April 2011

Poison Ivy.
What is this plant’s fucking problem man?

Its like this plant takes it personal!
This plant does not play. 

I mean, damn!
This plant is cold hearted.

I can understand–like, this plant don’t want you chopping it down…
or pullin’ on its roots and shit–but seriously: this is ridiculous.

Like I can understand if I kicked this plant and got all up in its leaves and just like
got on a lawnmower and made a Chef Salad outta its ass but dude!
I just like walked by it for like a second! On tippy toe.
Like I’m tip toeing by this goddammed plant like its Baby Jesus Hisself straight up whisperin’
Shhhh! Don’t wake Baby!” I mean, c’mon plant! Damn.

You can’t even abide by me gettin’ within arm’s reach?
Even Venus Fly Traps let a fly chill out for a hot minute up in its sticky ass mouth!
But you all bad and stuff. You all Hot Shit up in this woods huh?
Mister Big Stuff.

I can understand if you just said: “Nuh uh. You gently touched me and now I’m gonna make you pay
for five hours. Make you remember my ass.”
I could at least see where you’re coming from.

But damn! Three and a half weeks of kickin’ my nature-lovin’ ass cuz you Mister Hot Shit Poison Ivy?

This don’t even make evolutionary sense.
I can see like seven thousand years ago you being like: “Okay, no more messin’ with poison ivy, bitches!”
and being like a tenth of the potency and callin’ it a mutha fuckin’ day.
But no.
You just hadda go nuclear on this planet’s ass.
What animal was still gettin’ up in the poison ivy seven thousand years ago that necessitated it to go from “I will make you want to die” to “I will make you want to die for three and a half weeks”?

Sheeit. Evolution don’t work that way nowhere else!
Even sharks stopped with razor sharp teeth!
You don’t see no shark with horns, wings, venom and cannons outta they ass!  

C’mon plant!
I mean…Damn.


Assert your power! You have climbed to the top of the evolutionary doggy pile and
now its time to communicate effectively in the most passionate doggy style.

Give it all you got! Never stop talking and gesticulating. It will require a lubricated throat and sweaty hands to make sure you can keep your communication flow operating at Sam Kinnison levels. Get going! Now is your time to shine.

The aim of this instructional essay is to get you communicating like Koko the Gorilla can only dream of in her barely sentient noggin. So read these words with every ounce of strength you’ve got! The written word is still a valid form of communication and this blog entry, The Ten Commandments, the playlist taped to the stage by Iggy Pop’s microphone, and Battlefield Earth are all examples of this truism.

What is Passive Communication?
Great question!
Passive Communication allows others to make decisions for you which is really really stupid unless you are in a coma or horribly senile, in which case it would be a great idea.
Passive Communication means remaining silent even at the cost of your own best interests. Like when my ex-girlfriend Stephanie married that jerk Steve and the Priest asked the congregation “if there was any reason that they should not get married to speak now or forever hold your peace” and I just sat there in the pew literally biting my tongue. It wasn’t until much later at their reception at the Elk’s Lodge that I spoke my mind with the eloquence of five Jim Beams in me. But sometimes in communication, timing is just as important as volume and profanity.
Passive Communication utilizes sarcasm and proves that everyone loves passivity sometimes—at least when it is aimed at another co-worker in the office who intimidates the two of you. Then your sarcasm and coy backbiting will thrill and delight.
Passive Communication means you give in to others even when it means that you will be filled with resentment. And resentment’s Latin root is ‘resent’ like the word ‘present’ and resentment will be an everlasting present to you which you can open again and again while drinking beer sitting in front of a broken TV, watching your inky black reflection in its horrifying screen.
Passive Communication means that you are not honest with your desires and can be one of the last remaining reasons you have still not made out with your married cousin.

What is Aggressive Communication?
Aggressive Communication means you bottle up your feelings in a magical Genie lamp you bought at that creepy antique store in San Francisco’s Chinatown until they finally manifest themselves in the form of Bea Arthur and wrap their very long legs around your neck and make you drink of their hateful musk.
Aggressive Communication means interrupting the other person. This includes coitus interruptus or interrupting your grandmother’s 85th birthday party for coitus.
Aggressive Communication is when you shout, yell, or raise your voice. This is why aggressive communication is an absolutely necessary mode of communication for teachers, bullfighters, stage actors, and birthing coaches.

Aggressive Communication includes being inappropriately honest. Now, don’t get me wrong–honesty is the best policy and I myself have never told a lie. But it is important to choose your words wisely. Instead of ‘idiotic’ use ‘demonstrably moronic’ and you can replace ‘horse faced’ with “looks like a famous sports athelete…you know, like Seabiscuit.”

What is Assertive Communication?
This is the worst type of communication because you will be pretty much putting yourself at risk of emotional vulnerability.

We here at MindFlowers Communication Technologies hope that this has been helpful and all you readers out there that are currently in struggling marriages have found a few helpful hints on how to end your union in a spectacular and memorable way.

When you think of Santa Barbara do you think of frolicking dolphins?
Wine tasting?
So do I!

And I also think about red hot and very raw sewage.
You know, like sewage sushi with lotsa wasabi.

Check it out:
Santa Barbara has the highest rate of sewage spills of cities between Santa Cruz and Thousand Oaks of similar sized sewage systems (100 or more miles). Give us a gold trophy cup filled with stool!

In 2009, Santa Barbara’s sewage spill rate was triple the California average.
That’s 15 spills, people!
But like they say: Don’t cry over spilled milk. Or sewage. Right?

Or…Does Santa Barbara have to comply with the federal Clean Water Act?
You know, the act that makes any spill a violation.

But maybe more than just trying to “follow the rules,” Santa Barbara should
work on their reigning title as Poop Town USA because of risks to public health, the degradation of the environment and quality of life, the endangerment to marine life, the loss of tourism revenue.

So until we can workout a plan for Santa Barbarans to eat less or UPS their feces to some remote fjord, concerned citizens and grossed out tourists can send an email to Santa Barbara’s (lovely and right honorable) Mayor and/or go to Santa Barbara’s Channelkeeper organization for more information.

Mayor Helen Schneider:

SB ChannelKeeper

 May 19th, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI, or “Benny Ten Six” as I like to call him, spoke a bit about Technology in his Palm Sunday Homily.

As a proud Irish Catholic (Irish by birth, Catholic by choice–and childhood prodding!) and lover of technology (I loved ‘Perfect Dark’ for Nintendo 64) I feel I have to make a brief comment on his Holiness’ comments.

The Pope said that technology can threaten humanity’s relationship with God–for it presents dangers both immediately tangible and dangers to our spiritual standing.

Sure, technology can be used to hurt and dehumanize.
But a person doesn’t need much more technology than a hefty rock to achieve that.
Even less! Look at all the damnable abuse done with bare hands–with only the threat of ‘shame’ to silence and bind a victim’s defenses.
Advances in technology do cause the immediate dangers of massive death and destruction. This is true.
Look at Fat Man and Little Boy.
But surely technology’s advance saves lives: innoculations and medicines of all types, agricultural advances to provide cheaper and more abundant food…

The Pope Said:
“…From the beginning men and women have been filled — and this is as true today as ever — with a desire to ‘be like God’, to attain the heights of God by their own powers…”
I say:
What beginning? It sounds like The Pope is talking about Adam and Eve with the allusion to being ‘like God’–a la eating the fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Did that have to do with technology? Maybe an allusion to Babel would have been more appropriate. Was Babel about technology? Was the cause of the Flood? Was technology a matter of concern to the Prophets or…what was that guy’s name….Jesus?

The Pope Said:
“Mankind has managed to accomplish so many things: we can fly! We can see, hear and speak to one another from the farthest ends of the earth. And yet the force of gravity which draws us down is powerful…”
I say:
Ahhh, I have heard God compared to beauty, light, love, a Vine, peace–but I don’t know if I’ve ever heard God compared to gravity pulling a person down to the ground. It is a lovely image though.
Maybe this is along the lines of the story of Icarus. But I think that had to do with following wisdom and keeping a ‘Golden Mean’ more than a “flying is dangerous” fable.
Should we be ‘humble before God?’
But I would say that we should be humble before everyone. Like Icarus, we can listen to the great wisdom of our previous generations. We can listen to the perennial truths of the world’s religions. Those who are powerful and privileged can listen to the marginalized, the hurting, the oppressed.  

The Pope said that natural disasters remind us that we aren’t all-powerful.
Yup. That’s why we need technology to improve our alerting systems, our evacuation and rescue robotics and transports, our architecture so that it doesn’t fall on us, and our communications to streamline recovery and rescue operations.

The Pope Said
that if humanity wishes to have a closer relationship to God, humanity should “abandon the pride of wanting to become God…”
I say:
Does advancing technology have anything to do with ‘being like God?’
Even if one had great powers–equivalent of Tony Stark or Reed Richards–that does not at all encroach on the area of the ‘divine!’

Check it out. Who is close to the heart of God as depicted by Jesus? The poor. The destitute. The marginalized and politically voiceless. It seems that they would be “the least likely to own an iPhone!”

God is not about ‘ability.’
If God was ‘all-powerful’ and a petty jerk, that wouldn’t make God much of a God would it?
God is about love, goodness, beauty, truth, mercy, sacrifice, community, humility, service, justice…

Besides, it isn’t just technology that ‘enables’ and ’empowers’ folks.
Money does a bit of that too.
And I think there was once a poor Jew from Nazareth who spoke pretty fiercely about those who hoarded money, who had greedy hearts, who abused the poor.
But who would want to hear a homily calling the world’s governments, corporations, and rich to accountability for their greed and amassing of wealth? That’d be a bummer.

Happy Holy Week,
Ryan McGivern

One Laptop Per Child:


After thinking about this wonderfully beautiful film for almost two months, I finally (perhaps foolishly) feel ready to mutter a few of my frayed synapses’ most muddled concatenations.

I understand that Trier constructed Antichrist in such a way as to be available to a number of interpretations. He does this through utilizing symbols that nod to a number of possible sources.
So while saying that, I do feel that looking at Trier’s pattern of motifs and statements from his body of work one can make better sense of what he’s doing here.

Most informative to Antichrist are the films where Trier re-imagines Christianity: Breaking the Waves, Dancer in The Dark, Dogville, Manderlay. These films are inventive and challenging presentations which riff on themes of The Leap of Faith, and Saint as Martyr usually with the background of human injustice and cruelty.

Antichrist fits right in with these previous films because it immediately requires the viewer to question themselves:
“What is ‘Christ’?”
“What is it to be ‘Anti-Christ’?”

I was very tempted upon finishing Antichrist to pit it as a ‘counter’ or antithesis of the Christ/Saint/Martyr themes of the other films, as though maybe Antichrist was ‘about humanity’ or ‘a view of the world without God.’
I see that this was wrong.
Because Trier has always asked of us to see each of us as living Christ events. The potential for each of us to perform ‘impossible leaps of faith’ and the non-rational means and often tragic conclusions of these ‘leaps.’
He asks of us to see Christ’s humanity, and humanity’s potential to enact the divine in the midst of our largely banal, cruel, and chaotic world.

So what or who is the Antichrist implied here?
I believe that it is the ‘Chaos that reigns.’
It is meaninglessness, the force that surrounds us at all times that tempts us to see our lives as without order, meaning, without value.
The position that I believe Antichrist takes is that this force of meaningless chaos is real. It is the real state of things. It is however conquerable through our each making a ‘leap of faith’ as it were.
This triumph of the human spirit is not a synthesis or balance of Reason and Intuition, or Order and Chaos–it is the abnegation of these as opposing poles and transcending them in Pure Resolution or Survival.

Antichrist is the description of the triumph that occurs in one’s affirmation of life through their decision or choice. When one accepts the meaningless chaos and still rises with a ‘yes saying’ to life they pass through death and are recreated and mark a ‘Christ event.’

Here’s how I came to this view:

The film begins with a creative act: the act of making love. In the midst of creation, there is loss–in this case the loss of a young life. Decision is definitive. It says yes and it says no. Future is created and possible futures are cast off. We cannot know all the outcomes or consequences of our choices and we must accept that in our life-creation there will be potentially hurtful and destructive effects. This can be one definition for the ‘state of sin’ in the world.

From this moment of ‘decision’ our characters embark on paths that illustrate ways of trying to contain or control chaos. The husband and wife portray different ways that one may ‘wrap their head’ around this existential burden and we see that rationality and madness, science and magic, are just different paths of coping with or trying to control life.

Ultimately the husband finds that these concepts are not enough–one cannot shirk off or end the power of Antichrist. One only can continue, persevere in the face of it.

Integral to this idea in the film is the appearance of bodies in the forest. At first there are only languishing or lifeless bodies covering the forest floor as the couple make love: the quest is almost fulfilled, concepts of madness and reason are being dissolved–
then in the Epilogue we see the weary and battered husband as triumphant and he is joined by fully formed and living people.
These people are the new future, continued possibility, Life flooding towards the Hero of Faith.

Scott Walker’s attack on Labor Rights has nothing to do with budget and has everything to do with
depriving working families of the American Dream and funneling more cash to the very rich and
big corporations.

This video is of Congresswoman Gwen Moore exposing Walker’s gambit:

full moon touched clearing
ignited night glow
silkworm tears

all that arises passes
everything that evening
collapsed transformed

while battles raged elsewhere
those gathered practiced
comforting solace

the sage writhed distressed
in whispers addressed
Yasodhara Rahula

words of loving comfort
exchanged between them
tearful reconciliation

death came at last
one suffering ended
many mourning

the way isn’t skyward
it appears within
one’s heart

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