Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dark And Bloody Ground

There is certainly no lack of conspiracy theories concerning the apparent (read-obvious) murder of US Census employee William Sparkman in Clay County Kentucky. Many folks on the "right" are blaming ACORN supporters for the death of Sparkman, while those on the "left" are blaming conservative talk radio and the tea party movement.

I almost definitely think we can discount any connections to ACORN (I mean, come on-really-this is rural southeastern Kentucky were talking about here), and as for the seemingly boundless authority granted by liberals to folks such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck over the actions of disgruntled southern conservatives, I think we can pretty safely discount their impact as well.

Lost in all the speculation and the finger pointing going on amidst the fringe elements and activists is the fact that Clay County, Kentucky, where the murder occurred, is not so much a hotbed of conservative political activism as it is a seeming haven for marijuana growers and methamphetamine production. Furthermore, the most obvious political connotations to Clay County these days isn't how people feel about Barak Obama and the Democratic Party so much as which public officials have been charged, or investigated, for public corruption. At last count, eight public officials have been charged with vote-buying, and/or vote rigging, following a federal probe.

Due to all of these factors, Clay County might not be the best place for one hapless census worker to go sojourning about the sparsely populated area of the Daniel Boone National Forrest with ID identifying him as a US census worker asking what might be considered nosy questions about who lives where and what they do for a living.

When Sparkman's naked body was found hanged from a tree in the forest, the only clue left that it was not a suicide was the word "FED" scrawled across his chest. It was obviously a murder, and not a suicide or, as the Kentucky State Police laughably proposed, an "accident". What then was it?

It would seem at first glance to be the work of more than one perpetrator, as Sparkman seems to have never put up a fight, so far as has been ascertained thus far.

One would think that somebody involved in the drug trade would not be so stupid as to risk the wrath of the Federal government swarming through the area and turning it upside down for clues. One would be hard-pressed to think that any of the more corrupt county officials would likewise be so inclined, especially since they would have been aware of Sparkman's position with the government and therefore that he was no real threat to anyone.

So what exactly is going on here?

My own feeling, although I can't prove it, is that this is a Ku Klux Klan related murder. On the other hand, it might be something wholly unconnected to Sparkman's position. It might even be connected to Sparkman's position as a school teacher, or a Boy Scout leader. The word "Fed" might have been an intentional diversion.

The true nature of the crime, depending on who committed it and why, may never be fully ascertained. But it would behoove all of either political affiliation to resist the urge to look at everything with the tunnel vision that results from looking through the political prisms that seem to encompass the entirety of their existence.

UPDATE: I have recently been informed by Lemuel Calhoun, who owns the blog Hillbilly White Trash, and who as a licensed private investigator has connections with various law enforcement agencies, about the true nature of the Kentucky State Police assertion that Sparkman's death might have been an accident. It seems that there may be a slight possibility that Sparkman's demise came about due to the phenomenon of "erotic asphyxiation".

This in fact makes the KSP statement comprehensible, and even provides a possible example of my statement that the word "Fed" written on his naked chest might have been an intentional diversion. The KSP unfortunately neglected to enlighten the public with this explanation in the face of what seemed on the face of it like a ridiculously ludicrous suggestion, but this is possibly a well-meaning attempt to avoid embarrassing Sparkman's family if at all possible. It might also be a way to avoid giving out too much information during the course of the on-going investigation.

It also makes me wonder whether or not Sparkman might have been lured to the area and intentionally murdered precisely by way of this method. After all, he was naked, and in point of fact, although I was previously unaware of it, his feet were on the ground when his corpse was discovered, despite the fact he was apparently hung from a tree. Could this hanging have even been a postmortem attempt to cover up the true nature of the murder-or accidental death-and the reasons for it?

Also lost or seemingly overlooked is whether or not Sparkman was actually working during the time of his death. His murder was discovered after co-workers expressed concern over his failure to report for work for a couple of days. It would seem apparent that a census worker would report to the office at the end of the day. Did no one notice his absence then? Was Sparkman even working during the time of his death?

Sparkman was a Scout Leader, and a part-time teacher aiming for a full-time position. This makes me wonder whether his murder came about due to other activities involving these aspects of his life, perhaps of a sexual nature.

Lem also pointed out to me, in response to my statement that a drug ring would be wary of the risks involved in the murder of a federal employee, that they might have felt they had nothing to lose. He also pointed out that the Ku Klux Klan has been known in some instances to engage in drug trafficking to finance its operations.

I was of course aware of this, nor do I take very seriously the statements of the various Klan chapters to be law-abiding Christians who do not engage in such activities. There are in fact more than one "Ku Klux Klan" in our modern era. If one of them was involved, it would remain to ferret out the group responsible for the crime, if any was.

Until such time, it is all rank speculation, of course, but it is something that does need to be carefully considered. There are of course more than one Klan group operating in Kentucky. There are at least three, chief among them probably being the Imperial Klans Of America, a group which has recently been sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of a young boy beaten by some of the groups adherents at a music festival here in Kentucky.

Whatever the case, whether or not any Klan or any other hate group was involved, I find it highly unlikely to have been drug related, unless Sparkman just happened upon something he should not have seen.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Why I Believe MacKenzie Phillips

MacKenzie Phillip's public confessions of a ten year affair with her father, John Phillips of the sixties rock vocal group The Mamas And The Papas, while it makes for a compelling story, is nowhere near as interesting as the public reaction to it. Naturally, a good many people seem to insist that it is nothing but a way to promote her auto-biography High On Arrival at the expense of her father, now dead and unable to defend himself. A good many others say she is a deluded addict, and even if the story is partially true, she should just shut up about it.

Interestingly, I have an idea that many people among the latter category would be the first people clamoring to sue anybody that might be remotely viewed as a potential collaborator or enabler of Phillips abuse, were he not a founding member of a much-loved, celebrated, seminal musical group and a pop culture icon from the sixties.

Michelle Phillips, for her part, along with John Phillips third wife, insist that John Phillips, while a drug addict and a bad father, would never stoop so low, and so they lead the chorus of those who insist that MacKenzie Phillips is either lying or deeply disturbed.

Of course, there is a lot on the line here, as many people might be led to wonder just what and how much Michelle knew about certain events during her marriage to John. She also plainly wants to protect her image, and the image of her old group.

Yet, the facts of the lives of the people involved don't just suggest, they scream that this was a highly dysfunctional group of people. During the groups heyday, John Phillips was a notorious drug addict, oftentimes stoned to the gills while making public appearances. In the meantime, Michelle herself engaged in an adulterous relationship with the groups lead singer, Dennis Doherty, which got her briefly fired from the band. Interesting, Doherty was not fired. Michelle was brought back later into the group, which even recorded a song on the groups fourth album chronicling the affair, while Doherty himself continued in a hopeless infatuation for Michelle.

Before long, the group disbanded for good, after releasing a final fifth album for their recording company, Dunhill, which Michelle later stated "sounded like what it was-an attempt by four people to avoid a lawsuit."

So what does this all have to do with an alleged incestuous affair that supposedly happened some six years or so after the group disbanded? Well, nothing, except for the one continuous thread which rears it's ugly head throughout every second of the groups history-John Phillips addiction to hard drugs, which seems to have been the catalyst for every one of the events listed above.

Frankly, knowing everything I have learned about the man, I would be surprised if it did not happen, but even that is almost beside the point.

One of the main criticisms of MacKenzie is that she waited until years after Phillips death to come out with the story, therefore this is nothing but a sordid way to make money promoting her book.

Which, I guess that would be a point, but how does that explain her accusations of Mick Jagger seducing her at a party when she was fourteen (according to some stories, according to other accounts I've since read, she was eighteen) and claiming he had been waiting for the opportunity since she was ten years old?

Apparently, John had taken MacKenzie to a party at an apartment complex, where Mick invited them up to his apartment, claiming he wanted a tuna sandwich. He then noted how he was out of mayonnaise, and requested John go back downstairs and retrieve some, which Phillips obligingly did, thus leaving Jagger and MacKenzie alone for a "few minutes". When John returned, the door was locked.

Or so goes the story, a story which, thus far, has been met with a deafening silence from "Sir Mick Jagger", with not so much as a public statement released through his publicity firm.

The fact that she states that the relationship with her father became consensual, and went on for ten years (until she became pregnant and feared the child might have belonged to her father) seems to have put off more people than the story of the night of the rape, which occurred on her wedding night when, at the age of nineteen, she claims to have awoke from a drug induced blackout to discover her father having sex with her.

Almost lost in all of this mess is the outrage over her assertion that John Phillips began shooting her up with cocaine when she was ten years old. As far as I'm concerned, that incident, if true, was the pivotal moment of MacKenzie Phillips life, the moment when she was taken into a dark place from which, for most, there would be no hope of return. Everything else that followed, as bad, as disgusting, as heinous, as it all was and is-was nothing but a macabre window dressing into a view of a shattered, nightmarish life of living hell.

Sure, she's trying to sell a book. Does that mean she's lying, or greatly exaggerating? Only to those who think there can only be one reason for anything a person does.

Michelle Phillips should take heart. By the time this is all over with, despite all the howls of disgust from the public, I have an idea the Mommas And The Poppas will displace Michael Jackson at the top of the charts.

Like Jim Morrison once said-people are strange.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

MacKenzie And John Phillips-New Mamas And Poppas

That's where you want to go to get away from it all.

Roman Polanski-Wanted And Detained

Roman Polanski, the Polsih film director responsible for such movies as The Pianist, Rosemary's Baby, MacBeth, and The China Syndrome, and who was himself the subject of a recent documentary, Wanted And Desired, has been arrested on an old US warrant-in Switzerland, of all places. Polanski was due to appear at the Zurich Film Festival to attend a retrospective of his work and receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. Instead, he had no sooner crossed the border when he was detained by the Swiss authorities.

This is bad-I mean real bad. I've been hearing for months about how Obama's supporters have tried to create a cult of personality around our current President, and they've even encouraged US schoolchildren to sing his praises. But who among even his most vociferous detractors would have ever dreamed that he would be elevated to the status of Pope?

It's even worse than that, though. At least the Swiss Guards are not, so far as I know, an official arm of the Swiss government. Now, it would seem that the most admirably independent nation of Europe is just another European nation. But it's not even that good. Hell, so far as I know, no other country, including France, where Polanski has lived for decades, has ever lifted a hand to honor the US warrant. Now, Switzerland, the one country that has for centuries maintained a fierce stance of political non-alignment in the affairs of foreign nations, does this?

The festival itself is in somewhat of an uproar over this, but has maintained that it will continue with the scheduled retrospective of Polanski's work.

As for Polanski himself, I have mixed feelings. The man broke the law, and then fled before his sentence was imposed following what he alleged was a plea deal which he claims the judge reneged on. He has unsuccessfully appealed to have his conviction overturned on those grounds. All things considered, it looks like he might well now spend the rest of his life behind bars. Remember, he now faces time on two charges-for the initial statutory rape of a thirteen year old girl with whom he alegedly seduced at the home of actor Jack Nicholson, and now an evident slam dunk case of fleeing the US to avoid sentencing.

He probably deserves what he's got coming on both charges, and I'm sure he'll get the max. There will probably be a round of appeals of course, bolstered by some in the Hollywood community and others who will lobby on his behalf, but it looks pretty grim for the Polish born director. Obama would not dare commute his sentence, unless it was as a good fuck you to the conservative movement in the event he is defeated for re-election in 2012. By 2016, in the event Obama wins re-election, Polanski, if still alive, will be too old, and feeble, to care, if he even by then knows who, or where, he is.

It would be really ironic were he to end up in the same prison as Charles Manson.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mabon Music Video-Creature From The Black Leather Lagoon by The Cramps

Happy Mabon


First off, I'd like to thank Rufus for turning me on to the Cramps, which led me to the video I posted above as the opening video for this Mabon. It fits-somewhat-in the context of the above picture, which is of the Greek Goddess Persephone, who is now departing for her tenure in the Underworld as the coerced bride of Hades, who abducted her as a young maiden and tricked her into bonding with him by causing her to drink from the waters of the Underworld. Or at least I think we can all agree that the Autumn Equinox, which marks the time when the days start getting progressively shorter than the nights, is the time when she begins preparing for that journey, accompanied by the God Hermes, who will likewise go to retrieve her from the Underworld at the Vernal Equinox, in what was a desperate kind of compromised arrived at between Zeus and Hades in order to prevent Persephone's mother Demeter from sending the entire earth into a state of permanent famine and despair.

The myth was an agricultural one, but it very cleverly and powerfully makes use of a very common phenomenon of ancient times, that of young children-babies, adolescents, and teenagers-dying well before their parents. One would be hard pressed to find a family which did not experience at least one such death.

This myth, I believe, gave some degree of meaning and comfort to these families, and even, possibly, gave them hope, and helped them pull together as a part of a larger community-a family who pulled together.

Seen in the larger context of the "death" of fertility, it made it easier to find such hope in the symbolic imagery of a return to life in the spring, and to take comfort in what remains.

The Magical Fire Cairn

Okay, granted, this isn't exactly a burning cairn, it is actually-well, supposedly-a bonfire. I chose this to illustrate this post not because it's the best picture I could find to represent the subject of this post, but for no other reason than it has, if you will notice, a vaguely human figure.

Since Hermes is the god most often associated with cairns, I decided to include this little magical ritual quite on the spur of the moment. Cairns of course are not fire, they are semi-permanent structures made basically of stone. They were evidently meant to mark a passage, as a landmark. Some insist they are meant to grant fertility to the land on which they are placed. No one really knows for sure, or for that matter whether they were originally associated with Hermes, although cairns, and "Hermes Areias" (Lord Hermes) date back to the Mycenaean era.

Here is a more or less modern version-

The object of the ritual is a simple one, although of course it requires you to live in an area where it is acceptable to engage in outdoor burning. You will need a large wire or some type of mesh basket in order to achieve the effect you need, and of course-paper, and boxes, etc., and lots of it.

The idea is to visualize the magical goal, and raise sufficient energy to transfer to the materials. You then release the energy by ritually burning them. The wire basket should contain everything within a confined parameter, but you need to stay close by just in case a sudden wind blows. It shouldn't be a problem really unless you have your magical cairn sitting too close to a flammable object-such as a house, for example. Caution is advised.

As you watch the burning, continue visualizing your magical goal. In my case, I burned an old book I started writing years ago on notebook paper by hand, and visualized a fresh, new start, with no more wasted effort and energy. Once released into the elements, the energy should return to me and give me a new outlook, a refreshed sense of purpose and vigor. Well, here's hoping.

On The Road Again

This music video by Canned Heat (or a couple of others), was originally going to be the opening music video of this Sabbat series before I settled on the one you may have viewed above this one-or will view, depending on what time you come here. I included this one anyway, as it fits somewhat with the aspect of Hermes as a god of messengers and travelers. The particular brand of traveler has more than sight-seeing in mind. This is a restless spirit, looking for meaning in life, and engaged in an odyssey of hope and self-discovery.

Hermes as the guide of travelers is also charged with the task of accompanying the spirits of dead mortals to the underworld, and potentially, vice versa. Of course, as mentioned previously, he accompanies Persephone to and from her stay in said Underworld as the Queen of Lord Hades.

A Football Tragedy

I wanted to say something about a tragedy that occurred at a Kentucky high school football practice that resulted in the death of a young player from heat stroke. The coach was tried, and eventually acquitted, but something good did come out of the mess. New rules were instituted which required training for coaches to recognize potential problems before they get too out of hand.

Football is too great a sport to allow it to be tarnished with such wholly unnecessary tragedies. Hopefully, school officials at both the high school and college level will follow this up with a realization that a player's health has to take precedence over the prospect of winning and losing games. They are as much to fault as the coaches whom they put inordinate pressure on to produce a winning season.

Football is one of those games that, had the ancient Greeks known of it, they would have gone wild over it, though I doubt they would have bothered with all the protective gear worn today. Hermes would doubtless have been the patron deity of the sport, and it would have been considered his purview as to whether any died during the course of a game, or during practice. Many people might have died from the battering they received at the hands of other players, but one thing I can pretty much promise is, no one would have died from heat stroke.

Such things as that, in our modern era, are simply inexcusable, in the vast majority of cases.
I always liked this type of ancient Greek vase art, more so than the traditional classical sculptures.

This is Hermes at all of a day old stealing the cattle of Apollo in one of those don't do as I do, do as I say moments so typical of the Greek deities, even though Hermes came to be viewed as the patron of thieves. He was not celebrating the Equinox, I'm sure, though it can be seen as such. I thought it was appropriate to post this due to the nature of how he attempted to avoid detection-by walking backwards in what turned out to be a lame attempt to lure Apollo in the opposite direction. The only thing missing from the scenario was Hermes hiding under a blanket in the middle of the room and thinking there was no possible way Apollo could see him when he, in fact, found him pretty quickly. I would imagine the presence of the cattle might have settled it.

I mention this because, as Hermes was traditionally associated with the planet Mercury by many (the Roman god Mercury certainly was, but be advised that not all the Roman priest hierarchy agreed that Hermes and Mercury were identical), this might have been a myth intended to explain the purpose behind the frequent retrograde motions of the planet. This is especially noteworthy as there are four such retrograde periods this year-there is generally but three.

Could this signify an unusual type of financial or other reversal at the end of the year. We'll see.
The most enjoyable break from the housework over the last few days involved the premiere of the sixth season of House. Since I, maddeningly, could not find a decent YouTube clip from the debut episode which aired Monday night, I decided what better way to lighten the mood than with this brilliant parody from Mad TV. The only problem with it-where the fuck is Wilson?

Mabon Apple Pie

Since Mabon is traditionally seen as the time of the second harvest, what better way to celebrate than with that old popular all-American standby, apple pie? Of course, you don't have to have American blood to appreciate this classic dessert, so long as you have taste buds.

2 store-bought frozen pie shells, thawed.
6 Granny Smith Apples, washed, peeled, and sliced into roughly eight equal sized segments
6 heaping tablespoons granulated sugar
3 rounded tablespoons self-rising flour
cinnamon to taste (optional)

Mix ingredients in a large bowl and allow to sit for at least one hour, preferably two, in order to allow a thick syrup to form. Separate the pie shells, pouring the apple mixture into one, then using the other to form the covering, which you can do in strips as pictured above, or simply spread whole over the top. If you choose the latter, easier method (which is what I do) you will need to make slits in the top crust with a knife. You should also miniscule holes, using a fork, on the sides and bottom of the bottom crust.

Set on a baking pan in an oven pre-heated to 400 degrees. Ovens will vary, but it should be done in approximately 40-45 minutes. Well worth the little effort it takes.

Spin-Short Film For Mabon

Okay, it doesn't have much of anything at all to do with Mabon on the face of it, but seeing as to the nature of Mercury Retrograde which falls during this period, with an inferior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun practically falling exactly during the Autumn Equinox, it does seem to fit somewhat.

Makes for a pretty cool image concept for Hermes, too, even if that was obviously not the filmmaker's intention.

Mabon Astrological Aspects

The astrological aspects for Mabon are pretty intense. Seeing as how there is or was an inferior conjunction of the Sun to Mercury, this might not have been the best time to paint my bedroom. What a bitch. Worse than the living room. Oh well.

Retrograde Mercury is supposed to cause problems, particularly with transportation and communication, with machine malfunctions, etc., none of that happened-well, any more than usual.

In fact, during this period, I think I managed to work out the problems I've been having with my internet service, without actually calling and ranting and making a generally obnoxious ass of myself. I just figured out I need to wait until I turn my computer and monitor on, after I plug in the phone line, before I then plug in and if necessary reset the modem. Then I log on. So far, problems have been minimal.

Maybe Mercury Retrograde just has a bad rap. Maybe it's actually an opportune period to address problems such as that, not avoid them. Or, maybe it means nothing at all.

Otherwise, Saturn is still floating around Virgo in a near direct opposition to Uranus and Pisces, which is compounded further by the fact that Uranus is retrograde. This aspect might best be construed as a need for an extra bit of caution and patience, more so than usual to avoid even greater setbacks in the way of progress. I sure felt that over the last few days.

Neptune has been an assist, being in the off-centered trine to the Sun that it now is-it's retrograde motion though possibly serving to make me wonder if all this hard work is really going to be worth it in the long run. Jupiter retrograde in conjunction with Neptune might well serve to heighten that angst, while adding a little bit of spite into the mix, of the "By God I will get this done" variety. Or, that could be the Mars in Cancer trine to Uranus in Pisces ranting, which would be a considerable influence, especially today when the Moon forms a Grand Trine with the pair.

But ah, Pluto, where art thou? A good solid three signs away from the Sun, a square, which thus gives us the opportunity to concentrate on lessening all the negativities accumulated over the course of the year. It's not been easy though by any means.

Maybe the fact that Venus in the first degree of Virgo is trine Pluto, the combination with the aformentioned Sun square Pluto indicating a need and propensity for sexual release. It's times like this I'm glad this isn't a family oriuented blog, otherwise I wouldn't be able to tell you to go out and get fucked.

The Second Harvest

As a matter of course, the idea of attuning with your power animal is to take it's strength and power inside of you and make it your own-not the other way around.

Nine of Swords

WTF kind of thing is this to draw for a Sabbat? The Nine of Swords signifies an unreasoning fear, a feeling of dread, a sense of impending doom, agonizing over problems that might well be self-created in the first place, and exaggerated in the second. Sometimes I think these cards are more appropriate for my own personal use than they are for general reading on my blog, but I see where they can work both ways.

There are a lot of unreasoning fears out there in a general sense, some of which are certainly based on well-founded concerns, but might be nonetheless exaggerated.

Take Global Warming for instance. Note how when the trickster god of the North Wind started following Al Gore seemingly every place he went, it didn't take too long for people to say, "okay, now hold on here." Suddenly, you rarely hear the words Global Warming uttered. It's now "Global Climate Change."

And it is a real concern. The melting ice releases more moisture into the atmosphere, which in turn might influence the climate in a myriad of ways, depending on the individual locale. I get all that. The question remains, to what degree is manking responsible for this? What, regardless of the answer to that question, can we do about it? Finally, can we do anything about it. SHOULD we do anything about it?

Of course, that is just one of the many agonizing concerns afflicting mankind. There is poverty, health care, the overall state of the economy, global political instability and terrorism.

How much of these concerns are self-created? How many of them are exaggerated for political purposes? Will things eventually resolve themselves of their own accord, over time? Can we afford to wait that long? If we try to change them, what is the best way to go about that? Will we-are we-in many cases only making matters worse?

A good clue might be a study of history. It seems like one decades fears becomes almost a footnote two or three decades down the line. Most people don't spend a lot of time worrying about the Nazi or communist menace, while slavery and Jim Crow seem almost like something that happened on another dimensional plane of existence.

In other words, nothing stays the same for very long. It's commendable to express concern and to work for positive change, but it might be counterproductive to get hysterical about it.

Mabon-What Mabon?

Well, another late series of posts for the Sabbats, but they do keep me hopping, and this one is no exception. Especially since I've taken it on myself to engage in a number of household chores that I've been putting off for far too long-like painting the house, among other things. Bedroom walls, check. Living room walls, check. Then I got the ceilings, doors, door frames, and baseboards to contend with. Then I can feel like I'm about half way done with everything I want to do.

The whole point being, I want this shit out of the way so I can have the time to devote to working on my novel. Make that novels. I have a different idea every day it seems. I still haven't gotten around to doing the rewrite for Radu, the first draft of which I published on this blog some time ago. What thought I give to it now is mainly concerning who will play the lead roles if it is ever made into a feature film of a Showtime or HBO miniseries.

I've settled so far on either Katie Holmes or Thora Birch to play the lead female role, but I'm stumped on the others.

But soon I shall face up to my coming long winter of discontent by actually getting around to hopefully finishing the damn thing first, once I can manage the time without having to worry about spring cleaning being such a bitch.

Anyway, Happy belated Mabon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Brer Killer Rabbit And The Tar Baby

Once upon a time Brer Fox and Brer Bear went to build a likeness of Uncle Bama out of tar and turpentine, but they only had enough to make an image of a young black child.

"This might work even better," Brer Fox said. "Just wait till Brer Killer Rabbit sees this here tar baby. He'll just have to pick him up and hug him and cuddle him and fondle him and he'll get all stuck, and then we can laugh at him."

"We do that all the time anyway though", Brer Bear replied. "But okay, let's hide and wait. When we catch him can we eat him?"

Before Brer Fox could answer with disgust at the thought of eating something so loathsome, Brer Killer Rabbit came hopping along on his way to Uncle Bamas little White House where he planned to bow and kiss Uncle Bama's feet and ass. When he saw the little tar baby with the face of Uncle Bama he was delighted.

"You look like our beloved divine Uncle Bama" said Brer Killer Rabbit.

"You should not be out here by yourself, though," he suddenly added with mounting concern. "There are racists which abound throughout this land. Why, did you not know that almost every white person who does not love and honor Uncle Bama does so because they are racial bigots? You should come along with me and we will go see the great one, Uncle Bama. He will protect you and give you all kinds of good things from the pockets of selfish, greedy white racists."

But the tar baby just looked on and smiled, saying nothing. This angered Brer Killer Rabbit. How dare a simple little black boy ignore him and just smile foolishly at him? Did he not know who he was and what he had done throughout the years for his kind?

"Answer me, boy", Brer Killer Rabbit demanded. "Don't you know what I have done for you people?"

But Tar Baby just looked on in mute nonchalance, his idiot smile seeming to meld into his mouth under the glare of the hot summer sun.

"That does it, boy," Brer Killer Rabbit shouted and reached out and grabbed hold of the Tar Baby, whereupon he found himself stuck to the form of the Tar Baby, to the delighted laughter of Brer Fox and Brer Bear.

"That's the funniest thing I saw since Sistah Fannie and Brer Freddie bribed Uncle Bama," Brer Bear said.

"That's the funniest thing I saw since Brer Wilson shouted the truth about what a liar Uncle Bama is," Brer Fox added.

"You better not throw me in that thar briar patch," Brer Killer Rabbit said desperately.

Understanding full well that any hare, including killer rabbits, were always at home in a thicket, even one filled with briars, Brer Fox turned and walked away.

"You got yourself into this mess", he said with a laugh. "Get out the best you can."

"No, you can't do this to me," Brer Killer Rabbit screamed. "You can't leave me all alone like this and just forget about me."

Brer Fox and Brer Bear both knew knew full well he would never get out of the mess he had got himself into. They didn't care. Brer Killer Rabbit would never change his ways. But that was all right. Brer Killer Rabbit was not important enough to worry about.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

There Are Some Things You Can Just Never Live Down

Is it possible that little punk Kanye West dissed Taylor Swift as a way of revving up interest in his appearance on the opening night of the new Jay Leno Show? The two events did seem to dovetail a little too neatly to be a mere coincidence. On the other hand, if that's why he did it, why when Leno questioned him about the matter did he seem so embarrassed, so ashamed of himself?

Could it possibly be because when it came time for his appearance, he realized what a dreadful mistake he had made?

No, I'm not talking about the mistake of his insulting Taylor Swift by grabbing the microphone out of her hands at the MTV Video Music Awards and declaring that Beyonce had a great video-implying that she, not Swift, deserved to win.

As you might have guessed by now, I am instead talking about the dreadful mistake he made by agreeing to appear on the first installment of Leno's new dog of a comedy/variety/talk show, which is scheduled to appear five nights a week, Monday through Friday at ten o'clock, on most of the various local NBC affiliates, which I have a strong idea many people are going to be avoiding in droves during said time period.

What the hell are they thinking? That's actually a rhetorical question, again in case you hadn't guessed. It's obvious what's going on here. People are starting, thankfully, to tire of the seemingly endless streams of reality and game shows, so NBC needs another way of attracting viewers-a way that is relatively inexpensive in comparison to creating, writing, producing, directing and casting a truly world class television series, for example.

Simply migrate Leno from his traditional late night spot to the ten pm prime time slot, they seem to have decided, and they should really have a winner. There is only one flaw in their "reasoning". The show is not worth sitting through a whole hour. I made that decision before the first thirty minutes were up on the first night, and didn't even bother to suffer through any more of it before Leno got to his patented "Headlines" routine-the one part of his late night show I use to enjoy somewhat.

Leno is one of those comedians who love to make lame political jokes. Maybe somebody forgot to clue him in to the fact that most people these days just don't have much of a sense of humor when it comes to politics. Granted, this is a problem that could very easily be solved. How? With jokes, of course. The unfortunate caveat to that is-they should be funny.

Yeah, Kanye West, you made a fucking worthless, low-class ass out of yourself, and you should really be ashamed-but take heart. Maybe, like me, most people changed the channel before your appearance on Leno's sorry excuse for a program.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I've been doing a lot of the household stuff most people usually put off until the spring, and one of those things is painting. So far I've painted the living room walls, but not the ceiling and the woodwork yet. I'll get to that later. I painted the walls white, and it looks damn good if I do say so myself. I'm eventually going to do the doors and at least some of the woodwork in turquoise, if I can find that color paint. If not, maybe green, to match my kitchen. Then comes the part I dread-the bedroom. That means a whole lot of moving and cleaning under things first. That's the hard part about painting. It's not the actual painting, it's all the preparation and incidental shit that goes with it that's a pain in the ass. Which is why I haven't posted much in the last few days. Hopefully I'll get caught up in time to do a series of posts for Mabon, and maybe a few things between now and then. But for now, back to the grind.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

How Will We Ever Decide?

I listened to Obama tonight as he appeared before Congress and gave his speech about the need for health care reform, and I must say that, though I find myself in stark disagreement with much of what he said, he did make some good points.

I then listened to the Republican response, in the form of a Louisiana Republican member of the House of Representatives, who came from the perspective of a former heart surgeon. He too raised a lot of good points and did a good job of representing the Republican position on this important issue. At the same time, I found myself wary of a good many of his statements.

So, what should we do? How will we ever decide? Who really has the best answers? Who has the overall best interests of the country and the people at heart?

Obama and the Democratic Congress. The opposition Republican caucus.

How will we ever decide between these two suitors? If only we could listen to them in such a way that we could see clearly just what they both are all about.

Hey, I know-

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Now the UN is going after airlines emissions in order to combat Global Climate Change, and are pushing an international treaty to keep jet emissions at 2005 levels in perpetuity. Otherwise, airline jet emissions are projected to amount to twenty percent of all carbon emissions by 2050, according to them.

Their recommendation, according to the article, is to allow for a cap-and-trade regime for a brief time before phasing into a period of hard cuts in emissions growth. The plan is to keep reductions steady at 2005 levels, with no increase nor any reductions below this level, the latter of which is apparently an attempt to ensure people can continue to fly at current levels. This moratorium on further emissions growth, in combination with significant cuts in other sectors, will supposedly help to reverse the current climate change trends.

At the current rate of scientific advancement, I wouldn't be too surprised to look up toward the sky one of these days and see-

Of course, then they would be complaining about flying horse flatulence.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Man With The Golden Arm

I just got through watching The Man With The Golden Arm on KET, or tried to. Whoever was responsible for playing the film apparently went out for pizza or spent most of the time on the phone, or jacking off or whatever, because it was a mess. But it was one hell of a mess.

This is a film that is crying, screaming, and begging to be remade. And this is coming from a person who hates remakes as a general rule.

Still, I can see this remade and set in modern times, with Frankie Machine not a jazz drummer, but maybe as a heavy metal drummer, or for that matter guitarist. Instead of a heroin addict, he is a meth addict. Of course, the film would more sex, violence, and foul language, though admittedly the original starring Frank Sinatra was far ahead of its time in approaching what was then considered the taboo subject of heroin addiction. It was very gritty and realistic, and the jazz score actually added to the film's complexity and charm, as opposed to being corny and distracting, as in the case of so many films where such attempts come across as a blatant attempt to be cool but end up falling flat.

It would be hard to imagine who would direct an updated version and come close to approaching the level of ingenuity achieved by Otto Preminger, and I won't speculate.

It would be interesting to see who would be cast to play the updated role of Frankie Machine. Anybody but that little punk Matt Damon, please.

I won't give a rundown of the film, but if you insist, the link I posted is from Wikipedia, but a word of caution-there is one flaw in the synopsis as given. Of course, I can't be really too damn sure of that, because like I said, the film was so distorted through such a large portion of the airing, its hard to remember everything just right.

Having said that, it's definitely worth watching, and I recommend it highly, so if you haven't seen it, do what I should have done-rent it.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Brian Jones

Now that the authorities in Britain may be on the verge of finally investigating the mysterious, suspicious death of Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones, I wonder if its a safe bet that an old conspiracy theory is about to be trotted out. Of course, I am referring to vague rumors to the effect that Jones was murdered at the behest of Stones lead singer Mick Jagger and/or lead guitarist Keith Richards.

Yet, the very set of circumstances that led to such suspicions might well be the very ones that should serve to put it to rest. Jagger and Richards took creative control of the group which Jones actually founded, and took it in directions in which he never wished it to go.

Jagger and Richards then fired Jones, for a number of reasons-

*He was the only member of the group with a drug conviction, thus could no longer tour the US with the group, which was a practical necessity.

*Jones was so far gone due to drug use he was no good to the group at any rate.

It is also accepted canon in Stones lore that Jones was an abusive figure who slapped his girlfriend around, until she left Jones for Richards.

So what really happened on the night, just one month after the Glimmer Twins fired Jones from the group, that Jones was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool, the apparent victim of a drug overdose?

Well, according to some reports, Jones was murdered by a friend and contractor by the name of Frank Thorogood, who later allegedly made a deathbed confession to the crime. The reason for the murder of Jones by Thorogood is dependent on who you choose to believe. According to some, Thorogood was angry that Jones was stiffing him on money for services rendered. Another version states that Jones attempted to fire the man and his crew after figuring out he was draining his finances for work that was mostly unnecessary.

There seems to be no principals to the story left alive, other than one witness who claims the contractor, during the night of the party, dived into the pool and approached Jones, whereupon he "did something to Brian"-and then left the scene. But this was known by official investigators at the time, as is the truth of the drug charge. Jones had been drinking, but there was no other drugs in his system. At any rate, why dredge this up now, when there may be no way to prove it one way or another?

Jones could have easily blacked out, suffered a seizure, or hit his head. Jones seemed to be on the verge of making a comeback and attempted to turn his life around. Yet, it might have been all to no avail.His heart was said to be roughly equivalent in health to that of a man in his sixties. Years of self-abuse had certainly taken its toll. And who is to say that the deathbed confession in question actually happened?

Well, of course its also a way to sell papers, and possibly a book by the man most responsible for pushing the investigation, but otherwise, it is doubtful that an examination of a forty year old corpse would turn up anything.

But, even if it did, where then from there? Possibly to the Stones, especially to Jagger and Richards, who are said to "freak out" whenever Jones name is mentioned.

Well, I can think of several reasons for that. One explanation is quite simple-a pair of guilty consciences. Even though they may have felt and still feel that Jones actions and lifestyle left them no choice but to act in theirs and the bands best interests, it has to make them wonder if they could have possibly taken another approach that might have worked out better for all concerned.

Or, they might have felt that Jones death was indeed a murder, by some perpetrator who might have then intended to kill them all. Perhaps Brian Jones death was a portent, or even a warning of some sort.

For that matter, it could have been a reality smack to the Stones. Talent and success are no guarantees that your last breath is not just around the corner. Jones was easily the most talented of the band, by almost all accounts, in at least certain regards. He could play almost any instrument as soon as he picked it up. With just a little effort, he could do so expertly. It was his initial vision and effort that made the Stones a household name. He had the talent, the drive, and the determination to succeed, and not one month after being dumped from the band, was well on his way to rebuilding his life, according to most that knew him well.

Then, just like that-he was gone.

I think, however, that there might well be another reason for the attitude of unease at the mention of Jones. All of them-Mick, Keith, and Jones-were during the time in question involved to some extent not only with drug use, but also with the occult.

I can easily see Jagger, or Richards, or conceivably both of them, conducting a ritual that involved a curse on Jones. Nothing truly meant to be taken seriously, but more than likely conducted partly as a joke, and partly as a way of expelling his influence and all the bad feelings that had built up over the last couple of years. This might well have happened in the days either immediately preceding, or immediately following, Jones firing from the band by Jagger and Richards.

It would be easy to see how Jones death would then affect the men who might have conducted what amounted to an off-hand "Satanic ritual" aimed at their old band mate.

Of course, if this is true, then it would simply mean that Jagger and Richards are probably yet another pair of victims of one of the most pernicious an unfounded myths ever perpetrated on the human race, one intended to keep men mired in superstition and chained to a false belief that a man's fate is not necessarily always in his own hands but can be subverted by supernatural agents who must needs be appeased, a myth which states-there is no such thing as a coincidence.

Of course, the curse might have actually worked. Who can tell?

For any who might be interested, the full story of the life, career, and untimely death of Brian Jones (or at least one version of it) can be read here.

Or, for a truly bizarre yet utterly fascinating take on the tale of sex, drugs, rock and roll and the occult-check out this engaging "true" ghost story.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Hulk Mad! Hulk Smash! Hulk Need Pussy!

Disney buys Marvel Entertainment. Well, that's the plan anyway. All they have to do is sell it to the board of Marvel shareholders. Well, that and cross all t's and dot all i's in the way of getting around any anti-trust concerns, and we will probably be bombarded soon with a slew of Marvel based movies. Worse, this could portend a whole new slate of superhero television series on the ABC television network.

Gag. And just think, when I was a young lad of about seven and eight years old, that would have been a dream come true. As a young whippersnapper, I would spend some time reading my beloved Marvel comics, wondering what it would be like were there to be not merely cartoons, but actual live action adventures starring Spider-Man and the gang. I could envision this to the point that, at this young and tender age, I delighted and regaled family and friends with my own Marvel superhero movie plot and story ideas, just ripe for Hollywood. I think I might have talked just a little too much to a few too many people. Unfortunately,if that is the case, I have yet to receive a dime for all the hard work that went into my pre-pubescent imagination, and I doubt I ever will.

Okay, moving right along-