Orifice, Or a Face?

A Hole or a Visage?

We eat drink, smell, sneeze, speak, hear, breath and vomit through holes in the head: our orifices. There are two other orifices we seldom name in polite company, but they are no where near the face and, even though they are highly sensitive to touch and manipulation we allow them to be synonymous with shame. Probably because they are used to expel smelly waste products associated with having a gut microbiome, and eating food. Either that, or the heightened sensitivity of these secreted orifices and the arousal of sexual expressions of said holes and their fleshy surroundings can sometimes be embarrassing. They spend most of their time hidden behind layers of clothing and seldom, if ever, view the sun.

So, most writers have little to say about an orifice such as the ear or the nose which have little to do to actively engage in acts of sexual stimulation. (I don’t want to ignore the wonderful smells that are arousing, nor the sexual appeal of a tenor’s lyrical voice, but these physical structures are limited in their usefulness as far as mechanisms for sexual play. One seldom hears of ear-anal penetration for example. ‘Brown nosing’ is a derogatory term rarely used in erotic literature.) Most attention is focused upon the penis, the mouth and other penis-accessible orifices, especially the one where babies emerge, over a gestational period of time, of course.

Do you know how people oftentimes resemble their pets? The short grouchy butch guy with the bulldog or the fluffy-haired poodle owner. I wonder if the same thing exists between a person’s face and their own orifices? I mean a face is made up of eyes, skin and orifices so there is bound to be a correlation there, but how often do people resemble their lower orifice? I mean if someone calls you an asshole, it’s usually because you are a jerk and not because they have noticed any resemblance between you and your, well, you know. I mean how would anyone actually know except the guys at the gym, maybe, unless you are a porn star or something. Is it really what you want to be known for in polite society?

Just as the elevator doors shut:

“Hey, I know you from someplace.”

“Sorry, I don’t…”

“You used to have black silky hair, you’ve gone bald, man. I remember, you did porn and you looked just like your asshole.”

“SIR, PLEASE!”

“I never forget a face or an ass for that matter, you resemble your ass.” “Your porn was like watching the Patty Duke Show.”

A rare occurrence, I am sure, but we need to see more butts to know if the correlation actually exists or if I’m just talking out my ass. Maybe our photo ID’s should have a front view of the face, a side view, and an ass view. People would be saying: “Hey, Dachshund-ass” or “Is that a schnauzer in your trousers?

I don’t suppose I would be discussing this if today’s headlines weren’t about our beloved President Trump calling Haiti and most of Africa “shithole” countries. He sure has a way of lowering the level of world discourse.

LGBTQ Pride

Crikey on the Psyche

A person’s mental health can feel like Prometheus bound to a rock where an eagle comes to eat his liver every day after it grows back each night. Political activism takes something from your soul with consistency while never providing the restorative qualities of an immortal Greek God like Prometheus. LGBTQ rights activism is particularly hard because the fight is about love and identity: feelings. We aren’t permitted to have certain feelings if they don’t jive with the status quo. When emotions are different from the majority there is embarrassment and humiliation.

eagle eating liver

Now try standing up to fight that fight on a daily basis. You are always outside the group, estranged from society and called an abomination by that pinnacle of morality, the child-raping church. Existing as the perpetual outsider who actively demands acceptance is a political thing. Declaring your status as ‘different’ is a political act because it carries with it the request for acceptance. This forces a choice upon those you encounter: to accept, ignore, or reject you, and your feelings. Sometimes you see the word ‘abomination’ growing in their eyes at the simplest of requests: ‘We’d like a queen size bed, thank you, not two singles’ and suddenly the wrath of god is raging at the hotel check-in desk.

Prometheus carries the qualities of being a trickster, intelligence, forethought, the pursuit of knowledge even at great risk, and he is the God who first gave fire to humanity.  In ancient Greece the part of the body where emotions dwell was thought to be the liver. The King of the Gods, Zeus didn’t like him giving humans the ability to make use of fire so he punished Prometheus by tying him to a rock so an eagle could eat his emotions/liver daily.

Folks in the LGBTQ community know what it is like having their emotions picked at daily by authority figures and theo-blinded bullies at the front desk. Fortunately, most people don’t like liver, but all it takes is one asshole to ruin your day, or your mood, or take the fun out of life.

So, I avoid Christians at all costs. Bye, Bye, So long, and fuck off. That born-agin-glaze in their eyes isn’t friendly. Christian love does not include the LGBTQ community in a meaningful way. Even the Presbyterians include a “traditional” insult in their rules about marriage, just to take one more poke at the fags before they permit gays to be married. It’s as if they are being dragged into this marriage thing by an actual loving God instead of the one they pray to, and they resent it. The eagle gets one last bite of the emotional liver. Thanks church!

Sorry, did I insult you? Then why is your faith so caught up in sex? Until people who call themselves “Christian” take responsibility for defining the word (christian) and living up to the word together, a derogatory behavior by one Christian sub-set is derogatory behavior of all Christians. It is not my job to distinguish one sect from another; it is their job to speak with a unified voice, either that or don’t use the word ‘christian.’ Pick one. If your name can’t be used accurately, with precision, then no one truly understands it; this is the way Trump voters think of Mexicans and Muslims.

You mean turn about isn’t fair play? It’s not fair to lump all christians together just because they are Christians? This is the baffling part of bigotry. The number of denominations under the umbrella of Christianity is so vast that no one could, with clarity, explain their differences and their similarities. I know there are Shiite and Sunni Muslims and probably many variations on each, but I was raised in the First Presbyterian Church and I could not tell you the difference between that and the Second or Third Presbyterian church. There is no need for me to figure it out now, having disavowed any form of christianity. Except that each variation of the Christian or Muslim theme also carries a political element. That is the important distinction to make.

We had a PRIDE Week scheduled here starting the day after hurricane Irma and rescheduled it for the day after Maria hit and finally had a scaled down version in late November. Next year’s will be held sometime other than hurricane season. PRIDE will always be needed as long as Christians keep pecking at our liver. Anti-LGBTQ christians are the loudest, most vocal, and are active in legal violence as an enemy; pro-LGBTQ christians are barely a whisper in the political debate. Until they stand up and actively join the battle they are still on the other side. I hate to sound like George W. Bush but either you are with us or you are a Christian. Period.

Evangelical White Christians

Their values are modeled

on those of the Donald.

Trumping the vision

of He who is Risen.

Thoughtless devotion

to orange-haired emotion

renders a notion

not worth promotion.

 

Those who have toyed

with paranoid red-herrings

lose ethical bearings,

mixing right with wrong.

They’ve ‘fake’ delusions

he’ll give divine solutions

like nuclear profusions

and doctrinal devolutions.

 

Yes, I know our times are broken

and it may be harshly spoken

but we’re dealing with the tokens

of Evangelical promotions

so forget poetic notions:

We’re all fucked!

 

By Bill O’Donnell   Freethoughtblogs.com/Odgraphix

My Pearly-eyed Friend

I’ve got the ATT Hot Spot up and running slowly at home. It’s looking up pictures of native island birds so I can identify the species of my lunch partner which I’ll mention later in this paragraph should it appear. My husband and I thought that I might be more productive and less prone to eat all day if I found a nice quiet spot to sit and write. So, I started my search for the perfect spot at Polly’s On The Pier, a restaurant run by two friends of ours, Chuck and Chris. Internet access comes with a purchase and if you sit in the courtyard you may be joined by a chicken or two, or a Pearly-eyed Thrasher as I was today. The food’s good too!Pearly-eyed Thrasher

He, the bird, wasn’t really much of a conversationalist which is good because I was there to write not peck at crumbs. And since he wasn’t able to find any crumbs this early in the day he perched on the back of the chair at the table across from me. He silently watched me eat and type, looking out for potential boons of blueberry waffles or fried sausage patties. He remained attentive even after the plates were cleared and I continued typing. I enjoyed his company and would have stayed longer if not for the diesel generator across the courtyard that currently powers this area. It is loud and stinky. It gave me a headache. I hope my pearly-eyed friend deemed my companionship sufficient for my droppings were meager.

The power grid on St. Croix is being restored by linemen from the States. They are fast and efficient and rapidly running out of materials to do their job. No-one here is accustomed to such quality or speed, which is why every home and business has its own generator. The government is generally thought to be corrupt so the financial aid may not actually be going for supplies as intended. Donald Trump doesn’t realize that he is the President of these islands. Most U.S. citizens don’t realize we are part of the USA. Fortunately, the US Postal System does. Our anonymity is one of the joys of Island life. Think of us as one of those cities in Michigan in need of an economic supervisor for our own financial survival. Then come on down and spend your tourist dollars – you will enjoy it and that is how we make our money.

Actually, forget about the Michigan comparison, we’re the opposite, we’re warm and sunny (and broke). And even though our beaches moved about twenty yards off shore during the hurricanes I’m sure the sand will crawl back on-shore soon.

Jesus Camp, the Harbinger

I re-watched the 2006 documentary, Jesus Camp the other day. It predicted Trump; not the who of Donald Trump, but the what of an evangelical-favored president. The fact that he is irreligious has no relevance to them. They indoctrinated their children into being voters for a Trump-like leader and it worked. They got what they asked for, emotionalism, nationalism and speaking/texting-in-tongues nonsense.

By the way, this is not what I meant by negative capability, which respects and honors reason and logic in collaborative harmony. This is intentional random illogic and unreasonable faith in anti-intellectualism with a nod to Evangelical Christian religiosity. The “Kids On Fire” summer campers of the film were old enough to vote in this past election. Like the students from any madrassa, they presumably did what they were taught to do.

I was saddened by this film when I first saw it ’07. But I’d regularly been saddened by the Anita Bryants and Jerry Falwells and Tammy Faye Bakers of the world since the 1970s. My expectation for the Evangelical’s dream candidate was more along the super intelligent con-man type, like the balloonish Ted Cruz. Instead we got the perfect blend of a capitalist oligarch salesman/conman who is the male version of Tammy Faye in terms of hair at least, and he organically speaks in tongues. He is neither the intellect nor the pious spiritualist; that born-again glaze in his eyes, as the Evangelicals perceive it, is just plain crazy to the rest of the world. He is more oligarch than evangelical and the religious crowd is happy with what they have got. This represents the Christian backlash that’s been predicted for years. Oddly, I expected to have more respect for it when it arrived.

Their prayers have been answered. By the time he is done the Christian version of Sharia law will give these wackos authority over an individual’s sexual, gender, and reproductive life. The non-productive capitalist theology/ buffoonery of a Trump and the oppressive dominionist theology of the evangelicals have given the Republican oligarchs two tigers to hold by the tail. Balancing oligarchy with theology was hard enough but Trump presents a wild-card they didn’t expect. The pie has to be gerrymandered so that all three major players get the piece they want.

From the distant devastation of my twice hurricane-struck island I am glad to be here, not there. With my brief internet connections, I feel like I am glimpsing an episode of the 1960s TV show Batman; an episode where all the colorful criminals, the jokers, penguins and cat persons have taken over the city while each of them makes up their own set of nonsensical rules and chaos prevails. Our democracy is now a failed camp farce. Will a bat-costumed billionaire save the day?

The teacher has left this USA classroom alone for far too long. Where is the adult? Or are we just waiting for Godot?

Perfect Love

The fairytale theme of every wedding is – perfect love. It is a good story that has little to do with reality: this combination of imperfect humans will somehow achieve perfection. Expecting perfection is a fiction. It doesn’t exist in reality.  But, what a great idea; it’s like adding two odd numbers together and making an even number, as if even numbers are the best numbers and odd numbers are, well, no offense, odd.

Can you imagine how difficult it would be for a mathematician to do their job if numbers were offended by being called odd, or an angle called obtuse? They’d all be grouching about the world being against them for being odd, or wide angle abuse or whatever. Fortunately, numbers are perfect; names aside, of course.

If humans were perfect they would be as boring as numbers. I mean really, what is 36 going to add to the conversation outside of 36 – nothing! A number is certain. They know their past and their future and to expect them to surprise you with something other than 36 gets a big red X on the test.

There is no perfect love, or lover, or spouse because we are not numbers. Our future is uncertain, our past may be hidden, our minds can change and the only sure thing is uncertainties, mysteries, and doubts. That is the world we live in.

Survival here means acquiring the skill-set known as negative capabilities. This is where we move forward in life knowing it to be an ever-changing mystery. This requires one to hold many conflicting thoughts in their head, yet remain comfortable with the inherent contradiction. Humans naturally seek order and harmony, they tease reason out of mystery. We study the processes of nature with analytical reasoning and objective measurement in hopes that knowledge will bring us peace and progress.

When we seek facts and truth and certainty in a world that isn’t made for certitude we treat reason and logic as holy. But, negative capabilities are what allow us to use the mechanisms of reason and logic within the mysteriousness of our circumstance. All three must be considered foundational mechanisms for progress.

Religion tries to define and control our understanding of the mystery, yet they become certain of their fantasies. They make rules that solidify mystery into fact rather than letting it remain mysterious. That impetus to certify the “truth” of a moment in time, freezes them out of the ability to be present with negative capability as it exists at every new moment. The whole point is that the mystery is in eternal flux. Jesus may have been the savior of his time, but within an instant of time’s forward progress he stopped being that, no matter how many cathedrals continue to be built to celebrate that long-gone moment.

The ability to go with the flow, so to speak, illuminates the zeitgeist of the moment. Musicians and artists get this. Scientists, philosophers and other thoughtful folks ought to pay attention to it too. I make the case regularly that art does a better job of what religion presumes to do than religion does, without all the coercion and hoopla. For example, I wore out several copies of “Tommy” by the Who in my early days as a theatrical designer, listening to it while drawing and conceiving the scenery for other shows. Playing the Doors’ music helps with cleaning the house for some reason. Why? It’s a mystery. Become one with the Pin-ball Wizard and creativity flows through you into a set design for Talley’s Folly. The Lizard King has secret knowledge to help vacuum dust motes. Let It Be – it is a mystery!

Illusion Will Be My Epitaph

The title is a bastardization of a lyric from a King Crimson song which said, “Confusion will be my epitaph,” which is more or less true for anyone.  Confusion is an uncontrolled state of being, Illusion is a highly controlled state of being. Illusion is something used by a trickster, a magician, a stage performer.

Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.” ~ Tennessee Williams in The Glass Menagerie

Illusion comes in many forms with many purposes. Most of my early training in illusion came from going to church as a child. Conformity to the Presbyterian dress code for Sunday attire is the first lesson: “ You want to look like all the other children, don’t you?” Facade management is the essential component of being part of their group. Maintain the illusion and you fit in just fine. Don’t color outside the big thick black lines of the Presbyterian coloring book and you will make the picture they want you to make. The standards are their’s, your job is to follow them.

Illusion was my business as a theatrical designer and producer. I know how illusion works to a far greater extent than that basic Sunday School level. The art and craft of storytelling is a ‘pleasant disguise,’ while the conformity of theological illusion is a manipulation. In other words, Tennessee Williams is illustrating the truth for you to use as you see fit, while Presbyterians proclaim their truth and threaten you with hell if you color outside their lines.  People see merit in either approach: some prefer to deliberate and then make their own choices, while others prefer to follow guidelines of some sort. To a degree, the choice of one over the other is a matter of the  intellectual rigor you wish to contribute to the effort of living life.

In one sense it is the value you give to authority, ideology, and loyalty. What is my function? Where is my place within the group? If you give high value to these concepts your conception of the individual is less personal, an individual is but one of many that has an obligatory duty; a cog in the machine of humanity, a spoke on the wheel, one of many interchangeable parts. The machine of society works best when the hierarchy of authority is clear, when all parts are focused on the same goal, and when each part is committed to the goal. The machine is what matters most, but it is the leader who sets the goals.  Even though ironies abound, this describes the people who vote for Donald Trump, his rhetoric encourages authoritarian homogeneity. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth, but isn’t.

In contrast, liberal freethinkers put the individual first, not the machine. Fairness and self-determination are its defining values. This group constantly redesigns the machine, with the objective to make it better for each individual. Authority comes from the whole group, not one individual.  The purpose of their machine is to care for the needs of the individuals within the group. Who am I as an individual? How can I, the individual, serve the needs of the group? Free thought gives you truth in both reality and in the pleasant disguise of illusion and metaphor.

It doesn’t matter how the truth gets told as long as it is the truth that is being told. If it isn’t the truth then we must reveal the illusion for what it is, a lie. The rapid-fire deceit upon deceit of the Trump administration is part of his bag of magic tricks; it confuses the audience into enjoying the blather rather than knowing truth. The key Trump illusion is his intent to confuse truth into irrelevancy. This leaves him free to drive his authoritarian machine toward whatever destination serves him best. We will watch him do it even as our complaints become part of the hubbub of distraction. He is the magician who converts all truth into his illusion. King Crimson got it right, “Confusion will be our democracy’s epitaph.”

What a piece of work

What a piece of work is man

How noble in reason

how infinite in faculties

in apprehension how like a swan

the beauty of the world

the paragon of animals

I have of late but wherefore I know not lost all my mirth

This goodly frame the earth seems to me a sterile promontory

this majestical roof the air look you

this brave o’re hanging firmament

threaded with golden fire

why it appears to me no other thing to me than a foul

and pestilent congregation of vapors

Now, before anyone complains, remember that I’ve just experienced 2 hurricanes and a tropical depression with 10” of rain in four hours, power has been out for almost six weeks and there is seldom an internet connection to be found. I’ve had to rely on memory to recreate this section of Hamlet [that may actually be the adaptation used in the rock musical, Hair or just plain wrong]. I can’t look it up, so I have to go from memory.

Anyway, the tropical rain forest I live in is turning green again. The fruit trees are lying horizontally across the property, trying to reach for the heavens again with remaining branches and the grass is tall as ever. The problem is that I, as a paragon of animals, seek order. My yard is supposed to be grass that can be cut with a lawnmower, and my trees should remain vertical. The fact they are content to lay there across the yard with their branches either happily sprouting leaves or dead and broken in the path of the mower disrupts my desired order. If I don’t do something about this soon, the forest will take back the yard. So, I can’t really say I know not wherefore I have lost my mirth, it greets me at the front door every morning.

I may have had infinite faculties when I was younger, but I’m older and health issues forced my early retirement. I can only work in tropical heat for twenty minute stretches with forty minutes of rest before trying again. I have no chain saw. If I rise at first light, I get more done until that oppressive golden fire bravely hangs itself in the firmament.

Things across the island seem like a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors, yet I am very lucky, I still have a roof and a house and cars and, my husband and I have our health. The U.S. Virgin Islands are trying to be noble in reason while we see our neighbor, Puerto Rico, get all of the attention. We are citizens of the United States and even though we are tiny, in contrast, we are a separate US territory and require the same aid. This isn’t a competition, but when our own President mistakes our Governor for president of some foreign country we have to stand up and say his apprehension is like a swan – a bit bird-brained. We deserve appropriate treatment.

A rational argument for the irrational

I have had to make a decision recently that is not the rational choice. Since I spend a fair amount of time advocating for rationality I was startled to see myself make this choice. This isn’t something minor like eating ice cream when I shouldn’t (a choice I often make); it is a significant financial choice.  I won’t describe the choice; you can’t judge me without the details. But, I confess this choice is pure emotion. I won’t lose any money because of it, just the annoyance of having to put more effort into the situation than I would like. So, I’m wondering if my irrational choice is a rational choice to make.

Rational means: based on, or in accordance with reason or logic, so my decision – based upon emotion, will become rational if there exists a logical reason to be irrational. I am free to construct an argument that justifies the irrational as being reasonable. This is the obvious foundation of religion: virgin births and once-dead, now-living 2017 year-old deities. These fantasies have no place in the world of rationality, yet the rational argument can be made that humanity requires some degree of fantasy in order to function rationally. Humans are like steam cookers that need to whistle away excess steam to efficiently accomplish the rational job of cooking. Excess steam is both the fantasy and the irrationality that is required to cook the meal but both are explosively harmful unless expelled in a moderate and controlled fashion.

Irrationality is a tool. It is a measuring device with no standard incremental values. Each fantasy creates its own standards and units of measure. Star Trek can fly through space at warp speed. The father in a Mormon family gets his own planet when he dies, but travel between planets belonging to dead Mormons probably isn’t at warp speed, if they even bother to visit one another that is. Dionysus dies each fall and is re-born each spring; his unit of measure is seasonal, which gives it a time basis in observable reality. The Ho Ho of theology, Christianity, with its three-gods-in-one trinity has too many variants to use any particular measuring stick although sex seems to be a particular obsession.

Sex as a measuring stick brings up all sorts of imagery that befuddles the pious, but putting all  that prudishness aside and focusing on just the variety of measuring sticks used by each entity in society, it becomes clear that there is no standard common to all. Sex is the wrong tool to use to assess moral standards; there is no commonality of measurement between groups. The facade of piety is far different from the reality of behavior making most established codes invalid unto themselves much less in harmony with others.

We must now be distracted by the escaping steam of the Nashville Report, an Evangelical wet dream of sexual passions about LGBTQ folks. They don’t know us and yet they have fantasies about us and hire lawyers to make fancy legalistic rules to condemn us and that makes them happy, really happy, too happy to be rational. They get off imagining how we get off. They rebreathe the voluminous eruptions of steam escaping their noses and it’s clouding their vision. They claim themselves to be, but obviously can’t see, straight.

People who separate steam from reality are our allies.

The taste for mystery, magic, wonder and supernatural imagination is built-in to the mechanics of how our brain works. We can’t eliminate fantasy from thought, it is an integral part of creativity. Interest in the supernatural is as much a part of the human condition as is love. Belief in fantasy as truth, not metaphor, is the crux of the problem. In today’s world we’d do a paternity test to discover the parentage of Jesus, but some humans would rather enjoy, and many seem to require, the emotional zing of belief in impossibilities. When these fantasies build an infrastructure to promote, enhance and solidify their authenticity it is the beginning of a cult which morphs into a formal established religion.

A religion that lives within the realm of a reasonable society often has value and contributes to the betterment of that society. However, when they exceed the boundaries of their place in society they become dangerous. Evangelicals haven’t just crossed the line, they have launched an attack with the Nashville Report; they remove themselves from common decency. They ask to be ostracized from the civil community of humanity.

I will civilly accept your need to believe in your chosen fantasy if you civilly accept my need to love the persons I love. The Law of Reciprocity – The Golden Rule – is how we get along.

Hurricanes

Hi there, I’m somewhat back again. St. Croix got a big bruise from Irma and a knock-out from Maria.  I now know what it is to try and sleep while the eye-wall of a Category 5 hurricane moves directly overhead.  Anyway, we survived, our dogs and house and car and truck are a bit dented, but we are very lucky to still have them. All of our fruit trees are gone: 3 kinds of mangos, several varieties of bananas, white plumb, grapefruit, cashew, nonie, carambola (star fruit), pomegranate, and a bread-fruit like tree we could never identify. Most of the coconut palm trees are gone which is fine by me, they are hard to maintain, but the royal palms will probably survive. The island is a mess but getting better every day.

I found this internet hot spot near a medical clinic so this is the first time I could post anything. We run a gas generator long enough to keep the fridge up and running and sometimes watch a DVD. It will be months before we have power or regular internet. ATT is available but often slow which is not surprising given that someone keeps stealing the generator at their tower. The island has a goal of being ready for cruise ships again by Thanksgiving.