Friday, April 30, 2010

dear karyn

Good morning sunshine!
Today's quote: "Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.
~A.A. Milne

Dear K,
This one i can't get behind, partly because i'm a sensualist, and partly because it reminds me of those people (mostly men, but women too) who claim that the chase is more exciting than than the having, when it comes to romance. I think only people who are crashingly emotionally immature, and have no idea what a good consummation can feel like, could ever say that. To me, with food or sex or running up and down a mountain, being in the moment is more exciting than anticipation or memory (though sometimes memory is so very sweet).

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Red, White, and Black"

Red, White, and Black: The Peoples of Early North America
-by Gary B. Nash
"Either the Christian's God was not so good and wise as he was represented, or he never meddles with the marriages of his people; since not one in a hundred of them had anything to do either with happiness or commons sense. Hence as soon as ever you meet, you long to part; and not having this relief in your power, by way of revenge, double each other's misery. Whereas in our [Indian marriages] which have no other ceremony than mutual affection, and last no longer than they bestow mutual pleasures, we make it our business to oblige the heart we are afraid to lose; and being at liberty to separate, seldom or never feel the inclination. But if any should be found so wretched among us, as to hate where the only commerce ought to be love, we instantly dissolve the band. God made us all in pairs; each has his mate somewhere or other; and it is our duty to find each other out, since no creature was ever intended to be miserable." 
-related to Thomas Paine by an "American savage", circa 1775

A fascinating read. There are a few aspects of that quote i'd be happy to cross-examine, but overall it seems rather sensible. And the story of the genocide of this continent's natives is not nearly so black and white (or red and white) as you might think. They were kicking whiteys' ass, and playing one colonial power against another, more successfully and for longer than you may realize. many can name the largest slave revolt in the history of this country? If you said the American Revolution, give yourself a blueberry! Although a small number of slaves and some freed blacks fought on the colonist's side, those were but a tiny fraction of those who fought for the british. No wonder, as the british promised full emancipation. I won't give away what happened when the war ended, but it's a fascinating tale. Our history books sometimes mention those few "pro-american" revolutionary blacks, but never the uncounted multitude (so many the british had trouble supplying them) who fought for their own freedom. Why hasn't that been made into a movie? Why is denzel wasting his time on some violent piece of post-apocalyptic tripe, instead of getting that story made?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Exodus 21-34

Again, the Lord expressly validating polygyny. What is unreasonable here is not that the Lord might do so, but rather that It would espouse a sexist double standard by not giving the woman a right to more than one husband.
It is highly questionable to propose that God would wish to have animals killed and burned in It's honor. To do so would be to have a God who gives some life no spiritual value, or places ceremony above life.
Humans aside, no other animal has ever displayed any religious inclination. It therefore seems unjustified to propose that one animal's death should be more pleasing to the Lord than another's. Further, going back to the last entry, for the Lord to give a value ranking on the lives of non-human animals, is to imply that they must have some sort of religious value, otherwise the type of animal killed would make no difference. There is simply no justification in believing anything other than that all life has equal (be it void or otherwise) spiritual worth.
This verse has some mind-boggling implications. If the Lord "repented" of Its actions, then the Lord is capable of making mistakes or changing It's mind. An omniscient being could not do these things.
If God is omnipresent, it makes no sense that Moses should have to physically "go up" to the Lord.
An omnipotent being would be incapable of jealousy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

T for Two

-spring 1991
Back at WCU, Sandi called and said she was putting together a project that she'd been waiting years to do, a reader's theater of Mark Twain and James Thurber. She asked whether i'd return as a guest artist, and also assistant direct. I had appeared in four consecutive Sandi productions, one for each year of undergrad. I figured five in a row would be some sort of record. Besides, my final college show had been almost anti-climactic. This felt like the perfect ending to those years. I said yes. Sandi and i held auditions, and i smilingly realized what a dinosaur i was already, as most of the auditionees were new faces. The set was minimalist, so the show was held in the studio. We easily agreed on the casting. The production was sweet and humbling from start to finish. Our cast of seven was a very loving group, with no ego conflicts. Parts of the show were narrated, and parts memorized. Often one actor would narrate, while the rest acted out the tale. We did "What if Grant had Been Drinking at Appamatox?", and i played Grant. I narrated "The Legend of Sagenfeld", and "The Courtship of Arthur and Al". The final piece was "One Flower", a story of humanity destroying the world, until all that's left is one boy, one girl, and one flower. I narrated. The stillness with which we held our audiences was so moving. The cast and i spent much time together, about town and in their dorms…curiously, i did more socializing than with any cast i'd been a part of as a student. It felt like were i just starting college, i would have graduated with closer friendships than the ones i'd had. Of course, that's a wisp of a dream that has no substance...or does it? I stayed over in town as often as i could, because the drive got old very quickly. I was working days teaching the mentally retarded in Bucks County, an hour away. As wonderful as the show was, i knew i'd never put myself in that kind of commuting situation again. Sandi's dream realized, and my love for her capped by the perfect swan song, i moved on.

Friday, April 23, 2010

wound 3

(a follow-up to

I told you that the reasons for my wound were many and varied. The task of unspooling such a deep part of me, is a herculean endeavor in self-awareness. That i may have succeeded even a little, is no small thing. Yet overlooking a piece of the puzzle is all to easy. To wit: another reason may be a pragmatic investigation of the notion that, for most of my adult life, i've been too psychologically healthy for my own good. My long lonelinesses, particularly romantic, may be attributable to me being a human who was essentially happy, centered, and comfortable in his skin. Not needful of completion, or any kind of ennabling. Do you grasp how unusual that state of affairs is? Without a higher level of personal dysfunction, perhaps i was too intimidating, no matter how personable and gentle? So perhaps if i let myself be off-balance and wounded, women might recognize in me what they see in their own mirrors?
I don't know. That may be an entirely (or mostly) fanciful conceit.
Nor can the events of the last few years offer any conclusive light on the "experiment". Have women been more attracted? I'm not even going to hazard a guess, the reality of it is far too layered and slippery.
Self-awareness is like lighting a candle in the front row of a Gallagher concert.

companionate loves

In experiencing my first romance since A, comparisons can't help but arise. As often happens, particularly when a new romance is full of contradictions and uncertainties, you recall the best parts of a previous relationship. In so many ways, A and i were wonderful. After a good romance, the spiritual challenge is to not dwell on qualities you might never find again. Our level of comfort was rare, and i sometimes wistfully smile thinking about the odds of having another lover who loves Star Trek. Do you know what it feels like when someone tells you you're the best lover they've had? I'm not talking about some mawkish twentysomething, i'm talking about someone who has had lovers for a couple of decades. Something i never told her was that she was arguably the best lover i've had too. Even though there was a teeny piece of my spirit that was always in limbo, it was pretty effortless to be in the moment with her. In our hour-plus penetrations, never once did i imagine being with someone else. I sometimes forget that most people never approach that state of grace.
All this has made me think anew about the pressure our society puts on finding our "one". It's tyrannical nonsense. Even i am not entirely immune. In my poetry, dream lover sentiments often pop up. This isn't a bad thing, as long as you can put those thoughts aside when meeting an actual human being.
These pressures can even affect non-romantic friendships. Sometimes we fall into the trap of wishing a certain friend liked more of the things we like, or wasn't a dewy-eyed liberal or drunk, or whatever. And what happens if the best relationship in your life is everything but romantic? What if you find someone (or a couple someones) you are amazingly compatible and comfortable with, but it's not romance? Might you waste years of your life in fruitless searching, perhaps at the expense of the people who already love you?
So i take a moment now to look at my life and cherish those who have been closest to my spirit. There are a few others who might have been mentioned, had life been just a tiny twist different. But if i may borrow an overburdened cliche, these are the people with whom i've exhaled, or nearly so.
The one time as a youth (and arguably ever) that i had a best friend. For one year, around twelve to thirteen, we did most everything together. We had our own little language, almost.
My first college roommate, we roomed together for two years. I was a theater geek, he an ex-jock. There were parts of our lives that never crossed, but being around him just made me happy. I suppose at some level, i was a tiny bit surprised that he liked me. It occurs to me now, years later, that he might have felt a little of the same about me.
The one friend i've had who was probably smarter than i. We clicked on many spiritual levels, and could spend an hour or two tossing a frisbee too. The fact that i walked away from him because of questions of character and integrity (and a rift between he and another cherished friend), will always be a hole in my life.
Affable and smart, he was one of those people who make you feel wonderful about yourself when you realize that they think the world of you too. It's interesting to note that he and Clint and Tom, the closest male friends of my life, have all been brunettes taller than myself. I don't think that necessarily means anything, but it's silly fun to think that it might. The fact that he walked away from me, for reasons i've never understood but possibly having to do with my own character and integrity, will always be a hole in my life too.
The two women with whom i had the longest sexual relationships of my life. I loved them both very much, but wasn't "in love". I cry that society demeans what we had because of that. I cry that i lost both of them because we're all such needy, jealous, insecure messes.
The only times i've been in love, and in such a way that i imagined changing my life. They could possibly have been the only two lovers with whom my entire spirit was present. The fact that there was companionate love too, even profoundly so with one of them, lends a bittersweet touch to the fact that i never got to fully explore being lover (or friend) to either.
My step-brother, with whom i lived with for five years. Though we didn't enjoy a depth of emotional connection, we shared so many of the same joys, from movies to music to comedy, that our relationship almost became one endless in-joke. Someone remarked that we were like an old married couple. There's a little truth in that.
I do find it interesting that although i generally prefer feminine energy, my closest friends have been male. Although i consider my life a testament to the proposition that men and women can be friends (the anti-Harry Met Sally sentiment), as the famous anthropologist said, we poisoned sex, then sex poisoned everything.
I love you all.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

hello chris

Rob, I was thinking of you yesterday, watching "60 Minutes". They were doing a piece on Al Pacino. He was talking about being a broke, unknown. They went on to describe how Coppola casting him in "The Godfather" was what actually launched his then, nonexistent career.
This trip of life is an amazing thing, and you are an incredible Man! Don't ever stop believing! I know I'm going to attend the Academy Awards ceremony as your guest some day!
Love You Man, CC

Hello Chris,
It feels like that Oscar might come as a non-actor, a writer perhaps. That's where my passion focuses, more and more. I hardly ever go to auditions, and pretty much only get involved in acting when an old director calls. I only did one short film all last year, and have only one tentative project this year, an experimental short in which the sex will be real. I've also submitted a play to the Fringe Festival, which i'll act in if it gets accepted. Perhaps i'll go back to more acting in the future, but more and more it feels like my acting will only flow from my writing, and for the past couple years that's been only articles and poetry.
Of course, life is a wonderful ride, and i love not knowing where it goes.
If i did win, there's a fair chance i'd turn it down! Ha. I love George C. Scott's example. He disliked the voting process, and the very idea of art as competition. Brando's rejection speech should be required reading in all schools, too. It bothers me, how America gets all idolatrous...if i were king, everyone watching would turn their sets off, and just have a party with their friends, where they can vote for their own "best" whatevers. I unintentionally saw a few minutes of the telecast this year, and was pained by how the cameras were constantly on the celebrity audience. This sychophant culture of celebrity is achingly dysfunctional.
Yet the hotel-sleepover skit Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin did was fucking comedic brilliance.
If i do get nominated, maybe i'll send you in my place. You can pretend to be me, dressed like Sacheen Littlefeather, and read off a doozy of an acceptance (or refusal) speech. Mooning will probably be involved.
Don't think my cantankerous response diminishes my appreciation of your sweet compliment, friend.
love you much,

Saturday, April 3, 2010

maybe those ARE muskets...

I'm putting my foot down.
All you pissninnies who naysay the work of jonathan frakes, the estimable will riker of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, are hereby sent to bed without dessert. When i learned that there was an anti-riker movement in the TREK community, i was so perplexed i triple-checked my source. Okay, he never tipped the scales as heavily as his baldly eloquent captain, or his half-human first officer predecessor. But lacking? Codswallop! Not only did he carry his weight, he often absolutely shone. The greatest riker-heavy episodes are as great as any in the TNG canon.
Those aren't canons!
Some of you boobs apparently make an "oink oink" whenever he comes onscreen? Yes, the man's got a libido, but doth thou protest overmuch? I suspect this riker-baiting is at heart insincere...that deep down, the haters love him, but feel compelled to denigrate some part of their TREK passion, so that outsiders might think they're not complete Kool-Aid geekophants. The contributions of mr. frakes loom large in Trekdom - much larger than anyone whose original job description was second fiddle has a right to expect. Think i'm wrong? I'm not. He's the most widespread actor in TREK history: the only regular to appear in four different series, and the only one to share scenes with regulars from all five. What, just a mangy mongrel spreading his seed? No, his crossover episodes rank among the best. And he's arguably enriched the TREK universe just as much, as a director. He directed eight episodes of TNG, three DS9s, and three VOYAGERs. He helmed FIRST CONTACT, called by many the best TREK film, and INSURRECTION, called by me the most underrated. He also made appearances on THE WALTONS, CHARLIE'S ANGELS, EIGHT IS ENOUGH, FANTASY ISLAND, HILL STREET BLUES, 3rd ROCK, FAMILY GUY, and who was that as boss hogg's son?
But i digress. Them haters is just wrong.
-A Matter of Honor
-Future Imperfect
-Second Chances (with TWO rikers[!!!], is held by haters to be a horror of the worst kind, but is exceptionally thoughtful and entertaining)

Friday, April 2, 2010

cynthia, dihanne

WOMEN 44-45
A girl i met at a party in Florida, a friend of an actress friend (who warned me to take care of Cynthia, that she didn't have much self-control, especially with a couple drinks in her). We went skinny-dipping in the gulf, and had some sexually-tinged embraces while we frolicked. If i'd been inclined, tearing one off in the surf was an option. We didn't.
When i did some subbing during my first stay in Florida, Dihanne was a fellow teacher, whose little sister Addie was one of my favorite students. We became friends. She moved to Massachusetts, running from a violent relationship with the father of her child. I promised i'd visit when i was up north again. I did so, spending a nice few days with her and her wonderful daughter, but was unclear about my intentions. We slept in the same bed, and one night holding became kissing and disrobing. She wanted to go further, and i was attracted, but not strongly enough, so i put the brakes on. I went home to Pennsylvania, feeling stupid because i had known what she'd wanted even before i went…

Speak Softly

-winter 1991
When i returned to Bucks County after WCU, my Youth Club buddy Ken Hartman was directing a studio production for the Rider College theater department, in New Jersey, and asked me to be in it. It was a collection of original shorts, with an environmental theme. I read it, liked it, and jumped in. The author was student Joe Venanzi, and we got on well (he soon started writing a play for me to star in). The script had nice comedic touches. The only non-student actor, i had several prominent roles, most notably as the castaway and the crusader. As the castaway, i'd been marooned for years. A well-dressed couple show up with my new recycle bins. I'm a bit daft, and happily jump about, ready to be rescued. They tell me how to use my new bins. I go to collect my stuff, and they leave without me. As the crusader, i'm a lone voice in the wilderness, trying to protect nature. Obstacles mount, friends disappear, but i fight on. The show went over well, and i got on well with the actors, particularly Adam Gee and Jimmy Mount, both very talented. When the department head saw the show, he offered me an undergraduate acting scholarship. I smiled.