I’m not here. I’m an event. I’m an improbable coalescence of stardust enjoying one fleeting, glorious dance through the cosmos before … poof.”
— Adrian Bliss

5 Thoughts: Lifechangers

0. YOU ARE ON A PATH. Suddenly, something knocks you onto another one. Here are five (of my many) “somethings.”

1. 2001: A space odyssey. At the tender age of six, my mind was blown, by what I could not yet say. But after that, I was crazy for outer space, science fiction, astronomy, and everything those entailed. I still am.

2. Cosmic Trigger. The prolific Robert Anton Wilson’s magickal semi-autobiography, filled with the shared wonders of inner space, made me hungry for some “reality-tunnel” explorations of my own. I was 14, but to this day, the expedition continues.

3. DEVO. At 16, July 1978 found me lost in the sleepy conformity of Northern California’s Diablo Valley. When the phonograph needle hit the vinyl of Q: Are We Not Men? a whole universe of Other Mutants opened up. They were out there somewhere, but at least I knew they existed. And that made this lonely boy a little less so.

4. The Neo-Pagan Society of Diablo Valley College. Found ‘em! March 23, 1981 — the day after my 19th birthday — I entered the company of some amiable and kindhearted misfits filled with the divine spirit of high weirdness, raucous hilarity, bold creativity, mild-mannered mischief, and a lust for life Best inadvertent present ever.

5. Northern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire. Found some more of ‘em, in the summer of 1986! Another intentional community with the above qualities, but this time, with swords. Everything I know about leading people in directed social groups — prayer services, study sessions, and public speaking — I learned hawking fencing lessons at the Cardiff Rose. (Seriously.)

Me and Mr. Jones

OUR TALE BEGINS SOME YEARS ago at my then-girlfriend’s folks’ house, specifically at their “hutch” — a giant, glass-shelved cabinet filled with such sentimental knickknacks and keepsakes as a commemorative Shirley Temple mug, souvenir spoons, porcelain bells, and the “good china.”

One item in particular caught my eye; a four-and-a-half-inch angular statuette, injection-molded of some heavy material superficially resembling carved wood: a pedestal-mounted figure in black boots and cabbie cap, brown trousers, blue coat, red shirt. And its face — dear God, its face.

“2001” in 2024

LET’S TAKE IT FROM THE top, shall we?

– Earth-orbiting weapons: check.
– Commercial spaceflight: check.
– “Shirtsleeve” space environments: check.
– Seatback videoscreens: check. (Legal pad-sized portable videoscreens: check.)
– Spaceflight stewardesses: not to my knowledge.
– Zero-G pens: check.
– Zero-G toilets: check.
– Space station: check. (Commercial space station, with hotel: in development.)
– Voiceprint identification: check.
– Inexpensive picturephones: check.
– Pasty space food: check. (Actually, we’re now well beyond the “pasty” stage, so double-check.)
– Lunar base: in development.
– Fashionable spacesuits: check.
– Crewed deep-space mission: in development.
– Voice-interactive, slightly sinister AI: check.
– Tint-adjustable glass: check.
– Solar-powered alien transmitter buried millions of years ago beneath the Moon’s most conspicuous crater: Dear God, I hope so.

Free Verse: “And God Said”

in your own way.
And when you find Me?
Prove it:
Leave each other
the hell alone.

originally published: 2011.06.04

5 Thoughts: Make. BELIEVE.

0. READ CAREFULLY — THERE WILL BE a test later on.

1. In the book of Exodus, Moses tells the Children of Israel that G?d wants to enter into a contract with them. With one voice, and without knowing the details, the people reply, “Na’aseh v’nishma” — literally, “We will do, and we will hear/understand!”

2. Many people may argue that the formulation is backwards. How can you do something unless you first hear and/or understand it? But the Torah is imparting a great truth: that one can understand certain things only by doing them.