Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Excerpt from The McAdooiad

(In my epic poem The McAdooiad, a political consultant leads an expedition to Hades to conduct a focus group there. While there, they are given a tour by the shade of someone who might be Mark Twain, or maybe Kurt Vonnegut. They travel to the section of Hell called the Vale of Conservative Commentators.)

“Hell has expanded, you know, since Dante’s day,” the guide explained.
“There are more than just nine rings now; indeed, there are more than nine sets of rings, and new construction continues apace.

But it cannot keep up with the influx of souls,

Hence your delays upon entry.

It’s more like a giant anti-amusement complex, a vast park of punishment, a mall of maulings, subdivisions of sufferings,
For those who could not, would not, dared not repent.

But for all the mass production, for all the identical rows of high-rises,

Still there are some who have rated their very own personal dooms, who have crafted their eternal homes, which even now await their architects

Somewhere in this Hell … here, see this vast, empty plain?
In the midst of this plain there is a table.
Behind the table is a comfortable leather chair.
On the table is a huge golden microphone, and an ashtray with a cigar.

There is a man who will be condemned
To sit behind that microphone forever, and smoke that cigar,

And talk and talk and talk and talk….

Trying to convince someone, anyone, that he does not belong there.
The microphone, however, will not be connected to anything.
Only he will hear himself, and he will hear only himself
But he will not even convince himself.

Because no one could ever make him change his mind.”

 

A random bunch of my favorite songs

In no particular order – I’ll just post ’em as I think of ’em… These are some of the songs that make me stop in my tracks, turn up the radio, dance in my chair, or even start singing along…. The songs that make my scalp tingle, my heart race, or my mind soar… Some of these songs are part of my self-definition; some mark particular moments, or even eras, in my life…

  • Kate Bush, “The Big Sky”
  • 801, “TNK (Tomorrow Never Knows)”
  • Beatles, “It’s All Too Much”
  • Jane’s Addiction, “Jane Says”
  • REM, “It’s the End of the World”
  • The Who, “Eminence Front”
  • John Cale & Brian Eno, “Spinning Away”
  • The Horse Flies, “I Live Where It’s Grey”
  • Natalie Merchant, “Carnival”
  • Bush, “Machine Head”
  • David Bowie, “‘Heroes'”
  • Roxy Music, “The Thrill of It All”
  • Pink Floyd, “One of These Days”
  • Blue Öyster Cult, “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”
  • George Harrison, “Art of Dying”
  • Peter Gabriel, “I Have the Touch”
  • King Crimson, “Discipline”
  • David Byrne, “Five Golden Sections”
  • Talking Heads, “Houses in Motion”
  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer, “Lucky Man”
  • Cat Stevens, “Wild World”
  • Radiohead, “Karma Police”
  • Foo Fighters, “Everlong”
  • Pearl Jam, “Black”
  • Eddie Vedder, “Big Hot Sun”
  • David Byrne/Brian Eno, “America is Waiting”
  • Human Sexual Response, “What Does Sex Mean to Me?”
  • The Beatles, “I Am the Walrus”
  • Synergy, “Breakdown in World Communication”
  • Stephen Foster, “Hard Times Come Again No More”
  • Bjork, “I Miss You”
  • Kate Bush, “Deeper Understanding”
  • Laurie Anderson, “Big Science”
  • Tom Tom Club, “Wordy Rappinghood”

Epigrams, Slogans, & Bumperstickers

  • The best things in life are messy.
  • A violent revolution is no revolution at all.
    • The real revolution is against violence itself.
  • If you can’t break your chains, use them.
  • Big Brother is watching: KEEP HIM ENTERTAINED.
  • If it’s falling, push it over.
  • When you make a fool of yourself on purpose on a regular basis, it doesn’t matter so much when it happens by accident.
  • Sex:Liberals::Money:Conservatives
  • Every day is a gift – even if it doesn’t fit.
  • Big Brother loves you SO MUCH… he can’t keep his eyes off you.
  • When the dip is gone, the party is over. When the party is over, it’s time to go home.
  • Education should be dangerous.
  • Unity, not uniformity; diversity, not division.
  • We need some new isms.
  • “Mistah Galt, he dead.”
  • Go with the Greatest Common Factor, not the Lowest Common Denominator

Some things of which I disapprove

… fundamentalism (of all stripes) … pessimism … cynicism … hoplophilia (worship of weapons) … belligerism … rhetorical deception … commercialization/exploitation/trivialization of sex … Puritanism … apostrophe abuse … militarism … “American exceptionalism” … bullies … authoritarianism/totalitarianism/fascism … torture … alpha-holes trickle-down economics … isolationism …

Some things of which I approve

… responsible hedonism … creativity … intellectual inquiry … logic … humor … polyamory … single payer healthcare … polyculturalism … multiparty democracy … world music … massage therapy … aikido… t’ai chi … media literacy … children … “New Economy” ideas … education … live music … community singalongs … naps … natural beauty … mortality acceptance … cooperatives … ambient music … miscegenation … absurdist theatre … puppets … space exploration … pacifism … breakfast … ecumenism … non-violent communication … surrealism … science fiction … cognitive-behavioral therapy … laughter … holism/systems thinking … visionaries … minimalist music … public libraries … community radio … progressive, independent journalism …

Holiday Letter 2016 (Skip’s part only)

My wife & daughter have stronger senses of privacy that I do, so we generally don’t put our family holiday letter up on the Net, or even send it out as email. (You’re either on The List or you’re not.)

But this year, it so happened that I took up one side of the page all by myself, and I kinda don’t mind who knows what’s in it. This is because (a) there are a couple of links in there to stuff I feel is pretty important and could use some wider propagation, and (b) there’s nothing sensitive or particularly “private” about it…  So, if you’re interested, and you haven’t gotten your copy in the mail, check it out by clicking the link below – and if not, then “Happy Merries!” to you anyway!

Skip’s Holiday Letter 2016 (PDF)

The Wisdom of Hu Sei Dat

That man who has made death his goal – to him alone is success guaranteed.

The wise man is free, though his body be broken and chained in the darkest of dungeons.
The foolish man is a prisoner, though he stand unfettered in an open field.

Your fear is a ring in your nose, by which you may be led around at will.

When one is fighting a tiger, victory is gained only when one has killed the tiger. But when one is fighting quicksand, victory is gained only when one has escaped from the quicksand and walked away. Pity the man who cannot distinguish between the two situations.

Sometimes the catastrophe must be allowed to happen.

Sometimes you can escape the prison by denying its existence.
Sometimes you cannot escape the prison until you admit its existence.

Recognize chaos as an opportunity for practice.

 Live as long as you like: it will not make your death any shorter.

When the wolves demand that the chickens be freed from their bondage, the welfare of the chickens is not their main concern.

Change in human affairs, like the changing of the seasons, is indeed inevitable – but like the changing of the seasons, it can neither be hastened nor impeded. It will happen only when it absolutely must happen, and not one moment before.

You cannot be at peace with war – but neither can you be at war with it.

The best way to defuse a rebellion is to make the rebels believe they have won.

The problem with rich people is that they have more money.  The problem with powerful people is that they have more power.

Even a dead tree has a destiny to fulfill.

A student once asked Hu Sei Dat, “Once I have achieved the state of ‘waiting without expectation,’ how shall I know when the time has come to act?”

Hu replied, “You will know that the time has come to do something when you find yourself doing it.”

If someone accuses you of absent-mindedness, bow and say, “Thank you. That is the state for which I have been striving.”

This “unity” that you seek is not something that can be imposed. It is already there. It can only be discovered, recognized, and accepted.

Do not ask who has won the drinking contest until the next morning.