Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm taking much better care of today

than I took of yesterday.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011


How are you?
I hope you are fine.
Or if you are suffering,
I hope there is a way
for you to ease that suffering
or have it eased, or forget about it
for a minute or two.

It seems to be a very difficult world
sometimes these days but maybe
it's just me but I don't think so.

Is there any way to sit in the sun
for a few minutes? Is there any way
to tinker in the garden a little, yours
or somebody else's if you don't have one?
Is there any way to get a little writing in?
Just relaxed, wise, true kind of writing,
or gentle, open, you-sized, straightforward.
A few effortless lines, thoughts, observations.

I called a friend yesterday and I'm
going to see if I can call another one
today. Usually I think I don't have
anything to say but then we start talking
and it's fine, a lot better than I expected.
easier and laughing and I come out of it
happy that I did it. But it's still hard
to do, to start doing. Why is it so difficult
to start doing something that is good
for me and somebody around me?

I went to an art show of a man, a friend
who is very ill. I know him from sobriety.
There were many people there and he was
surrounded so I didn't get a chance to
talk to him much. I bought a painting
of his called "Study of Eve." It's holy
or I get a feeling of holiness looking
at it. It's small, 9" by 12", sandy desert
background, thin blue frame, tall green
and red partly-formed figures embracing
in the center, delicate pale violet
and orange circle behind them in a scene
natural and simple and raw and mystical.
You keep looking at it and feel good even
if you don't know what it is or what it is
supposed to be, or what it might mean.

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

"Today I entertain a thought I once scorned--

--that others may know me
better than I know myself."

-Ishii Ougourou

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

"I shall give you what no eye has seen and what no ear has heard

and what no hand has touched
and what has never occurred to the human mind."

When you read the above...

Do you start thinking up funny responses?

Do you see it as a riddle?

Do you snort in scorn, cynicism, ridicule?

Do you wonder who said it so you can
decide whether to take it seriously or not?

Do you go into a state of wonder?

Do you try to make sense of it?

Do you think it's insane, impossible, irrelevant?

Do you dismiss it without prejudice?

Although it is said in words, do you understand it
with an understanding that defies and transcends words?

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Monday, September 26, 2011


Because of certain high-level scientific connections
I have in the world of science (related to my work on
furniture in outer space, apple molecules, etc.), I was
fortunate enough to be contacted by the European Organization
for Nuclear Research to be the first to interview the neutrino
who was recently timed going faster than the speed of light.
Here is a transcript of that interview.

RM: You've been timed going faster than the speed of light.

NEUTRINO: Yes, thank you. 16 millionths of a second faster
than light. Or is it billionths? Billionths, I believe. In
any case, I just get going and I go. I love to go. That's my

RM: How did they time you?

N: Stop watch, I imagine. I don't get into that part. I
trust my team.

RM: Over what distance did this occur?

N: From Switzerland to Italy. Through the earth.

RM: They shot you through the earth?

N: Well, if they shot me into space I'd just keep going.

RM: But through the earth, wouldn't you run into rocks
and sticks and lava and things?

N: No. Neutrinos are aloof. We prefer not to associate
with other particles. We bob and weave. If we were at a
party, we'd be the fellow in the corner with his eye on
the door. We're loners. We have a mass of only 10e-68 g.
We don't care what other particles think of us.

RM: Now, I understand you weren't the only neutrino to break
the speed of light.

N: Who the hell told you that?

RM: It was in the papers. There were 16,000 other neutrinos
who did the same thing at the same time you did.

N: Then go interview them. I was the first, that's what
matters. The others were behind me, basically cheering me on.

RM: As you know, you've upset the theory of relativity.

N: It wasn't my intention to upset any theory. Not that I care.
I don't believe in theories. I prefer action, the will to speed.

RM: You've defied the laws of physics.

N: I saw no signs posted. Again, I don't believe--in laws,
theories, signs, feelings. No offense. I am, therefore I go.

RM: Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

N: If you can catch me you can sue me.

RM: Would you like to say anything to Albert Einstein?

N: Sorry, Bub. You had a good run. Time waits for no man. Move
over, Rover, let Neutrino take over. But seriously, Albert,
I couldn't have done it without you.

RM: As you know, you've now made it possible for a person
to go back in time and be their own grandmother.

N: I'm not responsible for people misusing my achievement
for their own gratification. However, if I was going to go
back in time and be somebody else, it wouldn't be my grandmother.

RM: Who would it be?

N: Probably somebody slow for a change. A turtle. Or maybe
a stand-up comedian. I like Carrot Top.

RM: Some scientists believe that antineutrinos and neutrinos
are actually the same particle type. If this is true, it
would make the neutrino the only particle that is its own antiparticle.

N: That's rather personal territory, pal. In any case, I have
to split. I’m having lunch with my agent.

RM: Final word?

N: Take time, every day, to stop and smell the roses. Or at
least take a whiff as you're speeding by.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Everything is not a tool.

Everything is not a teacher
to edify me.

My senses are not
hunters & gatherers.

In other words,
seeing is being.

Everything is not something
to carry
someplace else
and do something with
to get something else
or change something.

Here is a story
that is not finished
& does not make sense
& carries no meaning
beyond itself:

The phone rang.
People & things & places
were making many loud noises outside.
In order to answer the phone,
in order to make sure
the phone was ringing,
before I decided to answer it or not,
I had to close the door.

It is all right
to pause
learning & teaching.

In other words,

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Don't take it personal.

If you don't want to kill anything,
don't start a garden.

You write for money or love. Nothing
worthwhile was ever written for money
nor ever will be. If you don't think so,
you write for money. Or fame, same thing,
cuz if you were famous & poor, it wouldn't
be enough. Write for love, you'll never go
wrong, even if you end up a poor nobody, though
you may go mad unless you're careful.

The only part of Life of Pi I liked
was the island where he was washed up
with the tiger & the ice plant phantasmagoria
& masses of tame meerkats that climbed up
the tree and slept all over the guy
to evade the toxic boiling fish-eating water.

"The cell phone is the devil's masterpiece."
--Bill Cleere

"They name roads after a lot of people."
--Bob Dylan

I read a book about Scientology & it freed me up
to think how naive, evil & insane people can be.
It freed me up in the sense that it makes my
own uncertainties feel like at least they're
mine, not somebody else's. Uncertainties
can be like a bobbing lake under an air mattress
I'm floating around in the sunshine on. Imagine
paying a madman to take you apart & nail the
pieces to his castle walls. It takes a lot of
work to be free enough to relax & make friends
with yourself, your mind, your way, your shadow.

Mystical is normal.

I read not for the thoughts somebody else has written
but for the thoughts I get in response to their thoughts.
Ideas & images & rolling connections. I don't trust
any writer, right off the bat. Why
should I? Before I trust him I've got to know that
he respects himself, respects me, loves humankind, has
an open heart, or if closed at least honest about that.
Isn't insane, violent for fun, infantile, contemptuous, trying
to shock me, waste my time. He or she's gotta know themself,
why they're writing in the first place. Then I'll trust
them & we can have a nice quiet little conversation as I read.

He paced like a man who had had a vision.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Has anybody tried the digital eyeglasses that switch analog TV to digital TV?

I'm somewhat of a backward fella technology-wise, so
I'm late to the digital game.

Because of a fortunate set of odd circumstances,
I am now on the verge of catching up to the 21st century.

I fielded a call at my neighbor's house where I'm
watching the place while they're on a skiing vacation.

The guy (on the phone, not my neighbor) was from the
Bureau of Digital Conversion or something. He wants
to know if I have gotten ready for the switchover to

As a matter of fact, I had not and was starting
to worry about getting a digital converter box
because it happened a couple years ago and I wondered
if any boxes were left.

"You could do that," the guy, Robert Johnston, I beleve
it was, says. "Or you could purchase digital conversion
eyeglasses, which are a lot cheaper."
($5 as opposed to up to $30 for a box).

I asked and made sure the glasses were not 3D because
3D makes me gaseous.

Mr. Johnston said I was eligible for both the glasses
and the coupons to buy the glasses. He said with the glasses
you just put them on to watch TV, no set up, no wires etc.
The digital conversion system is a part of the glasses
itself, in the frames or glass. I believe he said
the coupons were the same as for the box, which would mean
I would actually MAKE money, which would show up on the
credit card as a refund.

I didn't have my credit card on me, being at my neighbor's,
but my neighbor left his for me in case I needed it for
anything around his place.

So I used his card to get the glasses, figuring he'll be
happy to see he made money off the deal, even though
I'll get the glasses. He's already got satellite TV.

However, now I'm starting to wonder, are the glasses
better than the box?

Also, digital contacts were a dollar more, but
I have a wooden eye and contacts don't stick to the shellac.

He also offered digital chia sea monkeys, which I
demurred on. Furthermore, he warned me to be prepared
because actual real life (non-TV, etc.) is going to go to
digital in the 2020s. I have my doubts about that.

He said to turn the glasses on I would need to watch the
Grandparents Day Parade that will be on Family Channel
next Monday and the lead float would send a code that
would activate the glasses.

It's hard to put into words how much I'm looking forward
to entering the digital world at long last.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"Eyes and ears are bad witnesses to men having rude souls."


This reminds me of...

"The minute I stopped arguing, I could begin to see and feel."
--Bill Wilson

At any given moment I am in a state of war or a state of peace.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thoreau liked to have his conversations

across the pond
(more like a good-sized lake).
You had to yell
at the top of your lungs
to be heard. This
minimized small-talk.

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This World Which Is Made of Our Love for Emptiness

(by Rumi)

Praise to the emptiness that blanks out existence. Existence:
This place made from our love for that emptiness!
Yet somehow comes emptiness,
this existence goes.
Praise to that happening, over and over!
For years I pulled my own existence out of emptiness.
Then one swoop, one swing of the arm,
that work is over.
Free of who I was, free of presence, free of dangerous fear, hope,
free of mountainous wanting.
The here-and-now mountain is a tiny piece of a piece of straw
blown off into emptiness.
These words I'm saying so much begin to lose meaning:
Existence, emptiness, mountain, straw:
Words and what they try to say swept
out the window, down the slant of the roof.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

TODAY I talked to 12 other human beings in person.

"There are no medals for achievement
along the bodhisattva path.

Each stage, even enlightenment itself,
is like the different stages
in the growth of a tree.

The first bhumi ["level"]
is an extremely spectacular experience,
a sudden explosion of joy,
realizing that you could be generous,
you could open,

but beyond that the other bhumis
are less spectacular.

One bhumi develops to a peak point,
and then gradually the next bhumi
suggests itself and you cross the border
very gently and arrive at the beginning
of the next bhumi.

It is frivolous to ask what bhumi you are in
or to develop courses aiming at achieving
the various levels.

It is a very gentle, very gradual process."

-Chogyam Trungpa, The Myth of Freedom

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Blocked on Facebook!

I got blocked by a person on Facebook.
I sent them a friend request and in return
they blocked me!

Meaning they disappeared from my Facebook, as I
disappeared from their Facebook.


The feeling was strange, briefly maddening, as if
I'd been terribly insulted, even slandered, accused
of some shameful wrong, with no appeal.

However, once I thought about it, I'm pretty sure I know
why this has happened.

This is a person I interacted
with a number of years ago on a couple writers' sites.

As you may know, all e-sites result in relationships,
cliques, spats, blow-ups among allies & foes, and
just general cyber-entanglements that have their own
special emotional insanity that reflects real-life in
some ways and in others is crazily unique to e-reality.

This person & I, far as I can remember, had no bad
blood personally, but the last time I interacted on
a website where we both visited, I left in order to
avoid interaction with two other people who were
involved with each other, one of whom was once married
to one of the few people on the internet I remain friends
with since I got on in 1998.

I know: Cy. Ber. Mad. Ness.

I meant to write only to the friend/admin of the site
but accidentally posted to the whole board, individually,
to everyone's private message accounts, announcing my leaving
the site. (Or was it an accident?) Fortunately, I didn't
bad-mouth anybody in the mass PM, but it happened far
more publicly & dramatically than (I think) I'd intended,
(although my subconscious does have a will of its own).

The person who disappeared me was friend with the couple.
He/she simply didn't want me intermixing with his or her
friends, and, apparently, didn't think ignoring my friend
request was sufficient, and felt strongly enough about
the past situation to want me to know they didn't want nothin'
to do with me, thanks.

So, it was a strange sensation, small but troubling,
to go check to see why they hadn't accepted my friending,
and find that they had erased me from their Facebookworld!

But it's OK. I understand. I'm all right now. Thank you
for listening.

Of course, I might be blocked by many people who
don't care for me for one reason or another, or who
simply don't care to be my "friend." I haven't blocked
anybody, but I've certainly hidden people's messages for
simply expressing some screwball political or social
garbage that I didn't feel like reading, so I got no room
to talk, but I did anyway, didn't I.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Flannery O'Connor & Thomas Merton in their own Voices.

If you would care to hear Thomas Merton speaking at
length on the proper use of towels, God's Will vs. Fate, etc.,
click here:

Thomas Merton speaking

...and if you would like to hear Flannery O'Connor
reading her entire story "A Good Man Is Hard to Find,"
click here:

Flannery O'Connor reading

I was happily surprised how hardy & blue-collar Thomas Merton sounds.
Flannery I expected to hear a stronger accent from what
folks had written, and the more I listened the clearer she got for me.

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Monday, July 4, 2011

The Irresistible Urge to Expose Secret Writing Tips Is Baaaaack.

1. Go into trance.

2. Don't think about the Oxford comma.

3. Stop biting your fingernails.

4. Make a writer's face.

5. Imagine that your character is smarter than you.

6. Accept the weather.

7. Chew your doubts like bitter vitamins.

8. If you are writing a serious book, be funny once per page.

8a. If you are writing a funny book, be serious three times per page.

Check back often for more urgent tips.

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Maria and I sat at an outdoor café.

What if Roberto or Coral drove by and saw us? I couldn’t
remember but Maria must have asked for the meeting. I
couldn’t see her face for the sun. I tilted into the shade.
She looked troubled, thoughtful, as if about to confide
in me about her miserable marriage. Maybe she was
planning a book on her life and needed my editing
expertise. We would have coffee, I’d avail her of my
relationship wisdom, and we’d go our separate ways before
romantic tragedy ensued.

The waiter ignored us. Because we were mixed? Maria pulled
a book out of her purse and placed it on the table. I had to
read the title upside-down: The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Her
crossed hands looked so pale against the red tablecloth,
her skin transparent in the blaring sun. The veins and
muscles and bones of her hands made me look away. Why
wasn’t she saying anything? She stared at me with unblinking
eyes, very like her daughter Frida. I was too self-conscious
to swallow. I felt underwater.

"Flynn, why are you here?" A trick question. When she
touched the back of my hand I got a jolt and a blue spark
shot in the air.

"Would you stop the tears?" she said.

I touched my face to see if I was crying.

She shook her head. Her black hair, longer than I remembered,
swayed in the sunshine. "The project," she said.

"You're asking me to stop my tears project?"

She made a big fake pouty face and laughed.

"What’s wrong with you?" I said.

She continued to laugh behind her hand.

"Stop it!" I said. "You’re betraying everything you stand for!"

She took her hand away, blurted "What do I stand for!"
then covered her mouth again.

The light around our table blazed.

"Niceness!" I said.

I doubted this even was Maria. I closed my eyes. The whole
meeting was a trap. I opened my eyes. Morning was everywhere.
Mindful eyed me from the top of the dresser. The tears notes
lay scattered on Coral’s side of the bed. I put a hand on them
to steady myself.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Hey, I won a book.

Weird Red Room science fiction essay blog contest thingum

Scroll half-way down, click on
"Where Would I Be If My Father Hadn't Died?"

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"Take a friendly attitude toward your thoughts."

Allen Ginsberg's writing non-tips

More like wisdoms, child-like enlightenments, perceptual switches, etc.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

"No author knows fully what his book means to himself,

from what dark background it emerged,
why he wrote it, nor
what place it has in his personal development.
But sometimes it does happen
that he gets a faint notion of these things,
when favorable circumstances
bring some usually hidden motives to the surface."

--Theodore Reik, Listening with the Third Ear.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

More Words Were Written in the World Today

than were written in all of history up to 2003. -Official Statistic.

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bad sax saying I love you.

Bad sax saying I love you.
And everything leading up to that.
Song of foreplay.
The crowd listening in the bedroom.
Listening on the bed.
Jonah trying to get it into his head.
Donation box at the door.
Roberto protesting.
You making money off my dead wife.

Frida saying back I love you I love you Mommy.
Who tries to get up there to see if there's a sax.
To see who's playing.
Pealing, screeching, howling, weeping.
The crowd realizes what they've heard.
The child has told them.
Communication through the realms.

Don't close down.
Don't take it personal.
Take your part.
Find your part.
The choir of listeners.
The Spanish saxophone.
No dress, naked, invisible.
Take yourself so seriously.
The ghost settled in the rose.
If you're not having fun you're being had.
They do not understand.

I asked him what it would be like
if all his shortcomings were removed.
I was thinking "free".
He said "free".
My life has never been so busy
nor so still.
Saxophone breaking over the hills.
Breaking through the ceiling.
How can a ghost play a saxophone?
How can anybody play a saxophone?
How can a ghost do anything?
How can a ghost?
Communication across realms is impossible.
That is why there are instruments of distraction.
Parables, saxophones, bloems.
So that The Exchange can happen underground
where no one is looking.

What is that for?
Donations for a ghost?
I want to see a list of expenses.
So you shall.
I want to see a list of donations.
In due time.
I want my cut.
That may be a problem.

Anguish! says the saxophone.
Hear me!
Believe me!
Wandering lonesome!

Now she can go.
Now he can finish.
Now she can lay down her saxophone.
Now he can lean back and clean his glasses.
She wanted to do more than have babies and sweep.
He wanted to do more than drink and curse the world.

They have met.
They were lost.
It is raining liberty dimes.
The sidewalk sings.
The crowd comes out.
Somebody is whistling.
Somebody is weeding the slope,
pulling all the roots clean out.
Nobody has a name now.
Their eyes ache, shy with morning light.
They are children stretching.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Nothing For Sale.


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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Charlie Sheen & Sobriety.

One of the problems with burning bridges in such a public way,
with millions cheering you on, and you playing their rebel hero,
is that it's going to be that much harder to get to the place
where you accept that you need help & get it.

I was no choirboy when I was drinking and drugging, I hurt
myself & everybody around me, but I did what I did & said what
I said in obscurity. Nobody but my dwindling few friends
knew or cared. Nobody was cheering on my self-destruction,
and I wasn't playing the role of hero to millions of people
for my entertaining rebelliousness (AKA, insane & destructive

But Charlie has glorified himself to such an extreme point that
I can't imagine what it would take for him to admit he needs
help, short of some disaster. I believe he's technically
physically sober and clean, but obviously he's high on hubris
& obsessive grandiosity & some post-drug chemical phenomenon.
The gap between where he is and where he needs to be to get
help is enormous now.

The tension of that gap is going to lead him to start drinking
& using again. He has already said he might have a glass of
wine or champagne, because that's what we do to "celebrate."
That will be the beginning of the next run, and the next run
could be his last.

Making it worse is that if he does have a thought now & then
about how long he is going to be able to keep these high-wire
shenanigans up, about needing to ask for help, he's going to
think, Hey, I can't let my millions of followers down, I can't
admit that I need help, that I'm losing my mind, hurting bad,
etc. So, he's going to have to get further out before he hits
a place where he doesn't care what his cheering fans think,
where he needs to do whatever he needs to do to get his sanity

Plus, of course, as he says, he tried rehab and AA many times
before, and they "didn't work." They are for "normal people."
How difficult is it going to be to admit, in this one area of
alcohol/drugs at least, that he is normal, after all, and
needs help, like most of us discover sooner or later.

Obviously, he is special. I'm special, too. We're all special.
But alcoholics and addicts are decidedly not special in one
critical regard: we can't use alcohol or drugs without eventually
being overwhelmed by terrible consequences that take us to the
brink of madness or beyond, or prison, or early death. Whatever
I think of Charlie or any other alcoholic or addict personally,
there is a deeper connection that transcends everything else,
a brotherhood & sisterhood that wishes and prays that each of
us chooses to live, as human beings, not as God or gods, and
that we get on & stay on the path of healing & sweet sobriety
together, and I wish & pray that for Charlie, too.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

A TOWN CALLED PANIC is the best movie of all time.

It's impossible for me to heap too much praise on this
unbelievably wonderful movie. It's the best movie I've
seen since I can't remember. I love this movie. I would
have loved & been proud to have made this movie. I
won't describe it, because. There're plenty reviews on
rottentomatoes etc. that describe it. I would be shocked
if you like this blog & don't love this movie. We
actually watched it twice on succeeding nights. I
taped it from Sundance I think, watched it, and then
accidentally started watching it the next night &
couldn't stop. See it with somebody if you can because
so you'll keep turning & looking at each other in delight
& wonder that you're seeing what you're seeing & hearing
what you're hearing & feeling what you're feeling.

WARNING: It's in French & has subtitles.

WARNING: It's animated or something like that,
and I generally cannot stand animated movies. Even
UP! I thought the second half sucked when they went
to that other country or whatever it was. But I loved
this movie, and it is definitely animated.

WARNING: There are talking animals in this movie,
and they talk in French! And I hate talking animals
because usually they all sound like smart-ass teenagers
dreamed up by 50-year-olds who got their ideas of
teenagers from other movies etc. But this movie, the
talking anmimals, well, you'll just to see & hear for

WARNING: A donkey says, "Merde."

WARNING: It will make you glad to be alive & you'll
want to tell other people about it & get them to see
it just because it is so wonderful, free, funny,
beautiful, unbelievable, etc. It should win all the
Academy Awards.

P.S. I also recently saw the Facebook movie, which
I thought was bafflingly juvenile & hollow, annoying,

P.P.S. I also saw Inception which I didn't finish
because I didn't care, but I liked that one scene
in the outdoor cafe where things were kind of blowing
up, and then the things that blew up, more like POOF!
then they blew up again, and nobody got hurt because it was
a dream. Other than that, who cares. There was one scene
where the city folds in on itself and one half kind of
settles down upon the other half gently, and cars and
people are going upside down and sideways. In A TOWN
CALLED PANIC there's a kind of similar scene that is much
much better, more interesting, and funnier, in which a
house is upside-down in the ocean, or pond, and they
saw half of it off and it falls down and catches fire
for a moment and then the people inside have to live
upside-down for a little while until something else happens
that's even better.


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Sunday, February 13, 2011

I start where God says love other people.

I love it and I hate it because
that's where my resistance is, to the truth
of love. I don't have a lot of resistance
to God, I don't know why.
Thomas Merton said something like the fact
that there are good people
in such a bad world is proof of God.
Right in the face of the absurdity of it,
I can love God in this unloving world, the world
of wars, suffering, screaming, somehow
I can look at it in a way where I follow it
through the thickets and the turns and come out
in the clearing, with a teepee and God's
in there smoking and I settle outside and wonder.

But people, loving people, thats where I resist,
so I like the commandment to love my neighbor
as myself, or as I love God, because otherwise
I don't know if I would, or would still be a hermit
sinking into myself, becoming a stranger
more and more to myself, torn by fear of going out
into the world among people ever again.

When I think of someone I don't love, of the need
to love him I don't love, can't stand, in order to be
who I am fully, I can feel parts of myself, mind,
body even being riven off by that need, by the way
my not loving and the call to love cut me
as they pass through in opposing directions,
taking planed curls of me away. How can I love
and become myself when I myself am being gouged away
by the need, the commandment to love when
I will not, cannot love. I resist my soul
and it is only the soul that passes through the eye of the needle.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Rest in peace, my good friend Peter Hobbs.

I knew Peter for 35 years, drank with him many times,
even got in a soused fight with him once over which
one of was a bigger lefty and more against war. He
was a hell of an actor (in dozens of TV shows, Broadway,
films (including the main doc in Woody Allen's "Sleeper")
but an even better friend who bailed me out of many a jam,
including loaning me money to see a fortune-teller (he didn't
ask what the dough was for & I didn't say) when I was nuts,
right before I got sober. Damn, the more I think about it the
more I remember all he did for me. He was a damn good guy
& I miss him and can't believe he's not down there right
now listening to one of his audio books.
Here's an article on his reading habits:
Peter's 630 audio books!

And here's Peter's obit
from the LA Times that I helped write.

EDIT: Apparently the Times archived the obit & you have to
pay to see it. Grrr. Here it is:

After a brief illness, Peter passed away peacefully at his
home in Santa Monica, surrounded by family.

Born in Etretat, France, to Dr. Austin L. Hobbs and
Mabel Foote Hobbs, Peter was raised in New York
City, attended Solebury School in Pennsylvania, and
graduated in Drama from Bard College. In World War II
he served in Europe as a Sergeant in Combat Engineering and
fought at the Battle of the Bulge. Peter was especially proud of his
role in safeguarding the lives of the men in his platoon.

Peter enjoyed a 50-year career as an actor in theater, TV, and film.
He played on Broadway (notably, “Teahouse of the August Moon”
and “Billy Budd”); on TV (from his role as Peter Ames in “Secret Storm”
from 1954 to 1962, to “Perry Mason,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,”
“The Andy Griffith Show,” “Bonanza,” “All in the Family,”
“The Odd Couple,” “Streets of San Francisco,” “Happy Days,”
“Barney Miller,” “Lou Grant,” “M*A*S*H,” “Knots Landing,”
“L.A. Law,” and dozens more); and in film (“Sleeper,”
“Man with Two Brains,” “9 to 5,” “Any Which Way You Can,”
“Andromeda Strain,” “In the Mood,” and “The Lady in Red”).

Peter was a devoted husband and loving father, a good and generous
friend and neighbor, an amiable, passionate and good-humored man
who loved life, all kinds of people, progressive politics, reading, acting,
spirited conversation, laughter, and a cocktail or two now and then. He
was a vibrant man who, whether you knew him on the screen or in life,
put a smile on your face and joy in your heart. “Point of order!”
as he liked to say: You gave them a good show, Peter!

Peter is survived by his wife of 28 years, Carolyn Adams
Hobbs; three daughters, Anna Hobbs of Barcelona, Jennifer
McVeigh of Prospect, Maine, and Nancy Hobbs of New York
City; two stepsons, Mark and Adam Richards of Santa Monica;
and six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

So long, ol' pal, great
guy, loved life, died peaceful, wonderful friend. Still wait
every day for his call telling us the mail's in.

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Mean can be funny, but

is not necessarily funny.
The older I get the more
rarely is mean funny. "Mean"
today seems to be for many
a synonym for "funny." If it's
mean, it's funny, by definition. And
if a person doesn't find mean or
cruel "jokes" funny, then
that person has no sense of humor
& needs to "lighten up" or "toughen
up." Also, it is OK to say anything
about anybody in the public eye,
especially if they are rich & famous,
because their bountiful life requires
them to learn to absorb all forms of
verbal cruelty and to "grow a sense
of humor."

Speaking of awards shows, it's delightful
to see the varied successes of James Franco,
including co-hosting the Oscars & maybe
being nominated himself for "127 Hours."
I had the pleasure of getting to know James
a little a few years before fame struck. I
remember his child-like excitement at landing
a part on the USA network surf-drama Blue Pacific.
He was as shy as you could get, but full of the joy
& the love of life you see in him today. One
story has him pleading at the Golden Globes
to be introduced to Steven Spielberg, and it
was easy to imagine that, recalling his eager
& creative spirit back in 1997.

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