Avoiding the Squirrels Blog

Gay is the New Black

Prop 8 and the rise to prominence of Rick Warren has set me to thinking, and that’s never a good thing.  This country’s history of racism is well known.  We’ve hated Africans, Irish, Italians, Asians, Mexicans, and probably a whole lot more.  We also haven’t limited ourselves to heritage.  We also have hated women, Catholics, Muslims, commies, anarchists, and of course Jews.  This is of course not unique.  Human beings do this all over the world.  What is unique is that as a culture we decided to deal with it.  Something magical happened in the 60’s*.  Instead of accepting this necessary evil we called it out.  

We decided, as a people, to say stop it.  Enough hatred.  Enough discrimination.  We can be better than this.  I learned to read in Tennessee in the early to mid 60’s.  I remember reading ‘whites only’ and ‘coloreds only’ signs.  And in my lifetime this has changed enough to allow for a black skinned president.  Good for us.  This kind of wild optimism is Americas great gift to the world*.  I know there are still real problems with racism and hatred.  I know we still have a long way to go and some of our efforts have been stupid and clumsy.  But I think we’ve made amazing progress and that we will get there.  Except…

As a country we don’t allow racial and religious intolerance into the national narrative.  Nor should we.  But there are two notable exceptions.  You can openly hate homosexuals and atheists.  Why is this okay?  Rick Warren has openly said that gay people are unwelcome in his church.  If he had banned women or asians or hispanics would he be giving the invocation?  Do we invite members of the KKK?  How about NAMBLA?  Obama has justified his choice by citing inclusion and tolerance and opening a dialogue.  Is this how we ended racism?  No, we stopped tolerating the people who hated.  But since he only hates gays it’s okay?  Bullshit!

The same is true with atheists and agnostics.  Rick Warren has also said that we’re a christian country and atheists and agnostics should not be allowed to hold office.  The press has barely reported this little gem.  Really?  Is that  what the constitution says?

It is not okay to hate or discriminate against someone based on the color of their skin, their racial heritage, their sex, religion, or their political beliefs.  It is also not okay to do it based on how they use their genitals, who they live with, or a lack of religious beliefs.  Until we work this out we’re just spinning our wheels.

 

 

*specific posts to follow on this issue.


In the Land of the Free

This is America.  The shining hope of civil liberties.  The land of the free and the home of the brave.  Oh, kiss my fat white ass.  The list of shit you can’t do grows every god damned day.  One of the things about squirrels is that they can’t wait to tell you how to live your life.  They have so many regulations that they can’t even keep them all straight.  Never mind that their lives are a fucked up repressed mess supported by lies and facades.  Both the left and right are equally at fault.  We’re the land of the restricted and coddled.

Let’s look at some hard cold facts.  We lock up more people than any other 5 modern countries combined.  We regulate every god damned behavior you can think of.  You need a license to do almost anything.  And we’re shamed out of doing anything individual or fun.  I just read about a mother who lost her kids because she smoked pot with her 16 year old son.  Really?  She’s free?  In my land of the free the following things would be true:

No laws governing my body at all.  Legalize drugs.  I’ll get stoned if I fucking feel like it.  Legalize prostitution.  It’s my dick, if someone wants to rent it I should be able to make that decision.  Get rid of any law restricting sex between consenting adults.  I’ll stick what I want where I want to stick it.  Legalize suicide.  I own my life, not the government.  Get rid of laws dictating seat belts and motorcycle helmets and other mommy induced rules.  I can be stupid if I choose.  Get rid of all gun regulations.  Disband the FCC and run the censors out on a rail.  I’ll decide what I want to watch.  Strip cities and towns of the right to tell you what to do with your property.  No smoking rules have really gone off the deep end.  I’m sure you get the idea.

I’m an adult.  I can make decisions about my life at least as well as any other adult.  If you’re 18 you have the right to do whatever the fuck you want.  If you’re under 18, you’re a kid and you don’t have these rights yet.  If you’re 18+ and you involve a kid in something that is only appropriate for adults, you go to jail.  Very simple.  And way fewer people locked up.

I can almost hear the hand wringing.  People will get hurt.  We need to protect people from themselves.  We need to insure a civil society and have perfectly manicured lawns.  Wrong.  No we don’t.  We need to let people decide things for themselves.  We need to be strong enough in our beliefs that we allow other people to make different choices.  We need to let people fuck up.  We’re American.  We can do this.  I think I’ll get drunk, smoke a cigar, and get a blow job while I shoot something.  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.

– Archbishop Angus


Bah, Humbug

Well, I’m glad that’s finally over.  I hate Christmas.  I hate every fucking second of it.  So I thought I’d start this year off with a diatribe about the many reasons why.  Here are some, in no particular order:

 

1-  I’m not Christian.  It’s a religious holiday for a religion I don’t share.  I don’t celebrate Ramadan, Passover, Shiva’s birthday, Zeus’ cleaning day, or any other holiday from a group of formalized superstitions that I don’t share.  And why are government offices closed for a religoous holiday?

 

2-  Christians don’t seem to understand that other people have other traditions.  Every year some twit on the news opines that she can’t believe some bomber blew up something in the Middle East on Christmas.  They’re muslim you dumbass.

 

3-  Everyone is cranky because they have to spend time with people they spend the rest of the year avoiding.  If you hate aunt Edna for 363 days why not just ignore her for 2 more and be done with it.

 

4-  The hypocrisy of gift giving.  If this is a spiritual holiday then why does 40% of our retail economy depend on it?  In which Gospel did Jesus give Chia pets?

 

5-  The equation of love and gifts.  If you love someone it should be done without commerce.  If I have to buy you a Lexus to prove something, I don’t need your kind of love in my life.  Love is about actions and feelings, not bullshit proscribed gifts.

 

6-   More and more there’s an underlying misogyny in Christmas advertising.  “Every kiss begins with Kay.”  “The gift most likely to make her take her clothes off”  This last one from a pajama company.  The implication here is that the main reason men get gifts for women is to get laid.  Get her a diamond and get a blowjob.  I admit that I can can be a sexist pig but the implication that women are whores, handing out pussy in exchange for jewelry, makes me sick.

 

7-  Supposedly the entire Christian religion is based on redemption.  Good Christmas stories are always about redemption.  Scrooge and the Grinch are obvious examples.  These are good stories about gaining understanding and empathy for others.  So why is it an insult to call someone a scrooge or grinch?  I would love to be known for having redeemed myself.  But that isn’t what we remember at Christmas time, is it?  We only remember the the bad behavior.  Christmas is a celebration of Squirrels.


FAE2- Electronics

In an earlier post I defined the Fake Authentic Experience (FAE), how corporate squirrels and the big mommy government squirrels are trying to keep us from having a vivid, dangerous, fun and real life.  Anything that might be interesting or cool is homogenized for your protection and mass consumption.  This has been going on long enough now that it’s had a profound effect on younger generations.  Real life is so scary and intense for them that they need to filter everything through electronics.  What a fucking mess.

For old people like me there was power, truth, and joy to be found in live music.  We flocked to concerts and filled ourselves with various pharmaceuticals in order to intensify the experience.  I think I may have seen God once at a Bob Marley concert.  I know I saw Satan at the Mudd Club in 1982.  Over the past couple years I’ve started going to concerts again.  Springsteen, Kenny Chesney, David Alan Coe, etc.  I was appalled at what I saw in the audience.  Everybody under the age of 30 was either on the phone or watching the performance through their digital camera.  For the entire fucking show!  I think the experiences was too real for them.  They needed to filter it electronically in order to make it palatable.  Had they ever seen the Ramones or Black Flag the experience might have killed them.  They were turning the concert into a FAE all by themselves.

In a way this makes a lot of sense.  Much of their life is filtered through the screen of electronic screens.  Music is packaged as videos.  Theater is always TV and movies.  Friendship is based on texts and Facebook pictures.  Life has become ‘virtual’ and ‘virtual reality’ has become the biggest FAE.  I know I sound like a cranky old man, but I’m right.

The most obvious example of this is video games.  I hate video games because they are by definition FAEs.  Why play football or baseball when we can play on the tv instead.  Fake tennis, golf, musical instruments, the list is endless.  If you can do it in the real world, you can do it in the fake one.  There are even games that pretend to be a real world.  Why go get laid when you can just have your fucking avatar do it?  Really?  Pathetic.  And don’t get me started on the violence.  Everyone gets to be a virtual bully and kill something.  Try growing some balls and dealing with real people who’d fight back.  Or maybe try empathy and care for things rather than kill them.  It makes me sick.

The effects of living this FAE life are profound.  By making everything safe and filtered they suck any real joy or fun out of your existence.  They make you stupid, lazy, and easily controlled.  They also blur the moral lines in your brain.  If you spend all day killing things on your computer it can’t help but make you less a caring person.  It also allows you to be rude and inconsiderate.  ‘Virtual’ people will say things in a text or email that they would never say to real person.  We all become less civilized and connected.  In “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting” Milan Kundera says that he believes that movies have made love feel trite because every wonderfully romantic moment has been seen before, robbing it if it’s uniqueness. If this is true, FAEs are robbing us of the rest of the world.  I’m not saying get rid of your computer.  They’re wonderful tools.  But make sure to guard your real life before the squirrels make you a ‘virtual person’.  And put down the fucking camera and enjoy the moment instead.  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.

– Archbishop Angus


A Thought on Messiahs

I tend to be skeptical of teachers.  It’s important to have them and I’ve had some good ones.  They can really help you along the path, but only for a short time.  Ultimately you need to go your own way.  The most profound teachers are called messiahs.  The following is paraphrased from “Illusions” by Richard Bach.  I like the imagery.

Once there was a group of creatures that lived at the bottom of a deep and powerful river.  They survived by clinging to rocks and catching little pieces of food that floated by.  Their life was defined by resisting the current.  One of the creatures thought there must be more to life than clinging and grabbing at food.  He decided to let go and see what happened if he just went with the current.  The other creatures thought he was crazy and called him a fool.  They said that the current would surely kill him, and even if it didn’t he wouldn’t be able to catch enough food.  None the less, one day he said his goodbyes and let go.  Initially the current bounced him into rocks and bruised him up.  But he refused to cling again and eventually the current lifted him off the bottom and into the stream.  There was plenty of rich food and he knew joy and beauty as it carried him through the world.  Occasionally he would see other groups clinging to the bottom as he passed.  He decided to drop down and tell them what he had discovered.  When they saw him they thought it was a miracle.  A creature like them who could live without clinging and ride the current.  When he tried to explain that they could do it to they only cried ‘Messiah” and clung all the harder.  Disgusted, he launched himself back into the current, leaving them to pass down stories of the saviour who had visited them.

I really like this story.  I hope that someday I can let go too.


The Fake Authentic Experience

I think everybody (and by everybody I mean me and my assistant, Veronica) would agree that large corporations and the governments they elect are the primary source of squirrels in our society.  One of the things that they demand is a bland conformity.  It serves two purposes:  It makes the sheep easier to control, and it makes it easier to sell them large volumes of crap.  There’s a tremendous cost, an eradication  of creativity, when you’re surrounded by identical details all day long and it has two long term societal effects.  One I call the Great Homogenization, and I’ll look at that in a later post.  The second is the Fake Authentic Experience or FAE.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts the squirrels use fear to accomplish their busybody agendas.  They use the media to keep everybody nervous about all sorts of things.  One of their constant messages is that different is dangerous.   There is a ‘Real America’ that’s made up of white heterosexual christian families with two kids that shop at Walmart, vacation at Disneyland, and work for Megamicrocorp in some capacity.  Anybody that doesn’t fit into this narrow definition is suspect and might be dangerous.  Artists, minorities, immigrants, bikers, the homeless, hippies, punks.  I could continue this list for hours but you get the idea.  Any member of these groups might beat you up or steal your wife or question your assumptions.  And they’re certainly bad for the children!  Needless to say, this is a load of bullshit but it works, and it works well.

There’s a problem, however, that the squirrels face with this agenda.  It’s that all these weirdoes are infinitely more interesting.  They hold a siren like appeal to even the narrowest mind.  Oh, the conflict.  Everything is dangerous and bad for the children, but it also seems like some of those people are living fuller lives, having a lot more fun, and eating much better food.  Corporate squirrels certainly don’t want their sheep to actually try real life and don’t want their constant message of anxiety exposed as fraudulent.  They do want to make a few bucks and control and mitigate that interest.  So they invented the FAE!  The FAE is a corporate attempt to take interesting experiences and sanitize them for ‘Real Americans’ so that they can pretend to be different without any risk. Let me give you some examples…

Most cities have coffee houses where artists and writers hang out and drink exotic blends of coffee or tea.  Most ‘Real Americans’ would be terrified to actually go sit next to the kid scribbling madly in a notebook between sips of espresso but it is certainly more intriguing than Mcdonalds.  Here comes Starbucks to the rescue.  In Starbucks you have Bob Marley on the soundtrack. You have a cartoon on the wall that isn’t quite Jean-Michel Basquiat. You have a photo montage that isn’t quite Robert Rauschenberg. You’re given high levels of better tasting caffeine and you believe you’re about to have an avant-garde moment.  But you’re actually in a strip mall outside Akron, and if an unwashed kid starts loudly reading his poetry he’ll be quietly whisked away.  You’re having a FAE.

Chinese food is tasty and frequently spicy.  Chinese people are foreign and who knows what might be in those dishes, and who can read that huge menu anyway.  PF Changs Chinese Bistro to the rescue!  Right down at the mall you can go in to the psuedo-urban bistro and have bland fried rice and egg rolls.  See how sophisticated we are!  Hurray FAE.  Can you imagine the reaction if PF Changs brought out the Dim Sum tray with chicken feet on it?  That wouldn’t be safe at all.  Outside a lot of suburban malls are rows of these places.  Mexican, but no taquerias or menudo.  Japanese, but no fried shrimp heads.  You get the idea.

Bikers are cool.  Just ask any kid.  So now every mall store has biker t-shirts and chain wallets and heavy boots.  Everything you need to live the biker lifestyle without the dangerous motorcycle.  Tattoos are cool.  Now there are Ed Hardy t-shirts everywhere, but not too many Ed Hardy full body art pieces.  Martial Arts are cool, but there are a lot more people wearing Affliction clothes than there are people working out on a mat somewhere.  All these are FAE.

I live in SF.  Along with New York we are the very symbol of all that is un-American.  (Never mind that we live here too and probably live up to its ideals more fully.)  Tourists come here and sometimes have difficulty because they don’t understand that we aren’t sanitized for their protection.  They treat SF like some version of Disneyland.  There’s Chinese Land, Mexican Land, Hippie Land, Homosexual Land, Overpriced Tourist Wharf, etc.  I recently saw a family standing and gawking at the gay couples in the Castro.  Two wonderfully aware men saw them, embraced each other enthusiastically, and then blew them a kiss.  They literally ran away down Market St. dragging their little brats behind them.  The reality of the situation was just too much for them.

I’m sure you see what I mean by now.  Look around.  They’re everywhere.  Beware.  Your lifestyle might be next.  Living a real, vibrant, and slightly dangerous life is the best revenge!  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion my weird friends.

– Archbishop Angus


What God Might Ask

Here’s something to ponder.  Ask your religious friends.  It certainly set me to thinking…

If God appeared to you and asked you for a sacrifice to show your faith, would you give it?  I think most people would.

If God put you through some trials would you gladly do as asked?  Again, I expect so.

If God asked you to bleed for him, would you?  There is plenty of evidence for that.

If God asked you to kill another in his name, would you do it?  Historically not much problem there.

Is there anything you would not suffer for your God?

What if God put his face right in front of yours and demanded that you be happy all through your life?  What if he insisted on joy instead of suffering and pain.  Could you do that?  Would you even try? 

Is it possible that by interpreting God as demanding suffering we are short selling him with our own need for fear?  I think a loving omnipotent God would ask for joy, but we might not be willing to do that.  Just a thought.


Love and Fear

Although it probably won’t mean anything to anybody else, I have a fairly developed philosophy of life.  It works for me.  You’re welcome to any parts of it you might like.  I like to explain things with stories that everybody knows.  Goldilocks explains why this philosophy isn’t for everybody.  A lot of Papa Bears will think it’s too simple.  They’ll know a whole lot about some of the subjects I’ll touch on and criticize the work as too superficial.  There will also be a lot of Mama Bears who think it’s too complicated.  It talks about so many things and asks the readers for so much responsibility.  Well, it’s not written for either of these groups.  It’s written for those people who think it’s just about right.  In fact, the whole damn point is to find that place in your life that’s just about right, not too hard and not too easy.   And I don’t claim it’s original.  Some of it might be.  I don’t know.

I believe that human beings are only motivated by two things, love and fear.  Every positive thing you do is motivated by love.  In future posts I’ll expound upon this more fully.  Right now I want to talk more generally.  We face the decision between these two motivations every day.  Love is always the right choice and fear is always wrong.  Unfortunately we don’t choose love very often.  Love is hard.  It requires effort, risk, and responsibility.  Love involves change.  Fear is easy.  It means staying where you are, protecting yourself, and is easily justified.  Beware.

Sometimes in life there is an interesting phenomena.  We make a series of small decisions that all seem to be correct.  Then we look back and it turns out they led to a big mistake.  How can it be that a hundred small good decisions could lead you to a big mistake?  It hppens because those decisions were made out of fear.  Fear is insidious and very powerful because it always sounds so damn reasonable.  This is a deep vein, and I’ll be mining it a lot in the coming months.

Squirrels have a place in this philosophy too.  Squirrels always want you to choose fear.  They scare and manipulate you for their own gain.  They’re scared all the time and they want you to be scared too.  Pointing out these squirrly schemes is one of the reasons I have this blog.  Piss off a squirrel.  Spit in the face fear.  Go do something for love.


Bah Bah Bah

There are times that I can’t stand human beings.  The day after Thanksgiving is one of those times.  People are acting like fucking sheep.  A big group of corporate squirrels announce that everyone should go shopping and so the malls fill up.  Stores are opening at 4 am.  A guy was killed in a stampede caused by a Walmart opening their doors for business.  Enough already.  Lemmings.  Sheep.  Mindless workers in the ant hill.  Stop it.  Stop it right now.  Wake the fuck up.

I worked in retail.  I sat in on meetings.  I’m only going to explain this one time.  Big retail corporations make as much as 40% of their gross profit between TG and Christmas.  They do this by getting you to buy shit you wouldn’t buy otherwise.  They probably can’t survive if you only buy the stuff you need or even want.  They need the Christmas shopping season to sell you a bunch of other crap.  Their existence depends on it so they’ll do anything to make sure that happens.

Big retail operations know a lot about what makes people buy shit.  Everything from carpet color to music to smells in the store.  One of the things they know is that the earlier you start Christmas shopping the more you are likely to spend.  The sheep who starts buying in November will buy more than the sheep who waits until 12/20 so they try to get you out as early as possible.  They get the media and news sheep to do stories about the biggest shopping day on Friday after TG.  It isn’t.  The Saturday before Christmas is.  It probably is about fourth or fifth largest.  But if you shop today you’ll probably spend more total dollars in the next month.  They also know that if they can get you in the door they stand a better chance of selling you shit so they have a few really good bargains.  This deep discount serves a second purpose because it means some morons will probably stand outside the store all night generating excitement and publicity.  Nice going.  You waited 32 hours outside a Best Buy to save $100 on a cheap laptop.  You made about 3 bucks an hour.  Fucking genius.  How impossibly stupid do you have to be to wait outside a Walmart all night when that Walmart is open EVERY OTHER FUCKING DAY OF THE YEAR!

I would like to announce here that the day after President’s Day is now Black and Blue Tuesday.  Everyone should spend that day hitting themselves over the head with a hammer.  People can line up outside Home Depot to buy special cheap hammers.  The networks can dispatch reporters to tell us that this what everyone is doing.  The aspirin companies will thrive.  If you’re a good loyal American and good Christian you’ll go grab your hammers and start whacking away.  I hear everyone is doing it.  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion!

– Archbishop Angus


A Biker Monk

Bikers and  Martial Artists have something in common.  They are looking for a little calm and they need the presence of danger to focus them.  The following was posted on the XL list by Bill.  It explains it pretty well from the biker perspective and would be equally true of martial artists.  I must be particularly fucked up since I need both!

We have a wacky theory for why people like to ride motorcycles, and it goes like this: The act of riding is a form of meditation, because the concentration that’s required to safely ride a motorcycle tends to focus the
mind in a way that eliminates other mental distractions that might interfere
with the mission.  This creates a single-mindedness that, in effect, displaces the continuous stream of thoughts that normally flow through our consciousness.

Thoughts about what to eat, who to meet, and worries about the common stresses of everyday life, such as pressures from work and home, disappear from our minds during the ride, because the concentration that’s necessary to focus on the ride pushes those thoughts far into the background.  The result is that the mind becomes refreshed after a ride just like it would after a session of formal meditation or a relaxing vacation.

Just like some people get “hooked” on meditation, motorcyclists get hooked on riding because of the mental relief that it brings.  I wouldn’t be surprised if someone discovers that endorphins or something are released during the act of riding.  I’m sure you’ve noticed that you can’t “zone out” on a motorcycle like you can when driving a car.  Riding safe means being focused and alert at all times – which is one of the reasons why it’s so important to stop and rest at frequent intervals when riding a motorcycle on a long trip.