Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Sermon [Stages of Moral Development]

¡Hola! Everybody... I had a great day yesterday again with close friends. We ate brunch and then walked around Lower Manhattan, hitting a few cafes. I laughed so much, my face hurts today... LOL I is good and a blessing to be with people you love and love you unconditionally and trust implicitly.

Hope everybody has had a great weekend!

* * *

-=[ Stages of Development ]=-

“One can have a great degree of realization, very authentic, very deep, but not actually be or express that realization in one’s humanness. You can have great realization but a rotten embodiment.”

-- Adyashanti

Going to watch the excellent biopic, Milk, and listening to people who otherwise consider themselves compassionate religious individuals, made me think about the development of moral reasoning and how that development (or lack thereof) affects how we worship, how we love, and how we come to view and create our world. I follow a spiritual path that is not exclusive of psychological development. In fact, I don’t see a separation between psychological and spiritual development.

My perspective is that psychology and spirituality address a continuum of human development. One can have spiritual development at the expense of psychological growth and vice-versa. I see the development of human potential as a psycho-spiritual endeavor. That’s why I enjoy A Course in Miracles so much because I feel that that’s what Christianity would look like without the entrenched dogma.

I’ve been listening to quite a few Christians who use their dogma to adopt bigoted and intolerant attitudes against our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. The question begging to be asked is how could people who claim to embrace a religion based on compassion and tolerance be so intolerant to a group of human beings, in the process actively working to deny that group the human dignity of the same freedoms they enjoy.

I have asked that question many times and I think I know the answer. The answer lies in that many so-called religious people are stuck on a level of moral reasoning that’s not very evolved. They may know scripture and I don’t doubt their commitment to their religious beliefs, or that that they are good people, but I believe their psychological development has been arrested somewhere along the way.

We stand at the cusp of a major human evolutionary period. I think we will make leaps into the vast human potential or kill ourselves. There’s no turning back.

Abraham Maslow was one the first to investigate these higher stages of human potential. He found that in addition to the basic human needs -- physiological needs, safety needs, belonging needs, and self-esteem needs -- there are higher stages of self-actualization and self-transcendence needs. He called these latter stages, being needs, in contrast to deficiency needs. These higher stages represent an inherent potential all human beings possess, although not everyone lives up to them.

Before Maslow, Lawrence Kolhberg came up with stages of moral reasoning, which Carol Gilligan would later expand upon. (And this is the core of my position today, so pay close attention. LOL!) In her book, In a Different Voice, Gilligan outlined four major stages of female moral development, which she called selfish, care, universal care, and integrated. Another way of articulating these stages might be egocentric -- I care only for myself; ethnocentric -- I care only for my tribe, my country, my nation; worldcentric -- I care for all human beings, regardless of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, or creed; and finally what can be called kosmocentric -- where I integrate the masculine and feminine in myself, and, I would add, extend care to all sentient beings without exception.

Like all development, the evolution from egocentric to ethnocentric top worldcentric to kosmocentric is a movement of increasing consciousness, adopting and building on the previous stages. What the human potential movement has discovered is that this embrace goes all the way to infinity. The farther reaches of human nature people find themselves being one with a Ground of Being, one with Sprit, one with infinity, a radiant riot of the all-encompassing -- whatever you want to call it.

My point is that your can have powerful states of consciousness -- a powerful feeling of unity with Jesus Christ, for example. However, this is the thing states are temporary while stages of development are permanent. So you can have powerful altered states of consciousness or peak experiences and still not manage to grow or change. I think we’ve all experienced peak experiences of some type. I described several in my recent posts on recovery.

I learned personally that states alone don’t work. If you’re at an ethnocentric developmental stage, then having a peak experience will only make you more ethnocentric. Not a good thing.

The common example is that if you’re at an ethnocentric stage of development and you have peak experiences of being one with everything, you might interpret that as an experience of oneness with Jesus and therefore conclude that nobody can be saved unless they accept Jesus as their personal savior. In other words, a peak spiritual experience for an ethnocentric Christian will be interpreted as having to belong to this group in order to be saved. To further elaborate, if you’re at an egocentric stage of development and have the same experience, you might interpret that as a belief that you are Jesus Christ. Using the same reasoning, if you are at a kosmocentric or integral stage and have that same spiritual peak experience, you will likely conclude that you and all sentient beings without exception are one with Spirit in the eternal here and now.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

If you’re truly committed to the core tenets of your spiritual path, then you’re evolving and expanding to include all beings within your heart of hearts. In this world, dogma falls to the wayside and Love -- big “L” love -- takes precedence over your need to belong to an exclusive club.

How does love manifest itself in the life of someone at an egocentric stage of development versus someone who’s at the worldcentric level? How do different levels or stages of moral reasoning affect relationships?

What I see are too many Christians and people in general stuck in their ethnocentric cocoons. I refuse to believe that such a highly realized being as Jesus would have been as intolerant and unyielding... The greatest danger we face today is not from terrorists, it is from the fundamentalist mindset that sits rigid and immobile at the center of a reality whose nature is essentially always changing. Wake up people!



Saturday, November 29, 2008

Howling at the Moon

¡Hola! Everybody... Yesterday I went with some friends to see the Harvey Milk biopic titled Milk. It’s one of the best movies I have seen this year, with Sean Penn turning in a nuanced, compelling performance. Director van Sant has constructed a piece of work that avoids all the usual pitfalls of biopics (melodrama being one). His characters are human: they have character defects and sometimes make bad choices -- gee, they’re human just like the rest of us?!!

van Sant manages a powerful retelling a of an important story and while at the same time faithfully documenting a human rights movement.

The movie conflict revolves mostly around a 1970s California referendum, Proposition 6, which proposed making it legal to fire openly gay people. The irony is that the same excuses used by the religious right back then, were used to drum up fear for the recent Prop Hate (or Prop. 8 as it is better known).

Bigotry is bigotry no matter how much you try to dress it up as moral self-righteous indignation or religious dogma. What this movie is ultimately about is human dignity. Sean Penn tore it up...

Anyone interested in seeing the repeat of history (I kept thinking of the Santayana quote, “Those who refuse to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it”) and the parallel “arguments” against human dignity, should check out the 1984 award-winning documentary, The Life and Times of Harvey Milk.

* * *

Act XV: Chateux de la Loire (008)

-=[ I’m Over the Moon ]=-

-- Brenda Shaughnessy

I don’t like what the moon is supposed to do.
Confuse me, ovulate me,
spoon-feed me longing. A kind of ancient
date-rape drug. So I'll howl at you, moon,
I'm angry. I’ll take back the night. Using me to
swoon at your questionable light,
you had me chasing you,
the world’s worst lover, over and over
hoping for a mirror, a whisper, insight.
But you disappear for nights on end
with all my erotic mysteries
and my entire unconscious mind.
How long do I try to get water from a stone?
It's like having a bad boyfriend in a good band.
Better off alone. I’m going to write hard
and fast into you moon, face-fucking.
Something you wouldn’t understand.
You with no swampy sexual
promise but what we glue onto you.
That’s not real. You have no begging
cunt. No panties ripped off and the crotch
sucked. No lacerating spasms
sending electrical sparks through the toes.
Stars have those.
What do you have? You're a tool, moon.
Now, noon. There’s a hero.
The obvious sun, no bulls hit, the enemy
of poets and lovers, sleepers and creatures.
But my lovers have never been able to read
my mind. I’ve had to learn to be direct.
It’s hard to learn that, hard to do.
The sun is worth ten of you.
You don’t hold a candle
to that complexity, that solid craze.
Like an animal carcass on the road at night,
picked at by crows,
haunting walkers and drivers. Your face
regularly sliced up by the moving
frames of car windows. Your light is drawn,
quartered, your dreams are stolen.

You change shape and turn away,
letting night solve all night's problems alone.

* * *



Friday, November 28, 2008

The Friday Sex Blog [Power and Surrender]

¡Hola! Everybody...
If you’re shopping today, then you’re fuckin’ crazy...

Period! LOL

I spent most of my Thanksgiving night running around with friends, visiting various homes and begging for food. Just to show you how much of an ingrate I am, I not only took food from one young lady, but I also attempted to seduce -- in the process expanding on the definition of “eating.” ::grin::

* * *

-=[ S/M, Power and Surrender ]=-

“Woman’s destiny is to be wanton, like the bitch, the she-wolf; she must belong to all who claim her.”

-- Marquis de Sade

I once horrified a graduate school professor when I told him the story of how my mother would sometimes not only make me fetch the leather strap she beat me with, but would often make me smell it as a warning. Now, if you’re not from my culture, you may not understand this, but it was something that I saw with regularity in the Puerto Rican communities I was raised. In fact, that day, as I described this form of punishment during class, there was only one other person who understood -- she was giggling -- and she was a Boricua also, probably had been made to smell the leather too.

To my professor and classmates, I was describing child abuse (and I agree). However, everything must be taken within its cultural context. The funniest thing was that I was wearing all leather that day, as my professor astutely noted. LOL

I think many of readers don’t understand me. I don’t like to inflict pain -- I am not a sadist. I do, however, understand the connections between pain and pleasure and power. My major concern as a lover is to be concerned with giving my partner pleasure (and deriving some for myself, of course! LOL!).

Many of you, mindlessly seizing on an opportunity to yelp out an opinion, will quickly deny that you have never incorporated aspects of dominance and submission, but I think you’re full of shit. If you wear high heels, you’re willingly submitting to at least some uncomfortably in order to please -- pain/ pleasure. Women wear clothes that make no functional sense and are often uncomfortable -- who the fuck thinks it’s a good idea to put zippers where you can’t see them? The fact that you need the help of another to dress/ undress is itself a form of submission.

::blank stare::

But there are huge misconceptions about S/M or S&M, terms evolved from the word sadomasochism. The dictionary defines sadomasochism as the “perversion” of deriving sexual pleasure from either the infliction of the experience of pain. Most misconceptions about S/M originate from this unfortunate definition. Sadomasochism is often used to describe the nonsexual interchange between people involved in abusive behaviors. A bullying boss or battering husband is referred to as a “sadist,” while anyone physically or emotionally self-destructive is referred to as a “masochist.”

Add to this that Hollywood has done it best to advance stereotypes about S/M. How many movies have cast psychopathic transsexual or transvestite villains, or spice up their plots by involving murderous practitioners of “S/M”? Talk about having your cake and it eating, too! You’re invited to indulge in the sexually arousing images of spike-heeled dominatrixes or leather-clad masters, but by the end of the movie, you’re taken off the moral hook because all the evil sadists and pathetic masochists have been killed off, and the virgin (who’s usually delightfully tortured) gets to keep her virtue (and so do you).


The fact is that S/M has nothing to do with coercion, either sexual or nonsexual. The common denominator in all S/M play is not a violent exchange of pain but a consensual exchange of power. That S/M is about eroticized power play is no small distinction. Understanding that S/M is not about physical or emotional abuse is crucial to understanding and demystifying the subject. Some people in the S/M community feel that sadomasochism is an inaccurate term to describe their experience, often preferring such terms as dominance and submission, sensuality and mutuality, or power and trust.

As the definition of S/M has broadened to include role-playing and heightening sensation, there has been a growing interest in the subject. In addition, with the growing awareness of the risks of STDs, many people are intrigued by the prospect of sexual play that is arousing yet doesn’t necessarily involve genital sex. Factor in the popularization of fetish items such as leather, lingerie, collars and corsets -- as seen in music videos and fashion magazines -- and what you have is the phenomenon some of us call “S/M lite” -- S/M imagery that has permeated mainstream culture.

Next week, I will attempt to introduce you to an erotic style enjoyed and articulated by a wide range of people from all walks of life. For those whose curiosity is sparked, I will offer a few starting points where participants can explore power play in a safe, structured environment.



Thursday, November 27, 2008

Self-Importance vs Gratitude

¡Hola! Everybody...
No debating day today!

Rippa, I expect a plate of food when I knock on your door (imma getcha sucka! I know where you live! LOL!), Iris: if I don’t get at least one of those fookin loaves you baked, we’re gonna have big problems (I know where you work! LOL!). Nina? Your son is no boy, he’s a man and prolly jerkin’ off on a regular. What? I’m just sayin’. Debs: I wanna follow the directions on your ass tat.

I’m kidding!

Just (please!) everybody: be careful out there. Enjoy the moments, for that is all we have. Here’s to a safe and happy holiday for everyone.

Me? I’m going to do several hours of service early in the day with a group of my closest friends and then later a few us will do the “single guys” rounds of all the homes offering food. LOL!

Service reminds me that I should be "content to look at a mountain for what it is and not as a comment on my life." What keeps life fresh for me and reminds me that that bum on the street? In order for me to keep my blessings, I must give them away...

* * *

Simplicity_ 012

-=[ Gratitude List ]=-

“For the trouble is that we are self-centered, and no effort of the self can remove the self from the center of its own endeavor.”

-- William Temple

It’s easy to be grateful for the good things. It’s the challenging times and situations that test the measure of our gratitude. When things are not going well, it’s too easy to fall into the grips of negativity and despair. There was a time I walked around and felt as if a cold wind blew through a hole at the very core of me. I spent many years trying to fill that hole. But it never worked. No matter what I tried…

The drugs…

The meaningless connections…

The endless searching…

the manufactured self-importance covering my perceived smallness...

It never failed: no matter what I tried, I could never fill that gnawing sense of inner emptiness that seemed to define me. It was as if a shrill, piercing, and cold wind howled through that hole at the core of my life. Until one day, I stopped running and when I looked, I discovered that underneath all that garbage, underneath all that baggage, wasn’t emptiness, but a connection to a limitless wellspring of joy.

It wasn’t a hole, but a gateway to the Divine within me. And as I slowly removed the obstructions and the carefully and cleverly erected defenses, I discovered my Original Self in all it’s simplicity. And when I listened closely, I heard not the fearful banshee wail of a cold desolate winter, but a glorious symphony of many melodies.

I am thankful for all the pain,

all the suffering

I have endured at my hand

and the hands of others.

Each rip,

every tear,

every painful bit of it…

Because each rent of my heart

made me wiser.

Every insult

and humiliation

enabled me to feel

more profoundly…

and what more horrible sentence

than not to feel…

to be numb?

Yes, I am grateful for the not-so-perfect aspects of myself -- the angels with dirty faces -- because it was only by peering into the shadows that I was able to find and embrace the light.

Again, have a joyous and safe Holiday, my friends



Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks

¡Hola! Everybody...
Why is it miserable people seek solace by attempting to impose their misery on others?

Here’s wising everybody a great holiday weekend.

* * *

Lightning Bolt/ Night Sky

-=[ Gratitude ]=-

“If the only prayer you say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”

-- Meister Eckhart (c.1260-c.1327)

Thanksgiving, with its roots in myths and falsehoods, holds significance on many for levels. However, for me Thanksgiving holds its most significant meaning on a personal level. You see, it was around this time about 18 years ago that I experienced the first of a series of “spiritual awakenings” that would drastically change my life. The exact date is November 26, 1990 and it usually falls around Thanksgiving Day. A week before this date, I was so overcome with psychological pain that I attempted to commit suicide. It’s actually a little funny. If I tried to sell it as a story, most producers would say it sounds phony. It was a cold, rainy, windy November day. I remember there was a storm coming, some early, freak Nor’easter, and it was very windy that day. I tried climbing over the rail on the Brooklyn Bridge’s pedestrian walk, but I was so skinny from malnutrition and years of substance abuse, that a strong wind knocked me on my butt. I saw this as the ultimate insult, not even being able to kill myself, which gives you an idea of my state of mind at the time.

I walked away cursing my life to chase another bag of heroin. In my warped way of thinking, I had this fear that I would botch up my own suicide and merely succeed in paralyzing myself, dooming myself to chase that bag from the disadvantage of a wheelchair, so I decided I would make someone else put myself out of my misery.

Though I speak lightly today of that time, I was miserable. I don’t believe in a God in the traditional Christian/ Judeo sense, but each night during that time I would pray that if there was a God/ Goddess/ It, that they would find it in their mercy to kill me in my sleep. But every day I would wake up to find myself alive, cursing my existence. I would always awake broke, but at the height of my active addiction, I would manage to spend $300 by the end of the day, feeding my heroin habit.

I took to ripping off drug-dealers, never a safe proposition. One day, an individual annoyed that I had separated him from his assets, pulled out a gun, and threatened me with it. I took the gun by the barrel, put it to my forehead, and begged him to shoot. All I asked was that he made sure to kill me because, “You would be doing me a favor.”

This was in broad daylight in the middle of a crowded New York City street. I remember people screaming and a crowd forming, but what I remember most was thinking that this was my way out. “Do it, ma’fucca!” I yelled. He pulled the trigger and…

Nothing happened…

I don’t know if the gun jammed or if it wasn’t loaded, but for whatever reason, the gun did not go off. The drug-dealer, for whatever reason, yanked the gun from my grasp and tried to whip me with it. But I wasn’t having that. You could kill me, but I like the way I look. ::grin:: By then people had gathered and separated us and he walked away, calling me crazy and vowing to get me (A familiar refrain, huh? LOL!).

In my mind, I thought I could do nothing right.

That wasn’t the worst of it, things actually spiraled downwards until November 26th, when I was arrested after having been on the streets for only 14 days. That was my bottom, the total bottom. Humiliated and defeated not know what to do, knowing only that I was facing a lot of prison time, I experienced a spiritual awakening that would change my life forever. No, I didn’t see God, nor did a burning bush dictate commandments to me. Actually, most people would consider the events that transpired on that drizzly, dreary November day as a defeat. For me, it was the beginning of a new life. Having experienced total defeat, it freed me from my worldview to glimpse a new world filled with possibilities. It was like a bolt of lightning in the middle of darkness: everything became illuminated for a brief second before plunging into darkness again.

A the core of my life today is an invincible joy. This is why I often tend to see the better side of people: I know even the worst of us have the potential to liberate ourselves from our own self-made prisons. Unfortunately, there are some in denial regarding the shackles they cling to. To those people I offer my profound thanks for keeping it real for me. You remind me of what I was and why.

No, I am not a religious person and no, I don’t accept Jesus (nor anyone else, for that matter) as my “Savior.” In fact, neither Jesus nor religion had anything to do with my recovery. My personal view is that religion is for people who are afraid of hell while spirituality is for those who have already been there. What brought me back to my humanity is a set of principles so simple anyone (even me) can implement them. Today I try to be the best person I can be on a daily basis and oftentimes I fall short of the mark. However, my intent and direction is good and orderly – I try to live a life that’s centered on spiritual growth.

On that day, 18 years ago, I had no clue of the joy I am experiencing today. It’s a joy that’s not dependent on any person, place, or thing. I can be sad, happy, angry, disappointed, disgusted – I can be experiencing any number of attachments – but at the center, at the very core of me -- there is a profound awareness and connection that’s greater than any drug-induced high I have ever experienced. Believe me: coming from me, that’s saying a lot! LOL

I’m no hero, so please don’t post comments lauding my actions or “victories.” My life is a redemption song, a manifestation of what can happen when people reconnect and help one another without condition. If you laud me, then you’re leaving out the countless individuals who gave to me, who supported me and taught me the simple principles of honesty, openness, and willingness that allow me to live my life as I do today. And if you leave out that part -- the people who loved me until I could love myself -- then you’re eroding my message. So this day is not about me, it’s about a celebration of Life.

I don’t write this self-indulgently. I write this because maybe there’s someone out there somewhere feeling the same pain I once felt. Perhaps someone feeling the same utter defeat, humiliation, and hopelessness might read this today and maybe -- just maybe -- it might give them hope. That I can embody this message is a source of happiness for me.

For that, I am truly grateful. Life continues to hurl challenges at me. I experience sadness, happiness, the loss of loved ones -- the “full catastrophe” of life. At times, I feel as if a thread is being pulled and my life and all I have worked for all these years seems to unravel. At those times, I could easily adopt the attitude that my life, that life itself, sucks. But that’s a lie. Life is a gift -- probably the most precious of gifts.

And for that I am most grateful.

May you all have as much to be thankful for…



Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Hunger

¡Hola! Everybody...
I’m coming right out and saying it:

I don’t give a flying fuck about your opinion.

I know, I know, it’s a strange way of opening up a blog I obviously hope some people will read. But the fact is I have no interest in opinions. Rather, I’m interested in what happens when you put away your preconceived notions in the service of exploring new worlds and new perspectives. Otherwise, it gets really boring, really quick. I mean: who really gives a fuk about what was very likely instilled in you at a very early age and is totally narcissistic and narrow-minded? Your friends might not tell you, but I will: your opinions suck...

So, along with the word “drama,” opinions are hereby banished from here for all of eternity!

* * *

ThinkingOutsideBox_ 002

-=[ The Hunger ]=-

“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.”

-- C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, chapter 12 (1963)

I like to describe the arc of my life as one of redemption. For today and tomorrow, I will share a part of this journey with you...

The other day I was reading a short story, “The Bound Man,” by the German author Ilse Aichinger. It’s a beautiful piece in the existentialist tradition: A man awakens one morning to find himself inexplicably bound by rope. The story takes a strange turn because instead of removing the rope at his first opportunity, as you would expect him to do, he decides to remain bound and become a circus attraction, turning his strange and accidental bondage into his trademark work.

Strange, huh?

Why would a person happily accept such bondage?!! It’s a question similar to the one posed by Franz Kafka in the “Hunger Artist, in which a man who also chooses to become a circus attraction starves himself to death because he can’t find food that interests him.

[Note: I know you’re forming a bullshit opinion right now --stop it!]

These two authors are asking a variation of the same question: “Why would people carelessly, inexplicably, and even happily do things that bring them so much harm and suffering”?

Addiction is the same kind of bondage. Addicts cling to their addictions, and nothing you do or say will pry them away from their alcohol, cocaine, tobacco, internet surfing, video-game playing, overeating, shopping, or sexual escapades. It doesn’t matter if you tell them they are dying. It doesn’t matter if you tell them that they’re wasting half their life in front of a computer screen or in the aisles of department stores. Point out to them that they can’t have real love or a real life if they use sex as a drug, it doesn’t matter. Show them that their liver is already not functioning, that their nasal lining is already perforated, or that their lungs are black, and still it won’t matter. What you experience when you talk to an addict is that he or she is unable to understand or is completely indifferent to your reasoning.

I know, because I was an active addict for most of my adult life. And it’s not an issue of will power or lack thereof. At the worst part of my addiction, I used to wake up penniless and at the end of the day manage to spend $300 feeding my addiction. I would submit that took a lot of will.

I operate from the assumption that we live in an addictive society -- it’s how we are all conditioned. We live in a consumer-based society in which the wanting and getting is the be-all and end-all of our existence. We are all would-be addicts, given the right circumstances of biology, psychology, and social setting. Some of us, because we are more at risk (such as myself), become full-blown addicts, and cross over into that downward spiral of obsession morphing into compulsion and suffering.

Even if we don’t succumb to addiction, we sometimes feel a significant loss of control in some area of our life and experience difficulty maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding hours of internet surfing, quieting our anxious thoughts, or staying on track with our goals. In order to deal with these challenges, we need to recover: that is, we need to embrace a way of being that recognizes and addresses our addictive nature and our potential problems.

If you don’t, you just might wake up one morning bound head to foot with rope and say to yourself, “How interesting! I think I’ll become a circus attraction!”



Monday, November 24, 2008

Extinction Spasm

¡Hola! Everybody...
Tony has a heart condition and a problem with obesity and yet he
(excessively) spends his time online threatening people.

Just recently, he attacked someone here by divulging shared intimacies as a way of attempting to humiliate that person. If he does this to someone else, what makes you think he won’t do it to you?

You’re a real man Tony...


* * *

-=[ Species Extinction Spasm ]=-

The new world is not only possible, she is on her way. When I am quiet I can hear her breathing.

-- Arundhati Roy

I was laughing along with some friends about the whole e-thuggery phenomenon. Almost none of my friends are on the internet and they think the energy I put into the “blogging thing” could be better put to use actually writing. Well, blogging helps me write. If I didn’t blog, I probably wouldn’t write. I am lazy.

Anyway, laughing about what kind of person would go to the extreme of threatening bodily harm to another human being on account of something as irrelevant as a blog, made me think about the very real crisis we’re all facing as a species. We may very well be the first species to make ourselves extinct. And it’s this type of thinking -- this narcissistic wish fulfillment of doing harm to others, that is at the crux of our problem.

Anthropogenic global warming is a fact and it has some of us thinking. Recently, I read an article stating that basic human needs are destroying our planet much more quickly than previously thought. The article cited a four-year multinational study, “The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment,” which found that humans “have ruined approximately 60 percent of the earth’s ecological systems to meet our demands for food, fresh water, timber, and fuel.”

Research shows that we’re in the middle of the fifth or sixth largest species die-off in biological history. What naturalists call an “extinction spasm,” which to me evokes an image of the earth purging itself of unhealthy organisms.

It appears that we do have something to fear and it is us.

I would ask why, but I think I already know. We can’t handle our technological advancements. It’s as if evolution has given a child a loaded gun and we’re playing with it with the safety off.

When I reflect on this mindset, I am reminded of the paradox of the egomaniac with low self-esteem. It’s how I used to describe the addictive personality, but I am confronted with this narcissistic behavior too often, and I have to wonder if it doesn’t apply to our society. The issue at hand today, ladies and gentlemen, is that we have to do something. If crisis is danger mixed with opportunity, then opportunity abounds!

Many of my friends were moved by the last election to decide to become more politically active, through dialog or local politics, and that’s where we all have to start. Each of us has our own temperament, but we engage we must. Perhaps your way is to picket an oil company. Others may fight to save an endangered coral reef. Maybe part of the challenge is bringing back as sense of awe and reverence to everyday life. So you might want to engage in some nature-loving pagan ritual. Go ahead, hug a tree, or bow down and kiss the earth.

We race around in these little boxes of steel, chasing after instant gratification and in the process we’ve forgotten our own humanity.

Stop... look... listen... breathe.

I have one suggestion that I think will help the most and you can begin to implement right now. Here in NYC, some companies give away tiny squares that unfold to a large map of the NYC subway system. It’s the size of a credit card and not much thicker. What we need in order to save ourselves is keep a bigger perspective in our pocket, just like the NYC subway map. A big perspective that you can unfold in your head at a moment’s notice. Too often, I see comments in my blog and from people in the real world that betray a singularly selfish perspective. We seem to have lost the ability to understand things from a larger perspective. “Don’t bail out the auto workers!” we screech, resenting the fact that as small business owners, we’re not getting any “handouts. But if we were to hemorrhage all those jobs, who would buy your services/ products?

We seem to want to demonize those we see as different, forgetting that in denying a gay or lesbian couple the same rights we enjoy erode our own rights. Too many are willing to allow tens of thousands die simply because we want to cling to the concept of health care as a privilege than a basic human right. We decry taxes that could make our schools better, but are blind to the taxes that funded the land-mine some child in some far-off land just step on...

This very moment... and the next...

Think! Or rather, think differently. Think with the larger perspective. Consider -- from a more panoramic perspective-- that denying others their rights erodes yours. Think that if we all would stop using plastic bags, it would have an immediate and tremendous impact.

We need to hold a big perspective to remind us that nature is one tough bitch, and life has so far survived the collision of continents, mountain ranges erupting in volcanoes, murderously cold ice ages, the plague, your ex mother-in-law and even Bush Jr. (well, the jury still out on that last one).

The Big picture also carries your inner understanding that you are part of it all, and so are they (<--insert anyone you hold resentment towards: immigrants, blacks, whites, men, women, etc.). My father had a great phrase he used to describe people he didn’t get along with, “friendly enemies.”

This is a species-wide problem -- we live in interesting times with plentiful opportunity and need to act wisely and with compassion. If your Big Picture doesn’t include a Bigger Love then we’re doomed for sure.



Sunday, November 23, 2008

How to Rent Space in Someone's Head

¡Hola! Everybody... [note: Where's Chubsy?]
Well, well, well!

Ladies and gentlemen: it seems that for the past two days I have held a clinic on how to rent space in a dumb ma’fucca’s head.

Fat Tony, the wanna-be killer (who writes blogs about the guns he owns ::shiver:: ) actually vowed to break my arm and fingers (apparently in his small mind the greatest punishment is not to be able to go online) has shown himself to be the phony that he is.

I dunno, but if you if you were really down, Tony, time and place wouldn’t matter.

First, he tried to act as if he didn’t have my number, but he called me a couple of weeks ago because, thirsty muthafucka that he is, he wanted to get with us for the meet-up. So Tony? You’ve had my number for over a year and you’re going act all brand new as if you didn’t have it?

Remember when you practically begged to talk to me after it was disclosed you were a grimy muthafucka by people who met you? I heard you misrepresented yourself, that you’re unhygienic, and that you still live with your mother. In my neighborhood, we used to call cats like you Table Pimps. I didn’t answer your call then because, I dunno, call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like to gossip -- especially about women I have met.

The past two days you’ve had my name in your mouth so much that if my name were a penis, you would’ve been arrested for performing a public fellatio. I'm inside your head, Tony, and that was my first intention with you -- to get inside your head. I'm mind-fuckin’ you. In fact, you should have your barber shave the initials “ER” in your ‘do, bro...

For Rent_ Tony's Head.001

We’re holding a party there today, dancing salsa and shite.

People, he’s called me several times. Last night he lefty me a voicemail like this: “Well, Eddie, I don’t want to miss my football games on Sunday, so can we meet tonight?”


Am I the only one who sees the stupidity in this? Wait: “I’m a killer, I’m going to break your bones (as he reaches for his inhaler), but can we postpone tomorrow, Eddie please? ::wheeze::”

I would never interrupt my real life activities to meet you Tony. I was actually hanging out with real life friends, good friends, eating at a nice restaurant, enjoying friendship -- you know: the real world.

In my world, you hold no significance. Nothing personal, but you’re not that important.

I mean, c’mon Fat Tony, you swore in front of everyone here that you were going to break my bones. Now -- at the last minute -- you don’t want to show?

::blank stare::

Sounds like bitchassness to me.

::sniffs air::

Yup! smells like bitchassness to me.

Check this out Chubsy: the mind is what wins fights. I’m deep inside your head. You’re calling me, hanging all over my e-dick on the internet, threatening me, lurking my pages, leaving embarrassingly idiotic blog comments and text/ VM messages, etc. If your brain were a hotel, I would be renting the Honeymoon Suite. For free! LOL!

Think about it Chubsy: you vowed to break my arms and fingers today. If you don’t show, that means you’re a biotche. You swore -- you “vowed” to break my arm/ fingers.

However, if you do show up and I stand you up, how you gonna feel standing there all alone in this frigid weather? I know you can’t afford a car, so it will take you at least two hours to get to the Seaport and another two to get back home! Shite, even if you convince some fool to drive you there, it’s a gridlock alert day. Now, you swore you were going to break my bones today, Tony. Don’t go bitch on me!

Sweetie? If you can ever break my arm is still a huge question -- it’s up for major speculation. I mean, you have a heart condition and shite -- just got out of the ICU due to complications arising from your glutinous ways (from what I hear, you’re closer to 400lbs) -- I have no fear of your gimpy ass (luckily for you) and I didn’t even think about this nonsense. Today, I’m thinking about it to laugh and then I’m letting it go. If we do ever meet, it will be on my terms, how I want it to happen and where.

Like today... those are my terms, Chubsy Wubsy.

The funny thing is you admitted to me on the phone last night that I was renting space in your head. What’s the lesson you should take from this, Chubsy?

::blank stare::

No dancing for Mr. T for you Blubber Man; no “Balls ovah da Nose” awards for you. What I’ve done with you is real time shit. From now on, this mind control technique of renting head space will be called “being cosmicized.”


PS: And Tony? This ain’t no internet joke: the joke is you.


Eddie (aka “Papi Chulo”)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Art [Reflections on Monet]

¡Hola! Everybody... Engage the issue or be exposed... LOL

It’s cold out here to day! DANG! It’s days like this that make me seriously re-think my commitment to being single...

* * *


-=[ Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond ]=-

Claude Monet | oil on canvas| three panels, Each 6’ 6 ¾ x13’ 11 ¾ | Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

“It took me time to understand my waterlilies. I had planted them for the pleasure of it; I grew them without ever thinking of painting them.”

As a child, I was once walking across the street with my mother in NYC’s Lower East Side. We were at a busy intersection, just off the Williamsburg Bridge -- right by NYC’s famous “Bargain District” in Delancey St.

All of sudden there was a loud screeching of tires, cars honking their horns a car made a crazy u-turn and stop right in front of us. A woman jumped, ran straight to me and gave me a long, heartfelt hug.

“Mrs. Rubell,” I said, somewhat stunned. It was my 5th grade teacher -- my teacher from the year before. We had since moved away from the neighborhood and lost contact with her. She couldn’t hug me enough. I think that if she could have, she would have adopted me. Mrs. Rubell loved me.

Mrs. Rubell influenced my life in ways I don’t think she ever understood. She was the person who actually awakened my intellectual curiosity. She was one of those teachers you never forget.

Mrs. Rubell’s main way of teaching was through her love of art. That one year, she took us, an overcrowded class of inner city children in Brooklyn’s East New York, to all the great art institutions of New York. By the time she finished with us, we were conversant in the major schools of modern art and could “read” paintings in ways that amazed the adults at the MoMA, the Guggenheim and all the institutions displaying modern art.

Yes, her passion was modern art and her passion would influence my artistic tastes for the rest of my life. That day, with her car left carelessly in the middle of a crowded NYC street, I somehow glimpsed how much she appreciated my gift. She did so much explore and transcend the boundaries of my world, urging me to read, to question, to dare contemplate.

Sometimes, especially when I visit a museum (which I do often), I think of her and I wonder if she knew how much she affected me, how her passion for modern art infected me and influenced how I look at the world, how colors inform me, even how I dress. I sure wish that she knew...

MoMA_ Lillies_ 002

On my first visit to the MoMA, I sat transfixed in a large room surrounded by Monet’s impressionistic water lilies, while Mrs. Rubell sat next to me and patiently explained the painting, the artist’s vision, pointing out his use of light and color to effect a fleeting moment. It’s an event forever etched in my mind. I still go to that room, it’s like visiting an old friend.

MoMA_ Lillies_ 003

In a very real sense, art saved my life. I like to think I love art as much as Mrs. Rubell did. When I was at my lowest, it was art and the creative impulse manifested through sublime works of art that reminded of the preciousness of life. In the midst of all that is ugly, of everything that is worst in the human condition, if you look in the right places you’ll come upon intricate beauty of a Faulkner paragraph. Look again and you can see the long stark shadows of a de Chirico urban landscape, immerse yourself in the unmistakable tone of Coltrane’s tenor. It’s one of my life’s pleasures that I can always go back to that room at the MoMA and look, with a child’s eyes, and if I listen closely, I can still hear my teacher’s passion for my gift.



Friday, November 21, 2008

The TGIF Sex Blog [Pain and Pleasure, pt. I]

¡Hola! Everybody…
Let me just state it right here that I believe that Hillary as Sec. of State is a
huge mistake. The Clintons are drama. The Clintons, IMO, epitomize baby boomer narcissism and the Bill & Hillary show will make a joke of Obama’s foreign policy. They will undermine him and fuck up because they have their own agenda.

Either that, or Obama is one cocksure ma’fukka.

Finally, the free (only for the rich) market zombies are drooling at the prospect of dismantling the last bastion of collective bargaining for the “Joe Six Packs” of the world. Bailout the investor class went by with nary a whimper. Bailout 3 million working class jobs? Naw, say the fools at the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, and their journalistic shills.

News for America: what do you think is happening in foreign markets viv a vis their auto industry?!!

::blank stare::

Most enlightened industrial democracies subsidize and protect their own. This here is not about “fiscal responsibility.” It’s about destroying what’s left of manufacturing in this country. Go ahead, blame labor for the mess the investor class has made of the once vaunted U.S. auto industry. Go ahead, bend over, and give the auto industry to the foreign interests.

* * *

-=[ Pain & Pleasure, pt. I ]=-

“Sex without pain is like food without flavor.”

-- Marquis de Sade

For some reason, I’ve been having a major problem putting my thoughts together on this one. It’s a subject dear to my heart…



As in all opposites, there’s a fundamental connection between pain and pleasure. In my view, there’s such a thing as what I call exquisite pain. I am a top, meaning that, for the most part, I’m the “S’ in S/M. Allow me to elaborate…

There are times when I love to take total control, dominating my lover, not asking what she needs or wants because I know already; I just go right past “go” and I take her, talking to her the whole time I’m taking what I want.

I like to pin her arms above her head. The feeling of power -- the total power and ability to tease and bring her to an orgasm without her intervention, excites me. I want her splayed before me, my man chunk pounding at her, biting her, spanking, taking her because I feel like it… I take her, I take her body, and I play it like an instrument until her cries of pain, surrender, and pleasure make me spend myself in her...

That’s me… LOL

Blame my parents, they married young, and my mother was a loud and expressive lover. I used to think my father was hitting her, but…

Anyway! LOL!

So, along with pain and pleasure, there’s the issue of power -- of sexual power. Of the need to dominate and be dominated. So, I’ve been having an issue teasing out all these intertwined themes running through this post on pain and pleasure. Not an easy thing to do in the context of a one-page, single-spaced MS Word document.

When I talk of exquisite pain, I’m not talking about inflicting pain for pain’s sake. In fact, we all engage in activities that would seem strange at first glance. Women, for example, buy shoes that are nothing more than miniature torture devices. High heels may look nice, but they essentially bind a woman’s foot in a painful manner and renders them vulnerable. We all know that the bad guy will catch the woman because her heels really put a cramp on her running technique.

We send our little daughters to ballet and gymnastic classes that subject them to painful experiences. Ballet, at least classical ballet, is one of the most demanding physical activities you can subject yourself. I know, I dated a dancer and her feet and body were subjected to tremendous strain and pain (and she took pain well, I might add. LOL). Some of us like to jog and if an alien were to see you run for the sake of running, they would find it odd. The point being that there’s a big difference between pain that you’re controlling and training yourself to absorb (and transcend) and pain that you didn’t request or expect.

In the same way, if you were to walk in on me while I was having rough, uninhibited sex with my lover, you might assume that my lover was in great pain. She, however, might describe herself as being in an altered state of heightened sensation. Sexual arousal affects how we perceive pain. I’m sure many of you reading this have enjoyed certain types of stimulation ::ahem:: during sex -- hair-pulling, nipple-biting, scratching -- which you wouldn’t enjoy in any other context. I think it’s a bit hypocritical to coo proudly over the scratches, hickies, and bites you received during passionate sex and then pass judgment on the crop marks somebody else received during her passionate lovemaking.

In later blogs, I will elaborate more on S/M, but for now let me just state that part of the reason we subject ourselves to certain pain is because pain helps release the body’s pain management chemicals (like endorphins) that give us a high -- a euphoric rush. Sex heightens our senses, pain heightens our neurological defense mechanisms creating an exquisite pain that results in a powerful orgasm.

On last note, for those parents who enjoy spanking their children? Please note that the brain area responsible for feeling around the anal area and pleasure overlap. People who were spanked on their behinds during childhood often develop sexual fetishes around the anal area. In other words, you are training your child to be humiliated via spanking when they grow up to be adults. Thank you, you barbaric ma’fuccas!




[un]Common Sense