Vegemite… Vegemite Not…

The Flat Earth people say Australia doesn’t actually exist. It’s true, they honestly believe that. There was a time when I dismissed those malfunctioning human beings as readily as I do people who believe in a sky-god, but now I’m no longer sure.

Let me tell you why.

My son-in-law, Robbie, claims to be from Australia, but I’ve always been a little suspicious. He’s seems just a bit too kind to qualify as a genuine human. Not only that, he appears to respect himself and others in equal proportions, and I’m pretty sure that’s illegal in at least thirty states here in America. Sure, just like all people claiming to come from Don Unda, he sounds like he’s got a couple of walnuts tucked beside his molars when he talks, but we all have our imperflections. That last word is a hybrid of imperfections and inflections, on the off chance you didn’t notice how clever I am.

So anyway, just as everyone else in the world that considers Flat Earthers to be a few beans shy of a righteous cup a Joe, I accepted that Australia actually existed, and that humans did indeed originate from there…

So what caused my doubt?

On a previous visit some years ago, the subject of Australian cuisine came up. Wallaby Stew, Eggs Platypus, Koala Kabobs, you know, Australian fare. Anyway, Robbie spoke fondly of something called Vegemite, so when I learned he and my daughter were coming back to visit, I ordered some of it shipped in. Thus as we sat down to our first breakfast on the day after their arrival, I triumphantly brought forth a small jar sporting a yellow label, the word Vegemite written inside the red diamond on the front.

Robbie proceeded to spread the tar-like substance on his toast, and being a gracious guest, offered a small piece so that I might sample what he claimed to be an Australian staple.

How do I describe the taste?

Pizza with extra anchovies, hold the cheese, the sauce, and the crust. Or perhaps you can imagine a tootsie pop made from a salt lick, with a crusty salt crystal center. Let me put it this way, after sampling a very small amount of the substance, I’m pretty sure I felt my kidneys shutting down, and I desperately needed to shave my tongue as soon as possible.

This is when I saw Robbie do something that no fully functioning, red-blooded, taste bud equipped human being would ever do without being under some form of duress. Of his own free will, without coercion of any kind, no guns to his head; no love ones held hostage, he sat and ate three pieces of toast smothered in butter and Vegemite.

While I still consider the Flat Earthers complete morons, crazy glued to stacks of stupid, the Vegemite incident puts the origin of the Australius Humanis in question, or at the very least, it begs the question, do Australians have normal taste buds? I’m afraid the best we can do for an answer is…

Vegemaybe, but it’s seems doubtful…

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Where Would Jesus Shop?

As I may have noted in previous blogs, I bear a striking resemblance to the white man’s visual concept of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. I have blue eyes, and long brown hair with natural golden highlights. Added to this, my years of meditation left me with a calm graceful vibration that even the thickest of monotheist might notice.

Anyway, I was in a Kroger’s grocery store a few days ago… Wait, I don’t think they have Kroger’s west of the Rocky Mountains, so for my readers who get their sunshine delivered later in the day, envision a Safeway filled with a wide variety of rude people.

As I was saying, I was in a Kroger’s a few days ago, and as the endangered species known as the salesclerk scanned my assorted sundries, I noticed that the dark boiling clouds, which had been elbowing their way across the sky all morning, had decided to cut loose. In keeping with today’s theme, let us say that it was a deluge of biblical proportions, shall we?

I paid the salesclerk with endangered cash, walked out the first set of doors and into the large foyer displaying holiday-themed sales items, housing shopping carts, and providing wooden benches for weary customers. On this frightfully dreary day, the foyer was packed with shoppers sheltering from the storm. Forced to maintain close proximity with other members of their species, the captive humans mumbled comments about the ferocity of the weather whilst tsking, shaking their heads, and avoiding direct eye contact.

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest on the arid side of Washington State, and in all the years I lived there, I could count the number of times it rained this hard on one hand. Thus, I’ve always considered walking in the pouring rain a bit of a novelty, a free-range shower, as it were. So, while others huddled their masses in the entrance/exit of the Kroger foyer, I maneuvered past them, intending to enjoy the torrential downpour. However, at the exact moment the automatic doors opened to allow my passage, the thundering rain stopped as if someone had hit a switch. It didn’t just let up, it quit completely.

As I moved through the door opening, I happened to glance back over my shoulder to find that a few of those waiting for the storm to pass seemed a bit wide-eyed. It didn’t occur to me until I was loading bags in my car, that people indoctrinated in the Jesus myth from an early age might have misconstrued the coincidence as something of a biblical event. After all, I’ve caught that quick moving, ‘that’s-Jesus-no-it-can’t-be’ look a great many times over the years. Regardless, I think it’s time to clear the air and set to rights any misconceptions my Jesus-ish appearance may have caused.

First, let me state for the record that it’s true, at least half of Washington State is covered in sagebrush and designated as semi-arid. Second, I am not Jesus Christ of Nazareth, even though I share his strong beliefs in socialism. I am an Atheist true and through, and while organized religion seems relatively harmless on its surface, I do not possess the intellectual disingenuousness, selective moral rigidity, or ethical elasticity that gives Christianity, Judaism and Islam their pharisaical tendencies.

Would I want to be Jesus Christ of Nazareth? No, not really, but it would be cool to walk through puddles after a rainstorm without getting my feet wet…

Unconditional Conditions…

God and Dog are arguably the most obvious anagrams in the English language, but they have more in common than letters. Some say, (some being a close relative of they) that both God and Dogs offer unconditional love, Dogs to their masters, God to his humans.

Dogs, generally speaking, tend to fawn, lick and wag in efforts to please their master, they only ask for a little food and attention in return.

God specifically demands that his humans fawn, beg and worship him, offering free will as long as his humans act and think exactly the way he says. If they stray from his unconditional conditions, He’ll drown the lot of them, or perhaps roast them in hell for eternity. This behavior makes the God of Abraham sound like a schizophrenic psychopath. That’s simply an observation, not a criticism.

Dogs will guard, aid, and protect their masters, going so far as to sacrifice their lives in the process if necessary.

God might help his humans if they pray, plead, and grovel to his satisfaction. He claims to have sacrificed his only begotten son for human sins, but his son, who is actually him, (???) was only dead for three days. A multitude of sins, past, present, and future are forgiven in exchange for a three-day weekend, now that’s what I call a bargain…

I doubt the people of faith reading this will suddenly experience an Atheistic epiphany and come to bask the light of reason. To most people, life is a great big question without a specific answer, and that scares the shit out of them.

…but here’s the thing…

We can do better than these bronze-age gods born before the age of science. They are the creations of crude, ignorant men, with very limited knowledge. We don’t need archaic tomes and monstrous institutions to tell us what is right or wrong, what is moral and what is not. To every single one of us, at least for those who have not had it taught out of us, this knowledge comes as standard equipment.

The secret of life is to keep your body’s electrical system operating for as long as possible. The secret of a good life is to act with kindness whenever and wherever possible. The secret of eternal life is written in the stardust. If you want answers beyond that, you’re shit out of luck.

And if you’re still looking for unconditional love, I suggest that you trade your pastor/priest/pope in for a Dog… I think they actually know what it means…

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Furniture Polish…

I have forever been an advocate of leaving dust alone. When my wife suggests that the furniture needs swiped with the feather thingy, I advise her to let sleeping mites lie. This usually fails to draw any reaction beyond a snort of derision and accusations of laziness, so I draw myself up, and in a voice worthy of a biblical voiceover technician I proclaim… the act of dusting is as eternally futile as the labors of Sisyphus.

When this bold, and dare I say, sophisticated philosophical argument fails to illicit the intended response, I roam about the house and draw an approximation of sunglasses on every dusty surface I find. I then write, ‘I’ll Be Back’ beneath the drawing. You’d think this bit of creative genius would so well illustrate the futility of the act, I would be permanently exempt me from dust duty, but sadly, it does not.

While I find the act of dusting sneezy and pointless, waxing the same objects once threatened by dust particles can be soothing and cathartic. As you might suspect, at this very moment, the ghost of Mr. Miyagi is twisting my arm in an attempt to make me say it, but I refuse to be cliché whenever and wherever possible. Cliché resistance is very important to me. I don’t even let my dog Chase pee on fire hydrants when we go out on walks.

Chase has never said, but I think he understands the need to be original as well. When we take him to the pet store, or a drive-thru of some type, people always want to give him a doggy treat. We tell them that he won’t take it, but they never believe us and try anyway. Chase will sniff at it, roll his eyes, and turn his nose away. He won’t even eat those Beggin’ treats that smell just like bacon, hell, even I’ve been tempted to try those once or twice. He’s also the only dog I’ve seen that’s indifferent about going outside after waking up in the morning. He’ll go out if he feels like it, but the weather has to be pleasant.

Speaking of mornings, I’m sure we’ve all experienced those days when we’re just lying in bed, surfing our new-day thoughts, and waiting for the ghostly echoes of snoring to die away. Inevitably, one’s significant other will ask, “What are you thinking about?” This happened to me recently and I answered before measuring my response.

My wife was lying beside me, toying with one of the curls of my long hair when she said, “I can hear you thinking all the way over here, what are you thinking about?” To be completely fair, I wasn’t that far away.

“Breakfast burritos,” I replied. “I was wondering if my approach to making them has been all wrong.”

My wife’s reply to my sincere and honest answer seemed a little cool for unknown reasons, when she said, “Breakfast burritos, you’re seriously thinking about breakfast burritos right now.”

Since we’ve been married for precisely the perfect amount of time, I immediately picked up on the frosty undertones and realized the question wasn’t rhetorical in nature. I offered a careful smile and said, “Umm… yes?”

She sat up in bed and looked about the room for a moment, before saying, “The dust on your dresser is thick enough to grow vegetables in.”

When I added, “Or maybe even a lemon tree,” she didn’t even smile.

My wife is one of those people who can’t seem to locate their sense of humor before having coffee, but she certainly found the feather duster thingy for me without any problems…

Bayonets, Dandelions, and Folding Towels…

I was nearing 50 years old when I learned to fold a bath towel properly. At least, what is considered proper by the prevailing feminine opinion within my immediate orbit.  I was halfway into my 18th year when I learned to kill other human beings by the millions, a tutelage provided by the United States Armed Forces. I’m not sure why I would ever equate the two subjects. A well-folded bath towel fresh from the dryer seems domestically smooth and soothing… obliterated radioactive cities filled with smoldering corpses… not so much.

These thoughts occurred to me earlier in the day while I was out in my yard uprooting dandelions with an Army issue M8A1 bayonet. It’s a rather nasty piece of cutlery designed to part the skin of our fellow humans and allow their souls to leak out… To be completely honest with anyone reading this, the dandelions never stood a chance.

I never had to skewer anyone with that bayonet, nor was I ever forced to hurl nuclear missiles at our industrial/ideological competitors in an effort to kill them into our way of thinking. We can all thank Thor for that, the legitimate Norse God, not the Marvel Comic version.

I arrived in country in the midst of winter, and my assigned firing battalion was already on Status; the assignation given to being prepared for squirting nuclear-tipped missiles skyward at a moment’s notice. After spending a small amount of time kicking my heels and allowing my security clearances to catch up, I journeyed to a mountaintop bristling with pine trees, boredom, and weapons of mass destruction. It was a dull and dreary place, this mountaintop, no televisions or radios allowed, and the reading material lying about consisted of comic books for the most part. Now would be the time to think of Marvel.

Although I was only 18 and some change at the time, it was not long before the absurdity of the situation demanded a seat at my mental table of contents. It was a surreal world of casual Friday meets the Apocalypse, and the sheer mundane/insanity of the entire operation amazes me to this day.

Not all that much has changed since I sat around waiting to blow up the world. Men driven completely insane by their own greed are still in power, fucking up the world, and screwing over everyone else for their own personal entertainment. The weapons have become more powerful, more sophisticated, and the recycled ideologies they promote more desperate. Governments have given up on glorifying their profitable wars and switched to venerating their warriors. You almost hear the rich and powerful saying, “thank you for your service… sucker!”

Yet, I think it’s fair to say that the world is warming up to the idea of eradicating the lot of us humans, and rightfully so. To the planet, and every other single living thing on it, we human beings are the tragedy.

There’s not much we ordinary people can do about all this I suppose, but I can tell you this; the secret to folding bath towels properly is to half them, then triple the fold, not quarter them.

Will this linen-based revelation save humanity?

We can only hope…

They Would Know…

Although it’s a closely guarded secret, I have written and published a handful of novels. I’ll pause here so you can be appropriately impressed, but please do so with the safety of your neighbors in mind.

Many people actually think of this feat (writing novels) as remarkable, but it’s really nothing more than walking while using your words for feet… Have I managed to write the great American novel? Probably not, but as ‘They’ say, every novel is a Schrödinger until you open it.

As far as I know, ‘They’ have never actually said that every novel is a Schrödinger, but let’s cut them some slack. ‘They’ have been hopelessly lost in the labyrinth of ambiguity since the beginning of finger pointing, innuendo, and rampant speculation, besides, ‘They’ are more significant than you might think.

I’m here today to speak of a concept in my Starfire Trilogy called, The Blend. I’ll keep it short, for it is a paradox of divisions where no divisions exist, and has the distinct possibility of making confusion seem less sensible. Let it suffice to say that we are awash in an infinite sea of energy. Within this sea, different threads of light and energy join to create increasingly complex collectives of expressive energy forms.

The Blend is everything that has been, everything that is, and everything that will be. A universal processor that takes asteroids, comets, stars, planets, solar systems, galaxies, nebula, gravity, time, dark matter, light matter, multiverses, and well, pretty much everything but kale, and churns it all into a cosmic stew.

You’re no doubt thinking that this is proof of God; who else could create and turn on the universal processor? You would be wrong, for it was ‘They’ who created and turned on cosmic blender, creating all that is and negating the notion of a monotheistic deity with one simple designation. Before you polytheists do multiple high-fives, try to remember, just as your monotheistic counterparts, your gods are too petty and too puny to earn anything resembling validity in the cosmic Blend. Your concepts of creator deities are analogous to dropping a few grains of salt into Lake Superior and expecting it to taste like the ocean.

So, what do ‘They’ have to say about all of this human generated faith and spirituality? ‘They’ say you should grow up and toss all of your religious dogma back into the Blend where it belongs, it is genuinely stupid, and is harmful to children and other living things.

‘They’ want us to think for ourselves…

Over The Counterintuitive…

The older I get, the less I tend to sleep. One should think that we would sleep more as we totter towards the great cosmic blend: an undressed rehearsal for being deceased, as it were.

Before this piece meanders down the path more traveled, the one with complimentary complaints about roaming the house at three AM, nocturnal urination, and hair-mining in orifices once a devoid of human fur, let us pause, take a deep breath, and start again.

According to Meriam-Webster, the first known use of the word counterintuitive was in 1955, which just happens to be the same year my barbaric yawp first waltzed across the sterile room conceived for human arrivals. 1955. There were a lot of words and phrases coined in that year, artificial intelligence, big bang theory, certified mail, and DIY, just to name a few, but I don’t remember the year itself.

My first recollection in life is from 1956, where I was sitting next to a rushing river in the Pacific Northwest.  The others in attendance at this memory are a complimentary set of my siblings, cousins in exact proportions, and the maternal units of both clans. On that day, I was approximately fifteen months old, and probably taste testing anything within reach, when suddenly; a large bear appeared from the foliage on the opposite side of the narrow river.  As you can well imagine, it was the Keystone Cops go a picnicking from that point forward.  That last reference will need some research for many of those stumbling across this collection of words.

Astrophysicists now say the Universe is expanding at a rapid rate. Ursa Major is moving quickly away from us, and I suspect Ursa Minor will follow, so that’s two bears I no longer have to worry about. Still, it does not seem right in a way I can’t quite grasp. How can something as immeasurably gargantuan as the Universe continue to grow larger, when its depth and breadth is already beyond our comprehension? It simply doesn’t seem seemable.

Therefore, I read Penrose, Sagan, and Hawkins, watch Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson, but it rarely does anything to cure my sense of mystification. My thinking processes simply can’t match speed with the expansion.  I guess there are some things you just can’t get it over the counter…

…even if you think you should…