then he inserted two fingers into his mouth and blew. An ear-aching whistle slapped the gangley grin off my face.

Once I gained my composure, the scene had changed. A rat now sat on the old man’s shoulder. The intelligent looking specimen stood on his hinds’ feet, looking right at me. I instinctively moved closer to the creature, enraptured by his sincere expression.

“Hello. I am Remi,” said the rat.

The cowboy responded by nodding his head, “And the guy behind the glass is Nemo.”

I turned and sure as I’m standing now, give witness to my clown fish who swam to the glass of the aquarium and winked a fishy wink at me.

“Forgive us if this comes off as something less than cordial, but…” The rat was quite modest in his tone, “Why have you forsaken us?”

I stand up. I am beside myself, my eyes darting to-and-fro from the three figures, who now so obviously are outlandish recreations of Pixar characters. “Heavens to Betsy, what’s going on here?!” Really? ‘Heavens to Betsy’?

“We feel it, sir. We feel all of it,” says the rat both shrewdly and politely.

“Feel what?”

“Your anger. Your discontent.” The rat takes a long, dramatic pause; “Your unfaithfulness.”

“How have I been unfaithful?”

“We are trying. Don’t you see that? Don’t you believe?”

“I don’t understand. What do you want from me?”

“We merely expect what you’ve promised!” Now the rat was becoming agitated, and showed it through the smug rebuke written on the face of the cowboy.

I’m now fastly becoming desperately defensive. “What is it you say you have promised? I’m just a man. I work, I go home, I sit, I live. Every now and again I like to watch movies. I like to be taken to places I’ve never been taken before. I like to experience great stories. Where is my crime?” I am surprising myself by the tinge of anger I feel welling inside.

“You’ve poisoned the waterhole,” the cowboy says mater-of-factly.

I shout a rebuke, “I have not!” I am frightened by my own rage. “You are the takers! You are the robbers! You took my childhood in your hands. I gave myself up to you. I let you have my soul. What sort of coup is this? I am an independent mind now. The limits of the universe are my own and mine alone! You have sodomized my aspirations!” Really? ‘Sodomized my aspirations’; where did I come up with that? “I fell in love with you! It was I who fell, and I who got to play the fool! You are the unfaithful ones!” YOU!”

I can’t catch my breath. I can’t get enough oxygen. The three figures stare at me, their collective faces blank.

The world is inside out, the world is upside down.

Remi says to the others, “This one is gone. He will not forgive. He will not return.”

As the world begins to spin, I put my hands on my knees to find air. I hear, and know that the fish is speaking, “His heart has hardened for too long. No hope.  

I collapse. Breathing deeply and urgently does me no good. The world turns to waps of blue and red and purple and finally black. I dimly see Woody stand above and sadly mutter, “Maybe if we would have used more of us?”

One of the other two responds (I don’t know which), “He has no awe left. No magic would save him now.”

“No awe.”

All is dark.

Wake up. Angry. Alone.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Zeus and Deus

ZEUS                                                                                                                                                                                        DEUS

Without you:

I was alone with myself. And I mean alone, for myself gave me no company of my own. It turned aside, because it was lazy fore mostly, and although secondarily, it more importantly feared conflict. It feared conflict because there was no intrinsic belief that conflict could lead to depth rather than a furthering of isolation.

With you:

I fear being alone. And I mean alone, because I remember what it was like. I was no company for myself, as I was predisposed to laziness by way of a vaguely skeptical disbelief in the world and all its wonders.

Without you:

I dreamed of clouds... (the single man, lost in a world that few men understand)
I dreamed of capturing you. To conquer. To eat your children, suspecting that one of us was bound to... (might as well be me). Flex your muscles young man; you won't always be that way.

With you:

I dream of now... (What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon) I dream of being captured by you. To be known. To watch your children, keeping silent as I watch them sleep... (hush!). Guard your tongue young man or let it loose; you have all the time now for both ways.

Without you:

I was lost. My name was not known on my own lips. Identity wasn't a thing to be grasped. If I had a name, it would be useless. It would explain nothing. I would remain lost.

With you:

I am lost. My name is insufficient here. My identity floats/sinks/swims/evaporates into this sea. I am not a strong swimmer, but you tell me my name gives me courage. It explains my place here. I remain lost.

Strolling in a Viennese cemetery one bright afternoon, I came upon a gravestone. Written upon it was,

As you are, I once was.
As I am, you will be.

He's a dead man. With you, I won't be.
Oh, I love you from the top of my heart.
Being lost with you...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Desperate Search: (dis)Concertingly Staid

Desperate Search: 
Disconcertingly Staid
Part Two
i  want to be well. 
I want to tell you about my thoughts.
i want my thoughts to have resonance.
i want to see the world around me. 
i want to remember the world I've seen.
i want to analyze exactly what I  remember.
i want to add my individuality to the analysis.
i want to be both a part and wholly other.
i want to engage and be engaged.

i want to tell you more about The Revengers.
i want to prove to you its merit.
i want to show how the machinations of story require grace.
i want to inform you on how the grace card is like the force of gravity.
i want to explain how this relates to the ragtag band of Revengers.
i want to say that "Vengeance is mine," says the Lord

i want to rattle on about actors.
i want to dissect what makes a truly good actor.

i want to distill the person of Richard McGraw.
i want to contemplate his albums in succeeding chronological order.
i want to order my perspective on his individuality.
i want to see his uniqueness clearly.
i want to share this with you.

i want you to join Me

i want to mention Exodus, chapter 4, verses 22 through 26.
i want to portray the story as strange.
i want the answers to come without ease.
i want the answers to be hidden.
i want the answers to be worth the fight. 

i want to make a Questioner's Bible.
i want it to have verse by verse questions correlating to the text.
i want to start with the book of Mark
i want you to love Mark's eye as I do.
i want you to taste the enigma.
i want you to know that the word for enigma in Slovene is uganka, which sounds like an onomatopoeia to me. 

i want to share my reading of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian with you.
i want you to see it as I see it.
i want you to know that the story is spiritually vast.
i want you to see the limitlessness of the world created, the world imagined.
i want you to know that it is everything.
i want you to see the end of everything.
i want you to know that everything and nothing are mostly the same. 
i want you to still have hope. 

i want you to help me to understand Eyes Wide Shut
i want you to tell me if it's a reflection of 2 Thessalonians 2:7
i want you to tell me what 2 Thessalonians 2:7 is really referring to. 

i want you to know that Sufjan Stevens is a modern prophet.
i want you to feel how the baton was passed to Sufjan from C.S. Lewis.
i want you to see history's river.
i want you to paddle with me.

i want you to believe that The Crusades were really important.
i want you to agree with me that the past isn't as fixed as we like to see it as.
i want us to say that the past is not something to be tamed.
i want you to precisely know what I meant by that last sentence.

i want us to be fulfilling our purpose together.
i want us to be you and me. 
i and you and us: comrades.
i and you and us as comrades discovering the trillion pieces of the puzzle.
you and i knowing that the puzzle is the face of God.

In the last post, Dave Eggers and his 90's magazine Might was a topic of inquiry and approach. The idea was exciting and innovative, but in my perception I saw its fatal flaw from the first act. Perhaps Mr. Eggers knew this too. I learned this morning that Eggers has created another magazine since then, known as The Believer. Might, although it had great aspirations, buried itself in critique. It wallowed there. Perhaps additionally, and I believe this is the flaw (and our great pride) of the hipster aged intellectual, no destination. Things are looked at, adulated, adored even, and through this a great lens is put on the grocery carts of the world -- but what is missing is the collective -- the great sense of inclusion that can bind us together knowing that the grocery cart is everything because in it we can see and therefore chance to distill, dirty reflections of the God of the cosmos.  Might primarily seems like a failed concept because they labored hard in destroying the works of others. 

The Believer has this written about themselves on their website 
The Believer is a monthly magazine where length is no object.
There are book reviews that are not necessarily timely,
and that are very often very long.
There are interviews that are also very long.
We will focus on writers and books we like.
We will give people and books the benefit of the doubt.
The working title of this magazine was The Optimist.

There's much there to get excited about. Again I repeat, much. It is reminiscent of the speech Conan O'Brien made during his exit from The Tonight Show, in which he invoked the virtue of hope of cynicism, glee over sarcasm. The mag's wikipedia page opines that the creators of the magazine went forth in creation with the philosophical backbone of "the concept of the inherent Good." That's intriguing, no? 

I hereby propose that whoever would deem themselves as willing and able to participate, join me in the creation of our own magazine. Huzzah. 

Here's how I see it:

-We create a universe (the space of the magazine), in which we look at all the knowledge in the world. We have the freedom to look at everything that is or has been. We say that imagination too exists, in that ideas do indeed have a physical presence (neurons and brain signals and the like, you see). 
-We take the world entire as a vessel for coming to know God. Deeper and deeper. 

-We observe scientific phenomena, literary genius, exceptional sporting feats, and we search within those things for that which uniquely reflects a vision of God. 

-Because Man has been made in God's image, foremost among the efforts we make, would be to look at the individual, and to love them for how they have been made. 

-We create pieces of art along the way ourselves. These should not be free forming pieces of art --- we are not a journal of unattached artistic renderings --- but rather, pieces that enhance the experience of the magazine. For instance, one issue may have a soundtrack, an audible companion to the words on the page. This area of course, should be left vague, so as to leave room for later formation and evolution.

-We will charge a substantial fee to be a member of the magazine. It should not be cheap. Our pretentious magazine will not ever have an extensive fan base, but we'll force the play of the consumers passion by making them invest in order to partake. 

-This is a big one (and already foreshadowed): there will be no room for negative reviews and hollow criticism. We have not the time for such things. If we are interested acutely on the worship of God by the compartmentalization of pieces of matter and mind, then the best way to deal with dirt and crap is to ignore it. There are, inevitably, certain nuances and distinctions that can be made and will be, but as a general principle, the destruction of concept is not what we'll be in the business of doing. Let the others toil away in such self-deducting ventures. We will avoid the pitfalls of jealousy, envy, and strife by loving the lovely, not concerning ourselves with burying the already dead. 

-So, anyone got a title?

-Now, if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, -- each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. 1 corinthians 3:12-15

Shall we not build, so as to see our work endure, not because of our greatness, but because we fixed our eyes on the character and form of God? Shall we not do that in this way? With our hearts? With our minds? With our work?

that's it.
that's all i want.