January 2010


I care a lot about the environment. I think about it with my heart racing. Especially when my sweaty palms are gripping my sawed off shotgun and I’m face to face with an aardvark.
Nature is cruel. Ask anybody who’s been mauled by a mountain lion or had a bacterial infection before the discovery of penicillin in 1928–sorry gramma. 

Whenever I go to Starbucks for my morning or afternoon mocha latte with whipped cream, I walk to the garbage can and recycling bin with my empty cup and think: “What would be the best thing to do for the environment?” and then I think: “What has the environment ever done for me?” and I throw the cup in the grass outside.  

People talk about taking care of Mother Nature like she’s some kindly old Mother Theresa who needs us to ladle warm soup into her toothless mouth. In reality, this is the woman that just killed my friend in an avalanche and gave me rabies (not avalanche related). The minute you turn your back on Nature, you’re liable to get sprayed, stung, hurricaned, tar-pitted, gored, parasited, or bestialitied. I have several cases pending where I’m seeking damages and compensation from bestiality. If you’re reading this, ostrich–My lawyers have committed to take this to civil court!

So until the environment starts showing me respect, it can expect me to never ‘let it mellow if its yellow’.

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h0m-R crooned before the Gods:

Ulysses sat at his giant desk slurping a lip scorching half caf mocha soy latte as his Number Four clone Gary paced back and forth on the koala skin rug.
“Ithaca’s opinion poll numbers are dropping, Uly. People are not happy with the direction the City is going. At this rate, we’ll have to open another gladiatorial arena next week.”
“How are our approval ratings among gladiators doing?”
“Bad. We losing at least one per performance.”
“Dammit. They’re some of my biggest voter base Gary!”
“Well…We could tell them to fight less….mortally.”
“No, that’ll never do. With all their forced video game playing regimens their agression levels are out of control at this point.”
Gary braced himself for either a tongue lashing or verbal abuse:
“Your Majesty…”
“Out with it Gary! I can see that you’re nervous. Remember I know you like myself.”
“Well, some of us have been thinking that we could work to improve your image…stir up voter approval.”
“That’s a much better idea than that crap you suggested last week…what was it?”
“The idea that you could change your policies to help the people of Ithaca?”
“Yeah. That was crap.”
“Admittedly, yessir. That was crap.”
“Change my image…Like lose weight?”
“Oh gods, Uly no! Just rebrand you. For example, we’ll release some official statements that you are ‘husky’ and ‘keeping up a healthy appetite’ stuff like that.”
“And what about when I piss on people’s legs?”
“We’ll tell them it’s raining.”
Ulysses put his fingertips together. “Excellent.”

A week later, Gary ushered into Ulysses’ office a tall thin woman with a face chiseled out of acid rain bleached stone.
“King Ulysses, the Great and Terrible!” Gary announced.
Ulysses pushed a few buttons behind his desk which triggered fireworks, a Pink Floyd lazerlight show, and the release of several dozen doves which were then quickly sucked up by the room’s hovering Roomba.
“If it pleases your Kingness, I offer myself and my services to you.” The woman bowed.
“I like where this is going.” Ulysses muttered and his Kowakian monkey-lizard court-jester Fallacious Crumb cackled.
“I am Clarice Starling. I am here to ask you some questions.” She said with an accent that sounded like a Wytheville Virginia IHOP waitress who’d been eating Silly Putty and downers throughout her graveyard shift.
“You must be from the advertising agency we hired to rebrand me! Welcome!”
Clarice tried to object, but before she knew it, Ulysses had her wrapped under his arm and was shuttling her out the door.

“Allow me to show off the beautiful land we call ‘Ithaca’.” Uly said grandly to Clarice as they slowly glided among skyscrapers in a golden gondola. “It is a land flowing with milk and honey. The milk has not been FDA approved yet, and ‘honey’ is what we call black tar heroin.”
“Mr. Groan…” Clarice started.
“Please, Clarice. Call me Uly.”
“Please, Uly. Call me Ms. Starling.”
“Please. Only platonic friends and professional relations call you Ms. Starling. I’ll call you Clara-Bell.”
“How long is this gondola ride and where is it taking us?”
“Life is about the journey. Not the destination. Or at least that’s what I tell my lizard monkeys when I take them to the veterinarian.”

They walked the parapets of the astronomy tower and gazed upon the shining city of Ithaca.
“Well Clarice–have the hams stopped screaming?”
“What?!”
“Your hams…hamstrings? Have your hamstrings stopped screaming after climbing all those stairs?”
“Oh. Then yes. They have.”
“Clarice, you’ve got to help me. My city is slowly turning on me. I’ve got to find a way back into their good graces.”
“What about your wife? Maybe you should first think of her. If you can have a healthy relationship with her, maybe other things will fall into place.”
“I married Penelope so I wouldn’t have to worry about personal relationships or my physical appearance anymore. She”ll stick by be through thick and thin. I’ve no doubt about that.”
Clarice held her gaze on him as his face congealed into stubbornness and self-chosen ignorance.

Later that night Ulysses and Penelope had retired to their bed chamber and were readying to get into their hybernation tubes. Penelope was reading a cheap romance novel and Ulysses was nursing a cognac from the breast of an alcohol servo-droid.
“How’d it get on at the office dear?” Penelope asked in her routine manner without looking up from the yellowing pages. 
“Horrible. Just horrible. It turns out the woman who was going to be our Public Relations and Marketing developer was really a Federal Agent investigating me for tax evasion.”
“Oh! That was how they finally got Al Capone.” She looked up albeit briefly.
“That’s what she told me too.”  
“So what happened?”
“The transporter beam got ‘accidentally’ turned off halfway through her trip back to Athens and now her brain is in a grecian urn and the rest of her is in a cask of amontillado.”
“Convenient.” She snorted.
A few minutes later….”Uly, why were you hiring a Marketing director?”
She met a silence which usually meant he was calculating a lie but this time was different: he was mustering resolve to tell the truth.
“The City’s opinion poll shows I’m down into a 70% approval rating.”
“Ulysses S. Groan!”
“I know. I know. That’s no way to rule as an iron fisted tyrant.”
“That’s not what I was going to say. Ulysses. I was going to say–It doesn’t matter what Ithaca thinks of you. It matters what you think of you.”
“Oh god here we go….” he muttered and Fallacious Crumb cackled from behind the folding Japanese changing screen.
“If you are doing the best you can for the people of Ithaca, then you have nothing to worry about. A clean conscience is the best reward.”
“I’ve got it….”
Penelope was about to smile when Ulysses finished his thought–
“We’ll find a way to go to war! Everybody loves a good ol’ fashioned war!”
“Oh god here we go…” she muttered and Fallacious Crumb fell asleep.

Almost ten years ago, close friend Patrick Ness showed me his copy of A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present. I was immediately struck with the power and saintliness of Zinn’s research and perspective.

Through the years, I found Zinn to be taking a place among my favorite perennial thinkers like Cornell West, Erich Fromm, Noam Chomsky, bell hooks, and Mark C Taylor.

It was a great and sad loss when yesterday, January 27, saw Howard Zinn’s passing.
I will remember him for his courage, his commitment to humanity, his pacifism, and his ability to awake me to new narratives of history.

Penelope was not his first love or even his love. She was his wife.
In the morning he would walk with coffee in hand past her bedroom and peek in to see her lying there under mounds of horribly colored bed covers. Ulysses would then shuffle out to the front gate and pick up the morning paper with a grunt that grew louder with each year’s gained weight. Glancing at the above the fold, he would see how the world was winding down. When she awoke she’d find the paper laid next to her, with the articles critical of him clipped out. This warmed her as it said that he still cared what she thought of him.

She thought little of him. As most do their spouses. Any person cowardly enough to accept the terms of betrothal laid them at the uninteresting and tedious altar of ‘true love’. And Penelope could have none of that. What she did love of him was his complete disregard for sense. Some chose to be selective in their senselessness and this trait was called ‘romanticism’. For Ulysses, there was only nonsense. A strict and unrelenting diet of madness, selfishness, and brain melting illogic. This made him triumphant in her eyes, the perfect leader and King.

Penel0pe and Ulysses met in high school when they were bathed in hormones. It was a Tuesday during the weekly high school hormone therapy bath. Of course, like all people bound to get married, they were absolutely wrong for each other. For the first years of schooling together, they would pass each other in hall with their own judgments: Penelope thinking that his shoulders slumped too much and that his gawkish maw could only look forward to being framed in a Haz-Mat suit working on sewage spills. Ulysses thought her hips too narrow and her breasts too little.

It was only when their son Telemachus time travelled from the future and played electric guitar at their school’s “Enchantment Under The Sea” dance that they were magically if not temporal-paradoxically brought together.

Their first kiss happened in health class while they were participating in a ‘buddy check’ colonoscopy.
They laid on the classroom floor in the figure of a caduceus and fed camera cables into each other.
Ulysses’ eyes left the monitor and gazed into Penelope’s face. This is why here polyps went undetected.
“Come on, admit it. Sometimes you think I’m all right.”
Penelope jammed another two feet of cord into his rectum, pinching her hand.
“Occasionally” she grimaced, “maybe…when you aren’t acting like an ignoramus.”
“Ignoramus? Ignoramus? I like the sound of that.”
Ulysses began to massage her tender and puckered sphincter.
“Stop that.”
“Stop what?”
Penelope’s face flushed with anger.
“Stop that! My b-hole is dirty.”
“My hands are dirty, too. What are you afraid of?”
Penelope looked into his glazed and bloodshot eyes. “Afraid?”
Ulysses loosened up and, using his dextrous rectal control, sucked in another foot of fiber optic camera.
“You’re trembling.” He said, just over a whisper.
“I’m not trembling.”
“You like me because I’m an ignoramus. There aren’t enough ignoramuses in your life.”
“I happen to like people who are not douchebags.”
“I’m a person who is not a douchebag.”
“No you’re not, you’re…” But her words were silenced by his lips.
They kissed deeply, gently, full of ridiculuous teenaged tongue action.
Just then the Health Teacher Droid stepped over them announcing: “Children, children! Remember to isolate the reverse flux power coupling!”

She gave him the best years of her life. He gave her cold sores.
They shared in the best and worst life had to offer. The best: wealth and fame. The worst: culturally expected monogamy….That is at least for the first year of marriage before Ulysses found the most honest joy marriage had to offer–cheating.

Penelope knew that he had his ‘dalliances’. Everyone did. She appreciated that he tried to hide his mistresses in the same way she appreciated his saying “sorry!” when he heard her fall into a toilet whose seat he’d neglected to put back down.
He thought of her as a Queen: nice to bring to parties and show off to dignitaries.
She thought of him as a pet turtle. No fun to be around and the possibility of being killed by his poop salmonella.

It was the voting block’s expectations of a nuclear family that had brought them together, but in the end, it was their devoted love that kept them together.

Remember when the United Church of Christ (UCC ) wanted to air a commercial during 2004’s Super Bowl and CBS shot them down citing a
‘non-controversial ad policy’?
You’re not the only one. Millions of Christians around the country do also.
Now it turns out the CBS will air a commercial backed by Focus on the Family with a ‘pro-family, pro-life’ message.
Nothing goes better with nachos and football than shaming, anti-choice, anti-privacy, anti-family rhetoric!
Yes. I did say anti-family. Many women in families have chose to have abortions. They are not ‘less than’ any other woman.

Write CBS today to let them know that preferential treatment towards religious fundamentalism is not okay. This is not about squelching the freedom of speech, this is about adhering to a consistent ‘non-controversy policy’.

Here’s my letter to CBS:
CBS:
Your choice to disallow the UCC commercial in 2004 but okay the
Focus on the Family ‘Tim Tebow’ commercial during the 2010 Superbowl
is hypocritical.
You are leaving millions of Christians no choice but to
assume you support religious fundamentalism and show
preferential treatment to radicalism (false and damaging
information about LGBTQ communities, anti-privacy sentiments).
Millions of Christians will be motivated to contact sponsors
to withdraw support of your programming if you do not
come to a just and fair action in this matter.

Next, let CBS sponsors know that you’ll put your money where your mouth is.

Ryan McGivern

Thus sang the bard: The Love Song of the King of Ithaca:

I.
The people of Ithaca worship I,
Gazing upon the TVs and computers lit up like sky
Like patients etherized upon dining tables;
And I guide them through half-deserted streets,
Ever muttering my sweet entreats
While hiding my steamy nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust bars, honky tonks littered with peanut shells:
The few righteous left attempt a tedious argument
Of pious intent
As if to lead me to feel mercy for the overwhelmed . . .
Now you ask me: “What is it to be King?”
Let us go and make our visit
follow me .

In our holo-deck foglets come and go
Talking of Michelangelo
The yellow fog of industrial waste– it pants on window-panes,
The yellow smoke that kills Ithaca groaning in birth-pains
Toxic flames lick like rabid fakirs into corners of the evening,
And government approved sludge slides into pools,
And I let soot fall from industrial chimneys,
Enjoying finery made by poor foreigners under the table on the cheap,
And yet see to it that I’m reelected come each November night,
With the people curled about my finger–in their delusions, asleep.

And indeed there will be time
There will be time to murder and sublimate,
Every last one of the Plebs who work and toil with hands
That live and die just to fill their child’s plate.
Plenty of time to rule by force or coersion
the masses confused and locked in indecisions,
…so long as the righteous are polite
and the prophets withold their visions.

II.
Mayhaps there will be time
To wonder, “Do I care?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and offend this unjust affair,
With a bald spot where once there had been hair–
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
And what has been called the fore-ordained order?
In a minute there is time
For a decision which could much evil reverse.

For I have known greatness already, known riches all:–
Have known the evenings, harems, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with silver spoons;

Then how should I begin
To spit out all the cigar butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume
That not under a worse tyrant than I the system resume?

Am I a Prince Hamlet bent towards bloody justice
that ends in only tragic silence
To end one type of cruelty appeal only
to another kind of violence?

Am I form of prophet a lonely voice
in the wilderness to Gods be wedded
and divorced of lust only to be beheaded?

No. I am but a Fool.
I grow old . . .I grow old . . .
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

I will grow a poet’s beard and heed what the children teach.
I will drink from the beggar’s flask, write sonnets on the beach.
I heed the gandy dancers singing, each to each.

And what of the sailors? Those laborers at sea?
I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Going off to fight wars I started and not coming back
And when they do, their hearts oiled black.

III.
Mayhaps I will linger yet at the altar of Me.
To enjoy my victory wreaths and wealth and reknown
Lest human voices wake me, and then surely I drown.

  1. [music] Did you hear Nirvana is getting back together?
  2. [here] Are you present and accounted for?
  3. [copper] Are pennies really lucky?
  4. [the one] Did you know Tom Petty is your soul mate?
  5. [travel] Will you go there with me?
  6. [wink] Do you know that I know?
  7. [objectivity] Be one and the same with me in the universal conciousness.
  8. [architecture] Do you think your own brain is a form of a glass ceiling?
  9. [nutrition] If weapons of mass destruction were vegetables, would you eat them?  Do you think they’d give you gas?
  10. [stain] If I ripped your heart out and gave it you would you hold it against me?
  11. [hope] Does US law say anything about zombies?  By this I mean when Ted Kennedy rises from the dead next week will he regain his Senator status and let us pass that health care bill?
  12. If Rush Limbaugh was your lover would you make him wear one of those French maid outfits and dust your porcelain bunny collection or would you prefer to just strangle him with his large intestines?
  13. Pigeons or seagulls?
  14. Why do you think black teenage males are 36 times more likely to get gonorrhea the white teenage males?
  15. What’s the square root of a potato.

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