Friday, December 29, 2017

What About 2018?





I think I’ll leave Facebook for 2018, or at least the first few months. Give it a try. Give myself some space. I waste precious time looking at pictures of dogs, being scolded or affirmed by self-defined experts and scholars, people who have never had a job. I am bored with reading about genius children, relationships that are just beginning or going bad, and I abhor the overuse of the words “Awesome”, “Epic”, and “Iconic”. A half hour of scrolling while I look for something of significance when I could be writing, reading, practicing the guitar, listening to Don Cherry, Arvo Part, Miles, Chopin; music and literature change my life but they take time and commitment. Social media doesn’t change anything except my sense of value; I don’t have any kids that I need to stay in touch with, my family knows my address, my friends understand me.
My views are personal and have developed over 70 years. I despise seeing anything with a quote from the Bible. I am an unapologetic atheist; actually, I’m an anti-theist and consider belief in a transcendent being, god, intelligent design to be degenerate and dangerous. Read some history. I don’t expect everyone to care and I am sick of seeking attention for boring, normal, everyday events. I just took a bath and read Nietzsche. Bath=easy. Nietzsche=not easy. I could write 500 words on that experience in my status update. Why the fuck would I expect, want or care if anyone knows? And yet, at some childish, immature level, I do. It’s not a way to build self-esteem. It’s a cheap-assed way to get attention and I am done with attention seeking. Also, I find myself blocking and deleting more and more people when an easier way is to deactivate my account.  I will write in my blog (The Vagrant Cantos) from time to time and that way I can still contemplate my experiences and review my thoughts, unload the detritus and not lose my frigging mind. If anyone wants to read that, I can give you the coordinates. I put more thought into the writing on that site. My email is jdepatta@gmail.com. My American phone number is 575 770-7270. We can talk, write, have lunch, have coffee.
I’m going to leave this here for a few days if you need vital stats. I just don’t see the upside any longer.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Light







Light Work, Inc.

Up until recently I’ve been a self-certified Instinctive Energy Healer. My clients claim that during our sessions they are full of vitality; they are sharp, joyful, clear-headed and delighted with life. Some, for the first time in a decade, begin thinking about sex and erotic experiences.
Of course, I’m extremely grateful for my gift, but even though it’s a fun gig I’ve come to realize that it is not as profitable as I’d like.
The other day, on social media (of course) I noticed that some friends of  “friends” are referring to themselves as “Light Workers”. Fascinated, I began deep research into what this practice consisted of and what one needs to become a Light Worker.
Here’s what I discovered.
You don’t need anything. No training, no school, nothing.
You are born with the ability to manipulate Light. Not everyone has this talent, but, similar to “Energy Healers”, when an exceptional person desires to be a practitioner, they become one automatically.
I said to myself, “I am an advanced being and I want to treat people who have odd and often imaginary maladies and I’d like to be able to make a decent living as a…. (Your gift goes here).”
Bam.
That’s all it takes. You’re an Energy Healer, Elevated Being, Intuitive Whatever. If you want it, dream it, you can have it.
Now, in addition to my successful career as an Intuitive Energy Healer I have added the discipline of Light Worker.
What do I do?
I’m glad you asked.
As I’ve said, my work is intuitive, so I craft each treatment to the individual who is seeking enlightenment and relief. Sometimes my only tools are a book of matches and a bowl of ice cubes; other times, I require an ice pick, leather restraints and a box of crayons. This is an alternative form of restorative therapy and the alternatives are infinite. I rely on my highly developed sense of compassion and sensitivity though occasionally I must use discipline and tough-love.
If you make an appointment for Light Work, understand that we begin in a dark room with a fan and a harmonica. I will be using a series of different sized flashlights and I may have to shine the light directly into your eyes while administering helpful suggestions. If any of these things disturb you, I will stop immediately. Perhaps you’re not cut out for Light Work. Don’t feel badly. I have numerous other methods of uplift and enrichment. We will work together to find the perfect approach for you. Remember, you are special and unique in the universe, there is no one like you, your difficulties are more intense than other people’s, your pain is more severe. I will administer to you accordingly and I guarantee success. You will be renewed and fulfilled.
Sorry, does not accept insurance.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Language of Love









I’m considering an advice column entitled “Let Go and Let Joe”.
I listen to people. In person, singularly or in groups, on the radio, on TV, in movies. I read books, social media posts, newspapers and magazines. The coercive semantics in expressions of love, hope, belief and affection fascinate me as does the culture of relationships, how they develop, why and how they disintegrate. I’ve had significant real-life experience enhanced by a considerable academic background.
Everything has a lifespan: dogs, people, love affairs.
Over the past several years a few phrases and terms have become prevalent in the discourse relating to coupling, marriage, and the abstraction we call “love” that are inaccurate, manipulative, sad and may foreshadow upcoming hazards.

Soulmate.
What the hell is a “Soulmate”? No. That is a dangerous elevation of somebody and it gives tremendous power to the significant other. To refer to another as one’s “Soulmate” is emotional blackmail and limits options; it is a way of acquiring the individual and is similar to the often used and completely false:

Love of My Life.
Wow. No one else? Ever? Really? Impossible to locate another individual to boost your ego? Holy mackerel. That’s another way of saying, “I’ve given up. I don’t even want to try. It’s your responsibility to worship and support to me. Or else.”
I’ve only done preliminary research but I’m fairly sure that there are close to 10,000 people within a 500-mile radius of anyone in the populated, civilized world with whom one could establish an intimate relationship. That means you may have thousands of “Soulmates” and “Loves of Your Life”.
Tired, sad, needy. Please, get a grip, be real and let the other person off the hook.

Improper use of the modifier “so”:
This one is a beaut, and easily recognizable:

“I love you.”
Trite, but nice. Simple and to the point.
“I love you so much.”
Hmm. What are you truly saying? Why do you want me to hear that extra “so”? One should immediately become suspicious.
“I love you so, so much.”
Absolutely dishonest. This is a clear indication of anger or infidelity. Your life is in jeopardy. If you hear the double “so” in an expression of intimacy or attachment, wait for your partner to leave the house and then run. Move. Leave a note that says, “You are a lying monster. I don’t know what I ever saw in you. Fuck off and don’t look for me or I’ll have you arrested.”

Another dubious use of “so”:
“I’m sorry.”
Sure, OK, you should be, perhaps we can move on, I may or may not accept your expression of remorse.
“I’m so sorry.”
Uh oh. Now they’re overdoing it. They are not telling you the whole story but they definitely have something to hide. Be nervous.
“I’m so, so sorry.”
Nope. You are not. Your companion is a lying manipulative lowlife danger to society and is preparing you for serious humiliation or a bad beating. Again, “so, so sorry” is the most obvious signal that it’s totally over. Get a restraining order, hire some private security, but become far, far gone.

Everyone, everything, every alliance has a lifespan. The person who knows that and can spot the indicators of annihilation has a better chance of staying safe, of moving on and going north to find the next Soulmate.
If I can save one life, my work is done.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Poem for A Hot Day




Poem for A Hot Day


Relax,

I’ve heard that next summer it’s supposed to be cooler
Crowds at the national parks will be smaller
Prices are going down
Traffic will thin out and we’ll have more parking
Air travel will be somewhat more comfortable
Cops will be less aggressive
Your kids will stop looking at their phones when you talk to them.



Just settle down,

It’s going to be OK because
I’ve heard that next year popular music will be slightly less insulting
A few new bookstores will open in town and technology will improve our lives
We’ll finally get a handle on childhood obesity and your pets won’t die.

So take it easy; trust me; everything is going to be fine.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Blessed






Thanks, Facebook.
You’ve made me a better person.
At first there was the novelty of seeing what my friends ate for lunch, pictures of their cats, vacations, kids, relationships, in and out of love, movies liked/hated, stupid jokes, and on and on. Then it became a bit harder edged with compilation videos of people getting hurt; we all love to see a guy falling off a roof. There were entreaties to believe in god, support the troops, kick cancer’s ass. Sometime later political posts flew around like seagulls over a dumpsite. Natural progression of social media, right? We told everyone what we thought goddamnit, why we knew shit, what we supported, tolerated, fought for. We didn’t actually do any of that, but we could talk about it as if we did. I hate this, I hate that. The conspiracy theorists made it unscientifically clear why they knew arcane secrets that I’d never understand. The anti-vaxx sacks ridiculed those of us who supported science, which for some reason, they knew for sure that science is a shady branch of the government. Many, many Facebook subscribers lectured the rest of us that our government was corrupt and all about money; like they had just discovered that fact.
The comments sections caught fire with long, long threads debating which political ideology was more evolved or Christian, which party would save America, which candidate was the biggest asshole. Man, that was fun. Remember? How much fun?
And it was. Fun. I recall pissing off some guy in Hawaii so badly that he threatened to fly to New Mexico and kill me. Aloha, dipshit. It was fun to think up new insults and to ridicule a bonehead for her/his stand on almost anything with which I disagreed. I got got a few times, but so what? It’s Facebook, not the United Nations. Not a real thing. It’s only a way to provoke the lonely, to occupy down time and to call people names that lived in another state. What? Are they going to hunt you down, kick your ass? I guess that’s possible. Oh, and let’s not forget the armies of 30, 40, 50 year old dickwads who spend all day “friending” underage women and the few who convinced the young ladies to slip out of their parents’ homes in the middle of the night to meet him at a nearby convenience store because of love. Facebook has opened up new worlds for the housebound, the terrified, the perverted. Glad for them.
Wow, I’ve spent hours stoking my abhorrence and feeling insecure because I didn’t think of a particular insult first or, kill me, someone may have found a grammar error in one of my responses and I want to die. My sense of self-loathing grew.
During the last week or so I’ve responded to a dozen posts that were either stupid, dangerous, uninformed, or else I didn’t like the person’s profile picture. Maybe I only wanted to be noticed, to let my “friends” know that I was still out here, alive and hostile.
But, here’s the part where I become a better person.
I didn’t send.
I didn’t click the “post” button. Before I hit “return” I looked at what I’d written, re-read the original post, the previous remarks, scanned others’ sentences and counted the misspellings, and I backed out my observations and abuses and walked away. I deleted my own words. Not an easy task when all you have to work with is words. But I did it. I did not comment.
The despair is still here, the feelings of alienation, disgust at racism and sexism from both the Left and the Right. I still avoid smug liberals and snotnosed conservatives, no changes in my point of view, my personal positions, but I simply don’t have to post them to social media.
Well, not all of them anyway. I’ve got some stuff percolating that will probably find its way to the great web of conformity, make myself a target, and, while I may not be a “better” person, I have a bit less animosity and I don’t need to boot up FB every time I’m my office to see if someone has topped my remarks, has humiliated me on the world stage or has “liked” what I had to say, has given me that all important cyber-pat on the back.
I read two books last week and watched a Japanese surrealist film, listened to nearly my entire collection of John Coltrane and most of Beethoven’s string quartets and I finished season 3 of Bojack Horseman and I’m all caught up with “The Handmaid’s Tale” and I downloaded two Judas Priest CDs. And read a Batman Comic.
Better person.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Stephen Hawking is Smarter Than You




Can we agree that Stephen Hawking is smart? Smarter than most of us? Argue about that if you want, but I tend to believe a highly intelligent scientist who has overcome realworld problems and contemplates the future. Not the far future, because Hawking doesn’t think we earthlings have much more time on our silly little planet. What surprises me is that his projections haven’t been bigger news. Dr. Stephen Hawking, with twelve honorary degrees, CBE, Companion of Honour, Fellow of The Royal Society and Member of the US National Academy of Sciences, author of six bestsellers, says we have 100 years to get our shit together and then we have to leave. Thankfully, I will have already left. But, honestly, your infant daughter or son, if they don’t smoke and stay gluten free could possibly see the end of the world. The final days. They will suffer the torments of a dying planet. Anyone care about that? And caring doesn’t mean that you drive a Prius. Fucking hell no. Recognizing that most of what we are sweating about will be vaporized in a century and nothing will change, nothing, unless all 196 countries on all 7 continents agree on almost everything. See that happening? Of course not. Political parties and religions and races, genders, all theories regarding variations of physical existence and our generally uninformed choices might get us through the next year, help us to feel as though we belong to the very best group, organization, ethnicity, but when I read that one of the world’s great minds thinks that Earth will be a blistered little cornflake in 100 years I wonder why this isn’t the main topic everywhere; even in crummy places like North Korea or South Carolina. I mean, fuck your stupid religion and trigger warnings, microaggressions, candidates, legal weed, publishing your novel and shopping at Trader Joe's. Kiss the kids goodbye and begin offloading the accumulation of debris that has become our lives. It’s over.
It really doesn’t matter if you bring your own paper bags to the grocery store.

If you care:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/05/05/stephen-hawking-just-moved-up-humanitys-deadline-for-escaping-earth/?utm_term=.36551f9a42c9


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Fun With Words -- Part VIII





Language is organic and forever mutating. Years ago, after Spielberg’s big shark movie came out, a woman I worked with went to Hawaii. When she returned, a co-worker, young single mom, struggling, had never been out of town, asked her, “Did you see any Jaws when you were there?”
I loved that. “Jaws” is a better description than “Shark”. Language reflects cultural developments, evolution, or decline.
Words also take on new meaning; “gay” doesn’t necessarily mean “joyful”, “awesome” no longer means “awesome”.
Sometimes there are no definitions for our thoughts, our feelings, certain sensations. We attempt to describe what we experience but we have to settle for inaccuracies. Close, but not exact. It’s what writers deal with and some of us take pleasure in experimenting with new devices for narrative precision.
The new words are called “Neologisms”. I do it all the time.
This morning, while in the grocery store, I was standing in the produce department and I smelled something that was gross. I looked around and couldn’t identify the source. It was a cross between rotting flesh, body odor, and celery. I had no word for the smell or how it made me feel so I cleared my mind and let the first thing I thought of become the definition for that odor.
Ivanka.
Swear to God. I was delighted. Ivanka. That is the name I have given to that particular scent of decaying flesh, BO, vegetables, and now when I encounter it on public transportation or in a 12-step meeting I have a way of labeling it.
You see where I’m going.
You know that feeling you get just before you vomit when you’re all clammy and green, taking deep breaths, salivating, know full well that soon you will puke?
Pence.
“Dude was ready to hurl and he was pencing like mad. It was awesome.”
A not-very-smart guy with all kinds of money finds himself in a position of extraordinary power, realizes that no one likes him but they are afraid to criticize him, has no friends and his family will never disagree with him and he becomes childish and vengeful and suspicious?
Jong-il.
What, you had another one?
These are my words. Make up your own.