Category Archives: Rambles

Vs. System Allows Magnificent Wins.

winning

avalancheriders1  wild

Vs. System is so deep.

There are layers and layers of engaging ways to play. Since each comic book myth has been explored so thoroughly, a simple trading card game can expand to encompass an entire container in the psi-bank of human culture. Since the game mechanics of Vs. System are so brilliantly designed and meticulously executed, the game demands massive brainpower and challenging mental exercise. Since the myths and mechanics combine to foam out a monster from the cardboard laboratory that would have never arisen without this testament to human creativity and culture, hybrid heavens of all shapes and sizes dance deliriously downward onto the Earth plane by filling each Vs. System fanatic with memories and dreams of their favorite way to win.

What’s yours?

(Click this link to participate in our poll – or just grin, knowing that such triumphs are possible.)

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Weekly Wonder Word: Center.

center_of_hope__by_sweetpandemonium90

(Center of Hope by Sweet Pandemonium.)

The best part of teaching every day? Giving advice to growing minds that I need to follow myself.

When life gets sloppy and scary, remember your center. Things spin slower in there.

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President’s Day for the Win!

barack_obama_plush_by_usako_chan

This is the first time in my current 47 years that I feel a direct connection to our Commander in Chief. Looking back on the campaign, it is a very special time to be an American.

Especially since Captain America’s lost shield has finally been revealed.

Happy President’s Day, to one and all!

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Happy Valentines Day.

colorpic4

colorpic3

Valentines Day is a colorful outpouring of the energy that our entire life is dedicated toward. Those two images come from my old Outsiders article, and today everyone is inside my heart. Share the love, on this and every day from now on!

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25 Random Things About Me.

me_and_my_sentinel_shirt__by_stubarnes

1. My first solid memory is from my third birthday party. We had Indian feather headbands, and a balloon hunt. My favorite color has always been green, and my mom made sure I got the green feather. She also cheated and showed me where the green balloon was hidden before the other kids got to the party. Good times.

2. My most recent memory was an enlightening moment of extreme good fortune. When I woke this morning to greet the dawn on the balcony overlooking the lake, I was given a magnificent gift. A giant spotted ray jumped straight up, three feet into the air, flat as a pancake, waving its wings up and down before hitting the surface with a huge splat. It was a sign. An omen. A reminder that no matter how heavy the world is around me, I can choose to fly toward bliss. That ray lives its whole life under water, but it does not stop reaching for the sky.

3. I remember my second grade teacher Mrs. Boyd at Cherry Valley Elementary in Newark, Ohio. She had a framed picture of a donkey, just his grinning head peeking over a stall door. She told us that he was always watching us when her back was turned, and he whispered in her ear to tell her who was being bad.  I don’t know about the other kids, but I could not be sure that the donkey was not really snitching on us.

4. I am proof that the only difference between belief and knowledge is self-deception.

5. I have had a strange relationship with Miami’s professional sports championships. We moved here in 1972 when I was in sixth grade. My parents got season tickets for the Dolphins. I rooted against them silently, since they were so popular. They won every single game. When our Florida Panthers made the magic run with the rubber rats all the way to the Eastern Conference Championship, I refused to go inside the Miami Arena until after the Stanley Cup was done. We did, however, go downtown and talk trash in Jaromir Jagr’s face one night after one of the Penguin games in the conference finals. He looked like he thought we would jump him, and nobody asked for his autograph. We attended each of the Florida Marlins’ victory parties after their World Series wins, but once again we refused to jinx them by going to the games. That’s the kind of voodoo we do.

6. Boxers or briefs? Neither, if I can get away with it.

7. I have the three coolest children on Earth. My oldest is teaching middle school literature, while married to a rocket scientist who works on the space shuttle. My middle is graduating this term in Tallahassee as a Seminole, and my youngest is a wildman studying Art in downtown Miami. I am truly blessed.

8. I spent half of my junior year in high school as a full-time intern at the Lowe Art Museum in the University of Miami’s main campus. I had an extraordinary opportunity to interact physically with one of the greatest single collections of American Indian artifacts, including a whole room full of powerful magic Kachina dolls.

9. I always resist the new wave of technology, and then take to it like a duck in water when I finally break down and make the switch. It happened with personal computers, CDs, and DVDs. I still own some 8-track tapes.

10. I enjoy getting caught up in large astrological or mythological predictions for the end of the world, and then devising rituals for saving our species. The next big one is 12/21/12. Supposedly the Mayan calendar ends on that date. Should be a massive party, start your prep today!

11. I got locked in the Salvador Dali museum one day when a pencil drawing he created during his honeymoon had been removed from its frame and stolen. I was not the one who took it.

12. I dug Joe Namath. He was, to me, the first sports superstar. He represented rebellion and the essence of cool. Twelve has been my favorite number ever since.  I actually slept on  a Joe Namath pillowcase, which is very disturbing now that I know how creepy it sounds.

13. I had Bell’s palsy for three months in 1989, and it paralyzed half of my face. Somehow I made it through, including a very fortunate gift I found lying on the sidewalk outside the supermarket.

14. Once I had some high-quality Japanese goldfish in a large tank in my room. The weather turned cold and I came home from work to find the entire 60 gallons covered in eggs. My pearl-scales spawned.

15. The Obama campaign was the first time I had ever donated money and time to a political cause, and I was really worried I would jinx it. Turned out pretty good in the end.

16. I have done quite a few things that I will never tell anyone other than Nina. Most of them were life-changing-level events. It is very difficult to keep these things secret, for someone like me who loves to talk about experiences and memories. I often think that the less people who know about something, the more powerful it is for any beings who can access it directly.

17. I love rationalization.

18. When asked to name the greatest human invention, I always say “words”.

19. Nina and I slept in our car at Niagara Falls.

20. In 1990, my students were chosen for award in an international graphic design competition against professionals and published in HOW magazine and I got the issue just in time for a flight to Chicago for a field trip.

21. When it comes to food, I will always choose something I have never eaten before. And I count the different species I devour at the Chinese buffet: my current record is 21.

22. Nina and I worked side-by-side cooking at a restaurant called Cafe Tu Tu Tango. I ran the brick pizza oven and she did the salads. We were both out in the main dining room and it was grand while it lasted. Then they shut down, since the rent in the upscale Aventura Mall was too high. The restaurant was covered in wicked cool decor full of random arthouse found objects. After the final Friday night shift, I lifted a giant wooden longhorn bull’s head from the wall and marched it to my car, passing three mall security guards with a grin on my way.

23. I am learning to adjust my stimulus/response tables until everything I experience causes bliss.

24. I don’t understand how happiness has gotten such a bad name.

25. I don’t ever remember being afraid of death. The Christian churches that I grew up in must not have stressed the Hell thing very much, or maybe I was always immune to it. I spoke in tongues with my cousins when we were in grade school at an intense charismatic church called the Glory Barn. I have always loved the idea of God in all forms. I am pretty sure that no one will ever be able to prove divine existence, and “divine” simply means “inside” anyway. I have talked to God, seen her work in the world, studied enough to know that we are probably creating all the different versions in our heads, and yes. I don’t ever remember being afraid of death. Maybe that’s why I live every day as fully as I possibly can, including helping others to enjoy their lives as fully as they can. Maybe that’s why my life is so fulfilling and satisfying. Maybe that’s the real reason I don’t ever remember being afraid of death.

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Flaming Squirrel Starts Blaze, Evacuates School.

squirrel

(Photo by Buaha.)

News of the Squirrel, Powerblaze Edition. As reported by KOCO Channel 5 in Oklahoma City:

JONES, Okla. — A squirrel caught fire, sparking a blaze Wednesday morning that resulted in the evacuation of an elementary school in Jones, fire officials said.

Investigators said the squirrel touched two power lines at the same time and fell to the ground near Britton and Hiawassee roads.

That fire burned 5 acres in the Jones area, forcing the evacuation of the elementary school. Those students were taken to Jones High School.

School officials said the students would be kept at the high school for the rest of the day. Parents will be able to pick them up at the normal time, although some parents have already come to the school to pick up kids.

Several trailers burned in the fire. However, there were no known reports of injuries.

Knowing how good those little tree rodents are at running the wires, I have to wonder whether this was intentional. What a way to go. Mad props to the famous flaming squirrel, no matter the motive.

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The Best Writing I Have Ever Found.

thefool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AN ERISIAN TAROT

by Revd. MC 900ft. Escher and Irrevd. Hacksaw.

(It takes a securely skewed stance, and a slight saugagery of the synapses, but this is it. The best writing I have ever found. We will start with The Fool, since I just pulled it for myself.)

fool

The Major Discordia

of

An Erisian Tarot

–>”Big weighties”

Here are the descriptions for the Major Discordia, the top 22 philosophical constructs that were too big, too weighty, or just the wrong shape, to fit into the regular, mundaner suits. Have at. If you look carefully, you will see a bald eagle eating a small politician.


The Sucker

@c 0 FOOL @section Fool: Legionnaire of Dynamic Discord / Little Deluded Dupe @c Two half-figures playingcard facecard-style @c joined, one with L of D D on the front of his shirt/uniform, and the @c other just now noticing L D D on the back of his, KICK ME -style.

“We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Pogo, Walt Kelly

“The danger is obvious in that the hero generally makes an apparently quite trivial mistake and then must make extraordinary efforts to save himself from the effects of these few trivial errors. One more wrong step and all would have been lost.”

Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts, Herbert Silberer

“I never studied Law!”

Bugs Bunny, not following the law of gravity

Young farmhand called to service beats his plowshare into a sword (and, afterward, beats it back). Disorder erupts, and mountains are no longer mountains, never were. But first, at the very breaking of the dawn of the breaking: this. Who the adventure is about to happen to.

Come spring, motivated zoners trickle out of the stonework, handing out religious tracts to streetcorner passersby. Another threshold, the first blaze after eclipse totality. Those ecstatics so affected may become the wards of the church or state…

But everybody’s getting a little cabin feverish, restless, reckless. Time for spring tonics, spring cleaning, spring-in-one’s-step. When the ice breaks: molasses blood thins and flows. Allow it a little longer to reach the brain.

The foolishness could be just a minor blind spot, the unexpected may be well nigh unexpectable.

No shame.

DivMean: Regarding a material question, foolishness (no, really, run-of-the-mill foolishness). Regarding a spiritual question, aspiration. (Another reason not to waste the tarot’s time.)

Revd: Delusions of grandeur, e.g. Fool as materia prima, yeahyeah, rahrahrah. You were thinking maybe undyed silk, uncarved block, fashionably rustic? Consider the elemental/excremental shit-and-piss chaos where worlds hatch and howl, terra foetida, rotting compost, an artist’s pottagey oil paints, a contemplation so acute in its melancholy as to be redeemed in creation through sheer force of longing — alchemical putrefactio, nasty enough that it’s a bit of a curveball already that anything can be wrought therein?

Which reminds me, there’s something to be said for reading the Tarot trumps as a countdown, 21 to 0, the Fool being where one finally loses some of that egregious garbage. “Take off, eh?”

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

ninecups

(Now the Nine of Cups, the last card I pulled today.)

Goldfish of Water Coolers

“There’s no governor anywhere.”

Chuang Tzu

“By doing something incomprehensible, you place yourself outside their magic, and then they lose control.”

Andrea Juno (interviewing Boyd Rice), Re/Search #11: Pranks

“We’ve got the second law of thermodynamics on our side!”

Discordian proverb rallying cry

“‘Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.”

Sri Syadasti, quoted by Eris in Principia Discordia, Malaclypse the Younger, K.S.C.

“If the telephone rings today….. water it!”

Rev. Thomas, Gnostic, N.Y.C. Cabal

Innocent pure radiant ecstatic gentle weirdness. Uncommodifiable revolution. Shenanizens. More like “reversing authority” than “Authority Reversed.” Not: being in contention with Authority; just, by declaration: there is no authority. “Okay. Poof! You’re a milkshake!” Greyface made wheyfaced? Just letting the wheel stop here, thank you.

DivMean: Meditative second-nature spontaneous curious liberation. Complete lovable playful happiness. Spiritual wellness. Some egocentrism? Well, without which not! A consistent foolishness is the harpsichord of surreal minds.

In all likelihood, the ‘reaubot is acting stupid as a coping mechanism — that stuff eats them, too.  The bureaucrat is the gander for which Discordianism is both the goose and sauce. Hint: puppeteer them with your knowledge of their stimulus/response tables. Be anything they don’t have a standard procedure for — or, conversely, be multiple things they have contradictory standard procedures for. Render unto Caesar that which will blow Caesar’s mind, and snatch some official-document rubberstamps while you’re there.

Revd: spectacular, fiery, pleasantly nihilist, violent, vivid insurrection. The pursuit of Liberté! Loyal beloved comrades, mystic guerilla chanting, occult daggers, red flowing silk, black flowing ninjas, erotic midnight conspiring, psychoactives on wheels – on horseback.

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Whew. What a life.

centerhall

Things are swirling back into high gear after the holidays. Happy New Year, now full throttle back up to speed!

Yesterday I was called for jury duty, but I didn’t get picked to sit. I am still on call every night, but today I get to teach.

I love jury duty. We were in the beautiful brand-new Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Federal Courthouse. It was an amazing building, as you can see by the photographs. That first shot is a center light shaft that bottoms out over the cafeteria! This is the outside.

outsidebuilding

I re-read the first six issues of Promethea, and turned a couple new friends on to her brilliant translation of such deep arcane wisdom. The case I almost got on was a simple drug case, and if I would have gotten picked it would have been the fourth time I have served as a juror.

Twenty years ago I sat on a case where an older woman was suing the City of West Miami, saying that there was a hole in the sidewalk that caused her injuries. I was the foreperson on that jury, and the woman had previously sued stores, restaurants, and hospitals. She could have walked around the hole, which was not even on the sidewalk. We decided that she did not deserve any monetary settlement, but one Cuban gentleman said he could not go home to his family if we gave her nothing. So we gave her 5% of her initial doctor’s visit. A total of twenty dollars. Ouch.

Six years later, I sat in the jury box to reach a verdict on a Miami Vice styled drug bust. The cops had 20 kilos of cocaine in an airplane at the airport that they had intercepted when it landed from Columbia. The defendant agreed to buy it, we heard the phone calls. The cops got him to agree to give them his car to put the drugs in the trunk. They installed a kill switch on his engine with a remote control. They gave him his car at rush hour and had a tow truck right behind him to repossess the vehicle and its illicit content as soon as they shut off the engine. Ouch.

The third was murder, in 1999. Stabbed 63 times. As tragic as it was, the defendant was a comedy of errors. He loaded 8 bags of bloody mess in his car. He got a can of gasoline. He drove behind some bushes by a golf course. He unloaded the bags and soaked them with gas. He patted his pockets… no lighter. Double ouch.  He went to a nearby gas station and asked for a pack of matches. He started the fire about 50 yards from a local street. The fire department arrived 20 minutes later. They stopped the flames and noticed some paperwork… his electric bill, his credit card statement, etc. Triple ouch.

So, I am hoping to sit on another jury this week. It is a fascinating way to study humanity. It makes me feel bigger, being part of our magnificent justice system. It also gives me a great excuse to read comic books. Keep your fingers crossed.

insidecourtroom

No more time to write, good luck with the fast life in 2009!

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Taking Your Life Into Your Own Hands.

I get happy.

I was waddling around Daily Kos this morning, feeling good about the fact that I have jury duty in Federal Court tomorrow. I found two quotes that matched my hopeful happy mood as I face the rest of my life ahead.

The first is by someone dying of pancreatic cancer. 2009 will be his last year, yet he has this message for the rest of us:

As for the last part — people feeling sorry for me. I do appreciate your good feelings, but please know this: The last number of weeks as I was building toward the obvious answer of my condition has been a time of astonishing clarity for me. It is almost as if the world is brighter, the grass is greener, the sky is bluer.

While I have tried to live a fulfilling life, and as much as I dedicated myself to things that mattered,  I now see that I also wasted time on things that really weren’t important. The things that matter are so clear to me. I have come to recognize that life is divided between those things we can control, and those things we can’t. The secret of life is to recognize and accept those things that cannot be controlled, but to work like hell on the things that can be controlled to insure they come out as the most fulfilling as possible.

That is why I made my post. I cannot control my cancer. I know this. There really are no options that would not entail wasting my last months. But I can, in my own small way, contribute to making sure our community never loses sight of the things that matter, of the things we can change. We have total control over what we fight for. We should never waste time. Our world has been so damaged — we have to direct our power toward helping people — through health insurance, jobs programs, justice for all. Those are the big items. And we have the power to make sure things change.

But we also have the opportunity to change our own lives. Life is a glorious, wonderful thing. There is so much beauty and awe in this world. Please, whatever you do politically, remember to find the joy in your life. It’s there, and it is in your control to reach it. Grab hold of it and never let go. And if you do, it doesn’t matter when you die. Yours will have been a life well lived.

That is some seriously sage advice. I could not have said it better myself. As I take stock of my life well lived this morning, I am fulfilled by something that started exactly one year ago yesterday. Barack Obama had just won the Iowa caucuses, and America was beginning to remember what it is like to hope for the future while toiling in the present.

obama_by_spazbulb

“I know you didn’t do this for me. You did this because you believed so deeply in the most American of ideas: that in the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it…

“My journey began on the streets of Chicago doing what so many of you have done for this campaign and all the campaigns here in Iowa: Organizing and working and fighting to make people’s lives just a little bit better. I know how hard it is. It comes with little sleep, little pay, and a lot of sacrifices. There are days of disappointment but sometimes, just sometimes, there are nights like this…

“You’ll be able to look back at this night and say that this was the moment when it all began… when the improbable beat what Washington said was inevitable… This was the moment when we finally beat back the politics of fear and doubt and cynicism, the politics where we tear each other down instead of lifting this country up. This was the moment. Years from now, you’ll look back and you’ll say that this was the moment, this was the place where America remembered what it means to hope. For many months we’ve been teased, even derided, for talking about hope. We always knew that hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, to work for it, and to fight for it.”

So, today and every day from here on, let’s remember to reach for it, work for it, and fight for it. Whatever “it” may be for you, this quote from a dying man can guide you through. It’s so nice, I want to hear the same song twice.

… remember to find the joy in your life. It’s there, and it is in your control to reach it. Grab hold of it and never let go. And if you do, it doesn’t matter when you die. Yours will have been a life well lived.

joy_by_sa_cool

(“Joy” by sa-cool.)

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The Intense Reality of Online Community.

black_mantis_by_lisi4ka

(Magnificent Mantis by Lisi4ka.)

I don’t know about you, but I have quite a few lasting mental scars from hanging around internet message boards for way too long. No matter what the website, no matter what the topic, there will inevitably be messy savage conflict.

It’s human nature combined with layers of anonymity and it gets ugly real quick.

Today, on the Daily Kos website, someone named The Termite encapsulated the experience quite nicely.

Not for the squeamish, totally real:

You know what it reminds me of?  It reminds me of the time we bought our daughter a praying mantis habitat and a bunch of praying mantis larvae.

The larvae hatched one day, and we poured the seething throng of mantises from the tube they came in and into their new home — an 18-inch cube with a zipper and clear plastic sides.  That night, they went totally Israel/Palestine on each other.  We awoke to carnage.

It was a mantis massacre.  What had started as 150 newborn insects, all indistinguishable from each other, was now a landscape strewn with bug heads, bug legs, bug torsos.  They had attacked and eaten each other, as is apparently their wont.  Only six of them remained alive, clinging to the sides of their habitat, their eyes wide with abject “what the **** was that?” terror.

I don’t have the stomach for this nonsense.  For watching liberals eat each other.

Whether it is liberals on a political site, or gamers on a gaming site, or anyone on an anyone site, people tend to aim for the virtual throat.

Maybe we could all agree on a New Year’s resolution. Allow others to have their opinions, without attacking full force every time we disagree.

Sounds like a plan.

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School’s Out!!!

                      popartmonkey   popartmonkey   popartmonkey   popartmonkey   popartmonkey   popartmonkeyocean_floor_excitement_by_popartmonkey

(Exploding heads and fitting painting by popartmonkey.)

I don’t ever remember being so totally exhausted heading into a winter break. This is my 26th year teaching and the return to elementary school feels like a Savage Beatdown. I love it.

After I sink to the bottom of the ocean and recharge my tentacles, I will start in earnest on the Promethea Essential Collection and the Obscure Characters Desperate For Their Own Cards.

Right now… School’s Out!!!

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Waking from the nightmare with a three-day nap.

recurring20nightmare   deranged20hermit 

The past eight years have taken a mighty toll on my mojo, but the scary times are nearly over. I feel a sense of immense present tense pulsing through the soil of our great land. America is awakening. My character is exhausted, but the next phase is just over the horizon. After a three-day nap I will be blasting boisteriously into the brilliance of the New Day Rising. Thank you, to anyone who helped to open this portal into a glorious rebirth of human potential. We needed this collective Shift very badly, and we did it. Yes we did.

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