» Radiation tri-blade » Sometimes when I write [ not often ] I find myself out there .. waay out there .. in some remote galaxy .. following something that is hard to describe. More like a feeling, or an impulse. Maybe an urge. Or an intuition.

Embracing Duality (Whatever that Might Mean)

Hard to put your finger on it. (Which is part of what makes it so cool.)

Like I'm riding it. Like I'm feeding off its energy.

And the feeling that comes at the end of these experiences is something like » "How did I get here? Where is here? Where am I? How did I get here?"

You are downright disoriented.

Other times [ even more rarely ] I can hear voices asking the writer in me, "Dude, what that even mean? What are you saying?"

And the unspoken implication here is that you are losing your mind .. because crazy people are famous for talking about things that make no sense.

I have already written about the fine line .. between genius and insanity.

» Stepping Over the Line

And I do not mind telling you, my friend, that when you are there .. exploring that line .. it is not difficult to step over every now-n-then. [ "Oops." ]

People slip up all the time, no? Is not that part of the very definition of being human?

Now I know that you probably think that the last chemo really put a hurtin' on my ass .. and there might very well be some truth to that. I can certainly feel that the screws are now considerably looser. And I know that you probably think I had too many screws loose already.

Yin-Yang TattooBut let's not let that stop us from exploring what is probably chief among these opaque phrases » embracing duality.

» Sensing Resistance

A part of me does not want to write this .. on this topic. I sense resistance .. tho I am not sure why.

Perhaps because I prefer to write about stuff that I know about.

Another reason why resistance might be coming .. is because this stuff seems to pertain only to me. So why would I want to publish it?

Especially when I am conscious of the pitfalls of celebrity and the things that popularity brings .. the bad things .. for most people, anyway.

I can hear one of the voices saying, "Keep talking that crazy shit and they're gonna come get you. I've seen it before."

In my old days, resistance itself was enough of a reason to write on a particular topic. But after chemo and radiation and having genetically-engineered smallpox-based biohazards pumped right into my veins, I must, by necessity, be more discriminating.

And writing about writing just sounds so pretentious. The writer would rather just say, "This is an example of my writing. Let that speak for itself. I'm gonna go have a beer with the Pope."

Just like the singer would rather just sing .. and the actor would rather just act. The musician just wants to focus on their music.

The artist just wants to create their art .. and not have to talk about doing it. Cuz giving voice to, giving expression to your creative juices .. is where its at for the artist .. in turning nothing into something. Creating a thing out of thin air.

Whatever the reason for the resistance, the feeling is similar to » "A part of you doesnt want to, but you must do it, anyway."

Which reminds me of my entry on Dostoevsky .. how I was feeling like I wasnt ready .. to write that entry. But I knew that this was the time to write .. ready or not. (And really, how can you ever be prepared to write about Dostoevsky?)

» Confronting Bullshit Ideas and Knowing Things that You Can't Possibly Know

But I tend to encourage such confrontation of ideas .. because the writer is always interested in filtering out any bullshit.

So I have found myself, over these past months, with this question hovering there in the background » "What do you mean by embracing duality?"

Because sometimes we know things that we dont even know that we know .. ya know? [ Where's Rumsfeld when you need him to help you explain this stuff? ]

And exploring the unknown is a common geek trait. [ How do they turn matter into energy? ] I am sure that Gennady would concur.

» You Write or You Will Surely Die

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)When someone asked Bukowski about what makes somebody a writer, he responded by saying »

"Oh, that's simple .. you either get it down on paper .. or you jump off a bridge."

And his response spoke to me because it resonated with my own experience ..

.. which is a feeling similar to that of a gradually increasing constipation ..

.. until you feel like you're ready to jump off a bridge.

[ Speaking of constipation .. you do not know constipation .. let me tell you .. until you've has a few chemo's and you start to eat the narcotics that they give you for pain. On second thought .. maybe I shouldnt. ]

But notice what Bukowski didnt say. He didnt say that the thing that makes you a writer is when somebody tells you that you are, or you make a shitload of money from writing.

» It's More About the IT Itself (Coming Out) Than the Writing

Notice, too, how Bukowski said that you need to get *IT* down (.. on paper). He didnt mention writing specefically. Because it's really about the » it. Which is another reason why I resonate with his statement, and why it has the ring of authenticity for me.

Cuz that's how it feels for me. (Which does not by itself make you a good writer. You still need to expand and develop and hone your skills.)

Writing is simply (merely?) the mechanism by which you get the IT out. For Bukowski, IT came out on paper .. for me, here in the 21st century, it's an electronic thing. Digitally electronic.

No doubt, in the future, you will have something better .. to make us jealous here in the early 21st century. But the IT will still need to come out.

But I dont want to get too far into the IT thing .. cuz that is a bottomless rabbit hole. Suffice to say that Bukowski's comment suggests that writing is more about the subject of the writing than the writing itself.

You will notice that I havent posted anything new on the homepage here for almost a month now. Sometimes I let it build .. the pressure. So to speak.

It is no fun .. let me tell you. You are miserable. (I could go on and on about this misery.)

Likewise, the feeling that comes from writing .. is one of taking a nice, satisfying crap. You know what I'm talking about, dawg .. you know the feeling.

Did you notice that I wrote all thru cancer treatment? And I was writing before I became Internet savvy, too. I know you want to read those pre-internet pages in the worst way. But there is little chance of that, my friend.

» Seemingly Unsympathetic (to Anything)

And this u.r.g.e of which I spoke .. it doesnt seem to care that you might have been diagnosed with cancer, or that you are going thru cancer treatment. Or that you might be in a physically weakened state. Or that you might feel like hammered dog krap. No, sir. You still need to write.

So in this sense, this writing thing, seems rather unsympathetic .. to anything. Perhaps while lying on your deathbed it will let up. (But I doubt it.)

Compare Bukowski's quote with what Amos the prophet wrote and see if you can see how the following sentence might resonate with them » "You write or you die."

» The Words Will Come Out or You Will Explode (the Write-or-Die Tangent)

I could get off on such a tangent here .. the Write-or-Die tangent .. the gist of which feels something like this » the words are going to come out .. or you will explode. (One or the other.)

But explode is not the best word to describe the feeling .. because 'explode' connotes a sudden thing .. and this thing of which I speak .. the u.r.g.e let's call it .. is not a sudden thing.

Rather it's more of a gradual ripping and tearing you apart. 'Miserable' would be an easy way to describe the feeling, and I have used that word before to describe this not-so-lovely sensation.

This is why so many writers drink .. because it h.e.l.p.s with the ripping and tearing .. that feeling of your soul being ripped and torn apart. Nothing quite like the feeling of your soul being shreaded .. from the inside out. Soul-fucking torment. The drink helps .. for a while anyway.

Not everything is difficult to say. But some of it is very difficult. And sometimes it gets your ass in trouble. You know. So you have to learn to get a handle on it. Control the process. Ride the dragon. As best you are able.

Which is why I dont really get the concept of » writer's block. Because the blocked writer seems to be saying » "I dont have anything to say right now."

To which I would respond » "Great! Take a vacation. Go to Hawaii. Or to Lake George. Or to Matha's Vineyard. Or to Hollywood. Or wherever. You most fortunate son of unmarried parents."

I would go to Two Bunch, myself. [ With my girlfriend, of course. Talk about quantum entanglement. I would never take away plausible deniability from her, but she knows the role that she plays entangling things. ]

Speaking of writer's block, I just noticed that Angelina is coming out with a movie that she wrote herself .. and which casts Brad as her sexy writer-husband.

Of course, my ego is convinced that she was secretly thinking of me. "I am feeling you too, Ang."

» Could Feel It Coming

I have been at this writing stuff for a while now .. and after a while you start to learn a thing or two. (Like with anything that you might do with diligence.)

And I could tell this thing was coming. You get an impression, a sensation, an intuition. I am not sure what is the correct word here to describe this thing .. but you can feel things coming.

But the sensation itself is not so different, actually, that when you know that you are going to need to take a good, healthy crap.

And that is probably all that I will say for now about feeling things coming. Except that, sometimes, they look like things that are TOO BIG for you to handle, to process, to do your thing .. to do that which you do.

» You Won't Believe This, But I'm Gonna Tell You Anyway

Cormac McCarthy (1933-20xx) The Real DealAnd the thing that got me thinking along these lines .. of what it means to embrace duality ..

.. was when I saw the movie The Counselor (via Netflix) which is a film based on an original script by Cormac ..

.. who I could not have more respect for. (And I doubt that I am the only one.)

[[ Mindy, you cant just say that Cormac is your favorite novelist. Rather you must say WHY he is your favorite.

And WHICH of his novels is most beloved. (Any why.)

And what it is about his writing and his stories that most speaks to you .. and why you feel this might be.

So I'll be watching for a revision to your page.

It can be difficult for me to read Cormac because he writes so well, so amazingly well .. downright poetic .. that I keep going, "Oh my God. Look at that! And that!"

I always mark up my books when I read them .. with dots and stars and exclamation points and underlines and circles and side notes ..

.. and none of my novels, none of my books, are marked up like Cormac's are. (If that tells you anything.)

Tho Dostoevsky is not far behind. ]]

Particularly, it was this quote that got me thinking. I mean, I am not trying to think about that.

Yet the thought returns. Again and again. Each time more pronounced than the last. (Yeah, just like when you need to take a healthy crap.)

So naturally .. I find myself returning to when I wrote that same line myself. And that was when I was talking about » embracing duality.

» Two Years to the Day

Oh .. I just googled the phrase "embracing duality" .. and searched my site .. and the first time I used that phrase was exactly two years ago (.. to the day).

That kinda freaks me out a little. I am feeling rocked right now. I am going to pause here and think about that. Why I had the urge to write about this today. On the 2-year anniversary.

The voice in my head is saying, "Dude, you really knew that today was the 2-year anniversary .. that's why you had the urge to write. You just didnt know that you knew. Probably because of the chemo."

Oh, I see what happened .. it was two years ago (to the day) that I first used the term 'embracing duality' .. but it was 18 months ago [ March, 2014 ] when I realized that the photo of the woman's butt was something to be embraced (.. with or without the yin-yang tattoo there).

And the reason that I didnt think readers would believe me .. is because I couldnt believe it myself .. that I had missed that aspect of the image.

» Much Reflection on Duality and What It Means to Embrace It

Yin-Yang TattooAnyway, the good news is that I know a lot more now about duality and what it means to embrace it.

I no longer feel like I'm talking shit.

I now have an answer (.. for the voice in my head).

Embracing duality means many things .. many different things. But all cool stuff. Very cool.

On the surface, embracing duality is a yin-yang thing .. which is a symbol that stands for the duality of life » good/bad, rich/poor, alive/dead .. one is defined, to a degree, by the other .. by it's opposite.

We humans find (a degree of) meaning and understanding from and about our lives by any number of concepts .. that are themselves defined by their opposite. To a substantial degree.

» Embracing Digital Technology

Neo dons a pair of Matrix glasses in order to see into the MatrixTho there are many other dualities. Probably the most obvious one is » digital technology .. which operates on a binary system » 0/1, on/off, true/false, open/close.

And there are indeed many people today embracing this particular duality.

(The yin-yang symbol also represents a binary system.)

There are some who say that the advent of the Internet .. as a means of communicating and communication ..

.. will have an even greater effect of humanity, on civilization itself .. than even that of the invention of written language.

You will need to put down your taco for a minute and think about that. Because that is a big statement. Big, big, big. Bigger even than John Oliver's giant penis.

Much of this site is about exploring the dimensions and capabilities and threats associated with this new means of communication.

I could go on about my exploration of deep digital space .. but anytime you say anything will exceed the impact of the invention of written language .. that is time to pause .. and see if such a remarkable statement merits closer and more careful consideration.

Because you cannot overestimate the impact of written language on civilization.

But here's my take-away .. if you determine that digital technology does indeed merit such consideration .. then you should probably embrace it.

Wave/Particle Duality » Spooky Stuff From Einstein & Max Planck

Near the top of my list-of-dualities is the wave/particle duality of light itself .. that arrived with the advent of quantum mechanics .. the groundwork for which you can credit to Einstein and Max Planck (1858-1947).

Walter Isaacson opens his chapter titled » Light Quanta, March 1905 .. with this paragraph:

As Einstein noted to Habicht, it was the first of these 1905 papers, not the famous final one expounding a theory of relativity, that deserved the designation "revolutionary." Indeed, it may contain the most revolutionary development in the history of physics.

Its suggestion that light comes not just in waves but in tiny packets—quanta of light that were later dubbed "photons"—spirits us into strange scientific mists that are far murkier, indeed more spooky, than even the weirdest aspects of the theory of relativity.

Einstein with tongue outA page or two later, Walter writes »

In one of our planet's little ironies, Planck and Einstein would share the fate of laying the groundwork for quantum mechanics, and then both would f.l.i.n.c.h when it became clear that it undermined the concepts of strict causality and certainty they both worshipped.

On the next page, we have Planck declaring to the Berlin Physical Society (in December, 1900) »

"We therefore regard—and this is the most essential part of the entire calculation—energy to be composed of a very definite number of equal finite packages." [ which were first called quanta, later dubbed 'photons' ]

Then we have a few pages where Walter nicely conveys the essence of the truly revolutionary, groundbreaking new concepts that Einstein throws down .. by deriving key insights from the work of other physicists .. before he [ Walter ] writes the following coolest of sentences »

By blowing on Planck's embers, Einstein had turned them into a flame that would consume classical physics.

These classical physics that Einstein's ideas are going to consume were based on Isaac Newton (1642-1726/7) for centuries. The sheer balls (cojones grande maximus) that anybody would even dare consider such a thing .. eh, don't get started. [ Newton was born the same year that Galileo died. ]

Person of the Century | Einstein (1879-1955)Tho I call your attention to this November, which is the 100 year anniversay of Einstein's paper on General Relativity, which Walter calls "one of the most beautiful theories in all of physics".

[ Oh, look at this. Walter writes an op-ed. A special treat.

Einstein did all this stuff on the side, while he was doing another job ..

.. and people are still trying to grasp all of its implications today. Truly remarkable.

But if you look into how he did it .. and yes, people have .. you will find that he looked into the contributions from those who had come before him ..

.. and he put together their contributions and added his own insightful twist, such that 1 + 1 + 1 = 3.

The sun puts things together, also (things called atoms .. to make bigger atoms).

If you study physics, you will find that it takes MUCH MORE ENERGY to put things together .. than it does to break them apart (fission).

Think about it. Then read my ditty on Feynman. ]

So .. what does it mean to embrace this particular duality? This wave/particle duality. I'll save that discussion for later.

But perhaps I might note here what I see as an interesting parallel (pattern match) .. between Einstein's wave/particle duality and digital technology.

Which is .. that both look/appear smooth and continuous (wave-like) from a normal perspective .. but this smooth continuousness breaks down into discreet chunks (particle-like) .. if you dig down deep enough. Even for » light itself. Food for thought. Head-torquing thought.

Oh, look .. there is an award-winning movie (2014) that is coming out next week on DVD .. that appears to deal with similar concepts. I will have to check it out.

I saw something like that on Nova during treatment. I love that kind of stuff .. taking apart the universe and seeing how it works with a really big magnifying glass. It's never how you expect.

Here is my philosophical take-away on quantum theory, and especially the wave/particle duality » the physical world is just an illusion. A very cool illusion .. but an illusion nonetheless. And it's all in your perspective .. so to speak.

[[ But, on a tangential note, and in reference to the zeitgeist .. can't you f.e.e.l the revolutionary thing in the air today? .. here in September of 2015?

People are just so dissatisfied with the government .. how it ony responds to the wishes of the most wealthy among us .. while shafting the rest of us.

Am I saying anything that anyone does not already feel? I dont think I am.

I could see it coming back in 2011. And things have only deteriorated since. (I have tried to help.)

Because the system is d.e.s.i.g.n.e.d to work that way .. to trick-fuck the poor and the helpless. And everybody knows that those types of socio-economic systems are bound to experience turmoil from dissatisfied citizens.

The economic algorithm that our government uses to administer our particular flavor of a capitalist society today responds to (favors) the most wealthy .. at the expense of the rest of us. People can f.e.e.l the injustice of it .. in their bones. (The averge citizen.)

As you know, I for one dont appreciate the corruption. And I can assure you that I am not the only one. ]]

With that thought in mind .. how twenty-first century physics suggests that it's all just an illusion .. just a really big, cool illusion .. check out what Bethany has to say about capital in the twenty-first century .. and see is you can find any parallels .. any interesting parallels.

White dove on black background» The Spirit/Flesh Duality

From a scriptural perspective, there is the flesh/spirit duality .. which can be thought-provoking. And should probably be embraced.

On the fleshly side of this particular duality, the yin-yang symbol reminds me of Eastern philosophy and especially Zen and the Buddha, the Enlightened One, and also yoga.

Which reminds me of yoga chicks .. which I have been known to embrace .. from time to time.

The thing you need to know about the flesh .. is that the flesh is weak. And it will get your ass in trouble.

Another form of duality, which is related to the spirit/flesh duality, and which I might address, comes from the story of Ananias & Sapphira.

Which you can read here .. a story that has long aroused my curiosity.

Tho I dont want to bite off more than I can chew right now .. more than my cancer-surviving ass can chew. It seems more true now than ever .. that the spirit is indeed willing.

» The Autumn Equinox and the Final (Super) Blood Moon of the Tetrad

Autumn in ParisBut before I get carried away there .. it looks like the first day of autumn, the autumn equinox, is almost here.

The Farmer's Almanac says it arrives on September 23rd .. 0820 UTC, which is 1:20 AM here on the left coast.

The Farmer's Almanac says it arrives at 4:21 AM Eastern Time.

The 23rd is » Wednesday. That makes Tuesday the » last day of summer.

And the final blood moon of the tetrad arrives on the night of September 27/28 (Sun/Mon). A super blood moon.

Something that happens only 9 times in 2,000 years. [ I made a point of seeing the previous one, which came on April 4th. ]

The next blood moon tetrad comes 18 years later .. on October 8, 2033.

While searching for some links to drop in, I noticed many links to pages about the end-of-the-world coming with the final blood moon. Guess we'll see, won't we?

For most people the changing of the seasons is no big deal .. a time to put away the summer clothes and to breaK out the fall sweaters.

» The Cancer Survivor's Genuine Sense of Gratitude at the Arrival of a New Season

Viceroy butterfly freshly emerged from its confining cocoonBut for the cancer survivor the arrival of a new season represents another milestone successfully met.

It is a cause for celebration. A reason for gratitude. Genuine gratitude.

There was a time when I was not sure that I would live to see the autumn of 2015 ..

.. because both my mother and my grandfather were dead within 6 months of their diagnoses.

So I find myself with a deep, genuine sense of gratitude that I never had before .. at the arrival of a new season.

And this gratitude comes despite the 3 broken teeth on my mouth. My dentist says that the radiation weakens the structure of the teeth. And these busted parts feel like rather large chunks of broken teeth missing.

Tho my surgeon says that the reason is because the radiation to the jaw makes it more difficult for nutrients to get to your teeth. I was eating a Haagan Dazs ice cream bar when the last one broke.

"Not another one," I thought. [ you cant miss the familiar cracking sound ] "I havent even gotten the other two fixed yet."

And despite the numbness in my feet from the chemo. (Tho this numbness is minor and therefore not much a problem.) And despite the radiation scarring of my voice-box, which makes me sound like Patton addresing the troops, and which makes me not want to talk for very long.

And despite the lingering anemia and the fatigue that accompanies it. And despite the dry-mouth, which makes Biotene a necessary way-of-life.

Should I mention taste? And how sometimes you can barely taste sweets? Probably not.

But the overriding sense post-treatment .. is that you can feel your body struggling physically .. particularly when you try to anything physical. Which is pretty much all the time that you are awake.

I could go on, but my point is that I still feel a sense of gratitude that I did not have before. Gratitude to be alive .. for the arrival of a new season. Which normally seemed like no big deal .. for so many years.

» More Crying on the First Day of Autumn

Update Sept 23 » Today is the first day of autumn .. tho it still feels very much like summer. [ 86 degrees ]

I feel very emotional today. Patti sent a care package that arrived today. Perfect timing gives her extra points.

I cant seem to stop crying. wtf? Tears coming out of both eyes.

I don't really understand it. Seems beyond my ability to figure it out.

But to be honest, I dont really care. After a while, you just learn to roll with this stuff.

For a long time, during treatment, you are not able to process the emotional trauma that accompanies a cancer diagnosis.

Because you are too busy trying to make it to your next appointment and to your next treatment session.

So I think that all that emotional stuff is coming out now .. both with feelings of ecstatic happiness and uncontrollable crying.

There was a time when I remember reading a passage in Matthew's gospel where Jesus tells his disciples "not to worry about tomorrow" ..

.. and I remember thinking how hard that sounded to do.

But during treatment, this is not difficult to do at all .. because of the last part, where he says » "Each day has enough troube of its own."

"True that," during treatment.

Pope Francis at Speaker's Balcony of Capitol on Thursday Sept 24, 2015And the Pope is here. I was excited when he landed. And that little car .. makes a big statement.

I am just trying to rest and relax and celebrate the arrival of the new season.

I hope nobody sees me like this .. because I dont think I can explain it.

But it started not long after I opened her package.

I was actually sitting outside having my late-morning coffee ..

.. when I checked my messages, one of which was from her, saying that a package was arriving TODAY.

So I walked over to the gate and there it was. Waiting for me. You can feel the love.

She wraps everything individually and attaches the cutest little notes. And includes secret hidden goodies .. which she calls 'pirate treasure'.

A few weeks ago I sent her a bag of super-yummy coffee .. as my way of expressing my gratitude for her truly amazing emotional support during my treatment.

It was soo hard NOT to tell her .. that the bag was coming. (I can be such a sneaky shit, sometimes.) It surprised her .. sitting there on her doorstep .. as she returned home one day.

Only recently have I even been able to express my gratitude .. in a meaningful way .. to many of these people who helped me get thru that thing.

Speaking of 'that thing' .. did you hear that Lloyd Blankfein has been diagnosed with lymphoma?

You can bet your ass that he didnt have to wait 3 months for a biopsy.

A week from today is the 1-year anniversary of my biopsy/diagnosis .. tho the tumor (lymph gland) had swelled up back in early June.

Update » I've been thinking about why I was crying .. and I cant be sure, but I think that the box reminded me of treatment .. because that's when I was getting lots of those boxes.

And those days of treatment sucked pretty badly .. very badly. And now those days are behind. I am not without its lingering effects. But the worst of it is behind.

I think this has something to do with why I was crying. Cuz it seemed to come out of nowhere. Very strange.

<end update beginning of autumn, overwhelming emotional gratitude>

» The Vicar of Christ Himself Cometh

Crowds stretching to touch Pope FrancisSpeaking of the end-of-summer and the arrival-of-autumn .. the Pope arrives here in the States on the Tuesday 22nd (.. last day of summer).

The Vicar of Christ himself. A world-class rock-star.

And he departs at 8PM on Sunday the 27th .. the night of the final blood moon of the tetrad. (I guess he wants to be back in Rome for the end of the world.)

I would be lying if I said that I wasnt interested in how the Vatican came up with their schedule. Oh to be a fly on the Vatican wall.

The server for official schedule web site is struggling to serve pages. You web boys should call my friends over at WiredTree (Chicago).

I found fascinating this article about what it takes to set up the city of Philadelphia for the Pope's visit.

I confess that I do feel excited about the Pope's visit. Obama is gonna go meet him personally at the airport. That's what I would do if I were king.

Tho I didnt notice 'Beer with Rad' on his itinerary.

Of all the things I've read about the Pope .. probably this one by Vivian resonates best. Closest. I could go on and on. (And on.) But I won't. Here is another by her. I am definitely feeling her.

But basically, he is operating out beyond even his pope-ness. Notice how all the other faiths are inspired .. by the man and his message.

That is no small trick, my friend.

This was also very good. Note that he is a Jesuit. I told you that those Jesuits are all way-smart.

» Embracing Duality with Cormac and Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881)If I do a good job at articulating my impressions of embracing duality ..

.. I will probably end up discussing Cormac and Dostoevsky and what they have in common.

Tho I would be lying if I said that there wasnt a voice trying to tell me that I am not big enough or bad enough to pull that off ..

.. almost daring me, or even taunting me. "Dostoevsky I know, and Cormac I know, but who are you, bitch?"

So I will have to tell them, naturally.

There is a sentence that I read recently in Dostoevsky's bio (page 60) .. that would be negligent of me to omit here.

» The Artist is Substituted for the Priest and the Saint

In the final paragraph of chapter 5, titled » The Two Romanticisms, Joseph Frank summarizes why these two Romanticisms played such a large role in Dostoevsky's life and writings.

They are the German Metaphysical Romanticism and the French Social Romanticism .. of which I could elaborate. But instead, let me just quote for you the part of the sentence that stood out for me .. and you will see how it fits in right here-n-now, like a perfectly-formed puzzle piece. See here »

".. even though the artist is substituted for the priest and the saint."

That is the thing that jumped out at me. For context, here is the entire sentence from which my extract was derived »

We see his [ Dostoevsky's ] commitment to the super-natural, otherworldly, more traditionally Christian outlook of [ German ] metaphysical Romanticism—Christian at least in spirit, even though the artist is substituted for the priest and the saint.

I actually had a bit of a problem with the end of this chapter because Joseph Frank calls German Metaphysical Romanticism the "more traditionally Christian".

And I myself feel that the French Social Romanticism (as typified by Victor Hugo in Les Miserables) would be seen as the more traditionally Christain. (Perhaps this is what Joseph Frank means by the phrase "Christian at least in spirit".)

Sure, there is some overlap .. but, if the concepts embraced by metaphysical Romanticism are indeed "more traditionally Christian" than those embraced by social Romanticism .. then, that would be sad for the Christian tradition.

This talk of substituting-the-artist-for-the-priest-and-the-saint made me think about what I wrote in January of last year in the entry titled » Exploring the Limits of Poetic License. Tho my priest appears as a prophet, or at least someone wielding prophetic qualities. And he is an imperfect saint. Tho he is clearly working at it.

One of the voices just said » "Dude, you are really amazing."

There are times, I confess .. times like now .. when I feel as tho I am not really that good of a writer .. and that a better writer is somehow writing t.h.r.u me. That has been a distinct impression .. humblingly distinct .. for long as I can remember.

» Who's Writing This Thing?

Scripture says that the Spirit of the Living God Himself comes into us in order to help the believer, to lead the believer, to guide the believer .. you know.

And sometimes when I write I can sense this help, this leading, this guidance. And sometimes I can sense it so strongly ..

.. to the point that I sometimes joke with the Helper and say, "Dude, who's writing this thing?" (The Helper helps .. he doesnt do it for you.)

I may not be very religious, but I do have faith. And sometimes that's all that really seems to matter.

It may be worth noting here .. that the verse to which I linked for the words used above » sense it strongly .. contains the phrase » "embittered in the rage".

I am not going to get into it now (.. because I might never come back) .. but, if you can see the parallels .. then, good for you. Because these are subtle parallels.

Notice, too, the sense of being carried away by something overwhelming.

» If You Get What This One Verse is Saying, You Get the Entire Gospel Message

Ooh, I could really get off on a juicy-juice tangent here. It refers to the passage that I referenced just above.

Let's see .. okay, let me tell you this one thing, and that will leave open the door for more, later.

Because it is really a totally different subject. But I was sitting in a church one Sunday morning .. kinda minding my own business .. and the pastor is preaching. Surely you know the deal.

Actually, he seemed to be more teaching than preaching. (I actually like the teaching part better, to be honest.) And he is walking around with his wireless mic.

I normally sit in the back, myself. And this guy is really good. I have much respect for him.

You can tell he clearly knows his stuff .. in great detail. And he knows scripture inside out and he knows the working of the Spirit (.. which kind of go hand-in-hand). Which is why I am there, naturally.

I know you think that I am really there for the pretty soloists .. but hear me out.

Because, if you have been following along .. then you know that I do not dispense respect easily. And more than once it has gotten me into trouble.

He would say, "Dont believe it just because I say it. You need to verify for yourself what the scriptures teach."

Anyway .. he is walking toward the back, where I am sitting, teaching us cool stuff like he does, sometimes .. and I am listening carefully. Like I do most of the time.

And he mentions (somewhat oh-by-the-way-ishly) a verse that is contained in that passage I referenced above. And when he is all the way in the back where I am sitting, he looks RIGHT AT ME (makes eye contact) and says, ".. and if you get what that verse is saying .. then you pretty much get the whole gospel message."

It freaked me out a little .. when he did this. Because he obviously knows things and posseses insights that I dont. And he had never done such a thing before.

» I Dont Know Why it was So Difficult for Me to Grasp this Simple Concept

And now, after all this time .. I finally get what that verse is saying. And I am not unintelligent. You know.

I dont know if it is simply a function of the capitalist mind set, or if it is a Catholic thing .. but the whole works vs faith thing was such a gordian knot for me. I would read those verses over and over and just know that I wasnt quite getting it. I can totally see how it could become a stumbling stone.

Knowing » Head/Mind vs Heart/Spirit

Something I read recently about Dostoevsky might be worth mentioning here .. something that he wrote to his brother, Mikhail. Here is that passage (page 56/57):

Mikhail had written to his brother that "to know more, one must feel less." Feodor's answer is a vehement assertion to the contrary. "What do you mean by the word to know?" he asked belligerently. "To know nature, the soul, god, love ... These are known by the heart, not the mind."

<end passage from Dostoevsky's bio>

I cite this passage because it does indeed feel like what I learned was "not with the mind". But when I finally "saw" it .. then it seemed so simple.

So there is clearly this deeper sense of knowing (something). And I have noticed that, when you 'get' something .. when you see into it .. when you really grok it .. then, you can talk about it and explain it in a virtually unlimited number of ways. Because you suddenly have an intuitive feel for it.

Of course, there is much that happened between the time when the pastor walked back there and said that thing and when I finally "saw into" it. Let me tell you. Much time. I'm embarrassed to say how much, exactly. Makes me look like a dummy. Years. Many years. So many. Too many. (Why?)

I cant tell you how many times I read that verse .. cuz Romans 4 is one of my favorite chapters. But every time I did I would remember what he said.

Kinda like, "This is for you, dawg. I'm coming back here to hand-deliver it to you."

And the feeling that I had as he slowly turned and walked away was .. "I dont really know what just happened, but I know that something unusual just happened .. because I can feel it, but I can tell that it is beyond me right now."

I would say that it had a certain burden-quality to it. When God drops something into your lap .. I'm sure He does it for a reason. A good reason.

I did not know what this reason was .. but I figured that I'd find out. Sooner or later.

But my intuition here was that this was not all about sunshine and happy days. Many people, when they find out that Christianity is not all about sunshine and happy days and new Cadillacs .. they say, "Fuck that noise. That Christianity-stuff is obviously not for me."

( Am I saying anything here that is not already intuitively obvious to even the most casual of observers? I think not. )

Meanwhile, the pastor never changed his pace. He never changed he cadence. He didnt make any strong inflections. So there was this continuity to his delivery. He has his easy rhythm going and he is working from his rhythm. Easy and methodical. No kind of hurry.

So .. this worked for me. See .. if he would have jumped down off the stage and ran back to me and exclaimed thus-n-such says the Lord to you .. that would have freaked me out. (And I have stories, yes.)

But this is one of the reasons why I like this guy .. because he is so matter-of-facty about things. "This is what it says, dawg .. you can read it for yourself right here. Do with this what you will."

This is also the guy who said, "I've heard it said that faith is the strong man's way to God." [ And I said to myself, "Then, this is my way." ] Tho now, I dont think there is another way.

» Seeing the Why Behind the What

And also notice that the verse that the pastor referenced contains the phrase "for this reason". See .. another way to say this would be WHY. He saying WHY a thing is the way it is. And geeks are all about the WHY.

(Because once you understand the WHY, that lets you massage around the area. You might call this cutting corners, but I wouldnt. And the WHY always comes back to love and compassion.)

I think what I'm saying is that .. when you see the WHY behind a thing, then things click for you. Click nicely.

Whatever the reason .. it always helps to know the WHY behind a thing.

Anyway .. I got his message, yes. Tho it took me many years to really get what he was saying. Which in itself I find rather perplexing.

I can see what he was saying .. it is very cool. And you could go in any number of directions from there.

But basically what he is saying (in context of my statement "Dude, who's writing this thing?" ) is .. faith is the thing that puts you in God's graces, which is in God's favor. Sure, there's more to .. but faith is your part of the deal. [ And it's not as easy as Abraham makes it look. ]

So, long as you are in faith .. you are cool with God. (And you can joke with people who you are cool with.) And yes, there is a freedom in that.

I find it interesting that this part about "the verse of all verses" (so to speak) is coming in a section where I (plan to) discuss Dostoevsky and Cormac together, and how they embrace duality like few others that I know of.

Because, if I were to demonstrate twenty-first century writing skills to Cormac and Dostoevsky, as a way of showing them the capabilities of how we do here in the twenty-first century ..

.. this is where I would do it.

I would say, "You gentlemen might wanna take a step back .. and put on these here thermonuclear-grade sunglasses .. because the flash can get pretty bright .. as you will see."

» Spanning the Entire Range of Moral Experience, from the Satanic to the Divine

I was reading my bio of Dostoevsky recently .. where I came across a paragraph that raised an eyebrow .. because it alludes to precisely what I am referring to here.

Here is that paragraph (page 58):

It was Balzac who took over the historical novel of Scott and used it for the treatment of comtemporary social life. It was Balzac who first spoke of Scott as having taught him that the modern novel was "un drame dialogue"—and no one would develop the form in this direction more brilliantly than Dostoevsky. Of all of Dostoevsky's comtemporaries, only Balzac [ 1799-1850 ] can compare with him in uniting a visionary social observation of astonishing exactitude with an inner drama of the soul that spans the entire range of moral experience, from the satanic to the divine.

<end bio paragraph>

I may return to expound on that paragraph .. particularly the last part. I included the first part for the context it provides.

From the satanic to the divine .. that is a long span, my friend. Very long.

That is not an easy span to span. Try it, and you'll see what I mean. Then you will know why it is such a difficult span to span.

If you can span that span .. you are a bad dude. So to speak. Most impressive.

I might even summon Ananias & Sapphira to come and play with Cormac & Dostoevsky. That could be a lot of fun.

I do not know for a fact that they will be coming, but they certainly could. I can see them standing over there, talking in hushed tones.

They tried to span the span .. and died trying. So, they seem to have a cautionary tale to tell. Do you think they might tell us about the lesson that they learned?

I can also tell that .. after treatment, I find myself relying upon (employing) things that are less physical .. as a necessity .. as a way to compensate for my current condition there.

And I also find myself testing (experimenting) with these things that I am finding there.

In this way, my writing now, as compared to my writing before the lump swelled in neck .. and certainly before the biopsy and diagnosis .. and I wont even mention treatment .. but, compared to my writing before that .. this writing feels very different.

Because, once the physical fatigue sets in, you really have no other choice .. if you are going to write. (And you know what happens if the writer doesnt write. It's not a pretty thing.)

Embracing Duality » The White Angel / Black Angel Dream

No discussion of the topic of embracing duality would be complete without at least mentioning the white angel / black angel dream. Because here the embrace is beyond figurative.

I actually do not know (yet) what such a discussion would entail. I sense a sort of foreboding .. tho I wouldnt call it dread.

I have flirted before with the idea of discussing that dream .. tho I always left it at little more than a mention.

So I can hear questions in my head » "Dude, are you really gonna talk about the white angel / black angel dream? That sounds very cool. Very interesting. Lemme know if I can help."

Since I am specifically talking about embracing duality in this entry, I dont see how I could NOT.

But these are things that the writer needs to let come to him .. on their own. And not try to force them out.

Perhaps this is why I sensed resistance .. in writing on this particular topic.

Because I have had things come to me before .. on this particular topic .. and they always feel weighty.

And the angels launch off the top of a reactor vessel .. which, naturally, reminds me of nuclear days.

And the white angel / black angel theme seems very emblematic of the classical duality that everybody knows all too well » Good vs Evil. God vs the Devil.

» Einstein Says that Energy and Mass are Two Different States of the Same Thing [ E=mc2 ]

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant on the Hudson River in New YorkSpeaking of things nuclear .. I should probably mention the mass/energy duality .. since Einstein says that they are really two different states of the same thing.

Difficult as that might be to conceptualize.

The first thing to point out here .. is that a little mass (somehow) translates in LOTS of energy. This is why a nuclear reactor can produce so much electrical power.

When a uranium atom in a nuclear reactor splits (fissions) into two fission fragments .. the sum of the resulting fragments weigh LESS than the original uranium atom.

What happened to the rest of the mass? It was converted into energy.

I could go on and on about this topic .. because it is something that I know a lot about .. turning matter into energy. But I won't. Except to say that I have converted a decent amount of matter into energy in my nuclear days.

» Time vs Eternity

Another duality worth mentioning is that of » time/eternity. Physicists tell us that time is » just an illusion. That's a pretty good illusion .. no?

Perhaps I will return later to expound further on this very cool "illusion" .. but for now, I simply want to point out that challenge associated with living life » IN THE NOW.

Many people today are living for tomorrow .. and it's hard to blame them. Others are living in the past .. something I have done myself.

The Dog is actually a big proponent of living life IN THE PRESENT. He has brought up this point to me on numerous occasions over the years.

For now I would suggest that you try a little meditation .. where you simply sit still and (try to) quiet your mind and just be present.

It sounds almost too easy, but give it a try and you will see what I mean. Not as easy as it sounds. I'm sure Pascal would concur.

» Transcending Language

Here is another example of what I was talking about earlier .. because I can feel myself trying to » transcend language.

But I can hear another voice saying » "Dude, what does that even mean? You sound like you are talking such crazy shit right now. I think the chemo has affected your brain."

The writer, naturally, is always trying to master language, the craft, the ancient craft .. and to wield its powers .. particularly its evocative powers .. which leans towards poetry.

But to transcend language .. how would you go about doing such a thing?

Might be worth noting here .. that Eva says c.o.d.i.n.g is the » lingua franca of the twenty-first century.

Coding represents p.r.o.c.e.d.u.r.a.l knowledge .. HOW TO do something .. vs factual knowledge. A big discussion that I will leave at that.

But how would you go about transcending that particular type of language?

Perhaps by inventing your own.

Because the writer uses letters and words to form sentences and paragraphs that quickly become pages of text .. all of which constitute the very building blocks of written language itself.

I just noticed that this page says » A written language exists only as a complement to a specific spoken language, and no natural language is purely written.

Spoken language vs written. Thought-provoking stuff.

Such as » Written language is an invention in that it must be taught to children; children will pick up spoken language by exposure without being specifically taught.

See .. the spoken language that is behind the written .. is what people are referring to when they talk about a writer developing his voice.

At first, I thought this sounded so pretentious .. but now I can see what they were talking about. It's the (seemless) conversion into written language .. of the writer's inner (spoken) voice(s).

And that takes practice. You need to become one with the language. Need to live with it.

Oh, I think I see it. The transcendence to which I was referring, or to which I was trying to refer to .. happens b.e.y.o.n.d the limitations of these letters and words and sentences .. and even beyond the representative images and photos that I use to break up my text.

Which is really just two different ways to convey information that pertains to the same topic.

In reference to going b.e.y.o.n.d the language .. what do you think of this verse of scripture? Do you see a matching of patterns?

» Going Beyond the Language with Kate Manne

Thoughts of going beyond the language remind me of the column that I read earlier today by Kate Manne ..

[ who is a professor at Cornell, which is located in Ithaca, the best college town in America .. and home of David.Foster.Wallace, who is referenced by Joseph Frank in his intro to Dostoevsky's bio as "perceptive, gifted and lamented," and about whom a new movie has been released, and who dated Mary Karr, who he once tried to push out of a moving car. (She probably deserved it. She admits to being not a particularly nice person.) Tuck-n-roll, Mary. I've almost been run over a few times myself.

Rad note » I got carried away with Mary Karr, so I lifted and transferred that section to its own page .. see here » Queen of the Memoir Insists that It's Not About the Penis

.. on the subject of » Trigger Warnings .. how certain "content" can trigger a strong emotional response.

Dude, did you see that girl's credentials? Holy smokes .. you are not worthy, my friend.

My IQ went up 30 points just from reading her column .. so I can only imagine what it's like to sit in her class.

When I read something that speaks to me in a unique, authentic voice .. I google their ass, and see who it is that is writing this cool shit.

Because I want to know how they came upon such skills and such ideas.

I had never even heard of trigger warnings. (When I saw the title, I thought it was an article about gun control.)

Notice, also, how she says (5th paragraph) »

Criticisms of trigger warnings are often based on the idea that college is a time for intellectual growth and emotional development. In order for this to happen, students must be challenged. And they need to learn to engage rationally with ideas, arguments and views they find difficult, upsetting or even repulsive. On this count, I agree with the critics, and it is in fact the main reason that I do issue warnings.

Students must be challenged .. they need to learn to engage rationally .. with ugly ideas. With ugly truths.

That is not easy to do. No, sir .. which is probably why so few do. Because there is seemingly no end to the ugliness that life has to offer.

If you ever get to the end of life's ugliness, let me know .. cuz I want to come check it out with you. "Dang .. you found it. There it is. Amazing."

And I thought about the Dog .. and how his time at Columbia gave to him a certain ennobling quality. And rather dramatically, if you ask me.

And an easy intellectual confidence. Tho not arrogant or pretentious. Rather, quite the opposite.

» The Dog Moves to the Country (Jersey)

He just called the other day to say, "I moved .. to the country."

I said, "Dog, Jersey has no parts that you can call 'country'. Everybody knows that Jersey has only densely populated cities and toxic waste dumps."

(Jersey is the nation's most densely-populated state.)

The Dog left his dad back at the co-op, where his retired firefighter father lived with the Dog's mom .. close to the City .. on the very next floor in their hi-rise .. before she died a few months ago. (Cancer.)

"You left him?" I said.

"We told him he could come if he wants to," he said. "He likes it there. His friends are all there."

The Dog is opposite of me .. in the sense that his dad is cool, and he gets along great with his dad. Whereas it was his mom that was fucked up. "I could never live here with my mom," he said. "No way."

Everybody agrees .. if you gotta have a fucked up parent .. then it is better to have a fucked up dad. (Waay better.)

I am so happy for the Dog.

He called really late. It was after 10 here. So that means it was after 1AM there. And he did not sound the least bit tired.

» Shitty Parents Need to Work Out Their Own Salvation

Regarding shitty parents .. it might be worth mentioning here the verse where Paul writes to the believers at Phillippi and tells them to » "work out your salvation with fear and trembling."

And it would take me too long to explain what I mean .. but sometimes I think that bad parents are those who try to work out their salvation THRU THEIR KIDS.

Because they are too fearful to work it out in their own lives. Which I can totally understand. Because this takes a seemingly superhuman amount of courage.

If you think about it, this is exactly what Dostoevsky was talking about in the Notes from Underground (1864) .. when he talks about an independent wanting being more important than a reasonably profitable wanting. (The word wanting seems to me very close to the word desire.)

This is because we all work out our salvations in different ways .. because we are all diferent people .. with different things to work out. You know.

Nobody knows better about how to work out your salvation than you. I know this sounds intuitively obvious, but you know how other people think they know better than you.

If these people were busy working out their own salvation, then they wouldnt have so much time to think about and try to work out yours for you.

If you do not know what Paul is talking about there when he says 'fear and trembling,' then I am pretty sure that you have never done what Paul is talking about.

Because, if you did, then you would know why he uses that particular phrase. I could easily get off on such a tangent here .. a fear-and-trembling tangent. But I won't.

But I can see how it would be easy to try to work out this stuff thru your kids. It's the pussy-way out, of course .. which is why it's the path of those who are looking for an easy way out. (There is no easy way out.)

I made passing reference to it in this entry here. But it's such a difficult thing .. where you feel like your soul is being ripped apart. Like a part of you is dying.

Dying is something that brings fear and trembling to many people every day. And everybody dies .. eventually. (I am impressed with myself for not going down this tangent. This kind of stuff is right up my alley.)

» Dog Nostalgia in Paradise

"Dog," I said, "do you remember how you used to make like a vampire in Hawaii and stay out all night? And go to bed with the sunrise and sleep 'til 3 or 4? And then get up and do it all over again the next day?"

Waikiki and Diamond HeadThe Navy gave us 30 days of R-n-R to fuck off when we got back from a patrol .. in order to try to screw our heads back on straight.

» Is My Car Out There?

One time I heard him calling me from his bedroom. It was still early for the Dog. Maybe 11:30 or noon.

He was still in bed and he asked me to look out the window of our 2nd floor apt downtown Waikiki [ Ala Wai blvd ] and see, "Is my car out there in the parking space?"

I stuck my head out the window and looked down there. I looked all around .. to make sure it wasnt parked in a different space. I pulled my head back in and turned to face him because I wanted to see the reaction on his face when I said, "No."

The Dog spent the whole day (Sunday) looking for his car. I mean, we're in Waikiki .. how far could it be? (You can't make up this shit, folks.)

It was just starting to get dark when he came home and threw his keys on the counter and said, "I shoulda known that I left it at that new jazz club."

I said, "How did you find it, Dog?"

He said, "I just started where I started yesterday. Once I got there and had a drink, then I remembered where I went next. I went to a lot of places last night."

[ Another friend of ours got his car stolen in Hawaii. I said, "Where are they gonna take it?" ]

» .. Where Every Day is a Holiday and Every Night a Saturday Night

You hang around the Dog for a while and you quickly accumulate a sizable number of increasingly bizarre stories.

I dont know anybody who has stories like the Dog has. (Tho Maria represents well for XX-chromosome gang.) He lived life pedal-to-the-metal. I could never keep up with him. (Nobody could.)

» Hanging With the Dog on a Saturday Night in Waikiki (Trying to)

Remind me to tell you about the time that I tried to hang with the Dog. You learn quickly that you cannot hang with the Dog (.. a full-blooded Irishman). I learned the very first time that I tried.

You can jog my memory by shouting, "Two flaming bullets!" with a big smile on your face.

This is a pretty good story. I only wish I could remember it more clearly.

I remember that we started at the Lollipop .. a classy strip club down the street .. near the end of Ala Moana park. [ Besides going to see the show of the two strippers who lived right above us on Ala Wai blvd, this was the only time I went to a strip club in Hawaii. It was a total blast. Tho too expensive for a sailor to do very often. ]

Just me and the Dog. Nobody else. Normally there were other friends with us, but this time it was just us two.

And we had just gotten back from several months at sea, which is closer than you might imagine to the feeling that you get when you get out of jail.

So we are feeling super good (.. yeah, like we just got out of jail). I mean, you cant imagine how much better you feel just being able to breathe real air .. that is not recycled farts. (You have to make everything yourself underwater .. your own air, your own water, your own energy.)

And we both have shitloads of cash money because we have spent the last few months at sea and you cant buy jack-shit when you are at sea.

And after we flirted for a while with the stripper at the Lollipop who wore the baseball cap .. you could tell that she liked the Dog. He leaned over to me and said, "She's obviously using me to get to you, Dog."

We left there and went to our home club hang-out. Where we knew everybody who worked there.

And when we walked in (on a Saturday night) the bar was stacked two and three deep .. and one of the bartenders ignores them all and comes straight over to the Dog down at the corner of the bar where we were standing and asks him what he'll have.

"Two flaming bullets!" the Dog shouts .. throwing up two fingers like an enthusiastic victory sign. (This is where things start to get a little fuzzy.)

The Dog had made friends with both of these bartenders. They had invited him over to their homes for traditional style Hawaiian (Polynesian) and Japanese dinners. (On numerous occasions.)

Everybody liked the Dog. Everybody wanted him around .. cuz he knew how to make you feel good. He actually made you feel like he loved you. It's really a remarkable thing, if you think about it.

It's no surprise, then, that this is exactly what that girl said .. after having a beer with the Dog and me .. the first time she met him.

I have long tried to emulate the way the Dog makes you feel like he really loves you .. and it basically just involves paying attention and not being insecure.

Of course, it's way more involved than that (.. education, intelligence, culture, life experiences, sense of humor) but that is the essence of it. The gist.

If you made me choose a single word, I would have to say 'compassion'.

Anyway, I had never had a flaming bullet before .. but I knew what they were » trouble. Instant trouble coming to you in a glass. A pretty glass.

And they bring these drinks to you in a large brandy snifter and they are on fire .. literally.

And I looked over at the Dog, who was standing to my left and he toasted me and I watched him drink the whole freaking thing in a single tip and I thought, "Oh my God." (The whole bar was watching him and he was clearly happy as a leprechaun plotting mischief.)

I was already feeling well-lubricated from the drinks that we had at the Lollipop.

There's more to this story .. but it might take me a little to piece it together.

The moral of the story » you cannot hang with a confident Irishman who is feeling his oats. So I know how Jose Aldo feels. Sympathy, bro.

» My Conor McGregor Imitation and Tribute

In honor of the Irishman, James Joyce, here is my stream-of-consciousness imitation of Conor McGregor » "The spirits of a thousand McGregors and the souls of ten thousand screaming Irishman fight with me. Are you sure you want a piece of that, hoss? Take your time and think about it. Think carefully. But while you're thinking, let me tell you what happened to the last dozen people who answered 'yes' .. because they all went down hard. And when they finally got up, they got up slowly. You must have misunderstood .. we're not here to participate; we're here to take over. McGregor has arrived. Go tell the others. There will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth. What few teeth remain. Then they will be cast into outer darkness .. or, at least, it will seem that way. It will be very dark for them. Because they will be out cold. I'm 27. Even more than just FEELING invincible .. I KNOW I'm invincible. And yes, there *is* a difference. What's that you say? .. you have a champion who has not lost a fight in 10 years. Well, I admit that this is an impressive feat. But the only reason that he hasnt lost in a decade .. is because he hasnt fought a McGregor. Bring him to me. Even better, I'll come to him. You tell him I'm coming. I know this sounds like so much bluster, but I will not only do what I say, but I will tell you in advance precisely HOW I'm going to do it. If you dont believe me, then just watch-n-see. Tho you might wanna take a step back .. and put on these here thermonucler-grade sunglasses. The McGregor-flash can get pretty bright. Dont say that I didnt try to warn you. And you can also tell that Mr. Dead Pool guy that McGregor is coming. Now, there's some competition. I'm going after the superheros next. We'll see just how super they really are. Tell them I'm coming. Tell them we're ALL coming .. the spirits of a thousand McGregors .. and the souls of ten thousand screaming Irishmen are coming. I can hear them talking to me, you know. You dont wanna know what they are saying. They are saying, 'Conor, tell them that this shit is not as easy as you make it look'. They are saying other things, too. Tho I probably shouldnt say any more. What's that you say? .. your 10-year champion is scared and doesnt want to fight me? Can't say that I blame 'em. I would be scared to fight me, too. Now you want me to fight a different guy while your 10-year champion tries to work up the courage to fight me? Okay. I can do that. Just tell me where and when and I'll be there. I'm trying to tell you that it doesnt really matter who you line up against me. You will see what I mean. Look at them .. they see it and they STILL can't believe it. They are rubbing their eyes in disbelief. They've never seen anything like me before. And they havent seen anything yet. I'm just getting warmed up. Oh, hold on a sec .. that's Hollywood calling. They have a part for me. I'm gonna have to take this call. Please excuse me. While I'm away, Joe Rogan has something you need to hear."

I thought of Conor McGregor when I read this verse from Exodus recently.

How many people do you know who are able to establish an intimate relationship with (date?) both the stripper who lives upstairs (in Waikiki) and his Ivy League writing professor (in New York City)? He had the cutest look on his face when he told me about the professor .. very oh-by-the-way-ish-ly. I know I shouldnt be surprised .. but I was.

The Dog's motto in Hawaii, since we were living in Waikiki, was » "Every day is a holiday and every night a Saturday night."

It was true. Because most people in Waikiki are there on vacation. Usually either for 10 days or two weeks.

» Best Job I Ever Had

One time I called his mom to try to get ahold of him and she said, "He quit his job last week [ at Arthur Anderson ] and is driving out to California with his girlfriend. He's gonna try to find another job when he gets out there."

I talked to him later and he said, "I got a job in a fish market at Fisherman's Wharf. Dog, I had a degree in Engineering from an Ivy League school and these guys were throwing fish at me and yelling at me at 5 in the morning like I was a high school drop-out. It was the best job I ever had."

Anyway, he had just spent the last 5 days moving like a madman. So he could finally stop to breathe .. at 1AM.

» The Hazards of Bambi in the Backyard

"Dog," I said. "I'm opening Google Maps right now. Give me your address. I want to see exactly where you are."

He has an acre and a half near the Spruce Run Recreational Area. That's his backyard. (Wikipedia)

"If we went another 15 or 20 miles to Easton," he said, "which is in Pennsylvania, the property taxes would've been one tenth of what we're paying here. But 20 miles in Jersey rush-hour traffic can be an hour. And I want to spend time with the kids."

Later he told me that the first thing that the kids did when they woke that first morning .. was to run outside and explore.

"We didnt tell them to," he said, "They just did it on their own."

He is married to this Czech girl, who is 20 years younger, who he met in NYC. Only the Dog and Donald Trump can manage to pull off something like that. They fly back to Prague for a few weeks every summer. He said this year, he couldnt make it due to work, but his wife and kids spent six weeks there and the kids, when they returned, "didnt speak a word of English." [ Kafka (1883-1924) is from Prague. He's huge. ]

Earlier he was telling me how deer wander into his yard, so when he told me how, "Yeah, I'm standing out here on my back porch with my cock out,"

I said, "Dog, you better watch out that Bambi doesnt wander up in the dark and take a nibble when you're not looking."

» The Thing that Makes the Dog the Dog

Perhaps the coolest thing that the Dog does .. occurs while you are talking to him .. and you are pouring out some heart-wrenching stuff .. and right about the time that the thought passes thru your mind » "Can he possibly still be with me? Because I am soo far out there. And I am in such a difficult place right now..."

And right about then is where the Dog will chime in and make a comment .. not to interrupt your heart-felt thing .. but to let you know that he is WITH YOU .. that he feels you.

And it is kind of a 'wow' thing .. that somebody can hang with you in such anguish .. in your soul-fucking torment.

It's not an easy thing to describe .. but it is certainly one of the things .. and maybe even thee thing .. that makes the Dog the Dog. He can go with you .. no matter how ugly it gets. (Which is why I dont really understand things like this.)

Some people are only good at going with you when everything is nice and sunny and rosy and fun. But soon as shit turns ugly, they're gone. They dont dont know how to deal with it. Or dont care to. (You might call these fair-weather friends.)

But the Dog can hang. Because he has already been to places that you'll likely never see.

Tho his sense of humor is also one of his defining characteristics. Remind me to tell you about the way his Irish eyes sparkle like a leprechaun plotting mischief .. whenever you say something that really tickles him.

» Miranda on Rihanna (and Vice Versa)

Speaking of columns and pieces that speak to me in a unique, authentic voice .. this thing on Rihanna by Miranda July is a good example.

I am actually hestitant to mention it .. because I can see how easy it would be to suck you in.

But perhaps I can point out some of the highlights of exactly what spoke to me and how. (And maybe even why.)

But first, how do you even get a gig like that, Miranda? Does RiRi pick you? Or agree to who they send? I am curious about the behind-the-scenes negotiations.

"But who will go for us?" .. "Here I am," Miranda said, "Send me!"

But starting at the end .. the final (and lingering) flavor that the reader comes away with from your piece .. is one of muscular authenticity.

Which means that you pulled it off. And with a flair, too. Because that it what the bad girl is all about. And your writing style reflected that.

[ I confess that I am curious if you did that intentionally or subconsciously. ]

Rad note - this section on Miranda's interview with Rihanna in Malibu has been transferred to its own separate page .. see here » Miranda on Rihanna (and Vice Versa)

The end. ■