Friday, May 20, 2011


I find the fact they used a Sesame Street set for this Blondie video to be terribly disturbing. As in "the single greatest indicator that we are living in the end times" sort of disturbing. And I suspect that post-Rapture America will look not unlike the world depicted in this video-skinny white chick "rapping" to a black man in a white suit (with top hat) pretending to be "the Man from Mars" on a street that is too sanitized-I mean, if post-Rapture America is supposed to be an awkward, embarrassing place we wish we didn't have to live in, this fits the bill, does it not?

Got A Lion In My Pocket And Baby He's Ready 2 Roar

This song never gets old, even though its title is, by very definition, dated (and I know I have posted it before, but the context was entirely different, which I only proves how entirely awesome a song it is).

You must forgive me for being blase when it comes to end of the world predictions. I've heard it all before, but when all was said and done, Skynet did not gain self-awareness on August 29, 1997, alien invasion did not occur on July 5, 1998, and Y2K didn't even merit a blue screen of death. Not to mention I made it to adulthood without suffering through a nuclear apocalypse (something I never would have believed as an adolescent, back when the Cold War was still going strong and mutually assured destruction often seemed to be the only thing keeping world leaders from pushing the button). I just can't get worked up because someone says he has calculated that the Bible guarantees that the end is nigh, so send him all your money. However, on the off chance that the Rapture does happen tomorrow, I expect every one of you, be ye sinner or saint, to get your party on tonight. Just in case.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Reapers Are The Angels- Alden Bell

And you could say the world had gone to black damnation, and you could say the children of Cain are holding sway over the good and the righteous-but here's what Temple knows: She knows that whatever hell the world went to, and whatever evil she's perpetrated her own self, and whatever series of cursed misfortunes brought her down here to this island to be harbored away from the order of mankind, well, all those things are what put her there that night to stand amid the Daylight Moon and the Miracle of the Fish-which she wouldn't of got to see otherwise.

See, God is a slick god. he makes it so you don't miss out on nothing you're supposed to witness firsthand.

From the very first page of this book, you know you are in for something special.

The Reapers Are The Angels is not a book I would have picked up on my own. I really have no interest in the subject matter, finding it to be too goofy and gross, ridiculous and repulsive, foolish and foul. I saw some reviews on the internet, reviews so positive I had to check it out for myself and for this I am forever grateful because this is perhaps the most beautiful, poetic, emotionally ravaging book ever written about a post-Zombie apocalypse world.

When we first meet Temple, she is living in a lighthouse on a remote island, alone with her memories of an older man who gave her a home for awhile and a younger brother she loved, both of whom are long dead, both of whom she couldn't save. Forced to return to the mainland and human interactions, we follow her on a journey through the remains of a world she never knew (having been born after the slugs took over the world). One the way, she makes enemies who want her dead and friends who can only do so much to keep her alive. She is tortured by the mistakes she made which led to the deaths of those she loved and she is tortured by her guilt at the evil she feels she now wreaks upon the world. And she is able to relish the moments of beauty in the world made ugly beyond imagination

Temple watches. The god she knows is too big to need the supplication of the puny wanderers of the earth. God is a slick character, with magics beyond compare--like the lights that tempt you into the belly of the beast, or sometimes other lights, like the moon and the glowing fish, that lead you back out again.

I never wanted this book to end. I loved the ending and, yet, I wanted so much for it to be otherwise. Temple gets her happy ending, but it isn't one where she gets her brother back, and though the whole point of the book is that it is a bad thing when people come back from the dead, I found myself wishing it could be otherwise. Because Temple really deserved a life free from that pain. Yet if she had had it, she may never have been able to see all the miracles of her world.

She is thinking how he died once in her mind already, and how he came back to life to sit here talking with her here in this abandoned little town in Texas. And that leads her thinking about the nature of all things, about how dead things have trouble staying dead, and forgotten things have trouble staying forgotten, and about how history isn't something from an encyclopedia- it's everywhere you look.

You have to read this book. The beauty of the language will make you swoon, the ugliness of the world in which Temple lives will make you despair, and her pain will make you cry hard tears which burn your skin. And every page is filled with truths spin you around and then smack you right between the eyes.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

"For finding your mother there's one simple test: you must look for the creature who loves you the best."--David Kirk

Julian and Fred are building a solar powered robot for me (at least, I have told them it must be for me since they are building it today).

Have a great day!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Further Thoughts

"We need apologize not a wit for the joy we feel. Not joy at vengeance; nor joy at death. Just joy at justice. Immense and profound joy." - Andrew Sullivan

‎"I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure." — Mark Twain

In almost every instance, I am opposed to the death penalty because I feel that death is too easy a punishment and it isn't ours to mete out.

I also do not approve of cheering the death of another as if it is akin to a sports team winning a championship. I reflexively shy away from "us vs. them" sorts of displays.

All that being said, I have found myself irritated by the comments from some of my Facebook friends in the wake of the news that Osama Bin Laden has been killed. I want to personally reach through the computer and gently, but firmly shake the people who are so cool that they could snark that they wanted to know if this would mean they wouldn't have to go through security when they flew. I feel annoyed at the smugness of people who criticize the people who filled the streets and cheered. I feel a visceral dislike for those who feel the appropriate response is to tut tut over how an eye for an eye never solves anything.

Under other circumstances, I probably would have agreed with these people. As I said, I am opposed to the death penalty and I hate mob rule (not to mention that annoying "USA USA" chant). And do I like snark? Heck yeah. And I used to be too punk rock to care and thought I was cooler than the rest of America.

But not now.

It is hard to articulate what I felt when I heard the news or what I feel today. If I am not crying, I feel I am on the verge of tears. I guess I would describe the feeling as relief, but it is unlike any relief I have ever known.

The first thing I did last night, after watching President Obama's press conference, was log on to the internet to commiserate with others. As I watched television last night, I felt that if I were young, I would have gone out and sought out others. Perhaps, I would have cheered. I would not have been cheering over the death of a man, I would have been cheering because one chapter of the story has finally ended. I would have been cheering because other people's happiness is contagious and it would have made the grief I still feel a bit easier to bear. I would have cheered because sometimes it feels good to give voice for all that is inarticulate inside of one's self.

My understanding is that many of those who were out in front of the White House last night were college students. It will be finals week at many colleges soon. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be 20 and to hear that this boogie man who has haunted half your life is dead, right as you are looking down the barrel of final exams. I may have run into the street cheering as well, simply because I would have so much steam I needed to let out. Yes, the chanting was boorish, but no one was hurt and they did not burn flags or any figures in effigy.

How one acts in the moment is not an indication for how one really feels upon reflection. For example, I wrote last night that I hoped Osama Bin Laden's body was fed to dogs. I knew this was, perhaps, on of the most disrespectful things which could be done to a Muslim. However, today, I am glad the US treated his body better than he treated the bodies of any of his victims.

Despite my opposition to the death penalty, I am relieved that it has ended this way. There are some crimes for which there is no suitable punishment available. I would have him really know each person who died and know what that loss meant, I would have him experience the last moments of each and every one of their lives and die each death, I would have him feel the pain of every person touched by the death of his victims. At times like this, I understand why people want to believe in a higher power, a hell, karma--not because we are afraid that this is all there is, but because we know there is evil and we know we are not all powerful when confronted with it.

The truth is, we were never going to take him alive. If a member of the UN force which went in hadn't shot him, it is guaranteed one of his men would have. He was always planning to die a martyr.

So I cannot criticize the killing and I cannot criticize those who went out and cheered last night. I cannot pretend I know what anyone else was feeling last night, I cannot even fully explain what I was feeling, but I cannot pretend that it was simplistic or easily describable. Maybe the only way to express it is with a scream. A scream of pain. A scream of triumph. A scream of relief.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Nine Years, Seven Months, Twenty Days

Remember that morning. It started with so much promise, the mild weather and shining sun was like an invitation to bask in the last gasp of summer. Who would ever have expected the world would end on such a gorgeous day?

A lot has happened since that morning in September.

I didn't think we would ever see Osama Bin Laden killed or captured, I totally expected him to die of natural causes, protected as he was by our enemies and allies alike. I guess I didn't expect it to matter to me so much if it did happen. I, like many, thought this would be little more than symbolic victory, too little and too late, because so many will just rush in to fill the void he would leave, and we have made so many enemies over the years.

But he is dead. Finally. He was killed by American forces and his body is ours to do with what we choose. I hope it is fed to dogs.

I am crying tears of grief for all those who died for us to get to this point. I am crying tears of joy because he deserved to die. I am crying tears of relief that a big chunk of this story is over. Most of all, I am crying for the world we lost nearly a decade ago and all the people who died that day.

This death won't bring all that we lost back. It probably won't make our wars in Iraq or Afghanistan end sooner. It certainly won't make people who hate us our friends. We will still have to take our shoes off and submit to TSA gropings at airports. It probably is just a symbolic victory. But that doesn't mean it isn't important. Because, when all is said and done, symbols matter.