Monday, October 31, 2016

Plato's Retreat

Hola mi gente,
I’ve had it up to ::here:: with the Clintons and their playing victim. It’s sickening. Hillary could shoot democracy dead in the middle of Fifth Avenue and her supporters would still vote for her.
Regarding the widely echoed charge that Russians hacked the DNC? Stop it! As the folks at ZeroHedge stated:
No, there is absolutely no proof that the Russians hacked Podesta’s email account, so please stop saying it. If the idiots in the intelligence community expect us to believe them after all the crap they have told us (like WMD’s in Iraq and “no we don’t collect data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans”) then they need to give clear proof of what they say. So far, they have failed to prove anything.
Which suggests they don’t have proof and just want to war monger the US public into a second cold war with the Russians.
After all, there’s lots and lots of money in that for the military-industrial-intelligence-governmental complex of incestuous relationships.

Plato once said that, “If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life. I think he nailed that time. Life is the most precious gift we have and we all take it for granted to varying degrees. I was fortunate in that my father instilled within me a love for knowledge. I have an insatiable curiosity that has been the source of constant enjoyment in my life. This love for knowledge is a value I have attempted to instill in my son.
One day, when he was about eight years of age, we were watching some martial arts movie and I mentioned to him that Steven Seagall couldn’t hold a candle to Bruce Lee. He had never heard of Bruce Lee. So, we rented some Bruce Lee movies and he got the “Kung Fu bug.” At various times during my life (beginning at age 12), I have studied the martial arts under several teachers, mostly in the Wing Chun style (which was Bruce Lee’s first art). So I made a pact with my son: we would study together under a sifu (teacher) I knew, but he had to commit to become a “scholar-warrior.”
The “Scholar-Warrior” is an archetype that appears in most cultures throughout history: the samurais, the knights, the Buddhist monks, and nuns of China, etc. The Scholar-Warrior learned not only the martial arts, but also the fine arts of poetry and painting, and music; and they learned the healing arts. Scholar-Warriors were well-rounded individuals who represented the best of their culture.
My son and I studied the martial art of Wing Chun for several years. As part of that training, we learned many things: reiki, chi exercises, knowledge of herbs, healing arts, etc.
The following, which I find very much relevant, considering the current political environment, is one of the first lessons I taught my son after he took the “Vow of the Scholar-Warrior”...

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sunday Sermon [F.E.A.R.]

Hola Everybody,
This election cycle is, among many other things, a reminder how fear-based living creates suffering. It also embraces authoritarianism and I’m not talking about the Orange One.

Feeding the Demon

Fear: Fuck Everything And Run

The following is based on a true event, but it reminds of a story I read about a long time ago... 

I took the train one night and, as is often the case on weekends, the NYC mass transit system (MTA) is a complicated mess. Most of the construction and structural upgrades occur during the weekends, so trains are re-routed, stations by-passed and it’s almost impossible to keep track. As a result, there are usually mobs of clueless tourists moving about aimlessly in our transit system. As a result, part of being a New Yorker is often adopting the duty of a de facto tour guide.

And so it was that night, when a tourist (don’t ask, you can tell) approached me for assistance. I assured her the oncoming train would take her to her destination (she and I were getting off on the same stop) and, as she struck up small talk, the train began to roll into the station.

As we entered, I immediately sensed something weird in the car. Everyone seemed tense and, sure enough, there was a person talking very loud, using profanity, and it had everyone ill-at-ease. As a New Yorker you learn to ignore such outbursts. Paying too much attention, or being obvious about one’s attention, often serves to encourage unwanted behavior. So being able to ignore unusual behavior becomes second nature to most New Yorkers. 

Unfortunately, Tourist Lady wasn’t a New Yorker and she committed infraction no.1: she made eye contact with the individual, who seemed especially belligerent. I took her by the elbow, guiding her to a transit map with the outward intention of showing her where she should get off. My real intention was to try to deflect the unwanted attention she was unwittingly inviting. I hoped that this would help sever the connection between Belligerent Subway Dude and Tourist Lady. 

No dice... 

Belligerent Dude, who was apparently drunk, sidles up to us and asks Tourist Lady if she needs some assistance with directions. Tourist Lady (who’s not drunk, merely naïve), answers, in what could have been construed as a snobby dismissal, that no, she didn’t need help (and I believe she even threw in a little eye-roll to boot).

This, of course, sets Belligerent Dude off who starts in on her, making comments about her that weren’t too nice. Naïve Tourist Lady, instinctively edges closer to me and realizes, too late, that she probably shouldn’t have paid any mind to Belligerent Dude because he’ drunk. Belligerent Dude thinks she is a snobby bitch and expresses that sentiment for all to hear.

Belligerent Dude begins talking about Tourist Lady's breasts, her legs, I mean, he’s just going off on her, and I know she’s embarrassed. Out of the blue, from the other end of the car, a man yells out, “Shut the fuck up, already!” and Belligerent Dude, as if on cue, goes off on that individual. In fact, he threatens the individual, who I shall call Fake Brave Guy, with a severe “beat down.” Once Fake Brave Guy realizes that he will have to exert more than bravado in order to handle Belligerent Dude, he backs off a little, but Belligerent Dude, who’s also a big dude, gets right in Fake Brave Guy’s face and challenges him -- actually calls him a “fuckin pussy,” adding that he will “kick his motherfuckin ass” for good measure.

Fake Brave Guy suddenly remembers the next stop is his and quickly makes his exit. Of course, I’m sitting there hoping Belligerent Dude finds something else to do, but fuckin Tourist Lady is still staring at him. So, Belligerent sits right across from us and continues his running commentary on Tourist Lady’s physical attributes. And I’m sitting there thinking that reading my ebook is all I want to do. And now, he’s starting to get on my nerves.

Finally, I tell Belligerent Dude, “Listen man, why you gotta disrespect me like that? Can’t you see she’s with me? I mean, how would you like it if someone talked about your woman like that right in front of you? That shit ain’t right... ” I added a few choice words of my own and stared right into his eyes, hoping that my once vaunted psycho-I-don't-give-a-fuck-look hadn’t softened from lack of use, but it wasn’t working. Tourist Lady also chose this point in time to move away from me a little, apparently undecided whether I was the pan or the fire. In other words, my psycho look worked on her rather than on Belligerent Dude.

Belligerent Dude responded by informing me that he was, in fact, on his way to meet his woman, and if anybody spoke to his woman in the manner that he was speaking to Tourist Lady (now my woman), he would kick that motherfucker’s ass. It was an obvious challenge, but one I was determined to ignore.

I looked at him as if I was tired and before I could say anything more, an older man sat next to Belligerent Dude and, in a soothing voice, began talking to him. At first Belligerent Dude was hostile to the old man, but because the old man was non-threatening and seemed genuinely interested in him -- asking him about his girlfriend and how she was -- Belligerent Dude directed his focus from me and started talking to the old man. 

In a loud voice, Belligerent Dude began talking about his woman, in the process enumerating all her great qualities, and how he couldn’t wait to see her. The old man continued in this vein, asking more questions, and generally managing to communicate the feeling that he was interested in Belligerent Dude’s story -- in him as an individual. Eventually, as Belligerent Dude continued to vent and he disclosed more and more, he revealed that he hadn’t seen his woman in a long time, and that he wasn’t sure that she would see him, and with the old man’s prompting, Belligerent Dude’s tough facade cracked a little as he continued to talk.

He had just come out of jail, he told the old man, and he didn’t really have anyone. All he had, he said, was that he was headed to the last known address of the woman he loved, but he was afraid that she wouldn’t be there, or if she was, if she would even accept him.

As the train arrived at my stop and I got off (with Tourist Lady close behind), the last thing I saw was the old man comforting Belligerent Dude, who had completely broken down sobbing like a child... 

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization… 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Last Stand

Hola mi gente,
With little attention from our corporate-controlled press, our First Nation brothers and sisters have staged one of the largest actions in decades, making what very likely be a last stand to protect our environment. I stand in solidarity with the people of Standing Rock.

As a person of Puerto Rican descent, I understand that it is crucial that I recognize that the struggle at Standing Rock is part of an ongoing struggle against colonial violence. #NoDAPL is one of frontlines in the struggle in the long-erased war against Native peoples -- a war that has been active since first contact and waged without interruption. It is the same war that colonized my own people on another part of that front line of suffering and cruelty. Efforts to survive the conditions of this anti-Native society have gone largely unnoticed because white supremacy is the law of the land, and because Native people and people of the Puerto Rican diaspora have been pushed beyond the confines of public consciousness.

Hey-ya Hey-ya Hey Hey O O

where is it that you go
cars stopped and searched
on their way to the gathering
where others sing and pray
land protectors, land protectors
sing and pray, police, police
stop intrusive machines
that churn holy ground
that plow the sacred into memory

Hey-ya Hey-ya  Hey Hey O O

gather all ye tribes to save
life water in North Dakota
Standing Rock Sioux
started in prayers in April
avert the threat to sacred earth
defend clean streams
at this end of the fossil fuel era
battle pipelines which burst
which quench an alien thirst for profit
trespass on treaty lands

Hey-ya Hey-ya  Hey Hey OO

a german shepherd pants with blood on his mouth
his nose drips with Indian blood
his handler yanks him this way and that
other dogs snap at horses’ legs which dance away
charge protectors, bite and wound
other handlers advance, spray the eyes
of protectors, mace Indian faces

Hey-ya Hey-ya  Hey Hey OO

come all defenders
stand by those whose land
has been blooded by slaughter
drowned by dams, washed away
confront the threat to who remains
from 17 banks, $3.8 billion
arrayed to transgress, to dig under rivers
dirty the clean, desecrate holy places,
intruders threading poisons
through the precious warp of earth
to steal again First People’s land

Hey-ya Hey-ya  Hey Hey OO

this is prayer ground
this is sacred water way
this is where First Peoples stand
this is where protectors stay.
 -- Akua Lezli Hope

Akua Lezli Hope is a creator who uses sound, words, fiber, glass, and metal, to create poems, patterns, stories, music, ornaments, adornments, and peace whenever possible. She has won fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Ragdale, Hurston Wright writers, and the National Endowment for The Arts.  She is a Cave Canem fellow. A crochet designer, she has published 114 patterns.  Her manuscript Them Gone won Red Paint Hill Publishing’s Editor’s Prize and will be published in fall, 2016.
* * *

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization… 


Please let me know of any indigenous sites/ resources reporting on the North Dakota Pipeline. I do not trust the mainstream sources such as the NY Times or the Washington Post will offer credible reporting in this area.*

Democracy Now: Not an indigenous source, obviously, but Amy Goodman has been at the forefront of this issue almost from the beginning.

*Many thanks to my friend, Ellen, for generously pointing out some indigenous sources.

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Friday Sex Blog [Cheating]

Hola Everybody,
I’ve been doing a little research for a blog I’m writing on virtual reality and the porn industry and… I’ll just say that the future is here and it’s both scary and fascinating. More to come.

Can’t We Just be Friends?

One of my best friends is a married woman. We’ve known each for years. While we certainly don’t hang with each as we used to before her marriage, we do keep in touch regularly and sometimes we even go out for brunch or a movie with her husband’s blessing. Sometimes, when I call on them, he’ll yell out, “It’s your boyfriend, honey.” However, I will readily admit that ours is a rare and beautiful relationship based on mutual respect and love. I would never want to do anything that would result in the betrayal of her (and her husband’s) implicit trust. I think we all get off on the fact that we’re close like that.

I’m sure there are others that have managed to pull it off, but for some it can be risky, and the cynical among us might as, “Why take the risk?”

And there is reason for concern here. Research shows that the vast majority of both men and women cheat on their partners. In a 1991 study, sex researcher Shere Hite found that 70 percent of married women have cheated on their partners; a 1993 follow-up study found that 72 percent of married men have as well. According to a 2004 University of Chicago study, 25 percent of married men have had at least one extramarital affair.

Still, nothing is wrong with people in committed relationships wanting opposite-sex friends. Actually, I believe it is abnormal to have only same-sex friends. I guess the important question here is if you’re able to handle the responsibility that comes with the relationship. We always believe we can handle a temptation until we discover that we cannot.

I don’t believe that having an opposite-sex friend while in a committed relationship puts you in danger of emotional and sexual infidelity. The friendship doesn’t cause the action, if you’re having thoughts of infidelity, they will occur whether you have opposite sex friends or not. What an opposite-sex friendship will do is make you confront that issue at some point or another. 

If spending “quality time” becomes a way of relying on a friend in the way that you should rely on your husband or wife, then that can be a problem. Having that emotional closeness to another person at the exclusion of your mate could result in you feeling emotionally closer to your friend than to your spouse, paving the way to an intimacy that might lead to a physical affair. Again, if this is happening, it’s not the friendship that is the cause. Rather, it might be a sign that you’re making certain unhealthy choices for some unknown (or known) reason. Of course, there’s always the chance of becoming physically attracted to a friend. Only one of the two of you needs to initiate the physical contact, and once started, you may not want to--or think you are able to--stop.

I have to add, however, that most people don’t cheat because they have fallen out of love. This is perhaps one of the most tragic misconceptions about cheating. Research shows, for example, that young men don’t cheat because they have fallen out of love with their partners. Rather, they cheat simply because they desire sex with someone else, even if they want to preserve their relationship.

When I was in a committed relationship and attending university, I was surrounded by very young, very attractive women who were beginning to explore the boundaries of their sexuality. I have a rule of thumb with certain situations, it’s called “people, places, and things.” If I want to avoid drinking, for example, I avoid, people, places, and things that might tempt me to drink. One big mistake with infidelity is that we think we can resist the temptation until we realize (often too late) that we can’t. Sometimes we aren’t as strong as we believe, which is how infidelity starts. If you feel that you may be tempted by a relationship outside your marriage, or that you have an ego that you need to constantly feed with attention from the opposite sex, then you can probably guess that if your “friend” is there -- willing and able -- you might not resist.

That’s why I used to practice articulating and maintaining healthy boundaries with college women. My ex and I would laugh at some of the things that would occur -- the attempts at seduction, the propositions, etc. and yes, I would share these things with my lover at the time because I wanted it all to be transparent.

For me, any relationship should be predicated on implicit trust. I like to think that my ex never thought for a moment that I would cheat on her. Our relationship evolved to the point where we took different roads, but there was never any betrayal of trust. And I have many women friends, something my ex handled quite well. In fact, some of my women friends became her friends and I would accuse her of stealing my friends!

Honestly, yes, we (men and women) can be friends, but only if the persons involved are secure in their emotional needs and sufficiently evolved.

On the other hand, so many affairs start with two people who thought they were just going to be friends, thinking that all they were going to do is have innocent interactions -- that as long as they’re not having sex, everything is fine. It is... until it’s not. Or, although society cherishes monogamy, the expectation of exclusive sexual activity is unsustainable for many people. We may need to investigate other relationship models: open arrangements in which couples have flings, affairs, or threesomes. These ways of loving, along with polyamorous relationships and even singlehood, should be as equally valued in our culture as monogamy. Only when men and women are able to make sexual choices free of stigma will people be honest with their partners about their desires.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…


[un]Common Sense