Sunday, November 1, 2009

An Update To The Post of February 21, 2009

In a different interview published by Paris-Match, Monica Bellucci had more to say.

Les dix commandements de séduction de Monica Bellucci:
1- Savoir se faire attendre
2- Bien se connaître
3- Oser le rouge à lèvres
4- Se respecter
5- Montrer ses formes
6- Étre une bonne vivante
7- Défendre la brune attitude
8- Prendre des risques
9- Aller au bout de ses rêves
10- Laisser le charme agir

The ten commandments of seduction of Monica Bellucci:
1- Know how to keep them waiting
2- Know yourself well
3- Dare to redden your lips
4- Respect yourself
5- Show your curves
6- Be a bonne vivante
7- Defend the brunette attitude
8- Take risks
9- Go to the end of your dreams
10- Let charm do its work

Thursday, June 11, 2009

You'll Never Know Who You Are Until You Know How You Will Die.

Of all the things to have overlooked. The question "Who Am I?" leads directly to the simpler question "How Will I Die?" Here's what it looks like for me.

I plan -- and I know that other entities, persons, events, or forces will or might have a hand in this -- I plan to die when I'm one hundred seventeen (117) years of age. I plan to start smoking cigarettes again when I'm one hundred ten (110). I smoke the odd and infrequent cigar right now. I stopped smoking cigarettes in 1986, when I was forty-five. I had smoked them for thirty years.

So much for the facts.

How will I die? From my personality it is possible to suggest the following. My wife and I will be having a cup of coffee together over breakfast. It will be high summer, hot, I hope, and not too humid. Sunny. My wife will excuse herself to use the toilet. When she returns she will find a modest pile of ashes, right there in the very chair where I had been sitting.

To put it a slightly different way, I will be healthy and active very late into this new century (the twenty-second, that is), showing no sign whatsoever of mortality, and then reduce suddenly to a dusty mound.

Now that sounds terrible, I know, but look at it this way. No long, drawn-out decline, complete with a debilitating disease, expensive doctors, nurses, drugs, equipment, bed clothing, rotten smells, bad tempers, revolting faked cheerfulness, and then, finally, coughing, gasping, bug-eyed, retching -- the final calm.

I quit going to doctors back in 2004, January. I've been consulting with a quack ever since. We get my body in balance. A body in balance gets rid of Bad Stuff and the symptoms go away. Notice I say nothing about treatments or cures. Consulting with a quack leads to remedies, which bring the body into balance. No promises of any kind are made. Coming up with remedies by consulting with a quack is explicitly not a medical procedure in any sense of the word. The remedy is not directed at the symptoms or called upon in any way to improve what is called "health." The remedies are for You, to bring your out-of-balance body back into balance. It does not work for everyone. But no harm is done, ever. Some people are so out of balance that they have no choice but to endure their suffering quietly and wait for the final calm.

Okay. Here are some of the symptoms that have gone away. All of them are frequently thought of as "incurable conditions:" gerd, excematic splits, bursitis, chronic muscle pain, fidgeting, low energy, and some other things which I will have to go look up, just not right this moment. So I'm feeling immortal. I have no concrete evidence that this mortality thing is going to apply to me, though when looking back over the stretch of history, way back, like far back into the mists of time, I cannot entertain any fictions -- the odds are not on the side of immortality. Caesar -- gone! Brutus -- gone! Peter, Paul, and Mary -- gone! And, yet, I think it accurate to say that, all heads present and accounted for, the vast majority of those who have ever lived are alive and well this very day. Just think of the billions who walk the earth today. Just think of the centuries it has taken to gather such a force? How much seed, how many eggs, have had to come together to put such a grand schieramento of souls "on the hoof," so to speak? And, still, there is no end.

There is, you see, strictly speaking, no such thing as death. Your soul, spirit, essence leaves the body it's in now, the body returns to dust, and the soul, spirit, essence returns to the Fifth Density, where the Great Wholeness Spirit Essence resides, and you go out and around once again looking for whom to inhabit. This might be someone slightly better than you had the last time around. On the other hand it might be something "humbling." You do it again, or you move up, and one day you have no further need for the material and you become content. But "death," death as we know it now, does not exist. (You can find this elsewhere, expressed more fully, accurately, and plausibly.)

When I was young my parents sent me to the parish school where the nuns told us that if we ate meat on Friday and died without confessing we would spend eternity, afire, in Hell. How's that for a pornographic exercise? What could I possibly learn about life and death after that? I remember the day I realized that no one had ever burned in Hell for eating meat on Friday. I was in Belluno, just sixty miles north of Venice, nestled up against the Dolomites. I was walking in the old part of town, the rinascimento part of town, trying to decide which language I wanted to do my Easter Duty in, English or Italian. A force, a wind, came at me from the front and pushed me back several feet. From my mouth burst forth the word, "What?!"

Italy is actually not a good place to go if you're in any way uncertain about "the faith." The number of priests -- this is 1965 -- was large, inexplicable. Schools of them, always, always in motion, in full skittle, in and out of buildings, up and down staircases. Long tunics, flying-saucer hats. Hearty smiles, knowing looks, eyes down, heads up, discreet greetings finally. Sometimes you would see a priest eating in a public restaurant with lay persons. This had to be done carefully. He had to know the Laugh. Its verbal equivalent goes something like this: I have just squeezed out a perfect, round turd. I tried to prevent this, of course. I was fortunate, however, and knew exactly how to harden my cheeks and avoided crushing the turd and therefore causing a stink. I will treat the turd as if it were an egg. And, who knows, it has the shape of an egg, so maybe it will hatch. Perhaps we are all together now to witness the appearance of the next step in my career.

Do you know how to laugh?

So, since there is no such thing -- really -- as death, how can I possibly die? And if I cannot possibly die, how can I possibly know myself at all? Making fun of others has done nothing more than give me, myself, something to think about.

Here's something slightly enigmatic, because taken slightly out of context, from Joseph Conrad:

Whatever my native modesty may be it will never condescend so low as to seek help for my imagination within those vain imaginings common to all ages and that in themselves are enough to fill all lovers of mankind with unutterable sadness.

This is the man I aspire to be (like). Click on the picture to enlarge it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Skip The 21st Century? Why?

The reason for skipping the 21st century is that it was home to a number of people whose backs were to the wall and whose only out was to kill everyone else. These were the people who wanted so much -- everything -- that they had no choice, then, but to drop the bomb on that large segment who was not aware of what they were up to. "That large segment" -- the innocent -- us -- the sight of whom was repulsive to (for instance) the banker.

Whether you learn or not who you are, you will clear your mind of the frauds and criminality, whose odor is still perceivable, that led up to the 21st. Their entire civilization was the result of the tireless, sometimes sincere and innocent, work of the psychopath, whose only aim was power. This is hard to understand, even today, to see in its simplicity. It doesn't sound right, does it? It leaves out so much!

Yes, it does, but the things it leaves out are your things, and mine, and not the things of the psychopath. Wars really were fought so that a small band of folks in high places could make a lot of money. If you think there was anything more to it than that can you put it down in words? Can you start a blog?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

More Death.

Two days ago, it happened again, this time to a rabbit.

I was driving home, heading for the last street before turning in. I took the turn wide, as I sometimes do, and started to correct and pick up speed. A rabbit scampered out of the brush at the left, turned sharply back and retreated several feet, then turned again and headed full steam into the road and under my tire. A rabbit.

Just before we got married many years ago, we were driving along a road in a treed subdivision, when a squirrel appeared, started to dash into the road across the path of our onrushing car, and, then, as clever squirrels will do, turned one hundred eighty degrees and attempted to return to the side of the road where he started. This is a well-known and usually successful manoeuvre, whereby a squirrel, in an attempt to evade a fox, will spin around and escape by dashing right between the po' boy's legs. Alas, my front tire was not a fox, and crushed him. It was a bad note leading up to a wedding.

And, again, in college, many many years ago, a cat loped out into the road in front of my car, at night, as if seeking out the very spot where he would meet the onrushing tire, and was crushed.

I hope this is at an end.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Dead, Who Scream for Revenge.

Came around a curve and there they were, the one I was about to kill, and his companion. Two chihuahuas off on a sweep, still up on the curb, but headed into the road. Mine dropped down onto the pavement. The other one hesitated.

Lucky hesitation, little chihuahua!

They had both heard the noise of the car and had turned to look. The one in the road quickened. He saw what was about to happen. I slammed on the brakes, but it was too late. I cursed the little dog as the contents of the passenger seat slid forward onto the floor. I heard a dull thump and blinked. After clearing the site I saw his motionless body in the rear view mirror, laid out flat on its side.

I did my errand and retraced my tire tracks, driving slowly past the site where the body had lain. No body, no stains. No sign of his companion.

Had someone stopped and removed the carcass?

Had he risen from the cement and gone off?

I'll never know.

Friday, March 27, 2009

More on "Solitude"

Those of us who are optimists are already living in the 22nd century. To join the party it is only necessary to answer the question, Who Am I?

The following is a compendium of flat statements, which are themselves nothing more than a personal summation of other people's hard work. A little fun at the end of a busy and productive week.

Monotheism was a declaration of war against all -- the earth, the animals, the people. The first monotheists were not the first to shed blood and to pursue conquest. Not at all. Their innovation was to convert an idea into an act: the idea of destiny, or of a certain future, into the act of righteously pursuing power as a way of affirming the greatness of the One and Only. The important thing about an Only God, a One and Only, is that He had to be discovered and discovered not out there, but within "me." The One and Only God had never before shown Himself? In other words, the greatness was in "me," who discovered Him. Without "me" to righteously pursue power He would never have been known, never have been able to "save" mankind.

Thus, victims thereafter would be known by their resistance to "me," which is resistance to Him. Victims would forever be all those who put themselves in opposition to God's will by opposing "me." And victims, as you know by now, beg to be annihilated. From the first glimmer of the One and Only in that presumptive priestly brain, "trapped" perhaps in "captivity," the whole point, the only point, becomes the complete annihilation of All Other.

The dénoument, as they must have known, could only have been what it was, their own self-destruction. We escaped -- just barely. As you can see, it is now the 22nd century, and we have survived. They did not, "they" being the big three, the mighty Abrahamic juggernaut.

The Jews acted in the way of the mafiosi, seeking to hoard wealth and power unto themselves, but their body-count was always rather low, even though they were known at times to achieve a certain gruesomeness. The Muslims adopted the way of hysterical release, breaking out from time to time into a frenzy of slaughter, quickly accomplished and just as quickly put aside.

The work of both of these groups, however, is as nothing in contrast to the achievements of the third member of the triumvirate, from whom there flowed such a murderous, recurring, and apparently well-planned rampage as made them, at one time, the envy of the world. I speak, of course, of the "Christers," who, driven by envy of all those not forced to live (as they were) against nature, gave rise to rivers of blood on every continent.

I'm not aware of the full story, although it is rumored to be frightful. However, I am aware of several things that happened here in the New World. For one, the activities of the Spaniards. Were they driven by demons? Did they lust for gold? How about: extra ecclesiam non salvatur (outside the Church there is no salvation)? They massacred the Indians of Mexico and the Caribbean. It is a history that was recorded by their own priests and scribes. The deaths go into the millions. The barbarous details are yours to discover as you will. Spanish rulers and the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church kept Mexico as a literal and virtual prison from 1521 to 1821. In the words of Boye Lafayette De Mente: "About the only barbaric brutality not imposed upon the helpless Indians during the Spanish reign was the full force of the Inquisition."

And then, a little further to the north, the other Europeans came. They claimed the lands they found here, lands that had obviously been given them by the One and Only, although He omitted to write it down as such in Deuteronomy. Yes, they came, but what did they find? They found Indians, bloody, freaking Indians. "Sister moon!" "Brother wolf!" Imagine their embarrassment. The vulgarity! Indians in every state-to-be of the Union. Ten million? Twenty million? Let's say thirty-five million, one million in each of the states-to-be, discounted to reflect the smallness of some of those states. Thirty-five million Indians.

Few people mention it today. Why should they? After slaughtering thirty-five million Indians, who no doubt had refused to be converted, we went on to become the land of milk and honey, a lamp unto the ages, THE place to go to claim your place in the sun as YOU. And then, having killed off the Indians to get the land, the question arose as to how to farm it. But even as teepees were burning and infants were being harpooned, the question was already being answered. Even before the Declaration of Independence had been penned.

The slave trade. Africa was there in the wings, ready to take up its part in the ongoing revelation of the One and Only. It must have been about the best that they could do, those earlier humans. Did the goodness that eventually arose depend on the blood that had been spilled? Has anyone in Europe or Asia ever said to you, "Yes, but you slaughtered thirty-five million Indians." How many people were killed in the nineteenth century? In the twentieth? In the twenty-first? How much of that slaughter was done in the name of the man to whose life no one ever gave live, contemporary witness? Including the Gospels, there are no surviving historical accounts of Jesus written during his life or within three decades of his crucifixion.

What does all this have to do with solitude? We're alone here in the trailer, on our lot -- on Indian land. No, no one alive killed an Indian. Here's what Chief Joseph had to say at the end of the road:

I am tired of fighting, our chiefs are is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death...hear me, my chiefs, I am tired: my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands...I will fight no more forever.

And now I'm going back to my stories, my dictionaries, my films, my half-ton truck, our two children, and of course our two cats, who I bet know much more than they are able to tell -- or might that not be are willing to tell?

Now let me see if I can find a picture to go with this. Here's one, maybe. Knowing yourself just might be the largest part of that one place -- solitude -- where you see yourself clearly or you don't see yourself at all.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Break With The Past

Once, when I was about two and half years old, my sixteen-year-old sister, Barbara, took me out in my stroller. We went down in the elevator, out onto Seventy-seventh Street in Jackson Heights, N.Y., and up to Roosevelt Avenue. There, at the corner, was the stairway leading up to the "el," the elevated subway train that ran between Times Square and the end of the line in Flushing. Right by it, further back from the road, was the corner drugstore.

She stopped in front of it, and parked the stroller right by the entrance. She leaned down toward my seat, fussed at length with the straps to secure me, and admonished me not to get out. And there she left me while she went inside to flirt with the soda jerk. When she came out later, I was not there.

After a few minutes I forgot she had told me not to get out of the stroller. Then I remembered her saying, "Don't get out of the stroller." I untied myself, and got out. I walked over to the bottom of the staircase and looked up at the endless, rising corridor of steps. I had seen people disappear up into that hole. But I was small, and they were big. I had trouble putting my foot up onto the first step, but the rest of them were easy. I went all the way to the top, one big riser at a time. I walked straight under the turnstile. I knew nothing about tokens or fares. A lot of people were looking at me. I followed several of them to the left, where we went around to the other side of the landing. There, we all climbed up onto the open platform where the dark angry trains rumbled in and out.

I got on the first train that came along. I didn't know it, but I was on my way to Flushing. Had I been on the other side, I would have been on my way to Times Square.

When the train got to the end of the line I didn't know what to do. I didn't know it was the end of the line. So I waited in my seat. Everyone else got off quickly. The conductor saw me sitting there, asked where mom and dad were, then took me with him to the dispatchers' booth. Other men were there in that room, real men with strong voices and chocolate. The room had no ceiling light, but there were many other smaller lights sparkling and shining behind the dials. More lights sat on the tops of other boxes. The men, I learned, were keeping track of the trains. They always knew where the trains were. More lights were attached in various ways to the mechanical switches, which took some strength to move. And the noise, the noise of voices raised in order to be heard, the squealing of steel on steel as the trains snaked around in the dark and burst out into the light of the station. The men were great, I remember. They fed me chocolate for three hours while I watched them move the gigantic switches up and back so the trains could come and go.

Finally, after many frantic phone calls to and from the police, my parents learned there was a small child out in Flushing.

I was now one of the big people, who came and went as they pleased.

I heard talk about "what could have happened." At three years of age, I didn't know why they were agitated. I had no idea why, days later, they were still telling the story to everyone they met.

Poor sister Babs. Imagine the change in her world when she walked out into the street and found the stroller empty. Imagine her telephone call to mom and dad. I don't remember her punishment, but she left thereafter for New England.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

C'mon, hoss, we'll get rich!

Today's blog post is about a very difficult subject: the call from a good friend to come along for the ride to easy riches. "Can't miss." We were living in New Jersey at the time. New Jersey, in the late 80's, in case you didn't know, was Virgin Territory. Never been canvased before. Wide open. You are always so glad to hear these words. Just look at the guy's face! Conviction, sincerity, enthusiasm. Even if he doesn't quite have it right, you know his energy will carry both of you over the top. Bring phone numbers from your warm market...and lots of enthusiasm.

MLM, multi level marketing, where the guy who is sponsoring you is used to purchasing upwards of Fifteen Hundred dollars of "product" each month in order to qualify for his upline bonus. He can't wait for the bonus to hit Five Thou because that's when the company starts overnighting it to you by FedEx.

You learn to say, "Hi, can I ask you a quick question? If I can show you a way to increase your monthly earnings by just a thousand dollars, part time, do you think you might be interested? Yeah? How about two thousand?"


Saturday, February 21, 2009


As a first post, may I put forward the idea of solitude. Solitude is not at all an antisocial thing. You have a private space, if you have any sense, and you guard it, even from your significant other. Picasso, a man of acute instincts and wide availability, had this to say:

Nothing can be done without solitude. I made for myself a solitude unsuspected by anyone.

Solitude, for Picasso, might have been a room that only he could see, that only he could enter, and that he carried with him at all times. It doesn't sound like something he had to go to, or to find, or to construct on the fly. Maybe it was a cat that he kept in a shirt pocket. Maybe, when it purred, it was like the drone in Indian music that marks the cycle and sets the tonal foundation.

At the pathological end is the person who is always alone, even in a crowd, and yet he's unaware of solitude. His purpose is likely to pursue thoughts and actions that are inimical to those around him. At the other end is the person who, though frankly contemptuous and resentful of solitude, is yet thought to be an angel, to be entirely at the service of the public good. Her purpose is likely to offer to help.

Woe to those who resist either.

In the middle is the sane one, possibly the dull one, balanced and equable. This is the person to whom everyone turns when the room is finally in shambles; the one who can move in and out of the state of solitude, in touch with everyone, as well as intimate with a happy few. Most of us are probably somewhere in the middle and deserve to be encouraged in this, though not rewarded.

This is a photograph of Philip Noiret and Totò Cascio, a still from the film "Nuovo cinema paradiso" of Giuseppe Tornatore. M. Noiret seems to know solitude. He died just recently, within the last year or so. He worked on many pictures in Italy and was as much loved there as is Monica Bellucci today in France. That's MB down on the right.

Actually, I have no idea what M. Noiret prefered, but he smoked cigars. That means he had a taste for the best things in life. It means he understood solitude very well. Because of his public notoriety he could probably have gotten away with smoking them where others would be asked to leave, but his face, in these pictures, is that of someone who knew the recuperative power of solitude, of getting up and excusing oneself, and of going off to the good company waiting in the smoking room.

This looks like a still. A healthy glow runs deep in her skin. Her solitude actively solicits your attention. There is makeup and lighting, it is true, but the focused precise feel in her hands and the contemplative race of the eye between her eyelids and lips overcome any ill effect of science. Solitude is not pale or self-regarding. Part of the essence of solitude is exchange. As MB said in a Paris-Match interview: "It is in exchanging that you come to know yourself." And knowing yourself is the larger part of solitude.

Here's what a German had to say about solitude:

"My greatest wealth is the deep stillness in which I strive and grow and win what the world cannot take from me with fire or sword" -- Goethe