Thursday, October 27, 2016

True Wit

Friends, Romans, y'all... lend Awkward Family Photos your ears. And your eyes...

In a campaign season utterly devoid of morals, authenticity, honesty, humility and humor that isn't cruel even by seventh grade bully standards, we're astonished to present a political ad worthy of admiration. (And possibly even your vote, should you live in Travis County, TX.)

There may be some hope after all.

Plain Jain


Saved telling.

I almost posted what would've been a world class rant totally demonizing someone for crimes against nature - literally. After all, I saw the photos that proved it. In my tiny way too worked up cranium, posting the evils of this one retailer's actions and blah blah blah...

Yessiree, I was getting on my very best sanctimony britches.

The ones with Destiny sewn in the elastic. Those fancy ass, lacy, crotchless ones.

And then, only seconds before I posted this public service message - I mean three freaking seconds away - something told me to hold on.

Voices like that irk me, yet I've existed in this mistake-prone body long enough to know that NOT pausing before I unloaded could be, well, regrettable. Wtf, I mused. So I took a minute to look a bit further into these crimes and a couple of mitigating elements presented themselves. A couple of big ones.

Damn. I mean, whew. No. Make that WHEW.

I would have gotten it wrong. By my oh so slowly evolved but definite standards, I would have gotten something very wrong...

Look. I know folks who'd still post it. Who might think me chicken for yanking the hissy fit post.

This guy, in their mind, never deserves forgiveness. He can never turn over enough new leaves to suit anyone. But I think I'll err in the other direction. Who knows when I'll require a similar stance of grace? Or when you'll need it?

You see, these things happened over a decade ago. I choose to believe that he not only regrets his crimes - OK I should at least say what the crimes were: He killed big game. As in lots of elephants. And I was gonna show the photos and urge people not to patronize his business.


Oh I can hardly fathom how noble an act it would have been for me to post that. (The sarcasm has arrived by barge, it seems.)

But in the checking out, I discovered that he doesn't merely regret what he did. He insists it haunts him.

There are those for whom even that will never be enough. After all, murderers of human beings are often repentant, but they still have to serve the time. We can't just go around forgiving people willy nilly, can we?

That'd be crazy.

Some of us get born never feeling the need to cause the death of any living thing. The curve on that is pretty big.

The people of the Jainist faith have the cleanest slates of all and in the strictest form of that no killing business: They even sweep the path before them so that they do not inadvertently step on a bug while walking. Seriously. And this is in India where it's almost impossible to take a bug free step.

(Jainists are also often naked which means, I imagine, they don't care about fashion, either. And I thought I was sacrificing to give up TV several years ago.)

Maybe having a mediocre soul is good enough for me.

For example, I own a degree of hypocrisy in that I prefer the company of empathetic omnivores to tight-assed vegans who spew graphic litanies about the rest of our murderous species.

I guess the only perfect people are vegans who don't advertise it.

Raised consciousness is a weird and mostly ineffable thing. It cruises the dark alleys of our souls, creeping, watching, waiting for that sly moment it worms its way into becoming a part of who we are.

Real raised consciousness can't be a force feed. And earlier, possessed by a relatively rare desire to harm another person's livelihood based on a flawed assessment of their behavior - easily a decade old - I was about to do something as short sighted, nasty, imperious and haughty in the trendiest way but think I was stopped by a particular kind of angel.

Angels are messengers and not all of them get to blow horns and announce great news. It occurs to me that there are battalions of angels with the decidedly unglamorous work of tugging our shirts, pretty much whispering, "Toots, you sure you wanna do that? Even if you're RIGHT, do you wanna use that shrill/whiny/bombastic/whatever holier than thou freaking tone to say it?"

If I could see the one who stopped me tonight, I'd buy him/her a drink. A stiff one. A double. Hey. Just because I can't drink doesn't mean I'm unsympathetic to those who deserve a belt of the good stuff.

Close calls aren't always the ones that nearly end our physical lives. Sometimes they're just times we narrowly avert internal disasters, the emotional kinds that are as painful as any flesh wound.

Not saying annihilating, judgmental, horrific things about the Attila the Huns of the world may not sound like much to be proud of. But the next time you're a witness to anyone who signed up for that job, lemme know how hard it was to watch.

Ecclesiastes and the time for everything is right. When we DO post something like that - no lie - it'll probably feel great. But we'll feel mighty adult in the meantime if we vet who we bully from these FB pages, these tiny little pulpits we all have.

After all. He's a guy who made good and in the fine, frenzied rush of all that new money, he decided to spend it in dreadful ways that he regretted sooner than many a sin on my own slate.

I am grateful for the angels who are watching the little things. I think.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Toddler Mystic Musing

I know a little about fallen women. It's hard not to pay attention when I hear the whistling sound one makes as she falls to the ground: sometimes a merciful updraft of mitigating repentance will break that fall. Sometimes, we only hear the cold, hard thud of impact.

In the age of social media, that deathly quiet is broken by the rapid onset of the comment section AKA - in olden times - the peanut gallery. Whoa. Hell hath no fury like judgmental strangers who have figured out how to click "post comment".

Too often - what harsh rebukes, and scalding ill will hurdles forth, drowning out little mercies or even philosophical remarks...

But today in Pennsylvania, one of these women weighted down her own ankles on the descent...

Former AG Kathleen Kane, without remorse for the deeds or the resulting ignominy brought upon her office, defined unrepentant both before the verdict came in and after her conviction. And she didn't change for her sentencing.

These are the interesting opportunities in which this writer learns what mercy is. Not that how I feel towards Ms. Kane matters a whit to her. We do not know one another. Still, I rooted for her to step up to the plate, to not throw anyone else under her bus.

I do not envy a moment of her circumstance - especially the part where she truly seems to feel the victim. My compassion is high for her children, as for any whose parents are removed from their lives for criminal acts. And in Kane's case, I gulped a little that she'd allow her 15 year-old to testify at sentencing when she herself didn't take the stand in her own case.

That kid. Brave and scared at once and I'm thinking wryly that "pawn" may be too strong a word. (Or is it strong enough?)

The irony is that Kane could have been a force for good: That's the theory beneath legal minds in public service. And it was all squandered from thin skin and vindictiveness. Often, I learn what I wanna be like from what people don't say.

There is nothing quite like sending up prayers of comfort to someone who makes your nostrils flare in annoyance.

I'm in no danger of graduating this mystic class with honors.

When comedy is too important to miss.

Thank you, Mr. Oliver and HBO.

Delayed Tears

So. Delayed tears. We do that sometimes. Things hit us a day later. Big tears but not maudlin ones. The joyful kind mixed with damn I loved that guy kind...

If you've never seen Kevin Meaney on Johnny Carson's "The Tonight Show" singing "We Are the World", do yourself a favor, grab some Kleenex and have a look.

We linked via the NY Times obituary for him which was as good an intro as it gets.

Thanks for remembering the Big Funny that Kevin was, everyone.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

WHOOSH the Heavenly hook shot from center court: 3 points

Although we're all the same, cosmically united yet saddled with the temporary, compelling illusion of separateness with which we too often wrestle and despoil one another, every now and then a human being stands apart so dramatically, so radiantly, that our very breath is taken away.

Thank you, God, for John Oliver.


Check this out.

In Rochester NY late October.

Still putting in appearances for our friend Tom.

And thanks to Tom Q for sending the proof our way.

Between the moon shots he takes and sends and this little guy, we're grateful for totems reminding us that there are important things in life that don't break your goddamn heart open like a rotten melon spewing its putrid contents across an apathetic highway going nowhere.



Group hug.

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