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Archive for November, 2009

Some of My Memories of Germany

When I was a kid I lived in Germany, just outside of Frankfurt, I think. Since My dad was in the army me and my mother used to pal around together. We would go visit all of Ludwig’s Castles. We ended up seeing all but one. It was in the middle of a lake and the ferry only took you there at 8 am and didn’t bring you back until 8 pm. So, we said screw that! It might be fun to go to castles and tour around but 12 hours. You gotta shittin’ me. No way in hell.
     I remember little of that time. My memories of my personal life are few and far between. I think my brain replaces that stuff with facts. It’s like the more stuff I learn the more of my life I forget.
     Anyways, My memories. I remember this snitzel vender, with his little cart, would be on the corner every Sunday during the winter. It would waft in the apartment and we’d always give in and go down to get some. My favorite was his wiener snitzel. Now I don’t really care too much for snitzel because germans cover it in this nasty tasting brown gravy shit. But his, his was awesome! Fresh and gravy free. I mean you could get some but he didn’t slather it on unless you asked. I always put ketchup on them and damn if they weren’t just about the best tasting things on the planet.
     It’s true what they say about american food being so bland and/or sweet. Here in america, people don’t know how to make things taste good, plus you have to accommodate for all the different cultures who came here and don’t want to have some ethnic food. So, in the end, american food ends up being shitty and bland.
     I hate american cakes. They are so sweet, that when I a piece at a party, I flip it over. I just eat the cake not the icing. I love sugar but icing is nasty. All sugar and lard. Gross!!! The best cake in the world is Black Forest Cake. It comes from the Black Forest region of Germany and, let me tell you, “Dat shit’s da bomb! Fo real, cuz.” It made with a cherry liqueur and much less sugar. The icing is a dark chocolate with only a little sugar. The flavor is so pronounced and extravagant, it’s like you end up thinking, “I’ve never had a cake before this moment!” I’ve made Black Forest Cake here in the States, a few times, but you can’t get the same  flavor out of the cake. It’s because the liqueur you’re supposed to use is aged as a pulp and extracted for use later. The US stuff is made like wine then they add sugar to thicken it! But mine is still uber good, nonetheless. My friends who have tasted it loved it. And just to give you a hint on how awesome this cake is: I hate chocolate! If chocolate vanished off the face of the earth except for in Black Forest cake,  Mayan Hot Chocolate, & Black Russians, I’d be happy.
     Aniseplatzchen is my favorite cookie. Also german and not super sweet, these cookies I’d always have to wait ‘til Christmas to find in the stores. Man was that a pain! It was so hard to wait a whole year after New Year’s to find these cookies again. These cookie are definitely not for americans. They have their own unique taste. Nothing tastes even close to them. Hence, I can’t really describe them to you, but if you like black licorice, these are sorta like that, but good and not nearly as strong. Think like a “manly” version of gingerbread, or something.
     I remember going from East to West and back all the time, too. There were men with guns (M-16s and AK-47s) on both sides. Sometimes they would stop you, but most of the time they just waved you through. A few months after I left The Wall was torn down. I was so pissed I couldn’t have taken a piece of it with me. Dr. Seuss died that year too, I think. Or somewhere around that time.
     Life has such a sad way of changing on you, as you age. You know. Like The house I grew up in all through 5th grade & junior high  and my aunt’s house who lived next to us got torn down. It’s now a parking lot! An UNUSED parking lot! Sometimes, I’ll have to drive down that street and it’s like going home, but then I get to where my house should be and it gone! It’s like if someone tells you they got you an Ipod or something that’s actually cool for Christmas and then, you open it and it’s a sweater. It kinda sad, driving down that road, I mean.
     Oh, and Oktoberfest and The Nutcracker Festival are kick ass! Let me tell you drunk germans are funny. They’re all singing and laughing, just happy, you know. Americans, on the other hand, get obnoxious. They either piss people off and a brawl starts or they start the fight themselves. I watched this drunk punk college kid walk over to this couple in their thirties, who were obviously married. He wraps his arm around this woman, kisses her cheek, and says something like, “Get rid of the loser and (blah, blah, blah, etc.,.)” Needless to say, the bastard got knocked out cold, his friends tried to beat up the husband, and me & my friends broke it up before they could really hurt him. That’s america. But germany, those guys are having fun and it was fun to just watch them. (I was a little kid, so that’s about all I could do.)
     The Nutcracker Fest is so cool they had these 20 ft. tall, real working, nutcrackers! Some you were actually allowed to use. And there were so many. The one year there were over 200! The road was lined wit them. It was like being in some kid’s movie or a fantasy land or like on a real life Candyland adventure!
     America has nothing, culturally, that compares to germany. Sad to say, but true.

     I went to a Concentration Camp, too. I really don’t want to end this on a sour note but I have to talk about this. Going there, seeing those bunks, those showers, those furnaces, it’s so heartbreakingly sad. To ever think that that happened, such cruelty happened, is just sad. I know “sad” is a pathetic tiny word to use, but nothing else comes to mind. Even now my eyes swell up with tears. Americans are so quick to make the german people into monsters for WWII. But, the truth is worse for them. They put a guy in office and he took away their rights. He made the whole country his slaves. If you didn’t like it you were killed. Sometimes, people were beaten or even killed for not saluting properly (or for long enough) to the Nazi Party Members. He terrorized the whole country, Hitler & and his Reich. He was a terrible plague upon the german people, but even with him gone americans still look at germans of that time as if every one of them were Nazi supporters, as if every german said, “kill those jude.” How sad. And how very wrong. I feel a great sympathy for them. I know why they wanted the jews gone, and they were right to, but they didn’t know how Hitler was going to do it (even while it was happening for the first few years) and they didn’t know at what cost their salvation would come. He was supposed to bring them out of debt and rebuild what was lost after WWI but instead he caused WWII. They never wanted that. They wanted the autobahn and they wanted their businesses, houses, integrity, and hope back. They wanted a spiritual, emotional, and physical peace.
     I’m so glad they have that now. They were once a great, strong, proud, unconquerable people. Now, they are once again.

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My Banana Foster Recipe

    The first time I heard of this was in a Ricci movie (“The Opposite of Sex”). I didn’t know what it was. So I tracked it down. And, my god, was it worth it! This is probably one of the best tasting things I have ever had! And as far as a syrup-like topping, this is THE best. Hands down. I guarantee.
    This little gem comes from New Orleans (which I still say with a southern drawl so it sounds like, “Naaha-lans”) a nice place called, “Brennan’s”. I don’t remember if I was ever there, I was real young when I lived there. Make some French Toast and put this on top. And Holy Hell! You done got yourself heaven on a plate!

Bananas Foster Sauce
    ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
    1 cup brown sugar
    ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    ¼ cup banana liqueur (or 1 teaspoon banana extract)
    4 bananas, thinly sliced
    ¼ cup dark rum  (or ½ teaspoon rum extract)
    A dash of ground ginger
    A dash of ground nutmeg
    2 drops of Vanilla extract
(If you use the extract, in lieu of the liquor, you have to add 1/3 cup of water & 1 tablespoon of white sugar.)

    Step 1: Combine everything, but the bananas, in a pan or a skillet. Place on a low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
    Step 2: Stir in the bananas and ‘til they soften.
   (Step 2b: If you used the alcohol instead of the extract, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum.)
    Step 3: Remove from heat. Pour on food.
    Step 4: Eat.
    Step 5: Make more. Oh, you’ll want to!

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Journal Entry 11/13/09

Emily has steadily slid into alcoholism. If that were not bad enough, I was once an alcoholic. Little over a decade ago. Yes, if you’ve read enough of this blog you’d realized that would’ve made me 15 or 16 when I stopped. I started drinking when I was around 9. Life in my little world was becoming a personal, private hell.
 When I was a kid, I was offered 5th grade instead of 3rd. I prize for testing in the 99.9th percentile. Of all the kids, in all of The States, I was of the smartest. They even gave me an IQ test. The result: 152. Genius starts at 135, Supragenius at 155. It seemed I was the Sun amidst my light bulb-like peers. But as I said, “I was offered.” Given the choice, I, a scared 7 year old child, choose to dim. I choose 3rd grade over 5th. Much to the disappointment of my overbearing mother and habitually absent father. Years later, I would look back on that defining moment in my early youth and say to myself, “Why give a child that choice?” To this day, of all the mistakes of my life, I wish I could change That One. I would give up everything for that chance back. I don’t think my parents knew that that choice was not one any child should be allowed. Choices should be left to those who understand the consequences of choosing the wrong path. And that is not something a child can do. Children have little foresight beyond a single day. How could they know of how something could so drastically effect their future when they can’t even grasp the concept of “The Real World”?
TO YOU PASSING READER, I GIVE YOU THIS WARNING:
If your child is given this choice, take it from them. For this choice, IS most Dire & Grave. This is not theirs to make. And neither is it yours. Their very birthright is to advance, not to be allowed to stagnate. Understand this if nothing else.

 Now, the choice to dim being made, I sat though 3rd grade. I mean that quite literally. I failed. I did no homework. I did not raise my hand in class. I purposefully gave the wrong answer when called upon. All in an attempt to look stupid. Well, needless to say, it worked. As the kids I had been with left for the 4th grade, I was forced to stay in 3rd, in the same seat, in the same class. How sardonic it was that the reason I chose to 3rd over 5th to begin with was for these very “friends” who now had abandoned “the idiot” I had become.
 That second 3rd grade year was one of the toughest years of my young life. Indeed the toughest up ‘til that point. Disparaged & disparaging of myself as I was, I made a new “friend”. Coincidentally, this boy from my new 3rd grade class and his younger brother lived just up street from me. His father was an alcoholic. And his favorite pastime, getting his children and their new friend drunk.
 And so began my spiral towards an edge I’d no sooner forget than I would the back of my own hands. Truth be told, I wish never to forget that part of me. It keeps me whole. To forget that would be to forget the fact that I overcame something so powerfully addictive, so transcendentally invocative and yet so reproachfully wanton. If comparable to a biblical reference, it is not unlike the sins of The Watchers which beget the Nephilim. Alcoholism is the sins of Lust & Gluttony combined in a heady mixture of Pain & Suffering.
 How does a child become an alcoholic. First, you must understand that not all alcoholics drink every day or even once a week. Binge Alcoholics are those people who don’t drink but get so toasted they end up waking up the next day in a stranger’s house unaware of how they got there, or even where “There” was. These alcoholics are the worst kind they can hide it well from friends and family. Only letting it rear it’s ugly head in the most opportune of moments. Binge drinkers usually have separate “drinking friends” apart from their “regular friends”, and for good reason. Their real friends might tell their family. And they don’t want that, now do they.
 I “tried” AA twice when I was a 15. The first time they said I was too young. That’s ironic. I had to promise not to laugh or ridicule the other “freaks” like myself before they let me in. I went a few times before hugging these overweight, sweaty men became too much. The second try it was the B.O. of a 36, or 37, year old 400 lbs woman with these enormous sweaty tits. She smothered me in them and in my gasp for air my tongue got to taste that sweat, very personally. I’d had a phobia of germs ever since I was 10. That was the final straw. “Enough of this stupid shit,” I’d said and I never went back.
 The next year, I had gotten into some legal trouble (completely unrelated to my own alcohol problem) over some drugs. They were not mine, before you judge me. I had taken them from a friend who was a foster kid. She had taken them from the real culprit. I didn’t want her precarious home life to be ruined, so I ruined mine in her stead. I have never regretted that choice. Not for a single moment. But back to the subject.
 I was forced to go to Gateway. Gateway actually worked. They people were all kids my own age. I actually had classes with 4 of the 9 there. We became closer, I’d like to think anyway. One day we were asked to talk about our early home life with a focus on why we started drinking, and by comparison to one boy in particular, I thought, “Well fuck, my life ain’t THAT bad!” That was it. I quit cold turkey. It was a matter of shedding myself of those “drinking friends”, avoiding the chance to go to parties, and reining in that desire. 10 years later, I can count the number of times I’ve been drunk on only 4 fingers and total times I have drank number maybe 40. I drink usually about 3 or 4 times a year. 3 shots of Smirnoff Vodka. Preferably, Orange Twist.
 But now, I am faced with watching my closest loved one, My Emily, trodden down a similar dark path. It is beyond hard for me. To her, I am The Embodiment of Strength, of Honor, of Integrity and a far cry from her shores. She assumes that these things will hold me bound to her. But, the fact is, the opposite seems true. I have asked, I have beg, I have yelled, we have argued and it has been to no avail.
 I am at a crossroads now. She has made it so. Today, I came home to find an empty 12-pack on the kitchen counter and 6 empty cans on the coffee table. She has begun to flaunt her weakness in front of me. When we argued this time she said, “You don’t even have a problem.” How wrong of her. My problem is her. Because her problem is mine, and our babies. I wanted to beat her until she couldn’t breathe. She knew it. She said, “I’m breaking up with you,” half-hearted.
 It was more of a threat than a statement of fact. But, I told her, “I don’t care what you do. Just pay your half of the bills and stay the fuck away from me.” My crossroads is this do I shoulder the burden she has become upon my back as my very heart withers at the sight of her decay in the hopes she regains her footing on this world. Or, do I leave, children in hand, to the farthest reaches of this Earth? Do I stay here in Pennsylvania, the onset of the spiritually-numbing winter approaching, or do I take my leave to Tennessee, where a similar bitterness will follow me until I, like this relationship, to dust hence?
 Either choice I do not wish to make. They are not light choices. They will effect my children’s growth and outlook on the world. Either way will taint it, taint them with sorrow. How can she ask me to carry her crippled form though the same Plaguerot Wastes which had once crippled me? If she asks ever at all.
 At this moment, I am stuck with a phrase:

Seek comfort in the next life, for you shall find none in this one.”

I think I’ll never know whether those words were of someone else or of my own design, but I feel distinctly that somewhere in The Heavens, Samyaza is smiling with the whisper still fresh upon his lips. What vile portent this brings as a unnatural dark night befalls like a miasma.

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Nearly every friend I have has at one point or another pissed me off with this: inviting or just bringing someone either into a private event or have just brought them over. Does anyone else go, “What the fuck,” when this happens, or is it just me? I’d say it’s my generation, but my friend Sean is 40 and he brought this chick to D&D once. Etiquette, oh, wherefore out thou?
 Manners. Manners. Manners. Why do my friends bring their “shiny new pussy” to my house? That’s what it is. They see some chick that might have sex with them (or did) and they feel the need to bring these things along with them to a private event, AT MY HOUSE!!! All I can think is, “Look dude. I don’t care. I don’t want that new toy sucking up my oxygen.” I don’t invite people to other people’s houses. If I had to bring some girl I ask first. And not in a pushy way either, it’s like, “Hey dude. My girlfriend wanted to come over, too. Is that cool? It’s okay if it’s not. I’d understand ‘cause it’s like supposed to be just us guys, an’ shit.” How hard is that really?
 Instead, I get shit like this, “The girl I hung out with is cool as hell…she is also coming to D&D, but she wants a girl to hang out with…So, please try to have Emily keep her company, if you can. Thanks.”
 Are you shitting me? First of all, Emily does this thing called, WORK. Secondly, why the hell would she want to hang out with some random girl? Third, Did I at some point say bring this chick over? Ahhh…NO. Fourth, When the fuck did I start taking orders? And fifth, D&D is on Sunday, from 4pm ‘til 10pm. That leaves the other 160 hours in the week to ‘hang out’ with this chick, so don’t bring her to my house and fuck up my game! No chick wants to watch a guy play D&D. IT’S THE DORKIEST GAME IN THE WORLD!!! Well, right after Vampire. No “normal” girl should want to be within a mile of a gaming session. If she does, is either has no idea what D&D is, or is a super dork and it’s time to ditch that chick and ruuuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnn. Run fast!
 Why do they do this to me? Are they that desperate? Really?

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 I should speak of who Doubting Thomas and James The Just were. For in my studies, I have noticed idiosyncrasies in their names’ usage. At the very root of the matter the most blatant is the names themselves.

For you see, “Thomas” was not a name but a reference to twinship.  So, who was his twin?
 The Book of Thomas the Contender points toward Jesus as his twin.
 The Acts of Judas Thomas: 2nd/3rd century (c. 180-230)  Says at one point: The Apostles cast lots as to where they should go, and to Thomas, twin brother of Jesus, fell India.
 “Judas, who is also called Thomas” (Eusebius, H.E. 13.12)

As for James, described by the New Testament, He was called “James Adelphotheos,” or James, the Brother of the Lord.
Josephus’s Jewish Antiquities, (xx.9) further states this:
 “The Brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James.”
Hegesippus’ Commentaries (Book 5):
 “After the apostles, James the Brother of the Lord, surnamed the Just, was made head of the Church in Jerusalem… …He was holy from his mother’s womb.”

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Of The Council of Ephesus

In 431 AD, many of the fledgling christian clergy gathered together to decide which of the many biographies and teachings of Jesus should be included in what was to become, “The Bible” of the catholic faith.  This was The Council of Ephesus. Before this ominous date Jesus was a person, after he became an icon.
 Before we enter in too far beyond this veil of time, first we must speak of the men. Like all men, clerics and politicians in particular, they were all led by desires. Make no mistake, bartering and trading were done to arrange lands under new men, parts were dismissed so some would give their blessings on other sections. They wished to gain wealth and not to live in abject poverty. They sought ways to force a yoke on believers so as to make them follow a direct line. A mold of what faith and man should be. This would corrupt the teachings of Jesus as much, if not more so, than time.
 If you question this, I ask you have you not read of the corruption of politicians, the corruptions of faith provocated by the church? Remember “Indulgences”? “Kill or rape or steal from your neighbor, my son. God will forgive you, if only you pay me. In Africa, there is a tunnel underground that connects a monastery to a nunnery. It is a mile long and in the middle a single room with a table. All about the bones of infants lie scattered like leaves. Almost all men seek to rule others, but seek not to rule themselves. Law applied only to the masses of “Faithful Sheep”. Galileo was held, imprisoned by the Vatican, for his sin of using mathematics to find that the Earth was not the center of the universe. What sin is this, I ask you? They invited him to Rome, then imprisoned him. Are clerics allowed to lie, to deceive, then? I thought The Commandments applied the all men. Perhaps it is writ different in their book? It took 400 years for him to be vindicated by the Catholics. “Pride” was of the Seven Deadly Sins, was it not? Look not blindly towards these earlier exemplars and think them any different in their morality. Not all men are pure. And most are most assuredly not of “The Chosen Faithful”. But I do conceit that not all of them were decadent either. For surely, some must have been of the pious saintly sort. I ask that you think. And think with gravity not brevity on this subject. My critique of these subjects is critical and quantumly singular in its own gravity. The idea of giving money to the church is itself an evil. During the Dark and Middle Ages, you could be killed for not giving them their money. Not unlike a protection racket, is it not? The old Mafioso would be at home, and has been apart of, the church. I ask you, if a man has nothing but the clothes upon his back must he give his very shirt the one year, his shoes the next, his pants, his underwear, until he is naked. Then what should he give? His eyes, his hands, his feet, legs, arms until he is but a dying head? And as he is dying should he smile and say, “Thank you O Lord, for you are Glorious,” to be considered saved? If you think that too much, too far to go, then let me say this: Is not to look at the Bible a tithe in its own right? If you give all your faith to those tiny words upon the printed, gold-gilded pages and the men who speak to you, leading you like cattle and sheep, by way of proselytization and askewed quotes, is that not your tithe? They take from you thought and in return give you salvation? Do not let your ignorance become their arrogance, I beg of you.
 What critical parts did these men hold on to up until those final critical moments? What was sacrificed in the name of expedition? What was lost due by these men, for all men?
 36 AD, now only a few years after Jesus’ death his mother, his wife, his young child, and his brothers become his torch, crying out his message to friend and foe alike. His twin brother Judas, who was called James among Jesus’ apostles, soon becomes well known as a gentle, honest, and kind man. His own light becomes evident in his brothers’ absence. Soon, he is given the moniker, James The Just, to distinguish him for the other many James of the time. He is also referred to as “James Adelphotheos,” James, the Brother of the Lord,  by some of the peoples of the region.
 And his sanctity is well attested. He was said to have knees with the look and feel of a camel’s knees due to his constant prayers within the Inner Temple, a place only High Priests may enter. He authority is attested to as well.

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The Razor of Truth

Religion

Let me first say, zealots should not read this. In these religious posts, you will find facts and hypotheses. Both are driven by logic’s paradigm, “Ockham’s Razor”. I am not a man of inflexibility nor ignorance nor arrogance. I am a man of a consummate cold logic and a juggernaut desire for knowledge. The King is Knowledge, and I, a Lanceman. Ockham’s Razor as my spear, I ride as the Rook. It is the Fruit and I am Tantalus. Never will I capture it whole, nor will I be full by just it’s smell. It is wholly unattainable. So it will remain forever in Check, but never Checkmate.

It was once said, “A wise man knows that he knows nothing.” It is true. But, let me expound upon this phrase.

“A wise man knows he will never know everything and must be prepared to sunder his tower of knowledge and rebuild it anew, if he finds but a single flaw in a single stone used in its construction.”

In this, the Knowledge of Man is like the Tower of Babel. It can never be flawless, and thus, never all-encompassing nor wholly complete. The universe is too large, the laws governing it too numerous and vast. The Earth and Man too old and ravaged by Time, The Witherer of Facts, to know all things. So too, must man accept these things, for Experience is the Witherer of Lies, as long as we let our selves not be too invested in their preservation. We must not stop searching for all the answers, because we feel we have found them. Lest we make ourselves look as fools and raving proselytizers, vagabond carpetbaggers of mercurial virtue, when faced with opposition to our own vain beliefs. And “Beliefs” are what our knowledge will have become. For we would have to turn from “Fact” and “Truth” to hide behind “Vanity”, “Pride”, & “Wrath”. To do that is to invite a harrowing sickness to the soul, a gangrenous fester upon our wits and morals. Which robs us of dignity and honesty, and others of their own wills. To lead others with Our Lies is to lead ourselves into Damnation. Do not live in a light but blind yourself to it. Its truth is more beautiful than any can perceive in whole. We must not let ourselves be “Faithful” because God has never asked us to be. It was the men who said God said this. Spend but a passing thought on that and the meaning of my words become illuminating. Not a single Holy Book was ever written by a truly manifested god, only men who claimed to be directed by a god.

In my life, God has pushed me towards writing “My Bible”. But he has never directly told me what to write. He only smiles and surrounds me, like a warm blanket of compassion, as if to say, “Try to understand it all with all that I have given you. It is not my place to tell you, son. This is not my place. This is yours. The answers are there if only you look hard and with cunning eyes.” He does not lead me towards a single answer but only follows me when I am on the right path. And in writing this, I feel him now.

 

The greatest teachers do not teach. They show us how to teach ourselves.

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