Enough Seriousness

Here’s my favorite all time joke:

Sherlock Holmes and Watson decide to go camping. They head out into the woods, set up camp, build a campfire and eventually turn in for the night. Sometime deep in the night Holmes wakes Watson and, as is his habit, starts to ask him questions.

Watson, look up, tell me what you see and what it means.”

Watson, always wanting to impress his observant friend, looks up into the night sky and ponders deeply. Eventually he replies that he sees a beautiful clear night sky and that the lack of clouds means they’ll have good hiking weather in the morning.

No Watson, try again” says Holmes.

Watson ponders more deeply and offers a better answer. “Holmes, I see the vast and starry night. I see the unimaginable depth of space and time. I see how small and insignificant we humans are and it should remind us that we are mortal and our lives are very very short.”

No Watson, try one more time” comes Holmes’ reply.

Watson is really reaching now. He so wants to get the answer right. After many long minutes he finally thinks he has it. “Holmes, I see the profound beauty of the universe. I see the hand of God and the majesty of his creation. I see the awe of creation and the promise that the universe offers to all that will but look.”

Holmes sighs deeply and says “No Watson, you jackass, someone stole the tent.”


A Conundrum

So you might have noticed the lack of posts in the recent weeks. Yeah, I noticed it too. It seems I’m stuck in a bit of a conundrum. I’m a mostly positive person. I like people and I’m generally optimistic about the future. I understand the corrosive power of hatred and anger. And yet every time I sit down to write about the world I see around me the rage comes spewing out like some caustic turbocharged Nina Hagen lyric. (I’ll take obscure punk rock references for 800, Alex.) Who wants that crap informing their life? The anger, not Nina Hagen. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, the conundrum.

I don’t want to be angry all the time. I don’t want to go through life filled with rage, no matter how justified it might be. I want to grow and love and have a little fun. My days are increasingly filled with music, spirituality and training. I work hard to keep dream killing negative people out of my life and yet I’ll sit and watch them on the news or read their crap in the paper. A few minutes thinking about the government or the damage done by fear drenched religions and I’m all lathered up and ready to man the barricades with my pitchfork. I’d really rather go to the pool and have a cocktail than get all pissy so I’ve stayed away from the word processing program.

I suppose this is parter of a larger issue. Can one lead a positive spiritual life and still be engaged with the world? Can one address injustice and fear without being consumed by anger or hopelessness? Even if one is Scottish and Irish? The Buddhists and other renunciate religions don’t think so. And I’m not sure. Thus we come back to conundrum.

I like writing about the world as I see it. Some people seem like to reading my little diatribes. Of course my angriest pieces bring about the most feedback while my positive, thoughtful essays are accompanied by the sound of crickets. That makes sense because the negative is much more fun. I know that anger is bad for me, and probably the world doesn’t need it much either but I’m unlikely to transform into some kind of ‘everything is blue sky and rainbows’ hippy. I just don’t know.

A few weeks ago I saw Arlo Guthrie. He quite accidentally solved a question I’ve had problems with for years. I never know what to say when people ask what I do for a living. It’s just too complicated and unusual to explain in a sentence or two. When people asked his dad that question he responded by saying “I think about things and try to help the people around me”. What a great fucking answer. I’m stealing it. I’m just not sure if my getting royally pissed off is helping anybody.

Oh well, enough whining about my little problems. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens. Can the essayist stay positive? Can he write about the good things that make up the foundation of his life and practice? Does he resist the temptation to bathe in the rage of righteousness? (Resisting temptation is not my strongest suit.) And which road leads to Saor Alba, Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion?


Oh Lord!

To all the loyal fans of The Temple of the Circus Monkey and Avoiding the Squirrels, I have an unimportant announcement to make. As part of my ongoing quest to be sillier, more serious, and have more fun I have added a heraldic title to my name. A legitimate one. I’ve purchased a small piece of land in Scotland, and with it the right to title ‘Lord’ or it’s Scottish equivalent ‘Laird’. I have the paperwork to prove it.

Therefor henceforth I shall be legally named Laird Angus McIntosh, Archbishop of the Temple. New business cards are in order. My web master will be changing the name on all of the websites. I’m actively campaigning for my wife to refer to me as M’Laird but so far she’s just rolling her eyes and sighing. And yes, I’m serious. So now you should take the following admonition even more seriously: Saor Alba, Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.


Random Thinking…

Okay, so it’s been quite a while since I posted anything. I just haven’t been in the damn mood. I HATE this time of year. It’s colder, darker, and the hideous orgy of consumerism we call Christmas is starting. It’s hard for me to remember that we are holy creatures of light these days. But I’m back, at least for now. No guarantees until we get past New Years.

Instead of my normal one topic rant I think we’ll just let a bunch of random thoughts from the last few weeks come tumbling out like maniacal dice thrown in a demonic game of craps. Snake eyes every time…

The election- Don’t really care. One group of corporate candidates beat the other one. Everyone hates the government and every election they send the EXACT SAME people back. Idiocy of the highest order. Wake me up when we have a democracy.

The CIA scandal- Still don’t care. Powerful men like to shtoop impressionable women. So what. Same as it ever was. I’d impress some cutie-pie with state secrets to get laid if I had any state secrets to share. Quit reading spy novels and move back to reality.

Democrats- Congratulations, you know math. That doesn’t mean that we like you. Wipe the smug smile off your privileged lips. Being slightly less hateful and corrupt should not be a source of pride.

Republicans- Sorry, there aren’t enough angry repressed old white guys for you to win anywhere outside of the south. You lost because your ideas suck. End of story.

The ‘fiscal cliff’- Oh shut up. The end is near. The sky is falling. Or not. There are real, profound problems with our financial system, but this ain’t it. Classic misdirection fueled by media hype.

The media- Frank Zappa once said that politics is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex. Yep. That makes you guys the side show barkers desperately trying to entice us into the bullshit emporium. Find some balls and attack corporate/government power or quit calling yourselves journalists and accept the fact that you’re slightly underpaid sitcom actors.

Civil rights- Still ain’t got any. The TSA and the growing police state continue unabated. Funny, it didn’t even come up during the election. Maybe because there was no real choice?

Secession- You guys crack me up. Really, you think that’s gonna happen? But I do like the righteous anger and rebellious attitude. Godspeed and good luck.

Obama- Can we quit demonizing this guy? Jeez. It’s hardly fair to blame the mess on him just because he isn’t fixing it. Nobody else in the government is either. Making him a scapegoat doesn’t help and probably allows the real villains in corporate boardrooms to skate. Take away the racism and hero-worship and he’s just a pretty good politician, above average public speaker, and middling modern president. A less annoying Clinton.

The World Series- Dear ESPN and your east coast bias, Fuck you. The Red Sox, Mets and Phillies sucked. The Giants have won 2 out of 3. Kindly go to hell.

Evil commerce- So black Friday isn’t enough and most big retailers are going to open their stores on Thanksgiving evening. Of course this means their employees don’t get to celebrate much. God fucking forbid we have 24 whole hours to honor gratitude without buying something. Screw families, God, gratitude, tradition, and common decency. I hope there’s a very special level of hell for the people who run these companies. Maybe something involving fire ants, catheters and genitals. And if you’re one of the mindless consuming sheep lined up outside Walmart on Thanksgiving evening I think you need to seriously reconsider your priorities. Or just kill yourself. As a society we’d thank you.

Okay, that’s enough for now. My goodness, what a dark and negative post. Oh well, it is that time of year. I really do have some positive posts on constitutional monarchies, class, God, and inheritance coming. If I’m in the mood. Until that time, my pretties, remember: Saor Alba, Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.


I Can’t Relate…

Enough politics brothers and sisters. Let’s talk about something a little more important today. I feel like preachin’ on parenting and paradox. Ooooh, alliteration, just like a real televangelist…

A wise associate of mine once pointed out that parenting is the ultimate emotional paradox: The better one does it the more the outcome is likely to hurt. You love your children deeply and want them in your life but good parents help their children become independent and autonomous. In other words you’re planning to make yourself obsolete from the thing you care about most. If I parent really well this small beloved child won’t need me at all. Hooray?

Yes hooray, but it still kind of sucks. Thinking about it recently I’ve decided that it’s probably even worse than that. I think good parenting means that you can’t possibly hope to UNDERSTAND your own child. This line of thought started with a Chris Rock joke. He quipped that he didn’t get his kids because they’re rich and he doesn’t know what it’s like to be spoiled and wealthy kid. Growing up poor he didn’t even KNOW a rich kid. Okay, kind of funny, but really really smart. He’s been financially successful so his children are going to have resources and opportunities, attitudes and confidences that he literally can’t imagine. I bet this phenomenon applies to all sorts of things.

Many of us grow up in less than ideal situations. Angry, stupid or abusive parents can combine with the external forces of peer pressure or poverty to make a deeply toxic environment. The fact is that childhood SUCKS for a lot of people and if that’s your experience you have two basic choices; deal with the crap you were given or pass it on to your kids. It’s not exactly news that a lot of abused or repressed kids go on to do the same things to their progeny. In that case the parent and child can both relate to each other on equal ground. But what about those people that make the harder choice and decide that the abuse is going to stop with them?

In these pages I’ve been pretty honest about the mild physical and ugly emotional abuse that filled my formative years. No need to dwell on the particulars, let’s just say I reached adulthood with a full escort of demons. I’ve spent much of my life trying, to the best of my ability, to exorcise as man of them as possible. I’d like to think that I’ve had some success (at the very least I’m not an alcoholic). I know that I’ve managed to keep many of the worst of the abuses out of my children’s life. They grew up better than I did. Of course that’s a good thing, but…

My children are more confident, calmer, and probably smarter than I will ever be. Their improved childhood means that I can’t identify with them at all, and vice versa. They have no idea what’s like to carry some of the demons in my life and I have no idea what it’s like to face life without them. That’s a good thing though it does limit our ability to understand each other.

I’m blessed with many wonderful friends both old and new. One of the ways we’re bonded is through shared experiences. We’re drawn to each other because something in our pasts resonate. In other words we’ve all fought, and continue to fight, some similar demons. If I met my children as adults I might not gravitate towards them, or them to me. Their emotional health and my scars wouldn’t be drawn together as naturally. They live in a better world. I helped move them there, but I can never go myself.

Well, that got a little maudlin. Sorry about that. None the less the point is a valid one. If you deal with the shit you were given and parent with some compassion and patience than your children will have more skills and confidence than you do. If that gap turns out to be rather large it’s going to mean that you won’t really be able to understand each other on many levels. Your experiences will just be too different. And that’s the very fucking definition of bittersweet.

I hope that I will always be an important part of my children’s life. I also pray that they won’t ever need me. That’s the nature of the original parenting paradox. This new paradox means that we’re going to have to work a little harder and with more awareness to understand each other even though we’re likely to remain mystified by the each other’s motivations. My friend Speedy used to have a bumper sticker on his truck that read ‘Guns don’t kill people, bad parenting kills people’. A good point, but want does good parenting do? It brings joy and pain in equal measure. It creates generations that can’t possibly relate to the pain and struggles of their predecessors. It brings balance.

So go forth brothers and sisters and slay those demons. Keep them from your child’s back. Be the one that does the work and ends the abuse. Understand that in doing so you’re creating a better world, but one that you might not get to appreciate or even understand. Joy and pain, sacrifice and acceptance. I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way. Saor Alba, Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.


Tough…

Today’s life lesson:  Even comments made by assholes can lead to interesting thoughts.  Here’s the story…

A while ago I was teaching some ‘at risk’ kids at a public institution.  After class one of the administrators, an asshole, came over and said “So, you think riding a harley, having tattoos and teaching martial arts makes you tough, huh?”.  I laughed in his face and walked away.  Later I couldn’t help but wonder about the question.  After all, any kind of self examination can be useful.

To begin with I don’t consider myself tough.  Those guys who wear our uniform over in Iraq or Afghanistan are tough.  Single mothers working two jobs while raising kids are tough.  I’m a goofball who prefers luxury hotels and high end restaurants to roughing it in the great outdoors.  Having said that I am a biker.  I’ve ridden long distances in hideous conditions.  I am heavily tattooed and some of that shit hurt.  I’ve trained in and taught martial arts for 25+ years and I’ve worked with some pretty edgy people.  I’m kind of loud and opinionated and I don’t back down very well.  There’s not much that intimidates me.  Maybe those things do qualify me as tough in a way.  But I think the asshole and his passive-aggressive question put the cart before the horse.

If I’m tough it’s not because of my hobbies or lifestyle.  I’m tough because I was raised by mean and abusive parents.  I’m tough because it seemed like the best way for a kid to survive in an ugly and dangerous family.  Toughness informs my choices, not the other way around.  Being a biker won’t make you tough, but being a little tough might make you a biker.

Look, abuse and ugly childhood experiences are way more common than you’re probably willing to admit.  Hell, nearly 20% of the kids in this country go to bed hungry on a regular basis.  Throw in bullying, absentee parenting, religious repression, shitty schools, and peer pressure and it’s a fucking wonder so many kids survive as well as they do.  If you spend too much time thinking about childhood in this country with an open heart you’ll weep uncontrollably.

Life’s experiences shape us all.  If those experiences are difficult or challenging one must find a way to cope.  There are relatively few ways for kids who face abuse or a harsh childhood to survive relatively intact.  Some people become addicts.  Some cower in fear.  Some get mean or violent or try to fuck up everyone else’s lives (politicians).  Many settle for repeating the abuse they themselves suffered.  And a few just get tough.  To me it might be the most enlightened choice.

Many of those adaptations are extremely negative and involve violence or abuse directed inwardly like addiction or outwardly like hate or fear.  Sometimes the connection is pretty obvious like when the abused kid buys a gun and shoots up a school or fills his veins with heroin.   Other times the adaptation is subtler, like lashing out at gay people or minorities.  Religious fundamentalism is perhaps just an expression of meanness caused by the self loathing of abuse.  As my friend Tim says, “Guns don’t kill people, bad parenting kills people”.

It’s really hard for a child of abuse or hard times to resist the temptation to ease his or her pain by spreading it to others.  But many of us do.  And we do it by being tougher than the impulse.  It’s funny because toughness isn’t a quality that this society seems to embrace any more.  We’ve replaced John Wayne and Steve McQueen with sparkly vampires and a lot of whining.  But toughness is good.  Ghandi said that only a man who understands his own capacity for violence can choose nonviolence in a meaningful way.  The same might be said of a man who carries the scars of hard times or abuse.  Only the ones tough enough to tolerate it can hope to know compassion and forgiveness.

I’m clearly not suggesting that every biker or martial artist is the product of an abusive home.  That would be ridiculous.  I am saying that our choices are shaped by the adaptations that our environments demanded.  Not the other way around.  So if you see someone who seems tougher than you are give them a smile.  They might be fighting the good fight.  And they are certainly the ones who will lead the revolution.  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.


Reason to Believe…

Lord won’t you tell us,
Tell us what does it mean
At the end of every hard earned day
People find some reason to believe…
Bruce Springsteen, Reason to Believe.

What do you believe?  What gets you through the dark days and cold, lonely nights?  Do you know?  Do you ponder the meaning of life and wish to gaze upon the face of God or are you just a cog in the machine?  Do you dare question the universe or do you find it safer to march in line with all the good little worker ants?  These are questions that NEED TO BE ANSWERED.

2012.  The year the world ends.  Or maybe not.  More likely the year the Mayan carvers decided they’d done enough and needed a blow job and a drink.  But even if the world doesn’t end I still think it’s likely to be a watershed year full of chaos and deep changes.  Things are boiling below the surface and the unprepared will be forced even further into their fear caves.  Not us.  We feel it coming and we embrace uncertainty.  We will stay in the light even if we’re not sure from which direction it shines.

It seems so quaint these days to talk about good versus evil.  If you start to muse upon that never ending battle you’re resolutely ignored or mocked and there’s probably a good reason for that.  Most of the people who use that language are ‘Left Behind” types who think Jesus is coming back to take them to paradise while he punishes all those ‘different’ people or Muslim idiots who are battling the great Satan of women’s rights.  I’m not talking about that man made, fear drenched bullshit.  I’m taking about the deeper, more personal battle we all face in our own little lives.  Are we good to ourselves and each other?

Every day I see people choose love.  I see them go into relationships with bravery and optimism.  I see time, support, and care given wholly and without condition.  I see people create and sing and teach.  I see GOOD.  But I also see avarice, dishonesty, and greed.  I see the rich waste resources that would save lives.  I see hungry kids and lying scumbags running for office.  I see fear and hate and division.  And that, my friends, is EVIL.

Yep, 2012 is gonna be a wild ride.  My sources tell me things are gonna change.  It might be the year where you need to choose between Good and Evil, Love and Fear.  Or maybe not.  I’ve been wrong before.  Either way it can’t hurt to remember your reason to believe.  Now it’s time to honor the Mayans with a blow job and a drink.  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.


My Excellent Adventure…

Ok , ok, I know I’m a little wacky.  That isn’t exactly news.  I have a mirror.  Besides, I know better than most the strange things that happen between my ears.  Sometimes though even I’m surprised by how really out of touch I am.  Gather round the virtual pulpit and listen to my excellent adventure into the land of the normal…

At the end of this month I’m going to ride my motorcycle to Vegas.  I’ve done this quite a few times before and I know it can be a little grueling.  600 miles done in 11 hours or so, frequently through the desert heat.  Being a somewhat responsible biker I always do a thorough vehicle check a few weeks before the trip and second one the day before.  Anyway, I decided that my rear tire and most likely my rear brake pads should be replaced before I hit the road.  I called around the usual places and the only one who could do it quickly and reasonably was a shop that didn’t take appointments.  Everything was done on a first come, first serve basis and they opened at a barbaric 7:30 am.  I decided to get there at opening last Wednesday.

My first surprise came when I found traffic at 7:00 am.  Who knew?  These days I almost never get up until after 8 and when I was training I used to leave the house before 5.  Why were all these people up and on the road?  Oh yeah, they have real jobs!  They ‘go to work’ at a proscribed time.  What a ridiculous notion, and that was just the beginning.  After I dropped the bike off I decided to walk a few blocks towards downtown San Francisco.  There were people rushing everywhere.  The lines to get caffeinated up at Starbucks were huge.  The Bart station was spewing suits out onto the street.  Oh my god, I used to be like this many many tears ago.  I was horrified.  I needed to adjust.

Every morning  when I get up I spend about 45-60 minutes doing Tai Chi, martial arts exercises and meditation.  I decided to find a quiet spot and stay on schedule.  I walked over to Yerba Buena park and it was beautiful.  A big grassy area, trees, a big crashing waterfall.  It even had people.  About 40 elderly Chinese scattered in small groups doing their morning exercises and Tai Chi.  I found a good spot near the waterfall and joined right in.  A couple of them gave me dirty looks but I think most of them were quite tickled by the big tattooed biker doing the forms in leathers and heavy boots.  A few even motioned that they liked my blue mohawk.  I had a great workout.  It was so quiet and peaceful but I knew that there were bustling business types on all sides of us.  I think the old Chinese people were having more fun.  I know I was.

Since I was so pleased by my workout I decided to treat myself.  I normally don’t eat much fast food but I have a secret passion for Sausage McMuffins.  I wandered up to Market Street, a calm force amongst the still raging human commuting storm.  I got a table at McDonald’s and spent about 45 minutes watching the suits scurry into and out of office buildings.  I can’t even begin to imagine what they all do in there but they seem to think it’s awfully important.  There was a homeless person at one of the adjacent tables.  (This is SF.  There is ALWAYS a homeless person at the next table.)  He made eye contact a few times while reading a free newspaper weekly pulled from his piled belongings.  I assumed he would eventually ask for money but I was wrong.  As I got up to leave he nodded at me and said “watch out, the rest of them aren’t like you”.  I stopped to consider what he said and decided I had to ask why.  He said “I been watching you.  You’re not one of them”.  Hmmmmm, intriguing.  “You smile.  Watch them out there, they never smile.  You were sitting there watching them and you were smiling.  They don’t do that.”  I thanked him and he gave me a big smile of his own and went back to muttering under his breath at the paper.  That was interesting.

As I headed back to pick up my bike I tried on his awareness.  I looked for smiles.  Not a one.  I probably passed more than 200 people and not one of them was smiling.  I’m not sure that means anything and I don’t think I necessarily want to be included in the ‘crazy homeless person’ group.  But I do tend to smile a lot.  As I was riding home I remembered that I used to get shit for smiling from the kids who I was teaching.  They used to say “what you got to be so happy about” or “why you smilin all the time”.  I never really had a good answer for them.  It does occur to me though that it might be because I don’t go to ‘work’ in one of those big office buildings.  And I’m pretty sure it’s cause I don’t take anything as seriously as they seem to.

Anyway, that was my excellent adventure.  On Tuesday I’m going to put up a big political piece that I’ve been working on for the last couple of weeks.  In the meantime have a good weekend.  And maybe smile a little.  It couldn’t hurt.  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.

– Archbishop Angus


Fathers and Sons

As some of you may know, this summer saw my son move out on his own.  The transition has not been an easy one for him.  Maybe it never is for anyone at that difficult age.  It’s been easy for me because it seems natural and I want him to be strong and independent.  As usual, I have contemplated the meaning.

My father was an insecure and angry man who spent his life finding success in a corporate world he hated.  His inability to live as he wanted caused him to lash out at his eldest son and, eventually, to drink himself to death.  Fortunately I got to know the real man a little bit before he passed and some of these thoughts are the result of that experience.

The dynamic between fathers and sons is unique.  I have a daughter but her challenges are different because men and women are different.  I know, not politically correct, but as usual, I don’t give a fuck.  This isn’t written specifically for my son or for my father.  It’s just a statement for the universe.

Dear Son:

There are things I wish you could know.  Not just hear or read, but truly understand.  Maybe not today or even tomorrow, but soon.  Sometime before you need them.  These are truths as I know them, and they matter.

Know that even if you live to be 200 years old, you will never find another soul who loves you as I do.  There is not another man who will fight harder for you, push or defend you more sincerely, and care more deeply.  Such a thing just can not be.

Know that life is good and the world is a beautiful place.  Know that faith is strong and that love is magical.  Know that Joy is everywhere and there for the taking.  Know that you can and will make the right choices if you can best your fear.  Know that integrity is worth the effort.

Know that much of what you fear is meaningless.  The things that seem so scary or large today will be unremembered before you know it.  Know that actions matter, ideas and opinions change, and relationships define your life.  Caring for the people around you is more valuable then you can guess, and the opinions of others more worthless.

Know that, in some small way, you will be defined by the people in your life.  Make good choices and surround yourself with interesting and caring souls.

Know that there is passion in you and that you can find it.  Act upon it.  Accept that it will demand a lot of hard work.  Laziness will cause more regret than any action.

Know that following leads you nowhere.  Finding YOUR path and YOUR way is why you’re here.  To follow others is to cede your most precious gift.

Know that you can achieve anything you choose, that you are much stronger and more resilient than you imagine.  Know too that my approval is hard to win, not because I want you to fail, but because I want your wins to mean something.

Know that I have very high standards for you.  Not because I need you to succeed for my ego.  I have a life to feed that beast.  High standards are your birthright and I know how rich life your can be.  To see you waste a minute on self doubt or passing fear is a loss beyond words.

Know that there are things that mean NOTHING to me.  I don’t care how much money you make or what status you garner, I only care you that you adore what you do and do it well.  I don’t care who you choose to love, only that you love them unconditionally and without fear.  I don’t care who you are, just that you be strong and honest, a man among men.

Know that I have fought demons.  Sometimes I have won and sometimes I have lost.  The demons I have beaten you will never know.  The demons that have bested me will challenge you.  It is your job to beat as many as you can before they can  challenge YOUR son.

Know that you can disappoint me.  You can make me angry or very very sad.  But you cannot make me give up on you.  You cannot make me abandon you.  You cannot make give up the dream that you will be a better man than I am.  You cannot rob me of the hope that you will some day understand and appreciate all that I have done, good and bad, weak and strong, right and wrong.

This may well be the worst piece I have ever written.  Too personal and sentimental to the point of sappy.  Oh well, and so it goes.  Vaya con Dios and Viv la Revolucion.

– Archbishop Angus


Mayday

May Day

Well, according to my really cool ‘babes in coffins’ calendar it’s May Day.  Are you celebrating?  Did you even know it’s a holiday?  Hell, it’s actually two different holidays and it also happens to be the launch date for the Temple.  So let’s ruminate on how these three things come together in the great cosmic whatever.

The original May Day was celebrated in Gaelic countries as a festival called Beltane.  It was considered the beginning of the summer season.  The crops had been planted and the herds had to be moved to their summer feeding grounds.  Like most festivals it marked a period of transition, in this case from spring to summer as it’s roughly half way between the equinox and the solstice.  In the last 150 years or so years May Day has come to celebrate the labor movement.  You know, those weirdos that think the people who cash paychecks are just as human as the people who sign them.  More recently the day has been co-opted by various anarchist groups.

So how all this comes together?  We have an ancient agrarian festival and power to the common man with a little anarchy thrown in.  Or, put another way, we have an appreciation for the cycles of the universe, egalitarian thought and a little dash of chaos.  All three tap deeply into the uniquely human trait we call hope.  Could there be a better day for unleashing the Monkey?

As some of you know I’ve been a busy little writing bee for the last few months.  Now, on May Day, it’s time to move the cows to the mountains.  Time to see if the seeds I’ve planted will grow.  Time to let the world judge the fruits of my labor.  Time to stop using so many metaphors.  Well, that last one seems unlikely…

Welcome to the Temple of the Circus Monkey.  There will be three new blog posts this week explaining how I got here and what it all might mean.  In the meantime go check it out.  Circusmonkeytemple.org.  And yes, I know Mayday is also a call for help and yes, I’m aware of the irony.  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.