Dear Future Lounge Act

MT

I hate Meghan Trainor.  Yeah, I know, I’ve expressed my derision for various musicians here plenty of times already: Whitesnake, Peter Cetera, Natalie Merchant, etc.  But I assure you, this is different. My hatred for this inexplicably popular mediocrity vomiting mound of pachyderm shit is so strong that it almost rises to the level of a disorder.   It has physiological qualities that manifest whenever I’m exposed to her voice or image (and usually, horrifyingly, both) in the form of a visceral tightening of my gut with a complimentary dose of debilitating nausea; the way you’ll often feel the need to puke because you just watched someone else puking.  And though I mercifully don’t experience this very often since I never (voluntarily) listen to the radio or watch top 20 video countdowns, just knowing that this disgustingly self-satisfied fraud exists at all brings my reservoir of preexisting existential ennui right up to the surface.  Do I really want to go on living in a world whose chemical and mineral constituents are capable of combining to create such a disgusting excrescence as Meghan Trainor?

This was originally going to be an extensive post detailing point by point all of this anthropomorphic Cleveland Steamer’s high crimes and misdemeanors.  However, while performing a little Google research in preparation for this rant, I came across a brilliant analysis of her sheer hideousness that is far more detailed than anything I could have composed.  I suspect that my planned magnum opus would have simply devolved into paragraph after paragraph of increasingly poorly combined vulgarities and while that may have been funny, it would not have been as brilliantly reasoned out and supported by examples as this masterpiece.  It’s written by Eliot Glazer, real-life and TV brother to Ilana Glazer of Broad City.  In her ghastly and repugnant middle finger to feminism entitled Dear Future Husband, Meghan’s enormous mutant head grows even bigger as she delivers the line, “You gotta know how to treat me like a lady even when I’m acting crazy. Tell me everything’s alright”.  Well, thankfully, Eliot refused to abide by her infuriating demand and managed to tell her in excruciating detail exactly why everything she does, says or sings is absolutely NOT alright.  Here’s a link to Eliot’s brilliant essay followed by a very satisfying GIF of this fucking jizz-nap falling flat on her ass:

http://www.avclub.com/article/eliot-glazer-why-lowbrow-dum-dum-meghan-trainors-m-253741

mt falls

 

Final Funhouse!

closedfortheseason

Come one, come all, it’s the final installment of the Friday Funhouse or Thursday Afternoon Funhouse or whatever Funhouse best suits the time zone you occupy!  In other words, I’m already tired of this weekly feature where I cull the archives of YouTube for funny shit and then repost it here, mostly because I’m sure you’re all quite capable of doing that yourselves, not to mention I’m terrible at feigning joviality and sooner or later, I’m sure to be in a crappy mood at the end of the week, and who knows what kind of disturbing images I’d thrust upon you in that scenario. (<– that was a very long sentence) So in a spirit of good will, the Funhouse is closing shop permanently.  But not before one last special treat for all of you loyal fun seekers.

To thank you for your patronage, I give you a trailer for the upcoming blockbuster film “Little Danson Man”, courtesy of Tim & Eric Awesome Show.  We wanted to go out with a bang, and this one has it all: Ted Danson, David Cross and a VERY special appearance by the man I just weeks ago placed at #1 on my list of most slap-worthy celebrities, Peter Cetera.  Enjoy:

A Mosquito, My Libido

lust_2_orig

And it’s blue, blue, blue – a colour and a surge.  Everything that rises must converge.  She says, ‘One day soon, you and I will merge.’ Everything that rises must converge. – Shriekback

Ever since I parted ways with my former raison d’etre, alcohol, Springtime has carried with it a frustrating conundrum: what’s a guy to do with his seasonally activated sex drive when there is absolutely no outlet for it that would jive with his karmic goal of inflicting as little harm as possible on other beings?

Over the past several years, much self-analysis and meditation, in addition to a necessary rearrangement of priorities has made me realize that many if not all of my past relationships were based on self-aggrandizement.  This misguided motivation inspired me to engage in all manner of subtle and not-so-subtle manipulative behaviors towards women to whom I found myself attracted ensuring that any relationships that developed as a result were based on dishonesty right out of the gate.  Old habits die hard, so after sobering up and getting myself stuck in the mire of Alcoholics Anonymous in my early booze-free days, I even found a way to spin the “making amends” step into one last fling with an ex-girlfriend (or two).  In my defense, I had yet to dive head first into the project of absorbing every book on Eastern philosophy I could find (excepting the Kama Sutra, of course) and thus hadn’t yet embarked on the painfully honest soul-searching that brought me to my present state of imperfect but much improved serenity and compassion for my fellow travelers.

For the past few years, right around April or May, I’d post some pathetically verbose yet oddly uninformative profile to a dating site, then sit back and wait for a tug at my line.  Sooner or later, that tug always came.  Understanding that one cannot reasonably tell a potential mate what type or degree of relationship he seeks when neither party knows jack-shit about one another, I would usually just follow her lead until one of us invariably developed a stronger infatuation than the other,  bringing what should still have been a casual getting-to-know-each other affair to a stalemate.  But rarely was it I who got ahead of myself in these situations owing to the aforementioned philosophical sea change I’d undergone.  I’m guessing that Buddhists (or quasi-Buddhists like me) can be quite frustrating to deal with in such situations because constant vigilance of the mind’s workings tends to diminish the tendency to behave impetuously.   And in today’s world of technologically enabled instant gratification, a diminished tendency to behave impetuously is romantic death.  That was a needlessly wordy way of saying I’m boring.

The incomprehensible line I lifted from Nirvana for the title of this post works on two levels.  Compared to the days of drunken “conquest” and unhealthy relationships blending one into the other, my current libido is like a mosquito that devolved from a pterodactyl.  I consider that a blessing, of course.   I have no desire to procreate and I don’t place even a modicum of importance on the institution of marriage, so a decreased sex drive is actually quite a welcome relief.  Most of the time, I’m content to read and write and meditate and watch TV and go to work and argue loudly with my friend Bernie over coffee on Saturday afternoons.  A simple life, for sure, but it works for me.  But from roughly May until some time in mid-September when a chill returns to the air, the mosquito analogy changes its meaning as sexual desire takes on the more annoying attributes of this unwelcome pest that buzzes in your ear and attempts to stick its proboscis where ever it can find purchase.

As an underachieving, fashion-challenged, short, skinny guy in my 40s, I understand that I have limited appeal in the dating scene.  But there are always exceptions and until a few years ago, beer and arrogance assured that I would find them sooner or later.  Nowadays, I just can’t expend that kind of effort in the pursuit of a situation I’m doing just fine without.  Attempting to be considerate about the effect of my words and actions on others has rendered the “friends with benefits” option questionable, at best.  Were I to meet someone with whom I am extraordinarily compatible, I think I would be willing to sacrifice some of my unfettered independence to nurture a real relationship, but that’s just semantics.  Since said someone is purely hypothetical and I presently spend a good deal of my time solely in the company of my dog and cat, pining for such a development is an exercise in futility.

I’ve heard that blood pressure medication wreaks havoc on a user’s sex drive.  To my knowledge, I still hover in the 120 over 80 range, but maybe if I schedule a check-up and wind sprint to the doctor’s office, the alarming results of my blood pressure test will score me a prescription.

You know what? Fuck that.  I’m too lazy to sprint.  Is it Fall yet?

When Worlds Collide

arena

When worlds collide, the best of us won’t be here with the rest of us.  They’ll drop before the paint has dried, when worlds collide, when worlds collide. – Todd Rundgren

Georgina finished applying her makeup and carefully slid the cat ear headband up to the base of her tight bun.  She gave herself a final glance in the bathroom mirror and smiled.  “I wonder if she’ll recognize me,” she thought to herself, drifting back in her memory to that magical day in 2015 when Ariana had hugged her and told her she loved her.  Mum was still cleaning up after dinner and Georgina began to worry that they would get stuck in traffic on the drive from Corley to Manchester.  She didn’t want to miss a single moment.  Trusting that Mum knew best, she imitated the silly Cat Valentine laugh – HA HA HA HA – perhaps a bit too loudly and covered her mouth in embarrassment.  Closing the lid of her makeup chest, she hopped excitedly downstairs to the kitchen.

Steve picked up the butt of a fag and lit it, greedily inhaling the remainder of the damp Mayfair.  He watched the line of women and their adolescent daughters queueing at the entrance of the arena and wondered if it might be best to leave this possible panhandling windfall for a different night, a different crowd.  Women with their children always gave him a wide berth; he understood why and didn’t fault them for it.  Tonight, he would just drink in their smiles, their infectious joy.  He sat down on the pavement wishing he could wave at the lovely girls without scaring them silly.

Salman was ready.  He rose from his prayer mat and walked to the bathroom.  Decked out in what his new friends in Libya would call “the rags of the heathens”, he gave himself a final look in the mirror, satisfied that he would blend in with the infidels already gathering at the arena.  Removing the heavily laden black vest from a suitcase beneath the vanity, he held it aloft and chanted “Subhana rabbiyal adheem” several times before placing it securely back in the case.  With a quick exhale of determination, he grabbed the suitcase and walked out into the night.

No one knows what world anyone inhabits until those worlds converge or fatefully collide.  We pass each other by in ignorance and misunderstanding, day after day, until something finally, irrevocably gives.  Let’s cultivate the energy of love.  It’s our only hope.

Binge Reading Marathon

santuario-de-chimayo-4

The episodic horror story I’ve been posting here is getting tough to follow for some readers who didn’t catch it from the beginning, so here are links to the 8 installments encompassing the story thus far.  And as a bonus for those who have been reading it since its inception, I inserted a creepy Breaking Bad promo at the end of this post because it perfectly captures the feel of the most sinister aspects of New Mexico, “The Land of Enchantment”.  Thanks to all of you for your enthusiastic reception of my first attempt at horror fiction.  I will endeavor to scare the shit out of you right to the finish, whenever that may come.

Ningún Santuario

Albuquerque

Laços de Família

Diego Huerta

Cibola

Pueblo

Big Chief

Small Mercies

The Zen of Samurai Jack

SamuraiJack_Image1

The wisdom of the Dharma is often found in the most unexpected places.  The Dharma is truth; it is everything.  It resides everywhere and nowhere.  It is outside of the space-time continuum as it manifests itself into it.

Sometimes, when I’m lying in bed watching cartoons, it speaks to me from between the pixels of light emanating from the TV.  Last night, it arranged these pixels into the final episode of the recently resurrected comic-dystopian animated serial Samurai Jack.

Jack is a skilled warrior who as a boy witnessed the subjugation of all life on Earth by the evil and powerful Aku.  Since then, he has wandered alone through the burnt out landscapes of the planet, encountering mutant races and species along the way, on a mission to vanquish Aku and liberate all the beings of the world.  Aku is aware of the threat and watches Jack’s every move from his omniscient position as Earth’s dark lord.  Employing his shape-shifting powers, he morphs into gruesome creatures and armies of svelte black-clad ninjas in an effort to squelch Jack’s quest, but these efforts are always in vain and Jack soldiers on.

One of these evil-sexy, long-legged female spawn of Aku begins to develop a liking for Jack, despite the fact that she is of Aku and has been dispatched from his being for the specific purpose of killing the pesky Samurai.  Little by little, this conflicted warrior named Ashi begins to understand that she is a victim of Aku’s dark heart and eventually joins forces with Jack in his quest to slay Aku.  Naturally, the two intrepid warriors for goodness fall in love.

Aku is defeated in a final battle involving all of the touchingly brave and charmingly ridiculous lifeforms who lived as slaves in Aku’s dark kingdom.  Then, in what at first seems to have all the makings of a typical happy ending, we see Jack and Ashi in Japan getting ready for a Buddhist wedding ceremony.  But as the increasingly weak Ashi walks down the aisle in a Geisha-style dress, she collapses from exhaustion.  Jack rushes to her side and she explains that since Aku is dead, so must she disappear into emptiness.  Moments later, she dies in Jack’s arms.

The final scene shows Jack with his head hung low in mourning as he traverses the newly vibrant landscapes of Earth on horseback.  He stops beneath a tree to meditate when a ladybug with Ashi’s compassionate eyes lands on his hand and with a tender gaze assures him everything is as it should be before alighting into the night.  Jack smiles and the credits roll.

I believe that the brilliant artists behind this cartoon were illustrating the notion of Buddha Nature, the timeless and indestructible spark of perfect wisdom at the heart of all beings, even the most seemingly nefarious.  Ashi symbolized Aku’s Buddha Nature.  It was strong enough to overcome the extremes of evil and pride that expressed themselves as the warlord aspect of Aku and compassionate enough to sacrifice its ego-self for the good of all beings.  As such, the biggest twist of the saga is that Aku defeated himself with his own Buddha Nature.  Jack was just there to guide the process.

For anyone who wishes to get a feel for some of the more esoteric aspects of Eastern wisdom without consulting scores of often tedious metaphysical sutras, I can think of no better medium than Samurai Jack.  Its alternating gorgeous and menacingly stark landscapes provide a stunningly meditative backdrop to the show’s clever take on good vs. evil.  And in the end, it will leave you questioning those notions as well.  Though Jack’s lifelong mission had been to kill Aku, he found that it wasn’t as simple as that when he encountered his adversary’s Buddha Nature in the form of Ashi.  He killed Aku and fell in love with Ashi only to learn that both were none other than himself and he was none other than the ladybug that landed on his hand to bid him adieu.  There is no light without darkness and no darkness without light.

In its first season on Cartoon Network back in 2001, Jack encounters his manifested ego-driven self in the form of Mad Jack:

Samurai Jack: What sorcery is this? Who are you?
Mad Jack: Don’t be such a fool! I’m you.
Samurai Jack: If you are me, then who am I?
Mad Jack: Oh! You’re so stupid. You are you also.

Nowhere in the works of Lao-Tsu, Chuang-Tzu, Padmasambhava or Longchenpa will you find more impeccable Dharma than that.  It is pure wisdom masquerading as anime.  On Cartoon Network, “the Tao that can’t be named” is named Samurai Jack.

Small Mercies

Bloody Halloween Theme: Bloody Hands Holding A Bloody Machete Is

Ningún Santuario Pt. 8

A powder blue Mini Cooper pulled into the lot of Los Ojos Saloon looking like an alien vehicle among the array of mud caked pick-up trucks parked in the dirt.  Stepping out into the blistering August heat, a young red-haired woman approached the entrance while buttoning her blouse to the collar to hide the modest portion of visible cleavage she’d been displaying.

She approached the bar and let out a sigh of relief upon recognizing the bartender.

“What can I get you, Ma’am?”

“Nothing, thanks.  I was in here about a week ago and I lost a necklace.  Has anyone turned it in?”

“Nope, not that I’m aware of.  What’d it look like?  I can go check the lost and found in back.”

“It was a small silver heart on a silver chain with an inscription on the back.”

“What’d it say?”

“My name.  Marisa.”

“Let me go have a look, Marisa.”

She dropped her eyes to the floor as she waited for the bartender to return.

“Sorry, Ma’am.  No necklaces.  Are you sure you lost it here?”

“No, but this is the last place I remember wearing it.  I might have dropped it outside.  It’s okay. Thanks for looking.”

She could feel many sets of inebriated eyes leering at her as she exited the saloon, promising herself that she’d never return to this place as long as she lived.

************************

Jim had asked me to meet him at a Tuesday night meeting at the Heights Club on Marble Avenue.  Those in the local recovery scene spoke of this place as some sort of sobriety Mecca, but when I entered the meeting hall and sized up the crowd, I realized that the nearly standing-room-only logistics would ensure a less than interactive A.A. experience.  To be honest, that was a relief as I really wasn’t in the mood for this tonight and I was happy to grab a seat on the fringes where I would be nearly invisible to the Big Book thumpers up front.  I couldn’t locate Jim, but since I was already here, I opted to wait out the hour and rack up another signature for my probation officer.

My attention drifted in and out over the course of the meeting and from where I sat, I could barely make out a word that was spoken.  Small mercies.

I snapped out of my reverie when I heard someone start to read the Promises, my long awaited signal that the meeting was wrapping up.  Idly scrutinizing the unfamiliar faces sitting in the rows of folding chairs, I nearly fell to the floor when I caught sight of him.  He was standing against the wall opposite me along with some other latecomers who had been unable to snag a seat.  The familiar green John Deere cap perched atop his shock of greasy brown hair, he stared back at me, expressionless, while running a silver chain through his fingers.  As the crowd stood for the Lord’s Prayer, I sidled out of the hall and hurried out to my car.  In a panic, I repeatedly turned the key and was flummoxed that the engine wouldn’t turn over.  “Fuck!”  Pulling the ignition interlock cord out from under the seat, I blew into the mouthpiece until it beeped, started the engine and high-tailed it home.  For the first time since moving to New Mexico, I locked my front door behind me before retrieving my bong from a Rubbermaid storage bin and smoking myself into oblivion.

************************

Sgt. Martinez unconsciously shifted the piles of paper on his desk.  This case was so pointless it was insulting, but it had fallen into his lap so he had to at least try to figure out who had murdered the filthy vagabond.

“Arturo Capella.  What the fuck did you do to piss someone off so bad that they’d waste three bullets on your pathetic beaner ass?”

DNA tests on the body had uncovered some vital information, but nothing that gave a clue as to the perpetrator or a motive.  Born in 1964 to an immigrant mother and an unknown father, Arturo grew up in the small town of Cuba.  Martinez had subpoenaed his school records and found, unsurprisingly, that the boy was retarded and had a history of violence, including an incident in which he had slit a classmate’s throat with a pocket knife.  The attack wasn’t fatal and hadn’t caused severe injury to the victim, so after a short expulsion, he was readmitted to the school system and placed in special needs classes where he finished out his obligatory education uneventfully.  At the age of 16, he dropped out of school and it seemed that no further official record of the man existed from that point forward.

“You’re a big pain in my ass, Arturo.  But I’m gonna find out who killed you anyway.”

**************************

More than once, I resolved to call Marisa and got cold feet before I could dial her number.  What would I say to her?  We hadn’t developed much of a rapport during our brief relationship and I certainly couldn’t explain that her breakup e-mail had caused me to reevaluate my feelings.  Was that all it was?  Did I suddenly find her more alluring because she didn’t want me?  Employing considerable mental gymnastics, I convinced myself that wasn’t the case and decided to drive to her place to talk to her in person.

I pulled up to Marisa’s place on Night Whisper Road and parked, surveying the house from my driver’s seat.  Her Mini Cooper was in the driveway and the front door was wide open.  Stepping out, I noticed several trails of red on the concrete pathway leading to the porch.  I bent down and placed a finger in one of the crimson blots; it had the consistency of freshly spilled blood.

Cautiously, I approached the entryway and poked my head through the open door.

“Marisa?  Hello?”

There were larger pools of blood in the foyer and upon entering the living room, I was paralyzed by the scene before me.

Marisa’s arm hung from the sofa, blood dripping slowly from her fingers into a rapidly expanding puddle on the floor.  She was laying face up, a look of unadulterated horror frozen into her still open eyes.  Her torso had been roughly eviscerated, intestines and mangled organs hanging limply over the edge of the couch.  I moved closer, placing my hand over my mouth, and saw an empty cavity where her heart had been.  The arteries and connecting tissue had been shorn to facilitate the removal of the organ.

I inspected the room and found no signs of any foreign objects or discarded weapons.

While my heart attempted to hammer its way through my chest, I exited the house and lit a cigarette with great difficulty.  Realizing that I would be unable to formulate a better plan of action in my hysterical state, I got back in my car and drove directly to APD Headquarters.