Archive for June, 2010

So, Larry King has announced that he’s giving up the desk job, saying that stepping away from his nightly show will result in:

” … giving me more time for my wife and I to get to the kids’ little league games”.

Being that the man has been doing this for more than twenty-five years, there are few in the CNN-soaked world who won’t have some opinion on his retirement, his career, his suspenders.

Being virtually CNNless for a long time, not having him on the air daily won’t impact my life one bit, but I’m sure there are those who will miss regular doses of the King and his lineup.

I would, however, like to take the announcement of his departure as a chance to write a bit about that particular brush with fame, or the time I met Larry King.

Yes, I’ve met many a celeb, and although some consider an encounter of the “This person is on TV a lot” variety an experience worth wetting themselves over, I tend not to get all that jazzed. In fact, the only person I’ve come in contact with who inspired stuttering star-struckness in me was Jane Goodall, and Larry King is so NOT Jane Goodall.

Anyway …

One night I’m at this celeb-filled fundraiser in L.A. hosted by Jay Leno with Sting as the entertainment and the Douglas clan at the next table … no, not Fred MacMurry and his Three Sons, but Kirk and Michael and wives … and a host of faces recognizable by a huge percentage of the global population.

Just behind me, Larry King and a bevy of blond beauties. They’d come in after I’d been seated, and I couldn’t help but notice that in motion Larry looks very much like a six-foot-something insect … a cross between a praying mantis and a daddy longlegs. (And, yes, I do know that a spider isn’t an insect … my brother is an entomologist, after all … but if crossed with a pm it might qualify as an arachnesect … close enough.) He moved almost predatorily as he made his way around the room, meeting and greeting, then folded his limbs much like a skinny spider settling as he eventually took his seat.

At some point in the evening, we had a brief conversation in which it came up that I live in Seychelles. He’d never heard of the place. When I explained enough geography to get the Indian Ocean placed in his head, then mentioned that we only have one TV channel here, he appeared to understand exactly why the country had never made it to his radar.

A few pleasantries, and was I moved along to Mrs. Michael Douglas who actually knew where Africa is …

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I’m almost sorry about banging on so much lately about the Catholic Church, but neglecting to respond to the crap coming from the Holy See-no-evil is simply beyond my powers of resistance.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, church officials are turning six shades of cardinal red over the Belgian government’s attempts to unearth information on allegations of sexual abuse and are reacting about as one would expect someone guilty as shit to react.

The RC royals aren’t accustomed to having authority other than their own consider it a matter of course to look for dirt in the dark nooks and crannies so well tucked away for centuries beneath their voluminous skirts.

Perhaps it’s time they get the message that they no longer rule any part of the world, other than the 110 acres of the country the where the Pope wears the big hat. Yes, they can deal with sexual abuse of children any way they like in the Vatican … that’s what the Swiss Guard is there for … a moot point, since no children live there.

Vatican City is home to approximately 920 full-time residents who maintain passports from their home country and diplomatic passports from the Vatican. Thus, it is as though the entire country is composed of diplomats.

Which, one could suppose, makes it pretty easy to keep a wrap on PR.

(An aside: In looking for info on how many women live in Vatican City, what came up on a Google search was a dating site … “Men seeking women in Vatican City”, Considering the fact that the place is completely surrounded by Rome, it may be safe to assume these guys don’t get out much.)

Anyway …

It was only a matter of time before the Pope-ster weighed in on the “serious and unbelievable” treatment his poor bishops were subjected to, forced to hang around during a police search, and perhaps more than annoyed that keeping them incommunicado greatly reduced the chance of stuffing damning files up their vestments.

As the BBC leads:

Pope Benedict has joined mounting Vatican criticism of raids by Belgian police investigating alleged child sex abuse, calling them “deplorable”.

Note that it’s “mounting Vatican criticism” in the paragraph, and although I have trouble suppressing a sneer when “mounting” and “Vatican” are used in the same sentence, it’s important to catch the fact that people outside the web of the church are probably more than okay with raids, seizing records, even digging up dead bishops for DNA.

That the church’s version of the bishops’ isolation holds less water than a cracked baptismal font doesn’t bode well, either.

Belgium’s justice minister has responded to the criticism robustly, saying normal procedures were followed.

Stefaan De Clerck defended the police action, in a series of TV interviews on Sunday, and said the investigation was legitimate.

“The bishops were treated completely normally during the raid on the archdiocese and it is false to say that they received no food or drink,” he said.
Continue reading the main story

Mr De Clerck said the Vatican’s reaction had been excessive as it was based on false information.

Hm. False information … ? Rather like going to hell if you eat meat on Friday or the sanctity of Christopher? How about covering the asses of child-screwing priests?

Sorry, Old Ben, but your cred is shred.

And you need to clue up to the fact that statements like this …

I hope that justice will follow its course while guaranteeing the rights of individuals and institutions, respecting the rights of victims.

… grate more than a bit, especially amongst real victims.

Those of us outside the grip of the 110 acres very much hope that justice will follow its course, and if part of the process is keeping bishops away from the hard drive for a while, so be it.

Ben’s predecessors may have had the power to run the world on their rules, but those days are over. I can imagine how that pisses him off, but we’re all done with outrage issuing from the palace and insist that confession comes out of the box … and, since it doesn’t, digging is enthusiastically encouraged.

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Because it’s Sunday, religion chomps at the bit to be topic du jour, this being the jour of choice for some to trot into a church and listen to some galloping gospel nag before racing to put on the old feedbag down by la mer (Notice my restraint in not ponying up with a canter/cantor ref … although I was tempted to geld the lily.)

Do you sense that I have been led to the baptismal font, but passed on the drink?

Fodder for my Sunday sermon comes from the news, and, as you know, I can rarely put the blinders on when presented with horse shit.

Winner of today’s “Horse’s Ass Award” goes to Vatican secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone Cardinal Bertone for his take on the Belgian government’s efforts to get to the bottom of sex abuse by priests in that country.

Apparently outraged that men of the cloth were “held for nine hours without eating or drinking” and that police seized 500-some files from a “Church commission” that was supposedly investigation allegations of abuse, the Cardinal expressed astonishment, saying:

“It was sequestration, a serious and unbelievable act,” … and, “… there are no precedents, not even under the old communist regimes”.

Yeah … right, you salacious git … putting dinner plans on hold and forcing bishops to enjoy their own company for a few hours is the “serious and unbelievable act”. He must be vibrating in his vestments over what the cops might find in those files. Could there be information that might be … shall we say … damning?

Moving right along, we flip the unleavened sandwich and find facial hair.

As this report illustrates, to beard or not to beard is ongoing as a hairy issue in the Muslim world, and being taken to new lengths by Hizbul-Islam militants in Somalia who are now ORDERING men to grow their beards and trim their moustaches.

I doubt that one of the dudes involved in the mandate intentionally punned when he announced,

“Anyone found violating this law will face the consequences.”

… or maybe Somali militants are really little more than frustrated comics … hence, the funny face growth?

Probably not, since it would take some humor somewhere under all that hair to grasp that a centuries-old fashion suggestion does not a mandate make.

Muslims learn about the Prophet’s views on facial hair not from the Koran, but through hadith – or sayings – attributed to Muhammad.

One such hadith, related by Muslim scholar Sahih Bukhari centuries ago, stipulates: “Cut the moustaches short and leave the beard.”

Good thing, then, that the 1970s came along later, as a hadith edict on sideburns, silver lamé and platform shoes would be just silly.

As a Sunday offering, I’ll close with some sense from Deepak Chopra, who notes that ” … religion is the primary form of spirituality in most people’s lives … “, then goes on to write about the tug-of-war between religion and science.

Science comes down to earth as technology, religion comes down to earth as comfort. But viewed together, they fall short of a common factor that guides every moment of daily life: consciousness. The future of spirituality will converge with the future of science when we actually know how and why we think, what makes us alive to the outer and inner worlds, and how we came to be so rich in creativity. Being alive is inconceivable without being conscious. “I think, therefore I am” is fundamentally true, but Descartes’ maxim should be expanded to include feeling, intuition, a sense of self, and our drive to understand who we are.


And that’s enough horsing around for a Sunday …

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Like night-dwelling lepidoptera to manufactured light sources, speculation on male fascination with and use of today’s version of porn … social networking sites … sparks often these days in camps both male and female.

Many shelves could fill the space from Mars to Venus and back again with tomes expounding on the vast distance between male and female perspective on the territorial imperative, base animal urges, the socialization processes that sees years of development drop faster than boxer shorts, but no matter how much reading goes into the study, we women just don’t get it.

The penis-bearing population tends to rhyme monogamy with monotony, with an added stanza involving mahogany … wood carrying the obvious gravitas.

Women, on the other hand, are more likely to bring numbers into play, as in “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways … “, considering the forest rather than focusing on that single bit of timber:

If two stand shoulder to shoulder against the gods,
Happy together, the gods themselves are helpless
Against them while they stand so.

Truth be told, though, men don’t get it either. Ask a man why in the world he would chance hurting the woman he loves, jeopardize a relationship he treasures, and perhaps a big chunk of worldly wealth, as well, over hours of bullshit conversation that just, perhaps, might lead to a video call gaze at the privates of a woman hundreds if not thousands of miles away who is pitiful … or bored … enough to comply with a request for a viewing and his answer is more than likely to sound something like: When you put it that way, it does sound pretty stupid.

Much like boys on the verge of manhood run home after school with the hope of spanking the monkey in every room of the house before Mom finishes work, grown men who should be well beyond amazement at their own erections are caging time alone to facebook themselves stiff.

One dear friend consults often with me, looking for clues to his own perfidy. Married for a decade to a woman he adores, he has, so far, been physically incapable of consummating … in the real world … any of the many trysts he perpetually pursues through the pathetic porthole of everyone’s favorite social network, but that hasn’t stopped him from trawling daily for new fodder for fictitious fucks. His wife, of course, twigged to prolonged chat sessions that sometimes resulted in sticky tissues littering the lounge, and was, not surprisingly, insulted.

He is as confused as his wife is concerned over what even he admits is an unreasonable compulsion for virtual versions of conquest, but insisting, when not pressed to justify honestly, that it’s innocent fun. The theory that it amounts to nothing less that a virtual version of cheating doesn’t sit well.

Many of the women discussing their mate’s online activities do so with an amusement often reserved for naughty boys.

“As long as he doesn’t cum all over my keyboard, I don’t care what he does,” says one sensible woman. “It’s cheaper than golf and not as embarrassing as him trying to look cool at the local disco.”

When asked about the idea that time spent with other women online shows little respect for the real life relationship, opinions differ. Some wives wax philosophical, suggesting that the women who make themselves available for such shallow interactions are no more than animated porn that can answer back … an interactive video game … and since men come complete with joystick, the temptation to play is just too strong for their little minds.

Others rail against their men spending time and energy on women not them, appalled by the subterfuge involved, disturbed about the apparent desperation for ego-boosting, perhaps resenting the sex they’re not getting from men sated by Rosie Palm and her five sisters.

Online retaliation is one tactic employed when enough proves to be enough. Lord knows how easy it is to reel in gullible fish, and women with a high threshold for tedium may take to the Net in their spare time, as well. Post a few photos and … voila! … sad gits the world over will pant over your chat status, beg you to add them to your Skype contacts and pour out carefully chosen tidbits of their life story in anguished longing for … well … for what is often sitting in the next room, but just a bit TOO real.

Perhaps because men are a bit slow and all this “social interaction” seems so new, so exciting, so challenging (in such an unchallenging way), self control that may eventually develop has yet to gain a foot hold.

Or …

Maybe providing the chance to cheat from a distance, pretend to be whoever and whatever the imagination can create and proclaim innocence since no physical interaction can yet happen virtually is a gift from the gods.

Is this why humans evolved big brains, opposable thumbs and pendulous penises? Probably.

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I’m not up to writing about how it felt to mark one year since Jaren’s death; I’m crap enough at sliding identifying gels over the emotions without coming close to slapping words on them.

What I can do is yack a bit about how I spent the 2nd of June and post a few photos. Yes … I can do that.

Thanks to circumstances, and Ernesto, the opportunity to avoid the dismal prospect of passing the day alone on an island I’d grown weary of, instead visiting a vibrant, exciting city I’d long longed to experience more than the shitty airport of with the man I love had me jumping in that direction.

So, I was in Paris on the day.

Since I could not be in Paskenta where my son is buried beside my father and ancestors galore, Paris seemed a reasonable option Jaren would approve.

You see, there is symmetry in a cemetery there, to which I was drawn like a mother to an eternal flame.

Jim Morrison's grave ...

Pere LaChaise Cemetery and the grave of Jim Morrison … who died in the same year Jaren was born … offered what seemed a vital pilgrimage to a mom half a world away.

I paid my respects to the Lizard King, then strolled the ancient paths between graves feeling my son beside me.

Chopin ...

We gave a howdy to Oscar Wilde, hummed a few bars at Chopin and noticed a shitload of names that made me smile big.

No doubt ... Jaren found this one!

All in all, it was a good horrible day.

Oh ... the jokes ...

Yeah ... this one, too ...

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