Actually, at first, I was kind of impressed with Daniel Pinkchbeck. He knows a lot of big words, for one t...moreYeah, I know, but I had to. So. Much. Crack.
Actually, at first, I was kind of impressed with Daniel Pinkchbeck. He knows a lot of big words, for one thing. And how to sling them around. Son of an NYC artist and a NYC writer... he was bound to wind up a little pretentious around the edges. But he makes up for it by doubting himself at every turn. Because he's also neurotic. Just the right kind of person to injest copious amounts of hallucinogens. Oh, and then combine extensive reading in the subject of shamanism, the use of hallucinogens, mystic visionary writings, etc. Throw in a giant cauldron. Set the cauldron down in the middle of the Burning Man Festival. Set it on fire. Run far far away.
Pinchbeck manages to draw together threads from every New Age, LSD inspired, culturally appropriated, loonie hippie pipe dream he stumbles across. Crop circles (check). Meso-American Mythology (check), Rudolph Steiner (check), Carlos Castaneda (check), Aleister Crowley (check), African iboga boogie men (check), Free Love (check), the "noosphere" (THE WHAT? IS THAT A COW RELIGION???) check check checkity check check.
Dudes, seriously, this guy is a few screws loose of having a running tractor.
I mean, he does try and make up for it by adding in disclaimers that he may be entirely wrong about every single theory he entertains. But he does entertain them. He sits all these wacked out theories down around a tiny, painted table and serves them tea and crumpets. Then he pushes everything off the table and dances naked in his underwear.
It's not a pretty sight, I promise you.
But what the hell. The portions of the book that I managed to plow through without having to set it down and laugh until my abdomen hurt were pretty entertaining. I think some of his research has validity... in that I do believe in shamanism, and the energies that it works with. But the edge he, and others like him, take it to are of the ridiculous IMHO.
So... Joe Bob sez check it out if you are looking for some crack. Or to know what it's like to drop so much acid that your brain turns to gluons without actually damaging your cerebral cortex.(less)
David Sedaris walks all the way to the edge and dances on it. Defying gravity. I haven't yet read all his work, but my respect for him deepens with ea...moreDavid Sedaris walks all the way to the edge and dances on it. Defying gravity. I haven't yet read all his work, but my respect for him deepens with each essay. Another hit out of the park for "Uncle Faggot". God I just love him.(less)
another hit out of the park by David Sedaris. The entire last portion of the book is my favorite part. He decides to quit smoking and comes up with th...moreanother hit out of the park by David Sedaris. The entire last portion of the book is my favorite part. He decides to quit smoking and comes up with the genius idea of going to Tokyo as a change of scenery to make it easier. Hilarity ensues (of course).
This book kept me from going off my nut while flying to Medford. Thank you David Sedaris. Another jolt of sanity. I heart you muchly.(less)
So the funny thing is, I've actually eaten road kill. When I was a kid my dad used to go hunting with the other dads from the hippie commune where we...moreSo the funny thing is, I've actually eaten road kill. When I was a kid my dad used to go hunting with the other dads from the hippie commune where we lived. I know that doesn't sound very peace, love and understanding of them... but these were mountain hippies. But my dad wasn't much of a hunter. When he got a deer in his sights, he just couldn't pull the trigger. He was more of a trout fisherman. He even switched to bow hunting so that he had less of a chance of actually hitting anything. I don't think he wanted to look like a wuss in front of the other dads though. So he'd always go along and give it the old college try.
So this one year they went hunting on a weekend and didn't get any game... and so they got drunk on cheap beer and were driving home along the Yuba River and hit a deer with the 67 Ford Falcon. Dented the shit out of the Falcon, but they came home with a giant 14 pt buck strapped to the hood of the car.
Well, it's not like they were going to waste good venison. They carved it up in the driveway that night and we feasted on venison. Apparently the moms all knew it was road kill, but they tried to keep it a secret from the kids. No easy task in a hippie commune. Wasn't long before kids from the other families were making fun of the commune kids for eating road kill. I'm pretty sure we were called oakies.
Anyway... according to my dad, and an ex boyfriend of mine who is one generation removed from Appalachian coal miners, these instructions for cooking road kill are not entirely fictional. He swears his dad grew up fighting with his brothers over who was going to get to eat the squirrel brain.
There you have it... a proud bit of Americana. Read it. You never know when it may come in handy.(less)
This is one of my stranger and more embarrassing tales.
For some bizarre reason, gnomes are a recurring theme in my life. Someone gave me this book the...moreThis is one of my stranger and more embarrassing tales.
For some bizarre reason, gnomes are a recurring theme in my life. Someone gave me this book the month I was getting married. I thought the gnome man and woman were cute, ad I bought a gnome man and woman as our wedding cake toppers. For our thank you notes after the wedding I bought a postcard of a gnome couple sitting by the side of a lake, fishing. The cake topper couple disappeared the night of the wedding and I have never seen them since. Not surprising... there were 400 people at our wedding, and it lasted four days.
Well, like most marriages, one thing lead to another, and before you know it I was contemplating whether to smother him with a pillow or leave. I opted for the legal thing. Now here is where it gets weird. Like most couples we registered for wedding gifts. We received some china, silver and crystal stem ware. I left him most of the china and silver, taking just one place setting of each as a token rememberence. I also had some silver that my family gave me.
My ex started to act progressively weirder as our divorce dragged on, custody court, etc etc (really long story)... and at one point I wound up basically winning the legal disputes we were having. During this time I had a friend of my sister's living with me, helping me out with my daughter who was 4 at the time. She was an older woman and extremely New Agey woo woo. She told me that she had had a vision that my ex was possessed by the spirit of a gnome whose name was Hairy Tuff (so not making that up). She said that he continued to have power over me because of the gold and other precious metals he had given me. One day my ex was visiting and saw inside my china cabinet the set of silver ware I had from our wedding. He literally started jumping up and down, his face turning bright red, screaming at me, "Thief! Thief!" He insisted that the silver was his and he wanted it back!
Now, my ex husband is kinda short, has a pot belly, and is balding on top with Einstein-like tufts of hair that stick out on the side. He is also going grey and has a goatee and mustache. I can't say he looks like the Travelocity gnome... but he is definitely gnome like. And jumping up and down like that I kept thinking... oh my god, it's Rumplestiltskin.
After this incident my wacko roommate convinced me that what I had to do to sever his hold over me was to take all the gold he had given me and bury it in the yard, giving it back to the gnome spirits. Then he would have no power anymore. Being newly sober and kinda stupid and impressionable, I did as she suggested. I took my wedding band, my diamond engagement ring, a gold bracelet and watch... and buried them in the yard at night, chanting a little giving back ritual over them.
A few years later I had become best friends with a Jewish American Princess from Queens. When I told her the story she spit out her food and yelled at me... "You did WHAT with diamonds???!!! ARE YOU INSANE?????"
So we got it into our heads that we would go back to my old house and dig up the stuff I had buried. Now, the house was now rented to a young couple with a brand new baby. Because we were already out and about shopping and stuff, we were dressed in mini skirts, fishnets, nice blouses and heels. It was raining. We showed up at this woman's door and asked her if it would be okay if we dug something up out of her yard, that I was the former tenent and I had buried my dead dog's ashes out under the tree. She looked at us like we were insane and said, uhm, okay.
So we proceeded to dig. In the rain. In our skirts and pumps. But of course, I couldn't really remember EXACTLY where I had buried the stuff. It had been dark. It was somewhere NEAR the tree. On a hillside. Where there were other trees. That were all kind of the sameish.
We dug for four hours.
In the rain.
Eventually the woman's husband came home and was like... uhm... whatcha lookin for? We told him... my dog's ashes. He said, really? Cuz it kind of looks like you're looking for a dead body or something. Heh heh heh (nervously). We couldn't really argue with him. I'm sure it must have looked... well.. odd.
We never did find the damned jewelry. To this day my best friend loves to point at lawn gnomes as say... pssst... Charissa... it's looking at you.
I say the gnomes took that gold. I say it's why I won the court case and why, no matter how hard the man tries, he has never had any power over me since then. I say... digging in the rain in mini skirts is FUN goddamn it!! I say... please pass my medication.
Funny thing is... now my dad sort of looks like one of those damn lawn gnomes. He has a red woolen cap he wears in the winter, with his Santa beard and his enormous pot belly. I tell you, the gnomes are after me. They haunt me. It's okay though... they already have my gold... what more can they possibly take?(less)
My dad turned me onto Pogo years and years ago. One evening laying around his front room (which I am told is no longer called a parlor because of the...moreMy dad turned me onto Pogo years and years ago. One evening laying around his front room (which I am told is no longer called a parlor because of the Influenza epidemic of 1919), I spied (with my little eye) the spine of this Pogo book on his shelves. An hour later and my sides hurt from the laughing.
"Ah Pogo, the beauty of the forest primeval get me in the heart."
"It gets me in the feet, Porkypine"
(they look out at a forest full of junk and garbage dumped all over)
"It *is* hard walkin' on this stuff"
"Yep, son, we have met the enemy and he is us."
I was brought up a feral, hippy, enviro Nazi, so this appeals to me greatly. When we were kids we used to drive up the 101 to Leggett and camp out in the undeveloped lands of Usal Creek. Now it has been declared part of the Lost Coast and is protected, but in those days it was being encroached upon by Evil Loggers, and the Even More Evil BLM (which when I was 6 years old was difficult to distinguish from BM - short for bowel movement - and therefore ever after all logging companies and government agencies were poppyheads). We would see redwood logs on trucks being shuttled off to the mill and shake our fists at them and shout "Boo!" out the window.
My dad has retired up to the northern California coast now and writes regularly to the editor of the local paper about various, cranky environmental concerns he has. Sometimes he writes spoof letters, such as the one about proposing there be a government program to give occupational therapy to skunks, opossums, and raccoons so they would stop crossing the roads in front of cars and getting squished. He says he doesn't think the editor got his sense of humor on that one, and the piece never appeared in the letters to the editor section. He suspects they have started a file on him, which has been added to the one the FBI has from his days in the Peace and Freedom Party with the Black Panthers et al. The salmon disaster of the Klamath River about killed him I think. It's small comfort that Al Gore has now made being an environmentalist all hip and groovy. Things have degraded much from when Rachel Carson first blew the whistle.
But things like Pogo lighten my heart and remind me to keep laughing regardless. I learned that early from my dear old dad. You gotta take the bitter with the sweet. Now that he looks like the Travelocity gnome the glint of mercurial mischief in his eyes is even funnier.